Select Page
I’m Running Again

I’m Running Again

Last week I started running again after a six week break. That’s the longest I’ve gone without running since January 1, 2015. I’ve been an on and off jogger since college, but it has never been something I enjoyed enough to make it part of my daily routine. I dreaded going out for a run around the neighborhood. Sidewalks and streets didn’t inspire me. My knees hurt and I had shin splints, so I had excuses. I really surprised myself when I joined a Hood to Coast Relay team with eleven of my running friends including my husband. This was 10-14 years ago, and I did it three years in a row. I struggled to adequately train each year. I had fun, but didn’t continue running once the race was over. I tried to be a consistent runner but without a clear vision or goal, I failed.

photograph of a large pile of kelp on Manzanita beach in Oregon

Manzanita Beach

New Year’s Resolve

In December 2014 we rang in the new year on the Oregon Coast with our good friends from California. They are both runners and I admire them for their dedication to start each day with a run. We enjoyed an ocean view while cooking meals together, playing games and watching football. This is where my new running story begins.

view of the ocean and beach in Manzanita, Oregon

Thanks to the inspiration of our friends, who returned each morning from a run before I had my first cup of coffee, and my husband’s motivation to get us out the door, I ran. We ran three days in a row. They weren’t long or fast runs, but they left me feeling invigorated, happy, and clear headed. I liked the post run feeling so much that I decided my 2015 resolution would be to make running a habit. After all, If I could run in the wind and freezing cold (there was ice on the sand one of the mornings in the unusually cold weather) then I should be able to run in the rain back home in Portland.

photograph of a sunset on the Pacific Ocean in Oregon.

Building A Habit

They say it takes three weeks to build a habit. I thought, “I just need to get out and run at least 15 minutes every day to build a running habit.” However, I was concerned for my knees. They hurt in the past, and I didn’t want that to stop me this time.

New Hoka running shoes On January 4th I bought my first pair of Hoka running shoes. One of our California friends ran in them, and convinced me to try a pair. He said it felt like he was running on clouds. They have extra cushioning to help absorb more impact.


I ran 27 days that January! I think I ran 14 days in a row before taking a day off. I was afraid that if I skipped a day I would lose my motivation and quit. I was determined to create this new habit. That 15 minutes became 25 right away and then 30. I didn’t start tracking miles until February 10th when I started using the Nike+ Running App. I had been using the Nike fuel band to keep me motivated, but it didn’t record mileage. I also took a picture during every run. I loved collecting the photos with data from each run. It worked for me and that is all I needed to help me stick to a new habit. I was thrilled, and it was those crazy looking shoes that helped me keep going without the knee and shin pain.

a collage of photos taken on the trails in Forest Park; Portland, OR
Over the course of the year I ran when the weather was perfect and when it was miserable. No matter how long, hard, wet, or muddy I never finished wishing I hadn’t done it.a collage of photographs taken during a run on a sunny day in Forest Park; Portland, Oregon At the end of the year I was proud of my results. From February 10th to December 31st I ran 136 times for a total of 524.6 miles. I even ran my first half marathon. I felt stronger and healthier. I started to think of myself as a runner.

Why am I telling you this?

First, It takes time and determination to develop an exercise routine that works for you. It isn’t always easy to find something you enjoy and can do on a regular basis. If you get sidelined for awhile don’t abandon it altogether. Get back to your routine when you can. It’s worth it and you’ll be glad you did.
Second, exercise is a key component in living well longer. You don’t have to run, but it is important to develop an exercise habit. Make it part of your plan for living with vitality.
Do you have an exercise routine that keeps you moving? Is there a physical activity that you really enjoy? Are there Apps or devices that have kept you motivated? Please leave a comment below.

Disclaimer: I am not fitness professional. My stories are based on my own experience and results. Please consult your own health professional for personal advice.

Disclosure: The links in this blog are affiliate links. If you choose to click on them and make a purchase I will get a small commission. This does not increase the cost of the product. Thank you for your support.

Obstacles; Two Weeks to Declutter

Obstacles; Two Weeks to Declutter

Life happens and sometimes there are obstacles in our path that we must remove before continuing on our way. Or we must learn to work around the obstacles like the trees above that are finding a way to grow on and in between the boulders in the rockslide.

I knew that our empty nest would feel big with just the two of us living in it. For days after we returned from taking Keaton to college I expected him to come through the door after school and ask me, “What time is dinner?” I missed his usual question at breakfast, “What’s for dinner?” Without him here our home was big and empty. We love this home that holds eleven years of memories. It’s large size has allowed us to host extended family members at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have slept as many as 10 for four nights at Thanksgiving. We finally have the backyard we’ve been dreaming of. We have completed most of the updates we wanted. I knew at some point we would sell. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

One of the many great attributes of this house is its abundant storage. It has amazing built in storage throughout. The bad thing is that it has enabled me to put off making decisions on whether or not to discard things. I can always find a place to put whatever it is out of sight and not worry about it. This has made my downsizing job much more difficult. I have a friend who always had the rule in her home that if something new came in then something had to go out. I wish I had adopted her rule years ago. My husband really wishes that I had followed her rule.

I knew we wouldn’t stay in this home forever. I knew we would sell and move sooner than later. Our personal goals go beyond this house. I thought I would have a year or more to prepare. At a minimum I was thinking six months of paring down, going through everything and making decisions on what to keep. However, with the housing market in our favor, we decided to put the house up for sale in September.

With this target I had just shy of two weeks to go through every room, every closet, every cupboard, every drawer and an attic in our 4,000 foot house with the task of sorting, tossing and organizing. It was daunting; both physically and emotionally exhausting. When I work under pressure with a looming deadline I get focussed, put on blinders and everything else in life gets put on the back burner. This probably isn’t the best tactic because even running, the one thing that clears my head and controls stress, was put off.

A year or so ago I bought The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. My plan was to read the book and then start on a systematic process of purging. I thought I could learn how to emotionally detach from objects in my home that weren’t important. I knew I could part with many things, but I also knew that it would be difficult. The book sat untouched on a shelf, and I continued to save everything.

With no time to even start the book, I needed to find a way through this huge self-built barrier. I realized I had to throw perfection out the window. That’s not easy for a Virgo. Making the “right” decision for every item was unrealistic, especially since we didn’t have our next house lined up. I focused on job number one, getting the house ready for show.

First, we rented a 10×5’ storage space. This is where we put some things that we knew we wanted to keep but don’t need in the house right now. I also decided that after the house sells we will need to have a large estate sale. There were things I could box up now that we will sell later. I went through every room and removed all the personal photos and collections that were visible. Then I put out some of my autumn decorations. I decorated much more sparsely than my normal style.

When it came to closets I removed excess and had three categories; keep, sell, and garbage. I did this for linen closets, hall closets, and bedroom closets. From our master closet we removed this huge pile of clothes that became a fantastic Goodwill donation. We filled six medium sized packing boxes.

Clothing pile for Goodwill

I love walking into our closet now. It is organized and void of clothes we weren’t wearing. About two years ago I started the practice of turning my hangers around on January 1st. Then at the end of the year I could tell what I hadn’t worn that year. This helped me weed out some clothes each year, but there were some pieces that I rationalized into keeping. They might be needed if the right occasion came. This year in January I put rubber bands on the hangers of pieces I hadn’t worn in 2015, but I still thought I should save most of what I hadn’t worn because the right occasion never came. Well this time I was ruthless. I decided to get rid of anything I didn’t truly enjoy wearing or wasn’t necessary. I told myself that if the “right” occasion hadn’t come for several years then it’s likely it won’t ever come, and if it does that piece of clothing will be dated and not something I will want to wear. I wish I had taken a before picture because my after picture is spectacularly different.

My new closet all neat and tidy.

This morning I started to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and within the first 35 pages Marie Kondo explains why I am so thrilled about my decluttered closet, and why I am now taking a little time each day to keep it this way. She says that when we make a profound change it triggers a different mind-set and touches our emotions. There is relief in having less to keep tidy. The feeling of being overwhelmed dissipates. Have you ever made a huge change in a room, your pantry or garden where you just can’t stop looking at it? Do you keep going back because it brings you joy to see the transformation?

There is a lot more to do, but our first goal, to get the house ready to “show”, is done. Once the house sells the process of paring down our belongings to less than half of what we currently have will be another daunting task. I do believe that once the process of downsizing our empty nest is complete I will feel relief from owning less, have freedom to pursue a new purpose and time to focus on wellness.

Have you had to do something similar? What was your process? How did you decide what to keep and what to let go of?

Five Tips On Taking Your Child to College

Five Tips On Taking Your Child to College

The following are five tips that I feel helped us cope with all of the emotions around taking our boys to college and separating from them.

  1. Before You Go: Let your child be in control of the details. They will soon be in control of their schedule, need to communicate with their professors, plan their social activities and in general, navigate through a whole new environment without daily help from you. I believe, as parents, we need to let them practice before they get to campus. Keaton scheduled his TB test at the doctors office, asked for his medical records and then confirmed that the university health center received the information they requested. He let us know the schedule for move-in and orientation. He was our navigator on the trip from leaving the house all the way to finding his dorm. We relied on him for all the important details which gave us reassurance that he will be able to manage everything without daily reminders from us on what needs to be done. Maybe this is all obvious, but I think it’s hard as a parent to remember that our college kids are legally adults.

    Montana View

  2. Getting There: Road trip there or take a family vacation before going. Not everyone can drive their child to college, especially if they are heading to a different coastline. We were fortunate to be able to road trip with our boys. Three years ago we packed the SUV to the brim and started a five day family adventure to Beloit, Wisconsin. We didn’t realize what a blessing this time in the car would be. Up until the morning of our departure our son, Rikley, had a full social calendar of saying goodbye to his friends and girlfriend. The road trip let us have uninterrupted family time. We visited Mount Rushmore and the Badlands on our way, listened to the same music and talked. When we arrived on campus we had one day to move into the dorm, get his ID, find his mailbox, open a checking account and attend several scheduled orientation events. At 5:00 the college had an outside ice-cream social, and at 6:00 announced that it was time for parents to leave. The whole day had been a whirlwind of activity and the goodbye came too quickly. We were thankful that we had so much time together the previous five days. So, this year when it was time to take Keaton to Bozeman we knew we would drive. It was a shorter trip and only the three of us, but we had him to ourselves for two days. If driving your child to college isn’t an option consider taking a family vacation as close to departure as you can.

    Fisherman on the Gallatin River

  3. Moving in: Give them space but stay close. Last Wednesday, after moving Keaton into the dorm and a final trip to Bed Bath and Beyond, we left the campus in the late afternoon. We didn’t have to say goodbye, just “Have a good night and we’ll check in with you tomorrow.” The next morning Rob and I drove about 30 minutes out of town and went on a couple of hikes. Rob did some fishing and I took pictures. We texted with Keaton a couple of times but didn’t actually see him. He was busy with orientation meetings, and we wanted to give him space to make personal connections and start building friendships. On Friday we spent half the day fishing and taking pictures before we met Keaton at his dorm. I wanted to get a few pictures with him around campus and see how he had settled into his room. We spent less than two hours with him, but it assured us that he was finding his way, making connections and settling in.

    College boy outside his dorm

    Saturday morning came and we picked him up for breakfast. We imparted our final words of wisdom on him over eggs and coffee and talked about his plans for the weekend. Then it was time for us to say goodbye, get out of his way, and leave town. We didn’t get to have that kind of time with Rikley and I felt more comfort leaving Keaton because of it.

    Bobcat freshman and his mom

  4. Saying Goodbye: Trust them with making good choices. As parents, we have to believe that we have raised our children to be responsible, keep themselves safe, and be true to themselves. Now is the time for them to show us what they’ve learned over 18 years, and we have to trust them. I was fine through breakfast and it wasn’t until we pulled up in front of Keaton’s dorm that I started to choke up and tears filled my eyes. It was an immediate reaction to the dread of hugging him one last time and letting go. Of course we will still worry about how he is adjusting. Is he making friends? Does he like his roommate? Is he eating well? Is he getting enough sleep? Does he like his classes? Is he happy? I know he will do well, and I have the peace of mind knowing that he is intelligent and capable of taking care of himself.

    Wallowa Mountains

  5. Coming Home: Take a detour on the way home. Rob and I are both planners. With our hectic work, school and sports schedules over the past decade plus, great planning helped us make it all happen. So, with a day of extra time on our hands, we did the unexpected and did not drive straight home to the big, empty house. Instead, we asked ourselves what could we do that was for us? While some of you may think of a spa, seeing friends or family, or exploring a new city, we drove along a winding road that followed a beautiful river and the route of Lewis and Clark. Our destination was the Wallowa mountains. We’ve backpacked there a few times and love the area with its clear creeks, mountain lakes and granite peaks.

    Hurricane Creek in the Wallowa Mountains and Eagle Cap Wilderness

    We picked an 8 plus mile hike along Hurricane Creek for Sunday. It was strenuous, very scenic, and served its purpose of distracting us from the inevitable empty nest. If we could have we would have spent more time there. Three years ago, Keaton, Rob and I had a 5 day journey back to Portland. We picked a different route and traveled through Colorado and Utah. We lingered a bit at Colorado National Monument and in Arches National Park. If you can, I highly recommend a detour on the way back to your empty nest.

Dropping your child off at college is tough. I hope you can take something from these simple tips that makes it more memorable in the right ways.

If you’ve taken a child to college what kind of tips would you give to others? I’d love to know what made the experience easier for you. Please leave a comment below.

Saying Goodbye & Following One’s Passions

Saying Goodbye & Following One’s Passions

Typical of many moms, I graduated from college, began a career, got married, started a family, and then quit my job to become a full-time mom.

As a child, I remember wanting to be one of four things when I grew up; a park ranger, someone who worked with baby animals in a zoo, a school teacher, and a mom.

My grandfather was a park ranger in the summers and a school principal in the winters. He was a park ranger at Crater Lake and Glacier National Parks and Colorado National Monument. I never knew him as he died in 1958, five years before I was born. However, he passed his love of the outdoors to my father who raised me with a great appreciation for the outdoors.

I started backpacking when I was five and snow skiing when I was seven. I spent many days and nights at two lake cabins in southern Oregon. At one I learned to water ski, roast marshmallows around a campfire, and sunbathe on the dock. At the other I played in the water, hunted for tiny frogs, and caught and released chipmunks.


As I write this I’m sitting on a rock on the bank of the Gallatin River in Montana. It is peaceful with the sound of the ripples and birds. My husband is fly fishing, and I’ve taken many pictures today. This is peace for me. I never pursued the forest ranger path, but many of my happiest memories throughout my life are from times spent outdoors.

My grandmother was a school teacher. Her first job was in a one room school house in Lakeview, Oregon. She loved teaching so much that she retired four times before she retired for good. She gave me textbooks and supplies to play “school” with. I was particularly excited about the teacher copy that went with the reading book. As I got older I decided I liked children more than baby animals. I graduated from college with a  degree in elementary education and within a year had a job teaching first grade. I enjoyed teaching, but I still had a strong desire to be a mom.

I always knew I’d be a mom someday. I imagined a family with six kids and gave them names. In reality, my husband and I had two baby boys. I quit teaching when boy number two was born. I consider myself lucky to have dedicated twenty one years to the  full attention of my boys.

So, now it’s hard to believe that I am here in Montana getting ready to say goodbye to my youngest as he starts his freshman year of college.

My Bobcat Boy

As parents we raise our children to know right from wrong, think on their own, be responsible and independent. We have to trust that our lessons have sunk in and that they will make good choices, be safe, and be happy. Every year we’ve relinquished a little control and influence over them. However, the jump to college is like a leap across the Grand Canyon. We may never know the parents of their new friends or what time they get back to their room at night. Every day they’ll make choices and decisions without us knowing. There will even be days we don’t talk or text each other.

Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to Keaton. I’ll give him a hug and a kiss, tell him to make good choices, be safe, and be happy. I know he will, but I still have to do my job as a mom and remind him of these things. I’ll hug him again extra tight and cry. Then his father and I will drive 750 miles away from him.

Like my grandfather and father with the outdoors, and my grandmother with teaching, I’ve followed my passions into teaching and being a mom.  Now that my role has changed, I’m following my passions for nutrition, the outdoors, photography, and inspiring others to live well longer.

I know a lot of moms who are saying goodbye to their college bound children. I know they struggle between letting go and knowing their child is off to great things. If you are in this situation leave a comment below and let me know how it is going for you.

Change: A New Purpose and Plan

Change: A New Purpose and Plan

In life, change is inevitable. Sometimes it’s gradual and sometimes it crashes into our lives like a wave on the beach in a storm. Sometimes we know it’s coming. We anticipate it and can prepare. Then there are times when change completely blindsides us. Today I’m starting this blog writing about a change in my life that I’ve been able to mentally prepare myself for. However, that doesn’t make it any easier.

My youngest child graduated from high school in June. I knew this day was coming and although I mourn the end of his childhood, and desperately wish I had a rewind button, I celebrate. Mentally, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for a new role and purpose. For 18 years my job has been focussed on raising my two boys, keeping a home and making sure my family is well fed, clean, emotionally supported and loved. Now, with less food to buy and cook, fewer clothes to wash and a schedule void of school and sporting events, I have time to pursue my passions and find a new purpose.

Tomorrow we load clothing, dorm supplies, a bike and my excited son into our car and drive 750 miles to Bozeman, Montana. I’ve done this before. My older son is attending college in Wisconsin even further from home. I know I will cry and my heart will ache. I know I will cling to him for one last long hug. I also know that we have raised him to be a responsible, caring and independent young man. This is the journey that we’ve hoped for him.

In nature animals and plants have to adapt to change in order to live. As humans, some of us resist change and others embrace it. I don’t want to be set in my ways. I want to learn new things and grow from those experiences. I want to focus my attention on living with vitality.

This blog is my journey on embracing the changes in my life, adapting, pursuing passions and finding purpose, wellness and joy. I hope to inspire and motivate my family and friends (you!) to do the same. My goal is to live well longer. I will be sharing what works for me as I try new things, like meditation, and get back to other activities I’ve set aside, like yoga. I will share simple recipes that make eating healthfully easy. I will read about nutrition, wellness and mindfulness then report on what works for me and have suggestions for you to try.

Please join me on this journey of discovering health and purpose. Whether you are an experienced, new or will be an empty nester I hope you will find some golden nuggets that you can apply to your own life, and live with vitality.

If you are an experienced empty nester what advice do you have for me and others? If you are new to the empty nest what are your plans for dealing with the change? What are your health and wellness goals? Please leave a comment below, and please share.


Pin It on Pinterest