Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spit Wads and Pit Bulls

Don't you just love Disney movies? :) I totally have a random playlist going on my iPod dock right now, and it's playing "Beauty and the Beast." Ah, I miss Angela Landsbury. Is she even still alive?

Okay, today is NOT about the amazingness of fall. It's about spiritual matters. The running has been simply amazing lately, of course, and I feel very ready for the half marathon coming up. Bring it on! :) But I want to write about what it means to really believe God.

It's funny. I had the BEST, most refreshing weekend. It was just absolutely blissful! The perfect mixture of activity and rest. The perfect run on Saturday. The perfect amount of quality sleep. I could NOT have entered Monday feeling any better physically or mentally.

Then, Monday night, in an odd turn of events, I had an anxiety attack. Where on earth did that come from? I freaked out about the upcoming schedule work-wise and personally. Just SO much going on. Deadlines, specifically, and how on earth everything was going to come together. (To be honest, I still don't know how it's all going to happen.) But there's just a TON on the old plate right now. And I feel like I'm staring down the barrel of a gun with it all, just waiting for it to go off.

What's weird is that I planned out my week on Sunday like I normally do. I sat down with old Franklin Covey and examined the week ahead and thought everything was going to fall into place. But then I started looking at the week AFTER. Um, that one is a little more chaotic. And that's when I started to freak out.

What is that? First off, I have, like, 10 days before any of it starts! Second, isn't this a blessing to be able to realize it now so that I can do as much damage control beforehand as I can? Nope. I just freak out and start trying to fix everything immediately. "What can I get done now?? What do I need to cut out?? Where am I going to find the time?? Nothing fits!! I'm going to die and be so stressed out!" Um, yes, I even get stressed out about getting stressed out. Is there a support group for that?

Anyway, Monday night, oddly enough, I slept just fine. Anxiety and all, I was out like a light. But last night was a totally different story. I honestly didn't feel that anxious at all, but I could NOT fall asleep. And with my history of insomnia, that just totally sent me into a horrible state of mind. I've spent the better part of the day dreading tonight and whether or not I'll have to lay there awake again listening to the fan.

It's not like I just LET this happen. I quoted every Scripture I could think of last night, out loud, whether it applied or not. I just wanted the Word of God to go forward and do it's thing. But nothing seemed to help.

Talked to my sister tonight, and we had an interesting conversation about it. Yeah, I had spoken the Word of God, but did I believe it? Was I just saying it and then trying to figure out the situation on my own? Truthfully, I think I was just shooting spit wads at a pit bull. But it wasn't God's fault. He had given me TRUTH to BELIEVE, and I was just being that "clanging cymbal" referenced in Scripture.

When it comes to the Word of God, we can't forget that it is TRUTH. It's not just words on a page. It's not just for kicks and giggles or to make us feel warm and fuzzy. It's actual, honest, powerful TRUTH. The Lord wants me to rest! He created rest! He knows that I function better when I'm well-slept. He said in Psalms that we could "lie down and sleep in peace" because He made us dwell in safety. That's not a joke or a fun quote. It's TRUTH. That's the part where we come in. We get to believe it! :)

God gave us that spiritual truth as a weapon. But I sometimes treat His double-edged sword like a rubber knife. Tonight, I am praying with a different mindset. The enemy is a guaranteed loser. I need only believe it. And then lie down and sleep in peace. :) Ah...Tempting. I'm already looking forward to it. :)

Ciao, friends! Believe God! :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All Things Good

Ahhhhhh. :) It's FALL!! :) It's probably the most bittersweet season there is for runners. At least it is for me. It's undeniably the BEST running weather. Way better than spring because you don't have as many storms, and temperatures that are just to die for! But...It means that the WORST running season is just ahead. Good ol' winter. Icy, snowy, blustry winter. But, it's winter that makes us tough and gives us the best training both mentally and physically, simply because we have to work a thousand times harder than at any other point. I think that's one of the reasons I was in such great shape for Boston last year. Winter training is H-A-R-D.

But, let's not talk about that today. Let's talk about the most unbelievable and amazing run this morning!! :) Perfect fall training run. Hallelujah! :) Thank You, Lord, for the blessing!! :) The temperature was a delightful 56. There was only a slight wind. And the sun was shining! :) Let the chorus of angels sing!! :)

And, lo and behold, wouldn't you know that my legs responded to the amazingness? :) A whopping 7:36 pace for the 14 miles! :) Yee haw!! :) That hasn't happened since the back injury. The times are dropping! And just in time. Got a half marathon that I'd LOVE to kill in two weeks. I haven't done many halves, so this will hopefully be a great place for a PR.

In all of this, I've been thinking. . . In God's economy, there is no good or bad when it comes to the situations that He orchestrates. There's only good according to Romans 8:28 ("And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose."). So, what does that say about winter training? It's only good! :) All that icy weather. All the treadmill runs due to sub-zero temperatures. All the "Where on earth do I run when the sidewalks are snow-packed?" days. They're all good! But we as humans only see them as bad because they cause us to overcome obstacles.

In these moments, if we're wise, we'll view those obstacles through God's lens and ask how He would have us respond. And, if we trust Him enough, we'll be able to accept His challenge and walk through it knowing that He's got a plan and that He's already made a way.

I think back to the one 20-miler that me and Jackie did during Boston training last year when it seemed like EVERYTHING went wrong. But we wound up being blessed with two stud treadmills and a free session at a 24-Hour Fitness. :) Icy roads, broken windshield wipers, and all!

Here's my own challenge to myself. As fall continues, I am going to prayerfully put aside my dread of winter and ask the Lord to help me see it through His eyes. May each ice-run be a fruitful strengthening experience, and may I use each day to connect with Him in a deep and intimate way. I'm thinking that's HIS plan. So, I might as well jump on board!

In the meantime? I'm going to enjoy these fall runs like there's no tomorrow. :)

Ciao, friends! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Battle Buddies

Man, I am just savoring every moment of yesterday. This whole weekend, actually.

My sister--one of my best friends--drove up to spend the weekend with me. :) And, man, I'm just having such a hard time putting this relationship into words. I cherish her so much! Unless you have a sister, it's impossible to explain. You know each other's past, and you can just spend hours talking about where you've been and where you're going. You can get lost in advising each other, listening to each other, and just talking nonsense. It's a most wonderful relationship. Totally unique to any other on earth.

Sis and I were actually blessed by the most perfect day yesterday. It could NOT have been any better. Truly, the Lord ordered our steps from start to finish. We had a blast at Worlds of Fun, garage sale-ing in a neighborhood WAY out of our tax bracket, playing with facial masks and nail polish, eating ice cream and watching football. But my favorite part of the weekend? Totally when I crawled under the covers with my girl this morning and got to snuggle with her. :) We just laid there after waking up and talked about our past. How much we loved our grandma who'd passed, how different life would have been if our grandpa hadn't died when we were kids, how we misunderstood our dad when he was alive, how we're blessed now in so many ways. It was one of the sweetest moments I've had in a long time. It was just like when we were kids. :)

Man, it's absolutely incredible to have relationships where people accept you for who you are and who reeeeeeally know you. My sister knows me, and the fact that she still loves me is just the most wonderful icing on the cake. She's one of the most grace-filled, patient, loving, selfless people I know, and I can't believe how stinkin' blessed I am that she's MY sister. :)

Running for the weekend? Totally blessed with a great 14-miler before we hit the amusement park. Wonderful temperature, no wind, beautiful cloud cover for most of the way. Man, it was a great way to start the perfect day. That's what I'm labeling yesterday. Perfection. :)

Ciao, friends!
-Jill :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Perfect Timing

I have a lot of editing to get done today, so I want to warm up my creative brainwaves by blogging.

Great run this morning. It was totally divine, actually. Last night before I went to bed, I asked God if He would plan out the perfect time for me to run in the morning regarding the rain. I did submit and tack on the "if it's Your will" bit, which was totally genuine. (I'm not above a rain-run. They're often really blessed.) But I was also not afraid to ask Him to let me hit the road at a time that would allow me to NOT have to worry about wearing my rain shoes and carrying an extra 5 pounds of water weight on my feet. ;)

So...What happened?

I woke up and it was raining. haha! Of course. But, I dallied around a little longer than normal trying to find a radar picture on television, which took about 10 minutes. I finally found one (thank you KMBC), which showed really light preciptation in the area. Totally doable. I realized it wouldn't be that bad after all.

So, I got out the rain gear, DID put on the rain shoes, and headed out the door a little later than normal. hahaha! Wouldn't you know it? The rain had JUST stopped. Completely. When I walked out the door. :)

God winked at me this morning, and it was awesome. :) Sometimes He says no to our prayers; sometimes He says yes. And sometimes He makes it so obvious that we can't help but realize a little more of who He really is. . . The actual MAKER of the rain. :)

Ciao, friends!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eight totally random thoughts...

Random thoughts of the weekend. . .

1. I love half-popped kernels of popcorn. I have no idea why, but I think they're awesome. As soon as the bag comes out of the microwave, I'll dump it out onto a paper towel and strategically dig for the unpopped and half-popped kernels first.

2. Just finished reading "Mansfield Park" by Jane Austen. Not the BEST book ever, but cute and fun. You can always count on Jane Austen for a good happily-ever-after, though this one's love story doesn't actually unfold until the last eight pages of the book. But the more I read her the more I can see her faith background. Her dad was a pastor, and she writes with such a theme of divine providence. Everything ends as it should, and all things work together for good. This one totally could have been summed up by Romans 8:28 and all the verses that talk about waiting on God.

3. As a single woman, one of my biggest battles is definitely finding identity in my job and career. It's shocking how much time I spend thinking about it or working toward some greater end. Undoubtedly it has to do with the fact that I don't have a family at a stage of life in which I thought I would. But it's becoming such an interesting mental puzzle--one that is being pieced together daily by God. It seems like He uncovers a new thought/truth/lie/fact about this present situation every day. Today's thought--and do NOT shoot me for this; I'm just being honest--was if women should hold high workplace leadership positions when we are designed by God in a far different way than men. I'm just thinking based on my own workaholic tendencies that have played out somewhat unhealthfully. It's not something I'm concluding, I'm just saying it's a thought. :) But, as I don't have a husband or family, what else would I be doing but working? But, if I hadn't dived into the career so heartily and had spent more of my 20s socializing instead of working, would I have that family? Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11. Going to trust God on that one. Either way, don't shoot the messenger for the thought. It's a blog. That's what they're for.

4. I have SO stinkin' many books I want to write. hahaha! One of them is about Christian men who "just stop calling" women. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! I had to get it off my chest, so I wrote a very heated document about it yesterday. I would love to write a book about what men should take into consideration when toying around with women's hearts. ESPECIALLY as Christians who are supposed to be held to a higher standard. Oh my lanta. I could get on a huge soapbox here if I let myself, but I'll save it for another time. Isn't this a running blog? Well, where do you think I spend most of my time thinking? :)

5. I'm completely at risk for becoming a complete recluse when it comes to technology. haha! I'm SO going to be one of those people when I'm old who has let every technological advancement pass them by. I'm going to depend entirely on the nursing home society to handle it for me. :)While I do use the gadgets, I don't entirely like them. Man, give me a pen and paper. Give me a moment without my cell phone. Give me a good ol rotary phone and a landline. Heck, as much fun as Garmin is in the car, I'd just as well like a good old-fashioned map. Weren't those fun? Especially when it came to folding them back the way they were originally.

6. Okay, this is turning into a long list of grievances, so here's a positive one. Wedding receptions might be the most wonderful of all events on the planet! :) How fun is it to watch a bride and groom at the absolute height of bliss? :) Plus, you get to catch up with so many friends you'd otherwise never see. And there's always good music. It's an absolute blast! Thanks for the great party, Clay and Liz! :)

7. Should I buy a house?

8. Yesterday's run was such an absolute joy. The weather was wonderful, and it didn't turn the slightest bit hot until I rounded the corner for the final mile of my 14. It was beautiful timing! Great pace (7:45) and strong legs. I'm tempted to bump it up by a mile next week just for kicks. I've been doing 14 for so many weeks now that I'm bored. Have I told you all that I'm training for a fall half marathon? Yep! That's the plan! :)

Okay...I gotta go to a meeting at church. Thanks for listening. All three of you who reads this. :)

-Jill :)

Monday, September 6, 2010


I have been thinking. . . We tend to do that as runners.

This week, my best friend from childhood experienced a HUGE tragedy. She's about to become a first-time mom in a few months, and she just lost her husband. They'd been married for only two years and had a wonderful start on their life together. Now, that's all changed.

Inevitably, when something like this happens, our tendnecy is to make it about us. "What on earth do I say? How do I help? What if I don't say the right thing? What if I...?" Hopefully, after a while, we get the Holy Spirit's anointing to realize that it doesn't matter as long as we are willing to lock arms with them and love them. When we let Jesus take over, we realize that He equips us and will use us to bring them love if we let Him. We don't have to worry about what to say, He provides the words.

But how interesting. I was thinking about this as I ran this weekend--how we fear our love for people sometimes. We fear allowing ourselves to go deep with people and get dirty with them in the challenges of life. We fear being inadequate. We fear lack of knowledge and wisdom. We fear how it will make us give up our comfort. We fear. We fear. We fear.

Jesus doesn't.

Jesus is so much different from us in His love. He isn't afraid of His love for us. He loves us intensely and authentically. He loves us deeply and passionately. He isn't afraid of our problems, of our sins, of our issues, of our trials, of our hurts. He isn't afraid to be with us when we hurt the most. He isn't afraid of not having the words to say or the strength to love. He isn't afraid. He is strong in His love. He is steady in His love. He is powerful in His love.

When no one else knows how to love us, Jesus does. When no one else is strong enough to be there with us in intense pain, Jesus is. He loves completely and with the most intense, fierce compassion we'll ever know. If we go to Him, He will be there. He will be RIGHT there. He will be there with force. With unshakable, unbreakable love.

That's how our Lord is different. Where we fear, He doesn't. He is unafraid of His love for us. KNOW that today.