Monday, May 31, 2010

How Would You Like To Be Remembered?

There is nothing that makes you feel old like going to the graduation of someone you knew when they were an infant. This weekend, I headed back to Indiana. I spent five years on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. This weekend, sweet Elizabeth graduated.

I lived with Elizabeth and her family for three years during that time. Elizabeth was just two when I moved in. We spent the next three years reading stories, going to the park, playing tag, and making cookies with her sister, Hannah, and later her brother, Jonathon. Her sister Sarah didn't come along until after I had headed to Illinois. I didn't get to know her. But I did enjoy hanging with her this weekend.

All weekend I found myself wishing I had kept in better contact with this great family. Though I do feel old that Elizabeth is now 18 and heading off to college, I was touched by the fond memories we shared.

Some of the things that we mentioned (aside from those mentioned above) remembering were things like the butterfly shaped birthday cake I made and Elizabeth helped decorate one year. Some of it was how Elizabeth screamed as an infant -- especially in the car. Her dad seemed bent on remembering the temperature. I am cold by nature and I lived in the basement. It's always colder in basements. He lamented not making it warmer for me. But honestly, that wasn't even close to things that readily came to my mind. There were too many good things from living there that stick out to me.

I was surprised by some of the things that people mentioned about me. Becca was also graduating. Her family came to Elizabeth's open house. They reminded me how she was so attached to her mom that she screamed when she was left in the nursery or with a sitter to the point that they just didn't leave her. I had forgotten volunteering to go spend some time with her and her brother over several days while their mom was present so she could get use to me. The idea was to make me a safe person so her parents could get out a bit.

I was touched by the warmth of the memories. It was affirming. I don't know how my time in Illinois measures up. It makes me want to strive to be that person again. Right now, I am so busy with two jobs and such that I wonder if the memories that would dominate now would be rushing off somewhere. But what stood out then was a kind of taking time for people. Somehow, I want to find away to get back to that. That's how I want to be remembered at every stage of life and not just one sliver.

That is my prayer tonight, that I would be known as one who takes time for people.

How would you like to be remembered?

Sarah, Asher the dog, Elizabeth, Hannah, & Jonathon


Monday, May 17, 2010

Life In Spite of Me -- What I'm Reading

Hope. It is part of the essence of what keeps us going. Without hope, sometimes it seems like there is no reason to go on.

I recently read Life In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson. It is subtitled "Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice." Yes, it was the subtitle that drew me in. As someone who at time has struggled with hopelessness, the theme of hope is one that I am drawn to.

Kristen was an ordinary teen, but in high school she began dealing with some big issues. One night, she made the impulsive decision to end her life. But God had other plans. While her attempt would forever alter her life, leaving her with a physical disability, Life in Spite of Me details how God was at work and how Kristen is letting God use her.

The story is compelling. I found myself routing for Kristen. However, it is probably geared for for teens and college age more than older adults. It would make a good book for a youth group to read and discuss.

The book can be purchased at

Here's a video link you might find interesting.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah publishing Group.


Friday, May 14, 2010


As a kid, I remember a couple summers of tee ball and one fall of soccer. Other than that, the only running I did was the random game of tag. I was never athletic and I had never had any interest in running. So, I am not sure what possessed me in March 2009 to join a beginning running group called Catch the Wave. This 10 training group aims to get people off the couch and in shape for a 4.37 mile race.

I'm posting today at the Internet Cafe. Click here to finish reading this post.

Find out here how I did on my second Lake Run on May 1!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Care Worthy of Sacrifice

Do you ever have those moments when an author writes a word or phrase and it just jumps off the page at you and sinks deep into your mind? That happened to me recently. I really think it was a God thing.

I firmly believe that God's hand is on everything. This includes even authors who do not profess Christ. It includes fiction. It includes the man pumping gas next to you who says or does something that makes you pause and reflect on God. It's the woman in line at the bank or a song where lyrics grab you. Truth: God can use anything to point to Himself.

Recently, I was reading a book called Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Honestly, I have no idea where Ms. Cashore stands in relationship to God. I do know that it is a non Christian, teen fiction book.

I also know that a passage took my breath away.

Katsa and Po both live in a land where "graces" sometimes manifest themselves. These graces give the person unusual abilities. They also set the gracelings apart in very difficult ways. Through a series of events, Katsa and Po end up on a rescue mission of sorts. As they are fleeing with Princess Bitterblue to safety, Po makes the decision to stay behind. Katsa is left to care for Princess Bitterblue alone. The weather is freezing and Katsa has some doubt that she can get the girl to safety.

But there is a moment of decision on Katsa's part. Ms. Cashore writes, "Her care of Bitterblue must be worthy of Po's sacrifice."

This rephrase jumped into my head. "My care of others must be worthy of Jesus' sacrifice."

Jesus didn't stay behind. But He did sacrifice himself for us. And then He went on ahead, leaving his mission to the world to a ragtag band of disciples and ultimately to me and you. He leaves the day to day, physical care of others to us.

Katsa's grace helps her brave the elements and mountain lions. Jesus graces helps us brave this world. Katsa focused on getting Princess Bitterblue to safety. It was her primary concern. What if our focus, my focus, was getting others safely home? How would that play out in day to day interactions? Would I take the best for myself or leave the best for someone with more need? Would it keep my words in check so that I only built others up? Would it impact how and where I used the finances God has given me?

I hope that it would. But I know that I am a work in progress. Still, today, I hope my aim is to care for others in a way that is worthy of Jesus' sacrifice.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Lost 6 Minutes and 23 Seconds

Imagine a nice spring morning after a night of wind and rain. What do you do with a morning like that.? Over a 1000 people decided to run! I was one of the crazy 1000.

Looks a bit like a stampede!

I started off pretty strong. Seasoned runners (of which I am not) would probably say I started off too fast. This is probably true. I was bit floored when my time at the 1 mile marker was 13 minutes. I don't believe I had ever run a 13 minute mile before in my life!

But I had exerted myself and needed to take a bit of a walk break. The rest of the race I did a combination of walking and running. I am thrilled to report that the running minutes totally out numbered the walking minutes. I would estimate that I ran 85-90% of the 4.37 miles. My walk breaks were usually 1 minute catch my breath breaks.

I knew I couldn't keep up a 13 minute mile pace. Last year at the Lake Run (my first ever race) I averaged a 14:52 mile. Even with my walk breaks, I only dropped my pace to a 13:23 mile pace! That's a pace difference of 1:29! How cool is that?

Me with one of my Catch the Wave group members.

I'm a bit red in the face but none the worse for wear!

Cyndy at the finish!

Cyndy's excitement is really how I felt! I finished in 58 minutes and 37 seconds. I lost 6 minutes and 23 seconds from last year. I got faster and had a lot more endurance! I had two goals:
  • Run more than I walked
  • Beat my time from last year
I count today as a major success!

Marge and Jen
Two of the people who encouraged my running this year and last.