A bittersweet year.
That was my first thought as I opened my 2013 memory jar and spread the contents before me. My memory jar brought up feelings of happiness and great sadness. As I take a moment to reflect on the last twelve months, I would like to share some events that were the most important to me.
January 2013 found me joining my first running club, The Red River Road Runners. A friend introduced me to this running club and gave me one of their flyers. I became a member of the RRRR running club, and a few days later I ran one of their 5K Winter Series races.
January 19- Caleb turned 13, and I now have 2 teenagers in the house.
January ended with my husband and I refinancing our mortgage from 7% to 2.75%. Yes, you read that right, and I will probably never see that again in my lifetime.
Nothing too exciting happened in February so let's fast forward to March.
March 21- Nicholas turned 18 years old! Wow, time sure flies by! My sweet little boy has grown up to become a sweet young man.
They say "a picture is worth a thousand words," and I most certainly agree! As equally exciting as refinancing the mortgage was in January, two months later I would reap the benefit of being debt free especially from that dreaded student loan I picked up when I decided to go back to school a few years ago and get my Master's degree. Whoo-Hoo!
April 22- I celebrated Earth Day by planting my first vegetable garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, chili peppers, and a few herbs is what went into my little garden. It was nothing fancy, but I was one proud gardener.
My sweet grandmother passed away this year on May 17th. She was 100 years old.
I was lucky enough to spend time with her as I was growing up. Some of the best memories I have were made at her house. One of those was eating dinner. She loved to cook and made the best homemade biscuits ever.
When I was a child I remember having sleepovers at her house when my cousins came to visit. We would make pallets to sleep on all over the living room and stay up for hours.
She loved to play scrabble and Yahtzee. She also loved to sew, and when I would come to visit I would often see her working on another quilt for someone. And, when you walked through her door she would have coffee waiting or ready to make.
While my grandmother had a sweet side she did not put up with foolishness and was not afraid to discipline anyone who needed it. One time I was playing in her yard and decided to climb the fence. I guess she was peeking out the windows because the next thing I knew she came out and told me to go pick out my own switch. Although I tried to find the smallest one possible, it still hurt! I never did climb anymore fences though.
When I was in high school I struggled with algebra, and one day I found out she had loved math. I'll never forget her sitting down with me and patiently explaining a problem I was struggling with. She was good!
I would often sit in her kitchen and listen to her tell me family stories. I could listen to her for hours.
I love my grandmother and will miss her dearly. I'm so thankful for the time I had to spend with her and all the fond memories. She will forever be in my heart.
May 23- I ran the Mudbug Madness 5K race. Not only was it hot and humid, the race began in the evening. Can you say hot, yucky, and tired?! A teacher friend of mine was also running and I met up with her before the race began. This was our before picture. I'm sure we were already sweating before we even started running.
May 30- Chris and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.
June 14- I turned 45. Happy Birthday to me!
June 29- Southern Ladyrunner was created. This is a community Facebook page I created, in addition to my personal page, where I can share my running experiences, motivation, and tips to those who are interested or loves running as much as I do while not boring everyone else. In less than a month my page had 100 likes and as of today it has 265 likes. This is unbelievably exciting and tells me I must be doing something right if that many people are interested and continue to stay with me.
What was the most exciting thing about July? I bought a new car! This is my new 2013 Honda Accord that I love!!!
August 10- I embarked on a new journey. Last year I had made up my mind and registered to run a half marathon in 2013. As the time drew closer to begin training, I joined USA Fit. I trained with them for 3 1/2 months every Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. with the exception of a couple of race days in between, and it all paid off!
August 31- I ran the Saints Back to Football 5K. So fun!!! This race began in front of the Superdome in New Orleans, La and ended on the fifty yard line. This was one of the most exciting 5K races I have ever done!
Then on September 7, I ran the Run or Dye 5K in Shreveport.
And, the Autumn Breeze on Oct. 19th. This was my very first 10K race.
November 24- A day I will never forget. I ran my first half marathon. This was a story to be told all by itself. You can find that story on my previous blog entitled 13.1.
On a cold winter Monday morning, I received a call from my mother that stopped my world for a moment. My dad had been rushed to the emergency room early that morning from difficulties with breathing.
A few years ago dad had been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphoma Leukemia and had recently begun his first chemo treatment. He had been in and out of the hospital for a couple of months.
He began radiation treatment for skin cancer his doctor found behind his ear and soon after started chemo for his CLL. After dad received his first chemo treatment, he came down with a fever. His immune system was very weak and he often had difficulty breathing. On Thanksgiving he was sent home, and my family was able to spend time with him. We thought he was doing better.
After receiving the call from my mother that dad was in the ER, I spent the rest of the day at the hospital. My family and I was with him until he took his last breath. On December 2, my dad passed away. This was the saddest day of my life. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did that week. I miss him so much. That next day I ran the hardest I have ever ran. I ran for my dad, I ran for the sadness, I ran for the heartache. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. He was such a wonderful dad and I loved him very much.
December 10- I ran again. I had entered my town's 5K Christmas run the month before and after dad passed I almost didn't run. After thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and run. My dad would have wanted me to, so I ran for him. That race gave me a PR (personal record), and I ran the fastest 3 miles I have ever run, a 33:35 time. Thanks, Dad!
December 25- My husband gave me the sweetest Christmas present ever. On Christmas Eve my husband kept asking me what my favorite Christmas gift I ever received was. After thinking about it, I told him it would have to be the gift he gave me when we first started dating. He gave me a small Christmas bear figurine that I sit out every Christmas. On the back he wrote simply, To Karen, Love Chris. Then he said, "I bet I can top that."
My husband and Aunt Charlene made and printed my half marathon story into a 20 page photo book. It was a surprise gift I received from my husband on Christmas Day and a gift I will always cherish.
Yes, it has been a bittersweet year. But, I made it through and will continue to move forward with the help of God, my family, and the comfort of knowing I'll see my father and grandmother again one day.
So, I am ending this year honoring my father and grandmother. I dedicate to them all of my 2013 memories and end the year with this poem.
On Eagle's Wings
And He will raise you up
on eagle's wings,
bear you on
the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine-
like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of His hand.