Monday, September 21, 2009


I am sitting on my back porch while a huge storm rolls in. Tree branches shaking, rain pelting our windows, the thunder is deafening - I will need to go inside soon and find refuge. It is a physical depiction of what my heart has been through the past week.

Last week I got some bad news concerning some people I love and a place that has been dear to my heart. Someone who seemed as strong as one of the old live oaks in my back yard fell from grace in such a way that the damage will take years to clear away from so many lives. My mind couldn't even accept the truth when I heard it...denial, shock, anger, sorrow.

Some folks who visit here don't know what I do for a living. I'm a counselor. This blog is not the place that I talk about my work. But I do hash out my emotions here. So, I can share that what I do at work all day is weather some very scary storms with people. I walk with people through pain. I hear bad news all day. It's hard. I don't write that to garner pity from anyone. But it takes it's toll at times. Most days I feel the weight of the privilege it is to hear the stories and share the burdens - I truly cherish my job.

But the other morning as I was driving to a very early running workout I just began sobbing in my car. There were no other cars on the street and I had nothing to distract me. I began the dangerous business of thinking about this person who fell and about those who have been hurt by him. I also began thinking about several other people who I knew were hurting just then. And the only thing that came to my mind was: "Come, Lord Jesus."

Sometimes this old world seems to hold so much pain and sorrow that the only comfort is to wish that Christ would return and make everything new. My goodness...the gratitude I have in knowing it is so much more than a wish...

Just like this storm outside my window has forced me indoors, I believe in a Refuge, a Place to run for cover.

For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Psalm 61:3

In one of the most quoted sonnets by Shakespeare, he talks about love.

"Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove;
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken."
(Sonnet 116)

I need reminding that God is not shaken by all these storms in my life. This is how He loves me.

If you stopped by here will you pray with me for two people? Rachael's brother and sister-in-law gave birth last Friday to Connor, who died the same day he was born. Please pray for them as they grieve. I think of the empty nursery and I just can't keep it together. And will you pray also for Cari? A year ago tomorrow her beautiful, chubby, happy baby girl Caden died suddenly. I have never met Cari but I am so grateful for her honesty as she writes with candor and tears about the road she is walking. I've been in love with Caden since I found her blog. I know tomorrow (9/22) will be a hard day. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us eternity to meet these two precious babies...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Lovely Bones

This book deeply impacted me. It was scary, inspiring, heart wrenching and just very sweet. Here's to hoping that Peter Jackson can do it justice...

Thanks for the reminder, Buns!

Life Lessons from the Road

So I've been a little stale here. I've been lacking inspiration for writing. All day long I think of things to post and then time or lack of energy gets the best of me.

But today's hill workout reminded me of a few truths I've learned since I became a runner 8 years ago. I always wanted to be a runner. It sounded very sexy. I had played sports all my life and even worked at a sports camp during my summers in college and afterwards. But running was my nemesis. Every time I'd head out for a run, I'd end up with side stitches, sometimes even puking on the side of the road. I felt insecure and never wanted to run with others because I knew they'd smoke me. I was sure that running and I, much like Bella and Jacob, were simply not meant to be.

One hot July afternoon at the aforementioned sports camp, I was attempting a run (less than 3 miles) and was running up a long hill, paved with gravel, and a bible verse came shuttling into my brain: 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)

See, I was so intent on becoming a runner that I had been praying, asking God, "please make me a runner!" When this verse came into my mind, and I am not exaggerating here, I looked up and there in the sky were not one, or two, but three eagles flying high above me. I'm not pulling your leg - it almost knocked the wind out of me. I slowed down and felt tears popping out of my eyes.

And because I slowed down, I made it up that hill. And it was suddenly apparent to me - I had to slow down. I had to ask for help and I had to focus on something else beside the pain of running.

8 years later and I've run 2 marathons, countless half marathons and have coached running classes for 6 years...and the following is what I've learned:

1. Slow down. I can't say it enough: we take life way too fast. Much like those days when I have over-scheduled my life and left myself with little to no breathing room, going lickety-split will only serve to wear you out. Slow down. It took me a year to learn that I needed to be able to carry a conversation during a run. How true is that in life? If I'm too busy to talk to you, then I'm too damn busy. Slow.It.Down.

2. Go your own pace. There will always be someone faster than you. There will always be someone slower than you. Don't compare yourself to them. It will only derail you. The minute you get focused on how great someone else is, you've lost the battle on coming to grips with who God made YOU to be.

3. Don't go alone. Now listen: I've had hundreds of lovely runs by myself. They can be wonderful. But in the long run, if you're always by yourself, you're missing out. My dad has a motto, "there's two things you can't do by yourself: get married and be a Christian!" I think that life wasn't meant to be lived alone. Isolation is the beginnings of death. Running with others provides accountability, welcomed distraction, camaraderie, and friendship - all necessary for life!

4. Tune your mind into truth. It is very easy on a run to let what one of my favorite authors calls "Bad Mind" take over. To quote Anne Lamott, "Bad Mind kicked in...It whispers to me that I am doomed because I am such a loser. And Bad Mind can lean ever so slightly toward paranoia." While running, as in life, I have to constantly change the channel of my mind from negativity to hope, trust, and perseverance. Will this be a hard workout? Probably. But look! The sun is coming up! My body is healthy! What a great way to start the day and thank you Lord for this lack of humidity! Be gone, Bad Mind! An old friend once described this process as keeping your head up and letting the dark clouds of your mind roll by...

5. The only person who can define you as a runner is you. Years ago people would ask me, "are you a runner?" and my mouth would go dry. I would stammer and explain that yes, I run...but... I had a million excuses about how slow I was, how sometimes on a hard run I still had to walk. It took about 3 years of me coaching running classes to see how ridiculous this was! I'm a runner! So I run! In fact, that's what gets me up at 4:45am to do those crazy hill workouts. I'm a runner. So I behave like a runner...and runners run. I've had seasons when either injury, or insecurity, or simply life took me away from running. But that didn't change who I was.

One last thing to add: SHOES. People, the right shoes will do wonders for you. If you're near Dallas, I highly recommend Run On!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


via Don

A few years ago our friends, the McKeaiggs, told us they were contemplating a move to Portland, OR. We felt a little shocked, as we'd begun to imagine hanging out with them for a few more decades. As we sat and casually listened to their thoughts about the possible move, nodding and "hmmming" as they reasoned with us, I was silently warring with myself. In my mind, I leaned over and grabbed fistfuls of Emily's blond locks and screamed, TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!

Sometimes I just don't feel at all like I *fit* in Dallas. I mean, I got tears in my eyes watching that video, people. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the family and friends in our life here but I think about moving away probably several times a month. I suffer from a severe case of "grass is always greener."

I will now console myself by remembering that Portland has nothing like the State Fair of Texas.