Archive from September, 2014
Sep 30, 2014 - Running    No Comments

My Wall of Accomplishment

It used to be that we put coloring pages, aced tests, and report cards on the fridge for posterity. I used to joke that something had to be deemed fridge-worthy to make it to that metallic, silver bastion of accomplishment.  Watch out, fridge, I’ve upped the ante. Now my successes will be proudly displayed on my (duh du-duh-duhhh!) Wall of Accomplishment! (If you read that with the sound of reverberation in your head, I’ve done my job well.)

It’s running season. Regular readers know that because of posts. My roommates know that because of my continual stretching on the living room floor. Anyone who has been around me knows that because I formulate my week around the best running times. I’m training. I’m earning medals. I’m pushing myself in ways I did not think possible a few years ago.

I need a place to celebrate!

I special ordered a one-of-a-kind wall hanger to display my running winnings and I hung it up today. As I sit here writing this, I can glance to my left and remember each race. How anxious I was in the starting chute. How long it took me to complete. Who ran with me and how I felt at the magical finish line.

My Wall of Accomplishment makes me smile.

But it would not be complete without the painted message as well which reads, “Run with endurance the race set before us.” That is from Hebrews chapter 12. It was my favorite Bible verse before I started running, but it has so much more meaning now. Life is a really long run; keep moving forward. Running has been a lengthy, sweat-filled, toenail-losing, muscle-cramping, incredibly rewarding object lesson for me.

All of those emotions return when I gaze at my Wall of Accomplishment. In life, as in each race, I run with endurance the race set out before me. I race against myself, but I do not race alone.

wall of accomplishment, medals, run, running, finish line

Here’s to earning more medals! If you’re interested in your own Wall of Accomplishment (or just for fun!) my friends Kat and Cobie at www.colbywilkins.com/teal-tangerine and order your own!

Sep 27, 2014 - Devotional    4 Comments

Beholding Rest

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This adage has been said for decades, but I believe much more is in the eye of the beholder than beauty. Adventure, love, challenge, accomplishment, even rest — all in the eye of the beholder.

I’ll share an example:

I got a special deal when I bought my car, five years of free oil changes! Pretty sweet, right? Yes, except that an average oil change takes two hours instead of the jiffy drive through 15 minutes. So, when I call to make my oil change appointment, I have to be prepared to entertain myself. I could be frustrated that the same service takes 8 times as long, or I could believe that rest is in the eye of the beholder.

I am a chronic over-scheduler. I squeeze every last productive minute out of each day. My forced two hours of sitting time is a good thing for me. I have no vehicle, internet, or mobility and I love every minute of it. I bring a stack of books, my journal, my Bible and soak in the goodness. I could be upset at my forced stillness, my stolen morning, my involuntary time window, or I could choose to view it as an opportunity for rest.

reading rest oil changeRest is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Sep 24, 2014 - Running    No Comments

Miracle Miles

My feet look like giant prunes.

 

Worn and wrinkled from two hours of rain and miles of movement, my aching feet are my trophies of victory.

9.3 miles… check!

This race benefitted a local neonatal unit, something near and dear to my heart. Plus we got bibs, baby food, and toys at the finish line!

15K miracle miles run

I signed up for this race without a ton of training. It is just the beginning of running season after all, so I haven’t trained further than three miles yet. I registered for this race for psychological reasons. If I run this race well, I can look back in the spring, when I have two half marathons (and more!) and think, “Hey, I ran 9.3 miles without sufficient training! I’m golden!”

running time miracle miles

In life, you don’t always get proper training time. Sometimes you’re thrown into a new situation without time to collect yourself or think ahead. Life is full of insufficient training. Rarely do we feel fully prepared for something new! What do you do in this midst of those situations? Do you run the next mile? Do you glance at the friend running next to you for support? Do you encourage the flagging runner? Do you do think about how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go?

I’d only run 3 miles before last Saturday! Though I felt woefully underprepared, I ran three times as far as I had previously. You are capable of incredible feats. And maybe you’ll have prune feet trophies to show it too!

Think back to times when you succeeded though insufficiently trained and let that be an encouragement to you today!

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 12, 2014 - Running    2 Comments

It’s Running Season

Don’t hate me feet.

Or knees.

Or hips.

Or lungs for that matter!

Why do I make these requests whilst wrapped in Kinesio tape and neoprene?

Because it is officially running season.

run for joy, night of joy

The pretty, well put together “before” picture.

My first race of the season was last Saturday. I ran with my friend Olivia in her first ever 5K. It was a tough run. I didn’t feel properly trained, stretched, or prepared. Not to mention the fact that my GPS device told me I had completed 3.1 miles about a half a mile too early (it was really tough to keep running after that misinformation!) But I don’t run to keep time or earn medals or beat the competition. I run to prove to myself that I can. I run as a picture of the race of life. Sometimes it is arduous, sometimes you want to quit, sometimes a voice tells you that you’re finished a half a mile too early.

Keep going.

Take a breath. Put one foot in front of another. Glance to your side and know that friends are running with you.

That’s why I run. That’s why I’m excited it is the start of running season.

Together we run for joy!

run for joy after

The sweat-soaked, sore, I-need-calories-now “after” picture!

 

Sep 9, 2014 - My Story, travel    2 Comments

Canoes and Kayaks

During one particularly lonely and tear-filled night, my comfort came from an unexpected phrase which kept popping up in my mind.

“Everybody suffers.”

You might be wondering how that is at all comforting. But, to me, it means that life is full of suffering and struggle this side of Heaven. Everyone suffers. Single or married. Parent of ten or childless. Employed or homemaker. Slender or hefty. Beautiful or plain. Rich or poor. That is, there is no marital or parental status, job, beauty, monetary value, or external factor that can make someone happy. We do ourselves a gross injustice when we elevate any of the above categories to instant happiness level. Yes, everyone suffers, but as my dad has always said, every stage of life has drawbacks as well as benefits. So the comforting side of that statement for me became, “Yes, I’m single. I’m a woman. I’ve at times felt overlooked and under appreciated, but not marriage, nor children, nor a job can make me ultimately happy. My job is to accentuate the greenness of my own pasture instead of pining after the unattainable greenness in another’s field.”

Or to put it another way…

orlando grace church IMG 0432 Thoughts on Canoes and Kayaks

Most people live in canoes. They have a co-rower, a committed fellow boater, a spouse. They can rely on each other to steer and power the canoe. Both need to row to keep the boat straight, but they have double the manpower to direct their vessel. Canoes falter when only one person paddles. The boat begins to go in circles, never arriving where it’s headed.

But I don’t live in a canoe.
I am a kayak.

I hold a double-sided oar; I direct the vessel of my life. I am swift, sleek, mobile, and able to maneuver in tight spots that a canoe just can’t. I can change direction quickly without consulting with another person. But I always have to row. No one else is in the kayak with me – it is a one-seater – so if I stop rowing the current soon has it’s way with my vessel.

The analogy breaks down of course, as all do, because I do not live life completely alone. I have loads of fellow kayakers and canoers who are traveling at different speeds down the river of life watching out for me, helping me make decisions, gently directing my kayak away from rocks, waterfalls, and sandbars and pushing me in the right direction.

Not to mention Jesus! I don’t know if He would be the current, or the goal, or the whole river in this analogy, but safe to say He’s there and He’s instrumental in the direction of my kayak, other kayaks, and canoes too!

Kayaks are not better than canoes, they are just different. They’re built for different purposes. Canoes promote cooperation, commitment, stability, and a joint plan. Kayaks are built for independence, quickness, and spontaneity. I’ve decided to embrace my kayak life for now. I will not mope that I have not been given a canoe. I will take advantage of my kayak – it is the only seaworthy vessel I have. I will enjoy the freedom of my kayak and take advantage of it. I will face the rapids with an adventurous spirit. I will show others the beauty of my kayak.  I will cheer my fellow kayakers to do the same. For someday I may very much miss my kayak when I’m in a canoe and the pace alters or when I am rowing in circles because my canoe partner needed a break. I will not pine for a canoe, but I will enjoy the beauty of my canoe with it’s camaraderie and companionship when and if it does arrive.

I will not let others’ opinions affect how I view my kayak. God gave me this kayak and I am meant to care for it, enjoy it, and row with all my might. I will love my kayak.

I am kayak. Hear me roar!

Sep 6, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    No Comments

The Benefits of Marriage

I’ve determined that my grass is thoroughly green. Others help remind me of the joys in my life and some things I take for granted. Sometimes we get so focused on what we don’t have we miss what we do. We need reminders. My friends take the opportunity to remind me of the benefits of singleness and the greenness of my grass.

green grass plant

Might I have the chance to do the same for my married friends. The benefits of marriage include:

1. “Someone saves you a seat.”

There is nary a lonelier moment for a single person than entering an auditorium for lecture, or concert, or sermon without a place to sit. You are left scanning the backs of people’s heads looking for a homey spot. Whereas, the first-seated half of a couple knows to save a seat for the other. There will be a jacket draped over the seat next to your loved one indicating it’s reserved status. Be thankful for this jacket, this seat, and this person.

2. “You get daily hugs!”

It is important to have human contact. We are made for this. I have great friends in my life, but, we don’t often hug in departure. I never feel like my touch quotient is full until I go home and am nearly tackled at the front door by my exuberant, younger-but-bigger-than-me brother! Great hugs are an oft overlooked benefit of family. So when your youngster is annoyingly stuck on your hip like Velcro, squeeze her back and fill your love tank until it overflows.

3. “You have a default #1.”

You have an emergency contact. A “plus one” for every invitation. A built-in roommate. Someone is traveling through this glorious and treacherous journey called life with you. Someone watches out for you, encourages you, picks you up when your down — and needs these same graces and skills from you. You are a team. I am a free agent. Enjoy your team, fight for your team, cheer for your team! And joyfully return your RSVP plus one!

4. “Someone chose you.”

Of all the billions of people on earth, someone looked at you and said, “Yes, this girl, with all her delights and all her quirks, this is the girl I choose — forever!” You are chosen. Please, remind yourself of that at times when your beloved is less lovely acting! You are lovingly chosen, daily and continually. Recall this fact and choose to love in return even on difficult days!

My grass is green! And dear friends, your grass is green! Green grass comes in my shapes, shades, and sizes, all designed by God to be just the lawn we need. Yes, your lawn needs daily tending, and you might never quite feel like it is properly weeded or watered, especially when you glance across the street. But, beloved, know that there is a beauty in your own green grass. Take another look. And be thankful.

What makes your grass the greenest?

Sep 3, 2014 - My Story    1 Comment

The Benefits of Singleness

At times, I am lonely. I see sweet, everyday interactions between spouses and I long to experience such tenderness myself. Sometimes, my longing feels overwhelming.

But most of the time I think my life is pretty awesome.

I have a few dear friends who help remind me of the benefits of singleness and childlessness during those moments that I pine for a different life. They invite me to peer over the fence into their yard to witness for myself the color of their grass and assess its green-ness for myself. And they remind me of the true color of my own grass.

green grass plantHere are a few of the common reminders I’m given.

1. “Kelly, you sleep though the night.”

This is true. I like to jest that I have dozens of babies, but they all sleep at the hospital where I work, so I sleep through the night! I rarely wake up in the middle of the night due to bad dream, bladder urgency, or a crying child. Although I don’t often feel truly rested, I do not know what extreme sleep deprivation really is!

2. “You have freedom and spontaneity that I dream of!”

I can take off a day and got to Legoland or drive to Tampa to see my favorite band in concert or decide last-minute to go out for dinner instead of heading home after work. I am a small boat, sleek and nimble. Others live in ocean liners which small rudders, making turning an arduous process.

3. “You can focus and finish tasks without being interrupted.”

I can have intense concentration for many tasks: blog writing, Bible study, crafting unique jewelry, or training runs. I have time to spend in large chunks with minimal or avoidable interruptions.

4. “You spend your own money!”

Though I am frugal at heart and often spend time strategizing for the best deal, I only have to answer to myself (and my budget) for a splurge. I choose where to spend a little more this month and where to cut back so the numbers even out. I work hard; I earn money. I choose what groceries to buy, what indulgences to spend a little extra on, and what causes and missionaries to support. There is great joy in spending and giving money!

It is helpful for me to have others remind me of the small joys of these things which might not always be present in my life. Perhaps some day I will have an infant obliterating my well-honed sleep-wake cycle and as much as I will love that little person, I will bemoan my eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

I am thankful for reminders of the true color of my grass, which is thoroughly green!

 

 

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