“Wow” Out Loud (WOL)

Sometimes, you’re just going down the road, minding your own business. You’re not expecting anything, you’re not looking for anything.

But then suddenly you look up and see something like this:
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It is times like that when my heart leaps with praise for our Awesome, Magnificent Creator. What an Awesome God!

Twenty (Part 2)

Read Twenty (Part 1) for the background. (I know, it is a year late, but whatever…)

Summary: My wife and I trained since summer 2012 to run a half-marathon in Amish country, PA for our 20th wedding anniversary.  The wheels came off this plan when the event was cancelled due to a tornado and Hurricane Sandy.

Additionally, we both suffered injuries only a few days before the event.  Our 20th anniversary wasn’t (quite) what we planned it to be.

Since we still had lodging reservations, we headed up to PA with our running gear and a plan to make the best of our time together.

After driving up Thursday, we got up Friday and drove to the Community center.

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There didn’t appear to be any damage, but a guy walking his dog pointed out the remains of a pavilion that no longer existed.2012_11Nov_021131_05502012_11Nov_021138_0556

There did appear to be some damage from high winds.  We also talked to Dennis Groth, the "road master" of Paradise who confirmed the cancellation of the race.

Putting the disappointment of the cancelled race behind us, Saturday morning we got up and decided to go ahead and do a run along the race course.  However my wife’s knee was causing her too much pain, so she stayed at the house.  I ran a 9 mile route along the race course, which included a bridge that was closed.  Surely they would’ve had to reroute the race.

 Bridge closed aheadCan I get through?  You bet!Man! These roads seem long!

Sunday morning we got up again and my wife felt like we needed to pray for her knee. We did and God healed it right then.  We even got out and ran a 5k route in Amish country.  It was cool seeing God work and completely heal her knee.

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We ended up having a good time in PA, even with the disappointments, it was a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Twenty (Part 1)

My wife and I have been training for a half marathon since this summer.

The Plan

A weekend getaway to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary–the first week in November. We’d drive up to Amish country, PA, stay in a nice little place right in the heart of Amish country, go see a Sight and Sound production of Jonah, and run a half marathon together, with a heavy dose of relaxation thrown in.

Working the Plan

Things were going smoothly.  Our running plan was on track.  In September, I even hit an all-time mileage record of 105 miles in a month.  My wife and I had run numerous long runs together and started tapering the mileage toward the last half of October. 

We had reservations for the show, a deposit on the housing arrangements, and had signed up for the Amish Country Half Marathon in Paradise, PA.

Bumps Along The Way

All was going according to plan until my back went out at the end of October.  One day all was fine, the next I was in agony and could barely walk.  I had 2 weeks before the half marathon and I couldn’t run.

The Sunday before the half marathon, my wife set out on “our” last long run alone—an 8 mile “easy” run just to keep things going.  Five miles into the run, she got a sharp pain in her knee and called it quits at 7 miles.

Meanwhile, I’m watching the weather and there’s this hurricane, “Sandy” barreling down on the East Coast and its path is projected to go…you guessed it.. right where we’re headed for our half marathon.

The wheels come off

The morning of my wife’s knee injury, we get this e-mail from the Amish Country Half Marathon race director:

Dear Craig,

2012 Amish Country Half Marathon Postponed
Click Above for link to details on the tornado.
Last Friday October 19, 2012 there was a devastating tornado that affected the community of Paradise affecting many parts of the Amish Country Half Marathon course and rendering the Community Park where we park, start and finish completely unusable. After examining the potential scenarios in which the race could be performed, the Town of Paradise came to the conclusion that it was in the interest of all parties to reschedule the race until next year…

It took a couple of days to recover from THAT news. We decided that since we had already had plans made that we’d still go. Maybe we’d run the half marathon on our own, depending how our injuries fared.

By now, my back was starting to feel a little better. I went on a couple of short runs to test it out.  It wasn’t great, but I could’ve run the half marathon if I had to.  My wife was resting her knee and giving it a chance to heal before the “race.”  It was still unclear how she had injured it or what was wrong.

“Sandy” went through PA on the Monday and Tuesday.  There was a lot of rain, but little damage.  We packed our bags, left the kids with the grandparents, and headed up to PA.

When Dreams Die

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Why does God allow dreams to die?

I asked Him that a few months ago and thought that I heard Him answer: Because I love you.

Years ago, I used to bring that dream out of my pocket every once in a while, dust it off and look at it, wonder if it would happen.  “God, I thought you promised…”

Then I relegated it to the top shelf.  I’d have to get a ladder to look at it.  “Maybe I didn’t hear right.  Maybe I misunderstood…”

Then that dream went into a storage box buried deep in the basement.  “Boy, good thing that never happened…”

And then, this summer, after  a torrential rain storm, we were cleaning out the flooded basement.  Everything was wet and we had to pull out all the baby junk that we had stored away.  The crib, the toys, the books, the dream.  We had no use for it.  It was just taking up room.

“Let’s just get rid of it all.  We could have a yard sale and clean out this basement.”  And I agreed.  What a relief to get rid of it all. Plans were made.  We would make some money and put it towards our vacation next year.

But a couple of weeks before the yard sale, my wife came to me and said, “I’m late.”

I thought: No, no, no. That’s ridiculous! That’s absurd!  We’ve already done this before, and I know where it ends. I said, “I’m sure it’s nothing.”

But then a week before the yard sale, she came back and said, “You know if we sell all this stuff and shouldn’t have, we’re going to kick ourselves.”
”Take the test. Let’s clear things up before we do this yard sale.”

And so I was downstairs in the basement when she called my name, “Craig! Can you come here please?”  It was the way she said it..kind of scared.  My heart sank.

God lets dreams die, only to resurrect them again at the proper time. Because God is a God of Resurrection.

And so after turning 40 later this year, we will be celebrating a new birth day in our family next spring…

The birth of our third child.

God has a sense of humor…doesn’t He?

Cooling Off

We had trouble with our A/C yesterday, the very same day that the temperature topped out at 102 deg. in our fair city.   By the time I got home from work, our family room thermostat was reading 88 degrees.  Oh, and we had our life group meeting at our house as well.

As my wife headed off to take ~K~ to soccer practice, I scrambled to figure out if I could fix the A/C.  Air was blowing on the inside, but no cooling was going on.  I had a couple of shots at it, but no dice.

Luckily, we have another unit to cool the front of the house, and so the life group met in our living room, where the 2nd unit struggled to keep up with the extra bodies.

By the time people left at 9:30, the temperature was reading 83–warm, but bearable.

In the midst of my troubleshooting, I suspected the compressor had gone south, but I’m no A/C expert–I had a guess but real idea.

So I called the repair guy this morning, after praying over the A/C unit, that it’s malfunctioning would not be a costly one.  The guy came in the afternoon–a blessing, so we wouldn’t have the weekend without A/C. Fortunately, it was only a capacitor that had lost its capacitance(?) (another blessing).  (I could actually almost explain to you why this would cause a problem with the A/C unit, but I won’t bore you with such details.)   By supper time, it was a comfy 77 and my wife commented that it was a little chilly.

Much to be thankful for–God is gracious, even when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Thank you, Father. You are so good to us!

Sand Dollar Day

2007_05May_5980Last week, I made a quick trip down to Florida for my grandmother’s funeral. I’m glad I went: a good time to see family and say goodbye.

It was interesting though, one day sitting in a cubicle under florescent lights and looking at a computer screen, the next I’m walking on a beautiful beach with my sibs.

We headed to the “South Jetty Beach” after the funeral and luncheon.  It was to say goodbye to those old stomping grounds that we knew when we were kids. Memories from summer vacation to visit our grandmother. 2007_05May_5953

As we walked along the beach, letting the surf wash over our feet, my uncle from Colorado reached down to pick something out of the surf.

It was a sand dollar, still a purplish color.  I’d never seen one in the “wild”, only the ones that you can buy in the store, bleached and stark white. I’d seen pieces of one, but never a whole one.

He handed it to one of my sisters, and I envied her, to receive such a precious prize. But a few minutes later he found another one, and then another.  They were all over the beach.

By the time we were done, each of us had 5 or 6 whole sand dollars, maybe twenty in all.  It was an amazing find, and by the time we were finished, we were being more picky, discarding the ones that were broken along the edges.

A perfect gift by which to remember my grandmother. It was like God knew that we were saying goodbye to her, to this place, visiting and remembering once more, and decided, by His infinite Grace, to give us a token to remember it by.

He gave us a Sand Dollar Day.

Touched by Death

Yesterday morning, my grandmother died peacefully in her sleep.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it was too soon. There were still goodbyes left to say.

Death is inconvenient.  It never happens when you’re ready.  I knew that she was going to die soon.  My parents called the night before and said that “she was going through the process of dying.”  Whatever that means.  Maybe a week.

I hadn’t even gotten through processing that phone call, when the second one came. How are you supposed to feel when this happens?

I don’t know. 

I don’t know how to feel.  Sad, happy, relieved, regretful?  It all runs together under the surface, I guess.

My sister pointed out, ironically, that she died 9 years to the day after my dad’s mom died.  And they may have been the same age.  I haven’t done the math yet.

A Providential coincidence, I guess. 

Good by, Mommar.  I love you.