Monday, September 27, 2010


I am inspired this week by my niece Katie. My family is not what you would call a "sports" family. My sister and her husband did not play sports growing up, and I played soccer and basketball only after getting type 1 diabetes - as a way to stay active. Mom would come to my games, but it was rare for anyone I knew besides her to be there. So this summer when I was at the lake with my niece we went to the local YMCA. She ran on the treadmill, and after we were chatting and she mentioned to me that she might like to try out for the cross country team. I was floored. This is the same girl a few years back that didn't like to have to walk too far. :0) I was so excited but didn't want to push too hard, so I tried my best to be objective and supportive.

Well, she joined. I was so excited I was jumping up and down, and I took her out immediately and bought her good running clothes. Then she asked me if I wanted to come join the team and run with them on a Saturday practice - of course i do!! LOL. So I went, and when the option was given to turn around at 2 miles or go to 5 miles I suggested we go the 5. The coach was shocked, and we were the only girls that went the longer distance. :0) I went to the first meet prepared to not embarrass her. I really tried, but it only lasted about 2 mins when she moved quickly into first place. I was screaming and jumping up and down, running all over the course to keep screaming and jumping up and down. She came in third, her first race ever. I am so proud! First place was her teammate. In each race since she has been in the top two finishers for her school. As I stood at a meet watching her coming far off in the distance I noticed the boys team standing by the fence, so I kept quiet and listened. "That Legs?" one said, "I don't know, she took off fast bet she tired out" the other said back to him. "Nah, not Leg's", he said "she's gonna blow them all away".

To say I am proud of her is an understatement. As Brad said over the weekend, she is the real deal, she is running, she is stretching, and she is eating right. She is eating healthy foods, extra protein, and staying away from anything that can negatively effect her running. And she's having fun. This is from an email I got from her today:

Cross Country is going pretty good. It gets easier every day. I can keep up with the boys at practice now (they can't stand a girl beating them). I only have one more chance to make the 15:00 club on our course before I leave James Wood. I have a meet tomorrow and we are going to dominate for the girls team! I'll have to tell you how it goes.

This week I am inspired by Leg's - now let's all go out and beat the boys!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Come run with me!

Last fall my cousin Shelley met and interviewed Jim Atkins, Chairman of the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation. The Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation was created in honor of Cheryl Clayton Atkins, whose childhood nickname was “Cherry Blossom.” Her death from breast cancer and her wish that her husband would work to make life better for those who followed her, were the motivations for the formation of the Foundation. In 2006, her husband, Jim and some of her friends began their breast cancer effort.

Three simultaneous Walks/5K runs for breast cancer will be held on October 10, 2010 in Leesburg, Middleburg, Warrenton, all named “Cherry Blossom Walks for Breast Cancer and 5K Runs. Conducted during national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Walks’ net financial objective is $300,000, 80% of which will be awarded to Fauquier and Loudoun charities and nonprofits for breast cancer detection, treatment and education; 20% will be granted to regional research.

The Leesburg Cherry Blossom Walk and 5K Run for Breast Cancer will begin at 1 pm, Sunday, October 10 at Morven Park’s Equestrian Center just north of Leesburg, at Tutt Lane off Route 15.

Come on out and join us for a great cause!! Sign up at:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Three things I learned on vacation

This past week I've been on vacation with Mom. We had a really great trip to the Hudson Valley. We toured all of the mansions from the Rockefeller's, Vanderbilt, Washington Irving, FDR, and Jay Gould. I came away from this trip relaxed, restored, and having learned three lessons.

ONE: The Hudson Valley is really very beautiful, and I cannot believe I have never been there before. The combo of water and mountains, farms and city, is just incredible. It should be on everyones bucket list.

TWO: I have a sweet tooth, this I've always known, but now I have confirmation that I get it from my Mom. This could also be called the vacation of desserts. We typically had two per day, one at lunch and one at dinner, and we covered it all, everything from NY cheesecake, to cookies at tea time, to sherbet. We had cake, pies, mousses, cookies, candies, you name it, if it was a dessert we had some. Another plus of the Hudson Valley was the food was incredible. Everything we ate was delicious. And so we ate more.

THIRD: One day of eating out and eating bad makes me feel sick. But what I didn't know, is after eating that way for several days, I stop feeling ill, and I just feel like eating more sweets. Not good. Luckily for me I was smart before I left and I scheduled a session with my personal trainer for the morning after I got back. And it took everything in me to go this morning, but now I feel so much better, and I am back on track and eating healthy and working out.

So I am up a few pounds, but back on the healthy track. And I'm relaxed, restored, and have alot of happy memories from a great trip. :0)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hands like sandpaper

Three years ago this week I spoke to my Dad for the last time. I will never forget walking into the Emergency room into his room and going around that curtain to see him sitting there, Mom, as always, right by his side. His face lit up and a smile spread across his face and he said "Hey Bud! Whatcha doin here?" Like it never would have occurred to him that I would leave work early and drive like a maniac to see him. "Oh I dunno Dad, I was bored at work today so thought I'd drive out and see if you get orange jello tonight, you know it's my favorite" I replied. Then we both grinned and I saw that twinkle in his eye.

About two hours later in a hospital room the morphine kicked in and he stopped talking to us. He lived for another three days, but never woke back up. So orange jello was the last thing I spoke to my Dad about.

I miss him so much some days it physically hurts. Buying an older house Brad and I both commented we wished he could be here to tell us what to look out for, what to check before moving in. And when I lost my job, everything he taught me went thru my head and pushed me to do everything I could to get another job quickly. I miss his advise, which he was always ready to give. I miss his crazy stories. I miss the way he could fix anything at all. I miss driving down the road to the house and seeing him mowing the field in his grey shorts, wife beater, straw hat, and white knee socks. (Gotta watch the Ticks Jen! Those suckers will getcha!) But most days I miss his hands. His hands were like sandpaper, so rough they would scratch you, yet in them was everything he ever taught me and everything he believed in. Life is not handed to you, you have to work hard to earn it. Count your blessings. And no matter what, it could always, always be worse.

It's hard to believe it's been three years since I've held those hands or seen the twinkle in his eye. But I do know that he still pushes me everyday to try, to do the best that I can do, and to LIVE my life to the fullest.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The rest of the story....

On a happier note, Brad and I have put a contract down on the perfect little house. It took me about 5 minutes of looking around to know it was where I wanted to live. It's everything I've always wanted in a house. It's 170 years old, it still has the original floors in most of the house, there is a window box out front, it's full of character, and the best part - it's orange. Yep, orange. We have no grass, and really very little yard work at all (I will not miss the Wisteria or the Ivy here! UG!) It's in what I consider to be a wonderful location, for me at least, one block to Safeway, one block to church, 6 blocks to the gym, 3 blocks to King Street (shopping and restaurants) and Brad's favorite - one short walk thru the tunnel to the water (Potomac River). Yep, an Orange house at the end of an old railroad tunnel - not sure if there could be a more perfect house for us. :0) We close near the end of Sept!

I knew all of this when I lost my job, which might be more of the reason for all the tears. The good news is I have a really great internal lead on a job that hopefully will pan out for me. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and positive thoughts!