Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not that my grades could've made it into Yale...

but this was hilarious, and so true of the friend I had there... Plus who doesn't love a 'lil High School Musical?? It's just for fun!

I think alums and others who were critical need to relax!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I’m Giving Up Facebook For Lent,… (but not all the way)

Clearly, people can do whatever they want. By no means am I imposing MY conviction on anyone else. The heart of sacrificing something at Lent can be manifested in many different ways. It’s not a legalistic thing. But we all reach for things every day, and the idea is that by sacrificing one of those said things, we can recall Christ’s greater self-sacrifice on the cross. That's how it is with all fasting. You don't just fast from something to starve yourself, but fasting and feasting go together; you give something up so you can enjoy and dwell on something (someone) different.

And somehow, over the past few years, I have been reaching for Facebook with an ever-increasing frequency. Since it is on my iPhone, I look at it in bed even, right before sleep, and sometimes when I wake up. Over the years, I have even started thinking about my life in terms of status updates. Casey… “bought eggplant today, what do I do with it?” “hates the vampireous mosquitoes that are outside in February…” “looks forward to teething being over.” Over the top. No one needs to know or even cares about the minutia in my life. But updating statuses and checking others’ became a compulsive habit for me.

SO… when I saw that a handful of friends were giving up FB for Lent, I had a sneaking suspicion that maybe I should too. Facebook should be a tool for connecting with people, but it had become something that I probably spent an hour or more on a day (over way too many site visits). If I were to tell you what the priorities in my life were, you might believe me. But when we look at how a person spends their time, their priorities are telling. So this Lent, I am getting my priorities straight.

I decided not to give it up entirely, because that's another adventure in missing the point. I still want to be reachable, the site’s original intention. But I deleted it from my iPhone, which is how I usually looked at it. Who needs to be looking online at a traffic light, or at a friend’s house? That is how addicted I was, embarrassingly enough. I also decided not to go on it after 5 pm. I want to be more intentional with my husband, our baby and our friends, real, live people that life is lived alongside, rather than paying so much attention to a screen. I know that many people we love live far away, and that’s something that can’t be replaced; but sometimes I feel like I was spending more time with a screen than actual humans. So I need a change. Looking at a screen doesn’t fill loneliness or stimulate you in a healthy way. (I’ll try to avoid the rabbit hole of the porn industry here)

I’m not making rules about what this will look like for me, other than taking a Sabbath from it on Sundays. I just know that it needs to look different than it was. Maybe I will go on once a day, during a nap. I love seeing photos of friends’ kids, and don’t want to miss important things that are happening. But I won’t be checking and writing compulsively, like before. Maybe I’ll write a status update once a week, or maybe not until Easter. But I do know that instead of being on FB, I’ll be living life abundantly, instead of just trying to make it sound as though I am.


I am writing a couple of devotionals for our church this Lenten season, and I'll post them on here, enjoy.

Philippians 3:8,12 and 16 “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus… I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

Lent begins today, Ash Wednesday. Because I didn’t grow up in any kind of religious environment, Lent meant nothing to me until college. And even then, at first it only meant “giving something I liked up.” Some sort of weird, temporary self-denial for 40 week days before Easter. But I’m a greedy American, so that was hard. I started out with easy things, stuff I wouldn’t REALLY miss. Sweets one year, soda or caffeine one year. Pizza one year. The next year was music in my car. I LOVE music. That was the year I learned about Lent.

I learned that it wasn’t about following rules for rules’ sake. I learned that I actually experienced more clarity, by taking away something and replacing that thing with sorting through the clutter in my mind, listening, praying and life-giving activity. I learned that in giving something up, what I received was much greater. I received freedom. God doesn’t want our sacrifices (read 1 Samuel 15), he wants our hearts, he wants our attention. It doesn’t matter what we do or don’t do, but God wants us to be free. Free from addiction, so we can be free for receiving His good gifts.

Jesus, may you mean more to us than anything else. Help us release our grip on whatever we are clinging to tightly. Let us live into the freedom you give us. Amen.

He wants our hearts, he misses us. May we experience God’s freedom and peace this Lenten season.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My First Half-Marathon: the Austin Marathon

-Lessons from Ground Zero to 13.1 in 8 months-

8 months ago, after giving birth, I could hardly walk to the end of our street. I never imagined I would be able to say the words, “I have finished a Half Marathon.” But Sunday, as of 10:30am, I can now say I am among a small, CRAZY percentage of humanity who has accomplished this goal (some of us slower than others.)
I am partially still in shock, partially so proud, and mostly just SORE and popping ibuprofen like it’s my job. For those of you who are wondering, here is how the race went for me:

My sleep the night before was scarce, and my thoughts were all over the place. I even remember thinking, “what if all my clothes disintegrate?” Can we say irrational? Woke up at 5:45, ate a bit, peed a TON, dressed and stretched. Lesson #1: dressing weather-appropriate is HUGE. #2: Proper hydration is a tricky balance; you don’t want to have to wait in a 50 person line for the port-o-potty at mile 4, like I saw people doing. And #3: WHY in the WORLD don’t I stretch more?! Stretching helps everything.

At 6:45 I went out into the chaos, of 14,000 runners/walkers, who were milling around, some of whom were quite entertaining and/or anxious. Marathons are a great place for people-watching. Lesson #4: picking a hotel close to the start is another huge deal. Parking should NOT be your main concern on the morn of your race. And #5: pick a race that has good weather. The cooler, the better for your body, as your internal temp and the outside temp will rise.

At 7:00 sharp, the crowd began moving. It took me 8 minutes to cross the start line, but I was soon rewarded with the gorgeous dawn view on the Congress St. bridge and the first of many live bands along the course. Lesson #6: choose a course that interests you, a beautiful place, entertainment, etc. This will help you get through the miles.

The first 5K was a steady uphill, that surprised me, since I always train on flat terrain. Lesson #7: don’t do what I did. The only good news about the uphill was that I could look behind me for miles and realize my fear of coming in dead last was unfounded. I was surprised how many people were behind me! We were the rewarded, with the second 5K being a long, gradual downhill. Things got better for me after that. In all the splits they gave me online, my place got better and better as the race went on. Lest I sound cocky, over seven THOUSAND people finished before me. But I feel proud that I gained on a couple hundred.

I took a GU at miles 4, 7 and 10; these were helpful. I mostly walked, but would jog or sprint a minute with Los just to change it up for our muscles here and there. All in all, I probably ran less than 1.5 miles, but it felt good to engage different muscles and get a change of pace. In my training, I didn’t really run at all, so I wanted to be conservative with running, so as not to overexert myself.

We had hills at miles 8, 10 and 12, the last of which sucked my will to live. Lesson #8: I have a lot to learn about using my arms to propel me. Once we crested the final hill, at mile 12.5, I got really emotional. It finally set in that a goal I’ve had in mind for 30 years, (which seemed about as attainable as me going to the moon) was going to come to fruition. I blinked back tears as I told myself I needed to conserve that energy for a little while longer.

We rounded the corner, on to the campus of the Texas State Capitol, a gorgeous, massive, red granite building. By then Los started crying too, out of pride for me. He split off (he did the race last minute as a bandit, to keep me company) and I ran the last bit through the chute to the sound of tons of applause. Since I didn’t have a watch, I was quite surprised to see that I had beat my estimated time by over 20 minutes!! I was elated. I still had tons of energy left in my tank, and didn’t feel too sore in any of my muscles. I was even able to run later, playing with Burly after the race.

I know that I have a LOT of room for improvement, and could probably shave more than an hour off my time if I ran more. But for never having done this distance before (except for hiking), and for walking the vast majority of it, a 3:27 was a fine time to start off with- a 15 minute pace. I just wanted to see that I could do it. And now I feel like I can do anything. Lesson #9: NEXT time I will stick to a training plan better. I did ZERO core work or cross-training, and I know both of those will help me be stronger and more fit. DO YOU HEAR THAT old man in the raggedy sweatshirt, jeans and fanny pack, who beat me?! I’m coming after you. I still may place in the 7000’s out of 9000. But I’m taking you down.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Big Girl...

This week we'll find out how long and wide :) Claire is again at her 8 month appt (which is really just getting a shot, not the traditional 9 month well baby check up)... All I have to say is: her 12 month pants are now starting to look like capris... and one 12 month shirt didn't fit her in the arms... not to mention the many 12 month clothes that show off her "beer" belly. Oh man. So today I decided to try out a pair of Baby GAP 18 month pants. And let's just say... they were a little snug at the waist. Unbelievable. I was not prepared for her to be cruising as a 7 month old, or 22 lbs. before a year. This is one big, strong kid. Lord help me.

p.s. she got another darling swimsuit in the mail this weekend. It's a 2T. She won't be two until June 2011, but I'm pretty sure it will fit her this spring. She dominated her first swim lesson this weekend, we'll have to get some pics of that, she LOVES the water.


Just read this about my home city. Way to make a girl proud, Fresno...