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,


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,


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,


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,


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,


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,


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 and

*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,


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,


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,


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,