Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gift Wrap Central

It's Christmas Eve and I'm up wrapping all the last-minute gifts. I'm almost done but I'll leave all the paper and bags and ribbons out so the kids can come down later (when they wake up) to wrap a few gifts that they have left. I was sitting at the table, looking at this coffee mug and it reminded me what I enjoy about this day so much. It's a coffee mug from Johnny's grandmother's house. His mom brought it to me along with a few other matching dishes after his grandmother died a few years ago. Here's how I remember the story - her husband of almost 70 years died just a few months earlier. On a Sunday morning she went to church and taught her Sunday School class that she taught for decades. She then went into the sanctuary, fell over in the pew and then met Jesus face to face. She was a precious woman with a lot of spunk and so faithful to her family and to God. I think about her just about every time I drink out of this mug.

What I enjoy so much about today and this season is being with special people - those that I love the most. Yesterday, 2 sets of friends dropped by with unexpected, sweet gifts. The first was a friend with 3 little boys dressed in their super hero costumes. I walked out to the car as they were getting out and reached down to hug them and their mom said, "Give Ms Jeanette a hug." They did but then (this is exactly how it happened!) Johnny came walking out of the house and they RAN and jumped up to hug him. Whatever. Another friend called yesterday that I have not talked to in ages and ages. It was a sweet surprise. Last night I had dinner with all 3 of my kids and my man - really, that doesn't happen too often anymore. Though school & college have been out for a week, Josh had to work all week so he just got home yesterday. We got an early Christmas present - a Kinect - and played games last night. It is really, really fun!

We've made some new traditions since we've been here in Mansfield and today is all about spending time together as a family. These are precious days. As my kids get older, I cherish days like today more and more. We'll go to my parents' house tomorrow evening and we are actually headed to Georgia this year since Johnny's parents were not able to come this year as his dad is still recovering from cancer surgery. I'm excited for a road trip and to see all our Georgia and Kentucky family!

While I've got gift wrap central set up this morning and value the time spent with loved ones more than any gift, the most important part of this Christmas is the Christ - the Savior of the world. I'm thankful for a Savior and a Redeemer. I'm thankful for a holiday set aside to worship the Son of God leaving His heavenly throne because He loved the world so much. He really is the gift that keeps on giving.

O, come let us adore Him! Christ, the Lord!

Merry Christmas!

Jeanette

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Question Would You Ask?

It's the Christmas season. We are doing all things Christmasy. Today was one of my favorite of our newish Christmas traditions. Today was the staff Christmas brunch, the day that causes me to do some of my favorite things: look at new cookbooks and recipes for hours on end (I even checked out Pinterest which just might become a valuable source of information if I can fully figure out how to use it), cook, and sit around and eat and visit with friends. I did repeat some recipes from last year. One, at the request of our student pastor's wife, was Paula Deen's recipe for cheese grits. These are not your ordinary cheese grits but yummy deliciousness of grits and 2 kinds of cheese and, of course, butter.

There are other holiday things going on but, of course, our Life Group lessons this month are on the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus. I missed the first Sunday of the month because I was out running (see my last post) but this past Sunday covered, in part, the part of the story when Mary and Joseph receive the news that they will parent the Savior of the World. One of the questions that the writer of the literature asked was about whether, once Mary was told by the angel all that she would bear the Son of God, all her questions were answered. Obviously, we have recorded in Scripture that her response was that she was the Lord's bondservant but, just because she moved forward in obedience, I wonder if she had any questions rolling around in her thoughts.

So, I posed this question to my Life Group gals this week: if you could ask God any question and you were guaranteed an audible, verbal answer, what would it be? Please, don't get me wrong. I believe God reveals Himself to us and answers our questions in all sorts of ways but I was just asking out of pure curiosity. Honestly, I was expecting things like, "Why did _______ happen the way it did?" or "Why do children die of starvation when we live in the land of plenty?" (ok, that would be my question) or some question related to something biblical. I didn't get the responses I expected but one in particular has stuck with me for a couple of days: How am I doing?

How am I doing?

That question never even occurred to me prior to my asking for it out-loud to my class but, perhaps, it should. It's a great question to ask of God, I think. Am I on track with Your will for me? Am I living the way I should as Your ambassador? Am I loving enough, giving enough, praying enough, studying enough? Really, how am I doing?

I think it's ok to ask questions - the sort of questions, even, that we may never have the answer to like why? The key is not to let the questions keep us from moving forward and walking in obedience. And, then there's the question about how I'm doing. Definitely, ask that question. Evaluate your life. Pray about it. God may not audibly, verbally answer (then again, He might - He does whatever He wants) but that doesn't mean He won't answer. I think if you are genuinely seeking, He will answer. Be open to the answer and be open to the change that might come with it. Just don't be afraid to ask.

Seriously, what question would you ask?

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Monday, December 5, 2011

My Cup Overflows

Yesterday was the half-marathon. It rained the ENTIRE time. And it was cold. I could not sleep the night before. Weird, but I was worried about the rain and cold and wondering if I would actually be able to finish.
My brother, Paul,  and his family showed up on the race course around mile 7. It was so amazing that they came out in that awful weather and waited on the sidewalk for us. He had his camera wrapped in plastic and took a few pictures, including the one above. He then sprinted up the sidewalk and took more pictures. They stayed with us for a couple of blocks before leaving. It is the best part of the race except...

...finishing. Crossing the finish line was awesome. I slowed way down toward the end. Johnny asked if I had a kick left. I said, "Dude, this is my kick!" It was cold, we were soaked to the bone but it was so exciting to finish then to go in the building to be given a medal, a finisher shirt, and a warm cup of soup. Among those thousands of people we did find some of our friends after the race. It was great to see them and to celebrate the finish. It was also fun to check facebook and see posts about the race and finishing.

We came home and I soaked in a hot, hot bath. It seemed like I couldn't get warm. We had a big night last night - our annual mission fair & banquet - so I knew I couldn't rest. I had a few things to do at home and then we headed up to church around 4:30 to start getting ready for the evening. I had my son, Josh (Student Ministry Assistant), ask some students to come help and I had the mission committee and some other friends come up to help. There were so many people there helping and working. Truly, it blessed me so much. I think the mission fair was good - we had some new organizations & missionaries join us this year so that was great fun! I was sort of afraid that the cold, wet weather would deter some people from coming out but the tables were full for the banquet. Again, a blessing. The students not only helped get ready but they also served the tables. We have the most awesome students on the planet at our church! (Josh oversaw all of it and that helped me so much!)

Then there was the program. Some of our runners came and we presented giant checks for 2 of our fundraising projects - the 2 that are local. Two of our runners spoke about what it meant to them to be running for the causes. Most of us were wearing our medals. Oh yeah, there was no doubt that I was wearing my well-earned medal! We got to celebrate what we did this past year - what God did in us and through us! How blessed we are to be called to join Him on mission. Our friend, Tyler, shared a testimony about how God used him on mission and how he and his wife continue to follow God's purpose for them, in part, as a result of that. He did an amazing job - he made laugh and cry and encouraged us all. Well, maybe I should just speak for me. He encouraged me. Johnny closed my challenging us to be on mission in 2012. It was a great night. Really, even thinking about it now makes me emotional.

God has blessed above and beyond what I could ask or imagine - just like His Word promises. This blog post cannot nearly do justice to how fabulous yesterday was. I didn't win the race or even come close but I finished within what I hoped. I don't know what I thought last night would be like but all the people who prepared in advance for the night (Julie H is the BEST!), came early and helped, who participated in the fair, who spoke, who cooked, who served, who lived on mission last year, who came last night have caused my cup to overflow. Though my muscles are sore today, my heart is full. I feel blessed. I am blessed.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #12

I'm just a tad bit stressed. That's why I'm super happy that my brother (the brother that runs in 100 mile ultra-marathons) told me over the Thanksgiving holiday that it's too late (less than a week before the race) to gain any fitness but to be careful to avoid injury. So, I got in an easy 2.5 mile run today. As I have noted before, just writing 2.5 easy run makes me happy. Though I have run off and on since I've been in my 30's,  because of a foot injury last year I had not been running much. When I started running again just this past April and could not even run 1 mile without walking. To be able to take off and run and run and run and to feel so good is a huge blessing to me.

I picked up my Bible this morning before my run and headed to 1 John 3. Johnny was there yesterday in his sermon. He started a new Christmas series yesterday titled Why? As in, why did Jesus come? Reason #1 (according to the sermon yesterday) is found in 1 John 3:8, "The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." I loved that he started his sermon yesterday by stating that when we (as believers and followers of Jesus) fully understand why Jesus came we will live more missionally." Like when we go to a great restaurant and we can't wait to tell our friends about it. Or we eat a great cereal and we just want to tell everyone else what a great cereal it is. (you really just had to be there yesterday to fully appreciate that last statement)

I was already on the edge of my seat by the time we got to the sermon yesterday. Wendy sang Beautiful and part of the lyrics contain these words, "Beautiful, I'm lost for more to say." Sometimes it's like that - God is so great that He is beyond words, words are not enough to praise Him or describe Him.

And, that's it. That's why we live missionally and advance the Gospel. So that He will be known. So that others will know what it's like to serve and worship the God who is beyond description. Yes, we want to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, a pair of shoes to bare feet, a house and a family to those that don't know what it's like to live with either...

But, ultimately, the greatest thing we can give is Jesus.

I didn't make it to 1 John 3 this morning. I got stuck on one of my all-time favorite verses. It's Hebrews 12:1-2 --

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NASB)

The immediate race before me is the White Rock half-marathon. My goal is to finish. No matter how slow or how fast (relatively speaking, of course) I run, it will be a PR. The race before me is prepping for the mission banquet on Sunday evening. Yeah, the same day as the other race, the half-marathon. (maybe I need to check into renting a wheelchair...oh, just kidding!) The race is the life that God has for me. I am easily distracted at times. I'm thankful for the reminder to keep my eyes fixed, focused on Jesus. He's beautiful to me.

Serving the King and running with purpose,

Jeanette

Friday, November 18, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #11

Run length - 2 miles
Song that got me home - O Praise Him, David Crowder Band

I set out this morning for a quick 2 mile run with my dog. My wacky dog and some of my frustrations on taking her out have been well documented on this blog in the past. Today sent me over the edge but more on that later. BTW, I planned a short run today because it is my plan to run 10 miles tomorrow. The race is little more than 2 weeks away.

I left my house this morning thinking I can't wait until the half-marathon is over. And, I was actually thinking that I am looking forward to running a 10k the last weekend in February. Over the last few months, as I've been training for the half, I have renewed my love of running is some ways. Anticipating the 13.1 miles has taken some of the fun out of it. There are some days I would just like to run 2 miles and not worry that I'm not getting enough miles in for the week. There are some days I would just like to walk my dog around the block but I know I must run. That leads me to thoughts like I can't wait for this to be over... 


I'm guilty of that in the rest of my life as well, at times. I'm looking to the future, trying to get past something so I can get on to the next. When I'm like that I'm missing the joy of today or what God wants to accomplish in me and through me in the present. James, the half-brother of our Savior, wrote that we are merely a vapor that is here for a little while and then gone. (James 4:14) Life is way to short and flies by at lightning speed too much to live waiting to get to tomorrow or some other day in the future.

As a side note, I want to inform you that I am writing this without the use of one of my thumbs. Back to the dog story - if you have read my posts about my dog before you know she can freak out a little by the slightest thing. It's super windy today and we turned around at the half-way point to head back - straight into a cold wind and uphill. She was running ahead and I - totally doing what the dog trainer told me - was going to pull back on the leash and have her sit so she could remember who's boss. (We have a little trouble with that on occasion) My fingers got caught up in the leash and I pulled my thumbnail back - I mean, it got bent back halfway down. Then I was running into a cold wind, uphill, with a misbehaving dog, with a thumb throbbing in pain and thinking only this thought - would I rather get blood on my shirt  or on my pants. It's an old shirt that I don't really like too much anymore but I did have on my favorite running pants. And, now I had to hold the leash in my right hand and that totally threw me off because I always run with the leash and the dog on my left.

Just another reason I am so thankful for the David Crowder Band and am going to cry hysterically after (or maybe during) "The Last Show" at Passion this year is the song that got me home today. It's been one of my favorite songs for years. I'm glad it came up on my iPod when it did. I like it on the music video when the music stops and all you hear is the guy on the street singing. You have to see the video. Look it up on youtube. I was going to link it for you but I'm in too much pain.

My thumb may be broken (not)...

O Praise Him, all this for the King!

Jeanette

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rescue, Restore, Refine Revisited

I have the awesome privilege of going to see an old friend of mine this weekend and speaking at an event for her women's ministry. I'm super excited. She happens to live down near the Hill Country of Texas where they experienced some devastating fires a few months ago. When my friend and I were discussing possible topics for her event I suggested the title/topic we used for our Fusion study in January of this year. She added a phrase so the title for this event is Through the Fire: Rescue, Restore, Refine. Of course, fire goes exactly with refine. In the book of Malachi, it is said that God will appear as a refiner's fire and fullers' soap. In the note on that verse in the Ryrie Study Bible, the author relates the refiner's fire to purification and the fullers' soap to cleansing.

My outline for the event has been in my desk drawer for a couple of weeks. I have thought and prayed about it so much while I've been out there running and running. I pulled it out today (since the event is, afterall, in 2 days) to pray and re-write and finalize. The entire theme of the original study, which was on the book of Judges, came out of a time when I did a word study on rescue. Although, when I did my original word study via one of my favorite online resources, the word rescue is not used (in the NASB) in the book of Judges it so is the theme, in many ways, of that book. Today I was pondering that and decided to try the word rescue in another translation. So, I went to my online resource, typed it in and, sure enough, there it was in my focal passage for this weekend, Judges 6:14 - Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!". The NASB uses the word deliver and the KJV uses the word save.

I hope you are still reading because I'm not to the best part yet...

So, I got out my Old Testament word study book and looked up the word from the original language. It's Yasha. Here's what it means, "To be delivered, saved; to get help; to deliver; give victory...It is noteworthy that the personal name of our Savior, Jesus, is derived from this root." (Lexical Aids, 2324) The definition goes on to report that the original meaning would have been physical deliverance, much like what was needed in the case of the Hebrews in Judges 6. The chosen people of God were being oppressed by the Midianites and they cried out to God for help. He chose Gideon to be the one to lead them out of that place of bondage. Back to the definition from the lexical aids, "Later, 'save' developed a theological meaning. God is concerned about our physical well-being, our emotional status, and the salvation of our souls. God has the ability to save us from anything which would harm us. Salvation is God's love in action."

Salvation is God's love in action - I'm about to tweet that and make it my fb status.

What a beautiful message. I hope to communicate it clearly this weekend but I've already been blessed this morning. For some reason, that just washed over me in such a fresh way and I'm thankful for it.

Serving the King, the Rescuer,

Jeanette


Monday, November 7, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #10

Run length - an embarrassing 2 1/4 miles. The only thing worse than running only 2 and one quarter miles today is that it beats the distance I ran all of last week.
Verse for the day - so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow... and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

The half-marathon is only 4 weeks from yesterday and I've pretty much taken the last 2 weeks off with the exception of our 8 mile run on Saturday before last. Yikes! I'm so pumped about our fundraising, though. We even have some people not associated with our church who are running with us & joining our cause! Since yesterday was World Orphan Day and we had (really, this is the coolest thing!) an adopted child dedication (It was kind of like a typical baby dedication that we might do at our church but it was for families whose kids that were not adopted as babies) we decided to designate all our iRun donations of the day for our adoption & foster care ministry. It was our 2nd biggest day so far.

I was reading an article today on anthropology from the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (yes, I do enjoy reading the dictionary - last night in our missions class a man was giving a report about being in prison over the weekend with Bill Glass Champions for Life. He mentioned an inmate in the corner reading the dictionary and all I could think was, what's wrong with that?) Humans were created in the likeness and image of God for His own glory. Nothing we can do can earn or cause us to deserve redemption - it's all about accepting the free gift offered. Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Redeemed men and women will, by the blood of Christ, give glory to His name and enjoy Him forever, thus fulfilling their original purpose."

So, when I run I enjoy creation because one of my favorite attributes or perfections of God is that of Creator. I enjoy creation because I am in awe of it and of Him. Even in Texas we are starting to have leaves turning fall colors. When I run I talk to God about the things that are weighing on my heart or the activities I have coming up or about my husband and kids and ministry. When I run I am thankful for health and the ability to buy snazzy new running shoes and the freedom to do so. When I run I worship. When I run I pray for those that have never heard the name of Jesus and the opportunity to share that Great Name with those that simply do not know.

I'm glad to be back running today. Tomorrow I plan to run 4. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,

Jeanette




Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's been going on?

I'm sitting on the couch with my man watching game 6 of the World Series. Our Texas Rangers are up 3 games to 2. They could win the series tonight. I, obviously, hope they do. The series has been super exciting. Monday night I had a hard time enjoying the Rangers getting a win in game 5 because I was sick. Johnny had a stomach bug over the weekend and I was super careful - washing my hands, washing everything he touched, spraying Lysol all over - and I still got sick. It was truly awful, that's for sure! And, between the 2 of us being sick, missing sleep and such, I have not been running for a week. Since the half-marathon is only about 5 weeks away now I can't afford to take a week off. I'll be back out there tomorrow and our plan is to run 8 on Saturday.

Today we went to the Embrace Equipping Conference. It was a mission conference. We are desperately praying about a new part of our mission strategy and went to get some info today. For me, it was confirmation to what I think God has already been saying to Johnny and me. I am so excited. It's something totally unlike our other mission endeavors and in a different part of the world.

Our first classes in the new computer lab, my big project for the Fall, are less than a week away. After all we've done over the last months it's finally almost time to actually get to work. My prayer is that we will absolutely provide some job skills but also, and mainly, that we will have a chance to share Jesus!

That's what's up with me. Nothing exciting at all. I didn't even get to go to a baseball game...

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Monday, October 17, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #9

Run length - 2 1/2
Song that got me home - My Brightness, Charlie Hall
Verse of the morning - you have stayed long enough (in part) from Deuteronomy 1:6-7

It was already hot at 10:45 am in the middle of October. And, super windy. Going out was great but the wind was discouraging on the way back. I only ran a total of 6 miles last week so I'm off my training and have got to get back this week.

I'm pondering something Johnny talked about last night at church & thought about it out on my run today. His text was from Acts 12, the account of Peter rescued from jail by an angel. A couple of points that stuck with me were: 1) sometimes we pray and because God doesn't answer the way we have envisioned it we miss the answer; 2) if I pray and God gives me an answer that's not what I envisioned can I be ok with that? Sometimes I pray and pray about the same things but, really, in my heart, I already know the answer. What it comes down to is do I believe that He's good and faithful and just if my hopes, dreams, life don't turn out like I planned?

Yeah, I can type with absolute certainty that I believe He is. Not one doubt.

That's where I am today. Do I struggle to hang onto that on some days? Sure. He has proven Himself (not that He has to) over and over again in my life. With whatever breath He has yet to give me, with days and energy and resources, I hope I will live worthy of what He has entrusted to me. To His great glory alone.

Running with purpose &
  serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, October 10, 2011

School Holiday

The college kids got an entire week off last week - Fall Break - but the high schooler got today off. He came home from a friend's house, where he spent the night, with 2 of his buddies sometime in the early afternoon. He asked me to take him to get a new drum head (which we did) and to have a Dallas Stars watching party tonight. The game started at 5:00 but they didn't start watching it until almost 7:00 pm because our Texas Rangers are playing in the ALCS. The game went into extra innings and was won by a walk-off grand slam by Nelson Cruz. It was so exciting. They are now 2 up in the series. The Stars are now in OT. (I actually already saw on twitter which team won the game but these guys are all excited about the shoot-out so there's no way I'm telling them that the Stars actually won the game!) Jacob had 6 friends over tonight and it is so great to have boys yelling and cheering! Some days it has been way too quiet around here. (The all just yelled "yes" in their manly voices so the game is finally over! It was also exciting.)

I didn't go running today. I needed to buy groceries so I decided to head over to the brand new Kroger that just opened near our house. It's a Kroger Marketplace so it has lots more stuff than just groceries. First of all, the parking lot was packed and I had a hard time finding a parking space. I nearly had a panic attack when I walked in the door because, first of all, there was a girl yelling about free samples of fresh-squeezed orange juice and pineapple. Secondly, the store is not in the same lay-out as my old Kroger. I like routine and sameness. I couldn't find anything. And THEN the checker made me give her my Kroger card before I finished unloading my cart. At the old Kroger they will let you give the card when you finish instead of making you stop. Then, there wasn't anyone sacking my groceries until almost the end. And, then (last one) the checker - instead of helping to finish putting the groceries into my reusable grocery sacks like they do at the old Kroger - started checking out the guy behind me. She let his groceries come down the conveyor right into my unsacked groceries. Look, I was stressed and trying to be kind but come on... I was so happy to be out of there. Unfortunately, the boys wanted to get something this afternoon and I ended up making a second trip to the new Kroger. Twice in one day. yikes - hope to not be back til next week!

I don't mean to complain about nonsensical things. I am truly happy and so thankful that I have the ability to drive down the street in my fun little car and that I have money to buy groceries. I am thankful for coupons and deals at the new store. (A fella even game me a coupon for a free bag of coffee!) I am thankful for healthy kids and friends and time to spend doing unimportant things like watching sporting events when such serious things are going on in the world. I am thankful (oh, get this one) that I have a wonderful tile floor in my kitchen and hot, running water in my house with which to clean it. Even if I did have to get down on my hands and knees today to clean parts of it, I'm glad to have it. I'm super thankful for my man - the one that I love to spend time with more than anyone else - and being able to share our lives together. I'm thankful for a day off school and a son who still asks me to do stuff for him - like cooking special hockey-watching food for him and his friends.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #8

Run length - 3 miles
Verse of the morning - You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith is perfected. James 2:22


I read an article on the internet this morning that started with this line: you can't do everything but you can do something. It was on a mission website. I'm just one person. What can I do?

I laced up my awesome running shoes this morning wondering if I should go out for a run. Johnny says I can't afford to take time off for an injury. He's right. Race day is 2 months and 1 day from today. I have a sore leg and can't quite figure out if I should just run through the soreness or decrease my runs until it's better. I won't stop, though. Here's why - in the first day of offering the iLive shirts for a donation to our iRun mission causes, we already raised over the amount it costs to dig a well in India. That was our first goal and we did it in the first day! (Thank you, my FBCM people, for your amazing generosity!) Everything else we raise will go to our other causes.

It's estimated that 6,000 children die in India everyday from issues related to unsafe drinking water. I can't provide clean water for everyone in India. However, in some remote village somewhere in India our partner organization, AIM, will dig a well and provide water for the thirsty. I run for clean water in India.

The drought in the Horn of Africa is causes food prices to soar and has weakened the livestock. As a result, there is increased malnutrition, hunger and famine. Millions and millions of people are at risk. I can't feed everyone who is starving in the Horn of Africa but I can feed some. I run for the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Almost 2 years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, it is estimated that there are over 600,000 people still living in displacement camps. Now, there is a serious outbreak of cholera. I can't build a home for every person living in a tent in Haiti, but I can help someone. I run for the Haiti Rebuild Project.

And, finally, I read recently that there are 143 million fatherless and orphaned children in the world. They need a home and a family and love and security. I run so some little boy or some little girl can know what home is and what it means to say mommmy and daddy.

I'm just one person. I've joined a group of runners. Together, we are trying to make a difference. We are lacing up our running shoes and we are getting out there, putting one foot in front of the other to make a difference. That's what we're doing. How about you?

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,

Jeanette


Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Live and the Computer Lab

I'm not posting my meditations on running today because I totally abandoned my run today at 2.5 miles. I had to work this morning so I thought I'd go running at lunchtime. If one would expect that one could go on a pleasant run on the very last week of September around lunchtime, well, that person would be WRONG if that person lives in Texas this particular year. After running from Rose Park to McKnight Park and back, I got halfway to Town Park and totally gave up. I turned around and ran back to Rose Park then even walked across the yard back to my car instead of going on the path. It was 97 degrees outside by the time I got back to my car.

But, I'm not giving up on running because I am running with a purpose, after all. Our church run group is raising money for some specific mission purposes. We were able to purchase some shirts that look almost like our run shirts. Instead of iRun with Purpose they have iLive with Purpose. With a donation of $20 or more to our causes donors can have a shirt. I've put a photo below - sorry it's sideways, you KNOW I am horrible with computers - it's the front & the back of the shirts.



So, I know your next question is where can I get my iLive shirt? So glad you asked! (That sounds like something our pastor would say, doesn't it?) Starting this coming Sunday, you can stop by our brand new Computer Lab/Mission Room to make your donation and get your shirt. If you didn't know we had such a place in our church then I'm so glad to let you know that we do! If you read the Discovery Brochure on Sundays then you know we've been asking for you to donate computers. We finally have all the computers we need (for now) and work is being done to get them ready so we can start using the computer lab for its intended purpose: to provide job skills and training classes for the under- and unemployed. We all know it's a tough economy but there are employers looking for good employees. We just want to help train some good potential employees so some folks can better provide for their families. 

I'll be in the Computer Lab this Sunday immediately following morning worship. Please stop by... and   bring your checkbook! If you are interested in either taking classes or helping with training then I'd love to talk to you about that as well.

See you Sunday!

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,

Jeanette



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #7

Run length - 2 1/2ish
Song that got me home - Came to My Rescue, Hillsong
Verse of the morning - The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Sometimes how themes go together in my life cracks me up. Take today, for instance. I decided to shake my running plan up today by doing what  my running book calls fartlek. (Will you wonder if I'm thinking like a junior high boy if I suggest you say that word out loud?) According to the book, the word is Swedish for "speed play" and it's simply mixing up easy running and running fast. Actually, you are to pick an object in the distance and run to it fast and then return back to an easy pace and do that repeatedly. My plan was to do my fast running in quarters. However, because I was giving all I had, the distance was closer to a tenth. Sad, I know. And I was having some foot pain this morning - which gives me a little anxiety because I had to give up running last year because of those darned feet. Today was not the first time my plan didn't turn out the way I had hoped.

This season of my life is sort of like that. Don't get me wrong, I'm in a really good place. I'm not complaining, it's just that this particular season is not what I anticipated. It isn't my plan or how I would have written the script. Would you at all agree that sometimes our plans don't equal the direction God has for us? How do you deal with those times? Last night after Johnny had been at Fish, Football, & Freebies, and the game was over (go, Cowboys!) I made a comment to Johnny about this particular subject. I was super tired, it was late, and, frankly, I didn't like what he had to say so I abruptly ended the conversation. That was uncool, I know, especially because Johnny is a fixer. All in all, I want God to direct my steps even when they don't lead where I think they should be going. And, in the process, I truly want to know Him more. I want that object in the distance to be the one that He put there for me - whether I'm going fast or slow (or painfully slow like it seems some things to).

All I can add is be flexible and be open to the direction God is leading your steps.

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,

Jeanette

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #6

Run length - 7 miles
Song that got me home - Say, Say Charlie Hall Band
Verse of the morning - Give thanks to the Lord for He is (so) good; His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

I don't have much to write about today's run except... I made it! And, as a reward, we stopped to get a latte (skinny latte, at that!) on the way home. Then, Johnny turned the hot tub on and, oh, my legs and feet were so thankful! Johnny and I took a little over 3 minutes off our 6 mile time and I felt good until the end. We started out with 3 friends. We didn't all stay together but it felt good knowing they were out on the course. The weather was absolute perfection (thank You, Creator of heaven and earth!) and it was a great morning.

Johnny and I talked a little when we passed the 6 mile mark. We don't talk too much because, well, we need to breath. We talked about how we cannot think about almost being finished because it makes us tired. I have to purposefully think about other things and not think about running. I often think about projects I have going on or mentally make lists of things I need to do. I often pray or sing out loud. I did sing a tiny bit for Julie Brooks today but usually only do that after I make sure no one else is around. Today, I thought about my Life Group girls and our lesson for tomorrow for at least a mile.

I got up for a second and stepped on a dead gecko in my house. I'm feeling kinda freaked out about that so I'm going to end this post  here.

Serving the King and
  running with purpose,

Jeanette

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #5

Song that got me home - Chainbreaker, Charlie Hall Band
Run length - 2 miles
Verse of the morning - I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You. Job 42:5

I planned an easy 2 mile run today because I ran 4.5 Monday & 3.1 Tuesday and, of course, Wednesday is stretch & strength day. Johnny and I plan to run 7 on Saturday so I'm running easy today and tomorrow so I'll feel my best for the long run. Since it was 2 miles I decided to take Chicken Little (aka Jadee, my Boxer/Pit Bull mix mutt - henceforth in this post referred to simply as CL) with me. If you've read any of my other posts on running then you will already know CL is not good for one step beyond 2 miles. Our city is putting traffic lights at an intersection near our house that happens to be on my run route. Some fellas were out working with some machinery this morning and my precious CL about flipped out. She kept looking back after we were long past the intersection. She was just about to calm down when we got to the creek bridge which has a short, concrete wall separating the sidewalk from the street. A couple of friends (the Dean gals) stopped briefly in their car for a little encouragement. My CL kept trying to jump up and see who was on the other side of wall. Then, as is her habit, she got in the pool when we got home. Even though it hasn't been too cold outside yet, the pool water is already super cold. She doesn't care.  When I came in the house she snuck in. When I called her to go back outside, she ran immediately to the laundry room. Should I be upset that she disobeyed and didn't go back outside or should I be impressed that she went to the laundry room - which, BTW, is the place where she went all summer to get dried off after being in the pool? She is so loyal even though she's really just a big fraidy cat. She tried to sit in my lap again this morning when I was sitting at my desk working. She's just too big. And now I've referred to her both as a chicken and a cat when she is clearly a dog. Even with her faults, CL is just about the best dog ever.

So much for spiritual reflections on running - some days are just meant for silliness, I suppose.

Running with purpose and
  serving the King,

Jeanette

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #4

Run length - 3.55
Song that got me home - We Will Dance, Travis Cottrell
Verse of the morning - Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

I am a creature of habit, sometimes in weird ways. I have certain routine things that I do and I don't like to deviate from those things, particularly when it comes to running. (If you are reading this, Johnny Dickerson, I tried really hard not to stop and re-tie my shoes. I couldn't do it. And, once one shoe has been re-tied, the other must be re-tied as well. Always the right first and the left second.) Today, for instance, I had to go by the Post Office and drop something off. One of the parks I run by is near the Post Office. But, that's not the one I usually park by so, instead of parking there I drove to my regular park parking lot so as not to mess up my routine.

The great thing about working at home is working in one's pajammies, like I did this morning.  I have a couple of heavy things going on and was sidetracked this morning but finally had to get out the door because I had some things to talk over with God. Like the above verse, I am asking for His favor and confirmation on the projects I have going right now.  I love to run and pray. It seems like a great way to leave distractions behind and, for me, to have great times of worship and conversation. I also have my best ideas while I'm out running. I had a great run today and even went beyond my planned 3 miles. It helped that the temp outside was 74 degrees when I got out of the car at 11:05 am!

A few years ago I was working on my master's degree and, because it was in Christian Education, I had to have a required course in Spiritual Formation. For the class, one of the texts was a book titled DiscipleShape, Twelve Weeks to Spiritual Fitness by Dan R. Crawford. Basically, the author compared growing spiritually to physical fitness in parts of the book. One chapter is titled, "Walking" followed by the chapter titled "Running." Check out an excerpt from the book below:

Physical fitness experts assure us that forward motion connects the mind, body, and spirit, which makes us feel whole...Physiologists tell us if we walk long enough we'll shift into our right brain, opening up an unlimited supply of creative solutions to problems and inspirational thoughts...The mind seems to function more clearly when the physical juices are flowing. In other words, movement motivates and facilitates prayer. (p 62)

So, we know there are all kinds of physical health benefits to walking and running. There are also emotional and spiritual. So, get out there and get moving. Put your favorite worship music on your iPod and spend some time with Jesus. It works for me - I hope it will for you as well.

Serving the King
    and Running with Purpose,

Jeanette

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #3

Run length - 2 miles
Song that got me home - The Word of God Has Spoken, Travis Cottrell
Verse of the morning - I bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

The added bonus (besides, of course, Beth Moore) of the simulcast this past weekend was the worship led by Travis Cottrell. Amazing. He sang the above song. It was the first time I ever heard it. I went right out to the book table and purchased a copy of his new cd and put it on my iPod Saturday evening. I love the message of the song so much. The lesson in our Life Group this past Sunday was about spiritual growth. I told my ladies that there is no spiritual growth outside of Bible study. The Bible is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) which literally means "breathed out by God." Just like He breathed the literal breath of life into Adam at his formation (Genesis 2:7), God's Word breathes life into us spiritually. The Holy Scriptures are the breath of life.

The chorus of the song has this line, "we are running to salvation." For me, it's always good to have the word run or running in any song while while my feet are hitting the pavement. Particularly today. My dog freaked out on me a little bit. She's usually good for 2 miles, though not one step further. I was on my regular 2 mile route in my neighborhood when a bicycle came up behind us. I was thankful to my dog, Jadee, for letting me know he was coming because I may have had the music up too loud. It was great because I was able to get off the sidewalk & out of the biker's way. It was bad because after he passed Jadee decided it was time to go home. She pulled in the opposite direction and would not go further. I took the long way home, though, so I still got my 2 miles in.

Just like it is taking me quite a bit of effort to train for this half-marthon, it takes effort on my part to grow spiritually. Salvation is offered freely but growth happens when I open God's written Word and pour into it and let it pour into me. Having the discipline to get out there and run even when I'm not feeling like it is absolutely necessary for my training. Maybe there are days when I don't want to take the time to run... or, to read my Bible. The only way I'm moving forward is to just do it.

The Word of God has spoken to me this morning. Has it spoken to you?

Serving the King
  and running with purpose,

Jeanette

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Day Without Water

About this time last year I was getting ready to go on a short-term mission trip up into the Andes Mountains of Peru. I had been warned that we would be staying in primitive conditions and I packed my sleeping bag and air mattress. My room in the mountains ended up being a storage room with one little light bulb and nothing else electric. We had one regular toilet for all of us in a room with a dirt floor and without a door. There was one faucet that had freezing cold water coming out of it that we could boil and use to wash dishes. All the other water we used during our time up in the mountains was water we took up with us in huge containers. We cleaned our hands and our bodies with wipes (you know, like baby wipes) and we brushed our teeth with our bottled water, rinsing and spitting over a woodpile outside.

I have been to some developing countries before. I've been to some rural villages where, when you've gotta go, the bathroom facilities are little more than a whole in the ground. In fact, I've done that in at least 4 other countries. And, we're campers. Yes, we do have a travel trailer now but we used to be tent campers and we've roughed it a time or two. Going to the mountains in Peru and staying in a village was not the hardest thing I've ever done. But, I will admit, I was thrilled and thankful when we stopped at a hotel on the way down and I got to take a real shower, wash my hair for the first time in days, and even turn on water and wash my hands.

I know we take water for granted here in the United States. Just since I've been home from running this morning I've flushed my toilet, washed my hands more than once, gotten ice and water from my refrigerator, washed an apple, and started my washing machine. But, I've been thinking a lot about water lately. Maybe it's because we are in a drought here in Texas. Now we can only water our yards twice a week. I know in the northeast they are experiencing flooding and we would just like to have some rain. We are not to the point of desperation yet even though the lake is down and the creeks are dried up. We don't yet know what's really like to be without water.

Here's a few water facts I found on WorldVision.org and Compassion.com:

*884 million people worldwide lack access to safe water.
*Water-related diseases are the 2nd biggest killer of children worldwide. (I thought #1 would be hunger-related issues but it's not - it's acute respiratory infections, like TB)
*90% of water-related diseases have to do with unsafe water, sanitation, & hygiene. Most of the victims are children in developing countries.
*An average person in a developing country uses a little more than 2.5 gallons of water per day for drinking, washing, and cooking. An average person in the developed world uses 13 gallons per day only for toilet flushing.

I looked at the toilets in my house. They use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. That means, in just 2 flushes per day we have used more water than someone, somewhere in the world. And, I didn't have to hike for miles with containers strapped to my body to bring that water back to my house, like some women do on a daily basis. I didn't worry if the water I drank carried diseases that would cause me to very sick or dehydrated. It's filtered water.

I was thinking about a campaign I would call A Day Without Water. You know, like the one a shoe company does on a day when participants are to go without wearing shoes. I was thinking we could all go out to the street and turn the water off to our houses. We could estimate the amount of water we would save that day and the cost of that water and then we could all send that money to an organization that helps provide clean, safe water to those who do not readily have access. Quite frankly, can I just be honest, I am unwilling to do it. I like having electricity - being warm in the winter & cool in the summer inside my house, being able to see when it gets dark outside and using my appliances. I like having running water on demand.

What, then, is my responsibility? One thing our running group, iRun with Purpose, is doing is raising money to dig a well in India. It's a start. Maybe we can't provide clean water for all 884 million people desperate for it but for a village in India I hope it will make a difference.

Running with purpose & serving the King,

Jeanette





Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #2

Run length - easy 2 miles
Song that got me home - Always, Kristian Stanfield
Verse of the morning - I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. Isaiah 43:15

Normally, after long run day is rest day. But, since my schedule is off this week, I went for an easy 2 mile run. I have a route in my neighborhood and I like to take my dog out once or twice a week. She's great for 2 miles but if I try to go past that she rebels. I can remember not too long ago that I couldn't even run 1 mile, much less 2, so I'm not taking it for granted that it was an easy 2 mile run.

My verse for the morning has special significance for me for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons is that, usually, my favorite attribute, characteristic, or perfection (as Charles Ryrie calls it) of God is Creator. I absolutely enjoy His creation. That's one reason I run. I cancelled my gym membership because I prefer to be outside. I don't enjoy running on a treadmill at all. I like to look around and notice the different colors of green - or, right now, all the shades of yellow as the grass and leaves are dying from the summer heat and lack of rain. I enjoy noticing the different shapes of leaves or seeing different types of birds and insects. I am amazed at the creativeness it took to creator so many different things.

I like to think about creation worshipping the Creator. Today, the grasshoppers on one particular part of my route were jumping out in front of me. The dragonflies were flapping their wings. Ok, before you think I'm wacky, check out this verse - "For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands," Isaiah 55:12. I remember so clearly the first time I noticed the trees clapping. We were in Colorado driving up in the mountains with the windows down, enjoying the cool mountain air. The sides of the road were lined with Aspens and, as the breeze was blowing, it looked just like the leaves were clapping.

I would love for you to see Isaiah 55:12 in context. Would you look it up but start reading in about...well, why not read the entire chapter. It's only 13 verses long. My Bible titles the chapter The invitation of salvation and it's about God's promises. I hope you'll read it and be blessed by it today!

iRun with Purpose,

Jeanette

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meditations on Running, entry #1

Today's run length - 6 miles
Song that got me home - Forever Reign, Hillsong
Verse of the morning - Psalm 90:14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

I think we had 68 days over 100 degrees this summer in North Texas. Today the high is supposed to be in the 80's. It was in the high-70's when we started on our run at 10:30 this morning. It's the first day it has felt cool in weeks and weeks. It's windy but feels really nice out.

It was only our 2nd time to run 6 miles and we took 6 minutes off our time. I am encouraged and think the training for the 1/2 marathon is going fairly good. I am doing a self-modified training based on Hal Higdon's novice training plan for the half marathon. Our long day is normally Saturday but we ran it today because this coming Saturday is Beth Moore Simulcast. For real runners, 6 miles may not be a long run. I guess I really never ran much until I was in my 30's. In fact, I never played sports (except intermurals in college) and am not athletic in any way. Now that I am way past 30, I feel excited to be entered in the White Rock. I feel privileged to be able to run for a cause. Over the next few weeks I hope to jot down my thoughts on running, what God is doing in me, and the 4 causes we are raising funds for as we run.

iRun with Purpose,

Jeanette

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2nd week - check

We've made it through the first 2 weeks of school. We are getting into (sort of) a routine and getting used to one kid at home. It's Labor Day weekend, though, and the college girl just walked in the door. She was at a Young Life retreat and it was here in town. She said she can't wait to sleep in her own bed. Yeah, it's way better than the top bunk at that dorm room! The only-child-left-at-home is out with some buddies but called a bit ago and said he would be home later, with 3 buddies in tow. Some things change, some things remain the same.

We've been getting into the back-to-school groove by watching some college football this weekend. The Baylor Bears had a nail-biter this weekend and managed a win over the #14 nationally ranked TCU Horned Frogs. It was a great game and kept us watching until the very end. Sic'em Bears!

We also had my parents & my younger brother and his family over today for a pre-Labor Day/dad's birthday celebration. I found out about a new store in Arlington called Nothing Bundt Cake that sells (you guessed it) all sorts of bundt cakes. I stopped by with Jacob on Thursday after we had to go by the Sprint store and purchased a couple of mini-cakes. They were yummy so I went back by on Friday (the girl working recognized me and asked, "Weren't you here yesterday?" guilty!) and bought some more for the family get-together. Actually, I bought 11 more because with the purchase of 11 you get one free. I couldn't resist free. And, did I mention the cake is really yummy? Needless to say, we will be eating cake for the rest of the weekend. Johnny and I are planning a long run for Monday but I will try not to eat too much cake anyway.

Finally, I think today was the last of the triple-digit days. Man, I was growing weary of them. In fact, the high for Monday may be only in the high 80's so it might start cooling off a bit and start to feel like back-to-school.

Hoping you have a marvelous Labor Day!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Acting Like It

The following was one of Ed Stetzer's tweets this morning - "When a disciple understands the gospel and lives in light of it he/she will naturally be on mission." It was a short little excerpt from his blog. (I would put a link right here but I'm on my new Mac and I'm not sure how to get to his blog on this computer. You can google him to find it.) When we truly know (that experiential know, not just head knowledge) what the mission of God is, it should make a difference in the way we live. The New Testament writer James penned it like this, "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves," (James 1:22)

Being on mission does not necessarily mean you are going on a mission trip. I think that's part of it and I encourage people all the time to go on mission trips. They can be live changing. It was for me. Being on a mission trip and living with missionaries for a week taught me a lot about what it means to live on mission.

So, what does that mean to us to live on mission on a day-to-day basis? I think it starts by finding out the heart of God. How does God feel about the lost, the hurting, the sick, the poor and defenseless? We also have to become more sensitive to the needs around us. I don't know about you, but sometimes I live like I have blinders on. I am so focused on what is going on in my family, taking care of my responsibilities, etc., that I am truly unaware of potential needs all around me. Once we know the heart of God and we observe needs around us, then we must put our faith into action. We have to act like what we say we believe. If we are truly disciples, then it is our obligation to live in light of God's mission on earth and to make His mission our mission.

Serving the King,

Jeanette


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Longing For The Day

Did you ever read the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? That may not be the exact title but that's pretty close. It's a story about a little guy named Alexander who was just really having a bad day. All sorts of rotten stuff happens to the poor kid and he mentions wanting to escape to Australia. At the end of the book, he says something like, "Some days are like that, even in Australia." We must've read that story dozens of times when our kids were smaller. That last little bit became a catch-phrase around our house. Some days are just rotten, no matter who you are or where you live.

Today has been such a day. Johnny left before dawn to catch a plane to go see his dad who is still recovering from cancer surgery in Boston. It's been a very difficult recovery. When I got up, there was a dead bird in the pool. Thankfully, Jacob was still home and was able to get the bird out for me. Other than that, I'm having a decent day. Jacob helped me clean the kitchen tonight without being asked! But this morning I got a text from a friend who is struggling. Another friend is dealing with some serious issues with one of her kids. One is in the hospital, one just lost her sister, another is recovering from a serious illness and has had some setbacks. My heart is heavy over the sorrow, frustration, stress, weakness, and suffering all around me. 

Johnny gave me a new iPod for my birthday back in June for my car. (I know it seems like I'm changing gears but hang in with me for a minute.) I finally, today, sat down and put some music on it. (I KNOW, 2 1/2 months later - the summer was just like that.) I had an iTunes card so I decided to purchase some new music. Last night, at Rally, the band played a Hillsong United song that I've never heard titled You Hold Me Now. I decided to get it today along with Matt Redman's new album. Part of the lyrics of the song are this, "No weeping, no hurt or pain, no suffering, You hold me now, You hold me now. No darkness, no sick or lame, no hiding, You hold me now, You hold me now."

Do you ever just long for that day? That's where I am today. When John received the Revelation he recorded this,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." Revelation 21:1-4, NASB

No longer any separation - from God or our loved ones that were believers that have gone on before us. No more sorrow or sickness or hunger or hurt... Only rejoicing forever dwelling in the presence of God.

In the meantime, I live in the reality that life just stinks sometimes - for me and those I love. The promise of what is ahead strengthens me on those tough days. After all, some days are just like that... even in Australia.

Serving the King,

Jeanette 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Move-In Day

I know I am repeatedly posting about college move-in day but it's my life and today's the day. (Well, we moved Josh into his new townhome on Saturday so it's move-in day for the college freshman) Johnny asked me how I was doing earlier this morning and I didn't get a little teary, I sobbed. The kind that takes your breath away. I am going to miss Jessica so much. I'm going to miss the way she comes in and talks to me about all sorts of things - tv shows that she finds funny, what's going on in her day, what's going on in the world, spiritual things, how she's doing. I will miss hanging out with her - going shopping (not that either of us is big on shopping because we are not), watching movies, cooking together. I'm going to miss basketball season - the way she was all in. I have always said of her that she is a free spirit. She is her own person and does not let culture or other people dictate who she is or what she does. She is brave and adventurous. So much more like her dad that way. She's gregarious and loyal and compassionate. She cares deeply about people. She is passionate about her faith and her pursuit of God. She is fun. I feel so priviledged to be her parent. There will definitely be a void in our home and a void in my life. My life changes today forever. Twenty-one years of parenting and now we'll be down to one at home. I know we'll get used to the new normal, to our new life. I'm excited for Jessica to start her new adventure. She is going to do so great, I know it. It's just me I'm worried about...

Jeanette 

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Grocery Store

I honestly don't know how long I stood there, staring at the pork section. It was probably only a few seconds. How long should one think about cooking for only three? I had already been down the laundry aisle, picking up 2 extra detergents and 2 extra fabric softeners - one will go to the townhome this weekend and the other to the dorm next week. Somehow it made me terribly sad. So I stood there not knowing what to buy. Or, rather, how much to buy. Jacob is dreading it more than anyone, I think. He was the only one home for dinner one night last week. The siblings gone off in two different directions. Johnny and I talked and asked questions and expected him to participate in the conversation. He rolled his eyes at one point and I said, "Buddy, you better get used to it. This will soon be your life all the time." And it will be ours as well. 

I will still make the dreaded trip to the grocery store every Monday, as is my practice. I will make my list and cut the coupons. I will walk up and down the aisles and pick up the things that 3 people need. Jacob will add his selections to the list - you know, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and stuff like that. I'll get used to it. Then, there will be a break and the college kids will be back. I'll pile my cart with even more stuff and the grocery bill will go back up. I'll be happy about that just like I'm really (no, I really am) happy for the college kids to go. I'm thankful for their precious lives, their devotion to God, and that we are able to send them where they want to go. God is good and life goes on. 

Life goes on.

Serving the King,

Jeanette 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

iRun with Purpose

I've mentioned on here a time or two that Johnny and I are training for a half marathon. The race is the Dallas White Rock - they have a relay, 1/2 marathon, and marathon. Run the Rock is the first weekend in December so we are training now. Because of the extreme heat (the weather man's title, not mine) we are experiencing Johnny and I start our runs before 7:00 am. That's the only way we could stand it. Our run today was 4 miles - and that's NOT our long run. I know, I know, for real runners that's no big deal but for us to run 4 miles and feel good is quite an accomplishment. Our times are coming down and we are definitely building our endurance on these hot, Texas, summer days.

At our church we have some real runners. They will be finished with the marathon before I finish the half, I have no doubt. We thought it would be fun to form a run team and to do some fundraising for some mission causes. We are looking at some causes like digging water wells, feeding hungry people, helping with medical needs, etc. We are going to finalize our causes in the next few days. So, this year, we are running with purpose.

I read an article yesterday about the food crisis in the Horn of Africa. I also recently read an article about a woman in an African country that literally spends hours every single day - 7 days a week, every single week - walking back and forth fetching water for her family. There are thousands like her. I am trying really hard not to complain about these record-setting hot days when I have air conditioning, plenty to eat, and ice & water to drink available to me within just a few steps from where I sit right now.

Will running in a half marathon make a difference in anyone's life? I don't know. I hope so. I hope it will inspire me and remind me to make the cause of world hunger & disease & the need for clean drinking water known to those in my sphere on influence. I hope it will remind me that I am abundantly blessed. I hope the things that are important to God will be the things that are important to me. I hope to make Him famous and to remember that I do it all for His glory and not mine. (That shouldn't be too hard because there's no glory at the back of the race.) But, if I'm out there putting one foot in front of the other, I hope to do it with purpose.

I hope you are having a great summer - it's winding down with back-to-school almost here! Live your dream, pursue God, love your family!

Serving the King,

Jeanette



Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Profile Change

I just changed my profile - it used to note that I was the parent of one college student and 2 high school students. Now, well, you can read it for yourself just over there, to the right. It's 3 weeks and 1 day til the middle child goes to college. We started shopping for her dorm room last Saturday. It was fun and way different than dorm shopping for a son! The summer has been so much fun and the house has been busy - kids coming and going...and coming...and coming over... Except this week. They are all gone to Student Life Camp. Johnny leaves tomorrow for Boston - his dad is having cancer surgery - so it will be me and Jadee-dog having some girls' time.

I'm thinking ahead to the fall. I don't have a mission trip planned and I hope to change that. I am really hoping to go on a vision trip this fall. It seems like over the past few years I've always known what my next trip will be so it seems weird to not know for sure. I'm working on a project at church and a writing project so I've plenty to do but mostly, right now, I'm thinking about that profile change - it's going to be so different around here. Not only will Jessica be going off to college but I've gotten used to Josh being around again. He moves back just before Jessica. It's going to be strange and quiet...

The anticipation of the unknown brings the great reminder that God loves those children I call mine more than I do (hard to fathom) and He has a great plan for them and for me and my man. Change is sometimes scary and sometimes a little sad but I am confident that the next chapter will be an adventure, just like all the others!

Serving the King,

Jeanette 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacation Pics - Vernal Falls

 My kids on the Vernal Falls Footbridge
 Me and my man on the Vernal Falls Footbridge (don't you love the hat?)
 top of Vernal Falls
Looking down from the top of Vernal Falls - we were there just 2 weeks ago

I just read a news article on the FoxNews website about 3 people that went over the falls. They, apparently, climbed over the railing and out onto some slippery rocks and fell in, then went over. They are missing and presumed dead. I wrote about our hike to Vernal Falls in my post California Vacation. The force of the water made for a spectacular sight and it was so worth it to get to the top and see it. Really, it was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in nature. The Emerald Pool is at the top but we were warned by a park ranger not to get in the water. It's dangerous - particularly this year when they had record snowfall.

I feel sad for the friends and family of those missing. I feel sad for the people who witnessed the 3 going over. The article reported that it's a 317 foot drop and you can see in the above picture that I took from the top, camera pointing down, what's at the bottom. Of course, I'm super afraid of heights so I barely would even go close to the rail. I did have a photo taken by the rail but I feel one picture of me in that hat is enough for one blog post. (Since my last birthday I'm more aware than ever of my age and I'm trying to protect my older skin - I'm getting a lot of use out of that hat.)

I have more vacation pics posted on fb soooo if we're friends, hope on over to my profile and take a look! Yosemite is fabulous!

Jeanette

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer: 18th day over 100 & it's flying by

Yes, you read the headline right - I heard on the news this morning that today is the 18th day - in a row - that we have been over 100 degrees in North Texas. Man, it is hot! Our training for the White Rock 1/2 Marathon is definitely hard in this heat. Johnny and I left the house at 7:20 AM both days this week to try to beat the heat. Yesterday, we got back to the house and jumped into the pool - in our running clothes - just to try to cool off.

The summer has been super crazy so far. If you've been reading then you know we did back-to-back weeks on mission trips. We got home from the second one on a Thursday and left 3 days later, on Sunday, for our vacation. We've been home a week and a half and I think something has been going on every single day since then. Nertz night, Bible study, kids in and out and in and out. Last Wednesday I was trying to do some work and the doorbell kept ringing and kids just kept coming over. I wake up in the morning and check to see who's here - if all 3 of mine are and if there some others as well.

So, it has been a really great summer so far. Really great. Johnny and I just got back from setting up our lake house for the week. Well, it's the Wildwood (our travel trailer) at the campground on the nearby lake. We are about to take the boat out there. I'll be back home tonight for Bible study but I think there will be some fellas out there later. They run in packs these days.

One month from today is the day we will take Jessica to college - pack up her stuff and move her off for the first time. Josh will move back a day or so before that since he's a small group leader for SWAT (student welcome & transition week). It will be so strange to only have one child at home.

Gotta go, Johnny's waiting.... Jeanette

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

I took this picture at Yosemite National Park last week. It was the second uphill hike of the day and I was not sure if I would make it. Plus, I am really scared of heights and it was a steep walk up the side of a huge rock mountain. The view was magnificent and so totally worth it. In the distance were snow-covered mountains and waterfalls. God's creation reminds me that He is glorious and the ultimate Creator.

I saw this pile of rocks and had to take a picture. I immediately thought of that old hymn, Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing, and the verse that contains the phrase in my title. The story is from 1 Samuel 7:10-12. Basically, the Israelites were in a battle with the Philistines and God caused a storm that allowed the Israelites to defeat the Philistines. Then Samuel, the prophet and leader, set up a stone, a stone of remembrance, and named it Ebenezer and said, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."

I don't know why I am repeatedly surprised by God. He is amazing and He does amazing stuff. That's who He is. But, still, sometimes He blows me away. Like today. I'm working on a new project for our i68 missions ministry and have received so much positive feedback and offers to help that I have felt truly blessed and affirmed with the direction we're headed. Then today a friend called to tell me about something God has put on her heart. She didn't know about the new project because (1) I've been away for the last 3 weeks and (2) I'm just now really spreading the word & telling others about what's going on - besides our missions committee, which I told them at their last meeting. Anyway, it seems as though God was telling my friend on His own before I could. Because He's like that and He does what He wants. Incredible.

How do I forget at times, thus far the Lord has helped me? I need to put my own rock pile somewhere around here, I guess. He is faithful. And I am blown away.

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Monday, July 11, 2011

California Vacation

I typed the following in Yosemite National Park when I didn't have internet, cellphone service or even tv:

My calves were screaming as we made the descent. I was completely soaked – every article of clothing I was wearing as well as my shoes. Even though we were well below the waterfall the roar of the river made conversation difficult – particularly because we mostly walked single-file as a result of all the other people going up and down. A three mile round trip with a 1,000 foot ascent (that’s one thousand feet up and one thousand feet down) to the top of Vernal Falls and the Emerald Pool. When we drove into Yosemite National Park the day before the park attendant asked if it was our first trip to the park. Yes, we told her. She then reported that we picked a great year to come – the waterfalls were still flowing strongly as a result of the excellent snowfall of the winter. We found that to be true when the overspray from the falls on the trail made us look like we had gone for a swim. Even now I know I will be sore in the morning but it was so worth it to get to the top and see that amazing site. On the way down I told God how amazed I was at His creation. I had already been thinking such thoughts the day we went to the aquarium on the bay in San Francisco. I’ve never seen an orange fish with a perfect fuchsia square on it before. In fact, I’ve been to aquariums before and I am always amazed at the variety of fish and other underwater creatures. They even had this one shallow pool where visitors can touch some rays and small sharks. One little ray kept poking his head up. The aquarium girl said he was trying to get his eyes above water so he could see but I so think he just wanted out. Freedom!


We ended the day with another hike. Yeah, because one 3-mile hike up to a waterfall and back was not enough for one day. (I’m super thankful I’m in training for a half-marathon or I would have never made it!) This one was just 2.2 miles round-trip but ended on the top of a huge, exposed rock that seems like it’s the top of the world. Well, maybe the top of Yosemite. We could see waterfalls and snow-covered mountains in the distance. We looked down on Yosemite Valley and, again, I just felt amazed. And, unbelievably happy that I had a chance to see the beauty of God’s creation.

It’s almost time to head home from our California vacation. We’ve made some great memories and seen some amazing sights. From the Go-Car adventure in San Francisco to the little cabin in the woods, I feel blessed beyond measure. And rested in a weird way since every part of my body aches. I just hope I can get out of the bed in the morning…

Serving the King,

Jeanette





Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Partnerships in the Gospel

I am sitting in my hotel room in Laredo, Texas, while the rest of our mission team is spread out to 6 locations over the city today. My younger son is down by the river, almost in Mexico, playing soccer while his dad is just up the road painting the exterior of a church. He hates that they are painting the edges of the roof, however, because the boards are rotten and the entire roof really needs to be replaced. Maybe that's a project for another day.

I am the hotel because I feel awful. Maybe it's a result of our misadventure trying to get home from Peru. We finally landed at DFW (Dallas Fort Worth International Airport) after a day and a half trying to get out of Peru. I was supposed to leave for Laredo Monday morning but Johnny got our tickets changed to the evening flight. We landed here in Laredo just 24 hours after landing at DFW the night before. The weather is in complete contrast to the weather we had last week - the truth is, it's stinkin' hot down here near the Rio Grand.

I've been reading and pondering the New Testament letter of Philippians over the last few weeks and started over at the beginning this morning:

I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

I love that idea of partnerships. What a great responsibility we have as believers and followers of Christ to make the name of Jesus famous to the nations. I have been so privileged to see folks at work in different places around the world doing just that. I love how we join together - how God puts people together - for a common purpose and a common goal. All the way from organizations like World Vision or the IMB & NAMB to the 2 young women living and working in Peru independently. Paul's reminder to me is to be diligent in praying for people with whom I have partnered and to do all I can to support what they are doing for the glory of the Kingdom.

Which leaves me feeling lack a slacker for staying at the hotel this morning. I'll be back out there later today, though, at the block party. Then I'm headed back home tomorrow. Vacation is just days away - and, yes, I'll be flying again but am feeling ok about it! Oh, I forgot to mention that when I got to the airport Monday I was told the flight to Laredo was oversold & I didn't have a seat. Then, we were sitting on the airplane and the flight was delayed. It made me feel a little anxious after all we went through in Peru but we made here safely nonetheless. And, only 30 minutes late! I'll take that after a day & a half late any ol' time!

Serving the King,

Jeanette   

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In Peru with 2 of My Kids

According to my itinerary I should be home right now but, yet, here I am sitting at a hotel in MiraFlores, Peru. Our flight got cancelled last night (electrical problem) and, well, it was actually a big fiasco and more than 24 hours after we initially got to the airport last night we are about to head back over there. The above picture was taken yesterday - our tourist day - at a restaurant near the presidential palace in Lima. We were enjoying a good meal and a good time of fellowship with the American missionaries and new Peruvian friends after a week of hard work. And what an unbelievable week it was. Our main project was going into several schools and sharing the Gospel as well as some fun activities. We came into contact with literally thousands of children this past week. It was a great week but I am still processing it all. One person that our missionary friends have been specifically praying for came to know Jesus while we have been here. It was glorious!

I keep typing sentences and then deleting them. I guess I have too many tangled thoughts but am mostly thinking about getting home to my man and that place where I feel most comfortable. The place where I get rejuvinated so I can go out again and do what God has called me to do. Yeah, home sweet home ... excited to be there!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Two Mission Trips in Two Weeks

I am leaving in about a day and a half for a mission trip to Peru. The thing is, I'll get home and leave for mission trip number two 2 days after I get home. What in the world was I thinking all those months ago? Thankfully, I have really great people helping plan #2 and feel fully confident that everything that needs to be taken care of WILL be taken care of while I am away. Besides that, our Student Pastor is doing most of the planning for #2 so I really didn't have that much to do anyway!

I was meeting with our missions committee last week and, even though I'm leaving for 2 trips shortly, I don't even think I brought them up. On to other things... I laughingly said I wake up at night thinking about missions. But I do. Something is always brewing around in my head. So many people want to be involved - want to help, want to go, want to support. It is an indescribable and unbelievable blessing to work with so many great people. I am continually amazed that I have the privilege to do such things.

Well, I've got to get laundry out, run to the store, and I'm still working on part of the 6,000 armbands that I'm taking along. I'll covet your prayers on behalf of our team and those we will work with and those we will encounter!

Serving the King,

Jeanette

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's My Birthday

I've had such an interesting week. No, nothing exciting or big is going on but I am perplexed by people's expectations. I don't even know what else to type about that so I'll move on. The week started with Memorial Day on Monday. Johnny and I ran in the American Heroes 5k in Arlington. The race was kicked off by a BlackHawk helicopter flying down the street, right at us. We are training for a half-marathon, the White Rock in Dallas in December, so the 5k was a great way to keep our training on track. I hope to find a 10k around September or October that fits our schedule. We are running the half this year because I really want to run a marathon before 50. You know, one of those bucket list things. With my birthday today I am fully aware that 50 is not that far away. Yikes, I can remember when 50 sounded so old and I most definitely don't feel old. Well, except for the soreness in my legs after the 5k and, well, a few other minor things like not being able to read without the drugstore reading glasses.  That is frustrating - to look at a page and just see blurry images. Or, trying to read my twitter or fb on my cellphone without the reading glasses. Ugh! (Yes, I tried the multifocal contacts but they just didn't work for me.)

I am looking forward to today. I picked family game night for my birthday. That's what I value the most other than the awesome privilege of serving God and being His child -the time with my husband and kids is precious, especially with 2 going to college this year. I don't take it for granted at all anymore.

I gotta run - literally, I'm training for a race! Live your dream, pursue God, love your family!

Serving the King,

Jeanette



Sunday, May 29, 2011

Graduation #2


I found this picture of Jessica when I was going through lots and lots of old pictures for senior slide show and graduation table. It was a graduation from preschool in 1998.
And this is one of Jessica's senior pictures from this year. I could bawl my eyes out right now but I'm too darn tired. I've woken up every morning for at least 2 weeks thinking about graduation and graduation parties. It's been a lot of work, for heaven's sake. And, I would not change a thing or take away one minute of it. Maybe that one minute when... well, you don't want to read about that...

I've had a couple of good cries over the past couple of weeks, though. Man, time flies when you're having fun. Or, time flies when you are living life. Looking at old pictures and thinking about all the great things that have happened over the last 18 years of Jessica's life has been a great joy. That girl has kept us busy! She was always playing a sport. I found pictures of a little bity girl playing soccer and baseball. Even in high school she has played volleyball, golf, and ran track. Not every year except for basketball. That's the one she really loves - basketball. She has been involved in so many activities including this year being President of the Student Council, co-mascot & pep rally co-host, and co-commentator of the weekly update. I am not sure who is going to be able to fill Jess & Chris's shoes after this year!

Yesterday was the big day. We had family time with presents & lunch then we went to the actual graduation. That was followed by not one, not even 2, but 3 parties. First, there was the party of our family friends, followed by Jessica & Jared's graduation party, followed by the all-night party with just some of the senior class, the graduates. I'm not sure how that last one ended up because I had to sleep. They were all gone by the time I woke up this morning. According to facebook, it was a success.

I woke up this morning in a bit of a fog. You know, when you can't really remember what day it is at first or what you are supposed to be doing that day. I had to force my mind to remember that graduation was over and there is nothing to be done for it. (except the clean-up and that can wait) I do have 2 mission trips in June that I am planning and a writing project that Johnny and I are working on. Oh, and that half-marathon I am training for and the 5k I am running in tomorrow.

Life goes on - things end and new things start. It's bittersweet. I feel incredibly blessed to have an amazing family and some great friends. Many days I feel like God is better to me than I deserve. Even in those hard, long days I know for sure that His presence is real and my hope is secure.

James, the writer of the New Testament book by that name, wrote this, "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (James 4:14, in part) This vapor is having one great ride.

Serving the King,

Jeanette