So it’s the end of another year. And along with looking back on the accomplishments, lessons, and blessings of the past year, we’re all supposed to come up with “resolutions” for the new year. Changes we’d like to make. Things we’d like to start doing. Or stop doing. Or learn how to do. I don’t really do too well with keeping resolutions. Like most people, I start off January 1st with a huge amount of gusto, certain that just changing the last couple of digits in the date field will suddenly bring about huge changes in my world. With the stroke of midnight and the drop of a big glittery ball in Times Square, suddenly I will have the capability of being healthy, wealthy, and wise. I will be better organized and manage my time better. I will work out like a fiend and make healthy choices with my menu. Heck, I’ll even start planning out my menus ahead of time, and maybe even cook them up on the weekends to save time during the week. In the new year, I will suddenly find time to read all the books on my list, complete all those DIY projects I’ve been salivating over, and my house will never be dirty or dusty. I’ll volunteer more and donate money to all those miniscule charities I’ve seen throughout the previous year and meant to contribute to. This will be the year I finally take piano lessons, use the Learn to Play the Guitar DVD series we bought years ago, and I’ll be fluent in French by summer. Wow! I can hardly wait to go to sleep tonight just to wake up and be the new me. Except when I wake up tomorrow, the only thing different will be the year. I will still be me. With my same old stresses, same old time constraints, and same old bad habits. So maybe instead of setting lofty and ambitious resolutions and then being disappointed or feeling like a failure, I will be a tad bit more realistic in my goals. Maybe I will make resolutions that I might actually be able to keep. Then I am starting the new year off with hope for success rather than being almost certain of failure. So this year, I will read three books on my list. That should be doable, right? And I will cook a meal for my family once a week. From a recipe. With fresh ingredients. I will do some form of exercise three times a week. And I’ll be okay if that doesn’t include running. I will clean out my closet. Or at least clear a path through it. I will watch the first guitar DVD and actually take the guitar out of its case. I will complete an entire Rosetta Stone lesson in French. Maybe even two lessons since I’ve got a whole year. I will clean out the box of paperwork that has been sitting in the garage since we moved into this house in 2002. I will be more patient with people who do stupid things. (Okay…realistically, I will TRY to be more patient with people who do stupid things.) I will spend time with family and friends and tell them that I love them. I will eat pizza and chocolate. In moderation and with much enjoyment. I will be thankful for each day and what it brings and I will find joy in living and loving. I will be the best me that I can be, which may vary from day-to-day depending on the circumstances. And I will allow myself to alter this list as needed. Now those are resolutions I think I can probably work with. Bring on the new year! Happy New Year everyone! I hope that 2014 brings you health, happiness, peace, and love! And resolutions you can keep!
I am not a runner. But I want to be. One of my best friends and suite-mates in college was a runner, and that girl had the most beautiful legs God has ever gifted a woman. There are just something about a runner’s legs. They’re always pretty. So I want to be a runner and have pretty legs too. But it turns out it ain’t that easy. I have tried running before. I have even finished a couple of 5Ks. (by a combo of walking and running, but still.) I hear so many people talk about the runner’s high. The buzz they get from running. The only buzz I have ever gotten from running was the loud buzzing sound of my blood pounding in my ears as I gasped for breath and tried to avoid death. But I decided to try again. So I bought some snazzy new running shoes and downloaded an app called “Couch Potato to 5K”. And let me tell you all something. They have a different definition of “couch potato” than I do. I never even really considered myself a couch potato, really. I think I’m fairly active. I wouldn’t go so far as to label myself as “athletic” or any absurd exaggerations like that, but I’m active. So I figured I could do this “little potato to 5K” program, and in no time at all, I would be a runner. Then I could put one of those cute “runner girl” stickers on the back of my car. Well, evidently, the couch potato they designed this program for is a lean, little plain ol’ potato. And evidently I am more of a fully-loaded bring-on-the-bacon-and-sour-cream kind of potato. It started out just fine. Warm-up walk for 5 minutes, run for 90 seconds, walk for 90 seconds, alternate for 20 minutes, and then a cool-down walk. I was strutting around the neighborhood that first week like I was Florence Griffith-Joyner. (At least, that’s how I saw myself in my mind. I am sure my neighbors might disagree, so we won’t ask them.) The running time increased every few days, and by Week 3, I had already remembered why I hate running. That breezy little 90 second-90 second had amped up to a 3 minute-3 minute that nearly did me in. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but running 3 minutes was an eternity for me. When I saw Day One of Week 4, I damned near quit. I was positive there was a glitch in the program. A 3-minute run, a measly little 90-second walk, and then somehow it jumped to RUN 5 MINUTES and then repeat. Hello?????? I actually checked the app to make sure I didn’t somehow skip a week somewhere that would have eased me into this new routine. I made it to the end of the first 3 minutes, but my lungs were already heaving like usual, my heart was pounding, and my shins were certain that shin splints are a lethal condition. The 90-second walk was a mere tease that came nowhere near allowing me time to recover normal breathing and heartbeat. I swear I actually flinched when it beeped to start running again. My lungs burned and ached and I think they actually stopped processing oxygen for a few breaths. But I made it through. I survived. I ran. (Okay, for full disclosure purposes, we could probably substitute “jog” for “run” throughout this post for those of you who are sticklers for accuracy.) This morning, I got up and clicked on the app and became convinced that the programmers for this thing must be smoking a crack pipe. I think I should probably delete the app entirely to make a strong statement about not supporting crack smokers. 5 minute walk warm-up. 8 MINUTE RUN. 5 minute walk. 8 MINUTE RUN. 5 minute walk. I didn’t think I could run 8 minutes if Freddie Krueger was chasing me. But I read a passage in a book last night that said to let every action you make be a statement about WHO YOU WANT TO BE. Not to continue being and affirming who you are, but to continually work toward and take action toward WHO YOU WANT TO BE. And I want to be fit. I want to be healthy. I want to have better discipline. I want to be skinnier than I am now. And I want to have nice legs. A runner’s legs. Or as close to that as my little stout legs can be. So I set out this morning full of determination and motivation and all kinds of hope. By minute 3, I was still breezing along like Flo-Jo, feeling the sun on my face and the wind at my back. By minute 5, I was starting to question my sanity and my need for any legs other than those I already have. And by minute 8, I was rethinking my life goals and who I want to be and why on earth that ever included a runner. That 5-minute walk in the middle was a blessing though, and my heart, my lungs, and my overactive brain calmed down and rejuvenated enough to make me think I could finish the next 8 minutes. By the fifth minute of the second 8, I was convinced that I was going to die. And I was more than a little panicked that I didn’t tell my husband which neighborhood I was running in and I had no ID on me and my phone was almost dead. No one would know who the dead woman was in the middle of the road with the largest thighs they had ever seen on a runner. I started picking visual markers ahead of me, and I would tell myself that if I reached THAT mailbox, or THAT red truck, or THAT bush on the side of the road that I could quit. But every time I reached the marker I set, I would pick another marker and keep going. I think part of it was I am a girl who loves a story with a happy ending, and I had already decided this morning to blog about running today. I definitely didn’t want to have to tell all of you that I quit. So I started praying. With every breath in and every breath out, I repeated the mantra “God is in me, God is with me, God is my strength.” And as He always does, He came through, and together we finished! I completed today’s run, and I didn’t die. And I didn’t even have Freddie Krueger chasing me. Now, I didn’t get any buzz, and I didn’t love it, but I am so glad that I didn’t quit. I am so proud that I held in there and took those steps toward who I want to be. I don’t know what this whacked-out program will ask me to do tomorrow, and I'm not going to run out and buy the bumper sticker yet, but for today, I am a runner.
My Knight and I celebrated our 7th anniversary in November, and as we do every year, we renewed our vows. Shortly before we got married, we learned that friends of ours renew their vows every year and have done so for more than 50 years! The lovely wife described it so romantically and with such deep meaning. She said that when you read those vows each year, you are reminded of what you promised. You are held accountable for your commitment, and it makes it easier to remember why you do what you do the other 364 days. You renew that commitment and that promise each year, and it keeps your vows fresh in your mind and in your heart. Her husband’s explanation was much more humorous, but no less true. He said if someone had told him he had to spend the rest of his life with her, he would have probably gone mad or given up. But each year, he figures he can do it for one more year. So each year on their anniversary, he signs up for just one more year. And he’s done that one year at a time for over 50 years! We loved that. And we decided to incorporate their tradition into our marriage. We take turns planning a special surprise for the vow renewal each year. So each year one person is in the hot seat to plan, and the other gets to relax and be surprised. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say “relax” and be surprised. Because although I personally love to plan AND receive surprises, My Knight finds nothing at all relaxing about having no clue what he is doing. He is great at planning the surprises on his years, but he is a bear to deal with when he is being surprised. (The year I planned a hot air balloon ride that required a pre-dawn arrival, I thought I was going to kill him in the process of getting him awake, out of the house, and to the designated location without him knowing what was happening.) This was my planning year, and I arranged for us to attend a Medeival Fair and have our vows renewed by a Scottish monk (actor). And I figured we should wear costumes to really experience the moment. Oh boy. His questions, guesses, and attempts to trick me into giving away the surprise were incessant. My Knight: “Will I have access to our car?” Me: “Yes.” My Knight: “So it’s not a cruise?” Or My Knight: “Should I pack sneakers or flip-flops?” Me: “Pack both.” My Knight: “So I’ll need a swimsuit and flip-flops?” Once we got all checked into the hotel the night before the renewal, he admitted with a grin that he had figured out what we were doing. My Knight: “You act like I don’t know you at all. We’re on the coast. You’ve been checking the weather all week. I needed to pack a swimsuit. Obviously, we’re renewing our vows on the beach.” He looked so smug and confident that I just opened my mouth in shock dismay and disappointment and let him think he was right. The morning of the vow renewal, he announced he was going to shower and go to McDonald’s for coffee. I told him I had something special for him to wear. When he stepped out of the shower, I was attired in my costume, and I announced I would be his “tavern wench” for the day. He looked more than a bit confused, as he was convinced we were headed for the beach. Then I led him to the bed, where I had laid out a costume befitting My Knight. To say he was speechless really does not convey the poor man’s shock. He covered his face with both hands, laughing hysterically in such a manner that I was not sure if it was a “Wow, this is hilarious but great” kind of laugh, or a “She has lost her freakin’ mind if she thinks I’m wearing that” kind of laugh. A couple of times he would open his fingers, look at the costume again, and then laugh harder. There were even a few tears, and I don’t think they were sentimental. I think they were more desperation and fear! But he is such a wonderful sport and such a gallant knight that he suited up with a smile. I offered to eliminate the hood, the sleeves, the gloves and the cape. But My Knight was determined to look the part. God, I love that man!!! (He did, however, decide not to go to McDonald’s for coffee……) I had never been to a Medieval Fair, and I have to say that we had a blast! There was jousting, and fencing, and a human chess tournament. We marveled at the dude on the wheel of death, and we were mesmerized by the traveling carillon. We saw fairies, and trolls, and acrobats and bagpipes. And of course, we ate lots of yummy, greasy fair food. And I admit I did not research our costumes to make sure they were historically accurate. I was more concerned that they were economical and available at our local Halloween store. That being said, and at the risk of being hypocritical, I was amazed at the number of pirates, and specifically the swashbuckling red-coated Captain Hook style pirates, roaming around the Medieval Faire. M-E-D-I-E-V-A-L. Not a time period known for its buccaneers. The other favorite attire was corsets. I have to say that I am so glad we no longer wear corsets on a daily basis. I never knew the female breast could be pushed, pinched, smashed, lifted, spread, shoved, and displayed in such a visual array. There was even one woman who I swear had FOLDED her breasts into the tight corset. There were literally lines running at a 45 degree angle from her armpit towards her nipples where the flesh was folded to the side and smashed into the tight constraints. But I digress. We ended up renewing our vows under a huge oak tree with a gentle breeze and a kind “bishop” who spoke with a heavy Scottish accent and nearly cracked us both up with his unexpected a capella rendition of “One Hand, One Heart”. I am so thankful for the blessing of a happy, healthy marriage and a gallant and romantic Knight who will dress up in costume and publicly declare his love for me. So yeah…..I signed up for another year.
Well, hey y’all! How have you been? Are the holidays treating you well, my friends? It’s been a while since you heard from me here; Life has been busy with much cause for cheer. My Knight’s brother Jim married a sweet girl named Tammy, So we spent a few days celebrating with family. Then we were visited by my mom and dad; With shopping and golf, what a good time we had! My Knight and I attended a marriage retreat, A Weekend to Remember with nice people to meet. We finished up that with a trip to the beach, To join Frankie and Shannon for something to eat. The Dream Village Gala was a whirlwind of days; The volunteers and donors, my heart they amazed. We loved spending time with Aunt Ronnie and Pat; Got our butts kicked in tennis, that’s all I’ll say about that. Next we renewed our vows at a Medieval Faire; I surprised My Knight with costumes there. We went on the road for a Thanksgiving feast, And I turned 45. Isn’t aging a beast? I signed up to write on the NANOWRIMO page, And typed the length of a novel in just 30 days. Now editing galore I’ve yet to do, But I wanted to type a few lines to you. Messages, texts, and calls have been logged, From those who have missed my photos and blogs. I want you to know that you warmed my heart, And regular blogging I will once again start. I love your comments, your likes and your shares. I really appreciate knowing you’re there. Your love and support keep me wanting to write, To follow my dreams and stay in the fight. So back to my novel; it's editing time. Hopefully you have enjoyed my long rhyme!