Sponsor a Child Today!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Robbie Seay Band- comin' to town!!!

Guess what? My little brother will be here with his rockin' band on Thursday.
And they are playing where I always wanted him to...The Palace Theater!
It's in downtown Bryan. It's the coolest.
8pm! His openers are Colin Bates and Jill Paquette.
Everyone, including Robbie, raves about them.
It is going to be so great!
tickets are $10. Be there!!!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vaseline what?

Post marathon pic. Can you believe I could hold this big baby? Mother's can find super strength at times, I tell you.

This is us in our awesome self-made marathon t-shirts. They had our names on the front, and mine said Mom 04, (like, 4 kids) and Rusty's said CALL 911. We thought we were cute.

The wonderful girls who made this all possible. Everyone who saw us at the race said "Where are your kids?" Like we just left them home alone? No, we had wonderful Amanda and my cousin Bailey who spent the night so they could go on duty with my kiddos at 6:45. How great are they? Love you girls!

So, I did it.
I ran 13.1 miles. Without dying.
I realized around mile 12 I had never gone that far before.
I was really nervous, pre-race, and though I slept pretty well, I had a lot of nervous peeing going on. I have bladder issues.
We got to the race. There were LOTS of people, and I wasn't sure what we were supposed to do...stand around and stretch, or what?
We got our cool numbers. I liked that. We got a tag to attach to our shoe which was supposed to calculate our race time.
We gathered in a huddle of people and we saw some people we knew...friends from church, patients of Rusty's, etc.
Jenn C. asked me if I had vaselined my hiney. What? She had heard you should vaseline your butt cheeks for friction. Someone else mentioned vaselining your toes. What?
No one, not ONE person mentioned to me vaselining (is that a verb) body parts prior to the moment we are standing at the starting line.
How could this be? I felt a moment of panic. What else did you veteran marathoners not tell me? Did I eat the right breakfast? What was carb-loading all about? I ate tacos the night before. I didn't have any of the energy goo people talked about.
But here I was, a virgin marathoner, and I was hopeful none of that mattered too much.
A local minister prayed before we took off, and I truly asked the Lord to somehow get glory from this. I have learned by now that He can get the most glory from the things we would least expect. This whole idea has been very spiritual to me. The Bible likens our faith to a race many times. God reveals himself to me when I'm pushing myself, against the wind, through pain, when I'm enduring, and really, when I'm doing something I never thought I would be capable of.
That's the biggest thing for me. God is accomplishing things that I can't even dream of.
Eph 3:20-21
20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. 21 May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.

My dreams are too small. Could I have even imagined Rusty? No way.
Not so many years ago, when I couldn't even run 1/8 of a mile, could I have dreamed that I would run a half marathon?
Emphatically no.
God has been growing me, changing me, molding me, changing the way I think, over time, and He has taught me a great deal about spiritual discipline.
I was once spiritually undisciplined.
As God grew me in this, I feel like that has spilled over into other areas of my life. I think the more spiritually disciplined I became, the more physically disciplined I became.
Is that true for everyone? No, not necessarily.
But that's what my journey has looked like, and running this race meant something to me.
So the horn blew.
Yes, a horn, not a gun. Very disappointing.
A mass of people starting running in place, trying to take off together.
This was very weird and awkward. I just kept saying "This is weird."
But the super fast people took off.
And the people who thought they were super but we passed later took off.
And we settled into a jogging pattern.
David Colvin, veteran marathoner and accountability partner to Rusty, decided THAT MORNING to run with us.
Did that compute?
He just ran the Houston marathon. He hasn't really run much since then because of a sore knee, but last minute, on a whim, did 13 miles with us.
This was really cool, and it livened up our conversation as we ran.
We kept a 10 minute mile most of the way.
Around mile 4 I put on Kirk Franklin and "put my hands up" and picked up my pace.
We trucked along, seeing David's family, whom we dearly love, along the way around mile 9. That was cool. (There weren't many cheer-ers in this race. Hardly any really. That stunk. Except for Manny Martinez, there to cheer a co-worker on, and he was our one-man cheering section. So cool.)
We saw our kids, Amanda, and Bailey around mile 10. I was so looking forward to that!
But about that time, what we could only describe as a "brutal wind" hit us.
Something to do with weather or something. Rusty could tell you.
So the last three miles, difficult anyway, were made REALLY difficult by this wind.
It felt like spinning your wheels against it.
This is where we walked for a few minutes.
But then we turned that corner, from the feeder of Hwy. 6 onto Harvey, basically our last mile. My ipod was playing "My Redeemer Lives" by Shane and Shane.
This wasn't the pick-me-up music I was listening to earlier in the race. It was my spiritual moment of the race.
I picked up the pace.
As I was running in, I heard "Run Baby Run" by Sheryl Crow.
We were fighting for the lead with a 70 year old man. That will motivate you.
As we crossed the finish line, people didn't cheer for us.
Why? There were a few half-hearted claps, but they didn't mean it.
Just as I suspected, there was no press conference.
I could deal with that.
But what I couldn't deal with was there was NO GATORADE.
They cut my tag off of my shoe.
Then some lady started asking me to vote for my favorite water stop or something.
I was disoriented.
I JUST WANTED SOME GATORADE. I started crying and pleading with people for Gatorade.
We found some calorie free flavored water.
Calorie free? Are you kidding?
All I wanted was my BERRY GATORADE.
And my kids weren't there.
We saw them driving away just before we reached the finish line.
By NO FAULT of Amanda and Bailey's, they couldn't reach us because there was no parking.
Heather tried to come cheer for me at the finish line too, like the sweet, sweet friend she is! But she couldn't get to me either.
No babies.
No Gatorade.
That made the finish line a little disappointing.
We met up with the kids along the road on Harvey, and headed home.
But we had done it!!!! We ran about a 10 1/2 min. mile we think.
2 hours and 15 minutes.
I feel proud of that.
I feel proud of doing it.
I felt lousy all day.
I was fine when we got home.
About an hour later, I felt like the flu hit me with a vengeance.
I wanted to seriously throw up.
Rusty, on the other hand, is SUPER HUMAN.
He felt fine.
He went to the hospital to admit a patient.
He then took the kids to the park.
Then...wait, you won't believe this...he played in a soccer game!!!!!
What is wrong with him?
Or maybe something is wrong with me, because I felt like death.
After my nap, I was better than before, went to church, sported a t-shirt that I will love DESPITE the armadillo on it, and came home for our Sunday night Wings n' more ritual.
I never enjoyed it more.
OH, and there was no need for vaseline for me. No friction issues, FYI.
That's all of it.
The good, bad, and the ugly.
I don't know if I'll do it again. I am betting it's like giving birth. After time passes, you forget how it really felt. You only remember the euphoric parts.
And I can tell that races are somewhat addictive.
So who knows? But it won't be anytime soon.
I am perfectly content with this achievement.
Yay!!! We did it!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm Alive

Just wanted to say I survived today.
In fact, I feel like we did really well.
I will have a full update tomorrow morning, after I've had coffee, and don't feel so hungry and flu-like. Seriously.
My knees could explode tonight if I don't go get some frozen bags of peas to plant on them.
Tomorrow, I'll give you the full story.
Including, did you know you're supposed to vaseline parts of your bodies for these things?
More tomorrow!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Marathon Update

It's tomorrow.
I'm so nervous.
We are running the Armadillo Dash (I have so many issues with this name still) tomorrow morning.
I just woke up, Saturday morning, and had countless dreams about the race. I missed the start. Rusty had to go on without me. I was devastated! Amanda forgot to come watch my kids, so we had to push them in strollers, but I knew in the dream that was against the rules. That's far-fetched! Amanda would never forget to come watch my kids! In fact, she's spending the night here tonight, along with my cousin Bailey, so they're here early and they are going to bring the kids to the finish line. How sweet is that! Another one was that I had to go give blood for someone before the race, and then another one was that my Mom told me I couldn't go. I finally just got out of bed, because of this restless dream-filled sleep. What will it be like tonight, the night before the race???
In truth, Rusty and I are both nervous. But I think, if I live, this may be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. That may sound silly. But this race represents to me that I can do something I never in a MILLION CAJILLION years would have though I could years ago.
That God has made me, in so many ways, into someone I could never have been.
He has faithfully grown me, disciplined me, changed me to look more like him over the last 10 years. I feel almost unrecognizable to myself sometimes from the girl I once was. That sounds so dramatic. I haven't been saved from a life of IV drug use or anything. And believe me!!!! I have so much more growing and changing to do!!!! I haven't arrived, and never will. But He is accomplishing in me things I couldn't have imagined, and running this race is a tangible representation of that.
Me. The girl who never played sports and athletic was the very LAST word you would have used to describe me. I'm running a half marathon. It's exciting.
Okay, so don't ask me about my time afterward. It's not going to be anything to brag about.
If you see me at church on Sunday night, I may be packing ice packs for my knees, because they've been unbelievably sore the days of my long runs, and I still have not run quite the 13.1 miles. I'm preparing myself for the pain.
And I will be drinking my new favorite thing ever...Berry-flavored Gatorade!
I was never before a legitimate Gatorade drinker! No, not this girl, who dreaded gym class, and was sure that I had a stomachache when we had to play volley ball in fear the ball would come my way.
Gatorade was for real athletes. I saw people drink it. They were in an entirely different class than me. I was in the musical class. I don't know what we drink. But it wasn't Gatorade.
So when we started training, I was legit. I needed some of that stuff. I didn't know if I was going to like it, but the Berry Flavored kind...I swear to you, when I'm running, it's the best thing I have EVER TASTED!!! I could be dragging, and then I get a Berry Gatorade break, and I'm picking up speed! It's magic! I love it! I think about it a lot while I'm running.
I am already thinking about having it at the finish line.
I also have been picturing a press conference at the finish line.
For me.
Like Rusty and I step up to the microphones, all sweaty and out of breath, and thank the people who made this possible.
I have to remind myself that probably isn't going to happen. But maybe I'll do it here on my blog instead.
Like last week, when Rusty and I finished our longest run ever in my parents' neighborhood, we were coming to our "finish line" and right there was a woman in her robe taking out her trash. I totally expected her to cheer for me, there in her robe at her trash can.
She did not.
I don't know why.
I had just run nearly 12 miles.
I'll get back to you after the race and let you know how it goes, that is, if it doesn't hurt to type.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I love the Gruners!

As you may have read, we love going to the Nursing Home.
Going to Crestview has become one of our highlights for the week.
I love it, and the kids really love it too!!!
We have made so many friends there. They love my kids! They light up when they see them! Some of them have amazing stories to tell. Some were teachers for 50 years.
I want to sit and listen for hours about that.
Many fought in World War II.
They have lived through poverty that our generation can't imagine.
They have pictures in their rooms that look like they're straight out of "The Notebook."
Some were parents of 9 kids.
Some were Sunday school teachers for 50+ years.
It's just an untapped reservoir of knowledge, experience, and life over there.
They will tell you they feel useless and are living without purpose.
But they are such a blessing to us! We started going to bless them, but they undoubtedly bless us more.
James 1:26-27
27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

I realized a while back that Rusty and I were obviously involved in caring for orphans. You can read all about that on this blog. But what was I doing for the widow? Or the elderly who had been cast aside by our culture?
So we made time to start hanging out with the old folks...and voila! I met...

The Gruners! Ken and Joyce. They are the bomb.
I adore these people! Seriously! I want to be them when Rusty and I get old. They are still so in love, and I told Mrs. Gruner that I wanted to have hair like her's when I'm old. She doesn't have the blue-hair-permed-do, ya know? I really want to avoid that!
We have been visiting them regularly for months now, and have enjoyed them so much!
They take delight in my children, let them crawl up on the bed with her, mess up their room, and tell them they love them all the time.
Have you noticed this about old people? They are quick to tell you they love you, and are a little more honest. I guess you realize by the end of your life that those things are important.
Mr. Gruner tells us what it was like in World War II. Mrs. Gruner tells me what it was like when she was left behind with a baby and had to go to work. No one could get gas for their cars, so she had to go to work each day on a bike, with her baby in the basket on the front!!! Can you imagine?
They rented a garage apartment for $20/month.
They tell me things like "Whatever you do, don't invite the whole first grade class over for a birthday party! We learned that the hard way!"
or "I would have had a yard full of them (kids) if I could have afforded them!"
For Martin Luther King Day, we interviewed them about what it was like as Christians to live through the days when racism and discrimination was at it's height. They were very honest, heart-broken, and sober.
I so look forward to these talks with them!
Yesterday was Mrs. Gruner's birthday. She turned 85. We have had it marked on our calendar for over a month.
So we took a party to her! She hasn't been able to get out of bed for months. She has MS, but is really debilitated by bed sores. However, she rarely complains. She loves the Lord, and she is such a shining example of joy despite her circumstances.
She lives on the Nursing floor, but Mr. Gruner has to live in the assisted living area. So they are in separate rooms. They've been married for 68 years, but can no longer sleep in the same room! So sad!
However, he spends every waking moment in her room, no exaggeration.
He cares for her night and day. He refers to he always as his beautiful bride, or "my Joycey." They are so cute together!
We brought pizza, ice cream, a birthday banner, birthday napkins, and a pack of cards. The kids crawled up on her bed and played UNO with her. How fun is that? She was totally into it.

They said it was a birthday they would never forget. Me neither.
The Gruners already know and love the Lord. They're super worn and torn Bible is always nearby. But there are many people there who don't know the Lord.
As Rusty says "It's final exam time" for them.
My heart is fixed on sharing Jesus with them. They need to know Him before it's too late! The kids and I pray for opportunities to be bold and share Christ with them. I think most importantly, we have built a repore with the residents there in that we keep coming back. There are many drop-in one time visitors, especially around the holidays, but the residents just go on and on, like when we delivered valentines to all of them last week, about what it means to be thought of and remembered. They appreciate it so much!
If anyone is interested in visiting with us, let me know. We have more people to visit than we can possibly do each week. They each deserve more one-on-one time with someone. I would like to bring a birthday party to all of them!
And you can come by and meet the Gruners. Did I mention I love them!?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We Love, We Love God's Word!

I love this video! Jax had to learn all the books of the New Testament for AWANA's, and so we sang it to the tune of "We Will Rock You" by Queen, circa 1975. I actually wrote that in his Sparks book, but I'm not sure if his listeners appreciated it. Could he be any cuter? My Mom made this into a fun movie, because that's the kind of Nana she is. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day- A God-Holiday?

This week in school we are studying LOVE.
Don't worry folks, if you are concerned for our homeschooling education, we do academics out the wa-zoo. We finished a month studying the human body, and my kids are now ready to take the MCAT.
Our project for this week was to make 88 valentines for our friends at the nursing home. Good thing we recruited wonderful friends to help us. That would have been a lot of glitter flying in this house.
We had already decided Valentine's day would be our unit study, in addition to our math and reading, etc. We love holidays!
The kids know that there is a difference in certain holidays...some are God-holidays. We stop working and take time to worship, like at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. But some days are remembering days, like Veteran's Day, President's Day, or some are silly days, like Halloween, and National talk like a pirate day.
Emma asked me on Sunday night on the way home from church "Mom, is Valentine's Day a God-holiday."
I explained to her that the world does not think of it as a God-holiday, but it truly is! I was saved as a little girl on Valentine's day, which has always been a sweet reminder of my love relationship with the Lord. But the Bible says God IS love. Without God, there is no love.
As we were talking about this in the car, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit that we would study Biblical love this week.
The world has already begun telling my kids what love is. I want them to know what God says love is.
I decided we would wipe the white board of our minds clean on love, and write only what God says about it in Sharpie.
Wouldn't that be cool if our minds really had a white board?
Rusty's would have more on his than mine. He stores a lot of info. When you have a job that requires you to be awakened up from a dead sleep and do complicated math, you have a lot of math on your whiteboard.
Good thing I'm only awakened to tend to children and stuff.
So I started on Monday morning copying all the verses I could find and write in my journal about love.
Monday, we learned the greatest commandment (we talked about in church this past weekend.)
Mark 12:30-31
30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'

We should be THE MOST PASSIONATE about loving God, and everything else in our life should come as an overflow of that.

Tuesday we learned the second greatest commandment.
Mark 12:31
31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

But what does it mean to love others? What does that look like?
John 13:34-35
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

So how did Jesus love?
1 John 3:16
16 We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters.

John 15:12-14
12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it — the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.

We have more ground to cover on God's love this week. How does the Bible describe God's love? How does that compare to the way we love each other?
There's so much. So much to erase. So much to Sharpie.
But it's been so good!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hiding the Word in their Hearts

I just love this picture!
I think all kids should have plenty of time to make tents in their living room, don't you? Even if they collapse on you because your baby brother pushes the chairs down on top of everyone.
But this post is not about tents, it's about teaching our kids to study the Word.
This has been an evolving process. We have done different things, and as they are getting older, hopefully we are adapting to their abilities.
Last year, I did the Bible story, memory verses, and prayer time with them all together in the morning. It was a wonderful way to start our day! But Treston got louder at the breakfast table, and Justus more demanding, and this became very stressful.
In addition to that, Rusty was not apart of their daily Bible teaching, and he really wanted to lead out in that.
So we moved to this school year, me doing their AWANA verses with them over breakfast, and praying, and Daddy teaching the Bible Story and discussion at night.
And while that has worked well, I have always felt there was something missing in the morning for them.
So lately, I have asked Emma and Jax to go find a quiet spot in the house and take a Bible story book with them. I told them to look at a story (maybe the one we studied the night before) and then spend some time praying.
I have been amazed! When they come back, I ask them "what did God teach you this morning?"
One morning, Emma said "God taught me today that I shouldn't build myself up, I should only build God up." AMEN!!!!! She read the story of the tower of Babel. So we expounded on that, and it was good!
The next morning, I asked her again, and she said "God taught me that I shouldn't worship idols." AMEN!!!! So we talked about, what could be potential idols in her life that could become more important than God, and how God and pleasing Him has to stay #1. It was awesome!!!
I thought, how many grown-ups got that much out of their Bible Study time this morning?
I want to equip them to follow God for life.
If Rusty and I get up early to spend time alone in the Word and prayer, I want to teach them how to do the same. I want them to wake up every day of their life, and find personal time in the Word the most natural thing in the world to do. Like breakfast.
At ages 5 and 7, they are more than ready. It blows me away! We under estimate their relationships with God sometimes. They are insightful, and they hear His voice. Maybe clearer than we do sometimes.
I cling to these verses, as I ask God to show me how to teach them how to follow hard after God.

Prov 22:6
6 Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Ps 119:9-11
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

If you guys have other things that your parents taught you, or that you are teaching your kids about the Word, I'd love to hear about it.
And now, I'm off to run 10 miles. What? That's crazy! I hope I live to read your comments.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I have just started studying the book of Nehemiah, and I LOVE it!
It's so good!
Because I studied Jeremiah for so long, I learned a lot about what led up to the exile period. (Where the Jews were exiled from the Promise Land because of their continual rebellion to God.)
Now I am understanding God's fulfillment of his promises to rebuild them through a remnant of faithful people.
Nehemiah and Ezra led the physical and spiritual rebuilding of God's people.
But it's how they responded to God's Word that is blowing me away.
They hadn't heard God's Word for generations.
Once they rebuilt the walls and begun the rebuilding of the Temple, getting settled in, they called an enormous meeting...
Neh 8:1-3
8:1 all the people assembled together as one person at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey.
2 So on October 8 Ezra the priest brought the scroll of the law before the assembly, which included the men and women and all the children old enough to understand. 3 He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people paid close attention to the Book of the Law...

6 Then Ezra praised the LORD, the great God, and all the people chanted, "Amen! Amen!" as they lifted their hands toward heaven. Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

Upon hearing the Law, they fell face down, worshiped God, and after that it says the people were all weeping aloud! They were grieved that they had been living in direct disobedience to God. Their response was to immediately obey! They changed everything about their lives so that it would line up with the Law! It is such a moving book.
I want to be like them!
I want to be so moved when I read the Word and feel conviction, that it moves me immediately! I want to be humble enough to recognize when I am living for my ways, rather than His. I don't want to argue with God, debate it internally, try to rationalize...I just want to MOVE to obedience!
I always say that I have found that we, including ME, like to campaign for our sin and the world's way. When someone challenges the way we think and live, we start painting our signs, picketing, calling out to anyone who will listen "I want to date like everybody else!!" or "I want to wear whatever I want!!" Our signs are eye-catching, appealling, colorful, made with big fat markers that smell really good, and what we are shouting makes most people nod in agreement, and give us a thumbs-up. The sinful people of Israel were just following their culture, their ways of the world, doing what all the normal people do! But when it doesn't line up with God's Word, WHO CARES?
I am definitely not done learning from this book. I'm just beginning. There's so much. Like Nehemiah's ability to lead, his burden for God's people and persistent and desperate prayers for them, and the way he refused to tolerate compromise to God's Word. Yep, I'm just getting started. It's good. Really good.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Training Update

For those of you wonderful encouraging people who read my post last week, here's an update.
I did register for the half marathon, so I'm locked in. Scary. I was frightened to register, but I did it. I've paid my $35.
Secondly, I did another long run today. I ran 9 miles!!!
I didn't die.
I didn't think about dying.
I didn't even walk.
We jogged the whole time.
I went with Jenn Crouse (super star!) and we talked and had a great time.
We stopped only for an emergency bathroom break at the Colvin's house. Wow! I love those people even more now.
We stopped for Gatorade and the occasional stretch. But we just kept going! It was amazing! My time was much improved this week, and I went a mile further.
I feel encouraged.
Maybe I can actually do this.
Rusty ran early this morning, same route, with David Colvin, who is a veteran marathoner, and they did ridiculously well. His time was stunning. I love my man. I just told him, it's a good thing he can't sing, because otherwise we would all have to hate him. He would officially be good at everything.
Now, does anyone have any song suggestions for the ipod, and long-distance running? When I run by myself I need some motivating music, you know?
I like Kirk Franklin, Robbie Seay, of course...
anyone have any brilliant song ideas to add to my ipod?