When Things Seem to go South….

When Things Seem to go South…..

Growth of a “Don’t Quit!” Seed

I have had a real mental struggle lately. I just can’t seem to get my mind in the game. I have let so many things overwhelm me and/or drive me to negative thoughts. Yes, there have been some changes in my life and more major changes to come in my near future but really, is that enough to drive me to this mental struggle I have been having? It is almost as though I am battling myself give up versus drive on! I feel extremely overwhelmed mentally and emotionally, tired and just feel like quitting everything. However, I have this little seed in me that keeps sprouting up and shouting “Don’t quit! You can do this!”

I am currently under medical directions to limit lower body work due to an injury/pain in my outer knee area. Thankfully, I am able to do minor things like ride my bike and walk as long as it doesn’t hurt. No running and no jumping. I can also work on upper body and core – both of which I really need to strengthen. So in a sense, I guess this has been a good thing since it causes me to focus more intensely on those areas.

My eating has not been great either. I hit a few days that I binged on sugary stuff. You know, the stuff like chocolate that tastes great but isn’t so great for you (in large doses anyways 😉 ). I am working at getting back on track with my eating. I have pushed the sugar aside and I am eating healthier foods again BUT still a bit too much. Not gaining weight but not losing either. I guess it is time to start tracking my food again. Ugh!

So, why such a mental struggle? I know I battle depression which usually leads to my mental battles. However, I pray that my little “Don’t Quit!” seed continues to grow and eventually blooms larger than the depression battle that goes on inside my head. I have found one way to water this little seed. It is something really simple to do. As I began my bike ride to the gym this morning, I realized that I was breathing deeper and feeling better. Then I began doing this simple but amazing thing…I smiled and said “Good Morning!” to everyone I passed. Do you know what happened? I found myself smiling just because I felt great!

Water your “Don’t Quit!” seed with a smile and kindness!


Devotion – Insights from John 1

Today I began reading the book of John. As I read through the first chapter, a couple of things jumped out at me that I had not noticed before. This new idea offers me food for thought in my own life and faith journey.

Though John does not go into detail about the baptism of Jesus, he does tell us that he recognized Jesus by the descending dove and he did baptize him. Further details are found in other gospels. What interested me is the day after Jesus was baptized.

Verse 35-37 “The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”

They ask Jesus where he is staying and Jesus simply tells them “Come and See.” So they follow and then we learn that one of the disciples is Andrew. I found this piece of news interesting! Can you imagine the lessons Andrew learned from John the Baptist? Just imagine the anticipation the Andrew had been living with concerning Jesus, the Messiah! Now he finds it all true and very real!

What is the first thing Andrew does as a disciple for Jesus? He goes and finds Simon Peter (his brother) and brings him to Jesus! Yep, his first mission is witnessing! What is really radical to me is we see this happen again on the next day. Jesus goes to Galilee and finds Philip. What is the first thing Philip does? You got it, he goes and finds Nathanael and brings him to Jesus. I am beginning to think God is wanting me to learn something here.

God called me to be his disciple in ministry 7 1/2 years ago. I spent several years in school to learn more, only to end up taking a long break. I have spent quite a bit of time in the wilderness sorting through the many things I was exposed to in school and life. Recently I have felt God nudging me out of the wilderness and back into the world. I am not sure I am truly ready to enter but I think it is time I start moving closer. What better way to do that than to spend time in God’s Word and share my insights with you!

Never Let Fear Stop You! Yep, that applies to ministry as well as life!


Voices Within

This may make me sound crazy but I am sure that I am not the only one that deals with this type of thing. I remember watching those cartoons when I was a child that revealed the little devil on one shoulder and the little angel on the other shoulder. These came up whenever there was a decision that needed to be made, one that would be considered “morally” right versus one that would be “morally” wrong. I use the term “morally” loosely because that tends to vary from person to person.

I bring this up because I tend to experience something similar with a couple of twists. First twist is it is voices inside that I hear and no I do not see little devils or angels anywhere…LOL! The second twist is I don’t feel it has anything to do with morals but rather a negative/positive conversation that goes on in my head. I really battled this yesterday afternoon. When the conversation gets too loud it tends to drive me to tears and I begin to withdraw inside myself and become quiet. Now for those that know me at all, me becoming quiet is NOT typical. 🙂

These voices usually have nothing to do with decision-making but rather in dealing with life in general. I can see and feel the woman I want to be and that tends to be the positive voice I hear but at the same time I have this older, negative voice that I hear playing what my counselor would call my “old tapes.” Those old tapes tell me that I am not good enough, strong enough, worthy enough, etc. They tell me my goals, hopes and dreams are impossible and I will never be the woman I see and feel inside. They tell me that I will end up alone in this world.

I guess I have spent most of my life trying to please someone or live up to someone else’s expectations of me. My parents always had high expectations of me educationally and morally. I always wanted to be the “good kid.” I always wanted to be the perfect picture of a woman and wife for my husband and mother for my kids. I always felt that I was an embarrassment to them all. Things are different now. Yes, I still want them to be proud of me but I want this more for me. I want to be healthy and I want to be active. I want to live a life as full as possible! When these voices begin to converse, it tends to turn into an argument in my head.

I have been trying to pay attention to these voices lately because I am struggling with knowing who I am and where I belong now. So much has changed in my life in the past couple of years. My role as daughter is not what it used to be. My children are more independent and building their own worlds now. My role as wife feels different too. Career-wise, who knows. I hold a Master’s degree in Christian Ministry but seminary lessons and things that happened in my life that last year, has left me with serious doubts about my spirituality as well. So what do I hold onto in life? I try to hold onto to the real me but that is difficult when I am having so much trouble finding her. I see her at times but can’t seem to hang on tight enough for her to stay around very long.

This has been a bit of a vent for me. I am fine, just trying to sort out where I am in life and how I fit. Some would say this is a mid-life crisis, who know? Maybe they are right and it will all pass with time. For now, I will keep striving to hear and follow that positive woman within. Thanks for listening….

Not Giving Up Just Yet,

Past, Present, Future

Today I changed my computer background to my before and during pictures.

After each race I run, there are always pictures. Those pictures remind me of where I am. However, I always see the “past” Kathy and I feel horrible. Then one of two things happen. I either get really depressed and allow myself to get into a funk that almost disables me from life OR I buck up and decide that I still have a long way to go and GET MOVING!

Unfortunately, my past practice has usually involved falling into the “funk of depression” and staying put or even moving backwards. I have been trying very hard to think positively and look beyond where I was and who I was in the past. I have changed a lot but there is still a lot of work I need to do on me and it is not all physical. What I have found is that much of the physical also requires mental and emotional change as well. These are the difficult ones for me. It takes constant effort on my part to “talk myself out of the negative thinking” and into reality. Yes, I realize (finally) that most of my negative thinking is not real but rather an inflated negative view of myself. When you have thought like that for over 40 years, it is a major task to view yourself in any other light but alas, I am trying and slowly achieving.

My present is just that – where I am now. It is not where I was and not where I plan to stay BUT it is a reminder that I have moved forward. It is a reminder that I can do this thing I am trying to achieve. I can improve my thinking, my body and my overall health.  It reveals a progression in my life, better yet a positive progression.

What does my future hold? It holds whatever I choose to achieve. It holds the results of my present actions. It holds my dreams and goals. It holds the REAL Kathy and the woman I have been hiding for so many years.

So, friends I am now asking for your help. Do not let me forget that I have already come a long way but I am not done yet. Don’t let me fall into my funk of depression but kick my butt forward in thinking and action. I do have dreams and goals that I will achieve but encouragement and assistance from the sidelines is always welcome. Better yet, why not join me on this journey?

I refuse to quit. I refuse to fail. Live! Laugh! Love! Life! Don’t Let Fear Stop You! I am NOT!


A Time to …..

Recover. I can only push my body beyond its max for so long before it needs recovery time. Today begins a period of recovery for me from yesterday’s race and our busy couple of months of OCRs and 5Ks.

Heal. I have battled a minor injury for a couple of weeks now. Recovery time is also a time for healing. It doesn’t mean do nothing, it simply means back off and pay closer attention to what my body is saying.

Train. I know specific areas that I need to work on and the next few months will provide time and focus to those areas. Mainly cardio, upper body and balance.

Strengthen. Training will help strengthen my body physically but I also need to focus on my mental. I must continue to educate myself about my body and how it works, habits and nutrition. I must also take a look at my goals and mentally see myself achieving them – one by one!

Focus. I have 2 HUGE goals. I WILL complete the Spartan Trifecta by completing the Midwest Super in IL (October) and the Beast in TX (December). I have fears with both of these goals: hubby will be deployed AND I have never done anything at those distances before. However, I will overcome those fears by visualizing myself completing them; feeling the immense pride that both I will feel and know my hubby will have; and by relying on my Anytime Fitness, Corn Fed! and F.O.O.T. families; and focusing on my nutrition and training.

Yes, there is a time for everything in our lives.  Today it is time to speak positive, think positive and BE POSITIVE! There is no time for fear today because I choose to “Never Let Fear Stop Me!” Let’s Get Moving! Live! Laugh! Love! Life!


Coping When I Just Don’t Want to!

I have been avoiding the probable deployment of my hubby for quite some time. I first heard about it at the Christmas Ball last December. It came as a shock to me! Hubby reassured me that he had just heard about it and nothing was definite yet. So, I put it on a back burner and we continued on with our life.

This week, it has smacked me in the face! I am really struggling with many emotions: anger, hurt, guilt, shame, pride and fear – LOTS OF FEAR! His last deployment was 2008 but upon his return, he took an OWT job in Indiana while I remained in Ohio with our youngest. Our daughter was nearing graduation and I was attending seminary. We found life apart very difficult and our communications became very scrambled and many things happened that nearly destroyed our marriage over a course of 2 years. We finally pulled ourselves together last June and I moved to Indiana so we could be together once again. It has been wonderful! With our children grown and on their own; we have been able to just go and do! We have found ourselves in the adventurous world of Obstacle Course Racing with Spartan Races! We have pushed ourselves to physical limits, began taking better care of ourselves and made a lot of new friends. It has been truly awesome!

Alas, the dreaded deployment! We haven’t even been back together a year and he is soon to be off again. I am proud of the job my husband does and his willingness to serve our country and I am proud of the man I married. At the same time, I am very angry, hurt and full of fear. Why? Because I fear losing him either physically or emotionally. I fear the distance that comes with this type of separation: distance in both miles and communication. I fear being left behind alone. I fear losing the Spartan Races because I am afraid to try them alone. I have always done them with him, as Team Baconator. When he gets on that plane a large piece of my heart, soul and life goes with him and I fear I am not strong enough to handle it.

As if these emotions aren’t enough, I am also dealing with shame and guilt. I agreed to be a military wife. I know I need to be strong and supportive. Mike needs to know that I will be ok the few months he will be away. He needs to be able to focus on the mission and not worry about me. That is what I want for him. I am ashamed of the way fear seems to be controlling me. My real struggle lies with learning how to cope with this situation. One would think I would know how since he was deployed a few years ago. However, my whole life is different now. I am in a different state now without family. My mom has passed away and she used to listen to my ramblings when I would become overwhelmed. My whole world is wrapped up with Mike – we truly have become one and even the thought of him being away for so long and so far causes me to feel so empty inside. I feel guilty when I try to do something without him.

Thus, I must learn to cope, even though I really don’t want to. I don’t want this deployment to happen at all. There is still a minute chance that it will be cancelled – the Army tends to do what the Army wants whenever it wants but I doubt this will happen. I have to begin facing it and fighting the fears inside. I only wish I knew how. I can only argue with myself and win so many times without caving to the fears.

Coping – I just don’t want to but I must! Never let fear stop you! Hmmm….can’t let fear keep me from living….now there is a thought.


Lessons from the Spartan Course

When we are growing up, we are taught “Listen to your parents. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your elders. Listen to your coaches.” As a grown-up, I should have listened to my coach, who also happens to be my hubby and the other half of Team Baconator. He has trained with me and ran every mudrace with me thus far. He has a good idea of what I can and cannot accomplish physically. He also knows when to push me mentally.

I raced the Military Spartan sprint in Colorado this past Sunday. I battled with fear the entire day before to the point I almost chicken out. However, with LOTS of encouragement from friends, team Corn Fed!!!, F.O.O.T., soldiers with us AND freedom to choose from my hubby – I decided to live up to my mantra of Never Let Fear Stop You! I spent some solitude time Sunday morning and at 9 a.m. found myself at the start line ready to forge ahead as the Spartan I am!

Take off went well, with the exception of jogging a bit too fast or too long and having the altitude remind me that I was from Indiana. I slowed to a walk, breathing deeply as I approached the first obstacle. A series of 4 long jumps over water/mud pits. Hmmm….I was full of confidence! Now my Coach is standing on the side, telling me NOT to jump but to go through the mud pits. He had already jumped them and barely made it. Knowing me the way he does AND the fact that I am not a good jumper, he suggested that I just go through the pits. But oh no, not me. I knew I could do this and I was going to. So off I go and TA DA! I made the first jump – BARELY! Upon my belly smacking landing, I injured my outer calf just below my knee. Sore but I was ok, I made it and I knew I could do it again. So I try and SPLASH! Right into the mudpit I go! Thus, the rest of the pits were climb in/climb out.

Now, I have about 4 1/2 miles to do with this injured leg. No problem, I WILL NOT QUIT! I continue on, achieving some obstacles and doing my 30 Burpees (with Team help) on others. Some of my favorite obstacles were the Ruck March and the Barbed Wire Low Crawl with a weapon. Nothing like getting muddy!

Then we came to the Weaver. This obstacle I recognize as a military one as I have heard my hubby and son talk about it before. Thankfully, the Weaver had an optional choice that I call the Up/Over/Down. It is built very similar to the Weaver but rather than weaving your body over a log then under a log, you simply climb up one side, over the top and down the other. The logs are spaced a good distance a part too. When I reached the top, my fear of heights kicked in high gear and I began having a panic attack! Hubby sensed it and began talking to me, I began talking to myself, I couldn’t let this panic attack get the best of me. I was near tears when my Soldier Angel (the soldier overseeing this obstacle), ran up the logs to me (yes, ran up them making it look soooo….easy). Without touching me, he talked me step by step over the top and I began making my way down. Whew! I made it, scary but now I am also ECSTATIC for facing yet another fear!

Onward we go, alas, my favorite of favorites! Hercules Hoist! There is just something about that obstacle that makes me feel strong! There is a women’s side with 40-50 lbs cement blocks and a men’s side with 80-90 lb cement blocks. Coach seems to think it is time for me to move over to the men’s side because the women’s is way too easy. We shall see…

I also learned something about what motivates me. When someone thinks I can’t do something and tries to give me an easy way through…I become mad as hell, kick in my stubborn attitude and prove them wrong! Twice on the course this happened to me. “Ma’am you use whatever means you need to in order to get over this hill or Just go around this wall, I am not the police, no one will know.” Duh! I will know! Now mind you I don’t do all 30 burpees either but I do what I can and my team helps me finish until 30 are done. Likewise, I do the same for other team members too. So, I do not consider this cheating myself but skipping the obstacles, doing it incorrectly and not doing burpees…..NOPE…that is cheating myself.

I have always been a bit stubborn, just ask anyone in my family but in this case my stubbornness was a good thing. I was too stubborn to take the easy way and too stubborn to quit. I finished the race in just under 4 hours and I am VERY PROUD of my achievement and the lessons I learned in the process. I am very grateful for my team, Baconator, Brenda and the other soldiers that assisted me throughout the course. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks!

Taking a few days to heal then off to my next great adventure…Mud-stash where my love for OCRs started. NEVER LET FEAR STOP YOU!

Mike’s Muddy Spartan Princess!

Emotional Override!

We drove into Colorado Springs yesterday evening, arriving for the first Spartan Military Sprint. WHAM! I got smacked with emotions I didn’t expect and tears flowed! Mike and I lived here twenty years ago; it is where our daughter was born. Memories from that time period, the extraordinary amount of change in the location, everything we have been through the past 20 years (both good and bad) and the fears of the race – all crashed in on me at once! I know where I was when I left this place and I don’t like where I am 20 years later. I admit I am moving in the right direction but I was then too and somewhere in those 2 decades I steered WAY OFF the Good Path and moved into the trenches of unhealthiness.

We drove onto Ft. Carson and noticed another major change and enormous growth! Then we saw it….the Spartan Race Course! Hubby and the other soldiers with us immediately got that tingly – gotta get out there and run feeling! The energy is racing through them! I got a different tingly feeling inside and it crushes me. I have not signed up for the race. I am volunteering on Saturday and was letting the guys do their military thing this weekend. We were also concerned about my ability to acclimate to the altitude but I travelled out here with the thought and hope that I would be able to run on Sunday.

I want Mike to be able to run full out without worrying about me – keeping my turtle pace and helping me over obstacles. You see I know the only reason I can run these races is because hubby always has my back and acts as my guide, coach, motivator. I could not do them without him. When I saw that portion of course, I knew immediately there were several obstacles I am not ready for and I hate that! I don’t like failing or skipping obstacles and I am lousy at burpees too!

I hate where I am right now and I know what my hubby will say when he reads this BUT unfortunately I know the limitations of my body and I am just not there yet…..one day maybe Team Baconator will be able to run as equals.

Never let fear stop you (but unfortunately physical limitations will at times…… 😦 …)

Be Persistent With Me!

After a few years apart due to military and educational commitments, I was finally able to move to Indiana to be with my husband in June of 2011. Add to this we were now empty nesters and life began to take on a newness that is almost indescribable! When I moved here, I had already begun walking regularly. The park that we moved into happens to have an old airfield that is a great place to walk, so I continued morning walks. This was a great time to pray and begin sorting through “stuff” in my head too.

Mike belonged to Anytime Fitness and a couple of months earlier had begun working with a trainer. So, I went to the gym and watched. Yes, I watched. We had cancelled my gym membership over a year earlier because there was no sense in paying for something that I wasn’t using. Plus, the one time in my life I had worked with a trainer was a joke. She basically showed me how to use the machines and that is pretty much what my workouts consisted of: no motivation, no push, no trainer. Needless to say, I was very leery of a trainer and what they could offer. However, Mike’s trainer was different. Hillary stayed with him throughout the whole training session. She showed him how to do different moves. The biggest difference I noticed was they used no machines! BUT….the moves they were doing looked very hard. There would be no way I could do anything even close to what they were doing. Nope, that “I can’t” attitude had once again surfaced.

A couple of weeks later, I did rejoin the gym and begin using the cardio machines: treadmill, bike, elliptical but weights? Well, that was a whole different subject. Mike and I began to spend a lot of time at the gym. The whole staff was (and still is) awesome! Very friendly, always willing to answer any question and offer assistance any way they can. So I began talking to the lead trainer, Nate, about getting healthy and the pros and cons of working with a trainer, a good trainer. I began talking with Hillary and she explained that I would NOT have to do the same exercises or intensity that Mike was doing. She would work with me at my level and my pace. I began watching her with other clients and found this to be true but I was still afraid of failing and of being laughed at. However, between my husband’s persistent push and the positive encouragement I found in the gym, I finally gave in and began training with Hillary in mid July.

Those first few weeks were horrid! I was so sore at times that I couldn’t move! Mike was having a few of those days himself after training sessions and it became a sort of joke between us. One week he could not lift his arms after his workout and I would make the mistake of laughing at him but guess who would not be able to move the following week. LOL! We were a couple of old potatoes trying to roll off the couch but having a ball doing it and growing closer to each other in the process!

Moving through the first few months, I am not sure how Hillary put up with me but she persisted. I would come in depressed and not really want to be there but I showed up. MANY times she would show me an exercise and I would tell her “I can’t do that” but she would insist and prove me wrong…EVERY TIME! In September, I walked my first 5K. In October, I walked my first OCR. Yes, I walked the entire OCR course but I finished with the help of my hubby. Then I lost my mom in October and pushed through the blur of the holidays. During these months I noticed my mental thinking beginning to change but I still wasn’t quite there yet.

January 1, 2012 – Mike ran and I walk/ran the RES/REV 5K in Indianapolis and dedicated the year 2012 as our Year Of Health. At some point during the month of January something in my thought process snapped. Suddenly I believed “I can” and I began doing. I was amazed at the difference 4 little words could make “I can do this!” I also hooked up with a gym buddy to workout with and made a new friend. I had begun to journal my food (something Nate and I had been working on but that is for another day). When I assessed at the end of January I had a big loss in both pounds and inches and a good gain in strength! I was ecstatic and pushed harder. I have run/walked several more 5Ks and pushed through 2 Spartan Sprints! I am loving this new active life and sharing it with hubby! We are Team Baconator!

I still have days that “I don’t want to” but the difference is that “I know I can if I choose to.” After months of constant encouragement and persistence from my husband, the ATF staff, trainers and new friends, I finally have my head in the game. I get it! My mental thinking is a choice. There are still times I think Hillary is crazy for assuming I can do certain moves BUT I trust her. So, I just do it – usually with a rhythmic chant under my breath “I – CAN – DO – THIS!” Know what? I always do! One more thing…..YOU CAN TOO!


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