A Weekend Away!

May 27, 2012

Every once in a while we all need a little time away from the normal routine.  A time for relaxation, a time for rest and a time for fun!  After coming off of my surgery the other day, I was in need of a lot of rest, and I think God was well aware of that!  It makes me wonder, how many opportunities He provides us rest that we fail to recognize because we are soooo busy.

I feel as though, in part, breaking my hand is helping me in the process of slowing down.  I have for many years gone fast and found little time for rest.  I have in my new vocation been more aware of the need for rest, and rejuvenation!  As a Command we are instructed to take a Sabbath, and as I was reading recently in a book,Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, as we begin to practice the Sabbath we find it easier to involve in our routine.  As a result of practicing it weekly, we begin to incorporate the principle in our daily lives.

I believe it is also important we take some extended time away, every once in a while.  I suppose this weekend has been something I have needed for a while now and thank God for the opportunity to be in Toronto, KS for the weekend.  I have been able to relax in the sun, take naps, eat some great food, read, be at the lake, allow my broken hand to heal and most importantly chill with family.  I hadn’t yet met my great nephew, Braylon, nor had I seen my family since last year, some over Thanksgiving, and others 4th of July.

I am thankful for this peaceful weekend away and for the rest that was needed. May we be reminded that we need this more than we sometimes allow for because we are awful busy.  I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend full of R&R!  Here’s a clip from last night…


Prayers

May 24, 2012

Today I go in for surgery to fix my broken hand.  For those of you catching up, I broke my hand during the Gladiator Assault Race Saturday.  This is actually the first time I’ve broken a bone in 30 years, quite an amazing feat considering the active lifestyle I lead and the adventurous spirit.  All that being said I will be sidelined from most activities for the next 6 weeks as long as the healing goes well.  Prayers are needed today, for me and many others whom like me will be in surgery to fix any brokenness.  I ask that you take a moment to pray for those needing healing,

As you are praying, please also consider praying for the surgeons and nurses and praising God for the way He has gifted these individuals.  As I prepare for surgery I am at complete peace knowing I am in good hands, the hands of our Heavenly Father.  As I prepare I will ask the surgeon if it possible that I pray before surgery to submit to God that He has His hand upon us while in the operating room and as we leave.

You know we have this opportunity every day and every moment to communicate with the One who created us.  No matter what we face today, do we talk to God and take everything to Him with an understanding that He will listen and that He cares…more than anyone else!  So as I ask for prayers today for healing and for the surgery staff, I also ask you to consider asking God for His help in what you face.  I find myself constantly thinking about God throughout the day in wonder, how is He working and what is He teaching me?  I find myself through this setback wondering what is God trying to teach me, and even more how does this broken hand fit into His plan?  That is where my prayer, conversation with God, lies as I leave the surgery today.  First things first, I come asking you for prayer…How can I(We) pray for you today?


Gladiator!

May 21, 2012

Well friends…the journey has started!  Race #1 of 40 complete.  Gladiator Assault Challenge…check!  Of course it would have been challenging enough without incident, so the story begins.  I was charging down the hill at the start my eyes were set on the obstacle #2-Hunker in the Bunkers, the energy was flowing and I was excited for what was ahead over the next 5 miles.  There was a man spraying the Gladiators with a fire hose as we prepared to climb over the 3 mounds of mud which were separated by 2 mud pits.  As the cold water hit my face I closed my eyes for a moment and my feet slipped from under me on the mud, as I caught myself with left my hand I felt a pop.  I continued through the obstacle realizing I had lost the strength in my hand and it was throbbing in pain.  What was a Gladiator to do?

The immediate reaction was that I must make the smart decision by finding a first aid person to check it out.  I continued on to the next obstacle where I talked to a volunteer who said I would find someone ahead.  As I was talking to this gentleman I saw my fellow Gladiator TJ Anderson run down the hill as he had continued on without knowing I had injured my hand.  I shouted at him to let him know what happened and to continue on.  Of course the last thing I wanted to do was stop the race…so I continued on, finding the next obstacle to be a rope climb up a slope bank.  How would this go I thought to myself?  I made it work with one good hand!  But I only imagined how I would be able to get through the rest…

One of my favorite movies is Gladiator and all I could think about is what it truly means to be a Gladiator.  I found a video speech inspired by the movie that is a fitting message for the obstacles I faced Saturday morning:

Like Maximus, I found the resolve to continue on as a Gladiator!  I came across the first aid guy at obstacle #5-Snake Bite, which involved sliding through tunnels into a pit, then crawling under barbed wire.  He happened to be standing right next to the pit, so I slid through the tunnel and then had him check it out. He really had nothing to advise.  He wrapped it in a bandage and sent me on my way.  I continued as I withstood the pain, completing the remaining 25 obstacles and enjoying the company and scenery along the way.  I was able to talk with Luke from Boone, Mitchell from Creston, the Perry girls and a few others.  As I always say, it is about enjoying the journey and that is the perspective I carried.  Along the way the hand may have slowed me down slightly, but a Gladiator doesn’t quit…they know their limits and I had yet to reach them.  I like what the gentleman said in the video you watched, “All warriors know pessimism and uncertainty hold one back at moments like this.”  There is no room for this negative frame of mind in my life, in particular because it keeps me from God’s best.

How will we go about our next setback?  Will we let it change who we are and what we believe?  I believe God makes all things work together for good(Romans 8:28).  Let this photo help us think about our setbacks in a new light:

Yep you are looking at a broken hand!  XRay Saturday afternoon revealed I broke the metacarpals of my ring and middle finger on my left hand.  Yep that is my writing and eating hand!  So this Gladiator has a real Gladiator story to tell.  As I shared in my post on Saturday, the Gladiator Assault Challenge was my first of 40 races to complete prior to 40…imagine what I was thinking as I experienced this setback before I had even broken a sweat and before I had even gotten through the 2nd obstacle.  Many of you know the positive attitude I live out, and I wasn’t going to let a broken hand change on Saturday, nor will I tomorrow when I find out what the surgeon suggests for fixing the bones.  I know that God has a plan in this and that is light I choose to live in that allows me to continue on no matter what challenges, obstacles or setbacks I face.  Can you say this is true for you?

My decision to continue Saturday allowed me to experience the journey in a new light.  I had never been injured in a race in a way that could potentially not allow me to “complete” all parts of the race.  In my first half ironman I had experienced a real tight back as I hopped off the bike, which led me to walk the majority of the 13 miles on the run leg.  The similarity is the attitude I carried in each, as in life no matter the challenges we face, it is about enjoying the journey!  Had I not continued Saturday, I would have missed out on the creek run which I thought was one of the most unique and fun obstacles of the race.  I wouldn’t have been able to draft off of the adrenaline of a couple whose heat had started 20 minutes after ours.  As they came running by I joined them at a faster clip as we went through the last climb and the final 4 obstacles together, crossing the finish line with some yells and smiles!

In what areas of your life are you being called to be a Gladiator?  May you let this story of a Gladiator you know inspire you to carry on in the face of obstacles and to live out what you believe!  To me it is all about PUTing GOD FIRST and ENJOYing THE JOURNEY!  We can all be GLADIATORS!!!  Will you choose to be one with me?


40 to 40 Begins Today!

May 19, 2012

It was a cold and rainy day, but it wasn’t going to stop us!  Back in February I joined Steve Good for his first of 8 runs in 8 different cities over 8 days.  You can read more about this adventure in the archives of his blog, A Good Run.  Not only was it something I was excited to be a part of, but it was inspiring to hear about the journey Steve had planned in celebration of turning 30!  Since it only happens once, he had something grand in mind.  Reading about his journey after he left Des Moines was enjoyable as we were able to see what was happening in his travels from Des Moines to DC via MegaBus, with stops in Chicago, Indy, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, NYC and Baltimore.  Not only did I get “A Good Run” in, I also was able to hear about Steve’s new non-profit, Grass Root Give and we talked about how fortunate we are to be able to work in an area we have passion and are able to be challenged to grow and have an impact on the lives of others!

 This photo was from that day back in February, a celebratory meal in which we each dominated a sandwich as Steve prepared to head out to Chicago!  So what would come of this experience?  Well Steve had many stories and great experiences to tell, from the great conversations with strangers on the bus to the great hospitality from many friends.  It all led to a moment of inspiration for me.  I was driving to the home of one of my fellow staff members from Hope Ankeny, Jared Wells, for dinner and I was on the north side of Ankeny which reminded me of the Bike Route for the Big Creek Triathlon I had competed in during 2008.  As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of what Steve had done to celebrate his 30th, well since mine had already passed I immediately started to think about my next big one, the Big 4-0!
I was inspired to think of something that would be challenging and fun.  I had done a variety of races in previous years and found them to be enjoyable, from the Dam to Dam, to the Longhorn 70.3(now called the Ironman 70.3 – Austin), to the Mud Run and even the Snake Alley Criterium.  Some of these races had definitely been more challenging than others from a training standpoint and actual race day performance standpoint, but one thing that was always true is that I found myself excited for the opportunities presented to push myself, but to also see others making use of their God given abilities to do the same.
However, in the past couple of years, doing races hadn’t been much of a priority, as I had been focused on discerning what God had created me to do from a vocation perspective.  In this time I was able to step into what God had laid on my heart and I find myself in a place where I am ready to get back into races in a way that will keep me fit and energized.  So as I was pondering what I could do in this short drive, I was inspired to do “40 races to 40”.  As I pondered this idea, I originally thought could I do 40 races in my final year, not so much, but when broken out over the next 10 years it became a reasonable goal.  The thought is that I could do 4 races each year, with no restrictions on length or activity.  This means I can do Fun Runs like one I came across, The Color Run, to Criterium Races(short fast bike races), to triathlons, to endurance runs.  So I set out with a new goal and focus as it relates to approaching 40 and it was time to start planning my races for 2012.
 
Today I embark on the first of 40 races.  At 9am I will start a race called Gladiator Assault, which will be held in Boone, IA.  This is the first race of its kind that I have competed in.  It is a race that falls into the category of somewhat crazy, and a type of race that I had been looking forward to doing since some college buddies of mine did the Warrior Dash at Copper Mt. a couple years back.  I am pretty excited for the challenge today!  As I set out to do 40 races over the next 10, I have thought about a couple of parameters that I will put in place.  First, I will compete in 40 different races, none being the same.  If for whatever reason I decide to complete a race that is already on the list of 40, I will just call it a bonus race for the list and it may mean that I race in more than 40.  I also have decided that I would like to have someone that I can race with at each of these, in hopes of racing with a variety of friends over the years to come!  It is always more enjoyable to show up at a race and have someone you know at the starting line with you and then enjoy the post race celebration in the same light.  I happened across today’s race because of a friend I had met in the past couple years that I reconnected with as he had posted the opportunity to purchase his extra Groupon voucher for the race.  Thank you TJ Anderson!  As I am writing this morning I was also inspired that 1 race each year will be an opportunity to raise money for a cause that I support and believe in, something I have done in the past and would like to take more seriously.
When it all comes down to it, I look at this challenge as an opportunity to make use of the way God has wired me.  That is what we are called to do, be good stewards of the gifts we have been given.  I always look forward to races and for me it is all about the journey, most importantly Putting God First!  I thank God for the health and capacity He has gifted me with to race today.  I thank God for the desire He has placed on my heart to race with others and to be an encouragement to others!  It all started with the inspiration from a friend, Steve Good, that had a ripple effect into my life and has inspired me to set out to accomplish this feat.  Just as Steve had inspired me through his journey, I hope to inspire others to ask what challenges or opportunities lie ahead for them in their own journey.  It is my hope the ripples continue into the lives of others.  That we can inspire others in a way that may transform their lives, ultimately recognizing that it is living a life that we were created to live, all inspired by the Creator!

Dislocated Heart…

May 18, 2012

It may sound bad, but in reality it is a good thing.  As defined by Chip Ingram in Part 1 of his Message Series, Holy Ambition(click to watch message), he talks about what it means to have a “Dislocated Heart”.  His definition, “it is a God given concern for others that propels us out of our comfort zone.”  He is referring to Nehemiah’s life in which he recognizes his life is working, all is okay in his world, but God’s agenda is going down the tubes.  In this tension Nehemiah realizes he can no longer just stay where he is at, it is time to do something!

Oh my how this resonated with me, as I think about all that is going well in my life, there is a world of hurt around that I often see and God has placed within me a heart to do something.  We see things around us everyday that if we really stopped to think about it, we would be crying out for God to make change.  People are hurting, families are being destroyed, and God’s agenda is going down the tubes.  What are we to do about this?

We have to start looking at our heart.  What do we really believe and what is it that we have the capacity to do that will be a catalyst for change?  Maybe we have lived a life that is too comfortable, as a result we may find that our impact has been minimal, even though we have had many opportunities to do great things for the world around us.  So we may ask ourselves this question, why are we doing what we are doing?  What is it that we will do to foster change that may have a ripple effect on the lives of many?

I started this blog many moons ago, with the hope to use it is as a tool to be a catalyst for change in people’s lives.  So I come before you today, to renew my passion for sharing my life’s journey in a way that inspires others to consider what is happening in their lives that will ultimately lead to change in others.  This change I talk of is transformation, as Romans 12:1-2 brings to the surface, that makes us new and changes the way we think.  Can we live out of this new perspective that God’s agenda is serious and we should desire to “Take God Seriously!”  I like what Chip said in his message about God’s orchestration of the circumstances in our lives that is preparing us for the great work He has planned for us.  Will we bail on His plan, or will we live into the life He is preparing?

My prayer is that we start to live the life God has created us to live, to move out of our comfort zone and live out of the  posture of a “dislocated heart”.  It may take a time of preparation, where we remove the idols in our life so we can find focus with the One who has created us, allowing Him to guide our lives, not the things of this world.  Living in this new perspective will allow us to recognize how we can serve others in a way that acts as a catalyst to change; to transformation.  How have others inspired us?  Where does change come from in our lives?  I am a product of inspiration from God and others.  

I will share a story tomorrow of how I have been inspired…as for today, I am inspired by the Holy Spirit that is alive in my life raising up in me a “Holy Ambition” to be someone who has a large impact on the lives of many and I pray for God to continue to guide me in my awareness for the opportunities He presents in my life.