Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A battle of the mind...



* I needed to be reminded of this today...repost from 2009.

Today was a beautiful morning in South Mississippi and a great day for a race. That's what I should have been thinking, but truthfully I just wanted to pull the covers back over my head and get a couple hours more sleep. Still, I got up because I had promised friends I would be there to support a good cause. 

When the run began, I found my usual place in the back. I had no illusions that I would have a great race...I simply wanted to finish. The whistle blew for us to begin and I took off at a fairly slow pace. This would be the first time I'd run in weeks and I didn't even have time to warm up...guess I'd just consider my first mile the "warm-up."

I was surprised at how good those first few steps began to feel. I had a bit more "pick up" in my feet than I thought I'd have and even though the race began with a slight incline, I quickened my pace just a bit. When I finally allowed myself to check my distance, I'd covered half a mile. Not bad. I just might be able to pull out a decent run after all.

It was at the one mile mark that the random thought hit me. I had just had an "argument" with myself about whether I should stop and walk or keep running, and I realized, it wasn't that I was out of breath or in pain. I was tired, but not to the point of exhaustion. If I stopped running and walked, it was because I'd lost the battle in my mind. 

I started thinking about "battles" we fight in other areas of our lives and it occurred to me that most of them are won or lost in the mind. It is in our mind that we either quit or endure.

There is a verse in Titus that ties in with this and it caught my attention. It is Titus 2:2:"Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance." I never really thought about the fact that it is the older ones among us who need to be reminded to endure. Perhaps it is because we have convinced ourselves that since we are older, we should have an excuse to tire more quickly...to stop before the race is done. For some, it is even an excuse to not begin the race at all. Think about how many times you have heard, "I'm too old for this." Just because we are older does not mean that we should no longer endure. Romans 5:4 says: "For everything that is written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." When we look to the scriptures we can find that encouragement that helps us win the battle of the mind.

Caleb was 80 when they entered the promised land. When it came time to divide out the land, he asked for the hill country! That would be the most difficult to settle, but he was ready for whatever challenges might come. Caleb had long ago won the battle of the mind. When he went in to check out the promised land, he believed not what his eyes saw, but what God had said. He didn't worry that the promise had "expired" like some out of date coupon. He did not consider his age in whether or not God could do what He had promised. It wasn't even a factor. God had promised it, and that was enough.

I finished the race today, a bit slower than I would have liked, but I finished it all the same. I can't say I completely won the battle of my mind, but hopefully I learned a few things along the way. It is time to turn more to the scriptures to find the encouragement that I need to endure...not so much in races, but in the spiritual battles I face. If I am following the promises of God, then He will be faithful...the question is, will I endure? This is a battle of the mind that I want to win.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When life gets hard...

Sometimes life just gets plain hard. You don't understand. 

Yesterday I reposted on Facebook a blog I had written years ago about being tired. (A different kind of tired...) and I had no idea how appropriate it would be for that day.


It was just a day of....disappointment. 


We all have those days. Life just doesn't seem to be going according to our plan. (Does it ever?) Or perhaps it IS going according to our plan, but the dreams that looked so shiny from the outside now seem a little less "perfect" now that we are living them. 


Perhaps you have had one of those days recently and you know what I mean. Those days are hard when they happen to us, but when they happen to our children - well, that is an ache that goes deep. It's an ache that just weighs on your heart like a lead blanket. You want to kick it off like a heavy quilt, but you have no idea how.


Just this week I'd been having a conversation with a friend about a disappointment her son was facing. I reminded her of the promises God has given us - that He uses all things for His glory and for the good of those who love Him. I reminded her that God loves her son more than she does, which to a mom seems to be an impossible statement. I even found a familiar quote that spoke to me: "God has a plan for you that's good....so if it's not good yet, He's not finished." The cake is still baking, the picture is still developing, the quilt is still being sewn..... He's not finished yet.


Then I think of times when I need to call someone and ask them to repeat my own words back to me. 


I think of those nights whenI lay awake underneath that "lead blanket" and pray, asking God to please show me how to help my child deal with "life" that doesn't always go the way we thought it would. How could I help them see that God truly does work all things for our good?

I have to admit, I had to examine my own life and things that were a little difficult...make that, things that were HARD! How do I get my heart to believe that God will work those hard things not only for His glory but for my GOOD? How could I look at what lay in front of me as a blessing? How could I thank God in all things, apart from simply an act of will? I'm a little older (make that a LOT older) than my children and even I have a hard time doing this at times despite YEARS of experience seeing this to be true.


Then this morning, I had a verse come across my screen that gave me a way I could pray for my children (and myself.) A way I could help them see and understand that God is up to something that will eventually work out for them that is GOOD! 


2 Corinthians 2:16 - Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit. (Emphasis mine.)


There it is. I can pray that my children understand what is happening because THEY HAVE CHRIST'S SPIRIT in them. I can pray that Christ's spirit will greatly increase in them so that no matter what disappointment crosses their path in life, they can trust that God has got this. He has a plan for them that was written before their first moment of life, and it is a GOOD plan. 


Now I have something I CAN do. I won't lie and say it's easy - it's never easy seeing the hurt in your child's eyes...but I know that even in that, God is working to draw them closer to Him and the plan HE has for their life - that GOOD plan. He is teaching THEM the lessons He taught me through the years - that He can be trusted even with their dreams.


I love my babies - but God loves them even more. Thank you, Lord, for that and Your good, good plans even when life gets hard.


Footnote: After posting, I thought of something I saw just this week. A gecko was after a moth and the one he "wanted" got away...then shortly after another moth, a much BIGGER moth, settled right in front of this gecko. You can figure the rest. (Yes, I realize it wasn't so good for the moth, but still, it started me thinking.)

The gecko was on my mind that day and I remembered the verse about God seeing even a sparrow that falls. So here's my "adaptation" of that verse. "If God sees and cares for a tiny gecko, will He not also take care of you?"

John 15:15
I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends.


Matthew 10:29-31The Voice (VOICE)


29 Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. 30-31 You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The day AFTER the election...


This is from 2012, but in light of some of the current political debates, I thought perhaps it was worth re-posting.


This was on my mind last night....so now it's found its way into a blog.

Now, I usually don't get too "political", but bear with me...I think it will all make sense by the end.

Imagine it is the day after the election. Imagine your candidate - no matter which one that might be - was not elected. Now what? What will your response be? If you think it's yelling and complaining, then you're probably pitching a toddler tantrum. If it's to take a deep breath, trust God, and move forward by praying - honestly praying and not complaining - for your leader...then you're probably being a mature member of our country.

It might take making the decision now - that no matter who wins, we make the decision to pray, trust God, and come back together as a nation. You can still disagree, but even in disagreement, we have got to work together. 
  
All this brings to mind all the yard signs I have seen lately. On my street, there are signs for both candidates - one candidate is on one corner and across the street, the other candidate's sign holds a prominent position. Now, I have nothing against people showing their support, but let's be honest - if I am still undecided at this point then a yard sign probably isn't going to make me choose one candidate over another...and I have to wonder again - what about the day after the election? Will those two neighbors be able to go back to talking about the weather and lawn maintenance after seeing that sign in their neighbor's yard each day? I hope so, but this campaign has gotten so heated, I have my doubts. I have been around long enough to have seen the United States have a number of different presidents - some I agreed with and some I did not. With that in mind, I'd like to make my own "yard sign". It would say something like, "One nation under God - no matter which candidate wins."
  

Then there are those who make rash statements about how awful life in this country will be if the "other" candidate wins. Seeing the rants and raves reminded me of something that happened with my son when he was about 3 years old. He had one of his toddler meltdowns and decided he didn't like our rules. He was going to run away if things didn't go his way. In my "parenting wisdom" I tried to use psychology. I told him it would make me sad if he decided he didn't want to be a part of our family, but if he did leave, he'd have to realize that all the cool toys and clothes in that room belonged to the little boy that wanted to be a part of our family. I was feeling pretty proud of my ability to outsmart a 3 year old....until I turned my back and he stripped down naked and headed out the door! I caught him before he made it past the driveway, but that "meltdown" made a memory like none other...and it makes me wonder again about our reaction once this election is over.
  

Will we be like my toddler and pitch a fit, tossing aside all that is good because we don't like the way things are going? Or will we look around and realize just how blessed we are and find a way to work things out? I hope we'll decide to grow up a bit and remember that through good and bad, through celebrations and disagreements, through elections and inaugurations, we are still family. 
  
I think it's very significant that not long after the election, we have a chance to sit down together and give thanks for this country. No matter who wins the election - your candidate or the one you desperately don't want - God is still in control.
  
I'm thinking we'd do a lot less "yelling" during the process if we could remember that.
  

Daniel 4:35

The Message (MSG)
34-35 “At the end of the seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked to heaven. I was given my mind back and I blessed the High God, thanking and glorifying God, who lives forever:
“His sovereign rule lasts and lasts, his kingdom never declines and falls. Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much, but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going. No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question.
Proverbs 16:9
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.
Proverbs 21: 30-31
Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of GodDo your best, prepare for the worst - then trust God to bring victory.
1 Peter 1:3-5
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.

Psalms 33:12-22
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,  the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down  and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches  all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all,  who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;  despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,  on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death  and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord;  he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice,  for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,   even as we put our hope in you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

torn...

Right now in our country there is so much hurt and confusion and I stand in the middle torn...

I don't pretend to understand. I am white - always have been. Not trying to be funny, it's just a fact that "colors" how I see life. I have not ever really known what it is to be a person of color in this nation. I remember the first time I went to school with someone a different color than me. My parents told me to be friendly, but not necessarily make friends. Seems like a contradiction, but most people will understand what that means. My parents weren't bad people, nor did they want to see harm to anyone...they just came from a different time, a time when separate bathrooms still existed and separate everything was seen as the norm. Yes, I am that old.

I remember my father telling me when I came to college here in Mississippi that I should be careful. He said something along the lines of, "I know you have black friends here, but Mississippi is different. They will shoot you for walking down the street with someone black there." I guess even to Alabama, Mississippi seemed to be a scary place when it came to race. He was wrong, by the way.

I remember being a young white woman going down into what I'd always been taught was "the hood" to pick up kids to take them to church. I was supposed to be afraid...I don't think I often was. But honestly, I had no idea what it was to be a part of that community. I was an outsider. I never let my guard down, really.

And then I became the parent of a child that was not white, and everything changed. While I still don't really understand what it is to be a person of color, I encountered real, obvious hatred for the first time based simply on the color of skin. 

One of the most vivid times of awareness came many years ago when my daughter was just a baby. I walked into a drug store to buy some candy for kids church; they were having a sale and I needed a LOT! As I entered, I passed a man who looked at me and at my daughter that I held in my arms. I was used to people looking at her - she was and is beautiful. People were always commenting on how precious she was...but not this time. The sneer on the man's face and the disgust in his voice when he uttered, "Ugh" as he passed us was evident. I turned. "Excuse me? Do you have a problem with me and my child?" but he just kept walking out the door. I was literally shaking with rage. 

I went on to get the candy, (I still had kid's church to prepare for after all) and the cashier, who was white I think, started to apologize that I had to encounter someone like that and what he had said. I mumbled something about it's okay and as I handed over my money I distinctly heard the Lord begin to speak to me. "Let it go. Don't hold on to that anger because if you do, you will pass it on to your child." As angry as I was, I never wanted her to feel that rage that I was feeling at the moment...not that sweet innocent child. 

Over the years, I encountered some who embraced me and my family and some who judged us...people from both colors of skin, black and white. But mostly, I have found grace and love. I watched as my children tore down walls simply by being who they were created to be.

Fast forward to when my daughter started dating. One of the young men she brought home was a young black man. He would drive almost an hour at times to come and visit her and watch tv in my living room. One night, as he left to go home rather late, I felt for the first time that fear. He drove an old car and I began to worry. What if he broke down? What if no one stopped because he was black? What if those who stopped on that long stretch of road were people who might see him as an enemy and hurt him? That was the first time I realized what others might have felt.

Then my own son got old enough to drive. He is one of the "preppiest" people I have ever met! I'm still not sure how he is that way - most of our clothes are hand-me-downs or come from thrift stores! Think of Carlton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-air" and you have my son. He is not black, but he is very dark skinned and often mistaken for black and now that he drives a long distance back and forth to school, the worry has returned. My husband sent him a video that explained how you should react if pulled over by an officer, where to keep your hands and such. My son's reaction..."but I'm not black." No, son, but you look black. The last traffic ticket you got, (yes he drives too fast sometimes) had you identified as black. It's not who you are, it's who they think you might be...

Now before I go much further, let me say I support law enforcement! I pray for them! I run races to help raise funds for the families of fallen officers. I know a LOT of officers and I am so thankful that these men and women stand in the gap for us all...but just like I felt that rage all those years ago when I held my daughter in that drug store, I feel fear for my children now. Fear because of the stress and tension that exists. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a police officer to go to work each and every day having to look over their shoulder because someone hates them because of the uniform they wear. They have to choose to protect those who sometimes hate them. That kind of constant stress can cause them to misjudge and make wrong decisions, no matter what the color of their skin.

So I'm torn. I'm white...so white I practically glow in the dark. My children are seen as black even though they are both white and black and, in the case of my son, not African American at all. I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to fear because I am white, because they are people of color, or because our police are in such danger every day.  I'm torn because I understand, only a little, the point of view from both "sides." I have seen my daughter face what she sees as racism...and I understand what it is to be white and have people take something I have said to mean something entirely different than what was meant, simply because my skin is a different color than theirs. I wonder if what she sees is really there or simply being taken the wrong way, or is it a little of both. I pray daily that  she would not inherit that rage I felt that day when she was just a baby. I let it go, and I pray that she never takes it up.

At one time, my daughter even wanted to become a police officer...you can imagine the can of worry worms that started!

I don't know the answer, but I do know that God calls His children to be peacemakers. That means we are problem solvers. We are to stand in the gap and not only pray but help find a way to tear down walls that divide. Jesus did it. He talked with those that were different. He ate with those He wasn't "supposed" to. He touched those rejected as unclean. He didn't walk in fear - He walked in love. Am I able to do the same?

I want to be like the little child and her mother that we encountered when my daughter was just a toddler. We were at the zoo and a little girl noticed that I wasn't the same color as my baby. She innocently asked, "Are you her mommy?" I could see her mother squirm, worried that her daughter's question might somehow offend. "Yes, I am her mommy. Are you wondering why our skin isn't the same color?" Yes, she nodded. "Well, God has a big color box and He loves making people of every color! I'm so glad, aren't you?" Yes, she nodded again and I watched the apprehension in her mother's face ease. A little child so easily accepted that God loves to make people of all colors and simply was unafraid to ask when she didn't understand.

Red, yellow, brown, black, and white...we are all precious in His sight. I may be torn about the strife that is going on right now between colors, but that love is something I can rest assured in, and I will choose to reach out and join hands with those around me...no matter what the color of their skin or the uniform they wear.

Psalm 133 (Short, but exactly what we need!) NIV
How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Just let go...

I watched as he hung by this fingertips, desperately calling "Help me! Help!"

We were at camp and we had already had wonderful time in chapel services the night before. Now it was time to have some fun on the lake. The wind had begun to pick up and it was making the lake waters pretty choppy, but all in all it was a beautiful day. One of the favorite activities of all the children was a giant canvas/tarp waterslide that led into the lake, and one by one they climbed the stairs to the top to slide their way down into the cooling waters of the lake. Each wore the required life vest and looked like little oompa loompas as they ran around playing in the summer sun. Patiently they climbed the stairs and waited for the thrill of the slide. Finally it was this little boy's turn for the adventure!

I didn't know his name, he was a little fellow, but not the smallest in the group by any means. Dark haired and freckled faced, he stood at the top and in a moment began his first slide. The wind was quite brisk and had blown a lot of the water out of the slide so half way down he slowed to a stop. The counselors at the top turned the hose to add water and encouraged him to scoot on down. Finally had sat at the bottom of the slide, his feet dangling over. Everyone around him was yelling to him to jump, but it was quickly becoming evident that he wasn't so sure he should have gotten on this slide in the first place. Finally he jumped...but without letting go. Now he hung there, clutching the end of the canvas slide and cried out, "Help me! Help!"

I stood on the dock in tears; my heart hurt for this little one. I could see the fear on his face and I soon joined in the shouts of "Jump! Let go! It will be okay!" but still he hung there, crying out for help. I'm sure to him it seemed like an eternity...as if no one noticed his plight! He just wanted someone to save him from the predicament he had gotten into! After a moment, the lifeguard saw that this little one was NOT going to let go and therefore safely go into the water where he would float and could dog paddle his way if necessary to the dock, so she jumped in and swam the few yards over to him. 

I turned to my friend who stood there beside me and said, "Isn't that just like what we so often do with God. We cry out, 'Help me! Help!' and all those around us are shouting to let go, but we just won't. We are too afraid."

The little boy was fine, of course. Once the life guard reached him, he let go and entered the water with a small splash. The two of them held on to the red buoy and slowly made their way in. By the time he climbed onto the dock, he was much calmer. He had realized what the rest of us had known all along, that he had on a life vest and he was safe. I think he even smiled.

The funny thing is, just hours after this scene had unfolded I was talking to my friend about something I had been struggling with. She reminded me of my own words and that little boy...just let go and trust God. I thought about that little boy and the image of him hanging there, crying out for help; and I had to wonder how many times have I been that little boy. Those around me can see that what I really need to do is let go of the problem and just trust God, but I'm afraid. I have so many promises from God that He will take care of me and that He can be trusted, yet still I cling to the "slide" and cry out for help. What I really need to do is just let go. 

After my young friend was safely out of the way, the next child who had patiently waited (and called out as loudly as the rest for him to jump) made his way to the starting spot. He jumped and slid down with joy and made a BIG splash when he hit the water. He bobbed quickly to the surface with a huge smile on his face and grinned as he swam to the dock, enjoying every second of this thrilling ride.

I want to be like that second child, the one who enjoyed the adventure. It's time to release my grip and trust that God will take care of me and those that I love. It's time to stop living in fear and instead enjoy the ride. I don't have to worry; I have on a "life vest" and the one who loves me is ever watching to make sure I can dog-paddle my way home. Let's be honest, in all my "hanging on" I can't do a thing about the situation anyway!

It's time to "let go." Care to join me? From what I can see, when we do we will be in for a wonderful adventure...and the splash will be epic!

Matthew 16:24-25 (Voice)
24 (to His disciples) If you want to follow Me, you must deny yourself the things you think you want. You must pick up your cross and follow Me. 25 The person who wants to save his life must lose it, and he who loses his life for Me will find it.

Isaiah 43: 1 - 5 (Msg)
But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel, “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. 
“So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Raising Kids and Haircuts....


This morning I got up and had one of those "bad hair days" you always hear about. I actually have very few "good hair days" since I was born an almost bald baby, and while I did eventually grow hair, it was never like the stuff you see in those shampoo commercials.

I have battled with my hair for years, and only recently found someone who consistently manages to cover my unruly cow-licks. I have a double swirl in the back that unless my hair is cut correctly will go off in its own direction thereby making me look like I'm going back to my newborn bald days!

Well, today I was battling my cow-licks once again. (Even with a good haircut, they sometimes make their presence known.) It was then that the "Random Thought" hit me. Raising kids is a lot like dealing with hair.

The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) A lot of people think that only means teaching your children about God so that they will follow the Lord, and that is a part of the picture. I think, however, sometimes we miss a very important part of the verse..."in the way that he should go." The trick is in finding the way that he should go, as opposed to the waywe think they should go.

Children can be a lot like hair - they come with a natural "bent" that requires training, but it's also a bent that is a part of who God created them to be. Just like hair, they come in all different kinds, the trick is in not working against the way they were created, but with it.

It seems we always compare ourselves to others and try to go in the direction they should go! For example, when my son was in 6th grade, he decided he wanted his hair to be like his best friend. He wanted his hair to be board straight and long...and blond. The problem with this was, my son's hair is jet black, thick and curly. Still, he was determined to have hair like his friend. He would stand in front of the mirror for hours after shampooing his hair, trying desperately to smooth it down. The result would look okay for a little while, but as the day progressed, his hair would dry and start to revert back to its "natural bent" and puff out. He continued to smooth the top throughout the day with his hands, The results were that by the end of the day, he looked like a mushroom. Smooth on top and puffed on bottom. Yeah...it was quite a sight to behold. He walked around with a constant frown on his face. He became a giant frowning mushroom.

Finally in the summer between 6th and 7th, my son decided he wanted his hair cut short. Oh my - what a transformation! He looked so handsome! Gone was the constant "smoothing" and fidgeting with his hair.  He walked with new confidence and finally his smile returned. He was no longer fighting an impossible battle. He was finally becoming who he was created to be!

I am learning that with my children, I'm sometimes guilty of trying to "smooth them" into the image I see in other people's children...and they just aren't "bent" that way! I try to get their walk with the Lord to look like my own (forgetting how difficult and rocky that "walk" has sometimes been!) But they aren't me. They are unique and their walk with God will be uniquely their own. I've got to find the way to work WITH their natural gifts and help them find the way that THEY should go. As I help them grow in their own walk with the Lord, which probably won't look like my own, they will discover a faith that they can hold to for the rest of their days....and not depart from it.

I have to chuckle because as I sit here and type this, my daughter is working to straighten her own hair and she just said, "Mom, I wish I had hair like yours. This is so hard." I guess we always think someone else has an easier path to walk in this journey. (Honestly - I wish I had hair like hers and I absolutely LOVE her tight spiral curls!)

Yep, raising kids to follow God is a lot like working with hair....there will be "good days" and "bad days," but when you realize you've got just the "hair" you were meant to have, (and they were placed where they were meant to be with,) things get a lot easier. It's all about learning to work with the natural bent God intended....and sometimes wearing a hat.


*Repost from 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2016

but I want to run....

Today I went for a walk, just a walk. I started not to go at all since my knee is really giving me some problems right now and I knew a run was NOT going to happen. Still, the pull of being able to spend some time with God outside was stronger than the urge to just go on with my day, so I laced up my shoes and made my way out the door. 

I hadn't gone 100 feet when I saw a HUGE pit bull staring at me. I almost went back inside, but decided to keep going when the dog was obviously more afraid of me than I was of him - he turned and went the other direction. I made my way cautiously down the street and my mind started to process - that was the dog that lived around the corner. He was a friendly enough dog and I bet they didn't know he was out. Sure enough, as I turned the corner, I saw him in their drive. He ran again when he saw me so I made my way to his owner's door and rang the bell. Sorry for waking you on a Saturday but your dog is out. She seemed appreciative as she rubbed her eyes and turned to let her husband know he had to go round up the dog. Mission accomplished, now on with my walk.

As I meandered along, okay - I was walking at a fast enough pace...it's hard to break the old mindset of needing to cover the course as quickly as possible, I noticed all the flowers that were in bloom. I paused to take "artsy" pictures - hey, what good is a camera phone if you can't use it! As I paused to take one picture, I heard a voice saying something. I pulled out the one earphone I had in and turned to see who was talking. Another neighbor who was sitting outside enjoying the morning shouted, "Aren't they pretty!" I nodded and waved and kept moving forward, noticing some beautiful yellow roses to take pictures of. I made my way to the end of the road and turned around. As I passed the lady's house I asked, "Would you like to see the yellow roses I just took a picture of?" We both ooo'd and ahhh'd over the beauty in those flowers and then I went along my way. 

I passed another person who I've seen out walking a number of times and we waved and said good morning...then I came to my favorite yard in the neighborhood. No, no flowers in this one but a very friendly black lab that loves to "race" with me along his fence...that is when the other dog isn't there. The blond lab doesn't like me being friends with the black one. Hooray! Today the blond dog wasn't out! My friend and I "raced" up and down the fence row about 10 or 12 times and then my knee was screaming at me it was time to stop so I waved goodbye and made my way toward home. 

After a couple more blocks, my path intersected with the other neighbor who was out walking, and this time we were headed in the same direction for a few blocks so I got the chance to meet her with more than just a "Hi." Turns out she used to be a runner but now she walks and is "thankful her knees allow it." I had thought she was about my age, but after talking a bit I suspect she might be older than me though she definitely didn't look it. It came time to turn toward my house and say goodbye, but I have a feeling I'll see her again along my route this summer and hopefully will have the chance to get to know her better. She seems like a really cool person!

Finally I reached my house and as I turned off my GPS, I realized I'd traveled a pretty good distance today, even if it did take me longer than normal...that's when I thought, "but I want to run..." Running is so much more impressive than walking. People love to drop "I'm a runner" into conversations but rarely do you hear someone say "I'm a walker." Walking is just so...ordinary, or at least I used to think so. After today, I'm not so sure. Let's see, today I talked with three neighbors - helped one of them get their dog back, shared a love of flowers with another and sort of got to know another...plus I made a lot of pictures of the beauty of God that surrounds me but often goes unnoticed. I don't think I ever do those things when I run...at least not as much.

That got me to thinking. I still covered the same ground, even though it wasn't as quickly as I'd have liked it to be. I'm that way with a lot of things in life. I want things to happen "quickly" and when they don't, I get discouraged. I tend to see obstacles as roadblocks instead of simply detours that will eventually get me where I need to be and might just contain some treasures along the journey. God's timing is never the same as mine but it's always MUCH MUCH better.

So for now, although I really WANT to be a runner, I think I'll find the joy of being a walker for a while...at least until my knee stops screaming. I'll still get the same amount of ground covered, even if my "time" isn't as impressive as I'd like it to be, I'm moving forward and learning to enjoy the journey.

Happy walking my friends.

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?