Monday, September 5, 2016


When I was in my teens, I loved to make a "Summer To Do" list at the end of every school year. They included simple things like "have sleepovers" or "go for bike rides". But I also set some pretty high standards for myself, adding things like "fall in love", "go on a week long road trip". (I never really checked those two things off the list). At the end of every summer, I would recap. How did I do? Did I check everything off my list? Did I have the BEST SUMMER EVER? I so wanted to always have the best summer ever. I wanted to be able to go back to school and tell everyone how amazing my summer was. 

It wasn't until my mid twenties that I realized my summers did not need to be epic. Maybe it was because I had a full time job, so summer wasn't so much a 3 month long break anymore. Or maybe it was because I realized that just being able to capture some really special moments were enough. I didn't need to have wild adventures or check things off a list. I just needed to enjoy the sunshine, and soak up all the fun that I could.

As I reflect on this past summer, I can't help but wonder how my 16 year old self would rate it. I mean, I got engaged to the love of my life. My niece Cara was born. Those are two pretty important milestones. Maybe I didn't go on any crazy adventures or road trips, but dozens upon dozens of adventures will be on their way. Tom and I have so much to look forward to- and entire lifetime, in fact. The engagement was just the first step. 

There was something else pretty magical about this summer, too. I ran a total of about 42 miles. Nearly every Sunday morning, around 8 AM, I was outside running my 3 miles. At first, my runs started off as a way to change up my exercise routine. Between boot camp, weights, and yoga, I needed some cardio. But at some point, it turned into something so much more. It became spiritual. It became time for me to talk to God,  but more importantly for me to listen. There were several occasions, where, while running, I felt God's presence more than I have in a very, very long time. Sometimes I heard a song that I needed to hear in that moment. Sometimes I suddenly got chills. Sometimes I felt a hand (or several hands) on my back. But most of the time, a message that I needed to hear suddenly entered my mind. At first I was afraid to tell people what I was experiencing when I was running. I was worried they might think I was crazy, or that I was exaggerating, or both. Now, I don't really care who knows or what they think. Those times have brought me such immense comfort and peace, that I've stopped questioning if it's real or if I'm crazy and just embraced it. 

I joke that I hate running. To be honest- it's still not my favorite. But I've certainly learned to like it much more than I used to. I love being able to beat my time, or try a new route. But most of all, I love that it helps me to clear my mind, and gives me quality time with God.

So...this summer, I got engaged to my best buddy, I celebrated the birth of my niece, and I ran. I also went to a few concerts, had a fun girls weekend, and spent a lot of time with my family. Best summer ever? So far, yes. But honestly, they just keep getting better. I bet my teenage self would never believe that. 

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