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A funny thing happened when I stopped training for a marathon. My pants shrunk. They didn’t fit like they did when I had been running thirty miles a week. I had still been going to the gym, but running had lost its luster. Before I knew it my usual five days a week dwindled to three. Every time I’d plan and think that this was the week I’d get back to running something would come up and I wouldn’t be able to go. It didn’t take long before two miles felt like ten. Without a workout schedule specifying exactly how many miles I was to run each day, there was no intention, and therefore my mind dictated how far and how fast I’d run. It didn’t work out well.

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“F-E-A-R: has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.” – Zig Ziglar

I’ve had a sore on my foot for months. At first, I used callus removers, and lavender foot soaks to try to get rid of it. One day I would think it was healing and the next it would be worse. Walking was painful and running almost unbearable. I bought new running sneakers with extra cushioning and wrapped my foot as tight as I could just to be able to get through three miles. Afterwards, I’d limp around the house.

As time went on, I got used to the pain. I decided it was something I was going to have to live with. If I were lucky, it’d go away on its own. One day my husband watched as I tried to put on sandals taking deep breaths and wincing with each turn of my foot and he asked: “when are you going to see a doctor?”

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Tuesday Evening September 5th

I called my friend from the road, “Are you staying or going?” Memories of our family with our greyhound and cats huddled under our stairs during hurricane Charley came rushing back. She was emphatic, “Go!” It was just me. My husband was traveling for work; my son was at college and my daughter in Illinois. I had settled into my routine after traveling most of the spring and summer, and I really didn’t want to leave. Gas stations were already out of gas. There were reports of shortages of water.  It was only Tuesday. The storm was predicted to hit on Sunday. Remembering our days without power after Charley had me wondering how bad it would be after Irma even if my house survived.

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They placed her in my arms. I thought they had made a mistake and brought me the wrong baby. She was so big with beautiful dark curls framing her face. When she left to be with who we were told would be her adoptive mother she was a tiny three-month-old that had been with us over two months. I hardly recognized the six-month old I held in my arms. She cried and cried refusing to be set down even for a second. I understood. For the next several months she was either in my arms or my husbands. That summer her brother and sister came to live with us too. They were two and three years old. We had five children under six–seven of us in a two bedroom house owned by my grandparents.

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The Art of Happiness.

Perhaps it’s because I spend my days writing imaginary scenes with imaginary characters that I understand the power of imagination. I’ve come to realize the way in which I view the world, and my everyday experiences are under my control. In other words:“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.” Oprah Winfrey

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What I’ve learned so far. 

If you want to be really good at something there are no shortcuts. You have to do the work. You must put in the hours. 10,000 hours? Probably more.

Friendships are important. They’re like planted seeds. If you want them to grow pay attention and care for them.

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