Help me give a hearty welcome to Jennifer Wilck today.
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I live in a beautiful neighborhood--fairly quiet streets, residential, lots of trees and a big lake. On any given day, if the temperature is anywhere from 40-85 degrees, neighbors are outside walking, riding bikes, walking their dogs and running.
Now, I know exercise is good for you. I've read any number of articles on its benefits, I've seen how it helps lose weight and I've even felt better when I've done it (although I'll never be one of those people who go into withdrawal if they miss it). But no matter what the experts say, no matter what my friends say, I'll never be a runner.
I have nothing personally against runners. One of my friends has been participating in the "Couch to 5K" challenge; another has started running half marathons again. I give kudos to both of them. It's just that the only running I'll be doing is away from someone who is chasing me. I might possibly consider running toward someone dangling chocolate, but it would have to be REALLY good chocolate.
I spend a lot of time at home and while I'm home, I tend to look out my windows (remember the "beautiful neighborhood" comment above?). I see a lot of interesting things out there, much of which I won't print. Among those interesting things that I see are runners.
You know those people who stagger by, sweat dripping off of them, feet barely rising above the ground, looking like they're about to die? If I ran, that would be me. There has to be an easier way to exercise. I know they're trying to be healthy; why else would they run? But really, they don't look like they're healthy--most of them barely look like they're alive. I have a hard enough time going to the local supermarket without makeup, knowing I'll run into at least four people I know who will be dressed way better than I am and who look like they just stepped off the runway (even if they did actually just come from the gym). I certainly have no plans to pant through my neighborhood like an overheated St. Bernard.
Not everyone looks miserable. Some of them look positively amazing. You know, the ones whose bodies are so thin and toned that you wonder what's left to exercise off. Coupled with, of course, the skintight running outfits, which is why you KNOW there's nothing for them to run off. Well, I could never pull those outfits off. Or on, for that matter. And if for some reason, I lost my sanity long enough to consider running, I'd use up all my energy trying to get into those outfits. And, pretending for a moment longer that I'd actually consider running, I would therefore have to run in sweats or a t-shirt. I hate sloppy clothes. Remember those fun house mirrors that change your shape right before your eyes. Well, sloppy clothes are my fun house mirrors. I put clothes like that on and immediately see a 500-pound-version of myself. Not happening.
I think my other problem with running is that for me, it doesn't lead to anything. Unless I'm running toward a specific thing--like chocolate--or away from someone, why do it? My type A, super-anal personality needs the destination, more than the journey. I need a reason, and a darn good one, to run. For me, the running is the method of getting somewhere. And, if that's the case, then frankly, I'd rather drive. And if, as they say, it's the journey, not the destination, then I'd rather move slower, walk, and have the time, and the lung power, to appreciate what's around me.
So, no, I'll never be a Road Runner. I'll never run a marathon, much less finish one. And I'll probably stay on my couch, reading, writing and looking out my window. My non-sloppy clothes stay less sweaty that way!
Lily Livingston is a widow raising her six-year-old daughter, Claire, in New York City. Devastated by her husband's death three years ago, she's in no hurry to fall in love again. Besides, trying to balance her career with motherhood leaves her little time for romance.
With a wheelchair instead of a white horse, and a vow against falling in love again as his armor, Gideon Stone is the last person Lily expects to sweep her off her feet. But when a business agreement forces the two of them together, that is exactly what happens.
As they navigate the minefield that fast represents their relationship, can either of them overcome the obstacles to find true happiness in each other's arms? The answer is yes, but the bumps along the way demonstrate that neither of them can go it alone.
A Heart of Little Faith is available from:
When I was a little girl and couldn't fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters' numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).
One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital--the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I've gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.
In the real world, I'm the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.
When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don't like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn't work, I can rewrite it. It's very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I'd do things differently.
I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160.