Rambling Thoughts

Our former neighbor died about 10 days ago.  We only saw him a couple times a year since we moved and talked via phone less than that.  He was a very unique kind of guy – very much a loner and independent in the extreme.  He had some medical issues, and could barely walk – and honestly – it was hard to watch him walk.  I am sad that he died alone, and really sad that I didn’t know him better – because I have a feeling he had a very interesting life story.  I wish I could have done more for him, and at the same time realize that what he did allow us to do for him was very difficult for him.

Grace Lesson – When someone “pops” into your mind, and you start thinking about what you should/could/ought to do – realize that at any moment, those “shoulds, coulds, and oughts” may turn into regrets.  Too little, too late.

 

The North Country Trail Run has been cancelled this year.  Most running events have – or have turned virtual.  This is a run that just couldn’t be replicated virtually.  In all honesty, I’m glad it was cancelled.  Bringing the large number of people this event draws into our small community here is not a good scenario.  We are not blessed with abundant health care facilities (in number or in size), and a sudden increase in virus presence could be devastating.  I am sorry that I will miss the view at 26 – it would be easy for me to drive to the site and go backwards on the trail to see that glorious view – but it wouldn’t be the same.  And trying to do the course alone wouldn’t be wise since the course is only “visible” when it is marked.

Grace Lesson – My wants/wishes take back seat to the health of the community.  The view at 26 in 2021 will be even sweeter!

 

Track Running – I have been running on a high school track – it’s only about a year old – and what a delight!  I usually have the track to myself and my thoughts.  The surface is truly a joy to experience!  Running in circles is not nearly as boring as it sounds – allows for imagination and thoughts to run with wild abandon.

Grace Lesson – New opportunities!

 

Grace Lesson from before – Spend more time watching clouds and birds.  I already learned this lesson earlier this year when we were sheltering in place.  I promised myself I would remember it.  I broke my promise.  I am going to give myself another chance.  I’m worth it.

Open My Eyes

Although the blog has been silent lately, my mind has not.  I’ve been learning much about myself – and while surprising, what I am realizing makes sense.

When the pandemic started, it was interesting to read about people gaining weight during quarantine – “eating all the snacks at once”.  For me, I lost weight.  I didn’t buy snacks – I bought food with space and nutrient value in mind.  Living in an RV with limited storage space forces you to prioritize like that.  My perceived threat response was to conserve space and resources and simultaneously build and maintain healthy immune systems.  I viewed the threat as not just an attack on me personally, but a much larger scale.  Our meals were smaller in proportion, healthier, and with a noticeable absence of snacks/sweets.

Lately, my stress level has changed – or so I thought.  (It was, in reality, a change in perceived threat.)  Our pantry certainly reflects a change.  More sweets and snacks, larger portions with less thought to nutrition.  At first, I attributed this to “numbing” to the pandemic threat and made a conscious effort to get back on track.  That wasn’t working so well, so I started paying attention to what I was eating, what I was craving, and the situations that preceded food.  I realized that I was eating (very poorly) in response to a different perceived threat.  Sure enough, I could predict when I would be hitting the sweets.  Something would happen that, in my mind, I would perceive as an insinuation that I was not enough.  It might have been something as simple as stating my plan and having another person make a suggestion to override and do it “better”.  This happens often enough, and it is easy to believe that your thoughts and actions are not enough.  (This revelation helped me understand how/why I struggled with a much higher body weight in the past.  First, food offered comfort – sugar and sweet stuff just helped transport the comfort level.  Second, I could control/choose the comfort.)

Generally, I try to avoid conflict and please those around me.  It is easier to give in to whatever option is offered so as not to offend.  It BECOMES very easy to believe that your ideas and plans are not good enough.  Growth sometimes causes discomfort.  I can say, with confidence, that I have grown over the past couple 5 years.  The discomfort generated by not feeling well, the scales creeping up, and a few other things were concerning.  With some reflection, it was pretty easy to figure out why the scales were creeping up, and my attitude was creeping down (and health and general sense of well-being).  Knowing what I am missing is a huge plus this time.  It doesn’t make the work any easier – I know changing will be a challenge.  I also know what the payoff will be – and I want it with a passion.

God is amazing – that seems so trite to say – but I am humbly grateful for the messages he puts in my path.  Pastor talked about Fruits of the Spirit this morning.  Next to Grace, this is probably one of my favorite topics.  His message had a different slant that I don’t recall hearing before.  He talked about the traits of love and the fruits of the Spirit and took it a bit further.  He brought in the topic of judging others against oneself.  He reminded us that patience looks much different from one person to another – as does every other trait of love and fruit of the Spirit.  Just like running (my interpretation) – the only person I have to compete against is myself.  The only person that is qualified to judge my traits of love and fruits of the Spirit is God.  Remembering that – hammering that into my brain – will allow me to respond to “helpful suggestions” more reasonably.  More reasonably in terms of my self-worth, my self-care, and my attitude.

 

Time to incorporate some Grace, drop a ton a judgment and comparison (mostly against myself) – and open myself to the Fruits of the Spirit and the traits of Love.

 

God and His Amazing Grace!  This is my Grace Lesson.

Birthday Musings

Today is my birthday – and it is absolutely perfect!  I can honestly say that I am blessed beyond belief.  At one time, I would have said it would have been a perfect day IF the kids were home and Dad was here to celebrate with us.  Not that I wouldn’t love for that to be true, but I realize how incredibly selfish that statement is.  I’m spending the day with Bill and Mom, Piper and Champ.  I’ve already heard from Beth and Walt, and received an overwhelming and humbling amount of wishes from friends on social media of various sorts and cards.  I know that my Dad is celebrating with us in heaven – and in a much happier, healthier state than if he were still here.  I know that if they kids were here, they wouldn’t be doing what they love and thriving.  Seeing them succeed, watching the amazing people they are and how they continue to blossom – I could ask for no better gift.  Being with Mom, seeing how she is celebrating life every single day and conquering challenges – I am graced with the gift of love and inspiration.  My brother gifts me with lessons of a generous spirit, and his gift for creativity and imagination.

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Bill – for the next little while, I am being caregiver/nurse.  He is one of my biggest, bestest gifts.  Yesterday, he had surgery on his Achilles tendon and a rather ugly heel spur.  For the next month or so, he can’t put any weight on his right foot.  He is being a model patient right now – and I imagine it is extremely hard.  This guy isn’t used to inactivity.  He did this so we can get out and explore like we want to – and he can do it pain-free.  He has always told me that his goal in life is to make me happy.  Younger me thought for a while that it was mostly lip service.  I learned long ago that it wasn’t.  He truly meant it, and he works at it every day.  We sold our airplane this past winter.  It was a sad day in the Dumont house.  Since then, there has been a hole that never filled in.  Sometimes, you can remove things from your life, and the hole will close over and new things will grow to take it’s place.  This didn’t happen.  A couple weeks ago, Bill set up an appointment to get his BFR (pilot’s license recurrent).  While doing so, he learned of a plane for sale.  He has flown this plane in the past, so was familiar with it.  Also, he knows the owner and his ethic for maintaining his aircraft.  Apparently the plane had earned the nickname “23 Ugly”.  The last three identifiers of the tail number is 23U.  In the phonetic alphabet, it is 23 Uniform.  We talked about the plane, looked it over a couple times and pondered the possibilities.  In the meantime, another airplane at a local airport was discovered to be for sale as well.  We checked it out and knew that it wasn’t a good fit for us.  About that time, Bill asked me what I wanted for my birthday – and I countered with asking him what he wanted for Father’s Day.  He tossed out a couple things, and I told him I wanted 23U.  He flew the plane again and became recurrent.  That was an early birthday present for me.  You couldn’t mistake the feeling or difference in attitude.  I was missing having an airplane as well.  For the longest time, (for me) it was flying that was the attraction.  For the past couple years, the fascination is now in tinkering with the plane – making improvements, doing maintenance, that sort of thing.  Anyway, I told him again that I wanted the plane, and even wrote a welcome note on our whiteboard in the hangar.  Last week, we finalized the offer with the plane’s owner.

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We haven’t officially named the plane yet, but I told Bill it will be called 23 Unicorn and never again known as 23 Ugly.  Eventually we’ll find a proper name for the magnificent bird.  We’ve both decided that our family is complete again.  Airplanes are the reason we are together – how we met – and our lives have pretty much revolved around aviation.  I can’t begin to express the depth of emotion at seeing Bill’s reaction to having an airplane again.  This particular gift is priceless and fills me with great joy.  He gifted me with a shirt and hat to celebrate today.

Beth – we are so alike in many ways.  She knows what is going on in my mind without the need for me to express it.  Scares me.  I stand in awe of her confidence, her energy, her compassion, and her passion for people.  This woman has skills!  I watch her and think, WOW!  Is she really my daughter?  I can see so much of Bill in her personality as well – yet she is uniquely Beth.  She ran miles to celebrate my birthday today – ran for me so I wouldn’t have to 😊.  That is more than “just a run”.  The gift of time and energy, knowing you’re thought of and loved – that is truly a treasure.  The other thing this child of mine does is celebrate randomly.  It is not uncommon to receive a box in the mail with treats and gifts not in conjunction with a holiday.  She does it “just because”, and brushes it off.  Again, the gift of caring and loving, time and energy is precious.  She gave me the gift of motherhood, thriving and blossoming in spite of being the test model.

Walt –  He is also a blend of our personalities, especially Bill, and like Beth – uniquely Walt.  I appreciate his calls to check in with us and really enjoy listening to him discuss planes, bikes, and automobiles with Bill.  Walt is quietly achieving and planning his future thoughtfully.  I sit back in amazement and gratitude (as I also do with Beth) with the realization that we had the blessing of raising these amazing people.  He is generous with his time, his love, and his knowledge.  Walt is an encourager, compassionate, and persistent.  He gave me the opportunity to refine my motherhood skills as the second edition.

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I am blessed with many friends and grateful for each and every one of them.  Their presence adds richness and dimension to my life.  My world is filled with joy, love, friends, challenges, and so very many blessings.  This is grace, undeserved and yet richly showered upon me.  And I know, without a doubt, that I can easily say “Thank you, God, I know this is you.  This is your  visible presence in my life!”

Monday Morning Grace Reminder From God

 

img_0264While we were walking this morning, I was strongly reminded about the presence of God, faith, and grace.  So, not sure who needs to hear this besides me, but here you go:

Sometimes it may feel like you are not connected with God, or faith, or grace.  They are always there – you may not always feel/hear/see/touch/smell/taste them – but they are present.  I was reminded of this while listening to the wind in the leaves of the trees and watching it rustle the grass.

On the wind was the scent of lilacs blooming.  The wind was warm and gentle on my skin.  Next to me, my best friend in the world – was holding my hand – the touch of love.

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Taste?  Yes, the taste of sweet joy in the gift of this day.

Life Cycles

During my evening walk, I discovered this joyous little sight:

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My first thought was – “and it begins again”.  This is very likely the first generation of Monarch Caterpillars in our area for the year.  We have been enjoying these many sights of Spring for the past 3 weeks here in Michigan:

The Monarchs though, they are more than Spring.  They are the ultimate representation of life and life cycle.  The promise of transformation and beauty that happens in each life.  True, you have to eat (and poop) a lot of milkweed; hang yourself upside down while you morph into a cocoon and drop your head on the ground, and then take a couple-week nap.  Then comes the magic!  Out of that tiny shell you emerge, patiently waiting while your wings fully open and dry – and your magnificence is visible for all to see.

To find this little cat today was especially sweet.  We had planned to do some clean-up work at our little cabin but decided to have a rest day instead.  A trip to the airport to bum around with Piper was the alternate plan.  What a blessing to run into friends and share an impromptu picnic and wonderful conversation.  To laugh, share a meal, and talk about life (not “the virus”, the riots and unrest, the economy) – just everyday things.  The kind of things that a few months ago would have been considered mundane.  Today – they felt like rare and precious jewels.  The time spent with Judy and Ray was a treasured treat.

I have been privileged to have several of these special times since returning to Michigan.  I have spent time with Mom – doing “stuff” (planting flowers, catching up on some computer stuff with her, cooking, grocery shopping, lots of talking, and making jam).

Bill helped me bring to life some plans I found for DIY planters for vertical gardens made from a pound of nails and 4 old pallets.  My brother helped by locating the pallets.  Bill provided guidance and some muscle; I pulled nails, drilled holes, cut boards, pounded nails – and voila – a vegetable stand and a flower/herb stand!  They are in our yard at the campground – a spot of green growing things for me to lose myself in.  We are planning to stay planted for the summer and part of the fall since everything in the world seems in a state of unrest.  Here is the before:

The “in progress”:

The finished product:

I am excited at the thought of posting “after” photos once the plants have settled in.

Lessons and Gratitudes from life:

  1. Family, friends, moments, kindness – this is what life is about.
  2. To Do Lists are great – don’t try to put everything on today’s list. Save some for tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.  Make sure that you have relax time on your list each day.  That way you can take time to look around and appreciate everything.img_0131
  3. Roots are a good thing – they are part of your foundation and tell a part of your story.img_0132
  4. Taking your vitamins and supplements to maintain a healthy immune system make your nails and hair grow! I learned how to give myself pretty nails (first time in my life I’ve had nails that aren’t peeling, broken, or ugly).img_0126-1
  5. I am so grateful for Mr. John – and am looking forward to seeing him in October. We will discuss flowers and recipes and life, and he will work his magic with my clumsy attempts to keep my hair short.  I am also grateful for Beth giving me a haircut while we were in Texas – that child is multi-talented!
  6. I spend more time looking others in the eye – really seeing them. Especially those wearing masks.  You can see beautiful smiles in their eyes.
  7. Speaking of masks…I see them as a sign of respect. Wearing them when coming into contact with others – especially store employees/health care settings/post offices – where they have to wear a mask – that is one small way I can convey my thanks for their willingness to provide their service – to show that I respect them and their family.
  8. Grace and gratitude – the ultimate attitude adjustment!

Stuff To Think About!

Hi!

How are you doing?

How are you learning and growing?

Some days it’s hard to wrap my head around everything going on, so I avoid the news and media outlets.  Most of the time though, it is so encouraging to read about the kindnesses that are growing out of this new time that we are in. We have friends that have had family members infected and joyfully recovered as well as those that have lost loved ones.

Have you noticed all the fitness advertising and offers on social media?  Kind of like New Years all over again.  Lot’s of “free” trial periods and “free” basic offers.  Word of caution from experience – beware of FOMO (Fear of missing out) – it gets really expensive.  So often, the program starts out great – and hey, you’re stuck at home with time on your hands and snacks, right?  Once you get into the program, you learn about add-ons, additional and improved – with extra techniques, etc. Of course, that comes at a cost.  I have been celebrating JOMO instead and counting my blessings.  (Joy of missing out.)  Realizing that although I have extra time on my hands now, that is likely to change.  Understanding that another person/entity can not promise me something that I am not willing to take personal responsibility for with regards to my health and fitness.  There is a program right now that is supposed to be free “forever” – of course it does come with additional levels that you can pay for (not recommended – but message me if you want more info).  Energy Up allows you access to a wide variety of exercise videos with different coaches and different modalities.  Just don’t get hooked by the extras.  This site is updated and new videos are added regularly and consistently.  Link at the bottom, and again, ask me if you have questions.

I am still looking forward to #NorthCountryTrailRun2020 – it hasn’t been cancelled or postponed yet.  Feeling a little nervous about being around a bunch of people but being back of the pack is kind of reassuring – a lot less crowded back there!  The view at mile 26 – that is what I think of each time I am out putting on miles.  I really like these two pictures – kind of represents me when I am leaving my safe zone (look closely at the first picture – can you see the raccoon?)

This has been quite an amazing time for reflection – and I know that many others feel the same.

My heart goes out to the heroes taking care of patients in the hospital, and to their families as they support them and worry about them.  I have known the worry and fear of caring for patients with life-threatening illness that is contagious – thoughts of transmitting the disease to my own family, other patients, or to myself.  For the most part, though, those cases were not overwhelming in number, and family could be with them.  I have held the hand of dying patients that didn’t have anyone to be with them – and remember wanting to put everything else on hold so there was someone there with them.  For the families that can’t be with the patients – I can’t even imagine the pain and heartache – worrying and wondering.

I continue to split my walking activities into at least two parts – for mental health.  At least one of those walks is a meditative prayer.  My prayer life has grown and blossomed well during this time – one of many gratitudes to evolve.  Walking allows me to be intentionally aware of my surroundings – situational awareness if you will.  With additional time, my walks have changed from “need to get it done” to “looking forward to seeing what I can find”.  For my northern friends that are still grappling with winter scenes – I’ll share some Florida spring:

It has been pretty cool to discover that I don’t have to be busy all the time.  It’s okay to sit and knit, chat, or just watch nature happen.  I know what it feels like to get enough sleep, and that alarms don’t need to be set.

Today’s grace thought:  Scrutinize this moment – scour it and locate every bit of good you can find.  Celebrate everything good.  Look closely at the not-so-good – are you sure there isn’t something to be learned?  [Definitely NOT trying to minimize the gravity of our current situation, just suggesting that there might be some good somewhere!]

Energy Up:  energyup.co

Wear Your Masks, Wash Your Hands, Work On Your Goals!

It is really amazing to think that we are living some really incredible history.  This time will be talked about far beyond our lifetimes.  It is so uplifting to see the many acts of kindness that are being committed in so many places.

The latest addition – wearing masks.  So many conflicting opinions and feelings out there.  The important thing to remember is that wearing a mask is to be used in conjunction with handwashing and social distancing.  Masks aren’t a guarantee or a ticket to violate the stay at home order (if you’re under one).  I love one of the explanations I heard related to mask usage:  I will protect you from me – and you will protect me from you.  What we aren’t hearing much about is the correct way to put them on, take them off, and sanitize them.  Medical folks learn early in the infancy of their career.  It doesn’t come naturally – and using them correctly takes some practice.  Take some time and check out CDC (or other REPUTABLE source) recommendations for putting them on (donning), taking them off (doffing), and sanitizing (cleaning) them.  Also, be aware of little things – like you don’t touch them while they are on, or pull them down off your nose to breathe better, still don’t touch your face, etc.  There is a correct way (you’ll find directions depending on the type of mask you have) to remove them so you don’t contaminate yourself and others.  Wash your hands!  Wearing gloves – again there are mixed reviews.  Just realize that wearing gloves isn’t an invitation to touch your face, or your mask, or guarantee you won’t transmit the virus.  Again – check out videos/printed instructions for correct use – when, how, how to take them off – and wash your hands!  Masks (and gloves when necessary) are just more tools in the toolbox to fight this.  Hand sanitizer – same.  Doesn’t replace the need to WASH YOUR HANDS – with soap and water – for 20 seconds.

Enough of that.  Look for opportunities.  What can you do to bring a smile to someone?  I’ve seen some really cool rocks painted and placed around the base on my walks.  Lovely chalk art on sidewalks, beautiful artwork displayed in windows, signs lovingly lettered and strategically places, and the opportunity to notice all the glorious signs of life that I often miss in my hurry.  Sunsets and moonrise, thunderstorms rolling in, and the beautiful myriad of colors in the sky.

Make a gratitude list of things you take for granted.  Hugs from a friend, easy access to stores for something you just want on a whim, freedom to do/go wherever you want.

Work on your goals.  If you aren’t sure what they are, you might have time to consider that.  One of my current projects is working from a To Do list.  Bill does it quite successfully.  I haven’t been very good at it – but am making progress.  I’m still logging miles – and found another challenge to join to help keep me on track.  As of now, the North Country Trail Run is still planned to go on.  The view I will see from mile 26 is burned into my mind – that is what I am chasing.  The rest of the distance is literally all downhill from there.  But mile 26 is breathtaking.  It will be the cherry and sprinkles on the hot fudge sundae.

In the meantime, I am making good progress knitting Walt’s blanket.  Then I will start on my sweater.  As a reward for nailing my 1st quarter goals, I ordered a yarn assortment from Done Roving Yarns.  It was mailed today.  It will be like Christmas when it arrives.  I may find something fun to make before I start my sweater – or have 2 things on my needles.  If you’re a yarn sister – check out Done Roving – some beautiful fiber!

So, wash your hands, wear your masks, wash your hands, work on your goals, and explore your gratitudes – and commit numerous outrageous (big or small) random acts of kindness in whatever form you choose (prayer is a magnificent option)!

#northcountrytrailrun2020

#donerovingyarns

#CAPnationalwalktoMars

Home

Home

Flexibility and Fear, Hope and Spring

There are no words to describe our world right now, or are there?  Fear and worry seem to come to mind most easily.  I realize how much I like to be in control of every little thing, and today, I realize that I have NO control over what’s happening.  The only thing I can control is my response.  Some days, it’s good – some days, not so good.  The mental/psych component of this pandemic is huge, and it’s not being mentioned much.  I am trying to put myself on a media diet – limiting the times I check the news, and then only focusing on a couple areas that are most pertinent to us.  I’m not hiding my head in the sand, just trying to not be buried by the sands of speculation and a barrage of opinions and interpretations.

Flexibility is becoming more comfortable.  Because we live in our rig, we don’t have the security of a home base as such.  Right now, home is Osprey Cove.  We are grateful for every day that we are able to stay here.  That is not guaranteed – if conditions change, there is the potential we could have to leave.  We’ve had experience with that from hurricane Matthew.  Unfortunately, our home campground in Michigan had to close.  We have contingency plans that we are working on.  The really uncertain part is the travel between Florida and Michigan.  On the other hand, there is comfort in knowing that if we have to travel, we have a bathroom that is clean and familiar, a bed that is safe and warm, food and a place to cook.  The only unknown is having to stop for diesel – and we have a few gloves and wipes to manage that.  In theory, the only stops will be for fuel and comfort, and won’t require much human interaction.

In our efforts to maintain optimum health, we have quit setting alarms.  We wake up when our body says it’s time.  We spend more time setting outside.  We are still getting our daily walks in, maintaining distance from others.  We are eating healthier – when I buy groceries, my focus is on nutrition, and essential food stuffs.  Unexpected bonus – I’ve been losing weight!  Closer to my goal weight by about 8 pounds and counting.  We haven’t eaten take-out in at least 3 weeks, maybe longer.  I don’t mind, I have enjoyed experimenting with my cooking appliances, and trying new recipes.  I am practicing self-compassion more.  When I recognize that I am feeling stressed, I acknowledge it.  Sometimes talk to Bill about it.  Often walk it off.  I love that I am more intentional in my prayer time – I never walk alone, I am in frequent conversation through prayer.

As I reflect on the changes, the positive ones are those that I have long wanted to incorporate into my life – but felt, for whatever reason, that I couldn’t/didn’t have time for/would do someday.  The fear, though, I have to work on that more.  I had to go grocery shopping on Tuesday.  I spent all day Monday worrying about it – and planning how to best mitigate the risk.  Although our rules are a little different because we live on base, Bill falls into the category that was asked to stay at home and avoid crowds in the civilian sector.  He did drive me, we took the big truck instead of Casper – and I was nervous enough about shopping to not want to worry about the truck.  He stayed in the truck.  I debated about wearing a face mask and gloves – worried what others might think.  Bill told me to do it anyway.  I was so relieved to get into the store and see others in masks and gloves!  How ridiculous – to consider opinions more important than potential health threats.  We’ve pretty much decided to wear masks any time we have to leave home.  Right now it’s personal choice based on some reading and research.  I hope that soon it becomes the recommended standard.

I miss close interaction and the freedom to hug others.  Never realized how much I appreciated that privilege.  The awkwardness that is now present when you meet someone else out walking – you don’t step closer and exchange greetings – but it is so nice to meet their eyes and share a smile in passing.  It is disheartening to see the people that have total disregard for the advice of distancing and staying home.  A relatively short period of inconvenience in exchange for the health of the population.

In the midst of all this, Spring is appearing in all her glory.  Seeing the birds migrating, the flowers blooming, and everything being painted the yellow/green of pollen – all reminds me of hope and new beginnings.  Yesterday, this beautiful butterfly stopped by my basket of flowers.  Another reminder of transformation and new beginnings.

I am trying to focus of the good things – the lessons I can learn now and work to remember them when life starts to speed up again.  Working on incorporating these changes to be with me permanently – like slowing down and appreciating time.  Sitting outside with Bill and Piper and watching the world.  It really is a beautiful place, so much to see and observe – when you slow down.  Taking the time to try and consider what someone else is feeling – with less judgment and more understanding that everyone struggles with something.  Making prayer more a part of my life – and knowing that God will never get tired of hearing from me.  Interestingly enough, I find myself including more gratitudes, and making my prayer requests less personal and more global.

This truly has been a grace lesson of unimaginable magnitude for me.  Stay safe, be well, and wash your hands!  (And wear something over your face when you go out!)

 

 

Potential – A Huge, Graceful Amount

What a time for reflection!  As I was knitting yesterday, my mind wandered over the events in our world.  I could see parallels in training for a running event.  The outcome is largely dependent on preparation, or lack thereof; as well as the mental component and dealing with ego.  It’s the journey/training – that’s where the important stuff happens.

Do I tend to overreact?  Probably, especially according to a few people.  Let me share a bit of history.  I became a registered nurse in May 1981.  In June 1981, the first US case of AIDS was documented.  At the time, wearing gloves for patient care was frowned upon – to the point (at least where I worked) of shaming the nurse for wearing them.  Gloves were for surgeons.  Think about it – all of us health care workers were cleaning patient’s bodily fluids (and solids) with bare hands (that were washed frequently and often dry and chapped at best).  As the concern for the unknown AIDS spread, gloves finally became acceptable, as well as the use of other personal protective equipment (PPE).  That contributed, I am sure, to the prevention of spread of many other illnesses at the time.  It is a standard component of healthcare now – known as “universal precautions”.   Shortly after I started working, I experienced my first patient death.  I found him in bed, not breathing.  As I was taught, I started the CPR sequence and called the code.  On the first compression, (I had trouble getting breaths in) I was surprised by a literal geyser of blood spray.  (You guessed it – no glasses, face mask, or gloves.  That wasn’t acceptable.)  He had esophageal varices due to alcoholism and a host of other diseases.

A couple years later, working in pediatrics, I had another experience that illustrates the need to be proactive.  By this time, isolation procedures were more widely used – especially in the pediatric population (think meningitis, infectious diarrhea, chicken pox, etc.).  I was the shift charge nurse, and it was a quiet night.  We were notified of an admission – a little guy with fever of unknown origin.  This was a fairly common diagnosis, so no big deal.  I chose to do the admission instead of assigning it to someone else.  I was developing a pretty decent “gut instinct” by this time – and it told me to isolate this child.  He had a faint rash, but otherwise appeared to be a happy, healthy and very hungry little boy.  Long story short – the rash progressed very rapidly and he deteriorated even faster.  Six hours later, he died.  After our shift, all of us that had been in contact with him went to a 24/7 pharmacy to pick up prophylactic medication that we were on for several weeks.  Autopsy revealed that there was nothing we could have done to change his outcome, although he was likely very contagious before he even got to the hospital.  Fortunately, I listened to that “God whisper” in my ear and protected the other patients on our unit from what could have been devastating for them.  This didn’t make me a hero – it meant that I over-reacted to symptoms, and ended up being the right thing to do.

Since then, I have known the concerns over MRSA and VRE – both infections that are resistant to many antibiotics; the concerns over hepatitis, influenza, RSV, H1N1, Swine Flu, SARS.  When these were relative unknowns in healthcare, there was fear and anxiety.  Some people (just as we are seeing now) criticized the “over-reacting” behaviors of isolation, use of PPE, immunizations, and distancing.  I wonder if it ever occurred to them that those very acts decreased the impact of the disease and gave us the tools we need to manage these entities now?  Was it really over-reacting if we accomplished our goal?  We saved people and resources.  Those measures that were shamed or criticized as over-reacting are now part of our infection-fighting toolbox.

My healthcare career is minor, I really get this.  I haven’t had extreme experiences, but I have longevity (yeah, I’m old!).  We’re going to learn a lot from this.

One of the big lessons for us is ego.  The part of us that says:

  1. It won’t happen to me. (Why not, you don’t have an impervious shield of protection?)
  2. I’m young – I won’t get too sick. (No, likely not. How many people will you infect though?)
  3. God won’t let me get it. (God gave you brains, intelligence, choice, and other people with other gifts to offer guidance. Use ALL the resources he put in your life.)
  4. I don’t have time for this. (Make time for your health (as well as your family’s health) or you will be forced to take time.)
  5. It’s just over-reaction, it’s an election-year thing, it’s a conspiracy…whatever your excuse is. Great – just cling to those!  Get real – this is here and it’s going to be here for a while.  Whatever the cause, you can’t hide your head in the sand and think it will go away.
  6. I don’t want to change my plans (wedding, vacation, graduation, etc.). In the grand scheme of things, is it worth the risk?  Sacrificing a couple months?  Saving lives?

It is my sincere hope that we WILL be accused of overreacting, and the impact of COVID 19 will not be severe.  Although, to anyone that loses a loved one to this virus, the impact has already been severe.  Realize this – it is the overreacting that will lessen the impact.  I covet the opportunity to hear you say to me “I told you so”.  Let me clarify my idea of overreacting:  NOT hoarding supplies!  It is by social distancing, by staying home for a couple weeks (YES, in spite of the economic impact), by cancelling events and non-essentials.  Hand washing, normal, reasonable infection control measures.

Getting through this, controlling the virus and developing treatments and vaccines, those are victories.  There are many collateral victories we can make happen.  Learning from this experience, developing new technologies and techniques.  Some of the biggest will be the smallest, though.  Being good humans, caring for each other however and wherever we can.  Sharing our gifts and abilities.  This will bring out the best in most people, and the worst in some.

Give yourself grace.  God’s grace is already abundant.  Acknowledge your fears and concerns, realize that others share those same feelings.  Build each other up, share joys, check on each other.  Use this moment to shine!

Personally, I find that committing to get some kind of physical movement is very helpful.  My daily walks have now become two walks.  Knitting is soothing.  Cooking is a way I can help us be healthy.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed.  Take a breath, focus on something good, wash your hands (but conserve toilet paper 😊).  Pray (meditate, send good vibes, send good karma – whatever your thing is) – often and a lot.  You’ll have time.  And think of all the stories you can tell future generations.  Mostly – be a good human and make God proud!

 

 

Joy/Fun Goal – North Country Trail Run 2020

(This is a post in progress and will have periodic updates.)

Finishing the North Country Trail Run in 2020 fills me with joy and anticipation.  Wonderful things happened last year there (after I got started) and I just know that this year will be more spectacular.

I want to keep a log of what I’m doing toward that goal, with side abouts about the joy I am finding in the journey.  You’re welcome to follow along…

August 31, 2019 – I signed up for the marathon distance.  Just a week after I finished the 2019 event.  Initially, I told Bill it was a “one and done”.  Within the next few hours, I was already reconsidering.  I took him to the view near the end of the course a couple days after the event, and I knew I wanted to see that view again – at the end of 26 miles.  NCTR sent out an email that registration was filling rapidly and would be soon sold out.  We talked about it, and I decided to do the half.  As I was filling out the registration, my mind kept saying “you know you can do the whole 26”, and then I heard another voice – Bill’s – saying “you know you can do the whole 26…”.  Enough nudges!  26.2 is it!

September and October – We embarked on an epic journey through northern Michigan, into Canada, and then the New England States.  We found several trails to hike – with elevations – getting a jump start on training.

October through March – Settled in Florida for the winter.  I have been diligently practicing in the beach sand for those sandy hills on the course.  Increasing my daily mileage is helping me prepare for distance.  I have had some awesome buddies training with me – Bill, Jay, Kathi, and the Jacksonville Team RWB.  All of these key partners have added inspiration and joy to the journey.  You can bet they will be in my heart and mind on August 29.  I’ve done a few events to help me prepare as well – the Amelia Island Zooma Challenge – running back-to-backs, the Space Coast Half, and the Mud Girl Run.  Each event added an element of joy that will prepare me for August.  Coming up – the Color Run this month.

March has given me a few challenges/lessons about flexibility in changing plans, listening to my body, and modifying.  To date, I’ve logged 383 miles this year.  Pretty much on track, I am still hoping to stash a few hours in reserve for just in case times.  I am on a 349-day streak of logging 10k steps a day.  Over a year of logging at least 1 mile a day.  More endurance work!  I am also working on mental readiness.  The attitude of gratitude for the ability to do this stuff, for friends that join me in the journey, and for the love and support of my family.  Bill is excellent in helping me make sure I hit the 10k steps.

I look forward to taking my work towards the NCTR goal on the road.  Pretty soon, it will continue in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Kansas – and then en route to Michigan.  This is exciting – it lights me up – fills me with anticipation!  I can already feel the smile and joy bubbling over when I cross the finish line!

3/22/20

So much has changed.  Activities and events cancelled, so much uncertainty.  One thing is very certain though.  I must (not need, not want, not should) get daily activity.  It is a big ferocious tool in my mental arsenal.  I have 362 days in a row – a streak – of 10k steps per day.  Over 14 months of logging at least a mile a day.  Silly little goals?  Maybe – but not from my perspective.  I have a  newfound appreciation for the mental resiliency I am building.  Each day, one day at a time, one step at a time.

#joyinthejourney

#northcountrytrailrun2020

#northcountrytrailrun

#goalfun

#goaljoy