Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Roar

Sometimes I start writing a post and think, I’ve probably written about this before.  I suppose we all know by now that I like repetitive messages.

Last year I went to a conference and heard a speaker talk about shadow sides of this business of helping people.

It’s these burdens that we carry.  When you hear someone’s story and realize that there is really nothing you can do to help, it gets into your soul.

Running helps.

But sometimes it’s not enough.

Sometimes the nightmares come.

Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, making a roaring noise.  Your husband swears it was a scream, but you insist that it was a fierce roar. 

Sometimes the roar scares the crap out of the dog.

I’ve decided that I need a week off from work every six months (at least).  This month, I’m hitting that mark.  But I will have to wait a little longer until my week off.

In the meantime, I will keep running.

And picture myself sitting in a lounge chair outside the lake house.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Victory Garden

Every spring, I name my garden, the Victory Garden.  I suppose that’s the eternal optimist in me.  I also cheer for the Cubs every spring.  The truth is that I haven’t had a single year of a good harvest.  The one year that looked the most promising ended with a destructive hail storm.  I’ve also had aphids and extreme heat.

When looking at it, maybe there is a better way to spend my money.  But I like the idea of nurturing a garden, helping it grow.  And I’ve come from previous generations of farmers, so you would think that I could get a few tomato plants to grow!

I laid out my plans for this year.  Hoping that the weather cooperates.

I am patiently waiting until Mother’s Day weekend to plant.  As much as I like to nurture a garden, I don’t want to have to tuck it in every night under a sheet because I planted too early.

So I will wait.  And plan.  And practice spelling the word zucchini.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heart Risks

On Saturday, I ran 10 miles.  This was my reward.  Isn’t Dig a fun name for a spring seasonal beer?  And it is in my special drinking glass.

That was my longest run ever.  I’m not sure what inspired me to do it. I suppose I just wanted to see if I could.

I ran with a hydration belt.  Billy was right.  It did help.  I didn’t enjoy running with it though. 

I ate a whole avocado when I was done.  In the form of a turkey wrap.

Billy helped me figure out my running path for the day.  There was still snow on the dirt trails so he talked about another way that I could go on a paved path.  I have a horrible sense of direction.  He has been telling me about this path for over a year, and I just now figured out what he was talking about.  And then I almost got lost.  After one mile.  On a familiar road. 

I get scared running on unfamiliar paths. 

But we already know this about me, don’t we.  I get stalled by fear.

Part of me knows that risks don’t always pan out.

A few years ago, Billy and I tried to move back to Illinois to be closer to family.  I tend to think about it every April because it was this time of year when we were trying to move.  For a variety of reasons, the move didn’t work out.  At the time, it was incredibly painful. Even now, I still feel some heart tugs when I think about it.

I was telling some story to Billy the other day.  A story about when the girls and I were out there.  We were laughing about it.  Billy said, That was the weirdest summer, but it seems like it was such a good time for you.

And it was.

But it didn’t work out.  And in hindsight, it appears we were meant to stay in Colorado.

There’s a song by the Oh Hellos that makes me think of risks.  It makes me think of that time in Illinois.

Because nothing lasts forever

Some things aren’t meant to be

But you’ll never find the answers

Until you set your old heart free

Not all risks work out.  Not everything is meant to be.  But we still have to take risks.  We still have to push ourselves.  We still have to find out. 

Sometimes when our risks don’t work out, there is pain and sadness, and we don’t understand why.  Time can give us a valuable perspective.  The risks may have seemed to fail.  But during that time of risk and trying new things, we may experience happiness and joy. 

Maybe the risk didn’t fail at all.

Maybe the ending just looked different than what we had in mind.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Power of Sunshine

Those sun rays feel so good!  But right now it’s snowing.  Again.

But I’m onto this snow.  I know that it will be over soon.  This next weekend is supposed to be full of lovely weather.  Is it too early to start planning out the next weekend?  Of course, the forecast will probably change a dozen times before the weekend actually gets here.

Last Thursday, we had the first glimpse of sunshine after a week of clouds and snow.  I woke up feeling a bit grumbly about having to drive on slick streets on the way to work (again).  And then I saw the sun peeking out.  By the time I left for work, the sun was in full force, the streets were wet, not icy, and I was giddy.

It’s funny to think about the impact that a little sunshine has on my world. 

I grew up in the Midwest, where winters are gray.  After many years here in Colorado, I have become spoiled with over 300 days of sunshine a year.  I start to have withdrawal after too many cloudy days.

This weekend had brief moments of sunshine and warmth, and then the clouds and wind would come out.

But spring is really here.  It’s under this layer of snow.  It’s behind those clouds.

And that sunshine will feel so good!

Monday, April 15, 2013


At the end of last week, I was feeling the burden of the world.  I had a bad afternoon at work.  And as a reminder, I’m a social worker, so a bad day for me really stinks.

Billy and I got into one of our discussions.  As you can imagine, Billy and I can be a real picnic when we get into our discussions about the injustices of the world.  That last statement was full of sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice.

I looked at Billy for answers.  Tell me something to make me feel better, I demanded.

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, he said.


But it’s still bullshit, he later added.

Today, I think we are all feeling a burden.  Another tragedy.  Another sad ending. 

Maybe we are feeling that there’s nothing we can do.

But this is not true.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One Day



Looking out the window today, all I see is snow.  And you know what, it doesn’t bother me.

I actually like spring snow.  It melts fast.  When it looks gloomy, I can reassure myself that this is only one day.  Hidden underneath the snow is spring. 

This isn’t like snow in the middle of winter.  Snow in the middle of the winter only means more snow.  And cold.

But this spring snow, well, it’s only a day. 

I can remind myself that I’ve been spending a lot of time in my happy place, enjoying the sunshine.  We even found a new place to eat.  Awesome burgers after a long trail run.  Shh…I had a double burger.  No need to judge, Billy already did.

It’s only one day.  Sometimes I repeat that mantra to myself on other days as well.  Some days are a struggle. 

Some days I struggle with work.  I struggle with being a mom.  I struggle with being a wife.  I struggle with it all.  But it’s only a day. 

Some days of struggle can melt into many.  Those are seasons.  These past few weeks have been a struggle to shrug off for me.  My arm started hurting a month ago, the same pain as last spring.  And I haven’t painted any grout this time.  I started to wonder if I should go to the doctor or get another armpit massage.  I kept telling myself, “If it still hurts by the end of this week, I will call the doctor.”  And then I would have a few good days and put it off.  Today when I woke up, I realized that my arm is on the mend.  Pain makes me grumpy, like many other folks, I’m sure.  It was starting to cloud my thinking.  It was starting to change my actions.  I wanted to retreat instead of being around my ladies.

I could look back on these past few weeks with regret.  But why?  There were still good moments mixed in there.  Moments of snuggling and reading books.  Moments of watching my ladies make me laugh.  Moments watching them be brave. 

So it wasn’t my best season.  That’s ok.  It was only a season.   And while I realize that a season is a gift of time that many people do not have, I realize that being hard on myself won’t help me appreciate my life.

You know how I always say, perfection doesn’t exist…well, last week, a colleague at a training said this little gem, progress not perfection.

I love that.  Maybe these haven’t been the greatest few weeks, but I am still moving forward. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Best Things

Winter’s dark grip is being released.  Spring is here! 

I’ve been really motivated by a song I heard on the radio lately-Michael Franti’s “I’ll Be Waiting.”  I love this song.

The best things in life aren’t things.

They’re living and breathing.

The best things in life aren’t things.

They’re something you can believe in.


These lyrics are so powerful.  It’s easy in the dark of winter to lose perspective.  To hibernate.  To forget what’s really important.  To disconnect from people that bring us happiness and love.

Spring is this new opportunity to get out of the house.  To connect with others.  To see the world as it really is.  And yes, the world is broken.  This song even references the pain in this world.

The best things in life aren’t things.

They’re laughing and crying.

The best things in life aren’t things.

They’re frightened, they’re still fighting.


There is still hope.  There is always hope.

So let’s take this season to get out of our heads.  Let’s take this season to get some fresh air.  To take risks.  To choose love.