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puzzle pieces

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lost Art of Gratefulness

It's a Lost Art.
Gratefulness.


Gratitude has been bypassed for the majority in today's culture- and I am the first to admit to the guilt of this act.

So quite simply and easily I found an entire canvas of things to be grateful for today.
The brush in my mind sweeping over things and creating a portrait of a perfect day.
A collage of beautiful and breathtaking art, albeit simple.

~~~~~
The heavy fog painting the air around me as if covering me in a ghost-like cloak.
~~~
A smile from my son as his tousled head appeared over the bunk bed railing as I woke him for the day.
~~~
The smell of vanilla cupcakes permeating the house and knowing they're going to be ready for eating in minutes.
~~~
Explaining a math problem to my 14 year-old son  and seeing the look of understanding slide across his face.
~~~
Feeling (finally), the warmth of sunshine on my skin through the window as I sit here and type.
~~~~~~


It doesn't matter if your masterpiece looks like a child's painting-
                              or something grander and more magnificent as the Mona Lisa smile.

It's art.
The art of gratefulness.
In every color and form imaginable.

And we have access to it every day.

Look. It's there.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Current of Change



Often times we don't have a choice in Change...
it picks us up and carries us in a current all of it's own.
 

Yesterday we added a new little guy to our home.
He had spent the first 2 months of his life cooped up in a barn..in a 12 x 5 space. He had never gone outside or felt the snow or breathed fresh air. For 2 months he was enclosed with his 9 other puppy siblings, seeing only a person or 2 a few times a day during feedings.

As I watched this little guy in his 1st day with me...I realize change is inevitable for all of us.
And it should be embraced. Even if painful.

Within 4 hours he experienced more than he had in all the 8 weeks he had been alive:

He left his 4 sisters and parents.
Walked outside.
Felt the snow on his nose.
Road in a vehicle for 30 minutes.
Made to wear a collar.
Ran into a neighborhood dog which scared him barkless.
Met more people than he knew existed.
Was bathed in a tub full of dog bubbles and water.
Was put into a new space.

By the time that was all done, he was exhausted and laid there hiccupping himself to sleep.

Yes. I know. He's a puppy.
And comparing the change in the life of an animal seems ridiculous when we compare it with that of a human being.

And yet...the similarities are there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
In the last few months I think I have experienced more change than I have within the last 10 years combined.
It's an overwhelming and often shocking feeling, revealing things about yourself that you didn't know existed.
And then...not are you only dealing with the change itself...but the effects of it.

Often times it left me breathless and all I could do was wonder where my next breath was coming from.
And yet...somehow...I always caught the next one.
Somehow.

We don't always ask for change.
But it's inevitable.



Nothing is worse than a stagnant pool of water, unmoving and growing nothing new.

So when that storm of unasked for change sweeps you off your feet and pulls you into it's relentless current-
Hang On.
Keep breathing.


In the end you will be nothing but grateful you didn't cling to where you were.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

140.6 miles of Triathlon- Completed

3.8km Swim~~180km Bike~~42.2km Run




I Did It!
I am still revelling in the fact.
Sort of walking trance-like through the last week...wondering if it really did actually happen.

26 weeks of training.
Gear bought....
a lot of money spent.
Early mornings.
Social life on hold.
Sleeplessness.
Exhaustion.
Head battles.
Life demands.

Determination a must.

But I did it.
14 hours -23 minutes -6 seconds
~~~

Last Sunday...August 25th 2013- I woke up at 3:45am...choked down a "breakfast"...and made it to the Body Marking area by 5am.
 Between 3:45am and the 6:30am swim start...my mind was a battle field. I have never had to fight off thoughts as I did within those few hours. What a war.
I must have conquered something though..
because 
I lined up at the waters edge at 6:30am 
and ran into the water on the sound of the horn....right into
choppy, washing machine water...
and swam 3.8km.

I honestly think that was the easiest part of the race for me...when I thought it would be most difficult.

3.8km in 1 hour  and 22 minutes.

I enjoyed the swim.

Open water swimming has never been a love of mine but I actually enjoyed this.
Anticipating the 180km bike ride ahead...I felt the swim a perfect opening to the race...and it eased my brain in the fact that if I could get through that distance in choppy open water surrounded by 100's of people...I could manage a long bike ride over a mountainous pass on 2 wheels just fine.

And I did.
Almost 7 hours of up and down and heat and wind and passing and being passed.
Hoping I was fueling properly.

Waving at my Cheer Squad in the matching T-shirts they made especially for me.... it kept my spirits up when they wanted to plummet...lamenting over the fact that at the end of this bike...I had a marathon waiting for me to run.


TEAM 389
"If you find me collapsed on the side of the road- please stop my Garmin"


Just when I thought I had cycled up the last hill...another one loomed ahead.
At one point...11km of incline greeted me around a turn.
It took my breath away..in more ways than one.
But I tackled the hills - hoping to do so before they tackled me.


(A very welcome descent;))

It was just the head games...of where I was...

would I get a flat?
was I eating enough to get through he bike and onto the run?
who was passing me?
who could I pass?

Head Games.
Your worst enemy during a race.


One of the signs held up by my Cheer Squad was... 
"It's All in Your Head".
How true that is.


I entered Transition 2 just under 7 hours..and spent 6 minutes changing into running gear.
I felt okay.
And my running legs actually worked.

For the 1st 23km....I walked/ran/walked..consuming water, coke, and watermelon.
Luckily the day wasn't as hot as originally anticipated. It was more along the lines of what I was used to training in....26/27 C.
The run course was beautiful...along a lake edge, and I was continually greeted by inspiring spectators at every turn...cheering and applauding the entire 42.2km.
I wish those people knew what it meant to hear their applause and congratulations and inspiring words....when all I could think of was- OUCH.

The 23km mark of the run is where I seemed to lose it.
Looking back I sum it up to the fact that I didn't consume enough water on the bike.
In fact...I think I only managed to down 4 bottles of fluid from race start to the run portion...which wasn't near enough.
So my body said.

I'm kicking myself now...
if I would have kept my run pace consistent, 
and consumed more water on the bike,  
I am pretty confident I would have completed this race in my Goal time of under 14hours.

But no luck. My body said walk...and me being weak in the head- did.
It was a long 19km of run for 1km...walk for 3. 
Run 500m...walk for 2km.
And so it went until I finally heard the finish line celebrations.

As the sun set...and I got closer to the Finish Line...my head kept yelling to move.
And my feet kept yelling to stop.
But I didn't.
I moved. 
As slow as it was...I moved forward...I knew I was going to see this to the end.

14 hours and 23 minutes from when I stood at the waters edge early that morning.....I crossed the Finish Line with my arms up.
The last 6 months of sweat...sleeplessness...loneliness..frustration....all wrapped up into one final step across a line marked with a banner....saying.... I finished.


This was by far the biggest goal I set out to accomplish when I started this Triathlon Journey.
It was what I have worked for over the last 3 years-
as I went from Sprint distances... 
to Olympic...
to the Half-Ironman last summer.

This was THE race.
The BIG ONE.

I managed to get there.
And now-  it's done.

~~~

I could not have conquered this alone.

Over the many weeks of training I have had an incredible friend cheering me...
biking as my "pacer" while I ran...
driving as my support vehicle while I biked long Sunday rides for hours on end...
sitting at the waters' edge while I swam.....
inspiring and encouraging.
Making sure I had everything I needed to train and race with.

Kiddos who kayaked beside me when I did Open Water Swims...as I panicked my way through them...listening to my lamenting and wondering if I could really do this.

I also had a daughter who believed in me...who wouldn't let me quit...who told me I had come this far- it was too late to bail out now...and who whispered in my ear at the start line: "I'm proud of you Mom."

Those who texted me...sent letters and cards and emails of "Good Luck"...right up until the Start line minute.

The "Great Job Mom" banner taped up in the hallway when I got home at midnight the day after...exhausted and tired and sleepless.




Those were the things I will hold close when I remember this race.
Those who believed I could do it when I whined I was done.
The encouragement at the low spots...and who wouldn't let me quit even if it meant their sacrifices for me to do it.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart...thank you.


Now....as I sit here and look at my Bucket List of races...and realize I have them all crossed off...I have a choices to make. 

I can take it as an overwhelming mess...or a Challenge.

I'm thinking the latter.







3.8km Swim        1:22:09
180km Bike         6:57:28
42.2km Run        5:51:16





Friday, May 17, 2013

Beautiful Mess

It's hard to believe this was only one month ago...



...and now we have blooms and green grass.


It's also hard to believe it's been 2 months since I posted here...or visited all my dear blogger friends. For that I am truly sorry.
 I miss you all.




Life has just been one Beautiful Mess as of late.

Because yes....a mess can be a beautiful thing.
If you look at it from the right angle.

Right Benny-boy?
:D


Thursday, March 21, 2013

tonight's sunset

It's the second day of  Spring- 
and we received more snow in the last 20 hours than what has fallen 
over the last few months combined.

The day has been white....no distinction between landscape and horizon lines....snow falling and landing and building up around everything.

Yet for some reason, the sun chose to shine right before it set.
And I caught it.
Driving home from Hockey Awards Night, I stopped (precariously on icy/snow roads), and 
snapped this up.
Quick.

Now I have sunshine to take me into the 3rd day of spring...even if it's white again tomorrow.

Hope lies under it all somewhere.


To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure.
To give is to risk being turned away.

And yet,  one could say that the greatest tragedy in life~ is to risk nothing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

He Shoots....


Only 3 teams are left in League Playoffs in this tier.
We are one of them.
This game determines if we place 3rd, or go on to fight for 1st.


It's the last period....1:19 minutes left to be exact.
Our team is given a penalty for holding.

We're down to 4 players...and the opposing team decides to pull their goalie.
Now it's 6 on 4.

After the last hour and a half of  hard playing, all players are exhausted.
Now it comes down to 6 against 4 with just over 1 minute of play.

And both sides fight hard.

Forward to 1.6 seconds remaining!
....
Our defenseman winds up and shoots the puck from the farthest end of the rink.... to the other.
It slides by the other 3 players on his team.
It also slides by all 6 others on the opposing team. 
And with a few inches away from the edge of the net...it slides....... in!

Score!

The buzzer sounds. 
I don't know as I have ever jumped that high off a seat before.

That had to have marked the most exciting game and moment of play in my 
"mother-watching-hockey career"
 thus far.

So proud of you Ben.
That was one awesome shot!
~~~~~~~~~~




And then...it hit me.
I would have been that proud of him had he made that goal....
Or not.
It didn't matter.
My love for him isn't based on what he can do or what he's done.

It's just love.
Unconditional.
Regardless.

I love my kiddos no matter what they do, don't do, can, or cannot do.


It made me wonder.....
what would our world would be like if we all had that kind of love~~ 
regardless of conditions?



~Happy weekend everyone!~


Monday, March 11, 2013

Curiosity~

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. 


Curiosity has its own reason for existing.





Never lose a holy curiosity."
~Albert Einstein



~~~~~

Think I'm going to teach my kiddos to be curious this week.
The weather is looking warmer~or I am willing it to be so~ and Outdoor Things are on the agenda...

Have a wonderful Monday!
~Be curious.~

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Racing Schedule

Whoever had the idea to sign up for 2 marathons, 2 century rides, and an Ironman distance triathlon within 7 months of each other... was not thinking properly.

Add to the training....
 4 kiddos, homeschooling, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, track and field practices to run to and from...
was I insane to think I could do this?

Training for an Ironman alone requires hours of scheduled time on the bike, run, and in the pool.
Raising kiddos requires 24 hours of patience and planning and did I mention patience?

I feel like I'm juggling it all and then trying to get enough sleep to do it all...sanely.
And it's only week 3 into training.
There are still 23 weeks left.



And yet...I wouldn't give up a minute of anything.
My days are full and I wake up each day knowing I'm working towards 
goals which I set out for myself a long time ago. 
And it's a good thing.

I'm starting to think a full and racing schedule suits my personality ....and I'm already wondering what lies beyond it all. Life is so short to be anything but filling it with what you love and were made to do.

The trick is finding what you love.
And then finding balance.
And then, 
just living it!

What is it YOU love to do?
~~

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Quoted Today

There is only one way to avoid criticism:
Do nothing,
Say nothing,
and Be nothing."

~Aristotle

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Window~





When I see morning appear at my kitchen window, 
the sight always makes me realize that each new day 
brings on a second chance.

Happy Monday.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Bridge Month


I see March as
a month which bridges our winter to spring.

It's not a glorious month....there still is snow on the ground.


Not pretty... as no flowers dare appear for fear of  the certain snowstorms we have yet to endure.

Days can be grey and the horizon line meshes with the sky for one never-ending landscape of white.


And yet....

March does not scare me.
It's the bridge needed to tolerate and tackle to get us to the Spring of things.
I can already feel it coming.

I open my windows now and again just to dare March to linger longer then it has to.
I listen for and can hear the sweet chirps of brave birds.

I can feel the world around me ready to breathe again....
and March to me becomes,

the most pleasant of all months.



~Happy new month~


~Just a beginning~

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Simple Moments~

A full week, but one which was full of simple smiling moments...


Hearing laughter echoing  up the stairs while kiddos and their cousins played a game during a visit.

             A first cup of hot coffee right after a cold run in the early morning.

                      Shopping with Molly-girl and buying shoes together.

Sipping wine with a good friend.

                                   My dog smiling up at me when I drive into the driveway.

No bills in the mailbox for 3 days straight.

                      A 2000 piece puzzle nearing completion.

             Coming out of the car wash with a clean car...if only for a few miles;)

Ben telling me excitedly about his 2 goals made during a hockey game and that he received an award for most Most Valuable Player.

                                                       Getting a text from my 18 year old telling me he loves me.

Emptying the laundry basket and having it stay empty....if only for a few hours;)

         Signing up for another marathon and 
having Corben high~fiving me that I did so.

Crawling into a bed with clean sheets and falling asleep 
within seconds after a very long day.
~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~

Simple moments that made this week full and precious.

Make sure to bank every single sweet moment. 
~Priceless investments~

Have a wonderful new week ahead, friends.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tell me....



Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver
"The Summer Day"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I feel restless.

A type of restless one feels before something big is about to happen.....

Similar to the feeling I get before a big race...a nervousness that I do not want this to happen...yet this is the one thing I've been working up to for days and weeks and months. 
And years.
And no matter how nervous I am...I wouldn't turn around and walk away from it for the world.

Maybe there's a restlessness because spring is coming and I can feel it in how the daylight lingers longer around the supper hour.....
or the snow seems different on a run. {Some days there is actually a mud puddle to run through!}


Or maybe?
 It's that I am finally seeing a light to all the things I have been trying to muddle through for so very long.
It's not all understood yet...but I can actually see beyond the curve in the trail.

I am thrilled.

Ecstatic over the fact that I no longer feel the need to turn back.
The tree-lined trail doesn't scare me anymore.
Neither do the bends in the road...the unseen corners.

This wild and crazy life we live is just that.
Wild and crazy.
Some live it beyond the wild...I feel I often live it by crazy.

Life can be wild, crazy, precious....
a learning ground.

I finally realize it as such.

And I will take the restless...
as I know it's leading me to where I need to be.
Finally.


Live today.
It's part of your one wild and precious life.



Friday, February 8, 2013

Mountain Exploration~



I am learning that Exploring the Mountain is better than letting it Overtake me.



~Have a wonderful weekend everyone!~

Friday, January 11, 2013

At the end of the day....




~Follow your heart regardless of others opinions.

At the end of the day it's you who has to live with what you 

decide.~



Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For Leontien



For Leontien.
You were the miracle.
For all of us.

Heaven is brighter now.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Investments

 The most important investment you can make, means using your 
time.

Your creativity.

Your ears and eyes.

And most importantly...
your heart.



Investing in Someone.

 It will never be short in returns.
~~~~~~~

(taken from Ben and Me...Summer 2012)


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday~

Just another Typical Tuesday.

Unless of course you know where to look.....



Keep your eyes open for the 
Little Things
 that turn typical into 

Out-of-the-Ordinary.
~~~~~

And while you're doing that...here's a
to check out.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Smack into Monday

Monday. 
A day which appears out of no where~and  after a full weekend~
 seems a bit more mundane.
Not everyone welcomes it.

I am no exception. 


Except that today~ it's different.

I ran smack into Monday this morning.





Molly and I have decided to start running together again.
This morning was run morning.
6am and it's dark. 
And cold. 

Instead of head lamps we used the Sliver of a Moon.
And about a million stars to light our country road of running.

Our polar bear of a dog clumsily runs around us, banging into our legs as we try to find our pace.
It's clear. 
And beautiful.
And did I mention cold?

Shadows fall on the road.
It's hard to tell what is real- and what is just shadow.
For a  moment my heart skips as I think I see a moose crossing the road up ahead.
Then I realize it's the dark laying shadow of uncovered gravel.

There is no sound. 
Except for the crunch of our shoes on the hard packed snow- 
and our breathing as we try to keep up with our legs.
And I guess there is also the occasional comment from one of us on the 
beauty of this perfect morning.

(Did I mention there was about a billion stars overhead?)

Then...
on the way back towards home...
as we begin to slow down because Monday is just about to begin, 
(or is it because our legs feel a tad bit tired?)...
a Star falls straight down in front of me.
One of the trillion that are shining above us.

I swear it lands at my feet.

And it is then I realized I just ran 
smack into Monday.

And I don't even care.


~Have a wonderful day.
It is Monday, after all.~