The fall out of bad decisions

I ran across a blog post from Sheila Walsh today about trust. It’s short and worth your while to read. In there she talks about the lasting affects of having your trust broken as a child.

When trust is shattered when you are a child it is a wound that hides in the basement of our souls. Other wounds heal but trust seems to be the very last casualty. We learn to love again, to laugh again but to trust? The trouble is when trust is broken it affects every relationship. This wound, this slammed shut door does not allow us to be selective. If affects our ability to trust God too.

This touches me today as I look at Alison, she was betrayed as a child when her father abandoned his family but had learned to trust David when he promised he would never leave her. Now she is struggling to understand how he could betray her too. And I see the three sons who have had their trust broken and will feel the effects of that for years to come.

As Alison tried to explain to the boys that Dad isn’t going to live with them any more, she stressed that she would always be there. That Anthony and I would always be there. That other family will always be here for them. And that reassurance is good, to remind them that even when one person fails, there are others who will stand firm. But I wonder in other ways if that even makes a difference. Why should they trust us if the one person they trusted most, their dad, has walked away from them?

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Life is hard

Wow, it’s been a month since my last post. And I haven’t run at all the past 2 weeks and won’t run this week. Oh well, life happens sometimes.

A week ago I was washing clothes and unpacking and recovering from the wonderful annual beach retreat with the ladies of my church. We had such a wonderful time, with good fellowship and a good Bible study and a chance to talk and relax. I always love this trip, even if I don’t get much sleep there.

Then, as I was working through my mail and catching up after 2 days off of work, my sister-in-law sent me a message to ask if I could talk. Alison is David’s wife, Anthony’s brother. So, we’re like double-in-laws, but we get along really well. We have a lot in common since we married very similar men. I figured she wanted to arrange a time for our families to visit or something, so I replied that I could talk just about any time that day. When she wrote back immediately asking if right now worked I started to get worried.

We got on the phone and she told me that David had walked out a week earlier and said he wanted a divorce. I was floored. David isn’t perfect, but he has always been steady and solid. A few years ago his family got out of the habit of going to church, and we kept pushing him to find one close to home, but otherwise things seemed to be going well. He had been working his full-time job in software testing plus building an internet business. But he seemed to find time for his family and kept it all pretty much in balance, with the usual corrections we all have to make along the way. Then about 6 months ago he quit his day job and went full-time with the internet business. We were very encouraged, since we know David would have been careful about that decision and if the business was working that well we were thrilled for him. We did tell him they should all move closer to us now that he wasn’t tied to an office.

But now it seems things weren’t as good as they looked. We don’t really know what was/is wrong because he hasn’t talked much. He told Alison he wanted to focus on the business and he’d provide for her and their 3 sons but he didn’t want to live in the house any more. When we drove to Raleigh and had a chance to confront him, he told us that he had spent 10 years trying to live with Alison and he just wanted to be happy, and that the tension between them in the house was making life miserable for the kids. The 15 year old said he hadn’t noticed the tension, so I’m not sure who David thought was being bothered.

Anyway, we’ve all been on a roller-coaster of emotions. A large part of us wants David to wake up from whatever weird state he’s in and run back to his family. A smaller part of us would like to hit him at least once. We hate this decision and all the damage it is doing and will do to everyone in this family for years to come. All of us come from broken homes, so we all have seen the damage done by divorce. It has taken me years to gather examples of families that struggled through and made it work, but there are enough that I know it can be done. Usually requiring a lot of help from the Holy Spirit.

When we talked with David, what he was saying sounded so self-centered and self-serving, like he’s telling himself stories to make it all appear better. We tried to talk back to him with the biblical language that says this is a sin and it would be so much better if he would continue the ongoing work of making the marriage succeed. But I don’t think he speaks that language any more, and that saddens me most of all. He seems to have turned his back on God so whatever trouble he is in and whatever he is struggling with, he’s doing it all alone.

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Vampire Runner

I have had a very good running summer. According to my training log on Runner’s World, I started the season in earnest in April. Easy slow 2 and 3 mile runs, exploring new routes in nearby neighborhoods. May was even better, marking 1 year since I started running, and June was the best month so far. My runs got longer and faster in June with a few 5 and 6 mile runs. I was pretty excited about the progress I was making.

Then we went away for the week of July 4 and the heat moved in. Between recovering from the trip to Colorado and the insane heat even at 5:30 am, my July and August runs got slower. They didn’t get shorter, but they also didn’t get longer. I felt like I struggled for every step in July and only really recovered the last week of August. My greatest defense against the heat was to run as early as I could so I was home before the sun was really out. I adjusted my schedule so that 3 days a week I was in bed a little earlier and then up at 5:30 and out of the house before 6 those 3 mornings. By September I got my mileage back up to 6.5 and 7 miles. On 9/11 I ran 7.8 miles – my longest run yet!

Enter October. The weather began to cool off a little bit and I got excited. I planned a nice run on a Saturday. This was a rare thing for us, we’ve had something going almost every weekend this year. But there were no plans until lunch Saturday so I mapped out a long route and thought about the joys of sleeping in a little bit, running in the sun, and having all day to replay the wonderful run.

It didn’t turn out quite like I expected. I either started too late or too early. I was dressed for the chill of about 30 minutes before I left, which meant that when the temperature rose 10 degrees during the hour of my run, I ended up way too hot and miserable. I struggled for the last mile and finally accepted that it wasn’t going to go as planned and headed home. I know that a 5.6 mile run is no sad thing, but I wasn’t happy with the run. On the upside, a neighbor stopped as he was driving by to say he’s seen me out there and thinks is great I’m doing so well running regularly.

Two days later, I was trying to figure out what 3 days of this week I would run. We are heading out again Fri and Saturday so no weekend run for this week, although maybe a Sunday morning run to start next week. I wanted to do a Monday run but didn’t want to get up early Monday morning (because that meant going to bed early Sunday night and other opportunities presented themselves Sunday night). Then I realized that it gets dark early enough that I could go for a run at night when the temperatures drop!

I planned it out and worked my eating schedule around it. Then 7pm rolled around and I realized I still felt lunch and was a little queasy and then realized it was going to get a fair bit cooler while I was running. I started second guessing myself.  I know I’ve made progress over the past year, because  I did what I always do now. I headed out the door figuring I’d see how far I could go and if I only made it 3 miles, that was ok.

I opted to do my Saturday route but a little bit backwards. It kept getting darker and chillier and I loved every minute of it. Night running is different from the early morning runs. Where in the morning my run gets brighter and ends with a wonderful sunrise, last night it just got darker and I now know a few places that could use another street light. But I run in neighborhoods so there was always a car and a porch light to guide me. As it got chillier, I got warmer so I was never uncomfortable (too hot or too cold) on the run. I just kept going. Then I realized the hubby may start worrying. When I run in the morning he isn’t awake when I leave so he doesn’t know how long I’ve been gone. The deal is I promise to be back before the workday starts. But this night it was getting late and he was well aware how long I’d been out.

I headed home, doing one circle through the neighborhood to add a little more mileage on. My goal was 8.5 miles, and I finished at 8.7! I can see more night running this month while trying to figure out the temperatures and the wardrobe issues as we approach winter.

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Corrag (review)

I received this advanced readers copy through the Early Reader program of Library Thing.

I was interested in the book because my aunt has pointed out that we are descendants of the MacDonald’s and the most notable thing she mentioned was the murder of the MacDonalds by the Campbells after partaking of their hospitality. This Massacre of Glencoe sounded interesting, and when I saw a novel written around it, I thought it would be a wonderful way to learn more about the time and the event. Historical fiction can be very good.

I am not one to speak of the historical accuracy of the book. But the author seemed to capture the shifting of the allegiances of the time, and the ways of survival.

The protagonist, an independent young woman, hounded and chased as a witch, is very well spoken. She is imprisoned for some reason after the massacre. An Irishman who is searching for evidence to drive out William the Orange and bring back the Stuart dynasty, comes to her asking for details of the massacre. He has heard that it was done by soldiers, at William’s orders. She promises to tell him what he asks, but in return she wants to tell him her story. She is going to die soon, burned as a witch in punishment for helping the MacDonalds escape.

What follows is a well-written story of life as a woman labeled as a witch, even before choices for a normal life can be made. The quick judgments we make about people and how the labels we assign don’t tell us all we could know about a person. I liked Corrag, and I liked how Charles Leslie changed as he heard her story and got to see her as a person. I also like Jane Leslie, his wife. And I learned a bit about how the Glorious Revolution of William the Orange affected those as far away as the Scottish Highlands. And how being six days late to make an oath can be grounds for murder.

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Bound & Determined (review)

I received a review copy of Bound & Determined: Christian Men and Women In Partnership by Jeanene Reese. The book is scheduled to be published in September by Leafwood Publishers and will be 192 pages. The copy I received was a spiral bound copy.

The description of the book definitely intrigued me. Written for “Christians actively involved in mixed-gender partnerships, whether they hold leadership positions or simply collaborate in groups at work or in church. The author takes seriously biblical passages about gender and invites hard questions from readers, making this a solid resource for individuals and groups alike.”

She delivers on that. The writing style is clear and readable. This is not a lecture or a technical thesis. It is a conversation. She touches on some complex and even controversial topics, but her explanations of what the Bible says, what other experts say, and how all of that information contributes to understanding and taking action is all well put. She doesn’t try to say more or make explicit things that the Bible doesn’t say or make explicit. But she does raise the possibility that some common perceptions are based more on culture or tradition than what the Bible actually says.

As I expected and as I hinted above, she spends some time discussing the roles of men and women and how our understanding of those roles affects how we participate in ministries and partnerships. But she has so much more to say. There are other issues to be addressed, such as communication, handling conflict, offering and receiving grace and forgiveness. She treats all of these without repeating the same usual things we know, but going deeper and further with them to attitudes and actions that Christians should adopt and work to make the basis for relationships.

She discusses our individual responsibility for our own behavior, how to work with others even when they won’t accept personal responsibility for their behavior, and things the church should do to encourage healthy partnerships. While she does discuss gender, much of what she covers applies to groups of women or groups of men. But one of the most useful things this book does is encourage more mixed groups – men and women working together to accomplish great things.

This book comes with a study guide, questions to consider for each chapter. I have seen plenty of study guides that did not really contribute any further value to the book. I am happy to report I found the study guide questions to be a great help in clarifying and reinforcing the points made in the chapter and provide an environment for thinking through to the next level of understanding of a topic, see how it affects and changes our beliefs and positions on these things. It challenges the reader to really put the concepts into practice.

I recommend this book. I think it is a balanced and biblical book that provides a starting point for even further thought in the areas of gender and partnership and forgiveness.

The Bound & Determined sell sheet with further information about the book.

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Just another blog dump

No large topic to write about, so just a “data dump” of things going on around here.

I just have to mention this interesting event. Whenever I lie down to take a nap (which isn’t that often), I somehow trigger the coffee grinder and other loud noises in the kitchen. There is some suspicion that Anthony is involved in all the noise making as soon as I lie down, but I know he would never do something like that when I’m trying to sleep. 🙂

On a related note – when your spouse snores or your neighbors have a pool party, a white-noise machine is a wonderful thing. Don’t be afraid to turn it up loud!! The only thing it won’t do is stop the cat from walking over you or nibbling at your fingers to get some attention.

To the family with the weeping willow that drapes out over the sidewalk – thank you for trimming it! Running is so much easier when I’m not dodging willow tendrils.

I got an iPhone, finally. I have had a rather old but good phone with the unique feature of being able to time the silent mode. I could tell it to go silent until 12:15 and then I don’t have to remember to turn the sound back on. If someone calls at 12:16, it rings out loud. I really really like that feature and think all cell phones should have it. But every time Anthony upgrades his iPhone, we spend a few minutes talking about whether I want to get one too. I finally succumbed. The iPhone has lots of benefits to it, including a keyboard (I admit texting my nephews with my old phone was a struggle), a calendar that syncs with my desktop, email, and a complete address book. But none of that was enough to give up my timed silent feature. Finally, I realized that with the GPS and the RunKeeper app, I could map my runs and know while I am running how far I have gone and how fast I’m running. It isn’t a huge deal, but it was enough to tip the scale this time and I now own a nice shiny new iPhone 4. It is pretty cool! Now we’re talking about giving the old one to my Mom so she can have some of those same benefits.

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Simon’s Crossing – review

I received an opportunity to read and review Simon’s Crossing by Charles William Asher and Dennis Patrick Slattery.  Asher is an Episcopal priest, and he has written this story using Simon the Cyrene as the main character. This is a imagining of what the man might have been like, why he was in Jerusalem, and how carrying the cross for Christ along the road to Golgotha may have affected his life.

The story is interesting, as we get to know Simon’s wife and his two sons, Alexander and Rufus. We also see the brutal rule of the Romans and the struggles of the Jews of the time. Much of the Bible story and church history is also included. We meet Veronica, Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, as well as Joseph of Arimathea and others. The different aspects of the crowd responding to Pontius Pilate and along the long walk are all shown and described well. The origin of some of the holy relics are also described.

The subject and the confusion and the purpose of the crucifixion are handled well in this novel. I am not Episcopal (or Catholic) so I don’t hold to all the traditions told as part of the story, but that didn’t detract in any way. By focusing on Simon, we see the struggle and pain of Jesus from a very understandable point of view, and we watch Simon’s perspective change as he suffers in such close intimacy with Jesus.

Some of the writing style was not as tight as it could be, with some shifts of topic being disjointed and repetitive in an attempt to reinforce the emotions and struggles. But it is a very readable story.

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The Portable Patriot – review

Another BookSneeze book. The Portable Patriot, edited by Joel Miller and Kristen Parrish, .

This book looked interesting, collecting documents, speeches, and even sermons that “compose the American soul” as the subtitle says. The book is small (hence the portable title) with the ragged cut pages that make a book feel older.  Before each entry is a short description of the person or the event, placing it in context of the history of the nation.

The contents are broken out by time period, from the Mayflower and other beginnings, just before the revolution, during the revolution, the founding, and the first documents of the republic. They have fit a lot of information in here. Of course the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, even some selections from the Federalist Papers. Plus any other writings not as well known. I see us referring to this book for years. As a former home schooler, I can see it being a cool resource for American History.

But I must admit some disappointment. I didn’t think portable would mean it had to be quite so small. Everything runs in together and the descriptive text is really only a few sentences. It is all about the actual documents, but the font and page size doesn’t even make reading the documents easy. I’m not saying it had to be a text book, but I think a different format would have been more pleasurable to hold and read.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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What’s been going on around here?

I haven’t posted in awhile. I decided I’d just write about what we’ve been up to.

Memorial Day weekend we had C & D over here. I can’t believe they are 14 and 13 now. Sunday night we had a joint birthday party with some friends, a total of 6 birthdays celebrated. Anthony took the boys out on his jet ski with a tube – I get the impression everyone had fun. I stood on the dock and watched much of it. They experimented with various ways of riding the tube and eventually decided on their back with their head toward the jet ski was the best to avoid water up the nose or early tumbling. They also provided advice to the driver on how tight the circles could get before it was impossible to ride. It’s so fun to see how big they are getting!

That week was hot and humid, as usual, but I still got in 3 runs in the mornings. Saturday was workday at church, cleaning blinds is not fun but was certainly necessary. Lots got done in a pretty short time.

Monday morning Anthony left early for the Synod meeting. As I helped him pack the truck I realized it was 60 with 51% humidity – the perfect running day and I wasn’t running. Tuesday when I did run it was back up to 76% humidity, and by Friday we were back to the normal 91% humidity. I still managed to run 5.75 miles!! Woohoo, my longest run yet.

Friday afternoon A was back in town and we went out for sushi with our friend Val. It’s always fun catching up with her and the sushi is yummy! Before meeting Val we went out on the jet ski and I totally remember now why I don’t go out on the water. An area of growth for me this summer I guess.

Saturday was down time – catching up on some errands and spending time together. Monday night we had dinner with friends. It takes some effort to fit these dinners in, but it is so much fun!!! Next time they will come to our house so we can show off the patio out front and on the side.

I have set a running goal – I want to do a 10k in September in Davidson. I am adapting this plan from Runner’s World to up my mileage and work on my speed. I did the fartlek run this morning. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did adding the bursts of speed and recovering well.

We were talking to Val about running and it is exciting to talk about how far I’ve come in the past year. My breathing is easier, even on the humid days, and my endurance is certainly up. I ran one race so far this year and the heat was brutal so I’m avoiding races this summer, but September and maybe a Turkey Trot in November certainly seem doable.

That’s it for now.

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Why do I run?

Recently a friend recommended The Complete Book of Running by James Fixx. It’s over 20 years old but the fact and advice are still solid. And the description of society’s health and nutrition state is sadly still accurate. I’m not sure we’ve learned much in the years since he wrote this book.

I did find the book encouraging as he described some of the same struggles and blahs I have, while reiterating the positives that got me out there. I’ve had a very good few months of running and that has lead me to revisit why I run. I have had a classmate and pastor mention they run to lose weight and I pass that fact on to my husband who has some pounds to lose. While I wouldn’t mind weighing just a few pounds lighter, I don’t run to lose weight. (Which is good because I haven’t lost weight with all my running.)

I’ve heard some people comment that running or working out is just too much work and if they can watch what they eat and stay trim, they prefer to do it that way. But again, while watching what you eat and having a reasonable weight is all good, that isn’t really the only reason to run.

As I stated a year ago, I started running because my cholesterol got over the acceptable limit. Exercise, and some strenuous movement are know to be good for reducing cholesterol. I, of course, have also modified my diet to add more good things and remove more bad things. But this is about exercise. 🙂

Over the years I have watched the old women on the streets of Brooklyn hunched over and shuffling down the sidewalk, I’ve seen friends and family  reach the age where their excess weight and/or lack of exercise caught up with them – the strength fails, the legs and lungs give up, and moving around gets much harder. I am rational enough to know that there are things I should be doing now to combat that. And at the age of 40, time is running out to get started and build a foundation.

One year ago today I went out for my first run/walk. I covered 1.9 miles in 27 minutes (that’s about a 14 minute mile). It wasn’t my first walk or even my first attempt at running, but it was the start of a new commitment. Today I ran 5.3 miles in 60 minutes (that’s about an 11 min mile). It isn’t all about the distance and it doesn’t have to be an hour, but it’s been fun to push my limits a bit to see what I’m actually capable of.  I’m most proud of the consistency as I have run almost every week, usually 2 or 3 times a week.

We have also started a second round of P90X, doing the strength training workouts mainly. It took us a week to get back into the rhythm, that month off really made more of a difference than I expected, but we are still further along than when we first started it in January.

I’m running for my health, for the discipline, for the sense of accomplishment. I’m running because I can.

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