Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things That Make Me _________. And a Few Goals

I'm trying out this blogging more regularly again thing.  I'm halfway between wanting to write and wanting to just keep my thoughts to myself and go to bed.  But I think that if I'm going to get my writing voice flowing again...even if it is simply to write more for myself...then writing more often is the first step.

So....list form it is tonight.

Things that make me Smile about today:

  • Happy giggly girls this morning running out of the house to catch the bus
  • A little boy who was in such a good mood all day!  This is big for us! 
  • A bit of time to connect with a special person this morning while my son made Christmas cards for his teacher while chitter chattering to me in his sweetest voice
  • Deciding to slow down and simplify a few specific things in my life.  One thing I've decided to do is cut out Christmas cards this year and be okay with it!  Instead, I've decided to reach out and connect in meaningful ways with those people in my life who are important but that I rarely talk to.  Today this meant making a few phone calls and sending some personal heart felt messages.  I felt good about using my time in this way.  Made my heart feel bigger and definitely filled my world with love. One of the people I called was my cross country and track coach from high school (who was also very much a father role in my life from the time I was 14 until even now)...It felt really nice to reconnect with him and laugh like we used to.   
  • Time spent tutoring reading and writing...being a part of something I'm most passionate about
  • Making myself actually sit down and read.  Even if only for 10 minutes.  I read a ton but so much of it here and of books.  I want to make more time for just sitting down and reading a book from cover to cover to enjoy and learn.  The underlining/writing in the margins kind of reading/studying.  
  • A solid 40 minutes of park play time with my son.  Where I kind of felt like I was 4 again.  No phone, no distractions.  I was really lost in our imaginary world.  I think we were bat astronauts.  Pretty radsauce.  We even slept upside down with our space helmets on.  
  • The beautiful 50ish degree day.  
Things that make me Excited about life right now:

Just look at that sunshine!  Cool, crisp, and blue skies!  
Beautiful morning to be at the UNCA track! 800; 1000; 1200; 1200; 1000; 800. Feels so good to Nail a workout and feel strong and whole while doing it! Good place to be at this point of build up! Thankful for this season in life and the gift it is to run.
  • Running is so fun right now!  I'm in a really good place with base building and I feel happy about Boston training.  I am at a different place with training than I have been in the past.  So much of it is about JOY right now.  And slowing down.  Because of that, I feel myself getting stronger and running happier.  This week has been another good week of training with a fun track workout on Tuesday that left me smiling and feeling so whole!  
  • My easy slow 17 mile run planned for tomorrow.  Covering the distance is the name of the game for me.  I plan to turn my watch around and just run.  I will be more satisfied with a slower average closer to the 8:30 range than I will with it sub 8.  I'm truly finding the benefits of these slower easier not making every long run or run about faster splits.  So much of my run tomorrow will be about visualizing my body ABSORBING or soaking in the slow and steady work I've been doing.  
  • Christmas of course!  Having kids makes Christmas so magical and this year is no exception. 
  • Life lessons that I continue to learn.  About myself.  About others.  About the world.  So much to learn. So much room to GROW.  Thankful for that.  
  • Living in Asheville for the next 8 months!  Love it.  
  • That satisfying feeling of having my long run done tomorrow and enjoying an evening of beer and pizza and wrapping Christmas presents with my hubby after the kids crash!  Oh and a day off on Saturday.  LOVE my days off running after my long run day.  
A few goals for my life right now:
  • Continue to be conscious about slowing down with my day.  Life doesn't have to be work all the time.  I can just let the messes and "to-dos" go and be present with my son over a game of Bingo or Uno.  Or stop at the park on the way home from preschool, leave my phone in the car and just play like I'm 4 again!  These are the things that I'll count as gold at the end of the day...the stuff that matters.  
  • Reconnect with some of the special people in my life I've lost contact with.  Even if it just means sending a quick text or e-mail here and there.  
  • Write GRATITUDE lists again more regularly.  I looked back at my journal from 2011 and realized that I did this almost every single day.  Long lists. Happy lists.  So much to be thankful for.  And you know, 2011 was hands down one of the happiest, fullest, most alive years of my life.  Abundance! 
  • Continue taking care of my body, running joyfully, keeping the weight on, eating healthy, and following the plan (TRUST).  
  • Sit down more often to just talk and listen to my kids.  Without doing chores or multi-tasking...just sitting still and ENJOYING them!  
I'd love to hear from you!  
1.  What are some things that make you smile right now?  Things that your excited about?  
2. What are some of your current goals or intentions?  


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Monday, December 16, 2013

Mindful Running, Living for the NOW, and Moving Forward With Willingness and Intention

 Cold, crisp air. Bright sunshine. Blue skies. Favorite trail shoes worn in just the right places. Familiar dirt path under my feet. Leaves scattered, trees bare. Every mile is another step back to myself, leaving all my worries behind. A reminder of what a gift it is to run.

Beaver Lake
Morning runs,
    crisp, clear and cold
Brilliant Sunshine
Bold Blue Sky
Singing birds
Familiar faces, Soft earth, and exchanges of warm "Good Mornings"
A 1-2 mile path that doesn't seem to get old.
Running.  Mile after mile.  Soaking in my surroundings.
Breathing in the fresh air,
Inhaling and Exhaling my GRATITUDE.

Today's 9 mile easy run was yet another run that left me feeling so thankful to be here right now.  To be running in a place I love so much.  To see my paces picking up again.  And to have my legs, body and mind feeling so strong.  As I made my way around the familiar path that I run on almost daily, I settled into my happy place where I almost become one with my running.  Most of the time these days, when I run, I try to be mindful and fully present with my steps.  I let my swirling thoughts go and I think about my body, my movement, my breath.  Almost a meditation of sorts.  Thoughts come and go...I acknowledge them and let them pass... but for the most part, I find that I'm embracing the present moment as it comes.  Feeling my feet strike the ground.  Noticing the way my body leans and pulls.  Listening to my breath.  Taking in my surroundings.  It's truly my quiet time.

When I finished running today, I thought of how much of my living lately has been about me
being scared
dragging my feet
Not wanting to _________
Feeling sad about leaving here when we haven't even left yet

I've been in a place of looking to the future and thinking about how much I don't want to leave Asheville. So much that I think I've been missing out on all that I could truly be enjoying in my RIGHT NOW.  I've spent more time wishing we could live here forever than I have actually embracing my time here for all it is worth.  For the HERE and NOW.  As I was driving home this morning, I thought of how my runs have been so mindful and focused on being fully present in the moment and how this has brought much clarity and joy to my days.  Then it really hit me that the way I have been running is the way I want to be LIVING!  Mindful.  Present.  Grateful.  Intent on making my day beautiful.  Intent on being my best and enjoying where I'm at....NOW.

I'm done wishing that we could stay here forever.  I'm done being scared of the change that will be coming in July.  I'm through with being sad about leaving a place I love so much when I'm blessed enough to get to live here for a whole eight more months!  What I am ready to start doing:

  • Focusing on my present moments without looking to the past or the future.  
  • Moving forward every day with the INTENT to be the best I can be and make the most out of what I have TODAY.  
  • Soak up the abundance that life has to offer.  
  • Be open to receiving just as much abundance and joy wherever we end up in Oregon in eight months from now.  Believe that it will be good. 
  • Continue to use my runs as my time of mindful meditation.  And continue to learn about myself and life through my runs.  My training runs truly do teach me so much if I'm willing to reflect on them...each one has a special lesson to take away....the runs that are easy, long, fast, much to gain from them.   
  • Having WILLINGNESS to RECEIVE all that life has to offer.  
The following picture and caption was from a Facebook post last week after a really powerful run with a meaningful (almost spiritual) message that came to me with such clarity...almost as if God was whispering to me.
"15 miles. The kind of run where I needed to dig deeper than usual to finish. I know I've written before about how running can be a somewhat spiritual experience for me me. Or how there have been certain runs in my life where I can almost hear God speaking to me...or my higher self sharing wisdom that I need to hear for my life at the time. So often, it is these kinds of runs that I learn and truly HEAR some of the greatest messages they were meant for me. Today was one of those runs. It won't make much sense to anyone but me (perhaps I'll find the time to blog soon) but at mile 11 of 15, I found myself having to really shift my mental focus so I could get through the run. I hit a forest trail and started thinking of taking in the energy and life around me...then the word "RECEIVE" was in my head for the rest of that mile. Receive, Receive.... By mile 12 I found myself whispering "WILLINGNESS TO RECEIVE" again and again and again. By the time I figured out what I was saying, a whole soul smile and loving peace washed over me. For I know that this means so much for me. Right here. Right now. Always. Yes! Willingness to Receive! So glad for this wise message meant for me."

Wow, that's two posts in two days!  A record for me lately.  

Happy Monday! 


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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hodge Podge: Writing, Boston Training, Literacy Education, Polar Express

I miss writing.  I miss it.  Writing in my journal. Writing blog posts. Writing letters.  Writing goals and gratitude.  Just writing.  For me.  I'm not sure exactly why I hardly ever write these days.  I think it's because of a lot of things.  Time is one of these reasons.  I mean, looking at my parenting life now compared to a couple of years ago?  Holy Moly!  I'm not sure how I wrote so much two years ago...blogs, articles, journals, daily e-mails, blog commenting, etc.  I was on fire!  Now it's like my pants are on fire.  It's go go go.  Drive kids here and there, finding order in my day, rising to meet the demands that come with meeting the needs of my three very different kids as they grow, still adjusting to a somewhat new community, fitting in marathon base building, and just living life where it is right now.  I think as my kids get older, my alone time seems to get a little less in different ways.  I suppose I could get up earlier so the first hour of my day is all mine.  Or I could create some designated "quiet" time in lieu of that once sacred nap time that came when my kids were younger...but that hasn't seemed to work lately.  Anyway, I guess life really is about making it what we want so I'm determined to find a way to WRITE more.  Maybe not on this blog for all five to 10 of you left but for for ME.  Letters to myself, lists of gratitude, intentions, reflections, observations, conversations with ME.  Writing is such a huge part in making my inner light shine.  It calms me.  Guides me.  Really, when I write for myself (forget any other reason than just to be part of the process), it's like I'm wrapping myself up in one big hug and giving myself a beautiful guide for my day, my week, my life.  Something about getting the words down on paper or screen that clears my head and fills my heart.  Even if what I'm writing is just a simple list of things I noticed on a particular day or a goal I've been chewing on or a letter to someone that I never send.  Such a gift it is to be able to write for have a voice with our words.  To put ourselves out there to an audience of none or many where we are intentional about our life.  So, here's to writing more.

Some current random life bullets:

  • I've realized that one of the reasons I have stopped writing on my blog, sharing my life, and reaching out to others in my community here in Asheville is because I've been hesitant (not all intentional) to put down roots.  I mean, Change is darn hard!  Darn hard.  Even if it is a change we wanted.  Putting down roots, making new friends, and connecting with my community fully? Well, something in me has resisted this because of the fact that we are leaving to move back to Oregon in July.  Why get too close and share too much only to have dig my roots up and move again?  Well, Hello Amanda!!  Because that's what it means to truly LIVE fully!  Snap out of it!  Holding yourself back and living half heartedly just out of self protection and saving yourself the difficulty that comes with change and moving again?  This is no way to live!  Not at all.  So, DIG IN!  Share yourself.  Connect.  Be passionate.  Purposeful.  Let others in!  Yes!  Ok, see, it's these kinds of conversations I have with myself when I write.  
  • I've been so fortunate to get involved with the local Literacy Council here and be a part of something I'm deeply passionate about...teaching reading and writing and connecting with others through LEARNING.  I get to spend one day a week tutoring and helping someone improve in reading and writing.  Such a rewarding experience and one that is probably helping me more than it is to the person I'm teaching.  It's been a reminder to me of the deep JOY I have for Literacy Instruction and really, for connecting with others through teaching and learning.  It's nice to have a small flame lit here.  Keeps me going in the other areas of my life.  My spirit feels so alive when I'm teaching and involved in education.  Not certain how I will ever return to the field but I know that's where one of my true callings is. 
  • I'm taking 20 minutes to write here as my daughters take bubble baths in the hotel bath tub with their new Bath and Body Works body wash (oh boy, this place smells like girl!!).  We are away on a JUST GIRLS weekend getaway where they think they died and went to heaven.  Ha! My husband is home with our little guy doing the same thing.  While the boys have had a weekend of pizza, wrestling, night hikes with flashlights, Ninja Turtles, movies, and falling asleep next to each other, we've had a weekend of shopping (I hate shopping but gosh, these girls are LOVING it!), 3D movies, trips to the candy store, getting ice cream, shows, hotel bed jumping, swimming, and now some ice skating.  We are surely creating some magical memories here.  That makes my whole self smile.  
  • Tonight when we get back, the kids are all in store for a VERY big surprise.  We will be surprising them all with Gold tickets (that I made) and new pajamas and robes and then driving off to ride the Polar Express in the Great Smoky Mountains.  They are going to be so excited.  And we are so excited to take them.  Hot Chocolate, reading from the Polar Express, singing, visit with Santa, and a bell from Santa's reindeer to put on our tree. I'm pretty certain that this weekend will go down in their memories as one of the best they've ever had.  Success.   

Boston Training
Still in base building phase for Boston.  I am fortunate enough to have my good friend coaching me/writing my training plans again.  We work quite well together.  He's been very insistent on keeping  most of my daily runs EASY and at first we argued about that but now I'm happily running the paces he wants and enjoying it!  I'm reminded again and again of just how powerful running is in making my life beautiful...when I'm out there running and pushing myself, I am gaining so much energy and fuel for the rest of my life.  Running truly does play a part in helping us become the best versions of US.  I've started seeing Dr. Myers at Myers Chiropractic and Functional Health for Active Release Therapy (ART).  Wow, this is good stuff.  You can read more about it on his website if you don't know what it is.  So many of you highly recommended it.  Such good physical therapy for this body of mine.  I'm not entirely sure what my goals are for Boston but right now I'm just enjoying having someone else give me my workouts and saving the thinking/time goals, etc.  for later when training gets more serious.  My main goal is to keep the JOY in my running and enjoy what running brings to my life.  Race times truly and honestly are not a huge thing for me at this point.  I'm happy to see my paces pick up, yes, but the time on the clock isn't as important to me as it used to be.  It's how I feel and what's going on in my mind that matters most.  I won't post training regularly on  here but I will sometimes.  I'm enjoying have most of my training private.  This works for me.  But this week:

12/8:  Easy 8 @ 8:14 avg
12/9:   Easy 5
12/10: 12 miles @ 7:48 avg: 8:28; 8:14; 8:15; 7:45; 7:42; 7:31; 7:44; 7:37; 7:33; 7:32; 7:37; 7:31 This workout wasn't so much hard physically but my mind was really crappy!  The wind in my face, moodiness, etc.  I just felt blah! 
12/11: Easy 6 miles
12/12: Easy 9 @ 8:17
12/13: 12 @ 8:00 avg: last three 7:31; 7:21; 7:31 feeling strong and solid!  Yes, progress!  

12/14: 9 easy

And off for some ice skating on this beautiful blue skies and sunshiney day!  Actually, I'm pretty sure what we will be doing on the ice won't be ice skating but we'll have fun hobbling around and pretending to skate.


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