Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thankful Thursday: "Where are you, Mommy?" & A Recent Connection

It's thankful Thursday time! We all have so much to be thankful for and we love to take this opportunity just to write down each and everything that comes to mind. Please take this time to share with us what you're thankful for as well. If you have a blog expressing your thankfulness, please share the link! Without further ado, here's what we're thankful for:

Mandi's List:

I'm thankful for running buddies. As I blogged about earlier this week, I have been running with a girlfriend and it is one of the best things ever. I have never been so excited to get up and go for a run. Better yet, I got my brother to run with me this morning!! I'm so thankful for quality time spent with friends and family while exercising.

I'm thankful for "where are you." Mckenna makes me laugh by the things she says (sometimes on purpose, sometimes not). My new favorite is when I hear her yelling, "where are you, mommy?" The way she says it warms my heart.

I'm thankful for parents who still love each other. My parents have been married for 30 years, and they still love and enjoy each other. There is no greater blessing than to see my parents so in love after so many years. I'm thankful they have each other.

Ronnie's List:

I'm thankful for a recent connection with a friend from the past. Steve and I have known each other for almost 20 years. We lived together in college and have shared many great memories together. As life moved on, it got in the way, and Steve and I only stayed loosely connected for the past 10 years or so. We knew about all of the BIG things going on in each others life, but didn't take the time to talk about the SMALL stuff. The stuff that holds friendships together. I'm happy to say that we talked about the small stuff today and I'm thankful that we're on our way back to how it used to be. 

I'm thankful for a supportive wife. There isn't much, if anything, that I do in which I don't have the full support of my wife. If she doesn't fully support something that I choose to do, I'm certainly not aware of it :) It's just nice to not have to worry about the person I do life with breathing down my neck and second guessing all of my decisions. I know some marriages live that way - I don't know how they do it.  

I'm thankful for no sugar. I decided that I wasn't going to eat sugar this week (candy or unneeded sweets) to see how it felt. I've got to say, it feels good and I can definitely tell a difference in how I feel and how I look. Not to say I'll never eat candy again (because I will), but it's nice to know I have the will power to do it!

What about you? What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Two Important Lessons from My Mother

To say that my mom passed down many lessons to me that carried on throughout my life could be the understatement of the year. I could probably fill an entire book with all of the wisdom that she passed down to me over the years. Little anecdotes and advice that I've drawn from constantly to either get through a certain situation or just draw strength to continue motoring throughout the day. But as I've talked more more about my life with cystic fibrosis, I began to realize two very important lessons that shaped much of my life up until this point.

These two lessons play off each other in perfect harmony. They are:

1.  Not everything bad that happens in my life is a result of having cystic fibrosis.

2.  There are many good things in my life that I may have never experienced if I weren't diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Let's look at the first lesson. I don't think it's an overstretch to say we live in a “blame society”. We are always looking for someone else or something else to blame for our set of problems. Whether it's blaming the dog for eating our homework (even though we left it within his reach), blaming our boss for our cruddy job (even though we enter work each day with a chip on our shoulder) or blaming lack of time for not exercising (even though we still get in our 1 to 2 hours of TV a day). It's just so much easier to blame others or some external force for the bad things or bad situations that happen in our lives. It's much tougher to look within, or look into a mirror, and at least partially blame ourselves.

Cystic fibrosis can be the perfect scapegoat. I used to think that there was no way I could ever run any sort of distance because I had cystic fibrosis (even though I had never attempted to train). There are days that I thought I must feel sick because my CF was getting the best of me (even though there was a virus going around at school). I'm sure there were days that I used cystic fibrosis for being the reason that I acted out and didn't have respect for authority (getting to the root of that issue would take years). I'm not so sure I ever verbalized these, or even consciously thought of them, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were at least subconsciously there.

Maybe my mom recognized that. Maybe that's why I vividly remember my mom saying many times, “Cystic fibrosis won't always be the reason that bad things happen. Cystic fibrosis won't always be the reason that you don't get your way. In fact, rarely will cystic fibrosis be the reason. The reason? It's called life and we all are living in the same one."

I'm so thankful that I was able to carry that on to adulthood. There's no doubt that it played an active role in me pursuing to make a positive impact on this world. If I couldn't blame CF, then I was going to use it to motivate me to do good things.

The second lesson plays off this first one perfectly. When I look back I can identify so many things that have happened in my life that would not have happened if I'd never was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. More importantly, there are tons of people who play a present and active role in my life who I may have not met if it weren't for CF.

My mom would always be quick to remind me when I was a child of this and now as an adult, I can see it clearly. This continues to play out today. I can't count the number of contacts, acquaintances, and friends I have as a result of being a part of the CF community. Diving in and serving the CF community is what I strive to do every single day. I can't imagine myself doing anything else. Would I be doing this without the diagnosis? No way.

The biggest role CF is played in my life is that of a sculptor. I'm convinced now more than ever that cystic fibrosis molded me into the man that I am today. The man that my wife fell in love with. The man that Mckenna calls "daddy". Many out there believe they'd be a different person if they weren't battling CF. I agree, I would be different, and I don't think I would like that different version of me as much. I know that others wouldn't.

And again, to quote my mom, “You can either use CF to hold you back, or to propel you forward.”

I choose the latter. What about you?

Monday, September 2, 2013

A New Addition

Before you get too excited, I should quickly get out of the way that this is not an IVF update ;-)

Instead, I wanted to share one of the most exciting additions to my exercise routine in a long time. As I mentioned last week, I've been upping my miles and running more. I decided to not only add more miles, but to also add a running buddy. I reached out to a girlfriend (Hi, Holly - you may be the only friend of ours that actually reads the blog how about a shout out? HA!) to see if she wanted to run yesterday morning with me.

Side note - For any runners out there, you know how this whole thing works. It's enjoyable running with a buddy, but it has to be the right running buddy. They can't be too fast, too slow, too talkative, too mute, too tired, too giddy, too competitive, too complacent, too...well, too "anything". There's always this sweet spot. They have to be similar in their pace, but if either of you are slightly faster it can push you both to be better. Running with a new running buddy for the first time can kind of feel a first date in a way. You wonder if you're too "anything" for them. You inevitably think, "gosh, if they're in better shape, am I going to die trying to keep up?"..."Do I wear headphones?"..."Who will be in charge of the GPS and taking charge of the course?"....and the list goes on. Choosing a running buddy is kind of like choosing a roommate. You know what I'm talking about, you can be the best of friends, but terrible roommates.

Anyways, we met at 5:15am by a long canal that stretches through our town. This area is pretty cool in that we have a lot of canals running all over that you can run along...I just never have taken advantage of them in the past. We decided to do a slow 4 miles and see how it was. Well 4 miles and some great conversation later, we both felt great. We ran at a good pace and we both (I think) had fun. I adore Holly as a friend, and now I adore her as a running buddy too. She's not too "anything"...except maybe too awesome, and that I'm ok with!! We even had such a good time yesterday that we are running together again this morning...I guess that means it was a success and we are both fired up. The only hurdle now is trying to keep up with her...because she's a freakin' stud!

This may be one of the best things I've done for my exercise routine in a long time. I am really excited to have someone to run with some mornings. It's a nice change of pace (no pun intended) and it's a great way to spend time with a friend, while getting a work out. If you've never tried working out with a friend, I TOTALLY recommend it. It adds so much enjoyment into the mix. I am so excited for my next run thanks to adding a great running buddy to the equation.