Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Too busy for my life?

I've known for awhile that I wanted to post on this topic sometime, but I was rudely reminded when I stumbled across my planner from 2005 this last weekend just how badly I needed to remember the lesson I've learned about being wise with my time these days. I'm not sure how to even start... but somewhere between making the transition to motherhood and finding myself knee deep in child rearing and wifery (is that a word, it is now!) I have tumbled across various moments when I found that my daily life is hugely impacting those around me. (AKA: husband & kids)

"Busy" is a word that our culture has made to look as the average American these days. Before Dave and I had kids we fell into the category as "busy people". I think most of us probably do! We both had full time jobs, I was working an extra weekend job, we volunteered on various teams, committees, and groups with our church... soccer, Big House, led small groups, adult small group, Homebuilders, Great Adventure, Onefest, Children's ministry team, mission trip planning & leading, Soul Food, and then the time we had to spend with friends, attend games, see family, and couple time. Whew, I'm almost ashamed just writing all that. We were busy people through and through. I used to think I functioned best when busy, but now I believe I functioned best out of survival to juggle it all.

As I became a new mom I knew there were some obvious things I would say goodbye to... both my jobs so I could be home, high school small groups, mission trips, and Sunday morning Great Adventure. At the time I remember thinking there were some things I couldn't let go of because I was so passionate about them or they were "just who I was". So, I denied the obvious... that as a young parent with a young child you just have to make priorities and stick to them. I wish someone would have put a stamp on my head that said "when you are too busy for your family, you are too busy!!!". I struggled with wanting so bad to fill the shoes of a very devoted full time mother, yet have my hand in things that were important to me too. I LOVED being home with my baby, yet I truly enjoyed being involved with different things too.

As I walked through this lifestyle for about 2 years I started to feel like I was in a fog. I had this constant guilt of not fulfilling any of my roles 100% and knew something had to change. I went through the study by Elizabeth George "A Woman After God's Own Heart" and started to gain knowledge from another woman who had walked this path before. Oh, how I love the older and wiser!!! I think I mistakenly started to let go of obligations in my life that I was probably made to do, so that I could be a part of things that I thought I should be doing. Part of this transition was stepping away from many of my "outside the home" responsabilities This was sad and hard, but also felt very right. I knew we needed more time as a family at home. Weeknights were filled with meetings, get togethers, and events. Our goal for our family was to have nothing going on and just being home. I wanted my kids to feel like home was our base... the place they spent a majority of their time with both parents. Because I wanted my kids to associate home as their safe zone, their comfort, their favorite place to be, then I knew I had to make my home this way for myself too. And that meant spending as much time here as I could. Proverbs 14:1 "every wise woman builds her house...".

Needless to say, in the last few years I have discovered that there will always be really great things to be a part of, to help with, to spend my time doing. My weakness is my desire to be a part of some of these great things. They are not bad things, but this season of life they are a distraction to me and my goals I have as a mom and wife. Some days I feel like I'm doing "nothing" these days... isn't that ironic? Especially since I'm doing exactly what God made me to do for this time of my life. My days are hardly filled with "nothing". Just the opposite I must say. Busyness is still a daily occurrence but it looks very different. Instead of being busy running 3 different places in 1 day, catching a meeting here and there, phone calls, and whatever else I filled my plate with back in the early mom years I now have busyness in small forms around the house, in my home, and with my family. This is one of my favorite quotes that I keep up in my laundry room! "Do not give away, what you have not given at home first".

So... back to my 2005 planner. I about flipped when I read what I had going on 4 years ago this week... and this is no exaggeration! The comparison is unbelievable!! I'm embarrassed!
2005 ---------------------- 2009
Sun- help in coffee-house at church/ nothing! (just church w/ fam)
Mon- Dinner at mom's/ nothing :-)
Tues- dinner with friend for 30th bday/ me-nothing, Dave-Young Life
wed- Homebuilders group/ church dinner night
Thur- Dinner w/ 2 girlfriends/ nothing!
Friday- Brody fam dinner/ meal to family, home with mine
Saturday- soccer, Onfest meeting/ Halloween (friends over)

All of the things in the left column are great things!! As I skimmed through my 2005 planner most of my weeks I or all of us were away from our home at least 3 nights a week! I remember Dave and I making it a goal to be home at least 5 nights a week. I must say I am more content these days then I was 4 years ago and know God is blessing my decision to limit myself to my family first and then only take on something outside the home if I'm led to after prayer and much conversation with my husband :) Busyness is not all a bad thing. I think it must be filled though with the things that matter most during this time period in my life. Even those things that seem like "nothing"... family meals each night, play time in the yard after work with the kids, even watching a favorite family TV show together... this is the busyness that belongs in my "to-do" list. The rest can wait for my next season in life. I'm sure I will still be passionate about things, want to be involved, and find projects to do!

I'm just warming up to this parenting thing. I hope my children will see me as a mom who is available, properly engaged, and has a healthy balance between home and outside involvements. This is a busy culture I am raising my kids in and we better figure it out at home before we send them off to juggle their own balls of life!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

my these pumpkins are growing!!!

Yesterday afternoon I took the boys to the Cedar Valley Community church for their annual Pumpkin Town! They've done this for at least 5 years now, because as I was downloading pictures I put them under "pumpkin farm" and up came old pictures from past pumpkin farm trips :) My goodness, Jaxon has grown! I had to include my little pumpkin picture and my big pumpkin picture :) Jaxon has done so much the last 4-5 years... he's grown in so many ways! I think maybe I have too!!!

When I think back to the Pumpkin Town visit we took back when the old picture was taken I was probably filled with the concerns of "do I have the diaper bag packed, enough snacks, can we squeeze it in between nap and dinner, I hope the big kids don't knock into him in the jumpy thing, I hope he holds my hand so I can keep tract of him, I hope he doesn't see all the cookies and just ask for them the whole time, etc."

Today I realized we are long past many of those concerns when it comes to him. Of course I was thinking that as I took Austin, but Jaxon is a whole different playing field these days. Instead I was concerned with... "I hope he is polite, that those big kids will let him play football and not leave him out, that HE won't bump into the little kids in the jumpy thing, that he will know without asking that he gets 1 cookie, that he will let the little girl on the hayride go first and offer to help when it's time to climb off, that he will tell me when he's going to the next center and not just disappear, etc."

Both times I wanted him to have a wonderful fun time, yet I wanted him to know his boundaries and expectations too. Both times I was ready for a fun visit, yet took different precautions to make that happen for everyone involved. Parenting continues to challenge me as I enter new seasons with each child. It's nice to be reminded that in the moment of whatever you are dealing with- it is very short term. I am reminded of this when I look back at the old pictures of Jaxon and then see how big he is today. My stages with him really are moving along each day. It may not seem that way at the time, but it really passes before you know it. I could easily get swept up with my "seasonal moments" for the time being or I could embrace the challenge I'm in and know we'll be through this one and into a new phase before I can stop to think about it. My little pumpkin is growing so fast and he's teaching me so much as I go. Poor kid has to be my guinea pig, but hopefully he'll gain something from that later in life! Jaxon- just know that as you do all these things for the first time, I'm doing them for the first time with you too buddy! Sooner or later we'll pefect this parent/child thing...maybe? ha! But while we're waiting I'm going to enjoy seeing my little ones sprout and blossom into each next phase in life!

Jaxon 5 years old at Pumpkin Town

Jaxon 2 years old at Pumpkin Town

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

one sweet day!

Post Marathon... a small portion of our team!

Okay, it's been a little over a week since I finished the Chicago Marathon. I have finally had time to let that event sink into my head, heart, and well... find it's way out of my sore muscles :) It's still hard to talk about because I don't know what people want to hear, how much they want to hear, and if they really care to sit through my endless words about this amazing day :) You see, with another marathon runner I could go on for hours about this experience. With a truly interested person I could go on for at least 30 minutes about this. With your average person I could sum it up in a few sentences if needed. It's been funny the different reactions I've gotten from people since I've done this. Some are very interested and want every detail. Some want a quick "it was good' answer and some I can see on their face as I begin to go in depth how they wish hey hadn't opened this topic to go down. So... I guess take your pick... read the short answer found in the first paragraph or keep reading to get my full reflection (or part of it!) from one sweet day!!!

How was the marathon? To be honest... it was awesome, hard, spiritual, fun, crazy, and pretty darn amazing. The day itself was a mixture of nerves, perseverance, laughter, joy, friendship, pain, encouragement, and simply just awesome. Oh, and of course a lot of running :) I ran with great people, for a great cause, had friends and family to cheer me on in a way I haven't experienced before, and drew near to our Lord. It was a really sweet day!

Some details from that day...

Oh, how do I begin? First of all, I stayed downtown in a hotel with some friends and we woke up at 4am to start getting ready. I had my ritual toast with PB & Jelly sitting in the bathroom of my hotel room because it was the warmest area of our room and I was freezing. My friend Becky had made me a book of quotes, verses, and notes from friends & family back home. Dave had written a card out for me and I spent my morning breakfast time reading these encouraging words from people I love. What a way to start the day! Once we were ready we met a group of our teammates downstairs and made the mile walk to the race. It was pitch black and I was filled with excitement and a little bit of nerves! The city was awake for 5:30 in the morning!

We gathered at the World Vision tent for a big group picture and prayer. We were all pretty giddy at this point and walking in a blur towards the start line. Coach Don had warned us about getting to our start corrals in time. The crowd was insane and we found ourselves jumping the fence to get into the start area!! oops. First time marathoners for sure!!! We had layered our clothes and by this point I peeled off the pants and left them with the thousands of clothing items on the side of the start corrals. They pick up all these clothes for the homeless...kinda cool! I remember hearing the gun go off... and then standing there. We stood still for 15 minutes and then we started to slowly move. We were packed in there like cattle!!! Our group had about 11 of us at this point and keeping us together was tricky! The first 3 miles I do not even remember. It happened so fast. I barely looked up to see where I was going as I was trying to not trip on the people in front of me or the clothes they were throwing off in front of me. I first remember seeing the Boelts and then the Garvin's and Goetz's. Oh man, it was then I started to realize we were in the marathon!! (Oh and I don't want to forget Danielle about biffing it when she saw Matt!! Sorry Danielle, but too darn funny! She gave us a good laugh!)
The first 12 miles or so went so fast. I felt like I'd only ran about 3-4 miles and hoped this adrenaline and energy would stay through out. The people were just crazy! Thousands yelling for you as you passed and sea to sea of people on both sides. Angie was Miss Popularity in our group... everyone yelled for Ang! It became a funny joke towards the end! At mile 11 we made a long stop at a water stop and my body started to become cold... I finally used this time to look around me. I couldn't believe all I saw! So many people running for different causes. I loved reading the different shirts and reasons for this race. I saw grandmas hug their grand babies and kids hold up signs that simply read "go Mom". I saw people running for lost friends and family and some running in costumes. What a parade of people we must have looked like. I'm pretty sure I was brought to tears at least 5 times! One of the best was seeing a woman run to the open arms of her husband and he just held her for a long time and then politely squeezed her gu into her mouth. Oh, sweet moment (for a runner anyway :) I was close enough to hear him say to her "great job honey, great job". She was running for her mother and it appeared she had died this last year. Amazing strength from so many out there.
Around mile 13 I saw my own cheering section. Dave, Jaxon, and good friend Mark were waiting for us! I was excited to see them and perfect timing. I was just realizing how far I was running and the boost of encouragement from them was just what I needed. As I ran, part of what kept me going was knowing I would eventually see them at some point. Their looks gave me everything I needed for the next few miles. Jaxon's hug was the best and I was soaring after that. By this time our group had cut down and we had about 8 of us left. Around mile 16 to 18 I really started to feel like my body was noticing what was going on. The water stops were great and we came prepared with our gu, which was doing its job, but the undeniable tiredness started to set in a bit on the ole' leg muscles. We had fun as we ran along... stopping for pictures at some of the picture posts, chatting just a bit, cheering on our fellow marathoners, seeing some people from our team, seeing our ever so awesome cheerleaders from OHC, and taking time to pray for my sponsors. I chose about 3 miles to do this and it was such a good time with God. I was blessed with so many financial supporters and raised over $1000! Part of my journey included them and I was humbled as I prayed and thanked God for their sacrifice through financial gifts to World Vision.
By mile 20/21 I started to feel the physical part of my body get weary. My group running was down to 6 and we really leaned on one another during this time. By this point we began our final few miles mentally in what I call a "high risk" stage. We were high risk to take the nose dive into negative thoughts and crabby attitudes you might say :) Again, I was encouraged from the words I read this morning as they came back through my mind, the words of my running buddies and their smiling faces, the constant cheering crowd, and a new respect for what it means to persevere. Never have I experienced anything this physically draining. And I've had two babies! Mentally I had to push myself to stay focused... "strong hearts, strong mind, strong body" kept rolling through my head. Prayer was falling off my lips with every step. Tears were just a second away at times. But, through all this hard physical pain and mental toughness... I felt this sort of joy that was jumping out of my chest. It's hard to explain but it's one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. Ever. Seeing Dave, Jaxon, and Mark around mile 23 was a huge point for me... their smiling faces just refueled me every time. I loved it when we saw the Patterson's, Davis family, Garvins, Goetz's, Tricia's mom and sis, Kallie's friends, Boelts, Teri Williams, Anderson's, Shaun Chestnut, Natalie Brown, and the other OHC fam that cheered their hearts out. As we finally made our way to mile 25 I was beyond words. We decided to stay together, the 6 of us. We carried each other up that horrible 1/2 mile up hill at mile 26 and seeing the finish line was like seeing the sun in the middle of winter. Beautiful, wonderful, awesome. Crossing the line together felt so good and I could not believe we had just ran the race of our life!! Chicago Marathon was amazing. I can't say it enough. The next couple hours were filled with meeting up with friends and family and sharing a special time with our team. I can not write all the little details that happened along the coarse of 26.2 miles... but know they are what made the day unique and special. This experience was so good for me... not just the marathon, but the whole training experience in itself. I love the relationships built during this time, the growth that happened in my heart, and the journey of being coached physically and spiritually by Coach Don. Will I run one again? Probably :) I think I'm hooked!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a day to remember

October 11, 2009 was definitely a day to remember! I ran the Chicago Marathon with my team, Iowans for Africa. To be honest, it was such an amazing day and I'm still trying to process everything I experienced. I can not even put into words the great experience I had yet. I plan to write more soon about this unforgettable day, but for now want to post some pictures!!

My favorite little fan :) He cheered his heart out! Oh, I love that kid!

Getting a boost of encouragement from my little guy at mile 13!

Last 1/2 mile with the pack of girls I started and finished with... up hill! Thanks a lot Chicago!!!
(notice the slight humor used :)

We trained together, crossed the start line together, and finished together!
(Tricia Haak, Kallie Thompson, Angie Rose-Schreiber, Danielle (Goetz) Garvin, Me, Kris Hoskinson)

the girls running... (I am happily pumping my arms to our cheerleaders!- in the blue sleeves and orange shirt. Our cheer sections were amazing!!!)


Saturday, October 3, 2009

for all you marathoners......

I stole this post from my friend Laura Hoy. It is such a great quote and it gives me the chills. Thanks Laura for the reminder to keep the attitude "You CAN do it"!! And, not just when it comes to running. We all can do whatever "it" is on our lives... with a little hard work, commitment, sacrifice, positive attitudes, faith. You can do it. Just believe and start with day one! If Coach Don hadn't believed I could do this marathon, I never would have believed for myself... and now here we are. Like I said... you can do it, you can do it... be a doer!


As we prepare for next Sunday, this is a great section from Marathoning for Mortals written by John "The Penguin" Bingham and Coach Jenny Hadfield.

"The most difficult part of the training program is getting to the starting line. You must confront so many obstacles. There are so many places for things to go wrong, so many times when you can give up or quit, that, if you are there when the gun goes off, you are already a different person than when you took your first training run.

Right now, as you read this, millions of other people also want to walk or run a half-marathon or marathon. They dream about it at work, in the car, or while watching television.......

But they're just dreaming. They aren't doing it. You are. On race morning, when you are out there standing at the starting line with your numbers on, surrounded by others just like you, you will know what they only imagine. You will feel it, see it, smell it, and experience it. Unlike those who only dream, you've earned the right to be a part of the experience.

By getting to the starting line, you've already placed yourself in the top echelon of athletes. You may not be in the top tier of that race, but as a long-distance athlete, you are fitter, better trained, and more disciplined than 99 percent of the population that has ever lived. Remind yourself of that when you start to obsess about your pace or finish time.

When you stand at the starting line, you join the club. When you stand at the starting line, you earn your membership. Millions dream of being where you are. You are no longer a dreamer. You are a doer."