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: