Fitness · Health · Perspective


Swim. Run. Bike.

A couple of weeks ago, I completed my second indoor sprint triathlon.


300m lap swim- this is actually only 6 down and backs in our local Wellness Center’s pool. 78 laps done in the previous weeks before I completely fried my hair with the chlorine and purchased a swim cap. Pink swim goggles and my navy one-piece- I felt pretty official! I managed to cut 1.5 minutes off my previous race time in swimming.

2mile run- Running is my jam. I like to get into a rhythm and just go for miles. However… sprinting is NOT my jam. Nerve pain and numbness in my leg plagued me most of the winter. My mileage was dialed way back. I didn’t expect the time to be good. Vomit was close to erupting, but I beat my previous two mile triathlon sprint by about 20seconds.

12mile bike- After the fall sprint tri, the organizer decided to add 4 miles to the challenge. My spinning seat wasn’t set correctly… my fault. Shredded legs and a little rub discomfort. About 2:10/mile.

Overall, I took 3rd female. I thought I would feel proud of my physical accomplishment.

Upon reflection, all I felt was humbled. Two days before this, I laid in the tube for two and a half hours. My annual MRI: brain and thoracic spine, with and without contrast- a yearly peek into my neurological system.

All stable. Nothing new. I’d have loved to hear that my lesions miraculously healed themselves. Same white dots in the same spots.

Randomly, I’ll have weird nerve and muscle symptoms. For years, I thought everybody did. Apparently not. MS does odd things.

Have you ever considered how fortunate you are to have working legs, fingers that feel, and a spine that doesn’t “buzz?” This isn’t for sympathy. These truly were not situations that I’d considered prior to about four years ago.

Humbled to be able to swim. Amazed at running. Grateful for biking.


Faith · Fitness · Parenting · Perspective

Kindness in the form of the Berenstain Bears

Nice story from yesterday, written originally in a text to my family:
My kids could not leave me alone this morning or behave while I tried to get in 2 miles on the treadmill before T’s basketball practice. (They were allowed to run around on the track and had a ball, books, etc to play with)

After 20 minutes (of random stops) they proceeded to try to stop me twice in the last two minutes of my run. I told them to go sit down. Twice.

They did and a super nice older lady picked up a Bernstein (Berenstain) bear book and started reading to them.


When I told her thank you after my last two minutes on the treadmill, she was so gracious. ❤️

She said “I was a young mother once too. It looked like you could use a little help.”
I told her thank you and that was the nicest thing anyone had done for me all week!

Almost made me cry. It was so non-judgemental and genuine.

Good and kindness exist. When you come across it today, please respond with gratitude and pay it forward!

Creativity · Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Parenting · Perspective

The One Word Goal


Self improvement season. We are a couple of days out. Sitting on the cusp of when people will pledge to themselves to eat healthier, exercise, change spending habits or make another life change for the better.

Perhaps it will be to add in more reading or quality time with friends and family?

Reading Rainbow – One of my favorite childhood classics!

Suppose it’s a mental shift to a minimalist lifestyle? Or to go back to school?

Why do we wait until self improvement season to set these goals?  The new year. A fresh start. Flipping the page on the wall calendar.

Marketing people love this time of year. When better to push a new product or equipment on us? There’s no better time to remind us that we have flaws.

It is unlikely that I will be bucking this trend. I set goals as well. Goals are useful when kept in perspective.

  • I know I want to be more efficient and intentional with the end goal of being able to freely flow in my non-work time.
  • My parenting fuse is too short with my 7yr old… I’m a work-in-progress to expand my sense of humor and patience. *sigh* Boys are so LOUD!
  • Running half marathon #4 or dipping my toes in the water with another sprint or longer triathlon. Plans to train will have to wait until after my annual MRI in February. (aka – what is going on with my right hip and leg?)
  • Finish the sort and purge leftovers from doing the remodel last year. Our extras could be someone else’s treasures!
  • Laugh more. Smile more. Play more.

A dear and wise friend texted me yesterday with her one word resolution for 2018. After a particularly hard year of burying family members and friends, she is seeking to again find JOY.

To encapsulate all of one’s goals for a year into one word is a challenge. I started this entry four hours ago.

After much deliberation (drum roll….. da da da da da da da…..) the mindset to ENJOY. Is it all going to be good? Definitely not. I’ll likely have to move my mind around a little bit to make it happen, but L.M. Montgomery says it best:


With best wishes and kind intentions for a healthy and safe start to your new year, much love — Jen

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

I am thankful for MS because _____

“I am thankful for MS because ___________.”

This was a prompt on a MS focused social media feed I follow. It took me a moment to hone in my feelings on this open ended statement.

Before answering, I scrolled down through the many responses. They ranged from angry and bitter to grateful and inspiring. To each his/ her own on personal feelings, this chronic condition is as unique to the individual as freckles on a face.

My post was short. It has given me “perspective.” On both good days and rough, foggy brained and clear, fatigued and energetic, this condition has given me a different perspective on how to approach life in general.

Three years ago, I was going strong (albeit with a numbed right arm). I was training for my first half marathon, signing up before my diagnosis. I was pushing hard. Full of determination and pride for what I was working towards. Pride is so hollow.

The diagnosis was devastating to my family. Honestly, after researching my odd-ball symptoms, I was pretty sure that was what we were going to hear.

Fast forward three and a half years…. we’ve juggled and jumped the paperwork and financial hoops (doctors, insurance, medications). Adjusting accordingly to temperatures and fatigue levels is a daily occurrence. I’ve ran three half marathons and approximately 1300 miles. Some days are easy. Some days drag.

Perspective: My husband and kids get my energy and effort first. It’s ok to say no. My Best Yes might be to say no to outside activities, social gatherings, or work projects. What I choose to say “yes” to is done with more thought.

Perspective: It is more important than ever to make sweet lemonade from life’s lemons. Anger and bitterness multiply if I let it in. And  let’s be honest, it doesn’t fix anything.

Perspective: Compassion, a listening ear, and empathy are three of the greatest tools. I don’t know what’s going on with other people, but I can guarantee that listening without preconceived  judgement goes a long way. Not assuming that I know how someone feels or what they are capable of has been a humbling lesson to learn with MS.

Perspective: mobility- can you run? Can you walk? Can you use both hands? Can you feel with all your fingers? Don’t take it for granted.

Perspective: Humility. I am breakable. I am broken. I thank God for what I’ve learned, who I am, and what He is using me for.

Perspective: the gift of time.

I’m thankful for each and every day- good, bad, apathetic or productive.

MS is not a gift I’d wish for anyone, but the perspective it’s given me is.

Much love this Christmas season– Jen


Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Fall Wknd Recap

Weekend recap:

Saturday- normal Saturday things like laundry, kitchen chores, puzzles before 7:45am because my kids don’t sleep in, painting art projects, cleaning family room so we can walk across it, t-ball in our yard, hauling hay and helping move my father-in-law from one field to another to drill wheat.


Sunday- test run on injured hip (sciatica is making me a frazzled woman), Sunday school, church, homemade biscuits and gravy for lunch- both dairy and non-dairy versions, and a family trip to pick up a new trailer at the manufacturer (not enough hours in the week when you run a business!).

Then I crashed. We walked in the door at 5:30pm. I had on pajamas at 5:35pm and was asleep on the couch by 6pm. I rarely nap. This is not my normal.

I “slept” to 7:30, but only part was actual sleeping. A good portion of it was laying really still with my eyes closed so they wouldn’t know I wasn’t asleep. Thus, preventing a flood of conversation.

No school on Monday for inservice, so I’m planning on having kids at the office part of the day and when home, making treats for my kids’ classes. IMG_2285Nut free but full of sugar, acorn donut holes look fun and festive. We’ll see if they turn out anything like this… I’ve failed at previous Pinterest ideas!

And now on Monday morning, I’m having an intense debate with a 7yr old about the number of legs on the spider currently residing on our living room ceiling fan…

Have I mentioned that I love my kids? ❤️

Best wishes for a smooth week ahead!


Fitness · Perspective


I took time on my run this morning to snap pictures of the late summer beauty around me.


On my run, 1 mile in, my mom texted to let me know that my uncle, her older brother, had passed away unexpectedly.

I was stunned. As my feet continued forward, my mind went back to all the memories we shared with my uncle and his family. Memories we took time to create by stopping our life-paced rush.


As I ran down the dirt road, there were hundreds of these orange moths (or are they butterflies?) fluttering all around me. It was surreal. I slowed down and captured one still on the sunflower  eating.


My favorite gravel and dirt roads path has taken me over this limestone bridge many, many times. I’ve never noticed the plaque with the year and WPA designation.

Six miles gives a person time to think in depth. Maybe I need to adjust a few things in my life- Slowing down, appreciating more of what’s around me and cherishing loved ones.

Summer is slowly changing from greens to dark yellows, rich oranges and spiced browns. It is worth pacing ourselves to notice.

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

Positive – Leftovers, Strep, & Pancake Syrup

IMG_1973This is me. I just finished the most amazing taco salad for lunch at my desk.

As I was chewing the spicy, dairy-free concoction, I realized how thankful I was that my kids weren’t interested in tacos last night.

It kind of irked me as I was standing across the kitchen island with the fixings laid out, corn on the cob boiled and ready, food all hot. Nobody wanted to eat. Even my husband only had one small taco and called it done. My 5yr old only wanted 1 ear of corn and no taco. My 7 year old couldn’t eat the corn due to his jankity mouth of missing baby teeth and asked if he could have the taco later. What the what????

But in a new light today, I’m thankful. I just devoured a delicious leftover lunch.

Always seeking the positive!

My two best girl friends pointed this out on Tuesday in a string of text messages that occurred when my 5yr old puked all over herself in the car (read: hair, pillow, blanket, dress, car seat, etc) on the way down the switchback mountain roads about 9 hours from our home on Monday. 9 vomit scent-wafted hours.


Later, my friend sent me this.

IMG_1962This is how I try to roll. I used to be a pretty serious Debbie Downer sometimes. That was what my sisters actually called me. Then, if it was Christmas, they’d make me wear a Santa hat until I pulled out of it.

I’m not completely sure when my outlook changed, but I know I’ve thrown my life into a more positive direction post-birth of babies, upon going dairy-free, taking up running and regular exercise, my MS diagnosis, and upon learning how to say “NO” to things that aren’t my best yes.

Whew… we are talking about the last 5 years here… not an overnight mental shift.

I don’t have it all mastered. Frankly, I never will. That’s ok. It isn’t my job to do it all perfectly or have everything go according to my plan. That job belongs to God.

But let’s be real. Do I want to re-live the puking and pancakes mountain pass situation? That’s a solid NO. Do I appreciate cooking and nobody eating it? Nada. Am I happy when my child gets strep throat? Of course not. I’m just trying to keep it all in perspective.

In the scheme of things, those are all small potatoes, or shall I say a small packet of syrup?

Much love,