Reclaiming What’s Mine

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Toady I took back my run. If you had asked me a year ago what I loved, I would have said “I love to run,” without hesitation, but I lost that. I lost my run. I could run, but I just didn’t want to. I guess you could call it my mojo, but why?

You see, 288 days ago, I ran a marathon & it stole my love of running. I trained… I ran… I ran a lot… and I burned myself out. For the past 9 months, I’ve tried to run. I’ve gone fast, slow, and everywhere in between but it just didn’t work. I had no idea what it would take to get my run back. Maybe I would just quit being a runner.

So much of what I have been over the last 7 years has been partially defined by calling myself a runner. Could I really be OK with changing that? Could I just quit? Would I have to put away the medals, the running bibs, the car magnets? No. I just couldn’t do it, so…

I went. No expectations. No time or
distance. I ran. I stopped to enjoy the world around me. I high-fived tree leaves, I took in the beauty around me, I listened to my body, I may have even shed a few tears (sometimes I cry when I run… the sun makes my eyes water). I ran, uphill, downhill, I even spread my wings, kicked up my heels and ran fast downhill and closed my eyes for just a second. And I felt alive.

When all was said and done, I knew I was back. How far & how fast didn’t matter. All I could think about was when I would run next. (Those of you who are runners understand.) I am a runner. See you on the road.

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I Resolve

 

So, we’ve all done it…made a New Year’s Resolution.  I decided, why not make a summer resolution.  It’s a time when we try new things & live with a more carefree attitude.  So, here goes:

  • Make or do something beautiful every day…art, jewelry, a kind word

  • Appreciate the world around me more…the sky, the earth, my surroundings

  • Run! It’s free, it’s fun, it’s good for me & I can do it!

  • Give time to the people who matter most to me…Nattas, Kevin, Mom…etc.

  • Be outside…the world is here for us to enjoy, so why not.  Sit on the porch, weed the garden, jump on the trampoline, lay in the hammock, dance in the rain.

  • Find beauty in everything, even a long run at the gym on the treadmill.

  • Eat good food & don’t feel guilty.

  • Do more yoga.

This life is here to be enjoyed…so kick up your heels & enjoy it!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

A Year in Pictures…365 Days of Tree Poses (the 1st month)

I began this year with a project in mind…my goal was to do something fun, but different.  I had seen a post about taking a picture a day for 365 days.  It caught my attention, but it couldn’t be just that.  My project had to be different…go figure.  I decided I would do a yoga tree pose every day for all of 2014.  I knew I would need some help with this, so I recruited Kevin to be my photographer (some days I set the timer, but for most, he’s my guy).  I started out with a bang by climbing the tree…something I haven’t done in a VERY long time, but at Kevin’s suggestion, I went for it.  It was fun & invigorating and I couldn’t wait for day 2.  Here’s where I’ve gone so far.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 1 of 365…tree in a tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 2 of 365…upside down tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 3 of 365…tree in the snow

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 4 of 365…tree on the frozen fishpond

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 5 of 365…tree in the rainy street

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 6 of 365…family tree

Day 7 of 365...tree silhouetteDay 7 of 365…tree silhouette

Day 8 of 365...real life treeDay 8 of 365…real life tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 9 of 365…trees at the gym with friends

Day 10 of 365...it's Friday night at 650 & I'm in my pajamas treeDay 10 of 365…it’s Friday night at 6:50 & I’m in my pajamas tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 11 of 365…one rockin’ tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 12 of 365…rooftop garden tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 13 of 365…tree frog tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 14 of 365…pineapple tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 15 of 365…ǝǝɹʇ

Day 16 of 365...snowy night treeDay 16 of 365…snowy night tree

Day 17 of 365...first grade treesDay 17 of 365…first grade trees

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 18 of 365…on the couch with my dog tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 19 of 365…poet-tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 20 of 365…Kelly & Kevin standing like a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 21 of 365…beautiful snowy morning tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 22 of 365…trampoline tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 23 of 365…tree in a pot

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 24 of 365…Happy Birthday to Mamaw tree (I love & miss you.)

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 25 of 365…outstanding in my field tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 26 of 365…sunset tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 27 of 365…tea tree oil

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 28 of 365…cottonwood tree

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 29 of 365…pea tree dish

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 30 of 365…tree stump

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 31 of 365…tree hugger

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 32 of 365…tree of love

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERADay 33 of 365…post-rainy run tree

When I began, I had no idea where this project would take me.  I have had people talk to me about these pictures which are fairly ordinary nearly every day for the past month.  I thought I was just having fun & maybe a few people would get some enjoyment or a laugh out of it, but I have a feeling it is much more than that.  If I can inspire just one person to try something new & different, then this has been a success.  Some days are ordinary & some days, my heart is so full I can’t even explain.  I’ll continue to make like a tree & please continue to enjoy it.

Can’t wait for more trees…here’s a link to my Facebook album where I’m adding a picture a day: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202999787744683.1073741834.1504154175&type=1&l=5b396f1966

The 32nd Year

So…I’m 33.  

I began to think about this past year & all the new that has come with the 32nd year.  There’s been a lot.

In November, I ate my last Thanksgiving turkey, followed by a vow to go vegan.  As the year has progressed, I have found myself more & more committed to my vegan cause.  It began as a health crusade & has become more of a moral issue now.  Do I miss meat…NO!…but cheese is another story.  I have learned so much this past year about what goes into my body.  I feel so much better physically & mentally.  So this year…Tofurky.

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Running…I ran my 1st 10K at the end of October which I followed with an insane year of running.  From last October to now, I  have run six 5K’s,  two 10K’s, a mini-marathon & just 3 days ago, I ran 16 miles just to test my limits.  Running has brought me new freedom & new friends…especially this past year. 

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I have 2 new jobs that I started this past year.  With both jobs, I am able to do what I love & surround myself with awesome people.  I have new friends & new opportunities for the future.

So, to the 33rd year I say…Bring it on!!!  I have the best family & friends I could ask for.  Every year is better than the last.

At 32, I just lost my 3rd grandparent.  I have come to realize that with each, my grief has felt different.  Why?  I love them all…not one more than the other, so what makes my feelings different as I have lost each of them?

 

 

grandmakristagrandpaFirst was Grandma.  I was just 17.  It was a crushing kind of hurt that I’d never experienced.  I felt a physical pain.  I couldn’t sleep, didn’t want to eat…my entire system was in chaos.  I cried, at random times.  There didn’t have to be a trigger, just a sudden & overwhelming need to cry.  Grandma died suddenly & unexpectedly the day after Thanksgiving.  My memories are still quite clear…I can still feel her warmth & will always hold that close.

 

 

 

Culp photos (101)The next loss was Mamaw.    I was 29.  I was probably closer to her than any of the others, mostly because she made sure to know everything about everyone.  We saw each other often.  She was blunt & honest & felt everything deeply.  Mamaw was funny even when she didn’t mean to be, and she usually didn’t mean to be.  She would laugh with you at herself.  We watched her health waiver for years.  That last time I saw her in the hospital, I was sure I would see her again.  That was it.  I was stunned by the call in the middle of the night.  I didn’t expect it but I should have.  Perhaps that was the denial that comes with grief.  I just felt it in the very beginning.  I still cry when I look at pictures or think of how she would respond to things.  I know how she would worry…about all of us.

 

Nattas and PapawJust a week ago, Papaw let go.  I have to believe it was his choice, because he never would have gone if he weren’t ready.  He’s always been there…the reliable one…dependable to a fault.  For a few months, maybe longer, his health has gotten progressively worse.  He didn’t let on until he couldn’t hide it any longer.  His breathing was labored…he didn’t leave home as much & finally stopped coming to church.  The first Sunday, I figured he just didn’t feel well & then he still didn’t come the next week or the next.  He never came back.  His seat was still there, just in case.  I made sure of it.  It was there last week & as long as it’s next to me, it will be saved.  I know he isn’t coming back, but it’s his seat.  He trained Mom to mow the yard & use the mower.  This was a big deal.  He slowly let go of his usual things.  The last few months were the worst…hospital, nursing home, his apartment.  He just didn’t seem comfortable.  He needed to have someone there more often than not.  I knew that the end could come soon.  The last visit at the hospital, I told him I’d see him later…he said, “I hope so”…& I didn’t.  He was gone before I got to see him again.  I know that he knew I loved him.  Strange thing is the tears just aren’t coming.  I have my moments…like now, while I type this, but I don’t feel an overwhelming grief.  

 

So I sit here wondering…am I doing something wrong?  Is there a right way to grieve?  What’s different?  Maybe it’s me…the person I am is far different from that 17 year old who lost her first grandparent.  Even now, just 3 years after losing Mamaw…am I that much different?  Maybe I am, or maybe we grieve differently for everyone.  So I’ve decided that we all grieve…in our own ways…which can be very different.

Grief…Am I Doing Something Wrong?

Kale Yeah!

Kale…perhaps one of the greatest foods on the planet, so let’s talk about it.  It can be eaten a million different ways & it is soooo good & good for you.

Let’s start with the health benefits:

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat.
2. Kale is high in iron. 
3. Kale is high in Vitamin K.
4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants.
5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food.
6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. 
7. Kale is high in Vitamin A.
8. Kale is high in Vitamin C.
9. Kale is high in calcium.
10. Kale is a great detox food.

So maybe now you’re thinking…ok, but I don’t like kale. (If that’s the case, there might be something wrong with you.)  Here are some amazing ways to eat/drink kale.

1.  Drink it!  My favorite way to drink it is what I like to call a Reece Cup smoothie.  Throw all of this in the blender:

  • A bunch of kale: 2 or 3 or 4 handfuls
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Any other fruits or veggies you want to add (you probably won’t be able to taste them, but they add healthy fillers to give you a bigger, more filling drink)

2.  Have a salad.  Yes, kale is good raw & it’s really crunchy.  Here are some links to tasty kale salads:

      Kale and Cabbage Goddess Salad                       

3. Kale Chips…Kale Chips…Kale Chips!!!  They are delicious & satisfy the need for crunchy chips.  The recipe below looks yummy, but they are also good with just olive oil & sea salt.  

4. Hummus

Kale and Sundried Tomato Hummus on Grilled Sourdough

5. Kale Fried Rice

6. Throw it in a soup…this one’s a no brainer…just throw it in the soup.

7. Still not convinced…here’s a link to more recipes.

Top 10 Ways to Prepare Kale

Eat Kale!

Being Vegan is Delicious

When you hear the word vegan, some people automatically assume that means boring food.  So here are some of my favorite yummy foods to prove to you that being vegan is not only good for me & the planet, but it tastes good too!

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A quick & easy meal…Vegan Boca burger on wheat bread with romaine lettuce & avocado and a side of seasoned sweet potato fries.

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Garlic green beans, wheat berries with sea salt (a personal favorite) and roasted chickpeas (another personal favorite).

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Pizza!!!  A spinach crust with red onions, tomatoes, chickpeas, roasted red peppers & green olives.

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Salad with everything I can fit on the plate topped with a crumbled tofu marinated in lemon juice & finished off with my homemade salad dressing.

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Homemade whole wheat spinach tortillas topped with black beans & brown rice, tomatoes, black olives & avocado.

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Mulit-grain wrap with a black bean spread, diced tomatoes & avocado.

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Green split pea soup & an almond butter sandwich…not much to look at, but tastes yummy.

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Sweet potato, quinoa, kale salad.

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Edamame with kale fried rice.