Showing posts from November, 2021

Running with Endurance

Given that the Facebook post with Saturday's race results was one of the most liked and commented on in recent history, I thought I'd share a bit more of the back story and details.  My first half marathon, in 2013, was a bucket list thing. I knew I could do it if I trained. Alas, I stuck to a plan , and in October 2013, I finished the GO! St. Louis Halloween Half Marathon in 2:01:37 .  If you know me at all, you know that having come this  close to besting 2:00:00, a second half was just a matter of time. In 2016, I obliterated that goal, finishing the same race in 1:51:11 .  I no longer felt a need to prove anything to myself, and I wasn't sure how much faster I could run 13.1 miles. Since moving here, though, I'd been thinking it'd be fun to do a race, any race, abroad. I'd see billboards or social media ads from time to time, but they were always a) when I was out of town; or b) too soon for me to train sufficiently. Then, midway through home service, my mi

Halfway to 70

I was lovingly reminded on the eve of Friday, my birthday, that I'm now halfway to 70. You do the math.  It was a workday, but I don't typically get around to my inbox on Fridays until after a double dose of Bible studies. The first is more of a book discussion and takes place in person, at my friend & fellow missionary Erica's house. Courtney brought cookies to celebrate. Shhhhhhhh...don't tell anyone the "candle" that Erica's daughter Sophie helped me blow out is a toothpick.  That evening, six of us missionary ladies went out for wine + tapas at a new (to me) place - my favorite kind. The other half of the same establishment is a coffee shop.  Thank you, God, for another year of Kingdom service, for these sweet friends, and for all those who sent Facebook messages, WhatsApps, and texts throughout the day. I am truly blessed! Until next time, blessings! P.S. When a good chunk of your birthday presents are Christmas ornaments...

O All-Occasion Tree

Growing up, my family always had a live Christmas tree. The church tree lot kind, not the cut-yourself-from-a-tree-farm kind, but still - laden with quirks and lightly perfumed with the fragrance of balsam.  Then one year, I came home from college to a FAKE TREE and its too perfect, unscented FAKENESS. I vowed that when I had my own house, I'd get live trees, and I did for 5 years in my home in south St. Louis city.  Then , I accepted an appointment to an international mission field where live Christmas trees aren't a thing. Stores sell potted evergreens, but they don't smell like Christmas trees, so what's the point? I simply didn't have a tree for Christmas 2018, and I was out of the country for Christmas 2019.  Last year, though, I started thinking that maybe a  white (or really any color but green) tree would be OK. Still FAKE but clearly not trying to imitate reality. I did a bit of not-too-serious looking and had resigned myself to another treeless Christmas w

Better Late than Never

Chicago was great...once I finally got there 23 hours later than I intended to. I was bummed to miss out on seeing friends from St. Louis who were in town for the Concordia University Chicago football game (pep band, really), but still enjoyed a relaxing few days' vacation before the impetus of my trip, the Beautiful Feet mission conference. Beautiful Feet is aimed at Concordia University students interested in serving both within their current vocations and post-graduation; this was my 2nd time representing the Office of International Mission at it.  I stayed with my friends Mark & Ellen, friends I first met when their church sent a short-term team to the mission in El Paso, TX, where I coordinated servant events from 2009-2011; God hasn't stopped knitting us together since. They're  the kind of people who exude the gift of hospitality. They also recently redid their bathroom and now have the Best. Shower. Ever. Turns out 114° is the perfect water temperature. Fall! I

Two Words

Before I shift gears to November's escapades, one final word on home service (OK, two): thank you.  One does not drive 4,438 miles in 4 rental cars, sleep in 15 beds, and give 22 presentations and 8 school chapels without a village. Because I had the chance to thank many of you in person but certainly not all, and because many of us will pause in a few weeks to reflect on thankfulness or maybe already are, here goes.  Thank you for interrupting your regularly scheduled Bible class or chapel pericope to accommodate my presentation.  Thank you for honoring my limited Sundays by planning a midweek event.  Thank you for including my visit in your verbal/printed/email announcements.  Thank you for inserting my prayer card into your bulletins.  Thank you for setting up tables, chairs, screens, and projectors.  Thank you for running my PowerPoint slides.  Thank you for making/ordering coffee, lemonade, sandwiches, pizza, finger foods, cookies, brownies, bars, and all other goodies not nam