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

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sole Sisterhood.  That's what our shirts say.  The back says, "Friends to the Finish."  This is my friend and awesome running partner, Jen, and me in San Antonio when we ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in November.  We bought these shirts at the Expo because we're cheesy like that (and the shirts are super cute and soft!)  Jen has asked us to link up with something about sisterhood.  The first thing that came to mind was this picture.

Don't we look like rockstars?  LOL!  This photo captures sisterhood on so many levels.  Our sisterhood runs deep, Jen and me.  Of course, we run together.  We run MANY miles together training for marathons and whatever else we decide to run.  We are sisters but also friendly competitors.  Our running sisterhood means we encourage each other, train together, complain together, pour out our hearts to each other, push each other, make each other laugh, and make excuses for why a run wasn't our best.  :)  We provide each other with a little friendly competition, yet we drag the other one out into 18 degree weather to get that last long run in before the race.  Yeah, that's sisterhood.

Our sisterhood began when we met, both 6-7 months pregnant with our last child, attending the Mom's Group at our church.  You see, Jen's daughter is just 3 weeks younger than my son.  They were baptized together.  My son claims her as his girlfriend.  They had a bond before they were born.  Jen and I have since discovered many other things we have in common besides running.  Her father-in-law married both of us, her parents got divorced after the same number of years my parents did, our mothers both live in town, we both had the same first car, we're both type A, we had the same wedding photographer, and we're Christians.  We even kind of look alike as far as hair color, eye color, height, and shoe size.  We were destined to be sisters in Christ.

There are many ways we are not alike...she's younger....she's an introvert....she's a much better writer than me.....and a faster runner.....

but these things do not affect our sisterhood.

It isn't the things we have in common that make a sisterhood.  Those things bring us together initially, but it's the times and words we share with one another that really bond us.  This is true for any sisterhood.

Linking up with Jen

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ipod Malfunction or Divine Intervention?

First of all, do you know how hard it is to take a picture of an ipod with a point and shoot camera?  
That's the best I could get.  Geez!

I didn't know what to blog about yesterday.  Then I went for a run.  

My ipod has been on the fritz lately.  If you've used an ipod, you know that the play/pause button (at the bottom of the circle) is the same button you use to turn it off.  Well, mine often doesn't want to turn off.  Yesterday, it wouldn't play, pause, or turn off with that button.  It got stuck on, and the only way I could get it off was to put it in the dock.  Bizarre, I know.  I can use the menu button to get to the playlist I want, and I can push the center button to start it, but turning it off is another feat altogether when that bottom button doesn't work.

Needless to say, I had a slow start to my run by the time I got it to work (and by golly I was going to run with music even if it was only 5 miles!)  It was cold, sunny, crisp, perfect running weather.  I was wearing my running capris that have a zipper in the back, where I keep my ipod.  I used to listen to my playlist from the beginning each time, but I've been putting it on shuffle lately.

As I ran, a song came on that I wanted to skip.  So, I reached back and felt for the skip button in the pocket while running and wearing gloves.  If you have ever tried doing this, it is quite a feat, and if you actually push the right button, it's a miracle.  I pushed it, and it quickly skipped to the next song.  Yay!  I don't have to stop running.  The next song that came on was a Christian song.  I didn't think anything of it until the next 5 songs that came on were Christian songs.

What is going on?  Did I switch to a different playlist?  Or is God somehow controlling my ipod?

As you can see from the photo of a snippet of my running playlist on my ipod, I do not have a high percentage of Christian songs on my running playlist.  I thought I had somehow switched to my "Christian Music" playlist.  Because I didn't want to stop running, I just kept on.  I didn't mind the music, but I knew it would start to repeat after a while.  At my halfway point, I saw two of my friends biking up a steep hill, and I stopped to cheer them on.  Because I had stopped, I pulled out my ipod to check the playlist.  It said Kelli's Running at the top, and just to be sure, I hit the center button.  It started playing a Christian song that had already played, so I skipped it, and it played ANOTHER one!

Really?  Is this what you mean by focus?  I thought I'd get at least a few days to ponder it before putting it into practice.

Eventually, the original song that I skipped came on, and I decided to delete that song from my playlist. Other songs came on after that, but I only had 15 minutes left of running.

Whether it was God or not, it made me think.  There are many facets of my life where I can make more room for God or just use Him as my lens instead of the world.  I also realized how much harder this focus thing is going to be than I thought!  Ugh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Now that I've chosen a word for 2013, I need to figure out exactly how to carry it out.  So, I started, of course, by going to Wikipedia, and looking up the word focus.  Here is what it says:

Focus (cognitive process), selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things
Focus (optics), a point toward which light rays are made to converge
Focus (linguistics), a concept referring to the way information in one phrase relates to information that has come before
Focus (earthquake), an earthquake's underground point of origin or hypocenter
Focus (geometry), a focus of a conic section

Hmmmmm....a convergence.  That's what happens through a convex lens or when a cone comes to a point.

Naturally, I looked up convergence.

Convergence (logic), the notion that a sequence of transformations come to the same conclusion, no matter what order they are performed in
Convergence (mathematics), refers to the notion that some functions and sequences approach a limit under certain conditions

The same conclusion no matter what.  Approaching a limit under certain circumstances.

Well, I know my "conclusion" is God.  Focusing on Him will make things clear.  I think about a cone or light rays converging.  If you turn that around, you have spreading.  What if focusing on God will conclude in the spreading of focus to other areas of my life?  Maybe I just need to change my lens once in a while.  If I get too focused on any one thing besides God, I reach a limit.  I ignore other things around husband.....the friends....
Instead, I need my focus to be more like an earthquake's hypocenter.  Focus on God so that focus can branch out to all areas of my life.  Then, everything will be in focus around that one central subject.  It's o.k. to have portions of the photo out of focus because that creates interest, but you don't want all your photos to look like that.  Usually the entire photo is in focus when photographing landscapes.  A good photographer has many lenses and plays with the focus on each photo taken depending on the final product they are going for.

I want to be a good photographer in my life.  That means I must have many lenses and learn to change my focus frequently depending on the outcome I want to achieve.  There is always some focus, though.  A completely blurry photo is worthless.  I feel like a lot of my life "photos" lately have just been blurry without a focus or with the wrong thing in focus.  It's time to change that.

I'm sure I'm over-thinking this and it will be something else I haven't even thought of, but that's where I'm starting.

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's been 10 months, but I'm going to try to get back at this blogging thing:

So, I did it.  I succumbed to the pressure of the blogging world to choose one word for 2013.  I had been thinking about it, then my friend Jen, who happens to lead my Bible study, had us all choose a word today during our Bible Study Open House.  

Many words were flying around my head....
but the word focus kept coming back.  Not just the word.  Pictures too.  I never see pictures.  I'm always envious of those who pray and see visions.  Today I saw a vision.  It was a camera lens focusing on different parts of the frame.  First, the foreground, then the background, then a particular subject.  It then bounced around to my husband, my children, my training, the housework, and of course, GOD.  

So, I've chosen focus as my one word for 2013.  I know this is the word because I have a hard time focusing day to day as well as just balancing everything in my life.  I feel like I really need to pay attention to where my focus is.  It needs to be on God first and foremost, but can I have other focuses?  Once I know where my focus should be, I am very efficient and very productive.  It's finding the focus that's the problem.  I tend to only be able to focus on one thing at a time very well.  

Whether it is right in front of me, like the women's retreat I am currently planning....

Or farther away, like the Ironman I am training for in May....

I seem to do o.k. with one or two things at a time.  I seem to do well with things that require checklists. Things where there are expectations from other people besides my family.

I don't always do well with the day to day relationship with my husband, my kids, keeping up with the housework.  If I put my primary focus on God, I think it will be easier to focus on multiple facets in my life and keep everything in focus.

So, that's my word.  I have a feeling it's going to be a lot harder than I think.

Linking up with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood: