Finishing Last is Victory

Two years ago, if you had told me I would’ve left my home before 6 a.m. on a Saturday to do something I wasn’t comfortable with outside in the rain with women I didn’t know, I would have told you, you didn’t know me. Time brings about a change. 2014 is the year of Laschandra, so more excuses.  

Today, I put my insecurities aside and stepped out of my comfort zone. As I began to put my clothes on this morning, my nerves crept in. I began to think of excuses, namely the forecast called for a 30% chance of rain. I kept checking my phone looking for a FB posts or text messages from Tangela cancelling because of rain. No text – no FB post – for that matter – no smoke signal. I was all out of excuses. Before I talked myself out of it, I peeked in on Mary-Isabella, kissed Anthony and headed out almost an hour early for a 10 minute drive.

I wasn’t quite sure where I was going. As I’m driving, drops of rain begin to hit the windshield. There is still no text or FB post cancelling the event. On top of it all, the address I had was incomplete, so my navigation simply quits. Maybe, it was a sign for me to do the same. I circled the area a couple of times. As I thought about turning around, the sprinkles of rain turned into a little shower. You guess it, still no text of FB post. As minutes the ticked by, the harder the rain fell. As I finally picked up the phone to call Tangela, I’m thinking she wouldn’t answer or she would let me off the hook by saying we weren’t meeting. No such luck. LOL

Once there, the other ladies were standing in the rain, eager and ready to start. I got out of truck not knowing what to expect. What I encountered was warm smiles and positive energy. As we gathered in the circle to pray, I really can’t describe how I felt. For years, I said I was going to do it. And, here I was seconds away from doing it. Was I crazy to think I could run? Was I crazy to think I could show a vulnerability in front of strangers?

The Black Girls Run leader says, “we are going to do a total of 3 miles along Walnut Bend toward Forest Hill Irene.” I’m thinking, WTH. I looked around to see other ladies hadn’t flinched. I’m thinking to myself, I;m going to be last. I’m going to be embarrassed. It was as if Tangela knew I was having self-doubts, she chimes in as on cue with her encouraging words. By the time, we head out, there is full rain shower.

As we begin to run, one runner after the other begins to pass me. As they do, my confidence waivers. I’m literally the last person. Then, my God, begins to chime in, you can do it. I begin to quote scripture and affirmations, “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Tangela hangs back with the walk/runners, which includes one other young lady and me. I was determined to run more than I walked. As we jogged along Walnut Bend, we passed the cardiologist’s office I visited two years ago. He told me I had to make lifestyle changes and here I was finally making the changes.

“In … out … in…out…breathe…focus…in…out…in…out…breathe…focus”

The young lady who started out with me in the walk/runners group, eventually pulled off, There was only Tangela and me at the end. I started to get discouraged. I heard Anthony’s voice, “you can do this”. Tangela announces we had reached the 1 mile mark. I begin to see the other ladies returning from the 1.5 mile mark. At the 1.25 mile mark, the BGR leader passes us saying we are going to the bridge, which was a little further than 1.5 mile mark Tangela estimated earlier.

At that moment, I don’t think I can’t go any further. But God! We finally reached the bridge. We turned around. By this time, all the other runners were completely out of sight. All that was left was Tangela, the rain and me. Feelings of embarrassment and disappointment begin to set in. I told myself, perhaps, I’m not ready for this. As we continue to move, Tangela begins encouraging me. She such a good motivator. She gets it. She reminds she was once I where I was. I begin thinking of my baby and husband. So, I dig deep.

“In … out … in…out…breathe…focus…in…out…in…out…breathe…focus”

Tangela says, “I will follow your pace.” When you want to run, we will run. As the rain falls, my tears begin to fall. I realize I’m doing something I wanted to do for years. I begin thank God for this moment. I continue to push forward.

As we approached Germantown Parkway, I assumed the other runners had left. Tangela says, many of them will wait until the last person returns. While I felt so humbled, I was also little embarrassed and anxious to be last. As I reached the parking lot, I saw the other ladies. This was the first time these ladies met me, and here they were caring enough to wait in the rain for me. I was so thankful and appreciative.

BGR

Yes, I was the last person to finish the run. I completed 3.6 miles. I ran more than I walked. For me, this was a victory. Ironically enough, by the time I pulled into my garage, the sun and son were both shining!

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Goodnight Clock

This was Mary-Isabella’s first book

Burrito Justice

Most of you know Goodnight Moon, where a little bunny goes to bed. There are a number of subtle details in the Clement Hurd’s artwork that you only pick up on after reading the book several. hundred. times.

(FYI multiple updates on this post, check the bottom)

There’s the mouse, and the moon rising in the window, and the art on the walls referencing other Margaret Wise Brown books. And then there’s the clock. It’s something I gradually noticed over the past few years, and last night I decided, hey, GIF…

Turns out the little bunny bedtime ritual takes an hour and ten minutes, starting at 7 and lights out at 8:10, which seems about right.

goodnight moon clock

Protip: If your friends are having kids, getting them Goodnight Moon (and/or a set of Sandra Boyton books) is always a good bet. If you *don’t* like them, or are in search of a retaliatory…

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Shot of love – part 2

Exactly 1 year ago, I published a blog post titled, “Shot of Love”. In the blog, I talked about how we left Mary-Isabella with family for a couple of hours so Anthony and I could enjoy some much needed QT together. Our date day happened during his Spring Break.

What a difference a year makes. This Spring Break, our precious baby girl has been with my parents the entire week.  While we’ve missed her, I’m so happy she gets  time with her grandparents. She brings them so much joy. Anthony is always so supportive of my parents, who live three hours away, spending as much time as they can with Mary-Isabella.

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Mary-Isabella with her maternal grandparents.

This has been a whirlwind year. Mary-Isabella is a toddler now. We are loving every second of being her parents. We are perhaps enjoying it a little too much as we’ve definitely had periods where we were guilty of neglecting our relationship. Times where we felt more like roommates and business partners.

Spring signals new beginnings. And, just what our relationship needed. Anthony made sure we were intentional about spending time connecting and renewing our bonds.

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St. Patrick’s Day parade on Beale St.

Spring Break also allowed us to spend time with our friends. We are blessed to have to have a close circle of friends who are so geniune. There aren’t any pretenses … just good people. These friends, like us, are committed to loving God, our spouses and families. We truly believe in working hard and we playing harder.

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Johnny and Tabatha Holmes enjoying good music at Mugshots.

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Marcus Jones without his lovely wife, Tamara, enjoying the festivities of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

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Educators gone wild during a fish fry at the Holmes’ residence.

As you can see, we had blast this Spring Break with our friends and one another. It was just shot of love we needed.

I’m learning marriage has cycles. It requires daily work, prayer, sacrifice and commitment. While parenting and life have definitely tested our marriage, I do firmly believe we are better people and partners for it.

I hope we remember the good times we enjoyed last week when life becomes stressful. I also hope we stay committed to investing time in us.