It’s Thoughtful Thursday…Cherishing those 45 seconds

It was a busy weekday afternoon.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Life at my daughters’ house was full of kids, laughter, teasing and loud voices.

The voice of  urgency to get everyone ready for soccer practice rang out a familiar tune as kids ran around getting things together, filling water bottles, looking for lost shoes.

A little deja vu for me from years past.  I sometimes missed those crazy days and enjoyed being in the midst of all the chaos for a bit.

Ava Grace sat on her Dad’s lap getting soccer shoes tied with her long wavy hair in tangles around her head sweaty from a day of soccer camp.  She jumped down and handed me her hair elastic to help her put her hair up.  I was grateful there was no need to brush out the many tangles but I made an attempt as I gathered her hair up and stroked it gently…braid or pony tail ….pony tail…I gathered up her hair like I had done her for her Mom for  many years and quickly made a pony tail wrapping the elastic around it…akin to riding a bike, something I could do blindfolded.

How many times and how many pony tails had I gathered up for my daughters?  Did I relish the moment?  Did I cherish it? Did I know how special it was to have that moment.?  Nope. And  today I got a do over in my heart .

It was only 45 seconds.  Ava Grace did not give it a second thought, but I did.  There is something special and elegantly simple in creating a ponytail.  It is just an everyday ordinary moment that I have done a zillion times. And yet today it meant something.  If felt like an honor to do something so ordinary, so simple.  It is those simple things in life that connect us.  Making a meal together, doing dishes, brushing hair, whispering good nights.

IMG_0990

[bctt tweet=”It is the simple things in life that connect us” username=”jenniferbross”]

My wish for you on this Thoughtful Thursday is to honor those wonderful but often ignored moments.  Cherish those 45 seconds and savor them.  They are quick but oh so important.  Now you know what to do 🙂  go out and make it Thoughtful One.

How I “became” a “real” runner on Saturday!

I recently read a comment from a fellow runner on another blog that said despite the fact she had run 20 marathons ( yes 20!) she still didn’t consider herself a “real” runner.

WHAT???    20 marathons is 524 miles….whoa.

It got me to thinking what makes someone feel like a “real” runner.  Obviously completing 20 marathons wasn’t enough for this woman.

OMG

I have never done a marathon.  I might never do one and yet I felt more like a “real” runner this past week-end than I ever have.   Before I tell you what happened I have to share a passage from a favorite book that has the best description of what it is to be “real”.

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

So for runners I would change that last line to:

“But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be slow, or last or not a good enough runner, except to people who don’t understand”

[bctt tweet=”You are a real runner because you run nothing more, nothing less!” username=”jenniferbross”]

As promised here is why I now feel like a “real” runner.

This past Saturday I ran an 8k (5 miles).  It was suppose to be a half marathon (13.1 miles) but my training went poorly so I changed to the 8k and wasn’t even sure I could that.

A couple of days before the race I decided that no matter how I felt I was going and I would run with joy and to have fun.  I was a little nervous especially since on Wednesday I had barely eeked out a mile, but I went.

It helped that the day was chilly but gorgeous.  I put a big grin on my face and just trusted that this would be okay.The first two miles were stop and go.  I had to stop and tie my shoe, then I had to stop to get a pebble out of my  other shoe.  As we approached Mile 2 it became evident that I needed a porta potty quick.  I gotta tell you seeing those line of porta potties at Mile 2 was a beautiful site.  I ran in, ran out and joined the race again.

It was all okay.  Never had to stop that many times in the first two miles but I didn’t stress about it.

I looked around at all the runners.

It reminded me of the old Oscar Meyer Weiner Commercial:

“Fat kids, skinny kids, kids that climb on rocks. Tall kids, short kids, kids that have the chicken pox”

Hopefully there was nobody there with the chicken pox!

The variety of ages and sizes was beautiful and we were all encouraging one another.

And I ran with joy and gratitude to just be out there.

That’s when it happened.  I became “real”  and I was surrounded by “real” runners because we were out there and we were doing it and we all had smiles on our faces and we were triumphant in the “doing”.

Wait there was one more “real” moment after I crossed the finish line when I turned to another woman runner around my age and said “Wow, what an awesome day and great race!”  and she asked “What was your time?”

My reply: ” I have absolutely no idea”

That is what sealed the deal and made me a “real” runner.  I ran with joy and because I could. IMG_2458

Living Single While Very Married: On the road again…sharing a seat and a laugh with George and Gregory Peck!

So a little over 2 years ago we began this adventure.  It has had it’s up and downs and we are ready for new adventures of “Living Together While Very Married” !  That is what we both signed up for but we keep hitting the replay button on this “Living Single While Very Married”   What?  Nobody is more surprised than we are and fingers crossed we will end this journey in 2016…BUT in the meantime let me catch you up.

So Paul took his “dream” job and I am keeping  the home fires burning here on the East Coast.  We had ( still do) really great reasons for doing this and there have been some really good things that have come from this arrangement.  There have also been some really difficult times and despite seeing each other as often as possible we miss each other tons.

One of the first parts of this was our road trip to get Paul to his new job.  Flying is great but there is nothing like a road trip to really see the country.

As we made our way across the United States we had fun seeing family in Ohio and Michigan/Indiana ( also known as Michiana) and we made my one requested stop to my childhood stomping grounds of LaGrange, Il just outside of Chicago.  I spent my “wonder years” there and still love the place.  As kids we had such freedom and walked EVERYWHERE ( school, the movies, shopping)  In the summer we left to go play and we were lucky if our parents could get us in for dinner.  Good times.

623 S. Kensington Ave LaGrange, IL

My “Wonder Years” home..good memories!

As we left Illinois and ventured onto RT 80 in Iowa we discovered some really interesting and fun places.

IMG_6236

Just in case we weren’t sure what road we were on!

We, of course had to stop at the “The World’s Largest Truck Stop”  Paul  heard a rumor they served the world’s largest hamburger ( his favorite meal) but turns out it was just a rumor.  Still it was fun.  Here are a few photos:

IMG_6240

Just in case we forgot where we were

IMG_6237

And just what you need to find at the World’s Largest Truckstop!

 

My  favorite stop was “The Wilton Candy Kitchen” ( not to be confused with the Wilton Cake Company)  I had envisioned antidepressants this quaint little town, bustling with visitors and a busy old fashioned candy and ice cream parlor.

IMG_6273

Not exactly what I had envisioned..but I loved it!

Well I got it partially right.  We drove through Wilton, IA and the town looked like it was on vacation and the Candy Kitchen appeared to be closed.  I got out to take photos and up drove Thelma and George….the proprietors.  Thelma was busy bustling around, complaining about George ( in a humorous way) and was out the door before we knew it with ice cream sodas for some good friends.

George had worked in the Candy Kitchen since he was 6..he was 93 when we met him and very entertaining.  We felt like we stepped back in time.  I was wondering if  Sheriff Taylor, Barney Fife and Aunt Bee were nearby.

IMG_6260

I swear Barney Fife is near by!

We ordered some ice cream sodas and watched as George operated the machinery like he was still 6 years old.

They were very proud of their famous celebrity guests  Gregory Peck and Brooke Shields.

I even got a photo behind the counter with George but first I had to promise him that I would never tell Thelma he allowed me behind the counter.  Evidently Thelma wore the ice cream pants in this family.

IMG_6267

George really loved serving up ice cream!

It also looks like she had no problem having Gregory Peck behind the counter!!!

IMG_6266

We asked George to take a few photos…I think the digital camera threw him off a bit but he gave it a good shot.

IMG_6262

I was a little sad to leave and promised myself we would stop by when we made the trip back in a few years.

Sadly if we do get to stop George will not be there.  He is now serving ice cream to all the angels.

It would have been easy to just blow through Iowa and not stop anywhere and make a beeline for Paul’s new stomping grounds.  So happy we took the time to see the sights and meet the people.

We only spent an hour or so with George and Thelma but I smile each time I think of them.  I might have to go out and have some ice cream in George’s memory.  Won’t be as good as his homemade ice-cream but I can pretend!

As always keep triing!

How my exercise “cheat” turned awesome

So I have to admit that this summer hasn’t been the best for me on consistency with my running or any kind of exercise.  Not that I haven’t been active.  Between hanging out with my very active 6 grandkids, running up and down the halls at the hospital, yard work and my dog I haven’t exactly been sitting on my keester.

HOWEVER…I did promise myself I would get more consistent with my running.  I even signed up for a marathon ( in a moment of weakness) which will now be a half marathon and if I don’t get myself out on the road it will be a very expensive 8k.

That alone will get me back on the road.

Well that and the better temps and lower humidity this fall. 🙂

IMG_3059

Still I didn’t want to be a total slacker. So one night around the beginning of July I was already in  in bed and realized I hadn’t kept the promise to do something everyday in the way of exercise.

I really wanted it to be something along the lines of running, or biking.  Something aerobic.  And well at 11 o’clock at night the thought of that was way too much..not going to happen. So….

I hopped out of bed and did 25 push ups.  Let me clear.  25 girly push ups.  Hey at least I did it.  AND I kept on doing it.  It was probably the easiest habit I started and kept!   EVER!  I have no idea why but it stuck.  Not that there weren’t more than several days where I forgot and had to hop out of bed to get them in but I did them.

I’m still doing them. Nobody is more surprised than me!

So it wasn’t what I thought I would be doing but it was a great compromise.

If you made a promise to yourself and it’s not “looking” like you thought it would it’s okay.  It’s more than okay if you found another way to get from here to there.

I’m back to running but still doing push ups.  The push ups are an added bonus.  Feel free to stop by and see the gun show…I am TOTALLY kidding on that one!!

As always…Keep Triing!  

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Time for some Gumby Gratitude!

Have you ever tried to get someone to try something new?  Maybe a new food, a new experience or just a new way to do an activity?  Or have you been the one who had to be coaxed into something you thought you would never do and then ended up loving it?

We have all been there.  Reluctant at first, shaking our heads no but then taking a tiny baby step into the unknown and we are almost always  glad we did!

If you have someone who routinely “stretches” you either physically or mentally (in a good way) then on this “Thoughtful Thursday”  you owe them some “Gumby Gratitude” because like Gumby they made you stretch in good positive ways!

I have six people in my life that not only stretch me on a regular basis but remind me it’s okay to do fun things and quit being such a grown-up!

Every year I do a special day with each of the grandkids ( ages 11,10,9,8,6 and 3). They get to pick the activities we do together and lately it has been quite an adventure.  I am praying my body continues to cooperate !!!

This year we did everything from a fashion show out of my closet to ice skating to swinging in the trees at “Go Ape”.

So indulge me as I hand out my “Gumby Gratitude” to my grandchildren:

What a gift you all have given me!  Thank you Nick, Cris, Ava, Summer, Bella and Tristun!

You reminded me that:

  • It’s easier and much more fun to just jump into the Tarzan swing instead of trying to ease into it ( less scary too)
  • I can climb trees, rope ladders, zip line with the best of you!
  • Falling can be fun ( well I was in a harness)
  • Ice Skating in the summer is the bomb and you thought I looked like I knew what I was doing ( if you only knew)
  • Hanging out at the pool, splashing, standing on our hands, and diving for stuff is way more fun than just sitting and watching
  • An 8 yr old can do my makeup and I can learn from it…plus what fun it was to play fashion show with my own clothes and shoes
  • Your fascination with my old typewriter reminded me how far we have come and how much I want to share other things with you ( pay phones, dial phones, the wonders of carbon paper, real photos, stick shift cars and roll up windows) Everything old is new again!
  • AND Chocolate Chip pancakes for any meal are the best as long as you follow them with homemade chocolate chip cookies!!! YUM

Thanks for stretching and challenging me. It has been and continues to be a blast.  I hope we can continue to learn from one another and see the world through each others eyes.

I sincerely hope that the idea of “Gumby Gratitude” catches on.  Thankfully none of us have to turn green to do it.  Now go out and spread some “Gumby Gratitude” to those people who make you stretch into more of who you are meant to be.

And as always…Make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S.  Leaving you with a few photos of some of  our “Gumby” adventures!

image

imageimage

imageimageimage

image

 

 

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday??? In a backwards sort of way

If you follow my posts you know the hubs was home for a week. If you missed it you can read it here and if you are really curious how all that started you can read about it on this post.

He left me with a mowed lawn, a powered washed house and new tires ( out of necessity) on my car and a very quiet house full of ….dangerous food that is threatening to jump in my mouth every time I walk past it.  🙂  Well at least that is my story.

Seriously he left me with 1/2 gallon of vanilla ice cream and root beer.  Who can resist that?  Also a half eaten carton of rocky road ice cream, chocolate chip cookies and other various forms of food threatening to add to my girth with little effort on my part.

There is a reason I don’t keep that stuff here as in weak moments late at night.  If there is nothing here then  I am safe.

So as I am making my case for why this can’t happen again in our most recent phone call he agrees with me but then says ” Yes, I left you with all that junk food  BUT ( yup here it comes)  I also left you with a brand new treadmill.

Your welcome.

WHAT???? How thoughtful of him??

Truth be told he wanted the treadmill and when he found one on sale I agreed ONLY because I know he will use it (when he finally gets home) and seeing as how the elliptical has 600 miles on it and is about to wear out I knew it would get used…by him.  I will claim 100 miles of the elliptical but I’ll admit I am being generous with myself.

So the “dreadmill” kept staring me down as did the possibility of a HUGE root beer float.

Not a fan of the “dreadmill”  I much prefer to run outside.  Still I needed to try it out. So I did. It didn’t totally suck and given the fact it was raining and my granddaughter was visiting and still asleep when I wanted to go running…well I’m starting to see the advantages of having it here.

Except now I have no excuses left..kinda like the post office.  Rain, nor sleet nor dark of night will keep me from my workout…gee thanks???

So it’s a Thoughtful Thursday in a backwards sort of way.  I am hoping I will come to love to the “dreadmill” as much as a root beer float.

Rootbeer,treadmill photo

hahahaha  I crack myself up..as if!!  Now go make it a Thoughtful One!!

It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you guilty of this bad social media habit?

Social media has led me  to  develop some bad habits.  Shocking I know.  Let me just add those to the list of my less than desirable habits that even annoy me.  The top of that list is forgetting to close cupboard doors  (or any door for that matter).  I have been painfully reminded of this many times when I have banged my head into the open cupboard door.  My friends would say that explains alot 🙂

As far as social media goes I often fall into that mistaken belief that everyone I know and care about has seen my updates or photos.  This is especially true of big events ( weddings,baptisms, birthdays)

I KNOW lots of my family and friends are not on social media and yet I still forget.

If you are thinking “Well these friends and family just need to get with the times and jump onto social media”, remember that for some ( especially older relatives like my parents) it is just not going to happen.

AND social media is a poor substitute for a REAL phone call, a REAL piece of mail and a REAL printed up photo.

So here is where it gets really cool.  You can use social media to send a real printed photo postcard. Honestly I just discovered this so I am going to experiment with the different apps to see which ones I really like and in a week or two will share this with you.

One  app that I know is great is Kicksend.  It will send photos from your phone to a local place to be printed up and then you can just pick them up.  I have a couple of friends who use this on a regular basis after having their photos lost on their phones.  There is nothing worse than realizing you just deleted a photo you loved or your favorite two year old got your phone and cleared it for you.

Toddlers are pretty tech savvy these days.  Remember the 3 yr old who bought a car off of Ebay?

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

So if today is not the day to send a photo then  pick up the phone.  Let someone you love know you are thinking about them. If someone keeps popping into my thoughts I KNOW I need to talk to them.

The whole purpose of Thoughtful Thursday is to make it a day to remind you to connect with someone.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!  And if you find an app you like please share!

Finding joy in starting over…

I just went for a run.  The first in a very very long time.  The list of reasons is unbelievably long.  Everything from traveling, to bad weather, to hating the “dreadmill” to the simple “I don’t wanna do it”

Of course, when I decided enough was enough and it was time to get out there again I caught a nasty respiratory infection that sapped my energy.  I could barely walk the dog let alone run.

I was smart enough to take care of myself as I watched some glorious perfect running days ( 70’s, no humidiy, light breeze) pass me by and I proceeded to beat myself up for NOT running all the times I had the chance to run when I wasn’t coughing up a lung.

So today was the day to start over.  I knew I would pretty much be starting from scratch.  I set my Garmin to run 3 minutes, walk 1 and decided to do a whole mile.

HOWEVER  I also gave myself permission to let go of what could have been, all those missed running days, and all the running stamina I used to possess.  And most importantly I let go of my ego and gave myself permission to do what felt good.

I made it 2 minutes and decided I needed to walk.  I enjoyed the beautiful day.  I walked 2 minutes and then decided to try the run 3  walk 1 again.  It was amazing.  When my watch signaled it was time to walk I was surprised.

I did my mile ( well .95 of it according to Miss Garmin)  Makes no matter.  I did it.  You can too! It doesn’t have to be running.  Do what makes you feel good, walking, zumba, yoga, or biking.

Let go of the past and what could have been. Let go of what others think is a the “best” exercise, an impressive amount of miles, or time, or the best yoga poses or the hills you “have” to do to be considered a cyclist.

I have lots of running medals and yet today I feel more victorious than ever because I listened to myself and I did it just for me!

Find the joy in whatever you choose to do. It makes all the difference!

The courage to start

Keep Triing,

It’s Thoughtful Thursday..an easy way to make a difference


Take a minute and think about someone who made a difference in your life.

Chances are you just smiled.

You remember how happy it made you, how it changed you or how loved you felt that they took the time to do something for you.

Was it a huge thing like Oprah did when she gave away those cars?  Or was it something on a smaller scale?  It might have even been something they did without  realizing they made an amazing impact on your life.

While we would all like to have the ability to do really BIG things most of us can’t give away cars or houses or fancy vacations.

If you go back to the first question and remember what first popped into your thoughts it probably wasn’t something big.  It was probably something much smaller and doable and yet it was still HUGE to you.

This past Monday I had my day all planned and it was going to be so productive.  I got up early, I ran, I cleaned up and I sat down to work.  My computer had different ideas about my day.  I spent all day Monday, some of Tuesday and will spend a little bit of today getting this one issue,that could not be ignored,fixed on my computer.

Monday was NOT a good day.  Fortunately I did not also have to suffer through “crunchy coffee”.  If you missed out on that adventure go here.

So after some mind bending hours in front of this blasted machine I took the dog out since his little dance could not be ignored . I got the mail and my day turned around when I found these:

 

Letters for Thoughtful Thursday

 

Neither one of these friends could have possibly known what kind of day I would have when their note arrived.  I tore into them, read them several times and now they sit on my desk and make me smile.

They made a difference by taking a few minutes to write me a note.  It wasn’t a car or a house or a vacation but it might as well have been because that is how huge it felt to me on Monday.

Want to make a difference?  Make a list ( either written or in your noggin) about all the ways you can turn someones’ day around.  A smile, a note, holding the door open, a compliment, a post it note on the steering wheel or someones’ desk.  A lunchbox note for someone who might never expect it.

FYI we never grow too old for lunchbox notes.

Watch it come back to you in so many great ways including just making you smile when you think of the person finding the note, seeing your smile or savoring your compliment.

Now you know the drill.  Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!! 🙂

Dear TV police..please arrest ABC for theft

So I am an on again off again TV watcher.  After getting Netflix a few months ago I now understand the love affair between people and their DVR’s.  Commercial free veiwing is true bliss not to mention a real time saver.

That’s not what I want to write about though.  If there really was something like the TV police I would put everyone at ABC in jail for theft ….of several of my IQ points.

I was originally only going to write about one program but then this morning on Good Morning America they stole at least one more.  Plus they are aiding and abetting the dumbing down  of America.

It all started with the show “The Bachelor”.   Just to be clear I have been, in the past, a fan of this show. Also I realize that this is some people’s guilty pleasure and others watch it for pure comedic value.  It makes no difference why you watch it, no apologies needed.

I do have to share the very first time I saw an episode.  I was channel surfing many years ago ( at least 8 because it was in our old house) and I saw this girl sitting with a bunch of other beautiful women practically having a nervous breakdown and a guy handing out roses and I was like “What the???”  What is going on here?  This guy must be some kinda special.  Turns out he really wasn’t but I was hooked.

Fast forward to when Melissa Rycroft was on and officially ended my Bachelor watching days except for a glance here or there.  If you recall Melissa was the final choice except during the time filming had ended and the show actually aired the jerk changed his mind and secretly started seeing the runner up and humilated Melissa on the “After the Final Rose” show to which she replied “you bastard” which is my all time favorite line from the the Bachelor EVER.

He did Melissa a favor as she went on to bigger and better things and married a nicer guy.

So this season found Farmer Chris trying to choose his perfect soulmate and move her to a town in Iowa where everything is closed except of  course his farm which explains why he had to be on the Bachelor because there are no women in his town.

So a couple of things I have realized since my days of watching:

  • It’s not a show about finding love, its a competition
  • It’s so edited that even the nice girls come out looking like drama queens
  • They pick the girls so there is at least one girl who will get naked, one with a tragic background, more than several that can’t talk without swearing , a couple that can’t hold their alcohol or don’t know how to stop, the party animals, and the ones that cry ALL THE TIME..oh wait that was Chris  the Bachelor
  • Throw them all in one house with one guy as the prize and you have great ratings.

Please..I saw a part of the show with the final dates and the final show.  It was painful.  Painfully stupid.   And the only reason I watched was for some laughs from all the twitter comments.  I did however especially like the part where he shut the car door on the girl he didn’t choose ( she wasn’t sure she could move to a town where everything was closed..smart girl)  He shut the car door with an attitude and I’m sure mumbled under his breath “don’t let the car door hit you in the spanks on your way home”

Here is my favorite photo of Chris that was rampant on twitter:

Chris with an ear of corn

On top of that the shows’ brainiacs could not choose a new Bachelorette so instead there are two women who will get to compete for the position and the voters will be the guys competing for her love.  Seriously??  Walk away girls Walk away..and there goes another IQ point.

It must be rampant at ABC..the dumbing down that is ( except for Shonda Rhimes) because just the other day on GMA they were featuring Antonio Sabato Jr ( I think it was him or some other cute Latin hunk) who is now into decorating and fixing up homes.  So they decided to give Ginger Zee and Amy Rhoback a quiz ( where you hit the buzzer and yell out your answer) So here is the first question ( turned it off after this, couldn’t take it)

If you want to hang a picture in your home for a focal point on the wall and a splash of color, which of the following do you NOT need?

      A.  A stud finder

            B.  A hook and nail

C.  A trowel

And  Ginger Zee with way too much excitement hits her buzzer and yells out C.   OMG  and Duh.  So I shut it off. Then I had a thought.  That quiz was rigged because any college student knows a trowel  (or a shoe, book or spoon) can work as a hammer.  So the real answer is  D. All of the Above

Have to run, if you need to find me I will be applying for a job as an ABC executive overseeing the Bachelor.  Oh wait, I’m too smart for that.