Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | May 16, 2016

Nothing I’d Rather Do

As I turned the corner and ran towards Sports Authority Field at Mile High during the Urban 10-Miler yesterday, chills ran through my body and a single thought entered my mind:  “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing right now.”Mile High

I often get that feeling when I’m running and especially when I’m racing.  Yesterday I was four miles into the Colfax race in Denver, and knew with 100 percent certainty, that nothing else I could be doing on that Sunday morning would make me feel as alive, strong, and vibrant as running that race.

This spring has been a battle with my plantar fasciitis.  On many occasions, I doubted I would be able to complete the race I had signed up for so many months ago.  Originally I had registered for the half-marathon, setting my sights on completing my twenty-second 13.1 mile race. However, as the training runs were skipped or the distance decreased, I decided to set my sights on a more achievable goal – the 10-miler.

Yesterday my body was clicking, and even without logging the extra training miles, I know I could have completed the additional 3.1 miles without struggle (if I would have been competing in the half-marathon); however, nary a second thought crossed my mind.  I was thrilled with my 10-mile accomplishment.Colfax Finish

Running provides a multitude of lessons and this spring those have included perseverance, flexibility, and gratefulness.  I was so very grateful for each run I was able to complete and then thankful that my foot pain didn’t prevent me from walking my dogs later that evening or the next morning.

I’ve also mellowed, as I realized that I’m getting older.  My first distance race (the Quad Cities Half Marathon) was 14 years ago – that’s a long time to keep pushing myself to improve.  A PR may still be possible, but isn’t always realistic, and I’m okay with that.  However, there was no PR to gain on this race, since I had never run a 10-miler before, so that eased some of the internal pressure.

I’ve viewed the other races I’ve completed this year as fun adventures and opportunities to test my current fitness level, rather than comparing my fitness level or splits and times to splits and times I achieved five or ten years ago. I am finding more joy in the process now, rather than focusing so much on the results.  Colfax Medal

I love the lessons running teaches me.  I love the person it has made me.  I love the opportunity it affords me to participate in events with hundreds or thousands of like-minded people.  I love the friendships I’ve gained because of it.  I love my race day crew – friends and family who provide virtual support and occasionally are there in person to cheer me on.  And, I love how many friends and family members have taken up running themselves, becoming inspired by my passion.

But more than anything, I love the feeling that running gives me during the run and after the run.  There really is no place I’d rather be … the runner’s high is real, whether you’re running in the Mile High City or not!

Colfax by Lake



Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | March 19, 2016

UNI Fight, UNI Fight!

There are few things in life that can create camaraderie like cheering for the same sports team. When you’re rooting for the same squad as your family, co-workers, neighbors, or even strangers, the differences in values, political beliefs, and whatever else may cause tension slip away, if only for a few hours. Friends who haven’t talked for a year suddenly fall back into the rhythm of communicating thanks to excitement over their team, and strangers high-five in the stadium or arena.

The time for all of this is now, as March Madness is in full swing.  And madness it is, with a lot of the higher seeds being taken down by mid-majors or schools that focus more on academics than athletics.

Last night as UNI “slayed another giant,” as yelled by radio play-by-play man Gary Rima, beating Texas 72-70 in the first round of the Big Dance, my fellow Northern Iowa alumni, family and friends were all caught up in Panther fever! And when you are a fan of a smaller college like the University of Northern Iowa, you feel a huge sense of pride when you make news on the national scene. Taking down somebody like Texas, who has millions of dollars supporting its athletic departments, really is news.

UNI recruits kids from Iowa and other Midwest states, including small-town kids from places like where I come from. Kids where I’m from don’t dream of playing for a Kentucky or a Texas, and it’s obviously very rare to have the talent level to play at a prestigious school like that. But playing for UNI … you could dream that! My affection for the Panthers started when a guy from my hometown did just that – played hoops for UNI and was on one of the greatest teams assembled there.  Those guys and their signature moves are etched in my memory forever, as my parents bought season tickets that year (the only time I’ve ever had season tickets in my life … a dream I still haven’t fulfilled as an adult), and Dad and I sat on the bleachers and cheered on Steve, Jason, Troy, Maurice, Cedrick, Dale, Jonathon, and the rest.  We cheered them on all the way to the NCAA tournament.

As a high-schooler,  I attended both the UNI volleyball and women’s basketball camps and dremt of what it would be like to suit up for the Panthers and take the court.UNI Pic

Hit the hardwood I did not, but having spent five years and countless hours on the UNI campus in pursuit of two degrees, and many more countless hours attending volleyball, football, and basketball games while living in Cedar Falls, cheering for the purple and gold is personal. I met two of my very best friends on campus, one in undergrad and one in grad school, and though they are both states away, texting with them last night felt like we were all at the game together.

Slaying the giant is nothing new for UNI, as I have been in attendance several times when the Panthers snagged victories over more formidable opponents, including when they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in the UNI-Dome in front of a record crowd (full disclosure: I had mixed feelings on that one) and when they beat Southwest Missouri State in the semifinals of the conference tournament (done by that dream team I mentioned earlier) on a shot by Jason Reese with two seconds left. Hmm…a game-winning shot with two seconds left…sound familiar?

When the Panthers made it to the NCAA tournament and faced the Missouri Tigers, I was riding the school bus home and our bus driver, Mr. Aikey, put the game on the bus radio. At the end of the hour-long route, only a few of us were left on board listening, and when the bus finally pulled up and stopped in front of our farm, I raced off it and into the house as fast I could.  The verdict?  A game-winning shot by Maurice Newby to send the team to the round of 32, where they sit today, uniting and re-uniting those in Panther Nation across the country.

The buzzer-beaters and epic victories the men’s basketball program has notched during the past three decades of my fandom has proved that dreams really do come true – especially if you’re from Cedar Falls, Iowa. Perhaps I should dream bigger.


Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | January 26, 2016

Iowa in the Top 5: My Life from 1987 to 2016

The Iowa Hawkeye men’s basketball team currently sits as the third-ranked team in the country according to the Associated Press poll released yesterday. Yes, #3. Even though I’ve watched nearly every game and have witnessed how good – really good – they are, and no matter how many ranked teams we beat (and beat twice), it’s still hard to actually believe that we have gained enough respect from the college basketball world to attain a top-fiIowa bball 87-88ve spot.

The last time we were this high in the AP standings was December 8, 1987, when Tom Davis led his Big 10 team to number three in the nation. That 1987-88 team was my all-time favorite. Jeff Moe, B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble, Ed Horton, Al Lorenzen, and the rest were my heroes. I could recite every player’s number and hometown and probably weight and height! During each game I would sit with my dad next to the large stereo in the kitchen or in front of our tube TV in the living room and keep stats. I was barely 11 years old.

Yes, an 11-year-old farm girl was a self-described Hawk-maniac. I recently came across several essays and journal entries I wrote when I was in elementary school and there was a definite theme to all these writings: my love of the Hawks.

My dad taught me how to make a homemade score sheet on a piece of lined notebook paper. I’d write down the number and name of each player and in every row add a few “3”s and several “2”s and “1”s to record scoring.  Each time a Hawkeye hoopster connected on a three-pointer, a two-point field goal, or a free throw, I would circle the appropriate number. (Sometimes I’d have to add extra 3’s for Jeff Moe as he’d make as many as seven in one game!!)

I also tallied fouls by circling by circling the appropriate number in the “12345” section as players amassed the penalties. It seems now that foul trouble was a lot more prevalent those days. We were constantly worried about our best players getting into foul trouble and thus limiting their playing time and eventually fouling out. Rare is the day that an Iowa player fouls out now.

To prepare for each game, in addition to creating the score sheet, I’d dress appropriately – donning one of my many Iowa shirts, some buttons and pins, chunky gold Tiger Hawk earrings, Hawkeye socks, and any other apparel and accessories I had received as a birthday or Christmas present from friends and family.

The other piece of preparation was research. Of course, in 1987 there was no world wide web, so I’d faithfully read each word that had been written about the Hawks in the Des Moines Register sports section. We subscribed to the paper for a while, and when we didn’t subscribe, I’d have access to the Big Peach, the Sunday sports section printed on peach-colored paper, at my Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Sometimes, if everyone was done reading the Big Peach (Uncle Les included), Grandma would tell me I could take it home with me! This was a treasure…I would then have extra time to peruse it, relive the highlights of Saturday’s game, review the notes of the upcoming week’s games, and cut out articles for my scrapbook.

My Iowa scrapbooks consistent of newspaper clippings and photos pasted on gray pages alongside my score sheets. Together they painted a vivid picture of how my boys were dominating their opponents on the hardwood.

Twenty-eight years, hundreds of games, three head coaches, and 13 Big Dance appearances later, I know what the changes in the Iowa basketball program have been and began wondering, what changed over the course of those same years in that 11-year scorekeeper?

Of course, I grew up, and went to junior high, high school, college, grad school, coached youth basketball,  landed a “real” job and then another and another, bought a house or two or three…adopted a dog and then another…but, I retained many of the same interests and hobbies. I still watch Hawkeye basketball religiously every winter. I still scan the sports page (although now it’s online) for every morsel of info I can get about the team and their opponents, I still dress in my Iowa gear for the games and I still receive Iowa Hawkeye paraphernalia for my birthday and Christmas. I still chat, rant, and cheer with my dad about the team, and I still feel the joy of each victory and the disappointment of each loss.

Primary differences now are that my brother and sister aren’t playing Nerf basketball in the background while I watch the games (hee hee), Grandma and Grandpa aren’t around to give me their Big Peach (is it still printed on peach paper?), and I don’t have the hometown of every player memorized (but I could work on that). I can now rely on CBS Sports for in-game and post-game stats and get almost every game on TV thanks to the Big 10 Network (although I miss the radio broadcasts).  I also don’t make homemade score sheets, but I do tally the order of scoring to look for trends (“We just scored three 3s in a row” I’ll text Dad, or “Uthoff has scored our last 11 points.”)

The bottom line is…I still bleed black and gold.

Over Christmas my brother asked me which I’d rather have occur:  a Cubs World Series title, an Iowa football National Championship or an Iowa Basketball National Championship.  I chose the latter.

Go Hawks!

Herkeye close-up

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | December 26, 2015

Christmas Cheer on the Trail

For the first time in my life, I went for a run on Christmas. I hadn’t ever done it because that day was always filled with family.  For many years, we’d open gifts at my parents and then rush off to another celebration. For the last several years, however, it’s been a day of total relaxation. Since there were no little ones in the family, we could wake up when we wanted, sit around and drink coffee and eat blueberry muffins in our pajamas, and then begin digging in our stockings. The tradition would then roll to eating egg bake and drinking mimosas while opening gifts…all still in our PJs. This process could take hours, as we’d stop for breaks to let take the dogs out, call Grandma, get more food…whatever we felt like! Needless to say, this very relaxed routine didn’t involve a run.

But this year, my first Christmas away from my family, I took to the trails. I didn’t expect anyone else to be out, but I encountered a few walkers and dog walkers…and each one greeted me with “Merry Christmas!” One couple, who was out walking their dogs, turned to look at me and the woman shouted, “Good for you!” I responded with a “Woohooooo! Merry Christmas” and felt more energized as I continued on the trail back towards home.

I’d never really encountered strangers on Christmas before because I’d always been in my family’s house or in the car riding from one house to another.  This unique experience of being on the trail encountering fellow citizens getting their exercise lifted my spirits as we all shared the spirit of the holiday.  And that’s the spirit of Christmas, right…giving joy to others?

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | December 21, 2015

Right Where I Needed to Be

Thanksgiving morning I drove through central Iowa and headed north, towards my parents’ house, choosing an off-the-beaten-path route for the last hour. Driving on the blacktops flanked by barren fields and dotted with old farmhouses, I listened to the NPR Thanksgiving program and felt a level of serenity that I truly didn’t expect. The program was filled with poetry, songs, and narratives that calmed me and also excited me as the miles between my Jeep and my destination decreased. Passing through towns where I played basketball in high school, I felt a fondness for my high school years that I hadn’t felt in years…well…maybe ever.

After the joy of reuniting with my parents and laughing at the dogs rumbling, we headed out to the family farm to celebrate Thanksgiving with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and their families. As I sat around the table, enjoying every bite of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy (they make fun of me how much I love the gravy), rolls, corn, sweet potatoes, and chocolate pie (I love that pie as much as the gravy – maybe as much as life itself), and loving every morsel of conversation, I looked around at everyone’s faces and realized…this was right where I needed to be. At this time. At this place. Around this table.Thanksgiving pies

This table in this living room used to be my Grandpa and Grandma’s table and the living room their living room.  Every Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, as well as every Sunday after church, this group of people would sit here, say grace, and share a meal together.  Years and miles can’t take those memories away from me.  And being there, laughing and listening, I realized how truly special this band of people is to me and how a sense of place can provide a feeling that simply cannot be replicated.

There are also the traditions.  Years ago, my cousin Audrey was Thanksgiving familydesignated as the “prayer leader.”  When the food is hot on the table, my grandma used to call out quickly (before the food gets cold), “Audrey!!” With Grandma gone, now my aunt or uncle shouts “Audrey!!”…and that yell of her name indicates she should begin with, “Come” and the rest of us follow with “Lord Jesus be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.  Amen.”

Amen to being blessed with the gifts of health, food, memories, and this farm in the middle of the Midwest where I was raised among these amazing people I am proud to call my family.

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | December 21, 2015

Holiday Cheer at Home Depot

I love finding joy in unexpected places and yesterday I did just that. Wrigley, Gracie, and I ventured to Home Depot. Yes, as my aunt asked, dogs can go into Home Depot in Colorado (not sure if they are welcome at Home Depot in other states, but in Fort Collins, the two stores welcome them with open arms). I had a piece of hose to return, so we immediately headed to the service desk. The woman there assumed that I had just stopped by for dog treats, so she gladly gave Wrigley and Gracie each a treat (which she made them sit for). However, she then realized I had an item to return, so she beHD toysgan processing that while the dogs tried to sneak back behind the counter to sniff out more treats (while also putting on their most adorable “can’t-I-just-have-one-more?” faces).

In the meantime, another Home Depot employee suddenly appeared out of nowhere and placed two stuffed dog toys on the counter – one a foot-long yellow guy that squeaked and the other an adorable stuffed pup with three tennis balls sewed inside as part of his nose and mouth. I wasn’t sure what her intention was with them. I exclaimed how cute they were and then she asked if the dogs would use them. I said definitely and explained how much they love toys – Wrigley adoring the squeaker ones and Gracie having a fondness for tennis balls. She made sure I picked them up and put them in my purse as I walked away and profusely thanked her.

As I perused samples in the paint department, another employee approached us and wanted to pet the dogs and asked if we had been to the service desk. I responded yes and he wondered if we received treats. I told him that we did and that we had also been given the toys sticking out of my purse! He explained that that woman (whose name I don’t know but feel that I should have gotten) does that every year at Christmas – purchases dog toys with her own money and hands them out to the dogs who come into the store.

What a unique and fun way for her to spread cheer! After that, I greeted everyone with whom I interacted with a hearty “Merry Christmas” becauHD toy Wrigleyse I was so full of the holiday spirit of giving.

Thank you to thHD toy Graciee people who set examples for the rest of us regarding how to live and remind us that the world is full of goodness.




Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | October 27, 2015

Witnessing Perseverance

Sometimes I am embarrassed when I tear up at what may seem like random moments. This most recently happened at a middle school cross country meet. I wascross country chatting with my neighbor and her daughter after the latter had finished. Everyone had mostly cleared out of the large grassy area but then all of the sudden we heard a few people cheering and turned to see what was happening.

Two girls from different schools were holding hands running towards the finish line, long after all the other participants had completed the race. I started cheering for them – clapping and shouting, using their names after I heard others yell for them.  As they ran by me with the look of determination mixed with pride, I had to fight with everything I had to control my emotions.  A feeling was surging inside of me that this is what life is all about – persevering.

As a runner, I know how difficult it can be to finish a race.  There are times when you have to dig deep and fight with your inner voice, your emotions, and your body to will yourself to the end.  This difficulty can be eased when you find someone else beside you working to achieve the same goal.

My neighbor wondered if these two girls knew each other before the race started.  They may have, but oftentimes allies are made on the course.  Without even speaking a word, a bond is formed and the decision is made to help each other continue to place one foot in front of the other and eventually cross the finish line.

And they weren’t just running beside each other…they were holding hands – holding hands!  I can only imagine the adrenaline each of them felt when they reached out, grasped the other’s hand, and went forward as one.  Everything about that moment was beautiful.  I think wiping away a tear or two was justified.

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | October 10, 2015


A question came to mind 3-4 weeks ago about security…which type of security is the best to have? Then I started wondering…can we have all types of security? To determine this, I had to start brainstorming types of security.

The first three that came to mind were financial security, job security, and security in relationships, followed by security with who we are as individuals. After some pondering, another type of security that I would bet many people don’t really think about presented itself to me – security in our housing. I had rarely thought about this one until five years ago – and since then I’ve spent anxiety-filled days and months wondering where I’ll call home.

We are “preached” to, lectured to, and reminded daily by the media, financial advisers, advertisements, and loved ones about the importance of financial security. What does financial security actually look like and feel like? How much money do I need to have put away in savings, 401Ks, Roth IRAs, pensions, etc. to feel financially secure?  This is an individual decision, of course, but I wonder if one can ever feel financially “secure.”

Job security is a topic we often don’t think about until we A) don’t have a job or B) fear we are not going to have a job.  Or, if we have lost a job then it is a topic that often haunts our dreams even after we are again gainfully employed.

Relationship security we may take for granted until our road is rocky and we yearn for more contentment and stability.  Do we do the work needed daily, weekly, and monthly to ensure our relationship with our significant other is secure?

John Michael Montgomery recorded a song that I always sang along with as a teenager when I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes.  The lyrics said that if you had love you could move a mountain. For years, I carried that truth – or what I thought was that truth with me – that love can move a mountain. And, maybe it can. I think it can.  But, when I was 16, I thought anything was possible – and that life was a dance (thank you John Michael for that one also).  However, I was also growing up in a secure household with what I felt was a secure family, so I hadn’t yet battled many of the topics mentioned above.

Some may argue that until we are secure with who we are as individuals that we can’t achieve some of these other types of security.  I think being secure with ourselves is worthy of its own blog post though – or review the “Be Amy” post to read more of my thoughts on that topic.

Is it possible to have them all  – all of these types of security? I honestly don’t know. And if we had to prioritize them, which ones are most important?

I would love do more research on the topic of feeling secure and how we work towards that security as well as determine if there are other types of security we yearn for…if you have a type of security you strive for, please let me know!

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | October 1, 2015

Ushering in October

Starting a new month has always been an invigorating event for me – even if that meant only flipping the calendar page.  As a kid, I’d run around Grandpa and Grandma’s house and make sure Grandma had turned all her calendars to the new month (she usually hadn’t changed most of them). Farmers, which my grandparents were, deal with a lot businesses, and so calendars were a-plenty. I’d run down basement, into both bathrooms, into Grandma’s office, and into the entryway and then the garage, flipping calendars from seed dealers, banks, insurance men, and implement dealers.  Yes!  Their house was now ready for that new month!

As we closed the chapter on September last night, I started thinking about how to wrap up that month and welcome in October. I’m a raving fan of Gretchen Rubin who wrote a book about habits, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives. Since devouring her writing this spring, the topic of habits has been at the forefront of my mind.

Recently the voice in my head kept talking about forming a habit of creating an end of month/beginning of month ritual. This idea formed because “month end” is a routine followed at many organizations, including the one where I work. After the last business day of the month, queries are ran, number are crunched, and slides are generated showcasing the accomplishments of each functional area. The slate is then erased and we start anew the next business day.

Now that I’ve explained how my brainstorm came to be, let’s explore some actual ideas.

Month end review:
Did I honor myself?
Did I honor, appreciate, and give to my loved ones?
Did I act as a good friend and neighbor to those in my life?

Did I spend time on what is truly important?
Did I take care of my body?
Did I nourish my soul?

Was I present in the situation I was in and the people I was with?  (This is the one I struggle with the most and which I think I could benefit the most from improving.)

I am staying away from thinking about or listing quantitative accomplishments because I already track a whole slew of things I do (miles ran, books read, breweries visited), and I don’t need to track any more of those categories.  Why? I’ve realized that they don’t necessarily matter. I’m not a better person or people won’t appreciate me more if I ran 100 miles last month (instead of 10) or if I read five books (instead of none). I think those categories I listed sharpen my mind and my body and make me a healthier and more well-rounded person, but I’d like my month-end round-up to focus on more qualitative items.

There are other “housekeeping” items I’d like to do at the end of every month such as review the photos on my phone, delete the ones I don’t want, and ensure the rest are uploaded to Shutterfly. I’d like to keep thinking of other tasks such as this.  Let me know if you have other ideas!

While we don’t necessarily plan for the specific upcoming month at work (goals are set annually instead), I like the idea of looking ahead month-by-month for my personal life.

I’d like October to be a much better all-around month than September.

Some people select a word for the entire year, but to me the entire year is an unmanageable monster with a plethora of unknowns; therefore, I think selecting a word for the month might be more manageable. I have several concepts swimming around in my head – the opposite of worry or anxiety would be ones…whatever those words may be.

One of the tactical items would be to plan ahead each month for the special celebrations in October…my friend Mindy from grad school and great aunt Hazel share my birthday and my TNT friend Andrea also has a birthday this month – it’s important to me to be prepared to help brighten their days.

October is a special time…fall harvest, gorgeous leaves, Major League Baseball playoffs, pumpkins, hoodies, Halloween (time to plan Wrigley and Gracie’s costume)…it’s a cozy time.  Maybe that’s my word – or one of them.  Here’s to hoping it’s a cozy, calm, composed and confident month!

Better Than Before

Posted by: runnerbikerhiker | September 15, 2015

Meaningful Eating

I recently happened upon the book Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: Lessons from a 10-Mile Diet by Vicki Robin about her month-long quest to eat only foots grown or raised within a 10-mile radius of her house.  Robin also encouraged readers to create various lists, such as the most common foods we eat and foods that stem from our childhood and to think about why we do and don’t eat various items.   Since reading the first page less than a week ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about the food I eat and where it comes from. I started examining all the labels on products (beginning on the plane where I had cookies made in Belgium), and found that most packaged foods don’t tell you where they are made, but instead provides the name and address of the company that distributes them.  Texas, Illinois, and Ohio have all distributed foods I recently ate. My Grape-Nuts come from  a factory in New Jersey.  My salad mix states “Product of the USA” and was shipped here from Phoenix.

Limiting my diet has never been a necessity or a desire of mine.  I’ve never went vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free or followed any other type of eating where I restrict certain things based on dietary needs, principle, or to lose weight (you got it – I’ve never went on a diet).  I’ve often thought I could be a pescatarian simply because I enjoy seafood and believe I could get by without other types of meats (although the delectable bacon burger I had at Bob’s Atomic Burgers the other night could convince me otherwise).

The foods I stay far far away from are those I simply do not like – ham, lettuce, bananas, watermelon, coconut, any meat that is the slightest bit pink, any teeny tiny piece of fat on meat – just to name a few.  I’ve been relentlessly teased about some of these exclusions as most people find it incredulous that I don’t like bananas or lettuce.  Everyone tells me, “Lettuce has no taste.”  My rebuttal is, “If it has no taste, why should I eat it??  Ham is the one food my family absolutely loves to relentlessly tease me about.  Growing up on a hog farm, ham was a-plenty and I ate it as a child, but as an adult, I decided I just couldn’t do it.  Every Easter my aunts and uncles chide me, wondering what I’m going to eat if I don’t eat ham!  And every Christmas Eve Aunt Deb brings some fancy ham for sandwiches which I pass over as I feast on homemade chicken noodle soup, chili, and oyster stew.

During this week’s worth of contemplation I’ve concluded that more than being local, it’s the food I consume having meaning that is extremely important to me.  In my refrigerator sits milk from a dairy in town that was delivered to my neighbors’ front door.  My neighbors then delivered it to me along with eggs laid from from their backyard chickens – the chickens I can hear clucking in my own backyard.  Pumpkin bread from this same neighbor (generous aren’t they?) and homemade shortbread from another neighbor also currently grace my kitchen.  This week I’ve also been nourished by Wisconsin cheese curds Keith bought me at the farmer’s market Sunday – meaningful because A) he bought them for me and B) they are from Wisconsin.  Growing up, my Iowa family would go on drives and cross the border into Wisconsin in order to purchase their famed cheese, curds included.

Open my freezer and you’ll find hamburger and steak from the cattle raised on my Uncle Les’ farm, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, and peach jam made by my mom and Aunt Beth, and frozen sweet corn also grown on my uncle’s farm and carefully shucked, boiled, cut, and bagged by my mom, aunt, and cousins.

I have a bottle of wine from a “wine pull” Keith and I participated in at a fundraiser and a bomber bottle of sour beer from a media beer tasting I was invited to at a local brewery.

Buying a baguette from the local French bakery makes me happier than you can imagine!  Riding my bike to the farmer’s market and bringing home honey, veggies, butter, and other treasured finds in my backpack is a cherished part of my weekends.

Like each wall hanging, decoration, and piece of furniture that graces my house, I realized that a lot of the food and beverages I consume have a story too.  They aren’t just any ol’ product I pull off the shelf at the local King Soopers.  Many of these items have found their way into my home through the power of love, the connection of friendship and the hard work of either those I know or those who live and work in my community.

That’s my diet – one assembled piece by piece and person by person.

.Food Pic

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