Running Reminds Me…

What reminds you?

  • Running reminds me…
    • I am strong, but it’s ok to feel weak
    • sometimes I’m fast, but it’s ok to slow down
    • some runs are easy, but others will be hard
    • sometimes, when the heart pushes, mind and body respond, but sometimes it’s all heart, only heart that gets me to the finish
    • there will be times I feel like quitting, but I won’t
    • some days, putting one foot in front of the other is all I can do, but on those days, that’s enough
  • Running reminds me… What reminds you? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. If you have found it, keep doing it. Let it remind you, because when you are weak, and you need to slow down; when it’s hard, and you feel like quitting, you’ll remember. And in your heart you’ll find your strength and you’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other, and that’s enough.

Picking up Pennies

So here I am, here we all are, in the midst of a pandemic. These are unusual times. I feel it. As I go about my day, doing the mundane tasks of laundry and lunches, I feel it. It feels different, everything feels different. And it isn’t just that the kids are home when they would normally be in school, or that I grocery shop for 2 weeks rather than 2 days, or that we don’t leave the house for gatherings with friends, or that the wide world of sports has come to a screeching halt. Yes, all of these things feel different, but there is something more. There is an unsettling, an uneasiness, that seeps into my very soul. Sometimes I feel it more strongly than others, but it’s always lingering there. I think it is the uncertainty. There is just so much unknown. Like I said, these are unusual times. But, when I really look at the beast of uncertainty, I recognize it. Because even though it seems so large and ominous right now, it has been there all along. I have faced it before and I’m not the only one.

On any given day, of any given week, there are husbands that kiss wives good bye for the last time, there are mothers who send children off to school for the last time. We have faced it in unforeseen illness and accidents. So yes, I have faced uncertainty before, we all have, and it’s always there, so why does it feel so large, so strong, in these times? It seems to me that our current circumstances have pulled off the blanket of false security with which I am usually covered. You know the one, the perception of control. And now, in the midst of this pandemic, I recognize it. I recognize it fully. I see it completely, no blanket hiding it or hiding me. I am now completely exposed to the full force of uncertainty with numbers and news changing daily. I have no idea how many people will be infected and how fast. I have no idea what the consequences will be personally, locally or globally. Experts keep trying to predict, but there are too many moving parts, too many variables. The simple truth is that only time will tell and we just have to wait.

I am not very good at waiting. I am used to fast service and next day delivery, instant messaging and Netflix. This is the society in which we live. It’s fast and it’s convenient, but now I have to wait. I waited for the news of first cases in our country, then our state, then our community. I waited for closures, cancellations and new mandates. The waiting has just begun. I will keep waiting until we get the first signs that we have seen the peak and then the fall (I hope), but I just don’t know when that news will come. So as I find myself face to face with this beast of uncertainty, no longer shielded by my blanket of false security (you know the one, the perception of control), I am picking up pennies. I am not picking up pennies for any financial purpose or gain, but as a reminder. Inscribed on every penny, are four little words, “In God We Trust.” These are words I can cling to, because in these uncertain times (and all the times before), God is in control. So, in the midst of all this uncertainty, I’m picking up pennies.

A boy’s treasure…

I walk into work with head hung low, as sorrow and regret fill eyes and leak down cheeks.  It has been one of those mornings, the kind that leaves you wishing for a "do-over", the kind that leaves you questioning, the kind that no one prepares your mom heart for.  It's one of the hard days, and it feels long even though it's just begun.  I shove hands hard and deep into pockets, partly in defense against the cold and partly in defense against the raw exposure of heart ripped wide because that's the raw you don't want seen.  And that's when I feel them, two cold metal "coins"; a boy's treasure. 

One day, not too long ago, he placed this treasure he holds dear, in my hands for safe keeping.  He trusts these hands, even with his treasure.  For weeks, maybe months, the treasure remained in my care.  He may have forgotten, but I'll return them safe.  And when I do, I'll remind him that I've held them all this time, held his treasure. And I'll remind him just how much of a treasure he is to me, because  sometimes I speak harshly, and I don't want him to forget.  So all day long, I clasp coins in palm and I remember.  I remember that even when I think he should behave as if he's grown, he isn't, he is just a little boy.  He is just a little boy, His treasure, that He has placed in my hands for safe keeping.  

Empty Seats

As Holiday season is about to begin,
We know that we'll gather with family and friends.

As we gather around for Holiday feasts,
There are bound to be some empty seats.

For some, it's the first time a loved one's not near,
For others, the seats have been empty for years.

They say it gets easier with the passage of time,
But their journey through loss may be different than mine.

So know if a seat sits empty this year,
Your heart may feel joy while your eyes brim with tears.

I hope that seat at your table that's bare, 
will serve as a memory and gratitude chair.

Sit down with in it and pause for a prayer,
Thankful for the love that between you was shared.

Time is so fleeting and too soon it has passed,
But Holidays are for memories and memories last.

I wonder if you know how much I love you…

Sometimes, at the end of the day, I wonder if you know how much I love you...
I wonder because even though I spoke the words, I yelled too much, I was impatient and sometimes unkind.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, I wonder if you know how much I love you...
I wonder because even though I spoke the words, I wasn't fully present, I was distracted and I didn't really listen.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, I wonder if you know how much I love you...
I wonder because even though I spoke the words, I barely saw you, I worked late, you stayed in your room and I wasn't with you.

Sometimes, at the end of the day, I wonder if you know how much I love you...
I wonder because even though I spoke the words, I failed to 'thank you' for all you do, I took you for granted and was ungrateful.

So even when I'm impatient, even when I'm distracted, even when I'm not near, even when I'm ungrateful, at the end of the day, I'll sit by your side just a little longer, I'll hug you just a little tighter, I'll lean in close and whisper soft, because at the end of the day, I just want you to know how much I love you.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little

It isn’t the big kid voice, with a growing vocabulary and precise pronunciation. It’s the loss of the squeaky voice and mis-spoken words. It’s not realizing how much you’ll miss talking about “rucks” and “tars”. It’s not realizing how much you’ll miss requests for “hamburbers” and “spabhetti”. It’s not knowing the last time you hear it is the last time you’ll hear it.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens word by word and all at once.

It isn’t the growing in of molars and permanent teeth. It’s the loss of baby teeth and no more toothless grins, and it’s not knowing it’s the last time they’ll leave a tooth under their pillow until it’s the last time they leave a tooth under their pillow.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens tooth by tooth and all at once.

It isn’t the growing into new found interests in video games, dance and sports. It’s the loss of the innocence it takes to believe in a talking mouse and a monkey’s mischief, and how you don’t know it’s the last time they’ll ask for Curious George at night, until you realize they’ve stopped asking for Curious George at night.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens interest by interest and all at once.

It isn’t the fact that they can tie their own shoes or button their own coats, it’s the loss of the little toes and little fingers, and it’s not realizing that you are holding a chubby little toddler hand for that last time until you look down and realize that big kid hands have grown where toddler hands once were.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens by fingers and toes and all at once.

It isn’t the fact that they can reach the cups and pour their own milk, it’s that they no longer fit on your lap and it’s not realizing it’s the last time you’ll carry them to bed until you realize you can no longer carry them to bed.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens inch by inch and all at once.

It isn’t the growing that gets me, it’s the loss of the little. It’s how growing up happens day by day and all at once.

Why I linger here.



Some may wonder why I linger here.
Linger at the bus stop, until the taillights fade.
Linger at doors even after my children have passed through.
Although I know they probably won’t look back, they haven’t looked back for months or even years, I remember a time when little noses pressed hard against bus windows and little hands waved from 2nd story classrooms. I remember the times there were tears because they didn’t want to see me go, clinging to my leg and gripping my finger tight.
I know they probably won’t look back, but I linger just in case.
Just in case today is the day they feel a bit insecure,
Just in case today is the day they need that nod of encouragement,
Just in case today is the day they need an extra smile of reassurance,
Just in case today is the day they need to know that I am there.
So I linger, just in case today is the day they look back.

If today is the day they look back, I will be there. I will give them a nod of encouragement and a smile of reassurance.
And sometimes I linger, not for them, but for me.
I linger, because as I watch them, big and bold, I want to remember them little.
I want to remember little noses pressed to bus windows.
I want to remember little hands that once gripped my finger tight and waved from second story classrooms.
And sometimes, as I linger here and watch them go, I have to wipe away the tears, because as much as I love seeing them grow, it’s still hard on mommas letting go.

Sitting in this church, on this Sunday…

There are couples in love, 
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are singles feeling unloved,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are married people, here together,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are married people, here alone,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people who laughed on the drive,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people who cried on the drive,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people who feel connected,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people who feel isolated,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are parents of pastors,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are parents of prodigals,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people feeling strong in the faith,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people full of doubt,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people full of hope,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

There are people who have lost hope,
Sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

So remember, when you're sitting in this church, on this Sunday,
you never know who else is sitting in this church, on this Sunday.

I’m glad he didn’t make the team.

I’m glad he didn’t make the team.

My son tried out for a competitive 9u baseball team this summer. He had just completed the 8u season with the same team, but this time, he didn’t make the team. I went to every game and (almost) every practice, so trust me, I know his strengths and his weaknesses. Knowing his strengths and his weaknesses, as well as knowing there were over twice as many hopefuls as number of spots on the team, I also knew the odds were not in his favor. Needless to say, I was not surprised by the phone call that came on Monday morning from the coach, breaking the bad news – “He didn’t make the team.” Don’t get me wrong, my heart broke a little that day. I loved that team. Those boys, those coaches, those moms (and dads, but mostly the moms), had become dear to me over the course of the season. And when I told my boy the news, my heart broke wide open. He was crushed. He loved that team. Those boys and those coaches had become dear to him over the course of the season. And truth be told, my heart aches for him just a bit (well, maybe more than a bit), every time I hear him share this disappointment with others, but I’m glad he didn’t make the team. Why? Because if I am being honest (which I try to be, even when it’s hard), he wasn’t good enough.

In the aftermath of the disappointing news, I wiped his tears and hugged him hard. I told him that I was sorry he didn’t make it and that I knew how disappointed he was, but I didn’t tell him that he should have made the team or that it was unfair. Because if I am being honest, (which I try to be, even when it’s hard), it was fair. He wasn’t good enough. I know him, as a player, I know him. I play catch with him, I pitch to him, I coach him. I watch all of his games and (almost) all of this practices, and I watched the tryout. I know his strengths and I know his weaknesses.

In this culture of participation trophies and “everyone’s a winner” (all of which I believe in and support in youth sports), I’m glad he didn’t make the team. This won’t be the last time he isn’t chosen for a team, a job, an award. It is just the first time. At age 9, some might argue that it is too soon, or too young to “be cut” from a sports team, but I disagree. My son has fallen in love with baseball and not making the team has proven to be an opportunity. An opportunity to set goals that are attainable, but require hard work, dedication and a realistic assessment of progress. When he first got the news that day, he initially told me that he no longer wanted to play baseball, but like I said, he has fallen in love with baseball. So instead of quitting or giving up, he has continued to practice, working on every aspect of his game – hitting, fielding, throwing. And all that hard work – it’s making him better – a better baseball player. But the growth is beyond baseball – it’s in focus and confidence.

His goal is to make the 10u team next year. He might make it, he might not, but, make it or not, he will know that he worked hard, he didn’t quit, he didn’t give up. He knows that he has become a better baseball player because of that hard work. It’s an experience and a lesson I hope he will carry with him through life. Goals are worth working for and dreams are worth chasing. So, as much as I loved that team – those boys, those coaches, those moms (and dads, but mostly the moms) – I’m glad he didn’t make the team.