Coasting across the finish line

My personal record for biking 12 miles!
My personal record for biking 12 miles!

The last part of the track is uphill.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the greater flexibility of summer schedules and bicycling the 12 mile trail past Lake Wichita.  The direction I choose means that I finish with an uphill stretch.  Oh, it’s not horribly steep or anything (this is North Texas after all, and not known for steep hills), but at the end of 12 miles it’s just enough to intimidate the last dregs of my energy.  Usually as I approach the final curve, I slow down and creep across to the parking lot, peel myself off the sweaty seat, and limp to my car, nursing that inner satisfaction of having completed 12 miles. 

Today as I watched the mile markers and compared them to my stopwatch, I realized that I was positioned to beat my personal record.  I pushed it.  I ignored my complaining thighs and muscled along each slight incline.  Instead of slowing down on the last stretch, I actually sped up and rolled right up to my truck exhilerated and smiling broadly.  I bounced off the biked with surprisingly less soreness.  Endorphins are my new best friend. 🙂

I’m not usually much of a sports person, but I thought this morning about the end game in different sports.  In basketball or football, you can get a big lead and then coast across the finish line.  Just hold onto the ball and let the clock run out.  In tennis, though, you never get to coast.  To win, you have to win the last point of the game, the last game of the set, the last set of the match.  No slacking off or letting the time run out.  I don’t bike competitively, so I can choose to coast or to push across the finish line.  Pushing feels better.

I think life is like that.  You can choose to coast and limp or to push harder and finish strong.  God has given us direction for this choice.

Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenword in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14

2 Peter chapter one talks about adding to your faith virtue, and adding to your virtue knowledge, and so on.  Always adding.  Always getting stronger.  Never coasting, never slacking, never letting the clock run out.  Paul says press on to the goal.  I think runners call that strategy uneven splits.  You start out slow, build momentum, and press on faster at the end finishing victorious (or at least strong and fast). 

Coasting is easy.  I need to watch out for that.

Advertisements

A New Woman

It doesn’t take much to make me happy or to perk up my outlook on life.  A new haircut will usually do it.  Thankfully, I got a lot better than that.

This was my effort at being “a new woman” last week:

jeans-haircute.jpg

The drastic change from long hair to short somehow endows me with a surge of confidence and willingness to try new things.  Less than 24 hours after this admittedly shallow attempt at self-improvement, my little girl showed me the real way that’s done. 

I can’t show you a picture because it’s not an outward change.  Here’s the first picture after the big event.

november-2007-122.jpg

Looks uncannily like the last picture taken of her beforehand.  And yet…she is truly a new woman.

2Co 5:17 – Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Last night, I experienced the unique and moving joy of hearing my daughter confess her belief in Jesus Christ and express a desire to be saved eternally, and I assisted her in being baptized to wash away her sins.
Ac 2:38 – Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Every little girl in the congregation cried.  They know and love my sweet little girl as a friend, and they understand (to some degree) the beauty of what she’d done.  She declared publically that she was ready to put away whatever bits of selfishness and weakness and brokenness she had inside, and turn it over to Jesus to be blessed into something new and wonderful and glorious.  

It might not show in her face, but God looks on the heart, and he can see that today, Jordan is a new woman.   

I was Thirsty, and ye Gave Me Hawaiian Punch

Sometimes I’m treated to a small peak of what kind of adults my children will become, a little taste of the fruits of our parenting.  And it’s sweet.  As sweet as Hawaiian Punch.

I should explain that I’m not overly fond of Hawaiian Punch.  It’s okay, but mostly it’s just another sweet, fruity drink that kids adore.  If I’m really thirsty, I choose water.  Actaully, I pretty much always choose water. 

We had a little Hawaiian Punch leftover from a birthday party (see He’ll Always be my Baby).   As we prepared for lunch the next day, one of the kids asked if we could drink that.  Since I normally enforce the “water is the healthiest drink” rule at lunch, saying yes to this request qualified as a special treat which was greeted with cheers. 

As they began to divvy up the punch into 4 cups, it was clear that no one would get too big of a drink.

“Oh, just divide it into 3,” I called from the kitchen.  “I’ll drink water.”

My kids paused, looking puzzled.

“It’s okay,” I insisted.  “I like water.”

Why do kids find that difficult to believe? 

“You should have some, too!” chirped the little ones.  “It’s not fair!”

“Mom,” Cameron said, laying his hand on my arm with a fatherly expression on his face.  He does that more often now that he’s 7 feet tall.  “I know why you said that.  You’re just doing that so we’ll have more.  You always do that.  You always give up your share.” 

I didn’t realize that I “always” did that…do I?

I smiled because he sounded so sweet just then.  I wanted to pinch his cheeks, but like I said, he’s 7 feet tall.  “It’s because I love you.  I don’t mind.”

“But we love you, too.  We want to do it for you.”

By this time, they were all in the kitchen, clamoring about how they really, really wanted me to have some of the Hawaiian Punch.  It had become symbolic.  A point of honor.  They all wanted to sacrific some of their nectar to prove their love.  Jordi even brought out her special pink and purple goblet inscribed in cursive with “Princess.”  That cup doesn’t come out lightly.

As we sat down to our lunch (can’t even remember what it was now), they all grinned at me angelically.  Then the entire episode drained from their minds as more pressing issues (like he’s poking me, do I have to eat this, can I play the PS2 when I finish my work) crowded out the memory.  They were goofy kids again.

But oh my, that was sweet Hawaiian Punch.  Better than water. 🙂

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Biking the lake…take 2

Cooler than normal temperatures tempted me again. Since my dh replaced the flat on my bike, I thought…yeah….I’m gonna go back to the lake and enjoy the bike ride I missed last week. I parked at one end of the trail took off with the greatest confidence, anticipating a long, energizing trek. I was admiring the water and the sunflowers and counting all the little jackrabbits zipping about in the morning breeze. I should’ve known that bike had other plans.When I got to the end point of the trail, I u-turned, checked my watch, and considered all the variables. I figured I was set to finish the 12 miles in right at an hour. Excellent! Deep breaths, set for the return trip…and then a funny flapping sound from behind and the bike went wobbly. Another flat!!!!It was the tire we’d just replaced! And I was 6 miles from my truck and the air pump.

My first impulse was to kick the bike and insult its intelligence. But you’d’ve been proud. I reminded myself that trials produce patience, and as trials go, this one was minor.

After all, the sun was still shining, the scenery was still peaceful, and walking is exercise, too. I just hadn’t planned to walk 6 miles pushing a wonky bike. Sigh.

I was trying to think of scripture to meditate on to keep my mood peaceful. A friend told me he likes to meditate on theIsaiah passage about soaring on wings like eagles and not getting tired, but I didn’t think I was really soaring. I finally settled on the 23rd Psalm, since I was uniquely positioned by green meadows and still waters at the time.  🙂  While I was looking around at the birds and trying to recite the psalm, I walked too close to the bike dug my calf into the teeth on the foot pedal. Ouch!! Now I had blood dripping down my leg and still 5 miles to walk. I tried singing, “Count Your Blessings” and “Sing and Be Happy.”  That worked for awhile.

But gals, those landmarks that had zipped by in one direction sure crawled tortorously slow coming home. And the cool morning wore off into sweat city. I finally managed to position the bike so I could jog at times. Was I ever happy to see my truck at the end of the road.

Lessons learned? 1.  Park in the middle of the trail instead of the end so you don’t have to walk as far. 2.  Get an air pump that attaches to the bike because it’s useless otherwise. 3.  Or maybe I should give dh back his bike and trade it for crochet hooks.

Tell me again why I love that lake?