Wednesday, 28 December 2016


My great grandparents, or maybe great-great grandparents came to the US. I am happy that they came here. My family is a mixture of Polish, German, Scottish, English and more. One of the best things of America is the diversity and mixing of cultures, heritages, ideas. People here talk about being some nationality and they take pride in their history. However, this history has been Americanized, adapted. 

I met some people from the Netherlands last summer. Interestingly, they felt like they had more in common with the Amish people in Pennsylvania than the Dutch people in Michigan. They had to speak to the Dutch people that they met in English and could communicate easier with the Pennsylvania people. I would not have thought of that. 

I think about my own life and how I have changed and grown by moving to different areas. Each area has new people to meet, new places to visit and new traditions to discover, making life richer. Every person that I met has a different perspective on life and I find it fascinating. 

My family moved to the states for opportunity for themselves and future generations. I don't understand the opinions of keeping people out of this country. Most of our families were not here. How can I then turn around and say that others can not be here? If my family had not been able to come, they would not have met the spouses that they did, they would not have built the lives that they did, worked, had children, etc. and I would not exist. Each time people come to the US, they bring their culture, history and ideas. There are a lot of cultures and customs that I do not know. We can all learn from each other. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Making Nothing

Sometimes the process of making is the important part, the actual making is the after thought, the possible outcome. This week, I got all of the tools ready. I wedged the clay and stuck in on the wheel. I relaxed into the chair and turned the wheel on. The slippery gooey clay formed in between my fingers, the noise of the motor whirred as the wheel turned, the forms mesmerized me as the clay turned. Pure bliss. The clay rose and fell as I squished it. My fingers were covered and slop stuck to my hands and arms. Amazing. When the clay was ready, I put a hole in the middle and started to form it. I was just in the moment. I didn't have pressure to make anything, just to play. As I was nearing the end of forming it, it flopped. This round was for the experience, not the product. Sometimes, that is way better than making something. There is no worry about what it will be, how to finish it, or fear that it won't turn out, cause sometimes it is just about the making of nothing.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Polaroid Goodness and Giving Away Stuff

I have a Polaroid camera that I have had since you could but the film in a normal store. Then it sat in a drawer for years. I had the best of intentions to find out how to get film for it. More years passed. Then we moved again and were going through our stuff, getting rid of whatever we could. (Twice. We got rid of a bunch of things before leaving North Carolina and again when unpacking in Pennsylvania) That Polaroid camera made it through the process, which meant that I had to use it. 

Film was purchased on Amazon. I was so excited to take it on trips and get some great shots. It turns out that it is important (necessary? imperative?) to read the instructions on this brand of film before use. In my head, the sun would help the film develop. In reality, the brightness of the light is very bad for it and so the first round was sadly and dramatically over exposed. You can see the top picture for what NOT to do with this film. The other part of this specific film that was explained in the instructions is that it takes a half hour for development. OH. I took the picture of the film on the snow because they were blue and thus I thought they were duds. What you are supposed to do it take the picture and hide it as fast as you can. Then in a half hour, there should be magic. My second round was much better. 

Sometimes, it is hard to give stuff away. The hope in it being used is bigger than the sadness it giving the item up, but it is still hard, especially when there is sentimental attachment. I had another camera, a 35mm film camera, that I always had the best of intentions of using. It was nice, I loved it, it was a great camera, complete with instruction book, carrying case, beautiful woven strap, the works. But I did not use it. To have something so great and not use it is terrible. It was a gift to me years ago, which made me love it even more, but also made it more sad that it was not being used. I decided to give it away. I did not want to just take it to a donation site though, I wanted to give it to someone who would use it. I took it to work and it got snapped up within about a half hour. I overheard oooohhhs and aaaahhs as the strap, the camera, the case and the lenses were explored. It is sad that I never learned how to use that camera well. However, I am hopeful that it is in a good home now. It deserves it. That camera was much too special to sit in my closet. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Running in Ice Drops

I had the best run when visiting my sister in February. I ran along the ocean and it was beautiful! More than that though, it was powerful. I was in awe. 

The run was a little chilly to start and it was raining in small drops. As I ran further, there were times when the rain was harder. The waves in the ocean were roaring and it was windy. I ran past a restaurant that overlooks the ocean as a huge wind gust blew me backwards. I had to laugh thinking what I looked like to the diners, was I still moving forward or not? The rain drops continued to fall. Every so often, the drop would be salty from the ocean or icy. Incredible! It is amazing to get to be in God's creation like that, surrounded by the sea, wind, rain, sand, wow! It is powerful. 

I tried explaining the amazingness of that run to some friends, they looked at me like I was crazy. How could running when it is cold and rainy be a good thing? Well, when you are running, you are not cold. It is almost as if you are removed from the cold. You feel the rain drops but they are not cold, they just are. Amazing. 

Friday, 9 October 2015

Why are you crying?

Ryan walked into the kitchen as I was clutching my phone and trying to show him the screen. My eyes were teary. 

"What is going on?"

As I explained, my teary eyes turned into full on sobbing. "Someone gave $70. I posted on Facebook that I had $231 of the $300 goal just a little while ago (less than an hour). Someone donated the money. I'm blown away." More tears. 

"Why are you crying?" 

"Because it is so amazing!"

A few weeks ago, I got an email from the Bull City Race Fest team and Durham Habitat for humanity inviting me to raise $300 for habitat. Right away it felt like something that I needed to do. Habitat is a great organization. In college, I went on a spring break trip to help build homes in Florida. It was amazing. I looked on the Durham Habitat website where there were videos of people getting their homes and people helping to build them. There was also a great gallery of before and after pictures of house rehabs. How neat that they redo homes too! 

I was sold on the idea of fundraising for it, but nervous about the success that I would have getting to the $300 mark. I felt like God was asking me to trust him that it would work out. I would do my part, he would make it work. Trust is not an easy thing. 

It is humbling, exciting, amazing, and a little overwhelming (in a good way) that the $300 goal was reached. I am so thankful for everyone who gave money towards it. Wow and thank you! Each time someone gave any money, I would get an email about it. It was wonderful to see the generosity of people. I am honored to get to be a part of it. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Lung Strong

I ran a 15k last Sunday. It's been months since running a race and so I was a mixture of slight worry and curious about how I would do. Thankfully, 15k is a bit over 9 miles, not the 13 ish of a half marathon.

It has been raining here all week and most of last week too. So, Sunday morning, it was raining lightly. I left my house later than I wanted to, got close to the start and managed to find a perfect parking spot not too far away. I walked to the start in time to hear an announcement that the race would be delayed 15 minutes for the weather. A few of us chuckled a bit. It had been raining and would be raining, why delay? I'm sure there was some reason, but it is a little bit funny.

Races are a lot of fun because of the people around. There are great people running it, wonderful volunteers and interesting vendors.  It's instant community in a way because everyone is there together and there is common experience. You chat to people beforehand

Towards the end of the race, I was getting tired. I cheered with the volunteers. I cheer at them, they cheer back or vice versa. It is fun, breaks up monotony, and gets my head off of being tired. Close to the end, there was a large hill. Ew! In my mind, the end had to be close. Finally, a runner just behind me yelled, "The finish is just around the corner, run faster!" So I ran faster. I am really thankful for that encouragement because I had no idea that we were that close to the finish. There was a turn and then the end so when he said it, you could not yet see the finish.

I hope that I am an encouragement to others who are running the race. Before the race, there are many people to say good luck to and chat about the race. During the race, I say good job to people who pass who or people that I pass. I cheer at the people on the sidelines. They cheer back. I also hope that my cheering maybe gives them a bit more energy to give to someone else who needs it.

Ryan was at the finish line taking a photo. It is really nice to have him there to say good job and to walk around with afterwards. I appreciate the support!

We had to wait a bit to see if I placed in my age group, and I did! During the run, I really have no idea how many people are ahead of me. It is fun to see the results sheets as they get printed. I look at my time, count women in my age group and try to get a sense of the placement. I get lucky because women in my age group usually win the race, which means that I place higher in the age group that I would otherwise. Yay!

A little over three weeks until the next race.....

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Running, Encouragement, and Water

When you volunteer for things that you really enjoy, it almost does not seem like it should be called volunteering anymore. Enjoying, being, helping, participating. 

I especially enjoy volunteering at race events. I love the excitement as people check in and get ready. The energy in the air is wonderful and positive. People are meeting each other as they prepare for this event collectively. During the race, there is great community and encouragement as people pass each other. "Good job!" "You too!" "One more hill to go...." etc. There is great congratulations at the end as well as you talk through what you just went through together. It is neat.

Being the person who hands over the race bib is a great job. They are officially ready to go once they just pin it on. 

A few weeks ago, I got to help with a water stop. It was somewhere around 90 degrees and over two miles in on a trail run. What a great spot to be! What a need to get to help fill. It was fun giving the runners a bit of water (learning how to get splashed the least while handing it over) and some encouraging words as they climbed one of the hills in the run. 

Sometimes in my head, volunteering seems like duty or something hard. Really, if you find things you are passionate about, it is getting to help people. It is a "get to" not a "need to." I leave those times hoping the I helped someone and knowing that I enjoyed it.