Sunday, August 24, 2014

The 5K Finish Line

Last week I participated in my first official 5K. The "Running of the Camels" 5K. Of course, for me, it was more like the "Powerwalking of the Camels". 

We had a team of friends, colleagues, professors, etc. that banded together for the 8 a.m. stroll around campus. We walked. We jogged. We joked. We talked. We laughed. We may have complained a time or two. We watched as students lapped us and finished in less than half the time it took us. But we pressed on. 

It was worth it for the camaraderie. To say that I had done a 5k. To be a part of a tradition. To get a free t-shirt. But there is one moment that really left an impression in my mind and heart...

We reached Campbell's track, and I thought that was it. I could see the finished line. 
And then someone announced that we just had to go around the track once. Seriously. Oy. So Dr. Williams and I preceded to jog and pant our way around the track. 

Then I got one last burst of motivation. The finish line was in sight. And I literally got chills as a group of people I knew and some I didn't know stood around the last leg and the finish line and cheered me on. Cheered me home. Cheered me to the land of rest and water and fresh fruit. It was finished. Mission accomplished. 

As I crossed the finished line, people cheering and a feeling of accomplishment settling in my blissfully exhausted bones, I thought of heaven. And I thought of one of my favorite passages of scripture. 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." 
Hebrews 12:1-3

Sometimes life is hard. There are hills and bumps. Sometimes we go it alone and many times we're blessed to have people to talk to, laugh with, catch our breath with. Sometimes your endorphines kick in and life is good, sweet, rich, even easy. And sometimes you feel like you don't have the strength to make it the last stretch. 

But then there are people cheering for you. People who love you. People who have struggled and triumphed with you. People who have gone before you. 

And Jesus is there.
 You lock eyes with Him, and no weight or heaviness or sweat or breathlessness can slow you down. He's cheering you on. You have a purpose. You have a mission. You can get rid of the burden and run with joy.

What a beautiful image. Jesus is cheering for you. He's been there. He's successfully completed the race. He can relate. And now He's cheering you on. Don't give up! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Making a Menu

I'm sure most of you know by now that I love organization, planning, to do lists, etc. It's a problem. But it's also a solution. I like to know exactly where I'm going to be four Wednesdays from now, and what I'll be eating. Again. It's a problem.

With that being said, every since I've been married, I've kept a blackboard weekly menu. Normally, on Friday or Saturday night, I'll think through the menu for the next week - googling ideas, looking at my pinterest boards, sifting through cabinets and the fridge - and write it down.

This is such a big help - it saves time, money, thought, calories. It helps me think through each meal - instead of just rushing through it. It helps me make sure I don't cook chicken three nights in a row or have potatoes as a side item all week. It allows me to choose a healthier lunch if I know I'm going to be eating a high calorie dinner - and vice versa. 

Most months I try to actually plan out my meals for the whole month. It may seem crazy - but all you have to do is open up/print out/write down your calendar for the month and then think through meals you've been wanting to try. Be creative. Make Wednesday night taco night if you want. Make Friday night pasta night. You can make Sunday fish day. Whatever is easiest for you. 

Seriously. Planning your meals for the month will help as you jot down those grocery lists. When you don't feel like coming up with something to cook that day. It will give you a chance to try new recipes instead of falling back on your go to meal every week. 

And I never actually follow my planned monthly meals 100%. Probably not even 80% of the time. Things come up all the time. And sometimes I'm just not in the mood for what's on the calendar that date. But having a map of meal ideas - a go to list of options - helps me plan and prepare well-rounded, not-last-minute, not-resorting-to-fast-food-fallbacks meals. 

So when September rolls around pull up pinterest, get out your pen and plan!