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Peeling my onion, learning how to fail!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement." C. S. Lewis

Today I listened to a wonderful podcast by Brooke Castillo. thelifecoachschool.com/4/

I was so moved by it that I want to sum up the key points before I forget them!!

I've been on a journey now, for a long time, to heal my relationship with my body, with food and with weight. And for many years, my rigid perfectionistic tendencies kept me stuck in a binge/restrict cycle that never worked.

Recently I've experienced a profound shift (I'm 43 and this journey started when I was 11, so you could call me a slow learner!). I'm so happy to say that I'm now binge free and have realized that my healing is like peeling the layers of an onion.

At this point in my journey, the new layer that I'm interested in peeling is that of emotional eating, something I still engage in, though happily not to binge levels! Woohoo!! This is a huge amazing change!

This podcast was really eye opening for me because though I've not binged, when I have eaten emotionally or overeaten at a meal or a snack, the negative, beat myself up voice quickly emerged. "You weren't perfect! How could you do that? You'll never be at a stable weight if you overeat!" I'm sure many of you know that voice...

But things are very different for me now. I can recognize and quiet that voice. I can then ask myself, "What happened here? What is there for me to learn from this experience?" And then I move on and continue with my day. No more shame, blame, guilt or self loathing.

OK, onto the podcast by Brooke Castillo:

She posits that failure is when we don't meet our own expectations and thus success is meeting our expectations. Given that we determine our own expectations, we are able to determine what failure or success mean.

So, when we don't meet our own expectations, we can decide, in advance, to not make that mean the end of the world. We can decide, in advance, to see slips as a chance to learn and grow, and celebrate them instead! We can turn them into something positive, deciding in advance to handle life's inevitable mistakes in this way!

In other words, because we can determine what failure will feel like by preemptively deciding how to think about it, it's much easier to take risks and put ourselves in situations that are out of our comfort zones. We know we will most likely mess up a bit at first, but anticipating it, and seeing these goofs as a good thing, make them much more palatable!

Brooke goes onto say that success is acquired by failure, by being willing to fail.

"If you want to succeed, double your failure rate." Thomas J. Watson

Here is a brilliant example she gives. It's one I've heard many times, but she adds an extra layer that gives it even more potent meaning: when children learn to walk, they constantly fall down. This is because their legs aren't yet strong enough to hold them up. And often, when they fall, they push themselves back up, to try again. Well, it's int the pushing themselves back up that they gain the strength in their leg muscles to ultimately be able to walk.

This was really profound for me! Brooke says, "If children stopped trying to walk because they were failing, then they would never have the opportunity to get strong enough to be able to walk!"

In other words, it is only through our own "falling down" that we can get strong enough to do something new!

She offers a new way of talking to ourselves before we engage in something that is outside of our norm, that we might fear trying because we could fail:

"Hey! I'm going to fail, and I'm going to fail many, many times, but here's there thing. When I fail, I'm going to have my own back. I'm going to treat myself with respect. I'm going to honor myself. I'm going to use that as an opportunity to learn and to take care of myself. I'm going to use it as an opportunity to love myself more instead of loving myself less. I will refuse when I don't meet my own expectation, to say mean things to myself, to beat myself up, or to quit."

I just love this! This has become my new way of life!!

When you start your day knowing that there is a good chance of failing, confidence has to come from your ability to fail, knowing that when you fail and learn, it's the only way to get better every time. Failure is actually something to pursue and to get very good at.

"I didn't fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work." Thomas Edison

Brooke says, "I actually like the idea of practicing failure. I like the idea of failure being a skill that we develop. If we are good at falling down, we actually learn how to fall down really well. Then, we're going to have confidence going into our future."

She mentions a man named Ramit Sethi who has a website called "I will Teach
You to be Rich," in which he suggests that he's not successful unless he has 5 epic failures per month! I find this super comforting. I have even decided to track my failures and celebrate them as much as I track my successes! I see now that these 5 failures are helping me get closer and closer to a lifetime of peace and ease around food!

One final point Brooke makes, and I think it's very important, is that there is a big difference between failure from stepping outside of your comfort zone, by taking risks, by putting yourself out there, versus failing by just not showing up, from sabotaging yourself, by making the same mistakes over and over again. I equate this with my years of restrictive dieting, binging, starving, trying to hate myself thin! It never worked but I kept thinking "this time will be different".

As I continue peeling my onion, I'm eagerly awaiting some epic failures!

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." Abraham Lincoln

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANAWESOMELIFE 7/18/2014 9:18PM

    emoticon I learned something from this blog ! emoticon

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_RAMONA 7/15/2014 9:08PM

    I loved this:

"failure is when we don't meet our own expectations and thus success is meeting our expectations. Given that we determine our own expectations, we are able to determine what failure or success mean."

THANK YOU!!!!

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OOLALA53 7/15/2014 9:28AM

    Hey, I saw your comment on my blog. I had seen one f your comments on someone else's and wondered how you were doing. How nice to hear from you!

Isn't this failure one key? I know I am having chances to learn this every day in so many other areas. I've had and probably will continue to have blind spots in where this is going on in my life, but it's becoming clearer. Doesn't mean it's suddenly become easy! But I'm reminded so many time of something I read of Geneen Roth's probably more than 25 years ago: however you are handling yourself over food is how you are probably handling yourself over just about everything. I thought somehow she was talking about the fact that I used food all day long., and I didn't see what else is was doing that with. I do see other things now, but also realize that wasn't it. She was saying that if I was using a lot of punishing talk about how "bad" I was to overeat and unacceptable I was for not being thin, and even worse, for not being willing to do whatever it took to be thin, I was almost sure to have other areas I found myself unacceptable for being that way and for not doing what it took to change that. It's deep, baby! I've finally seen it to some degree, but I'm still trying to figure out what it looks like to let go in the same way that I have made progress with letting go with food. It doesn't automatically generalize, or hasn't so far for me. But I'm chipping away.

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GABY1948 7/10/2014 4:01PM

    I came back and reread this today. Saw it again on someone else's blog...makes even MORE sense to me than the first time...to me this is going to be an absolute classic to read and reread! And I cannot believe there are "so many" of us!

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MARILYNROBERT 7/2/2014 8:27PM

    emoticon

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SETTIMIA 6/29/2014 2:27AM

    Hello beautiful lady how are you doing?

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 5/29/2014 7:10AM

    Fantastic attitude and very deep understanding. You have put it all together.
Thanks for sharing your insights.

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SETTIMIA 5/25/2014 3:44AM

    Hi just checking on how you are doing x

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 5/23/2014 3:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

You sound so healthy and like you are in such a good place.

What I have learned is that the 'good place" I'm in was always there, even in the depths of my despair, patiently waiting for me to allow it to happen.

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CHARTHESTAR 5/22/2014 10:34PM

    excellent!
emoticon for sharing the different perspective on failure!

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GABY1948 5/22/2014 6:30PM

    I can definitely relate to your WHOLE blog! Thank you so much for sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AURIANNE67 5/22/2014 3:49PM

    Thank you so much for this. I too need to work on learning to fail well. I constantly beat myself up over my failures to the extent that when I contemplate trying for something the idea of how bad I will feel if I fail can deter me from really going all out for it.

I tell myself that if I didn't REALLY try then that's why I failed, not because I'm just not good enough. I tell myself that because I am afraid that it's true: that I really am not good enough and if I give my all to something and fail then the truth will be exposed for everyone, and more importantly myself, to see.

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KICKINGKILOS 5/21/2014 9:24PM

    Oh..welll.I have been on this boats since grade 10th. I was 16.
And now 33 in July.
Just. Like you I am.still.peelimg those layers...
xoxo
We can do it.


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ALICIA363 5/20/2014 8:24PM

    emoticon emoticon

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DOGLADY13 5/20/2014 6:37AM

    Lots tonthink about here. Thank you.

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MINIUM 5/18/2014 4:47PM

    Yeah to failure! I couldn't agree more, considering I keep on learning thanks to my mistakes and failings. They give me wonderful insights.
Take care and keep on learning!
Nan

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SLENDERELLA61 5/15/2014 10:42PM

    I re-read your blog tonight. One thing that hit me, that I missed yesterday, was the part about in the past trying to "hate myself thin." Yeah, me, too. And I totally agree that it does not work.

I'm still letting the idea of failure as a skill seep into my brain. I'll be back to read this one again and again. Thanks again.

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ANNIEONLI 5/15/2014 6:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 5/15/2014 9:02AM

    You have done so well to remove yourself from the binge/restrict cycle. That is a huge huge step in your life.

I loved this blog. It really helps me understand that failure is a way to learn and to become better. It is very interesting to think of it to be a skill to be mastered.


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SPINNINGJW 5/15/2014 7:35AM

    Very profound blog. I will have to come back to it, listen to the podcast and digest the information more at a later time.
emoticon for sharing.

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PHOENIX1949 5/15/2014 12:11AM

    This is BIG. Thank you.

"A lot of people will say to me that they’re perfectionists, and they’ll say that “I just want to do it all right, and I’m not willing to do it if I can’t do it perfectly.” I have this sense that I think perfectionism is for scared people I think it give them an excuse to not take the action, to not put themselves out there and to not fail, to not meet their own expectation." (http://thelifecoachschool.com/4/)

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SLENDERELLA61 5/14/2014 11:00PM

    Best blog I've read in months. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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EJOY-EVELYN 5/14/2014 8:58PM

    I fall down a lot . . . but fortunately work to get myself right back up. Staying motivated is challenging some days but it's something we must strive to do daily.

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GLORIAMAJDI 5/14/2014 8:33PM

    What a great perspective, I need to practice this as well! Thanks for this insight Julie!

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KENDRACARROLL 5/14/2014 8:28PM

    Awesome blog.
Thanks for sharing your insights.

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ALEXSGIRL1 5/14/2014 8:02PM

    great blog failing can be a beautiful thing a chance to emerge stronger and healthier

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WATERMELLEN 5/14/2014 5:54PM

    Peeling is healing: and only failure makes us strong enough to succeed. (Don't see babies beating themselves up when they are unable to walk, either . . . not at all!!)

So very very true.

We need to celebrate our failures.

What a terrific blog.



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ONEKIDSMOM 5/14/2014 5:30PM

    Totally agree... if you're not failing, you don't have your aims set high enough! The first "secret of success" I submitted was giving myself permission to fail. Doesn't stop me from fearing I'll disappoint others when I do... but that permission is there... and it frees the path to success. emoticon

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HOLLYM48 5/14/2014 4:31PM

    emoticon emoticon great blog and certainly a whole new way to look at every thing we do in life as well as how and what we eat. Thanks for a great blog!

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LCERVERA 5/14/2014 4:18PM

    Very interesting blog! I think there is a lot of truth to what she says (the podcast speaker). By not setting impossible, perfectionistic goals, we don't sabotage ourselves when we don't reach them. I'm so glad you have been binge-free and that you found something that speaks to you and inspires you!
Have a great evening!
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HABBITT 5/14/2014 2:46PM

    Thanks for this - lots for me to digest.

But something struck me straight away - there is a difference between binge eating and emotional overeating. I had forgotten about that. I have been focusing recently, with some frustration, on the emotional overeating episodes that I still have sometimes, and felt like I was going backwards. But reading what you have said here is a great reminder of how far a have come! To be able to say I am binge free is actually amazing really! emoticon

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POSITIVEHOPE 5/14/2014 2:25PM

    I heard a coworker say that she practices the 90/10 plan. She expects to eat healthy 90% of the time. She actively works to make this happen. The other 10% isn't planned unhealthy eating, it's caused by life's interruptions. A party, potluck, birthday, travel, sickness or injury all contribute to the 10%. Now this is the part I love. She said if life has been mellow for a while and she hasn't encountered those speed bumps, she can choose a small indulgence guilt free and still meet her 90/10 plan.
Attitude is so key to changing how we cope with life's challenges. You sound delightfully giddy with your discovery.


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MIRRORBALLMOON 5/14/2014 2:01PM

    Julie, this is fantastic, amazing, and wonderful! Your energy, enthusiasm, and optimism is contagious! :-) I'm so happy for you! And thanks for sharing all of this - I needed it today!!

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 5/14/2014 12:22PM

    emoticon Keep peeling the onion! (you know I love to delve in this too)

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TINAJANE76 5/14/2014 10:32AM

    Exactly! It's so ironic that in our quests to be "perfect" we often just end up sabotaging all of our hard work. You've worked so hard to get out of this binge/restrict cycle and I'm just so happy that you're reaping the rewards now. Keep peeling away and things will only continue to get better!

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That hit the spot!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

“He who is not satisfied with a little, is satisfied with nothing .” ― Epicurus

Today I listened to a conversation with Kathryn Hansen, author of the wonderful book "Brain Over Binge". www.brainoverbinge.com/

I've been a fan of her book for awhile now, and her approach for overcoming binging by changing neural pathways in the brain. In essence, binging happens when we follow urges to binge, which come from the lower brain. When we recognize these urges as "neurological junk" and dismiss them instead of acting on them, we form new neural pathways and change our brains. In time, the urges lessen and disappear almost entirely and thus, so does the binging.

I'm so happy to say that I've been binge free for 28 days now and that my urges have truly begun to disappear. However, that does not mean that I never overeat or that I feel completely free of food/weight/body challenges.

Last night, for example, after an extremely stressful day with little access to food, I became overly hungry and decided to eat out with my daughter. We got fish tacos but we also got tortilla chips. And I ate WAY too many of them. I didn't binge, which was fantastic, but I was very full, and despite the initial few minutes of yumminess, there was no real joy in eating those chips. Further, there was absolutely no pleasure over time. In fact, I woke today feeling full and uncomfortable.

Well, getting back to the talk with Kathryn Hansen, she said something today that was remarkably apropos to my overeating last night and I felt it was a strategy I would employ for sure going forward.

She discussed how in the early days of recovering from binging she would decide to eat a "treat" food, something like cookies for example (or tortilla chips) and she would have three. She would decide in advance exactly how many she was going to have, and begin eating them KNOWING that she would get an urge to keep going and have many many more, but that the urge was "neurological junk" and that she was going to dismiss it when it came. To help her along in the process, when she finished enjoying her three cookies, she'd say something celebratory, like "that hit the spot!" And even though her lower brain was trying to convince her to have more, this positive phrase helped signify that she, Kathryn, was in charge and that she could have more cookies another day, but that any more than three would not give her pleasure over time.

What is really uncanny about this strategy is that at dinner last night my beautiful, wise and incredibly loving daughter Sasha said to me, "Mommy, you won't feel well if you eat all those chips." And she was right! Later she told me that when she is at a party and there is a tempting food, something unhealthy that she wants to eat, she takes three of whatever it is, and eats it slowly and then goes and does something else! Amazing how evolved my 9 1/2 year old is!!

So the next time we go for fish tacos, three tortilla chips (which is really all anyone needs in my humble opinion, since they really have no nutritional value at all and more just doesn't feel good), and then "That hit the spot!!"


My delicious girl and I!


"In everything, satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARDAMOMMA 5/14/2014 11:44PM

    What a useful, and enticingly rendered insight. I must try this. Thank you!

Congratulations on your 28 days and counting. emoticon

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MINIUM 5/14/2014 10:23AM

    That picture of you two is just beautiful!
Indeed, it's quite amazing how evolved our kids are. I've been wondering about my DD3 complaining about tummy-aches at dinner-time. And I've realized that she was staying at the dinner-table to be with Mummy and we kept on eating. Until she was too full and he tummy would ache. So I've made a decision to listen to her body's cues until I get better at listening to mine. Of course, we don't eat the same amounts of food but I eat faster than she does so... that hits the spot!

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KENDRACARROLL 5/13/2014 2:59PM

    Kids are so uncomplicated.
We, as adults, seem to overthink things.
Great strategy. I shall remember this next time I'll sit in front of a bag of chips or cookies :)

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_JODI404 5/11/2014 6:30PM

    Sasha really is wise and evolved! I'm pretty sure I know where she gets it from...

I like this suggestion! *Especially* for tortilla chips. That can very easily turn into mindless eating -- just reaching for the next one, and the next one without realizing how much you've had! This is definitely a tactic that I am going to try to use.

I love it when a restaurant has individual, small size desserts. I get to have a sweet treat, and the portion is just right! If a larger portion is present... it's so much harder to not eat what is in front of you.

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are enjoying a fabulous day with Sasha!!

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SETTIMIA 5/11/2014 3:20AM

    Well done for being Binge free. Great achievement. Happy Mother's Day x

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HOLLYM48 5/10/2014 8:58AM

    Wow, your daughter is one smart cookie! Good for her and good for you for being such an awesome role model! Way to go!

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PHOENIX1949 5/9/2014 2:42PM

    Interesting. "That hit the spot!" needs to become a commonly used phrase here. Precious photo of mother and daughter. "Out of the mouths of babes. . ." Psalms 8:2, KJV Bible.

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PGHP31CK 5/9/2014 12:48PM

    Love it! Thank you for sharing -- I'm definitely going to use this!

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KRISZTA11 5/9/2014 10:04AM

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this, I loved your blog.
Your daughter has a great method to treat food she likes but doesn't want to overeat.
I'll try this out.
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LCERVERA 5/9/2014 9:47AM

    Excellent blog! Thank you for sharing. I will try to remember three and then "Hit the spot!" How cool is that that Sasha was already doing this intuitively! She is such a beautiful and wise little girl.
Congrats on your 28 days, too! That's really fantastic. I love to hear about your progress!
Blessings this Mother's Day, and I hope we all get to see the sun this weekend! emoticon

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KANOE10 5/9/2014 8:45AM

    That is a lovely picture of you and your daughter. She is a wise little girl. That hit the spot is a great tool to use. It is amazing how powerful words can be. I am going to check out that book. Good for you finding another tool of self discovery.

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SPINNINGJW 5/9/2014 7:57AM

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful picture of you and your daughter. I too struggle with overeating, and have gotten to the point where if I do it now, I am just miserable. Thank you for sharing that technique to allow a "treat" in moderation.

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THE_RED_BIRD 5/9/2014 7:53AM

    Great food for thought! Thanks for sharing your insights and those of your sweet girl!

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SHERYLP461 5/9/2014 7:26AM

    That is amazing coming from a child. Often they have the vision to see what we cannot.

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HAPPYMENOW58 5/9/2014 6:24AM

    Wonderful, wonderful blog! Loved your insight and suggestions...Will try it! Thanks for sharing the cute pic,too... emoticon

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 5/9/2014 4:24AM

    What a wise and beautiful girl!!

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LE7_1234 5/9/2014 1:22AM

    emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 5/8/2014 11:56PM

    What a great strategy to prepare in advance for such a plan. Good work! I will try to use that when I have ice cream in the house -- knowing in advance whether I can have a designated amount of grams or ounces

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SUSUSUZZZIE 5/8/2014 11:00PM

    WOW! Enlightening. Thank you so much for sharing. This is something I can work on putting in practice.

All the best as you work to have your three and stop with the spot being hit!

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GLORIAMAJDI 5/8/2014 9:56PM

    Your little girl is so beautiful. And wise too! I am going to try this with the tortilla chips. I tend to eat way too many of them when we eat that sort of food...I think that setting a limit of three or six or whatever will help, and then acknowledging once they are gone that they were DELICIOUS! might help me stop eating them!

Thanks for another great blog!

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TINAJANE76 5/8/2014 8:40PM

    I love this idea! I don't think there's anything wrong with eating for pleasure, even if it's something that has little or no nutritional value, but drawing the line in a sensible place is what can help keep us on the right track. It just seems to strike the right balance between not depriving yourself (which can often backfire) and being able to have (a little bit of) your cake and eat it too!

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 5/8/2014 8:40PM

    I love this blog! What a thoughtful way of retraining your mind to that of the thinner person you want to be. BTW, your DD is beautiful!
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ONEKIDSMOM 5/8/2014 8:22PM

    Thank you for an excellent and thoughtful exposition of the book. I now have yet another tool for use in my own ongoing struggle with the temptations to over/undereat! That (blog) hit the spot! emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 5/8/2014 8:18PM

    What a great blog to read. You and your daughter both look beautiful. Thank you for the book recommendation and the details. I must pursue it!



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Spring brings lovely flowers and a shift

Sunday, April 13, 2014

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho


Scenic Central Park with a nice view of Manhattan behind us.


Pre race smiles with a track club friend. I had no idea what I was about to do.

Well, I just got home from my third half marathon in the past 6 weeks. And it was by far the hardest race I've run, but I PR'd at 1:50! I really can't believe it. It was two loops plus a bit of Central Park, which is a very hilly place to run indeed.


Can you feel my quads screaming?

It was beautiful weather, sunny but not hot, beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, daffodils, tulips, cherry and magnolia blossoms - what a treat!

Today is the 7 month anniversary of my husband's death and I'm really happy to say that something is shifting in me. Though I miss him, of course, spring has sprung in NY and I'm starting to feel whole again.


Happy finisher!

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
― Emily Dickinson

Happy Spring to you all!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSHINE20113 4/26/2014 5:25AM

    Congratulations!! Looks like a wonderful run!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/23/2014 4:29PM

    Ditto what everyone said esp. EJOY-EVELYN and DOGLADY13!

I think I saw the word "radiant" bandied about with happy frequency also!

XOXO

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GINIEMIE 4/23/2014 11:33AM

    Congrats on your 3rd HM. Thanks for sharing your pictures, you look absolutely radiant. I'm glad the running is helping. One of my sons found it a help when his dad died.
I'm glad you are finding some inner peace.
Ginie
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SETTIMIA 4/19/2014 12:59PM

    I am so pleased for you, you look radiant

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/16/2014 9:58PM

    Praise God for good shifts that make living life a little more enjoyable. Great run! Great attitude! Great shift into Spring!

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LCERVERA 4/16/2014 5:21AM

    Congrats on your PR! I was thinking of you Sunday when it turned out to be such a lovely day. I'm so glad to hear emoticon that you're feeling your healing taking place.

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WENDYANNE61 4/15/2014 11:34AM

    Congratulations on an awesome run! I hope Spring helps you to heal some more and that you and your daughter can draw delight from all the good memories!

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PGHP31CK 4/15/2014 10:57AM

    Congratulations on finishing your race!

So thankful that your heart is beginning to heal -- glad to hear it!

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MINIUM 4/15/2014 1:08AM

    You look radiant! Good job!
Take care,
Nan

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KENDRACARROLL 4/14/2014 6:30PM

    Time is such a great healer.
I'm so very happy that you're getting back to feeling better.
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TINAJANE76 4/14/2014 5:57PM

    Love it, Julie! I can totally feel your joy and sense of accomplishment shining through!

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KLWALDON 4/14/2014 11:16AM

    Way to go! You are awesome!

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2014TODAY 4/14/2014 10:51AM

    Wow, well done! You're a special person.

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KANOE10 4/14/2014 8:37AM

    Happy Spring to you. What a great way to enjoy spring with your running. You look happy. I like that poem also.

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NUOVAELLE 4/14/2014 1:44AM

    I am relieved to read that things are getting better and better for you. It's so good to see you smiling in the pictures!
Congratulations on your PR and thank you for the wonderful quote and the beautiful poem.
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LE7_1234 4/14/2014 12:02AM

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_JODI404 4/13/2014 11:18PM

    Happy Spring to you!!

This blog makes me smile with happiness for you Julie!!

Congrats on your awesome race PR! That is a very hilly park!! emoticon

Love your pics. I am so happy that Spring is bringing you this feeling of shifting and a renewed sense of feeling whole again. How wonderful.

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POSITIVEHOPE 4/13/2014 10:46PM

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MIRRORBALLMOON 4/13/2014 8:51PM

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Congratulations, Julie!! :)

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WATERMELLEN 4/13/2014 8:18PM

    I'm so glad that something is shifting for you: that Emily Dickinson poem is one that speaks to me too. Congrats on the PR!

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CHERYL_ANNE 4/13/2014 8:04PM

    Happy Spring to you!

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 4/13/2014 7:36PM

    Congrats on your 3rd half in 6 weeks! Awesome. emoticon
Thanks for sharing the pix, too.

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OOLALA53 4/13/2014 7:11PM

    Delightful news!

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GLORIAMAJDI 4/13/2014 5:52PM

    Congrats on your PR! I am so glad that things are looking up. Spring is indeed a time for happiness and new beginnings.

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 4/13/2014 5:17PM

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WAY2GOCAT 4/13/2014 5:06PM

    Cool!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 4/13/2014 4:43PM

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 4/13/2014 4:42PM

    Spring has such a sense of renewal. Glad you are feeling it in your soul.Wishing beautiful experiences for a beautiful lady.

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Comment edited on: 4/13/2014 4:43:39 PM

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ALEXSGIRL1 4/13/2014 4:22PM

    you look amazing so happy you are feeling more at peace hugs

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DOGLADY13 4/13/2014 4:22PM

    I didn't see screaming quads in that picture. I saw a fit, happy runner.

Great race! I'm so glad you are taking a new step in your journey through life.

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PHOENIX1949 4/13/2014 4:19PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 4/13/2014 3:56PM

    emoticon emoticon Outstanding time! emoticon

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SUEPERWOMAN 4/13/2014 3:42PM

 

I'm happy for you Julie!

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KRISZTA11 4/13/2014 3:42PM

    I'm so glad to see you happy!
Congrats to your 3rd Half Marathon,
and thanks for sharing the pictures.
Central Park and Manhattan is beautiful.
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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/13/2014 3:37PM

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New day, new week, new month, reboot!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” ― Arnold Bennett

Today is Monday, a day that signals the start of a new week and new beginnings. And tomorrow is April 1, a new month, hopefully spring weather will soon come to NY for us to enjoy.

So today I dust myself off and begin again, forgiving myself for many turbulent months, poor choices in terms of using food to cope, and the added unwanted pounds that came with that behavior. Today I recommit to self care, to mindful eating, to getting proper rest, to facing, feeling, and processing my feelings, to making choices that give me more pleasure over time and more energy for life.

Oh, and on a very positive note, I ran another half marathon this past weekend, in the rain, in a garbage bag, and came in fourth for my age group! 1:53:19!! Not too shabby! I'm loving the half marathon distance and the community of runners. It's such a positive, life affirming activity, and I'm meeting great people!


Post race, wearing our "Ladies First" medals. I'm in the middle.


Crossing the finish line in the last half marathon.

Here is to new beginnings everyone!!

"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning." Desmond Tutu

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAJANE76 4/7/2014 9:32PM

    Alright, it's ridiculous that I've only just now seen this--a full week after you wrote it. I've subscribed to your blog now, lol!

I know I've already congratulated you privately, but I just wanted to add my public kudos here. As someone who's pretty much a non-runner, I'm totally in awe not only that you were able to finish the half marathon, but also that you came in fourth in your age group--and in NYC no less with so many other very fit people running alongside you. Fantastic, Julie, simply fantastic!

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SLENDERELLA61 4/1/2014 7:28PM

    Congrats on another great race. Impressive time, too. Your use of quotes is exceptional. You must be very well read and have a great memory &/or organizational system!! You definitely don't look overweight in the pictures, either, although I know achieving the weight you really want is a worthwhile pursuit. And your finishing smile is gorgeous. You are so right about the running community being positive and life-affirming. So glad you have jumped right in. Clearly you are suppose to run. Think of you often; admire your strength. -Marsha

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 4/1/2014 4:55PM

    You are off to a great start! Great attitude! Great to have supportive friends to run with and here on Spark!

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BECKYLIZ 4/1/2014 8:59AM

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_JODI404 3/31/2014 10:42PM

    Congrats on your great finish time!! You said you were already hooked -- and you definitely are! Great pics!

I definitely need to reaffirm my focus with the start of this new month tomorrow.
I am with you Julie!! All such important areas to having a healthy lifestyle!

I also "recommit to self care, to mindful eating, to getting proper rest, to facing, feeling, and processing my feelings, to making choices that give me more pleasure over time and more energy for life."

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Spring is near ~ hang in there!! We've got a nice week here...but this sneaky winter can't be trusted... never know what it may sock us with after that!

Always love your quotes. One of these days I will take the time to start a quote journal. Something I keep meaning to get around to doing.

BEST wishes to you for a very successful RE-boot in April and beyond!!
Take care!
xo,
~ Jodi

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/31/2014 9:19PM

    emoticon Love the opening quote, and the closing one... and everything in between. Bootstraps and determination, and the smiles of accomplishment... many happy returns!

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WATERMELLEN 3/31/2014 8:39PM

    Love the pic -- you look so cute!! Glad you are enjoying the running, glad you are rebooting and LOVE the idea that time cannot be wasted in advance. How comforting is that!!

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CHERYL_ANNE 3/31/2014 7:12PM

    Way to take care of yourself!

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MJREIMERS 3/31/2014 6:47PM

    emoticon Wow, your time is awesome!!! Keep up the great running!

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DOGLADY13 3/31/2014 4:17PM

    WooHoo! Way to go on th Half Marathon!

I would never make it through life if I didn't have the present moment to start over.

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OVERACTIVEELBOW 3/31/2014 3:30PM

    emoticon
Good plan

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PHOENIX1949 3/31/2014 3:04PM

    Love the Bennett quote and have added to my collection.

See Julie. See Julie run. See Julie run fast. (take-off from Dick & Jane series)

Run Julie run. (take-off from Forrest Gump movie)

emoticon on the race.

emoticon on the reboot.


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GLORIAMAJDI 3/31/2014 2:53PM

    Julie, congrats on the half, you are awesome! Good look on your reboot. I think I need to take a look at my eating and do a reboot as well!

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KENDRACARROLL 3/31/2014 2:21PM

    How wonderful that you found running as your outlet.
Congratulations on finishing your second half marathon. I can't imagine even running 5 miles...
Love the quote. What a great reminder, that we have so many chances to begin anew.
Have a great SparkDay.

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MINIUM 3/31/2014 2:08PM

    I think you did wonderful and you look amazing! Congratulations!
And I love your first quote - it makes me feel so good! It reminds of a sentence I keep repeating in my affirmation: 'my future begins now'. Everything's possible so let's dream big!

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 3/31/2014 12:19PM

    Way to go! I'm so proud of you!

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DAYSPRING-STAR 3/31/2014 10:24AM

    Yeah Julie! Atta girl on your half marathon!!!

Read your blog just moments after resetting my Spark goals for my own new beginning. Feeling the positive energy...
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EJOY-EVELYN 3/31/2014 10:10AM

    Congratulations on a great run! You're beautiful (in many, many ways)! I love the healthy perspective you have to running your personal race and reading your words (for me it would be walking) would fit with my need to also enjoy this new day, new week, and new month. You give us hope! . . . and for that, I thank you! Hug, hug -- Evelyn

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 3/31/2014 9:36AM

    emoticon Congrats on coming in 4th and also for giving yourself a fresh start. Have a healthy and successful April!

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WORKNPROGRESS49 3/31/2014 9:03AM

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PHEBESS 3/31/2014 8:45AM

    YAY for doing half marathons, and for rebooting!

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 3/31/2014 8:43AM

    emoticon And here's to our REBOOT!! No looking back!

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SUEPERWOMAN 3/31/2014 8:38AM

 
Wow, your running is going so well !!

Is it snowing near you? Long Ialand got a good dusting this morning.
ARGH !!!!

Cheers, to a new month.

Love, Sue

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JAROL7 3/31/2014 8:13AM

    Never give up .... keep marching toward your goal.

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KANOE10 3/31/2014 8:12AM

    What lovely pictures! That is great that you finished 4th in your age group. How nice that you have found a community of runners.

April is a perfect time for new beginnings. I am continuing on my own reboot and will join you.

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LE7_1234 3/31/2014 8:11AM

    Go, Julie!!!!
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Love the quote.

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Turning the page

Monday, March 17, 2014

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Emerson

This past week was very loaded for me. March 13 was the 6 month anniversary of my husband's death. March 15 was what should have been his 44th birthday. And on March 16th, I ran my first half marathon.

The sadness I experienced on my husband's birthday knocked me down. I cannot articulate the emptiness I felt inside and the extreme sense of loss and isolation that I felt. It was unbearable. My daughter and I hosted a cupcake party (cupcakes were my husband's favorite dessert (yellow cake with chocolate frosting to be specific)), to honor him and give her a chance to celebrate his day in a way that felt loving and joyful. So though inside I felt like crying and crawling up in a ball, on the outside I put on a smile and entertained his closest friends, former music students, and music colleagues. There was a lot of love and it was a beautiful event, but I found it very difficult.



And then I stayed up all night long. I have never suffered from insomnia, but that night I couldn't sleep a wink. I was overcome with grief, sadness for my daughter, and also anxiety about the half marathon I was about to run. I had never done one before and though I trained well, the temperatures were going to be really low and the race started early and I felt unsure of what to expect. Plus, the later it got, the more anxious I grew.

However, at 5AM, I put on my running clothes, and scarves, and mittens, and legwarmers, and layers and layers and layers, and a fleece blanket, ate a solid breakfast, laced up my sneakers, and met my best friend to do the run.

And I'm so happy to say that it was fantastic! The NYC Half Marathon, aptly called "Run for Life", starts in Central Park, and then goes through Times Square (which is shut down to traffic), along the West Side Highway, ending in the Financial District. There were bands playing all along the way, and when in life do you have Times Square all to yourself with no cars??? I felt so exhilarated and was so moved by all the spectators cheering us on, despite the cold.



I am now hooked. I love that distance and I loved the experience. So I've signed up for three more halves in the next two months and joined a track club. It feels like a wonderful way to embrace life.



The real champion...my beautiful little girl.

The Uses of Sorrow
by Mary Oliver
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)
 
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.

 
                                         

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 4/23/2014 11:30AM

    I just read your blog, I'm a bit behind and will be further behind when Erik and I go to see my 92 yr old aunt. I'm sorry about the hard time you suffered. I too found ways of celebrating my DH's birthday with the children, or at least one of them and their children. You were brave and strong to plan the cupcake party in his memory/honor.
Congrats on your first HM.
You and your daughter remain in my prayers.
Ginie
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SETTIMIA 4/19/2014 10:44AM

    just read your blog, bought tears to my tears, you write so beautifully. Your husband would be so proud of you both.

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SUEPERWOMAN 3/30/2014 8:16PM

 
What a beautiful blog and I am sorry that I am just reading it now, after so many weeks have gone by.

Your husband was a real talent (I looked him up) and his music and his love will be his legacy. I am so sorry that he is gone. I am happy that your running is such a good fit for you.

Love, Sue

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LCERVERA 3/29/2014 7:23AM

    What a moving blog. I am so sorry that your husband's birthday was so hard for you. You are so brave and such a good mom to plow through and host that cupcake party, showing your daughter that although grief is normal and natural, life does continue. She is so blessed to have a mother like you. Congrats on your 1/2 marathon! That's amazing that you did it, especially on no sleep! Signing up for more of them sounds like a wonderful way to relieve stress and keep on going. You are such a strong, brave, and caring woman. When I was reading your blog, I was reminded of the book I'm teaching my class this semester. Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie? It's a quick read and really beautiful. I think you might enjoy it.
God bless you guys.
Lisa

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 3/23/2014 9:52AM

    I am so sorry....you are coping like a rock star with the absolutely uncope-able.

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SUNSHINE20113 3/22/2014 7:02AM

    Congratulations on the half marathon! I've signed up for my second one in April. I like the distance, too. It's definitely a challenge, but not quite as daunting as a full marathon.

The celebration of your husband's birthday sounds beautiful. Such a great way to honour his life and a wonderful thing to do for your daughter. My thoughts are with both of you.

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MARYANNGI 3/20/2014 9:26PM

    Congrats you running the Run for Life!! What an incredible accomplishment.

Celebrating your husband's life on his birthday is a wonderful thing. After my DD passed, we started a tradition of doing this each year. We tell stories about her, some of the funny she did and her wonderful/weird sense of humor. Someone once told that when you lose someone, that for a long while it is your first thought in the morning and your last thought at night. As time goes on, it becomes your second thought of the day and next to the last thought at the end of the day. It takes a while, but it does happen. Jenn has been gone 10 years and I miss her dearly, but I also know that she is in a better place and she doesn't have to fight for every little thing.



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TINAJANE76 3/19/2014 8:10PM

    You're turning new pages with each passing day, Julie, even if you don't always know it. Just look at how you were able to move past several emotionally charged days and still find so much joy in your half marathon. Time WILL help you to heal and take the edge off of your pain and sorrow. In the meantime, keep embracing the things that give you joy, especially your beautiful little girl.
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KENDRACARROLL 3/19/2014 6:41PM

    You're honoring your husband by celebrating life.
Bet he'd be proud of you.
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SLIMKATIE 3/19/2014 6:17PM

    I love the idea of the cupcake party to honor your husband's birthday.

You should consider doing the Heartbreak Hill Half with me! The whole weekend is very "family friendly", so your daughter could even do a race, too. :)

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GLORIAMAJDI 3/18/2014 10:20PM

    What a beautiful way to honor your husband Julie, and though it is painful, it is healing for both you and your daughter. And congrats on the half - you are such an inspiration!

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ALEXSGIRL1 3/18/2014 6:26PM

    so glad you found running it will help with the sadness . what a special way to celebrate life

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SHERYLP461 3/18/2014 4:29PM

    What a wonderful way to work through your grief. Your daughter is lucky to have such a wonderful mom.

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KRISZTA11 3/18/2014 3:13PM

    Congrats to your first Half Marathon!
It is wonderful you had the strength and motivation to complete the training and run the race, despite your grief and sadness.
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MINIUM 3/18/2014 2:50PM

    Beautiful blog... I'm still so very sorry about your loss. However, I love the way you celebrated your husband's memory. How sweet!
And congratulations for your first half! You did awesome!
What's more, you look wonderful on those pictures and so does your daughter.
My heart goes out to you...

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MISSB8604 3/18/2014 11:01AM

    Absolutely amazing. CONGRATS.

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KANOE10 3/18/2014 8:32AM

    Your husband would be so proud of you for that run and for giving your daughter her day of commemorating your husband with the party.

I am happy you had a great run and look forward to hearing about your next ones!

That was a lovely poem. It is hard to learn that darkness is a gift. Beautiful words.

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THINFITFEMINIST 3/18/2014 7:42AM

    Having your husband in his body no longer with you is definitely sad. Your husband was not his body. Celebrate the gift that Love continues on no matter what perception tells us.

In deep respect,

Karen

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PHEBESS 3/18/2014 5:06AM

    Big hugs, and yay on your first halfie!

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NUOVAELLE 3/18/2014 2:33AM

    I'm sure your husband would be really proud of you and your little girl. You're honoring his memory in the best possible way and you're teaching your daughter some really important lessons about life.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem.
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RUNNERRACHEL 3/18/2014 1:20AM

    I think you are so brave to process and share what you're going through. I don't have words but I have empathy and a big breath of pride for you and running your first half marathon. And celebrating your husband's life and honoring him even though it was hard for you, and being strong for your daughter.

I stand with you in sympathy and send you hugs and healing and prayers for the process.

Running is a great way to challenge and strengthen yourself and run for yourself and your daughter and your future. emoticon emoticon



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LE7_1234 3/18/2014 12:59AM

    emoticon

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POSITIVEHOPE 3/18/2014 12:46AM

    You celebrated his life and mourned his loss all at the same time. What an emotional roller coaster. Glad you came through whole.

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EJOY-EVELYN 3/17/2014 10:29PM

    You and your girl are truly inspirational and winners! May you be richly blessed during this difficult time. You've been such a trooper and your husband would have been proud.

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_JODI404 3/17/2014 10:20PM

    Julie,

I'm so sorry for the unbearable pain and emptiness that you are feeling. That was a loaded week for sure, and I'm not surprised it was so difficult to bear. Your love was BIG. And therefore your loss and your grief and immense.

It was so lovely of you to honor your husband with the cupcake party, and to allow Sasha to celebrate his day in a special and loving way. I hope you were able to let those tears flow later on.

Yes, it sounds like you are completely hooked! That's awesome!! My husband has done several marathons, but he is preferring 1/2's as well. Congratulations on completing the first of many more13.1 mile races!! No sleep, and a heart heavy with grief. Hopefully pouring yourself out physically was therapeutic. And I hope your sleep cycle is getting normalized again for you.

Mary Oliver. Oh my. How I relate to that.

Sending a big hug to you!!

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Comment edited on: 3/17/2014 10:21:09 PM

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LOFLLAMA 3/17/2014 10:04PM

    Julie,
You are so inspirational. Your daughter is so blessed to have such a wonderful mom! I am proud to know you.
Love
Lisa

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 3/17/2014 8:40PM

    6 months isn't very long. It's OK to grieve some more. Take your time. You're very strong, yet vulnerable.
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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/17/2014 8:24PM

    Your joy will lead you to "who you really are"

Follow that feeling. From the sounds of it, it really does not have ANY chance of out running you!

XOXO

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DOGLADY13 3/17/2014 8:07PM

    Oh my... The Mary Oliver poem blindsided me. I gasped audibly and then wept for about 5 minutes. I have been moved deeply by other poems she has written, but that one is in a class by itself.

I am so happy you found some joy through this very intense week of grief. Your daughter is beautiful. You must fall in love with her all over again every day.

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/17/2014 8:01PM

    OMG... we have Sparked another Half-lunatic! Congrats on your first HM, and it sounds like an epic one! emoticon emoticon emoticon

May God give you peace and comfort as you move forward... anniversaries are hard. emoticon emoticon

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KRISKECK 3/17/2014 7:45PM

    Thinking of you and sending love your way.

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Kristin

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MARILYNROBERT 3/17/2014 7:36PM

    Yes, your beautiful little girl emoticon

emoticon on your half marathon finish. I loved running all distances but can't do it anymore because my knees and feet have had enough pounding. I love to hear about it when my friends complete a run. emoticon

Thinking about you thinking about your husband emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 3/17/2014 7:35PM

    Sorrow does indeed have its uses: but I'm sorry that you have had such an overflowing cup of it.

Your grace and dignity and sheer kindness in making it possible for your daughter to celebrate her father's birthday . . . what a cost to you, but you can be so proud of yourself.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 3/17/2014 6:58PM

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SUNNYRUTH 3/17/2014 6:29PM

    I also find running to be very therapeutic and energizing. Good for you for being so healthy and moving forward!

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SLENDERELLA61 3/17/2014 6:29PM

    So sorry for your pain. Admire your smile for everyone and the cupcakes and the joy and the poem. So glad you enjoyed the half marathon! That is a tremendous accomplishment. Great going!! Hope that each half you run will be more and more joy-filled and all your good memories will be a comfort to you. -Marsha

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KELLIEBEAN 3/17/2014 6:10PM

    I smiled and had a tear reading this. That was wonderful the way you celebrated his birthday. You gave your daughter such a great gift!

Very inspirational making the half. Congratulations!!

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PHOENIX1949 3/17/2014 6:04PM

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DIANNEMT 3/17/2014 6:00PM

    Big congrats on your half marathon and condolences on the loss of your husband. You are being a great mom to celebrate his life for your daughter.

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SEPTEMBERSPIRIT 3/17/2014 5:59PM

    So happy to see you pursuing new passions!! What a wonderful way for you to celebrate your husband's special day... Your daughter truly is an angel and will always have part of him with her. emoticon

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