Friday, December 20, 2013

Real Reality

You know those credit card commercials that try to make consumers feel like they are buying an experience instead of just accumulating debt? 

The ones that say things like:
 "Dress and Tux: $4,500. Flowers: $1,500. Happily ever after: priceless".

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here is a funny example I found: 


Anyway, I saw one of these advertisements when I went to see The Hobbit a few nights ago. It was just a little sticker on the ticket-booth window, 
but it completely caught my attention. 

All it said was "A break from reality: priceless".

Now, you probably have already gathered that I have a tendency to philosophize even the smallest matters, 
but I could not help but be kind of taken back by this advertisement. 

I have two initial problems with it. 

1. The fact that Americans crave a break from reality kind of saddens me. I understand that feeling... I have had it before. But why do we want to escape? And as much as I enjoy movies and appreciate their artistic contribution to the world (and I really do), I cannot help but feel like entertainment is simply a means to numb us to the deep void we feel when we have nothing to do and have to sit quietly and reflect. 

2. If I haven't lost you yet, this second point is what I am really trying to get at. For the movies to be "a break from reality", that would have to mean that our day-to-day, eating, sleeping, going to work lives are the ultimate reality
I do not believe that is true, however. 

All of that stuff, well, it's kind of a fake reality. I am not saying it is bad. I am not saying it is good. I am simply saying that it lacks substance. 
In reality, it isn't the "real reality". 
Have I lost you yet? Stay with me here. 

God's reality is the real reality. And when we are distracted from that fact with our fake reality, we can do very little to grow as Christians or to impact the world for Christ. If we become caught up in the "fake reality" and think it is the real reality... and then furthermore go to movies to distract ourselves from what we believe to be the real reality... we have a huge mess on our hands. 

I do not want to be numbed to God's reality. I want to exist in it and be constantly aware of it. At the same time, however, I know that we were created to live this life... and that it would be wrong for me to say that we are supposed to walk around being ultra-spiritual to the extent that we scare people away from Jesus. 

Both extremes are incorrect. 
Instead, those two realities can and should merge. 

We should be "naturally spiritual and spiritually natural". 

Like Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) says:

 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

So, I will continue to go to movies. But not because I want a break from reality. Instead, I want to place my reality before God and walk in His reality. 
I want to fix my attention on Him. 
Embracing the incredible reality that He has for me?... priceless. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Noel, Noel...

How on earth is it already Christmas? 

Somehow - in the midst of ten-page APA research papers, finals week, and freezing cold temperatures, and my first indoor track meet -
Christmas kind of snuck up on me. 

And while I am usually obsessed with all things Christmas,
 I have felt more reflective than festive the last few days. 

I have been reminiscing on this time last year. I was so very different. My goals, my understanding of the world, my fears, my concerns.... they all feel so distant. I almost feel like that person wasn't me. 
Like she is just some character from a novel that I once read. 
It is a strange sensation, and it is one that I have often felt as I have grown and changed over the years. Three years ago at this time I was a lonely American girl wandering around Europe. 
That seems like a dream. Did that even happen?

And I have been contemplating the future. I have so many big dreams that do not in any way resemble a normal life. I have big fears, too. Fears of settling. Fears of failing. Fears of getting stuck in piles on school debt and having to work a 9-5 job that I hate and of not being happy. But mostly I am not afraid. Mostly I am excited and curious as to how my life is going to unfold. 
I want to know what is waiting around the corner. 

So all of these thoughts have been swirling around in my mind, and I suppose it is because I finally have time to think thoughts that don't have to do with Organizational Communication or Inferential Statistics. Christmas break is a great time to reflect and to re-assess and to contemplate. 

But it is also a time for celebration.
For Christmas parties. 
For catching up on good books. 
And for spending time with lovely friends. 

And of course - Christmas break is a time for running. Even in the snow and cold. I will be training hard this break. Running everyday, lifting every other day, and swimming two or three days a week. Indoor season is short and fast. And I don't want to miss out on any opportunities because of a lack of preparation. I am so grateful that I am healthy and able to run, as well, because last year at this time I was dealing with a nasty achilles injury that put me out for over a month.


Anyway, to get Christmas break started right and to get into the Christmas spirit, my sister and I did some Christmas shopping today (its about time I got on that) and did some holiday baking tonight. And it was lovely. [I am aware how silly it is to parallel Christmas spirit with consumerism and sugary treats, but that is another topic for another blogpost.]
For now, I will just say goodnight :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Today was just the second day back from our week long running break, and I accidentally went on a fifty minute steady/tempo run. I wanted to run a little faster, so I went with some of the guys on my team and a super fast redshirt girl (who didn't take a break). We flew pretty much the whole time, and while I loved the feeling, my body is completely exhausted now. 

I'm still trying to let go of a little (okay a lot) of mental baggage from the season, but I'm ready to tackle indoor season. 
I just need to take one day at a time. 
And I probably need to be careful not to overdo it my first week back :) 

This weekend I went out with friends for a much needed girls' night. After writing two papers and feeling like I had way too much energy because I didn't work out all week, it was so nice to catch up with old friends over kale salad and appetizers at a trendy downtown lounge. 

Classy, classy 

Yesterday my team had a Christmas party. We haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving, you say? Well I say it's never too early for some Christmas cheer. Since everyone will be going home for Christmas, and since this was the day that worked for my coaches to have us over, we brought out the holiday spirit a little early. It's not like the Hallmark channel hasn't been playing Christmas movies all week anyway. We wore ugly sweaters and did white elephants and had mini pumpkin pies to pay tribute to the turkey day holiday we skipped over. It was so wonderful, and I sat there thinking how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing team. 

LOVE this girl! 

That's all for tonight! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

En Fin

So cross country is over. 

En fin. 

And I don't really want to talk about how it ended, honestly, because I have been trying my best not to over-analyze every single thing in my life. 
(So difficult for me). 

And without going into detail, this season has been much different than what I expected. I didn't meet any of my goals... and, though I do feel like I progressed from last year, I am still not the runner that I used to be. I am still struggling so much mentally. And I still am a great runner and a terrible racer. So regionals was the same, old, disappointing story. 

I have spent this week taking a break from running. I am a huge believer that this is necessary after each  and every season. Running is such a mental sport, for one. And I need so badly to mentally reset. I throw myself heavily into my competitive seasons. I am one of those people who won't eat sugar for months and who will fall asleep thinking about my races. 
So the other night I ate a giant no-bake cookie for dinner and stayed up a little later than normal... just to say I could. 

But also, since I am a year-round athlete (the only season I don't compete is summer, and even then I'm training for xc),
  I know my body needs to recuperate and repair itself. 

So I have only run once this week (with a friend, so it was nothing major) and swam one day for fun. The rest of the week I have been lazy as ever. 

I have gotten less sleep than normal, I haven't been chugging water every other minute, and I have been throwing myself into homework in the hopes that I could actually be productive. 

Who am I kidding though? Instead of using the three to four hours each day that I would have spent at practice, I have done other fun things.
 Like going with friends on random excursions to World Market to buy exotic types of dark chocolate.

 And going to the club to sit in a steam room and completely relax. 

And getting buy one get one free Starbucks Christmas drinks (have you had a gingerbread latte? Spiced whip-cream and molasses drizzle... 
it will change your life). 

It has been a nice break, for sure, but I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. I haven't been taking care of myself, and I miss the routine and release of running. Not only that, but I'm still frustrated about this season and I'm ready to unleash in Indoor track. I have never competed in a true indoor season before (my old school didn't have an indoor season) so this will be new to me. 

I want to end this post by stating that I truly am grateful for this past cross country season, even if I am discouraged because of it. While I didn't perform up to my expectations, I am so blessed to be apart of my team. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful coaching staff and athletic department. Coming in as a transfer student, I could have easily run into tons of issues. Many of my friends who transferred to other schools and athletic programs did. But I feel like I mesh so well here, and I was completely accepted as a leader, a friend, and a teammate from the moment I arrived. 

So I'm going to enjoy the rest of this week and weekend, and then I'm ready to reset and get moving again. I still have a year and a half as a collegiate runner, and I'm going to make the most of it!

Also, thanks to my sweet grandmother and awesome cousin Danika who came out to support me in the freezing cold! 
It was such a wonderful thing to have them there cheering for me :) 

Oh hey it's been awhile

Last night I went to the college-age service my church puts on for the first time in what feels like years. In actuality, it has only been a month or two, but so much has happened the past few months! Because I have been so busy with school and cross country, and because I have gotten involved with ministry and church groups at my university, I have run out of time to go to the 
Thursday night services that I love so much. 

It was great to be back, but I have to admit... I kind of felt like a stranger in my own church. No one made me feel that way. No one made me feel guilty or acted weird or anything. But a little bit of distance had obviously formed. It had been a long time since I had played "catch up" with any of my friends there, and because of that we were uninformed about each others lives. You know when you have to keep saying (over and over again) "hey, it's been a long time!" and "yeah I have just been swamped"... As true as they may be, I feel like I wear them out sometimes. 

I spoke with my sister about this, and she said that this is why many people end up leaving churches. They miss one too many services 
and feel weird about going back. They feel like a distance has formed and they don't know how to face it. 

Sometimes blogging is like church. 
What I mean is, if you don't blog consistently, 
you feel like you have created a little bit of a distance with your readers. 
After a few weeks without blogging, 
the next blog post becomes intimidating. Do you catch everyone up on your life (with the longest post ever)
 in order to make what you are saying now relevant? 
Do you just post what you want, when you want, without explanation? 
Do you even try to keep blogging,
 or is there really no point after it has been so long? 

Well, I certainly don't think people should stop going to a 
church just because it has been a few (or many) services that they have missed. 
This is a poor analogy, of course, 
but I wanted to explain my sentiments toward blogging lately. 

I miss it. 

Sometimes, during my day, I have these thoughts that I feel I just need to share with the world. But I get too busy. I have a million papers to write and practice and church and I end up neglecting my blog. Then, three weeks later, I feel like I don't even know where to start. 

So I decided I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to keep the posts coming. I don't even think I'm going to put much effort into making them perfect or typo-free. I'm just going to express my thoughts and journal and every once-in-awhile produce something meaningful. 

Hopefully, anyway. :) 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lay Them Down

You know those days where you just feel weighed down and exhausted?

I had one of those days yesterday. Heaviness settled on me like the thick frost that covers the November ground each morning.

It began during cross-country practice. We are tapering this week leading up to Regional's, so our mileage is much lower than normal. It should have been a fairly easy practice, but the cold made it notably difficult.

Winter has come in with a biting cold, and trying to do an interval work out in forty-degree weather is not easy. After we adjust to it, it will not be a problem. But coming off of sixty-degree weather, the cold was a thorough shock. My entire team expressed how out of shape they felt, and our breathing was shallow and sharp.

So I didn’t have a great practice. And I want to blame my poor performance on the cold, but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate claim. Everyone was running in the cold. And everyone else refused to let it slow them down.

I felt heavy though. Physically and mentally.

My mind was weighed down by so many things. By comparison. By doubt. By discouragement. By negativity. This season has not been what I wanted it to be, and I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself for this last race. A bad practice right before Regional's was the last thing I needed. 

And then, on top of all of that, I began to feel condemned for being so negative! There are so many more important things in the world to worry about. And I am so blessed… what right do I have to feel upset about my performance as a runner when people are starving and countries are war-torn and people don’t know about Jesus? How selfish could I be???

What a seriously depressing cycle of thoughts.

I know that I was being irrational. I know that how I perform as a runner is so unimportant compared to how many things are going on in the world. I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and that God loves me unconditionally and overwhelmingly.

But I just felt exhausted and discouraged. There was more going on in my mind than I could process. I even cried on the way home.

I am aware that this blog post has been incredibly depressing up until now, but I am sharing all of this with a purpose. I don’t want this to be a blog full of needless venting. Instead, I want it to be a documentation of how faithful God is in my life.

When I arrived home last night, I opened up to my mother about all of the negative thoughts I was experiencing. I knew they were not from God, but I didn’t know exactly how to combat them. I felt powerless.

My mother, who is incredibly wise and comforting, began to speak life over me and pray for me. She suggested that I go into my room and pray off the negative thoughts that were clouding over me.

So I prayed. And I woke up and prayed some more. 
I just spent time soaking in the love of God. 
And I felt peace settle over me.

Everything that seemed so complicated melted away in the warmth of His love and affection. And I felt SO much better.

And to top it off…
Right before I was about to get out of bed and get ready for the day, my sister came into my room and told me that my class was cancelled today!!! She had read it on facebook, and I wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t told me.

So this morning has been lovely. I made a nice breakfast, which is a luxury when I’m usually frantically shoving food into my mouth on the drive to school. I finished my statistics homework. And I am blogging now. I think I may even take a nap later. The only true responsibility I have all day is practice!

I am incredibly grateful at them moment. I still feel a little heavy, but I am going to continue to pray throughout this week. I am very intimidated by this weekend’s race, but I am aware how little it is in light of how good God is. My identity is not in my performance. I have to remind myself that every day.

This blog post has been slightly intense, I know, 
but I want to end it with promise.

Everything is so simple, really. God loves us and wants to fight our battles for us. In fact, He has already won all of our battles on the cross! 

We don’t need to feel overwhelmed, heavy, or weighted down – because we don’t need to do it on our own. Instead, we need to “strip off every weight that slows us down…” and “run with endurance the race God has set before us”. (Romans 21:1)

So this morning, and every morning, I want to lay down all of those weights and walk in the joy and light-heartedness and peace that has been promised to me. Today, with time to rest, this seems easy. But I want to do this every day. And I want to encourage anyone reading this to do it, too. 

Whatever it is that is holding you down – whatever mindset, worries, or doubts – 
Strip them off. Lay them down.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Running Forward

I can hardly believe that October is nearly over. The large trees on my campus have taken on brilliant hues of burgundy and orange and gold. Each morning greets me with a slight frost, and the scent of winter lingers in the air. Seasonal coffee beverages are trendy as ever, and pumpkins are everywhere. 

It sounds lovely, right?

But somehow I am still lost in summer. I am clinging to the rays of warm sunshine and the lazy afternoons. Without me quite realizing it, 
time has gotten away from me.

I am already at midterms. 
And I am already nearly done with my junior season of cross-country.

While I feel satisfied with my work so far academically, 
it is the near end of my cross-country season that worries me.

The thing is, I do not feel like I have accomplished much of anything yet. I have had some great practices. I have run up to sixteen miles in a day. I have developed speed on the track. I have gotten stronger in the weight room. I have even had some decent races. And yet, I have yet to accomplish a single race goal I have set this season. 
And I don’t feel like I have had much opportunity to do it.

Perhaps that is why I treasure cross-country season so much.
 Compared to track, it is incredibly short.

This upcoming weekend is our conference meet. 
It is the first 6k I will have ever run competitively, 
but I am told that the extra 1000 meters makes little difference. 
I am a 10k runner on the track, so I am not too worried about the distance.

We ran our last 5k this past weekend, and I think it was a good way to finish up the regular season. Almost everyone on my team ran their lifetime best times… and though I didn’t quite do that, 
I came the closest I have come to 
my freshman year PRs that I have in two years.

I have such high expectations for myself and know that I am capable of blowing those times out of the water… but the reality is, I have to take one step at a time. I have to be happy with myself for running a season best time and finally dropping down into my freshman year times.
 So I am going to take the positives and move straight ahead to conference.

For those of you who don’t understand what I’m talking about or know my running journey, it is pretty well documented on this blog. 
I am not interested in the past right now, however. 
I am interested in moving forward.

I am stronger and fit than I have ever been. I have put in miles and miles of summer training. I have iced and stretched and went to bed early when everyone else was out having fun. I have dedicated so much to this sport, but none of that matters if I don’t perform on race day. So what’s holding me back?

This weekend, I plan on breaking out of the weird slump that I have been in the past two years. I feel like I did a pretty good job this last Saturday,
 but I know that there is more I can dig out. 

Regardless, however, I refuse to allow negative emotions to dictate my attitude or my running. I am grateful for what I have been able to accomplish this season. I am grateful for being healthy. I am grateful for the progress I have made. And I am grateful that I even get the opportunity to compete. 
I am so blessed, and I am so excited to see what's in store. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beautiful Simplicity

There's a song I have been listening to on repeat for weeks now. 

It goes like this: 

You've brought me to the end of myself, 
                          And this has been the longest road, 
Just when my hallelujah was tired, 
You gave me a new song
I'm letting go... falling into You. 

These beautiful lyrics pretty much sum up my life as of recently. 

It is not that life has been bad or distressing or anything like that... 

In fact, I am the most content and the happiest that I have been in a long time. I love my school, I love my friends. I feel so incredibly blessed to be where I am, but I also have so many wonderful dreams for the future. I am thoroughly enjoying this season of life (as busy as it may be). 
Simply put, I am just having FUN. 

But in the midst of all of the fun, I am still faced with trials and growing pains. I am learning so much about myself every day, 
and I know that God is working in me. 
Sometimes, however, in the light of my many struggles, 
I cannot help but feel like a failure. 

I almost always feel like a fail at running. 
Whenever I fail to put God first in life, I feel like I failed Him. 
Whenever  I don't have a good attitude, 
I feel like I fail to be a good example of joy. 

What's more, I have been incredibly philosophical lately. I have been questioning everything, and I have felt a level of uncertainty regarding God and His character. Don't get me wrong... I know that God is loving and powerful. I have a relationship with Him, so it is not as if I feel like I don't know Him at all. It's just that there are so many things that we cannot understand about God, and this has led me to a great deal of frustration. I want to know. I want to know the truth. And I don't always feel like I can represent my faith well to other people if I don't know all the answers for myself. 
It has honestly been somewhat of a struggle to keep my head above water. 

The other day, however, as I was driving around doing errands, I had such a simple and wonderful revelation of God's simplicity. It came without me expecting it. A wave of love and joy flooded my car, and all of a sudden I felt like I understood everything. Like I knew the secret to the universe. 

God is love
That word can sum up every aspect of His character and every part of His mission for us on earth. 
I may not not fully understand Him,
 but  I do not need to in order to love people. 
That is all He wants me to do. 

What's more, it really doesn't matter that I cannot fully understand Him... if I could, He wouldn't be God. Sometimes we just need to quit asking questions and LET GO.

 Whether you can relate to me or not regarding this issue, I am blown away by the beautiful simplicity of God's love and had to share it here. 
For someone who notoriously over-complicates everything, the simple love of God is incredibly refreshing. 

I plan on starting to blog a lot more again. I miss it. I miss sharing my thoughts and revelations about God. Whether people read these posts are not, it is therapeutic for me. 
It is a running diary, and it is nice to look back on my past and how far I have come. 
In my next post I will play catch up with running and school. 

For today, however, I am just going to soak in God's love. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The College Dilemma

Have you ever seen this diagram before? Here we have represented what most people consider the ultimate college dilemma. Personally, I would substitute "partying" with simply "social life", but you get the picture. 

The thing is, I WISH it were that simple. Two of three... that's not bad. 
But when you are a collegiate athlete, or you work, or you are actively involved in your church, the triangle shape-shifts into a polygon. 
Then we have problems. 

I am growing increasingly aware that I may not have as much time to blog this year as I would hope. As much as I love to write and record 
my thoughts and observations, 
my time has been otherwise occupied. 

My polygon includes many things - Good grades, cross country, social life, church, personal time (under which I include things like blogging), sleep.... 
the list goes on. 

Unfortunately, I can't have everything. And I am unwilling to sacrifice on many of these areas, including sleep. I'm a 9 hours of sleep a night kind of gal who also wants to make the Dean's list, go to Nationals for cross country, 
and have a buzzing social life. 

Oh, and I'm going to make sure I go to church, 
because I need to keep my priorities straight. 

So what does that leave for me to sacrifice? Personal time, unfortunately. Some days (okay, most days) it's going to have to be crossed off the list. Other days, I will choose to cross off sleep or good grades or social life. I'm aware I need balance. And I'm doing my best to find that. 

So in the last few weeks, I haven't had much time to blog. And I miss it. And I have been doing homework all day. So here I find myself - 
sending out a quick update into the internet world for whoever cares. 


I have already had two races. Time is flying by. Both were 4ks, and both were smaller meets. I am such a perfectionist... and it's hard not to be self-critical, but I am mostly content with my performances. I know that I have a lot of work to do, but I am grateful to find myself 
surrounded by such a talented team of girls. 

They challenge me and humble me simultaneously, and though I kind of miss being the fastest runner, I think that I will get faster as a result of not being the fastest. If that makes sense. 

 I pr'd in the 4k by almost thirty seconds yesterday, so there you go. 

I have been working hard (three to four hours of practice related things every day) and taking care of myself, so I'm really excited to see what this season has in store. 


My favorite class, not surprisingly, is my Theology class. Because I am attending a faith-based school, I get to explore the world of religion - which anyone who knows me also knows that religion is my favorite topic. I am a Communications major, however, so most of my time is spent studying organization and interpersonal communication theories and studying research. Blah, blah, blah. I cannot wait until next year... when I can fill up all my extra space with fascinating classes like "Sociology of Religion" and "Modern Day Africa". 
Why am majoring in Communications if I don't love it? Good question. I think I like it, in theory. I think it is a solid degree that doesn't close doors. I think I am ultimately passionate about public speaking and writing and people, and Communications caters to that. But I wish I could just major in Philosophy and go on mind trips every day. Not much of a job market for that....


I have met so many new people in the last few weeks, I honestly don't even know who I have and haven't met. I love every second of it, though. Because I am at a new school - and a school that is so community oriented - I have been going out of my way to talk to people and make friends. And it has been wonderful. Cutting a little into my studies, for sure. But wonderful nonetheless. People are more important that Experimental Statistics, anyway. 

Let me also say that it is so. much. fun. to go to school with my younger sister. We play off of each other so well, and I love the fact that, when I tell her about my day, she understands exactly what I'm talking about! We plan on taking over the school. 

At the risk of making this the longest and dullest blog post ever, I'm going to stop there. 
Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

One Week Down

I am one happy girl.

Too happy for someone who just started school this week. I know that I should be groaning about the strenuous upper division credits I am taking or the copious amount of homework that I know is going to pile up this semester... but I just don't have it in me. I don't feel that way at all.

I really am enjoying college. I like my major. My classes. I love the campus. The people. I love the constant mingling and the daily opportunities to make new friends. I love my new teammates and coaches. I even love the intense cross country practices in 95 degree weather (mostly because there is always a generous supply of chocolate milk waiting for us when we get back to the trainer). 

Basically, this school is everything I wanted when I used to imagine myself in college as a baby high-schooler. As a transfer student, I was a little nervous that I wouldn't get it right. But I think I (or God, actually) found an awesome environment for me to [hopefully] thrive in for the next two years.

One week down. Many to go. But I'm incredibly optimistic about what the future holds! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dream A Little (Or Some Other Cliché Title)

I have always been an avid dreamer. 

As a little girl, I walked around with my head in the clouds. Anything and everything was possible, and my overactive imagination served me well for writing stories and playing make-believe. Even in the face of life's many failures (which everyone must deal with, unfortunately), 
I retained my large aspirations. 

Of course, as I got older, I adapted a bit more realistic perspective. 

At 13, I began to figure out that  it was unlikely that I would happen to be discovered by a famous Hollywood producer who happened to be in Idaho. 

And, after taking AP physics and hating every minute of it, I realized that it was a lot more difficult to be an astronaut than I first imagined. 

When I began my collegiate running career at a community college, I began to comprehend that I probably wasn't going to break any distance running world records anytime soon

Yet, though I perhaps have more of a realistic perspective than I once had, my propensity for dreaming has never diminished. 

What I mean is, there is still a large part of me that thoroughly believes that I might be a famous movie star one day. That I might travel to space. Or that I might go to the Olympics. 

I just finished my first week of xc training with my new team at the University I am transferring to. My legs are sore and my body is tired. Early mornings, two-a-days, and ice baths will take up all my time from here on out 
(except for studying, of course). 

And I couldn't be more excited. I keep on getting better. I keep on becoming a stronger and smarter racer. And I keep on dreaming. 

Honestly, who knows what the future holds? And who is to say that I might not break the school record, or the national record, or the world record one day? 

I know it's a long shot. I understand that A + B does not equal C. But I have come to think of dreaming as a very powerful tool. 

Without it, we would limit ourselves. 

So I'm going to continue to keep my head in the clouds. 
I'm going to push myself beyond my limits and see where it takes me. And if it only ever encourages me to give my best and never leads anywhere phenomenal, so be it. 
At least I will know I never sold myself short. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

And it Begins

Tomorrow is the first official day of practice with my new xc team. Well, it's the first day of xc camp anyway, and I'm assuming we will be doing some form of running tomorrow. Thus, it's the first official day of my Junior season of collegiate cross country. Where does time go? 

Summer is over, just like that. And I have spent the whole last week trying to get emotionally prepared for all of the change that is about to take place. 

I'm excited, yes. There is no doubt about that.
 I have started to find myself thinking about racing all the time. 

But I'm also nervous. 

I have spent the last two weeks doing some major cross training. I always deal with achilles issues (I have talked about it in the past), and for some reason these issues had to flair up again right before the start of my season. At least it wasn't in the middle. Or before Conference or something. 

But due to this nagging issue, I have logged a total of 19 miles in the last two weeks. If I were on schedule, I would have gotten in anywhere from 100-120. So that's unfortunate. 

Luckily, I'm an excellent cross trainer. I know how to get my heart rate up, and between the mile long swims and the intense biking sessions, I think I have stayed in pretty good shape. I'm just hoping that I'll be able to jump right in with my team tomorrow for the longer runs. I know I have to be careful starting back up again, but I'm feeling confident that I'm better. 

And I'm feeling confident about how this season is going to play out. I have never been stronger mentally or physically than I am right now, and I am fully trusting God with every result. I'm looking forward to making new friends. To long bus rides and muddy races. And it begins tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Free and Unfettered!

So this is what it feels like to be a poor college student.

For the first time in my adult life, I can genuinely say that I am flat out broke. Is there any reason, someone please enlighten me,
 that textbooks should cost more than $400? 


I didn't think so. 

I know it's all part of the experience. Typical. But I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that I am going into debt (something that society frowns down upon) to get a degree (something almost essential in society) because society tells me that's how it is supposed to be. 

I'm not trying to complain. It's not like I'm destitute or anything. I'm sitting in my own room right now in a two story house and writing this blog on my own personal laptop. I'm beyond blessed. 

I'm just amused by it all, I guess. 

The wonderful thing is, I never really need to worry about money. I need to be wise, yes. But worry? That's not for me. 

Matthew 6 says it pretty clearly:

"There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. 
And you count far more to him than birds."

"What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."

I will be the first to admit that I worry about a lot of things. But God has been working to get me to relax. To steep my life in his provisions. In his reality. 

So that's just some food for thought for the day. And for everyday. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Au Revoir L'été [Goodbye Summer]

Today I spent two hours in Starbucks sipping a cold brew (it's coffee people!) and getting some quality journaling in. I filled eleven blank pages with every thought that has been circling around my head the past few days, and when I finished I shook out the cramp in my hand and breathed a sigh of relief.

There is something oh so therapeutic about writing. 
And I realized just how much I have missed it.

I'm hesitant for summer to end. I have thoroughly enjoyed the late night trips to the hotsprings, the grass volleyball, and the summer camps
 (church camp for college kids, you ask? Heck. Yes.)

There have been a few ups and downs, no doubt, but I am grateful for all of the memories I have made. 
When school starts, free time will be far and few between.

This summer has flown by, and as I contemplate what this next season of my life is going to look like, I feel the inescapable urge to write down how I'm feeling. So here goes. I'm feeling nervous.

Nervous to run for a new team. Nervous to be a transfer student and not know how anything works at this new place. Nervous to take upper division classes and somehow balance a full day of classes, practice, and homework while still aiming for 8-9 hours of sleep a night (I'm an athlete... we need it!) I can't help imagining myself failing miserably. Not living up to others' expectations of me. Or my expectations of myself...

But then I remember that this is supposed to be exciting. I have been given the amazing opportunity to extend my education at an incredible school. I have been offered a spot on a competitive xc/track team and will undoubtedly grow as a runner in the process. I get to go to school with my sister and best friend. And I get to stay involved at my church which is growing exponentially and now has about 1/3 of the Boise State football players involved.

Honestly, I'm so blessed. And though I often feel inadequate, I have to remember that it is in my weakness that God's strength shines through.
 So I am more than enough.

So here is to a new season. I still have a week or so to catch my breath before the storm, so I'll be relishing the moments undoubtedly. But I am going to look forward with cheerful expectation. God has a lot for me this year, and I can't wait to share everything on this blog. If you are willing to read (and even if I am sending this out into the atmosphere for no one but myself), 
I am happy to write.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Taking A Break

If you care more about the Promiser than the promise, you shouldn't care whether or not the promise comes to fruition. That's not your focus. Your focus in God. 

Comparison is a trap. Not only does it bring you done, but it causes you to judge others. God did not create us to compare ourselves with one another. He created us to shine for his glory. 

"Hoping in God is different than hoping in an outcome."

I have no blog theme for today. No main point. Just a few cool revelations and quotes that have been floating around in my head. 

I have decided to stay off of the internet for awhile. I have already deactivated my Facebook and cleaned out my top sites. It's summer, and I'm tired of the distractions that social media brings. I will be back, however. I love twitter and facebook and blogging and think they are great ways to connect with people and to share information. I love writing blogs and sharing my heart and expressing myself. I just know I need a couple weeks to clear my head and be tech-free. 

Unfortunately, I still have to check my email and craigslist, because I'm working on things for school in the fall and looking for a job. But I'm going to try to make that the extent of my web surfing. 

I'll be back soon :) 

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Graduation Day!

Tonight I graduate from TVCC. 

Though it's just community college and therefore just an Associate's Degree, 
it's still exciting to celebrate life's little accomplishments. I get to make the graduation speech, and I am so blessed and honored to be able to do so, 

I know that graduating with my bachelor's will be a bigger deal, 
but I want to be proud of myself for how much I have grown the last two years. 
For how much I have learned -
 both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. 

It's so insane to reflect on the last two years of my life 
and realize how quickly time has gone.
 I obviously have mixed emotions, but I'm excited for this next stage of my life. 
To move back home. To start fresh at a University. 
To make new friends and learn new things. 

To embark on new adventures.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Exploring Philosophy

“…But when hunger for bread came, when life began to be an earnest thing, then I realized in its dreadful depths, how poor and empty, how devitalized and comfortless, the new religion of our time had let me…. In the recesses of my being, the warmth of the gospel began to drive out the freezing chill of philosophy” – Abraham Kuyper (Qtd. A Book of Protestant Saints)

Summer has a way of making everything seem beautiful. I think the sun’s rays must permeate the soul, allowing light to flood in. Everything seems much more… simple. There is no room for busy thoughts or worry.
Summer is happy-go-lucky. Summer is carefree and unfettered.

If one is going to have an existential crisis, then, it is much more appropriate to do so in the winter. The winter casts a cold and dreary light on everything. Endless hours spent indoors can lend to sort of gloom, and it is only natural that the philosophical imagination would begin to run wild.

But not in summer, right?. Summer should be a time of light.
Who am I kidding? The search for truth never rests.

And lately, despite the bliss that summer usually brings,
my thoughts have been a little crowded.
Millions of seemingly impossible questions have taken up residency in my mind,
and it is as if a dark cloud has been blocking the radiant summer sun.

Honestly, I think everyone needs to have at least one moment of self-reflection in life. Everyone must ask themselves why they believe what they believe. 
For some, this may only need happen once.
For others, like me, it might be an almost daily occurrence.
I want truth. I am not interested in beautiful mythology or comforting ideology.

I am guessing that there are many people like me in the world, and that is likely why philosophy has become such a popular subject to study. 
While it is a certainly stimulating topic, however,
I have come to realize that philosophy is mostly empty.

It is just fluff. Not substance. Just milk. Not meat. 
Just questions. Not answers.

I realize that I am still young and that I lack life experience relative to many, but truth does not care about age nor hide itself from the young.

And truth, I have found time and time again, is ONLY in Jesus

He is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)
Every time I have a crisis of faith, I come once again back to this reality. 

He is the answer to every complex and 
impossible question I could ever conjure up. 

All of the gloomy shadows have been cast on my mind the last few weeks have been (once again) displaced by this glorious realization. 

The truth of the gospel, warm and inviting, has brought me back into the light of summer. I know why I believe why I believe. It’s because of Jesus.