Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Even though Mom has been born into eternal life, I still like to take the time to remember her on this day above all days. 

Though she is always in my thoughts and prayers, today reminds me of her strength.  A strength I hope to attain one day.  The sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face was there for those who needed it most, the sick, the struggling, the hurt, the lonely. 

Thank you for showing me how to love unconditionally, Mom.  On this Feast of the Archangels, I pray that you are happily sitting at the feet of Jesus and watching your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild grow into the sort of people you would be proud of.

I love you, Mom.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Grass Stains

In my last post, I mentioned how many "grass stains" I might have avoided if I had stayed on the sidewalk.  My mind has been wrestling this a bit this past week and while I still believe that God provides us the choice to walk a path of little resistance, I also believe that He loves us right where we are, no matter what grass stains we have picked up along the way and to top it all off, He brings the best blessings from our biggest stains.

There are several stains that I know I would never give back if given the opportunity.  These are the ones that I have learned the most from and have ultimately helped me to grow closer to Him.  These are the ones that have helped me to understand the perspective of someone else going through a similar situation and allow me to be more compassionate and accepting than I might have otherwise been.

Of course there are those "stains" I would love to give back.  Probably the ones that show my selfishness, my self-centeredness, my lack of humility, my lack of patience and understanding.  My ability to judge others with a horribly critical slant.  The list goes on and on.  But all is not lost.  I trust in His mercy and His forgiveness and I know that He will provide me more opportunities to move past these flaws into actions that are more loving.

Once I learn to embrace life's challenges with grace on a consistent basis, from the little annoyances such as a longer-than-enjoyable-grocery checkout line, to the larger ones such as broken air conditioners, illnesses, financial uncertainty, and more, I am assured that peace will abound in my life and the lives of those I love most.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Staying on the Sidewalk

Twice a week, I am at the local community college with my eldest son as he attends a dual credit class there.  He is under the age of 16, so I must be on campus in order for him to be able to attend the class.

Thankfully, for him, I do not have to sit in the class itself, merely be on campus.  Believe me, he breathed a huge sigh of relief on that one!

What this affords me is about 3 hours a week that I can head to the campus library and just soak up the quiet.  I typically perform highly exciting activities such as balancing my check book, grading papers, or wasting time on fb.

Lately, I have noticed a young lady, a student here, who comes into the library to wait for a ride home.  She happens to be blind and while some may find it awkward and unusual, I don't mind admitting that I stare at her the whole time she is there.  OK, stare isn't a "nice" word, so let's just say, I observe her.  That sounds better, doesn't it?

As I am observing her, I am intrigued at how well she gets around the place.  She uses a walking cane and is completely independent from any assistance.  Perhaps it is the OT in me that finds this amazing, but I do.  I love to watch how the human mind can adapt to most any given situation.  She is able to maneuver around everything in her way and while it may take it just a bit longer to get where she is going, she gets there and on her own power.

This past Monday, I was enjoying a cup of joe outside the library and had the opportunity to watch her exit the building.  Her ride must have come and she was heading to the parking lot to be driven home.  It was quite an incredible event to watch, er, I mean observe, her as she made her way down the sidewalks the entire way to the parking lot.  Using her cane as her guide, she was able to discover where the twists and turns were in the concrete pathways.  She came dangerously close to the edges of the sidewalks, to the point where a few times, I thought she was going to fall into the grass.  She did not.  Not even one time did she step off of the sidewalk.  She made several turns and even one turn that was actually a fork in the path complete with a huge metal light pole in the middle of the fork.  Without hesitation, and with her cane as her lead, she stepped with complete confidence in the direction she has memorized in her mind that will bring her to her destination.

All of this observation has left me something to ponder this week, and I thought I would share it here.  I am much like this beautiful blind young woman, with one exception.  I can see.  But sometimes I wonder if that isn't the true disability.  This young lady was so confident, so sure of her path, and she did not question her steps as she made her way to the parking lot.  Why is that?  It is because she trust what she knows.  She can't rely on what she thinks she sees coming at her.  She doesn't have that ability.  But she can trust what she knows.  The cane doesn't lie.  The map in her mind doesn't change.  And if she remains focused on her destination she will arrive safely and soundly.

I wonder how many times I have fallen off the sidewalk of my life because of what I thought I had seen coming towards me.  I wonder, if I had just trusted God as this young lady trusted her cane, knowing that He will never betray me, how many grass stains I could have avoided.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and that He can draw the best things from even the darkest of moments, but in order for that to happen, I must cooperate with Him and trust Him.  Much like the young lady with the walking cane.

He calls us to pick up our crosses and walk with Him.  He promises that His yoke is light.  Can I believe this, always?  I pray that I can and stay on the sidewalk.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Soup to Nuts

I have been feeling better, finally, after about 4 weeks on the iron.  Amazing what a little thing like iron being low can do to your entire being.  Fatigue and frequent illnesses as well as heart problems, a bit of depression and overall poor performance are how it had been affecting me.

I will admit that I have become lazy over the last few months in preparing proper nutritional fuel (aka REAL FOOD) for myself.  I am really the only hard core vegan in the house right now, although, everyone eats what we prepare, they grumble about how much they would prefer burgers or bacon or both.  Sometimes I miss them too.

So instead of putting energy into making food everyone will complain about, I make simple, fast meals for myself that usually are not as nutritionally dense as they should be, considering the amount of training I have been doing.  The result leaves me with an iron level too low to do what I love and little energy to care.

Fast forward a few weeks and I am finally feeling so much better.  I really didn't realize how bad I felt!  So I am investing a bit more time and effort into healthy foods that are vegan and gluten free.

I found a pretty awesome website, Vegan Coach, that I think, even if you aren't vegan, but want some ideas for how to prepare veggies, salads, and soups, you would be pleasantly surprised with the information she provides.

Today I made her Rustic Vegetable Soup.  It was wonderful.  I made it in the pressure cooker so that I could enjoy it for today's lunch.  It was worth the extra time to prepare it and as an added bonus, I now have a wonderful soup to eat everyday for the week!  That is unless I have to share... even my reluctant vegan son enjoyed it! 

I also made her nutrient-dense seedalicious topping for salads, soups, and even breakfast cereal.  It contains pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.  Very rich with Omegas 3 and 6 and 6 Fatty Acids.  I will serve it tonight with our salad and the cucumber-basil dressing I made. 

All in all, things are falling into place again with my nutrition and my running.  Finding that 'hard to find balance" and enjoying it! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Grace is what I have been feeling much of this week.  Since deciding to not "plan" my running out right now, it seems that it has become joyful again.  This is reflected in the nice increase in mileage that I have done only because I want to and not because a training plan dictates that I do.  I haven't had a fifty mile week in some time, and it feels good.

God's grace can only move in me when I allow it the room to do so.  I liken it to cleaning out the closest and bureaus around the home.  God can't bless us, if we hang onto every thing that crosses our path.  So I've ditched the training plans for now, which in turn forces me to give up the micro-management of every step I run.  It feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and not just in the area of my running.

I have also given up the control I only thought I had in other aspects of my life.  For now.  I tend to take it back again, but for this moment, I am working to discover what God is calling me to do in the situations I am trying to control.  I want Him to lead the way.  He promises that if we come to Him, He will give us rest.  If we take up His yoke, (work with Him instead of against Him) we will learn from Him and find rest, because His burden is light.  That is one awesome promise!

I am resting in this promise this week and I feel His grace.  It changes my eyesight...meaning, I see things from a different perspective and the view is much nicer than when I take matters into my own hands.

I mentioned earlier this week a new CD that I have been listening to on my runs.  There are many songs that touch my heart, but from the last song on the CD, these lyrics resonate long after my run is over...

"Bind up these broken bones...Mercy, bend and breathe me back to life." (Show Me by Audrey Assad)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

10 in 100 at 10

That's 10 miles in 100 mins at a 10:00/mile pace.  It looked funny all together on my log tonight.

I ran a nice and easy 10 this evening.  It was quite humid out there and compared to yesterday's miles done in the rain, the air felt heavier today. 

Our AC is finally fixed again.  Three weeks of tweaking the brand new unit will hopefully result in a happy household.  To say I've been a bit grumpy in my hot, humid home would be a bit of an understatement! 

Enjoying just getting out to run.  No real plans.  No real goals.  Just to enjoy what brings me peace.  I've been listening to a new artist, Audrey Assad.  Her debut album was recently released.  She has an amazing voice.  Her words speak for me.  I highly recommend this album as a must-buy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fun Run

Ran a nice little 6.5 mile run this evening.  Hermine, the quickly formed tropical storm turned hurricane,  formed in the Gulf sometime in the past 24 hours and I never knew.  I just thought we were have a few thunder showers today.  
Despite her accompanying humidity, the run felt good.  I ran Flintridge Hills, then looped back on Lake Woodlands throwing in a few fartleks to keep things interesting.  I enjoyed the run and welcomed the mind decluttering time.

Pace 9:05, coming in with negative splits. 


Seems I wrote about this particular topic a few months ago and committed to remaining consistent in my training no matter what to see what could happen.

Of late, actually since Captain Karl's disaster of a run, I have not remained consistent in any of my training.  I've run some long runs most weeks, but the weekday runs are getting harder and harder to get excited about.  My mileage has dropped along with my motivation to get those miles in.

Once I am out on the run, I feel great and look forward to my next run.  But then the next day comes around and I just can't believe how much I have to push myself to get back out there.  As well, by weight training and core workouts have all but vanished the last month.  I KNOW I need to do it, I just don't FEEL like it.

Not really sure what is going on.  I've been dealing with a few physical issues such as low iron and fatigue, but overall, I am injury-free and should be eating up this opportunity to run as much as possible.  I know that I am having to switch to morning workouts and I don't enjoy that.  I like to run in the evening.  It's a great way to unwind from the day and focus on goals for the future.  Running in the morning affords me the opportunity for other such wonderful things such as seeing the sunrise, praying first thing in the morning, and getting an early start on my day.  So why can't I embrace the switch?  No idea.

I also wrote a post a few weeks back about not making excuses, and I really am not making excuses here, just trying to keep things real.  I am in major need of some new motivation.  I bought some new music today to help inspire me to get out there.  Perhaps signing up for the race will spur my unwilling spirit, I just don't know.  I can't help but wonder if I am just not quite ready to take on the challenge that I have thought I have wanted for the past 2 years.  A hundred miles is a long way.  And before that 100 miles, there are many, many, many hours of training that must be logged.  The question for me is whether or not I am willing to commit to it or not.  I struggle with whether or not this is really where I should be putting my efforts.  And right now, I just don't know.