taking the long way

I’m not being judgmental here. I realize that just by making that disclaimer, I’m probably being judgmental at some point. But,

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I was just thinking…

A while back I had the pleasure of running the Savannah Publix Women’s Half Marathon. And by pleasure I mean that it was rough – through no fault of the organizers or the city or the man who single-handedly cheered runners on even though he appeared to have absolutely no clue as to what was going on. In fact, all those folks made the race a resounding success.

What made it rough was the one thing that is beyond anyone’s control. Yes, you guessed it. The weather. The night before the race, I was pretty sure it would be cancelled. And even the morning of, had I not gotten an email from the organizers saying it was in fact still on, I would have easily and without malice or regret, rolled over and gone back to sleep. But alas.

I was ok with a little rain. I mean I had done all my long training runs (um, all two of them) in the rain. I felt completely prepared. But lo and behold, the rain held off and it turned out to be only partly cloudy! But anyone from the south (and I guess other regions?) knows that “rain holding off” and a sliver of sunshine (translate that to mean heat) usually results in the dreaded humidity. And that, my friends can make a race rough, no matter your pace.

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Crawford Square Photo Credit: http://www.savannah.com/crawford-square/

The race was scenic. Savannah is replete with beautiful squares – the intersection of several streets with a bucolic garden in the center surrounded by historic homes.  One of the hallmarks of this race is to run around these squares. And by *around* I mean not through them – you stay on the road. You don’t make friends with the statue, or the fountain, or the big tree that is in the center of the square – you do the miles and run around the square. Unless you are that runner.

Cause if you are that runner, you run through the square. After seeing runner after runner cut the course short, the kind soul next to me, who became my serendipitous running partner, shook her head and rhetorically asked, “Why?”  And we just shook our heads in tandem. Was it hot? Yep. Humid? Like you wouldn’t believe. Did those little short cuts make much of a difference in anyone’s pace or time? Doubtful. But watching runners take the short cut seemed to take the wind out of our sails over and over again.

What made me think of that race and those squares so many months later? I think it has something to do with what we’ve all witnessed lately. It’s this weird juxtaposition of moments when people in leadership shirk their sense of responsibility alongside those moments when people with a fishing boat cross state lines to save strangers in a flood. I guess I’ve just been reminded in the last few days that the long way has the power to make the race worth running.

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Photo Credit: staff photo by Travis Spradling, TheAdvocate.com

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In my mind’s eye…

Y’all, I get grief from all sorts of people about having my phone with me almost everywhere I go. (Let’s be honest, I do have my limits so not EVERYWHERE, but we will leave it at that!) I love my iPhone. I’ll admit it. I have a sacred attachment to it. And it’s not for the reasons that you may think.  Yes, I like a regular social media fix and it is both a blessing and a curse to be able to check my email any time from anywhere, but that’s not why my iPhone is my trusted companion. I love my iPhone because it has the ability to be my mind’s eye.

Notice something online that I want to remember? Grab a screen shot. See something in a magazine I want to make note of? Snap a photo. That delicious meal that was plated so perfectly? Capture it before I devour it. I’ve read somewhere that iPhones are ruining our ability to remember on our own. That makes me giggle. I don’t need to blame a phone for that, I can take care of that just fine on my own thank you very much.

img_1946It’s more than all of that – and more than the 12,000 pictures I currently have on my phone (yep, you read that right) – though it has everything to do with memories.

Last summer while working to plant trees on a mountainside in Guatemala with AIR Guatemala, the wind began to blow and I was overwhelmed by the sound.  It was as if the trees erupted in magnificent applause. At the last second, I pulled out my phone and immediately hit “video record” without even knowing or caring what video was being captured – I simply yearned to remember the sound.

A child blowing out the candles on her birthday cake just yesterday has become a moment none of us will forget and, not only will we not forget, we can share that moment with others.img_0984

Or when I was out for a run and passed a honeysuckle bush and immediately thought of sitting on the back porch of my grandma’s house.  I knew that I needed to take a picture to keep that treasured memory alive.  I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

img_3954I know, I know. Feel free to roll your eyes. Feel free to remind me that sometimes the memory of something is enough. And I know all too well that a photo or video can’t truly capture the beauty of every moment. But there are times, times when my mind’s eye draws a blank and I remember that I have a back up.

So, if you see me pulling out my phone at times that seem odd or if you wonder what I’m attempting to photograph, just know that there is a moment that I desire to remember and that you just might be a part of it.

 

 

 

The years are short…

So last week I shared with all of you sweet folks some words of encouragement about the days of Pre-K graduation because my Facebook 7811_10151515238697149_1930052226_nand Instagram feeds were blowing up with sweet babies finishing up their preschool days. Well, today it’s all about high school graduation. Those preschool days were long, but the high school years fly by.

For many of us, what happens next goes something like this…

In a blink of an eye, your gangly freshman is about to be dropped off at college – which, as you recall, is full of men with beards and women who you might mistake for moms on the playground – the same people who gave tours to you and your little high school junior and now they are about to share the same classrooms with her. It is frightening.

For those of you who are in this new stage of life, I have some thoughts for you and they are these: Continue reading

The days are long…

7811_10151515238697149_1930052226_nMy Facebook and Instagram feeds are overflowing with proud faces, all basking in the glow of cap and gown, pomp and circumstance, diploma and accolade that come with graduation. Pre-K graduation. Yes, those little 4 and 5 year olds are about to embark on the real world and take the place by storm.

It won’t be long before those little ones are smelling up the house with their pre-pubescent funk – of the physical and emotional variety. And then the next thing you know, Continue reading

Mourning the loss

Our community has been shaken this week by the tragic and sudden loss of one of our young people in a car crash that took the lives of three others and has left another in critical condition.  Along with our loss, there are three other communities like ours grieving and another praying like their own life depended on it. And we all fall under an umbrella that binds us together – a university community of which these girls were a part. The circle of grief seems to be ever growing, welcoming us all in. 

Knowing that each of these young women is someone’s baby girl, someone’s childhood friend, someone’s sister, someone’s confidant and late night fast food companion, only widens the circumference to an incomprehensible proportion. Losing someone at such a young age and in such a sudden way feels almost surreal. Multiplying that by 4 only complicates our ability to grasp what is happening.  

I’m no expert on grief, but I do find myself in the middle of it on a regular basis. Part of what I do for a living is walk with people in and through their grief. I offer words of comfort and hope. I provide a shoulder to cry on and sometimes a target to rail at. And one thing I do know is that we grieve not only over the loss of a person, but we grieve over all the intangibles. Without warning that circle of grief turns into an monstrous Venn diagram. 

When I suffered a miscarriage early in a pregnancy, I mourned not only the loss of a child. I mourned the plans that we had begun to make. I mourned the idea of having two children. And even mourned the thought that pregnancy was easy for me. You understand. Anyone who has gone through loss – whether it be loss of life, loss of a job, loss of something else – you know that loss is greater than what others may see. The loss permeates the very air you breathe. 

And so today, we mourn. We mourn a young woman who was kind, funny, faithful. We grieve the loss of her gregarious smile and we mourn the way her eyes squinted so adorably when she did it. There is a loss of who she was in the circle of life and we mourn what that means for her family.

And as we struggle with the acute loss of that precious life, we begrudgingly recognize that we have more mourning to do. The loss of security, control, protection, invincibility. The loss of innocence and independence. The loss of the future looking the way we planned. The list could go on. 

I guess what I’m saying is let’s be gentle with one another in these days, recognizing that we – all of us – mourn the loss in some way. The beauty and tragedy of our humanity is that somewhere our circles intersect. May God give us the strength and courage to hold the pieces of each other’s hearts together even as our own may be breaking. 

When did this happen?

There are people who know you better than you know yourself. You know those people, right? A best friend, a longtime co-worker, a spouse or other family member. You know who your people are.

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These nuts are a few of “my people.”

I have just begun to realize that my daughters have become two of “my people.” I knew it was bound to happen. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. And I didn’t think they would realize it was happening before I did.

I’m one of those people to my mom. Or at least I think I am. I remember riding in the car with her on the way to drivers ed. It was before school, early enough for her to drive me on her way to work which was a rarity. Maybe that’s why it sticks in my memory or maybe it was the conversation. My mom is a saint and she never gives herself enough credit for being the amazingly strong person that she is.

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Me & my Mom at Disneyland. My love of Disney comes honestly.

So, in this conversation that dark morning, my mom said something like, “I should have done…” It was an expression of regret about something. I don’t remember what that something was, I just remember that she thought she “should have” done something else. And, in the wisdom of a snotty nosed 14 year-old, I remember almost yelling at her, “Shoulda, woulda, coulda, whatever! Just do it!” Seriously, I was so smart wasn’t I? But somehow I knew that my mom was capable of much more than she thought she was.

Though I was a complete jerk at the time, it is that conversation that has helped me as an adult to understand my mom better than she understands herself. It took me a long time to realize that I had insight to her that she didn’t even have of herself – that she should be more forgiving of herself, for one thing. I wish I’d realized this before I hit adulthood because I’m pretty sure that would have made me a better person – at least a better daughter.

Fast forward to my own girls. There is nothing like traveling together to help you get to know someone better. My oldest and I have had the privilege of doing that a lot lately. And I realize that she knows a lot about me – the good, bad and ugly. And she usually smiles about it when she points it out. For instance, she knows what will set off my tactile defensiveness and she seems to be completely intrigued by this crazy part of me. She knows that I have a bizarre fascination with how things work and why people do what they do.

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One of my favorites. Warms a momma’s heart.

And my younger daughter, well she shows serious signs of getting me, too. Just yesterday, she turned to someone and said she “needed a Dr. Pepper” and that she realizes why I “need” one when I do and she said it in such a way that it warmed my heart.  She understands why I go nuts when someone does a bad parking job. And this girl understands exactly how to make me run faster at the end of a race.

And yes, they both know what makes me use curse words – which is probably not the reasons you may be thinking. They know that I could easily cry at the drop of a hat and I’m pretty sure they know why I usually don’t succumb to the urge to do so. They are beginning to get me better than I get myself – and most days I need that kind of understanding from people in my life. Who doesn’t? 

When did this happen? I’ll admit it is a bit sobering because it means that they are growing up. And I guess that it also means that we will figure out this whole “adulting” thing together.  I thought they would have to drag me kicking and screaming to this season of life, yet I think I’m ok with it. So, let’s do this…but let’s take our time, shall we?

Turning up the heat ~ tips from Jeff Galloway

I’ll admit it, even though I’m running the Dumbo Double Dare  as part of Team TSA (to raise funds and awareness for the Tourette Association to find a cure for Tourette’s Syndrome – check it out!) in just over a month – I have avoided running this summer because I live in Atlanta and it is hot and humid. Period. End of story. When it rained at the AJC Peachtree Road Race this year on the 4th of July, I was one happy camper to be running in the cool rain. I love this shirt from The Big Peach Running Company, it sums up running in Atlanta from oh, let’s say March to November! [That perky blonde isn’t me, by the way.]

One of my favorite ATL shirts - the back says it all! "Heat, hills & humidity...welcome to Atlanta!"

The back says it all!
“Heat, hills & humidity…welcome to Atlanta!”

 

Even though it seems like we should be back out there pounding the pavement since school is a week away from starting (and seriously, whose idea was that?) it is STILL hot! But never fear, Jeff Galloway has some tips for us to stay safe and cool (well, at least not miserable?). Continue reading