Monday, November 30, 2009

I Can't Stop!

I had plans today to blog about my crafting. I have photos of some of my cards.

I had plans to blog about holiday insights and wonderful thoughts on breathing and the crucial nature of the breath in all ventures.

I had plans...until my brother called.

Apparently, Mike, the friend who ran with us on Thanksgiving, had texted him to encourage him to enter another race. Today was the last day to register at the reduced rate. (Nothing like last minute, eh?) My brother wanted to know if I wanted to participate.

The catch? The race is the Indy Mini Marathon, a 13 mile race.

My heart rate sped up & I couldn't answer. I spent at least an hour googling, "How Do I Know If I'm Ready For A Mini-Marathon" and "Can I Train For A Triathlon And A Mini Marathon At The Same Time" and "Has Lisa Really Lost Her Mind?" (Ok, not that last one, but now I'm curious to know the search results.)

I talked to my husband. I researched, thought, and prepared dinner. I put the kids in front of a movie and researched some more.

I took a deep breath.

And I signed myself and my husband up for the race.

So on top of work (Pharmacy for Chris, House for me), the kids, Christmas prep, trying to get Christmas cards out and ready, crafting, figuring out how to start my yoga (+ art) classes, getting the kids in swim lessons and other events, and training for a triathlon....I guess now we are also training for a mini-marathon.

I am such a pushover but am thankful (at least for the moment) for Ryan & Mike. My heart is racing.

May 2010 will be Chris & My TENTH wedding anniversary. I never thought we'd be celebrating like this...but what a way to do it.

Deep breath. I'll blog more either tonight (when I can't sleep) or tomorrow about all I'd plan to blog about before. (As Connie at Dirty Footprints Studio would say, it's all just a change of plans!)

Deep breath....

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Drumstick Dash Photos

Ok, I promised photos before so here are some to sum up the day!

Believe it or not, being the dedicated (obsessed?) photographer that I am, I decided to borrow my mom's smaller camera and take it with me...not only before the race, but during. I wore a runner's pack (yup, like a fanny pack but designed to be worn while running) to carry it - and actually took photos while I ran. (See proof below.)

I'm sure this knocks me out of the "professional runners" association and probably looked pretty silly, but I have no regrets. I'm glad I got the photos I did and that I didn't have to leave my camera anywhere during the run. It was not only for me, but an essential part of capturing my sister & brother's first official event.

Here we are walking from the car after finally getting our bib numbers on and deciding we'd leave the warm car to brave the cold temps. We had just joked about how others were wearing shorts & must be quite "professional"...when we walked past that group of people in the back who commented to one another ("Look - there are some runners!") -- note the humored look on the faces of my fellow event participants.

It just goes to show you - everyone has an impression of someone else. You are who you think you are.

The back of my sister's shirt. Very inspirational.

Which leads me to share a quick funny story: Around mile 3, I noticed a runner in front of me whose t-shirt back said, "Now is not the time to stop." It started swirling in my thoughts and motivated me...I just kept following that shirt and knew I could keep right on going. Unfortunately, a few yards later - he stopped.

I ran past him and had to giggle a little.

A photo of one row of volunteers and a section of food - those are all bananas. Bless those people for being out so early...and just start to imagine how many people (volunteers & runners/walkers) there were by knowing that this was just one row - amidst other rows and actual tents - of food & drink.

A photo of fellow runners. The turkey was a professional runner who had a bit of a head start - there was a prize for the first runner to catch him. I opted out of that competition.

A photo taken in the middle of the area to line-up. Each participant was supposed to line up according to their per-mile time. (Note the sign in the middle for the "7 minute mile") If you can tell, you can barely see two more signs - for the 8 & 9 minute can't even see back to the 10, 11, 12, & 13 minute mile section. Yeah, there were a lot of people.

Chris (hubby), Kristen (younger sis), Ryan (younger bro), and moi right before the race was to begin. By this point my adrenaline was down, I was cold and just wanted to start.

Told you I took photos during the race! This is within the first mile as I'm running (really - I was on a fast pace here). Note not only all the people in front of me, but all those who are walking.

This was a huge frustration -- people who started walking from the beginning (not just those who got tired) lined up well in front of us, so we were dodging people for at least the first half of the race.

Mile 3 marker up ahead. Note the people still walking...I may have a slow pace, but I know I was going faster than they were (i.e. they lined up ahead of me).
Another funny story - remember that I was carrying this camera with me in the runners pack. I've never run with it before and found that if it isn't belted tight enough, it starts to slip down. Part of the beginning of the race I was struggling to tighten it....
When it got tight enough, it still wanted to slip - and wanted to take my pants with it. Suddenly that explains why I had so many people behind me & was the leader of a pack...I thought I was just fast! :) (I got it adjusted ok but have no plans to take it with me again.)

Coming into the finish! (The time on the clock is about 7 or so minutes off my actual time, which I forget right now. The clock started when the first runners crossed the start line - it took us about 7 minutes to actually reach the start line.)

Chris, Kristen, Ryan, and Mike after the race. Mike is my brothers friend and a chiropractor...he actually worked with Kristen & Ryan a bit before the race. Kristen has back problems & wasn't feeling pain when done...even though she doesn't run much! Ok, gotta do it: Kearns Chiropractic in Carmel, IN. Highly recommended.
Family photo: Kristen, moi, and Ryan after the race. I still can't believe we did it.
So there you have it! As I wrote before, we all finished strong and feel that much better for it.
We're planning to do it again next year and hope the weather holds out.

For now, I'm back to the pool tomorrow. (Weight training & eliptical this morning...I pulled something around my calf muscles during the run and am holding off before getting back on the road again.)

Still feeling strong, thinking strong (most of the time), and living strong.

Falling (Back) In Love a.k.a. A Lovely Weekend

I am falling in love all over again.

I am falling in love - With my husband, with my family, with the season.

We had an amazing weekend - only a tiny part of which was planned. (Even though we all were a little under the weather.) I don't know if it was the release from stress of Thanksgiving planning, race planning, & house cleaning or the freedom we allowed ourselves from "have-to's", but this is one of the best weekends I have had in recent memory.

Today, we decorate our Christmas tree. It is the ongoing celebration of a weekend that has led us to this point.

Saturday morning we visited a neighbor (I believe she's 11?!) at an art show -- where she was displaying her photography! We bought a great one she took near our house, actually on a path that we bike/run. It is a lovely reminder of her as well as inspiration for our workouts. (She doesn't have a web site but if she gets one up I'll definitely link from here!)

(I also picked up a few other wonderfully crafty goodies - and found some good inspiration as well! Don't worry - I simply won't copy another's art...I wouldn't want someone else doing that to me...but I think it's fine to use similar concepts or pieces for a springboard for my own work! I love supporting other artists and using their work as a reminder to keep busy with my own.) Check this out:

A nice reminder in the form of a bracelet, tied with ribbon and a snap closure.

Another girl had a brilliant idea: Parents will be familiar with all of those leftover crayons at restaurants that generally just get tossed after kids use them once. She takes these leftovers and melts them into new kids loved them!

After, my husband gently convinced me to try a new restaurant on 4th street -- our local "world-wide cuisine buffet" street. We stopped at The Basil Leaf, a Vietnamese Bistro. Amazing food...enjoyable time (even with our son accidentally knocking a glass of water all over our daughter). SO glad I went - we'll definitely be going back. (Thanks to hubby for pushing me to keep trying new things!)

The afternoon led us to Twin H Tree Farm where we, for the first time ever, chose our own Christmas Tree. (Previous years have seen fake trees & one real tree chosen from the beautiful Lowes shopping area.) While I must admit feeling a slight twinge of guilt for cutting down a living tree, the experience was intimately overwhelming....I'm sure this will become a tradition for our family. We were able to frolic through acres of trees, choose one that they cut down & tied up, and enjoy free hot cider, hot chocolate, and popcorn.

(Dilana's choice of a tree. I hear the Charlie Brown song in the background...)

The only downside was an incident where our 2-yr old daughter grabbed for hot cider while our backs were turned as we were paying and spilled it on herself. That her hand got burned was horrible - even more so was the pissed off reaction of the salesman behind the counter (even after our extensive apologies that cider was on their wood floor). I hate that I didn't react with anything other than an apologetic nature (like demanding a little concern or even an "is she ok?"). Otherwise, the staff were SO enjoyable and fun loving, the other shoppers were filled with joy, and the entire experience? A magical start to our Christmas season.

Which led us to today where we decorated our MASSIVE tree. I'm not kidding - it didn't look so big in the field. We're working on it in bits and pieces, but here's an idea:

I giggle every time I see looks so gigantic in the tiny room.

Ah, here's to being in love. With others, yourself, the world around you...whatever happens to strike your fancy. Here's to recognition and gratitude. Here's to the reason of the season. May it all go on forever and ever.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Drumstick Dash!

I'm falling behind on blogging again but am totally ok with it - I've been out living the stories instead of just writing about them. But this blog and you wonderful people who read it are a lifeline I cannot afford to lose - honestly! So while the photos are sitting on a different computer, I figured I'd go ahead and update on the Drumstick Dash...the 4.5 mile run I participated in on Thanksgiving morning.

Simply amazing.

The energy was overwhelming - it was around 37 degrees outside, but thankfully the rain held off until we finished. It was completely unlike the 5K we did a few short weeks ago (of which there were maybe 225 participants?) -- there were over TEN THOUSAND participants in this event, blaring music, ample food (free coffee from Starbucks, soup & noodles from Noodles & Company), great registration gifts (a long sleeve technical t-shirt), and all going to a good cause (Wheeler Mission - helping the homeless).

Myself, hubby, my brother & sister (and my brother's friend who showed up at the last minute!) all took part. Of that small group, I finished 3rd (my brother's friend is a triathlete and my brother....he's just awesome like that & can pull a quick run out of nowhere). Hubby ran the WHOLE thing and improved his time by probably 2 min / mile (stunning!) and my sister, who just started training maybe two weeks ago, put in an AWESOME time for her first event (under 12 minute mile!).

I don't know whether to be excited or bummed about my time -- I finished with an average 10:44 / mile. That is slower than my 5K (which was 10:38 / mile). However, this is a longer race AND - the big kicker that I've seen posted by SEVERAL other participants - there were FAR too many people for the small roads and FAR too many people who chose not to pay attention to the appropriate line-up procedure.

Basically, runners line up in a group by your expected time / mile. That way, faster runners who do 6 min miles will start at the front and (in theory) not have to trample over slower runners. We appropriately stood in the 10 minute /mile group. However, we spent easily the first 2 miles weaving in and out of slower runners, walkers, stroller-pushers, and even groups of folks who took up the entire road. I was running up on curbs & even jumped over a cone at one point in order to not get slowed. I feel like that motivated me, in part (i.e. I sprinted many times to get ahead of a slower group). However, I'm sure it significantly slowed me down...we all joked at the end that we probably ran 5.5 miles instead of 4.5 by all of the weaving we had to do.

Regardless, I am SO proud of all of us. My family has never really been the active type...and now we are talking about making this a yearly tradition. Let me tell you, we didn't feel guilty about putting a few extra things on our plate after that!

As far as training goes, with two race events behind me and cold weather rolling in I will probably start focusing more on weight training and time in the pool. I do hope to do at least one more race (at least to keep myself motivated) before next spring. I feel like I could have done better on the time and want to keep myself in shape to do so.

I have SO SO much more to share and will post photos as soon as I can get ahold of them.

I hope everyone else had a beautiful Thanksgiving as well and is enjoying (hopefully) a few extra days off-schedule!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Evening.

I had a long list of things to share.

I have so many things for which I am thankful.

We completed the race this morning (about which I will write very very soon) and had an amazing Thanksgiving, topped off with our son saying, "Guys, this is the BEST thanksgiving I've EVER had."

Right now, however, I am most thankful that you understand that I am exhausted...and thankful that I have a warm bed waiting for me.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How Not To Respond

While packing I noticed it was strangely quiet around the house.

Me: "Dilana?"

Dilana: "I'm not doing anything!"

Me: "Dilana...."

Dilana: "I'm not in the bathroom!!"


Dilana: "I don't have the toothpaste!"

Me: "Dilana, come here."

Dilana: "....I'm not doing anything!"


On another note, the anxiety has started for tomorrow's race (to be followed by ample food and family frivolity). The excitement is a bit dilluted, however, because I just know we'll be overwhelmed by 8000+ runner/walkers, temps in the 30's, and rain or snow. It may not be about the running...rather, just making it through the morning.

I hope to add another post tonight, but if not...I'll definitely update tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It amazes me during this time of typically busy schedules & hectic minds how I and others maintain - or rearrange - priorities.

This year I am finding that my priorities are leaning more towards self expression than anything else. Don't get me wrong...I'm still a running around trying to clean the house, find a receipe for at least one yummy dish (this year it is for Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies...I can't wait!), balance schedules between family and in-laws, and maintain the usual day-to-day appointments.

Yet with my yoga self now deeply ingrained, a creative self re-emerging, and an active self pursuing goal-after-goal, I'm finding those "other things" just aren't as important. My, it feels good.

A few examples of what has been popping up as I allow my soul to speak:

I woke one morning to a stunning fog. Instead of just ignoring it, I pulled out my camera and took a few minutes on the back deck to photograph it and just breathe it all in. I can still feel the moist coolness in my nose and it is delicious. I just kept thinking "mystical" - I almost expected to see a fairy or two fluttering about.

I also got it in my head that I wanted to do something for Tyler's classmates (teacher, & bus driver too...I didn't get the thought in time for the art, music, PE teachers & librarian). Going to Target for the dollar bins wasn't quite capturing the I spent some time (probably a bit too much) making, printing, & coloring cards.

Tyler helped by coloring each "Thanksgiving"...though by the end the coloring was more of a scribbled shading. He also signed each one.
(They read "This Thanksgiving I'm Thankful For ... YOU! Thanks for being my classmate and friend. Happy Thanksgiving")

It took several hours but it feels good to have done them. It feels RIGHT. And that's where all of this is going.

I still have to pack, get everything together for the race on Thursday morning, groccery shop tomorrow, finish up some other Thanksgiving gifts, get the house clean for family coming over on Friday, do laundry, etc etc etc. Yet that just feels like busy work. Just like every other year.

This year, the acts of kindness - towards others AND myself - just feel right. I don't know if priorities are finally coming in line with my values and it's that harmony that is singing or if I'm just getting lucky and the schedule traffic jam is a few days away.

Regardless, I'm hoping this feeling stays. This attention to what feels good, to trying to make others feel good, to health, kindness, ... it's rubbing off on the kids too. I've noticed they've both been in better moods. Again, who knows if it's the whole cliche of if mommy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy...but if mommy's doing well, everybody's lucky.....or if I'm tapping into a deeper energy that is pooling around the kids as well.

I love it. Thanksgiving is truly that this year - a giving of thanks. To myself, to others, to you oh-wonderful-reader-of-this-blog, to those less fortunate and those more fortunate.

Ah, but hopefully more on the deep meaning of Thanksgiving in the coming days. For now, back to preparing for the events to celebrate it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From the mouth of babes.

In the midst of all of the Thanksgiving preparations (and race prep, etc) going on, I almost forgot to blog! Thanks to a conversation with a good friend I can keep the promise to blog every weekday. :)

Today is a day for laughs, and where better to turn for humor than a child?

(For those who visited my blog , this better belongs there. But I haven't had time to keep up with it, so enjoy it here!!)

We decorated our daughter's room with those fun stick-on things you can put on the wall (that are repositionable - so much fun!). Above her changing table, we have the phrase:

(Change is good. Oh yeah, we do have a sense of humor.)

Well since she could talk we've been working with her on the phrases and letters around her room. Our routine was always to say, "Change Is...." To which she'd reply, "GOOD!". It's a fun game.

A few weeks ago I was up changing her diaper (yeah, the whole potty training thing isn't working so well). I pointed up to the letters and said, "Change...."

to which she replied,


Gotta love her.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Block Knockers

Note: I've read the intentions of many bloggers who aim to keep their blog positive, joyful. They know there is so much negativity in the world that they try to keep at least their little blog corner a source of positivity. I truly admire that. That intention, however, is not my own. I aim to be as honest as I can (without getting too personal) in this blog. I KNOW that there are others out there going through the same stuggles that I am. My hope is that by sharing this, those persons may not feel so alone...and that, together, we can learn to realize these struggles are part of the beauty of the whole. Without them, the successes have no meaning. So - if you are looking for a positive may want to check back on a different day.

Ever experienced one of those events that just knocks you right off your block? It can be a great morning, or a great day, or a great week...but one li'l event later and you feel deflated.

As you can probably guess, I had one of those today. I won't go into details suffice to say that it was a financial punch and one that will continue to effect our family for at least the next year. We'll be ok - and I almost feel guilty for feeling so deflated. There are individuals and families who get by on far less than we do and I am constantly thankful for our blessings. Yet the *oomph* remains.

As it usually is with financial concerns, I can't do anything to pick myself back up. Creative endeavors, deep breathing, playing with the kids...for whatever reason, my smile seems to not fit on my face.

Yet, I know this too shall pass. I know (deep down) that this is such a small event, no where near a catastrophe, something that is indeed a lesson and thus, a gift.

I find in these situations that it is a true test of how deep the lessons I've studied have permeated my being. Kind of like the idea I mentioned before...I've lifted weights and am now testing my strength outside of the weight room. I embrace creativity, yogic ideals, mindfulness, and so many other beneficial practices. During my good times they are easy to follow. It is during the rocky times that for me (and I'd guess most others), I get to see how well I walk the walk.

So, I take a deep breath. I've been doing mindless work entering forms (i.e. accomplishing something - helps the spirit a bit!) while the kids watch a movie. I don't feel guilty.

I'm doing what I can to pick myself back up, to get back in tune with that beautiful song I know is still playing within me and all around me.

We've all been (and will continue to be) knocked off our block, shaken up and stirred. As others have claimed it's not whether or not it happens, it's how quickly we pick ourselves back up and the lessons we take with us from the fall that matters.

So hum a little with me, won't you? Let's keep singing together until this beautiful melody we call life gets stuck in our heads forever.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Creative Mommy-ing

Today I feel like a mom.

I spent the afternoon preparing for the PTO meeting, ran the kids to the groccery to get snacks for my son's class tomorrow after he got home, stopped quickly at McDonalds (after I couldn't find a parking spot to go the restaurant I wanted to go to...I very rarely go to McD's!), and made it in time for the PTO meeting. An hour and a half later, I got home, got the kids brushing their teeth then straight to bed and spent 45 minutes packing up the snacks for tomorrow.

For those who know me, this might be a bit suprising...I'm not the mommy kind of mom.

But I did put my spin on the whole thing. For the meeting, I typed up the results of a recent survey - in color. Not only that, but since I only had one copy to pass around I decided it could be at least fun to look at. I took my eyelets & some silver ribbon to spruce it up! We also had a raffle for parents who had entered - I cut up each of the entries, made a couple of quick bags with the cricut, and brought the slips of paper in those.

The snacks? I didn't have time to get creative with the food (making celery boats or anything...and I don't think we're allowed to cook anything - not that I would have anyway :) ) I got creative with the packaging. Gotta love those stamps!

Why do I share this? To inspire someone who longs to be creative but doesn't think they have the outlet to INFUSE LIFE WITH CREATIVITY.

I recall several articles in Stampington/Somerset Studio publications (LOVE those - ) where Jenny Doh (the creative editor of at least one of their publications) takes this to heart - beautiful school supplies for her daughter, office supplies that are dolled up. She and others like her inspire me to do what I can to bring that creative fun, that juicy living, to the "have-to's".

I've a lot more to share (in particular my on again off again love affair with running) but it is late. Gotta wind down that creative energy and try to I can enjoy it all again tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What is "Busy"?

At the start of my day I was already overwhelmed. The funny thing is, there was only one "meeting" (a social get-together) at 2:00. Otherwise, it was me, the kids, hubby (his day off before his big 7 day stretch)...and my unscheduled to-do's.

I currently have TEN windows open on my laptop.
  • 7 websites on which I want to follow up (send an email, purchase an item, read more...),

  • 2 word documents (one general reflection, the other - a starting outline for yet another idea for a workshop/event I'd like to plan), and

  • 1 Excel document containing the results of a school progress survey (for my son's school) I am helping to coordinate, evaluate, and move forward with.

This does not include the windows open on my desktop downstairs. I'm currently uploading photos and browsing another blog on that computer.

I have the following thoughts on my mind:

  • I need to update my blog (design), my photo site, and my yoga website (sadly neglected for months)

  • The laundry is mid-cycle -I need to finish it and get the sheets done.

  • The kiddos are playing on their own, but I should be interacting with them.

  • The garage is full of the clutter we cleared out of the house this summer. I really need to donate/sell/toss it so I can get my car in the garage...preferably in the next week.

  • I have a week left to finish 30+ holiday cards. Knowing my schedule, that amounts to at least 5 cards / day.

  • Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. The 4.5 mile run is NEXT WEEK. I have a ton of preparation to do for both of those.

I'll stop there -- it could go on but the list might cause the blog to lock up.

I'm constantly moving (naps really aren't in my schedule any more); I have a to-do list that grows by the second; and I keep adding to the things that are on my mind (creative projects, blogs to follow, friends to follow-up with, projects to finally finish around the house, workouts to do, etc). Between dinner, the kids' baths, story time, switching laundry, blah blah blah it is going to be an active night. Tomorrow is a PTO meeting where we present the results of the survey, I have (get) to do 5 (or 10) christmas cards...

And yet, I didn't go to work today. I didn't cook (yet). I had/made time for a delicious chat with a girlfriend over chai topped off with some vintage-goods shopping. I had no appointments, no business meetings, not even a doctors appointment. My husband was even here to help with the kids.

Time goes (flies) by, activities & energies wax and wane. It has become a status symbol, in a way, in our society to be Busy. ("Whew - what a day! I had 39 meetings, 412 phone calls, 5 lunches with corporate folks..." or " I have to run the kids to soccer then ballet then school then groccery shop then pick up the kids to run them to basketball then karate then music lessons then therapy...")

Yet what is "Busy"? Activites on the calendar? Enough on the schedule to justify being stressed? Every minute of the day accounted for?

I have none of those things, yet I would certainly consider today busy. My spirit was spinning, my creative juices flowing, my mind (unfortunately) chattering away. I kept moving and even when I wasn't, my mind kept my mouth gabbing and my thoughts spinning.

What do you consider busy? Would you consider a stay-at-home mom with nothing on her schedule busy? What about the CEO who took a 2 hour lunch in between 5 meetings - busy? The artist meditating on the next piece to be created - busy?

I'd contemplate the meaning and present a deep, moving definition here...but I'm busy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Live the Life You've Imagined

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams. Live the Life You've Imagined. -Thoreau

I have worn this bracelet almost every day for the past 3 1/2 years. It was given to me by my father. I didn't think much about the sentiment beyond its poetic beauty when it was gifted to me. Yet each day since, it has sunk a little deeper into my conscious.

I've always had the courage to be a little off the beaten path - at least in my mind. Yet because of my fears of wanting to be "liked", to be "accepted", I didn't even wonder what my own dreams might be during the years they should have been developing. I was ok not being like others...but didn't know who I was.

Several years ago I started realizing that while I had the confidence - the get-up-and-go attitude - I had no map. Sputtering around sight-seeing is great but all too often I end up missing the beauty that is mine to be seen.

My dreams. The life I've Imagined. It changes frequently. Yet it is in the searching, the self-awareness, the knowing oneness of myself, others, god, my path...that stability is found. I don't have to know exactly what routes I'm going to take (what job I might pursue, the techniques I'll use for disciplining the kids, the techniques I'll use in my crafting, the type of yoga I want to practice daily, which road I'll take to get in my mileage for training) but I do need to be in touch with my Self. My dreams, my fears, my child, my morbidity....

It is by living that life that my soul already knows, honoring the unique self and the role I am to play that I find each path leads me through the life I've imagined.

So go within and go forth. Be confident. Dream. Live the Life You've Imagined.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Am A Road Warrior.

Road Warrior: (n) A person who fights to make peace with the road and ultimately, the entire path they are on.

On my run this morning, this role was revealed to me. As cars sped past, wind in my face and at my back, feet meeting the pavement to move me one more step, the thought came. It was as though it was a revelation, a remembering of who I am. It was amazing.

We lay down the road and take our cars and drive right over her. We carve a path into the earth that allows us to move where we choose. Like a mother adjusting for her kids, the earth complies. Yet like spoiled children, we forget to thank her. We go farther, faster in our cars, thinking not of the earth speeding past us under our tires but of the person driving to slow in front of us or the idiot tailgating us or whether we will make the green light or lamenting the traffic jam ahead.

Today, as my feet met the road, I again remembered her.

I come as an enemy, fighting to conquer hills, avoid potholes, still get farther - faster.

Yet as with any war, the ultimate goal is peace.

I aim to become friends with the road, to let my body do what it naturally wants to do - move in harmony with the earth. Today, on a final hill during my run, I experienced a brief taste of this relationship. The earth carried me as my mind stopped its complaining, its fighting...the wind was blowing against me but somehow supporting me, the ground meeting my screaming legs but somehow lifting me through each and every step.

Next time I am in my car, I will remember the road. I will be again on the side of the enemy, yet far more familiar with my opponent. I will thank her for what she provides - a path. A path for me to travel, to move, to become more familiar with the earth...and with myself.

I hope and pray that each person has the chance to experience this, to remember the path themselves, to give other road warriors the chance to find their own peace (by slowing down and moving over when speeding past in a car!), and to hopefully travel into harmony as well.

A smile still rests on my face as I remember: I am a road warrior.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recommitting. Again.

My dear blog friends,

I deeply apologize. I made a promise to keep this blog going, to provide you with information and insights, and I have let not only you, but myself down as well.

I have my excuses. But they are not reasons, so I will not bore you with them. Suffice to say I had access to a computer, at least 10 minutes to type every day, but failed to do so.

So again, I recommit to this blog - to you and to myself. It seems my devotion to writing every day during the previous month provided motivation for me to do it...regardless of how I was feeling. So I am committing to writing every weekday for the rest of the month and, if all goes well, every weekday after that. (Holidays excluded, though I may still try to sneak away on Thanksgiving for a post-race update!!)

I also want to share information in a beautiful format. So I'm committing to myself now to research blog designs, technical how-to's, and to implementing those things I've learned.

Because life has gone on even though my blog went to sleep, I'm anxious to share what has been happening.

On the Creative Front:

Ah, this ship has been hitting some open waters and sailing hard and far, my friends. I have my cricut, my light box, my embossing & stamping tools, and reasons to use them.

My husband recently lamented his loss of me...poor man.

I'll write more on my inner awakenings in another blog, but here's a peak at some of the projects I've been working on:
An inspiration page.
Larger flowers are part of the paper, cricut & markers made the bottom row, some fabric flowers, eyelets, and my crop-a-dile made the embellishment flowers, and the beautiful sentiment was stamped in gold.

The background of a Chrismas card, incorporating stamps, dry embossing, and markers.

A close-up showing the dry-embossing (the raised border on the side). I love dry embossing!

On the Workout / Training Front:

I took two days off in a row and felt so icky about it. Of course, with the 4.5 mile race quickly approaching, I knew I had to get right back into running.

My dear husband had driven a route around our house, saying it was somewhere around 4.5-5 miles but quite hilly. I've driven it several times but as any road traveller (biker, runner, walker, etc) knows, hills are defined differently when in the car vs. on the road. My lack of appreciation for "hills" caught up with me when I attempted this run.

I drove the distance again when I was done and I believe it was right around 4.6 miles. My time? It averaged out to about an 11:25 minute / mile pace. (versus the 10:38 minute / mile pace I had in the 5k) I walked a few times though I did tackle a few hills I didn't expect to. The last few long hills were painful even to walk.

Today was a day of rest. (Appropriate for a Sunday, no?)

Tomorrow, I will again tackle the distance, but have charted a more level course from our home. (Nasty hills to get out of the neighborhood, but ok from there.)

Again, I reiterate: Hills are my teachers. Level ground is my friend. I simply have to keep appreciating both.

Anything to which you are struggling with commitment? Leave a comment and let me know - let's motivate one another!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cricut!, Training, Motherhood, And more...Oh My!

I finally invested in a Cricut!! While not the most financially responsible decision, we're calling it my Christmas gift (and ironically, it will be used for Christmas gifts/cards for others!).

For those non-crafters who are not familiar with this machine (pronounced "cricket"), it is a die-cutting machine (shapes, letters, tags, etc.) that is a workroom staple for many crafters who work with paper, scrapbookers, etc. ( It is definitely an expensive investment but I'm hoping it will pay for itself over time (no more purchasing individual punches, cards, etc.).

(My Cricut!)
For those who are familiar with it, I'd love to know your stories! I'm just beginning to explore all the possibilities...from using it for basic shape/letter cut-outs to using the negative spaces for stencils, stamping, etc. A few of my recent projects:

(Letters using the Cricut, snow cutouts from a different punch. I won't be using this card because, in case you can't tell, I learned another lesson after creating it....don't leave drinks anywhere near the crafting area. Our son had gotten a bit excited and knocked over my diet coke - my fault for leaving it there. Fortunately it didn't spill near the machine!)

The energy from the 5K is still pulsing and we aren't about to let it die. Hubby and I signed up for our next event -- a 4.5 mile run/walk in Broad Ripple, IN on Thanksgiving morning! (a.k.a. The Drumstick Dash) In true testiment to how energy spreads, we also convinced my brother (who will be coming down from Chicago) AND my sister to join us! I am thrilled for us, for them, and excited at all we'll have to share when we are done.

(They are expecting over 8,000 participants in this. It should be quite an experience!!)

Because this "race" is only a couple of weeks away, we are once again bumping up our training. I found out this morning, though, that I may need to take it down a notch....


I really need to keep better track of my progress! The past few days:

*(Mon a.m.): Swim laps & pool work for ~35 minutes

*(Tues a.m.): Bike through our neighborhood, pulling trailer w/Dilana, ~ 10 min. (More on this below)

*(Wed a.m.): Clear Creek trail, RAN (jogged) entire thing to end and back - 5 miles, 54:48 minutes. (Walked 4 times, each time for no more than 30 seconds)


* I am so psyched at the pool work from this week. I signed up for a newsletter for beginning swimmers (tri-swimmers in particular) that includes 5 drills. The first two, which I attempted this week, are focused on side-swimming and breathing - basically working on balance. While I didn't quite understand why, I really got it after trying a few free-style strokes when I was done with the drills. A lot of it comes down to the core (like yoga, running, sitting, and everything else in life!!) - if I can find balance from the middle, the arms, legs, head, (and thus side-breathing) all work better in coordination.

* In relation to the last lesson, I am finally finding my confidence in the pool! I'm sure much of it is from the confidence gained during the 5K, but I feel way more comfortable that I'll at least be able to make it in the water. Whether I swim free-style, breast-stroke, or simply doggy-paddle my way...I can do this.

All the small steps - as I learn to find my confidence in the pool, so will I (slowly, I'm sure) in the open water. I've also been reading quite a bit on triathlons and am encouraged by even seasoned veterans of the sport who express fear and/or concern over the swimming leg.

* Just have to share...I swam one length of the pool and ended up taking in a little water as I approached the wall. Instead of freaking out (as I always have in the past), I just doggy-paddled a bit, pushed off, and kept moving back the other direction. Words of wisdom: Just keep swimming.

* Biking. Whew. I've a ways to go. I can certainly ride my bike, easily on level ground, ok on hills. But on the hills in our neighborhood & while pulling the trailer with Dilana in it? Whoa.

I challenged myself to make it up certain hills and felt as though my chest were going to explode and my legs were just going to give out about halfway up many of them. That explains the 10 minutes...when I got back to the top of our street instead of continuing out of our neighborhood, I decided to call it lesson learned. I'm intrigued, is a personal challenge now to tackle those hills. I think, though, that I'll start off not pulling the trailer.

* I am slowly learning how to use the gears on the when exactly to change gears. Our neighborhood, as I've mentioned before, is one hill after the other. It is tricky to maintain a constant awareness of what is coming up so I know exactly how - and when - to change gears. More to learn....

* 3.1 miles, 5 miles, heck, probably any distance - is SO much easier on level ground. Mrs. Obvious, I know, but it is worth repeating. Level ground is my friend. Hills are my teachers. I need both.

* I am EXHAUSTED. I think my mental strength has met or surpassed my physical strength. While that partially makes me happy, my mind is also writing checks my body can't cash.

Today on the run I didn't feel particularly physically exhausted and every mental challenge I encountered (eh, it's just a trial run - go ahead and walk! it's windy - no one would blame you if you wanted to walk! etc.) I was able to overcome and just keep going. But when I got home, my whole body was paying the price. I do have a very sore throat that I've been nursing all day...I don't know if it is a result of the run this morning or a coincidence that I happen to be getting ill, but even stretching and yoga is a challenge today.

What did I learn from this? I'm one tough chica and I love it. But I also need to learn to respect my limits, lest pushing them comes back to bite me in the butt. (Literally - even my butt hurts.)


One final note. Beyond crafting & active living, life continues. As I've quoted before, "One doesn't lift weights to be able to lift a heavier weight. One lifts weights to have the strength outside of the weight room".

Much of this active living is also for the purpose of finding balance - not just in the pool or on the road, but at home, in the groccery, during the not-so-active moments of life. And boy, did I need it today.

For whatever reason, our son has decided to act up the past few days. This evening, he got upset during a fight with his sister. After removing the cause (bubble wrap), I went into the kitchen to start dinner. Within a few minutes, I heard a snipping sound.
I hurried back into the living room to discover this:

(Tyler's Handiwork)

He had taken his scissors and was cutting up the pillow on our couch. (Only later did I discover that he had made at least a small cut in every single pillow.) (This couch is a pillow-back couch, so these pillows aren't just for decoration)

We are still in the process of determining how we are going to deal with this. For now, he is in his room with no toys. He doesn't seem to care...even helped us carry some out. It is a lesson in parenting that I've been thrown into and now must find the strength to face. (Beyond that, there's no way we can afford another couch right now, so a little sewing here and there and a very shabby-chic look is going to have to suffice!)

Lessons everywhere - and everywhere, opportunities to create with and through them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


WE DID IT! 7 hours later and I'm still on a high. Chris & I have officially completed our first 5K. We were up around 5:15 a.m. this morning and started our race at 8:00 a.m.

We had run the course a couple of days before to familiarize ourselves with it and to determine an estimate time. This morning - we both COMPLETELY blew our previous times out of the water. Both of us improved our times by at least 2 minutes.

I finished at 33:04, Chris at 37:09. Out of 209 runners for the 5K (I was surprised by how many were out there!), I was 129th & Chris was 156th. I am totally psyched that for our first 5K ever we did, at least what I would consider, quite well. I can't believe I had an average of 10:38 mile time. Seriously, for swearing a year ago that I am NOT nor will I ever be a runner, I'm so happy with myself!

I owe a GREAT deal of thanks to my mom who spent the night with us last night, got the kids ready this morning, and still arrived in time to take photos of the start & finish of our race. (I also owe thanks to those who inspired me, those who, in addition to the others, provided advice, and EVERYONE who has cheered us on along the way (too many to name, but please know I hold each of you in my heart - thank you!!).

Ironically, even though we'd strived to have a good nights sleep last night, Dilana had decided otherwise. Generally she is a wonderful sleeper, but last night not only did she wake up twice but ended up sleeping in our bed. Go figure. It was a rough morning.

We'd also signed up Tyler for a .9 mile "fun run" that started at 9:10 a.m. I actually ran with him (parents of younger kids were encouraged to do so). He still doesn't understand the "pacing" aspect...he'd run all out then walk for a bit. We ended up holding hands for some of the run and let me tell you -- I haven't been so happy in such a long time. Each kid received a small trophy & certificate.

On top of it all, the Y held a raffle during the awards ceremony -- Chris won a t-shirt from the Running Company and I won a gift certificate to Pizza X (formerly Pizza Express for those IU folk). (Yeah, I admit it's kinda odd - we have one of the healthiest mornings of our lives and will celebrate using the certificate to have a horribly unhealthy evening.) :)

The entire race is kind of a blur but I still feel that lovely feeling - kind of like when you spin around in a circle. It was quite hilly (Ok, for a beginner - it was CRAZY HILLY!) and I am so glad that others around me were taking walking breaks as well. I did walk a few times, but never longer than a minute, and two of those were during the water breaks. (Tricky trying to sip a bit of water when you are running!)

I cannot describe the feeling of running through that finish gate while my mother, my two kids, and strangers cheered me on. I really am tearing up right now. Being there to celebrate Chris running through was icing on the cake. I am so proud of him, myself, and my son for what we accomplished today (and for my daughter & mother for supporting us along the way). I'm proud of my kids for cheering everyone on. I'm totally on cloud nine regardless of how achy my body might be.

If I can share any energy with this, please please let me pass some on to you. If I can do it, if Chris can do it, I promise anyone can. This feeling of self accomplishment is unbelievable - something everyone should experience at least once in their life. For us, the story will continue...we are both quite pumped about this and ready to find the next 5K (and eventually 10K) as we pursue our training for the triathlon.

Some yoga, some hot-tubbing, some wine...s'gonna be a good night. And tomorrow, I will wake up knowing what I have accomplished and everything that I still have yet to accomplish. That is my life. Wow, it's a good one. I'm so fortunate for all I have! Thank you for the role you play in that...ok, enough gushing. Here are some photos to tell the story in a way I can't with words. Enjoy....

(Early morning at the YMCA)
(It couldn't have been better weather. Around 50 degrees and sunny for the run - it is now up in the 70's)
(Me, before the race and totally anxious...and still a bit sleepy.)
(Chris and I before the race)
(It seemed to take forever to start. Here we are waiting for them to announce the start, totally high on adrenaline!)
(I'm totally gasping for breath and trying to finish strong but so happily overwhelmed at the cheering at the finish line...and seeing the time that I'm going to accomplish!)

(There is nothing in the world like this feeling. Chris just finished and we are both beaming for one another.)

(Our family of "runners"! Hopefully this is setting a precedent for years to come. I never would have thought this would be us but am GIDDY that it is.)
(My baby boy finishing his own race! (And my mom and Dilana cheering him on on the right side) I stopped running a few feet back so he could finish on his own...he did so well!!)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Creative Constipation

It ain't pretty.

I have all the stuff I'd need, bits of time here and there to get the job done, and a very strong desire to make it happen....but I just haven't done it!

I know I've heard about this before. This blockage. And I've definitely fallen prey to it - countless times.

But this time, I've felt the emptiness that a confined life creates. I feel the loneliness of my soul as it longs to fly free, to manipulate my fingers, to paint, to stamp, to type and share these countless thoughts the soul has manifested in my mind. And yet, I keep it under lock and key.

The "shoulds" creep back in. I "should" be creating for someone else. I am still running into that creative block when I sit down with all my lovely play things and wonder, "now what"? Sadly, I have a hard time creating just for myself - for the sake of exploration, for spiritual play.

Right now at least I have an excuse of sorts to create again. The holiday season is quickly approaching and I am determined to make all of my cards this year. So last night, the kids and I sat down at the dining room table. I pulled out countless materials - ribbons, glitter, cardstock, glue, scissors, stamps, crayons, markers - put on some music, and just played. I ended up finishing only one card before I had to start dinner. I left the materials out when we were done. This is what the table currently looks like:

This morning, I've done 2 more cards. And, as with anything else, I'm re-discovering that the first steps are almost always the hardest. The cards today took way less time than my over-thought card from yesterday. I'm just as happy with the latter as I am the former.

Relaxing, letting go. Being in the situation and the right mindset, being present, and letting the body and spirit take control. (The mind will pipe up frequently - you can listen, but use only the thoughts that tickle the spirit, honor the soul, and comfort the body.) They are lessons that can be applied in every situation. For my next creative venture....

I tighten up again just thinking about it. Tomorrow, we will run our 5K. We got out yesterday to try the course...I was so worked up about it that it ended up being a bit less threatening than I thought. But just a bit. It is truly a hilly nightmare, with the last 1/3 almost all uphill.

I'm thrilled, I'm nervous, I'm excited, ... it's all there. I'm concerned I won't be able to sleep tonight. Poor hubby has to work after the race. Fortunately, he begins a vacation after that so we plan to celebrate (as long as he can stay awake) on Saturday evening.

So, my lovely friends, let me take your hand as we take the next step together. Let's laugh with our fears, smile through the tears, and enjoy that blissful way of being when, no matter how stuck we may be or challenging the road ahead of us, we just know that we're on the soul's path. And it is delicious.

Deep breath, and let's get this party started....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our First Event - a 5K!

I've been completely neglectful about updating on my working out/triathlon training schedule but never fear - I haven't stopped!

First and foremost: This weekend, hubby and I officially committed (i.e. dropped the moola for) our first ever "event" - a 5K to be held this upcoming Saturday (7th) in lovely Bloomington, IN! We both signed up for the run, but it is also a walk/run event so no pressures in case we stumble over ourselves. It is THRILLING to be thinking about this. Part of me now considers 3.1 miles to be minimal (already striving for that half marathon), but the other part of me recognizes that probably 3 months ago I would have NEVER thought I could complete such an event.

Needless to say, that has been quite a motivator. So, thankfully, has my hubby. He has remained more committed to this path than I ever thought possible and challenges me to do the same.

I can't remember all that I've done since I last recorded events, but here's an attempt (if only for my own record keeping!):

What I Did:

(Tues a.m.) 5 mile leisure bike ride (with a friend, trying out pulling a trailer with Dilana in it)
(Wed a.m.) 20 minutes swimming (forgot my socks so no running!)
(Thurs) (I forget!)
(Fri a.m.) 20 minutes swimming + 32 minutes running on treadmill
(Sat a.m.) 36 minutes running (my first full run for 3 miles! level ground)
(Sun a.m.) light bit of yoga and rest
(Mon a.m.) 30 minutes running (including 2 minutes walking - went on nasty hills through our neighborhood)

What I Learned:

* I could very easily fall in love with biking. Going out with my friend/neighbor was my first attempt riding the bike "just for fun". It was challenging learning how to pull the trailer but easier than I thought it would be! It was so fun to just ride without thinking of how fast I was going.

* When packing for the YMCA, remember socks. Very important.

* I have a long way to go in order to be prepared for the triathlon. It truly is encouraging to KNOW that I will make it there. The swimming / running combo (even with break in between to change) totally drained Chris and I for the day.

* I got totally discouraged on Wednesday after swimming. For the first time, the thought "maybe I can't do this" popped into my head. Seriously, I couldn't (and still can't) swim one full lap (one end of the pool to the next and then back again) freestyle. But when we went back on Friday, hubby and I just got right back in and tried again. I have bumped up my research on swimming techniques and plan to up my upper body strength training. I'm not sure where my weaknesses are and how to fix them, but I am determined to find out. I will get back into the pool again and again until I have this figured out. Then - open water.

It's like the song we sing with the kids when trying to clean up, "Step-by-step, piece-by-piece, bit-by-bit, we get the job done."

* I can totally run for 3.1 miles on level ground! Whoo hoo!

* I can totally not run for 3.1 miles on massive hills. I figured I'm at a pace of around 12-minutes / mile on level ground (not a great pace but at least I know where I'm starting...) and was aiming for that in our neighborhood. I had estimated my distance throughout the run, but decided to make my halfway mark at 16 minutes instead of 20. So I ran/walked for 32 minutes...and when calculating the mileage, found out I only did around 2.6 miles. Heck, I'm just proud I didn't toss my breakfast into someone's yard.

* This is becoming who I am. Only a few short months ago, I would swear up and down that I wasn't a runner. A triathlon??? Great for ya', but not my thing. One little decision to try - just try - and suddenly I'm complaining that I could only run for 2.6 miles.

Yesterday evening (Sunday), I had made up my mind that I was going to run before an 8:30 a.m. meeting with the principal at my son's school. (PTO stuff - not kid troubles, thankfully) Originally I was totally pumped to run to the school and have hubby pick me up after the meeting. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a way where I wouldn't totally offend the principal with my I-just-ran Stink and how to carry the papers & deodorant I needed with me. But NO EXCUSES - I just got up at 6:30 and ran through the neighborhood. (We'd also planned to go to the YMCA for swimming after, but hubby volunteered to take care of the lawn...of which he did nearly 3 hours of using the leaf-blower today. Who am I to turn him down when he wants to do chores??)

I did it. I may not run the whole 5K this weekend if the hills are as massive as around here. I may not figure out the whole breathing / freestyle thing as quickly as I'd like. But I'm doing it, I am becoming the person who RUNS, BIKES, and (almost) swims. Together we are setting a great example for the kids.

Step-by-step, piece-by-piece, bit-by-bit, we'll get the job done.

Ways of Being

I have long believed that we are all everyone else. You are a mother, a father, a child. You are an artist, a triathlete, a CEO, a success. You are a murderer, a lier, a cheater, a failure. You are these things because the seed of being each of these lies within you, whether or not you have made decisions that fully brought you into these roles.

I am willing to admit that you may not actively be a murderer (ok, I really hope not) - but just try and overlook the potential vs. actual for a moment. Imagine with me that because you have the capability to be any of these things, you are. What does that do to your sense of self? (If you think that you couldn't possibly be a certain label, play a certain role, I challenge you to think of a situation in which you could. I bet you can think of at least one.)

Because we often get stuck in our worldviews (i.e. how we view our world, framing every decision we make, determining how we handle ourselves and others), trying on someone else's can be a deep learning experience. I'm sure you've heard the countless methods suggesting just being something to become it, just thinking something is so and it will be. There are truths behind these methods.

Why not take the fear out of it, though, and play? Play with being. You can be this way on your own, around others (make it a priority first to avoid harming, though)...for a minute or a day. Then just go back to being who you were. Notice how you felt being that way. Realize that during that time, you were that person. Take a minute to let it sink in that you can be that person again...or anyone else you choose. Pick a role. Play. Be aware. Be.

Be brave.

Be a goddess / god.

Be a CEO.

Be an artist.

Be lazy.