Saturday, December 12, 2009


I am spending this cold, rainy, dreary afternoon in front of a wonderful, warm and crackling fire.  I am refusing to turn on the television, for I know if I do, there will inevitably be something about the 'falling from grace' of Tiger Woods.  I don't watch much TV, but this morning, after fixing a nice steaming cup of coffee I turned on the news to catch up on what was going on in the world.  Evidently nothing, for once again, it was all about Tiger's sins.  I get on the internet, and low and behold, Tiger is on my home page.  On the radio, nothing but Tiger.  
This afternoon, my husband and I went shopping.  We stopped in a restaurant to get a bite to eat - there were TV's everywhere (which I hate in eating establishments) and on every single one of them was the 'Falling From Grace' Tiger woods story. ESPN was even doing a one hour 'special' on this 'exciting and scandalous breaking news'. This deeply saddens me.  It serves as a reference point in society as to where we are at and what we have become. We are a society of having 'no life'.  The most watched shows on TV are reality shows, which are nothing but voyeurism. In watching others make an ass out of themselves, it somehow makes us feel better about ourselves. I can't help but wonder how different  things would be if, instead of passing judgment on one another and trying to make sure that each one of us 'pays' for our sins, we just simply extended grace? 
Tiger Woods is known as the greatest golfer in the world and is a huge public icon.  But plain and simple, he is still just a man. A human being.  That means...imperfect, will make mistakes....he hurts....he bleeds...just like everyone else.  I am in no way condoning what Tiger has done.  But we as humans want to step in and make people 'pay' for what they have done.  I have never been known for being the 'greatest' at anything, but I have certainly had my fair share of  judgment from others .  Nothing hurts more than to be judged by the ones whom you thought loved you.  It is even more crushing to find out that the people who should  love you unconditionally have  placed 'conditions' on their love. Interestingly enough, what I have found is, that those who judged me the loudest and harshest are the ones who have 'sinned' far greater than I.
I know that when I, or someone I love has been unfairly judged, I have tended to lash back and remind the judger's of their sin's and thus their own hypocrisy.  This tactic has not worked well for me.  It simply keeps the hurt continuously cycling back to me. God set into place the law of "sowing and reaping", some call it Karma.  I believe that as humans, we are meant to extend love and grace just as the bible states (new testament) and let God's laws work its natural ways.  When we extend judgement and hate we interrupt that law and start a vicious, never ending cycle upon ourselves. 
One of my favorite perfumes is called 'Amazing Grace'. It is sweet, delicate and soft. It makes me feel good when I wear it - That is much the way grace is, sweet, delicate and most importantly, it is precious. The same words can apply to the way it feels to the extending of grace to one of our fellow humans.  Nothing warms and softens the heart more then receiving grace from the one who could have judged you. We should all just draw a line in the sand and allow no more judgement to our fellow humans.  Leave the stone throwing to those who have no sin. (Haven't met anyone like that yet!) The law of reaping and sowing (Karma)  can be changed as the heart of the trespasser changes.  Will there still be consequences for wrong actions? Unfortunately, yes!  I just wish the media and society would get a life, and quit throwing the self righteous stones at someone because of their humanity.  I heard a wise man  once say, "the church (and in this case, the world also) thinks it is its responsibility to make everyone right".  God simply wants us to help make others whole.  
Blessings and healing to the Woods' Family!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Quite often, when someone finds out that I run, I am asked 'Why? Why would anyone want to do that?'.  To which my response has always been, 'If I have to explain it to you then you still would not get it.'  Truth is, there are many, many reasons I run.  I discover more reasons just about every time I run. So for those who want to know the answer to that question, here are just a few of those reasons.

I run because :
  1. It is a challenge and I love to conquer a challenge.
  2. With each rhythmic foot step, I relieve stress and  solve problems.
  3. I feel so ALIVE when I have accomplished a run.
  4. It has provided me a special time to spend with my friends and has enriched a particularly special and dear friendship.
  5. When I run alone, I have awesome prayer time.
  6. I have always hoped that somehow, through my running, I could inspire others to reach for their dreams.  After all, if I could do it, anyone could.
These are just a few of the many reasons I run.  The last one, #6 hit a very special note with me several months ago. While eating at a local restaurant with my family, I saw some women that I went to High School with.  I had not seen some of these women for over 30 years and they were there at the restaurant having a small High School reunion.  I took my two sons, Hayden who is 17 and Noah who was 11, over to meet them.  As we were walking back to our table, I told my children how proud I was to introduce them to my friends. My youngest son Noah surprised me by stating "I'm proud of YOU mom".  "Why?" I asked. To which he responded matter of factly, "Seriously mom, what other kid can say that their mom runs marathons? No one that I know can say that!" While I stood with my heart in my throat, my oldest son chimed in to say "Yeah mom,  even my friends think it's cool." 
I can't even begin to describe how those words from my children touched me - so I won't even try.
And that, my friends, are some of the reasons why I run.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Recently my husband came to me and said that he was considering getting back into pastoring. He currently serves as worship leader at a local church. I will support anything that my husband wishes to do, however, I felt he must know my true feelings and thoughts on being a "pastors wife". I told him that I simply could not "fit" that mold. I would only end up disappointing people who have absurd expectations of what a pastor's wife should be and do. Then I proceeded to remind him of my qualities that could be offensive to 'church' people. I have many, many more but for the sake of time I am only listing a few. Here they are :
1. I drink a beer occasionally. And I like it. (I don't get drunk - all in moderation)
2. I go out with my girlfriends and I drink a margarita and laugh very loudly.
3. At times I will wear "suggestive" clothing deemed inappropriate  by some (all of which my husband bought me).
4. I let cuss words slip out.
5. I paint nude women and take live nude drawing classes. I think nudity is beautiful.
6. I will sometimes speak my mind and the truth as I know it. I am not graceful in my delivery of these words. This leads to 'hurt feelings'.
7. I really and truly don't care what other people think of me.
8.  I will sacrifice church to go to a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon or Triathlon or if I simply need a rest day from my very hectic week.
I reassured my husband that he would have my blessings if he decides to pursue this path, but these wifely traits must be kept in mind for you cannot be a pastor if your wife is (and I quote someone else's opinion of me) a "crazy ass".
It took me 46 years to accept who I was and the fact that I cannot be fit into any kind of mold, nor do I even want to try. In other words, I'm finally liking my crazy ass self!
These statements sparked an interesting conversation between my husband and I (which I love). He realized that in his past experiences he too had tried to fit a mold and failed. He also realized that he tried to make everyone around him, mostly his ex-wife and children fit into a mold. They also failed. I have placed unrealistic expectations upon people in my life too, including my husband, but I have consciously tried not to place those expectations on my children (which has lead me to great criticism by others as well). For instance, last year my oldest son came in the door sporting a Mohawk. He was shocked when my response was "I'm proud of you". He has been very conservative his whole life and for him, this Mohawk was stepping severely out of his conservative box. I asked him if I could dye it red (his school color)- he said no. Later that year, on a dare from his friends, he streaked in a neighborhood while stealing Obama and McCain signs from the yards and in another dare wore pink hot pants to our local public pool. When I picked him up from the police after his streaking incident I told him that if he must do these things, then he needs to be a little wiser, like covering up his RED Mohawk before he streaks through a neighborhood. He has since calmed down after testing the 'breaking out of the mold' waters and is settling more comfortably into his own beautiful and unique skin.
Rarely can anyone 'fit' into a mold. We are all different and unique personalities. We can all love and honor God without fitting into an impossibly perfect mold. God made each of us perfect just the way we are. If we would love Him, try to do what is right and good by our fellow mankind and stay true to who we truly are, then isn't that the greatest worship to God? I know that I have oversimplified a very complex subject but it does make you wonder, could it be that simple? I believe it could be.
My husband has apologized to his ex-wife and children years ago and most recently to me for trying to make us fit a mold that we could not fit ( I also apologized to him as well). Mike and I are certainly more aware of our thoughts and judgments of others now. Placing expectations on others is an innocent mistake on our part. We had learned it from our parents, and they theirs and so on and so forth. But enlightenment is key.
A point for self reflection : If you feel uneasy in your skin, could it be that you are simply trying to fit a mold that you cannot fit? Are you placing other people in molds that they cannot fit?
Imagine how wonderful of a world it would be if we all danced to our unique drum beat that God choreographed just for us. Imagine how wonderful it would be to appreciate and accept the beauty of others uniqueness. I know that this all sounds a bit Utopian, but I believe that we would all be happier, healthier and a more peaceful people.
My hopes for anyone who reads this blog is this: May you embrace your own uniqueness and break out of any unrealistic mold that you may be trying to fit in. May you know and truly love your own crazy ass.

Note :  I am not targeting just churchly molds.  I am targeting ANY unrealistic molds placed on people.  I do love the church.  Church is good, it's just sometimes the people (as in anything else, lose focus on why we are there).  In this blog church was just used as an example.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This is a great recipe to make at the beginning of the week and enjoy all week long. I usually put this drink in my BPA free camelback water container and carry it with me where ever I go.  It is chock full of wonderful, healthy antioxidants.

    1 Gallon container
    12-15 organic green tea bags regular size
    1 Cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries
    1 Cup fresh or frozen organic strawberries
    1 organic lemon
Bring approx 1/2 pint of water in a sauce pan to a rolling boil. Remove from stove and add tea bags. Let steep for 7 to 12 minutes. While tea is steeping, add blueberries and strawberries to blender. Add just enough water and liquefy. Pour liquefied berries into a gallon container.  Strain tea bags and add tea to gallon container and fill with water. Stir. Cut 1 lemon in half  squeeze into tea and add whole lemon to container. Let set overnight to enhance the berry flavor.Drink all day and enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It's a cool, gloomy, Sunday October morning. The house is quiet.  My husband is off to church and my boy's are at their dad's this weekend. I'm taking advantage of this rare and wonderful quiet time to write, rest, heal and fight discouragement.
Last Friday I had a minor surgery.  This surgery required IV sedation and a round of prophylactic antibiotics. I hate antibiotics - they absolutely deplete me.  I had to take one week off of marathon training (I can be quite anal about my running schedule and the marathon is only 3 weeks away). The surgery, antibiotics and coupled with the fact that I have been putting in 10 to 12 hour workdays 5 days a week have worn me out. So yesterday morning at 6:00am I eagerly joined my running group for our last long run before the marathon. We were to run 26 miles.  I was anxious to get back into the groove and on with life.
The morning started off a cold 32 degrees.  It took forever for my legs to warm up.  I knew I was in trouble when my fingers started swelling up like vienna sausages around mile 8. My legs felt tight and never loosened up. We had had flooding rains the last several days and the trails were flooded. We were constantly having to go around the flooded areas only to find ourselves ankle deep in mud. We finally gave up trying to avoid the water and just splashed right through the puddles and our soggy feet quickly started blistering. I mentally and physically fought the entire run.
I finally threw in the towel between mile 22 and mile 23.  Something in me said I was starting to push my body too far.  So I did something that I had always told myself that I would never do...I called my husband.  He met me at the Kansas Expressway crossover bridge.  I sadly waved goodbye to my running partners and climbed into the car. My husband, sensing my disapointment smiled and said, "I'm surprised you made it that far. You did the right thing." Then, trying to cheer me up he drove me to the book store and bought me a new book, and took me out to eat. He is so good to me.
That run made me feel like a failure.  I absolutely hate not finishing something that I've started.  My options were : #1. Push it now, possibly past my limit and take a chance on not being able to recover for my ultimate goal (Bass Pro Marathon) or #2. Stop now, let myself heal, rest and rejuvenate with the hopes of being strong for my marathon.  I opted for #2.
Today, I am tired.  My knees hurt.  I am discouraged.  I wanted my last long run before the marathon to be a strong one.  It's more psychological than physical. That run would have given me the confidence of knowing that  when I stand at 7:00am on November 1st in the midst of thousands of people, that I had just completed the run - no big deal, I could easily do it again.
Right now, I sit on the couch, nursing my wounded ego and sore knees.  I know that because I am tired, discouragement can descend upon me and blanket my mind, distorting my thoughts.  I have to keep in mind that setbacks are normal. More importantly, I have to keep in mind that setbacks are temporary.  I've come to understand that the mental part of running, (as well as the thought process in life itself,) has more power than the physical part.  To obtain my goals, in running or life, I must change my thoughts and predominant mindset. I  cannot dwell on the negative things... I will focus on my goal in a positive way. I will allow myself to go through this process with the hopes of emerging on the other side stronger and ready for the marathon physically and mentally.  I have done three marathons before. With proper preparation my next one will be the best one yet!


Sunday, October 4, 2009


As an RN, I'm not an advocate of the 'flu shot'. In my profession, we, as health care professionals are strongly encouraged to get the flu shot so as not to infect our patients. I KNOW that I personally do not need it, but I do it out of obligation to my company and the health of my patients. But if you follow these simple suggestions you might be able to avoid any kind of nasty little mutating virus this winter. I have not had the flu in many, many years and my children have always remained healthy, rarely missing a day of school. So here are my tips to remain virus free this winter :
  1. Drink 8- 8ounce glasses of water every single day. I know that this is a no brainer, but it works...really! To help you get your 8 glasses in, start with 2 glasses first thing upon rising, 2 at lunch, 2 at dinner and 2 in the evening (try not to drink before bed, as this will keep you up at night going to the bathroom and defeat tip #4).
  2. With a Q-tip, swab your ears out w/ peroxide every morning.  The peroxide travels down the eustachian tubes and kills any harboring germs plus you get the added benefit of clearing out ear wax (which also can harbor germs).
  3. With a Q-tip, swab your nasal passages with warm water, then follow w/oil - olive or safflower every morning. The dry air causes small fissures in your nasal canal.   To a virus particle, these membrane fissures are like the Grand Canyon and causes an excellent entry into the blood stream.
  4. Make sure you are getting enough (unmedicated) sleep. This is your body's only defense to renew itself. (I know, another no brainer)- melatonin is a good natural relaxer to take before bedtime.
  5. Last but not least. EXERCISE.  Cannot stress enough on this one. I personally like exercise that exerts you physically - like running, then I like to compliment this the next day with one that stretches your mind and your body, like yoga. I find this to be a 'balance' for the body. For one extreme of exercise if not followed by another extreme of the opposite tends to lead to imbalance (like everything else in life).
In short, the whole point of these tips is to not let the little devils in your body in the first place. So follow these tips and this will help you and your family have a healthy and happy winter season.

Happy and Healthy Fall to Everyone,

Sunday, September 27, 2009


In writing this blog, please understand that I have no intention of forcing my own political views upon the reader.  The following are facts. This blog was inspired by the book I am currently reading by Andy Andrews called "Island of Saints". My only intention in writting this is to reveal truth with the hopes that it would stimulate thought and personal reflection.
In 1787 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh noticed a continuing pattern in the advance and decline of the world's democracies.  He stated then that a democracy would continue to exist until such a time that the voters discover that they can literally vote themsevles gifts from the public treasury.  From the moment the revelation is made, the majority proceeds to vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury.  The final result is that every democracy finally collapses due to loose fiscal policy.  That collapse is always followed by a dictatorship.
Tyler charted the ages of the world's greates civilizations from the beginning of average existence of about two hundred years. (FYI: the U.S. has been in existence 233 years).  Every single time, these nations progressed through the following sequence : 
  • From bondage to spiritual faith
  • From spiritual faith to great courage
  • From courage to liberty
  • From liberty to abundance
  • From abundance to complacency
  • From complacency to apathy
  • From apathy to dependence
  • And finally from dependence back into bondage.
I believe that I know where we are as a nation in this sequence.  I also believe that our own individual lives cycle in this sequence as well.  So I ask you as the reader to ponder on this :  
Where do you think we, as a nation, fall into this squence; and what part or role do you play in where we are at today, individually and as a nation?
While it is true that history repeats itself.  Knowing this cycle and having the courage to live and act responsibly as individuals and a nation can also begin a new cycle. Knowledge =Enlightenment=Power.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


Yesterday morning I ran 23 miles with my running group. I sat that afternoon, nursing my sore muscles and basking in the glow of accomplishing this feat. Outside our open windows the grey skies let go a sweet melancholy rain which caused me to reflect upon how this all began...
I signed up for the Bass Pro Marathon training group last year with one single goal in mind : To train for a marathon and to do it in a way to keep me from getting injured. What I didn't expect was that the benefits of this group would be beyond just running and finishing a marathon. They were, to put it mildly,much greater, richer and deeper than I ever imagined.
I joined the Springfield MO Galloway training goup last may in 2008. I nervously showed up to run on a warm and humid morning at 6:00am with a lot of apprehension. Besides running with my husband, I had always ran alone and was somewhat of a 'lone runner' and enjoyed my quiet time. So needless to say I thought that I would give it a try and if I didn't like it then I gave myself permission to drop out and continue to run on my own. 
So I started my run with the group, and after running with these women for several weeks I found that I was developing relationships. I quickly discovered that I was running with witty, interesting, well-read, creative, compassionate, professional, beautiful and authentic women. While we ran we chatted about the latest books we had read and soon started sharing books, we talked about our children, husbands, work, dogs and lended ears to personal problems. As each one of our feet hit the pavement and sweat dripped from our brows we rhythmically pounded out ideas, solutions, projects and new goals.
My husband has come to understand and appreciate the wholeness that I feel after I have sweated with these women for hours on end on Saturday mornings.  He knows it makes me a better wife,mother, employee,nurse and artist. In short,he gladly gives up our precious time together so I can be a better person. 
This is the second year that I have ran with this group. We have had new women join and as a result our group becomes even more interesting and rich as these new ladies bring a different and fresh perspective to enrich our lives.
As a group, our ultimate goal is to cross the finish line to obtain the coveted 'Bass Pro Fish Medal' and to proudly display the 26.2 sticker on our Vehicles. But ultimately each one of us will leave the group with an unexpected cohesiveness.  One that can only come with striving together for months, sweating and encouraging each other as our runs became longer and more difficult.  When we cross that finish line in November there will be a bittersweet sensation. One: of knowing that each one of us has accomplished a life goal and two: it marks the end of our regular group runs at 6:00am until next Spring.
The Bass Pro Marathon will be ran on November 1st at 7:00am. But we will walk away that day, with our medals around our necks,changed forever. For I know that our running group has made each one of us realize and appreciate that some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never,ever the same.

Nov. 2008 Right Before the Bass Pro Marathon

       Nov. 2008 -During The Marathon                           

After the Marathon w/the Coveted 'Fish Medal'

Monday, September 14, 2009


Here is a great tasting recipe that I make and drink in the mornings before work and especially before long runs. I believe it helps me with endurance and keeps me from cramping up during long runs.
Try it, let me know what you think.

  • 11 Oz pure coconut water
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 T Maca (herb from health food store)
  • 1 T Bee Pollen
  • 1 T freshly ground flax seed
  • 1 banana
Blend with blender and enjoy.
Just a little note - sometimes when I run out of coconut water I use soy milk for my morning protein shakes. But if I'm doing a long run, I always use coconut water! Also, fill your fuel belt with just pure coconut water instead of sports drinks - It works great and taste much better!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is equal and opposite reaction. This law applies to every situation in life. As long as you are alive on this earth you will experience multiple ups and an downs or highs and lows. THIS IS NORMAL. I was disappointed to discover that the older I got, life did not get any easier and that I was not immune to this law. This Universal law applies to everyone and will occur perpetually until the day we die – DANG IT!! Cause I was really looking forward to kicking back and enjoying a free ride.

2009 has been a particularly peculiar year for Mike and me. Our year started off very strangely. Here are just a few examples of events that have occurred. It started on Jan 1 with the death of a family member and has been on roller coaster ever since. The last two months have been particularly hellacious, to put it mildly. The string of peculiar events started in June with an unfortunate and sad episode with my close family.

The next week, while just completing a very enjoyable bike ride with my dear friend Denise, I walked into the house to find the phone ringing. On the other end my 17 year old son, Hayden states, “Mom, I’m in the ambulance, meet me at the hospital.” Needless to say, electrical currents shot out every pore of my body. Just a note to parents reading this, if your child is in the ambulance and is the one telling you to ‘CALM DOWN’, then chances are pretty good that it’s not a life and death situation. But still, on the mom stress scale, a phone call like this rates an 11. My precious son had slipped in the creek and was unfortunate enough to have caught his fall with his right hand which was smartly impaled into a very large and jagged piece of glass. This sounds like a minor incident, but this incident entailed 4 ½ hours of surgery at 1:00 am with a plastic surgeon to repair 6 severed ligaments and nerves. Hayden currently has no use of his right hand or feeling of his ring finger and will have to go to physical therapy two times a week for a whole year, not to mention that he may have to endure surgeries throughout his life to remove scar tissue to keep the function of his hand.

The very next week I had a freak “health” occurrence happen that is going to require surgery. (no insurance on me).
The next week my husband unexpectedly and suddenly lost his job (nothing to do with him or his job performance). This was not only financially devastating but emotionally devastating for me for I was pursuing my dream of becoming a full time artist but was not bringing in enough money on a regular basis to sustain us.

We have also had other “incidences” that have happened but they would be hurtful to other people if I mentioned them so I will not include them in this blog. Just a little funny at this point. My husband just happens to walk by and asks, “Whacha doin?” “Writing a blog,” I say. To which he replied, “Uh Oh…DO NOT make any more of my family members mad!” I got a good chuckle, for that has never been my intention, but…you know how that goes.
Needless to say, all these events had put tremendous financial stress on us. Mike and I knew that as bleak as things looked at the moment, that this too shall pass. I also knew, however, that while we were waiting on this season to pass, that it was a time to “tuck and roll”. Tuck and roll is a term I learned from horseback riding when I was 9 or 10 years of age. I was taught that if you fall off of a horse, you simply tuck and roll. Tucking helps protect your core, but most importantly the key is to keep your head from sounding like a coconut when it hits the ground= not good. The goal is to also help keep your appendages from snapping like a toothpick = also not good. Rolling helps combat Newton’s second law which states The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector. In other words, you want to roll as opposed to an abrupt SPLAT. You get the jest of it.

So in these times, when you find yourself unexpectedly and suddenly falling…tuck and roll. Oh, and just a note, it also helps to have a good friend or friends who know you, and despite that, still love you, with whom you can vent your woes too. This can be very therapeutic. Thank you to my priceless friends, (you know who you are).
Another little side note that I want to throw in. Listen for answers and pay attention to words or phrases that will catch your attention. For instance, the other day, I was in another room while my husband was flipping through channels on the TV. An old man was telling a younger man, “find fulfillment in everything that you do.” I knew that was a phrase that I needed to grab a hold of. So pay attention. I believe words of encouragement can come at just the right time even through haphazardly flipping TV channels.
An update on our current situation: Mike is now working in my studio in Branson. He is doing quite well. He also has done a few abstract paintings, which is a whole new area for him. He is growing and discovering new things about life and himself. Mike losing his job forced me to get out and get a job. As an RN we felt this would be the most feasible. This lead me into an opportunity of working at a specialty hospital as a Case Manager. The pay and benefits are excellent, I’m working with wonderful and talented people, but most importantly it has put me in a position of truly making a difference in peoples lives. I have found fulfillment in everything that I do.
My sad and unfortunate family situation will get resolved and we will be stronger as a family because of it.
As for my health occurrence, surgery is scheduled for next month and as it turns out, it is quite affordable and things will turn out just fine.
Where my 17 year old son is concerned, he graduates high school next year. He has dreams of becoming a doctor. He says that this experience not only afforded him the opportunity for a cool profile pic of him in the ambulance, but it has helped him with compassion towards other people, and as a result he believes that he will be a better doctor because of it. God has certainly blessed me with two awesome sons and two awesome step children.
So our season has passed for now. We are on the up swing. But I do know this for sure…as long as we are alive and kicking we will have more tuck and roll seasons. Our valleys will serve to make us wiser and more interesting, for everyone who is interesting has a past.
Many blessings to you.