Running helps me

My depression and anxiety have been really annoying lately. I had a shaking anxiety attack that left me completely exhausted. My depression has been rather unkind in making me feel ‘not enough’ lately. It is tiring.

My running has taken a huge hit lately. I had intense hip pain that spread into my pubic bone. Stretching, ibuprofen, and Epsom salt baths were not helping at all. My runs were reduced to the minimum of 1 mile per day due to my reluctance to stop the running streak I started on Memorial Day. The runs became slow and were often more of a quick walk. Running is my outlet for my days spent “momming.” I listen to music, pray, and/or sometimes just relish in the fact that I’m not in the heavy air of conflict (with 2 kids 18 months apart and a teenager).  The mile breaks weren’t enough. I physically needed the rest, but I also mentally needed the outlet.

I visited the chiropractor, who needed to adjust my hips and the left side of my pubic bone. My husband encouraged me to go to a fun run that involved a visit to a brewery afterward for a social. I guess I’m a little insufferable when husband says: “get out of here awhile.” I went and planned to plod through my mile, and go have a beer and chat with other people who enjoy running that I don’t see as often as I used to.

I met up with people I hadn’t run with in awhile and they were doing run/walk intervals. I had such a good time talking to them and spending time out on the trail, I went 3 miles with just a little soreness and not the same pain I’d been having. It was a relief. Then, I got to talk to even more people after at the social. I actually stayed awhile and really enjoyed myself catching up with people and talking.

I had one more adjustment at the chiropractor to get the hip pain under control. I invited friends to join me at a pop up yoga class at a local brewery Saturday morning. The yoga instructor worked on hips at the request of a few people including me. It wound up being hot yoga because it was already in the 80’s and humid at 10 am. I think the session really helped my hips.

This weekend, I intended to knock out some miles to ensure I’d be ready for the 4th of July race that is 5 miles. Saturday night, my stomach wouldn’t behave and I had to stop in at my house at 3/4 of a mile to use the restroom. I made it another 3/4 of a mile before I had to go back home for the same reason. Sunday, I planned a visit to the gym. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with my plans. I took a nap and didn’t wake up until the evening when it was time to leave for our 5 pm service at church. While we were at church, a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped dramatically. After dinner, I was able to change into running gear and head out on a 3 mile run. It was still hot. The humidity was still there. I enjoyed it, though. I felt myself going faster than I had been. I glanced at my watch and saw the distance just pass by. I stopped running at the 3 mile mark and walked the remaining 1/2 mile home as a cool down. I took it all in. Finally. I got a run in.

I was exhausted after I did my hip exercises and stretches. I sat on the floor in my room and drank my electrolytes and played on my phone instead of hopping up to take a shower. It was tiring, after all.


Almost a grin. I’m pleased with myself.

My running doesn’t miraculously heal my depression or my anxiety. I’ll admit that I’ve wanted it to. I thought if I could just go further, faster, or better that I’d be healed. While that’s not the case for me, it dramatically reduces the intensity of the symptoms.


I wanted to go 3, but was happy with my 1.5 miles.

Do you feel like fitness helps you in another aspect of your life? Does it help your mental health?

Thanks for reading! I try to come back weekly with updates for you.


This past Saturday, I ran the 45th annual Steamboat Classic in Peoria, Illinois. While I’d signed up for the 15 k race a few months ago and worked hard to get myself up to the over 9 miles that the race would require of me, I dropped to the 4 mile race when I went to packet pickup. I didn’t take the decision lightly. There was already a heat advisory for the weekend when I ran 3 miles on the Wednesday prior to the race. The humidity was oppressive for each of my runs leading up to the Friday pickup. I checked with my [best] friend, Liz who would be running the race with me, and we agreed that 4 miles was just a better idea since she hadn’t trained for the distance and I wanted to be healthy for my fall half marathons instead of nursing injuries (again). What also helped was that my 4 mile best time was pretty close to my 5 mile time on Athlinks because last year’s Steamboat was tough on the injury I’d been nursing. I knew I could beat that 4 mile time, but my best 15k comes from 2016, which was the year I was in the best shape of my life.

At packet pickup, I asked to join the Athena class for female athletes over 180 lbs. I hopped on the scale and pushed that baby close to the 200 lbs mark. I didn’t try to cover it up from those waiting in line behind the scale. I didn’t insist I take my shoes off. I wasn’t surprised by my weight, either. Prior to my injury, I’d weighed 170 lbs. At the end of 2017, I was tipping the scales closer to 215 lbs. It was so hard to be heavy and to get motivated to try hard again. I’ve worked to lose over 20 lbs over the last 6 months and I’m still working hard at it. I gave it a lot of thought over the weekend and even discussed with my best friend about how there is a difference between saying that I’m proud of my weight and accepting it for what it is. I’m disappointed that it got so far. I wish I was the same size I was when I was 150 lbs and trying to lose weight. I wasn’t strong then. I didn’t run. I smoked cigarettes and I ate crappy food. There is no pride in the sizes that I have been no matter how small or large. The size I am right now, I’ve worked to get to and I continue to work to be a healthier, stronger woman. It’s what I have and I’m working with it. I will always be a work in progress and I’ve accepted that. I’m currently on a 1 mile or more a day streak and it is helping me stay active when I don’t want to be.


Liz and I post run

I ran a 4 mile race. For the first time in a race we’ve done together I told Liz to slow down at the start of a race and hold a pace and I kept reminding us to hold it. I tried to keep up conversation even when the heat was taking its toll on our bodies. I also felt good about the race, though. I wasn’t slowing down. I checked the statistics from the timing mats. Liz and I moved ahead of 144 people from the 1 mile mark to the finish. We held our pace knowing that it wasn’t a day for negative splits or a PR.


The look on my face says it all…

At the finish line, a tall woman ran ahead of me. A silent agreement between Liz and I had us separating at points if we needed to during races we’ve run together. I took off assuming she might be part of the Athena class and that I’d need to beat her if I wanted to get an award. All the way up through the finish, it was a race. She came in 2 strides ahead of me and I was pissed when I saw that I was 2nd in the Athena class. I was so mad at myself that I didn’t pull those couple of strides out of my pocket and come in ahead. Later on, Liz would pull up the finish line photos and the stats on the Athena class winner. The 1st place Athena had come in 3 minutes prior to me. That woman I had such an intense race with had nothing to do with my 2nd place award. She also had started ahead of me, so her chip finish was a tiny bit after mine.


Athena Class award


So, I won an award that clearly says on it that I weighed more than 180 lbs when I won. It doesn’t have to mean I’m proud of my weight or that I’m promoting obesity. I’m aware of those people who say those things to heavy women. Although, I did carry that weight across 4 miles in some intense heat and I’m pretty sure some people lighter than me couldn’t do that. I actually got my best 4 mile time. Athena. It’s pretty cool if you think about it.

Time to train for my fall half marathons. The heat has been intense. I’m finally able to feel good in the hotter runs, though. It took me a couple of years to get faster after I started to run. I’ve been out of physical therapy for less than a year. I need to continue to have self discipline, but realize that progress is progress no matter how small. I hope I can run a 5 k in less than 29 minutes again one day. I hope I can weigh 25 or more lbs less one day. It doesn’t happen overnight and working toward it is something to be proud of.

Do you know where the title “Fra-gee-lee” came from? I won a “major award”, you know. There’s probably a movie reference there.

I love comments! Please let me know if you have something you want me to write about. Good luck on your journey!


So done. And so ready.

Summer is kind of stressful, guys and gals. Especially when there are kids in the mix. My oldest graduated high school [a year ahead of schedule] and my youngest two are going into 1st and 2nd grades. The oldest child found a puppy on the side of the road that was only 5 weeks old. Fortunately, she’s been okay to eat wet puppy food and she’s doing much better than when found. My 6 year old dog is not amused by this puppy and looks at her with contempt.


Having everyone home and the puppy was a little hectic. Then, the teenager had her tonsils taken out last week. Along with the puppy being around, things need constant attention by me around my household. This past week, I fell behind on my household chores a few times. The fact that I am a neat freak and prefer things to be clean adds stress to an already stressed mom.

I’m running a streak. Memorial Day to July 4th, I will run at least 1 deliberate mile each day. Sticking to it has been tough with finding the right time to get away to do the mile. Wednesday was the goal race for the 5k group I’ve been working with. I stood at the start with no real expectation about what I was going to do. Then, I noticed a couple of women I’d run with in the group going at a speed that was significantly faster than they’d been accustomed to going in practice. I took it upon myself to ensure they would finish the race and not wear themselves out in the first moments. It was hot and humid, but they finished and they ran the last bit into the finish. I overheard them talking about how I helped them and I was thinking about how they totally did it on their own and I was just there to see it happen. I’m glad they thought I helped, though.

Friday, I set out for a little over a mile and I wound up running 3 miles while it was 84 degrees out. I loved it. That’s so unusual for me to say because I tend to quickly overheat and become fatigued. It didn’t happen on this run. Saturday night, my youngest child (she’s 6) was being kind of a handful. I invited her to go run a mile with me. She came along and told me that we were actually jogging because we weren’t going very fast. She averaged about 12:50 pace for the entire time. I told her that we were taking it easy to be sure we could go the whole distance. She still mumbled that it was a jog.

Sunday, I set out to do 8-10 miles. I have a race this coming weekend that is 15 km, so the distance wasn’t really an issue because I’ve already trained for those miles. I tried to hang close to home because there was a chance for thunderstorms. Once, the rain drizzled overhead and I ran. Mostly, I was hot and sweat was just dripping off of me as I ran. I had hydration and nutrition with me and I refilled each of my two bottles during the run. I felt great and even energized despite the humidity and how hot it felt outside. On the last let of my run, I started to run up a street that runs behind my house. Suddenly, my headphones were making a horrible sound instead of music. It was the emergency signal on my phone saying there was a tornado warning and to seek shelter.  I turned around and cut through a neighbor’s yard to go home. I ended at 7.5 miles. A few minutes after I arrived at home, the sky opened up and it was pouring. Good thing I went home. There was no tornado in my immediate vicinity. I wish the best to those who experienced one, though. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been.


The stress remains, but I have felt good about running. I have my 15k this weekend, a 5 mile run on the 4th of July, and nothing else planned until my October half marathon (13.1 miles). I hope I can continue to have good experiences running in the heat of summer.

Do you use running to de-stress? Do you have any races on the calendar?

Thanks for reading! I love suggestions and comments.


Back in training

I spent little time training for more than 5k races since October, which was the Chicago Marathon. I’m even moving toward a ‘maybe someday’ for another marathon. I hadn’t pushed any further than 4 miles and that was fine because I didn’t have races on the calendar yet.

I’ve finally started upping my miles. The first instance was joining a relay team for the Illinois Marathon and I have slowly raised my long run mileage and pulled back when my body thought it was too much. I’m up to 8 miles now and it felt great. Except for the humidity that was absolutely oppressive, it was a good experience. I’m training for a 15 km race in mid June called the Steamboat Classic in Peoria, IL. The race brags that it is the toughest 15 k race due to some steep hills and the heat that normally accompanies the race. Since it it close to the Illinois River, the steam is always in attendance. The race is fun, though. I like the challenge. The people of Peoria come out and cheer on the runners. There are misting stations located along the course including some that residents have fashioned themselves with their garden hoses. The finish line has water misting and then a beer garden to go to! It feels like the thing to do to kick off my summer training for my fall race(s).

This year, I have 2 half marathons after Steamboat. October is Whiskeydaddle in Peoria, and November is Indy Monumental. I feel like I have to do Indy at least once since I missed out on doing my first marathon there a couple years ago. I’m excited to to both and to start training soon!

This weekend, I was talking to a fellow runner who is training for a 5 k race. She mentioned to me that she had read somewhere where a woman spoke of focusing more on what her body could do instead of how it looked. I thought it was funny that she brought up something I’ve said before and a great time to remind me of what I’d said. I started running distance because I wanted to show what my body was capable of even if it didn’t look how I wanted.

Yeah, that.

Are you training for anything? Do you have a favorite race? Have you ever goaded your best friend into running a 15 k with you? I did. Poor Liz.




So critical

Yesterday was amazing! Some running friends invited me to fill in for one of their marathon relay teammates at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. The weather was perfect for running. The people on my team were awesome!

Then, there was me. I’m still not back to being at the speed I wanted to be by now. I was running the last leg because it was the shortest distance of the relay, but I was going to kill their time by being so slow. I set my watch for intervals of 10 minutes running and 1 minute walking. The crowd was amazing! There were people lined along the route cheering. There were runners around me who were encouraging.

I kept having to tell myself that many of these people had run over 20 miles already that morning and I had so much less than that. I reassured myself that my teammates told me to run for fun and not worry about time. I looked at my watch as my pace slowed. I winced as my shins felt each foot strike on the ground. I stopped looking at my watch and started listening to the music coming through my headphones. I waved and smiled at each spectator as I passed them. I thanked people for encouragement. I got a little faster and felt a little more confidence. I followed my intervals and I finally met up with two of my teammates at mile 26 as we went to run into the the stadium together. At first, I didn’t feel like I could catch up with them a few steps ahead of me. We hit the turf for the field and the final stretch and I felt weightless running in. We finished together and got our medals. I even felt a renewed confidence that I could actually run another marathon one day despite my Chicago race. 

When I finally had a chance to look at the race photos, this one was in there:



I see every fat roll in my shirt, in my pants, and all of my chins. I see a fat person. I was sad and upset to see this version of me.

I had worked so hard in 2016 to accomplish my marathon goal and I’d been in amazing shape. I haven’t gotten that back since the injury and I want it badly. I feel completely drained most of the time. I showed the photo to my husband and told him that I hope this makes a good ‘before’ picture and that I don’t keep getting fatter. I honestly feel like I work harder than what shows on my body and trying isn’t good enough.

Things have been hard. I don’t want to look like this. I wish the effort I’d put into it was reflected on my appearance.

I’d like to be positive when I write here. Being under constant stress and feeling exhausted all of the time really shows on my body. I wish I had the answers that would make me not carry the weight of the depression and stress. I wish I wasn’t such a harsh critic of myself, but the truth is, I see and I judge myself more harshly than anyone else would think.

I am aware there isn’t a magic pill and I’m not looking for one. I’m not interested in buying the “latest and greatest” program. I’m not looking to buy anything.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that just floored you? Do you have comments or suggestions? Please let me know!



Certainly Uncertain

Certainly Uncertain

By Jenn M

Let me start by saying I started adding a “by line” to my posts because one of my fitness posts was translated into another language and posted to a website with no mention of my name. I went through the usual channels and had it removed, but I thought I’d make it more difficult to steal. Content creators know the feeling, I’m sure. This stuff takes time and thought, so seeing your name attached to it is its own reward.

Now, the reason I came to my blog today to chat with you. Things are never certain and that’s really the only thing that is for sure. I bought an outfit last year for triathlon training this year. I told everyone that was my next step after a marathon. It still could be the next thing I learn, but not this year. I’ve chosen to limit my races this year and avoiding burnout.

I swam some laps yesterday and it was difficult to get back into the groove of it. I should try to stay on top of my swimming so I can improve. I’m not sure I would have swam if nature hadn’t gone on vacation and turned off the sun. I haven’t wanted to run outside in the cold as often, but I have a poor relationship with the treadmill. I figured since I’d be at the gym for my kids to take swim lessons, I’d do laps while they learned. I’m glad I did it.

I’m still mad that the scale doesn’t move and I’m generally hungry and/or tired most days. I’m planning an overhaul of my nutrition yet again. I think I’ll need to work on my mental fortitude again. I do so well at controlling my eating when I’m training for a half marathon, so I should probably tell myself that I’m starting now for my October race. It is all about planning my meals for me. I get off track easily and I really like snacks that have chocolate in them. So when I stop for convenience, I pick up a dessert that I don’t really need. I am aware of these things. I know there’s no magic to be worked there. It is an attitude adjustment that I need. I tend to wax and wane with how I take care of myself.

My current goal is running in a marathon relay with a team at the end of this month. Wish me luck in running 1/4 of a marathon.

Thanks for reading! Do you have something that helps you stay on track? It could be a mantra or even a few words of wisdom. I like to remind myself not to quit because I hate starting over.

*Featured Image is my Garmin app. I had a goal to run 4 miles the other day. I got terribly bored after 3 treadmill miles, so I ran the rest on an indoor track. I still got my 4 in.





Any day now, warm

By : Jenn M

I’m not sure how many of you are having the same experience with spring this year, but it hasn’t actually ‘sprung’ from what I can tell. I glance out my window and see the bright sunshine reflecting off of the snow that fell most of Easter Fools Day or just April 1st for those who don’t partake in the holidays.

Friday, the weather was nice. The sun was shining and going outside didn’t require a heavy coat or gloves. Saturday was race day. This was to be my first 5k of the year and the goal race for the people I’ve been training with for the past 10 weeks. Saturday’s weather involved chilly wind gusts and occasional chilly rain showers with momentary peeks of sun to remind us to miss it when it went back behind the clouds. That’s the bad kind of tease, sun.


Under a dull, gray sky.

Prior to the race, I agreed to run with one of the people in the group. We both were congested. The weather and physical conditions weren’t ideal. We got warm enough during the run to each remove a layer that we’d started with.  My head got hot and I jammed my hat down the back of my shirt, which I have done in the past for practice runs, but this time, it was photographed. It looked just as weird as I thought it did. It is not a tumor.


I’m that hunchback to your left.

This was not my best race as far as time goes, but I actually had to push myself. The person I ran it with got 1st place in her age group, though. I got 3rd place in mine. I got a little trophy and warm fuzzies knowing that I saw many of the people I’d been running with over the past few weeks finish the race. *Spellcheck hates the word ‘fuzzies’ and has it underlined both times I’ve used it.

I got that first race out of the way and a week off before the next group starts. I  intend to try and develop a plan to work out on a more regular basis. I thought after last year’s cast and boot experience, I’d get right back to running once I was able. I did get back in to running, but the marathon left me a little less fond of it until I ran my streak over the holidays. I was doing so well with keeping up my activity. Things in life get in the way sometimes. My husband and I have experienced a lot of stress in parenting. My body seems to have a lingering cough. The desire to work out is there, but the ability has lessened. I have less time and less energy to expend. Depression struck me hard and I was further debilitated and less able to use fitness as a tool for healing.

I think I’m at a point where I can do something about feeling down, which is a step in the right direction. I am not fond of how my body looks or feels lately. I was in the holding pattern where I started to think that the effort wasn’t worth the payoff because I wasn’t seeing any results form my work. I realized that this isn’t how I’ve succeeded in the past. I’ve seen results when I’m focused on challenging myself to meet goals that don’t involve body measurements. That’s where I need to put my focus. The weather getting a little less gloomy and a little more warm could go a long way for many people. I’m kind of solar powered.

Do you feel less motivated when the weather has been gloomy for awhile? Have you run or signed up for your first race of 2018 yet? Would that help with your motivation?

I love comments, suggestions, and shares! If you’ve made a suggestion recently, I am still working on ideas for a couple of them for what I want to say. Thank you for reading!

Good stuff

The Good Stuff

by: Jenn M

My husband and I have been through some shit together. The past few years have proven to be challenging and we go about it the best we can. Rarely, we’ll argue and we go to bed completely pissed at one another. This doesn’t mean we don’t have spats of disagreement. Just that we don’t spend much time in conflict.

This year has been a nightmare compared to past years. We’ve encountered challenges with our teenager where most parents never imagine themselves. We have felt shame and guilt. There have been times where we feel divided. Our marriage has been hard work lately, but our love is so simple.

This past weekend, we traveled to St. Louis to go to a hockey game and visit with his family and some of our friends from back home (near St. Louis). We went to the fan store at the hockey game and got separated. He was in line to buy a shirt, so I just kept shopping around and looking at things. I saw the perfect headband for working out with a Blues’ team logo on it. I picked it up and fought the crowd to finally get to him. The people directly behind him smiled HUGE when they saw what was in my hand. Matt turned around and had the SAME thing in his hand. He said he saw it by the register and just knew I would want it. He was there to find himself some new gear and thought of me enough to pick up something I would have gotten for myself.


Love is in the moments

So, love comes in the moments. The small, seemingly insignificant moments where you realize that you’re in sync with another person and you acknowledge their desires. Even the “just because” gestures are meaningful.

We encourage each other. We support each other. We will not run races together because that man is much faster than me, but I’m okay with that.

I have a new headband to run with, so now if it would just get a little warmer or less windy on this first day of Spring….I’d like that.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share, comment, follow, or whatever you’d like. I love feedback!

Finally warm

Finally Warm

by: Jenn M

It was finally [temporarily] warm in the central US. I picked up groceries, rushed to put them away, and then tossed on short sleeves with short pants for running. I grabbed my headphones, checked weather for lightning alerts, and headed out for an outdoor run where I didn’t need gloves and ear warmers.

It was just as amazing as I’d imagined it was going to be once I started out. A little wind and some gray skies were nothing since I had 60 degrees in the lovely outdoors. I must have been feeling rather optimistic. I wore my Brooks Ghosts that I’ve been avoiding wearing in the snow because they’re such a vibrant pink color, I didn’t want to mess them up. After a few sinks into the mud from avoiding puddles, I accepted that they were just going to need a cleaning when I finished up. I headed to the trail head nearest my house and got on the path with no planned route.

I like when I don’t plan a route because it feels more like I’m playing than exercising. I can think of things I want to go see. The trail was interesting because all of the rain and the creek running along it had some pretty views. I stayed on the trail because I saw a few other people running along. I had some great tunes going and I was working on making negative splits when I completed mile 2. I thought of turning around and heading home, but the end of the trail was less than 1/4 mile ahead, so I kept going.

The clouds opened up and the rain started to pelt my face, chest, arms, and the bare parts of my legs. I took pause at the end of the trail and composed myself. Once I restarted, my pace was faster than it had been the rest of the run. I was panting, running into the wind and rain, and loving every moment of it.

I am in the throes of depression. Where most people just see that things are a little bad, I see nothing ahead. I have very little interest in planning for the future because I’m reluctant to think that way. It’s like driving in a white out. You know the road is there and you can see a few inches out in front, but you’re not sure you’re going to make it through or if stopping would actually be more dangerous. Either way, the outcome is not pleasant because you see both ending in calamity.

Today’s run was untangled a bit of the depression, I hope. Running helps me remember the me who is optimistic and encouraging. I hate depression and I have a hard time getting myself to do anything when I’m at my worst. Little victories…. they’re actually HUGE.

This is a snap of my friend’s cat, Kidden (the closest I have to my own) and he’s got the right idea here:


Expectation vs Preparation

Expectation vs Preparation

By: Jenn M.

I wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I carry an umbrella and even a reflective cone in my car “just in case.” I don’t expect that I’ll need it every time I have it. I just make sure that I’m prepared shall I need to be. I can’t really say I go through life thinking about when the next time I’ll need my seat belt, umbrella, or emergency road gear.

I don’t go through life expecting things to go awry. I’ve been struggling with running off and on since the marathon. Streaking helped for a while. That is, until I got sick and things started to just deteriorate noticeably in my life.

The usual wave of depression came over me as the colder weather settled in and outdoor enjoyment became more limited. I hadn’t been finding joy in many of the things I normally would. I started feeling more and more isolated and in turn, began to isolate myself. I’ve often felt that it insulated me from the blows of other people and their negative opinions of me. That was just what was happening internally.

I’m a mom. I have 3 kids and they are 17, 7, and (almost) 6. My 17-year-old has always been a challenge and I’ve often felt the weight of that challenge on my heart. We’ve had our moments where her good and moral self shines through. Often, we’ve seen the part of her that does things that are dishonest, sneaky, and not in line with the values of our family. While we were giving her more individual freedom, she was taking that and using it to connect with people who didn’t care for her well-being. We had multiple encounters with police and even had her run away from home a couple of times. This has all been going on over the course of the last month. Much of it has spilled over to the point that many people around us are aware of the situation and the details. She’s finally getting help, but this is also a long and bumpy road in itself. The rest of life doesn’t stop to help correct one difficulty. It just keeps going on and all of it just keeps coming. I still have other kids to care for with my husband. My husband and I still have to take care of each other. We both have responsibilities that haven’t lessened as our piles get bigger.

My younger two kids have been impacted by all of this. My son has let us know that he doesn’t want to leave home. He assumed that her absence was our doing as a result of her misbehavior they’d frequently witnessed over the last year. My younger daughter has complained about not liking school and used some techniques similar to the older daughter when trying to get her way. She once threatened that if made to get ready for bed without watching TV as she’d wanted, that she wouldn’t go to school the next day.

I was never expecting things to become so difficult and so challenging. I’d always thought that I was prepared for the worst case, though. If I’d lived my life constantly expecting her to blow up in my face, it still would have happened. I just would have gotten in my own way in feeling the joys of the moments between. The moments when all three of my kids were playing together or watching a movie at the same time would have been filled with the anticipation that something would go awry.

I’m prepared to continue to love all of my children unconditionally. I’m also prepared for tough love when needed. I expect bumps in the road, but I’m not going to say that I either expect things to rapidly change or to stay the same. I simply must be prepared either way while not dwelling on the possibilities.

I find it absolutely heart breaking that there are people out there willing to exploit this situation to put me down or to make themselves feel superior. This is my journey and you are not on it.

My daughter has her own journey and her own heart to deal with and I can only hope that she uses some of the will she has in her to do well for herself in life. Each of my kids will blaze his or her own trail and I’m here for a short time to do what I can.

My chalkboard quote for now is simple, but encompasses all of 1 Corinthians 13 from the bible: