Thursday, December 20, 2012

Let the Little Children Come

Matthew 19:14  Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

If you are like me, your mind continually goes to those families in Connecticut, the ones who are burying children, brothers, sisters, and friends.  My heart aches for them.  My prayers are for them, for those who are left behind. 

But for me, tonight was sweet.  A friend texted me last night to tell me her daughter was going to be baptized tonight.  I went, and it was wonderful.  It made my heart sing.  It's such a blessing to see someone choose Christ.  You could see the light and excitement in her eyes.  Her mom told me later she heard her crying in her room earlier in the day and when she asked what was wrong the girl told her, I'm just so happy.  Oh, what joy fills my soul to see someone so young make the biggest decision of her life!

Children and their faith facinate me.  I'm a why person.  I want to know why it works that way, what's the theory behind it, why does that situation have a better result than the other situation?  How does a deal benefit both parties involved?  It serves me well in my job, it doesn't always serve me well in my faith.  It's ok to ask why, but there is also a big part that's faith, and paying attention to the way God works in our lives, and just believing.

For this reason, I've always loved the verse from Luke 18:17 that says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

I read this article from Jon Acuff and I thought it was such a fantastic commentary on this verse.  I've cut out some of my favorite parts below, but you can read the full article here

“Why did Christ say we needed receive the kingdom of God like a little child?”

Kids are interesting role models. I guarantee you’ve never been in a meeting at work and someone said, “In order to hit our sales numbers this quarter, we’ve got to have discipline like a child.” No politician has ever said, “If I’m elected, I’ll run the country with wisdom like a child.” No coach has ever said, “In order for us to win Saturday’s game, we need to work hard like a child.”

It’s difficult to find another context in life where being “like a child” is held up as something to emulate.

So why then, of all the examples Christ could have used, are children the example he picked? I’ve heard someone say it’s because kids are dependent and in need of being taken care of, and God takes care of us like that.

But I think there’s an even simpler possibility.

Because kids get grace.

Grace makes sense to kids. They’ve got the imagination and creativity and “anything is possible” attitude that can accept the unbelievable nature of grace. We adults are the ones who have a hard time with it.

We’ve spent 10 or 20 or 30 years learning how “things work.” There are consequences, cause and effect, A+B = C situations. Grace doesn’t fit those.

We get something we don’t deserve. Something we can’t control. Something we can’t earn. Something that makes no sense when you try to break it down logically. So you’re saying that when I make a mess of my life, when I wreck everything in it, that there’s a God who loves me so much that he sent his only son to die for me so that I could repent and be forgiven?

That’s crazy.

But not to kids.

Kids get grace.

I think Christ wants us to get it too.

That’s why I think he wants us to have faith like a child.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Running Update

Oh, running, what a roller coaster relationship we have.  Let me catch you up.

November was my first half marathon.  I went with two friends to Tampa, FL where we ran a half and celebrated my birthday.  It was a fun weekend.  Let me just say, Florida is where it's at for November running.  The temps were perfect, and it is so FLAT!!!!  We came to a bridge at one point that had a little rise and I heard someone say, "there's a Florida hill".  They weren't joking.  That's the most elevation I saw the entire time.  It was awesome! 

I really had no idea what to shoot for time wise.  Our training runs can be all over the place, but I'd say normally average between a 12:30 and 13 minute mile.  So, I went in with a hope of being under 2:45.  I didn't run all the long runs I should have.  I could give you excuses, but it just didn't happen.  However, I did run a lot of miles leading up to the race.  I was running 4-5 miles a day 4-5 days a week. 

When the race started, I felt great!  It was all I could do not to sprint the first 3 miles.  When I got to mile 3, I was running an 11 minute pace.  Between miles 4 and 5 I slowed down a bit.  When I reached mile 5 I was still under an hour.  Miles 5-10 I still felt really good.  I walked thru all the water stops and ate a Goo at Mile 8, something I probably shouldn't have done since I had never tried one before, but my problem tends to be running out of fuel.  I paid for it later, but during the race, I really think it helped me.  At Mile 10, I was still under 2 hours and under a 12 minute pace.  Mile 11 is when I started fading a little.  And either mile 11 or 12, they had us run thru the Tampa Bay Rays stadium.  It was neat, but it was AstroTurf and it was like running on a rug, just weird.  Once we made it out of there, it was mile 13, and I was just excited.  My shoe came untied somewhere during 13 and when I tried to lift it up to tie it, my leg was shaking like crazy.  Got it tied and trudged on.  I really believe my least favorite part of a race is the last few tenths.  It seems so close, but it's so far, and you want to sprint, but there is nothing left.  I crossed the finish line in 2:40, woo-hoo!  Now I have a baseline and something to beat!  I spent the first 5 minutes after crossing trying not to die.  I must have looked horrible, because this woman came up and asked if I needed medical attention and started patting me on the back :-)

Overall, it was just so much more enjoyable than I expected.  There were lots of spectators, especially in the last half and our bibs had our names, so they would cheer for you by name, how great!  They also had live music at different places along the race.  I would definitely give it a big thumbs up and I'm looking forward to my next one.

Since then, I ran a 5K in Huntsville thru the Christmas lights in the Botanical Gardens.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a night race, which I LOVE, and I just felt really good the whole time.  I haven't a clue what my time was, and I ran with a friend who had been out with an injury so we slowed down a bit a few times, but it was just fun.  I hope they do it again next year.

Now for my injury...  My foot is mended for the time being, but now my knee is in a bad shape.  The Wednesday before the half, it started hurting all the sudden while we were running.  It didn't hurt too much during the race, I think adrenaline had a lot to do with that, but since then, it's been a booger.  It's so weird, walking doesn't hurt and sprinting doesn't hurt, but anything in between makes me want to cry and scream.  I think it's probably IT band and I've been researching some exercises, but I finally broke down and went to the doctor today.  The x-rays were normal, which I am thankful for, but I thought they would be ok.  Now he wants to do an MRI.  He is also sending me to the physical therapist, which I'm excited about.  I really think this is something that can be treated with some good exercises, at least I really hope so.  Bad part, he said not to run until after the MRI and I see him again.  Boo hiss.  I, of course, am already trying to justify running in my mind, but I guess that isn't the thing to do so I guess I'll just walk, and maybe this will inspire me to work on my abs and arms. 

Speed... as I said above, I can sprint with little pain, so I've been working on speed some.  I did a 10:06 mile one day last week which is booking for me!  Now I want to get one that starts with single digits!!!

So, that's been the running story for the past few months.  Hopefully this knee issue is minor, and I'll be pain free again soon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Save on all that Last Minute Shopping!

I post this every year. It has saved me a ton of money, and I'd love to see you save some, too. It's a little late for most of your Christmas shopping, but I'm still working on some last minute gifts, so I've already used one of the rebate websites today. I'm an online shopping aholic. I love online shopping from the couch, and in honor of the start of shopping season, here is how I make online shopping a little sweeter, rebate websites, it's all free to join and use…

Here are the ones I use and a little bit about them

Ebates has over 1,000 stores. Some that I have used include Land’s End, Expedia, OldNavy, Zappos, and Hotwire, all reliable retailers. You just go to the Ebates website, find the store you are making a purchase from and click on the store. Rebates at the different stores run anywhere from 1% to 10%. I’ve been using ebates for maybe 4 years or so, and they’ve sent me over $325 in checks so far. Below is the link

Shop at Home is a lot like Ebates, lots of the same stores so usually I just check both sites and see who has the higher rebate amount. So far for this one, I've received over $170 in checks. Link below.

Extrabux is another I use if I’m really in the mood to check around and see who has the best % rebate back. I actually used it today, and I've received over $190 in checks from them.

In some other random info, Ebates has recently started doing cash back for a few select Amazon categories, and they are back to doing cash back for eBay, yay!  Also, most of these sites also list coupon codes that you might not otherwise know about.

Hope you enjoy these and make a little money back, it’s lots of fun to get those $10-$20 checks when you aren’t expecting it! Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012


That's how I feel as I watch the news of the shooting at the Connecticut school.  There are tears.  There is pain.  There is disbelief.  Why?  20 children, how?  It's just shocking. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, we had a school shooting.  It was different, it was a student, who had another particular student he went after.  But it was on school grounds, during 7th period, and Nick died.  It was one of the most shocking things I've ever been thru.  It took years before I didn't think about it every single day.  Years.  And I didn't know Nick well at all, I didn't see the shooting, and it still took years.  Because it's not just the trauma of losing a friend, or viewing something horrible.  It's having your innocence taken away.  It's having your trust and perfect world and happy place blown to bits.  And I was 16.  These kids are 5-12.  And they have to deal with this.  Their worlds will never be the same.  20 families in one community will be burying 5 year olds.  That's just sickening.  I can't wrap my head around it.  I experienced 1/100 of the trauma these kids did and it was horrible, how do they deal???

But here's the good part about brokenness.  That's when God can shine.  That's when you let Him in the most, b/c you have no where else to go.  I pray these children, these parents, these teachers will let God in to work.  I don't know how else you could deal with this. 

My heart aches.  I feel a bit numb.  But it's time to pray, and pray hard, and pray fervently, because these folks need it.  They have many long days, nights, and years ahead.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

“We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Is is really December?  I can't believe it!  But the month has already started out with a bang.  I was non-stop busy this weekend.  I can't believe it's Monday already, this weekend flew by!

Friday night I ate with some fun folks for a friend's birthday.  They are always fun to hang out with, and my dinner was delicious!  When I went on my birthday/running trip, we went to dinner one night and I really contemplated ordering a steak, but instead went with pasta.  I've been craving steak ever since, and the one I ate Friday night was delicious.  Before I met up with the birthday bunch, I went with a friend from work to do some shopping.  I picked up two cute tops and some aviator sunglasses while we were out.  She has great taste and it's so nice to have someone give some feedback on whether something actually looks good when you walk out of the dressing room!

Saturday morning, I was up early to put in a few miles before heading to Nashville for my nephew's 2nd birthday party. It was fun! He's older and so he was more excited about the party and the gifts. Lots of fun with family.

Cow Print Birthday cake!
New Puzzle!
After the party, I headed home, jumped in the shower and watched some football while getting ready for our work Christmas party.  It was a good time.  Everyone looked pretty, and I talked a friend of mine into making the drive down and joining in on the party.  Good sport.
Sunday was another fun day.  We went to the Titans game!  Way back in August when I did the Titans 5K, the registration came with a free ticket to a game and you could buy additional tickets if you wanted.  I decided I could find some friend who would want to join so I bought the extras.  It was a gorgeous day, perfect football weather.  Jennifer took these pictures and was nice enough to let me use them on the blog!
Gorgeous day in Nashville!
I think Jennifer could blog with those mad photo skills.  Once the game was over, we headed back home, made it back in time for singing night at church, dinner with friends, and then spent some time catching up on our Revenge episodes.  I love having a couple TV shows to watch with friends, just makes it more fun.
It was a fun weekend with friends and family.  Monday came a little too soon, but I wouldn't change a minute of it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


So this was part of an exchange I saw on facebook the other night.  First the original comment
Now, upon reading that, my mouth initially kind of fell open.  I can't quite wrap my brain around spending that kind of money on wrapping paper, but to each her own.  Then I started reading the comments below it.  I highlighted the ones of those that made my mouth fall open again.
  •  Oh my!!!
  •  ????!!!!! Mouth just fell open. I wanna be at her house on Christmas ... the gifts have either got to be AWESOME or from the Dollar Tree.
  •  Hmmmm
  •  What tha what???!
  • Maybe it was for an organization or something (she said, hopefully)?
  •  That would be nice, WL, but it was all for her family. She was rather boastful and quite proud of herself.
  •  I don't spend that much on gifts. Good grief!
  •  That is obscene! People are crazy!
  •   What a waste!
  •  You owe it to yourself, and to society, to find that lady and set her gift wrap and ribbons on fire.
  •  Crazy........
  •  I have a paper shredder...
  •  and you didn't try to stop her - have her committed? citizen's arrest for insanity?
  •  But how much family can you have even to spoil with that much paper@supplies?!
  •  Maybe she bought a TON of gifts for needy children in the area and wanted them to be wrapped nicely!
  • Ridiculous!!
  •  She was nuts! She said it was all for her family. She went on and on about how she has "people" who wrap all of her gifts and how she was trying to save them the trouble of having to return to the store several times for more paper like they did last year. She was also wearing more makeup than I wear in a month. Ha!
  •  Bless her lil heart
  • Understand what I'm saying here.  I get that the comments I highlighted were said with some sarcasm, but it's the undertone of envy that really bothers me.  Because, in reality, the cashier at the Container Store probably should have hugged this woman for helping her keep a job.  I mean the Container Store is in the business of selling this stuff.  Then we have the people who make this paper and supplies, she's helping them keep a job.  And furthermore, the "people" who wrap her gifts.  So instead of being appalled at what others are spending, let's be thankful someone is spending and keeping the economy going and feels confident enough about the world to spend $1,300 on wrapping paper.
    I think our society has determined that envy is ok, that judging what others have is ok.  Not only that, but we don't want to work to have what others have, we just don't want them to have it.  There seems to be an underlying feeling that we all should be the same, have the same, no matter what.  I just think we need to be really careful when we start demonizing others because of their possessions.  This isn't to preach, it's a reminder to myself, because I've been guilty of this very thing.  But I want to be purposeful in my thoughts not to be envious of others' possessions, lives, or circumstances. 
    Proverbs 14:30 ESV     A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.