Week in Review: 2014 {Week 4}

Well, we survived semester two, week three of the 2013-2014 school year, which also included all the prep and activity involved with the girls’ fine arts preliminary competition.  It’s always a crazy week, but they did well, a lot of stuff is going on to the regional competition, and we can lay low (on that front) until March now.

It’s crazy how anxious we all are for school to be over already.  This early in the semester, that’s a little dangerous.  I’m not sure if Christmas break spoiled us and gave us our first taste of real time off in nearly a year, or if it’s just that the end of the school year also means consistent warm weather (which we are all also ready for), but it’s made January seem very, very long.

I survived my half marathon last Saturday with minimal suffering.  The temps were not quite as warm as they were predicted to be and the winds were gusting at 35-40 mph, sometimes straight at us, so it was challenging, to say the least.  But the miles went surprisingly fast thanks to good company.  And I finished under my (very generous) time goal, so that made me happy.

We were given tickets to the Kansas City Symphony this week.  It was a lovely time with friends and a fun opportunity to get inside the stunning Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.  If you ever have the opportunity, go.

Yesterday, my beloved gave me the gift of a painted dining room.  No more old-lady-Florida-flat-paint-peach!  It’s all gone!  What a remarkable difference it made.  It’s fun having my husband excited to work on our house again.  This is something we loved doing together in the early years but, for whatever reason, was always stressful at the last house.  It’s been fun to make this house our own.

I think that’s about it for me.  I’ll leave you with a few fun photos from the past week.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugmy finishers medal

Kauffman Center for Performing Arts (taken a year ago)

opposite side of KCPC (taken Friday night)

Helzberg Hall inside KCPC – I would love to hear that organ being played

dining room before…..old-lady-peach and brass chandelier

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dining room after – muted yellow and painted chandelier

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tonight’s sunset….the heavens declare His glory

For His Glory ~

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2013: Week in Review {Week 3}

This week has been fairly uneventful.  School has been normal and the schedule this week was much more manageable than last.  We have one more week of art lessons for this school year.  The girls love them so much, but they really throw a wrench into the weekly schedule so I tend to be pretty happy when they’re over.

In spite of the slower schedule this week, my Christmas decorations are still up.  Bleh.  We did at least haul the boxes up from the basement to put the away in.  Maybe that will motivate me to actually take them down soon.

Tomorrow I am supposed to run a half marathon.  I signed up for it in October at the urging of a friend.  It was supposed to help me build miles and stay in shape over the winter.  Turns out it did neither.  My longest run so far is six miles and that was about two months ago.  I ran four miles on Monday and thought my legs were going to be paralyzed that night.  I am going into this with as laid back an attitude as I can muster and am telling myself that my only goal is to finish without injuring myself.  And I plan on walking. A lot.  Fortunately, my running partner for this one is one of the sweetest doctors I know, so dying shouldn’t be an issue. Hopefully.

Go ahead and take a look at the elevation chart.  Why this thing is not run the opposite direction, I don’t know.  Other than there is something inherent to most runners about needlessly punishing ourselves simply for the sake of saying “I did it.”  Although, the longer I look at it, I guess it’s a pretty wicked route either way.  At the very least, I’ll be able to mark this one off my bucket list.  However, I would really like someone to explain to me why almost every half marathon I look at ends with some sort of uphill finish?  It’s just cruel.  I should also just stop looking at elevation charts.  They always mess with my head.  But it’s like watching a train wreck.  You know you shouldn’t look, but you just can’t help but look.  And that’s kind of what it will be like if you see me “running” tomorrow – a train wreck.  Ha!  Kidding.  Mostly.

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I have so many thoughts and ideas rolling around in my head.  Things to share on, things to do.  I’m still so excited about this year.  Except for tomorrow.  I’m not as excited about tomorrow.  😉

That’s it for me.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that you spend it doing something you love, praising God in all things.

For His Glory ~

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Update Week: The Running Post

On Saturday I ran my fourth half marathon.  The past few weeks of training have reminded me of some things that seem to apply to life as well.

  1. Running is hard.  But it’s always worth it.
  2. It’s always better with friends.
  3. It’s about 90% mental attitude.

Point three was key this past weekend and it’s what God and I have been talking about ever since.

My wonderful friend and running buddy Nikki and I trained hard through a lot of different challenges and prepared our bodies to not only run this race but meet a personal time goal.  We went to bed early on Friday night and did our best to sleep well, but already my mind was fighting against fear and nerves.

I’ve run this particular course three times now. I know the parts that I struggle with, that have been hard in the past and my mind that night before the race was telling me that it was going to be harder than ever because not only did I want to finish, I wanted to finish fast. (Well, fast for me.  Not fast for the Kenyans.)

(look at that elevation profile – not flat!)

We got up Saturday morning and started the race strong.  We made it up the hill I had been dreading and I was still feeling good.  And then a second steeper – but shorter – hill that I had apparently blocked out in my mind came right on the heels of the big hill and I struggled all the way up it.  My body was able to do the work, but my mind was weak.

By mile four I was ready to cry and had to walk shortly after.  Poor Nikki tried so so so hard to keep me motivated and dragged me along for five more miles before we got separated by the crowd.

God and I talked a lot that last 4.1 miles.  I knew He had helped me prepare for that day and I gave up.  I didn’t claim the victory He had given me and I don’t think missing a goal in a race is a sin, but not walking in faith and obedience is and that’s what had happened.  I chose failure that day because I chose fear.  I was afraid that even if I worked hard I wouldn’t meet my goal.  I was afraid of working hard and still letting myself/Nikki/those who came to watch down.  I was afraid of hills and fatigue and an uneasy stomach.  I was afraid I couldn’t conquer that race and so I chose not to be carried by the One who had already given me the victory.

And all too often, that’s how we deal with life.  We are afraid so we refuse to walk in faith.  What if God doesn’t provide?  What if there isn’t enough?  What if He doesn’t do what He said He would?  What if I misunderstood? What if?  What if?  What if???  But God has already given us the victory through Christ Jesus His Son.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle and that He won’t allow hard things to draw us closer and teach us more and cause us to lean harder on Him.  He calls the weak and the broken and the ill-equipped.  We will need Him more and more.  But He calls us to walk in faith, to walk in the victory He has given.  And to give all the glory to Him, because only He is worthy.

By His grace I will run another race.  (At the time of this writing I’m still so stiff I can’t run at all, but that should heal soon enough.)  And by His grace I will meet that time goal.  But even if I don’t, that’s really not the point.  The point is to work hard, train hard, and trust Him for the results and the courage to finish well.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Reviewing the Week – Kind Of

Sitting here tonight, drinking some Theraflu, hoping to feel like a new person in the morning, and reflecting a bit on the week.

The week was a good one overall.  Uneventful and productive in the school department.  Today we had home school swimming at the “Y”.  Or the “U”.  Or the “W”.  Ellie referred to it as both of the latter today.  🙂

Yesterday marks one month to the Waddell and Reed half marathon in Kansas City.  My good friend Nikki and I have been training for it and I have been really excited about it up until this past week.  We did eleven miles last Saturday, and they felt great, but I had a variety of pains as they day went on.  Ran five on Monday and my legs felt like a couple of dried out old rubber bands – no flex at all.  Got new shoes that night because I’ve been feeling like it was that time again and was hoping they would fix my problems.  Ran Wednesday morning and still had pain (but that could have been residual from Saturday) and decided to rest Thursday and today.  Anyway….I’ve just been discouraged because I’ve been pain free until this week but now I can feel my knee all the time and it’s really bummed me out.  I’m hoping tomorrow’s run is good for both Nikki and me (and that I don’t regret the Theraflu I’m drinking right now when it’s time to get up).

Matt and I have been trying to do our Thirty for 30 commitment.  We started last Tuesday night by going to the park.  Wednesday night we played a game as a family.  Thursday night Matt took the girls out shopping for birthday presents for me (that counts, right?).  Friday afternoon I took them all to the zoo, then two of them had a birthday party and the other two went out to dinner with Matt and me.  Saturday was a bit of a bust…I ran that eleven and then came home and immediately started getting ready to go over to Kansas City for the afternoon/evening with Matt for my birthday, so we didn’t do anything really as a family.  Sunday we did something….but I can remember what.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights we played games.  Last night we had a ministry meeting at our house, so we weren’t able to do anything.  Tonight I kind of watched Kit Kittredge with them, though I confess I was in and out of the room.  So, we’ve not been perfect, but we’re making an honest effort.  I don’t know that I’m seeing any major behavior or attitude changes from the girls, but I have noticed myself being disappointed on the nights when we haven’t been able to do something together, so that’s something.

Anyway, I think that’s it for me tonight.  Going to go fall into my cold-medicine coma.  Have a blessed weekend, all!

~ Sara

Two Weeks in Review

I’m at my little workstation in the kitchen.  The house is quiet but for the laundry tumbling, tumbling, tumbling in the dryer up the stairs.  A candle is lit and coffee is near at hand.  I hope to steal a few moments of the present to record the past before husband and children pour through front door and end the silence with joyful noises.

This morning, and the past two weeks really, was defined by a ten mile run.  It was out there.  Waiting for me.  Intimidating me.  Ever present.  I was so happy when I got up this morning, knowing it would be behind me in a few hours.  I know, there’s something wrong with me.  😉

When my running partner decided to train for a half marathon, I knew it was only a matter of time before she passed me in running ability.  Today was that day.  The last two miles were brutal and she (cheerfully) coaxed me along.  I briefly considered throwing her into traffic.  😉 The proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” has come to mind many times over the past year of running with friends.  Even alone, I am not fast.  But with these two partners, I have maintained a greater consistency and endurance than I would have had alone.  And, today, I would likely not have finished the ten running if Nikki hadn’t been there.

With that ten behind me, I feel lighter and freer.  🙂  Except for my knees, which feel like death.

The balance of the past two weeks have been school and activities and normal life.  Grace finally got to celebrate her tenth birthday last weekend with her friends.  Outdoorsy girl that she is, she wanted a camp out.  And camping out in Kansas in August (when her birthday was) sounds like a little taste of hell, so we told her she would have to wait for the weather to cool down.  And cool down it did!  I did not pack enough bedding and we spent the night snuggling together in a borrowed camper.  But the little girl voices still going strong at 2:30 in the morning assured me a wonderful time was being had and the life-long memories really were worth the non-existent sleep that night.

Opening gifts with friends

Someone knows this girl well

Out for a morning "hike"

I love it out here

I was simply praying that no one would fall in

Ellie - No other explanation needed

Grace and Friends

Have a beautiful Saturday, friends!  Enjoy the creation He has made and give Him glory for it!

~ Sara

Kids Fun Run

The girls participated in their annual fun run last weekend.  It was a hot and sticky day, and I really didn’t feel like sitting in the natural sauna that night.  But the girls really wanted to do the run, so out we went.  It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful evening followed by our favorite summer pastime – mexican food on the patio!  🙂

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