Running!

15220085_10207680204542422_4832344134362352116_nSo, today I went on my first run in 6 months. It wasn’t necessarily my best, or fastest run, but it was a good run. Why has it been so long? Probably a combination of the weather (too hot here in the south) and a simple lack of motivation.

I have had a love/hate relationship with running over the years. When I was in high school, I didn’t like any of my other options for PE, so I took up running. I enjoyed the solitude, and enjoyed the way I felt after a good run. I never set any speed records, and really considered myself more of a long-distance runner than a speed runner.

I picked up running again at various points in my life. In my early 20’s after I moved from Northern California to Southern California, I began running again. In my late 20’s, I started running for my mental health. Then I took a long, long break. I participated in other forms of exercise… going to the gym, and some home workout videos, but didn’t really run again until 2012 in my 50’s. Why? I had recovered from surgery a year earlier after a cancer scare. I was basically told to get my affairs in order because I was going to die of ovarian cancer. Turned out not to be the case (obviously!), but after recovering from surgery, I signed up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2012. Again, didn’t set any speed records, but completed the 5K in 39:04.

I ran a little bit after that, but again lost my interest. I started lifting weights and realized that I really, really like lifting weights! It has a dramatic effect on so many different areas of your life!  Your metabolism soars, your body becomes sculpted with newly developed muscles, your energy and stamina are outrageous… can’t even begin to tell you how many people suddenly thought I was 10-15 years younger than I was.

In short, I felt as though I had discovered the fountain of youth.

After 3 years of faithfully working out with weights and completely changing my life, I swore I would never stop. I even entered a competition. I didn’t win, but it was great to see that I could hold my own with women half my age.

Then, I followed everyone’s advice — even the experts — and took some time off to allow my body to rest.

This is when I discovered a very important lesson. It’s simple physics, really. A body at motion tends to remain in motion. A body at rest, tends to remain at rest. AND, it takes far more energy to get that body moving again than it does to keep it moving!!!

A year later, I was struggling to get back into a routine. I thought, I just need something different. So, I signed up for the Little Rock Marathon. I only had 4 months to train, and hadn’t run in 3 years. But, I started training. I ran the marathon on March 6th, 3 days before my 57th birthday. It was my first marathon (I MIGHT run another one at some point, still undecided). Again, no speed record set. I completed the marathon in 6 hours and 45 minutes — even slower than I hoped, but I finished, and have a huge medal to prove it!

So, what was so special about today? When I started out, I thought “I don’t think I can do this!” I felt that familiar feeling that I always feel early in a run, the one that says I’m not a runner. I’m not even going to make it for one mile. Then I start playing games with myself. Just make it to the turn off for the Rabbit Trail. Then if you need to walk, you can walk for a while.  When I reach that spot, I tell myself to just make it to the pumping station, then I can walk for a while. Then it’s just make it to Serenity Trail… then to the outhouse… then around the corner… then to the other entrance to the park… then to the first bridge. That’s about half way.

When I made it there, I broke into a big smile because I realized I could run the full distance. All I needed to do was to keep breaking it down into smaller goals… get to the 2nd bridge, the 3rd bridge, the pumping station, the 4th bridge, Serenity Trail, Rabbit Trail, when now it’s just around the corner and you’ve come full circle.

I realized, this is the way we can accomplish anything we want in life. Just break it down into smaller, easy to accomplish goals. Once you’ve reached a few of those, you’ll realize you have a big smile on your face because you realize you can reach that big goal, all you have to do is keep moving forward.

Look at that overwhelming “To Do List”, identify the most important task, and then one small step you can take toward it.

Don’t just sit there!  Get moving!

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Post Election Thoughts

american-flagI realize my political views may not agree with yours. And I’m honestly OK with that. I proudly identified myself as #NeverTrump #NeverHillary during the election. With clear conscience I “threw my vote away” on 3rd party candidate Evan McMullin; a man with high moral principles instead of someone morally bankrupt. I honestly thought that when the election was over, I would drop the discussion of politics and life would go on as usual. I’m finding it impossible to do that. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but I am an American, and he is the President Elect which means in January, he will be my president. You won’t hear me say otherwise.

A surprising effect this election has had (at least to me) is it turned this apathetic American citizen into a political activist. It is unlikely that politics will disappear from my webpage or Facebook feed. (Don’t worry, I’m sure they will slow down!) You can choose to read or not read if this bothers you, but I will no longer be silent.

God told me how to choose a leader. Ex 18:21, 1 Tim 3:2-3 Click To Tweet

And frankly, there is no amount of justification, supreme court ramifications or otherwise that will make me change my mind on this subject. God Himself is the only one who could make me change my mind. He already told me how to choose a leader and His Word is forever settled in heaven and he doesn’t change.

In 1st Timothy 3: 2&3 he said to choose leaders who are: above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

In Exodus 18:21, he said to select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain.

This was my criteria for voting, and this will remain my criteria for voting.

God's Word was my criteria for voting and will remain my criteria for voting. Click To Tweet

trumpI am disappointed with the evangelical leaders who supported Donald Trump for President. I understand the whole fear of voting for a 3rd party candidate. But, the logic against voting third party is flawed and cyclic:  A third party candidate can’t win because people won’t vote for a third party candidate because a third party candidate can’t win.

I believe if the evangelical world had stood up and said “We will not endorse this man because he does not meet even the most basic level of human decency, but we will support this third party candidate who does” a third party candidate could have won.

hillaryOver half of the people who voted for Donald Trump said they did so to keep Hillary out of office and over half of the people who voted for Hillary Clinton said they did so to keep Trump out of office.

This is a very sad commentary on our political system.

This election, I chose not to vote against a candidate, but to vote for a candidate I believed would lead America back to her roots.

I chose to vote FOR a candidate not AGAINST a candidate. Click To Tweet

seal-president-of-the-united-states

I believe as Christians we have an obligation to vote for the candidate whose past actions demonstrate the likelihood for future choices that line up with God’s Word. This has nothing to do with party affiliation. I also believe that to vote one way and believe the opposite isn’t right. While Jesus walked on this earth, he didn’t hesitate to call out the hypocrisy of the spiritual leaders of his day calling them snakes, vipers and hypocrites. I have to wonder if his words would be much different discussing our spiritual leaders today. On a smaller scale, I think that church leaders, community leaders and parents also have to consider the example they are setting. To vote for someone who goes against your beliefs is much like the “do as I say and not as I do” philosophy. I think you have to talk your talk and walk your talk, and support others who do the same. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a stumbling block for anyone looking up to you.

To vote for someone who goes against your beliefs is like saying do as I say and not as I do. Click To Tweet

I attend a non-denominational, full gospel, faith church. One thing you will hear frequently from the pulpit is “God is not in control”. If He were, this world wouldn’t be in the mess it is in. Genesis very clearly states that God gave control (dominion) to Adam. Adam and Eve chose to give that dominion to the enemy when they disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

One of the arguments I heard during the election process was that God can use anyone. I love and respect the person who told me this, I truly do. But I also believe that statement is completely false. I will go even further and tell you that just as much as “God is in control”,  I believe “God can use anyone” is a lie from the pit of hell. Yes, you can show me scriptures where God did use some of the lowliest of people to bring about good. And I can show you scriptures where those who refused to humble themselves were completely and utterly destroyed… entire nations, even down to their cattle. God can only use those who allow themselves to be used. To believe otherwise, is to believe that we do not have free will. To believe God can use anyone is to believe, in my opinion, God is in control. And to believe that God is in control… well, then He sure has made a mess of things!

God can't just use anyone, but He can use those who allow themselves to be used. Click To Tweet

Part of our dominion is in choosing wise leaders. When we select a leader, we are choosing who to give our allegiance to. Another argument I heard during the election was that it isn’t our place to judge. I think this is taking this scripture WAY out of context. We aren’t supposed to judge our neighbors. However, we ARE supposed to judge our leaders. We are supposed to judge those we choose to associate with. We are even told how to judge them: According to God’s Word and “by their fruits”.  Neither candidate passed those tests for me.

I understand the important of the Supreme Court, I truly do. AND I believe there are considerations that outweigh this.

wavePerhaps I can best demonstrate this with a familiar story from the Bible… I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times before. Jesus had finished speaking to and feeding the multitude of people, and needed some alone time with the Father. He sent his disciples ahead, telling them to go to the other side of the lake and he would meet up with them. While they were crossing, the wind arose and began buffeting the boat. The disciples looked up and saw the figure of a man walking toward them across the water. They thought it was a ghost.  So, Jesus called out to them letting them know it was him and telling them not to be afraid. Peter called back to him, “If it’s really you, tell me to come out there where you are.” So, Jesus said, “Come.”  Many people kind of skip over the next part where Peter actually walked on water. He did!  He got out of the boat and headed out to where Jesus was on the lake.  Then what happened? He took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the waves. The wind was already blowing. The waves were already striking the boat. The storm was already there when Peter started walking on the water. But, as long as his focus was on Jesus, on The Word, he could rise above the storm and walk on water. When he looked at the circumstances around him – circumstances that had already been there – he began to sink.

sea

This isn’t just a story. This is a life lesson. Jesus came to earth not only to die for us and redeem us from sin and suffering, he came to show us how to live.

Jesus came not just to die for us, but to show us how to live. Click To Tweet

We know that Jesus is The Word, because we are told The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

I propose considering this story from a political view… you’ve probably never done that before, I know I hadn’t. We are to look to God’s Word as final authority in our lives. Even Jesus said he did nothing he didn’t see the Father do and said nothing he didn’t hear the Father say.  We have His Word in scripture. We have his directions on selecting leaders. (And no, I don’t believe that direction has changed – another argument I heard during the election – unless you can point out scripture and verse showing me that it has.)

Peter was able to rise above the storm as long as he kept his focus on The Word. Click To Tweet

Peter was able to rise above the storm as long as he kept his focus on The Word. Once he looked at circumstances (the Supreme Court Justice, the two-party system, the other candidate, the election polls, the forecasts) he began to sink.

We aren’t supposed to walk by sight. We are supposed to walk by faith. We aren’t supposed to vote out of fear, we are supposed to vote from our faith. What is our faith?

Another saying you will hear often at my church is you can substitute God’s Word for the word Faith in the Bible without changing the meaning of the sentence; they are one and the same. We get our faith from His Word, and His Word is our faith. We overcome by His Word and our confession (testimony) of that word (our faith).

You can substitute God’s Word for the word 'Faith' in the Bible without changing the meaning. Click To Tweet

I encourage you to get involved in the political system. In four years, we will have another choice to make. Don’t wait until the polls open to get involved; it will be too late.

If you weren’t happy with your choices this time around, we have four years to change that. We can rise up and tell Washington we want better choices. We can band together behind a worthy 3rd party candidate in vast numbers and change the direction of our nation.

I invite you to join the New Conservative movement, we are working together for a brighter future for America. We’re an army rising up!

I love you. I love our country. I love our God. Be at peace.

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Why I’m Voting for Evan McMullin

Evan McMullinThis will be my one and only political post on my website. I wasn’t really planning to post anything about the election, but with two weeks left to go before the United States of America chooses its next President, I felt the need to explain why this Former GOP supporter has chosen to cast her vote for a 3rd party candidate.

Why this former GOP supporter is voting for a 3rd party candidate. Click To Tweet

There was a time — earlier in this very election — that I would have said you were throwing your vote away if you didn’t vote for one of the major candidates (i.e., Democratic or Republican). In fact, only a few weeks ago, I stated that I was voting for a platform, not a person, and in my mind, that meant I would vote for Donald Trump. To me, the most important thing has always been who is sitting on the Supreme Court bench. So, having a conservative president who places high value on the Constitution of the United States, and who is Pro-Life, was the driving force behind my vote.

But, there has never been an election year quite like this one.

I am stunned that out of all the potential candidates, we ended up with Trump and Clinton. Click To Tweet

I am still stunned that out of all of the potential candidates, we were left with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (Yes, I realize Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are also candidates, but neither of them appealed to me or seems to have any numbers behind them.)

Conspiracy Theory

So, let’s deal with this at the beginning. There is a theory being spoken of often — especially on social media — that McMullin is being paid by the Clinton campaign to split the vote and prevent Donald Trump from reaching the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. Not only is this an incredibly unbelievable scenario, but frankly, Donald Trump does not appear to need any help losing votes. He has been doing an excellent job of trashing his campaign all by himself.

I find it more believable that Donald Trump as a (former?) friend of the Clinton’s was convinced to run in order to throw the election to her.

Trumps & Clintons

They do look like they are enjoying each other’s company, don’t they? Somehow I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Trumps were invited to dinner at the White House early in the new year if Hillary were to win the election.

But Can McMullin Win?

The only way Evan McMullin would end up as president in 2017 would be if no one managed to get the required 270 electoral votes, he won Utah, and the House of Representatives was given the task of choosing between the top three candidates.

Let’s take a look at that scenario.  We currently have a Republican majority in the House. It is highly unlikely that they would choose a Democratic candidate given another option. Throughout the campaign, Trump has attacked his competition, and anyone who has withdrawn their support in the wake of his numerous, highly-publicized screw ups. I have to wonder if they would choose him either. That leaves us with Evan McMullin. Formerly in the CIA, formerly in investment banking, formerly a foreign advisor to the House of Representatives and formerly Chief Policy Director for the GOP. He may be a long shot. But stranger things have happened.

Why Vote for Evan McMullin?

Evan McMullinSo, why vote for Evan McMullin? First and foremost, I like what he stands for. His platform is reminiscent of what the GOP platform used to look like.

He is not a career politician. This might equate to some as a negative, i.e., lack of experience. In the early days of our country, our elected officials were simply men who believed in the principles this nation was founded upon. Let’s face it, there is a lot of corruption in politics. Having someone who isn’t involved in that mess, someone with a fresh point of view and without obligations due to favors, might be just what this country needs to get us back on track.

But, what do we really know about Evan McMullin?

I agree, he is an unknown. Dark horses usually are. We have not had the benefit of seeing him and learning about him throughout the campaign because he only recently stepped up to the plate. I’ve heard that this is suspicious (conspiracy theory again) or that he is just being opportunistic — even that he is narcissistic for thinking he could be elected President of the United States. I suppose that could be said for anyone who runs for that position.

Is either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump fit to be President? Click To Tweet

The point is, we know quite a bit about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Do you honestly believe either one of them are fit to be President?

Almost daily, we find out more about Clinton’s campaign tactics, her flagrant disregard for security protocol — but only as brief footnotes while what would seem to be newsworthy and important information for the American public gets buried by other news stories. This is a party that wants to rewrite the constitution — particularly the 2nd Amendment — and misinterprets the 1st Amendment to ban religious freedom instead of protect it. This is a party that believes abortion is just another form of birth control, and that murder of the unborn is a woman’s “choice”.

They believe abortion is birth control and murder of an unborn child is a woman's choice. Click To Tweet

Is Trump any better? Honestly, the thought of Donald Trump as President is almost more frightening. I can no longer believe that he will take advice from people in his cabinet, because he obviously does not value anyone else’s opinion now. When I see Trump, I see a man who is power hungry, who listens to no one because he thinks he knows best, who doesn’t have the slightest hint of diplomacy and speaks his mind with no regard for the consequences of his words, and who openly disrespects soldiers, the disabled, and women. He should not be allowed to hold the highest office of the land, and be our representative to the world.

The Religious Right

McMullin LogoI know I will be looked down on by many Christians who feel that as a Christian, I have the obligation to vote for a Republican for President. Evangelicals will be quick to point out that I am making a grave mistake by not doing so.  I’m sure my salvation will be questioned by some.

The truth is, I’m held to a higher authority. I have not made my decision without prayer and meditation. In the end, I have to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy on leadership. Yes, this is written specifically about choosing church leaders, but I believe it applies to all leadership decisions. So, here is my criteria from 1 Timothy 3:

Let's apply the Apostle Paul's advice to Timothy on leadership to Election 2016. Click To Tweet

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.  He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

 

 

Above reproach, faithful, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, a good reputation with outsiders…  I do not find these qualities in either Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton.

I have to vote my conscience. What I don’t see in scripture, is that Jesus ever felt the end justified the means. He was all about doing the right thing for the right reason.

I will cast my vote for Evan McMullin, because it's the right thing to do. Click To Tweet

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never to late

 

FOOTNOTE:

After posting this, I ran across a far more eloquent article on Christianity Today that says everything I tried to say, but didn’t say nearly as well. Here is a taste of what O. Alan Noble wrote:

…evangelicals are still a big enough voting bloc that we could prevent either candidate from winning the election.

Let that sink in. If evangelicals just said, “No, I refuse to be coerced into supporting candidates who do not meet a very basic standard,” we could swing the election. You probably read that sentence and immediately dismissed it, thinking something like, “That is a fantasy. The reality is people are going to vote for one of the two major candidates.”

People won’t vote for a third party candidate because third party candidates don’t win because people won’t vote for a third party candidate—which is great for the two major parties because they don’t really have to even try to address the concerns of voters.

I invite you to read the full article. It won’t take long, and it’s an excellent read.

Day 10: Believe

day-10-believeIn the Gospel of Mark, he tells about a time when a man approached Jesus on behalf of his son. The symptoms he describes sound similar to epilepsy. The man told Jesus he had taken his son to Jesus’s disciples, but they were unable to heal him. The boy was suddenly thrown into a convulsion in front of Jesus. He asked how long this had been going on, and the man said ever since he was a child. He asked Jesus, if he could, to have compassion on them and heal his son.

The response is classic Jesus.

Then Jesus said to him, “‘If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”

I think so many of us are stuck here. We want to believe. We desperately need to believe. But often belief in the face of our circumstances is a difficult thing — especially if what we are fighting against has been that way for a long time.

Maybe you have always been a shy, wall-flower type. Maybe you have never had money. Maybe you have never been creative. Maybe you always come up with great ideas but seem unable to see them through to successful completion.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

We stop believing when we lose sight of what we want and start focusing on what we don't have. Click To Tweet

Our problem occurs when we lose sight of what we want and start focusing on what we have — or more accurately — what we don’t have.

Borrowed beliefs have no power. But if you develop your own belief, it will fuel your passion and drive you forward to success! Break down that plan into doable steps. Each step you accomplish will build your belief that you can succeed.

Angels are waiting for you to speak words of faith and belief so they can spring into action on… Click To Tweet

You can do this! I’m here to support you every step of the way. Angels are waiting for you to speak words of faith and belief so they can spring into action on your behalf, and Almighty God has already spoken his word concerning you. He has a plan for. A plan for good. A plan for hope and for the future.

Believe it!

Day 7: Forgiveness

day-7-forgivenessWe often feel justified with being in unforgiveness because what the other person did to us was so extreme, so horrible, so… unforgivable, that we don’t think we can forgive. Or, we say “I can forgive, but I can never forget…” and instead of letting go, we keep rehearsing the wrong over and over in our minds.

I’m sure you’ve experienced that too.

It’s easier to forgive someone’s mistakes… as long as the cost wasn’t terribly high. But, how do you forgive someone who purposely did something to hurt you or a loved one?

Jesus was talking to his disciples one day about the topic of forgiveness — it seems to have been one of his favorite topics, which should make us realize how very important it is! They wanted to know just when it was OK to not forgive someone. How many times were you supposed to forgive the same person for doing the same thing over and over again. When he told them 70 x 7 in a single day, they replied “Increase our faith!” Imagine if someone did the same thing over and over again– 490 times in one day!– and asked you to forgive them each time. I don’t know about you, but I’m right there with the disciples on this one. How difficult would that be to continue to forgive them — and to mean it!

I don’t believe for a moment that he was setting a limit on it. He was trying to show there was no limit to how many times you should forgive. And the severity of the circumstance also shouldn’t matter.

This is where it becomes really challenging — where we need even more faith. Forgiving someone for losing their temper and saying something ugly to you is easier than forgiving someone for stealing something, right? And what about the parents of murder victims who go to court and tell the killer they forgive them? That’s got to be one of the hardest things ever! I don’t know about you, but I would need a huge increase in my faith to pull that off!

We've got it backwards. Forgiveness isn't a gift we give to someone else; it's a gift we receive. Click To Tweet

The problem is, we look at forgiveness backwards. We think it’s a gift we give to someone else when actually it’s a gift we receive. Will it help that other person to hear the words “I forgive you”? Maybe. But it will definitely help you.

Unforgiveness is a disease process. It erodes your health physically, mentally and emotionally. It leads to depression and lack of trust. It keeps you stuck. And even worse, it becomes a magnet drawing even more negative “stuff” into your life and circumstances. Being unwilling to forgive doesn’t show strength, but weakness. It doesn’t make you better, it makes you bitter. On the other hand, forgiveness doesn’t make you weak, it sets you free.

When you forgive someone, you aren’t condoning what they did. You aren’t saying that their act was OK. You aren’t even being sympathetic and understanding why they did it. None of that matters.

Forgiveness is more about you than it is about them. It doesn’t erase the past, but it opens up different possibilities for the future. You will truly be happier and healthier when you learn to forgive.

When you forgive, you are choosing to not continue the pain and let it destroy you. You are releasing it so that you can move on.

Practice the art and attitude of forgiveness today. It isn’t an act, it’s a way of life. And the benefits are incredible! If there is something you’ve been holding onto for years, let it go today. Determine that you will no longer be controlled by that event or that person. Then, step into a brand new future full of possibilities and free of the weight of unforgiveness.

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