Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends & family! We’ve had an absolutely stunning weekend here in Calgary and the pause of Thanksgiving has caused me to reflect on, of course, what I’m thankful for in the midst of some ups and downs this weekend.
Some of the high points included the weather – it’s been so incredibly warm and wonderful and I just can’t get over it. I went for some walks in between clients Friday before pumping out a fun workout at CityFit that included a few fun elements of movement:
Getting down low with a close grip is KILLER! I did 4 rounds of: high sled pushes (3 plates at 20 KG each), driving through the heel and then low sled pushes on the way back; 20 dumbbell snatches, alternating arms (30#); 16 total front-loaded reverse lunges (65#); 8 renegade rows (rowing on each side per push up, 20#).
A few hours after the above circuit and a few clients later, I had some fun with a great finisher using the 100 lb resistance ropes! I set the clock for 20 minutes and ended up with 5 sets of: back peddles (waddle those hips!), lateral side sets, and forward sprints, 3 times each to make one set (3 times back, forward, facing left and facing right). So effective! – and a great, fresh way to make fitness fun. You better believe I’ll be doing this more with clients now that I’ve tried it out!
Although we wanted to go out originally, we decided Friday night that we were spent and caught up on our favorite shows (we don’t watch much of any TV on the week nights anymore) like Survivor and Gotham and The Mindy Project on the projector. We make Friday TV nights pretty epic. 😉
Saturday I was again thankful for delightful weather and a walk to the farmer’s market for some fresh veggies and supplies for the sides I’m contributing to our family dinner Monday evening. I went with my phone in airplane mode, no headphones, wearing a tank top and shorts, and just enjoyed the run there, the walk back and the bustling atmosphere of the fall market. I stopped to snap a picture because I was just so grateful for the day and for so many simple things in my life that I don’t take for granted.
Later that day we had the opportunity to go to a Calgary Stampeder’s game (football) with my father-in-law and it was so fun! The perfect fall day for football, and it was fun to go out for a community sports event like this!
We went with our church as part of the Faith & Family Night. It was so neat – even though they lost the game, afterward we got to go out on the field together with others (1,600!) who participated in the night. Not only was that really cool (the astro-turf-like texture is awesome and there were little bits of rubber mixed into it – great purchase for cleats digging in and really soft with a give to it), but they had 3 Christian players come out and speak about their faith in football and life. It was super meaningful and made the whole night worth it. Many players in the CFL are ex-NFL’ers, and many are Americans; these guys were from California and St. Louis, so that was kind of cool for me too! What a great evening and a reminder that above all, my life needs to be about Jesus, not about the outward things that define me (even like being a pro football player!).
There was good food this weekend (and we’ve got our big meal to come yet!), beautiful sunsets, and good time together with Mikey and friends.
Sunday was beautiful in many different ways… We volunteered at our church in the morning and got to hear amazing stories of people we met in between services who were alone. It’s a pretty cool ministry to be a part of as we stroll down “Main Street” as it’s referred to and connect with people who are new, lonely, needing prayer, or needing to chat. It’s made us feel so much more connected to our church community and we’ve met so many people we wouldn’t have stopped for in the hustle and bustle of going to church and then leaving after the service. It felt rich and beautiful and meaningful.
The service was also so good, and between the Christ-focused music and the sermon about being generous with our time and talents and not expecting anything or what’s “fair” from others or God, I left feeling overwhelmed emotionally but in a good way. Being in God’s presence tends to do that to me.
And after lunch with friends (another great connection point!), cooking for our meal tomorrow, and taking down time to be at home, we got the news from our friend, Kristen, that her husband, Brock, who we’d been filming the last almost 2 years, had passed away.
It’s hard to describe how I felt hearing the news… We’ve lost many friends to cancer because of the community we’re in, so unfortunately, this is not something new for us to experience. And Brock has been in and out of the hospital and on the brink of death for a long time. But somehow he always came out of it and bounced back, putting the “Brock Effect” as the doctors came to call it in full effect, so his death caught me off guard today. I could write a lot about what Brock (and his family -Kristen and their son Ben) taught me, but I’ll just say that seeing him at “Brock-Fest,” the 40th birthday party his extremely supportive community threw for him exactly a week ago, celebrating life in his wheelchair until 2:30 in the morning, surrounded by people he loved, was the way he would have wanted to go. Full of life and with the most positive, beautiful, authentic perspective on the world that you could imagine – despite all that he’d been through. He certainly wasn’t bitter or didn’t shake his fist at the world for his struggles…He didn’t expect life to be fair and has left an indelible impression on my own life. More tears were shed Sunday, because although we knew it was coming his death hit me hard in a way I haven’t fully experienced before. But the tears were full of emotions because I’m so grateful he finally accepted the reality of his sickness and allowed his family to move on, all together. Celebrations were had all throughout his last week of life and it’s just in line with who Brock was – what a friend, father, husband and example.
So I am thankful for life. For shelter, a roof and a bed; for family and friends and a loving community; for a wonderful and caring husband; for freedom to move my body and play and exercise; for freedom in what I believe and how I express myself; for God’s grace and unconditional love displayed through Jesus. And I am grateful for Brock. Kristen wrote these words that I wanted to share with you all:
I hope everyone takes away from this experience the three tenets of Brock’s life: 1) always be kind, and 2) there is always a reason to be joyful, and 3) the world is a good place. In his last weeks, Brock had these words tumbling around in his brain trying to describe how he felt about life. These are the words he wrote down when he found them: “Life can be a good and wonderful thing, and I’m happy to have been a part of it for this little while.”
No more tears left tonight, no more words to write, but I am grateful for this life and to have seen the sun set one more day. Happy Thanksgiving, friends,