Thankful Thursday

A wise woman once told me, if everyone threw their problems in a great big pile, and we could pick the problems that we wanted, we’d be pretty quick to grab our own problems back!

I passed this on to a friend of mine, who has passed it on to friends of hers. It’s funny the things that stick with us.

While I wouldn’t know how to answer you if you asked if I believed in God, I have always thought that the saying, “God only gives us what we can handle,” was true. “God” or “the universe” or whoever it is, certainly seems to have it out for some people compared to others, and it amazes me to hear the things that get people through really tough times. Often it is “faith.” Sometimes it is the support of family, friends, community. Sometimes it is gratitude – being thankful for the small things, the silver linings. Sometimes it is perspective.

I think about people I have met through blogging and online mothers groups, and the absolute SHIT – plain and simple – that they have gone through, and continue to go through, and I think, “Wow. These people are strong. ” They are strong, courageous, inspiring. And I thank God that their problems are not mine.

This week I am thankful for a lot of small positive things. As a friend spends night after night in hospital with her daughter, I am thankful my son is healthy. As another friend fights an uphill battle with cancer, and the likelihood of not seeing her sons grow up, I am thankful for my own health. As a friend uses Dyslexia Awareness WEek to educate us on the struggles her eldest son faces every day at school, I am thankful my son is doing well at school. As I look at pictures, and think about what my life used to be like when I was overweight and too lazy to do anything about it, I am thankful for having the physical ability to get out in the park and train 3 times a week with awesome girls, even though it hurts like a you-know-what. At a time when I was seriously starting to question the future of my blogging, I am thankful to Lisa and the bloggers who took the time to leave beautiful words on her post featuring “moi” on Tuesday. You have no idea how much your beautiful comments meant to me.

And how fitting is it that when I did a google image search for gratitude, this picture came up and the image source was Deb at Home Life Simplified. No other blogger I know exemplifies gratitude its benefits like Deb.

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What are you thankful for this week? Why not share with us at Francesca Writes Here

Francesca Writes Here
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In Pictures : Thankful Thursday

I thought I’d show you some things I’ve been thankful for over the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to get into the habit of taking one pic a day on Instagram and tagging it #365grateful. I’ve seen how much difference showing daily gratitude can make in a person’s life, and I’ve also seen how quickly the silver linings disappear when you stop giving thanks.

So here’s a few things I’m thankful for this week:

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Flowers from my sweet, sweet son

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A morning run, with beautiful scenery

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Spending time outside with friends in the holidays

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That he can swim & I don’t have to get in *brrrr*

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That he LOVED gymnastics vacation care (& made me a necklace)

What are you thankful for?
Linking up with Francesca Writes Here for Thankful Thursday

Francesca Writes Here

96km in 26.5 hours. Could you do it?

A few months ago, friends of ours were preparing to enter teams in the 2013 Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge, a gruelling 96km hike through the GC hinterland, with a time limit of 39 hours*. When the men’s team was a man short, I was asked if I thought my husband, The Mechanic, would do it. “I think if you asked him in the right way he would!” I said. And then I encouraged him to say yes, when he was asked. What ensued was months of preparation – both physically and mentally – all leading up to this weekend. The ultimate endurance challenge.

Now that the event is behind them (but still very fresh in his memory), I thought I’d ask my husband about this experience and share that with you, along with some photos I took along the way.

How are you feeling? (6:45pm Sunday night – 9hrs post finish)
I have never felt so much discomfort in my entire life. The easiest tasks are painful and take time to plan, like getting off the couch or down stairs.

What were you thinking at the start of the event?
I was thinking let’s smash this, we are all feeling good, just stick to the game plan.

What were your team goals?
First and foremost was finish as a team of four, with a second goal of 24 hours. We accomplished the first goal, but not the second.

And personal ones?
Finish the walk for myself, make my family proud and do something amazing.

What made you say “yes” to start with?
I actually have no idea, getting some encouragement from people got it in my head that I could do it, but I don’t remember exactly what made me say yes.

Are you glad you did?
Extremely glad that I did it. If we could go back 6 months knowing what we know now, I’d do it all over again.

What was the highlight of the event?

The highlight was knowing that my wife and son were waiting at the finish line for me, actually brought tears to my eyes. (I can vouch for this, he was actually crying, and this is a man I’ve seen cry 3 times in 10 years)

What was the lowlight?
The lowlight was knowing I had two team members in pain for a considerable distance and all I could do was to keep telling them there were legends and doing a great job.

Did you ever consider quitting?
I considered quitting before I started, just had the demons in my head that I couldn’t do it.

What did you think finally crossing the finish line?
I thought that I had accomplished something amazing that would make my wife and son proud of me, and so glad to see all those smiling faces and cheering voices waiting for us.

What have you gained from doing this event?
The confidence that I can actually do something amazing if I put my and heart into it. That the spirit of the team, of brotherhood can rise above many personal demons that you may face.

What do you think are the keys to training, preparation and getting through this event?
The keys were just putting in the mileage, keeping the right mindset, making sure you have an amazing support team on the day and during all the training.

Would you recommend others do it?
I would recommend it to others only if they had the heart and drive and aspirations of doing something amazing.

Would you consider doing it again?
I would consider doing it again, obviously hindsight makes things look rosy and cheery and it probably wasn’t as bad as I thought it was during the race.

Any final thoughts or words?
It was an incredible experience and having an incredible bunch of guys made it all the more enjoyable. Some amazing people were met along the way and this is definitely something I don’t think I’ll forget for a very long time.

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at the start line

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the last post was followed by a shotgun start. tears much?

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arriving at the 2nd major check point

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a quick bite to eat before setting off for the 2nd half

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26.5 hours later, they reach the finish line together

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The Mechanic’s Runkeeper map

I would like to thank Ian, the support crew “captain” who was so fantastic. He went to EVERY check point, unloaded and loaded the car up, fed the boys, gave them supplies, water, food, encouragement and was just amazing. I’d also like to thank our friends and family who donated to the team, as well as some very special bloggers who have never met us in person – Sophie, Amanda, Josefa and Kyla and one who has – Linda. Thank you so much ladies! You were as much a part of this as we were.  I’m incredibly proud of my husband and his team who saw this through to the finish, despite the pain and emotional/mental demons they faced. Thank you to everyone who supported them on this adventure.

* It’s not just for shits and giggles, or to see who can do it in the fastest time. The Kokoda Challenge runs a program that helps Aussie teenagers who are struggling in life. It offers them a 12 month program to help them find their way. More details can be found here. This event this weekend has raised just shy of $700,000. If you are inspired at all by this story, I’d encourage you to head over to The Kokoda Challenge website and make a donation. I’d love to see that tally tick over to $700,000!

Linking up with Jess for #IBOT of course! Have you linked up yet?