Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

A picture is worth 1,000 this case, words fail me, and that doesn't happen often.


A picture is worth a 1,000 words...or in this case, priceless.

City league sports here are highly competitive. And the school rivalries are fierce. We faced one of our biggest rivals in volleyball Tuesday and the match went all five games and three of them were two point games, including the fifth match which we won 15-13. Good day to be a falcon.

*pictures courtesy of The Wichita Eagle,*

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tummy Tuck - 2 Weeks Post Op

I saw a plastic surgeon three years ago and he told me that my ab muscles were non-existent (due to carrying a ten pound baby) and that I would never lose my tummy, it would have to be surgically removed. I somewhat believed him, but also thought he just wanted money.

So after three years I have run a handful of 10K's, several 10 milers, four half marathons, two marathons and more double digit training runs than I can count. I have run at 5:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. I have run through every type of weather and every condition possible. I have counted calories and attended weight watchers. I have gone hungry and skipped dessert. I hired a personal trainer and went to ab classes three times a week for six months.

I found out he was right. So I saw another surgeon. Remember this post?

She explained that having no muscles in my abs would not allow me to lose the weight in my tummy and worked my back overtime when I did core exercise. Which was causing chronic back pain, trouble sleeping even. I had no idea my back was straining to cover for my non-existent abs. Whitney laughed herself silly over this, "mom, you did all those crunches for nothing."

So I did it. Here is my day before surgery and my two weeks post op, taken today. I'm experiencing a bit of swell hell, but it is getting better. Will take a while for it to completely subside.

I went back to work after a week and it was a little rough the first three days, but then I got a weekend and it's been good since. A few too many post op doctor appointments, but that's a good thing.

I am thrilled. THRILLED.

my world

I drove into the Subway parking lot to get something healthy for lunch. Okay, a foot long so I had dinner too, because Steve was going to Independence Friday night to run a 50K on Saturday.

As I pulled into the parking stall, a car pulled in next to me. The guy driving had tattoos that matched the paint job on his car. I was intrigued and was staring. As I watched him and rolled into the parking stall, I did not hit the brakes before my tires hit the concrete slab and stopped me quite suddenly.

The driver of the car sees this and laughs at me. Believing I'm interested in him. It was a very awkward conversation and trip through the line ordering my sandwich in Subway.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In my corner

Illustrated version, I'm tired.
One evening at the mall for Whitney's new leopard print dress. The theme for the football game was animal print. She wore a leopard print headband to the football game.

Ten matches (23 games)

31 miles of the Flatrock

Slept 14 hours last night. I was tired. Still am, so talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I looked at the large pile of rocks in front of me.

They all had writing on them, and as I looked closer the writing was a name and a sin, many with a time and date. There were several rocks that had the same name on them, just different sins. As I read them, I realized these were my rocks. People who had wronged me and I had started collecting rocks to throw. There was no doubt they deserved to be thrown. I wanted to throw these rocks with a purpose. I wanted to hurt these people the way they had hurt me. I picked one up, in particular and it felt pretty good in my hand. She deserved it. She knew she did. I knew she was waiting for me to throw it. And because I hadn’t (yet) she thought I was a godly woman. Oh, how many of these rocks had her name on them.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw on the edge of my pile of rocks a man standing with a much larger pile of rocks in front of him. My eyes were drawn to him, even from this distance I could see the love and compassion in his eyes. I was ashamed of myself when I realized who it was.

It was Him. And here I was with an unconsciously unintentionally collected pile of rocks, holding one in my hand. Mentally I had already thrown these, several times. Physically, somehow, this man had stopped me from the actual destruction I could’ve caused.

I felt myself drawn closer to him, wanting to say I’m sorry. I pushed through the rocks toward him, toward the large pile I saw right at his feet. As I got closer, I could see the writing on the rocks.


There were more rocks below these with words I couldn’t read. I bent over and picked up a rock. There was a name on the other side that I recognized, a time and date. The same on the next one…and it all crashed in on me. These were also my rocks. Times and dates and names of people who were going to throw them at me. And I had deserved them. The pile seemed to grow before my eyes as I looked at more and more names and sins I was guilty of through my tear blurred vision.

I dropped in front of him, tears rolling down my face, kneeling on these rocks meant for me. As the rock in my hand fell at his feet, realization dawned that these rocks were here, at his feet, where they had been dropped in shame, as I was now, and walked away from before they could be hurled at me. These were the hits that I should have taken. Hits I deserved. Yet in his mercy, he protected me. He stood in the gap for me. He offered the opportunity to others to show grace to me, and they had.

I stayed on my knees at his feet and asked forgiveness. For both piles of my rocks.

When I stood up and looked around, I noticed my pile of rocks no longer had names and accusations on them.

I no longer felt the need to throw.

When I looked for Him, he was gone…but I still felt his presence.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Steve, Snakes and Taco Bell

Steve came home Monday night with this story. He went and ran with our friend Steve W. at Sedgwick County Park. He said he heard something hiss and looked over and there was a snake. It was coiled, it was kind of wound up and it’s head was up and it’s tongue was shooting in and out and it was hissing. AUDIBLY. He said if he’d been walking, it would’ve been able to bite him. Steve W. said he heard it, but thought it was the sprinklers coming on. Every snake I’ve come in sight of was trying to get away from me, was never in the attack frame of mind. I have to tell you, this one freaked Steve out a little. He doesn’t know what kind it was, but really, do you need to know? Ewwwww.

Steve came home Wednesday night from a run on the trail behind our house. Had to run off the trail around behind a snake spread out 4 foot wide across the path. I think the sudden change in temps has driven them out looking for warmer places.

If I have to take 6 weeks off from running, this is a good time. I seeing snakes.

I can’t wait to get back on a real training schedule for a real run with tee shirts and aid stations and other runners and the excitement of the starting line and the comraderie of the finish line. Hopefully in November I’ll get the chance. Next up, crew for the Heartland 100 Steve is running in October.

And totally unrelated, I love Taco Bell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Virtual Darkness

I took a week off. From work. From email. From twitter. From facebook. From my blog and everyone elses. Due to the nature of why I was off I also did no housework and cooking. If I had to feed myself I ate cereal or PB&J. Whitney made Sunday dinner. Chile and cinnamon rolls. And both were delicious. Steve has been taking care of both of us. And doing a darn fine job.

Today I'm back at work. Took Whitney to school and drove on to my office. Logged on to my computer and (gulp) 579 new email messages. Fortunately, everything that had an action required had been worked by my extraordinary co-workers. So that just left reading thoroughly to make sure if there was follow-up I was in the loop.

Now I'm at lunch. PB&J and grapes. I'm released to go back to work, but not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk or do housework. Nice gig, I tell ya.

I did not miss my computer or facebook or twitter. I checked my personal email and opened the ones that I knew required a response from me. Everything else I deleted. It's kind of powerful.

And just to let you know how much I love technology, even in my virtually dark week, I have called Whitney the last three days to wake her up for school. From my room to her room, I've called her and said it's time to get up.

*please note, I never offer my mothering practices as the correct way to do things.*

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I pulled this picture off the Catch it Kansas website. It made me think of Ephesians 6 and the armor of God.

Whitney is a defensive player on the volleyball team. Her position is defensive specialist. She plays defense behind the top hitter in the Wichita city league. Crystal has been described as "wood splintering". Whitney follows her to the net for hits and blocks to cover the dink, and backs up to take the other teams hits to make a pass so the ball can be set up for Crystal to pound. Crystal is amazing. So is Whitney. She leads the team in passing percentage. Her passes are right on the money 9 out of 10 times. Whitney has one offensive move. Her jump floater serve. And she nails it.

Whitney lives for digging the ball. Taking the "ace" away from the server. Getting under the well hit ball and putting it in the air for the set and the hit. Her wood burns and bruises are legendary on her teams. Skin scraping the floor. Elbows torn out of jerseys. Knee pads with chunks taken out of them. She loves the thrill of diving away from the ball, swinging with one arm and landing the pass right on top of Laura. Defense. It's her spot.

Ephesians 6:10-18
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

There are all the pieces of armor for defense. Head to toe. So necessary. I need to remember to clothe myself with them every morning.

There are two offensive weapons in our aresnal. The Bible, called "the sword of the Spirit" and praying always. Not really attack moves, are they.

The reason this hit me when I looked at this picture was because I sometimes think I need to do the Lord's work. Go on the offense. And I don't mean in a good way, as in feeding the poor or volunteering at church. I mean as in pointing out faults and flaws. Telling people how wrong they are. Making sure they know how wretched they are. This is not what God has given me to do. Mine is to love. And for me, one more thing I have to keep in mind, love unselfishly. Love where the need is, not what is easy and convenient for me. Not love MY way, but let Jesus love shine through me.

I don't need to go out and splinter wood with my hard hits. The Holy Spirit will take care of that. I need to lovingly play defense and protect and encourage.

I'm gonna need a new sweatband!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Write it on your wrist

I took a Beth Moore Bible study several years ago. It was good. I have taken some of her stuff, back when they offered it at church on Wednesday nights and I was there already. I’m not really a “bethmoorite” that can’t wait for every study and goes to every conference within a three state area, but I enjoy them occasionally. Mostly, I like to read my Bible. Anyway, that whole paragraph was really to get to this point. The study was Believing God. A couple weeks in they talked about the children of Israel weaving cords of blue into their prayer shawl to remember the commands of the Lord, and then they talked about rocks of remembrance, building a stone altar remembering how God was good to them.

In the Bible study they challenged everyone to wear a blue ribbon tied around their wrist to remember to believe God. That is a powerful thing. Having something tangible with you to make you remember. This spring as I was going through a rough time I bought this bracelet.

The blue to remind me of God’s commands. The stones in it to remind me of the good things he has already done. When I started wearing it I almost felt Catholic rubbing a rosary. I would hold these beads between my fingers for comfort. I would see or feel the bracelet on my arm and it would remind me to pray.

Interestingly enough, this is one of those karma bracelets or something like that and the inscription that came with it is “hope”. That always brought my mind to the scripture 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.

These verses have come to mean to me that loving others is going to be hard, otherwise we wouldn’t have to bear and endure and hope. But it’s so worth it.

I still wear it. The bracelet. The white and greeny blue don’t match much in my closet. But then, I’m not all about matching accessories. And what this bracelet means to me now is different than 6 months ago, even 3 months ago. It reminds me that God is faithful. That he keeps his promises. That he can be trusted. This strip of white threads interspersed with green stones and white sparkly stones cost pennies compared to the tennis bracelet I wear with it.

It was a gift from Steve. It’s very special to me too. I wear it often and it makes me think of him. It reminds me that he loves me. It reminds me of our life together. And I had been meaning to take it to the jewelry repair shop, because one of the prongs broke and I lost a diamond. But now I’m not going to. In the picture you can’t tell it’s missing a diamond. It’s shiny and sparkly and beautiful. I like the missing diamond. I like the idea that it’s beautiful but imperfect. I like that the bracelet shines and sparkles and you have to look hard to see it’s missing a chunk. I like that its beauty, in my eyes (the owner) is not diminished because of the missing piece, it’s more valuable to me because of what it’s come to represent. It reminds me of Steve and I together. Not perfect, but together. Beautiful in our owner's (creator's) eyes. Broken, but repairable by the expert.

It represents that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That beauty is found in imperfection. That just because something can be made whole, doesn’t mean it has to. It can be used and loved and valued in its “less than” state. While beauty can be found in a 2 carat diamond tennis bracelet it can also be found in embroidery thread and glass beads. That value is placed on the expensive gift from a lover but there is also value in a cheap bauble purchased for myself.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

Got a good picture of her. And she had a great game this week. Nearly perfect. Foot fault on one jump serve. Other than that, nothing hit the floor (except for Whitney, should say no balls hit the floor) no missed serves, no shanked passes. Made me remember why I love to watch her play. Club season last year was pretty miserable, but this season so far has been fun. She will have bad games and bad plays. But this one game this week? Reminded me of the fact it's fun. It's not about life, it's not about college, it's not about teamwork or learning to deal with other people, it's a game and it's fun.

Helloooo? Is there anybody out there?

Talk to me!

Tell me something about yourself.

Your name?

Any prayer requests?

It doesn't have to be about me ALL the time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Defending league volleyball champion Northwest passes big test against Heights

I hope this works. Click the link for a five minute video from a local television stations website dedicated to high school sports. Whitney is #15 with the yellow headband. She is wearing a black jersey this time.

Defending league volleyball champion Northwest passes big test against Heights

I love church

Not MY church, Gracepoint, which I do love; not my OLD church, Newspring, which I did and do love; not Westlink or River Community or Riverlawn Christian or Central Christian or Aldersgate or Aviator Church or Boston Vineyard. I love all of them.

I also love Audacity Church, which has yet to launch in Wichita. And Gracepoint's Fayetteville campus, which launches this week in George's Majestic (a bar, who else is using it on Sunday morning? And everyone in the area knows George's, Huey Lewis is there the night before launch Sunday), and Restoration Church (I just love that name) that also launches this Sunday in Rockland, Mass at Players Bar and Grill (they are serving waffles), and again? Who else is using it Sunday morning. Just a side note, George's is $3,000 less a month than GP paid for the building they met in here in Wichita till they got their own building, and Players is free. No rent, no charge for utilities, etc. Pretty awesome stories.

We choose a church to worship in. Certainly there is a style of worship I prefer. And a preacher I like to listen to. And friends at the church I like to attend. And we spent a great amount of time searching and praying for just where God wanted us.

Here's the thing. Gracepoint is gritty. There are a lot of lifetime Christians, but there are a lot of new Christians. And there are a lot of tattoos and long hair on men and clothes on women that would have been deemed inappropriate at every other church I've attended. And at these churches, someone would've said something to you about causing men to stumble, self esteem, knowing you are a princess in God's eyes, etc.

Gracepoint is full of broken people. And they know it. I am a broken person. I look prettier on the outside than some, and I know how to talk Christian, but internally I'm as shattered, if not more so, than they are. Our spirits understand each other. But the lady at church my college years that told me my dress was too low cut and I was causing men to stumble? I get it (now) that she is broken too. She needed us to live at her standards. She felt the need to point out my sin. Or the lady who gossiped about me at 24 when I was pregnant with Nate. And my brother who stuck his nose in the conversation and told her they were going to stone me, but they couldn't find rocks big enough. She is broken too. And my big brother is a whole nother story entirely.

I realize we all need Jesus. I need him everyday. I can't get very far in my day without his strength. If I try, it's disastrous. Every bad day I have starts out that way, me doing it on my own. And I know it. Yet it still happens. Less than it used to, but it happens.

Some of us realize just how far we are from the standard he sets for us, and we try. And we get that love your neighbor is the first commandment. Love them. Not get them cleaned up and living right and then love them. Not love the ones who are like you. Love your neighbor. And that includes the judgemental. That includes the poor, the uneducated. That includes the addict, the homosexual and the drunk. That includes the person that you think you have a right to hate, (and by the worlds standards, maybe you do). And it includes the church. Some of the worst offenders of all. We get it, but don't always do it. At least I don't.

This is a recurring theme on my blog, love your neighbor. God loves us because he chooses too, and commands us to love him and to love others. But Sunday at church I had a moment. (Well, I had two, but I'm only going to share one right now, this is wordy enough already).

A lady came in with 4 special adults. (By special, I mean it in the politically correct way to say handicapped). They were so precious. The lady with downs syndrome who was so quiet and shy. The lady with the fancy lacy white dress and yellow lace veil. The old man that was so small I could've picked him up. The other man that the leader told to count five seats and sat down. He counted 4 and sat down, then looked at them and said 5!!! and moved over one more seat. I watched them sway with the music. I watched them wave their arms and clap their hands. And I thought as we sang "child of weakness, watch and pray, find in me thine all in all". That in a lot of ways I am weaker than they are. They don't even know enough to be as bad as I am. With all I've been given, which is much, so much more than I deserve, I do so little.

I know that true freedom is finding Jesus as my all in all. And that means, love, love LOVE!

I'm praying for each of these churches that I have been in this year, and the ones that are launching this weekend that I may never attend (well, Steve's already talking about a trip to Fayetteville to check that one out) and knowing that I love the church.

But I also love those who are not yet members, that need to meet Jesus.

Praying a blessed week for everyone.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Conversations with Whitney

I tell you all the funny things she says, but here is a new one for you.

When Steve picks her and her friends up, she always sits in the front. (You might think that goes without saying, but Madeline and Denae will sit in the front with me and make Whitney sit in the back.)

Whitney likes to get her dad to turn around real suddenly and scream at the girls. Just some random yell. Scares the pee out of them everytime. Or if they are asleep in the back seat, she will ask him to take a corner fast or slam on the brakes.

My evil daughter and her dad.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The "I'm not training" update

I got asked the other day how come I never update on my training. Short answer, I'm not training for anything. Long answer...

I was going to train for the 15K Tiger Trot, but it's on Sunday instead of Saturday and I am leading worship that Sunday, if you are home Sunday morning at 10:00 or 11:30 CST, you can check it out here


Also, I have a procedure mid-September that will sideline me for 6 weeks. No running, no weights. I can walk. That's it. I will update you more on that in the future. It's elective, it's not life threatening, but definitely life and health enhancing. So I plan to bounce back quick and run the turkey trot November 19, just because while I've had several reasons to stop running and heal, I've always been able to come back fairly quickly. I have some plans for next year without looking too far ahead, a race in February and one in April.

I ran this weekend. I hadn't run more than two miles at a time for two weeks as I had that weird virus for about five days. But Friday night Steve planned a 50 mile run overnight because high temps Friday and Saturday were 108 ish. I worry about him on these long runs, so I had him call me about 13 miles from home and I went and parked at the Y and Sheila and I ran the last 8 miles home with him. Which was great, except on the way to the Y Whitney texts me and says pick her up from practice at 9:30 or 10:00 (pretty big window of time, but okay). At 8:55 we are 4 miles from home. So I tell Steve and Sheila I'm going on ahead. This is unusual, me running ahead, but he had already run 47 miles at that point.

I'm tearing down the road, (tearing is a relative term) and I'm two blocks from the train tracks and I hear the train whistle. So I speed up even more. Just call me flash. Those yassos have really come in handy. I race the two blocks waiting for the guards to come down, but I get to the tracks and the train is over a block away, so I'm able to get across without waiting. I'm making good time, but I know I'm going to be late. So I get to the bridge where I can get on the walking path or take the ditch.

For those of you not local, the ditch is a flood control system, it's a medium size river when it rains and floods. It runs from the north side of Wichita and dumps all the water on a small town south of Wichita, sorry Mulvane. Right now it's a very large dry ditch. In true Kansas fashion, it's simply called "The Big Ditch". It connects twice with the Arkansas River (which in true Kansas fashion is pronounced the "are CAN sas" river. No lie.)

I hop the fence into the ditch because this cuts about a half mile off my run. I get home with a decent time of 35 minutes for my 3.6 miles, with the street crossings and street lights and traffic, etc. was very acceptable and head to the school. I'm two blocks away when I get the call "mom, you do know to come to the back of the school." So I do where she promptly asks for money to go to McDonalds for breakfast with Crystal and McKinzie. I have no money, but giver her my debit card. This allows me to drive home a different way and check on Steve and Sheila who are walking one block from home. (Dang I made good time.)

I go back to McDonald's to get Whitney and she hops in the car empty handed. I ask where is my debit card? She is yelling as she runs back towards the door "I threw it away!" We dumspter dive and get my debit card and head home and no harm, no foul.

So today I had made plans to run with Sheila. I had my running clothes on. It's 84 degrees for a high, but windier than Kansas in the fall...wait. Anyway, I tell her I'm going to wait till Monday because it's too windy. But then an hour later I think of the cake I ate (notice I said cake, not piece of cake) so I cinch up my shoes. Steve needs a recovery run so we go for a three mile run. And let me say, it was too windy. But I had a good, hard run with Steve and I enjoyed the trail and being in nature.

That is my "I'm not training" update. 10.5 miles this weekend for no reason other than I love to run. Or because I love cake. Or because I love both???

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do you ever?

Hear a cell phone ring that makes you want to dance?

See a child enjoying themself and it makes you smile?

Cry because you hurt for someone else?

Do something nice for someone that NO ONE will ever know it was you?

Stay up at night and pray for someone you love?

Laugh too much?

Make a new lifetime friend based on a single common experience?

Wish for something like you did when you were 4? Eyes closed, fists clenched, knowing if you believe enough it will happen?

Celebrate and share someone else's good news?

Sing at the top of your lungs? Off key?

Do something extravagant for yourself? Even if it's just a $4.00 latte?

Get dirty with your kids?

Create something new, a craft, a new meal, a new dessert?

Fear failing so much that you won't step out and try something?

Thank God that you are you? You the way he made you? With all your faults (that you are trying to overcome) with all your idiosynchrosies that no one else fully understands? With all your weaknesses that make you want to ostrich yourself?

That's where I am today. Thinking of all the wonderful wacky painful things that life has handed me and what to do with them. This has been a year I will never fully recover from. I've accepted that. I know now, for the first time ever that God really will never let me down. I will not ever get everything I want. Things will not go my way. But...


His way really is better. And that makes me smile....

Isaiah 55:8-12
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;

Conversations with Whitney

Can you take a third one?

What makes me smile...part 3

Volleyball and school is wearing this child out. 7:00 Wednesday evening. This is what I had watching television with me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What makes me smile...part 2

I found this picture today. This is Nate at graduation with Chad, Sam and Dylan. I'm sharing it because Nate and Sam are the two in the middle, and Sam is Nate's roommate in Lawrence. And it really did make me smile.