Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Thoughts on Cutting With the Grain

I don't have time to blog - I shouldn't be sitting here at the computer. School is in full swing and my time is not my own. I feel led to share something, however, on the chance that it might just resonate with someone out there.

I heard Nancy Wilson speak this summer about "cutting with the grain" when raising kids - allowing them to explore and pursue what naturally interests them. For example, one of her daughters was always buying fabric and sewing as a teenager...yet with few finished products to show for it. That same daughter now has her own clothing line and is designer of some really beautiful textiles.

"Cutting with the grain" ... even when it seems like more trouble than it's worth, makes a big mess, and takes up precious time.
  • One child spends his free time poking around the computer and "writing code" for seemingly silly programs. Yet when he used Flash to compose a program that makes a rocket ship dance around the screen with the arrow keys ... I had to admit I was impressed.
  • One child has spent hours this week editing stock photos and discovering what happens when you alter hue, contrast, saturation, etc.
  • One child can't stop building pillow forts and obstacle courses - out of anything and everything. In of the house.
  • One child enjoys cooking and when she "plays," she plays with real ingredients and makes real recipes. She's quite good, actually. It's just that I don't always want a strawberry lassi right before lasagne for dinner.
It's so tempting to dismiss these things as mess-makers and time-wasters. (Not to mention a whole container of orange juice!) But I step out in faith, trusting that all this "exploring" will nourish their young souls. Hopeful that even if nothing else comes of it, at least my kids will know that their Mom is their encourager.

That's it for now. My 7yo "box man" has just delivered his fifth package in half an hour. I must go unwrap and see which of my own belongings is my gift .... ;)
{It was a roll of toilet paper, btw. Signed with the initials of the deliverer. I knew something was up when I heard a sibling yell, "What are you doing?!? Why are you writing on toilet paper!? LOL}

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yes Yes YESSS!

Desiring God has a great post up about C.S. Lewis and how "Narnia helps us live better here." Perfect timing for some transforming thoughts going on inside my head and within our family - what we've been calling our "Hobbit Revolution." Not the blissfully ignorant, always cheery Hobbits of The Shire that know nothing of the evils of the world beyond their borders. But Hobbits like Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippin - the ones who went on a great adventure, suffered terrible evils, grew stronger (and taller ;) in ways they didn't know they could, and returned to the beloved Shire with a deeper understanding of its simple joys and sweet fellowship. Longing for the Grey Havens, but whole-heartedly enjoying the good things this life has to offer in the meantime.

We are like those Hobbits - the walking wounded who know our citizenship is in Heaven. Yet we also know that every good and perfect gift comes from our Father (James 1:17) and that there is much joy to be had on our earthly journey. To live is Christ, to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) So, as C.S. Lewis says, "As long as we live in merry middle earth, it is necessary to have merry middle things. " We've been broken by grief, suffering, sickness, stress, and heartache. Even so, by God's grace, we still enjoy 'merry middle things' like the sweet fellowship of friendship and hospitality, or the transport of corporate worship. We whoop it up at Christmas and birthdays. We let the kids make pillowforts and lick the spoon. We stay up past bedtime and catch fireflies in a jar. We wonder at bumblebees and bubble baths. We take delight in the satisfaction of hard work and breaking a good sweat; almost-burnt cookies and the laughter of our children; frail hugs from grandparents ... and roller coasters, both real and metaphorical. Like Hobbits. Deeper joy because of the pain we've suffered. Deeper joy because of the pain HE suffered.
oops! I've been rambling -- it's too late to be blogging! I meant to link you to Deisring God's post, not tire you out reading mine! So follow this link to read the whole post, and in the meantime I leave you this tease:

By creating Narnia, Lewis invites us out of our own skin and into that of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy (and later Caspian, Eustace, Jill, Shasta, and the rest). The challenges we face are Narnian challenges. The victories we win are Narnian victories. But our time in Narnia is not an end in itself. We go there so that we can then live better here. By taking us out of this world, Lewis enables us to become something that we weren’t before, something greater and grander, so that, when we return out of the wardrobe, we face our own Giants of Despair differently. We face them as true Narnians.

Or Hobbits. Either one works. Gnostics, may we never be!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Let's Review

Tuesday: 1.5mi. very very hot. legs like lead

Wednesday: 2.2mi. very very hot. awful migraine. did i learn my lesson?

Thursday: crosstrain indoors - 5.2 mi on stationary bike with my book. aaaahhh :)

Saturday: 4mi. moderate heat/partly cloudy. first decent 'long run' all summer. encouraged and motivated by waves & nods from other runners, going the opposite direction, as we passed on our loops. offered broken prayers and recited verses in my head when my brain didn't have to stop & remind my lungs to breathe or my legs to take the next step. Philippians 4:13!

Not the most impressive week, but the first one in a long time with anything resembling consistency.

(this cheery vine gave me motivation for another mile...)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I think I can...I think I can... I think I can...

I wrote an eloquent blog post in my head yesterday about running, as I ... ran. But the heat must have evaporated it right out and left in its place jumbled thoughts and rambling words. Oh well! :)

My blogging/running friend, Wendy, once encouraged me that 'the hardest part of running is getting out the door.' (see her repeat that encouragement in this cute, motivational post.) That's certainly been true this summer! So many days I don't make it out until the heat is unbearable and running isn't fun.

Yesterday, I tried to beat the heat. It was only 77 when I decided to run, but 86 by the time I fed the kids, found all my gear, and hit the trail. It was 91 before I was done. (and approaching triple digits by the end of the day - yowza!) Makes a huge difference when this sun-beaten, windy, 1/4 mile uphill section of the trail is in your loop! (the pic doesn't do it justice - it's a beast and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I conquered it twice yesterday!)

It is a small victory - only hashed out 2.5 miles with a disappointing time - but I'm proud of myself for hanging in there. And I'm thankful for so many things: that I'm healthy enough to run, for strong legs to run with, beautiful park trails, teenagers that babysit, and even for the heat. Yes, the heat. As another friend (also named Wendy :) reminded me this morning, the seasons are a blessing - one that God promises will continue until the Lord comes (see Gen 8). And the heat of summer reminds us to be thankful for the refreshing cold of winter, and vice versa. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5:18

(I found a race. It's a 5k, and sooner than I'd like. But my husband has some business that will take him to my hometown over Labor Day, and it's for a great cause, so I signed up! Still shopping for a late-fall/ cooler temps road race close to home.)

(Oh, another funny side note - yesterday was a first for me: I spat on the trail! [not on the trail of course, ha ha] I'm always amused by the evidence of spitting runners - never thought I'd be one!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Need a Race!

It's been very hard to find time to run this summer, even though I enjoy it. I'm getting squishy. Turning into Garfield! I need the motivation and accountability that training for a race provides. 10k would be nice. Maybe a half. Long about October or November. Affordable, fun. Close to home. Any thoughts?