Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Just Say Yes

I remember hearing some parenting advice that advised that when you can, say "yes" to your kids.   In the early days of parenting, it feels like the word "NO" comes out of our mouths with such frequency!  As my children have got bigger and more independent, I have tried to be more mindful of saying "YES" when I can.

Yesterday I was doing my track workout and I brought my kids along with me.  They were trying to keep themselves occupied with their skates and bike.  One found an old ruddy baseball that was instantly a "treasure."  Another found a Duke water bottle (Me: Leave that there--go Heels!).  Eventually they got tired of their activities and came up with a new idea.

"Mom, can we roll this tire down the stairs?"  At first my reflex was to say, "NO."  I started to say it.  But then I asked myself, "Why not?"  There were no other people on the track that we had to worry about injuring.  I still had quite a few more laps to do.  So I said "YES!"  And they had so much fun rolling that tire down the stairs for the next 20 minutes or so.

I think this is also a principle we can apply to ourselves.  When faced with an opportunity or a request, I try to ask myself if I can say "YES" first.  Of course I must balance my desire to say "YES" with setting good boundaries for my time.  But I have had so many memorable experiences from saying "YES" when invited.  A half Ironman relay.  A 206 mile relay through the Blue Ridge Mountains with 5 other brave souls.  Getting set up on a date with my now- husband.  Going to country concerts with my sweet babysitter.

"To my young friends out there: Life can be great, but not when you can't see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life."--Nancy Reagan

Love, Sarah




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Who I Am

First of all, it has been almost 2 years since my last post, but I'm excited to start recording my thoughts again in an organized way.

This post is inspired by an upcoming book club where we will be discussing the book, "Boston Bound" by Elizabeth Clor.   In the book, the author tries to overcome the mental hangups which are preventing her from achieving her lifelong dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  She meets with a sports psychologist, who recommends to her that she stop thinking of herself as "a runner" and instead think of herself as "a good person who does good things."  In other words, her identity does not need to be based on an activity that she likes to do.  Her identity is so much more than this, and she is then set to the task of figuring that out.

This really got me thinking about my own identity.  There have been many times over this past year where I definitely have found myself primarily identifying myself as "a runner."  I have met great friends through running, have participated in many fun and challenging races, I like to read about running and listen to podcasts and audio books about running.  Running has become a big part of my life.  I really enjoy it--the social aspect of being a part of a running group, the physical and mental challenges I have to overcome along the way, and the health that it brings to my body and mind.   However, I am more than just "a runner."

Last year, when I was injured (severe plantar fasciitis), I was unable to run for a few months.  During that time, I had to make a choice.  I could be miserable and depressed, OR I could spend that time fostering the other aspects of my life that I had neglected during my running obsession.  I remember reading an article that dealt with how to mentally get through an injury that keeps you from running, and the main point that I remember was that I am MORE than just a runner.  I am Sarah--a mom, a wife, a friend, a doctor.  I am hardworking, passionate, energetic, positive, optimistic.  I DO love to run, but I also love to be with my kids, to write, to read, to exercise in general, to play outside, to craft, to be with friends and family.  That really helped me through that time and kept me from getting depressed at not being able to run for a few months.

Now, I have started thinking through these things again.  What do I want to be known for?  I don't want to be known as a runner.  I DO want to be known as someone who loves life and encourages others; someone who is passionate about her goals but flexible if needed; a loyal and thoughtful friend; a child of GOD.  And when I run, I can show these aspects of my identity!  But if I could never run again, I could continue being me.  And that makes me feel safe and at peace.

There is a song by Nichole Nordeman called "Legacy" that really resonates with me; in fact, I chose it during the slide show at my residency graduation.  The lyrics are as follows:

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
And you could take my picture and hang it in a gallergy
Of all the who's-who's and so-and-so's
That used to be the best at such and such,
It wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights,
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world.

I want to leave a legacy,
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such
Will soon enough destroy

Not well-traveled, not well-read
Not well-to-do, or well-bred
Just want to hear instead,
Well done, good and faithful one

In the same way that I don't wrap up my entire identity in being a doctor, I want to continue to remember that my identity is in Him, in Christ, not just as a runner.  But in the meantime, I am surely thankful that I can RUN!
--Sarah

The Big Run 5K
June 7, 2017 Global Running Day
Chapel Hill, NC

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dance Like Cinderella...

The music was playing boisterously.  The notes drew us to stop and listen.  A crowd had gathered around an older couple, the man wearing a T-shirt advertising the name of the band, the woman wearing a Disneyland T-shirt and blue tutu skirt.  They were dancing in step, swing dancing it looked like, reminding me of when I tried to swing dance back in college.  My daughter was standing with us, but she inched forward, step by step, and I saw her toe point, her leg lift slightly off the ground.  I knew she wanted to dance.  She walked further and further into the circle, by herself, still seeming shy and hesitant.  I recognized this as a moment, one that she might remember for just today, but one that I would always remember.  I embraced the moment and asked her if she would like to dance with me.  Her entire countenance lit up brightly as her little hands took mine.  I danced with her, dipped her, twirled her around.  She loved it.  I glanced over and saw three other little girls tapping their feet, inching closer, their mom on her phone.  I beckoned to them, "Come dance," and just like my daughter, their faces immediately lit up as they giggled, held hands, and ran into the mix.  As I continued to dance with my sweet one, I took notice around me, more and more people were abandoning pretense and starting to join us.  Two college aged girls grabbed hands and skipped awkwardly right through the middle of the "dance floor," laughing, as their friends giggled from the sidelines.  It was so refreshing to see so many people just enjoying the moment like I was, Mickey Mouse ears on and all.  My son was still on the side.  I reached out my hands to him, beckoning, "Do you want to come, too?"  At first he shook his head no, but then he jumped all in with fancy footwork and handstands, laughing just like the rest of us.  What a magical memory, I am so glad I didn't miss it...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Weekend highlights

Feeling blue right now, winding up a great weekend with the kiddos.  Wanted to jot down some highlights to remember:
--taking Jackson on a date Friday night for dinner and a movie while Savannah and Daddy had a date, too!
--10 mile run Saturday morning with my fave running partner, Julie
--Savannah practicing to put her hair in a ponytail/bun just like her mommy--she got it!
--Jackson graduating from Tiger Cub to Wold Cub at the Cub Scout End of Year Campout
--Savannah earning a belt loop for biking at Cub Scouts (even though she is OBVIOUSLY not a cub scout) due to her learning to ride a bike without training wheels this week!\
--Jackson giving Savannah the sweetest hug after she received her belt loop and saying, "Congratulations, Savannah!"
--taking a cat nap on the beach at Jordan Lake this weekend while the kiddos played (under Dad's supervision, of course!)
--being able to cheer up Savannah on the LONG hike back to the campsite from the beach, by playing her favorite song on my phone (and thus avoiding having to carry her all the way home, score!)
--both kids falling asleep on the way home from camping
--watching my Sunday school kids recite their memory verse on this last day of Sunday school for the year: way to go, class!
--finding the perfect bench to go at the foot of our bed (at Home Goods, what a steal!)
--updating my shower curtain for the first time in about 10 years :)
--snuggling with the kids at bedtime tonight

Ahh, what a great weekend.  Now off to do notes for work...


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Something in the Water...

God has always spoken to me through music and songs.  For the past few months, I have really loved the song, "Something in the Water" by Carrie Underwood.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a country pop song, but the underlying theme is water baptism.

I was baptized as an infant, raised in a Catholic Christian home, confirmed into the faith as a teen, and really embraced Christianity as my own faith while in high school.  Jesus has just always been my Savior.  I heard lots of stories of newly converted Christians getting baptized as an outward sign of the inner change that occurs once you accept Jesus into your heart.  I teach my children that when they are old enough, they can get baptized to tell the world that Jesus is their Savior.  But I never thought adult baptism was for me.

A few months ago, our church was doing a bible study called "Rooted," and we met every week in my small group to discuss basic foundations of the faith.  Of course, one of the weeks covered baptism.  I shared that I didn't really feel that I needed to get baptized again.  The girls in my group are not shy, and they lovingly pointed out where in the Bible it says that basically I should.

"Baptism is an important step in our journeys as followers of Christ and an outward symbol of the work He has already done in our lives.  Some people wonder if baptism is required for salvation.  No, it's not.  However the two are connected.  The Lord commanded, 'Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit' (Matthew 28:19).  The Word of our Lord is sufficient warrant for baptism of believers.  No further authority is needed."  "Baptism is a symbol of the covenant of salvation."  "Eleven times in the book of Acts we see that immediately after someone believed in Jesus that person was baptized."  --From Rooted.

I ended the night in tears, saying that I did not want to get baptized.  (Why not??)  But of course, God was working on my heart.

A few weeks later, I was teaching Sunday School to my first graders, and we were learning about when John the Baptist baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17).  It was the Beginner's Bible edition.  John basically says to Jesus, "I should be baptized by YOU!"  And Jesus replied, "I want to do what is right."  I remember thinking, "Wow, even Jesus got baptized.  Hmm.  Maybe I SHOULD get baptized."  Moved on.  After class, I went to service, and wouldn't you know, the next baptism class was announced.  I clearly felt God telling me to sign up.  So I did.

And tomorrow I'm getting baptized!  I'm kind of nervous.  I'm relieved that I am finally practicing obedience to the Lord in this area.  And I'm excited to join my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in the beautiful sacrament of baptism.

"Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I'm changed
And now I'm stronger
There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I'm singing along to amazing grace
Can't nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live every day, give it all that I have
Trust in Someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed I am changed
And now I'm stronger

There must be something in the water"--Something in the Water by Carrie Underwood

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year!

It's a new year, and of course the time for resolutions.  I used to make an exhaustive list of resolutions on New Year's Eve, usually including resolutions about exercise, reading my Bible more often, eating better, journaling more regularly, etc.  That got a bit overwhelming over the years.  For the last few years I have started picking a "word" for the year.  This way, it's like an overriding theme that I can think and meditate on, but it's not so much that if I don't do a certain thing, I "fail" my resolution.

The word for 2015 is:

MINDFULNESS

To me, this encompasses a lot of my goals for the year.
I would like to have more of a regular quite time with God; I have started the "She Reads Truth" Bible in a Year plan to help me; it's on my phone which means I can read on the go, which is helpful.
But I would like to be on my phone less, being more present in my life and daily interactions.  This is especially true with my children.  I would like to really enjoy my time with them more, and not through the distracted murmuring that I do sometimes when I am looking at my phone.
I would like to continue my marathon training, not with a "I need to work out 5 times per week" goal, but continuing to be mindful about my time to exercise and really enjoying it when I do.
I would like to read more books instead of watching TV or messing around on my computer or phone.
I would like to be more mindful of my money and what I spend it on, as well as what is in my home, striving to de-clutter and simplify my life as much as possible.

I'm really excited to get started on this new year.  It will be full, as Jackson starts playing basketball, Savannah continues to dance, and they will turn 7 and 5 this year!  I will run a marathon and I just really look forward to see what God has in store.  I had no idea He would lead me on this road, but I am so glad that He did.

"Whatever you do, do well."  Ecclesiastes 9:10

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

8 years and counting!

Yesterday, JW and I celebrated 8 years of marriage!  Life must go on, so no fancy celebratory vacations were planned, but his mom and aunt, who have been visiting us this week, set us up with a very extraordinary anniversary dinner, complete with tablecloth, gold-plated silverware, 5 course meal (with dessert!) and entertainment provided by my kiddos.  It was wonderful.  One of the most fun parts was getting able to use my nice drinking glasses and serveware that I never get to use on a daily basis.  We registered for some good stuff 8 years ago (thank you friends and family!!).  Jackson was very excited, and he kept saying, "Happy Anniversary Mommy and Daddy!"  He dressed up (like a fireman with a superhero cape and cowboy hat) and serenaded us with violin music (he's been taking lessons and is PRETTY good if I do say so myself.)  He said, "Thank you for getting married, you guys did good.  Thank you for getting engaged at the farm where I had camp.  You are the best mommy and daddy ever!"  It was precious.  Savannah wore her tutu, did some ballet moves, and ate fruit and mints and sparkling cider for dinner.  It was so great.  JW and I felt honored by our family and children, and it would be nice to some day take a vacation for our anniversary, but until then, I'll take fancy at-home dinners any day.

(Picture during our Hawaii honeymoon October 2006)