Hello again, its been a while.
I apologize for not posting lately. It has been a fairly busy summer and a lot has happened. Instead of recounting it all suffice it to say that all is well. There may have been a few days where my thankfulness was not as apparent, that I should have focused more on the best than the worst that occupied my life. There were even some days I forgot to look for the bright spots entirely. But those days were few and far between.
Today, I am awash with gratitude. So we are going to focus on today.
This past weekend, I competed in the Summer Fitness Throwdown. This was the first CrossFit competition to come up since I joined Cantina CrossFit, and several of the women I work out with regularly and I decided to form a team and compete. None of us are at a competitive level, but our coaches encouraged every member of the box, telling us that we should not be afraid to compete, that if we can do the WODs there, we can compete in a larger arena.
I have never really been an “athlete.” For some reason, marching band doesn’t really count. (I was the rifle captain, we did some pretty athletic stuff during those shows!) So this was really the first time I was in this type of situation. Intimidating competitors, high intensity atmosphere, and cheering, screaming, groaning onlookers. It was overwhelming. I was terrified. I wanted to either throw up (which would have been acceptable) or run away (which would not have been as acceptable.) I ended up settling for going to the bathroom six times before our first heat started.
The morning competition – sprints, walking lunges, and push presses – was harder than I thought it would be. I started to get scared that I was going to pass out mid-lunge and embarrass my team. But I didn’t, and we got through the heat and managed to finish two full rounds before time ended. After that, I began to really have fun. We could do this. I could do this! We cheered on the other two teams from our box, and watched athletes of ridiculous ability go out and do their thing. It was amazing.
In life, there are some moments that take your breath away and leave you feeling humbled and powerful all at once. This was one of those moments.
By the end of the second round of competition, I was on a high like I had never felt before. I felt strong. Even knowing that there were dozens of people stronger than me competing, I felt like the strongest woman on the planet in that moment.
We spent two days at the Throwdown. Competing and talking, and cheering on our teams. The atmosphere was charged with a current run from the electricity of all the cross-fitters that came out to rally around their “Sport of Fitness.” After the second day of competition, when things were winding down, and the athletes were beginning to file out, it hit me… the overwhelming sense of thankfulness that I held. For the women on my team, for the coaches that encouraged us, and for the athletes that cheered us, from Cantina as well as from other boxes. I am so blessed to have this in my life. It reminds me that I am amazing, even as I seek to become a better me.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of prep work goes into how Monday is going to feel? Most Monday mornings are a mixture of disbelief and despair. Disbelief the weekend went by so fast, and despair that you have 5 days and nights to get through to get to the next one.
I have noticed that if I end Sunday with a session of hot yoga, I can often greet Monday with a little less resentment. If my Saturday was filled with something other housework, it will go a long way toward a blissful Monday as well.
This weekend was a perfect example. Friday night with the King’s family and a fantastic game of cards. (Fantastic mostly because I won.) Good food and warm and welcoming company is a great way to spend an evening! Then up early to fuel up for CrossFit, where my Miss Rebekah joined me to try her beast mode skills. She did great! and I was happy to finally get her into the box. Of course she hated the wall balls, but honestly, who doesn’t?
Saturday night we went to the bowling alley with my friends Carley and Jerome, and some people from work. It was a lot of fun, and I only threw the ball backwards once, and their were no reported injuries. I actually didn’t do too bad for someone who has only bowled about eight times in their life. (Yes, I know, I live next door to a bowling alley! I never go, what can I say.)
Sunday morning we celebrated King Edward’s birthday yet again. This time we were treated to brunch prepared by his daughters and their boyfriends. It was wonderful! His girls are amazing young women, and I am thankful to count them in both my family and my blessings.
Unfortunately, Ed is getting a little too used to the attention, so hopefully this will end the birthday festivities.
After brunch I was able to convince Ed to go to a nursery to look at plants. We spoke to a really helpful guy at Jackalope, and got some great ideas for the yard. We also got some valuable advice about the benefits of xeriscaping and how long to wait before planting in the newly fertilized earth. Then we took a little drive looking around looking for the kind of tree the king wants in the front yard. Its called an umbrella catalpa, by the way.
And of course the evening wrapped up with hot yoga. Blissful and energized for Monday, I am able to find a little gratitude for the end of the weekend. At least I should get a little rest at work!
Its been a while. Have you guys missed me? I promise, I haven’t stopped being thankful for my everyday blessings, I just haven’t sat down to formulate them lately. Here is why…
After ripping out the yard, we had to do something. I expanded my garden to about three times its previous size. My Aunt Pat accompanied me out to Edgewood to check out Parker’s Farm. Here is a hint for you… It was AWESOME! They had great plants, a beautiful back yard garden, and friendly people. The drive out was deceptive. Mile after mile of windswept dirt and scrub, all the way to the gate, then once you turn the corner, BAM! Eden. Take my advice, go see for yourself
Box time has become a precious commodity to me lately. I have really started to see a lot of improvements in my physical strength, which of course makes me want more!!! I have really come to see the people at Cantina CrossFit as family, and the box as a second home. I am “this close” to achieving my first CrossFit goal. I have been trying to get to the point where I can do an unassisted pull-up. When I started, I was on the highest level of band (it basically was a slingshot) and I am now to a point where I barely need the lowest level band. I practice this one thing more than any other, and my callused hands are proof! I will get there, its only a matter of time. Then on to the next goal: the handstand pushup!
I spent some time in the kitchen, cooking dinners (some we shared with Justin, our #1 surprise dinner guest!) and even baked some cookies for the King. This recipe you see is one I made to share with the people at Cantina. Sweet Potato Recovery Bars. I wasn’t completely sold on these, but everyone else loved them! Give them a try. If you are looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, these are chock full of healthy. And the smell of the coconut flour as I was sifting it… Seriously, the smell of the flour…. Heaven!
I participated in a fitness day and then a week later, in a walk and donation drive for care packages going to our troops. Both events were sponsored by my work. I love working in a place where they see my health as important. Both of these events were tied to our preventative health program, which helps us earn money to spend on doctor visits throughout the year. I was very pleased to see the number of donations that our “Walk for Warriors” had collected as well. I know that these little comforts of home make all the difference to our deployed heroes.
Over Memorial Day, we celebrated King Edward’s birthday by spending the weekend at the lake with friends. The guys did some fishing, the women did some relaxing, we all ate too much, and I got in a great workout by the lake and some sunrise yoga on the deck. Our “what-is-becoming-an-annual-trip” was a nice break from reality. The temps were pretty near perfect to be outside enjoying the world around us.
Tonight, we spent the evening with Ed’s family. His Aunt and cousins from California were in town, and we were able to celebrate his official birthday family style.
So, as you can see, it was a busy few weeks! And through each day I was happy, healthy, and engaged in the my world. I love Spring. It gives you a chance to reconnect to your own sense of awakening, and to find joy in everything from surprise garden spots, to callused hands, to the aroma of coconut flour. Everyday life is always full of small blessings, if you know how to see them.
Love hoops and happiness everyone.
I am absolutely pleased to say that the semester is finished! If nothing catastrophic happens with the grading of my paper, I should be looking at 2 A’s and an A+ for my final grades. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
This semester was a rough one. All of my classes were labor intensive and all were complicated in different ways. Now that they are finished, I find myself relishing the thought of a summer unencumbered by schoolwork. I am sure I will pay for that later, I should just be getting on with it, but I am not feeling it this semester. A break is warranted.
This semester was also full of work for, well, work. My job was very busy for the last several months. We had a triennial program review to plan, execute, and generally have nightmares over. I had several, and they increased in repetition the closer we got to the review. I am happy to report that every went well, and I think I would have received an A+ on that assignment as well.
So I have been busily finishing up school and work projects, going in and out of the box and working my butt off to build a little muscle and endurance. (And burn off stress and stave off fatigue at the same time.) I missed a lot of hoop class, but still managed some hoop time, and even got my Jay into the spirit on Take Our Kids to Work Day. He hooped with my trainer and she rewarded him with a gorgeous smile, and a big hug.
Over the last two weekends, Ed and I, with the help of Ed’s son Justin and his best friend Jacob (assisted by the most adorable 2-year old foreman you ever met) started working to rejuvenate the front yard.
Now that we have lovely level dirt, we have to dig some more to lay the irrigation system. I have been banished from digging, as the King says watching me dig raises his blood pressure. Its too bad he didn’t feel that way about letting me move rock, he seemed all for that! No matter, no digging for me! While Ed is digging, I can be busy going to the box, and hot yoga, maybe even a farmer’s market or two… Until the irrigation is down, I won’t have much to do. Once it is in, however, I will be busy planting and making the yard look beautiful!
The puppy has grown into a horse, which we knew he would but it took us by surprise anyway. He is, at 6 months, able to reach up and stare over the kitchen counters. He is twice the size of Saki dog, and although he is large and ungainly, he is also a big teddy bear who just loves to be loved on. I am also happy to report that the dogs and cat are living together in what can only be called disdainful acceptance. Which is fine with me, they are not bothering each other.
So, all in all, the summer season is starting off well with good news all around and lots of fun things to keep me going. I am thankful for the reprieve from school work, and looking forward to a summer filled with new adventures and hopefully some familiar faces. Maybe a visitor or two. Maybe some fun trips to new places. Who knows. I will make sure to keep you posted. No matter what, I am blessed to have so many wonderful people to share this summer with!
Spring is finally here. I can tell Spring is here, because we started ripping up the front yard, cleaning out the back yard, and planting flowers in every place we have something resembling soil. Better weather also means more chores around the house. Don’t you love it?
Saturday saw me at the box bright and early. Miss Carley had made her return and remembered that she is the bomb and can totally rock a workout. (Something I think she had forgotten, at least inside the box.) My friend Mechem also came out for her second visit to Cantina CrossFit. I guess she really likes it, she joined the same day! I didn’t get the chance to stay for the regular workout on Saturday, which was disappointing. Saturday was a Hero WOD in honor of former U.S. Navy SEAL Glen Doherty. A hero WOD is usually pretty tough, and very, very special. I wish I could have stayed for this one.
What I did instead was meet King Edward in the front yard, still in my workout gear, and shovel rock. Lots and lots of rock. We are repairing the damage done to our yard from the broken water main and its repair. You may remember the water main story, it was the “P-word” disaster directly after the shower and sprinkler system debacle. No? Does this help?
Or maybe this?
So now we have to repair the damage done to our sprinklers system, and therefore the yard and flower bed it once supported. Say, are you free over… the next three weekends? Maybe you could come and help! What’s that? You are already busy? Oh, ok, I understand.
Don’t get me wrong, the weekend wasn’t all working out and working. Saturday evening I spent with some very good friends at a baby shower for my friend Stephanie’s daughter. Stephanie is about to be a Grandma again, and this time she is getting a granddaughter. She did a beautiful job on the party, all in a butterfly theme, and put Martha Stewart to shame in the crafting of the decorations and the party favors. I myself walked out with a tiny bottle of honey, a tiny baby bottle filled with candy, and a hard candy lollipop with wildflower seeds and pink and purple seed pods, all decked out with the baby’s name and instructions where needed. She is going to have a lot of fun with this little girl! (And I got candy, BONUS!)
Sunday was more relaxing. Well, after the six hours of homework that the morning presented. King Edward and I took a quick trip to the dump to get rid of the debris from Saturday’s yard work. Then we went to lunch and to pick up food for the puppies. Earthwise Pets is awesome, they keep track of the dog food and treats that we buy so we always know what we are getting. They also have a loyalty program so you earn $$ off as you go. Sunday I needed two bags of food for two hungry doggies, and I had earned one free bag, plus $5 off the other. Not bad! That paid for our lunch!
I love my weekends. I love unexpected front yard beautification projects, and butterfly party favors. I love spending time with people I adore and watching them enjoy each other too. I love a surprise lunch, and the occasional surprise bargain. (I really do love a bargain, just ask anyone.) And I love the fact that I am blessed with each of these little gifts, and with the ability to recognize them and give thanks.
Well, I am definitely getting busy with work! Actually, that is just fine with me, I like to be busy and the upcoming program review has kept me (and a small army of other people) hopping with work to keep up. As happy as I am to be busy, I honestly can’t wait for it to be over as I have been stressing over it since the day I took the job! Two more weeks, and then I am going to sleep for three days… And start obsessing over some other thing with a deadline and a high level of stress that my crazy boss has gotten himself into.
The semester is almost over (yay!) and I only have a few more assignment, a 5 page paper, 3 shorter papers, 5 quizzes, 3 psych studies, and a final exam. Yeah, that’s barely anything… Cake.
I did get my mid-term back from my Microeconomics class. And let me tell you, this was a Herculean effort to complete. I have been working on this project for a month and I flat out thought I would fail. This professor is TOUGH! I didn’t fail, I got 215/200, so not too shabby. My gosh I will be glad when this class ends. It has been soooooo stressful! I will say, however, that the “A” I earned on this project is one of the ones I am most proud of in my second scholastic career.
I had some great box time this week. A work out with Angie and Tea is always fun! And, of course, my girl Barb pushes me to do my best every single time! What was really awesome this week? I had the chance to work with all three of the Cantina Coaches. I tend to see a lot of Dustin on weeknights, but I actually got to work with Chad and Mike this week too. It was great to have the benefit of all the guys and their input on my performance. They are all pretty amazing coaches, and really great guys.
I had a nice coffee/tea date with my girl Toni-Lei and walked the park with my girl Rebekah too. I had more lessons in wielding a stick, and got to talk to Daddy on the phone. (Which is a big deal, beacause the Masters was on, and he didn’t even seem to be angry that I had interrupted golf watching!)
Today I even threw a little dirt around and planted some more flowers, and got to greet my King Edward at the door when he got home. I would say I am pretty happy. Why not? I have friends, family, and a beautiful series of little moments to cherish.
I have a good life, and I am lucky enough to recognize it.