Thankful Friday

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful for…

Sunshine. It’s creeping through striated clouds. Strips of blue shine out, reminding us that the days will eventually turn beautiful again.

I got to put in a 3-mile run in the daylight and it didn’t rain. The fresh air and low temperatures helped me have one of the best runs in a long time.

It’s also a good hair day.

The kids and I don’t have work or school today. Which means Zac is still sleeping. Ruby has been busy, however.

rubys-heartgreen-haired-lady

Nobody has called to view the house. Which means we can enjoy another relaxing day with minimal chores.

The dishwasher churns in the kitchen, making sure we have clean forks and such. Rex snoozes on the windowsill. It’s wonderful to be home.

I’ve been so mired down in “God, I need you” types of prayers about things I simply can’t figure out that sometimes I lose sight of gratitude. Gratitude prepares the heart for happiness. So, dear readers, I’m thankful that you take the time to read what I write. I pray you come to know God’s goodness in a greater way during this Advent season.

 

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Inspired Soles

new running shoes

 

For Mother’s Day, Jonathon took me shoe shopping. I needed new running shoes. I always wait to get them until this time of year. Because that’s when the 300-500 mileage limit usually kicks in. It’s also the season where the weather up here starts to turn sunny more often. Also, running outside in the sun makes the heart sing.

I have small feet. Which makes sense, because I’m a short person. Or so I’ve been told. I wear a size 5 in shoes. Guess who makes size 5 shoes? Almost no one. So I size up to 6, which seems to work after I put in an insert (child’s) and don socks. I can’t go any larger than that, though. Most stores carry very few size 6s, hence the lack of selection on popular styles.

These shoes, Asics as my favorite brand, were not my first choice. I liked the purple and green shoes best. Wish they would have had my size. I’m so glad running shoes and all workout shoes aren’t stuck as white with a colored stripe anymore. All kinds of rainbow-colored shoes stock the shelves now. It’s fabulous, like a flower garden of mesh, laces and rubber.

I took this new pair for 2016 out for a spin yesterday morning. I think Dorothy was onto something. Shoes have a magical power. These don’t have red rhinestones on them or a fancy heel, but they did inspire me. As I flew down the street, I realized I need to race again. It’s time to push the limits, to dream again. I’m done transitioning to working full-time. Now, which race? What distance? When?

Personal size should not inhibit the size of your dreams. Mercifully, dreams can be tailored to fit you and your life goals..What’s your big dream? Have you laid it down, now that we’re almost halfway through the year? Maybe it’s time to pick it back up again. Let’s do this.

 

 

Summer Monday

Monday.

                                    Cue Monday.

You don’t need to know that I almost made this mistake today.

We’ve been having a heat wave here in western Washington.  We hit 90 degrees yesterday.  It’s a little early for us, not even June 21 yet.  We don’t usually get those temps until August.  I am loving it.  Summer, as you know if you’ve been reading for awhile, is my favorite season.  All the other seasons have their bonuses.  But summer has the most.

Why?  You may ask.  Let me count the ways…

  • Flowers.  Blooming everywhere. Fragrant petunias, aloft in baskets, line the main streets.  Their spicy scent fills the early morning air.
  • Birds.  Singing, squawking, chirping. They soar and swoop and express joy in a tangible way.
  • Berries.  Can’t wait.  Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries.  Sure, I can get them at the store most times of the year.  But local tastes the best.
  • It’s nice.every.day. I could run each morning, the fresh morning air all the incentive I need to step outside. Heck, it’s light early enough, I can run before the sun even rises, with only the pale moon for company.
  • Dressing is easy.  Shorts, tank top, sandals, done.
  • We get to do this at least once a year, too.  My sister-and-law and I take our kids up to Wild Waves for a day of wet fun in the sun.  This year, we actually wanted to play in the water.  We needed to cool off.

Ruby really isn't a serial killer.                                                       Aren’t they adorable? Ruby (lower front) really isn’t a serial killer.

Lastly, summer feels like a paycheck.  Working through all those months of cold and rain results in a beautiful harvest of flowers, fruit and sunshine. It’s all worth it.

What about you?  What’s your favorite season, and why?  And happy Monday!

Dressed for Friday

This morning, I sat in the living room next to Jonathon.

“Are you about ready to go, Zac?” I asked.

Zac looked at me.

“Are you staying home today?” he asked, eyebrows raised.

I looked down at my clothes.  Cropped jeans.  Pink t-shirt. Hoodie. Polka dot sneakers with no socks.  I started laughing.

“It’s casual Friday,” I told him.

“Oooh-kay,” he said, shaking his head.

Did I look that bad?  Too casual? This from the boy who wears shorts almost every day.  I mean if I was going to stay home, I’d be in sweatpants or shorts, baby!  Because today, friends, we hit the 70s.  As in degrees.  It was beautiful.  Sunny and warm. Us Pacific NW folks get a little loopy when the sun comes out.  We get excited. And work, well, it gets quiet as a tomb.  People find reasons to be out in that bright light.

Happy Friday, folks!

Jesus, Coffee, Donuts and Friends

coffee

This morning, I dragged myself into work.  I know.  Not very inspiring, Susan!  Everyone does that on the first day back after a long weekend.  True.  But the flu fatigue tried to linger. It hung on, an invisible mental and physical fog. I slogged through the morning.  My brain, despite many pleadings and Jonathon’s rocket coffee, didn’t stir out of second gear.

“Susan, why don’t you work on this assignment?  We need to combine the project file ideas and the electronic version of project documents.”

She might as well have said, “Susan, make a nuclear bomb out of a paper clip, a snail shell and glitter.” Same result. Spin, spin, half-baked ideas, spin, lose train of thought. Wait…squirrel!

At lunch time, I trudged home. Jonathon had bought donuts while I was away. I needed one.  So with my lunch of cassoulet, a meager half serving of java and two luscious halves of once-whole donuts (hey, less calories, right?), I fortified myself for the second 4-hour chunk of work. Jonathon and I finished out the lunch hour with a sunny stroll.

But wait. Later on in the afternoon, it got really good.

My boss and I took a brisk walk outside, chatting all the while. The sun warmed our backs. As we marched down Cota, I spotted an old friend of mine from out of town.

“Hey!” I greeted her.  I forgot to tell her how great she looked, but we embraced and I introduced my friend to my boss.

This happened again, on the end of our loop.  We passed “Better on You,” and glimpsed another gal I knew, this one an artist and fellow writer.

We hugged and I got to catch up with another friend. We walked into the gallery and my supervisor lexplored the paintings, clothing and jewelry. She told me she’d always wanted to go in there.

I can’t believe how much the day improved. I started out with no energy and very low expectations.  Now, I can’t stop smiling. I didn’t have to just survive the day; I got surprises. I don’t believe in coincidences. I know Who orchestrated those connections and all I have to say is thank you. Between the sunshine, coffee, donuts and good friends, Jesus made it a pretty good day.

Running Fuel

I woke up in a foul mood today.  My brain tried to find a reason or at least a way to jolly myself out of it. I tried to get over it by praying, watching cartoons with Ruby while in our pajamas, and doing laundry. Nothing seemed to work.  I peeked outside.  The sun reflected off a pale, clear sky. Eureka!  I could go running outside.  It had been awhile.

The high winds of Saturday left tree debris everywhere.  Little prickly green tree fingers spangled the ground. I dodged downed pinecones, dark deposits against the shiny pavement. Sometimes, whole Douglas fir tree hands spanned the asphalt.  It was as if the trees had a most triumphant party and forgot to invite us humans.  Their piny dropped appendages seemed an attempt to make amends by shaking hands, albeit after the fact.

As I moved along, the sun shone down on me.  My back warmed up. I was glad I left my coat behind. I almost always get too warm with it on, anyway, plus I figured the more Vitamin D my skin could suck up, the better. I let the funky Kirk Franklin praise songs wash over me. I didn’t think of much except to keep moving forward.

And then, all of a sudden, I was okay. I only ran 3 miles but it was enough.  I realized I had been feeling sorry for myself on this 3-week junk food fast.  “Everyone else gets to eat tasty food, and I don’t! Poor me.” Wow, Susan. Like eating food that fuels your body well is some kind of punishment. I have a few more days to go.  I want to be mindful of the time left on this quest, enjoy the foods I get to eat and thank God for them. I’m breaking free of emotional eating and making better choices.  It’s worth it.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Spring Break Joy

Why is it that I feel so incredibly joyful when the sun shines here?  Anything (good) could happen.  Even laundry. Twirling and dancing and goofing off seem well within reason today.  At this very moment, both the front door and back door stand open to the sunshine.  Chloe wanders from one to the other, checking out the view. She pushes the back door open with her paw and dashes out.  Sweet freedom!  Rex, out on a walkabout, is nowhere to be found.

Ruby and I worked out together today.  She opened the secret compartment where I keep them (kettle)bells.  She yanked out the smallest one, a yellow 10-lb. torturer.

“I’ll use this one,” she said.  Then she went outside for a few turns of the jump rope.  Bored with that, she came back in.

We started with jumping jacks, which needed no weight.  I told her we’d do 60 together.  She pooped out after 20, then rejoined me. She moved her skinny arms in time with mine, her eyes focused on me, but kept jumping up and down with her feet.  Too cute.

We got down for 10 push ups.

“Keep your body straight”, she admonished me.  I listened.

I showed her squats with the sunny handled orb.  Those took a bit of coaching, as did the lunges.  She thought it pretty funny when she fell down from stretching her lunging leg out too far.  Ha ha, missy!

Dare I say she was a natural with the kettlebell swing? Amazing girl.

After a bit, she lost interest.  She had an idea.

“Mom, can I fill a plastic bag with pillows and punch it?”

Uh…

“Sure,” I panted from the other room.  What does it mean?!

She punched with all her might, grunting as she landed each blow.  Once the pillows had all their stuffing, ahem, redistributed, she moved on.  Time to get outside!

She dressed in zebra-striped pants with a floral top and brushed her hair in a rush. She shoved cheetah-print flats onto her feet.  She quick-dialed a little friend down the street and blazed away.  Spring Break!  Everybody holla!

What are you up to today?