Random Thoughts

I used to listen to Matchbox 20 on Mix 106 out of Tavares, FL before they were picked up by a label.

I don’t really have any memories before age 5…and very few specific memories between 5 and 15.

I only find myself singing when I am really, truly happy.

I’m working on self-confidence.

I liked alternative music when it was still called progressive.

I have several children.

I love to paint but rarely do it.

I love to bake and do that more often than I should.

I like the rain when the air is warm.

I hate wearing shoes but love my heels, platforms, and wedges.

I adore my husband.

I LOVE sunshine.

I would sleep in some days if my family life would permit it.

I like to exercise.

I thrive on progress.

I love to study, write, and discuss myriad topics.

I believe in God as a loving, caring, forgiving Being who is in the details of our lives.

I’m learning to like myself.

I’m trying to be happy where I am.

I have lots of love for others.

I like to help people.

I believe that I can see my family forever, even after death, in another more peaceful existence.

🙂

Thank…Whom?

A while ago, I was speaking to a woman of great influence in my life.  During the brief conversation, she asked me if I would be willing to write a letter of gratitude.

Sure, I thought.  How hard could that be?  I am blessed by many people who perform kind and generous acts toward my family and toward me personally.  I could just pick one individual and write the letter.  Actually, the most difficult part might be to find some stationary…(and don’t get me started on the lost art of writing letters…that post will have to wait for another day).

Then, she finished her thought (yes, I do sometimes interrupt conversation with my own thoughts) by saying, “to yourself.”

UGH.

A letter of gratitude…to myself?  Really?  What could I possibly thank myself for doing?  Keeping my cool when my kiddo punched me unintentionally the other day?  Cooking dinner?  Nah.  That’s just stuff that goes along with life, right?

Well, I let the thought sit in my brain for a while (haunt my brain, infect my mind, are you getting the picture?).  I didn’t know what I would write–and I had no stationary to speak of, anyway–but while I was writing in my journal a few days later, I decided that maybe I could do some “pre-writing” exercises for this letter…like, I could probably manage a few things I was thankful to myself for…maybe in bulleted form.  Sure.  I could start there.  At first, the bullets came slowly…but as I continued to think of positive aspects of my personality, talents I have worked to develop, and acts of kindness I perform, my list began to flow.

🙂

Along with a few other changes I’ve been making in my life related to positivity, exercise, outlook, and cultivating hope, I will say that writing a “letter” (list) of thanks to myself has allowed me a shift in perspective.  I am excited for the opportunity to look with gratitude toward the activities I accomplish and the work I am doing…and to recognize these aspects of my existence with thanks.

So, will you write a letter of gratitude to yourself? Will the task be an easy or challenging one for you? As I’m writing this, I’m wondering if I might extend this invitation to my family and see how they react to the assignment.

And, because you may find yourself in need of some musical inspiration, here’s Natalie Merchant with a couple of amazing songs this fine Friday! (Two versions of her “Kind and Generous” and one “These Are Days” with 10,000 Maniacs–enjoy!) 🙂

Hit the Pavement!

So…last week I took a break from the wide world of exercise.  Prior to that week, I was getting in about 3 workouts/week (to help maintain muscle tone, lower stress levels, and keep up with the massive amounts of carbs I’ve been eating…and to claim all the happy heart benefits of exercising….).  Anyway, by Saturday, my stress level was…shall we say HIGH…and I was missing the fresh air and pavement under my feet.  So, I decided that I was–come what may–going to run.

I found my workout gear, running jacket, iPod headphones, and shoes.  I laced up both shoes, then sat for a moment to add some recently acquired music to my “a good run” playlist.  As I did, I felt something poking the inside of my right ankle.  I unlaced my shoes (have I mentioned that I abhor tying shoes and avoid this action whenever possible?) to investigate.  I pushed around my sock and flicked at the spot in my shoe until I was satisfied that the sharp object digging into my skin had exited.

I started a load of (long overdue) laundry.

I stretched.

I added a few more songs.

I took a sip of water.

Then, I popped the ear buds into my ears and searched for a song that would pump up my energy level and inspire me to keep moving muscles in a way I hadn’t done for…well, let’s just say it’s been awhile…. 🙂

Rob Bass started chanting in my ear (thank heavens my dear friend edited the song for me so I could listen to it in peace), and my feet were keeping up with the rhythm, pounding with the force of weekly frustrations and newfound strength.  I didn’t even care about keeping pace or running far; I just needed the boost of pavement beneath my feet and the spirit of the earth flowing around me.  I felt renewed, refreshed, and amazing.  The wind hit my face like a wall, but I kept moving.  A few more songs, and I was back home to lift, do push ups and abs.

The next morning, I got out of bed with shin splints.  Oops!  I guess I forgot to stretch those muscles!  Still, with every step I took, I was reminded of the rush of energy of my run and of the work I am doing to live healthy and to be strong.  The shin splints were practically a gift…and I was grateful for them.  🙂

What do you do to combat stress and to increase your personal health and strength?

P.S.  Did you know that Brooks (awesome running shoes) has a Wear Tester Program for their products?  You can fill out a profile, and you become eligible to try out their new gear for FREE…pretty sweet, eh?  🙂

Adrenaline GTS 13

I’ll Tell You What I Want…

The red lines on the clock form themselves into numbers I can read.  7:58 a.m.  The kiddos are off to school, husband at work, and I walk to the computer, move the mouse to the Spotify icon at the bottom left corner of the screen.  I have to think about which side it is since I still don’t know my left from right without thinking consciously about it.

I scroll through playlists, and a title on my daughter’s list catches my eye.

Less than a minute later, I feel the cold tile under my bare toes scraping back and forth as I do jumping jacks.  And I’m singing along….

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.

My arms are burning (from yesterday’s arm workout) each time my hands sweep over my head and I want to cry.  Instead I yell….

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

I continue to the chorus as my body yells for me to stop, but I keep jumping and counting and singing and up and down and counting and yelling.

What in heaven’s name is a “zig-a-zig-a” anyway?  I don’t care.  I just keep moving.  Down to the floor for push ups.  I yell the mocking words that are echoing in my brain that someone recently said to me, “Before trying more advanced moves, maybe you should learn to do a regular push up first.”

I laugh to myself, and my shoulders buckle underneath me, screaming inside my skin.  I can almost hear them.  The weights I take in my hand pull me lower, lower, harder, stronger, but I lift them anyway; I raise them higher and longer and more than I ever have.

I drop to the floor, put my hands down to support me, and walk my feet up the wall for a handstand.  Tighten abs, I tell myself as I try to hang on for one more second.

A new voice half-sings, half-raps over the speakers about fish in the sea, and I am back on the tile with more jumping jacks.  Sting.  Ow.  Keep going.  A few more minutes.  You can do this.  (The endorphins must be kicking in somehow….)

Drop for another set of push ups.  More jumping jacks.  Squats.  Punches.  Punches with squats.  And I’m yelling with Hot Chelle Rae about a “really, really messed up week.”  I can relate to that line.  And I’m punching harder, and my shoulders are still on fire as my legs threaten to crumble underneath me, landing me in a pile of ruin like the photos of Pompeii I saw in grade school.

Maybe I should give my body a break….

Nope, to the rug for abs.  Crunch, one-two-three-four-five, (suck it in), seven-eight-nine, (watch your neck), ten-eleven, (dang, I forgot to pray for Dad this morning).  I holler an audible prayer through labored inhales and exhales in time with the crunches and lose count.  Bicycling until my abs are screaming.  I hope I can move tomorrow…or even later today.

One more shoulder move…one more song.

I know how I “Wannabe.”

I Work Out…& Wear Hats?

Or, more appropriately, “The Many Hats I Wear While I Try to Work Out….” 🙂

I only say that because exercise has become a challenge lately, due mostly to my other responsibilities.  In fact, Monday night, we postponed dinner so I could put in twenty minutes with Jillian Michaels (“30 Day Shred”)…but then dinner and reading and family time ran late…and so did bedtime.  😦  Then, yesterday, I tried to have my ducks in a row (as in dinner was in the crock pot before lunchtime)–& then just roll through the evening–you know–dinner, homework, debate–but I just had to go run (right after dinner is great timing, isn’t it?).  I didn’t get out for too long, but at least it was something.  Still, I digress….

And, I don’t actually wear hats.  I do like them, and I have had occasion to try them (especially in high school and college, when I was a bit more daring with my style).  Somehow, though, I still feel like I am one of those people who can’t “pull off” certain looks (hats being among them).  I can wear them, and I think I look fine when I look in the mirror…but I feel kinda silly (okay, more like ridiculous) wearing them–like it’s a show and not really me.  Come to think of it, the times I wore hats in college were on days when I was too busy to shampoo my hair and the grease factor was so out of control that I felt I had to cover my hair and so would grab a baseball cap or whatever (before I discovered the joys of baby powder to help decrease that oh-so-greasy shine). 🙂

Anyway, I was thinking of all the figurative hats I wear…& the longer I live, the more hats I think I acquire.  Here are a few (I’m talking a little artistic license with these titles):  Woman, Daughter, Mother, Sister, Friend, Wife, Homemaker, Writer, Lover, Singer, Pianist, Artist, Painter, Dancer, Chef, Baker, House Manager, Vacuumer, Cleaner, Cook, Laundress, Nurse, Janitor, Replace-the-toilet-paper-on-the-toilet-paper-holder Girl, (what have I forgotten? Oh, yes…) Shower Scrubber, Floor Scrubber, Personal Trainer, Sweeper, Mopper, Dishwasher Filler (and Emptier), Buying Consultant, Fashion Consultant, Stocker, Inventory Specialist, Blogger, Runner, Exercising Woman, Facebooker, Tweeter (new to that one), Journaler, Reader, Poet, Homework Helper, Tutor, Librarian, Personal Assistant, Appointment Coordinator…just to name a few.

Do you share any of those hats with me?

(By the way, making that list helped me feel a bit more useful…and more productive than normal.)  🙂  Will you make your list?  I bet you have some fun hats you wear!!!! (BTW, I own none of these pictures.)

Happy Hat Wearing! (and don’t forget to work out today!!!!)