Monthly Archives: October 2018

Celebrating our Addictions

Scroll down any social media feed and you will see plenty of memes glorifying various addictions with humorous, creative graphics and witty sayings. These can be anything from alcohol, food, weight loss, tacos, running, crossfit, cycling, climbing, shopping, coffee, shoes, to iPhones and other weird things. Sometimes the posts don’t actually call it an addiction, such as memes related to anger, political outrage, judging others, or social media itself, but we all know people who are hooked on those and post about it daily.

Funny-Coffee-Meme-23.jpg

runningmeme.jpg

winememe.jpgtacomeme.jpg

Why is this okay? Why do we click LIKE or HAHA on these posts to give approval to what we know is sometimes a very unhealthy relationship or even unwanted slavery to these things? I do it, too! I laugh and then I think , well that’s actually not that funny, is it? So do we just laugh because otherwise we’d cry? I think it is because most of us are in the same boat and if we admit to it , we might want out of the boat and then we might be all alone and have no friends. So we play along and encourage the things that make us miserable or at the very least do not lead to joy and contentment and peace. Those things come from another place, a person, the Lord, Jesus Christ. But sadly posts about Jesus do not get the same approval, do they? I suppose it is the company one keeps. And I have over 800 ‘friends’ on the F-book that I may have something in common with, but not the main thing. I think most of my Christian friends are still following my posts, but many have either unfollowed or snoozed me because they don’t want to read Bible verses  or logical political posts. They’d rather keep their heads in the clouds and focus on wine, tacos, and running. It’s okay. I will be praying for them and for myself to fight these non-Jesus substitutions, aka idols,  for real peace and joy. And let me just add that I know that most of these things can be enjoyed in moderation in a healthy way and not be an addiction. We know if we’ve become dependent or not.
Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things are worthy of death, they not only continue to do these things, but also approve of those who practice them. ~ This verse refers to some pretty bad sins, but it came to mind as to how people tend to encourage others in the same behaviors they are slaves to.

freedominchrist.jpg

Advertisements

Why are you doing this ? Crewing Capital to Coast Relay Solo 2018

I’m sitting on a country road in my friend’s Toyota Tundra which currently , and often , smells like stinky running shoes and sweaty clothes. We are around 60 miles into a 223 mile run from Austin to Corpus Christi. No, we aren’t a relay team. My friend is running all of it , just like he ran the entire 203 miles of the Texas Independence Relay.

The first time we did this everything seemed easier . This course is pretty hilly , we started at night in the rain, and there is way more traffic than I expected. We also have no other crew members to help us,  unlike last time when we had quite a nice group of pacers and supporters. But also I’m just really struggling with not wanting to be here. I’ve been in a menopausal funk lately that has zapped me of all motivation. I’m still fulfilling my responsibilities at home . I just am content to do little else. This is not me ! I’m usually always on the go or cooking up plans. But I would never let my friend down and he doesn’t know I’d rather be at home doing nothing .

But this is dragging on so slowly! Thankfully the sun came out and it’s not so gloomy , but I hope it doesn’t warm up too much . We started the race at 10:30 last night . You can see the video on Facebook. I did enjoy the first hour or two of running through my old college town. It’s not the same, of course. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. New skyscrapers are going up everywhere, along with sky high rents. New toll roads and highways are full of cars. But the downtown night life brought back memories of my freshman year. We used to party on the famous 6th street after walking there from campus, then walk back to our dorm.

Part Two

Okay those first two paragraphs were written yesterday afternoon. Now it’s the next night and I’m at home and the race/run is over. My friend did not finish this time. Things were just not going well and he decided that he didn’t want to run/walk for another 40 hours. The total was going to end up being more like 80 hours instead of the 68 he had planned. The  finish line would have been taken down, no hoopla, and possibly no official recognition of his efforts, but we weren’t sure about that. But we did know we’d be finishing sometime after midnight Saturday night. It was just not his day.

I’m happy to report that I did start having more fun with my fellow crew member after I wrote the first paragraphs. But, boy oh boy, I am so glad to be out of the truck! I am so glad to be at home! I am so glad to be here with my husband, kids and dogs. I am so glad to be able to cook dinner and hang out. Last time we did this I was totally into the race, enjoying the journey through country roads and then all the way from one side of Houston to the other, a long way.  We were having a good time even though it was difficult at times to keep my friend going and the run lasted about 62 hours.  This time we were very  much alone, not much to look at along the way, the road was not very good, and I just felt like we weren’t prepared for it all. But every run/race is a learning experience if you pay attention. This time I learned that it is very important to train for the specific conditions you will be running, that one’s diet matters very much, as in, don’t under eat before and during a race, and that you must have very good reasons to run long distances or it will suck. You can’t run to prove your worth to others or to beat others or to win approval. You must prove it to yourself, beat yourself, gain your own approval. And you must be able to dig deep from your own well of motivation, strength and peace because running for hours and hours alone is not for the weak. My friend is definitely not weak. He ran a 100 miler two weeks ago and got a personal best and won the race! But he was physically tired and not sure of his own reasons for doing this race. In the end, it just wasn’t worth it to him to continue to suffer. His knee, feet and back were hurting the whole time. He pulled the plug at 94 miles, got in the truck and went to sleep. When he woke up I asked him if he wanted to continue and finish at least 100 miles but his heart wasn’t in it. It’s okay. A DNF ( did not finish) is not the end of the world! It doesn’t define your value or status as a runner. I really hope my friend will not beat himself up over this. Running is supposed to be a positive force, not a negative one.

So I’m home. I ran 27 total miles with him and my legs are feeling it, but I am thankful for the experience. We had a good time running until it was no longer fun. I took a break while he kept going into the night. He got discouraged by the hills and got in  the truck to sleep a bit. When he woke up, the sun was up and  we ran some more . We talked and laughed and braved the dogs and traffic . Then he ran alone all through the night down gravel roads  with fences on both sides under the full moon until it just got too hard, something like 32 hours. My brain is too tired to do math. We had adventures! I peed behind two campaign signs next to a school along a road with no trees after holding it for an hour waiting to find a hidden spot. We missed our turn once and had to backtrack half a mile. We saw deer, raccoons, cattle, horses and more dogs. Coyotes howled at the moon that was so bright you could see the road without any lights. We may not have finished the course, but we gave it our all, especially him. It was worth it.

I wasn’t expecting that! Or: Churches are made up of People

I think I mentioned that after years of being away from attending Sunday worship services, I had started visiting a local church and really enjoying the peaceful low-key , fairly anonymous time with other believers. I’ve been going for a couple of months I guess . I kept thinking I’d like to make an appointment to chat with the pastor , just to learn more about the Lutheran church since it’s not my usual Baptist denomination.

Well today I got a shock when I sat down and they began the announcements and I heard the pastor say that he had tendered his resignation that week. I can still hardly believe this . Why? Because I really liked him! He preaches good Biblical sermons and he’s a nice guy. I’m sure God has a reason for this and it has nothing to do with me. I just feel sad that he and his family are leaving and that the church is about to go through a transition. I’ve been through that before and don’t look forward to it . But maybe this church needs that . It had a split a few years ago and I guess things never really healed so attendance and offerings are way down. I can see how a pastor might decide it’s time to move on if he feels unwanted.

The sun came out today after weeks of gloomy rain and clouds.

As in everything, I will keep trusting God to show me the way. If he wants me to keep going there , I’ll know. If I start seeing an ugly side of this church , I’ll move on. But I’ve been asking him to show me how I can serve so maybe something will come up .

Do you attend church? Have you ever been part of a church that split ? Have you ever left a church that you had been a longtime member of?

Long days, short years: Live your life !

When I was a kid in school, I couldn’t wait to get older. That 12 months between birthdays took FOREVER to pass by! “How much longer until my birthday?”, I would ask.  Then I had my own kids and somehow things changed. During the newborn and toddler months and years, the days could pass very, very slowly and I couldn’t wait to go to bed every night, exhausted. My kids then asked me the birthday question.  But the years passed quicker and quicker and they outgrew their cribs, then their toys, and then their need for me, it seems.  But they still need my cooking!

I love seeing my children grow up but sadly this means I am getting older as well. My friends are getting older and some have died. My mom , though young at heart, is getting up there in age and has lost many of her friends and most of her relatives. I like to think that she will live forever but I know that her last day will come. Last night I had a bit of a shock when it dawned on me that my older sister, the one I go hiking mountains with, is only one year younger than my dad was when he died of cancer! And we had no warning that he was going to die. We had a family Christmas party as usual, and he was dead the next March. By the way, my sister’s motto is Live your life! She has lived her life to the fullest and continues to do so.

But that is how it happens sometimes. There are no guarantees for how many days or years we will be on this earth. I saw a video of a huge boulder rolling down a hill onto a car. The driver lived, but it could have easily been his last day. Last week a young man was drowned after driving into a flooded low water crossing and getting washed away and trapped in debris. No warning. One minute he was driving along and the next he was being swept away. Sometimes it seems like the good ones die instead of the ‘bad’ ones, but we don’t get to choose, do we?

I guess what I am saying is,  don’t waste your days. So many ways to do that. Today might be the beginning of the end for you or me. We could be dying and not know it. We could be killed in an accident. Sorry to be so morbid, but it’s worth remembering that our living days are numbered and should be valued. When I was a depressed student in college, I allowed myself to become trapped in a dangerous situation where my life was in the hands of another person who could have ended it. That day I had thought I didn’t care if I lived or died. But when I was at risk of having my life taken, I knew I wanted to be alive! I was able to escape and my life changed after that. I stopped being self-destructive and began to live again. I saw what a fool I was being and how selfish, not caring about the people who had done some much for me and truly loved me! I thank God that he gave me a third chance. Yes, I am a slow learner.

Embrace life, it’s short. Make it as sweet as you can by loving others and loving yourself and loving God.

Revelation 21:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

A Beautiful, Rugged Hike at Lost Maples State Park

I had trouble choosing a title. I wanted to say that God answered my prayers again, gave me the desires of my heart, showed up in a big way as always, because He did! But I’ve become more hesitant about saying that only because I know many people are praying for important , urgent, and much desired interventions and sometimes God waits a long time to answer, but always in His perfect timing. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad that God answers my prayers so often. Believe me, I am still praying, waiting and trusting for many things. Keep trusting and praying! But, it’s true, this time I was praying for the rain that was falling Saturday morning to stop , not flood the roads, not close the trails and for us to have a great day hiking, which was my chosen birthday activity. It all worked out! Here are the photos. Thanks be to God who blessed me once again!

This video is what got me so fired up to go here. Lost Maples SNA Part 1 of 2

 

IMG_3646

We drove through heavy rain to the park.

IMG_3648

Finally we came into view of the mountains!

IMG_3652

Ready or not! Let’s go!

IMG_3655

The trail was wet and rocky all the way.

IMG_3657

IMG_3662

And easy section that was NOT in the creek bed.

IMG_3663

IMG_3667

Taking a break from climbing up.

IMG_3668

A little more to go to the top.

IMG_3672

This is the trail.

IMG_3674

Octopus tree?!

IMG_3678

We were mostly alone but there was a young couple with two kids following us.

IMG_3680

Clear, clean water!

 

IMG_3686

A lovely pond  in which my husband took a quick dip .

How the day went: Left the house at 7:00. Hit rain about 9:00. Called the park and they said they were still open. Kept driving. Got to park at 11:00. About 80 degrees, breezy and not raining! Drove through some water on the road to get to the park. I started feeling emotional and excited when I spotted the mountains rising up ahead of us. The route is a very scenic road along a river through hunting leases, farms and ranches.  The area is a favorite place for motorcycle riders. We stopped for a quick photo in the town of Utopia. Who could resist?
Parked, got our gear, headed to trail head . We immediately had to cross over water on some large rocks. Looking across to the other side we saw a group of middle aged women ( like myself) laughing and talking and looking our way. We got to them and discovered that one of them had lost her balance crossing the rocks and fallen into the water. She had taken off her wet pants and was just wearing a rain poncho. They thought it was hilarious. We laughed with them,  wished them well and kept going. A little later we came to another crossing of the same creek but no dry way across , so that was the first of many times we got our feet wet.

Another group was heading out in the opposite direction at this point in the loop. I had heard that the clockwise direction was the more difficult way and I picked that . I thought it might be easier to go up the “hard side” and  down the other side. But in reality, I think it may have been just as hard either direction. But going clockwise you do get the hardest parts over with first and then finish on the easy trail, which I liked. There is one relatively big climb  and then you come to a flat spot on the top where we took a lunch break. There’s a chemical bathroom up there as well and primitive camping. Then you go back down which was very technical, but doable, and we were glad we had hiking poles. Then once again you are in the canyon, mostly hiking through or next to the creek bed with canyon walls on both sides. The trail was hard to follow due to a recent flood and leftover debris which made it hard to see a way through in many places. So that added a level of adventure which made it more interesting than your typical groomed trails. You can’t really get lost unless you scramble up the side of the canyon , which would not be easy or wise! We enjoyed the sounds of the bubbling, gurgling creek, the occasional breezes, and lovely variety of trees and rocks.

IMG_3692IMG_3691

I had hoped to hike a little further but we were taking our time and not covering distance very quickly, so we decided at one point in an out and back section to turn around and finish the main loop, knowing we still had a two hour drive back to our hotel. Happily for our tired, sore feet, we found some less rocky trails ahead. My husband took a dip in a lovely pond while I had a snack of Skittles and took in the natural beauty of the canyon. We passed more hikers in this easier section of trail. Finally we made it back to the car ,covering just under 6 miles.  We took the time to visit a small motorcycle museum, where we met a very friendly lady and saw about 50 very cool bikes from all over the world,  before driving back to San Antonio. All told, a wonderful day!

IMG_3693

By the clear pond. Those are green rocks in the water.

IMG_3694

The rocks that the lady fell on. I would have hurt myself if I’d fallen! Glad she didn’t.

IMG_3695

Utopia, Texas, where everything is perfect!

Well, Now What?

My happy and excited mood was instantly replaced with disappointment and questions when I checked the weather this morning. All week I’ve been patiently waiting and anticipating what was supposed to be great weather and a hiking trip for my birthday (which is actually Monday). Evidently the jet stream or whatever has shifted , as often happens for good or for bad, and now we are looking at a 60% chance of thunderstorms and a high of 80 degrees. I can handle the heat but this park closes the trails when it rains . So, now what?

The park is over 3.5 hours drive from here. Do we risk it? We have a hotel reservation , as well. Do I cancel or change it to somewhere else? Do we just pray and hope for the rain to hold off or be lighter than expected? If you’re from Texas you know most of the time rain here equals storms , not pleasant showers, but we get those occasionally and that might feel nice when hiking as long as the trails don’t get too slippery. They are steep and rocky , like I like them, but I don’t want one of us getting hurt.

The current weather is gorgeous! I’ll try to enjoy it while it lasts . I’m going to pray and see where God takes us. Maybe we need to stay home for some reason. I will choose to trust Him.

People Come and Go

Once there was a family who needed help. Child Protective Services had taken custody of their son and the parents asked the court if my family could take him in. We did. He was my nephew. I treated him like my own son. It was a very difficult situation that got worse and required a lot from me. I did my best. God helped me, but I wish I could have done more. Then CPS gave him back to his family. Today is his birthday and I haven’t heard from him or them in a few years. It makes me sad. I pray for him. I hope he’s okay.

My cousin’s ex-wife died in a foggy car crash last week. She was around 50 years old and left 4 kids and 3 grandkids that she was very close to. I remember her as a young mother with a newborn. I went to take her baby gifts. She’s gone now. So unexpected and so hard on those she left behind.

I dreamed about my dad last night. In the dream I knew he shouldn’t be there because he died in 2002. He was acting strangely. I asked him, “What? Do you have cancer again?” “Yes!”, he said in a wretched tone. I’ve thought of him several times this week. I miss him.

I had a close friend that I used to run and go to the gym with. She had a Xanax addiction. After several years, I just couldn’t deal with her lies and I had to distance myself. It was hard on both of us. Today I ran by her house. I miss those days of laughing and chatting and running.

People come and go. Be nice to them and love them while you can.