See ya 2013!

I always write an Old Year/New Year post, and it’s typically long, jumbled, and possibly somewhat boring, but it’s also my way of processing the old year, and welcoming what’s to come.  So, if you’re sitting at home, avoiding laundry and housework, and need a reprieve from the daily chaos, read on.  What follows is a wrap-up of random thoughts.  Here we go…

  • Sunday, as I was waiting for my hair color to work its magic, I transferred birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates from my 2013 calendars to my 2014 calendars (one of which I bought for half price because I waited until the last minute).  As I was carefully writing in the upcoming events, I thought about how wonderful it is that each January, we get the opportunity to reflect on the past year, and start all over with a new year.  I don’t really make resolutions, but I do have a few goals.  I will share those at some random point in this blog.
  • 2013 was filled with both blessings and frustrations for us.  Health-wise, it was a tough year.  Last spring, I had the flu, and stomach bug, and then six weeks worth of eye infections.  The entire year I dealt with knee problems that resulted in surgery in August.  It isn’t completely healed, but I am hopeful that it will continue to get stronger, the pain will continue to lessen, and eventually I will return to my running routine in 2014.  Gary had to have hernia surgery, and Addison had (and continues to have) foot problems.  Because of changes to our health insurance (that are infuriating), my rates have doubled, AND we went from a $500 deductible to a $3000 deductible in 2014, so I pray for good health because we can’t afford to be sick.  We will limit trips to the doctor to dire emergencies, and suffer through all other illnesses.  We are educated, middle-class working people who can no longer afford to go to the doctor.  There’s something wrong with that.
  • Blessings…We added two members to our family in 2013!  Gary’s son Bryce was married to Krista in October.  It was an amazing weekend in Lake Tahoe.  Krista is a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and adventurous young woman, and we are thrilled to welcome her.  We also welcomed a new grandson in December.  Rhett Cail was born December 15, and we met him the following weekend.  He is a beautiful little boy just like his brother Layne and his cousin Gabe.

A Perfect Lake Tahoe Wedding

A Perfect Lake Tahoe Wedding

  • Rhett Wayne Cail December 15, 2013

    Rhett Wayne Cail
    December 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2013 was a year of travel for Gary and me.  We went to Virginia Beach, Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas, and Lake Tahoe, and we added some short trips to Indy, Northern Indiana, Louisville, and Nashville.  We are fortunate that our family has chosen great vacations spots in which to live.  We won’t be traveling as much in 2014, but are grateful for the experiences we had.  In our eleven years together, Gary and I have had some awesome trips.  Most included the girls, some were just the two of us.  I am so grateful that we enjoy being together and have had some great opportunities.  I look forward to many more!
  • We also added to our family by hosting an exchange student from Germany.  Benita was already in Tell City and a student at our high school.  She had been placed with a couple who had no kids at home, and was new to our town. Because they knew no one, they wouldn’t let Benita do anything with anyone.  The poor girl was miserable.  She came to stay with us in November, and has truly been a blessing.  We have learned a lot about Germany, have enjoyed lots of chocolate, and have loved getting to know this amazing girl who, at only 16, chose to move away from her family for a year to experience America.  She will be with us until the end of May, and I already dread telling her good-bye.  On the bright side, with any luck we will one day visit her in Germany.
Our day in Nashville

Our day in Nashville

  • Along with my knee issues came weight gain.  As of this morning, I am within one pound of my pre-exercise-running-Tabata-healthier-eating weight from 2009.  I knew I would gain weight when I had surgery and could not exercise for six weeks.  After four plus years of exercising four to seven days a week, it was inevitable.  But I also thought that once I jumped back into my workout routines, the pounds would melt away.  They didn’t.  Not. One. Pound.  Finally, when December hit, I decided to not worry about it until after the holidays.  Given my love of baking – and eating what I bake – I knew it was pointless to try to shed weight during the best eating month of the year.  And so I gained another few pounds.  Right now, I am so disgusted with myself.  I worked so hard to get in shape and get to my ideal weight, and now I have to start all over.  My clothes don’t fit, I feel gross, and working out is hard.  Because I am so short, an extra eight pounds makes a huge difference.  I have two new dresses I can’t even wear until I lose the weight because they accentuate my belly flab.  Since they are winter dresses, I am going to have to make progress quickly.  Gary and I went grocery shopping Sunday and bought only healthy food.  I threw away the chocolate caramel cake that we left, gave away cookies, and refrained from baking more (even though I am dying to use my new Kitchenaid Mixer).  I have to get a grip.  I also hope to add more running to my routine because it seems to help me keep my weight down better than any other form of exercise.  I have been teaching five classes a week at the gym for the past two months, so I really haven’t had time to run as much as I like.  Enough on that – I will keep you posted.
I NEED TO RUN!

I NEED TO RUN!

  • Another goal for 2014 is to be more in the present.  I spend too much time on Facebook, and need to spend that time reading a book or chatting with my family.  I completely enjoy Facebook because many of my friends and family members live away, and it is a great way to keep up.  I love seeing their pictures, sharing my pictures, and being motivated by the fitness groups to which I belong.  But I love my family more.  I know it won’t be easy, but I will cut back on computer time, or at least spend some of that time keeping up with my blogs rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.
  • I want to get some bills paid off.  I am still working on my hospital bills from August, so that is my first goal.  I also have some added credit card debt from Christmas, so that’ll be next.  I am going to keep my checkbook balanced and stick with my budget.  We finally took a leap and got rid of our home phone, and I have looked for other ways to cut monthly bills.  I think I have scaled back all I can (without causing an uprise in our family).
  • I want to nurture friendships and gently let go of relationships that cause stress.  I value my friends, and would do anything for them.  I pride myself on being a good listener, keeping confidences, and being honest.  I expect the same in return.  I am blessed with some amazing friends, and hope I never disappoint them.  I have also learned that even at our age, there are still those who choose friends based on their social statuses, what benefits they will gain from those friendships, and how it looks to others.  I care about none of that.  I choose my friends based on their character, their sense of humor, and how they treat people.  And my life is so much better because of it!

Friends!

Friends who would stand in the pouring rain to support one another!

Friends who would stand in the pouring rain to support one another!

  • Life is a gigantic lesson, and I believe we need to keep on listening and learning until we take our last breaths.  While we need to know where we stand, we also need to listen because sometimes our opinions can change.  We need to be accepting of others, and gentle with our words.  We need to let go of relationships that are no longer healthy, and hang on tightly to those that matter.  We need to love everyone, but that doesn’t mean we have to like everyone.  But we need to make our own judgments and not judge others based upon what we hear – what ‘they’ say.
    Words to live by...

    Words to live by…

    We have to – and this is big – work to positively influence our youth.  We need to encourage them to work hard, to follow their dreams, and to know that character is just as important as intelligence.  We need to model being good citizens, talk to them about our world, and show them how to treat others.  Our children are reflections of us.  Teach them well.

Some of our influence actually worked!

Some of our influence actually worked!

I wish for all of you a happy, healthy 2014.  I hope to continue with my writing, and it would help me greatly if you would share this with your friends if you enjoy reading my random thoughts.  I would also like to add some followers.  Thanks for reading.  Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Bethany, Chris, Tamara, Krista, Bryce, Gary, Me, Addie

Bethany, Chris, Tamara, Krista, Bryce, Gary, Me, Addie

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Some Random Thoughts…

WARNING:  Random thoughts and possibly some stream of consciousness writing ahead!  Typically when I sit down to write a blog, I have some sort of plan.  I teach my students to pre-write; you have to have a plan!   Well, today I don’t have a plan, just some thoughts.  Here it goes…

First, I want to address my friend, Emily’s blog.  She became aware of a website on which people can anonymously post anything they want, including insults about anyone.  They can post the names of others, without having to post their own names.  Wow.  What guts it takes to sit at a computer bashing people, without attaching one’s own name to the post.  Why would any person with a conscience participate in such a forum?  Their lives must be rather pathetic if they fill their time by tearing others down.  I have never liked people who constantly criticize others, and who cannot be happy when someone is successful.  You know the type:  She thinks she is really something since she got that job.  She thinks she is so great since she lost weight.  He thinks he is better than everyone since he got that promotion.  How can they afford that big house?  Blah, blah, blah.

 Having been the topic of gossip in this town, I know it hurts.  It is easy to say we don’t care what others think, but deep down, those comments sting.  No one is perfect; we have all said or done things we aren’t particularly proud of, but gossips love to take those weaknesses and build elaborate stories.   I cannot sit here and say that I have never participated in gossip; that isn’t true.  What I can say is that I do my best to avoid it.  I know in the past there were some pretty nasty stories about me floating around, and that people said they knew it was true.  It wasn’t.  Though it was a difficult time, I learned many lessons.  Unless I have seen something myself, or have spoken with the subject of the gossip, I don’t believe much of anything.  I try to look deeper, and know that there are always two sides to every story.  And I know that it usually isn’t really any of my business.  We are all curious, but spreading rumors, trashing others, and accepting gossip as gospel is wrong.  Give others a chance.  Everyone has a story; everyone has struggles; and everyone deserves your compassion.

Emily will learn that she has so many friends and supporters, and that those anonymous people who  post negativity likely have very few friends.  Who would want them as friends?  It is hard to not get caught up in the ‘talk’; we want to defend ourselves.  Recently, I have had someone telling our mutual friends a lie about something I said (she twisted my words to her benefit).  While my instinct is to be sure to tell everyone it is simply not true, I don’t want to lower myself to that level.  I would hope that those who know me know better, so I am taking the high road (and it’s hard!).  Will I ever trust that individual again?  Absolutely not.  Okay, enough of that.

Fitness…I am barely running, and it is not going well.  I began physical therapy this week.  I have only had one session, so I can’t really expect to feel a difference, though it would have been nice.  In an odd way, I rather enjoyed the therapy.  Despite the bruises on my leg, I can’t wait to go back for more.  As the therapist was assessing my knee issues, she could come up with no reason for my pain.  Absolutely nothing hurts except running.  I can do Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, jumping jacks, and box jumps.  I just cannot run without pain.  She pushed and prodded, and kept asking if it hurt.  Nope.  I believe she was puzzled.

The best thing about my visit was that the therapist told me to try running.  She wants to see if the therapy is working.  Always one to follow orders, I hit the track with our Biggest Loser team last night.  We did ten stair laps, then took off to run or walk two miles, each at our own pace.  My friend Breanne and I took off together.  My knee began to hurt by the time I’d run a half lap.  Crap.  I went ahead and ran a lap, and then walked.  We continued alternating walking and running, and my knee continued to hurt.  By the time Gary, Addison, and I arrived home, it really hurt.  I have this fear that running might no longer be in my future.  I am fortunate (and keep reminding myself of this) that I can do everything else.  I am still able to work out, and I can still teach my classes.  I have taken this ‘opportunity’ to try new classes, and have found that I like Pilates.  It is difficult, and I feel wimpy, but I will get stronger, and hopefully gain some balance.  One bright spot last night was when Addison ran.  We have been trying to get her interested in running for four years, and she is finally showing some interest.  I bought her some new neon yellow running shoes yesterday, and she tried them out last night.  She ran a mile at a 9:48 pace, which is excellent.  She wants to try some races, and I desperately want to run with her.

I have rambled long enough.  I will leave you with some things to think about today:

  • Rather than bring others down, lift them up!  Give at least three compliments today.  I bet you will feel better!
  • Don’t believe the gossip.  And if you know it’s true, don’t judge.  You don’t know their stories.
  • Get active!  If you focus on improving your own health, you won’t have time to worry about others’ lives.
  • Likewise, if you feel good about yourself, you will want others to have that same feeling.
  • DON’T EVER PARTICIPATE IN AN ANONYMOUS FORUM!  If you have something important to say, put your name with it.  Address the person directly rather than online.  This goes for Facebook, too.
  • Have an outstanding day!

Who is your mentor?

The other morning, I happened to catch a view minutes of The View.  Sometimes that show gets on my nerves because they all talk at the same time, but on Monday, each of the hosts had a segment about her mentor.  Shari’s was a spiritual mentor, the minister of her church.  Whoopi’s mentor was a director/producer who helped her get started in the business by introducing her to the right folks, and by casting her in movies.

As I listened, I began to consider whom I considered to be my mentor.  I couldn’t come up with just one name because I feel that I have different mentors for different purposes.  The first person who came to mind was Donna Fenn, a dear friend of mine who died about five years ago from cancer.  Donna was an amazing lady.  She was an incredible teacher, a down-to-earth friend, and someone who made me laugh hard and often.  She is one of the reasons I became a teacher.  My two older daughters were blessed to have Donna as a teacher, and I was fortunate enough to spend time in her classroom, both with my girls, and as an observer when I was working on my teaching degree.  I couldn’t wait to have a classroom and to be able to teach with Donna.  Unfortunately, that never happened.  Donna’s cancer was aggressive, and in much too short a time, took her life.  Her death was truly tragic because she had so much to give and brought such light into our world.  I have missed Donna every day.  I miss watching her with my girls; I miss going to church with her; I miss her laughter when she did something silly; I miss learning from her.  Anytime something comes up at school that I struggle with, I wonder how Donna would have handled it.  I think about how she loved and nurtured children.  I strive every day to be just half as good as she was, and for that, I am a better teacher.  She helped shape the person I am today.

Two others whom I consider to be my mentors have also lost battles with cancer.  One was my Aunt Loretta, and the other was my Great Aunt Martyne.  These ladies were so very special.  They were the type who made me feel better about myself just by being around them.  When I went through hard times, they never judged me, they just continued to love me.  They both enjoyed life, and cherished their families.  I want to be the type of person who uplifts others.  I want to make those whom I come in contact with feel better about themselves after having spent time with me.  I really don’t know how to go about doing that; I hope it is a gift passed down to me by my dear aunts.

I also have running mentors.  My friend Kim is my ‘go-to’ girl for running advice.  She is the one who kept encouraging me to just get to that first mile.  She has been an amazing supporter, and I hope that I, too, can always give her the support she needs.  My boss and friend, Laura, was also a major influence in my early running.  I would whine to her that I would never be able to run very far, and she would tell me that she knew I would run a half marathon.  She was right.  Her belief in my ability helped carry me through when I didn’t really believe in myself.  My husband is an amazing running mentor.  Had he not first laced up his running shoes, I would never have taken my first step.  Seeing this man, who is 16 years my senior AND has an artificial knee, get out and start to run forced me to drop all of my excuses and give it a try.  There are times when running is so difficult for him it would be easy to just give up, but he keeps on getting out there, and that keeps me out there.  When I am feeling ultra whiny and wondering why I ever thought I could call myself a runner, I think about the effort Gary puts in, and I keep putting one foot in front of the other.  My running mentors, along with the girls who listen to me whine while running – Jackie, Kassi, and Jennifer – are so appreciated.  I probably don’t tell them that often enough, so hopefully they’re reading!

Doing the right thing.  It seems like an easy concept, but it isn’t always that easy, is it?  Sometimes we just get pissed, and doing the wrong thing is our natural reaction.  Sometimes we are tired, and doing the wrong thing is just easier.  Sometimes we just don’t like certain people, and THEY do the wrong thing, so why should we do the right thing?  I struggle with this (shocking, I know!).  So I happen to have a ‘do-the-right-thing’ mentor.  And I also happen to be married to him.  My husband has made me a better person.  He honestly lives his life by doing what is right, even when no one is looking.  He is the most selfless person I know.  He is always willing to help someone, even when it is most inconvenient.  When I have a decision to make, I know that I can count on him to lead me in the right direction, even when sometimes that means going the opposite way that my selfish self wants to go.  Gary does all of this, but not many people know about it.  One of the most impressive qualities about my husband is that he is always serving others, but wants no recognition for that service.  There are many people who help out their communities, but every time they do something good, they also have to have their pictures in the newspaper so everyone knows about it.  Not Gary.  He works behind the scenes.  He does it because it’s the right thing to do.

I cannot list my mentors without listing my sister.  I would consider her my faith mentor.  She is eleven years older than I, but rather than think that I was just an annoying little sister (which I was), she has always been so good to me.  She has been my biggest cheerleader, no matter what I have tried.  I have always said I could run a house of prostitution, and she would still say I ran the best one around.  My sister has amazing faith, and it has carried her through some dark times.  The strength she has through her faith in God is incredible, and has, in turn, made my faith stronger.  My sister is also the kindest person I know.  She is just genuinely sweet – though I have seen a little spunk in recent years.  I appreciate my sister and her love so much.  I hope that I have been able to show that love and support to her.  She is a great mom, aunt, and wife as well.  Much of who I am is because of who she is (Feel free to quote me on that !).

Who is your mentor?  Do you have that one person in your life who has influenced you, or are there many?  Who do you mentor?  I don’t know of anyone who would consider me a mentor, but I hope that I can make a difference in others’ lives.  I love my nieces and nephew dearly, and hope that in some small way, I have served as a role model to each of them.   I hope that Donna and my aunts knew how much they meant to me, and that Kim, Laura, Gary, and Bobbi know the influence they have had on my life.  I know that there will be other mentors as I continue on my journey.  I would love to have a writing mentor.  I secretly consider Kristen Armstrong to be a mentor, though I have never met her.  She is a runner, who has the perfect career of getting to write about her running and her faith.  I love her open, honest style of writing.  Maybe she’ll mentor me…

My Sister, Bobbi and I…

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