I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for the ‘How Lady J Does It’ Category

Four More Years! 

Happy Raceaversary to me, from me! 

That’s right. I’m the one (via God’s grace, naturalmente) who is the cause for the celebration! I have been running for FOUR years, like the consummate politician! So, since I’m the one who decides every day whether I am a runner, I shall outline here why I believe I should continue to support my racing and thus my overall well-being. 

1. There are fewer more glorious feelings than crossing a finish line. 

It doesn’t matter if I see a finish line and feel relief or triumph. I have never been disappointed when I reach it, even if I think I could have had a better day on the course. Every one means that I started something, committed to it, and saw it to fruition. 

2. I know how I can improve. 

While I am not at my peak of fitness currently, I know there is hope for me to become a better runner than I ever have been. I may not be a beginner, but I pray that I have just seen the beginning of my running career. I can learn to be both more disciplined in some areas and more forgiving in others. Let’s be real – there’s nothing else that motivates me to be physically healthy. 

3. It has made me a more open person. 

I have run (rimshot!) into people who have changed my life. Granted, I knew The Mentor before I started running, but I likely wouldn’t have started without her. I’ve gotten to know countless amazing people, like Blonde Oprah and 3M. Because of running, I am open to meeting more people and both learning from them and giving to them. 

Every step I take in a race is a gift from God. May He grant me at least another 4 more years! A vote for running is a vote for Joanie! 

I don’t think I’ve seen a truer race sign.

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The Setup 

3 days from now, I’m going to be a wife. Pretty big stuff. Adonis’s presence in my life has been a wonderful thing in more ways than I feel like counting right now. One of the things I’ve been reminded of since becoming engaged is just how much love I have in my life – from family, friends, and colleagues. I always have understood that I have been blessed with a lot of love but it seems to be coming out of the woodwork. I’m unsure whether people are behaving differently because these are just the things people do for future wives or perhaps I am simply noticing more things because Adonis has enabled me to be more receptive to love. I have a feeling it is a combination of the two. 

The love and wisdom I have received from  my friends is something I hope I will keep close to me as life continues. However, I have noticed a trending sentiment that disturbs me –

It’s all about you. It’s your day. 

I find the second part of the thought a bit less troubling in a certain context – ensuring that my voice is heard and my wishes expressed amongst a family of REALLY strong personalities can be challenging. I do believe it’s “my day” when it comes to things that don’t matter in the long run, like food and music. The wedding trappings. 

All about me, though? My protest, in part, is because I like celebrating myself. If today is all about me, does that mean other days can’t be about me? I get to a March 12, 2016 and from then on it’s about anyone and everyone else? That’s a bummer. I simply refuse to peak on my wedding day. It’s gonna be big and it may be the best day of my life thus far, but if it goes wedding day —> mortgage —> get fat —> kids —> death AND I don’t get to be a star anymore? I ain’t signed nothin yet! 

The above-mentioned trajectory minus the fat, however, is something that I embrace. I would never have been in a place to embrace it if it weren’t for everyone else. Beginning with my parents on the first day of my life, to my music teachers, to my friends and relatives, and eventually my students – my life has been touched by so many amazing people that have helped me to take my bravest step yet. I wouldn’t be Lady J without them. 

It does make me happy to celebrate our wedding. For sure. I will never forget sitting at my bachelorette party amongst 30 women – how could I have the audacity to say that anything is all about me? There was so much love at that table. If anything, I am pleased that I’ve provided an excuse for people to come out of their holes and love each other. I wish that life weren’t so busy that it has to take life-changing events to get people to show up sometimes. I am thankful that I have my friends, but I am also thankful that my friends have each other. 

I do not want to be setup to believe that anything can be just about me. That can’t be a good recipe for being a good wife, daughter, or friend. I sincerely hope I have been a loving bride-to-be, not consumed by all that is happening. Though it will look different, I believe I have been blessed with the type of friends who will be excited, present, and loving on March 13 and after, just like I will be for them. 

  

Just put tape on it 

  
I missed a workout tonight, and I’m only sorry I missed it because I have to make it up tomorrow. It turns out if I want to run faster, I have to run faster. As much as I’d like to run from the facts (heh), there are people in my life who will not let me. 

I wish I wanted to do all my training. In fact, lately, I find myself not wanting to do much, training only because I know I must. I don’t even find the wedding dress business to be sufficient motivation. Why can’t I be more like 3M (pictured above), who has a solution – a way of mending or taping any problem – for everything? Even when she b*****s it’s oozing with potential and positivity! She knows it’s going to be hard and she is still excited about it. Many can be envious of her speed, including me, but if I could take anything of hers it would be her enthusiasm. Is there an enthusiasm workshop somewhere? Gah. I hear Blonde Oprah’s high-pitched voice but I can’t make out what it’s saying.

I don’t just want to train and get better! I want to like it! 

Shoutout Series: Four Foot Fabulous

  
I was trying to come up with what picture would be ideal for this shoutout. She’s like Wonder Woman in every way, but she’s short. I googled “Short Wonder Woman,” and this is what they gave me. 

Four Foot Fabulous is on her way to completing her first Ironman at this very moment. I could stop writing right now, right? What more do you really need to say about someone who has the will to overcome – well, everything, really. The Ironwoman of the moment (Lord willing! Minus a few hours or so) happens to be bringing her forth her zeal for life in this particular way. 

FFF (N.B. –  also the musical notation for very, very loud, which is fitting) makes my heart happy. She’s a brilliant risk-taker who does anything she sets her mind to. Her big heart can usually be found on her sleeve, she has occasionally lamented, but I think this is my favorite thing about her. Nobody keeps it realer than Four Foot Fabulous. She allows herself to express her ups and downs very honestly and, in my opinion, this puts her in the best position to motivate others, which she does frequently. 

I told FFF yesterday that it really is a privilege to call her friend. She has a pretty big fan club, indeed. I look up (down?) to her so much that I wonder why she would keep me in the loop. Don’t get it twisted, y’all. Heart of gold nonwithstanding, FFF is simply too F for riff-raff. This woman makes you feel as good as you are just by being herself. What could be more fabulous than that? 

Go get your finish line and well-deserved title, my dear FFF. Don’t forget Lil Ole Lady J! 

PS: FFF, Imma put you on blast right here because I’m not classy like you. You told me you expected to be running Mile 17 of your marathon around 10 PM and as of right now you’re ahead of schedule. That’s very inconsiderate. Love you anyway!

Shoutout Series: Cut Short

My friend’s death humbles me. 

In general, I think death can serve as an important reality check for us all; a harsh reminder that life as we know it is indeed temporary. However, Cut Short is (yes, present tense, as I’m confident her cancer free soul is gloriously celebrating) extraordinarily special. 

Her life on earth was entirely too short, but in the years with which God blessed her and everyone who was touched by her, she made an incredible impact. I met Cut Short in college as we rushed the same music fraternity. As I looked back through some of the memorabilia I have, I feel honored to have her signature among my things. She had a heart so full of love for music and people, a sharp and silly sense of humor, and a talent brilliant enough to make even the most confident musician doubt her competence. Precocious not only in intelligence but in wisdom, her down to earth manner put even the most insecure at ease. Cut Short was evidence that the best things often come in small packages; the only challenge she seemed to have in those days was a vertical one. 

Then Leukemia. Ugh. 

I will never forget her calling me and my stepping out of a practice room to take her call while we were in grad school. She spoke with confidence that she would be able to beat it. And she did, like the champ she is. At least – the first time. Sadly, she had to undergo additional treatment last year. She still maintained her cheerful, upbeat demeanor each time we spoke, this time knowing exactly what lay ahead. 

I am sad to say that though we kept in touch via Facebook, phone, and email, I didn’t take the time to see Cut Short when I had the opportunity. I mean – she’s Cut Short. She beat odds left and right. How was I supposed to know the last opportunity I would have to see her would actually be the LAST? As I heard her battle here was ending, I reflected on how she’s touched me and desperately hope that I made that evident to her at some point. I felt guilty for occasionally envying her awesomeness. That’s just like Cut Short though – still moving people to be better without lording anything over anyone. 

At her memorial service, there was an invitation for her friends and others to be a part of the choir. I am no singer but I leapt at the opportunity. Being among those who love and miss her was both heart-wrenching and joyous. I am definitely a cryer, but I’ve learned over the years that it is difficult to both cry and perform at the same time. I had mixed emotions about the choice to sing because I knew I needed to cry for her and didn’t think I would be able to. Well – I did cry. But not too much. The privilege of singing goodbye for now for my friend allowed me not only to mourn our loss but celebrate both her life and how she continues to touch those around her. Even in her death, Cut Short helped me to see all with which I am blessed. Love. Music. Health. That’s just how she rolls. 

Cut Short. I’m sorry I didn’t come see you in July. For my own sake I hope I don’t see you too soon. But I WILL see you. Thanks for being a part of my life. 



2005 🙂 Cut Short is being awesome on the far left! 

Like, I totally have to get over my boyfriend.

Get over (v):

To accept and embrace his presence in my life while completely quieting any foolish voice in my head.

Read more about the voices below –

To know me since my late twenties is to know someone who has been extremely focused. Focused on growth in my career. Focused on being a pianist. Eventually focused on triathlon. But it’s pretty much been the Joan Show. I thought it was a hell of a show. Wit, an interesting cast of supporting characters, enough drama to keep it interesting. What else could I need? This show could go on forever. One superstar is sufficient.

But The Lord be like “Heavenly Heh Heh Heh. Imma throw you something you weren’t expecting.” I was expecting to go out on a date or two with some joker and enjoy a night out that wasn’t related to work or triathlon. I was NOT expecting to meet someone who would draw me to my knees and praise God for His grace and blessings. I was expecting to be able to continue my life as it had been going, which was great, and now I cannot, which is bloody fantastic.

It’s also fantastically hard to admit it as well as articulate it.

I’ve always struggled with asking for help. I don’t even know which blog post to which I can link because I’m fairly sure all of them are variations on the theme of “I’m uncomfortable being vulnerable.” Now there is this amazing person who says I may call him mine who makes me want to share everything. You people are going to be so happy for me because you love me and it’s terrifying. What if I mess it up? What if he messes up and I have to kill him? What if I regret typing the previous sentence in case I actually do have to kill him?

Worst part? I am much happier dealing with these hypotheticals because it means he is here with me. He is worth it to me to work to conquer my stupid fears and ego. Because I…luu…luuu…shiiiiiiit I LOVE him. He has become way too important for me to screw up something beautiful because of my foolish pride. Everyone close to me sees how much happier I have been, and though this is a post about humility I will say am PROUD to say that I was already quite happy. I can admit that indeed, I am much happier and want to stay that way.

So I’m trying not to freak out. Because, this:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-34‬ NIV)

I can totes hear Christ being like, “Lady J don’t worry ’bout yo’ man, neitha. I got him. I gotchu. I should be first in y’all lives anyway. Stop trippin.” In Aramaic, of course.

Ugh. All these songs on the radio are personal for me now. He’s got me wondering what’s harder; a full Ironman or childbirth. His fine Greek ass is like feta – it makes everything betta. I used to wonder what would go through the minds of chicks who didn’t seem to be able to do anything without their boyfriend or husband present. Maybe some of them (not gonna lie, some of you are probably weak) are both strong and humble enough to understand that it’s okay to need someone to do things.

Damn. I know I’m pretty neat but this dude. He’s neat as hell. Got me tryna do even better when I thought I was doing a pretty good job. Well-played, Lord. Well-played.

Also – thank you, Lord. Again. And again. I’ve been tithing but I know you won’t mind if I put “Adonis” in the memo on the checks.

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Thanksgiving, Day 5

This music teacher is loath to toot her own horn, but looking over past entries in my blog reveals that I am pretty thankful throughout the year! I am using some of today’s post to highlight people about whom I’ve previously written. These people regularly challenge me to be the best Lady J I can be. Consider this somewhat of a “greatest hits” kind of entry. 🙂

1. Zoe. That is, Zoe Jane Volkswagen. You don’t realize the stress you put your car under until you try to make your legs/bicycle do the same thing.

2. Red FREAKING Rocket.

3. Regularity. I won’t elaborate.

4. The Sexiest Ironman Ever.

5. Proactiv Plus. My skin is so clear now; it seriously has been a Godsend! I don’t break out like I’m 15 anymore.

6. Give the patience and excellence in coaching award to this chick. Now.

7. My stupid battery life on my stupid phone. Legit first world problem here, but waiting until my contract is up to upgrade is proving to be a serious lesson in patience. Clearly, it’s a lesson I must need.

8. This woman is all up in my life and thus my blog. For reals.

9. My not so great eyesight. I remember when I was at piano camp in high school and we had communal bathrooms – I could take my glasses off and it’s like the germs weren’t even there!

10. Nothing less than a 10 for Lady J. Heh.

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