Monday, January 31, 2011

In My Corner

I got sunburned on my 17 mile run Saturday.
I bruised my metatarsal.
I was insulted by two moms at Whitneys volleyball tournament - one when I complimented ones daughter and one when I laughed at mine.
I bit the Crap out of my tongue.
I heard a great sermon about encouragement.
I had a great weekend in spite of the sunburn, bruise, tongue, insults, etc.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Keeping It Real

There is a blog I like to read. Written by several Christian women who are all writers. And they are good. Makes me think I need to use bigger words and more descriptive words and smaller lines and arrange them different. But that's too much like work. Then they go and share deeply moving spiritual stories, heartfelt, real life experiences like their parents divorce, infertility, loss of a child, marriage, infidelity, etc. and I think of all the things I keep to myself and don't share. Ultimately, though, until God leads me to share my struggles raising children and stepchildren, being the "second" wife, all as an imperfect person, I will keep the real uglies to myself. For now.
THEN, I get on facebook to look for an email and I'm bombarded with "my husband is so amazing" statuses. Which normally I think is great. My husband is pretty amazing. He drives carpool for Whitney and her friends (and any man that can put up with 4 freshman girls at a time is a prince among men). He always helps with laundry and taking the trash out. And while he doesn't cook, if I don't want to cook he's content with leftovers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cereal. And it's hard to share how amazing he is when his last big feat was an 88 mile run. Or 27 in the snow and 20 degrees. (And a friend of mine's husband runs 5 miles to work every morning right now. And they live in Boston.) Coming up with status updates about Steve? It's just plain bragging. Which normally I don't mind... (he knows I'm doing this too) tonight when I read the "amazing husband" statuses I laughed. Because I'm going to be open and transparent here. Steve and I have bad days. And we snipe at each other. OVER STUPID STUFF. Like me walking in the door tonight and Nate telling me his car was out of gas. So I gave him my car keys so he could get to work. Then I got the lecture about my 18 year old son being irresponsible. I guess I could've given him money. He just hadn't been to the bank to get any out of his account. So Nate went to work, and Whitney went to Maddis.
But it's all good, me being the amazing wife I am by 5:30 I was in my jammies with my supper (a hunk of cheddar and two whole dill pickles and a diet coke) on the couch watching dvr'd television shows and Steve left for the Y. So I took a nap. When he got home - let me put is as a facebook status. "My husband just walked in the house from working out and complained that he had to plug in the blender to make his protein shake. Yep, all you with your husband cooking and cleaning and taking you out for dinner? I'm the lucky one. Steve complained that someone actually had plugged in the toaster today." A little long for a status, but you get the idea.
I don't say this to put Steve down, we actually laughed about this. It's just reality. Life is not all sunshine and roses remember this one?
So I'm being real and transparent. Friday night. No kids. I didn't cook. We didn't do anything fun or romantic. We watched track and field on television. I did mop the floor, because I spilled a pitcher of water and in cleaning it up it just made sense to add a little soap to the puddle and scrub while I was there. You know how it is, your kitchen floor is always cleanest after the dishwasher overflows.

Have a great (real) weekend everyone!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversations With Whitney

This gem from Nate...

I just got a flu shot. Didn't even feel it. Think I'll have a bowl of nails for breakfast tomorrow.

Without milk.

Isaiah 30:19-26 (CEV)

19 People of Jerusalem, you don’t need to cry anymore. The Lord is kind, and as soon as he hears your cries for help, he will come.
as soon as... Am I asking for help? Do I really want his help, or do I want to dictate what I want?
20 The Lord has given you trouble and sorrow as your food and drink. But now you will again see the Lord, your teacher, and he will guide you.
Do I need trouble and sorrow before I look to the Lord?
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “This is the road! Now follow it.”
I WILL HEAR. Not maybe, but WILL.
22 Then you will treat your idols of silver and gold like garbage; you will throw them away like filthy rags.
Definitely need to get rid of my idols. They have a sneaky way of creeping back in.
23 The Lord will send rain to water the seeds you have planted—your fields will produce more crops than you need, and your cattle will graze in open pastures.
Make sure I'm planting seeds for him to water. Seeds of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, generosity. Seeds in my children that he can water and grow in them.
24 Even the oxen and donkeys that plow your fields will be fed the finest grain.
Better go get ox and donkeys...
25 On that day people will be slaughtered and towers destroyed, but streams of water will flow from high hills and towering mountains.
Hopefully I won't be one of the "slaughtered"
26 Then the Lord will bandage his people’s injuries and heal the wounds he has caused.
I don't like this, because it goes against everything "christianity light" teaches, but this very definitely says that the Lord CAUSES some of our wounds. (But then he bandages them, which is pretty sweet.)
26 cont The moon will shine as bright as the sun, and the sun will shine seven times brighter than usual. It will be like the light of seven days all at once.
I don't know about you all, but I could use the light of seven days all at once. Figuratively, of course. My sunglasses aren't quite up to that UV standard.

In my NCV version it says "the Lord will hear your crying and he will comfort you". I experienced need today, not my own, but others. Real need. And it's so sad. First time was at lunch at the library. A homeless man was standing by the entrance door, right next to the ash tray. The lady in front of me was far enough ahead that I saw her put her half smoked cigarette in the top of the ash tray/trash can. The man lifted the lid and pulled the half smoked cigarette out, put it in his mouth, smiled at me when I went by and said "Hello, ma'am" as kind as you please. I went in with tears in my eyes. I don't even know how to help that. Second time was at home. I was working from home this afternoon and a man came to my front door to ask if the two bikes leaning against the tree in my backyard were being used or could he have them. His words "I've been laid off for a while now, and I'm salvaging everything I can. So he took the bikes, and he will be coming back for the old aluminum bunk beds that belonged to my girls, Nate's old basketball goal that will have to be cut down for him to remove, my old dryer and old refrigerator that Steve will have to bring out of the back of the house for him. He also told me he repairs riding lawn mowers and other stuff, and he'll beat anybody's price. I wish I could do more for him.

I want to go back to verse 26 again. I feel like I've been wounded (not like these two guys). But I also feel like maybe it was a wound that the Lord caused. I was talking with Steve the other day and I asked him "what if this - that hurts so bad right now - is actually a blessing and we just can't see that it is?" He agreed that quite possibly it is, and we'll see that someday (or we won't) but we do know that he will heal the wounds that he has caused. As the Great Healer, as THE ONE that cures blindness, leprosy, and brings dead people back to life, I'm pretty confident in his healing abilities.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In my corner

I sat in the gym for 10 hours watching the first club volleyball tournament of the season. Hopefully they will get better. Whitney was pretty discouraged.

I went to Kwik Shop for gas and diet coke, wearing a pair of Steve's tennis shoes. The lady in front of me was in slippers and pajamas. I didn't feel too bad about my footwear.
I questioned the meaning of my life. SERIOUSLY! And got no answer.
I revised my running training plan. Less miles for the next two months. All my races are half of what Steve is running at the same time, so I can be slow.
I wore my glasses all day. And remembered that they give me a headache because I never wear them that long.
I took a nap. Three times this week.
I cooked. I cleaned. I car pooled. I did laundry.
I got my intinerary together and tickets purchased to visit two of my favorite couples in Boston in April. (This was actually two weeks ago, but I'm very excited about it. I may talk about it again before it gets here.)

The New Man in My Life

There is a new man in my life. He's tall, dark and handsome. Built like a fitness model. 25 years old, his name is Freddrick. He's my trainer. I kind of fell into it, I ran into a friend at the Y who was working out with another friend and they were working out with Freddrick and they wanted a third person to share him with. I found out just how easy I take it on myself. I was SORE! In a good way, Thursday was my first session and I was still able to run 15 miles on Saturday, so it was good. Will let you know after second and third workouts this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

via Facebook on the night it was 30 degrees and snowing

Whitney: WHAT! Why is my dad out the snow!!! Can you say BEAST?
42 comments later
Whitney: I know, right? I am the daughter of STEEL!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's all good...or is it?

This morning I have been bombarded by positive Scriptures via Facebook, Twitter and the blogs I like to read. And I find this great. Encouraging. Uplifiting. One of the reasons I subscribe to Twitter people is that I get to read random positive God things all day long.
I'm doing a Bible Study right now about the life of David. There's a lot to learn studying the life of David. A lot of positive things. There is also a lot of things to learn NOT TO DO from the story of David. Bad behavior. Punishment. Judgment. Consequences. I was struck by the absence of that. I know we all live in negative worlds, harsh worlds. And I know that God is love and the story of Jesus is a positive message and we certainly don't need more "Christians" that are like Fred Phelps. I love Jeremiah 29:11 and of course Phillipians 4:13 as much as anyone else who loves the Bible.
How about these?
Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Numbers 32:23 But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. (My mom used the phrase in italics as a parenting method my whole life).
These are just two examples of positive verses that are used a lot, and a couple of "punishment" verses that come from my conservative strict upbringing.
Recently I have been scouring my life for things that I'm doing that would not honor Christ. There are things. I'm confessing and turning, but that is never easy.
I'll give you one example. I joke about this sometimes, but with just Whitney at home now (for all intents and purposes, Nate told me he's moving out in September), parenting is so much easier. But should it be? I think I'm too lax. I know I'm too lax. She's a good kid. She doesn't cause trouble. But she's fourteen. She needs me to be intentional with her as much as I was with the other 4. Last night a parent of one of the girls on her new volleyball team asked about family and when she found out Whitney was the youngest of 5, Nate being closest to her at 4 years older, she said that explained Steve and I being such laid back parents. Not sure about that.
Anyway, no real point to drive home here, except that I'm always as close to "sowing to the flesh reaps corruption" and "be sure your sin will find you out" as I am "plans to prosper you and give you hope and a future" and "I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yes, that was me.

Standing in the middle of the Y with tears running down my face today. I was listening to my ipod, specific playlists for running, lifting, etc. I also have them separated by secular and christian music. I already worry that the mix of songs on my ipod might make it spontaneously combust, which goes back to my legalistic conservative Baptist upbringing, and I'm afraid following Hillsong or Newsong with Depeche Mode or The Cure might make my head explode. Anyhow, Lance (our former worship pastor) has been gone from Newspring about 2 months. Steve doesn't lead worship as much as he did when Lance was here. Maybe twice since Lance left. So when the song "Stronger" (I know, a little dorky for my weights playlist) sounded in my ears, Steve singing, it was lovely. Second verse "No beginning, and no end, you're my hope, and my defense, you came to seek and save the lost, you paid it all upon the cross." In the way only Lance and Steve can sing together, it had tears running down my cheeks. Some things are hard to let go of, some things are sweet memories, and some you just have to be thankful you got to witness happening and have on CD to preserve it. Made my evening.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Training Update or I'm a runner in Kansas

I ran 10 miles in this today.
33 degrees felt like 16. Ankle deep snow. I was curious, so I looked back six months. To the day. To the worst run I had all summer. 100 degrees, heat index of 116 degrees. Almost passed out, threw up and walked the last 2.5 miles wringing sweat out of the bottom of my running skirt and tank top.
Kansas throws everything at you, ice, snow, sub-zero temps, triple digit plus temps, electric storms, rain, and 40-50 mph wind. If I didn't hate the dreadmill so much, I could avoid these conditions, but I would rather run ten miles in today (or last July 16) conditions than run on a treadmill. A treadmill run for me consists of getting on and running as hard and fast as I possibly can and then staggering to an exercise bike for an hour to recover enough to walk to my car.
And I really enjoyed my cold, wet, snowy, solitary run today.

Friday, January 14, 2011

OneWord 2011

This is something I saw on a blog I like. I'll post the link at the bottom. Instead of resolutions, she picks one word to live her life by. I've thought about this concept for two weeks now, and one word really keeps sticking out to me, so I'm going to focus this year on this one word.

Sounds selfish, right? Not meant that way at all. Background on choosing this word comes from Whitney's volleyball coaches. Her high school coach told her she was a great player, she just needs to work on getting taller. Her club coach/director told her she was a great player, she needs to work on jumping higher, hitting harder and running faster. The things she can control. God will determine how tall she gets. This is Scriptural. The Message - Luke 12:25 "Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? "
My word is strictly to remind me to take care of the things I can, and leave everything else in God's hands. It goes a little deeper, I can't control my kids, husband and boss' attitude. I can control mine, and the way I respond to them. I can't stop my car from breaking down on the coldest day of the year. I can control how I react. 2011 I will think about ME when something happens, and what is in the ME realm of possibilities, do what I can, what he expects me (and wants) me to do and leave what is in the GOD realm of possibilities to him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

First snow this year

Whitney and a friend came home and went sledding. This was two layers in. Tights, spandex baseball shirt with fleece footie pajamas.
She then added coat and gloves, etc.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I was laughing earlier today talking to Steve about people going to Walmart and preparing for the 3-5 inches of snow we might get. With that amount of snow, I will still go to work tomorrow. The kids (kid, wow that sounds weird) will still have school. Steve will still go to work. And since I now run when it's 20 degrees outside, the half mile to Kwik Shop for milk won't hurt me. (I also grocery shop on Thursday or Friday every week, so we're never in danger of running out of food.)
I also am preparing for a 50K in February, which I decided this weekend to downgrade to the 20 mile. I didn't run at all this weekend, because I just didn't feel well. I'm at a place in training that I know I can run 20 miles and finish it, my last training run was 18 miles, so I'm good. That leaves me 2-3 weeks to push and 1-2 weeks to taper before the race. This way, I can prepare to run 20 well, and not push for 31 (and hurt myself). Also, the MAN came in the other day and asked if I wanted to go to Texas and run our first race again, only this time instead of the half, I will run the marathon and he will run the 50 mile. So I have that to work on after the February race, so I get to keep building.
I spend a lot of time eating and working on nutrition (only to ruin it with cake) and cross training and strength exercises, preparing my body for this punishment I call fun.
And it made me look at the rest of my life and think about preparation. I buy groceries in preparation of cooking. I pack Steve's lunch in preparation of him eating. I put money in Whitney's lunch account in preparation (hope???) that she will eat something during the day. I do laundry in prep for wearing clothes that look nice and smell good.
I could go on (and on) but I want to end with this. How do I prepare in my Spiritual life? I read my Bible, Bible Studies, pray, talk to other Christians, attend church, all the stuff "good" christians do. But I think I could do more preparation. Do I prepare for encounters with unbelievers? Specifically ready to share Jesus love with them? Do I prepare for temptation? Areas I know I'm weak, do I prepare to defend myself? Do I prepare for attacks on my marriage and family? On my attitude? I'm going to work on this. As a self proclaimed fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl, this is a huge undertaking.
A good place to start...

Ephesians 6:10-18 (New International Version, ©2010)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Best part of my day or Screwtape 2

I had a day. MAN!!! Honestly, it was a normal day, the only thing different in this day was that I didn't sleep last night so I was cranky and in a bad mood. And that makes for a bad day. Usual stuff, take Whitney to school, go to work, save the world,(okay, just two lines from shutdown) and then home to take Whitney to Subway because "there's nothing in the house to eat", back home, take Whitney to volleyball reffing clinic (didn't have to take her, stopped for gas at Kwikshop, in line behind McKinsey, sweetest varsity volleyball player on her way to same clinic, puts Whitney in her car, and I get to come back home.) Put laundry away, start another load, load the dishwasher, go to the grocery store, spend an hour in Walmart to realize I have a grocery cart full of stuff, only two items from my list, sausage and pancakes on a stick for Whitney, and hair product for Whitney (because, OH NO!!! GASP!!! We are out of one of the 7 hair products she uses. Okay, that's not fair, 3 are for straight hair, 3 are for curly hair, and one is mine. This, however, is not counting shampoo and conditioner.) So I take my $87.26 worth of stuff to the car, stop at McDonald's for a diet coke because Walmart is out of diet coke. No lie. Put my groceries away, eat a piece of chocolate cake that I bought at Walmart (BEST PART OF MY DAY). Pick Whitney and Denae up from volleyball and take them to Applebee's for a birthday party. Denae's mom will bring Whitney home. Stopped at Dick's to pick up Roctane, Steve's running fuel of choice. Packed Steve's lunch and now, I think I'm done. Normal day. Except I was feeling sorry for myself. Honestly, I can't think of anything anyone did for me today to make my life easier or to help me out, or even a kind act other than McKinsey.
Here's the deal though. All day long this thought has been in my head as I've run around feeling like I'm giving more than I ever receive.
"He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left." (The Screwtape Letters, p 72.)
In a season of "takeaways" I hold on to this thought, that God always gives back more than He takes. I've seen it. I've even lived it. And if I back up to page 71, Screwtape is talking to Wormwood about the "Enemy" (God). I'm going to shorten and paraphrase, but it's really worth reading. Satan pushes a false humility, pretty women trying to believe they are ugly, clever men trying to believe they are fools. Believing humility consists in trying to believe our talents are less valuable. But God wants us to come "to a state of mind where we could design the best cathedral in the world and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another." To be so free that we can rejoice in our talents as much as anyone else's, gratefully, and being able to recognise all creatures and creation, EVEN HIMSELF as excellent. Because this is how we truly love others as we love ourselves.
Now back to my thoughts...if we put ourselves down, our talents down, think we aren't good enough, aren't worthy of love, aren't special as a creation of God, than loving others the way we love ourselves, well, it just isn't much to offer is it. Because if God really loves his "hairless bipeds" (I really love that), than we should truly love ourselves, give God the praise for the talents we have (even if it's shopping at Walmart and driving carpool) and love others wholeheartedly, unabashedly, and see them as marvelous works of our Creator.
Last thought. Creation sermon this morning I heard on the radio on my way to work. God is a consuming fire. Have we made him a candle flame in our lives? I'll be thinking about that one for a while.
Love all of you!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

Nate had a very Merry Christmas. He got three presents. Play Station 3 from Steve and I, OKC Thunder tickets (professional basketball) from his girlfriend, and a ski trip to Stevens Pass, Washington and Whistler, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Where the last winter olympics were.
Stevens Pass Ski day. (L - R) Soffia, Cameron, Nate, Brandon

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Screwtape Letters

I went looking for my copy of Mere Christianity this week while on vacation, and it wasn't on the correct book shelf. Pretty sure it's on one of the other three shelves somewhere. Anyhow, in the C.S. Lewis section, I found The Screwtape Letters. I love this book. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a book of letters written by Screwtape, a demon high in the service of satan, written to his nephew Wormwood, who is assigned a human to keep from God. He fails, the subject becomes a Christian, but then the task is too keep him ineffective. There are some statements in it that really stick out to me. This first one I'm going to share really stuck out.
"He (God) cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles."
I read this the day after I posted my resolution #3 where I wiped out and I resolved not to fall as much. Then I read this. He is pleased with my stumbles, if I'm willing to walk. While I really hate falling down, both literally and spiritually, this made me feel better about wiping out. The paragraph ends with this sentence
"Our cause (demons) is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." (page 40)
I have felt this place in the universe. Fortunately, I don't have to stay there. This book always makes me think of the Scripture James 2:19
"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror."
If you are up for a good read, fun and entertaining and thought provoking all at once, check it out. You won't be disappointed.
There are two other passages from the book that I will most likely share my thoughts on also. Not that I can add anything to C.S. Lewis, but I love the chapter on humility, or false humility that the demons promote in us, and the chapter on church attendance, written in 1942 that is so pertinent today.