Saturday, October 31, 2009

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin...

I think we try to hard for analogies. Have you seen this e-mail?
“Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see. This was passed on to me from another pumpkin. Now, it is your turn to pass it to a pumpkin. I liked this enough to send it to all the pumpkins in my patch. Happy Fall!”
Why is it so many “pumpkins” look scary and unhappy? And the longer they sit outside on the front porch the scarier they look. They wither up and everything puckers to the inside. If I’m going to compare my Christian life to a pumpkin, turn me into a pie and top me with whipped cream. Pie looks good, smells good, tastes good and doesn’t come with a scowling face. Actually brings a little pleasure to life and generally is followed by a nap. Don’t get much better than that.
I love Halloween. Some may think it’s the devil’s holiday, but anything with that much candy has to be Heaven sent. I love all things pumpkins, including jack-o-lanterns.
This year Whitney is a bee. Not a sexy bee (because she is just 13), but not bee girl from Blind Melon’s “No Rain” video either. Best part is, it’s a friends costume from last year, so NO $$$ were spent procuring this costume. She is going to a party at a friend’s house after the volleyball tournament, so I won’t get pictures unless I make her dress up again.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Conversations with Whitney

Whitney (at age 8) had set up a TV box as a “store” one weekend. She talked everyone in to coming to her store and buying things from her, with real money. Nothing like spending my money to buy granola bars, cookies and diet coke that I had already paid for once at Walmart, but it kept her occupied for hours. The next morning she got up and went to her store and asked her dad to come shop. He told her she was still in her pajamas and she had to get dressed for work.

She says, “but it’s casual Friday”.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I don't know me!

I was walking through the plant today and saw someone and thought, “that lady has a dress like mine”. For those of you thinking no one else in the world would dress like me, you are right; it was my reflection in a mirror. I didn’t recognize myself. There are a few reasons, I haven’t worn this dress since cold weather, my allergies are bad and when I wear my contacts my eyes itch so I’ve been wearing glasses. I got new glasses this summer after having the same ones for about 6 years, and I rarely look at myself in the mirror at home when I’m wearing them. I just got my hair done (color) and it’s in a new style (okay, it’s not a new style, it’s raining and my hair has a mind of it’s own on rainy days). My dress also fits different than it did 600 miles ago. I laughed at myself that I saw someone and didn’t recognize myself. This goes along with the idea of our sermon this week. I have not heard a preview or even know anything about it beyond the topic, which is the monster within, and I only know this because Steve told me. Even without knowing what will be said, this is one I won’t miss, because I know the monster in me. Not recognizing myself in a mirror is funny, but it has happened in other instances as well. Have you ever been in a situation where someone told you a negative something about yourself and you didn’t get it? You don’t see yourself that way at all. Flip side, someone sees something positive in you and you don’t see that either. This has happened to me a lot. And I think I’m pretty easy to know, but then again I didn’t recognize myself walking through the factory, so I could be way off base.Fooling myself doesn’t happen often. I’m a realist. I’m not a pessimist, I don’t believe the worst is always going to happen, but I’m not an optimist either. I don’t believe the best is always going to happen. John 16:33 says “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT) Jesus tells us life is going to be hard here on earth. No one gets a pass on this. But he gives us the answer to this; have peace IN HIM because he has overcome this world with its many trials and sorrows. When I think of trials and sorrows, this has been a rough season for me. Not so much my trials and sorrows, but feeling the pain from friends who have suffered. I can’t begin to say I feel it like they do. Cancer, death, job losses, children having problems, health issues in general, financial difficulties, just loss of hope that there will be something better in the days to come. Then I read this verse. I regularly read this chapter and keep it in mind where the people I love are concerned because I need the reminder that if I love these people (and I do) then this is how it’s done. This verse spoke to me just a little differently today. Romans 13:7 “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance”. (NLT)Always before I have looked at it as never giving up on the people I love, and enduring through the tough times because better days are coming. But today I realized that this love comes from our Savior. I don’t give up, because I want to do what is right. I want to hear the words from Matthew 25:21 “well done” someday. I don’t lose faith, because in Hebrews 11:6 “without faith it is impossible to please Him”, I always hope, because Romans 15:13 “God, the source of hope,” and I endure because Hebrews 12:7 “as we endure this discipline…God is dealing with us as children”. One thing I learned over the last 4 months of my physical training for a marathon is there are many parallels to life. Sometimes you are running uphill against a 25 mph straight line wind and you want to quit. But you slow down and walk and let people around you encourage to keep going. Sometimes you are hot and sweaty and hungry and thirsty, so you stop and take a break and refuel. You endure the trials and tests of training because when it’s time to really step up and face the “race” you want to have the strength to finish, and finish well. I have always hated this analogy that God gives you these struggles to prepare you, because it meant the trials and struggles I was facing were getting me ready for the race, and if the training is this hard, then what is the race going to be like? But then I did my marathon training and ran the race. I made a huge discovery. The actual race was so much easier than the training. I was prepared. I hope when I don’t recognize myself it’s because I’m getting better.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I have learned

1. Green beans do not make a good snack. Unless they are deep fried and dipped in ranch.
2. People that make the doors and walls of public bathrooms have a sense of humor. I was in one the other day and they were manufactured by “Hiny Hiders”.
3. Age 41 is better than age 21, even with wrinkles, gray hair and the effects of gravity. I’ve lived through both, so I’m an expert.
4. Being able to eat 2 donuts for breakfast, 2 cupcakes for lunch and a Braum’s banana split for dinner (this is what happens when I’m left on my own for a day) and still have a 2 pound weight loss at weight watcher’s the next day can set a very bad precedent.
5. I can walk 50 feet on a 3 inch wide concrete rail in 4 inch platform oxfords without falling. I did this to keep from getting mud on my light colored leather/linen oxfords. I wonder if that would have been as important had I fallen off and broke my ankle? Hindsight, anyone?
6. Four teenage boys cannot sneak through your living room, office and kitchen behind your back without being noticed.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 21

I wasn't going to post anymore about the marathon, but this week trying to recover has been part of the marathon experience, so here is my "bonus" post. I had a horribly swollen right foot and right knee for a couple of days, but when I was ready to give in and go to the doctor, the swelling went down and I have minimal pain, so I didn't go. I think I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot, but icing, anti-inflammatories and stretching are helping a lot, so I think it will be okay. I had this before the marathon, but it only bothers me occasionally, so I can run through it. I was really tired. More so than I expected. I was also ravenously hungry. I thought I was back to normal physically, but went to watch my nephew run cross country yesterday and when I walked back to the car I had to walk up hill and across grass and my legs felt fatigue in a 200 yard walk. So maybe I still have a little resting left to do. I plan on not running till next weekend anyway, so should work okay.

Friday they posted official pictures on the marathon website and as I looked through them I was more emotional than I expected to be. The thing that struck me most was that I looked like I was having a good time. And I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, even though I hurt and I was tired. If you want to see pictures, and follow the links to pictures, I was bib 1989.

Now I'm going to have to be more creative again because I don't have training to share with you. Well, I'm going to keep running, next race is a 10 mile on November 21, but I won't share all my sweating with you, unless it's a funny story like getting chased by a duck or something equally ridiculous. I did get skinnier, but haven't taken measurements or checked my weight or any of that stufff, just gone by feeling in my clothes (and looking in the mirror).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: leaving Target where an associate is cleaning up a mess.

Whitney: Ewww, is that throw up?
Me: Appears so.
Whitney: That's why I'm never having kids.
Me: Are you saying I'm never getting grandkids?
Whitney: You got a problem with that?
Me: No.
Whitney: My husband will have to clean it up. And no baby is spitting on me. It will just sit in its crib all day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The winner is...

JULES! E-mail me your address at and I will get your prize in the mail.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


And I'm tired. I feel like someone beat me with a baseball bat from the neck down. Even my arms hurt, because I needed them to propel me forward.I beat my 6 hours by 6 minutes. I'm glad I did it, and plan to do another. A few lows: mile 9 was on the opposite side of the median from mile 20. I got see the two winners pass me. Mile 12 I would've given anything to have Steve with me. Mile 21 cramps in hamstrings settled in and wouldn't leave. Highs: 9500 runners, although only 1556 were full marathon. Beautiful scenery, and the volunteers and encouragers were awesome. Especially for me as I was pretty much alone miles 8 to 26 when the half marathonners split off. I was 1521 out of 1556 but the finish line felt like 1st. I was 100 feet out when I saw Steve and he came back on the course after he finished (much earlier) to finish with me. The announcer called my name, and said I had an escort to the finish line. It was a great experience, and next time will be easier. I hope.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: My friend Sheila’s car, Whitney and Sheila’s daughter Emily are in the backseat. Little history here, Sheila and I have been friends since elementary school. Whitney and Emily are a year apart, but have been friends since Whitney’s birth. We finished our run at Sheila’s house, Whitney had spent the night and Sheila is taking us home.

Emily: How far did you run?
Sheila: 18.75 miles
Emily: Oh, Whitney and I run twice that far everyday.
Sheila laughs
Me: Really?
Whitney: yeah I get up at 4:00 every morning and run before you get up.
Me: Dad gets up at 5:00.
Whitney: I’m back home and in bed long before that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You're listening to...

Whitney and I got in the car this morning and the radio came on to a popular local station’s morning show. They were doing a segment on Halloween costumes. One lady had e-mailed that her 11 year old wanted to be an exotic dancer. This request was met by mixed reviews from the morning show commentators. Some thought it was wrong and some thought there was nothing objectionable about it. I’m not going to voice my opinion till I show you Whitney’s costume last year.
Yep, my 12 year old daughter was Charlie Brown. And she was a hit everywhere we went.

And the year before…
Scarlett O’Hara minus the hat. It was in the car.

Now I’m going to voice my opinion. IT’S NEVER OKAY TO DRESS UP AS AN EXOTIC DANCER.

I was getting ready to turn the radio off when I heard something that made me leave it on. Childbirth Experience Dolls. A woman knits dolls (and will even make them special to resemble you), and they give birth to a baby. The doll comes complete with placenta and umbilical cord. All this stuff is crammed inside the doll and actually mimics the birthing process. Christmas ideas anyone?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love Songs 2

During Newspring's Love Songs sermon series people were allowed to text questions and Pastor Mark answered them at the end of the service. While some were funny, a lot of them really made me sad. The dysfunction showed in these questions couldn't be missed. These were people asking for help and they actually need counseling, it's not issues the pastor can fix from the platform in two minutes.
My son also told me about a friend of his that moved in with a friend and his mom because her parents are getting divorced. She told him that they don't talk to each other and haven't in a long time. She has 3 younger brothers and sisters. How sad for kids growing up in these homes. I know it doesn't mean they will have dysfunctional relationships anymore than saying a kid grows up in a good home is exempt from bad relationships. It just is sad.
I wasn't comparing my marriage to anyone else, but it has made me aware of the pain people are feeling. I want to fix it, but I can't. Only God can fix these and heal these, but I am praying for the ones I specifically know about.
Sorry about the depressing posts. This has just been on my heart for a couple weeks now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Love Songs 1

We have just finished a wonderful sermon series on marriage at church. I have several thoughts about it, so I'm going to split this into two posts. It was titled "Love Songs", so our band sang several love songs as covers. My top four were Steve's rendition of Michael Bolton's "When A Man Loves A Woman", he totally nailed it and his cover of Paul McCartney's "Baby I'm Amazed". Lance's cover of "Broken" by Lifehouse, "Everything" by Michael Buble and "Amazed" by Lonestar. (Okay, 5 favorites).
I was really struck by the idea that while Steve and I do not have a perfect marriage (oxymoron?) we have a good marriage. And we are so blessed by God to be in this position. We work at it, I will say that, but we came to marriage behind the 8 ball. Both of us had destructive relationships in our past, Steve's a failed marriage. I'm going to leave that situation alone, except to say Steve suffered and had to heal.
I was different. I dated. ALOT. My first real boyfriend at age 19 broke up with me 14 months into our relationship after he had been dating one of his college tutors. I was devastated. I wouldn't let myself really fall for anyone after that. I hurt a lot of really nice guys. First guy I really fell for after that and I fell hard, we dated for 6 months. He broke up with me in the most unique way I ever experienced. He called me at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning very drunk needing a ride home. He was calling from his bachelor party because his "other" girlfriend was pregnant and they had to get married (as good catholics do). He called me because he needed to end it, but he also didn't want to start his marriage off with his wife mad at him because he was too drunk to get home, but didn't want anyone from his family or the wedding party to know. If you wonder why I did this for him, I have a policy anyone that calls me for a ride when they are drunk will get one. If they know me well enough to have my phone number I care enough about them to not want them driving that way. Anyway, this guy was followed up by Nate's father which had these other guys not treated me so bad, this relationship may have been different, but hindsight and all...anyway, broke up with him, found out two weeks later I was pregnant, and I told him I was pregnant, and that's basically the end of that story.
So four years later I get Steve. I would love to say we honored God with dating relationship, but we didn't. We did all sorts of things wrong, and we had several years of trying to make a mixed up family work. Steve was trying to live a godly life earlier on then I was, I was still in survival mode. I have always known Jesus, been a believer most of my life. Jesus has always been a very prominent figure in my life, even when I wasn't trying to live good. He's always been there. But early on in our marriage I figured out that I wouldn't make it as wife, mom and stepmom if I didn't fully lean on Jesus for strength. This is what has made our marriage successful. We have made it a priority to keep God at the center. That's not always easy. There is no "me" time. Steve and the kids got the best of me and I made do with what was left over. I still do. And you know what? God has made sure that what was left over was always enough.
I was just so thankful as I listened to this series that there were things we could do better, and very good reminders, but thankful that God let two broken sinful people turn to him and he made "beauty from ashes".

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 19


I'm excited and nervous. This week even with a busy week I crammed in every workout, including cross training and strength training. The weather has changed here in Kansas and that sent me indoors to the treadmill for a midweek training run, but we chose on Saturday to brave the wind and weather and run our 12 miles in the cold. We did have to stop and buy stocking caps and gloves at Kwikshop because it was colder than we thought. But we will need them all winter, because I can't wear my $40.00 leather gloves (a gift no less) to run in. Also, if I have to throw away my .99 cent gloves on a run because my hands get hot, I can justify that. Anyway, as cold as it was (36 degrees) and windy as it was (20 mph north winds) we made the decision to drive to our church (12.64 miles from home) and run home. We had to be back there Saturday night for church anyway. We dropped off some bottled water and drove to church. Locked the keys in the car, so there was no turning back. That was the plan. I would've wimped out had I ran from home and turned around at about miles and been done. My outer shins ached and I couldn't breathe well or find a rhythm for about 4 miles. But we crossed Rock Road heading to the bike path from 29th to 32nd, and as I sprinted to keep up with Steve crossing the busy street, I realized I finally felt good. Probably one of the best runs I've had in a while. I have done 4 weeks of running every run with Steve, and I have benefited greatly from that. Plus, when I run with him I don't run with my IPOD, but he sings, and that's even better.

Did I say marathon in 6 days? Where did the time go?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Conversations with Whitney

Setting: In the car driving home

Whitney: I hate cemetaries. They're creepy. They're full of dead bodies.
Me: What are we supposed to do? Burn them all in a huge crematorium?
Whitney: Yes and then sprinkle them on the crops. Can't you just see grandma? This is my corn. Grandpa helped me grow it. HAHAHA.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The small things

Have you ever felt like you were bothering God with your prayers? Praying for your daughter to get over a cough when you know a woman dying of cancer? Praying for an additional need of $400 for tires when there are people without jobs and food? Praying for your daughter to make the middle school volleyball team when there are kids who can’t walk? Baseball scholarships when there are kids who can’t afford pencils and shoes for school? (Please don’t misunderstand, I have some serious needs too, I’m just choosing not to share some of our more intense needs with family members for their protection). I read a devotional this weekend, an excerpt from a book by John MacArthur II. In a nutshell it said if it matters to you it matters to God. Used the example that as parents there is nothing in our kid’s lives that is too small for us to pay attention. I think about the things that are important to my kids. I have sat in 30 degree temperatures in freezing rain to watch my son play baseball. I have napped on wooden bleachers at a volleyball tournament with three games being played and kids running up and down said bleachers because we had to be there at 6:30 and it was two hours away. I know all about Spongebob, Pokemon and Icarly. I have read the Princess Diaries. I watch baseball, basketball and football on TV. I am working on my second hand made blanket this fall for another friend of one of my children. I buy the favorite flavor of Gatorade. Skim milk for my husband and vitamin D milk for the kids, because they like it better. I could go on and on, but I think the point is made that my kids are important to me, and I am interested in every aspect of their lives, even the “little things”. (Side note, this carries over to grandparents. I was asked to work the concession stand at the soccer game this week with Nate to make money for the baseball team and I have a commitment at church. My parents are working the concession stand with Nate. And this doesn’t embarrass him, he thinks it’s cool. Great parents, great kid.) If I put God in the role of my heavenly father, then I believe He cares about what is important to me. Matthew 7:11 says “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (NLT)”
Recently I have been praying for some needs. Big needs and small needs, and I pray believing God will answer. I pray believing so much that God will answer that I fight disappointment when he doesn’t.
This verse says ask him. I will continue to ask him, and believe when he doesn’t do what I ask (find the lost cell phone last Thursday night) that there is a reason he didn’t answer my way, a lesson to be learned, growth opportunity to be had. I believe God wants to do great things for his children. I know my biggest challenge is aligning my view that his way is the best way. I also won’t forget that if it matters to me, it matters to him.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why Me?

Do you ever ask this question? Look at your life and say, "Why me? Why does everything happen to me?" I have been asking this for about a week now.

Why me? Why do I have plenty of food in my house when so many are going hungry? As I chose what to have for lunch today and had the choice of a sandwich;, ham, turkey, or peanut butter and jelly on bread, buns, tortillas or pita (I'm having a frito chili pie), and then set out hamburger for supper to have with noodles and have a choice of spaghetti noodles, egg noodles or elbow noodles. With it we will have cornbread or biscuits. Don't ask me about the 6 boxes of cereal on my fridge. Why do I still have my job in this time of recession, what makes me so special that during an economic downturn I get to remain employed with good health care benefits? I have my health, my family is healthy. Even my extended family of brothers & sisters, parents, in-laws, cousins and most of my aunts & uncles. Why me? Why do I have a husband who loves me and our children? He's faithful to God and he's faithful to me. Why do I have so many great friends that I trust and enjoy? What did I do to deserve teachers and counselors at the high school that work to help my kids. I got a call today from the Nate's baseball coach who told Nate's counselor and teacher he would call me and take care of an issue. It was potentially harmful to his gpa and would be extreme amounts of work, but the teacher and baseball coach worked out a solution that was better than I had prayed for. Why me? I have clean drinking water from a tap. I have a refridgerator to put my cereal on. I have more meds in my cupboard than some families will have in their whole lives.

It's not my day to list all the things I'm thankful for, but I'm so very thankful for the blessings in my life. (And for the chocolate cupcakes in the oven).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week 18

For all of you have stuck with me reading about my 20 weeks of marathon training, I am almost there. I finally stopped itching and needing Benadryl early Tuesday morning. This week I started out Monday at the gym lifting with Steve. So naturally, Tuesday my biceps, shoulders and abs were sore. Ran 4 miles with Steve Tuesday night, (speed training because I was running with Steve). Wednesday I took off, Thursday went out to run and ran a mile into 32 mph winds. Not gusts, straight line wind. I couldn't take it any longer after a mile and turned around. I am not lyng when I say I struggled to maintain a 13 minute mile going out and flew home with a 9 minute mile barely trying. Love Kansas wind - when it's at my back. Friday I rested up for Saturday's long run. We waited later to run because it was still 44 degrees at 10:00 a.m., and while I will run when it's cold, it's the same as moving to hot weather. I have to acclimate myself. I can't go from mild temps to cold temps overnight without feeling the affects.

Let me just say Saturday's run was brutal. Steve ran with me, and I think it's the first long run we have done together in 3 months. I started out feeling great. We ran the first 11 and I felt good. We got to 11.10 and I died. I didn't want to take another step. Happened that fast. Made it to Taco Bell for water and energy gel, that helped, and ran another mile, but still felt like I could barely put one foot in front of the other. 12.5 miles we came to Kwik Shop and got drinks, fruit and cheese and took a second energy gel, and felt pretty rejuvenated. Ran another 4 miles pretty well, or so I thought. We were coming up on a hill and Steve was in front of me and he said when we got to the twig in the road we walk up the rest of the hill. I got to the twig in the road and could barely lift my feet over it. I caught it with my foot and stabbed myself in the back of the ankle and ran the last 3.5 miles dripping blood into my sock. When we finally got home, I asked Steve if we were really insane and he said yes. But this was the fastest I have ever traversed 20 miles. Including 4 drink stops where we had to go inside and buy water (and I used the facilities once) and walking through some pretty rough terrain to get to our running path (and climbing a fence). This is encouraging, as the marathon has a 6 hour time limit. The website that predicts times based on previous races seems to think based on my two half marathons this summer I can run the marathon in 5:35 to 5:47. We will see. I do know I won't run the first 10 miles at Steve's pace. I run much better if I start slow and allow myself to finish strong than if I burn it all on the front half.
When I got home yesterday afternoon, I was seriously questioning my own sanity and whether I could run 6 more miles on top of yesterdays run. But after a shower, a chicken and black bean corn salsa quesadilla (all homemade, yummm) and a diet coke, I was a whole new woman. I have followed the training and I believe I am mentally and physically ready. I will point out that this is not the culmination of 20 weeks of training for me. I started last July training for a half marathon, so I'm not a natural runner, and a 20 week training program has taken me 15 months to actually get to the point I'm ready. I may not be fast, I may not be talented, but by golly, I'm determined.

The next two weeks are fall back weeks in the area of mileage, so I will spend some extra time on weights and elliptical machines. Hard to believe I am calling a 12 mile run a short run, but it's all in perspective.

Everyone have a great week, enjoy this beautiful fall weather.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Conversations with Whitney

A couple of Whitney one-liners...

I saw that picture of you when you were in the 80's.

Don't you hate it when you are so full you can't even swallow what's in your mouth?

It's funny because it's true.

Don't defy me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'm so thankful

Today I'm thankful for:

My Bible in a version other than the KJV I was raised on. Still can read it and quote it and love it, but it's much more enjoyable reading in current day language.
The ability to work my job from home. Technology is awesome.
Toilet paper.
Debit cards.
My pastor.
My daughter made the middle school volleyball team.
My friend that runs with me.
My friend that walked through rain to look at art work last Friday with me.
My comfy couch to sleep on when hubby isn't feeling well.
MY READERS! And for you all, the chance to win a small token of my appreciation. This is home grown fruit turned into home made jelly. Black Raspberry and Apple Pear. Both are delicious. The third jar is my trail mix, I like trail mix, but always pick things out of it, so I make my own with the things I like and use cereal for filler. So put your name in the comments section for a chance to win, and check back for a winner!