Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Raisin' the White Flag

                            Stick a fork in it...

The fat lady is singin'...

                            Raisin' the white flag...

However you want to say it, this girl has to stop.

I've spent the last eighteen weeks doing my dead-level best to be able to run this marathon Nov. 18.  The last three weeks have been giving everything to trying to recover from an injury that is keeping me from running without extreme pain.  My chiropractor, Dr. Lanny Stanley, (who I absolutely cannot say enough good things about), has worked even harder than I have, I think, to get me back on the road.  And it will happen - but not on Nov. 18.

I have to take care of this injury and apparently, I can't do it and keep trying to run at the same time.

I am focusing on active recovery, core training, and picking another marathon for some time next spring - and we'll try this again.  I'm not willing to give up the dream, but I have to put it on hold.

I'm disappointed, I'm sad, I'm frustrated, at moments I'm angry, but today -- this I know --

I'm done.

Here's another thing I know - even more so:  This is very much a first-world-middle-class problem.  I'll get over it.  I'll get better - I'll move on.

It has enabled me to raise awareness for a problem that is not a first-world-middle-class problem - human trafficking.  That, I will not be raising any white flags on.  And I hope you won't either.  We have to care for the marginalized and the forgotten.  We cannot let people forget.  Your niche may not be human trafficking - it may be fostering, or adoption, or homelessness, or clean water, or extreme poverty, (unfortunately, the list is endless) but we cannot forget those that society wants to turn their eyes from.

So if you still want to give to help OATH for the miles I ran, here it is:  276 miles.

And here's the link to give.  My body giving out on running is no reason for us to give out on being part of a change, right?

If you're just now hearing any of this, you can look here for info on OATH, read stories, see what they do and how you can help in other ways besides giving money.

God calls us to "act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God."

I can't stop doing that - we can't stop doing that - no matter how much it hurts.


And one other thing I want to say - thank you, thank you, thank you, to those of you that have encouraged me, cheered me on, and especially prayed for me and over me (literally, in some cases) both from the beginning of this journey and especially over the last three weeks.  Y'all are awesome. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Granny & Green Beans

I picked the first of our green bean harvest today.  I'm so excited about this.  We haven't had a garden at all in several years, and we've never planted green beans.  
It brings back so many memories for me.  It's probably the reason I like them, more than the actual beans themselves.  They're pintos, which I've never seen at a farmer's market or the produce department, but they have always been my favorite green beans.

My grandparents had a huge garden on their farm when I was a kid (and forever before that as well) and all the kids and grandkids would come in together when it was time to harvest corn or green beans and work together to get the job done and everything stored.  I have so many good memories of those days.  I know we (the grandkids) did lots of complaining about the work of it, and I'm sure we were often more of a hindrance than a help to our parents, but I'm glad we all did it together - I'm glad for the memories - I'm glad for the things it taught me.

One of my strongest memories of my grandmother is her sitting at the dining room table with her chair turned sideways, feet propped up, looking out the window right next to her, as she snapped beans.  She spent hours and hours there in her lifetime.  I so wish I had a picture of her doing that.  

She was one of the hardest working, most patient homemakers I've ever seen.    She spent her whole life caring for her family, her kids, her grandkids, friends, their farm hands.  She cooked more food in her lifetime than most of us would cook in a multitude of lifetimes.  She farmed, harvested, cleaned, canned, froze, washed, cooked, and cleaned again - and I do not have one memory of her complaining.  She had to have at some point - because she was human - but she certainly was not characterized by it.

I've really got nothing profound to say, except I just wanted to share that with y'all.  Picking that little dab of the first of our crop brought back so many memories - a little bit of that  just needed to be shared.  :)  

If you're in our LifeGroup, you may just get to eat some green beans in the next few weeks!

What are some of your favorite childhood memories?

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Choose Joy.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

I have a husband that couldn't be special-ordered to be any better fit for me.

My children are amazing - each one makes me prouder than I can even express.

We have a home, where people are welcomed and enjoyed.

Our extended families are all close by, and I couldn't be happier about that.

I have some of the dearest, best friends I could ask for.

We have a loving community of believers to live life with.

We just re-shaped our LifeGroup, and it looks like it's going to be amazing.

All my children sing like angels, and I get to hear them sing all the time!

Our bills are paid and there is food in our fridge.

I have two goofy dogs, that make me laugh.

I feel safe, loved, and cared for.

God has put others around me to minister both with and to.

I am healthy.

I have a job that I enjoy and that helps our family reach their goals.

I have a car to get me to that job.

I have been able to home educate each of our children and would not trade that for anything.


This list could go on forever, because our God is so good to us.  

Nearly everything on that list I can also flip around and find a negative on days that I'm so inclined to look for the negative. 

But, today --

I'm going to choose thankfulness.  

I'm going to choose blessing.

Today, I'm going to choose joy.  

What are you choosing to consider joy today?

Friday, October 5, 2012

When I Grow Up

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We ask little kids that question all the time.  I asked my teenagers this as they've prepared to leave our nest and head into the world.

Pushing really close to the half way mark of a century, I'm still wondering about the answer to that question for myself.  Not sure I have the answer yet, but a few things I do know:

- I want to challenge myself.  I don't want to settle in and sit in a rocker on the front porch and watch life happen.  How do I do that?  Practically, here's part of it:

I run.  I was never athletic growing up - quite the opposite, but I've learned I'm capable of much more than I ever dreamed, if I'll push.  I want to keep finding ways to better myself, get stronger, accept more challenges.  So I'll keep pushing - hopefully, until someone digs a hole and y'all push me in it. :)

I read.  A lot.  And while I read all kinds of books, I like to occasionally push myself with something a little harder.  -- Right now I'm reading Les Miserables - pretty sure that's what I'll still be doing when y'all dig that hole I mentioned earlier :) --  I want to keep learning.  I want to better myself professionally.  I want to pursue national certification - as daunting a task as that seems right now.

I interact.  My personality says to be a hermit, but I know, from first-hand experience, that's a bad route to take.  So I force myself to keep developing friendships, building bridges.  I've made some amazing friends pushing myself in this area.

- I want to make a difference.  I want to know that people's lives are better because I was here.

I want to know I've made a difference in the lives of my family and I know without a doubt that's the biggest reason we're here- there is no greater calling than to invest wisely and well into the lives of our children.  But as huge and important as that task is for us as parents, I believe there's more.   I want my kids to see that it's also about reaching out beyond our family unit and helping to be part of bigger change.  I want them to take risks, so I must take risks.

We have friends that have adopted, and started all over, when they're right on the verge of an empty nest.  We have friends that foster and experience the heartbreak that brings over and over and over again.  We have friends that invest all that they are in the poor and the homeless.  We have friends that have given up the luxuries of America to reach a people group that may not be reached otherwise.  Because they want to make a difference - they love - they take risks.

If you've read anything I've written, you know my heart is broken over human trafficking, so I continue to seek where God can use me in that area.  Right now, it's with fund raising.  Once again, I beg you to consider joining me in my marathon to raise money for O.A.T.H.  Look them up.  Read the stories on their page.  Let it break your heart - and be part of the change.

Andy Stanley says, "Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone."  That's my heart right now - my very specific prayer.  That God would lead me to one that I could invest in - pour into and help bring change to their individual life and to the generations that will follow them.


Now at this point I'd like to offer a disclaimer, lest those who don't know me well think I have it all together. There are days when I never get out of my pajamas, refuse to answer the phone, alternating between NCIS marathon and chick flicks, and eating chocolate and potato chips;  when my family has to step over my lump of a body to fend for themselves in the kitchen.

But I want the trajectory of my life to be moving forward - to be telling a story...


- I want to write a good story.  I want my life to tell a story that only God could have written.

This one's up to Him.  I want to keep my heart open, my courage high, my life flexible to whatever He says do.  I know His story will be way better than mine.

I want His story.

What are you doing to write a good story? (And I'd really like to hear from you on the answer to that question - when we challenge each other, we all write a better story.)

BTW - here's a freebie - If you haven't read A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller.  Find it somewhere and read it.  If that doesn't light a fire under you to let your life tell a good story, nuthin' will. :)