In defense of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

For anyone wondering what exactly The Ice Bucket Challenge is really all about.

Nick Barnowski

I’ve come across a blog post in the Detroit News that was published Monday. It was written by Kathy Hoekstra, a Michigan graduate and communications manager. It upset me.

I shouldn’t have to defend the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. By now, nearly all of you know and understand what it is all about. You’re challenged by someone you know to dump a bucket of ice water on your head and then you nominate someone else to do it. Simple. All to raise awareness for this awful disease.

My dad passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease in July of 2012, fewer than two years after he was diagnosed. I’ll never get over it and I’ll never understand why it had to happen to him. It will haunt me till the day I die.

So when Ms. Hoekstra asks, “Does Stephen Hawking care if you dump ice on your head?” it’s easy…

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Growing In The Midst of Blessings and Trials

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This current season of my life is one of both blessings and trials. I have been taught that trials are the valleys of life experience and Blessings are the mountaintops. As I am experiencing both, I am not sure how to categorize it. If at all.

It has been overwhelming to say the least.

Blessings can be hard enough to process. As can trials. Having them occur at the same time has me feeling like I am running in circles.

In the midst of both God is showing, teaching, loving me.

In other words making me fairly uncomfortable. He is showing me where I have been prideful by holding onto behaviors that I have shrugged off as “Just How I Am”. He is teaching me that to have more confidence and stop doubting my abilities. He is loving me through all this by surrounding me with people to come alongside me during this time.

It is an odd place to be, this land of blessings and trials. I have been taught that your are either in the desert or the land of bounty. I never understood that one could be in both. I can see the changes starting within me. Pulling back when I become frustrated ( and when I am frustrated I can become rude and even mean). As I continue to pursue writing as a career, I need to have confidence in my work. That this talent the Lord gave me is being put to use and used well.

It can be difficult to take in what God is showing us in our lives. I know I brushed aside the clear messages He was putting in my life from those I love and trust until I could no longer ignore it. I was hesistant to say yes to a new career oppurtunity because I thought I was not ready, when I was ready to take the next step. Each are a blessing and a trial. Each are fruit in this walk with Christ. Each are opportunities for me to continue to grow and not stagnat.

Question for you dear reader, Have you experienced both blessing and trials at the same time? If so, how did you cope?

Mid Week Motivator- Need to Run

I have a love/ hate relationship with running. I hate it during the run, I hate how my muscles ache and how my breath can get out of rhythm. There are days when I have to chastise myself to go run already!

But then there are the days when I crave a run. That happened for me Monday evening. My life has been pretty topsy turvy as of late. My schedule has been affected by things out of my control. Monday, I needed to run. I needed it more than I needed to attend my small group as I usually do.

I needed to run because I knew I would not be able to do it later in the week due to other commitments. I needed to run because I am getting back into running and did not want to lose my momentum thus far.

It was not a far or fast run. A couple times around the park with some walking. Then ten minutes of running and down these small hills at the park

( alright its essentially a drainage ditch but you work with what you got!)

So why the photo of the horse you ask?

Because the horse NEEDS to run. As I did. As I do. I may not always love it. I may not always run well. But I need to get out there and do it. Sometimes I will love it and feel like I am flying and other times I just want to go home already. But that is just fine because it is about getting out there in the first place!

After my run I felt better. I felt lighter. Mission accomplished.

What is your relationship with running?

 

 

 

Gaining Hope in the Storms that Life Brings

There is hope within the storms of life

There is hope within the storms of life

Last week after the death of Robin Williams, there was an outpouring of grieve over his death. With that the conversation about what brought about his death occurred on the internet. Some were an outpouring of love and for others it was an outpouring of rage. Suicide has affected all of us somehow. Whether or we have considered doing it or have known we have lost tragically to it.

In my own life, I flirted briefly with the idea of it. Life had become too much for me. The lies I had told about where I was or who I was were beginning to catch up with me and I wanted to escape as hiding was no longer an option. This was long before I knew Christ and I was truly lost. The flirtation did not last long, the depression I was in was not so depilating,that I could not see that this was a stupid choice. In reality I was not in the depths of depression but in a state of panic of being discovered. I realized that my small disappointments were nothing compared to having to bury me. I faced up to what my life had become and slowly, ever so slowly made my way back towards life.

Some can’t. We have seen what the effects of fighting the battle of depression can bring.

Others find healing with the combination of family, community, faith, doctors,therapy and medication.

 On a level I understand how hard it is to go through with it, to think the world would be better off without me. In my own family we have dealt with mental illness, you can read about that here

My experience with this is rather shallow at best and in light of that I am included links to a few blogs that I have found to be a better voice than I.

Ann Voscamp (@annvoscamp) wrote eloquently on this subject over at her blog A Holy Experience

Nish Weiseth (@nishweiseth) shared this beautiful piece as well 

This post from Roman Hokie was amazing too

National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

Please seek help. Please know that there is hope, healing and love for you. There is hope in the storms of Life.

Mid Week Motivator- That Water Drinking Habit

It should be easy to drink water. I mean it is easily accessable  in our lives ( especially those of us living in the modern, western world). We are surrounded by places to buy water to our liking. Water fountains are in every public building we enter. Not to mention,(hardly ever) do we need to question how clean the water we are drinking, cleaning and bathing in is safe. Plus we have the option to further filter our drinking water if we so desire.

So why is it so difficult to get into the habit of drinking it?

All day long other beverages are consumed are they not? There are the sugary drinks and the various colas. Since it is still summer time, the choices added lemonade and iced tea. Let us not discount all the blended coffee ( or as my friend puts it, coffeeish) beverages.

But drink water? Just plain water with no flavor added? Really?

I mean, who does that?!

I do.

I enjoy water. I enjoy being properly hydrated. Have you ever finished a soda and felt, well thirsty still? I have and either wound up drinking more soda or a glass of water. I can honestly say I am no longer tempted by soda. They are just too sugary for me!

One of the things that will help you lose weight and keep it off is to drink water. Think about it, you may be eating better and exercising but still not really losing the weight. Have you considered what you are drinking? The calories you are consuming with out thinking about it?

How to stop this insanity? The simple answer is to just switch to water. If that is too hard then start with replacing one bottle or glass of water with your usual beverage. Do it for a week. Then the next week, replace two and so on.

Purchase a cool reusuable water bottle, there are some that come with filters if you prefer. This will help in not having to spend so much on it. This indeed is another great benefit to using a reusable bottle, it helps your budget. It is most likely you may not realize how much of your budget goes to purchasing your favorite drinks each day, week or month.

Do not forget about alocoholic beverages too. Think of those as SUGAR CITY. Until you reach that maintence level in your weightloss journey, stay back from that too.

Water keeps you hydrated, it flushes out toxins and will actually give you energy.

You can do this! You can make the switch to water. After some time it will be in the majority of what you drink during the day. Not to mention since you are drinking no calorie water, this will allow you to enjoy that burger or chocolate a little bit more! That is the trade off I often make.

What is your daily beverage companion? The one you fear you can not live without?

Mid Week Motivator

I haven’t hidden the fact that I have struggled with running since my half marathon.

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The last time I ran was over three weeks ago before today. I have a new job which I need to balance with my other part time job. In doing so my workouts have become scattered. The summer weather has played a part too, evening rain showers washing out plans to run.

I have been doing workouts at home but it is not the same as a good run. I have felt more worn out by not running. My body and mind need to run.

This morning I ran. I went to a new park (which has a lot of cool workout amenities) and ran/walked two laps around. It felt good to be out there again. I had fun and realized I am in bad of shape as I believed. Looking forward to my run tomorrow!

While it can be hard to get back into a routine. You need meet yourself where you are right now. Comparing what you were capable of to where you are now is defeatist. Instead, have confidence that you can get there again. However, it is up to you to take the first step!

What first step are you taking today?

No Medal, No Problem

At the end of my first Half Marathon, I did not receive my medal. They had run out in the course of the race day. I was in a such a daze at the finish line that my brain could not process this information. Part of the motivation for getting to the end of the race is receiving the medal. That moment is something I will not get back. However not getting it right then does not diminish my accomplishment.

As I read through the comment threads on Face Book it became clear to me that something more was going on. Complaint after complaint, from the medal situation to every little thing that happened that made someone’s experience not so great. It is understandable with an event as large as the Miami Marathon that not everything can or will go exactly as planned. How often in our own every day lives does that even happen? I do understand that with paying the entrance fee there is a higher expectation for things to go as planned.

What occurred to me as I read through the thread is that nearly all of us were missing the point. No it was not that a lot of people missed out on their ubiquitous after race photo. The one with the medal hanging around their necks. Complaint after complaint filled the face book threads. Even the weather was criticized! I have to say as a Florida girl since the age of 8, I found the weather on race day to be particularly beautiful. Yes I was rained on but that was fine, often my best runs are in the rain.

How easy is it to complain? Did not all of us who finished just do something that most people would shake their heads at? That we are blessed to be healthy enough to even attempt to run a race such as this? There are people who are in constant pain and unable to even walk a few steps without feeling as if they had just run a marathon. There are people who wish they could run in a race but the cost keeps it just out of reach for them.

I got to thinking that once I do have my medal what will happen to it. I will wear it for a bit, perhaps an hour or a day. Of course I will have my picture taken. Show it off to friends and anyone who asks really to look at it. Then most likely it will hang on my wall. Perhaps I will have it framed along with my running number. Or not. Eventually it will end up in some box somewhere, framed or not. It will get lost in a move or broken. Becoming a footnote in the history of my life.

My point is this, the real trophy is not the one that hangs around my neck. It is the hard work and sweat put into running the race. Getting angry about this is a waste. That is what will take away from reaching the goal. Allowing something that is out of my control to become ugly is just sad. In the disappointment of not getting a medal at the end of a long, hard, race I have the knowledge (not to mention soreness!) of what I just did. Pushing my body to complete a race. That alone is worth it’s weight in gold than any medal in the world.

I chose to train and run this race because I wanted it. I wanted to do something to show how far I had come. Getting out there day and day training for the race was not what I always wanted to do. The fact that anyone who participated and finished the race (or any race!) is an amazing feat. I revel in this, how this body is healthy enough to complete 13.1 miles.

Now am not sure of when my next half will be, this year or the next but I do hope to run another one!

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (NIV)

My lovely friends made me a homemade medal as you can see below.Marathon Medal