The Story of the Marathon Part 3

So 15 miles went by me and 16 did also. I kept running like Forrest and I was enjoying every minute. And while I pounded onto mile 17, my mind wandered to the memory of training…of running 16 miles the day after Thanksgiving. It started like this.


It was the most ill prepared training run that I did. I had had too much food and drink the night before, but I was sticking to my training plan no matter what. I didn’t have enough KT tape to tape my feet and my good socks were dirty. I set out that morning ready for a long haul, and 6 miles in found myself in a common situation for runners. I had to go. And I was in the middle of nowhere. On a highway. All I can say is that I’m thankful to the rancher whose pasture I borrowed in a little grove of trees. I felt like a fugitive; it was an emergency.

I ran and ran on that training run until I could feel the blister forming on the bottom of my foot. It was the longest I had ever run, and I struggled hard from mile 14 on. I remembered the very moment my watch said 16 miles, I slowed to a walk. My muscles had tightened and I bent over to stretch…then I saw that tears were coming out of my eyeballs. Then I noticed that I was sobbing actually and I couldn’t pull myself together. My husband had come to pick me up in his truck at that point, and with a look of concern asked why I was crying and what was wrong. I shook my head. I didn’t know. My feet had hurt like hell at that point, but not enough to cry. I cried for awhile and then I stopped and I was okay. I just needed ice for my feet. I felt so released.

Jolting myself back to the present, I saw that 17 mile marker flow passed my line of vision. I grinned….I had gained some grit along the way in all that training. I looked around me again, and the same folks I had seen before were in front and behind me. I also saw a member of the sideline crowd with a sign that said, “Run fast, in two weeks, Trump will have nukes!” I laughed loudly, and I exhaled long, satisfied with my pace and feeling connected to people. I made a quick pit stop…as quick as I could realizing how tight my muscles were getting. It was hard to get going again, but eventually I found my rhythm. I don’t remember much about mile 19, but passing 20 was triumphant. I had heard all these stories about how people break down at 20 and start crying and walking. I was feeling alright, and I was beginning to get excited about how this race was going to end for me.

Then I passed mile 21, and my legs began to ache. My feet were starting to cry out, and I thought about how far away mile 22 was. So. very far. All my bravado at 20 was gone, and then I saw the beer stand. Just what the doctor ordered right? The smiling man shoved the beer cup in my hand as I kept running, and I drank it fast, sloshing most of it out. It did help some, but I kept thinking how long the park in Houston must be for it to go on and on and on. I knew that the city had to be coming up at some point, right?

I felt around in my runners pouch and my fingers wrapped around an energy chew. I’m mostly an energy gel person, but I had brought one chew to mix it up. I popped that chew in my mouth, and started chewing. It was tough to get it down, but it helped me increase my speed to get to mile 23. I heaved a sigh of relief seeing that dumb 23 but then my tired old brain freaked me out with the thought of 3 more miles! 30 more minutes of running! Good God! I had to make it. I couldn’t tank in the end. I was out of nutrition. I was out of motivation. I was out of grit.

And so…I turned to the playlist…

To be continued…


The Year of the Story

The Story of the Blog

You want to know why I started this whole blog thing? I really just needed a place to write creatively. Without a template. Without word counts. Without anyone directing my writing. And it worked.

I wrote. And I read other people’s blogs. And I was sincere. And I began to tell you my story. And I worked on it. It was fun. It wasn’t easy. I tried advertising on it. I tried lots of ways to tag and categorize and link. It grew. and lots of people read it. My best years for the blog traffic were 2012 and 2013.

And then I acquired a book contract. And I went back to school. And I started working more. And my family became busier and older and busier. And my capacity to blog decreased. And the years went on. My book was published in 2015, and I was so very grateful for my time here that helped that project to be a success.

This will be my 8th year to blog here. My many other responsibilities and ventures get me thinking of shutting it down, but I haven’t been able to close the book on it. So, here we are again. You, me, the internet. My thoughts and abilities and words and ideas connecting somehow to you out there.

One of the connections I make with you is that you know from my stories that parenting can be very fun and that I’m a real person with struggles and heartache. Also, my faith is real, but I’m not interested in shouting about anything. I’ve never taken a political stance on here, but I’m not saying I never will. It’s been important to me to keep the connection open and not distract with shock or awe or anger. Another thing you need to know about me is that I write from inward, and it’s been right lately to keep things close.

The story of the blog goes on in 2017. For, I’m going to do a little exploring with my writing in some different ways. You get to be part of this experiment. Little by little we’ll see if we can make this thing work as part of the ongoing forward path of my life now. Be prepared for more intensity. Or less. Know that I may tell some other folk’s stories. Maybe I’ll tell yours.

I’ll do my best to keep things concise and interesting. And you do your best to read it. I don’t just want to tell you stories though. I want to connect in a way to assist, to inspire, to show the possibility of greatness that is in all of us.

In two weeks, I will be running a marathon instead of writing at this very moment and it will be hard. But, I have trained and built slowly up to this point. I have discovered my body can be stretched and pained and pushed to perform but not without rest, planning, and fuel. Writing is the same, and I am ready to move towards greatness…so are you.

She would…


She would have been proud of us…for growth, change, accomplishments, pain…while she also worried if we were okay.

She would smile big at that new driver’s license, Anna.

Her chin would raise in support for that first golf tournament, Maile.

Her blue eyes would sparkle at how tall you are, Lydia,and she would comment on how straight your teeth are.

Her thin hand would run over your shiny, blonde hair, Claire as she pulled you into her soft hug showing her love for you the youngest.

She would widen her eyes and open her pretty mouth in wonder at how all four of you race in on your horses and ride hard to win. 

She would be glad I’m not as thin as I used to be while she clucked her tongue at the training for the marathon….shaking her head…”too much.”

Her other thin hand would rest on your shoulder Matt and rest there in the joy and the pain of the switch in sails.

She would delight in all the new great-grands born lately.

She would laugh hard at the silly family pictures we take.

She would look around at her large family and sign happily, proudly…and hope all in one breath that we are all really okay.

Rewriting Your History (Down to Studs)

Raise your hand if you look around and find surprise in how your life looks. Not what you expected? Yeah, me too. It can be good.

See, I have fluctuated between knowing living life like Mother Theresa is the right path and simply wanting to enjoy life with new shoes and a dress. This life and place and path has shifted and weaved and moved around it can be hard to be proactive and responsive. The feelings come and we “feel” thrown around by life circumstances. Faith is hard, and life direction can be confusing. So much of our life gets shifted by emotions and feelings and perspectives.

We all have our moments where we stop and look around to try to figure out if we are where we set out to go…or are we just a long way from home. Perspective is powerful.

Our life has changed a lot in the last few months. My husband transitioned out of his position at the church, and he is onto a different adventure. My oldest child is driving a car now. I’m training for a marathon. We have two high schoolers. We are finding our way in peace. Schedules, goals, all has adjusted and we are shifting our perspectives.

The things I knew when I was young, some were true, and some were wrong. -Lumineers, “The Gun Song”

Last weekend, we took the kids to Baton Rouge and we cleaned out a few flood homes together. One house we were in had nothing by the curb, and by the end of our time there everything 4 feet down we had hauled out to that same curb. I stood in the middle of the elderly lady’s bedroom overwhelmed by the stuff ruined…so much gone of her life. But, it was all just stuff. We drove away looking at all the piles of everyone’s things on the curbs. Everyone was the same….everyone down to studs.

My kids worked so hard. I was proud of them. They saw into the experience too. No one complained or fussed about sweating or working hard. Maile looked at me and said, “I don’t have any problems,” during one of our breaks. They aren’t perfect, and the situation we put them in on purpose wasn’t perfect. We talked about what we were doing and why. And then we drove home to our dry house with all the stuff in tact.

And so today, I find myself in the middle of all these memories while I shift through all the things 4 feet and down in my house to ensure that I am taking care of the stuff in my life and letting go of all the stuff that doesn’t need to be there. Reflection, perspectives, change all around me as I sort through high school senior pictures, my baby pictures, my babies’ baby pictures.

Bill and me

I’m not just in this life. Maybe maturity and experience always lead to this place of realizing how much I don’t know. I look around me and I find nothing is what I thought it was; I’m glad, mostly, it causes wonder to continually born within.

It’s my life, and I have a responsibility to lead in it. So do you. We are rewriting our history…maybe you should too. Hear your breath for a minute.

Slow down.


But don’t just look.

See. Have faith in God. Know that faith is not always what you think it is. Too mystical for you? Knowing what you don’t know may be an area you want to explore.

Get into your life. Are you there? Don’t just make it. We are meant for more than surviving….although there are moments when its all you can do. Everyone is gutted to studs at some point. That’s a tough moment, and no one would ever wish for it. That’s never happened to me physically, like these flood victims.

But, it has happened to me internally, and somehow everything gets clear in that moment…what’s important, what’s worth keeping, why you are just thankful for your people. Survival breathes gratefulness…and that’s good too. We aren’t meant to stay in “just making it mode.”

Do what you need to do to…clean out the wet and moldy. Dry out. Get ready to rebuild. It could be better than it was or what you expected.

Time to do more than survive. If you’re tired, go rest. If you’re sad, be sad. If there are problems, address them. Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to take a risk, to sit down into your funky feelings….resolution, redemption, peace will come. Inhale, exhale. Pray. Live.

Don’t worry about doing it perfect….always simply begin. 




You’ve Got This

  You need to at some point as a mature adult (as someone who wants to reach the next level of consciousness in your life) to decide to bring a little bit more emotional peace, mindfulness, conscious will about the emotions you’re experiencing each day…

If you’re constantly finding yourself in a panic…you need to decide that you want a character that is stronger than that. To stand strong. Make it a goal to have character development.

Purposefully decide to deal with chaos from a good place. Meet the demands of the time, the moment from a place of peace and strength and joy…from a good place….from an emotional state that is going to service in the situation…that you have chosen. You get to choose the energy and joy you generate.

That old ethic that came from stoicism…you are the commander of your own attitude. You are the one that stands true and solid in the moments that matter. –Brendon Burchard

That’s right. I’m challenging us all today. To a deeper, more extraordinary life. After all, I just had a birthday, and I’m always feeling reflective around there. There is a story of place that I haven’t told on the blog that I’m thinking of sharing with you. I was able to share it with some good folks at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Florida on our road trip.

But for tonight, holding some heavy things around here, I’m sensing the need for character…you know the kind…deep down stuff…digging deep. You need it too. Some emotional maturity and the fight to be objective about your own life….it’s something we are desperate for in this culture. Drama is tired.

Let us rise up together. It’s not a long life after all. Why not go for extraordinary?

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing with is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.” –Reinhold Niebuhr

A Short One

Once upon a time I changed my blog theme. It only took me two years to find a new theme I liked. Also, it was free. I was happy. And I have more power to change on it.

Who doesn’t want more power to change stuff?

All of us.

Also, I’m reading a financial book you’re probably going to want to read. It’s giving me chest pain. Not really. Well, kinda. But, the good kind. The kind where we know we need to change. And the kind where you realize you actually do have the power to change stuff. Lots of stuff.

And, Sean T almost killed me tonight in my Insanity workout.

And all the kids liked the fish at dinner so we feel like winners.

Plus the whole family is doing a 5K race on March 5th. Everyone around here is going to bed tired from good old exercise. Power.

Also, we are hiking the Grand Canyon this summer so it’s good that they are running. Really good. Because we are going to the bottom this time. And I am not carrying them. Or their water.

Although I probably could. Thanks to Sean T. Speaking of which, I better go to bed.

The End.

P.S. You’ve got the power. Haha. Seriously though. It’s all you. You’re in it. Dig deeper. Okay, good night.

Keep Walking

   It all started in the checkout line when I was so hungry even the gummy bears were starting to invite. The guy behind me was chatty and so was the checkout worker. He said he was going camping and I didn’t listen very much because I was eyeing the Babyruth. I looked up and engaged the banter a little. My heart sank just a bit and I was sad some but after years of camping and hiking for our summer vacation, this year we opted to stay home and just go to the bay. I absentmindedly reached into my purse for my phone forgetting it was broken and I was waiting on the new one from the insurance. 

It was actually peaceful without a cell phone for a few days. It was kind of like 1982 though. I had to drive somewhere like my office or my house to make a phone call. Also there were a few folks who thought I was mad at them and therefore became mad at me for not texting them back. We made up. No worries. 

I finished with the checker and reflected on my sadness. I’m glad about our decision. It’s just different. Why do we not like change?

Did you read my book yet? It’s out there! This last year took a lot of energy and although always still up for a road trip we decided to just keep walking. Just like the old girl Tater at the end of the picture line, sometimes if you keep walking, you’ll have the time of your life. You might do Warrior 1 and 2! 
Then you might find some salt flats and a big red buoy abandoned in the pasture. And you watch with all smiles your kids as they frolick ahead of you in wonder.  Then in the middle of your “place revelry” reality pops up as your dog emerges from a hole in the ground burning your nose with the stench of skunk spray. 

Yeah, it was Dot. It was so strong we could see a green stripe where she was sprayed! She was clearly embarrassed and tried rubbing her body all over anything. It didn’t work. Two days later, she still stinks. And this prompted Matt to ask me why I didn’t tell you all the skunk story in the Waco chapter of Place Value. And I don’t know the answer except it didn’t come to me while I was writing. Excited that I had a working phone again, my children kept taking it from me to show off their photography skills. Claire took a picture of poop. It’s pretty good…for poop anyways. 

I will tell you the skunk story eventually. Maybe soon. In the meantime, keep walking, old girl. Seriously. Get out there. Don’t cry about your arthritis. Tater doesn’t…much. Dust off your shoes. Stand up straight. Get. Go on now. Keep walking.