Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cultural Identification- spandex vs. the bun hugger

AAAHHH! Tomorrow I run my first half marathon. I'm nervous, but glad as hell to get it behind me. Even though I have another tougher one in April. Running has been very interesting and has allowed me a lot of quiet time. I have time to think and pray, which probably accounts for the such fantastical state of mental health I regularly uphold. You gotta really work at sanity, people. It's like a healthy relationship (as I've learned at our current conversation series at Newchurch), they just don't accidentally happen. Now, I'm being sarcastic because I'm just as crazy as the next person. Obviously. I'm running 13.1 miles. And I'm no teeny thing and I'm slow so I'm running for 2 1/2+ hours straight. But I still don't feel like a "runner". I certainly don't look the part, but there is a whole culture here that I just don't think I fit the bill for. I like to run. But do I loooove it? Not sure. It's the same for cycling. I really like that.  I plan to do a longer ride later this year and try that sport out, too.  But will I fit that bill?  I liked doing the sprint triathlons last year and I'll be doing those again this year. I like to run, I like to ride, although the swimming is for the fishes.  I definitely am not a swimmer.  Thankfully you get that out of the way, first.  So triathlons...maybe that's where I belong. It's seems like a good sport for committers who can't commit. Does that make sense? I'll put in the time, but I don't have to technically pledge my loyalty to any one group and if I don't feel like doing my run training, I can ride my bike and technically I still did some tri training :) and vice versa. Love me loopholes, matey!  But I short myself, blah, blah, blah, I know.

But I digress...running culture and biking cycling culture(sorry swimmers, a non issue here) are so...I don't know.  But they definitely have one!  Walk into a bike store and the men talk bike parts and have 10% body fat and don't mind walking around with their ding dongs showing in their spandex.  I don't know if I can get onboard with that.  And the women, well, I haven't seen a lot of them, but they wear spandex, too, and my butt is flat.  And runners...well, I can bound and gag my chest, but there's no getting around my thighs eating runner shorts for a snack.  But thankfully, the equation is not equal...bun huggersspandex.  But running is a lot of time in your head.  I can only be in there so long, you know?

So I guess triathlons is the best bet for me. I'll still try on the others for size once in awhile to mix it up, though.  I gotta wear spandex but I can throw on some cover if I like.  And I've seen all sizes tear it up there, too.  It's inspiring because everyone starts in waves by ages(they publicize your age on the back of your calf for everyone's enjoyment) and you might be riding along and see a 72 on the back of a leg and think, "That's amazing!  I wonder if I'll do this at age 72?  Prolly only be 3 of us, so I'll prolly win my age group, too!  I better beat this old lady or I really suck."  In that order.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Word up

On the KLOVE radio station they are talking about this thing that they are doing where they come up with one word to define the year. Call it your mantra, your personal motto, whatever, but in one word. For instance, Lisa, I believe was the DJ, said that she kept kinda hemming and hawing (I like that phrase) over her word and finally she decided to pray about it and ask God what His word for her should be. The word she heard in her heart was "clear". Didn't sound like a great one to me until she looked it up in the dictionary and read it.

Clear- from darkness, obscurity or cloudiness; light.
3.without discoloration, defect or blemish

Wow...pretty good word after all.

So what is my word for 2011? What is your word? Maybe more importantly than the word is the thought process to come up with the thing. Because I find myself searching and maybe evaluating (necessary evil, for sure) myself to find it.


"My heart is filled with joy to write you this letter to greet you in the name of Jesus.

I thank you so much for the support that you sent to me to go to school, I'm so sorry that I was not there when the church was here in October because I went to Port-Au-Prince to visit my brother he was sick.

I hope to see you next year. I'm in 7th grade this year.

Pray for me I'm praying for you. May God bless you.

I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Love Letters

I am the Hope for Kids coordinator for my church. We sponsor children for school in Haiti through an organization called Reciprocal Ministries Inc. We are also part of the sister church program that they coordinate. Our sister church, who we committed to pray for, visit, care for, and assist in any way we can, is in a small village called Les Abricots. It's a tiny village right on the beach, although it's not a beach that you and I could hop into without catching something and I don't mean fish!

Anyways, we sponsor 35+ kids for school and today I received some thank you letters from the kids. Some are uplifting and some are so sad. These kids have been through so much. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, hunger, cholera outbreaks, and this is just in the past year. There is no insurance, no medicaid, no grief counselors, no one to diagnose post traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, there is no longer a mommy or daddy. Or sister or brother. My heart breaks for this country. And I know it isn't the only one this way. But it's so close to us, so close to Jamaica with it's resorts. It's attached to the Dominican Republic for crying out loud! You look around Haiti and you just wonder WHY. It's natural landscape is something postcards are made of. So much wrong. And so much still so good. When I see their smiles it is something I can't explain. And even though when I go there, all I have to offer are some words and hugs, they act as though I have given them the world. In reality, I come back with so much more. I have gotten to see a lot wonderful places in my life that a lot of people will never see. I have had vodka out of a glass made of ice on an island in Sweden. I have walked the streets of Prague and London and been in castles and churches in Scotland. And I have visited orphanages in Ethiopia and and villages in Haiti. I have wondered often why I have been privy to see these places around the world. 10 years ago I had never been anywhere and wouldn't have thought in a million years that I would see these places. And I have to think that there must be a reason. I have seen ridiculous extravagance and poverty I never could have imagined. So I figure that there must be a purpose. I don't know what that purpose is. And I pray that God will show me whatever it is. I know that sometimes I think I know what that is or maybe what I hope it is or want it to be. But there is one thing that I am sure of. That is that my most treasured visit and the place where my answer probably lies is where the beauty was in the people and our relationship with them and in a church made out of cinderblocks and a dirt floor.

"Dear Sponsor,

Today is a great day for me to write this letter to you. How are you and your activities? I'm doing well praise be to God.

I think you for helping me go to school. My father is unable to do so for me and my mom has died.

I love you so much and I wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What am I willing to do

So, I haven't blogged in like, years. I used to be so good about it during the adoption process. But lately, I've been having thoughts that Facebook just can't contain or express. Must. Be. Heard. or maybe Must. Run. Mouth. :) I always had a problem with conduct grades as a kid.

Anyways, I just saw this quote and it spoke to me and it also jogged a memory.

"Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought it or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little even.
~Daniel Berrigan

When Jeanene and I were in Ethiopia getting my little handful, Piper, we were driving, leaving, I think. We came up to a stoplight and there was a man laying against a tree. We had a small grocery bag with a bunch of fruit and crackers that we weren't going to be able to take with us, but felt guilty throwing away. Ordinarily, it would have been stuff that we would have done just that. We rolled down the window and motioned for the man to come to us. He could barely get up. People just sleep along the road and in the narrow medians, just a small swerve from death. Parapalegics are EVERYWHERE. There are no wheelchairs or crutches. They are just dragging themselves around. Can you imagine? But I digress...we handed him the crackers I think, first, and he took them eagerly and kind of waved and started to walk away and then we realized, he probably wasn't too picky an eater and gave him the whole bag. He kept waving and nodding his head and started to eat immediately. And then we drove off. I saw a starved man's face then.