FFF-Skates, Scouts and a Few Life Lessons In Between

It was a Thursday evening and the kindergartner and I had a Community Girl Scout Meeting. It was at a skating rink and the place was overly crowded with all kinds of girls with all kinds of skill levels. I immediately felt overwhelmed, out of place and totally regretted my decision. My baby didn’t know how to skate and how could I put her in this position? It was a sad mommy moment and I wanted to wrap her up and run home. But, I couldn’t. We committed and I couldn’t pass my fears and insecurities on to her. THAT would b a horrible mom moment. Within a few minutes, she found her bff and that was it. She (THEY) were determined to get it. They fell HARD so many times that I just knew bottoms were getting iced that evening and they were going to give up soon. In that moment, my five year old taught me a few life lessons that I am now carrying with me. Lessons that I have heard and internalized years ago but it wasn’t until I saw her in action that the light bulbs went off.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”-Hebrews 10:36

I saw this girl roll into a crowded rink without knowing one person and she owned it. She hit the floor like no one was watching. She fell, she dusted herself off and got right back up again. I had the privilege of witnessing determination at its finest. Every time my baby fell and got back up again, I wanted to drop a tear. I thought about myself and every time I fell and did NOT get up. If I fail, I quit. I lack the determination to start again. By the time we left, she had only cried once and she still wanted to get back on the floor. How many times have I cried and walked away for good? I’m actually too embarrassed to reveal that number. This little Girl Scout taught me to fail with grace. And believe it or not, by the time the night ended this girl had owned the floor. She mastered skating and taught this old lady a few life lessons along the way. And for that, I am forever grateful and I have already fallen a few times since our skating event but the new me has gotten up every time…and I may have iced my bottom a bit in the process.

Have you fallen and had to find your way back to grace? How did you do it? What’s your secret? Please share in the comments below.

10 Things the 10K Taught Me

Ignore my daughter’s sad face…she’s always mad at something or somebody

I recently trained and finished my first 10k. I backed it up by training and finishing a 5k with my best friend and accountability partner (two VERY special ladies in my life). I want to temporarily hang up my running shoes and officially close my running season by sharing a few life lessons I learned along the way.

1. Rain and Water Don’t Stop My Show
Environmental elements don’t matter. I ran in 27 degree weather. This might not be a big deal to most, but if there are two things that will seriously cause me to reschedule, reconsider, or even quit all together its the rain and the cold. Not me.  Won’t do it. And yet, I braved both at the same time to successfully complete my weekly training.

2. I Can Commit
I have never been seen myself more committed to any exercise program before this one. It was sheer determination at its finest. I rearranged my schedule and I did not miss a training day. I was going to take the right steps to finish this race.

3. I Can Drink Water
I don’t like water. I worked hard to not drink water. I am so particular about my water…Sonic Ice, Fiji Water, lemon in my cup…one of these preferences had to be present in order for me to drink any amount of water. And then I broke the code. Detox Water. That is all it took. I am hooked. I took a problem and found a solution. I can now say with confidence, I drink water.

4. I Can Run
I look like a one-legged monkey when I run and I know I do. When I started the training journey for the 10k, I had no idea what I was getting into. I would often text my husband and best friend and let them know that I was crazy stupid and was upset because they led me to believe that I could actually run 6.2 miles at one time. But, I continued to run even if I was a sight for sore eyes.

5. Small Celebrations Are Necessary
All that hard work deserves a celebration. Small celebrations are necessary to continue with the intensity needed to complete the ultimate task. Even if it’s a cupcake and a margarita (my choice for a small celebration), it’s a celebration.

“I asked the Lord for help, and he saved me from all my fears.”~Psalms 34:4

6. Fear Is Temporary
Fear is only present as long as you choose to not step into it. I am fearful of so much it consumes me. I know the solution is to step into it, and yet I am fearful of doing that too. With training, I stepped right into it. Each day, I told myself, there is nothing to fear, just put one foot in front of the other and finish.  Finish your goal for the day. I have now applied this to every aspect of my day. All I need to do is take the next right step. That is all. Take that step, have that faith, and God will figure out the race.

7. I Am Not Alone
Once I put it out there, the support came flowing in. Besides the support from the husband (even got some cool shoes out the deal) and best friend, random support flowed in from social media. With all the negativity saturating the world, it was hard for me to believe that there were kind people that sill existed. And yet, there are. The running community is very loving from the inconsistent 5k runner to the repeat marathon runner, they all wish success for anyone that partakes in their beloved sport and I love every minute of it.

8. Be My Best Self and Don’t Worry About the Rest
For someone who compares herself to everything, it is almost impossible for me to focus on my personal best. At the park (where I train), at the gym, talking to other runners, I compare myself to everything and everybody. I’m too slow, I can never finish, I’ll be the last one out there…every last one of these thoughts crossed my mind every time I laced up my shoes. I finally internalized the statement, “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” I accepted that I have my own race to run and it is crafted just for me and no one else whatever the task. My race. My time. My challenge.

9. Keep Raising the Bar
The first time I ran four miles (the furthest I had run at that time) gave me a sort of natural high. It prepared me for my next goal. Cue the music…now…Roar by Katy Perry (my song of choice), the Rocky theme, Momma Said Knock You Out…whatever motivates you. When I hear this song, I feel like it’s me against the world and I can conquer all. After completing this challenge, I was ready to plan for and conquer the next challenge. I am now continuing to raise the bar…on myself that is.

10. My Simple Actions Could Inspire Someone Else
The absolute best part about finishing this race was totally unexpected. After I finished and we celebrated, my two littles were inspired to run. They begged me to train them so we could run a race together. What? Are you kidding me? If that is not motivation, I don’t know what is. They would see me in my running clothes or shoes  and ask, “Did you go running today?” Little did I know, they were taking it all in and wanted to know what this running was all about. We started training a week later, but had to stop due to the cold weather. I have a tad bit of sense because cold weather, a whining 4 and 6 year old, and a tired mom just don’t mix. I’m sorry. So, as soon as we get some consistent, decent weather we’ll be back at it. I am actually looking forward to running a race with them. The husband says he’ll stick to the gym and cheer us on from the sidelines. I’ll take it. We’ll make him take us out for cupcakes after.

What challenge have you completed recently that changed your entire outlook on life? Please share in the comments below.

FFF-The Day I Decided to Stop Yelling

It was a normal morning. We were running late (as usual) and the littles could care less. The bus was coming in ten minutes and we were all half dressed. ALL. THREE. OF. US. My stress level was not even on the charts, panic set in, and the yelling started. The annoying, everything you do is wrong, move your little butt yelling. But, the morning was saved, we ended up making it to the bus stop. I’m cruising again. And then, I tell the first grader to put his jacket on, the whining starts, and he deliberately ignores my command. AND. I. LOSE. IT. But, I am a Southern lady, I don’t yell in front of the neighbors. I grabbed his little arm and told him the privilege of riding the bus was just lost and I was taking him to school. On that six minute ride to school, you best believe I let him have it every which way but the right way. I let him know that if his behavior continued, he would NEVER ride the bus again. I dropped him off (on time), came back home and continued on with my day.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. ~James 1:19-20; 26

At 4:15 pm, I stepped outside and waited on the bus as the 4 year old napped inside and I received a call. A call from the school which automatically sent my heart rate through the roof. The lady on the other end wanted to know who was coming to pick up the first grader because all the students had been picked up for the day except one. And that one was mine. I then wanted to start yelling at her because she started asking me questions such as, “How does he normally get home? Did you send a transportation notification to the front office? Did you call before 3:30 pm to change his mode of transportation?” I wanted to say, “Lady. STOP. Let’s start over. How did my son end up in the car rider line? Isn’t it your responsibility to make sure he gets home safely using the approved transportation method? I have not changed his transportation method once in the 1.5 years he’s been there. So, once again, STOP.” But, I didn’t say any of that. I woke the preschooler up and went to pick up my son. I thanked the secretary, buckled in the littles, and headed home. After talking it out, I discovered that the poor boy was confused. I yelled so much he didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know if not riding the bus started that day or next school year. Hence, the phone call.

I learned so many lessons. So many lessons. The yelling is not helping anyone. The point I am attempting to make is still not made. The little people get confused. The husband gets angry.  And the situation is still not resolved. I need to stop letting my anger overtake me so fast. The littles even asked their dad, “Why does Mommy yell so much.” God gives me grace everyday, all day. As a Christian, it is my responsibility to give the same grace to others, including the children and husband that take me from 0 to 100 in 2.5 seconds. In this situation, my anger and yellingcaused me to be late because my morning routine was thrown a curve ball. I had to wake the preschooler from her nap and drive to pick the other child up from school which was not in my plans. Had I just taken a moment to digest the situation, teach the boy a lesson, and dropped him off with clear instructions, my day would have ended completely different and probably been more productive. Just this week, my son lost his bus privilege again, but my approach was different. I did not yell. I explained the situation and the consequence and dropped him off. I did email the teacher that afternoon to make sure he took the bus home. The teacher responded, He didn’t even blink about riding the bus. He just assumed he was riding. And that’s what I’m talking about! My point was made and yelling was not necessary. I am so much calmer when the littles misbehave. I catch myself when that loud voice starts rising from my belly and I regroup. It is making me more cognizant of my anger and allowing for much needed self reflection. Next up, stop yelling at the husband. Work in progress people. Work in progress.

Are you a yeller? Have you tried to stop? What sends you to that place? Please share in the comments below.

photo credit: Max the Brown Tabby and Burt the Grey Kitten: Cat Argument 3 via photopin(license)

FFF-I Thought I Had a Few More Years

I have lived in Texas my entire life. (I do have aspirations to live elsewhere.) Along with that, comes a bit of life lessons, such as:

  • experiencing the largest rodeo in the world,
  • participating in the largest state fair in the US,
  • visiting one of the 8th wonders of the world several times,
  • graduating from the second oldest institution in the state, and
  •  being called a NIGGER on the playground in 2nd grade in front of everyone
  • being placed in lower level classes in a new elementary school and watching my mom fight daily for correct placement
  • being the only brown child in class until my sophomore year in high school
  • being asked by Mrs. Palmer (one of my favorite teachers that taught my favorite subject in my favorite class of peers) in front of the entire class, “Do Black people sun burn?”
  • having a presentation stolen from me in front of a room of upper level management males

The list could go on but, the last five experiences built the most character for me. They helped form a bit of my personality and taught me the true meaning of using EXPERIENCE to my benefit. I removed the word HATE from my vocabulary as a result and have taught my children to to the same. As a matter of fact, it tickles me that the word HATE is a very bad word in our house..right up there with the other four word explicatives.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if thy can learn to hate, they can be taught love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.~Nelson Mandela

The issue is that no matter how hard we try, we cannot shield our children from everything no matter their age. One evening, we were enjoying dinner conversations (my favorite time of the day) and the first grader was sharing what he learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. at school and the four year old heard him say, “Martin Luther King was a man that fought so that white people and black people could eat at restaurants, go to school and play together.” I was so excited that he had wrapped his brain around this concept, I almost missed the comment of the preschooler (partially because she talks non stop and I thought it was another rant). She chimed in on our conversation, “Perry said he doesn’t want black people at his house.” I just knew that Perry just didn’t like the color black and wasn’t talking about “black people”. He’s only 4. So for clarification, I asked, “What do black people look like?” And then she hit me with her best shot, “Perry said people that look like me and Melissa can’t come to his house to play because he doesn’t want black people at his house.” Well, she confirmed it. My little four year old just had her first life experience at her little church preschool. I was frozen inside and still needed to respond. My husband beat me to it and we will keep his response here in this house and pray my children forget it and never repeat it. I finally jumped in and redeemed my poor children, “Well, that’s not nice. If that happens again, you let Perry know that you don’t want to come to his house anyway, but he and everyone else is welcome at our house regardless of what color they are. Do you understand?” Everyone said yes and we moved on.

Racism isn’t born, folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.”~Denis Leary

Needless to say, after starting the kids’ bedtime routine and chatting with my husband, I had to call my mother and fill her in on our lively discussion. It brought back that feeling on the playground in the second grade and I know this is only the beginning. Melissa was only in the class a couple of months and has moved and I know this will not be the last time my daughter has an encounter with racisim. I just naively assumed, we had more time. But, a lesson learned is a lesson learned.

*The names in this post have been changed.

Have your children had an experience that you thought would come later in life? How did you respond?