Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What is my Legacy?

As I was running today the word legacy came to my mind. That may sound really strange but it makes perfect sense to me. I was watching my husband and two younger children running/walking the track while I ran. My children are training to run a 5K. As I ran and pondered that word I decided to look into it a little deeper. 

Legacy: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor. 

As a mom, I am concerned about the legacy I leave for my children. But I started to think about what type of legacy I received from my ancestors. The most significant legacy that comes to mind all comes from my grandmother. She gave me so much of herself that I am proud of and gladly carry forward to my children.

The most important thing she gave me is my faith in Christ. She was the daughter of a Baptist pastor and the granddaughter of a missionary. She made sure I was in church three days a week and for all the extra activities in the children's department. It went much farther than that. Some of my bed time stories were from the Bible. My favorite as a child was Samson. She led by example and practiced what she preached. She wasn't perfect by any means but my grandmother always tried to live the way Christ taught. As I watched her as a leader in the church, head of the WMU and the like, I also saw her compassion for those who had less than we did and her desire to share the Word with them because she knew what truly would enrich their lives. I am unsure what type of family my grandfather came from but I think my grandmother had a stronger faith than they did, if any. She was the driving force behind her husband and children attending church. 

Grandma gave me a sense of great love and support towards my children and others. She was my champion! If ever she felt I had been wronged before I was old enough to take care of it myself, she was there fixing it. After I was older she was there to encourage me in how to handle things the right way. She was a listening ear to my every life detail. Oh, how I miss those days. She shared my joys and my sorrows. She didn't focus on her sorrows, although she had plenty of her own through her long life. She taught me not to dwell on mine, either. She would tell me about things but only when we were having long deep conversations about the past as a way for her to tell me "her story". 

I grew up in a home that was totally southern, fried just about everything! When I was a young teenager my grandmother decided that being healthier was important. At the time I called her a "health food nut". (Sorry, Gram!) She started cooking with healthier things and not frying so much. She also started exercises more. She already played golf almost everyday. The "in thing" was a fitness center. So she and I went and worked out together. 

Now me. Am I leaving behind a legacy for my children to carry on to theirs and beyond? I know that I am doing what I can with my children. But children don't always go down the path you wish they would or believe and live the things they have been taught. At least not right away. I make sure my children attend church and know their Bible. They do all the extra fun activities at church. We even went a step farther, kind of along the lines of my great-great grandmother, we teach at a mission church and have for the past 15 years. Our children are a part of that ministry. We have even taken the two youngest on a mission trip to Africa! We live out our faith daily. Even through hard times we look to the Lord. That isn't to say we never have times of doubt and discouragement. But we do our best not to stay in those depths too long. We know that isn't where Christ wants us to live. 

I married a man who did not come from a Christian background. He started coming to church when we started dating. As young parents I felt the need to make sure that our daughter was in church so we started going. After we had our second child and had been married for 9 years I realized something was missing. I wanted a way to be closer to my husband and I thought if we did a Bible study together that we would grow closer. I was still under the impression that my husband had a personal relationship with Christ. But he didn't. About a year after we started doing a Bible study called Precept (there are different topics under that heading) he accepted Christ as his Savior. As part of his testimony he tells people that I was the one who insisted we go to church. I suppose I carried out my grandmother's legacy in that area for sure. 

Several years ago I read a book called The Maker's Diet. I learned so much about the things in this world that are bad for you and the things that are good for you. At first I tried to do a complete change and met some resistance but not as much as you would think. As the years have progressed we have made real changes to our diet. We still have some things we need to work on but I feel good about a lot of them. 

My husband has always been great about working out and staying in shape. I on the other hand have gone up and down on the scales. I can attribute some of that to being pregnant seven times with four full term births. (I only have four living children) I have been sporadic in my workouts. I tend to lack consistency for large periods of time. I will work out for several months and then nothing for a very long time, sometimes years. A year ago in November I reached my highest non-pregnancy weight and it was like a RED LIGHT shinning in my face. STOP NOW! So I decided to make some real changes in my exercise and hopefully my eating habits. I started doing some workout videos again and did those for about eleven weeks and stopped again. I had lost 10 pounds at that point but let life get in my way. Plus, I admit I was discouraged that the weight wasn't coming off faster.  In June several things changed. I got back on Weight Watchers and signed up to run a 5K in February. The WW I had done before. But running? NOPE! I did the training on the treadmill for nine weeks. Then I needed to take it outside. My husband was going walking in the mornings before the preschoolers got there so I asked him if I could run while he walked because running in the park alone was not a good idea for me. He started running a mile or two here and there and then walking a lot of it. Pretty soon he was running the three miles and really enjoying himself. I haven't gotten him to sign up for a race yet but I'm working on it. 

My oldest daughter was the one who told me how much she loved to run. She had gotten so busy with work and hadn't run in a long time. She is struggling to gain a healthier lifestyle so running hasn't been something she thought she could do. I took up running because she told me how good it was and because I wanted something we could do together, have in common. She has started training for a 5K in April that we will run together! I am super excited about that. It will take some time to work up to it but I know that it is going to have a life changing effect on her. She will be able to do something she loves again. My younger two children are now doing the Couch to 5K training. I know I want all of them to sign up for next years Hot Chocolate 5K in February (I want to make that a yearly family thing). But I'm not sure if the kids or my husband will run with me any other time before then. I sure hope so. 

So my legacy...am I carrying it forward? I have to believe that I am. In a good way. I saw an example in my grandmother and have tried to live that example for my family, sometimes without even realizing it. I thought a lot about it while I was watching my family run this evening at the park. I do a lot of thinking and talking to the Lord during my runs. He gives me insight on many things and clears my head of things that don't need to be there. 

I'm not perfect and would never pretend to be. I am a work in progress. But like my grandmother, I get back up when I fall down and keep on heading the direction the Lord is guiding me. It is really the only thing I can do. I will never stop growing and learning as long as I am on this earth. So I will keep my eyes on the Lord so that my children will see my example. I am prayerful that they will gain the legacy that I am trying to pass on to them. 

Thanks for letting me share. What are your legacy's? The ones you received and the ones you are passing on? 

Until next time...blessings to you.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship...With Running

Yes, you read that correctly. I have a love/hate relationship with running. What do I mean by that? Let me explain...

LOVE the feeling I get AFTER I run. I feel invigorated, empowered, energized, and accomplished. I feel all of those things when I am nearing the last half of my third mile. It is what pushes me forward and helps me make it the last little bit with a little more speed than I had before. 

HATE how hard it is to get myself out the door. I have to find the time to go running because it has to be when my husband is watching our daycare kids. It has to be a time when none of the parents that have to sign in and out of my phone will be arriving. It has to be good weather since the extreme cold makes it hard for me to breathe. Through all of that I have to MAKE myself do it because things come up, I get tired after a long day working with the kids, not feeling well because of sickness that the kids bring in, etc...I can always come up with excuses NOT to workout. 

LOVE the results I get from running. Since I started running last June I have seen real change in my body. Not so much on the scale but in my clothes and in my face. Running helps my body be regular. I know that may sound gross to some, but that is just how it is. When I am NOT running I am more likely to be irregular. And I feel that being regular helps get the weight off instead of it staying on my body. I have a little ways to go when it comes to the size clothes I want to wear but at the same time, I feel wonderful about the clothes I am wearing. I went from a size 14 jeans and XL or L shirts to size 10 jeans and M tops and dresses. That is a BIG difference. And my face looks a lot different than it did just a year ago. 

HATE how I have to fight my thoughts as I am running so that I keep on running instead of quitting. When I start out running I have to tell myself over and over again "I love running" and "I can do this". Because if I let my mind go elsewhere it will tell me "Maybe you can only make it one mile today" or "This is just too hard. You have eaten terrible this week so you just don't have it in you to make it three whole miles." But if I keep my thoughts held captive I can run my three miles and feel awesome afterwards. 

LOVE how running releases all sorts of stresses and frustrations. Everyone's life has stress in it. Mine is no exception. Running helps those things seem a little less major than they did before my run. It is hard to be stressed or mad after a great run. It puts things into perspective. Plus, when I run I listen to praise and worship music. I spend time talking to the Lord through the songs I am listening to. That helps make all the stress and other mess go away. 

Do you see what I mean about love/hate? I often wonder if other runners feel that way, too. Do you? Despite the fact that I love AND hate running, I will keep running as long as I am able. My reasons are all the things I LOVE about running. They far outweigh the things I HATE.  

Changing my life one day at a time. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hot Chocolate 5K 2013 - My First 5K

Today was a HUGE milestone for me. Not because I haven't run 3.1 miles before but because I have never run in a race before willingly. I have mentioned getting out of P.E. in school because I didn't want to run laps. That was me thirty years ago. Last year at this time I wasn't even considering running. I was just trying to get up and do a 20 minute workout video three times a week to get the weight off.  I wanted to blog about today while it was still fresh in my mind because of the feelings I experienced. 
I had a really hard time sleeping last night. I suppose the excitement was just too much. I set my alarm for 5:30 because I didn't think I could get myself up any earlier but I was out of bed by 5:15. I knew I would not eat or drink anything before the race so I didn't have to worry about time for those things. The race officials suggested we arrive by 6. We should have left at 5:30 but it was hard getting my son out of bed that early since he likes to stay up late. Note for next year and other races: leave earlier. We were right before the exit when traffic came to a stand still. We reached that point around 6:15. Traffic was only moving a short distance at a time. When we finally got up to our exit the police had blocked it off. We headed to the next one but it was blocked off, too. Before we got to an exit that was open we came close, and I mean CLOSE to hitting a car in front of us. John was able to swerve and miss it by a hair. It scared me so badly because it's truly a miracle that we didn't crash our new Jeep and miss the race completely. We didn't get into the parking lot until 7:15 and then we had to walk what seemed like an entire mile to get where we gathered for the race. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 but I think they understood how backed up the traffic was and gave us a few minutes longer. They did allow late arrives to get in the last heap of runners.

Once I was surrounded by all the other runners the excitement started coming back. (The near death experience kind of put a damper on things.) It was pretty cold but I knew I wouldn't be comfortable wearing the hoodie that they gave us. I made sure my ears were covered up so they wouldn't hurt. I warmed up pretty quickly once I was running. I was actually comfortable once I was in the corral. Once again, I think that was due to the excitement. I was in the next to last group to run so I stood and talked to a few ladies while we were waiting. That is always fun for me. I love getting to meet new people.

When we reached the start line and begin to run I was excited but trying not to run over people or get run over myself. I was in a group with a lot of walkers even though it said no walkers. I didn't feel strange about going around people and even getting on the curb to go around like I saw other people doing. I had to do that often. I thought I might have to stop often to get a drink or walk but after I had run the first mile and found out I did it in 12 minutes (over a minute faster than I had been running) that pushed me forward to keep going without quitting. The more I ran the more I wanted to run. There was an up hill overpass that was challenging but instead of getting slower I pushed myself to go faster up that hill. I did slow to a walk two or three times for only about five seconds to take a drink but never considered walking any part of the race.

When I finally went under the finish line I had a huge smile on my face. I was looking for my husband and son but they were farther up waiting for me. I saw them before they saw me. They were such great sports because they were freezing cold while I had been running and didn't feel the cold anymore. That is why they are going to run WITH me next year instead of standing on the sidelines. 

After the race they gave out mugs with hot cocoa and fondue. The chocolate was wonderful! I made a big mess with it but it was scrumptious anyway. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this race, the free hoodie and the chocolate afterwards. It was a fun race.

Now I am looking into running my next race. I am actually trying to plan my runs for the whole year. I know that I have to make a plan or I will be tempted to quit. But I can SEE the changes in myself and my body in the last year. And I am excited to see what I can do this year and what changes I will have made. Looking back gives a person perspective and vision for the future. If I can train and over come asthma related issues that have kept me from running in the past then I can keep training and make some longer strides towards bigger goals. My next goal really is just to keep improving my time in the 5K. I am not sure I will want to run the 15K in this race next year but who knows. Maybe by 2015 a 15K will be something I will be ready for. One thing I want to make sure of is that every race I run has either a fun theme like this one or is a good cause. I don't want to just run a race to run it. I want the race to mean something to me.

My Time

37 min 34 sec

Age Group
12 min 06 sec
184 of 429
2317 of 4732

I can't wait for the next adventure in a healthy lifestyle. Share with me your adventures on the road to health. 

Changing my life, one day at a time.