Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Point I Missed... An Addendum

 Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

I missed the point. I thought I knew what the point was, but it turns out I was a bit off. I mean, maybe a little right, but mostly mistaken.

I published a blog yesterday about overcoming setbacks, diligent sacrifice and hard work being the route to success in growing, even if it’s slowly. It was a blog about discipline and failure being holy. It was about a friend who recently ran the Boston Marathon. You can read it here (

I thought the point was “we become better when we fail and keep trying” because every time I thought about my marathoner-friend’s story (working tirelessly to qualify for 6 years and 14,000 miles), I thought about it from my perspective: as someone who is terrified of failing, who hates running, and easily sees only the work and the goal, but has a hard time seeing the joy of the middle. I saw his story as a Rudy-type of story. A story like BraveHeart, riddled with pain and injury. Every run a beating. Every run wrenching his gut. His motivation the idea of being on the big stage he saw growing up… But after he read the blog, he said something, and I realized that his story is maybe a little bit of a Rudy story, but apparently, he’s more like Forest Gump; he just feels like running.

He said, “What you left out, and it’s probably quite important, is that I love running. If I had spent all of those runs in misery and not made the marathon, the time spent doing all of it would’ve been a complete waste. But instead I love the process. I love the feeling I get during and after running. I love the people with whom I run. I love the places it takes me and the animals I see along the way. I love how it clears my head and swaps cortisol for adrenaline. I love the simplicity of running, the quiet time… all of it. And while you’re spot on about perseverance and commitment and not letting setbacks stop me, you have to remember that it was a labor of love more than anything else, and I’ve enjoyed nearly every step.”

Well, shoot. I saw it differently. Because historically, when I fail, I quit. When it’s hard, I give up. When I realize it’s going to take me six-dedicated-every-day-years to accomplish something, I say, “peace out.”

But when you look at it like Forest Gump, you just run. You just do it because you love it.

When I think about all of the struggles, all of the ways my life has turned out differently than I thought it would, just yesterday, I thought I needed more discipline. I thought I needed more persistence. I thought I just needed to stop giving up. I thought I just needed to be selfless and sacrifice. And it’s true. I do, need to do those things but the way to get there isn’t to “just have more discipline.” The answer isn’t “just be less selfish.” The answer isn’t “just persist.”

The answer is more love. Extravagant, lavishing, heaping scoops of love for my children, my husband, my writing process, my people. Enormous, gigantic, over the moon love for these endeavors I am pursuing… raising my children well, looking at their mistakes and shortcomings and lack of motivation with love, giant all-consuming, never-ending, unconditional love, love, love. Because…

Love transcends failure. Love transcends injury. Love transcends setbacks and interruptions and not being able to do what you want to do. Love pushes us to move forward, press on, forgive. Love means we catch handfuls of bodily fluids coming out of our children without batting an eyelash. Love convinces us to volunteer for sacrifice over and over again. Just like Jesus.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Summer of Nature! June Edition

This summer, I am a woman on a mission. I’m not sure if it is a selfish ambition or if it is out of the purest love and hope of well-being for my children. But we are going back to nature this summer. My kids and I are learning about nature. Camping in nature, hiking in nature, kayaking in nature, planting seeds, observing wildlife, biking, identifying trees… We are doing this nature thang.

Why? Why nature? Why has this become “The Summer of Nature”?

Because nature is glorious, A. But B, because ipad/video games and children. Because it’s so good for our bodies and minds. Because I LOVE LOVE LOVE being outside in nature, and my kids hate it. They whine and complain and they HATE it. But I want them to LOVE it, and my husband has a theory about getting your kids to love something you love: Have the best time ever when you're doing that thing you love in front of your kids. Even if they're making it miserable. Eventually they'll either learn to love it, or tolerate it because they love you, and they can't have any negative emotions tied to it since you only gave them happy ones! This man skies with all of our kids by himself. They all love skiing. He might be onto something.

So, when a friend of mine asked me to tutor her precious little girl, and I agreed, it inspired a whole process of planning educational and outdoor activities to fill the time and teach the things. Because strangely, when someone is paying me for a job, I take it more seriously than when it’s just the well-being of my own children...whatevs, man, I’m trying.

So here’s the run-down on my Broomfield Area Summer of Nature Field Trips and Plans for the month of June.  Our June focus is on Plants.

We have already visited:

  • McKay Lake. (This is perfect for a quick trip. Huge, gorgeous trees, beautiful lake, and a fun spot to look for wildlife!)
  • Horsetooth Reservoir. (Holy Cow is that place HUGE!  I had no idea it was that big or gorgeous!)
  • Big Dry Creek Park (This is a fan favorite with the kids. It has a big playground, and hiking/biking trails with a few big Cottonwood trees and a running creek-- at least right now.)
  • LaVerne M. Johnson Park in Lyons, CO. (Seriously, this is what childhood dreams are made of. Take your children to this park. Then stop at the Lyons Dairy Bar for a $2 Kids Ice Cream Cone on the way home. It’s the perfect day. )
  • Plaster Resevoir (We went on a Nature Walk through the Broomfield Nature Programs. This is great for preschoolers!  My older kids weren’t as interested in the craft/walk, but it’s perfect for 5 and under! Here are some other Nature Programs in Broomfield as well!
  • Our Backyard We had a campfire, and roasted marshmallows with friends. The kids played flashlight tag. It was a whole old-fashioned family fun night.

Some of the cool things I have planned for the rest of June are:

In Rocky Mountain National Park, these Night Sky Programs look particularly cool.

Happy Trails, friends!  Hope these are helpful!  See you outside!