Friday, February 26, 2010

Wofford: We are now rooting for you

As I said yesterday morning, Thursday was a busy day.  I got to answer phones at the pregnancy center.  I am glad they don't throw you into the counseling room first thing, but let you ease your way into the water, so to speak. 

Then I went to the Y to run and ran into (not literally) my husband there (shocker!).  He says he loiters in the halls and accosts innocent exercisers with an overload of information about our church plant.  I said I'm surprised we haven't had more joggers and weight-lifters show up at the Bible study as a result of his scheme.

As I was happily jogging away on the treadmill, my hand accidentally hit the emergency stop release-thingy and the belt came to a very abrupt stop causing me to make a squeaky gaspy noise and then look around to see if anyone had noticed.  It would have been hard to miss, but I hoped everyone had left for lunch.  The few people in there averted their eyes, so I returned my focus to the treadmill.  It took me a minute to realize what had happened, and my first reaction was that the treadmill was kicking me off, like a contestant on American Idol.  Too much plod in my stride?  Posture not perky enough?  Then I saw the release magnet dangling from its string and used my incredibly keen sense of deduction to figure out that I actually caused the problem, not the treadmill.  Embarrassed and deflated, I returned to jogging, but lowered my speed.  I have pulled my earbuds right out of my ears with the same type maneuver before, but the effect is not quite as startling.  Eventually I got sucked back in to "Wife Swap" on the Lifetime Channel and returned to normal, but I was definitely shaken by the incident. 

I digress.  The Wofford game was so fun.  It was sold out, and even though Wofford has a pretty small arena (think large high-school gym attached to a student center), the vibe was one of complete excitement.  If we beat College of Charleston, we wrapped up the SoCon North (South? East? West?  I don't know, but it was still very exciting).  We didn't get to sit with our Upward buddies because we were doing good to find room for the 5 of us to sit together, but we managed to see almost all of them at some point during the game. 

Pics follow.  Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today I go to the Pregnancy Center, run at the Y, pick up the kids, fix supper, take our Upward basketball teams to the Wofford vs. College of Charleston game, come back and do laundry, and go to bed.  Hopefully I'll shower somewhere in there too.

Will is much more excited about glasses than I thought he would be.  We're getting him rec specs for baseball, and I think he liked that.  His vision was horrible; he could only see the big E on the eye chart with his right eye, and not much below that with his left, so I'm glad we took him.  It will be interesting to see how much of a difference it makes for him in baseball this year.  It helps to be able to see the ball before it gets to your bat, right?

I got the info card for the church plant done yesterday, though it felt like trying to give birth to a 4th child.  I know my way around microsoft publisher a lot better than I did a week ago.  The card is nothing fancy, but it will do.  This Sunday will be our first week at the Pregnancy Center, and I hope that venue will work out better than the library and Wofford have for our Bible Study and for Childcare, which has turned out to be more of an issue than either Justin or I anticipated.  We will wait to print our cards until we see how this Sunday goes, since we're including directions to the pregnancy center on them.  

I hope also that we can start podcasts of the Bible Study to give folks who are curious about the church plant a little flavor of Justin's preaching content and style.  He has a mic for making MP3s, but hasn't been wearing it.   Sunday afternoons are such a circus getting ready for the Bible Study that the mic has dropped off the priority list, but I think it would be helpful, even for Bible Study members who have to miss a Sunday but want to keep up with where we are in the study.  I have been doing childcare because our friend who volunteered to keep them has had conflicts.  I don't mind doing it, but I hate to miss out on the studies and I hate not being in there, making sure there's no one sitting by themselves or not being introduced to other people.  This whole endeavor continues to remind me that this is God's work and not mine and Justin's, though we are instruments in His hands.  I just can't be childcare provider, greeter, worship leader, food and coffee provider and social events coordinator all rolled up into one, as hard as I try to make that happen.  We would love to have someone who could play the guitar lead us in some praise time before the study begins, but that person has not appeared yet.  So I've been thinking of trying to teach myself how to play the see what I mean?  I just can't do it all.  So I pray, and then I fret, and then I pray some more...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blogging climbs to the back of the bus

I am here!  I am just not firing on all cylinders right now.  A man from our church was killed in a car wreck Thursday night, and much of Friday was spent answering the phone and praying for his family.

Mom and Dad came to watch the kids play basketball Saturday morning, then they went back home.

Monday I spent the morning in training at the Pregnancy Center and the afternoon at WalMart, buying the wrong type of seed for my children's school's garden.

Tuesday was 1) our day to visit Pine St. School where our kids would be if we move this summer and 2) grocery and drug store and menu-planning day.  I keep trying to make menu-planning day a different day than grocery store day, but somehow it has not happened. 

Now it's Wednesday and I have to take Will to the eye doctor to get glasses that he does not want and then come home and try to knock out an info card for the church plant so we have some piece of paper to put in people's hands with our meeting info and website address.  It looks amateurish (because I'm an amateur), but right now it's only important that we have something.  

No time to muse and edit blogs.  no time, no time, no time. 

However, you will be happy to know that while I don't get up at exactly 5 am every morning for Bible and prayer time, I have been getting up sometime during the 5 o'clock hour.   I realized that I naturally wake up before my 6 am alarm goes up every day anyway, but I just normally roll over and go back to sleep.  Now I get up instead, and I don't have to worry about the dreaded alarm going off and waking Sleeping Beauty next to me.  Another good idea I read about if you are worried about waking someone else with your alarm is to set your cell phone alarm to vibrate and stick it under your pillow.  I wonder if it would really wake me up, but I might try that if I start sleeping through the 5 o'clock prayer time.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Don't Feel Like It

Sometimes, I just don't feel like doing anything.  Or, I feel like doing something, but that something is hiding in a closet with a People Magazine, a Snickers bar, and a Diet Coke.  Or entering a vegetative state in front of the TV.  Or grabbing big trash bags and filling them with everything on the floor of the kids' rooms and then taking them to the Dumpster...but that might take too much effort.

It seems like there has been a theme coming into focus in my life in the past few weeks.  And I have found that when themes or people or ideas that have nothing to do with Snickers bars continue to present themselves regardless of which way you turn, you should pay attention. 

Here's what keeps popping up: my emotions or feelings should not dictate my thought life or actions. "Take every thought captive," the Bible says, so apparently God knows this is going to be a fight.  You take enemies captive, not friends.  What I know is true might not always feel true.

I cannot let the fact that I do not want to be a productive member of society keep me from the activities that would qualify me as a productive member of society.  Things like daily bathing, taking care of children, maintaining an orderly home, feeding various family members fruits and vegetables instead of marshmallows (they were strawberry flavored!) and Reese Puffs come to mind.  I cannot let doubt, anxiety or general grumpiness hold the reins of my day-to-day activities or guide my thinking.

I am rarely "in the mood" to do what I should.  There...I said it.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones said we should spend less time listening to ourselves and more time talking to ourselves.  If we listen to ourselves, we may hear that God doesn't really care about us, prayer is a waste of breath, and we'll always be stuck in habitual sin.  Part of sanctification is praying for the Holy Spirit's help and then doing what we've been called to do, instead of waiting for the proper motivation.  I think I'll go finish cleaning the kitchen now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Everyone Should Run (or Jog or Power Walk)

I am getting ready (in the cool running world, we like to call it "training") for a 10K in April in Charleston, SC called the Cooper River Bridge Run.  This (in my very limited experience since I have only run two other races) is the best run in the world.  You start in Mt. Pleasant, run across this huge bridge overlooking the Cooper River, Charleston, the Harbor, etc. with 40,000 of your best friends and end up in Charleston's historic district where you can go eat some she-crab soup to celebrate all of that hard work.  And while I wouldn't tell you that you must run this particular race, there is something fantastic about getting outside and running. 

Now, I don't know if I should call what I do "running".  It is more like a bouncier version of a plod.  My husband tells me it's painful to watch, but since I'm the one doing it, I wouldn't know (thankfully).  I'm also not sure how fast you have to go to call it a run, but I feel like I'm achieving superstardom if I can keep a 10-minute mile pace (which, for those of you watching at home, is not exactly burning up the asphalt).  And regrettably, when I do any sort of cardio for any length of time, my face turns bright red, almost fuschia, really, and stays that way for the next hour or so.  What happened? Are you OK?  Should I call a doctor?  These are the sorts of questions I get after I run.  So why would I recommend such an activity?  I'm so glad you asked.

Reasons to Run:

1. You don't think you can, or you don't think you can for any extended period of time.  It is wonderful to prove yourself wrong about these sorts of things.  The couch-to-5K plan is a great way to get started.

2. You can run with friends.  In the Fall, I ran with my friend Suzanne and she had all of my life's problems solved within 60 minutes and I got a workout.  Amazing.  Do you not have any running friends?  Well, either coerce a fellow couch potato to begin with you (really, an invitation from a friend is great motivation!), or find a running club in your area.  Our local one is the Spartanburg Running Club.  I am not a social runner by nature (remember the pink face issue), so that's why I love reason #3.

3. You can run alone.  Running alone is a great way to think, or pray, or listen to music.  I love to listen to sermons from some of my favorite pastors, or a podcast of NPR'S Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me.  Technically, I do not run alone; I actually bring the dog along, but she doesn't try to converse.  If she did, I would have to leave her at home.

4. It's cheap.  Other than shelling out some money for a decent pair of running shoes, it's virtually free.

5. You can do it anywhere.  You can run on vacation, you can run on a road (face traffic, please!), you can run on a trail, you can run in a park, you can run at the beach...oh, the places you'll go when you run! Sorry, I started channeling Dr. Seuss.

6. You can make money running!  I have heard, though I wouldn't know firsthand, that there are people who win races and are awarded prizes of money.  Now I personally consider finishing a race a prize in itself, but if the thought of cash is a motivator for you, go for it. 

7. It gets you outside.  Remember Vitamin D?  Some of us only see the sun through a window, or as we hurry from our house to the car.  Being outside is good for body and soul, even when it's cold.  Now, I'll admit at this juncture that I have cold- and exercise-induced asthma, and if I run when it's below 40 degrees out, I will be zombie-like for the rest of the day because it's so hard on my delicate princess-like lungs.  This is when I run on a treadmill at the Y - not ideal, but better than nothing.  I also sometimes just walk when I know that running would be too hard, but my walks turn into saunters...and then I have to stop and think about something...and before you know it, it's time to head home.  That why I run: I am too ADD to power walk.

I'm sure there's more, but I have a house to clean, so that's enough.  Just be sure and thank me when you've finished your first marathon and won $5o,000 because I motivated you. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why do I feel so bad when I am so good?

Maybe you didn't know that I am good, but I am.  In fact, in God's eyes, I am just as good as Jesus, who was the best person to walk this earth.  That's because Jesus tipped the scales back in my favor when he was crucified for all of my sins some 2,000 years ago, and now when God the Father looks at my rap sheet, He sees Jesus' goodness and not my badness.  So why do I still feel so bad?  And ignore my kids so I can do something "more important"? And respect (or disrespect) people according to their income and education?  And eat way too many Doritos?  Good question.

Even though I am a "new creation" (II Cor. 5:17), set free from the tyranny of sin (Romans 6:6-7), I still sin.  All Christians do.  Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  The Apostle Paul would not have to write that if we stopped sinning when we believed in Jesus.  In fact, you could throw out most of your Bible if sin was no longer an issue for Christians.  It is indeed, but the good news is, we are not alone in our fight to overcome evil with good.  In fact, we could not fight if it was left up to us, but the Holy Spirit comes and helps us in our weakness.  Living according to the Spirit , setting our minds on the things of the Spirit, gives us life and peace (Rom. 8:5-6). 

How could Jesus say in Matthew 11:28-30 that his yoke was easy and his burden was light? How could He say that we could find rest for our souls?  Is your soul rested today? He knew that He was leaving with us "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, [who would] teach [us] all things and bring to [our] remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26) And in His next breath, He gives us peace (vs. 27), He leaves us with His peace. 

I think we (or I, at least) look more like the "before" than the "after" because I try so hard to be good, all by myself, and forget to set my mind on the Spirit who dwells in me.  I forget that Jesus has promised peace, and there is no reason for my heart to be troubled or afraid (vs. 28).  I am too much like Peter, looking at the winds and waves around me instead of focusing my gaze squarely on my Savior. 

One day, we who believe in Jesus will all be glorious "afters", when we leave this earth and go to be with Him.  In the mean time, we are slowly being made more like the "after" we long to see.  I'll leave you with these thoughts:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.   - II Corinthians 3:17-18
 So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.       - II Corinthians 4:16

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why so frustrated?

I love before and afters.  TV Shows, magazine articles, you name it, I'm a fan.  I love to see a "before" picture of a room, all disheveled and unusable and embarrassing, and then voila!  the "after": clean, functional, and inviting.  HGTV is based largely on this premise, as is The Biggest Loser (just take out the word "room" and insert "body").  I also love Clean Sweep and What Not to Wear on TLC.  I will watch episode after episode of these shows, and today I wondered, why?  It's not like there's any plot twists; I can predict what's going to happen every time.  The show begins with, "Oh, how can you stand to live like this?" and ends with "Now look at this room/me/our house!"

I feel sometimes like I live in a "before" picture.  Dirty house, clothes that cry, "I give up!", funky-smelling minivan.  And don't even get me started on my mind and my heart...filthy, and selfish.  If you could open my spiritual and emotional lid and peek inside, what you saw would change the way you look at me forever.  It's frustrating, isn't it?  Where's the "after"?

I think we love before and afters because we are God's image-bearers.  We know that what we are now is not what we should be, and we long for...perfection, in a word.  That is why there are not enough hours in the day to do all we want to do, and why we tend to focus on what went wrong instead of all the things that went right, and why we are never satisfied, and why we keep trying to get it right, day after day.  Why do we care?

We were made to reflect God's image perfectly, but our sin keeps us from it.  Cue: frustration.  Our best efforts are not enough, the event never lives up to the hype, and we wonder why we bother.  The only permanent solution to our problem is an overhaul, an internal "after".  II Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  See?  God likes before and afters just as much as we do.

So why don't I live like an "after"?  Why so much "before" still in my life?  We'll talk more about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Snow and Ice Snowball Fight

Jack peers through the bushes (you can't see the snowball in his hand).

Jack tells Will to taste the water from the downspout.  It's delicious!

Justin tries to take out the camera man.  No way!

Jack looks like he is out to get somebody.

Emma creates the world's tiniest snowman.

Fierce determination.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Let's see if I can post an entry in 5 min or less, because that is all I have today!  Between Thursday and today, I have had a sinus infection, tried to coordinate travel help for my husband who was stuck at the Charlotte airport in a winter storm, played with children in the snow, did some volunteer training at our local pregnancy center, went to a Wofford basketball game in the ice, kept the nursery for the church plant Bible Study, made two pizzas from scratch (even the dough! Holla!) and fried some chicken.  And tightrope walked the Grand Canyon. Just seeing if you're paying attention.   Are we all caught up?

Pictures are forthcoming from icy snowball fights, but I just wanted to let you know about the 5:00 club.  Well, officially, I am a member of the 6:22 and 6:57 clubs, but not yet of the 5:00 club.  Let me tell you, that 6:57 club is quite the adrenaline rush!  Big gasp, run out of bed, yell at the hubbie and kids to get up, yell a second time at the unresponsive members of the household still in bed, pack some lunches, and out the door in pjs with hair looking like I stuck my finger in a socket.  Not what I was hoping for!  But as they say, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!  I have been too chicken to mention to my husband I would like to be out of bed between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. every day.  I told my friend Stephanie, he doesn't turn into a Christian until 7:00 a.m., and really, that's an optimistic number.  More like 8:30. OK, my time is up, but I am not despairing.  I will get up early! ...I hope.