Forgiving Ourselves

Whoa! Where did January go? I am not certain what happened, but that sure went by fast.  I promised two blog posts a month, so I am going to squeeze this one in just under the wire.  I don’t have much that is profound to share, I attempted a couple of posts about my proclivity for moving (I think I must be descended from gypsies) and also thought about writing about my run streak (but it died at Day 50 and hasn’t quite been resuscitated yet, but watch out for Lent), and I think you all probably get enough Eloise updates on Facebook and Instagram, but don’t forget to follow her @eloise_the_blue_corgi on the insta.  So all that to say that this might be a bit rambling and is kind of a general what’s going on in Jen Fox’s head kind of post. I am resisting the urge to not publish anything because I know that if I want to get better at writing I need to write more and I need to not be afraid to hit the publish button when I’m not feeling that excited or motivated by a piece of writing, so here goes!

So what’s going on in Jen Fox’s head?  Well unless you don’t follow me on social media the big event is that I adopted a corgi puppy at the beginning of the month.  Obviously her name is Eloise, she’s about 13 weeks old now and is very precocious and completely spoiled. She’s a completely different personality from Eddie (my previous Corgi) and it’s entertaining to see her personality developing.  The first week I had her I kind of went full on Dragon Dog mom, EVERYTHING had to be PERFECT. I lost sleep worrying about ruining this dog, and not being a good enough dog mom, yes I am that person. I really had to practice some positive self talk and the idea that FEAR is False-Evidence- Appearing-Real. Fortunately I work with some pretty patient and wise people and have some pretty smart friends who reminded me that this dog is set.  She will more than likely live a better life than many human children and that I can’t really screw this up as long as I feed her, take her on walks and give her love and attention.  I think I also had to come to terms with some hold over grief and guilt that I was harboring from poor Eddie Fox. This might sound silly but I really had to work on forgiving myself.

I think we tend to judge ourselves too harshly; are we good enough parents, friends, athletes, colleagues, sisters, daughters etc.  I think it is okay for us to say, hey I can’t really be all things to all people 100% and serve everyone including myself, well. I have to take care of me and then the rest can fall into place. In this world of insta everything and Pinterest it’s easy to forget that our closets don’t always have to picture perfect and it’s okay to let the dishes sit in the sink and we don’t have to sign up for every race, its okay to run just to run. We were not meant to be perfect.  Time and time again you can see examples in the bible where God uses imperfect people to do amazing things (Jacob, Isaac, Joseph’s brothers, Adam & Eve). In my new puppy mom daze I encountered this scripture – “Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32. We need to remember that while we need to be kind to each other, we need to be kind to ourselves.

So to that end, I am not setting big running goals for 2019.  I feel like I need to focus my energies in other areas. Oh I am going to keep running, but I am dropping to the half in Oklahoma City and I am tabling my goal to run Transrockies until 2020.  I have entered the lottery for New York and I do actually plan to revive my running streak with the goal of keeping it alive for 365 days, but I feel those are races and goals that I can manage and make progress in other areas of my life – getting my finances in better shape, moving to a new apartment, achieving some big goals at work, and building a strong, healthy, athletic body; and hopefully starting Eloise on the right path to completing therapy dog certification. I’m also focusing in on somethings that I continually put off like reading more, kayaking, hiking and re-engaging with my church home.

So there you go that’s it for January. Let’s hope the Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow!

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Now What?

Happy New Year Friends and Family! i thought I would jump into the fray of New Year’s posts and add my thoughts and goals for 2019. I never want to wish time away, it seems like it moves way too fast; but I am not unhappy to see 2018 in the rear-view mirror. 2018 wasn’t my best year, see my post “What Happened…” I am ready to move on and am hopeful that 2019 will bring new challenges and happier times.

So now that we’ve rung in the New Year, now what? Here are a few things that I am focusing on for 2019, nothing as elaborate as my #18 in 2018, I think I bit off more than I could chew with that list so this year I’m trying to keep things simple:

Running – Running and I have had a rocky relationship recently. If you follow me on Facebook or instagram (I’m @auntjenfox), you know that I started to the Runners’ World Thanksgiving to New Years Run Streak. Today was Day 41 of the streak and I have found myself back in a better place with running. I want to run to run and I am enjoying the ease of knowing that its not a question of if I will run, its a question of when. I think I’m going to continue my streak at least until my birthday which is coming up in January. I will be working in strength training and yoga to help ward off injuries. Other than that I am planning to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April. I am keeping my other plans open and flexible for now, I just want to keep running and enjoying running.

Simplifying – Last year I moved to a smaller one bedroom apartment which I love! I did get rid of a lot of stuff of during that move, but I am starting to feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed by the stuff I have. I want to reduce my discretionary spending, start saving more and reduce some consumer debt. I am currently reading Cait Flanders The Year of Less about how she stopped shopping and gave away her belongings. I’m going to start on my closet with the ultimate goal of creating a capsule wardrobe and really paring things down to just what I need.

Writing – Yes! I am putting this back on the table, my goal is to write and post to my blog twice a month. I am going to allow myself the freedom to write about whatever I want. I will confess that I have often censored myself out of fear of putting people off, but its my blog and I will write about what I want. Sorry not sorry!

There are a couple of other things brewing in my mind, but I am not ready to commit them to paper just yet. I am looking forward to sharing my journey and my stories with you and I am thankful for the small group of people who actually read these post. I wish each of you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Image result for happy new year 2019 images hd
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What Happened…

2018 was supposed to be “THE Year!” I had big plans, see my 18 in 2018 posts.  I was going to write more, run more and be brave. I had big plans and here it is December and I am writing what I believe to be my 3rd blog post of the year, what happened?

What happened? To be honest I’m not sure, I know that 2018 started out with a bang as my BFF and I completed the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in January.  This had been on my bucket list since I first learned about the challenge and now I got to share it with one of my very best friends.  Dopey was great, I hit my goal of riding Expedition Everest (I actually rode it twice) during the marathon and crossed the finish line with an Italian Margarita in my hand.  By all accounts this was my slowest 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon and Marathon; but by far I had the most fun ever.  I just can’t explain how magical it is to run down Main Street USA towards Cinderella’s castle as the sun rises and when you do Dopey, you get to do it twice, once during the 1/2 Marathon and then during the Full! 

So I had my list in hand and was ready to hit the road running so to speak, I was going to travel more, run more, kayak more and write more and then… things started to fall apart.  Odd incidents began to happen at work, things that meant having to cancel vacations, taking conference calls in the middle of moving, canceling dinner plans with friends. This is on top of the already ridiculousness that occurs in everyday life as a nursing home administrator.

But the sucker punch to the gut that caught me totally off guard was my 10 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Eddie, getting sick. It started slowly and at first the vet thought it was something simple like Ring Worm, but despite all the medications, baths and treatments he slowly got worse and worse.  My once beautiful boy lost his thick, shinny coat. The dog that never stopped, stopped wanting to walk. My constant companion, my sidekick was dying from lymphoma and I am so sad that it took so long to diagnosis. I think this was the hardest setback to handle. I regret being away from him for so much of this illness as I traveled for personal reasons and to help support my parents. But we did have one last road trip together as we spent a week out in Colorado at my family’s cabin in South Fork. 

I didn’t realize just how hard the loss of my boy had hit me until my failed attempt to foster to adopt the beautiful Loki, a young Border Collie mix who quickly made it clear he was not meant to be an apartment dog.  The physical and emotional scars that Loki left were hard to get over.  I’ve been around dogs my whole like, I grew up with big and small dogs and I’ve never experienced what I experienced with Loki.  I am happy to report that I was working with a great rescue group that was more than willing to take poor Loki back and find the right home for him.

So here we are, December 13th, 2018.  The year is almost over and I am finally able to look back and dare I say breathe a sigh of relief. I have started running consistently again; I’m currently participating in the latest Holiday Run Streak from Runners’ World with the goal of running at least 1 mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Years, today was day 22!  I’ve been able to watch my BFF complete both the Seattle and Dallas Marathons to earn Marathon Maniac Status, and things seem to be settling down at work (knock on wood).

2019 is fast approaching and I am ready to meet it full steam ahead. I’ll get to ring in the New Year with dear friends on the Las Vegas Strip, I am doing some serious work on my mind set, and making plans for some big races in 2019. I am also leaning into my desire and need to write more and share my story, my story is worth sharing and I truly enjoy the process of writing.  Its possible I might actually start to work with and practice the tools I was given when I attended Wilder in May. Oh and Mom, thanks for continuing to encourage me to write when the words just weren’t there. 

2018, you kicked my ass. I am grateful for the lessons learned but I am so ready to push forward and fly into 2019. #headupwingsout 

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18 in 2018 Check In

Wow, where has the month of January gone?  It seems to me like time has flown by, and a lot has already happened in 2018.  I thought this last weekend in the month was a good opportunity to do a quick check in on my 18 in 2018 list that I shared back at the beginning of the month, 18 in 2018!.  It’s a pretty ambitious list and honestly I hadn’t looked at it since I published my blog, but rest assured things are happening. While I am going to spare you a run down of the entire list (you can read my original post at the link above,) I thought I’d do an update on the things that are in progress. So here we go:

Return to Lifetime Membership Status with Weight Watchers – This one is definitely a work in progress. I joined Weight Watchers Online back in December.  Honestly I’ve not been very focused and the week right after I finished the Dopey Challenge there just wasn’t enough food available, my appetite was insatiable and I wasn’t doing any activity so I am grateful I’ve pretty much held my weight stable.  And then there was my birthday with lots of cake and celebrations, but now I am focused in and feel good about how I am working the program.  I am focusing on reducing my cortisol levels by slower heart rate based runs, getting more sleep, increasing weight training and making certain I spend about 5 minutes each day meditating.  I have an interim goal through February and I am going to reach it.  I really like the new Freestyle programming and have found a lot of support through the online community.

Meditate More – So not a very good goal as I didn’t define a measurement.  Right now I am doing 5 minutes each morning using the Mindfulness App.  I am going to challenge myself to work up to 10 minutes by the end of February.

Reduce Stuff – The big news is that I am moving to a smaller apartment in March.  I have put a deposit down on  700 sq ft apartment in the same complex where I currently live.  Right now my apartment is 886 sq ft and the floor plan is very different.  I am also mixing it up by moving from the top floor to the first floor.  I am starting to tire of carting everything up 3 flights of stairs and I worry that my aging Corgi might be having some trouble with the stairs.  So now the purging begins, I don’t intend to move anything that I am not going to use.  Yikes!!!

Read the Bible – This one I am really excited about.  I am planning a specific blog post about this topic, and while I got off track during my trip to Florida for the Dopey Challenge; I’ve found a plan and feel like this is becoming a habit.  For anyone interested I am using the Bible In One Year 2018 plan from the YouVersion Bible App.  It is not a linear plan; most days you ready a Psalm or Proverb and then a New Testament selection(currently Matthew) and then the Old Testament (currently Genesis).  There is a devotional for the day that provides a connection to the themes found in the passages. I am also using the Common English Bible for this project, but again I’ll share more about this in a separate blog post.

So overall not a bad start to the year, but I have a lot more work to do and some challenging items on my 18 in 2018 list.   Reviewing my list and writing an update post has served as a reminder that I need to start focusing in on some other items on my list.  I have a feeling that 2018 is going to fly by and I can’t wait to experience some new adventures!

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18 in 2018!

Happy New Year Friends.  I’ve given this some thought and I am just not inspired to write a 2017 recap.  It’s been a year.  I think based on what I read on the interwebs and hear in the news, it has been a challenging year for most of us.  Not that I would ever wish time away, but I am ready to take the lessons learned in 2017 and get busy applying them to life in 2018.  

I keep seeing this post from Tim Ferris on Facebook and I really like it, “In 2018, I’m #HopefulFor you becoming the author of your own life because it’s never too late to replace the stories you tell yourself and the world. It’s never too late to begin a new chapter, add a surprise twist, or change genres entirely.”   I too find myself #HopefulFor writing a new chapter in the book of life, for new adventures and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

On Thursday I was lucky enough to have lunch with a friend from my OCU days, somehow we’ve managed to stay connected for over 20 years.  We updated each other on our lives; work, family the usual stuff.  The conversation turned to 2018 and my friend mentioned the idea of 18 in 2018.  Somehow this idea, combined with the Tim Ferris post from above really struck a chord in me and in between games of Uno, tickle fights and family time I started scribbling down my own list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2018. I am not considering these, “resolutions,” more like actionable items for the new year. Many of these things have been rattling around in my brain for a while so I am welcoming the opportunity to put them down on paper – or send them out into blogosphere.  I’ll offer a brief explanation for some, but others will wait for their very own blog post, (see #3); So here it is for your edification, my list of #18in2018:

 

  • Complete the Devil Mountain 50k on August 28th in Pagosa Springs, CO.  This race has been on my radar for a while as it is literally on the other side of the mountains from where our cabin is located.  The 50k distance has long been on my list, so why not go all in with a mountain race at altitude?
  • Take a Solo Trip – I like to travel, and I frequently travel alone but I am usually traveling to a specific destination where I am meeting up with someone.  I want to strike out on a trip all on my own and see where the road takes me.
  • Write more – I like to write, usually I’m just writing in my head.  I am going to set myself up on an intentional schedule of writing and am committing to posting 1 blog a month.
  • Become a Lifetime Member of Weight Watchers, again.  Some of you might know that I used to be a Leader for Weight Watchers, well time and my weight have crept up on me and it’s time to get focused again.  Based on my most recent weigh-in I have 15 lbs to lose to complete this task, and completing #4 will definitely help me accomplish #1.
  • Work Less – Work Smarter, Not Harder.  The only way I will accomplish all 18 in 2018 will be to work less.
  • Spend time hiking  – I want to be intentional about spending more time out in the woods. I have some specific trails in mind in Southeast Oklahoma and Arkansas.
  • Get rid of stuff
  • Read More
  • Camp in a tent
  • Camp in a teardrop trailer
  • Reduce Credit Card Debt
  • Kayak in 5 different bodies of water – White Rock Lake Doesn’t Count.
  • Read the Bible
  • Meditate
  • Watch the Royals Play Baseball in person.
  • Visit a new city
  • Volunteer More
  • Tithe to my church  – to be honest this one scares me, but I’ve felt the urge to give more to my church and I want to explore the biblical concept of tithing and stepping out in Faith with my finances.  

So there you go, my 18 in 2018.  Yes, I will be using this list and my progress on each item for subsequent posts. I am excited for 2018 and where it might take me.  But first up is the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World next weekend.  This race series has been on my bucket list and I am looking forward to checking this one off my list.

Happy New Year Friends, I am hopeful that 2018 will bring us all Joy, Peace and Wonderful New Experiences.

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Life in Long Term Care…

So there’s been a lot of “heavy,” stuff happening at work. These words have been rattling around in my head and I ended up putting them down on paper tonight for our newsletter at work.  I felt compelled to share them here; nothing swimming, biking or running related about this post.

I’ve been licensed as a Nursing Home Administrator for over 10 years now and I can honestly say that this has been the most demanding, yet rewarding work I’ve ever done. Recently, I’ve had occasion to stop and reflect upon the work we do at Fountain View and I hope you will indulge me for a few moments while I give a hint of the perspective of what the staff at Fountain View experience day in and day out.

I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of the staff at Fountain View choose the field of geriatric caregiving for a very specific reason.  I don’t know many people who grew up saying they wanted to be a Care Associate, Social Worker or even a Nursing Home Administrator.  We are drawn to this work because we care about people and want to help them.  We are fortunate that we get to be a part of the lives of some pretty remarkable people.  We are also intersecting with people at a time of loss – loss of health, loss of independence, loss of cognition, loss of mobility, loss of self, loss of home and even in some cases loss of resources. This presents a host of challenges, we must learn and get to know someone that might even now be a stranger to their closets friends and family.  Sometimes we become the inadvertent outlet for pent up stress, distress, grief and just a sense of being overwhelmed.

We understand that it is a privilege and an honor to be allowed into someone’s life whether it be for a 2 week rehab stay for therapy or a 4 year stay in Assisted Living or Memory Care.  We are honored to celebrate in the success of someone graduating from rehab and returning home and we are honored to mourn the passing of a loved one when it is their time to leave this earth. I think I safely speak for most of the team when I say we feel the highs and the lows intensely, but I think that’s what make us good at what we do.  Simply put We Care.

I thank you all for trusting me, for trusting the nurses, care associate, therapists, housekeepers, dining associates, programming, and leadership team with your care or the care of your loved one.  These are not jobs that any of us take lightly. I continually appreciate your willingness to partner with us in the process.  I like to tell our orientation classes, please remember we are people taking care of people – its hard work, and it won’t always go perfectly; but you’ll never find more rewarding work.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

As promised last Sunday, I am now going to start posting weekly training recaps in an effort to help hold myself more accountable and because I enjoy the practice of sitting down and writing, I just sometimes lack the discipline to make it happen; so these posts will hopefully kill two birds with one stone. I am currently training for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon  and should be in pre-season prep for Ironman Santa Rosa. So here it is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly:

Monday – Planned an easy 3 miles with Scarlett followed by some core and strength work  Happy to report that Monday was a success!

Tuesday – Tuesday is DRC night and my training group had Intervals.  40 minutes of 2 min @ 9:20 – 9:43 pace with 2 min recovery.  DONE!

trang

Poor Trang puts up with me during our DRC Group Runs.

Wednesday – I had planned for swimming with some core and strength work.  Knowing that 2 of my friends would be at Dallas Aquatic Masters that evening, I opted to hold off swimming until the evening.  I dutifully packed up my gear in the morning and blocked off my calendar with the time I knew I would need to leave work by to get to practice on time.  And then life got in the way and things had to happen at work which meant I missed swim practice and didn’t get home until after 8:00 pm.

Thursday – Thursday called for an easy pace run for 60 minutes.  My work day on Thursdays start at 7:30 am with rounds so I’ve been inclined to wait to do my training in the evening.  Despite my best efforts I was still at work at 6:30pm.  After running some errands I finally made it home and out the door at 8pm, but I got this workout done!

Friday – Friday, Friday, Friday…  Again I planned to swim with Dallas Aquatic Masters.  My dog had to be dropped off at the vet early for surgery so again I had decided to wait for the evening practice at SMU for my swim.  I had a really great plan to leave work on time and then well something else came up that required me to be at work at 7pm and that meant no swim practice.  Post surgery my poor dog was a mess and has to wear the cone of shame so I ended up carrying 40lbs of Welsh Corgi up and down 3 flights of stairs 3 times that evening in an attempt to get him to do his business.  By the time he was settled I was pooped and nothing was happening.

eddie-cone

Cone of Shame

Saturday –  DRC Long run day!  Today was the Love the Loop 15K/5K, one of our club races, and I was signed up for the 15k and to volunteer at registration.  After Friday I was tired and my legs weren’t feeling it.  I seriously considered bailing on both the race and my volunteer duties, but I knew Trang would be there and that I’d have to write about it so I went, although I was late for my volunteer gig.  This was by far one of the worst runs I’ve had in awhile.  All my trouble spots (IT Band and Piriformis) acted up.  This was supposed to have been a time trail run at 10:16 min/mile pace, but managing a 12:00 min/mile was a stretch and I am slightly concerned about some lingering aches and pains.  I knew I was tired and didn’t feel 100% as evidenced by the hour long nap I took post race and the fact that I was on board for the 8:30 pm bed time my niece suggested for our sleepover last night.

Sunday – Sundays are for biking!  I knew I had my niece so my plan was for a spin bike workout, I still need to get the back tire on my bike swapped out so I can use it on the trainer.   What I didn’t plan for was a last minute invitation by the Pastor at work to speak at our annual memorial service or  that I would end up rescheduling my service appointment with my internet privder no less than 3 times this week and end up with an appointment at 6pm on Sunday.  Let’s just say that my bike workout didn’t happen.   I did however get my salad prepped for tomorrow and made my steel cut oatmeal and a big batch of chili, so at least I’m set for healthy meals this week.

So the good – I hit all of my planned runs and up until Saturday was feeling good about my efforts to build some strength and manage my IT band issues.  The bad – I missed all my planned swims and bike.  The ugly?  I am still without 2 key positions at work which necessitates my picking up some of that load, I’m not complaining its just how life is right now and that concerns me and the impact on my ability to train.  There are some things in my line of work that have deadlines set by regulatory agencies and missing those deadlines can be detrimental to the organization and my professional license, plus I can’t easily walk away at the end of the day if one of my residents or family members needs something. I am really feeling the pressure right now, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but I fear its a long tunnel.

Anyway, I’m not throwing in the towel just yet.  I spent sometime stretching and on the foam roller tonight and I’ve done a lot this evening to try to set myself up to have a good week even though my schedule will be crazy – work dinner on Wednesday, early morning rounds on Thursday and early morning staff meeting on Friday.

So there you have it the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from this past week.  I am choosing to be optimistic that something great things will happen this week!

 

 

 

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