I didn’t excel at school, not because I wasn’t smart but because I had absolutely no motivation to do something that didn’t produce immediate results (right? so typical of today’s instant gratification society) let me just say that in no way prepared me for the life I have now. I flourished in the salon environment,  it was something that working harder produced more results and you could complete a project and see its beauty and be proud of it, and it motivated you to do it again and again! Long days, no problem because more hours meant more money and more satisfaction of a project completed. THAT IS IN NO WAY A REFLECTION OF MY LIFE RIGHT NOW- and that is not a complaint, but I had to realize that to make my mind work in life as I know it.

I am raising little people and my job is to prepare curriculum for Prek and toddlers at our church which they often disregard my long planned crafts or have little to no excitement about the things I predicted they would, so in no way is there instant gratification in that, I repeat myself often to no avail and sometimes I walk around with little people hanging from my pants legs(and on Sundays they usually aren’t even mine), my life is relational now(which is incredible) it is about my relationship with God, my kids, my husband, my family and occasionally my tribe ( good thing we aren’t sensitive because our lives are so loud its often over text or a snap from the bathroom) but I have added a relationship to this I don’t enjoy but it helps me be clear and patient as well as improving my health and it is my instant gratification.  I have a relationship with my running shoes.. oh I am not a runner (although I like to think I am ) I am painfully slow, like a kid pony in a quarter horse race my dad says but 3 times a week I slip on those shoes and challenge myself to go farther than I did the time before….in the dark at 5am with a head lamp and glow straps you can find me slowly trudging what I consider the “safe” routes.  Safe is a general term and I often take these routes in daylight with my car to check them out first and judge the distance the path will result.  The first rule of safety for the town I live is not well lit areas (there aren’t any, street lights extend main street only) or the quality of the homes on the route (the homes in this area are almost all old and there are no good or bad neighborhoods) the only rule is do they contain their dogs and if not are they big enough to take me down.  I would have laughed at this rule when I planned running routes in the city, no one lets their dog run lose on purpose and I got chased by a tiny dog once that was equally as terrifying.  People in the city have alarm systems and lights for safety, in Tishomingo where internet and security systems are more rare than popular they have BIG dogs and they do not fence them.  Each stretch of my route contains a different breed of large dog and over the last few months I have made new friends so this is what my run looks like and these guys and gals are my guardians.  Halie my trusty guard schnauzer goes with me and on our first turn we pick up Bo, he is a very old chocolate lab that when we moved in here let us know that just because his owners moved did not mean he was, he scared the daylights out of me many times creeping up on our porch but turned out to be the best crock pot and skillet cleaner I could invest in…he really eliminates the need for a presoak and if it is a run morning I purposely leave left overs on my counter in the skillet (this pains me ) so that Bo will have breakfast because well he expects it.  The next friend along the way I call Blue because I don’t know his real name and he is a Blue heeler and collie mix, he started following me when I was “pre” training on my bike and no matter how many times I would tell him to go home he refused so I don’t argue anymore, when I turn back down my road home he takes that as his cue to head back up the big hill to his home.  The 4th member of my tribe is Carli, she is beautiful and by the far the most faithful of my gang, she is a red and white blend of pretty dogs which I have no idea what they are, Carli goes the entire route. (my boys and Halie do not, they do not cross the highway but wait at various places to pick back up when I cross back) Carli feels the most important part is across the highway because its littered with dogs , house #1 red bird dog and #3 boxer and corgi (odd mix ) house #6 is where it gets real.. you can’t outrun them, and they don’t care if I swing a stick at them and yell they are relentless but Carli is the boss.  House 6 is overgrown and could be mistaken for uninhabited but it is not and they have 3 large dogs who each have a different role, one sneak attacks, one nips my shoes and the third barks loudly looking mean (he’s good at it ) I pass this house twice and without Carli I will go around it. She has no allegiance to me I don’t even know her owners, just the house she belongs to but this girl is my ride or die and she protects me and guards my ankles with fierceness.  I like to think she gets the same thing out of my run I do, a sense of accomplishment, job completed and successful because every time we survive and make it by these houses to our mark and back by them to get back across the highway to our gang, it is like we could high five and the others are like “oh you are alive, sweet!”  It all sounds silly I know but to me this rings into I can’t do life alone, and everyone around you is putting something into your existence, even if they only protect you on a certain stretch or they are your Carli and they go the distance, maybe you know them well or maybe you only know identifiable markings or only know them by who they associate with, the most unexpected love sometimes comes from strangers.  Our world is wild and wicked, and the media well I am not sure they understand what important news is but the truth is people who don’t know you are signing up every day to play a part in getting you from one point to another, from daylight to dark.

So hear I am drinking my coffee black at 5am in the dark and quiet, rejoicing it isn’t a run morning but grateful for everything God has provided to give me this morning in safety and comfort. Be grateful always, tomorrow is not promised.

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