Saturday, April 30, 2011

Live! From Women's Conference!

This post is coming to you live from Provo, Utah (where it snowed about 3 inches over night last night! What?! It's almost May!)  I just finished a wonderful and uplifting 2-day “Inspiration-Fest”. BYU Women's Conference never disappoints! I've missed being here so very much over the last few years. My “sister-from-another-mister” (we'll refer to her here in “blogdom” as Franny) and I had a fun-filled girl's road trip on the way here and are hoping to make this pilgrimage an annual tradition!

The Conference was fun, educational, and exhausting. Franny and I attended the Opening and Closing sessions together, but split up to attend our three individual choices of a variety of classes all being offered simultaneously each day. The classes were spread out all over campus so we did a lot of walking, including LOTS of stairs! I definitely got a work out this week!

The speakers' messages were always motivating and often entertaining. My favorite session was the very last class I attended. It was a panel of four sisters, two of which are bloggers that I follow. You can find their links right here on my blog (nienie and c.jane) and I highly recommend them! The sisters' comments were both funny and touching.

I've been very inspired by nienie (aka StephaNIE NIElsen) ever since I first heard her story. She was in a near-fatal single-engine plane crash a few years ago and was burned over 80% of her body. Stephanie is one of the most courageous and inspiring people I've ever known of. Even after many, many surgeries, her face is still disfigured, yet she bravely posts pictures of herself on her blog. Stephanie also continues to have such a positive attitude through all of her trials. She reminds me constantly to be grateful for what I have. Her faith in Jesus Christ and her testimony of the Gospel are so strong. It was such an honor to see and hear from her and her sisters in person.

One of the highlights of the Conference every year is the concert on Thursday night. This year the MC was Kirby Heyborne of “The RM” fame. He was very funny and sang a silly song about Sheri Dew. The entertainers included Hilary Weeks, Josh Wright, David Osmond, Jenny Oakes Baker, Vocal Point, Cheri Call, & April Messervy. It was amazing!

Friday's classes were book-ended by thought-provoking talks given by the Relief Society General President, Sister Julie B. Beck in the morning and one of our dear Apostles, Elder David A. Bednar at the closing session. I most definitely came away from the conference with my “spiritual pitcher” refilled!

Friday, April 22, 2011

There Is Work ENOUGH To Do!

As if I don't have enough to do already, I just RE-loaded the same load of dishes from the dishwasher that I just UN-loaded.  Apparently they didn't get washed.  I was nearly done putting them all away when I discovered goop on the utensils and realized it was dishwashing gel.  Upon inspection, I noticed the detergent compartment hadn't opened and figured the load hadn't run at all, or the goo on the utensils would have gotten washed away.  I had set it on time delay, last night, so that it would run while we're asleep and nobody has to be bothered with the noise (it's supposed to be a "quiet" kind-- but its not!).  I assume someone opened the door of the dishwasher, after I set it, and didn't close it back up all the way.

I would have been okay with it had the dishwasher run last night, even without soap.  They were well rinsed before being put in the dishwasher and the water's hot enough to sterilize. But the thought of dirty dishes in the cupboard... ugh!

When I realized that I was going to have to figure out which dishes were which, take them back out of the cupboard and reload them, I just cried.  I stood in the middle of my kitchen and just let it all come out.  I was already hormonal from PMS, had a loaf of banana bread in the oven for a new neighbor/ward member who'd just moved in across the street, and was running a tight schedule.  My Visiting Teacher had already been by, I was trying to get out the door to go visit with some family from out of town, and I was going to quickly unload and reload the dishwasher.  This little hiccup did not fit in with my plans.  Oh well, at least I was the one who emptied the dishwasher this time, and not one of the kids.  Not only would they NOT remember which dishes were which, I'm sure they would have never even noticed that the load didn't run!  Yuck!

Next time I'm just gonna turn the dishwasher on right away.  Too bad if it's noisy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

10k?! Did I Miss A Turn Somewhere?!

The 5k I ran today started off great. The weather was perfect... not too cold and not raining (yay!). I felt good and didn't even mind that I showed up alone. The last few races I've run, I've had a “running buddy” with me (usually one of my kids I dragged along). It had been a while since I'd run at an event by myself so I was anticipating feeling lonely and left out. I noticed, however, as I ran along, that there were quite a few people running “alone”. They all planned ahead, as I did, and had their headphones on.

I train with my ipod all the time but it was the first time I'd brought it to a race. I decided I really liked it!  I feel like I ran better and harder having some jammin' tunes to distract me and also to help me keep up a good pace. I fueled this run with a mixture of up-tempo songs on shuffle, from bands such as Daughtry, Queen, Styx, The Fray, and Neon Trees. I was surprised how “Say When” by The Fray helped me pick up the pace in the last mile and “Animal” by Neon Trees brought me in to the finish line.

But before I tell you how it ended... I have to explain the title of this blog entry. I had a few scary minutes, about half-way through, when I thought I had accidentally missed a turn and was in the wrong race! This race had both a 5k and 10k. We all started together and then somewhere along the route, one group was supposed to turn off. The email I'd received prior to the race had specified which group it was, but I couldn't remember. They had the course well marked with signs, including ones being held by volunteers, to make sure we didn't get lost. We had passed a volunteer who was holding a sign and I thought I was going the right direction because I was following everyone else. A little while after that, we passed a sign telling those running the 10k to turn. It didn't say anything about the 5k. I started to panic thinking that maybe I was supposed to have turned at the previous sign.

For several very stressful minutes, I thought I had accidentally gotten myself into a 10k race! Thoughts started flooding my mind as I was looking around me trying to figure out if the people I was running with looked like elite enough runners to do a 10k. I was trying to think back to that previous sign and what direction the arrow was pointing. I was trying to decided if I should keep going and try to finish a 10k (with walking, of course!) or if I should turn around and go back. I thought about asking someone as they passed me, but they had headphones on! Then, just as I was really starting to freak out, I see a volunteer up ahead, holding TWO signs, one for each race. Whew... was I ever relieved!

The 5k runners turned right and the others kept going straight. I couldn't help but think, as I turned that corner, and watched my counterparts continue to run a much longer race than me, “So long, suckers!” I was SO happy that I only had to run 3 miles instead of 6, it made the race so much easier to get through! I managed to run the WHOLE thing (other than one brief walk at the hydration station-- it's WAY too hard to drink water while running!). About the last half mile, my legs started feeling like lead weights and I wasn't sure I was going to make it. A couple girls ahead of me started walking at this point and I was Soooo tempted, but I knew we were close and I wanted SO badly to run the whole way. Then I turned a corner and saw the finish line! I knew I was gonna make it!

By this point I was quite tired, my legs hurt, and I was breathing really hard. I was thinking that I was actually glad I hadn't brought a running buddy with me. That way I didn't have to worry about feeling obligated to talk to someone when I could barely breathe! I really thought I was just gonna lope along and drag myself across the finish line. As I got a little closer I could see the time clock and what I first noticed was that it was still in the 30's. Then I noticed it wasn't to 35 minutes yet! I'd never finished a race in less than 35 minutes before. I think my best time prior to this race was 38. The clock turned over to 34 and I decided to put on the gas. I wanted to cross that finish line before it hit 35 and I did it! My official time was 34:27! I was so proud!

It's such a great feeling to finish a race anyway, but especially running the whole way, and pushing myself at the end when it was getting hard. Oh yeah... and it doesn't hurt to have complete strangers clapping and cheering for you at the end, either!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ready or Not.... Here I Come!

Yesterday was my last run for the week, which means it was my last run before the 5k on Saturday. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I wish I was a few pounds lighter and in a little better shape, but I feel like my training has been going pretty well and I'm excited about the opportunity to push myself a little. I always push myself harder during a race than I do just running on my own.

There's such an excitement in the air at running events. It's fun to be in the company of people who share a passion about something with you. It motivates you to work harder, partly because you're inspired by the elite runners, but mostly because you don't want to be the schmuck who comes in last! I'm not a fast runner so my goal is never to make a good time on the clock, but to just finish. I'm always happy finishing a race regardless of how long it takes me, as long as I don't come in last! I also push myself to run harder so that I don't get passed by anyone. You can't help but have your ego take a big hit when a power walker is faster than you are running!  I try to be the one to pass runners who are even slower than me-- makes me feel SO good!

In preparation for the race on Saturday, I looked up advice on a running website about how to prepare the week of a race. There is a whole science and method to training for races. You actually need to start preparing your body days before the actual event. I've been eating my carbs, drinking water, ran twice and walked once, took my rest days, and did a little speed work.

What is 'speed work', you may ask? That is Runner's Talk for running 'wind sprints' or basically running full out as fast as you can for as long as you can. I incorporated a 'wind sprint' into each of my runs this week. It helps you with your pace and endurance, both. I'm working, slowly, on improving in both of these areas. But, one step at a time. First the 5k on Saturday and then we'll work up from there.

I'm excited about my future in running and racing. The sky's the limit, as they say, and it can only go up from here. I feel like I've finally settled on a fitness path that is the right fit for me. I've tried all kinds of weight loss and fitness programs over the years. For one reason or another, I've never been able to stick to anything for very long. Even with running in the past, I wasn't able to sustain it because I wasn't doing it right. I understand better now, after doing a lot of research, that running is a whole system unto itself, if you really want to get serious about it.

There are a lot of people who are casual runners and use running as a means to an end to help them lose weight. I was one of those. Only problem is, if you truly want to have the energy, endurance, and stamina to complete long distances, you can't "diet". You should eat healthy but you have to eat MORE the farther you run. I found this great book I've been reading that helps you know what and exactly how much to eat in order to train for long-distance races, yet still lose weight. There's an actual formula to it and I finally feel like I have the missing puzzle piece. The book is "Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners". I am learning SO much from this book! It's really helping me see that I am truly meant to be a runner, not just "do some running".

I love running and I love eating so it's the perfect sport and fitness program for me! No longer do I have to worry about depriving myself or dieting. I find I'm eating healthier, the more I run, because I like how much more energy I have when I do. It's not a struggle anymore, because I'm not really focusing on the weight loss as much as I'm focusing on the fitness and endurance. The weight loss will just be a natural bi-product of that. It may take a little longer to see results than when you diet, but it's so much healthier and longer-lasting. It's definitely worth being patient and persistent.

This 5k feels like the start of a new adventure. I feel as if it's a springboard to bigger and better things. In the past, I was so emotional when I would cross the finish line at a 5k. I was so proud that I had run that far, when I had been so out of shape in the past. Each race was always the end of a long journey for me. This time, the finish line will only be the beginning of a whole new life. Let's just hope it isn't raining!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Run... Therefore I Am

Yesterday I ran 3 miles. It felt amazing! It was on a treadmill in a hotel fitness room, but it still felt amazing... especially when I reflected back on it and on all of my past running accomplishments, as I sat watching a screening of the new documentary about the Hood to Coast race.

My hubby and I had driven down south to attend the Ashland Independent Film Festival. My cousin is an independent film maker and had a movie that he had co-produced, written, and starred in that was being screened there. Friday we had seen my cousin's movie and gone to lunch with him afterward. Lots of fun!

The weather was lovely on Saturday morning, but since I was unfamiliar with the area where we were staying, I decided to use the treadmill in the hotel's fitness room, instead of running outside. It was a nice piece of equipment that included a built in TV and headphone jack. It's already easier for me to run on a treadmill than on pavement, but watching “The Wedding Planner” to distraction, made it all that much easier! Seriously, though, I felt everything working together and had so much energy... getting through the 3 miles (with minor walking) felt like a breeze!

Later that day, we returned to the Film Festival to watch a screening of "Hood to Coast". The room seated 500 people and it was sold out! The energy in the room was palpable. Runners and non-runners alike were excited to see this documentary about a very unique running event that is considered the “mother of all races” and takes place in our own backyard. It was not only the first race of it's kind, but it is currently the largest relay race in the world.

The movie was amazing! It highlighted four teams and their journey, prior to and during the race. The novice team, “Thunder & LAIKAning” (pronounced LIKE-uh-ning), brought a lot of laughs as they struggled to complete each leg of the race, never having done any competitive racing before... EVER. The elite group, who's team name was “Dead Jocks in a Box”, were hilarious as they talked about how much harder it was to complete the race year after year, as they aged. Our hearts were touched as a family raced in honor of a loved one who'd died in the recent past, and brought tears to our eyes.

And then there was Kathy, who was so inspiring. It was her comeback race after having "died" during the race the previous year. Kathy, who was 66, had run many marathons and had completed the Hood to Coast 17 times. During her 2nd leg of the race, one year, her heart stopped and was revived through CPR. People told her she'd never run the same and that she should slow down, but running is her life and she wouldn't take no for an answer. One year and a triple-bypass later, she completed the Hood to Coast, running with a teammate and a heart monitor. Her team “Heart & Sole” took 2nd place in their age division!

As I sat and watched all of these runners of all different abilities, ages, shapes, and sizes, I was reminded of what amazing people runners are. There's something about running that not only brings people together, but it actually changes the way you think and feel about yourself and other people. You can't run and not be changed. Kathy needed to go back to the race that almost killed her and prove to herself she could still do it. “Dead Jocks in a Box” were so supportive of other runners and cheered everybody on. “Thunder & Laikaning” were so changed by the experience that some members have gone on to become more active and fit and are now training for a marathon.

I, too, have been changed by being a runner. Off and on over the years, as I have crossed the finish line of a variety of 5k's, I have felt the joy of accomplishing something challenging. I have also experienced the euphoria that comes from successfully completing something more difficult than I thought I could do. It drives me to push myself to get better. I'm grateful to be included in the amazing community of runners who also inspire me to push myself harder. I don't know if I'll ever be inspired enough to run the Hood to Coast, but as I watched the movie, I was proud that I, myself, had run, just that morning. I walked away from the movie with my head held high, ready to face the challenges before me in my training to run a half marathon.

I walked away proud to call myself a runner.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why I run

I got out and ran both Tuesday and yesterday. Both runs went really well-- much better than my run on Saturday. My hip held out and I can feel my endurance increasing. I managed to get out in the Spring sunshine both days. I have run on a treadmill all winter because I hate to go out in the cold and wet so it felt really nice to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun again.

Tuesday's run was brought to me in part by Duran Duran (the other parts being perseverance and sunshine!).   Yesterday's run was fueled by Keith Urban.  I ran a little over 2 miles both days (which included hills, I might add) and I only had to take 3 very short walking breaks each time.  I'm still not sure I'm going to be able to run the whole 5k next week, but I'm okay with that.  I may be run/walk-ing it, but I'm going to enjoy it all the same!  All in all, they were really good runs both days.  It reignited my fire and reminded me why I love running.

Speaking of my love of running, as previously promised, here is a list of many of the reasons I run.  It's probably not going to be an all inclusive list since I'll probably forget some reasons, but it will probably be pretty close.

-It makes me feel like an athlete, for the first time in my life (I did not play organized sports as a kid)
-I love the "runner's high"
-While I'm running I feel free, fit, young, and light as air
-Not only do you burn massive amounts of calories during a run, but your body continues to burn calories for hours after you've stopped running
-I can listen to the music I want to listen to (with no children complaining about it)
-It motivates me to eat healthier
-I can do it indoors on a treadmill and watch TV or outdoors and enjoy the scenery
-I feel such a sense of accomplishment and personal pride, especially after completing a race
-I'm not competing against anybody but myself and I challenge myself to get better and better
-It gives me time to think and helps me clear my head
-It's a great stress buster
-It's something I do just for me, by myself, because I deserve to make myself a priority and I love to get out of the house and just have some 'me' time
-The running community is made up of people of all different shapes, sizes, and ages and they are not only non-discriminatory, but so supportive and encouraging of anyone who even attempts running
-Someday I want to be one of those fit senior citizens you see running down the road or in races (they inspire me SO much!)
-I'm not only allowed to eat more, the more miles I run, but I'm supposed to!
-CARBS! Best part of being a runner is that you NEED carbs to fuel your muscles. It's not just highly recommended-- it's required! I LOVE CARBS, therefore I LOVE RUNNING!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How bad do you want it?

I'm officially declaring my intent to run a half marathon.  I have run 5k's before, but nothing longer than that.  I'm not the kind of person who has any desire to run anything as long as a full marathon (I think it's a long way to drive 26.2 miles--why on earth would I want to run that far?).  I have, however, off and on, over the years, thought it would be quite an accomplishment for me to complete a half marathon.  Thirteen miles is MORE than ambitious enough for me!  As much as I thought about it, though, it was always something to do in the future... something I'd get around to doing "someday".

Well, I decided at the beginning of this year that I was going to finally go for it.  I wasn't getting any younger and I knew it would be a lot harder to procrastinate if I picked a race and officially set the goal.  I chose the Helvetia Half Marathon in June, found a training schedule online and started working on increasing my mileage.  It made sense to me to run some shorter races, getting incrementally longer (ie- 5k, 10k, etc), working up to the half.  Besides giving me shorter goals to work for, I figured it would force me outside and off my treadmill.  However, I found that there were very few races available in the winter-- for precisely the same reason I preferred to run on my treadmill.  Since the first 5k wasn't available until April, and I hate going out in the wet and cold, I just trained on my treadmill, which I found much easier than running outdoors.

Unfortunately, between fighting illness off and on all winter and the lack of motivation due to the races being so far away, my training lagged.  I have increased my mileage and run outdoors occasionally, when weather permitted, but my progress has been a lot slower than I had hoped for.  Still, I did not give up.  I found training schedules that assured me that there was still plenty of time to train for a half marathon.  I also started reading books and blogs about marathon running and was getting lots of motivation and encouragement.  One common theme I kept coming across was the "mind over matter" theory.  The whole idea of "you can push your body harder than than you think" and "you have to know why you want to run a marathon" (apparently to lose weight is generally not considered motivating enough).

With all of this motivation under my belt, I headed outside yesterday to run.  It was a beautiful dry day, a little chilly, but sunny.  I had my ipod and decided I'd fuel my run with some Tim McGraw.  He has a song called "How bad do you want it?"  The chorus goes a little something like this:

Can you feel it?
Can you taste it?
Can you hear it knocking at your door?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
With that one thing on your mind?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Cause if you want it all
You've got to lay it all out on the line

As I listened to the song, it got me thinking about what one of the running blogs was saying about knowing why you want to run a marathon or half-marathon.  What's my motivation?  Well, I think my reasons for running are better left for another blog, but suffice it to say that I want to prove that you're never too old to accomplish any fitness goal if you put your mind to it.  Again, the "mind over body" theory.  I had left the house with this theory in mind.  I can WILL myself to run farther than my body thinks it can.  In order to stick to my training schedule, I would have to run over 4 miles.  I mapped my run online and was totally ready to do it.

I started out fine, but considering I had been sick all week and hadn't run since the previous Saturday, I figured I'd have to cut myself some slack and do some walking breaks.  I was okay with that.  Every running expert will tell you that it's actually better to take walking breaks if you need it, to not only prevent injury, but it also helps you make faster progress in your endurance over the long run.  I was feeling pretty good about my run/walk, willing myself to keep going... or so I thought.  All of a sudden my body decided to speak up and tell my mind to shut up.  It yelled pretty loudly, "Oh yeah, lady? You think you can just WILL yourself to be a marathoner?  Think again!"

Very subtly, at first, my left hip started aching.  I'd walk it off and stop to stretch occasionally and then run a little farther.  As far from home as I was, I decided I'd better change the course and start heading home, cutting off what turned out to be about a mile of the predetermined route.  Still, for awhile, I was able to continue running, sprinkled with walks and stretches.  Unfortunately that only got me so far before my hip was hurting so much that I couldn't even walk without pain.  So much for "mind over body".  My body was giving out on me and no matter how much I willed it, it wasn't having any more!  It was reminding me, quite loudly, that I am no spring chicken, and that I don't bounce back from being sedentary for a week like I used to.  Still, considering everything, I still managed to run/walk a total of 3 miles before I was forced to walk the last half mile home.  I was pretty proud of that and didn't even mind too much that I was starting to feel a little like an old lady with arthritis.

I would have even arrived back home, with my dignity intact, hip pain and all... if only I could have made it ALL the way home.  I was SO close!  But that darn hip was hurting more and more and I still had about 1/3 of a mile left to go, uphill, to get back to my house.  Man... talk about feeling old.  It was just shy of feeling like the old lady in the commercial who says, "I've fallen and I can't get up".  I had to use my "Life Alert" cell phone and call my husband to come pick me up!  By that time I was limping and I was seriously concerned that if I tried to make it the rest of the way home, I might end up causing myself greater injury.  It just wasn't worth my "athletic" pride.

My hubby was on his way out to pick up our oldest son, anyway, so I didn't have to wait too long before his silver sedan came pulling up.  Thank goodness my husband is not the type to judge or criticize!  He just said hi and I thanked him for being my "knight in shining car" and that was the end of the discussion... at least between the two of us.  For me, it was just the beginning of a long discussion in my own mind about what direction I want to go with my fitness goals.

It was loud and clear to me that my body has limitations.  It doesn't mean I'm giving up my goal of running a half marathon.  I just may need to readjust the goal a little.  I may need to find another race that's a little farther out and give myself a little more time to train.   I may need to just focus on attaining the smaller goals first and work my way up.  I've already registered for a 5k that's in 2 weeks.  At this point, I feel like it will be a huge accomplishment just to run that without stopping and do it in less than a hour!

This experience has been a good reminder that the mind is a powerful tool and we can mentally motivate ourselves to get outside or get on the treadmill, but we still have to be mindful of our bodies' abilities and limitations and go at a pace that doesn't kill us off in 'one fell swoop'!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bored?!! I Wish!

So yesterday I noticed that a friend posted on facebook that she was bored.  I couldn't help but laugh out loud to myself.  It drives me crazy when my adult friends say they're bored!  How is that possible?  I understand when my kids say they are bored... they have no lives.  But how can a healthy, active, adult-aged mom be bored?  What I wouldn't give to be bored!  I NEVER run out of things to do... EVER.  Even if, miracle of miracles, I actually happen to get all of the stuff done that I HAVE to do (which is NEVER), I always have plenty of things I WANT to do (and never have time to do).

If I had all the money in the world and could pay someone to do all the menial tasks that I am responsible for so that I was free to do whatever I wanted, I would still NEVER be bored.  Here is a list of all of the things I would spend my time doing (if I had the time & an unlimited supply of money, of course!):

My "To Do" List

READ, READ, READ, & READ! (can you tell I don't get enough time to read?)
Watch every movie I've never had time to watch (& rewatch my faves!)
Crafts- crocheting, embroidery, tole-painting, rubber stamping, card making, scrapbooking, etc.
Work out more (I envy the people on Biggest Loser that can devote so much time to it)
Take college classes (including writing classes!)
Write books
Watch The History Channel
Volunteer/ Give Service
Fun shopping (does not include groceries... that is a chore!)
Go out to lunch with my hubby or my mom or other girl friends
Attend the temple more regularly and volunteer there
Study the gospel more thoroughly
Share the gospel with more people
Work on Family History/ Write my Personal History
Home Improvement/Decorating projects
Learn Sign Language
Take piano and voice lessons
Learn a foreign language
Take a martial arts class (ie- Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitzu, Kung Fu)
Take dance and acting classes
Go to a Spa regularly (facials, massages, pedicures... ahhh the life!)

I'm sure I could come up with more, but you get my point.  I WISH (desperately sometimes) that I had more time for me.  However, I am grateful that I am a mom and that the Lord has blessed me with four healthy, beautiful, wonderful kids.  They do take a lot of my time, as does keeping up a house, but I'm grateful that I have the physical and mental health to be able to do it.  I'm also extremely grateful for a wonderful husband who not only provides well for his family (and is happy to do so) but is so supportive of my being a stay-at-home mom.  There are seasons in our lives and my season right now is being a VERY busy mother/homemaker.  There will be other seasons for other things in the future, but for now, I'm just gonna enjoy my children and not dwell on the fact that I don't have time to be BORED...

Well... Here It Goes!

I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a little while now.  Not a long while, mind you, just a little while.  I know people who have been blogging for some time and until very recently, I must admit I haven't had much interest in checking out their blogs or trying to stay current on their posts (sorry all of you- no offense!).  I think it mostly has to do with the fact that my life has changed of late and I'm finding my priorities changing along with it.

Until recently, I wasn't even keeping up with checking my email regularly or logging into facebook very often, let alone taking the time to check into other people's blogspots to find out what was going on in their lives.  Until recently, I wasn't even keeping up on my own life.  But it got to a point, at some point in the last year, that I found I couldn't get away with avoiding the techno world any longer.  I realized that I had to jump aboard that train or it was gonna run me over!

Too many people were using email exclusively as a way to communicate and pass pertinent information along.  I was falling farther and farther behind on the comings and goings of church, school, and family activities.  And as I started to check in on facebook more regularly, I've found it to be a very useful and enjoyable tool for staying in touch with and up-to-date on the lives of friends and family.  Again, I started to find that I was left in the dark if I didn't check in on a regular basis.

So how did I get from there to here, you may ask?  Well, as I stayed on top of my email and facebooking, I found that as I finished catching up, I was still hungering for more information and connection.  I started checking out those blogs my friends and family had been trying to get me to read.  I even found some by people I don't know personally but am inspired by.  As I read their blogs, I kept thinking, "Hey... I have something to say, too!"  I've been doing personal journaling online lately and really enjoying the process, but there have been times when the thought has crossed my mind that someone else might enjoy reading some of the thoughts that roam around inside my head.

Who knows if anyone out there will actually read any of my random warblings, but just the thought that someone might, and that someone might enjoy it, makes it worth doing.  Plus, I see it as an excuse to keep up on my journaling.  What I blog, I can copy and paste to my journal, and vice versa.  I figure there will be more pressure to keep up the blog if I know that someone out there just might be waiting for another nugget of randomness from me.  Anything's possible!