Life Is A Race

Life is a race. Not a competitive race. Everyone's life is just a different race.

Our race may change course, there may be obstacles we must overcome, but if we keep our eyes on the Lord, we will reach our finish line and receive our prize. It is not always about the finish line, though. The journey is just as important. We need to make sure we don't miss something along the way while keeping our eyes on the prize.

Because I am a Christian and an athlete, this analogy is easy for me to see. Why do I race? Not to win (otherwise I would have given up long ago), but because it is a personal challenge. I'm a woman wearing so many hats -- wife, mother, Sunday School teacher, school volunteer, soccer mom -- juggling life's joys and frustrations. Talk about personal challenges! I hope to use this blog as an outlet for my frustrations and a proclamation of my joys as I tackle all the challenges I face in life.

One of my favorite Bible verses that helps me get through the hard times and relates to racing is also imprinted on my Road ID:

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not Enough Time

I'm linking up with Jen:

This past weekend was supposed to be when we got all the Christmas decorations up. I had a list all made out of what needed to be done. We barely made a dent in that list. I guess I was just a bit too ambitious. Why does that always happen? Now, I'm feeling overwhelmed by everything that must be done this week, that I don't feel I can add anything extra. I don't want to wait until this weekend to get the tree up, but when am I going to do that? I'm still trying to get the Christmas cards ordered and the calendars for the grandparents made and the last bit of Christmas shopping done. I still have all my everyday things to do as well, which is hard enough. I start to get angry, and I don't like it.

I want to enjoy Christmas!

I had all these intentions of actually getting the Advent wreath out on the first Sunday in Advent, though we weren't even home then. I also wanted the Advent calendar out on Dec. 1 so the kids could enjoy doing that for the full time. That didn't happen either because it is in a box in the attic. The Nativity is also still boxed up. I have a few more decorations to buy for the inside of our house, but I'm never going to have time to do that, especially since I'm not even sure where to go to get them. My house was all clean at Thanksgiving, and now my desk sits cluttered and my kitchen isn't perfect either.

Why do I care?

Well, I am the type of person who cannot relax until there is nothing left to be done. Obviously, that is never going to happen. I really just need to learn to slow down and take a little time for myself. I need to get my quiet time with God in each day, which doesn't always happen. I need to ask Him to show me what needs to be done. I get so wrapped up in MY to-do list, that I forget to ask HIM what HIS to-do list has on it for me.

I know this happens to all of us, so why do I feel like a failure when it happens to me? Why do I feel like I must be Super Mom? That's just our earthly world. We compare ourselves to others. It's me as a perfectionist as well. I want it all to be just right, and I want to do it all. I felt so much better when a mom at the school yesterday said she hadn't gotten her tree up yet either. Why? I just felt validated. I felt like I had a reason to not be perfect. I need to remember that I'm perfect in God's eyes, even though I can't do everything. I need to drop the perfectionism and just be. I need to enjoy my life as it is, with or without my Christmas tree up and my Christmas cards mailed. That is much easier said than done.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Giving up Control

Negative talk. It's what I do when I'm unsure of my abilities. It's what I do when I don't know what to say. It's what I do when I don't know what comes next because I'm such a planner. It's what I do when I doubt.

It's what I do when I lack faith.

I've always tried to be a positive person, but it doesn't always come easy. My mom has not always been the most positive person, and I've tried to be more positive, but she is my mother, so some of that negativity did rub off on me. I often catch myself complaining or just not thinking positively about something, and I'll try to turn it around, but I'm not always successful. I also try to be realistic.

I don't want to be disappointed.

Recently, as I shared in my last blog, I've been thinking about a career as a personal trainer and/or coach. I've been sorting through my options and just trying to decide what I'd enjoy most. Do I want to work in a gym? Do I want to do my own thing? Do I want to focus on running and triathlon? Do I want to help those just starting to exercise? Then there are those logistical questions. Who would want me to coach them? Where would I find my clients? Where would I hold sessions? How much money can I really make? When would I work? How much time will it take? What will it cost? This is where the negative talk comes in. I know I'd be good, but then I come up with some reason, some obstacle, that would make it hard for me to start my own personal training business. Who would be my competition? Can I compete with so and so? Why would someone choose me over her? I have overcome obstacles before, so why am I making this so hard for myself? Why do I keep waiting for someone to push me forward? Isn't that God telling me to do this? But....

The past couple weeks, I've encountered a big obstacle. Our school district is proposing that our neighborhood get re-zoned from our current elementary school to another one. Our current school is half a mile from our house. We can walk or ride our bikes. It is a very safe route. My girls currently ride their bikes alone to and from school everyday. The new school is 1.4 miles from our house and the route is much more dangerous with many more side streets and driveways. It doesn't make sense. Plus, I like our school. I know all the teachers and parents, and it just feels like home. I don't like change. Especially change I really have no control over and haven't gotten to plan for. In reality, I shouldn't worry because my girls are in 4th grade and won't be forced to move schools, which means my son will get to stay as well. I don't want the rest of the neighborhood to have to move, though. This is something that holds us together. I got involved and went to the input meeting, distributed fliers, and wrote letters and e-mails to the zoning committee and the Board of Trustees. I was feeling a little stressed out about the whole thing. One day, I decided to open my devotional book from a couple years ago to that particular day and read it. BAM! There it was:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

That's when it hit me. I have prayed, but I haven't really had the faith to completely turn it over. I always have to have control. I finally gave over the Board's decision to God, and I felt more at peace. I'm still a bit uncomfortable, but I know it will all turn out o.k. Remarkably, I actually remembered the verse days later. I'm not great at memorizing verses, though. I started thinking more about it and how it applied in so many ways to my life. Why can't I let God be in control? Why can't I do that with my decision to start a new career? I keep thinking it is God's will for me to start my business, but then I think what if it isn't? Why can I not have faith that He will help me get through the obstacles and He will also pick me up if I fall?

Fear. Fear of failure. I don't want to be disappointed.

I realized how much harder it is to have faith when it involves something very close to me. If I can distance myself or if it is something I really have no control over, I have an easier time giving it over to God. When I can have control, though, it is so much harder. He never said I wouldn't have trouble. Why do I view so many obstacles as failure? How can I fail if I have God on my side, though? He has overcome the world. That means there is nothing He can't overcome. Whoa. I just need to allow Him to be in control. After all, it is just an illusion that I have control anyway.

Lord, take control and guide me in the way that I should go.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Race That Humbled

It has been 2 months since I blogged. Can I even call this a blog with so few posts? I've had all these thoughts of what to blog about, but I've just never had the time to sit down and write it down. that my friend and running partner challenged me to blog and link up with her tomorrow, I thought I'd take that challenge and spend a few minutes writing down some thoughts from the past months. I will likely write these thoughts in several blogs over the next few days, so stay tuned.

A little over a month ago, I completed my second Half-Ironman. It was a good race overall but also a bit disappointing. The weather was perfect, I saw my friend cheering on the run course, and I beat my time by about 5 minutes from my previous Half-Ironman. The first time (2 years ago), I did this same race, but the swim was quite a bit short (the wind blew the buoys) and the run was MUCH easier (they changed the run course last year). So, in reality, I beat my time by closer to 10 minutes. Most people would be really happy and thankful with that kind of a PR (personal record), but I was just a little bit happy. I had set my goal much higher than that (8 minutes faster than that). I had a good swim, a great bike, and a terrible run. I just wanted my run to be good (though I was super happy with my fantastic bike time), but it wasn't. I had to walk much of the run just like last time. Granted, this run was MUCH hillier, and I didn't throw up this time, but I still wasn't happy. I never felt strong on the run even though I had focused on running much more this time. I couldn't keep my heart rate down, so I ended up walking much more than I had planned. In a triathlon, especially one this long (6 hours and 23 minutes for me), it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is the problem. My run could have been weak just because it was weak or it could have been caused by my bike legs being weak and/or tired. I was dehydrated a bit for the run, which most certainly was a big problem (opposite problem I had last time). The bottom line is that I just wasn't happy about my performance even though I should have been. I trained well and raced as well as I could have. Most people think I'm crazy for even attempting a race this long and training for it with 3 kids, so of course they are impressed that I can even finish it and still walk the next day. That brings me to the point of all this. Why do I care what other people think?

Coming into the finishing chute

Going into this race, I've been thinking I'd like to do an Ironman in the near future. After this race, I decided I'm not doing an Ironman anytime soon. I'm not saying never, but not in a year or two like I previously thought. I don't even want to do another Half-Ironman for a long time. Why, you ask? Well, I got to thinking. First, I really start to get burned out with the long training hours. I start to not enjoy the training anymore. What's the point then? Second, I started thinking more about why I want to do an Ironman. I think I always knew why, but I just didn't want to admit it. It's not really for me. It's not because I'd enjoy training for it. It's so I can tell others I've done one. So I can call myself an Ironman (or woman). So I can get the tattoo. Whoa! What? Am I out of my mind? I had been praying about it for a while, and I think my race not going as well as I had hoped was God's way of saying I don't need to do that right now. I kept thinking I needed to do it when my son went to kindergarten and all 3 kids were still in elementary school. But why? I decided then and there that I'm just not a long distance racer, and I don't want to sacrifice all that time at this point in my life. Sure, I'll still do some marathons, but that's only a 4 hour race. An Ironman is a 14 hour race! Now, that IS crazy! I have a very good friend who will be doing an Ironman in the spring, and I hope to be his biggest cheerleader, but I don't think that I'll be joining him anytime soon.

Brian and I before the race

I feel like this is a huge step for me. Pride is something I really struggle with. I'm also VERY competitive. Always have been. I made straight As through high school and college, and I've always been a perfectionist. It was never anything my parents forced on me, though. It was just me. So, I think just giving in and admitting to myself that this isn't what I should be doing is a huge step for me. I am not going to quit triathlon. I just know that the Olympic distance, which I've always loved, is my distance. There is no shame in that. I actually know a woman who does just that. She also has 3 kids. It takes much less time, and I can really focus on getting faster at that distance. I've prayed a lot about it. I want to do some new races, like trail runs and adventure races. Doing the shorter races will allow me to do those because they cost less and take less time. Some of these are races I can do with my daughters. I've also prayed about a possible career in personal training or coaching. I still don't have the answers there, but I'm getting there. I have to quit the negative talk in my head. I know I'd be good at it, but I don't know what direction to take it or when to start. I know what my gifts are, but I have a hard time with timing. I'm not patient when it comes to something I want....NOW! God, why can't you just tell me the answer in a way I can understand?

I do know that if I just keep praying about it, He will provide the answer. I just need to be patient.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Be Careful What You Pray For

Well, it has been quite a while since I blogged. Life has been a bit crazy with my peak weeks of training for my Half-Ironman, school starting, soccer season starting, and other random things that just need to get done. I just completed my peak week of training, so it's downhill from here. This isn't going to be my most inspiring blog (because my body and brain are really tired), but it's just something that's been on my mind the past few days.

Be careful what you pray for. We hear this all the time. We may pray for something and get not what we expect. We will pray for patience, then God sends us LOTS of situations to test our patience. We may pray for wisdom, then God sends of lots of important decisions to make. The list goes on and on. He answers our prayers, but not always in the way we think they should be answered. Sometimes, we need to be more specific about what we are asking. That doesn't mean we'll then get the answer we want, but it is more likely that his answer will match up to what we really had in mind. It's not that God doesn't already know what we are asking, but he really wants us to figure it out and ask for it. It's like when I see my son figure something out all on his own. What joy that brings me!

I want to back up to Labor Day. I had an Olympic distance triathlon that day. I'd been having issues with my bike. Last year, I got a flat in that same race and it was miserably hot. That was not a good race. It is my favorite race, though. I wanted to have a good race, so I prayed.

I pray I don't get a flat.
I pray my bike doesn't act up too much.
I pray for a good run.
I pray for cool weather.

God answered all of those prayers. First, I did not get a flat, though I checked my tires several times before leaving transition. Second, my bike had a few issues, but it worked well enough to get through the race. The best part was that this week, I got it fixed, and it didn't cost me anything! That's another story, though. Third, I had a great run! My best yet in that race! Last, it wasn't miserably hot, BUT that's because it rained! God, are you kidding me? Do you think this is funny? Boy do you have a sense of humor. It started to really rain halfway through my swim. When I got to transition, it was dying down, but the roads were REALLY wet. My bike time wasn't as fast as I'd like, but I was still happy with my performance given the conditions. I did not want to fall on the bike. That was the prayer I kept repeating while riding. Don't let me fall, Lord! God came through once again. I came through the bike portion with flying colors, though a tad slower than if the roads had been dry.

I'm participating in a Bible Study currently by Priscilla Shirer called "Can We Talk?" I like it because it really gets me to focus on a particular scripture and talk to God about that scripture and how it relates to ME. Of course, I do that, but not always in this way, and I don't always come out of it with a very specific prayer. Obviously, for this race, I had very specific prayers. God did answer them all, though one of them not quite the way I expected. I didn't even think to pray for no rain, as there was only a 10% chance! My prayers are not always that specific, though, especially when I'm asking God to change me in some way. I have a hard time focusing on a particular trait or habit I need to change. I also sometimes have a hard time pulling those out of scripture.

So, this week we are focusing on the tongue. I know there are some things I need to work on there! I now have specific behaviors I am asking God to change in me. I realize God may still send me situations to test these changes, but I feel I'll be more equipped to handle them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What is Your Noise?

As I walked outside this evening to go for a run, the first thing I noticed was how clear the sky was and how bright the moon was shining. The sky wasn't completely dark. It was a deep, dark blue straight up, lightening toward the horizon. There were quite a few stars out, but only a few were quite bright. The others seemed quite dim; dimmed by all the lights surrounding me. I had to strain to see them. Some nights they are brighter, but not tonight.

I did not wear my ipod tonight because it was dark when I began my run. So, I was alone with my thoughts and God for one hour. As I observed the stars and the moon and the sky, a memory came to me. We invited some friends to my in-law's ranch for the weekend last summer. Their ranch is located in Voca, TX, which I'm sure no one has heard of, but it is near Brady, TX, which some people have heard of. The point is that it is out in the middle of nowhere, in the hill country. After we had gotten the kids to bed, we were all so tired, but I told our friends they had to come outside to see the stars. There are no city lights to dim the stars, so you can see millions of stars. All of God's creation is right there in front of your eyes. You can even see the Milky Way! It is truly awesome! It is almost surreal. It was a clear night, and I remember my friend in awe over all the stars you could see. She then said she'd never seen a shooting star. So, we insisted they lie down on the flatbed trailer in the driveway and look for shooting stars with us. God delivered. She saw her first shooting star that night.

As I thought about this memory, I smiled. I smiled first because it was such a happy memory for me but also because I began to think about God's wonderful creation of the universe. Those stars are always there, but we cannot always see them because of our surrounding "noise". The city lights are the noise drowning out the beautiful night sky. Then, I thought about the noise surrounding me every day that can drown out God's voice.
What if God is trying to speak to me as he spoke to Elijah in a soft whisper? How will I hear him if I have too much noise surrounding me? "Noise" can come in so many forms. It can be literal "noise," such as the TV, the kids, the washing machine, etc... Sometimes, our "noise" is not literal noise, though.

What is my noise?

I thought about this for a while. I do have the literal noise, especially during the summer when I rarely have a quiet house. Why can't God speak more loudly in the summer? Then, there is just my brain noise. That's what gets me in trouble. It happens to all of us. I'll start praying, then when God is just about to speak, I'll start thinking of my to do list -- laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, house cleaning, errands, take kids to soccer, home improvement projects, finances, and on and on. My noise changes from day to day. It may be quiet in my house, but I sometimes still have noise keeping me from hearing God's voice. What is your noise? How do you turn it off?

I must learn to silence the noise in order to hear God. It is much more difficult at times, especially when there is literal noise. I find it a challenge in the summer when the kids are at home. We're sleeping in (there goes morning quiet time), and we're trying to keep ourselves occupied with any activity we can think of. The kids are always around, and it is rarely quiet except in the evenings when I'm tired. It is just noisy. Literally. When I do find quiet time, though, I need to turn off all the other noise and focus on God. God speaks to us, but we must be listening because He might speak to us in that soft whisper. I know I can turn off that noise and focus if I just ask God to help me do that, just as we were able to see so many stars on that clear night in Voca, TX. There was no noise. Only silence and God's creation in all its Glory.

I often find myself also asking God a question then answering it myself before I've listened for His answer. I just get impatient. I want answers, and I want them now. I'm type A and a planner. I don't like the unknown. I've had to learn to roll with the punches at times, though. I've gotten better about that, especially since having kids, but I still need help in that area.

Help me, O Lord, to silence the noise that keeps me from hearing your voice, to listen, and to be patient in waiting for the answer.

By the way, it was a great run!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Finding the Right Path

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do once Carter (my 4 year old) is in school full time. Not that I need to do anything, but I think I would like at least a part time job. My degree is in Music Education, but I've been away from it so long, I don't think I want to go back there. There are really not many options for a part time job in that area. It's full time and overtime! Not what I want. I could teach privately, but that would have to happen in the evenings, which cuts into family time. So, using my degree probably isn't going to happen. It has been hard for me to accept that, but I'm o.k. with it now.

So....what now? Well, I've thought about becoming a certified triathlon coach and/or a personal trainer. I've gone back and forth between these two. I had made up my mind that I wanted to go ahead with the USAT certification to become a triathlon coach, and I almost signed up for the clinic here in Austin last fall, but I stopped myself. I realized I still had 2 years before I could really use it, so I decided not to do the certification at that time. Since then, I've stepped back and really thought and prayed about it, and I'm leaning toward the personal trainer certification instead. I can start out at a gym then move on and do my own thing. I'm still not 100% sure, but I don't need to make the decision right now.

I've been having my quiet time every evening this week, which has made a huge difference. I've felt better (except for my mold allergies!), and I've been able to fit in my workouts. For a couple nights, I pulled out a couple daily devotional books I have and just read the devotional for that day. I don't know why I was surprised to read 2 days in a row about God directing my path.

He was speaking directly to me.

One of the passages was about a man riding his bike along a bike trail. This is really speaking to me, isn't it? The man was riding along and couldn't find the trail, then he looked in a direction he hadn't thought to look. God spoke to him "If you seek Me in all directions, you will find your way through the problems of the day." The verse was "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4 The next day's verse was "The Lord shall guide thee continually..." Isaiah 58:11 Then, in another devotional book, on the same day, the verse was "Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies -- make straight your way before me." Psalm 5:8

I think it is pretty obvious what I need to be doing. I just need to pray for guidance and have faith that He will lead me down the right path. I'm so afraid of failure, but I just need to trust Him, not only in this decision, but in my daily life decisions.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

At His Feet For 8.3 Miles

It's amazing what can happen on a long run....besides running. I should really start at the beginning, though...

The past couple weeks have just been stressful and frustrating for me. I couldn't pinpoint a particular reason why, though. My kids were (and still are) at each other's throats, ready for school to start. They weren't listening and definitely weren't doing anything the first time I told them. Camille & Julia continue to aggravate Carter then pretend they don't know why he's upset. None of my kids seem to appreciate anything I do. Carter will cry when he doesn't get his way. I end up responding by yelling at them, and the girls just talk back. I'm about to pull my hair out after 2 weeks of this! How many more days until school starts? Then, to top it all off, Clark comes home on Monday and gripes me out for no reason because I told him I was having a mom's night out on Thursday with a friend that I've been planning for a while and that I desperately need. Then, he gives me a hard time again a few days later about something else stupid. He was not talking nicely to me at all and really hurt my feelings to the point I cried. Not a good week. But why?

I realized later that Clark is probably just stressed about starting his class this week on top of training for a marathon and meeting deadlines at work. It still didn't make me feel better.

Things were so great up until July. I was the Director of our VBS, and things went so well. I couldn't have asked for a better week. The weeks leading up to that were exhausting but well worth it. I received so many thank you notes, even some I never expected. I was seeing so many blessings!

What changed? I have more time to spend with my kids now. Why has it not been enjoyable?

Last weekend, I traveled to Waco for my first triathlon of the season. My friend, Tara, was coming with me to also race the Olympic distance triathlon. We were staying with my college roommate, Beverly, and her husband, John, who would be completing his first triathlon by doing the sprint. I didn't feel as prepared as I have in the past, but I knew I was ready. When we went out to dinner, though, I had a weird cramp in my diaphragm area when I sat down in the van. It was tight and painful. It went away when I got out. Then, it came back even worse when I got back in the van to go back to their house, and it took a while to go away. I didn't think much of it, but I was feeling a little anxious, which isn't like me before a race that I'm ready for. Why am I stressed about this race?

So, on Sunday I raced my triathlon, but I got a flat tire right out of transition. It was a bummer, and I realized I should have paid more attention when my tire was low a few days before. I should have changed that tube. The same thing happened to me last year at The Austin Tri. I should have learned the first time. The run ended up being crazy hilly, and the last 2 miles were really hot, so I doubt I would have had a record-breaking time anyway. I still had fun. Tara completed her first Olympic distance tri and John completed his first tri with an excellent time. Even with the flat, I came in 7th in my age group, which isn't too bad. It was a really fun time, but I was a bit disappointed.

What's going on? Just bad luck?

Then, I went for a run early Thursday morning. These are usually my best runs because it is cool and quiet and I can relax and have quiet time to myself. Sometimes I don't even take my ipod. On Thursday, my legs felt great, but my breathing was labored. I felt like I couldn't get enough air and my chest was tight. My heart rate was low, though. Weird. It took at least 3 miles before my chest relaxed a bit. It was similar to the feeling I had in the van on Saturday night, but not painful.

Why am I so stressed? It's summer. What is going on with me?

This all led up to today. Today is when I had an epiphany, if you want to call it that. It was more like a kick in the rear or a "Duh" moment.

I finally made it to church after a few weeks because of my race and vacation. Our Rector is on vacation, and we have a new curate, Christine Falstich. I hadn't heard her preach yet. I had only just met her during VBS, which were her first couple days at St. Matt's. Her sermon was short, but WOW.

I really like her.

So, it was Jesus's parable about the man who is rich and has many crops but finds himself with a surplus and wonders what to do with them. He decides to tear down his barn and build a bigger one so that he can store it all up and eat, drink, and be merry. Christine pointed out that it is not hard to see the parallels between the society of 2000 years ago and our society today in this story. The one thing she thought was different and kind of odd was the fact that the man would eat, drink, and be merry because he had saved enough. In our society, we never seem to have enough. Then, God asks what the man is going to do with all those crops if he is to die tomorrow. Instead of focusing on the obvious -- what God says we should do with our money -- she said it really focuses on what we are living for. We tend to focus our lives on certain accomplishments for our own society, but what are we really living for?

Why am I here? Why do I do what I do?

This hit me hard. I started thinking about that. I started to ask God for forgiveness for the past few weeks. I realized that I had not talked to God much at all over the past few weeks. Where have you been? I began asking Him to forgive me for not talking to him and for thinking too much about how we are going to pay for things. With our recent renovation, things have been tight. Why are you worrying? Trust in me. I have been thinking of what type of job I should get within the next year. I will take care of you. I realized how selfish I have been lately. Get yourself out of the way so I can work through you. I've focused on training and racing. Who are you doing this for and why are you trying to do it alone?

The tears started welling as the sermon was coming to an end. Later, I prayed more during Prayers of the People, and the tears came welling up again. It was coming out. Now I understand, Lord. I'm so sorry we haven't talked. I need you. Help me to do better. Help me be a better mother. Help me make time to talk to you. We'll talk more later. I promise.

I already felt better. We had a wonderful afternoon. We went to HEB and had a great lunch followed by quiet time reading and relaxing. I finished putting my clarinet back together so I can sell it. Later, we all played fooseball together after dinner and dessert. Then, I headed out for a long run while Clark watched a movie with the kids. It was 8:00, which is exactly when I had planned to leave.

My plan was to run 8 miles. I hadn't run that far since February, so I wasn't expecting much. I put Gatorade out on the porch and planned to run my 5 mile loop back to the house to get some Gatorade, then my 3.25 mile loop once it was dark. I could ditch the ipod at that point too since I don't run with it after dark.

I started out and felt a little sluggish, but it was hot -- 90 degrees. I knew I'd warm up and get in a rhythm. I had an easy pace in mind, but not too easy. I started talking to God while running, even with my ipod on. I talked to him about everything going on. I asked Him for help. I asked Him for forgiveness. I praised Him.

I was At His Feet for 8.3 miles.

I decided to keep the ipod once I got back to the house because some good music was on at the time, and I was inspired to talk to God. When I neared 7 miles, my legs were getting tired. I hadn't run that far since my marathon in February. At that point, my run of Christian songs came on my ipod. First, Natalie Grant's Anything: I may never be a star, but I close my eyes and there You are. You simply say to me that I can do, I can do anything! I may never walk the ocean blue, but I know that I can talk to You. I believe that with my trust in You, I can do anything! That one gets me going every time, then the one that really grabbed me was Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster. The lyrics contain the Bible verse that I love and have quoted at the top of this blog. The child at the end of that song gets me every time. My pace had slowed down a bit, and I didn't think I'd be able to speed it back up. When I heard that song, I started running at a faster pace. The wind was in my face, and I just ran...and ran...and ran. When I reached the bottom of the biggest hill on my run, another inspiring song came on, so I just kept running all the way up that hill. I ran all the way home, running strong. He gave me strength and I was soaring on wings like eagles! My pace dropped 7 seconds per mile over that last mile. I felt great!

When I reached home, I grabbed my Gatorade and drank the rest as I did my cool down walk. While walking, I put my cool down music on, which was the song I Can Only Imagine. Again, tears. Tears of joy and praise! I looked up and saw the Big Dipper and a shooting star. God's wonderful creation.

Now I know why my summer has been stressful. I've been trying to tackle my jobs of mother and wife by myself. I've been trying to train for triathlons on top of that....alone. I cannot rely on anyone but Him to raise me up and give me strength. I know this, yet I have failed God. But He forgives.

At His feet is where I will be.