dog · parenting

Or What if I Simply Shed The Regrets?

I almost did it today. 

I was this close!!

I got most of the way through the day without swearing. 

And my house is pretty tidy, if you don’t look to close. 

The laundry is washed and dried, it just needs folding. 

Our meal was really healthy…leftovers. 

I got my self care in…while doing Ben’s flush and getting him snacks. 

I got my dogs out for their walk…after they were home alone for hours. 

The bills got paid!  (This one I actually did!!)

And I never feel quite adequate. 

And I always feel like I monkey around too much. 

And when I spend an hour a day exercising I feel like I should be more industrious.   And when I’m industrious I wish I had taken time for a workout. 

When I take the time to repurpose a chair I regret not packing (or cleaning or being more productive). And when I spend hours packing I longingly look at the chair I’m dying to paint. 


(The chair got painted by the way)

Most days I could go on like this infinitely; world without end. 

The other day my sister jokingly called the story of her life “Choose the regrets you can live with.”  (I believe she meant large scale regrets, and I’m totally taking liberty with it). 

Choose the regrets you can live with. 

I paid the bills, because that’s a regret I know don’t want to live with. 

Long term, I’m not willing to regret a life without regular exercise. 

Long term, I am willing to accept a never-quite-tidy-house.

I’m willing for some things to take the back seat in order to have the time and energy to nurture my marriage and my children  I’m willing to let some things slide in order to stay emotionally and physically healthy enough to manage our household   

When I look at life through that lens, it’s easy to decide what gets priority.  Myself, my marriage, my kids, in varying order depending on the circumstances. 

It might take some getting used to, deciding to just suck it up and live with certain regrets. It seems I’m awfully good at wallowing in them instead. 

And so far that’s gotten me a grand total of nowhere.  

Except sapping my energy. Or beating myself up. Don’t forget wasting time agonizing over taking care of myself. 

Because that’s productive. 

Ya know what?  I’m pretty proud of my chair. After a workout my brain is organized, and I’m more effective in my tasks.  

So what would happen if I simply shed the regrets and listen to what I know my family and I need…with a cuss word thrown in here or there for emphasis. 

dog

8 Reasons Dogs Make The Best Friends For Introverts

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I am deeply introverted. Like I have never once gotten to the point where I felt like I spent too much time alone and maybe it was time to socialize. Like, no matter how much I like or love you, I will have second thoughts about going out. Like, if you gave me a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere with woods nearby, I might think it was heaven. 

I could wile away endless hours alone, well, as long as my dogs are there. 

Dogs are highly social animals, so why would I be able to tolerate so much together time with them?

  1. No small talk. Ever. 
  2. They’re hilarious. I laugh my head off at my dogs endlessly, which is a mood lifter. 
  3. We can go hours with no interaction. 
  4. They’re never upset with me. As many introverts are, I’m a highly sensitive person. I avoid conflict and disharmony whenever possible, and my dogs never create any negativity. 
  5. They don’t watch TV or use electronics, so they create little noise pollution. 
  6. Their soft, supple warmth fills my soul. 
  7. They wait patiently for me. (Even when I’m in the bathroom).
  8. They can’t eat chocolate, so my stash is safe!

 

dog · running

The Top 10 Reasons I Absolutely Love Being a Runner Girl

“Runner Girl” is a title I wear with pride.  I have nothing but love and respect for the phenomenal women with whom I share the name.  I love being a runner girl for many reasons, but here are the top 10.

  1. This feels incredible.  There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line of a race.
    Crossing the finish line of a half marathon.
    Crossing the finish line of a half marathon.

     

  2. I love to eat, and I do mean love.                                                                    pexels-photo-99606
  3. My 72-year-old mom is a long-time runner girl, and she can still run, jump, and play monster tag with her grandkids and great grandkids, and still loves going for hikes in the mountains!  I want to be like my mom!

    My mom, ziplinging in Vermont at the age of 70.
    My mom, ziplining in Vermont at the age of 70.
  4. I have the best running buddy ever!
    Abbi, my German Shorthaired Pointer loves to run with me.
    Abbi, my German Shorthaired Pointer loves to run with me.

     

  5. I’m a glutton for punishment.
    Running in Michigan in the winter means some pretty grueling conditions.
    Running in Michigan in the winter means some pretty grueling conditions.

     

  6. I want to be a healthy role model for my kids.

    Out for a run with my son, Alex.
    Out for a run with my son, Alex.
  7. I’m a happier, more productive wife and mother when I take the time to workout.
    Me "hanging" with my boys.
    Me “hanging” with my boys.

     

  8. I love me some endocannabinoids!
  9. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, running is a major survival skill!                           night-camp-vhs-zomibie-8958
  10. It’s good for my marriage.  Not only is running great self care, and good physical fitness, it’s a way for my husband to tangibly show me he cares by taking over the house and kids for an hour or two so I can get my run in.  He knows that my primary love language is sending me out for a run!

Being a runner girl is one of the greatest aspects of my life.   Taking up the sport has been a game changer for me in every way.  I am thankful for my mother as a role model, and thankful for the chance to be a role model for my kids, as well as keep myself healthy and strong, mentally, physically, spiritually and relationally.

dog

8 Great Secrets You Can Learn From A Dog

Abbi and Meg are animals, but they are family members.  We welcome them into all aspects of our lives, and in turn, they enrich  many moments in every day.  We lavish them with love as part of our family, and I believe they receive it, and return it to us tenfold.  My dogs have taught me some secrets about living well, lessons I’ve been eager to learn and pass on.

  1. Love with abandon.  Give of yourself freely to those whom you treasure, without worry about what’s in it for you.  You’ll find that the act of loving is reward in itself.
  2. Live in the moment.  I often rehash the past and worry about the future, and I rob myself of present joy.  My dogs, by their nature lack the capacity to dwell on yesterday or fuss over tomorrow, and as such, their every moment is fully present and fully lived.  I cannot and would not forsake my higher thinking ability, but can learn to be more simply in the present, and mindful of the moment.
  3. Forgive and seek forgiveness.  Dogs hold no grudges.  They are eager to reconcile, and quick to show remorse for their wrong.  It’s simple but not easy to quickly repent for wrongdoing or to dismiss the wrongdoing of others.  But if we learn from our four-legged friends we can see the benefits of seeking harmony at our first opportunity, and learn how to do it ourselves.
  4. Joy should be expressed openly.  I’m inclined to suppress joy for fear of the other shoe dropping, so to speak.  So often in life we hesitate to savor joy because we know that heartache can strike at any moment.  And really, isn’t wriggling with excitement a bit silly anyway?  But why shouldn’t we?  How blessed would we be to allow ourselves to immerse ourselves in delight when it strikes?  I’m quite convinced that this would be entirely contagious if we just let down our guard and did it.
  5. Life is short.  We know that we outlive our pets by many years.  We watch them graduate from infancy to adulthood in just a couple of years.  This abbreviated lifespan forces us to recognize the brevity of our existence, and the importance of the time we are given.
  6. Family is our top priority.  As humans our work, aspirations, and success can easily become our primary focus.  Attaining status is prioritized over loved ones far too often.  Our canine friends show us a better way.  Their pack is everything.  At the end of our lives our legacy is in how well we have loved, and our dogs are the perfect example of leaving a stellar legacy of loving well.
  7. Sleep is important.  Dogs work hard, play hard, and sleep hard.  They never fudge on their sleep.  I think it’s why they are so highly effective.
  8. Treats rock.  This one needs no explanation.

There is so much more.  Every day my sweet girls show me how to live with simplicity and abandon, and I live in awe and gratitude for their simple, sweet, sincere example of living well.

dog

6 Ridiculous Small Dog Owner Antics I Swore I’d Never Do

Prior to Meg, I never had a small dog. I’ve done my share of laughing and eye rolling at other small dog owners over the years, but now it appears I’m the butt of my own joke.  In the 3 months since she came home, I’ve already done almost all the things I’ve found silly when others do them. Like these:

  1. I swore I’d never dress a dog. Dogs have fur, they don’t need clothes. I had obviously never held a shivering 8.1 pound doxie whose belly rubs the snow before. 
  2. I never actually swore I’d never do it, but I would never have believed I’d snowblow a potty spot in my back yard.  I shiver just watching her trying to find a spot to squat. How could I make her potty in snow that’s over her head?!
  3. Put a bell on her collar. It started out so we wouldn’t step on her, but it’s darn cute, like the darn cutest thing ever. Especially when she scampers. Have I mention how adorable scampering is?  If I’d have known about that scampering was the most joyful mode of movement ever I would have gotten a small dog decades ago!  Alas, even though she’s big enough not to need it now, Meg has a bell. 
  4. Constantly post photos to social media. Ah, who am I kidding, I do that with Abbi too!  
  5. Take her with me to everyone’s house. After all, everyone needs to meet my darling angel, right?  And she’s so portable! 

I swear I won’t let her become an annoying yapper, that is absolutely verboten, and at least I don’t have a stroller or dog carrier for her…yet. 

dog · running

The Year’s First Snowshoe Excursion 


I love running (especially trail running), I love hiking, I usually like bicycling, and throw in an occasional video for variety, but snow shoeing has got to be my favorite exercise. 

Last year stunk for snow shoe conditions, I don’t think I got out at all, so I was all the more eager to go when the snow started piling up this weekend. Hannah popped upstairs late this morning and suggested that I take off; I didn’t let the door hit me on the way out.  I might have been premature as conditions were less than ideal, but was loathe to dismiss the opportunity. 

We have trails right behind our house, easing my access so that I can literally walk outside and go.   Abbi was just as eager as I was, and if possible, she took an even greater enjoyment out of it than I did. 


Pictures don’t do it justice. The solitude and peace of being in the woods in the snow is palpable. The white coating over everything insulates noise, smell and sight, making for an idyllic kind of quiet that is nearly impossible to obtain in any other setting. 


I found myself longing to become lost in it, and fell down into the downy fluff in surrender to it.  An angel or five later, the exploration resumed. Though I’ve tromped these trails hundreds of times in the 15 years we’ve lived here, each season, and even day by day there are new discoveries to be made, and it was with sheer delight that I did so. 

The wind kicked up momentarily, showering me in clouds of snow displaced from the trees above. I found myself reaching for my phone to catch a picture, but instead I paused to tune into my senses and savor the moment.  I’m a bit sorry I can’t share it with you, but wouldn’t trade the otherworldly moment for a photo. 

Yes, snow shoeing is a workout, and according to my Fitbit, a darn good one, but it’s greater purpose is the restoration of my soul that the abject solitude grants, the physical benefits are just for show. 

dog

And Then Along Came Meg

​In case it isn’t obvious, my hands are full. My kids, my home, my running, I have plenty to do.  I didn’t really need anything else on my plate. But I wanted a puppy.  For selfish reasons, really. Because I adore Abbi, and her companionship is integral to my day. Though she’s still young, I have had a creeping fear of losing her and of the horrible void that would leave. Her mortality paralyzed me with fear. I knew that I couldn’t abide the void she would eventually leave. 

So, along came Meg. Meg is a feisty, naughty, stubborn dachshund. And she’s perfectly wonderful. 

The joy I feel when I pick her up and she wiggles all over and snuffles at me, well, it’s just about as wonderful as the joy I feel when I remove Abbi’s leash and watch in awe as she bounds off into the woods, with more grace and beauty than my heart can hold. 

I never knew I was a dog person. We had cats growing up, and I loved them too, so I assumed that I wasn’t a dog person because I was a cat person. As an adult we don’t have cats because of allergies, and come to find out, I’m a dog person too. 

And now, with my two sweet, and totally opposite dogs filling my home and heart, I recognize what a void I had in my life without Meg.  And now that void is overflowing with joy.