Category Archives: friends

summer

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   Summer is here . . .  while I welcome the release of a schedule and activity driven life that the school year brings .. I’m realizing it also takes some adjusting to the the change of pace and establishing some new rhythms of summer that include relaxation and some intention too.

Today we started some of that  .. sleeping in, breakfast, bible study.  This afternoon we will run some errands, read some library books and maybe make some cookies!

I want to soak up every minute of the summer, engaging with my family, friends, and take advantage of opportunities to look way beyond myself and serve others.

the race

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This Saturday, I finished my first 1/2 marathon!  It really was my first as my training never included more than an 11 mile run!

It was an early morning … we rose around 4am and were on the road up to Kenosha (about an hour north of Chicago) by 4:40am.  Jon and the girls had packed the car with all the essentials the night before, while I had gone to bed before 9, to get a bit more sleep!

We arrived in record time, but not being familiar with this venue, I wanted to be there an hour before the race start to check things out, use the potty, scope out the course, etc.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning and a rare privilege to watch the sun rise over lake Michigan.  We saw the transformation from blue to hot pink to orange as it peaked up over the lake and as the clouds cleared to an absolutely perfect morning for a long run!

Jon, the girls and Baxter were all well equipped to cheer me on with great signs and even a loud cow bell .. just in case I couldn’t see them in their bright yellow ‘team laila’ tshirts!  You couldn’t ask for a better cheering section!  I felt very loved and supported.

For me personally, I had to overcome more than a few obstacles around this particular race.  The details /content and circumstances of those obstacles are not as important as the process of the overcoming.  We must create what we want with what we have.  We don’t always have what we want, but we do have the ability to create our own experience.  I knew that would be my work for this race!

I was so happy with the outcome of this race.  I loved having my family there to support me.  They were at the start, the 5 mile, 10 mile and finish line!  Perfect!

As it turned out, I ran this race without any running buddies of any kind.  I knew just the day before that this would be the case, so I collected a community of friends and family via text to support me while I ran with my iPhone as my Ipod.  I loved hearing from so many, encouragement to keep going and finish strong.  I had a specific time goal that I knew I would have to work very hard to meet, especially running alone and not experienced in pacing myself BY myself.  I’m so happy that I beat my goal by 5 minutes!  I had specific plans around water stations and fueling throughout the race, that worked really well.

What do I take away?

Gratitude for Jon and the girls for their support.  I often take that for granted, and it meant so much to me in this particular race.  I’m so grateful!

I feel empowered to do hard things.  This race was hard.  The training was hard.  Overcoming fear and obstacles was hard.  But, I did it, and I can move forward in life and face hard things in other areas too.

Community.  We were not designed to do life alone.  Again, family was key . . . as were the community of friends that also wanted and expected me to do my best.  I felt their support and wanted to honor it, by actually doing my best!  I believe I did that, and I was so pleased.

Additionally, running alone gives me time to be with myself .. to listen to myself and also to talk to myself ..  I did a bit of both on this run.  Being alone is most importantly an opportunity to listen to God.  I’m thankful for what I heard and for what I said.

Thankful to God that my body works well enough to run, for a beautiful day to enjoy pushing myself physically, soaking in a beautiful morning on Lake Michigan and thankful for many lessons learned.

abundance

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my belated reflections on my 40th birthday…

the word that comes to mind is Abundance.

The months leading up to my 40th birthday, I  would more accurately describe with words like loss, brokenness and pain.  Thankfully, God did not leave me there, but brought me to a place of seeing the Abundant love he has lavished on me, the Abundant grace and mercy He has shown me, and the Abundance of people in my life he has blessed me with who love and support me.

I’ve had some great opportunities to process this advancement of my age with family and friends in the recent past and presently.  Some themes have emerged.  One friend said, “Turning 40 gives you freedom to finally be an adult.”  Yes! it does.  It also calls me to be one.  I have not fully embraced that reality in the past.  I am an adult .. whether I always want to be or not!

The final arrival of my 40th birthday has also signified for me an opportunity to ‘reset’, to turn a corner, to do things differently.  A new beginning of a new chapter of life.  For some it may be just another day.  For me, my 40th birthday falls at a time where I’m excited (and perhaps a bit scared too) to make some changes.

So, back to abundance .. I like this word and what it means and represents.  I realize I live more often in scarcity.  Expecting less of myself, assuming less of others, and worst of all, not seeing the abundance that I’ve been given by God.

It didn’t take me long to find many references in scripture to God’s abundant love and mercy that he gives to us.

Here are just a few.

Psalm 31:19

Oh, how abundant is your goodness,

which you have stored up for those who fear you

and worked for those who take refuge in you,

in the sight of the children of mankind.


Psalm 51:1

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.


Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;

his understanding is beyond measure.

The psalmist speaks again and again of God’s abundance, in His love, His mercy, His power.

Jesus then speaks in John 10:10 of how He has come to give abundant life.

John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


Abundance defined:

  1. present in great quantity; more than adequate; over-sufficient.
  2. well supplied; abounding.

I have definitely discovered in new ways this year, God’s abundant love for me .. in that He knows me completely and loves me anyway.  The abundance of  His grace in giving me what I do not deserve, eternal salvation because of the gift of His Son who paid the penalty for my sins; past, present and future.  And the abundance of mercy He continues to show me daily .. saving me from myself, my selfish choices and messes .. His mercies are new every morning .. I have known that and needed that.

(Lamentations 3:22-24)

So, as I mark this 40th year of my life and all that it has brought, I’m happy to celebrate God’s gift of abundance in my life.

I am so thankful for my amazing family, and many dear friends.

I’m happy I was able to celebrate this special birthday with some family and friends this weekend!

Some snapshots of the evening  . . .