Thursday, July 30, 2015

Try: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.


This past weekend, I participated in my first triathlon. Before you conjure up visions of Iron Man and 26 mile marathons, let me assure you this was nothing that difficult. It was called a "Tin Man" and was a "sprint" distance. 1/2 mile of swimming, 12 miles of biking, and a 5K (3.11 mile) run at the end.
I've no good explanation for what drew me to attempt this feat, other than I've seen it advertised in our paper for the past few years and I thought "I'd like to try that sometime."

Two years ago a friend talked me into running a half-marathon. It took me 2:30:58 to complete it. So my goal was to be faster than that in this race.
I was pretty wiped out after that. In my age bracket, the top three racers finished in 1:30:58 comparatively. I'm not fast.
I tried to condition my body leading up to the race while my children were still in school. Then we all had a very rough virus in the beginning of May. Mother's Day was a stay-at-home, chicken-soup kind of day this year. We all survived, but I didn't begin training until May 30. An all-day hike to some gorgeous waterfalls. I would joke with my friends that "slow and steady wins the race". I also referred to myself as "Tammy the Tortoise."

I swam two days a week the month of June with some bike rides in there, and three days a week the month of July. My swim time ended up 23:23. 
These goggles are over 20 years old. It's my scuba mask and it may look funny, but it keeps the water out of my nose!

Not bad. My bike ride was slower because I was not really "racing" the bike. (And I am afraid of fast biking, so I was holding the brakes a lot on the other side of the large hill at 8 miles instead of coasting up to 30 miles per hour)
When it came to the run, I tried. And? I. Could. Not. Run.
Coming in from the biking portion

I never walked a step of the half-marathon, so to say I felt disappointment is an understatement. My split time after biking was 1:17, so I knew it was possible to finish the race in 2 hours. My friend caught up to me and passed me.
That was just before the aid station, with only half the run left. After I turned around back toward the finish line, I cried. Ugly cried. So ugly you cannot close your jaw because you are sobbing your face off cried. All the extra Carbon Dioxide finally exited my body and I was able to begin trotting again. I would count to 20 with walking steps, then count to 20 with jogging steps. I kept trying to increase the jogging steps.
Soon, I was near the finish line. I was at the chain link fence around the bend, so I began to jog, then sprint, then I began to leap. My husband thought I was joking around. He couldn't believe I was pumping my arms and hopping as far as I could jump, but that's all I had left.
My final time? 1:59:56.
Only four seconds under the 2 hour mark. 7 out of 10 in the women's division. Racer #10 did not complete the race after the first two legs.
Leaping to the finish line
You'll never know what you can do if you don't try.
I felt betrayed by my inability to run. I really thought I could do this without walking, but a wise friend shared with me this week, "The fact that you tried and you succeeded may inspire somebody else to do something they never thought they could do."

Go ahead and try. Persistence is praiseworthy.


*Confession, I had to take more than five minutes in order to add photos and captions, but I really wanted to share this with you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ten: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.


So tonight I was musing in my kitchen as I prepared dinner. And the prompt paired with my muse.
"He Gave You Ten" was the proposed title.
Reading the parable of the servants given the one, five and ten talents, I always saw myself as the five talent servant. There was no question in my mind. I'd strive NOT to be that one talent servant who buried their talent and didn't get anything for the master and had a lecture. I'm anti-punishment. Please the authority and get a gold star!
But, I always doubted myself and saw my lack of skill in areas. I saw where I could improve, and have always seen myself as a five. Tonight, God revealed to me that many of us are Tens, but we think we are Fives.
The enemy will do what He can to keep us there. (Or even discourage us so we give up and become a one.)

God made you a Ten. Not by your own means, but by putting your talents in His hands—for His kingdom and His glory. Then you will bring all of those back to Him and gain a greater reward!
True joy is found when we are delighting ourselves in the Lord. Then the desires of our hearts are in line with what He desires for His kingdom and it's an all-around win!

If tonight you have been feeling "less than", remember, "Greater is the one living inside of me, than He who is living in the world."
And with that, I'll leave you with a song of that title from Mercy Me.
A Lyric Video, so that you can see the truth and the truth can set you free. "There will be no condemnation here."
God made you perfect for His use, not perfect on your own. In His service, you are a Perfect Ten!


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Free: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.


If you have never been caged, you would never know what it meant to be free. This post could easily be dark and heavy or light and fluffy, but I'm hoping to balance somewhere in the middle.

One thing I have been honored to do for almost twenty years now, is sing our National Anthem at sporting events. I began as a high school sophomore, then expanded to college basketball games. In that song, you may have a rough start, but nobody will remember much of your performance except for "O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Go too high at your beginning, and you'll be screeching the word free. Start too low, and you'll wish you weren't singing at all.

We as Christians have freedom that many others long for. We are hesistant, at times, to freely share that hope.
"Freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give..." (My grandparents were Southern Baptist Missionaries, so I've got a wealth of hymnals in my head.)

Rather than hide our joy, we should be brilliantly shining. We don't abuse our freedom. We are considerate of the weaknesses of those around us. If I'm not gluten-resistant but my friend is, I'll try to make a dessert we can both enjoy. It is when we lose our freedom that we appreciate what we had.

I don't want to regret what I could have had, but instead to live as if today was the day Jesus was coming back to set the captives free. And the singing when He returns? Then we will really be in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This is a song I wrote two years ago at our Women's Retreat called "I set you free".
It was meant as a past tense as well as a directive.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Why I'm glad I broke my phone

Some of you are not clumsy, very careful, and you have never dropped any electronic device you have ever owned.
You don't have to keep reading.

For the rest of us, the occasional fumble and save (or miss) is commonplace. My first valuable electronic item was my college graduation gift of a digital camera. Prior to this, I'd purchase disposable film cameras, have them developed and pay the extra few dollars for a backup disc of the photos.

I remember the horror when I first dropped it. My driveway is asphalt and the chip in the plastic was less than comforting. Still, it survived. That was not the first fall, but there were only a few. (which is why it came with a wrist strap that I should have used faithfully)

My first cell phone was also a fall risk. When I first purchased an actual smartphone, I purchased a cover that would protect it as well as a screen protector. The cover has some significant wear and tear, but the phone is remarkably nice.

This past September I upgraded to the Iphone 5 when the Iphone 6 was released. (read: I like cheap phones) My phone was $1. I was now operating system compatible with my family for the FaceTime (apple skype) option.
I had a cover on it, and rarely did it drop. In the car from a seat onto the slush mat, maybe, but the rubber was absorbent.
Today, though. Today was fateful. Last night my husband and I were discussing distractions and stresses and how we could try to eliminate some of those stresses that demand our attention. He said for us when the computer is on and we're aimlessly spending time on emails or newsfeeds or notifications, it can add stress. He suggested the access on my phone might be adding to my stress.

This morning? I accidentally knocked the phone off my bathroom counter to the floor. It landed squarely on its back. About a three foot drop onto a tile floor. It slapped. There was no bounce, no glance, just a straight back flop. The sound was ominous and when I picked it up, 2/3 of the screen was no longer normal. It was striped and semi-black and would not respond to my touch.

The phone store said without the phone insurance (dollar phone?), they didn't have a replacement option for me that was inexpensive. So, I'm back to my old smartphone. It's a lot less convenient to check email or notifications, to tweet, and it says there's not enough room for Instagram. The 3.2 megapixel camera isn't exactly an Instagram quality lens, when you think about it.

So today? I was phone-free for a while. Until I had time to activate old faithful. And it really did lessen my load of stress. I couldn't call or text people, but, there was a freedom in that.

Remember when if you weren't home, they had to leave a message and wait for your reply? Somehow in our age of instant availability, we have put some serious stress on ourselves. "If I don't respond right away, I am responsible for their feelings!!" Ding! Chime! Chirp!

It would do us good to be in a no-reception area at least once a week and just allow ourselves some peace and quiet. This is why the shepherd leads us beside still waters. To hear that soft water sound that soothes us.

So, though I'm sad to have lost the ability to take great photos in the instant they occur, I'm going to be spending less data, less money, and less time with the digital noise. My people will get more of my attention.

God has spared my phone on other days, but in His wisdom, I think today He let it fly. And I thank Him for it.



Hope: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.


As soon as I saw the word "Hope", I heard a song in my head. (Last week's post on "favorite" told you that music is my favorite thing of all, so this should be no surprise.)

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain

This was always my "reset". Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. God gives me just enough strength for today. And tomorrow? Not guaranteed. Some people are going home before Jesus comes back.

You see, we are in an ever-changing world, and sometimes we just want something we can cling to that steadies us. That something is the Rock of our Salvation. God. His Son, Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit that indwells us and brings revelation through His Word, the Bible.

All we need, God has provided. Pardon for sin and a peace that endures. His own dear presence to cheer and to guide. Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

If this is the recipe for contentment, I'm going to be taking three servings a day (with some snacks beside)! We have hope that in the midst of the darkness, that there is a light. Sometimes we can't see the light because God is using US to be that light, and we're the only one. It's lonely. But if He puts us there, it's because He will be glorified.
It's all about God getting glory and His Name being exalted and when we're really living in that place? We have that peace and hope that He's got the whole world in His hands.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Favorite: Five Minute Friday

Another week, another chance to write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes. We set timers, type quickly, and let it flow without criticism. Then, we link-up our posts so we can read others' posts and they read ours and we have a community that grows from one word each week.
Five Minute Friday.


"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

The very first thought I had when reading "favorite".
Oh how I loved listening to Julie Andrews sing when I was a child.
My parents have told me that our copy of Mary Poppins was so frequently watched, I actually wore out the videocassette tape.

With The Sound of Music, I could imagine I was Maria, twirling on the hill and singing.
Most of the story was far above my head, but the music always touched me.

"The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hears

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds
That rise from the lake to the trees
My heart wants to sigh like a chime
That flies from a church on a breeze

To laugh like a brook when it trips
And falls over stones on its way
To sing through the night
Like a lark who is learning to pray

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I've heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I'll sing once more

My favorite thing in the entire world is music. I cannot imagine life without it. Whether it's instrumental or vocal, soft or crazy wild, this world is full of song. Birds, waterfalls, oceans, thunderstorms, each have their own song.

And I think of God when I am in a quiet place and can hear the song of the wind rushing through evergreens. And the song is always the same. It's a love song.
Today, can I remind us all of something? "You are God's favorite."

I heard that a long time ago. It was puzzling, as favorite had always meant "favored above all the rest" to me. And how could God choose?

But, I am thinking that the world tries to tell us there's always somebody better, and the messages are half-true. (Satan specializes in half-truths)

Jesus Christ is always better, but He died for every single one of God's favorites. You and me and everyone you see.

Here is a declaration of God's favor over you. (Zephaniah 3:14-17)
"Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Listen for God's song to you this weekend. You are His favorite


P.S. Since I don't have the lovely comment love widget...can you tell me the number of your post in the linkup in your comment so I can find you? Thanks! (example: #7) or you can give me a direct link to your post.