Days 16 and 17 – Thoughts on exercise

I have to confess, I’m a little sore today. Not as bad as I should be, but a little nonetheless. I ran a 5K yesterday.

Well, actually “ran” is a strong term. Let’s just leave it at: I finished a 5K yesterday. 😉

I thought I had been working out at a fairly reasonable interval. I thought that my knee injury from this summer wouldn’t be a problem. I thought that the weather would be great.

I thought wrong.

After finishing the race, my friend Joey and I made a pact, it goes like this: No more running races in North Dakota that take place prior to mid-May or after September 15. It’s a good pact to have. Yesterday morning was cold, and windy, and did I mention the rain?

But the reward was worth it. We have an Ugly Sweater beanie and we were given an Angry Orchard Hard Cider to drink. All for the low fee of about $40. (And they did have a toy drive to Toys for Tots, so it is a charitable event.)

Can someone explain that to me? I paid some organization cash so that I could run (not on pavement, but mostly crappy lawn-like terrain), get a hat that I will never wear again and a glass of cider. Now, mind you, the cider was great, but that was the most expensive cider I’ve ever had. Not only that, but I wouldn’t even consider running three miles to a grocery store to get one beer, let alone on a cold, windy, nasty day.

But it’s not about the run, it’s not about the reward, it’s about the moment. As I have been learning from those around me, life isn’t just about what you get out of it, it’s about the journey you take to get there. And yesterday was indeed a journey.

Today I’m a little sore, tomorrow I’m most certain I’ll be even a little more sore. And yet, the pain will go away, the muscles will relax, my knee will forgive me and all will be right with the world…and I’ll have one more day that will forever live on in my memory.

And that’s the stuff that life is made of.

It wasn't just a 5K, it was a day with a great friend, complete with some pretty amazing memories! Thanks, Joey!

It wasn’t just a 5K, it was a day with a great friend, complete with some pretty amazing memories! Thanks, Joey!

Advertisements

Day 14 – Thoughts on working

After an almost six-year hiatus, I started working again (outside the home) this fall. It’s funny when I run into people locally and they see me all dressed up like a grown up. Apparently the last few years I must have really gotten “comfortable.” 😉

But I sometimes get comments that I don’t expect, like:

But what about the boys? Don’t they need you?

or

How do you have time for all of it?

or

I didn’t know it was getting that tough.

Let me do a little clarifying: My boys still have my attention, fully and completely. And my boss understands, fully and completely. And she’s pretty darn amazing about it.

How do I have time? Well, I don’t. Truthfully. But I make time. I make time for work, I make time for my boys, I make time for cooking, shopping, laundry…I may skimp on the cleaning from time to time (or some would say always)…I make time. I don’t wait for the time fairy to drop me an hour here or there. It doesn’t happen. Do I regret the time I spent home with my kids? HECK NO! Never! But I am where I need to be, right here, right now. And it’s never felt so right before. I digress.

So many hours spent in hospitals with this little dude. Soooooo many hours.

So many hours spent in hospitals with this little dude. Soooooo many hours.

Are times tough? Dear goodness. I guess I kind of understand the curiosity. But rest assured, my decision to work off the farm is all about fulfillment and living out a dream, not because I need to put food on the table. But thanks for the concern.

Although work may be a four-letter word, it doesn’t have to be. I go to work and feel challenged, driven to improve, excited to learn the next step, motivated to improve myself…I don’t even know if I can explain it all, but that’s getting pretty close.

And don’t worry, I still spend plenty of time doing “farm stuff.” But that doesn’t seem like “work” either.

A Saturday evening, spent in a peaceful tractor, chasing a combine.

A Saturday evening, spent in a peaceful tractor, chasing a combine.

Work, don’t work. Do what is right for you. Every decision in life is one that leads us down another path. I just so happen to be very satisfied on the path I’m on right now. And without my other paths, I’d never have arrived at where I am. (Stick with me, it makes complete sense in my head.)

As someone, somewhere once said, “Happiness is just a state of mind.”

I truly have the best of all worlds.

Day 13 – Thoughts on hunting

I hunt. And by that, I mean that I actually shoot wild animals and use them for food…and occasionally decorations. (It’s the woman in me.)

This weekend was the opening weekend for deer season where I live. I went out, by myself, and walked, waited, and tried my best to think like a deer. I apparently suck at that, but my luck tends to be rather high. As I was getting ready to head home, my sister and her friend told me that there was a nice buck in our barnyard. (How many times do I tell people that we need to start in our own backyards???) 😉

After quite the little escapade, I had my tag filled, meaning my season was done for the year. Yay!

I would consider it a successful deer hunt! A nice 5X5 buck whose antlers will hang on my wall and whose meat will fill my freezer.

I would consider it a successful deer hunt! A nice 5X5 buck whose antlers will hang on my wall and whose meat will fill my freezer.

So why do I hunt? Well, it’s not just the thrill of the chase (although, I will admit that I’m kind of fond of that part.), and it’s not just because venison is so very, very nummy. No, it’s not just that at all. It’s because it’s the humane thing to do.

Did I fall and hit my head?

No, in fact, I have most of my faculties pretty well straightened out. And after what I saw a few years ago, I will support every season that is opened for wild animals. (I guess I should put in a “within reason” clause in here, just because I don’t want to be called out on this sometime in the future.) That doesn’t mean I will hunt in every season, but I will support the right to hunt.

It wasn’t so very long ago that we had a deer problem in our yard. In. Our. Yard. Having to bury approximately 200 deer that year was hard, watching all that meat go to waste was hard, knowing that it could have been prevented was hard.

We found deer, frozen in our feed.

We found deer, frozen in our feed.

This is a pile of deer carcasses that were collected from our hay yard a few years ago. Approximately 60-80 deer in this group. We had hundreds in our yard, and many died that winter. To make a long story short, our hay was too rich for their system and we could get no help in dispersing them from our land.

This is a pile of deer carcasses that were collected from our hay yard a few years ago. Approximately 60-80 deer in this group. We had hundreds in our yard, and many died that winter. To make a long story short, our hay was too rich for their system and we could get no help in dispersing them from our land.

So from now on, I will actively do my part to ensure that the deer population is controlled, and that we are proactive in our steps to ensure a healthy habitat. The key word being “healthy.”

And next year, I will teach my son the skills required to hunt. Typical? Maybe not. But I cannot wait for the chance to show him what my dad and grandpa taught me.

Day 12 – Thoughts on coffee

I used to hate coffee. In fact, up until this summer, I never even owned a coffee pot (the bad-boy I own now is a whopping 4-cup machine). But that’s changed since I started working in an office (and this pot is a 12-cup).

Coffee.

Apparently, I’m an adult now, who’d a thunk? (Yes, grammar perfectionists, I just ran my nails down your chalkboard.)

But I’ve come to a realization that there IS too much of a good thing. And I need to start slowing down my coffee consumption. (But really, caramel drizzle is like a little slice of heaven.)

So my plan is this…I’ve limited myself to only three cups a day. That’s it.

Thank goodness. Maybe sleep will be a little easier to come by. 😉

Did I mention I switched cups?

I started with the cup on the right, but I've now limited my number of cups...and switched to the cup at the left. That should help.

I started with the cup on the right, but I’ve now limited my number of cups…and switched to the cup at the left. That should help.

Day 10 – Thoughts on time management

OK, here’s a blast of sheer honesty: I sometimes really suck at time management. Really. For example, here it is, 11:30 on Sunday night. I WILL get this post finished before midnight, because…well, because I promised a friend I would meet the 30 Day challenge head-on. I could easily cop out. I have a ton of valid, reasonable excuses.

But I won’t. (That’s another thought for another day.)

As I mentioned in the homework post, I’m trying to be a better role model. Really, I am. But I’m just grateful that tonight my kids are in bed, and here I sit, typing away. Using way too much punctuation, getting all snarky and pretending that anything I say really matters.

Who am I kidding?

So here are a few goals that I will strive towards this week:

  • finish all requested writing at least 12 hours prior to deadline,
  • read all assignments and submit them at least 2 hours prior to deadline (see, I’m not expecting miracles, just improvements),
  • not going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink (does stacking them on the counter count?),
  • folding AND putting away all laundry (and not allowing any one load to go through a wash cycle more than once…and not hitting the “fluff” button on the dryer more than once twice)

    I believe my machine is mocking me. Yeah, yeah, the clothes are clean. I get it. Unless you're going to jump into the dryer by yourself, leave me alone.

    I believe my machine is mocking me. Yeah, yeah, the clothes are clean. I get it. Unless you’re going to jump into the dryer by yourself, leave me alone.

Eh, that’s enough for one week. Maybe next week I’ll add in some other goals. Perhaps this 30 Days will not only get me blogging more regularly, but include some life-improvements as well? One could hope!

Day 9 – Thoughts on music

Eclectic. That’s the only way to describe my taste in music. There truly isn’t anything I won’t listen to once. My favorites include Blake Shelton, Buckcherry, Garth Brooks, Lorde, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum, AC/DC, Chicago, Johnny Cash, George Jones, George Strait…well, it goes on and on and on.

Dance like no one is watching.

Dance like no one is watching.

Someone once told me that you can tell a lot about someone regarding their music interests. I question that. For some of us, music isn’t always about a message, or the lyrics, it’s about enjoying the rhythm, the beat, the ability to let the music just flow through your body.

Now, there are some songs that mean a lot to me. Some that I cannot listen to, unless I’m alone, such as Garth Brooks, “The Dance.” Some that remind me of people or places or things that I have experienced. And then there are songs that just make you get up and move. The songs that when they come on the jukebox, you stop what you are doing, grab the nearest person and enjoy every beat.

Music makes the world go ’round…and I couldn’t imagine a world without it.

So what’s your favorites? Care to share a few with me? Sure be cool if you did.

Day 8 – Thoughts on giving (Christmas Angel Project 2013)

This will be the third year that I have organized this project, and I’m hoping that this year is bigger and better than ever! 🙂angelI love the holidays. And I plan to do my part to spread some cheer. For those that haven’t participated before, here’s how it all started.

I need two things from you: 1) Names of people who could use a little pick-me-up, a spring in their step, a reminder that someone, somewhere is thinking of them; 2) Angels willing to give of their time and show a complete stranger the meaning of the season.

Are you on board???

Let’s rock this!

Use the “Contact Val” tab at the top of the page to give me your names (addresses and suggested gifts/needs) or volunteer to be an angel. I’ll do my best to match people up, and no matter what happens, rest assured knowing that every angel request is responded to…trust me.

I cannot wait to get this year rolling!