Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 24- Luke

Read Luke 24.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 1-12.

In today's passage, there are many different reactions to the news of Jesus' resurrection. 

First the women faithfully go to the tomb to anoint the body with spices but upon arrival they find an empty tomb.  Their confusion is soon diverted by the angels' message that Jesus had risen- what He told them has now happened.  Verse 8 says "the women remembered his words".

Second the women go to the disciples, who are hiding, to tell them the news of Jesus' resurrection.  They did not believe the women- they thought their words were nonsense.  Though Peter chose to go to see for himself- went to the tomb and inspected the strips of linen.  Peter left the tomb "wondering what had happened".

Remembering and wondering are two ways that God ministers to our heart and grows our faith. 

When we remember the things that God has done for us or spoke to us through His word, then our faith strengths and grows.  Remembering helps to develop a trusting relationship with our Father God. 

Wondering works out our spiritual muscles as well.  God knows that we are not puppets- He has given us free will so there will be times in our walks that we wonder and question what God is doing or where God is taking us.  The key to the wondering stages of our walk is to not let doubt and discouragement lead us away from God but remember all He has done in the past and press into His promises for our future. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 23- Luke

Read Luke 23.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 23:1-25.

by Jenny Gemmill

Sitting in a damp dark cell, waiting.  Waiting to receive the punishment that I deserve.  My name is Barabbas.  I am a protester, fighter, murderer...  deserving the death I have been assigned.  So I am waiting for the guards to come to take me to my death- my cross.

The crowds outside sound so loud and angry.  So much yelling and shouting.  Wait...  I think I hear my name.  Why are they shouting my name?  All I ever wanted was to fight for Jewish freedom from Roman oppression. So what if someone died- sometimes a few need to die for a good cause.

But why are they shouting my name?  I hear "crucify Him, crucify Him" shouted over and over. 
I know, I know I deserve to die- I am a killer, liar, chaos maker.  I hear the guards coming- I am ready- oh God I don't want to die.

They throw someone into my cell- a man- He looks familiar but hardly recognizable.  I hear a guard laugh and call Him "King of the Jews".  This man, He too wants the Jews to be free but He fights with His words and His truth- He isn't like me- murderer, fighter, sinner.

"Barabbas, you are free"- Who me?  Free- I look at the open door; I can leave a free man. 

"Why", I ask quietly as I walked thru the door. 

"He is going to take your place"- I look back and the guard is pointing at that man- the one they call Jesus the Christ. 

"Taking my place?"  I quickly run out the door.

Hours later I hear that they are crucifying that man called Jesus the Christ.  He will carry the cross meant for me.  He will take the punishment meant for me, He will die the death meant for me.

Oh God, I deserve that cross, I deserve that punishment, I deserve that death.  But "I am free- He is taking my place".

All of the sudden the earth shakes so violently- I am flatten to the ground.

Later I hear that the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, the dead have risen and the man on my cross has died.

Who was that man that beared my cross?  Who was that man that took my place?  Who was that man that died my death?  It should have been me but because of Him I am free.

Day 22- Luke

Read Luke 22.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 22:24.

Jesus had been talking to the disciples about His suffering, His betrayal and His death.  The Passover meal had just been concluded and the talk shifted to "which of them was considered the greatest".  You would think after all this that their hearts would be in a good place BUT they weren't. 

Without God taking out our heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), we can not understand the things God has for us.  Remember this the next time you get frustrated with that loved one who just doesn't get "it"- the disciples spent three intimate years with Jesus and weren't able to fully get "it" until after receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). 

Sadly even with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we continue to place ourselves on a pedestal, wondering who is the greatest.  In God's economy, it is the least of these.

Help me, Lord, to place you first this season.  Help me to think of others and their needs as my priority and put self aside to serve them.  Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 21- Luke

Read Luke 21.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 21:5-38.

Ironically today's reading is about end times.  Today is 12-21-12 which is "suppose" to be the end of the world based on the ending of the Mayan calendar.  How many other theories and ideas have been presented just in the last decade or so citing the end of the world?  But Jesus clearly states in Luke chapter 21 that certain things need to happen before the end will take place. 

Some of you might think the Bible and its predictions are just another myth but to those who hold dear to the life-giving words of this ancient text, today's passage is one that should be studied and ultimately bring comfort.  I am going to outline the spotlighted scripture, highlighting key concepts from these verses.
  • Verses 8-9:  Jesus warns us to "watch out that you are not deceived".  Many will say the end is near but only God knows.
  • Verses 10-11:  Jesus talks about wars and nation disasters occurring.  We have definitely seen our fair share of these lately.
  • Verses 12-19:  Jesus warns about the possibility of being persecuted for your faith.  BUT we are to consider this an opportunity to share our faith.  Jesus tells us not to worry about what you will say that He will give you the words.
  • Verses 20-24:  Commentators believe that this passage is the prophecy concerning the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Romans.
  • Verses 25-33:  There will be signs pointing to the end but at that time you "will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory".  So look up- your redemption is near!
  • Verses 34-36:  Don't worry about these things or let them weight you down.  "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man".   
The end will come for all- one way or the other.  It is for you to decide to put your faith and trust in Jesus, choosing His way now and forever.  If you need help with this decision, send me a message- I'd love to pray for you!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 20- Luke

Read Luke 20.

Spotlighted Scripture:  None

I really struggled with today's reading and was not able to narrow in on one topic to blog.  So I am not.  I am not going to write a posting just to write one.  I hope you understand.

I would encourage you to read the whole chapter for yourself and to think about what God wants you to hear & apply.

Have reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 19- Luke

Read Luke 19.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 19:11-27.

After reading today's passage about the parable of the ten minas, a few thoughts cross my mind.
  • Am I utilizing my gifts and strengths for God? 
  • How can I put my God-given abilities to better use?
  • Am I being faithful with the small matters as well as the large matters?
  • What can I immediately apply to my faith walk after reading this parable?
How about you? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 18- Luke

Read Luke 18:9-43

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 18:18-30

How many times have you read this story and thought "well, I'm not rich so this doesn't REALLY apply to me".  I believe the "rich" in this story could be interpreted in multiple ways.

Yes it was wealth & possessions that were preventing this young man from inheriting eternal life.  But could it represent other "things" as well?  Whatever we choose to put before our relationship with God can hinder our ability to "come & follow". 

Pride, fame, selfish needs/wants, family/friends, physical fitness, shopping, greed, and so the list goes on & on.  Any of these "things" can hinder your ability to recognize the need for a Savior resulting in the inability to inherit eternal life.  Once we are "in" through surrendering our life to the saving power of Jesus, these "things" can hinder our ability to connect with God and be fruitful for his kingdom.

So take time today to reread this passage and insert your "thing" into the story. 
  • What kind of person would Jesus have called you?  Rich, fit, famous...
  • How is your "thing" preventing you from becoming a child of God?  Ask God to reveal Himself to your heart- all you need to do is confess with your mouth & believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
  • In what ways are your "things" hindering your daily relationship with God?  What can you do today to respond to what Jesus asked the young rich man- "See everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me".
If you need prayer, please leave me a comment.  I would love to pray for you today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 17- Luke

Read Luke 17-18:1-8

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 18:1-8.

Persistent, patient prayer- Jesus encourages the disciples to keep asking and never give up.  Both these words are not fun to practice. 

Webster defines these words as:
  • persistent:  continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
  • patient:  bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity  
God wants us to keep asking but patiently wait for the answer or relief.  He is interested in growing our faith, not spoiling us by giving us all our wants.  I know it can get tiring, praying for the same thing over & over but Jesus knew we would need the encouraging words found in the parable of the persistent widow. 

Psalm 34:17 "The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles"

Be encouraged today and know that God is never late & His Plan will always be the best!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 16- Luke

Read Luke 16.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 16:13-15.

Not many feel-good lessons in today's passage.  I thought I'd focus on 2 verses but would love to hear your thoughts on the rest of the passage.

Jesus had just finished telling the crowd that you can't serve both God and Money.  In the NIV translation of this passage, money is captialized.  Basically you can't serve God and little "god"- whether it is money, fame, lust, family- you fill in the blank.  Your heart can not be divided and God knows our heart.  We are also reminded that "what is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight". 

Like I said, not a feel-good lesson but a very valuable one.  So I am asking myself a few tough questions today.
  • What little "gods" am I serving?  How is my heart divided?
  • Where are some things that men values but God finds detestable that I need to purge from my life?
  • In what ways can I serve God wholeheartedly?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 15- Luke

Read Luke 15.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 15:1-7.

When a person raises their hand to accept Christ as their Savior at church, do you:
  • clap politely and quietly say Amen?
  • look at your watch, knowing the service is almost over?
  • jump to your feet, rejoicing that one who was lost is now found?
Oh, I wish I could write a BIG YES next to the last one but I am guilty of being desensitized to the uniqueness of this extremely important decision.  When reading this portion of scripture about God's heart for the lost, I realized how far my heart is from aligning with the heart of God. 

God desperately wants the lost to be found and He wants us to be instrumental in bringing them back to the fold. 

I pray today that God breaks my heart daily for the lost of this world, that I do not become numb to the fact that people are dying with no hope of heaven.  Help me, God, to rejoice like the angels when one of your lost comes home.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 14- Luke

Read Luke 14.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 14:1-6

How many of you like to follow rules?  Sometimes following a set of rules can be much easier than listening to your heart or gut in a situation.  Jesus came to show us how to live the sacrficed life but he also came to stomp on the rules that were causing the religious leaders to not live merciful lives.

If you have ever read the 10 commandments, then you know that the Jewish people were commanded to keep the Sabbath holy.  To keep the Sabbath holy meant to do no work but to rest.  This law became one of many that the religious leaders would beat over the heads of the Jewish people.  Jesus wanted to put a stop to these back breaking laws then ultimately break the back of sin by dying on the cross.  This resulted in Jesus choosing to act when he shouldn't on the Sabbath, usually in front of a crowd of religious elites. 

Jesus' main message to the crowd that day was to not withhold a good and merciful act for the sake of law and tradition but be willing to step on law to help those in need. 

  • What is God speaking to you today based on Luke 14? 
  • How has rules and traditions caused you not to act when you should? 
  • In what way do you need to listen more to God's Spirit and less to the legalistic elite of our day?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 13- Luke

Read Luke 13.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 13:6-9.

Welcome to a story about grace.  Undeserving grace.

Let me set the scene:  A man planted a fig tree in his vineyard.  According to Leviticus 19:23-25, when any kind of fruit tree was planted, you were required to wait four full years before eating any fruit.  In the fifth year you were allowed to pick from the tree & eat.  So the owner of the fig tree planted the tree and waited the 4 years required by Jewish law to pick the figs.  In year 5, 6 & 7, he continued to visit the vineyard to pick figs off the tree but the tree had not yielded any fruit.  So he tells the gardener to cut it down since it is not producing fruit and wasting space in the vineyard.  But the gardener tells the owner to give it more time and let him nurture it for one more year.  Then if he returns in 1 year and there is still no fruit, he will cut it down.

Here are my thoughts on this story:  When we are new to our faith, God gives us a chance to root & grow.  But there comes a time when we need to start to produce fruit in accordance with our faith.  When the gardener asks for one more year to nurture and grow the tree, that's grace.  God gives us chances to get it right, picks us up when we do it wrong, and wants to give us every opportunity to grow. 
  • What kind of tree are you?  Have you been recently planted- rooting & growing?  Or have you reached the point when fruit should be evident and able to be picked? 
  • Take time today to thank God for His grace.  Ask Him to show you how you can bear fruit for His Kingdom. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 12- Luke

Read Luke 12.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 12:25-26, 29-31.

God will provide so don't worry- easier said than done!

Verse 25 tells us that we can't add time to our life by worrying- we actually lose time when we are consumed with worry.  Worry is a waste of our time & energy- it produces nothing good.  The only time worry is good is when we turn it into prayer which draws us closer to God.  Philippians 4:6 tells us to "not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God".
  • Take time today to stop worrying- everytime you find yourself worrying, turn it back to God in prayer. 
Verse 29-30 says to "not set your heart on what you will eat or drink".  Instead "seek his kingdom and these things will be given to you". 
  • What is your heart set on?  How does that show in your daily life?
  • Ask God to show you how you can seek His kingdom first.  Start with the little things- God calls us to be faithful in the small things. 
"It does require the supernatural grace of God to live 24 hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery & living an ordinary, unnoticed & ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus.  It is engrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God- but we do not.  We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life and holy on the ordinary streets among ordinary people and this is not learned in 5 minutes".  (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 11- Luke

Read Luke 11.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 11:33-36.

Do you ever feel like the only light shining amidst a room of darkness?  God has not placed you in this darkness for you to conceal or hide your light.  He wants you to shine and He knows that just a little light can light up a whole room.  Matthew 5:16 says "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  Our light brings God glory- it doesn't get better than that.

Verse 34 says that "when your eyes are good, your whole body is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body is also full of darkness".  We need to be intentional about the things we expose our minds too.  Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things".  2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ".  When we fill our minds, bodies and spirits with "good" things, the light in us will shine brighter and stronger, causing others to see the glory of God.

Light exposes & expels darkness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 10- Luke

Read Luke 10.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 10:38-42.

How many times have you read or heard the story of Martha and Mary?  Who are you in this story?  I bet you can identify with one of these women.

If you are a Martha type, you can understand her frustration at her sister.  The food isn't going to cook itself, the table won't magically set, and the drinks won't pour themselves.  These things need to be done.  So no there isn't time to sit and listen- help is needed in the kitchen.

If you are a Mary type, you understand why she is at Jesus' feet.  Who cares about the dinner- can't we just order pizza and use paper plates? 

Verse 41-42 can be unnerving to the Martha in us- "but only one thing is needed".  Tell that to the pile of laundry, the dirty dishes, the dusty floors- these things need to be done. 

I think Jesus knew that each of us need to be reminded that He is the most important thing- that we need to stop & take time to sit at His feet each day.  When we give Him "His time", He always gives us enough time to get it all done.  The days I prioritize my quiet time are the days I feel less stressed about my "to-do" list.  So go ahead, "chose what is better and it will not be taken away from (you)".

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 9- Luke

Read Luke 9.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 9:23-27.

What good is it?

There are two places in the Bible where you will find this phrase. 
  • Luke 9:25 says "what good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?". 
  • James 2:14-16 says "what good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such a faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

So today I asking myself, "what good is it"
  • to toe the line between God's way and the world's way- to lose or forfeit my very self
  • to praise God and curse man with the same very tongue
  • to see a hurting, dying world & turn my back
I am tired of duplicity- I want to whole-heartedly follow Jesus.  But God knows that I need reminding daily take up my cross- that in my fallen state I need to daily surrender to God's way and will for my life.  Then after I pick up my cross, I need to GO forth & do.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 8- Luke

Read Luke 8.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 8:40-56.

We all need Jesus. 

In this passage, Luke contrasts two very different people who need Jesus.  Jairus was a synagogue ruler meaning he was an important and affluent person.  The bleeding woman would have been an outcast- for 12 years she would have been considered unclean by Jewish law.

Both of these people needed Jesus to heal.  Both of these people took a risk by seeking Jesus to help.  Both of these people needed to "not be afraid and just believe".
  • How desperate are you for Jesus and His healing touch?
  • What is the "pleading prayer" on your heart today?
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up".  Don't give up- remember Jesus' words- "Don't be afraid; just believe and she will be healed".

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 7: Luke

Read Luke 7.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 7:36-50.

As you read today's scripture, take a seat at the dinner table of Simon, the Pharisee.  Soak in the events that occurred during this "unusual" dinner party. 
  • What was it like when the "woman who lived a sinful life" entered the room? 
  • How long did she stand behind Jesus before she fell at His feet?
  • Did Simon even acknowledge her presence or did he continue to talk to Jesus as if no one had entered the room?
  • As she cried, were they silent tears or heaving sobs?
  • Imagine what the room might have smelled like once she poured the perfume on Jesus' feet?
Have you ever come to Jesus like the "sinful woman" did?  God knows our heart so there is no need to hide behind pretenses- just come as you are- broken, sinful but thankful.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 6: Luke

Read Luke 6.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 6:27-36.

Love your enemies.... we are commanded by God to love God and love others BUT love the ones who hate us, who persecute us, who use us.  Really??

When you read this section of scripture, it is very counter culture- right now, we live in a society focused on "ME".  If it isn't about "ME" then who cares?  To love our enemies we HAVE to rely solely on the almighty power of the Holy Spirit which lives inside us as a believer. 

But look at the opportunity we have to share the gospel with others if we choose to love the ones who are hard to love.  When the people witness the outpouring of God's love on one's life, they truly get a glimpse into the heavenly realm.  This is how we can preach the gospel without words to a lost world. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 5: Luke

Read Luke 5.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 5:1-11.

Questions to ponder:
  • Has Jesus ever asked you to do something "again"?  Were you willing to do it?  What were the results?  (Verse 5)
  • How has Jesus "blown your socks off" lately?  In what ways has He caused your "boat" to overflow with "fish"?  (Verse 6-7)
  • How has your past  prepared you to serve God today?  (Verse 10-11)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 4: Luke

Read Luke 4.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 4:16-21.

"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

In what ways has Jesus fulfilled the Isaiah passage (verse 18-19) in your life?
  • Anointed you by giving the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  • Spoken the good news into your life?
  • Freed you from your "prison"?
  • Restored your sight?
  • Relieved you from oppression?
Take time today to thank Him for transforming you into the woman of God you are right now. 

Thank Him for how He will continue to transform you- He will be faithful to finish the work He has started in you. (Phil. 1:6)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3: Luke

Read Luke 3.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 3:21-23.

How cool is it that somone- a man like you & me- got to baptize Jesus.  The scripture states it so matter of factly- "when all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too."  Stop to think about that- Jesus was baptized, too.  This baptism in the Jordan River symbolized the start to Jesus' earthly ministry at the age of 30.

Verse 21 says "As Jesus was praying,...".  Jesus, the Son of God, was praying.  If Jesus prayed, how much more important is it for us as children of God to pray?  Throughout the gospels, Jesus' prayer life is well documented.  In the book of John, the last verse says "Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:25)  BUT all 4 gospels take pause in their writing to document times when Jesus prayed. 

This means 2 things to me:
  1. Jesus prayed SO much that they really couldn't leave it out- OR
  2. Prayer is SO important to God that He wanted us to witness Jesus modeling the behavior.
Either way, I get it- I need to PRAY!
  • How about you? 
  • Do you have a prayer life? 
  • How has prayer changed your relationship with God?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: Luke

Read Luke 2.

Spotlighted Scripture:  Read Luke 2:8-20.

How has God revealed Himself to you lately?  What was your reaction to His revelation?
Did you react like the shepherds?
  • scared (verse 9)
  • anxious to act on the revelation (verse 15)
  • shouting praises to God (verse 17-18, 20)
Did you react like Mary?
  • treasuring and pondering the revelation in your heart (verse 19)
Take time today to ask God this question: 
Who do you want me to go tell about the baby in the manger?

Please share what God has revealed to you through this passage.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 1: Luke

Read Luke 1.

Spotlight scripture:  Read Luke 1:45-55.

In this passage, God reveals through the mouth of Elizabeth that Mary is blessed because she believes God.  In your life right now, where do you need to believe God?  Sometimes just believing is the hardest thing we have to do.

Read Mary's song.  Take time today to write your own song to God. 

Please share what God has revealed to you today.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Devotion

On December 1st, I am going to use this blog to post a 24 day Christmas devotion on the book of Luke.  Luke is one of the gospels in the New Testament that follows the birth, life and death of Jesus.  The entire book is 24 chapters so the book can be read in its entirety before Christmas Day.  If you are a believer in Jesus, then the reason for the Christmas season is Jesus.  I hope that you will join me for this month in reading about our Lord and Savior.

Here's the plan: 
  • Every morning a new blog will post on this site.  You can link to my blog through Facebook or Twitter. 
  • There will be 2 options:  One is to read the entire chapter or read the spotlighted scripture. 
  • After reading the passage, you can read my posting which will direct you to think and apply the passage you read. 
  • Once you are done, please post your own comments through Facebook, Twitter or directly on the blog.  This is a great way to encourage other readers and share your own insight from the passage.
My credentials are few and far between- I am currently coordinating a women's bible study at my church- Van Dyke Church in Lutz, Florida.  I have been involved in bible study for about 8 years after giving my life to Jesus at the age of 30.  I have taken and lead multiple bible studies by Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and other great women authors.  I was also involved in Bible Study Fellowship for about 4 years and was a group facilitator for 2 years.  I love God's Word and believe He has enabled me to read and apply it through His power.  I want to be a vessel that He can use to share the Word of God.  I hope you will find joy, peace and comfort through this study- that you are able to draw closer to Jesus through the book of Luke this Christmas season.

Thank you for reading!

2 Timothy 3:16 "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."


Monday, November 5, 2012

NYC marathon canceled- my final chapter

Sunday didn't turn out like I planned.  Actually the whole week leading up to the marathon did not turn out like I planned.  But maybe that's the lesson in this situation is "Life Doesn't Always Go As Planned".

I am so thankful that the disappointment I faced was just a canceled marathon.  In the scheme of life, this is so trivial.  I want to be so careful writing this blog because there have been so many emotions tied to the NYC marathon and its runners.  I am actually nervous as I write- hoping my words are not taken as insensitive or inconsiderate.  I would like to share with you my week leading up to this weekend's marathon and the emotional roller coaster that went with it.

Sunday- With one week to go, Hurricane Sandy had already passed Florida's coast and was on its way to the Northeast.  The Marine Corps marathon was running that morning- a friend's boss was participating in this race.  At this point in the week, we had no idea if this storm would be the Super Storm the media was predicting.

Monday- Weather is Florida had turned cold due to the hurricane system.  Monday morning's run was a good indication for me as to how I would feel running in the colder weather.  As the day went on, I watched the news, hoping and praying for the people and places that were in this storm's path.  A good friend from high school was preparing her family on the coast of Connecticut.  Many people in Maryland were unsure if they would also have storm damage.  There were a lot of unknowns.

Tuesday- As I got up to another cold brisk Florida morning, new reports about Hurricane Sandy and its storm damage had started to emerge.  My parents were originally scheduled to fly in on Tuesday afternoon but had changed their flight to Wednesday which proved to be a wise decision.  Most of the East Coast airports were shut down that day- accessing damage to their run-ways.  News started to surface about the extensive damage to the Jersey shore and its residents.  The pictures were heartbreaking.

Wednesday- Halloween Day!  With my parents flying to Florida and Halloween night approaching, Glenn and I were still unsure about the marathon.  One thing we did know is that the airport we were flying into was indefinitely closed- LaGuardia Airport.  After spending a good hour on hold with Jet Blue, we were told to wait to cancel our flight that it would probably be canceled.  The news came out that Mayor Bloomberg wanted the marathon to go on- that it would be a race to bring the city together.  So based on the mayor's announcement, Glenn and I decided to fly to Baltimore and catch a ride with my friend who was also running the marathon.  I had mixed emotions about going and running the race but we knew that we would regret not going after putting in months of hard work. 

Thursday- On Thursday morning, LaGuardia Airport reopened and flights from Jet Blue were flying into JFK.  So we rethought about flight to Baltimore and decided we would keep our original flights to NY.  More new started to surface about the devastation on Staten Island and parts of Long Island.  But still, the mayor stood behind his original statement that the marathon would go as planned.  So with a heavy and conflicted heart, we packed.

Friday- We left for the airport that morning, knowing that the marathon and its participants were receiving a lot of negative press.  Our flight into LaGuardia was fine and we were able to get into the city.  The taxi line was huge but we shared a cab with another couple in for the marathon and a woman who lives in NYC.  The ride into NY was a challenge because of the HOV restrictions that were in place.  We also drove through parts of Manhattan that were still without power so the street traffic was a little scary.  Around 4 pm we made it to our hotel room in Midtown Manhattan.  My friend, Wendy and her husband had arrived by train a hour earlier.  We had unpacked our stuff and turned on the tv- just then Breaking News- the marathon was canceled.  We couldn't believe it!  We were able to catch an exclusive interview with the New York Road Runner's (NYRR) CEO Mary Wittenburg on ABC- she said that the resources for the race were in place, that they would not take away from the relief efforts but there was too much negative feedback to allow the race to go on.  So that was that- no race on Sunday.

My thoughts on the marathon being canceled- 
  • It was the right decision, just way too late.  By canceling the marathon on Friday, the mayor and the NYRR now had 2 sides upset with them.  The people who thought it was wrong to run in the first place and the runners who had traveled to NYC for the race.  There are about 20,000 international runners that run in the NYC marathon.  These people spent lots of money to come and only came because Bloomberg said it was a go.  I am sure that if we all were told by Wednesday that there would be no race- most runners would have understood. 
  • There was also a lot of press about port-a-potties and generators sitting on Staten Island at the race start- that these could be used to power homes on the Island.  These generators are not your normal home generator- they could not be hooked up to homes to supply power.  They would fry the wiring and be a hazard.  But this is not the fault of the runners- these is the fault of the mayor and the NYRR who did not make a wise decision in the first place. 
  • Also I think it is unfair to criticize the runners when the Knicks basketball team played on Thursday night in NYC and the Giants played on Sunday in the Meadowlands, New Jersery.  Obviously there were a lot of people attending these events and tailgating.  I am glad that we didn't run because I wouldn't have wanted to disrespect the people who are suffering because of Hurricane Sandy. 
  • I honestly have mixed emotions about running next year because what I experienced while in the Big Apple was unsettling.  While the runners were vilified for even showing up to run the NYC marathon, lots of New Yorkers were busy on Friday and Saturday- shopping and dining like it was a usual weekend.  I am sure there were lots of New Yorkers that were helping their fellow man with volunteering their time and support to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  I just think the media could have cut the runners a break- we were trying to do our best and follow the recommendations of Mayor Bloomberg and NYRR.  There were many runners who were able to stay on Sunday to volunteer their time in Staten Island and Brooklyn.  That is great- what a blessing! 

We left early Sunday morning to get back home- Glenn and I found out some news about a family situation that will be our own personal marathon for the next month or so.  We thought it was best to get back to Florida.  On Saturday we did pick up our race packet- Asics had a huge inventory of 2012 NYC marathon clothing that was 50% off and all proceeds went to the Red Cross.  We were not able to physically help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Overall, I am glad I spent the last 4 months training to run a marathon.  I was able to spend time listening to sermons I might not have listened to, getting back into good, solid running shape, cleaning up my diet and proving that I can stay commitment to a long grueling schedule.

So what's next? 
  1. I am signed up to run the Princess Half Marathon in February.  Originally I thought I would just run it for fun but now I plan on trying to run it in 1:50 which would be a PR half for me.
  2. Glenn is running the Tough Mudder again this year in December.  He will probably sign up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in St Pete.
  3. We will decide on our entry into next's year NYC marathon.  We are in if we want to be- we don't know if we get our 2012 entry fee back- probably not.  Also we don't know if we will have to repay for 2013- probably will. 
  4. I will do a marathon in 2013.
  5. I am closing up my blog.  I enjoyed the time I spent writing about this journey.  One day I can tell my grandkids that I was suppose to run the NYC 2012 marathon- the year Hurricane Sandy wrecked havoc on the East Coast.  I appreciate you stopping by and reading my blog.  I feel that my time would be better served in other ways.  I also don't take enough pictures to make my blog exciting! 
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know what I have planned for you," says the Lord, "I have plans to prosper you, not harm you.  I have plans to give you a future filled with hope." (NET)


 Pictures from the weekend:
Taxi Cab line at LaGuardia Airport
At the Finish Line- maybe next year!

Rockefeller Center- Set up for Election Day

Spending a little time at Athleta (Glenn caught up on emails)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh...the long run

Lately when I am asked how the marathon training is going, I proudly say that I have finished my long run.  I did it- 20 miles finished, done, adios. 
***There are NO pictures to document this run- you won't want to see them- it was not a pretty sight!

Now you are probably thinking- WAIT, you still have 26.2 miles to go.  You still have one more long run.  Yes you are correct BUT the conditions of this next long run will be much more favorable.
Let me explain...

First, I have been running the majority of my long runs after 8 am in hot, sunny Florida.  The temperatures have been consistently in the low 90s with lots of humidity. 

Second, most of my runs have been solo and at times even without my music.  I have developed a love/hate relationship with my IPhone- it seems to not want to work when I have to complete a long run.  I wasn't able to play my music for my 18 miler- the same thing happened to me with the 20.  So unfortunately I had to run both of these runs without music which was a mental challenge to say the least.  BUT I am doing this for pleasure- some people in other countries have to cover many miles to get water, food, etc.  I am doing this for pure enjoyment- HA!

Lastly, Florida running is flat, flat and again- flat.  There are no hills. Personally I think that my legs work better for long distance runs when there is some variation in elevation. 

But New York City- the city that never sleeps- will be a whole lot different than my training runs. 

First, New York City weather shouldn't be hot or humid.  It might be cold but I won't have to battle the humidity.

Second, I will be running with my husband PLUS 50,000 other people.  PLUS there will be a ton of spectators and other sights & sounds to keep my mind from focusing on mile after mile.  Even if my IPhone chooses to not work the day of the marathon, I should be well entertained for the 26.2 miles.

Lastly, New York City is not flat- we will have hills to climb and bridges to cross.  The terrain might be a challenge since I haven't been training for hills but it will at least be an interesting course.

So with 3 1/2 weeks to go, I have to continue to run injury-free, pick out my race day outfit, and enjoy my taper phase of the training.

 I have lots to figure out before heading to the Big Apple-
  • pre-race food
  • race food
  • post-race food (beer)
  • cold weather outfit
  • cool weather outfit
  • not sure the weather outfit
Right now I just need to keep my eye on the prize which is to finish this race and to continue to run the daily race set out for me by God.  He is the giver of good and perfect gifts- 
James 1:17 "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens."


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

RUNNING after the Romans 12 life

My church's Women's Bible Study Facebook page is participating in a daily devotion from  The devotion we are currently reading as a group is called "Soul Detox". 

Today's devotion was about the toxins in our life that affect our relationship with God.  We read Romans 12:1-21 which is an awesome passage- packed with lots of real life application for living a Spirit-filled life.

So I began thinking-  I want to live a Romans 12 life- really live it out in my day to day relationships.  So I came up with a list- a Romans 12 to-do list! 
  1. God's will and the world's will clash- they can not co-exist. (v.1-2)
  2. I need to ask myself daily- is "this thing" good for me, acceptable for me, and perfect for me?  If not, then it needs to go. BUT in the process of eliminating my own toxins, I can't think too highly of myself or judge others because God deals with each of us on an individual basis. (v.3)
  3. Use the spiritual gifts God has given me to serve Him and others. (v.4-8)
  4. Let my love be true- Hate evil- Cling to goodness. (v.9)
  5. Be devoted to others- be willing to yield to others.  (v.10)
  6. Enthusiastically serve the Lord. (v.11)
  7. Rejoice in hope, Persevere in trials, PRAY-PRAY-PRAY. (v.12)
  8. Practice hospitality- be willing to roll up my sleeves and help. (v.13)
  9. Bless those who are mean to me- actually pray that God will bless them. (v.14)
  10. Be happy with those who are happy and cry with those who need to cry. (v.15)
  11. Live peacefully with everyone- don't be too proud to hang out with all types of people. (v.16)
  12. NEVER pay back evil with more evil- period. (v.17)
  13. "Do all that I can to live in peace with everyone" (NLT) (v.18)
  14. Leave room for God to intervene- instead if my enemy is hungry, feed him- if my enemy is thirsty, give him a drink. (v.19-20)
  15. Don't let evil overcome me but overcome evil by doing good. (v.21)
My prayer is that this speaks to your heart and helps you to see the benefits of living a Romans 12 life.  Not a perfect life but one that is running after God's principles for your life.

So what about you?  How has scripture influenced your daily life?


Monday, September 17, 2012

What's on your Playlist?

Last week I was coming home from a meeting and heard this great song called "Well Done" by Moriah Peters.  Music has always been a big part of my life from pre-teen years to adulthood- music has been an ongoing love. 

Do you have a theme song?  You know, the one that is played as you enter a room- a song that identifies your current stage of life. 
  • High School-  "Unbelieveable" by EMF with my best friend, Lisa or "Love Shack" by B-52s which I performed in a lip sync contest.
  • College-  I loved Styx's song "Come Sail Away"- it was played many nights while hanging out with my soccer boyfriend and his teammates. 
  • Post college (pre-Glenn)- "Counting Blue Cars" by Dishwalla or anything by a local band, Everything.
  • Dating Glenn-  While dating Glenn, my ears were opened to lots of music.  Glenn has good taste in music BUT if he played anything by The Grateful Dead, I would fall asleep.
  • Marrying Glenn-  Our wedding song was "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison.
  • Married with kids-  Now that we have entered this stage of life, we still love music and our kids do as well.  My IPod has country songs by Taylor Swift & Rodney Adkins, christian songs by Hillsong United, Chris Tomlin & Brandon Heath, and dance songs by Black Eyed Peas & Katie Perry.  I also really like The Avett Brothers!
Recently there are 4 songs that have spoken to me about my walk with Christ and current stage of  life.
1)  "Stolen" by Brandon Heath.  This song is about a prodigal coming home to the Father and how the Father continued to chase after this prodigal until his heart was stolen.  I love to pick up the pace on my run when listening to it.

"Stolen" by Brandon Heath
2)  "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson.  This song is about living out your God-given purpose and not turning a blind eye to the hurt and loss around you.  My favorite lyric is "I don't want to live like I don't care- I don't want to say another empty prayer- I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else to do what God has called me to do myself- oh, I could choose not to move but I refuse".  AWESOME!

"I Refuse" by Josh Wilson 

3)  "Learning to be the Light" by Newworldson.  This summer I got a chance to meet with a small group of ladies to study "Nehemiah" by Kelly Minter.  The first time I heard this song I thought of these ladies because we all desire to know God and share Him with those around us.  We are learning to be the Light!

"Learning to be the Light" by Newworldson

4)  "Well Done" by Moriah Peters.  Great song- awesome lyrics- definitely want this song playing as I enter a room.  One of my favorite parts of the song says "Well done, well done, I'm gonna chase You, Lord, I'm gonna show the world Your love, woah, I'll run, I'll run, I'm gonna run this race to hear You say well done". 

"Well Done" by Moriah Peters

For me, I want to do things in my life that honor God.  I am not sure if running a marathon qualifies as a God-honoring thing.  I am sure some would agrue No but I have to trust that God has given me the legs to run, the time to run, and the words to write as I train for my race.  My hope and prayer is that the words I share on this blog will encourage you and
  • allow your "heart to be stolen" by God,
  • find "what God has called YOU to do",
  • "learn to follow His Light" and
  •  continue "running your race so YOU can hear Him say Well done".
So what's your theme song?  What do you want people to hear when you enter a room?  How does music inspire you?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Check this out!

My friend Terry made me this cool word spindle by taking all my blogs and loading them in a software program called "Word Cloud".  Basically she took all my the blog posts and the software created a word picture based on the posts' themes.  THANK YOU, TERRY!

So looking at my themes, I find that I write the most about:  running, God, marathon, Glenn, training, time and race. 

Since this is a running blog about my journey of training for the New York City marathon, I am not surprised to see the themes of running, marathon and training dominate the word picture.

I am glad that God is also a dominating factor but I need to be honest-  as I have spent time training for this race, I have found that my "quiet time" with God has taken a back seat at times.  Though God comes along with me on my runs, I need to be aware of the importance of daily quiet time with Him.  I have made one adjustment to my schedule this week- I am making my boys' lunches at night so that I have some extra time in the morning.  Just spending a few extra minutes with God helps to set the tone for my day and align myself with His agenda. 

I am surprised but glad that Glenn's name is as large as it is.  He is my training partner for this race and this life- might sound corny but it's true.

The last theme I'd like to comment on is TIME.  Time is such a crucial element when training for a marathon- the training programs are structured to get you to your race time goal.  Time is also something I wish I had more of at different times in my day...  more time with God, more time with my boys, more time without my boys, more time to run, more time to sleep, more time with Glenn... and on and on.  But none of us can add time to our day by wishing we had more- instead we need to be content with the place we are, the people around us, and the life stage we are in. 

I love the way Paul says it in Philippians 4:11-12 (He is in prison when he writes this letter)- "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."  My hope and prayer is to learn to be content with whatever I have and to make time to do what is important.

If a friend did a word spindle of your life right now, what words would be "big and bold"?  What words do you want to stand out in your word picture?



Friday, September 7, 2012

Longest run yet!

Yesterday Glenn and I went out for our longest training run.  We both had to do around 17 miles and fortunately we could run together.  Glenn is on vacation this week so we got the kids to school and headed to the trail.  After dropping Desi off at doggie daycare, we parked at the trailhead off Gun Highway to run the Upper Tampa Bay trail (Citrus Park trail).

At the start:  Gearing up with gels, water, sports drink, IPods and headphones, we started our run around 8:30 am. 

Photo: Here we go!
Before the run (I didn't take an after)
Mile 1:  Glenn has been starting out real slow when he runs so we plodded along (it felt so slow) but actually wasn't bad- around 10:40 minute mile.

Mile 2-6:  After the first mile we maintained a average mile pace of 10:30 and worked our way to the end of the trail which was about 6 miles.  I wasn't sure what we would talk about for 3 hours of running so the night before I kept telling him that I would wait to tell him stuff on our run.  Then when we got to the run, I forgot a lot of my conversation starters and was uncharacteristically quiet.  Glenn, who is not a big conversationalist, had to carry the conversation.  We recalled that when we were training for our first marathon we ran the majority of our runs with my friend, Leah.  She is a great runner and the two of us would talk away while Glenn settled in behind us, listening to our conversation.  Now Glenn and I plodded along together, trying to think of things that we could talk about- I don't think the conversation was memorable enough to blog about.

Mile 6:  At this point, we had to turn around and run back 6 miles to the start of the trail.  We "gelled" up and refilled our water bottles.  Time to start the hot run back...

Mile 7.5:  I stopped to use the bathroom.  We found a map that marked the trail miles so we decided on a route to complete all 18 miles.  Then we headed back to the trail...

Mile 7.5 to Mile 10:  I got a little ahead of Glenn at this point.  I picked up the pace, just a little- averaging around 10:20.  At this point I started to use my IPod and jammed out to some music- Black Eyed Peas, The Avett Brothers, Hillsong- my run playlist is a mix between dance music and Christian praise songs. 

Mile 10:  A older man on a bike stopped me to give me a tract about Jesus- I took it from him, thanking him and letting him know that I know Jesus.  This was followed up by a "hey baby" from another man who was biking by.  Weird!!

Mile 10-11:  At this point I was trying to maintain my pace but the heat was getting to me.  It was around 10:00 am, hot & humid.  My water in my Nathan was getting low so I was looking forward to filling up at the next water station. 

Mile 11-12:  Then it started RAINING- POURING to be exact.  It felt so good- I was so hot at this point.  The rain was like a treat from heaven.  I kept on going- not thinking about the fact that I was wearing my IPhone which probably shouldn't get wet. 

Mile 12:  I made it to the water station WHICH WAS EMPTY- NOOOOO.  The rain was still coming down and Glenn had caught up.  We decided to head to the car to unload our IPods and get some water which we had in a cooler.  At this point we decided to run 4 more miles, making it an even 16 miles.  After hydrating, we headed back out to run out 2 miles then back 2 miles. 

Mile 12-14:  Glenn took off at a good pace and I found myself behind him.  My legs were sore- definitely hard to stop then start again.  Quickly I found my legs and pushed through the next 2 miles. 

Miles 14-16:  At the turn around Glenn was feeling some soreness in his legs- I was feeling good so I picked up the pace for the last 2 miles, around 10 minute miles.  We both finished the run- glad to be done but also glad that we completed it.

After the run:  After we sucked down some more water and sports drink, we made our way back home.  First we stopped at 7-Eleven- Glenn insisted we stopped for the biggest Powerade drink we could find.  I went inside- definitely looking a little more presentable that Glenn (he sweats a lot)- and bought him a Double Big Gulp (I didn't even know they made Double Big Gulps).  I got a chocolate milk which was awesome. 

At home:  We had about 1 1/2 hours before the boys came home from school so we both rested our sore bodies and I ate 2 hot dogs (organic- they were sooooo good).  Later that night, we went to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza for wings, pizza and beer- YUMMY!  After burning around 1500 calories, we could afford a good dinner. 

Next week:  I have a 18 miler to complete which I will do solo after dropping the boys at school.  Glenn will also have a long run to complete on his own.

In the future:  On November 4th, we will get to run New York City together and I am sure we will have lots to talk about! 

Glenn, I am so glad you decided to take on this challenge with me!  You Rock!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

9 weeks & counting...

9 weeks from now, I will be off and running 26.2 miles for the third time in 13 years.  I ran my first marathon in 1999 in Washington, D.C. and my second marathon in 2000 in Baltimore, MD.  With my 40th birthday right now the corner, I have decided to run another marathon.  With a 1 out of 9 chance of being picked by lottery to run the NYC marathon, luck was on my side- receiving the invitation & hefty credit card charge last April.  As luck would have it, my husband, Glenn, was also selected by lottery to run the marathon.  Not sure if he would call it luck- he likes to remind me that this was all my idea which in turn I remind him nicely that I will not let him sign up to run another marathon.  On November 5, I am sure we will both be happy that we chose to run the NYC marathon.

Another race is being run and the winners will also cross the finish line during the first week of November.  This race takes a lot more resolve, discipline, determination and passion than my own marathon race.  This race is the 2012 Presidential Race which Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan have chosen to compete against President Obama & Vice-President Biden.  The winners of this race will have a huge impact on the direction of our country and future for our children.

Glenn and I had the privilege to attend the Republican National Convention on Thursday night- the final night of the Convention.  Since we live in Tampa, we were able to acquire tickets from my husband's job which I was thrilled to accept.  We got a first hand look at the security & police force that protect the event attendees, the political celebrities that attended the event (we saw former Mayor Guiana in a black SUV) and witnessed first hand, hopefully, history in the making.  I had watched the previous nights on television so I was already familiar with the tone and message that the Republican Party was relaying about Governor Mitt Romney.  Though our seats were not close or even front and center, we were able to see a potential President speak live which might never happen again in my lifetime.  From seeing Clint Eastwood interview the "President" to listening to Marco Rubio's inspiring speech to hearing Mitt Romney lay out his plan for the United States, I was proud to be an American- thankful for the country I was blessed to be born in.  The night ended with tons of police on horseback forming a barrier between attendees and protesters- protesters that were peaceful & respectful.  I will never forget my night as a political fan at the RNC in Tampa.

Ready to go into RNC

Romney & Ryan- picture courtesy from the nosebleed seats

This morning I was scheduled to run a 12 mile training run.  Not too thrilled with this "challenge" since I did not get much sleep, ate chicken fingers & fries, and drank little water while at the convention so I would not have to use the bathroom.  I decided to not let these challenges stand in my way and started out at 8 am for my 12 mile run.  After a hot & humid start, I took Desi my dog home at mile 4 and headed back out for another 8.  I was very encouraged at my run pace for the next 8- logging in a 8:40 for mile 10 and 8:08 for mile 11.  Overall I ran an average mile pace of 9:51. 

This upcoming week's miles increase again with a 17 mile training run on Thursday.  Glenn is on a stay-acation so we will be able to run together- YEAH! 

I continue to remain encourage with my dedication and determination to get my runs in and stay on track to run an injury-free marathon.  My hope is that I will not lose my focus as the weekly mileage increases for the month of September.  I will definitely be leaning on the verse- Philippians's 4:13 "I can do all things in Jesus who gives me strength".  Happy running!

Courtesy of Saucony Strong Project


Monday, August 27, 2012

Raising Money for Africa- Interview with Matt

Today's post will be an interview with my son, Matt, about his idea to raise money for Africa through my NYC marathon run.  Matt has been reading the book, "Take Your Best Shot" by Austin Gutwein.  At the age of 9 years old, Austin wanted to raise money for Africa by shooting basketballs.  His one act of obedience resulted in "over a million dollars in international AIDS relief and built a school and medical clinic in Zambia".  I sat down with Matt to ask him a few questions about his money campaign to provide clean water for kids in Africa.

1)  How old are you and what grade are you in?
I am 9 and in 4th grade.

2)  Have you ever raised money for anything?
No- but I have donated money at Sports Camp this summer.  I think it was for clean water for Haiti.

Sports Camp 2012

3)  What has motivated you to challenge others to donate money to World Vision for clean water?
So people can have clean water.

4)  How did you come up with the idea?
Reading the Austin book with my mom- Austin talked about marathon running is a way to raise money.
Amazon pic

5)  How do you plan to raise money for this cause?
We might do a lemonade stand or a yard sale. 

1 Timothy 4:10-12 "Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.  Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity."

If you are interested in donating money for clean water through World Vision in support of my marathon run, go to
ING New York City Marathon 2012: Mrs. Jennifer Gemmill - Team World Vision


Monday, August 20, 2012

Where has the time gone?

My boys are starting 4th grade and 2nd grade tomorrow.  Sometimes it feels like they should be 4 and 2 again.  Where has the time gone?  My heart aches as I think back to the earlier days when I had two little boys running around the house- tomorrow I have two big boys entering another year of elementary school.

Matt- 3 years, Jake- 8 months (2005)
Beach 2012
So many questions run through my mind as I flipped through a photo album from their first few years of life.  Did I enjoy the moments or was I always busy "doing"?  Were they happy?  Was I happy?  We look happy but sometimes it feels like such a blur- it was so hard when they were so little.  Did I do enough- enough of whatever they needed at the time to develop into well-adjusted children?  We receive so little training on how to be a parent that at times the average mommy can feel very unequipped to do her job. 

Matt- 4 years, Jake 2 years (2006)
Beach 2008

I know you can't go back but if I could, what would I do differently? 
Clean less, play more.  Worry less, laugh more.  Be busy less, listen more. 

Be silly more!

But I am not through this journey called parenthood and I still have plenty of time to "do more" with these sweet boys.  Not entertain more or buy more or indulge more but really listen when they tell me a funny story, sit & play Legos even though I have many other things that I could do, read together every night and continue to kiss, hug and speak words of affection to their sweet little hearts. 

Beach 2010
I do not want to go back to the younger years- those of you in the thick of it know how difficult it can be- sleepless nights, dirty diapers, potty training, terrible twos tantrums, etc...  But what I will take away from the ache for yesterday is that I need to be more intentional to live in the moment.  The moments with our kids go by so fast and we can get caught wishing for the next stage to come.  Each day is a blessing- one that should not be taken for grant as is each stage of our children's lives.  Each stage has the good, the bad and the ugly but once that stage is done, we can never go back.  So savor each stage for what it is and enjoy your kids-  before you know it that journey will be over & they will be grown. 

Christmas 2011

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Tribute to my Girlfriends

I spent an amazing weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado with 5 awesome ladies- my dearest friends from high school (we were missing one since she just had a baby). 

Breckenridge 2012

We graduated about 20 years ago and have remained friends ever since.  Some of us went to college together but we all continued to have contact with each other through out our twenties.  One of the girls, Terry, set me up on a blind date with my now-husband, Glenn.  A couple of the girls I have known since elementary school.

Senior Year, 1991

The fact that we are still in contact is amazing but what is more incredible is that we go away on an annual trip each year.  These trips started when my husband and I moved to Tampa in 2003.  Our move to Tampa was an excuse for a road trip from the Maryland girls.  After Tampa's trip, three of us got pregnant which left only 3 available for the next trip which was Las Vegas.  These three were troopers and braved Vegas :)which helped to establish our annual trip.  Our trips have included:

2005:  New Orleans- Jazz Festival
2006:  Miami, FL
2007:  Chicago, ILL
2008:  Estes Park, CO for Courtney's wedding
2009:  Boston, Mass
2010:  Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival
2011:  Block Island, RI for Andrea's wedding
2012:  Breckenridge, CO

Jazz Festival, 2005

Chicago, 2007

Courtney's wedding, 2008

Epcot Food & Wine Festival, 2010
Andrea's wedding, 2011

Next year we all turn 40 and are planning a special trip still to be determined.  We will also be celebrating 10 years of girls' weekends. 

So I'd like to say a special thanks to our husbands who volunteer to watch our sweet children while we go on these trips.  Without their support we could not make these special weekends happen.  I'd also like to say thank you to the LPHS ladies who make this trip a priority each year- only births or deaths have kept us away.  The bond we share as friends is special to me- the ease in which we reconnect to each other is refreshing- the support we give each other in good or bad times is rare.  Thanks for being a part of my life- you are an amazing group of friends!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beach Bliss- Training Blues

Last week we spent a great time at the beach with my family.  We went to Topsail, North Carolina which is located near Wilmington, NC.  My family stayed with my sister's family and my parents stayed in a house with my brother's family.  Our house was beachfront which was the first time we have stayed on the beach.  It was amazing- we had easy access to the beach-lunch, bathroom and rest breaks were a breeze.  Every morning we woke up listening to the ocean waves.  The house we rented was perfect for our families- the cousins had a great time hanging out together for a week.

Our beach house

The boys at the beach

Patio playground

While at the beach, Glenn and I had planned on running a long run together.  Unfortunately this didn't happen for a variety of reasons.  I was disciplined to wake up early two mornings to get in a 6 & 8 mile run.  Glenn also did 2 runs- 5 & 6 miles.  Each of us had feet issues on this trip. 

Glenn got several foot blisters which forced him to take it easy for the remainder of the week.  I have been dealing with some heel pain which seems to be my nemesis injury.  Off and on during my running & tennis "careers", I have had problems with heel pain.  Usually I can heal it with rest & care.  So I decided to take it easy the rest of the week- no reason to push myself with 14 weeks of training left.

Glenn's nasty foot blisters

On the trip I bought a book with me called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  My good friend, Wendy, who is also running the NYC marathon recommended this book to me after I mentioned my heel pain.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book for many reasons.  The book follows the story of a man's search for pain-free natural running which leads him to researching the practices of Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and ultra-marathoners in the United States.  It is pro-barefoot or minimal running, building the case against the use of shoes that promote heel-striking running.  As a lover of running, I was intrigued with the ultra-runner community (though I have no desire to run an ultra-marathon).  I also found a lot of good advice about running techniques which has caused me to evaluate my own running technique. 
Courtesy of Amazon

Due to my constant foot & heel pain, I am going to slowly change my running gait as well as my running shoes.  When we returned on Sunday, I went out for a 3 mile run and focused on my foot strike, trying to land on my mid-foot and not the heel.  I immediately noticed a difference in my foot pain.  The next day I ran 5-6 miles which I did at a slower pace than normal, continuing to work on landing on my mid-foot and keeping my foot under my hips and not out in front. 

Wearing my Brooks Trance, which has a high heel sole, made it challenging to take the heel strike totally out of the picture.  Luckily there are great blogs about running that are easy to find and I located a blog called Runblogger @  I found great information about shoes and technique.  I am not looking to get into barefoot running but I need to change something in order to get rid of my chronic foot pain.  So I am going to go shoe shopping today- looking at the Brooks PureFlow and Saucony Kinvara as possible shoes. 
Saucony Kinvara

Brooks Pureflow

Running is a physical, mental and emotional challenge at times- right now I am experiencing a physical challenge which I am confident I can overcome.  I am lifting this up to God in prayer but I also believe that God wants you to help yourself as well.  Sometimes we need to be actively praying but also actively participating in the solution. 

For example, on my 6 mile run at the beach, I was discouraged that I was still feeling the pain in my heel.  I kept running, praying that God would carry me through my training, getting me to the marathon in New York.  When I got home, I checked my email and I had an email from Runner's World titled "Fix Your Feet Fast".  It was advertising a book about foot care & injury prevention.  What a coincidence- you might say!  But I believe when we give it to God, there are no coincidences.  So what did I do?  I ordered the book- I can actively participant in the solution by researching my options while asking God to take away the pain.  Either way I know that He got me in (marathon) and He will carry me through!

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in ME will carry it on to completion.." Phil. 1:6