Archive | May, 2010

How dreams create desire

27 May

Two nights ago, I had a dream about babies. A friend of mine (who is now 44) had a baby – it was a weird dream. That’s not the point. The point is that I woke up really wanting to have kids. And the more I thought about it, the more I realize that I do want kids. Like, now.

I’ve tried to convince myself that I enjoy just being married, I enjoy having this freedom without kids. And while that is true, I am starting to think that I might rather have kids than my freedom.

I still think kids are at least a year and a half down the road – Travis and I both agree that it would be good for him to be done with grad school before having kids. But why not have kids right after he’s done?

We’ll see what he thinks about that.

Undo buttons

19 May

Evidence that I’ve spent way too much time on the computer: the other day, I had pulled something out of a tight space to check it, knowing it would be hard to get back in. Once I had checked in and it was exactly what I had expected, I found myself wishing I could just press an undo button and have everything go back to how it was before I pulled it out.

Today, I was using our timing software, which is an ancient DOS-based program. No undo button in that sucker. Oh, how I wish for one though. Undo buttons make life so much easier.

But if life had an undo button, it would create a culture where people acted rashly without thinking at all about the consequences. If the consequences were negative, they could just press undo and then do it a different way.

But there are some times when I’d really like an undo button in real life.

Week 1 of Marathon Training

16 May

So this past week was officially week 1 of my training plan. Well, not really. I did go on 2 runs – one 4 miles and the other 5. But that was about it. This week is the first one that I’m actually following a training plan. But I started my marathon training plan including last week so I’m counting it. 🙂

Travis and I have about 99% decided to do the Malibu Marathon on November 14. It sounds like a cool one (you get to run along the coastline!) and the first weekend of November didn’t work (Minnesota deer season opener is that weekend).

Here’s my training schedule:

That's a lot of running!

I used Hal Higdon’s 18-week Novice marathon training program but modified it to be a little longer. I also highlighted the weeks in light purple that I would be out of town and possibly not able to run at all (definitely not long distances at any rate). The pink cells are the most important runs because they’re the longest ones. The green Race in the middle is the Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon that I’m planning on doing August 29th.

I also included a key on the bottom so that if I have to shuffle workouts around due to my schedule, I knew what kind of workout I was supposed to be doing on which day. Sundays and Thursdays can alternate between rest days and short run days, depending on the week.

I bought 2 running magazines at the store today. I feel like I know a decent amount about running and training since I have done races before. But I haven’t done anything even close to a marathon, reading about running gets me excited and I’m sure there is more I can learn.

Woohoo!

Elevation makes a difference!

11 May

People have said that running at lower elevations than Denver (which is a mile above sea level) is so easy. They feel like they could run forever.

Well, I tried running in Minnesota one summer and it sure didn’t feel any easier. But then I thought, maybe I was trying to run at too fast of pace or the humidity was just as bad as altitude.

I’m pretty sure it was one of the two because this morning I went on a run in St. George, UT, which is about the same elevation as Minnesota and I felt absolutely AMAZING!! The first half of the run was even uphill but I felt great.

This experience has made me even more optimistic that training at altitude for a marathon at sea level will work out in my favor. I just have to be very careful that I don’t try to run too fast and end up screwing myself over like I did when I ran my half marathon 2 years ago.

I am SO excited about marathon training… it feels good to have a goal again.

Doing a marathon

8 May

So I think I’m finally going to do it: a marathon. I had really wanted to do the Twin Cities Marathon, since the course is pretty and it would be easier for my family to come and watch. But now I’m toying with the idea of doing one in California. There are 4 different ones during the first 2 weeks of November that I would be interested in. And doing one in November (instead of the TC Marathon at the beginning of October) would be more desirable for many reasons.

One, I would be able to train longer. Right now, I can run 6 miles (which I just did today and I barely made it through). I saw Hal Higdon’s marathon training program is 18 weeks long and I actually have 21 weeks until October 3rd. But there are 4 weeks in there when I could potentially not be running at all (due to being gone and extremely busy those weeks for work). So that leaves me 17 weeks. Which is doable but not ideal. Waiting until November would give me back those 4 weeks. And I will definitely need those, since I think I’ll only be able to squeeze in 1-2 short runs + 1 long run a week due to my work schedule.

Moreover, our race season ends the 3rd week of October. So I would have a good solid 2 weeks to recuperate, relax, sleep and de-stress before the marathon. AND if we did one in California, we could squeeze a mini-vacation into it as well. And I’m pretty sure my parents would fly out to see me too (my bros probably wouldn’t).

So these are the races I’m looking at:

Santa Barbara Marathon & Half

Santa Barbara, CA

November 6, 2010

Eye-Q Two Cities Marathon & Half

Fresno & Clovis, CA

November 7, 2010

Morgan Hill Marathon & Half

Morgan Hill, CA

November 7, 2010

Run the River Marathon & Half

Folsom, CA

November 13, 2010

Travis would run the 1/2 marathon, so it’s convenient that all of the above have that option. Hmmm… my vote right now is for the Eye-Q Two Cities Marathon because it looks the coolest but the only drawback is that the closest city to Fresno that Southwest flies to is San Francisco. Not that San Francisco is bad (it would actually be fun to spend some time there) but it’s a 3 hour drive to Fresno.

And the beautiful thing is that November in California should be pretty nice. Could be on the chilly side in the morning but overall, should be pretty nice.

In preparation for the marathon, I’m planning on running a half-marathon and I found one on August 29th called the Mt. Sneffels Half Marathon. It starts at 7,500 feet up in the mountains and ends at 7,000. I like the sound of that! And the best part, it’s only $30 to register.

I’m totally pumped!! I’ll let you know which one I end up deciding on.

Keeping time

6 May

I think I’ve finally discovered how to handle working at home: treating it like a real job in an office.

Subconsciously, working from home has felt like not working – as in I could justify staying up until 11 and not getting up until 7:30. But then I felt rushed to get in the Word and start working. I never changed out of my pajamas because I exercised at night (why would I take a shower when I would just get all sweaty later?) and after taking a shower, it was time for bed again. I felt like a bum with a job (oxymoron?)

So this past weekend, I decided No More. I was going to start treating my job like a job – and by doing so, hopefully alleviate the guilt and weird “I never left work” feeling that has been plaguing me ever since I took this job.

Well, I’m happy to report that it worked. Today is Day 3 of my “back to work” project and I feel great. I get up at 5:15 and read the Bible, while I eat breakfast and drink my first cup of coffee. Then at 6:15 I go workout (I took today off though). At 7:15, I shower and put real clothes on (novel idea!). At 8:00 am, I sit down at the computer with my 2nd cup of coffee.

I have also decided to start taking lunch breaks. Travis usually doesn’t come home for lunch so I will have time to myself to read – and will hopefully get a lot more read than I do in bed! I haven’t read during lunch yet this week (actually have only taken 1 lunch break yet this week) because I didn’t work Monday, we had a meeting in Boulder on Tuesday over the lunch hour, and I was over at D’s house today during lunch. I took a lunch break yesterday but instead of reading, I blogged. But that is one of my goals as well, so it’s ok. 🙂

I think the reason why I love getting up early to get in the Word and exercise is because I start my day off feeling productive. And I, for some reason, LOVE that feeling. I can think of very few feelings that are better. (So why am I lazy so often, I wonder?) Having more normal hours for work has also helped me feel ok about calling it quitting time after a full day. Who’da thought that I like structure to my day?

On another note, I forgot to post these pics yesterday when I posted about our landscaping.

Travis bought me flowers when he came home from his last levee inspection. What a sweetie!

Travis rubbing Katy's belly. Katy loves that!

Little Katy is so cute.

A pic just because

Now I have to go watch Bones!

Playing in the dirt

5 May

It’s time to lighten things up with a fun post, don’t you think?

My parents were here this past weekend and we had a blast. They got here Friday night around 8:45. We pretty much got home from the airport, talked a bit, and then went to bed.

Saturday morning, we slept in and then ate breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant a block from our house called Joe’s Cafe. It was great food – a very down-home feel. We would definitely go back. It’s fun finding restaurants like that near our house!

After breakfast, we went shopping for shrubs and flowers to do some landscaping in our backyard. I wasn’t too excited about it at first because there are so many choices and decisions and my brain felt like it was going to explode. But after several hours at Echter’s (the garden store near us), 25 holes and 8 bags of compost, I definitely felt like our labor had paid off.

We planted barberries, feather grasses (the ones on the end get to be 6-8' tall!), Firewitch, Goldfinger Potentilla, and one Polka Weigela.

They look pretty puny right now, but they’ll grow and get lots bigger over the course of the summer! We also installed a timed sprinkler system, so we don’t have to worry about watering the plants in addition to the lawn (Travis is thankful).

Saturday night, we grilled some elk steaks and burgers, along with some zucchini and yellow squash and then went out for ice cream at Good Times. We also rented the movie Up In the Air. It wasn’t as good as I had expected it to be. It was kind of depressing, actually.

Sunday, it was cold, windy and cloudy. So we went to church (great sermon about seeing the gospel in the life of Abraham!) and then checked out a French restaurant in Denver called Le Central: The Affordable French Restaurant. I had never had French food before and was determined to be daring. So I ordered crepes with chicken pieces, onion, carrots and green peppers in a creamy curry sauce. I thought “Crepes with meat?” but it was actually delicious. I would totally go back there. It was such a cute place and very popular. I love going to new restaurants!

After lunch, we went to the BodyWorlds exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was very interesting – a lot to learn about the body and how it works together and I doubt I will remember even 30% of what I read but very cool nonetheless. How anyone can go through an exhibit like that and still not believe in a divine creator is beyond me. It is written all over the place (not literally). We also saw the IMAX movie, Hubble, which actually was even cooler and was even more evidence for God as the creator of the world. Totally awesome. It’s amazing to me to think about us discovering stuff like that and not even totally understanding it, yet God created it all and literally put it all in its place (Psalm 8:3). God is so much bigger than us. I’m so glad that He is for me!

Sunday night, my parents and I watched It’s Complicated (great movie, cute story line if you overlook the fact that it’s about a marital affair) while Travis went and worked on a presentation and paper for one of his classes (poor guy).

Monday, my mom and I went back to Echter’s and bought flowers for the part of the backyard we hadn’t gotten to yet. It’s going to look awesome in a month or so:

The flowers we planted are all perennials: Coreopsis, Salvia, Black-eyed susans, Daisies, Day lilies, Dianthus (Fire Star), and Yarrow.

Here’s the whole setup:

Can't wait to see what happens!

After finishing the garden, we ate lunch at Jason’s Deli, re-watched our wedding video, and then I took my parents to the airport. Their vacation was over already. But so much fun! We are so blessed by my parents.

I’ll post more pics later this summer when the plants get bigger and bloom!

Releasing my identity.

3 May

This post has been in the works for the past month. I’m sure I’ll discover more in the future that could be added to it.

It all started the day I was pondering why changing jobs made me feel like a completely different person. I was obviously still me – I’ll be me for all of eternity. But I felt different. I identified myself as a different person. Before, I worked in an office doing marketing for a nonprofit ministry. Now I worked at home coordinating volunteers and vendors for a nonprofit racing company.

I realized how much of our identities are dependent on and relative to external factors. When a person does engineering, they say “I am an engineer.” When a woman has a baby, she says “I am a mother.” When two people get married, they say “We are married.” In the Spanish language, there are 2 forms of the verb “to be” – there is the permanent, definitive form “ser” and there is the temporary, transient form “estar.” All of the sentences I wrote above would use the permanent form. “I am [these things]”, which is just another way of saying “These things are me.”

We define ourselves by external things, whether we want to or not. Even making the objection “I don’t define myself by external things” is defining yourself – you are identifying yourself as a person who does not identify themselves.

This is made even more evident when trying to ponder what you think makes up your identity. How do you identify yourself? Some people would say “I’m a friend, a brother, a boyfriend.” Relationships to other people. Other people would say “I’m smart, energetic, playful, and funny.” But without examples of stupidity, laziness, seriousness, and boring in other people or situations, we would have nothing on which to gauge our individual attributes. Still other people would revert to their careers, (“I’m a lawyer”), their hobbies (“I’m a golfer”), their possessions (“I’m a millionaire”), their prestige (“I’m a Harvard grad”), or their success (“I’m the youngest CEO in this company’s history.”) Notice how all of those statements are relative to something external.

Try to think of something you could say about yourself that isn’t related to something outside of yourself. Even statements about emotions you embody, like “I am compassionate,” can only be true as they find expression outside of yourself. You can say you’re compassionate – but it is not proven until you are compassionate toward someone else.

When D and I were in Salt Lake City 2 weekends ago, we got lost driving from our hotel to the race site. I usually know which direction is north, but I had gotten totally turned around. What I thought was north actually was south. D suggested we just follow the directions I had written down instead of trying to figure out which direction was which. I got really offended and even at the time, I knew it was a silly thing to be mad over. Looking back on it later, I realized that being good with directions (not just ones from Google but the compass directions) was part of my identity. I had been subconsciously thinking of myself “I am good with directions and can find my way around easily.” When that identity was questioned or threatened, I got defensive and angry.

Since that trip, numerous other situations have revealed facets of my so-called identity – facets I didn’t even know about, facets that only reveal themselves when challenged, threatened or belittled.

I have become increasingly aware of the reason why the Bible commands us to find our identity in Christ. God knows that we, as humans, naturally find our identities outside of ourselves. We use the world around to us to figure it out. Even as Christians, God doesn’t expect us to figure out who we are by ourselves, by looking inside of us. Instead, He tells us who we are. He shows us whose we are. And He tells us to find our identities in Christ.

What does that mean – to find our identity in Christ? It’s one of those phrases that is thrown around a lot and I wonder how many people pause long to think about the meaning of what they’re saying. I think finding your identity in Christ means to let every other definition of yourself die, so that the only one remaining is that of a sinner saved by grace. If indeed that was the only definition you were clinging to, there would be nothing in this world that could shake you, disturb you, frustrate you, or disappoint you.

My struggle with feeling like I should be doing more than I am doing and my resulting feelings of guilt, I think, come from wanting to identify myself as a person who makes a difference. I am trying to make my identity be something other than Christ and of course, am encountering emotional turmoil. That is the sure result of ever trying to identify ourselves with something other than Christ.

Right now, I am re-reading Desiring God by John Piper and then I am going to re-read We Would See Jesus. Two amazing books full of the exact truths that I need to hear right now. Here is one of the life-changing passages from We Would See Jesus, that especially applies to my feeling of needing to serve:

“At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self-centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures…

“This does not mean that God does not want us engaged actively in His service. He does; but His purpose is often far different from what we think. Our service, in His mind, is to be far more the potter’s wheel on which He can mold us than the achieving of those spectacular objectives on which we set our hearts.”

Piper echoes this sentiment – that we exist to glorify God and we glorify God by enjoying Him. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” When we are satisfied in Christ being our only identity. When we have to hold onto nothing of this world to validate who we are. We don’t have to have the right job, the right clothes, car, body, hair, face, talent, personality, friends, hobbies, or service.

This is most liberating thought in the world to me. I can enjoy movies, flowers, thunderstorms, ice cream, good books, warm blankets, lazy Sundays, and my wonderful husband because they all reveal God to me. He is present in everything. I am here to know God and to enjoy Him. And only one thing is sufficient for defining myself: I am a sinner, saved by grace alone through Christ alone.

I still want to serve the needy somehow. But the feeling of guilt is gone. I am not just here to make this world a better place – I am here to know God and can do that in many different ways. I am a treasure to God, regardless of what I do for His kingdom. He just wants me to know and love Him about everything else. And when that is my focus, everything else feels manageable. He alone is my reward and my prize.