Sunday, September 25, 2011

100 days challenge

I haven't eaten a restaurant meal in almost three weeks.  This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but for our family it is a very big deal.  I don't know when we became these people who eat out or drive thru 4+ times per week...but we are.  We have become enslaved to our lifestyle of immediate gratification.

"I'm hungry, Mom."

I think for a minute about going home for PB&J, but decide I'd really rather keep shopping, so I opt for McDonald's - yet again - instead.  My children probably eat three hamburgers a week.  Quite least three a week.

And when it's not a matter of sheer convenience, it's a matter of socializing.  Everyone's got to eat, so let's go grab a bite.

But...  We've given up eating out.  For 100 days.

It's part of a challenge at our church.  A time of sacrifice - of challenging our lifestyle - of finding ourselves in a position of discomfort and inconvenience, so that we might remember those who regularly go without as they live in poverty and often with illnesses.

For the first two weeks, it was pretty easy for me.  I'm not a huge eater - cereal will do for most meals - but I'm getting hungry and sick of having to prepare three meals a day, clean it all up, grocery shop, meal plan, etc.  It is amazing just how quick and easy it is to find satisfaction in our environment.  And dissatisfaction when one is "forced" to reach into her refrigerator for food rather than have someone place an over-priced plate on the table in front of her at a restaurant.


It cannot believe just how spoiled.

As I've faced temptation these last few days to "just grab one meal out", I am reminded of those who don't have any option but to suffer through hunger pains, as grabbing food anywhere is not an option.  This is really what these 100 days are all about - NOT coasting through having "sacrificed" something that has no value.

As I prepared dinner and cleaned my kitchen tonight, I thought about and prayed for starving people around the world.  Those who have no home, let alone a kitchen and a pot of chili.  Those who have significant health issues, yet no medical care.  Those who have no earthly parents, but are loved abundantly by our heavenly father.  Praise the Lord for that - for who He is, for how He loves, for how He saves, for how He redeems even the most tragic of situations.

It's amazing how something as simple as not consuming restaurant food has created a new focus in our lives.

Lord, as we go through these 100 days, show us how it's meant to shape the rest of our lives.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me… Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:35–36, 40

Happy 8th birthday, Zach!

All that Zach wanted for his 8th birthday were Bionicles and a sleepover with his best friends.  We invited the friends...they brought the Bionicles!

He's been buddies with Will since preschool, and all the other boys since kindergarten.  They are such great friends.

Zach, a man who can say he has ONE best friend is a very blessed man.  What does that say about the young boy with SIX best friends?  (Caleb was so sorry that he had to go to Florida to help his grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary.)

And Dad and I totally LOVED that you got to take your friends to church with you on Sunday morning.  We know what a gift that was to you.  We've never known another child who cared so much about his friends' spiritual lives.  You are an amazing boy.

Enjoy EIGHT.  We love you so very much and cannot wait to see what God has in store for this next year of your life.


Did I mention that he played goalie for the first time EVER on his birthday?  His team won 4-3, and Zach only gave up one goal.  He had a GREAT birthday!!  And he's the best looking goalie I've ever laid my eyes on.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our first fishin' derby

We went to a fishing derby a couple of weeks ago at a local apple orchard.  We caught about a dozen fish in 90 minutes or so, then picked apples, then went back for more fish. 

Zach stepped into the water in the first five minutes. 

There was crying and pouting for the next 40 minutes, begging to go home because his shoe was unbearable.  Eventually he got over it, put his wet shoe back on (over grandpa's dry sock), and perked back up. 

The rest of the day was smooth sailing and blue skies.

The boys and I held a fish for the first time. 

Grandpa and Bryan taught us how.  Zach dropped his a lot

Needless to say, this little one did not swim away when we released him.

Luke's already mastered the tall tale.

He caught one "this big"!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I can do this

Just a quick note to say...  I'm growing.  and.  I can do this.

I don't like busy.  I don't like over-scheduled.  I don't like constantly being on the go.  I don't like having to be somewhere every morning.  I don't like time-sensitive pressures.

I like slow.  I like my jammies.  I like lazy days.

But this past year of busyness - of being back in school with two kids who are also in school, of having a house to keep up, sports a few days a week, a 5K and a triathlon that I spent months training for, a ministry to run, small groups to attend, studies to read, teen girls to mentor, and now teaching - just typing that makes me want a nap, but having done it over the last year I know I can keep doing it.

I was snippy this afternoon when Bryan suggested we run errands after a soccer game.  "I have studying to do."  As in...Don't you know that I have a BUSY life?  I have no time for a field trip to different stores with the family.  In-and-out, MAN, in-and-out!!!  He didn't argue...  But he did suggest we stop by the 100 Nights Shack for a few minutes after Luke's late soccer game.  We ended up staying for two hours!  I still had all that same studying to do, but somehow sitting around the firepit with friends was worth the risk of not getting the work done on time.  Especially when our family huddled in a circle before leaving so our friend Schaun could pray for us - by name, specifically, beautifully, with such passion and faith.  I kinda want to go back now just for that moment...

And...  Of course, I did get my work done.

All that snippiness over the stress of having a lot to do.  I'm learning.  There are enough hours in the day.  I can do this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Zach and I are learning some of the same lessons right now about reaching our potential.  There are things each of us wants to do...and all of those things require focus, practice and commitment.

This was clear on Saturday morning during the run portion of my race.  I'm not a particularly good runner, but running is part of a triathlon.  Walking is not.  So...  In the ten weeks leading up to the race, I practiced running long distances and did other exercises to increase my speed and endurance.  There were times that I didn't want to train, and times when my training sessions were a little lousy.  But I trained.  By the end, I finally took someone's advice and learned how to take smaller strides and practically run in place - but not walk - when I needed a break.  On race day, when I thought about walking, I stuck with smaller strides instead (most of the time).  In those moments, I was reminded of my son and the many discussions we've had about working to reach his potential.  We must keep practicing and moving forward if we are going to reach our potential.

Another relevant example from my life is my schooling.  One class I'm taking is Art Appreciation.  I don't know the first thing didn't know the first thing about art when I started.  Normally, a chapter in a textbook is about 30 pages, but chapter 2 was 115 pages.  And not only did my professor assign chapter 2 that week, but she added chapter 3 as well - another 30 pages.  In a week's time, I read more than ONE FOURTH of the entire textbook.  My head was about to explode.  After reading, I certainly didn't want to write TWO two page discussion questions, FOUR responses to other people's posts, and take TWO tests.  But I did.  There was a part of me saying to just breeze through it with a half-hearted effort so I could go play, but the other part suggested I give it my all so I could submit my work with pride and not just relief to be done.  In doing the latter, I learned.  I am one step closer to realizing my potential - as both an appreciator of art and a degreed teacher.

As we've journeyed through all of this with Zach...I am learning (again) that he's not unusual - he's just like everyone else.  In this case, he has aspirations and knowledge, but fear, immaturity, impatience, and even arrogance get in the way sometimes.  

He has BIG dreams and we want to help him to achieve what he wants in life.

Sometimes I forget that he needed help learning how to suckle and eat as a newborn.  No matter how desperately children want us to believe they know everything, the fact is that they come into the world knowing practically nothing.  Much like those early days, my son needs our help in learning how to persevere,and grow in discipline and focus so that he can reach his potential.  

Encouragement for reaching for your potential -

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."  Colossians 3:23

The reminder for this mother -

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."  Galatians 5:22-23

Lord, as we work to prepare these children for manhood, might we remember that these things - these fruits of the spirit - come with maturity and experience.  As we continue to provide guidance and encouragement, may we rest in peace and your assurance that, in your perfect timing, our boys will become who you've created them to be.  Place in us up-lifting, grace-filled attitudes, so that we will build our kids up always and never discourage or criticize.  May we parent with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things I don't want to foget about my first triathlon

Luke woke up with me at 5am and asked "Is it really daytime already?"

Gina told us a funny story on the way to the park about tripping over her bike the night before...  Then she said she ripped half of her big toenail off in the fall.  Not so funny anymore. In spite of her injury, she competed like a champ!

The transition area looked awesome in the dark, in the fog, filled with bustling women preparing for the race.

The race was delayed for 10 minutes because you couldn't even see that there was a lake at 7:30am - it was foggy!

Gina approached the beach (for the swim) still wearing her running shoes! After taking her shoes back to transition, she got halfway back to the beach and realized she'd left her goggles and swim cap at transition.

At the back of our heat, the swim got off to a slow start.  We were actually chatting while swimming - breast stroke with our heads above water - waiting for the crowd in front of us to thin out.  Next time I will start closer to the front and to the far right.

My bike chain fell off at the first turn.

My Nunn drink exploded in my face as I opened the bottle with my teeth...while biking.  Nuun up the nose is not terrible.  It's not sticky either.

I spent the last 5 miles on the bike trying to decide if I needed to take a bathroom break at transition, only to forget that my bladder was full as I approached bike dismount.

At that point, it occurred to me that we hadn't practiced the bike dismount.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't crash getting off.

I discovered just how awesome an out-and-back course is.  Familiar faces were constantly passing by with encouraging words.  Friends who knew just how hard the run is for me seemed to come by at the perfect time, saying the perfect things.  I walked very little.

**I also discovered that I do have a competitive bone in my body!!!!  During the last mile, I started picking off girls that I knew were in my heat.  I never thought I would intentionally PASS someone just to come in before them.  Watch out next year - I might become an ultra-competitive maniac!

I got a medal.

We had a whole lot of supporters at the race.  At every start and finish line, I was cheered for and encouraged by name.  I love that!  I loved my first tri!

Swim:  93rd overall - 11:38
Bike:  220th overall - 44:04
Run:  233rd overall - 33.18
Total race time:  1:32:21

I finished 201st out of 316 competitors.  I couldn't be happier!