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Friday, September 25, 2009

Running and Walking

A little more than a year ago, I started to run again.



I was a "serious" runner all through high school and college and even trained for a half-marathon the year after college (my aunt passed the day before the race, so I didn't get to actually run it).

But between going back to grad school, getting married, moving to Texas, and selling our treadmill, the running became sporadic...then almost non-existent.

On Labor Day of last year, though, we got Jason a much-needed laptop, and with it came a free iPod. He already had one, so this one was all mine and, along with new New Balances, provided part of the motivation I needed to get running again. Who doesn't love tweaking their running playlist and jogging along in cushy new shoes?



Another part of the motivation was peer pressure, albeit indirect. It seemed as if everyone was running. It was all over the blogs, all over campus, even being connected with your spiritual journey. And, truthfully, there seemed to be a little judging going on, a bit of a disdainful attitude toward non-runners from some. So my normally non-competitive nature caved to that small Monica Gellar side of me.

I chose a motivational verse (Psalm 119:32--I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free), grabbed my new gear and hit the pavement.

As expected, running was challenging, but I'd been there before. At least I thought so. After the first few short runs in the still-hot Texas September, I was having full-blown asthma attacks. What?! My allergies have been awful since moving here, but the asthma had been gone since college. Still, I persevered.

I thought I could just gradually add mileage, which is what I had done when training five years ago--adding on a mile here, a mile there with very little problem. Didn't work. So I tried slowly increasing the amount of time I was running versus walking. Not so much. Got an inhaler that only helped after, not before. I was hitting a wall every. single. time.

Things got a little better during the winter months because I was forced to run on the treadmill (not enough after-work daylight, and I don't run outside by myself in the dark). I was able to increase my distance to a whopping four miles, but I hit the asthma wall there as well. Sidenote: I'm not a huge fan of running on the treadmill, but there is an additional hitch--there are only two at our apartment office, so competition is fierce.

When my pal Shelley (see previous 200 posts) got engaged, I had even further motivation--to get in shape for the wedding. So I just kept on trying to run. All year, I've been running consistently but seeing hardly any progress as far as my distance and abilities are concerned.

The thing is, I started to feel guilty about this--about not being able to breathe, about walking an extra mile instead of running it, about walking the whole freaking time some days instead of running. It seems ridiculous, but I think part of it had to do with equating running with our walk with Christ.

You see this throughout the Psalms and Proverbs and even in Hebrews, but Paul is the running king of scripture (Run in such a way as to get the prize; I wanted to be sure I was not running my race in vain; et al). I think, subconsciously, I was equating my failure in running with failure to run with Christ. Thanks a lot, Paul. ;)

Anyway, there was also another element--I seemed to be failing to run in life as well. I looked around and saw friends and acquaintances buying houses, starting a family, staying home with children, getting published, leading a ministry, saving for retirement. And, let me tell ya, for the most part, none of those life things are happening for us right now.

And that's when it hit me: God just has us at a different pace.

Most days, I am so excited about what God is doing in our life, but there are times when I find myself sprinting to catch up with others--crunching the numbers to see if a house is doable, wondering if we've made the right decision to postpone children, being tempted to sign up for something I know I shouldn't commit to--and, just as surely as if I'd been running in an orange-alert 100-degree Texas summer day, I start having an asthma attack. Except it's not physical--it's emotional and even spiritual.

In this type of attack, my faith wavers; I lose patience; it becomes harder to trust God; I start feeling as if I'm aggressively charting my own course and not patiently walking on paths He has established. Things are so much better when I just let Him set the pace--running or walking.



Just as there are times when I breathe more easily when I'm walking instead of running, I also can breathe easier when I am keeping pace with God. So I started looking into walking in the Bible, and I was blown away!

There are tons of passages that talk about walking faithfully with God and walking in obedience to Him. Less metaphorically, Jesus constantly walked with His disciples while traveling, taking those opportunities to teach them and others. It would've been a little harder for Him to carry on those conversations if they'd been running instead! ;)


Will I still be running? Absolutely. But I'll also be listening to my body when it tells me it's time to walk, and I'm determined to not feel guilty about that. Just as I won't feel guilty when God tells me it's time to walk spiritually. I know there will be times when He'll have me sprinting, too, but if I'm letting Him set the pace, I can trust that I won't get out of breath.

Now I just need a new pair of running shoes. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lake That Stole Children

The Lake That Stole Children by Douglas Glenn Clark

The Lake That Stole Children is a short fable about faith, sacrifice and parenting. At only 40 pages, it is a quick, but worthwhile, read.

Clark manages to combine concise and descriptive writing that fits the genre of the fable, and he also does a great job of teaching a lesson without being condescending or over-simplifying an issue.

The Lake That Stole Children is charming but spooky enough to be enjoyed as the weather cools, short enough for a read-aloud yet long enough to have a "to be continued" point.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Royal Blood

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

Michael Devereaux, as-yet untitled ambassador from Ireland, and Renee de Valois, princess of France, meet at King Henry VIII's court in England. Sparks immediately fly between these two strong-willed, independent over-achievers who are serving two countries for two different purposes but who find that their purposes may just converge. Will their feelings for one another do the same?

Michael seeks to secure and advance his place in court, wisely navigating court politics until Renee catches his eye. Renee is sent to redeem her reputation and secure "The Ancient" for her country in the midst of papal competition. She is in love with a painter in France but can't help but wonder if Michael is more her type.

The novel starts with the tone of mystery, intrigue and romance, of course, but it morphs into a more Gothic story about halfway through. This twist caught me a bit off-guard, but it might be that I just missed earlier clues.

Sharon has done a great job with her research and with depicting the costumes and customs of Tudor England. The book is well-written, albeit long, and the characters are not as two-dimensional as you find in many romances. Historical romance is not my absolute favorite genre, but I did enjoy the story. If it is a favorite of yours, I think you can't go wrong with Royal Blood.

Favorite quotes...

The rule at court is simple: Enthrall but do not love; be loved but do not become any man or woman's thrall. Be a Spartan in an Athenian pelt, or all will be lost.

Contentment is a relative term. The instant one gets one's heart's desire, one wants more.

Naught is as awful as it seems. A trifling imprisoned in our minds may take the shape of a bugbear, but once we speak of it, the devil is not as black as he is painted.

The docile librarian, floating as if in a dream, unclasped the book and reopened it with care.

Monday, September 21, 2009

NYTimes Spotlight

Close--so close--to finishing Royal Blood. Review...tomorrow? Maybe?

Instead of finishing it this weekend, I...
  • Watched Bama trounce UNT (sorry, Mean Green)
  • Visited a new (to us) Half-Price Books
  • Finished up season three of Heroes
  • Got back on my running and sleep schedules
  • Cleaned the house, caught up on phone calls and correspondence
  • And read several articles in Saturday's New York Times
I get the headlines e-mailed to me, and I follow them on Twitter, so I pseudo-keep up with the news. But I usually only read the articles that are really interesting to me. It's rare that one edition of the Times has four of these (says more about me than them), but I really enjoyed these! Hope you do as well.

Recession Drives Women Back to the Work Force
I had no idea that 78 percent of those who lost their jobs in the recession are men. Wow. Any of you in this situation? Thoughts?

Earning Her Stripes in College Football
I have a feeling I would like this female ref a lot better than most female sports reporters. ;)

A Rite of Hazing, Now Out in the Open
This reminded me so much of my high school, where we had two social clubs that "hazed" freshmen girls. I think I heard when I was in college that several of the parents complained, and they toned down their practices. At the time, I thought "wusses." ha With 10 years perspective on the issue, I would definitely be concerned if this were going on in my school.

Happily Ever After
I was so sad to see Guiding Light was ending this week! In fact, I took a break to grab some coffee and watch the final few scenes at the student center Friday afternoon. I watched various CBS soaps over the years, but GL was always my story (stoe-ry, my grandmother pronounced it). She and my mother had watched it as long as I could remember, and I carried on the tradition, planning my class schedule around it in college (it was my roomie's favorite soap as well) and even taping it on the good ol' VHS a few years after I entered the real world and could no longer take lunches at 2 p.m. I had since moved on, but I probably wouldn't turn down a DVD collection of GL's greatest moments (Reva and Josh's weddings being tops on the list, of course).
Were any of you fans? What were your favorite moments of the show?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feeling the Same Way All Over Again

I totally stole this picture from Simon over at Stuck in a Book, but it was so right-on as to how I've been feeling lately!

I feel like I've just had a lot on my plate. Sidenote: I'm taking a class this semester, and the professor said she's always amazed at how different people perceive the amounts of "food" on their plates. She said that she always feels like she has a seven-course buffet or something like that and is making it just fine; whereas, she sees others who have a small salad and complain about it! ha So I've been juggling work, the class, church, reviews, reading, writing, running, applying for a PhD program and, of course, marriage and family and the everyday stuff of life. And I know that probably pales in comparison to what a lot of you do on a daily basis with no problem. But it feels like a lot to me!

And there's my excuse for again not having a review to post! My goal is to post one by Saturday. Really. Hold me to it, fellow bloggers!

Meanwhile, enjoy these links, and tell me--how much food do you have on your plate?

A helpful article if you're starting up a Twitter-prise for your organization (another thing that's been on the plate lately--check us out at http://twitter.com/swbtslib. We're on Facebook now, too!)






And two articles about the future of libraries:

And two just for funsies:

Wedding Wrap-Up

OK, this is the last of the pictures! Back to my fascinating life stories after this post. ;) These are just a bunch of random shots from the reception.

Cutting the cake...
Table decor...





Shelley and the girls...


The end!



Well, almost. :) Yay for a new Facebook profile picture!



And I didn't know Jason was taking this one. He caught me with my coffee cup.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Keep on Dancing

The bride and groom's first dance. Several of these would also look great in black-and-white.





It was also our first (public) dance.





Obviously, not my first round on the dance floor. ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wedding Pt. 3--Hair and Speech

Hope these posts aren't getting dreary for those not involved with the wedding. :) Since I use this blog somewhat for journal/scrapbook purposes (since I can't seem to find the time to do that in real life), I want to be sure to record this special weekend.

The following pics are from Shelley's hair appointment. I think it would be fun to do switch some of these to black-and-white. Again, where is the time?!

Meanwhile, I'm interspersing bits of my matron of honor toast. I condensed it when I actually gave it, but I wanted to be sure to keep a record of the original.

A little more than 11 years ago, my mom and I pulled onto the campus of the University of Alabama for freshman orientation. As we were walking toward the dorm where I'd be staying to get a taste of dorm life in all its glory, I saw a girl heading in the same direction with this cascade of golden curls.



I leaned over to my mom and said, "She has pretty hair."



I then found myself in line right behind this girl and her dad, and so we wound up being assigned to room together during orientation. And that's how I met Shelley.



As we chatted, we found out that we had all kinds of things in common. Like...I was from the same town in Alabama where her dad grew up, and she was from the same town in Connecticut where my brother lived. We were the same height, same shoe size and even liked the same soap opera.

It was probably inevitable. By the end of orientation, we had decided to room with each other that fall rather than with the strangers we'd initially been assigned. Because we no longer felt like strangers! It was an almost instant friendship!


And that friendship remained, and we roomed together all four years of college. We became the best of friends, joking that we could communicate telepathically, never really even fighting, except over silly things like...Was the movie 'Grease' terrible or great? Which one of us was more like Monica on 'Friends'? And which version of 'Rollin' on the River' was the best--CCR's or Tina Turner's? We had discussions about football and religion--two things often confused at the University of Alabama. We talked about careers and what we wanted from life, and, of course, we discussed guys.

I'm not gonna lie...we wanted romance. Someone that not only worked "on paper," but also knocked our socks off. Someone that loved us just the way we were but challenged us to be better versions of ourselves. Someone that loved God and football just as much as we did. Someone that made us laugh. Someone that it was easy to be with.

And I'm so thankful that Shelley seems to have found all of those someones in Brandon.



You know...as I look back on the day that Shelley and I first met, it seems, in a way, like a random encounter. So many things could have been different. Either one of us could have been running late or stopped for coffee or not stopped for coffee, and we could have missed each other. I don't know about fate and destiny as far as our entire lives are concerned, but I do believe that God had a plan for us to meet that day and become friends. He knew what we were going to face and that we would need each other for support and encouragement and all those blessings of friendship.

And, similarly, I beleive that He had a plan in having the two of you meet at the exact point in your lives when you needed to. He knows what you're going to face ahead and that you'll be walking together and walking with Him as you discover all the blessings of marriage.

And, Brandon, I can't help but think that you're getting some kind of triple blessing with Shelley. She's the best roommate you could ever hope to have. If she's anything like she was during college, she will always be there for you. She'll make you laugh. The house will be clean. She will do lots of nice things for you. And you'd better appreciate her and treat her well!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My BFF's Wedding--Pt. 2--Sunset Cruise

Shelley was apparently vying for the title of best wedding weekend ever (and won hands-down) because she took us all on a sunset cruise after the rehearsal dinner. So fun!
The bride-to-be arriving on the boat...
The groom getting his ball-and-chain...
I was totally jealous of the flower girl's hair...
Bird hanging out on the harbor...




Longer view of the harbor...




Can you see our boat? It's just this side of the lighthouse...




Boat details...






The best one, I thought, of our sunset pictures. It was really hard to capture the colors! In "real life," they looked much brighter than this...


Shelley's girls...I was so excited to meet these ladies I'd heard so much about! Friends from Connecticut, Tampa and Texas-via-Alabama...


Returning home to the beautiful lights on the harbor...



Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding-Pt. 1

I was so excited to be the matron of honor at my college roommate's wedding this weekend! Tons of pictures, so I'll try to do them in chunks. Everything was beautiful and perfect (typical of Shelley)!
Her china cabinet (I would totally use this space for books, but this way is much prettier!)
The bow bouquet for the rehearsal...
The flower girl's dress...
What Jason and the flower girl did while we were all running around before the rehearsal...
We were so thankful that we were treated to a hotel room for the event. We would've had to drive the hour-plus back and forth to Fort Worth otherwise. And, may I say, it was swank-ay. We're used to Motel 6 since we usually have Fred. ;)
My favorite feature, of course...
On to the rehearsal dinner in this...doubled...
The bride-to-be and me!
Mother-of-the-bride moment...
More fun at The Cheesecake Factory (yum)...

Read from the beginning...