Running, Falling and the Important Job of Mommy


I have a dream. It’s reminecent of the Chariots of Fire triumphal entry. It’s of me crossing the finish line of a half-marathon. My three kiddos and hubby are waiting for me, arms raised and cheering as I sprint the thirteen miles like a bounding pup.

For a non-running type of person, this is about as big as my dream gets.

But even though I’m trying to reach my running goal by unofficially training with a few miles logged each week, my body is defiantly giving me the finger on this one. It’s not that I’m too achy, or injured or even a wuss -which I often am. The truth is I’m a little bit afraid.

Ok, I’m actually terrified to run.

On Sunday morning after a great workout, where I pushed myself and conquered a monster hill with the fifty lb stroller, I collapsed in the shower while holding the baby. One second I was on my feet and the next a freight train hit my head and I lost consciousness. I was aware of falling; of holding Kolby with a vice grip and then I heard in a far off place the thud of her bottom hitting the shower floor. I came to in a heap on my knees slumping over a hysterically crying Kolby.

Panic set in and all I could think about was watching Faith perform at church. It was Faith’s big day helping to lead worship in big church. No seizure or stupid loss of consciousness was going to stop me from watching my middle baby perform.

After drying off and getting us both dressed, I stumbled outside in shock and demanded my neighbors drive the baby and I to church. And then, only AFTER her performance did I let my husband take me to seek medical treatment.

(Thinking about that later, I can see how this might be a little irrational)

Despite the awfulness of it all, the baby (THANK GOD!) was unharmed and besides a few bruises on my knees and right forearm, which took the brunt of the blow, we are ok. After a slew of tests and a CT scan, my brain appears to be mostly normal –except for my usual social awkwardness, although I am on to some more rounds of tests with a cardiologist.

The doctor suggested I might want to add some water into my weekend regimen of coffee, tea, red wine, coffee, coffee and strenuous workout.

This makes sense unless you are a mother of three. I like water, I really do. I just forget to actually drink it.

When I called my mom from the hospital, her first response was hilarious. “Sam, you’ve finally done it.”

Me -“What did I do?”

Mom- “You’ve done too much.”

Me -‘Valid point mom. I’ll work on it.”

Now that I’m home and recovering, I realize the biggest problem (besides not having another episode) is that I’m slightly scarred (emotionally) from the experience.

I realized I have a tremendous fear of leaving my kids motherless. I mean let’s be honest here, who could love them like I do? Who would sing I love you forever to Kolby or get the knots out of Faith’s tangled locks or encourage my strapping son to dominate the football field with one look and our special sign?

Mommy is a very important job.

It was hard to get back in the shower today. I was scared. It was also hard to drive alone. I feel like a first timer quaking in my flip-flops at doing the most normal of things. And I didn’t want Tim to leave for work even though I knew he had to go.

Today I will be doing a lot of things with trepidation. And maybe, if I can work up the courage, I might take a walk.

And tomorrow or the next day, I’ll get back in the saddle, tighten my laces and try to run again and reach my dream.

I’ll just do it afraid.

And I’ll think about hearing “Go Mommy” at the finish line.


On a side note, Tim received this e-mail last night from a lady I talked to in the waiting room at the hospital. It was so touching and a gentle reminder, no matter where we go or who we meet, God is always with us.

FYI…I’m Courtney in the scenario below. And Mary, I think you are cool not creepy!

Hi Tim,

This email is pretty random but I was so happy to have been able to track you down through Mariners Church.
We’ve actually never met but yesterday my mom and I sat beside you, your girls, and beautiful wife in the E.R. at Hoag…for a long long time. After you left, your wife and I began to chat a bit. (I believe her name is Courtney but forgive me if I’m wrong. Ever since we left Hoag last evening, I have had Courtney on my heart so strongly. I have been praying for her that her tests results came back with nothing abnormal, and yesterday’s episode proves to be a one time glitch.
It was so nice to pass the time with you guys. After spending just a short period of time with you, I felt pretty certain you were Christians. I love how the Lord’s shows himself in and through the lives of people we come in contact throughout our days. The family of Christ is an amazing thing!
I hope I’m not creeping you out by pretty much stalking you on google but I just really wanted to check and see how Courtney is doing.
I hope you and your family have an amazing Holy week, and celebration of our Risen King!
Love in Jesus

“Live the life God created you to live.”

Ouch! Nothing Like Taking a Hit to the Stomach

Woman's one-piece bathing suit, 1920s, USA

Image via Wikipedia

Someone asked me if I was pregnant yesterday at church.  Really?  In an age of political correctness, don’t ask, don’t tell, and affirmative action, someone asked me if I have a bun in the oven?  I was under the impression that social etiquette dictated the only time to ask is when the woman is on a gurney heading to labor and delivery. 

And no it wasn’t a man who asked.  I would be delighted to receive this query if I was with child, but alas, I am decidedly not.  Truth be told, I think I ate too much the day before and was carrying around a small food baby.  It wasn’t a real confidence building moment, but rather a long and extended awkward pause; the kind where you want to disappear or wave around fingers, particularly the middle ones, towards the commenter.

I haven’t decided whether or not I am offended, though it’s certainly on my mind, because I tend to write about what God is revealing to me.  I’m guessing His lesson revolves around humility, but there’s a distinct possibility sit-ups might be involved too.  Maybe it’s a not so subtle reminder to be gracious for all the dumb comments I have needlessly rendered over the years.   Or, at the very least, it’s a poke at my beloved idol –vanity, which cycles in and out of importance in my life depending on the season. While, I don’t generally struggle with my weight, I do succumb to self-imposed expectations of body image.

Generally, if it’s cold outside, vanity ranks lower on the list than the hotter months because I don’t have to dwell on the appearance of the dreaded bathing suit.  There is not this looming expectation floating around that at any minute the kids might want to go to the pool.  If you aren’t prepared for that sort of mental trauma, it could take you out.

Part of me wants to care that someone noticed my abs could use a little attention.  I need a little kick in the pants to get me all riled up.  I want to go to the gym more, scurry around less, and make healthy living a priority.   But, I am also overwhelmed with life, excuses and justifications to avoid this conversation entirely or at least until the days grow warmer and the motivation to not carry around my holiday muffin-top kicks in.  The voices in my head battle between going to the gym and writing, and lately the prosaic shout has trumped the gym-rat squeak to get my attention.

I wonder sometimes, if   there is a certain age or stage in life when you can just let yourself go and it’s ok?  I’m sure all the men out there will say…no.  And fundamentally I guess I agree on a health level, but maybe there is a point, some proverbial happy medium, when you can let yourself go to the gym a little less and live a little more. 

When a woman, someone like me, perhaps, let’s go of the obsessive hot girl mentality, and laughs at the crappy comments life throws at her.  It’s the day when she embraces the one-piece bathing suit, allows spandex to be her friend and simply enjoys a margarita out by the pool instead of worrying how it’s going to ruin her carb intake for the day.

My skin is getting thicker by the moment as I write this.  My fingers are flying with passion across the keyboard.  But this nagging thought remains… a few more workouts and few less Girl Scout cookies wouldn’t hurt.  And if you have any doubts about my maternal status, I promise to let you know if and when I get knocked up again. 

But until then, tread lightly around my little Buddha belly. For now, it simply indicates happiness, busyness, and a relinquishment of my inner striver.  And, I suppose, maybe a few too many chocolates before bedtime. 


Say What?

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the opening sc...

Image via Wikipedia

It was the first day of Bible Study and introductions were in order.  As one of the leaders, I stood up in front of the women with my partner in crime (AKA my co-leader), and we modeled an interview style of the proverbial “get to know you” exercise.  

I handed out a simple questionnaire to the women so that the game might not get out of control and also to keep us on track.  So, as per the instructions, my co-leader and I began to fill out the form, which was rather easy, because we know each other pretty well. 

My co-leader inquired of my hobbies.  I answered, “Reading, writing, exercise, and my kids…”my babies.”  My implication was that with three munchkins, most, if not all my spare time is consumed with my children and their activities.

What she heard was a different story. 

My co-leader is a beautiful young woman.  She is energetic, wise, and rambunctious.  She is also slightly deaf when her allergies are bad.  I like to tease her about it because I tend to rush about muttering out directions as I move around like a whirling dervish.  Unfortunately, due to fluid backed up in her ears, she can’t hear me… at all.  And so the comedy that ensues is classic Laurel and Hardy.

I will ask her to help me carry something in and instead she turns and walks away.  I call her name and she turns and looks around, but in the wrong direction.  Now, if she were really deaf, I would never tease her, but the occasional hard of hearing day when the pollens are high, is dare I say…amusing?

So, on this fateful day, when she introduced me to the group of about forty women, she started with my name and noted that I was the pastor’s wife.  Then talked about my family, work, and writing.  Finally, she got to my hobbies.

“So Sam likes to read, write, exercise, and “make babies,” she shares; completely serious in her demeanor, straight-faced and dead pan.

And the room erupted in a roar of laughter; the hold your belly, from the bottom of your toes kind of laughter. It was pure ruckus that reverberated off the ceiling.

I turned and protested.  “I did not say that!”

Right back at me, she said, “Oh yes you did!”

My face turned scarlet and the group laughed all the more. 

There we stood arguing in front of the study, like two buffoons, my co-leader stubborn in her stance on what she had heard, and me, stuttering like a fool in defense at what I had said.

Later, after the laughter had died down, I reflected on my own struggle with deafness in the spiritual realm.  How often does God communicate with me, and just like my friend, I hear something entirely different.   My Lord speaks, and at times, I plug my ears like a child and shake my head in defiance, hearing only what I want to hear. 

Ironically, my husband and I have been praying about having another baby.  I’m still not sold on it, though God may be trying to drop a very loud hint.  Because apparently making babies is my new hobby.

The Torture Machine


My baby was diagnosed with RSV this week.  It’s a respiratory virus that causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages in young children. After discussing treatment and symptoms with me, the doctor forgot, possibly on purpose, to explain the potential side effects on the mother.  So, while I was adequately prepared for the baby’s illness, I was completely unprepared for my part in this journey.

As the home healthcare van pulled up to my house to deliver the torture machine, aka nebulizer, my insides started to quake.  We were instructed to administer breathing treatments every four hours for one to two weeks to baby.  The directions should have said, place gas mask on the child and brace yourself, because the baby will morph into a feral cat as soon as she sees the machine…a biting scratching little creature fighting for her life.

One week into this illness, I understood on a much deeper level, how God must feel when He watches His children suffer for their own good.  Our baby fears and despises the very treatment that will help heal her. Over and over, her screams rip into my heart as she stares at us with eyes full of distrust and betrayal.

My husband and I sound like broken records, repeating how very much we love her in our best soothing voice.  But it’s not enough. Our baby is mad and angry. She even howls at the machine, as if to rage against the symbol of her supposed injustice.

Of coarse, only a baby would doubt a loving father and mother’s intentions, right? I mean, we would never question our Heavenly Father, even when he leads us into the desert that borders the Promised Land…or would we cry and fight, every single time, just like a little child?

After eight nights of little to no sleep, fretting over each toss and turn, and straining to hear any variation to my beloved baby’s labored breathing, I have pretty much reached the end of my own strength. Her desert has become my desert, and the Promised Land but a memory I cling to in exhaustion. 

This desert has no sense of humor, limited grace, and very little patience for my spouse.  We bicker and pick at each other, ridiculously fighting over who is more tired (me, of course), until we remember who the real enemy is. And so last night, I prayed and cried out to God, to see Him more clearly in this dark night of the soul, on what has become a dry and barren road of nebulizers and endless mucous.

As I closed my eyes, long before my head hit the pillow; I sensed God’s comfort in this rest, more than the usual catatonic crash as of late. I felt drawn into His warmth, as though I were beckoned with waves of restorative manna for both my body and soul.  And though I awoke on the hour, it was enough sleep to sustain me for one more day. 

Today the baby actually relaxed in her treatment, closed her eyes and leaned into her wee mask. She opened her small mouth and deeply breathed in the medication that allows her find the air she so desperately seeks.

For this mother and child, God’s manna is rest. His provision is air to breathe. And his sustenance is not only for us, but for for all the weary sojourners traveling through the deserts of life seeking a glimpse of the Palace Gates and His everlasting  glory.

Cold Feet

cold feet

Image by MayaEvening via Flickr


My feet are cold. Bone cold. 

Will work for socks cold!

It’s one of those days where I have been warm, truly warm, for only a few minutes.  At the end of my run this morning, I started to break a sweat, despite the chilly 38 degree temp and maybe, just maybe my feet thawed.

Then in the shower, I defrosted momentarily, but upon exiting, returned to afore-mentioned frozen status.

It’s my own fault.  My favorite socks were dirty so I went without. 

Decided to stink up my loafers and go foot commando.

I thought I would be so bold and cheeky in my sockless state, a brazen message to the world that I can handle adversity. 

But I was wrong.  I am a whiner.  A sniveler. 

A fair-haired Popsicle whiling away the day dreaming of a roaring fire, a cuppa tea, an enthralling read, and oh yes…

 deliciously, decadently, toasty warm toes.



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