Monday, February 28, 2011

On Being Brave

On a weekday morning I was going through my typical routine.  A gloriously normal day, I poured myself a large cup of Italian Roast coffee and sat down with the morning newspaper.  I came across an article that caught my attention.  The article was about running.  Not just a little jog around the proverbial block.  The writer is aspiring to run a half marathon - yes, 13 miles of running. Now this Queen Mum is all for exercising the body and the mind!  Running, however, is more like torture and, therefore, avoided at all cost.  Any race with the word "marathon" is most admirable but would be out of the question. 

Women's Runner

The writer, by her own admission, is short in stature and out of shape.  She made it a goal to learn how to run and joined a running group.  *QM is admiring all this determination!*  As normal humans might, she was experiencing the inner turmoil of not really being an athlete or a runner.  She felt like an impostor on this day of her first official race of 6.5 miles.  If her other running club members only knew she was a fraud, they would laugh her out of the club.

She was predictably slower than the pack but determined to at least keep them in sight.  It didn't take long to feel the shame of not being able to keep even this small goal.  But she plodded along sometimes just walking rather then running.  Moving toward the goal was more important than doing it perfectly.  The goal was a finish line somewhere in the distance.  All the while she battled the inner voice that repeated to her all her worst fears and short comings.  That day she did finish her first race.  Her running partner was dutifully waiting for her at the finish line, cheering her on to do the one thing that had seemed impossible most of the way - FINISHING! 

Think about YOU for a moment..............not your HMS..........not your children.............not your parents.........not your book club, church, volunteer group..........just YOU.  What one thing are you wanting to do, try or learn that gives you a quivering stomach when you consider it.  Maybe you want to change your occupation, go back to school, take an art class, learn a new language, write a book, film a movie.  You may have it in your heart to start a charity, invent something fabulous, hike the Grand Canyon or climb Mt. Everest.  You may have a terrific business idea just waiting for you to start it all.  I'm talking about the BIG dreams that are lying quietly inside you.  You keep them locked down because that isn't as scary as letting them out where they can be ridiculed.  You won't let them out because they haven't failed if they can't see the light of day.  Somehow it even feels honorable to pretend that the dream doesn't exist.

QM's usually make terrific cheerleaders.  We are all about clapping while YOU run.  Gushing about YOUR latest artistic endeavor.  Being the sounding board for YOUR newest idea.  We are experts at saying, "I believe in you!  You can do it!"  We get comfortable holding our smile and our pompoms while everyone else is on the court sweating.   But there are times when holding the pompoms isn't enough.  You want a shot at playing the game.  You want to give it a try, break a sweat and see if you can make a difference even if it's only a difference that you will appreciate or benefit from.  You KNOW there is this "thing" in you that you were created to do!   The question to ask is are you going to let the "thing" out?


If you were seated at my kitchen table holding your warm cup of coffee, you would hear me say "I believe in you!  You can do it!"  "Let's put some concrete, finish-line goals on a piece of paper and get to work."  Doing nothing gets you more of what you already have.  Are you satisfied with that?  Doing something -anything, even if it is just walking toward a goal is better than just wishing your life away.  If others can, why can't you?  Who ultimately decided that others can succeed while you, only you, will most certainly fail?!?

Here is what our writer had to say, "The only person who thought my goal was out of reach was me."  Everyone else who witnessed her run that day had no idea what kind of discussion she was having with herself as she ran.  They saw a RUNNER not an impostor.  In my QM mind, wanting to run and not running would have made her an impostor.  Pretending to NOT be interested in growing by learning to run would have made her an impostor.   Doing this daring thing made her what she desired to be, a runner.

Women Runner at the Goal Line

She finished the article with a single sentence that deserves some quiet reflection - "I'm ready to run now that I've dumped my biggest naysayer:  myself."  (  Carrie Coppernall)

 "to encounter with courage and fortitude"
  The only person who can contribute your uniqueness is YOU. 

 Let's sip on that for a while..............................................................

I would love to hear from those of you who know what your dream is.  Follow the prompts to leave a comment.  Your posts will be anonymous. Sometimes the first step is just letting the dream out of the box.  Go ahead!  You can take the first step.  Tell this Queen Mum your dream............................

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzards & Cabin Fever - Day FOUR

Once again we have had a significant winter event.  Ten plus inches of snow and sleet,  raging winds (for a time) and wind chills that had a " - " in front of the number,  high temperatures in the single digits......  This is the type of weather that we hear about happening in "other" places of the United States.  Remember?  We're the people who don't get enough practise driving in this kind of craziness!  Well,  at least we're in good company.  I heard this monster storm caught folks as far south as El Paso and after it visited our part of the country continued to work it's way east.  Such is life! Eh?

We've been home with all outside activity suspended, just waiting for the temps to warm up enough to get the worst parts of the ice off the streets.  We've read, crafted, painted, crocheted, etc. to try to keep from getting to cranky in our confinement.  We've laughed, eaten too much, danced with the Wii remotes in our hands and then eaten again.  (So much for the exercise!  lol)

Here are a few pictures of our winter break......................

                                 BACK YARD LOVELIES

The irony of the dial on this old camping oven made me smile.  We keep pinion wood in this little rusted oven.  It works great and is just the right size for the table it sits on in our fireplace area.  The HMS rescued it on a neighborhood big junk day.  Good hunting, HMS!

The back porch usually looks somewhat inviting (if the royal family hasn't piled it up too much).  Today it just looks cold!  Don't you feel sorry for the little angel? 

I loved the contrast in this shot!  I took this yesterday, knowing that the girls would want to be outside and all this pristine snow would be no more........

              Not everyone appreciates the beauty of rust.....but this Queen Mum can see the artistic beauty of it.

As I said, once the temperatures came up enough to keep these tender beauties from windburn and instant frostbite,  they made it outside to play a little.  Glad they took the camera!

Our covered front porch faces the east and has a three foot recess that protects the front door.  The snow drifted onto the porch making a little wall of snow across the recess.  I love how it drifted into and onto the decorations that I had out for the winter season.  Very appropriate, wouldn't you say?

The galvanized florist tin is filled with things that I scavenged from the yard.....Black Eyed Susan & Echinacea Flower Pods,  decorative tall grasses, dried flower heads of a succulent that we call Live Forever (August Sedum) and then, my all time favorite natural to decorate with, Nandina berries and leaves.  It's also called Heavenly Bamboo and does have a bamboo-type structure to the trunk of the bush.  These berry clusters are formed from the flowers, turning bright red, peaking about the time Christmas arrives.  If you can plant Nandina in your area do!  It is easy to grow, can be transplanted with success and makes a brilliant show all year long.  Just simply love this plant!

These berries and leaves were harvested in mid-December.  The colors are still vibrant!  Really amazing. 

The latest word is that we will be getting warmer temperatures for the next three days and then, guess what?!?, the possibility for more snow.  We know how tempermental our weather can be (it was actually around 76 degrees the day before the storm arrived.  But this kind of snow is really rare here.  Maybe the folks in our fair city will get the practise they've been lacking and turn into better drivers.........but I won't bet my crown on it.  Stay warm and keep busy....................Spring will eventually come.