Believe it...speak it.

I hardly know how to start this blog post.  I sit here among the cobwebs on my blog and ideas in my head and wonder, 'just how is this going to turn out?'  And truthfully, 'what are people going to think about it?'  But the yearning to speak it overwhelms the concern about the outcome.  Last Wednesday night, we had the pleasure of hearing Casey Treat speak at COTM.  First of all, brilliant speaker and quite the testimonial, to boot.  As I try to recount the exact topic and the exact statements that he said, I cannot.  I emphatically remember his stage presence, his confidence in what he was saying, his BELIEF in all things...but I only remember, for sure, one statement - believe it and speak it.

There are only a few people (less than I can count on one hand) that know this story.  In part, because it's very special to me but also because the story is a kind of controversial one.  It has to do with faith healing.  Now, before you stop reading (please don't stop reading), let me explain something.  I was raised in church.  I went all the time.  But the topic of faith healing was never a positive one to me.  In all honesty, I thought it was hokey-poppycock (that means whatever you want it to mean).

While I was pregnant with Ben, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  This was not a surprise to me, as I had the same diagnoses with both Ethan and Quinn.  I knew it would mean insulin shots -  a minimum of 4 times a day.  During this time, Pastor George did a series on 'Christ the Healer'.  It was a series, culminating in....oh yes...a healing service.  My initial thought was, 'dangit...I like this church!'  But I decided, instead of throwing in the towel on a church I absolutely love, I'd listen with an open heart about what was said and, oh I don't know, maybe learn something.

So I went.  Every Saturday. I listened. I understood.  And I slowly came to a place where I started believing healings were possible.  To clarify, I always believed God healed people miraculously.  The part I had a problem with was a pastor standing on a stage, putting his hand on someone's forehead, knocking them over, and proclaiming them 'healed'.  But as I listened, I realized it's not all about being pushed over on a stage.  To me, it was about asking God to heal me.  It was about asking God to take something away that He could take away.  It was about getting over my hangup about asking God for...well, anything.  I always though I should just be grateful for what I have...not ask for MORE.  My feelings on that subject could be another post, indubitably (I really like saying that word...indubitably).

The time came.  It was the last message in the series and my concern over Pastor bringing people on stage and knocking them over was put to ease.  It was a very quite, peaceful prayer time.  The music was being played, the lights were low, I held Eric's hand as I often do in church as we sang soft worship songs to our Father. I felt God so strongly that night, inside me, around me, He was everywhere. I never opened my eyes. Tears streamed out as I prayed quietly. I whispered in my mind to my Dad. My prayers are quite disjointed, they would never 'do' for an 'out loud' prayer for people to hear.  This is the best I could do to recreate it, in type...

"God...Father...please..." <swaying to softly playing music> "Please take this...keep Ben safe...my God...Jesus..." <barely aware of anyone in the room...and it was a full house...1200?> "Deliver me...my Papa...make me healthy...I trust You...I need You..." <feeling Ben kick and move inside me> "With boldness I ask...take this away."

Now, I never said the actual words...take the gestational diabetes away from me, please...but I believe He knew what I was talking about.  How could He not??  I had to constantly remind myself that this was a done deal. I could not allow myself to question whether I would be healed.  I could not allow myself to question God.  The audacity!

I didn't tell anyone.  This was between my Papa and me.  I continued to test my blood sugar - I never planned on just hiding my head in the sand and possibly causing harm to Benny-boy.  But I can tell you this...I didn't have to take another insulin shot after that prayer.  I didn't need to.  My sugars were always between 90-100. Lil Ben was born early and weighed 6lbs 13 oz...no problems, at all.

I didn't have to take another insulin shot after that prayer.


For the rest of my life...whenever I begin to question my God (I'm human, it will happen), I only have to remember Benjamin.  I only have to remember that God took away a physical problem.  I only have to remember that He did that...instantly.  I only have to remember that I believed He would do it...I trusted Him and He took care of me, as any parent would try to do.  Except He is the best parent...He will not waiver, He will not fail, He will not disappoint.


#53. Figure out how to have multiple photo albums on iPhone

HA! It's all about iTunes, baby!  Apparently, you just have to tell iTunes what folders you want to sync and voila!  Not hard to do, but I had been putting it off. :)


#84. Create a running playlist

Another one done.  I used an app called Cadence that told me the running cadence of my iTunes account.  That led me to be able to create a playlist that would help keep me in my goal pace.  And I must say, worked pretty darn well. ;)

#33. No soda during training

Another blog post.  Apparently, a lot of my 'list' was tied to my half marathon. HA!  I was able to not have a single sip of pop during the entire 16 weeks of training.  That includes no Cherry Lime Aides. ARGH!  When I told Devin that I had not had any pop, he said, 'Oh, I would DIE!'

And you bet I had the yummiest root beer float E.V.E.R. after my race!

#31. Eat breakfast every day while training

Nothing exciting to post except to say I really did eat 'something' every day of training.  No, it was not necessarily actual breakfast food.  But, it was always food and it was always before noon.  Yes, my guidelines were quite lax, but I know myself...and eating cereal or eggs or oatmeal or pancakes at 7 in the morning would likely result in my barfing at 7:15. ;)

#5. Run a Half Marathon >> 13.1 miles

Well...I finally did it.  My goal race came and went and I've been putting off writing this blog entry ever since.  See, running is as much psychological as it is physical.  For 16 weeks, I've been talking myself into and out of being able to run this distance.  For 16 weeks, I've been talking myself into and out of just how quickly I could finish this distance. For 16 weeks, I've been talking myself into and out of whether or not I was a real 'runner'. All the while, hoping praying I would be on the more positive upswing of my thoughts the day of the race. I knew that I was trained.  Heck, I was H4C ready (my training group's name).  But, how would I fare?  Am I too fat to run a half marathon?  Am I dumb for even trying this...8 months after having Ben, still breastfeeding, carrying my extra weight?  Boy oh boy, a person's mind can talk them out of just about anything.

I secretly checked Eric's first half marathon finish time...hey, I am competitive.  My heart sank as I realized I could NOT beat tie come close to his finish time.  I resolved to myself that I wouldn't do as well as Eric had done and tried to take an honest look at myself and my ability.  I'm still carrying extra weight, I've done the bare minimum of training (no core training, except carrying a sweet boy up/down the stairs multiple times a day), every 'long run' is a new distance record for me...so, I believed I would finish somewhere around 2 hours and 45 minutes (that's a 12 minute 35 second average pace).  I would be BEYOND amazed if I were able to finish around 2:30 (that's an 11:27 average pace).  I would be disgusted and consider the race a failure if I finished in 3 hours (13:44 average pace).

I realized, though my training, that I am utterly in love with running in the winter.  My body loves cool/cold weather running.  I run faster, feel more energized, have an all around better time when the temps are cold.  The weather can make or break a race.  This day, I was expecting 50s weather.  The forecast called for slight chances of rain, but not until 9 o'clock.  Geez, with any luck, I'd be done running when it started.  That knowledge led me to choose a tech short sleeve shirt and capri running pants.

Well, turns out...God had a different plan.  One that would test my mental strength more than I knew.  The wind chill was 36 and it was raining/hailing/lightening/thundering.  So much so, that the race was delayed 30 minutes.  25,000 people (yes twenty five THOUSAND) huddled anywhere possible to stay warm/dry.

Finally, the race started and a few of my training friends and I managed to cross the STARTING line 10 minutes after the gun sounded.  The wind was howling (25 mph), everyone was excited, cold, ready!  We were running our goal race.  The last 16 weeks were all about the here and now.  I felt great.  I was not winded. I was not tired.  I was not hungry.  I didn't have to use the bathroom.  I was cold, but warming up.  Our pace was at 11:30 and it felt good.  Somewhere around mile 7 or 8, my knee started feeling like it needed to pop.  It never did pop, but it did give out on my a few times.  I questioned whether I would be able to finish the race.  I decided I would run medic tent to medic tent...pushing myself as far as I could go.  After all, this was the TEST...this was the reason for all of the early mornings, the missed suppers, the ice baths!  I was finishing this race!

At the halfway mark, I realized that if I could keep my pace, I'd finish before 2:30.  Boy, that sent a renewed energy that I could not have bought.  I finished the OKC Half Marathon in 2:28:42 (and yes, those 42 seconds are very important).  I did it.  The girl that had her 3rd baby 8 months prior, the girl that was still breastfeeding that lil guy, the girl that had never run more than 3 miles prior to training had finished her goal race with a time that she thought was not possible.

For me, the hardest part was feeling my toes turn to raisins.  We've never run in rain/puddles before.  There was no way on Earth anyone's feet were staying dry.  Hearing the 'squish squish' every step and feeling them get wrinkly was the hardest, most annoying part of the whole race.

After the race, my knee was on fire and I seriously wondered if I could even walk. I got a quick massage and found Eric and Devin in the crowd, went to the hotel, and savored my ice bath.  I'll find out soon what I did to my knee, if anything...whatever it is, it won't keep me from competing like this again.  I am a runner.  I may not look like it, but there's no denying it.  I'm taking this season off (more likely, just not running as much) so that my sweet Eric can train.  He'll be running the Route 66 Half in November and I can't wait to cheer him on!  I cannot wait for the day we can run our first half together...when Ben can handle the training better.  I miss running.  I miss my friends.  I miss the gear.  I miss pushing myself.  I miss the dedication.  I miss the run.


For Love of Java

Java.  Joe.  Mud.  Liquid Energy.  Starbucks.  Cafe.  Double Shot.  Latte.  Espresso.  Brew.  Jamocha.  Mojo. Morning Thunder.  Wakey Juice.  My Reason for Getting Up in the Morning.  Whatever you call it, coffee could very well invoke those tender, warm, fuzzy feelings that one normally only gets when they see their stud-of-a-man enter the room.  Yet others, when they smell the intoxicating aroma of brewing glory, only mildly have to contain their gag reflex to keep their reputation intact.  Still others sit on the proverbial fence when the topic of go-juice comes up.

Personally, I was in the camp of those that felt the aroma of coffee was super yummy, but the taste was mildly...okay overtly...disappointing.  And then I met Eric. Yeah, yeah...I know, get ready for an 'overly exaggerated description of a man that can't possibly be true' blog post.  BUT...the man can make some wicked, good coffee.  He has a technique that translates to -- Melissa doesn't attempt to really make coffee because it simply pales in comparison.

It's more than good taste, which it certainly has...I can't help but get those tender, warm, fuzzy feelings knowing that he's left me coffee in the morning.  Or when I'm pretending to be awake because the kids don't realize sleeping in is a GIFT FROM GOD, HIMSELF - and he whips up some of the yummy goodness and delivers it to me with a smile.  Or when he knows I am playing chauffeur to the kids in the morning because he's working from home, so he gets the travel mug ready so I can take it with me.

Every time I smell the coffee seeping through the filter, it reminds me of Eric.  It reminds me of how he takes care of me.  It reminds me of how lucky we all are that he devotes himself to us.  It reminds me of my Eric and that, alone, makes it the best drink I've ever had.


#4 Run 9 miles

Today was the day.  Our first 9-miler of the training season and we sincerely ROCKED IT!  We chatted, sang songs, laughed, told stories...had a blast.  The wind was ridiculous and it was cold, but I can't help but think it was actually a great time.

My latest treasure is my pink hydration belt.  I may look funny, but it makes my heart sing to drink something whenever I want. ;)

Next weekend is 10 miles.  After that, just another 5K on top of the miles and I'm running a half marathon!  And that's good because my race is May 1st!


A Lot Can Happen in a Year

Depending on the day I'm asked...life either moves really quickly or moves really slowly.  B is already near 6 months old.  I still haven't painted our bedroom.  Q starts kindergarten this year.  E hasn't been in school since January.

Then, there are those things that appear to move quickly and slowly.  Case in point, my marriage to Eric.  Today marks one year we have been man and wife.  It seems like yesterday we were on our first weekend away together.  We've been married a year???

Simply put...Eric is the man I didn't believe existed.  He is the husband I didn't know I could dream for.  He is the friend that I always wanted.  He is my Eric.

Blending families is not easy.  Gratefully, no one ever promised me it would be simple...or fun.  Truthfully, it has been simple and fun.  Our kids are great people.  I truly believe they will all grow into adults I would be honored to know.

Our first year together has been a blessing that I couldn't have dreamed would ever be a part of life.  I am thrilled to see what the following years have in store for us...livin' the dream.


And he said, wait, what did he say?

E's brain functions at a level which sometimes confuses me, sometimes surprises me, and sometimes just plain baffles me.  Tonight, we shared a quiet time together that we normally do not get to enjoy.  The following conversation occurred:

E: Mom, if someone were to want to put a bullet into Ben, would you lay yourself over him?

Totally shocked at this out of the blue question...

Me: Um, I would do whatever I needed to do to make sure my children were not hurt.
E: So, you'd take credit and lay over him for the bullet?
Me: Credit......um, I would try very hard to protect him and each of you.  So I would rather die than you guys have to die.
E: Nodding, yeah...that makes sense.  'Cause Ben is a baby and if he died, he would never know what school was like or eating real food.
Me: (trying to regain some composure) So...where did this come from?
E: No where.  Just curious.
Me: No, curious is 'Mom, what was your favorite subject in school.' not 'Mom, would you take a bullet for your kids.'
E: (smirking) Yeah, did you know that there are some people that think it's more important for other people to live?
Me: (blank stare) What are you talking about?
E: Did you know...(speaking slowly so the apparent imbecile can understand) that there are people that think it's more important for mayors to live?
Me: Mayors?
E: Yes...(slowly again) mayors.  You know what mayors are, right?  So them or people like Barack Obama...you know him, right? (again, double checking for the imbecile)  It's more important for Barack to live than for them to live?
Me: (trying to get over the fact that my son is on a first name basis with the President) Do you mean the Secret Service?
E: YES! They said they would lay over people like Barack if someone else were trying to give them a bullet.
Me: Yes, hon, because that's their JOB.  It's their job to protect people like the President, the First Lady, his kids...make sense?
E: Yeah.

At this point, I'm trying to recover from the conversation when he pulls this doozy:

E: Ya know, I would totally take the credit if someone tried to give Quinn a fast bullet.
Me: Um, no no.  Not the 'credit'.  You would 'take the bullet'.  You never 'take the credit' for giving someone a fast bullet, ok?
E: Oh, ok.
Me: Better yet, how about you never try to give anyone a fast bullet, ok?
E: That's just silly mom, I want to KEEP people from getting bullets.

Being a parent is soooooo awesome.


#3 Run 6 miles

January 29th.  This was the first time I've run 6 miles this year.  I've done it a few times before I started this list, but this is the first 'list' run.  Course, this was the first time I'd run 6 miles of HILLS before.  The first mile was pretty difficult, I wished I was still in bed, wished I was eating Eric's waffles, wished I was soaking in a hot bath, wished I was almost anywhere but where I was....outside in the early morning cold, running a buttload of hills.  But nonetheless, this is where I found myself.

I've become addicted to running.  I always offer up the idea to Eric that I won't go on my runs.  Thankfully, Eric always pushes me out the door, 100% supporting my decision to train for the OKC half in a few months.  I always feel guilty for leaving the house - the kids are being restless, Ben is teething, dinner isn't ready, laundry needs changed, etc.  But the bottom line is that my race ('my race'...that still gives me chills) is 3 months away.  If I cheat on runs, I will not be ready.  It's as easy at that.

I count down the days until my next run.  I absolutely think my running group is the best out there.  Our coach keeps things light and fun while she's teaching us and sharing her experience.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  And when we're running...I concentrate on my form, making certain to hinge my arms and keep my step light and talk with new friends.  And you know what?  My mind clears and it's the one time I can consistently be my own person.  I love my family...adore them all.  But a woman needs to be herself, too.  And this is where I am most myself.  No clients, no demands, no deadlines, no expectations.  I will see my beautiful family when I return home.  But, at that moment, there is only me, my gear, and the road.  And I love it.


#81 Buy myself Super Mario Brothers for Ethan's DS

Well...there ya have it.  The self-proclaimed, non-video-game-player has Super Mario Bros.  Granted, I didn't go to a store and purchase it myself, it is in our home and it's mine to play.

This made me think back to why I don't really enjoy video games.  I mean, really, I had to be talked into playing Guitar Hero and that's a really, really fun game!  Maybe I think they're juvenile, maybe I've just had too many experiences with video games taking over other responsibilities in adults...whatever it is, I don't enjoy them.  I rarely keep game apps on my iPhone for very long, either.

But when I was thinking about what kind of games to get Ethan when he 'earned' a new one, my thoughts went back to growing up and my friend Amanda had a Nintendo 64 and we played Mario Bros.  Correction, she played, I watched (because I lost too quickly).  It seemed fun.  So I'm going to attempt to release the inner beast and play the game.  Who knows, Ethan or Zoe or Devin could inherit the game, but I'm going to give a good attempt before writing it off.

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