Be Brave. Be Strong. Be Happy. Be Free. Be You. Be About Now.

I had the first of three races in seven days yesterday. That 10k was the most challenging yet of all the races I’ve run lately. As I was traversing through the lush, rolling hills on the vineyards dirt roads (some sections with loose dirt) and trails I couldn’t help but think about how priceless being yourself is. There are times in my life I failed majorly to listen to my inner voice, and allowed the opinions and perspectives of others to guide my thoughts and actions. More than ever I am grateful to have had those experiences. Each one has made me realize the past is not today, it will never be. I am not perfect (I’ve never claimed to be). I have made cowardly, shameful, hurtful, purely selfish choices. I am here, now, and I am not those mistakes. I am not my struggles.

Being yourself is worth it. I love being busy loving those people who love me and allowing that love to invade my heart and mind. I am truly grateful for the tender, patient way I am loved by the people in my life. They have loved me even when I felt I wasn’t very loveable.

I love who I am. I love the balance and peace being honest, truthful and fearless has given me. I love where I come from. I love the way I think. I love the way I trust. I love the way I love. I love the now. I know who I am. *BIG smile*

With love, gratitude, joy and deep respect,

-J

Shoe check - these babies have got to get me through another 10k & Half-Marathon back to back next weekend.

Shoe check – these babies have to get me through another 10k & Half-Marathon back to back next weekend.

 

Fueled by the power, love, joy & kindness of a peaceful heart.

Fueled by the power, love, joy & kindness of a peaceful heart.

 

Run Through the Vineyards - April 26, 2014 (preparing to run not cheer)

Run Through the Vineyards – April 26, 2014 (preparing to run not cheer)

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Forgiveness. Hope.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Learning and loving everything about myself.

What does it mean to love yourself? To truly love who you are? Not just self acceptance, but truly loving the person you are. Meaning loving the way you think, loving the way you respond in stressful situations, loving the thoughts you have daily, loving the actions you take through your day, through out your life. I can now say I honestly, without a doubt, with no fear, love myself. I love who I am! With all the challenges, heartache, death, betrayal, rejection, struggle, pain – I am growing, I have grown. I’ve grown and I’ve learned to cherish life, each minute, each hour, each new day. I wouldn’t change a thing. I take that back…I would give anything to have my Nicole back. That is the truth. Her death and every challenge I’ve faced has made me realize how precious love, respect, trust, commitment, responsibility and knowledge are.

For years I blamed the doctor.

For years I blamed the man I was married to.

I made myself believe that if only, if only I had a doctor who cared. If only he hadn’t insisted. If only he had offered an alternative.  If only I wasn’t ashamed of who I was and where I came from.

I made myself believe that if only I had a marriage that was void of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse.

If only. If only. If only…

When I stopped blaming the doctor and an abusive partner, I started to blame myself. Afterall, I was the only person who could have stopped it all. I was the only person who could have, should have said no. But I didn’t and for years I carried a secret. I carried guilt. I carried shame. I carried pain. I carried a tremendous sense of unworthiness. I carried everything but the one thing I should have and I hated myself for it.

I was pregnant. I found myself in crisis 13 years ago. I was in an abusive, traumatic relationship with the man in my life at the time and I was pregnant for the fifth time. At the time, I was trying to survive. I was trying to hold things together for my 2yr old, my 3yr old, my 7yr old and my 11yr old. How was I pregnant, again? Why? How could we escape now? How can we escape now? All questions I kept asking over and over in my head. I had no family where we lived. I had no friends who I could confide in. I was alone and I had no hope. I made two decisions.

I made it through that time with my four children I thought, in a healthy, strong way. It is only until recently that I’ve realized I’ve never forgiven myself for doing what I did all those years ago. I had failed to truly acknowledge that time in my life. I had buried that time, my actions, and my pain away and never spoke about it. I’ve told one person. One person out of all the people I know. One person knows the entire story beside myself. Even after finally telling someone I still felt unworthy. I still felt that I truly did not deserve goodness, kindness, peace, joy and love.

These last several months I have in a completely genuine, vulnerable way opened up and allowed pain to run its course. I carry no more secrets. I have faced my fears. I have recognized and acknowledged the guilt, shame and hate I’ve had toward myself. I have accepted. I have accepted what I did. With that acceptance hope has begun to flood the void I’ve felt for so long. And there is more…Hope is not alone. There is acceptance. There is desire. There is committment. There is determination. There is motivation. There is action. There is transformation. There is forgiveness. There is chance.

It has taken me more than 13 years to truly learn to love myself. I have and I continue to learn to love myself. I’ve forgiven myself. There is a sense of peace. A sense of balance. There is hope. There is love. Love. Love. Love.

If you are in the midst of a violent marriage, violent relationship and you find yourself pregnant. Know there is hope. Whatever your decision – if you decide to end the pregnancy. If you agree to have yourself sterilized. If you decide to carry your baby full term and keep her/him. If you opt to have your baby adopted. Whatever you decide, KNOW, please KNOW there is always hope and you are valuable, you are good and you deserve love. You are not alone. GAWD, it feels like it. Trust me, I know the feeling but you are not alone. You can ask for help. You do not have to be ashamed.

I am extremely grateful for the following doctors. They have helped me to see endless possibilities. Knowing that the wife of a friend possibly works for one of these doctors was the kindling that reignited my hope and has led to an understanding that whatever the future may hold I am at peace. I have four beautiful, amazingly kind, good-hearted children now ages 15, 16, 20 and 24 and if the future holds a fifth or a sixth I am honored & blessed, and if not, well I am grateful for the chance, for the hope and for forgiveness…balance and peace, always.

Wishing you all a beautiful NEW YEAR filled with new beginnings, endless possibilities, love, joy, peace, forgiveness and hope…

A forever grateful mom,

-J

Hope not for changing the past, but for the future.

Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center – Dr. Charles W. Monteith & Dr. Gary S. Berger  – North Carolina

Center 4 Tubal Reversal – Dr. Eliran Mor – Southern California

Love. Love. Love.

growing stronger with each new day.

Joyce Ann- 11-22-2013 –love, peace and understanding

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I am thankful for... I am thankful for…

Gratitude cards to be delivered to seniors who will recieve a  Thanksgiving meal through the Meals on Wheels organizationGratitude cards to be delivered to seniors who will receive a Thanksgiving meal through the Meals on Wheels organization

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We have had a busy days in my second grade classroom. I’ve thought a lot about how fortunate I am to have SO much to be thankful for. During all this self-reflection I began to think about how I can share this process with my second grade students. I wanted them to know that they too have so much to thankful for and what they have cannot be bought in a store. So we spent weeks talking about relationships, our connection to each other, our connections to family, friends, land, water, and the air. I am truly inspired by the passion and insight my six and seven-year old students have. The daily lessons, shared stories, readings, videos and research led us to write about…everday acts of kindness, opinion pieces on what we are thankful for and we wrote a short letter to an older adult who will not be spending the holiday with family. I was very fortunate to have a friend whose church agreed to deliver the cards to each of their Meals on Wheels recipients during the holiday. Over the course of a few days, my 2nd graders thoughtfully wrote heartwarming cards to the seniors. We wrote a little bit about ourselves, described our plans for the holiday, and sent the seniors messages of friendship and love. The end result is beautiful.

Wishing you all love, joy and endless peace

-J

Running…yielding to life. Running…having focus, pose, patience & peace during the tough moments.

I was in the 4th grade when I ran my first timed mile. I loved it!

I was in Mrs. Poorthunder’s class that year. Mrs. Poorthunder also happened to be the teacher who taught me how to fancy dance for pow wows.

Even in the 4th grade when I ran my first mile I got something from it. I got a little taste of peace.

I have so many close family members who turn to alcohol & drugs to deal with stress, setbacks, and heartache. I just run. There is something about lacing up my running shoes and pounding the pavement day in and day out. It is reliable. Running clears my mind of all the things I cannot control. Lately running has been the perfect outlet for the hurt I’ve felt. I’ve pounded the pavement in tears, pushing myself to take that hill, allowing the anger to build up from inside and then releasing the rage & pain with each forefoot strike. Running has done so much for me. For two hours out of each day running affords me the clarity, stillness, quiet and focus that I first tasted in the 4th grade.

I know I’m getting into the best shape of my life right now. I feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally after every run. I can’t wait to get home and lace up my runners. The more running I do, the more marathons, half-marathons, and shorter distances I do the more I realize that I am not just running for myself. I’m running for the members of my family, loved ones and friends who cannot. I run because I am fortunate to have found a way to deal with life’s hardships. I have found a way to allow anger, sorrow, and hate to be balanced with peace, joy and  love. On the days I am feeling alone and sorry for myself and want to do nothing but sleep, I think about my family, friends and loved ones. I think about where they would be if they could understand and know they have a choice. I know they would tell me to keep moving. That it will all turn out okay. So I get out of the funk, lace up my runners and get my butt out the door.

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Before the start of the 2013 Long Beach Half Marathon 10-13-2013

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The sun coming up as we wait for the 7:30am start time of the 2013 Long Beach Half Marathon 10-13-2013

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Seeing the full marathoners off at 6am

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The 2013 Long Beach Half Marathon Medal

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My 2013 Long Beach Half Marathon Bib and medal. The real prize is the peace and clarity I had while running alone.

Coyote and the stars…

This is just how life works. Time needs to pass. Time needs to pass to set straight the train wreck of emotions. There is no other healthy way to learn from the pain of a cracked heart. In the last few days I’ve learned things about myself. Most notably, when I love, I love deeply and completely. I’ve also learned that there are endless things that are still reliable in my life. Growing up Navajo I’d always heard the story of Coyote, First Man and the placement of the stars. I was told that First Man took great care and patience with building several constellations because he wanted the results of the work to be perfect, forever lighting up the night sky. Coyote watched and eventually grew impatient and gathered all of First Man’s mica and threw them up into the air. They instantly stuck in random bunches. To this day I can count on looking into the night sky and be reminded of the reliable disorder created by Coyote and his impatience. Stars are reliable. There is always a story in the stars. I need to allow myself to be patient, still, and open to all the stories that are out there and in me. I got so caught up in a whirlwind of love and like Coyote was reckless & impatient with that love and it had the potential to be an everlasting disorder. I’ve learned that I cannot count on someone to know me better than I know myself. I lost sight of the fact that they may not always be around. I’ve learned that I am the only one who has power over my life and I have to take the time as First Man did and patiently build the constellations of my heart. With time and patience I can work to make sure that commitment, communication, warmth, goodness, consideration, respect, honesty, sex, intimacy, passion, romance, love and trust will ALWAYS be secure in their proper positions even when surrounded by the complications, randomness, trials, and struggles of life and love. I am learning that with patience and time there is nothing in my life that cannot be renewed, restored, or remade.

With love and deep respect…

– J