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Happy Fourth of July!

4 Jul

Rox and I wave our mini-flags

Since I had so much fun this past weekend (and last night for that matter … photo evidence above), I’m laying low today until our Lake Eola fireworks tonight. I love fireworks, mainly because they never fail to instantly bring me back to my childhood. I love to embrace these feelings of nostalgia.

Speaking of nostalgia, a friend posted this quote from Former President Ronald Reagan today:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Sitting on the porch and recalling memories of our childhood is a family tradition that is usually accompanied with unrestrained laughter. But the thought that our freedom could become one of those memories is frightening.

While we do have to fight for our freedom, I urge us to remember that we do not only fight with weapons in war. We must shed light to those still not receiving freedom in our great nation. We must fight evil daily with integrity, honor and kindness. We must set examples for our youth. We must love one another. And hopefully, our freedom will never, ever be a memory of the past, but always an ever present reminder of our gratitude for those who lost their lives ahead of us.

Happy Fourth of July!

Lucky Girl

23 May

Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. – Judith Viorst

I have always known how lucky I am to still be best friends with the ladies that have been by my side since elementary school. These days, it’s hard to get us all in the same place, but when we do it’s like things have never changed. Except that there are kids.

I’ve had the chance to see my three best friends transform into mothers over the last few years, and it’s been amazing (and sometimes very amusing) to see them step into their new role of “Mommy.” Most recently Jenny has joined the ranks. A family event finally brought her, the hubby and their new baby girl, Ida Lou, back home from North Carolina, and this called for a BBQ reunion at her parents’ house.

Jenny and her baby girl Ida Lou

I walked into their house on Monday, and it was like I was walking through time. Before you knew it, we were all sitting in the back porch, like we had done countless times growing up, and doing our favorite things: laughing and eating. Whoever said you can’t go home again didn’t know this group.

Yesterday my co-worker told me that laughter is like running for your insides. I hope it’s true, because if so, my insides are doing much better than my leg. Growing up we laughed a lot. Monday we laughed a lot.

We laughed the hardest when I looked down to see that my zipper on my super tight jeans had split open. This was a sure sign that I should’ve have gone back for more ribs. Boothe and Kel joined me in the restroom to try to help (and by help, I mean they stood around pointing and laughing a lot). We finally resolved the manner with some giant safety pins and by untucking my long shirt. Everyone was put on notice to let me know if they saw my undies. And I’m pretty sure Boothe has an incriminating photo of this event.

We went to get a group pictures of the ladies, when someone (I think Donnie?) suggested we take a picture laying on the ground like one we have from our past. We hit the pose, putting baby Ida Lou in between us and the boys snapped away. Donnie (who I am now thinking missed his calling as a creative director) suggested I mock the photo up next to the original (taken 14 years ago as we were headed off for college). The comparison between the two pics is amazing. When I mocked them up I realized we were in the same formation! I’m in the top left and going clock-wise it’s Boothe, Kel and Jenny. Baby Ida Lou is the middle, kicking our heads.

The pic on the left was taken 14 years ago, as we headed off for college. The pic on the right was taken Monday.

Donnie always likes seeing the four of us together because I turn back into a teenage girl, giggles and all. That’s okay… it’s good for the soul.

Me and Donnie – On top of the world.

I need to be careful. I might be enjoying my running hiatus just a tad bit too much. ūüôā

Do you think you can go home again? 

Very Brave

30 Apr

I know God¬†will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. – Mother Teresa

Every now and then you come across a person, or in this case a story about a person, that just stops you in your tracks and leaves you with so much emotion that you don’t know what hit you.

This news piece on a deaf, blind man about to walk the Flying Pig 5k did just that. Deaf since birth and blind for many years, David Conroy likes to pursue lots of interests.

“The thing about being deaf and blind is you get really bored,” stated a LADD employee in the video.

That statement hit me like a rock. I cannot fathom losing either my hearing or my sight, but to lose both? That’s incomprehensible to me. I’ve sat here for a while trying to even grasp what that would be like, and can’t. And yet, it’s David’s life. And he chooses to live with the sort of courage that I only read of.

I want to walk away from this learning from David. I want to stop being such a spoiled brat who takes my health everything for granted. I want to appreciate more. I want to remember David when I set out to run the Flying Pig Marathon Sunday morning.  I want to look at this world with fresh eyes. I want to possess just a small piece of his incredible perseverance.

And most importantly, I want to be brave.

Comfort Zone

27 Apr

If you know me well, you may be surprised by the following statement: meeting new people is terrifying to me.

I’ve been this way since I was a wee little one. I can’t really explain why it makes me so anxious, but I can explain why I force myself through the process anyways: because I love people. I love learning from people and I love laughing with people and if I didn’t bypass this little fear of mine I would never get the joys of meeting some pretty amazing people.

Now this would be shocking to friends and family because they never see this fear. What they do see is a loud, chatty girl always telling stories and laughing with the group. I would credit this to my ten years of hospitality work. Every day I had to go to work and force myself to walk up to a table with a big smile on my face and talk to strangers. And when I moved into tending bar, I had to work on the art of small talk, as well as entertaining large groups. While talking to complete strangers did get easier through the years, my jitters are still there. And I still have to overcome them.

While stepping out of my comfort zone is almost never easy, it’s always worth it in the end.

I almost quit Marathonfest ten times before I even started for fear of meeting my running group. Now those women (and our one token guy) are such a great support system and I spend countless hours laughing with them every week. I’m even traveling to Cincinnati with some of them next week for my second marathon, Flying Pig Marathon.

I was scared to death of trying yoga for the first time, until Carolina from Peas in a Blog let me tag along with her to a class. Now I’ve got a new addiction.

And most recently (last night to be exact) I walked into a room full of strangers, (well… some of which I know only through their blogs that I follow) and I met a group of lady bloggers here in the Orlando area. Now, I’m not as brave as I appear… I dragged my BFF Rox there with me so she could ¬†protect me¬†can pick the brains of seasoned bloggers, which I’m happy to say she was able to do so (on both counts). I got to meet some lovely ladies, learn some new things and laugh a lot.

I look forward to the next meet-up. Thanks to the ladies for being so nice to the noobs!

So the moral of this bloggy blog: if I never stepped outside of my comfort zone, I would miss out on so many opportunities. I will continue to tuck my clammy hands into my pockets, put a smile on my face and start simple with “Hi, I’m Hemarie…”

When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone?

Easter Sunrise

9 Apr

Saturday night¬† Donnie and I decided that we wanted to watch the sunrise Easter Sunday at the beach. Only problem there was that we would have only a few hours of sleep. Not like I’m not used to waking up at ridiculous hours…

We woke up around 5:40 AM and surprisingly we were out the door in less than 20 minutes. This is a record for us. Anyone that has ever gone to the beach with us knows this is nothing short of a miracle.

As we pulled up to New Smyrna Beach, we realized there was a beach-side service going on. We watched the sunrise with worship music in the background. Then we walked down the beach a little. We didn’t go far because of our injuries: Donnie coming back from an almost-stress fracture and me and my little IT band.

It was a gorgeous sunrise. It was cloudy, so the sun was shining down through the clouds. It looked like heaven shining down in the distance. It made for the perfect backdrop for some prayer and reflection.

As we walked further from the music, we heard nothing but waves crashing and the birds calling out to the world. The sounds of the beach are my happy place.

Here are some pics I took:

Afterwards we listened to Pastor Rick’s message back at the beach-side service before heading off for some breakfast. We returned to the beach stuffed and ready to catch some zzz’s on the beach.

When Donnie’s foot is better, we plan to have a sunrise run along the beach. I’ll be counting down the days…

Where’s your happy place?

You Really Need to Work on Your Cardio

28 Mar

“Wow, Babe, you really need to work on your cardio.”

This is what Donnie said to me after our hike this past weekend when I admitted to him that I was seriously out of breath while hiking up the mountain that lies in my best friend’s back yard. The¬†mischievous smile on his face told me he was kidding, and I couldn’t help but laugh (after I rolled my eyes, of course).

Here I am, training for my second marathon this year, and I could hardly tell my best friend a story without stopping to huff ‘n puff. Meanwhile my best friend, who just had a beautiful baby last month, didn’t seem out of breath at all. At one point she reassured me that it gets easier with practice, but I’m not sure where I’m supposed to find mountains to hike down here in Florida. Well, besides Clermont.

My best friend and her husband live in Sylva, a small town located in Western North Carolina. A small creek runs by their house and their back yard is the foot of a mountain. Their “yard” is picturesque, and made the perfect setting for our hike.

I don’t know how long or how far we hiked. Great company and the beauty of nature were quite distracting and I got lost in the moment. Growing up I spent every day with my best friend (no, I’m not exaggerating) and now I’m lucky if I get to see her once a year. Getting to spend time with her is a rare treat so I’d say this has been hands down my favorite workout all year. Even if it did take me longer to spit out a sentence.

I wish I could’ve bottled up the hike to share with you, but all I got were pictures. Enjoy!

Fellow hikers (and my favorite people in the world) Donnie, Brad and Jenny

Donnie and Brad lead the way. Brad is carrying his baby girl.

We smile because we hike. Brad, me and Jenny.

The world would be a better place if we all had waterfalls in our backyard.

The creek that runs by their house.

Freshwater puppy

Donnie rocks his burly mountain beard.

Our trip was much too short, but I look forward to the day we hike together again!

What’s been your favorite workout this year?

Getting Old and Being Busy (Not Necessarily in that Order)

19 Mar

“As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two…” – Sir Norman Wisdom

My delish birthday brownie made by two lovely Kennedy's

The past eight days have been busy. Crazy busy. I remember most of it, except for Monday:

Sunday, March 11: Sleep through my run and enjoy coffee and rain instead. Birthday brunch at Dexter’s for my loveliest lady friend. Volunteer serving dinner at a local center. Eat dinner while watching Magic game with friends at Wildside in Thornton Park. Sleep like a baby.

Monday, March 12: Work. I have no clue what else I did Monday. It scares me that I can’t remember this day at all. While this is likely just due to the ridiculously busy, but amazing, weekend I had, it still makes me nervous. Crap, this is the first sign of getting old.

Tuesday, March 13: Run 4 miles in the AM. Work. Yoga at night. Sleep like a baby.

Wednesday, March 14: Wake up and run 5 miles in the AM. Work. Get my hair did at Alchemy. (See my pretty hair on their Facebook page here. I love it! And look how tired I look. Photo proof.) Sleep like a baby.

Thursday, March 15: Work. Go to my little sister’s house for some much needed sister time. Drink wine. Sleep like a baby.

Friday, March 16: Work. Have one drink with friends for Happy Hour. Eat my favorite pre-long run meal: Black Bean Deli chicken entree with plantains and salad and rice and black beans while watching Grey’s Anatomy. Get in bed by 10:30 PM. Sleep like a baby.

Saturday, March 17: Wake up at 3:15 and tear apart my jewelry box looking for green earrings to wear so I don’t get pinched during our run. This is particularly important since I’m the one that warned everyone via email days earlier. Start 18-mile run at 4:30 AM. Finish 18-mile run sometime before 10 AM. Eat breakfast. Ice bath. Curse (a lot). Defrost. Shower. Walk an additional mile or 2 at Winter Park Art Festival. Go to Scruffy Murphy’s in College Park, drink 2 Guinness draughts, jam out to country band (apparently that’s how we do in Orlando), eat corn beef and cabbage and shepard’s pie and fall asleep by 7:30 PM. Sleep like a baby (and for over 12 hours).

Yesterday, March 18: Wake up one year older. Instantly my body feels older, but quite possible that’s 18+ miles speaking. Pack up and head to Cocoa for the most beautiful beach day ever. Spend six hours on the beach. Fishlips for dinner. Come home and eat the delish surprise tiramisu Donnie somehow managed to hide from me. Shower. Sleep. Like. A. Burnt. Baby.

Today, March 19: Wake up. Hit snooze. Fall back asleep. Wake up. Hit snooze. Fall back asleep. Wake up. Hit snooze. Fall back asleep. Eventually wake up for real. Work. Farm Market. Blog for the first time in a week.

I can’t find my borrowed Garmin anywhere, but as soon as I do, I’ll post about the 18-miler. And yes, it worries me that I can’t remember where I placed it.