Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I haven't made any New Year's Resolutions in years. Is there really something "magical" about January 1st? All of the sudden just because the clock strikes midnight on December 31st I'm all of the sudden going to stop cursing, exercise regularly, eat healthy, watch less T.V., etc...? In the past, whenever I would make a resolution, it never failed at most I would make it a couple of weeks and I would fail so I would give up and just think, "Oh well, maybe next year!"

I've been working on making healthy lifestyle changes for several years. In the past I tended to focus on one main thing - either physical goals, emotional goals, or spiritual goals. Lately I have been trying to work on all of them because I have found that if I only focus on one then the other areas suffer. So, I've been working on balance and trying to focus on my overall health.

I've had my ups and downs but lately with some of my goals there have been more downs than ups. Physically I am in the worst shape I have been in years... I feel miserable - I get out of breath easily and I've had medical issues that I know would be resolved if I could get healthier. I am going to start using an online program to record what I eat and my exercise in order to help keep me on track. I deferred my registration for the marathon last year to this year and am hopeful that I can complete the Des Moines marathon in 2013. That is the only race I am planning on this year for sure. I have some ideas on how many miles I'd like to complete this year, but I know that pushing my body too much too soon after having not worked out regularly in a long time is not smart. So, I am just going to ease my way back into getting moving again.

Emotionally I am actually doing better than I have in a while. I am seeing a good counselor who is helping me make progress in the right direction. I still have lots of work to do and a lot of healing that needs to happen, but I am working in the right direction and that encourages me and gives me hope.

Spiritually I really need to work on my discipline and will be starting a reading plan to read the Bible in a year that my church is doing. I need to work on being more consistent in my prayer life as well.

These are all things I have been working on and will continue to work on. I decided this year to make ONE New Year's Resolution - DON'T GIVE UP!  Life is hard, life will get busy, I will likely continue to struggle with meeting the goals I believe God wants me to work on. However, just as God's mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) so my renewal of my commitments and goals will be new every morning. I will press on and continue to strive to be the woman of God that He wants me to be!

Continuing my journey into 2013,


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Keeping it Real

A former youth group student posted something on Facebook about writing a "final exam" for the end of the semester. It's been just a "few" years since I graduated from college, but thought that thinking through a, "final assessment of your walk with God this semester" wouldn't be a half bad idea.

So, here it is - some random thoughts about where God and I have journeyed this fall. If there's one thing that really gets under my skin it is fake people. I try to be pretty transparent and not be fake. Bottom line is I don't like who I am a lot of the time...
  •  I curse like a sailor (most particularly at work or when by myself)
  • I am seriously lacking in self-control and discipline in many areas of my life
  • I get angry - a lot
  •  I get my feelings hurt - a lot
  •  I sometimes am hurt for legitimate reasons but don't know what to do with it when that happens so I tend to bury it and pretend I am "OK"
  • I am an introvert who sometimes really hates being alone and feels like that "thing" in Sesame Street - you know what I'm talking about... "which of these things is not like the other?... which of these things just doesn't belong?" 
There's a lot of other things - I could go on and on... but the truth is that God loves me and He loves me far too much to leave me where I am.

My relationship with God is a process... it isn't just something I study for one semester, or one year, or four years and then I'm done. I have been a Christian for 27 years and while I know God has done so much, has taught me so much, has brought me so far - I know I still have SO FAR to go... It is a journey - a journey that will take my whole life to really become all He intends me to be. God knows all the rotten stuff about me (only a portion of which is listed here) and yet He loves me so much that He willingly gave His only Son to not only be born into this world, but to live in it for a time. He walked this earth, He experienced temptation, He experienced suffering... the only thing He didn't do was sin - but everything else - everything I go through - Jesus can relate. I am so grateful to know Jesus in this personal way and know that I can go to Him with everything. I can take all my sin, all my hurt, all my frustration and suffering and lay it at His feet. As  a perfectionist it has been hard for me to realize that this side of heaven I will not attain perfection but my goal is to continually strive toward the goal of becoming more like Jesus every day. Yes, I will fail, Yes, I will fall. But God will always be there to forgive me and to pick me up. My relationship with God is a journey... a process... and I will continue in my journey with Him - even in the muck and the mire - I will look up to Him and trust and rest in Him.

Pressing on in faith,


Sunday, December 9, 2012


This verse from Philippians has been my go to verse ever since I was in the hospital a few weeks ago. I quoted it over and over again as I was lying in the hospital wondering about how I would pay for the hospital bills, wondering what all was wrong with me, wondering about all the unanswered questions. As I quoted the verse, and took my concerns to God I was truly overwhelmed with peace - peace that transcends all understanding. It was pretty cool and I was so amazed at how God just took all of my concerns and gave me His peace to cling to during all of the uncertainty about everything that was going on.

Last night I watched the American Giving Awards which award different charity organizations with money to help them in their charities. I was overwhelmed watching the many stories of all these charities... from organizations working to get girls our of forced prostitution in countries like Africa, to a man providing meals to immigrants looking for work. I was overwhelmed as I watched and realized how much I have compared to so many people in the world. All of the sudden my hospital bills seemed like nothing. I have a roof over my head, I have food in my refrigerator and the means to go buy more food when needed. I have a good job with good benefits, I have wonderful supportive friends who I know would drop everything to help me in my time of need (I've experienced them doing so!) I had total peace knowing that I have SO much compared to so many - beyond all the "stuff" I have - I have a relationship with the Living God, the Creator of the Universe, who loves me enough to call me His beloved daughter. WOW!

This morning I wasn't feeling well when I woke up. I had a horrible headache and thought about just staying home. However, I really was looking forward to a morning of worship, teaching, and fellowship with my family. So, I got to church and today's sermon message: "The Radiance of Christmas: Transcending Peace" Hmmmm.... God, you trying to tell me something?

Some points which really hit close to home for me today. Thank you Pastor Marty Rietgraf for allowing God to speak through you today!

We can have peace with ourselves through seeing in Christ (seeing ourselves as God sees us)
       Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
      Matthew 10:30-31 "and even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don't be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows."

Ask God to help you to see yourself as the MASTERPIECE He sees you as.

This really spoke to me - God has been challenging me to see myself  through His eyes... as one of my recent blog posts said, I often see myself as the "fat friend" - when I look in the mirror I don't like what I see. I'm asking God to help me to see what He sees - His beloved child whom He loves dearly... so much that He sent His Son to die for ME!

We can have peace with the future through knowing Christ.

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
          * Jesus give us HIS peace. I never noticed that before. He gives us HIS peace, peace that He has with the Father He gives to us so that we do not need to be troubled or afraid!
          * If Jesus promises to never leave you or forsake you then you have NO reason to worry!

Thank You Lord for reiterating to me this peace that truly transcends all understanding. Thank You for helping me to realize how very much I have and that You are my Father and You will take care of me. Help me to live a life that demonstrates this peace so that You may be glorified through my life!

Peacefully yours,


Sunday, December 2, 2012


Explanation of blog title: For those not familiar with "hashtags" - they are used on the social network site Twitter. According to:
  • People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword or phrase (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. 
  • Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword..
  • Hashtags can occur anywhere in the Tweet – at the beginning, middle, or end.
  • Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.
 I use hashtags on Twitter and sometimes on Facebook also - with some people they are even used in conversation. I use the hashtag #unbelievablyblessed a lot on Facebook and I'm going to use it more on Twitter - it would be cool to get it in the "trending topics"

OK, now that the explanation for my title is done, on with my reason for writing this afternoon....

The Thanksgiving Season is over and just like that the Christmas Season is upon us. During the month of November many of my Facebook friends posted something they were thankful for every day. A little over a year ago I started a gratitude journal where I wrote down 5 things I am thankful for every night before bed. I had gotten out of that habit, so started the 30 days of thankfulness for November. About halfway through the month I decided to do it every month for the next year. After all, as one of my favorite passages of the Bible says: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

We have also entered the Advent season. I hadn't really heard much about Advent before coming to Grace EFC a couple of years ago. According to

"Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24). If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent."

Entering this season right after Thanksgiving seems so fitting. During the next few weeks I will be doing a devotional that a friend posted on Facebook called Make Him Room that was a free download on my Kindle app on my phone. I am really looking forward to continuing to count my blessings - and as we draw nearer to the celebration of Christ's birth I know I will continue to find more and more to be thankful for. I've heard Christians say that Easter is "more important" than Christmas because if He hadn't risen from the grave He wouldn't have paid for our sins. While I agree that celebrating Easter is awesome for that very reason I don't think it's fair to say one is more important than the other - after all, if He hadn't been born, He wouldn't have been able to be the sacrifice for my sins. You can't really separate the two - you can't have one without the other so one isn't more important than the other. I think the important thing to realize in celebrating them both is to remember the REASON for the season... and I would also say it is important to remember Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection every day and not just during those "seasons"

OK, that was a bit of a rabbit trail - but my point is I am truly #unbelievablyblessed and I thank God for all the amazing blessings in my life!



Monday, November 26, 2012

The "fat friend"

I arrived home last Friday after a wonderful week with my family (Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin) and friends (Debra and Scott) As I was looking through pictures, one in particular stuck out to me. I love this picture of Debra and I - it is so evident in this picture how much she loves me. I love the way she wrapped her arms all the way around me and the big smile on her face shows her love and feelings of deep friendship toward me. However, I could tell a bit from my expression too, and remembering how I felt when it was being taken. I can tell I'm not completely comfortable - the blanket I was using was pulled clear up around me to "hide myself" and I can tell from my expression that even though I am thrilled to be with my friend and feel so loved, I always hate having my picture taken and can see the hesitation on my face. I feel like the "fat friend". I see how beautiful Debra is and admittedly sometimes wonder how she can be my friend. She was a cheerleader in High School and I was SO far removed from "that crowd" I don't see how I can fit in now. Yet, friendship doesn't look at the exterior - it looks at the heart.

I remember in college one of my good friends made a comment to me that they never thought of me as their "fat friend Sherri" - I was just their friend Sherri. That stuck with me and I know that my friends don't think of me as their "fat friend Sherri" - my fat isn't what defines me. My friends see my heart, they see beyond the exterior. I am so thankful to have these friends who love me for me no matter what. But, the truth is, I still feel like the "fat friend". I still struggle with the insecurity of my physical body.

God has been working in my life lately in amazing ways speaking to my heart that I am His child, I am His friend, that I belong to Him because I've been bought with a price and that I am free from any condemnation or lies the enemy speaks to me. I am working on internalizing these truths but it is a process.

In the meantime, I am thankful for old friends and new who I can laugh with, cry with, depend on through thick and thin - no matter how thick or thin I may be.

Continuing to learn, grow, and press on in the race of life,


Friday, November 2, 2012

Who I Am

I just started reading "The Bondage Breaker" by Neil Anderson. I've had the book for a few months and it was on my list of books to get to but I hadn't gotten to it. After being spoken some tough words in love by a dear sister in Christ I picked the book up today and started reading. I am only a couple chapters in but a couple things struck me. One thing is in the beginning of the third chapter, it is a list of truths about who we are in Christ:  This list is in the picture to the right. It's a little hard to read, but I like the artistic image.

Who I am in Christ
     I am accepted... 
  • I am God's child ~ John 1:12
  • As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ ~John 15:15
  • I have been justified ~Romans 5:1
  • I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit ~1 Cor. 6:17
  • I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God ~1 Cor. 6:19-20
  • I am a member of Christ's body ~1 Cor. 12:27
  • I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child ~Ephesians 1:3-8
  • I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins ~Colossians 1:13-14
  • I am complete in Christ ~Colossians 2:9-10
  • I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ ~Hebrews 4:14-16
    I am secure...
  • I am free from condemnation ~Romans 8:1-2
  • I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances ~Romans 8:28
  • I am free from any condemnation brought against me, and I cannot be separated from the love of God ~Romans 8:31-39
  • I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God ~2 Cor. 1:21-22
  • I am hidden with Christ in God ~Colossians 3:1-4
  • I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me ~Philippians 1:6
  • I am a citizen of Heaven ~Philippians 3:20
  • I have not been given the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind         ~2 Timothy 1:7
  • I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me ~1 John 5:18
    I am significant...
  • I am the branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life ~John 15:5
  • I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit ~John 15:16
  • I am God's temple ~1 Cor. 3:16
  • I am a minister of reconciliation for God ~2 Cor.5:17-21
  • I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm ~Ephesians 2:6
  • I am God's workmanship ~Ephesians 2:10
  • I may approach God with freedom and confidence ~Ephesians 3:12
  • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me ~Philippians 4:13
From the beginning of time the enemy has been seeking to deceive - he deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden... he filled her head with lies. Today the enemy still seeks to deceive - he has filled my head with so many lies over time and I have listened to those lies and have lived my life as if those things were true. The statements written above are what is truth and it is going to take work, but I trust that I will get to the place where I will be able to live in that freedom. A quote that really stuck out to me was this, "Affirming the truth of Christ's victory and satan's defeat is the primary step to successfully stand against the enemy's attempts to intimidate you." He also says that as a Christian I reside in Christ and Christ has all authority. I don't have to fight a battle to defeat the devil because Christ accomplished that on the cross. As Neil Anderson says in his book, "We just need to believe it." 
The first chapter of the book begins with an example from a young girl who wrote a prayer to God. She cries out to God wondering where He is and how He can watch and see how much she is hurting. She says if He cared He would let her die or make it stop and she told Him she loved Him but He seemed so far away. After writing this prayer she unsuccessfully tried to kill herself. Four years after that she was sitting in church and she sensed God's leading to write this response to her cry out to Him when she was suicidal. This is what she wrote:

I made a copy that I put at my desk at work and another one for my bathroom mirror. I am on a quest for freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

On a Journey Toward Freedom,


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Conquering More Fears

I have only flown once in my life and I was in 8th grade at the time - yeah, that was only a few years ago. I didn't have a bad experience - I actually enjoyed it. However, since that time it is not something I've ever had much of a desire to do. Chalk that up to being a home body and really not wanting to go anywhere anyway. Well, a few weeks back I decided to stop living life in fear and step out of my comfort zone and go to see my family in Colorado the week of Thanksgiving. I was planning on driving - I was looking forward to the time to pray, listen to God's Word, worship.... I mean how often does one get 12 hours set aside to do that? However, something hit me tonight and I realized fear was one of my big reasons for not wanting to fly. God spoke to my heart and challenged me to not live in that fear. So, I got online and I ordered my plane ticket. I am now booked on a flight to Denver on the 16th of November and will return to Iowa the 23rd. I have a house/cat sitter lined up and now all I have to do is get through the next couple of weeks and I will be off to the land where God lives. (Yes, I know God is everywhere and there are people who say, "No, this isn't Heaven, it's Iowa", but as far as I'm concerned - God lives in Colorado!)  LOL

Seriously, I can not wait to spend time with my amazing Aunt, Uncle, Cousins, and my wonderful friend Debra and her family. I can't wait to see all my fur cousins and to wake up every morning to the view of the mountains. It's a good thing Buddy is staying home or I might not come back!

Learning to let go of fear,


Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Daddy

I am not sure when this picture of my Daddy was taken, but I think it was toward the end of his college career. I found out this week that my counselor knew my Daddy around 1967. My counselor was in High School and worked summers at the insurance company where my Daddy worked in downtown Des Moines. How crazy is it that before I was even born my counselor knew my Daddy. Who could have known that 45 years later I would be sitting in my counselor's office reminiscing about memories of me and my Daddy? My counselor recalled the time he knew my Daddy and said he remembered him fondly and that he was a nice man.

This week I've been doing a lot of thinking about my Daddy. This past May marked 20 years since he had passed away. It's so hard to believe that it has been that long. If I close my eyes I can still hear his voice, I can smell his cologne, I can see his smiling face. I don't have a lot of memories from my childhood, but I remember getting done with my bath at night and coming downstairs and sitting at my Daddy's feet. I would hand him the towel and he would towel dry my hair. He would just rub and rub and rub until my thick curly hair was mostly dry. I would then curl up on his lap and he would just hold me. Oh, what I wouldn't give to curl up in his lap right now just to have him hold me in his arms.

The picture to the right is from my High School graduation (there's a good look at that thick curly hair I once had) I love this picture of my Daddy and me. I can tell from the look on his face he is proud of me. I moved in with my Daddy when I was 16 years old. Those last 2 years of High School were my happiest time in my childhood that I remember. I remember knowing that I was safe. I remember knowing that my Daddy loved me even when we disagreed.

My Daddy and I had some rough times and it led to him not talking to me for almost two years before he passed away. But, even during that time I always knew my Daddy loved me. I never once doubted that his love for me waivered in spite of our differences.

I'm thankful for the memories I have with my Daddy. I'm thankful that even though our relationship wasn't perfect, it was solid in our love for one another. There were a lot of rotten things that happened in my childhood, a lot of things I wish I could change... but one thing I would never change was the relationship I had with my Daddy. He died far too young and I wish I could have him with me still today, but at least I have wonderful memories and that's something no one can take away from me. I am grateful to my Daddy for teaching me that even though you may have differences it doesn't mean you don't still love each other.

Holding on to the memories,


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Random Thoughts

I've been sitting here trying to come up with a coherent, flowing blog post for about an hour. It ain't gonna happen... I have some coherent thoughts but they are kind of random and not necessarily related. So, here they are...

1. A few weeks ago I wrote about not living my life in fear and how I was going to take this trip to Colorado and not worry or be fearful over all the "what ifs" Shortly after that is when I had the car problems which ended up being pretty expensive. It almost derailed me - it almost caused me to decide not to go. The fear started welling up in me again - I think it's kind of a default setting of mine - something I definitely want to change. I'd really like my default setting to be to trust God. Time and time again He has shown me how trustworthy He is and yet I keep falling back into the fear. Thankfully, I realized what was happening and "talked myself down" and leaned back into the trusting arms of God.

2. I saw this quote and it got me thinking... there are a lot of things in my life that I haven't really faced... things I've buried deep and just hoped would go away. But, they don't go away - they affect my life every day even when I don't recognize it. I'm thankful that I am seeing a counselor who will be able to help me to dig these things up and face them once and for all.

3. Today I was supposed to run my 2nd marathon - instead I feel like I've hit a wall. I know this is a journey and I know that a lifetime of thinking a certain way and handling life in a not-so-healthy way is not just going to magically change overnight. I feel like I've been working at it forever though and some days I look at my life and feel like no progress has been made at all. In reality, I know that isn't true, but it feels that way sometimes.  And the truth is that sometimes I get tired of the battle, sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air and say, "I've had enough! I quit!" Fortunately, those times don't last and when the feeling passes, I continue on the journey pressing on toward my goal. I want to be healthy - emotionally, spiritually, and physically. In order to be healthy it will take hard work and discipline... I wasn't planning on registering for another marathon until I was at a healthy weight, but when I knew I couldn't even run the half marathon I e-mailed the race director and he told me I could defer my registration for next year. In a way I think this is a good thing. I'm setting a goal to lose one pound a week for the next year. One pound a week is a very reasonable and attainable goal. It is one I can attain without obsessing and that is important. I don't want to obsess over just one area of my life. I want to focus on being healthy all the way around.

4. OK, I said they are random thoughts... and this isn't so much a thought as just wanting to show off my handsome kitty. He was sitting on the couch like this yesterday afternoon. It looked like he was posing for me and like he was thinking, "I'm so handsome!"  I really am thankful for my cat - he's such a good cat, so lovable and sweet. I love my boy!

So - there it is - random thoughts of the day... nothing very coherent, but that is life inside my head right now!

Incoherently yours,


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Coming Out of the Closet (sort of speak)

Why is it in our society that admitting to having depression, anxiety, eating disorder - or any such mental health issue - seems a bit like coming out of the closet? According to the World Health Association: "Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment."  I read this statistic and wondered why people don't receive the treatment they need. I honestly believe that one reason is that people hide. There is a certain stigma that our society attaches to these such problems. If someone has cancer or heart disease they don't hide it, they tell people, they ask for help, they aren't blamed or seen as weak or as less of a person or a bad Christian because of their illness.

Today marks the end of Mental Health Awareness Week. I didn't even know it was this week until Thursday. I haven't exactly hidden my struggles. I have been fairly open. But, I have never come right out and said it -
 I suffer with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. 

I've opened up to some people about it and in some cases received great support. In other cases I received strange looks and comments such as, "You just need more Jesus." or "You just need to CHOOSE to have a different attitude." Now, I am first and foremost a Christian. I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that God can heal. But, just take a quick read in the book of Psalms. If David were alive today he would probably be diagnosed with clinical depression. He dealt with a lot of emotions. Psalm 55: 2 "hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught." Psalm 8:1 "Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble." Psalm 13:1-2 "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide  your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" Yes, it is David who said these things - David who was also called a man after God's own heart. A great book that I would HIGHLY recommend reading is The Cry of the Soul: How Our Emotions Reveal Our Deepest Questions About God by Dan Allender and Tremper Longman

It being Mental Health Awareness Week in addition to a very disturbing article on yesterday are what led me to write this post.  The link to the article is here: The young lady in this article dealt with bullying, which is another issue, but often, as in this case led to major anxiety, depression and panic disorder. She left a chilling youtube video and her body was later found - she committed suicide.

All of this has got me to thinking. I'm doing fairly well right now. I am seeing a counselor and take medication as needed. But it bothers me that I have been somewhat "forced" into hiding because of societal stigmas and some thoughtless reactions from well-meaning people. I want to "come out" because I think it is essential that others know if they are suffering they do not need to suffer in silence. I want anyone reading this to know that you are not alone... I am here. If you don't want to talk to me, that's fine, but talk to someone. I want you to know that you don't have to suffer in silence. Please don't wait until it's too late. Don't stuff those feelings inside and keep them to yourself. First and foremost reach out to God - He is ALWAYS there. But, don't be afraid to reach out to your friends. "Come out of the closet" with me - be bold, be brave. It is not a sign of weakness to get counseling. There are a lot of great counseling services out there. Don't allow the stigma that society puts on mental health issues keep you from getting help. It doesn't mean you are weak, it doesn't make you less of a person, it doesn't make you a bad Christian, IT IS OK to NOT be OK!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Amazed - simply amazed!

I am sitting here tonight in utter and complete amazement at how incredibly AWESOME our God is!

When I got up this morning my car didn't start. It was 5 a.m. and I didn't know what to do. I called a friend from church and her and her husband came over. He said it didn't sound like battery, but we tried jumping it. That didn't work and he said it sounded like the fuel pump. Anyway, they "happened" to have an extra vehicle I could use to get to work.

I had a 30 minute drive ahead of me and started out in my "default mode"... "What did I do to deserve this?" However, I didn't camp out there like I would in the past. I quickly started thinking and processing everything. I remembered what the speaker at church said yesterday about believing and trusting that God loves me and desires to care for me. I also thought about his first point about realizing the support you have around you. The family of God came to my rescue, even at 5 a.m. I was challenged all day to not just say I'm a Christian but to BE one - which meant not worrying incessantly about what was wrong with my car, but just resting and trusting that God loves me and He will take care of me. I thought about what I wrestled with last week regarding trust and fear and realized this was a perfect time for me to trust God and not be afraid!

I've been challenged lately about where my security lies and realizing that it lies in God and God alone. My car could completely die, I could lose my job, I could lose the roof over my head, I could lose my friends, I could lose the love of my life (OK - hitting close to home now)... BUT - the point is that I could lose anything at all on this earth but I will still be COMPLETELY SECURE in God's love, mercy, and grace. I can COMPLETELY TRUST GOD WITH EVERYTHING!

I was thinking about this on my drive home and this song came on the radio: One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill. You can listen here:

These are the lyrics: 

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

In death, in life
I'm confident and covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid
There's nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love

Publishing: (c) 2010 Bethel Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Christajoy Music (BMI) (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing) / Mercy Vineyard Publishing (ASCAP)
Writing: Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford and Jeremy Riddle

I love that line, "And I never, ever have to be afraid One thing remains."

Clinging to that ONE THING,


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Following Hard After Jesus

I woke up this morning after a fitful and headache-filled night of sleep. I woke up at 1 a.m. with a terrible headache. I took some ibuprofen and headed back to bed. I woke up several times in the night still battling the headache and woke up with my head pounding. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with Buddy and a blanket with my eyes closed and a heat pack on my head. But it was Sunday morning - my favorite time of the week. I love gathering together with my brothers and sisters in Christ and worshiping our Father together. I love listening to God's Word being taught knowing that God uses His Word to speak to me when I listen with a receptive heart. I know there are times when we are sick and need to stay home, but this morning I strongly felt I needed to go no matter how much my head was throbbing. So, I took some more medication and made myself an iced coffee and took off for church.

I walked in and was greeted with hugs from sweet girls and had good conversation with friends before the service. I was blessed by our time of worship - I can't wait for Heaven when we will be singing praises to God for all of eternity. He is truly worthy of all my praise and I just love to sing to Him. It is such a sweet time where I personally really connect to the heart of my Heavenly Father.

It was Missions Sunday today and a representative from our church camp gave a short talk and a leader from a mission organization which supports Pastors in their native land gave the message. I was greatly challenged by both but want to share what Ryan, the camp representative shared with us as it challenged my heart.

Ryan had 4 points from Hebrews 12:1-3:

  • Realize the support you have built around you - the family of God.
  • Throw off all that hinders you: sin, distraction, worry, stress, and more.
  • Believe and trust that God simply loves you and desires to care for you.
  • Follow with intention hard after Jesus.
He challenged us to not just say we are a Christian, but to be a Christian. God has really been working in my life lately. His Spirit has been working in my heart and in changing my behavior. I have seen clear evidence of the Spirit's work in my life and others have noticed too. My boss at work made a comment the other day that he was proud of the way I had handled a situation. He noticed a difference in how I had handled the same situation in the past. I can honestly only attribute it to the Spirit's work and that I have been seeking to "Follow hard after Jesus". I really like that phrase and it stuck with me. 

We ended the service with a song that has been such a blessing to me when I've heard it on the radio. It was a sweet time of worship, hearing from God, and fellowship with my Family. I'm so thankful I didn't curl up on the couch like I wanted to this morning.

10,000 Reasons - Matt Redman:

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Little Trust Goes a Long Way

I just had to share this neat little thing.  I was not sure what I was going to do with Buddy when I went on my trip to Colorado. As much as I would LOVE to take him, I don't think it's the best thing for him. A college girl from my church has agreed to take care of him. She is a wonderful, responsible young lady who I know will give Buddy plenty of love and affection. I can rest assured knowing my baby will be well taken care of.

Thanks God, for showing me how You care for even the little things!

Continuing to learn to trust,


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trust - Colorado Here I Come!

When I need to process, one of the best things for me to do is to write. So, write I will! I was talking to a friend the other day about some issues and she brought up a very good point... that I have a hard time trusting God because so many people in my life have let me down. Now, if you are reading this, chances are you are one of my good friends or family members who have NOT let me down and you know I love you and hold you close to my heart. But, you also know that many people close to me in my life have let me down in some pretty major ways. My friend pointed out that this is probably why I live in fear and don't completely trust.

Another thing came up Sunday in Sunday School class. Matt, my friend, pastor (pastoral intern??), small group leader, made a comment that really struck my heart, "If we think of ourselves as a horrible wretch of a person who can never be good enough no matter how hard we try, then we will continue to try harder to be good enough and always come up short.  But, if we think of ourselves as a horrible wretch of a person who has been redeemed, then our actions will flow out of our redemption." I've lived a big portion of my life thinking of myself as a horrible wretch of a person... partially because that is the lie I was told by people that were supposed to love me.

So, how do these two things relate? They've been brought together as I've been processing whether or not to take a trip to Colorado next month to see my Aunt and family as well as a close friend who lives there. A part of me is scared - scared to leave the comfort of my home, scared that my car might break down on the Interstate, scared that I will have an accident on the trip. So, if I go on the trip and something bad happens, then I will think, "Ugh - what did I do to deserve this?" "What kind of wretched person am I to have had this happen to me?"

I've realized that I'm living in fear instead of just trusting. 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." I should not be living my life with this kind of fear. I should not be afraid to take a vacation because something MIGHT happen. Guess what, Sherri? You could get in an accident driving to work! Your car could break down driving to the grocery store! And, if one of these "terrible" things happens it is NOT because I'm some horrible wretched person - it's because life happens.

Life is short - God has shown that to me time and time again as I've seen people far too young pass away. I will not have my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins here forever. I will not have my friends here forever. None of us is promised tomorrow so I need to live today in trust, not in fear! This fear has had a grip on my heart and kept me from living for far too long. I will not let it rob me of a chance to see my family... my Aunt who has been more of a mom to me than I have ever had. I will not let it rob me anymore.

Barring bad weather preventing me from taking this trip, I am going - if something happens, it happens. God will still be God, He will still be on His throne, I will still be a redeemed Daughter of the Living God and He WILL take care of me because He loves me.

Learning to Trust,


Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Embracing the Suck"

I spent a good portion of yesterday reading James and writing it out in a notebook to carry with me to work on memorizing it. James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."  My good friend, pastor, and big brother, who happens to be younger than me, told me what his Lieutenant told him once: "Embrace the suck." I don't know Gabe's Lieutenant, I don't know if he's a believer. I don't know where or why he came up with the phrase "Embrace the suck." but I think James 1:2-3 gives us the same advice. Not only are we to embrace it, we are to consider it pure joy.

As I sit here typing these words, there are tears streaming down my face. Life has been full of hurt and disappointment lately. Life has not been going the way I would plan it out if I was in control. But, God is God and I am not and all I can do right now is hold on to the truth of His Word. He promises that the trials and testing of my faith will develop perseverance. James goes on to say in verse 4, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." So, if I have to go through the "suck" in order to be mature and complete then I will "Embrace the suck" no matter how hard it is. And, I can do so with full confidence in God's Word and God's Promises... and even with tears streaming down my face, a heart that is full of pain... that is enough.

One of my favorite songs is by Pam Thum and it's called "Life is Hard (God is Good)" These are the lyrics:

You turn the key
Then close the door behind you
Drop your bags on the floor
You reach for the light
But there's darkness deep inside
And you can't take it anymore

'Cause sometimes living takes the life out of you
And sometimes living is all you can do

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good

You start to cry
'Cause you've been strong for so long
And that's not how you feel
You try to pray
But there's nothing left to say
So you just quietly kneel

In the silence of all that you face
God will give you His mercy and grace

Jesus never said
It was an easy road to travel
He only said that you would never be alone
So when your last thread of hope
Begins to come unraveled
Don't give up, He walks beside you
On this journey home and He knows

Life is hard, the world is cold
We're barely young and then we're old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good

You can listen to it here...

Holding On,


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Swallowing My Pride

The official announcement as posted on Facebook when I made the decision:

"I made a decision today. I am not running, walking, or crawling the Des Moines 1/2 marathon. My body - physically, emotionally, and spiritually is just NOT READY. There is NO WAY I can be ready in less than 4 weeks. It's not going to happen no matter how much I want it to. This sucks. I hate it. But it is my reality and the sooner I accept it the better off I'll be."

I e-mailed the decision to the race director immediately after I posted this status so that there would be no turning back. This was a very difficult decision and one that I am honestly still coming to terms with. As I wrote a while back, running isn't what defines me. What defines me is that I am a child of the Living God... I am a daughter of the King! 

Nothing and NO one can ever change that. I am clinging to the hope and the truth found in God's Word. I am trusting that God is working in me - that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it!

I'm doing a 5K run/walk on October 6th and I am not planning on any other races in the near future. Right now I am focusing on running the race that God has set before me. I am going to stop making plans and decisions based on what I want to do and look to God to direct my paths.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

All I Need ~ The Body of Christ ~ Dichotomy?

The Christian faith is filled with apparent dichotomies. Sometimes (OK, all the time) they cause me to scratch my head in wonder. The process and journey always leads me to a greater faith and closer relationship with the Lord - although sometimes the road along the way to that is bumpy. I was  faced with one such dichotomy this morning at church.

I love the song "All I Need" by JJ Heller. A young lady (with an amazing voice, I might add!) sung it this morning. You can listen here to JJ Heller (you missed out if you didn't get to hear Mara sing it this morning!):!

These are the lyrics:

"All I Need"

Don't need a thing
My good Shepherd brings me all
You are all I need

You let me catch my breath
Even in the valley of death
You are all I need

All I need to be complete
Is Your love
Your blood that covers me

You lift up my head
You provide the wine and bread
You, You are all I need

There's no need to fear
Even with my enemies here
You are all I need

All I need to be complete
Is Your love
Your blood that covers me

Goodness and mercy are following me
You're all that I need
You make a home for me
Where pastures are green as far as I see
You are all I need

All I need to be complete
Is Your love
Your blood that covers me 

I believe there is such truth in these words. God's Word says in 1 Peter 1:3 "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

However, it is also true that God did not create us to be "Lone Ranger Christians".  Hebrews 10:24-25 says,"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." God's Word also says in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27: "Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body — whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

We were not designed to try to live life all by ourselves. When I first became a Christian I was living with my Dad and my family is Jewish. I didn't go to church except when I hung out with my best friend after school on Wednesday's or spent the night at her house on a Saturday night. Yes, I was a rebel child and I went to church behind my parent's back! (Truth is, I'm sure my Dad knew I went when I spent that time with my best friend, but as long as it wasn't TOO often, he didn't say anything). But other than those times I was pretty much on my own. I felt like it was me and God against the world. During that time I did grow in my faith, but not nearly as much as I did once I went to college. It was at that time that I became a member of a church and spent time studying God's Word with other believers, and spent time in fellowship with other believers.

So, the truth of the matter is that yes, God is all I need to be complete. I don't need to be married to be complete. I don't need my friends to be complete. I don't need validation from others to be complete. I am complete in Christ - His life gives me all I need. But it is equally true that God doesn't intend for me to live my life in seclusion. He wants me to be part of this world (not to be of this world, but part of the world) in order to be a light. He wants me to be in fellowship with others in the Body of Christ to help to encourage me, to help me in learning more about His Truth.

Even as I type this I have a hard time really wrapping my mind around these two truths and how they relate to each other. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter if you'd like to share.

With Faith and Trust,


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Faith Not Feelings

I don't really have a lot of words today. I'm grateful that my faith is not based on feelings. I'm thankful that no matter how crappy I feel - God is still good. And that's really all I have to say today - and it's enough!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Shorter Path May Not Always be the BEST Path!

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. While this is true, I am not fully convinced that the best path is always the shortest distance. How many times have you been out on a hike and you could go straight through to the end of the path, but if you take some of the side paths along the way you find all sorts of beautiful things? It may be much more efficient to take the straight path, but how much learning and experiences might you miss by skipping the side paths? Is it really the most important thing to save time or should we take the time to see beauty and learn lessons along the path of life?

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Sometimes life doesn't make sense. There are so many things that happen in this world that seem are so unfair. The truth is there are things that are unfair and unjust in this life. We live in a fallen world. Things don't always go how we plan, or how we want them to go. Sometimes it takes a circuitous path to get to where God eventually wants us. Does that mean that those "side paths" are bad? Yes, sometimes we disobey and go a direction that God doesn't want us to go. But,  He can use those disobedient moments and use them for our growth and development in our faith. Sometimes we have to face consequences because of our bad decisions, but God can still use them for our good. Sometimes the "side paths" are just an indirect route that God uses to get us to where He eventually wants us to be. That is what I have experienced this summer. It can be really discouraging along the way wondering if we are ever going to get there.

I have been going through the process of finding a counselor since May. The counselor I had seen last fall was on maternity leave and so I needed to find someone else. In the process I have been to a total of four different counselors since May. Each time, I have had to go over the issues that have brought me there... talking about the past, the hurts, the disappointment, the heartbreak... over and over and over again. It would be really easy to be frustrated and upset that I hadn't found someone to establish some continuity and progress with. There have been times that I have been frustrated and upset. But, even through the process, and especially now, I can look at it and see how each person I saw along the way taught me something about God, about myself, about life.

 I saw someone today who I have a very good feeling might be the counselor I stick with for the long term. While I am thankful to have arrived at this point, I look back at the past few months with gratitude. I am not in the same place I was at the end of the summer. My self awareness has improved greatly. My faith has been strengthened immensely. I have dealt with adversity and difficulties that have come up in much better ways.

This has been a wonderful lesson to me of how God truly works everything for good. What challenges have you faced in your life? Have there been instances where God has led you on a circuitous route that you have found frustrating? Can you look back on it today and see how God has used it for good?

May we all be challenged to a greater hope and faith in our great God, trusting that He can use all of those "side paths" to show us much beauty and teach us many lessons.

Counting my blessings,


Sunday, September 9, 2012

What Defines Me?

When I finished the DM Marathon in 2010, I was barely across the finish line when I posted on Facebook... "I am a marathoner" I was so excited to be able to say that. It may have taken me almost 7 hours, but I still did it - 26.2 miles! Running has become an integral part of my life. I LOVE to run. I may be slow, but I love it. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of going out and pushing myself beyond what I thought I could do. It's good for my health: physical, emotional, and spiritual; it's great to get out and enjoy the nature and beauty all around us; it's fun to participate in road races with other people and encourage each other along the way. But, at the end of the day, at the end of my life, do I really want people to say, "Sherri, yeah, she was a runner. She was a marathoner." "NO!"
At the end of the day, at the end of my life, I want people to say, "Sherri, yeah, she loved God. She was really kind, she was full of joy and peace." More than anything I want my life to be remembered for being a follower of Christ. I want His love to be so alive in me that it just overflows in everything I say and do. I don't want to be defined by my running. I want to be defined by the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

Due to circumstances, some within my control, and some beyond my control my running has not gone how I have wanted this year. I had a lot of goals set out before me and at the end of the year none of them will be accomplished. I talked about these goals in a previous blog post:

Well, now I have walking pneumonia and at this point don't even know if I'll be able to do the 1/2 marathon I am registered for. I am planning on doing whatever I can training-wise between now and then and hopefully I will be able to do it. But, I have been reminded this week that no matter what - even if I don't do it, that isn't what defines me. I am a child of God, I am the daughter of the King. That is what defines me!

Pressing on with faith and hope,


Sunday, September 2, 2012

HELP! I've fallen...

"Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" 

How many times have we said that, or thought it anyway? I know that personally I jokingly have said it many times (and maybe a few times seriously!) I sometimes have a difficult time staying vertical when I am out running (or even walking!). I've been to a few cross country meets and I am amazed at how those kids can run on those courses with the uneven ground. When I've been running on the street or sidewalks I have managed to trip and fall over my own two feet. I have had to pick myself off of the sidewalk more than once, looking around wondering if anyone saw me face-plant on the sidewalk.

So, when I saw this quote on Facebook this afternoon it resonated with me.  I stumble. I fall. I stray onto the wrong path. BUT - GOD IS WORKING IN ME! There are days that I am a mess, a complete and utter mess! But I am reminded that I am GOD'S MESS and that every time I stumble or fall, every time I stray onto the wrong path, He is there to pick me up. He is working in me and His Word promises, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  I can walk... yes, I can even run without fear...Deuteronomy 31:6 says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you."

So, as I run this race of life I run with full knowledge that I will screw up, I will not be perfect, I am going to make wrong decisions. But, I run with full knowledge that God will be by my side through it all, He will pick me up when I fall, He will finish His work in me!

With Hope and Faith,


Monday, August 27, 2012

Knowing and Doing

Don't ever ask me what my favorite movie is because it's a question I just really can't answer. There are so many good movies, different genres, different things I like about different movies it is just impossible for me to name ONE favorite movie.

That being said, the Matrix movies are definitely SOME of my favorite movies. This quote from Morpheus is one of my favorite quotes.

This past Sunday at church our Pastor's wife made an announcement about our women's group Bible study that will be starting in a couple of weeks. We are going to be doing a Beth Moore study on the book of James. The book of James is ONE of my favorite books in the Bible. The basic theme of the book is that once God's grace has gotten a hold of your heart and you have accepted His gift of salvation by faith, your faith should be evident in your day to day living. This is not to be confused with a "works salvation" where people believe that if you DO enough good things you will be saved, rather that my faith and love for the Lord motivates me to do good things.

After church I was talking with some high school kids. I had on my race T-shirt from the 5K I did on Saturday and we were talking about that, which brought up my issues with plantar fasciitis that I have been having. I was telling them how one of my awesome friends had told me about a really good yoga stretch to do and that it really helps WHEN I do it. It's a really easy stretch, I know how to do it, but I have had a problem with having the discipline to do it.  I told them how just knowing how to do it didn't do any good, I needed to do it in order for it to help the issues with my feet. I then told them how that's a lot like our Christian faith, we can know all the right things to do, know all the answers, but if we aren't putting it into practice then what good is it really doing? One of the kids said, "Teachable moment." I really didn't plan it, it just happened through conversation. It was pretty cool, and I was thankful God brought it to mind and that I was able to share it with them. Even though it was a teachable moment for them, it was just as much a teachable moment for me.

  • How many times do I know the right thing to do but don't do it?
  • How often am I so busy thinking about myself that I don't see another person in need?
  • How many times do I have an opportunity to show God's love to someone and choose a bad attitude instead?
This afternoon I got home from the gym and started to get busy doing other things, and I remembered this conversation. So, I took 15 minutes and did the stretching and exercises that I know are important for my physical health. This is a good thing, and I know that if I want to keep running I will have to make sure to take care of my physical body. But, the real challenge in front of me is in the day to day.

  •  When I'm at work will I choose to show God's love by my actions and attitude?
  • When I see a neighbor in need will I choose to try to help meet their need?
  • When I am in the grocery store and in a hurry, will I choose to show patience and kindness to the other customers and the workers?
It is true, "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." Or, as James puts it, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

Seeking to not just know the path, but to walk the path,


Sunday, August 26, 2012


By this time eight weeks from now I will have crossed the finish line of my 3rd half marathon. They may have to take me away on a stretcher after I cross the finish line, but only AFTER I cross the finish line! This is what my training schedule looks like for the next 8 weeks:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8/27/2012 2 4 4 Rest Rest 4 XT
9/3/2012 2 4 4 Rest Rest 6 XT
9/10/2012 2 4.5 4.5 Rest Rest 7 XT
9/17/2012 3 4.5 4.5 Rest Rest 8 XT
9/24/2012 3 5 5 Rest Rest 9 XT
10/1/2012 3 3 XT Rest 10.9 3.1 XT
10/8/2012 3 5 5 Rest Rest 7 XT
10/15/2012 3 2.9 2 Rest Rest Rest 13.1

I have to admit, I am a little scared (OK, a LOT scared) to think of running 13.1 miles 8 weeks from now. As one of my great friends reminded me this morning, one step at a time. I need to remember to just take one step at a time. The truth is, my training hasn't gone the way I wanted. This is the third race this year that I have had to change my distance on. I was going to do Dam to Dam 20K and ended up doing the 5K, I was going to do the Prairie Fest 10K and ended up doing the 5K, I was going to do the Des Moines full marathon, and am now doing the 1/2 marathon. It frustrates me that I haven't met the goals I set out, but life happens and the important thing is that I haven't given up. I love this quote I saw the other day:

I have to remember that no matter what happens I need to just have the courage to continue. Giving up is not an option. There may be runs that don't go as well as I would like, there may be races that I am not able to do the distance I would like to do, there may be times I even don't finish a race. Ryan Hall has been a huge example to me of someone with the right attitude. He is an Olympic marathon runner who trained and worked hard to make the Olympic team and go to London this year. He ended up with his very first DNF (did not finish) of his career.

He wrote about that experience here:

I love when he says, "I find that the best way for me to deal with disappointment is to re-establish perspective and hope.  The perspective I need now is looking at the Olympics in the light of my entire career and how that experience can help me break through in the future.  I always learn more in my failures than in my successes. While I never hope for my biggest failures to come in the Olympic Games I will use it to my advantage in the long run."  While I am not an Olympic marathoner, I need to look at the big picture as well. Everything I'm doing is focused on becoming healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The things I have either done or which have happened to contribute to lack of health in these areas did not happen overnight and becoming healthy will not happen overnight - it is a process and I will hold on to the courage to continue with God's grace!

Pressing on,