John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FBC - 2013 Pumpkin Festival

What a beautiful day it was to be outside.  When we first heard about the Pumpkin Festival and that workers were needed, we immediately signed up.  The Festival was held at 2:30 Sunday, October 27th.  I was excited about the opportunity to work with the children.  Here is a pic of our pastor and his wife, Dr. Lloyd Stilley and Leeanne.

We arrived early to help in any way we could.  We found Pat and got our assignment.  She had us helping Tina with the remote control cars.  That was so much fun...besides the continual work that poor Tina had to do to keep the batteries working.  Tina's son was absolutely the sweetest!  He was so kindhearted and shortened his time to give others a chance to play and in looking back I wonder if he ever got a chance to play much.  Thanks, Daniel, you can come live with me anytime!!

There WAS a plan to have them race around a circle of pumpkins but that did not happen.  I think the main objective was learning how to operate the remotes with the trucks, ha!  If we chased after one of those little ATVs/trucks, we must have gone after a hundred.  Children came back over and over again to play.  I'm glad that we were there.  We were assigned an hour, as were all the others, but we stayed until it was over.  Here are some pics I think you might enjoy.

There were several things to eat like freshly popped popcorn, Frito pie with chili and cheese [yummm], homemade pumpkin pie slices and lemonade.  There was a pumpkin cake contest, too.  Somehow I didn't get a pic of those...shoot!  There was also entertainment.  I didn't get the name of the group but it consisted of several young ladies.  They were really good and pleasant to listen to. 

Many were dressed in costume, as were a few adults.  We all had fun and the day was so nice.  Here are pics of some of the other games. 

Here are the instructions to play this game.

And, my favorite!  Click to enlarge and see the instructions.
There were animals there and I believe it is the first time I've seen a porcupine.  Isn't he the cutest?   

Afterward, we stayed and helped with putting things away.  Let me tell you we were whipped when we got home.  It has been a long time since we had stayed on our feet for 4 hours!  But we enjoyed every minute.  We're looking forward to helping serve again.  Until next time, we bid you a "Happy Fall".

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's Been One Of Those Summers

I won't bore you with a ton of recapping but will touch base on a couple of things. 

This spring it all started when I was diagnosed with Calcific Rotator Cuff Tendonitis in my right shoulder.  My shoulders had hurt for a couple of months before going to the doctor when my right shoulder became pinched and I couldn't move it above my waist.  It was so painful and my range of motion was limited to my arm by my side!  Thankfully, my physical therapist is the greatest...including patient!  After a couple of months, I began to operate more like a normal person with continued therapy at home for 6 months or the end of the year.  Then part two of the summer began.  As I was running, the bottom of my shoe caught the rubber piece between concrete sidewalk pieces and "grabbed" me causing me to be off balance and I fell.  I landed on my right shoulder cap hard.  It broke completely off my shoulder joint with some dislocation causing tremendous pain!!  Now, my left shoulder "appeared" to be in the same predicament as the right one as I was unable to lift my arm above my waist...and the PAIN!!  Three weeks later, I began physical therapy AGAIN.  I had the same therapy as before along with a lot more exercises.  Did I tell you I have the BEST physical therapist????  Stretching is definitely in order for me this year.  My poor shoulders have really taken a hit this year.

I am finally getting better with a lot more therapy ahead.  At this time, I am still unable to move my arm behind me far, am able to almost move it all the way above my head [not there yet] and the most limiting is out to my side [like a chicken wing].  It hurts so much to move it out still.  I'm not as faithful to my exercises as I should be or maybe I might be better now.  And, when I get stiff, I also get angry with myself for not pushing harder on my consistency and intensity.  It's kinda hard to carry so many things and to do the therapy wherever I am...setting up and breaking down all the time. 

On a good note, we are not the kind of people to give up easy.  Even with all my problems lasting most of the year, I refuse to give up...detained, yes...but not giving up.  I've missed my running and it has definitely taken a seat back since spring.  Once I began running after the tendonitis episode, I fell and back to Square One I went!!  Again...not giving up, when I was able to move my shoulders without pain, I began walking...and walking...and walking.  I had signed up to do the Talladega Half Marathon earlier this spring and that was coming up.  As a matter of fact, I had already trained up to about 7 miles when the accident occurred.  Determined to do this for MANY reasons but especially to honor Kent, I began running just a little bit with the walking.  Then I decided to do a run/walk plan at Talladega.  It worked and I am very excited to have been able to do it.  For now, I am trying to increase my running miles but it is going slower than expected.  But, I will not give up!!  It may not be quite like I wanted, but it will come in due time.  St. Jude's Half is the first of December and for now it looks like it is a run/walk plan again...BUT...I will do it!! 

We are so blessed.  Kent seems to have struggled a lot with his feet this year, too, constantly fighting gout, pain and swelling.  Not being him, I can't add much to this except he has suffered a lot and has had to medicate and ice them a lot!  I've felt so bad for him because it has changed his running, too. 

We, also, began serving God with a new fellowship of believers.  We have been so blessed to be a part of them.  So many new things have happened within a year but all in all it has been good.  We are healthy and pushing through the things that wanted to bring us down.  Hope you can say the same. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

So You Had A Bad Day...

[This is posted from a friend's, blog.  It was really good and I wanted to share it with you.  Thanks, Donna, for permission to use.]

It had been one of those days. If it could go wrong, it seemed like it had. It wasn't just the everyday little things either. I was getting hit with things that had me standing there with my mouth wide open wanting to say, "You've GOT to be kidding!" By the end of the day, I wanted to cry - just sit down and cry! No, I wanted to sit down, cry and QUIT! It just didn't seem like it was worth trying. To be honest I was just plain worn out.

As I headed back to my room, I noticed the door of another teacher who I knew prayed for her fellow teachers each week. I peeked my head in just to ask if she'd remember me in her prayers this week. I got a lot more. Not only did she pray with me then, but she shared something that God had revealed to her - that anger can hinder our prayers. Anger, frustration, hurt - they could all keep me from being able to pray for the situation. I knew what she said was true and I left with it on my mind, but to be honest I was still reeling from the blows of the day. I still wanted to just give up.

When I got home, I told my husband all that had happened and then I sat down to my favorite unwind activity - checking facebook. It seemed that a lot of my friends were having days a lot like mine - one even called it an "epic fail." Yep, that pretty much described it. I stared at the screen and I knew what my status would be - "No weapon formed against me shall prosper. Sure glad I've got God's promise on that."

I sat and just looked at my status. Something about that word, 'formed', caught my eye. The weapons used against me today to discourage me weren't just picked at random - they were formed. It was as if the enemy knew exactly what shape the weapon should be to inflict the most damage. He knew which buttons to push to cause my discouragement to mount. He took the time to form a weapon against me. Why? Because if he was able to succeed in getting me to get discouraged and quit, I wouldn't be able to accomplish that which God had placed me there for. He wanted me to give up...and to be honest, it almost worked!

I looked up the word "formed" and it means, among other things: to construct or frame; compose; to place in order; arrange; organize; shape; fashion. My enemy took the time to compose, organize, shape and fashion the attack against me in such a way that it would hit my most vulnerable areas. It's a good thing that I know that when and where I am weakest, my Father is strong - otherwise those weapons might have had more power to destroy! The worst part of that would have been that the mission God gave me might have been left incomplete. So that's why the devil is so intent on making me angry, frustrated and discouraged! He wants me to give up on what I know God has told me to do! Knowing that all this was an attempt to not only defeat me but to make me give up on the mission God has put in front of me - well, that just makes me mad!

I don't know what your day has been like. Maybe it's been great, or maybe like me you feel like you've been sucker-punched in the gut and you're still feeling a little bit dazed. There is good have an advocate that is standing before the Father with an answer to refute every lie the enemy uses to try condemn you. Our problem is that we listen to the accuser more than we listen to our Advocate! We actually help him form the weapons he wants to use against us! I don't know about you, but I'm tired of feeding him ammunition!

I truly hope your day was one filled with sunshine and lollipops, but just in case it wasn't, I want to leave you with some words of encouragement from Isaiah 54:17. "no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon

I feel like I want to write about the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon but am at a loss. So, I want to share my heart right now. It is a terrible, terrible thing. What started out with an excitement that can only fill a runner's heart wishing they could be there ended up completely devastated and appalled at the attack.

We had several friends that qualified to run in the marathon. That alone, my friends, is an amazing thing in and of itself. The time restraints put on each age group are tough!! So though you see thousands lined up to run, let me share that they worked very hard to qualify. Yep, they have to qualify to get in. In other words, you don't just sign up to run, you actually have to run a previous marathon, that is, a Boston Qualifier (BQ), not just any marathon. The marathon that you choose to run to qualify has to be certified and has been registered as a BQ event. It is after then that when the time comes to "register", you have to call as quickly as possible when the lines open. Just because you qualify doesn't assure you will get to attend. There is a participant limit!!! So, if you think that training for a marathon is tough, think about this. You train hard, run hard to meet the time requirements in a marathon to prove you are Boston-worthy, then have fast fingers to get in the lottery to be selected. Folks, it is TOUGH from the very beginning.

We watched on TV one of the greatest atheltic moments of the year...the Boston Marathon. I love to know the stories surrounding the elite runners. Whether it's their training or their life. It's always interesting to know what they have lived through, how hard they train and what motivates them. Though I'll never be a little bit like them, it always motivates me to push a little bit harder. The race was amazing and a good watch, down to the very end. I am very proud of the American racers, men and women. They did great!!

This year, I knew several people that had BQ'd and I was so excited for them. For the first time, I tracked several runners. It was exciting to think that when they got to certain points a text would come in telling me what point they were and their time and pace. As my texts began, excitement built. It was like I was right there cheering my friends on. I loved it so much and will definitely do this again. There were five people that I decided to track. The first two were very close to each other. One is from Ocean Springs, MS, and the other was from the Boston area. They are also the same ironic, huh, to not even know each other and they may have been standing side by side? As a matter of fact, they started in the same corral as their pace and time throughout the race was almost the same until the last few miles...but were still very close. They both finished under 3 hours...WOW!!! When the texts started, I noticed I wasn't getting info on two of the others. Waiting and waiting and no text throughout. Then I thought one must have gotten injured or something happened and he didn't race. He should have been coming in a little after the first two, by a few minutes. As it turned out, he ran but I just didn't get his tracking. At least, he wasn't injured and couldn't run. He and another friend of mine have run in the Boston Marathon a few times and this year they were sponsored by a local running store. Texts started coming in on her, Ginny, the second of the two who were sponsored. I was very excited about this and cheered her every time I received something. She's a good friend and an excellent runner and motivator. I just love her!! She encouraged me to do my first marathon. Then, out of the blue, I began receiving texts from someone I didn't know!! Why, I do not know since I got confirmation of the people I signed up for and she wasn't one of them. Still no texts from the fifth person. I knew she would be behind the others but still no info on her.

Then, it happened...bombs began exploding. As a matter of fact, it occurred not long after Ginny had crossed the line!! I was really worried not sure that maybe she was still standing around getting refreshment and such. I was so anxious to hear from her. Texted her and nothing...and nothing...and nothing!! Anxiety built. Then I heard where no cell phones were being used and some anxiety left thinking she will let someone know soon.

My worries turned to my fifth friend. Where was she and was she able to reach friends to let her know she was all right and where to find her. Since I wasn't getting texts on her I didn't know where she was in the race at this point. It wasn't long before something was posted on FB that she was all right. I was relieved. It was later that when she was able to access the Internet that I found out that someone had let her text that message so everyone wouldn't worry. She went through a lot, as did all of those who weren't allowed to finish the race and was ushered to another area. It was a terrible time for those 7,500 who were left!! Yes, there still were a LOT of people that had not finished yet.

It's so sad that someone cannot contain themselves but to find a way to hurt others that they do not know. There is no vindication on someone in particular but just plain old meanness. But this should be no surprise. Evil is present in this world and always has been and always will be. It bothers me when people begin to point fingers and say "why wasn't this caught"; my first impression is what will be the next thing that the common citizen will have to be put out for. Folks, meanness can't be prevented! It will happen and most can't be predicted or prevented. You just have to piece things together and heal and start anew as best as possible. The one thing that needs to be done is stronger punishment for these people! Not more restrictions on the millions that are good citizens! Why we continue to feed these criminals and care for them in prison, I do not know!! This is wrong!!! I feel a lot of things can be prevented but because the "wrong" have more rights than those that are good and live right is utterly beyond me. It's sad that the tables have turned and have made America more of a place for criminals, rather than for good citizens. Our taxes should be going to those that need help like the elderly and ill and to those that WILL work...NOT to those that will chose to do wrong again if and when they are released from prison...NEVER!!!

Our prayers go out to those families that lost loved ones and to those that were injured. Nothing can remove the sorrow and hurts that occurred. To live with devastation disabilities will be hard. And to think that this was done at one of the most athletic events, the Boston Marathon, it will be hard for some to pick back up. But I will tell you can't mess with runners...especially marathoners!! They have a resolve and persistence and the ability to push through pain that will pull them through. They WILL come back stronger than ever before. I believe next year's marathon will be greater and better than any before. Runners have a way to deal with upsets and tragedies better than the normal person. I do believe their answer is to get out, heal their pain, push on, and

Run 4 It

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Our [New] Church

Well, not completely.  But it is our church while we are in the Gulf Shores area.  We have fallen in love with the people there and look forward to getting together often.  We can hardly wait to get to the services at First Baptist Church.  The music is such a blessing. It is a real praising of the Lord and with the sweet presence of the Spirit, you will sing out loudly lifting your heart and voice to Him...our Creator!  We are so ready for the message God has laid on Brother Stilley's heart and it never disappoints. 

Last week, we joined the Sunday School class.  This group really cares for one another, spiritually and prayerfully.  During Kent's recent surgery, the teacher contacted us several times checking on him and we got emails constantly letting us know that he was in their prayers.  It's like family! 

We were asked last week if we would consider being Greeters for church services each month.  Unfortunately, we were not able to commit to a certain time each month as we stay home often; but we did get to greet last Sunday.  You wear these beautiful maroon vests with a FBC patch on the left shoulder.  We really enjoyed this. 

I joined the Jonah Bible Study but have not been able to go to it except for the first one. I was afraid this was going to happen. We've just got too many irons in the fire this year. I'll have to read the workbook later.

Mardi Gras Parades were wet this year!  And the people get more and more "fightable", for lack of a better word.  You'd think this was the only thing they got thrown at them or the thing that keeps them alive...and I'm speaking of 65 years old and older!!!  I thought children were wild; but they don't hold a candle to their seniors.  Man!!  It wasn't long before I stepped to the back and let them have it.  Twice older men snatched something out of my hands [they literally put their hands over mine and took it from me] and there was one woman that constantly reached inside my space and got something people were throwing directly to me.'s not for me.  When I stepped back, I stood by a girl in a chair that was severely handicapped and bent over.  It was then, that everything got back into perspection.  She was totally afflicted.  I was ashamed at my thoughts.  From then on, every thing that was thrown my direction, I handed to her.  She loved it; though she couldn't talk, I could tell she wanted to.  After the parade, we were leaving, we took off the few beads we got and Kent handed them to a lady walking beside him.  Little did he know that she was the one that kept reaching in front of me to get whatever was thrown!!  How ironic this turned out to be.  For some reason, my heart became lighter.  I kept 2 beads that matched my shirt and gave all the others to her. 

It's all good and good all the time.  We are so blessed and God is so good!!  Until next life to the fullest and keep a smile on your face; someone else needs it!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm Still Here

Since 2008, I've had quite a change in my life. I love my cardmaking time and being creative. It's actually the only time I feel "free" to be me. And, I LOVE all my "stuff" and continue to add to my stash. My crafts have taken a lot of time over the years; but since I've begun running in '08, that part of me seems to override of the other things I do. It tends to be the hub of my life. But there is a fight going on. I love running long distance and I love programs [and yet feel confined by them...don't ask...I don't understand that either]. Why in the world, I began running at such a late stage of my life, I do not know.  After all, I was exposed to it 25 years before I actually began and had NO interest at all!  Anyway, I should have started earlier, then maybe all of this wouldn't collide so often. My devotional time has suffered and yet I have such a strong pull that way...thankfully! But I just can't seem to keep my mind focused in that direction for long before I'm thinking what is on "the schedule" for today or tomorrow. 

I am training for my second marathon and am nearing my longest runs in the program. I want to do them and yet I want this over. This marathon is being done by myself this time, unlike the last one, and running with someone on your longer runs really make a difference. I realize that probably the busiest I'll be during these 3 months of training will all come together during the couple of weeks of my 18 and 20 mile runs!! How lovely! Last time, this was the time I looked forward to...running a distance I've never done before. But now, there is my cardmaking retreat that I look forward to every year [it's 3 days of approximately 16 daily hours of non-stop fun] and a trip to Birmingham...and if that wasn't enough, I signed up for a half marathon tomorrow and a 15k (9.3 miles) two weeks later!! Oh, I knew about the races and thought this time around that I would include a couple of longer ones during my training. I pulled away completely from racing before once I reached 13 miles in order to prevent injury. But I found out I'm one of the very few that thought this way as they use the races as "training" races...sooooo, that's what I'm going to do this time. Tomorrow is my half marathon and then I will add an additional 5 miles to it to equal my 18 miles long run this week.  One more long miler after this...20 miles...then the marathon! 

It has been hard to prepare/think much about the cardmaking retreat since we are camping long term right now and will have to do all of this when I get home [though we go regularly I keep a lot of stuff with me]. It kinda takes all the fun out of the planning especially since I'm trying to manage my running program. After long runs, I'm tired for pretty much the rest of the day. But then there's this one other thing that I really want to do which starts...guess when...on January 17th!! Right in the middle of all the chaos! First Baptist Church has their winter Bible study of about 6 weeks which starts right in this 2-week period. This year, I really want to do this one. It's on the book of Jonah and I've never done an indepth study on that book AND, the more I recall of Jonah's life, the more I find that I am a lot like him. I really want to do this but the problem comes with the fact that there is a lot of homework to do.  Usually, I LOVE this but not this year.  So, in order for me to get "some" relief of all my "want-to's", I'm going to go to the first class, get my workbook and hang on as best I can during this time even though there will be classes that I will miss. 

As I look over it all I realize that what I desire is only more time for all the things [besides running] which vie for my attention.  And once the marathon is over, there will be more time for it all.   Don't get me wrong...I do NOT nor will I quit running!  It IS a part of my life and hope to do it as long as I live.  I love it!!  As a matter of fact, though I would love to do a couple more marathons (Marine Corps [my dream], Chicago and Disney], I'm not sure that I will be able to committ to as much time as it takes to prepare for them.  It's hard to put your life on hold during the last 6 weerks of training.  I may just stick to my half's...which I do love!

I hope this entry hasn't seemed like a big ole complaint because it's not.  Just wanted to share what all has been and is going on in my life right now and to say that I am still alive and kicking...probably too much.  Oh, one thing I didn't mention is that I learned how to swim last summer and I want to add [not such a good word in this post, huh?] more of it in my activities.  Okay...I never said I was just right!!  Until next time, hang on.  Sometimes life throws a lot of stuff at you but NEVER give up. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I read an article in my last issue of Running Journal and must say that it is probably the best written article I've read in years. Of course, it is geared to running but can be applied to any area of your life. Sometimes our lives get so hectic and full that we miss out on the important things. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much. Without further ado, you can read the article below.

Winning is Personal
By Richard Ferguson, Ph.D.

"Running is the most primeval of all physical activities. Pre-historic man ran simply to survive through hunting and gathering, as well as fleeing from predators. For early man success through running simply meant living to see the sun rise on another day.

Today, success is certainly defined in a much different way. Unfortunately, in the sports world success is too often associated with winning and to most laymen, winning means finishing first. But do you really have to finish first to be a successful runner? I would say most certainly not.
Success is far too often associated with some particular outcome, such as a championship, trophy, or medal. For some, success may mean having great wealth, fame, or a position of power. All of these definitions of success are really external in their nature. By external I mean these things are what others, or society usually expect. Too often we have to look to other people to let us know if we are a success.

Even when we are successful according to the external norms of society, it may never be enough. If we don’t continue to better our previous levels and do more and more, then we may no longer feel successful. What a pity! So many people are walking around having accomplished great things, and are continuing to do great things, yet they feel like utter miserable failures.

I see this so often in runners. They run well, but for some reason, are never happy with what they’ve accomplished. No matter how they run, they view themselves as failures. While setting high standards is a must to achieving your potential, standards that are set too high and by external others can lead to constant feelings of inadequacy and frustration.

Runners need to find a definition of success, which is personal and internal. A definition of success which they set, not one set by some running shoe advertisement, or local running statistics maniac who seems to know everyone’s times and places from races during the last half century. In all reality success is a very subjective feeling. Success is really about how YOU feel about what you’re doing. No one else can really define success for YOU.

Many individuals often look to some end product in defining their success as runners. A performance time, event run, or place in a race, are usually used as a measure of success. But running is a process; a long-term process in which about 99 percent is preparation and training, while only about one percent is performance or racing. Yet we judge our success so much on the one percent. What about the journey of running itself? Don’t we feel success just by being out on the road or trail? I would hope all of us feel a great deal of success simply by being runners. Too often we forget the joys and pleasures that present themselves in our daily run. Maybe it’s time we “stop and smell the roses,” both literally and figuratively, as we run.

The act of running and moving is a joy in, and of itself. To feel successful you really don’t need a race, a clock, or a measured distance. My wife, Jill, has won a number of Master’s titles in very competitive races, yet she has not run a race in many, many years. Why? She really doesn’t like to race, but she loves to run. I guess that’s why she still runs 30 or so miles every week for the sheer pleasure of it. Is Jill not successful because she no longer races? I would say Jill is very successful in running because she loves to run and she is very happy about her running, much happier in fact than when she was dealing with expectations about race performances.

All of us have different goals for our running. No matter what the goal is, when we reach them we have a success story! This July thousands of runners will make the trek down Peachtree Street in Atlanta for the Peachtree Road Race. Only one runner will be first, so are the others losers? No way! For many on July 4, there will be feelings of success that will be unmatched in their entire lifetimes. Goals will be reached and runners will feel good about their accomplishments.

I know so many runners who always finish in the back quarter of every race, yet they absolutely love to run and participate in races. Are they losers because they finish at the tail end of the field? No way! If they have met their own personal goal then they are successful. I guess the thing that makes running so unique is really the personal nature of the sport. Sure, you often compete against other people, but you always have some type of competition going on with yourself and your own personal, internal goals. The challenge may lie in just getting out the door each day or it may lie in trying to reach that marathon PR.

So set some personal goals and go after them! Don’t worry about other people and their goals or what goals they think you should set. Other people can’t set goals for you. Only you can decide what you want to accomplish! This is one of the basic premises of goal setting strategy.

Whatever your goal may be, when you reach it feel good about what you’ve done. Enjoy the feelings of success! Don’t let others rain on your parade. When you reach a personal goal you deserve to feel good. Even though another runner may not understand your goals, then that’s OK. Winning is a personal thing! Enjoy your personal wins!"

Now, I say, just what can you add to this?? Find "your" place, set "your" goals and live "your" life. There's only ONE you!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Color My World

Crayons can offer deep thoughts. God can use this simple child's toy to reach down into your heart and teach lessons. Or maybe it's that God can use anything to speak to you. He is our Creator and knows how to "contact" us when we least expect it. I ran across this devotion this morning and can see many more lessons other than the ones expressed here. Open your heart and let God speak. Be blessed in many ways when you read it. Click here to read this short post.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wonderful Fall

Fall is definitely in the air!! The crispy-ness, softly falling shadows and beautiful flowers and foliage at this time of the year are great. Guess the only thing I'm not too crazy about is the wind. Yep, winds begin to kick up bringing in the temps trying to maintain it until winter arrives.

This weekend was wonderful and busy AND windy...VERY windy! Winds were 25-30 mph with no telling what the gusts were and there WERE gusts!! You could hardly walk without it trying to trip you up.

The music, as usual, is so wonderful. It really prepares your heart to receive the message Bro. Lloyd has prepared for the people. Messages of hope in the middle of despair and love in the middle of an unloving world. Nope, it wasn't about that. But he does direct our minds and hearts toward the One who loves us in the middle of a mixed up world which surrounds us with depressing and hopeless messages. When our world has been turned upside down, whether from outside circumstances or bad choices, Jesus is always there for those who have opened their hearts up to Him. God is awesome and there is none other!!

A Pumpkin Festival was held Sunday afternoon in the church parking lot. There were so many things for the children to do, they surely couldn't get bored. When we first walk into the area, the smell of popcorn filled the air and, of course, off we went into that direction. Here he goes...

So out comes my camera to begin the show. With lemonade in one hand, a bag of popcorn in the other and smiles on our faces, we settle down at one of the lovely decorated tables.

There were so many games for children to participate in including pumpkin decorating, face painting, pony riding, petting zoo, pennies at the end of the rainbow, and many, many others.

There was also an excellent band entertaining us while we ate frito pies and slices of pumpkin pie. A cake contest was held representing anything "pumpkin" as well as a couple of old cars and several cool looking motorcycles. Lots and lots of blow-up jumps. There were some of the cutest children I've seen and the cool air just made everyone happy!

Oh, yeah, there was the cutest child riding one of the ponies: blonde naturally, curly hair and the sweetest little face. Actually, I didn't know if it was a girl or boy...just happy! Then there was another cute little boy trying his hardest to decide on which pumpkin he wanted to decorate. It was such a relaxing and perfect Lord's Day.

Have a Happy Fall and blessed harvest season!

Until later...Kent & Robbie

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hit & Run

I want to redefine the term "hit and run" because that was exactly what happened to me earlier this morning. Halfway through my long run, I saw a vehicle at the Hardee's exit going to turn into the highway. I watched and watched and watched and there was NO traffic for him to wait for but he continued to sit still. So, I thought he saw me and was waiting for me to pass on in front of him as there wasn't any other way around...his vehicle was close to the hedges in Hardee's driveway and my only way was to cross in front of him. I cautiously approached watching to see if he was going to move on out but he didn't. Then I decided he was waiting on me. As I got dead center in front of his car, he begins to pull out into the highway hitting me!! It caused me to fall against his car though I kept my composure as best as possible. I was shocked!!! Is this man an idiot, blind or totally unaware that the highways and driveways are for ALL people and not just for him?? I had not been able to catch his eye before this because of the glare off his windwhield from my angle but he could see me perfectly. Coming from a stand still kept this from being a bad accident. When it happened, I looked up into his older face framed with glasses that had dropped down on his nose, and saw that he was wrapping his sausage and biscuit to hold while he drove...yeah, like THAT'S a good idea now!! Both hands, least! He hit my left side where my left knee has given me trouble since the marathon earlier this year. I was so angry that he was so incompetent AND with a license. I'm glad I am a defensive runner because I had been watching him. But even that was not on my side this time. If I had not been aware, as he was, I may have fallen into the road where traffic was now flowing.

I'm glad to report that after about another mile and half, I was able to regain my composure and run normal. My knee got alright and my fear level dropped, trusting drivers again. I was in the middle of a 14 mile run. At the end, I was able to maintain a better pace than I ever had for that distance. As a matter of fact, I beat my best half marathon pace by several seconds...even with all the hoopla of the hit. My watch kept running during this time so it recorded even those slow moments of my run.

All I can say is that angels DO exist and takes care of me when I can't do so. Thank you, Lord!! Words cannot describe how much You love mere humans!

Friday, September 2, 2011

This 'n That

This has been one busy year for us and it's almost over with tons more to do. Seems we hardly turn around good before we're pulled this way or that way doing something else. But I wouldn't have traded it for anything else in the world. I'm thankful that we have the time to do it all as exhausting as it's been. This may sound a little like fussing, but on the contrare, we've experienced many new and exciting things. Some things have had to be put on the back burner and wait for a while and others have snuck ahead to take precedence over previously first place things. Time with the grandchildren have been fun and a lot of pictures have been taken...of course!

On the other hand, I've experienced very bad allergy attacks worse this year than in years past but I'm plowing through it. Severe headaches have put me in bed several times. Odd enough, they have been different from any I've had with the problem of meds not working at all. Thankfully, I had a breakthrough about 2 weeks ago and new OTC medicine is helping just fine. Being a runner, this has really been a difficult summer for me as I've been limited to my running...even putting a halt to it for a while. There was a time that I could not even get enough air in my lungs to run. Never had this happen before so I know it had to be the heat and humidity even in early morning hours (starting at 5:30). BUT, I'm getting back.

My stamping is one thing that has been put on the back burner. I made many cards at Crop Connection in July and have even taken pictures of them but sadly have not had the time to sit down long enough to gather my thoughts to write them up and post them. And, of course, the buying hasn't slowed down much...blush, blush!! I have sooo many new things I can hardly wait to use...such neat things. One of my newest toys is my Cricut!! Just got it in and can hardly wait to use it. I've put off getting one for a long time but decided to get one when it went on sale two weeks ago. It arrived a couple of days ago.

All in all, with school back in session, camper issues repaired/updated, fall in the air and running back up and going, it's gonna be a great autumn! I love the shadows on the ground as fall begins to make its appearance. There's just "something different" about it even if the temps haven't changed much yet. It's a sign that it won't be long. I can hardly wait to sit outside and gaze into our fire pit and watch the stars. It sounds like such a waste of time to some, but to us, it's one of those relaxing moments, watching the fireflies light the sky feeling the nippy air, that many just take for granted.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Time's A Flying...

Where does the time go? With longer days here and the sweltering heat bearing down on us, it's hard to find the energy to do the things we're called upon to do and yet time never stands still. I guess it's good that some things push us out of the house or we'd stay inside where it's a cool and lazy lifestyle.

This summer is filled with new things for us. While our camper is getting a good check out and updates, 7 Year Old All Star Baseball has kept us on the road. We've really enjoyed the games. Landen is doing great and he's just the cutest little boy...ahem, man. These little guys play well together and support each other and I'm very happy with the coaches. They are great guys! They do not put the boys down when they've not done well nor do they push them beyond their means by screaming and yelling at them and yet the boys perform well. Good going, coaches! We have one last series (as far as we know) that will be played next weekend for the state championship. Below is a picture I took and will be my favorite for quite a while. Landen sliding into home at the Oak Grove tournament!

Much on the schedule and much to do. Gotta run for now...Later!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who Are You?

I receive Proverbs 31 Ministries' devotion every day and am blessed by the ladies that write them. But today especially hit a note in me. I would like to take this time to paste part of the message here. I hope you will be blessed by it as much as I was. The key: read it slowly and let it sink in. If you do not have time to do this now. Wait and read it later when you do. Think about it. Let God have His way with you. Be honest with yourself and dig deep into the depths of your soul. Though these devotions are geared to women, it's not hard to place any gender or age in its place for today's message. For more about this ministry, you can go here.

"May 18, 2011

Becoming the Real Me
Renee Swope

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

What do you love to do? If finances were unlimited and failure was unlikely, what would be your dream?

The facilitator of our team-building activity asked our small group to answer these questions. I didn’t have an answer. So I decided to start praying we’d run out of time before it got to me. But just in case I had to answer, I listened to everyone else describe their dreams, hoping to get ideas.

One wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Another friend said she’d always wanted to sing in a Christian rock band. I knew I was in trouble.

Here I was, 32-years-old at the time, and I didn’t know who I was or what my dreams were. Eventually everyone looked at me for a response. I stumbled over my words. Then I finally admitted I didn’t really know what I loved to do.

I didn’t have a dream. I’d never taken time to think about or answer those kinds of questions. Instead, I had always tried to be who others wanted or needed me to be. But honestly, I wasn’t very good at it. I often had this uneasy feeling in my heart and a sense of just not being happy. And I was a constant candidate for burn out.

I wasn’t living out the truth held in our key verse today: “[God] created my inmost being; [He] knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

I was not designed to be who others expected me to be, or even wanted me to be. I was created to become all that God planned for me to be. But I was lost in the process of my becoming.

After I fumbled around looking for an answer during our team-building time, our facilitator encouraged me to ask God what His dreams were for my life.

I took her advice and started the process of becoming the “real me” who had gotten buried in the busyness of life and people pleasing.

As I read books that talked about discovering our passions, gifts and personality traits, I started to identify what I liked. I recognized strengths that came natural for me, and learned what I needed emotionally to encourage my heart.

For the first time, I realized there was an important reason I was who I was — with my passionate preferences and mixed bag of emotions. Instead of wanting to be like women I knew and admired, I sensed God wanted to use the unique way He made me.

Isn’t it easy to neglect ourselves to meet the needs of everyone around us, and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly. But in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God’s dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed.

So, how well do you know the real you? Have you ever taken time to think about what you like to do? What would make your heart come alive if you had the confidence and resources to do it?

Although it might feel self-seeking, it’s actually God-seeking to take time to get to know the woman He created you to be. Remember God had a plan in mind when He made you. When you surrender your unique passions and personality to Him, God will use them to guide you towards His dreams for your life.

Lord, I want to know the woman You had in mind when You created me. I don’t want to grow old and never know Your purpose for my life. Show me Your dreams for me so I can offer what You want to give to those around me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
This devotion is taken from chapter 8 of Renee Swope’s upcoming book: A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself & Live in the Security of God’s Promises."

May you be blessed today, my friend.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Blessings

From us to you...we hope you've had a blessed Easter today.

This has been a wonderful weekend! God is soooo good but, of course, it doesn't matter what I think, for He IS!! I'm so thankful that He reveals to us His goodness. That He allows us to bask in His blessings. That He opens our eyes in ways only our hearts can know. That He reveals the secrets of His ancient Word to us at appointed times and opens our understanding. He "wants" to have fellowship with us...yes, mere human sinners! I don't understand why. All I know is that He loved me before I began to love Him. He knew what I am capable of in my best and my worst. He knew that I would sin after I came to love Him and yet He still wants to hold me in His arms, draw me close to Him and say "it will be alright" confirming in my heart that He knew of my failure all along and sweetly says "I am glad you are back". The difference in people who are saved are that they are remorseful and regret those things they have "chosen" to do against God and others and those who are lost in their sins have no conscious, bask in their deeds and don't see a real need for a Savior. A true saved sinner hates their sin. We are all people for whom sweet Jesus died for. And, no, my friends, nothing can separate me from His love...nothing!

He lets me enjoy the smiles and giggles of children...nothing can lighten your heart like the joys little children express, the excitement that they just cannot contain. Christ says to come unto Him as little children and I think He wants us to be unaware of any condemnation of others, fear of being foolish, and just express the joy in our hearts for Him without any trepidation. When was the last time you opened your mouth and laughed like your heart really feels? As adults, we learn to "contain" ourselves. And when it comes to praising our wonderful God these things ought to fall away. Into your closet, I say, into your closet where you are at the most wonderful liberty to be who you really are in His presence. And when you exit, others will KNOW you have been in His presence.

There was an Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning at the Park. The little ones were so cute. Carrying baskets bigger than they were and wearing their little sunglasses you couldn't help but put a smile on your face and become as a child as you watched in excitement when they would find an egg. Here are a few pictures I took. Hope you enjoy the moment it takes to look at them.

We began our morning early today. We arrived at the beach at 6:00 a.m. for the sunrise service. We got their early not knowing if there would be enough seats or places to park. Wearing our shorts and sandals with our Bibles in hand and sunglasses on our heads, we saw the beautiful beach with the Lord's presence all around us. Here is the sunrise.

There were about a couple hundred people that attended. We were amazed that so many showed up. They must have been Baptists because a chunk of them showed up right at the appointed time or a little later. There were hardly any seats left and many brought chairs.

After service was over, we headed back to the camper to change clothes and get to First Baptist for their early church service. I'm so glad we did! We love the music there and it didn't disappoint today. As a matter of fact, we thought the last song they sung could have ended service (well, not really)!! The church was full as it has been every time we've gone. Oh, my...the power of God filled the sanctuary! The message was good but all we can talk about was that beautifully inspired last song. Oh, yeah, the name of it is "Something's Happening". You MUST hear will bring you to your knees and your heart to God. Praise Him for this has truly been a glorious day!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Missing Everyone!

We've been having a great time...a great, refreshing time. I wanted to share a few things that bring joy to us. First and foremost and the most recent, we went to church today and experienced a wonderful service. It began with music that prepared our hearts for the wonderful sermon we heard by Rick Stanley, Elvis Presley's step brother. His message was so refreshing, encouraging and embracing! I am so glad that we were able to attend. The Spirit was cleansing and wooing. We truly felt the presence of God in the service and among the people.

We've been running quite a good bit and enjoyed it all, soreness and injuries. Here's a picture of Kent getting his award for a race and another picture of me coming up to the Finish Line at the half marathon I ran.

One afternoon while we were sitting out the sky changed. It was a beautiful day, practically that a word?? And it was a gorgeous blue! There had been no rain nor was there any forecasted. Then a few wispy clouds collected and all the colors of the rainbow came together. It was only in a small part of the sky. Kinda of like there was a message somewhere in it. It was so beautiful! I felt like God was telling us that He is the giver of fresh starts, newness, beauty and hope! And, just as quick as it came, it disappeared. I really felt like it was a message to those that saw it. God is so good and there is not enough praise for the Creator of this world!!

And, finally, I leave you with a picture of my Sweetie taking it easy one day after lunch.

We are so thankful that we have the chance to spend quality time together.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This & That

Well, our big race is over. Being a first long distance for us both, we didn't know what to actually expect and we're pleased with the outcome. All the hard training has come to fruition and now, for me, I'm in my recovery period. I'm feeling my body do things I've not experienced before and am learning just what all I put it through to run over 26 miles. I must be good to it so it can be strong and healthy for me.

Spring has sprung and everything has been touched with God's hand in the beauty all around us. Our Bradford pear trees were in buds two days ago and yesterday when we woke up they were in full bloom and gorgeous! How can one even question there is a god when we have One that is almighty, loving, and always wooing us closer to Him? Even when we've elected to not be as obedient children as we should be, He's still there with open arms. Springtime is a wonderful reminder of His love for His children.

I have decided to memorize a Scripture passage this spring but haven't selected it yet. I've always enjoyed when Bro. Jeff would put us to the test to do this each year. And, it wasn't just to us; but he'd memorize huge portions himself, even reciting it during a service. Memorizing is scriptural as God has told us to "hide His Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him". So when sin does creep up and overtakes us at times, God still loves us and uses our memory to bring us back to Him and the position we were before. He is so good and nothing compares to Him. The last couple of years, we've been slack. But I've always known the importance of Scripture memory and was thankful that he challenged us to put God's Word in our hearts for a closer walk with Him.

This time of year also brings to mind another special time. It reminds me of the beginning of the preparation of Summer Day Camp at church. I absolutely LOVED this time of the year. There was excitement in what all I wanted to do for the children in the summer. All the calls to fun places I thought the children would enjoy. Getting things in order such as: cleaning, registering, hiring, placing orders for shirts and crafts, and daily planning for the summer. Every year, all things were complete before the doors opened for business in May. Having things prepared allowed me the blessed opportunity to enjoy every day with the children. I am thankful that God allowed me to work with such good Christian ladies who loves children, a wonderful husband that did so many things for me (I cannot begin to list these nor even pay him for all he's done) and a pastor that helped me with church related issues and assisted me when I first began. I couldn't have enjoyed and done the work God led me to do without the people He sent my way. These were truly great blessings. I REALLY miss it in the spring and it brings back such wonderful memories.

Have a wonderful day today and look for Him in all things this spring!

Monday, January 24, 2011

There's A Lot of Training Going On...

Though I've not posted here in a while, we've been busier than bees. We are both focused on new running goals right now: me for my first marathon and Kent for his first half marathon. Once we've finished our running for the day we're both a little tuckered out. Mostly because training of some kind has been daily. We will be running in the Rock 'n Roll Mardi Gras Races. It won't be long now before it's here. I think I'm more excited about it then he is. He has discovered that he doesn't care for long distance running. I've found I really like it. I think I can say that I enjoy running the distance of half marathons (13.1 miles) and see a lot in my future. Love the distance of 13-15 miles. Today I ran 12 miles and thought absolutely nothing about it. Ran at an easy pace and it was close to my best half marathon race pace. I hope to improve this time this year. I feel a lot stronger running than ever before. This week begins our step down before the race. It takes place on February 13th. In other words, our distance begins decreasing three weeks prior to the race in order to not over-work our legs. My partner and I have run up to 20 miles (yeah, running) and they say that that is enough. I feel that we need to run further, but I've seen in several places and have talked to several people who run marathons that if you can run 20 miles you can run 26. Guess it won't be long now before we will find out if this is true.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sooo much, sooo long ago!!

It has been quite a while since I've posted on this blog. There's been so many things with traveling, holidays, etc. that I've not had the time to keep up. With all of that in mind, let me start by saying we had a great camping trip in November. We ran all three Saturdays we were gone ending up with a half marathon Thanksgiving weekend. We, also, had the opportunity to meet my nephew's wife. He is stationed outside Washington, D.C. right now. They are really a sweet couple. That's them in the middle.

And here's one with me and my handsome nephew:

On to the campground...we've seen signs warning of impending alligators, but this is the first time we've actually seen one. Actually, for a few days in a row, there was one sunbathing at noon...and these babies were NOT small!

Here's the sign that these creatures were determined to disobey. Notice the part "seldom seen at midday"...yeah, right!

There was a short trail that ran alongside this swampy marsh where the gators were seen. Now, mind you, that didn't occur to us when we ventured down the trail. We just headed out like no one's business.

Look how welcoming the paths look.

And a final note on the half marathon. Here is me crossing the Finish Line. I was very proud of my time since I wasn't trying to beat my best time. This race was used for training for a full I'm preparing for.

And, finally, by utter shock and surprise, I received 2nd Place in my age group!!! I never thought in my wildest dreams I could place in any half marathon! This was my last race before my birthday and last time to run in this age group. Kent ran in the 5k race. We loved the race and look forward to doing it again next year.

Blogging Without Obligation

After coming across what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on someone’s blog starting with “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.” I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it. I am thinking that no one should utter those words again . . .and with that thought I give you Blogging Without Obligation. •Because you shouldn’t have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill. •Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine. •Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing. •Because sometimes less is more. •Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog. •Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone. •Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be “bloggable”. •Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won’t be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

Easy Snacks

You'll find some great and quick snacks to have on hand at this site. Though it refers to kids, they are great for anyone. After all, we're all humans! Run HERE to see them.

Meals for Energy

Click HERE to get some great meals for pre race day and post race.

Our Races Through 6-01-09

Go to our running blog for newer updates.