Meditation: 4.22.2014

The scenery along my run this morning caught my attention and brought to mind the satisfying, comforting words of Matthew 6.

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If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers- most of which are never seen-don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?  (Matthew 6)

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Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than the birds.  (Matthew 6)

 

Run: Green Low Oxalate Smoothie

I’ve been logging some miles lately, getting ready for a couple of races coming up. At the same time, I’m changing up some things in my diet – for performance and well, because my doctor tells me I have to.😦 I have some kidney issues, so I am in mourning for my beloved Coca Cola, my coffee, and even spinach! Gotta stay away from all of those!

Prior to this, David and I (mostly David) have been using the NutriBullet. It’s a faster, less messy, cumbersome alternative to juicing, and we have been pretty happy with it so far. But spinach has been one of our “go-to” ingredients. But now I am faced with staying away from greens with high oxalate content, this includes spinach and kale, mainstays for green smoothies and juices! So today I looked for some alternative green juice/smoothies that would fit my needs. What I found was arugula was a good way to go – I like it with its peppery taste, and it goes well with fresh OJ, which just happens to be something I need more of for the citrate content. So tonight I’m sipping my new green smoothie for dinner, and I really like it! It’s a combination of a few other recipes I found. Here it is if you want to give it a try!

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Green Low Oxalate Smoothie

  • 1 cup arugula, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 ripe pear, cored
  • 1/4 inch sliced fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp walnuts
  • 4 ice cubes

Mix it all up in the NutriBullet and enjoy!

Meditation: Lenten Fast

photo-20The season of Lent has begun – yesterday was Ash Wednesday. I’m beginning with reflection, and stepping back to take a broader view. I’m thinking about Isaiah 58, and this thought shared by Lynn Hybels yesterday: “…the way that belief and behavior are formed over time is complex; but it is clear that the way we live shows what we believe.”

Isaiah 58

Shout and tell my people what’s wrong with their lives.

They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.

To all appearances they’re a nation of right living people-

law abiding, God-honoring.

But the kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.

Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:

Humbling yourselves by going through the motions, bowing your heads, covering yourselves with ashes.

Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?

No, this is the kind of fast day I’m after:

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;

lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free,

and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry,

and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them.

Be available to your own families.

Do this and the lights will turn on, the God of glory will secure your passage.

Then when you pray, God will answer.

You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, “Here I am.”

Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.

Then your light will shine out from the darkness,

and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.

The Lord will guide you continually,

giving you water when you are dry

and restoring your strength.

Run: Run for Rosemarie

Next Saturday I’ll be running my first race since the half marathon in January – the 32nd Armadillo Run in Oldsmar, Florida! And I am sooo happy to be running with my long time girlfriend, Michaela, in honor of her precious mother, Rosemarie, who passed away in December. I have had the honor of meeting Michaela’s mom and dad and sisters, and was struck right away by how much they love each other and enjoy each other. So this race for me is in honor of my sweet friend Michaela, and the beautiful relationship she had with her mom. No doubt Rosemarie was a special woman, and just reading her tribute below inspires me in many ways!

Rosemarie and Michaela

Rosemarie and Michaela

In addition to raising five girls, she was also the office manager of her husband’s orthodontic practice for many years. Rosemarie was an avid seamstress and owned her own knitting and sewing shop for a number of years. One of the biggest turning points of her life was her recommitment to the Catholic Church. She was a dedicated member of Incarnation Catholic Church and more recently, of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church. She was passionate about sharing her faith with those around her and had an impact on many.

During her life, Rosemarie overcame many difficulties, including growing up in post-war Germany in extreme poverty. Moreover, she suffered the loss of her first husband, Stanley, and shortly thereafter, her younger brother, Wolfgang. After meeting Marshall while he was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany, the two married and moved to the States. This transition was extremely challenging; however, Rosemarie eventually came to embrace the American culture and officially became a United States Citizen in the year 2000.

Her battle with cancer was not her first near-death experience. Rosemarie experienced and miraculously survived two ruptured brain aneurysms, in 1987 and 2004, with no adverse consequences. After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, she bravely endured multiple sessions of chemotherapy and radiation and was declared cancer-free in February, 2013. Unfortunately, however, the cancer returned shortly thereafter and later metastasized to her brain. During her last weeks, she was surrounded by her family, her beloved pet Boxers, Benson & Brandi, and many friends who delighted in her great wit and sense of humor, brilliant mind, enduring faith, and love of all people.

One of the best pieces of advice I could give anyone who is beginning to run races, is to have a purpose beyond a distance or a time, and know your purpose well. I have found that it has made my race day a celebratory experience no matter what the clock at the finish is showing!

Lessons From a Mentor: Change in Seasons

I’m toying with the idea of a new series/category here, called “Lessons From a Mentor.” From time to time I recall valuable insight from those who have poured into my life, and think it’s so good, it needs to be shared! So we will see where this goes.

Let me introduce you to Lindy Black, a woman who had a big impact on my life beginning with my days at Auburn University. Back then, Lindy and her husband Vic were the campus staff for the Navigators. There are so many of us that they loved and opened their home to, and poured their time and heart into. Today, Lindy and Vic are in Colorado Springs – Lindy as Associate U.S. Director for Navigators and Vic as the U.S. Prayer Director.

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I received so much from Lindy in many areas – as a woman, as a mom, as a follower of Jesus, as a model of investing your life in other people. All of the insight she shared with me through those years, would never have affected my life so much, were it not in tandem with her inviting me into her life and allowing me to watch her learn, adjust, transition, grieve, celebrate, etc…

One particular lesson I have taken to heart in a deeper way recently, had to do with her children who were pre-teens and teenagers. Lindy had always been heavily involved in planning, leadership, and one on one discipleship, in the Auburn Nav ministry, investing so much in college women. But a time had come for Lindy to share with us that she would continue to be involved, but it would likely be to a much lesser degree. She was evaluating her time and commitments in light of her children. And I have never forgotten how she explained it. “My children are no longer little. They don’t need me to help them get dressed, and tie their shoes. And you would think that means they need me less. But what I am sensing is actually the opposite. The need is more – they need me to be AVAILABLE. It is difficult to thrive and cope with the ups and downs of junior high and high school, and those difficult times are hard to anticipate. But when they happen, I need to be there, and the only way to do that is for me to create space in my life for when those times happen. To be with them, to listen, to cheer them on, to be there for them to lean on. So I won’t be as available in Nav ministry, but I will be more available for my children whenever they need me.”

When she shared this, I was nowhere near marriage or having a family of my own. But it made a big impact on me I suppose not being that far removed from the age of her children myself. And I knew what she meant. She was paying attention to the seasons changing in her life, and she was adjusting to love her children well. And now all these years later, with children 11-16 years old, I find myself in a similar moment in my life, making similar adjustments. I am making more margin to be present for my kids for whatever the need may be, but the trade off is that I have a lessened presence in the lives of others. I’m still available, but my capacity is just different. It is an adjustment for me and for the people I love, but it is a change that I am 100% sure of. I know that this is a season, and that the pendulum will swing back at some point, but for now this is right. And I’m just as sure that God is more than sufficient for us all. He was before. And He hasn’t changed.

For the Lord God is our sun and shield. ~Psalm 84:11

I’m so thankful to Lindy for allowing me to watch her wrestle, adjust, and walk in faith!

Meditation: Matthew 5

This is believed to be where Jesus taught the disciples overlooking the Sea of Galilee

This is believed to be where Jesus taught the disciples overlooking the Sea of Galilee

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:1-9

Run: What’s Next

Since my epic first half marathon I have:

  1. Eaten like a horse.
  2. Rested my tired body from any exercise.
  3. Reflected that I can’t believe it happened, and enjoyed my memories many times over.
  4. Thought about what, if anything, I want to do as far as running now.

I’ve said this before, running is therapy for me. It helps me deal with frustration and sadness. It helps me have clarity about what I value, my priorities, and it helps me think about what I need to do. It helps me think through what I don’t need to do. And it’s helping me with my blood pressure. So I’m really tuned into what physical activity does for me. In the past when I have hit a goal running, I’ve lost my motivation or my mojo and then fallen off for extended periods of time. But this time as I went along, I did a lot of mental work as well as training, so my mindset is clear and positive. Definitely freed and looking forward to continuing on.

My “plan” right now is to continue with the Hal Higdon running model of running 3 days during the week, and 1 longer run on the weekend. But I’m also going to do some other things that I just want to do…like mountain biking, getting out in my kayak, yoga, hiking, and a little bit of Insanity. But just a little, because well, it IS insane. I would love to do a race of some kind once a month, and I’d love to do it in honor, celebration, or support of someone or something I care about. Here’s where I’ll be racing in the next few months:

  • February 22 – PurpleStride Birmingham, AL. This race is to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. My grandfather passed away from pancreatic cancer when I was a little girl. My first real memories are of my summers spent with him on Western Lake in Florida. He is a large figure in my life, so this one’s for him!
  • March 8 – 32nd Armadillo Run 5K, Oldsmar FL. I’ll be running this one with a dear friend, Michaela, in memory and honor of her amazing mom that she lost to cancer last month. We’re trying for a sub 30 minute 5K!
  • April 18 – Light Up Columbus 10K, Columbus, GA. I’ll be running this one in honor of my friend Tami’s son, who is an amazing boy living with autism.
  • May 11 – Callaway Gardens Duathlon, Pine Mountain, GA. 5K, 30K, 5K. This one I’ll be doing just for me, and I loooove Callaway Gardens.

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Run Sixty Feet Auburn – We Did It!

The RunSixtyFeet Auburn Team!! They are awesome!

The RunSixtyFeet Auburn Team!! They are awesome!

Well…we did it! It’s 2 days after the half, and I still cannot believe it happened! I doubt you peeps are as interested in all the details as I am, so I will try to sift through it to what I think you would be interested to hear.:)

First of all, it was 25 degrees. It was freakin’ cold. But that didn’t squash our spirits. We were revved up and ready to go. All in all, there were 7 of us – Lindsey ended up having to scratch the day before due to a knee issue. She is headed into competition season for show choir and just couldn’t risk a real injury that would prevent her from competing. I was definitely bummed for her, she was very torn. But it was the right decision.

So I’ve mentioned before I’m a slow runner, and when the race got started, they left me in the dust! I realized I was going to be running this by myself so I settled in with my earbuds to get to work. I reminded myself of why I was doing this, and what I hoped to get out of this for myself. And as I shared before, I had received so much encouragement and love in the last days leading up to the race. I decided that this for me was going to be a celebration…a long, sweaty, exhausting celebration :)…of all the love in my life, the hope, and the completion of the work of preparation. I didn’t want to push for some time goal. I wanted to savor the experience. I wanted to encourage other people along. What can I say, I just felt joy! And I was so focused on celebrating and joy, that I almost missed this!

My very own cheer squad that rallied me all along the way!

My very own cheer squad that rallied me all along the way!

Do you have any idea how seriously weird it is to be running along in your own little world and come up on a sight like this? I’m not even talking about their costumes. I mean, who is prepared to randomly see some ginormous picture of themselves stationed on the side of the road?? My first thought when I saw it, “Hey, that person in that picture looks familiar!” Seriously, nobody expects that. But how awesome! Ashley and Becky concocted this plan and executed it to perfection. Several fellow runners threatened to try to steal them from me to be their own BFFs.:) I was so lucky to have had them and David and my kids show up several times along the race course to cheer me on, to lift my spirits when I started to struggle. It was amazing! I decided at the first cheer station, that every time I came by my family or friends, I would stop to hug, high five, whatever…I wanted to celebrate with them every time!

This course (at least to me anyway) was hilly. The last 2 miles were hard, I’m not gonna lie. And when I realized that in some sick twist, I wouldn’t be hanging a left at Samford & Donahue and headed back to the Ag Barn for the finish, but instead continue on down Samford toward the Intramural Fields, I mentally broke down. I broke down because I knew what was coming, one final ridiculous hill to end the race. I cursed the course designer. I thought about crying. But I kept going. I had to walk a portion of that final hill – I thought I might have a heart attack. And then I rounded the corner and into the finish corral, and there was my crew. So, more high fives, more hugs, and oh yeah, let me run across the finish line.:)

It was awesome! I was spent! I was loved! I was happy! I wouldn’t change one thing about it…well maybe just that last hill. And our team did a great job of getting attention for Sixty Feet. We had fantastic race shirts that stood out, and at the end of the race, we were able to share with the local newspaper about who we were, why we were running, and what Sixty Feet is all about. So good! And yes, I’m looking forward to doing another half hopefully this year. Only one requirement. A nice, flat course.:)

My favorite race backdrop. Only wish I had a snap by the Cam statue!

My favorite race backdrop. Only wish I had a snap by the Cam statue!

That's right, I dominated.

That’s right, I dominated.

David's buddy Cole came down from TN to run with us. Good guy, that Cole!

David’s buddy Cole came down from TN to run with us. Good guy, that Cole!

Thank You

The other day I went to visit with my friend Walter*(not his real name) at a local long-term care facility. Walter hasn’t been feeling well in the past week and hasn’t felt like leaving his room much and doing his normal things so we just spent time talking and laughing. He always wants to hear about what my family has been up to, so I run through the list of things each of us is doing, and sometimes what we are struggling with. I told him a few weeks ago that I was training for this half marathon, so on this visit I told him that my training was complete and the race would be in a few days. I shared with him about the children in Uganda that I am running for and what their life is like. Walter spent a big part of his adult life traveling the country, and I’ve learned that he has a big heart for people, for God, and to experience the world, so hearing about these children and the work of Sixty Feet was particularly connecting with him. He paused for a couple of seconds, and said quietly, “I believe you can do it. I really do.”  You know, that just stopped me in my tracks. I know that I will never forget that. Not because I needed that push to accomplish this goal, but because I heard in his voice his belief in me, and his affection and love for me.

I have truly been overwhelmed, amazed, and filled up with encouragement in the last couple of days, and it is sort of hard to believe. From aquaintances, close friends, family. It has blown me away.

photo-8Moment of honesty here: Receiving so much of this encouragement and love usually triggers some shame – like oh wow, what does this say about me? I shouldn’t need all this! But you know, I’ve been learning a lot about acceptance these days. Acceptance of myself as I am, acceptance that I am loved, that I am worthy of the encouragement and affection of friends. So I’ve just sat with this – this lavishing of love – and you know, I am happy. And I’m grateful. For these beautiful people in my life. And the wonderful way that I am loved by them, and that God uses them transform me.

So, to Walter…to Becky…to Ashley…to Tina…to Amy…to Jason…to James…to Kristen…to Jamie…to Susan…to Rebecca…to Katie…to Shelly…to Lindsey…to Ben…to Erin…to David…

Thank you. Just thank you.

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Running Stuff I Like

This morning I did my last training plan run before the half marathon! Woohoo! This is actually a blessed low mileage week leading up to the event, so I’ve been really enjoying that, and I’m totally looking forward to no running the next two days. In case you don’t know, I am not a natural at this running gig. I am a running non-runner. It has been work every day, every step of the way. So, yes, I am going to enjoy the next couple of days!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a few people ask me about what I’ve done, what kind of gear, etc…, that I like, what I use. So I thought I’d share the things that came to mind right away and where to get them for yourself should you like to check them out!

The Goods

The Goods

The Books:

  • The Courage to Start by John “The Penguin” Bingham. I actually read this book a long time ago, but if you are also not a runner, or have never run before, or want to use running as a major player in changing your lifestyle, this is a wonderful motivation book. John shares his own personal story, and along with that re-evaluating what success is. From this book is perhaps John’s most famous quote, “The miracle isn’t that I finished, but that I had the courage to start.” Love that!
  • The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer by Whitsett, Dolgener, and Kole. This book. I am so thankful for this book. It is packed full of great advice, insight and encouragement for us non-runners. Specifically, it focuses on the pyschological aspects of long-distance running, such as visualization, positive mental messages, and other mental strategies. It also gives great advice on the practical parts of this, like shoes, running in weather, eating, etc… I used this book for all of that, but not the training plan because I had a shorter training window to work with and I was doing a half. BUT, it has been invaluable to me. “This is marathon running for real people, people with jobs and families and obligations outside of running.” If I were to lose this  book, I’d be major bummed. So don’t even ask me to loan my copy to you!:)
  • Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon. I used Hal’s Half Marathon Training Plan Novice 1 to get ready for this half. It’s a 3 running days during the week, long run on the weekend training plan. I’ve been happy with it so far, stay tuned to hear how it ends for me.:)

The Online Encouragement:

  • Runners World. I follow them on Twitter @runnersworld and really like the articles they share every day. I really love the pieces written by Kristin Armstrong.
  • Hal Higdon. Also on Twitter @higdonmarathon
  • Run Sixty Feet. On Twitter @ RunSixtyFeet this is my team I’m running my half with! We run for the imprisoned children of Uganda.
  • “The Penguin” John Bingham. On Twitter @jjbingham he inspires the non-runner types like me.

The Socks and Shoes:

  • Thorlo Experia Socks. I don’t always wear these socks when I’m running, but when I have a long run, these are my preference. They are pretty lightweight and fitted but without being tight, the kind of tight when you are running and thinking “my socks are tight.” I think about lots of things when I’m running, but these socks aren’t one of them. They are pricey, I think I paid $14 at Academy Sports for a pair. And that’s why I don’t wear them on all my runs.
  • Brooks Glycerin Running Shoes. I’m on my 2nd pair of these and I’m really happy with them. Also pricey, I bought these at our local running store, Big Dog Running Company. I don’t have a thing for handbags, or Jimmy Choo’s so I figure springing for a pair when the last one is breaking down, is gonna be alright.😉 I’m a neutral runner, but if you pronate or supinate, you should do some research on what shoes would be best for you. Big Dog is great because they will put you on a treadmill and video your running form to help determine the best type of shoes for you.

The Headgear:

  • Hat for Cold Weather. Ok, so my hat isn’t really a hat, it’s actually a neck gaiter. But I have found that using it on my head is what works great for me. I pull it over my head to right below my ears and roll it over to get double coverage on my ears. Ear aches really stink, so I try hard to prevent those, and I like the gaiter also because I can vent the top of my head! If you don’t have one, you could take a knit hat and just cut out the crown of the hat, and you would have the same thing.
  • Tifosi Sunglasses. I run usually in the mornings after I get the kids off to school. It’s very rare that I run when the sun’s not up. You really should wear eye protection from UV rays when running this frequently. I picked up the Tifosi Radius sunglasses at Big Dog also, and they are awesome. So lightweight, and fit to my face so comfortably. They also came with a case and 2 other sets of lenses that I can pop in and out, though I don’t use the others. Not only are they great for the UV protection, but I also really like to wear them because I run on the road, and there’s quite a bit of dust and debris that gets kicked up by cars going by, and these keep that crap out of my eyes.

Other Stuff:

  • Vitaminwater Essential Orange-C. This is not intended to be a electrolyte replacement drink, I just like to drink it after I run to replenish fluids when I want something besides water.
  • Be Kind Bars. I like to eat one of these a little while after I run. I really like the Maple Glazed Pecan Sea Salt bar. My second choice is the Cranberry Almond.
  • Extreme Sport Beans. So I have only used these a couple of times as I’ve hit the 8-10 mile run mark. They are jelly beans that have caffeine, carbs, and electrolytes to provide quick energy. I like the Cherry flavor.
  • Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato. I don’t always have one of these, but if I can, I like to about an hour or so before I run. I have a finicky stomach, but this seems to work well for me. I get the Tall and it’s about 170 calories.
  • Body Glide. This is a must, especially for long runs or when running in rainy or humid conditions. This stuff is wonderful because it provides a barrier between your skin and moisture from sweat and water logged clothes.

So there’s my list. I hope it helps, and if you have some must-have’s or go-to’s, let me know. Now get moving!:)