Monthly Archives: April 2013

I’m a Monkey

Missyspublicjunk

So, I heard something today that shouldn’t have any psychological significance.  I should have listened to it, saw it for the literal story that it was probably meant to be, and went on with my day.  But nope, not me.  Not Melissa.  I have to think and analyze everything until there’s nothing left.  So, here goes.

I keep wondering why I have let such a short (albeit intense) relationship get to me as bad as this last one did.  I always pout when a relationship doesn’t work out (which has happened PLENTY of times), but this one was different.  This one cut deep.  Not just because I miss my friend (which I do), but also because it has made me question who I am.  It has made me question my worthiness, my intuition, and most importantly – my inability to fully trust another person.  And I have no idea why this is happening.  But I heard…

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I am a Writer

“I firmly believe that doing what you love involves doing what you once loved as a kid. That thing you were good at. That thing you’d sneak away from your chores to do. Your history tells you everything you ever wanted to know about living your dream.
– Catherine Hughes

I have been wanting to do a blog about writing for a while.  (In other words, I’ve wanted to write about writing.) But I didn’t really know where to go with it.  I write about everything that matters to me – my kids, my boyfriend, my family, my running, my acting, etc. – but I’ve never known exactly how to write about writing.  Just seemed like an odd thing to write about.  A little redundant even.  But yet, it nagged at me.  Somehow, I needed to do it.

And then I read a blog by Catherine Hughes that contained the quote above.  (Here’s a link to the blog if you want to check it out.  It’s a good one!)

And finally, I realized where I wanted to go with this.

I am a writer.

Wow.  Just saying that sounds odd.  A writer.  Me?  Really?

Like the quote implies, maybe a small part of you knew who you were and who you were meant to be from the very beginning.  What did you sneak away to do as a kid?  Me?  I wrote.  Really.  I can remember this old trapper keeper (oh yeah, we’re taking it old school now) that I used to have that was filled to the brim with little poems and notes that I would write as a pre-teen.  They started getting pretty good when I got into my teenage years (even if I do say so myself).  Heck, even back as far as when I was pre-school age, I would make my dad and grandma “play school” with me, and my assignments to them (I was the teacher, of course) were always to write stories or essays.  My grandma still has some of these in storage and they are a hoot to read.  I was not a very gracious teacher.  I didn’t see an “A” in the bunch.  There went their dreams of being writers…

Now, granted, I don’t make money being a writer.  It’s not my profession, so to speak.  But does that mean I’m not one?  Nope.  Does that mean I’m not “living my dream” because my paycheck doesn’t come from what I love?  Of course not.

I am a writer.

Yes, I have a “regular” job.  I’m a real estate paralegal.  While real estate may not be my “dream” per se, I’m actually kind of good at it.  It’s what I know, and all I’ve done since college.  Am I ‘selling out’ because I’m not following my dreams to be a writer?  Of course not.  I’m doing what it takes to take care of myself and my kids.  To keep food in our mouths and a roof over our heads.  I’m being a responsible adult.  I’m not going to win any awards for that.  No nobel peace prize officials are going to be knocking on my door to alert me of my candidacy based on my excellent ability to close a loan refinance or cut the crusts off a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  But I don’t need that.  Watching my kids grow up in comfort and become wonderful young adults is all the award I need.

But in the down times, in the quiet times, I sneak off and become me.  I write.

And for the longest time, I kept that somewhat secret.  My childhood trapper keeper eventually turned to a folder, which then turned into a file on the computer, which then morphed into a private blog, and which now has become this public blog you’re reading now.  I’ve always been a writer.  I’m just finally admitting it, and taking that scary leap into exposing my writing for others to see.

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No, I’m not gaining fame and fortune with my writing.  But I am indeed living my dream.  And I thank each and every one of you who haven’t run away.

***

“The dream was always running ahead of me.  To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”
– Anais Nin

Authority

authority

This blog is kind of about politics.  And kind of not.

Mostly, it’s about respect.

I’ll start by admitting that I am not into politics.  I’m just not.  I may be the most “not into” politics of anyone you’ll ever know.  I know myself, and I know to stay out of it to avoid a full-on high-blood-pressure-induced heart attack.  So I steer clear of the subject.

Well, most of the time.

So, while it’s true that I’m not “into” politics, the thing that I am most definitely “into” is people.  Humanity.  Love for your fellow human.  You know, that whole “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” stuff.

Well, something ‘political’ that I saw yesterday just absolutely pissed me off.

I’m not going to lower myself to post it here for you to see.  It disgusts me and I’m not going to spread it any further than it has to go.  But basically, there’s a picture going around comparing the two Boston marathon bombing terrorist suspects to our president and vice-president.  Saying that both are taking our ‘rights’ away (it’s some BS about gun rights) and therefore implying that they should be grouped in the same category.

Did I mention that this pissed me off?

Again, I’m not political.  I don’t have a strong opinion about gun rights or any other topic that whoever created that picture was attempting to address.  But what I do have is this: respect for authority.

Let me tell you a story.

When my son Jeffrey was 3 years old, he despised his pre-school teacher.  And to be quite honest, I wasn’t too thrilled with her myself.  Well, Jeffrey, in his 3-year-old glory, decided that he would take action to show his teacher how much he disliked her.  He somehow discovered which car in the parking lot was hers (unfortunately for her, it was one that was parked closest to the fence at the playground), and then proceeded to do what a 3-year-old deemed an appropriate way to show contempt – he threw rocks at it.

Of course, his dad and I got called into the school.  And, of course, he got in trouble for it.  But during that incident, and in other incidents to come over the years, I tried to instill something into Jeffrey.  Whether or not you like someone or whether or not you agree with them, one thing has to exist at all times.  And that is respect.  Respect for each other, yes.  But especially a respect for authority.  They are there for a reason.  You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to like them.  But you have to respect them for the role that they play.

As Jeffrey gets older and more mature, I see this respect growing in leaps and bounds.  He still gets angry, as we all do, but he has learned to keep that anger in check and not blow up every time he feels the urge.  Basically, he has learned to ‘stop throwing rocks’ so to speak.

Now, if some adults could just learn that.

Can’t we just stop it?  Just stop it.  Agree with him, disagree with him, like him, hate him – I don’t care.  But remember that he is the president of our country.  This country that gives you the freedom to run your mouth?  Yeah, he runs it.  If you don’t like him, vote him out.  Isn’t it great that you have that option?  Until then, respect the man and allow him to do his job.  If you have issues you disagree on – great.  Voice your opinion.  About the issues.  Not the person.  There is a big difference between feeling strongly enough to voice your opinion about a subject and choosing to bash another human being.

Put your rocks down and grow up.

***

“Men are respectable only as they respect.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brutal Beginnings

beginning

Isn’t that picture just so darn cute??  Look at the wittle chickies… I could just sit here and look at their cute little selves all day long.  Awwwww.  Here chickie chickie chickie…

Ok, sorry.  I’ll get to the point now.

So, I just finished the last long run of my half marathon training plan.  I’m 10 days away from the race, so it’s time to taper down and do shorter runs to give myself some rest in preparation for the big day.  I’m a little nervous since I missed a few weeks of training due to various life circumstances, but I think I’m ready.

There’s something I’ve learned in the past few weeks during these attempts at longer runs – if I can get past the first 3 miles, it’s all downhill from there.  Well, not literally downhill…but you know what I mean.  Because the beginning of a run?  Whew.  Let me tell ya.  I don’t care how long you’ve been running or how far you’re able to go – the beginning just flat-out sucks.  I’ve heard the saying a million times – the hardest step for a runner is the one out the front door.  That is so incredibly true.  (And those next few steps during the first couple of miles are no picnic either.)  Yes, the beginning is definitely the hardest.

And, think about it.  Isn’t it like that with most things?

For what was definitely not the first time, I began to think about the correlation between running and relationships.

Think about the beginning of a relationship.  Now, I’m not talking about the dating portion.  That part is usually awesome.  Everyone is putting on their best masks and presenting the finest portion of themselves.  So, of course, nothing can go wrong there.  There’s nothing not to like because all the negative is hidden under the costume.  So, no – it’s not dating I’m talking about here.  I’m talking about the beginning of the relationship.  The moment when you cross over into ‘potentially forever’ territory.

This is when it gets hard.

All of a sudden those things that were soooo cute before just aren’t so cute anymore.  His precious spontaneity turns into inability to make plans.  Her perfectly groomed makeup and hair turns into something that takes forever to achieve and makes you late for events.  His carefree attitude that was so fun before turns into him not being able to take anything serious.  Her loving adoration turns into suffocation.

Isn’t it funny how that happens?

The beginning is always the hardest. 

Now is when you have to make the decision to proceed.  Just the same as it is with running, you have to remember why you’re here and why you’re doing what you’re doing.  You’re taking a chance.  You’re putting effort into something that matters.  You know?  You wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a reason.  The things worth having usually don’t come easy.  But, as it is with running, you wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t something inside you that knows that you need to.  You wouldn’t be training for your first 5k/10k/half marathon/marathon, whatever, if it wasn’t something that you were drawn to.  Something that you know deep down inside that you are truly capable of and something that you need to do in order to fulfill some part of you that has an empty space just for that.

See the correlation?

Don’t give up.  Hang in there.  This is just the hard part.  Push through this part and prepare yourself for what you’ve earned on the other side.  Like Dolly Parton says – “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  And a little rain is not gonna kill you.

That rainbow is going to be so worth it.

***

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
– Henry Ford

Unreachable

Someone mentioned this poem the other day and I decided to go back and look at it.  I wrote this a long time ago.  And I’ll be honest – there has always been something about it that hasn’t exactly sat well with me.  You know what I mean?  For goodness sakes, I wrote the darn thing.  So I should like it, right?  I should believe it.  But something about it just bothers me.  Can’t quite put my finger on it.  Maybe because it could be construed as ‘giving up’?  Maybe.  But sometimes giving up is a requirement, right?  It’s necessary.  There’s no other choice. 

Maybe it just bothers me because there’s such a thin line between ‘giving up’ and ‘moving on.’ 

I don’t know.

You be the judge.  What do you think?

unreachableblog

Unreachable

Have you ever tried to climb a tree with no branches?
Oh, it is the most frustrating thing!
You know that reaching the top would be wonderful –
So many awesome possibilities –
So much possible potential –
Such a beautiful view!
But how do you get up there when there are no branches –
No stepping-stones along the way –
No one to help you?
You begin to think . . . maybe this tree isn’t meant to be climbed.
Maybe I’m not ready just yet.
Maybe I should just admire the view from the ground for a while.
After all, who knows?
Maybe there is another tree just around the bend.
It may not be as majestic and beautiful…
But it probably has branches.
Maybe, just maybe
It will even bend down to help me up.
Maybe it’s time to move on.

Good-bye to old unattainable dreams.
Hello to new, realistic ones.

Uncomfortable

uncomfortable

I was at my boyfriend’s house over the weekend and his big, sweet cat came and plopped himself on me.  He was stretched at an obviously awkward angle with his little head burrowed into my chest.  Richard made some comment about how much “Mittens loves me” and I responded with, “No, I think Mittens just likes having a comfortable place to lay.”  Richard’s response: “No way.  Look at him.  That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.”

“That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.”

Such a seemingly innocent, yet ultimately profound statement.  I mean, think about it.  How many times does this end up being the case?   Love just really isn’t always all that comfortable.  Ya know?

Let me give you a few examples to explain where I’m headed with this.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I watched my cousin feeding my grandpa in the nursing home a few weeks ago.  I know she got tired of that.  She stood there for a very long time and I’m sure she got tired of all of that standing.  I’m sure her legs were sore.  I’m sure her arms got sore from the time it took to feed him.  I’m sure it was hard trying to understand what he was telling her and what he was asking for through his incoherent rambling.  I’m sure it was…well…uncomfortable.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

I remember watching my daughter once serve as a capo for my boyfriend’s guitar.  No, really.  He was using a capo-less guitar that didn’t belong to him to play a requested song for my family at a holiday get-together.  My daughter jumped up and offered to hold it for him so it would sound right.  She stood there and pressed down on the strings as he played.  It was just so darn cute.  Here, I’ll show you.

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And afterwards?  Bless her heart, she had grooves in her little fingers from where she had to press so hard.  But she was so proud to have helped.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

I watched my sister stand for hours beside the incubators of her newborn premature twin babies.  I know she got tired standing there.  I know it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to stand there and hold a syringe up above the babies so that their milk could flow down through their feeding tube.  I know that as a brand new mom it certainly wasn’t comfortable trying to work around all of the wires and monitors to change a teeny tiny little squirming baby’s diaper.  I know it’s not comfortable giving up hours and hours of her days traveling to and from the hospital that is close to 2 hours away while she continues to take care of them during the many weeks they remain in neonatal intensive care until they’re big enough to go home.  But she does it.

jenbaby

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

Another example.  I’m training for a half marathon.  And it is SO hard.  I get frustrated with myself at times.  My legs hurt.  I’m tired.  It’s difficult to squeeze in the time required to devote to the training.  But you know what?  I love running.  Why?  Because it’s making me a better person.  In more ways than I can count.  Running all those miles at one time?  No – definitely not comfortable.  But is it love?  Yes.  Love for the sport and love for the me that I’m becoming as I struggle through the discomfort. It’s not comfortable – it’s love.

These are just a few personal examples, but look around and you’ll see so many more.  Watch the coverage from the Boston marathon a week ago today.  I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of Carlos Arredondo.  He is the man who ran alongside a wheelchair holding an exposed leg artery closed for a complete stranger so that he wouldn’t bleed to death.  Comfortable?  No, of course not.  Love for a complete stranger?  Sure looks like that to me.

There are so many examples that surround us at any given time.  Love wears such a vast array of costumes.  And more often than we may realize – it’s disguised in discomfort.

We live in a society where love is portrayed in romance novels and movies to be all butterflies and rainbows.  The prince ends up with the princess.  They live in their castle and with the birds chirping and the sun shining for the rest of their lives.  Must be nice.  But out here in the real world?  Yeah, love is a different story out here.  Love takes work.  It takes sacrifice.  It takes eyes that see past the flaws and faith that believes beyond the impossible.

My boyfriend and I have been through some tough times.  We both have had issues to rise above and move past.  Sometimes we’ve given up temporarily, but we keep finding our way back.  We sometimes find ourselves surrounded by reminders that take us back to things we’re trying to forget.  We sometimes have outside influences that, knowingly or not, chip away at what we’re trying to build together.  And sometimes our own selfishness and insecurities do the chipping without any help.  No, love is definitely not always butterflies and rainbows.  Sometimes it’s just plain….uncomfortable.  It hurts, it’s hard, it takes work.  But yet, we stay.  Why do we do that?  Why are we still here?

Well.  You know.

That doesn’t look comfortable – that looks like love.

***

“It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful
Our love ain’t perfect, but it’s wonderful
We’re still learning to be loveable
It ain’t pretty, but it’s beautiful.”

– Clay Walker (It Ain’t Pretty lyrics)

Problems?

“The huge problems we deal with every day are actually really small. We’re so focused on what bothers us
that we don’t even try to see our lives from a clearer perspective.”
– Susane Colasanti

problemsblog

I saw the above picture on Facebook yesterday.  The “someecards” are meant to be funny usually.  But every now and then, one pops up that is spot freakin’ on.

(I don’t mean to be snarky with this blog, but if the snark slips out, so be it.)

We humans sure are a bunch of complainers aren’t we?  Don’t believe me?  Go scroll through your Facebook for a minute or two.  Seriously.  Go right now and scroll.  I’ll bet you $100 and a Snickers that you’ll see someone complaining about something.  I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it myself at times.  I am.  But some people just seem to be pros.  For real.

“The people who live in a golden age usually go around complaining about how yellow everything looks.”
– Randall Jarrell

How much truth there is in that quote.  Sometimes I think we just forget to realize how incredibly blessed we are.  And this week is one of those weeks that should drive that point home for you.  And if it hasn’t yet, then maybe it should start now.  Ask yourself a few questions.  For instance – Are your limbs still intact?  Are your loved ones still around you?  Do you still have a place to work?  To live?  Have you gone through the week without being a firsthand eye-witness to a bloody, fiery trauma?

If your answer is yes to those questions, then I’d say you’re in pretty good shape.

Now, I’m not saying people are sick of hearing you complaining.  Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Hey, it’s your life – it’s your Facebook – it’s your soapbox.  Do what you will.  You’re allowed.  But, that’s not my point.

My point is that for you – for your own well-being and your own peace of mind – you should probably stop complaining about things that, in the grand scheme, are really not that big of a deal.  And you know they’re not.  It’s really hard to find peace within yourself if you’re constantly in turmoil.  And that’s what complaining is.  It’s turmoil.  Give yourself (and – ok, I’ll say it – everyone else) a break, why don’t ya?  Chill out.  Relax.  Be calm.  Recognize.

Look around you.  See what others have been through in our country in this one little week.  One week filled with so much devastation.  Fall down on your knees and be grateful and appreciative.  Go hug your kids.  Go kiss your spouse.  Go pet your dog.  Take a big, deep breath and exhale gratitude.

***

“Remember, if you are criticizing, you are not being grateful.  If you are blaming, you are not being grateful.  If you are complaining, you are not being grateful.”
– Rhonda Byrne

And still.

bostonpic

And still.

The week goes on.  New horrible news has filled the TV screen.  We go back to work.  We continue with our daily lives and go back to the way things were before we heard about it.

And still.

I continue to blog.  I continue to write on other topics.  But still it sits there.  Waiting for more to be said.  More to be done.  But what?  What can we do?  What can we say?

And still.

Still the thoughts won’t go away.  Won’t leave my mind.  Something is begging to be said.  But I have no idea what it is.

My thoughts keep going back to Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to ever officially run the Boston Marathon.  (Other women ran, but weren’t allowed bib numbers to show that they were “official” runners and to have their results included among the male runners.  Kathrine registered using her initials only and was given a bib number.  Once the “mistake” was discovered, race officials stormed the track and tried to remove her numbers, but other male racers formed a barrier around her and her boyfriend shoved them away.)  Kathrine is quoted as saying this: 

“If you lose faith in humanity, go out and watch a marathon.”

On Monday when I first heard the news, that quote immediately popped into my mind.  And I didn’t want that quote to be tainted by having it discovered that the bombing was intentional.  But, of course, it was confirmed that it was no accident.  Someone did this on purpose.  On purpose. 

And still.

Still, that quote was there.  I couldn’t get it out of my head.  But doesn’t this event erase that quote?  Shouldn’t what happened serve to prove that humanity is somehow tainted now and Ms. Switzer’s words no longer stand true?

No.

No, it does not.

I have struggled so much with this.  And I’ve finally figured out why that quote doesn’t want to leave my mind.

It’s still true.

“If you lose faith in humanity, go out and watch a marathon.”  Yes.  Watch the 117th running of the Boston Marathon.  Watch what happened surrounding the horrible, unfathomable bombing that took place at the finish line.  Watch how people immediately responded and started helping each other.  Watch how perfect strangers lifted each other off the ground and carried each other where further help awaited.  Watch how marathoners ripped off their shirts on the spot and used them as tourniquets to stop blood flow on the injured.  Watch how Dr Vivek Shah, an orthopedic surgeon who was just ready to approach the finish line area when he heard the blasts, continued to run towards the scene and immediately began using his expertise to aid the victims.  Watch how other finishers passed the 26.2-mile finish line and continued running an extra 2 miles to Massachusetts General Hospital where they donated blood.

Further still.

Listen to the stories that followed in the days to come.  Listen to the story of Laura Wellington.  Laura was one of the ones who did not finish and was still running when the blast occurred.  She knew that her family and friends were waiting at the finish line and didn’t know if they were safe.  Once she finally found out what was happening and, after wandering around alone and in fear for her loved ones, was finally able to contact a member of her party to confirm their safety, she fell to the ground crying with relief.  By this point, a couple, one of whom had finished the marathon, was walking in the same area and stopped to ask if she was ok.  She convinced them she was and, after explaining the situation, the man, who had just worked so hard to obtain the coveted Boston Marathon medal, took that very medal from around his neck and gave it her.  Just like that.  Laura put out a plea on Facebook as what she thought was a hopeless attempt at locating this kind man who extended such a humane gesture to her – and was able to identify him.  Brent Cunningham from Alaska.  Brent now joins the list among the many, many little heroes that surround this tragedy.

And still.

Even now, on a smaller scale, look around you.  Odds are that you probably know a runner.  And most of us, not having any clue what to do to show our support, have done all we know to do.  We just run.  Running isn’t going to fix anything (at this point, what can really?), and it’s not going to change what happened in any way, but it is our attempt to show that our spirit remains untouched.  We put on our fake little printed out Boston memorial “bibs” and run in honor of all who were affected in any way – including ourselves.  We don’t know what to say.  We don’t know what to do.  So we run.  We just run.

And still.

And still humanity stands firm.  We are still what we were seconds before those blasts occurred.  We are human beings who love each other; who care about each other; and who rise to the occasion when we’re needed.  We keep moving.

We just keep moving.  A little shaken, yes.  A little confused, yes.  Feeling a little helpless, yes.  But still moving.

Still.

***

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Little Things

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
– Andy Warhol

(Let me start this blog with a disclaimer to my child.  No, Kelly – this is not a tribute to One Direction and their song of the same title.  Sorry, kid.)

Ok.  Back to business.

Little things.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently.  Especially over these past few days.  A variety of “little things” have seemed to catch my attention more lately than they might normally do.

For instance.

I went to visit my grandparents in the nursing home this past weekend.  They have both been recently admitted after battling pneumonia and, unfortunately, the prognosis is not a great one for my 96-year-old grandfather.  Thankfully, they have been placed in the same room so they can spend this time together, although my grandmother’s failing memory makes it hard for her to understand what is happening.  But even with his sickness, and her failing memory, they both periodically asked about the other and looked over to be sure the other was still there.  To me, that was beautiful.  A glance to make sure the one you love is still by your side?  Yes, a little thing in the grand scheme.  But so very beautiful.

Also, while I was there, it was mentioned that my grandmother’s fingernails needed cutting and she hadn’t been able to do it herself.  So, I cut them.  Cutting your aging grandmother’s fingernails? Definitely a little thing.  But it meant something to me.  In my tiny little way, I was able to help.  Little things.

I watched my cousin Amy feeding my grandfather.

littlethingsblog

Putting a spoon to someone’s mouth when they aren’t strong enough to do it on their own? Yes, maybe a little thing. But is it so little? I think not.

Aside from the trip to visit my grandparents (and possibly because of it), other little things started catching my attention as well.

The man I love, for instance.

Now, for those of you don’t know us personally, let me start by explaining something.  I am in love with the quietest man alive.  It’s true.  The spoken word is not his speciality.  One of his favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”  Smart man.  Me, on the other hand?  I never shut up.  We are the proverbial Mutt and Jeff of verbal communication. Well, in public anyway.

But for the past few days, I seem to be “hearing” him much more clearly than I ever have before.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that he is letting me borrow a vehicle until I can get the insurance mess sorted out from my wreck and can get a new one.  Earlier this week, the vehicle started overheating a little.  So, what does he do?  Gives me his own truck to drive to work so that he can keep it and check to see what’s wrong.  He then fixes it and returns it – with new windshield wipers to boot because it was a rainy day.  Little things?  Maybe.

After dinner one night while the kids played together, I was overwhelmed with a sudden feeling of exhaustion.  Usually I immediately start clearing the table after we eat (he cooks, so it’s the least I can do), but instead I asked if he’d mind if I went and laid down for a bit.  Not only did he not mind, but he came and laid with me.  We both ended up falling asleep and my daughter got this sweet picture of us:

littlethingsblog2

A nap together as a break from a busy day?  A little thing?  Maybe.

Another example – Mondays are hectic for me now.  My daughter was cast as Annie in our local production and I am a chorus member.  We have rehearsals on Mondays and she also has dance class on Mondays.  It’s hard to be in all these places at the same time, mind you.  So, what does that man of mine do?  Helps.  He picked her up from dance and brought her back to rehearsal so that I didn’t have to leave during chorus rehearsal.  And this followed him keeping her for me over the weekend so I was able to visit my grandparents like I mentioned before.

Little things? 

I’m telling you.  Pay attention.  Those little things speak loudly if you train your ears to hear them.

A few more before I wrap up.

I ran 11 miles yesterday in honor of all who were affected by the Boston marathon bombings.  It was my longest distance to date as a runner.  I wore my printed-out Boston runner’s bib in tribute.  While on the run, a fellow runner saw my bib as he was passing, and reached out and high-fived me.  A high-five from a stranger?  Definitely a little thing, but it sure had a big impact.  (Before the run was over, I got a few car honks as well.)

Also – a new friend of mine who is an ultra runner celebrated my 11 mile run with me as if it were her own personal victory.  Did I mention she’s an ultra runner?  She has run in a 130-mile race. Yes, you read that right.  One hundred and thirty miles.  And she celebrated my 11 like it was the greatest thing on earth.  Little things.

A random sweet text from my son; an email from a friend saying that my blog has inspired them to start running; getting chills while listening to a room full of little girls singing songs at a rehearsal for Annie….

I have to make myself stop.  This list could go on and on and on.

And isn’t that awesome?

Take the time to notice them.  They’re everywhere.  All of these little things are what make this crazy ride called life worthwhile.  Unfortunately, we are sometimes too busy to appreciate them.  But we need to stop that.  These may be the memories that fill our minds one day when we’re looking back on our past – the same ones that we might forget to give a second glance to in the present.  So, stop.  Look around.  Hear the things that aren’t being said – see the things that aren’t so obvious.  Be grateful.  Be appreciative.  Be alive.

Now, go make your list of little things.

***

“Half the joy of life is in little things taken on the run…
but let us keep our hearts young and our eyes open that nothing worth our while shall escape us.”

– Victor Cherbuliez

Boston

As a writer and a runner, I feel drawn to blog about what happened in Boston yesterday.  But honestly, there just aren’t any words.  There just aren’t.  I don’t know what I can say that others before me haven’t already said.  How do you make sense of such useless violence at an event that is supposed to be filled with joy and pride and unity?

All I know to say is what I posted on Facebook yesterday in the midst of the first news coming out about the bombings, and what I’ve turned to myself many times before (including most recently during my little personal “disaster”).  These words from Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
Fred Rogers

Knowing that good still exists is sometimes the only thing that gets you through things like this.  Because it does.  It truly does.  For every nutjob, there are thousands of kind, good, caring citizens to help pick up the pieces from the destruction they leave behind.

Today, I will join the many runners across the nation who will be putting on our makeshift race bibs (see picture below) and running in honor of everyone who was affected by what happened yesterday – the victims, the injured, the families and friends, the bystanders, the runners (both present at the marathon and otherwise), and anyone else whose heart was broken by this blow to humanity.  I’m due an 11-mile run, which will be the farthest I’ve run so far.  No time like today.  Will you join me?

Print out the bib below and pin it to your shirt.  And run.  I don’t care if you run 0.5 mile or 50.  Just run.  Just run.  Do what we runners always do best – overcome adversity by putting one foot in front of the other and keep continuing to move forward.

 racebib

***

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.