Monday, June 23, 2008

EnduRANce

Values are better caught, and not taught, right? My first race turned out to be a valuable lesson in determination, commitment and perseverance.

When I started training, my goal was to have the endurance to finish the race, even if it means walking all the way to it. My online running mentor said, this could be done by starting slow and pacing myself, picking up speed only towards the end of the race. It said that I shouldn't feel pressured to have the other runners pass me by. No problem in that area.

On The Day, call time was at 5:15 am at Manila Polo to give time for a walk through and some race guidelines. Pag-asa predicted a typhoon coming, but you can never be sure with these guys. We brushed the typhoon signal aside for more important matters on hand, the race and the subsequent celebratory breakfast and awarding at Pancake House along McKinley Hill.

I was in the middle of my 2nd lap when it started to drizzle. And then the drizzle quickly turned into a downpour. I didn't want to quit the race. I trained for it and I wanted to finish it. Add to the fact that J was running with us, it would be the perfect chance to show her that if we commit to something, we follow through upto the very end. So run in the rain, we did! Soaked to the bone, I remember fretting about my new shoes getting drenched and muddy. tee-hee-hee! :)

I ran the race at my own pace, and what do you know? I placed second in the 3k category, and won for us 2 tickets to the Powerplant Cinema. J also got a prize for finishing the race. We headed to PowerPlant for our movie date, with a movie of J's choice, KungFu Panda.

I am sure she will treasure the memories of running her very first race, and running the second half of it (gleefully) in the rain. Hopefully, I was able to first-handedly expose her to the values of determination and commitment . That if we set our mind to doing something, setbacks will only slow us down but won't stop us from reaching our goals.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Show and tell

J usually makes use of the time going home to tell me of the events that transpired during the day. This afternoon was no exception. She mentioned that they were assigned a partner, were given a few minutes to talk and then asked to stand in front of the class to describe each other. J and her partner talked about each other's favorite things and characteristics. She was described as cheerful, among others.

She went on to tell me that one girl, looked at her partner from top to bottom, and then proceeds to say what she has observed, "she has dark skin..." eliciting a prompt rebuttal from the girl concerned, "I am not dark!" With hands on the waist and a stomp of her feet to further emphasize her absolute disapproval of that opinion, as if it were the worst thing in the world. J said the whole class erupted in laughter at this candid exchange.

Another one described her partner as chubby. Nothing wrong with that, except that I know this girl, and she is anything but chubby. She is nowhere near chubby, she is what we might call a happy medium.

From the kids' point of view, the above mentioned exchanges offers a comic relief from an otherwise boring class. But as a parent, the tongue in cheek narrative is a reflection of how appearances, and not characteristics, make a central case on how we view others and ourselves. Point is, these kids have become unknowingly influenced by our society's biased concept of beauty being synonymous with fair skin and being skinny.

Even with my own kids, it is so hard to instill in them that self worth is not based on one's looks. My 2 girls always makes a fuss when it comes to what to wear every Sunday. Always asking my approval, "Mom, do I look pretty?" And I always answer in the positive, but with a follow up, "but God looks at our hearts."

While it is important to take care of our appearance and make an effort to look good, it must be be complementary to a heart that's always centered on God.

Back to school

The kids are on their second week of school. School time always means everything falls into an anticipated routine once more (i.e pick up the younger ones, have lunch with them, take a nap....) . It's a long list of things which describes who I am.

I take pleasure that my schedule falls into a routine, makes me appreciate my place in this world... as a wife and a mom. I find comfort that the day's activities unfold predictably, everyday the same as weeks that has passed, only made much sweeter than the last because of the presence and laughter of loved ones.

B started big school and is adjusting quite well, I suppose. Parents were welcome to stay during the first day of class, and so I took advantage of that opportunity. Teacher called each of the kids by their full name, upon which each one is expected to stand up and wave hello to everybody in the room and say out loud the name that they preferred to be called. When it was B's turn, I almost had to catch my jaw from falling off as I heard her say, "Therese". What? Since when?

Although it is indeed one of the attachments to her kilometric name, we have never used it, save for her certificate of birth. When I was finally able to bring her aside, all she could say was, "what? She asked me what I want to be called. I want to be called Therese from now on, I think it is a nice name." I gently explained to her that she is not used to answering to that name, that she might not realize that her teacher is calling her.

Whew! What a B-moment that was indeed!

Friday, June 13, 2008

As fast as you can

C's Tuesday group have been caught up in the running craze, and after joining several races they have now organized a duathlon exclusively for family and a few good friends. So as a dutiful wife and for the spirit of fun, I decided that I will participate, lack of stamina and training notwithstanding. :) Just to give you an idea of the participants' intensity level, one of the wives recently won a gold during a recent race.

As I obviously do not want to make a complete fool of myself, I started training this week. Granted that I will be running a 3K race only, and most probably will be running with all the kids. Hahaha! So yesterday, I brought the girls to school and proceeded to train for around 30-45 minutes. I started going around the block, walking for the first round, and then walking and jogging alternately, picking up speed slowly. And if you know me, then you know that I do give a new dimension to the word S-L-O-W. :) C has convinced me to bring a waistbag for my ipod, mobile and a self defense spray. It would be ideal to have a running mate with the same abilities to make my run more enjoyable and a whole lot safer, but since I don't have that luxury, I simply rely on God to watch over me - and a mini-can of Mace on my right hand.

A day later, I have aching shins. A short and snappy visit to the web and I discovered that running on concrete gives runners shinsplints. So I made a mental note to self to only run on asphalt. I have a lot more miles to log in, but this is certainly the start of a great adventure.

I have a training plan and a running schedule to stick to, to make sure that I progress at a steady pace, free from injuries, and to maintain my level of interest in my new "sport". And to further cement myself to the activity, I went ahead and splurged on my running gear. I figured that if I can't make it to the finish line first, I might as well finish it "fashionably" last. I bought myself some dry-fit running shirts from Nike and Puma, a pair of Nike trainer pants, and New Balance running shoes worthy to be worn by the professional runner.

Alright!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good Night and Sweet Dreams

My family usually call it a day when most people are just starting their evenings. I would really hate to be in the shoes of the mommy whose kids are up and about, jumping and bouncing, talking and shrieking at the ungawdly hour of 10pm. For C and me, the hours after 830 during weeknights are very precious. We use it to connect with each other as a couple. It's our time! And yes, we are very possessive about it.

A usual weekday bedtime routine for my family would have C reading the NightLight Devotional Book with the kids, followed by our night prayer, and then hugs and kisses for each other. We try to take turns to be prayer leaders, to encourage the kids to be an active participant in the process. But after reading this post, I am sure you will agree that prayer time would look a lot less like squabbling and more like praying if C just leads.

Our prayer session tonight went something like this:

B: Family, are you ready to pray? (And she waits for all of us to answer, "Yes, we are"). Everybody put your hands together... I said please put your hands together.... that includes you, mom. Dear God, we thank you for our wonderful parents. We thank you for our food, our wonderful house, for achi and syoti, for ah-ma, for angkong, for uncle tony, akoh sherry, baby sasha, for cathy, henny, sage, maya, clauie, wowo, wowa, charmaine, uncle jay, for uncle tony (again!). We also thank you for our study table, our toys, our bed, our aircon ( she looks around the room, like taking an inventory of everything, and give thanks - for practically everything.)

By this time, R starts to get antsy or bored and opts to start his own prayer. And C is the third voice that joins in asking for an atmosphere of reverence. So at this point in our prayer time, it is like listening to a radio that's on the wrong frequency. You hear different voices making everything incomprehensible, not unlike the annoying radio static.

Undeterred, B continues her non stop talking, oops, praying, till R realizes that it's no point competing with someone who is the resident chatter queen, and finally gives up).

B: We pray that you help us to be kind, wonderful (apparently, wonderful is her favorite adjective for the moment), and let us have good manners. For syoti, we pray that he stops being makulit, and please don't let him be funny, and teach him to have good manners, (and again, for emphasis, just in case God didn't hear her the first time) please don't let him be funny and stop him from being makulit. For achi, we pray that her feet stops growing too fast. (Ok, now we really know that this is a major concern). Please help me to be wonderful. Please protect our family from bad persons, bad classmates, bad teachers. Protect us from fire, earthquake, and accidents..... (Long pause as she thinks of more things to pray for.)

J: B, say Amen. If you can't think of anything else to say, please end your prayer and say Amen! Stop pausing already! You're taking too long!!!
B: I'm not yet done. I'm just resting. Can you please wait?

This is where we step in to tell J to give B time to finish her prayer.

B: Lord please give us good dreams and to wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed. We ask you to please heal wowo Mon in Singapore; please heal ah-ma's ears, please take away the ouchie in her ears; please help mommy's throat to get better because if she has sore throat she is cranky to everybody. Long pause again... till finally she decides to conclude her prayer and proceeds to say amen - to everyone's relief!

As soon as she says Amen, J start her lecture once again, "Next time if you don't know what to say, you can just end it and say, Amen. That's what I do when I don't know what to say next."

B, still adamant, "but I am not done yet, I was just resting."

J ends the conversation by rolling her eyes, "Hainaku! I am going to go crazy!"

And if it is J's turn to be in charge, like it was yesterday, the opposite of the above discussion happens:

J: Dear God, we thank you for daddy, mommy, B and R. We thank you for giving us our family. We pray that you always keep us safe from harm, accidents, and bad people. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

B: Why is it so short? You forgot to thank God about.......

But we should really just let C do it most of the time, and just take their prayer requests. Because, really, sometimes B makes night-time prayer seem like an hour long service. :)

FOLLOW ME!   
        

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