Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sports Camp 2012

This past week I spent my nights volunteering at our church's sports camp.  Every year my church hosts a 5 day long sports camp for the community to share the love of Jesus and sports with children.  I have been a head coach for the last 3 years and this year I was able to take a step back and volunteer as a team mom for football.  It was fun to volunteer without being in charge of a group of kids.  I was able to spend more time talking to kids about Jesus, answer some tough questions from the youth volunteers and got to know the other coaches. 

Sports Camp runs from about 5-9 pm from Sunday through Thursday and allowing kids to pick one sport or activity to participate in all week long.  Matt picked hockey for his 3rd year in a row and Jake participated in art.  Each night the kids come back to the sanctuary for a pep rally and a guest speaker.  The speakers are usually competitive athletes that are followers of Christ. 

The first night of camp we had Tropical Storm Debby rain down on the Tampa Bay area but sports camp went off as planned.  Attendance was down for the first night which was a shame because the speaker for Sunday night was great.  Eighteen year old Austin Gutwein came to speak to the kids about serving God and not letting one's age get in the way.  At the age of 9, Austen decided to help raise money for AIDS in Africa by shooting basketballs.  He started an organization called "Hoops for Hope" and has raised over 1 million dollars for his cause.  He also wrote a book called "Take your Best Shot" which we bought at camp.  My oldest, Matt and I have been reading it together.  It is a great book especially for anyone who wants to go and do something beyond yourself by help others. 

Monday and Tuesday night speakers were both physically challenged athletes.  David Prince lost his leg in his late teens in a motorcycle accident.  He didn't let the loss of his limb stop him- he decided to make some positive changes in his life and is now a competitive runner.  He runs the 400 m dash and won the gold in the 2011 Parapan Olympic games.  Michael Atherton lost both legs and one arm when he involved in a boat explosion in the Tampa Bay area in 2009.  He was a competitive water skier prior to the accident and has gotten back into it despite his physical limitations.  Both speakers were followers of Christ and spoke about how God has worked in their lives in the midst of tragedies.

Wednesday night speaker was Asif Shaikh.  Asif is a friend of our family- Asif and his wife, Leah live in the Lutz area and their daughters go to school with my kids.  Asif and Leah are missionaries to the students at University of South Florida- GO Bulls!  He recently came back from the US Olympic Track & Field trials in Oregon (he bought me back some compression socks!) and is heading to the Olympics in London in a few weeks.  He is going to the Olympics as a chaplain.  Asif bought a friend with him to the camp- he bought a USF Bulls basketball player, Jordan, who loves the Lord AND is 7'3". 
7'3" Jordan signing autographs

Matt & Jake with Jordan

Kids with Asif Shaikh- Go Team USA

Thursday night wrapped up with lots of singing and praising the Lord.  Parents joined the celebration as Sports Camp 2012 came to an end.  Mr. Bryce gave out these great sunglasses as a reminder for the kids that they are "good to go" and serve the Lord. 

Pep Rally on Thursday night

Matt & Jake with cool shades & Miss Julie
My boys had a great week and I did too! 

Boys are ready for fun!

Good times with friends

Looking forward to Sports Camp 2013.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I run because I can

I run- not because I am the fastest, tallest, quickest runner- I do it because I can.

Women's Half in St. Pete

I run because I am blessed to have 2 strong legs and an able healthy body that can log multiple runs each week.

I run to keep my body healthy and strong.

Saucony ad

I run for my kids so that they see a mom who takes care of her body and views physical fitness as a privilege, not to be taken for granted.

Women's Tri in Orlando

I run with my husband- taking time to spend "shoulder time" together.

I run even when I want to rest- I try to push myself to set goals that are obtainable and challenge myself to continue to strive for my best.

Goal- NYC marathon 2012

I run because it is cheaper than most sports. 

I run for the solitude- time spent alone with God and my thoughts.

I run because others can't run.

I run the race marked out for me- the one that God has ordained for me.

Psalm 1:2 "But her delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law she meditates day and night".

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Slow Down.......

That is what my body was telling me on Monday but I choose to power through the week then ended up sick & on the couch all day on Friday.  Thankfully I could rest with my boys at VBS all morning and 2 sweet friends who took the boys home for me after VBS.  Though I wasn't horribly sick, I needed some rest & medicine.  Summer break isn't the ideal time for moms to get sick- many of us are home with kids needing supervision and entertainment. 

Needless to say, my work-out schedule was not a success this week.  This was disappointing because I was so excited to have my mornings free to run since my boys were attending VBS at a local church. 

Monday-  I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat but figured I would feel better as the day went on.  I took the boys to VBS- I think there were about 2000 children in attendance.  I wanted to go for a 7-8 mile run but as soon as I left the neighborhood I felt like I had to "go to the bathroom"- I hate when that happens.  So I stayed close to home and only logged in about 5 miles.  Afterwards, I started cleaning & laundry before picking up the boys from VBS.  Later in the afternoon I took my oldest to a free indoor hockey clinic. 

Tuesday-  My husband and I planned to go to the track on Tuesday night.  He gave up a tennis match in order to keep our track "date".  So I didn't need to work-out when the boys were at VBS.  I scheduled a coffee date with a woman from church.  After VBS, I had a 1 1/2 hour conference call with our financial planner.  I then took the boys to the dentist at 2:30 pm- no cavities!  When Glenn got home at 6 pm, I was tired from the day but also from my cold.  But I knew I could power through our track time- we were only doing 4x800s.  We took the boys and the dog.  It was a fun way to spend the night as a family.

Wednesday-  I was suppose to run at 5 am with my friends but I canceled it knowing that I wasn't feeling great and I was scheduled to teach at church that morning.  I wanted to make sure I had enough rest so that I could be fresh for bible study.  My throat was still sore.... before VBS I rescued a small snake who was wrapped in a band aid (weird story), boys got a ride to/from VBS from a friend who witnessed the snake rescue, taught a 2 hour bible study class on quiet time, had a lunch play date with a girlfriend and her 2 daughters, then dog training class for Desi.

Thursday-  I got up at 7 am to do a 40 minute yoga tape.  It felt good to stretch and strengthen- I planned a long run on Friday.  After VBS drop-off, I had a breakfast with a friend, then meet with a roofer about our 17 year old roof.  I picked up boys from VBS, quickly went to buy used indoor hockey skates for Matt, drop boys at friend's house so I could attend an afternoon tea with Jake's teacher & other parents.  Later that night, I went to a book club for "The Story" at a girlfriend's house and didn't get home until 10 pm. 

Friday-  When Friday morning came along I woke up feeling yucky.  My run was definitely canceled, along with the play dates I had scheduled for my boys.  Luckily both moms could have the play dates at their houses so I would have a few more hours to rest from my cold.  After dropping the boys at VBS, I had to go to Target for some groceries.  When checking out, I dropped a glass jar of salsa on the ground- it splattered everywhere.  No one was hurt and the Target people were very friendly and helpful- I was very embarrassed but really just tired and looking forward to some much needed rest.  I spent the rest of the afternoon, drinking hot tea and water while watching old episodes of "Bones".  I played solitaire on my Nook and took a little nap.  Matt spent the night at his friend's house so Glenn, Jake and I watched "Thor" on Netflix while eating Boli pizza. 

Saturday-  I woke up this morning feeling a whole lot better.  I spent my morning on the pool deck with the Lord, praying & reading my Bible.  I realized that I just didn't listen to my body and kept pushing when I should have rested.  Sometimes I do the same thing in my spiritual life- instead of just waiting, resting, listening for the Lord, I sometimes choose to push ahead of Him and His plans for me.  I get anxious for things to happen and start to move when I should stay or act when I need to wait.  When that happens I usually end up exhausted and tired- needing some spiritual rest.  I could stay myself some time and energy by being obedient in the first place- relying on His timing and listening to His voice.

I shared my "crazy-detailed" schedule with you because I bet you can relate- we are all so busy, running from here to there.  In order for my "running schedule" to stay in tact, I need to slow down in my day to day schedule.  I need to get lots of rest and good nutrition which will help my body stay strong and not get run down.  The same goes with my "spiritual schedule"- I need to prioritize time with God so that I can have more peace, patience, kindness, and direction in my life.  To stay strong spiritual I need to protect my time with God- make a daily commitment to be in His Word. 
Malachi 2:16 says "So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith."

I thought our summer time schedule would be easier, less hectic- this week has proven me wrong.  How do you keep yourself from becoming run down physically and/or spiritually?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer break- the good, the bad & the ugly

Every summer I look forward to time with my boys but after about the first week of summer vacation I start to wonder if I am going to survive it.  I love my boys but they are boys- they are loud, messy, active, LOUD.... they are rarely calm and quiet which has caused all kinds of adjustments to be made to my daily routine. 

Today is Saturday and we have officially survived our first week off-  was it a success?  We had our moments- good, bad & ugly- but overall we survived. 

With some creative planning I was able to complete my training for the week-
  • Tuesday track night as a family,
  • Wednesday 5 am run with friends,
  • Thursday morning 10 miler while sitter watched boys and 
  • Friday Date Night 4 mile run with another couple. 
This morning I am finally finding a free moment to write in my blog because my free moments have been few and far between.  I also successful found time to have some quiet time with the Lord-
  • snatching up quick moments to read my Oswald Chamber's devotion book,
  • working on my Kelly Minter study on Nehemiah and 
  • some meaningful moments in prayer.
With my boys I started a schoolwork routine which I hope to remain committed to this summer.  We cleaned, well really purged their bedrooms and playroom of knick-knacks, unused toys and junk while reorganizing the zillion army men, Star Wars figures and Lego blocks that they own.  I started working with our dog, Desi, to cure his lizard & frog addiction- it is going to be a hard habit to break but I need to get him off his lizard fixation.  When he is off leash in our yard, he is obsessed with chasing and catching lizards. 

lizard addicted dog

We finished off our first week home with a trip to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin.  This dolphin was the inspiration to the movie, Dolphin Tales.  We live about 50 minutes from Clearwater but had yet to make the trip to see this extraordinary mammal.  We had a fun time- exploring the aquarium and viewing sea life that has been rehabilitated from many different injuries.  It was inspiring to me to read how people who have suffered life debilitating injuries have found hope and inspiration from visiting the dolphin, Winter and seeing how she has overcome her disability.  At the end of the day with a Dairy Queen blizzard in hand, my oldest son, Matt said that "this was the best day ever".  Jake wasn't so sure about that but I think he had fun as well.
At Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Tomorrow is Father's Day- I plan to thank God for my father and grandfathers.  They have been godly influences on me and my family.  I also am very thankful for my husband, Glenn, who is a wonderful father- he loves his boys and by loving their mommy is showing them how to become good men of character one day. 

Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday night at the track

Getting ready to run a marathon involves multiple training routines.  An important component to add to your work-out schedule is a speed or tempo day.  After work on Tuesday Glenn and I headed out to our local track to engage in our first speed work-out.  I have been reading up about different tempo or track work-outs and decided on a one I found in a book called "4 Months to the 4 Hour Marathon" by David Kuehls. 

We packed up the boys- taking scooters, toys, paper & crayons, and Nook & IPhone (just in case).  We planned on doing a 10 minute warm-up, basically ran an easy mile.  The main set was 6x400, each 400 in 2 minutes with 2 minutes rest.  The warm-up went well so we headed into our main set.  The first 200 wasn't too bad- ran in right under 2 minutes.  The consecutive 200s went just as well- each 200 was run a little faster.  Glenn definitely outpaced me by 5 seconds.  Matt, our oldest, decided to run with us (in crocs).  He ended up doing 4 complete laps with rest between each leg.  Jake was drawing pictures of dragons and warriors.  We cooled down with 1/2 mile light jog.  The total miles for the work-out was 3 miles. 

Matt finishing up his lap

Matt cooling down

Jake drawing dragons

While we were cooling down, the boys were watching two young men play catch with a baseball.  The kids were fascinated by the speed and distance these men were able to throw.  Matt was able to watch how each man used his body to throw the ball- which is something Glenn has been telling him he needs to work on.  Overall it was a nice family night- one full of activity finished up with a quick swim before eating grilled chicken, hot dogs and corn on the cob. 

Glenn and I have always enjoyed sports together- it seems to help us stay connected as a couple outside of being parents to 2 young boys.  Our boys are able to enjoy this time as well and by seeing us stay active it is setting a good example about the importance of physical activity.  It is also good for them to know that life doesn't revolve around them- that sometimes they have to entertain themselves while mommy & daddy do something together. 

What activities do you enjoy to do with your spouse?  Remember once those children are gone, it will be just the two of you again.  The most important relationship outside of your relationship with God should be with your spouse.  What can you do today to show your spouse he/she is important to you?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday training run

After going to church and attending a sports camp meeting, I got home around 2:30 pm and decided to head out for a training run.  I live in Florida so it is pretty much hot from about 8 am to 8 pm so I figured it wouldn't make much difference if I ran at 3 or 5 pm- it would still be hot.  Glenn offered to take the kids to the driving range so I headed out dog less for a 4 mile run.

It was pretty sticky and muggy but I able to maintain 9:25 mile per pace which felt pretty good.  Afterwards I did a quick strength training DVD-10 minutes of arm exercises and 5 minutes of leg exercises.  Overall my work-out went much better than I had anticipated. 

My kids just got out of school on Friday so this will be my routine for most of the summer.  I will need to make the most of the time I have and squeeze work-outs in when I can.  I am not a member of a gym so I can't drop my boys at childcare while I work-out.  I will need to be creative about my training schedule which I am sure is what most working moms are challenged with daily.  I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my kids and both boys are in elementary school full time so I usually run while they are at school.

I plan on starting my "official" marathon training routine in July- probably right after the 4th of July.  With the help of friends, babysitters and neighbors, I am hoping that Glenn and I can run our long training runs together.  It definitely helps to have a partner when you are running 15+ miles.  I am excited to begin my training and feel like I have been able to establish a good base these past few weeks.  I pray that we can stay injury-free while we train for the marathon.  I saw Madagascar 3 with my kids the other day and just seeing the sand sculpture of New York City got me excited about what's to come on November 4th. 

What summer work-out tips do you have?  What upcoming races are you training for? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Devotion Time

Lately I have been reading Ezra in the Old Testament during my quiet time. I have been slowly making my way through the OT, starting at Joshua (I skipped 1 & 2 Chronicles since they are very similar to 1 & 2 Samuel). God has been really speaking to me about how I approach Him- getting myself ready to hear from God.

In Ezra 3, the first thing the men started to rebuild in the temple was the altar for burnt offerings. This altar was located outside the temple- it would have been the first duty the priests performed before they entered the temple. This is also the place where the Israelites would have bought their sin offerings to present to God to atone for their sins. I think it is so cool that Ezra and his group of rebuilders knew that they needed to start with the burnt offering altar first before attempting to make anything else right in God's eyes.

In Ezra 6, the Israelites were ready to consecrate and dedicate the temple. This included a celebration of the Passover Feast. Most of these people had been in exile in Babylon for 70 years so many might have been celebrating Passover for the first time- definitely for the first time in Jerusalem. In Ezra 6:21 it says "So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of the Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel". So they "separated themselves from the unclean practices of the Gentile neighbors in order to seek God"- they didn't separate themselves from the Gentile neighbors, just their unclean practices. Having unclean practices is another way to clog up the communication line between you and God. One question I am asking myself is "What unclean practices do I need to separate myself from?" I made a list and glory to God, some of my practices I am seeing victory over while some are still a struggle. Thanks be to God that He will not leave you where you are- that He is interested in moving you forward in your walk with Him as long as you are willing.

What are you studying right now?  Has God been speaking a certain message to your heart? 
Matthew 6:33 says "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all things will be given to you as well."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Top 5 reasons why I love to run

Today is National Running Day.  Did you go for a run today?  If you are not a runner, you probably thinking a day like National Run Day is silly.  Why would anyone want to celebrate running?  But for runners, we don't need a reason like National Run Day to run- we just love it. 

So in honor of National Running Day, here are the top 5 things I love about running:

5.  Running can be done solo or in a group.  When I played tennis, I needed a partner to play.  Getting a run in doesn't depend on other people.  I love to run alone but I also enjoy running with my husband or dog or girlfriends. 

4.  Running is a great way to maintain your ideal weight.  I have played and competed in many types of sports but I love my running body.  I am able to keep the weight off by watching my diet but running allows me to eat bad stuff too- like wings, burgers, cookies or a glass of wine.

3.  Running can be spiritual as well.  I have had some of my best talks or ideas from God when I was running.  I just recently started a women's bible study at my church and I got the idea of our slogan while running.  Our theme is "Learn it, Live it, Love it"- I believe you have to Learn God's Word to be able to Live out God's Word then you will fall in Love with God's Word. 

2.  Running can be cheap.  When you are a runner, you really just need a good pair of shoes and comfortable running clothes.  Now you can make running expensive by the gear you buy or the type of shorts you wear but you don't have to do that in order to participate.  Last year I competed in 3 sprint triathlons.  Triathlons are expensive- you need multiple outfits (running clothes, bike shorts and swimsuit- also a tri-suit for race day).  You need a bike, helmet and bike shoes.  Most people do not have an Olympic size pool in their yard or neighborhood so you need to join a gym.  While triathlons are a lot of fun, they require more time and money for the participant.

1.  Running is about me competing against myself.  I am not a fast runner- I am decent.  I usually finish in the top 10-15% of my age group.  I like that I can compete against myself on race day- try for a faster time.  Same goes for my training runs- I can work on running my tempo runs faster or consistently running 9:00 minute miles during a 10 mile training run. 

So those are my top 5 reasons why I love running. 

What about you?  Why do you love to run?  What do you love about running?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting Ready to Run

Ok- I was getting ready for my run today and I realized that it probably takes me an extra 5 minutes to put on all my running gadgets. 

1.  I have to put my IPhone in my armband holder and attach my earbuds, put my Race ID bracelet and appropriately position my sunglasses and hat. 
2.  When running with my Desi, I have to attach my belt-leash contraption so that I can run hands free. (see picture below)
3.  Then I have to set my IPhone to my Nike App to track my distance and time, select my music and I am ready to go.
Running Gadgets

I hate to show my age but it didn't use to be this complicated.  When I started running 12 years ago, I would put on my running shoes and go.  Sometimes I might have a Walkman for my music or set my Timex Ironman watch to track my time but that was it- I didn't feel like Inspector Gadget when I left the house.
Jake modeling the hands free dog leash

So does all this stuff make me a more efficient runner?  I do LOVE my Nike App on my IPhone.  I love to know how far I went without getting in the car to drive the route afterwards.  I love that I can listen to my music while running or a sermon on a podcast.  I love it when Lance Armstrong tells me via Nike + that I had a great workout :).  I do feel safer having my Race ID.  So more efficient- maybe, more hip- definitely.

Does my running prep time relate to my bible study time?  Yes it does-  I have the similar routine when getting ready to hang with God.

1.  I need coffee- definitely love my coffee.
2.  I have to get my Bible, journal, 2 or 3 short devotion books and pen/pencils together.
3.  Lastly I need to find a quiet comfortable place to focus on God, which can sometimes be challenge depending on the day.

Then I am ready to pray, listen and read.

I have been follow God for about 7 years.  So does all this stuff make me a more efficient Christian?  I don't think so- it can sometimes make me a more distracted Christian- one that gets a "word" from God from other sources, rarely on my own.  Have you been to a Christian bookstore recently?  You can get a book on any Christian subject you want- we can busy ourselves with books on marriage, parenting, self-help, praying, serving, devotions, etc.  But are we busying ourselves in the most important book of all?  THE BIBLE. 

This summer I plan to spend my quiet time in the pages of my Bible- seeking His wisdom through the scripture I read.  I will be asking God to show me how to interpret and apply His Word to my life. 

What is your quiet time routine?  How do you plan to stay in the Word this summer?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Who am I following?

As I explore the "blog world" I am finding that there is a lot that can dominate my time and energy.  Just locating and checking out blogs that are similar to my own has been time-consuming enough then add Twitter to the mix and there goes the day. (Just kidding, Glenn, I really just haven't had time to iron your shirts)

As a Twitter-newbie, I really don't understand how to effectively use it.  Everyday I go on it, I learn something new.  Before I started blogging, I signed up for Twitter to enter a drawing to win a free I-Pad from Rush Limbaugh.  You just had to sign up and follow Rush and your name was entered into the drawing.  Unfortunately I did not win but my eyes became open to the world of Tweeting and Following.  It is a very unique device in social media.  I started out following a few bible study authors and my pastor.  Slowly my following list grew- currently I think I am following 11 people.  After using & exploring Twitter for a few weeks, I feel compelled to address what I see as the pros and cons of tweeting. 

Pros of Twitter:  First, it is a great way to get a message out to a large group of people.  Second, it is a great way for bloggers to alert their followers that they have written a new post on their page.  Lastly, a variety of encouraging and inspiring concise thoughts can reach more eyes which can have a tremendous impact on individuals. 

Cons of Twitter:  On the other hand, twitter is another tool that can consume people's time and energy instead of engaging in real live conversations and dialogues.  Lots of time can be wasted following other people who share things about the exercise they just completed, food they just consumed or goal they just tackled.  I am not sure if I would want to know this type of information from my good friends. Like anything in life- Twitter is better used in moderation.  Same thing could be said about blogging :)

So before I become sucked into this Tweety Little World- I am evaluating this one question:  Who am I following? 

I want to follow God- wholeheartedly and unabandoningly- but my vision of Him gets foggy and fuzzy when I have other "followings" get in my way.  My mind becomes focused on things that aren't bad but they distract me from being in tune to my God, or my kids, or taking care of my husband's wrinkled shirts.  These things are valuable to me- not if Sally Jo ran her 5 miles this morning or Susie Mae ate an organic apple with her lunch.  Now I am over dramatizing this a little but I promise to not tweet when I eat my yummy avocado and tomato salad or complete a training run.  I do promise to tweet amazing things that God lays on my heart with the hope that it will touch another's heart. 

My ironing pile
My intention is not to discredit Twitter or offend anyone that uses it for whatever purposes they see fit.  I mostly needed to write this for myself so that I vow to not make something like blogging or tweeting come between me and God- something that I started to bring Him glory can not be something that dims my light.

Do you tweet?  Have you tweeted your number one follower today?  God is waiting to here from you!