Watching my kids pretending in the tub tonight, I noticed something interesting………

The answer was always “yes”.

It went something like this:

Hannah:  “hey do you have a lollipop for me?”

Zeke: “yes, honey here you go”

Z:  “Can we be on a TV show about killer whales?”

H:  “sure”

Z:  “Can my whole family be on it with me?”

H:  “Yes”

(and then when an evil octopus named Ursula showed up on the scene wreaking havoc)

H:  “Get him!  He is trying to eat me!”

Z:  “Don’t worry!  (chomp, chomp, phooey) I chewed him up and spit him away”

They didn’t seem troubled by the fact that lollipops aren’t allowed within 2 city blocks of our house.  A TV show with killer whales was never out of the realm of possibilities.  And when faced with imminent danger from an evil octopus, no one complained that there were no octopus killing weapons to be found.  I mean what are teeth for if you can’t take out a few octopi, right?

The answer was always a “yes”.  By the time they got out of the tub, I felt compelled to say “yes” myself.

H:  “Can we read 4 books instead of 2?”

me:  “sure”

H:  “really?!”

me:  “yes”

H:  “can we read 7 books?”

me:  “yes”

Z:  “Can we have snacks?”

me:  “sure”

Z:  “can I sleep in your bed?”

me:  “Don’t push your luck”

Hannah and Zeke have not lost the ability to imagine.  The sky is the limit.  If they can imagine it, it is possible.  I think this must be the closest t0 a God like attitude as we get down here on earth.  I mean we ARE his imagination.   He imagined, and then we WERE.  We definitely lose this gift of imagination as we get older.  I probably think in terms of roadblocks more than what is possible.  Sometimes when I am alone and it is quiet (almost never), I will let my imagination take me to my dream; “What if I could run a marathon one day!”   But, of course,  I immediately stomp that sucker out with “Are you crazy?”  It would be more likely that I will drive my car to the moon next Tuesday!

Yet, I know that no one who has ever done anything really meaningful in the world did it with ease or little effort.  Those people who are especially amazing and inspirational overcame “impossibility” to live their dreams.   So maybe letting my imagination go wild is exactly what I SHOULD be doing.  And more of it!

Ben Davis is one of those inspirational people.  A friend told me about his blog: and it is truly worth watching his inspirational journey from obesity to marathon!  He has a great line at the end of his video.  He says, “If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it.”   That simple.    I had never even run a mile before this summer.  So running a marathon seems like a pretty impossible dream.  But I have been taking it one mile at a time, and I think I might be ready to let my imagination go there.    Richard’s birthday was yesterday.  (Happy Birthday Babe) We ran 8 miles!  Yay!!!!  I have signed up for a half marathon in June……………  So maybe I can just do it too.

What is your dream?  Let your imagination go wild, and maybe you can just do it too.


coping, running

Some Thoughts on Breathing

As a part of our New Year’s celebration we all came up with 3 words to focus on this year.  Mine were:  faith, connect, and BREATHE

I know every one breathes.  But as I have been focusing on these words, I find there is a depth to breathing that I didn’t realize.

I am coming to believe that our emotional journey; is linked to our spiritual journey; is linked to our physical journey.  Many people don’t link them together.  For instance, most therapists really focus on the emotional journey.   I know people who go to therapy for everything.   Most religious leaders focus on the spiritual journey.  We all know people who use religion for everything.  Fitness Centers, work out programs and personal trainers primarily focus on the physical journey.  Certainly there is benefit in developing one at a time.  Sometimes we need to really target one specific area of ourselves.

It is not so easy to truly integrate all three areas.  I think many people are like me, and they target all the areas simultaneously, without being able to weave them together.  At one time, I thought the emotional journey was the most important.  I got a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy when I was 22.  I just knew that if I could figure out how to have the best marriage and family, then I would have the secret to the universe.  That was all I needed to get there.  WRONG!

I  have always been conscious of my physical journey.  I always attempted to stay healthy and fit.  I thought it was about having a low heart rate, living longer and looking good in your jeans…..WRONG!

I definitely got tricked into thinking that religion was all I needed to find my way on the spiritual journey. You want more spirituality?  Just plug in more religion!……..WRONG!

I was very conscientious.  I worked all the right formulas and did all the right equations!  I still ended up as a 40 year old, flabby, burned out, broken down mom of 4 with a marriage on the rocks.  How could this happen?  I worked out!  I had converted (twice) to Judaism!  I moved my family to an orthodox community!  I had a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy for pete’s sake!  I did everything right!  …………WRONG AGAIN!!

I wasn’t really connecting the dots.  I hadn’t found a way to address body/mind/spirit together to get a fuller picture of what was holding me back.

We talk about breathing all the time.  It seems to be linked to one’s perspective and state of mind.

“breathe easy”

“take a breather”



Big deep breathing is positive and linked to someone who is healthy, relaxed and happy.  Someone who doesn’t know how to “breathe” is seen as anxious and high strung.  As I have begun to focus on this word, I realize how much I am NOT breathing.   Every time I feel overwhelmed and suffocated by my life, I find I am holding my breath, or just taking small shallow breaths.  I am physically suffocating as I am emotionally suffocating.  If I am thinking about God at those times, it is basically “Where the hell are you?”

Learning to run has led me to learning to breathe.    As I have tackled the physical challenges, I have had to face the emotional challenges.  Things that had been buried so deep that I didn’t even know I was suffering from them.  They took on a 3-D characteristic that made them impossible to ignore.  (Not that I have ever been accused of denial).  I couldn’t grow physically until I was willing to grow emotionally.   As I faced the physical and emotional challenges, I had to then examine my spiritual framework to see where it was stunting my progress.  It sounds kind of complicated but really it just came down to hanging on to myself while I focused on breathing.

So, more and more I am looking at my life as a body/mind/spirit journey.  Each part is linked to the other.  Each area of growth has to include the others.   Running has become much more than just a work out.  I am physically increasing my lung capacity by running.  Yet, I am now aware of the carry over into the other areas.   I “breathe” a little easier with my husband and children.  I have more patience and perspective with them.  I feel claustrophobic and suffocated less.  This has significantly raised the “happiness factor” in my marriage and my family.  Sometimes, my life does feel like it is crashing down around me (usually Friday afternoon).   I now try to “breathe” and not panic.  I have adopted the motto:  As long as I can still breathe, I can do it.

In Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve, he “breathed” life into them.  He put his breathe inside of them.   When I am running, about the only thing I CAN focus on is breathing.  I get to a deep quiet place inside myself.  That is where I seem to find God waiting for me.  This is where I find myself waiting for me.  Hopefully I am finding the piece of God inside of me that IS me.  And this is probably what actually saves me.  This is what keeps me coming back for more.


Waking Up

This summer my Dad gave me the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal.  He thought it would help me understand Zeke.  He didn’t realize the effect it would have on me!  I have never tried running in all my 43 years.  I just assumed I did not have the body type to run long distances.  I also had picked up a belief from somewhere that running was inherently bad for you.  After reading this book I definitely had more insight about my high energy son who runs everywhere at 90 miles an hour.  But the unintended consequence is that I also began to wonder if I was selling myself short.

Thanks Dad, for always planting seeds for personal growth.  (even unintentionally)

The next step I took was to go the most trusted expert I could find on running……Drew Deppen.     Drew is a Chiropractor in Chicago with a very fresh unique approach.  He is also a very accomplished runner and now my trusted running coach and wonderful friend.   I asked him if he could teach an old lady how to run.  He simply said, “yes”.  The following letter was from me to Drew as he was gearing up for the Chicago Marathon.  It also sums up the affect his “yes” had on me.

Hi! Hope you are getting excited about your run this coming sunday. I was looking at my e-mail and I am wondering if you got sent a double e-mail by me. Sorry if so. We could safely blame Zeke if that is the case. Whenever it gets too quiet at my house I usually find him “fixing the computer” or something along those lines. We have a saying in our family that: if it gets too quiet; it is already too late. 🙂

Yesterday was my 17 year wedding anniversary! And this Thursday I turn 43. I had Noah when I was your age. I have spent the last 15 years in a deep fog of “little kids”. I love my children more than life itself. They are the biggest blessing I have ever received. They are also the hardest job I have ever done. I had to set aside my own needs so many times to take care of everybody else. I became accustomed to not showering, not using the bathroom by myself, and not even hearing my self think. I have spent countless hours rocking crying children, changing diapers, breastfeeding, then wiping tushies, playing rescue heroes and polly pockets. I5 years later, I am still wiping tushies and playing resue heroes and polly pockets. Yet, I am now also teaching Noah how to drive! And faithfully going to every basketball and soccer game that is played. Not even including all the daily chores I grind out: like laundry, bills, groceries, meals, lunches etc.

This past summer as Zeke has turned 3 and you have started teaching me how to run (for the first time in my entire life!) I feel like I am waking up out of this deep fog of the last 15 years. I had no idea how much of myself had disappeared in that time. Parts of myself are starting to show up again. I swear to God I have really missed myself! I love the feeling of being strong again. And I realized how much I need adventure and nature in my life again. I have always tried to work out. I knew it was important, yet it really just felt like another chore to grind out that I never had enough time for. Now all the other work outs have taken on a greater meaning for me too:…. To be able to run farther and faster!

Richard and I ran through the forest preserve yesterday on our anniversary and it felt significant. It was a hard workout as the ground is mushy from all the wet weather. But we had so much fun together. It felt adventurous. We were able to see deer and horses and not so much cars and asphalt. We are finding something that we can do together that we both love. And I am realizing that I have to get balance back in my life. My kids will only benefit from seeing me take on my own challenge and growing from it. I am having so much fun doing it. I think that running is going to be a wonderful stepping stone to me gaining my own life, as my children stop needing me so intensely and begin to become their own independent people.

So I thank you and Richard thanks you (he has missed me too). And I hope your run Sunday is the best one yet.


P.S. Dumb question but: How do you watch a marathon? We have considered coming down to watch and all of us have looked at each other and asked: How do you watch a 26 mile race? You will have to educate us. 🙂