Saturday, November 29, 2008

Running Blindly

Yes, I actually prepared, cooked, served, ate, and survived my turkey! So did the rest of my family! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and I hope that y'all did, too! I absolutely loved the comments from my previous post on the ways you celebrated the day and the Bible verse that you were most thankful for. Thanks for sharing.
We began Thanksgiving Day with....a run!! Are you surprised? Hubby and I had already been up an hour or so with that silly turkey! An early morning run with a dozen other runners out in the country got the juices going! The sunrise was lovely. The conversation was fun. And the little boy who got separated from his mom was precious. When you start in the dark, and you're running in a new place--not me, the little boy!--it's easy to get caught up with the runners in front of you. You simply follow their lead. We all started together, and those running 5 mile loop turned down a road to get back to the YMCA. The rest of us kept on running the longer loop. This child was running a fast pace with some of the runners doing the longer route. On a long stretch toward the end of the run, Robin and I caught up with him--now walking. He had a side stitch--gotta hate those!-- and had slowed down. We told him that he was doing a great job for such a long distance--8 miles. Well, at that, he jerked up his little head, and his eyes filled with tears. His mouth quivered as he spoke. He said that he was only doing 5 miles, and his mom was right behind him. Robin and I looked at each other and realized that his mom had turned off with the others, and he was so far ahead that she thought he would be waiting for her in the parking lot. Not!
Y'all, our Mama hearts just broke with him. Bless his heart! He was running blindly--just trying to keep up with the runners in front of him. How many times in our daily routine do we"run blindly?" We're just trying to keep up with all of the things on our to-do list. We're trying to keep up with the latest and greatest stuff. We're trying to do things that the world deems important. We crowd out time with God to get the other important stuff done. In Titus 2:12, we see that we are taught "not to live against God nor to do the evil things the world wants to do. Instead, that grace teaches us to live in the present age in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God." (New Century Version). Are we serving Him the way He desires--with our whole hearts? Is spending time with Him at the top of our to-do list?
Long story short, Robin and I ran with the little fellow to the next road where a "mama mini van" was headed toward us. A woman driver was waving, and the little boy said, "That's my mom!" She pulled over and lavished him with hugs and kisses. A simple mistake, but one that neither of them will forget. A nine year old needs to run with an adult on a course like the one we did. If the mom had asked who was running which distance and had paired him up with someone who ran his pace, things would have been fine. In the end, the mom and the son were simply giving thanks that they had found each other. How fitting a way to start their Thanksgiving holiday.

Many Blessings,

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving Survey

So, how do y'all celebrate Thanksgiving? I was just glancing through a magazine, and that's the question which was posed. In our family, we take turns hosting the big event. This year, it's at my house, and my side of the family will come. We will celebrate with hubby's side of the family next year.
There will be place settings for 10 at our house! I purchased my turkey the other day, and he is happily defrosting in my refrigerator. Y'all, I have NEVER baked a turkey before in my life--only a turkey breast in the crock pot! I usually go to Honey Baked Hams for the most delicious turkey ever. No fuss, no problems. This year, however, we are on a budget, and I am pretending to be Paula Deen! Thankfully, my mother-in-love is a great cook, and she is only a phone call away in Tenn.!! Along with the turkey and cornbread dressing, we'll have ham, sweet potato pie, rice and gravy, green beans, squash casserole, bread and desserts. Hopefully, it will all be edible, and no one will leave with food poisoning!! Kidding....I really can cook; I would rather be doing other things instead!

Second part of my "Thanksgiving Survey"--what Bible verse are you most thankful for? I know that's a very hard one, but ponder and pray and share your favorite one--maybe it's just the one for today! It may be different tomorrow. Today, I was blessed by reading Psalm 37:4. It says, " Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." That promise just fills me with the love that He has for me!
Looking forward to the results from this survey! Short school week--woohoo!!!
Many Blessings,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Sweet Home

There really is "no place like home!" Did any of y'all catch the rerun of "The Wizard of Oz" on Sunday night? That is one of my all time favorite movies--and yes, I can quote it quite well!! The flying monkeys never did scare me!!!

We arrived back in SC yesterday afternoon without any major issues! Yay--a praise! God was so good to bless the four of us and all of our families while we were away. We had the most wonderful time in San Antonio! The people were gracious and so friendly! The hotel where we stayed went over and beyond! Go Hampton Inn!!! Woohoo! Those precious employees had breakfast ready on Marathon day at 3:30 AM for the runners who hopped on shuttles to the start line first--no, not us! We were there at 5ish! When we returned, they had opened the pool for us to put our achy legs in--an ice bath--wonderful for contracting the overused muscles! How about that? Pretty cool!

Tracey, Debby, Phebe, and me with our temporary tattoos of Phil. 4:13
Prior to the race, we shopped (of course!) and ate and laughed and shared! I've known these gals for years, and we love to run races together. We did go to the Alamo after the marathon--it was only 4 blocks from our hotel. Amazing. That was the only sightseeing that we did--other than the views from the course.

There were so many God moments that I would love to share with y'all, but....I would be writing a chapter for a book!! So...I will condense! I'm sure that some will be mentioned in future posts! We generally write our names on the backs of our leg and a scripture on the other leg. Great conversation starters when you're counting down the miles! Mine was Phil. 4:13--"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." He did give me strength, and a lot of it! I ran a strong race for the first 10 miles, but I knew that I needed to slow down just a tad for the last 16 in order to finish at a decent time! He had me to slow down for several reasons. I wouldn't have met lots of folks out there had I been running a different pace! His timing...not mine! I struggled with some foot cramping around mile 19 and IT band issues as well. Not pleasant, but I continued....Phil. 4:13. I took my last GU (energy gel which is pretty yucky but replaces potassium, sodium, and other things your body needs). Then, I noticed a man ahead of me who was not running or even walking/limping in a straight line. He was doing some major wobbling! I was concerned and caught up to him and asked how he was doing. Instead of "fine," it was "I need some salt tablets." I had just taken that last GU! I had nothing to offer except encouragement. I found out that his name was Mark, and this was his first marathon. He apologized for slowing me down! I told him that I wasn't in a hurry, and this pace--barely walking-- was fine. He severely cramped again, and I stood with him. I told him that I was going to get him some help, so I ran ahead to the next aid station to notify them that a runner was coming who needed a little medical attention. I continued to run and to pray for him. By mile 25, he caught back up to me and was doing a little better. He had to stop again be fore the finish line, but he did finish his first marathon! I was so proud of him!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Col. 3:23-24) Having opportunities to serve Him while racing make the months of training, the hours of running and biking, and the cost of traveling all worthwhile. Those precious God moments show me how great His love is for us. Your prayers and wonderful comments were so appreciated! Y'all were so sweet!

Many Blessings,

PS--While on our extensive layover in Houston, I was really tempted to call Beth Moore and see if she wanted to come out to the airport for awhile to visit and shop! I even contemplated looking up her phone number, but I changed my mind!!! Y'all, wouldn't it have been cool if she HAD been walking through the terminal!! Oh, well! Phebe and I did entertain ourselves by playing the "Good Morning Game!" You sit in these lovely rocking chairs down a long hallway place. Then you look people--who are obviously running late to board their plane-- in the eye and say "Good Morning" in your perkiest voice. Out of the 20 plus people we spoke to, only one person didn't respond with a friendly "good morning" back at us! It was fun to make people smile and get out of "serious" mode so early in the morning! We had hours of time to entertain ourselves!!! Can ya tell??

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

San Antonio...Or Bust!

Well, it's finally here! Taper week before my marathon. When we planned this adventure back in March, November seemed eons away. We are going there to celebrate my friend's 50th birthday with a race--it was her idea! Now, it's here! I have cut down tremendously on my running--which is called tapering. I'm only running little itty bitty distances in preparation for Sunday's race. This is the part that always makes me second guess. Did I train hard enough? Did I do enough long runs? Did I cross-train the way that I should have? Am I carbo-loading the way I need to? Did I really need that entire box of cookies?(22 grams of carbohydrates per 6 cookies, but that's a lot of cookies!!!) I'll find out for sure on Sunday!!

As a Christian, I can ask my self the same things. Did I run the race that God placed before me? Did I take the opportunity to share with those who really needed to hear His Word? Did I truly ask Christ into my heart? Have I repented of my sins? Did His love shine through my words and my actions? I hope so! I don't want to have to be wondering about all of that the week, day, or minute before I meet my Creator!! I need to know for sure that I belong to Him, that I am a child of God, and that my name is in The Book of Life. I really want to run down those streets of gold one day!!! How cool will that be??

We take time to prioritize our lives--down here we say, "Getting our ducks in a row". Are we taking that time to prioritize our spiritual lives? I surely hope and pray so.

I would so appreciate your prayers as we travel this Friday. And run on Sunday. And fly home on Monday!!! I am not shy about asking for prayer--can you tell? I will post pictures and stories next week when I return. I won't post again this week. I am really trying to get MY ducks in a row with packing!! I do not like to pack! I really dislike unpacking!! So, as I deal with some packing pet peeves tomorrow and Thursday, I will try to stop by and read some of your blogs--which so encourage me! I may not leave a comment, but I will read them!!

Just pray that I remembered everything that I needed today at Wal-Mart....'cause I really don't want to have to go back there this week!! Thanks again for your prayers and love!!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What a Day!

Me, Kimberly, and Lauren on this gorgeous fall day!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything seemed to go right??? Betcha thought I was going to say wrong! Well, today was one of those! I love and NEED days like this's not over yet! Child # 1 STILL has church basketball practice from 9-10pm tonight!!! I am so ready to wash my face, slap on my Mary Kay moisturizer, and put on my jammies! I really don't think my son would appreciate my going to the church gym looking that way! He would totally disown me! So, I'll stay perky a little while longer and share my day with you!

First, let me go ahead and tell you that I have NOT finished studying about Mr. M from my previous post! By the time I've gotten to my Hebrews Bible study after 10ish each night, my eyes are starting to roll! I can't even read through a sentence without forgetting what I just read. So...I will get to it when I get to it. Just let me say that I do know Mr. M was both a prophet and a king and that in some ways prefigured Jesus. I really can't wait to dig into this!
Many of y'all are regulars at Kimberly's blog, A Planting of the Lord. Well, Kimberly and I don't live far from each other. We met today at an undisclosed chicken restaurant--in case Lysa T. is reading this, we don't want her to be mad 'cause there was NO Chick-fil-a in the vicinity. Another friend of mine, Teresa, went with me to do some antiquing as well. We just planned a BIG day! Gas prices were even down---woohoo! Kimberly gave me a coupon for a free meal---double woohoo!!! And one of the biggest woohoo's was that God joined us on this gorgeous fall day. He seasoned our conversation with grace, laughter, and hope. He encouraged us through His wonders and His Word. What I felt was His love and peace.
In Chapter 8 of Lisa Whittle's Book, Behind Those Eyes, she says that God 's love is without pretense, without conditions, and without limits. He loves us with complete abandon! We are a part of His family. He knows us so intimately that it is mind boggling. Sitting there having lunch today reminded me of the love that He has for us. We were able to fellowship with each other, pray with each other, and talk and laugh with each other. I see that as a part of Heaven! Only in Heaven, we won't have to hurry and eat to go get in carpool line! The more I learn about my Heavenly Father, the more amazed I am that He claims me as His own daughter. Wow! Isn't that awesome?

I loved the part in Lisa's book where she talks about God's acceptance of us being so different from the way that the world accepts/rejects us. We sometimes feel judged by those around us. We simply can't compare the world's standards to His. God already knows that He accepts us just as we are...with all of our failures and faults and insecurities, but He wants us to know that--to REALLY know that.

Today, while Teresa and I were driving, she shared with me some things about her childhood and teenage years. Things that she didn't like but things that eventually drove her to see that she needed Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Bless her heart, she kept saying that she was going to scare me away as her friend by what she shared. She didn't! She is a darling girlfriend!! We've all been judged in some way or the other by the standards of the world, but what matters is if God loves and accepts us--yucky stuff and all--we should do the same for our fellow man---or woman in this case!

The Lord you God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you , he will quiet you with his love. (Zeph. 3:17) I love that He takes "great delight" in each of us! I took delight in being with my precious friends today. I also took delight in His joining us and blessing our time together. He took delight in the fact that we are each different and accept each other just for who we are...children of God. Our hearts are bound together in a shared love and awe of our Abba.

Many Blessings,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who On Earth Is That?

While preparing for our High School Girl's Bible study tonight, I ran across a scripture that I had never noticed before. Check out Hebrews 6:18-20. ..."The order of Melchizedek" was a new one on me! I can barely pronounce this name let alone figure out what it is talking about! So, I pondered it a few minutes, put away the Bible, and waited for my class to come back from music (I subbed today and took my break to prep for tonight! Nothing like waiting until the last minute!).

When I got home, I had a package in the mail!! I love getting packages!! It was a book that I had ordered by Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All. I flipped through it while grabbing a snack to share with my youngest. The pages landed on the table of contents. The name Melchizedek popped up at me! Oh, my word...this book is a study of Hebrews! I quickly flipped to the chapter on this! way! I prayed to see God today, and He showed up at my house after school!! Love it!!

Melchizedek is mentioned just three times in the Bible---in Genesis, the Psalms, and Hebrews. If you have time, and you want to do a little research along with me:), see what you can find out--the significance of Melchizedek with Christ. I had just a couple of minutes to read, and I am LOVING what I am learning! It is awesome!

I HAVE to run out the door right this very second to get to Bible Study, or I'll be late--and the girls will have eaten all the food for supper! They have wonderful appetites! So, see what you can find out and post it below. I will not read your comments until I have had a chance to study it myself. I'm looking forward to seeing what y'all find out! And, for those of you shaking your head and blessing my heart because I have never heard of this's OK!! I am fine with being a person of my age and still learning oodles about the Bible--it's a great adventure!

Many Blessings,