Monday, January 23, 2012

#43 - Running Toward A Better Life

Yesterday was a big day for me.

I ran my first 5K.

For some, that is not that big of a deal.  You put on some running shoes, lace them up, and go out and jog 3.1 miles, yada, yada, yada.  It might burn a little.  You might get short of breath.  You might get sore.

That's what it was like for me too...

That, plus a million other things.

Where do I begin?

Until recently, I had not run in almost 2 decades.  In high school I was a sprinter.  And I think I was a pretty good one.  I loved the feel of waiting for a race, getting into the blocks, hearing my heartbeat pound in my ears, then running with everything I had for about 15 seconds.  Seriously, I LOVED that!  But distance running... now, that was a different story!  My basketball coach required everyone on the team to run cross country in the off season, and I hated every single solitary moment of it.  It just wasn't my thing.  As soon as I ran that last season of cross country in high school, I was done!  I have exercised here and there over the years, but never ever have I run.

Until a few months ago.

But, I better not get ahead of myself...

Since I have been an adult, I have struggled with my weight.  Never in my life have I been a waif, but even remaining at an "average" size has been hard for me in the last several years.  I have worked hard at losing weight several times.... then, for whatever reason, I lose motivation and gain it all back - plus more, usually.  Stereotypical, I know.

I have never felt like I was a good size.  Not even during those high school days... Not even in the days that I worked myself silly on a diet.  Never.  I didn't obsess about that, but I was definitely frustrated by it. And when I am frustrated, especially for years on end, I sometimes give up.  And that is exactly what I did.

I knew that I could no longer try to be a certain shape to please someone.  I just didn't have it in me anymore.  Life had gotten hard.  I had gotten resentful.  Something had to give.  And that something was me.  I had tried for years to manipulate my appearance to gain acceptance.  From others.  From myself.  It never worked.  No matter what size I was, I didn't get the acceptance that I was searching for.  And when I did get affirmation, I resented it because I knew that it was based on my outward appearance and not a love for the person that I truly am.  I was being unfair.  To myself.  To those that love me.  I was looking to someone else to meet a need in me that no one on earth was made to fill.  Not even myself.  The only place that I was created to get complete fulfillment was from the Lord.  I didn't make a conscious decision to look for fulfillment in other people, but that is what was happening... and I was frustrated, felt out of control, and was depressed.  Not a healthy combination.

So, for a few years I just quit.  I gave up.  I sabotaged myself.  I tried to fill myself with things that would make me feel good.  Things that would take away the pain.  Sometimes that was food.  Sometimes that was being sedentary.  Sometimes that was completely blocking out the reality that I had to be responsible with the body that I was given to take care of... even when I was overwhelmed.  Even when life was hard.

I knew that changing my habits would be hard.  I knew that doing it "for me" was not enough.  I am a selfish person in many ways, but doing things like exercise "for me" has just never jived with me.  I have always believed that doing things for my family was more important than doing things for myself.  I don't buy into that way of thinking... the "You have to take care of you first." kind of stuff.  And I knew that doing it for anyone else wouldn't work either.  If I did what it would take to lose weight, eat a certain way, gain a certain figure, or run a certain race and people were still unimpressed with me I knew that I would be devastated.  And if I succeeded at all of those things and people loved me more because of the way that I looked or ate or exercised I knew that I would be devastated by that as well.  So I couldn't do that... I couldn't make a change for someone else or even for myself.

So then, who could I do it for?
What reason was big enough for me?

I had to come to the realization that I had been using food and even my weight.  It was an idol in my life.  Something that I had given more importance to than God.  And what was worse, in many ways, I was my own idol.  I had to realize that, confess it, decide to change it.  I asked the Lord to help me.  I wanted to depend on Him for help.  I found support from some friends that have walked a similar road.  And I had to resolve to take a step onto a path that was about having a right relationship with the Lord.  Not about losing weight.  Not about exercising or winning a race.  Not even about being healthy.  I would trade every one of those things if I needed to do that to make the Lord my priority and to have a more intimate relationship with Him.  Thankfully, I don't have to choose one or the other.  I just have to choose perspective...  I get to choose the state of my heart.  My motive.

Over the course of the last year and a half I worked hard to lose about 45 lbs.  In the last several months I have  decidedly not worked to lose any more weight but instead I have worked maintain the weight that I am at and to find contentment in this place.  To enjoy life and to eat in a way that I feel good about.  I have succeeded at that, for the most part.  I have more weight that I could lose, but I am not going to commit to working hard at that until I can do it with the right motives.

I am okay with that, and that is part of the reason that I know that I am "okay".

So... back to the running thing...

In the fall, my sister Emily had just had a baby and asked if all of the siblings and their spouses on our side of the family would like to join her in January in running a 5K.  It was going to be a race.  We'd all put $10 in a pot and the boy & girl winner would take all.  I think it was her hope that signing up for a race would motivate her to get back into shape after having her baby.  (Well, it worked... stay tuned!)  I thought that that sounded like a good idea.  I wanted to encourage her, spend time with my siblings, and (dun dun dun) start exercising more.  I probably wouldn't have chosen running, but I figured I could pull this off.

I loaded the "Couch To 5K" app to my phone and committed to running a 5K with my siblings in January.

The first day of running/ walking was not too bad. I was like, "This will be easy... I can do this!"

Then, came the second day.  It was hard!

I panicked!

I was totally and completely scared to death at the thought of having to run a 5K.  And so, I knew that I had no choice at all except to do it.

Starting in the fall, I trained 3-4 times a week with the exception of Christmas to New Years and one week that I was sick.  I read about what to eat, what shoes to wear, laid of sodas, and I got myself prepared.  I was feeling really good about myself.  I'd done all that I could do.

The day before the race I started to panic a little.  What if I was the slowest sibling?  What if I was the absolute last person in the race?  What if I couldn't finish the race?  What if I embarrassed myself?   

I quickly found that I had to put my thoughts in order.  I had to remember what my motivation was.  I had to run this race against myself and no one else.  For my reasons and no one else's.  

So, on the morning of the race I was excited.  A little nervous but happy that I was there.  Happy that I had made the choice to do something healthy and good.  Happy that I was facing my fear.  It was an absolute blast to be at the race with my 3 siblings and 3 of my in-laws all in our matching light blue "Selke Sibs" shirts.  As the race approached, I got butterflies.  The announcer had the 2000 racers all pumped up and ready to run.  My music was blasting in my ears, and I was feeling good...  I got tears in my eyes as I thought about the journey that the Lord and I have been on through the last couple of years and how we had ended up there, together, on this perfect January morning.

Then the buzzer blasted, and we were off.

Almost instantly, the 7 of us Selke Sibs separated.  We all ran at the pace that we were comfortable with.  I was running well and feeling fine.  A little ways in, I looked to my left and there was my sister Sara!  I was shocked because she had hurt her knee the week before, and she was planning to walk the 5K.  But there she was, jogging along.  We ran side by side, and after a bit I was sure that I was going to need to walk.  She walked with me up the hill then ran with me when I decided to run again.  It didn't take long before I realized I was not going to run as fast as I had hoped I would.  I started to cry.  Every part of my body was burning, and I was so mad that after all that training I was not going to beat the people in my family that hadn't trained as much.  I looked ahead of me and saw women twice my age, people double my size, and people pushing strollers... and I was mad!  For a few minutes, I lost my focus.  All I could think about was the pain and the disappointment.  Then, I remembered why I was doing this.  Who I was doing it for.  My goal had been to do my best, and I was.  My goal was to face my fear, and I was.  My goal was to set a baseline time for myself, and I was.  So, I changed the course of my thoughts and decided to remember that this was just a race...  I had to remember my goals.  That is what was important.  I had to get my heart in check.  I asked the Lord to help me remember my reasons why I was doing this and help me not get distracted by all the other junk for the rest of the race.  From then on, I would set a goal... At the stop sign I will start running.... I will not stop until the other side of the bridge...  And my always-by-my-side sister was right there beside me the entire time.  She was there when I lost my will and my composure, when I begged Jesus to help me keep going, when I cried because I thought the 3 Mile marker was the 3K marker (and that I still had 2K left to go), and when I realized that I was wrong and that the finish line was only a few feet away.

Once I could see the finish line, I was able to kick it into high gear and sprint through the finish line.  I ran past Corey & all of my siblings who had already finished the race and were cheering us on, and the host of the race announced my name as I ran through the inflated finish line.

I had made it!

I turned around and watched Sara cross the finish line.  She ran toward me and gave me a hug.  And I think we both knew that we had done more than run 5 kilometers.

It was a great feeling... for about 5 seconds... And then I thought I was going to throw up.  ;)  Corey held on to me, and I walked behind some big trucks just in case I did.  And just about as fast as the feeling came, it left.  We walked back to my huddle of family, and we all reveled in the fact that WE DID IT!  We celebrated with oranges and Clif bars, took some photos, and called it a day.  We had 11 kids to get home to.

And that sister that just had a baby 4 months ago... she was the winning girl of the Selke Sibs.  I was so proud of her!  I am proud of all of us.  It's no easy feat to be the mid-life parents of a bunch of adorable kiddos.  Taking the time to exercise, set goals, and actually get away for a couple of hours to do something together is quite complicated.  Thankfully, my kids and our parents helped make it possible on that day.

When it was all said and done, we 7 Selke Siblings all felt inspired (and really sore).  And I'm pretty sure we will all do it again sooner than later.

In fact, Emily & I have already signed up to do it again in a month.  At that race my goal is to beat the time that I had at yesterday's race, to stay focused and not have a breakdown in the middle of the race, and to keep my priorities rightly defined.

But for today, my goal is to walk standing up straight - not all hunched over like I want to - and to go for a walk on the neighborhood trail.

And tomorrow?  My goal is to do that again... without ibuprofen. 

#42 - Hunting Weekend

This is how my boys have spent a lot of the weekends of their fall.  With their daddy.  Building relationships.  Making memories.  Hunting deer and learning to be men.

And all that hunting leaves Allie and I time to spend together doing girly things.  Like watching Miss America on TV (while we flip back and forth to the football game).  All the while, taking care of the pups.

#41 - Pups


(hanging out on my aunt's chair and table at the same time)

#40 - Basketball Boys

It's that time of year again.  

Basketball season.

My favorite.

Corey coaches Cooper's team.  The Sharks.  He gets to play with several friends from school & church and is making new friends too.  It's a blast!

Jack is playing on a team through the YMCA too.  It is made up of several friends from school & church too.  It has been a fun experience for him, and I am really impressed with how well they are doing!

And how cute are theses little beauties that came to cheer for him a few weeks ago?

#39 - Mrs. Lane

There is NOTHING like leaving your kids in the care of a teacher that you know loves your kids and that your kids love.

I get to do that every Tuesday & Thursday.

#38 - My Innovative Husband & His Walking Desk

Corey has come across this idea of having a walking desk - a high desk built over a treadmill.  His computer is set up on this desk, and he literally walks at a slow rate the entire time that he is working.  Some days, he walks nearly 15 miles.  Who thinks of these things?!?  

The other day, I got a chance to try his walking desk out for the first time.  I usually run outside on our neighborhood trails, but this day was rainy and Corey happened to be out of his office.  I took my laptop and jumped on his treadmill.  Watching a show while I walked/ ran made my workout not quite so terrible.  ;)

#37 - First Day Of School (Redux)

She's a freshman.  My baby is in High School.  Her first semester was not what we had expected.  A new school.  A charter school in the public school system.  Our first time to try that.  It was rough... in many ways.  Sometimes you can't know much until you try... that was the case.  We tried.  And it just wasn't a good fit for us.

I had no idea of what we were getting ourselves into when we started attending that first school.  I thought that I did, but I didn't.  And I certainly had no idea that I was giving up so much control when I dropped her off at school that first day.  In the 10 years of educating Allie, I have always been her primary educator.  Corey & I have always been the primary decision makers when it comes to everything about our kids.  In this environment, I didn't feel like I had that freedom, and that was a first for me.  Our kids have never gone to a school that is not a Christian environment, and this one certainly wasn't.  We have never sent our kids to a school with no one that we knew, but that was the case here.  It was different.  Everything about it was different... and it was hard.  Extremely hard! 

Within the first month we knew that it wasn't a good fit.  I was under the impression that if it didn't work out, I would just take her out of that school and put her into another... I didn't know that high school is more complicated than that.  A lot more complicated!  Quickly, I learned that I couldn't make a decision like that without losing a semester of credit.  She had to continue through the first semester. 

Sending her into that situation all day, everyday was one of the hardest things that I have ever done as a parent.  To drop her off in a place that I didn't feel good about took my trust in God to a depth that I have not had to go to before.  Learning to live open-handed with my children is something that I am learning to do.  I am pretty sure that I will never master that one.  It is hard for me.  Trusting that He loves them more than me.  That He can take care of them better than me.  That He has a plan for them that will sometimes be accomplished only through trial... It is all something that I am learning to accept.  Learning to embrace.  And it all boils down to faith and trust in the Lord.  Going to a place where I get to have more of Him.  And that is what I want.  But it is hard!  Trying to figure out what to do next with Allie's education took me to my knees in desperation that I have not had before.  Knowing that her life is in His hands and not completely in my control took me to a place of surrender that I have not been to before.  Teaching her to persevere in trial.  To be a light in a dark world.  To work hard in hard circumstances.... We both learned a lot, and it was all good for us.  

And by the end of December, we were glad that our trial - that trial, anyway - was coming to an end!  


When January got here, we had found a new school.  A school that we love.  And we are so very thankful!  And on that first morning, all 5 of us loaded into the car to take Allie to her first day of school.  That's what we do.  We drove the 30 minute, unfamiliar drive.  We pulled up to the new school, she jumped out of the car, and I watched my little uniform clad girl walk confidently into a new chapter of her life.  

As we drove away, I begged the Lord to give her the things that she needs there.  A safe place.  Good friends.  Caring teachers.  A good education.  A high school experience that she will cherish.  Inspiration to serve others.  Discipleship.  A desire to learn more about the Lord and about the things in her textbooks.  And much, much more.  

Her first day was great... and so have all the days since then.  

And that first day, we had to go celebrate!  Yogurt Story for everyone!

#36 - Cake Pops & New Beginnings

It was the night before Allie's first day of school at her new school.  
New Beginnings. 
We needed one of those!
And Cake Pops.
We needed one of those too.
Celebrating & New Beginnings... Two things that make us really happy!

#35 - Outside Living

Corey would live outside if he could.  He has dreams of an outdoor kitchen and living space, and I would love that too.  For now, we make due.  He got an outdoor stove just after Christmas, and we enjoyed almost an entire weekend outside on our patio and in our hot tub... meals and all.  
I've been spending a lot of time on the trails in our neighborhood lately.  On this particular Sunday, the trails were really quiet.  It was just me and the roadrunners out on this stretch...
Baby Boy got hurt while playing basketball with his big brother.  Allie snapped this photo of me holding him and making it "all better".  I love it... and I love that I can still fix most of his problems with a kiss and a cuddle.  I know those days are numbered...

#34 - Hanging With The Kav Kids

Last week was my sister's anniversary, and we got to hang out with her kids for a bit while she & her husband went on a date.  It was fun!  I love those little rug rats!

Jacob is an active little thing, and he loves playing with his cousins!
The Girls - Claire is wearing a dress that was Allie's when she was that age.  I love seeing it being worn again and remembering my little 5 year old girl!
MiMi & the Kav Girls
Uncle Corey and Aubrey
Jacob - the All Boy boy
Sweet little "Birdie".  I couldn't get enough of watching her sleep!
We changed most of the kids' clothes and loaded them up for church.  We actually made it there on time and only ONE of the kids had two same-footed, different shoes.  I call that a success!  

#33 - An Adventurous Man

Corey got to go flying with a friend last week.  
He loved it.  
And we loved that he called us when he was flying over our house.
We all ran outside and waved and chased the plane as it circled.  
He's an adventurous man! 

#32 - A Christmas Wish: The Mavericks Game

Tickets to the Mavs game.  It was the only thing that Cooper asked Santa for for Christmas.  I've got to say, I was pretty thrilled that he wished for something that he could share.  Something that his whole family could enjoy.  Something that we could all do together.  He is a thoughtful boy!

We rode the DART train to the American Airlines Center.  He was thrilled with that!

Walking to the game from the train

Allie and Jack were just as excited as Cooper to get to go to the game!

We got to see Dirk Nowitzki (Cooper's favorite player) score his 8000th career field goal!

Our Family

#31 - Phineas & Ferb and Cooper

A Christmas gift.  A afternoon with Mom & Dad all by himself.  Going to a show to see some of his favorite characters.  He wore his Perry The Platypus hat and t-shirt and his new Perry "scuffies".  He was thrilled with everything.  Every.single.little.thing.  

He was all ours for the afternoon.  Our baby boy.  The kind that sits on his mommy lap.  The kind that rubs his daddy's face while he holds him... just like he has done for 6 years.  The kind that, without reservation, gives huge hugs and lots of "thank you"s.   

It was the perfect day with our Cooper!

After huge hugs & big smiles...

"That was the best show EVER!"

"I loved it all 100%. It was all EXCELLENT!"

"I just can't wipe this smile off my face."

"I feel even more happier than I did before the show."

"That was so great that it blasted my smile off!"

- Cooper, after the Phineus & Ferb Live show

... Some of the reasons that we do the things we do. :)

Cooper had stayed up until 2am for New Years Eve the night before, and that plus the fun of our time at the Phineas & Ferb show must have just worn him out.  He hasn't fallen asleep in the car in years... and he looked so cute and so little sitting there in his booster seat completely out of it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#30 - New Year's Eve, Family, Friends, & Fun

We spent this New Years Eve with our kiddos this year.  They each had a friend come over, and the night was filled with food, games, hot tubbing, and lots of fun.

Dick Clark and the ball dropping in NYC... It's not New Years Eve without it.

Miss Sailor stayed up until 2am with me... What a cutie!

Cooper decorated the plate.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

#29 - The Window To Her Soul

She is beautiful.

Silently strong. Dependable. Full of thought. Quietly curious. Distinctly wonderful. Not easily swayed. Sure footed. Creative. My right hand man. Cautious. Determined. Funny. Peaceful. Caring. Completely lovable.

From the moment that I saw her eyes, that night in October, I was smitten by them. I remember looking at her when she was a few days old and saying to her father, "She truly is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Some days, even 15+ years later, she melts me.

Today is one of those days.

She is beautiful.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

#28 - Family Time: Casa Verde + 6 Flags

During our Christmas break this year, we had so much family time together. I loved it! What a treat!

One day after Christmas, we headed to Arlington to use our 6 Flags season passes for the last time. Before we got there, we ate lunch at a place that my cousins had told me about. The place "where Christmas thew up". Ha! I really is the best way to describe the amount of tinsel & lights that is used in that little restaurant to decorate! It was fun. And the food was pretty good too.

And 6 Flags... Well, the weather was great, but the lines were crazy long! At least we had our refillable hot chocolate cup to keep us entertained!

#27 - Hunting Buddies

Hunting. Time for the boys to spend with their dad learning to be a man. A time for learning responsibility, how to be quiet & still, how to wait, how to drive a car on country roads, how to build a fire, how to entertain yourself with not much more than a tree and a little boy's imagination, how to savor every bite of Big Red & powdered donuts that you can get your little hands on. And so much more. This year Cooper got to start joining the big guys on their weekend get-aways. All dressed in camouflage, my baby is learning from his older brother and his dad. And he loves it. As do they. As do I. They are the best examples of becoming and being a man that I can think of.

One weekend this month, my boys took some friends to The Place for some guy time. Micah & Samuel. And their dad. I love that! I love that these 4 are learning how to be men from their intentional, Godly fathers and that they get to do that together. And I love that they have so much fun together! Like, tons of fun!

I love that they are buddies. And on that day, hunting buddies.

(And while I'm being thankful, let me just say that I love that them being gone to The Place often means Allie & I being gone to the mall. Or the movies. Or her favorite restaurant.)
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