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

LESSONS LEARNED:
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.

LESSONS LEARNED:
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)

My Bucket List at 19

As I shared in a previous bucket list post, I have kept notebooks as long as I can remember. As I was decluttering my night stand, I found an old notebook from college. It had several written goal lists from over the years. One particular list caught my eye and I had to share because it is hilarious and even embarrassing to think of what mattered most as a teenager. I can’t believe I’m willing to share.

The year was 1998. I was 19 and completing a summer internship at Stanford University. I was surrounded by computer science geeks (Ummm…I guess I was one too now that I think about it.) and I missed my family, friends, and boyfriend (Five years later, that boyfriend became my husband.). I decided to start a list. Little did I know, it was what we now call a bucket list. It went a little something like this:

Short and Long Term Dreams and Aspirations (in no particular order):
Graduate PVAMU (Praire View A&M University) December 1999
Obtain a Master’s degree July 2005
Obtain a summer internship (on my own) June 1999
Get a new stereo with a CD changer
Get a video camera
A family and marriage (marriage first) Married 2003, Son born 2008, Daughter born 2010
Get a Krinkle dog and Rottweiler  I ended up with a pit bull, English bull dog, and French bull dog that are all now deceased. I am no longer an animal person and we have two English bull dogs.
Louie Vouiton purse I’m still obsessed with bags
Coach purse
New tennis shoes
New cds
Brand new car driven off the lot August 2000
Travel to: NYC, LA, NO, DC, Miami, Atlatnta, Paris, London, Austraila, Canada
My kids to dress the best (Baby Gap, Guess)
BMW
Nice Pjs
New Jeans
House with Ethan Allen furniture Purchased April 2003 decided to go with another furniture manufacturer
Wardrobe consisting of J. Crew and Ann Taylor
To live outside of Texas
Magazine subscription
Designer sunglasses
I want my hair to reach past my shoulders
To make a 4.0
No wire hangers My OCD begins
To get above a 630 on the GMAT I took the GRE instead
To join a gym and exercise Little did I know I would become a semi-gym rat obsessed with new workouts

Do you remember what your dreams and aspirations were as a teenager/young adult? Were they the same as today? Please share in the comments below. I would love to hear your comparisons.

ONE WORD 2015…DO

I make resolutions. I set goals for myself twice a year in January and August (I’m an educator by heart). Yes, I’m one of those people and each year my goal completion rate increases by staying focused and consistent. For the past couple of years, my friends and I have participated in the One Word 365 Challenge and have chosen to live with purpose and intention (coincidence that those were actual words chosen by some of my friends) with this one word. During those same years (and even now), I have been completely lost and confused with my life. It has been like a premature mid-life crisis. I have dreamed, persevered when I wanted to throw in the towel, and now I’m ready for more. I am ready to DO the hard work. I tell my littles all the time, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” It’s time I listen to my own lecture.

I am a researcher and planner. I enjoy the information overload. I will dream about a topic, research it, study it, read about it, plan for it, and stop (drives my husband crazy). That’s it. There is no action on my part. I can come up with a ton of excuses as to why I can’t do something and ignore the fact that coming up with excuses takes just as long as actually doing something. Steve Jobs said it best, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Last year, I persevered through some tough breaks personally, but this year will be different because there will be more than pages of plans. There will be actions. I am going to actually GET UP GET OUT AND GET SOMETHING. THE DAYS OF MY LIFE WILL NOT PASS ME BY. (Excuse the Outkast song reference. I had to.)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.~Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

As a congregation, every Sunday we recited Philippians 4:13 as we exited church. Logically, I knew what the verse meant. I searched all night for a verse to complement my word. I actually chose another verse and as I started to write this post, Philippians 4:13 popped in my head from years ago. It now has meaning like it never did before. Sigh. I get it, Lord. I get it.

Are you participating in the ONE WORD Challenge? What is your word? Please share in the comments below.

The Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far…

Today is my 36th birthday. I was going to piggy back off of last year’s post and make a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year and I got stumped. My ultimate bucket list is growing, as it should, but my yearly list of goals is growing shorter. So, I decided to post about 36 life lessons I’ve learned in 36 years. The plan is to add one life lesson to the list every birthday. I am not proclaiming to be a wise woman. But, I am proclaiming to be a woman full of imperfections and testimonies to share.

 1. Rest

Your body needs to refuel. We refuel our electronics, why not our bodies? Don’t ever feel guilty about resting your body. It is a part of healthy living and benefits your heart, weight, mind, and more.

 2. God loves me

Regardless of my mistakes. Regardless of my choices in life.  Regardless of my behaviors. I know one thing to be true, God loves me. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.~John 3:16

 3. Build a relationship with Christ

You have been wired with a need for Jesus. Building a personal relationship with Him will give your life a sense of purpose and need to live life to the fullest. If you have ever felt like your life is missing something, try building a relationship with Christ, that just may be what you are missing. What will it hurt?

 4. Find your person

Just like Christina Yang and Meredith Grey were to each other on Grey’s Anatomy, you need that same relationship in your life. I have my person and have had my person since freshmen year of college when she talked my ear off. Little did I know, that endless chatter would be one of the most consistent voices I need in my life. I have my husband, I have my mother, and I have my sister…but none of them compare to my person. I can say and be me without worrying about judgement or intentionally hurting feelings. She is my prayer partner and bible study warrior. You need that one person to “tell you like it is”, have your best interest at heart, allow you to follow your own path, love you anyway if (and/or when) the pieces fall apart, and not say, “But, I told you so.”

 5. Journal

Go to Half Price Books, get you a journal and start journal writing. Journaling helps you put your life in perspective. You can process where you have been, where you are, and where you are going.

6. Stop worrying

Worrying is a form of pride. When we worry, we think we can fix it or that we have all the answers and clearly we don’t.  Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.~Philippians 4:6

 7. Live life with no regrets

Life is a journey. We are all on that journey and our purpose is to experience life to the fullest. Follow the light you have, the truth you know, and don’t look back. For what?

 8. Learn from your mistakes

You will not stop making mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger and wiser. Learn from them and share them with others for their own good.

 9. Exercise

Get up. Get out. Do something. You know why. We all know why.

10. Eat better

You are what you eat and that is the truth. Stop eating crap. All it takes is little changes and eventually your entire body will thank you. Plus, you KNOW you need to eat better.

11. Talk

I have opened my mouth more than ever before in this last year. I still have a LONG way to go, but I am better for it. My relationships are stronger and I have been released from the unnecessary weight of silence.

12. Stop trying to be perfect

There is only one Jesus and he ain’t you. We will never be perfect so now I say, “I’m not a perfectionist. I’m anal.” Seriously, all we can do is be the best version of ourselves.

13. Let it go

From the classic movie that every parent has seen entirely too many times, Frozen, LET IT GO! Whatever it is, whenever it happened, let it go. It is doing nothing more than adding negativity and bitterness to your life and it’s not worth it.

14. Get off the comparison train

William Jones, Mary Jones, the entire Jones family has issues too. So, I had to stop one day and ask myself, “Why are you comparing yourself to them?”

15. You will fail

I have failed and succeeded more than once. In every failure there is a lesson that leads to another success. So, I keep failing! God will take our greatest failure and turn it into our greatest strength time and time again.

16. Live debt free

Debt is evil. It makes no sense to me. I have learned that you can live a life without credit cards and loans. If I can’t pay for it, I don’t need it. I have failed and succeeded at this so many times in my lifetime and I am determined to continue in success one step at a time.

17. Start your day with quiet time

For a little over 3 years now, I have been intentionally waking 30 minutes earlier to have my quiet time with God. I complete my bible study, prayer, and meditation. This has allowed me to give to God and receive from God. I am being obedient to him, yet I am receiving several blessings in the process.

18. Forgive

True forgiveness is choosing not to think about it anymore. Consider the debt PAID IN FULLAnyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.~2 Corinthians 5:17

19. Listen

Becoming a listener takes practice. Listening is a true art form that requires patience and even restraint. When listening to others or even that voice in your head, you must restrain yourself from “talking back”. Just let the words flow through your mind. Only respond if there is a request for one. Otherwise, shut your mouth and LISTEN!

20. Take the first right step

It may be a small step, but take it. It is your step to take. You will never know unless you take that first step.

21. Everybody’s got their something

It may seem like that other person is perfect. They appear to have it ALL together. The truth is, they don’t. Everyone is struggling with something, self-worth, depression, debt, illness, body image, the list could go on. We are all flawed. It’s how we manage our flaws that makes the difference.

22. Find your something

Discovering and following your passion for work or hobby allows you to feel that you life has a purpose and meaning. It gives you a release from the hardships of daily life.

23. Challenge yourself

The real stuff happens when we step out of our comfort zone. I have done my fair share of putting my self out there-yoga, crossfit, running, kickboxing, swimming, presentations to corporate leaders, teaching teenagers, writing a blog, starting an online business, becoming a work at home mom-the list could go on. I’m so over it that now I just jump right in. Either I will sink or swim, but I’m going to learn something and the end result is usually life changing.

24. Be faithful

It took about 34 years for me to full grasp the concept of faithfulness. For me, being faithful gives me the energy and determination to put one foot in front of the other. We are a microwave nation. We want our results now. We have everything else available in an instant through the use of our tablets, computers, and phones. So, when being faithful takes longer than desired, I instantly want to jump ship. But, being faithful means staying the course. By being faithful, I am always rewarded on a larger scale than I could have ever imagined.

25. You can’t do it all

My husband has been telling me since college that I overdue it. I let my plate get full and then I end up trying to juggle several plates. And we all know the ending of this story. EPIC FAIL. I have tried to set priorities, discover my boundaries, and learn to say no. The power of the word, “NO”, is unbelievable. The world will go on with or without me. So, I’ve learned that if someone else can do it better, LET THEM!

26. Trust your gut

If you feel it, go with it. By trusting your instincts, you are trusting yourself first. And who better to trust than yourself? Or do you not trust yourself? If that’s the case, that is another lesson learned.

27. Being healthy is more than eating right and working out

I have learned the hard way that for me being healthy means getting sleep, taking time for myself, communicating, drinking water, making and keeping doctor’s appointments, AND eating right, AND working out. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It is more than a vanity complex.

28. Sometimes that deadline will come and go

Now, I know that some deadlines are not meant to be missed. I’m not naive. But, rest easy. Those other deadlines can be reset to ensure your best work is on display. I had a deadline for this post and it already thirteen days late. All I can do is keep writing and move on. I can’t lose sleep or waste energy. That is really not helping my situation. I can only acknowledge my mistake and move on.

29. Declutter

Live on less. Get rid of excess. If you don’t need it, rid your life of it. Clutter is an indication of the status of your life. By removing clutter, you will minimize your life which will help you focus on what really matters. I automatically feel 10 pounds lighter when I declutter.

30. Travel

I absolutely love to travel. My husband and I love to immerse ourselves in other cultures. Traveling allows you to temporarily step out of your box, try new things (and food), and relax. In many travel situations you will be forced to release control and go with the flow.

31. Give your kids the attention they deserve

Kids are only kids for a short number of years. This time will pass so quickly. I have never heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time at work.” But, I have heard an elderly person say, “I wish I spent more time with my kids.” I  will NOT have that regret on my conscious. I have learned to slow down and be present with my littles. I listen, respond, and show interest. Even if I don’t want to talk about, see, or hear another video game strategy or Frozen revelation!

32. Give to others

When I think about giving, I automatically think of monetary giving. But, giving to others does not necessarily mean a cash donation. I can give my time or even skills to help someone. It can be as simple as babysitting for another mom, volunteering my time at the kids’ school, or even visiting a sick friend. “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall open wide your had to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.~Deuteronomy 15:11

33. Being a parent is the most difficult career on Earth

God gave me these children because He knew I was adequate. So, I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time and when it gets hard it is HARD. But, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability as my service to Him.

34. Fight for it

Whatever it is, whoever it is, fight for it. You may not think so, but you have a little bit of fight left in you. Life is worth living if you have a fight to win.

35. Be grateful

I have so much to be grateful for. When I truly examine my life, my gratitude list is overflowing. I am grateful for every experience, every failure, every success, every mistake, every friend, even the gym membership I love to hate. I am grateful and blessed beyond measure.

36. Love hard

I have learned to love hard even the situation or other person makes it difficult. God loves me regardless of my many mess-ups, so, who am I not to love others? We love because God loved us first.~1 John 4:19

photo credit: Erwin Winkelman via photopin cc

What are some life lessons you’ve learned thus far? Have you mastered any of lessons I’ve shared? Please share below because I have a LONG way to go!