Monkey Says The Most Precious Things

Talk of possibly having another baby has been flying around our house for the past few months. Should we be blessed enough to get pregnant again, I’m fine with another girl or a boy. Hubby is definitely ‘Team Boy’ while Monkey has firmly planted herself on ‘Team Girl’. For a while she was excited for a baby brother, but has recently become quite certain she will have a baby sister:

“Can we name my baby sister ‘Mermaid’?” Monkey asked. 

“I don’t think so. Besides, we don’t know if it’s going to be a baby sister or a baby brother. God decides,” I answered.

“God told my heart it was going to be a baby sister,” she told me with absolute conviction.

“And He said it’s alright to name her ‘Mermaid’?” I was skeptical.

“Yes. He told my heart,” she affirmed.

Well, color me happily surprised. Reading a Bible verse every night and saying our prayers together really seems to be affecting my little angel (perhaps not as much as the movie ‘The Little Mermaid’ has affected her, but close enough).
It was at least a month ago when I explained that God always listens to our prayers and He speaks to our hearts. I haven’t really talked about it since, but on many nights we have read this short devotion from Really Woolly Bedtime Prayers by Bonnie Rickner Jensen:

I praise the Lord because he guides me. Even at night, I feel his leading. (Psalm 16:7)

[God] goes ahead of you,

To guide you with His love.

He helps you when you ask Him to,

With wisdom from above.

And when you say your prayers at night

He’s listening –it’s true!

He whispers to your little heart,

I am taking care of you.

~ (RWBP)

How Running Makes Me A Better Mother

The strength I develop through running has benefits that go beyond physical. For me, running is like meditation, a way to connect to nature, grow closer to God, find inspiration and stimulate creativity. Anne Audain credits movement.

By moving the body itself, you are moving not just air, food , and blood but even thought through the body. If you let things sit still, you’ll get cobwebs. Movement gives you so much more energy (Anne Audain, cofounder of the Idaho Women’s Fitness Celebration, as told to Dagny Scott in The Complete Book of Women’s Running, p. 155).

This energy carries over to other aspects of my life, especially being a mother to a three-year-old who is constantly on the move herself. Some days even after a good-night’s sleep I’m still tired, and when a cheerful little voice says, “Sun is up, Mommy! You play with me now,” I just want to roll over and pull a pillow over my head. But after a run, I’m revived and energized with plenty of pep to play hide and seek, build a castle with blocks, read a few stories, make worms out of Play-Doh and run races in the yard.

Besides this wonderful energy, running also releases feelings of accomplishment, affirmation and confidence that make me a happier, more positive mother.  It also gives me the opportunity to plan out our daily schedule and stay organized. Keeping on top of everything makes me feel more secure about my parenting skills and makes it easier to accomplish goals while still having time for fun.

It’s important to me that my daughter associate running and having fun so when I take her in the jogging stroller, we go off road and into the woods where we stop for a break and throw stones or sticks into the water, which is something she loves to do. I also use this quality time together as an opportunity to point out and count the different animals and the many beauties of God’s creation. This past Tuesday on our run we saw squirrels, groundhogs, geese, a deer and a blue heron. Sitting on a rock with our feet dangling over the water, we both looked up and admired the way the sunlight filtered through the canopy of trees. I’m so grateful for that special moment with my daughter surrounded by God’s presence.

My goal is to set a positive example for my daughter through running by encouraging her to follow an active lifestyle. So far, so good. Just the other day when I was eavesdropping on her as she played with her Disney Princess figurines, I heard her say, “We’ll go to the track and we’ll go to the water, then we’ll come home and play outside okay, baby?” Since running is such an important part of my daily life, it’s become a daily routine to my daughter. To her, it’s something done every day, like taking a bath and brushing her teeth.

She’s already learning lessons from running that took me years to learn. While we were on vacation she started racing her father and I. When she finished, she yelled, “I won!” And as we finished behind her, she congratulated each of us on winning too. Finishing is winning; it doesn’t matter whether you finish first or last.

Run Like A Princess

Monkey’s Guide To Running Like A Princess:

  • A princess runs in dresses, skirts or tutus – no shorts and definitely no sweats!
  • A princess favors pink in all clothing.
  • A princess wears running shoes as long as they are pink and sparkly.
  • A princess runs with one hand holding out her skirt as if she is Belle ball-dancing with the Beast.
  • A princess is free to take frequent rest breaks and be pushed by her mother/servant (is there a difference?) until she feels up to running again.
  • A princess is also free to interrupt a run with a spontaneous ballet recital of sorts.
  • A princess can add dancing at any point during a run.
  • A princess enjoys a short nap after a long run.

Saving Cinderella

Once upon, oh about a week ago, in the neighborhood of Scotland, PA there was a little girl who imagined herself a princess. She had to have only the best princess dresses, which of course were the Disney princess costume dresses that cost $20.00,  but started to fray and unravel within minutes of first putting them on. Let’s just say that when the little girl put the mini Cinderella ball gown on, within a half hour, the dress looked more like the one Cinderella was wearing after her wicked step-sisters ripped and tore it a part… but I digress.

After my little Cinderella princess put her gown on, she sat down to put on her froggy rain boots and then she was ready to go. After buckling her safely into the jogging stroller, I headed out on my regular running route. About 15 minutes in, I realized that little Cinderella was practicing her princess wave to on-coming cars and other passersby. I smiled to myself as I began to imagine the stroller was a royal carriage and I was the coachman. Up, down, over and around the streets I gleefully paraded the little princess through the neighborhood.

This was no ordinary run! I felt like a little girl again playing make-believe, even if my role was coachman and not princess. It was better than being the wicked step-mother! Even as I struggled up the steeper hills, I had a smile on my face.

“Hurry, Mommy! The horses are coming!” My little princess stuck her head out of the side of the carriage and looked at me over her shoulder.

How much easier and how much more fun it was to run faster because the palace guards were chasing us rather than because it was time to practice interval training!

Finally after a seven mile loop, we reached the ball where many were assembled awaiting the princess. The dance floor shimmered and sparkled like glass. The guests were already dancing, their two webbed-feet keeping a paddling beat. Now since the princess arrived, it was time to dine.

As the little princess stood at the edge of the dance floor, she took a slice of bread in one hand and pulled her arm back behind her shoulder ready to pitch it forward, more like a pro-baseball player than a princess actually. She wobbled a little, but before I could reach out to steady her, she fell face first onto the dance floor, splashing through the shallow wet glass and  shattering the magical illusions of the day to lie spread-eagled in cold pond water.

I immediately jumped in after her, pulled her out, hugged her close and began murmuring comforting words, “It’s okay. You’re okay. It’s going to be okay.” I was definitely back to playing the role of mommy then. Luckily, I was a prepared mommy. I always keep a diaper(or pull-up) in the stroller. I had brought along a sweatshirt for the princess in case it got chilly and a fleece for me. I stripped the soaking wet ball gown and other clothes off; pulled up the pull-up; yanked her sweatshirt over her head and wrapped the princess tightly in my polar fleece. I held her and  continued to soothe her while she continued to sniffle and shake.

After returning home, taking a warm bath, and putting on dry clothes, the little  princess was tucked in bed with a raggedy-soft quilt snuggly around her. She sniffled and looked me right in the eye. “You,” sniff, “you, saved me.”

I hugged her tight and prayed that one day Makayla would understand who her real savior is and why a Disney costume doesn’t make her a real princess. Being a child of God, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and sharing the Lord’s crown of suffering will earn her a crown of glory. And this crown, unlike her costume dress, will never unravel, fade, or disintegrate.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV)