5 Ideas Generated By Running A Half Marathon

On Sunday I completed my fourth half marathon. Wow, it’s hard to believe that’s true since “I’m not a runner.” I don’t run to compete; typically I finish about mid-pack for my age and gender. I don’t run to break records; though I was close to a personal record yesterday.  :)

I simply run to think, pray, listen and learn- mostly more about my Creator. All the other benefits are great, but God always gives me ideas when I run.

And here are the 5 ideas generated from yesterday’s half.

1. At the race start and for the first mile, many runners shed their outer layers.  It’s kind of humorous to watch all the clothes getting flung into the air over the crowd to the sides of the race corrals.  Pants, jackets, gloves…. What would be awesome is if churches would come and collect the clothing for homeless shelters. Or there was a ministry called “Race Scraps for Jesus.” A little crazy, but seriously! Wouldn’t it be cool?

2. One of my favorite races, the Nashville Music City Half, sports lives bands every few miles. Around mile 6 on Sunday in St. Louis, I prayed for a worship band. Just before mile 8, my prayer was answered. Interesting how God knew what I needed even before I did.  The name of Jesus holds so much strength.  My light bulb moment regarding this:

Christian music needs more songs with the name of Jesus and I need to revisit the ones that include His name.

3. At one point on a long uphill, I stopped running and started walking.  Someone yelled to me: Don’t let the hill stop you! Ok, so I wasn’t really encouraged by this shout.  I wasn’t letting the hill STOP me; I just needed a short reprieve. As my husband said, “That’s pretty easy to say when you are sitting on the sidelines with a warm cup of coffee in your hand,” watching the sun rise and “cheering” runners as a sidebar.  And the idea formed:

All encouragement is not created equal.

4. St. Louis has quite the combination of old and new buildings downtown.  When looking around at the architecture, I viewed interesting details and combinations of classic and modern styles, creating an eclectic, but exciting effect. My thoughts: Old ideas don’t always need dropped.  Their structures are strong; the foundations secure.  But resurfacing them adds spark and relevance.

5. Finish lines should be a place of rejoicing! I typically just run across smiling.  But this time, something came over me and I felt completely out of character.  I literally leaped across the finish line- and it felt good.  But as I crossed, I overheard someone  on the sideline say “That was weird.” And the fact was reiterated to me that not everyone will rejoice when I rejoice.

Rejoice with others whether or not you comprehend their journey or their victory.

I leave you with the great line of Forrest Gump:

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Have you ever had a time when someone didn’t understand your joy?  How did you respond?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


The Magic Number

Today is a very special day- the magic number has arrived.

My Taylor girl turns sweet 16 today;16 is significant for many reasons.  Most would think of a driver’s license…dating…  But for our family, Taylor turning 16 is HUGE simply because- we were never sure that Taylor would turn 16.  Since we received Taylor’s diagnosis of MPS when she was 4 years old, a medical number has been assigned to her days on earth. The average lifespan for a child with MPS is 10-15 years.  God has been very gracious and we’ve learned to trust His timing.

So today we celebrate! We celebrate life as a gift and Taylor as a gift.  A very small part of that gift are the words that follow:

Dear Taylor,

Though you can no longer sing, your sweet melodies echo from previous years as those of a musical genius.

Even if you cannot speak, your execution of life lessons is flawlessly delivered to willing students.

While you can’t form sentences or write even one letter, your dissertations flow as the most polished author.

You may be stumbling more frequently and losing the ability to walk, but your life is the finest example of firm tenacity and perseverance.

Each day you teach me that life is so much more about BEING and not DOING.

Each day you lead me on the journey of faith in God, belief in His Word, that all things work together for those who love Him.

Every day you are a clear reminder to trust God, not only for eternal life, but for everyday life.

And so we celebrate the gift of life God gave through and in you. I love you dearly and look forward to the day in Heaven when you will be whole, without MPS, singing and dancing and chattering once again.

I would love it if you’d leave Taylor a birthday wish in the comments today. Have a wonderful day and be thankful for the gift of today.




An Unglued Story

So I didn’t win lunch with Lysa Terkeurst through the Unglued book contest. You can still watch the webcast from last night if you go to LysaTerKeurst.com today!

But I know you’ll just love this crazy story about my baby girl coming unglued and how that made me want to come unglued and what a domino effect coming unglued can have! (I just got points for the world’s longest run-on sentence.)


Another busy week of family life was drawing to a close as we slid into Friday like a stolen base. The week’s adventures had featured a broken arm for my oldest son and though we were supposed to head out of town for the holiday weekend, he needed a cast first. Since the beginning of the day, the clock had seemed to be ticking faster than usual and I knew in order to accomplish all that was needed, the pace for the entire day needed to be quick.

One particular errand had been thoroughly planned. The item had to be picked up, couldn’t be ordered, and there was only one store that carried it. Down to just one child this trip, I could foresee an in-and-out kind of deal.

My sweet 3 yr. old daughter and I ran in to the Christian bookstore. I had even called ahead of time so that the items would be ready for us at the counter. We took a short walk to the back corner of the store just so my girl could see the latest in Veggie Tale fashion. She was fine with a quick look and though it was past her nap time, I was so proud of her behavior. We headed towards the checkout and with no one in line in front of us, the cashier asked if she could help.

May I pause here for a moment to tell you that this cashier looked newer than a brand new shiny penny? The look of “Yes, today is the first day I am working the cash register alone” was stamped on her forehead.

I stated, “Hi! I have an item on hold and I’m here to pick it up. Last name is….” At the word “hold,” this sweet cashier began to stare at her computer screen and typed vigorously. She looked. And looked. And mumbled to herself.

While waiting for her, I see my items on the counter behind her and say, “OH, I think those are my items right back there,” as I point behind her. She picks them up and stares at the last name for two minutes before giving up entirely on the pronunciation.

“Are these yours? ok, then,” and she scans the ticket.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to tell her that I only reserved one of the items; I didn’t need the second item.

My up-to-this-point-entirely-sweet three year old, Tarah, has made a discovery of a very pink Princess Bible. While Tarah is picking up Bible, the cashier is still fumbling. I’m telling Tarah that she will have to put the Bible back because we’re not buying it today. She has one EXACTLY like it at home that she sleeps with every night. I remind her of this. At this point, she decides to remind me that she is still a preschooler. And can throw fits. And she proceeds to throw a HUGE fit, where she stands there holding her precious Bible up in the air and screams. At the top.of.her.lungs.

After the cashier figures out how to take the second item off the bill, she scans the remaining items and proudly announces the total. At which, I present a coupon. She confidently scans the coupon, but the computer does not give the correct total. When I attempt to point this out, she shrugs her shoulders and says, “hmmm. not sure what to do about that.”
Oh boy. Tarah continues to scream. I’m thinking of my pastor’s sermon illustrations where he speaks of watching misbehaving children in grocery stores….

By this time, a line of customers has formed behind me. My baby’s coming unglued in front of all three of them and the cashier doesn’t appear that she ever had any glue holding her head together to begin with. I’m stuck in my mind thinking, “You do not want to fall apart in the Christian book store, Rachel. Next to church, this has to be THE worst place to come unglued.” I then reflect on my plan of action as reiterated to me the night before during the Unglued webcast. The only thing I could remember in the moment of desperation was “Invite the Holy Spirit into your situation.” So I begin begging the Holy Spirit to do something. Anything.

About that time, the Holy Spirit spoke through the form of an older gentleman customer. He says to me, “She’s got a good set of lungs!” Ok, maybe that wasn’t the Holy Spirit, but I think he was truly wishing he hadn’t turned his hearing aids up quite so high that day. The gentle African-American woman behind him is smiling at me and says, “Oh, sweetie. That’s so precious- she just wants a Bible.” And yes, Lord have mercy, my baby girl was shouting “I WANT ONE. I WANT ONE!” Over and over again. Further back in the line, a dear elderly woman stood. And she just smiled at me, with the most sympathetic eyes. Eyes that said, “I’ve been there, tired mama. Hang in there.”

FINALLY, the cashier figures out the coupon after deciding to use her phone-a-friend lifeline. I pay and continue holding my screaming child who has heard “You are in so much trouble, Young Lady,” whispered in her ear several times.

We head out of the store, leaving a trail of sympathy behind, only to add to my daughter’s ferocious screams, the electronics alarm goes off. As I turn back, I see the store manager, waving me on with a smile, as if to say, “Truly, we don’t want you to come back right now.”

I buckled my girl in her car seat, while she continued to scream “I want my Bible.”

And I took her home, put her in bed, kissed her forehead and said, “You need to go to sleep.”
She then cuddled up next to HER Princess Bible she always sleeps with and like an angel, closed her eyes.

You won’t believe what my Christian bookstore purchase was.

The Unglued DVD!

Join us in Columbus beginning Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, 7 pm. Details HERE. We’d LOVE to have you!