Thursday, April 04, 2013

Inspire Me...Inspire You...

Do you ever stop to think about how exactly you got to be where you are at in life?  I was doing just such a thing driving in the car this beautiful sunny afternoon.  I was thinking about things in my life that I have accomplished simply by the inspiration of those who have crossed my path.  Some still a part of my life, even if I don’t get to see or hang with them as much as I used to. 
For instance, way back in the fall of 2002, one Saturday morning around that time I went to put on my favorite pair of size 18 jeans that to, my horror, no longer buttoned, I thought of my dear friend Joy who had recently started going to Weight Watchers and losing weight.  That morning I decided with resolve that I was tired of living my life overweight and I was finally ready to do something about it.  I joined Joy at Weight Watchers and consequently today am celebrating my 7th anniversary of losing nearly 70lbs.

There was a time when my resolve to keep the weight off waivered.  I remember feeling tired of daily battle I fought with myself over eating right, not eating too much etc etc.  I wondered if it was really worth it.  At that same time, my friend, Sam, started on her own journey of weight loss.  Watching her inspired me to get my thoughts and goals back on track, and today we encourage each other in the daily battle to fight for our thinner bodies we worked so hard for. 

Growing up as an overweight child there were many things that I was not physically able to do.  One of those things was running.  In 2006, a mere year after reaching my goal weight, a new coworker, Krysta, talked me into running the Race for the Cure.  I had never run before and 3.2 miles seemed overwhelming.  I started slow and followed the couch to 5K plan.  That year in October I completed my first ever 5k (sans Krysta, who I’m not sure why she did not end up running with me) and I’ve been running ever since.  Krysta lives two hours away from me now and I don’t get to see or talk to her much.  But I often think of her and how glad I am that she talked me into that first race. 

In 2009, my friend Lauren contacted me and said, “Hey, I’m running a half marathon this fall why don’t you do it with me?!”  Seemed INSANE to me at the time, I’d only ever run 3 miles before, but something in me was dying to try it.  I caught the fire.  So, I started training.  Two months before the race I found out she wasn’t going to be able to run.  I had trained for months and I couldn’t stop now.  My sister, my lone supporter, that day traveled from two hours away just to get up at 5am and wait that chilly November morning to scream my name as I crossed the finish line 2 hours and 16 minutes later.  Today, my sister, Pam, is my training partner who has pushed me (without saying any words) to improve my own running.

Life really tried to do a number on me the following year, and injury sidelined me from my running which had become my solace.  By 2012, life had settled and a new “normal” had emerged.   I was also able to start running again.  That year my birthday brought me another unexpected (but wonderful) surprise – another new running partner – a boy by the name of Everett.   I have had the pleasure of watching him grow as a runner over the last (almost) year, run his first 5k and smash some time records.  He has inspired me to keep working as he has continued to find time to enter races and do runs in the face of grueling challenges like nursing school and being a single father. 

There have been countless others that have come into my life that have meant so much to me, changed my thinking, and honestly, the course of my life.  People who gave me the courage to do and achieve things I never in my wildest dreams thought I could.  There are so many legitimate life altering reasons I could have used to give up, to quit trying.  I could have chosen to let it shake my faith or make me hard and bitter.  But instead I have chosen to be thankful for things I have been blessed with, my health, my girls, my running, my friends and family.  I truly believe that every day is a gift, a chance to make sure the people in your life who mean so much to you KNOW how much they mean to you.  My hope is that I can pour into and inspire people in my life somehow to achieve things they never considered before.  I’m sorry I don’t have enough time and space to mention everyone here.  I was kind of pre-occupied with running today.  So, Dream it then DO IT!! To borrow an applicable phrase from Dr. Seuss "Oh, the places you'll go!!"  And if you need encouragement (no matter what it is) let me know, I got your back! J 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sarah the School Girl

Who'd-a-thunk-it, right?  Here I am at the grand age of 35 sitting in my first graduate class after being out of school for 13 years.  Class is not even close to the way I remember it back then.  I sit here at a table, complete with plug-ins for my laptop, wi-fi hooked up, smartphone on my notebook that I normally would have been writing notes in, but Instead I'm typing bullet points in a word document on my laptop.  CrAZy!

Wondering as I sit here listing to my professor, who is very interesting, watching short clips pertinent to communication from youtube on the internet, what in the WORLD made me do this school thing again?!  Truthfully, I've always had the desire to do this.  Seemed like life, time or circumstances were never right before.  Maybe still not now, but there is no such thing as perfect, and quite frankly, I'm just tired of waiting and wasting time.  You never know when you won't have anymore time.   

I suppose that deep at the heart of it is just a desire to learn and grow and be "more" than what I was/am.  To show my girls it's never to late, the dream is never too big, life is never an absolute.  I want them to always be able to dream big and never stop.  But how exactly do you teach something so abstract as to dream big?  My only reasonable answer is to show them, to remember that one day they will follow my example and not my advice. 

So, here I sit, in my very first class for my MBA!  I can't believe it myself!   What an awesome, imposing, amazing adventure I have now started. I'm excited!  Will it be work?  Yes.  Will it take time? Yes.  Will it be hard, scary, life-changing, annoying?  Yes, yes, yes and YES! But I've never been one to be scared off by hard work, this is just another challenge to conquer. Just another avenue to become a better version of myself.  But as they say, a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. 

See you at graduation 2014!!

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An Open Letter to a Friend...

So, It's been a while since we've talked.  I wouldn't have guessed things would go this way, I really thought more of you than this.  It's sad to have yet one more name to add to the list of people who have taken advantage of me and acted like a jerk.  You better cover up, your character is showing and it's not pretty.

It feels ooohhhh, so good, to know that I was there for you in a dark, desperate time.  That I spent time and effort trying to lift you up and be there for you, poured my heart and soul into being the kind of friend I would like to have, prayed for you and encouraged you thru the hardest of times, and now just days later when others are giving you attention, suddenly I am of no significance.  Forgive me if I feel a bit used, I never knew that's the way a "friendship" worked. 

See, one thing I have learned over the past couple of years is not to make someone a priority in my life, when I am only an option in theirs.  I am nobodys plan B.  I am worth more than that. I am the kindest and best of friends, I always go the extra mile and give out of the kindness of my heart because that's the kind of person I am and that's the kind of people I want in my life.  You only get what you give.  But of course, you know exactly what kind of girl I am.

You may think I'm really angry.  I'm not.  Just very disappointed and truthfully, hurt.  The one thing about it is, I will let this go and I won't worry about it because I know God knows just where to find you,  and you see, He's my biggest fan.  He'll deal with you.  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Silent Potty Mouth

As with any type of exercise, there are days when one struggles more so than other days.  Whether it be physically or mentally, if you're truly trying to affect change in your body you will experience a battle.  As I ran tonight, even tho the afternoon was beautiful, the temperature just right and lightest of breezes blowing just enough to cool me off, I battled with myself to finish the 5 mile weekday run I have done so many times over the last few months I could practically do it in my sleep (I think, not really going to test that one out).

I wanted to walk so badly about mile 3, but with my music blaring thru my earbuds, I just started yelling at myself in my head.  "You are NOT a quitter.  You are a runner NOT a walker. Just suck it up buttercup, you got this.  It's all mental til you pass out, then it's physical. I can do ALL THINGS because Christ gives me strength."  OK, good pep talk Sarah....and so on I went.

Mile four hit and I started feeling that old foot issue.  I was mad, I could feel my ears burning.  I could feel those thoughts coming back.  Maybe I should just walk a minute, it's just a minute.  Just about the time I had almost convinced myself I would do it.  I heard a voice in my head say (yes, I hear voices are you scared now? :P).  "You'll regret it.  Just EFFING FINISH IT! Don't be a damn quitter"  Oops!

Then I wondered to myself....a mile ago I was quoting the Bible to myself, now I'm cussing.  I wonder what the heck is wrong with me.  Does it count that I only cuss at myself and that I only do it in my head?  Oh wait, isn't there a verse that says something like as a man thinks so he is....oh my, I'm a potty mouth.  I'm a silent potty mouth, wanna-be quitter...Oh look, I just hit five miles.  I'm done!  Wohoo!  I'll ponder this potty mouth question on the next run, where's the water? 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hooker Heels, Hills of Beans and Conspiracy Theories...

I know you just read that title and said to yourself, “W-T-F! She really has lost it now!” ….aaaannnndddd….there’s a distinct possibility you might be right. However, I’ve decided to have some fun in my world so I just really don’t care what you think (I say that with the utmost of love and respect for you). So, don’t waste your time with concerned emails or calls to me, please. :)

You know I love me some shoes! Always have, probably always will. Here I am at age the sweet age of four, sleeping with a new pair of cowboy boots. My mom says this was common practice for me after the acquisition of a new pair of shoes and after a couple instances of trying to persuade me to at least leave them on the nightstand, she gave up and decided if I hurt myself sleeping with shoes then it was on me.

I still own and love my cowboy boots (even in my blog pic I’m wearing them), but as I have grown and matured (this point could be debatable, but that’s another blog post entirely) I’ve come to love my dress heels I fondly refer to as my “hooker heels.” Not really because they are the “hooker” style (don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean), but just very tall. Well, OK, I admit some of them are pretty funky, but I refuse to own shoes with no personality. When you are 5’2” and the slacks you purchase in the “petite” section of the store are still too long, it’s comes down to the fact that heels are more fun to spend money on than alterations for slacks that should have been SHORT to begin with.

So, I bet you are still wondering where the “hill of beans” fit into all this? Yeah, I knew it. Don’t get your knickers in a twist, I’ll get there.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend (who shall remain nameless in effort to protect their secret identity) that actually resulted in texting a picture of the heels you see here with the caption “These,” to which my friend responded “These? That’s a weird brand name…” and of course I shot back, “I could tell you the brand name but I’m sure it wouldn’t make a hill of beans to you.” And from the there the conversation turned from whether or not I had actually laid eyes on a “hill of beans” but that said “hill” actually did exist and my friend had viewed the rather large “hill” but was not at liberty speak of it due to the fact that it was part of a secret government program along with the “whole ball of wax.”

When I expressed my concern in continuing on in this exchange of secret information lest I find myself in the possession of secret agents ready to take me away, my friend calmly informed me not to worry, all I would have to do is sample some Kool-Aid and tell them which flavor I liked the best. But since I don’t partake in the ingestion of chemically produced, highly sugared substances I chose to end the conversation.

Oh, by the way, did you know Starbucks is run by the CIA?

(Don’t worry, you’ll find the black cherry flavor isn’t so bad after all!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"The Heart of Life"

When you’ve labored thru the dark stormy rains, “the valley of the shadow of death” that has left you a bloody, battered, exhausted mess, you can get used to existing that way. At least I know I did. But there comes a time when you start to look up, catch a glimpse of a small piece of blue sky you latch onto and watch for again as the black storm clouds keep rolling high above. You begin to see little pieces of the puzzle of your life begin to make sense again, and that little tiny seed of hope that you’ve been desperately clutching when it just didn’t make any sense might actually be starting to grow and bloom in your world.

Looking back, even now, I can see how some of the most painful of days, when the tears flowed and I yelled at God (and believe me I did, I figure He’s God he can handle a little tantrum!) over “life,” had their purpose of pushing me to the spot where God knew I needed to be. I am sure as days and years continue on things will make even more sense and He can use what I have been thru to His benefit somehow.

Things will never be perfect. As John Mayer sings, “pain throws your heart to the ground.” But the darkness and pain never last a lifetime and every day that I wake up I see another piece of electric blue sky and the warm sun that falls on my face as I look up. Life is good! Still so much joy! I think I will always be the eternal optimist, just can’t help it. Though I might lose sight of it momentarily I know it will come around again. I’ve learned that in the face of it all there are small joys in unexpected places that pull you thru at just the right moment when the thought of giving up is all consuming.

I’m so grateful for so many things. People, music, friendships, prayer, God…all of them saved me in a time I know I was surely drowning. I mentioned this particular John Mayer song earlier, but I hadn’t heard it in ages until I had the 'ole iPod on “shuffle” today, and it just stuck on repeat all morning. I have a funny habit of doing stuff like that. Like he says, it may not all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good. It could not be more true. Enjoy every day you can for you are not promised another. Live life for you, for on your last day here you will not regret it. If you live trying not to offend everyone else, you will only end up offending yourself. Let go of what is behind, after all you cannot write the next chapter of your life if you are too busy re-reading the last one.

My love to all of you who might read these silly ramblings of strange girl with the unexplainable smile. My wish is for you to “play hooky” on a beautiful sunny spring day, find a grassy field to plant a blanket on, be still and soak up the goodness of life and know that you and your life, they matter. MAKE THE MOST OF IT! You are worth it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dear Dove Chocolate: Letters from a Lunatic, Vol V

Share a Secret

Dear Dove, I’m sure you meant well with this suggestion, but in my experience I have found that this is just not good advice. Dangerous really. Especially when secrets are “accidentally” shared, if you will. You don’t have time to hear my life story, but I assure, sharing secrets comes with a price. So, If it’s all the same to you, I’ll pass on this one…as always, you’re the best! With much hesitation, Sarah

Share a Sunset
Dear Dove, are you also sending a man with whom I can share said sunset or are you proposing I share it with my chocolate hearts? I’d prefer the former, could you get to work on this please?

Sleep Under the Stars
Dear Dove, You do realize this if winter, right? Hey, I know what you’re trying to do here, you’re tired of my letters and you want me to freeze to death, don’t you. That’s not a loving “valentine-y” thing to say at all! I’m beginning to think you don’t love me. Sarah

Watch the sun come up
Dear Dove, After your previous suggestions of “sharing the sunset” and “sleeping under the stars” last night , I’m not sure I’ll make it for the sunrise after I hit my snooze button the self-imposed 5 times before actually getting up. And are you providing coffee AND chocolate for this, because I will need both? That’s all I need to know. I will await your answer before attempting these last three . Sincerely, Sarah

Be a little mysterious
Dear Dove, What exactly do you mean here? Are you implying that mysterious is good? Because this could mean so many things. There’s mysterious in a creepy kinda way, like “why won’t that girl quit following me?” Then mysterious in a secretive kinda way “I don’t understand where all my clothes are disappearing to, what’s going on here?” or even mysterious in a dumb sense like “I just don’t get it, doesn’t that girl have any common sense?!” This whole suggestion is a mystery to me. Could you elaborate please? I’m always up for learning new things! Ever the eager, Sarah