Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: May 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Running the Race

     Athletically, this was not the senior year I had dreamed of or worked so hard for.  It was not what I clung to and prayed about as the days went on.  Knowing it would be worth it, I kept getting back up and putting my heart into everything I did, and yet: here I am, and it doesn't feel "worth it."
     All year, I have told myself it's in God's hands.  I believe he has given me the talent and the passion of running.  It seemed to make sense that he would allow me to access those things which he had given me.  So I kept clinging to hope and proclaiming that God knew what he was doing.  I assure you however, sitting in church this morning, I was not overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and love for God's wisdom in my life.  I was angry.  I soon realized that as hard as I'd tried to hand my running over to God, there was always a part of me that wanted it back in my control.  I firmly believe that running was not my idol-- I merely love it because I love the way God moves in me when I am truly running-- but did I really give it over to God completely?
     I think in the end, it lies in trust.  Both where I am and where I've been elicit the question in my mind: Does God really seek to bless me?  I know his Word says that, but after spending so much time and effort building my running career and being a day away from it crashing down on me, things aren't so clear.  In reality, I struggle with believing that God wants what's best for me.  I catch myself thinking that he must be punishing me or he must be watching idly while I make a fool out of myself by believing he was going to rescue me.  But that's not my God.
     I'm not quite sure what comes next, but I do not it's not time to give up.  I'll never give up.  I love to run, but I also know that it's time I see God and feel him outside of the racing and outside of what he's done for me.  Though painful, this year has taught me that God can turn things to good.  It didn't happen for me in running this year, but I did see it in every other area of my life.  I saw it through my opportunity to minister to a younger friend with an eating disorder.  I saw it through my ability to start a Bible study and share what I've been through and my heart for God.  I saw it through my growth as a leader who does not mope and give up when things don't go her way.  And aside from all that, I know I still love to run-- really run, not what I've had lately.  See, all these things God has taught me this year aren't an excuse for why it's all okay.  They aren't a "copout for God."  That's because he is doing much more, more than I know right now.  Perhaps I won't see it till next year, perhaps I won't see it till eternity.  But I do know that God wants me to run, so I will run collegiately next year and I will have an amazing freshman year with his grace.  Bigger than all that though, I know God wants me to know is love.  His love doesn't come from good things or good results.  Rather, it comes from a solid conviction that circumstances in life do not define who I am or what he has made me capable of.  It comes from a solid conviction that I have a daddy in Heaven who will never stop interceding on my behalf and showering me with unimaginable blessings.
     When I get to the end of it all, I'll most likely just be an old lady trotting down the street in mismatched running shoes and a sweatsuit.  It's only running.  Now to me, its a lot more.  It's something I have dedicated myself to, worked for, and put all of my effort into.  I know it's okay to be upset and sad about running, but not without hope.  There is hope in the fact that God is working for me and that the difficult seasons in life serve to make us stronger and bring us closer to him.  Some people draw away from God when they have hard times, but if we do not shrink back, God takes great pleasure in us.  That is who I want to be.  Right now, I'm darn sick of being disappointed and disappointing, but I know this season will end.  The pain will subside and life will move on.  Isn't that what running is all about: just keeping your stride and finishing the race?  While running isn't what life is all about, the focus is no different: keep going and do not lose focus on the prize.  While all my flesh wants is to shock the world with an amazing collegiate career starting in the fall, I know that seeking God is the number one way to be the runner, and the young woman he has created me to be.  It's been a disappointing season and a disappointing year, but I'm not done.  God has great plans for his children, and he turns all things for good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Another Update

Grrr...still no computer and hardly any chances to use one! I've got my district meet up tomorrow though and I am officially done with high school- weird! Oh and I had a terrifyingly run in with a bird the other day. I'll have to write about that tomorrow. Hang on readers- ill be back soon!!! (It's far too hard to type on an iPad screen.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Message From Your Cell Phone

     Stop it! Stop it right now!  Ladies, I know we are close, but leave me sometimes.  Let me breathe.  Ever since I came out of the box it's been nonstop pressing and punching.  For instance: why in the world would you think I want to accompany you to the bathroom?  How sick and twisted are you?  Do you know know that we cell phones consider the women's restroom as the doorway to death?  (That and cereal bowls...)  
     So here's my advice: leave me in your backpack, your briefcase, your purse.  But don't leave me on the sink or worse, your hand, while you use the restroom.  Haven't you seen all those doomsday prep shows anyway?  In the case of a zombie attack or collapse of the ozone layer, the only thing I'll be good for is a quick goodbye video explaining how you were unable to walk down the street without the GPS on your phone.  I will faithfully expose you as the dimwitted and reliant techno-addict that you are IF this continues.  Get a hold of yourself and learn to make it around the block-- and to the bathroom-- without your trusted phone by your side. 

Still in Waiting...

     Unfortunately, it's been nearly impossible to blog lately without a computer. I'm on my mom's right now in order to finish a project for AP Composition, but its rare that I can find time and resources to do so. It's killing me! I have so many ideas backed up in my brain right now. Not to mention, I'm missing vital moments to share my walk of faith as things have gotten really hard with finishing up school and with running. It's not going the way I want it to, and its taken a lot of trust in God.
     Last night I was reading Job, and in particular: the end of Job. This is the part where Job sees God's face and is immediately in hatred of himself. God was so good all the time and yet Job had struggled and doubted. Not only does this give me encouragement, but it also gives me some perspective. To me, this is hard stuff. I've put years into my running, and I want so bad to finish my high school career with PRs, records, and a state championship. Yet, Job lost his entire livelyhood, his family, his health, and even many of his closest friends. If he was able to remain righteous (which is different that sinless) through all of that, I need to give myself that high standard as well. This isn't to say that I'm expecting perfection or expecting that I can somehow earn my passage out of the dessert. What it means is that I understand God can use the trials of life to advance his kingdom far more than in the good times. I know that God can and will use this if I put myself in the best place I can by walking worthy and keeping the faith.
      I have found much encouragement as well from Psalm 27 which says:

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour[a] me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. 7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

     I bolded verses 4 and 14 because those two have stood out to me the most.  Verse 4 gives a that perspective I was talking about.  It reminds me: I'm not on earth to run.  I'm on earth to dwell in the house of the Lord, and I can do that through running but running isn't my sole purpose.  That is what I seek from the Lord during this hard time: him.  I want more of him because my flesh is worn and tired.  He gives me rest.  I love verse 14 because  the repetition alone is so powerful.  So when I am especially struggling, I can speak that verse and command my sole to wait on God and nothing else.  He has given  sufficient grace to more than overcome.  Therefore, when we are in trials, we have the ability to be strong even though we are weak on our own.  This verse also implies that there is something to wait for: God is coming.  We wait for something that we are absolutely certain of, and we wait in a way that will not ashame or disqualify us upon the arrival of that which we wait.  In this case, that means we wait in strength, we wait with hope, and we wait with joy.  For the Lord is coming in the end days but he is also coming to our rescue in the everyday.  He does not sit idle when his children are hurting, and although its hard to see that when we are in the midst of it: that is the truth.
     These realities have greatly encouraged me this week, so I pray that they will do the same for you.  Read Psalm 27.  Get that deep down in your heart, and maybe write verse 14 on a notecard to stick in your pocket until you can recite it alone.  Use the scripture to remind yourself you are valued by God, you are not alone, and you have been given the ability to more than overcome while you wait for God's sovereign hand to rescue.     Have a great week and I hope to blog more this week as I have school winding down and possible computer access since I have more time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Good reminder. -

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Don't Say This to a Runner

If you don't run: start. If you're getting around to it, let me save you some time and very kindly tell you that there are some basic rules to the sport. We don't ask much, honest. But if you happen to sport another runner and are dying to say something run-tactic to to this gawky and sun burnt hero, here's what not to say or do when you see a runner: Scenario 1: You spot an intense looking runner, sweaty and exhausted looking ~"Well...aren't you tired?!" ~"Have a good run!" ~"It's pretty dangerous to run when its over 70 degrees out." Scenario 2: You see a runner out on the trail while walking your chihuahua-pomeranian mix ~Let your outgoing little fur-ball gnaw at the runner's ankles and lick him all over as he runs by (just being friendly, I know. But DON'T Do IT!) ~"Lookin' good" (If you are significantly older/younger and of the opposite sex: this is EXTREMELY creepy. The runner jog away, convinced that you are staring them down). ~Let your dog, children, aunts, uncles, and anyone else you can scrounge up last minute, strategically spread out on the trail. It's even worse if they are all screaming. That way, the runner can't even yell, "On your left." Then, when you do eventually move: do it in slo-mo as a group. I am positive that some groups I have encountered have practiced this maneuver beforehand. ~Begin jogging as you see them coming closer. This might earn you a sweaty and conceded glare as the runner passes you by. No one likes a fake, and this is especially true when you are five miles into your mountain run, high on endorphins, and being lied to by a slow walker and their rat-like pet. (Please don't take offense all you chihuahua-pomerainian owners-- if that is a real dog-- I mean not harm. Only a dimly witted joke). Scenario 3: You see a runner at the store after they've clearly been running ~"I like to keep it comfortable too." (If they look remotely like they've been sweating: don't even go there!) ~Don't utter any comment about how running is bad for the knees, or heart, or mind, or toes, or spleen, or esophogaus, or whatever else you can think of-- especially if you are unloading Oreos and Haagen Daaz from your shopping cart at the checkout lane. Hope these provided a few laughs, and enlightened a few of you. Although, I highly doubt that many people do these things, I have experienced some of them and I'm sure that some of you are cringing as we speak. The running community is very friendly and welcoming. We love new runners! So take this new information and go the extra step: lace up your "tennies" and get out there! ~

Faith Update

Before my unplanned sabbatical, I was getting a little stressed with all the things to be done-- finishing high school, running track, and studying for exams-- so I realize that my inability to post for almost a week has been a positive thing in many regards. Yet, I have also found that I'm itching to write again. That is definitely a positive, because I was beginning to feel as if I had to keep thinking of things and finding the time to write them, but I am quite refreshed! So a quick update on what is new: after a trying week with my kneee tendonitis I was able to run my first workout (and it was a hard one: yay! And I'm legitimately serious about that!) yesterday. I was able to run again today. No pain! That is such a blessing to be grateful for because I have really been having a terrible time staying positive and motivated while cross-training at the gym every day. I can already see the blessing in it though. God has really been growing my faith and trust, because I know that I wouldn't have gone through a trial like this last year, without mentally breaking down. Yet, I am spiritually, physically, and emotionally on target to glorify God with anything and everything he chooses to give me as I move forward. I have not given up so far, and I do not intend to give up. Ever. Both in life and in track and field: I'm going to keep on running until I can't anymore. There's no quitting. It didn't feel so easy last week though, and I prayed and pleaded to God for encouragement of any kind, but especially a dream. I knew that if it were a dream, it would be harder for me to explain it away by coincidence. After a few days of praying that, he gave me a short and quick vision, and I was ecstatic. In the dream, all I saw was a few front doors with unclear words printed on the bands to the side of it and on the top. I had to get a lens to focus until I could see one of them. (I believe this goes back the illustration my dad gave me a few weeks ago). The margins or bands around the doors were white with black lettering, and although the sides looked like a different language of characters, I could read the top. It said: There's a time to give up. I woke up from that dream and felt immediately frightened: What was that supposed to mean? Was that my sign? Did God want me to just give up!? Still half asleep though, I nodded off again after a split second of this worrying. I had a few other dreams I don't remember now, but didn't wake up again. Within that time, I had a second dream/vision. I saw another front door with the same appearance as the first. I could read the top border on this one as well. However, it said: Do not give up. When I woke up, I was sure beyond doubt that God had given me those two visions as a sign that he is with me and that there is good in the end of this if I endure. It also reminded me of my favorite passage in the entire Bible, which speaks of such: Hebrews 10:32-39. Now, these struggles might not end with my view of the "perfect" outcome, and I might not see a worldly blessing from these trials soon, or ever. But I do know that my God is for me and I have so much to be thankful for in the way he has moved in my life. He is still moving, still holding on to me and bringing me into further glory of his name. What's more: it's not about me. It's not about my records or my wins-- or lack thereof. It is about doing all I can to glorify the talent giver. It's about following his lead and trusting his love. While I am very, very far from perfect in the area of trust and faith, I do know that my faith has been tested immensely though this past year of running. As a result, I have learned how to hold on to God like never before. That is enough of a blessing, yet it shows me how good he is and how he seeks to bless me and honor the desires of my hearts. So, as if that's not enough: there's more coming. Thank you Lord!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Done with AP Tests (and Other Updates)

My extended absence from blogging has been driving me crazy. My computer broke- thankfully: after I turned in my research paper and my files are still saved on it.  Yet, I've been unable to get on and blog because I'm hardly ever home and sitting still long enough to use a desktop. I think it's the battery that's not working, but regardless: my little netbook has served me well.
     It's probably a blessing really, because I've been unable to procrastinate online and on Blogger this week, and therefore was able to study very diligently. That's definitely a praise! I'm posting this from my phone but I hope I can use a computer tonight or tomorrow to catch up on my blogging!  However, I must say that I am grateful I was able to study this week- so just like my injury and my daily struggles: God has a plan for everything

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Only 44 Days!

Check out this awesome t-shirt I found! I want one!
(photo credit:
     Only 44 days until my mom and I head back to Colorado for a week of intense hiking, running, and whatever else we can find!  Would love some input on where we should visit.  We are going to hit Boulder and Aspen-- we loved Aspen last time.  After that, we were thinking of visiting one of two more places: Telluride, Salida, Creede, Leadville...Any advice?

Ziplining in the El Yunque Rainforest

A view of the rainforest
(photo credit:

     Of all the unique place I have been blessed to visit, Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful I can remember.  One key feature of that beauty is the El Yunque Rainforest-- the only rainforest in the U.S or one of its territories.  We were eager to visit while in Puerto Rico two summers ago.  In fact, we were so enthralled by the adventurous spirit of Puerto Rico that we decided not only to hike through the forest, but also to zipline.  Why not?  After all, adventure is what we do best.
    We had built plenty of time in for the rainforest, staying close by for a few days before we went to the island of Vieques (RELATED: Unforgettable Runs, Puerto Rico).  I wasn't sure what to expect when my mom first came up with the idea of zip-lining.  I'd never done it before and although I'm not afraid of heights, I was a little wary of hoisting my body out and relying on a tiny cord to keep me up.  

     We followed the Yunke Zipline Adventure car as we wound up and down narrow dusty roads and into the dense foliage of Puerto Rico.  It felt like at least 90 degrees when I finally hopped out of the car and glanced around the area.  Our "base camp" was a weathered blue house sitting in a wide open vista overlooking the nearby rainforest.  A couple of workers from the zipline company showed us over to a small veranda just off the house.  I use the term "company" loosely: these guys were native Puerto Ricans who had decided to start their own business after working for other zipline companies in the past.  They wanted to incorporate a more educational aspect to the adventure it seems.  The two of them were so outgoing and knowledgeable  that as my mom signed my life away on a waiver, they showed us some trees with yellow, mango like fruit right outside the house.  While we stared at the fruit like idiot, suburban Americans, one of them plucked it down and explained that it was Passion Fruit, a very well loved Puerto Rican fruit.  I could understand why: it was absolutely delicious and sweet (I will warn you though, as I have tried, if you are so lucky to find it in the U.S: It won't taste nearly as good.  It's the same disappointing reality we found out after having Mango in Mexico).
     While my brother and I watched the man show us how to eat the fruit, the men handed it out to the other 6 or so people who were going to be zip-lining in our group.  There were two girls from Texas, a family with two teenaged kids from the U.S, and  a couple of others I don't remember.  I do recall however, that as a couple of us were waiting for the restrooms, one of the Texans confessed to my mom and I that she was terrified of what was to come.  "I'm really scared of heights," she warned.  At least, I reasoned, I would be better off than her.
     With the tangy Passion Fruit juice still in my mouth, we gathered up the group and headed out on the trail.  I was fascinated as the guides began explaining the geology of the land and the trees and fruits we were passing.  They had very extensive knowledge about Puerto Rico and its people, and conveyed it in such an interesting way that I didn't even grumble with the realization that I was learning over summer vacation.  The hike to our first zip-line took about 45 minutes, and I really enjoyed seeing the private part of the rainforest that seemed so untouched and pristine.  I was amazed that I could look out to my left and see a distant canopy of trees falling out from below where the path dropped off to the left.  After a little while, we reached the first zip-line and I got ready to go.  I'm pretty sure I opted to be one of the first to go, so I soon found myself on a high platform looking down to see small trees below.  Shakily, I nodded to the guide that I was ready and let go.
     There was such a rush flying through the air!  You have to be careful to keep straight while your zipping, but I hadn't quite mastered that skill yet, so I was spinning and laughing and freaking out all at the same time. It was so much fun!  Then, I realized that if I was going so fast...I would have to stop pretty fast too.  A little nervous, I braced  myself as the platform rapidly approached.  The guide was nodding and smiling as I rushed towards him, probably about to smack so hard into the tree that I'd knock him down.  But he caught me and quickly halted my movement.  I dangled for a minute before he reminded me I could stand up-- should stand up.  That's how I like to do things: clueless and with a smile on my face.  Since I was one of the first to go, I got to laugh as everyone else did the same stumbling halt toward the platform that was a good 90 feet off the ground.  My poor little brother was only 11 and understandably scared for the experience, but after the first two ziplines. he was a pro.  My mom never got over the "mom" reflex of "what if I hurt my ankle?  What if I can't stop?  I can't drop my camera!"  I'll give her credit though because she did calm down quite a bit.
photo credit:
     After a few ziplines, we got to do repelling as well.  It was hilarious because everyone went one by one  off the platform.  I captured my mom's decent with the camera, and couldn't stop laughing when she just smacked her butt on the forest floor because she'd forgotten to sit down.  Sure enough, I did the same thing. One I'd wiped off the dirt, I followed the rest of the group-- with my pride a little dented-- towards the last and ultimate zipline.  Not only was it strung over a river valley far below, but it is also the longest zipline on the island.  I wanted to make the last zipine worth it.  One of our guides explained that we could go backwards or with our hands off our holster if we wanted, and then demonstrated this craziness as he jumped off the platform and did a flip before zooming to the other side.  I was one of the last to go this time, wanting to prolong the tour as long as I could.  Finally, I edged toward the drop-off.  I decided that I wanted to be sure I saw everything, so rather than going backwards: I opted to go hands free.  Before I knew what I had done, I jumped through the air and was flying over the treetops far below.  For a while, I closed my eyes  to feel the wind brushing past my face.  Then I kicked my feet, opened my eyes, and began to scream with delight while I gained speed.  Sadly, I eventually halted to a stop.  They had warned us that some people that  didn't weight as much might not make it all the way to the other platform.  In that case, they would reel a sandbag out on the line for us to hold to while they pulled us back in.  Thankfully, I got stuck.  I would have loved to stay out there for just a little longer, but I reluctantly grabbed the bag and ended my moment of flight.
     On the short walk back, our group of now-experienced zipliners joked and congratulated each other on a job well done.  Though we'd been strangers when we ventured out  hours ago, we were now comrades.  After saying our goodbyes to our new friends, my mom nabbed one of our tour guides for one last photo op (RELATED: Growing up a Photographer's Daughter).  After my mom made sure someone took at least three shots-- just to be safe-- she put away her camera and we loaded back into the car-- exhausted and happy.  I looked through the pictures and realized that our guide had been putting putting "bunny ears" behind my brother in all of the pictures.  As I showed it to my brother, I realized that the photos exemplified our day.  It had been a laughter filled day full of challenging new experiences and family memories.  For that reason, it was also something I will never forget.

Click the picture for more info on Yunke Zipline Adventure 

Teenage Bloggers

     Who else out there is a teenage blogger!?  Give me a comment and I would love to check our your blog! So far, I've had a lot of fun keeping a blog and I would enjoy reading more experiences from others.  I am partial to blogs about travel/sports/Christian faith...but I would definitely check out any blog you post:) Happy Blogging!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Study Time and Injury Update

     I promise: I haven't neglected my blog completely (I am sorry to the 2 or 3 of you that were in suspense).  In reality, I have many posts on the backburner-- as in: I almost finished writing them, but haven't done so yet-- and many AP Exams to write.  I am super grateful that I finished a giant research paper that was looming over my head.  I am also thankful that God has given me diligence in studying and schoolwork.  I feel just about ready for the AP Psychology test on Monday, after studying for a few weeks and extensively today. I also am feeling more prepared for AP Spanish on Tuesday (that's the one I'm really hoping to do well on!)
     All in all though, it has been an amazingly tough week.  It's hard to stay motivated and positive when an injury keeps you on the bike and off the running trails.  Tendonitis in my right knee doesn't seem to be getting any better despite prayer, rehab, ice, heat, ibuprofen, and some more prayer.  That is discouraging to say te least.  Besides, I keep looking at the calendar to see how much time I have left to get in shape and on the track, but I know that God doesn't go by any human calendar.  Yet, I flip flop back and forth: one minute I trust him and the next, I've already given up.  That has put strain on my relationships as well, and the guilt that follows when I feel that I'm the "screwup."  And once I begin thinking that, its a quick slippery road down to self-pity and whining.
     So I'm being completely honest: I don't have a very strong faith right now in God's promises or even his love for me.  I can't hear him right now.  But I can rely on what I've seen in the past and what he has told me in his word.  He will not abandon me.  That is why I am so thankful for people in my life who are uplifting me right now and for the Bible that does so as well: when I can't find God, it is so encouraging to know he is still there.  His word and his children are reminding me that until he reveals himself and I can see it again.
     I pray that you all have a blessed Sunday and remember the power of encouragement.  I know I am.