If you can’t say something nice…. 

Warning rant ahead. But bear with me…. It gets good. But first a little background. Friday I was hanging out with the boyfriend and he had to run an errand for an hour or so. My first thought was “do I have enough time for a run?!?” Pretty sure there was a sparkle of joy in my eye as I said it. My second thought was “yup… I’m a runner”  He said “go for it… But not too far cuz we are going to go for a walk when I get back” seemed like a deal to me. So first I had to define “short”… So I decided that anything less than 5 miles was short. Well…  

 4.75 is less than 5! Hehe. Anyways, this is what happened on my run. I was out… Minding my own business… Enjoying a lovely Minnesota summer night.I’m running across the bridge when some idiot yells out his window something about me being slow. For the next 4 miles I had all sorts of thought percolating in my brain. Before I get into my rant I just want to say I know I’m not the fastest runner… And I am 100% OKAY with it. Sometimes I just run to clear my mind. Sometimes I run for fun or to release stress. Sometimes I run Because I Really…. REALLY like food… (You get the idea)… 

Here is what at I took from this little “insult” 

First off. You don’t know me. Which means you don’t know how far I’ve come. You don’t know the battles that I fight on a daily or hourly basis. You don’t know what I struggle with.   

  

In other words. Shut your face. Why do you have to try and put others down? Keep that crap to yourself. But also…. Don’t let other  people’s negativity hold you back from doing your thing!!! Who cares what people think! You go out there and be amazing…. And pay no attention to their negativity. I also realized I had a choice to let his observation define and ruin me… Or help push me forward… I didn’t let him continue the outcome. I win!  

  
Don’t give into your own negativity. I am my own worst critic most of the time… And can get down on myself real quick. Don’t do that. It’s not helpful. And most of all Don’t quit. What Happens then?!?  We go back to where we started… Or worse? And how does that feel?!? Keep pressing on. It’s worth it. 

  
I get a lot of smiles, nods and waves from people when I’m out running. You have no idea how much that pushes me along. Why can’t we be that? People who encourage and build each other up?!?! 

Bottom line: you have no freaking idea how hard I worked to get to… And stay where I am. Still not exactly where I wanna be… But heck of a lot further than I once was. 

Also. This is just as true in running as it is in life. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we set aside our differences  and just encouraged each other to follow our dreams. Hmmm… Something to think about…. 

Advertisements

Tribute to my friend Beki

A month ago today I was wishing my friend Beki a happy birthday on Facebook. 10 days later I posted this:  

 Almost a month later it still doesn’t feel real.

I’ve know Beki and her whole family since I was 6 years old. We all grew up together: here is a little flashback photo:  

 Me, Karissa, Rachel, Brittany, Beki and Luke. 

I don’t know why Niki isn’t in this photo… But this was my family growing up. These were my people. My safe place. My sanctuary.  

When I heard the news of Beki’s passing my world just stopped for a moment. I mean really. She is only three years older than me. It just can’t be true. But… It was. It is.  So… In order for this girl to process I did what I  do and I went for a run. A run to grieve, to remember Beki… A run to help me make sense of it all. So, I set out last Saturday on a little memorial run… A run for Beki. I chose a route that went through our old neighborhood, took a little trip down “memory lane” if you will. I chose to run 7.11 to celebrate her life. (Her birthday is July 11th). And listened to praise and worship music because she loved to sing (and had the voice of an angel) …and worshipping was her favorite. 

   I stopped along the way to snap some photos. I fought back tears a few times, smiled a bunch when I was thinking of different memories and I wanted to quit more than once. But I kept pushing.  

 This is the place it all began. soooooooooo many memories here. I ran passed twice because it was so emotional the first time. I thank God that He had us all living here at the same time.  

 Even better than our neighborhood was when we got to go to Cherry Lane. We thought we were hot stuff when we could! Also where most of my Halloween memories take place!  

However most of my Beki memories take place at Apollo high School. I couldn’t make it to Apollo on my run. But what I do have are memories getting off at this bus stop:

 
And walking the three blocks home and Beki and I giggling because I would have to go to the bathroom so bad that I would walk funny. She would continue to bring up this memory into adulthood. We had such a good time in high school. I was a quiet, shy girl who didn’t have many friends in school. Beki and I would hang out between classes in the music room and play the piano. She taught me a lot, about music and life. We even convinced a teacher we were actually sisters. She refused to let me have a bad day and would do anything to make me smile. Always had a joke or story to brighten my day. She was just Such a great listener!! 

Besides memories here are some thoughts I wanted to share from my run. 

Beki oozed Jesus. She was the girl in high school who brought her bible to school. She didn’t care what other people thought.  She was always there to quote a bible verse or teach me about Jesus. She just wanted people to know Him, but she didn’t push it down thier throats… She did it through love. 

I know she is without pain is and having the biggest party in Heaven with her Jesus. Something she lived her life for. I can’t be sad for that!! I am sad for the rest of us. Her parents, her sisters and especially her nieces. Beki was full of love for everyone…but had a special connection to her nieces and it breaks my heart that they won’t get to grow up with her like I did. I consider myself extremely blessed to have had such a great friend…especially during high school which can be a really awkward, difficult time. 

She was true to herself. 

She put others before herself.

She lived “choose joy” 

And after all that I decided what I need to do make her proud. Drop some of the negativity that I’ve been carrying. Realize that life really just is so short and you never know when it’s over. Live the life I’ve been given. Shine like the stars.  Let people know that I love them. Be a good listener, it really make people feel cared for. Be a friend. Have fun. Smile. Laugh.

Of course I could go on… And on… But I’ll end with this: 

Beki (along with her big sister Niki) were both like big sisters to me.  I hope to make them proud. Rest in peace Beki. Your memory will live on…and we will keep your spirit alive. 

🎶🎶🎶 you are the wind beneath my wings🎶🎶

  

Thoughts from my therapy run 

So… 4 days ago I turned 35. Thirty. five. That means I am 5 years into my thirties. Like I’m edging closer to 40 every day. Before I Get to why this is a big deal… I have to show you how I celebrated my birthday  

 A run, a cupcake and some time with the boyfriend. All around a really great day. Anyways.. Moving on… 

Truth of the matter is I think it’s kinda bugging me a little. Making my brain a little foggy and making wearing my “crabby pants” way to easy these days. Sometimes I just stare off into space. Some days the whole “Choosing Joy” thing  just isn’t that easy. However tonight on my run I think I worked some things out. Weird as it sounds I think I’m having a “midlife crisis” if you will. Here’s the deal. Growing up you have this picture of what your life will be when you “grow up”… Right?!? My picture included a house, a husband, twins a dog and a job as a teacher. I even “knew” who this husband was supposed to be for years and years. Of course I was way to young to “know” this.. Not to mention that he was totally wrong for me…but that’s beside the point. Back to the picture… It of course had a deadline. I was thinking 30 would be when this would all fall in place. Ummm.. About that… 

 

Lake George. tonights therapy


 I am 35. I have….an apartment, no husband, no kids, a fat….lazy diabetic cat… And a job as a bill collector. Sometimes it seems like my siblings got everything that I wanted.. You see I am the oldest of 5 kids. One of my sisters has the twins I always wanted (plus another adorable little boy) . One of them is running a daycare (that was actually what I went to college for), my other sister is married and has a dog! and my brother has 2 adorable children. People that I graduated with have teenagers!!!  Those are the facts. My life isn’t what I thought it would be. I am not the person I thought I would “grow up” to be…and everyone “seems” to have what I wanted. Or thought I wanted….. 

Here is the conclusion I came to when I was running tonight. I am freakin blessed. I have a great life and I need to out on my big girl panties and realize  it. Here is the deal. I don’t have a house (I did at one point, that’s another story) …but I love my apartment! I don’t have a husband….but I do have a pretty terrific boyfriend. I do not have any kids… But I do have 4 awesome nephews and one amazing niece. I have a little bestie and a littlest bestie whom I lobe very much. I have the two girls I baby sat for almost their entire lives. I have cousins, and cousins kids and church kids and….. You get the point. God has placed a ton of kids in my life to have influence on. And as far the at the cat thing goes: IMG_3712 

  I kinda like him. I have gotten to travel and see so many things that I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to do!!  And the job thing… Some days a it really sucks. Some days it really stresses me out. Some days it makes me want to start drinking (I don’t drink, never have)… On the other hand some days it’s exciting and fun… And I honestly feel like I am changing people’s lives for the better. And then I realize I can afford things like vacations ( I really like vacation!!) and insulin for my diabetic cat…and shoes, running shoes!! And… Well, you get the point…. because of my job… It makes it not so bad. 

Bottom line from tonight’s 5 mile therapy run was this. No, I am not living the life imagined I would be when I was little. But I have a pretty freaking amazing life. I just needed a little wake up call to realize it. I have people around me who love me (even when I am unlovable) and that is what really matters. Thinking that what God had figured out for My life was a little (okay… Maybe A lOT) better than what I thought. And I may be 35… But I refuse to grow up. Cuz that in an option. I am, and will always be, just a big kid. And I kinda like the person I am becoming. As far as the rest of my life goes…. We shall see. Life is an adventure and I’m excited to see what’s in store. 

Legacy 

I have been thinking a lot about death recently. It all started when Prince died. It was April 21st 2016. A day many Americans will not forget and a day the world turned purple to honor and remember him. Here are a few images that were floating around the Internet of how cities remembered him: 

   
   
The world mourned and you heard tribute after tribute of how he inspired people. Musicians, famous people and well…. America.  As a graduate of the class of 1999 our graduation anthem  was 1999 by Prince. Full disclosure I never really got into his music much. I was more a boy band girl myself. However I can not deny his unbelievable talent. Or the widespread impact of his musical talent and his life. 

So here is what it got me thinking. What is my legacy? What will people say about me when I am gone? What kind of impact am I making? Am I living my life in such a way that I can look back and be proud of the person I was?  What have I done to make a difference? To make the world a better place? Is my generosity reaching further than I could ever imagine? Is my kindness being felt by others? Am I someone people enjoy being around? Am I using my talents and abilities to Impact others in a positive way? 

I guess you could say it left me asking a lot of questions and examining my attitude and my actions. Questioning how I make people feel… Wondering…. What I can do to make the world a better place? I still don’t know how that all plays out or what that looks like… But it’s rolling around in my brain, but it is there. 

I have heard it said that we should live your life so that the preacher doesn’t have to lie at your funeral.  I am endeavoring to live a life that I am proud of… And maybe writing this will inspire someone else to do the same. Is that to say that I won’t screw it up… Fall down and fail miserably? Nope! Have ya met me? I am not perfect. But… That’s the beauty. We keep learning and growing. Let’s create a life worth remembering. 

Earth Day

So. My first 5k ever was 5 years ago. My sister Jen made me sign up. I thought she was crazy. Me? Run?!?  a 5k?!?! hahaha. Well. I did it. Was the farthest I had ever run. And vowed to never do it again. Well I did. The next month. Apparently I caught the bug!! Yesterday was the anniversary of my first 5k. Something super cool happened at yesterday’s run. But before I tell you about that I need to tell you about how apparently competitive I am. I didn’t do as well as I thought I should. I finished like 2 minutes slower than I wanted too. I had to stop several times because I was struggling with the whole being able to breathe thing. I’m not going to make excuses about why I didn’t do “well” so I’m not going to. But immediately I started sorta started saying ” I coulda done better.” 

And then I thought back over the last 3.1 miles. The image of this young girl (she was probably 10 or 12ish) flashed into my mind. She and I were running at a very similar pace. She was all by herself and you could tell she was obviously pushing herself. I don’t know her story… All I know is I was watching her and she kept me going (unbeknownst to her). When she hit a wall and started walking I ran passed her and tapped her shoulder. Smiled. And told her she was doing awesome and to keep going. I could see the spring return to her step and she smiled and started running again. Funny thing in… When I was having a “my lungs hate this wind and this running thing” moment… She caught up to me and did the same thing. Told me we got this and to keep pushing forward. This continued through the race. Sadly I don’t know how she finished because I ended up finding some motivation and finishing strong. I really wanted to find her though. Was so cool to have that connection. Run I g is so much more than running. It’s freeing. It’s empowering. It builds self confidence. It reduces stress.  The list goes on and on. 

The other inspirational story was the 89 year old lady who walked the 5k. Yes. You read that right. 89!! I took this screen shot of the local paper’s website.  

 I think it took her an hour and 14 minutes. She is freaking 89! Running passed her was the coolest thing! Too see her living out her dreams and still rocking a 5k… gave me hope. I want to be that cool at 89! I don’t think there was a person there who wasn’t inspired!

  Back to me for just a second. I did a little side by side comparison of my first Earth day to yesterday.  

 The difference in these two photos is more than just physical. It goes a little deeper. The girl on the left had very little self confidence. She didn’t believe in herself. She would have NEVER envisioned her weekends/ vacations revolving around 5k’s and 10ks. All I have to say is regardless of yesterday’s Finish time… I am freaking proud of the girl on the right because you know what.  I fought to become her! Actually I take that back. I continue to fight to be the girl on the right. Every. Single. Day. Is it hard? Yup! It’s it worth i?!? You better believe it! Am I exactly where I wanna be? Nope. But I’m continuing the fight. I won’t quit. I wanna be like Irene. Kicking butt at 89! For now… I’m just gonna keep doing my best and keep fighting the good fight. 

Who inspires you? 

And what did you to today to make yourself proud?!?

 Keep fighting to be the you that YOU want to be. 

I did what?!?! 

So… I have been meaning to write this little blog for a few months now. However.. A few things have stood in my way. Mostly myself. I wanted to take a moment to brag on myself a little.. But haven’t been feeling worthy of the bragging. However… Just recently I have been told that I am too hard on myself… So I’m taking a moment to reflect.. And yes maybe brag a little. Just know what your getting into. But first I’ll start with the reason I haven’t been feeling worthy. I have been feeling really squishy (like a busted can of biscuits maybe) since the holidays. I blame cupcakes, my onion ring addiction and well.. All around not good choices sometimes. I feel like I preach “make good choices” and while I really do pretty well overall… I could be doing better. But you know what… I am a human. Not perfect. At all…and guess what. That’s okay. (That part was for me… And I’m going to type it again cuz I don’t believe it sometimes) IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT. it’s okay to have some frosting… And maybe a little bit more… Sometimes. It’s okay to skip a workout or two. Your body, soul, spirit needs a break. Rest is okay. Rest…. Something I honestly need to work on. I have a hard time sitting still sometimes. It’s true. But I can’t be so hard on myself. My pants still fit and I’m happy= I win!! 

So…. Here is where I brag a little. Last year I set out to run 672 miles. Yes, the girl who refused to run the mile in high school…. Set out to run 672 miles in 2015. Just in case you are wondering that was about 56 miles per month. I am not going to lie… I was nervous that I bit of more than I could chew. I started off strong in January (I ran 100 miles in that month alone)… Truth be told i think I broke myself that month. And then I had to step it up… Was quite a roller coaster of a year. I can’t lie. Not all of the runs were enjoyable. Sometimes I ran because I “had to get my miles in” here is how my year looked she. It came to miles: 

  Now.. I bet your saying to yourself. Umm. Tonya, that’s more than 672 miles. Yup! I pushed it a little. 681 made more sense because 81 is kind of my number. 81 is my “ultimate weight lose goal” and.. Well I was born in 1981. So.. I pushed a little harder and made it happen. Therefore, I have to be proud of me. I made a goal and I crushed it!! I ran further than I’d ever ran before… I ran faster than I had ever done before. I pushed myself further than I thought possible. So.. Bottom line. I’m freaking pumped that I actually did it. 

Okay… Moving on. Here is why I continue this healthy living journey. It’s because of random messages I occasionally get like this: (I hope she doesn’t mind… I tried to take out any personally identifying info) but I’m really proud of her and it inspires me to continue doing what I do. Here’s the message:  
      

The word pregnant is missing. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This is from someone that I admire dearly. And I can’t explain how proud I am of her courage and strength!  Bottom line… I have to keep on keeping on! And when I beat myself up.. That’s not helpful to me or people who are looking to me to be an example. It’s really not helpful. So.. Instead.. Let’s celebrate our successes. Live a little and be kind. Be kind … Even to ourselves. K?!?! 
  

Blessed to be a blessing

12-6-2015

So. Here’s the deal. I was having some trouble getting into the holiday spirit. And I think I know why. First off it’s becoming way more commercialize than I care for. I think we are way far from the meaning of the whole season. And I think the other part about it is the stigma and the rules and pressure about gift giving. It’s stressful. I gave up getting gifts for people years ago…. But I really love being generous. This creates a struggle. I like giving without expectation of getting something in return. So when God laid this idea in my heart I was excited. A recent sermon at church sparked this idea as well. We have been talking about how blessed we are and not only that it our blessings in life usually come through other people. Bottom line is I am blessed to be a blessing. So. God laid a plan on my heart. Send a handwritten card and a small gift card to 25 people. One person everyday from December 1st to Christmas. He is coming up with who shall be the recipient of this blessing. I am just being the vessel. I did freak out a little at one point because I didn’t know how I was going to afford it. Even a small gift card for each adds up. God heard my concern and said “don’t worry child, I got this.” So… I have embarked on this journey. No turning back. Trusting God. Being a light. Spreading joy. 

1-28-2016

So… I did it! Well… God did. I just obeyed. Truth is… I felt more fulfillment at the end of this holiday season than I ever had. First off all I have to say when God says “I’ve got this”… Trust him. I ended up getting the money to cover this and then some. (Won an award). And it turns out I heard story after story of how my “blessing” came at just the right time and touched the recipient. The note encouraged and made people smile. I send a couple of gift cards to be passed on to someone else. I sent one to a lady I barely knows but she inspires my mom. I ended up seeing her at a store and she said it meant a lot to her.

 I took three of my nephews (the twins are 6 and the little one is 4) out to buy toys for tots so they could get in on being a blessing too. They loved it. We talked about how spoiled.. I mean blessed…. They are and how not all kids are that lucky. They were excited to be a blessing.  
 They did it with an attitude of expecting nothing in return. It was a blessing to me too see! I honestly wanted to just keep blessing people. 

One of the coolest parts of this whole thing was how it inspired the boyfriend. I had told him I didn’t want a Christmas gift (being 100% serious… I am not one of “those girls” who just says they don’t want anything and then gets mad about not getting something). So what he did instead was give me a very sweet card with a check to be donated to the charity of my choice. Once again allowing me to be a blessing. Blessed to be a blessing… Not only at Christmas… But all the year through. 

Published 2-14-16 

Because I was having WordPress issues 😦 better late than never right?!?