My Goal Race

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Most of my life, I have dreamed a little bigger than my reality, usually resulting in disappointment and heartbreak. About 16 months ago, after not having run even a mile in 20 years, I discovered that I loved trail running. It didn’t come easily to me. I was slow. But, I loved it. It brought me peace, it connected me in a deeper way to God, and it challenged me. I love a challenge!

After adding a few miles here and there to my runs, I decided that I really wanted to run an Ultra (50k or more). I really don’t know why. I always told myself that I couldn’t run and that I didn’t like running. For whatever reason, the challenge of being on a mountain trail for so many miles and the opportunity to push myself physically while out in nature greatly appealed to me. So, I found a race that I wanted to do and that became my goal. Training for it was not easy. Six kids, homeschooling, a husband and a part-time job made it pretty difficult to squeeze in long runs. Hubby and the kids were amazingly supportive, though!

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This past Saturday was my goal race. Stump Jump, in Chattanooga. It was a beautiful day! I had been pretty under the weather the whole week leading up to Stump Jump, which was stressing me out a little. But, come Saturday I felt mostly better. The race was amazing. Amazing people, amazing trail. Challenging trail! Running has become a very spiritual thing for me. God meets me every time. It is a precious gift He has given me. He was there on that trail. I felt Him in the cool breeze that blew across the top of the mountain and in the warm sun that shone through the trees. I heard Him in the trickling water and the singing birds. And all of the smells of the forest–the flowers, the wet rocks, the earthy ground–He was there. The feel and textures of the different barks on the trees.


“I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me.”


The things I saw with my eyes–so many kinds of flowers, fungus, rivers running between the mountains, moss-covered rocks, knobby tree trunks, little green lizards, huge rock walls, little creeks running down the mountain–all amazing wonders of His creation. I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me. The beauty that He surrounds me with. Not just in the mountains, but in my everyday life. I felt so loved and I felt so known by Him. He created all of this for me. He created all of this and more for everyone! He’s such a good God. I’m so grateful I get to experience Him this way.

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I didn’t finish my 50k. I made it to mile 28.6 and didn’t make the time cut. I was disappointed. I was so close! I was emotional. But I was so thankful! It was an incredible day! I learned so much about myself, about my strengths and weaknesses (both physically and mentally). And I just really enjoyed being out there and experiencing everything I got to experience. I am a little sad that I didn’t achieve my goal, but I will try again. I don’t quit very easily and I’ve got a lot of people on my side.

Walks With My Grandfather

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When I was younger I would walk and the pain in my feet would make me have to stop. I would make it less than a block and have to sit on the side of the road and wait for the throbbing to cease. My grandfather would sit next to me and wait for me to feel better, and then we would walk along. It was him on the outside and me on the balance beam of the curb as he caught me when I slipped. I was happy when I walked with him. The pain was worth it to walk and talk to my grandfather and I always knew that when I needed to sit down, he would always sit with me.

There are days I wish I could walk that neighborhood loop, sit down on that curb and look on the smiling face of my grandfather as he waits for me, but those days are gone now. I’m far from that neighborhood loop and the road I walk now is unfamiliar. It is much harder and filled with trip-ups, snares, and traps, and the number of people I’m walking with dwindles daily. There’s no curb on this road, and it goes against the flow of the majority making it far less popular than the nicely-paved, easy road of the majority.

This way is the way of God. He called me off the paved road and onto the rough path while I was still walking with my grandfather. Some days I try to walk in the right way, but it feels more like I’m in the way. God has tried to call me to walk with Him on His path, but I want to stay where I’m comfortable. I want to stay where I am; in the loop that I know in my neighborhood. I know what the snares look like and I am pretty good at overcoming them. I know the people who are walking here with me, but I cannot move forward because I am in the way and not on the way.

The paved road looks good and feels nice to walk on every now and then. The paths are smooth and the grade is easy. I can walk in any direction I want and there are a lot of people on it. No one tells you what to do or where to go. The more I walk on these paths, the more I want to stay on them. Something inside me feels wrong about this though. The knot in my stomach grows and the voice in my head telling me to move off this road gets louder and louder. Something is wrong about this path and I am told where it leads.


God walks alongside me through His Holy Spirit, living and active with me.


Today, I am walking on a new path. One that is unfamiliar. One that leads in and out of the wilderness, leading me to a small oasis to fill up when I’m running dry. There are new snares,  but on this road, I do not walk alone. The road is narrow and cliffs rest on either side. When my feet begin to hurt, my body breaks down and I need to sit on the ledge, my God sits next to me and smiles as He waits for me to feel better and then we walk along. It’s Him on the outside and me on the balance beam of the narrow way as He catches me when I slip. He is happy when I walk with Him. The pain is worth it to walk and talk with my God, as I see less and less of the paved road, and more and more of the adventure that happens on the narrow road.

This is the way God has called me and I know where this road goes. The more I walk on it, the more I desire to walk with God. The more I walk on it the more I desire to be more like Him and bring others with me, helping them see the dangers of the paved and easy path. I slip and fall but God graciously catches me and puts me back on the right way. God walks alongside me through His Holy Spirit, living and active with me. This is the road Jesus calls us to walk on and He has shown us it is worth it.

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy

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“I will lead them down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.” – Isaiah‬ ‭42:16‬

I will be the first mom to say that mommin’ ain’t easy. I have been blessed to be able to be a step mom for almost three years and now have the privilege of raising one of my own as well. Both roles are difficult in different ways but both are beautiful as well. They don’t tell you about the difficult times and the sleepless nights. Maybe they do but in your mind you imagine different. They don’t tell you about being so worried about either of them or praying for their future. They don’t tell you how deeply and completely your heart will belong to them.

If there is one thing I’ve learned these last three years and these last two weeks, it’s that being a mom should be hard because being a mom means sacrifice. It means giving when you are empty. Loving when you are hurt. Praying when you don’t know what to say. And hoping that through it all you can be a light in the darkness and a refuge from the storms in this world. God has reminded me that it is a blessing to be walked out with Him. Time with Him is crucial to not lose your sanity and patience. Prayer is our biggest weapon against the enemy and love covers all.

So while there are many days I have cried over these last few years, there are many prayers that have been answered. God continues to guide and show me how to walk along this mom path. Sometimes it’s beautiful and sometimes it’s just really hard. But at all times, He is God and He is with us. He gives us the strength we need for each day if we let Him.

Family Pajama Run!

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I like to have fun. I love to laugh. Having fun together as a family is hard sometimes. It seems that keeping my family of five in a jovial mood was always a challenge.  A good friend told me about a Focus on the Family book actually called Fun Family Ideas… or Family Fun… (I think. Doesn’t matter.)

One idea from the book I have always loved and used many times is “Pajama Run.” This is pure genius and so simple. This is the idea – you put your kids in their jama’s and then off to bed. If you can do it 30 minutes early then double score! After about 15 minutes of them being in bed you stand in the hall way outside their bedrooms and ring a bell or shout “Pajama Run!!!!” Then you all pile in the car… wearing your pajamas… and head to Sonic or McDonald’s and order an ice cream. You sit in your car and eat, and just let your kids talk. AND they will.


You sit in your car and eat, and just let your kids talk. AND they will.


I thought it would only work in the summer, but we have done it year round. Especially around Christmas – then you can drive around and look at Christmas lights!!!

There are strict rules to Pajama Run. If you ask for Pajama Run, it doesn’t happen. It is super fun to do when the cousins are visiting, so make double sure you don’t ask for it!!

I remember our first Pajama Run. I shouted, “Pajama Run,” and my girls bolted out of bed and ran into the hallway. The dog was was barking. It was beautiful excitement. They didn’t have a clue what was going on. It was like magic. We were having fun. This is a fun family memory that has lasted through the many trials my family has faced.

My girls are all grown up now but guess what happened this summer?? We went on a Pajama Run. No one was in their pajamas but it was fun… my girls were surprised and my girls talked. (Insert happy momma face here.)

Reconnecting Family

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Recently my brother reconnected with his 17 year-old daughter, who has been estranged from him and the family for much of her life.

We are elated at this chance to get to know her and to welcome her in. For us, she has been a part of the family since her birth. We’ve noted her absence at family events, tracked her age with the rest of the grandkids, and hoped that someday she would be curious about her dad’s side of the family.

And the day has come.

Continue reading “Reconnecting Family”

Doing Christmas

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My mom and I enjoyed looking through some old holiday pictures recently. We remarked that the best ones were not the ones that found us lined up in front of the tree, lipstick on and dressed in our new holiday outfit, but the ones where we were actually DOING Christmas.

Being a good southern family, there were always biscuits in our house growing up biscuits and gravy to be exact. When my kids came along, it became my Mom’s ‘thing’. Grandmother, as they call her, always made biscuits and gravy. (At home we were more likely to eat frozen waffles…hey, those were busy times…don’t judge me.)

Continue reading “Doing Christmas”

Get Your Feet Wet

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I remember the exact moment. I remember what I was wearing and what the air smelled like. I normally have a pretty crummy memory but this day has buried itself in my head. It was seven years ago, and it was the day of my regional track meet. I had been training for six months to run the 1600 meter race. I was nervous out of my mind and got about twelve minutes of sleep the night before. Instead of pumping myself up to run the race, fear began to infiltrate every thought I had. I was scared of losing. I was scared of not being able to finish the race. I was scared of not making my parents proud. I was scared. Now this isn’t something I’m proud of, but I decided that it would be best if I told my coach I was sick and couldn’t run the race. As much as she tried to talk me out of that decision, I insisted that there was no possible way I could run even after all the countless hours I had put in to train.

I let fear get a foothold on my life that day.

Stories like that weren’t uncommon in my growing up years. Unfortunately, fear was something that I let make decisions for me. I’m not surprised that the Lord has used the last two or so years to weed a lot of deep-rooted fear out of my life.

Continue reading “Get Your Feet Wet”

God’s Royal Law

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Last week, my wife and I took our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids to WaterColor, Florida for Fall Break at the beach. The gulf water was so blue, the beach so white and the sky so beautiful that it made me wonder who could look at such spectacular scenery and not thank God for His creativity? I also thank Him for the fun we had in the sun and surf—playing with grandkids that are almost 2, 5 and 8 years old keeps us young at heart but stiff in the joints! We swam, built and destroyed sand castles, battled the waves, rode bikes, canoed in a coastal lake and sampled as many Seaside restaurants as possible.

And that brings me to the point of this blog. We, as a family, were out in public for almost every daylight hour of the trip. We interacted with lots of people from all over the country, and not one of them commented on the fact that our nearly 5-year old grandson doesn’t look like the rest of us. You see, he was adopted from Ethiopia and my daughter and I have skin coloration similar to Casper the ghost. While the rest of the family tans well, our grandson definitely wins the game of “which one is not like the other ones.”

Continue reading “God’s Royal Law”

Dream Again

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God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG


It was storming. The house was quiet. The power was out. And my step-son and I were curled up watching a movie on my computer while the battery ever so slowly diminished.

As I sat there next to him, the kid’s movie began discussing how out of reach a dream can be and the somewhat unattainable and unrealistic dream needed to be forgotten. My ears seemed to perk up at this somewhat grown up “humor” and I giggled while thinking how true that can be.

Rewind to the start of 2016.

I am 1 year into marriage and still trying to figure out the new God-given roles that I have found myself in. I began to ask God what it was He wanted me to focus on in this brand new year He was about to give me. And I heard two words…

Dream again. Continue reading “Dream Again”

The Pursuit of Green Pastures

greenpastureI’ve had Psalm 23 memorized for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those Sunday school staples that just seems to nestle itself in your long-term memory.

You know it:


The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not be in want
He makes me lie down in green pastures

Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me


I have a vivid memory of a family trip to Durango, Colorado when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. We  had been hiking all day long in search of a lake at which we would finally bust out our brand new fishing rods. The day ended up being a real bummer because the lake was nowhere to be found and exactly zero fish were caught. On the final stretch when just about all hope was lost, we peaked over a cliff edge to find not the elusive lake but a huge field in the valley of two mountains. It was one of those Sound of Music scenes where the wind is whistling through the grass and if you closed your eyes just right, the sun glares would peak through your eyelashes. Bliss. The feeling of laying down in that field after a day of disappointment is up there on my list of favorite things.

When I think of a green pasture, this is what I think of. However, I’m learning that in our walk with the Lord, laying down in a green pasture doesn’t mean that everything in our life makes sense, and it doesn’t mean that everything is easy. Continue reading “The Pursuit of Green Pastures”