Music Time Machines

So we’re leaving Short Creek (our local kid-turned-Nashville celebrity was back home playing tonight) and I can’t get over how music does things. We’ve been out of college for four years now, but freshman year still feels real. I’ve Never Been to Heaven still sounds like footballl season. Doesn’t matter where we are, doesn’t matter who’s singing…

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Friday’s Five Things

Friday is rest day, and for most of the rest of 2015, the first day of my weekend. It’s the day I get to sleep in, start in on my to do list, and go to bed thinking,  “And there’s still TWO more days!” I don’t know why I can’t be productive during the week.

I did laundry and baked cinnamon rolls (Pillsbury again, one day I’ll make them from scratch) and we went to town and did some shopping… Welding supplies and house supplies and Walgreens. It’s so much more fun to shop with my Better Half. We rented Mortdecai with Johnny Depp for at-home date night. Now he’s plugging away on the closet reno (it’s going to be so awesome!) and I’m attacking the kitchen. I did a quick inventory of what’s where, so I can think about purging. One day, we’re going to get to reno the kitchen and that’ll lose two cabinets to get an open concept, so I need to do some reorganizing before that happens.

Friday, being the freest day, may be my new official Blog Day, and thus needs a theme. Three Things… Five Things? Five Things Friday. I like it.

Five Things… always in my fridge:
1. Strawberries (chopped or whole or turning mushy…)
2. Single-serving plain Chobani yogurt
3. A bag salad (also possibly going mushy)
4. Deli sliced turkey (oven roasted Land O Frost is my fave, but I’ll vary with the sales)
5. Beer. It takes me two weeks (or longer if I’m training hard) to go through a six pack, but some nights a cold glass bottle is so sweet waiting on pasta to cook or on the front porch with the sunset.

I was reviewing my past blog posts last weekend, adding categories and tags, and realized I’ve been struggling with balance in my life forever. Here’s to the struggle.

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50 Thoughts Every Runner Has in 3 Miles… No? Just me?

Monday was only going to be a three mile run, and I was feeling pretty fiesty. Normally my runs aren’t this animated, but here’s a sneak peek into the mind of an easily distracted runner…

0.0 These shorts are way too short.
.25 Clap along with me if you feel like a room without a roof…Because I’m happpppppy happy happy. Man, they did a good job on that at church yesterday, I wonder how long they practiced. Did they know Nathan was planning, or were they playing around at practice one day and played it and just now got to break it out?
.4 one bug in the mouth. There’s usually spiderwebs here, why am I catching bugs?
.5 Oooh ooh yeah jazz hands Because I’m (left left) happy (right right) happy (left left) happy. You know, I’m not really coordinated. Bum bum bum yeah!
.6 oooh a walk break! You know, when our running group starts up again, I’m gonna make them stretch during the first walk break. While walking. Lunges? Knees over your toes! I could lunge right now. Ooh time to run!
.7 Truck on the crossroad. Is it coming my way? You know, running the south route while they’re cutting may not have been the best idea. I still don’t have all my reflective junk. I’m pretty excited about the new shorts. These are too short. Whew, truck not coming.
.9 We’re not even to a mile yet? Ugh this run is never going to end. You know, it’s on my 101 list to solve problems while I’m running. I should solve a problem… I don’t think I have problems right now. Because I’m haaaappppppyyy…
1.1 Truck truck truck. Oh it’s the neighbor. I feel like I’m running in underwear…. yeah these shorts were a bad idea, because people ALWAYS see me. Wave! I don’t need that, they already think I’m crazy for running, I don’t need to be that crazy running hoochie lady. Oh a walk break.
1.4 Okay I’m going to those trees and then turning around, that’ll make sure and get my three.
1.5 Or maybe we should do a couple walk breaks-worth of dynamic stretching. You’re really not warm enough by the first one. Reach up up up out out, right arm across,  left arm across. After is good too.
1.57 Aaaaaaaand we’re turning. Do I need to run on the right and balance my hips out? No, too many hills here, I should stick left for now. It’s nice I can actually hear my watch tonight. Why doesn’t Nike make them louder?
1.7 That sunset sure is pretty. It’s getting dark so fast, though. I definitely need to switch the contrast on my watch back to where it was.
1.8 Of course, I get a car behind and a car in front, right as I get to my corner, right as it’s time for a walk. Okay back car first, now front car, now look both ways before making the corner and NOW stop… and take an extra five walking.
2.1 Home stretch. I should ask the neighbors what their dogs names are. They’re sweet girls. A german shepherd and a lab. They’re barking at me. You’re okay baby, you’re fine.
2.3 I’ll be able to call this a three car, one bug run. That’s basically like success in my book.
2.5 I never told my boss about all the reflective junk my husband made me buy. She’ll get a kick out of it.
2.6 Jazz hands again? Happy happy happy.
2.7 No. Still not coordinated for that.
2.8 Two bugs. Dang it. I wonder what will happen when I’m lit like a Christmas tree, will I catch more bugs? I’m really more excited about the other stuff. Am I opening right away, or an I going to stockpile and gift myself over time?  I did order a lot of running stuff over the weekend…
2.9 I’m glad I set beef out to thaw before I left. I should have mentioned how nice it would be to have it browned when I got home. It’ll be okay. It’s not that much later than normal. It’s just dark. My summer is leaving me! You know, tonight would make a funny stream-of-consciousness blog post. I bet I can remember everything. I started doing jazz hands at the half mile line so I must have been singing at a quarter…
3.0 Almost to the house, not taking this walk break. I soooo have to go to the bathroom.
3.1 To the corner! Sprint!! Yeah! Nailed it! Now what’s for supper?

On Friends

I’m not a “self-help” blog. I’m not a “help you” blog. Some days I just want to write, consider all the angles. I may present difficult, frustrating, or just plain confusing situations we’re all too familiar with, and offer zero solutions. Sometimes I just want to think. Today is one of those days.

It starts simple. You’re making plans for a weekend, and someone has to bail for a previous engagement. Cool, no big, next weekend we’ll get together. Someone never texts back. Man, I know he has a ton going on, he probably let his phone die again. Someone at work gets up and leaves as soon as you walk into an office. Hey, I’d leave too if someone came in talking work at lunchtime! In context, these are neutral actions.

And then they keep happening. In any situation, when there isn’t a balance in positive and negative, we overreact. Neutral becomes negative. Positive feels forced and fake. You begin questioning everything.  ((Or is that just me?)) Keeping the correct perspective is hard. The underlying principle is that rarely are things that happen to us because of us. You can’t take it personally that your friend is pulling away because she’s dealing with her sick cat — even if she didn’t tell you about poor Kitty.

Not helping matters is the overlap between best friends and not friends. I’m not sure if it’s just an Oklahoma/rural/Southern/polite thing, but when you decide a friendship isn’t working out, you don’t make a scene and change your Facebook status like you did for that two-timing ex-boyfriend. You don’t typically even tell them. You just quit. You answer fewer texts, accept fewer invites, skip things like birthdays. And then you both fade into each other’s past. But best friends, especially those two hours apart, don’t text for weeks and rarely get face-to-face, and yet there’s no doubt who the first (okay, maaaaybe second) phone call is when you’re pregnant. Best friends accept it. So when someone doesn’t RSVP to your Super Bowl party, are they easing out of your circle or taking it for granted that you know they’re coming?

Breaking up a work friendship is even harder, because you have to remain on good terms until one of you gets transferred, and there are more witnesses to feel the change in the atmosphere and to comment on it. There is definitely no public telling-off. Ever, lest you start the War Between the Accountants. The rules about forgiving people for focusing on their personal issues instead of calming your abandonment neuroses count twice at work.

To complement our diverse lives, we have friends in all corners of our lives. Luckily, if a church friend is unavailable (physically or emotionally), you have running friends. When people at work are catty, you can take your BFF out for margaritas and pedicures. Overall, your friend bucket is full.

But then what when someone bails on the concert. AND someone never responds to your big news. AND no one wants a ride to team lunch. AND a stranger is rude, and there’s no one interested in listening?

The hits keep coming, and then before you know it, you’re in full-on freak out mode (how are all of my friends turning away at once? Is there some sort of secret alliance??) which is total ridiculousness, but the thoughts are unstoppable.

Of course this isn’t true. There is no way for every person in your life to hate you simultaneously, and they aren’t conspiring to ruin your life. It’s all in your head, baby. What if I’m just that awful? Whatever I did to one person to fall from his graces, I did to someone else too? Do I ask? Is that weird?

Breathe, baby. The world is bigger than you. You will have the people you need, when you need them. Be you, no matter what you think people think about you.

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Until next time,

Determination

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Happy Sunday, y’all!

My old knee tweak is back. I stopped at like mile 3 yesterday of my long run to get my knee strap, which helped some for the rest of the run, but it still swelled afterwards and by the time we left the demo derby in C-ville, it looked like a certifiable limp. I think I can, I think I can. It’s only week 2 of training! I can’t be quitting now!

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Every time I Velcro this guy on, I feel a little more like a crazy runner girl…

No Longer a Fraud

I’ve felt like a fraud for years.

I’ve known God and Jesus and His Word and His Grace and known all this is true. I’ve seen other perspectives and met lots people who believed lots of things, and yet I still knew Truth. But I felt like a fraud.

Because I’ve always, at whatever church I was sitting in with family or friends or alone, heard that you repent your sins and you ask God to forgive you and to live in your heart, and then He does, and then you’re a Christian, hallelujah. I can’t count the number of times I’ve cried, out loud or inside, “God, fix me, save me, this life is too much for me and I need you.” And He always did, He always took care of His girl. But then I’d be like a little kid and wander off until it all got too much again. I recognized this was a bad habit and I was ashamed, but yet it continued.

Because I have also almost always heard the second half – repent and ask God to live in your heart and get baptized, and then He does, and then you’re a Christian, hallelujah. Ten times in Acts, people ask about salvation and ten times, they are told to be baptized and receive their promised salvation. I’m 26. I’ve heard this a time or two. But I never did.

And so, I lived like a fraud. I went to church and I prayed and I read my Bible and I shared cute graphics of verses on Pinterest, and my heart was ashamed. It craved more and I told it no. I said “I’m good enough for Earth. I’m not strong enough to give up all my sins and be a real Christian.” So I did what I could to try and keep my head above water (so to speak) and not be consumed by the terrible things in the world. I tried to not judge others. I wrestled with forgiveness. I wrestled with my bad habits. But I didn’t feel qualified to share my faith, because I wasn’t really a Christian. I had never taken that step as a kid, and hadn’t experienced any life-altering, literally “come to Jesus,” moments as an adult. I was sure I would misrepresent everything, harm the Church by being just another piece of evidence that Christians are all hypocrites, because I lacked the one thing I felt gave me the most credibility and authenticity. It was safer to just keep my religion to myself.

This situation has had me stuck. I felt like a fraud Christian and a superior heathen. The longer I attended this church I love, the more my disconnect glared at me and the worse I felt. In a year, I only missed four Sundays. Every week, the sermon nudged at me, inspired me, woke me from the haze the previous week had put me in. Every week, I passed the communion plates because I didn’t feel worthy. I was so moved one week, I took Communion, and was completely let down when I didn’t feel His presence for two weeks. I doubt this was Him angry – I believe in a loving God and not a petty One – so it was more likely my guilt freaking out. Why would you do that? You’re no Christian. You’re not worthy to sit at His table. This isn’t crackers and juice in preschool. This is THE Blood and THE Body and it’s not yours to take.

I’m an introvert, I want to think things through on my own. My thoughts were so scattered – some were Divine and some were from the world, for sure – and I wrestled with who I was and how to be who I knew I should be. And then this sermon happened:

Assessing your Spiritual Health, August 2 2015 Take a listen. It’s about 45 minutes long. Towards the end, Dave says, “compare yourself today to a year ago.” A year. It’s been 53, maybe 54 Sundays since I first stepped foot in Tyro Christian Church. A lot has happened in the last year, but has my spiritual side matured any? Or am I the same scared girl looking for the light switch in the dark?

During invitation, I trembled. Talk. Share your heart. During communion, I asked what He wanted. And I still trembled. And after the service, something nudged me to go down front where the pastors and elders were still standing. Talk. Share your heart. But I walked away.

In the parking lot, the A/C starting to revive the stuffy truck, I found the Tyro website. It took like two clicks and there was contact info for the staff. I wrote what I’m sure will be published in the Top Ten of the Most Random Emails Nathan has EVER Gotten. I begged for a meeting and then said, I have no idea what I want to talk about. I just feel like I have to talk.

Friday morning, today, 8 am, talk we did. It all came out, my upbringing around the Word, my missing baptism, the stuck feeling I had. What the Bible says, what He has asked generation after generation of believers to do, why my stuck feeling is me knowing what I have to do. And as we talked, the more I said my absurd thoughts out loud (You don’t know me, but I talk myself in circles and sometimes I believe ridiculous things even though I know they’re crazy. He laughed.) the more I heard intelligent responses, both through my ears as Nathan talked and my heart as God pointed out the Truth.

“If a kid can commit his life, why can’t I?”
“Kids believe without needing piles of examples. It gets harder the older you get to overcome everything the world has made you and surrender.”

“I’m not good enough to represent Him and His Word.”
“No one is – until they actively seek Him. He doesn’t ask for perfect people.”

“It doesn’t feel right to say I’m a Christian because I’m not baptized.”
“So why don’t you fix that?”
Silence.

Why indeed? If I know everything that’s true, then I know how the story ends – what Christians get and what non-believers get. If I’ve read the Scripture, I know don’t get the rewards without this step of faith. I had no idea, and still have no idea, what gripped me so hard to keep me from it. Fear, surely… of something. We discussed the heart a person must have to be saved, and both knew I have that heart. And then I just knew. Every argument my brain could possibly find was just gone. No more thoughts of failing Him (it’s going to happen, but He still loves you. Paul got to write the New Testament) or settling with what I have (the Bible is pretty specific; why would everything else in the Book make sense if that part was just a suggestion?) or doubting my beliefs (what? Are you crazy? When did you last doubt His existence?). It seemed increasingly more absurd that I could physically sit there and talk and read and not get up and walk into that baptistery. And peace, the realization that I was no longer a fraud, wrapped around me so comforting.

I texted my husband. –Are you busy? –I’m about to be, why? –Well, I’m getting baptized. I need you. –I’ll be there as soon as I can.

And then I was authentic.

So now my hair is dry. My husband is back to farming, Nathan is back to preacher-ing, I’m catching up on everything that got out of hand all week. Life is normal, but it’s all so different. I’m still trembling. Let me keep trembling.

I keep on, I keep on, I keep on.

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