June 20, 2014

Book Review: _Cinderella's Dress_ by Shonna Slayton

Now that school is over for the year, I have been reading more books to follow my own interest.  I was asked by a homeschooling mom to read her book before it was published through NetGallery.  It did involve getting registered with NetGallery and now involves getting emails from them with other books to read.  Booklover's paradise.  I published my review on Amazon this morning.  I am not one of those people who likes to reveal too much of the story, especially one that is well written and has elements of mystery to it as this story does.  It basically starts with the premise that Cinderella was a Polish woman who became queen after wearing a magical dress to the ball and capturing the Prince's heart.  When she is queen, she gives a loyal family of servants the privilege of being keepers of the dress when her kingdom comes under attack from the step-sisters and their husbands.  The protagonist, Kate, is in this line.  My official Amazon review is below:

I was asked to review it by Netgallery and, like other reviewers, the concept of continuing the Cinderella story through the dress caught my interest. I have to give this five stars because the story completely drew me in and I couldn't put it down.

Kate is the main protagonist whose mother wants her to become America's version of royalty, which is a Hollywood star.  Kate has different ambitions, wanting to crack the male-dominated world of department store window dressing.  And her talents seem to definitely align with her dreams.  One day, her great-aunt and great-uncle from Poland arrived unannounced at their doorstep with a big trunk.  And soon, Kate's great-aunt reveals that her family comes from a long line of caretakers of Cinderella's ball gown and wedding dress.  But is her aunt's story as fictional as the fairy tale of Cinderella seems to be?  

The author manages to weave several themes together as beautifully as Kate's great aunt tats lace, with the setting of the story in WWII.  And I love the fact that the story begins with the fairy tale, but the romance in this storyline is decidedly un-fairy tale.  What kept my attention was how she draws the characters out, little by little and how well she generally manages a lot of characters and several side stories.  Many books written for teens these days use chapter-ending cliff-hangers to keep you reading, but this book only uses that device for the actual climax.  Instead, she uses the mystery of the dress, of Kate's family background and of Kate's character development to hold our attention.

There is one development involving Kate and her aunt that is a bit jarring because it seems to come out of nowhere and a couple of minor story arcs could probably have been eliminated.  However, the strength of the story overcomes these slight problems.

I would highly recommend it for teens and tweens, but I believe that adults would thoroughly enjoy the book also.

This was a total joy to read.  This book is available on Kindle, though we are planning to buy a non-electronic version and get the author's signature.


May 31, 2014

Letting Go

Over the course of the year, as my oldest has developed a better sense of what she wants to do when she grows up, which may involve living far, far away from home, I have been getting a sense that my homeschooling journey will not be taking her all the way through high school.   It is time to release her and test her wings while she is still has the safety net of home, with family and other mentors to help her as she learns to fly.  So we started checking out different schools.  And the one we have really liked is New School for the Arts and Academics, a charter school.  It is a smaller school, which Elizabeth prefers to the big regular high school.  And the English teacher only gives essays on tests, which is what I like.  And most importantly, she will be taking classes in all kinds of art, including ceramics and some art-based computer programs.  Because the school is so small, they have a rigorous application process, asking for two letters of recommendation and requiring the student to write an essay, which is also preparing her for college admissions in a few years (gulp).  Below is her essay to get her into school, which was edited by a friend.

The Influence of the Arts On My Life
By Elizabeth Overtoom

Art has been an essential part of my entire life experience. As I have matured, I have progressed from basic stick figures to more complex drawings that come with increasing skill. When I am listening to a sermon or a lecture for school, I often doodle to help me focus. I also use drawing to pass the time as I listen to audiobooks or music. I find those outside factors influence the way I draw and my artistic abilities. When I am having trouble thinking of an answer to a question, drawing helps me focus on the solution I am searching for. I have always loved to draw, and I would not be the person I am today without art.

From the time I was five, I have had four different art teachers. My first art teacher, Teri Rueckert, taught me pottery and introduced me to mixed mediums, such as using vibrant colors from chalk and the graceful beauty of oil pastels to create a work of art. Ms. Rueckert made her lessons entertaining and instructive, and set the cornerstone for my love of the arts. Russell Taylor taught me oil painting. He made the lessons amusing. Many of my lessons ended with us getting covered paint, mostly from projects that involved me splattering paint on cardboard. He showed me the power of the random, and also showed how to not follow the picture I was painting down to the exact detail, but instead put in the elements I thought would fit with the overall tone of the picture. Carol Brown, is currently teaching me watercolor painting. One of the special talents she includes in her instruction is incorporating lessons about the masters into her teaching. My other current art teacher, Sherri Redman, is teaching me how to sketch.

These early experiences brought together a love and passion in storytelling. I see fundamentals of art and language in movies and literature. Through my lessons, I have come to notice the artistic details and elements in movies. I am fascinated with the processes of coming up with how elements in the story should look, and with the artwork displayed in the finished films. It has inspired me to pursue a career in the line of cinematic arts.

I have researched cinematic arts through watching and reading about the artists who think up the marvelous movie sets and the look of the characters for films such as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I am mainly interested in Alan Lee and John Howe, who are both famous book illustrators, and movie conceptual designers. They are well known for their artistic interpretations of J. R. R. Tolkien's works. I love learning about their techniques and how they thought up the ideas for their beautiful paintings and sketches. I also enjoy reading up on how the ideas for the CGI scenes and how the movie sets were designed, as well as seeing the different ideas for the characters' appearance. I am fascinated with the processes and the artwork displayed in their work.

I believe art has helped me progress as a scholar. Knowing and understanding art has trained me to explore history and literature in detail, just like, as an artist, I need to see the specific parts of an object to draw it properly. For example, while studying the middle ages, I could appreciate the affect on the Eastern European culture and had a better appreciation for the architectural intricacies found in some of the early orthodox churches. Art has improved my ability to focus and taught me to persevere. I have become more disciplined as I have repeatedly practiced techniques. I see the parallel of this kind of exercise transitioning into my studies: I need to repeat a math concept to understand it completely. Therefore, art has helped me progress as a scholar.

As a natural compliment to visual art, storytelling- especially creative writing- is my new present interest. I love reading, and over the past school year I have been studying a more in-depth view of the classics, such as John Milton's Paradise Lost and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. I enjoy learning abut the different literary techniques and how authors use them to create their masterpieces. Someday I hope to be one of those authors.


I am excited to go to the New School for the Arts and Academics for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, I wish to advance my artistic talents further, by being taught by some excellent artists, as well as learning more and different methods of art. Coming from a home schooled environment, I loved the look of the hands-on classes. They are unlike anything I have experienced before. I believe coming to this school will be beneficial artistically and academically, giving me a strong foundation for my career. The New School for the Arts and Academics will challenge me, and I recognize it will require more concentration and dedication than a normal public school offers. It will push me to work harder for good grades. As a home schooled student, I am in my house for most of the day. I only interact with the people in the co-ops I attend and in my extracurricular activities. Overall, I believe going to this school will be a wonderful event in my life, and will help me when I graduate and go to college. It will also allow me to meet new people, make new friends, and generally have new experiences and opportunities I would not have otherwise experienced.  

May 1, 2014

I want to be a Tsaddaqim

As part of my church discipleship program, I am reading Amy Sherman's book called Kingdom Calling:  Vocational  Stewardship for the Common Good.  It has been so convicting to me, as have all the books I have had to read as part of this program.  Tsaddaqim is Hebrew translated as "the righteous."  The book takes Proverbs 11:10 and explores it in depth:

"When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
    when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy."

Why should a city rejoice when the  tsaddaqim prosper?  Because the tsaddaqim, because of their righteousness, share their blessings in every aspect of their lives and work towards justice and peace to bless their community and their world.  It is not just about bringing God's love into the world, but also His justice, and His peace--all aspects of his kingdom, in little bits and pieces.  

This is one of the books that has inspired my church to join other churches in calling its congregation to B.L.E.S.S. God, family and our community--Bless, Listen, Eat with, Speak and Sabbath/Celebrate.

I haven't even completed the book and feel so totally un-tsaddaqim.  But I know the first step I can make:  get out from behind my computer.   Blogging so far hasn't taken up as much time as Facebook and certain computer games.  How can I bless others as a tsaddaqim when I am tethered and distracted?  I am not even living out my goal of being fully present for my family and kids.

The next step?  Pray and ask God to give me the One place where He wants me to serve the community.  This will be very challenging because my kids' activities seem to take a lot out of me and have both my husband and I running around town like bees.  But I know that whatever God has planned for me and my family, He will give us what we need as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  Matthew 6:33


April 20, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

This season of Lent, the kids and I did a study of all the "I am" statements that Jesus made in the book of John.  Here they are:
  • I am the source of living water:  John 4:1-14, 7:37-39
  • I am the Messiah:  John 4:15-26
  • I am the Bread of Life:  John 6: 25 - 40
  • I am the Bread from Heaven:  John 6:41-59
  • I am the Light of the World:  John 8:12-18, 9:1-5
  • I am YHWH:  John 8:52-58 with references to Exodus 3:14
  • I am the Gate for the Sheep:  John 10:1-10
  • I am the Good Shepherd who lays his life down for his sheep:  John 10:11-18
  • I have authority to lay down my life for my sheep and take it up again:  John 10:11-18
  • I am one with God the Father:  John 10: 25-30,  14:8-14
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life:  john 11:12-27
  • I am the way, the truth, the life; No one gets to God the Father, except through me:  John 14:1-7
I have always thought that John wrote with a sense of humor.  In the past, I have laughed through Jesus' "Whose Your Daddy" argument with the Pharisees in John 8.  This year, my funny bone was struck in John 9.  His disciples raise a theological argument when they see a man  born blind begging in the streets (which of course, is EXACTLY what Jesus wants us to do--NOT).  They ask Jesus if he is blind because of his sins or his parents.  Jesus tells them there is another option:  a chance to see the glory of God at work.  Then he hocks a goober, makes mud with it, and smears the man's eyes with it.  Not exactly what we think of when we hear the words "The Glory of God."  And yet, the man was able to see once he washed the mud out of his eyes.  The story has both a happy and sad ending.  The sad ending is that there were people who saw this miracle, the first unique miracle that Jesus had performed, restoring a genetic defect, and still didn't believe.  They condemned Jesus for breaking their Sabbath rules (not God's) and plotted his death, thinking that God wouldn't save him because Jesus was a sinner.  When they saw Jesus hanging on the cross, thought that God's judgment against him was complete.  Proof that we will believe what we choose to believe, even with evidence for God's existence, His grace, love and mercy staring us in the face.  We see the light, but prefer darkness and blindness to really seeing and really living. But the Good News is that God's Judgement, which WAS placed on Jesus at the cross on our behalf, was replace by grace and mercy when Jesus rose again from the dead, proving once and for all that all the claims he made before the cross were true.  And Jesus still offers grace and mercy to the blind and real life to those who are the living dead.  My prayer is that today, they would see and live.

Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!


April 3, 2014

A different perspective of "Noah"

My husband and I went against advice from many Christians and saw "Noah" at the theaters last weekend with some other friends.  Now, whenever Hollywood adapts a book, you know that it is going to be somewhat messed up.  As great a job as Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens did in adapting "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, there were several changes that they made that I really didn't like at all and for that reason, I don't like the second movie as much.  I also do not like what they are doing with the unnecessary love triangle in "The Hobbit" series, nor do I think that it needed to be three movies.  There are worse adaptations.  My daughter shudders and begins ranting whenever we mention the movie "Earagon" because the movie was such a hatchet job of the book.

And with the Bible having very various levels of detail in its accounts of history and some of its history sounding a bit implausible, it is ripe for speculation and modification.  Let's face it, very few movies based on the Bible include all aspects of the Bible story or make changes.  For instance, "The Prince of Egypt", hailed by the Christian community in general, has a young, handsome Moses, rather than an eighty year old man who probably had already had kids and raised them.   Therefore, I did not have high expectations of a story that matched the Bible.  I will try not to include spoilers in case you want to be surprised.

"Noah" stars Inspector Javert ("Les Mis"), I mean Russell Crowe playing Inspector Javert as Noah, a man who is totally obsessed with God's judgment and justice and totally blind to God's love and mercy. His wife is played by Alicia Nash ("A Beautiful Mind"), I mean Jennifer Connely playing Alicia Nash as Naameh, who has to hold the family together and still manage to love her husband as he moves from grim determination to grim reaper wannabe.  Earnest, smart and resourceful Hermione Granger ("Harry Potter") makes an appearance as Shem's matrimonial prospect and Percy Jackson ("Percy Jackson" series) plays the middle brother, Ham, who still has daddy issues and a chip on his shoulder that causes him to be sullen and resentful through most of the movie, though in this case, he actually might have a good reason to be.  There are other bit characters who don't do much, except, of course,  for the bad guy.  The movie is okay until the rain appears because there is hope and a wee bit of humor provided by Odin ("Thor"), I mean Methuselah.  Once the rains come and Methuselah dies however, the story grows unrelentingly grim as Noah abandons all hope for mankind and a snake enters the garden. Oh wait, that is flashback played multiple times throughout the movie, along with Cain killing Abel.

Artistically, the movie has beautiful cinematography.  I give kudos to Matthew Libatique, cinematographer, and ILM for the visual excellence.  The desolation of the land shows the utter desolation of man's spirit as he pursues his own selfish pleasures.  The sky is amazing.  Once scene reminded me of Jesus' promise that streams of living water flow from him.  And there are other visual treats.  The flood scene is spectacular and very similar to what I have imagined from the Biblical account.  The dialogue and characters, however are pretty flat, like out of a mediocre action movie. And the word grim seems to be the only appropriate description of the tone and message of the movie.

What the movie gets right:
- The evil people don't want to follow God.  They want to do whatever they want to whoever they want and use the world created by God for their own selfish pleasure as Romans 1:20-21 states.  It is only when their doom is impending that one of them asks God why He doesn't speak to him.
- God created everything*. He created it good, including Adam and Eve. (Genesis 1-2)
- Adam and Eve, encouraged by the snake sinned against God and soon after saw their son Cain kill their son Abel. (Genesis 3-4)
- The basic elements of the flood--Noah following God, God telling him to build an ark for his family and the animals as outlined in Genesis 6 &7 are followed with two major exceptions  which I won't divulge to avoid a spoiler.  In both cases the variation is a plot device to be consistent with the director's version and/or to get an idea across through repetition.
- God is powerful enough to throw down angels to earth and cause a forest to grow from desolate surroundings.  He creates beauty.  (Verses about God's power are too numerous to mention)
-  The earth was flooded, not just from 40 days of rain but from water bursting from the ground.(Genesis 7:11-12).
- God provides everything they need to carry out his instructions. (Many Bible verses again proclaim God's provision)
- Nephilim are mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 6:4
(* In the creation account told by Noah in the movie, the montage of images shows animals evolving, though God is credited with creating them)

Speculation with the purpose to advance the story or highlight some idea:
-  Noah and his family are vegetarian, flower children.  Considering that in Genesis 1:29, God only gives them permission to eat plants and in Genesis 9:3, He explicitly gives Noah and his family permission to eat food, this isn't purely a tree-hugger piece of propaganda.  Furthermore, even today, some Christians see the Genesis 1:28 verse as a mandate to be good stewards and caretakers of the planet rather than masters using it for our purposes.  This movie contrasts Noah's view with the bad guy's carnivorous eating habits, which some have deemed to be environmentalist propaganda. 
- Noah misunderstands God's purpose and focuses on the judgment of God, forgetting about His mercy and love.  This is actually a pretty well documented human condition (Jonah, Saul, the Pharisees, Peter, Paul, not to mention current leaders).   Heck, I have experienced the tap or whack of God's heavenly 2x4 correcting my vision of Him or the job He has given me to do on multiple occasions.  However, the director stretches this concept to almost the breaking point.
-  Noah received help from the Nephilim.  This is pure speculation.  The Bible doesn't specifically mention any help from outside sources, but then again, there is very little information about how it was built, including a specific timeline of how long it took.
- Tubal-Cain is the bad guy.  This could be possible because everyone lived a long time in Noah's day and the Bible doesn't scrupulously record timelines for Cain's progeny as it does for Seth's line.  What I did discover when I did a timeline with the kids several years ago is that Noah's great-grandfather probably had seen Adam alive.

Things that are outright wrong:
- There are two other big changes to the story as I have mentioned previously but I don't want to reveal them and spoil it for anyone planning to see the movie.  They are obvious to anyone who knows the Biblical account of the flood.  The only problems I have with one of them is that it might make God seem either remote or unable to accomplish His will.
-  The Nephilim are changed from the giant offspring of female humans and "Sons of God" (whatever they are) to angels that God kicked out of heaven for helping Adam and Eve after they sinned.  To me, this is a grievous change because it portrays God as vindictive and merciless, even though God shows His mercy in the Bible by clothing Adam and Eve and he even lets Cain live after killing Abel and offers to protect him.  Once again,  I have no problem with Nephilim as rock monsters and helpers of Noah, only as symbols of God's lack of mercy.
-  God is portrayed as solely a God of judgment and not of mercy.  Noah cannot see God's mercy extended to human through the ark.  And it is Tubal-Cain, the bad guy, that expresses the idea that man is made in the image of God, not the man who follows God.  Even when Noah shows love and mercy, he does not attribute it to God.  And this is where I do feel that God's name is trampled and blasphemed.


Summary:
Considering that the writer/director is an atheist using Jewish mystical books and considers this a myth subject to artistic license, the fact that "Noah" gets anything right should be considered an act of God.  This is certainly not the worst adaptation of the story of God's great flood.  That honor goes to a TV miniseries called "Noah's Ark" and starred Jon Voigt as Noah, who was placed as a contemporary of Lot and Sodom/Gomorrah and in which God finished the ark for Noah because he became impatient (as IF).  My husband I turned it off after half an hour because we couldn't stomach it.  Maybe the awfulness of "Noah's Ark" has, in comparison, made this version seem less offensive.  My husband and I were, after all able to sit through the whole movie rather than walking out of it.  I confess that maybe I am working too hard to see God's word in this movie.  It definitely caused me to re-read the Genesis account of the flood, which is always a good thing.  I can see why Christians get upset by the movie and why they might not want to line the pockets of the "godless Hollywood blasphemers."  If you don't want to give money to the writer/director, then wait for it to be on Neflix or whatever movie service you use.  But I would encourage Christians to see the movie themselves and form their own opinion of the movie rather than parrot their pastors or friends or Christian critics or even reviewers like me.  And as Christians, we should be highlighting the story of the  flood and mercy shown by the ark providing salvation to some as a foreshadowing of the story of the cross and how God managed to merge His judgment with His mercy to save His beloved children by faith in Jesus Christ.

"On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”"  Matthew 9:12-13

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment"  James 2:12-13

March 11, 2014

My Husband vs. Superheros

My husband, daughter and I just finished watching "Thor:  The Dark World" last night.  In the afternoon, I had had oral surgery to install a dental implant.  It turns out that baby teeth start re-absorbing their roots when you get older.  I was supposed to have the surgery at the end of March, but the poor little tooth wouldn't hold out that long and it was starting to constantly ache.  Thanks go to God for creating an opening for me yesterday.  That night, with Novocaine and high doses of Advil keeping the pain at bay, I decided to watch the movie, hopping it would be better than the first one.  I was disappointed by the first "Thor" movie because the plot was a little dicey, my expectations were pretty high because it was directed by Kenneth Branaugh and because I could not for the life of me believe that a smart scientist would fall in love with an arrogant, easily affronted, possibly not-so-smart guy, even if he had blond hair, blue-eyes and well defined muscles. The movie did not give a stirring defense of the love that developed between them and I believe that scientists are supposed to be attracted by brains, not brawn.

This movie was better, not just because Thor had really learned his lesson from the first movie and was less arrogant, but also because Loki had more lines and most of them were very funny.  It was great to see Rene Russo back in fighting form.  She has been a favorite actress of mine for her roles of making men the damsels in distress and for her gracious characters.  Kat Dennings continued to be the most charismatic female character in the story, adding both humor and gumption in recruiting an intern's intern.  And I loved seeing Christopher Eccleston ("Dr. Who", 2005) again and hearing his Northern England accent sometimes come through his Dark Elvish speeches.  Natalie Portman as Thor's love interest continues to be a bland, flat character, though this time she showed that she was a bit feisty by slapping both Thor and Loki, though Loki probably deserved more of a sucker punch.  Thor himself is definitely better in this movie, showing more intelligence, kindness, dedication to loved ones, even Loki and more in control of his anger.  However, the movie would have been much better if Stellan Skarsgaard, whom I love as Dr. Eric in the previous "Thor" and "The Avengers" movies,  had worn more clothes through his scenes.

I must confess, that if I were single and had a choice between Loki and Thor, I would choose Loki. I know, that is a totally anti-Christian response because we are supposed to love the good guy, not the evil one/morally ambiguous guy.  However, I have a weakness for funny men and I love the dark hair/blue or grey eye combination, which is far less common than blue eyes/blond hair.  If I have to choose between humor and well-defined pecs, humor wins hands-down every time.

And this is why I am totally grateful to God, because my husband has all that Loki has to offer in being incredibly funny.  And I love the fact that my husband's hair, which used to be dark, now more closely matches his grey/blue eyes.  Best yet, I don't have to feel conflicted about his character because he is a man after God's own heart, which is not to say that he is perfect, but that he is humble before God and is willing to listen when advice or constructive criticism is offered.  He has our family's best interests at heart and pursues them.  It is why I have been able to trust him with my life and be able to imperfectly submit to him as the leader of our family.  He is the type of man that I pray that my sons will grow up to be and that my daughters will marry someday.

March 2, 2014

Marathon DNF or "Running With Wings Like Eagles Makes Me Dizzy"

Yesterday, before the race started, I quoted Isaiah 40:31--"But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  The will mount up with wings like eagles.  They will run and  not grow weary.  They will walk and not grow faint."  Sadly, I did not finish (DNF) the marathon.  I was doing great.  I made it up all the hills and down the hills.  I ran in the rain and without seeing the sun, which was actually a relief.  I had made it to the halfway point.  And then, somewhere near mile 14, I started feeling out of it and a bit dizzy.  I called my husband and asked him to pray for me.  I started walking and taking deep breaths.  The feeling didn't go away and  my legs started to seize up.  At the mile 15 rest stop, I stopped for a moment and the people there gathered around me and asked me how I was doing.  I confessed that I was feeling dizzy.  They suggested that I stop.  I wasn't about to argue.  And yes, I started crying, feeling defeated.  Everyone at the race stop was so kind.  They reminded me that I had run 15 miles, which was quite an accomplishment.  It helped.  I sat on the ground and stretched, waiting for the "car of shame" to arrive and carry me to the finishing point.  They guys driving me were saying the same thing.  My husband and kids comforted me as did the runners from East Valley Running club, with whom I have trained for the last five months.  My family and I ate lunch together and got in the car to go home as the heavens opened and rain poured down in buckets.  More words of kindness and encouragement came from friends and family when I posted  my results on Facebook.  And with every posting, God was whispering His "Amen" to their words.  Rain in the middle of the night woke me up and the words "Not strong enough..." kept popping in my head and I started crying again.  My husband prayed for me and as he did, God completed the sentence with one word: "...yet."  That comforting word lulled me to sleep with visions of running just like in Isaiah 40:31.

This morning, God continued to sing me a love song by having Mandissa's "Overcomer" playing on the radio as the alarm went off this morning:  "...You might be down for a moment, feeling that it's hopeless, and that's when He'll remind you--You're an overcomer..."  On my walk with the dog, I put on my Marathon playlist and set it to shuffle.  However, there was nothing random about the songs that were played:  The first four songs were "I Feel Pretty" (West Side Story), "Wait and See" (Brandon Heath), "Remind Me Who I Am" (Jason Gray) and "All Creation" (Brian Doerkson/Vineyard Worship).  He reminded me what my husband had been telling me, that my training was not without fruit because I was stronger, my body was leaner and I had developed enough strength to run 15 miles AND He had been teaching me so much through it.  He reminded me how beautiful I am in His eyes ("I Feel Pretty"), that  He won't forget me, nor is He finished with me yet ("Wait and See"), that regardless of what I do, I am the one He loves ("Remind Me Who I Am") and that He will provide all that I need ("All Creation") for which I am incredibly thankful.   Then came the worship songs, which I unabashadly sang to Him who is my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer and Friend, even though I was still walking the dog and making a fool of myself and in danger of torturing people with the sound of my singing.

So I will listen to the words of Isaiah 40:31 and wait on the Lord, on His timing, on His provision and teaching and I will follow His lead which will make me stronger in so many ways, so that the next time He calls me to run a marathon, IF He calls me to run a marathon, I will run and not grow weary--at least until I cross the finish line.


P.S.  I have also come up with a list of the benefits of not finishing that outweighs the loss of some bling (the medal) and the title of "marathon finisher":

  1. I still earned the T-shirt and arm warmers (which aren't much more than adornments for anywhere other than Arizona) by starting the race and training for five months.
  2. I can move today.
  3. I can walk (with some difficulty).
  4. I can bend down, given enough time.
  5. I can walk up and down stairs, gingerly.
  6. I showed my kids that even grown ups fail and have to pick themselves up and try again and are thankful for the chance to try.
  7. Best of all, I will be able to run before the end of the week :-D