Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Study for the AP Spanish Exam

     Ahora, no puedo decir: "obtendrás un cinco en el examen de Español". Pero, puedo dar algunas recursos que me estan ayudando.  Posible, puedan ayudarte tambien.  ¡ Buenas suerte!

     For those of you scratching your heads right now, this roughly translates to:
     Now, I can't say: "you will obtain a 5 on the AP Spanish Exam."  But, I can give some resources that are helping me.  Possibly, they can help you also.  Good luck!

Yes-- for me, it's only 6 days away, and I am officially in panic-study mode.  Granted, the most important things on this exam are things I have learned all year, but I feel the urge to make sure I get as much in my head as possible before Tuesday morning.  The past few weeks, there are a few tools that have been especially helpful.  If you are prepping for the test, are a Spanish student, or just happen to be curious about my blog, I encourage you to take a look at what all is out there.  I guarantee that at least one of these study tools will mesh with your style, and help you in the coming week.

1. Spanish Radio
According to my Spanish teacher, this is one of the easiest ways to study-- and it truly is!  While it's good to listen to the words and try to translate, it's also fine to just listen.  It's amazing what your brain picks up through passive listening.  It also helps to get used to the normal speed of speech in Spanish.  I've been turning on the Spanish talk radio on the way home from school the past few days, and am already coming to enjoy it!

2. Spanish Books
For this year's test takers, it might be a little late for this one.  However, you can always start a book and continue it until you finish.  I have been asking for a Spanish Bible forever, and I finally just purchased one myself off of Amazon a few weeks ago.  It was only like $2.70 (and we have free AmazonPrime shipping), and it has mixed up my normal Bible reading routine.  No, you won't understand all the words in whatever book you choose to read, but there is such value in learning to decipher words from their context.  This will help you immensely on the exam as well.  I would suggest you try to do some Spanish reading at least once a day for 10-15 minutes.  Not only will it be fun if you love Spanish like me, but it will also be a fun way of  studying!

3, Spanish News
Photo credit:
This is pretty similar to the suggestion above, except it is accessible on your smartphone or iPod.  I have the Univision app, as well as a Spanish news app.  Now I can read quick articles about what's going on in Spanish speaking countries, as well as get a feel for the context and culture that will be presented on parts of the exam.

4. AP Website
The AP website has plenty of tools available for review, including exam preparation and key concepts to know.  I've yet to actually use this one, because frankly: its the most boring!  However, come this weekend: I'll be doing a few practice tests on there (and on our school's resources and class webpage with listening activities) to make sure I'm as test hardened as I can be.  I want to know exactly what to expect on exam day, and this is a great way to ensure that.

5. A Study Group
This is a great way to study, as long as you stay focused and have a clear objective.  Beforehand, set an agenda for what concepts you all would like to review and need help with.  Keep it short, so you are able to stay on task and work diligently.

6.Spanish Restaurants
Whether you do so with your family, on your own, or with your class: head to a Spanish restaurant and try out your speaking skills in a real life situation.  Most likely, they will be gracious if you are a little slow to order and respond.  Work on trying to speak in a consistent flow though.  This quick thinking, conjugating, ect.., will help you on the speaking conversation part of the exam especially.

7. Google!
Never underestimate the power of Google.  While there are many uncredible websites out there that have no clue how to teach you Spanish, there are also some great review games that can help you have some fun while studying.  Sites like Quizlet and Quia are great.  My Spanish classes for years have used both.  Be careful to evaluate the credibility of such sites however.  If it is a standalone site, make sure it is an education establishment or actual test preparation site, to avoid learning wrong information right before the exam!

Monday, April 29, 2013

What I'm Grateful for on April 29, 2013

     I've had an amazingly hard day to be honest.  My knee pain that started last week has now grown to full fledged tendonitis-- or runner's knee- on my right leg.  It had hurt very badly during my meet Friday night, and my coach said some people said it looked like I was limping.  While it was "supposed" to heal up over the weekend while I cross-trained and rested, it instead stayed about the same.  After I'd taken a day to cross-train last week, it had gotten a lot better.  However, after two days off this past weekend, it hurt just as badly.  All the ice in the world hadn't made a difference, and it seemed: all the prayer hadn't either.
     After another hard workout on the bike, I am really struggling with my plan vs. God's plan right now.  If I truly believe the promise he has given me for this season, then I shouldn't be in such despair.  If I fully trusted my heavenly father, I wouldn't be trying to solve everything on my own.
     While I understand that running isn't my life, I do believe it is a very important passion and ministry that God has given me.  I have such joy when I run for him, and he has worked so much in my heart this year in growing my desire to run for him, and not the glory-- though I still struggle like any runner would!  Much like Eric Liddell said, "God made me for a purpose but he also made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure."  This pleasure God has given me in running is something I am so grateful for.  Regardless of how this season-- HIS season-- goes, I know that I will keep running for him.  I don't say that out of arrogance, but because I have been so low as a runner this year, that I know I will continue to cling to God.  I have been to that hard place, and I have held to him.  I know I will because I have grasped more of who he is through times like these.  I also know that until he changes me heart, I will continue my ministry as a runner.  Until God moves me elsewhere, I will bloom where I'm planted.
     So basically, this is a long-winded way of saying that I'm not sure where I am right now.  I know I'm frustrated to the core of my being.  I know I'm less than 6 weeks out from the state meet.  I know I have shown extremely poor times so far.  But I know that Jesus loves me and I know he has good plans for me.  I know he sees my faithfulness, and seeks to bless that.
     Just yesterday, my dad shared with me a visual using children's play blocks.  There were five of them, each with something different written on the front, and they were placed at different distances from me, much like targets.  Taking me down to the basement where they were, he asked me to only focus on the farthest one away.  "I can't see it," I said when he asked what it said.  "Can you read the next one?"  "No," I shook my head.  "How about that one?"  "No," I answered, "Should I be able to?"  He said no, and then moved on to the next closest one.  "Can you read that one," he said, pointing to it.  I nodded.  It said: Jesus is able to fulfill His word to you (The Promise)  (All of these did say my name, but I'm replacing that with "you.")  I picked it up, and as I went, my dad said to pick up the closer one which I could also read.  It said: Jesus loves you (The Promise).  Then I picked up the one I'd originally read, which said: Jesus only wants good for you (The Promise).  From there, my dad asked me again, "Now can you see the next one?"  From this position, I could read it.  It said: Jesus is willing to fulfill His word to you (The Promise).  So I went and picked up that one, now carrying a nice load of promises in my arms.  "Now can you read the next one?" my dad asked.  Again, I said yes and read it to myself: Jesus made a Promise to you and Jesus never breaks His Promises. (The Promise).  When I finally picked that one up, I could see the final box.  While is was originally way to far to read, I could now clearly make out the text, and as I did, I smiled.  It was the promise: the promise I believe God gave me last year regarding this season.
     That illustration made such an impact on me, because it showed me that there are times-- like right now-- when I can't see the final promise.  It looks impossible and I struggle to have faith in it.  Yet, if I can grasp the promises in his word, his promises to love me and to use me and to be with me, then I can keep moving toward the promises ahead of those, the ones specifically named for me.  Above all, the foundational promise is Christ's love, and that is the number one thing to hold on to in life.  Without that, the other boxes would have been hard to understand when life threw fatigue my way....and a heel strain...and Tendonitis in my  ankle...and sickness...and Tendonitis in my knee.  While I feel like its been one crazy thing after another, I know that God already has it all planned out.  Whether or not it goes the way I want it will and believe it will, he is in control.  Come victory or defeat, I know who my God is, and that is because he has made himself known to me.  Even though I can't see it right now, I know his promises and I can rest on those that are closest to me and keep moving forward. What amazes me is that He went through the trials of life, so he knew I would need promises and encouragement.  He knew that I would fall and fail and need forgiveness.  He knew that I needed him to make himself known in order to keep on going and not quit.  For that, and for blessing me for the ability to even run at all Lord, thank you.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bible Translation Hopping

     Let's just get this out of the way: I know you do it.  I know because I do it too.  In fact, I've seen it from some pretty notable people in the Christian faith, so it can't be that bad...right?  I'm talking about "translation hopping."
     Here's what we do: we hear or read a verse and therefore, look that one up to memorize.  The only problem is, we take to Bible gateway.  Innocently searching for the passage we heard at Bible study or a verse on hope, we begin to see the Promise Land of possibilities.  You may be a die-hard New Century Version lover or a lifelong International Reader's Version fanatic, but when it comes to scripture memorization, you Google and Bible Gateway search just like the rest of us.
  How could you not?  After all, there's NIV, NKJV, NLT, ESV, NIRV, NCV, the IRV and any other V or T you can think of.  We like how the NIV says "mercy" within a certain verse, but it says "great" instead of "abundant" like the NIRV does.  But then, the NIRV doesn't say "mercy," it says "love."  The KJV says both "mercy" and "abundant," but it uses really old fashioned language you can't understand.  So what do you do?  Memorize every verse in whichever version sounds the coolest or most holy, of course!
     Except, you never know which version you've memorized a verse in.  Even worse, you begin reciting the ICVV-- the I Combined Versions Version-- which I'm pretty sure is the sin of all sins.  Although its not quite at the level of adding or subtracting from the Bible, manipulating your own wording is coming dangerously close if you ask me.  The last time I caught myself doing this, I sat right down where I was and I made sure I knew the passage in one solid version before I was allowed to get up and continue with life.  In all honesty though, it's my favorite passage in the Bible, and when I recite specific verses, I still do so in different versions...but at least I'm not mixing versions within the verse, right?

     The worst part is, now that I've admitted this little sin to the worldwide web, I have now blown my "innocent mistake" excuse, and opened myself up for condemnation across seven continents!  Go ahead though, because I can recite Romans 8:1 in a solid NKJV-- although I might slip in and out of ICVV.
     Ha! I caught you: this isn't even NKJV.  I have a rousing suspicion that you do some translation hopping too....which is far worse than the alternative that you just don't know your versions of the Bible.  If that's the case: your not so bad.  At least you're not a heathen like the rest of us.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Random (and useless) Facts/Things I've Learned This Week

It's been a strange week..err...a regular week.  But to spice things up, I'll let you know how suburbanly-interesting my life really is, with a list of some things I have actually learned this past week:

1. My high school has a new mascot: a wild turkey that enjoys strolling the parking lot and perching on the roof.
2. My right leg is evil, and enjoys receiving 99.6% of my tweaks/injuries (already up to 3 strange ones this season)

3. The West African Ostrich likes to live in arid desert landscapes and can go days without water (RELATED: Ostriches).
4. Santiago is Spanish for James (my Spanish Bible finally came!)
5. All things in Pre-Calculus this week.....(can you tell I hate math?)
6. Yesterday (April 26) was Hug an Australian Day
A loy (photo credit: Wikipedia)
7. It is quite embarrassing to run a race with your spandex shorts inside out, but not many people actually notice the tag or the white fabric at the bottom...
8. Matching the color of a prom dress with a paint swatch is a great way to ensure your date has a matching tux color when your dress is in alterations.
9. A loy is an "early Irish spade with a long heavy handle made of ash."  This is courtesy of Wikipedia and a rousing game of "How many words can we make out of the word Brooklyn" with my older brother.
10. My life is so terrifyingly average and I am so forgetful, that I can't even think of 10 interesting things from this week!  I have got to write stuff down more often!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I'm Grateful for on April 24

     With a slight knee injury (should only be a day or two), AP exams rapidly approaching, a research paper to write, and relationships to mend: I am not exactly feeling grateful today.  I want to be able to blog, spend time with my family, run with freedom, and, oh ya: relax!  Yet, I know that all things work together for good for those who love God.  I am following him and doing my best to keep my head above water lately, and he has been rewarding me with his peace.
     In the midst of my struggles lately, I have seen such a growth in my patience. This is something I am absolutely grateful for, because I know it is by God alone that this is happening.  He is using my circumstance to draw near to me as I wait.  As he draws near to me, I am learning to better trust my heavenly father and lean on him alone-- not circumstance.  I won't pretend that I don't doubt him just about every half hour, but I am better dealing with these doubts.
-Corrie ten Boom
     The temptation is to be proud of myself, and yet: I know that it is by God's grace alone that I am growing closer to him.  I look forward to the day when I can laugh at all these current struggles.  But until then, I can hope in his everlasting love and promises.  I can wait upon the Lord and trust that he has great plans for my life.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Psalm 46:5

     This is a verse that happens to be in my Psalm of 2013 (read every couple of days all year).  How great is God that he is within me, despite all I do wrong.  That amazes me more than the scope of all my sin.  On an awful Monday, I really needed that.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you for changing me from the inside out and giving me strength to grow and impact the world for you.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

God is my warrior

The reason I've been scarcely blogging the past week or so is because I've felt awful.  Monday was a simple "sniffly nose," Tuesday was a full-blown sinus attack, and by Wednesday I was exhausted and coughing like crazy.  My Thursday headache carried over to Friday-- despite getting nine hours of sleep-- and after 9th period at school, I was ready to call it quits.  We had a meet yesterday night, so my plan was to go home and rest and then hopefully feel good enough to run.  Once my mom had picked me up, I was feeling even worse.  While I was sleeping at home, she talked to my coach who needed to give my replacement time to get her uniform and what not.  So she put another girl in my races.  I was really upset when I woke up, because I felt like there was still a chance I could run.  But my headache wasn't gone, and I'd been fighting a gag reflex all day.  Sure enough, while my mom drove us to my dad's, I promptly threw-up the oyster crackers I'd managed to stomach earlier.  She graciously lathered on the hand sanitizer and ignore the awful smell coming from the plastic bag I was holding...and puking into every time I coughed.

     When I got to my dad's, I slept another hour or so after praying with him for healing.  Keeping my eyes open for two long made the headache return, so I would nap during House Hunters International commercial breaks.  I recalled the phrase I repeat to people just about every time I come down with a cold: "my immune system is a warrior!"  So much for that...
     Around 6:30 though, I finally had an appetite.  After I had some soup, I was feeling amazingly better.  By 8:30, I was able to get up without feeling dizzy, and made my way downstairs to watch a movie with my family.  "How is it that I feel so much better so soon," I asked my dad incredulously.  "We prayed," he answered.
     How true is that?  I realize how stupid I have been in claiming that my immune system is a warrior.  Granted, it is able to protect me from countless viruses and illnesses, but that's only by God's power!  My immune system, then, is not the warrior.  God is.
     He fights for me.  He heals me.  He knows that resting rather than racing was exactly what would help me .  He nourished my body and healed me in basically a day!  Then I realize that this is the same God whose promises I am holding on to, whose glory I am running for.  He is able to do great things, and there is nothing that is going to stop him!  He fights for me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I'm Grateful for on April 17

     Today, the biggest thing I'm grateful for is that God is growing patience and trust in my heart.  I am really struggling as things are not moving according to my plan with my track season.  I am frustrated with my parents for not perfectly helping-- which isn't even possible-- and myself, for not perfectly trusting God.  The good thing about today though, is that I noticed I was getting into the place of self-pity and doubt and quickly snapped myself out of it...or at least am trying to.  I've found that when I brood over these things, I eventually start talking about the bad and make things worse.  That's why I decided that I must trust him and I must not let those itty-bitty moments of abandonment in to my journey.  I can do this-- unlike I tell myself during those moments.  The reason is not because I'm perfect, nor because I am willing to work hard enough, but because God is on my side and I know he has good plans for this season.  Granted, "good" doesn't always mean victories and records, and it's easy for us to say that God wants those things because we do, but I truly believe he gave me a vision and a gift for running that he seeks to use to it's maximum potential (past my own max. potential).  So I am holding tight to him and not letting go.
     Today was another learning moment, one I am grateful for because I know THIS IS THE STUFF that matters in the eternal.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Actively Believing God's Promises

"I am a laid back California type who likes to let things happen, but I have a pro-active role on realizing my God given potential- to actively believe God's promises day by day." 
~ Ryan Hall ~

How are we actively believing God's promise today?  A good reminder!

Satire: A Day in the Life of a Pinterest Addict


     My dream of playing on a Bermudan beach comes to a quick halt as I begrudgingly hear the sound of my alarm clock.  It's 6 a.m on a Saturday, but so goes the routine.  Last week, I saw an info-graphic on Pinterest advocating going to bed early and waking up early to workout.  My metabolism will move faster that way.  While I'm still recalling the rest of the info-graphic from the comfort of my bed, my face is suddenly splashed with cold water and I rush to turn off the alarm clock.  (Knowing the sleep adjustment would be a challenge, I bought an alarm clock that squirts you with water.  It was highly recommended on Pinterest.)  Yes.  Seven days a week, this is how my day starts.  This, is a day in the life of a Pinterest addict.
     After extensive shock therapy and out-patient rehab, I have decided to take the step and publicly announce my problem in hopes of helping my recovery, and helping others who are suffering from the same debilitating illness.  
     As I mentioned, my day starts around seven.  I proceed to drink some coffee and scroll through the vast pins that I missed overnight.  Of the 798 (carefully selected) boards and people I follow, many of them have been on the move and now: I must catch up.  By 7:30, I switch tactics and head to the "Health and Fitness" section.  Oh the glory!  Here, I get my daily dose of "pick your butt up, you're not fit enough!"  I gaze in awe at the butt workouts, the detox drinks, and the fitness miracles with shining washboard abs and chiseled arms.  When I see a good enough looking picture, I immediately-- after I pin it of course-- copy down the workout and continue on.  Today, it looks like I'll be getting "My Best Butt," continuing my pull-up challenge,  and kicking off my Skinny Jeans workout-- so I can fit in the pants I saw in the Fitness section.  By 8:30, I have corralled my nutritional and exercise needs for the day, and hea  d off to complete them.
Part of today's "to-do" craft
     Usually, by 10:00 a.m, I am settling back to my computer and sipping a whey-spinach-chia protein shake-- yummmmm!  I used to work at a bank, but quit my job last year after I saw a lifechanging pin that told me I could make all the money I needed at home making crafts.  What better way to make money than browse Pinterest and create crafts?  Now, my basement is sufficiently stocked with glitter glue in seven colors, a cabinet full of supplies and Popsicle sticks, and a room specifically for furniture I have bought and intend to re-purpose.  Today, the plan is to make soap into body wash, crochet a cat finger puppet, and then find someone with a popcorn ceiling I can remove.  
     On a typical day, I will hit 3,000 re-pins and 100 "originals."  The "original" pins I get from my outside sites or my own pictures are crucial to my Pinterest credibility.  I have established myself as the go to user in all things Health and Fitness and DIY-- while those are my specialties, I also dabble in Tattoos and Women's Fashion pins.  
     Craft time lasts around five or six hours, leaving me exhausted and ready to rejuvenate with another Pinterest refreshment of some comedy videos and relationship pins on fun activities with the girlfriends-- I haven't seen my close friends since Pinterest updated to more user friendly browsing!
     Around this time, I reach for some energy supplements and foods that Pinterest users highly recommend as "This is sooooo kool" and "My mom will love this!"  

Click back tomorrow for the Second Part of my Pinterest Satire!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What's a Christian to think about the tragedy in Boston?

     I grew up a running girl.  I reveled in the chances to tag along on a run with mom or dad.  I loved hearing about my dad's past running career, and not much excited me like his race at Boston.  After qualifying in the Columbus marathon, my dad ran the Boston Marathon soon after college.  I knew it was a prestigious race, and a historically special one at that.  Because of my dad's story of Boston, it became special to me as well.
     I was elated when my dad gave me his old Boston shirt a few years back.  It's a faded long-sleeve blue shirt that fits a little big but is absolutely perfect in every way.  I myself now wear the Boston shirt before many of my own races, and I love it when an older runner or coach gestures at the shirt and smiling, says: "Why I bet you weren't around back then."  To that, I proudly answer, "No, it was my daddy's."
     In this small-- and seemingly insignificant way-- I feel a connection to the Boston marathon.  For that reason, I was utterly shocked and sorrowful upon hearing about the tragedy that occurred today.  You don't have to even be a runner to understand the great pain and confused fear that many are dealing with at this very moment.  Not only is the Boston Marathon a longstanding symbol of marathon running, but it is also an event of great pride for the state of Massachusetts and the United States as a whole.
     So how is a Christian supposed to view this?  What are we to say to the mourning and angry people around us who say that a good God couldn't let something like this happen, who are scared for their future?
     There are many people who say they are praying, and I do not want to diminish that.  Prayer is absolutely a powerful communication with God when used according to Biblical principles.  My point is: we can do much more than quietly pray.  Maybe we cannot fly to Boston and help pick up the wreckage from the streets.  Perhaps we can't go and offer encouragement to each and every one of those involved, but we can offer hope.  

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you..."
~1 Peter 3:15~

     That is what the world wants to see at a time when accusations are flying and anger is adamantly pointing the finger toward God.  Many people say that a "good God" wouldn't let things like this happen.  Terrible things in life happen and they will continue to happen.  As Christians, there are two crucial moves that we must make in instances like this:

1. Offer hope and love
     In order to explain what is good, we would have to have an infinite understanding of all things past, present, and future.  We would have to be God, or else "good" is merely relative to each individual's definition.  It is extremely hard to grasp, but although this bombing was meant for evil, God can and will turn it around for good in a way that we can't understand right now.  The hope in this message is that we don't have to go searching for the answers and fear for our lives.  God is in control and he knows exactly what is going on.  He knows exactly how hurt many families and individuals are right now, and without delving deep into theology: I believe that God did not cause this event to happen, but will take authority to bring good out of it.  We can offer the hope to others that they aren't caught up in some random sequence of events.  There is a God who desperately loves all of us, who is working things together for good.  There is a power that Satan has over this world as a result of the fall of man, but God has not simply stepped aside.  He is here.  He is actively loving every person involved in the Boston tragedy, and he is actively loving each and every one of you.  God's love is powerful, and a prayer, a hug, or a note/scripture of encouragement, go a long way when they are given with the love of Christ.

2. "Always be ready"
     This part of 1 Peter 3:15 implies preparation, training.  As Christians-- and really, anyone on earth-- we are in a daily Spiritual battle.  We must be prepared.  Just like the tragedy that occurred today at Boston, great sorrows are often sudden and unforeseen.  There is hope that we can offer though, and must offer.  What happened today is an opportunity to nail that down in your head.  You can ask yourself questions like:
 ~What is the hope Christ gives me personally?  
~How can I prepare for future events and be ready to give an answer to the questioning world?
~In what ways can I practically share this hope with different people in my life?
~ What characteristics  (ex. patience, compassion, non-judgmental love, ect.) can I grow in through showing hope to others after this tragedy?
~ What is God speaking to me about specific ways I can help?

     I hope that you will join me in praying for healing and salvation during the aftermath of today's tragedy in Boston.  Furthermore, I pray that you will step out of your comfort zone-- I'm doing it too-- tomorrow, and offer them the plain old love and hope of Christ.  You don't need to tell them the Gospel (but if God leads: do it!!!).  Maybe they are just very confused and scared for the future, and you have the opportunity to help calm that storm in their soul.  Louie Giglio once said that during hardships in life, we are given a megaphone.  It is during these times when the heart is exposed, that people listen.  We can offer a megaphone of fear or the latest news updates, or we can have a megaphone of hope that will exemplify the love of Christ.  

Are you ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What I'm Grateful for on April 13

     It's been a long and trying few days, and I'm about ready to call it quits on this week.  Before I do however, I refuse to end the week acting like a complaining, self-pitiful teen.  Here's what I am grateful for today:

1. Church tomorrow- I can always count on that special time with God to get me out of feeling sorry for myself and into the right mindset, and receive encouragement from God and others.
2. I am able to run with no pain in my tendon-- or anywhere for that matter!
3. I am feeling a lot better physically (in regard to my energy)
4. After tomorrow, the weather is supposed to warm up again!
5. I have a Dr. appt. on Monday, so I get to miss some school....hmm...I wonder if that one really counts...
6. I got to spend quality time with both my parents today, which was really encouraging to me!
7. I finally made something worth keeping in an art class-- see picture

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What I'm Grateful for on April 11

     I am so excited that I was able to run today with no pain-- or even tightness-- in my tendon!  Praise the Lord!  While I know that my joy comes from Christ and not circumstances, this is really encouraging because it means I'm all good to run in our meet tomorrow!  I have been meditating all week on Zephaniah 3:17, and now I see it clearly as I anticipate his singing over me when I finally get to race tomorrow!
     On top of that, I felt extremely energetic and rested during track practice today.  That's an understatement: I was practically bouncing off the walls in the locker room.  My mom was able to pick up some Kinesiology tape (for my tendon) that I had found the other night through Google, so I had that on my leg.  I also had time to finally implement the changes talked about with the Sports Nutritionist I met with on Monday night.  I added food earlier in the day as a mid-morning snack, and although I'm not sure it has taken effect that quickly, it sure felt like it.  My legs were almost the complete opposite of how they felt yesterday.  Running is such a gift and joy in my life, and it is finally becoming joyful again as I continue to feel better physically.  The doctors, the tape, and some brand new shoes might make me feel like I'm ready, but the God that's behind it all assures me that he has prepared me to fulfill the promises and purposes he has given me in racing.
     Just to wrap it up on an inspirational note, here's an amazing and relative quote I recently read in Running for Joy (RELATED: What I'm Grateful for on April 1)-- which I am also very grateful for (and not just because I have a fascination with Ryan Hall).  On a side note, I will have a book review on it soon!

"I am a laid back California type who likes to let things happen, but I have a proactive role in realizing my God given potential-- to actively believe God's promises day by day."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Zephaniah 3:17

     Just a little while ago,I was in desperate need of encouragement.  I soon found myself going through a precious bag I have filled with cards that have meant so much to me.  I was immediately flooded with God's encouraging scripture: my favorite verses (Hebrews 10:32-39, Ephesians 3:20, ect.) all telling me to hold on and keep the faith.  I know that life isn't always easy, and I get into that mode where I just feel like I have to be strong.  I'm not-- not without God, that is.  Twice during my perusing, I saw Zephaniah 3:17 printed or hand written for my encouragement.  I know God is here and I know I can trust the plan he has for my life.  I don't need people to hug me or say certain things, and that's a huge thing I learned tonight.  I pray this verse blesses you abundantly!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Colorado 2013

     Friends, family, and people I don't know: the airline tickets are booked!  My mom and I will be headed back to Colorado early this June and I could not be more excited!  If it weren't for the state track meet, I would just wish to skip the next few months-- ya, I'm dissing graduation.  So tell me: any ideas where we should go?

Busy, Busy, Busy

     Yikes!  Things have been flying by lately-- good things though.  If you've been keeping up with my posts, I've been praying a lot lately about my tendon that I pulled last week and my fatigue that may have gone away, but has been a problem lasting since September-ish.  I am so thankful today though, because I went to see both a Kinesiologist (they did weird stuff, but I think it worked, and I'll see for sure soon as I have supplements that should help) and a sports dietitian.  Another praise is that I was able to run 40 min. today without pain in my tendon.  It got a little tight towards the end, but that's a far cry from the excruciating pain I've had the past week.  I cross trained Friday and Saturday and took my usual Sunday off.  I also went forward for prayer on Sunday after church because the sermon really spoke to me and I became overwhelmed with the power of God.  Our pastor was speaking about faith, and one thing he said really hit me: "It's not about perfect faith, but persevering faith."  
     So much of my struggle lately has been on "doing it perfectly," not doubting, and keeping my chin up.  Yet, God really reminded me on Sunday of the promises he has for me as his daughter and for this track season specifically.  I can trust him!  I am extremely blessed and fortunate, but I have also had many struggles in my life-- enough that I should know that God is faithful.  Yet, I fail and fail, and I just keep on going.  The beautiful thing about this walk of faith is that we don't have to do it perfectly.  He is going to do "exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).  They way God met my soul where I was really showed me that truth, and I am so grateful that he cares about my energy and my tendon, and he cares about me enough to do something amazing in my life for his glory!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The joy of God

     One of my favorite bands, Starfield, has a great song that starts out:

"I've got something to say
It's been one of those days
And I'm finding it hard to believe, in you
I've got something to say
Right now it feels like you are slipping away
Like I am drowning in a crisis of faith
Like I'm alone"

     Because I have made this blog to be anonymously honest about my life, I've will share that that's exactly how I felt today.  Without delving into the whole story, I injure my Poreneal Tendon last week during a track workout, and it's been slow to healing because I've been running on it whenever I can-- as in: not really resting it.  Yesterday, the day before our meet today, I could only run for 5 min. before I physically could not push off that foot anymore.  The athletic trainer assures me that it can be healed up by next weekends invitational, but not if I keep running on it and slowing the progress.  Frustrated, I agreed with both his and my coaches terms and bowed out of my scheduled races for today's meet.  As a result, I woke up angry and upset this morning, wondering how miserably cold I would be while standing at a meet for six hours, watching everyone else run.  I was really grateful though for Running with Joy (Click here for background on this reference.)  I read it on the bus, and got to an amazing part where Ryan talks about how he went to watch his wife race and had a difficult time watching the other runners-- some of his competitors-- run very well.  He talked about how that acted as a "heart check" for him, yet how he was glad that he had grown very much in that area already.  That was an encouragement to me (even elite Christian runners have this problem!)  At the same time, it reminded me that I am servant of God whom the world sees-- whether I act like it or no-- as a representation of him.  That put my circumstances in a completely different light!
    I won't lie though; I did spend most of the meet texting my dad about how I was a.) frustrated, b.) feeling abandoned by God, or c.) a frenzied combo of the two.  It was a hard day for me, but it wasn't until two hours into the meet that I stopped letting that be an excuse for my poor attitude.  I began to realize that I although I can't see it right now, God wants to bless me and not hurt me (Jeremiah 29:11), so this must be for my good.  I struggled with that though, and stayed a little mopey all day-- which I'm not proud of.
     I am struggling so much with trusting God in these moments, even though I know that these are the times when I am trusted with guarding my faith and standing strong.  I also know that I don't have to do all this perfectly, yet I constantly forget these truths.
     So what am I grateful for today?  Good question........and yet, I know that this is probably the best thing for me right now.  So here it goes.  I'm grateful:
1. God forgives my mopey attitude, wishy-washy faith, and accusatory
2.  My tendon should be back to its normal self next week, if God doesn't intervene sooner.
3.  My joy doesn't have to rely on circumstances, running, or what others think of me

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Running world and Hebrews 12:1

     I realize that as a teenage-Christian-runner-blogger, I am the minority.  However, I have the hope that among the Christian-runner-blog audience, I am slightly more in the norm.  I realize that the rest of the world already considers runners a little wacko (RELATED: How to anger a cross country runner), but among Christian runners, there is an even greater stereotypical image we retain.  One of the funniest and strangest little cliche's is the universal fascination runners have with the same Bible verses.  I know that all scripture is profitable.  I just think it's funny that the whole Christian running community seems to flock to the same two or three passages.
 Now, let's be honest: I'm sure I'm not the only one who has gotten on Bible Gateway or a Bible app. and searched for the term "running." I hit "search" and watch with wide eyed anticipation for the magical verse that will give victory and success in all running endeavors.  Then, we proceed to write these precious verses on note-cards or a forearm.  We post them to Facebook on the day of a big race, often with a blurb on how we will "more than conquer" all  other runners, who are terrible heathens worthy of destruction.  Right?  I mean, God has to make us win against those kinds of runners!
     The verse we are most guilty of claiming for our own success and pride, seems to be the good old Hebrews 12:1.  I'm sure you've heard this one from a runner or two:

     Yes, we have laid claim to this one, big time.  I mean, the rest of the world mocks runners, so we  have the right.  If we want to hold fast to Hebrews 12:1 and plaster it on every DriFit shirt and water bottle we lay our hands on, it must be a "God thing," right?  It's just a divine move of God that almost every runner has the same favorite verse.
     I dare you: go to the Facebook page of a fellow Christian runner. Click on the "About" section and scroll until you hit the jackpot.  Underneath movie quotes-- and some Pre ones-- you will find Hebrews 12:1 printed across the page, loud and proud.  If it is a girl's page, their might even be a little heart next to the verse.
     I suggest then, that we Copyright Hebrews 12:1.  Boxers have that verse in 1 Corinthians.  Dancers have practically the entire book of Psalms.  Runners?  There is a handful of Bible verses that mention the word "run."  We need to protect that before some soccer player or confused racecar driver steals our claim to fame.  It is time to band together my friends.  I now realize that in reality, this is not a silly ordeal at all.  It is a matter of God's love for his running children.  We must show that world that we are in fact so legit, that Bible verses reference our sport.  It's just a God thing guys.  Just a God thing.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What I'm grateful for on April 3

     My recent lack of blog posts should tell you that track season is fully in swing!  I am already seeing God move on my team, as we had our second "Track Girls Bible Study" tonight at my house.  What a blessing that it is to minister to other girls and grow closer to God at the same time!  Like I previously mentioned, I'm really learning to trust God and not the circumstances, for my joy (See: What I'm Grateful for on April 1).  God is giving me so many chances for that.  I am still battling against fear that I will experience the same fatigue problem again, that has disappeared as mysteriously as it appeared.  I will praise the Lord though, because I know he has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11).  I just need to remember that, because I so often forget that God is a good God just like he is a powerful God.  Not only is he ABLE to do great and mighty things through me, but he wants to!  
     I am really grateful that he has used the fatigue and the pulled tendon this week to show me what faith in him really requires.  He is also showing me that I need to find my joy in him alone, not in feelings or race results.  Praise you Lord that you are bringing me closer and closer to you, despite my faults and sins.  
     God is waaaaaaaay to good for me! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

What I'm grateful for on April 1

     Phew..I've made it through (most of) April Fool's day largely unscathed-- aside from a two second freak-out that Ryan Hall was amputating his legs, but then I realized how stupid that would be!  (unfortunately, the post was removed because certain people were offended, although I have no clue why.)
     That alone is quite a blessing to be grateful for; can you imagine if Ryan Hall was no longer being one of the only reasons America can take pride in our distance runners, praising God along the way?
     Anyway, I really am grateful though because I pulled my peroneal tendon during a track workout Friday, and it's been a pain to try and heal up. I stopped 52 min. into my Saturday long run because I could no longer run on all.  Pretty stupid in hindsight, because it was hurting terribly yesterday.  However, the athletic trainer told me to alternate hot/cold on it, with the possibility that I can still run in our first meet tomorrow.  I am so grateful for that because I wasn't sure after I headed to the bike after a measly four minutes of painful running at practice today.  I also know that I cannot put trust of joy in what the circumstances are.  That is the same message that hit me hard as I have started reading Ryan Hall's book Running with Joy.  He talks about asking himself daily, "where are you finding your joy?  In the race results or in God?"  That is something I have done all too often, so this is a great exercise of faith for me.  I am praying for healing on my foot, but trusting that God's got something even better if that's not the case.  At the same time, I am praying that my fatigue will not return as I return to school, but I'm trusting God in that.  I don't have to know.  I have great energy right now.  I feel great and I am so blessed that God has revived me and allowed me to run freely this week.  I know he is good and I trust him as I move forward into HIS season.
     Have a blessed Monday and may you trust him as well-- we have so much to be thankful for!

Book Review: "Born to Run"

     As a runner, I was intensely curious when I unwrapped the gift of Born to Run at Christmastime last year.  However, as a high school student, I was strapped for time and unable to even start the book until vacation that next summer.  I read the first chapter, loved it, and then completely forgot the book when the pressures of a privileged teenage life overtook me again.  I was so excited then, when I was cleaning my room last month and found the book under loads of laundry on my bed.  That very night, I cracked it open and began right where I'd left off.

RELATED: Book Review of "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.  A must read for runners!

     Born to Run is a runner's book-- no doubt-- but it is also an adventurer's book, a book for the traveler, or the explorer.  The novel focuses on a simple yet complex task of the narrator himself: to find the Tarahumara Mexican tribe and discover more about the world of ultrarunning.  Ultrarunning is more than just marathon distances run on trails.  Rather, it is the crazy sport of crazy people who run and run and run.  Sure, they might run 26.2 miles, but they ultrarunners more than likely will be doing runs of 50, 100, or even 150 miles, out in the wild back-country.  I've always loved trail running, but this "crazy" sport of ultramarathon running is now a yearning of mine after reading Born to Run, and I'll tell you why.
One of my favorite passages in the book. I think it also
shows how captivating the book is.
     Author and narrator, Christopher McDougall, sets out into Copper Canyon in Mexico, to find the illusive Tarahumara superhuman runners.  They are legendary for their stint appearances in such races at the Leadville 100.  As the book relays, a wilderness photographer named Rick Fisher began to speculate to the Tarahumara's greatness, and began running some of the men in the Leadville 100 in exchange for food payment.  After a short while, he began trying to make a profit of the Tarahumara runners and they again retreated into their canyon, but not before Micah True paced one of them in the Leadville race and was enthralled by their raw love of running.  Micah True then disapeared off the grid.  He was completely accepted my the Tarahumara, out of respect for the way he helped one of their people.  He became "Caballo Blanco," and he was the one that McDougall truly wanted to find when he ventured through drug dealer's turf to get to Copper Canyon.  When the two finally met up, Caballo Blanco told McDougal of the wild idea he had to run a race-- a real distance race-- on the Tarahumara's home ground.
     What follows, is a captivating and exciting story of how that race actually came to be.  It weaves through the history of trail running and recounts the great inspiration that has driven mankind to run for centuries.  I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing and inspirational story.  Once I started reading again, I read the entire thing-- sans the first chapter-- in a mere three night's reading.  Aside from some foul language and an evolutionary standpoint-- which I just ignored and saw the amazing design God has created in us that allows running-- I can't say a bad thing about the book.  For the Tarahumara, running is such an intrinsic part of life that they run everywhere just for the joy of it.  They love to compete, but they also just plain love running.  All aspects of the book fascinated me, and I would highly recommend it!
     I found myself constantly trying to read "just one more page" and staying up to late, in order to discover the world of the Tarahumara runners and the freedom of truly running with joy.  "That was the real secret of the Tarahumara: they'd never forgotten what it felt like to love running.  They remembered that running was mankind's first fine art, our original act of inspired creation."  If you are in need of a recollection on why you run, I encourage to you pick up Born to Run and then just try to put it down.  If not for a sudden urge to run, you may be pouring over the pages until you have explored the world of ultrarunning cover to cover.

RELATED: A Book Review: "Practicing His Presence"