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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Back to Running

Towards the end of last summer, Ron and I joined USA Fit again, with the goal of training and completing another long race.

Callie joined the program as well and we all decided to participate in the Waco Half Marathon as our final race, inviting Ron's daughter-in-law, Jaylynn, to meet us in Waco.  As the season progressed, our dedication wavered and by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we began skipping more and more training runs.  By then, we knew that another baby D was on the way, so Callie had also quit training, but we were all determined to at least walk the race.

This past weekend was the big race.  Early on, Callie and I decided to run it in honor of Chris Barrett, Jana's beloved former pastor, who had received a bone marrow transplant was continuing to "fight the good fight."
While running the Half Marathon was out of the question for Callie, she signed up to walk the 10K along with her close friend, Natalie, who lives in Waco.
Jordan came, as well, and took care of the little boys while we raced.  (great practice for him)

Sunday morning, we gathered at the start line, partly excited and partly terrified.  As we read over the race website in the weeks prior, we discovered that it was known for its hills--something we had not really trained for adequately.  

The weather was beautiful, however, and the first half of the race went well, with Jaylynn (who had trained much better than us) zooming past us in the first mile.  Ron and I stayed together for the entire race.
Somewhere around mile 7.5 however, we started to see what they meant when they mentioned the hills.
Fortunately, about that same time, the course took us through the zoo---a really great distraction.  We even stopped to look at the animals and take pictures of a few.
This guy was not amused by the runners passing by.
Unbeknown to us, mile 11.5 held a little surprise for us.  Jacob's Ladder.
This set of stairs leading to the top of a cliff was no joke at all!   They offered pickles at the bottom (for cramps) and beer at the top (for the carbs), along with the promise of a special award for completing the challenge.   (Ron and I didn't really even know there was another option, but apparently, we could have opted for a straight run along the river instead).
Given our lack of preparedness, our race goal was not at all lofty---we hoped to finish in less than 3 hours.  However, he last couple of miles were really tough and we spent a good bit of the last mile walking and giving ourselves a pep-talk.
But, we did it!  We finished the race in 2 hours, 57  minutes!   It was fun to run across the bridge and to see family there cheering us on and to do it together!
We received amazing medals that were handmade by a local firefighter, who was also a marrow donor.
And the award for Jacob's Ladder?   I hand-forged ladder to hang from the bottom of the medal!
The Miracle Match Marathon definitely earned it's title of "The Toughest In Texas, No Bull", but it was so worth it.  It was a beautiful course and benefitted such a great cause.  Now, if we can keep it up until the end of February, when we head to New Orleans for one more race.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Getting A Little Messy Lately

Lately, I've been getting a little messy.  I've been bitten by the Art Journaling bug and find myself spending early mornings surrounded by pencils, pens, brushes and paints.  After a year of thinking about it, I finally delved in during Advent and loved every minute of it.  After teaching a one-time class at church with Callie, we both began in earnest on our own, often sharing pictures back and forth via texts.  We used the wonderful Advent Art Journal by The Handcrafted Story.
For the most part, it was a daily practice for me, but even when I missed, I was able to catch up without getting too far behind.  Although there were days when my creations were not quite what I had pictured in my mind, in the end, they looked pretty great as a group and really helped to focus my mind on the story of Christmas.
At the beginning of January, I switched to using a hymnal to do my personal faith journaling.
I have continued to use 15-20 minutes each morning to flip through the pages until a hymn sparks an image or thought for me.
It has become a time I look forward to for the creativity and reflection I discover in the process.

Some days, I just practice hand lettering---with some days being more successful than others.  :-)
Again, some pages are more creative than others, but, in every case, I find myself more in touch with the words of the song and the feelings expressed through them.
Recently, I began adding washi tape tabs to the pages.
Callie and I even have a new class beginning in a couple of weeks to help us (and others) journey through the Lenten season together.
I'm learning as I go and one way I've chosen to do that is to join the Get Messy group over here.  (By the way, it is not too late to become a messian yourself)  I'm hoping to learn lots of new techniques, learn to be okay with imperfections and maybe even get a little messier in the process (Sorry, Ron,  we might never eat at the dining table again).   The first "season" of Get Messy began yesterday and the theme is:  Happy.  For my first pages, I made a title page and then reflected on a quote that was provided, using colors that just make me happy. 
Everyone is an artist.   If we allow ourselves to explore that part of ourselves and to cultivate and savor what we find, it can be such a rich world and a wonderful way to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.  For me, having some sort of creative outlet is as essential to me as BREATHing -- not only does it help me de-stress, but it lets me express myself when words escape me. 

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