Running and Praying

When you’re a slow runner like me, finding the time to squeeze in a run can be a challenge.  Perhaps one day I’ll be a little faster, but if not, I’ve got to be okay with that.  If I have the endurance for 13.1 miles, but not speed, that’s okay.  However, the time it takes to run those distance–even shorter ones–is very challenging.  There are many early mornings.  Cold runs.  Sleepy, cold runs.  But once I finish, I’m always so glad I did it.

One of the things that was really bugging me last week was the adjustment to my quiet time schedule with increased morning runs.  As mentioned, I’m a cranky pants without that coffee and time with Jesus in the mornings so I’ve got to be prepared on mornings I run.  One way I’ve done that is to pray on my runs.

I used to listen to music and that was okay. It’s nice to have some uptempo music to help you keep pace.  But again–being slow, that’s just a long time to be listening to music.  What else could I do with this time?  Pray.

I’ll be honest.  When I first felt this nudging, I was very resistant.

“But I like to journal my prayers.”

“My mind is so scattered, I’ll never really feel ‘productive’ in these prayers.”

I could not get away from it.  I decided that with my lovely little app’s settings that give me an update every 1/4 mile, I could change who or what I’m praying for at that time.  For me, that’s a 4-ish minute prayer.  It worked pretty good.  On shorter runs, I could easily pray through my calendar, for my husband, my mom, other family and friends, co-workers, etc. and be on about my day.  On longer days, I could specifically pray for all that as well as each person in my small group, situations I knew were arising at work or in a family member’s life.  It was going pretty well, but my mind–my restless mind–it was still jumping all over the place.

Until last week.

I remembered the PRAY acronym I had once heard: Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield.

Now, I’ve only used this twice so far, but it has really focused in my prayers.  I typically take the first 1/2 mile just to wake up and then integrate this into my prayer runs.  Sometimes, if I’m really “in” to one of these four areas, I’ll just keep going for another 1/4 mile.  Sometimes that’s praise, sometimes ask.  I’ve realized that the more I think about areas in my life I need to repent about, the more I keep coming back to that list I look at weekly during Accountability and how some of those areas just aren’t changing much.  What are the areas that I keep trying desperately to hang onto that just need to be yielded over to God?

And my  mind?  Well, it’s still wandering, but not as much.  This verse has been a great help.

“We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.”  ~2 Corinthians 10:5

So, if you’re a slow runner like me, perhaps this is a way you can better manage your time.  I struggle with being a “multi-tasker” because I think that we struggle as a society (and me personally) with doing a million things half-way and nothing 100%.  So maybe my running isn’t 100% and my prayers aren’t 100%, but they are both getting done–and getting better with time.

Are you a runner?  Doing C25K this year? Change your prayers between your walks and runs.  Change the settings on whatever app you use to give you a prayer reminder.  You’re a walker and not a runner?  No prob. Note every time you walk past a house with a different colored roof or shutters and change up your prayers.  That workout will do more than a number on your physical self–but your spiritual self as well.

Best,

Happy 2010.

Where were you on New Year’s Eve?  Wherever it was, I hope that you had a wonderful time.  I hope that you spent it with people who you love and who love you.  I hope your celebration reflected you and the wonderful person and creation that you are.  Maybe you were at home with family for a quiet evening of watching the Times Square ball drop.  Maybe you were at your favorite spot with your favorite people and as some strangers as well.  Maybe you stayed in with your closest friends, played games and had an ugly sweater contest.  Maybe you traveled to a nearby city, got all dolled up and took advantage of the great band, amazing food and drinks and the 20,000 balloons that dropped at midnight.  Wherever you found yourself, remember that you were there. YOU brought in 2010 and YOU will make 2010.

What happened on New Years Day?  I’ve heard it said that what you do on that day reflects your year ahead.  Did you sleep until noon?  Did you go home to a quiet house after a loud night out and escape all sense of what happened the night before?  Did you lay in bed with your significant other laughing and reading and being silly?  Did you watch football all day and be completely lazy? Maybe you went to the grocery to provide for your little family–even if it doesn’t sound glamorous, that is beautiful to me.

What is 2010 going to bring for you?  For many of our friends, it’s a new bundle of joy into their households.  We look forward to being able to celebrate these new little lives from friends close and far away.  Maybe 2010 will bring you love and friendship.  Perhaps travel?  Maybe you’ll end up in Hawaii or NYC (maybe we’ll end up there?) Maybe you’ll fly.  Maybe a cabin in the mountains will call your name.

What are you going to do for 2010?  Maybe you’ll get healthy.  Maybe begin volunteering on a regular basis.  Maybe one of those resolutions was to make a phone call to a long lost relative or friend.  Hopefully whatever things you decide to do for 2010 they will be of eternal value.  The Beau and I began watching Gladiator earlier today (before someone had to take a nap ;)) and I was glad to catch the phrase before I dozed off “what we do in life will echo in eternity.”  Maybe it’s that decision to get healthier so that when you join the ranks of friends having babies, you’ll be healthy enough for the pregnancy and life with them once that’s over.  Maybe it’s to stop cursing so you are a good example to those kiddos. Maybe it’s to get your hands dirty with folks who are down and out and realize that it’s only by the grace of God you aren’t right there with them.

Happy New Year friends.  I look forward to our journey this next year together.  I love being able to keep up with friends who live just down the street or across the country via these wonderful pages.  To each of you, I pray 2010 brings you health, happiness joy and much peace.

Best,

fnc

Happy December 31st….

Good morning.  I’m sitting here in our lovely little home, loving the look of the white Christmas lights that are strewn everywhere debating when to get up to get my second cup of coffee.  It’s quiet, I know there is life going on outside these four walls, but I am completely oblivious. Oh the life…. (coffee beckons).

December 31st, otherwise known as New Year’s Eve, is one of my absolute favorite times of the year.  Growing up, you might have said that it was the thrill and romance of the night–being able to kiss someone at the stroke of 12, staying up til midnight.  I have always longed for exciting NYE plans, but most often have found myself with Mom in front of the TV watching the NYC ball drop.

Well, my friends, although Lewie and I have been through 2 NYE’s, this will be the first one that we will be TOGETHER and I will get that peck (I do hope it’s a bit more than a peck.  I saw on The Today Show yesterday that most NYE kisses are only 1 second long!)

I think another reason it is one of my favorites is the putting away old and looking toward the new.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being home this week and count EVERY SECOND a blessing as I know many (including the beau) who are out there working this week.  However, I have loved getting to reorgainze closets and the garage, being domestic and doing laundry all day and getting our home ready for 2010.  After a few days of being a stay at home wife, I’ve decided I really like it.  And maybe one day (once there are kids around also) I would really like being a stay at home Mom.  These little breaks give me a tiny glimpse into what the future could hold.  But as one of the biggest lessions I have learned in 2009–you can’t always plan what will happen in 5 years.  NYE (and NY) gives us (planners) a bit of an excuse to look toward the future with no regret, no wandering eye to why you are “planning”–everyone is doing it (for the most part).

So here’s to you, the planner, the indecisive one; the “Type-A”, Mr. Laid back; the futuristic thinker with the three month strategic plan and the one who is not sure what they’re doing for lunch, much less for the next 3 months.  We each have our purpose in life.  If I’ve learned anything in 2009, it’s that sometimes we need each other.  The planner needs the husband who in an instant can say–let’s take a weekend trip.  The laid back wife needs a husband who at times can think through long terms plans financially to buy a house, or plan for a family.

We each have our own places in this life and sometimes it’s pretty nice to find someone next to you who doesn’t share the same philosophy on planning as you might.  I have had a few friends who share my own love for planning and organization and when we get together–watch out!!! But it has been in my own marriage to a self-proclaimed laid back, non-planner that I have truly found what I think is a very healthy balance to my planning ways.  I have to plan a lot at the office, so my skills and gifts are still being used there, but the beau has really helped me relax and enjoy the ride–let the river take me where it will and know that in the meantime, I’m being taught a lot more by the waves and currents and wind than I ever could have planned to.

Whatever you are doing this New Year’s Eve, I hope that you are surrounded with people you love and that 2010 will be a year of growth (via planning or not), love, and joy for you and your family!

Signing off for 2009,

fnc

Weekend of Rest…

Every once in a while we all need a weekend of rest.  We often go about our days 90 to nothing doing the same routine (or a routine of crazy-no-day-is-ever-the-same), hit the sack with barely enough momentum to think through what actually happened (yes this is an over-analyzer speaking here).  I’ve spent many a Mondays just trying to get through on the first day back.  Many a Friday not wishing the day away, but keeping my eye on the clock and how fast it ticks toward 5pm.

After a few weeks of feeling this way, we were very fortunate to have a weekend of rest.  A weekend where we made our Friday Night Pizza tradition a reality (we are loving this by the way…stay tuned for more), and also a night to start up the last push through season 1 of Friday Night Lights. Not being one to watch a lot of television, but this is REALLY good TV.

Saturday was much of the same–started out the day with breakfast and went through 2 pots of coffee as we finished season 1.  It was a beautiful day out, so we got the bikes out.  We watched some college football.  We prepped dinner.  We relaxed.  We cleaned.  We did whatever we felt like.  We had no agenda.  No where to be.  Nothing we HAD to do.

Sunday we went to church, came home and made lunch, watched the Bengals whoop up on the Steelers and ventured to the library during halftime.  Again, we enjoyed a day with no agenda.

I know it isn’t always easy and especially as we cruise into the holiday season with weekends already full with parties, family gatherings and opportunities to give back.  Don’t forget to take some time to pull back and love those who are closest to you and take the time to regroup personally.  It’s easy to forget that without cherishing those with whom you share life on a daily basis with, you are just gonna run yourself into the ground and not be very fun to be around.  And when I say “you”, I’m really talking straight to myself.

Back to the Pages….

I love to write. I really do. I always had a diary in my younger days and beginning my sophomore year of college I started journaling and have kept up with it ever since.
Yes, there are many lapses in my books where entries are few and far between, but there is something about writing–about getting out what is in my head onto some pages for myself to reflect upon.
I’m not sure how many people actually read this blog, but that really isn’t the point. Maybe one day when the time is right and Lewie and I are living far off from folks who want to read our blog, or see pictures of our kids (again when the time is right) we’ll see more traffic. But for now, maybe this outlet just needs to be for me. For me to carve out some time in my “journal”.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like curling up on the couch with my favorite black Moleskin, pen and a strong cup of coffee to unload. But there’s also something a bit refreshing to just take a few moments every morning and unload what’s going on here. Maybe this will work.
I’m gonna try it out and see what happens. Maybe I’ll change the format. Again. 🙂 Maybe I’ll keep it. Maybe I’ll get comments. Maybe I won’t.
What is important that deep down, I’ll be symbolically curling up on my couch or sitting at my favorite little coffee shop downtown pouring out on these pages what is going on upstairs.