Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Moment Of Silence

"A moment of silence is the expression for a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection, or meditation."

Today we, as a country, are observing 6 moments of silence. One Moment of prayer, reflection and contemplation for each of the following moments that seemed to last a lifetime 12 short years ago:

At 8:45 a.m. The first plane crashed into the North World Trade Center Tower. 
At 9:03 a.m. The second plane crashed into the South World Trade Center Tower.
At 9:37 a.m. Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. 
At 9:59 a.m. The South Tower fell.
At 10:03 a.m. Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania
At 10:28 a.m. The North Tower 29 fell.
As each of these moments passed on that September morning our hearts broke a little more, our fears flared up in our chests and our worlds were forever changed. 
I woke up groggily Sept. 11, 2001 to a phone that seemed to be ringing incessantly. I had stayed up late the night before watching Thirteen Days and all I wanted to do is sleep. After a couple more rings, I finally gave in to the ringing and answered the phone. It is my roommates' older sister, who had been helping us try to resolve an issue with our phone number. There is nothing worse than getting a former Papa Johns' phone number as your new home number. If we had been willing to make and deliver pizza we could have made a small fortune. I quickly, with hopes of crawling back in bed, told her, 'We have resolved the issue and all is well with the phone.' When she calmly but firmly responded, 'Emily I don't give a damn about your phone turn on the TV and where is my sister?' This woke me up, her tone scared me. I tell her K
has left for class and I turn on the TV, just in time to see those iconic towers bleeding black smoke, raging flames and helpless souls. Terror washed over me, I have no clue what to do. I call my fiancee, "Where are you?" "Have you Heard?" Then the second wave of fear hits me like a truck. My parents and brother are staying at the Westin in downtown Atlanta, one of the tallest buildings in Atlanta.  I call, call again and again again and nothing. The phones are not working. I can't get through to the hotel or to their cell phones. I walk outside to get some air because the TV and sounds of the news have filled the empty apartment with tension so thick I can't breathe. I walk out the door and the first thing I notice, through the tears of frustration and fear, is the beautiful sky. The sky was as blue and clear as any day I had ever seen.  At that moment, I was in awe and complete fear of those blue skies. I walk back in just in time to watch the first tower collapse. In that moment I was screaming at the TV because the News Anchor was noting that something was happening but he wasn't willing to say it. I screamed, "IT IS FALLING YOU IDIOT, it is falling, Oh God, all of those people!" In that moment I couldn't fathom why he didn't say, 'the South Tower is falling.' In this moment, I have the clarity to realize, he didn't want to say anything which he wasn't absolutely sure of, especially something as horrifying as watching a Tower full of people collapse. He wanted to be certain but I think he also
wanted to believe this moment is not occurring. Then we watched in unbelief as the moment that brought us to our knees happened again. 
The rest of the afternoon was a blur. A blur of trying to figure out Where to be, Do I go to class? No one is there. What to do, Do I donate blood? Everyone is in a line, quietly sobbing. What do I think, Dear God Why? "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
My parents finally called, they were safe and on their way home. My friends and I gathered around the TV, in silence until we could watch no more. We left the television but the silence remained, while we ate and tried to process the horrors. 
What is a Moment of Silence? This morning 12 years later it is a series of short breaks in the noise that has returned to our lives. 12 years ago A Moment was a lifetime. Silence was the loss of innocence, the breaking of hearts and awakening of a generation. 
i. will. never. forget.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


35. WOW 35 years old. I will be 35 years old in 5 days. Oh dear... I am not sure how I feel about this birthday. Let me start with I am not going to shed a tear over turning 35. I am alive, I have an amazing husband who loves me and makes me laugh everyday, two wonderful boys who are thriving, and friends who surround me with love and support. I am in a good place, I have NO DOUBT.
Having said that... 35... sigh...
Maybe 35 is hitting me a little harder than all the previous 30-something birthdays because I am currently recovering from a broken hip, an injury that is typically reserved for people twice my age. Maybe it is hanging heavy over my heart because I am feeling an overwhelming desire to do things differently. MAYBE it is just the normal mid-decade, HOLY CRAP, I am now in my mid/upper 30's reaction. 
I am guessing it is a little bit of all of the above. 
My first 5k, 2011.
Let's start with the hip, my stupid, stupid hip.  For the last two years I have slowly and methodically became a runner. In this process I have also became very passionate about fighting through the 'I can't's',  'It hurts', & 'you aren't fast enough's' to improve myself. Running has been a love/hate relationship unlike anything I have ever experienced.  I love how it makes me fight against myself, to prove to myself, I am stronger than I could ever imagine. I hate how weak I feel in the process. I hate how I became so obsessed with going longer and faster, I stopped listening to my body. May 4th was my last 10k, actually it was my last run period. The week leading up to the race I knew something wasn't right...after the race I knew something was wrong. Three weeks and a lot of pain later I am sitting in front of the Orthopedic. Doctor listening to him explain that I am a mature athlete, I am not Kenyan and I should have listened to my body. Jump, or hobble in my case, three weeks and many medical tests forward it is determined that I have a compression fracture of my femoral neck. I ran myself straight into a broken hip. The words mature athlete ringing in my 34 3/4 year old ears, I am told my running, my passion, is done for the foreseeable future... This did draw many, many tears and much frustration. I am NOT THAT OLD WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME!!!! Which brings me to my next point, my desire to do things differently.
My last 10k/Race..
Why did this happen to me? Well, because I can be stubborn and stupid. I knew something wasn't right, I knew I was pushing too hard and I didn't stop. I made the conscience decision to continue on a path that lead me to this, it didn't happen to me, I caused it. 
So, doing things differently, what do I mean by that?
I want to use my past experiences to do things better in the future. I have learned SOOO much in my 34.99 years, why don't I use this knowledge to make my life easier?  My body tells me when to stop, my heart tells me when to go and mind is constantly aware of decisions that will make my life easier. My goal with 35 is to pay attention, and act accordingly. 
As for the the-mid decade, HOLY CRAP, I am now in my mid/upper 30's reaction, I guess I am just going to have to work through this reaction over the next 5 days. My heart is telling me that I am on the right path, my mind, although swirling with ideas for improvement is still learning and my body is healing.
I could not ask for more.
“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” 

― Sophia Loren

My twenties...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Run for your life.


When do we run?

What causes us to increase our gait from a leisurely stroll to a breathtaking pace?

When you are 8 and you have to go to the basement to get something. I remember slinking slowly down the stairs so the devil waiting for me would not immediately notice my presence. Then after retrieving whatever was required, I would bolt up the stairs, three and four steps at a time, because the monster was now keenly aware of my presence and was racing after me as fast as its ten legs could carry it.

Sitting on the plane dealing with the normal insanity of exiting the plane. You know the people that have decided just because we are safely on the ground means nothing. They must get their bags and get off it immediately to avoid the plane crashing into the luggage truck. I calmly wait for them to flee. I retrieve my items and walk the gangway to find my family and head home. I cross the threshold then the joy of seeing my boys, all three of them, overwhelms me and I can't get to them fast enough. I run to them and hold them as if they may disappear.

We get in the car and drive 20 hours, actually 20 minutes, to the lake. The boys asking are we there yet, are we there yet, ARE WE THERE YET??? We turn down the short gravel road and they yell STOP!! We stop the car, they jump out and run down the drive, into the house, out the back door, fishing gear in hand and to the dock they race.

Emotions carry us sometimes. They can cause our hearts to race and our feet to move as if they are directly connected to the pace of our hearts. What if there is no driving emotion? What makes people want to step out of the house and just run? Nothing chasing, nothing driving, no obvious reward?

I now know.

Roots and Wings 2011
I started running about 3 years ago. It started as a means to a smaller end, rear-end to be exact. I didn't really like it but it seemed to be the best and cheapest way to accomplish the goal of shedding the baby weight. So I ran. In the beginning a mile felt like 10 and appeared impossible. Then the first mile became the hurdle, the second mile I found my pace and three seemed like a stretch but what the heck.
In July 2011 I ran my first 5k race, 3.1 miles, and the .1 was the hardest part of the race. I crossed the finish line and my first thought was NOT I did it or That was awesome. Nothing even remotely that inspirational. My first thought was, 'Oh God, when I puke on the finish line it is going to be really embarrassing.' Then the realization, 'I did it... I Did it and I DID IT IN A RESPECTABLE AMOUNT OF TIME!! I still may vomit....'
Now two years later I have completed my first 10k running at roughly a 10 minute mile, not setting any records or winning any races, but WOW 6.2 miles. What makes you run when emotion isn't pushing you? Emotion that is pulling you. I know, it sounds weird but this time the emotion is almost the reward rather than the catalyst. It hurts, you have to push yourself constantly and NO ONE will say wow you only ran 4 miles... I am really disappointed that you didn't finish the race. The only person that will be disappointed is me. Just like I am the only one who knows how amazing it feels to fight through the desire to quit,  push myself through the pain and cross that finish line. I did it, I FREAKING DID IT!!

CRBR 2013
Running is a metaphor for life. It isn't easy and sometimes we want to quit, but to run through the pain, the thoughts of I can't do it, I don't want to do it or I have gone further than most and cross the finish line strong is an indescribable feeling that most people will never understand. Marriage, parenting and friendships are the races that we run in this life and the more you put in the more you get out of them. We can't sit on the couch for months and then run a marathon just like we can't stand on the sidelines of our relationships and hope they finish strong. We have to train, fight through the struggles, and get past our own thoughts of, 'I can't do it' or 'I don't want to do it' and we will cross the finish line of life and be able to say, "I DID IT! I didn't give up and WOW what an amazing run!"

What makes me run? The finish line.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach..."
-Cool Hand Luke 
I live with three men... 
So we, at times, have a failure to communicate. There are attempts at communication, we grunt, we vocalize each and every thought with sarcastic excellence, we look at each other with eyes so wide that eyeballs could hit the floor.  Yet, still a failure to communicate. 
How do I improve my family's ability to communicate WITHOUT yelling so loud I am communicating with the neighbors?  
I think I will start with an equation I often quote to my children..."God gave you two ears and one mouth, so you need to listen twice as much as you talk."  I am not very good at walking the walk on this one. Those who know me, know I am a bit of a controller.  I prefer controller, over control just sounds better. So the idea of letting one of my guys, particularly the smaller ones, take the time to finish a thought before I address the issue and move on just seems like an inefficient use of precious time. 
Hmmm... maybe step two is slowing down.
If my time is so precious I feel I have to rush through conversations with my children and husband in order to move on to something else, maybe we don't have a failure to communicate maybe I have a scheduling issue. I think this relates back to to the controller mind set. It is just easier to do everything myself, so just shut up, move and let me do it. EEK, that sounds awful...awfully accurate....
Oy... So, some of the failure in communication seems to be related to my need to control the situation and move on to the next task. However, the main issue I see in our small but mighty family has yet to come to light. 
TONE... OH the TONE!
If you have watched even one minute of The Voice on NBC you have probably heard the phrase, "It was a bit pitchy" or in layman's terms it was off key or out of tune. If we were a family singing group I think we would be termed pitchy. I know we would definitely be pitchy in song because I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but more importantly we tend to be pitchy in  how we communicate with each other. 
For example, when EJ looks me dead in the eye, in all of his 45lb glory, and throws a 200lb attitude at me you have to wonder where he learned such a talent. Or when LJ, who is old enough to know better, tells SJ to, "Go Get Me XYZ" without so much as please or a glance in his father's general direction, I have to wonder if we, the leaders of this household, are leading by example? As adults, outside the home, SJ and I have to communicate with prospects, clients and the general public in a non-pitchy, over-explanatory manner which can not be rushed because clarity is crucial. What happens to this talent when we walk in the door at home? Do we turn into grunting, bossy balls of attitude that demand understanding without explanation? Well, apparently yes, YES we do... and this is obvious by how our children communicate with us. OOPS!  
So where do we go from here? Well, that is the fun thing... ANYWHERE WE WANT TO! We are a family of smart alecks who tend to be hurried and pitchy but we love each other and we are learning to communicate S-L-O-W-L-Y but surely. We have nowhere to go but up. We can learn from the knowledge that none of us like to be bossed around, yelled at or grunted at and most importantly our TONE sets the tone of the communication. If I want my children to calmly and clearly communicate their needs and wants with me then I must do the same with them. When I master this ability, they will too.  So if there is a failure to communicate maybe I don't need to look at what is being said but rather HOW it is being said!