Friday, March 28, 2014

A new dream and a single step

You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. -C.S. Lewis

When I run, I dream.  When I run, I set new goals. I love that about running. It keeps me going and fires me up in a good way. I get excited when I run because I feel a new sense of passion.
  Not ever run is a fantastic one, and not every run feels awesome. But most runs remind me of what I have in me, the things of which I am capable, and that tends to set new goals and dreams soaring. I love that about running.
   I am 9 days out from my half know...the one where I might die! (lol) This race will be likely my toughest one I've ever run.
    My first half marathon was hard because I'd never done one; I literally did not know if I could finish it.
      The half marathon I ran 3 weeks after mom died was hard because I was so emotional and drained and had not spent months training as I should have because I was spending time with mom.
  The marathon I ran in 2012 was way more challenging than I could've dreamed because, well, 26.2 miles is a very long distance.
   Each race I have run has been different; some have had extreme challenges, and some have been more easy. Some I have run to help a friend reach a goal. Some races I have run to reach one of my own goals.
  I have been asked at times why I have to run a race. Why can't I just be content to go out and run?
Until you've done it, that's a hard concept to understand. But there is something defining about going out and finishing a race. Accomplishing a new goal. Setting  a new dream.
   My race coming up is a personal one for me. A time to prove some things to myself about who I am. I have been on that type of a journey the last couple of months.
    Maya Angelou said "Every journey begins with a single step."  I could not agree more.
Life, and its journey is all about taking another step. When I feel I cannot carry on anymore, take another step. When I am so tired I want to collapse, take another step. Each step will carry me further in my journey. Every journey begins with a single step. Every marathon, every race, every day life, begins with moving forward one more step at a time. Sometimes my feet feel heavier than lead, but it's one more step closer to a victory.
 I don't have to be first place. In fact, if I come in last place, I am ok with that, because I am doing it. I am going one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. And I will finish. I will finish this race in life and i will finish my half marathon, and along the way, discover a new victory which comes at a much needed time.
 I am not too old to be setting new goals and dreaming new dreams, as C.S. Lewis said. There are new goals and new dreams beginning to brim within my heart. Running brings those about much of the time. I love that about my runs. And as I take one step at a time, I am getting closer to those goals and dreams. Some of them are simple: finish the race, make it through the valley, draw closer to God. some of them are more complex: make a difference in others' lives, fix my bad habits, put on a successful 5K, become a writer. But all of them are worth dreaming. All of them are worth taking one more step.
 No, you don't have to be a runner to dream or set goals or keep moving forward. That's my thing, though. It's a part of me. A part I am glad to have discovered along the way.
 Today I set out on a rain run. The air is chilly, but not so cold as it has been all winter. The rain smells so fresh and wonderful. And the damp air feels good on my skin. And I dream as I run...
 Thank you C.S. Lewis for reminding me it's ok to dream and set goals. And thank you Maya Angelou for reminding me that it's a single step that begins my journey each day.....
   I leave you with the lyrics to this song that played through my headset today, the lyrics resonating with my heart and even a bit with the taking a single step thought process...

"Take Another Step"

Well the band was playing, the flags were waving
And there you were
In the middle of a sunny day parade
The crowds were cheering, the sky was clear
Not a worry in the world
Marching on sure and steady, strong and straight
Take another step and another step and another step

Then the lightning flashed the thunder crashed
And suddenly
It began to rain and everybody ran
Then the sky went black as midnight
And you couldn’t see
Paralyzed by what you just can’t understand
And now here you are
You’re afraid to move
You don’t know where to go
You don’t know what to do

Take another step, take another step
When the road ahead is dark
And you don’t know where to go
Take another step, take another step
Trust God and take another step
And another step and another step
Take another step and another step and another step

We walk by faith and not by sight we know it’s true
We say it and sing it and love the way it sounds
But none of us can even begin to truly understand
What it really means ‘til all the lights go out
And there we are nothing to hold on to
But the promises God’s made to me and you

Take another step, take another step
When the road ahead is dark
And you don’t know where to go
Take another step, take another step
Trust God and take another step

If there’s an ocean in front of you
You know what you’ve gotta do
Take another step and another step
Maybe He’ll turn the water into land
And maybe He’ll take your hand and say
Let’s take a walk on the waves
Will you trust Me either way
And take another step
Take another step

Take another step
Take another step
Trust God and take another step
Take another step
When the road ahead is dark
And you don’t know where to go
Take another step
Take another step
Trust God and take another step
And another step and another step
Take another step and another step and another step
Take another step and another step and another step
Take another step and another step and another step

So, I encourage you today....dream a new dream, set a new goal, and take another single step to begin your journey. I am. Will you join me? 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Run.

"We run to undo the damage we've done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered." -John Bingham

My mind tells me to run. To keep running. Running is, in large part, a mental sport. Running is  what I do several mornings a week. Running is a passion of mine. The next few blogs you will find me talking about this because right now running is a large part of my journey in healing. Right now, running is a part of finding some part of myself yet undiscovered. 

 I have a race coming in just 2 weeks. This race is a half marathon. It has been 2 years since I have done this distance competitively. I missed it. 5K's are wonderful and fun; 10K's have some challenge in them; but half marathon is my favorite distance.
Why? Because training for and running a half marathon helps me prove to myself new things. Completing a half marathon always helps me find new traits about myself; traits I had no idea existed. When I run a half marathon, the victory I feel at the end of it is sweeter than any other distance because to me, once not so long ago, running 13.1 miles was impossible. And as I have conquered that beast, I have learned I am capable of far more than I ever would have imagined. There is more in me than I ever realized. I can do and handle more than ever thought possible. I can overcome. But I cannot do that alone. I overcome because of the One who has overcome for Savior, my God.

 This race I have in 2 weeks has been the worst training I have ever done. As I have faced some extreme personal challenges within the last month, I quit training. I nearly gave up running. But I realized that not only did I need to keep going with it because I love it, but I realized that one of the reasons I did it was to "undo damage done to spirit" as is quoted above. Damage that in part, I've created. Damage I didn't know was even there. Damage that has wreaked its havoc on me, but damage that can be fixed. I know it can be fixed because I know my God is capable of doing so. I know I can overcome because He has already overcome for me. The parallel is used often times in the Bible of running a race and not quitting. I'm not quitting in my spiritual journey...God is showing me new things every day; things hard to embrace at times and things difficult to adjust, but things that will have a victorious outcome. I'm not quitting in my running journey because I don't want to, but more so because I need this victory right now. I need to discover something new within myself through this particular race. 
 I may not know for sure what I am discovering until the end of the race; but as the terrible training continues, I am beginning to discover a new determination, a new depth of dependance on God, and new strength I had no idea I could possess, yet strength only offered by walking closely with God. 

  Just run, my mind tells me. I laugh and tell people right now I may die during this half marathon. Well, I won't die, I am determined I will finish. But, it will be a painful race, no doubt. Stay tuned as it unfolds not long from now! I run to finish the race, not to be in first place. And I keep pressing on so that I can say I have fought the fight of faith. I have not always done that well.....but one step at a time (literally) I am striving to do that better.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

English Standard Version (ESV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.   

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What my mom taught me about Spring

March 20 .
  Today is the first day of spring. I heard that several times today. yes, today is the first day of spring.

But for me, March 20 holds a larger significance. March 20 is the day I said goodbye to my mom forever here on earth. March 20 is my mom's heavenly birthday, if you want to say that. My friend, Andrea, calls it her angel day. It could be referred to as many things. But for me, March 20 will be a day forever engrained in my heart and mind.

 I started this blog 3 years ago, in the process of digging through my grief. The blog has blossomed and grown over time, and my journey of grief has graduated into finding purpose in my pain. My blog here, One Day at a Time, has become much more than just a place to work out my grief.  One Day at a Time has come to have new meanings and purpose in my life.

 Each year, when the anniversary of mom's death comes around, I ponder on many things.
 I will always think about my beautiful mama. The one who raised me and taught me the truths.
  I will always think about the wonderful life she lived; the wonderful woman she was.
   Mom always had a smile; she was always laughing, even in hard times.
     Mom prayed about everything.
       Mom was private. She had her handful of close friends. Everyone loved mom, but not everyone was let into the depths of her thoughts.
   Mom was a giver.
     Mom was a servant.
          Mom radiated the love of Jesus to those around her.
I miss my mom every day still. It looks different over time, but that ache of not having her is still there in some ways. It's a peaceful ache, but still an ache. This year, in raising a middle school daughter, and in facing some dramatic life changes and difficulties, and in growing in my own beliefs, I have longed to have mom to talk with about all these things. If she didn't have the right words, she always had a hug and at least some form of encouragement. I miss that.
   I recently was having a conversation with my 11 year old daughter. When I asked her who her "hero" was, she told me without hesitation, "Nana was."  I didn't even have to ask her why; she just started telling me..."Nana was always loving and showing Jesus, even when times were hard for her. Nana was fun. She loved people even when they were hard to love."  Yep, that sums up my mom really well.
   I long to be the mom my mom was. I am far from it. I have made many mistakes and not always shown my children the right choices or way to live for God. Thank goodness my mom also taught me about God's grace. And I hope to teach that to my children. I want to be the mom my mom was.
 Every mom and every home situation is a bit different, yes. But my mom gave me a great basis for how to do it. I am so grateful for the example she left me.
   I said it today to my friend, Jennie, and I say it now: it was just like mom to go home to heaven on the first day of spring. Every year this day is so much more symbolic to me than what one person may be saying the first day of spring is to them.
 Spring is a new season being ushered in, and after long, cold winters, everyone is ready for warmth and new growth and beauty and joy.
   When mom went home to be with Jesus, it was like she was saying "This is my new season...I will be forever healthy. Now, Rachael, it's your new season. Keep moving forward. See the beauty. See the "Son", see the growth. Embrace this new season."
  So each year on March 20, as spring is now official, I reflect on mom and her life because this is the day I had to let go of her here on earth. But it is also symbolic to me that I have made it another year, and another winter, and I am going to be okay. Spring is here.
   This winter has been an extremely challenging one. And though today was a tough day in some ways, I also want to see it as a beautiful one. It is time to move forward. To let go of the winter days this past season has left me. And to allow the new growth I am seeing sprout. to allow the new things I am learning to bloom out. To allow the grey clouds to be pushed away and the sun to start shining through (translation: strive to push past the hard times and move into the good; strive to see God in every moment instead of dwelling on the past and the difficult days) .
   i have made it one more year.
   Mom has been gone 3 years now. But she is in a perfect place. A place where I think it is spring all the time.
   So, it is time for me to re-embrace spring; to re-embrace life. And to bloom forth. Remembering my beautiful mom still and all she taught me, one day at a time.
  Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom. I will forever miss you.