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

Posts tagged ‘Humility’

Mardi Gras

Does anyone else find it terribly inconvenient to go buck wild on a school night?

Buck wild: (adj) – to go to bed past 9:30 PM, perhaps in conjunction with the enjoyment of a few slices of pizza.

My dictionary isn’t the most thrilling. But I digress.

Protestant Christian that I am, this former Catholic school girl has observed Lent for many years. This season in the Christian calendar is meant to commemorate the time
Christ spent in the wilderness being tempted. The sacrifice one makes, ideally, should force a person to lean on God more. For instance, I wouldn’t give up going to the movies because I never do that. However, choosing something to sacrifice that will take the wonder working power of the Holy Spirit to do will indeed prepare my heart to observe the awesomeness that is Christ’s resurrection.

Last year, I gave up negative self-talk. I realized I couldn’t do this alone by the day after Ash Wednesday, hah! It dawned on me that not loving myself was breaking the 2nd of Christ’s commandments as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: love your neighbor as yourself. I learned I was treating my neighbors MUCH better than I was treating myself. It was kind of nice being nice to me. Of course, human that I am, I have relapsed, but I don’t think I am quite as bad as I was before I first started. I am more forgiving of the fact that I consistently need forgiveness.

This year, I am finding that I am having trouble putting the best fuel in my body. Not necessarily because I crave crap all of the time, but because I would rather eat poorly than do the planning it takes to give myself the best. I believe it is more of my negative attitude that is problematic than the actual eating poorly. Outwardly, I may be giving up eating out and junk food, but it is really going to require that I work on my resentment toward structure in order to make this happen. I’ve often wondered how doing something good for yourself can be termed “sacrificial” if you stand to reap great benefits from doing so. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that attitudes like that are part of what nailed Christ to the cross.

I’m embracing the opportunity to grow this Lenten season – toward Christ and others as I seek strength for this challenge. At least, now that I had some cake in the teacher’s lounge. Can’t win them all.

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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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Shoutout Series: Golden Throat

How God’s wonders never cease – my golden throated friend is a humble soprano. That’s like a little person playing center for a basketball team, or like a snowy day in Miami. It just doesn’t make sense. But Golden Throat makes it happen every day.

I met my dear Golden Throat 11 years ago at THE Florida State University. She was working on her Master’s when lil Lady J was working on her Bachelor’s and trying not to lose her damn mind. What a blessing it was in the madness of that environment to have someone like her praying for me and with me. Not unlike her boldness on the concert stage, she loves and witnesses for Christ unapologetically. How rare it is to have a true friend who practices the gentle rebuke of Galatians 6:

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭1-2‬ NIV)

Not that Lady J ever sins, of course. But if it were to happen, I know Golden Throat would be on it like a champ.

It sucks, because I haven’t had the privilege of her face to face company since her lovely wedding in June 2009. No matter where life has taken us, I am confident that my sweet sister in Christ will always be in my life.

To Golden Throat. Thanks for helping Lady J to do it.

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Shoutout Series: Coachie!

I had to be in the right place to write appropriately for my triathlon coach. If I had tried to write this as my “A” race approached, the post probably would have been filled with hate-filled language regarding her plan for me. That being said, there aren’t too many people in the world who inspire me to have a t-shirt made just for them:

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Because of Coachie, I was able to roll up on the Athlete Village at my first half-ironman with confidence. Let me tell y’all – that is no small feat.

You see, I knew of Coachie’s existence long before she knew me. I actually was getting some swimming help from a friend in summer of 2013 when my friend observed her coaching someone else. We spoke briefly at the time, but that was that. Later that summer, one of the trainers at the gym recommended her to me. Finally, that guy who picked me up in the pool said I should check out her services. Months later, I went to one of her evil spin classes. She’s just so charming about it that you almost forget about the pain in your legs. Almost. In the nine months that I’ve trained with her, I have gone from surviving sprint races to feeling great at the half-iron distance. As impossible as whatever is on my training plan may seem, Coachie helps me not just to physically accomplish it but also to mentally wrap my brain around it.

Here’s the thing: Coachie is a great athlete. But that’s not a really big deal. Anyone can put time in and become proficient at something, given her level of dedication. It is her ability – and willingness – to share her knowledge with others in the style of delivery they need in order to thrive that make Coachie amazing to me. If I am not understanding something, she will show me again and again without ever making me feel small. When I do get it, she will share my excitement. She is one of the few people in the whole world with whom I feel I can be vulnerable, which I believe is incredibly difficult for adults to do with one another.

When she is not doing the nearly impossible job of coaching me (or other more capable but less witty clients), she is kicking ass at being a teacher, mother, and wife. She is going to roll her eyes when she reads this, but one time in one of her emails she wrote “my friend” and I geeked out. “Ahhhh! She called me friend! She must think I’m cool!” It’s easy for me to put Coachie on a pedestal because she never puts herself on one. I look up to her because while she walks with the confidence of an Ironman, she also knows she has room to grow. That balance is freaking incredible.

To Coachie – I’m embarrassed you make me gush like this! Thank you for helping Lady J do it.

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Shoutout Series: The Lioness

Not unlike my experience with The Psyclepath, I haven’t had much face time with this person. Quite honestly, I can’t even remember exactly how we…oh! That one time I panicked during a race. I was doing the sprint and she did the Olympic. Pretty sure her swim took her 2 minutes longer than mine did for me. The Lioness is kind of a big deal.

And it’s because she’s the most humble beast I’ve ever met.

In the past 8 months, I’ve felt comfortable sharing my Tri baby fears with her. She regularly offers me words of wisdom and encouragement without ever making me feel small. I feel confident in saying that though we are at much different stages of our respective triathlete journeys, she doesn’t look down on me. Moreover, I can confide in her as a sister in Christ, something that I find invaluable. I look forward to the day where we can share a chocolate bar eat our own chocolate bars in the same place at the same time. In the off-season, of course.

To The Lioness. Thanks for helping Lady J do it.

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Too Young For This Kind of Memory Loss: On Performance

I’d like to start this post by saying that I have a long history of kicking ass and taking names. I’ve been an overachiever for quite some time. Academically, musically, and hey, just look at me.

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So why is that I am so afraid of failure when I all I do is win.

This is no little thing, y’all. Every time I have a race. Every time I speak in front of adults. Every time I have a performance of my own. Multiply that exponentially when my babies have a performance. I flip the hell out like the sky is going to bloody fall if anything goes wrong. It doesn’t even have to be in the context of a performance – for instance, let’s say I am in the middle of teaching a lesson and I am demonstrating a piece for a student and I make a mistake. You know what my first thought is? “Omg the parent is going to think I am a horrible teacher because I Missed. A. Note.”

Crazy Lady J. You’re forgetting who is in charge. And it ain’t you.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:1-11 NASB)

This God you serve, Joan. He does Big Things. You’re worried about notes, a fall, a misspoken word. None of this is even trouble as David describes. But He still cares. Why else would my life be so blessed?

I hope and pray that as I grow, I will learn to stop striving and finally KNOW that God is God. I am a champ only in Him.

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After Careful Analysis of the Data, I’ve Decided to be Giddy. Race Report, Part II

The Swim

I had been watching all of the waves previous to mine, so I knew what was up. The athletes were hanging out by the first buoy until the loud guy shouted at them to go. It had been similar at St. Anthony’s. I could do that. The pink caps were called into the water and off I went. Sadly, I made the assumption that they were standing while waiting. Everyone looked so calm, right? How could they be treading? Come on, Joanie. You can tread. Don’t panic.

“GO GO GO!”

Guess that means I should start swimming.

I remembered what had been so effective in my previous race – don’t think about the whole distance. God is going to get me from buoy to buoy. The lake was so clear and the water felt so warm! Almost immediately I found myself having fun. I got into the rhythm of my strokes. I never realized that when my arm hits the water that it’s got a nice bass to it! I started adding words to the beat. Right, left. Right, left. I love to swim and Jesus loves me. Oh look, a buoy! Still feeling like a champ. Don’t forget to kick GUUUUURL don’t forget to kick! Note to Coachie: I’ve got to do better with swimming straight. Someone forgot to put the lines in the water AGAIN. A lifeguard (or three) caught my attention when I was a bit off course. No matter!

The water was so clear that I could see my arm underneath it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something really strange looking. “What the hell is that?!” Oh. Bubbles from when my arm hit the water. Chill out, Joan. I was feeling so great that being among other athletes didn’t make me panic. I was actually bummed when I saw the last buoy. Time to go get Red Rocket!

Composing songs really makes the swim go faster.

Composing really makes the swim go faster.

The Bike 

I haven’t had any falls since September and I’m still leery every time I get on that bloody bike. The thing I love about races is that I won’t allow myself to look like the punk that I feel like. Normally, I’ll wait a second before I start to pedal. Not today, dammit! Off onto the speedway I went for the lap around the track before I went out onto the rest of the course. Knowing that I was on a speedway pushed me to go faster. “Don’t be an idiot, Joan. You kinda have 24 miles to go.” But I felt so good! I was trying to decide whether or not I would take a break to hydrate and eat as I had my previous race. Meh, I’ll deal with that at the turn around, I thought. Let’s just GO!

This course was so beautiful. In stark contrast to St. Anthony’s, it was mostly rural. I saw very few cars on the whole ride. “Hay trabajo aqui, (there is work here)” a sign read. “Estoy trabajando en mi bici ahora mismo! (I am working on my bike right now!)” I shouted. Tee hee. I noted that as I got passed, people were NOT saying “on your left.” Sigh. Manners. I reminded myself I was in Miami. I shouldn’t expect manners. :-p I still dutifully gave warning as I passed fellow athletes. I’m classy.

Let me tell you, I have never had so much fun on my bike as I did during this race. I don’t know what elements were in place but I need to make sure it happens again. I didn’t stop the whole time and just listened to my body. I thanked God for all the beauty around me. Apparently, nature found me beautiful as well, as a few bugs went straight for the girls. A butterfly decided to sit between them for a few moments. “GET THE F OUT OF HERE!” I yelled. Off it went. I got this.

As the speedway came into view, I knew it was almost time to run. I had forgotten that I had to do another lap before I got into transition. Someone “kindly” shouted out that I’ll never make it if I keep spinning like that. I narrowed my eyes but knew he was right. Then I passed him. Heh. And then – it happened.

I got that same feeling I get when I run. That high. That tingle all over my body. I didn’t know that was possible on my bike! Especially after 28 miles! Winning! All right, Red Rocket, great job – time to get my running shoes!

Red Rocket and I were One.

Red Rocket and I were One.

The Run

After quickly getting water, I was off running. Aaaaand it was about 11 AM in South Florida. A *tad* hot. I was soon regretting not having stopped on the bike – maybe I was just hungry. Maaaaan I had thought that running was my thaaaang. I felt like I wanted to do anything BUT run. What a switch, eh? After all that swimming and biking business, running just seems like a tease. The finish line was like, right there. “Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!” said the run course. “You can’t catch me!” said the finish line. “Imma get it!” I thought. “Eventually.”

I… I think I need to do longer bricks. Or fix my brain. That 6.6 miles was just…it took for bloody ever. I walked a lot more than I had intended. I begged God to help change my brain. “We were having such a good time! What happened? Heeeellllp!” I grabbed ice water from the aid station. Someone next to me said, “It really helps when you put ice in your chest. It keeps you cool.” I grinned and filed it away. I saw the Jamaican triathlete on the course, walking. I waved. She said “Go Jamaican! I’ve got 40 years on you – you better kick my ass!” I laughed and went a bit faster. I turned and saw cars on the speedway. “You p***ies* and your MOTORS and EQUIPMENT! You should try a REAL sport!” I shouted. Mile 2 passes. Dear Lord, it’s only been 2 miles? I tried to look for distractions. Nature. Cute boys. Anything. This run would just NOT end.

I tried my swim strategy. Get to the next aid station. Don’t think of everything ahead of you. It just – it wasn’t the same, man. I would get water and start to walk and ran when I got tired of everything going by so slowly. Two girls were shouting “U-turn, you betta U-turn!” Halfway through. Only about 7,000 steps to go. Someone next to me said, “This is a f***ing death march.” Thanks a lot, man. Way to put the Funeral March in my head. I love Chopin as much as the next triathlete but Sonata Op. 35 No. 2 (III) isn’t the best way to get TURNTUP. I pressed on.

I got ice water again and remembered what that dude had said. The good athlete said, “nothing new on race day!” The tired athlete said, “what the hell, how much worse could it get?” I dumped the ice into my Tri top. It felt pretty good, but that wasn’t the best part. The girls were making music! Caveat – they only made music when I ran. Dammit, I guess I better run. I named my new instrument the tetamaracas. Don’t tell me that’s not brilliant. Saw the Jamaican again and she yelled, “You’ve got a great rhythm! Don’t stop!” Heh. It really was a great rhythm. It amused me enough to make me smile.

I refilled my instrument at the next stop. The speedway was in sight again. I took note of the words “Champions Club.” “That’s my club!” I shouted. “THAT’S WHERE I’M GOING!” Come on, God. Every step brought me closer. I was finally back inside for the last lap on the speedway before the finish. I looked desperately for the chute and finally it was before my eyes. I heard my amazing parents cheering for me. I looked to the sky, smiled, and pointed to where credit is due.

Another one in the books!

Another one in the books!

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