Ok, so you most likely have not thought twice about my gap in posts the past week and a half. BUT I am going to tell you what we’ve been up to anyway;
Thomas and I ran a 5k. This was Thomas’s first and I was extremely proud of him for setting a goal and making it happen. Although I have ran lots of races, I have not ran one in at least 10 years. It was nice for me to get back into the racing groove rather than just running for fun and sanity on my own. It was quite a large race, so I am even more impressed with Thomas running such a bit event as his first. I had to get use to chip timing, which makes racing a bit different. Example: I was the 12th female overall to finish. The two ladies directly above me to finish were 2 & 3 seconds ahead of me, yet I did not see a single female that close to me. I had actually just passed two females on my route to the finish. Turns out, the theory of crossing the finish line before someone else when you use chip timing does not mean that you beat them. Explanation: They began, for instance, 6 seconds after me at the start. Although I passed them, and it took 4 seconds more for them to cross the finish, they still had a time advantage of 2 3 seconds. Make sense? So, my old racing theory of waiting until the very end to kick and pass a few ladies does not apply so well in the modern racing days! I ran another 5k the following weekend, but it was smaller and there were no chips. I was the first female to cross at this race. I have a few more races, with larger mileage, coming up here soon, so I am glad I learned my chip racing theory when I did.
We celebrated some birthdays on Thomas’s side of the family. Both my sisters-in-law and my father-in-law have birthdays within a 3 week period, so we clumped them into one celebration. That made for lots of gifts to be opened. It was fun to sing “Happy Birthday” to three people at once :O)
We also had a little festival right up the street from our home, full of tractors, bounce houses, carnival games, and a fish fry. Daniel was able to climb inside a fire engine and that made his day. Daniel was super excited to see his friend, Carver, out the festival as well. Aren’t they just the cutest?
We’ve had company, my good friend and her husband, from out of state for three nights as well. The main purpose of their visit was not to see us, but we were glad to be able to give them a place to rest while they were here. We were able to catch up with them, and I was able to see her cute pregnant belly, so that was wonderful! (yeah I did not take one pic!)
Swinging, laughing, playing at parks and making a mess also occurred.
Plus, every day we are learning. Generally officially and often unofficially, for I am a firm believer that even simple play is major learning. Daniel can perfectly spell his name, all on his own, and he is a master at coloring. He can recognize patterns, draw shapes, and all sorts of other neat skills. He truly impresses me!
Add all of that to just living life– cooking meals, washing clothes, getting the yard mowed, among other things– and you have the happenings for a busy time.
Saturday an old college friend that led us in worship and blessed our hearts with his overwhelming love for the Lord passed away at the age of 32. The event is heartbreaking for so many reasons. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter (7 weeks old), who are now walking in my deepest fear (go and read that post!). As that past blog post attested to, no matter the If, the Then remains: God will take care of them. It does not, however, mean that there will not be some unquenchable pain in the process.
My head has been spinning with the news since I found out on Saturday, and every time there is a second where I am not moving, my spirit gets into a knot over the situation. It is all a major jolt, to say the least, and he is not even my husband, father, brother, or son.
Some, in the process of healing, left messages of gratitude for his life on his FB page. Obviously they are words he will not read, but if it helps you grieve, I will accept it and encourage it. Another friend posted a link to JoNate singing. And, if I was short on words before, I was certainly completely void of them after hearing the song, for when he recorded this piece a few years ago, who would have guessed he would literally go to sleep on a Friday night and not see Saturday morning?
I post all this because, well, it is on my mind. I post this, too, because I am being reminded of the if then promise. I post this because we all need the reminder that life is just too short, and if we die before we wake, we certainly want the Lord to be there to welcome us home.
Leigh Ann just posted her current reading list over on her blog, and I thought that it was a good idea for me to do as well (yea, that makes me a copy cat). After all, as Dave Ramsey says, you will be the same person next year as you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet. (but as I typed that in on-line to search for the exact wording, it appears lots of folks have said something similar, so guess Dave might have picked it up somewhere himself)
So, here are some recent reads:
Son of Hamas by Mosab Hasan Yousef
This book is not something that I would generally pick up and read, but I had read on Megan’s blog that it was a good book. So, when I saw it placed out at the library, I checked it out. Turns out, I am very glad I read the biography because it opened my eyes to several things. It helped me to gain some perspective on how everyone believes him/herself to be right and justified, until something major changes and eyes are opened. In particular, Yousef fights as a Muslim and strives for success in the organization in Hamas, just like his father that founded the organization. There is then a shift and the story turns spy novel along with a Christian insight text, all being true and actual events. There are some very breathtaking moments as you read about jail break ins/outs and bombing, especially being they are all true in his life as a double agent. It also changed how I will interact with someone outside of my faith. Knowing how he was reached and loved amidst a highly Muslim lifestyle gives much insight on how to handle others.
Freakonomics By Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
This was a happenstance grab at the library. I am, however, very glad I got it, for it is such a fun read. As most of you know, I am not a numbers person. Researching, on the other hand, is something I do enjoy. This takes random numbers and odd facts and brings them together in a way that is undeniably and accurately linked. The authors take a focus on why crack dealers live with their mothers, why we name our children what we do, sumo wrestlers rigging fights, and cheating teachers, just to name a few. I am so happy that I was not the one responsible for crunching the numbers to make this book function, but I am glad someone did, for it provides an opportunity to look at different sides and aspects to nearly everything. I like having alternate perspectives, and it has certainly changed how I will look at some things. The “hidden side of everything” approach is certainly true and I can not look at a real estate agent the same way after reading this text!
Calming the Family Storm By Gary McKay and Steven Maybell
Again, we have a library impulse pick up book. Turns out I am highly incited by the display books, especially being that I only get to browse the adult section as I pass through to the kiddo portion of the library :O). I shared so much of this book with Thomas, for there were portions that could benefit his work with clients. I learned a phrase from this book that will stick with me: (pardon me as I paraphrase) “It is not the Golden Rule we should employ ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Instead, we should ‘do unto others as they would want done unto them’.” How true if that? For, if you have done any reading or learning on the Love Languages, you realize that you may want a gift but someone else really only wants an act of service. It is simply not enough to do as you would want, it is imperative to do as others would want. They writers do not write as Christian writers but the advice is still sound and there are spiritual elements. I actually skipped several portions of the text because they did not apply to my life in any way, such as a blended family, step-parents, ex-spouses, and things of the like. The portions I did read, however, were good, and I think anyone who has to ever deal with a toddler and the possible tantrums that can erupt, even from the best put together parents, can benefit from this text.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen
This is my most recent read. I actually picked this up at Barnes and Noble one day and started reading while the boys played at the train table. I put it back when I left the store and actually looked it up at the local library. I think this book is a must, and I have learned so much from it and clarified some other things I already knew. For instance, I learned some history on nutritionalism and how it has invaded our society as a health focus, as through Senator Mc Govern in 1977, which was neat. I learned a new word, orthorexia, which I wish I had known a few months back when I commented on some blogs and wrote this post, for it sums up in a clinical manner exactly what I wanted to say. The term is actually an unhealthy focus on healthy eating, which is being researched more in order to have it added into the DSM (my hubby’s ever constant manual!) as an eating disorder, right along side anorexia and bulimia. Pollen correlates this orthorexia, the overall “amount of time people spend worrying about nutrition and their overall health and happiness”, e.g.- The French, who I have heard the women don’t get fat. I *love* that this guy tells me I can eat bread, and milk, and beef! I have always felt these things were good things, and he confirms that they are, as long as they are in a certain form and state, which I most often abide by. He discusses Americans who are “overfed and undernurished,” how other cultures eat pastas and breads and live healthier lifestyles than us, all along not stressing over the thought of bread or how Japanese have lower heart disease rates despite smoking and high blood pressure thanks to the omega-3 in fish. All so interesting. He also makes me happy when he does not just say eat from the perimeter of the grocery store. That saying in itself drives me nuts. Instead, he clarifies so many things, which I have always said, but Pollen just does it much more effectively than I ever could. Example: hidden trash in the perimeter and some good things in the middle (like peanut butter, etc). I admit there are some things that I will change after reading this book, along with many things I feel even better about doing. Even though I will adopt his more comprehensive Great-Grandother philosophy of looking at most food, I do think I will keep goldfish in the house on which for my children to snack, as well as Dora yogurt, for at least it is colored with vegetables.
Up next on the list? Well, I actually have about 2o pages more on In Defense of Food to finish. After that, I am going to tackle Better Off, which I did not have at my public library, so I bought it with my SwagBucks off Amazon for $4, a.k.a- free. Ironic that a person that teaches for an on-line college would want to read a book about turning off all technology, but a girl can dream, can’t she? :O)
I’ll let you know how the book turns out.
What are YOU reading? Anything that I just can’t pass up, let me know. And in a manner of FYI, I read sooooo much fiction while in school, teaching, and grad school, I am in a little kick of non-fiction……..