Saturday, July 25, 2009

Confessions of a Wanna Be Runner

It all started a few years ago when I desperately needed to get out of the house. Every night when Mike got home. Every night. I started walking in an attempt to get away, stamp out my frustrations and maybe lose some baby weight. Soon, I started dabbling in running. I've been running on and off for a few years now, mostly OFF. I just don't always have the time or energy to get it in. So this spring while I was walking with my friend Eva we decided we'd sign up for a 5k to motivate ourselves. My Dad happened to be in town so he ran it with us.

Eva and I were pretty nervous. I went to the shoe store to get some new shoes and the little runner girl helping me said she was running the same 5k. I kind of thought it would be more backwoods runners. I was hoping for sickness or a thunderstorm so I could get out of it gracefully. But the day came and we both made it. Finishing was our goal.

My neighbors decided to run/walk it as a family at the last minute. As the girls were coming in, they we already loading the clock in the truck and had taken down the finish line. But they did it - and that's what it's all about.

It wasn't that great for my self-esteem to have my kids tell me that their friends, who are 2nd and 4th graders, came in before me, but they do come from a running family. I was just glad I was still running, not bleeding or crying.

It's been a long time since I did something out of my comfort zone. Something I wasn't sure I could do as well as I wanted. In my life as a mommy I am so bogged down with kids and house and spouse that it's easy to lose confidence in trying things. I used to be much more adventurous. Now I worry about safety and routine.

It's just harder to do something new. I don't like to run sometimes because I feel like people are looking at me and thinking "what a loser!"

Being fulfilled as a Mom takes putting Christ first. Only He can give me the peace, contentment and energy to do my job. I'm not a big believer in "me time". God wants me to serve and serve. I'm always at the bottom of the list and that's good for me. I'm a selfish person by nature and that's what I need to do for my family. I have to squeeze exercise in when I can. But it has been great to have an outlet and a challenge.

Maybe your challenge will be reading books that don't have "cat" or "hat" in them. Maybe it could be taking up a craft or hobby. You could join a MOPS group or Bible study for support and encouragement. Perhaps bike riding to the park with the kids or walking with a friend. (Walking with a friend is the best because the time just flies by!) How about taking a class? Mike and I took a community education dance class this winter. That was out of our comfort zone and routine, but it was really fun.

As long as I don't let it take away my focus on my number one job as a wife and mom. If I decided I should train for a marathon(insert laughter here) and started running 6 hours a day that would not be a challenge or outlet, that would be an escape. There's a difference.

Allowing myself to try new things and change keeps my life from becoming boring, frustrating and sad. Step outside, get away from the laundry and dishes and diapers; do something different and challenging.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Hebrews 12:11
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Four Year Old Funnies

Our four year old is really a delightful little girl. She is chatty, funny and lively. And cooperative. Which makes her look pretty good next to her two year old sister. However, lately she's been plagued with chronic strep and chronic antibiotics and chronic crabbiness. She is due to get her tonsils out soon.

But today she was her old self. She was absolutely wired that Grandpa and Grandma were here last night when we got back. We decided to take a walk to the local restaurant for lunch. It was pretty hot for Duluth. We had one in a stroller, one on a bike, one on rollerblade and one on a scooter and one at camp. It's a little over a mile and I'm not sure why I didn't see the writing on the wall. I had to call Mike and ask him to come pick up some equipment with the car. Everyone got hot and tired quickly. My Dad put Annie on his shoulders while pushing the stroller. She sneezed the nastiest, wet sneeze right in his hair. We were still laughing about his new hair gel when she got down and announced that she had peed a little. Fortunately for my Dad, she was just sweaty.

She talks incessantly about when she will be a Mommy. She thinks about driving and having a car when she's "about my size". But she could not figure out how she would physically GET a car. How would she get to the car store without a car? I told her Daddy and I would help her.

She is also very curious about where she was before she was born. She asks if she was in my tummy. So how do you explain to a four year old that you didn't exist yet? Is that even accurate? I could try to use my own four year old logic from childhood and tell her she was just "ripped apart in heaven".

The other day she kept telling me that she wants a new mommy.
Me: "That makes me sad. I like being your mommy."
Her: "But I want YOU to be my new mommy!"

When we visit my parents she always wants to sleep with them. They say where will you sleep? There is no room for you. And she says, "I will sleep in the middle!"

Just now she reminded me that I was going to cuddle up with her on the couch. That's my favorite saying of all!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MacGuyver Mom

I am just amazed at how far I've come as a Mom. I can still remember my reaction when my firstborn had a diaper blowout, peed through all the blankets we owned and puked all over me within 24 hours of being home from the hospital. I was doing laundry in the middle of the night. I figured a box of wipes would last us at least a year, but for sure more than a day!

In the early days, I would just look at the mess and not know what to do. I was shocked, frozen. It got better as the years went on. By the time there were three and I was nursing one while the others used the potty chair IN THE KITCHEN (don't ask) and then proceeded to knock the contents all over the floor I just freaked out a little on my way to get a towel and kept right on nursing.

Well, now I am a pro. I have joined the amazing ranks of mothers who can take a totally disastrous mess and use whatever they might have in their purse or diaper bag to fix it. It's kind of McGuyver-like.

We were in a store and Maren peed all over the floor. In one split second I grabbed the toy she was holding and looked for a clean up station. When I didn't find one, I pulled a diaper out of my purse and used that to mop up the floor. Genius? Well, it may have been genius to actually have it ON the child. But still, problem solved.

At supper that night, I had a child sitting on my lap when she began to puke. Of all the days to buy her the red Gatorade she wanted. We stepped out on to the deck to save the floor. I forgot to clean the deck off but it rained later, so it all worked out in the end.

Sometimes I try to be prepared and have kleenex on hand for bloody noses and snotty sneezes or paper towels for spills, extra wipes, diapers, clothes. But where's the fun in that?

Do you dare share your MacGuyver Mom moments?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Big Things

All my life I've wanted to do big things. However, I found it hard to decide between being President of the United States, a rock star, or the first female player in the NFL. But I had big dreams and had no doubt I could do it.

As my life unfolded, I met and married a man who wanted to be a small town pastor. I never liked small towns. I honestly used to feel bad for people who lived in them. When we moved I really thought that if I didn't like it (and I hated it) we would just move back to good 'ol St. Paul. We didn't.

I had big career dreams too. For the past ten years I have been bogged down in nothing but diapers, maternity clothes, toys, strollers and car seats. It seemed to me that I should be out there doing something more important. I wanted to do some tangible ministry but was always tied down with the kids.

I spent a lot of time feeling bad that I didn't have the stuff I had dreamed of in my life. I was just a stay-at-home mom, living in a little town, and my husband was the pastor of a small, struggling church.

I couldn't figure out what God was thinking. I was bigger than this.

Our church is still small compared to most. Sometimes when I read all the good things going on in other people's lives and ministry I feel bad and a little jealous. I only want to share this because I never believed this could happen here: in just a little church without a building, in a little town. O me of little faith.

Last week we had Vacation Bible School. We had 108 kids come. The population of Wrenshall is 333. We raised around $1800 for our missions project in blue collar area that has been hit hard with layoffs. We gave away T-shirts to every child and helper that came. At the program there were over 250 people. We fed 225 people at our picnic.

None of that happened because we are great, only because God is. We don't have a huge budget or a large staff. He does big things in little places where it could only be Him. He gets all the glory.

And he does big things through regular, mommy lives too. I'm doing more great things in my life than I ever could have imagined. God has shown me that to be great, I've got to humbly let Him lead. Maybe to places I don't want to go. Maybe to a place that I hope I never have to leave.

So, if this is your town,

And this is your church,

and these are your neighbor's turkeys,

and this is your life.

And you give it all over to Christ, then He's doing big things.

by Ten Shekel Shirt
on the album "Much"

I have always wanted to be somebody who is great

To be great in, great in your eyes, is my dream
To be the one who makes you smile is everything

To love my enemies
To serve others until I become the least

To be great in, great in your eyes, is my dream
To be the one who makes you smile is everything

Greatness in this world is different than greatness in your eyes

To be great in, great in your eyes, is my dream
To be the one who makes you smile is everything

To be genuine in my love for others and for you is to be great