Friday, May 24, 2013

Remember the Fallen

Memorial Day.

The day to remember those who have given their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Many people have forgotten what this weekend represents. What Monday is actually for and that is very sad.  People look at it as a 3-day weekend, time for the boat, the lake, lots of picnics and travel.  And although 3-day weekends are nice, that is not what this coming Monday is about.

Monday is Memorial Day. A day this country had set aside to remember those who have given their lives to keep the rest of us free.  A day to reflect. A day to honor those who died for our freedom.

This day is not to honor our veterans.  That time comes in November on Veterans Day.  This day is set aside separately to honor those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen (and National Guard Members) who have died defending our freedoms. Those who died defending our country.

So please don't say "Happy Memorial Day".  There is nothing "Happy" about it.  Say "Thank You".  Go to your local cemetary and walk the graves and quietly say thank you to those who have gone before us.  Bow your head and say a prayer for the families who have been left behind.  Reflect.  Reflect on the gift these brave men and women have given to us....FREEDOM.  And don't forget what that FREEDOM is and what it cost.  Defend the FREEDOM. 

The Seal of Honor Facebook Page says it best:
The boots may be empty, but the hearts of those you left behind are full of fond memories. Rest in peace, valiant warriors, for none desires peace so much as one who has known the horrors of battle.
 
 
Click below to watch a very moving video: 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Finality of It...

It has been a little over a year since I received news that my best friend from high school and college had committed suicide.  I was there when his brother was married (wow was that a fun night). He was there for me through some really hard times.  We could go months without seeing each other and it be like only minutes had passed.  To this day, I can still say that I loved Matt.  I will always love him.  There are people who enter your life and no matter what, you can and will always love them.  Matt was/is one of those people...He was one of the "good guys"!

Yesterday, his older brother Marc sent me a picture of his grave stone.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Sitting at my desk at work I cried.  Cried because it makes it so final. 

I hadn't talked to Matt since one day early in 1995 when I called him from Japan to see how he was doing and tell him I would be home later in the year and he informed me that he had gotten married. I was shocked.  I didn't know.  It definitely was not what I expected to hear.  But as much as my heart broke, I was happy for him. He and his wife were expecting their first child later that year.  But I knew at that moment that my best friend was gone.  I had to back away.  I couldn't call him anymore.  Gone was my reason to leave the Navy. So I lost contact with him.  Over the years I thought of him often, thought of his family and wondered how they were all doing.  You see, where I come from, even if you aren't family, you are family.  We were a close community.  With the invention of Facebook, I looked for him every once in a while and asked our mutual friends about him but was never able to find him.  But I was afraid. I was afraid to reach out to this family that I loved so much.  There were times when I wanted to call his Mom and see how he was doing but I didn't want to interrupt his life.  We were close once. Closer than most friends.  We had a very special and unique relationship.

So news that he had ended his life hit me hard.  I wasn't able to get to his funeral service but I prayed for his family, his kids, his brother, his parents.  I still pray for them.  I pray that somehow they find peace that he wasn't able to find in this life.  I pray they know and remember that he DID love them.

When I saw the gravestone, it made his death final.  Like somehow this was just a bad dream and now it's actually true. I cannot imagine what those closest to him must have felt and still feel to this day. His brother. His parents. His kids.  His family.  His friends. I know they ALL miss him terribly.

Matt, you are still loved. You are sorely missed.  And I pray that you have found the peace that elluded you at the end of your time on this earth.  Please know I will never forget you, the band trips, the classes at Conner and NKU, the Ecology class when you had to take me home because I fell in the nasty pond and you were forced to meet my doberman(I told you she wouldn't hurt you).  I will never forget your smile, your laugh and your eyes.  I will always smile at the memory of the day you came through the door of Prime 'n Wine after Marc & Heather's wedding/before the reception in your tuxedo...my prince in a tux...you made me feel like a princess that day...and thinking back to that day, I can still smile at the memory. I was blessed to be a part of your life, even if for a short time. Thank you for giving me your friendship. I will cherish those times forever.

Rest in peace dear friend. Rest in Peace.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Be Still and Know

"Be still and know that I am God". Psalm 46:10

Those 8 simple words mean so much to me these days.  There are times when life can get so chaotic that I long for quieter, simpler times.  In those chaotic times I have to remember to be still...be still and know that my God is in control. HE see's all. HE knows all. HE is all. HE is the great I AM. 

HE IS:

Adonai-Jehovah -- The Lord our Sovereign
El-Elyon -- The Lord Most High
El-Olam -- The Everlasting God
El-Shaddai -- The God Who is Sufficient for the Needs of His People
Jehovah-Elohim -- The Eternal Creator
Jehovah-Jireh -- The Lord our Provider
Jehovah-Nissi -- The Lord our Banner
Jehovah-Ropheka -- The Lord our Healer
Jehovah-Shalom -- The Lord our Peace
Jehovah-Tsidkenu -- The Lord our Righteousness
Jehovah-Mekaddishkem -- The Lord our Sanctifier
Jehovah-Sabaoth -- The Lord of Hosts
Jehovah-Shammah -- The Lord is Present
Jehovah-Rohi -- The Lord our Shepherd
Jehovah-Hoseenu -- The Lord our Maker
Jehovah-Eloheenu -- The Lord our God
(http://www.characterbuildingforfamilies.com/names.html)
So when I worry, I don't trust.  When I fret, I don't believe. When I get upset, I don't rest.  He is my Provider, my Healer, my Peace, my Shepherd, my Maker, MY GOD!

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS MY GOD, HE HAS THIS ALL UNDER HIS CONTROL!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Still In "Recovery Mode", BUT....

I'm onto another challenge...or two.  The first is to start the 30 day Squat challenge.  I WAS going to start it on May 1 but after the 1/2 Marathon two days prior, I think not. So I am going to start it next Monday May 6. 

The other is a challenge my friend from high school Jessica shared on Facebook and it is to run a marathon this month, 26.2 miles.  Okay, so I won't be doing it all at once but over the next 28 days.  I KNOW I can do this one! 

I have to say that between "Fit Life with Jessica" and "Melody's Boot Camp"  (http://www.melodysbootcampfitness.com/) I SO wish I lived back in KY right now.  These two girls are MO-TI-VA-TING!!!  I'm so proud that I can call them friends and I SO wish I lived closer to them.  If you happen to be reading this and are in the Northern Kentucky area, give one of these two ladies a shout!  THEY are awesome. 

So I'll be "training" along the next month working on losing more of this weight, building my running base, strengthening my quads and glutes via squats and loving on my family while I serve the Lord.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:  YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO START...GET FIT NOW.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DIVA 1/2 MARATHON, North Myrtle Beach, April 28, 2013 Race Recap

First of all, let me say I DID NOT prepare properly for this race.  I didn't put in the mileage. I didn't really train much at all for it so going into the race, I KNEW I wasn't going to PR.  But I also knew I could finish it and that I could spend a few hours listening to my music and praying while running and walking.

So the night before the race, we (husband, son and I) went to the Expo, Broadway on the Beach and Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Luckily we got the LAST plates of pasta they had. (Lots of runners there I suppose).  Back at the hotel, I went down to get ice cream for hubs and LJ and water for me and ran into three girls who were running the race also.  They offered to take me to the race the next morning. I accepted (That way LJ and Hubs wouldn't have to get up so early).

I "went to bed" at a decent hour but well, lets just say I forgot my ear plugs.  So I didn't get much sleep.  Got up at 5am, showered (I know, strange to shower before a race but it wakes me up).  Ate my typical 1/2 bagel with Peanut Butter and a banana.  Got downstairs at 5:40.  I was supposed to meet the ladies at 5:45....

5:45 - no ladies

5:50 - no ladies

5:55 - no ladies...um, I'm going to have to wake up hubs.

6:00 - Brazenly asked a couple other ladies if I could ride with them to the race. And off we went. (NOTE: as we were walking out the door the other ladies showed up...doh).

6:15 - Parked at someone's house and walked to the starting line. Talked a little, went to the bathroom.  Did some more talking and stretching.

6:55 - Heard someone singing and then WAY too late in the song realized it was someone singing the National Anthem.  ACK! I HATE that I wasn't at attention with my hand over my heart but for the last 10 seconds of the song.  THAT burns me up that I didn't know.  What also bothers me is I was surrounded by people who were talking also who didn't realize they were playing the National Anthem.

7:00 - Race starts

7:04 - I cross the starting line.  Not feeling good about this race.  Mentally I am already defeated and this is just the beginning but hey, have to make it count so let's go!

Mile 1 - Okay, this isn't so bad.  I'm running at least and not my slowest but not my fastest either. But mentally I'm still complaining.

Mile 2 - Hum.  Isn't that the lady I was talking to by the porta potties?  Sure is...lets run with her a while.  Hi, I'm Jesse. 'Hi, I'm Katie".  Katie is from Hartsville SC and is training to run the Darlington FULL Marathon(she tried to talk me into doing it also).  We talked a bit so I started walking/running with her.  Three minutes run (at a good pace...close to 11min mile) and two walking.

Mile 3 - Still with Katie. Things aren't so bad right now. Love having someone to run with and talk to.  NEVER thought I would say that.

Mile 4 - Still hanging with Katie (I THINK her last name is Legg).  Things are okay. We are maintaining a 13:30 mile between walking and running.

Mile 5 - Still hanging with Katie although I'm getting tired.

Mile 6 - Okay, at mile six we are at 1hr 22 min...not bad!  WE are doing good.

Mile 7 - Split from Katie...started walking.

Mile 7.5 - Okay, I'm running again.  SLOW but I'm running. Just passed Katie. 

Mile 8 - Ouch that little hill hurt.  But hey, I'm at mile 8...this isn't too bad. Thank you Lord for getting me this far.

Mile 9 - Out on 17...I HATE this part of the race.  Katie just passed me.

Mile 10 - Okay, another hill in the neighborhood...that one hurts also. But Hey, I'm at mile 10!  Three to go! Lord, help me.  Help me to concentrate on the race and finishing. Oh wait, I love this song. SHACKLES by Mary Mary!!

Mile 11 - Oh I can do this...let's run again. I feel good, nah nah nah nah nah nah nah.

Mile 12 - Okay, maybe not...my legs are HURTING!

Mile 12.5 - Nice talking to the girl who is a trainer who had 9 girls running.  I'm beat though. Where is that finish line?  Almost time for Boa's and Tiara's.

Mile 13 - I SEE JON AND LJ!!! MY MEN!  Kisses to LJ and he and Daddy take off running with me!  I'm HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

Turn the corner, LOTS of spectators cheering, Husband and son running outside the fencing with me...I LOVE IT!

Mile 13.1 - I AM DONE.  3 Hours 17 Minutes 27 Seconds.  I know it's not my best but I am DONE!  Hey, there's those hot men who are giving out medals and THEY DO NOT HAVE SHIRTS ON!  One of them puts my medal around my neck...DAG that thing is heavy!  So I had to ask "Are you going to carry me from here out?"  The hot fireman laughed and said "Sure"....what a doll!

I went through the gates, got my water, my rose, a banana, an apple, some cookies and skipped the picture line (hey, I do not want a pic this year...no thanks).

Met back up with the two of the loves of my life...my hubs and my son.  Only thing missing was the daughter taking pictures. Wish she could have been there. 

Now, there were a lot of things that happened that day that I didn't know about.  LJ got separated from Daddy and both were hysterical.  Thankfully LJ found a lady who had run the race and asked her to help him find his daddy. He was crying.  The wonderful lady took him to the race officials followed pretty quickly by Daddy.  PRAISE GOD LJ WAS OK! 

Back to the hotel for a shower and then Jon took us to the Broadway on the Beach and had us walk the mile and a half loop around it. Yes, I was beat, Yes I was hurting but Yes, I needed to walk it out.  We left there, stopped at Wendy's for my double cheeseburger with catsup, drove two hours home and then at 8pm we made homemade caramel popcorn.

All in all it was a good day. I was mentally defeated at the beginning and more than once I wanted to quit but quickly was reprimanded by my own self for thinking that and I kept going.

RANDOM THOUGHT:  NEVER QUIT!  YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK!