Sunday, May 04, 2008

Finishing Well...(Ok, maybe not well but finishing)

This morning my college roommate Sarah and I completed our first (but hopefully not last) marathon. I want to share a few of the thoughts that were running through my mind during the day.

5:00 am- "Wow! Race day is actually here. I am just going to concentrate on running and not allow the distance to cause me unnecessary anxiety. I'm going to lace up my sneakers, do a little stretching, and hit the trail as if it were any other daily run."

6:00 am- "Seeing all the other runners makes me less nervous. I can and will do this."

6:18am- "And we're off!"

6.6 miles- "This is a piece of cake. Nothing to worry about. Oh look, there's a Kenyan. Technically I am ahead of him (never mind that I started 40 minutes before he did)."

8 miles- "Maybe I shouldn't of eaten those 4 rolls last night at the restaurant."

9 miles- "The Baskin Robbins ice cream may have been a bad idea as well."

10 miles- "Ok, my feet are beginning to ache and my upper thighs kind of burn. Run through the pain, run through the pain."

13.1 miles- "Why did I agree to do a full marathon before doing a half? Maybe I'll just do a half today and sign up later for another full marathon. No, I gotta keep going. Lord, give me strength."

15 miles- "The burning pain has become more intense. Do I even have upper thighs anymore? I can't feel them. This is also incredibly boring. I need some more excitement to keep me going."

19.7 miles- "Alright, 3/4 of the way done and I feel a little better. That last 6.6 miles was complete torture. Hopefully the last leg of this will be much better."

21 miles- "I'm actually doing this. I didn't know if I could finish, but I will. The end is in sight. Uh oh, getting a littel choked up. This is no time for crying, just run."

24 miles- "2 more mile, 2 more miles. My heels are numb and my calves burn, although my thighs feel a little better. I think my toenail is falling off."

26 miles -"Sarah's telling me to run faster. SPRINT! There's the finish line, go go go!"

26.2 miles(and beyond)- "Sitting down has never felt so great. Chairs totally rock!"

This experience was seriously one of the most rewarding yet difficult tasks I have ever completed. The race itself was challenging, but the 3 months of training were just as difficult. For anyone who has ever wanted to run a marathon, you need to do it. You will be so proud of yourself afterwards. But train appropriately. That was my biggest mistake. There were so many days that I chose not to train simply because I didn't feel like running and I felt every one of those days today. Also, do a half-marathon first. That way you will have a better idea of what to expect and it won't be as overwhelming when you do a full marathon.

I've always heard that people who run a marathon are either completely hooked or vow to never do one again. The verdict is still out for me. Sarah and I might try to do the NYC marathon together next, but I may need to wait a week before I decide if this is something I want to attempt again in the future. Thank you to everybody who has supported me throughout the past 3 months. Your support and encouragement really helped me today when I didn't know if I could keep going. I appreciate it more than you could ever know!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Busy as a Bee

So I know it has been FOREVER since I posted anything so I'll catch you up with what's happened in my life over the past several months. I returned home on July 21 after I finished my year of teaching in China. I miss China a lot (especially certain foods) but am thankful to be home. I enrolled at BTSR (Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond) and moved to Virginia after spending several weeks settling back into life in the USA. It was weird going back to Greenville with my parents not being there (they moved to South Dakota), but I received lots of love from friends and my church family.
I love living in Richmond and my classes are going very well. I'm learning a lot both in and out of the classroom. I've also started 2 new jobs which are going very well. One is at an adult literacy center. I work 16 hours a week answering phones and working in the office. My other job (although I think of it more as a blessing than a job) is as a youth minister in a small church. I started this past Sunday and am confident that the Lord is going to do amazing things with this youth group. I have really enjoyed getting to know them and am anxious to see what opportunities for ministry and service both within the church and community will open in the future. So between being a full time student and working over 30 hours a week I keep myself pretty busy. But I love every minute of it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Fly on the Wall

Last semester I was sitting in church one Sunday listening to the choir, and I thought to myself, "How fun would it be to join the Chinese Church choir!" Well this past Sunday, the pastor approached Dee and me and asked if we would like to join for the remainder of our time here. I immediately jumped at the chance and was super excited for this possibility. They gave me a copy of the song and I was going to have my Chinese teacher translate it for me into pinyin (Chinese words using our alphabet) this week (which I forgot to do). So last night I went to my first rehearsal (Dee was sick so I went alone) and as soon as I walked in the room, all eyes were on the foreigner. I timidly said, "Ni hao," and the women just continued to stare. Finally, one came over to me and started speaking very quickly in Chinese. I understood some of what she said but didn't know how to respond. Just then a woman began dragging me to a chair and pointed for me to sit. We got out our songs and began rehearsal (which is nothing like choir rehearsal in the States). Luckily the first song we sang was Hallelujah so I had no problem with the words. However, I soon realized that I had taken a seat in the wrong section. I am an alto if ever there was one and I was sitting with the first sopranos and they were hitting notes I didn't even know existed in music. I was too shy to move so I just opened my mouth and tried to appear as if I were singing. After about 15 minutes of rehearsal we went upstairs to join the men. We began practicing the other song (which I never got translated) and I hoped that the first time around I could listen to the song and figure out the words they were saying. Well, no such luck. The two women on either side of me were I guess anxious to see if the foreigner knew the Chinese words. Instead of looking at their own music as we sang, their eyes were definitely on me. Then one of them began silently cracking up as she watched me make up words (that were in fact not real Chinese words but rather just gibberish sounds I was making) when we got to the part I didn't know. All in all, it was definitely a memorable experience and I learned my lesson to be more prepared next time.
This past week I met with a group of friends to study and discuss the Word. We had a wonderful time together and I really enjoyed being able to talk with them about my first love. We agreed that we would like to make this a weekly activity. Please remember this weekly time together in your prayers and I will share more about it when I return home this summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This BIG, WIDE World

Ok, let me just start this by saying BEIJING IS AWESOME!!! If you ever get the chance to visit, you absolutely must go. It definitely ranks among one of my favorite big cities in the world. The history and culture that this country has is incredible and mind-blowing. I returned at 1 am this morning from an 8 day trip with my parents, Dee, and Anne. We got to visit the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and a few ancient temples. I think the coolest thing about my trip was that I got to zip-line off of the Great Wall. I actually have a video of that as well as lots of pictures and other videos that I am going to post on my picture site this week. One video you must check out is the commentary of our encounter with the Chinese police. Yes, we were interregated by the police and our trip to the Great Wall was delayed by 2 hours because of some legal issues with our tour guide. Just check out the video and you can laugh along with our misfortune!
In other news, classes start back again tomorrow and we now have only 11 weeks of school left. Classes are going extremely well and I am also thoroughly enjoying the Sunday night class I teach. The students in that class have a very wide range of English ability as well as knowledge of the Bible. Some have been believers their entire lives, while others are hearing the gospel for the first time. Please be in prayer for this class and the students. I know God is continually at work in their hearts and each week I cling to the beautiful promise that God gives us in scripture.

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it." Isaiah 55: 10-11