It’s been a long, cold, wet winter. I heard today that there have only been five days of sunshine so far this entire year, and I’ve got to tell you that I’ve really been feeling it. Last year I ran outside pretty much the entire winter; but this year, well, it’s been rough.
Last night I told myself that I was going to get in a quick run before my mid-day appointment today. I prepared myself for the fact that it might be a bit rainy or gray, but told myself that I was going to get out there and run anyway. As soon as my eyes opened, I heard the sound of the rain on the roof of the house. It wasn’t a pitter patter — the rain was literally pounding the shingles as it came down in torrents. The motivation that I had felt the night before slowly slipped away. I got out of bed and began to get ready for the day but was overcome with disappointment. I knew that due to my schedule, if I didn’t get a run in this morning, I wouldn’t have another chance for several days.
What motivates you to run? Most of the time I just plain enjoy running, so that’s motivation enough. But there are times that I need more than that. Some days my schedule has more items on it than can fit into the hours of the day, or maybe I’m just plain tired. Sometimes I go through a rough period when I’m just not feeling it, or I’m in the midst of a long, wet winter. That’s when I need to have something to get me out the door to log some miles.
I have found that it really keeps me motivated to run when I have an upcoming running event on my calendar. If you’ve never participated in a formal running event, you should really try it. I probably never would have signed up for one myself except that when I first began to run, my health insurance offered reimbursement for participation in an event. I certainly wasn’t trying to compete for a medal, but I figured that since it wasn’t going to cost me anything, it could be fun to try it. After my first event I was hooked. Now I try to keep something on my calendar every two to three months just so I have something that I’m working towards.
Have you ever arrived home from the gym only to find that you left something there? Or worse yet, you didn’t realize you left an item there until you couldn’t find it, and by that time it was no longer in the lost-and-found? I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have had both of these things happen to me. Just off the top of my head I can tell you that I have lost a swimsuit, swim bottoms, goggles, as well as all of my toiletries. It’s very frustrating not only because losing things can get expensive, but it is also a big disruption to my routine when I have to go buy something before I can go to the gym again.
Several months ago I tried to figure out what I could do to solve this problem. The more I thought about it, I realized that what I was doing at work would help me in this situation as well. I work as a phlebotomist (I draw blood for lab tests) and we have to make sure that we do specific things to identify each patient and prevent germs from being spread. The first hospital that I worked at trained us to follow a very specific routine so that we wouldn’t forget to do anything. What was great about it was that once I had the routine down, I never had to worry whether I had forgotten to do any of the numerous things that I was required to do. And if I got interrupted mid-process, I was able to go back to the point where I had left off, and I knew immediately that I had completed everything up to that point.
We’re all familiar with the old adage, “Ignorance is bliss.” More and more I am finding this statement to be true. It is particularly true as it relates to my love of running. When I first began to run, I was blown away by how it made me feel. I loved to feel the air in my lungs. I loved to feel the rhythm of my feet on the pavement. I loved how the complexities of life seemed so far removed from what I felt that very moment. I loved the beautiful atmosphere and the sun on my face. All of those things together made me feel so alive. It was, in a word, blissful.
In the early days, one of my favorite running routes took me to the edge of town where I would run on a nice little country road. It was a wooded area and the houses were on large parcels of land and set way back from the road. I would hear the birds singing in the trees and would see squirrels, bunnies, and even the occasional deer.
Guess what was delivered today — my brand new running shoes! I can hardly wait to take my first run in them. I picture myself running down the road with the speed and stride of a cheetah, springing forward almost effortlessly. Of course the sky will be blue and the warm sun will be on my face as I run harmoniously through nature.
When I was at work not too long ago, I had to keep a patient waiting for quite some time. Not only was I having computer issues, but I had to give my attention to another problem as well. When I finally called the patient back to the room, I apologized for making her wait so long. I was completely blown away when she calmly told me that it was no problem, and that if there was one thing that she was good at, it was being patient. Being a very impatient person myself, I was intrigued and I asked her to tell me more. She described how even as a child, it never bothered her to wait for things and she was always told that she had the patience of Job. The more she told me, the more convinced I became that patience was this woman’s superpower.
It’s a new year and, like many of you, for the past few weeks I have been pondering what I would like to focus on in the coming year. One of my biggest priorities for this year is to complete a writing portfolio. This will involve writing numerous pieces in a variety of genres. I will also be submitting some of those pieces for publication.
Naturally, with my renewed focus on writing, I couldn’t help but think about this blog. I began this blog many years ago, and haven’t written anything for it in quite a while. This blog was a means of keeping some normality during a very turbulent time in my life. My husband was undergoing some very serious health challenges and the blog gave me something to focus on other than that. Some of my hobbies were baking and cake decorating, so I focused the blog on those things. I also belonged to an online baking group that baked weekly projects from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbook entitled “Real Baking.” I thoroughly enjoyed blogging but the writing stopped when my life reached its breaking point, and I just never started up again.
So it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Life has been busy and to be honest, I wasn’t doing much baking for a while. But I have missed the baking and the blogging so here I am.
The temperatures are cooling off and fall is definitely here. Jack Frost is working his magic and each day brings a new masterpiece to the foliage that lines our streets. With fall brings the thoughts of consuming apples in all types of sweet treats. When we were in Minneapolis a few weeks ago we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and indulged in one of our favorite treats — caramel apples! My favorite is the turtle while Marshall loves the apple pie caramel apple. I kept thinking about that apple for days afterward and finally decided I needed another one. Since I couldn’t just stop by and get another, I decided I would need to make my own. Having never made one before, I was a bit nervous as to how to go about it. But the internet did not fail me and before long I had lots of good advice to help me along.
I decided to try using Peter’s Caramel and I was quite pleased with it. It had a nice flavor and was easy to work with. I microwaved the caramel and then dipped the apples. I had seen some pictures of chocolate dipped apple slices on Pinterest and was interested in doing caramel apple slices. I tried everything I could think of but I could not get the caramel to stick to the cut part of the apples. It coated the skin just fine though, so dipping whole apples was not a problem. After letting the caramel set up in the fridge, I dipped them in tempered chocolate. For the slices I ended up having to dip them in chocolate first and then add some caramel. I have to say that I felt my apples were just as good as the ones we had a few weeks ago. I even tried making the Apple Pie Caramel Apple last night and was told it was right on the money. I would definitely encourage everyone to try making their own caramel apples. It was lots of fun and super easy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of baking these days because I’m working a new job and the hours are really crazy. I have some things planned though and will be working on them soon. In the meantime, I just thought I would tell you about the most amazing day that I had.
First of all, I came home from work to a clean house and lunch on the table. Yes, since I start work at 3 a.m. I am getting home from work at lunch time and I’m usually ravenous. I have been spoiled the last few months to have Marshall at home and he has been a great support to me. He gets up with the dog at night so that I can get as much sleep as possible. He runs errands for me so that I don’t have to do them when I get home. And he always cooks me that best meals because as you all know he is THE BEST CHEF ever. Yeah, I am one lucky girl. Anyway, on said amazing day, my husband also brought me some beautiful flowers. And these weren’t just flowers that he picked up at the store while he was there (not that I don’t appreciate that when it happens) but he had ordered a custom arrangement with lots of beautiful spring flowers. I was feeling pretty special.
A few hours later a friend of mind stopped by for a prearranged visit. She came with her Mom and Dad whom I had never met but were visiting from out of town. When I opened the door, her Dad preceded to bring in and set up a beautiful stained glass lamp that he had made just for me. It is such a beautiful lamp and it is the perfect colors and design for me. I could not believe it! My friend’s parents knew everything that we have been through over the past two years and they just wanted to do something nice for us. You see, I am friends with two of his daughters and I had seen lamps that he had made for each of them. I had commented that I would love to buy a lamp from him someday but was told he only does it for a hobby and would never accept an order. I feel so honored that someone would spend so much time and expense in making such a gift for me. (Each piece is hand cut and pieced together so you can imagine how much time this must have taken).
I will always treasure this lamp and each time I look at it I will be reminded of what a blessing this family has been in our life. Both of my friends have opened their homes to us and shown deep concern over the details of what was happening. The times they have helped us are too numerous to list and we have received so many little reminders that we are in their thoughts. Although we have endured more than I ever would have imagined, the Lord has taken care of us and placed many people in our lives to help us through it. It is a testimony to me that