Ava & Lily – Worship of the Birds and Flowers


I learned worship from my little girls, Ava and Lilie’s Mamma and sisters.  Worship is more than sound and motion, it is a heart that is filled with adoration; filled to overflowing, filled beyond our ability to contain it, filled to a point that our only natural recourse is to let it out.

Although I do not get to spend much time with our little Ava (the little bird) and Lily (the little flower), I can see that God has blessed them with the same gift that Sarah and her sisters shared with their Daddy so long ago; drinking in the Father’s love and then pouring it out with joy.

Happy birthday little ones.  May God bless you both with all of the joy that comes with being daughters of The King.  May He fill you with the Joy and Peace that follow those who adore Him. May He bless you with abilities to match that heart of worship so that others may be drawn to Him.

Love You Both,

Poopaw

Birds & Flowers

Sun’s first rays
Peeking into the room,
Song birds,
Chirping and whistling their song
Joy at the break of day
They could not speak
But I listened
And knew peace.

Sun’s first rays
Peeking into the room,
Baby girls,
Cooing and singing their song
Joy at the break of day
They could not speak
But I listened
And knew peace.

Gentle breezes
Pushing billowing clouds,
Wild flowers,
Swaying in their beautiful dresses
Dancing for joy in the sunlight
They did not know
But I watched
And knew joy.

Gentle breezes
Pushing billowing clouds,
Little girls,
Swaying in their beautiful dresses
Dancing for joy in the sunlight
They did not know

Ava & Lily 3

Forward Motion – Part I

Prior to my injury last year, one of the major parts of my day was my walks with Tubby (the dog).  He can sometimes be a handful, so after my injury, I could no long keep up with him.  I had to improvise.  Now, I take him to a lonely parking lot, kick him out of the car and he run along side the car. (at the end of the walk, we race).  I mention this because, now that the daily routine is changed Josiah has decided that he also likes to accompany me on these outings.  (none of that is actually relevant, but I already wrote it so it is staying)  During this bonding time, I listen to his music and one of the first songs that really struck my fancy is called Forward Motion by Reliant K.  The theme of the song is that we all struggle with forward motion.  I find that to be an intriguing topic.

 

In a perfect world, forward motion would be easy once we get started.  Newton’s first law of motion tells that an object in motion will tend to stay in motion with the same velocity unless acted upon by an external force and the second law says it will go in the same direction unless moved by a vector force. (yes I paraphrased, shoot me).   Anyway, forward motion is a natural state and should be easy….enter the external forces.  We live in a world of external forces which continually change our direction, slow us down, or bring us to a screeching halt.  Even if the only force is friction, forward motion can be tough.  If we actually gt stopped…getting moving again requires even more energy and it has to be energy in the correct direction.  Yep…life can be tough.

First let’s figure out which direct is forward.

“12 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-13, The Message)

So at least I know which way forward is?  That’s a start toward obtaining forward motion.  But what about those external forces?

Injury

Through out this process, each of us have dealt with sicknesses, pains and injuries.  It is a part of training that we all expected to deal with, but I think I can speak for the whole team when I say a vital part of overcoming these challenges has been the team.  When one of has fallen behind on a run, someone has dropped back to encourage and help the struggling teammate.  We have truly become a band of brothers with a vow that “no man is be left behind”.

An injury to the team as a whole is a whole other ball game.  This week the team took a hit that can not be so easily overcome.  After so many months of training, due to an illness, one of our brothers will not be able to continue .  We have been training long enough that each member is a vital member of the team so one person missing is a huge blow.

Derek and I took turns keeping each other going.  Usually, he was encouraging me and there are many long runs that I would not have made it through without him. 

We can not share in his physical pain be I assure you we share in this disappointment, because all of us have feared something like this happening to us. 

Derek, heal up quick and we look forward to sharing the next big adventure.  We know that you are still with us so that we can keep our vow that no man is left behind.

Mountain of God

“Mountain Of God”

Thought that I was all alone
Broken and afraid
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

And I didn’t even know
That I had lost my way
But You were there with me
Yes, You were there with me

‘Til You opened up my eyes
I never knew
That I couldn’t ever make it
Without You

Even though the journey’s long
And I know the road is hard
Well, the One who’s gone before me
He will help me carry on
After all that I’ve been through
Now I realize the truth
That I must go through the valley
To stand upon the mountain of God

As I travel on the road
That You have lead me down
You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me
I have need for nothing more
Oh, now that I have found
That You are here with me
Yes, You are here with me

I confess from time to time
I lose my way
But You are always there
To bring me back again

Sometimes I think of where it is I’ve come from
And the things I’ve left behind
But of all I’ve had, what I possessed
Nothing can quite compare
With what’s in front of me
With what’s in front of me

Day 78 thru Day 84

Days 78 thru 85:  Injury and slackardness.  Monday I trimmed my beard (when I should have been running) and then immediately tripped and hurt my foot.  On Tuesday, I got out ran my 5 miles.  At about the 4 mile mark, my foot started to hurt pretty bad.  I made it back to the house, but it was pretty painful.  over the next couple days, it did not get much better, so I let it rest.  Friday, I purchased new shoes and the famous Power Step insoles.  Wow what a difference. 

Saturday:  The Papa John’s 10 Miler in Louisville.  After a pitiful training week, I went ahead ran the race.  It was a little colder then expected and a cutting wind did not make things any better, but once we started running it was not to bad.  I actually began to over heat.  I ran with no pain which was great.  The race was still tough in several different ways.   I found that although I spent many years on submarines, I am a little clostorphobic when it comes to a race.  I really do not like running in a crowd so I am constantly trying to find an open area in the crowd to run which tends to cause me to vary my pace quite a bit and I expend a lot of energy passing people.  The other thing I noticed was that I like running with team mates.  I ran this whole race alone.  I really don’t want to run the whole marathon alone.  Basically, I am pretty-much an insecure little baby.  Afraid of the crowd and afraid of being alone.  Great! 

It looks like I have gone to a weekly post.  When this who thing started I was pretty excited and motivated.  Like so much of life, it is easy to allow the passion to die down.   Early on, although I did not like running, I was eager to push myself out the door in the morning.  Well, eager may be a bit strong, but at least there was some excitement about the upcoming adventure.  The time commitment was not so great (45 minutes/day).  As the minutes turned into hours, the days into weeks and the weeks into months, it has gotten harder to stay motivated.  I find myself rolling over instead of rolling out.  I am continually disappointed in myself so posting is not something I really want to do.  Now that the goal is in site and seems achievable, it is harder to keep pushing hard.  I hate that I have so much trouble finishing! 

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  (Romans 7:21-25)

For me this “battle or the will” is much tougher than any physical struggle.  Overcoming this over the next month will be the greatest measure of success for me in this adventure.  In the end, when I feel the wait of failure pressing in, I will press on.  None of the training, new shoes, nutritional supplements, and proper hydration can finish the race for me.  Only my will can cause my body to cross that finish line.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”  (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Day49

Day 49 – 15 Miles:  This is the day that stopped my blog, hard in it’s tracks.  I was so disappointed in this run that I did not know what good a weblog entry would do.

My first thought after finishing this run was, this was horrible!  I was still very much feeling the effects of giving blood.  The route had all of the things that I try to avoid in a run (busy streets, no shoulder, shoulder with bad grades, stop lights, and running on concrete)  It was a good combination of residential and rural.  Instead of feeling the normal fatigue that I feel at the end of a run, I felt like I had been through a battle.  I was really having a hard time find a good spin on this run.  More than my body, my attitude had taken a beating.

I recall an entry I made way back onTraining Day 11 and I referenced 1 Corinthians 3:

13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

My bad attitude was brought to light that day.  This run was just the “fire” I needed to confront the selfishness concealed by a life of relative ease.  I our society, we rarely have to do anything we really don’t want to do.  Although I was not thrilled with this route to start with, it was important to me to run with the team.  So if the reason I ran on Saturday was to be a part of this team, and I ran with the team, than this was a successful run.

O.K. – Let’s evaluate this run with the team in mind.  We actually ran 15 miles and everyone made it.  I was struggling and had to walk a couple of times, but someone was there with me everytime.  When we ran through Veteran’s Park, which was the steepest hill, I didn’t even notice it because Taylor and I were talking about baseball and tough coaches we had had.  So at the 12 mile point, I was able to carry on a converstation, so obviously, I was not doing too bad.  In the end, I ran at a pace of 10:25/mile which is pretty much right where I wanted to be.  So, if my goal was to run 15 miles, with the team, at a 10:30/mile pace.  Then this was a good run.  I got the added bonus of great converstation and a much needed attitude adjustment.   This may have been the most beneficial run yet.

The prophet Jeremiah complained to God about how he was working with no apparent results.  God responded like this.

    5 “ If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you,
      Then how can you contend with horses?
      And if in the land of peace,
      In which you trusted, they wearied you,
      Then how will you do in the floodplain[a] of the Jordan?  (Jeremiah 12:5)

If I complain with a little adversity, how am I going to deal when it really gets tough.

Day 30 Part II

Day 30 – 5 Miles – Take-two.  After several abandoned attempts and striking on this mid-week 5 miler, I final got it going.  At about 10PM last night, finally hit the road.  The run felt pretty good, my pace was consistant, breathing was not labored, and I had little pain or fatigue. 

About 2 miles into the run, I ran through a part of the neighborhood that was hit pretty hard by the storm.  Power was still off, trees, fences and parts of roofs littered the neighborhood.  I did not even know that the storms had been that severe so near to my house. 

It made me think about the lives of those around us.  People that we correspond with everyday, some that we even call friends, could be suffering through difficulties that we know nothing about.  How many people are going through some crisis all by themselves?  I know how hard it is to take a long run alone, without the encouragement of my teammates.  How hard is it to go through the struggles of life all alone?  I suspect that many of feel alone in some of the most difficult times of our lives. 

I don’t want to be like the friends of Job.

 14 “A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.  15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,  as the streams that overflow.” (Job 6:14,15)

But 

“9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all…” (Galatians 6:9,10)

Day 23 & 24

 Day 23 – Rest & Day 24 5 Miles – Guess what guys, we are running a marathon.  In our official training we have run about 70 miles. Only about 350 mile left to the finish line.  After 5 miles this morning I was tired.  My body is beginning to ache.  I felt like I was running in slow motion through most of the run.   It is only one more mile than I ran last Wednesday, but it felt like more.  Is this what this going to be like for the next 13 weeks?  Great!

Actually, this is exactly what I signed up for.  Like Taylor says, if it was easy, everyone would do it.  We are pushing through some pain for a no apparent reward.  I have seen guys endure long hours and time away from family to push out  projects, pass exams, perform critical maintenance, and train and prepare for battle.  We are running for children that endure pain every day and doctors that labor to take away that pain.  What is a little ache in my hip or or throbbing legs in comparison to some of the real trials endured in life?  In the end, there is a hope and a plan for each of us and if we endure, we are sure to be renewed at the end of the race.

28 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,  the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  30 Even youths grow tired and weary,  and young men stumble and fall;

 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:28-31)

Day 11

Day 11 – 3 miles – Up at 5:25, Breakfast 5:45 Out the door at 6:00.  Note the close proximity of breakfast and out the door.  Probably not the best idea.  Undigested oatmeal pretty much feels like lead in the belly.  To compound matter, after reading everyone else’s entries about 7, 8 and 9 minute mile paces, I figured I was going to be holding everyone back so I better start pushing much harder.  I turned my course around and started out at much better pace.   Now I walk out my door, turn left and I have about a 1/4 mile climb to the top of the hill.  I was pretty much ready to turn back.  That wave passed and I tried to push the pace, but I kept drifting back to a comfortable pace.   (Note no pace is actually comfortable, I guess I should  say a less uncomfortable pace) I pushed through to the end and sprinted (sort of) the last 1.4 mile which is the steepest grade on this run.  I was pleased with the run.  I worked hard. But I forgot the goal.

I had a plan when I started out, to run a marathon.  I committed to a plan that did not include a pace.  As a team we agreed to a 10 minute mile pace.  This needs to be my focus, not keeping up with youngster.  I will push myself to get faster, but I need to avoid discouragement due to my speed.   I have a god plan, and a foundation is laid.  As long as I continue to build on this, the prize is within reach.  If I deviate, I am in danger of robbing myself.


11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

Rest Day

Ps 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

 Day 9 – Rest Day– I actually took a rest from the blog yesterday. It is key that when we take on a marathon task, rest days are as important as work days. As we push our minds and bodies to the limit, we need a little healing time. I can’t see or feel the destruction and rebuilding of my muscles, but I know that it is going on.  Also, I have to take time to remind myself that this marathon ( or any other task in my life for that matter) is only a small part of the big picture in my life.   I have already expressed the personal importance of this quest to me.  Any of you who know me, know how important my family and relationship building is to me.  We all have things in our lives that drive us and we think that these should be the focus of our lives.

I think that God has an even bigger picture of our lives;  a purpose that we cannot fully comprehend.  He is not only looking at our “whole body of work”, he sees our lives in conjunction with the lives of everyone else.  So our little peep into the importance of our lives seems pretty lame.

OK, OK.  Submarine story – On a submerged submarine, the people driving the “boat” , helmsmen, planesman, throttleman, etc. have know idea where they are going.  They are just looking at their instruments, doing what they are told.  Even their supervisors, Diving Officer, Engineering Officer of the Watch, Chief of the Watch. etc. only have a rough guess of where they are going.  How about Sonar, the Navigator, even the Captain, they only rely on instruments or the reports of others.  Even if we know exactly where the ship is, we don’t know where the rest of the fleet is and we certainly don’ t know where the enemy is.  So we have to take time to communicate with those above that have those answers.

( Yes, I woke up early and I am putting off my four miler this morning)  My point is this, because we don’t know the big picture, we need to take a pit stop and get bearing from the One who sees it all.  Rest days are just as important for reaching the prize as any day of hard work.