Thursday, July 13, 2017

Limberlost #6: it was a dark and stormy night.



dan decided to run the 14km race within the week before.
three of us would be running.
the boy would be with me and dan would be on his own - first heat, 
and running to see how fast he could do it.
it was going to be a different mindset than the 56km.

Last year:
 there were huge thunderstorms the friday night before The Limberlost Challenge (TLC).
the rain continued throughout the day of.
the mud was crazy awesome!
such a difficult but amazing race.
i wrote about it here.

This year:
 the weather reports were calling for thunderstorms for Friday.
the boy voiced:
"i really hope the thunderstorms come so the trail will be muddy"
well...
he got his dream on friday night.

it was a dark and stormy night...
power was lost to many in the area.
our power came back on at 3:30am.
i did not have a good sleep.
the thunderstorm didn't last all night but it was muggy and humid.
and as i said i know the time the power came on.

i dreamt about the race..
but as dreams go, 
none made sense.

I was just happy the boy had fallen alseep easily.

morning came way too early.

but excitement peaks when one realizes what the day holds. 
the girl got up and was so excited for the day.
we were bringing her to friends' at 7am on our way to the trails, 
and she was so excited to go.
they would bring her to the race later.

the boy woke a little later, 
but without any problem.
he woke up excited!
since we had readied everything the night before we had nothing but to get dressed, 
eat a little breakfast, 
brush teeth and make a bathroom stop before we headed out the door.

dan came to me and put his arm around me and spoke quietly.
"have patience with him."
i needed to be reminded of those 4 little words.
i assumed i would be, but if he has a hard time at all then patience will be needed big time.

finally...
we were off!

the boy in the new shirt i made for him, and his dad in the matching hat.
Front
back




***
these photos show the shirt looking dirty because i took them on sunday night...after it has been washed.
those are stains, 
that i didn't try too hard to get out.
***







daddy's hat: it says 'trail runner' on back.

we drove our little one to our friends' house and away we went.
chilly morning, 
but no rain.

in the past we always arrived a good hour before the 56km race, 
so this was strange to be arriving when the majority were arriving.
after parking we headed over to get our race numbers, and shirts.

how exciting to see the boy's name on the list.

the boy and i got our t-shirts but since dan registered late he would have to wait to see if there were any shirts left.

we chatted with some of the MARs runners before the race.
i love that group of people.
they have been so encouraging over the last couple years.
i know i am not in their class of running, 
but the excitement and encouragement i receive from them, 
even when not being a member,
has pushed me and encouraged me so much.
and they have been amazing for dan and his running.

Race Time.

dan had estimated that the boy and i would take about 2h 15m.
as long as everything went well.

the first heat of the 14km lined up and the boy and i went to cheer his dad on.
and all the MARs runners.


then it was time for us to line up.
i reminded him to take it easy at the beginning.
that he will be happy later if he does now.

3..
2..
1..
and we were off!

running slow.
pacing myself.
he did not want to run slow.
he ran ahead of me and even ran backwards for some of it,
wanting me to catch up to him.
i always go slow on the road part.

then we turned onto the trail.
he started leaping over roots and rocks...
i began running with lighter feet too.
once i enter the trail it becomes fun.
so easy to speed up without meaning to.

the trail was not crowded this year, 
last year was ridiculous.
i think having the three heats helped.

we ran across the first bridge without having to wait - 
i have had to wait the last two years.

usually i don't race with the camelback, 
but this year i had the camelback with gatorade in it,
if needed.
i also had Clif Bloks and a couple Clif Bars.
when training the boy usually gets a Clif Blok at the beginning and then every 2km after.

at the first aid station, 
my favorite aid station,
the one girl was chatting with me and him.
"he's only 9 and he's running this...
and here i am just sitting here."
she was quite impressed.
i told her that we couldn't do this run without her, 
and i thanked her.

by about 5km he had slowed down.
he was walking easier, 
and i asked him if he was tired.
he said yes.
i told him he could make it to the 6km marker and get his next blok.

we stopped at 6km and he ate it...
after that his energy and excitement rose.

he had consistently been running slightly ahead
and then waiting for me.
then running with me...
until he sped up a little and then had to wait for me.

at 7km...
the half way point, 
i wanted to take a quick photo.
just one photo on the trail is all i wanted.
but we couldn't get the 7km marker in it and didn't want to take too long to try.

i found that i spent most of the race keeping up with him, 
instead of me setting the pace.
but maybe those moments where he had to wait for me actually helped him keep up the energy.

there was mud on the trail,
just as he hoped.
he spent as much time running through the mud puddles as he could.
while others worked their way around them he ran right through.
i decided to follow his lead.
except at one.
the largest and deepest puddle from last year now had a boardwalk over it.
i ran on the boardwalk...
he ran through the puddle,
laughing the whole time.

he passed people at every puddle.

we got to the 10km marker and he had his next Blok.
this was the farthest distance he had ever run.
and he still had a crazy amount of energy.

i checked the time and realized that we hadn't even reached the 2 hour mark yet.
when i told him he was so happy.
he wanted to try to be faster than 2hr 15m as he knew dad estimated.
so we decided to try.

he began to speed up.
i began to too, but it was so hard.

just past the 10km we were surprised by a cheering squad of Dan, the girl and a bunch of friends.
he ran past them first.
i heard them cheering.
then i came running past and blew a kiss to my girl.

it was such a wonderful surprise to see them.

at the 12km marker we stopped for the last Blok.
once i gave it to him i gave him permission to run ahead of me.
to run to the finish and beat the expected time.
he was so excited to be allowed.

i know...
he was supposed to run with me.
the last 2km i was not worried about him.
he was strong, had tons of energy and i was starting to hurt.
i'd see him at the finish line.

i was full of mixed emotions as he took off and i lost sight of him.
i was so proud of him.
he had worked so hard for this.
his attitude had been amazing.
but i was a little sad that i wouldn't be crossing the finish line with him.
i had thought about that feeling of running through the finish with him - i'd probably cry...
i was pretty sure i would.
but now it wasn't going to happen.

i had tried keeping up.
i couldn't do it.
he picked up speed with ease.

i ran the last 2km thinking about all the people who had cheered him on throughout the trail.
the young moms who hoped that one day their kids would want to run with them.
the girl at the first aid station.
the girl who gave him a high-five as she passed him.
the people laughing with him as he passed them at a mud puddle.
the 'way-to-go' and the 'are you running the 14km?  great job' comments.
about his smile and infectious energy and attitude.
no one seemed annoyed that they were passed by a nine-year-old.  
people were impressed and encouraged him.

we had prayed, just that morning, that we would be an encouragement to those around us that day.

now he was out of my sight.
and he'd finish before me, 
not with me.
i was sad, 
but so proud of him.
i thanked God for this opportunity for him.
i knew his dad would be waiting for him at the finish.

the last three years the boy has run across the finish line with his dad.
this year his dad would be there to run the last bit with him.
that was enough to let him go on ahead.
his dad didn't cross the line with him, he left that part for the boy!


i ran with another girl for the last, and longest, km.
we encouraged eachother and crossed the line seconds apart.

Dan had completed his race: 1:13:07.  8th overall.
i finished my race: 2:16:35. better than last year, and i'm happy with that.


the boy...
did he beat the estimate?
estimated time: 2:15:00
the boy finished his race:
2:10:47
he had done it!


he beat the estimate and beat me by 6 minutes...
something he will not let me forget
and completed The Limberlost Challenge.

it has been an incredible journey.
tough, 
but incredible.

if you were to ask him what he thought of the race he would say:
"it was awesome!"
but he also says that
he doesn't plan on running it again until he's 12.

when dan went to get a shirt after the race he decided on a ladies small and gave it to the girl.
she was thrilled to have her very own TLC shirt.
the girl wants to run it next year.
we told her not until she has run at least one Band on the Run 5km.

i love everything about The Limberlost Challenge.
the volunteers,
the other runners,
the trails,
the aid stations,
the food,
the mud,
the lakes,
seriously, everything.

i love having the opportunity to hike the trails with my family all year long.
but racing them with the boy...
wow.
whole new level of love.

i am so thankful:
to God.
first off He created that beautiful place.
he placed people with a passion for outdoors and caring for His creation right there,
and they take care of the trails beautifully.
he gave people a passion for creating this event in the first place.
to run these trails, 
surrounded by the beauty.

for the passion of running my husband has.
it has inspired me
a former hater of running.
it has inspired my children.

we wouldn't have been on this journey in the first place if Dan didn't love running so much.

i am thankful
to the powers-that-be.
for saying yes to my plea that my boy have an opportunity to run this race and fulfill his dream.

for the friends and family that prayed for us as the training happened and then the race.

for those who were able to be at the race that day to cheer him on.

for AmyLynn who encouraged me to keep a blog about the journey to post after the race.

for Rhonda and Theresa who captured the finish line crossings.

for Jason who captured the video of the boy running out on the trail.



i can't believe this is all done.

onto the next journey...
whatever that may be.



See the results of TLC 14km race here
Check out how the Muskoka Algonquin Runners (MARs) did at Limberlost Here




video











Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Limberlost #5: "i am not running that far"


i had the opportunity to run the 9km run with my boy and Dan.
we ran at Limberlost.
it was a fun time, and a great time for me to see just how this kid runs.

i couldn't keep up for the first few kilometers.
i didn't know how this was going to work - he was faster than me.
then he began to stop, 
he'd be talking so much that he'd begin walking and not realize he was no longer running.
these were sudden stops.
on a single trail sudden stops were going to be dangerous to anyone behind him.

then he got tired, and a little cranky...

then he was back to running and having fun, but i was now in the lead.

pacing himself was not his strength.

then there was his 10km run at Arrowhead with his dad.
they ran it in a time of 1hr 7min.

crazy fast...
no stopping...at all.
why?

mosquitoes and blackflies!
he was crazy excited for how fast he ran it.


now, we were in June.

he had had a busy track and field week.
he ran the 1500m race for school, and ran it in 8min.
he was so proud of himself for the run.  
then there was track and field day at school a couple days later.
he ran the 400m and the 800m.

he came in second in the 800m.

on the friday i ran my 12km at Limberlost.
what a great run it was.
hard, but so much fun.
at one point i thought that i was feeling so good i could maybe i'd run the whole 14km loop...
but by 10km i was so happy that i would be done in 2km.


On Saturday we knew it would be a hard day for the boy.
we were volunteering at an aid station for Band on the Run
and in the afternoon he'd be running his 12km.
he had been quite tired 
(busy week at school, still training and an early morning for volunteering)

Great morning cheering on the 10km and half marathon runners.
and dressing up.

for the afternoon the girl and i were going to the beach at Arrowhead as the boys ran their 12km along the trails.
this is what i wrote in my journal that night:

"the boy wanted to run after lunch.  He was worn out. so worn out.
after lunch we were able to get him going and get ready for his run.
...
when we saw the boys they were earlier than i expected...  
they had gone about 7km... of a run/hike...
it was probably the boy's toughest run yet.
he was cranky and too tired."

it was a rough day for him.
he never did get his 12km run in as that was to be his longest run before the race 
and they were tapering off after that.
to make sure he would be ready for Limberlost he needed to taper off when he did.

so the expectation was since he never got up to 12km it will be tough to finish the 14km at the race.
it will be tough anyway, 
but if he had been able to run the 12 it would have been a step in the right direction.

i am so crazy excited to run this race with my boy.
i have made him a shirt for the run..
something special for him.

that will be revealed to you after the run.

i am writing this entry on Thursday, July 6.
The Limberlost Challenge is happening on Saturday, July 8.
when you are reading this we will have already raced.

if things go wonderful, 
and without much discouragement or pain,
we are expecting about a 2hr 15m finish.

stay tuned! 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Limberlost #4: 'you still need to do it'

*see: part 1, part 2, part 3*

I told you about the 6km weekend we had.
the next runs were 3km road.

the boy struggled on his.
i don't know all the details but when they got back from their run he didn't want to talk about it.

he had been pretty tired even before they went out.
but he had been excited to go.
3km... 
"that should be pretty easy."
i'm sure that was in his mind...
it's in my mind when i know i can run farther than that...
however...
it was the first run after the 6km.

and on road.

i know he had to be encouraged to continue.

i went for my 3km and had a horrible run.
i hurt.
i didn't enjoy it.

but i also expect to have a rough run after i have already pushed myself the last one.

i was telling the kids about it later that day.
i was telling how i wanted to quit that run, but i kept pushing myself to complete it.
how my body didn't want to run but my mind knew it could do it.

my boy pipes up.
"even if it is hard, you still need to do it mom."

so true buddy.
if i want to train to run the Limberlost Challenge i need to push through those tough runs.
just as he is doing.

i love running.
seriously.
i hate running on road, 
or indoors...
give me a trail and it's wonderful!
hard
but wonderful.

i wish Arrowhead Provincial Park would re-open
*they close to get the campgrounds all cleaned and ready for the season*
 so that i could go run those trails...

thanks for the encouragement kid.
         

---to be continued..fast forward to June.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Limberlost #3: The Decision & marathon/6km weekend

**see part 1 here, part 2 here**

I received the email while the kids were at school.
i was so nervous to open it.
i honestly didn't know if i wanted them to say yes or no.

i was starting to doubt our encouragement of this.
but
he knew what he wanted to do and i really wanted my running buddy at the race.

they made the decision that he could run the race.

my feelings were crazy mixed.
but excitement definitely won out.

when i told him he was so excited.

i did inform them that he was not planning to win.
*he had already told me this information*

also that i would be with him the whole time.

they suggested starting in the third heat, near the back.

i let my boy decide.
he chose the second heat.
we will still start near the back.

i was truly alright with whatever decision would be made.
he is a nine year old boy.
most nine year old boys can't do the training needed for this event and distance.
although, most nine year old boys probably don't care to train for this distance.

i know they made what they believed to be the right decision.

do i believe that they could let in anyone below the minimum age just because the parent asks
 and says please?
no i do not.
do i believe that they should do it on a case by case basis?
yes i do.

for safety sake they can't have a whole bunch of little runners trying to race the course and finding out it is too long or hard.

am i thankful for the consideration and decision they gave our case?
truly i am.

i would have been sad but fully understanding if it was an immediate 'no - rules are rules.'  they have every right to say that.

thank you, powers-that-be, for considering allowing my boy the opportunity to race his favourite trail.

now to continue to prepare for it.

Fast forward to:

Easter weekend.

Many runners from Muskoka, and around the world, are heading to Boston for the marathon.

we are not in that elite group.
but this is a big weekend in our house for running.
saturday morning the boy and his dad took the dog
...not ours, but the one we are dog-sitting...
and drove to the Limberlost trails, for a fun trail run.
the boy would be running his longest distance yet.

Over the last couple years
the boy has run 5km about 5-6 times
band on the run, MARs fun runs, XC running club in the fall
He likes that distance.
but this year, 
to train for, and then run, the Limberlost Challenge
he will be breaking his furthest distance many times.

Saturday morning he, his dad and Daisy (the dog)
would be running 6km on a portion of the Limberlost trails.
it is a section the boy has never been on before but will be part of the 14km race loop.
he was so excited.
While at home i prayed for him.
i want him to be encouraged doing it.
it was supposed to rain and i really hoped it would hold off.

then i got the text that they were done.
a little over an hour.
When they got home i asked him how it went.
big smiles.
he said it was fun.
he admitted it was hard in sections, and that he got tired...
but...
it was fun!
that's what i wanted to hear.

the rain began as soon as he got home.

his dad told me that he did have to encourage the boy to keep running..
he would want to walk, 
but once he would get the encouragement he would continue running.

as i'm doing the same running schedule
my 6km day was on Easter Sunday.
after church we drove to the walking path i was planning to run.
it was pouring!
of course.
my family had their bikes with them and they would bike while i ran.
it was a wet run.
i was soaked.
it wasn't easy,
i haven't run more than 5km since the fall.
i have barely run further than 3km since then.

having my family biking with me, out there in the rain, was so encouraging.

my husband made the boy's training schedule and there are road days and trail days.
he has been informed that he may change any road run to a trail, but not the other way around.
he will be racing on a trail, he needs to be ready for that terrain.

he is happiest on a trail anyway so that won't be a problem.

so, as the elite gather in Boston, 
my boy is here at home breaking his own personal distances.
both are significant events for a runner.

*photo taken by Me with Gertie 
when they got home from the run.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Limberlost #2: the snag

**see part 1 here**

March.
it was nearing the end.
training was going well.
the boy was still positive he wanted to run Limberlost.
so i sat down one afternoon to register him and i.
my husband didn't know yet which race he'd be running.

I registered myself for The 2017 Limberlost Challenge 14km...

I went to register the boy...

'You need to be 12 to register for this event.'

i stared at the screen on my computer and felt my gut drop.
12?
i had checked everywhere on the site for a minimum age.
i hadn't seen one.
but i might have missed it.
with all the info that a site like that needs i may have missed it.
my boy looked at my computer screen and asked what that meant.

i had to tell him that he is too young.

you see my boy is 9.
He will be 10 in August, but that's still too young.

i did actually see tears in his eyes.

i understand age limits,
that's why i looked.
it's quite a distance for someone of his age to run,
and it's a safety and health concern if they have a course full of kids thinking they can run 14km,
and not being able to run it.

i understand completely.

but i told him i would just ask and see if there was a possibility.

i wrote to the coordinator and told him our situation.
i asked if there was any chance he could register,
but i completely understood if he couldn't.
rules are there for a reason.

i then went to talk to the boy.
i told him to keep training.
we'd hear back and no matter what..
if he could race, great.
if he couldn't, we'd go run the trail anyway at a different day.

he was good with that.

so we waited.
he continued to train with his dad.
not crazy distances yet.
his longest is currently 4km on a road.
he was quite tired, but i ran it the next day and was worse off than him.

we have a one km trail we
(i say we, but is was the boy and his dad)
made out back.
when they first made it last summer i referred to it as:
 the whole 14km Limberlost hills compacted into 1km.
it's tough.
quite steep and quite technical.
i find it exhausting.
and the snow and ice on it doesn't make it any easier.

it is a great training trail.

i received an email in response
the email was copied to the men who would make the final decision for the boy.
and there was an apology for not finding the age requirement,
as the website had just been revamped..
it did look amazing by the way.

but, we waited.

My excitement for his dream, and my race partner, was dwindling.
my fears that we were pushing him, were growing.
that he would not be able to do it and would be discouraged.
he is only 9.
should i have encouraged him?
i love watching him run, he is so happy to be doing it... but could he run 14km?
i know that trail...
the uphills drain the soul out of you...
ok, not really, but i wanted to make you know how i really feel about them.

i don't like waiting, 
but i did like that if he wasn't allowed to run it, it was from others, not me.
and if he was allowed, i'd sign him up.

i spent a lot of prayer about him and his dream ever since his training has begun.
i want him to be able to push past the frustration, and discouragement, and even some pain that comes with training for a long distance, without pushing his 9 year old body too far.

my husband and i had agreed to wait for the decision.
if it was yes, we'd sign him up, 
and encourage him.

but for now...
2km trail run time.



...to be continued

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Limberlost: the boy's dream

So, The Limberlost Challenge was run today.
what a beautiful day for it.

before i tell you how the day actually went let me take you back and share with you a little history.

**written back in April**


The boy.
he has attended The Limberlost Challenge for 3 years.
cheered on his daddy in the 56km 3x
and cheered on his mommy in the 14km 2x.

He has cheered on his parents at Band on the Run multiple times.
half marathons, 10km races.
He has run the kids' 1km and the 5km race 2x.


He has cheered on his daddy at the North Face Endurance 50mile race.
he has run the kids' 1km at it.

He has run cross country at 3 school races.

he has run the 1500m race for his school track and field day.

he has spontaneously decided to run a trail when we went for a hike.
he has told us many times that running on trails is his favourite thing...
and what he loves about it is..
running on a trail.

so..
when The Limberlost Challenge finished last year he told us he wanted to run it in 2017.
what a cool dream.
sure, 
if he wanted to do it, 
his dad would work out a training schedule for him but not until the spring.

i don't know if i thought he would forget, 
or if i just didn't realize how serious he was.
but, all winter he talked about how he was going to run Limberlost.

i would run with him.

his dad had some health issues since last summer,
so running wasn't happening.
i had also slacked in my running,
so the current runner in the family was the boy,
who ran X-Country in the fall.

a training schedule was never made for him, 
but his dream lived on.

so..
March happened.
his dad was feeling better and sat down and figured out a run schedule.

since his dad hadn't run for a long time, and wasn't sure how far he could even run, 
they would train together.

around March Break they began. 
3 runs a week.
when his dad gets home from work, they head out for 2 of the runs.
the third one is on Saturdays.

and you know what...
seeing my boy's excitement, 
seeing his dad running with him,
i knew i had to begin training so i can keep up with my little Limberlost Runner.

so i am doing the same schedule as my boy currently...

I signed up for the 14km last week.

but,
 we hit a snag in the boy's dream.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Small Group Bible Study

i have been in some sort of small group Bible study for many years now.

i was in one when i was College age.
i lead one after i got married and i was helping with the youth at our church.
i was in one with the young adults.
i was in one when our young adults group split and we moved in for Dan to lead the study at another group.
after we led the study the leader of the group left and we stayed.
our current small group is the same group that has been remade... 
people have left, people have come, but the core group of us have stayed.

we get together every two weeks.
we have switched nights, times and, when the study requires it, we have gone to every week.
it took me a while to feel comfortable to open up to the group - especially when new people arrive.  

our group is a mixture of:
 those who were raised in the protestant church.
those who were raised in the Catholic church but received Christ as their savior and now live out the Protestant faith.
those who were raised in no church and accepted Christ into their lives as adults.
those who have seen many struggles and survived them from their own persistance and determination.
those who have seen many struggles but have stayed true to their Saviour 
- amidst questioning but drawing close to Him - 
those who have walked away from the Christian Faith, only to make the decision to do an about face and come running back to Him.
those who have stayed close to God through their young life to question Him for a time as an adult.
those who are raising the first generation, in their family, in the church.
those who are raising the second+ generation in the church and in faith of Jesus Christ.

we are made up of a group of people from different backgrounds.  
who have messed up.  
who still sometimes mess up.  
who are not perfect.  
who like to think they're perfect but deep down know they're not.  
who make mistakes.  
who admit their wrongs - even if it's just to their spouses.  
but we all have one thing in common.

we love Jesus Christ.  
we know He is God's Son.  
that He came to earth as a babe (why we celebrate Christmas).  
lived as a man.  
died a gruesome death after being falsely accused.  
was buried in a tomb.  
but... defeated death!  
He rose again!  
He did it for me he did it for you.  
he did it for the romans who put him on the cross.  
he did it for the Jews who were scared of him and his teaching.  
he did it for everyone in this world.  
so that we could have a personal relationship with God, and have eternal life 
- going to heaven when we leave this world -

our small group is made up of people who are thankful for what he did. 
who strive to live for Him each day.  
we screw up... but we are forgiven. 
 Jesus was our sacrifice.  

wanna know what i love about my small group?
i'm gonna tell you anyway, so either stop reading now or sit back and enjoy reading my thoughts.

i have been raised going to church.
my mom adores Jesus and made sure to take my brother and i to church each week.
i did sunday school, i did youth group, i volunteered,
i attended the main service, i went to the evening services, 
i worked at a Christian summer camp, i went to a one year Bible college,
i worked at a mennonite camp...
i asked Jesus to come into my life when i was little.

i have been surrounded with church and churchiness for as long as i have memories.

i am in this small group now.
about half the group met Jesus when adults and the rest of us have known Him most of your lives.  
i love that.

i will be honest with you right now.
telling people about Jesus scares me.  
i have been immersed in the faith since i was wee, 
but sharing it in words has always put an amount of fear in me...
fear i'll say the wrong thing or not know the answers...
this fear does not come from Jesus it comes from my humanity and from Satan.
i am a very relational person.
i want my daily life and actions to separate me from those who don't believe, 
so they will want to know what makes me different.
i'm more comfortable to live this way...
it is not necessarily the best way...
sometimes i need to step out out of my comfort zone.

the people in my small group who met jesus as adults can see the urgency, 
the importance of sharing this Jesus they adore with those around them.
they have an excitement about inviting others to things.
they have a passion to share with others.
are they afraid?
at times, yes.
but you know the difference between me and them?
they do it.
they tell others..or invite others.

i can't sleep, i sweat, i feel nauseous...
but those others.
when they tell their stories, 
when i hear them get excited...
it encourages me.
i feel the same excitement.

i may have been immersed in the church, 
and maybe i can answer some of their questions about the Scriptures, 
i know the answer, of what i should be doing and why, 
but the newer Christians...
the ones that didn't grow up in the church...
these people in my small group.
they encourage me with their passion to share with others, 
as they were shared with not too long ago.

their faith in Jesus...
it's amazing to hear them talk about it.

i know it goes both ways.
there are most likely things about my life, 
my knowledge in Jesus, 
my long-standing faith in Him,
that encourage them.

every one of us in our small group comes from a different past.
we all have a different story before and since we fell in love with Jesus.
we all have different struggles in our faith.
some have the same struggles.
we can all encourage each other.
we can all pray for, and with, each other.
we can support each other as we travel this thing called life.

i am so thankful for my small group.
for each of the people, 
the variety of personalities, 
the different stages of our lives, 
the different stages in our walk with Jesus.

if you are a follower of Christ i encourage you to find a small group Bible study that you can be a part of.
find one that you determine to be able to open up and share with them one day.
you do not have to share your most intimate secrets with them at the first meeting, 
but as you pray together, share together, learn together, 
over time you will want to share with them.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)


i was thinking about this as i was digging in my garden, 
but had to stop to come in and write it.
this may be a mumble jumble of thoughts, 
but when i was digging, i had written the most eloquent blog post...
but...
this is what you get!