Thanks so much to those of you who posted comments in my previous post. They were fun to read! If you missed that post, you are welcome to still leave a comment/question and I will try to add it into the mix.
Some of your questions clustered around similar thoughts, like whether or not Spencer and I plan to have more children, my thoughts on adoption, my fitness routine/goals and having Spencer "borrow" my blog and share his side of things. Then there were a whole slew of other questions :)
So, I would like to respond to your questions in a couple of installments, saving the more personal responses for a few days, as I am still thinking and praying over those words. For today, I hope to answer with some of the "easier" ones :)
Do you see yourself staying in teaching?
I'm not sure. I come from a family of teachers. I married a teacher. I love having time in the summer to either work less or not work, and love that Spencer can do the same. I enjoy my job, but I don't love it like I did when I first began my career. We're in the process of setting up the Isaac Delisle Foundation, and are leaving room in the way we're constructing it for it to potentially become my full-time job down the road, if God sees it fit to grow the foundation into something that would allow me to do that. But who knows. :) For now, though, teaching works. I teach a middle school that's fairly close to home, and work with a great staff. Teaching Reading is rewarding, and working with 6th graders is really cool. It's a neat time to be an influential presence in a kid's life.
I know you said once that you really missed your old school. Will you try and go back now? Are things better at your new one?
I don't think so. In the next few years there may be some openings there, but that school is really far from home... at least 50 minutes each way. I just don't think I can do that commute. My old school is definitely a special place and I loved working there, but working closer to home has been really great as well. Things have gotten a little better at my new school. I have gotten to know the two special education teachers with whom I co-taught pretty well, and really enjoy my friendships with both of them. We'll see what this next school year brings... I feel pretty hopeful about it.
Have you thought about writing a book about your journey with Spencer and Isaac?
I absolutely have, and I would love to... I just don't know how to! If anyone knows of a literary agent or publisher that would be interested in working me on something like this, let me know! Once the Foundation is set up, I think I will have the time and energy to pour into investigating this further.
Is there an area of your house that is set aside for Isaac's keepsakes?
Well, we have some of his things and some pictures up throughout the house. Most of his things, though, are in the room upstairs that would have been his nursery. We're looking for a nice cedar chest to put his things in so that they can be stored, but also still easily accessible.
I'd love to know more about your sporting routine. I see from Twitter it's pretty intense. How do you fit it all in?
It's summer and I am not working :) Seriously, though, I used to get up and go to the gym before work. I had a workout buddy/coworker/close friend who met me at the gym 4 mornings each week. We lifted for about 45 minutes, then did cardio. I LOVED that regimen. However, us both transferring to different schools, moving, and getting pregnant with Isaac... well, that routine went down the tubes. Now, I shoot for lifting 2-3 times each week, and doing cardio 4-5 times each week, fitting it in when I can. During the school year, I usually go right after work now. But I would like to get back into my morning routine. We'll see once September rolls around!
How do you get started? What keeps you motivated? How do you go about finding events to run in? etc.
Great questions. As far as getting started goes, I have a theory. It is not based on anything I have read, any of Spencer's sports/exercise physiology... just personal experience. I call it the "three mile rule." Go out and do 3 miles. At first, you may walk the whole thing. Then you may add jogs here or there... like walk 3 minutes, jog 1 minute. A bit later, you may jog 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Then, you may progress to only walking here and there. And finally, you'll jog the whole thing. But, commit to 3 miles. Even if you walk it at a 15 minute pace, you'll only be out for 45 minutes. Once you can jog 3 miles, then begin playing with your speed and/or your distance. For some reason, 3 miles just feels like this threshold when you first start running, and being able to get there, and then past it... a good accomplishment.
As far as motivation goes, there are a few things. First, I genuinely enjoy working out and love how I feel because of it. I worked out until 32 weeks during my pregnancy with Isaac, and I believe it's one of the reasons I felt great (physically) during my pregnancy. However, I realize not everyone genuinely enjoys exercising. And some days, I just don't feel like it. So in those circumstances, I think it has more to do with discipline. Just sheer will power to stick with it. Then, when you see results (however you choose to measure them... weight loss, a faster time, etc), it spurs you on to keep going.
With regard to finding events, I hear about them from friends, look on Active.com. Word of mouth seems to be the best method, particularly if a friend has done a certain race before and he/she enjoyed it.
I know you mentioned you were training for a half marathon, have you raced yet? If so how did it go? What are your fitness goals for the future?
I did run my half marathon... and I did okay! Finished in 2 hours... about a 9:16 pace. My goals were to finish without walking in under a 10 min/mile pace, which I did :) I did a lot better in the one I ran 5 years ago, but I actually trained for it and was in much better shape at the time. Not sure about fitness goals for the future. I sort of always see myself as someone who will sign up for a few races each year, ranging from 5Ks to 1/2 marathons. I just genuinely enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle, so my hope would be to maintain that. Although, I would love to complete a triathlon (NOT the Ironman!) someday! Here are a before and after pictures from my half marathon I did with my sister...
Have your found your running, exercise etc helped with grieving for Isaac?
Absolutely. My time running has given me the time and space to really think, pray, listen to songs that remind me of Isaac, and then inevitably cry. Nothing like seeing a crying runner :) But, the physiological aspect of running and exercise has also helped. There were many days I didn't feel like running or working out, but knew I should... whether it was because I could sense the Lord had something to say to me, or that just from a physical standpoint I knew the whole endorphin thing would be good for me. But yes... I think that exercising (mostly my running) has been really helpful in terms of my grief.
I'd enjoy reading about how you and Spencer met and began your lives together.
Spencer and I met at work. Never in a million years did I think that I would meet my husband at an elementary school, as 95% of the staff is women! Spencer was hired as a PE teacher my third year of teaching. He had worked full time as a personal trainer after graduating from college for a few years before going into teaching. Anyhow, the administrative secretary at the time told me about this great, handsome new PE teacher and how she thought I would really like him... and then proceeded to show me his resume! Too funny. So I just "happened" to be in the office the day he came in to fill out paperwork or something, took one look at him, and thought, "Oh my gosh. This guy is so good looking." From that point on, he was endearingly termed "HGT" standing for "hot gym teacher" among my friends and I. His lunch break happened to be when ours was, so he'd eat in the staff lounge with my friends and I. We got to know each other, and he asked be about a bible study in the area. I invited him to leadership for Young Life, and we started hanging out some through that. He asked me out to Six Flags on our first date (he can give you his reasoning on why this was such a brilliant idea!) and we had a blast. About 5 months later, we were engaged! We got married on December 18, 2004... about 9 months after our engagement.
What denomination are you?
I am a Christian... no particular denomination. We happen to be members of an Evangelical Free church, but we joined the church because of things like its sound theology and strong leadership, not because we were looking for an Evangelical Free church.
Do you think you could ever let God use you to speak to other women?
I hope that through this blog, God has already done just that. That is certainly one desire I have in maintaining this blog. As far as speaking to other women one-on-one in person who have suffered the loss of a child, speaking at a church women's conference... yes to all of the above. I really believe that God uses our most painful experiences to allow us to minister to others more effectively... and I definitely desire to do that.
When you indulge in fast food -- anything where you walk up to a counter, be it McD's or Panera -- what is your guilty pleasure?
I LOVE Chick-Fil-A. Yes, most often I get the grilled chicken because I feel like I "should." But, I love their signature sandwich (no pickles) with fries and coleslaw!!I also love Panera... particularly the Frontega Chicken when I splurge; or the garden salad and black bean soup when I don't :) Does Subway count as fast food? That's my most frequent choice!
If you could excel at one of the following, which would you choose: a) cooking; b) golfing; c) sewing; or d) gardening
Cooking... without a doubt.
Important person in your life who has influenced the person you are becoming.
I had to really think about this one... mostly because I am surrounded by wonderful family and an amazing group of friends. My answer on this may be a little bit of a cop-out. I am so sorry about that! So, if I had to pick one person, I would say Jesus. But, beyond that, I would say that there have been characteristics about many different people in my life who have influenced who I am becoming because they demonstrate to me different traits that are worth emulating. Here are a few thoughts...
Spencer- His work ethic and his servant's heart.
My mom- Her desire to help and to minister to people who have a need or who are hurting.
My dad- His desire of spending time with family and making family a priority.
My sister- Her tenderness and compassion.
Our small group friends- Their authenticity, intentionality, and ability to speak the truth in love
Isaac- His presence taught me so much about loving boldly, about treasuring the little things, about not being so concerned about the destination but relishing in the journey, and about the reality and hope of eternity.
Just a few thoughts about some of the key people in my life and how they have influenced me.
Something that you are scared to do but WANT to do, but are held back maybe by fear.
This is a hard one! Because usually the things I fear I do NOT want to do! :) I think if I were to be honest, my answer would be trying to have more children. We definitely desire that, but as you can imagine, there is a lot of fear surrounding that as well.
What does your laugh sound like -- are you a big belly laughter or more of a reserved laugther?
A belly laugh... often to the point of tears :) I love the whole laughing so hard it makes you cry thing! I guess I do chuckle sometimes though, too.
Thanks so much for all your questions! I hope to address your questions about whether or not we plan to have more kids, our thoughts on adoption, how all of this has impacted our marriage and how Spencer and I keep our marriage strong, as well as some of your other questions in the next "installment." Stay tuned! :)