Monday, October 24, 2016

Project 365, Week 43

We are all things fall around here. I may sound like a broken record, still I'll keep saying it. This is the first fall in two years that I haven't been on chemo and it is amazing to be living life, out and about as I please. Every morning I start by giving thanks to God for the air in my lungs. I'm genuinely amazed and grateful and humbled that again today I have breath in my lungs. What a gift!

October 17
So pretty everywhere, even at the soccer field.

October 18
Such a beautiful view of the lake. Also, my kids love water.

October 19
While we waited for H to be done with an appointment, Aiden, Ginger and I ran around at a park. As we were tossing the ball back and forth we were chatting:

Aiden, tonight at the end of soccer practice its parents vs. players.

I know, and we're going to win. 

Oh yeah? 

Yeah, cause you know...par-rants?? 

What, you don't think Daddy can beat you? 

Wait, what? No Mom...YOU are coming! 😂. 


Well, Shaun had to run Amanda's practice in the neighboring field, so I was indeed the parent rep. And we had so much fun!! When it became apparent that the game was kind of silly, I just chased Aiden around the field, blocking him, body checking him, both of us laughing. The second game we made two teams of parents and kids combined. I don't like to brag but I think its important to note here for the Family Record Book that I had an assist in the first and last game of my soccer career.

Seven year olds are awesome, by the way. Aiden was so happy and so proud to have me out there with never once crossed his mind to be embarrassed.

October 20
We try not to waste too many of the nice days.

Aiden recently went to the doctor and I had to fill our a questionnaire. Among the questions,

How many hours of moderate activity per day? 3-4 hrs
How many hours of screen time per day? 1 hr/week

The doctor commented that she doesn't see that very often. Yeah, its brutal being a kid at our house....just ask them! ;)

Science experiment a la Amanda.

October 21
It took some convincing but Aiden showed Great Grandpa the fighter plane book that he's been reading obsessively this week.

October 22
Trying to figure out a new remote control I got for my camera, wearing my "soccer mom" outfit.

October 23
Somehow, quite unbelievably, my beautiful, younger sister is mom to a high school senior.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Glorious Autumn

Over the weekend I was driving Avery to an early-morning soccer practice. The sun had barely begun to warm things up but it was enough to give the trees a glorious glow. Out loud I mentioned to Avery that I was foolish to not have grabbed my camera. She asked why.

"Look at the trees...the colors are so amazing and beautiful and I'm astounded by their beauty. We take it for granted, but people from all over the world come to New England to see this."

"Mom, YOU don't take it for granted."

And its true...I am a notice-er of beauty and am in constant awe of the beauty in the world. Its such a privilege to be alive. And in the autumn, our neck of the woods happens to be especially special. I don't take it for granted...I hope I never do.

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. ~ LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree. ~Emily Bronte

But when fall comes, kicking summer out of its treacherous [bum] as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and the things he has done since last he saw you. 
-Stephen King, Salem's Lot

Love the trees until their leaves fall of, then encourage them to try again next year. ~Chad Sugg

You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. Psalm 104:19

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Back At It!

At the starting line, in the cool of the morning, the excitement and anticipation and nerves were palpable as we sang the Star Spangled Banner...that act of being an American and considering all that the flag represents gets me teary every time. And then immediately after, a minister got up to give the invocation.

Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be here.
Thank you for healthy bodies....

And then I completely lost it. Those words, so weighty. Yes, I'm here. Yes, I have a healthy body. My heart was so full, so grateful...I was a sobbing mess right there at the starting line, pressed in by the crowd. As the gun sounded and for the next 13.1 miles my mantra became those words over and over and over.

Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be here.
Thank you for a healthy body.

A healthy body, yes though it came at a price. My body is riddled with scars, each one telling a piece of the journey I've been on. Rather than allow those scars and "imperfections" to define me, most days I choose to let them serve as a reminder that I am here, alive for another day. That I am brave and strong. That I am a miracle.

Seven months ago I had fairly major surgery involving my leg that left me on the couch recuperating for a couple months. Finally in June I got the "all clear" from my doctors to start resuming most activities. I thought the Hartford Half would be a good goal because of the time of year and convenient location so I mapped out a training schedule. Much of my training was hard and effort-full and joy-less and I got way more excited than I should have on rest days.

The day before I did my final long run of training, I asked Shaun if he thought it would be ok to bail on the race. He gently encouraged me to persevere, believing that it could be used to inspire someone who needed it. That maybe someday I'll be able to walk the halls of the 15th floor at Sloan where I once had trouble walking with a walker and two men supporting me and tell a patient, it WILL get better. Someday, if you want to, you'll even be able to run. I've been where you are and its going to be ok.

What teenager gets up at 7AM on a Saturday morning to stand out in the cold watching thousands of runners?? My niece Maddy! And my sister Amy somehow found me early along the race route. So fun to see them and they were so encouraging!

Crossing the finish line was emotional. So many feelings that cannot even be expressed with words Mostly just a full, grateful heart.

My dad and Kiki rode their bikes into the starting/finish park area, sporting their "Lisa Strong" shirts that were made for me two years ago with my marathon running picture.

Because training was so hard, I really wasn't sure what to expect for a finish time. I was thinking 2:30 wouldn't be unreasonable and I would be satisfied with 2:15. I started off at a fairly easy pace and just kept feeling stronger and stronger. With about 3 miles to go, I decided to just go for it, figuring if worse came to worse, I could just walk the remainder. My final official time was 2:06:06 (all even numbers :) and I'm really happy with it. Mostly it just felt amazing to be back out there.

Its been very much a team effort to get me from where I was two years ago to this point. With overwhelming love and gratitude, thank you Team Lisa for being there!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Project 365, Week 42

We are neck deep in all things fall. The last two Octobers I was tied up doing chemo so I have a keen sense of all there is to be grateful for. Welcome, Fall!

October 10
It was so great to see my boy again! Z is well and was happy to see us, too.

October 11
Cross country meet. To my surprise H has stuck with it...he's a natural athlete.

The girls have worn those pajama pants thin but Aiden likes to change things up.

October 12
A selfie-stick arrived in the mail and it was an immediate hit. A few favorites I found on my phone...

October 13
The work at old house continues. So thankful for my hard-working man.

October 14
A Friday afternoon, the report's not due for a couple weeks, but these two spent hours together diving into it...and without fighting. Definitely picture worthy! ;)

October 15
Amanda has happy and mad thoughts about her dad as her coach. She wasn't feeling it this day. :(

Ah...such beauty!

October 16
I mean really beautiful. New England is so enchanting right now. It could become my favorite season if I didn't know what we were barreling towards next.

Friday, October 14, 2016

October's 10 on 10

10 pictures on the 10th day of the month (Monday, Columbus Day).
{Document a snapshot of your life & find beauty among the ordinary things in your day! }

Morning snuggles on a slow, non-school day.

Games with no fighting. :)

Columbus Day apple orchard tradition.

Z spent the night at my sister's house to celebrate my nephew's 13th birthday and she brought him to the orchard! What a thrill to see him again! He looks the same but now he talks with a deep voice. He was a little 4th grader when he came to us and now he's in high school! It was so great to hug him and talk with texting!

What an honor to be mom to this crew!

Many of the cousins.

Our old house is still vacant, so there is still work to be done, or "work" in some cases. ;)

The neighbors, also our friends, moved out of state. We happily harvested their raspberry patch.

Pop makes bike-adjustment house calls. :)

The girls played a soccer game together under the lights with the temps dipping lower than we've seen in a while.