Live like you were dying….

A lot can happen in the blink of an eye. One moment everything seems to be okay and then the next moment your world changes. Takes a turn.  A phone call you don’t expect can change everything. It’s been two years since I received a phone call like that. 2 years seems like So long ago and yet just yesterday. Two years ago I lost someone I grew up with and loved like a big sister. and I miss her dearly.

Tonight I honored the anniversary of her passing with a 2 mile run.

IMG_5983

As I was running along the river the song “Live like you were dying” came on. It felt like a message straight from Beki. The beauty of  dusk reflecting off the river was a reminder to not take a moment for granted. Not take your next breath for granted or the ability to get out and go for a run. To bask in the joy of the little things. To let go of the frustrations of the day (today was a rather trying day with the nephews.) To find the silver lining in things. To look on the bright side and be grateful for the challenges because they make the good things that much sweeter. Without rain there are no rainbows.

Beki was so full of faith and love and generosity and joy that it was contagious. I want to make her proud. I don’t know if she knows how much I looked up to her. I don’t. But I wish I could tell her. I wish I could hear her sing one more time. I wish I could hug her… just one more time. I wish she could meet her amazing niece who is adorable as can be that she never met. I wish she could see her other nieces that are growing up to be amazing, adorable wonderful little people.

But what I really want is her memory to live on. Her legacy to reflect who she was. And I wish in the middle of stressful, frustrating situations I could remember to breathe. Slow down and choose joy. That really life is too short to not to enjoy it.

Miss you like crazy Beki.

beki memory

Advertisements

Thoughts from today’s 5k

Confession. I don’t know much about Basketball.

So yesterday at work I was trying to inspire one of my employees whom was struggling. Struggling with doubt really. Not sure he can do it. Feeling he is failing. Not sure whether or not he should keep going….

So we had a little heart to heart. I started the conversation with “Tell me a little bit about Michael Jordan.”  His eyes lit up. This guy is very passionate about sports. So he went on to tell me about all the times that Michael Jordan has failed. All the people who didn’t believe he could be successful and that he never, never, never quit. He went on and talk about how Jordan had used Rejection and Failure to fuel him to success.

Fast forward to my 5k this morning. My Hot.. HILLY… HUMID… 5k this morning. It was an amazing run to benefit kids with life threatening illnesses. Now, keep in mind I have not been running much this year. I have gained more weight than I would like to admit and just am not in “Peak Tonya performance.” So this run was extremely difficult for me.

I wanted to quit more than once. More than twice even. I stopped to walk to catch my breath (which was really hard in the humidity) and wouldn’t you know… there was a guy passing me. Not only any guy. But a guy wearing a freakin’ Michael Jordan jersey. (side note…this story would have been a thousand times cooler if it was Michael Jordan himself…. just sayin’). Meanwhile, back at the story… this guy in a Jordan jersey comes running beside me. ALL I could think about was the chat with my employee yesterday. How could I encourage someone else not to quit when I am thinking about quitting myself?!? How could I expect someone else to keep pushing through and following their dreams and pursing their goals if I was just gonna quit in the middle of a 5k?!?! I need to lead by example. I need to keep running. I would like to say that I just kept running and never looked back. But it didn’t work that way. We kept switching the lead off and on a few times. Every time he passed me I just smiled and used it as fuel to push even harder. In the end I did end up crossing the finish line before him. This story is bigger than that. This is about following your dreams. Leading by example. It’s about NEVER, NEVER, NEVER giving up.

Ps. I did find the guy at the end of the run and tell him this story and thanked him for pushing me.

You just never know who you might inspire. and you never know when someone might inspire you. I didn’t think I would be the one getting inspired from the conversation yesterday. And who knows, telling the Jordan jersey guy the story just might have inspired him as well. Pay attention to those in your circle of influence.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts from Michael Jordan himself:

MJ quote 2

When the going gets tough…

When the going gets tough…

What do you do when the going gets tough??! When life is throwing you curve balls. When is seems like nothing is in your control… or going the way you want it to!?!?

Here are some of my thoughts  (you don’t know to know them all…) from tonight’s bonding session with my running shoes.

I have been hearing myself say a word quite a bit lately and I don’t like it. The word is Failure. “I feel like a failure” has come out of my mouth more often like I would like it to. it’s time for that to change… and it’s up to me to change it. I fail at my job. I fail at keeping my apartment clean. I fail at getting things done that I want to get done. I fail at being who I want to be in my relationships sometimes. I fail at following through with things that are very important. I fail at keeping my checkbook balanced. I fail at blogging as much as I want to. I fail at reading books that I really want to read…. you get the point.

Why is my brain saying that I am failing at these things?!?! I think it’s because I am working on them. And it’s hard. And I’m not seeing results as fast or in the areas I want to see them. I am a work in progress and that’s okay. and that does NOT mean I am a failure.

Work is hard. I don’t think it would be called “work” if it wasn’t hard. It would be called… Retirement. Tonight’s blog is about doing what is hard.

Tonight I went for a run (which has become harder as I’ve gained some weight and haven’t been focused on running) and it wasn’t easy.

I came upon this incline. A steep… horrific incline. Staring at me in the face. I had 2 choices. Face it or turn around and find another “easier” way to get home. IMG_5824

I started thinking about life. How I want big things. How people that I work with want big things! Lots of money in retirement, a beach house, a BMW… a nice house… a good education for their children and how we can get it all. But it’s a battle. A mental battle. An internal battle of “can I do this” “is this real” “is it worth is” “what if I fail”… all these things… and I sure I missed things.  We can get those things if we work hard. If we put in effort and create habits that get us what we want. I think what is standing in our way most of the time is…. OURSELVES. Our BRAIN.

But what do we do?!?!

Here is what I did:

IMG_5825

I put on my big girl pants and ran up the dumb incline. It was NOT fun at the moment. In fact I was severely under hydrated tonight and phlegmy and at one point ended up with spit in my eye (don’t ask)… but you know what?!?! It was freaking worth it. I felt amazing after my run was done. And the reward?!? So many things. Mental clarity. Toughness. Endurance. Mental strength. And it was for my own good. Sometimes we fight things that are for our own good because they are tough. Because life is hard. Because a lot is expected of us. But nothing easy is worth doing. The hard things are where you flourish. Where you grow outside of your comfort zone.

It’s real easy to break under pressure. To throw in the towel and quit. To literally just run away. I feel this particular subject is top of mind right now because of all of the recent suicides that have been in the news. Everyone struggles. EVERYONE. Even the ones who appear strong and unshakable are weak and shakable. The going gets tough… what are you going to do when it does?!?

tough

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to people in your life who care for you. Something else that has been circling social medial is “check on your strong friend”. Do it. You may not know what they are struggling with.

IMG_5826

here is a visual representation of it being “worth it” after I climbed that hill… there was a bridge over the Mississippi river and here is the treat I got. There is no filter on this photo… this is real life.

Big money (insert whatever it is that your after, Health, better relationships etc) is on the other side of the struggle. On the other side of Tough. On the other side of your comfort zone. The other side of where you are now… how are you going to get there!!?! and how much better will you be when you do?!?!

 

Fitness Cruise 2017 Life Lessons

A month ago I was on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean. I wrote a blog about it on the plane ride home, but something happened and that particular blog has disappeared. I was disappointed when that happened because I put a lot of work into that thing…but then what happened was now, I have had a month to reflect on that week and have an even deeper appreciation for the experience. The lessons that I learned are ones that I feel a need to share.

DSCN1810

First A little background. We signed up for this cruise over a year before it was scheduled to set sail. The Tonya that signed up for the cruise had just come off of running 681 miles in 2015 (or what I liked to call 20FITteen). I was feeling pretty good about my self and even my pants size (mostly). I was pumped for this cruise and I was hoping that it would keep me motivated through the year of 2017. Well… life kind of happened. I ate too much, I didn’t push myself hard enough in the gym, I didn’t run enough. . . I bought bigger pants. I have no reasons, no excuse, no justification. But let’s just say that by the time the cruise came around I felt like I was not worthy of going on a cruise that was about fitness or healthy living. AT ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I was way excited to be on a cruise… just didn’t feel like I would fit in. I wasn’t happy with what I had done. I was ashamed and spend A LOT of time beating myself up and not putting anything into action. But then something magical happened:

I embarked on a journey with these two lovely ladies:

DSCN1799.JPG

We left from Miami and sailed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and then on to Grand Cayman Island (my favorite!) and then a final stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.

The reason I even found out about this cruise was because I have been a long time fan of the show the biggest loser. NEVER, until Season 11 did I really care or feel any sort of connection with anyone from that show. However there was this one particular contestant in Season 11 that I admired. Her story, her attitude and her outlook on life was simply inspirational. Before she got onto the biggest loser she, herself, lost 100 pounds. Her smile light up the room and I thought, I could be friends with this girl. And Holy crap, if she can push herself at the gym… why can’t I! Her, and her super cool mom were my favorite. Well, I started following Courtney on Facebook and her posts keep me positive on a regular basis. When I found out she was going to be on this cruise I started to round up someone to go with. Luckily I have cool people in my life who want to spend a week on a boat with me :). So, had it not been for Courtney I wouldn’t have found out about this trip to begin with. Anyways… this is getting long already. I would probably write a short novel about all the things that I learned but from here on how I am going to go Listy. So in short.. these are some of my fitness cruise takeaways:

  1. From the moment I stepped into this group of people I felt worthy and I felt like I belonged. NO ONE cared that I had gained some weight and that was AWESOME. They were there to support me and encourage me. I will never forget!

26776819389_66b900ba2b_z

  1. Be yourself. This goes back to Courtney. You know, you can be ANYTHING you want to be on social media. Courtney is exactly the same as she is online, in person. She is Genuine. It reminded ME to be genuine as well. Love ya Courtney!DSCN1957
  2. you just never know whose life you are going to influence. I am sure I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again! This women right here is just as inspirational as her daughter. I won’t ever forget your encouragement and your attitude Marci! And of course Kevin too. You guys are so much fun and I wish we lived closer!

23622387_10155882170327387_2947962298744049062_n

3. Fitness and healthy living takes a team. A tribe. A support system! I am  GRATEFUL for mine little circle, but sometimes I don’t let them in on the struggle or know how they can be supportive, but I know they are ALWAYS there. These two are a great example of how you can keep each other going. The winners of season 11. Well the winner and the runner up…but they are ALL winners in my book. Sisters. Such a bond and make me appreciate even more so the bond that I have with my sisters. I am so glad I got to know these girls. They truly are an inspiration. Even years after the show, staying the course and being so dedicated to being the person that they know they are. PS. I now want to go on another trip to NYC and take a Soul Cycle class with Olivia. Love you ladies!

DSCN1960

4. I wish i had a picture to go with this one… but i don’t. I met this girl named “Murn” who taught me a few things.

  • follow your dreams.
  • it’s NEVER to late to become what you might have been in life.
  • you Do you. Don’t care about what other people are doing. You do… YOU
  • Every day is CHOOSE day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. it’s ALWAYS choose day. you get to choose your attitude and create the outcome of your day.
  • Yoga: you can’t do it wrong and you can’t do it right.
  • If you aren’t checking yourself out, how do you expect anyone else too
  • it’s important to breathe
  • yoga isn’t as boring as i thought it would be

5. Do something you might be scared to do. I wanted to Swim out to this infateable playground in Cozumel, but it was a hard swim and then there was this REALLY tall slide that I wasn’t sure I Could get to the top and if I did i would be terrified up there. Well I did it and it was totally worth it.

 

6. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Wait, did I yell that one? Full disclosure I am still working on this one. But here is what I learned from an entire week of not having my cell phone. I use it TOO MUCH. It wastes a lot of my time. I am missing out on a ton of my life by staring at my dumb phone. I am missing opportunities to connect with people. I use it to prevent myself to have to deal with the real world. It’s killing my relationships. And why?!?! Seriously. There was question whether I would be able to go a week without Facebook but it was SO FREEING! I am not kidding you! I still haven’t figured out how to totally incorporate this into my regular life, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have tried to be more conscience about actually being in the moment when I am with people. It’s such a habit… baby steps.

DSCN1945

7. speaking of that. Be in the Moment was another. Just enjoy what you are doing now. Don’t worry about what’s next or what you should be doing or what ever. Be in the moment.

38520712412_6c496a3dff_z

8. Don’t judge people. Someone who looks unhealthy quite possibly works really hard and is really  very much healthy. We all don’t have the same standard. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And all these people INSPIRE me! A community, A family… that I will not soon forget! Don’t forget to encourage those around you!

37664823425_28234c75e6_z

9. Don’t let other people define you. Don’t let your past define you.

10. You are stronger than you think you are. Do something that you don’t think is possible. and Be freakin’ Proud of yourself!

38552747401_f7b83fffbc_k

Sometimes is’s fun to get a little fancy

DSCN1803

Also I would like to report that since I got back that I have been on track and my pants are looser. Truth be told, I have increased my workouts (kinda) and sorta started making better choices… but I am inspired and I haven’t totally given up on the whole healthy eating thing and that progress. I can’t tell you the last time I had onion rings OR a cupcake… soooooo. eventually the pants will fit again. But for now I am proud. I am worthy. I am ME and I am happy. I will keep running and making good choices, and someday I will be in smaller pants.

Thanks for letting me share this incredible journey on the Carnival Vista with you all.

and now… it’s time for my run!

2017 Thankful List

SO. Once again I was reminded to write my “what is Tonya thankful for this year”  list. Reminder. This is TOTALLY RANDOM and IN NO PARTICULAR order…. This is purely a reminder of just how many things I am thankful for. The challenge is to come up with 100 things. SOOOO here it goes.

  1. My health (had a bunch of reminders this year to be thankful for my health)
  2. Sunsets
  3. sunrises. (however I am RARELY up early enough to see them, unless I am at work and then I don’t see them either)
  4. THE MOON.
  5. Bridges
  6. Words
  7. the couch of Awesome
  8. my TV remote
  9. my work friends
  10. my Mother.
  11. my crazy, energetic, busy Nephews (the tornado trio) and my entertaining Niece and nephew. and my newest nephew too! (this should really count as 6)
  12. people who know how to do things that I don’t
  13. running shoes
  14. people who save lives. IE. doctors, firefighters, EMT’s, nurses etc.
  15. babies
  16. photos
  17. vaccumm cleaners
  18. indoor plumbing
  19. music. today specifically Christmas music.
  20. pillows
  21. movies
  22. my cell phones
  23. pizza
  24. my apartment
  25. my foam roller
  26. my coworkers
  27. people who inspire me
  28. relationships
  29. rain
  30. people who annoy me
  31. vacations
  32. dreams
  33. ice cream
  34. my fitbit
  35. my high maintenance cat
  36. craft supplies. I don’t use them. but I am thankful for them
  37. blankets
  38. lakes
  39. rainbows
  40. oceans
  41. the color orange
  42. the internet
  43. my job
  44. facebook
  45. adoption
  46. love
  47. journals
  48. my siblings (all of them)
  49. my Aunts, Uncles and cousins (that’s more than 100 reasons to be thankful for right there.
  50. my high school years
  51. my college education
  52. my eyelashes
  53. humor
  54. positivity
  55. Christmas lights
  56. my car
  57. Jesus
  58. rollerblades
  59. running pants
  60. Christmas lights
  61. Cruise ships
  62. the ocean
  63. changing leaves
  64. mountains
  65. family traditions
  66. dancing
  67. joy
  68. bubbles
  69. Pumpkin spice…ummmm… everything
  70. Puns
  71. my friends
  72. inside jokes
  73. chocolate
  74. my journey
  75. my wonderful boyfriend
  76. Gilmore Girls
  77. smiles
  78. gum
  79. Cupcakes. Duh
  80. generosity
  81. my church family
  82. sunglasses
  83. headphones
  84. compassion
  85. giraffes
  86. people who are good at technology stuff
  87. hot hair balloons
  88. storage containers
  89. people who use their story to inspire others
  90. trains
  91. stars
  92. adventures
  93. running
  94. pillows
  95. HGTV
  96. fireplaces
  97. water
  98. Duluth MN
  99. my senses
  100. my memory

This list really could go ON and On and ON. But I am really thankful for this list itself. It makes me stop and think about what I am thankful for atleast once a year. I challenge you to do it to.

S.T.A.R spells Star

Here’s the deal. I like to look at the night sky. I have a slight obsession with the moon and the stars. The girl who struggles with sitting still, can sit and look at the stars for a long time. Why?!? The sky is full of awe and wonder. In a way it’s magical and mysterious. And part of my favorite part of the Christmas story has always been the star part. You know… Where the wise men followed the star…. Everyone probably thought they were nuts…but they didn’t care.  Similarly my favorite church service of all time is when my pastor would do his “star message”.  He uses the Christmas story to talk about how we are stars…. Or should be stars for God. Leading people to see how good God is. Causing people to look up and wonder why we are the way we are. Makes me think every time I hear that message, or think about it. 

The main thing about stars to me is that they light up the darkness. Similar to Christmas lights this time of year. 

This year something else happened that cause me to stop and think.. There is a beautiful down by the river that lights up this beautiful tree. I drive passed it frequently (even thought I have to go out of my way to do it) to take in its beauty. Here is the thing… It isn’t lit up every night. And that bummed me out. One day I was having a not great day and the thought of seeing the tree put a smile on my face.  And the fact that its wasn’t on got me thinking a couple things. 

A. They have no idea how much joy the light of that tree brings to me.

B. What if I am someone’s Christmas tree.?!?

Yikes. That second thought scared me a little. I haven’t been the brightest star some days. And really struggle to shine to certain people. There is this song by Toby Mac called light shine bright and it kind of speaks to this. As a Christian I am called to be the light in a dark world. Let me tell you….sometimes it’s really REALLY hard. But what if they day I decide not to shine is the day someone is looking for a glimmer of hope, a smile or something that can turn their day around?!? What if I shine for them even when everything in me is throwing a pity party? What does it hurt me? Maybe, just maybe they will be that star for me when I need it? Maybe helping them will turn my day around… Maybe not… But what do I have to lose at that point? 

The world has NO problem glorifying “super stars”. What if we started being the super star of our own stories and in the lives of people around us? Think about it. What would the would look like if we all acted like the super stars we are? Who’s world can we bring light into?  And don’t let what others might think of you… Stop you. Be like the wise men. Be Wise. And no I didn’t say be a wise guy that’s a different thing 😜

Maybe someone you know had a rough holiday season… How can you make them smile? I don’t know what it is or who’s live you can touch. But I know for me this whole season got me thinking. It’s time to shine. 

There is the other thing to remember… It doesn’t have to be a  huge thing. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… It really is the little things in  life that make the biggest difference. Go out there and do something. Spread JOY. Be a shining light. And shine your light bright. Be the star that you are (hey, that one rhymed). And let me know how you are letting your light shine. I’m always looking for ideas. 

Be blessed. And be a blessing. Okay… That’s all… Til next time….

#11forJacob 

I thought about going so many directions with this blog. On one hand I am at a loss for words. And on another hand I have so much to say. 

This is a story that…. As a kid growing up in central Minnesota in the 80’s…drastically rocked our world and changed our childhood. It’s a story about a young, outgoing, friendly 11 year old kid…. Whose smile apparently lit up a room. This is a story about a horrific tragedy of him being taken. Kidnapped. One night in October almost 27 years ago. In a little bitty town in central Minnesota (far to close to home). This is the story about a legacy and a mothers love. And actually it’s not just a story.  

You see this happened. Jacob Wetterling (who I never knew) was kidnapped. For 27 years it was a mystery what happened to Jacob. 27 years we looked for answers. 27 years we searched and searched. We finally have answers. And however horrific those answers are… They are answers. But I don’t want to talk about that. 

This past Saturday I was supposed to run a 10k. I decided instead to run an 11k and dedicate it to Jacob. (11 was his favorite number).  

 To be honest this run sucked. And when I got to thinking about it. I think it sucked for a reason. You see… When Jacob disappeared a lot of things changed. One of those things was the life of his mother. And every time I wanted to quit on Saturday my thoughts went to Patty Wetterling. His mom. Having an abducted son was something I think she never dreamed would happen. Who would?!? Here is what I find so freaking amazing. She has taken what could have been the demise of her, what she could have easily gotten angry at the world for and turned it into good. Within months of the abductionshe created a foundation for missing and exploited children. Has even beenan advocate for sexual abuse. And continued to look for her son. I read somewhere that there was over 50,000 tips coming in on his whereabouts and turning up nothing!! 

It made me stop and think. What would have I done? How long would have I searched? Where does that strength come from?

On this run, I wanted to stop. A.Lot! More than usual. Every time I wanted  I thought “Patty Wetterling never quit, I can’t either.” That’s true in running and in life. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is freaking hard. But we don’t quit. We don’t stop. We can’t. What happens if we stop? We’re do we go? What gets accomplished? 

These are some of the things I’ve learned by watching Patty’s life the last almost 27  years:

HOPE. From the beginning it was always all about keeping Jacobs Hope alive. Jacob would have graduated from the high school I attended, the year I was a freshman.   

 

This was in the page where his senior picture should have been. HOPE. We had all signed a giant poster that hung in the high school that said Jacobs Hope. You have to have HOPE. 

Faith. She believed that Jacob was alive. She was living as if Jacob was out there somewhere just waiting to be found. And lived life as he was. Continung to remember each birthday. FAITH.

Preserverence. Her continued fight. Even she the path was long and dark and lonely….she persevered. She didn’t quit. PERSERVERANCE. 

Commitment. Her endless commitment to not only Jacob, but protecting children and raising awareness. Her commitment to the community and her family. COMMITMENT.

Strength. All along she has been a source of strength. Most surprising is the way she handled the news of “that night” after nearly 27 years of searching for answers. This was her statement to the news media following the court appearance:  

 All I have to say is wow. This women wow’s me. And that’s a list I can get behind. Eat ice cream, giggle, pray, create joy… I’m in!  STRENGTH.

Love. I am not a mother. I have experienced a mothers love, cuz my mom is pretty freakin awesome… But wow. The love. Not only for her child, but other children. It’s inspiring. That’s all I have to say. LOVE.

And as far as Jacob goes. I can imagine how proud he would be of his mother. And he, himself left quite a legacy. Made quite an impact! This one is for them: 

  
One more way they choose to do good in the face of pain and tragedy is a list of 11 things we should do. Let’s make the world a better place.  I mean, how much better would this world be if we did these simple things?!? 

 
I have never met Patty and I really don’t know how someone you have never met can touch you so deeply…but Patty Wetterling has really inspired me.