Monday, November 2, 2015

mondays and musing

It's Monday. I for one, don't mind Mondays. Because I like routine and rhythm and that is what Monday represents.

It's almost 11am. I have taken my children to school, jogged with the dog, showered (and even washed my hair!), had my coffee (finally) and spent time in God's word.

There are dishes to be done. Dog hair to be vacuumed and countless other household tasks. A trip to Costco probably is necessary. And the husband asked me to get the pressure checked on the tires.

I have just 3 hours before pick-ups begin and the kids hit the house and a semi-organized chaos ensues.

But for me (when I'm not at work) the best Mondays start off with movement and time with Jesus. It sets me up well for the week. Sometimes I'd rather lounge on the couch with a second cup of coffee and recover from the busyness of the weekend (hello Halloween and 3 sports games). But I know on Monday, I need to set the tone for the rest of the week. And it starts with me. Setting the right tone within my soul which prepares me for all that life demands.

These days it seems like it demands a lot. So I must allow the Holy Spirit to pour through me, so that I can pour out what those around me need and what life requires.

I'll confess, I'm not always good at this. I lose my patience and my sanity along with it. I yell at my kids and am less than nice to my husband.

But that's where grace comes in and pours over me and I wake up in the morning to new mercies and a new day.

I hope your Monday has set a good tone for the rest of your week. And if it was a rough Monday, then there is always Tuesday.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

my kids are heartbroken and it sucks

My kids had their hearts broken today and it was absolutely devastating for me as a mother.

I am pretty sure we are cursed when it comes to getting a dog--or even a pet in general. Long story short, we've had two rabbits and two dogs (each for less than a week) that we've re-homed.

We promised the kids when I was in nursing school that we'd get a dog when mom got an RN job. We've been delaying for a few months now, but can no longer. We want a dog for the kids and both Bean and I do like dogs--we just know it's going to be a lot of work at first. After our past experiences we've decided a puppy is the best choice so it can learn our habits and routines as a family while it is young and impressionable.

There is a particular animal rescue center that has a lot of puppies coming through. We visited a few weeks ago to get a feel for the process. They have same day adoptions which makes things very easy. Today was the day we were to come home with a puppy.

See where this is headed? Was. 

Apparently it was adopt a pet day for a lot of families. We had to wait for some time to meet the our top puppy picks and then after selecting one, we waited another hour + to actually go through the adoption process. When they went over the medical history of the puppy we found out she had a heart murmur which isn't problematic currently, but in the future the dog may need medication and have to limit her activity.

I have three children who want to play with and walk this dog 24/7. Activity restriction wouldn't work. Nor did we want to have to deal with additional vet expenses.

So we made the very difficult decision to not adopt the dog. By then, the other dogs we were interested had been adopted as well.

Three hours later we drove way with three sobbing children in the van.

It was awful. My kids haven't experienced much emotional pain at this point in their lives, but today was wrought with it. We all had our hearts set on bringing a puppy home.

The 25 minute ride home was awful. One child continued to cry. The others were despondent, with dried trails of tears down their cheeks. Bean and I felt terrible and were so sad for our children, even though we knew we made the right decision for our family.

I felt like I got a taste for what it will be like as my girls get old and experience the heartbreak of broken friendships, disappointment and romance. I don't like it at all. I want to protect my girls and keep them from pain. But I know I can't.

It's going to be a few days before we can go back for another adoption. In the meantime I am praying (TRULY asking God) that new puppies come in that are even more perfect for us and my kids can fall in love with.

And I will be asking for a medical report BEFORE we meet any puppies.

Cause I NEVER want to have a pet failure again. And I WANT to bring a puppy home.

And thus ends another chapter in the Bean family pet saga.

Let's hope the next chapter starts soon and has a happy ending.

Friday, August 21, 2015

race report: my first DNF

I haven't done many races the past few years, mostly because being in nursing school didn't leave time for actual training or money for race fees. In fact, I don't do a lot of races in general because I don't like paying for them. I'm hoping going forward in life to do a few races a year that I choose for location and for the experience with friends. I'm actually running So Cal Ragnar (finally) next April and registered for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon for $50. I like deals!

Traveling for races is challenging for me due to my job, family and budget so I tend to pick races close to home. I'd been eyeing a trail race that takes place on the trails I've started running. 10 minutes from home--easy, peasy. I put off registering to see if I had the day off work--and then the race was full. However they opened a few more spots for the half marathon and even though I was probably more trained for the 15k I went ahead and registered.

Then I took a fall 3 weeks before the race.

I seriously bruised both knees and the scabs were deep and restrictive to movement. It took a good 10-14 days for it to not hurt when I walked and to actually attempt to run.

I'm working nights right now, so my running time is somewhat restricted. I ran twice and hiked once in the days prior to the race. I did a bunch of low-impact DVD workouts in an attempt to keep up my fitness.

The Stairway to Heaven 15k/Half Marathon prides itself on being a challenging trail race. And it's in the middle of August, known for HEAT in San Diego. I knew all this going on. But I decided I would just do my best, even if it was slow and grueling.

I worked on the Thursday night and Friday night prior to Sunday's race. I got decent sleep during the day, but it's never quite the same. The first night I sleep after working a few nights it can be challenging to get back into a good sleep pattern. I didn't sleep great on Saturday night, although I did sleep some.

I woke up Sunday feeling tired, but what else is new?! I was thankful I didn't have a long drive. Check in was easy, got my bib and then had maybe 30 minutes to wait before the start of the race. I met a few moms in the San Diego Moms Run This Town Facebook group which was fun. It was beautiful at the start, but already over 70 degrees. At 7am.

And then we were off. The first few miles were fairly easy and I was feeling good. I was wearing my Polar A300 which showed just my heart rate and the elapsed time. I didn't stress about pace or mileage. I figured I'd finish in around 3 hours due to all the climbing involved.

A few miles in was a crazy 3/4 hill climb. I've done this hike once or twice before and knew it was intense. There was no running involved for me.

This was the start of the climb. It ends at those poles at the top.

Finally, the top of the crazy hill!! Next we had some downhill and then repeating a short loop twice with climbing and descent. At this point I decided this was just going to be a good hike. It was getting hot and by mile 5 or so my body was reminding me we hadn't truly run in 3 weeks. I ran flats and downhill when I could but even then I did some walking. I texted my husband a little more than an hour in that it was looking like a 4 hour race for me, which was also the time limit.

After the loops there as a flat portion before we reached the namesake of the race--the Stairway to Heaven.  Another crazy ascent of more than 500 feet. The race in total was a 2500 gain. That's a lot of climbing. It's not easy to see in this picture, but the important fact is that we climbed a steep track to the top of that ridge.

A few hundred railroad ties provide footing on the way up.

This was the first time I have ever stopped to rest during a race, or even a trail run. But the temperature at this point was at least 90, probably higher and I started really feeling the heat and fatigue. My heart rate was staying elevated, so I stopped a few times for a short rest.

It was CLEAR I was not well trained for this event. And I needed more than 1 night of recovery sleep after working. There was a lot of positive and motivational self-talk going on in my head to keep me going. I also started telling myself that I should do more hiking and walking in general. And I wondered WHY I hadn't done these particular hills more during my runs on these trails.

Once I finally reached the top I was feeling spent. I carried a water bottle with me and had one pack of Honey Stinger chews. I had intended to bring two packs with me but forgot to buy another. My stomach didn't feel great, so I ate just a few chews at a time. I did down at least 3 or 4 bottles of water. I am not sure what was up with my stomach. This is something that has happened to me before at races. I don't know if it's the stress/anxiety of the race. It hadn't been a great week for my stomach in general. I really need to work on my nutrition and hydration techniques. I haven't raced much since going Paleo and a lot of the typical nutrition just doesn't work for me. This means I need to do some longer training runs to practice my fueling.

Next I had to go back down that huge hill--I did run most of it, but by now my feet and toes were hurting in addition to my body being tired. At the bottom of the hill there is an aid station and the 15k'ers headed toward the finish while the half marathon had 3 more miles. I should have just decided to finish with the 15k'ers. That would have been smart.

I headed on to the last 3 miles, telling myself I could do this. We were back on familiar trails. Then the curveball came. Part of the last little bit included another short climb. One I hadn't done before and even though I knew it couldn't be that long, it really threw me. I was with a few others at this point and we were all giving each other a pep talk. We had less than 2 miles to go, we could do this.

So I started up the climb and aimed for 20-30 seconds of climbing with a 10-second rest. A few minutes in and I had to sit down. I sent the others on. I was fighting feeling lightheaded at multiple points in the last few hours of the race. I'd rest, recover and move on. This time, recovery wasn't coming so fast. I tried to stand up again and I was dizzy.

 I sat down again.

And I knew I was done. I just couldn't do it. I didn't know how long this last stretch would take me and I didn't want to fall or pass out. And I was cutting it very close to the time limit as well and with how I was feeling even if I continued I wouldn't make the cut-off. It was utterly humbling. I got my phone out and called my husband. I said "I'm done" and his response was "congratulations, you did it!". I replied, "no I mean I can't finish, I have two miles to go but I am lightheaded and just can't do it. I'm dropping." 

He quickly became very concerned and wanted to come pick me up. I assured him I could make the few minute walk back down to an asphalt road and then walk in to the finish, hopefully finding an aid station or someone to get me a ride.

This is my "I just dropped from a race with less than 2 miles to go and earned my first DNF" selfie. I struggled at the end of my full marathon, but that didn't even compare to how spent I felt at this moment. 

Oh, and by this point it was over 100 degree. I'm sure at least my last hour or more was spent in over 100 degree weather. And while I was drinking water, I wasn't taking in any electrolytes and my nurse self should have known I wasn't able to absorb the hydration properly.

I made my way to the street and started my walk of shame. A race crew member on a bike approached me and was so kind to say "the half marathon finishes the other way." Nope--I'm not finishing, I can't go on, I need the shortcut. She was very helpful and offered me Gu (decline) and a salt tab, which I took. I told her I'd keep on towards the finish.

Another 10 minutes passed and a woman I started that last climb with came up behind me with congratulations. But I told her I turned around and cut--but she did awesome!

And then glory, a cart drove by with some other racers on the back who weren't finishing. I didn't recognize them and figured they must have been behind me (maybe 15k'er) and were being swept. I had no qualms about asking to squeeze in for a ride to the end. The driver of the cart was so sweet--after everyone offloaded he came to me as I was trying to get myself together to figure out where to go for some recovery and quietly said "I'm going to drive you back to where I picked you up and then   I will follow you in. You were so close and I want you to finish." I wanted to cry as I told him that was very kind--but I had already taken a short cut when he picked me up and I just couldn't do any more.

He directed me to someone who took me to an aid tent where several others were recovering from heat stroke and heat exhaustion. They got me glasses of cold electrolytes (yay Nuun) and used ice to cool me down. I kept breaking down into tears I was just so overwhelmed by everything, in addition to being sad I had to drop.

The hubs had been texting me about every 5 minutes for an update and wanting to know where I was so he could pick me up. There are several trailheads to this area so even though he was familiar with the trails he didn't know where to find me. I kept assuring him I was fine, I would recover and could make the 10 minute drive home. After the 20th text asking where I was, I relented and told him. He showed up quickly full of concern. While I know I COULD have managed, I was grateful he came and it was a comfort to have him there.

After 20 or 30 minutes in the aid tent I was feeling up to moving again. The minivan was parked very close so I didn't have far to walk.

I ate two bananas and took a shower at home and dozed on the couch for over an hour. It took quite a while for me to even feel hungry. I drank more water. I used the porta potty probably around 6:30am and didn't have to pee again until after 2. Yeah, definite hydration issues.

The middle girl had a sleepover planned at grandma's and the other girls wanted to go bowling. The frigid air conditioning felt amazing as I chugged another bottle of Nuun and water. I managed to bowl a few frames--including a strike--but my feet were so sore that the snazzy bowling shoes hurt.

It was good for me to get out and be with my family and be reminded of what's important. I felt bad that my morning had turned out to be so long and I was so wiped afterwards that I was pretty useless. My kids didn't really care that I didn't finish the race, they were rather intrigued with my story. And hopefully if they are ever in a situation like mine, they will remember that their mom was brave enough to drop, when pushing to the end is more my style.

You have to take care of you and no finish line is worth more than you are. Family is what matters most and in the future I will choose my races more carefully and plan around them because while running feeds my soul and is a great outlet for me, it is just as important to me that it not take away from my family.

This race taught me a lot of lessons...more to come on that later.

I guess all runners need a good DNF story. Hopefully this will be my only one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

monday musings, on a Tuesday

Another night shift post.

It's Monday morning and I have two hours left of my shift. We have a team meeting this morning for work and I'm trying to decide if I'm going to stay for two more hours or come in later this week for an alternate meeting time. I think it will be a last minute decision. While I'd like to go home and sleep ASAP, I also don't necessarily want to come back on a day I'm not working.

The good news is my knees are almost totally healed and I can run again. The bad news is I haven't had much opportunity to run since I've been able...and I have a half marathon in a week. A trail race that is known to be particularly difficult. The one thing I have going for me is these are the trails I run frequently so it's familiar territory. I never intended for this to be a goal race, just something I wanted to complete and I have no doubt I will, it just may be a little ugly in the last few miles.

I have the next three nights off before I work two more nights. I feel like I need 5 or 6 nights off to normalize. I've been really tired the past several days and haven't been sleeping great when I'm off at night. I don't know if it's part of my adjustment to nights or if I haven't been taking care of myself well enough. I have a good stretch of days off at the end of the month that I am definitely in need of. I had a week off in February prior to starting my new grad program, so I think I am due for short vacation from work.

Really what I want to do is go sit by a pool in the desert. Which was the plan. Until we realized how expensive it would be to actually get the dog we promised our kids two years ago. (yes we are getting a rescue, but even those aren't cheap). So we gave them the choice--vacation or dog. Guess what they chose? I will be cleaning up rivers of puppy pee instead of floating in a lazy river. All for the kids friends, all for the kids.

However, I do have a trip planned with my best friends in September that involves heat and pools and the hubs and I are going out of town to celebrate our anniversary in October. So more mini-vacations are on the horizon.

So I started this on a Monday...but finishing on a Tuesday. Embrace the day, whatever day it is!

I can't believe the kids start school again in less than a month. In some ways I'm ready, in some ways I'm not. I will miss our slower mornings, but I will enjoy more time to run on the trails again. I've decided that school should start around 9am. For two weeks the kids had to be at VBS at 9am and it was so much more doable than the 7:45am school arrival time. And this year will be even earlier with a middle schooler. With sports and other activities even during the school year, it can be hard to get the kids in bed on time. If only I ruled the world.

Living in Southern California I also think summer vacation should be from July to October. September is often one of our hottest months and June is more mild. The kids often can't even go out to recess several times during the first weeks of school due to heat advisories. So they should just be home and going to the beach instead!

This life is crazy, and fun. Exhausting and rewarding.

Bring it, Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2015

oh my belly

I feel like most of my adult life has been plagued by belly issues.

In all likelihood that the college cafeteria was the beginning of these troubles. Growing up I don't recall having any belly or bathroom issues. My mom didn't work most of my life and we also didn't have a lot of extra money in our monthly budget. We very rarely ate out and my mom prepared most of our meals at home. Sure we ate our share of Mac&Cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but my consumption of processed foods and snacks was probably much lower than the average kid today. Truthfully, my own kids eat a lot more junk than I ever did.

But hello dorm life and all the sugary cereal you can eat for ANY meal along with Diet Coke on the way to an 8am class (I was not yet a coffee drinker) and ice cream on demand? While I tried to consume my fair share of salads and vegetables, most of the foods available were prepared quite differently than I was used to.

In my early 20's I started using antacids, proton pump inhibitors and whatever stomach pain medications the doctor prescribed. In retrospect, I suspect my gallbladder was waving warning flags that it was filling with stones--but as a healthy, young and not overweight individual, no one ever considered that. I had a video camera put down my throat into my stomach looking for problems, but everything was deemed normal.

My gallbladder really went crazy after my pregnancy with my first daughter and after months of pain, weight loss and misery we finally found the problem and it was removed. But the stomach problems weren't solved.

Now, almost 20 years later I deal with a myriad of issues. I have discovered I am gluten-intolerant. Gluten gives me migraine headaches and major stomach upset. Recently, grains have caused bloating, digestive discomfort and minor headaches also.

I've eaten gluten-free for 3+ years now and eaten a primarily Paleo diet for about 2 years. Yet the issues continue.

Tonight I wasn't in the mood to eat the food I brought to work. So I ordered hard boiled eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and a hash brown.

Now an hour later I feel my belly bloating over the waistband of my pants and filling out my shirt more than it was earlier tonight. My stomach is crampy and gassy.

Was it the additives in the bacon? Or the grill it was cooked on? Was it the grill or oil used for the hash brown?

I took my enzymes but it just wasn't enough.

This is my life. I love food. But I hate food.

It's time to buckle down and fix this belly. I can't give in and order food because I just never know. The hope is that if I heal my gut, I won't have such strong reactions to contamination.

I recently started seeing a holistic doctor. He's pretty sure I have leaky gut syndrome. There could be a variety of causes. To fix it, I need to get really strict with my diet and take some healing supplements as well. Testing showed I am not digesting fats, I have no beneficial bacteria in my gut and I have some candida as well.

It's nice to know what I'm dealing with and have an action plan.

The discipline is the hardest part.

But as I sit here with a crampy, bloated belly I know I can complain no longer and I just need to remember this feeling. Even when I go with "safe" foods, my gut just can't handle them. Next time, I'll eat my wild canned salmon and greek olives.

I want a happy belly.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

sunday ramblings

It's 5:35am and I have about 90 minutes left of my 12-hour shift. It's been a long night and I can't wait to go to sleep. Working nights isn't terrible. I will get to spend a few hours with my family this afternoon before coming back to work. But some nights can be a little slow and hence loooong. I still am amazed every morning that I have managed to be awake all night and actually function. I rejoice when I see the daylight start to come from my patient's rooms.

We were talking about taking a short vacation to the desert at the end of the summer. We all love pools and swimming and the desert is pretty inexpensive during the summer when it's 100+ degrees. We've also been promising the kids a puppy for, oh, years. Today reality hit that getting a puppy and going on vacation are about the same price and we can't do both.

Of course the kids are choosing the dog although Bean and I would rather have the vacation! I have a stretch of days off approved so my guess is we will be training a puppy and have a staycation instead. I know it will be worth the joy and happiness the kids will experience finally getting the dog they've been waiting for.

Being a nurse truly is a great profession for a mom. I just finished having three nights off and while the first day is more recovery from the night shifts before, I love the multiple days off with the kids without even thinking about work. Now I will work two nights and then have another three off. Not all weeks work out that way, but it's usually my goal to get a couple good stretches of days off each 4-week schedule.

I'm recovering from a nasty fall while trail running.

A photo posted by beana619 (@beana619) on
It's not uncommon to trip a bit on a rock--and most of the time you can catch yourself. But not always. Last Sunday was my "not always". I tripped on a rock and flew forward, the brunt of the force going to my knees, especially my left one. I got pretty big abrasions on each knee along with massive swelling and bruising. Now a week later it still hurts to walk, although not as badly as the first few days. The bruising is an issue as well as the tightness of the scabs.

The worst part is I haven't run in a week!! And we know Mama Needs to Run. I'm hoping by Wednesday or Thursday I'll be able to run again without pain. I have a challenging trail half marathon in a few weeks and I need to get in a couple more good runs to feel solid for the race. I don't have any real goals except that I want to feel good the whole time and finish strong.

A photo posted by beana619 (@beana619) on

In some ways summer seems to be flying, but we are all really enjoying it. My 11-year loves staying up til 11pm and sleeping til 10:30am. School is going to be a rough transition for her! I love slower mornings when I'm off or sometimes waking early to get my workout done and being able to still relax and enjoy a lazy cup of coffee afterwards because we have no where to be. Every summer I plan to have my kids continue reading regularly and doing some academic work--but the truth is, it never happens. I'm sure their teachers will thank me if I enforce it this last month of summer. I have great intentions...we will see if I can actually make it happen.

I'm off to finish my last patient cares for the shift and then off to sleep!

Happy Sunday.

Monday, July 20, 2015

back to nights

It's known in nursing that you have to put in your time on night shift. It's where most start out. On my particular unit we rotate 8 weeks of nights and 4 weeks of days during our first year of nursing. Nights are typically quieter and the pace is slower. There is no coordination with physical therapy, rarely do we discharge on night shift and there are just less people around overall. And if you're lucky--your patients SLEEP! It's a good shift to find your feet in nursing and get comfortable with routines and common procedures.

Days are often nuts! Our unit has a high turnover and it's not uncommon to discharge and admit multiple patients in one shift. Many days I hardly stop moving and barely have time to think. My first 4 weeks on my own happened to be on days...and thanks to a great supportive unit, I survived!

But now I have made the transition back to nights after being on days for over two months. It's bittersweet. I look forward to things being a little slower. But then there's that whole staying up all night thing. And trying to sleep during the day while the kids are OUT of school. Nights aren't so bad when I can sleep during their school day.

Here's to hoping the transition goes smooth. And most importantly that I find the time to run enough to feel sane each week!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Three things Thursday

Do people still post on "Three Things Thursday"? I don't read blogs as much as I used to, but what the heck---I'll write one.

1. Last night I ran a delightful 7 miles. This was a perfect end to three days off. Now I will have nice tired legs to start my 3/4 days of working 12 hours. Sometimes I can get myself up early enough for a few pre-work miles or short DVD workout. I met my BRF (best running friend) halfway between our houses and we headed up to a short dirt trail I explored recently. We did some more exploration, wound through another neighborhood and then enjoyed a nice downhill home. Oh how I love running!

2. This picture is sideways but I am too lazy to fix it. I recently won the Polar A300 Fitness and Activity Watch from Running Rachel.  I've been enjoying it. So much so that I kinda what the Polar M400 which has GPS capabilities too.  I like that it functions as an everyday watch while tracking your activity. I find that a normal day at home nets me 40-50% of my daily activity--but some walking or running puts me well over 100%. I actually only wore it today for my run (I am tracking my heart rate and learning more about how it affects my running) but I earned 231%!! I've been a Garmin girl for a lot of years now--but Polar may be changing the game for me. I love the daily functionality and running/fitness capabilities. 

3. My kids have been asking to see Inside out since before it opened. Disney did a great job with promo. They already knew all the characters names. We had some free movie passes to an independent theater and I was thrilled to see it was showing there. And look at those comfy seats! We may have found ourselves a new favorite theater. The movie was cute and the kids loved it and I totally see a sequel in the future. 

And now we are watching another movie before bed tonight! They picked Macfarland, USA but you know I'm loving it because it's all about running! 

Happy Thursday friends. Happy running. Happy life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer & sweat

Day 1  

There was a lot of sweat & a lot of fun today. My 6yr old and my niece spent an hour doing workout videos. My daughter wore my polar watch and earned 41% of my daily activity. I did my own without & then they wanted to scooter. So out we went for 1.5 miles. My apologies to the neighborhood because I was in "workout at home" clothes, not normal running clothes. 

Summer is off with a bang! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer's Eve

Day 0

No, not that Summer's Eve. 

The night before summer begins. 

Today was the last day of school and promotion day for my 5th grader. It's hard to believe I have a middle schooler. I spent several years as a middle school pastor and now I have one of my own. These can be challenging years for kids and extremely formative. I pray so much these days.

I believe God has big plans to use this girl in ways that will amaze us all.

When we left the house this morning, it was relatively clean. Now, there are piles of kid everywhere. I love a clean house, but I love the evidence of my kids imagination. 

Playdates and sleepovers are already in full effect and summer just began (for my kids) at 12:10pm today. My nephews came over to play this afternoon and currently there are three different sleepovers taking place. I love last minute plans and that we live so close to family and our kids are growing up together. These two soon-to-be first graders are at my house. The tent was cute, but it didn't last long. I knew it wouldn't, but it's so much more fun to let them try and have fun and figure it out for themselves.

Our family schedule and my work schedule have been bananas lately. I haven't had any nice stretches of days off the last few weeks (which is what nurses live for). And my days off have been consumed by kid and end of the school year stuff. I'm so ready to not collapse onto the couch at the end of the day with absolutely no energy left. 

Running always makes me feel better, mentally and emotionally. Even when it's hot and my legs feel like lead. The only real bummer about summer for me is I don't get my morning runs after I drop the kids off. Today was a 4:30pm run that was hot and sweaty. I decided to explore a short urban trail that ended a little further from home than I expected--and left me with some big hills to climb on my way home. I don't know how often I'll actually get to my new running trails, so this little jaunt will be a good substitute. 

I saw this image on social media today and it spoke to me. Crazy schedules have meant not enough quality time in the Word and talking to God. I am in need of some soul awakening and filling. 

My family. My everything.

Monday, May 11, 2015

my circus, my monkeys

There is a quote that floats around social media stating "not my circus, not my monkeys." Every time I see it, I giggle

Because the circus around me-IS MINE. And the monkeys? Yup, MINE TOO. Many moons ago, I originally called this blog "Three Bean Circus" as a play on our nicknames (Bean & Beana) and our kiddos. 

Bean works for a university library and was able to check out a nice camera for the weekend. We didn't take a load of pics, but it was nice to capture our family with more than an iPhone. We dream of a super nice camera.

Definitely monkeys. I was blessed with THREE bouquets of flowers this Mother's Day. I love flowers but I don't buy them much for myself, nor do I receive them often…ahem, Bean. 

I stopped caring much about perfected posed photos and smiling children YEARS AGO. I want to capture my family in the moment and sometimes they are beautiful happy ones, and other times they don't want to pose and the sun is shining in their eyes. Yes, we still threaten and beg for smiles but there are times---like this one right here--when I say, it's fine, just roll with it. 

This guy. Still makes my heart go pitter patter. I feel so incredibly blessed to be his wife and share this life with him. Yes he drives me absolutely crazy sometimes, but it keeps life interesting. Aren't we a cute ad for Spy Sunglasses?

I love my circus, and my monkeys (the big guy included).

Monday's coming

I have a love-hate relationship with Mondays.

As a routine-oriented person, I look forward to the start of a new week. As much as I don't like getting up before 7am, I like knowing we NEED to get up and the kids need to get off to school. It's nice to have several hours where I get to set the schedule and decide what to do when. On a weekday I'm not working, I can almost guarantee I will spend some time with my Bible, exercise, pick up the house, do dishes, maybe do laundry and probably go to at least one store.

But when the alarm goes off at 6:30am, chances are Lilybug has already woken and is either checking the weather app on my phone or asking me when we are getting up. I didn't make lunches tonight, so I HAVE to get up at 6:30. No snoozing until 6:45am. Plus Miss Rose has started taking morning showers (I feel like this is a sign of her impending middle schooler adolescent status) so I need to get her up too. I will stumble into the kitchen while Lily chatters at me a mile a minute (she is SO her father and an absolute morning person). By 7 or slightly after, I will be more awake and feeling better about facing the day. 

I have this very dichotomous personality, which I am becoming more aware of.  I have taken many personality tests over the years but I remember nothing of them. I need to do a little more study of myself to make more sense of this. I love people, speaking and singing in public and teaching. Yet I also desperately need quiet time at home. By definition, I think I am an introvert. I've realized the utter exhaustion I would feel after a Sunday full of ministry had more to do with being "on" for many hours than actual physical exertion. Yet I wouldn't have changed it at all.

I want to be spontaneous and not have plans and go with the flow. But yet I love lists and calendars, plans and goals. Sometimes I want to have a plan, and other times I don't. 

And so this is why I have a love-hate relationships with Mondays. I love the return to routine, yet I wish I could sleep in and have just one more lazy morning with the kids.

But I will wake up and decide to punch Monday in the face. I will get the kids off to school, get my home in order and maybe run on some trails.

Cause whether we like it or not, Mondays coming.

Let's embrace the day.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday songs

Sometimes you hear a song dozens of times and it's good, but it doesn't hit you.

And then you hear it, really hear it. The lyrics resonate and the composition swells within you.

While on a short run today, the song "Anchor" from Bethel Music's "You Make Me Brave" album started playing.

And how how these words resonated with me.

In every season, in every change
You are near
In every sorrow,
You are my strength
You are near

A peace in the storm
Your voice I will follow
In weakness I rise
Remembering You hold the world

I’m holding on to hope
I’m holding on to grace
I’m fully letting go
I’m surrendered to Your ways

The anchor for my soul
Father You will never change

I love You, I love You

My great Redeemer,
My constant Friend
You are near
My faithful Father,
You took me in
You are near

I will remember Your promise forever
My Strength, my Defender
I can count on You
You are my Savior, My Hope and my Shelter
Your love is forever
I can count on You

Saturday, May 9, 2015

some mother's day thoughts

 Mother's Day is tomorrow. My past two mother's days have been spent studying for nursing school finals. I had some time with my family, but we couldn't do much to celebrate the day.

I'm a bit conflicted when it comes to Mother's Day.

I absolutely love being a mom. It's the greatest privilege and blessing in my life. It's truly my dream come true. I couldn't wait to be a mom and it wasn't long after Bean and I were married that I started to think and plan for when we would start our family.

I do think that Mother's Day (and Father's Day) are special and worth celebrating. But at the same time I truly feel that just being a mom is gift enough.

I am conflicted because I have so many friends who long for motherhood and are still waiting for that dream to come true. Mother's Day holds grief and heartbreak and I just hate that.

That being said, I did shamelessly email my husband some helpful hints. This is also the first Mother's Day in two years we've had room in the budget for gifts. I know that Bean loves to get me gifts and since it's been so long since we've been able to do that sort of thing, I gotta help a guy out as to what I'm into these days, right?

But even without gifts the past few years, Mother's Day has been great. Because I am a mother.

I am conflicted for my friends who will avoid social media and church services which inadvertently shine a light on their non-mom status.

I am conflicted for friends who's motherhood looks much different than they ever thought it would.

I am conflicted for those who's moms have already passed from this life and their absence will be strongly felt tomorrow.

I am conflicted for my single mother friends who don't have a husband to help the kids pick out gifts or put the extra touches on the day.

Yet I cannot discount my blessings, the children I have been given and the privilege of being mom.

For those who struggle on Mother's Day, I do not take any of this for granted. I hurt for you, I pray for you. I do not take for granted that I have a children, that my mom is steps away from my front door and that I have a husband who has been running secret errands all day.

I do not take it for granted.

A few Mother's Day reads for you to click to…

Ann Voskamp's poetic writing always enraptures me, Why Mother's Day Really Is For The Birds and The Most Life-giving Thing Any Mother Can do for Themselves This Mother's Day

For the Mothers who never got to hold their babies in their arms, On Celebrating the Other Mothers on Mother's Day.

I've long had a tumultuous relationship with Proverbs 31 and it's use on Mother's Day and Rachel Held Evans sums it up perfectly in this post, 3 Things You Might Not Know About Proverbs 31.

Shauna Niequist's post from a few years ago "What My Mother Taught Me."

How to Not Be Disappointed This Mother's Day

Saturday, May 2, 2015

the latest and the greatest

When you haven't blogged in two months, it's hard coming up with a title. And I will confess that my title sounds more exciting than this post may be.

Our computer has been dying a slow death these last few months. A few of the letter keys stopped working and when we took it in they said the cost to fix it wasn't really worth the value of the computer because it could no longer be updated or supported. We bought it a few years old from a friend, for a great price, and it served us well for 8 years.

The temporary fix was to get a USB keyboard. Which was functional, but ever so annoying. I love sitting on the couch with the computer at night and using the keyboard was cumbersome. Plus the battery had lost all it's juice and didn't even last an hour.

Therefore: no blogging. I just couldn't seem to get motivated to blog on my phone and the iPad was usually otherwise engaged.

But we have a new to us computer!!! God blessed us with an amazing hook-up once again. Friends were selling their hardly used Macbook Pro and now it's ours. It's so nice and shiny and has a backlit keyboard.

So once again I'm sitting on the couch, putting words to the screen.

The latest and greatest...

I am about 2/3 done with my nursing new grad residency. This means that I am in training--although a full RN--working clinical shifts with a preceptor and receiving additional education as well. It's kinda like being paid to go to school--which I am okay with! I feel confident with a lot of the basics and now it's just gaining more experience on various procedures and cases we don't see all that often. The program has been great preparation and I know once I complete it I will feel ready to be on my own as an RN. I love it more every day and am so thankful to have a job in pediatrics--being around kids all the time is just great.

There are a few great things about nursing--at least in my opinion--you never stop learning. One because things are always changing and two because unique cases always come through and you gain new skills and knowledge. And because you don't care for every type of patient every day, there are nurses who have been practicing for 10+ years who have questions or need support. It's great to be in a supportive environment where you can ask questions and confirm your decisions with those around you.

I'm working both Saturday and Sunday this weekend--which is a bit of a bummer. But it means we don't have to worry about childcare. BUT I'm off next weekend! Which happens to be Mother's Day as well. I'm excited because the last two Mother's Days I was studying for finals in nursing school--but this year no studying and no work.

I can't believe another school year is about to end for my kiddos. My oldest is graduating 5th grade and will be moving on to middle school next year. YIKES. And my baby will finish kindergarten. This summer is going to be amazing. Because I won't have to make lunches for 2.5 months! And I won't be in school and working just my three 12-hour shifts--so I envision a lot of beach days. We didn't get to go a ton, but they really enjoyed the beach last year and so I know this year will be the same.

Only Miss Rose is playing a sport right now-baseball, and Daddy is a coach. She hit her first home run last month which was AMAZING! She joins the small elite group of girls who have hit home runs on the Majors field in our little league. I am so proud of her. She's a solid player and a great example on the team.

We listen to A LOT of Taylor Swift these days. Gracie and Lily are very into T. Swizzle and love to make up choreography to her songs. "Dance Off " is a popular game between the two of them. Gracie spent several weeks in "jump rope club" at school which was really fun. She learned some fun jump patterns and has a fancy professional jump rope now. Lily just started Heartlight, a dance program. She's been waiting ALL year for an after-school activity she could do as most are for 1st grade and up. Finally this came along and it's right up her ally. She also bravely got her ears pierced last weekend. Anything for fashion, even a poke.

My running has picked up again now that my schedule isn't so crazy. We have trails just a few miles from us but I've always been hesitant to try to navigate them myself. I don't want to get lost and I want to be safe. In the past month I went hiking there with one friend and ran some trails with another friend and am starting to feel comfortable there. I am LOVING trail running. I love the challenge of the terrain (which is actually better for my body) and being in nature. I am pretty driven on the streets to run a particular pace but there is no way to run certain hills and you have to slow at times on trails to navigate rocks so your pace ends up being slower and you really can't control it as much. It causes me to just enjoy the run and not focus so much on pace.

I have some tentative goals for running trails the next few years. I'd love to complete an Ultra trail race around my 40th birthday in two years. Training for trails is much more attractive right now, although I'm sure I will do some road races as well. Another benefit of running trails is you end up faster on the streets. So, I'll take it!

While I am getting more settled in this new season of life, post-nursing school, I am still finding my way at times. I feel like I have no social life (which could be a mom of 3 thing too) and my schedule hasn't allowed me to get more involved in my church. Come July, I will have more control of my schedule and be able to plan around the things I want to do.

Sometimes I am too fixated on the past and reconciling things there. Other days I worry too much about the future. The name of this blog still holds true-- my goal is just to embrace THIS day. Whatever it holds. However it goes. The phrase comes to me often.

Thanks to this new computer, I may be in this little space more often once again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

getting a few hours back

I have felt really tired this week. Especially getting up in the mornings. It's probably due to Daylight Savings Time. There are never enough hours in the day and getting up in the dark makes the day feel extra long right now.

It's rare to get hours back in the day, but I did today and I'm going to enjoy them and maybe I won't feel as tired tomorrow. We were supposed to have a 2-hour Girl Scout field trip this afternoon and I was bracing myself for the complaints of the other two children who aren't Girl Scouts because I decided to just take them along.  Sometimes you just gotta suck it up!

But the field trip was cancelled at the last minute. While my Girl Scout was bummed, I breathed a silent sigh of relief. I was geared up and ready but a whole afternoon at home (it's a minimum day) sounds delightful. I'm at work 4 days a week right now and even though it's still 36-40 hours, "going to work" 4 days a week instead of the 3-12 hour shifts I got used to is extra exhausting. Because that's one more day to plan childcare, pack meals and figure out dinner when I get home.

So while the girls are enjoying some play time and screen time I decided to write here. In the next 30 minutes they are bound to be "bored" and arguing over toys.

I am a pretty driven person (hello two bachelor degrees, a master's degree and an RN license). I've been really enjoying running again and finding some new speed. I usually run on my days off but running does take time and energy (duh). I had to pep talk myself into taking a rest day today, even though I don't have to work. It was a better choice to have a quiet morning, do some cleaning and not feel rushed.

Sometimes you have to save the running shoes for the next day and put on your flip-flops.

I still wanted to run, but I know I got things done at home I wouldn't have done if I had gone running. I'm a firm believer in balance, but I also believe that balance changes day to day--because life is different every day and we wake up with different needs each day.

This is what usually happens on my days off:

We all have that one thing that easily absorbs our time if we let it. Maybe it's a Kardashian marathon or reading a book in one sitting. (I could easily get sucked into either).  Sometimes we NEED to be sucked in to something, to have a Fringe Hour, to feed our soul, to turn our brain off.

But just like I have to turn around at some point on my runs and come home, we can't run away from life forever. There are things to get done.

Well, it's time to get a few more things done with these extra hours in my day.

Tomorrow I don't have to work until 10am, and you better believe I have a run planned in the morning.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

the blessing and the curse of knowledge

They say that knowledge is power and NBC always tells me "the more you know."

And yes I agree, knowledge is good and powerful and important. I love learning new things of all types.

But there is a negative side to knowledge too. . Because when you identify the cause of a problem, when you finally understand something important, when the haze clears--it can be overwhelming and depressing.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk about food. So forgive me for talking about it now. But sometimes a girl just needs to process and get it out. In writing I often find truths I never saw before.

2015 has not started well for my digestive health.

Here's the elevator version of the past few years...

Summer of 2012, on the testimony of my chiropractor, I listened to the audio version of "Wheat Belly" and decided to do a gluten-free experiment. After two weeks of GF eating, I reintroduced gluten and found that my lifelong debilitating migraines were linked to gluten. And suddenly I HAD to be gluten free. Because even just a little gluten caused a massive migraine. (The irony of my post about this discovery is that now I can't even eat tortilla chips and most ice cream has too much sugar or crazy ingredients that make me feel yucky.)

My sister introduced me to the Balanced Bites podcast. Then I found "The Paleo View". Suddenly everything in my life was pointing me to Paleo. I was commuting hours each week and had plenty of time to listen and learn. I was intrigued by the science, the testimonies and saw much of myself reflected in the accounts. I gave up Diet Coke once and for all. Completed a 21-Day Sugar Detox and a Whole 30. I noticed that many grains were causing discomfort and bloating so I reduced my consumption but still seemed to tolerate them on occasion.

Last year (2014) I had to eat pretty strict Paleo to feel my best. I knew if I was eating too much sugar or too many grains or processed foods because I would get bloated and have more headaches and digestive distress. It was also a pretty stressful year of completing nursing school. I am pretty convinced that had I not discovered the gluten link to my migraines and the Paleo lifestyle I would have had a major health crisis during nursing school or not been able to finish it.

Early in January I seemed to get a stomach bug that it took me almost a month to fully shake. Or maybe it was something else, I don't know. All I know is I was having digestive issues, consuming way less than my body needed and really struggling. I lost at least 5lbs. I cut out every possible irritating food group (nightshades, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds). Yeah, doesn't leave you with a lot of options.

The last few weeks I've been doing a little better, but that also means I started reintroducing foods into my diet--some that probably are safe for me, but other "gray area" foods and probably thanks to Valentine's Day too much candy and chocolate. I probably should have tried to continue eating a more limited diet. I'm pretty sure I have a "leaky gut" and need to continue to avoid those foods in order to heal.

And so tonight, this San Diego just wanted to enjoy a Mexican style meal. So I ate some tortilla chips and a small scoop of beans with my carne asada, cheese and guac.

Unfortunate mistake.

Within several minutes I had a stomach ache, a headache and feel bloated and awful.

The truth is, my body CANNOT tolerate grains. I had a small scoop of rice the other night with a similar reaction. This means I can't enjoy most "gluten free" foods many use to still enjoy a cookie, a piece of toast or pizza. All of those products are made with rice and corn.

This is a difficult truth for me to really own. I want to be able to eat a few tortilla chips or some rice on occasion. The reality is, it's not worth it. And like the title of this blog, I need to embrace it. To own it and live it. Even when it sucks. Even when I have to turn down 99% of the food offered at a party or event. Even when I can't eat 90% of the food my family eats.

I want to feel good. I need to be healthy. My family deserves a mom who isn't sick or laying in bed with a stomach ache, which is what I want to do right now. The fetal position sounds amazing for my hurting belly.

The knowledge of nutrition and digestive health is overwhelming to me right now. There are so many different approaches I could take to healing. I wish I could go to an integrative doctor and have a lot of fancy testing done to determine the root of some of my problems and the best approach to healing.

But I do know how to eat to feel good and not feel sick. And so that's where I need to start and where I need to stay. No indulgences that I will pay for. It's not about being on a diet or "cheating". It's about my body receiving nutrition it can digest and process and put to good use.

Once again I'm really just preaching to myself. Because I've not been following this gospel, even though I have already experienced the truth of it.

So yes, I do eat Paleo. I eat real food that is nutritious. Not to be snotty or stuck up. Not because I want to be trendy or because it's the latest fad diet. I eat this way because I have to. If I don't want to feel awful and sick. And I am thankful I discovered Paleo because it probably is saving the quality of my life.

Don't be fooled though, I'd give anything for some doughy pizza, soft chocolate chip cookies and to enjoy some of the Thin Mints my daughter is currently selling.

Those desires may change some day, but that day is not today.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday song: I Breathe You In, God

I am a firm believer that our attitude towards life determines much of our life. If we choose to cling to anger, bitterness and hurt, we will be angry, bitter and hurt. But if we choose to trust God, to surrender our emotions to him we will see his sovereignty and in the midst of difficult circumstances we can trust that he is for us, that he is still good and there is a bigger story and purpose for what we go through.

Not that it's always easy to make that choice. It's a daily decision. Sometimes we have to willfully make that choice hourly or moment by moment.

This weekend I've been watching archived videos from IF:Gathering in Texas. Many of the bloggers/authors/speakers I follow and read spoke and let me tell you: POWERFUL. I don't know how long the videos will be on the website for free. There are hours, but even if you can just watch a few of the talks I encourage you to do so. I found my soul so fed and heard messages I desperately needed. God is still speaking to me. I still have several hours to watch and I hope I get the chance to.

One of the first segments was an interview with the women from this blog post entitled, The Cheerleader.  April lost her two young sons in a horrific tornado. Just days later these words are recorded.  “I have peace,” she told me last night through her tears, “I know I have more pain to go through that I probably can understand. But I have supernatural peace. I don’t know what God has for me and my husband that our boys couldn’t be here for, but I do know that He is good. His plan is good.” 

Her statement echoes what a dear friend of mine said : "We can't pretend to see His hand, but we are desperately clinging to Him because we know He is the only way through this kind of hurt and pain." We can either run from God or we can run to God.

I love the bridge of Brian and Katie Torwalt's song "I Breathe You In, God."

When I don't understand, I will choose You. When I don't understand I will choose You.

When I don't understand, I will choose to love you God.

Sometimes, all we can do is breathe God in and say I choose You. I choose to trust You. I choose to love You.

The presence of the Living God 
Satisfies the depths of my heart
And all of me I change when you came
And I'm led free by Your glory and grace
And I breathe You in,God
Cause You are there all around me

The kindness of Your love's pure light
Pierces through the darkest of all night
And everything is possible now
For God is here
And God is good

And You are good, God
For You are good to me

And when I don't understand
I will choose You

And when I don't understand
I will choose to love You, God

Its my privilege 
To worship You
To worship

For You are good, God
For You are good to me