Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dirty Feet Group

Mike, Jackie, Me, Robin, and Chris
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to do one of my most favorite things! As my blog name implies, I am a runner and have been for a long time. It's part of who I am. Running helps me to stay sane! While I'm out running, I have lengthy conversations with God--until I get distracted by a dog or snake or a thought randomly pops in my head! It's easier to stay focused on Him when I'm listening to praise music on my Ipod (at a very low volume as so to hear cars, people, etc.) or when I'm chatting with a fellow runner about Him.

The majority of runners stick to roads in neighborhoods or streets in town--familiar territory. Last year, some wonderful and daring running buddies and I caught onto something different--trail running. Oh, do I have some stories to share!! This running on trails has become something precious to us. It's an opportunity to be in nature enjoying God's creation. We'll be running down a trail and suddenly stop and just listen. You can only hear the sound of your breathing! Awesome! No cars or people!! Oh, I still run the roads, but I am most delighted to be on a trail!

Saturday(don't you just love how it took two paragraphs for me to get back to the original thought?), Robin, Jackie, Scott, Mike, Chris, and I headed up to our local state park to run the trails. It was HOT and HUMID to say the least!! Chris ran trails for the first time in his life! You rock, Chris! We planned on running two loops. After the first loop, we rehydrated and ate salty snacks. We took off again for loop number 2. That's when I really started feeling the effects of the weather. Many moons ago, like in high school, I suffered from heat exhaustion. Once that happens, you're always at a risk. It is not fun! We began our climb and were doing well until cramps in my feet and calves set in--oh, my word! I could not walk much less run! We made it to a stream where we splashed the refreshing water all over us. I wear a bandanna-a do rag-to keep my head cooler because I saturate it in water. I do take precautions!! We kept climbing. My friends were wonderful! They kept asking how I was doing and if we needed to stop. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. This is the type of camaraderie that you experience on a trail run. You're out there in the middle of no where! You have to depend on each other. Chris and I had been talking about our faith and how God sees the big picture even if we do not. As I was struggling with the pain of the cramps, I finally focused on God. I needed a verse that was hidden in my heart to get my mind off of the discomfort. And...God is sooo good!! Phil. 4: 13, "I can do everything through Him that gives me strength." popped into my sweaty head! I knew with that strength from Him that I could make it to the top of the mountain. I just kept repeating that scripture over and over.

God is so faithful. He desires to be so intimate with us that we will crave His Word and hang onto it as our lifeline. I needed that reminder on Saturday's run. How do you satisfy that spiritual hunger in your life?

To conclude the running story: I made new friends who drove me down to the bottom of the mountain! I left a puddle of sweat in their nice SUV!! I was put out that I didn't complete the distance I had hoped for, but, hey, there will be other days! When the rest of the group finished, we snacked on delicious watermelon (thanks, Robin!) We were absolutely filthy from the dirt and sweat. When we took off our trail shoes and socks, we were just nasty! So, Mike dubbed our group "The Dirty Feet Group." I look forward to more time on the trails with this group of dedicated runners and another nugget of Truth in my heart.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tag...Who's It Now?

Ok, I was tagged yesterday by Lee! Obviously, I didn't hurry because I didn't read my blog until after church this morning! Sorry, Lee! Moving a little slowly down here in SC!

Six random things about me....I'll do my best! Ready, set, go!!!

1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6)
3) Write 6 random things about yourself
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. (Go! Hurry!)6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Alrighty, six RANDOM things about moi!

1) I was adopted as an infant.
2) My husband was also adopted as an infant. We were both born at the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor a year apart!
3) I do not like chocolate!! I don't like the taste or smell of it! I never have! When I was pregnant with both children, the smell of it would just about do me in!
4) I am an ultra marathon trail runner...ultras are any distance longer than 26.2 miles. I fell in love with running on trails last year instead of the roads. Trails are easier on the knees! You're also in the woods, and I feel closer to God while enjoying His creation.
5) I enjoy photography...I love taking pics of nature and of course, my family.
6) When I was in high school, I was the only cheerleader on my squad that could do a Chinese split! Not any more...I'm too old!!!

Hope these are random enough tidbits about me :). Looking forward to hearing about the girls that I tag!! Remember to copy the directions on your blog so that others will know what on earth you're doing!! This makes for an eay and fun blog. Have fun :)!

Here are the gals that I tagged:

Robin is a running maniac! I just love her! We've spent hours together of running, traveling, and talking. Her blog gives me insight as to how intense and postive she is about her training.

Kelley is a new friend that I "almost" met at She Speaks! She's from Kansas and has lots of children :). Kelley is designing my new blog!! I can't wait to get it up and running. She's a very talented lady!

Joy is my new friend from Canada! We met at She Speaks in June. She was the very first person that I saw and recognized (from her blog picture!!) at the conference. She is just precious!

Lelia is another darling gal from She Speaks. She is from Nebraska and leads a wonderful online Bible Study on Tuesdays. She is also a beautiful YOUNG grandmother!

Kelli is from Pennsylvannia and I met her got it! She Speaks! Kelli and her darling roomie, Debbie, rented a convertible from the airport in Raleigh and drove several hours to Charlotte. She is too fun! I have a picture of them pulling out of the hotel!

Paula is an online sister who lives in Indiana. She is a wealth of knowledge, y'all, about the Bible. Her posts are so insightful. I would love to meet her in person one day and just talk to her over a glass of sweet tea!

I encourage you to visit these girlfriends. They all have wonderful blogs!! There were so many others with awesome blogs that I wanted to mention! Only six ....!!! We need to change the rules. Have fun with this!! Thanks, Leebird!

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walking By Faith

This is Chapter 4 and 5 of a Bible study that I am doing. It's called What Happens When Women Walk In Faith by Lysa TerKeurst--her words are in pink. Lelia at is leading this study. Feel free to join us and read the other ladies' comments--there are some awfully insightful girlfriends out there!

Everywhere that I have looked in the past few days is about faith! My two devotionals that I receive daily (Encouragement Today and Girlfriends in God-- Both are excellent!) were on faith this morning. Chapter 4 in the Bible Study just about knocked me over. And a bike ride last night helped me step out in faith to a new friend who was hurting. God is trying to get my attention in a big way, y'all!

Chapter 4 is called "Loving God More than My Dream." Lysa said that..."our thoughts about how God wants to use us are much too small. That is why we hesitate to leave our old ways behind. If we could taste the delights that await us in the promised land, we'd leave everything behind without hesitation...and yet God doesn't work that way. We must choose to leave first. We must see by faith the rewards ahead and then move toward them. What might God be calling you to leave? Does it line up with scripture? Would it cause me to become more like Christ in my thoughts and actions? Do I have a peace in my heart about this when I pray?

Y'all, I could just chew on that one little section all morning! Hebrews 12:2 gives us some insight to this . Lysa says that He is the author of our dream--not us! We don't even dream big enough! We tend to put God in a little box--not give Him full range! When something new and exciting comes up in my life, I tend to want to take glory for it!! Wasn't it my idea? Nope--God had it in mind all along. We simply need to let it go and allow God to take control of it--it's a lot easier when we do. Walking in faith and trust and obedience go hand in hand. I need to see if the dreams that I have are lining up with scripture. Will I become more like Him? I've heard it said that sometimes we are the only Jesus that some people will ever see. Well, I need a holy makeover on a daily basis, girls!

In my previous post, I asked y'all a couple of questions. Your responses were heartfelt, and I do appreciate them. My responses need to line up with what God has in store for me, even though I don't know what it is at this moment. I know that He wants my obedience. I don't know exactly where I'm going--just who I am following. I am praying about this each and every day. Girls, take your questions, concerns, hurts, and joys to Him daily. Lay them down at the cross, and He will lovingly take care of you on this journey we call life.

Jeremiah 31:31-33

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Questions to Ponder

Today was the first day of the Proverbs 31 Woman Bible study that I've been preparing for weeks now. Y'all...God is SO good!! There were over 20 women that showed up! I didn't have enough handouts! But that's a GREAT problem to have! Woohoo! I told them that some of you all had prayed for the study and for them. It was awesome. The study this week covered Proverbs 31:10-15. Next week, we'll discuss verses 16-20.

I want to thank those who sent me comments of encouragement, text prayers, and positive thoughts. I really do appreciate it. God used you to work through me. Oh....He is so much fun!!!

New topic of discussion: Where does God want me to serve at my church? For the past year and a half, I've been leading a weekly Bible study for our high school girls. We discuss topics that affect them daily--usually drama! Can any of you moms of teen girls relate?? We also used "His Girl" by Vickie Courtney. It's a great study! Fast forward to this summer. We now have a new youth director--he's wonderful!! We met last week to see if my small group was to be continued. He would like for it to be, as well as my being a "shepherd" for the youth on Sunday nights for continuity. Oopsie! I did that service 18 years ago with Young Life and our church. Y'all, I do not feel that God is leading me in that direction. I love those little girls, but that's a HUGE commitment. Plus, both of my boys will be there. After the Bible Study today, I feel more like He's pointing me in the direction of "grown up" women's ministry. And it gets even more confusing!

Back in early April, I applied for a grant funded position with the State. It would involve working with at risk families in our area. It's a full -time position but with flexible hours. To be honest with you, I had forgotten about it. Then I got a phone call this afternoon. Y'all, I haven't worked full time in 11 years!!! As a substitute teacher, I can only work when the kids are in school. Right now, I'm out of "Mama money" until mid September. I love subbing--especially with the flexibility of working when and where I want to. The money is excellent. (SC schools aren't that bad!!) But, if God is leading me to do more in Women's ministry, I have to be flexible!

I have an interview on August 6 at 2:00. I can always change my mind and cancel, or I can give it a shot and see what happens. I'll definitely pray and discuss this with my sweet husband! But I would truly appreciate your prayers as well!! I want to follow God's will for my family and for me! Feel free to pass along your thoughts and "this is what I would do!" If you've got scripture to pass along to help me out, that would be awesome! Thanks so much for your input!

Try to stay cool wherever you are!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Help Wanted!

Hey, ya'll! Just a few days until the Proverbs 31 Woman Bible Study that I'm leading will begin. God's hand and timing have been in this, and for the most part, everything is falling into place. I am loving it! I'm even making cute little pearl and ruby bracelets for the girls who have signed up.

But....satan sneaks in and puts some questions in my head--like do I really know what I'm talking about? One question deals with the lesson on Monday. Let me throw this out at y'all and see what your thoughts are. Of course, I'm going to need scripture to back it up :).

We'll be discussing our earthly husbands as well as our heavenly husband--do we bring them good and not harm (Prov. 31:12)? Isaiah 54:5-6 refers to God as our Heavenly husband. We're taught, though, that our Heavenly Father is God. How can this be? I never thought of God as my Heavenly husband. Is He?? I think I need to purchase a copy of "The Bible for Dummies!" I thought that Jesus was waiting on His bride--the church--of which we are apart . Is the Bible using God and Jesus as one in the same? This verse in Isaiah is great for this study, but if I don't understand the concept, I surely can't teach it!!

This question came up yesterday while I was working on another part of the study...just out of the blue! Maybe it came from God, not satan....but I do need to know the answer. Our ministers are out of town until tomorrow, so I can't "pick their brains." But, hopefully, I can pick yours. Please pray and let me know. This may be a really easy question, and my lightbulb is just burned out, so please forgive me!

Thanks so much in advance, ya'll! Happy Friday!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's On Your Agenda?

I am doing a Bible Study of Lysa TerKeurst's book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. . If you want to join us, go to our wonderful leader's website at . This week, we are discussing Chapter Three, "God Has a Plan."

God's plan is always perfect, y'all, as is His timing. Ours is usually not--especially not mine. Lysa points out that ..."God doesn't seek out perfect people to do His work...many people believe the lie that they must achieve perfection in order to begin a life of faith. But I learned that God uses our imperfections and our willingness to share our mistakes to reach the hearts of the lost." Since I am definitely NOT perfect, God can use me if I am willing to put aside my agenda and fears. That requires faith and obedience--just as Abraham and Noah displayed. Our minister is doing a series of sermons on God's Family Photo Album each Sunday during the summer. We heard about Abraham and his amazing faith on Sunday. The question posed was did Abraham trust God completely or trust in the things that God gave him? Do I trust God completely or trust only in the things He has given me? Do I believe God, or do I believe that my strengths can get me through?

So, am I willing to give up my agenda or share with strangers my fears and mistakes in order to trust God? What does trusting God require? The Bible tells us that Abraham and Noah were ordinary people--just like us. Abraham's faith was so strong that when he was told to leave his home and take his entire family to a foreign land, he did it! I would so, so struggle with that!!! That would be like my leaving South Carolina and moving to Oregon!! (I'm sure it's just lovely out there, but I know nothing about it nor do I know anyone there!) And Noah....people, we are talking about a man who had never seen rain, didn't know what the word meant, and yet had the faith to build a humongous boat on his property! Oh, my word! I can just imagine what the neighbors talked about when they saw each other at the market!! And his poor wife, bless her heart! You can just imagine the looks and snickers as she ran her errands.

Can God use me to do His ministry during my stay on earth? Will I surrender to Him? Am I willing to be an open vessel in which He can pour Himself in and in return, the Holy Spirit "oozes" from me? I do believe Him and trust Him even though His "...thoughts are not (my) thoughts, neither are (my)ways His ways." He tells us that"as the heavens are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your 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." Isaiah 55:8-9,11.

Girls, I have to be willing if I am His child. He is my Heavenly Father, and I want to believe Him, trust Him , and have my faith grow. In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that "...without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." I can't wait for perfection in ain't gonna happen! He will have to use me as I am during this season of my life because I want to please Him everyday.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summer Time!

Down here in the southlands, it gets really hot and extremely HUMID!!! One tends to drip/glisten when one stays outside too long. To combat this--or at least try to forget about it for awhile--most of the neighborhood kids are involved on a swim team. Lots of fun, something to keep them busy and off of XBOX, and it really keeps them in shape! We parents have about as much fun as they do. Down time to socialize, get splashed by the big kids (to cool off) while timing their events, and best of eat yummy homecooked food. Our swim team moms can cook!!! We have several opportunities to share our recipes....from Pasta Pump-up to breakfasts to end-of-the-year suppers.

Y'all, we shared in the carbo loading with our precious children last night at the Pasta Pump-up. Their big end -of -the- year county meet is Saturday. To make sure our little darlins have carbed up and are ready to tackle those difficult events--that last all of 35 seconds or less , we prepared a SPREAD last night. Oh, my word! Yummy is all I can say. From the pasta casseroles to the fresh fruit to the fabulous banana pudding :), I was stuffed. I felt like a needed to run a marathon this morning to make sure those carbs didn't go to waste.

After practice yesterday morning, the swim team had its shaving cream fight! What a hoot! Each child was armed and deadly with 2 cans of the cheapest shaving cream around. On the command, they "had at it!" (For safety purposes, all had to wear their goggles.) When the chasing, and the screaming, and the cans were empty, our local fire department drove down to the pool and hosed them down!! Last year--year one for this fight--we made the mistake of letting moms hold hoses over all 60 plus children to get them clean. It took a v..e..r..y long time!! Guess who was one of those moms?? The fire dept. is the way to go--as long as they don't have an emergency that morning! I wanted to show you all the end result of the shaving cream fight and encourage you to be creative with your kids this summer too (heehee!!).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Friends..More Precious Than Rubies

I am totally blown away at the wonderful comments from my last post. Y'all are soooo sweet! Your encouragement and your prayers have blessed me tremendously. The four outlines/lessons are done. Complete plan for week one needs to be tweaked. Leader notes on week one are just about finished. That's the power of prayer. Isn't God good?? Please keep it up!!! :)

I was also convicted during all of this! Imagine that!! God showed me my "poor in discipline" attitude thanks to Rachel Olsen's Bible Study using the widow and the coin. Then, to make sure that HE had my attention, HE went another step while I was reading Having A Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver. Joanna was talking about being undisciplined as well while trying to write this book (which is fabulous!!!). Hmm....Lord...twice in one day!! She went on to include her discussion with God about her insecurity. In a nutshell, she felt God whisper to her heart "...that even though HE spoke the universe into existence and hung the stars in space....even though HE promised to help her when she said yes to HIS call....even though she'd cleared her life and made time to write the book....she still said that SHE couldn't do it." It came down to unbelief in God that she would be able to write this book and give HIM the glory. And, it would break HIS heart. Girlfriends, that was the sentence that got me!! He's given me the time, ability, support, and so much else. It was my lack of discipline and not believing that He would help me determine what needs to be taught during this study! So, I took it to HIS Throne Room and set it in a pile of other unbeliefs that had been left at the foot of HIS throne. I chose to take back with me an easier burden from HIM. I will trust HIM through this project to do HIS work through me. That's sort of scary, but with faith and obedience, I'll be able to do it. Woohoo!!!

I just love God moments....don't you??

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Proverbs 31 Woman:More Precious than Rubies

Hey, y'all!

I've noticed several blogs that contain questions for their readers to respond to ....and some bloggers actually give out prizes!! Since I have no extra income being a substitute teacher---no school equals no income-- I cannot offer a prize for your input!!! Sorry! But... I will say "thank you" a gajillion times and hug your neck if I ever meet you! Being goes.

Back in May, I was asked to lead a 4 week summer Bible study at my church. I prayed about it and agreed. I EVEN got to come up with the topic. Since my mind was focused on the She Speaks conference, I chose the Proverbs 31 woman. I have truly researched and prayed about this. Here's the deal--next Sunday, July 13, I have the ministry moment at church to promote this Bible study. Not a problem getting in front of folks--y'all, I love to talk! The issue is that the study has not come together yet! I really wanted the entire study to be finished by now. It's not!!!

I am trying to target young moms to come to this study--we have child care available. Each week's lesson is a stand alone study. So, if vacation is holding you back from signing up, having a study that doesn't build on the previous week shouldn't prevent you from coming. I want to make it as easy as possible for these ladies to come once a week to learn what God's Word says and to apply it to their lives.

Here's what I would love you out in bloggy land to help me with !! One---pray, pray, pray that women will be drawn to this study, and they will be blessed by it. Two---pray, pray, pray that God shows me specifically what He wants these women to learn. There are many virtues of the P31 woman, and I only have 4 weeks (1.5 hours each Monday) to share. I am trying to condense and not overlook the importance of each quality. Three---pray, pray, pray that I will show radical obedience (I finished Lysa TerKeurst's book about this --awesome!) as I discern His voice, and that He gets all of the glory.

I thank you in advance for your help!!! Y'all are wonderful!!! Happy Sunday.

Psalm 37:5

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Refresh Yourself!

Last Thursday, my husband and I went hiking in the mountains. We're less than an hour from some of the most beautiful trails in SC. Granted, it was in the upper 90's and extremely humid. By the time we drove to Raven Cliff Falls, the temps were dropping "quickly"--at least into the lower 90's! Both of our boys were at camp, so just the two of us grabbed our backpack with water, snacks, and camera and began our hike.

We had not hiked a mile before the drama began. As usual, I was chatting away--still on the topic of She Speaks! The trail was marked with flowering wild hydrangeas. Y'all, they were gorgeous! I took pictures along the way--hoping for the "perfect" one. So, I was in my happy zone. Suddenly, my husband grabbed my elbow and shouted "move it!!" I was yelling at him, "What is it????? What's going on???" A 4 foot long black snake had meandered along the path beside him! The man does not like snakes!! Let me explain why.

When he was in high school, he was on the tennis team. One day during a match, the tennis ball was hit into a bed of azaleas. My sweet husband walked over to get the ball so they could continue the match. He put his hand under the bush and quickly pulled it out. His finger had made contact with a copperhead snake! By the time he got home and his dad drove him to the nearest hospital, his finger was swollen and black--which quickly spread to his hand. He was a very sick young man! He was in the hospital for several days. He has a very healthy respect for snakes to this day....just stay as far away from them as possible!!! Of course, I had to go back and look at the snake! I took a picture of it....but it was slithering away--yuck--- and my camera was still in flower mode. I forgot to change the setting! So... the picture of the snake was quite blurry. Sorry about that.

We continued our hike without any further drama! It was peaceful and so quiet. All we could hear was our breathing and our footfalls. It was just beautiful. We chose the trail that led to the top of the waterfall. The falls were breathtaking! The coldness of the rushing water over the rocks was so refreshing! That reminded me of something Paul said in his short letter to Philemon. It's from verse 20. "...refresh my heart in Christ." Don't you just love that?? We can refresh our hearts everyday through prayer and spending time in His Word. That's such a short quote that we should have no trouble remembering it and hiding it in our hearts.

Refresh yourselves today!!!