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Thirteen Is Odd

The times I feel odd happen frequently.  Maybe because I’m born on an odd-numbered day.   Sometimes I feel this way because of something I have: You have five children?  People say, as if having any number over four has basically become as astronomical as living on Mars.  Sometimes it’s because of something I do: You homeschool your kids?  I could never do that.  I’m never sure if that statement is supposed to make me feel better or worse than them.  It always makes me feel odd, though.  Sometimes I also feel it because of something I don’t do: You don’t wash your hair?  Ok, I admit, even I thought that was weird a few months ago.  But when one suffers relentlessly from dandruff, one will do almost anything, including the crazy, to be rid of those unwanted snowflakes which aren’t really snowflakes at all.  Plus they never melt.  Maybe I’ll do another post on that one a different day.

Lately, I’ve felt especially odd as I ran through the coldest, snowiest and sometimes most beautiful of days.  Eight weeks ago I wasn’t quite sure about running one mile.  Even the day before yesterday, I wasn’t quite sure about it:

"This is how I'm feeling about tomorrow," I wrote on Saturday.

“This is how I’m feeling about tomorrow,” I wrote on Saturday.

Yesterday, I set out to do 13, with about 10,000 other oddities in the Philly Love Run.  Finally, I’m not odd.  Everyone, a common goal.  Everybody screaming you on to finish.

Miles 1-5 were relatively smooth.
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By mile 6, the rain was pretty heavy.  My friend, Gail, and I ran together.  We would laugh at how the rain pooled up inside our jacket sleeves.  Whenever we straightened out our arms, rivers of water poured out like faucets.  I stopped avoiding puddles and my sneakers spoke a second language, sounding a lot like: squish, squelch, squish, squelch. DSC_1063-2 DSC_1066-2
Around mile 9 my legs felt a more like iron mixed with mush, and less like muscles and tendons.  I was so hungry at mile 10, that when someone handed me a Swedish Fish candy, it tasted like a ten-dollar dessert.  I savored the sugary calories stuck in my teeth for a few minutes.  At mile 11 we ducked under an overpass to stretch one last time.

We snapped our only mid-run photo under the overpass.

We snapped our only mid-run photo under the overpass.

The deluge had turned to drizzle, but the cold was starting to cramp different parts of my legs.  After a minute, we set off to whip those last miles into oblivion.  At mile 12, the welcome sight of Philadelphia’s Boathouse Row came into view.  As we approached mile 13, I had some emotional moments inside my head and heart.  This is what it’s like to finish, I thought.  It hurts.  It’s beautiful.  It’s thrilling.  It’s really, really hard.  For a few seconds I was given a quick glimmer of life’s finish line.  Like an instagram from Heaven.  We will look back and think:  That was so hard.  How did I get through it?  Wow, life was so amazing.  So difficult.  Beautiful.  Rewarding.  Painful.  So worth every second.
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Unlike our eternal finish line when we’re finally Home, the thrill of this finish line was quickly replaced with the need for warmth and sustenance.  We found our husbands, cheering under an umbrella.  Then we squelched through inches of mud to receive our reward: a cool medal and a bag of potato chips (among other snacks, but the chips stood out to me the most).  DSC_1083-2

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It was a grand memory.  I couldn’t have done it without the constant cheering of Matthew and Gail.  Many others encouraged me as well, and you know who you are.  And just like people ask you if you’re ever going to have more kids, the second after your baby pops into the world: YES, I’m going to keep running.  Is that odd?
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Everything New Today, or ENT

As usual, this week has passed about as quickly as the wind that whips my hair through the open windows of the car.  This phone dump is a smattering of what has blown through this week:

My life, in our van, is always noisy.  I admit, I’m jealous of folks who say their kids get sleepy in the car.  Ours tend to go a bit wild.  They tell jokes, do anything and everything to annoy their neighbor, cry, sing, tattle, and do whatever it takes to not fall asleep.  I experienced an almost-flat tire last Saturday.  When I drove into the gas station to check it out, I hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet when a very nice man started to pump up my visibly flat tire.  Turns out there was a screw in there, and was easily fixed later.

A city date with friends did my claustrophobic mommy-heart good.  There are some days when the walls of home and car seem very tight, and the expanse of the city line eases the life-is-closing-in-feeling.  We ate at an Ethiopian restaurant which served stellar samosas, delicious dinner and the most amazing coffee I’ve ever had.  It was so good, that I tried my hand at cooking it at home, with great success and happiness.

Another highlight was our 10-10 at 10:10 date to get Elsie’s cast off her arm!  With a clean bill of health, she is back to speeding across monkey bars.

This week it was an honor seeing my 4th and 5th grade teacher from when I lived in Africa.  When time telescopes like this, I shake my head in wonder at how I have such clear memories of when I was as old as two of my children.

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Other highlights include the fact that I need reading glasses.

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Yesterday, two of my accessory-loving children got into my closet.  It was a much-needed diversion from school.

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Then somehow the outfit helped Jack get through the rest of his work a little easier.

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Cooking is on an upswing for me, after a long bout in non-inspiration land.

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Matthew visited the ENT this week and found out he has a yeast infection in his throat, so he’s on medicine for that now.  His voice continues to be hoarse and he’s trying to rest it as much as possible.  Otherwise, he feels well.  In the next couple of weeks he needs to meet up with the plastic surgeon who did the surgery on his eyes a couple of years ago.  We will need to set up a long-term game plan for possible future reconstructive surgery of his sinus area.   The bridge of his nose is collapsing, and before a situation might become emergent, we need to figure out some possible courses of action.  We would love to stop the medical dates, trips to the pharmacy, and be immune to disease.  Yet, we know Jesus more through trial than through ease.  We grow when the weight is heavy, not light.  This temporary home loses much of its charm when it’s full of trouble, and our heavenly home grows more beautiful.  Knowing every situation is allowed by God who knows and loves us more deeply than we’ll ever understand, gives comfort and peace beyond explanation.  One day ENT will have a new meaning for us: that day when Jesus makes everything new.  Everything New Today… might be today!