Monday, November 29, 2010

We Made It

What a weekend! I hope your Thanksgiving was the best ever. We had a busy busy BUSY weekend. :)

Chad and I headed up to my parent's house on Wednesday afternoon. The girls have a tradition of going home with my parents the week of Thanksgiving. It gives me a chance to Christmas shop, decorate and rest before the crazy holiday season begins. I live for this week. :)

Once we got to TN, we all loaded up and went to see Tangled. LOVED it.

Thursday, we had a great Thanksgiving meal at my mom and dad's. After we got lunch cleaned up and one car loaded, I headed up to my sister's place with my Mom and Dad. She was married on Friday. I was thrilled to spend the night with her and do all the pre-wedding fun stuff with her Friday morning.

Chad and the girls drove up Friday morning and we all enjoyed seeing Valerie and Josh along with their children S. and C. become a family. It was beautiful.

Because I'm just about to fall over asleep, I'm going to post some pictures from the special day. They speak louder than I can!

Val and C. at the hotel.

The five cousins excited and ready to welcome number six to their special club.

Mom putting on the garter that she wore 41 years ago and I wore almost 17 years ago.

I have no idea why these photos are so small! ARGGGG!!!

Val with C. and S.

Me and my younger sister. I think this was one of two of us. :)

Mom and Dad with the Bride and Groom.

Josh and Val leaving the bed and breakfast. (Which was one beautiful place!)

It was a beautiful day for a family to begin.

Saturday, we all drove over to Pigeon Forge and had lunch together. Let me just give a plug for The Partridge and Pear restaurant. It was WONDERFUL!!! Food was incredible and the decor... stunning. Made me want to come home and paint the ceiling in my dining room! Seriously, if you are in Pigeon Forge, RUN. Do not walk to this restaurant! It is fabulous!
Here is the new family at lunch on Saturday.

Welcome Josh and S. We are thrilled you have become part of our family!

We have spent the day doing laundry and getting the house decorated. School starts early in the morning, so I'm headed for an early bedtime!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Training Lessons: Looking Back at the Battlefield 1/2 Marathon

We were somewhere between mile 6 and 7. The trees had created a fall canopy that kept the sun from shining on us. That stretch of the run felt like a tunnel to me. It was very shaded and cool. The crowd that we had started with had all fallen into their own pace and there was room to spread out and breath. But mentally, I was having to force myself to concentrate. God had given me several verses to say at different points of this run and I was saying things like, "do not throw away your confidence, Stephanie". (Heb. 10:35) And "I can do all things..." (Phil.4:13) when I heard them.

There, between mile 6 and 7 I could hear a crowd. Faintly, I could hear them yelling and encouraging the runners ahead of me. Chad heard it about the same time and said "LISTEN! Can you hear them cheering?" I did hear and began to listen intently to see if I could understand what they were saying. It was then that this passage in Hebrews came to mind:

Hebrews 12:1-2

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

I began thanking God for the cloud of witnesses that were cheering us on, the seen and the unseen. The twitter friends, the family and friends around the country and the people that had lined the start line as we began the race an hour before.

We were still running under the beautiful canopy of fall leaves but the cheering crowd was getting louder. Chad kept saying that we were almost out of the woods into the clearing. That was when I felt like I was really having a meltdown or some sort of hallucination. I felt like I could hear my girls voices in that crowd. I couldn't make out words, but I know what my girls cheering sounds like and I was convinced I heard them yelling.

I looked up and saw my Dad standing on the edge of the woods, then I saw Chad's mom and sister. Then I heard my girls and nieces screaming "THERE THEY ARE!!!"

That would have been the cue for the ugly cry.

I had not been going crazy or having a meltdown! :) I was hearing the voice of my children cheering everyone on. They were my great cloud of witnesses that cheered me through the toughest part of my run, the half-way point.

We ran out of the woods into the sunshine and the smiles of my Dad, mother in law, sister in law, nieces and my daughters. They ran along side us for a few minutes and gave me the push I needed to finish the last 5 miles.

They were having so much fun cheering for everyone, but I'm not quite sure they realize just how incredible it was to see their smiling faces as we came out of the shade into the light.

Made me wonder what our entrance into Heaven will be like. I can't fathom what it will be like to finish this race of life and see the face of Jesus and even sweeter, hear the sound of his voice. What a day that will be.

Here are our cheerleaders waiting on us near the finish line. (Thanks Linds. for taking pictures!) The two short ones are our daughters. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Training Lessons: A Few Words and Some Pictures

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:35-36

This was one of my training verses and THE verse I read as I went to sleep on Friday night. It was also the first verse I read Saturday morning. It was my mile marker power verse.

Friday night, I was hit with the realization that I had been diligent in my training. I had done everything I could possibly do to prepare for Saturday's race. I had read and followed my training plan, watched what I put in my body, been faithful to REST when was supposed to....

I spent 17 weeks preparing for this day. And while I had pre-race jitters...I was able to rest well Friday night knowing that I had done all I could. Now it was time to just run.

Saturday morning I asked God to speak to me during the race, and He did. But today, I am just so overwhelmed and physically tired that I'm not sure it's the time to share it! Plus, I need it to soak in a little before I try and share it. :), here are some pictures!!

This is my Dad and Chloe and Emma with me before the race. It was very cool!

My Sister-In-Law, Mother-In-Law and our two oldest nieces also came to cheer us on. Sis-In-Law caught this picture at mile 8. (That will be part of what I'll share later, but just know that in this picture..I'm crying the ugly cry.)

Here we are after the finish. Our time was 2:38:39!!!

We are home, and I'm discovering a new appreciation for the ice pack! Thanks so much for your prayers and support! I really did have a great cloud of witnesses cheering and praying me on. Thank you!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training Lessons: 4 Days and Counting!!!

My mind is spinning. I'm nervous, excited, sick to my stomach. And in shock the 17 weeks of training did not kill me. :) I think it helps to have a cute trainer. Just sayin'.

Chad and I are four days FOUR days from the 1/2 marathon. I've been adding some music to my iPod tonight and I can not find a particular CD that has a song I NEED. It's my theme song and must have it for the weekend.

Because I'm so scattered brain right now, I'm just going to share it with you...

I hope and pray you know Jesus and the power of his love and forgiveness. My favorite line? "My past has been erased by just one touch of you..."


I'm off to tear this house apart and FIND THAT KIRK FRANKLIN CD!!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Training Lesson: Even On the Rest Day

Even on the rest day, training takes place. Today, I am two days past my longest run to date. A little over 12 miles was what God helped me do on Saturday morning. And now that we are two days past that run, I can say...

As hard as it was, it wasn't as hard as I expected it to be. Please don't misunderstand was work. Here are few highlights (if you can call them that) from Saturday's run:

I cried when I ran past a dead deer.

Gagged when we past the dead opossums.

Squealed like a girl and ran up the middle of the road when a pack of junkyard dogs chased me up the street...

but I finished it.

And my dislike of dogs is greater than ever.

All this training is paying off. We are just 12 days from the 1/2 marathon and while I'm not sure I'll ever be "ready", I am beginning to get excited!

The training today was a little different. It was some emotional and mental training. AND, had nothing to do with my running. It was spiritual.

After the events of today, I believe God was giving me an opportunity to obey in an area that could potentially have some hard consequences. It was one more opportunity for God to remind me that He is big enough to handle the consequences of my obedience.

I woke up with the "opportunity" on my brain, AGAIN. It had presented itself numerous times over the weekend and I had remained silent. DISOBEDIENCE. When it presented itself again, I knew that today was the day. So I did it.

Before I knew it, I was faced with a bit of opposition. I sat at the computer screen praying about what to say, IF I should say anything at all. Immediately, Exodus 14:14came to my mind. It says,

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I know that verse well. In fact the Message translation well, it just says:

"God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouth shut!"

Yes, I know. That will preach.

So as I'm sitting there saying I hear you Lord, God "fought" for me. And you know what? I got to watch Him do it. I got to watch my God do the talking.

Tonight, as I look back over the day, I have a peace about the entire thing. I also have a burden that I didn't have this morning.

A burden that I asked God for, but wasn't expecting it to hit the heart quite so hard.