Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Heavy Hearted

I woke up this morning heavy hearted.  There was so much at stake with this election.  More than any policy could explain away.  This was a choice between strength of character and the moral decline of society.  The candidates, as I saw them, were a man who truly had the country's best interest in mind and a man who loves the celebrity of being President.  I was hopeful that our country had enough good in it to pull it off but, alas, it did not.  A friend of mine simply posted the Facebook status of "Helaman 5:2"  This is what it says:

For as their laws and their governments were established by the avoice of the people, and they who bchose evil were cmore numerous than they who chose good, therefore they weredripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.

I don't believe that the other party is evil, however, I do see some of their policies as evil.  As we look at society, all I see is change towards an increasingly more evil and tolerant (of evil) people.  I can't even put my finger on what it is to put it into words.  In voting, our choices are: 1) to kill babies or not kill babies - society continually chooses to kill babies!  2) destroy the family or protect the family core - society continues to vote to destroy the family (I realize that there are many definitions of family - I refer to the family as defined by revelation to a prophet of God), and finally, 3) we have the choice to praise those that work hard and allow them assist those in need or to degrade those that work hard and take from them in order to give to those that choose not to do for themselves. (I only refer to those that choose not to work, not those that can't)

I feel like many people voted for what our country can GIVE to them not what we should be working towards together.

I thought this morning about what it would be like if a family was like our country.  This is completely my opinion and a very simplistic view of what it would be like.  Let's say a man had 6 kids.  The oldest child worked hard doing chores for years, getting nothing in return during those years.  Finally, the man tells that child, that she no longer has to help with the family's chores and that he will now pay her an allowance.  Now imagine that the father tells the next child down that he must work hard at his chores and that all of the allowance he would earn will actually be the money paid to the oldest child as her allowance.  (At this point my kids would be rebelling - BUT with the promise of getting the same deal later might still consider it.)  The next 2 children are told that they must do their chores but they will not get any allowance at all - everything they work for will go to the 2 youngest children.  The 5th child is told that she will get an allowance and that in return she will only have minimal chores to do.  The very youngest child is too young to do the chores but the father feels sorry for her and decides that he will give her everything she has ever wanted, asking nothing in return.  The father then calls a meeting and asks for every child to vote on what he should do.  The choices being:  Everyone works to the best of their ability for our family, dividing the chores more evenly and everyone gets their allowance based on what they do  OR we continue the way we are doing it now.  The oldest didn't want to lose any of the allowance she was getting and the new plan would mean she would lose a small portion of it so she voted to keep things the same.  The next 1 was nervous that he would lose out on that promise of being able to sit back and collect allowance in the next year or so, so he voted to keep things the same.  The next 2 voted to change - after all, they were doing the majority of the chores and had no promise of sitting back and relaxing and getting paid anytime soon.  The youngest 2 voted to stay because they were getting so much out of it and not asked for much, if anything, in return.

What parent would want to teach their children the lessons learned in this?  What parent would ever allow 3 of the children to carry the rest??  None - so why do we allow this to happen in our society?? Why do we allow people to sit back and do nothing while others work?  This should be an outrage.  Why is it so easy to collect money from the government?  My sister's neighbor was a lawyer who YEARS ago quit her job to stay home with her little kids.  She quit her job.  Let me repeat that one more time - she quit her job.  I'm glad she chose to stay home with her kids, that's not the problem.  The problem is that she then went and applied for unemployment which she continued (continues) to get for YEARS after she quit.  Why would she get that??  I stay home with my kids because it's the right thing to do - I don't get paid to do it.  Why do people get paid to have depression or anxiety?  I have those things - I don't get paid by the government to have them, why should anyone else??  Why should we give healthcare or food stamps or any kind of welfare assistance to people who are here illegally??  We are bankrupting our society because we are so anxious to "help" when all we're really doing is enabling them.  Today I am angry and upset.  I'm having a hard time letting go and moving on.  I have been praying mightily for the leaders of our country that they will not be led by evil to destroy our country but will, instead, have their hearts softened and do good.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Bacon Analogy

So... I my sister came over to celebrate my birthday with us and while she was eating dinner I heard this soft, but audible, "hmmm..." followed by "Bacon, why do you have to taste so good!?!"  I chuckled a bit, but knowing that it's exactly what I'm thinking while I eat it, I didn't think much of it until she added, "why did I wait so long?"  This brought about the declaration that she had, only recently, just tried bacon for the first time EVER.  She is 26 years old.  In disbelief, I asked a million questions.  "You mean, NEVER EVER?"
"I just didn't think I would like it, so I never ate it."

Having grown up in the same house and knowing that we had been given the same meals, I still couldn't believe that bacon had never once touched her lips... or more importantly, her taste buds!!  Think about the years lost without it!  I still find it hard to believe, but she assures me it is true.

Today, I went to my scripture study class where we discuss the New Testament.   We were discussing some history and background behind the chapters we were reading Matthew 14 & Mark 7.  In these particular chapters, the Jewish leaders were following him around looking for something to fault him with.  The teacher (who happened to be my wonderful mother) asked why we thought it was so hard for the Jewish people to accept Jesus as the Christ.  We then talked about Jewish law a bit and then she asked, "Why do you think it's so hard for people to accept Jesus Christ today?"

As people were answering, I had the thought, "because they don't know how much they NEED Him, they don't know what He has already done for them, and they don't know how much better their life would be WITH Him in it.  They think they are just fine as they are."

Immediately, I remembered my sister.  Why did she wait so long to have something that was good in her life? (okay, I realize that bacon isn't the healthiest food, but certainly is good tasting)  How could she be in the same house with me (growing up) and not have the same experience and understanding that I did.  Most importantly, why didn't she want to just try it?  Bring on the bacon analogy answers...

People live in the same world I do, but we have different experiences and understandings of life... just like my sister and I living in the same house growing up.  I am in awe (and some disbelief) at some of the things I see and wonder how we can all have such diverse view points on EVERY thing.  I look out at the world and wonder, "why are you waiting to have something good in your life, why are you afraid to try it?"  The answer is the same, "I don't think I'll like it."

Bacon is delicious, but you can't take my word for it, you have to try it for yourself.  Having seen miracles (literally) in my life, I can promise you that if you try bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ into your life, you will like it.  You may even LOVE it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Politics -blah!

I detest politics.  Really - I don't like the fighting.  There are some things that you will just simply not be able to change anyone's mind on - their decisions come from personal experience, beliefs, and (let's face it) family background or even tradition.  No 2 people have identical lives, even siblings have different experiences that form their opinions.  Now, with that said, I don't think there is anything wrong with healthy debates.  BUT I think if you're wanting to voice your opinion to what your political views are, you have to be willing to take the opposition that comes with doing so - because that's the nature of politics.  If you can't take hearing the other side, then it is better to keep your opinions to yourself and just vote when the time comes.  With all of this said, I am publicly voicing my political views for the first time in written form for the purpose of letting my posterity know what I think.  We are living in a time when I believe politics are at historical point.  I believe that years from now, our children will be reading about these times in their history books.  I want my children and grandchildren to know where I stand on these issues.  This could be a long post and may take me several days to compose.  I know that posting this publicly is opening a door that I have yet left closed to many of my friends and acquaintances in my personal life, on Facebook, and in blogdom.   I feel I am ready for your comments and anything else you throw at me or I wouldn't post anything at all.  We are living in a time when there are many moral debates out in the world - even the meaning of the word morality is being debated.  I want my kids to know how I feel, today, about the issues that are so prevalent in our society.  Some of these are hot topics, some not so much.  Please don't continue reading if you're someone who lets someone else's opinions bother you... this is just my perspective on current issues.

What prompted this writing?  The following paragraph was read in church 2 Sundays ago.

In accordance with the laws of their respective governments, members are encouraged to register to vote, to study issues and candidates carefully, and to vote for individuals whom they believe will act with integrity and sound judgment. Latter-day Saints have a special obligation to seek out, vote for, and uphold leaders who are honest, good, and wise"

  I noticed 2 things from the statement: I should vote AND seek out a candidate who is going to be honest.  I have yet to see a politician in my lifetime that truly acts with integrity AND acts with the best interest of the whole nation.  There are so many hidden political agendas on all sides.  I wish I could have all candidates over to my house for one week, without press, without advisors, without the mask they wear in the public eye.  I want to see how they interact with my children, to help them with their homework, get them snacks, watch them play at the park.  I want them to see my $200/month water bill, I want them to talk with me about a normal week with a normal family.  I want them to see my kids' schools, see our roads, to see what REALLY matters to us.  So here are my thoughts - again this is a super long post.

  I don't love that our current system makes politics desirable to anyone.  To quote my husband, "our current system breeds corruption."  There should be no career politicians (term limits on all positions), there should be no opportunity for gain (financial or otherwise) by anyone in position.  I don't mind if they get a salary, but they should have to pay for all of their expenses with that salary (taxes, housing, food, transportation, etc.) with the exception of anytime those things are done for their position (anytime it is for official business - then they should get a per diem like other business travelers and have to ride in coach class unless they personally pay for the upgrade or get it because of miles - like regular people).  Tax payers should not have to pay for limos, fancy hotels, expensive meals etc.  They need to be given a budget and stick with it.  That budget needs to pay for their security detail and all business travel.  My husband had additional suggestions: yearly audits of personal finances (a person should not enter office with hardly any money and leave a multi-millionaire and not have people ask questions), term limits, no pension.  I don't mind if we pay for secret security for former presidents, but that should be all we are paying for them.  While the President is in office, he needs to pay for his own expenses from his salary, like vacations.  It bugs me that Presidents take elaborate vacations and think that its the country's responsibility to pay for his vacations or his child's private school.  Public school is good enough for the rest of the country, should be good enough for the President's children.  You can have secret service secure the campus the same as any other campus, but we're not paying for a better education for your kid if I can't afford to pay for that for my own child.  As far as vacations go, my husband's company doesn't pay for us to go anywhere, why should the President's job be any different.  If they need a getaway paid for by the country he has Camp David, anything beyond that should come from his own pocket. One should become President (or congressman) to SERVE our country, not so our country can serve them.

  I love that people want to come to my country for a better life - it's a great place to live.  I want them to come here legally and come here with their family (husband, wife, kids)...  they can all apply individually and if one gets accepted for admittance, they all get to come (with the exception of criminal backgrounds), get a green card, and work to make our country a better place.  They should work towards citizenship and be given a certain amount of time to make that happen.  They should not get free health care, get to vote, or have any of the other rights that should be for citizens until they become so, and they will need to pay any taxes that anyone else pays to live here.  Driver's licenses should be provisional and should have greater penalties for misuse.  Zero tolerance for criminal behavior.  My plan to make this happen?  1) stop any money being sent to any other country that refuses to assist us in securing our borders.  Money being earned in the US needs to stay here to build up our economy - not someone else's.  2) When we find someone who is here illegally, we send them back to where they came from, immediately.  Not first class, not on a nice airplane, but in a military personnel plane - this is not a vacation.  When they leave this way, they have to leave any money they earned here, here.  It will be given to the US border patrol.  They will not be allowed back in the country.  3) People who voluntarily leave and will have the right to fill out an application for admittance to the country.  They can keep their money, homes, cars, etc. but will have to wait until all other applications ahead of them have been accepted or denied.  Those that have a proven history with our country (20 years or more) and have shown that they want what's best for it, will be guaranteed acceptance provided they have no criminal record.  4) Children who are born here but whose parents are here illegally must return to the parents' country of origin.  At age 18, they can apply for a US passport and return to the US legally.

  This is one hot topic that people feel strongly about on both sides.  But I have not yet figured out how anyone can think that location matters on whether or not it's murder.  You would never kill a baby out of the womb, so why would his or her location matter?  That's like saying, I'm inside my house so you can kill me but when I'm out of my house, you can't.  I just don't understand it, you will never be able to convince me otherwise.  I have no problem with people choosing to prohibit the creation of life, but once it's created, you're out of luck.  A woman's right to choose what happens with HER body ends when it becomes the choice of what to do with someone else's body.  She had the right to have sex or not... she doesn't get the right kill another human being because she wasn't planning on being pregnant.  When it comes to being a matter of convenience, there should be no choice - the choice was to have sex or not to... this is a consequence of that decision, your next choice should be whether you're going to give the baby up for adoption or raise it with your husband.  In the matter of birth control failing, this is one of the reasons that you should not have sex unless you're married to someone with whom you intend on spending your life with - that should be your back up plan, not an abortion.  This gets tricky when the baby is not a result of the woman (or girl)'s choice to have sex.  In the case of rape, it will need to be the matter of prayer.  If it were me, I would carry the baby to term, be grateful that new life could come from something so evil, and give the baby up for adoption.  I know there are thousands of parents out there that desperate for children and I would hope that women would consider them over terminating a pregnancy - let something good come from something bad.  Bring happiness to a family that so desperately looks for it.  I do think that it also needs to be a deep matter of prayer when it comes to whether or not you personally can live with the daily reminder of being a victim.  The final thing to consider is when a mother's life is at risk.  Every time I was pregnant, I thought of this scenario... what if the doctor tells me that this baby could kill me?  I personally would have to make it a matter of prayer but I believe I would carry the baby and trust that God knows what is best.  We are talking about 2 lives, yours or the baby's, I think I would let God determine which of us gets to live, if the answer is neither, so be it.  For me, that's the answer, for someone else, it might not be.  Please pray and seek guidance before you do anything.

   I don't mind so much that government wants to give healthcare to people who don't have it.  I consider the following...  1) My husband's work has been providing us with insurance for years, we pay a monthly premium, like you would for ANY type of insurance.  I like what we have and we PAY for it.  I don't want that to change.  2) There are many small business owners that can't afford insurance for themselves or their employees and individual private insurance is a nightmare (I know because we looked into it for ourselves once).  3) I do think EVERYONE should have some sort of healthcare.  If you pay for better, you get better.  NOW, how do all of these things work together?  The government should provide an insurance type program for everyone who doesn't receive insurance through work.  A citizen pays a monthly premium based on how many people are in their family and current income, but everyone pays.  People on this program can only go to certain care centers that accept it (like an HMO center), unless they choose to pay more and get a PPO plan.  People who are here illegally will be patched up and sent back to their country of origin.  People receiving government assistance will be put on a very basic plan, and their premiums will be taken out of their check from the government (if they qualify to receive $200/month in assistance and they are supposed to pay $20 for insurance, they will only receive $180 in a check).  EVERYONE else uses their own insurance from work and nothing changes for them, no increase in taxes or premiums.  It should not be pleasant for people or desirable for them to have government insurance, it should be something they are trying to get off of or something that they only use in desperate times (like when your own insurance company drops you, you lose your job, or can't get coverage because of a pre-existing condition).  People paying for their own insurance should not have to pay for everyone else's healthcare as well.  Everyone should be taking care of their own family and their own needs...  the government should be there to supplement only and fill in where insurance companies fall short, not provide everything for everyone.

   This is a tough one for me to put in words.  Let's start with this:  I believe in God.  I believe that He set up His pattern for marriage from the beginning of the world.  He set Adam and Eve upon the Earth and commanded that they multiply and replenish the population.  Marriage is between man and woman.    I believe that God's laws are eternal and can not be changed based on current social/political policies.  So, do I think we need to change our countries' definition of marriage - nope... not our place to question God.  Does this mean I hate people that struggle with same-sex attraction?  NOT AT ALL.  I chose the word "struggle" on purpose.  It can not be easy for someone who grows up feeling different.  I can only imagine the daily struggles that they go through to find acceptance from friends, family, or coworkers.  They are asked to put up with a lot and my heart aches to see anyone face trials of such magnitude.  I don't pretend to understand why God asks people to live with this but I do know that the harder our struggles in the life, the stronger we become.  I hope that all people can find their happiness and do what they feel is right for them and hope that they pray to find the strength they need to push forward.

   Do I believe a government has a responsibility to provide for it's citizens?  Yes, I do.  Do I believe those citizens have a responsibility to make sure the government doesn't have to provide for them?  Yes, I do.  Here is my plan: Everyone can do something.  They can.   The government needs people to file forms, make copies, make phone calls, etc.  They can use people who are getting assistance to do those kinds of jobs while they work to find something more permanent. Anyone who gets assistance should have to work for it.  If you have 3 single moms and all of them are receiving assistance, the government can organize them in a way that perhaps 1 can provide day care for the other 2 to work.  Even if someone can't walk, they can still read forms, enter data, etc.  Now, if they are mentally or physically unable to do anything, their families should be the first to care for them, if family is not available, then they can receive the basics from the government - the bare minimum to live.  Extras (like TV) will need to be provided by family.  If someone is going to get government assistance, that means somewhere, someone else is paying for them.  They WORK for those people and should be accountable to them.  They should have to hand in receipts for everything they pay for in a month.  If their receipts plus their savings do not equal what they made at their job plus what they got from the government, they need to be put on probation and audited monthly.  As they pay for wants vs. needs, they should receive that much less money the next month from the government. (a flat screen TV, alcohol, cigarettes, manicures, or a cell phone are  NOT needs - housing, food, basic transportation are needs).  For example:  A woman gets $200/month in government assistance towards food.  She spends $100 that month on getting a manicure, paying a bar tab, and going to the movies.  The next month, she should receive only $100 from the government because obviously, she was getting too much money.  Anyone receiving money from the government should have their lives under a microscope, they should get drug tested before they are handed the check, and need to understand that they do not get the same luxuries that other people get.  Why people think they get to live for free while millions of others work, I will never understand.  Also, no one gets welfare unless they are citizen of our country.

   A necessary evil - we have a country to run, we have to pay taxes, but I think everyone should pay the same rate - EVERYONE.  No one should pay more than anyone else.  I have 2 ways to do this...  PLAN A: do away completely with income tax and do a use tax on all items (small percentage of gas, food, clothes, property, etc.)  Therefore, no one gets away without ever paying taxes (it bugs me that the people who don't pay taxes are the ones that use government services - so they pay nothing and get the most help??) and you only pay taxes on things you actually use.  I actually think the country could get a lot more money from this and it encourages people to be more self-sufficient (grow own vegetables, drive less often - good for environment, and make own clothes - a lost art).  PLAN B: flat rate tax maximum.  For example: EVERYONE pays 10% of their income regardless of how much they make.  Tax credits will be made for dependents (i.e. .25% less per person), donations to charity (i.e. .5% off for every 1% of your total income donated).  If you make $200/week, you pay $20 in taxes for that week.   Those who make $2000/week pay $200 in taxes.  The richer you are, the more you pay, BUT it's in the same proportion as everyone else.  I hate that when I see a cause that I think is important, like cancer research, I can not donate to them because the government has taken my money and given it to pay for someone's food because they decided to drop out of high school or because the president needed the money to go on vacation to Europe.

   I believe in the eternal law of cause and effect.  For every action there is a reaction, that is for every action there is a consequence (bad or good).  Everything we do has consequences and it is up to us to accept them, not try to make our world one that doesn't have consequences.  I don't want my children growing up thinking that there is an easy way out for their actions, I want them to struggle to make their life Every time we try to cover up a mistake, pass the blame, or not take responsibility for our own self and family then we end up causing more damage.  Take responsibility for your own actions and take control of your own future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Life with ADHD - an adult's perspective

So, I'm not very good at posting to my blog.  Mostly because Facebook is an easier forum for quick blurbs about my life.  I do have a goal of posting here more frequently, as I hope to document our lives better.
   This morning, I am short on time because it took me so long to get breakfast.  Why did it take so long to get breakfast?  Because 2 factors lined up for the perfect storm this morning - I am a mother AND I have ADHD.
    So, here's a glance into my life and why I can look back at the day and have no idea what I did and my house never looks any cleaner:
   Woke up, showered, but didn't get dressed, I just threw on a robe so I could run downstairs and help the boys get off to school.  (This all between 6:35 and 7:20am)
    Got the girls some breakfast while I sat down to check email because I was expecting a few.  Had a response to something I was waiting to hear from and replied back.  After responding, checked Facebook.  (this all finished by 7:50am)
   Realized I hadn't yet gotten myself something to eat so I stood up, looked at the clock and realized that I should probably go get dressed.  Got dressed and while I was up there, decided I should gather up the dirty clothes and start some laundry.  I gathered it all up but on the way down the stairs, realized that I still hadn't eaten yet and I really was hungry.  So, I dumped the clothes in the laundry room, and headed to the kitchen.  Once I got there, I forgot what I was doing (seriously, 10 feet from the stairs) As I was trying to focus on what I was supposed to be doing, my daughter came in and asked for a drink.  I noticed that her pants seemed short but didn't look like capris.  They were hand-me-downs so I didn't know if they were supposed to be pants or capris.  So, I checked the size and it was in Euro sizes and I didn't know the conversion, so I sat down to google a size conversion chart, meanwhile, my daughter is still standing there staring at me.  She politely (but starting to get impatient) asks for a drink AGAIN.  Oh, yah, I was doing that.  So I got both girls a drink and sat back down in the chair to finish finding the conversion - but as I did, I realized that I was REALLY hungry.  (this by 8:10am)
   I got turkey sausage patties out of the freezer to microwave and put them on a plate.  I then took the box to put away in the freezer.  On my way back over, I noticed a pan in the sink that had not yet been scrubbed.  I started to scrub it and after a few minutes, looked over to see my sausage, sitting on a plate still frozen.  Oh, yah, I was doing something, so I washed my hands and put that in the microwave and then put an English muffin in the toaster.  I walked over the computer and thought, I should write this all down.  Sat down and saw the conversion chart up and thought, "Did I ever finish that??"  So I quickly looked at the chart found out that my 5 year old is wearing something that is basically a 2T, got my breakfast together and sat down to document it.  So, here I sit, documenting...  the girls are still not dressed correctly (in stuff that's the right size), the laundry is still not started, and that pan and the other dishes are still not done.  I had good intentions, but I need to leave to pick up a neighbor from the car service center in few minutes, go straight from there to the park, and from there home to get kids lunch and M onto the bus for kindergarten.  It is right now 8:36 and the next possible time to do anything of substance in my house cleaning will be at noon.  So, next time someone asks what I do all day and I have nothing to show for it, just know that I haven't been watching TV and goofing off... I actually have been very busy.  I just have no idea what I did!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In honor of April

This is from last year, but it was worth posting. It's not edited down as much as it could be, but I think it shows how fun it was for me helping them figure it all out - I love the looks on their faces as they start putting pieces together. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yes, I WILL run (at least for a few minutes) for chocolate!

I promised ages ago that I would write down some of my experiences from the past few months and I find myself wanting to avoid housework for a few minutes (don't worry, I have made my small slaves clean up a ton before I took a break!) so I thought it would be a good opportunity to document how my race occurred. Be warned, this is a very long story. Here is how it all started...

In early September, I was called as Girl's Camp Director for my Ward. Camp is going to be on a Ward level, so that means the planning and details all fall on me. This includes the hikes. I love camp but the hikes have never been a strength for me. So, I decided to walk and get into shape. I decided to walk around the track at the elementary school during soccer practices. We had practice there 4 days a week for an hour each, so I thought it was a good plan. Then this set of emails followed between me and the coach's wife of Spencer's team...

from Allred
to Courtney
date Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 7:31 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Missed seeing you at the game tonight but glad to see that Dave is in town!
We would be glad to cover snack on Oct 1 and will let them know.
Thanks for being such a great team mgr!

to Allred
date Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 10:07 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Frankly, I would have rather been at the game and not at Carter's practice but we had to divide and conquer tonight and Dave wanted to go to the game (the person who went to the game didn't have to take any little girls with them). Practice did, however, allow me the opportunity to get my walking in around the track. I figure with girl's camp next summer, I really have to get serious about getting into shape. I am at the track 4 days a week and started walking last week with adding 1 lap every time I go around. I did my 6 laps today and I was thrilled to find out that although this track is short, it's very wide and still is .25 miles each time around. So, today I went 1.5 miles. By Thursday's practice, I will be up to 2 miles. I plan on walking every time I can and see how much I can do by the end of the season. I think winter will be rough, but in the Spring I can walk again and I will start where I left off.
You are welcome to join me any time!! :)

to Courtney
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 7:54 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Good for you! Wow, that's great that you'll be up to 2 miles!

I have an idea if you're willing. Let's sign up for a 5k (3.1 miles) late this fall. There are usually quite a few for thanksgiving. That will help give the extra motivation to keep going (at least that's how it works for me :)

What do you think?


to Allred
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 9:48 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

This is really funny. I had some feelings I couldn't come to grips with when I read your email, so here's the breakdown of my thought process. Remember that I am always light hearted about stuff and the following is not intended to make race-runners feel bad. It's all said with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye. So here goes...

How I normally feel:
I am and always have been fundamentally opposed to people signing up for torture. Running is something people do in an emergency like to save a child from the middle of the road or to get away from someone shooting at you. Running is not EVER for fun. It's just not natural. :)
Now, before you tell me it's okay to walk in a race... people who start out walking in a race kind of defeats the purpose of a "race." Race means that you are trying to get there first and the person who starts out walking has no intention of getting there first, right?? :)

The feelings I didn't understand:
You said we should do it and I immediately thought, "Sure! It sounds like fun. I can totally do that!!" a 1/2 second later, "Wait! What!?! A 5K, that's like a race and people do it for fun... Hmmm..."

Unfortunately, my excitement and enthusiasm was short lived and followed by my remembering that I am scheduled for surgery in November and will not be doing much of anything for a few weeks. But... I should be good by Christmas so keep an eye out for one of those Christmas ones ;)

It was a good idea and probably could have been easily talked into it. Thanks... keep the ideas coming!!! :)


to Courtney
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 10:06 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

You are so funny. I'm going to keep after you though because I am one of those apparently rare people that sign up for races not to win but to #1 - just finish, #2 - get a cool shirt, #3 - motivate me to stay off my butt and keep running!!!
There is a 5K at National Harbor that I've been thinking about. It's called running for Hot Chocolate!! I'll be on the look out for more!!!
You said to "keep the ideas coming" :-)

I forgot to add to #1 -despite the pace (there is no shame I'm walking. That's what I tell myself. Most important is that I'm actually participating!)

to Allred
date Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer
Okay, how is it that you just talked a severely overweight, completely out of shape, person who hates the idea of racing, into doing a 5K with you?? No, seriously, this is the craziest thing on Earth.

I'm in - as long as you walk me through the process. What do I wear, what do I do, etc. I need step by step instructions - ahhh, I'm so nervous.

I know that I will be dead last, that strangers will be cheering for me as I crawl over the line. I can hear the whispers now - "did you see that fat lady at the very back of the line? What was she thinking? Wow, she must have a very persuasive friend."

Honestly, the fact that you could talk me into this is saying a lot. I'm thinking you could talk anyone into anything. Have you considered being a salesperson somewhere. Oh! You should be one of those people that sells time shares...


Let me know when you are all signed up. I want you to sign up first... :)


Further proof that misery loves company, I'm thinking about asking my sister to sign up too! More fun at the post-race party, right??
...and so that's how it all started. Somehow she talked me into it. Somehow I signed up for it. Somehow. I did better than I have ever done before on sticking to an exercise program. I had surgery 3 weeks before the race. After all my "misery loves company" campaigning there were 7 of us total from my Ward and then my sister, Jaclyn. When I asked Jaclyn, I actually started to chicken out on asking her to do it with me and presented more as coming to support me and just being there at the finish line. She called me back and said, "I've been thinking about it and I'm going to do it with you." It was crazy, not only did I have someone from my family coming to support me, but I actually had someone from my family doing it with me. Then, over the next few weeks, one by one the other ladies joined in.
The night before the race the ladies from my ward all got hotel rooms and went out to dinner together at the National Harbor in Oxen Hill Maryland which is where our race was going to be. It was a blast. I don't ever do "ladies night out" type things and it was fun just being with friends. It was actually like being back in high school or college except that our conversations turned to our actual kids and husbands versus our future kids and husbands. Those ladies are all fun and little crazy and it was nice to just get out. Favorites from the evening were hanging out in Charming Charlie's and the Peeps store.
The next morning I woke up at 4:30. I was nervous about the race and couldn't sleep AND I also wanted to give my body some time to wake up. Jaclyn met us at the hotel at 5:30 and my friends we all went together to the race at 6:00 (except for 2 of the ladies that were doing the 15K and left about 20 minutes after us). We waited in traffic to get into the parking lot and then waited again for the race to start. It was supposed to start at 7:15 but didn't start until long after 8. Apparently, there were some accidents on the Beltway - big surprise! The race had a slow start, which was good for me because we were all frozen and it was hard to walk, let alone jog. J and I started jogging down the hill and I had to stop because I had no control over my body and felt as if I was going to trip and go rolling down the hill. I just kept walking, trying to walk faster down hills, trying to jog occasionally (not much), and then just walking at a steady pace. I was probably walking about 3.5 miles an hour, which is pretty fast for a fat lady. Then, about a mile from the finish line, I saw a man on the side of the road cheering for people. He didn't know any of us but he was giving encouragement nonetheless. I became very emotional. I knew how far the finish line was. I saw that man and began to get teary-eyed. I then saw a family reunite on the route, the mom was so happy to see her little girl again. I, again, had tears well up inside. I finished that straight part and turned for the final half mile of the race, it was up a large hill. I was tired, that hill seemed impossible. I could see the finish line, I knew it wasn't very far, but it seemed so far away. I made it up the hill and you had to make a left turn to go to the finish line. I was exhausted and ready to be done. As I neared the turn, my dear friend, Emily, came out running up to me cheering me on. I burst into tears. I was so grateful to see a familiar face and so overwhelmed by my experience. Then, behind her comes Shauna Ploeger, also cheering me on. Then, to my left, Anne McDonough. Then, behind her, Stephanie Whetten. All of them came to run across the finish line with me. All of them were there to support ME. Just as we turned the corner to get to the finish line, I hear the announcer say, "Courtney, put your hands in the air, show everyone where you are!" Me? How on Earth did he know it was me?? Then, from the announcer's stand, comes Jaclyn. My sister. She had him do the shout out to me. She came out to greet me. Having her there meant everything to me. I was sooo happy to see her. We all starting jogging and ran across the finish line together. I have amazing friends and an amazing sister! I was so emotional, at this point, tears were streaming down my face. I don't often feel a sense of accomplishment, it's one of my many personality flaws. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line is indescribable and overwhelming. After the race was over, the sponsors of the race, Ghirardelli Chocolate, had chocolate fondue and hot chocolate for all of the racers. It was super delicious and totally worth the 3 mile walk! :) Within 30 minutes, I had an analogy for life of my entire race experience.
Our lives are often compared to a race. We are often told to endure to the end. I did that, I endured to the end. I didn't have to do it alone. Along the way, we have a prophet and other church leaders cheering us on. They, likely, don't know us personally, but they want us to succeed. (the man I saw first along the way cheering me on) Others, finish before us and get to reunite with their families on the other side. (the lady seeing her daughter and husband after her race was finished) Finally, when we are in the hardest parts of our life, when we need it the most, our friends coming running out to support us, our families are there to build us up and celebrate our achievements, and all of them help us finish strong. When we are done, we will know that we accomplished something that seemed impossible but in the end, was totally worth it.
I got home that afternoon and immediately started looking for another race to enter. We signed the whole family up for a 1K (we went with the small one so the little girls could participate) the very next day. It was a walk for Make A Wish Foundation. That race is another story.

My 2 year old's potty mouth

Having a child with a speech delay or other issue is usually no laughing matter. I will say, however, that as much as I dislike the idea of swearing, I still find it absolutely hilarious when she says certain words - to the point that I actually ask her to repeat things, just so I can chuckle a second time. My favorites are the work drawer and apple. I won't repeat what apple sounds like, if you're not sure, hold your tongue with fingers and say the word, it's very similar to how she pronounces it. My all time favorite is drawer. She often will ask me to get her a spoon from the "hoe-wer" (pronounced like whore) or put my keys away or whatever. I always have to stop and see who she's calling that. Okay, my kids would tell me that this post was not appropriate, so I'm moving on. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012