Tapping back in …

Sooooo … I have a race on Sunday. I haven’t raced since last July and that was just for fun when I was in Alaska with friends. Sunday will be fun too but it’s also me officially starting to race seriously again. It is both scary and exciting. Getting sick messed with my mind, body and soul. I’ve slowly crept out of the funk it put me in and I feel like I’m finally owning that my heart is vested in my dreams again. I’m a LONG way off from achieving them. Trust me, Sunday’s race will be slow and steady to the finish. No where near my old finishing times. But you know what? I am going to appreciate every single second of it because those footsteps are the beginning of me believing in myself again.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you tap back in!!!

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Hell hath no fury like a runner disappointed in themselves …

I did my long run yesterday … and it was horrific. I was looking forward to it and had no reservations about getting it done, but it got ugly. REAL UGLY.

The first six miles were fine. Completely uneventful. But by mile 8 I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. The miles that followed were even worse. The word NASTY describes it about as good as “ice cube” describes an iceberg. Yep, it was THAT BAD. It was honestly one of the toughest training runs I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong I have experienced these awful miles before. Some runs just SUCK. And this one SUCKED HUGE.

But as much as I loathe these trying runs, I have also grown to appreciate them. Not at the time, of course! At the time I’m too wrapped up in the misery to see anything good. I wonder why I continue to subject myself to the disappointment. I wonder if my body was ever meant for distance. I berate myself with all sorts of negatives! The appreciation I have for tough runs comes later when I realize that I can suffer greatly and still somehow manage to survive. There is something in this realization that gives me strength. Knowing that I can push myself mind, body and soul is empowering. It’s hell, but it’s empowering!

Thankfully by the next day, the memory of my terrible run fades and I begin to think about my next long run. One that I envision will be better. WAY BETTER. The best part of this is that my mind believes it’s possible. Somehow my feelings of defeat morph into determination. FIERCE determination! And it gets me back out there, HAPPILY, week after grueling training week. To try to explain this roller coaster of emotions and self-inflicted physical torment sounds insane even to me. But I guess that’s why they say runners are crazy, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can’t wait to do it all over again!!!

Living your highest potential …

When I was young I believed that finding my purpose in life would also be when and where I would find my greatest joy. When all the other drama I focused on would just miraculously fall by the wayside. Like a BOOM of clarity that would leave me feeling good and right and comfortable in my own skin.

And … it is ALL that.

But there is something that I have learned as I’ve gotten older. Something my young mind never considered.

I’ve got A LOT of different purposes. Actually, TONS.

It is a blessing to know this now and it’s something I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. How freeing it would be to know that all my eggs weren’t in just one basket. To understand that time and wisdom opens doors to new opportunities to recreate or find one’s purpose. With all the gifts we are given and the diverse personalities we embody I can’t imagine that God would only have one BIG thing for us to become. We are capable of so much more! And as I inch closer to my 50th Birthday I am wildly aware that time dictates nothing. As long as I have breath, I have purpose. It’s just up to me to allow it to happen. Over and over again. To seize every exciting day as a lesson and treat it as an opportunity to grow even more into me. Could you imagine if we all lived with this freedom? A world where we never gave up on ourselves or settled. Where change was welcome and passions were lived no matter what our ages may be. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be pretty amazing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you live your highest potential!!!

Wide awake …

Before getting sick I was an early riser. No, I mean REALLY early. I woke up before my alarm usually about 5 am, easy peasy. And FULL of energy. That has NOT been the case for 16 months now. Don’t get me wrong, the nagging fatigue is gone. THANK GOD. But waking up is a whole different ballgame for me now. I wake up groggy. No more bouncing out of bed. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. NOPE. After decades of being one way, you don’t forget it … NOT EVER. Anyway, that being said, I’m INCREDIBLY thankful for the recovery I’ve had thus far and for all the neurological bullets I dodged. I just recently had a physical and my doctor told me again how lucky I was to have had no lingering issues from the encephalopathy. She also seemed very hopeful that I’m going to one day feel FULLY like myself again. Needless to say I left that appointment feeling GREAT!

When you are in the midst of recovery and healing you don’t always feel or see the progress you have made. I can now that so much time has passed but some things still really bother me. Like the difficulty I have waking up. It’s incredibly frustrating to say the least. But as soon as I get frustrated I remind myself of how far I have come and of what could have been (EEEEK). And now I have the words my doctor said to me. I’m going to CLING to her hopefulness. And let life unfold.

This morning I received a little gift. I woke up at 4 am. All on my own. And feeling like me again. This has happened a few times now. I have learned that these mornings don’t last. Tomorrow or the next day will likely be a different story. But that’s OK. I enjoy having a glimpse of the old me. No matter how fleeting these mornings may be I couldn’t be more grateful to still have them.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are WIDE AWAKE!!!

A story about faith, love and believing in miracles …

I post these words every year. I don't think I will ever be able to change them. To do so would be an injustice to her. To me. And to all our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to share this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. It is a story of faith and love … and believing in miracles.

We were told when I was about 11 weeks pregnant that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her still born … I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an adamant and angry “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away … I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue who were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she has some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Eight years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since … and I would have it no other way.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!

Enjoying life to the fullest …

I spent a lot of my 48th year recovering from an illness that I never thought I’d have to deal with again. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. And it really made me think.

I have always treasured life’s simple pleasures. I have made sure I have remained appreciative of both the large and small moments in my life. I hold on very loosely to material things as I know they are not what really matters. I believe that love and the people I share it with are the most important things in the world. I felt like I was doing life right. Then disaster hit. Again.

I really think that getting sick can be a way that God gets our attention. And I also believe that age old saying, ” What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. So I felt the need to look long and hard at how both those things related to my second bout with meningitis. I’m not sure I have all the answers yet, or if I ever will. I’ve made peace with that. But I am very sure of one thing. God had more time planned for me and I’m not going to waste one second of it.

Well, I hope you all have a life that you enjoy to the fullest!!!

The lucky few …

I have written many times before that my youngest daughter, Reese, has Down Syndrome. I’ve also written about her biggest delays, which are in her oral motor development. Her speech is severely delayed. She also doesn’t chew her food. She has many food aversions because of it and really doesn’t understand the whole social part of eating. It is just a means to an end. Well, last night and this morning we had some HUGE break throughs!

HUGE. HUGE.

Last night we went to Dave and Buster’s and Reese picked up a menu and told me she wanted macaroni and cheese. She has NEVER done that before. She ate almost the entire bowl of mashed up mac and cheese and she drank their lemonade served in their cup. She asked to try all of our drinks too. Again, this NEVER happens. Not only THAT. When it came time to trade in her tickets she picked a Funko Pop Wonder Woman and … a piece of CANDY. It was all she could talk about! My kid, talking about CANDY! Say WHAT?!?! When we got home it was after midnight and she went straight to bed holding her Wonder Woman and CANDY. I assumed that she would soon forget about the candy and it would end up in the trash at some point.

NOPE.

When she woke up this morning she walked out of her room holding both. She immediately asked to eat her candy.

Candy for breakfast? Um. For this child to STILL be interested in candy THE NEXT DAY was HUGE. For her to ask to eat something knew, EVEN MORE HUGE. So, candy for breakfast? HECK FREAKING YEAH!

The candy was a little tricky for me because I didn’t actually understand what “Nerd Rope” was. My older kids didn’t eat a whole lot of stuff like this and I had never even heard of it before. Anyway, I broke it apart into tiny pieces and Reese immediately put a “Nerd” in her mouth ALL ON HER OWN! Then she tried the jelly-ish rope part thingy. She tried a few more pieces of both and really tried to CHEW. I was in SHOCK. I STILL AM! In about 12 hours of time Reese made more “feeding” progress than she EVER has. She appears to be making up for all the years of “kid food” that she missed too. HA and YIKES! But she is getting it! I am SO HAPPY! This is HUGE AND AWESOME! A dream come true and a MIRACLE! She has come so far. SO SO FAR.

Days like this I am reminded how good my life is. To find this much joy in something so simple makes me know just how much this little girl keeps me grounded and REAL. She is a blessing. I love how she has taught me to look at our lives and the world around us. There aren’t a lot of people who may understand us. Heck, some people might even feel bad for us. But I can you this with all sincerity. Viewing life with Down Syndrome goggles on leaves you with a beautiful perspective.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are one of the lucky few!!!