Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weston Turns One

So, on Thursday of last week, August 12th, 2010, my little boy turned one year old. I can't believe it. Really. We had a huge (37 people) family-only birthday party the Saturday before, and everything couldn't have gone more perfect. Even if my watermelon cake did split in half the night before the party. I think I did a pretty good job of salvaging what was left=)

I thought I would just include a recap of his first year in pictures (one a month for the first year)and end with some favs from the birthday party. He is truly a blessing in my life. I never knew I could love two people, two children, 100% each, and so completely. You'd think a person would have to choose a favorite or one child would always be the recipient of more love than the other at some point in time, but I think God is gracious to us parents in this way. He allows this small miracle, this small honor, of being just like Him in this one tiny aspect--you can truly love two children just as much as the other. Now, I'm not blessed enough to love perfectly or completely like He can, but I do love them both just as much as the other.

Weston is the embodiment of love and snuggles and adoration. Especially to his Mama=) His favorite past time is literally climbing all over me, then laying his head on my chest just to snuggle and rest for a while. His smile is definitely his most charming feature. You can't help but smile when he does. He definitely still has a bit of temper, and he frustrates quickly and easily, and has unfortunately inherited the family trait of being annoyingly loud. But he's also my contemplative child, very serious when he's not smiling. He studies everything, and he's careful yet daring at the same time. Both my children are a mix of contradicting behavior, which makes life very interesting=) I was never quite sure about having a boy, but I'm so glad God entrusted us with one. He's the extra testosterone this house needed, and the extra adoration his Mama must have needed. It's nice to be the center of some one's least for now because Savannah definitely thinks the world revolves around her Daddy=) Enjoy the pics!

holy experience

#62 a son
#63 a family that makes a party
#64 birthday cakes that fall...reminding me no one's perfect
#65 toothy smiles
#67 healthy children
#68 a home to hold parties
#69 to know what it feels like to love with abandon
#70 to know how it feels to be willing to lay your life down for another
#71 that God's Son laid His life down completely for me, for my children, for us all
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Run: A Reflection-Goal 3!

So, I know I complained A LOT about my training schedule for this sprint triathlon, but really, now that it's over, part of me wishes I had the time to train for another one. The race day was a REALLY fun experience=)

Here's all the girls at 5am, Sunday, August 8th in front of the transition area, getting ready. (Left to Right: Aunt Debbie, April, Amy, me, my mom)

I can't tell you how proud of my mom I am. If I'm still willing to step out of my box and conquer a physical challenge like this in 21 years, I will consider myself following the example of a great woman.
April and I have done a lot of life together over the years. She has been my inspiration to get fit, and my #1 coach/encourager/physician through this whole year really. Especially for this race. She listened to me cry on the other end of a phone too often. Love her to death! Check out her blog for all the race details/specifics.
The swim was a little insane, and this picture a little embarrassing, but hey, love the skin your in, right? I finished the 400 yards in 8 minutes 23 seconds. Pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I was fortunate I didn't get disqualified for dunking people while they were trying to grab and drown me there at the end=)
The 13.1 bike ride was uneventful, and slightly discouraging as everyone flew past me on their road bikes. Definitely an investment I will be considering for my next race. But I finished at 57 minutes 38 seconds, so my goal was under an hour, so I was pleased.
Now it was time for my least favorite...the 5K run. And I will admit, I was struggling. I even had to relent and walk some of it...not much, but some because every time I tried to catch my breath, I would start to cough, and I could never get in a rhythm. Not to mention it was hot as blazes!!! There are small, inner parts of me that regret not being able to run the whole thing the entire time, but I guess that just gives me a goal for my next one, next year=) Still, 35 minutes and 51 seconds is not that far off from my 5K race time.
If you are ever in need of a picture of pure joy, these would be good ones. A finish line never looked so beautiful.
We did it! We all did it. Each of us had our own personal obstacles to overcome. Each of us had our own reasons for training and completing the race, but we did it. Together. It's actually a really cool event when you think about it. When you think about our ages (scrawled on the back of our calves), the point in our lives where each of us was racing from, the camaraderie that was shared by all. It was such a HUGE accomplishment for everyone. Well, maybe not April...she is the Fit Queen, but I think it meant a lot to her to do it with all of us too=)

And so it was over. Three long hard months of training six days a week ended in 1 hour 45 minutes and 41 seconds. I struggled for a bit there after. There was a sense of let down. Like, this is it? What next? For a moment, satan tried to steal my joy by whispering those not-so-innocent lies of, "That's it, huh? It's all downhill from here. What can you accomplish now compared to this?" LIES!

I found myself wallowing for a brief moment in time, listening to these lies. But was soon and quickly reminded that there's always more! God always has more! His challenges for this lifetime are endless. We, as a society, as a people, always want more. As with all things, this can be bad, but I'm learning it can be good too. When what you want more of is directed at things of God, at experiences that will draw you closer to Him, you find everything and all and more than you can even imagine.

A sprint triathlon is the least of my challenges God has left for me on this earth. Raising two godly children in a falling world ranks pretty darn close to impossible on some days. Staying faithfully committed to one man in a marriage that seeks to honor the Lord and lead by example is a goal that is attacked every day in some ways. Running this race for the glory of God, pointing others to Him, experiencing every challenge with the grit and determination it takes to finish the race, and finish well, and finish strong--these are the challenges that keep me going. This is the correlation I need to make to my running journey to keep me focused and alert and alive and living each day to see His holiness and goodness all around me. There will always be another challenge. There's always a race that needs to be run. The spark inside never has to die. God always has more.

When's your next race? And where will it be taking you?post signature

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July Joys

So, I thought these pictures of the kids would be the best update I can give. July has been a very fun month for the kids, especially Weston. He's grown by leaps and bounds in his abilities here lately! Enjoy!

Let's see...Savannah spent a week at Macon Granddaddy's and GranMacon's house, so Weston and I made our yearly Cow Appreciate Day appearance at Chick-fil-A. I managed cow ears, but no make-up...oh well=) Weston's outfit is the show-stealer if I do say so myself!

We all made it to Samson's yearly vet appointment at 8am with McDonald's biscuits in bibs. That was a fun 2-hour morning escapade! Thanks the Lord for this stroller!Weston's new trick #1:

New trick #2:Enjoying some sprinkler fun! I love his faces in these pics! If you're wondering where Savannah is this month, well, she hasn't cooperated with the that's that.And last by definitely not least, what a beautiful portrait of my two heart hurts a little though to see the changes in Savannah, so much more like a beautiful little girl than a little toddler anymore. I love them to death!

holy experience
#52 summer sprinklers
#53 rocking cows
#54 sibling love
#55 squishy boy faces
#56 eyes that laugh
#57 beauty that grows
#58 the new Spicy Chicken Sandwich
#59 the Phil & Ted's convertible stroller
#60 all the fun times we have in that stroller!
#61 the creativity to make cow costumes 1 hour before we had to be at the store...yes, I had all those materials in my house=)
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Run: Lesson Seven

Lesson Seven: Sickness requires a different response than injury.

I know, this seems obvious, right? But here's what I'm learning. Injury can be forgotten, sometimes ignored, covered up, treated mildy, treated with physical therapy, a change in attitude, by learning to forgive daily, and a whole host of other treatments I won't go into. Sickness on the other hand, creeps up on you slowly. It starts effecting you from the inside out, from the very cells inside your body, and once the virus or bacteria is in full force, there's no denying or escaping the fact that you are sick. Everything inside of you knows it...feels it.

My poison? Diagnosis: viral asthmatic bronchitis....fancy words for a really bad cold that gives you an even worse chest cough. Not to mention, the fever! Holy cow the fever! I've literally been hot, then cold, then sweaty every 30 minutes today. Joey's been like this for 3 days, so I'm assuming I'm not over the hump yet. Every joint aches, every movement makes me wince, and I don't mind sweating during exercise, but just all of a sudden soaking through your clothes unexpectedly is really unpleasant. Unlike injury, sickness attacks at your most vulnerable spot and works it way out into your whole body, into your whole life.

Sickness is a soul condition.

Injury is that person in your life this seems impossible to love, those biting words someone cut you with, that scar that you wear that every time you see it, you are reminded of the past. These are the daily "thorns in the flesh" if you will (2 Corinthians 12:7). Small reminders to stay humble, forgive, accept forgiveness, forget with God's help, and move on. Keep going.

Sickness, on the other hand, stops you in your tracks. Sickness is the feverish fear that has you shaking in your boots, unable to move forward, unable to take a risk, unable to trust God.

Sickness is the deep ache of depression. So deep, you feel almost paralyzed. People can see the ache in your eyes, hear it in your voice, but no one knows just how hard it is to inhale the saving breath of grace.

Sickness is the piercing joint pain of loneliness and abandonment. It keeps you from moving freely into relationships, it holds you back from accepting the love of others and opening yourself up to new possibilities. This pain of loneliness ironically keeps others from being able to touch you, even though that's what you so desperately need the most. A soothing hand of comfort and assurance.

Sickness....any sickness, all a soul issue. Only God holds the curing salve for a sick soul.

So what do you do? Unlike injury, sickness demands rest. It demands that you lay down in the bed of God's Word and allow His Psalms and exhortations and promises to wrap your feverish fear in hope and sovereignty and the challenge of a life worth living--HIS way.

Sickness demands that you take your aching depression before the Father in prayer and pour out your broken soul to Him in tears. The bottle He keeps them in is beautiful and precious to Him (Psalm 56:8).Only he can bring forth beauty from the ashes (Isaiah 61:1-3). Only He offers true joy, contentment, and fulfillment, soothing those deep aches.

Sickness demands that you take the piercing pains of loneliness and abandonment before the feet of our Lord. In exchange for a mind stayed on Him, He promises perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). To heal loneliness, you must replace the holes, the emptiness in your soul with His promises. He says He will NEVER leave or forsake you (Joshua 1:5). If these words are not on your mind daily, part of your life daily, then the sickness will only worsen. You must meditate, marinate in these words.

The only thing we as mere humans can do to heal ourselves is believe and trust and follow a God who is greater than ourselves, all-powerful, all-knowing, the one and only Creator of the Universe, who in one breath spoke life into being, who in one blink of an eyelash can heal my broken soul, my broken heart, my broken life.

All praise be to the Jehovah Rapha, the God who Heals!!! May this sick little clay pot bring Him glory even in the midst of my brokenness. May my shortcomings reflect His mercy. May my failures reflect His grace. May my sickness reflect His healing. My my attitude reflect His heart. I cannot complain...I believe God works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

I believe that.

And tomorrow is another day, another chance to rest in God's goodness and reflect on His purposes. My race day will come, and my God will be my Defender and my Deliverer. He will carry me through the sand, over the finish line, leaving only His footprints behind. So should it be. So should it be.

28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11

A promise, a calling, a presciption from Jesus' own mouth. What more are we looking for in this world? What other answer do we need? He says He will GIVE all this! All we have to do is COME. That's the simplest training tip I've ever had to follow=)

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