Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Race After All

This morning I ran in my first half marathon.

It was pouring rain the entire time.

I have blisters all along my heels.

I am still cold.

My legs are so sore that I look like a waddling duck.

I had the greatest of time.

Seriously, today was amazing.

Running makes me feel alive.

I not only beat my time, but I got to run it with my dad and brother.
(My brother finished way before my dad and I did, but it was still fun)

The atmosphere, it was perfect.

What I loved so much about this morning, was how encouraging the runners were.

Whenever you passed someone, or they passed you they would say a word of encouragement.

People lined the streets cheering and handing out water and food.

It amazed me.

This wasn't in a picture or a movie.

I actually got to experience it.

Having 13.1 miles to think, I thought about what if this immense amount of encouragement was used in everyday life.

The cheering, the praise, the motivation to keep going.

Life can be rough.
Trying to live as a Christian can be rough.

The amount of temptations, the sense of feeling alone, just keeping that determination to keep going--having that encouragement from others is so important.

We need to be encouraging Christians.

To help those around us to keep moving.

It's hard.

Especially when those blisters of life suddenly appear.

Your mouth becomes thirsty for truth.

Your legs become tired from the busyness of life.

It can be exhausting. 

Seek those who encourage you. 

Seek out those who need encouragement. 

We can all use a little help moving in the right direction.

Life is a race after all. 

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-3 

See the ambulance in the back? I almost wiped out because it was so slippery.
Glad I didn't have to use it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fresh Air

If I could go hiking every weekend I would.

It may be a slight obsession.

There is just something about being in the great outdoors that makes you feel alive.

The Smoky Mountains has been a childhood favorite.

My dad grew up going there, so it is like a family tradition. 

This past weekend, my grandparents, parents, brother and I went there.

I was only able to stay for two days, but it was well worth it.

While we were hiking, a little boy walked by and was talking about how all of his friends just play video games.

I laughed cause it reminded me so much of my brother, but it's true.
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg were packed with people.
On the trails, not so much.

I think our society has lost the beautiful capability to enjoy the outdoors.
Constant noise, movement and entertainment seems to be taking over.
People crave it. 

The outdoors has noise, movement and entertainment but it's different.
Just by listening and watching for a few moments, you will see a whole new world unravel.

It truly does bring complete joy. 

Maybe instead of flipping through the channels or getting on the computer, go outside and get some of that fresh air.


View from our "Home"
Hiking Beauty. 
My little brother and I at one of the overlooks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Still Moments

    Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 
    Psalm 46:10
Being still is a hard concept for me.

I am one of those individuals who has to be doing something at all times.
I push myself almost too hard to be "productive." 

I just love busyness.

On my run this morning, I thought about the concept of being still, and how much I seemed to be lacking in that area of life.

Working about 30 hours a week, plus school, plus friends and family….it gets a bit crazy.

It is so important to have that special devotion time with just you and God each day, but more has to be done. 

What I have challenged myself to do, is to find ways to accomplish "being still" while I do my daily routines.

In the car on the way to work.

Feeding 10 kiddos or playing dress up.

Morning Runs. 

Spending time with the people I love. 

I can be still at any moment. 

Being still doesn't require absolute silence or sitting still.

It is having a still mind and a peaceful spirit.

Not worrying about tomorrow.

Being gentle and filled with love.

Thinking positively and having a joyful attitude. 

Those little moments that may not seem like much.

Make them your still moments. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Challenges to Accept

 I ran in a 5K.
My best time.

I was really proud of myself for accomplishing that, but honestly, I just had so much

I love being around runners.
Seeing families running together and having fun, it is just a great atmosphere.
I have noticed that those who run, or at least those who exercise, are more healthy not only physically but also mentally.

Training with my dad for our half-marathon has been challenging.
Sure, my body had been pushed for sports, but there is something different about running 13.1 miles straight.

The mind has a lot to do with success.

After the 5K, we still had to run 9 more miles.

My legs were sore, my energy was low.
I could feel a blister coming on, and my knees were buckling.

I don't know if I can keep going.  

Running is my time to think.
So these thoughts kept running through my head.

Running for me is also spending time with my dad. Some of our best talks are on the trails.

Today, I was silent.

I am so blessed to have such an encouraging dad to train with.
But, he can only do so much.

I was just tired.

Don't you dare give up, Jo.

If someone could have read my mind they would have thought I was a lunatic.
I kept saying that over and over again.

A thought hit me when we finished. 

Running applies to life.

Perseverance. Courage. Diligence. Accountability.
Thinking Positively.

It is incredible to see how much your thoughts can affect you.

The mind is a powerful thing. 
Thinking positively is even more powerful.

Running has encouraged me to live life differently.
I have seen that over the past few months. 

I think more positively now.
I accept new challenges easier.
Even in school, I feel like I have become more diligent. 

You don't have to run a marathon, but do something that challenges you.

Life would be so boring if we didn't have challenges. 
Those challenges will help you grow.
Not fail.

Think positively. 

Try something new today.