Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Unexpected Run

I didn’t make it to the Downtown Market this past Saturday. I woke up at 5:45 (normal) to take Josh to Ft. Campbell for a run that his JROTC Sgt. had told him about. We arrived at 6:20am, giving us plenty of time to register and wait for the run to start at 7:00. I parked a ways away and since Josh had forgotten his phone I decided to walk with him down the hill. Once there, Josh found his JROTC friends and I found a good spot to observe everything from. I quickly realized that this run was for FALLEN SOLDIERS. A lady announced from a speakerphone that there was a memorial of 366 flags set up to her right in honor of the soldiers that have lost their lives since 9/11. I found a spot to sit down. Observing people is like a hobby of mine, but usually I'm "with" someone else (mostly my 2 yr old) and I just can't pay attention to what is out of my sphere, at least not carefully. I observed for a good 30 minutes before the announcer stated that the run would begin at 8am. What? That was an hour away! Josh had clearly been misinformed. I observed a group of soldiers, families, and other individuals and groups. I thought about why they were coming out to run today. Most had running bibs pinned to the backs of their shirts that proclaimed who they were running in honor of. Some had T-shirts that said specific names or divisions. Many had written on their papers “In honor of All of our Fallen Soldiers". I thought about one person that I knew personally whose helicopter went down in the Philippines not long after 9/11 (there were nine other soldiers aboard that flight. His name was Foshee. I never heard anyone call him Jeremy. He lived with one of Will’s closest military friends (and his wife--the Nickos) for a least a year, so we saw him quite a bit during that time. He was a good guy, he told a lot of army stories, and he liked being a soldier. He died at age 25. I figured it was never too late to run in honor of someone who I knew and who had lost his life while serving our country. So I got a bib, wrote his name on it, asked the quiet girl pushing her fingers into her phone if she would pin it on (she did), and waited like everyone else. I talked to the girl for awhile. Her husband was deployed. She was planning on walking the four mile. I got in line with the walkers, but when I started going I felt that it really wasn’t enough memorial for the soldier that gave their LIVES for our country (and Josh was running one mile, not four, so I knew I was only going a mile total). And along the same note, what about all of the soldiers that were out there right now fighting for our country in another place? 12 month deployments? Leaving their families behind? What of their sacrifices? What of their spouses and children’s sacrifices left behind? All I had to do was go a suddenly seemed almost trivial. So I ran the way back when I broke out of the walker crowd and walked up the steep hill with Josh while we talked about what the run represented. It was good to spend time with him too. I told him about Foshee.

Reflective moments in life sure can come when we least expect them too!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Life Today

This morning I went out to walk/jog at 6am. This is the scenery that greeted me:

I walked 3/4 of a mile, then jogged a full mile straight. That's the most I've ever jogged at one time. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best thing for my shin splints, and I didn't find that out until I returned home.
I was amazed by this beautiful SUNRISE! Isn't it just Glorious?

After my jog, I came home and spent too much time on my computer, while drinking my favorite coffee. Then we got it together and went on a bike ride. About a mile past our house we found these cute horses. Well, I'm not sure if they are ponies or miniature horses. Either way, they were cool! We rode on to Aldi:
$6.00 even for everything in my bike basket:

After Aldi we rode the bike over the bank. I rode it right up to the drive through (yes, I did!) to cash a check. It just seemed more logical than unpacking Brielle & the basket to go inside to do business. I didn't know what the teller would say, but she said, "Great day for a bike ride, isn't it?" Then we rode over to Walmart to get lunch meat, then home. I'd say we covered at least three miles on the bike. Below is Brielle at Tyler's dentist appt. (no cavities! yah!). She has to have the dinosaurs with the trucks because that is what makes them "Monster Trucks!" LOL!

Now today the plan was for us to ride our bike to Brielle's new preschool (more like a Parents' Day Out program) and turn in the paperwork. She was up all night last night, so I'm trying to get motivated. The weather just seems to irresistible though!
I was inspired to sort of "picture document" my day like this because of this blog: Walk Slowly, Live Wildly. LOVE IT!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thought to ponder: Full and Leisurely Life?

This past Saturday I finally made it down to the Clarksville Downtown Market. If you haven’t been there, you are missing out! Now, I have heard other newcomers to the area say they weren’t that impressed. (I’ve also heard some say the same about the Riverwalk.) It all depends on how you see it, but it is definitely better than nothing! I’ve meandered down there before, with unpeeled eyes, but this trip I felt like I really got it. I bought a small watermelon ($1), a green & red pepper (.33), a bar of soap ($4) that she assured would not cause the mosquitoes in my backyard to flock to me, a dz eggs ($2), and a bag of noodles (? admittedly, I was too busy talking), a loaf of sourdough ($3), and a whole grain muffin ($1) -the texture was unique, and that muffin made me feel good after I ate it! But better than spending less than $13 apprx. on all that, the main point is that I was able to support locals.
I rode my bike to Wal-Mart yesterday to get a gallon of milk and lunch meat for Will’s lunches. Now, we bought that bike back about 9-10 years ago, and Brielle rides in the same seat that Tyler (now 11) did when he was her size. The basket and lock I use were both given to us last year from a friend from MOPS who was moving to NYC from here and no longer needed it. They are quite handy! I like carrying the basket into the store because I know exactly what will fit into it while I’m shopping. I do wish I didn’t have to go to Wal-Mart (well, I don’t - I could go to Food Lion) but their prices are the lowest for deli meat. I spent a little less than $13 on a gallon of milk, a lb of ham and a lb of turkey. Ironically, the same I spent at the Downtown Market.
Yesterday the temperature was GREAT for a ride! We’d hoped to go sooner, but started baking bread and that requires a “bread-sitting” of sorts. Four o’clock was the busiest time of the day to go, so we ran in and out. It’s amazing how many people flock into Wal-Mart at the same time! Honestly, we were able to maneuver traffic more efficiently on the bike, and the breeze with the sunlight was downright exhilarating on the ride home! Despite the fact that it was more uphill on the way back, I seemed to not notice as much.
Now, I have done these things in the past, but my attitude seemed very different these times around. That may have something to do with the book I just finished: Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. In it, a couple moves to a remote “Amish-style” community and live without being connect to the “grid” as they say. It’s AMAZING! Maybe you have to be really fascinated with that sort of thing to love it as much as I did, but I absorbed that book! I really gained heaping mounds of information and realization about things like work ethic, necessities, socialization, and life. Time. Connecting. With nature, with ourselves, with people, and especially with God, the Giving Force of it all. In it he answers the question: How much technology is really necessary for a full and leisurely life?
I think what meant the most to me, that he never really comes out and says, but happens to live, is that we really have choices here. I think a lot of times we just thing “this is the way the world is going, how it is.” And we just accept it! Buy into it! Upgrade for it! Do we even remember it is a choice? It reminds me of when I searched for resources on natural birth. Most people didn’t know there are choices, and many still don’t care. (For example the cashier who thought ultrasounds were mandated by government when I told her I didn't have one.) But what is the cost? In giving ourselves over to the technology throne of making our lives supposedly easier, what price are we paying for just “going with the flow?” How much are we missing of the point? Of life itself?
Yes, I’m typing this on my laptop while my 2 yr old daughter watches a video on Netflix. So obviously, I’m not radically going to drop everything. Even in his book, Brende says that yes, some forms of technology are indeed helpful tools (okay, not netflix!). I am not sure I believe or agree with everything he writes. To be honest his education level far exceeds mine and that become apparent while I was trying to read his book and got lost, having to slow down and deliberately read. Unfortunately, I still didn’t always “get it.” But I got close on most of it. For me, practical implications may not mean extremity or drastic rehabilitation from technological withdrawals!
It may mean just slowing down and taking a look at what matters, what is time consuming, what produces “good” results. And “good” might need a little redefining!
This morning I went for a jog at 6:00am. As I rounded the corner behind the turn that leads to Wal-Mart I passed a couple who were carrying their groceries back home. It’s probably a ¼ mile walk just down that lone stretch. We cheerfully waved and shared our “Good Mornings!” Now, I already know that that kind of encounter is good and I dully note that getting out of the house without a covered contraption such as a car, is definitely a good start! But I’m still looking at the picture as a whole, and also at the little things that consume and consummate the “good life.” It’s going to take me a while to think on and process these things.
But like the Clarksville Downtown Market: It's a good start! And it's worth taking the time for.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Happy Summer!

I can’t believe this summer is nearly over!
Well, not exactly the “summer” but summer break from school. Summer weather, as we know it here in Middle Tennessee, could continue for another two to three months! Lately I have taken to waking at the sweet time of 5:45am and going on a power walk. I'm pushing myself and jogging off an on throughout the 2 miles and I love it! My only regret is not having done this years ago! To the right is a picture I snapped with my phone as my walk was just begining. I thought to myself, "I would not be seeing this glorious morning if I hadn't just gotten out of bed!" Somedays are more challenging than others, because Brielle still gets up 1-10 times a night....but it's just invigorating to go, and a ton cooler that time of day!
The boys will start school tomorrow. Josh, on to high school. Tyler, to middle school. Brielle, home with mommy, on to all of our daily activities. Many parents express concerns about their children getting enough socialization. I worry about this about....0% for Brielle.
As for this past summer, it was our first time in probably 7 years in (out of the 14 we’ve lived in Clarksville) that we did not get a pool pass. It turned out that this summer was a consistent 10 degrees hotter on a daily basis than last year. It was all fine though. We went during the ½ off times and took 3 or 4 trips to Tiebreakers during their ½ off hours of the day. We also went bowling (for almost free) all summer, and really all of that has given us opportunities to be well-rounded. Brielle loved everything about summer. As often as she could, she would run to the back yard to swing or jump on the trampoline. She has never once complained of the heat or mosquitos. Every evening she likes to ride her bike around the block. She loved anything water and put her all into whatever the idea was (especially if there were older children showing her "how to"). Just yesterday, she was insanely diving onto the slip-n-slid! Daring girl!
Next year, I plan to sign up Tyler for acting classes at the Roxy. I’ve always wanted to, but never wanted to make the time commitment. I’m going to have to force myself next year though, because he is just too much of a character to hold back. Josh has spent most of his summer playing basket ball in his free time. He made a few friends at the basketball camp through his high school and they have been playing quite a bit in front of the house. It’s very hot, so the fact that they still go out there impresses me.
We had a great time at the Myrtle Beach. Our hotel really was only $31 a night (insane, I know). It was small and faced the city, but really it wasn’t bad. We had many great days at the beach and we all loved it. We were blessed to have family & friends that met us down there. Those were great times! The hotel (Westgate) was clean and friendly and even though it was right in the heart of downtown MB, we didn’t feel overwhelmed most of the time. However, maybe our next vacation will be on a more secluded beach…on a less inhabited island?
I like my parents’ idea of driving to Colorado too!
We made two trip to Arkansas after we came back from South Carolina. The first was pre-planned and we went there to visit. My dad’s brother and sister had passed away while we were in SC. The following weekend we went back to AR for my uncle’s memorial service.
Arkansas is so beautiful this time of year. I’ll post some of the pictures I took while there.
We are playing softball again this season. I refer to it as the most fun/frustrating thing that Will and I are doing together right now. But, hey! We haven’t started on our kitchen floors yet!
Have a great rest of the "summer"!!!!!!!!!!!!

(to the left: the kids on the country dirt road that my parents live down in Arkansas)