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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Anxious thoughts

The week before my half marathon I fought off that anxious feeling about the pain in my knees.
How was I going to run 13 miles when running at all hurt so much?
Walking hurt.
Basically everything but sitting with ice hurt.
I knew there was no way I was quitting, and I would cross the finish line, but would I have knees when I was done?
But as always, even a hint of anxiety proves fruitless and, well, ridiculous.
God sees me.
He seems my needs and he even sees my desires.
He doesn't always do what I want, when I want it (Praise the Lord!) but He is good and faithful.
He just bestowed His goodness on me in making my knees better at just the right time, so how stupid of me was it to spend time thinking and worrying about this?
It's a waste of time.
It's a waste of energy.
And worry is sin! Philippians 4:6-7 says "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
That's pretty comprehensive.
Don't worry
express your need
be thankful for what He's already done (which is a LOT)
let peace fall on you
a peace you can't even understand
It protects your mind and heart from your own destructive thoughts

Does anyone else have to learn the same lessons over and over again?
I wish I didn't. But I'm glad he reminds me.
I think I might remember this better in big things, but I let the little things consume my mind.
Running with broken knees...sewing a horse's costume when I don't sew...trying to use mind control with the weather for Run For Compassion, which clearly doesn't work.
When something arose today that might have caused me to worry and tailspin into anxious thoughts, I remembered.
God is good and faithful, and while His ways are higher than mine and I might not know how things are going to work out, He does and He is sovereign.
My job is to be faithful in the meantime as I rest in Him and remember all that He's already done with a thankful heart.
Friends, feel free to remind me of this when I need it. I'm putting on peace and thankfulness, even in the tiny details.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Music City half marathon

I did it! I survived, crossed the finish line, and was not one of the hundreds of people passed out on the sidelines! YES!!!!! Nashville had record high heat on Saturday, so it was hot, but no hotter than it might have been here. So I didn't die. Pure success! What an amazing race!
This was so fun and I will never ever ever go back to a small-town race again.
Let me give you the highs and lows of my half marathon in Nashville!

Hands-down, highest high was running this race with my brother Brian. It was such a cool experience to have with him and we had a blast! There are TONS of people there to cheer someone on and hold up signs for them. No matter whose name was on them or who they were shouting for, we decided early in the race it was for us. So we were very interactive with the crowd. Nearing the finish line, a guy held up a sign that said "I think you're HOT!" I thanked him as I rounded the corner in mile 12, but he told me it was for the guy behind me (my brother.) That was a high!

An amazing high was that I didn't feel my knees while I ran. They literally did not hurt and they'd been hurting like crazy for weeks. My run the week before had been so painful! Everything had been so painful, but they felt great! God was so good to me and I am so thankful! Why do I stress and become anxious about things? He always proves Himself faithful! I had spent the last week so anxious about this race because my knees were in such bad shape, but God even cares about the little things for us and He has made my knees better purely out of His kindness. He's such a good God!

The music was a high-with my favorite songs played being "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Livin' on a prayer". There was also a worship band out there and I loved that!

Another favorite moment would be when my brother grabbed what looked like a tongue depressor with a glob of something at the end of it at a water station where it was being handed out. He gave it to me and I asked him "what is this?" He said "It's the power goo" (if you don't know about the power goo, you will hear more about it in my lows. But you swallow this stuff and it gives you supernatural energy to keep on going!)
I said "Are you sure?" So when he went back to get himself one he asked the woman what it was. She said "Vaseline."
Can you imagine if we had tried to eat that stuff!!! That was a hilarious moment, only because we did NOT eat Vaseline! That would have ruined our race. (If you are wondering why they hand out Vaseline, it's because some people have chafing issues when they run long distances and runners use Vaseline to prevent that.)

It was just fun! It's an enormous race with lots of energy. When we started, there were runners in front of us as far as we could see, and runners behind us as far as we could see. That's pretty crazy! More than 30,000 racers participated.
It was a cool way to see the sights of Nashville. The course winds through downtown, and while it is somewhat hilly, it was a great course.

No one warned me. I've been asking experienced racers for tips for months now and not one person warned me about the port-o-potty situation.
Okay, no one likes port-o-potties. I'm no exception. I wasn't excited about it. But we left Brian's house at 5:30am and the race didn't start until 7am-and our corral, because it was a stagger start, didn't take off until 7:30, so OBVIOUSLY we're going to need to pee before we run 13.1 miles!
We waited in line at the first group of potties forever just to find that they were...well...defiled by nervous runner racer poo. Brian and I decided that we were the only two people out of 30,000 who didn't poop in the port-o-potties. And not ONE of them had toilet paper left. NOT ONE.
We abandoned those potties and went ahead and took our shuttle bus from the stadium parking to the starting line. We hoped for better potties there. From the stench, we knew we hoped in vain. We got in the more than 30 minute line to wait to pee (which wasn't optional for me! I had coffee on the drive in) and I was panicking on the inside. I could squat and touch nothing like any respectable woman knows how to do but NO TOILET PAPER. I couldn't do it.
And then I spotted a group of women a few lines over with their own handy dandy roll of toilet paper! They were passing it out among themselves! I immediately ran over to them and begged for some- and they so graciously gifted me with my own toilet paper! I so wanted to hug them! And then I wished I had gotten their addresses! I would have sent them a heartfelt thank you card...and maybe a gift card.
So I got to pee beforehand and told my body in my most firm voice that I would not be needing to use the bathroom again until we left the race and went to kinder bathroom facilities. That didn't end up being until 2 or 3 in the afternoon because Yeneneh, my nephew, had double header soccer games right after the race, but I made it.
Next year: BRINGING MY OWN TOILET PAPER. And probably building time into our morning schedule to stop somewhere decent just before we park at the stadium. I never want to potty where 30,000 nervous racers potty at once again.

Parking. Parking was a nightmare. Not only do you have that many racers, but you also have all the supportive friends and family members who come to cheer them on. Like my sister-in-law Amy and her six kids!!! They came at the end and poor Amy had to park her enormous van where everyone one, including us, had to park illegally so that we didn't miss the race. Somehow Amy did it and somehow she found us after the race which was purely miraculous! The crowds were unbelievable. The foot traffic after crossing the finish line took us about 35 minutes to get through before we could even find the parking lot. And there was Amy and six kiddos! With posters! She deserves the medal if you ask me. (But I didn't give her mine. It's mine!)

Power goo. I've heard about this stuff for a long time now and had never encountered it before. I've heard it's gross and I've heard it works. I had read on the website that it would be available at mile 10 so we had decided we would partake of the goo to keep us going. However, I almost threw it up. It was so nasty, it's like swallowing giant globs of snot. I started gagging and couldn't finish it. So I will not be partaking of the goo again. I will be finding it in another form and taking it with me next time. It must have worked though because endurance wise, I was great! I honestly wanted to keep going at the end! I was wishing there was a finish line somewhere between the half and the full. I would take on that race if I could next time!
I think that's in part due to the slower pace and running method we used. My brother uses a run walk combo, and I think it just preserved my energy in a way that made this race easier to finish. I think I'm a believer in this method now!

That's my summary. I honestly want to register to do the Music City race in San Antonio in November! I loved it and I think I might be hooked on races now. It's good to have a goal. It's good to work toward something huge and accomplish it. And it was super doing it with my brother!
So-November...who's with me?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Planet Earth"

Today we learned a little about taking care of our planet in the Bacak Academy.
Tonight we went to see "Planet Earth" at the movies. We love this show! It's unparalleled in footage of all kinds of nature. I think it's a must see for the whole family. I enjoyed it very much, minus the five bathroom trips required of my children and one two-year-old fit. If you were in the theater with us tonight, I apologize.
As I taught on Earth day this morning, we had a good discussion on WHY we ought to give a flip about Earth day and taking care of the earth. Even my kids can tell you, this is not our home! Our real home is in heaven. We're just passing through.
So why should we care about what we do with it while we're here?
The kids and I had a great discussion about being good stewards.
Good stewards of things that He's given us for a time, but not forever.
God blesses us with things that are good...

Like our bodies! While you may not feel grateful for yours, you should! The human body is amazing, as my husband often points out in the marvels of medicine, and a working body is a gift! We ought to be good stewards of the bodies He's given us.

Like our money. Our money and possessions have no eternal value. As the Bible points out, it all will collect moths and rust and we can't take it with us. But you better believe, He expects us to be good stewards of the money and things He's graciously given us.

Like our planet. Romans 1 tells us that God is made evident through His creation. Experiencing God's creation does make us feel closer to Him, keenly aware of Him and His magnitude, and His desire to bless us with good things we don't deserve. Think of the most beautiful place you've ever been in the world. Do you have that place in mind? For me it's Lake Louise in Canada. The mountains are amazing and the water of the lake is a color blue I've never seen in my life. I couldn't take my eyes off of the scenic view the whole time we were there. God didn't have to give us that. But I felt like He revealed to me another facet of His goodness by experiencing it.
Why wouldn't we take care of what He's given us?

I'll admit, the Bacaks could go greener. I would like to learn how to do more. But we do love to recycle, because it's so easy and we're doing SOMETHING.
I'm just wondering today, why does it seems that being a Christian and being environmentally conscious seems to be forever at odds? It seems like we ought to be the opposite. Is it because we care more about human life than animal life? Does that set us up on different sides of the fence?
Whatever it is, I just wonder if we could do more in good stewardship of our planet while we're here?
And let me tell you- I'm praying it's not much longer. I'm desperately longing for Jesus' return.

Those are my thoughts on this Earth Day. Happy Earth Day!
(My old computer is still crashed and I wrote this whole post having to stick a pencil into the period and comma keys to make them work- every single time! So I'm worn out now. If I haven't emailed you back it's because I'm just tired of sticking a pencil in my computer to make keys work- or trying to write an e-mail without using a period or a comma. I just can't ignore the rules of punctuation!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Run For Compassion FINISH LINE!

Run For Compassion 2009 has come to an end. Yes, the t-shirts sell on, but it is truly done.
We did it! Rain, lightning, and mere 24 hour days tried to hold us down- but no!
We still had 75 out of our registered 158 runners participate despite the rain delay.
So many were first time racers, and it was just sweet to cheer you on!
So many of you wonderful people gave, ran, and volunteered your time and talents. I really need to say thanks.

Thank you to EVERYONE who volunteered on race day. I'll admit, nothing went the way I expected, but the end result was still good.

Thanks Jeanna! There's absolutely no way I could have done this without your help! You were the crucial piece needed to make this possible. I adore you, of course!

Thanks Charlie- who designed the super cool t-shirts that are selling as we speak. And for the website too! Charlie, your gifts were definitely used for the kingdom! Thank you for being willing.

Thanks Jim and Rachel Jobe! You were just so willing to help with everything needed, and I might have drowned in it all had you two not been there.

Thanks to our sponsors- who gave so that all of our registration fees could go to the Child Survival Program!

Thanks friends who cared, contributed, ran errands, spread the word, and just plain came and ran your hearts out- THANKS!

We turned $50 into $3800 and counting. I just know we can sell every t-shirt and reach our $4000 goal!
My whole family sponsors 6 CSP's and this costs $2000 for the year. We're doubling that! Praise the Lord!
As we Bacaks cross the finish line, this passage is on our hearts:
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Watch for it next year. We'll be back. And if you have any feedback on the race, please let me know your constructive ideas for our next Run For Compassion!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Dang lightning.
So we are postponing the race until 1pm due to the lightning. We figure it's probably not safe to run past a power plant while it's lightning. As long as it is not lightning, we will still have the race at 1pm, even if it rains.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rain or Shine!

We are having this thing, rain or shine!
Running in the rain is AWESOME, people!
Please pray...a virus crashed our computer last night. Seriously!
But God is good and faithful. Pray for the computer demons to be gone!
We are using our computer for EVERYTHING with this race.
The Joy of the Lord is our strength today!
See many of you at the race...it's gonna rock!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peaceful and beautiful?

I have not abandoned this blog.
Or my normal life.
Well I sort of have, but just temporarily.
This has been a hectic week, as you might could guess.
It's race week! Hooray! God is bringing this good work to completion, and I'm so excited!
But it has been a little overwhelming at times.
Sometimes I realize my visions are bigger than my abilities.
That's a good thing to learn about yourself.
I'm so thankful for the people in my life who keep asking me "what can I do? What can I take from you?"
Sometimes I know, and sometimes I don't know where to begin.
I have been battling a spreadsheet this week. I'm not sure I've been winning. It's my first spreadsheet. I think Excel has been laughing at me.
And to top off yesterday, we had our family pictures taken.
They weren't originally planned for this week. Seriously, THIS WEEK!?
You Moms know what it's like to make six people look coordinated, shiny, and beautiful, right? It's sort of a nightmare.
And we hired a really talented professional photographer, our friend Ryan Price. We needed to make this shoot worthy of the time, money, and talent.
I couldn't even clear my head enough to figure out what I wanted us to wear.
I was shopping 15 minutes before it started for a white dress for Emma to wear.
(I think it turned out stunning, my daughter wearing a white dress, riding bareback on a horse. I CAN'T WAIT to see these photos!)
I e-mailed with my Mom a few hours prior to that, and mentioned I was stressed with race details and making us all "beautiful".
She wrote back and said to be "peaceful and beautiful."
I needed to hear that. I was quoting scripture to myself yesterday, but I knew it was not penetrating the reality of my day.
I was frazzled.
I went to bed last night, after painting 15 giant arrows on posterboards (you know, so you people don't get lost during the race. Kind of important!) and felt unsettled.
I had a headache, and my superhero husband sent me to bed and took what was left on my list and accomplished it like only he can.
But I still felt amiss in my spirit.
I went to each of the kids' rooms and kissed them again, while they slept.
I missed them. That seems strange, since I'm always with them.
But I have not been WITH them all week.
I've not been present in my life. I've been here, but glued to my computer and my spreadsheet while my children enjoyed the beautiful weather and sunshine. The registrations have been pouring in, and I have fought to keep up with them.
This is not me complaining! This is me LEARNING.
I have already begun a list in my handy-dandy notebook of "What I need to know next year." I will do a lot of things differently. I will start the spreadsheet earlier, and I'll know how to set it up.
I'll assemble a team of people, besides just me and Jeanna, who will give their all to this event. I know some of you would have been willing. I was just afraid to ask.
I'll start getting sponsors earlier.
I'll close streets along our route.
The list goes on.
I'll learn how to take this on, and be "peaceful and beautiful."
Today, when I woke-up and spent time with the Lord, He told me not to go to my exercise class this morning. He told me to stay home and be present with my children. I needed to not waste this day, neglecting my number one job as wife, Mom, and teacher.
Inhale. Exhale. Peace.
I'm so grateful to have heard Him speak.
I've been too busy to listen lately. I have been glued to lists, notebooks, and computers. I've literally wished outloud for a white board in my shower. Too many things pop into my head when I'm showering.
I've dreamed about the race, and have been rather consumed.
I stopped this morning and played trucks with Treston for a good 15 minutes. When was the last time I did that? Not this week. (It took me a long time to learn how to play trucks. You just have to make a LOT of sound effects. I've got it down now.)
But we are here, nearing the finish line.
I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that this event is successful and we've already broken the $3000 mark going to the CSP in Ethiopia. Can you imagine what that money means to them?
I'm overwhelmed with what God has chosen to do in changing women in my church's hearts about being good stewards of their bodies and breaking years of bondage as they've trained for this thing. I didn't see that coming, to be honest. God always overshoots my expectations.
I believe race day will be no different.
I'm thankful, and peaceful in this moment.
And I'm going outside to swing my kids.
Peace out.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Here It Goes Again...

My brother Robbie sent this to me.
I desperately want to try this, when I get 6 treadmills, and about 80 free hours.
Anyone else in?
Have y'all seen this before?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Inspired to Action interview

This really neat site interviewed me for the Run For Compassion. You can read the interview and check out this site!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Adoption Day Justus!

On April 8th we stood before the judge's bench as a family, and he confirmed legally what had been done for a long time.
Justus Joseph Bacak was always a Bacak. God had ordained it from the beginning of time. When I first got that beautiful baby, he didn't look my like my others, but he was ours. He had hair. I didn't know my babies could have hair! He was light brown, and got a little browner everyday. I was kind of excited to get up everyday and see a new shade of beautiful brown. That was exciting! I didn't birth him, but he was my baby.
He was ours forever.
He was loved, by his birthmom and by us. She mourned while we rejoiced. We loved her and hurt for her before we even met her.
Adoption has taught us so much. There's no way to measure it.
And what a good time for us to reflect, during Easter season, how we have been adopted.
If you know Christ as your Savior, you are adopted.
He chose us. He picked us up and made us His own. His very own, forever. There's nothing we can do to make Him love us less or be less a child of the King. Adoption is forever.
What Jesus did on the cross took all our sins for all time, and there's no backs.
Once you accept Christ's sacrifice, your sins are gone, forgiven, and you can't take them back.
In the same way, Justus is a Bacak forever. He couldn't do anything to be less a Bacak or make us love him less.
God is good! April 8th will always be a day to celebrate!
I can't imagine the Bacak family without Justus!? We would be missing a great deal of comic relief, for sure! We wouldn't be the Bacaks. We would be incomplete. Justus filled a hole in our family that only God could fill.
This family is SO thankful for adoption, in every way!
We are thankful for Kathleen, who loved Justus first and put his needs above her own.
We are thankful for New Life who does the hard and never-ending work of ministering to women, children, and families.
We are thankful most of all to our God, who adopted us, and blessed us with adoption in our family.
We are thankful for you, Justus Joseph Bacak!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Painful Training

24 Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. 25 All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
1 Cor 9:24-27

I am training for a half marathon. If you read this blog last year when I was training I wrote a lot about it. I haven't written as much this year, but I continue to learn the same things from the Lord through this process.
Let me just tell you, today my knees hurt like they've never hurt before. I ran 11 miles yesterday! 11 miles! Yesterday, before I left, I was so nervous. I thought, 11 miles...that might as well be 30 miles, it sounds so daunting. Even though I did 10 last week. I had been nervous, but I did it! Still, I was terrified.
But God was so good, and taught me as I ran. It was somewhat windy. Thankfully, I had sweet Jeanna to do the last six miles with me. When I'm running uphill, against the wind, and it feels like I'm running in slow motion, I wonder how in the world I will finish. It's too hard. My knees might explode. At about mile 8 yesterday I had to admit to Jeanna, I'm struggling. She encouraged me.
Training is hard. You continually push yourself to do more than you think possible. I've been working out with a group of women at church, and it is so inspiring to watch women do more than they've ever done with their bodies.
And isn't that just like God? He's always doing more than we can imagine when we depend on Him.
We can step back and take a look at ourselves and think...it's too big. Too much needs to change. But He is more than able. And in the face of what seems like 30 miles, He does the work for us.
I love what training shows me. When I start out, I'm thinking, sometimes I struggle to get my three miles in a day. How in the world will I get to 13?
But He takes me one step at a time, and each time I run I have to celebrate the small victories. 4 miles...5 miles... 6...Wow! 8 miles...9...10!? Really God?...11! How did I get from there to here?
But He reminds me of Who He is! And I'm most reminded when I'm running uphill, against the wind, at mile 9.
There's purpose in every step. He's teaching me something with each mile. I don't want to miss it.
It's not easy. My knees want to give way today. The discipline of my body and mind is draining. But 11 miles are behind me. What else could God do through me if I just asked Him?
I'm thankful for training and watching God do BIG things! Why am I surprised when He comes through? Faithfulness is who He is! I obviously forget He's able, He's stinkin' BIG! He's God. When I rely on myself, I quickly remember I am not.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Corn Paint

One of the things I love about the spring/summer seasons is grilling.
My husband, the grill master, does vegetables up right on the grill.
Last night we did some yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes on the grill, and they were AWESOME!
Consistently, I LOVE fresh corn on the grill. Asparagus is also a grilled favorite of mine.
There are several vegetables we eat fresh only. The thought of eating them frozen or canned makes me gag. Canned green beans are NOTHING like fresh green beans.
(When I snap them ahead of time, I feel like I should be sitting on the porch with the women folk churning butter. I love that feeling. I want to live in Little House on the Prairie...without all the work that would require.)
Fresh corn on the cob is undoubtedly far superior to anything frozen or canned.
We like to grill it and make the CORN PAINT to go on it. (I made up the name. It just seemed appropriate because we paint it on with a brush.)
If you've had this at our house, raise your hand...lots of you!
Here's the recipe.
(Warning: not low fat)

Corn Paint:
Put equal parts mayo and sour cream in a bowl. I use about 2T.
Sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese until it's a spreadable consistency. It takes quite a bit. You don't want it runny.
Then sprinkle in some chili powder and add some color.
Spread this mixture on your corn cob with a grill brush or whatever brush you use, and then squeeze some lime juice on top of it.
SO GOOD! Do you believe me? It sounds weird, but it's SO GOOD!
Last step: Invite us over for dinner when you make it.