Wednesday, May 22, 2013

this & that

It's Wednesday.  Kameryn graduates on Saturday.  Her grad party is on Sunday.  And I'm blogging.  

That, friends, is procrastination & denial at its finest.

We've had some good stuff going on recently.  Kam & her guys played some amazing teams in their last tournament & finished in 3rd place.  We are really proud of Kam, Kade, & this whole team...great kids, great parents, great times!  Most memorable moment of this tourney:  Being down by 11 points with less than 3 minutes left in the game, closing the gap to being down by 1 with 20 seconds left in the game, & Kade draining a 3-pt. shot with 8 seconds left to put us up by 2 & eventually winning the game.  These kids are a determined bunch & play with some serious grit.  Awesome!

This next picture is one that Joe sent me from the store.  The girls love to go with Daddy!

Speaking of graduations, Miss Kaya graduated from preschool last week!!  We are so, so proud of & excited for our girl!  She was just beaming about this whole thing, & I confess:  I got pretty emotional.  Seeing the way she has blossomed & developed confidence is beyond words.

When it was her turn to go on stage, she got a running start & gave her beloved teacher one of the most genuine hugs I have ever seen.  She truly was just giddy about this whole thing.

Love these days of doing everything we can outside...playing, eating, painting, you name it!

It even got warm enough to run through the sprinkler!

Living in Ohio where the weather is so all over the board, one needs to know how to dress.  Kendi sports Ohio style well...winter boots & shorts.  

Ok, I really should continue making my shopping lists for the food that needs to be made for this weekend. And figure out what I'm wearing.  And make sure I have a supply of tissues in my purse.  And...take a deep breath & remind myself to enjoy every moment.  Blessings, friends. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

13.1 or life?

In the middle of August, 2012, I began running again after having not run in 6 years.  My goal was a 5K in October, which I achieved.  Little did I know when I started that these running goals would become very symbolic to me.  At the risk of sounding deep or philosophical or crazy or whatever, I've decided to share some bits about this very personal journey.

When I first began a plan to be able to run a 5K again, my motivation was to feel better physically.  What I didn't realize was how my running journey would parallel my life journey in so many ways.  After running that 5K, I signed up for a 15K (9.3 miles) to challenge myself with a distance I'd never done.  And then I determined that if I could do that distance, I needed to stay consistent through the winter so that I could run my first half marathon, which I had always wanted to do.  I had no idea that the training & these races would coincide with some of the most difficult days of my life.  Over these last several months, my husband has had a surgery that had some lingering complications, my father-in-law passed away, our family has experienced some not fair things at the hands of others that have caused some serious amounts of stress, other family members we love so much have struggled with the onset of health problems, & in the midst, life has still been going on.

On some days, running became an escape.  On other days, it became a time to pray & process.  It would have been easy to quit because I certainly had plenty of reasons to be derailed from a training program.  Like I said earlier, though, it became more symbolic.  Like life, running can have moments of "highs" that are so amazing you just never want them to end.  And also like life, running can have moments that just plain suck.  They hurt, they disappoint, they are hard.  You can feel like you are in a valley staring up at a huge hill to tackle, so there's two choices:  You either quit or you put one foot in front of the other.

I ran my first half marathon this past Saturday.  Like life, it didn't go exactly how I had hoped.  My hope was to finish in 2 hours & 10 minutes, which I was on track to do until about mile 5 (I was at a 9:45 pace at that point).  Unfortunately, on a taper run early in the week, I tripped (I know, graceful, right?) & pulled my left hamstring as I was trying to catch myself from doing a face plant right in front of 2 ladies walking into work (I had them completely freaked out because they thought this crazy chick was going down!).  I took the rest of the week off hoping it wouldn't bother me.  Well, about mile 6 it was talking to me pretty good & I wasn't even halfway through.  Two choices:  Quit or put one foot in front of the other.  Like life, I opted to make some adjustments & keep going.  I wanted to finish the race.

Somewhere between mile 9 & 10, I started noticing a lot of people stopping to walk.  I began hitting a bit of a wall myself.  It's so easy in life to buy into the negative self-talk (What makes YOU think YOU can do THIS??).  After having been on 4 adoption journeys, I know those thoughts all too well.  So I prayed, "Lord, help me focus."  Nothing elaborate, but sometimes in life, that's all you can muster, & God's okay with that.  One foot in front of the other.  Keep running the race.

Something about hitting mile 11 was good for my soul.  There's a light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm doing this.

Mile 12 was emotionally hard because there was a first aid station, & several runners had stopped for help.  I don't like seeing people struggle.  I wanted them to finish.

One foot in front of the other.  And then there they were.  In the middle of all the people, in the midst of all the noise, there was my family, cheering me on.  I hope for the rest of my life, that sight & that feeling never leaves my heart & mind.  I was finishing the race.

(These are pre-race photos with the family)

I finished in 2 hours 16 minutes, just a few minutes off of what I'd hoped.  But I finished.  Like these last few months, there were moments that I felt like I was limping along.  But there were also amazing moments mixed in that spurred me on.  Life is hard sometimes, but we're in a race that God gives us the strength & endurance to finish.  It's not a sprint, it doesn't always feel good, sometimes you trip, but there is beauty along the way.  One foot in front of the other.

"We must run the race that lies ahead of us & never give up."  ~Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, May 2, 2013

we interrupt this blog silence...

. . . with an update that I'm still here!

Lots of life happening, so here's a few good things:

Kearsten is wrapping up her student teaching in FL.  She just got a call on Friday from the district she did her first 6 weeks of student teaching in offering her a teaching position for next school year!  She is over the moon excited, & so are we!  Another very cool thing:  During this past 6 weeks in FL, Kiki was having a pretty sad time of it.  Her host family was very nice, but she was the only person there & pretty far away from everybody & everything.  It was beginning to wear on her, so I made a phone call...

to a friend I've never even met in person, but right here through my blog!!  Is it not so very cool that God can use technology to make a friendship like that?  I feel so blessed that I felt like I could call Rebecca on the spot to see if Kearsten could drop by for a visit & some family time, which without hesitation, she said to send her over.  Get this:  By the end of the day, they had Kearsten moving in with them to finish out the last couple weeks of her student teaching!  I wish I had adequate words for how wonderful it is to know that someone was willing to step in physically where I couldn't.  You can see a few pics of Kearsten with this sweet family on Rebecca's blog.

Ok, back to the updates.  In Ohio, teaching jobs are few & far between, but Kaelee has already had a couple of promising interviews.  I am excited to see which door opens for her.  She also looked into relocating to SC, but she has been the head cheer coach at our high school for the past 3 years, so she would like to see her first group of freshmen through their senior year.  She has been enjoying her position at nearby school doing reading/writing intervention.

I've got quite a few pictures of recent happenings, & the good news is that none of them contain snow!  Yes, it seems springtime is finally moving into Ohio.

Not sure what was happening here...pajamas, carton of ice cream, & a spoon.  Oh, Daddy.

Dress-up is still a #1 pastime!

Kemmy & Kyler playing a clapping game...she loves her brothers!

Cowgirl for Preschool

We've also had a lot of basketball going on.  Kade plays on a spring team that participates in tournaments each weekend.  Did I share who his coach is??  His SISTER!!!  Kam has a heart for coaching, so she had been in contact with the organizer of this competitive league thinking she would coach a girls' team.  Just so happens they needed a coach for the 7th grade boys' team.  We talked to Kade to see how he felt about that, & he was fine.  So Kam took the challenge.  I have been very proud & impressed at her ability to coach these boys.  These tournaments have some pretty stiff competition & we are low on subs, but we hold our own.  The boys respond to her, & when they've found themselves in really tight games, Kam has coached them through it.  Joe & I have just been shaking our heads, & so have a lot of the coaches from other teams. ;)  Kam has earned a lot of respect, & Kade is having a great experience.

Fun times.  This weekend their basketball tournament is in the same city that I am running my first half marathon (yes, that's this weekend, & yes, I have some serious butterflies about it).  I am so thankful at how the schedule is working out to do the half & then go enjoy some basketball in the afternoon.

Finally, today is a special day...3 years ago today, Kam & I were in Ethiopia meeting K'Tyo for the very first time.  I can't even believe it!!!