Monday, May 25, 2009

"Mama, You Stink!"

I am so blessed to have little boys! No issues with raging hormones, drama with friends, or shopping at the mall! No, they just tell it like it is...very honestly! After my pilates class this morning, I sat down to check my email before my run. They both came up to me to give me a good morning hug. They CAN be very sweet! Child #2 said," Mama, you stink!" and Child #1 agreed! Y'all....!!!! I did remember to use my Secret before I bounded out of the house to class! Promise! I truly didn't stink, I just had the aroma of exercising! There is a HUGE difference! I think that we will discuss this at lunch today! I want them to know this difference before telling a cute girl that she stinks! That would not be good!

While I was running, I started thinking about their comment. If that was my physical scent this morning, what is my spiritual scent? Do I give off the aroma of Christ? In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul tells us that God "...through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing....the fragrance of life."

What is your spiritual fragrance? Is it one of joy? Of soothing words that comfort? Is it one of encouragement to those who really need a lift? Or is it full of sarcasm or jealousy? Is it prideful?We choose our words--they are formed in our hearts and our heads before they pop out of our mouths! We can control our tongue and its tone--if we choose to. If we are filled with the knowledge of Christ and His love, that' s the aroma that should be detected when others are around us. Normally, my family smells my "Happy" perfume on me, and something with such a lovely physical scent should have a beautiful and pleasing spiritual aroma to match.

OK, what I would love to know is what is your SPIRITUAL aroma, and (also for fun!!) what is your store-bought one as well?? Just leave me a comment!! And, I want to thank you for your birthday wishes last Friday! I had a great day!!

Hope y'all have a wonderful Memorial Day! Don't forget to thank those veterans when you see them! And, remember to keep those who are serving our country now in your prayers.

Many Blessings!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Purty Front Door--A Tutorial!

Finally, I've worked on "beautifying" my front door! It only took until mid-May!! Better late than never! I found this darling little basket at a local nursery--and used my handy dandy $5.00 coupon to purchase it for only $8.00!!!! Look at that darlin' bow made from twisted sticks!! Who woulda thunk? First, line the cute little basket with a yard/trash bag to hold the plants! You don't want the dirt to come out each time you water it! Just tuck the bag down so you don't see it!!

Add some good potting soil! Do not use dirt that your kids play in! You never know what you might find in there!

Now, find you some plants! I went back to Martin's Nursery rather than hitting Lowes or HD. The folks there KNOW what they are doing! They KNOW how to help you coordinate colors and textures. And, they KNOW the names of millions of plants! Plus, they color-coded everything this season! I love it!!! All of the yellow flowers are on one table, the purples on another, pink, reds, get it! What a great idea!Tuck in the first plant--the tall one--in the back.

Add your second plant on one side.
Stick the third plant, which is a trailing flower, on the other side. I kept the little plastic sticks with the names of these flowers just in case you were interested! The long, leggy purple is Verbena Imagination. The variegated one is Licorice Splash which is Helichrysum Petiolare (Can you even pronounce that cute thing?). And, the trailer is Calibrachoa--again, a cute yellow flower whose name I do not dare try to say!! Put all of these sun-loving plants together and hang on your front door--or back door--or gate!! Your choice!
Now, I have done my first yard tutorial! I can always do one on weeding the beds, but that would simply be too boring! Can you guess what I'm going to do after supper tonight??? I promise to spare you the excitement!
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations! Isaiah 61:11 I LOVE how God has a word for all that we do!!
I'm winding down my subbing for the school year. Just two weeks left! I will be working Thursday and Friday this week with some fun third graders! Friday night, we kick off our swim team season with a mock meet and a pizza party. I'll be celebrating another birthday with over 50 friends at the pool!! Hubby is making my favorite cake--sour cream pound cake! How do I know this? He sweetly asked me this morning to pull out the recipe and to make sure that we had all of the ingredients!! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mud Run Fun!

Last night at our church's women's book club, I was asked by my precious friend, Anna, why had I not posted on my blog lately? I just looked at her and started listing all the things that I had done since last Monday ! Hmm....carpooling, substituting, running--not much though!, birthday parties, baseball games, sleepovers, swim team practice, groceries...same old stuff! Not much extra time to blog!

I had received an email on Saturday from Elaine wishing me a restful Sabbath. I smiled at this already thinking about what needed to be done on Sunday! Rest? Not sure about that! While at church, I was asked if I was going to come to the book club to discuss one of Francine River's books. I sighed and said probably not--I hadn't even finished this book! I was going with my husband to run errands after church and didn't think I would have an opportunity to read.

God had other plans. Doesn't He usually? "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9. Around the middle of yesterday afternoon, a gentle rain began. There were dishes to do and laundry to work on, but I thought about Elaine's words...a restful Sabbath. The dishes could wait, and everybody had clean clothes for school today! So, I took my book and my blanket and wrapped up in a comfy chair and READ!!! It was delightful! At 6:11, I closed the book...done! Book club began at 6:30, and I was ready! It was such a blessing to be able to go and discuss this book with other sisters in Christ!

Where does the Mud Run fit in?? I'm getting there!! We have so many agendas--work, family, church, sports--the list could go on and on! We HAVE to make time for fun things--things that might even last all day! So what if that grass doesn't get cut? It will still be growing when you come home! Two Saturdays ago, the day before my ultra run, both of my children had signed up to participate in the Marine Corps Mud Run. This is a local run that benefits Toys for Tots. Some friends and I did it 5 years ago. It was tons of fun! So we encouraged the boys to get teams together and give it a go. There were 4 kids per team. Each team had to run 4 miles while completing 35 obstacles. Some of these obstacles were sloshing through mud pits, climbing 12 foot rope walls, pulling yourself over 8 foot wooden walls, lifting huge tires over poles, etc. Whatever torture the marines could come up with, the teams had to attempt! They were encouraged to work together, to help each other through the obstacles. That's what we as Christians are do to as help others in the good times and in the difficult times.

As you can see by the pictures, the boys has a great time!! Hubby and I had as much fun watching them as they did actually running the course! This week, I encourage you to have FUN with your family and if you get a little dirty, don't worry!! Clorox can help!
BTW, Hubby and his friends have taken a day off from work for what they call FUN!!
They are going to cycle a tough course! They are only riding the short distance(!!!)--72 miles! They began at 6:30 this morning in Spartanburg, and are riding up to Marion, NC. The other riders--even more crazy--will break in Marion and complete the ride up to Mt. Mitchell for a total of over 100 miles. This includes hairpin turns, and quads that must be screaming for relief!! Y'all think I'm looney for running long distances? These people are the crazy ones!! My word!! I'll let y'all know how it turns outs!! Have a great and FUN Monday!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Treasures in Jars of Clay

I'm linking up with Rhoda at Southern Hospitality today as she shares some wonderful yard sale treasures! You wouldn't believe some of the things that people will buy...and then turn around and sell! Not being a yard sale queen (that's prime running time on Saturday mornings, y'all!), I rarely get to find these bargains.

Our church is sending groups of missionaries to Peru and Tanzania this summer. To raise $$ for the Peru trip, the folks going sponsored a huge yard sale last weekend to raise support. Fun!! I found some really cool things! I have darling circa 1950's pin (precious on a denim jacket) for 50 cents. The other two items are above. That's where I NEED your decorating help!! The clay jar was only $8.00--ugly, but $8.00. What would you do to spice it up? Some black spray paint , maybe???? Then, would you stick anything in it? It's in the corner of my taupe hallway in front of a mirror. Next, we have the lovely tray with painted flowers for only $3.00. I heart this one especially! Should I put it on a wall in my study--that is STILL a work in progress. (One has to be at home in order to work on one's home!! I've been subbing like crazy! But I am not complaining... it's moolah to help decorate!) The colors are just right for the study. How do I attach it to a wall? I haven't seen plate hangers quite that large!! Iwould really appreciate your tips on these two treasures!!

I love the scripture that my title is based on, 2 Corinthians 4:7. It says "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." Back in the days of Jesus, people would actually conceal their treasures in clay jars. These jars had very little value and were usually not very pretty--just like mine from the yard sale! Because of this, people would hide their valuables in these pots because no one would be attracted to their beauty. In this scripture, these pots represent how frail and unworthy humans are. You tip them over, they will shatter into a million pieces. When we are hurt or distressed, we too might come apart into a million pieces. When we allow God to fill us with His love, strength, and beauty, these pots (ourselves) become strong because we rely on Him for His power. It's all about Him and not about us. We cannot do it alone.

This jar that decorates my home symbolizes God's all-surpassing power. It's a great reminder of my Savior each time I walk by. It's just ugly!! Help!

Many Blessings!

Monday, May 4, 2009

34 Miles of Perseverance

What do you get when you put 70 runners, beautiful trails, and lots of Gatorade together? The recipe for a great race! Now, throw in 95% humidity, temps in the 80's, and horseflies. Things get a little more interesting! I want to thank y'all for your prayers this weekend as we attempted and succeeded in running this ultra marathon out in the "boondocks" in South Carolina!

We were greeted by friendly folks and given directions on the trails to follow. People, do you think that I can remember which trail blazes(the colors on the trees determining which trail you are on) to follow hours after the start? No way! I just follow the pack of runners. Well, there was no pack! It was the three of us for the most part with a few other runners along the way. Y'all, I wish that I could have taken my camera with me to show you the beautiful pristine forest. It was like God had taken a paintbrush and used dark rich shades of green throughout. But, my camera would have been soaked in sweat! We also ran on horse trails--several surprises there (use your imagination!). The hills meandered along for miles and miles. We ran on gravel roads at times (painful). The aid stations (every 6.5 miles) were a blessing! Yummy cantaloupe and bananas were delicious and cool.
Now, to the nitty gritty. Susan and high humidity and hot weather do not mix. But, I had no other options. Warm Gatorade, cytomax, ulta, etc. is nasty anyway you look at it. But, it's very important to get these liquids in your bodies to keep you from dehydration. The electrolytes keep your sodium and potassium levels up. Forcing yourself to swallow is another challenge. Papaya enzymes are a wonderful little natural aid to keep nausea away. I enjoyed those little sweet tart like treats along the way.

After hours on the trail, I finally told Cheri and Heather to go ahead...they were so sweet to wait on me. We only had 5 miles to go. Surely, I could get back to the finish line by myself. (Plus, I had my pepper spray just in case I ran into any wild animals!!) So I ran, I walked, I drank. Repeat. I crossed over a stream...looking for the blazes. I found them and kept going...and going...and going! Only one runner had passed me a while back saying there were only 3 miles left. Surely, I was almost there. And then, I started to doubt myself. Was I really following the right colored blazes? I wasn't sure anymore. I replayed my steps--thinking carefully as to whether there had been another twist or turn I might not have seen. I literally stopped on the trail and prayed aloud to God to send me a sign to let me know if I was on the right path. I had very little water and just a drop or two of the nasty Gatorade left. All I could think of was my hubby getting a phone call from the race director telling him that his wife was somewhere out in the forest, and she'd let him know when the forest rangers found me!! Bless his heart!

I finally turned around and went back in the direction that I had just come from. I figured that I really did need to retrace my steps. I ran/walked about 1/2 mile when I saw something ahead. I was wearing my Ipod---love this equipment so much!! It had been playing softly since mile 15. It kept me focused so my mind didn't wander too much. Casting Crowns' "I Once Was Lost, But Now I'm Found" was the song playing as I saw two runners approaching me!! They yelled out," Why are you coming this way?? You were going the right way!" Y'all, is God awesome or what??? He sent me "earth angels" --very sweaty ones--to lead me to the finish line!! Oh, His timing is perfect. I told them that they were an answer to prayer!! Literally!! I was not far from the finish line when I turned around!! Friends were waiting at the top of the hill (Can you imagine, a HILL at the end of this race?!! Not very nice!) and cheered us on. What a relief! I completed my first ultra marathon in 8 hours and 42 minutes!! Woohoo! God is so good!!
Me, Heather, and Cheri showing off our medals! This was Heather's first ultra as well!
While running, I prayed for family and friends. I also ran this race in honor of Joy's Dad who is in the hospital. I wore the Canadian bandanna that Joy sent me. Every time I would feel yucky, I would remind myself that I had the ability to run this race. Not everyone can run or even walk. It is a privilege that we take for granted. One of the runners that we met on the trail, Mike, has a wife who is in a wheelchair. She is disabled and unable to be at races to support her husband. Although Mike had several hours of a drive back to his home in Georgia, he waited for us at the finish. Trail runners are nice people....crazy, but nice!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. James 1:2-4 This verse is one of my favorites. We face many different trials each day--from handling a child's meltdown to health issues to finances. As long as we put our faith and trust in the Holy One, we will persevere. We will make it and be stronger because of the trail taken. He is with us through every straightaway, curve, mud pit, downhill and uphill. He is waiting at the finish line cheering us on! Our Father loves us so much....much more than we can ever imagine!

Many Blessings!