(click on any photo to see them larger)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Josiah is 3!!!
Another year has gone by so fast!  
Of course he had a Garbage man theme.  He was in trash heaven with the house decorated with paper egg cartons, cereal boxes and whatever else, saved up from the recycling can and food was served from mini trash cans.  We ate Sanitation Soup (potato), Yard Debris (green salad), Fruit Compost (fruit salad), Junk Mix (Chex mix) and nibbled on gummy worms before we sang Happy Birthday to the suddenly shy boy and cut into his requested garbage truck cake from Great Grandma.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday to Joshua!  
It just can't be another year gone by since he had his last birthday!  I can't believe Joshua is in middle school now and growing up so fast!  He is still breaking his times and loving running as his cake shows.  Great Grandma used a photo of Josh running in his last cross country meet as a decoration for his cake.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The photo is of Emily and her running partner from high school.  They are freshmen, but run with the varsity team.  They run side by side and encourage and press each other on, but they don’t win any of the races.  So why do they do it? First off it is an honor to be chosen to run with the varsity as mere freshmen.  Now they didn't have to say yes, they could have said that they would rather run with the freshmen, said they were not ready, didn't want to earn a varsity letter, wanted nothing to do with varsity runners… all kinds of excuses.  They could have chosen not to run at all.  It is a lot of work, dedication, she gives up a lot, has to be careful what she eats and drinks, get enough sleep, and give up some fun times with her non-runner friends. But not only did she decide to run, she gave up running with her peers.  If she ran with the freshmen, she would pretty much be assured of placing in the top, maybe even getting first place in all the races.  Instead she settles for making her own personal best times, she works to improve herself, while at the same time she is pulled ahead by the older girls and they drive her on to bettering herself as a runner.  At the same time, she contributes to the overall good of the team meet points, helping her school win.  Isn't that a perfect picture of how it is to be a Christian?  First off, we are given the gift of running the race...Jesus won it for us, but now we can run for the “team’ bettering the name of Christianity, at the same time improving ourselves for the sake of Christ.  We could just say no to Christ, forget about Spiritual food and drink, spiritual growth.  Forget about eternity in Heaven.  But when we say yes, we run alongside others who pull us, push us and sometimes drag us towards the goal.  Sometimes it is us who has to pull others along with us and encourage them to the end.  We can all look ahead and be encouraged by those who are ahead of us and know that there are others following behind us in our footsteps. 
(Not quite what you expect those 'Golden Gates' to look like, huh?)

 I was invited to join a Bible study group of neighborhood women who have met for years.  I haven’t been in a group study for a while, even though I have been active in quite a few through the years.  They meet up on Friday mornings in a little espresso bar one mile from here. I only knew one of the women in the group and so I was a little nervous before I got there.  I almost decided not to go.
Well, as always, when I almost decide not to do something, but end up going through with it, I was so happy that I had made myself go.  It is a really great group of women and I know I am going to like being a part of their study time.
They are just finishing up the book of Hebrews. They were in Chapter 12.  I have read the verse so many times before, but their discussion of verse 1 really struck me in a different way than before. 
“Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
 Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  I guess because our family is so into running, anything that refers to runners sparks a little extra interest in what I am reading.  I have read a few other verses about running the race in the Bible.  I always thought of it as to earn THE prize.
 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run but only one receives the prize.  Run in such a way that you may win.
Sometimes I have to admit, I have felt a little nervous about that because there is only ONE first place...and if we are to run to get THE prize, then it is pretty sure that I am not going to win that prize.  I mean there are so many good Christians out there...sometimes the ‘works’ part of Christianity gets a little cloudy mixed with the ‘faith’ part.
 Well, last week I was able to think of it in a different way as these women sat around discussing ‘running the race’.  I thought back to last summer when I got a wild notion to run the 3K at the Bush Park Run that the kids and grandkids do every week during the month of August.  Emily was not going to run, but I asked her to run with me. She agreed.  I was in my normal summer clothes.  The only ‘running’ clothes I had on were my shoes.  I felt like it would be a simple thing.  I had been running all summer for my workout, and I was running farther for my workout than this run was going to be.  Well, I didn't think about it being the hottest day of the summer.  I didn't think about running over a bumpy grassy field forever before we got to some smooth pavement, I didn't know how many hills were out there!  so much I didn't know.  Poor Emily, she really hung in there with me.  And here I thought it was such a great idea to encourage HER to run it.  At one point, she looked behind us and said, ‘Grandma, we are almost the last ones!”  I told her she didn't have to keep running with me, to go on ahead,  but she stayed back with me anyway.  She encouraged me by saying that most of the ones that had been behind us had just dropped out. A while into the race, I was breathing really hard and told her that my heart was beating really fast, she grabbed my arm and said “Don’t have a heart attack, Grandma”  Then I got  thirsty and I started whining to her about that.  A little ways off the home stretch trail, there was a water fountain...she pointed it out and I actually considered a detour.  But we were so close to being done, and I didn't want to be dead last in the race so I decided to tough it out. Don’t get me wrong, we were laughing a lot too. She was such a good companion!  So there we went, together on up to the finish line...there were people there cheering us in...happy for us, even if we were not the first, we were finished, we did it. I was so happy and relieved and proud! that was my prize.  With Emily’s help,  I did it!
And I now realize that only one comes in first. But to each person crossing the line, THAT is the prize for them.
 Philippians 3:14  “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
And I can now picture it as we cross on into Heaven, those who are already there will be cheering us in...just crossing the line will be all the prize we need.  Sure we could take a different course, or just plain quit like so many runners do, take a detour for a drink, do what we want to slow us down, but if we really want to, eventually we will cross.  Some of us will cross first, better trained, better dressed, fully ready for that run, others will show up like me,  half hearted, untrained, with somebody who pulled us along, cheered us, cared about our heart, offered to us a drink, but didn't give up on us, even if they could have run on ahead and been with the stronger runners to cross that line.  Sometimes in this race called LIFE, we are the runner and sometimes we are the cheerleader helping another with their race.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
We are all the same in Jesus’ eyes.  The prize will be given out to all who cross the line who have placed their faith in what Jesus did for them.  The prize? To be forgiven for our sins, to be in the presence of Jesus, who already ran the PERFECT race for us, who gave it all, including his life, to assure that I will be able to make it over that finish line.  No matter how ill prepared I am for the race, how little I put into it, how little I knew about it before I ran, even if I had taken a detour, with all my lacks, I still will be able to cross into heaven and have him say 'Well Done!' 
2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought the good fight I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My shoes match again! 
9 weeks after my break, I was given the OK by the doctor to stop wearing the boot and walked out of his office in matching shoes!  Funny how it is the same pair I was wearing when I fell. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Favorite Trick or Treaters
Josiah has a fascination with Garbage Trucks...and trash too!  He knows exactly what kind of trash goes in what can.  Every week, he waits for the trash collector to come and they rush out to watch him pick up their trash.  Once, the trash collector actually allowed him to press the button to raise the can up!  He was in heaven!  So this year he dressed up as a trash collector.  He was so into it!  I don't think he really got the reason everyone was putting candy bars into his leaf recycle can, but he allowed it.  
Arianna was a little mouse.  We didn't put it together in the beginning, but later on got a chuckle out of her being a mouse to go with the trash theme.  
Monday is trash day at their house.  You can be sure he will be on the curb waiting in full costume to show off to the trash collector.  His birthday is in 2 weeks.  Guess what the theme is?