Winter is Here

From the trail through the malevolent forest

The sound of roaring water leads me forward.

So loud, not unlike the thoughts churning through my mind.

I have developed a bad habit of letting them run wild

With the excuse of creativity.

Thoughts of darkness,

Moving so fast they pull me under

I am drowning in them.

The trees are quiet, the sky, grey, void of birdsong.

Winter is here.

I force myself onward

I know what lies ahead.

Nearing the source, pause to drink it in:

Flowing waters ripple gently, then

swiftly, as the current picks up.

I clamber down onto the rocks, perching myself at water’s edge.

And think.

Finally, the sound of the water rushing over the falls drowns out the sound of my own fears.

Anxieties cease; I feel peace

If only for a moment.

Ants running

I’m wide awake

But I don’t want to be

Bleary eyes and emotions

The heat hovers over the earth outside, tangible

I can taste it in the air.

Drip drip

From the shower next door

Neighbors I never hear but through their consumption of water.

The ceiling fans spins wordlessly, as I think of all I must accomplish today


Next week, this year.

On and on, to the sound of the keys clacking

And their shower gurgling.

Built-up life of made-up purpose

Trying to make a point:

But what?

Rub my face in hands

Stretch out, sigh and think.

I am running, but to where I cannot say

Maybe it’s time to slow down

And go a different way.

Where does that road lead,

Neither that do I know

We’re a hundred billion ants

Running scared through the world

Burrowing and digging new trenches

Before winter comes.

The Fox

Alone through the quiet morning blackness I tread.

Stars overhead guide my steps

Peaceful, and yet

Fear grips my heart and clenches


Scenes of imagined horror spring to mind.

In the distance, a cat darts across the street

A streetlamp silhouette.

Fear squeezes;

I tread on.

And suddenly, a wolf sprints across my path, teeth bared

(Or is it a cat?)

My scream rings out,

Piercing the darkness, curdling the air

As it fades,

a fox only is revealed.

Fright reverberates,

smaller and smaller pulses.

And I chuckle, bemused that the fear I imagine-

Attacker jumping out from behind a tree to tackle me to the ground,

An assault I have imagined a hundred different ways-

Is nothing compared with the very real fear of

A fox.




25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years of Life

  1. Put God above all else.
  2. Make seeking the truth a lifelong goal.
  3. Don’t fixate on pleasing other people.
  4. True friends will accept you for who you are, even the ugly parts.
  5. Dating is wildly overrated.
  6. But, there are many comforts to being in a relationship.
  7. Never stay with someone who doesn’t show you they value you.
  8. Never date someone with the idea that you can change them.
  9. Know what true self-care is (eating a diet that makes you feel energized, exercising regularly, being intentional about mental health) and practice it.
  10. Understand that everyone grows at different rates. Respect your journey and those of the people you come into contact with, too.
  11. There will always be things you want that seem too frivolous, or a waste of money. Focus on the bigger picture: Does it bring you joy? And will it break the bank? If the answers are yes/no, then spring for it. Life is short, and the small things are what make it special.
  12. Know the difference between a necessity and a luxury, and spend your money judiciously. Don’t get caught up trying to keep up with the Joneses.
  13. Invest in your true relationships, no matter where life takes you. Call and send thoughtful notes to those you love.
  14. Practice gratitude each day, out loud.
  15. When you feel slighted by someone, try to imagine their situation and what could have caused them to treat you like that.
  16. Extend grace to all, especially to those you dislike.
  17. Be open to criticism, and work on your weaknesses.
  18. Forgive yourself for mistakes made in the past, and offer others the same forgiveness.
  19. Be open to trying new things, and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone.
  20. Be genuine. People will take notice.
  21. Nurture your relationships with family as much as you can. In the end, they will always stand by you.
  22. Learn about your finances, and find a good system for managing money and investing in your and your family’s future.
  23. Be generous, knowing everything you have is a gift from God.
  24. Understand and come to terms with your failures. It’s how you will learn to succeed the next time.
  25. Believe that God is good, no matter what.

Marathon Training Tips from a 3x Boston Finisher

When I started running in 2018, I told myself it was just for fun, and I’d never be one of those people who ran half-marathons or, (God forbid) marathons.

Those people hated themselves, I was sure of it.

Well, after running just one half-marathon, I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for my first full marathon this fall. On October 5th, I’ll run in St. George, Utah.

I know I have a lot to learn and a lot of training to put in over the next four months, so I thought I’d tap my most experienced marathon friend to get some tips to share with you all.

Let me tell you a bit about Amy Jones.

Amy, 56, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007. To deal with the stress, she found support in the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society running group for those with leukemia and lymphoma.

Amy was already exercising, walking and taking workout classes at the Franklin Family YMCA, but the running group got her to compete in her first half-marathon in Nashville in 2008. She raised nearly $10,000 for the society, and was hooked on running.

That fall, she decided to start training with Fleet Feet for next year’s Nashville marathon. She completed that marathon in 2009, but didn’t even know her time qualified her to run in Boston the following spring until someone from Fleet Feet told her!

Amy boston
Amy before running the Boston Marathon in 2019

Flash forward to the present: most importantly, Amy is cancer-free and healthy! She has completed over 50 half-marathons and 10 full marathons. Her fastest was her most recent Boston Marathon finish, which qualified her again for 2020.

So what are some of her tips to prepare for running 26.2. miles?

Mental training may be the most difficult

“There’s nothing that can prepare you mentally,” Amy says. “Nothing.”

“Until you run those twenties, and maybe that one 21 or 22 miler, the whole time you’re thinking, ‘How am I going to run 26 miles when I’ve only run 21 miles?’ That’s a big mental issue.”

Learn to embrace the suck

Ok, this is a military phrase I’ve been loving lately, but I asked Amy to elaborate on it.

She points to her Boston experience from this year.

“Physically, I thought I was going to fall out,” she says, referring to intense leg cramps after an unexpected hot and humid start to the race. “With every step I took, I screamed in pain of those cramps I was having.”

But she employed a strategy she’s long used of bringing her attention to a “happy place.”

“My mind’s going to be stronger than my body. My mind is going to allow my legs to move. It’s hard to describe how to do that, but it’s taking yourself somewhere else.”

When running up hills, she says she will focus on the ground, “When you look down at the road, it’s all flat. You can make it to the top, you can make it to that lamppost, you can make it to that next mailbox. You can do it.”

And, even at her worst, “just don’t walk, just don’t walk,” she’ll tell herself.

Be prepared to spend a lot of time training

Amy says the one thing that she wasn’t prepared for when she started training for her first marathon was the time commitment.

“You have no idea the time it takes to train,” she says. “Even though the half, it’s tough to train for that, you just don’t realize, those Saturdays that you’re out there for four to five hours.”

During her peak mileage, she’ll hit the pavement for 55-60 miles per week before the marathon, but she also cross trains to avoid injury, taking cardio interval workout classes and lifting weights.

About four weeks out from race day, she’ll back off from heavier weights, but continue lifting lighter.

Make sure you know your essentials

For Amy, the top essential is nutrition, like staying hydrated during a race by carrying her own fluids, and taking GU gels before and during her race.

The nutrition aspect, though, begins long before race day. “Your diet just becomes a lifestyle,” she says, noting the discipline it takes some people to abstain from drinking on Friday nights before what is typically a runner’s longest distance of the week on Saturday mornings.

The day before a big race, Amy drinks Powerade to get extra electrolytes, and has a meal she know will be easy to digest. Her pre-run breakfast usually includes a banana and a Honey Stinger waffle.

Making sure you know what gear works for you is imperative, too. Anything you will be wearing on race day, you want to have run in several times before.

Amy says she incurred a running injury that nagged at her for a while from something as simple as tying her shoelaces the wrong way.

For me, getting a anti-chafe stick (thanks, Amy!) was a game changer. No more bleeding from my collarbones rubbing on my shirt!

Find out what works for you and stick with it.

Final thoughts

“Don’t overthink while you’re running. Just enjoy it and know what you can do,” Amy says, noting how running has given her a total awareness and appreciation for how her body works.

I’ve found that as long as I embrace the mindset that I’m healthy enough to be able to run, I’m able to put my physical discomfort and any other problems in my life into perspective.

What are your running tips? Please share them in the comments!