The Big 50 Birthday Post

Sheri @ 50I woke up this morning to my 50 year-old self. Just like when I was 5, there were no big changes to report. But kind of like my 5 year old self ~ I am super excited! This morning Barb, my friend of over 18 years (who arrived in town yesterday) and I are getting ready to celebrate the Big 5-O by spending the day running around town blessing others in big and small ways!

Firefighters will receive morning bagels, nurses a basket of lunch goodies, a meal will be delivered, a dog’s adoption fee is about to get paid, notes are being sent and so much more! There are also a few friends here in my town who will also be out blessing others today!

But it’s not just happening in my town, my sisters, husband and kids are helping to spread kindness in Wichita, and Minneapolis, at Purdue University and the University of Minnesota, even in the Dominican Republic someone is going to receive an Act of Kindness today to celebrate these amazing 50 years I’ve been blessed to have. 50 Acts for 5o years!

If you received on of these Acts of Kindness and want to share about it ~ leave a comment! It seems to me that taking up space on the internet to share something good is, well…a good idea. :)

On Turning 50 ~ Part 2

50The countdown is on ~ in less than a week the BIG 5-0 is going to be upon me and I have to admit I’m getting downright giddy!

A few weeks ago I wrote here about turning 50 and my plan to undertake 50 Acts of Kindness that day. This plan is, in part, my antibody to feeling self-centered and entitled that day…because I can be like that sometimes on my birthday. When Erin, my youngest, who will be 18 in a few short months, heard this she said “That is the opposite of how I’m feeling about MY birthday! I’m SUPER excited to have a full day devoted to me!!” She informed me of her plan to stay up all 24 hours on her 18th birthday so she doesn’t miss a moment of celebrating HER! Then she made some remark about different life stages and that she liked hers better!

But enough about Erin, let’s get back to ME! (I can feel Erin’s influence) On Monday, March 2, my husband, three older kids, sisters and a few friends are all in and we are hitting (maybe touching is a better word) our communities with 50 Acts of Kindness! I began prepping many of my Acts of Kindness yesterday and it made me soooo excited to go out, with intention, and bless others!

If you want to join the 50 Acts of Kindness Extravaganza – I would LOVE it! Drop by here on Monday and share what you did on the Birthday post. (If appropriate, take a picture and email it to me at, I’ll post those here and include them in the video I’m hoping to get made of the day!)  

I believe, without a doubt, that this is the best way for me to turn 50!

(This whole idea came from my friend Sara Norwood – who did 38 Acts of Kindness on her birthday in 2012 (you can see the video of her day here.) Inspired by her, my friend Cathy did 50 Acts of Kindness on her birthday and now me. Sara has inspired 100 Acts of Kindesss! Which is why I’m sharing this here ~ maybe we’ll create a little kindness surge!!)

Acts of Kindness ideas:

  1. M&M’s for the Mailman – “Thanks for driving Miles & Miles to bring us our mail!”
  2. Coupons on grocery shelves – taped near the products
  3. Meijer gift card to the person behind me in line at Meijer
  4. Leave a sticky note on public bathroom mirror – confidence booster / inspirational
    “You ARE beautiful”
    “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.“
    “You’re braver than you believe.”
    “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.“
    “Your mistakes do not define you”
    “You are enough”
    “Remind yourself that it’s OK not to be perfect”
    “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”
    “You are valuable”
    “You are worth it”
    “Life is short, smile while you have teeth!”
    “Beauty is confidence applied directly to your face”
  5. Buy coffee for someone
  6. Note of Encouragement to mom taped on changing tables in public restrooms (Target)
  7. Write a note of appreciation to someone and drop it in the mail on March 2
  8. Cookies and thank you note to police officers
  9. Cook a meal for someone – Stromboli / salad / cookies for Rachel
  10. Put gas in someone’s car
  11. Quarters taped to a vending machine
  12. College: Write a thank you note on a sticky and leave it on your tray when you place in on the conveyor belt in the dining hall
  13. bake a cake for someone
  14. Tweet or Facebook a genuine compliment to someone
  15. Bring donuts to someone – Rise & Roll
  16. While out, compliment a parent on their well-behaved child
  17. Write a genuine compliment on someone’s blog (not mine)
  18. Compliment someone in front of others
  19. Go into a restaurant and leave a gift card on someone’s table (Applebee’s)
  20. Popcorn and $1 taped to Red box
  21. Make a drop off donation at Charis House/Rescue Mission, etc…
  22. Leave a REALLY big tip today
  23. Bring a donation from the needs list from a charity
  24. Bring someone flowers
  25. Bake bread and deliver it to a fire station
  26. College: Sit with someone who is eating alone
  27. Donate a needed item to an animal shelter
  28. Pay the adoption fee for someone at the animal shelter
  29. Help someone load or unload their groceries
  30. Go to a nursing home and help paint nails / read to people / visit
  31. Hold the door for someone
  32. Smile – be friendly
  33. Thank a veteran or service man/woman for their service
  34. Leave $1 bills tucked in places at the Dollar store
  35. Deliver balloons to a hospital and ask a nurse to give to someone alone
  36. Deliver a treat to a nurse station at a hospital and thank them for taking care of everyone
  37. Leave a gift card in a book at a bookstore
  38. Give someone your awesome coupon (40% Michaels,15% 20% 30% Kohls, Family Christian, etc..)
  39. Leave art supplies for kids in a hospital waiting room
  40. Put carts away in a parking lot


On Turning 50

On turning 50One month from today I will be 50 years old.

It feels different from 30 or 40 ~ I didn’t mind turning either one of those ages, embracing each one, feeling more grown up and confident. I’m not quite sure about 50 yet, I keep looking towards it, making efforts to befriend it, but I admit I am a little unsettled about this particular milestone.

To be clear – I’m grateful to be turning 50, the breath in my lungs is a gift to be sure. And, really it’s quite possible that this feeling that I can’t quite get a handle on has more to do with the many changes happening in my life this year and less with turning 50…time will tell.

Each “big birthday’ I’ve asked myself this question. “Is there anything else you really could have wanted at this point in your life?” As I’ve taken inventory of many incredible blessings, even when resources were rather scarce, the answer has always been a resounding “No.” I’ve done and have experienced more than I really could have hoped for. Even when I list what I would consider the basics, I know I am blessed beyond measure…

A wonderful husband who loves me
Four healthy children
Income that more than supports us
A home
Good friends
Sisters who are like friends

…the list goes go on and on. (This year  ~ inspired by One Thousand Gifts, I am naming my blessings in a journal; an effort to seek to see and value the many gifts that are mine.) So what is it about 50?

There are things that matter to me that I haven’t yet tackled so that contributes to that unsettled feeling, these include more consistent writing, doing more with this blog (like getting a logo and publishing more places), a small business I’m conflicted about. Many moons ago I declared I would lose 50 pounds by 50 ~ I’ve lost 15. But as I re-read “I will be 50 in two years and six weeks and I want to be strong, I want to be flexible, I want to have energy, I want my skin to glow, I want my pants to fit, I want to be healthy. I want to feel good every day when I go to my closet to get dressed.” I realize it’s OK that I haven’t lost all the pounds ~ I’m strong enough, I’m getting more flexible due to the yoga I’m doing in my basement, I sometimes struggle with energy in the winter months so I won’t worry so much about that right now. My skin – well Coco Chanel said, Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty, therefore I’m making peace with the changes that have, are, and will take place with this face! And lastly because of the recent downward trend on the scale, getting dressed is not the problem it was. Maybe 50 will be about moving forward and continuing to make peace.

I have many fabulous, incredible, beautiful friends who have gone to 50 ahead of me ~ Barb, Cathy, Cindy, Alex, Dawn & Elise come to mind immediately. I’ve always said if that’s 50, then I’m on my way! 50 is Fabulous, 50 is the new 30 (in many ways, I can promise you it is not, but I’m grateful for that attitude!) These ladies have led so well, I’m grateful for them blazing the trail in front of me, they are nothing short of inspiring in each of their own ways. Because of them I should be confident. Maybe part of the uneasiness is that I know what I’ve done to this point in my life has mattered, and I’m so incredibly uncertain what this next stage looks like and I want it to matter.

A few years ago inspired by The Birthday Project, a friend and her sisters did 38 random acts of kindness for her 38 birthday, she and her sisters made a video of the day, you can see it here!  I shared this with my friend Cathy, and when she turned 50 she did 50 Random Acts of Kindness with the help of her family and me. It was so fun receiving text message all day as everyone enjoyed spreading kindness all day in various locations.

Now it’s getting close to my turn, I’ve been blessed with much so I’m going to share some of that on my 50th. I’m hopeful that the JOY that will come from blessing others will be the gift I really need. I want to walk into this next decade with confidence, intention and JOY…50 Acts of Kindness will be a heck of a start! I’m working out the details for that day, but I’m certain it’s going to be a great day!

I have a feeling I’ll have more thoughts on turning 50 and because sometimes I write to sort out my thoughts and feelings, this subject might just show up here again before the big day. If you’ve turned 50 please feel especially invited to share your own thoughts on this landmark birthday!

Doing What Matters in 2015

As I consider this New Year before me, the words BIG and transitional come to mind.

In 2015:
•   Kyler will complete the program he has been in for over two years and return to our family the first part of the year. If I’m speaking honestly, for the first 18 months he was there, I was certain he would never return to our family, so his coming home is HUGE ~ and will be full of adjustments for all of us. The healing, trust and relationship he has been building with us is a blessing we did not think we would experience. This is good, good news.

•   I’m turning 50. What the heck.

•   Courtney, our first born, will graduate from college. (Whoop Whoop!)

•   A few weeks after that Erin, our baby graduates from high school.

•   There will be a graduation party in our backyard. Consider this your invitation since I’ll be so busy!  (Just kidding Erin, I’ll have time to make your graduation announcements special too…because it matters :)

•   Kevin and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

•   We are selling our Fort Wayne home and moving to Marshall, Michigan. We’ve been apart for two years while Kevin started his new job and Erin finished her last two years of high school. Kevin and I will finally be living together again. Thank goodness.

•   After 16 years in Fort Wayne we will move away from our friends ~ many who are like family. We will leave our support system, our amazing community, our church. This is a BIG transition that I am not looking forward to making.

•   The baby will start college. After spending the last few nights watching old home movies, I am perplexed by how quickly these cherubs grew up and also a little sad; I miss those sweet voices and little hands; the messy house and chaos were so worth it. As we watched video after video I was surprised by how much I wish I could go back and do some things differently ~ a column for another week.

•   Sometime in all of this Courtney will begin her career as a Chemical Engineer and will likely move to a new city where we will help her get settled and ready to begin her next phase of life.

•   Zach will come home for the summer but leave again in the fall ~ continuing his education 10 hours away in Minnesota.

•   I will have to adjust to a new, small town. I trust it will be good, but I’m mindful that this has the potential to be difficult. At the same time, I’m also appreciative that this new small town offers our returning boy, who has been through much, a fresh start. This could a huge blessing being swirled into some hard stuff.

Before any of that happens, there is painting to do, a storage room to de-clutter, three attics to sort through, closets and cupboards to clean. Our Marshall home we purchased last summer is almost 100 years old (think teeny-tiny closets) and the square footage is about half the size of this home, so there is much to decide regarding what makes the move and what simply has to go. Ready or not I am going to have to attempt to live more simply. Something I will likely appreciate, but has the potential to be hard. I may write this year about having to go through the process of getting rid of things.

So the calendar feels swollen with much, the lists could fill a notebook, yet my heart is peaceful right now. I keep hearing this in my mind “Do what matters.” I hope this holds as my mantra for the year. There will be much to do in 2015 but I want to make sure I do what matters. Right now, my mother-in-law is here for the month, so what matters is coffee with her in the afternoon, yoga mats side by side as we try to make it through beginner yoga videos, conversations, lunches, puzzles, a game of bowling and tennis on the Wii, even just sitting together. I won’t get this time back so I don’t want to miss it while it’s here. So while she’s here, this is what matters.

I may have needed to write this column for me – so I have something to come back to when my mind gets cluttered, my heart begins to race and panic sets in. Sometimes the thing that will matter will be packing boxes – sometimes the thing that will matter will be sitting in the high school gym with a friend watching a basketball game. It will be clearing clutter and meeting for coffee. It will be both.

It’s going to be a big year, full of transition…may I be found doing what matters.

What’s going on for you this year that matters?

Living Under the Influence

I have a wonderful opportunity next week to speak to a group of mostly retired women and some men. Upon receiving the invitation I immediately wondered what could I possibly say to a group who should be speaking into me?! But once I accepted the engagement I was sure of my message ~ You still matter, your influence is needed and valuable.

In a world moving a thousand times faster than in my grandparents day, when we seem to know it all (or can find our answer in the blink of an eye), it might just be possible that the elders in our lives could feel marginalized. Some of us feel so busy we worry that a phone call to a friend might seem intrusive. (Plus why talk when we can text? Insert sarcasm.) So what might possibly run through our parents’ and grandparents’ minds when they think of us and want to reach out? I wonder if they skip the contact because they don’t want to “get in the way” of our day.

Great-Grandma & Erin June 2001I will always be grateful for, and never forget the year my husband’s 90-year-old grandmother lived with our family. One of the moments that influenced me greatly was the day she sat at the kitchen table and asked if I would sit down and have a cup of coffee with her. I remember it vividly — I said I would pour her a cup but that I didn’t have time to sit down. In my mind was I thinking, Can’t she see I’ve got a sandbox full of sand on my floor waiting to be swept and dishes piled in the sink, not to mention the need for a shower and a dinner plan?! I don’t recall what caused me to sit down with her, but I did. Thirteen years later I still remember the sunny day I choose to sit for that cup of coffee. I recall feeling peace overcome my soul and being grateful for the reminder that people matter more than lists and sand and dishes.

That year we shared many cups of coffee and I learned to slow down. There were so many afternoons I sat across from her asking her stories about her past, and writing many of them down. She had a baby — out of wedlock — all those years ago. Imagine how strong she had to be, back when they called those children a name I won’t write here. I learned about how children, in her family line, had been “farmed out.” If you have a great-grandma, ask her what that means; it was common in our history.

That year had some difficult times, but what I gained and how she influenced me will be with me forever.  I was taking care of her but in the end it turned out we were taking care of each other ~ it was an unexpected and everlasting gift.

When I go to speak next week to the ones who carry so many stories, a lot of history and maybe a little insecurity about how they fit into the bustling extended family of 2014, I want to bring your input too. I have created a quick 10 question survey that I would so grateful for you to take. I want to tell them (and show them data) that their influence matters.

You can take the survey here:     Thank you!

Please feel free to share this link – gathering as much input as possible would be amazing. :)

Time at the Lake

Every Fourth of July used to be spent at the lake where my mother-in-law, Verona, and her husband, Red, live. Both of them, previously married, had four children each, when I entered the picture all of his kids were married and had children of their own. When we got together each Fourth it was one big blended shindig that sometimes lasted for three days! There was the annual parade, boat rides, swimming, paddle boating, tubing, jet skiing, lounge chairs tied together in the water. We also had endless food, overflowing coolers, bonfires at night, portable cribs, baby swings hanging in doorways and towels stretched out on the dock for sunbathing. It was magical.

Babies kept coming, his grandkids began having children, schedules started to get crowded and it seemed we just couldn’t all get there each year. If you could make it, you went — whoever showed up had a blast.

Eventually the boat was replaced with a pontoon, the jet skis were sold but the magic continued — just in a different way. Picnic baskets were loaded and eaten on slow rides around the lake, we still went to the parade, washed our hair in the lake, walked in the woods, still had more than enough food and a sense of community that was fulfilling and calming.

Over the last 25 years it’s gotten harder for our family to get there each and every year, and this summer our vacation time is just so squeezed. There are summer jobs, practice schedules, and with Kevin and I still living in two cities, our calendar has been full to the very brim. It was tempting to cancel our plans this year — but alas we did make the  l o n g  13 hour trek to northern Minnesota a few weeks ago.

The last two times we’ve gone, it’s just been our family and Kevin’s brother’s family who’ve gathered with Verona and Red at the lake — smaller and different, but wonderful weekends ensued, especially this year. There was no boat, even the paddle boat was gone, but we managed to still have a lot fun down at the lake. We went to the parade, made our annual walk to the ice-cream store, stayed up late playing games, laughed ‘til we cried, counsins connected, we spent hours in the screen porch and ate too much awesome food.

I knew I would write about how valuable it is to make time to come together. That value seems to be ever increasing because the supply of time seems to be so low. Because this wonderful place I love had recently been put up for sale, we knew this was likely our last Fourth of July at grandma’s house — so we made the most of it. We came home saying it was one of our best times at the lake.

What I loved was that the feeling was the same, even though the experience was so different from all those years ago. There used to be almost 40 of us there for the Fourth, this year there were 12. It was different, and yet it met the desire to connect with our bigger family in ways that just slow our souls down. As we drove home I felt beyond grateful we had protected the vacation plan to go to my mother-in-law’s. I was thankful our kids Red ~ Summer 2014had taken days off of those summer jobs, and that Kevin took time away from his job at a time when he likely wasn’t sure he had that time to give due to mounting projects and deadlines. July 3rd – 6th, 2014 was priceless.

July 17th Kevin’s step-father passed away very suddenly.

And so very quickly the end of an era is upon us, one that spanned over 30 years. I will be ever grateful for the memories that fill my soul; time at the lake with grandma and grandpa, the big blended family that just kept growing, a place that represented peace, love, calm, joy, fun, happiness and so much laughter. I don’t know what the future looks like now, but then I didn’t know how our time at the lake would evolve either. What stayed consistent through all the change was that we came together. Now it will look different yet again, but as long as family is at the center, I’m confident it will remain magical.

I will always be grateful that through my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s I had plenty of time at the lake.
More of time at the lake


If You Give a Mom a Minute

If you give a mom a minute, she might gaze out the window as she washes the breakfast dishes and she’ll notice how filthy with splatters the window over the sink is, so she’ll decide to wash the window.

When she’s finished, she will realize the screen is even dirtier than the window, so she’ll pull that out and scrub that clean. Then when she puts it all back together she’ll notice that the wood surrounding the window is grimy and dull so she’ll get out the special wood soap and wash that too.

When she sees the bucket of water outside she’ll decide she should wash the dining room screens too. She’ll probably notice the windows and the wood that goes with those screens is icky too, so she’ll work to clean all of that as well. When she sees how clean and shiny those windows are, she will notice that the other windows and screens and wood in the house reveal that spring cleaning never took place, so she’ll wash those too.

When she’s on the patio washing all those screens she will notice how dirty the patio is so she’ll get a broom and sweep that up. When it’s all swept up she will realize it would look even better if she were to spray it clean. Then she will remember she has a patio in the front of her house that also needs to be swept and sprayed. While outside she will notice the dog poop in her yard. She will go to the garage to get a bag to clean that up.

When she walks through the garage she’ll see the ladder golf game that fell apart the other day so she will get in her car to drive to the store. When she gets in her car, she remembers the dog beds that need to be returned to Target. After she completes the return she almost walks through the store “just to see” but realizes she had spent $168 there the other day so she will quickly turn and leave.

When she gets home she will decide to load her car for her trip the next day. When she opens the hatch she will decide to vacuum the sand that is everywhere. Once that is clean she might decide to vacuum the dog hair in the backseat too. Then will probably notice the dog slobber on the windows, so she will want to wash those too. Since the back of the car is clean she will likely clean the front seats next. When she goes to put the dog seat cover on the seat she will realize it smells really bad, so she will decide to put it in the washer. But the washer will be full of her son’s laundry so she will move that to the dryer first.

When she finally moves the dog cover to the dryer and takes her son’s dry, clean laundry upstairs to his room, chances are she will close his window, and if she does that she will realize that she only cleaned the windows on the first floor, but….she will just go to bed.

If you give a mom a minute, she might just stretch it into an entire day!

This post was originally published over here.

Staying on Vacation

I almost didn’t come back from our recent trip. The first part of the trip was dedicated to time with our son, but the second part of our time was just for Kevin and me. We stayed in an a-m-a-z-i-n-g hotel on the beach, which is where I decided I could live. Although the beach was fantastic, and the pool on the roof of the hotel was out of this world, it was the room service that had me wanting to stay (well, and the guys at the pool and beach who brought us towels and drinks).

The first evening I accidentally left the shower door ajar a bit and water soaked the bath mat. I tossed it into the tub planning on wringing it out later, but when we returned from dinner it was magically gone and a fresh mat lay by the shower! Also, the bed was turned down, the radio was playing and a fresh plate of cookies sat on the night stand. It was as if caring, cleaning fairies happened upon our room twice — each and every morning and evening.

Another morning I left the ironing board out because the iron was still hot. Upon returning to the room it was put away — this on top of an abundance of fresh towels being left each day in our room. I began to think — in many ways (too many ways) this is the life my children experience, fresh towels magically appearing in the closet, groceries purchased each week, dishes done, dogs walked and so much more. I began to think — maybe I’ll just stay. Of course the hotel bill would add up to quite an extravagant amount — which led to me to also realize I am w-a-y underpaid for all the services I provide back in my real life — where I am the caring, cleaning fairy who visits all throughout the day.

When we did eventually return home, one of the first things I heard, separately, from each of our children, was an acute awareness and great appreciation for all that I do. Eight days was a lot to keep it all going on their own (note: our children are 21, 19 and 17 — so no worries, we didn’t leave toddlers home alone!). For dinners they said they did cook one night, ate leftovers, grabbed fast food and hit a graduation party. The kitchen was always a mess — they were stunned at how quickly dishes pile up.

We returned to a clean house, fresh flowers in vases all over the house and a new appreciation for all that it takes to run this hotel. I’m so grateful for the time away to be pampered, but home truly is my favorite place to be. Now if only I had a pool guy … well, and a pool.

(This post originally appeared here.)

Running Beyond Myself

A few weeks ago I weighed in over here about my ongoing, seemingly endless and somewhat embarrassing battle/journey/longing to lose weight. At that time I had downloaded to my phone the Couch to 5K app, which tracks and encourages my walk/running time. The plan requires about 30 minutes a day – 3 times a week. I had completed week 1 – which was pretty simple, walk for 5 minutes, then alternate jogging for 1 minute and walking for a 1/2 minutes for 20 minutes, then walk for 5 minutes and you’re done. That seemed simple enough and I did it. I not only did it 3 times that first week, I did it 5 times that first week.

The second week only stretched me to 1 1/2 minutes of jogging and 2 minutes of walking for a total of 21 minutes with a 5 minute walk on the front and back end of that. Not bad. I also did that workout 5 times that week. I was so proud of myself – because at week 2 I was not motivated at all. I would do ANYTHING to avoid getting on the treadmill – including the dishes, cleaning the fridge, cleaning up dog poop.

I’m gonna be honest – the 3rd week scared me. After a 5 minute walk to warm up, it was to jog for 1 1/2 minutes, walk for 1 1/2 minutes, jog for 3 minutes, walk for 3 minutes and then repeat that whole thing. I had to jog for 3 minutes – twice!! Double what I had been doing! What the heck! What happened to jogging 2 minutes? Straight to 3, really?! I doubted my ability to keep my legs moving and continue breathing for 3 minutes at a jogging pace. I was beyond amazed when I did it. It wasn’t pretty, I was so out of breath when I finished that first 3 minute jog, but I had done it! And then I did it again. And I did that workout 5 times on week 3.

At this point I was still very, very unmotivated, but I was determined. It was my resolve to do this that eventually got me on that treadmill for those 5 days – 2 days more than required by the plan.

Then I saw week 4’s plan – walk for 5 minutes, jog for 3, walk for 1 1/2, jog for 5 minutes, walk for 2 1/2 minutes, and repeat. Jog for 5 minutes – twice. Oh my goodness. This I was sure I was incapable of doing. No way. Maybe I should stay on week 3 for one more week. But I didn’t. On Monday of this week I moved on to week 4. It was amazing to me that 3 minutes of jogging suddenly wasn’t the wall in front of me – it was that 5 minute mountain. The 5 minutes were really taxing me – so I slowed down my speed by 1/10 of a mile and it made all the difference. I was still winded, but I was doing it. And I did it 4 times this week.

In one week, 3 minutes was no longer the challenge – in fact I’ve upped my speed by 1/10 of a mile per hour for those 3 minutes, and I’ve left my 5 minute job at the slower pace. (3 minutes = 4.9 mph, 5 minutes = 4.8 mph. I’m certainly not claiming to be fast, I just put this on there in case I have any local friends who may find themselves compatible for an outside run/walk as it warms up here…IF it warms up here!)

Next week starts me off with 3 five minute jogs separated by 3 minute walks (after the 5 minute warm up of course). I’m not afraid of that. Although the work out on day 2 of next week I see is 2 eight minute jogs – that scares me. Once again I am not confident of myself – just being honest. (I’ll need some really great music blasting in my ears, that is for sure!) Day 3 of week five brings a 20 minute jog. 20 MINUTES. Oh. my. goodness. I should not have looked ahead. I sit here shaking my head, confident that won’t happen. (I should probably believe in myself more – have more of The Little Engine that Could mentality – but for right now – as I look to next week’s workout plan, I truly do not feel confident, or have a belief that my body will go for 20 minutes. Just being real.

I’ll check in at the end of next week and write about how I did. Even if no one cares, that’s the beauty of a blog, I do write for others, but sometimes I also just write to record a snippet in my journey that I want to remember.

The point of this post was to claim that I am stronger than I think  I am.
That will be my motto next week as I attempt an 8 and then 20 minute jog.

My “Normal” is Not Her “Normal” Today

I awoke this morning to a “normal” morning – no school cancellations or delays; a normal morning. (If you are a Fort Wayne mom – you KNOW what I’m talking about!) Before I pulled the covers back, my immediate first thought was that this was anything but a normal morning for a mom in Wisconsin.

Yesterday at 12:25 pm my daughter sent a text message to her dad and me telling us of the shooting on the Purdue campus, and that she was OK. We soon found out that the shooting took place in the Electrical Engineering building – a building our daughter, an engineering student, has classes within. She said she was headed to that building for a class when she heard the campus sirens; she ducked into the building next door to the Electrical Engineering building; police and ambulances were everywhere.

In the initial moments, with no other information available, I was just incredibly, selfishly grateful my girl was OK. Not knowing if there were other shooters, of if the shooter had been caught, I continued to text her to assure myself of her continued safety.

Then the news came of the arrest. Then the news of the death. Then the identities were made known and it all got a little more personal. I don’t know the victim, Andrew Boldt, but when I saw his picture and saw how active he was as an engineering student, I identified with him as a child much like my own. My heart instantly went to his mom – who likely just experienced four weeks of her son’s presence, laughter and hugs before sending him back to college for his last semester. I can only imagine how proud she was of him and excited for his future – which in a few short months was about to shift as he graduated from Purdue.

My heart agonized for her; this news would send any mom to the floor, in utter agony. The weight too much to bear, I cannot imagine how one gets up after receiving the news that her child was killed so senselessly . I just keep praying for her, for her husband, for the brothers.

There is another mom my mind keeps going to, the mother of Cody Cousins, the suspected shooter. I cannot even begin to process her grief and confusion. Her boy was also a senior at Purdue. When I look at his picture I see a typical college student – not a killer. I cannot imagine how his mother has gotten off the floor either.

As I woke up to an ordinary morning, poured my coffee and drove my daughter to school, I have carried with me these two moms – whom I can only imagine woke up (if they even slept) begging for yesterday to have been a horrific nightmare that surely will be over when they open their eyes. It’s been hard to even put words to my prayers for these moms, though I continue to lift up these women and their families – it’s the only thing that I can do.

Tomorrow I will drive to Purdue to take my daughter to lunch. I want to look into her eyes and hug her tight. Yesterday it seemed she didn’t quite know how to feel, or process this tragedy. When I see her tomorrow she will have been back in the classroom and may want to talk about how that feels. She will have heard stories of those involved – from the friends she knows who were even closer to the scene (one even ordered to the floor by police at gunpoint before being cleared and moved to safety) and I just want to offer her a place to dump all that out. May God guide all those who witnessed this terrible murder, those close to them, and the ones who don’t even know what to feel just yet.

The ripple effects are unknown and far reaching.