Contributing in the Name Of

In August of 2004, some "genius" decided that I would be a good candidate to teach 2nd grade in Detroit.  He had no idea what he was getting himself into by hiring me…and neither did I.  This guy held a couple of leadership roles at that first school when I was there, but basically, he was my boss.  Our school shut down and we all parted ways…but this school year, my former boss, Paddock (we go by last names at our school) came on as our Vice Principal.  This has been a very cool thing for so many reasons, none of which I will delve into right now.  But this is where I’m headed at the moment…Paddock’s father passed away the other night after battling with lung cancer.  I can see that it’s been a tough thing for him and his family to journey through.  For whom wouldn’t it be?  We were informed today that if we wanted to, we could make contributions to the American Cancer Society, in his name.  It struck a thought with me…

So Mr. Paddock passed away due to lung cancer, and they’d like contributions to something that could potentially help someone like him in the future.

If I passed into eternity, where would I like contributions to be made?  I haven’t come to my conclusion quite yet, but here are a few ponderings.

I love giving to missions (aka people who serve Jesus by serving others…well, that should be all followers of Jesus…but more specifically, those who are depending on others to support them financially and prayerfully).  That’s a definite possibility.

You can’t deny the fact that I love kids and teaching, so it would also make perfect sense if I wanted donations made to the school I work with, or for there to be a one time scholarship made to a current student of mine at the time (or even former student of mine). 

Also in light of my love for teaching and literacy, wouldn’t it be cool for people to donate books in my name to kids in poverty?  It would have to be tagged with my life testimony or something though…

Cancer has reared its ugly face in my family (most recently with my mom’s sister who was just told that she had cervical cancer and only a few months to live), so I could very well like to also give to the American Cancer Society.

What am I most passionate about that needs money?  I’m not ready to answer that question just yet, although to be honest, the book thing made my heart beat a little bit faster.  I don’t know though.  It’s an interesting thing to think about though, huh?

Monthly Marathon

In pursuit (again) of being healthier…I’ve been inspired to complete a marathon a month.  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone off the deep end and gone crazy…

Over the course of a month, I will pursue walking/jogging 26.2 miles.  This should be doable, right?  Pray for me.  I’ll let you know how that goes:) 

Hey, if anyone else wants to make that goal, we could definitely pursue that goal together…if you want to add biking in there too, you can.

A Moment to Ramble

How do you even jump back into blogging when you haven’t done it in so long?  Wow.  It has certainly been a stretch these past couple of months.  Just when I think I’m about to start to really de-stress, something else comes along.  Eh, that’s life. 

I really miss writing, although I have been writing some-just not here for everyone to see.  I kind of felt the need to not write for everyone to see for a little bit and gain some of my own perspective on some life stuff.  You know, the stuff that only God can really help me with anyway. 

So here I am, rambling on about how I haven’t written for awhile.  Give me some time, I don’t have anything profound to share at the moment…or even really funny.  But I will tell you about the last week or so….

I did get to spend my Thanksgiving break with my brother, Dave, and his family, in Chicago.  Stephanie’s parents were there too, and that certainly added to the enjoyment.  Anthony and Angie Sorbo…one was a church planter and Bible school builder in Indonesia for 50 years and the other was a church planter’s wife for about 30 years, I guess.  Angie was also the Pennsylvania/Delaware District Missionettes Coordinator, and when I was a little girl, she was one of my heroes.  That’s an entirely different story, but nonetheless, I got to hang out with some heroes.  Good times. 🙂

Ryder is getting bigger and funnier, Ross is getting better at soccer and Robert is actually getting smarter…who’s 12 going on 16.  What’s up with teenagers anyway?  Today’s newest update is that Ross has a new email address, so we’ve already emailed several times this evening, and I’ve even introduced him to chatting online (did I mention he’ll be 8 in February?).

Mom gave us a HUGE scare on Thursday when my dad had to call 911 to rush her to the hospital because she wasn’t conscious.  It’s a long story, but PRAISE GOD, she got out of the hospital yesterday and she seems to be doing much better.  Her heart rate is a bit abnormal, so please pray for her complete healing.  She’s been working hard to get healthy…

Funny story about her heartbeat though…So she was telling me that when the nurse put her in her new room (from ICU), she had noted that she could see Target from the window.  My mom’s heartbeat immediately sped up when she realized that and the nurse said, "Well, I can see where you’d rather be today!"  My mom’s response was, "Yeah, the worst part about me being in the hospital is that I’m missing all my good sales!"  Well, folks, that’s my mother for ya!  I’ll be praying that God gives her even better sales than she would’ve had before.  He would honor that kind of stewardship, right? :0)

In talking with her today, she inspired me in a healthy way.  I’ve not been doing so well with all of my health goals…well, with any of them.  I get so discouraged and that really stinks.  I can actually sit there and read The Word and reject encouragement about my issues.  Now, that really stinks!  So I’ve been praying through this…crying through this…and coming up and down over this.  Then I talk with my mother today, while I was in the grocery store, and I feel inspired!  So I dragged myself back to the produce section, which I originally sped through, and bought some great stuff to make vegetable soup.  Well, it’s a start…again.  I wish I was as patient with my own failure as God is with me…then again, I’ll never quite reach God’s potential.  Still, it’s something to shoot for.

Lately I’ve had some tough walls to push through, and thankfully, I’ve pushed through many of them.  They have to do with several areas of my life, not just one or two, but somehow they all intertwine into ME.  I’ve seen sides of me that I don’t like and sides of me that I’m shocked by.  Moments of bravery and confidence have come out of nowhere and insecurities attack when least expected.  Let’s just call my life, Cedar Point, and hopefully that makes some sense.  Through every moment of sick desperation and ugly depression I want holy moments to arise.  I want missional moments to bring life to dead moments and I want to seize opportunities of hope.  There are few things more certain than hope, as it comes to life from the grave!  Deep hope and trust arise from deep places of gravity…but only if we allow them to.  This is key.  Staying in the deep places of gravity too long will lesson our senses to the true hope of the Cross.  We become numb to the Cross and it’s purpose in the world…in our lives.  It distorts our desire for community with others and fabricates something else…something that was never intended for us.

Jesus.  He is the focus.  Who He is…this is what draws us from the depth of our graves to the depth of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Wait in His presence.  Wait.

Reaching My Goals

I love how God helps us keep our goals in mind as we persevere. 

When I first started to jog regularly, at the gym, I thought I was making some progress by jogging 3.5 mph.  Hey, it was something:)  Then I progressed to 4.0 mph, which was about killin’ me a first.  Recently I pushed myself a little bit farther and started alternating between 4 and 4.5 mph.  I really felt good about that.  Then a few weeks ago I noticed a lady who was working with a personal trainer, nearby.  This lady looked very new to working out and seemed to be extremely out of shape.  I about had a heart attack, myself, though, when I saw the PT put the lady’s treadmill up to 5.5 mph!  To me, that was how fast "runners" go…clearly this lady was not ready for that!  She would make her run 5.5 mph, then make her do 20 jumping jacks, over and over again. 

This caused me to think about my own goals with running.  Surely if this lady could do 5.5 mph for even a minute at a time, I should be able to do that.  So I put myself to the test the next time I was there.  I started out with my warm-up and then gradually, for a minute at a time, kept upping my speed.  A fascinating thing happened…I was able to keep up with the turning belt below me!  I honestly couldn’t believe it. 

Since then, I’ve learned to push myself a little bit further each time and not to settle for what I’ve always done.  This week I actually jogged 1.5 miles in 19.5 minutes, twice!  To a typical runner, that’s not a big deal, but for me…it’s huge!  I’ve never done that before.  This is the girl who would take several P.E. periods just to pass the mile for the physical fitness test, throughout junior high and high school.  I think the requirement was to do it in under 15 minutes, just to pass.  I am mortified to tell you that it usually took me a few tries just to get my mile at 15 minutes.  (Sad!)  So here I am, quite proud of myself for getting closer to my goal of being about to run a full 5K.  If I work on my endurance, and pace myself, I’ll be fine to complete my 5K this summer, with no problem!

How much more do I need to challenge myself when it comes to maturing spiritually?  Paul says to Timothy, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." (1 Tim. 4.8)  The Lord is, absolutely, concerned about my physical well-being.  As a matter of fact, I sense His presence cheering me on each time I come closer to reaching my running goal!  But, as always, He wants me to apply what I’m learning about the physical to the spiritual aspect of my life.  "Keep challenging yourself to be a woman of God and work on your endurance!  Pace yourself.  You’re only 27! :)"  That’s what He’s challenging me with today-with a smile:)

I’m Not Lovin’ It

Wow…my stomach hurts…

I’d be lying if I said that I was on a "healthy eating kick" recently.  I couldn’t honestly describe it as that.  But my eating habits have certainly evolved into something more of an intentional way to fuel my body, as opposed to a way to indulge my every desire for food.  Make sense? 

Needless to say though, while I haven’t given up fast food items altogether, I’ve made much wiser choices when it comes to them-especially these past few months.  Between you and me, I’ve only had french fries once since the first week of November.  (I’ll accept all types of applause at this time:) 

This evening when I was running around, kinda hungry for some dinner, I decided to stop at McDonald’s and grab something quick, without having to step out of my eating regime.  A cheeseburger and small fries are a decent number of Weight Watchers points so I opted for that in my hurry.  Let’s see, about 7 o’clock this evening my body told me that it wasn’t such a smart choice for me to have that for dinner.  My stomach started hurting with a disgusting pain (do you know that feeling?).  The thing that stinks is that it’s past 10:30 and I still feel that way.  Not good:( 
The best thing about it is that I will probably not be too tempted with McDonald’s cheeseburgers,
or any fries, any time soon.  🙂  All I need to think of is this disgusting, horrible feeling and it should do the trick. 

I’m simply not lovin’ it!

Cardio! Cardio!

My freshman year of college I was introduced to TAEBO.  Billy Blanks led my friends and I through many a workout that year on the 3rd floor lounge in Miller Hall.  Taebo is so much fun!  As with anything, it got old to me at times, but I’ve gone back to it every now and then.

Three years ago I asked my mom for the newest Taebo Cardio workout.  I got it in the midst of doing a few different types of workouts at the time.  Needless to say, I never really got into it.  Billy Blanks is a very motivating person to do a workout video with, but he also pushes you.  Every time I would start this particular video I would tire out and quit halfway through (it’s only 44 minutes long). 

About a year and a half ago I loaned this DVD to a friend and I just got it back this weekend.  With it being so cold out, I’m really unmotivated to go to Curves so I decided to pop in Taebo Cardio.  All the way through Billy shouting, "Cardio! Cardio!" and "Work it!  Work it!", I stuck with it.  The funny thing is that when I made it to the end I thought, "Oh, that wasn’t so bad…I must’ve been really outta shape before!"  Take one look at me now and you’re thinking, "Before?"  But I’m telling you, staying committed to working out and taking care of myself has been such an incredible journey for me!  And while the outward results don’t come as quickly as I’d like for them to, the inward results are fascinating to me.  It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s huge to me.:)  Plus, the other day I jogged the better of 2 miles (thanks Jamie for the use of your tread mill) and that felt great! 

I’m really starting to wonder what my deal was when I didn’t care so much about my health or how my body felt.  Seriously-what’s up with that?

Grab a cup of coffee…

…this turned out to a be long post for me.  It started yesterday and got finished tonight.

I’ve been making a list, and checking it twice…but trust me, this has nothing to do with Christmas presents.

What I’m thinking about, though, is my list for the new year.  A couple of my blogging friends have already posted their resolutions for the new year…all while I watched my last round of 24.Season 5.  (Are you surprised?)  This doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been on my mind or that all I think about is 24-really, it isn’t.

The other I told a friend that I wasn’t sure of too many goals for this year.  After thinking more about this, perhaps I have overlooked the significance of some things God’s been working on in me and the part that they’ll play in my life this year. 

368 days ago God used a sermon to begin a revolution in my life.  Throughout the course of one year I have experienced a defined character upheaval.  My year ended on Sunday with a reminder of something huge that I learned this past year…God’s more concerned with my character than my comfort.  As painful as that may be at times, the journey has been worth it.  It’s not over though, as I feel like my race has only begun. 

Really, last year I didn’t make resolutions-I simply asked God to change me.  Since that worked better, I think I’ll repeat that one act.  God, please change me.  One of the things that I ask Him to change in me is my motivation to act upon goals though:)  Somehow this is turning topsy turvy on me…

As a continuation of change in 2006, I want to continue in upping the health-factor of my body.  If my heart has to take up rent while here on earth, as the landlord of this flesh, I should make it worth it’s while to stay here!  Tonight Phil said that Jesus transforms us on the inside and it shows on the outside.  Preach it, little brother!  I’m going to be adamant about my workout and running routine each week-you know, stick with it.  After all, I am training to run 2 5K’s and a 10K this year.  (Praise God!)  Today I even got my principal, the PE teacher and another teacher in on a physical fitness thing we’re going to do at school, ending with a 5K to raise money for something, in May.  I’m pumped.  I’m definitely in way over my head-so thankful God’s bigger than that.

I started my Bible reading plan to read the Bible in chronological order in a year (thanks for the Bible, Dad:) and realized that I’ve never read the Bible in a year before!  This actually amazes me because it’s not even that much reading a day.  I’m already seeing that this may have to be upped for next year.  As I’ve been reading I’ve already been able to see that I am going to be challenged in my faith this year.  I can see that I’m going to wrestle with my faith over things I’ve never felt the need to touch.  Honestly, it scared me a little at first.  But then God reminded me of my desire to grow and be stretched.  Here we go for another ride! 

My prayer life will increase as I continue to address my need for more of Him.  I have a gut feeling that He will continue to strip away from me.  Perhaps it will be common knowledge about things I’ve always thought about but never truly believed…I don’t know.  This goes hand-in-hand with the whole "wrestling with my faith" thing.

I want to invest in people more.  Because I find that a natural thing for me to do, I tend to actually forget about it sometimes and discontinue being intentional about it.  That needs to go, for sure.

This post has turned into a real-life conversation with me, where I say a lot of things, mostly connected somehow, and neverending…sorry:)

Have a memorable year!  I can hardly see past tomorrow morning (which is quickly approaching), but it’s going to be a great one for me……….

Oh yeah, and one more thing…January 27 is my 10,000th day!  What should I do to celebrate?  A party with 10,000 guests?  Do 10,000 sit-ups?  Watch 10,000 hours of 24?…yeah, that doesn’t even make sense.  Help!  Whatever I do, it should be something that I can’t do on my own.  Life’s more fun with other people.