Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Little Moments

I'm striving to be back to my basics- the things I love.
 Being me. Easier said than done at times, because the demands of life can become all consuming at times. And when those demands become all consuming, the little moments escape all too easily. And so it is important to me to return to my end of the week little moments blog post. To remind myself what matters and what made me smile throughout the week. A time to sit and just take a deep breath and say "thank you, Lord, for the little moments." So, here are some of my little moments from this week:
  - An unexpected phone call from a long lost friend to remind me to keep pressing on
    - A crisp morning run
      - A beautiful Indian Summer day, yellow leaves boasting their colors against the bright blue sky
  - Playing Boggle (Yes...Boggle, the old fashioned not much heard of any more game) with my 10 year old son  
     - Making banana bread, which in essence, made someone else's day better.
 - Feeling excited to run and train again and the good feeling that comes when a run is complete
    - a shirt on sale!
    - My new friends Liz and Sandra, who made me feel a part of their family from the time I met them to now all the texts and emails we exchange already
        - A warm hug
  - A quiet car ride, no words needed, just good company
      - Crisp, clean sheets
          - Hot Apple Cider
            - Discovering new things about myself
       - Finding time to read again
- Morning dew on the grass and fog rising around me
  the little moments are all around me. It's time to remember them again. Every day. One day at a time.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Just Do It

There's the old saying by Nike, Just Do It. 
  Much to my chagrin, and the jokes of most of my friends, since most of my friends are older than I, I can't really remember all the commercials or what the hype was over that Nike statement, I just remember it being out there. (Ahem, I was sort of young when that was the popular statement.)
 Just do it . 
 Oh, how we can apply that to so very many areas of our lives.
  But the point of today's blog and just do it is all related to running.

Many months have passed since I have run a race. I have been hands on in the running industry, and I have never stopped running. I just haven't trained. I've laced up and jogged for fun.
  But I quickly have a race approaching.
I know how to train.  I also know how not  to train.
 As I looked at my calendar last week, I realized I was following the not training so well program and needed to kick my butt into gear and just do it. 

 So I laid out my schedule leading up to race day (December 7) and began the process of it all. While it has taken me a few days to get back into that groove, I am in love with it all over again. I cannot wait for race day to be here.
 Training is hard. It's a mindset as much as anything else (especially when life is whirl winding around me and exhaustion sets in, 4:30 am is all the more difficult.)

 Quite honestly, life is always full of chaos in some aspect, and sometimes you have to tell yourself to Just Do It. That applies to any area.

 The plan is to Just Do It a lot better in the approaching days, and that goes for life all around, not just running. Somehow, interestingly enough, running keeps me centered. When I am running, I tend to do all of life somewhat better. When I slack off (and it doesn't have to be a race for my reasons of running) I seem to unintentionally allow myself to slack off in some other ways.
  So, I am going to keep running and Just Do It. Give the race my all.
And give this race of life my all as well.  One day at a time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lack of words

The past many days I have sat in front of my computer and started a blog, only to get a few words into it and feel deflated at the lack of purposeful words.
   I had my annual huge event last weekend, the 5K in remembrance of mom, and usually after that event, my heart is full and bursting to share the excitement and God moments of the event. I felt that the day of the 5K this year, as always, but when I sat to write, nothing flowed from me.
  Then I spent and entire day in nature, and while I walked, the words I wanted to share danced through my mind, just as the trees danced in the wind all around me. And yet, as I sat to write about those moments and what God was speaking to me, the words were once again falling flat.
  I write because it helps me understand, as much as I write for others to perhaps learn from my mistakes and lessons and joys as well.
  When I draw blanks in my words, I find that to be a rarity, and even a frustrating scenario for me.
And then I realize, perhaps God is asking me to be quiet for a little bit. Perhaps He wants me to hear Him and only Him and to drown out even my own thoughts for a bit.
 If you don't know me, I am a thinker. I am the one who will ask random questions to my friends because I think of them and want to know the answers about those around me. I am a thinker, and at times, that can get me in trouble because I will overthink a scenario, instead of following my initial God given feeling of what the correct response is. I tend to hear a conversation or a piece of advice and say "Let me think about that...."
 Thinking is not a bad characteristic; it certainly can even have its benefits. But sometimes, thinking is not always the best attribute.
 I can think on hurtful words said to me rather than positive ones, leading me to great insecurity.
    I can think on sinful actions rather than God's grace bestowed on us all.
       I can think about what I want, instead of what's right in front of me already.
I chuckle as I write this because I realize just how much I am thinking about what I should write!
As I walked through nature the other day, I didn't have to really think because God's voice spoke clearly to me all around me
  His voice was...
- in the whispering winds, whipping around on my skin
  - Tickling my face as the leaves fell around me gently
    - Blaring His presence all around through the blazing colors of orange, yellow and red on the trees
- heard in the crunch of the leaves under my feet on the trails
   - seen in the intricate details of the squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies and birds, pretending I wasn't there, but ever aware that I was
   - felt in the warm rays of sunshine, followed by the slight breeze
- seen in the bending branches of fall

God is all around me. Around You. He is telling me constantly that I am intricately, beautifully and wonderfully made. He is telling me He is guiding me and right next to me, no matter what. He is telling me that He is always good, no matter the circumstance of life. He forgives and loves and I am redeemed. He is shouting to me that He has given me gifts that are to be used and not sat upon. He loves me. Just. As. I . Am.
  Look around you today. You don't have to stop and think about it. You just have to listen and look at times. Perhaps it's in another's smile. Perhaps in creation. Perhaps in the fall day or in even in the dreary rain (which is at times a common day here in Ohio right now).
  I may not have the perfect, profound words to share all the time. But that's ok. I don't always have to. Because sometimes, God just wants to be the words, and wants me to listen.  And really, His words and beauty speak far more than I am ever capable of doing myself.
 Sometimes, God tells me to just stop thinking and talking and just listen. He's all around, I just have to get out of myself and He speaks volumes. Only when He speaks to me, can He be spoken through me. One day at a time.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Rejoicing each day....

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."
 That verse is found in Psalm 118. My mom often quoted that verse to me. She also would sing a song about it, which sticks in my mind often as well, and has allowed me to always remember the words of the scripture. That verse has resonated to me loudly of late. Because each day is a new day, a reason to rejoice and be glad, no matter what is happening in my surroundings. God's grace and mercy are new every morning.
 But, I get off topic here for today's blog.
   I sat at a banquet Friday night for scholarship donors at Cedarville University. I have the privilege to be a part of the banquet ceremonies because of the scholarship we award each year in memory of mom.  I found it quite appropriate that the first person who gave a small speech started her speech with that verse.  I found that meaningful and quite the reminder in the moment.
  This time of year is often a struggle for me, as I am overly busy with details and last minute preparations for the 5K, just days away. The banquet, just a week before my 5K event, which is in essence, what raises all the funds for the scholarship we award, always gives me moments to pause and be reminded why we do what we do. Why I get so busy this time of year. And that the whole point of the scholarship is, yes, to remember and honor mom, but even more so, it is about glorifying God and helping students who need the help, who can then use their gifts to touch cancer patients we will never touch.
 I am not a nurse, nor is it the gift God has given me. But He has most certainly planted me in a place of having a passion to carry out this event, which can help nurses.  He has even now given me a career to help further this 5K because of what I get to learn and do each day for a living in marathon planning.
  This year's 5K event has held new challenges, as it comes on the heels of the busiest time of year for my job, and that was a new balance for me. I have faced personal challenges as well , which have led to me pour less time into this event. I have even battled the emotion (and words of some) that I am a failure this year with the 5K. But then I hear the words spoken by the Psalmist years ago that "this is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it"  and so I pause and thank God for so much, specifically in regards to this event, as I head into a very big day...
   - for the passion He has laid on my heart and how He has not only blessed that passion but has given me a career in it
      - for a heart to carry on mom's legacy through other nurses
 - for the support of so many
   -for growing pains, as each year takes on new ones, each in different ways. This year being more personal than anything else
          - for new opportunities.
   -For closed doors as much as open ones.
           -For my dad. Not a runner or an event planner. But he is most certainly a support system and has a willing heart to help however directed.
                   -For my mom. She is the reason we do this event. The memories of mom have flooded my heart and mind lately. the verse referenced to as today's blog being just one of them.  I have found old silly pictures of mom, bringing back laughs. Dad and I have chatted about mom. Being at the banquet and carrying out the 5K every year always does the same. My mom was my hero. She was an amazing wife, mom, woman of God. And I am forever grateful for her and all the lessons she engrained in me.

 This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.
  This weeks theme for me. A busy week, lots of details to be carried out. The event may not be where I want it to be this year, but it is where God wants it. And He always knows best. And one day at a time, I will continue to learn to rejoice and pursue what He has in store for me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Plowing Through It

Because I am a farm girl at heart, analogies involving anything farm related paint real pictures for me.   So I found it relevant that the comparison of a plow was used today for me in conversation. The plow analogy, quite honestly, applies to many areas of life. At times, those areas are more serious, and at times, more comical
 A plow, if you do not know, is a piece of farm equipment that attaches to the back of the tractor, is lowered into the ground and essentially digs up dirt to prepare the ground for planting. The piece of equipment almost looks like claws/disks on the end, if you will, depending on the make. Regardless, the outcome is the same- it goes into the ground and digs up the dirt from the bottom up to prepare the dirt for the seeds to be planted.
   I have thought about lately how sometimes life throws curve balls, and you just have to go with it. It wasn't until later in the day when the plow analogy was used, that I realized how that was an applicable analogy to many aspects of life.
  No coffee pot in the morning? Seems like a tragedy, quite honestly. I am an avid coffee drinker and for many years, the first thing I am doing upon getting out of bed is drinking a cup of coffee. I always said I'd never make it without that coffee to start the day. But somehow, when the coffee pot breaks or there isn't one available upon the stumble out of bed, I manage to plow through anyhow and  be fine until I do find that cup of coffee a couple hours later in the day.
   Tired from lack of sleep? Plow through and get the job done regardless.
Sad from a life tragedy happening all around you? Plow through...
  Discouraged over an event or a thing not going as expected? Plow through....
 Dig deep, turn the dirt over , plow through, because plowing through prepares the way for beautiful seeds to be planted and grow and blossom.
   I've been told excuses are easy to make. And quite honestly, they are. How many of us can tell stories of co workers or family members who give excuses for not accomplishing something? worse yet, how many of us have been that person using those excuses?
  I battle depression. I take medication for it. But I don't let it stop me. I plow through it. I get up, I run, I go to a job I love, I have people who support me all around me, and  I smile. I plow through that obstacle of depression every day.
 Yes, there are times when life's excuses are relevant and not really along the excuse line. For 5K this year is definitely not in the place I would like for it to be. I could give a millions "reasons" why, or excuses even, but reality is, those reasons hold some relevancy.  But those reasons don't mean I quit and give up. I am going to plow through it. Play it out. Do it. Learn from it. Dig up the dirt so that it can grow to be better the next time around.   Plow through the excuses, the reasons, the discouragement and road blocks and let God take it, mold it, grow it and shape it into an even better one next year.
 Plowing through is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Nothing good ever comes easy. Rainbows after rain. Smiles after pain. Beautiful crops after a plowed up ground.
    Pressing on and plowing through. I choose to do that. Because I want to be a better person. I want to grow into who God is shaping me to be. I want to  blossom. But it takes plowing through the hard days to do that.
 One day at a time.