Monday, June 24, 2013

Runners are crazy

Runners are crazy

Especially distance runners

Bat. Shit. Crazy. 

If you are a runner you know exactly what I mean and you are not offended

They say crazy things, use crazy terminology and do crazy crazy things.
For example they:
-choose to run 13.1 than 26.2 then 50 and on and on. The other day I saw a guy with one of those runner bumper stickers with 140. Seriously?

- they run into traffic. You know against traffic, as pedestrians are supposed to. Or sometimes can't be bothered to wait at a stoplight so will maneuver like Frogger to keep the heartrate up. 

-They are always thinking about where they fit in a run anywhere and have extra running clothes in car "just in case"

-They know exactly has far it is in miles between their house and anywhere in 5-15 mile radius. And all routes. 

They  use absurd words and Terms:

Foam roller- I had no idea what this term was and why use it until a few weeks ago. As I am more regular I feel the highly worked muscles on need of relief.

It band- while again I have heard the term before, didn't quite gert it until I started feeling those muscles. fyi, they run along the outside of your upper leg. they've been stiff in the beginning of runs. thereby the need of the use of said foam roller.

Naked running and Barefoot running - one is exactly as it sounds the other is not really what you might think. I have tried one. And gotten some funny looks on the path.

PR- ever the goal. to beat your personal best time. its the song that never ends. yes it goes on and on my friends.

Thought process, possibly the most certifiable part of the runner...

- Like the midwestern mailman, neither sleet nor snownor rain nor grisley heat or humidity will stop you from doing your job, completing the task. 20 degrees or 90. it will get done.
-Boston, New York, Chicago, are races not towns

- injuries are common and badges of honor, especially if you run through them. pain, cramps, pulled muscles...and proudly limp to the finish line. with the war stories. they love the war stories.

- After running  3.1, 6.2, 13.1, 26.2, they cannot wait to do it again. and maybe longer the next time.

- guilt. after missing a run. feeling sick. slower pace. whatever. guilt guilt guilt. reminds me of my Catholic elementary school.

- ha. and jealousy when they drive by another runner. "I should be doing that"

-drop $100+ on a pair of shoes that will last only a few months

So you see runners are crazy.

But this label has always been applied to everyone who has ever tried to push limits and boundaries, physically and mentally. Who attempt what is told cannot and should not be done. Who chase dreams and try to do better.    If that is crazy...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

water your own garden

I realize this is a bit out of season. But I must be dreaming of spring already..,

My dear husband has been working on his garden for years. Since we bought our house.  I think his favorite feature of having a house has been a yard. And a garden.

over the past almost 4 years we have planted a wide variety of plants and mini-gardens. We have the vegetable garden

some ornamental gardens


potatoes and asparagus.

fruit trees


I would post pictures if they weren't currently under a layer of snow. 

And we do it, our garden, our way. Slowly, one step at a time. We do not use any chemicals or pesticides on anything, including our lawn. That food that we will ingest. That lawn my child will play on.

If you look around our neighborhood, you will see some meticulous lawns. Overflowing gardens. Gorgeous flowers.  If you look at ours, it is not meticulous. it is not neglected. It looks like nothing all that special. What it is, is cared for and watered and loved and used.

When we go for walks, it is so easy to look at what everyone else has. Some people have some pretty amazing  landscaping. Some lawns are bright green with criss cross mowing patterns akin to a baseball field. My neighbors vegetable garden looks like the Garden of Eden. We look around. We compare.

And I wonder how much energy can get wasted looking around. Wishing. Envying. Working to make it be like everyone elses.

Rather than just tending to my own. Weeding my own. Covering and protecting vulnerable parts when the storms pass through. Cutting back and pruning when necessary. Picking the bounty when its ripe. Reading among my bulbs. Rolling in the grass with my son. Working within our own limits and values.

Watering my own garden.

What is the saying:? "The grass is always greener ... Where you water it" 

Where else do we do this. In life. Compare and envy and judge and work against our own nature. Work. School. Parenting. Vacations. Money. Stuff.  Politics.

And its not to say we cannot learn from each other. My neighbor has given us wonderful gardening tips. Some we take and use and have been utterly helpful. And some we choose not to. I see "information" people post on Facebook. Some I read and roll my eyes to and some I find pieces of value in for my own life and incorporate. 

Sometimes I need to just enjoy looking at what my neighbor has and appreciate. Sometimes I need to look ahead, put fb and my phone away. Sometimes I need to eliminate excuses and just get to work on my own piece of earth. 

its hard to tend to my own garden when i am using all of my energy comparing it to everyone elses. It's difficult to appreciate by bounty, my blessings , when my focus is elsewhere. 

And when I tend to what I have. I find that I in turn have more to give. I can give tomatoes and applesauce back to my neighbors. Teach my son a new skill. 

May I remember to let go of envy. And water my own garden. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spotlight: Stepping Stone Farms

I have been a woman of many ideas and dreams.

With each of those my life could have gone in so many different directions.
One of these dreams, and i am not sure when it started to form, is the idea that to use horses, especially rescue horses and abused/neglected people, especially children, to help heal each other. 

It has stayed in the back of my mind for some time. And in the mean time, I have gotten my Masters degree in counseling, worked in various areas of trauma and maintained my love of horses. Oh and started a family. :)

A few years ago I started seeing that there are places that are doing just this thing, in various ways. There is even an organized group called EAGALA that does Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and trains people in it. Another organization exists doing the same thing called OK Corral. I have been dong research on them and following where all of their trainings take place and what agencies and organizations actually practice this.

However I have remained stuck in actually doing nothing for a long time. 

Something in the past few months has clicked and changed for me. I have worked through a lot of my own barriers and fears and to make a long story short, I finally signed up for a training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. And the OK Corral series happened to have a training about 35 minutes north of me last month. So I went. It was at Stepping Stone Farm in Franklin, WI

And this act of actually signing up has set a ball in motion for me. I cannot begin to tell you how nervous I was going to this training, not knowing a single person. but hoping to learn something and make some connections. And I was able to do both.

a few pictures from the farm and the 3 day training:

Lia, the head honcho at Stepping Stone made it clear immediately that they were looking for help. I did not know exactly what that meant or looked like so I eventually spoke to her during the training and after. And have since been working with her to develop some programs, help recruit some fundraising help, going to networking events and actually counseling a group of veterans who come out on Friday mornings. I am stunned by how the veterans are able to open up let their guard down with the horses. "Its like they get me" they say. And the farm is safe and peaceful.

A lot of work that I can do at home, except Friday mornings, and Ben gets to come with me and experience farm life.

Lia works so hard and is so passionate about the work on her farm. And did I mention that most of the horses on her farm ARE RESCUE HORSES!! Each with their own rescue story.
this horse is Nina, so far one of my favorites

Stepping stone farm rehabs these rescue horses, uses them to teach riding lessons, do equine assisted psychotherapy, equine assisted learning and therapeutic riding. We are also working on having workshops, team building, and camps using EAP/EAL. 

Stepping Stone is a non for profit and runs primarily on the heart of Lia, many volunteers and many generous donors who believe in what they do.

I am a believer. 

And so they are my other organization I am running the Biggest Loser Half Marathon for in September this year. Would you consider donating to their cause? My goal is $500

If you are unable to donate financially, can you do one of the following for me?:
- share this cause with friends and encourage them to donate
-keep this organization and its clients in your thoughts and prayers

to donate go here:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sweet 16

I love the 13th
It has been our "count the months" day. Which is so much fun, as so much happens in these fast precious months of our son's first years.

Today marks 16 months. 

And today he did one of my favorite things yet. 

We love reading books. This farm book is one of our favorites. 

As we turned to this page, we asked Ben where the kitty was on the page. And sure enough, he pointed to it. And my heart swelled with pride at this new little marker of brain development/intelligence. 

Other honorable mentions in this past week or 2 include:
- spinning around in circles (probably from watching Ms. Becka)

- hugging and kissing when we ask him to
- walking himself all the way down the street on the sidewalk. (and his general love for the outdoors. He could be outside all day long if we let him)
-playing on this new slide

I love watching his personality develop too. He is so sweet. Loves to laugh. Cuddly. Is a little mischievous. has gotten pretty good with "no" so far (with a little work). Is fearless. And is kind and gentle with animals. And plays independently pretty well. I have been so lucky with how "easy" he is. 

And it has gone by so fast. 

And I am loving every crazy moment. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spotlight: Choosing Hope Adoptions

I first met Angela, the driving force behind Choosing Hope Adoptions, about 10 years ago. We were both registered for a 6 week Youth Ministry training course outside of Minneapolis. Furthermore, we were paired up to be roommates at a very "special" home. Oh the stories from those first 3 weeks. At least Angela had family nearby and could escape on the weekends. Remember the cat, Angela???

During those weeks we got to know each other and I was blessed to connect with someone who was so personable, full of life, funny and passionate for ministry and for God. We reconnected at the second 3 weeks and have stayed in contact, even though she was called to Ohio and I to Illinois. She even allowed my youth group to spend the night at her church on our way to a youth conference in North Carolina.

Angela since has gotten married, started a family, and has 3 beautiful children. She was a Youth Minister in Springfield Oh until just a few years ago, when she knew her life was needing to head in a new direction. She just did not know where yet. But they took a leap of faith.She and her husband felt strongly called about adoption and were blessed to add their third child, only a month younger than my Ben through the adoption process.

During that time, she saw many of the complications and heartbreaks that are involved in adoption. From fees, to caring for the needs of the birth family, and simplifying the process that turns off many potential adoptive families.

Rather than just complain or sit back and wait for someone else to do something about it, she stepped up to the plate, with a team of other passionate people and started an adoption non for profit out of Springfield Ohio. This non for profit is called : Choosing Hope Adoptions. .

Choosing Hope is still in its initial stages. They have all the certifications, they have an office and they have a plan and the support of the community and have just begun operations.

What makes them different from other adoption agencies: 
1. Our care for birth mothers and fathers is as important as the care of the baby.  Our ultimate goal is to see them walk in the freedom and love of Jesus.
2. Cost. Most domestic infant adoption cost a family between $22,000 - $35,000. We are working to cut these costs in half. 

This agency is beautiful to me. It is seeing a problem, a need, and working to fulfill it. Not just talk.

That is why I am choosing to ask you to help me help them.

I am running the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Racine on behalf of Choosing Hope and one other completely different non for profit. I would love to raise $500 for them.

Please consider donating to this worthy cause.

If you cannot donate, please do one of the following:
1. pray for them and their ministry
2. forward this on to others and see if they are wiling to donate or pray. or both. :)

TO donate please go to:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On being entrusted

I have been entrusted with my family. 
With my son who looks at me with adoring eyes and ....
With my husband who needs a partner, a confidant, support and a little smile and squeeze of the hand.

I have been entrusted with friends.
I consider my sisters my closest of friends. And those other people around who can count on me for a chat, a cup of coffee, a listening ear, a word of advice, a good laugh, a long walk. Even if its been months. or years.

I have been entrusted with my clients. 
With people who have been hurt, are hurting and need a little help and direction. Whether they come by choice or not.

I have been entrusted with a dream
As fragile as dreams are, they are gifts. Something to work towards, to hope for. And to take a chance and be courageous with. I am making steps towards a heart-song that I have held close. And I am living the dream of a family.

I have been entrusted with this body.
A temple. To use it as it was intended. It is beautiful and unique and it can do amazing things, overcome injuries and hardship. It can run long distances. It held 2 heartbeats at once, it birthed a child. Like a machine it requires maintenance and care to function properly. And to last a long time. 

I have been entrusted with unique gifts and abilities.
Intellect. Music. Art. Creativity. Love for animals and compassion for others. The ability to look ahead, to see good in dark places, to see infinite possibilities. Hard Work. A goofy laugh. I find it so important to know who you are what these things are. There is a world out there that needs you. Just as you are.

I have been entrusted with finances.
Money, possessions, a home. Some things I have worked for, and some I have been extremely fortunate with. All of which I am unable to take with me when I die. Or can be gone in an instant of bad luck. So what will I do with them now. Especially when there are others who are in need. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"

I have been entrusted with language.
The ability to speak words into the universe or into lives. What words do I choose. Kind or harsh. To instill hope or disparity. To make you laugh and smile and think or to weep. 

Each of these is a gift... a privilege.  Not a right. And can be taken away at any time. 

May I have the foresight every day to remember this.