Another Four Miles on the Fourth

July’s race for 2018 was the CRMC 4-Mile run which was on Independence Day.  This is the same four-mile run we did last year, with the same course.  The money from the race goes to support a local hospital.

This year, we had more friends join us for this race.  Cinderella decided that she wanted to run this race this year as well, so she also joined us.  Why she wanted to run this race so badly, I have no idea.  I tried to remind her that race time was at 7:30 am, that it was a 40 minute drive, so we would be getting up very early.  She insisted that she still wanted to run this race.

A friend and I went together for packet pick up the day before the race.  This was her first time to run this race, so after packet pick up we went and drove the course.  At least we knew what the course was this time!

I was immediately reminded of the steep hill at the beginning of the race and the hill at the end of the race as well.

Race day morning was ugly.  All the excitement of the race had worn off, and getting up and out of bed at an unreasonable time no longer seemed fun to Cinderella.  However, she did get up and get out the door.

We were plenty early, which worked out well since my oldest daughter still had to register.  There was a playground nearby that kept Cinderella and Sofia the First occupied.

Start time was finally here, and we were off.  The sun was bearing down and felt very hot so I was trying to run wherever there was shade.  After about the first half mile Cinderella decided she couldn’t run any further.  We did some walking and I tried to encourage her to do some more running, but to no avail.  Then I tried running ahead quite a distance, but that didn’t work either.

Finally, I decided to suck it up and walk with her.  She was extremely cranky, and being around her was not pleasant.  I reminded her that I was five times her age.  At one point she asked me to let her win.  I told her not to worry, that I would let her go ahead of me across the finish line.

At the three-mile mark was a water sprinkler that felt really nice.  Shortly after that was a group of cheerleaders.  For some reason, Cinderella decided that was her cue to run; and run, she did.  She took off like a bullet and there was no reason for me to even try to keep up!  She crossed the finish line before I did, and it wasn’t because I let her win.  She was so excited to get second place in her age group!

Afterwards, we went to the same local diner as last year and had breakfast.  Seeing men in uniform was yet another reminder of the great country we live in and the sacrifices individuals and their families make every day so we can enjoy our freedoms.  Thank you to all that have served.

Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof, Leviticus 25:10

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Watkins Mill 6K

Saturday, June 16, was the Watkins Mill Get Outdoors 6K.  Proceeds for this race benefit the Watkins Mill Association.  As I mentioned last year, this race is near and dear to my heart.  I grew up just a few miles from the park (before it was a park), and our family spent lots of time there especially once the lake and trail were built.

The race is held on an asphalt trail that encircles the lake.  As all runners know, the first mile is the hardest, and this one is especially hard as you run across the dam in full sunlight–no shade whatsoever.  However, once across the dam, the rest of the race is shaded.

A friend and I prepared for the race by going to the lake a few times and running the actual race route.  Our last time to go around the lake was especially tortuous, as I had a few horseflies that decided I was a horse.  For about two miles, they were literally swarming around me and biting me.  In self-defense, I ended up using a towel to swat at them.  They finally left me alone at the end of the route.

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On race day it was much warmer than last year at a bright, sunny 78 degrees.  I remember about two-thirds through the race thinking, “my feet feel like soup.”  We all know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and the saying that “slow and steady wins the race.”  In this case, maybe it should be, “slow and steady finishes the race.”  The last few races I’ve participated in, someone has been taken away in an ambulance.  This race was no exception.  The only thing I can think of to do in those situations is to pray.

Finish the race, we did.  I don’t think that any records were broken, but the important thing is the good time together with family and friends.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  James 4:14

 

My Hope is in the Lord

This past year, specifically the past school year, has been the worst year ever.  If I were a new home educator, I probably would’ve given up months ago.

Fortunately, I have 21 years of experience on my side.  I know that problems don’t have to be fixed right here and right now, and that often it takes time to see results.  I am qualified and I know I can do this, despite the fact that my family is saying the opposite.

What makes me qualified?  I love my daughter more than anyone else on this planet.  The only one that loves her more than I do is Jesus.  I will do what it takes.  I will scour the planet for the answers, find them, and put their practices into place.  Just as Jesus will leave the 99 to go after the one stray sheep, find it, and carry it home, I will do what is necessary to find what my daughter needs and see that those needs are met.

Watching a child struggle is heartbreaking.  Searching and searching for help and not finding it can be even more heartbreaking.  Thankfully, God has led us to the people we need one by one.  God is great, loving, and kind; and with Him we will succeed.

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,  Psalm 146:5

A Sentence a Day for May 2018

As always, May was another busy month.  Once it warmed up, soccer came to an end.  Then there were graduations and Mother’s Day.  Finally, Memorial Day is often looked at as the official start of summer.

  1.  Tuesday:  It is starting to feel like summer:  80 degrees and humid.
  2. Wednesday:  We had our first tornado drill of the season tonight.
  3. Thursday:  I sweated more today than I have in a long time, and it felt really, really good.
  4. Friday:  We had about a week of spring, and now summer is here.
  5. Saturday:  Cinderella’s last soccer game was today.
  6. Sunday:  I got to spend lots of time with Liam today.
  7. Monday:  We heard a loud crash this morning and later found that it was all of my medals crashing to the floor.
  8. Tuesday:
  9. Wednesday:
  10. Thursday:  I finally broke down and turned the a/c on tonight since DH had a fire outside and I couldn’t open the windows.
  11. Friday:  I am thankful that Cinderella got to meet some new friends today.
  12. Saturday:  It was exciting for a young man to get a “robin hood” in archery this morning.
  13. Sunday, Mother’s day:  It would’ve been nice to stay home and rest, but it was a good day anyway.
  14. Monday:  Cinderella got to go to an art class this evening.
  15. Tuesday:
  16. Wednesday:  I had a good run tonight, but I think I need bigger shoes.
  17. Thursday:  This evening was the last day of our C25K program.
  18. Friday:  The Brandon Russell Flash Dash is tomorrow, and it’s supposed to be a wet one!
  19. Saturday:  We went to my nephew’s graduation party tonight–it just doesn’t seem possible.
  20. Sunday:  Cinderella got to see a high school graduation today.
  21. Monday:  The first day of ITBS for Cinderella.
  22. Tuesday:  It was fun to get together with the C25K group one last time.
  23. Wednesday:  I made it four miles tonight, but it nearly killed me.
  24. Thursday:  I am feeling pretty zapped today.
  25. Friday:  We spent the evening with the princess who keeps getting ornerier and ornerier.
  26. Saturday:  I just want one day where people do things for me instead of the other way around.
  27. Sunday:  It was a hot and miserable run at the mill today.
  28. Monday:  I ended up babysitting the grandkids this afternoon.
  29. Tuesday:
  30. Wednesday:  We had a hilly, but interesting, route with the Rock & Run group.
  31. Thursday:  It was nice not to have to go to vision therapy today, but that meant doing it on our own at home.

 

 

Brandon Russell’s Flash Dash 5K

Saturday, May 19, was the second annual Brandon Russell’s Flash Dash 5k. This race is named after and in honor of a young man who collapsed and died after crossing the finish line of a half marathon in 2017. Proceeds from this race went to benefit the Brandon Russell Memorial Foundation and Children’s Mercy Heart Center.

Packet pick up and one of the race sponsors was a local restaurant and recreation center venue. I had not visited it before, but it looked to be a fun and interesting place. It certainly was jumping on a warm, sunny Friday evening.

After packet pick up, we drove the race route. I was glad we did since it had a lot of turns and basically zig-zagged through town. The one thing this part of town is known for is being flat, and it was proving to be a flat course with only slight declines and inclines.

Saturday morning, I woke up to the sound of rain. At least it was warm enough that we wouldn’t freeze to death if we got wet. I got ready and went to the race expecting it to rain all through the race. At least by this time it had become a very light rain.

As we waited for the race to begin, people were trying to stay as dry as possible by taking refuge under trees and tents. I found a tree to huddle under and was immediately reminded of an article I read the night before (complete with videos) on why it wasn’t a good idea to stand under a tree during a thunderstorm. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t actually a thunderstorm–everything would be fine.

And it was.

God showed us all favor by bringing the rain to an end right at race time. It still remained cloudy, which was really nice since it was warm and very humid. Sunshine would’ve meant a steam bath.

There was the young mom with the double stroller.  I don’t know who these moms are, but they’re at every race.  I pointed her out to my friends and said, “You just wait, she’s going to pass us.”

If you remember, my April race was cancelled. So, I had not actually run a race since March.  In fact, I had been running short distances and only had a few recent times that I had run three miles.  I was expecting this one to hurt.

And it did.

The mom with the double stroller passed me, but we all finished!

Afterwards there was a kids run that was really cute because the kids all got a yellow cape to wear.  All runners, including the kids, also got a free breakfast from Chris Cakes.  Yumm!  Most importantly, it was a good time with friends.

for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  Matthew 5:45b

Mother’s Day and Beyond

Mother’s Day was nice.  It is one day that I refuse to do any cooking and the one day that I refuse to go out at lunch time because the restaurants are always packed.  Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day were both very busy, so I was hoping to stay home and do nothing.  However, that did not work out.  I ended up going to a movie with my two daughters, stopping to eat before the movie.  It was a nice day.

I’m now on the last week of my spring Couch to 5K program.  We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays and were expected to run one day a week on our own.  I’ve continued to meet with my Wednesday night running group.  I didn’t know how I’d like running three days in a row, but I have noticed a positive difference.  I’m working on a plan to continue after this week.

This coming Saturday is my first race since March.  If you recall, my April race was canceled.  Even though I’ve been running, I feel out of practice!

On the interstate today, we were passed by a racecar nearly 100 years old!  It was a 1927 Bugatti 35b.  How do I know this?  It was printed on the side of the car!  The man driving it was definitely a lot braver than I am.  Cinderella thought that it looked like, “The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.”  I was driving, so I wasn’t able to take a photo, but check out these images on Google.

Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.  Proverbs 23:25

Consider it Joy

I was reading with Cinderella one day when we heard a loud crash.  It sounded like glass shattering.  We have a cat, so once in a while we do have things come crashing down when she’s not quite as agile as she thinks she is.  We took a quick look around and didn’t see anything, so we assumed the noise came from the family room downstairs.

Later in the day, I went up to my bedroom for something.  I was immediately greeted by a mess.  In a fraction of a second the crashing noise we heard that morning came back to me and the connection was made.  This is what we heard.  I was staring at my medals in a heap on the floor.  Every one of them had come off the pants hanger I had them hung on.  The hanger had fallen, taking everything with it.  My medal from the Christmas Light run had come apart, but it was dutifully blinking.

And that’s how the last several months have been.  Every time I get a glimmer of hope, things come crashing down, and all hope is gone.  Then the cycle starts again.

Everywhere I look lately, I see “suffering.”  Not that I see people suffering, but that I see suffering as the topic of conversation. Our church is going through the book of John, and we are nearing Jesus’ crucifixion.  There is no doubt that Jesus’ suffered physically and spiritually.  Also, our ladies’ Bible study group has recently been focusing on suffering.

I read Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave a few years ago.  I’ve had the Made to Crave Devotional for quite some time.  I’ve decided to actually use it, and now she is focusing on suffering.

Living in the freest and wealthiest country in the world, I can’t help but wonder if anyone in the U.S. actually knows what true suffering is.  Are we just a bunch of pansies that need to buck up, or do we truly experience suffering?

James 1:2 tells us to “consider it all joy” when we encounter various trials.  That certainly is not usually our first thought.  Our first thought is to consider it misery and suffering.  Instead, we are to “consider it” or ponder, think, turn it over in our minds to joy.  What a task!

Why are we to do this?  Because it will lead to endurance.  You can never have too much endurance.  I have written on this before.  It builds character which then leads to hope.  James 1:12 tells us that “blessed is a man who perseveres under trial;”

If you are in the midst of a trial right now, I want to encourage you to hang on.  Ponder and think about it, try to consider it joy.  Believe me, I know how difficult that can be.  Look ahead to what it will bring:  endurance, perfection, and hope.  And don’t forget that there is a blessing waiting for you in the end.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

A Sentence a Day for April 2018

April is gone, and May is here.  It seems as I get older that time goes by faster and faster.  Earth is spinning so fast, that I expect to go flying off of it at any moment.

April has always been the busiest month of the year for us with October running a close second.  I’m not really sure why.  My guess is that in April the weather is usually starting to get nice, so there are tons of activities to go to.  In October, there are always a ton of activities to go to, and my guess is due to the fact that winter is just around the corner and soon we won’t be able to go anywhere.

As you can see, there are several days that I did not make an entry; and I chose not to go back and try to recreate one.  Life is busy right now and that’s just the way it is.  As the weather gets nicer and the days get longer, that means more time outside and less time inside looking at a screen.  Surely that’s a good thing.

  1. Sunday.  Wow!  A white Easter.
  2. Monday.  I was shocked when I woke up this morning and there was still snow on the ground.
  3. Tuesday.  I was not heartbroken to attend a meeting tonight instead of running since it was cold, cloudy, and very windy.
  4. Wednesday.  It was a beautiful, sunshine-filled day for a four-mile run.
  5. Thursday.  Another beautiful day, but we are expecting snow tomorrow.
  6. Friday.  The warm weather did not last long, and all soccer games have been canceled for tomorrow.
  7. Saturday.  It was cold today but the sun felt wonderful.
  8. Sunday.  Snow again!  When will it ever end?
  9. Monday.  I took Cinderella to see a movie (Big Sonia) about an amazing woman who survived the holocaust.
  10. Tuesday.  Tonight’s run was short, but for the first time in a very long time it felt really, really good.
  11. Wednesday.  I love that running is starting to feel good and that I’m starting to feel like myself again!
  12. Thursday.  I RAN into The Princess at the park this evening while running.
  13. Friday.  I cannot believe that tomorrow’s race has been postponed.
  14. Saturday.  It was a cold, windy and miserable time to sit outside for Cinderella’s soccer games.
  15. Sunday.  Snow for the third Sunday in a row!
  16. Monday.  I stayed home today, did some work around the house, and finished our taxes.
  17. Tuesday.  Running is starting to feel good again!
  1. Wednesday.
  2. Thursday.
  3. Friday.
  4. Saturday
  5. Sunday
  6. Monday
  7. Tuesday.
  8. Wednesday.  This rainy day was perfect for shopping at the JBF Sale.
  9. Thursday.
  10. Friday.
  11. Saturday:  Cinderella is 10!
  12. Sunday:  Fifth Sunday is the day that we, “Go to church and don’t leave until the food is all gone.”
  13. Monday:  A beautiful, warm day to recuperate from the busy, food-filled weekend.

Lesson Learned: Choosing a Race

Today I expected to have an update for you from my latest race.  As you well know, things don’t always go as planned.  Unfortunately, my race was postponed.  The reason we were given was the weather, however, the forecast was calling for cloudy and 50 degrees at race time.  This has been another lesson learned.

April is always the busiest month of the year for us.  Why, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because winter is officially over, the weather is finally comfortable, so everyone wants to get out and do things.  Considering that, I only had one Saturday in April that I could run a race.  After scouring the internet, I found two races in the area for that day.  One was a large city-wide race with thousands of registrants, the other a tiny, tiny race with less than 50 registrants.

We went for the smaller race.  The proceeds of this race went to benefit a family whose child was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.  This was the 2nd annual race.

The Monday before the race we received via email a race packet.  I did appreciate this since not all races publish one.  It was nice to have everything you needed to know in one place.  It gave the time and location for packet pick up, where to park for the race, the race route, etc.  At that point, everything seemed in order.

On Tuesday before the race I received an email that read,

The timing chips will be unavailable this Saturday. We do not have enough runners to justify the cost. Also if you have family or friends that would like to run with us, shirts are not available the day of the race or at pickup. (For you, the shirts will be with your race packets.)

I was disappointed, but I understood.

On Wednesday before the race we received an email that read,

We are also having packet pickup only on Saturday from 7:45-8:45a before the race. No Friday pickup . . .

I understood why they perhaps wouldn’t want to have a packet pick up the day before the race due to the number of registrants, but at this point I was thinking something might be amiss since packet pick up is usually run by volunteers and has no cost involved.  On Thursday I remember telling a friend that it doesn’t look good to promise a bunch of things and then take them away.  It’s much better to not promise them in the first place.  And, I even said, “I’m just waiting for them to cancel the race.”

On Friday at 11:00 am it came,

The race is postponed due to weather. We will update you as soon as we can.

At this point, I was upset because if the race was rescheduled I probably wouldn’t be able to go.  I was also upset because it appeared that the weather was not the problem.

So, I sent this email knowing that there are usually no refunds on races,

Considering the emails I received earlier this week and that the weather forecast for race time tomorrow is 50 degrees and cloudy, I’m having a difficult time believing that the weather is the problem.  If the race is not held tomorrow, I would like a refund.

I didn’t expect a refund.  I didn’t even expect a reply, but it came,

The team that decided to cancel removed me from any control of the race. Please contact  ******@gmail.com about your refund.

Sorry for the confusion. Please understand that we at **** corp no longer have any say about the way ***** *** Dash will use their funds.

At this point, I am expecting nothing.  I am not expecting the race to be rescheduled and I am not expecting a refund.  I suspect that my money has already been spent on something else other than the race and that it is gone.  So be it.

What’s the lesson?  Sponsorship.  This race did not have any corporate sponsorship to speak of.  Even the small races that I’ve done have had local businesses supporting them in some way.  Whether it be financially or by providing some kind of goods or service, they were supported by local businesses and those business names were prominently displayed on the race website, t-shirts, e-mails, etc.  These businesses provide the support and accountability to make sure the show goes on.  Otherwise, it may not.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Colossians 3:12-13

Easter Memories

We had a surprise this Easter–snow.  Anyone that paid attention to the local weather forecast wasn’t too surprised by it since it was forecasted, but it is rather unusual for this part of the world this time of the year.  What was really surprising was the fact that the snow stuck around.  Usually any snow we get this time of year melts as soon as it hits the ground.  Not this one.  We got at least two inches of the white stuff.  It really ticked me off when I got up Monday morning and looked out the window to see the ground still covered in whiteness.

This reminded me of another time when it snowed on Easter.  I was five years old.  My mother and I, my aunt, and my cousin flew to California to visit my uncles, cousins, and my grandfather.  When we left the city it was 70 degrees and sunny.

We were pleased to find similar weather in California.  One afternoon my uncle took us out on a houseboat.  My cousin and I must’ve been eating a lot of bananas, because I can remember my uncle trying to convince us that we were eating so many bananas that we were going to turn into monkeys.  Neither one of us were buying it.

The only thing I can remember about visiting my grandfather was playing outside.  He had a lemon tree in his yard.  I love lemons to this day.  I loved picking a lemon from the tree, biting down on it, and going about my business sucking on the lemon.  I can remember my mom opening the door and yelling, “Take that lemon out of your mouth.  It’s going to eat all of the enamel off your teeth.”

I also remember a cactus in the yard.  I think we were more curious about it than anything else.  I can remember looking it over and examining the cactus needles and breaking a few off with a rock.

Everything was bright and sunny and carefree until our plane touched down on our return trip.  We arrived home in the middle of a snow storm!  We got in the car and headed home only to make it to the Blue Light gas station.  Once there, we were forced to park the car and sit inside the gas station because the road ahead was closed due to a ten-car pile up.

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I have no idea how long we were there.  It may have been a matter of minutes, but to a five year old it felt like eternity.  We were doing nothing but sitting around waiting at this tiny, tiny gas station.  We weren’t the only ones there–there were other stranded travelers waiting as well.

As any child would do in these circumstances, I decided to come up with a way to entertain myself.  My mother was pregnant at the time, and she was far enough along that it was noticeable and there was no hiding it.  I decided to strut around the gas station, stick out my stomach, and proclaim, “Look, Mom.  I’m pregnant.”  Keep in mind that there was a time that these things weren’t as openly talked about as they are now.  Nervously, my mother would quietly but sternly say, “Shhhhhhh!  Be quite.”  My response was to stick my stomach out even more and talk a little louder.

I can’t imagine how relieved my mother must’ve been when a highway patrolman finally took us home.  The only thing I remember about the ride home was getting home and all of the bright lights and equipment inside the car.  It was breathtaking to a five year old.

After our trip, I can remember being asked by a lot of people, “How was your trip to California?”  To my mother’s horror, my answer every time with great excitement was, “We got to ride in a police car!” My mother would then quickly explain the circumstances in which we ended up in the “police car.”  For years, I thought my mother’s quick explanation was because she was disappointed that the highlight of my trip was the ride home.  It took time for me to understand that she had a reputation to protect!