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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

a little competition

A little competition never hurt anyone, right?

I guess it depends on the competition.

Running has become me competing against myself to some degree. A few weeks ago on Mothers Day i hit  a 5k personal record (PR) and it felt so good. I set that goal the day before, and I hit it. Didn't matter where anyone else finished.

And I will be doing this again with another Half Marathon. After running the Illinois Half Marathon in April, I thought "this was awesome" "I can do this again". And am now setting out to run another half in September. My goal, beat my last time. "PR" in run speak. I have chosen to run the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Racine, WI on September 22nd. I am so excited to have a friend who will be running it too. I love having a running/training/accountability partner. Even if she will blow be away come race time. I am comfortable with my inferior pace. hahaha.

I cannot tell you how much I actually enjoyed fundraising with my last race as well. I was also blown away by everyone's generosity. My sister and I together raised just under $1500 for a local domestic violence shelter. I can ask for help or donations if I believe in the cause. And there is competition involved. And I have decided to do this again.

Its gong to look a little bit different this time. Mainly because I have 2 organizations that are on my heart and I believe in strongly so I have a hard time choosing just one.

So here is what I am gong to 2. I will present you with each organization. A short snippet here, and each will get their own blog post. But will be asking for donations for whichever one you feel most strongly about. I will be asking both organizations to help spread the word and solicit donations through my fundraiser as well. I will ask you to also help spread the word.

The winning organization will get: 1. an additional $100 donation from moi. 2. I will be running in their t-shirt, promoting their organization.  And probably some other incentive if I can come up with another good one. I am open to suggestion.

The 2 organizations are:

1. Choosing Hope Adoptions:  a non-for profit agency in Ohio started by a friend of mine who is finding a way to make adopting orphans more accessible and affordable by taking away the overhead cost to adoptive families. Cutting the cost in 1/2 - 2/3. It is very new and a calling and passion of my friend, Angela.  to vote, donate here:  http://www.crowdrise.com/ChoosingHopeAdoptions/fundraiser/jennaburris

2. Stepping Stone Farms: The local non for profit farm that I am starting to get involved with that does Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, therapeutic riding, and rescues "throw away" horses and rehabs them, using them for the EAP and therapies. to vote, donate here: http://www.crowdrise.com/SteppingStonesFarm/fundraiser/jennaburris

Vote with your dollar.

Also, if you choose to donate. I use Crowdrise. They have an optional service charge. If you do not want to pay it, near the end, after you enter your info, there is a link that says "optional processing fee" if you click on that you can change it to 0. FYI.

Thanks for your help supporting 2 very worthy causes

A little less fear

Something clicked for me in the past month.

I don't think I can pinpoint it to any one thing, but a series of events and thoughts mixed with some gratitude and vapid self-awareness.

What the hell am I talking about? right?!

I don't even know how to describe it. It is a loosening of the grips of fear on me. An elevated sense of peace. A kind of letting go of the past an enjoying the now.

Lets start with the half Marathon. A year ago I wanted to do a half marathon. But it seemed so impossible and insurmountable. I know I have difficulty focusing and  staying motivated. Yet, when my sister said "hey", I said "ok" and used a few resources to keep me motivated. Accountability with my sister. Fundraising for a good cause. Tracking on Runkeeper. And "ta-da!" the impossible was somehow made possible. Even with some setbacks thrown in. I even want to do more. I beginning to see what I am capable of. Shoot, if I can run 13.1 miles, I can do anything.

Then I saw that someone I have not seen in ages, worked through some of his own fear, chasing his dream of music, and now he stands, with a record contract, an album releasing this week and I am excited to get to go support him in his album release concert. Check him out. He was in the youth group I used to volunteer with over 10 years ago. http://www.petermauriello.com/ 
Seriously, honestly, I felt a tinge of jealously for a second, because I have considered that as well. But it has transformed into being an inspiration and motivation to me as well to overcome fear and do what I have always dreamed.

And in the midst of that, I somewhere decided that I was done putting off learning more about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Stop being afraid of getting and doing what I want. Years ago I always thought it would be cool to somehow mix horses(especially rescue horses) with people, youth, and allow them to help heal each other. As it turns out people are already doing this. And in finally decided to do this training, I met some people who are doing this locally, and desperately need help. Stepping Stone Farms. Don't worry , you will hear lots more about them as time goes on.

And now its a matter of "now what". How do I make this transition. While my dream is important, because I can do anything, my family and family dream is more important. Balancing the 2 is vital. I will only work 2 days a week, meaning, I will only have my child with a babysitter 2 days a week. It is possible for him to be with me and help with me in some things. I would love my son to grow up loving horses too. And loving helping others. I will somehow need to transition my 2 working days to pointing towards my dream. When and how.  I have other steps to work on in the process. Like getting my License ok in Wisconsin.

All of this to say, there is nothing that I cannot do. There is nothing you cannot do. I am going to continue to run and enjoy it. I am going to pursue my dream. I am going to love on my family. All in a new, less holding back kind of a way. its so freeing and a lot more enjoyable.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Daddys Boy

My dear son is insanely adorable and is learning to do so many things. Watching his personality and kindness develop are some of our favorites.

Lately there have been some Things Ben does that makes his daddy especially proud:

1. I bought Bill an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ornament one year. Somehow it turned into a regular fixture on our home. It plays the Indy theme song a few times when you push a secret button. Lately, Ben has been enraptured with it. The base mainly, since Indy keeps falling off. He carries it around, asking someone to push the secret button so he can dance. Daddy loves this



2. Baseball. Ben has gotten very good at throwing things. Especially on command. Baseballs and other balls. While his control needs some fine tuning, and he seems to favor his right hand ... So his career as a lefty is questionable. We are seeing some major league potential.


3. With some cajoling, he has developed a love for Star Wars. ok, maybe just his stuffed Darth Vader. All of those hugs on him... I believe he is working on overcoming evil with good.









 He can win Darth back away from the dark side. That face can can win a lot of hearts.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

mothers day slump

If you know me, you know that I love holidays. I relish any opportunity I have to celebrate. Not so much that I celebrate in big ways, parties and all. But some way to make an occasion or a person special and meaningful or just plain fun.

I feel as though Mother's Day should be this for me.

Becoming a mother has become one of life's greatest joys. I feel as though I am lucky and blessed to have this role, this title. Like I should be the one celebrating, instead of others celebrating me.

Yet my heart is heavy.

Mid-April through mid-June has become my own private season of grief. April was my mom's birthday. Then  Mother's Day in May, then June, Father's Day, is when my mom departed this life. And its those markers and anniversaries that tend to be really hard. I know of one other person, besides my sisters, who will have a similar season now. And I am keeping that person in my thoughts and prayers.

The thing is I miss my mom.


And this year, as a mom, there have been particular aspects that have been difficult to not have my own mom to go to. Experiences  questions, that it seems everyone else takes for granted. For example, if you have been able to do or say any of the following, I am desperately jealous of you:
- My mom comes by to watch the kids for a few hours
- My mom and I went out to lunch/go shopping/to a show
- I spoke to my mom on the phone today
- I asked my mom her parenting advice on: ______
- I wondered how I was as a kid in this area so I asked my mom: ______
- I went shopping for a mothers day gift for my mom today
- I just love seeing how wonderful my mom is with my kids
- My mom came to see Bobby's recital/baked cookies/had us over for a family dinner...

To be fair, if my mom was still around, I would not be able to say many of these things. She was very sick for a very long time. And her physical and mental capabilities would not have allowed her to perform many tasks or maybe even answer some questions. And it would be very difficult. But she would still be here. And look upon my son with adoring eyes. I would have her presence.

This is not meant to be a pity party, although I know it sounds like one.

I guess what I want, hope, is
1. to be real
2. to encourage you to love on your mommas while they are here, in whatever form or fashion
3. change the mood of this to something positive now that I have Debbie Downed on you all...

I know that my momma would not want me to spend Mother's Day all sad and depressed. I know that she would want me to spend it loving on my family. Being the matriarch, a source of strength and love and hope and guidance to my family.  Even when its a hard day. And motherhood has its fair share of those.

One thing that has helped me tremendously over the past 2 weeks to focus on my role as momma is a devotional by, surprise, surprise, Jen Hatmaker. In all seriousness, if you are a Christian mother, this is a breath of fresh air. A cup of cold water. its called "Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions for Lightening Your Load". Just a few minutes, each day to focus on what is really important, lift up your family and encourage you to be a great momma and have a few laughs.

It is a privilege to be wife and mother to these guys


I look forward to a day to be with my family. Besides the normal Sunday stuff, we plan wander the Wilmot Market, visit and drop off some presents for my Mother in Law up north and fit in a run. Sounds like perfection to me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In Thanksgiving

Its now been a week and a half since I ran the Illinois Half Marathon. Everything about the experience was amazing to me. The race, the sister bond, the energy and the experience of fundraising for a good cause.

Overall my sister and I raised $1390 for A Safe Place: Lake County Crisis Center for Prevention and Treatment of Domestic Violence. That covers housing, food counseling education for domestic violence victims. Our goal was to raise $1000. And with the support of our family and friends, we finished the race and for exceeded our goal. We ran, but you donated and inspired us. I cannot tell you how much that means to me and how Thankful I am to have so many generous people in my life.

I did not except to enjoy both aspects of running/training and fundraising. See I hate asking for things, anything. Money included. I could never be a salesperson for this reason. A good one anyway. But its easier if its something I am passionate about. Something that has great meaning to me and I can back with my entire being. And it benefits the world at large, not just myself.

So with this experience, I want to do both again. I have a friend who now wants to run a half marathon with me this fall. We have been looking at our options and it looks like we are choosing the Biggest Loser Half MArathon in Racine Wi. This was an easy choice as it is 1. close  2. The Biggest Loser. And I love me some Biggest Loser. I secretly hope Jillian will be there. Or Bob Harper. Or Dani Allen. someone.

Secondly I plan to fund raise again. I have been considering several options. But one thing I do know  is that I have had a growing stirring in my heart for adoption. For helping orphans find homes. There are some 40 million orphans in the world. Both foreign and domestically. And while I understand restrictions need to be in place to make sure they go to good homes, it has become outrageously expensive for well meaning people to consider bringing a human being out of tragic circumstances into a loving home. Think $30,000 plus. That number alone turns people away. I believe there are so many ways to work this issue from adoption to creating more stable communities in impoverished areas where people can afford to raise their own children or can live long enough to raise them.

When I have it all in place I look forward to sharing my chosen charity with you. And asking you to pray for it, spread the word and/or donate yourself for this worthy cause.

I am so thankful to know so many wonderful people who tolerate my whims and support them, if not for the sake of those who need the support more desperately than I do.

With much love and thanksgiving.

Jenna