Where Are All The Tennis Balls?

I’m pretty fast when it comes to chasing tennis balls. I’ve been called “The Energizer Bunny” by some of my opponents. Others have told me I’m like a mosquito at the net—at which point I have to mentally disengage my super imagination powers so as not to see their racquets coming at me as giant fly swatters.

The point is, I’ve been conditioned since music class in elementary school to follow the bouncing ball.

Therefore I have never been a runner…until now. Well, I’m almost a runner but not quite. Close though.

My license plate says “Eat. Sleep. Tennis.” And that’s pretty much how things roll with me and my gang in the Evanshirehood. Normally. But you know me and normal. Hardly ever on the same page, let alone in the same sentence connected by a conjunction junction whose function is to hook up words and make them function and such. Anyway, it was recently brought to my attention that I have barely graced the poor tennis courts behind the Evanshire this summer. Last Thursday I hosted a girls night out and invited my long lost tennis girlfriends. When they started arriving at the door with bottles of wine they all had this similar look on their faces. It was like they were trying to place where they’d seen me before.

It’s understandable. After I finished writing my manuscript, SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL, I decided to take off this spring and summer, from my tennis addiction, to focus on editing and publishing my book. (And promoting The SCAR Project coming to Cincinnati this fall, which has been crazy busy fun.) So that’s why my tennis girlfriends were being so ridiculous, acting like we were meeting for the first time, and as if the wine bottles were house warming gifts, instead of a case of catching up.

Good times.

While working on my book and with the SCAR Project I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching. Trying to figure out what to do with this second chance I’ve been given. Life, take two. What. A. Gift.

I’ve been digging deep into celebrating that gift, living out loud, laughing from the belly, spending myself loving God and others, following my Redheads chasing their dreams, and having the time of my life chasing down my own by writing a book. It’s my postcard from the other side of cancer/chemo to my survivor sisters. Been there, done that, had to buy a new t-shirt, wish they were here, on this side, too.

But wishing doesn’t seem like it’s nearly enough.

I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m still here is there is still more I’m supposed to do. I have this keychain I picked up at the Race for the Cure that says, “I am the Cure.” It eggs me on to do something. Like I said, I’m trying to figure out what.

All I know is that my daughter Amanda is supposed to start having mammograms when she is 23 because of me. She turns 21 in January.

Maybe I started running because I’m in a hurry. There’s something terribly encouraging about forward motion. Even if it’s something as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

I have a 4-mile course in my neighborhood. One of these days I’m going to run the whole thing and in the process will have psyched my body into thinking a 5K is a piece of cake. This is a goal of mine. But it’s easier said than done. First I’m going to have to run up the Oregon Pass hill.

One thing I’ve learned about running, is that running downhill is way more fun that running uphill. I generally walk up the hills. But even then I have to channel my little engine when it comes to Oregon Pass.

I know I could easily flip my course, with Oregon Pass on the downhill, but we have speed limits in our neighborhood.

The hardest thing about running is breathing. Sometimes I forget to. Then when I think about it too hard I forget how. I’m working on this. Trying to pace myself, find a relaxed running form, spend time praying for my peeps which makes me happy thinking about them, and keeping my eyes wide open for beauty and breathing deeply as I take it in.

Continuing my 1000 gifts, here are some of the beautiful things on my runs:

#134 the song, “Beautiful Things” by Gungor, on my Chemo Cocktail Soundtrack that I run to

#135 iMapMyRun iPhone App

#136 Running downhills

#137 weeping willow trees

#138 morning doves

#139 sunshine

#140 wind in my hair

#141 H-2-OH

#142 the Elvis statue in some neighbor’s garden

#143 Thinking about friends as I pass their houses

#144 My “run.” necklace

#145 Sweating out chemo toxins

#146 Moving forward

#147 Shade trees

#148 best running socks ever

#149 fireflies when I run when the sun is setting

#150 sometimes closing my eyes and raising my hands in the air like I’m flying

#151 trying to find a running groove

#152 finishing a run

#153 making ice cold watermelon juice right after

#154 followed by a cold shower

#155 I thought I could and I just did it

#156 gaining confidence

#157 building fitness

#158 sipping satisfaction

#159 experiencing enjoyment

#160 Eric Liddell said when he ran he felt God’s pleasure. This is what I’m after. Not just in running but in everything I do. And I especially feel God’s pleasure when I write.

#161 that I get to have fun playing with words


  1. Jim Wimmers says:

    Joules, Never, I repeat never, close your eyes while running, especially downhill. There are potholes in our neighborhood.
    And I run up Windwood, down Oregon Pass. That way you don’t have to close your eyes to think you’re flying– you actually are.

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