Never Say Never

When I ran my first half marathon about two years ago I was pretty sure the last time I would ever do a distance that long. It was hard, it was challenging. Here I am at mile 13 and I may be smiling but I really want to die.

Half Marathon 19

After that I stuck to 5k and 10k distance. A 5k had become easy (ish) – which honestly i thought I would never say in my lifetime and 10k was challenging but I could still walk the next day. I do like the medals that come with a race.

But for my 30th birthday I’ve decided to run another half marathon. At Disney World in Florida! I felt it was time for another challenge in my life and apparently I’m just a bit crazy to still think this is a good idea.

Running Disney races is always fun for me because you get to run through Disneyland (well this one will be at Disney World). My ultimate hope is to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in Fall of 2018 too because then I’d get a fancy “coast to coast” medal where you run a Disney race on each coast. As you can tell – I’ll run for a shinny object.

Here’s to a year of “badassary” and running – having something new and exciting to look forward to for my 30th birthday instead of dreading getting older. Instead of focusing of where my life isn’t or where it should be – I’m taking risks and doing challenges, stepping further into who I am and seeing what comes along the way.

Never say never – you may think you can run a half marathon or write a book or climb a mountain or get that master’s degree or do something equally awesome but you probably can with a ton of work, a good friends to keep you from quitting, a good therapist where you complain about why you started this crazy thing, and something shinny to look forward to at the end.

 

 

Now I just need an awesome hashtag for the Instagram posts.

Writing Project

I’m working on a writing project right now. It’s slow. It may take forever but here is a possible start. I want to begin to share pieces of this project as it progresses. This piece is partly based on truth and real experiences I have but also may be the introduction to a character, perhaps one rather like myself. 

Deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. You can do this. It’s not that scary. Deep breath. You’re brave. You’re capable. You. Can. Do. This. I can feel the panic rising but I take deep breaths to calm it down. Inhale. Exhale. I see the other persons around me feeling calm as my palms grow sweaty and I try not to take short breaths. I close my eyes hoping to wake up from this nightmare.

Nope. I’m still in the airport security line.

No matter how many times I’ve flown I will never not be anxious getting on an airplane. I think of every possible horrible scenario we could go through – we could get hijacked by terrorists! We could have engine failure and crash in the middle of the ocean! We could be go through a time warp and find ourselves in the middle of an air fight from World War II! Or worst of all the person sitting next to me could want to make casual conversation! The horror! I cannot bear to think about it.

I’m convinced we were not meant to do this. If humans were meant to fly we would have been given wings. There is nothing worse than being stuck in an extremely small space, sitting much too close to people, flying thousands of miles above ground and hundreds of miles per hour and I’m still not sure of what keeps us up there.

Even with flying 2-3 times a year one might one might assume I’d be used to the small spaces, being herded like cattle through security and lines, as well as flying on a giant machine of death but no – I’m still constantly afraid of terrorists and suddenly crashing on an airplane. Yes I do realize that I have a higher chance of being killed on a Los Angeles freeway than in airplane but I’m not afraid of any LA freeway – I’ve mastered those. I have yet to master the art of air travel. So it’s decided – I need to marry rich and buy my own private jet.

Yes and No (and something about books): April Lessons

April Lessons

1) It’s ok to say yes! 
I’m trying to do more exciting and fun and spontaneous things in my life. Being an INFJ often means I’m stuck into plans and structures. Sometimes it’s important to say yes to new adventures, new dreams, and new plans. This lead me to a very spontaneous and sort of last minute vacation back to my college town with my good friend (and former staff worker). It didn’t take much to rearrange my schedule and I’m glad I did.

2) It’s ok to say no. 
After having just had a great last minute vacation, I had the opportunity to go to Vegas with a good friend. I really wanted to go – because I would hang out with my awesome friend and I’ve never been to Vegas. But I looked at the week ahead and knew I needed time and space to get a few important things done. I had to turn down the trip (I hope we get to go at some point) and I felt at peace knowing that some adventures can wait and not every great adventure needs to be had immediately. Sometimes you have to say no just to give yourself breathing room.

3) The Los Angeles Public Library has AUDIOBOOKS!!! 
This has nothing to do with the other to lessons except for the fact that I’ve read/listened to 9 books this month alone. It’s awesome and amazing and everyone should read the Alexander Hamilton biography. It’s so great to be able to listen to books while on my commutes or walks to campus.

Here and Now

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The times has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the good news!”  – Mark 1:14-15

Last Sunday was Easter. It’s one of the main church going celebrations (Christmas being the other). We don’t just talk about the importance of the resurrection at Easter – it’s a common theme of those under the Christian faith since it is a cornerstone of our faith. Christ died as a sacrifice for the rebellion of the world against God and rose again to conquer death. If you were like me and raised in a Christian environment then you heard about this a lot, said some version of the sinner’s prayer (where you say “God forgive me of my sins and I believe in you, etc. etc. etc.), and looked toward heaven as your salvation. Our eyes are suddenly turned towards heaven and eternity.

But what about the here and now?

What I’ve been reflecting on during this Lent and Easter season is what does it mean that Jesus ushered his kingdom into the here and now. The beginning of the gospel of Mark illustrates this with the repeated phrase of the “Kingdom of God is at hand” or the “Kingdom of God has come.” What does that mean for us in the day to day living?

During Easter we proclaim the power Christ has over death. But I feel the tension of proclaiming that truth when I still death all around me. People dying, fighting in wars, losing loved ones to violence, fear, brutality, and abuse. When we see injustice still happening in our world, when we see neighbors hating neighbors, when we see fighting and terror and fear running rampant in our world – we wonder what good God wants to bring for us in the here and now.

What does it mean that the time has come and the Kingdom of God is at hand? What does it mean for us in the here and now?

I hope it means that Jesus wants to usher in hope, reconciliation, and restoration in our lives at this very moment – not just give us eternal life in heaven. If our salvation is only focused on getting into heaven then we feed into the highly individualized American version of Christianity where it’s all about me. But a faith that wants to love a community is more than just saving souls for the heaven, it’s bring hope to people here on earth.

I think of this on Easter – the resurrection is God’s power over death. That means it’s just as hope in heaven is just as important as bringing hope in on earth. It’s just hope for a better life once we die, but that God ushers in hope into our lives at this very moment. If God is powerful enough to overcome death then he can overcome anything. He can bring things that are dead back to life – he can bring freedom from bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners.

When we live in Christ’s resurrection – we live in a hope that Christ wants to give us hope in the lives we live. We would proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. We would see comfort to the morning, praise in place of despair – and beauty instead of ashes.

Giving: March Lessons

1. Some days you just need to play hooky and go to Disneyland.
It’s important to work hard at what you do but too often we get lost in the business of life and the day to day of work that sometimes you just need to go somewhere fun with people you love. It’s not about skipping out or avoiding challenging things but rather knowing that life is made up of hard work and meaningful relationships and often we focus on the former rather than the latter. Sometimes your best times to invest in relationships is simply by spending time together. Especially if it’s at a place like Disneyland.

2. Jesus will do a miracle just for you and you alone.
One of the things I saw most profoundly this month how Jesus will work out the craziest weird situations just for your benefit. I saw how Jesus had worked through my Spring Con Mark study to bring healing into my life, I saw how our study didn’t go through the normal emotional moments, just to have them the next day where another person could experience them. I heard how Jesus brought miracles into a friend of a friend’s life just so my friend could see that Jesus does bring miracles. Sometimes timing sucks but sometimes Jesus brings the craziest weird timing that only could be done by God himself to give you a miracle.

3. What you give is what you’ll get
I’m thinking a lot about how this plays and could do a whole blog post about this, but I won’t right now. I’ll keep it short with this passage from the gospel of Mark: “the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.” (Mark 4:24). When you invest in relationships, in learning, in personal growth – you’ll get more in return.

 

Friendships: February Lessons

A while back I reflected about how friends are hard to come by once you’re out of college and in the adult world. Sometimes I feel that hasn’t changed. This month felt a lot about re-evaulating the assumptions I make on friendships as an 29 year old.

Friendships take work to maintain. We have to work for them, to maintain them and invest in them. It’s not like Friends or How I Met Your Mother or any sitcom where white people sit around stuff (apartments, bars, coffee shops, etc.). It takes planning and initiation, and forethought.

Long distance friendships are hard. I wish I had something more profound but having great friends live in other cities and other states just sucks sometimes. You lose the ability to hang out last minute or just watch a movie together. The day to day gets lost.

Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. For the past year I’ve lived sort of by myself. It’s been a different experience since I’ve always lived with roommates. I’ve literally never lived by myself and I’m only half living by myself. There are times when I’m super lonely and there are times when I’m not. Being alone can be really restful and restorative but it does get lonely. I’ve been learning that when you’re lonely you have to take charge and be around others or it only gets worse.