Their Eyes Were Watching God

Right now, I am reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston. It is a good book so far. I am reading it for a book club that I recently joined here in Budapest. Today, I really liked the following: “She got so she received all things with the stolidness of the earth which soaks up urine and perfume with the same indifference.” — I am looking forward to the rest of the book.

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Every day the empty places need to be filled

From Beth Moore’s book Breaking Free about Ephesians 3:14-21— , “The apostle Paul meant for us to come to know and learn by experience Christ’s love that surpasses all present and fragmentary knowledge.  Paul prayed for us to perceive a depth of love that surpasses any kind of limited knowledge our minds could now grasp.  Christ longs for you to know- by trial through walking with Him daily-a love you cannot begin to comprehend.”

So, can we truly come to know and learn this all surpassing love?  I believe we can, but it comes from daily work.  Sorry about that, no magic pill we can swallow and we can’t just sit on a coach and hope it comes to us.  I think and believe from experience it comes from daily deciding to spend time with God.

“Every day of our lives-to live victoriously-we must learn to pour out our hearts to God, confess sin daily so nothing will hinder Him, acknowledge every hollow place, and invite Him to fill us fully!” “We also need to avoid things that obviously quench His Spirit.”

Lately, I have spent more time in the morning with God than any other time in my life. It’s been life changing.  It’s funny – so many Christian speakers and books say to spend time in the morning with God and guess what – THEY ARE RIGHT :)  Now, I’m not saying this happens everyday for me, but more frequently then ever it is happening and I find that once I get started, it’s hard to stop.  Here is something that Beth Moore wrote about how she prays in the morning that I am going to start to practice:  “Somewhere in the midst of my morning time with God, I ask Him to satisfy all my longings and fill all my hollow places with His lavish, unfailing love.  This frees me from craving the approval of others and requiring others to fill my ‘cup.’ Then, if someone takes the time to demonstrate love to me, that’s the overflow! I am free to appreciate it and enjoy it, but I didn’t emotionally require it!”

To often, I look for the approval of others to fill my hollow, empty places – I base my worth on what others think.  It is something that takes my life captive.  This last section I read in her book, showed me once again the bondage of looking to others to fill my emotional need when only God can truly set me free and fill those areas of longing in my life.  Hallelujah!

Here’s her last paragraph, “If we’re not experiencing satisfaction in God, a hindrance exists, and we want to identify it and ask God to remove it. Ordinarily, the primary hindrance to satisfaction in our lives is refusing Him access to our empty places.”  Maybe along with me, you can journey and ask God to help you identify your empty places and fill them with His love and grace.  If I can do it – you can do it :)

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Undeserved

From the Beth Moore book I am reading, Breaking Free, I have been focused on her topic of God’s right to rule.  “Sometimes what we need to cure our fat egos is a strong dose of God.” “Long before there was a ‘beginning,’ God had already planned the end.” “When we see ourselves as the center of the universe, we live in constant frustration because the rest of creation refuses to revolve around us.” “God did not design us to boss ourselves.  He formed our psyches to require authority, so we’d live in the safety of His careful rule.”  These are all quotes from this mornings read that really stuck out to me and then….

I was grateful. For some reason, JR married me.  I don’t know why, but he did.  Then, the Lord blessed us with three children, and now we live in Eastern Europe serving Him.  What makes me so grateful is that, I don’t deserve any of it, but it’s what I’ve been given.  On the screen right now (another one in front of me) is a screen saver of pictures we have taken.  Our children smiling in different locations, learning from deep history, seeing the ravages of some of that history, experiencing life in another culture, and they all get to eat everyday(something I try not to take for granted).  So, I am grateful because, you see the kicker is that I know my heart, and without God, it’s just evil, undeserved.  Jeremiah said in 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”  I know full well, this verse is me without God, self-centered, egotistical, always wanting my way, and never liking to follow the rules. So, I am humbled and thankful because I so often go back to a me-centered life.  Just yesterday I did that and in turn was unkind to someone! – because of my own self-centeredness. I know that I am in the process of sanctification, but this morning as I read about God’s right to rule in my life, I am humbled and grateful because even though, I so often take the reins back and decide to live a life totally focused on self, the Lord still, still gives this unbounding grace daily – actually moment by moment.  I think it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around so we tend to wallow in guilt, but today….today, I am going to strive to just be grateful for it.

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The Battle Belongs to the Lord

The more I read Breaking Free by Beth Moore, the more I glean from the Bible and the more I learn from her words. I had to write about the what I took in this morning so I won’t forget about it later.

First, “God’s good from life’s bad is one of the most liberating concepts in the entire Word of God.”  I have to agree with this statement.  Right now, circumstances in my life have caused me to lean more heavily on God than I have in the past 18 months.  During the past 18 months, I have complained and whined a lot to God and friends – sorry if you are one of them :), but I didn’t do a lot of leaning on him or trusting Him.  But….now, finally, I am taking it all to God and finding peace, freedom, and a deeper relationship with Him.  This never would have happened if I hadn’t had to walk through the valley. So, as I sit in my rocking chair, reading the Bible and the book by Beth Moore, I find myself in a state of complete gratitude towards the Lord. The valley has caused me to know Him more, trust Him more, love Him more, and rest in Him more.  Believe me, I will still screw up sometime today – but this morning I find myself just basking in Him.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  I realize that in evangelical circles this verse is widely used, but it is so true.  Sometimes things happen to us as a result of others sinning against us.  Other times, the Lord puts us in situations that cause us to trust Him and lean on Him more deeply than before. I have a dear friend, who has suffered much due to tremendous sin caused by a complete stranger and I have seen the Lord pick her up and use her for His glory – despite the ugliness of the sin and crime committed. God can and does work things for His glory.  This world we live in is not all there is.

I still believe that the characteristic of forgiveness embodies a true Christ follower. I love this quote I read from Beth Moore,

  • “Forgiveness involved my handing over to God the responsibility for justice.  The longer I held on to it, the more the bondage strangled the life out of me.  Forgiveness meant my deferring the cause to Christ and deciding to be free of the ongoing burden of bitterness and blame.

Free of the ongoing burden!!!  A lack of forgiveness can keep you captive.  Here is another quote I liked,

  • “But you see, I don’t think confessing sin is primarily about fault.  It’s about freedom!….Confession allowed me to bring sinful behaviors to the table for open discussion with God.  He instantly forgave me and completely cleansed me; then He began to teach me how to change my responses.”

I prefer freedom to captivity.  It’s much more peaceful and fun :)

Lastly, I read 1 Samuel 17:45-47 this morning.  Sometimes I want to fight the battle on my own, whether it be justice that I think needs to be served to someone – yeah I know very unwise – or whether it be trying to be “good” on my own power.  This morning, I was once again reminded to rely on God and His power and His strength.

“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.  Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give all of you into our hands.” – emphasis mine

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A Journey

It has been a while since I have written due to the many changes in our lives: moving to Hungary and working full-time have been the biggest changes for myself.  Through it all, God has brought me to a place of wonder before him every morning.  But…to get to that place of wonder, I had to walk through a valley, a sea of brokenness, and times of weariness as I strived to do it all on my own.

I am reading the book, Breaking Free, by Beth Moore.  I had heard about it but was afraid to read it :)  I knew if I read that book, I would need to look at some serious issues of insecurity in my life – and hey, who wants to do that :)

Here is a brief list of what I have learned so far.  If it is in quotes, it’s from her book and all Bible verses are given with the reference.

“I am not the exception and neither is my situation.”

God can free me – Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” italicized by me

“Whatever we are gripping to bring us satisfaction is a lie – unless it is Christ.”

“He is the Truth that sets us free. “God does not condemn you.  He calls you.  He wants to set you and me free.  To set us free from things that just lead us to the pit of despair.”

Even after so much idolatry and turning a deaf ear to God’s message, God still declared the following to the Israelites, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.  Return to me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:21

This part was personal to me because of how much I struggle in this area with various things.  “Another obstacle:  settling for satisfaction with anything else.  God gave this practice a name I was unprepared to hear:  idolatry.  Anything we try to put in a place where God belongs is an idol.  The nation of Israel traded in what their hearts could know for what their eyes could see.  So many times have I done that myself.

So much more – these are just brief quotes from my journal.  What I have really found is that time in the morning with God is priceless.  It’s the best part of my day, it’s the wonder of my life really.  No matter how much I screw up, I have found the following to be true, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.

If you happen to read this and think negative thoughts about yourself and your life or struggle with going back to the same sin over and over again, I encourage you to read Beth Moore’s book, but more so, I encourage you to read the story and letter God has written to you personally…in the Bible.  He’ll speak to you and guide you through it, because He loves you with a passionate love that is unsurpassable, all encompassing, never failing and because “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Let’s not run to God for temporary relief – let’s walk with Him daily in steadfast belief – Beth Moore – not a direct quote.

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Riding the Wave

That is what it feels like for me right now. Riding the Wave. God’s provision has been loud, His timing has been perfect, His faithfulness like no other, and His love….so encompassing. He alone us been the force to get us to Budapest, Hungary.

We started this journey back in March 2010, when we first talked with Tom Seely and Keith and Kay Seabourn about possibly working in the Eastern Europe office for Campus Crusade for Christ. At that point in time, I was very tentative – and in some respects those feelings are still there. I have two reasons that explain my cautious feelings, one – the cold in Eastern Europe, and two – my past failure. The failure – in my mind – of working with the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa is still in the back of my mind. Granted, there was some good work done in Ghana while I was there, but making it only a year there is still tough for me to swallow. So, in the back of my mind, the question still plays – can I make it in Hungary and not be a poison to myself or family? Fortunately, my hairstylist helped me out with that just the other day. She has such strong faith and encouraged me to denounce the spirit of doubt and fear out loud. So there I was – in my car – loudly proclaiming “Spirit of Doubt – leave me alone.” That’s not all I said and I have to say, it did help. I don’t think anyone saw me praying dramatically out loud in my van, but if they did, I am sure they thought I was a nut job. I certainly felt bolder after that carthesis in the van :) As for the cold??? Time will tell I guess.

For now, I marvel at how God has provided financially, how He has given us the prospects of some awesome renters for our townhome here in Florida, and how He has provided missionary work for me at the kids school, and a feeling of contentment as He carries us on toward another country. In the midst of the move and saying goodbye and preparing to arrive in Hungary, I do have this underlying feeling of peace. Now, to be sure, I get stressed out, have dark circles under my eyes at times, and struggle with what we are going through as we prepare, but underneath it all God is showing me that He wants us in Hungary. I really don’t know why and never would have even thought to ask Him for it, but there it is. We are moving to Hungary this summer. So far, riding the wave has led me to do one thing over and over again – and that would be – Praise God.

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Siblings

This is what Eddie wrote in the month of March. Siblings is the title. Yes, we are working on spelling and punctuation and grammar, but it’s so funny.

“My sisters are awsome and some ways mean but I still love them. Let’s start with how there nice to me. They let me be in there beds everyday. I play there games it’s so awsome. But I still have trouble with them. they punch kick slap but thats what I do to. So it’s fine with me but not with them! Thats why there nice and mean.”

Now, as their mom – they really don’t fight that much – in fact, I do feel like they get along pretty well. But maybe I am just living in the fantasy land as their mom! Too funny.

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Sweet Hannah

Two boys came up to Hannah at lunch today and said, if we were both about to be eaten by sharks, which one would you save. Hannah said, “You are both human beings. I would save you both.” They kept at it. If we were both being hung over a fire pit, which one would you save. Hannah told them she would save them both. One more time, they asked her if there was a funeral for both of us, which funeral would you go to. Hannah…bless her heart didn’t reply to this one. I am hoping that it will get a bit easier for her as she grows up, but I am thinking her Dad is going to have a tough time.

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The Experiment

Each week, all three of our kids have a set of chores that they have to complete. They each get a small allowance for doing their chores. Eddie vacuums the whole house, rotates with doing dishes, sweeping, and wiping the table off after dinner, and keeps his room clean which includes making his bed everyday. The girls clean 2 bathrooms a piece, yes our town home has a 3.5 bath and the other chores are the same as Eddie. All of them are also supposed to dust as well. I am pretty lax on having them dust because I just hate dusting period. This works out really nicely for me. The main thing I do is I clean the toilets. After the kids did their chores this week, I went around cleaning the toilets and low and behold behind their toilet was a set of mouthwash cups stacked inside of another with some type of concoction of fluid and a floss pick inside of it that has evidently been used for stirring. Hannah was with me when I found it and of course said “It wasn’t me.” So, I have her call the other kids to join us so I could find out what happened. Well….it turns out all 3 of them were in it together. Inside the stacked mouthwash cups was the following all mixed together with a floss pick: hand soap, Eddie’s hair gel, lotion, mouthwash, and a bit of water – who knows what else. They said they were running an experiment. I had to turn around so they couldn’t see me laugh at this whole thing. At any rate, it had to be behind their for less than a week. I wish I had taken a picture of it. Unbelievable. Well, wait a minute, maybe it is all to believable.

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Papa Joe McGraw

The father of my sister’s husband died yesterday morning. From everything Sonja told me about him, he was a true man of God, facing death with humility and a quiet strength, knowing he would soon be in heaven. The link to this video was passed on to Sonja by my other sister Carolynne – and as Sonja put it after hearing of Joe’s death, “What a timely video.” We grieve with you, McGraw family.

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Christmas

“I love you God. Thank you for sending Jesus to earth for us. Thank you for saving us. This is a bit late, but Happy Birthday Jesus.”

Isaiah 9: 1-7 “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.”

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The Message Twice Over

God really spoke to me today through our pastor’s sermon.  Many people would be really excited to move to Central Europe and don’t get me wrong, there is going to be lots of things that will be really wonderful if the Lord enables us to get there.  However, the bottom line is that I am a warm weather kind of gal.  I’ve only lived in warm climates:  Phoenix, AZ; Orlando, FL; and Ghana, West Africa.  I love the warm weather.  I love seeing the sun a lot and the bottom line is that where we may end up one day, will be quite a bit different climate wise.  I realize that there will be lots of differences, but for me, for some reason, the climate is a big deal.  Frankly, my heart is having a difficult time with this fact, so much so, that I am not helping my husband as much as I have in the past with support raising.  In fact, just this week, I told my husband some really not so nice things because of this change.  But….today in church….from the pulpit, the Lord called me out on what is going on in my heart.  There were two words that the pastor used that really rang true for me:  trust and obey.  He talked about following God even when it gets hard, following God even when the going gets tough, following God where He has called and enduring through the trials.  I held back the tears as he preached, because I just didn’t feel like letting it out there.

Then, tonight at the dinner table, JR read from “Streams in the Desert for Kids.”  This really is a great devotional book for kids.  The title for today was “Follow On”  The Scripture was Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, Oh Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for a man to direct his steps.”  The theme was “Living a Christian life means following Jesus wherever He leads.  It means doing whatever He asks us to do.  It means choosing to go His way rather than our own.  Sometimes we are concerned that what God is asking us to do is too difficult, but God answers that when we get to heaven it will all be worthwhile.  When we walk with God, go His way and do as He asks, we cannot lose.”  Sometimes that may be easy, sometimes that may be hard.

“Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.”

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The 2nd Marathon

Went well. Time was 4:03:13. I learned the following: do not put more than 400 miles on a pair of running shoes. I think that’s partly why my knee hurts and is healing. I also learned to stretch your IT Band area no matter how good you feel. Always stretch it. Take the time to do it. Also, I learned that I probably need to do some more cross training. I think if I had done some cross training my time would have been better. Here’s the results:  http://www.spacecoastmarathon.com/articles/results/425

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The Nineteen

Today I ran nineteen miles.  I decided to try something new and just see how fast I could do it.  So, I let my body do what it wanted when it came to pace.  This worked out really well until my Garmin said I was at 17.68 miles.  At that moment, I was pretty sure I was going to die and someone would find me passed out on the side of the road and JR would be pretty ticked off at me.  My pace up to this point was 8:30.  That is super except for the fact that it nearly killed me.  Now, I must keep in mind the fact that I didn’t carb load last night and in fact, I didn’t eat much last night, one chicken thigh, some rice, broccoli, carrots and bowl of ice cream.  Usually the night before a long run, I eat lots of pasta.  So maybe it would have turned out better if I had paid attention to that.  Final distance and times were 19.35 miles, 8:42 pace, 2:48:26.  The good news is that I burned 2000 calories today just from that one run, the bad news is I just don’t feel like eating.

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Ya Look Good! — yeah — whatever!

“Ya Look Good!” she said in a sweet southern drawl as she smiled quaintly and gave me the princess hand wave.  She was clad in a cute summer sundress with hair and make-up done to perfection and she was taking her very small dog out to go potty.  She looked like one of those women who has it all together, has one of those super fast metabolisms giving her a great body to go with it, and just naturally gorgeous.  I was into my 11th mile when she greeted me and I was looking anything but good.  I was completely drenched in sweat, my pace had slowed considerably to an almost 10 minute pace, I was dog tired, and at this point in the game, I was beginning to wonder if I was really crazy to try training for another marathon. To top it off, those 5 pounds I gained in Colorado were really beginning to get to me.

I waved back to her and said thanks as I plodded by.  I immediately pondered her remark and began to twist it in my mind.  At this point, to me it sounded like she was cheering fat, old me on, with a bit of condescension and sympathy and I had now twisted her words in my mind to the point where it sounded like she was saying, “You can do it sweety!”  pumping her fist in the air, “you can get in shape and lose that weight, you’re looking great, You’re going slow, but at least your out there.”  Of course, she didn’t say that at all.  In my mind, I was getting a bit defensive towards this nice lady whom I had never met.  “Let’s see you run 11 miles sweety,” I said to myself.  “Let’s see how great you look after running that far in hot Orlando.”  Now, from mile 12 to mile 14, I was beginning to get pretty ticked at this lady, my pace slowed a bit more, I was beginning to think I was crazy for running like this, and let’s just face it, I was thinking mean thoughts.  I was believing that this nice lady condescendingly cheered me on.  Funny how if I let my mind focus on something untrue and negative, my mind can just stay in that “pity party me playground” for awhile.

At mile 14, something got to me, maybe it was God, maybe something else, I’m not sure, but I remember looking at my watch, seeing 14 miles and thinking to myself, maybe that lady was just being really nice!!  Now, I’m laughing to myself.  Maybe she just wanted to cheer me on.  Maybe she runs and knows what it’s like to be out there.  Maybe my grouchy, tired self twisted this one glimpse of her into untruth and here I am believing a lie, wallowing in stupidity.  Then I thought to myself, maybe I should be more positive about her statement and start to think, hey, at least I am out here.  39 years old and I’m still running long distance.  Maybe I am dog tired, maybe I do look like crap and need a sweet nice lady to cheer me on.  Maybe if I focused on positive things, I wouldn’t feel so grouchy.  And guess what, my pace picked up a bit.

Now, here comes the kicker.  As I’m thinking these thoughts, God jumps into my mind and I start to think.  Hmmmm, what if I start looking at myself the way God sees me.  Then, some great truths start going through my mind.  I am a child of God, no one can snatch me out of His hands, God thinks about me, God answers my prayers, nothing can separate me from the love of God, and the best one yet….God has forgiven me of all of my sin, past, present and future because Jesus humbly gave Himself up on the cross for us.  Then, I started to think about what that meant….future sins.  You see, I know someone who 10 years ago, probably wouldn’t have thought they would have an affair, but guess what, they did.  That person, God forgives them of their sin and knew that 10 years or so ago, choices they would make now would lead to terrible consequences.  But, God loves them and forgives them.  Who knows what I will do in 10 years but God has forgiven me already.  Now, I am really deep in thought, because I have sinned so much.  I am still dog-tired, because let’s just face it 15 miles is a long way, but I’m lost in thought about what God has done for me and what it means to be His child.

At the end of my run, I think to myself, “Now, this is why I run long distances.”  And as I sit here and type this tears come to my eyes because it is so silly.  Ya see, today it took me 14 miles to turn my thoughts toward God in my run.  Hilarious isn’t it.  14 miles, exhausted, sweaty, burning muscles in my legs, but I’m rejoicing and laughing because even in my stubbornness, God calls me His.  It was worth it, every bit of that 15 miles.  It did draw me closer to God and helped me to laugh at myself.  That is why I run, and that is why I run long distances.  So in the end…Thank you nice lady for cheering me on, I hope I see you again.

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The Wright Socks Part 2

Okay, I’ve changed my mind about the socks.  In fact, I really try hard not to run without them.  Why?? Well, they really do feel nice on the foot and when you are going long distances it makes a differences because these socks don’t retain all the sweat.  That might not sound like much, but when your running outdoors during the hot, humid summer months of Orlando,  it makes a difference.  I ran 14 miles yesterday and I am so glad I had these socks.  I had a blister from running in the hills in Colorado this summer.  After switching to these socks, the callous is dissipating.  So, unfortunately, they don’t make me run faster, but they sure feel nice.  I’d say these socks are worth the money, along with my Saucony running shoes.  Whenever I switch from Saucony to another shoe, I always end up going back to Saucony.

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Great Kids Devotional Book

JR and I have been reading Streams in the Desert for Kids faithfully to the kids this year.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we have certainly missed days, but we still we read it.  Honestly, it is one of the best kids devotionals I’ve ever shared with the kids.  So, you may ask, what makes it so great.  Well, for one, it’s length.  Each devotional is one page and each devotional has a prayer on it at the end that’s only a couple sentences.  We typically read the devotion after dinner and then pray.  It’s the perfect length for the kids at that time.

Now, to get to the good part, the best part of the book is it’s content.  The practicality of the lesson mixed with scriptural content and teaching is really good.  I mean – really, how much can you say in a few paragraphs on one page, but they manage to do it.  Almost every time I come away having learned something, and it’s meant for kids.  That probably says something about me, but oh well, it’s the truth.  Tonight I read 2 entries with the kids because we didn’t get a chance to read last night due to a sleepover.  After reading it, it was so great, I finally got around to sharing about the book.  Honestly, if you bought it, I think you would really be happy with it.  Happy Reading.

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The Wright Socks

It’s been 3 runs with my new “Wright Socks.” They are actually pretty nice.  Today I did 12 miles in them and let me tell you it was H-O-T here in Orlando, FL this morning.  These socks are nice, in that, when I am done with my run, I don’t have to peel them off of my feet because they are not drenched in sweat.  They just come off nice and sweet, unlike my drench soaked bra.  Now, if that’s too much for you, I don’t really care, that’s just how it is here when you run in the summer in Florida.  I haven’t gotten any new blisters, but I don’t think that’s because of the socks.  They are really nice and I like them but they certainly don’t “rock my world” as a runner.  Now, when I compare them to my cotton socks, let me just say that I will wash them and wear them for every run if I can.  They are DEFINITELY better than plain old cotton socks, and frankly, when you buy them on sale, they are totally worth it.  I am a bit curious where all that sweat is retained in my feet area.  My guess is the shoes, which means they should smell really, really bad in a few weeks.

About my 12 mile run, it was my fastest long run yet.  8:45 pace.  That is really good for me.  I know a ton of people run faster than that, but for 39 year old me, that is really, really great.  In fact, I’m not sure if I will be able to repeat it.  I think part of the success in the run was because of the spaghetti last night and the hydration.  This is the first time I drank G2 gatorade , grape flavor, from 2 miles and on through 7 miles, after that I just had water.  I do think hydration makes a huge difference – and it’s good for the kidneys.  Also, just a note, I ate a balance bar today after 7 miles.  It was really nice tasting.

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The Running Store and Me

Today Track Shack had a nice sale on shoes, clothing, and socks.  Socks??  You may wonder and frankly,  me too, but a very nice pair of running socks are supposed to change your world.  Today, I bought a pair because of a blister turned callous on my foot.  Mostly this blister came about because of running in the foothills in Fort Collins — sigh, that was nice.  I’ll try to remember to post about the socks after a few runs.

However, the most significant thing I bought was something I have been thinking about for a while and it wasn’t expensive.  Ever since I completed my first marathon I have thought about buying one of the “26.2” stickers you put on your car.  Well…I didn’t want to do it.  I didn’t want to be bragging that I ran the whole thing, and well… I did run it all.  Sure, those last 5 miles were slow, but I was still in some type of jogging motion – at least this is what I tell myself.  Anyway, the kids were with me and they pointed it out, it was only $1.  They suggested I should buy it.  So, you see, it was there fault really, not mine at all.  Wanting to be nice to them, I said, “Sure, let’s get it.”  Then I saw an even better one, the magnetic option, more expensive, $4.  Thinking about it, I realized the magnetic option wouldn’t make JR mad about putting a sticker on the van and I could take it with me when we move to Hungary.  Definitely, the magnetic option won out.  Now, on the back of my van, a “26.2” magnetic decal is proudly displayed.  I have to tell you, the whole way home I was all smiles inside.  In fact, I’m happy about it right now.  Amazing how such a small thing can make me smile.  Inside, when I think about it, I feel like Eddie looks when he gets a new lego set.

Posted in Running | 2 Comments

Staying Out of It

Probably the most difficult thing about parenting that I am learning is “staying out of it”.  So, what exactly do I mean by this??  Well, when the kids fight, I am learning to let them try to resolve it themselves without interference from me.  So far there have been no knock down – drag out fights – which would definitely necessitate me to act as a referee.  It’s hard for me to stay out of it because I love them all, want them to get along, and want them to treat each other fairly. (reminds me a bit of God as He looks at us, wanting us to be unified as believers)  However, they need to learn to resolve things on their own and forgive on their own without me telling them to do it.  I have a long way to go in “staying out of it” especially when it concerns their friends.

Let me explain….We’ve been home for about 2 weeks now and we’ve had 3 sleepovers with friends.  Now, when this happens inevitably the siblings at the Peck House can disagree about what they are going to play, who gets to play with whom(is it whom in this case??), and who gets to sleep where.  Last night was a great example because the girls each had a friend come to church with us and then spend the night.  Eddie did not have a friend spend the night and he was pretty upset that they didn’t want to play what he wanted to play.  Eddie also didn’t enjoy sleeping in a room by himself when the girls each had a friend over.  Now, don’t feel too badly for Eddie because he had a friend spend the night last week and is playing with a friend today, and….he is only 7.  More turns for him will come.  JR finally stepped in and had some dad-son time with Eddie playing foosball.  When it’s between just our kids, usually things can be straightened out, despite the difficulty.

However, when it’s issues between my kids and their friends, that’s where the real challenge lies – figuring out when to step in and help resolve conflict and when not to say anything.  Usually, when the friends are over, I stay out of it mostly because I’m just chicken.  But, when all the friends are gone and I have time with my kids alone, sometimes I give them a little too much instruction on how I think they should be around their friends and how I think they should get along.  The worst part about this is that I am the LEAST qualified to give them instruction in this area, but I can’t seem to stop myself from doing it.  I think part of this is that I just so want them to have good friends and keep them as friends, so much so that I go over board in the “trying to help” mode.  So, lately, I am praying a lot about it.  I am hopeful that if I pray before I talk to them, that maybe I want stick my foot in my mouth as much and maybe I will learn to stay out of it more frequently and just be quiet.

Posted in Parenting | 2 Comments