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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Winter Run

Winter Run

Icy air, searing lungs

Cloudy breath, frozen nose

Time to think, dreams to make

Sleeping homes, empty streets

Sun kissed branches on naked trees

The world awaits the magical whisper of spring.

Though not a poet, I am making a stab at a poetical expression of the run this morning. It was 33 degrees, with a windchill of 29. The air burned my lungs as I breathed in and froze as I exhaled. And yet, the world was beautiful. The sun shone on the trees, and the world seemed to be waiting, asleep for a touch of magic. It made me think about how our lives run in seasons. We have times of passion and excitement (summer), times of quiet and peace (fall), times of barrenness and discouragement (winter), and times of new dreams and ideas (spring). I thought about how without the winter, the spring would have no beauty. It is in contrast to the barrenness of winter that spring displays its magnificent colorful explosion.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My top 10 Fitness Facts

1. Being skinny hurts - the needed workouts leave one painfully sore.

2. The amount of workout time required to lose weight is grossly underestimated in government studies (30 min 3 times a week, please.... not with my body)

3. You WILL need to pee every time you get way far from home on a long run - so plan runs that loop back by your house.

4. Falling off the treadmill makes everybody in the gym stare at you and guffaw with laughter. I know this for a fact.

5. Rule of thumb on healthy eating - if it tastes good, spit it out.

6. Losing weight is hard - it's like carving a masterpiece from stone with a dull spoon. Gaining weight it easy - it's like setting fire to gasoline.

7. When everybody goes left and you go right in dance class, pretend that you are right and they are all wrong.

8. Gym mirrors add at least 35 pounds. You are not REALLY that large.

9. Shirt length must be tested before working out. Nothing like a shirt that doesn't cover the white jiggly belly when I get my arms up over my head lifting weights.

10. The rocks in the sink at Nautilus Lady are supposed to be there for decoration. It's not a mistake. So don't take them all out and pile them off to the side while you wash your hands and then carefully return them to avoid getting them wet.

Seriously, I have to laugh at myself often to keep after this fitness stuff. I feel much better when I work out at least 5 or 6 days a week, but it sure is challenging for me. If it just wasn't so hard, it would be easy. But then where would the pride be in that, right?

I will say that having Grace as a new workout partner is fun. It is definitely more fun to go to the gym with someone else, and the alone time with me makes her feel special and loved. I have long prayed for someone to join me in my fitness quest. It has been an extraordinarily lonely journey the last 18 months. It's cool that God seems to be answering that request with my own daughter.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

God leads us home

I have a long, involved blog in the works on practicing the gift of hospitality and what it reveals about God's heart for his people. However, for tonight, I just want to share a verse I read this morning in Exodus 15:13, "With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home."

Last night I fell asleep discouraged about many things, but this morning I realized that God's leadership never fails. His love for me never falters or wavers, and it translates into leading me into his eternal presence. God is so hungry for a relationship with me (and you) that he sent Jesus to die for our sins. Then Jesus went back to heaven, to his home, to prepare a place for us to live with him. God is a hospitable God, making room in his home for his beloved people.

I kept this verse scribbled on a slip of paper on my desk today. When I was tempted to replay my doubts and discouragements from last night, I reread the verse and remembered that my ever loving, never failing God is leading me home where there is complete joy, peace, and rest. My only responsibility is to follow him as closely as I possibly can.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Women are Warriors

Warrior - the image that comes to mind is that of a brilliantly painted Native American, astride a proud horse, headed into battle. Or maybe a knight clad in shiny armor, riding away to slay the threatening dragon. However, strange as it may seem, recently I have recognized within my own heart, and the heart of other women, the heart of a warrior.

With great weariness one night, I complained in prayer about the amount of time in my life that I have spent struggling to improve relationships, attempting to vanquish evil from my home, and fighting uphill battles against impossible odds so that others can know success. It was a moment of selfishness in my prayer time, a moment of weakness, I confess.

God answered me in two ways: the first with a gentle reminder from scripture. Galatians 6:9, "So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." In a strange way I felt relief - obviously God knew that we would grow weary doing good and would need encouragement to persevere.

But the second answer was incredible: I saw that women are made to be warriors. God put within us the heart to knit our family together. We have the vision for unity and peace in our home. God has given us the perseverance to hold tight to our family and friends when they need stability. Women are brave. We leave fear and trembling behind to face down the wolves that come into our home and into our children's hearts.

I thought of women that I know, women that have sacrificed much so that their families could be whole. I thought of Biblical examples of women with warrior hearts - Abigail, Esther, Deborah, and Ruth. I realized that God designed us to desire the best for those closest to us. We see them not as they are, but as God intends them to be. This is not the same as wanting to change our mates or children (a recipe for disaster). This is encouraging, strengthening, loving, and supporting our family in a quest for God's heart.

When the nights are long, and my faith is weak, I want to remember that God designed me to be a warrior.

What woman has been a warrior in your life?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Monday Morning Update 1.2.11

As Shawn spoke today about the New Year, he reiterated our vision as a church to love God, love people, and rock the world. He spent most of the sermon giving examples of how to apply that vision on a personal level. I think his goal for our church of reading and living the Bible is huge. New believers need to read the Bible so they will know how to live a life of faith, and old believers need to read the Bible so they will continue to grow and change. I think if we all as believers try our best to live what we read, the world will be changed!

My own personal number one goal this year is to spend more time reading the Bible this year than I spend looking at people's business on Facebook. I confess that I love Facebook. I enjoy keeping up with old friends, making new friends around the world, discovering new ministry ideas, and just generally being "in the know." I am nosy. That's it - bottom line - I'm nosy. So when I wake up, the first thing I do is check to see if anything new happened while I was asleep.

This New Year's resolution happened, of course, while I was running the other day. (Well, it was a walk actually with a little jogging thrown in) While I was walking, I checked Facebook. That's when God spoke to my heart. "Why aren't you this interested in my status updates?"

What? God doesn't have status updates. That's silly.

Then God spoke, "Yes I do. In fact, I wrote a whole book. Read it." It made me look at things in a whole new light. I am so anxious to see what everybody else is doing in my life, why am I not that anxious to find out more about God? I was convicted when God showed me that I have lots more time for social media that I have for my Savior.

Back in October, I downloaded a chronological reading plan from YouVersion for my phone. I'm on Nov. 7 on the plan. Just a little behind. So I am going to start my day by reading God's Word before I check up on any of you. Because let's get real - God is way cooler than any of us!

What is your number one resolution this year? My challenge to you is that you will make it something with kingdom value.