Monday, July 30, 2012


Do you like to push yourself? That feeling when your muscles start to burn deep inside, when you become aware of the air pumping in and out of your lungs, when you run out of steam, you're going on vapors, but you run on anyway?
In general, I don't.
I'm not really big on pain, or even discomfort. When I run, I usually listen to really loud, angry music to drown out my loud, angry thoughts. And while I do have goals of improvement, my progress isn't be as rapid as someone who thrives on testing their limits. I'll get there...eventually.
There are a few things that make it easier, though. I go to a gym where I can look around and see other people who have to work out too. It seems less unfair that way.
And, once every four years, the Olympics come on, and I actually kind of want to go run. I see these athletes who redefine human potential, who have honed one singular ability to near perfection, and have put their all on the line. I have no idea what they sacrifice to get there, but I admire it.
As I watch them while I jog my miles, I am reminded that, well, jogging my miles is not cruel and unusual. It is a worthy endeavor. And even if I'm uncomfortable when the treadmill hits 2.75, I can push on through, because there are other people who work way harder than that and survive.
So, even though I'm kind of wiped right now, I'm feeling pretty good because I showed those three miles who was boss.
And I'm grateful for the Olympic boxers who smacked the snot out of each other as I ran, reminding me that it could be worse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Little Lazy.

It has been a very long Wednesday. Verrrry Looong. Just today I've been to Broken Arrow, Bixby, Fort Gibson, and Fayetteville. I spent some quality time on back roads, a good part of that behind a semi flashing hazards. I lost cell service more than once. Now I know how the pioneers felt.  Okay, not really--I didn't have to shoot rabbits or ford the river--but still.

When at long last I got to the Hampton Inn, I remembered that one of my fave shows, So You Think You Can Dance, is on Wednesdays. There is cable here so I got to watch it live instead of waiting a month to see it on Hulu!

I ate pita chips for dinner while watching other people perform athletic feats with grace and style. Sometimes a little lazy just hits the spot.

I'm grateful for cable, for Hampton's clean duvet policy, and that I have at least 10 hours before I have to put on shoes so me and Dirk can hit the road again. Maybe my butt-print will have disappeared from the seat by then. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Find a Seat

Do you ever have those weeks where you wonder just exactly what will happen?  Where right from the get-go, all bets are off, normal is blown away, and from there it's sort of like walking through a fun house and there's no telling what will happen next. Will you crawl through a spinning tube or see a squat image of yourself, or--as I prefer--a long spaghetti image?
I started my week by leaving the house early destined for Northeast Arkansas to....wait for it...a toilet seat manufacturer.
Yes, someone has to make them, and now I know who. I had a personal chuckle, wondering how one gets involved in the toilet seat industry. Is it an idea that comes when sitting on the throne? Was the seat so uncomfortable that an enterprising sitter thought, "You know, I bet I could make this better." Or, was it a childhood dream?
Anywho, I drove North past Searcy and turned off of interstate 67 at Bald Knob.  I knew I had about 26 miles until I found my seat people.  Well, twenty six miles later, I pulled into town, which was weird since most plants are outside of town.  Then I looked at my GPS and the street names, and just about had a heart attack.
I was in Searcy. Again.
For a few minutes I was convinced I'd found a wrinkle in the time-space continuum that ran along highway 64 in Northeast Arkansas.  I have never anticipated finding such a wrinkle, and certainly not in Arkansas, but I guess you don't really expect to find them anywhere.  When my heart started beating again, I scrutinized the little map on my phone a bit closer.
No, I had not found a wrinkle.  Phew.
What I had done was miss a left turn and looped back down to Searcy on a narrow windy road. Grrr.
Fortunately the people who make toilet seats were patient and kind and agreed to meet with me thirty minutes later than planned.
The whole episode made me really glad that God designed the natural laws.  It would be so hard to schedule one's day if you never knew if the road that used to go toward Memphis still went toward Memphis, or if, like a scratched CD, you might skip backwards 26 miles on your journey without warning.  And, as much as I wished yesterday that I could pause time to make up my lost mileage, I'm glad that only marches one direction as well.  It saves me from over thinking, from the chance to stew in  regret, and probably from quite a bit of dawdling as well.  And while I'm at it, I really am grateful for toilet seats and that someone makes them, and for people who are patient when you get lost twice and are super late to meet them.
Thank you, Lord, for your brilliance in configuring this world. For thinking up gravity, and maximum velocity, and the steady rhythm of time, and the sun by which to mark it.  Thank you for cars, which make traveling so much faster, and that the cardinal directions don't go switching on us.  Thank you, too, for inspiring the enterprise of humans to create things as simple and as indispensable at toilet seats.  All my love.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Little Blessings in Big Packages

So, I have to brag on God a little. Last week he flexed his muscles in Santa Lucia, Guatemala.  I want to rehash all that he did, but I will get really long winded. So if you want to read what an extravagant, mighty, freakin' cool, relational God we serve, check out Lead Guatemala.


But, as life would have it, today I'm in Chicago for work.  My poor cats think we're getting a divorce and I'm letting them keep the house.  I didn't have any time to chill and bask in the warmth of what God did before my job came running to meet me.

I returned with fear that I would let the precious time between me and Jesus become a memory instead of a new way of life.  I prayed earnestly this morning against my own forgetfulness and the allure of soulless things.

And this afternoon I met Rawshad.  He is roughly the size of a refrigerator, and he's going to be a computer engineer in the medical field. He's already been accepted to Marquette for the fall, and when I told him I would pray for him, his whole face lit up, and he thanked me.  It was a small thing but it was a moment when I saw a chance to serve God, to commune with him on behalf of another.  It wasn't a big thing. It was rather small. But you know what? It made my day so much brighter.

It was a reminder that God is everywhere at all times. I read a psalm about that today, number 139 to be exact .  God is moving powerfully in the women of Santa Lucia, Guatemala. And he's just as mighty amid the bustle of the Chicago streets. I walked away from Rawshad praying for him, and praying thanks for the reminder that I don't need to be wearing missionary skirts to revel in God. The only thing I need to keep hold of this holy shift I got to see and experience is to seek Him and seek his glory.

Thank you, Lord, for a mighty week. For letting me see you work. For the heart you have for women and for all the oppressed.  For Rawshad.  Bless him in his pursuits and draw him to you.  All my love!

PS. I think it would be just awesome if y'all prayed for Rawshad too. He'll never know what hit him!