Sunday, December 23, 2012

I'm a Christian, go ahead and make assumptions...

I am a Christian.  When I say this, I do not mean that I believe I'm better than anyone in this world.  I do not mean that I think everyone who disagrees with my beliefs is going to hell.  I do not mean that I think I'm perfect.  I don't think an unbaptized baby or adult can't get into heaven, I don't think God punishes us by taking away the ones we love.  I don't feel happy when people die just because I believe they are going to heaven.  I don't believe in a wrathful God.  I don't always trust God, though I should. I don't walk around waiting to catch people not glorifying God.  I don't know everything, I have never "heard" God speak to me, though I've felt his guidance at times when I needed it most.  I don't try to force my beliefs on others.

What I do mean is that Jesus Christ is my savior.  He died on the cross for my sins and everyone else's. I feel it is my duty to live a life demonstrating Christ's love to the best of my abilities but I often fail.  I do not believe in revenge and retaliation but that does not mean I don't find myself wanting those things at times.  I believe forgiveness is one of the hardest things that Christ asks of us--and I work hard at this every time I feel wronged--but if God can forgive us for our sins so readily, we must do the same for others.  I pray A LOT.  I pray over big things and little things, for others and for myself.  I seek guidance from the Bible though I'm not a literalists, but I respect that many people are.  I drink, I dance, I swear more than I should, I watch rated R movies, listen to rap (if it shows up on the Top 40 stations), I don't think homosexuality is a sin or a choice and support gay marriage.  I get angry at God; I have a tough time trusting him when times get especially tough though I never stop praying/begging for Him to bring comfort and guidance.  My life is not perfect, I do not have everything that I want, but I see a bigger purpose in this life.  I know that God has a plan that I am not expected to fully comprehend.  I find comfort in the knowledge that God is always with me--not just me, but everyone--and that someday I will be reunited with all of my loved ones here and gone in heaven.

I am tired of people making false assumptions about me because of the label "Christian" I freely place on myself.  There are only 4 things that all Christians could agree on:

1. Jesus Christ is our Savior
2. He died on the cross to forgive our sins and reconcile us to God
3. There is a God
4. The Bible is the book of God

That's it!  There is disagreement on pretty much everything else.  So when someone says s/he is a Christian.  Don't make assumptions about our beliefs besides the 4 listed above.  We are a diverse group of believers. :)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Breaking down the walls of my heart

Yesterday, I went to an amazing Christian women's conference with the speaker Marty Sholar.  She touched on 3 big aspects of Christianity: Joy, Grace, and Faith.  While I've been a Christian my whole life, and had my true "conversion" moment in college--when I realized that Christ was in my heart and my savior--the last several years have been lacking.

A week ago, I was in my car, listening to children's worship music with the kids and praying for clarity when my mother-in-law called to invite me to hear Marty speak.  Could there have been a more obvious sign?

I don't want to go into great detail about the conference, but I do want to share what became abundantly clear (I asked for clarity, didn't I?) throughout the day: I have a huge wall wrapped around my heart--I knew the wall was there with regards to the people around me, I just wasn't aware that it was blocking out God.  Life is tough at times.  Over the last several years, I have built up a wall of protection while dealing with the lemons life sometimes throws at you.  The problem is that while it may have seemed to help prevent pain, what it mostly did is prevent healing.  The reason I sometimes felt alone and helpless was because I was closed, I didn't trust God.  I had faith in His existence, but I was not trusting in his Goodness.  I was afraid to be open because honestly, I was disappointed in God because of things that happened outside of my control.  I realized that spiritually, I have been in an even more messed up place than I originally thought, but Marty provided a formula for healing our spiritual needs and I've already begun that process.  I also remembered that I have the book Disappointment with God because someone recognized what was happening to me YEARS ago and gave it to me.  I am reading one of Marty's books, Rejoicing in the Morning, right now, but once I'm done, I'm going to read it.

I am a control-freak.  I've always known that about myself and used to be much better about trusting in God to take control.  I see so many things that I've tried to "fix" and while I've certainly prayed about them, I have not relinquished control until today.  

Here's the formula for healing, in case anyone else needs it right now:

1. Define the need (Value, forgiveness, acceptance, belonging, safety, understanding, nurture) 

2. Go to the scripture and read every verse you can about the need (including synonyms for the need)

3. Ask God to show you your _(fill in the need)___ in his eyes.

While it's been an emotional 24 hours, I feel so much more peace and energy than I did.  I have actually been more emotional for the past month and I see now that it was because God has been tugging at my heart.  He's been breaking through that wall, I just had to pick up my own hammer and do my part willingly.

Here are some passages that have resonated with me in the last 24 hours:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well. Psalm 139:14

Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:7

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13-14


Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Aha and a Reflection

Today, I had an aha moment.  I was driving to church, listen to children worship music with Gavin and Kailee, thinking about my first 5K yesterday, when it hit me....

Right before I turned 16, I ran in a relay at camp and did pretty well.  My part was to run a mile and it wasn't so bad.  When school started, I was in PE and HATED it.  My mom talked to the cross country coach, and he allowed me to transfer to the team a week in.  The first day I ran with the team, I had to run 3 miles at what the coach called a singing pace.  It was not a singing pace for me, but I kept up with the girls and did the 3 miles.  That season was hard for me, going from nothing to a minimum of 3+ miles, but I got through it, and through track season.  The next season was easier (having run in the Texas heat all summer), but I was never fast.  I was definitely one of the slowest on the team--though I must say, neither the coach nor the other girls ever made me feel like I was less important.  I quit track my senior year and didn't really try to run again until after I had Kailee.

In December 2009, I decided to start the couch-to-5K program to get back into shape after having Kailee.  I made it through week 1 and will never forget the day I attempted week 2 day 1.  I started out doing the walking warm-up and when it was time to run, my knees and ankles felt like they were going to break.  I stopped running and immediately had constant pain.  I could barely walk to get home.  I had an annoying pain for a couple of weeks before I even felt like normal again.  It turns out, I have weak joints, probably from 10 years of figure skating combined with the 2 years of running in high school.  I had to give up my running dream, the dream that included someday completing a marathon.

I spent the next two years getting into the best shape of my life with constant reminders that my joints did not appreciate certain moves until my Aunt Karen recommended I try glucosamine chondroitin.  6 weeks into taking it, I went for my first run and my joints survived.  My shelved dream became a possibility.  I started back up with the couch-to-5K program, though I could not run 3 times a week.  While the supplements help the joints, the issues still exist, and I have to be mindful of that.  Yesterday, I ran in my first 5K.  2 years ago, I would not have thought that possible.  While it's no marathon, it's a step in that direction.  My friend's mother-in-law snapped a picture of me crossing the finish line, and looking at it made me tear up.  While, yes, I remember running the 5K, seeing the captured moment really made it sink in that I did it.

So what's the point of my ramblings?  What was this aha moment?  Well, I realized why I had to go on this long journey to become a runner again.  I didn't appreciate it before.  I did not appreciate it at all.  God could have made it easy, but I wouldn't have appreciated it, I wouldn't have learned to love running, I wouldn't have learned how to pace myself comfortably, I wouldn't have appreciated what a gift it is to be able to run.  I learned to pace myself by paying attention to my joints and how they feel.  I change my stride as needed to accommodate my joints' comfort.  I also learned to pace myself by experiencing horrible side stitches and discovering that paying attention to breathing can prevent them.  Not to mention the fact that I never would have discovered how much I love circuit training until I had to look outside my box to find other options.  It's amazing to look back and see how everything had to fall into place to get me here.

I am thankful for everyday that I can run.  I will never take running for granted again.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Sea World 2012

I have so many pictures from our day at Sea World that I decided to do a slideshow just for it:

Here are some videos from the Shamu Shows we attended:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A day in the pool

On Sunday, my mom and I went to Best Buy to investigate waterproof digital cameras and my mom surprised me in store by telling me that she and Dean were buying me one that day for my birthday.  My birthday isn't for over a month, but with two water vacations coming up, they wanted me to go ahead and have it.

Today we took it out for it's first underwater use.  Here are some photos and a video from our day:

She kept telling me to push her head down into the water.  Obviously she loved it :).


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Frisco Fire Safety Town

Today Gavin and Kailee had a super-fun playdate at the Frisco Fire Safety Town.  We went on cool tour of the station with a very nice and patient fireman who was very understanding that our children were a little young with short attention spans.  We definitely need to check out the Friday night summer jeep/bike fun in the Fire Safety Town.  They had so much fun that both kids cried part of the way home and Kailee easily passed out after lunch.  

A side note: Kailee insisted on wearing panties instead of a pull-up and she did great!  She willingly went to the potty when her friend Cade did and has had no accidents so far today!  She just woke up from her nap (which she took without a pull-up) and did not wet the bed!!!!

Here are some pictures from our morning outing:
Kailee was a little nervous in the beginning

She wanted to watch and size up what was going on before participating

Gavin hopped right in the fire truck

The storm simulation scared all the kids a little bit

Can you believe this town complete with working street lights?

Babe's Chicken--Need to hit the real one soon!

The kids all had a BLAST running around the pretend town

Kailee had to check every door to confirm they were locked, even after seeing other kids do it first

Off to other buildings

Nothing scarier than a fake person you weren't expecting lol

Kailee warmed up to the fire truck on the way out

Gavin was game for every opportunity and was very upset to have to leave

Surprise!  I ran into my sorority sister Lauren whose family was on the tour after ours!  So fun!