Category Archives: exersise

What I have learned about grief

flowerGrief is sneaky. Out of the blue grief sneaks up on me. I do my best to prepare for the anniversaries, the times I know it will be hard. But it pops up, unwanted and unexpected.

Grief is strong. When grief hits it can take me down to the ground. Swiftly, I am out of breath and drowning.

Grief does not play fair. I make deals with grief, it can come when I am prepared, when I am ready to take it on, we have an agreement. Grief does not always abide by that agreement.

Grief is a thief. It sneaks in, uninvited, like a bull in a china shop, breaking our agreement and tries to steal my joy.

This is what I have learned about my grief. I say “my grief”, because everyone has a different grief visiting them, not all griefs are the same.

I have learned to give grief a time limit, especially when it shows up unannounced and bullies me into a puddle of tears. I give my grief  time and attention but with limits. I give myself permission to cry, a lot if I need to. I give myself permission to be sad, very, very sad, if I need to.

And then I invite grief to leave.

These are some ways I encourage my grief to leave; I go outside and soak up some nature. I listen to praise music, I read the psalms. I take a walk/run to get some good brain chemicals active. I count my blessings. I do something creative. I feed my soul. I pray.

I don’t always feel like I want to do these things, but I do them. I am persistent, I keep at it until grief finally gives in. Until it packs up it’s baggage and leaves.

So today, I am being persistent, grief swooped in yesterday and knocked me to my knees, but today I am standing. I am inviting grief to leave without taking my joy with it. Having cried myself to sleep last night in the wonderful arms of my understanding husband, I am sitting in my garden this morning. Worship is music playing, I watch the birds drink from the sprinkler, and the momma and poppa swallows try to keep up with the feeding of the littles. I am preparing for a prayerful walk/run with psalms of praise running through my mind.

I will not let grief overtake me. I have so much to be grateful for, I love my life, I will not let grief rob me of my joy.

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps 23

Broken

 

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I entered this new year with great dreams of running a few 5ks this summer. My foot repaired and healing well, my husband willing to give running a good try. Big dreams. Big goals.

I sit here this morning a little broken, physically for sure, and fighting the mental brokenness that often comes with physical. Looking for the lessons that are sure to be lurking in the corners of broken.

I am drawn to broken seashells, there is beauty inside the shells that can not bee seen until they are broken enough to reveal what is inside.

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Colors and patterns hidden inside. Beauty missed if left intact. I want to be like that in this season. I want light to shine into my corners and reveal gratitude instead of bitterness. Broken with grace is hard work, it is easy for me to fall into the habit complaining.

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If I am honest, I am a little jealous when I see people jogging. I am missing walking on the sand by the sea. I am not fond of crutches, (I tamed that down a lot 🙂 ). I am an active person that finds it extremely hard to sit still for too long. This season of stillness has been difficult but there are lessons to be learned. I want to learn them, I want to use my broken to find beauty hidden in my corners.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

 

I had a day

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I had a day last week that I have been pondering, still unsure of where it came from and what to think of it. Maybe if I write it down I can process it a little better.

This day I wanted to take a break, it was more than that, but I am even having a hard time explaining how I felt. I wanted to not be a mom whose son was dead, I wanted to not be a manager, I did not want to knit, I did not want to not knit. I did not want to take a run, I did not want to not take a run. I did not want to sit out in Jason’s garden, I did not want the reason for it. I did not want to cry, I did not want to feel, I did not want to be sad, I did not want to be happy. I did not want to do anything, I did not want to be idle.

Does any of that make sense? I have heard the expression “stop the world and get off” but have never felt it like I felt it that day. I was at a loss with what to do with myself, I was restless and lifeless all at the same time.

So, I put on my favorite Christian praise station, put on my headphones and made myself take a run. I really did not want to, and I really did not want to not want to.(Hope that makes any kind of sense.)

This is what I sorted out on my run, the fireworks tents started going up this week, these mark the beginning of Jason’s end. I also realized that my favorite season will forever hold some sadness, I am a summer gal, but it holds some darkness now. (I don’t really like that.)

By the end of the run, I felt like I had run to the arms of my heavenly father and he held me close. I cried, we had a long talk. Then I sat in the arms of my husband and he held me close.The world was okay again.

I am a blessed woman, my amazing daughter is just that, amazing. My two step children remind me every day of the love between siblings, and they make me smile. I cannot say enough about my wonderful husband, he makes sure I live the most carefree life possible. He makes sure I feel loved and cherished. And last but certainly not least, my heavenly father who is never more than a breath away.

Yes, the world is okay again, I have regained my balance. I am truly blessed beyond measure.

Is. 43:1-2, 4
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to Me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
MSG

I did it! (but not on my own)

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I did it, I set a goal 9 weeks ago to go from no exercise at all to running a 5k. Yesterday was the day – I did not have any goals except to finish. I finished, shocked to find I was 10th in my division, females 45 to 55. (I am hoping there were more than 10 of us 🙂 )

I did not do this alone, family and friends rooted me on from the start. My first time out running I could barely run for 30 seconds. I was not sure I could do it, but I pushed ahead with the encouragement from others. Strangers offered encouragement God was gracious to send me “winks” as my friends Joe and Traci Castaneda call them. (You can read about those here) .

I am so grateful to my husband who has not minded the neglected house, and a few more “on your own” dinners as I prepared for this run. I am grateful to friends who offers tips and hints when I was really struggling. I am grateful to friends, family and co-workers for cheering me on. All of these things were essential in my journey.

It makes me think about the great cloud of witnesses that surround us in our spiritual race here on earth. How very much like preparing for an earthly race is like our spiritual race.

I am so much more mindful of what I put into my mouth since beginning to run, there is a definite cost/return mindfulness.

I am dedicated to practice, getting out and running on a regular basis. I am mindful of what inactivity will cost me in working towards the goal.

I am mindful of being public/transparent in my process, I knew if I told people I was doing this that I would be more accountable.

Isn’t this so much like our spiritual race? Shouldn’t we be mindful of what we take in?, Shouldn’t we be dedicated to practicing/studying on a regular basis? Shouldn’t we be transparent and let others help keep us on track?

IMG_1034Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb 12:1

I kept going

runYesterday, I ran the longest I have run to date. I owe this to a bluejay, a swallow and two women I have never met.

As I hit mile one, fatigued, hot and sweaty, I was thinking I would just go a little further and turn around and walk back. I could try again tomorrow right? No harm, no foul. I am not really competing with any one but myself and who would blame me? I had already done a couple hours of yard work. Just then a car pulled out of a driveway, a woman in the passenger seat waved and gave me the biggest smile. It felt like she was cheering me on. I kept going.

A little later I noticed a bluejay hoping from fence post to fence post just ahead of me. He would stop and watch me until I got a little close then fly to the next post. It detracted me enough to get a little past the 1 and 3/4 mile mark without really noticing it. I kept going.

I let myself talk me into stopping at 2 miles, same reasons as above. Just before I got to my stopping point another car pulled out of a driveway, this time the woman in the passenger seat waved, smiled and gave me a thumbs up. That simple gesture lifted my spirits, put a smile on my face and gave me just a little more energy. I kept going.

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About a half mile later a swallow decided to fly with me, weaving in and out of the grass in the field next to my route. He would get ahead, then come back and do that little ballet flight that swallows do. This went on for about 1/4 of a mile. I kept going.

By this time, turning around and going back was further than just going on. I kept going.

I thought, in our lives, in our spiritual journey, how many times does God send jut the right person at just the right time to encourage us? More than we know.

I want to be that, an encourager, someone who smiles at the stranger on the corner, the haggard mom in the store, the gentleman shuffling along with a walker. Just a smile is all it takes sometimes to keep someone going, to make their day just a little more manageable.

I want to be that person that not only keeps going, but I want to be the person that encourages others to keep going.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

 

My Race

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Yesterday I wrote about running, and that I was committing to this activity, and making myself accountable by telling others my intentions. I wrote about some lessons I had learned in the first week. My desire is to also learn God lessons from this experience.

God lesson #1 – Just like I have to run my own mile, and not compare my mile to someone else’s, I have to walk my walk with God. Not someone else’s, mine. I should not compare my God walk/run with others. It is so tempting to look at someone else’s race and envy the “easy” race they have to run. The truth is I don’t know what waits around the bend for them, or what horrible dark valley they have come out of. The path I was given to run is my own. There have been bumps, times of pure despair, times of great rejoicing, and carefree running. But whatever turn in the road God has for me is mine to run without comparison to other’s path.

God lesson #2 – I should not try to look too far ahead on my God run. Just a few steps, just enough to not trip. If I knew all that was going to happen, how could I love and enjoy the moment of now? I would fret and worry, and miss the joy of the moment. If I had known that when my daughter was 6 months old I would find myself single, would I have missed out on this incredible woman? If I had known that I would live through the pain of losing my son at early in his life, would I have missed those amazing 30 years? God graciously does not allow me to see all that is ahead on my run. He allows me to see just enough.

My race is my race.

 

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Recently I decided to start running again. When I say again, don’t think I have run recently, it has been many years, 40 to be exact since I “use to run”. I have not run since high school. There were several things that got me started, I want to lose some weight, I want to be healthier, a friends blog, and the realization that at my next birthday I am going to be closer to 60 than 50, (Whew, that really snuck up!) I want to be one of those “seniors” that stays active, and does things, so I am committing to run.

I started last week when my new running shoes came. My commitment is to run 3 times per week. My short term goal is to run a 5k in June. Sounds easy enough, right? Sure, but life has already threatened to get in the way. Next week is a full week. Several appointments after work are going to make it hard to stick to my commitment. My first thought was, “Well, maybe I will really start the next week”. But I know me, if I don’t keep with my commitment now, I won’t. Life will always get in the way, always and I will always be putting it off until the next week and then the next and pretty soon I won’t even be thinking about it anymore.

So I have to make a plan, and then another if that plan is not going to work, and then another. I need to make back up plans for the “just in case”.

I have done a few things that I hope will help me keep my commitment, one is huge for me, I am telling people, that makes me accountable. I am not comfortable with this, I want to be able to hide if I fail. But here it is for all the world to see, I am now accountable, you all now know.

I bought really good, and also important, cute running shoes. The really good part is so I don’t injure myself and have to quit running, the cute part is well just because.

I bought good wireless headphones, music in my ears helps me stay focused, and the wireless part because wires bug me. 🙂

I looked for an app that fit my style and would help me achieve my goal. This app “talks” to me and tells me when to warm up, when to run, when to walk, and when to cool down, it will methodically, over the next 9 weeks, guide me to run 3 miles.

A couple lessons already learned, I can’t look too far ahead. It discourages me. Just a few feet, just far enough so I don’t trip.

Another important lesson, I have to run my mile, not anyone else’s mile. My second run I thought I needed to improve my time by a certain amount. I pushed myself too hard, I almost quit part way through the run. I nearly sent myself into a full blown asthma attack. I felt like I was sucking on my inhaler like a pacifier. It is not important at this point how fast I am going, just that I am going. Today’s run I slowed down, ran just hard enough to challenge me but not hard enough to kill me. 🙂 I finished, and felt really good.

My goal this week was 3 runs, I met it. It feels good, now to make plans to meet my 3 run goal next week.