Monday, July 28, 2014

The Daily Walk; July 28, 2014

Yesterday's highlights included ...

1.  Got to see and speak with Bill and Debbie Crawford at North Park Baptist Church this morning who have been home to the States for almost a month as they are missionaries to Dresden, Germany.  They had been unable to make a visit to North Park for 10 years.  Bill gave an excellent, relevant sermon that I'm glad that I was there for.  Debbie also got to meet Waverly for the first time ever.

2.  We also got to see and talk to both Bro. and Mrs. John (and Susan) Gross, the founding pastor of our church, as they were there with Bill and Debbie.  Was in the same youth department at the old North Freeway Baptist Church with Debbie, her brother, Tommy, and numerous others.  It was very important to me when my sister passed away that Bro. Gross, as he was our pastor growing up, lead the memorial service.

3.  I get to see Waverly sing with the worship team one more Sunday after today before she heads back to Liberty University for her sophomore year.  They sang Kari Jobe's "We Are (The Light of the World)" as a praise and worship song as opposed to Waverly singing it as a solo.  However, Waverly led this song and her confidence in who she is as a young woman using her talents for God is probably at its all-time highest.

4.  Attended the 2nd annual HARRA Strategic Meeting with 19 other involed and committed runners at president Joe Carey's house.  Really appreciate Joe opening up his home to host us all.  Great discussion, but the key take-away is how to communicate HARRA's value to the general greater Houston area running community.

Shout-outs to ...

5.  Bill Dwyer as he delivered Waverly's plan to her that she will use to train for the Virginia 10-Miler that we will run together on Saturday, September 27 in Lynchburg, Virginia.

A couple of good reads this morning from ...

6.  Max Lucado
7.  Barry Blanton's Monday Morning Minute

Challenges for today include ...

8.  My sister, Holly, would have been 42 today.  Please keep the families in your prayers when you can.  My parents will be taking the girls to visit my grandmother in central Pennsylvania on Wednesday for a week.  Much is needed for so many.

Holly, A Few Words on Your Birthday; July 28, 2014

I remember we all would laugh at the times when Dad could never remember if your birthday was the 28th or the 29th.

One of the few pictures that we ever got together was the one last year at your birthday party at Pappasito's.

It was probably the only other one that I remember as well -- other than the one as you as a baby sitting in the blue plastic chair and me in a blue-and-white striped tank top at Bill and Leah's.

I, of course, had hair then and you wouldn't catch me in a tank top (or running singlet) today!

Bill and Debbie Crawford were in from Germany yesterday at church and, of course, the "old" North Freeway crew was as faithful as always as the first thing Debbie did - having not seen or talked to her in at least 10 years - was to console me of your loss.

Other than Edwin, my running friend in Lufkin that you never met, the first two to call the morning after you passed were Kirk and Tommy.

I've gone through the words that I shared at your celebration of life service many times.

I wouldn't have taken away anything from what I shared, but I would have referenced that like running a marathon you endured some challenging miles.

Some I knew about then.  Others I didn't.

I learned recently about miles 3 - unbeknownst to our family - and especially the most challenging ones in miles 14-15.  I'm amazed now at how you persevered after the latter.

We'll never know this side of heaven why God chose to call you home, but we'll all keep praying that the load will be lightened from the difficult miles those of us still here endure until it is our time to see you again.

Love you and miss you!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Daily Walk: July 27, 2014

Yesterday's highlights included ...

1.  The red-headed princess made it home safely after working four Christian summer youth camps in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.  First thing that she wanted to eat getting back in Texas?  Whataburger.  We had a great lunch catching up on a number of items.

2.  Fun and safe trip to Moulton to run a race - the Moulton Jamboree 5K - in my 100th Texas city or town.  Always good to broaden your experiences.

3.  Enjoyed the Astros and Marlins game with Robby Sabban, Jay Lee and Loren Sheffer of Texas Runner and Triathlete.  We didn't solve all of the problems of the running world, but we'll keep working on it.  :-)

Shout-outs to ...

4.  Friends competing in triathlons today from Switzerland to Canada.

5.  The Pittsburgh Passion for bringing another football championship to the Steel City by Winning the International Women's Football League championship over the Houston Energy last night in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

In other news ...

6.  Penn State hired a new athletic director in Sandy Barbour, the former University of California AD.  My concern is that this is more of a move to further appease the NCAA in an effort to - in the eyes of the NCAA - lessen the cited "Penn State football" culture.  Penn State athletics is so much more than the football program.  Anybody has to be better, though, than Dr. Dave Joyner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Words Can Turn A Day Around; July 23, 2014

At the age of 47, I can't look back and say that I saw myself to be where I'm at.

I didn't think strategically that far ahead back many years ago.

I believe I'm like most people in that we're trying to take care of the most basic things as well as we can so that we may live life to our fullest - and to our calling.

Finding the latter, though, is sometimes the biggest challenge to the former.  I know it is with me.

I just had somebody that I consider to be a friend finish the Badwater 135 ultramarathon in California.

On a Facebook page of a race that I do work for and that they have been a loyal participant in and supporter of, we had been keeping up with his - and other veterans of the race's - efforts.

It is what I do (and most of the time - when I myself am not discouraged - believe it to be a calling):  recognize people's accomplishments.

The special ability and skill that God has given me to amass knowledge of people and what they do and then know when and where the most appropriate forum and time to dispel it is something that I even marvel at and am thankful to possess.

I also try to use it wisely, and it is one of the most-admired traits that I obtained from my grandfather.

At the same time, I'm challenged though by some - in many areas of my life - who seem to enjoy the spotlight in spite of their ethics, which at times is in a grey area.

Our sinful nature is to want to call them out in a grand way and at times, I've fallen victim to that in a veiled sense.

However, that's just as bad as the behavior I wish others would abstain from.

So trying to refrain from that in all things - absolutely the right thing to do - can at times be emotionally discouraging.

The feeling literally makes you want to give up, but, eh, that's not really healthy either.

So it's a battle.

And at times, we need that "pick me up" to know that we're doing things the right way -- and to keep it up.

The competitor wrote, "I wore my [race removed] socks to runner check-in and to get my runner mug shot taken.  In a sea of people trying to boast about their runs of such and such feet vertical (and) in an effort to one up each other, I prefer to promote the races that truly embody the spirit of running such as yours."

It was such a simple statement, but it blew me away.

Why?  Because the person that shared it is truly a grateful and humble individual (who also possesses amazing ability and perseverance).  Forget the fact that they offered it up less than 12 hours after they finished one of the toughest races in the world.

Just this past Saturday, I had a runner (or two) compliment me on some help that I provided a 5K that a race director friend of mine produced.

If you know me at all, you know I don't handle compliments well.

I've gotten better in just saying "Thank you" so I don't offend the person offering the praise.

My view is that if I'm asked to do something, I should do it to the best of my abilities -- and not for my own glory.

I know how to gain attention, but there's a lot of pressure -- external and self-inflicted -- that comes with it so my thought is, "Why bother?"

The best way for me to honor God without specifically proselytizing is to do my best for whomever I'm working for - whether it be for a living, a hobby or as a volunteer.

When I announce or perform media-related or public relations-related type functions, I'm doing my best to ensure that the event's image - while they handle their actions ethically - is presented as well as possible.

And by doing that, I'm entrusted with the opportunities to do more and handle more responsibility when and where it's appropriate.

It is a life lesson that I hope that my daughter continues to realize - and practice - in her life.

I think she gets it, but it is always nice to have healthy reminders of the things that we need to be doing well in our lives.

So my advice for the day is this:

1.)  You don't always have to be "out there".  I believe if your heart is in the right place as far as your motivations are concerned, God will take care of you when you don't necessarily need to be "out in front".

2.)  Be humble, grateful and thankful.  These aren't original themes, but they're ones that I need to remind myself the most of.

3.)  Don't operate in the gray.  You want people to question your motives and, subsequently, your actions?  Use slight of hand or be ambiguous and/or disingenuous.  People will quickly lose trust in you - as an individual or an entity that you represent.

4.)  If somebody truly does something that merits your praise, give it to them immediately, humbly and more times than not, privately.  Most people welcome words of encouragement that are genuine and aren't, as I like to say, "over the top".

If you've taken the time to read, thank you for your encouragement.

It has helped sustain me through - at times - what has been a challenging 2014.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vacation Over; July 13, 2014

Vacation is over.  All in all, it was good, including nine minor league ballparks in eight days (see the complete list in the following post), but never as good as those that I've taken with the red-headed princess over the years.

I spoke with her Sunday afternoon as she was on her way to Cedarville, Ohio with the Lift Ministries team to work their third of four summer Christian youth camps.

June was busy, although many of you think that my life is always busy.

I made a trip home to see my grandmother in central Pennsylvania the first full weekend of the month.

It was the first that I had been home since my grandfather passed away on April 2nd.

Before Waverly left for four and a half weeks, we ran the Calder Twilight 5K together in Beaumont one Friday evening (saw Richard and Amie James there) before working the Sylvan Beach Triathlon and Duathlon in La Porte the next two days for Walt and Lisa Yarrow and Jay Lee.

I ran a 3-hour race in Abilene for an event in my 99th Texas city or town followed by announcing the 17th annual Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Triathlon for Andy Stewart.

I followed that with a long trip to Lubbock to primarily cheer on and support Bert and Krista Blevins as they both competed in the Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon.

Quietly and behind the scenes, they both have been a source of encouragement all this year, especially since my sister passed away on January 17.

It was the least that I could do to return that love and support to them for what they had done for me.

I did to get to run the Polish Pickle Run 5K in Bremond the day before - with many friends, primarily those from the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville - as well as seeing the new ballpark in Midland later that day.

Then it was the Baytown Bud Heat Wave on the Fourth of July before heading off on vacation later that afternoon.

One of my best friends, Bill Dwyer, and I had a chance to catch up to and from the race as Bill helped me and Robby Sabban and his team for the fourth straight year.

A special shout-out to Leanne Rosser's husband, Jim.

After an issue with the reader mat was resolved early in the Bud Heat Wave (so if I didn't call your name, that's why), Jim held the lap top - facing me - for probably a good half hour.

A pilot for Southwest Airlines, I got Jim to chuckle when I mentioned that we had "great support from Southwest Airlines here at the finish line".

I don't know of too many people that would have gone to that trouble to do that for me.

There's a lot in there that I missed.

I have a lot of half-finished race or trip reports that I need to complete and share, but this will have to do for now.

So what's coming down the pike?  A lot.

I will be at the 36th annual Lunar Rendezvous Run 5K in Clear Lake on Saturday morning.

It is what Robby and I are calling the first race in the "Friends of RAS Summer Race Series", which includes Outrigger's on the Bay 5K in Kemah on Saturday, August 2 and then the Beneeezy Purple Monkey Run 5K/10K in Alvin four weeks later.

I'm trying to get Waverly to run Outrigger's with me before she heads back for her sophomore year at Liberty University.  (So if you're reading Waverly, you need to let me know!)

Bill is putting together her a plan to be ready to run the Virginia 10-Miler with me on the last Saturday in September.  I can't wait.

She'll be running her first half marathon in nine years on New Year's Day at the Texas Half Marathon in Kingwood.

I'm also looking to finally get that 100th Texas city or town on Saturday, July 26.  I just don't know where yet.  I'm leaning towards Moulton, but we'll see.

A new bed that Waverly got for her birthday is being delivered the day before or on that day so we'll see.

Additionally, another one of my very best friends, Rick Cook, took care of my Dad with a couple of new pairs of shoes at Fleet Feet Sports in Shenandoah on Saturday.

Not that he's going to start running any time soon, but Rick's unparalleled sense of humor I know was a welcome, yet temporary respite to my parents in their grief of the loss of my sister.

I have much to be thankful for.

God didn't promise us that every day would be easy, but there are all kinds of promises that He has made to us if we are diligent to know and understand what they are.

Something that I know that I need to do a better job in realizing myself.

Back to work in the morning!