Sunday, October 16, 2011

God's Half Marathon

In some fashion, I feel compelled to attempt to put words to today's events, today's emotion. As many of you know, I make no excuses or apologies for being a Christ follower. I use this term, rather than Christian, because I feel it best describes my walk. I AM a Christ follower. I strive every day to follow what God wants. Some days I fail miserably, but He lets me try the next day...that is His infinite grace. Grace that was afforded me by a huge sacrifice in my your name. So, I get up each day and make the choice to try my hardest.

In any event, three months ago I entertained the idea of signing up for a half marathon. Immediately, negative speak started running through my brain. This negative speak is something I personally specialize in. I kept telling myself that, with two bad knees and the fact that I still walk portions of a 5k, I had no business signing up for anything longer than that, not to mention something as impossible as 13.1 miles. I told myself I couldn't...and, what did I get back? An almost audible "Yes, you can." I don't actually hear from God often (not in audible sounds), but I am certain this was Him. I had never been asked by God to do something such as this, but I felt maybe this was my faith test. (Trust me, I felt foolish even explaining this to people...I couldn't for the life of me figure out why a race would be a faith test.) I had never given over everything I had in me before...maybe that's what God wanted from me. So, I signed up...signed up even though I doubted.

I figured that I'd better start training if I were ever going to come close to finishing such a distance, as I still assumed that I couldn't...what with two bad knees, a quitter attitude and just being afraid, I couldn't. I started the week of the heat wave in July. I hated every minute of that week. I doubted. I doubted God's provision. I doubted my ability. As the weeks rolled along, I rolled up on 6.5 and 8.5 and then 10.25, it became harder and harder to stay healthy. My ankles ached, my back hurt, I questioned why I was doing this. I remember one conversation that I had with Him: "God, I have no idea why you want me to do this, but I'm here. I'm running for you...please take care of me because I can't do this without you." I wanted to quit when it hurt, I did. But, God provided. I kept finding it more and more amazing that He was keeping my knees from aching to the point that I'd have to quit...started trusting, but still doubted.

This week was race week. I spent the week feeling a mix of emotions...fear, anxiety, doubt, belief, name it. When I picked up my race number and shirt yesterday, I nearly balled on my way to the car. I was awash with emotion that I couldn't explain. Today, I got out of bed, fully expecting the normal pre-race jitters-the sick stomach, the whole nine. I was nervous, but nothing like normal. This was God's Half Marathon (I had decided that) and I wanted so badly to make Him proud, to trust Him with everything I had, to give Him everything in me.

So, I ran proud and I ran strong, praying in the hard parts early near mile 2, recentering at mile 7 and pausing to celebrate a bit, and thinking often of God. By mile 9, though, I had run (or tried to run) hill after hill. My joints ached, I was trying hard, feeling so utterly alone out there and not really knowing if I could do this. I wished hard for someone, somewhere on a street corner, but knew the family and friends hadn't planned to be right there. I started to give up on myself, I did. I guess then, I would have been giving up on God too. Then, a song came on the player...not just any song, but one that moves my heart EVERY time I hear it. It is a song that reminds me of the huge sacrifice I mentioned in the opening paragraph. It is "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road. I picked up my pace as tears welled in my eyes. God had been there all along, just waiting for me to cry out...and He responded in that instant when no earthly being could. I guess the tears came because I had diminished for that instant the power of God and His provision. I hadn't quite given Him the credit He was due.

So I kept running...I kept pushing past aches that were quickly forming to come into the park to find my smiling husband, Tim standing in the 10.5 mile area. My heart again moved to see him saying..."Just a little more. I'm so proud of you." I didn't feel like I could keep going, but he pushed me and kept it up. He met me at mile 12.50 to run me in. He ran the whole way with me and just keep saying..."Just a little more. You CAN do this." I had, you see, begun to already doubt again as I had struggled with the wind and struggled to get to mile 11 and 12...struggled to realize that I was so close to the end, but had nothing left. God gave me Tim, again right where I needed him and willing to run me into the finish line.

When I got to the stadium, He gave me a good friend that I could see at the finish line who immediately came and hugged me and congratulated me. God gave me friends and family praying for me during the day. He came through. He provided for me, just as He always promised.

I came home to rest for a bit and got up just a bit ago, filled with emotion and tears. I felt compelled to write out these events. I hope they inspire you in some way to either hear from God if you know Him, or to check Him out if you are far from Him. He knows our hurts and fears and He is right there to help me, you, us through them. He is just waiting for us to ask.

I don't know how He plans to use this race. Maybe, He just wanted me to be faithful. Maybe, His name will be gloried in other ways....that isn't for me to say or figure out.

I will not apologize for being a Christ follower, but I will apologive for the length of the post :) Feel free to leave a comment. P.S. I'll add a picture as soon as I get it downloaded.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Times are Changing...So Should Your Expectations

So, what is privacy?

One would think that this is a pretty easy question to answer...until you start to, well, answer it. Webster's says that privacy is:

"{noun} The quality or state of being apart from company or observation."

Ok, that definition maybe worked pre-techie age, I guess. Privacy used to mean that you got to spend your time in the bathroom with the door closed and by yourself. [Parents, you know exactly what I mean.] Thus, you were apart and free from observation.

In the advent of technology, the internet and social media, privacy comes to mean an entirely different thing. There are now levels of privacy (low, medium, high, super mega high). There are also now levels of assumed privacy.

All in all, my answer to what is privacy must relate back to "It depends". I know you think this is a cop-out, but it truly does depend.

For me, privacy (or my expected level of privacy) depends upon what I am doing or where I'm at. If I'm at home studying, writing or reading, I expect there to be a level of privacy. This simply means that my family will have the courtesy to not interrupt me. If I'm on the phone, I want (note, I have kids so I never fully expect) privacy and to not be eavesdropped upon. If I'm online, I want my private information protected.

Now, back to the on the phone and on the internet....While I WANT privacy in both instances, my want and what I expect to happen are two different things. I expect that my kid will eavesdrop while I am talking on the phone. Therefore, I choose my topics and words carefully. [I believe someone once said something like "Out of the mouths of babes."...yeah, you'd be surprised what they hear and remember.] Further, I enter each internet visit, transaction, social media post in the same manner. If I don't want the world to know what I am thinking or doing or wearing, I refrain from posting it, because I realistically know that ANYONE can see it.

So, privacy depends on the situation. But, just because we expect to have privacy, it doesn't mean that said privacy will be granted.

What do you think?

[This post is part of the #letsblogoff series. The question for this week was "What is this thing called privacy?"]

If you would like to see how the other participants responded, please check out or the table below:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thumbtacks = Pride and Passion

I've taken several months off from writing...something I love. I keep wanting to, I do, but something always seems to come along that is a higher priority. On Twitter, there is something called the #letsblogoff. I love reading the topics and the entries and have for months thought that I should once again partake. So, in the spirit of all things good, this week's topic (re: THUMBTACKS) is one that struck me instantly and I knew, knew I had to participate. [sidenote: odd that that the odd topic struck me, right?]

So, thumbtacks? Well, first, thumbtacks are highly important - they hold important things down (or up), for one. Examples would be, say, a card, a list, a notice, directions, etc. I guess things that you may not look upon often, but things that need to be easy to find. Sometimes, they mark important points or direct your attention, be they in person or via virtual.

I began searching for a picture to post here. You know, some stock photo from a Google search. In doing so, I happened to look up from my desk to see the maps hanging on our office wall.

You see, these thumbtacks (or better termed pins) are placed on the maps, one for every timber frame that Lancaster County Timber Frames, Inc. (LCTF, Inc.) has erected since its inception in 1997. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. At one time, we had to make the decision to have a Pennsylvania/New Jersey map blow up just for those pins (yes, I'm aware that PA now looks as though it has measles).

But, I digress. These pins, and every pin that gets added when a timber frame job ships out, are a source of pride for me, for the other owners, for the crew, and for the client/home they depict. They represent our work, our passion. There are pins in Colorado, New Mexico, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, North Carolina and on and on. I smile fondly when I look at them and see trends or just remember a particular job that the pin represents. I smile even broader to see perspective clients enter and watch their eye be drawn to the board and take it in. So, for LCTF, Inc. thumbtacks represent pride and passion...doubtful the makers of the item thought that was the track it was going to take, but you never know, right?

Funny...and originally my post was going to be about how thumbtacks are an item that will never go out of style, much like duct tape and super glue. But, I like this direction more. What do you think?

Feel free to browse the others! Or you can look them up on :) Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Forgiveness and Inner Turmoil

As thoughts of forgiveness roll through my head for the past several days, I struggle to understand what that is exactly. I must say, I often feel a bit foolish that I don't know, but I suspect that forgiveness is different for each person. But, is that right? Is that what was intended when we were called to forgive?

God forgives and forgets...His model of forgiveness is a perfect one. He sacrificed so much so that he could forgive us, so that we could be cleansed.

I suppose the forget part is where I'm stuck. Something inside of us, I believe, truly does want to forgive. We all want to be accepted and feel be loved and feel loved. So, we want to forgive someone that wronged us...we want to get around the hurt that their action caused in us. We want to put it behind us and obey God's calling to forgive. But, how does one forget? Is it human nature to remember it? Is it Satan whispering in our ear to cause turmoil? Is it the victim in us that feels it is easier to keep holding up that hurt than to do the work it takes to allow God to wash it clean?

Is there a limit to the number of times you should forgive a person for an action? I'm struggling with that in both the granting of forgiveness and the asking for it. If a person struggles with anger and needs to humble themselves each time they lose their cool (as they should to make amends), is there a limit to the number of times the "forgiver" needs to address their "I'm sorry"? Or, is the sheer fact that they need to ask forgiveness so many times a sign that the two people just shouldn't interact? Because, if true forgiveness is not granted, the wound will will grow and build and become such an ugly monster that it will be filled with anger, bitterness and resentment for both parties. One will feel like they are never good enough and the other will feel like they shouldn't have to be bothered. Either way, both parties lose. Bitterness and resentment can only breed a lose-lose situation.

So, it is easy to say the words "I forgive you", but are you willing to take the steps it takes to forget...really forget and to trust? That's probably the hardest of the steps to take.

Our hearts want so badly to guard against hurt...we all hate to be wounded, we hate to feel unloved or unaccpeted. So, we will either hand that over for redemption or we will carry it around with us to cause us further pain down the road. Often, I don't think the latter is a conscious choice...just one that seems to happen. It is sad that words sometimes can be so hurtful that we don't know quite how to process or two words can cause instant anger, hurt, love, or joy, depending on how they are delivered and what the circumstance is....something to be aware of in the process, I guess.

I suppose it is never too late to assess a situation and give it over. Sometimes, these things just take time and lots of conscious efforts (however small) and baby steps...everyone's timeline is different, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Who Are You Seeking Glory For?

So...the past few weeks for me have been ones of disarray and disfunction. I have felt uneasy about the feeling, but could not understand why I had those feelings. Nonetheless, these feelings were suffocating me. I was feeling emotional, easily angered, name it.

After several really empowering sermons and/or nudges, I have been left wondering if I'm doing life correctly. Am I using what I have been given to the fullest...and for the right reasons?

I discovered long ago that life is about a balancing act. It is about doing various things throughout your day to make life "work". So often, I think I (we) fill our days with things, but never take into consideration whether they are necessary in the essence of life working. I know for me, I tend to overcommit to too many things. I enjoy being involved with people, with creativity and with excitement. If I'm being honest (and I generally attempt to on this forum), my motives for being involved are often for the wrong reasons.

That is not to say that something beautiful and exciting will not come from the experience, but it has left me wondering if I truly glorified God in that situation. Was I yearning for acceptance and praise or was I yearning to glorify God? Many times...and sadly as it may be...I think I end up looking for the praise and acceptance.

So, does that mean that I never volunteer or get involved? No. It means that I, individual trying to be more aware, think through my motives prior to committing and it means that I review those motives throughout and continue to make sure that I am doing it as a means to bring glory to the One, rather than myself. I don't and shouldn't need the glory will come some day, but I need not be concerned with that now.

I should note that it is clear that several of the things I'm involved in are certainly glorifying God and it excites (and humbles) me to be able to be used by Him in such a way. It simply means that care, as in any other situation, needs to be taken. Will I always succeed? Probably not, but awareness is key...and baby steps are important.

The picture above, I felt sums it up nicely. Prayer will help me (or you) with that balancing act. That glory for God comes through awareness of who He is and what He yearns for...and to find that, you need to be talking/listening to Him.
[Picture "borrowed" from]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm Creative, You're Creative, Wouldn't You Like To Be Creative Too?

The question of the day is: What is creativity?

When first thinking about my response, I couldn't help but think that this is a bit of a loaded question. What creativity is to me is obviously different from the person next to me or even miles away. I mean, really, to me creativity means being orginial, imaginative...blah, blah, blah. So, before I get into my thoughts of creativity, I thought I'd see what the good 'ole folks at had to say:

cre·a·tiv·i·ty   ~noun
1. the state or quality of being creative. [Wow, that sure was helpful.].
2.the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. [ idea of original is here!]
3. the process by which one utilizes creative ability. [Again, helpful, no?]

Ok, now that I've taken you to the dictionary definition, let's see how that applies in a practical light:

Creativity can be using one's imagination to create something new, forming words, writing, dancing, drawing, painting you name it. It could be figuring out how to stop a dripping window by taping a cup to it until conditions are right to fix the window [Yes, this is a personal experience of majestic creativity right there.]

No matter what the situation is and no matter whether you end up with the same outcome as someone else, being creative is about using the resources you have in your reach or in your repertoire of skills to make a situation work or make it better. Ahh...maybe "resourceful" is a better definition...or "imaginative resourcefulness". I think we may be getting somewhere!

So, to apply this to life in the construction or design industry: Creative is making something interesting, using the resources available to you; yes, that does include materials available AND money in the budget available. Sometimes, that means designing a project and value engineering it to fit the budget and still be interesting. Again, being resourceful.

It is my belief that creativity cannot be either have it or don't. BUT, creativity obviously means different things to different people. You can be creative with your budget, your menu, your outfit, your problem solving...whatever. I strongly believe that I am creative and I pride myself on that notion. BUT, who am I (or you) to judge wheteher someone else is creative?

What do you think?

I hope you enjoyed my brief look at what creativity means to me...this is another issue of the #letsblogoff posts that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the last several months. P.S. I got a very curious message from my husband from the last post. It read "So, I just read your obituary." My only response was...."ahhh...about that."

To check out the other participants, check the growing list below:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Am I Really That Person?

Amy Good (aka Splintergirl) passed due to naturally accidental causes while rescuing 3 kittens from a collapsing steel structure building when her cape failed. Had the building been timber framed the structure would have held up longer.

Oh wait…that would be the comic book version.

Before you freak out, this post is going somewhere. It is a submission to the bi-weekly Lets Blog Off topics. I found it to be a great inward look at who I am versus who I'd like to be.

Amy Good, 85, of Mount Joy, PA passed in her sleep due to natural causes. She is survived by her loving husband, Timothy, a son and daughter-in-law Clayton and Nicole, a daughter and son-in-law Courtney and Eric, 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Amy was a long time member of LCBC (Lives Changed By Christ) in Manheim, PA where she continued to serve with middle school students. Amy was the retired CEO of Lancaster County Timber Frames of York, PA. She was a good friend, listener, and lived life with a heart full of passion and will be remembered for the little things – a hug here, cookies there, a listening ear or helpful act there. Those who knew Amy would know that she would not want them to dwell on sadness, but celebrate.

In lieu of flowers, it is asked that donations be made to either March of Dimes or American Cancer Society.

My word….I aspire to be all those things. This is a good reminder to be mindful of my actions...and, hey, I have 50 years to perfect it, right?

Other submissions can be found here: