Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Axis School Year in Review



Here is a brief ... well, maybe not so brief ... picture of the axis school year 2008 - 2009. This is what we talked about at our team meeting this past Saturday. We had fun reflecting on the year and talking about hi-lites and even some "low" points.

If you take a look at our axis logo, you'll notice 4 words. That's our mission in axis: To KNOW God. To SERVE others. To INVOLVE ourselves with each other. And, to have an IMPACT on others for Jesus. So, we try to base everything we do on those four things. If it doesn't fit in to those 4 areas, we don't do it.

2008 – 2009 Axis School Year in Review

EVENTS & Hi-lites

- Mess Fest - Involve
- Lake Party - Involve
- Link Opened - Involve/Impact
- Pastor Jeremy joins us
- Judgment House (856 attended, 113 rededications, 79 salvations) - Involve/Impact
- 5th Quarters - Involve/Impact
- Re-Merry Christmas Blitz - Impact/Serve
- Christmas Concert - Involve/Serve
- Super Bowl Party - Involve
- Super Subs - Involve/Serve
- Daddy/Daughter Dance - Involve/Serve
- 2:8 Weekend - Know/Impact
- Easter Helicopter Drop - Impact
- Middle School Movie Night - Involve
- Steve Fee Concert - Involve
- Pizza Sales - Involve/Serve
- New Small Groups Kicked Off - Know
- Thrift Store Formal - Involve
- Kentucky Mission Trip - Involve/Impact
- Operation Barnabas - Know/Srve/Involve/Impact
- 42 kids going to Momentum - Know/Serve/Involve/Impact
- Pancake Breakfast - Involve/Serve

Teachig TOPICS @ axis

- WhySeries: Why Jesus, Why Creation, Why the Bible, Why Worship, Why Give Back
- The Choice: To Forgive, To Try, To Stand, To Share
- The Supernatural
- Self Image
- Untouchables: Drugs, Self-Injury, Sex
- Axis 2009 Vision
- It’s Time to: Out Thrive, Out Think, Out Stand, Out Give, to Get Saved (16 kids made decisions that night)
- God’s Planet/Our Responsibility
- The End: Rapture, Tribulation #1 & #2
- The Power of Words
- Surviving Your Family: Your Responsibility, Dysfunctional Families
- Labels
- Refuel: Running on Empty, Stop/Drop/Listen, Making a Connection

Areas Kids are Serving in axis – Greeting, Café, Tech Room, Worship Team, Pictures, Passing Out Bibles, Announcements.

Average Attendance in 1/09 to 5/09 – 194

1st Time Visitors in 1/09 to 5/09 – 55

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wednesday Wrap Up





Topic: Refuel
The "Big" Idea: There's not one right way to spend time with God.
Student Involvement: Our kids greeted, passed out journals, played on the worship team, worked in the "tech" room, worked in the cafe, and took pictures.
Attendance: 190 with 4 first time visitors
Fun Stuff: During our senior high time, we honored all of our graduating seniors. We tried to do our best to help them feel special. Jeremy talked about our college ministry (The Pursuit). We had a girl who graduated from axis 2 years ago and who has really been doing a TON to serve and be involved in people's lives talk about mistakes she's made since graduating and things she would suggest for the seniors to do. We gave all of the seniors a DQ gift card and all the guys got a grilled steak dinner and dessert while the girls got a manicure and a dessert.
We started out our night with the Numa Numa video just for something fun.
Lesson Review: We've spent the last two weeks talking about the importance of refueling and connecting with God. This week, instead of talking about it, I wanted to give our kids the opportunity to do it. So, I created a journal with 8 different ways to spend time with God. I then walked our kids through each step and gave them the opportunity to "connect" with God during the night. In the journal were opportunities for kids to reflect on some of the attributes of God, read through varies Bible passages and journal or draw pictures about them, we showed pictures of babies with verses about being children of God, watched a music video, wrote a brief "letter" to God, and then closed with a very funny Brian Regan video and had kids journal on things that make them happy. There were a handful of kids that didn't really get in to it, but a majority of our students seemed to take it seriously or at least participate.
It was something very different, but very experiential for our kids. I think it's something we need to do again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 Phrases

3 new phrases have just made life more interesting at the Yauger house:

- "No"
- "Mine"
- "Don't like it."

Ah, the joys of parenthood! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Monday

- It was a good weekend. I had the opportunity to take Friday off so we had Ezra's "official" birthday party. Nothing like a house full of little kids! It was a lot of fun, though. I just loved seeing the excitement on Ezra's face when his friends came over. Even though I don't think he gets the "concept" of friends yet, he was just excited that people other the mom and dad were at the house. Carol did a great job planning the party. We had the kids make homemade pizzas, let them play outside, had lunch, and then designed a "treasure hunt" for all of the kids. Each kid was given a present but they had to find it using a map with a specific clue on it (a picture of something in our backyard). They loved it! We also did the limbo, had cake (my favorite part) and watched Ezra open some presents. Here are a couple of pictures:








We really want to make birthdays a big deal for our kids. Having them with us IS a celebration and we never wan to forget that. We've committed to trying our best to celebrating the day that God brought them in to our lives.
- It was also nice on Friday to be able to go out for an hour with Carol. We went to Star Bucks and just sat for a bit. Some friends watched the kids allowing us an hour of "quiet" time with each other. We are trying to prioritize dates with each other, even if it means we're only out for an hour. We are trying to learn to lean on people more and not be afraid to ask them if they can watch the kids for us. Not easy to do, but we're finding that people don't seem to mind. We are very thankful for that!
- Been a little frustrated lately with my right knee. I've been having some knee pain since the half marathon and haven't been able to run. After popping lots of ibubrofen and resting it for the past two weeks, I'm going to give it another go on Wednesday and see if I can run. Hopefully I can because I'm feeling the "itch" to do so. Plus, with all of the leftover birtday cake, I could use a run or two. :)
- Speaking of running, Pastor Jim did his marathon yesterday. Very cool. 26.2 miles in just over 4 hours. That's pretty darn impressive. We call him the "senior" pastor, but there's not much "senior" about him. Good job, Jim!
- Really good services at church yesterday. We had the Kid City worship team (made up entirely of kids) on the stage helping lead worship. It was AWESOME and they brought so much energy to the stage. Jon spoke on Revelation 17 & 18 and did a great job of making things clear and also giving us things to apply. Afterwards, I went to the first graduation party of the summer. Only about 100 more to go. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wednesday Night Wrap Up




Topic: Refuel
The "Big" Idea: Take time to stop and be quiet.
Student Involvement: Kids from axis were involved in the worship team, the tech team, our cafe team, passing out Bibles, doing announcements, greeting, and taking pictures.
Attendance: 177
Fun Stuff: The Impossible Shot in the gym, a funny music video from the Simply Youth Ministry Conference, and a fun video of a "typical" morning for me that we showed to open up the teaching time.
Bible Verses: Ephesians 3:14 - 19, 1 Kings 19:11 - 12
Lesson Review: We opened the lesson with a video of my morning. We tried to show what an "ideal" morning would look like ... me waking up with a smile, praying, and reading my Bible. But, that never seems to happen. So, we showed what really happens and how hectic a morning for all of us can be. Hopefully I'll be able to post the video soon. We then talked about how busy our schedules are ... even in middle and high school ... from practices, to school, to homework, to work, to games, to church, to friends ... it all makes for a crazy schedule. We can't be surprised that if we don't make time for God, our lives may start to feel empty and dry. So, I challenged our kids to do 2 things: First, to STOP in the day. I didn't ask them to stop for long periods of time, but to carve our a minute here, a minute there to simply stop and try to connect with God. Secondly I challenged them to START being quiet. We are surrounded by so much noise from the moment we get up to the moment we go to sleep. We used the 1 Kings 19 passage of God being in the "still, small voice." God's not going to compete with our noise. He's not going to make us turn things off. But, to hear Him, we'll have to do that. So, I asked our kids to stop and be quiet throughout their day for the next 7 days. We used the Poll Everywhere to see how kids would do that. There were cool responses like: "I'll turn my radio off in the car." "I won't run with my ipod." "I'll turn my cell phone off for a few minutes each day." It was neat to see how kids wanted to apply this.
We ended with this video:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our Baby Girl



Mercy just recently turned 4 months. She's a cutie!

A Shaved Dog



Gave our dog Yalom a shave yesterday. Not sure if you've ever tried to shave a 160 pound dog. It's not easy! But, let me just say, Yalom has never looked worse. :) I won't be in the pet grooming business any time soon. The sheep shearers (or however you spell that word) worked very well, but Yalom wasn't being incredibly cooperative ... hence the bad hair cut.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Monday

- Got to celebrate Mother's Day ... a couple of days early. Carol and I were able to go out on Friday night. Some friends of ours agreed to watch the kids and so we could enjoy a night out on the town. We were able to go out to dinner, enjoy a nice dessert, and just walk around re-connecting with each other. It was really nice. For Mother's Day, I put together a picture frame with 8 different pictures from our family and gave it to Carol. I also ran out to Panera Bread early in the morning to grab 2 bagels for a "special" breakfast together. I loved celebrating Carol today! She is an amazing mom and even more beautiful woman. I love seeing how she interacts with our kids and puts everything she has in to being a great mom. How she does all that she does, I'll never know. To come home to a house that's clean and to a meal and to see two kids just loving life and enjoying their home ... Carol does it all. I am so thankful and grateful to have her in my life. I taught Ezra how to say "Happy Mommy's Day." He was going around the house saying it all the time yesterday. It was really cute.

- On Mother's Day I'm thankful for my mom also. Being a parent has helped me to understand a little better the sacrifices that she has made for her family. She has taught me to be kind, compassionate, and caring and has taught me how to serve ... not so much by what she has told me but simply by how she has lived it out in front of me. Thanks, mom.

- Had a really cool experience at church yesterday. We did "Mama Mania" which is always a blast! It was so fun seeing the different comptetitions we had and the moms just going at it ... from musical chairs to putting make-up and clothes on different people, to cutting up food and then having to eat it ... it was a lot of fun! We didn't change our series, though, and kept on the end times. At the end of the message, Jim gave an invitation for people to accept Jesus. 88 people responded! Woo Hoo! Something really cool for me ... behind Carol and I sat a family of 3 ... mom, dad, and daughter. When Jim gave the invitation, the mom stood up first and said "I don't want to be left behind." The entire family stood up then and, prayed outloud to receive Jesus. I sat with my eyes closed and just listened to their prayer. As they prayed I thought about the fact that, at that very moment, their sins were being forgiven and they were entering in to a personal relationship with the God of the Universe! Wow!

- This whole "Refuel" thing, which I blogged about on Friday, has been awesome! I've been sending out text messages to our kids and adult leaders inviting them to connect with God in different ways. This mornings text: "Stop. Take 10 seconds to ask God what His purpose is for your life today." I continue to get comments from kids and adults saying how much they are appreciating these texts because it makes them stop and connect with God. I'm so thankful that people are doing it and will be excited to see how God uses this in our youth ministry.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thanks Bessie

The church where I grew up in PA is honoring a very special lady this Sunday by the name of Bessie Ferrie. Bessie is the lady who led me to Jesus as a young boy. I was asked to write something for Bessie. Here is what I wrote:

I had a life changing experience at Happy Hour! I love to tell people that. Automatically there are responses like, “Did you have too many beers?” Well, that’s not quite the type of happy hour I’m referring too. You see, the happy hour that I am referring to took place at a church.

I was five years old. It was a Wednesday night. There is not much that I remember of my life from that time. I am sure that’s normal. Not many people have vivid memories of their life during that time except what is seen on home movies and pictures that are pulled out whenever it is time to be embarrassed by parents. But, I can honestly say that my most vivid memory from that time in my life occurred at the Uniontown Grace Brethren Church during Happy Hour.

I remember loving Happy Hour. We played games. We had snacks. What five-year-old boy wouldn’t love that?. Every night, though, before the kids went home, Bessie Ferrie, the Happy Hour teacher, would tell us that Jesus Christ loved us and that He wanted us to be in heaven with Him. She told us that, although none of us were bad children, we just were not good enough to get to heaven by ourselves. Nobody would ever be good enough, not even adults! She said that if we wanted to go to heaven we needed help. We needed Jesus Christ.

That one night it just made sense. I can remember the following events just like they happened yesterday. Bessie took me in to the church office. She got two chairs, one for me and one for her. She sat down directly across from me and asked me to repeat a prayer after her. Although I cannot remember the prayer verbatim, it went something like this: “Dear, Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. I know that I cannot get to heaven on my own. I ask You to forgive me of my sin so I can be in heaven with you. Amen.”

I didn’t understand much about Jesus back then … just enough to know that I needed Him to go to heaven. I’m 37 now. I still don’t understand much about Jesus … but what I do know is that I need Him to go to heaven AND I need Him to get through life. A lot has happened in my life since that time … marriage, children, cancer … to name a few … and I am so thankful that Bessie took the time to care enough about a 5 year old boy to tell him about Jesus. I don’t know how I could have gotten through any of those things without Him.

Thank you, Bessie, for sharing Jesus with me. Thank you for knowing that Jesus makes a difference in a person’s life and being willing to share that. May your heart for sharing Jesus be an inspiration to us all! As I work with teenagers, I hope that someday I can have the impact on them like you have had on so many children in Uniontown.

I will always be grateful,

Rich

Wednesday Wrap Up





Topic: Refuel
The "Big" Idea: Refueling is not about "doing" but "connecting" with God.
Student Involvement: We had kids greeting, taking pictures, reading Scripture, working the cafe, playing on the worship team, working in the "tech" room, and passing out Bibles.
Attendance: 179
Fun Stuff: We played dodgeball in the gym (I am SOOOO thankful for our gym). We also did some Jay Leno "Headlines" that I thought were hilarious ... but didn't go over so well with our kids. So, instead of "forcing" it I tried to make light of the fact that they thought they were awful ... so we started "fake" laughing, which seemed to help things out a bit. We also used "Poll Everywhere" during the lesson and a video I pulled from "More Than Dodgeball."
Bible Verses: Ephesians 3:19, Matthew 11:28, John 8:12, John 14:3
Lesson Review: The idea behind this 3 week series is to point to the fact that our kids are very busy and in the midst of busyness, our relationship with God often suffers. I took a "Poll Everywhere" question (http://www.polleverywhere.com) and asked our students "How connected to God do you feel right now?" 33.5% said they feel "very" connected. 57% said they feel sort of "empty." And, 4.5% said they have "no" connection with God right now. It's AWESOME that we have some students who feel very close to God at the moment, but the majority of our kids were feeling rather distant. So, it's important to "refuel" and connect with God. But, connecting with God is NOT about doing more stuff. That's "religion." God's not so in to religion, but wants a relationship with us. We used the illustration of a friendship. We are friends with our "bff's" not because of what they DO, but because we just enjoy being with them. A true connection with God does not come from a "have to do it" mentality but from a "want to" mentality ... same idea behind friendship.
Throughout the next 7 days, I told our kids that are on our text list that they would all be receiving at least one text from me a day to encourage them to "make a connection" with God somehow. For example, last night I sent out the text "Pause. Take 1 minute to simply be quiet before God. God often speaks in quiet places." This morning I sent out the text "Take a second to thank God for another day and ask Him to help you make the most of it." I'm trying to push the idea that our kids can make connections with God throughout their day, just like they do with their friends. It's been cool because I've already received a few texts back from kids saying how much they like this idea. Hopefully it helps all of us refuel and get connected with God.
Personal Thoughts: I've been a part of axis for 7 years. In all of those 7 years, I don't remember a more AWFUL teaching time than during middle school this past Wednesday. I mean, it really stunk! I couldn't focus. I was all over the place. I was forgetting things and totally not making sense. When I say it was really bad, I mean it was really BAD! After our middle school time, I went to a quiet place and just prayed. Something was going on with me and I asked God to help me know what it was. I really felt like God was telling me that I NEED to be "refueled" right now. I wasn't being real with our middle school kids. I wasn't doing it intentionally or anything, but instead of really being in touch with my own feelings, I was trying to give our middle school students a good "show" instead of simply letting them know, "Hey, this is where I'm at right now. I'm feeling a little drained and empty and need to refuel just as much as you guys." So, during our high school time, I pretty much scratched everything I had prepared, stuck to the basics of it, and simply was honest with our kids. I let them know that it's OK to feel distant from God at times. It happens. The important thing is to recognize it when it's happening, be willing to share with others what is going on, and then start making connections with God. I felt like our kids responded well to it and had some people talk to me afterwards to simply say "Thanks for being real and letting me know that I'm not the only one who has felt that way." It was a good lesson for me to learn.
I'm excited to refuel this week and make those connections with God.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

axis the past month

Here is a copy of an email I sent out to our church updating them on our youth ministry. It's a picture of what has been happening in axis the past month:

Dear Church,

I wanted to keep you updated on how things are going in axis. I’m so excited to serve here and so excited to be the pastor of your teenagers. I’m humbled at this honor. I very often feel that there are others who are “more qualified” to do this job than me … but I’m thankful that God believes in me and so does this church. I’m striving to help our teenagers make axis the friendliest place in Goshen on a Wednesday night in order to give kids a clear picture of who God is. Please continue to pray for me, for our adults, and for our teenagers as we try our best to reach kids for Jesus. Here is a brief overview of the past month:

First Time Visitors: 35

Students Involved in Small Groups: 58

Topics Covered in Small Groups: Introduction to the Bible, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, Being a Child of God, Baptism and the Church.

Kids Going to Momentum: 42

Kids going on Operation Barnabas: 3

Kids involved in the Kentucky Mission Trip: A lot!

Kids serving on Sunday mornings: A lot!

Areas Kids are serving in at axis: The Café, the tech room, greeting, passing out Bibles, playing on the worship team, announcements, leading small groups, taking pictures, working the video camera.

New Adult Leaders: 2

Topics Covered: “The Power of Words”, “Surviving Your Family”, “Labels”

Activities: Steve Fee Concert, Thrift Store Formal

Kids on the “axis text list”: 163

Members on the “axis facebook page”: 81

Average Attendance: 185

Personal Thoughts: I’m excited about what has been happening in axis. There’s definitely an excitement about coming. I believe kids are proud, in a good way, of axis. They invite their friends and I really feel like we are the “friendliest place in Goshen on a Wednesday night.” I feel like we do Wednesdays very well, but trying to keep my eyes open to what we can be doing better.

I’m looking to take students who want to go with me, though, to another level. I’m re-vamping our student leadership program making it more intense, with more demands on service, evangelism, and Bible study. I’m also trying to take students in small groups deep in to the Word of God.

I also want to see students even MORE involved in axis. My goal by the fall is to see axis students TOTALLY planning at least one axis meeting a month.
Please continue to pray with me for our kids and for our impact on them. Here are some specific ways to pray for axis:

1. Pray that we make the MOST of our summer.
2. Pray that we finish the school year STRONG.
3. Pray for Alyssa, Katie, and Kellam as they get ready to leave for a summer mission trip.
4. Pray for the 42 students we have going to Momentum. If you’d like to help support them financially, just write “Momentum” on your giving envelopes.
5. Pray for our axis student leadership team to make an IMPACT at axis.
6. Pray that our adults will have an unnatural ability to connect with teenagers.
7. Pray that I will be a youth pastor who is trusted by, creative with, and effectively reaches teenagers.

Thrift Store Formal

We had an event last Friday called the "Thrift Store Formal." Students who came were given the instructions to go to a local thrift store and only spend $5.00 on an outfit and then to model it at our "formal." As you can see from the pictures, our kids got pretty creative and there were some pretty funny outfits! It's something I'd like to do again, but maybe as a part of our Wednesday night axis meeting. Here are some pics:










Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ezra!

Ezra turned 2 years old yesterday. Wow! I've heard it said to me over and over: "It will go by fast." Well, that has certainly proved true. It's hard to believe that it's been 2 years since he's entered our lives AND after only two years, I simply can't imagine life without him. I love that kid!
We had so much fun celebrating his birtday yesterday and really want to try to make a big deal out of birtdays. We feel so blessed to have our kids ... so fortunate ... and we really want to celebrate that. We don't want to forget what a priviledge it is to have them in our lives and definately feel honored that God believes in Carol and I enough to give us the responsibility of raising them. He definately sees something in us that we often do not see in ourselves. It's nice to know that God believes in us.
To celebrate Ezra's day, we tried to do the things that he just really enjoys. They may seem "silly," but these are some of his favorite things.
- At church, instead of taking him directly to his class, we took him in to The Link with us so he could listen to the worship music. He LOVES to listen to the band and just clapped the entire time! It was so cute.
- We read lots of books!
- After his nap, I let him ride on the tractor with me while I cut the grass. He loves riding on the John Deere! He's definately my kid!

- Then we opened presents: Some clothes from his cousins, a "musical clock" from some close friends, squirt guns from some close friends ... which he was shooting me with already this morning! :) Seriously, the kid has never held a gun before, but he knew EXACTLY what to do with it! He's a boy!


- We then let him tear in to some chocolate cake.
- We let him see open our present to him, which was a drum set. He just loves music and absolutely loved playing with his new drums!




- Finally, he wanted to watch football. The drumset was set up in our basement where the TV is and after about 40 minutes of banging on the drums, he turned to the TV and said "futbal." So, I put in a Steelers dvd (of course) and we watched some football.

- Then it was off to bed with a few more books.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EZRA! I love you!
dad

Wednesday Wrap Up






Topic: Labels
The "Big" Idea: Be more concerned with how God sees you than how anyone else sees you.
Student Involvement: We had kids leading small groups, working the cafe, a completely student led worship team, working in the sound room, greeting, and taking pictures.
Fun Stuff: We played a power point game called "Mangled Maxims" in which you had to decipher common phrases that were worded in a complicated way ... sorta like this sentence. :)
Bible Verses: 1 Samuel 16:4 - 7
Lesson Review: This was a small group Wednesday for us, so I needed a "One Hit Wonder" for the kids that are not in small groups. I got the "Labels" idea from More Than Dodgeball and really liked the concept. So, I tried to add my own flavor to it, but also use some of the thoughts I came across from J.G. We started things out with an intro of me talking about how different labels on clothes often cause us to think different things about the clothes or the people wearing them. Kids didn't seem to connect really well with that intro, but once we watched the Susan Boyle video of her singing on Britain's Got Talent, everyone got really quiet and really into the video. After the video, kids actually applauded! Even though this video has been out there a few weeks, it's still really powerful and pulled our kids in right away. We then talked about how at first she was labeled because of how she looked. Now she's really popular, but she's labeled for her amazing voice. Either way, she's been labeled ... not for who she is, but now for what she can do. I talked about how tired I am of that and that it's exhausting to feel like you may have to be "something different" for the different people in our lives. God doesn't look at us in that way. He accepts us for who we are, not for what we can do. It's important to care more about how God sees us than how anyone else sees us. Hopefully it was a good thought that stuck with our kids throughout the week.
Personal Thoughts: I loved seeing our kids go in to small groups. Seems like the groups went really well and I love the picture above of a teenager holding their Bible while working through the Bible study. I think that's just awesome! It's also cool to be able to have a smaller group to talk to once those in small groups leave the Link. It's a totally different atmosphere and there is cool interaction with the kids.

2:17:46

That was my time for the half marathon this past Saturday. I was VERY happy with that time. My goal was to do it in under 2 1/2 hours, and so I was happy to have reached that goal. Here are a few of my "post race" thoughts:

- I loved seeing the look of determination on the faces of everyone running. There were 35,000 people registered for that race, making it the largest half marathon in the world! 35,000 people all with the same goal ... to finish. 35,000 people, determined, focused, of the same mind. As I was running, I would occassionally take a peak in to someone's eyes and see the desire in their heart to finish. It was so cool to see that many people with a similiar passion and goal. Imagine if the Church would rally together with that same passion, that same determination, that same focus. Wow! The things that could happen!

- I loved trying to be an encouragement to people during the race. I'd try to talk, occassionally, with people running beside me ... find out their history of running, encourage them to have a good race, etc. During the last mile there were several people who were really struggling. It was cool to be able to come next to a couple of them and try to be an encouragement. I think that actually helped me get through the last mile.

- 13 miles is a long run! The longest I had trained for was 10 miles. The last 3 miles were pretty tough, and I remember thinking after I crossed the finish line: "I don't think I ever want to run again!" But, here is it ... Monday ... and I went for a 3 mile jog this morning. I just needed some time to recover.

- It was really fun to have Carol, Ezra, and Mercy in Indy with me. They didn't get to come to the race at all, but when I walked in to the room after the race, Ezra started clapping for me. It was really cute!

- Carol was just so incredibly supportive through all of this. I loved having her say that she was proud of me for running. She freed me up to run ... encouraged me ... supported me ... she's awesome!

- I'm sore today, but it's a "good" sore. It feels good to have accomplished a goal and I feel I have a healthy sense of pride about it all.

Friday, May 1, 2009

13.2 miles ... Here I Come!

Getting ready to run the half marathon tomorrow. It's been a cool experience so far and I've learned a lot about myself. It's called a "mini-marathon" but, believe me, there's nothing "mini" about it! I'll be running for over 2 hours! Here are a couple of things I've learned:

- Friends encouraged me to run this. I probably would never have decided to do it on my own. The lesson ... well, Bill Hybels said it a whole lot better than I could: "The nature of human beings is such that we tend not to drift into better behaviors. We usually have to be asked by someone to consider taking it up a level." That has spoken very true in my life.

- The Holy Spirit wants to take me further than I can go. Pastor Jim prayed for me this morning and as we were talking he said that, as he's been training for his marathon, sometimes he'll run and when he's getting tired he'll say to the Holy Spirit: "Is that all you got!" The Holy Spirit gives us strength and takes us further than we think we can go. That's how I put it, but I like Jim's way a whole lot better. :)

- Exercise is sooo good for you. Man, I feel great. I've lost some weight. I have a little spring in my step. I just feel good. I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and my blood pressure is the lowest it's ever been and my heart rate is in the 50's. I love feeling good.

- Exercise takes discipline! There's no easy way around it. You just gotta suck it up and do it ... even when you're tired ... even when you don't want to. There's a reason it's called "sweat."

- It feels good to accomplish a goal. At the beginning of the year I set this as a goal. It feels great to be able to scratch that one off the list.

- Finally, when I was going through my chemotherapy treatments and just feeling awful, I told myself that I would never take my health for granted again. I felt so exhausted and completely wasted! I never really understood how incredible it was to have good health until I didn't have good health. Now I know what it's like and I never want to take my health for granted again. If I can run ... I want to run!

If ya think of it, say a prayer for me as I run tomorrow. I'd appreciate it. And, there will be 40,000 other people there. Pray I'll get to be Jesus to people. Thanks!

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