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?!? 

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

It’s Christmas Eve!!!

So I’ve been deep in thought about Christmas once again. Was getting my hair cut the other day when I ended up in a conversation about Christmas. The hype is crazy. The pressure to get the right thing, to spend enough money, to decorate just right, to make all the goodies PINTREST worthy, to make everything just perfect. We live in a culture of abundance. Too many presents, too much food. Too much hussle. Too much bustle. 

My challenge to you is think about how you remember your Christmas growing up. Do you remember what you “got”. The girl cutting my hair and I could each think of 3 things we got. 3!!!! However, I look back fondly on my Christmases growing up. Some of my most treasured memories are of time spent with my family at Christmas. Was a time of the year where we just spend time together. My mom worked her butt off all year round to provide for us. But Christmas Eve was a time we could all be together. 

These are some of my most treasured memories:

Visits with Santa

 

This happens to be my favorite photo of Santa and I.

Christmas crafts were big in my house. Painting ceramics. 

Decorating the house was also fun. Christmas music in the background. All of us kids working together to make the house look festive.  We always had presents on the wall

Driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Christmas programs.  Journey to the center of Christmas! 

Going to candle light service at church and mom dripping wax on her hand. Also mom trying so hard to clap along to the songs and having no rhythm. Getting home from church and having treats and pizza for dinner. And opening presents sitting around the tree. 

Most of all was baking cookies. Eating so much cookie dough and frosting that I had a giant stomach ache (totally worth it!) my brother throwing cookie dough on the Ceiling to see if it would stick. Using too much flour and making a giant mess… Always ending in a flour fight. Having contests to see who could make the prettiest cookie. Getting yelled at for sneaking a cookie cuz those were for the people mom worked with. Also getting “the look” when I “accidentally” got frosting on my fingers and then licked them… Oops! Then getting excited when we got to eat them. Cookies for breakfast! 

My sister coming down in her undies Christmas morning to open gifts. Sorry sister, it’s adorable and part of my memories 😉 (I’ll spare the photo on this one)   Ps. She was little! 

I always enjoyed everyone else opening their presents, and always wanted to be the one to hand themall out.  (Even when I was in first grade and had just had my tonsils out).  Here is a photo of me watching the gift opening:  

Playing games all day Christmas Day with my siblings. Just being together. Enjoying each other. We didn’t always get along, but we tried on Christmas.  It didn’t matter if it was board games, marbles, Legos, Nintendo or some made up game we came up with. We just hung out! 

 Here is our Christmas In a nutshell. Love the coordinating wind suits. Notice how we aren’t real thrilled about the “lets take a photo thing” makes me giggle. 

And In case you are wondering what gifts I remembered: 

 

My new kids on the block comforter!

My pen-doodle-um. The coolest craft thing ever!

The other was my “cheerleader wanna be doll” but I don’t have a photo of her. But I did find this photo of my Hyper-color sweatshirt that’s loved as well. If you don’t know what hyper color is… You are missing out!   

So.. To wrap it all up. *notice the pun*

For me. Christmas is about being present. Not the presents. It’s about spending time with family. Not money on family. It’s about giving and not getting. It’s about love and kindness. Finding the true meaning of the season. And of course cookies and frosting. 

Merry Christmas and God Bless. And find the magic in the season. 

 

100ish things that I am thankful for 

It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on what we are thankful for. A few years back a friend of mine started listing 100 things she is thankful for every November. She has published her list… And it reminded me that I should do the same. I love this idea. Try it!

 So…. In no particular order… Here is Tonya’s 2015 thankful for list: 

  1. My family. They love me for who I am. And made me as crazy as I am. Love them!
  2. My coworkers. Most of them.
  3. Vacations!!! 🏝🌇
  4. My job. It pays for my vacations! 
  5. Running
  6. Running shoes
  7. Cupcakes
  8. My cell phone📱
  9. Social media
  10. PINTREST
  11. my scrapbook room
  12. My nephews and my niece. Love them all: Parker, Carter, Kiersten, Hunter and Easton.
  13. My mother. My rock. My friend. 
  14. My siblings!
  15. 🎶🎶🎶Music. 🎶🎶🎶
  16. Coloring books
  17. Movies
  18. Treadmills. Even though sometimes I hate it!
  19. My health
  20. My scooter!
  21. Reset buttons. Sometimes the day just needs a do over. 
  22. Books📚
  23. Blogs
  24. Heartbeats
  25. Sunsets
  26. Beaches🏖
  27. Palm trees 🏝
  28. Water. Lakes, rivers, streams, oceans.
  29. H2O
  30. Thoughts
  31. Words
  32. Giggles
  33. Smiles😎
  34. Laughter
  35. My support system. You know who you are!
  36. Airplanes✈️
  37. My car. I want a new one but this one works for now…🚗
  38. My bank account. 💰
  39. My 401k. I remember fighting my mother that I didn’t want to do it. I am thankful that she pushed me to invest!
  40. Hairbrushes
  41. Children. They light up my life
  42. Meaningless silly conversations 
  43. Sweat
  44. Tickling 
  45. My brand new bed!!!🛌
  46. My five senses 
  47. Inside jokes
  48. My apartment 🏢
  49. Nicknames
  50. My wonderful boyfriend. He is kind of amazing.
  51. Naps!😴  
  52. Hoodies 
  53. Cuddling
  54. Bonfires🔥
  55. Rollerblades
  56. Sledding🌨
  57. Cookies🍪🍪
  58. Fat cat. 🐱
  59. Good days.
  60. Bad days. They make me appreciate the good days even more.
  61. Sunshine☀️
  62. Rainbows🌈
  63. Disney. 
  64. Races. 5k’s…. 10 k’s
  65. My creativity (sometimes)
  66. Spell check
  67. My faith✝
  68. Babies 
  69. Memories 
  70. Dancing💃🏻
  71. Hot tubs 
  72. Hugs 
  73. The seasons.
  74. Blankets
  75. Pillows
  76. Mountains🗻 
  77. Road trips🛣
  78. Chocolate 🍫
  79. Change
  80. My church⛪️
  81. Pictures📸
  82. The Green Bay packers 
  83. Umbrellas🌂
  84. Singing. And yes I know I can’t sing… But I do what I want to
  85. Trampolines
  86. Feeling like a kid
  87. Journaling📝
  88. Feelings
  89. Eye contact 👀
  90. Love ❤️
  91. Games🎲🎮🎳
  92. My randomness 
  93. People who refuse to give up on me
  94. Giraffes
  95. Alarm clocks 
  96. Pony tails
  97. Phone chargers
  98. Butterflies🐛
  99. The moon🌖
  100. Ice cream 🍨
  101. My fitbit and Nike plus app
  102. Pumpkin anything
  103. Holidays and traditions
  104. Hot showers
  105. Pizza 🍕
  106. Movie nights
  107. DVR
  108. Lotion 
  109. Jimmy Johns. Subway and extreme Pia
  110. The couch of awesome

Apparently I have an inability to count to 100. Really there are just so many things to be thankful for that I just couldn’t help myself. I did at one point read over the list and noticed cupcakes was on there twice. Lol. What can I say.