Monday, October 27, 2014

Running with an attitude

As soon as our day begins, I can sense the attitudes of our various children. This past week I tried to observe in detail so that I wouldn't miss the lesson for me...

One came down the steps with a smile on her face ready for a good morning hug. The two boys bounded down the steps, skipping every other one, and made their grand entrance. One checked the garbage and threw his hands up in relief that it wasn't in need of being taken out. He celebrates not working. The other begins to set the table and looks like he is still asleep. He sets out 7 napkins but only 6 forks. Some people get vitamins and others do not. I have to remind him several times of some key things he is missing. He gently wakes up during the process. Another kid comes to the table completely exhausted which seems to be a typical day around here. And the final one comes in sucking her thumb and asking to be held. We like to call her "milk it" because she tends to be a bit dramatic to get what she wants.

Their personalities shine through in the early morning hours, and it is easy to see what the day will be like for all of us. Inevitably, someone is not having his/her best day, and we all know it. I want to yell, "If you would just have a good attitude and focus your thoughts eternally, your day would be so much better!" And, God gently reminds me of my stinky attitude even earlier in the day.

Running is going well in that I am doing it. That's about all I can say. My attitude is still in need of some serious adjustment. I tend to think negatively, harshly and just stinkily when I'm running. I want to stop. Quit. Give up. Uugh. It is frustrating and overwhelming. And IF I WOULD JUST FOCUS MY THOUGHTS ON ETERNITY AND THE THINGS OF GOD, my run would go so much better! It's like one of our pastors said a while ago, "I need to preach the Gospel daily to myself lest I forget my need for a Savior!" Oh, how I need to just preach the Gospel to myself and keep going. Pressing on for the prize that lies ahead.

Please join me in refocusing my heart and mind in ways that honor and glorify the Lord above all else. And, if you will, ask the Lord to change my attitude for my good and His great glory!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Bestest Day of My Whole Life


"Yes, Zeke."

"This was the bestest day of my whole life."

Exhaustion had set in as my eyes could only see tail lights of all the traffic ahead. But, my heart? It was full and even overflowing. I could still see every moment of that day as his eyes twinkled and his heart leapt over and over.

As he nestled into his seat and closed his eyes, my mind quickly recalled seeing him for the first time almost 4 years ago. His little head peaked around the corner of a church in Uganda and saw my face. He ran away. He was scared, and I cried for his unknowing little soul.

It didn't take long before he realized that we were going to his "house." And he was going to ride in an automobile for the first time in his life. Climbing into my lap in the front seat, his smile was contagious. He felt the air conditioning and couldn't understand it. Putting one hand up to the vent, he would look at me and laugh. He tried the other hand. Then, his foot. And finally his face. His amazement at the things I thought nothing was mesmerizing.

And it brought me back to this past weekend. Some sweet friends gave us tickets to the Alabama vs. Texas A & M game. JT immediately decided that I should take Zeke. He already had plans to watch Jett play soccer in Gadsden. Knowing how much this little boy (well, maybe not so little anymore) loves football, we rearranged our schedule to make it happen. And boy am I glad we did.

You see, life has not been easy for this kid. He has known hunger. He has walked for miles to carry water. He has been lonely. And there's a lot more. But, for the sake of his tender heart, I'll leave that to him to tell one day. And oh, the stories he will tell. God has given him a past that will show His faithfulness and love for Zeke in a way that only the Lord can.

I got a glimpse of what God is going to do at that game. From the time we walked to the stadium to the moment we got home, he was full of excitement, wonder and enthusiasm like I had never seen. He yelled "Roll Tide" louder than anyone around us, danced to every piece of music played, and shouted for EVERY play of the game. His passion got the attention of everyone around us, and it was pure joy to witness.

While reading and math do not come to him easily, his love for football has allowed us to teach him in ways we have never employed before. Using an Alabama football program has improved his reading dramatically and making word problems about football? That's a winner around here. Using his passion to teach him has changed his mindset about learning. He wants to know more.

We pray that as he grows and begins to play football that God would use Zeke's passion for His great glory. May his love for the game foster opportunities to share about God's greatness in ways we cannot fathom. And may the sparkle in his eyes never diminish as he seeks to serve the Lord through his love of the game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Had Only Heard About It.....

I’ve heard about it. I’ve even read about it. And oh, how I’ve dreamed about it. But, I have NEVER experienced it. I’ve wanted to, but it has eluded me time and time again.

One time, JT told me that it happened to him. And I was remarkably jealous. Since that day, I have longed for the same thing, but alas, I have yet to know it.

The runner’s high. Doesn't it even sound delightful. Running in such a way that you are oblivious to how far you are even running. Time seems to stand still.

And maybe I didn’t actually get the full effect, but I definitely got a glimpse of it. And it was good. And glorious. And elusive. And I want it again please.

So, here's the scoop. Yesterday, I ran two miles outside with JT near our YMCA. My calves were still aching from a 10 mile run on Saturday, and I just felt off. I didn’t feel up to par and went to walk the other two inside on the treadmill. Keep in mind that I haven’t been on the treadmill in several weeks and am actually enjoying being outside again. So, I was already feeling defeated and down. I grabbed a towel and stepped on the dreadmill with a great sense of the blahs.

I walked maybe 1/4 of a mile and decided to run just to finish earlier. Who wants to stay on the treadmill longer than necessary? But before I knew it, I had finished two more miles. And I was honestly a little shocked. What caused this? Did the treadmill miscalculate the mileage? Can I not read numbers accurately anymore?

I double-checked my Nike app, the clock on the wall, and the numbers on the treadmill. It was true. I had gone two more miles while thinking I was only at 1/2 mile.

I was watching the replay of a football game which did keep me distracted, but I don’t think that’s it. I have NO idea why it happened, but I am rejoicing that it did.

And now I want it again. Preferably in the form of 26.2 miles in January.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Breathe Deep and Plan On.

A child hanging out laundry. A freezer full of prepared meals. Organized and color-coded school books. A written agenda for the day. Running gear ready to go. What do these things all have in common?

They require a plan and much preparation to come to fruition. Teaching a child to handle laundry does NOT happen overnight. It takes time and patience and training and guidance and about 78,000 reminders. His future wife will thank me, I think.

The meals in the freezer...many ideas, recipes, calculations, shopping, a couple of days of cooking, and much tweaking are necessary to pull this off. It is the planning of these meals that makes most people shy away from the task.

Organization in the school room? Well, I must admit that I am partial to this one. Anything involved organization and color-coding are right up my alley. And, if there is a label-maker involved? Well, I am more excited than a kid in a candy shop with unlimited funds. But, in all seriousness, there is a lot of planning involved just to get to this point with 5 very different children. Trust me.

And finally, that running gear. It is so much more than the picture can even represent. It tells a story of days of running when I have not felt like it one bit. I just want to nestle down in my covers and get some extra sleep. I don't want to get up early and get going. But, the plan requires it.

In a conversation I had today with one of my older girls, I reminded her that her work would show when the time comes. How much effort and time she has put into a particular subject would be obvious in time. And, it's the same way with running. The amount of time and effort I have put into the training will show up on marathon day.

And speaking of the marathon, it is looming large on our horizon. We both feel under-prepared, and so, we are in need of a plan that will help us get past that. We have found one from Runner's World and are trying to make sure that we are getting in long runs of the appropriate length to get us to the marathon in good shape.

Please pray for us as we continue this journey that is seriously depressing at times. It is frustrating and hard. We don't want to do it. But, we know that He who called us to this will accomplish this with His great power. We just have to be obedient!