Thursday, May 31, 2012


Photobucket **I'm thinking that with this at the finish line, I could run as long as I needed to. Photo c/o my talented friend, Tabitha.**

I kissed the kiddos goodnight and slipped quickly into my room to tie my running shoes on.  The final rays of a beautiful spring evening were falling, and I wanted to enjoy them.  I told Rockstar where I was headed, then stepped outside to let my feet hit the pavement.

In contrast to the humidity of earlier this week, the lightness of the air felt positively intoxicating.  I took off in a different direction than normal, and quickly found my stride.

My legs pumped as I headed up a long hill, and I noticed how strong they felt as they glided me up towards the top.  The music on my shuffle blended with the gorgeous greenery around me, and created the perfect stage for my thoughts.

I let my mind peruse issues I've been weighing, and noticed that I didn't have to struggle too much against the effort of my muscles to keep my mind focused.

I turned the corner after one hill, and realized that I had more in me.  I wasn't done running yet,
so I looked for a way to extend the run and keep moving, keep moving.

When I finally headed up the final hill of my run, I noticed that my lungs were not collapsing under the weight of that hill as they usually do.

And suddenly it occurred to me.  A simple truth I'll probably be stunned by again and again:

I'm stronger than I was a month ago.

Spurred on by a race my friend organized in April, I'd decided to try out the knee I'd injured last year.  I wanted to feel strong again.  With my knee cooperating, I'd set a modest goal for how often I'd set out to exercise.  And I've kept that goal.

Now, a little over a month later, I am stronger.  My body can handle those hills differently, can exert itself longer, can enjoy things that seemed laborious a few short weeks ago.

There's still so far to go, but I let myself relish the small victory.

And I reminded myself of the broad application of this principle in my life.

It's so often that way: we methodically push through pain and discomfort to find stronger minds, stronger hearts, stronger relationships.

Then in those moments where we glimpse that we have become more capable, we are spurred on to raise the bar again.  To persist in difficulty.  To be further astonished by our ability to grow, change, and conquer life's inclines.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This is my mother. Isn't she gorgeous? I wouldn't have minded getting a few more of those exotic genes.

Every year I enjoy the chance this holiday provides to ponder the way that her influence has shaped my life. To think about the things I love best about her.

I have become accustomed to hearing talks at church on this day of the year that highlight someone's supermom. They talk about women who made canning, sewing, raising 11 children, and serving the community look effortless.

But as I think about my mother, it is not any supposed idea of perfection that makes me love her so fiercely. It all she has accomplished in spite of human frailty and life's difficulties that make her a hero in my mind.

When her body would fail her as she dealt with chronic illness, she fell to her knees. It didn't look like weakness. It taught me there was power in prayer.

When her past hurts would surface, she'd look to a higher source for healing, and keep loving her family the best way she knew how.

When she came upon questions she didn't know the answers to, she sought them out.

She was always trying, always growing, always evolving. She wasn't perfect, but observing her process of transformation, taught me how to grow myself: how to fill in my own gaps.

When a mother births her first child, she doesn't suddenly become that sainted figure we often hear paid tribute to.

 And thank goodness. It has been watching my mother fight the good fight: watching her try and fail, learn and grow, love and then love better, that has taught me the most crucial lessons of all.

Happy Mothers Day, to a truly beautiful woman.