Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Art of Community: The Village

I read a blog the other day. It talked about longing for the "village" of older days. The days when people lived fairly close to one another on larger properties and the kids played outside in the field together and women took care of each others children and baked bread together etc.

Life looks different these days. There is no changing that, and in all honesty, it wouldn't be wise to try and do so. Things that were safe back in "the day" just aren't anymore, and that includes in other countries, not just in the U.S.

So, while yes so much of the concept of a "village" has changed, that doesn't mean it can't or doesn't exist. It just looks different. We just need to be more intentional about how it works and make it happen. We also can't wait for the village to come to us. We have to make it happen if we want it.

My village looks like bringing a friend her favorite coffee on a day that I know has been tough. It looks like watching her kids so that she and her husband can go on a date without paying a babysitter. It looks like her watching our kids and dog so we can do the same. It looks like texting, calling or emailing just to check in and for no other reason. It looks like prayer requests sent via the internet knowing they will pray right then and there. It looks like my Mom watching the twins twice a week so I can take Jack to swimming lessons. It looks like meals brought over for two months after recovering from a c-section and it looks like baskets of vegetables brought over just because she knows we like them.
It looks like "can I pick anything up from Costco for you?" and it looks like "can I take your daughter out for coffee and a bagel just for fun?"

It looks like dropping everything to come over and watch my kids so I can take one to the ER. It looks like crazy long days with all of our kids together just so we aren't alone.

It looks like no-makeup in runs and long talks outside after un-planned dinners and it looks like dreaming and praying.

It looks like friends that become family and watch your kids for a weekend so you can go and run 13+ miles and knowing you will watch their kids in return.

It looks like people asking to have my kids over because they love them and it looks like people taking the poopy diapers from porch and dropping them in the trash before they leave.

This isn't 1950- it's 2014 and we can still have a village...it's just not going to look like baking bread side by side all of the time. Sometimes it will, but instead of longing for what's no longer the norm...let's make the village better than it ever was.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Running: Free Therapy

I didn't start running until after I was married. My Dad asked me to join him on a run and so I did. I never ran by myself except at the 5k races we did together. I always ran with my Dad. I loved running with him. We never went very fast and we got to talk a lot. I enjoyed my time with him.

Me, my sister, my Dad and Trev

Fast forward 10 plus years, a baby, a miscarriage, twins, a c-section and ankle surgery later...and I have ran a Half-Marathon and am 11 days shy of my second one. There were times during this training I wanted to quit running. I really actually don't like running. I never feel totally awesome during a run and unlike so many people, I don't pray or process things internally while I run. In fact, my mind is blank while I run. There is literally nothing going on in there during a run, which is why when I run alone I listen to music. I do enjoy the feeling when I'm done and my body has worked hard and I see the calories I've burned and the tone in my legs but I really don't even enjoy it while I'm doing it.

I've had some crappy runs this time around in my training, and some slow runs too. You know when those happened? When I was running alone. My longer runs, the ones that should be slower....I have run all of those with one of my best friends Amy. My pace is consistently faster with her (she slows down for me) I can carry on a conversation with her and we process a lot of stuff on those long runs. I feel great after I'm done and I don't dread running.

I've realized that I don't really like the running for the running, but I like doing it with people that I want to spend time with. You can get a lot of ground covered over a 10 mile run and I always feel lighter when it's over (maybe that's the 1,500 calories I burned too). It's like therapy.

I have a hard time getting up in the morning to run alone. If I'm meeting someone it happens, but if I'm left up to my own accountability and my headphones it's harder for me to.

I don't like small talk. I don't like surface conversations. When you're on a run you don't waste your breath with that stuff. You dig in and get down to the grit. You're already smelly, sweaty and makeupless so that front is out the door. I like that part of it too. There is no place for facades when you're running.

I don't think I will ever enjoy running just to run. Maybe I'm not a true runner then. I'm okay with that. I'll stick with running as a way of connection and relationship and the changes in my heart and body just come as extras. So thanks Dad, for asking me to run. And thanks Amy for keeping me at it.

A little over a year's worth of Post-Run Selfies