Saturday, September 19, 2009


Last Saturday several Belles, their moms, Coach Rosie and I decided to run the Aflac IronGirl 5K. We have all been training for the last couple of months. In all honesty, due to some busyness (laziness) on my part and a small injury, I hadn't trained to the point that I had actually ran the whole 3.1 miles before. I was nervous.

I arrived at the park and joined up with the ladies from Victory Get Fit Club. The trainers were all buzzing with excitement and the veteran runners were chatting and milling about. I alternated pacing, faking a confident smile to my cheerleaders and standing in line yet again for the porta potties.

I lined up with Coach Rosie. We conservatively chose the 12 minute mile line up station. Inwardly I wanted to run the whole 5K. I barely slept the night before and spent the time praying and praising God. I decided to just run my race, not worry about anyone around me and not try to keep up with anyone.

The race started and put in my headphones. Soon I was picking my way around walkers and slower runners. I kept my pace slow and controlled my breathing. I eventually came alongside Coach Rosie and ran along with her, still not making any predictions about my endurance. We passed the 1 mile mark - I felt good. Grabbed a cup of water and kept going.

At this point I thought, wow I just ran that first mile in under 10 minutes and I feel pretty good. About this point I came alongside a teenage friend of mine. She was on my dance team several years prior. She was beginning to struggle and wanted to stop and walk. I grabbed her arm and brought her along with us. At the 1.5 mile point, Coach Rosie says, "I think we are going to be able to do this." I finally allow myself to commit to it too. I can run this thing!

While shifting my attention to my little friend and encouraging her to push past her wall, I felt renewed strength. We continued the run to the 2 mile mark and Rose and I again remarked, "we're doing it!" Not only was I going to run the whole 5K, I was going to finish with my friend Rose and my young dancer.

The race route was littered with husbands, sons and fathers holding signs and encouraging their racing women. The atmosphere was so empowering and encouraging. There was no contest, it was all about finishing and helping the women around you to finish.

We began to hear the music from the finish line. We quickened our pace. We were full stride now, no longer jogging, but running. We were doing it! It felt so good. I crossed the finish line and fought tears. I was so proud of myself. I cannot recall the last time I felt truly proud of myself. I was also proud of everyone else who finished their race too.

So, I have been bitten by the running bug. Coach Rosie and I plan to run a race every other month or so. I cannot pass up the high that comes from crossing the finish line.

Next year the IronGirl is mandatory for all of our junior cheerleaders - they need to feel the high too!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cheer Camp 2009

2009 Belles summer cheer camp was a smashing success!! I have never had so much fun with my staff and with my cheerleaders. It is with relief I state this, if you read last years post about camp you know already that it wasn't a grand time.

We learned from that and planned a whole new game this year. I am so glad we were humble enough to admit defeat and try another road. Coach Rose and I had a heart to heart, made a game plan for this year and we asked for favors from people who support our program.

We called in the big guns from the south, NV Elite - University Place Coach Liz, Coach Christoff and Coach Branden were just the antidote to our cheer camp aversion! We love these guys! They challenged us, they didn't take themselves seriously and they weren't condescending. Thank you! MWAH!
One of our cheer moms took time off work to be mommy, caterer, cheerleader and guardian angel to us for three days. I know she was exhausted, but she never mentioned it. I know she drove 800 miles that weekend, but she acted like it was part of her mission in life. I know we irritated her, but she never stopped smiling. The girls made up a cheer just for her - it brought some tears, gotta love that.

MISS JAC - our hero!

We chose to have a private camp this year. That means it is just our team versus the 200 or so other teams we usually attend camp with. The girls learn so much from the older cheerleaders at camp. We didn't want to eliminate that time. So, we called on another team to ambush the girls with a surprise visit and challenge project. Renton High School cheerleaders are our girls! The project runway team challenge was hilarious too!

I chose the glamorous tour for a camp theme. It was entirely based on a quote I read from Beyonce in Glamour Magazine. Basically she said that true glamour is when a woman is confident, aware of her strengths and weaknesses and skilled in showing off her strengths. We want to carry that whole idea into this season - we know what we can do, we are going to be confident every time we hit the floor. This year will be different, GLAMOROUS baby!
At the end of the camp, I left energized for the rest of the season. We finally have the right mix of girls, with the right attitudes to make all of the hard work worth it!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

First day of...

The 1st of September. The end of summer and the beginning of so many things. Tomorrow my oldest son will start High School! I cannot hardly believe this day is here. I am so grateful for the man that he is and for the faith and integrity he has and maybe for all that he has taught me over the last 14 years. It has been a long road, he was a WILD little boy, which makes me treasure him even more.

September is also the start of competition season for Liberty Belles. Coach Rosie and I finished up making a practice video this evening after working until 1:00am the night before. This is the longest and most difficult routine we have put together. The music is the cleanest we have ever done and the stunting more aggressive.

This is the season of new beginnings, new adventures and new expectations. I believe that my son is going to turn a corner in school this year. I believe that my cheerleaders are going to make a sharp right turn this year and also increase exponentially in their skill level, commitment, physical strength and team work.

This is the time for something new - I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tae Kwon Do - The Black Belts

It was with great excitement that my boys and I entered Kim's Tae Kwon Do this evening. We recently graduated from the beginner class and tonight would be our first "real" class. I must admit that Monday night I chose to observe the first few minutes of the adult class and then leave overcome with intimidation without joining in.

My first mistake was asking another mom-type if it was much different than the beginner class. The look on her face and her resulting instruction for the free form sparing, "maintain eye contact at all times, never back up, and if THEY HIT YOU it is their fault not yours." Um, hit me? Really? I thought it was all non-contact. So, I snuck out and went home to chores and bills.

Tuesday - I was determined not to be intimidated (that is not in my regular nature anyway). Traffic was light, I swung by home to pick up the boys, suited up in my incredibly unflattering white uniform and arrived to watch my two youngest in their children's class. It was enjoyable and my kids performed well.

As the children's class was ending my oldest son and I exchanged nervous glances. The adult class followed the children's class. Finally he said, "I guess we're up." I said, "Yep, you nervous?" Him: "Oh yeah." Master Henkel the kind, no-nonsense instructor required us to line up in the class by rank - we get the back row- woo hoo!

After a ridiculously fast warm-up session which feels more like whiplash and softshoe, Master Henkel began shouting sounds which replaced the beginner class' commands: front kick, low block, etc. The rest of the class understood these words because evidently learning Korean is part of the training process (shoot, should have read that handbook we got the first night). My son and I couldn't help but laugh as the rest of the class blocked and kicked and pivoted on command "Shi bah dum di sah" (or whatever) and then we face the back. "Kah bum da bum di doy" (or whatever) and everyone is performing reverse kicks I have never seen before. Okie dokie...

We kept up but then Master Henkel assigned us to the top two black belts in the class for the rest of the night. Bless these two young people. They were patient and gracious, but I imagine that teaching a newbie, white belt wearing, green horn ranked right up there with fighting a sweaty sumo wrestler in the TKD scheme of things. My partner and I practiced kicks, her foot precisely tapping my hand (the target) every time with a powerful, rapid, fluid motion. Me flailing about, trying not to fall down while trying to make my body obey the commands I was hearing:
  1. Step forward on your right foot
  2. Turn your left foot backward and step down - is it supposed to do that?
  3. Pick up your right foot and kick out quickly while pulling your toes backward and extending the ball of your foot - does that require acupuncture?
  4. Take your bottom lip and pull it up over your face while shouting Kiya

OK so that last part is an exaggeration, but only slightly.

Next up was the part I dreaded and so did every black belt in the room who might be paired with me. Free form sparing...
The Black Belts are no joke - they punch and kick and jump and turn so quickly and it looks like fun, but nobody wants to be the one in the class that holds everything up, right?

They perform kicks and blocks and punches gracefully dancing around the room. I bob and weave and kick and throw in a few cheerleader jumps... I was a wild woman. As I danced near my son awaiting his turn he says, "Go mom!" God bless him, we felt each other's fear and pain. I accidentally kicked a blue belt dude in the chest. Another pair of sparing partners shoved me as I got too close to their group. I got schooled by a kid who cannot be more than 6.

BUT I DID IT. My son and I left proud, a little sore, VERY tired and closer for having endured the black belts. To their dismay, I will return to work out with them again. To learn from them regardless of their irritance at my interloping.

Thank you Master Henkel for your encouragement and patience!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Wake-up call

It was a hint that things on my plate are starting to overflow onto the table...

Early in the morning, I rushed out to my car, with enough time to allow it to warm-up and defrost while I apply my make-up in the visor mirror. I was looking forward to my day as I had spent the previous day in bed ill (been years since I have been ill). I was leaving early, ready to attack my day. I inserted my keys into the inigtion, turned on the defrost and then began applying my make-up.

A few moments later my windshield was clear and my face ready for the office. I spent the next 10 minutes looking for my car keys - in my purse, around my lap, the scary place between the seats, even back inside to check the kitchen counter. I returned to my car, which was still running, to discover - YOU GUESSED IT - that my keys were right where I put them, in the ignition.

Embarrassed, I looked around to be sure that none of my neighbors were outside. As if they could know what I as doing while my car was running.

So, I have too many thoughts going through my brain right now. Whatever, I will deal with that as soon as I can...later.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

There was a glimmer

Saturday was a grueling practice. One of our squads was needing a little TLC from coaching staff. We started with an hour of extra tumbling practice, followed by a two hour non-stop practice session that involved repeatedly performing the same routine over and over. There were tears and the cheerleaders were getting frustrated too. [ha!]

Then, during the last 30 minutes of practice, I saw it. There was a glimmer of fight that passed over one of the girl's faces. She was angry - I loved it. Am I crazy? No! It was the first piece of passion I have seen from this group of girls. I thought, "come on baby, use that energy." She did, she wiped away tears and fought harder to get it right. Her squad picked up on it - a huge jump in their technique followed.

We praised them, they gave a little more. The couple of parents in the room cheered - they brightened and gave some more. At the end of that practice, they had improved by 80%, at least.

The potential I saw on Saturday energized me to the core. It caused me to prance into the office on Monday with an extra spring in my step.

"Come on my baby girls - I can't wait to see you this Saturday. I can't wait for your parents to see you on the 17th at the competition. Use that frustration (it is just passion bottled up) to make you better. Show me how good you really are. Now is the time to let it out - don't be afraid, I BEE-lieve in you. Don't forget."

When I am old

I have decided that my relationships are too important to allow pride issues to interfere with them. For example, we are blessed people but we live in an average home. It was built in the late eighties and still has its original flooring, kitchen and baths. The original owner didn't opt for quality when selecting the finishes either. We have three boys that live with us - you get the picture, right? It could stand to be updated and in some cases overhauled. This year instead of worrying about our old carpet or plastic-wood trim, I am going to enjoy my friends and serve them as guests in my home. [OK, so if you know me you know that I don't wait on guests, you are only a guest for about 10 minutes and then you should just kick off your shoes and open up the fridge yourself!]

So my friends, I will be sending many dinner party invites this year. Please don't look at the soiled carpets, the smudged walls, the knife marks in the linoleum [yes they are knife marks - don't ask] or ask what the funny smell is in the upstairs bathroom [no amount of bleach or scrubbing will make it go away]. Come in, kick off your shoes, grab a Diet Pepsi from the fridge, eat some of my semi-homemade hoover-doovers, be prepared to compete in a card game or share some funny stories.

Likewise do the same - don't hold back. You aren't too busy. Invite, attend, we all have some wisdom, acceptance, love or humor to share. God didn't place us on this earth to be islands right?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Persevere in the New Year

I am posting a daily email I receive from Summit Christian Center (Rick Godwin's church). Too great not to share. You can sign up to receive these too by visiting:

“We will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIVThis year – persevere (1)Perseverance means: (1) Succeeding because you’re determined to, not because you’re entitled to. Achievers don’t sit back and wait for success because they think the world “owes them.” No, if you’re wise you’ll ask God for direction, stand firm on the Word He has given you, go forward and refuse to quit. You must adopt the attitude of the man who said, “We are determined to win. We’ll fight them until hell freezes over, and if we have to, we’ll fight them on ice.” Recalling the trials he’d faced, Paul said: “I started, and I’m going to finish. I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door…And that’s not the half of it” (2Co 11:23-28 TM). One word describes Paul – relentless.

(2) Recognizing that life is not one long race, but many short ones in succession. Each task has its own challenges and each day its own events. You have to get out of bed the next morning and run again, but it’s never exactly the same race. To be successful you must keep plugging away. It’s said that Columbus faced incredible difficulties while sailing west in search of a passage to Asia. He encountered storms, experienced hunger, deprivation and extreme discouragement. The crews of his three ships were near mutiny. But his account of the journey says the same thing over and over: “Today, we sailed on.” And his perseverance paid off. He didn’t discover a fast route to the spice-rich Indies; instead he found a new continent. The scriptural key to success is – running the race each day (See Heb 12:1-2).

So, this year – persevere.