Boots, Malware, Schnitzel, and Monarchs (weird, huh?)

I keep getting this stupid little bug in my browser. It changes my homescreen, my search engine, and randomly opens weird ass tabs with stuff I never looked for, asked for, or searched for. It is irritating.

But everything has a purpose I think. And trying to get to this blog today (and too tired to remove the little bug from the browser), the little bug decided that, while I thought I wanted to actually GO to the blog, what I REALLY wanted was to search Bing for the blog.

Whatever. It’s one more click and I am too tired to give a shit.

And this is the way my little neglected blog showed up on Bing.

Bing results

And I just couldn’t help but be overwhelmed.

Jerry MaguireUnderstand I don’t expect you to follow all of this. I haven’t been on a run in a good many days. I haven’t been to the gym in 5. My brain isn’t the most organized and functional places right now.

But this is also not the 2am, bad pizza, Jerry Maguire epiphany either. Okay, maybe it is – except I have had a full night’s sleep (as relatively as that can be called with 4 children), and a cup of coffee. So, there’s that.

This was not the post I sat down to write. If it was, you would be watching this awesome clip.

Ok, you can watch it anyway – but we will have to come back to it’s point at a later date.

I really wanted to write something this morning – mostly because I haven’t written anything in weeks.

That’s a bullshit reason to do anything, really.

The truth is I really wanted to write what I wanted to write this morning and not some warped version of what I thought I was supposed to write.

It’s why I can’t make money at it. Why my freelancing gigs never work out. Why I have felt the need to reinvent, segment, redesign my online writing space too many times to count anymore.

I just want to write what I want to write.

Sometimes it is about me whether you think it is or isn’t…and some times it

Just. Isn’t. About. Me.

Sometimes it is about you whether you catch that fact or not – and sometimes, it

Just. Isn’t. About. You.

And sometimes there is more to the story and irregardless of schools of thought on internet transparency or openness, my southern upbringing trumps social media guidelines. Tacky is still tacky – virtual or not – and I won’t have it.

And sometimes the story is edited because it just makes for a better damn story. I mean seriously, who wants to read the normal version of how pancakes get made? Or the full conversation between children? No one. Just tell the story as it mostly happened.

And at the end of the day, I just want to write what I want to write. And this search screen, as crazy as it sounds, insisted that I do just that.

The woman in those images works hard, loves life, and has made some pretty positive changes to become a better person.

That woman has a lot of love, a beautiful family full of wonderful children.

That woman has no idea why in the hell a picture of a boot showed up – could it be any more out of place? But, as fate would happen, this woman does have moments of feeling totally and completely wrong for the situation.

And then there is my cute little facebook page. As you are probably aware, when you create a facebook page, you have to choose a page category (i.e. book, music, person). Within that, there are subcategories (i.e. musician, author, politician). And there, at the end of my little search blurb, is my choice – monarch. There is a whole post brewing about that decision. Until then, feel free to speculate.

And then there is the blog link – Tan Toes, Strong Woman. How I thought long and hard over a way to succinctly attempt to describe myself. Have you ever attempted to break yourself down to a bumper sticker? Not part of yourself, not the family, or job, or hobby, or spiritual side of yourself – but your whole self? You should try it…it is very enlightening.

As you can see from the blurb, the tagline I created for my blog is “Life, Love, Faith, Family, Fitness, Fun.” I guess I could have added doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles and wrapped it up with brown paper and a few of my other favorite things.

But don’t you love how in the link, in the big blue letters, the main thing stays the main thing? I haven’t written very often on that blog because, well honestly, I just haven’t felt very healthy. I don’t particularly feel very fit. The whole of it has lost a bit of it fun. And who wants to read about that?

Moreover, doesn’t a detraction from that render the blog “off topic?” Is it a bait and switch for the readers there? I thought so. I didn’t write.

But like the boot, sometimes the out of place is completely appropriate.

And like the monarch, I am the freaking “Queen Bee.” (New readers stick around – that’s a joke more than a bitch statement, I promise. Seriously, I can provide references! While I am feeling a bit bitchy, and there is a tinge of that there, really, you were really just supposed to laugh just then.)

Then, to cap the whole thing off, the rest of the link blurb proves without a doubt that my blog has been infected by some type of malware, which I totally obliterated so that the search would revert back to it’s appropriate Knockaround Guys, 500 self.

Knockaround Guys Search (Sorry, I gotta post that again…indulge me).

And that’s okay too…malware…as is my blog, so should I be. A constant evolution of righting the ship and taking on water. Bailing and sinking. Healing and hurting. Growing and wilting. It is all part and parcel of the beautifully scandalous journey that we take.

And if Jerry Maguire and I wanna write about it in a totally “holy shit” kinda way, then, it is what it is.

Loves.

I am a Person Who Runs

ellen-dory-finding-nemo-2__oPtI think know I have used this Vin Diesel clip from Knockaround Guys before…I will use it again. Truth is, if I could figure out how to use it in every single post, I probably would. I think about this movie clip a lot when I run long. I know most people would assume that Rocky, Scott Jurek, Chris McDougall, or Dory, the Blue Tang fish saver, would be more likely. But no…it is, in fact, this

500 fights, that’s the number I figured when I was a kid.

500 street fights and you could consider yourself a legitimate tough guy.

You need them for experience. To develop leather skin.

So I got started.

Of course along the way you stop thinking about being tough and all that. It stops being the point.

You get past the silliness of it all.

But then, after, you realize that’s what you are.

Running is so much like that. You come up with a goal. That thing that will make you a “real runner.”

And so, you get started.

SavRnR

Savannah Rock ‘n Roll 2012

I saw those folks doing the Inaugural Savannah Rock and Roll marathon. That would make me a real runner. So, I put on my shoes the day after and logged 13.1 on a Monday, alone, with no medal.

I ran that same marathon a year later in under 4 hours. Surely, that makes me a real runner.

I DNF’d a race I could have easily finished. I inflated the serious of a hurt so that folks wouldn’t ask questions. Not real sure where that ranks on the “Are you a real runner” checklist. But I know one thing for certain. I am not the only one who has done it. So, I have owned it, confessed it, and forgiven myself.

Cremator

Cremator 50 mile Ultra 2013

But there is the Cremator, my darling race. That event that feels like home in my heart. It was a turning point, a game changer, if I can use the phrase. So I ran it. It was the best run of my life. I can’t wait to do it again. That must make me a real runner.

I won a race. Little bit of luck to that one as I was not the fastest female out there that day.

But that is how all races go. You run your race because you are really only competing against yourself. You can’t control others. You just do your best and see where that gets you. Certainly that must make me a real runner.

BirthdayHell, my BIRTHDAY party revolved around running. (and beer, but mostly running).

I pick up odd jobs just to keep my race fees from coming out of the family budget. Certainly that makes me a real runner.

I have secured childcare for myself and my crew chief 68 days prior to an event so that we can go freeze our asses off for 24 hours while I run around in circles trying to accumulate 100 miles to get THE Delirium buckle. By God if THAT won’t make me a real runner…

………

The truth is that this isn’t what I sat down to write about.

If I don't write about Mad Marsh...this is all you really need to know...

If I don’t write about Mad Marsh…this is all you really need to know…

I sat down on this morning in a quiet house with an awesome cup of coffee to tell you about some new cool head stuff I learned about during Mad Marsh 50k last weekend. And I still will write about them really soon because, well, I still think they are valuable if not for anyone else but me…and I would like to remember them.

But some where along paragraph 1, I realized something else again (as I think I have realized it a few times). I do, very often, refer to myself as a runner

  • When someone hasn’t seen me since the weight loss and asks, “What are you doing?”
  • When someone who is experiencing mental and emotional challenges and they ask how I cope
  • When The Dude remarks on the youthfulness of my…jeans 😉

The answer is “I am a runner.”

I think that kind of thing can get in some folks’ head (some folks’ = me). And when I have a bad run, or I skip a training day, or I sign up for a ridiculously hard race, I remember all the times I said, “I am a runner.”

And sometimes I feel like a fraud.

The truth is, I am a person who runs. While running may be one of my top five favorite things on the planet, it is still one of a thousand things that I am and do.

We are all runners

We are all runners

To the rising number of people who say to me,

Yeah I am runner too. Well, not like you, but I run.

Let me say this…

I am runner just like you, and you, just like me. Melissa has 1 kid, I have 4, Mrs. Darling has 8. We are all mommas. It’s the same thing. I have doubts and fears and insecurities. I know people who can do things I will never do. They are people who run. I am a person who runs. You are a person who runs.

And we are all just trying to get past the silliness of it all…

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Hal Borland ~ Patience and Persistence

Tuesday’s Thought

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.

~ Hal Borland (1900-1978)

A Bit of Encouragement… 

AnniversaryYesterday September 9th, The Dude and I celebrated our 14 year wedding anniversary. Wait! Don’t click away! I promise I will not get all sappy and spend our coffee telling you how enamored I still am or how wonderful he still is. I mean I could, but I won’t.

I will say that I realize that there have been folks married way longer than us. I also look forward to the day when we too can claim 40, 60, 75 years of martial bliss. But 14 years is still a long time for us.

14 years is still a long time. Period.

I thought a lot yesterday about how much we know about each other, how much better we are at communicating. I thought about the challenges we have overcome and how the experience of those challenges make all the possibilities of what comes next not quite so scary. I thought about our children, how blessed we are to have them, and how close we are to letting the first one go. I considered all the things about life and love that I know now because of the last 14 years.

And I realized that there was nothing on the planet I could have done to make that process of growth happen any faster. It took the time it took. And it will take another 365 days before I can tick it off again – regardless of how hard I work, may want it, or study it.

The truth is that, while there is a time for all of that “nose to the grindstone” stuff, sometimes it just takes the time it is going to take and you just have to trust the process. It was pointless to check out, give up, or rush it along. Making it to and through requires that you take it one step at a time for whatever time it takes.

And we got here. This time next year, we will have done it again.

Today I want to encourage you to question what has been called “the microwave mentality.” Life is not minute rice, challenges are not 60 minute drama series, and microwave popcorn may be quick, but it loses some of its greatness in the process. But you already know this. We see books, kits, or seminars created by folks who have figured a piece of life out and expect to have the results duplicated by the time we get to “The End.” We forget that there were years of working it out and pushing through to get there. The walk on the beach is beautiful not because it was made in record time, but because of the moments our feet were in the sand.

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Krysten Siba Bishop ~ The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email hopefully in time for their morning coffee!

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Turn Around Tuesday ~ Gretchen Rubin ~ Embrace What Is

Turn Around Tuesday began in April 2007. It is an email delivered newsletter that is typically written on Tuesday morning (my husband says you can always tell how Monday went by how Tuesday reads!) and in subscribers’ email by 6 or 7am. 

I will post them here one week after they are sent out to the subscriber list. If you want to receive them in you inbox in real time, please click here

Tuesday’s Thought

Embrace what is.

~from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project

A Bit of Encouragement… 

Screenshot_2013-09-10-05-46-39-1The relaunch of Turn Around Tuesday has been met with mostly welcoming arms.

Yeah, mostly.

Not everybody was glad to see it. Interestingly enough, the ratio was clearly in TAT‘s favor. And I really meant it when I said that I too have had to unsubscribe from items like this in the past and I knew it was never personal.

I still took it personal.

TAT never fails to awaken something in me. What that something is may change, but it is usually a sense of longing to fulfill a grand purpose; to be all that I was intended and have the potential to be.

That awakening can be daunting.

I immediately default to all the reasons it will fail, why I am not good enough, how I am not capable, equipped, educated, bright, dedicated, young, attractive, wealthy, mobile, flexible, strong…How I am just not enough.

I look at everything that there is not. Everything that I am not. All the things I will never be and will always be not.

In that frame of heart, the slightest bit of, “yeah, that’s not for me” rocks me at my core.

Until I remember to embrace what is.

I am again reminded that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I have a perspective that, amazingly to me, you find interesting at least enough times to let me come back once a week. While what is said is not new, it is mine, and for my heart, and evidently many others, it feels anew. And that’s just as good.

Today I want to encourage you embrace what is. So many times we are wooed into doubt and despair because of the “not.” The fact is that what “is” tends to be so absolutely abundant that we could spend a lifetime exploring all the greatness. The “not” would never be missed if we weren’t actually looking for it. While I may not be fully prepared to do all the things my heart would have me do today, I am enough to move towards those things. What I can embrace is the opportunity to recognize the journey, enjoy the process, appreciate who I am while moving towards who I am becoming. And the truth is, we are all “becoming.”

Thanks for the coffee!

Tuesday’s Person of Interest

Molly Maher – Stratejoy

8V4FVK8CZ55Z

Labels, Vegan, and Being April

PhotoGrid_1378733512368There is just no way I can bring myself to write a post about how my decision to veer from the vegan journey was born from some  enlightened realization of the oppression of labels and the need to categorize oneself. We all have labels, we all need labels, it’s the way we understand others and ourselves. While the labels may be fluid and have exceptions in the fine print, they are still important to finish the sentence “I am…”

More importantly, a post like that simply wouldn’t be true.

Towards the end, I liked being “vegan.” I wanted to remain being “vegan.” I still want to want to be vegan.

It was an amazing lifestyle. I felt wonderful. There is not another method of consumption that has ever come close to making feel wonderful – for a time.

But, feeling wonderful isn’t enough. I want to BE wonderful. I want to BE April.

And now, before we get off on the topic of “see this is why extreme/fad/trendy diets don’t work” and “haha I told you no one could really live without bacon,” let me go ahead and weigh in on those two things…

  1. It did “work.” I learned new things about how to fuel my body. I learned what types of food make me feel great and which others are going to require some planning for how I am going to feel the next day. I dropped all that weight. I changed some really serious eating habits. I knocked down some food addictions. I connected with some really cool people. I learned great new recipes. I introduced my kids to some new ideas. I learned a lot about how to eat out in a healthier way. I am starting to think I should just do a whole post on this. If that doesn’t fit a definition of “work,” I am not sure what would have.
  2. Bacon was not my turning point.

The truth is, I just want to be April.

I realize that at some point I will have to put together a cohesive thought on this Happiness Project business. Unfortunately I don’t have one yet. But I do understand why Gretchen’s first commandment for herself (Be Gretchen) will be mine as well (Be April).

I read a ton of posts on a regular basis that often have great ideas, uplifting thoughts, insight, and inspiration. However, so often I find myself thinking, “Why do they feel the need to over justify?”

That is what I do not want to do here. I don’t think I did it with the original post that started this whole thing. That was a real moment with real feelings and resulted in some pretty real action.

www.happiness-project.com

www.happiness-project.com

But I don’t live in a vacuum. And the truth is things change; they evolve. And Gretchen (who I am seriously crushing on right now if you haven’t noticed) hit a cord with me…

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
~Voltaire (via Gretchen Rubin)

I am not going to be a perfect vegan. I would love to be one. But that won’t make me happy.

While it is a good and noble way, makes me feel fabulous, and keeps my waist amazingly slim, it does some not so great things too.

I blame MasterChef.

This post happens to have been written on our 14th wedding anniversary :)

This post happens to have been written on our 14th wedding anniversary 🙂

I love to cook. No, actually, I love to watch my husband thoroughly enjoy himself eating what I cook. And, if I do say so myself, I am pretty damn good at it. The family in general enjoys great cooking shows and they are pretty convinced I can recreate anything we happen to see there. That makes me happy.

In turn, my husband has a few amazing tricks in his own grilling hat that he pulls out from time to time. He gives him great joy to be able to take over the cooking duties for the evening, give me a break, and fulfill my love for great food. That makes him very happy. That makes me happy.

Perfect is a great enemy of that good.

So losing vegan makes me happy. Retaining some of the great stuff I learned also makes me happy. Finding a great balance between the two sounds like a great happiness project resolution.

Because I will still eat the hell outta these!!

Liberation

“If you’re drivin’ down the road and you look over and see a truck in the middle of a field, you know what happened.. Liberation.” – Jase

Duck DynastyI freely admit with pride that “Duck Dynasty” is my favorite show on TV. And Jase is my favorite personality (it is a pretty close call between him and his daddy though). As fate would have it, this quote came at about the same time as this post by Amanda from Run to the Finish.

And, as life is oft to do, it clicked and there it was.

My 2013 word. LIBERATION.

Now if you are not a “Duck Dynasty” fan, first, that’s just weird. If you aren’t acquainted with the background of the above quote, let me see if I can sum it up quickly.

The Robertson family have accumulated quite a bit of wealth through Willie (son) creating a million dollar business out of Phil’s (dad) duck call (which was already doing really well). Phil is serious backwoods, salt of the earth, pioneer man. He is very mindful of the “yuppiefication” of his children and grandchildren. Willie is probably the biggest offender. A $100/hole bet between Willie and Jase (brother) leads to Jase discovering the plethora of bullfrogs at the country club golf course. Jase decides a group needs to go catch those bullfrogs after dark, however country club security disagrees. Phil makes off safely with the bullfrogs, Willie has to come pick the rest of the crew from security. Willie is not happy. His reaction brings criticism of his qualification to wear the beard. Having had enough of the ribbing, Willie pulls off into a field and proceeds to get some mud on the tires.

“If you’re drivin’ down the road and you look over and see a truck in the middle of a field, you know what happened.. Liberation.” – Jase

2012, if I had to be honest, was full of a bunch of backseat riding. There was a ton of metaphorical “no, I am not going frog gigging today.” All too often I would be afraid of the country club security. Seriously? I mean really, I can run faster and my gun is bigger.

  • Liberation ~ the act of liberating…the state of being liberated
  • Liberating ~ to set at liberty
  • Liberty ~ the quality or state of being free, the power to do as one pleases, of choice, freedom from physical restraint, arbitrary or despotic control, the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges

Hell yeah.

mudThere is a lot of power for me in that idea. And understand, “liberation” does not equal “reckless.” But it does encourage a bit of confidence in one’s decision to make more “to hell with the box” choices. It begs the opportunity to harness the big ideas and ride the wave of possibility for a while. It shuns the notion of reserved and safe. It downplays the need for subtle. It urges the bright pink toe shoes and 100 mile races. It pokes in the side for large professional accomplishment. It shouts to the roof tops “HELL YEAH!”

For far too long I have been concerned about the whispers of the unknown masses taking personal inventory of my journey. They aren’t there. I have long been convinced that there is a group of commentators working my choices over in the press box. They are obviously not. However, if they are, pop tall ~ I am about to take 2013 in a way that makes Clowney’s Outback Bowl hit look like a preschool game of “Red Rover.”

“If you’re drivin’ down the road and you look over and see a truck in the middle of a field, you know what happened.. Liberation.” – Jase

Newtown – My Thoughts (for whatever that is worth)

When a person first decides to blog, they think that they are setting out on a journey just to document activities, stories, great tips, maybe even interesting products that they try. However, we often don’t realize, sometimes even until you are years into it, that there is a pretty big responsibility that comes with tapping out keys on a keyboard and pushing “publish.” However, in the life of every blogger, (at least the ones I know) events will happen that remind us just what kind of undertaking it is to commit thoughts on paper.

Friday was one of those events.

There has been a great deal written on the events in Newtown. I hesitate to add to them. In all honesty, what is there really to say? The horribleness is unimaginable. The grief, overwhelming. Any offers of condolences, so far from adequate.

It is understandable that we turn into ourselves in an attempt in some way to explain why this unspeakable happened. We have seen a great deal of this turn into intense arguments. From God to guns, healthcare to parenting, people try to make sense of the why and to create safeguards for the future.

There is a lot I could say at this point. I do have my opinions, but none of that will bring those babies back. I do have my ideas on what a better world looks like. However, none of those will return those teachers to their families.

So while there is a lot that could be said, allow me to focus simply on this one point.

It is my honest belief that we argue fight, debate, and even get angry with one another not because we harbor animosity to our fellow man, but because we all wish to protect life.

When I step back and look over many issues of contention, at the root is not general disdain for another human being. It is not a total disregard for the opinions of others. In fact, I believe, outside of politics, many of these ideas are put forth with an honest and genuine desire of people to leave our world better than we found it.

The travesty that was Friday is tragic on many levels. The startling realization that the most innocent are not safe is among them. This deficiency cuts to the primal instinct in most of our hearts to protect our young. Issues like gun control, the war on drugs, healthcare, religion and philosophy, moral fortitude, parental responsibility, food sourcing, vaccination, media consumption, and a host of other controversial topics, have, at their center, a common goal of innocence protection. Regardless of which side of the topics one finds themselves on, the end game for the masses is protection.

In my summation, this is the idea that I will choose in my personal life to focus on. This decision came about for a few reasons.

One, the gravity of the situation as a whole is just too much to process at one time. God bless the families. I don’t know how they do it. They are in my prayers constantly.

Two, it is soul sucking to assume that people who believe differently than I do have despicable intentions. Moreover, who in their right mind contributes to things that they know to be soul sucking? Call it optimism, Pollyanna, rose-colored glasses. I choose today what I chose yesterday; that people, in general, as a whole, are a good and decent species. I find no reason to behave as if the reverse is true, even if it is.

Lastly, it is the only change I can actually make right now. I will continue to listen to the differing opinions of all people. Well that’s not true. I will listen to the differing opinions of good people. I reference back to point number two. Soul suckers, regardless of their information, are of no use to me. Despite what some people claim, I believe the messenger is often just as important as the message.

Nevertheless, I will continue to listen to the messages – even if they don’t sound like mine. And I will continually make the choices that I feel protects the innocents in my direct control. It is the only thing I can do.

I choose to protect my house with God and guns. Until and unless I am convinced that there is a better way, this is the best I can do. If another house has determined a better way for them, I respect that.

I choose to protect my house with healthier choices. We all know that I am not perfect. We all know that I am an imperfect parent. Quite frankly, you are too. However, I do believe that media consumption, electronic interaction, food engineering, and physical activity all contribute to physical and mental health. I will continue to attempt to make better choices in those areas today than I did yesterday. Should other homes research things on their own and make different decisions, I respect that.

In all, I encourage that we continue to share ideas. Express pain and comfort one another, and in all things remember that both sides of any given issue probably have the best of intentions. Quite frankly, if you believe that they don’t, why have the conversation anyway?

The travesty of Newtown contains in it the shock of seeing respect for life totally disregarded. Let us not repeat that same travesty over and over again in our dealings with each other.

God bless you all.

Are You Gonna Run That?

There are two kinds of people who say they hate running

  1. People who secretly wish to run but don’t
  2. People who who don’t realize they secretly wish to run but don’t

In all seriousness. I am not saying anything about the motivation or the what other folks need to do or don’t do. I try not to function that way. I get that what is “good” for one is not necessarily “good” for another. Like I said to the twigs – I ain’t mad.

I am talking to those of you who are making changes. And not just necessarily just running…maybe you are eating different, picking up the weights, putting down the smokes, getting rid of the old clutter, bringing in some new friends…whatever.

I am going to tell you something you probably already know…some people around you are not going to be quite as excited as you are.

The truth is, most people are not going to care. Because this is a big deal to you, this is going to feel like non support. I get that. Rest assured, it isn’t. They simply don’t care either way. It is a neutral. Go ahead and be okay with that. There is a bunch of crap they do that you don’t care about either. It is okay.

That is most people. But there are others…the ones that swear you are going to ruin your knees, lose too much weight, eat the wrong foods, hang with the wrong people, become overzealous, take on too much, not get enough, waste your time…you get the point. You have probably already heard it. I got a dollar that says you just read that in somebody’s voice who says it to you now.

Ask me how I know 🙂

Complete strangers will feel free to comment on my distance, my pace, my clothes, my shoes (OH MY SHOES!), you name it. It is almost as bad as being pregnant. Mommies know exactly what I am talking about. Nothing extracts unwanted, unsolicited advice like a preggers belly (except maybe some hot pink vvf’s).

Is it right? Probably not. Is it useful? Not typically. Can it be hurtful and demotivating? If you let it. Is it ever going to stop? Probably not.

And it also isn’t helpful to cheese it up and say things like, “I don’t do it for them anyway,” or “Who cares what they think?” or the ever popular, “I have to do what I have to do to make me happy.”

Bet I just stepped on one of your favorites. How do I know? Because they are mine too. So before you storm off and swear me off, let me explain.

The truth is that some of these folks may be your children, your spouse, your family, your friends. You are, to some extent, doing this for them. You are looking to provide a better example, be around longer, participate more. In other areas of your life, these people provide counsel, are a sounding board, they are your shoulder. You do, to some extent, care what they think. And all this is not making you happy.

Making it takes more than a hackneyed phrase and 10 deep breaths. It takes balance, intention, and serious consideration. Some really great support sources help too 🙂

Persevering through the exterior noise takes as much training as actual exercise. And there are typical ideas that work in most cases. I have found it very helpful to

  • consider the gripe
  • consider the source
  • consider the context

Don’t just brush it off. I mean, unless you are one of the few people who can actually do that. I can’t. I pretend like I do and then I spend the next four days going over it again in my head and letting it fester. Yeah, not effective. Go ahead and process the noise so you can put it away. It may be a legitimate issue you need to address. Could be a crazy person that is always looking for stuff to be pissed off and negative about.

Or it could be someone who wishes they had the backbone to do what it is you are doing and being brassy with you is easier than being brassy with themselves.

Best part, I think your backbone can handle it. And I hope you have heard that before.

Tan Toes…Strong Woman

The Ladies at the Lighthouse

Seriously I thought that My Beautiful Chaos was always going to be the mantra of my life. Once I got married, had some babies, held down a job, and occupied some free time, what else was there but chaos?

The chaos is still there…it is still beautiful. I still love it. But it doesn’t compel me to create the way it once did.

“You are a great writer.” Dan says. “But you aren’t writing there very much anymore are you?”

“No,” I tell him. “It seems I am only motivated to write when something pisses me off. I don’t want to write pissed off.”

And that is true. But I do want to write. And where I once wore the badge of chaos as an honor, it now seems to be a place of uncertainty and instability. I have become more settled into who I am, what I am made of, and the wonders of constant evolution. I am proud that I can still handle the chaos. I am more thrilled that I am learning to thrive and wield it. 

So The Chaos still lives…it may even be updated once in a while. More than likely, old things there will strike me in a different way now and find itself migrated here. Who knows? But let me tell you a bit about here.

Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2012

As you may know, my inner runner escaped last year. It has been a hell of a ride since then. I have been amazingly fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way. Good, encouraging people. Smart, helpful people.

I have been blessed in discovering a whole new part of me that made all the other parts of me make a little more sense. It is interesting how acquainted you can get with yourself during double digit mileage runs. It is amazing how competent you become in other aspects of your life when you realize you are tangibly just that strong.

Spinach Smoothie…yes, please 🙂

Please know this is not all about running. But make no mistake, running changed my life. And it changed my voice. In fact, it changed nearly everything about me. My relationship with my God and my family is better. My understanding of myself is more authentic. My confidence in all other areas is stronger. My mental, physical, and emotional well being has been transformed by healthier choices.

In short, life just doesn’t seem that chaotic anymore.

So my journey has shifted out of the chaos and into the world of strong, tanned toes…what do I mean by that anyway? Well, a few things

My first barefoot run

  1. If you know me at all, you know I hate shoes. I only wear them when I absolutely have to. I live where it is sunny most of the time. Ergo, my toes are tanned
  2. My love of running hit a whole new level when I learned you didn’t have to wear sneakers to do it. In fact, you could (and some folks say “should”) do it barefoot! So, I tried it. It was like being a kid again. Now, because I can’t risk tearing my feet up, I am what is known as a minimalist runner (barefoot purest will appreciate that I know the difference).
  3. I think I was an ocean animal in my previous life. Ok, so I don’t actually believe in previous lives. But if I did, you would have no trouble convincing me I was a dolphin or a mermaid or something. I love the water. I love the sand by the water. I love my tanned toes in that sand and that water.

Turning 36

And the “Strong Woman”? There is a bit behind that too…

    1. I could not care less about being a twig. Twigs cannot, as a matter of regularity, hand mix concrete, use a chainsaw, push a mower, hold a sleeping five year old the duration of a Mass, help her husband move furniture, or run distances some people won’t drive to work in a car. That takes strong. Now understand, if you are a twig and you like that – more power to you. I believe in doing what works for you. I ain’t mad and I am for sure not trying to change your mind. It just isn’t me. And I happen to think muscles on chicks are sexy.
Tough Girls!
  1. I am not interested in being a victim. A strong mind and a strong body work with each other. Strengthening one is empowering the other. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in the power of the mind. I believe that circumstances change only in so much as we have the mental and physical strength to change them.
  2. I am not sexist, but I am a woman and I am raising four of them. So, while I hope my writing is helpful for the fellas (and y’all are more than welcome here), I don’t really know a whole lot about being a strong man or raising strong men…so there’s that.

So, I am still fixing up the place. Feel free to offer opinions, ideas, and questions…I am looking forward to getting comfortable here 🙂

A few more excuses…

If you have not read this, (I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps

This comment was left on the last post (when it was originally posted here)…I loved it because it yet again proved I was not alone. I have thought this same thing over and over again.

We all have excuses. Just a few more things to get in place, then I will be ready. Tomorrow, Monday, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the quarter, after this season, at the New Year…whatever. If you are anything like me. That time will just keep pushing itself backwards to a new milestone. I have heard of this phenomenon somewhere. I think it has a name…oh yeah, procrastination. (Don’t you like how I pretend I don’t know this cat amazingly well?)

First, I am not a fan of the word “excuse.” I think, by definition, it conveys the appropriate idea. By connotation, it sucks. When we say “excuse”, we assume lazy, non committed, unable, failure, lack of discipline, untruthfulness, and general full of shitness.

We are not any of those things. I am not any of those things.

What I am is a married mother of four children with a demanding profession. I am active with my family, friends, parish, and community. What I am is what you probably are – challenged to do one more thing in your non-forgiving 24 hour day.

I prefer “challenges” to “excuses”. And if you are one who thinks that is little more than a cop-out or feel good semantics, just keep going with what ever works for you. But most people I know already have more than enough self hate speech going on in their heads. If that kind of motivation works for you, go with it. Seriously, I am for whatever helps you achieve your goals. But for me, it is paralyzing and defeating. Then, not only do I have real challenges to contend with, but I have to move past the mental sewage that just stink piled in my brain. No thanks.

Second, I found no point in morally sorting my challenges. Do I lack time because I watch too much TV or because I have four kids that need homework help? Do I eat fast food because it was the only option or because I just really wanted that cheeseburger? Did I make this choice because I am a good, upright super citizen of the world, or a big, fat piece of crap? See, how it doesn’t matter? Just more brain sewage.

But, I DO have challenges. The most pressing one is time. And there are a ton of reasons this is a challenge. Some could be classified as legitimate and some not. Not the point. The point was not beating myself up over choices I had made with my past time, but making this new thing a priority…making new choices in spite of, and without carrying the baggage of, the previous choices.

I am always thinking about how to answer your question. “April, how did you do it?”

The answer is I haven’t done it. I am doing it. And it is a process of waking up every morning, identifying the specific challenges to my priorities for this specific day and making it my mission in the next 24 hours to successfully navigate those challenges. Not yesterday’s challenges. Not maybe unforeseen challenges of tomorrow. Not cranked up brain sewage shitness. But honest to goodness logistics of today’s “To Do” list.

There is no better day 🙂