Tag Archives: life

Running Fast

Standard

I run more than I used to. And much faster.

 

For the longest time, I had a set running scheme. Twenty jumping jacks, hop on the treadmill, start at 6.4 speed, increase the speed one tenth every half mile for two miles, slow back down to 6.4 for the third mile, speed up a decimal every quarter mile until I hit mile 3, then speed up to 7.0 until I got to 3.11 miles, or a 5k. Stop. Stretch.

 

I’ve always been sluggish. I’ve never been quick on my feet. My legs are disproportionately short and squat compared to my longer, leaner torso. I’m not built for speed. I was proud of my nine-to-ten minute miles, since 7th grade me could barely puff out a mile in 14 minutes and always had to stop and walk.

 

Then I had a conversation with one of our church teens. He’s a he, considerably taller than me, with long skinny legs and long flailing arms. He attends the school I attended when I was a teenager, and one of the features of their physical education program (as is the case with every phys. ed. program) is a regularly scheduled timed (and graded) mile run. We were comparing mile times; I rather proudly told him I could run a mile in about nine minutes.

 

He looked at me in wonder. “Nine minutes?” he said, almost pityingly. “That’s like, a D.”

 

Even though I know this boy well enough to know that he would never intend to hurt, I broke a little inside. I had worked hard for several years to get that fast. I was only able to make it to the three-mile mark in the last four years (my first time was when I was 20). I have managed very well for a person who is not genetically predisposed to athleticism. I’ve rarely even experienced “runner’s high”—running doesn’t feel good until I’m finished running. The act of running isn’t very fun, but it’s the most straightforward thing I’ve figured out to do that helps me stay healthy. As someone with no coordination, questionable depth perception, and a visceral aversion to group activities, sports are a significantly less enjoyable fitness option. Yoga, though and fun and challenging alternative, doesn’t get my heart rate up. I love feeling my heart thud confidently through the miles; I love the feeling of my springy knees; I love coming to the end of a few miles knowing I earned the warmth radiating from and through my muscles. So I run. Not fast. Just determinedly, and consistently: at least five times a week at varying distances.

 

I wasn’t about to take anyone’s pity for not being able to run fast. The following Monday, I started a mile at my usual finishing pace (7.0, or about an 8.75-minute mile) and sped up a bit every minute. I surprised myself with my first 8.25-minute mile.

 

Of course, I couldn’t let myself stop there. I had to get faster, and I had to be faster over longer distances. I kept my established pattern for 5ks, but kept increasing my starting speed. I would do 2-mile interval runs, alternating a minute of sprinting with a minute of running at an easier pace until I reached 2 miles, always finishing at my maximum speed. I would run a mile at a time, going as fast as my legs and lungs could carry me. I supplemented with weighted leg exercises, like squat jumps and calf raises and walking lunges and many, many more. I would choose my pre-run meals carefully, making sure that I would be full but not too full and sufficiently carbed up for my fastest and easiest pace.

 

Soon I could run 2 miles in 16 minutes, which quickly shrank to 2 miles in 15:23. My 5k time went down from 28 minutes to 25 and change. Occasionally I can go for 4 miles without killing myself (although my feet have taken a beating).

 

This week, I ran a 5k in my shortest time ever: 23 minutes and 58 seconds, or about 7 minutes and 45 seconds per mile. Today I ran 4 miles at an easier pace of about 8.5 minutes per mile, finishing in 32 minutes and 43 seconds.

 

All of this information is, I understand, more or less meaningless statistics on a runner who will probably never run in any race longer than a 5k. I realize that there are hundreds if not thousands of people out there who can run much faster than me and who probably think a 7:45 mile is embarrassingly slow. I understand that, so laugh all you like.

 

But I am proud of myself. I am fast, sort of. And I am getting faster.

Advertisements

Brace Yourselves

Standard

Autumn is coming.

Autumn is coming and I am prepared.

All of my sweaters are condensed into one drawer. A pair of second-hand leather oxford shoes arrived in the mail today. My flannel shirts are hung in my closet with care. I’m knitting a long, warm scarf.

I bought one of those crazy Peruvian patchwork jackets for a fraction of its original cost because the zipper doesn’t zip. I’ve wanted one for years, but didn’t want to shell out the $40 to own one. This one is forest green and orange and pink and covered in vine-like embroidery and looks like fall itself and was only $8. It’s hanging by my door, begging to be worn on long walks and shuffles through heaps of crackling leaves. Who cares if it won’t zip? I never zip my jackets anyway, not unless it’s really cold.

My colorful clogs have been sitting in a bin by the door, waiting. Just waiting.

I’m born again every fall. I write more. I think more. I breathe more. I take more walks. I drink more coffee. I’m freer, wilder. I wear my hair down after months of doing everything in my power to keep it off of my neck. I can see everything more clearly.

Autumn gives me hope.

The air cleans itself up. The sky gets bluer. It’s harder to think about all the awful things going on in the world when it’s autumn.

Autumn has always been about fresh starts and new beginnings. Every school year starts in fall. Every new term starts with a new stack of books and new pens and pencils and notebooks. All those blank pages, so crisp and full of potential. All those heavy books, too thick to devour in one bite, that must be taken in piece by piece until they’re a part of you.

Autumn means new adventures. Although I’ve never done much traveling in Autumn (and I probably never will), my mind travels with a little help from a lot of books, and that is usually enough.

I love Autumn.

Which is why this unrelenting heat is unbearable on almost a spiritual level. It was 95 degrees outside today. Ninety-five. My soul is ready for bonfires and marshmallows and pumpkin spice lattes, and it’s 95 DEGREES OUTSIDE.

But I’m hopeful. It’s supposed to rain next week. Rain means a cold front. Rain means a change in pressure. Rain brings change. Rain brings the autumn.

And I’m ready.

Clean

Standard

Few things trigger my anxiety more than having a cluttered home.

My mother will laugh as she reads this, because I do not hold the title of “tidiest person in the Rambler household.” In fact, I’m pretty sure I was never even the runner up. My definition of orderly doesn’t always align with most people’s. As a general rule, though, I prefer to see straight lines and empty spaces and recognizable stacks and clean surfaces and no trash littered around. I do like having more things to look at—those sleek, modern spaces with no more decoration than a vase on a table are, in my mind, impersonal and cold—and since I own so many things there tends to be quite a bit to look at and to keep in line.

I can tolerate clutter to a point. I generally know where things are. I may not be able to easily access them at all times, and when I’m in the middle of a project or a semester I prioritize art over tidiness, but I always try to keep things clean.

My orderliness comes in waves. Over time, clutter and dust and grit build up in my space: bits of paper, stacks of books, discarded clothes. I’ll ignore or put off the rearranging of these possessions until I see clutter everywhere and seeing the clutter makes it difficult for me to breathe. Empty spaces are driven to extinction by little piles, little assemblies of things I’m sure I’m not responsible for and weren’t always there yet somehow are now.

I’ve lost control of my space. It will get to a point where I don’t know where things are. Until I can get it under control again, to a state where everything has a place and sits there, ready for use, I cannot enter my home without feeling extreme stress.

So I’ll snap and clean everything.

On my own, when I had a room in my parents’ house instead of a whole apartment, I could keep a state of order and cleanliness for a solid two months, maybe more, before noticing the need for a straightening up.

Add another person—particularly a person whose standard of orderliness is (perhaps, maybe) even less conventional than your own—and that length of time dwindles rapidly to the course of one week, maybe, before everything is in disarray again.

It is one thing entirely to convince oneself that items like pencils (or pens, shoes, clothing, whatever) need to be returned to the same location after use for greater ease of finding that item again when needed in the future. It is another thing entirely to convince the person you live with that the practice of returning things to a designated location is a good idea.

One person trying to keep a good habit is hard. Two trying to do it together is harder.

That aside, even with the best intentions towards tidiness and minimalism can be thwarted by the arrival of new items into a small space. And, over time, once enough items accumulate, even my perpetually somewhat untidy (and hoard-y) self decides it’s time to get rid of some stuff.

All that to say I’ve spend that last two weekends getting rid of stuff.

I got rid of clothes. I got rid of yarn. I got rid of kitchen stuff I haven’t used in a year. I tossed old papers. I cleaned out drawers. I cleaned out the closet. I cleaned off the dresser. I got things out from under the kitchen table. I reorganized the cabinets in the kitchen. I sanitized counters. I scrubbed and shined and vacuumed. I took bags of stuff out the door never to be seen again.

I can see so much more of my floor. The nightstands are free of superfluous nonsense. You can open the closet door all the way inward. My dresser drawers open and close without a fuss. You could perform surgery on my countertops, they’re so sterile.

Most importantly, our shared space is now much more serene, much easier on the eyes, and we know where everything is and can access it easily.

I hope it lasts the week.

Sick Day

Standard

Last week, I wished I could get sick.

I’m one of those people who really likes being alone. By “alone,” I don’t mean going to busy places by myself, shopping by myself, driving by myself (although all of those activities can be very therapeutic). No, I like to be by myself, in a quiet room, doing quiet activities. All alone.

I don’t get to do that. Being alone might happen for a few hours on Saturday. Might. I spend most of my waking hours around other people. While I’m sure that’s probably very good for me, I don’t get much time to recharge.

But, I reasoned, if I get sick, then I’ll have an excuse to stay home, not leave my apartment, not talk to people, and do whatever creative stuff I want. Aside from being sick, I thought, I’d have a mini vacation.

One week later, I am sick. Not deathly ill. I was sicker back in January when a cold erupted into a mongrel flu-sinus-infection hybrid that floored me for weeks and also somehow gave me insomnia. No, this time I have a fever and a headache and decreased appetite. Piece of cake.

I mean, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. But other than that, I’m great.

I got a whole day to knit and write and read. I’ve taken two bubble baths in the last 24 hours. I’ve dived into a stack of Poets & Writers I’ve been meaning to catch up on for months. I wrote in my journal. I cranked out six inches of a double-knit scarf.

Funny how something as seemingly inconvenient as a sick day can turn out to be such a blessing in disguise.

Of course, my first day of classes is tomorrow, and I don’t want to miss it. So there’s that.

If only I could have gotten sick a week ago.

Not that I’m complaining of course.

Food

Standard

I’d be so skinny if it weren’t for all the food.

I’m an active person. I work out five days a week, six during the school year and I need to unwind a bit on Saturdays.  Running and weightlifting and stretching. Intervals. Bodyweight stuff. Yoga. I’m like a cat in a puddle of sunshine in terms of activity for all the hours of the day spent not in a gym, but for that one hour I am in the gym, I’m a machine. I’m on fire. I’ve shaved about five minutes off of my average 5k time in the last three months. I run about 10 miles a week. I can hammer curl 15 pounds and do 20 full-body pushups in a row without collapsing. I am a firm believer in a daily minute-long plank. I limp after leg day.

Yet, in spite of my herculean efforts in the gym, I’m encased in a lingering layer of comfortable fluff. Mostly in the sitting region. And, as I age, more around my waistley region. There’s a roll or two (or three) present when I sit down. I’ve got my fair share of cellulite and stretchmarks. There’s nothing remotely fitness modelish about me, and there never will be.

For the most part, I enjoy being stronger and faster than I’ve ever been so much that I don’t notice the persistent fluffiness, and even if I do, I don’t let it annoy me. After all, my diet is more conducive to weight maintenance than loss.

I eat healthy, too. I make everything myself. I eat mostly veggies and fruit with some meat and grains. I drink water, coffee, and fruit juice in moderation.

Mostly.

People keep giving me dessert.

Okay, there keeps being dessert available and I keep eating it.

Because dessert is delicious.

Because whoever came up with the phrase “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” clearly has never had my mother’s homemade chocolate cake. Or my peach pie, for that matter. Or, well, food.

But all things should be consumed in moderation.  Including dessert. Especially dessert.

I keep telling myself I’m going to go off dessert for a while. No sweets but dark chocolate (because it’s good for me). I feel much better, have more energy, and run faster when I cut back on the sweets.

The trouble with this plan is that all seasons are eating seasons. Let me explain. All seasons have some sort of treat that I absolutely must have (or absolutely will encounter and be unable to resist) at least once while that season lasts.

Spring: chocolate cake (for my birthday), cake at all the graduation parties and weddings, Easter candy.

Summer: peach pie, peach ice cream, ice cream in general.

Fall: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin cake doughnuts, pumpkin everything, if there’s pumpkin in it I want it, also apple pie. And Halloween candy.

Winter: baked chocolate pudding, Christmas cookies and other miscellaneous goodies.

My fitness life is a cycle of nibbling away at treats I love every season and not being given adequate time to detox before another season of deliciousness strikes me in the core (and the thighs and the tush and, well, you get the picture).

To make matter worse, I work an office job. There is always baked stuff. Our department has a doughnut fund. I have a hard time saying no to doughnuts.

Life is too short not to enjoy the sweet things. Even if it’s not very dietarily responsible.

So as long as there are seasons, there will be sweets, and as long as there are sweets, I’m going to be fluffy.

Oh, well. Pass the cookies. I’ll run an extra mile.

Adulthood is Stupid

Standard

I’ve been an adult for a few years now. I’m 24. I’ve lived on my own, paying my own rent and my own bills, for about two years.

Being an adult is stupid. It’s the biggest nope that ever was.

So far I’ve discovered that even though your peers are all adults, the playground bullies haven’t left. They’re just taller, and usually they have more money and influence than you.

Everything you thought would be great about adulthood when you were a kid comes with strings attached. You can eat whatever you want, but you also have to pay for it. You don’t have to go to school anymore, but still have to park in front of a desk for eight hours anyway. You can go wherever you want, but you need to think about how much gas will cost and where you have to be tomorrow and whether or not you’ll be fired if you go away for too long.

Being an adult apparently requires having a lot of Stuff even though Stuff isn’t really necessary for a happy existence. If you don’t want a huge house and want to build a tiny one, there are laws against that. If you don’t want to pay a huge power bill and switch to solar, there are laws against that. If you want to start a small business or be self employed so you can skip the rat race and have a job that allows you to escape the articifical and stressful environment of corperate America, you’ll get taxed out of doing that pretty quickly.

Your whole life you’ve been told to go to college so you can get a job. So you go to college and learn to do something you’re good at. Trouble is, the new expecation for entry-level positions usually requires 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 years of experience in that particular job field before they’ll even think about hiring you. You need both a college degree and real-world job experience before you can get paid so you can eat and pay rent. While you were busy studying away, making As, and working part time to ease costs a bit, all the jobs you care about have decided your degee isn’t good enough for them anymore. Most of us take the first job we can find, even if it’s a job we hate, and we don’t get the chance to gain experience for the jobs we’d actually enjoy.

You discover pretty quickly that renting a living space eats all the money you could be putting towards a house, especially since rent costs as much as a morgage payment if you want to live close to where you work. So you don’t buy a house and you don’t buy a new car because you don’t want to be in debt. Yet, as a newer adult, you’ll probably get flak for not going into debt for things you can’t afford in an economy you didn’t ruin. You’ll want to skip it all and live in an RV or live out of your car so you can actually go see the big world you live in, but refer to paragraph 4. Also, gas prices.

Even if everything is going well for  you in your corner of the world (relatively small rent, a job you enjoy or at least tolerate, a fairly healthy social life), there’s the rest of the planet. It’s exploding. If there’s not a plague, there’s an earthquake. People are killing other people because they’re different from them. Rapists go free while their victims are punished for being victims. Human beings are still sold as slaves. Children die for the crime of being conceived. Riots. Wars. Rumors of wars. And you can’t do anything about it.

The worst thing about adulthood is that even though everyone who is an adult has experienced adulthood and knows how hard it is, very, very few adults have any compassion for other adults. You can’t talk about the injustices and absurdities of this oversized playground without some snot-nosed kid in the sandbox yelling “Grow up and deal with it!”

Oh, sure, we’re growing up and dealing with it, but that doesn’t fix a single thing.

The only thing about being an adult that’s worth talking about is marriage.

Marriage is the best.

Because at the end of a long day of dealing with all of the above, you can come home, and your Spouse is there. You can make dinner together, talk about little things or big things or medium sized things, laugh together, dream together. You can shut all the nonsense out for a while. You don’t have to be what anyone expects you to be. You can be kids, sort of, for an hour or so before bed.

And somehow, by some sort of deep magic, those few hours are worth all the rest.

Family of Three

Standard

No, we don’t have a kid. Nor will we for the foreseeable future.

I’ve discovered I need to clarify that as often as possible.

But we do have a typewriter.

The typewriter belonged to a faculty member at Undisclosed University who, after a long and successful career as a teacher, had decided to retire. She is a published author, and as far as I know hasn’t given up on writing (she just released a new novel in the past year and has a contract with one of the larger publishing houses). At the end of this semester, she put out a table in the hallway outside of her office and started piling up books that she no longer wanted so passers by could take them away to good homes.

I walked away with an armload every time I walked by. My husband (a graduate assistant at UU) had his office right across from her, and gathered a few books for himself as well. We’re not the kind to pass up on free books.

One afternoon I came home to find my husband parked at the dining room table brooding over a large metal object. He looked up at me, beaming.

“Look what I found!”

I looked. Before him was a large mechanical typewriter. It was in stellar condition. The word “ROYAL” was stamped in large silver letters above the keyboard.

That scene from You’ve Got Mail popped into my head: Meg Ryan coming home to what’s-his-face, the columnist, toying with a new typewriter at the kitchen table, and she points out that it’s only one of several.

“It was Mrs. Page’s,” he told me. “It’s in perfect condition.”

“Mrs. Page’s?” I gasped. She’s a published author. I took her introductory Creative Writing course when I was a sophomore in college. Her novels are excellent; she’s personal hero of mine.

We own her typewriter. The typewriter she used to draw up her first published manuscript. I don’t put much stock in the concept of luck, but I feel that surely now that I have her magical typewriter, anything written in this house is blessed with success by the spirit of the beautiful woman whose novels have touched so many hearts.

The typewriter is our baby. By “our,” I mean my husband’s. He found the user’s manual online in PDF format and studied it on and off for days. He bought a new ribbon for it on eBay. He sent hours figuring out how to set margins and indents–even how to make columns and line spacing. I found index cards with snippets of typed phrases scattered in odd places around our apartment for weeks.

“Look at it,” he said once or twice, “there’s no wires, no circuits, nothing! One hundred percent mechanical!” He’d hammer down a few keys, each keystroke sounding like the rapport of machine gun fire. “I want to use it to type out my papers next year.”

I made a mental note to buy some ear plugs.

So far this summer, it has sat quietly in a wicker chair, waiting the day it will move into my husband’s new office. But for now it waits, it’s mechanical calm encompassing so many of our hopes and dreams. For my husband, it seems to symbolize the possibilities and promise of a new semester at seminary. For me, it represents writing, and the hope that with a little determination and a little effort, I can be finish something, shove it over a transom, and hope for the best.

Write

Standard

I remember where I started. I was a creative wriitng major whose time was consumed with course work which kept me from doing what I went to college to learn how to do well: write.

I started a blog to force myself to write.

And I have. I have written every day for four years.

Is writing easier now? Writing is never easy. Writing is hard work. Writing takes time and dedication and craftsmanship, all things which I’ve not always been able to apply here. Sometimes I wrote posts in the last thirty seconds before midnight. Sometimes I wrote posts days in advance. Sometimes I wrote with passions about something really important to me, and sometimes all I could brain out was a list.

But it is much easier to write what I really think. It is much easier to be honest and objective with myself than it used to be.

This blog has helped me realize I am far better at creative nonfiction than fiction. Far better at poetry than at short stories. Far better and pantoums than song lyrics.

Far better at being me than being anyone else.

I will not post tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure when i’m going to post here again–I haven’t gotten that far. I plan to publish the first post on my new blog on Friday, but the best laid plans of mice and men, so they say, oft go awry. If I start the new blog on Friday, I’ll be sure to put a link here.

I may not post. But I will write. I will always write. Old habits die hard.

I can’t stop now.

Faith

Standard

After all, how else could I have survived the last four years?

Sure, there’s laughter. Laughter is one of the best survival tools ever implemented by man. Laughter is why this blog began. In person, at least, I’m really good at getting people to laugh. I’m even pretty good at getting myself to laugh at impossible or difficult circumstances.

But there are some things even laughter does not help or heal. And that’s where faith stepped in.

I was stuck in Croatia the day they joined the EU. Stuck in an airport surrounded by people who did not speak my language and could not explain why my flight was delayed, why I could not meet my connecting flight, and how I could possibly tell my parents where I was or why I wouldn’t be home on time, if I got home at all.

Fate could not have delayed my flight and landed me in the line to get my flight rerouted. Fate could not have put me in line behind the one person in the airport who was fluent in English and had a phone capable of calling my parents home number from Zagreb, Croatia. Fate could not have put me on a flight sitting next to an EU representative who was questioning his Greek orthodox faith and would let me open my Bible with him as we searched for answers to his questions.

God could. God did. God always will and always does.

The last four years have been a series of seemingly insurmountable odds. I could not have overcome them on my own. I could not have survived on my own. People will laugh at me, tell me of course I did it on my own, that my dependence on God is some kind of sick self-deprecating fantasy.

But it isn’t.

I didn’t do it alone because I am never alone.

God gets full credit for every last moment of it.

Fearless

Standard

It’s easy to be fearless until you’re staring down the lion’s throat.

The thing about blank pages is that there are no limits. No limits but yourself. Yet that limit keeps us from dropping so much as a blob of ink on the page for fear that a blob out of place will send our lives into a downward spiral.

The future is our darkest enemy. It has no face, shows only its back, and is hidden by a cloud, darkly.

The future could keep us from doing anything, unless we choose to be fearless.

There are lions in the streets, we cry. But we are the lions.

But God shuts the lion’s mouths. We can walk unafraid. I can walk unafraid. No matter what happens, no matter the headlines, no matter the lions, I can walk toward the future and they won’t bite me.

Fear silences us, but faith lets us sing.

Fire

Standard

The coals burn, and they burn steady. They may not light up the world, but they light up the little circle around them. And they keep the people close by warm.

You see, the last four years saw me extinguished and reignited. Before I started college hoping for little more than a degree to get me a job to get me a house far away from people, in the mountains, surrounded by trees. Part of me still wants the little cabin in the woods, and I visit occasionally but I can’t live there.

My feet don’t stop. I couldn’t run a mile once–now I can run three and a half. I couldn’t stand the thought of living anywhere but home, and now I want to make the world my backyard, the airport my living room. I want to run. And run.

And I am no longer content to be solitary. I am no longer content to be silent.

Once the coals start, they don’t stop burning. I want to warm everyone around me. I want to change things. I want to change myself, or see myself change, or whatever happens first.

I want to be a lighthouse and warn people about the rocks around them. I want to shine out truth so others can see it–whether they believe me or not. Whether they like me or not.

I want to be fearless.

Milestones

Standard

I’ve been blogging for almost four years, and I didn’t even start a countdown.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who I was four years ago. I’m not overfond of that version of myself, but one can’t deny one’s own history.

The me from five years ago…how that was a girl. Six years ago and my, my, you wouldn’t know me. I had so much fire.

Four years ago, I had no idea who I was anymore. I had my walls torn down and my foundation cracked and I was so confused. I had to start all over from the beginning.

That’s when I met me from three years ago. That’s a me I never want to forget. That’s a year I never, ever want to forget.

And the thing is, I won’t, I can’t. Because it’s all here, on the blog. Every day. There’s a snapshot here for every late night, every early morning, every road trip, every escapade. I even saw me fall in love on this blog.

This blog saw me graduate. This blog saw me start my first full-time jobs. This blog saw me married.

Me from six years ago wouldn’t recognize me now. I had so much fire then. Now I have coals.

But goodness knows coals burn hotter.

Success

Standard

“Just How Rich Are the Kardashians?”

Apparently that’s a newsworthy headline. I saw it towards the bottom of the homepage of a news website I frequent. Next to the headline was a (photoshopped) image of Kim herself, her hair whipping dramatically around her allegedly flawless face. Thankfully just a headshot this time.

Because of course we are fascinated by successful people. We are fascinated by those who seem to have it all–the beauty, the money, the attention. How did they get where they are? Where are they going? How do they live their lives? What does one do with all of that money?

Because of course money equals success. Right?

I’d argue that if the only thing you’re good at is being pretty, and if that’s all you ever aspire to be–pretty and rich–then you’re missed the “success” mark by a mile.

I’d even argue you’ve missed if all you are is rich.

If “success” can be defined as simply meeting an established goal, then fine. Success acheived. But what else have you acheived?

Attention? That comes in droves. It follows money.

The most successful people I know are the ones who get very little attention and have very little money. But they do so much good. And they have so much love.

I’d rather be that sort of successful person. Any day.

Gifts

Standard

We are unusually blessed as a couple. We have families that love us individually and together, distant relatives we gladly call our friends, a perfect wedding, a warm and happy home, employment…the list goes on. God has been good, for sure, because we certainly don’t deserve to have all that we do.

We were even blessed (abundantly) with wedding gifts. People gave us everything we asked for, everything we needed and didn’t know we did, and some extra nice things that we’dnever dream we’d own.

These weeks beging the process of thanking all of these lovely people.

However, some gifts seem to have mysteriously appeared. They had no card or name attached, and one had a card but no name. Process of elimination won’t let me figure out who they are–the list is too long, and there are too many variables.

So will the giver of the bag with the cookie sheets, bundt pan, wooden spoons, cake pans, and the 9×13 insulated baking pan, the bag with the navy blue towels, and the bag with the pizza stone please stand up?

Thank you so much, whoever you are.