What We’re Made Of

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I went to a pre-school that was housed in a big Catholic church. Our play area was in the sanctuary, which was obviously no longer used for services. A huge stained glass window at the far end of the room lent the space a muted, calming glow. I remember the cool touch of the stone walls, the dusty smell of the couches we all gathered on for story time, and the blue tables with silver aluminum trim where we made our craft projects. We had a dress-up station, stilts to toddle around on, the Lego sets I never had at home, and even little cots to take our naps on. Looking back, it was a pretty amazing pre-school. I have a surprisingly large number of distinct memories from that place, considering how young I was.

While I was there, I went through a phase with the monkey bars. For whatever reason, one day I decided that I needed to be able to cross them. I was determined to swing my way from one side to the other, and I wasn’t going to let kickball games, boisterous boys, or two handfuls of red and swollen blisters stop me.

I don’t recall how long it took me to finally reach my goal, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t even remember how I felt when I finally did it. But I do remember the attempts. I remember the stubbornness I felt towards getting all the way across, the unrelenting drive to keep on going, and the unwillingness to stop trying. As a child, I was extremely shy and sensitive, so this behavior was slightly out of character.

Out on a morning run last week, I had about 3/4 of a mile left and I was feeling tired and ready to give myself a break. I haven’t been out running at all this winter, so my stamina is in a very sad state. As I ease back in, I’ve been allowing time for little walking breaks, my pace is much slower than is has been in the past, and I’m generally just trotting along versus actually running. At the point when I wanted to stop and I knew I had about 3/4 of a mile until I was home, I approached a red light that clicked over to green. I realized I had the choice to go ahead and walk, but something inside my head said, “Nope. Getting through this helps you remember what you’re made of.”

The truth, my friends, is that I’ve had a whirlwind of a winter. Life has presented me with challenges I didn’t (and still don’t fully) feel prepared for. I’ve been launched into planning and preparing for things that I anticipated happening years from now. I think that we all go through periods in life where we challenge ourselves, and then periods when we are challenged by life. I’m currently in a period of being challenged by life, and it seems that somewhere between January and last week, I forgot what I am made of.

I ran (okay, I trotted)  that 3/4 of a mile home chanting to myself, “Remember what you’re made of. Remember what you’re made of. Remember what you’re made of.

Running Shoes

I made it home without a break, and I texted my Mom: “I did my whole morning run without stopping to walk!! Hooooray!!!”

She replied with: “YEAH, YOU! I know this has been a challenge. Reminds me of your monkey bar tenacity!”

I felt utterly victorious, and my commitment to finishing completely renewed my sense of inner strength.

It was remarkable.

I may not be completely unflappable in the midst of life’s surprises, but I’ve certainly still got the grit of a 5-year old girl who is determined to reach the other side of the monkey bars. I’m learning that, during the extra wild stretches of life, it helps to give ourselves a little self-imposed nudge into something challenging – if only to remember what we’re made of.

What are you made of? Passion? Drive? Unwavering loyalty? What helps you remember that you’ve got these things in you?

The Liebster Award

Something I never anticipated when starting this blog was how exciting it would be to connect with people from all across the country. It’s like a little present each time I open my inbox to find a new message from someone I’ve met through this space.

This weekend I found an email from the lovely Amber over at The Usual Bliss. She was nominated by another blogger for The Liebster Blog Award. This award is given to new, or up-and-coming, bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The award is then passed along to other bloggers, in the same category, to help spread the word & support one another. How cool is that?! What’s even cooler? Amber passed the award onto me!



What this award requires me to do is post 11 random facts about myself, and then nominate another group of up-and-coming blogs for you to check out.

My pleasure!

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. Since I hit my late 20’s, my hair and fingernails have started growing at an alarming rate. I recently got bangs, and am wondering if that was a tremendous mistake because they are only the right length for about 2 days. Manicures? Not worth the money for this girl.
  2. I have an undying love for putting twigs and tree branches in glass vases as decoration. I think I owe that credit to my Aunt Lisa. She has lived in various homes over the years, and she always creates warm and elegant spaces – often with found objects from nature.
  3. My purse is never without a bar of dark chocolate. My favorite brand is Theo, a company I fell head-over-heels for after touring their factory in Seattle a couple of years ago.
  4. I get downright giddy about ripping off and eating the nubby end of a french baguette. Lucky for me: there are two on each loaf!
  5. I love to take naps.
  6. I get cold very easily, so I don’t particularly enjoy being wet from head to toe. Swimming, getting out of the shower, running through the sprinkler… all of these things are met with various levels of trepidation.
  7. Every month or two, I get a huge craving for a hamburger or a roast beef sandwich. I take this as my body’s signal that I need a bit more protein or iron, and I indulge accordingly.
  8. I’ll take any excuse I can to wear red lipstick.
  9. I am almost a certified yoga instructor. I may never actually teach any yoga classes.
  10. I really enjoy wearing stripes.
  11. I have a weakness for gas station coffee, topped off with a smidge of the fake creamer. Please don’t judge me.

Those of us who read blogs know this much about ourselves: we’re a curious bunch. It’s a treat and an honor to be allowed into the lives of others through these spaces. Amber’s interview was really fun, and provided a delightful way to feel like I got to know her better. Hopefully these little snippets about me helped you feel the same.

A huge thank you to Amber for giving me a little shout-out. Be sure to check out her blog – you’ll fall in love with her honesty, silliness, fun photos, and so much more (warning: you may also want to take up permanent residence in the guest bedroom of her amazing mountain home!).

Onto my suggestions for some wonderful blogs!

Raw Milk Marathon: Jane is a seriously talented writer. The post about her in-laws? Knocked my socks off. But what I love most about Jane and her blog is the courage she brings in confronting the topics that are easy to shy-away from: having (or not having) babies, insecurities, faith, debt… she does it all. With grace and eloquence. Wowza.

Miles and Laurel: Rebecca is one wildly motivated lady. She runs marathons, volunteers all around town, takes on loads of craft projects, has a sweet dog, and is getting married to her longtime honey this fall. Rebecca’s adventures are incredibly fun to read about, and her eternal optimism often feels like a dose of bright sunshine.

Train. Compete. Finish. Repeat.: Kate is a runner who writes about her journey of getting back in the game of training for races. As a runner myself, I know how much of what we learn out on the streets/trails during training applies directly to life. Kate has just started her blog and I can’t wait to keep reading.

Tell me: What do you look for in a blog? Honesty? Great photos? Recipes? We all read for different reasons – what’s yours?!