Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | April 26, 2011

No title, short post

To all my friends, my beautiful mother had a massive stroke last Thursday and never regained consciousness. After an agonizing four days in the hospital, her loving heart finally gave out last evening at 4:30. I know that her handsome Marine was waiting there for her with open arms. The window of her hospital room looked out on the hillside where he proposed to her, in 1942. I know that you all are sending me lots of love, for which I am so very grateful.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | March 14, 2011

I’m Baaaack!

Hello, my friends,

I did not intend to take a mid-winter break, but,  there you go.  The days got away from me, the inspiration was lacking, and the ability to write seemed to have completely drained out of my fingertips.  But, here I am, ready for another year of walking, running and writing.  Thank you all for being so patient with me!

On Saturday, I ran/walked my first race of the year: the Run for the Luck of It 5K.  I clocked in at 40 minutes, 3 seconds, which is better than my first ever 5K, not as good as my last one, but hey, after a winter of M&Ms and ice cream indulgences and very little walking, I am just glad to have finished the darn thing.  Hurray!  Last year the Run for the Luck of It was my first experience with a race EVER, and I volunteered at it, holding a STOP sign at an intersection.  (And, by being an active participant in it this year I was celebrating a private one year anniversary of something that means a lot to me but is something I don’t really like to talk about.  If you know me well enough, you might guess;  but a milestone has been reached and that’s all I’ll say about that.)

Yep.  The winter doldrums have had me bad.  I am such a scaredy-cat when it comes to walking on ice that I just haven’t gotten out much.  However, spring is coming, Missoula had a lovely weekend of sun, and I’m ready to get started.  A month ago, Valentine’s Day, I started my day by being interviewed for a news segment on KECI about Run Wild Missoula and what I’ve been doing with my Christopher Reeve fund-raising, and ended the day being on the panel of folks who have used the Missoula Marathon as a life-changing event.  That panel discussion was a RWM Good Food Store presentation. Both of those went well, and I felt tremendously flattered to have been asked to participate.  Today, Jim and I are attending another meeting at the Good Food Store, led by my walking class teachers Candace Crosby and Rolf Tanberg.  Hurray!  My wonderful, sweet, but lumbering husband is all excited about taking the Walking Class with me, and together we intend to do the Missoula Half-Marathon this July.

So, that all brings us up-to-date.  But, do we have any inspiring words to offer? Hmmmmm…. picture me twiddling my thumbs, looking up at the ceiling, thumbing through the Jeff Galloway book by my side…. hmmmm.  Nope.  Not an inspiration to be had.  Okay, I’ll make some comparisions.

                           Mar. 2010                         Mar. 2011
weight                 211 lbs            160 lbs (yes, I’ve gained 5# because of M&Ms…)
races                   none              six 5Ks, a 10K, and two marathons (what?) 
$ raised               none       more than $5000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation

I guess my only words of possible inspiration here are that if I  can do it, anyone can.  Why don’t you choose a charity (I can suggest a GREAT one, if you need help choosing) and join me?  Our walking class starts this Saturday at the Community Hospital at 8:00 am.  You can DO this thing.

Go forward, my friends.  Go Forward.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | February 13, 2011

A Valentine for Bob

I had a dream last night about Bob and Lisa Heinle.  This is fact… I really did have the dream.  My dream was of me, talking to a woman who had also been shot when Bob was shot.  Of course, in reality, there wasn’t a woman shot during that incident, except… in a very real sense, it was Lisa.  Her whole life changed that day, as did Bob’s.  

Yesterday was the anniversary of Bob’s death.  I hope he knows how very much he is still thought of, loved and admired.  And I hope he approves of my own little project to honor his memory.  Here is a copy of my first post, which I logged here, just a year ago this week:

Feb. 17, 2010 3:45 am

As I lay awake in bed this morning, I was thinking about the funeral today of a local police officer.   As is true of many Missoulians, I have followed the story since his shooting, and my heart broke for his young widow.

You see, I was also once a young widow.  My first husband died just two years after we were married, and when I read in the obituary this week that this police officer was shot just two years after he and his wife were married, it really struck home.  In my own case, I was driven from Stevensville to Anaconda not knowing if my husband was alive or dead and praying to God that I would be able to take care of my husband for the rest of his life, if only God would keep him here for me.  This couldn’t have been possible, but knowing that this new widow had done exactly that for her husband made me feel a kinship with her.

Lying in bed this morning, I was wanting so much to do SOMETHING, anything, to let the widow know that I mourned with and for her.  But I’m not a friend of the family.  What could I do?   And then I remembered that great photo of two of them crossing the finish line of the Missoula Marathon, raising money for Spinal Cord Injury research.  OK, THAT IS SOMETHING I ALSO CAN DO!  I can put one foot in front of the other, thank God.  And so I can also run or walk the Missoula Marathon to raise money for research.

I am starting out a little late in my training.  Here it is the middle of February, and I am not even a runner.  Not only that, I am over-weight, and I am, well let’s say, of a certain age.  But, if I throw my hat over the fence, I’ll have to climb that fence to retrieve it, and so, here I go, tossing that hat.  Letting the world know that I’m doing this will keep me honest.

So, today I’ll walk to Runners’ Edge, and start the learning process.  And, to keep everyone who cares in touch, I guess I’ll keep very public track of my progress. I take a Great Big gulp and tell you, here are my beginning stats:

Name: Kimberly Dredger
Age: 54
Weight: (oh, do I want everyone to know?) 211 pounds (whew!)
Goal: to finish the Missoula Marathon this summer
Reason: to raise money for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

 Here goes!  “Running for Spinal Cord Research” starts today.

Well, that was then, this is now.  Now I am 55 years old, have lost 55 pounds since that first entry, and have completed two marathons, during which I raised more than $5000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.  A lot has changed for me, personally, since that day a year ago.

But I still think about Bob when I walk.  And I think about all the other spinal cord injured people I have met since then, many of whom have become good friends of mine.  The Christopher Reeve Foundation is doing marvelous things with the money raised for them.  Research IS finding a cure.  

Happy Valentine’s Day, Bob Heinle.  God bless you and God bless Lisa.  You both are in my heart.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | February 11, 2011

A Brief Update for Monday

Hi, my friends,

This is VERY brief, as I am at work, but wanted to let you know that I will be on the  Montana Today show on KECI this coming Monday, Valentine’s Day.  It will be to let people know about the panel discussion which will happen that evening, at the Good Food Store, at 7:00 pm.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I don’t get too tongue-tied!

Gotta run, but have a WONDERFUL Valentine’s weekend… lots of love, lots of cuddles and lots of sweet treats to each of you.

 

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | February 7, 2011

Steps in the right direction

Last week, my sweet husband, knowing that I had a day from hell ahead of me and no energy to begin it with, asked me how I handled “hitting the wall” in my two marathons.  And the way I did it was by keeping my eye on the horizon and just taking it step by step, no matter how much it hurt,  (there were times when it hurt a little bit) and not allowing myself to stop.  Forcing through.  Keep moving. Just DO it.  

Life can be like that at any given time.  When our bodies are exhausted, our souls sick, our brains tired and our will to continue is hanging by a thread, I guess the only way we see our way to the finish line is by taking it step by step.  Step by step in the right direction.  The finish line is out there, waiting for us.  And we will all make it to the goal.  Sometimes our steps are pretty darned small; in fact resting can be a step, as well, as the progress is made within, visible to only ourselves.  And sometimes our steps are big and the linear progress is visible to others

My mom is still working her way to the finish line.  She’s gone through a really rough patch lately, with a saddened heart and a soul so sick she didn’t feel the urge to continue.  But continue she did.  And this morning, and yesterday morning, she called me up early to tell me about a big goal she had accomplished for herself.  The joy with which she spoke let me know that my mom is still there, still taking those steps in the right direction.  Today I start the process of getting her back home.  

Our race is individual, particular to each one of us.  The goal, the finish line awaits. Step by step we get there.  Steps in the right direction.  

Go forward, my friends.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | January 31, 2011

After two weeks…

…again this will be a short post.  Even though I have been “gone” for two weeks (from my blog), my well of creativity, motivation and energy is simply not deep enough to draw from; I do, however, owe an explanation for my absence.

My mom went into first into the ER and then the hospital, and stayed for a week. Drastic, scary, and there were many hours when I thought she wasn’t coming out again.  Knowing that it will happen someday, trying to prepare myself for that eventuality while keeping track of all the business of keeping someone in the hospital … well, there’s a lot to be done, but I’ve had the experience before and knew what to expect. My brother came from Spokane to help, which allowed me to go back to work. A blessing to have him here! We have moved my mother to a nursing home as an interim step before (hopefully) she goes back home. 

One bittersweet moment worth mentioning in this very self-centered blog is sitting with my mom in the hospital the morning of my 55th birthday.  She didn’t remember that it was my birthday, but it allowed me the time to think that, well, this is where we began our relationship, alone together in the hospital.

Yes, I have in the past week, magically gone from being the oldest in race age groups to being the youngest.  That, and the huge bunch of lovely long-stemmed roses from my precious husband, are the amongst the very few good things about the day.  I came home that day, after moving Mom to the nursing home, to  a phone call from my credit card company that my card number had been stolen and there had been many charges made on it at a Target in San Mateo, California.  Oh, joy.

And lastly, and certainly least importantly, my lovely job went to heck in a handbasket this week.  Can one say that about a job in a church without going to heck?  I’m still employed, but only because I didn’t storm out in a fit of justly earned rage.  I know that I will stop losing hours of sleep over this, and I still love my job, but this week, it just felt like the last dang straw.

And this morning, I take my mom to her doctor’s appointment, and it is 5 degrees and the wind is screaming.

Ah, well.  Thanks for listening to me whine.  (Golly, I had to go back and add an “h” to that word… is that Freudian, or what?)

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | January 17, 2011

Yikes!

This will be a short post, today, as I have to go in to work, in spite of it being Monday, my usual day off.  Just so you know, I truly LOVE this job, and feel so grateful to have found just what I was looking for… a part-time job where I could use my skills and creativity in a beautiful location, close enough to walk to work, being with people who are warm, and loving.  The fact that the church also has great history, being the church of Rev. John Maclean, the church which is spoken of in the novella and movie by Norman Maclean entitled “A River Runs Through It” is only icing on the cake.  This is a great job.

So, the “YIKES!” of my title comes from an invitation I just received via email… to be a part of a panel speaking at the regular Monday evening seminar put on by Run Wild Missoula.  Here’s the scoop: the topic is on people who have utilized the Missoula Marathon as part of a program to make big, positive lifestyle changes.  The goal is to motivate others who thought “not possible” and make it “possible.”  I am tremendously flattered to be asked, and really feel that there are lots of others out there who would be a better choice… but since I’ve been asked, I’ll do it!  The seminar will be at the Good Food Store in Missoula, on Valentine’s Day, 7:00 pm.  Come, if you can.

That’s all.  No other thoughts for today.  Except this… this week is my sweetheart’s birthday, and I am so very grateful to be able to share these happy happy days.  You know my history… but you may not know that because of my history, when I kiss him good-bye in the morning, I really never do KNOW that my wonderful husband is going to be able to come home in the evening.  I HOPE he will, but every single morning I think “This may be the last chance I have to hug him.”  This is not a morose fixation. It is the knowledge that we, all of us, live with the certainty of death.  We, none of us, ever know for sure when it will, in fact, BE the last time… and so I have learned to take advantage of the good times, the precious times.  Hug those you love.  Tell them you love them.  Do it now.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | January 10, 2011

“The World Needs a Rest Tonight”

My soul is sad this morning.  Watching “60 Minutes” last night, reading the morning paper today makes me want to play ostrich, put my head in the sand and not be exposed to any more news from the outside world… and by outside, I mean outside of my own front door.  There is an overwhelming flood of bad news from every corner of the world.  You know the news already.  You know about the horrible drug wars in Mexico, the floods in Australia, the shootings in Arizona, etc. etc. etc.  What you won’t know unless you live in Missoula is that this beautiful, needed and marvelous snow that we’ve had this year in Montana has brought six deaths so far.  A ski area just north of us, Whitefish, has had three people in two weeks die on its slopes, after a whole decade of none.  We lose highway patrolmen here at a rate of at least one a year, a very high proportion for such a small population.  I’m sad.

Some years back, my wonderful brother David wrote a poem about bad news.  I haven’t spoken to him this morning, and don’t have his permission to print his whole poem, but I want to quote part of it.  
Christmas 1978

The world need a rest tonight.
Jonestown,
San Francisco gone mad,
The Middle East wants peace,
But not enough to stop the fight.

The world needs a rest tonight.
Exhausted,
She has lost hope.
We’re all too busy with ourselves
To stop and just one candle light.

More than  thirty years ago.  Bad news before then, bad news after then.  Bad news doesn’t stop, does it?  To protect myself from bad news, I could take a news moratorium, a type of news fast, ostrich myself.  But the bad news will still be there, even if I ignore it.  

So, what to do?  One of my New Year’s resolutions was to have one good, big belly laugh every single day.  I haven’t been very good at keeping that one, so I’ll have to work harder at it.  Laughter is good for the soul, good for the body, good for the brain, and it is very, very contagious.  I can’t laugh at the news, but I can laugh at my goofy new housemates – pets are also good for the soul.

Another of my New Year’s resolutions was to not back-slide in my fitness.  Saturday my walking group friends and I braved the cold for a wonderful six mile walk, during which we enjoyed good conversation, as well as enjoyed watching the elk on the slopes of Mount Jumbo, just above our house.  I came home from that walk simply exuberant with an effervescent feeling of health and goodness.  Who could pass up taking big gulps of such a magic elixir?  

Another of my New Year’s resolutions was to do something good for others each day.  This one is harder to accomplish than I had thought.  Does this include being a nicer driver?  taking care of my own mom? donating old clothes to Goodwill?  I think it does.  I don’t think we have to, all of us, travel to Haiti for two months to work in the camps there.  I do think that if each one of us takes time every day to think of changing someTHING, doing one THING good for others, saying one THING nice about others, our world will be a better place.  

The world needs a rest tonight.  So do you, so do I.  Let’s give ourselves a rest by taking time to light a candle and promise ourselves to make our world better by taking small steps, by changing just one thing for the better, every day.  Thank you, Brother David, for being the balm I needed today.

(NOTE:  to read David’s whole poem, click on the comments… he gave me permission to include it all.)

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | January 3, 2011

A Blessed New Year

My grandmother, (all of my sibs and cousins called her Mama Marge,) used that word often – “blessed.”  And she pronounced it with two syllables.  Once in a very great while, I would be a good enough person to be called “a blessed child” by my Mama Marge… but I wasn’t often that good.  As a child I tended more towards the naughty than the blessed, which may or may not come as a surprise to my current friends, depending on how well and deeply you know me.  But the thing about Mama Marge, and also my wonderful father, whose favorite saying was “We are lucky peoples”, is that both of them said it all the time how very lucky and blessed (one syllable, now) we are/were/have been.  In great part due to those two people, my mother’s mother and my father, I have cherished knowing that the blessings which abound in my life aren’t there from serendipity, but are there because we have made good choices, have worked hard, saved hard, and once in awhile, when we HAVE  been lucky, we have been smart enough to realize it and grab on to that luck and not let go.  This is not to say that my grandmother and my father thought such blessings were ours by right or that the blessings were permanent… no, rather we were taught from the beginning that life is fragile, health is to be cared for, and joys are to be cherished, because it can all disappear in a flash of lightning, so to speak.  And what happens then?  Well, we were taught that you give yourself time to heal, and then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start out working hard, saving hard and being aware of your blessings, all over again.

My new year has started out blessed indeed.  Jim and I have two new housemates… feline brothers who ended up at the Humane Society because their previous parent was dealing with cancer and could no longer care for them.  Though I miss my “three banshees” as Jim called Marmalade, Jelly and Rufus, though I miss them sorely, my soul is a little happier knowing that we could make a home for two other heartbroken critters.  My new babies are becoming happy here in their new home.

As the new year started, I spent some time thinking about the previous year.  A year ago I was, in many ways, a different person from the one I am today.  Last year I made no New Year’s resolutions at all, but the year brought big changes in spite of me.  A year ago, if you had told me that not only would I complete two marathons, but that one of them would be the New York Marathon, I would simply have rolled on the floor laughing.  In fact, even today, I tend to roll on the floor laughing about it all.  Whodathunk, eh?   As I prepare now for a winter half-marathon, it still seems impossible to me.  My internal vision of myself is that I still weigh 225 pounds.  Stepping on the scale this morning, I am happy to report that my over-indulgence of Christmas chocolates didn’t totally derail my new body, but it is definitely time to get back to the straight and narrow.  I do not want my external vision to match the internal one, not no way, not no how.  

So, as the day begins and the week begins and the new year in front of us begins, I would like to wish each of you a very blessed New Year.  I feel so very blessed to be here, now; and so very blessed to have you in my life.  We are lucky peoples.

Posted by: Kimberly Dredger | December 28, 2010

Christmas “presence”

I love Christmas.  I love the long dark days, the soft warm fire, the songs and sounds and lights of coming home in the dark of late afternoon to a house full of love and Christmas joy.  I love Christmas.  And this Christmas was such a gentle, sweet, quiet one that I can’t stop reveling in it.  

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my mother;  I am so grateful to have her here and close enough to hug.  She and my father were married on Christmas Day, 1942, the same year that the song “White Christmas” came out.  My dad was in the Marines, and he wore his dress blues, of course.  My mother wore a beautiful white satin gown, simple and elegant.  There are no photos of this happy event, much to our disappointment.  Folks just didn’t carry cameras then, as they do now, and the photographer had gotten too drunk at the bachelor party and missed the ceremony.  But we do have some lovely photos of that night,  taken at their apartment in Butte, where my father had planned a sweet welcome for his new bride.  He had decorated a little Christmas tree, all with blue lights, and when he carried Mom over the threshold, the tree was lit and welcoming.  My parents were married for 53 years before my father died fifteen years ago, and Mom still grieves for him.  My father is a presence of love and joy in our hearts at this time of year.

I have more news, more things to write about, but nothing which comes close to the joy of thinking about my dad and mom as newlyweds, so I think I’ll save the others for another post.  Until then, take time right now, my friends, to grab up your loved ones and tell them how very much you love them, and how grateful you are that they are in your life.  Love may last forever, but life itself is fleeting.  We simply don’t have enough time and we never know when our end will come.  Don’t miss one single chance to say “I love you!”

 

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