Restore Me

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What a year it has been! I spent the last year with BE ruminating in my mind. That was my word for 2018. I am so not into New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. But what I DO, is pray. Pray for a WORD, a word to focus on and to set me on fire. To fix my heart on intentions, meaning, and hope. Don’t get me wrong, though, I am not bashing on resolutions, and I think they work for many. I think sometimes we get so off course during a year that giving yourself a resolution is incredible! It creates a fierceness in you: a determined heart and a purpose. I am, however, about goals. The type that allows growth but is not over-reaching and unattainable, so that you set yourself up for failure. Pliable goals that move and flow over the year. Some quick and some that are going to require some hard work. Maybe repairing a relationship, running a 5k, picking up an old project you were frustrated with or picking up a discarded passion that you allowed to fall away for whatever reason.

Last year was the year of “BE,” and I have been put to the test. Two thousand eighteen was an unbelievable year! In 2017 we had decided to sell off, donate, bless others with our excess and pack up and move out of the country. We dedicated to a full year. The year brought so much growth, challenge, joy, change, and transformation to both G and I. It was pretty magical, and we learned a lot. We learned that things are indeed never in our control. Something that sometimes both of us struggle with, obviously, because we continue to be challenged on this. We were blessed in a multitude of ways that we never imagined. We learned to BE more present and trust more. We learned that being comfortable and BE-ing comfortable means entirely two different things. We learned to BE more gracious and more thankful. We learned that to BE content doesn’t mean materially or always easy. We learned to BE more patient and to navigate problems without allowing annoyance to slip it’s ugly fingers in.

Going into this year as I nestled down my heart to await my word, I was excited! I was also exhausted and frustrated. We knew the time G and I had spent apart due to his career was not working well. Although living abroad, he had a lot of travel to the States. More than we anticipated. We knew that my complete retreat from racing and triathlon was not working. Coming off of several years of constant competition and endorphins to “hammocking” was not feeding my soul and my inner fire.
I prayed for a few months for my word, and just like always, in the early, dark hours of the morning while lying in bed, it was there on my heart.

Restoration.

res·to·ra·tion
/ˌrestəˈrāSH(ə)n/Submit
noun
1.
the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.
synonyms: repair, repairing, fixing, mending, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation, rebuilding, reconstruction, overhaul, redevelopment, renovation; informal rehab
“the restoration of derelict housing.”

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This is always the part of the story that gets me excited because I never know where these words will lead. I always look forward to the transformation that they bring each year. I love that it gives me something to focus on and center myself on. Pray about and REALLY listen.

Restoration/Restore can mean a million different things. We do know we both love living abroad. We both agree that we are still dedicated to that. We are both wild-gypsy souls with an unquenchable amount of wild and wanderlust. We know that beyond the shadow of a doubt had we not decided to move, we would’ve regretted it later on. We are still happy we leaped when a lot of people would instead remain comfortable in their box. We know that no matter what, we will usually always take the road less traveled. We will never take things for granted and never say no to an opportunity. We won’t “live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” Travel, seeing other countries, visiting places in your own country, meeting people, exploring, eating foods that are questionable (HAHA) smelling, tasting and feeling the pulse of new areas, we think, intensifies the richness of your life. You realize how small you are on this vast globe. You learn a lot about adaptation and resilience. You learn there are a million paths to happiness, and none of them look the same.

img_3408So we start over. A new year. A new word. A further purpose. A fresh new love. New expectations and possibilities. New promises to lean in to. New vistas. With a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity and a fully open heart for RESTORATION, whatever that is going to look like. Ready to flip the flow (thanks Pastor Steven) Laying everything down for an inspired and passionate start line with a fresh eagerness and inquisitiveness for two thousand nineteen.

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Lost and Found

It’s a shame when I look back and realize that the last time I wrote on this blog was January. SERIOUSLY?  Ive slipped and let it go and I’m not overly thrilled about that. Although in my defense in the time between then and now I’ve trained, traveled, had our last baby graduate high school, had parties, had visitors, hiked mountains, packed and sold a house, unpacked, packed and sold a house again.  It’s been a roller coaster that seems to have an operator that allows you to keep riding even when you’re waving like a maniac to get off!

The last time we visited I was still steeping over the “patience” thing and thinking it was pretty….amusing that my word for the year was PATIENCE, because quite frankly that word is rarely used the vocabulary of my life.

Let me tell you what, God knew exactly what he was doing laying that word down on my heart.

When May rolled around and race season started to heat up, I flew to Pittsburgh (the city of my birth) to run the Pittsburgh Marathon with my cousin. It was one of the best I’ve done, from start to finish. I had the most incredible time visiting with my family. I just soaked in the love of it all. Imagine, crazy cousins and aunts laughing hysterically over nights of wine, dinners, painting and ball games.  I also ate some AMAZING food (HELLO Primanti’s) -Ok, I have to side bar here for a second about Primanti Brothers…can I just get a shout out for those sandwiches? I mean, the genius behind a sandwich with grilled meat, coleslaw with italian dressing,  and FRENCH FRIES (yes, on the sandwich) is mind blowing!! Ok, lets stop the drooling and get back on track. The race went excellent, but MAN, was it hilly!! It was a great celebration to do with my cousin, who had decided to get back into running after taking some time off while raising her babies. We ended up doing the 5K the day before (Saturday) and the marathon on Sunday to get our extra Runner of Steel medals! Who doesn’t love that extra bling?

In June I had the inaugural Ironman Coeur d’Alene 70.3. How could I not race the half-Ironman in my own city? It was an amazing day! Being on a hometown race course with so many people and friends was truly incredible. The race brought out seasoned racers, and newbie’s looking for that next challenge. It was motivating and encouraging being out there. I think every time I looked up, there was a friendly face. It was such a fun day and I learned that I really REALLY love that half-Ironman distance.

After Ironman, I went into a waiting period. I guess this was my season starting with patience. I went into a waiting period for the month that had consumed my entire mind and calendar for the year…. August! August was the month I was going to set out to through-hike the John Muir Trail (JMT) in the Sierra Nevada’s of California. A journey that would take roughly 3 weeks and was 230-miles long.

Although I really only had a few weeks to wait after IM until I left for CA, it seemed like an eternity. I spent the time with family and friends, who asked a million questions. I studied blogs and websites about the trail. I made trial runs with my gear (I’ll post a gear list later) I doubted my ability on some days. I wondered if I could really do some of the things required of me out there in the wild. Could I make the distance daily? Could I survive almost a month on nothing but dehydrated meals? Could I deal with the cold? The altitude? The heat? The animals? Could I seriously NOT shave my legs for 3 weeks? And mostly, could I honestly not shower for that long? And HOW could I possibly carry a WAG bag (waste alleviation and gelling bag) with my waste for the entire time after coming off of Mt Whitney? Thankfully, we ended up hiking in the opposite direction and this was unnecessary, praise God! Although, having to carry a cat-hole trowel and find a decent enough place to dig a hole and “do my business” wasn’t a piece of cake for me either. ALL of this was going to be a learning experience as this was my longest through hike. AND it was going to stretch my patience in ways I couldn’t imagine.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been in a place where you’ve lost and found yourself? Where every fiber of your being seems to dismantle, peel away and come completely undone only to have the most beautiful restoration happen? To unravel to be delivered? This…this is my John Muir journey. It’s amazing that God had to get me alone and into the wild to do that type of work on me. That Ive allowed myself to get so busy at times, too busy, to sit and pay attention. That I had to be so far removed from my normal day to day life, and SO challenged, crying an agony a few days, to hear His still small voice. That he had to take me off the grid, in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness to find me. He’s always been there. He’s never left me. BUT I’ve allowed the business and the clamor of life to pull me off track. It was as beautiful as it was brutal and a journey of losing myself to find His love at an even deeper level than I could ever imagine.

 

-Con’t

 

Seasons

Can you believe we are half way through the first month of the year? Did you make resolutions? Are you hanging in?

I have been quiet. Life has been quiet and delightful. The extraordinary, chaos of having imagesour house full of kids over the holidays has died. The bustling of shopping, the parties, and entertaining through the New Year is gone. The snow continues to fall and its quiet. That placid, calmness that is carried in after a new year begins is incredible! Winter season.

This is always my regroup-reassemble-organize-tea-time-book-reading time of year. It’s cozy and delicious.

In these moments of quiet is when I hear God. It’s when work happens. It’s when closeness arrives.

I’m still riveted by my word for the year: patience. I often find myself fidgety, and saying “OK, let’s get going on this, and see what it all means.” Then I am gently reminded to be quiet. Wait. Lean in and be patient.

0e7f937cb212216ba9409e26c270df10As days creep on and God peels back layers of me like an onion, its literally captivating me to see what is and what will be revealed. What wisdom is he going to drop on me? To know him better? To live more profoundly through him? What needs resuscitated in me? In the life of my husband and I? In our family? How will he use me this year?

Our last child is a senior this year. Knowing this is plaguing me. It’s gone so fast. Too fast! We have loved the dickens out of our kids and have had the MOST-WONDERFUL time raising then, goofing off with them, laughing with them, having grand adventures with them, traveling with them and living this life-journey with them. We love them with such fierceness. Our best things ever in life have been our kids. So now….we are in this pivotal, transition. We both know it is going to be a time of patience and change and growth and modification and revision. As well as resurrection.  The best-friend couple coming back into a place of being “just a couple” again. Older. Smarter. More in love, with decades of growth and passion and zeal under our belts. Already the hubs and I are both sorta going..”HUH?” We’ve talked about this time coming for a while and now it’s almost here. We are excited and thrilled to be transitioning into this next phase of life. It’s bittersweet though. No more “crazy” of a houseful of kids, but onto the “crazy” of just being a couple again. Very thrilling!! A whole new season. A whole new circus ride!images-1

 

Another thing going on in the Fun-House  is race season prep. I’ve also had great patience regarding this. I’ve been reading over training plans, meal plans, rest plans….you name it. In some ways I’ve had to be patient, coming off of a recent running injury and a less than stellar year health wise. All that is behind me now, and I’m starting to round out the season. I talked with a sweet friend of mine yesterday and told her I have a whole new approach this year. I’m not racing frenetically. Not getting pulled into races randomly. Not falling into any type of pressure. The season is well planned out. Allowing me for some incredible training and race time with family and friends, but not enough to consume me. It’s all about having a lot of fun! (It always is) and balance. I’m being kinder to my body and kinder to my soul. Eating better and DRINKING better (as in H2O, which I am admittedly horrible about.) Turns out, the camel approach…not always the best for our human bodies. I will get to do some fun traveling to Pittsburgh, PA (GO STEELERS!) back to my place of birth to run and ruckus with my cuzzies and see A LOT of family and to California (HOLLA being able to race a 70.3 in my hometown!!) and end it all with a most-epic adventure in August! The icing on the cake!! Honestly!  THE ICING!

It’s not a busy schedule by any sense of the word. But a fun-butt-kicking-laugh-alot-and-train-with-good-friends-season! It already feels good!

It’s a Joy-Filled season all authored by the One who knows and loves my soul in the most furious of ways. Who knew exactly what kind of year I needed!7efb6abf00184733b6b41d1a0db1fc6d