Faith, Running, Travel

D.C. With Kids, the Marine Corps Marathon, and My Surprising Take-Away

Earlier this year I was drawn to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I didn’t really want to run another marathon, but I did want to run this one. We planned to take the family to Washington D.C., see the sites, run the race, and come home…and that’s pretty much what happened.

However, days before we left we decided to leave “the baby” home with Nana and Poppy. At seven-years-old it was a toss-up, but this was ultimately a very good decision. He would not have managed the fickle weather and miles of walking like the big kids did. Win #1.

We booked a tour with “DC By Foot“: a “free to reserve” tour service that relies on your tips afterward in any amount you see fit. It was great!

The weather that day was cold and misty but our guide, Becca, made it into a pleasant experience for our whole family. She was prompt and very knowledgeable, and kept things spiced with funny, weird facts. We saw everything on the National Mall and around the Tidal Basin. Win #2.

We also went to some of the Smithsonians. We started with the Natural History Museum. The kids loved seeing the animals, but evolution was woven into all of it as truth and that was disturbing. I’d rather do the Creation Museum again. Truth wins everytime.

However, the American History and Air and Space museums were the “bomb” (the kids loved seeing the nukes and weaponry)…the big kid Dad did too. Double win.

We also got to meet up with our friend from college and his family. They took us to Carmine’s where I carb-loaded like a pro. BIG win.

Love that family.

And then there was the race…

As soon as I got on the metro at 6am it was like being an ant in one of those little glass ant farms for the rest of the morning.

I just went with the flow of the crowd all the way to the start corrales (I did not make it to mine), through 26.2 miles (though my GPS said 27), through the finish zoo, I mean “festival”, and back on the metro.

The crowd was a downer for me…I don’t like them, but the inspirations along the route made it worth it: A mile (or more) of signs with faces…marines who sacrificed their lives. Young men, women, healthy, strong, happy. Plus, all the marines in uniform handing out water and encouragement…peoples’ little boys and girls, who turned into men and women, doing what they think they need to do. Inspiring and humbling. Win #…I’ve lost count.

I definitely didn’t get a P.R. (that’s “personal record” for you non-runners ;)) but I’ve never felt so good and strong at the end of a marathon. That’s a big win for me.

And this is my last marathon…for real this time.

And now we head home. Tired and depleted, yet full of new memories and inspiration from all the heroes we saw represented on our tours and wonders of God and man that we saw in the museums.

The number one take-away for me surprised me though. It’s about women. Women in history, women in military, family women, women today, and women of the future.

The statue that struck me most was the one of “Faith, Hope, and Charity”, depicting the nurses from the Vietnam war. The image just wouldn’t leave my mind. True humble servants just doing their jobs. Not flashy, not glory-seeking, just working…quietly and with purpose.

King captured the statue from all sides:

Faith, on her knees in prayer
Hope, looking up for help
Charity, helping the wounded

Then there were the marines at the race. It was a beautiful, young girl who put my finisher’s medal around my neck. And I was humbled. She was congratulating me, but there’s no way I could do what she’s doing. Once again, she’s just working, doing what she does…it makes a difference.

Finally, the friends we met up with have four beautiful babies…all under 5, a dad who works long hours, and a humble servant of a mother who wrangles those kids with grace and peace that can only come from the Lord. I know her days get long and messy, but I know her reward will be great.

Women…we do have a lot of power, and we can cause a lot of trouble too. Haha. I’m not really into the whole “women can do anything men can do” movement, but I do think that whatever the Lord puts before us He will also give us the tools we need to get it done. Whether it’s on the frontlines…or on nursery duty…

IV bought me a shirt with this on it. 😉

Let’s do it for the glory of God.


Unknown Distance, Unknown Time

As part of the SWAT team tryout IV and the others had to take part in a ruck march of “unknown distance, unknown time”. Meaning, they were to start marching without knowing how far they had to go or how long they had to get there in order to pass this part of the qualification.

It’s a mind game.

They had to start moving (IV took off running like a crazy person, of course) and hope that their pace was fast enough to get them there on time, yet slow enough that they could endure the distance.

They just had to go and keep going…

Goal unknown…

Unknown distance, unknown time.

As I’ve been studying Revelation with a group of ladies at church and also reading the book Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado with another group I’ve thought about this exercise and how it applies to life, and faith, and suffering through afflictions.

Bad things happen, life happens, and sometimes there’s no end in sight; this is when we must cling to our faith in the One True God and just keep moving forward…

Unknown distance, unknown time.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:1‭-‬5

After Matt was shot, IV went to his bedside and whispered in his ear, “unknown distance, unknown time”.

He knew Matt would understand this…he hoped it would help Matt to push forward in his fight to live.

I have no doubt that Matt’s training is one of the tools the Lord knew he would need for this time.

However, the most important weapon Matt has…and any of us have in any affliction…is faith…whether it’s our own or if we’re feeding off the faith of the people who love us.

We need physical training for this physical world, but it’s the training of the heart and soul to love God, love others, and follow Jesus in faith that is going to get us over the only finish line that really matters.

In Revelation we were talking about the tribulations of the church at Smyrna (ch. 2) and how they were given a precise number of days for their tribulation, 10 to be exact (2:10), and how we don’t always have that “luxury.” Usually, we have no idea how long a trouble is going to last.

So many people are hurting, and a great number of us are drowning in anxiety. The hurts and the worries of the world are going to be around as long as we’re here…we have to find a way (THE way) to endure.

Keep looking up, keep showing up, keep moving forward, and leave it all in God’s hands. It’s not easy, but it’s the only way.

And the Lord knows the end.

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord .

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Commit your work to the Lord , and your plans will be established.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord ; be assured, he will not go unpunished.

By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord , he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.
Proverbs 16:1‭-‬8

He holds the key!

So what’s our key to holding on to this kind of faith???

Rejoice even when you don’t feel like it, PRAY…and keep praying, and find something to be thankful for.

“As you sense anxiety welling up inside you, cast it in the direction of Christ. Do so specifically and immediately.”

Anxious for Nothing

By Max Lucado

And then rest in the promises of God…

He will not delay.

Unknown distance, unknown time.


Hidden Fear

I finally finished this book:

My mom gave it to me months ago, and I started reading it months ago. It really was a good read, but I’m easily distracted I guess.

When she first gave it to me I decided to read it solely because she said it was good. I didn’t really feel fearful about the future, or fearful of anything for that matter. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to “uncertain times”. Ha.

Next up…

A group of ladies at church are reading this, and I bought it so I could read along…thinking to myself, “What is it with the fear issue? Is the Lord trying to tell me something?”

If He is I’m still not certain what it is.

To top it off, last night, our dog Lulu was just bark-bark-barking in the backyard. I sent Duke out to check on her, and he came back laughing. He reported that Lulu was trapped in her invisible fence…

…the fence that she hasn’t been in for a few weeks…

…the fence that’s connected to the collar that she hasn’t worn in a month…

…the fence that’s connected to the collar that had a dead battery for a month before she stopped wearing it.

So, Duke went over to her, made a clicking noise with his mouth, and she ran happy and free.

Fear kept her trapped.

Fear of something that wasn’t even there….something that was long gone.

Fear of a situation she had walked into herself.

I hope I’m not like Lulu…and if I am I hope that the Lord will snap me out of it.

So, I’m praying that Lord will show me any hidden fear I have…or maybe that he’ll use me to snap the collar off of someone else.

Until then I’m resting on the fact that God holds yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and His promises are sure.

Just some thoughts from the shade.

Resting in the truth.


Just Show Up.

This isn’t about the house.

I’m kind of tired of talking about the house.

Now that we have the major renovations complete and we’re down to things like:

1. Grouting the tile I plastered on the kitchen wall. (Putting that one off for as long as possible.)

Nope..not doing that today.

2. A rail for the the stairway. (IV had an afternoon to work on this the other day BUT…)

No rail…a place for random kid artwork though.

3. A shelving unit to hold my laundry baskets. (Ditto…IV used that afternoon to build King a bed…I mean a second bed…I’m not even sure he knows why he did this.)

At least I (finally) finished the tile in the laundry room so there’s plenty of nice flooring for baskets and other mess.

Anyway, both of us have gotten to the point where if we don’t WANT to do something it fumbles down the list and the more pressing (or fun) things keep us busy enough.

With this being said my “mantra” lately has been, “Just show up.”

I’ve said it to almost all of my personal training clients at the gym, and I’ve said it to myself before some hard running efforts.

The idea is that half the work many times in life is JUST SHOWING UP…

The rest usually flows from there.

However, sometimes it works in reverse. My personal training business is booming at the YMCA, and I’ve had offers to work more outside the home in other ways.

BUT…my kids.

I want to keep homeschooling… (or actually, I believe I’m CALLED to keep homeschooling) so I’ve had to block out the time to “just show up” at home. It hasn’t been easy and still some weeks I’m overwhelmed but making that conscience decision to prioritize my home life has given me peace that I didn’t have before.

It probably looks different for you. It depends on your goals and purposes.

My training clients have hired me because they have fitness goals. For them, “just show up” means just that…put it in your calendar, put your tennis shoes on, and be here. I’ll convince you to do the workout after that, and I’ll encourage you to keep it up when we’re not together. Then you’ll have to show up for yourself.

It’s about commitment and consistency to me. I believe that’s where growth comes from in many areas of life.

…Including spiritually.

Luke 14:15-24

When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

Jesus has invited us all to eat at His banquet. He offers us the free gift of salvation. He gives us that stirring in our spirit and that longing for something to fill us. He is the Bread that satisfies and the Water that quenches and the Light that lets us see clearly.

All we have to do is show up.

We have to say, “yes,” to Jesus and He takes care of the rest.

…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

-Romans 10:9

And beyond that if you’ve already been saved you just have to keep showing up…keep saying yes to Jesus and His mission for you everyday.

We all have goals, we all have purposes for our lives. Let’s make sure we have our priorities straight and we’re at peace with the Lord, and then just keep showing up.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? -Luke 9:24-25

Love God, love others, and keep showing up…if not for your own sake then for the sake of someone else.

What do you need to show up to today?