Monday Found

Photo by  blog.releasemyad.com

           Photo by blog.releasemyad.com

I had no idea western Washington had monsoon season.  But it does.  It’s been raining off and on for several days now.  Great for quenching the forest fires blazing in eastern Washington and close to home as well.  Yet…humidity.  Running feels like swimming, only without the tension of donning a swimsuit.  Your arms and legs churn through the hybrid air-liquid atmosphere. You take in great gulps of damp ether and a few raindrops, too. Your eyelids act like windshield wipers, fluttering rapidly at times to keep visibility a reality.

The rain had slowed down to a mizzle.  You know, that delightful place between a mist and drizzle.  You didn’t feel it falling on you, as the outside temp and the precipitation were one and the same. Today’s training plan entry said “2.5 miles EZ”.  Well, assuming EZ=easy, I could do that.  Of course, the Garmin took awhile to start up because it was snowing in space.  Ask Bill Murray.  Anyway, I loped around downtown, searching out streets with lights going.  The morning, predawn, resembled a black and white painting, with points of light scattered throughout. I ran past City Hall, the county courthouse and two commissioners’ homes. I strode past the police departments and the post office. I hit all the hot spots.I stopped looking at my watch except to check distance.

Nothing memorable occurred, except that I found my pace. My groove.  Not too fast, not too slow.  It’s been missing for a long, long time. Some of you who know me in person get that I don’t relax on cue.  I take awhile to switch into that mode.  Today, I felt like I found a long-lost friend. I pray I get to know this friend better.

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Friday Finale

I-Run-To-Burn-Off-The-Crazy

It’s Friday.  And what a week it’s been.

This week had a theme:  Learn something new every day!

Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with the Department of Revenue, as they had questions about a form I submitted.  Over and over.  Good times. I learned a lot, though. Thank God for the people who notice your mistakes before months go by, eh?

I sold a garbage truck to the county. I learned something here, too. Who knew grabber arms were a separate asset?  Not this gal. Is it bad that this is one of my favorite parts of the job?

I attended a conference on Enterprise Content Management.  We got candy, Band-Aids, plastic compasses and barf bags.  That’s a story unto itself.

I’m working the half marathon training plan. I did 30 minutes of kettlebells today. Can’t emphasize enough the importance of cross-training. I kinda wish the plan had more running in it.  But I’m only in the first week, so that should tell me something.

Ruby’s friend from down the street carved her a walking stick.

“I’m gonna keep it by my bed, Mom,” she told me.

“Why?” I asked, envisioning early morning accidental impaling.

“Well,” she told me, eyes wide, “I’m real tired in the morning. I can barely get out of bed.  I need something to help me.” She bent over, shuffling along like a living fossil.

You heard it here first, folks.  After age 9 it’s all downhill.

Setting the Goal

I signed up for this.  It’s in 9 weeks.

What have I done?

In truth, of the 5 halfs I’ve run, this one has been my favorite.  Why?  Lots of reasons.  It’s held in Portland, my hometown. The race is run by people in goofy costumes – capes, leotards, masks. The energy from the thousands crowding the starting line is palpable. It’s a 5K, a 10K and a half marathon.  I can’t imagine running 13 miles in a cape and a diaper, but some brave souls do. The first few miles of the course go up, up, up into the West Hills of Portland.  Then it levels off. Then, glory to God, it heads downhill paralleling the Willamette.

I haven’t raced since September 2014.  It feels like a lifetime ago that I ran the You Go Girl Half. So much has changed with me going back to work full-time and all of it has played into running taking a backseat.  I can only hope all the minor injuries sustained over the last year and the subsequent recovery from them will help me be stronger this time around.

My base miles near negligible, I found a beginner plan to follow.  Am I beginner?  Not mentally.  But physically, at this point in time, yes. And I’m okay with that. Let the training begin.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
 – Hebrews 12:1

Jesus and the Brothers

Photo courtesy of carmelitemonastery.org.

Photo courtesy of carmelitemonastery.org.

Why is Jesus always in a white robe?  This seems impractical to me.  Okay.  Moving on…

I’m finally in the New Testament in my Bible reading plan.  Huzzah!  I couldn’t stomach any more Old Testament.  No offense, but I needed something with hope.  I do hope the majority of today’s prophets aren’t such downers. Anyway, reading Matthew 4 today, I noticed something:

 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,  and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. – Matthew 4:18-22

This occurs in the narrative after John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  Then the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness (v.1-11). Jesus withdrew for a time, and started his preaching ministry (v.17). Those were important events.  But what caught my eye is who Jesus drew to Himself.

Brothers.

The very first disciples of Jesus were a pair of brothers – Simon, whom we know as Peter, and his brother Andrew.  They fished for a living.  Then, Jesus, fishing Himself at this point, picked up another set of brothers, the sons of Zebedee (later dubbed Sons of Thunder) – James and John. In the past, I always thought it kind of handy that Jesus chose four disciples in one fell swoop.  Bam!  He didn’t have to travel from small town to small town, collecting them like pebbles off a beach.

Which begs the question:  why fishermen?  Could it be these men had formed a dependence on God, drawing their livelihood from the sea?  They learned to read the sky and the water, deciphering the language of nature about when and where to fish. They knew if God didn’t cause fish to bumble into their nets, they’d be broke. Their training,  battling the capricious waves, set them up to learn to fish for the real prize:  people.

But now, why brothers?  Brothers, given good circumstances, forge a supreme team over time. They’ve discovered how to work together, how to complement each other instead of compete against each other. I also think it shows how the Lord loves families. He desires for entire families to know Him, to follow Him.  Believing in Jesus can divide families, yes, but it doesn’t have to.  It can bring great unity and joy.  The intimacy that comes from belonging in a human family can deepen further once the individual members know Christ. They have a double bond that time and distance can’t sever.

God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy...- Psalm 68:6

Lose Myself

I feel like I’m finally turning a corner. It’s only taken 8 months (ha!), but I’m fully transitioned to working full-time. I’m on track at work to get things done. Jonathon and I are finding a balance with work, church and home. Is everything perfect?  No.  Will it ever be?  No. And that’s okay.

But I think it’s time to spend myself like currency.  After all, time is what we have to give. I can listen more closely to that still, small voice, and serve others.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. – Matthew 16:25

The Seeker

JesusAkiane

Have you ever spent time asking God for some of His best gifts?  By best, I mean a baby.  A spouse.  Healing of a relationship. Since God’s priority is and always has been people – not things – I believe He loves it when we seek Him for changes surrounding the people in our lives.

I keep coming back to this scripture:

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” – Matthew 7:7-11

Jesus was talking to His disciples here, and anyone else who cared to listen, during the Sermon on the Mount. And no, I don’t know why the answers tarry sometimes.  I’ve heard it said that it builds our faith.  It demonstrates our total dependence on the Lord.  I can see that.  I’ve also heard some say it’s all about patience.  We need to wait for the right people to be in the right place at the right time for the circumstances to clear up. Makes sense.

For me, I think it has much to do with proving the character of God.  Do we truly believe He has good in mind for us?  When the answers don’t come on our schedule.  We pass through another month without a baby to look forward to.  The boss at our job continues to harangue us for things we didn’t do. For singles, our future spouse, whoever he or she may be, doesn’t announce themselves with an orchestral “Ta da!”

But this is when our faith, patience and belief in God’s eternally good nature rise to the surface.  Our true colors bleed through when our strength fails. The test reveals our inner selves. Yet it’s never been about us and our abilities.  We don’t have it in us to conjure up the solution. Let’s keep praying.  Let’s keep praising. Let us keep asking, seeking and knocking. If we hold on, He will not fail.

Eight Months

Today is August 13.  As I suck down my blue-green smoothie (don’t judge) and somnambulant from Ruby’s nocturnal visit, I consider the days.  Eight months ago today, I started working at the city.  I had no idea how many boxes I’d look through.  Some had screened dried poop in plastic bags.  No lie.  When you build a wastewater treatment plant, tests are part of the gig.  I’ve sneezed a lot, poring over old maps of Mason County species habitats.  How could I forget these guys?

Mazama pocket gopher.

Mazama pocket gopher. Someone needs a dentist, pronto.

Which begs the question:  are there backpack gophers?  Tabletop gophers?  Anyone?

In my other role, I’ve processed dozens of invoices. I’ve learned about BARS codes, a very little. I’ve covered the front desk and picked up the building inspection process.  I’ve drafted documentation policies.  I’ve issued contracts. I’ve attended trainings off site. Along the way, I’ve met great people, serving the city with their amazing skills and abilities.

I’m grateful to my coworkers, for easing me into working full-time again after nearly 10 years of short-term part-time jobs and full-time mommying.  I’m thankful to God for this position, to grow and have opportunities to try new things.

What will I learn in the next 8 months?  I look forward to finding out.