Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Texas Half in Pictures

Before the run

Mary stretching. Megan silly.

Mom freezing.

On your mark. Get set. Go.

The beginning.

After the run.

So excited!

Mom and Karen

My wonderful mother!

Before my shower.

After a nice, warm shower.

Home Sweet Home!

Are We There Yet?

Well, we did it! We completed our first Half-Marathon today and it was one of the neatest experiences i've ever had. This next statement will show you how truly nerdy I am, but yes - I almost cried.

We (Mom, Karen, Mary and I) got lost trying to find our hotel Friday evening - apparently someone thought it would be funny to hack into google map and send helpless women to the ghetto lost and all alone. (Okay... so maybe that's not what happened, but we did get lost.) Our directions lead us to a very scary neighborhood in Dallas where we ended up in a culdesac. You have reached your destination. Umm no - unless the Holiday Inn has changed since the last time we stayed there.

After about 45 minutes of driving around Dallas laughing we finally reached our "home" for the night. Come to find out we were the fifth guests to call and ask for directions claiming that google map sent us to the wrong location.

We ate a dinner full of CARBS, checked to make sure we knew where we were headed in the morning (since the directions can no longer be trusted), and then headed back to the hotel to get in the bed. When we pulled into the parking lot...... it started snowing.

And we all busted into laughter.

This evening just keeps getting better. I believe mom and Karen's comment was, "Yall have fun running in that!"

Thankfully we didn't wake up to snow... that would have been brutal. Although, when mom cranked the car it said - possible ice. To which we laughed again. Who's idea was it to run in January with a forecast of 29-40 degrees?

It was 28 degrees with a wind-chill of 16 degrees and there was ice on the ground along certain parts of the path. Mary is a hoss.... she didn't have on near as many layers as I did. Me? Six layers on my chest, two on my bottom. Amazingly, I was never cold and never hot. Perfectly insulated.

On a side note - you do not realize how many songs have the words run, running, keep going, hold on, or something similar. Around mile 8 I decided to turn on the iPod (which is very hard to do with it attached to your bicep while running at the same time... I'm sure I looked quite humorous) and the first song that came on had these lyrics -

You and I will run.... You and I will run, forever.

Slightly humorous, yet very appropriate.

It was a wonderful time of worship and it seemed like the right song came on just when I needed to hear it. He is good like that.... and has a sense of humor! :)

On mile 12 I heard Mary quoting scripture - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Made me laugh! My iPod was playing - 'cause I believe always, always, our Savior never fades. Even when all hope is gone, God knows our pain and His promise remains - He will be with You always! Very much appropriate again. That last mile can sneak up on you... especially when you're running into the wind. But we finished.

Our time ended up being 2 hours and 20 minutes. We weren't expecting to be done til' closer to three hours so mom and Karen didn't get to see us cross the finish line. Still we were so very excited and overwhelmed at what we had just accomplished!

Thank you, Lord, for this weekend and experience. You have blessed me with wonderful friends and family! Thank you so much for protecting my knees and giving us safe travel. You kept our bodies warm and surprised us with a quicker time than we expected! The laughter and memories formed were so much fun! We love You! And give You all the honor and glory!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Phil. 2:14

Do all things...

... without complaining.

All things? You mean everything?
So like never complain?

Deep breath.

Totally not sure i'm capable of that.

This verse has been on my mind for the past month. As I start my first real job there are also a lot of things that are on my heart. In a recent post I shared how I want to love what i'm doing. (Never dread coming to work in the morning. Not letting every word that comes out of my mouth be a negative one. etc.) When I think about work I don't think about the pay check that I get at the end of the month... honestly. My first thought is that I want to be passionate about what I do and I want to do it to the best of my ability. This is where God wants me and what He has called me to do so in a sense it's my life. I want to love it.... deep within my soul.

When you start working you start to build more relationships (especially in the education field). Some of those may be extremely positive and beneficial to you, while others have the possibility of stunting your growth if you let them.

Typically, I don't get mad; It takes a lot to make me angry. We even had an ice-breaker in one of our meetings where we had to make an acrostic for another employees name and my boss wrote down Never Gets Angry for the /n/ in my name. I don't say that boasting, I say it to prove a point (for myself personally)....

I think growing up I had problems making friends and building relationships, and I was definitely insecure in a lot of areas. Unconsciously, I started finding what people wanted to hear in order to have something to talk about. (Can we say acceptance?) All that to say... things really don't bother me, but if I know that you like to listen to negative, juicy things then that's probably going to be my first attempt to connect with you. It'll be something we can talk about instead of standing in awkward silence or me opening up to you. How crazy and stupid does that sound?

I can remember people asking me "how are you?" and my response would be "my stomach hurts" then i'd think - what? my stomach hurts? no it doesn't? why in the world did I just say that?

It took me a while to realize that somewhere along the way this was my way of dealing with my extremely shy personality and insecure qualities. I always had a response ready to give someone without even realizing it. Why couldn't I just be me? Was I afraid it wouldn't be enough? Who knows?

The Lord brought this to my attention my senior year in college and He dealt with me. Thank goodness. But I still see little instances where it comes up at work. I don't want to be that person. Especially since it doesn't reflect how I truly feel down deep. I have to be intentional when it comes to my words and thoughts.... end of story.

So since I really enjoy my job and even like the people I work with - why don't I make a point to reflect on the positive instead of constantly pointing out the negative just because so in so will listen or wants to talk about it. Think about how much happier the environment would be, not to mention, how much more enjoyable that type of person will be. Free. Cheerful. Positive. Pleasurable to be around. Encouraging.

It all starts with my relationship with the Lord. When i'm complete in Him, satisfied with who He made me to be, and when i accept myself then I won't need to find my approval from others. My thoughts will change which will in turn change my conversation.

I guess what i'm trying to say is I want to honor the Lord... not just with my actions, obedience, and how hard I try, but even with my thoughts and words. I don't do it to please men... those are not my intentions at all. My desire is to please Him. Be like Him. Know Him. So i'm going to accept my weakness and allow the Lord to be my strength.

I want to be intentional with my words. I want to do all things without complaining. Choose not to say the negative. Was there really ever the need to voice it at all and did anything beneficial come from it? More than likely no.

Thank You for revealing truth to me. Your Word is alive and active. Keep me aware of who You want me to be. It's all for my good and I want every part of it. I love You.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I want you to meet my Grandma Billie!

I've mentioned her a few times here and there on my blog, but never provided a picture. It seems like the older I get the more my mom shares with us about her life.... and the more I share about how I wish I could have met her. It's amazing that you can miss someone you've never actually met.

The other day at work I shared with my mom a story i've never shared with anyone. My brother did a history fair project over my grandmother's life and how she invested her time here on earth (he even went to the state level) and the board (with all her pictures) is actually still set up in the music room in our house. It's been in there since the day he brought it home in Middle School. I remember growing up I would go in there and sing to her.... and that may sound extremely odd, but I did. It was like I would practice my little heart out and I would pretend that she was listening. And it was almost as if I didn't even realize that I was doing it, until one day it hit me and tears filled my eyes as I stared at her picture. I guess that's the part of me that feels like I know her even though I don't. Mom even found a tape a few years back of her singing. It was neat to actually hear her voice!

While we were watching tv my mother mentioned that today marked 30 years since she passed away. We miss her. We love her. And I never tire of hearing about her life.

Thank you, Lord, for my mother and for allowing her to still be a part of my life. She is a strong woman. I thank you for her love and how much time she invested in to her children's lives. She gave her all when it came to being a mother and I love her so much. Keep me aware of my words and put me back into my place when I get impatient and don't treat her like I should. May my actions show her just how much I love and appreciate her. I lift her up to you this evening. Bless her Lord.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pressing On

Well, we made it 8 miles today. Finishing the race is our main goal, but it is fun to see what the time ends up being when we're done. Today we were able to do eight miles in 89 minutes.

While we were running we were discussing all that we have learned through this training. First off, God is good. He created our bodies and all that we are able to do. Secondly, our minds are a lot stronger than we ever give credit. Three years ago my dad used running to try and show me that my mind was stronger than I realized. He was successful in doing so and I've never forgotten that lesson. Third, friends are a must and help you keep going when you want to give up. And finally, when you push through pain and tension it eventually dissolves and you are strengthened. You will not get any stronger unless you push through it. Then, and only then, will you train your body and strengthen your muscles.

There have been many times where I've seen a parallel with our spiritual lives to running.
  • God is good. He created us. He knows what we are capable of and never gives us more than we can handle... even when we think we can't make it one more step.
  • One of the hardest battles in life is the mental battle we face... our minds are a lot stronger than we ever give credit - thank You, Lord Jesus.
  • The Lord created us as relational beings and has blessed us with friends who provide encouragement when we desperately need it.
  • And there will be tension applied to our spiritual lives, but when you hold on, trust Him, and push through those moments you will be strengthened and increase your faith. The enemy will tell you that what you believe is a lie and could not possibly be and you will feel incredibly vulnerable, but the Lord will bring you through it and you'll come out as a stronger individual.

So let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us... and press on to reach the end to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Run in such a way that you may win.
(Heb 12:1, Phil 3:14, 1 Cor. 9:24)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Transparency - Fear to Freedom

I'm scared.

I'm scared that I won't be able to love anyone. You know, without doubting and freaking out every second.

I'm scared that he won't turn out to be who I thought he would be. That he'll be a bad person and not good for me. That i'll only be attracted to bad guys.

I'm scared that you'll take them away when something does work out.

And since i'm scared... I admit it to You.

Because in that place is where I will find freedom. And maturity.

He already knows it all... but we take steps toward our freedom and peace when we admit it, not only to ourselves, but openly to Him. Remove your hand from behind your back and show Him what you are holding on to. Release your death grip and trust Him, the only One who knows how to set you free, to take care of it.

I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand and say to you, "Do not fear, I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

Our God is not a god of fear. Fear comes from the enemy. That thing you fear could be the one thing the Lord wants to set you free of and use in your life. Don't let the enemy have that. (Priscilla Shirer)

I believe with all of my heart that You are able to set me free from my fear of relationships. You have already begun. I believe that You will bring us together and sustain me with Your peace. I believe that You will help me love... and that I am capable. You have proven yourself faithful even when You didn't have to. And so I share openly with my friends what I shared with You a month ago. I want to be real with You, myself, and others.... I don't want to hide what may be a help to someone else. Thank You for bringing me to this place. I trust You. And I praise You now for the day when I will meet him. Prepare me and heal me so that I can be the wife that he needs - the wife you intend for me to be. You are good!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Honeymoon Is Over

Well, public school started back this week and my body was very angry at the sleep habits that were formed over Christmas break. I'm pretty sure I took about 3 naps this week and one of those was over two hours long. Hopefully i'll be able to get back into a routine of going to sleep around 10 PM so that i'm not a walking zombie trying to control kindergartners.

It was kind of a rough week.

I've finally reached the point to where my job is no longer new. I knew that it would eventually come and I think, secretly, I was dreading when that day would occur. I took the risk of writing a post about a month ago explaining how much I knew this is where God wanted me, the passion He had given me for these kids, and all that He was teaching me while in this position... but there was a part of me all along that wondered if He brought me to this place for the sole reason to set me free from a few things that were burdening me just to turn around and set me in a different direction months later. I knew that that was a possibility when I started pursuing this path, but I knew that He was telling me to walk through the open door in front of me whether or not it lasted for a year or 10 years. And to trust Him with every outcome and every unknown. I've wondered many times if I would really teach for the rest of my life or if it was just a stepping stone He used in my life. It was definitely a turning point in my life and strengthened my faith, but the future is unknown... next year is unknown. Will I teach somewhere? Will I love it? I don't know the answers, but thankfully, I trust that He'll lead and take care of me.

I guess I just want to love what I'm doing. The thought of being one of those people who complains about their job everyday and dreads getting up in the mornings is so unappealing to me. The idea bothers my soul. That's just part of who I am.

So if you will pray for my attitude, heart, and work ethic the remainder of the year. I'm a little burnt out. Sometimes it gets extremely old doing every one else's work, their way - I can't even do it the way I think it should be done.... it's their class, their lesson plans, their ideas. With my over-analyzing, extremely logical, organized personality sometimes it's hard to carry through with their plans. I suppose He is teaching me something there. :)

I am still so very thankful for my job and I enjoy it. I'm just ready for the next step I guess. But I wait patiently for His timing.

I love You, Jesus. I love You.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year

It's always exciting to wake up to a loud banging sound, only to find that it's your father playing drums on the Rock Band. Signs of a good day. And then what's even more thrilling is to see this when you walk into the Media Room...

Yes, you are correct. He not only went downstairs and got a microphone stand, but he is determined to play drums while singing at the same time. Let me just show you how that turned out...

My friend Mary asked me to run in a half marathon with her at the end of January and for some reason I agreed. In my mind I was thinking oh, what the heck... if I can go 3.5 miles in 12 days then surely I can go 13 miles. All I have to do is keep going. Right? Wrong. Never did it occur to me that my body would shut down and say no deal after about mile 6. We're starting to think that maybe we are out of our minds. We may get to week four, attempt 13 miles, and realize that we were extremely crazy! However, we are running and training as if we're going to participate in this half-marathon at the end of the month. All that said, today we ran 5.5 miles - in one hour. I like to think that's highly impressive :) although my poor body was screaming why, Megan, why!!!

Dad joined us for the run today. He was singing You can't front on that, Say whatcha whatcha whatcha want, and many other humorous things. I was non-existent for the first mile and a half, then my breathing leveled out and I was good to go. We found our groove and were able to converse while finishing the last 2 or 3 miles. When we finished we stopped for a few minutes to stretch and when I started to walk again my legs were still in gear to run. It was as if my legs decided to take off at a very fast rate, while the upper half of my body stood firm. If you've never had that happen before it's definitely interesting! So here's to 13 miles in 29 days... and the amazing bonding time we'll have together! I wouldn't want to attempt (and possibly conquer) this with anyone else than my sweet Mary Carol!

Happy New Year!!!!

(Just in case you can't make out the video - Katie Jo and I are wishing you a Happy 2010!!)