July is gone already?? How did that happen?
That means time for back to school and life just keeps getting busier.
But I love taking a few minutes every month and recollecting lessons learned, discoveries formed, frustrations experienced and memories made.
So, that brings me to what I learned in July. Sometimes these "what I learned" bullet points aren't so much new lessons, as they are experiences to remind me of the core of what I love/who I am/what I am capable of/dreams that live within me. People tell me I write so seriously, but I can't help it...
1. I love to serve.
Serving has always been an enjoyment for me, but the last few years I sort of backed off opportunities because of life. But this month, I said "yes" to several serving opportunities and while the intent is to be there to help, I think I always end up coming out more blessed than those I was there to serve. I don't share this to say "yay, me!" I share this to just say this month I was reminded how in serving God, the focus is no longer on ourselves, and that is where true joy is found.
I volunteered with Pan Ohio bike ride this month doing a hydration station, and it was incredible to cheer on these 350 bikers who were riding across the state of Ohio, raising money (and awareness as well) for the American Cancer Society. It was moving and inspiring and perhaps has made it to my bucket list to participate in one day. I'm used to the running community. The bikers were a new and motivational experience. I was blessed to help out.
I also helped with Vacation Bible School. We sang silly songs (that stick in the head forever), made crafts, listened to Bible stories and of course played games. But my favorite part was just being a part of the event in a small way by being with the kids. They are so vibrant and innocent and full of wonder and questions. It's refreshing. My heart left full, even if my body was exhausted!
2. The dumbest jokes are my favorite.
Why did the banana go to the doctor? ... A: it wasn't peeling well.
My kids and I laughed for minutes at this. I have the "kiddiest" sense of humor. But who cares, right? I laughed... and laughing feels good.
3. Sometimes you have to "fail" in order to learn what you're good at.
Bottom line is this: I am not good with numbers, but I am great with people. Not news, per say. Counting pallets is not something I am good at; fixing people's problems is much more along the lines of what I do. But I am determined to be able to do better in the number category. just takes a more work, a very focused mind, a few tears maybe, and a lot of determination. It'll never be my strong suit, and I am ok with that, but I am determined it also won't be a foreign language for me.
4. I have a new running "hero"
Hero is a strong word, but I have high admiration and new respect for Major Ben Payne. While I have followed his running career slightly, I have come to learn his story at a greater depth in recent weeks, and now follow him more closely. Ben ran the Peach Tree 10K July 4th weekend, and while he came in 2nd place, his story was national news. I am not going to share his story, because he tells it best here. Please read what he shared! His faith and humility have inspired me to a greater depth this month, both in my personal life as well as in my running.
He is on the "Road to Rio". When I get discouraged from a bad run (or for that matter, a bad day), I remember the 5 lessons he shared in his blog (the link above). Watch for him... he's a great runner and a great guy. While I have met him briefly in the past, I am looking forward to him being part of our event at the AirForce Marathon in September and talking with him a bit more.
5. I do like audio books... and also, you can learn from fiction books, too.
I never thought I would enjoy an audio book, but when I couldn't find a copy of the newly released Blue Mind, I decided to give audio a try. It's not so bad. I still prefer pages turning in my hand, but it was relaxing to plug in my headphones and listen to the book while lying in my hammock in the sun.
I also have learned I can read more than one book at a time. (meaning, a fiction and a non fiction, just different hours of the day, obviously.)
In Undetected, while it was a fiction book, I could relate in some sense to the main character. Sometimes you can learn from a fiction book just as much from non fiction. The male main character said to the female main character that she shouldn't agree to so many things in life (in a people-pleasing manner) so that no one knew the true her. (ie- don't eat Mexican food just because everyone else wants to if you don't really enjoy it...) You have to read the book to understand the entire context, but I actually walked away remembering that statement. Often times I have played that role. I thought the statement held much validity.
I have read some good books this month:
Blue Mind (it still counts, even if it's an audio version)
It is Finished
If you have good book suggestions, throw them my way; I'm keeping a list.
The July chapter is closing now and the August one will open tomorrow. What will your story be in the next month, one day at a time?