Be your Kids Biggest Fan

Gifts for the Holidays

A co-worker of mine, who is in his 50’s, just ran a half marathon.  I have known him for over 10 years and I know this was not a personal best time, but needless to say, I still congratulated him.  He went on to say that his performance was pitiful and that his 21-year-old son is bearing down on  him and he hopes to be able to beat him at a big race in January.

What!  I was appalled.  First of all, you ran a half marathon in under 2 hours, hardly pitiful and second, how can you want to beat your kid?  Isn’t the main point of having kids so they can be better us?

Maybe it is because I am a mother or not a competitive person in general, but I feel like our children need cheerleaders not rivals.  Kids have enough of people trying to beat them, they don’t need their parents as well.  Parents are “old” to our kids, and not on the same playing field, and beating them would bring down their self-esteem.  Kids need to feel supported by us, not challenged.

My kids are all very competitive by nature.  They all are excellent swimmers, but they still lose.  It is hard on them.  They have goals and when they don’t reach them or swim their best, they get down on themselves.  But what I always say to them and it instantly brings up their mood is “I am your biggest fan.”  That tells them that whether they win or lose, I am fully engaged and supporting them.  That I will not turn from them after a bad performance.  I will be with them whatever happens.  But this is not a lie, I AM their biggest fan.  I am their mother, and I want to bring them up feeling good and loved, despite failures.

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Even though it may be in some parents nature to be competitive with their kids, it can be very damaging.  Kids can feel like they don’t measure up, are failures, and unworthy.  These feelings can lead to disengagement and depression.  Which down the road can lead to serious mental health issues.  I see depressed and suicidal kids all the time at work and one of the reasons for this is because of lack of parental support and love.  Sometimes it is because the parents are just not around, like with substance abuse issues, lack of involvement, or incarceration. Regardless, these kids have no cheerleaders.  They feel like no one cares about them and therefore they don’t mater.

Even if you kid loves to do something, like play the oboe, and you hate music, you still must be their biggest fan.  It is their passion, not yours.  Kids need freedom to develop their talents, not forced into doing something they don’t like. That also can damage their self-image because we are dismissive to their talents.

The danger with being our kids cheerleaders is we must not over inflate them.  By telling them they are the best, there are untouchable, that the other kids are terrible, ect.  In our home we let our kids know very early on that they are not the most important thing in his world and that they are the way they are because God made them that way.  They have to want it for themselves.  Hard work and dedication makes you better, but God deserves all the glory.   We let them know that winning is not everything but having good sportsmanship is.  We don’t bribe our kids either.  Some parents offer phones, money, clothes and trips.  We offer the ability to sleep in a warm bed and have food.  Motivation must come from within.

If you as a parent gets excited to win at your kids expense, you need to check your own insecurities.  Maybe your childhood was not ideal and you have issues you need to work out.  Maybe your ego is too big.  Reality check, YOU ARE NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THIS WORLD EITHER.  Having kinds means putting someone else’s wellbeing in front of yours.   Giving them unconditional support during their successes and failures.  So be your kids biggest fan. The esteem will stay with them their entire life.


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Having a Midlife Crisis?

Midlife Crisis word writting by hand holding black highlighter pen with line on white background


During my last run, I was listening to Spotify to my 1970’s playlist and the song Desperado by the Eagles came on.  (Love the Eagles, btw:).

Desperado why don’t you come to your senses

you have been out ridin’ fences

for so long now…

It got me thinking…what am I desperate for?  After thinking for a mile or so, and for me that’s a good 11 minutes, I figured out that I am not desperate for anything.   Huh.  Kind of caught me off guard.  (Just to clarify, desperate as an adjective means “showing extreme urgency or intensity especially because of great need or desire”).  There are things I want.  Health and happiness for my family and friends, world peace, to wear a size 6, for Chip and Joanne to come decorate my house, but these are just wants not desperate desires.

I remember when I was in my 20’s, feeling desperate.  Desperate to get engaged, desperate to start working and then the most intense desperation was to have kids.  But these things have all been achieved.

So where does that leave me and the rest of us middle agers?   The ones that have accomplished all of our desperations?  To be honest, I think it can lead to depression, boredom and discontent. There are no significant milestones for midlifers.  We just do life, day after day, after day.  Not much to strive for.  Not much to do, except get older.  The chase is over.  Behold, the midlife crisis!

This explains why so many 40 year olds decide to run a marathon or do something out of character.  Myself included.  We try to prove to ourselves that we are not dead yet and we can still be young, active and cool.  It explains why people get new cars, new jobs, new spouses, or go back to school.  It is something to get excited for. Something to chase.  Someone to chase.

But is this really healthy?  Shouldn’t we be enjoying all that we have accomplished? We have arrived, isn’t it time to sit back and enjoy the ride?  Absolutely!

I know for me who is goal orientated and likes to plan, it is hard to sit still and relax.  To really take a deep breath and enjoy life.  I always have something on my plate to do.  There always has to be something to look forward to.  Although productivity is great, I don’t want to be so busy doing, that this phase of life slips away.  This is the trap we fall into.

It’s ok not to be desperate for  anything.  It’s ok to chill.  It’s ok not to accomplish anything amazing this year.   Been there, done that.  Just look at your kids.  They are your greatest accomplishment.   Although difficult, we must find the joy in what we already have accomplished and stop doing.

Don’t get me wrong, we are still going to be busy as moms, it’s not like we are retired.  But our goal is to put the time into our greatest past accomplishments, like marriage and kids, and to stop trying to still accomplish.

There is no actual medal or diploma when you finish motherhood, like when you get a masters degree or run a marathon.  But motherhood is our biggest accomplishment, of the past, the present, and the future.

Ok everyone together,  B R E A T H E…and enjoy this time.


Some suggestions…


Retirement, Are We There Yet?


A co-worker of mine just retired after 40 years in the nursing field.  She and I have been friends for the last 13 years, since I moved to my current job.  I know all jobs have issues and struggles.  Construction is physically draining.  Sales is emotionally draining.  Administration is tedious.  But let me tell you, nursing is all of the above. Not only is the job physically rigorous, but it’s a dirty job.  People suck the life from you with endless demands and dissatisfaction.  You see people and their families at their worst.  When people are stressed and sick, they have to vent and it usually comes out on the nurse.  Doctors and nurses often have a complicated working relationship, which can make nurses feel underappreciated as well.

That being said, nursing is the best job out there and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.  (Other than blogging :). Don’t get me wrong, being a wife and mother always comes first.  But I have to work.  I spent my first 20 years of my life preparing to go to college and get a job, so I actually feel like working was in the plan my whole life.  But, nursing is more of a calling then a job.  The miserable nurses, which there are plenty, went into this field for the wrong reasons, and end up hating it and getting burnt out.  But for the ones of us that were called to nursing, we stick it out, year after year, making the most of it.  We rely on the bond that all nurses have, and the humor that we find in mankind.

Patients always ask me “how long you been a nurse?”  I often wonder why, is it because I look like I know what I’m doing or because I look middle-aged.  Anyway, I proudly reply “19 years”.  Wow, 19 years is a long time.  It even catches me off guard.  I have been a nurse longer then I have been a wife and mother.  Being a nurse, was my first identity.

If you are like me and in your early 40’s, then the sad truth is that 19 years at a job is only almost half way to retirement.  What!  If I retire at 65, then I still have another 24 more years at this.  Mind blowing.  How can it be that far?  How can I last another 24 years?  I think of 24 years ago and I was 17, a baby.  And now I realize that much time has to pass in order for me to retire.  Oh boy.  I am not sure I can handle that.

When I graduated college in 1997, I could not wait to get my first job.  The process of employment seemed like it took forever and I could not wait to start.  I was ambitious and eager to learn.  I looked at the middle age nurses for wisdom and guidance.  As the years have gone by, I somehow transformed from the young new nurse to the middle-age nurse.

Even though 40 is not old, from the perspective of a 20-year-old, it is.  Now, my job is to help and teach the new generation, and not only about nursing, but about life.  These young women, born of a different time, need a loving mom figure and I have adopted them.   As nurses, we don’t just take care of patients, we take care of each other.

My co-worker that just retired was my mom figure.  She helped me through 3 pregnancies and then after.  She even made to go into labor with her famous meatballs.  She has listened, asked, cared and supported me and my family though these past 13 years and I am going to miss her dearly.  Her leaving, transforms the staff as well.  I am now one of the “senior” staff .  The torch has passed.

So from here on out, 24 years and counting, I have to carry this torch.  I have to fill the shoes of wisdom and guidance. I have to do what my friend did for me, in her absence.

Even though I am only half way to retirement, I realize that work is a privilege.  It is an honor to be able to affect so many lives, both clients and co-workers, and to be an active part of society.   Yes, I am exhausted and frustrated at times, but it has molded me to be the person I am today.  Whatever you do, work at it whole heartily, and do it for the Lord.  Colossians 3:23.  That is why it is so important for us parents to direct our children to do what they love, because 45 years at a job that you hate, is a waste of a lifetime.

So, retirement, are we there yet?  Not even close!  But I’m glad, this torch is still on fire.



I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!



I learned this week in bible study that the Proverbs 31 woman (who we all feel a little bit of envious of because she seems so sacrificial and perfect), is actually even more than that.  For those of you that are unfamiliar, a mother is telling her son what kind of women he should marry and the first sentence is “a woman who is virtuous, is more precious than jewels.”  When I think virtuous, I think moral, honest, caring…but what virtuous also means brave,  strong, efficient and able.

So I always felt like I never fit the “Christian woman” ideal because I was not quiet and submissive.  I would describe myself as a fireball.  I love God immensely but am still a sinner.  I am kind of loud and do a lot of physical work, like building, yard work, painting and power washing, not so much on the sewing and cooking.  If there is a bug in the house, I take care of it.  Not because my husband cannot, but because he is not home.  I don’t intimidate easy, and I stand up for what’s right.  Not because I’m awesome but because God’s awesome.  I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13.  I find encouragement in this new connection to the Proverbs 31 woman.

So woman, be brave, be strong.  Get the job done.  Do what you need to do. Don’t rely on other people to make you happy.  Find encouragement in your strengths.  Teach the next generation to fear the Lord.

Inspire.  Love.  Serve.



Running- Love or Hate It?


Running is not for everyone.  When people find out I am a runner, they immediatly go on to tell me why they hate running. But I am going to share my running perspective to see if I can change some of your minds.

I was always athletic.  I could have played any sport I wanted.  I was tall with a strong build.  Growing up, I never committed to any sport in particular though.  I really hated to compete.  I hated to practice relentlessly.  I guess I just didn’t have what it took.  And because my parents didn’t like to pressure me, I never had to do anything I didn’t want to do.  It drove my dad crazy.  He says I was wasting my talent.  I think he envisioned me playing tennis at Wimbledon.  It even drove him more crazy when I choose to cheerlead 5th grade through high school.  To him, this wasn’t a sport.  To me, it was fun and social.

I remember we had to run the mile in high school.  I remember I was so nervous about this. What if I could not finish?  What if I died?  I do remember when I actually did complete it, I felt so accomplished.  Like that wasn’t so bad.  I think my time was 8:59, which looking bad was actually good (for me).

I think it was my sophomore year when I joined track.  My math teacher was the track coach and she recruited me to do shot put and discus.  I actually was pretty good.  I remember winning a meet once throwing the shot put 30 some feet.  But being a member of track required a fair amount of running for conditioning.  We ran in groups and complained the whole way.  Funny how clear these memories are.  I think that is when my love of running started.

In college, I started to pack on the “freshman 15”.  I soon took to running to keep myself together.  I would run the track for 45 min or so.  Round and round in circles. Sometimes late at night.  This is when my therapy in running began.

After college, I would run occasionally.  I remember doing my first 5k in California. I remember thinking “this is so far!”

It wasn’t till December 2013 that all of a sudden one day I got the sudden urge to run, and run a lot. I started slow, 6 miles, then 8, then before I knew it I was planning a full marathon.  Somebody doubted me, and I had to prove to them, and to myself, I could do it.  And October 12, 2014 I completed the Chicago marathon.  In 5 hours 26 min, but I felt good and I did it.  Since then I have so done another full marathon and multiple halfs.  I also ran 1000 miles for 2 consecutive years.  That’s a lot of time when you run slow like me.

I sometimes think of my dad when I run. Wondering if he would be proud of his “athletic” daughter doing something only a few people can do.  I think of how he spent a month in physical therapy to be able to take just one step.  He had a disease that took away his muscle strength and in the end he was bedridden. Seeing that he was an athlete all his life, this was very difficult.  I run for him and with him.

I think of a lot of topics when I run.  Like me head is unloading.  Trying to make sense of everything.  I rarely actually think about running.  I think about God and my purpose.  I think about my life and relationships.  I think about what’s next. I think about the past.  Like, I said, therapy. Except I am the therapist and the patient.

I never run in groups or with other people. I do not run to be social, quite the opposite actually.  This is me time.  Me away for the world.  All alone in the outdoors.  Me and my thoughts.  No one bugging me, hanging on me.  Nothing to clean, nothing to do…except breathe and move.  I like it this way.

So, even though I sometimes hate to run, I absolutely love it.  It feels like freedom and life.  When ever someone finds out I run, they say “you’re going to hurt your knees” or “I cannot run, it’s just painful”, well duh!  It’s painful for everyone!  You have to push through the pain to find the joy.

My advice to anyone who’s depressed, unhealthy and doesn’t have any motivation in their life…go for a run.  If you cannot run, walk.  Go slow. You will build stamina and before long you will be asking yourself “how did I get here?”

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 41:31. 



This is from my recent half-marathon post off instagram!

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I want a Tiny House!



Our first house was 2500 sq. feet and this was before we had kids.  We had 3 empty bedrooms.  Looking back, this seems so ridiculous.  We have had several houses since the first one and because of a job change and to get into a better school district, we “downsized” 6 years ago into an 1800 sq. foot, 3 bed 2 bath home.

At first this seemed daunting.  We got rid of some stuff but just squeezed into the new house as best we could.   We have made some changes through the years like converting a closet into an office to make it work.

The older I get, the more OCD I get about clutter and organization.  If we don’t need something then get rid of it.   I hate junk.  Nickknacks that once were cute just seem to collect dust.  So much of our stuff just seems unnecessary.  Like why do we need old books? Everything is on the computer. And now that my kids are older, toys no longer exist.

So my dream would be to have a tiny house, where everything has a purpose, and everything is neat and organized. New and modern.  Hardly anything to clean.  Ahhh… Makes me smile.

Another benefit of a tiny house is being able to move easily.  Freedom.  Travel. Excitement.  Kind of like a gypsy, able to move freely whenever you wish.  Also, they are so cheap, no mortgage!  So less work means more free time.

I realize my tiny house dreams are just a fantasy.  A family of 5 is not possible for a tiny home.  (Nor would I want it to be). We all need a private space.  We also cannot move, at lease till my youngest is in college, which is 10 years away.   We also have a lot of pets.  A dog, cat, 2 chickens and 2 tortoises.  We have a garage full of yard stuff and other tools. We are connected to schools, sports teams and friends that are like family.  The list goes on.  And my dream fades.

Perhaps my dream to go tiny is because Jesus was a minimalist.  Literally a homeless man.  He encourages us to do the same.  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.   Matthew 6:19-21.   I also like, Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.  This too is meaningless.  As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?  Ecclesiastes 5:10-11.  These verses are great reminders that all we need is Jesus.  Everything else, homes and possessions are meaningless.  The world tells us we need “bigger and better” but Jesus reassures us we don’t.

Maybe someday, my life will fit into a tiny house.  All neat and organized, no clutter. Not tied down to schools or a states.  More time to relax.   Cute and purposeful.  No waste.  No excess.  Simplicity.


Perspecitve on a Widowed Parent

My parents were married 38 years.  My dad was 16 years older than my mom, so he passed away first.  My mom was 64 at the time.  The older I get, 64 seems pretty young.  We were all heartbroken.

For me, life was too busy 6 years ago to really stop and mourn.  My kids were small, I was working, we just moved, life didn’t stop.  But for my mom, her life came to a complete halt.   Her whole world fell apart.  Being new to the area, she didn’t have many friends.  Her life long friends were in another state.  She worked part-time with people she didn’t like and my sibling, an older brother, lived in another state.  So it was just me and my mom.

I saw how she needed me.  To call her, to keep her busy.  But, I also saw how I couldn’t make her happy.  My family and I were not enough.  The active lifestyle we live, is also not compatible with what an aging body can do.

She went on a year after my father passed away and met a man she fell in love with.  I was so relieved that I did not have to carry the burden of her loneliness anymore.  But, unfortunately, that man died of cancer less than 2 years after then met.  He was previously healthy.

So here we are at square one, again.  I do everything to try to replace her loneliness. I have set her up on blind dates, tried to find girl friends for her.  I scope out 70-year-old men for her, it craziness.  None has been successful.

I just feel bad that she is missing out.  On trips she wants to take, movies she wants to see and love she wants to give.  I want to fix this, and I cannot.

I wonder if this is how she felt when I didn’t get asked to Homecoming, or when I didn’t have a boyfriend and everyone else did.  I imagine it is.  The roles now reversed.

God also commands us to take care of widows.  Honor widows who are truly widows.  1 Timothy 5:3.  It is good to remember this daily.  To remember to love our parents, even when the roles are reversed.   They have given us everything and they need us, just as we needed them.

Anyone else going through same?


Miss you Dad!

Like to Read But Don’t Have Time? Audible is The Answer!

Hit song. Cheerful and content young woman listening to music using her mobile phone and earphones while being in a big city and standing near stairs with big buildings in a background

I like to read, don’t get me wrong.  But who has time to actually sit and read?  The last book I sat and read was What to Expect When Expecting, and that was 13 years ago!  And because I suffer from OCD (self-diagnosed, not really), I find it hard to stop doing stuff to actually sit.  Sound familiar?

But a few months ago, I saw a LivingSocial ad for Audible and thought why not?  I was $9 for 3 months so I couldn’t go wrong.  My first book was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and I was hooked.  At first, it felt odd to be listening to a book.  Like my brain did not know what to do.  Did I have to actually think or could I just listen?  Well, as soon as the plot started I stopped thinking about thinking and got into it.  It was awesome.  I had emotions, feeling and thoughts about something other than my daily routine.  I could wear my wireless headphones by Cooltree and do my chores, shopping, mow the grass, drive, whatever and “read” a book.  It is perfection!  Something to utilize my brain cells other than what to make for dinner.  I felt intelligent and rejuvenated.  Like a real human.  I can actually carry on a conversation about a recent book.  I can actually say I read the book before I saw the movie.  When you have been in mommy world for 10 plus years this is revolutionary, mind-blowing.

Since then, I have listened to about 10 novels in the last couple of months. More than I have read in the last 15 years.  I forgot how fun, fulfilling and mind stirring reading can me.  I say read, but really it is listening.  But an article by The Washington Post “Is listening to a book cheating?”  concludes that although your brain doesn’t have to decode the words (often a skill used in children and immature readers), it still is brain work.  The storytelling and thought process in not lost by listening.  So hah, it still counts!

Also, Audible has voice actors read the novel so you feel the drama.  I have tried other free audio books and the people just plainly read the text, it is really boring.  But with Audible, you feel the action, the emotions, the tension.   It cost about $15 a month for a prescription but I highly recommend it.  Where else can you get engrossed and use your brain for that?  If you start a book and don’t like it, they will refund your credit too.  The problem is deciding what book to “read” next.   So if you are a busy mom like me, I highly recommend Audible.  Happy listening!

What is your favorite audiobook?

# Seriously1975

Clink on the link below to start you listening today!