Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 86 A Balmy 36 Degrees

We have been enjoying quite a bit of unseasonably warm weather here in Chicago for September and October -- what we used to call “Indian summer” when I was a little girl.  So one morning last week when it was 36 degrees as I headed out to run, it took me by surprise.  I tried to wiggle my schedule around to avoid running in the cold morning air, but it was a packed day.  I dreaded going out.  I donned two shirts, my capri running pants, pulled my cuffs over my hands, and ….ooohhh, it wasn’t so bad.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue as the sea, I saw a little girl with fuzzy tights walking with her mom, the sidewalks covered in gold leaves… what exactly was I dreading?  It was a glorious morning.  And I almost missed it.

And it made me wonder how many other things I miss because it MIGHT be uncomfortable or inconvenient or something I have never done before. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 74 Into The Miry Bog

Bill and I were hiking yesterday on a trail that basically led nowhere, at least that is how it appeared on the map. As we hiked, I realized that the path was fairly free of rocks and roots, and so, we began to run the trail. Now, many of you may recall that last time I ran on a trail, I nearly fell off the side of a mountain. (Different story for a different time). But this trail was fairly flat...and kind of boring actually, so a run was in order. Soon we came to a place where we had to skirt around some mud. Then a hundred yards further, a larger accumulation of mud. And then, a half dozen streams and more mud. "It is," I cried out, "the MIRY BOG!"
We had three choices: stop and turn around, stand on the edge of the mud and complain, or run through it.
We all have miry bogs in our lives. All of us. We have all been there, we will all be there again.
Run through it, my friend. It will get you to the other side a lot faster. And leave it behind. Run before it can suck you into a chorus of "woe is me." Bogs are known to do that.
And even if the trail appears to lead nowhere as ours did, remember that your experience is "not for nought," as my grandmother would say. Sometimes it is just part of His training program. And you can never really know how He will use it in your life ... or for someone else.
I waited patiently for the LORD;
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40. 1-3

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 73 Fringe Benefits

Last night I thought that the marathon for me was over. My beloved husband of thirty years and I went out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary. It was a small restaurant, off the beaten path. We hadn't been there before and didn't know what to expect. There were just a few tables scattered around a fireplace. The room was quiet and warm. Our server, Pete, also labored part-time as a woodworker apprentice, making furniture. The menu only had a few selections, based on regional southern dishes. Bill ordered a salad that boasted fried green tomatoes and bacon vinagrette. Mine had chunks of sharp cheddar and smoky morsels of thick sliced bacon. We both ordered trout, dusted, grilled and laid on a bed of shrimp and coursely ground grits that had been simmered and bathed in butter and cream. At one point, I turned to Bill and asked him if it would be impolite to lick the plate. The flavors were at addiction level. For dessert, Bill had a new spin on southern bread pudding, one made of rich chocolate cake and pecan bread, accompanied by coffee ice cream drizzled with a bitter chocolate sauce. I had a bowl of honey-based ice cream mixed with sunflower seeds, Marcona almonds, and dried cranberries, decorated on top with freshly candied pecans. When the meal came to a reluctant end, I first questioned how in the world I could ever run again as stuffed as I was. And then I questioned how I was going to even walk to the parking lot. Wheelchair, anyone?
In high school, our daughter Kate used to say, "Run seven miles a day and eat whatever you want."
Well, yesterday I did.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 10957 The Best Run Ever

Today I celebrate the best run ever with my best friend, my beloved, my husband.  We have been married for 10,957 days, and today commemorate our 30th anniversary.  God led us together and continues to lead us on the wild adventures of life.  Nobody I would rather be running through life with.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 67 Wonders

There was a tree today when I was running on College Avenue that blazed so brilliantly it looked like it was on fire.  Set against a crystal blue sky, I felt like I was breathing in beauty beyond words.  And the trees have only just begun to change.  I am thankful that not only did God create beauty, He also gave us the ability to appreciate it.  Man is the only creature who stands amazed at natural beauty.  Not once did I ever catch our dog Jack gazing at the beauty of a sunset.

I was a bit amused this week with the news that scientists are celebrating their discovery of 200 new species in a remote mountainous region in Papua New Guinea, things that they didn’t know existed.  If science indeed alone has the answers, there is an awful lot that they don’t know.  And it is important to note that these are “discoveries,” a deeper revealing of the Creation, not the invention of human hands or produced by the philosophies of man.    I celebrate too, because nature is one of the ways that God has revealed Himself and His handiwork, constantly unveiling evidence that He is real.  Is there any wonder why we stand in awe of what only He can do?

So, with every handpainted tree, wonder away, stand amazed at the beauty of creation, and praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

Out of the perfection of beauty,

God shines forth.  Psalm 50.1

The heavens are telling the glory of God,

and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.

                              Psalm 19.1

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 65 Heading back home

Saturday was a momentous day.  It marked the halfway point on the marathon training schedule.  Sixty-three days done, sixty-three days to go.  Or in bigger bites, nine weeks down, nine to go.  Ok, your reaction probably indicates whether you are a half-full or a half-empty kind of person.  “ONLY half done??!?  Seems like it has already been forever.”  I tend to view it from a runner’s pair of shoes.  In an out-and-back course, halfway means that you have turned around and are heading back home.  Yay!

There are a lot of things in life where we have no idea how far we are from the finish line.  But we can all know that in the long run of life, we are always headed back Home.  It just takes some of us longer to get there.  So run strong, my friends, in what ever you do with all excellence, living in grace, truth, and the joy of the LORD.

…but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3.13

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 62 Perfect Timing

I had a hard time getting out of the house for my run this morning.  You know how it goes.  One more email to read.  Put away the laundry (so I can find my favorite running shirt).  I really should finish the dishes before I head out.  I forgot my key and then had to come back inside.  And when I did, the phone rang and it was Hannah who was on her way to class.  Finally, I locked the door, set my watch, walked to the end of the driveway, and decided on my route.  There were points when I had to wait for cars to pass when crossing the road.  And of course, there was a long freight train where I needed to cross the tracks.  I went on to the next intersection to scoot across.  I planned to take a big loop around and stop at Beth’s for a drink and a Maggie hug on my way back.  As I approached a major road crossing, I missed the light by about two seconds.  I looked down to stop my watch, and when I looked up, there was Beth driving by.  We both had looks of surprise on our faces.  We could not have planned it with such precision. 

The timing was beyond our own.  And that is how I want to live my life, not by my watch but by His.

My times are in Your hands.  Psalm 31.15