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Lucky Lepers

Four Leaf Clover

So, leprosy isn’t often a coveted disease.  Actually, I would venture to say that almost any disease would fall in the Not Often Coveted” category.  

 

However, the other day, I was talking to a friend, and we started listing the things in life that would be really awful to experience.  I know that’s not really a fun “exercise” but I had been watching a show where a father and daughter had been mauled by a bear but survived.  So, it got me thinking about all of the really unpleasant things I haven’t experienced that I would like to never have to experience … liiiiiike being mauled by a bear, for one!

Another item that made the list was being tied to a table and slowly driven to insanity as drops of water steadily fell on my forehead.  Now, I don’t think many people have experienced this, but I’ve heard about this so-called Chinese Water Torture strategy used long ago.  Whether it works or not, I’m not overly interested in experiencing it! :)

 

Then, I realized that leprosy would probably be even worse.  It’s not as common today as it used to be, but I think it could still legitimately make the “Never Want to Experience” list.  Having this infectious skin disease with leaky sores and nerve damage doesn’t sound appealing in the least.  However, my friend made an interesting point after I eagerly added leprosy to my list.  I thought it was pretty profound.

 

He said,

“Yes, leprosy would be pretty bad, but at least you would get to hang out with Jesus all day.”

 

Wow!  I never thought of it that way.  Those are some lucky lepers!  I’m pretty sure that’s not a word combination many people have used before, but back in the day, Jesus hung out with all kinds of people that the rest of society shunned.  In Matthew 8, Jesus heals a leprous man, and in Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 men with leprosy.  Now, the Bible doesn’t say that they spent a lot of time chitchatting before the healing took place, and they really didn’t spend much time with him after the healing either.

 

However, I think the key element is that their disease drew them to His feet.  Their infection and issue, which was so visible and so repulsive to everyone around them, became their key to wholeness.  Oozing sores and numbness, lesions and open wounds that were extremely painful, were the exact thing those men needed to magnify their need for Jesus.  Would they have come crawling to Him otherwise?  Would they have cried out for Him to have mercy on them had their skin been smooth and clean, unmarked and unwounded?  I have a feeling their life stories would have been drastically different if they never had to put the “Hello, my name is LEPER” sticker on their tunic.

 

So, my question to you today is, what is your diagnosis that is also a key to your destiny?  What issue, problem, or illness has infected your life in order to magnify your need for Him?  Which mountain or valley, hurdle or trench are you attempting to overcome on your own, when the purpose of that thing is to allow you to see that you desperately need His presence in your life?

 

Now, I’m not suggesting he intentionally infected your life with issues to say “Ha!  Now you HAVE to come to me!”  Obviously, Jesus didn’t walk the earth striking people down with leprosy so he could turn around and heal them.  However, their desperation and deprivation allowed their eyes and ears to be opened to His message in ways that a healthy, happy life wouldn’t have.

 

My challenge to you today is to give yourself a check-up.  Identify the areas of your life that seem “dis-eased,” and take them to the healer.  He wants you to come.  He is pleading for you to come, because He knows that He alone can bring wholeness and healing like none other.  Let your leprosy pull you into His presence.  You’ll see how amazing it is right there at His feet … and you’ll never want to leave!

 

Now, leprosy is still on my “Rather Not Experience” list.  However, I have an entirely new take on it.  How about you? :)

 

With Love,

Jeanna :)

Image from: http://www.redicecreations.com/article.php?id=10888

Dream With Me

Dream With Me

Dreams  

Have you stopped dreaming? 

When was the last time you sat down and really allowed yourself to dream BIG dreams … like the “almost impossible” kind?

 Has it been a while?  Can you even remember when the last time was that you sat with your eyes closed and imagined a different kind of future for you … your children … your family?

I know what you’re thinking …

“When in the world do I have TIME to sit and dream??”  

“The biggest dreams I’ve dreamt relate to getting a full night’s sleep or going to the bathroom by myself!”

I would agree that life takes over sometimes, and the opportunities we have to imagine and dream and feel inspired are often overtaken by laundry and bills and to do lists.

I think the trouble is that we see dreaming as a luxury.  We see it as something we COULD do if we had enough TIME!  However, the time never comes, and the dreams become buried under the reality of our reality.

Here is my thought on the matter, though…

 I think dreaming is our lifeline.

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It’s our secret code that unlocks our destiny.  It’s the bobby pin that allows us access to a whole new world of possibility that we forgot existed!  Now, we remember being dreamers when we were children.  It was easy then.  All it took was a stick and a sheet, and maybe our best friend, and we were in a whole new realm!

Don’t let being “grown up” steal the dreamer in you. 

The best part is that the ultimate dreamer … God … is in you, too. 

He LOVES to dream with you.  Will you sit with Him long enough to let him show you the dreams He has for you?  Will you allow him to take over your imagination, and show you what HE sees?

Oh, if we only allowed him access.  If we allowed Him to open the curtains to see the Narnia that He designed specifically for us … it would take our breath away.

 

Let Him take your breath away today.

Let Him show you the dreams He has for you.

It will blow your mind!

It’s more than you could imagine all by yourself.

It’s more than “average” and “regular” and “ordinary.”

As I’ve spent time with Him lately, I’ve come to realize that He has much bigger plans for me and my life than I do.  When he shows me His ideas, my reaction is …

“Are you sure, God?

Do you really mean it?

Is that possible … for me?”

His response is “Yes … Yes … and Yes.”

 Let Him show you today.  It might cause you to feel a little bit of fear or skepticism … but it’s real.

It’s possible.  Believe it.

Dream Big!

With Love,

Jeanna :)

Images:

Dream Big –  http://suziecheel.com

Dream Painting – http://www.gofundme.com/4wdin0

 Dream Clips – http://panktimehta.blogspot.com/2013/08/big-dreams.html

Refill Please!!

Refill Please!

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 Do you feel like you’re running on empty?

Are you completely drained at the end of most days?

Maybe you even feel drained as you START your day!  If that’s the case, you have your WARNING sign! :)

We’ve heard it before, but let’s consider this analogy…

Your life is a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a can of your favorite beverage.  You enjoy those moments when you get to take a sip or sometimes gulp after gulp.  Every once in a while, you even share your favorite beverage with others.

After time has passed, your cup is empty, your glass is wineless, and you’ve reached the bottom of the can.  What do you do at that point?

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Well, if you are at a restaurant, you ask for a refill!  If you are at home, you walk to the kitchen counter or refrigerator and pour yourself another glass!

What do we do in life when that happens?  

Are we as quick to realize when we are empty?  Do we have the wherewithal to recognize our depleted state as readily as when we see the bottom of the coffee mug?

“Yes, I need a refill.”  

Those words slip fluidly off our tongue when the server at the restaurant asks if there’s anything we need.  No hesitation.  No guilt.  We are not worried about what others think of our request.  We don’t analyze our need and feel “less than” for asking.

You’re on empty today.  Your cup is dry.

For you, it may have been dry for quite some time now.

The truth is, you CANNOT pour out if you’re on empty.

That is a fact!  Just ask anyone who has found themselves on the side of the road trying to catch a ride to the gas station.  It’s NOT a pleasant experience!  They KNOW there’s no way to operate when they’ve reached “E.”

Your family needs you to be filled.  Your friends and others around you need you to be full.  Why? Because you have amazing things to share with them.  Your ability to love, and give, and share life with others is completely dependant on your tank.  If it’s filled, you can pour out without any trouble at all.

However, when you need to give encouraging words or when someone around you needs prayer or help with their struggles, it’s MUCH easier when you have something to give!

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“You’re right.  I’m on empty.” you say.  “How do I fix it?”

You do what everyone does when they recognize their emptiness.

You ask for a refill. :)

Who are you asking, though?

You’re asking the ONLY one who can actually fill you.  You’re seeking the One who knows exactly how much fuel you need for EVERY day you’re here on this earth.

Your dad.  Your father.  Your source.

He desperately wants to fill you up.  He has seen you trying to pour out for SO LONG, and has been trying to get your attention!  He has seen you struggling to love those who need to be loved and care for those around you.  Your spouse, your children, your friends …

You give, and give, and give, but you forget the most KEY ELEMENT in the whole process!  

The FILL UP!

Here’s the secret.  It’s a DAILY need.  

You need Him to fill you DAILY!

Otherwise, you will find yourself back on the couch at night or lying in bed feeling as if the world has sucked every ounce of energy out of you … again.   Don’t live like that!

He wants you to live life to the FULLEST!  

That’s the key word!  FULL!  

There’s no way to live life to the fullest if you’re empty.  It’s a contradiction of terms.  It’s an oxymoron.

Don’t live an “oxymoron” life. :)  

He has a FULL life planned for you if you allow him to be your “filler.”  So, the remedy … sit with him each day.  Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, find the time of day when you hear Him best.  Discover the moments where you can physically feel him pouring life back into you.  He wants to do it.  You NEED Him to do it.  Let Him wrap His loving arms around you and fill you.

Believe me.  Your family members, friends, co workers … those you meet on the street or those you run into at the grocery store … they’ll notice.  You’ll notice.  There’s a HUGE difference between EMPTY and FULL.

Let Him fill you up today.

With Love,

Jeanna :)

 
Images:
Coffee: http://wanderer-onestep.blogspot.com/2010/05/going-coffee-crazy-today.html
Coke:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/steezandcrackers/878584444/
 
 

Bedtime Brilliance

Bedtime Brilliance

ImageAt what time of day do you get your most brilliant ideas?  

For me, it never fails that as I lay my head down to sleep, a million and one ideas pop into my head.  Ideas about projects I should work on, people I should connect with, new challenges I should attempt …  They ALL come rushing to the forefront of my mind the moment I am seeking peace and quiet and rest.

Why is that?

I’ve heard a few theories on this topic.  One is that as you lay down in bed, you get better circulation to your brain, which allows you to think more clearly and your creativity begins to flow.  One individual suggested that if you needed to come up with a new project, idea, invention, or solution, you should actually lie down on the floor (or couch if you want to be comfortable), and you will find you have more ideas than you had before.

It really is an interesting concept!

A second theory I came across, when venting to a friend about lack of sleep due to my creativity crisis, is that when laying in bed, your brain shifts into a different mode.  In this relaxed state, more of your subconscious thoughts rise to the surface.  All those intentional thoughts that were clouding your mind have been packed up in your “Deal With Tomorrow” suitcase, and your subconscious creativity comes out to play.

It’s actually quite amusing, I think!  Well, that is, until you are staring at the clock and wondering when Miss Creative will leave you alone long enough for you to drift off into dream land.

Here’s my theory, though.

I think the first two theories are quite valid.  I’m sure they’re both true in some way.  My theory, however, is that when we finally crawl our tired bodies into our warm and cozy bed at night, God finally gets a chance to chat with us once again.

Maybe we sat with Him in the morning and heard His thoughts on the day.  Maybe we threw a “Thank you, Lord!” or “Please help me, Jesus!” into the atmosphere a few times throughout our hectic afternoon.  But when we finally have decided that the day we are in has come to a close and we are ready to shift into delightful dreaming, God whispers to us, “Psst … my precious daughter … I just want to tell you how much I love you before this day is done.”  “Hey … my amazing son … I just want to let you know how proud I am of you today!”

Then, He slips in a few of HIS ideas into our minds, and THAT is when those beautiful moments of brilliance take place!

They are HIS ideas.  They are HIS creations and revelations that He’s been trying to get us to see all day long!  However, the busy nature of our lives tends to choke out His voice.

So, today … tonight … make sure you have a pen ready.  He has so much He wants to pour into you.  Don’t wait until bedtime to hear Him speak.  Don’t miss the sheer genius He is pouring into you and drawing out of you all day long.  Those thoughts and ideas He’s whispering to you can change your life!  They can point you in a new direction or help you through a crisis.  They can revitalize your business or rejuvenate your relationships!

Don’t miss His whispers.  Hear Him today.  He’s got some AMAZING things to share with you!

With Love,

Jeanna

Image:

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en

Maxi Miracles

Maxi Miracles

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Are you believing God right now for something huge to happen in your life?  Have you been seeking Him, asking, and even pleading with him for certain prayers to be answered?

Maybe you’re praying for someone in your family to be cured from cancer, or to see a friend saved or delivered from her current circumstances.  Maybe you need a huge financial miracle or are seeking God to save your marriage.  Whatever it is, whatever that “Maxi Miracle” is that you’ve been seeking Him for, I just want you to know that He hears you.  He hears your cries.  He knows your thoughts.  He sees you where you are and has kept track of every tear that has fallen.  Those sleepless nights filled with worry are not something He ignores.

Now, you may be thinking …

“Well, if He is so good at knowing how much pain I’m in, and He hears my every prayer … why hasn’t he fixed it?  Why am I still in this mess?  My heart is hurting, and He has the remedy.  Why hasn’t he stepped in to stop my pain?”

I would say those are very valid questions.  I asked them myself many times.  I know this probably isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but I’d say the way to make it through the trial and the season of pain is to ask different questions.

What are You teaching me today?

How are my circumstances molding me into the person You’ve designed me to be?

What am I NOT seeing?

I am not trying to minimize the trials and tribulations we experience.  They are painful.  That is a fact.  However, sometimes the pain blinds us to the miracles that are happening EVERY DAY!

Oftentimes, we are so busy waiting for our MAXI MIRACLES that we completely ignore the MINI MIRACLES that surround us.

everyday_miracles

Believe me, God wants the best for you.  However, sometimes His “best” requires us to go through the fire.  It’s preparation.  I know it isn’t pleasant.  I know it isn’t all roses.  I’ve gone through many days where I thought God had put the mute button on my prayer requests and forgot I existed.

The thing is, He never forgets you exist.  

You’re on His mind ALL the time!  

So, today, as you are seeking God for your Maxi Miracles, don’t forget to look around you for all of the Mini Miracles He is giving you.  Don’t be blinded by your own prayers.  Don’t allow your painful circumstances to rob you of the joy each day can bring, even when your deepest desires are still just that.

He made today just for you.  He designed this day so that you could experience it with Him, step by step.  Take His hand and walk with Him today.  He knows your pain and sees your circumstances.  He’s working them out as you walk with Him.

Allow Him to do what He does best.  He knows your end from your beginning, and even when it doesn’t make ANY kind of sense, remember that it’s all working for your good, and your future is magnificent.

Your TODAY is your miracle.  

Whether you consider it to be Maxi or Mini … don’t miss it!

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Images:

Johnson, Ginger. “Miracles Happen.” Photo. SurvivorSpark.com 13 March 2014.

<http://survivorspark.com/make-your-own-miracles-part-2/&gt;

Greenburg, Mike. “Life is a Series of Miracles.” Photo. EverydayMiracles.net 13 March 2014.

<http://everyday-miracles.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/everyday_miracles.jpg&gt;

“Don’t Wait for Miracles.” Photo. MotivationBlog.org 13 March 2014.

<http://www.motivationblog.org/dont-wait-for-miracles-albert-einstein-quote/#&gt;

There’s No Place Like …

There’s No Place Like …

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There’s no place like Haiti.  There really isn’t.  I know most of you were expecting the ending of that sentence to look a bit different.  I would say that I agree that there’s no place like home, but after traveling to Haiti multiple times, I can say, without a doubt, that there really is no other place like it in the world.

I’ve traveled to a few other countries at this point in my life, and there’s just something about Haiti that gets me every time.  There’s just something about the people, the culture, the environment … there’s something about the children that draws me back over and over.

Many people have asked me the question,

“Why Haiti?”  “What made you decide to go?”

To be honest, the reason I chose to go to Haiti was because it was the only opportunity that presented itself at the time!  Jay & Jan Nielsen, who started Missions International of America, invited a group of teachers to take the trip.  I could pretend that the people of Haiti and the nation itself was on my heart for years, but really it was an open door that pretty much fell in my lap.

So, that explains my answer to the first question, but the answer to the second is what I find most interesting as I look back.

“What made me decide to go?”

Do you want the real answer?  It’s not as “fairytale” as most people would expect.  The major reason I went wasn’t because I wanted to help children at a school in the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere.  Reason number one wasn’t to use my gifts and talents and resources to make the lives of other people better or different in some way.  I wasn’t thinking about the people who needed to hear the Gospel or needed to know that God loves them beyond measure.

Now, those things have become major reasons why I continue to travel back, but the main reason at the time was not quite so “pretty.”

At the time when Jan sent out the invitation, I was going through some really tough experiences in my life.  Things weren’t going as I had planned when I mapped out my “picture perfect future.”  The timeline I had set for getting married and having children and living my Disney princess movie was pretty much falling apart and then being put through the shredder.

So, when I got that email from Jan, I wasn’t thinking about the precious faces of Haitian children.  I was thinking about escape.  I wanted a way to escape from the pain and tears and overwhelming disappointment that I was feeling.  My own world was choking me.  I was consumed with my OWN problems, and I recognized that I needed out.

I needed to escape the world I was living in before it took over not only my present, but my future.

When Jan’s lifeline appeared in my inbox, I saw my chance to break free from the chains of my “now.”  Deep down I knew that it wasn’t healthy for me to be so consumed with the drama in my own life.  I knew that there was a “bigger picture” to behold.  I knew God had more for me than what I was seeing.  It was as if all the issues and problems hung in a massive curtain of darkness in front of my eyes, and no matter how much I pushed or pulled or clawed at it, it wouldn’t go away.

That’s when I knew I needed a shift in my perspective.  

I needed a new vantage point.

God knew it, too.  He threw me a rope and gave me a second chance.  He whispered to me, “I have so much more for you than this.  Trust me.  Follow me.  I know it seems scary and silly and out of your comfort zone, but that’s EXACTLY where I need you to be.  Right now you’re locked in this depression room.  I refuse to leave you here.  You were made for so much more, and I WILL NOT allow you to perish in this place.  Now, you are a strong woman, and you will endure it if you must.  However, I’m telling you that I’m giving you an “out.”  I’m giving you a “get out of jail free card.”  Take it and run with me.  Move with me into the future I have for you because it is more glorious than you could ever imagine!  Your present doesn’t have to be your reality.  Your now will soon be your “what used to be” as long as you take my hand and follow me.  I know the way.  Let’s go.

When he spoke those words to me, I knew that Haiti was my chance for the shift I needed.  I needed a shift in my mindset.  I needed a shift in my focus.  I needed to shift the way I viewed my life and what it was all about.  I am so thankful that He didn’t allow me to be consumed.

Haiti, in a sense, saved me.

Haiti saved me from a life of self-focus and a life of “everything’s about what I’m going through.”  Haiti helped me to see that ANY day of the week someone around the world would trade places with me in a heartbeat and would feel blessed beyond measure.  Haiti opened my eyes to the needs of people beyond the walls of my home, my job, my city, my nation.  I am so grateful.

So, I know that was a long answer to a short question.  However, questions about why we make major life decisions require us to dig deep to find the answers.  I don’t think I realized, until just recently, how much my current circumstances back in 2010 shaped almost everything I’m passionate about and everything I’m pursuing now.

God truly is a miracle worker, and my life is proof that He can be working miracles that we don’t even see until years down the road.  It’s when we look back and see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve grown, and how different our lives look at this point that we can see His hand guiding us every step of the way.

I’m amazed by God, and I’m so overwhelmingly thankful.  He knew what I needed when I had no clue.

My question to you is, what is your “Haiti”?  What is the circumstance or opportunity that God has placed at your feet to bring you out of the overwhelming places in your life?

Don’t let the lifeline pass you by.  Take His hand.  Let Him lead you out.  There’s more for you.  He’s got it all figured out, and the best part is that you just have to take it one step at a time.  After a while, you’ll look back and see that you’ve covered a lot of ground, and you’re not who you were before.  You’re so much more, and He’s so proud of you.

There’s no place like …  

The beautiful thing is that YOU get to finish that sentence.  I’m excited for you and all that God has planned for your life.

So, click those heels.  Your future is waiting.

Image from:

http://www.noplacelikehomepetsitting.org/home

Forced Rest

Forced Rest

ImageLife is busy.  We all know that quite well.  Our calendars tend to fill up before the month has even begun!  What’s interesting, though, is that the things we need most tend to be left off the “to do list” and the calendar.  Running from activity to activity and event to event is all wonderful until we get burned out!

 

What I’ve come to realize as I reflect on 2013, and as the winter storms of 2014 snow me in, is that sometimes what we need the most is rest.  Since we often don’t choose rest for ourselves, I have found that God sometimes takes the steering wheel and MAKES us sit down and rest.  Those experiences can be pleasant or painful.  Recently a friend of mine slipped and fell on some ice, breaking her leg.  This happened right before Christmas and she had so much to get done before the holiday.  That was a prime example of UNPLEASANT forced rest.  I recently experienced a more pleasant “sit down and rest” command from God.  Many of you have experienced this with me in the last week!  His blessing in disguise was the lovely BLIZZARD and ARCTIC BLAST we are having!!

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I believe God has truly snowed me in on purpose.  He’s saying “Sit with me.  Relax with me.  Enjoy the view.  Hear the sound of the quiet peace that has settled over your world.”  There’s nothing like the sound of the morning after a snow storm.  If you stand outside and just listen, it is so quiet and peaceful … I love it!  However, with the temperatures we are having, you can’t stand outside for long before you find yourself with a frostbitten nose and fingers!

 

God is granting us these moments because he wants to remind us that in the quietness and peace, and in the place of rest, is where you hear him the most.  It’s the place where his voice is clearer than ever.  It’s beautiful and it’s reassuring.  He’s with me.  He knows what I need more than I know what I need.  He knows my human tendencies to rush and stress and worry.  He knows I need rest.  Even when I don’t realize I need it, he does, and he MAKES me rest.  I know it sounds a bit forceful, but I’m thankful that he knows what he’s doing.

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So, in all the hustle and bustle of life, take a moment today and ask yourself “What has God done in my life lately to force me to rest?  Has he had to force me, or have I chosen rest on my own?”  I think either way, rest is necessary.  I think our best bet is to choose it for ourselves, make room for REST in our day, schedule it on the calendar so we don’t forget!  We need to do what’s necessary to get those quiet moments with Him.  Otherwise life tends to wear us down to a point where we are forced to rest because of unpleasant circumstances … illness, overload, etc.  Don’t let those be the reasons you rest.  Don’t put God in a place where He has to force you to relax with him in peace and quiet.  Choose it for yourself.  Make time for it.  You need it, and those around you will appreciate the fact that you chose rest.  We all know we’re much more pleasant and loving and giving and much more of a blessing when we are not running on empty.

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So, fill up today.  Rest today with Him.  He’s longing to spend time with you, and you might find that the snowstorms of life are your perfect excuse to get what you need most.

Happy Snow Day! :)

Images from:

http://www.crossfitdfw.com/2013/09/24/rest-days/

http://pastorkylehuber.com/?tag=rest

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/dmx/?n=dec20blizzard

http://pixabay.com/en/ad-petrol-tank-fuel-gauge-full-70507/

The Finish Line

The Finish Line

FinishLine

    

Have you ever made it to the end of a thing?  Have you ever prepared for an event, trained for a race, poured your heart and soul into a moment, and then it was over?

The end of a thing can be a positive or negative experience.   It can cause you to feel a plethora of emotions.  The end can bring joy or pain, extreme relief or extreme sadness, a feeling of the highest high or the lowest low.  Sometimes the end of a thing does both.  You experience both ends of the emotional spectrum at the same time.  It really is quite amazing that such contradicting emotions, such extreme opposites, can be present within us at the exact same time.

3520630-active-senior-finally-made-it-to-the-finish-line

 As you may have read in my last post, I recently ran a marathon!  Looking back it’s hard to believe I really did it, but I crossed the finish line, and I have a medal to prove it.  Now, it wasn’t a first place medal, but it says 26.2 just like the guy who finished first! :)

The whole experience was a bit surreal.  The training was grueling, but I learned a lot about myself.  The race was both exciting and exhausting, but I discovered that I have more in me than I realized.

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The odd part was when it was all over, I felt a bit empty inside.  I felt like the “thing” that I had been focused on for so long was over, and I didn’t really know what to do with myself.  Spending hours running wasn’t on my “to do list,” and my goal was complete.  It was an odd feeling, a bit like having a relationship end.  I was in a relationship with running, but now we were broken up. :)

After race day was over and the high wore off, it wasn’t the physical act of running that I began to miss.  What I discovered was that I missed having a goal, feeling driven by a dream, getting inspired to accomplish what seemed impossible.

As 2013 was coming to an end, I realized that many of us had crossed multiple finish lines throughout the year.  Life asked us to trek across some pretty rough terrain, but we made it.

Now, it’s wonderful to bask in the glory of the success, but after some time has passed, we need to develop a new dream, a new goal, a new vision for the future.  The best part is that because of our recent finish line, we are able to develop better dreams, greater visions, more elaborate plans.  Our stage is widening, and the world is our platform.

dream 

The race has prepared you.  You are stronger now than you were before.  You’ve developed skills and strategies that you need for your next level and your next race.  Take some time to recover.  Then, get on up, because your NEW starting line is just around the corner!  Get excited, because the gun just went off.

finish-line

(:  Happy 2014!  :)

Images from:

http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2013/10/press-on-to-finish-strong/

http://www.withoutwax.tv/2011/05/10/my-finish-line/

http://jeffdavisblog.wordpress.com/tag/finish-line/

http://www.123rf.com/photo_3520630_active-senior-finally-made-it-to-the-finish-line.html

http://brookiieleetylahh.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/life-is-never-easy-for-those-who-dream/

Love & Hate: Revelations of a Marathon Runner in Training

Love & Hate

Revelations of a Marathon Runner in Training

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If they can do it…

I hate running!  I know it sounds a bit silly for someone who is training for a marathon to say that, but it’s true.  I really don’t like it.  The sweating, the heavy breathing, the burning legs and lungs…  It just isn’t pleasant!  It’s one of those activities that people participate in, and other people ask them the question “Why?  Why bother?”

I laughed the other day when I saw the image on Facebook that showed a bumper sticker with “0.0” on it, and then underneath it said “I don’t run.”  I would say that used to be me.  I would ask the question “Why bother?”  I would see people on a treadmill and think, “You know, back in the day, people would work on their farms and work in the fields to make a living and survive.  That was their exercise.  You never saw overweight farmers or construction workers.  Now, we’ve made life so easy for ourselves that we have to create physical work to do that really accomplishes nothing! :)

I know it’s an odd thought, but I would think those kinds of things when I saw people running.  You start in one spot … run around for a bit, and end up back in the same spot.  What’s the point?!

Well, I’ve started to discover a few “points” as I’ve begun this lovely experience called marathon training.  Now, you might be wondering why in the world I would sign up for a marathon when I hate running.  I wonder the same thing as I’m out on the road!  Here’s the reason…

This past year, many people ran the Glass City Marathon.  After the race, I saw pictures of people crossing the finish line, looking a little rough, but they made it!  I was proud of them.  Even though I didn’t really know them, I was proud of them.  Then, I began to think … “If they can do it … I can do it!”  I know we hear that phrase a lot, and I think it gets us into trouble sometimes!  However, I also think that phrase gets us off our rear end and challenges us to do things we never thought we could do before.

So, here I am.  I decided that I can do it.  I might be wrong about that, but I think we underestimate the power of our own beliefs.  If you had asked me a year or two ago if I could run a marathon, I would have told you “Heck no!  I can barely run three miles!”  The truth is I could not have run a marathon then.  Why?  Because I didn’t believe I could.

Now, this all might be a little premature since I haven’t actually run further than 15 miles at one time, but I believe that my belief is the key to my success.  We’ve probably all seen The Biggest Loser at one point or another.  If you had asked those contestants a year prior if they could lose over 100 pounds they would have laughed in your face as they were eating a whole pizza or scraping the bottom of a bucket of ice cream (I’ve done that a few times). :)  So, what’s the difference?

It’s that little voice in their head, not the creepy weird voices, but the little voice that says, “You know what?  Maybe I can be different.  Maybe I can do that.  Maybe it is possible.”  It sounds simple and silly, but it’s amazingly powerful.  The best part is that after you take a few steps toward your new goal and see some progress, the voice gets louder.  You start to hear yourself saying, “I AM doing this!  I WILL finish.  I WON’T quit!  It’s in me to do this thing.”  Now, if you’re yelling those phrases in the middle of a gym or in the middle of the Haagen Dazs ice cream isle, people might start to stare.  However, it’s a powerful thing to do!

So, my point in all of this is that we can do more than we think we can.  Well, actually, that’s not true.  We can ONLY do what we think we can.  I’ve changed my mind about me, and I believe I CAN run a marathon.  Yikes!  It’s still a bit weird for me to say that, but if you repeat something long enough, you really do start to believe it.

What’s your “I can…”?  What is that one thing you always said you could NEVER do?  What have you seen other people do and thought, “If they can do it, I can do it.”?

So do it. :)  Do what you have never done.  Be who you never thought you could be.  You’ve got one chance.  YOLO, right?  You won’t regret it.  Even if you fail.  Even if I drag myself across the finish line bleeding and half alive, I’m going to say “I did it!”  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to say that with a huge smile on your face.  You’ll look back over your life and be glad you did.

Many people have said, “It’s not the things you did that you’ll look back and regret, it’s the things that you didn’t do.”

So, what’s your thing?  Move towards it today.  Even if it’s a tiny step.  Even if it’s just listening to that little voice that’s saying, “It’s in you.”  Your tomorrow will be better because you did! :)

 

Feel free to follow me on my running journey!  I plan to post “Running Revelations” after some of my runs.  Please post comments about your own journey as well! :)


Image from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sfILttH9DeY/UaQ2F7fhLdI/AAAAAAAACNY/g_-sRMJt_Ww/s400/How+to+choose+running+shoes.jpg

Birthday Reflections! :)

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Birthday Reflections

We all have one every year.  A birthday.  Some of us dread them and some of us, mostly children, start talking about our “day” six months in advance.  This day, 1 of 365, is always a bit different than other days.  Even if you’re a person who isn’t excited about your day, you can’t help but feel a difference.  It’s not ordinary.  You can’t pretend it’s a regular day.  Your birthday has a way of forcing you to evaluate.

Now, this evaluation, whether the duration is a few minutes or extends for a longer period of time, can cause a person to have multiple emotions almost simultaneously.  Joy, sadness, love, amusement, anger, happiness.  Indifference is also an option, but I would wager that most of us, after looking back over an entire year of our life, do not feel indifferent about it.  Looking back stirs up feelings of some kind.  In addition, I would say that you cannot look back over your last year of existence and have only one kind of emotion.  Ups and downs were a part of it.  Highs and lows, joy and pain were a part of it.  Moments beyond your expectations were littered throughout the year as well as moments that caused you more pain than you thought possible.  

Whether the majority of your feelings are positive or painful, one thing you can say for sure is that you made it!  You made it through an entire year, three hundred sixty five days.  Three hundred sixty five days.  That is a lot of time.  If you were waiting for the results of a test and the doctor or teacher told you, “I’ll get you your results.  I’ll drop them in the mail.  They will arrive in about three hundred sixty five days.”  You’d think, “Are you crazy!?  I can’t wait that long!”  However, somehow, you can and you do.  

We are stronger than we think.  We can endure more than we give ourselves credit for.  What’s interesting is that, most of the time, the person we believe in the least is ourselves.  Why is that?  Is it because we know ourselves better than others do?  Is it that we see the weak points and frailties that others miss when they look at us?  

What if what they see outweighs what we see.  What if those around us, those who truly love us and believe in us, what if they are right and we are wrong?  What if we changed our perspective?

As I look back over this last year on my birthday, I realize that my mindset is shifting.  My thought process is changing.  My outlook is different.  Over this last year, no matter what I went through, good or bad, it has helped me to reshape and remold my self-image.  It’s quite possible that it could have been a negative reimaging, but thankfully God has taken over this remolding process, and I am amazed by what He is revealing to me about me every day!  It really is quite exciting.  It’s like opening a present every so slowly.  You begin to glimpse a piece of what’s underneath, and as you peel the paper back more and more, the revelation of the gift inside is almost more than you can bear!

So, I am excited about discovering more of the “gift” that is me.  In this next year of my life, the next 365 days, I can only imagine that the discovery is going to become increasingly awe-inspiring.  Most of the awe is in the realization that God has made me so unique and so complex, so gifted.  It is Him, though, that I am amazed by, not me.  It’s Him in me that causes me to scoot to the edge of my seat waiting to see what He will do next and what He is going to reveal.

Even if today is not your birthday, I hope the same is true for you as well.  I hope and pray that you begin to discover the gift that is you.  Let God slowly peel back the wrapping paper and show you what has been in you all the time.  You will be amazed.  It will be hard to believe at times, but trust Him.  He knows what He’s doing. :)

I think the biggest disservice we can do to ourselves is miss what’s right in front of our eyes.  Don’t miss it.  Don’t let the fog you’ve allowed to settle in to cause you to miss what’s in you … who is in you.  

My challenge to you today is see what others see.  See what God sees.  See “you” through His eyes.  Your experiences look different in that light.  Your shortcomings, your issues, your frailties and faults all take on a different appearance when you view you through the eyes of a God who loves you beyond measure.  When a father looks lovingly at his child, he doesn’t see the cracks and weak points.  When a mother looks at her baby she isn’t picking out the issues.  God doesn’t do that either.

So, today I’m wishing YOU a happy birthday!  It’s a day where a new view of YOU is being born.  Mark it on your calendar.  Celebrate it!  The rest of your life is going to take on a whole new look starting today.  Happy birthday to you!  I am excited to see where the next 365 days will take you.

~ Jeanna :)

Image from: http://bit.ly/1b4wMon