Forget-me-not, Oh Lord!

The observations of a "Martha" who is trying desperately to be more like a "Mary."

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Run For God

I ran another - yes, another - great 5K this past Saturday night.  It was a free - yes, I said free! - race sponsored by Run For God.

Hubby and I could not pass up a free race!  We registered and got my good friend and running buddy Jaimee to register as well.

Pre-run selfie!
It was a good race!  Although, I despise races where I have to loop three times to complete 5K - especially when there is a killer hill in the course, as this one had - I was pleased with my end result:

I was fifteenth out of fifty-two in my age group with a time of 34:50.

The race began and ended inside a high school gym - which was FABULOUS given it was really cold out.  Afterwards, a local church choir treated us to a song, and they showed an evangelistic video produced by Billy Graham. It was a wonderful way to end a race - with worship!

Run for God's mission statement reads, "Preparing people to be better witnesses for Christ... Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually."

I love that!  This is a group that focuses on aiding the entire believer and not just one aspect of his or her life. They sell devotionals - hubby got one - and they have a discipleship course which includes a couch to 5K program.  I could see Michael and I teaching something like this one day soon!

It's important to let God work on ALL of you - spiritually, mentally, AND physically.

We had a great evening!

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run; but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Today's forget-me-not: Do not neglect your training! #runningmetaphor

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Poem: "my struggle and my salvation"

I am really enjoying my current read: finding spiritual whitespace by Bonnie Gray.

In one of the chapters, Bonnie encourages her readers to find time to be creative:
"Do you ever find yourself thinking about her - the artistic you? God does.  He whispers, I see you. I made you. I love you."
The artistic me was exchanged for the practical me long ago.  Growing up, I wanted to be a poet, but I knew that wasn't going to pay my bills. So, I decided to go to college and major in English education.  I figured I could write poetry in my spare time. High school English teacher by day and poet by night! Well... it was a plan...

Anyway, I'm happy to say that after reading Bonnie's chapter on creative whitespace, I feel lead to try to write more poetry - and publish it here.  So, I hope you enjoy it!

"my struggle and my salvation"

my self craves control
I am the potter and I work the clay
the world is mine
I hear my mind say

but it is not
it is Yours
this is my struggle and my salvation

things I cannot mold
are the things I fight to shape
I squeeze and pinch the clay
and then I hear You say

it is not yours
let Me do the work
this is My struggle and your salvation

Today's forget-me-not: my inner poet

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Friday, November 7, 2014

It is time to make time!

It has been one of those weeks.

You know what I'm talking about.  A week where seemingly everything goes wrong...

Your children are particularly whiny and disobedient.
You don't sleep well because your mind just won't rest.
You run late to every engagement on your calendar.
You're the mom who forgets to bring the snack when it's your turn.
And to top it all off, you have a headache you haven't been able to shake for days.

You know.  THAT week.

Well, that describes my past week.  A week where I battled moments of depression and abused myself regularly with tirades of, "You suck!"

It's at times like these when I most crave quiet and rest and time with my savior.

However, how do you find the time for you when your entire day is dominated by investing in others from sunrise to sunset and leaves you physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted?!

This is my current struggle.

When I do find time for myself, blogging and running are things I enjoy.  But at the risk of sounding greedy, here's my real problem: I want more! I need more!! 

I want to start a personal journal - a space where I can clear my head of the mental vomit that has no business being published here.

I would like to train for another 10K - believe it or not.  

I want more time to sleep. I want days where I can sleep in and wake up without the assistance of my alarm.  

I want to run away to a cabin - alone - and enjoy nature and a good book!  

Am I wrong for wanting these things? Am I wrong for trying to make plans to deliberately fit these things into my life?  

Are moms not to have time for themselves?

I stumbled across a piece on Facebook entitled "To The Momma at Chickfila."  In this blog post, the author talks about how moms always put their needs second to the needs of their children.  She states that when it comes to our (moms) needs, "It will finally be our turn... later."  

And while that is a noble way of looking at motherhood, I don't think it's a wise approach.  Moms have needs too.  Needs that can't just be put off indefinitely until "later."

It's like what the stewardess on a plane says before liftoff when giving instructions in case of an emergency: if you are traveling with small children, be sure to put on your air mask before attempting to secure your child's mask. Now, consider why that advice is given: because you can better take care of your children's needs if you have first met your own.

Jesus understood the need for personal time and space.  

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Matthew 14:23  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  Later that night, he was there alone.

Mark 7:24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet, He could not keep His presence secret.

Jesus needed alone time. It's something we all NEED. And it's something I have to make a priority in my life right now.

I think I have found the perfect personal getaway...
How do you make time for you?

Today's forget-me-not: Me.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

the running bug

I never feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually than after a run.

I'm more focused.  I'm more optimistic.  And I feel as if I have the energy I need to tackle the day.

Running is a form of rest for me.  It's refreshing.

It affords me the solitude I need and crave.

Me. Alone. Just me.

And my creator by my side.  Us. Together.


Deliverance from the worries of this life.

You really need to try it!

Now, I know what you're thinking. You think you could never be a runner.  I know.  I was that person.  I was the girl who said, "If you see me running, it's because someone is chasing me!"

But then, out of a desire to run a couple races for some good causes, I gave it a chance.  Armed with a couch to 5K program, I dove in, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Give running a chance.  The reward is an overall healthier you.  AND, when running in God's creation, you'll have moments to take Him and His awesomeness into your soul. Moments of rest.

I took this picture a couple weekends ago on a morning run.
I thought it was beautiful how the light shone through despite the trees trying to hide it. #hope
My oldest daughter, Beth, and I ran in a race this past weekend.  She ran the 1K, and I ran the 5K. It was the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Superhero Run.

One of my goals in having Beth run occasionally in races is the hope that she might get bitten by the running bug.  I could think of no better physical activity for her to adopt in her life.  Only time will tell if she comes to love it as much as her mom and dad do...

As for me, the running bug is not something I'm going to "get over" any time soon. I ran this race at a leisurely pace to take time to enjoy the run, so my official race time of 35:08 isn't a great race time for me; however, I had a great race time, and that's what matters most.

crossing the finish line
Today's forget-me-not: The running bug - a virus you should catch!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be cheaters and liars. Please.

I've had a lot to deal with at work lately.  For those of you reading this who don't know me very well, I teach high school English.

This year, I have had - much more than usual - students cheating on quizzes and tests, plagiarizing papers, and lying to buy extra time on assignments.  And this morning, I suspect that a student trespassed in my room to steal a copy of a quiz.

I'm disheartened, and I think I know what a part of the problem may be...

Today's youth do not take the time to stop and think before they act.  They don't consider the consequences of their behavior. And some, they don't seem to care what anyone thinks about them.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

It's important that, to a certain degree, we care about the opinion of others in relation to ourselves.

How people think of us can influence how we are treated.

How people think of us can influence how they think of and behave toward our family members.

How people think of us can influence the amount of opportunities afforded us in life.

Fact: Humans are social beings.  We were made for relationships (the most important being with our Savior, Jesus Christ).  It's not healthy, in all senses of that word, to deliberately damage or sabotage relationships.

Then why do most teenagers - and some adults - behave this way?

It was through an activity I did with my sophomores where I believe I may have found the answer to that question...

To begin a unit on ethics, I had my students develop a personal code of ethics.  One of the steps in the process forced them to consider this question: If you were to die today, what would you want others to say about you?

I was surprised to find that they had difficulty answering this question.

The question implied they should be living as if today might be their last.  It also implied they could leave a lasting impact on those around them.  These are things teenagers - and some adults - don't take the time to consider.

And that's the problem.  That is why most teenagers - and some adults - behave in ways that are self-destructive: They live as if they are infinite - free to live forever without consequences.

However, here's a newsflash to those living this way. You are finite.  Your short life on this earth will make an impact - whether you care for it to or not.

So answer the question: If you were to die today, what would you want others to say about you? And once you have your answer, make a plan to live in such a way that this is exactly what others will say when you pass on.  This plan is your personal code of ethics.

Parents.  Teach your children about ethics. Help them develop a personal code of ethics to live by: moral principles, rules of conduct, and values.  Teach them the importance of this before they become lost in themselves.

Have this conversation with them sooner rather than later. Their teachers will thank you for it!

Today's forget-me-not:  My personal code of ethics:

My Personal Code of Ethics

I value a loving approach to life and to everyone, and I most appreciate 
those who reciprocate this love.

Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment.   
  And the second is like it: 
 “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

To fulfill my ethical value statement, I will spend as much time as possible in bible study – examining Jesus’ life.  He was/is the ultimate example of my value statement.  Furthermore, I will make it my aim to always practice what He preached – love.  To do this effectively, I will give others “the benefit of the doubt” in moments of disagreement.  I will give grace and forgiveness when I have been wronged.  I will overlook faults and remember I have my own to count.  Ultimately, I will sacrifice my time to show that I am sincere in all I do and say.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

it's a broken and beautiful life

I am broken.

Aren't we all, to some extent, broken?  How can anything really be whole in this fallen world?

It's exhausting - living broken.  Attempting to function properly when you are fractured. It's like walking on a sprained ankle - not advisable, for obvious reasons.

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we hobble through each day in pain as if nothing is wrong? As if we are perfect and all is well with the world?

Are we afraid of looking weak? Are we fearful of judgement? Of criticism?

"The world...view[s] our broken stories and tell us it's better to hide them.  To forget the shame we carry, put on a smile, and disappear under the work we do, the people we please, and the frenetic activity of keeping busy." - Bonnie Gray in Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Well, I'm done with that.  Living that way is tiring - physically and spiritually - and I want more out of this life.  Jesus wants me to have life abundantly, and I'm eager to let the Great Physician guide me to a better place.

I'm reading an insightful book right now by author Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

She says, "Spiritual whitespace brings us to a different peace where we are real."

The reality is this: life is hard.  It's brutal.  But it can also be beautiful.

However, the only way to experience the beauty is to first acknowledge the ugly... the damaged... the imperfect... in our lives.

"Jesus understands the wounds where joy was demolished. Where something beautiful fades into the sidelines of our stories. Where we are only left with memories of what could have been." - Bonnie Gray

We need to acknowledge our brokenness, not hide from it.  We need to make room for the Healer to come in and do His work. We must stop, rest, and let Him make us new.  We should do this often because daily we fail and we are hurt. We need time to recover.

No ship can be buffeted by the waves forever. It will capsize. Our savior cries out, "Peace! Be still!"  And so we must. We should.

Rest. We need to make time for rest.

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

I am taking steps toward rest.  How do you make time for it?  Please, share your wisdom on this topic!

Today's forget-me-not: Rest. It's just what the Doctor ordered.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Marley and Me

It was June of 2004. I remember turning into the Super Walmart parking lot and saying, "Hey, look. There's someone trying to get rid of a puppy."

My husband (Michael) and I had recently been conversing about the possibility of getting a dog. That's why the couple with the sign "Free Puppy" caught my eye.

The next thing I remember, Michael said to me, "Stop the car."  And as I parked our vehicle, I recall thinking, he just wants to get a closer look at the dog. He just wants to see her.  So, he got out, and I waited.  And after some time passed (4 or 5 minutes), he made his way back towards me... with the dog in his hands.

I thought, he's going to ask me if we should take this dog, and he knows the answer to that question. No way! We had already discussed this.  We don't have the time or money to spend on a dog right now.  Of course we can't take this dog!

But my husband didn't ask me if we should take the dog.  Quite the opposite occurred. As he got in the car with this tan ball of fuz, I asked, "Are we taking this dog?" And he said, "Yes."

June 2004
At some point, soon thereafter, I suggested we name the dog Lucky - since she was dang lucky to have captured my husband's heart.  If it had been up to me that day, I would have opted to give the dog back to its owners.  But as soon as I saw how Michael looked at that dog, I knew that wasn't a possibility. That puppy had found its home, and it was in my husband's heart!

A man and his new dog.
She was so darn cute!  And although we named her Lucky, I never referred to her by that name.  She was always Puppy to me.  And as she grew, she found a special place in my heart.

She loved Frisbees, and she was GREAT at catching them!
Puppy was our baby until our first baby, Beth, came along. 

Puppy handled Beth's toddler years with more patience than I did!
That puppy was always there with us - in our midst.  In most pictures and nearly every video I have of Beth growing up, Puppy is right there - living life with us.

Having fun in the snow January of this year.
I guess I took that for granted.  I knew one day she'd be gone.  But sadly, there were too many times, most recently, when I wished her final days were sooner rather than later: Like after each time she peed on the carpet.  Or after each time we would have to pay the huge fees to have her boarded. Or after the time she tore up the carpet in our bedroom because she accidentally closed the door on herself after we had left for the day.

At times like those, I focused too much on the negativity of the situations instead of honing in on the joy she brought to our lives.

And for that, I am truly sorry.

Date of Birth (estimated): April 2004 - Date of Death: October 2014

We miss you Puppy.

Thanks for the memories, faithful friend!

Today's forget-me-not: Our Puppy