I Want My Mommy!

“I want my mommy!”  There, I said it!

I’m 47 years old, and the ache in my heart for my mom is still so raw, just like it was on the day we said goodbye 13 ½ years ago.

I was pregnant with our first born daughter, Izzy when my mom received the diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer.

For many years after my mom’s death, I would avoid being in public on Mother’s Day. If someone happened to tell me happy Mother’s Day. I would say thank you, but that was NOT what I was thinking in my head. The loss for me was so big, I couldn’t see past my own grief to celebrate being a mom myself.

I would have these conversations with God, asking how He could leave me motherless when I was a young mother myself. I was so caught up in grief I couldn’t see what he had given me in return.

Slowly, over the years I have started to see the blessings he has given me in the women he has placed in my life.

When we moved to Kalamazoo just as my mom was diagnosed with cancer I met this wonderful woman and next door neighbor. Over the last 17 years, that neighbor named Leone became way more than a neighbor. She is one of my most cherished friends. I’m not sure if she would appreciate being called a motherly figure to me because she is only a few years older, but she is the one I call when I have a sick kid, I need extra help with my kids and she even stayed in my home when I had surgery. She is also Godmother to my son Max.

17 years ago we also found an amazing church family and over the years I have developed a very special relationship with Pastor Becky. She now plays the role of my spiritual mentor. She pushes me out of my comfort zone, continually prays over my family, taught me to bake bread and mentored both of my daughters.

I’m not certain where or when our relationship started, but her name is Linda. She has the biggest servant heart of anyone I know.  When she called me on the phone last fall and said, “I have these hostas that need splitting, do you want them?”  I thought I heard my mom’s voice as she said it. When we spend time together in her garden splitting plants I can easily go back to when my mom and I shared this same activity.

My sister has stepped in with my kiddos. Just like my mom, she has this amazing ability to purchase the perfect gift. My mom would often call me and say, “I bought ya something!”  Whatever the gift was it was always perfect. I often tell my daughter Tori, she has inherited this same gift giving ability.

I have this crazy cousin Tina that lives in San Clemente, California. Tina’s dad and my mom were siblings. My mom was the baby of eight kids so I have a bunch of first cousins on my mom’s side of the family. Growing up Tina and I didn’t spend much time together. On a spring break trip to Southern California 7 years ago, Tina and I spent a considerable amount of time together. Our relationship has never been the same (but in a good way). She taught me how to make my Grandma Baugher’s sweet tea and shared family stories that I have never heard. Spending time with her is just comfortable.

It’s been 14 years since I have celebrated an earthly Mother’s Day with my mom. But in the midst of a loss, you can have an unexpected gain. It may have taken 5 women to only slightly fill the void of losing my mother but, the Lord did not leave me, he did not forsake me. If this Mother’s Day finds you with an ache in your heart, lean on your Heavenly Father who wants more for you than you could ever ask or imagine and when the time is right, accept the love, help, and support of a motherly role model. 

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

13.1 Reasons

Why I Ran A Half Marathon

I am not a journaler or writer! I am definitely not a runner, but here I sit sharing a blog post with you about running. I knew God had an amazing sense of humor when He called me and my two good friends to lead a running group!

This post for me is about reflection and realizing when you get distance from a situation or an event, you can see God’s hand at work. When I think of the story of LAUGH it really goes back to the year I turned 40. I decided to journal goals that I had set for myself. I called it my Get Out Of My Comfort Zone Goals for my 40th year. The last goal on my list was to run a half marathon. Last summer, I found the long lost journal while unpacking a few boxes (yep, I still have unpacked boxes from our move 4 years ago).  I sat in disbelief as I scanned the pages. Disbelief because I could see LAUGH being created as I wrote about this journey for my 40th year.

I had forgotten I had journaled 13.1 reasons I was running a half marathon. I enjoyed rereading them so much that I thought I would share them with you. I’m typing this just as it came out of my journal.

April 15, 2010

Over the next week, I will journal 13.1 reasons why I trained and ran a half-marathon.

1 – It’s my 40th year! I did decide to set a few “get out of your comfort zone goals for this 40th year. The last goal to go on my list was the 1/2 marathon.

2 – I was invited by my dear friend Melia to attend Run Camp last year. My thought, “No way! Are You Crazy? I’ve never run before! Every Saturday for 13 weeks? No, No, No! The seed was planted!

3 – I decided I wanted to “Age” not “decay” thanks to the book, ‘Younger Next Year For Women‘.

4 – My kids are watching everything I do so I wanted to give them a few better examples than the not so good ones.

5 – I bought $100 shoes, $200 Garmin watch, $150 in wicking material running clothes, $36 in Smartwool socks, $75 for 13 weeks of Run Camp and $35 for the entry fee for the race.

6 – I’ve become a person of great intentions and poor follow-thru. I needed to prove I could finish something I started.

7 – Being a wife and mother I have put myself last on the list for many reasons. The training for the half marathon forced me to put myself first. Things were put off or just didn’t get done because I had to get my run in.

8 – Of course, I would lose weight! I was sure the pounds would fall off! NOPE! I officially weigh 5 pounds more than when I started.

I stopped here because of emergency gall bladder surgery 6 days before the race?

9 –  I had to take revenge on my gall bladder since it decided to cause my body so much havoc 6 days before the race.

10 – I began to enjoy the training. The social aspect of runs with my girlfriends and the solitude of runs alone with me and the Lord. I enjoyed dedicating a mile to prayer for my kids, friends or other family members.

11 – I used my training as an example to my kids. As Max was learning to ride a bike this summer to the girls trying to perfect a cartwheel. They would get upset that they couldn’t do it right the first time. I would explain to them it took me 13 weeks to be able to run 13 miles, I couldn’t do it the first time. I can tell you they are tired of hearing it.

12 – I bought another $100 pair of running shoes, $40 race registration fee, two $70 per night (thanks to my dutch friend Melia) hotel stays, $20 ferry ride to Mackinac Island for my first 1/2 marathon.

13 – I don’t want to become complacent at 40, that this is as good as it gets. I know God isn’t finished with me. I just had to be willing to step out (no pun intended) in faith and stretch myself with a difficult goal.

13.1 – Maybe there is something stirring in your heart a goal, a dream you’ve been contemplating and now you have said to yourself, “If Jen can do that, I can do__________!”