Me and the old time-clock have not been the best of friends lately, but I promise that I really am going to post all of our Spring Break pictures soon. (This shot was from our first night, staying in a treehouse.)
Oh, and I'm totally going to post those photos I took in Greece as well. (Come on, that was only 6 months ago.)
And I just wanted to mention that due to my schedule and some of the stuff that is going on in our family right now that I am only teaching my in-person photography class once in 2011.
I'll be teaching it at She Scrapbooks on Saturday, May 21st in The Villages, Florida. (352-259-6226)
It's going to be a full, 10+ hour day (and for those of you who have taken the workshop before, you know that I'll most definitely exceed 10 hours) but if you want to better understand photography, I think you'll find its 10+ hours well spent.
And the best news is that I have no place to be on Sunday so I plan on hanging out at She Scrapbooks until every question has been answered.
OnMonday night I spent the evening with Cole and Courtney. We grabbed coffee, listened to a great podcast from Andy Stanley and went out for Mexican food. They haven't been getting along very well so once we sat down, I said, "I want you guys to think for a few minutes about the things you like about one another and then I want you to share them." Cole sunk down in his chair, sighed loudly and said, "It's going to take a long time for me to think of something I like about her." Courtney perked up in her chair, looked Cole directly in the eyes and and immediately said, "I love it when you stick up for me at school when someone is picking on me - it makes me feel really good." Upon hearing that, Coley sat up in his chair with a slightly embarrassed smile on his face and said, "I love that anytime I'm bored, you can always think of something really fun and creative for us to do." And much to my surprise, they continued on, just like that, for the rest of dinner.
OnTuesday night, I went to Bible Study and Josh stayed home with the kids.
On Wednesday, Josh came home from work to find me cooking spaghetti, all in a tizzy over some Ross-related stuff. 30 minutes later, we were in a quiet argument over the same Ross-related stuff so I left him to finish cooking dinner on his own and headed to my mom's house to talk to her about the same Ross-related stuff. Then I waited in the parking lot of Ross's work until his shift got over at 8:00 p.m. so he and I could hash out all the Ross-related stuff.
On Thursday, Courtney Lee stayed home with me because she had woken up in the middle of the night puking. She was fine by morning but I kept her home with me anyhow and in between work, she and I had a really great talk. That evening, we took the kids to dinner and dropped Courtney off at her Grandma Jo's (because they were heading out of town together for the weekend.) That evening, Josh and I sat on the couch and took the time to work through all the Ross-related stuff we had argued about the night before. Unfortunately, we tried to tackle another hard topic after that (since we had so successfully dealt with the first one) but that one didn't end as well.
On Friday, my mom asked if she could take Cole and Annie for the night. Withing minutes of discovering we were going to be kid-less for the evening, I called Josh Downs to see if he wanted to go to dinner. A few hours later, he emailed, saying that I needed to pack an overnight bag and by 5:00 p.m., we were on the road, driving just 15 miles away from home to have dinner and stay the night in Ashland (at the Columbia Hotel which is an adorable, old hotel where you can get a cheap, clean room if you're willing to forgo your own restroom.) We ended up all over the place, eating appetizers and having drinks at various restaurants and bars, having long conversations with store owners, bartenders and hotel managers/aspiring artists. Mostly though, we just talked to each other; small-talk, deep conversations and everything in between.
I wish I could say it was an abnormal week but it wasn't. Josh and I disagreed more than we normally do but quite honestly, our everyday lives are typically filled with ups & downs just like this.
The problem with 'everyday life' though is that it can quietly unravel relationships until they bare little resemblance to what they once were, giving little hope for what they could be in the future.
And I just happen to think that insurance is the only thing that prevents that insidious unraveling...
Monday night with Cole & Courtney=insurance.
Tuesday night studying God's word=insurance.
Wednesday night hashing out hard stuff with Ross=insurance.
Thursday talking with Courtney and Thursday night talking with Josh=insurance.
Friday night in Ashland with Josh=insurance + fun.
19 years ago today I was just 19 myself, standing in a shower, crying, about 20 hours into a 29 hour delivery, irrationally pleading with my mother to sneak me out of the hospital. (And if you knew my mother, you'd know that she was irrationally, but seriously thinking of a way to do just that.)
Happy Birthday Roscoe-T, I'm glad I stuck around at the hospital long enough to have you.
I ran the Pear Blossom last weekend. (That shot was taken about 50 feet from the finish line.)
I'd actually never run a race before. In fact, prior to last Saturday, I'd never even ran 10 miles before. (The furthest I'd run while training for the race was eight miles.)
I only had two goals for the race though:
1. To finish in under two hours.
2. To finish without stopping/walking.
I got off to a rocky start and was actually the very last person to get out of the starting gate (because there was a really long line at the Port-a-Potties and because I couldn't get my earphone cords untangled), but once I got going, I settled into a really good pace.
1 hour and 37 minutes later (23 minutes faster than my goal), I crossed the finish line without stopping/walking. (That put me at 914th out of 1,580 people and 69th amongst 137 women ages 35-39.)
And though that might make me a 'C' average runner...it never felt so good to be so average.
As silly as it sounds, this whole thing was kind of emotional for me.
The last 10 months have been hard. And though I see the value in the struggle, it's still been hard. And because of that, each one of those ten miles felt symbolic.
I remember back in July, listening to an acquaintance from Bible study talk about a triathlon she was training for. (Note the other big obstacle I purposely chose to put in my path; joining a women's Bible study which forced me to hold conversations in which I couldn't use my knowledge of photography or dental hygiene to disguise my social awkwardness.) My pulse immediately quickened listening to her talk about it, wishing that I were the kind of person that could do a triathlon. A couple weeks later, that thought was still in my mind.
And then it occurred to me that I could do a triathlon. (Mind you that while I eat pretty healthy, I've never been able to stick with an exercise program.)
The first day I started training, I went down to run the track at an elementary school by our house with the goal of running one mile without stopping. After running four laps, I stopped. My lungs were on fire, my legs felt wobbly and I could feel tears coming on because it all felt so unobtainable.
For some reason though, I decided to stick with it (even after the discouraging realization that a mile was actually five laps around the track by our house.)
The first time I ran three miles around that same track, I called Josh Downs while still trying to catch my breath and made him guess how many miles I had run. He unfortunately guessed four and I unfortunately got mad because he should have known to err on the low side, but when I hung up the phone, I could feel tears coming on because for the first time, it felt obtainable. (Yes, I cry easily.)
Then I got a bike. Nothing fancy enough to make a true street-biker jealous. Just something that was lighter than my 12 year old mountain bike but still practical enough for riding on trails with kids.
And then I joined the YMCA where a sweet but strict old women tried to teach me to how to freestyle swim.
I started off loving the biking, tolerating the running and hating the swimming.
Now, I love the running, like the biking and choke/gasp like someone on the verge of drowning during the swimming.
Thankfully, I've still got four months before the triathlon though.
And though I'm feeling a little let down by the laws of the universe that would allow someone who can run ten miles to still have a muffin-top and sausage-legs (albeit, slightly reduced-fat sausage-legs), I feel good.
And while the struggle has been (and still is) painful, I feel like I'm beginning to develop an understanding and a deep admiration for it in every detail of my life.
And at the risk of sounding annoyingly and unsuccessfully philosophical...I'm beginning to realize that there's a beauty that comes out of the struggle that could never be had otherwise.