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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.

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Fear Revealed

One day after my last post I read chapter 3 of this book:

And I had a lightbulb moment.

My fear was revealed. I realized immediately why the Lord had me reading this book and exactly what I needed to do.

But I didn’t want to do it.

That’s when the arrows flew.

…a “BUT GOD” moment.

One hard situation was put upon me, but through it I was set free from the other.

Everything crumbled around me for a moment, BUT GOD used it as a key to my release.

I immediately felt lighter.

At this time I was in Canton for a half-marathon I had entered, so I headed out on the trail expecting good things.

It was a disaster:

I underestimated the technicality of the trail, I completely dehydrated, I took a wrong turn, and I finished 32 minutes after my goal time.

As I was chewed up and spit out by these trails this verse from Job came to mind, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” Humbled.

And then I pitched a big fit.

I grabbed my medal, yanked a couple of chocolate chip cookies off the table, and fled the scene.

I was so mad…at the race, at myself…just mad at life, and I let it shine.

BUT GOD…

He still saw me, still reached out in love and grace to me, He still quieted my soul as only He can, so by the time I got home all was well.

Then I read chapter 4.

That’s when I realized the BUT GOD in my recent history…and I was sorry for my whining.

And then I was convicted and comforted all at once by this line:

…we have a choice. We can wear our hurt or wear our hope.

I had definitely worn my hurt after that race…not just my disappointment in the race but the hurt I felt as the Lord had filleted my heart and in the process cleaned out clots of my own sin.

So now the healing begins…and I’m thankful that it’s underway.

And if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times:

Praise the Lord.

Photos.in.the.shade captured this early morning rainbow…”The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23
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The Final Countdown

This is the last project I completed before I morphed into a grocery shopping, party planning, cupcake baking machine…

I present…the fireplace:

We weren’t sure how to repair that ragged edge where we took the cover off, but Pinterest came to the rescue with a few tutorials on painting the stone.

IV wasn’t sure, and when I put that first brush stroke right in the smack center I may have panicked a little on the inside.

BUT…after brushing on some more, smearing it with a paper towel, and applying some water to dilute it a little more I was relieved…

The kids, of course, pointed it out first thing so I don’t know if he would’ve noticed or not, but he wasn’t mad! He liked it. Phew! I like it too.

Since then, when I haven’t been at the YMCA, I’ve been squeezing in shopping trips and stopping by others’ homes to gather party supplies and such.

Busy bee…buzz.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle I kept noticing how everyone was just being so nice to me. I try to be nice, but there are some gifts in my life that I just can’t repay.

It was just before my last stop that I suddenly became overwhelmed with thankfulness for the Lord’s goodness to me…because I surely don’t deserve it.

This verse came to mind:

I love those moments when the Spirit stirs within me and brings to recognition that I don’t deserve any good things…from the kindness of a stranger giving me a quarter at Aldi to all the ways people have helped us over the past year and beyond. So much love…love that I can never fully return. And then there’s the ultimate love…flowing from Jesus’ veins on the cross and continuing to flow in my every day life.

Grace upon grace.

Check yourself, and notice God. Then sit in the grocery store parking lot for a minute and cry to yourself before going in again.

And give thanks…always give thanks.

Praise the Lord…and get ready to party!!!

If you’ve read this blog til the end I would like to cordially invite you to our low county boil as a thanks for your support…just bring a pound of shrimp with ya! 😄

Can’t wait!!!

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This wasn’t on the list…

IV played in the dirt all Father’s Day weekend. He’s trying to dig out a pond and make a place for my mom and dad’s RV. In the process he uncovered almost a hundred of these patio stones:

They’re nothing fancy but they’re something we’ve been needing for our back entrance into the mudroom:

This was not on the to-do list but the time was right and the materials were at hand so Lottie and I set to work.

IV helped level it, Crockett helped break up some dirt clumps, and King painted the door, and…

SO much better! It looks happy now. 🙂

Lottie even got to put her little fairy garden in the new flower bed by the door.

Thankful for a productive weekend!

Praise the Lord!