Our Friend Karen … Can’t Wait!

I am writing in this in the back seat of the car in route to Goose Creek, SC to say goodbye to one of our dearest friends, Karen. Not a road trip that we relish, but we are comforted that she is now beyond the pain and the struggle, and can enter into the peace and joy of her Savior.

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In October of 1993, I jumped in my little Subaru in Norfolk, VA and headed to my new duty station at Trident Refit Facility in Kingsbay, GA. I left my family behind and for the next two months. It was a time appointed for me to learn about relationship; first between me and God and then about loving others. I learned to be intentional about seeking friendships and I was led to Todd and Karen.

 

Over the next month or I horned in on their family life and tried to lay some groundwork so that Lynn would have a friend when she moved down in December. God knew what he was doing when he brought Karen into our lives.

 

After a 20 hour trek, our family arrived at housing on December 22nd. Todd & Karen helped us move and then 2 days later, we had Christmas dinner together. That would be the first of many holidays we would spend together over the next 4 years.

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Karen … Over those four years:

  • You were closer than a sister,

  • You kept my Lynnie sane during deployments,

  • You cried with us when we suffered loss,

  • You supported us when we struggled without a moment of judgement.

  • When we were in crisis, you always were there, you made all those Barbie birthday cakes and one memorable, “two mound cake”, which seemed to need a bra to maintain decency.

  • You and Lynnie sat for hours on the floor playing some weird Nintendo dictionary game with two animated crayons and some how we were entertained just watch you laugh at each other.

  • Covered each others heads when our children did ridiculous things in church plays. (Jeffery & Sam)

  • Took glee in embarrassing our children in public.

  • We raised our children together and shared our whole lives with each other.

  • We were family.

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Precious gifts like you only come along once or twice in a lifetime. Our lives have been forever changed because you were our friend.

It does not seem real that you are gone.  We long to play one more game, have one more laugh, to give you one last hug, and mostly to say all of this face to face. Fortunately, we know that we will have an eternity to spend in joy … Can’t wait!

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Fundamentalist – Yes or No?

Twitter … Why you askin’ all them questions?  How am I supposed to answer that in 140 characters!

OK … I am forced into a quick blog entry by a Twitter conversation with @neely_baugh and @beardme74.  It started with a discussion on wifely submission … (we will save that one for another article) and it became about a fundamentalism.  Like is the norm on Twitter … I threw out some fodder about being a reforming fundamentalist without thinking that out.  Here is the exchange that followed:

CalvinistBarneyFife ‏@beardme74
@chuckdadof7 @Neely_Baugh @DefendTheSheep fundamentalist is a big word. How do you define it?

Chuck Farley ‏@chuckdadof7
@beardme74 @Neely_Baugh I still believe in the five fundamentals of the 1910 NBC, but not the follow on interpretations of scripture.
Chuck Farley ‏@chuckdadof7

@beardme74 @Neely_Baugh I am hopefully looking at scripture as a whole and not a compilation album of history, stories, and procedures.

Then Neely got me really thinking …

Neely Baugh ‏@Neely_Baugh
@chuckdadof7 @beardme74 I define fundamentalism as rigidity and an unwillingness to value differing beliefs. Can happen in any religion.

fun•da•men•tal (ˌfʌn dəˈmɛn tl)

adj.

1. serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying: fundamental principles.
2. of, pertaining to, or affecting the foundation or basis: a fundamental revision.
3. being an original or primary source: a fundamental idea.
n.
4. a basic principle, rule, law, or the like that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part.

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-37)

So is fundamentalism it a conservative thing? It does not look like it. Either we have  a basic principal, rule, law, or the like that serves as groundwork for our beliefs (the rock) or … we just hang out on the beach and just let the elements decide where we stand . A so called liberal or progressive may have a strong fundamental belief that everyone must be willing to accept and value other Peoples beliefs therefore he or she is a fundamentalist.

Now this certainly is not the way Neely and I were looking at the word fundamentalist.  I am not sure how Deputy Fife was thinking about it when he asked the question, but I like the way he directed traffic.

A little brief history as I understand it … the christian fundamentalist movement came out of some strife within the church at the beginning of the last century similar to what we are seeing today.  (I call it the Mary & Martha debate) Social vs Spiritual, Works vs Faith, Law vs Grace.  God is always in balance, but we are not so good at it.  At that time, part of the church saw great need to address social issues that arose in the aftermath of reconstruction, abuses  as a result of the industrial revolution, and a general revolt against Victorianism. Basically, Christian people cannot live in the presence of oppression without God’s conviction coming down.

No Not that Mary & Martha
No Not that Mary & Martha

The Martha’s of the world wanted to jump in and right all of the wrongs and just took off and sort of left their faith behind (It is in her nature).  The Mary’s just wanted to hang out at Jesus’s feet (didn’t realize that he was not sitting there anymore, He was about His Father’s business.

Some cooler heads got together at Princeton and drafted the Five Fundamentals.

  • Biblical inspiration and the inerrancy of scripture as a result of this
  • Virgin birth of Jesus
  • Belief that Christ’s death was the atonement for sin
  • Bodily resurrection of Jesus
  • Historical reality of the miracles of Jesus

It is dangerous to synthesize faith into a little box. In short order, a group of men took the Bible, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Book of Common Prayer and condensed it into five short statements.

That first one is the problem … not whether it is true or not, but what does it mean? It is somewhat shifting sand in itself.  I truly believe that the Bible in its many forms and translations says exactly what God wants it to say when it is read or heard under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So yes it is inerrant and inspired.  The problem is that we as humans (Marys, Marthas, or whoever we are) stink at waiting on that inspiration. We grab the parts we like or “speak to us” and run with it.  So we make the Word whatever we want it to be.

There are laws in the book, but it is  not a law-book. There is history in it, but it is not a history book. It includes a play, but it is not a drama.  Songs and poems are a big part of the volume but it is not a music book. Stories? yes but it is not a story.

Then what is this book?  The best I can gather is that it is an unfinished love letter for the Creator and his creation.  He is speaking to each of us and to all of us.  He knows the ending, but He laves the creation to finish the story. So unless I can read or hear His word as His beloved and I will never know the inspiration of that perfect, inerrant love letter.

So, yes.  I am a fundamentalist.  What fundamentals do I stand on?  These five are a pretty good start, but there is much more that I think that my Creator is saying to me.  You will have to come back to find out.

 

Challenges – Fast Food Motivation

I am not sure what it is about a challenges, but this seems to be the year of the challenge. We no longer need the dare, the double dare, the double-dog dare, triple dare, or the coup de grâce, the triple-dog dare. A simple challenge is all it takes to get us to do the most ridiculous things.

No deep thoughts here.  I just know that currently, I am half way through a “Whole Life Challenge”, starting a “Simple Green Smoothie” challenge (desert for the whole life challenge), and … NaBloPoMo A blog a day for a month.  Why in the world would I do this?  Why not?

Finishing goals this year has not been a strong suit for me.  At this time of my life when everything is changing, I am looking for a fresh breeze to get me moving and I am looking forward to new challenges.  I can either stress about it or have fun with it.  I think I will do the latter.

I have six good blog drafts started and at least a dozen other topics written down, so I should be able to get something of worth out this month.  For a 52-year-old man, I am shocked at the amount of growth that God is bringing about in me.  I feet like a spiritual adolescent that is trying adjust to an ever-changing self.  I am excited, but a more than a little awkward with me.

I apologize for the rambling, but I am typing this one for me.  Tomorrow will bring a little more depth hopefully.

Spread Thin – Priorities and Changing Direction

Yes … this sound ominous, maybe a bit depressing, and possibly overly dramatic.   Well, duh! It is from the Lord of the Rings and it is supposed to be dark and dramatic. So what is drama any way?  Drama – any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results. (Dictionary.com).  Whose life is not full of this kind of drama?.  It is what makes life interesting after all.

Thin … stretched …  “like butter spread over too much bread.”  This may be my favorite line from all of literature.  I think I identify with this more than is healthy.  How is it that I am overwhelmed so easily? It might really discourage me if I did know that I am not alone in my “overwhelmedness” (feel free to use my new word). Just a little while on Facebook or Twitter and you see scores of people who seem to be ready to throw in the towel.  We have some good company.  David filled the Psalm with statements like this, “Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.” (Ps 143:4). What about Paul? “…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Cor 1:8).

Certainly I am not comparing my “afflictions” with those guys. I know many of you that are living in constant pain, dealing with bad news, have lost loved ones, or are struggling with financial situations that I cannot even fathom. All over the world we are seeing people in dire situations that are beyond my comprehension. I am not persecuted, chased, or even going through anything that is outside the normal realms of life.  The “bread” is not to big, I just seem to always be running out off “butter.”  So why do I even mention my piddly little battle with life?

Simply because I know that I am not alone and that God has a mission for us that depends on hope!

So Paul was despairing of life in in 2 Cor 1:8 & 9, but he knew there was a lifeline:

“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Cor 1:9,10)

So if I am grappling with life changes, some minor health issues, or just not getting my way, I can rest in Him because I can be confident that He is going to bring about His purpose through me.  It is His plan so I need to rely on Him instead of fighting.

To be honest, I have been working on this little spiel for weeks.  Mostly because I am bummed about letting life get to me.  Coaching, parenting, husbanding, car and pet malfunction and a touch of bronchitis filled my days.  Something had to give, but my pride said I have to make it all work.  I did not want to give up on my plan. The last two weeks God has been slowly replacing my disappointment with peace and restoring my hope.  I am not quite there yet, but He is filling my butter dish.  Can’t make a grilled cheese yet. (Mostly because my children have me on this “whole life challenge” think and I am not allowed to have any dairy products (except butter). (OK maybe I am being persecuted #lifewithoutcheese)

Anyway … all of this to say that instead of writing about completing my second marathon over the weekend, I am whining about disappointment and being stretched and spread over too much life.  Stretching is growing.  Training continues for an event to be announced later … if it is in His plan.

“The Hat” – Remember the Sweat

Many athletes have crazy superstitions. Routines, clothing, food … ridiculous as it seems, these routines bring some sort of confidence to otherwise sane people.  Let’s not limit it to athletes; artists, performers, business professionals, fans, and even preachers often have routines to help get them into their “groove”.  Whatever it takes to make a person comfortable can actually help their performance.  Call it superstition or call it routine, if it helps do it.  OK, a fan’s routines really have no bearing on the outcome of a game or the performance of the athletes (except for during the NCAA Basketball Tournament when it is imperative that we never change our routine as long as UK is winning!)

marathon picThis actually has nothing to do with my subject in this post although it may at first glance seem that way.  I want to tell you about my hat. It is a simple Kentucky blue cotton ball cap with a white ‘UK’ embroidered on the front. Christmas of 2007, I received this ball cap.  If you have not been able to tell from any of my other post, we are a little bit fanatical about our C-A-T-S … CATS! CATS! CATS! so obviously this ball cap became a prized possession. In January of 2008, I began my training for the 2008 Derby Festival Marathon.  The hat became a mainstay in my running apparel.  Actually, I did not wear it for every run since I trained in some sub-freezing weather (UK Blue stocking cap), but any time I could, this hat was a part of the apparel.

This does not seem all that crazy does it?  Well how about the fact that I did not wash that hat … at all.  The closest it came to being cleaned was when I ran in the rain.  By the end of my training the hat was covered in salt. Starting to sound a bit crazy now?  As a matter of fact, I did not wash this hat until I started this new adventure!  Superstition you say?  Not exactly.

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:1-7)

One of the things that I discussed in my training journals was how much I hate to run. (Is This Fun?) It was hard, I was out of shape, and if not for the accountability of my teammates and some God given determination I would never have made it through the training.  The 26.2 miles that I ran in April was just the culmination of over 200 miles of training.  It was important when I started that race to remember all of those miles … the pain, freezing cold, the rain & snow, and all of the sweat that it was involved.  That training was my Jordan River that I crossed to escape some really tough years. “The Hat” was my memorial to the process that process that God brought me through.

A few year later, I pulled out “The Hat” for another purpose.  In the Fall of 2011 I began coaching  “The United”.  We had started together as a new team and it was my first experience coaching 11 v 11 soccer.  Few of my players had been coached in the fundamentals of soccer and were in pretty poor physical condition. We were starting from scratch.  We worked hard that Fall and made great strides, but fell short in the tournament loosing to the eventual champions.  In the Spring, we were determined to continue our progress.  We had a good season, but still had a few teams that we just could not handle.  At tournament time, I pulled out “The Hat” and explained the significance of the sweat stains and all that it represented to me.  The United took up the mantra “Remember the Sweat”.   Those guys fought hard and beat teams with superior talent to win the championship.  Not only that season, but the following Spring as well

2011 United

It is not superstition, karma, or Rafiki’s magic that brings about success.  It is the processes that we endure and the resulting character that develops us into the people we were created to be.  Unfortunately, even as we grow, it is easy to forget how far we have come and the storms we have weathered during the journey.  Forgetting often brings discouragement.  Remembering on the other hand brings hope!  What have you done to “Remember the Sweat?”

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does (James 1:22-25)

Strapping on the Feedbag

Yesterday I had a scheduled 7 mile run.  7 miles should not be too difficult at this point in my training although any day brings new aches, pains and stiffness.  In order to save time, I have taken to plotting a course home from work when time allows, so that was my plan on Wednesday.  So I changed and headed down to the street to begin the trek.  The music was rocking  and  my Nike App counted down the start and off I went.

don't walkI started out a little fast even though I was a bit stiff.  I was not feeling it!  I was having a hard time dropping into a steady pace and having a little trouble with my breath control. Running home from downtown during rush hour sometimes offers a challenge to which I am not accustomed … stopping at every corner. I hate stopping, but on this particular day I was welcoming the frequent respites.

As usual, around three miles, I finally loosened up and found a good pace … for a bout a mile.  I made wrong turn and had to improvise my route bit, but that is not that unusual when I run in an unfamiliar neighborhood. at about 5 miles the hammer fell.  Legs became lead, breathing a bit difficult, stomach queasy and every step was labored.  I pushed myself through the last couple of miles and finished completely spent.

What in the world!  A 7 mile run should not take that much out of me.  It was a little warm and I was well hydrated so why did I have so much trouble?  I just ran out of gas … bingo! I was out of fuel! I had skipped breakfast and lunch and really had nothing to burn!  I needed to strap on that feed bag.

empty

This is not the first time that I have been dragged down by my lack nutrition.  Many times in my athletic endeavors I have stumbled due to a lack of attention to my body’s needs.  I have discussed the importance of water before. (We are not Camels – Don’t skip the Watering Hole) Lack of food will not take me down quite as quickly, but it really important.  In this case, I was not prepared for the run and started out on empty. In other cases, I was prepared, but due to the length of the run, I depleted everything tank.  On long runs, I have noticed that if I don’t refuel every 5 miles or so, I will begin to feel it at around 7 miles.

In my life, I have not always been all that disciplined about strapping on the spiritual feed bag.  Even at times when I was reading and praying consistently, I still suffered from malnutrition, especially when facing grueling life battles.  I would love to have a dollar for every sermon I have heard that spoke to spiritual disciplines.  Read! Pray! Read! Pray! Read! Pray!  OK I get it!  Question … Does your mind wander when you pray?  Does you read whole chapters and not remember anything you read?   Maybe it is just me, but that is often the result of my planned out “discipline”.  for that matter, I have heard the same basic concept from secular motivational speakers and leadership gurus.  “Read to succeed”  “A Reader is a Leader” blah, blah, blah.

Before you get offended and start a rant, let me say I think study and prayer are important:  But reading for the sake of reading and praying for the sake of praying is just an exercise in futility if the we do not absorb the awesome nutrients that are contained in there.  And what about when you are out on the road?  How are you going to refuel when you are the race course?  (Yeah I know all about praying unceasingly and all that stuff)  Here is my point.  There is no nutritional value in prayer or reading the bible.  No more then there is nutritional value in a plate, a fork, or a feedbag.  The nutrition is in the food!

” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:32-35) 
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”   (John 6:53-58) 
I need to read with the intention of filling my feed bag with the Bread of Life.  I need to pray so that I can be filled with the Living Water who continually quenches my thirst.

Rhythm of the Run

This past Saturday marked a key point in my training. I completed 13.2 miles so technically, I am half way to my goal.  For me, the real accomplishment was finding a rhythm in my stride.  My per-mile-pace varied by no more than 10 seconds during the entire run.  As an added bonus, I ran about a minute per mile faster than my average runs through out my training.  (only 27 seconds from my goal pace of 10 min/mile)

Based on the work that I have put in, this does not make sense. I have not been consistent in my training (Up-Downs), workouts have not included “speed work”, it was raining during my run, I could not find my phone arm-band or my “CAT Sweat Hat” (More to come on this in a future post), forgot body glide on my feet again … in other words, conditions were not optimal for a great run.  So what could possibly have made that kind of difference?

Rhythm …

During my initial recovery, one of the major goals of my physical therapy was to walk without a limp.  Hmm … Have you ever thought about what is actually happening when you limp?  More specifically, what is causes a limp when there is no pain? Although I had suffered multiple ankle sprains, broken toes, and muscle pulls, but once the pain was gone, the limp was gone as well so I never really thought about what caused my limp.  Since I was limping significantly, yet was not in pain, I had to ask, “what in the world is a limp?”  Mark my physical therapist admitted that no one had ever asked him that, but that it was a very good question (He was probably just humoring me)

thegaitcycle

So let me “sum up”.  My left leg was more weak and less flexible so my left leg “push-off” could not propel my body as far forward as my right leg.  Basically, the length of my stride was different.  Not only was the length different, but the amount of time between steps (beats) was different. So “stepstepstepstepstepstep” became “stepstep,stepstep,stepstep”.

As I learned to walk again, I concentrated on that “push-off” to even out my gait.  My limp became nearly imperceptible when I was walking.  I could still notice it when I was tired, but for the most part, I seemed to walk pretty normally.

IpodIn the past, I did not run with music. I ran in the quiet of the morning with just my thoughts and the rhythm of my breath and my the pounding of pavement to keep me company.  As I began my training several months ago, I decided that I would join the ranks of millions of other runners and stick in those headphones.  I formulated a good rock & roll playlist and off I went.  For those who do not follow my runs of my Running with the Footman FB Page, let me provide a sample; “today’s run was hot and slow, but I made it through”.  I have struggled with my pace and my endurance with the exception of two runs; a 7 mile run with Travis and an 11 mile run with Eric from TeamLLF.  Both of those runs went well because I allowed them to set the pace. (both are musicians and Travis is drummer who runs to a geeky click-track).

Last week as I began ran without the headphones when I ran late at night by myself and listened for the first time to my breathing and foot strike.  I was disappointed to realize that although there was a rhythm to my gait it was not correct.  stepstep,stepstep,stepstep.  This was not good.  I went back to my music and realized that my playlist had no consistency. Obviously this video  is not the answer to finding my muscle memory.  How was I going to get back into my running groove?

Amazing stuff this internet.  I was able to find a playlist made for my target pace!  It is a very eclectic mix, but I found that with very little effort, I could orchestrate my left foot push-off into the mix. Wow … what a difference a good kick drum can make (again this video link is not an example of a good kick drum).

mixingIn one of my other lives, I sit behind a live sound mixing board.  After 20 years of trying to mix musicians, I have found that if that rhythm section is not tight, nothing else can pull together that band.  That drummer and bass player are the glue that holds everything together and they can make or break the set.  An like the video at the top, the tempo that they set and maintain is crucial to the mission of the band.

I find myself out of rhythm and “limping” through much more of my life than I would admit.  Nothing seems quite right.  I know that I am going the right direction, but it does not feel like I will ever get there. Fatigue sets in early and hangs on and I can’t seem to pull it all together.  I really need a good rhythm section to hold this life of mine together and straighten out my gait.

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven …” (Colossians 1:17-23)

We Are Going to do Up-Downs Until …

Coach Boone: What did you say?

Blue Stanton: Said, we need a water break.

Coach Boone: A water break? Water is for cowards. Water makes you weak. Water is for washing blood off that uniform and you don’t get no blood on my uniform, boy you must be outside your mind! We are going to do up-downs, until Blue is no longer tired, and thirsty.” (Remember the Titans)

(if you did not know that was from Remember the Titans, we can’t be friends)

I love this movie and this is one of my favorite lines.  I remember football practices similar to this during two-a-days in August. (Maybe not this bad)  I don’t advocate withhold water, but suffering to a certain extent does develop strength. Whining and complaining reinforces weakness.

My first 2 weeks of Marathon training this time have been a series of “Up-Downs” .  First day … great, a little sore but OK. 2nd run … woke up late and only go in 2 of 4 miles.  With the intention of making up miles the next day, I allowed circumstance to overtake my week and well  … that was week #1. (only 6 of 15 miles).  I did get in some workouts, just not running.  Week 2 – run #1 … woke up late, but ran home from work and it was good (4 miles instead of 3)!  Run # 2 – Again ran home (4 of 4  miles).  Run #3 (3 miles)  is still pending, but definitely in the cards at this point & run #4 (7 miles)  is scheduled for Saturday with some accountability on this one (It is Facebook Official). I think training is going to be a series of “Up-Downs” until  either I get more disciplined or race day.  I am OK with that because either way, I will be getting stronger.

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16 ESV)

Often, I think my life is just a series of Up-Downs.

  • Sometimes I am knocked down by circumstanced beyond my control. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation…” (John 16:33a ESV)
  • Sometimes I just trip and fall over my own two feet   “…the sin which so easily ensnares us…” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

Tripping

The Bible is full of examples of people getting knocked down or tripping.  Sometimes circumstances dictate the fall like Joseph (Genesis Joseph) or Job (Job in umh … Job).  Other times (like most of the time) it is sin that trips them up like David, Peter,  etc.  In a few cases it was the whole nation that messed up and landed on their faces.  Remember the whole wandering in the desert for 40 years thing?  “Water makes you weak … water is for cowards”  (Maybe Denzel should portray voice of God in the next version of the “Ten Commandments”.)

How awesome is it that  it does not matter how we end up on the ground.  God has a plan to get us back on our feet … if we will let him.  Those verses that I referenced up there, yeah … they were incomplete.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

First Marathon Finish

God’s plan for me is not to grovel in the ground.  He has a plan and I am a part of it.  He wants me to perform at my very best.  That means he has to turn my weakness into strength and yield my strength to His strength.  When I end up on the ground, it is His plan for me to get back up. So … I may have to do Up-Downs until … I am no longer tired and no longer thirsty and I enter His rest have been completely filled with the Living Water.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.(Proverbs 3:11 NKJV)

The Time Has Come – A Fresh Start Running & Blogging

Walrus and Carpenter “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

(This has nothing to do with my post, but anytime I say “the time has come”  I think of this line from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter.)

I have made attempts ever since my knee surgery (Injury & Recovery Wandering & Purpose) back in early 2011 to:

  1. start training for another marathon
  2. start writing consistently and seriously

Physical TherapyRehab & Running: I was diligent in the rehab of my knee; that is until my ‘official’ physical therapy was complete.  Once that accountability was removed … performing calf raises and single leg balancing and stretching exercises just did not seem that exciting.  I tried running a few times and even got into a routine … sort of … only to have lifeprioritiesdistractions, laziness move me in another direction (generally toward the couch).

I think I have attempted 4 restarts the last being about a year ago.  I did pretty well for a month or so and then vacation, summer chores … the couch played their dirty tricks on me.    Each restart had it’s own list of excuses.

 

Writing: My writing tends to follow a similar process of deterioration.  My motivation to write is pretty much directly proportional to the passion I am showing to some other part of my life.  When I am hot & heavy into coaching or training hard for an event, I have no problem finding subject matter and time to write.  When the passion for life wanes and writing becomes nearly impossible.  (I do not find it easy to write from the couch.)

couch-potato

Why now and what makes me think it will be different this time?

Back when I was writing consistently, I started following a few blogs.  I could at least follow these blogs from the couch even if I was doing nothing else.  The first blog that I followed was Unshakable Hope.  Although Bill does not post very often, his writing always lift me up an reminds me that we serve a God that has a plan for each of us no matter that circumstances tin which we find ourselves.  Additionally, between his blog and the experiences of a friend of mine (Silver for my friend) I have developed a need to help in the fight for a cure for ALS. About the same time I started following Kenny over at Morning Story and Dilbert.  His blog has been my devotional when the couch has overcome my desire to spend time in the God’s word.

Those two blogs have been instrumental in keeping me uplifted over the past few years, but is another blog that has continued to kick me in the teeth just when I needed it.  I remember the first post I read should not have grabbed me.  How many men would be not only moved by, but been able to relate to an article about … wait for it … menopause?  But Annie at Eyes Wide Open had me from that first post about “Brain Fog”.   A few weeks back I was catching up on Annie’s posts.  Her transparency about her feeling while battling Fibromyalgia convicted me and when I read about her desire to run again in “How Fibrmyalgia is Helping me to Know God Even Better” I knew that I could not let the call of the couch keep me from fulfilling the plan for my life.

That very day after dropping a comment to Annie, I registered for the Air Force Marathon on September 20th.  Am I even close to ready? Absolutely not! I realized though, that I needed a goal and some accountability (I do not intend on paying an entry fee for something I do not participate in!). I was not ready the first time I ran a marathon in 2008, but with a goal in front of me, I knew that it was impossible (Why a Marathon).

It is not easy and I am still having some stop and start issues, but if it is God’s plan, I will be running 26.2 miles on September 20th in Dayton.  If Annie can get on that treadmill when it every movement is causes pain and Bill can continue to encourage others when he his body has trapped his mind in a non-responsive body for over ten years, then I can resist that seductive sofa and press on. I should have plenty of subject matter for this here new self-hosted blog.

So why a self hosted blog?

For the same reasons that I signed up for a marathon.  I am by no means a professional or accomplished writer. My writing is raw and unpolished and I am too impatient to spend time proofreading.  Still I have been contemplated this for quite a while.  If I shell out the investment to pay for a domain and hosting,  I better get serious about this writing thing.  It is time to hone some skills, meet some needs and find a niche.

I have soaked up a bunch of information and encouragement from Amy Lynn Andrews (If you are serious about writing or blogging on line and not subscribed to her site … don’t right another thing until your have checked it out! Start here) Of course being impetuous and impatient, I have jumped in and skipped quite a few steps (sorry Amy), but if I put it off and wait … well … those cushions still have the impressions of my backside.

So if you followed me over at crazyoldmaraman.wordpress.com switch those bookmarks and follows to runningwiththefootmen.com

My random thoughts and daily training babble will be posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RunningWithTheFootman

We Are Not Camels – Don’t Skip the Watering Hole

 Mark 4:21-25:  Lamp on a Stand

It appears to me, Jesus is issuing a warning to His disciples and to us.  The Good News is here and even though it is being revealed privately at first, it cannot be contained and it is going to be heard.  We need to proactively hear the News and then apply it.  Then what? … well go back and get some more.

Marathon DayBack in 2007 when I started this blog, it was intended to be a training journal and now that I have revived it from near extinction, it still is a journal of sorts. From January to April of 2008 I trained consistently to overcome years of neglect with the hope of improving my physical form.  In actuality, I was trying to shake this mid-life cloud of discontent that had settled into my heart.  My goal however was to run 26.2 miles.  Training included short early morning runs and weekend long team runs.  The blog allowed me to share my adventure and share the things that God was showing me through the process.  On the surface, it seemed that this was just the ticket to get me back on track.  It did not take long after the marathon to find that I had missed something significant.

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—” (2 Cor 13:5)

My blog entries were filled with scripture and encouraging thoughts.  I was actually picking up that bible more than I had in years so obviously I must have been growing stronger in my faith … right?  In retrospect, I can see that it was all a bit of sham.  I was pulling out scriptures I already knew and applying them as best I could to the situation at hand.  After all, I had been a Christian for over 20 years.  I had a wealth of knowledge to draw upon.  The whole thing was an act of pride.  I never examined myself and was not chasing after God.  It was actually acceptance from others that I was chasing. Once the race was over, I fell deeper into the abyss.

camelWe are not camels. Most runners that fail to finish long races can trace the problem back to dehydration or some nutritional deficiency.  Even if one is well hydrated before a race, the race itself deletes more than our bodies store.

Over the years, my live has had periods of great spiritual growth; times when I could not get enough of the Lord.  It is a great mistake to think that once we find salvation, put some Jesus into our lives, and take an occasional drink of Living Water that we can just coast to the finish line. 

Yes, I know Jesus … but not enough.  What makes me think that I do not need to experience more of Him?  The truth is, that I need more of Him and that if I do not seek him continually with all of my heart, I might find myself as the one who has not and ” even what he has will be taken away.”

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.” (Rev 3:15-18) 

“Don’t let your special character and values,

 the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth

– don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” 

Aesop