Monday, March 31, 2014

Comeback Tour

My official Running Comeback Tour commenced this past Saturday. I got up before the sun to drive to Candler Park to get a parking spot, meet up with my best friend, and run the Atlanta Women's 5K. It was the first race that I've run since breaking my foot in September.

Oh yeah, did I mention breaking my foot. I did. The third metatarsal. All the way through. A bunch of weird stuff worked together to make that bone break. My knee was injured (which I knew and also didn't know) which made me use the wrong part of my leg, which made my ankle lock, which put so much pressure on my foot that the bone just snapped. And? It actually broke while I was on a nine mile run. It started hurting around mile 5, but I thought it was just a cramp so I just stopped, took off my shoe, stretched, and then kept going. I finished that nine miles. Then I went to the High Museum. Then I went shopping with my mom at the mall. Then I didn't walk the next day. But, I'm all healed now. I started PT back in December and then started my "back to running" training in January.

I finished the Atlanta Women's 5K in just 30:55, which is just twenty seconds off my best time on that course. So, that was pretty exciting. And I got to run with a friend of mine who was running her very first every 5K (she did great, finished in just over 34 minutes, and 16th in her age group). And of course my best friend was there too. She and I ran the first mile together, then she told me to take off. It was so great being back to racing. I'm not incredibly competitive (slash not competitive at all) but I love being with runners during a race. The atmosphere of a race just gets my blood pumping fast. I even ran two of the miles under 10 minutes, which was huge because I hadn't run that fast since before I broke my foot.

So, this was a big milestone in my healing from the break. Thank goodness for good doctors. And for the patience to actually follow the training schedule my doctor gave me. Next goal: sub-30 minute 5K (I'm looking at you Big Peach 5K!).

Gratuitous post race photo:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jesus Feminist

Remember how much I proclaim Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist as the best book there has ever been? Well, today, you can get the Kindle version for just $1.99 from Amazon! Go on over and get it. You really have no excuse. That's cheaper than a medium coffee at Starbucks!

Here's the link: Jesus Feminist

This book made me feel like Jesus loves me more than anything I've ever read (other than the Bible of course). The words were so incredibly freeing. I keep my paper copy beside the couch at all times just so I can pick it up and read it every time I sit down. I'm going to wear out my paper copy, so of course I went ahead and got the Kindle version too.

So go grab a copy, even if you're a man. This book will fill your heart with joy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dreary Monday Happiness

This past weekend was incredibly busy and I'm pretty sure that Saturday was really two days long because it certainly felt that way. I read one of Ann Voskamp's blog posts while drying my hair this weekend and she talked about how she has a journal for counting her gifts (that's not what the blog post is about exactly, but go ahead and click through because it's an amazing post as per her usual). Social media became such a place for me to complain about pretty much everything. Not having that outlet to complain has actually made me feel slightly less complain-y and a lot happier. So, in the spirit of Ann, here's just a little bit of the gifts for which I'm thankful this dreary, cold Monday:

  • An 11:30 minute mile pace on my run this Saturday. Coming off an injury is super slow going, and that's almost 45 seconds faster than my usual. Mainly because my dear friend BBQ came to run with me and she's faster than me, but she slowed down to run with me and keep me motivated. She's pretty awesome and I'm so glad I met her. And BBQ are her actual initials which makes me love her even more. 
  • Seeing land that had been a total thorn in my friend B's side cleared for the first time thanks to our little band of misfits in Crop Mob. 
  • Fresh greens with pickled vegetables dressed with mustard vinaigrette and a pimento cheese sandwich after working all morning to clear brush and invasive tress (which do NOT come up with out a fight).
  • A friend who rode all the way to Chattanooga and back in one day to go hear a band in concert that he didn't even know all because he knew I wanted to go and Jeremy had to work and I certainly couldn't drive all that way and back alone.
  • Planning meetings for our Advent service. Yes, Advent, during Lent. It takes a long time to plan large events. 
  • Long naps on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
  • Meeting a new person who was excited to meet me. I attended an anniversary celebration for The Homestead Atlanta. I walked up to a woman there and introduced myself as Amy. She said "OH, are you Amy Lastname?!!" I said, indeed that's me. She then proceeded to exclaim, "oh, I've been wanting to meet you forever. People always ask me if I know you and I always have to say no, but not any more, give me a hug!"
  • The look on one of my favorite chef's face when I told him that they should have weenie gravy on their brunch menu. I'm pretty sure it almost killed him. (Weenie gravy recipe: chop up a pack of hot dogs into medallions, fry them up, remove from the grease and then use said grease to make the gravy...yummy deliciousness) (Weenie gravy is one of my ultimate comfort foods and one of the favorite breakfast foods that my dad makes.)
  • The fact that Jeremy had the chance to go see a fancy pants airplane museum before it became a private attraction rather than a public one. He even got to meet the owner of all the airplanes and it seemed to make him incredibly happy, which made me incredibly happy.
How about you? What are you happy about today?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Seven Days

I'm now officially on my seventh day of no social media. And you know what? It's not really all that bad. I've stayed in touch with my friends from social media the old-fashioned way (texts and emails) and it's not near as isolating as I had previously imagined. Also, I've found plenty of ways to fill my time this past week.

First, I got food poisoning last Thursday. Not being able to eat or drink made me have a migraine, which made me sicker, which made me super dehydrated, which landed me in the ER. And the kicker? I didn't even lose any darn weight!

One day during my convalescence, I did read an entire book. It was a YA book so it's not like I read War and Peace all in one day. I read The Fault in Our Stars. People have written amazing reviews of this book, so I'm not even going to try. Instead, I will share with you some of my most favorite lines from the book.

  • Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. (This is me 100% with Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist. If you're a friend of mine, I have probably told you to read this book right away, do not delay, read it.)
  • As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once. (This line was especially special to me because when Jeremy and I first started dating, he would read to me rather frequently. There's just something about a man who will read aloud to you.)
  • I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a nineteenth-century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields. (I just thought this was funny, this book was incredibly intense, the comedic relief was nice.)
  • You have a choice in this world, I believe, about how to tell sad stories, and we made the funny choice. 

So, read The Fault in Our Stars if you haven't. It's a fast read, I think maybe it took me four hours, tops. I did cry for the entire last hour of reading it though, so be warned. And when I say cry, I mean a couple of times I had to put the book down to sob into a dish towel. 

Oh, and yesterday, my newest niece was born! She's a hefty little lady and we're all pretty happy about her, or "it", as my nephew continued to refer to her. 

Please to feast your eyes upon her her chubbiness:

(Confession: I don't really miss any social media except for Pinterest. And have mercy do I miss Pinterest. How did we live before we had a platform that is the equivalent of looking at a thousand magazines all at one time!?!)

Note: If you'd like to comment, please do so here and not on Facebook. I'm not checking Facebook until Easter so I won't see your comment for a long time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Schooled by a Four Year Old

"What I love about the ministry of Jesus is that he identified the poor as blessed and the rich as needy... and then he went and ministered to them both. This, I think, is the difference between charity and justice. Justice means moving beyond the dichotomy between those who need and those who supply and confronting the frightening and beautiful reality that we desperately need one another." - Rachel Held Evans

Every single Sunday, I and the family that I sit with at church are given presents by a homeless gentleman who attends our church. I'll call him Todd for the sake of this story. Without fail, he has a gift for us every. single. week. Sometimes it's clothes. A lot of times it's food. One time it was a tv. I sometimes keep the presents that I receive, but mostly I put them in the donation pile for when I take things to Goodwill. I don't need the presents he gives me, but that's never stopped him. I'm a giver of gifts and receiving gifts (even from family) makes me really uncomfortable. It embarrasses me to get gifts from a homeless person. They are usually dirty. They smell funny. It feels weird to be handed presents in crumpled up bags when I walk into church every single week. 

This past Sunday, MM, the daughter of my friends, looked at me and said "where is your cousin?" I, of course, have never brought any of my cousins to church, so I was confused. I told her I didn't know who she was talking about. Exasperated, she said "Todd...your cousin...where is he?" She hadn't seen him in the back of the church and was concerned as to where he was. And apparently, she thinks he is my cousin. I pointed him out to her and after we took communion she ran to the back of the church and gave him a hug.

And I've been thinking about that interaction since Sunday morning. MM gets gifts from Todd every Sunday too. And she receives them with joy. She actively looks forward to the presents that he brings. She doesn't need any of the gifts that he brings her, and most of them aren't age appropriate for a four year old. But she gets excited. And her excitement of receiving the gifts ministers to Todd. He has nothing and yet he goes out of his way to give us things. I've been schooled in humility by a four year old. She identified Todd as family. And I'm embarrassed by him.

That same Sunday, an elderly lady in front of me, turned to suggest that I join the choir since I sing so well (I cannot confirm that I sing well, I thought my singing was awful). When she turned back around, MM wanted to know her name. When I told her, she asked, "is she your sister?" I told the lady that MM wanted to know if we were sisters. She got quite the kick out of that and responded, "well, I guess we are sisters in Christ." And isn't that true? We are all family. And we all need each other. And I need to climb down off my high horse. I'm not so wealthy that I can't also receive gifts, even from a homeless person, with joy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Next Forty-Six Days

Oh hey look, I actually came back to my blog. Last year when I ran the Peachtree, I injured myself. I was in a walking cast for a month and a half. Then once I started running again, I broke a bone in my foot, not a stress fracture, a complete, all the way through, break. I was in a walking cast again for three months. Plus, I had to take osteoporosis medicine for four months. And I've been in physical therapy since December. Basically, I spent the last quarter of 2013 in a funk and didn't even want to be in this space. But now I'm back at it.  Because hey, it's Lent!

I grew up Southern Baptist and didn't actually start observing Lent until joining the Methodist church. I love celebrating the holidays of the church and love the order that it brings to my life. I try to always give up something meaningful for Lent. This year, I'm giving up social media.

Gasp right? I mean I'm the Queen of Twitter (as per my husband). One of my friends even asked if Jeremy was taking bets on how quickly I'll fail. I love social media. As an introvert, it's really been one of the best things since sliced bread for me. I get to make friends on-line and then when I meet them in person, it's like we're old friends and it takes away all the trepidation of meeting new people. When I told our children's minister that I was giving up social media, she remarked that I was the only person that she knew who actually used social media to create community instead of just to observe community. So, yes, it's going to be hard.

So, why, if I love social media so much, am I giving it up for Lent? Well, that's the reason. I love it so much. It consumes an incredible amount of my time. It has basically turned into a stronghold in my life and what better time to break that stronghold than during Lent. When I wake up in the morning, I check Facebook and Twitter before I even get out of the bed. When I take breaks during the day, I check Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. When I get home from work, I spend the entire evening checking all three social media platforms over and over until I go to bed. I don't read my Bible or pray, I just piddle around on social media.

There's plenty to do in these next forty-six* days. I'm teaching a Lenten Sunday School class and working my way through Chris Seay's A Place at the Table. There is a stack of books taller than myself that I need to read. Our closets and the basement need to be organized and tons of things need to be donated to Goodwill. Our garden will need to be planted in April. Oh, and there are STILL Christmas presents that I need to finish.

So yes, lots is happening during those 46 days. I will be documenting a lot of it here. If you want to comment, please do so on the blog. I won't be checking Facebook or Twitter even though I have the blog set up to automatically post to FB and Twitter when I update it. If you have my phone number, please call me or text. If you have my email, by all means, send me an email. But even more importantly, if you live near me, let's see each other. Keep me accountable. I have ten books on my list to read in 46 days. Make sure I read them!

*Lent technically is forty days as the Sunday's during Lent are Feast Days; however, I won't be participating in the Feast days.