Saturday, June 22, 2013

Daughter's 5K "Blast"

If desired, click the pictures to enlarge. 

Before the race

Let the color flinging begin!

Before the race, but prepped with a touch of color!

Crossing the finish line, all smiles and with energy to spare!
(Some where along the way, she ended up with
her friend's bandana?!)

After the race, but before the party!
After race party.  
6,000 registered runners!

The blaster!
Oh my!

After the race party.

Daughter-in-a-blanket!  Mama came prepared!

We had a blast!
(Pun intended!)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To Love Is To....

I just returned from the summer kids' movie, "Parental Guidance."  If you have not seen it, it is a movie with  fun moments and heavy themes.  In the movie, Billy Crystal's character, a grandfather, must learn to love unconditionally, while deeply desiring to be loved, to be valued.  The adult daughter in the movie must learn similar lessons. And out of both, a new relationship is birthed. 

The point to this blog entry is not to critique the film, but to edify those willing to hear:

Engage people while there is still life in your lungs.

Today's quick pace gives place for reason ("I'm too tired." "They probably aren't home anyway.") to often override heart, but even beyond heart -- to override love. 

I get it. Believe me, I get it! As an active woman in her own right, I also have three very active maturing kids.  They keep me hopping even when my hop is lagging.  Why?  Because I deeply desire for people around me to know, without a doubt, they are valued and loved....not just by words... but by actions.  I am thankful that God reminds me of this truth often, and despite my failures to adequately love those around me, He beckons me to keep my heart extended and my determination forward focused.

We are called to walk in the Spirit -- not the flesh -- and that demands those of us in Christ make decisions daily....sometimes moment by moment.... to love without bar or override the flesh's wants.

I don't know about you, but I know firsthand the delight it brings to me when someone makes a "love bank" deposit into my life.  I also know what it is like to go for periods of time without a deposit. As a result, I look for ways to make deposits into other people's lives.

IF we are making the deposits out of God's Agape bank, then there is no "accounting" to be done. None. Nada. Not at the end of the day.... or the end of the year... or the end of life itself.  We FREELY give.  Period.

But how often do we hear expressions similar to "I called them last time. It's their turn."  That, dear ones, is a  clear indicator that such calls are "deposited" out of the selfish Eros bank.  That bank ONLY exists to do the "accounting" at the end of the end of the year... at the end of life itself.   At all times, it demands to know the balance on the ledger: the proverbial "bottom line."

I get how difficult an Agape walk is. For those who determine to walk such a walk, it is not uncommon to find one holding the short end of the stick. When that moment hits, the flesh does not just state the obvious.... it screams it! But it is at those very moments, you and I have a choice to make.  The choice will either give strength to the flesh or give strength to the spirit. But understand, it will go down on one side or the other....there is no middle ground. In that suspended moment of decision,  between the flesh and spirit... one will grow... one will weaken.

People are worth loving....not on our terms, or because they say things we agree with, or because they dress a certain way, or because they rub shoulders with certain people....etc.

If you "love" based on those markers or similar ones, you are loving with fleshly, selfish Eros love.... and that kind of love only renders damage, pain, and ultimately death. 

No, people are worth loving because of one reason (and to no merit of human kind's own): Because God said so.
To the point of offering up His only Son unto death.

To love in such a measure is a high bar.  To be honest, it's gruesome and painful.   To picture it adequately, I believe one has to visualize taking a butcher knife and willingly stabbing one's self in the torso every time we stand against the flesh as it seeks to selfishly love, or hold account, or withhold love.  But I am convinced that only by willingly slaying self will we ever know what it is to truly live.

I edify you to pick up the phone "just because."   Let those you say you care about know while you still have breath. Put forth the effort, especially if time is something you do NOT have to spend.   

How sad it is that countless people no longer can say they KNOW at least one person (and sadly that includes their own children, grandchildren, and mate), as in knowing what makes them tick.... what brings them laughter... what causes them grief.... etc.

To love is to know.  As one popular book title from years ago reminds us, "Love Is A Decision."   A decision to counter and kill the flesh, while taking "full on" the Agape walk.  It is a gift unlike any other.  Accounting not allowed.  

Agape someone today!   Be a depositor of the eternal!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Birthday Weekend!

So, my birthday comes at the beginning of June.  And guess what?!  It's the beginning of June!  You know what that means: friends, family, fun, food, love, and laughter!   At least that's what birthdays mean in my book; a time to CELEBRATE LIFE... and in this case... my life!

The weekend started out helping a family move; a family who has become dear to my family.  I was thrilled to hear today that unpacking is progressing rapidly!  Who can stand to live with boxes all around for too long, eh?!

The rest of the weekend was the "no-cooking-kick-your-heels-up-with-friends-and-family-while-eating-good-food" kind of weekend.  It was a gift - a grand gift - in and of itself.

One of the more unique aspects of the weekend was the Iron Man organization brought their half Iron Man event into my stomping ground.  I had several people I know compete, but it gets even better! One of them finished first in her division. FIRST.  She is one of those rare birds who speeds up as she passes through the gauntlet. After swimming 1.2 miles, she cycled 56 miles with around a 22 mph average .... AND then proceeded to run 13.1 miles at a pace of 7.5 minute miles!  UN-stinkin'-real!  I thrill at her achievement because she, as a mother to three, did not start the competitive journey until about six or seven years ago.  Her dedication and determination to do her best shines through, but honestly, I believe when she competes, the race simply showcases how she conducts her life day to day. That's just how it works. "Iron Men" are not made in a day.... they are made through a long series of days, stacked end to end for months. Her life in that realm is a wonderful demonstration of the mantra found on the collage at the bottom of this entry:  "Do it now. Sometimes 'late' becomes 'never.'"

To EACH person I personally know who competed in the half Iron Man this past weekend, YOU shined bright and bold, finishing the tremendous challenge and earning both the title and the medal!  HATS off to EACH of you!  

Now to convey a bit of humor:

As "ladybug" (I haven't consulted her with the use of her name, so we'll call her "ladybug" for the sake of the story.) crossed the finish line and registered her first in her division, I beamed!  Brian was unaware that I was tracking the progress of those I knew online. Well, when I saw her achievement, I leaped up from my seat and said to him, "I've got to go put balloons on the mailbox."  So quick as lighting, I slipped on my flip flops and drove the two mile stint to the local grocery store, had them blow up a few "congratulations" balloons, zoomed them by her house, tied them to her mailbox, and arrived back home.  All of that took me no more than 20 minutes. Well, I walked into the door and said, "Done!"  To which Brian said, "I want to see them."  A bit perplexed at this point, I remained quiet, thinking, "What does he mean he wants to see them? They are not here.  They are at her house."  As I am thinking this thought, I saw him walk to the front door and open it, then he turns to me with his OWN perplexed look and says, "Where are they?"   Then the whole scene rolled together and I had the "ah-ha" moment.  Through my chuckles, I said, "They aren't here. They are on ladybug's mailbox.You thought I was going to go get birthday balloons for myself and put them on our mailbox??  Well, that would have been weird!"  He said, "Well, I thought so, too, but I wasn't going to say anything."  Love that man of mine. LOL!

The celebration has continued into this week with precious lunch and supper dates with treasured, and I mean t.r.e.a.s.u.r.e.d,  sisters-in-Lord.  You ladies bless SO much.   Thank you for making my birthday memorable. Each of you have stood by me through thick and thin, dessert and downpours. My love for each of you only grows richer as the years tick off!  As the expression in the middle of the collage states:  I "do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many." 

So here's to a brand new year!  Let's see what God does with and through it!  Amen?  Amen!