My happy place …

Yesterday we headed up to Ventura County. We moved from there 10 years ago and I’m still in mourning. I’d move back there in a heartbeat so I appreciate these little trips there abundantly. Today we spent the day visiting our old stomping grounds and took a second trip the CSU Channel Islands. G3 received an acceptance letter from the university last week so we felt a visit there was also in order. It was such a nice day. My favorite part, if I had to pick one, was heading to the beach to see what a local artist, Juan Manuel Cisneros, had created. It’s a nativity made out of rocks. I included a picture but it honestly doesn’t do it justice. It’s absolutely amazing. If you’re a local or are passing through the area it’s definitely worth seeing.

Anyway, if you can’t tell, I had a great day. There’s something about this little part of the world that speaks to my heart. It’s a place that has a special place in my past, that is still utterly enjoyable in my present and hopefully will be a significant part of my future.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to visit your happy place!!!



Beginning again … 

I’ll be racing in Ventura this weekend. I wasn’t going to but I found out that this particular race is probably in its’ final year. I love this race and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to run it one last time.

I have written before about how Ventura and Oxnard Shores hold a very special place in my heart. We lived in Oxnard Shores briefly. My crew went to a small private school in Ventura not too far from our home. Every morning after I dropped them off at school I would walk the bike trail that paralleled the ocean. Early on weekend mornings I would walk up and down the beach by our home and I would end my walk looping the small park just south of where we lived. I loved every second of these mornings. In the back of my head I always knew that they weren’t going to be a permanent thing. So I tried to appreciate all of it. The sound of the waves crashing, the feel of the wind on my face and the smell of the sea air. It was my heaven on earth.

And it was at that small park just south of our home where I decided to start running again. It wasn’t an easy decision I came by. It was filled with a lot of anxiety and apprehension.

I had stopped running in high school when I sustained a pretty serious back injury. I had tried over the years to get back into running but, I’ll be honest, I didn’t like it anymore. It scared me and it hurt my back. I was also plagued by the echoed voices of the medical professionals who told me after my accident: YOU CAN’T DO THAT ANYMORE.

Yet that one day at the end of my walk I looked across that little park and I prayed that God give me courage to run 1/8 of a mile without dying or becoming paralyzed. Yes, I was THAT plagued with fear. But I decided to just take a chance that day and see what could happen. I knew, deep down, that if I could muster up the strength to make it that 1/8 of a mile that all the dreams I had given up on when I was a broken 15 year old would be possible again. So I prayed. I cried. And I ran … and I never looked back again. So yeah, this weekend I go back to those very special seaside towns where my hope was finally bigger than my fears.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you decide to begin again!!!

I’m going back to where it all began … again …

I love racing in places that mean something to me, and tomorrow, I get to do just that.

Tomorrow I will be running in the place where I decided to take a leap of faith and try running again … a REAL try.

In 2005 I had been wogging with a friend 5 days a week after I worked out and dropped my H-Crew off at school. It was about a 3.5 mile distance when all was said and done. We would start at the far end of Ventura State beach, walking past the pier and all the surfers just north of there. It was a beautiful stretch of beach we came to love. On Saturdays I would go by myself around our home in Oxnard Shores. I would wog on the sand and at a park just south of our house. The sights, sounds and smells were things that I appreciated experiencing every morning I was out there. If I didn’t love the beach already, those mornings pretty much drove it home.

One Saturday morning as I looped around the park, IT struck me. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was looking at when I came to the conclusion that IT WAS TIME. Incidentally what I was looking at was nothing spectacular. Not an epic wave or beautiful flower. I was looking out toward the major street that was about 1/3 mile from me. My mind (and my heart) made a decision … I wanted to run.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew it would probably hurt at first. A LOT. And that it might not be something I could keep up with my back (thank you past doctors for putting that in my brain). But on THAT Saturday morning I looked across THAT park and asked god (half jokingly) if He could help me run just an 1/8 of a mile … without dying … and He did.

Yep, my running and racing journey began (AGAIN) with 1/8 (or there abouts) of a mile. It seems like nothing now … but it was HUGE to me then.

And honestly, it still is.

That moment when I decided to try (AGAIN) was filled with the fear of failure. I wanted to run again so badly but was worried I just wouldn’t be able to. I am not sure what made me try that day. What finally gave me the courage to do it, I will never know. But I can tell you this … whatever it was, I am thankful.

Today I am heading north and tomorrow morning I will run in the Ventura Marathon. My 6th marathon in less than two years. I will run where I wogged. I will run by our old house. And I will run by the park were all I had hoped for so long ago … has come true.

I guess sometimes all you need to live a dream is a little a hope, a prayer and an 1/8 of a mile … OH and believing that nothing is impossible doesn’t hurt either.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go back to where it all began … again!!!

BERRY special …

I AM SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED!!! We are headed to the Oxnard Strawberry Festival today.


We had the opportunity to live in this wonderful little seaside community and it still holds the key to my heart for so many emotionally charged reasons. Oxnard Shores is also where I decided to give running a chance again.


ME a chance at running again.


Well, I hope you all have a day that is BERRY (yep, I went THERE) special!!!

The ocean and finding my peace …

I have always loved the ocean. About 9 years ago my family and I had the opportunity to move to a lovely little beach community called Oxnard Shores. It wasn’t quite central California but it is too far north the be considered So Cal, HA! Regardless, it was wonderful. We lived 11 houses from the beach and if we opened our windows we could hear the waves crash. Everything we owned smelled like salty fresh air. I. Was. In. Love. I had a feeling life wouldn’t keep us there long, and sadly, I was right. We were only there about 2 years. I guess because deep down I knew we wouldn’t be there forever, I made myself appreciate every moment we had there. The chilly beach nights. The sunsets. The overcast days. The shimmer of the sun on the water like glitter. The dolphins. The surfers. The friendships. And the sand … it was everywhere! Again. I. Was. In. Love. It’s actually the place I began running again. I remember my first day getting back at it and praying to God to please just let me be able to run 1/8th of a mile without having a heart attack. Hey, ya gotta start back somewhere, right?!?! Anyway, I think a part of me will always live there, because being there changed me for the better. My short time in Oxnard Shores made me a much more peaceful and patient person. And as a result when I am struggling with something you can bet on me making a beach trip. You see, the ocean is where I find a centered part of me that isn’t always there. I believe it’s the one place on earth that I can always count on to remind me of how very small I actually am. It humbles me. BUT it also reminds me of how very big God is and that anything is possible through Him. Prayer comes easy for me there. Stillness of my heart comes naturally. I feel hope there. Letting go … just happens. I can’t really understand why, but every time I visit there, I find exactly what I was looking for.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you found your peace!!!