Dogs take each moment at a time and enjoy it; they don't hold grudges; they are everyone's best friend. Dogs savor the simple things in life--a walk in the neighborhood, a pat on the head, a quiet moment in nature. Humans should take a lesson from this and take the time to enjoy the simple things that make up our every day.
As I look back on the last year, there are so many high points and some incredibly low points. Goals met and dreams broken. The downs remind us that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. These down times help us appreciate the up times more and realize how truly blessed we are.
January started with a much needed admit to bring the business to a comfortable level. Not great, but enough that we had some breathing room. With that came a little extra spending money for more golf for Jeff and race registrations for me.
February was all about marathon training. First planned was Newport, a flat marathon with a long out and back along water. I love water. It is so calming. And lots of friends said it was well organized and would be there as well. Then later in the month I registered for a double. Yes, back to back marathons. I was so excited! Some major goals that were going to be tough, but I had the confidence I could accomplish them.
Sister Janelle, niece Rachel, sister Melanie, Dad, Loretta, me and Jeff
March. Typical with tons of rain. March is one of the main months I would like to move. Cold rain is so depression for me. A few disastrous runs mixed with some good runs messed with my confidence. I changed my training plans around and decided to go with the Hanson Plan with back to back medium long runs. We tried to escape the rain by going to Arizona to visit my dad and Loretta. All we wanted was heat and sunshine and we got cold and rain. I am not sure I will ever view Mesa the same way again!
Then April happened. On a 16 miler, I got horrible side pain which I thought was just a bad side ache. The next morning, I headed out for 10 miles and 2 miles in, my side hurt so bad I had trouble walking. I walked the 2 miles back home feeling completely defeated. How was I going to meet my goals if I got this horrible pain? The pain subsided and I thought through everything I had eaten or drank to try to discover the issue. Then the pain came back a few hours later. Maybe I had strained an oblique muscle. The pain didn’t go away. I was having trouble standing upright. A visit to the doctor and an ultra sound diagnosed gall bladder disease. The next week was a visit with a surgeon on Monday. I had surgery at 11:30 am on Wednesday and was home by 6 pm with 4 itty bitty incisions. Pretty amazing really considering the hospital stays and huge scars of the past. I was relieved to have it done and the pain gone, but the biggest disappointment was no exercise for 6 weeks. No running, no weight lifting, no rowing, no biking. Walking was allowed. With great sadness and disappointment, I sold my bibs for all my marathons.
Willy's family: Seraya, Colton, Juli and Will
In May, that disappointment became completely unimportant. Jeff’s sister in Hawaii called. Her husband was injured on the job. He was in terrible pain and was having trouble using his hands. After numerous doctor visits and tests, he was finally diagnosed with cancer. The end of May, Jeff and I headed to Maui. My job was to help care for Willy and train everyone how to do the same. Jeff was going to help with transportation to and from radiation. The cancer was growing so fast and the doctors hoped radiation would add months to Willy’s life. But God had other plans which we cannot understand. Just five short days after we arrived, Willy was called to God’s side. Even as I write tears fill my eyes. He left behind his wife and 3 young kids. I don’t understand God’s purpose in allowing this, but hold to the knowledge that He has a plan. I stayed another week and spent time crying and laughing with his family. It was so hard to leave, but so hard to stay. Going home meant leaving his widow to face reality. Going home meant I could leave this new reality and live more in denial. Jeff remained another week and a half for Willy’s memorial service and to cheer at his niece’s softball tournament. We were blessed to have the freedom to go to Hawaii and support the family. I believe there is no greater honor than to be allowed to watch a believer pass from this world to the next. We grieve our loss, but rejoice that God has Willy at His side.
Summer came to the Pacific Northwest—finally! I hired a running coach to get back strong and running again. It was a great decision and if anyone is looking for a great coach that is willing to work with odd schedules, give PRS Fit a call. Jeff began playing more and more golf. He maintained his membership at Summerfield Golf Course this year. It is a nice course that is close enough to just run out and play a quick round. He spent many afternoons in the sunshine…and the rain…and anything else… He kept track of the number of rounds of golf played. In 2012, he has played 91 rounds of 9 holes and 18 rounds of 18 with a total of 95 rounds of 9 at Summerfield. All in all a very good investment for the year. Running and golf allow each of us our sanity as well as each other’s sanity. We both get a little cranky if we don’t get out for our hobbies!
In September, I took a quick and surprise trip to southern California. When my niece texted about a surprise party, it took me only a moment to say yes and buy a ticket. I spent the first hours with her kids getting everything ready. There was a lot of laughter as we worked. It was so much fun to watch them work together to honor their mom’s “special” birthday. The surprise was a success. The look on my sister’s face when I walked out the door of her house was priceless. There is never enough time to be together so we have learned how to get the most out of the time we have.
October brings my birthday month. I have decided that I should have an entire month devoted to my birthday. Jeff isn’t so sure about that, but since I didn’t tell him to get me a gift every day he just put up with it. Truly it was a month where I looked at everything as a gift. Whether it was a bit of sunshine, the changing of the leaves or a quick call with a loved one. It was a time to remember that gifts are not necessarily of monetary value. Gifts are a moment in time or a smile. This month also reminded me to give those same gifts.
I realize November is not technically winter, but it is the start of the days of darkness for me. I suppose it is good that it is a month to be thankful. Remembering my blessing is a good way to get through the doldrums.
December brings decorations, parties and fun. I did run 2 half marathons during the month. Working with a coach and all the weight lifting a core exercises is paying off especially in the later miles of a race. I was so happy to finish without losing my form or my shoulders hurting. December also brings one of my favorite days of the year—the Annual Beckham Family Christmas Party. The format has changed over the years, but it is still a time to see people we see just once a year. This year we brought back the caroling and visited a facility where Jeff’s dad lives. There were tears in his eyes as he sung along with the group. Several other residents also sang along. This was an amazing gift to give a group of often overlooked people. The afternoon and evening was filled with fun as I watched the next generation learn from their parents the best way to get the gift they want in the “Passaround”.
So this is the long version of our year. Even writing it out reminds me that I am blessed. Most of my days revolve around our business, but working from home with such an incredible group of people brings contentment. Sometimes I dream of normal schedules with weekend to run with groups or race, but that is not who I am. I am a solitary runner. I love being about to run during daylight all year round. I love that Jeff can get out to golf most afternoons during the week. We work as a team and it fits us. Now we look back with fondness and forward with excitement. What will the next year bring? Only God knows the plans, but they are “for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)