BunRun for the Cure

This past Saturday I went over to Smithville (30 minutes away) and participated in the BunRun. I did it last year, too…..last year I did the 10K (6 miles), but this year I just planned on running the 5K. (I just have not been running as much lately, so I felt like the 10K was too much for me).

Well, on Thursday, two of our youth girls told me they wanted to go with me. So, we all loaded up on Saturday morning at 7:30AM and drove over. Because they had asked to go with me (and I, of course, wanted to spend time with them) I walked the 5K with Dana, instead of running, like I had planned to. But, it was totally OK because I really enjoyed the time walking and talking with her.

We ran into several friends from Giddings, which was fun! They had a photo booth at the race this year, which was super fun! 🙂 You got to dress up and take silly pictures. My friend, Jennifer was the photographer. So the “good quality’ pictures are from Jennifer’s camera. The other photos are from Dana’s phone….

me, Audrey, and Dana

me, Audrey, and Dana

Amy and Shyann

Amy and Shyann

me, Amy, Shyann, Reina, and Jennifer

me, Amy, Shyann, Reina, and Jennifer

me and Presley

me and Presley

me, Audrey, Dana, and Avery

me, Audrey, Dana, and Avery

me, Dana, and Audrey

me, Dana, and Audrey

They had the coolest “set up” for the starting line–bras hanging down! It was so cute! 🙂 I joked with the girls and said they would probably never want mine because all I have is white and black, no colors, prints, or patterns….just tacky, “grandma” bras!!

they had bras hanging from the "start line"

they had bras hanging from the “start line”

my Princess crown--"If the crown fits..."

my Princess crown–“If the crown fits…”

me and Dana

me and Dana

Audrey and Dana

Audrey and Dana

I enjoyed it and I think the girls had a good time, too! I missed running it, but I certainly enjoyed doing it with Dana….so that outweighs the “euphoric high” of running!

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A Night in College Station

Giddings is centrally located between Austin, Houston, and College Station–it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to get to any one of those places. Depending on where you need to go or which city you prefer, you can really have access to anything you need in one of these three cities. Paul and I prefer going to College Station…it’s just easier for us to navigate and it has all the stores we need!

On Friday night Paul and I took Walker to College Station to play putt-putt and go out to eat.

Paul and me

Paul and me

Walker

Walker

me

me

Paul and the "creepy lady" at Putt-Putt

Paul and the “creepy lady” at Putt-Putt

Walker (he ended up winning)

Walker (he ended up winning)

Paul

Paul

On the last hole we all played on our knees with our eyes closed!

Me

Me

Paul

Paul

Walker

Walker

As we were walking out of the Putt-Putt place, Paul ran into a friend that he knew in high school. They both graduated from Hamilton and ran into each other in C.S.–what a small world!?

We went out to eat at Wings n More, but I didn’t get any pictures–but, if I had, they would’ve been Walker swallowed up in wing sauce!!

 

My Heart’s Home Part Three….

OK, it’s gonna take three posts to get all these pictures in….

On Tuesday, after spending the day watching the kiddos, Shannon, Ember, and I all went out for a “girl’s night” to celebrate both of their birthdays (even though it was a little early)….

We went and got pedicures and then went out to eat!

DSCF4827 DSCF4828These girls were part of my life for the three years that we lived in Illinois….my life is better because of them!

The last day I was in Illinois we all wanted to be together, so Ember and her kids came up to Shannon’s house and they played while we visited–

Andi and her "book"

Andi and her “book”

Hannah coloring

Hannah coloring

Hannah and Ethan working on their "books"

Hannah and Ethan working on their “books”

Rebecca coloring with Andi

Rebecca coloring with Andi

Hannah and Ethan

Hannah and Ethan

Andi "pouting" under the kitchen table

Andi “pouting” under the kitchen table

Jeremiah--happiest baby I've met

Jeremiah–happiest baby I’ve met

He kept grabbing for my camera....

He kept grabbing for my camera….

I left Lacon about 3:00PM on Wednesday. After being re-routed to Atlanta, GA and Austin (instead of Houston), I landed about 11:45PM. Paul came and picked me up, and we ended up getting home around 1:15AM.

It is now Saturday night and I am still not completely unpacked! 🙂

Thank you, Paul, for allowing me to go…..I had a wonderful time….

My Heart’s Home Part Two….

Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

On Monday I went to Lacon (after much debate as to whether or not the bridge would be open)….it was not, so I had to drive all the way to Peoria and cross over. It took me over an hour to get from Hopewell to Lacon, which should’ve only taken me about 10 minutes.

Here are some flood pictures….

Flooding 13' part 1 110 Flooding 13' part 1 117 Flooding 13' part 1 109 Flooding 13' part 1 077 Flooding 13' part 1 049 Flooding 13' part 1 036 Flooding 13' part 1 013 Flooding 13' part 1 012 Flooding 13' part 1 009 DSCF4744 DSCF4743 DSCF4742Because the bridge was closed, you were allowed to “walk” the Lacon Bridge. So, we loaded all 6 kids up and headed down there….

Becca, Andi, and Hannah

Becca, Andi, and Hannah

Becca, Andi, me, and Hannah

Becca, Andi, me, and Hannah

running on the Lacon bridge

running on the Lacon bridge

running on the Lacon bridge

running on the Lacon bridge

showing Andi how to use my camera

showing Andi how to use my camera

the 5 "big kids" on the bridge

the 5 “big kids” on the bridge

Shannon and Jeremiah

Shannon and Jeremiah

walking back up the bridge

walking back up the bridge

Hannah and Rebecca

Hannah and Rebecca

On Monday night I kept Becca, Jacob, and Hannah while Jim and Ember went to a Bed and Breakfast for Ember’s birthday–so we played!! 🙂

Jacob "scaling" the wall at his house

Jacob “scaling” the wall at his house

eating "birthday soup" made be Becca (dirt/mud/grass, in case you were wondering)

eating “birthday soup” made be Becca (dirt/mud/grass, in case you were wondering)

Hannah eating her "soup"

Hannah eating her “soup”

Hannah spitting in the pond to see if we could see fish

Hannah spitting in the pond to see if we could see fish

can't go to camp without playing carpetball

can’t go to camp without playing carpetball

 

My Heart’s Home…..

I just got back from my trip to Illinois!! 🙂 I had SO MUCH FUN, and it was such a blessing to see my friends again…..

I cannot describe how much fun I had hanging out with Paige, Ember, and Shannon (and, of course, the 6 kids)!!

Right before I arrived they had the “Great Flood” of 2013, so there was a ton of flooding all around Lacon, Sparland, Chillicothe, and Peoria. My trip was “centered” around the Illinois River and the Lacon Bridge.

The "infamous" bridge

The “infamous” bridge

I took so many pictures, I’ll have to create 2 posts for this trip….

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking…..

On Saturday I went to Culver’s and the Bloomington Zoo with Tyler, Shannon, and their kids…

Ethan

Ethan

Andi and "my Callie" (that's what she calls me)....

Andi and “my Callie” (that’s what she calls me)….

2013-04-20 12.15.10

baby Jeremiah–he is the happiest baby…..just a “go with the flow” kind of kid!

Andi

Andi

at the petting zoo

at the petting zoo

Ethan at the petting zoo

Ethan at the petting zoo

Andi as a "princess butterfly"

Andi as a “princess butterfly”

me helping Jeremiah on the Carousel

me helping Jeremiah on the Carousel

Jeremiah and me

Jeremiah and me

up close and person with a goat

up close and person with a goat

"sharing secrets" with Andi

“sharing secrets” with Andi

possibly my favorite picture of Andi and me

possibly my favorite picture of Andi and me

On Sunday I got to go to church at CCC (YAY!!!)….thank you, thank you, thank you to Bob, Rusty, Jacob, and the praise team for a wonderful service. On Sunday night I spent the night with my sweet friend, Paige. I miss her so much!!

Paige and me

Paige and me

The rest of the trip’s pictures I’ll do in another post…..

Complacency

I remember September 11, 2001….I remember it because it wasn’t just a page in the History book, it was real. It was raw. And even though I wasn’t in New York at the time, I remember feeling as if I was there….it shocked our nation and it rocked our world.

For many of the kids in our youth group (and definitely for the little kids who are part of our church) the infamous “9/11” is now just a part of their History book and nothing more. But, for me, it was part of my life. Now I will say I don’t remember ALL the details of what happened/why it happened/the end result (other than lives lost/families forever changed) but it is a part of my life, not just history.

Sadly, over the past 12 years since that day our world has been struck with tragedy. Here is a list of just some of the MAJOR tragedies that have happened from 2002-2013. I, of course, could not list them all….these were the ones I just found….I am sure there are many, many more.

April 26, 2002 – School shooting at the Gutenberg Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany
June 22, 2002 – Devastating earthquake hits Iran.
October 31/November 1, 2002 – Two devastating earthquakes hit central Italy.
February 1, 2003 – Space shuttle Columbia blows up over Texas killing all 7 astronauts on board.
March 11, 2004 – More than 190 people are killed as devastating terrorist bombings occur on commuter trains in Madrid.
September 3, 2004 – School massacre in Beslan, southern Russia
December 26, 2004 – The south Asian tsunami disaster occurs, killing more than 300,000 people, after an under sea quake off Sumatra, Indonesia.
March 28, 2005 – Devastating earthquake off Sumatra, Indonesia
July 7, 2005 – Devastating terrorist bombings hit London, killing 52 people.
August 14, 2005 – Plane crash in Greece kills all on board.
August 29, 2005 – Hurricane hits the Gulf coast of the United States, and floods New Orleans.
October 27 – November 9, 2005 – Riots occur in cities across France.
July 9, 2006 – Devastating plane crash occurs in Siberia.
April 16, 2007 – The worst mass shooting in US history occurs at Virginia Tech.
June 30, 2007 – An attempted attack on Glasgow Airport puts the UK on high terrorism alert.
July 17, 2007 – Brazil’s deadliest plane crash occurs.
September 16, 2007 – Deadly plane crash occurs at Phuket, Thailand.
May 12, 2008-Earthqake kills tens of thousands
November 27, 2008-Mumbay Attacks, Kills Hundreds
February 10, 2009-Australia Brushfire, Kills 138
April 6, 2009-Italy Earthquake, kills hundreds
June 1, 2009-Air France Flight 447 Missing, 228 on Board died
June 6, 2009-Mexico Day-care Center Fire Kills 41 Children
June 22, 2009-U.S. Train Crash, Kills 9
April 20, US Drilling rig explosion, large amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico
August 18, 2010-Chile minders miraculously rescued after trapped 69 days in mining accident
March 10, 2011-Earthquake caused tsunami, destructed Japan
October 23, 2011-7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes Turkey, hundreds dead
December 21, 2011-Wave of bombings kills more than 60 in Iraq
February 15, 2012-Honduras prison fire kills over 300 inmates
February 20, 2012-Quran burning cities, deadly riots in Afghanistan
July 19, 2012-Gunman kills 14 at   Batman Premiere in Denver
September 11, 2012-US Ambassador killed in Libya
December 13, 2012-Gunman assaults Connecticut elementary school, 27 dead
January 1, 2013-Stampede during New Year fireworks in Ivory Coast, 61 dead
January 27, 2013-About 230 dead during Brazil Nightclub fire

And I wonder why I’m desensitized to the massacre in Boston. I admit…when I heard about it, it was shocking and I was sad, but honestly, I wasn’t surprised. Was I surprised that it happened? Sure. Did I expect it? Of course not. But, does it seem like something like this happens almost every day and it’s just another story on the news? Sadly, yes.

It’s part of our sinful world. Do I give it a value and justification by saying, “Well, we live in a sinful world, you know?” No. But, does it seem, though tragic and never wished upon my worst enemy, normal now to hear tragedy in the news.

Does the story of the “Boston tragedy” roll off our tongues just as naturally as the weather or the latest scores from MLB? Do we discuss massacres, bombings, shootings, killings, and war with the same attitude/complacency as we do our lunch dates and chores we do at home. The answer may be yes for some and the answer may be no for others.

As I am writing this post, an explosion just happened in West, Texas, about 25 miles from my hometown. Did I look it up on the news station to read the latest report? Sure I did. Will my mom mention it to me when she e-mails me tomorrow? Probably. So, to many in West, Texas, the Boston explosions have now been replaced with feelings of panic, despair, and wonderment because of this latest development, just a mere 24 hours later, after the explosions.

No wander our hearts get so numb to it. Our feelings and emotions can’t keep up. We feel sadness and heartache for one event, and yet, 24 hours later we have to turn around and feel confused and upset because of something else.

When will it end? I think, for those who have faith in Jesus Christ and His triumph return, our prayers of His return are becoming more earnest. Our thoughts of the eternal are becoming more frequent and living out our faith in a broken world becomes harder and harder to do.

But….there is hope.

544242_10151596682934357_258831739_n(picture “shared” by WCIC)

Does it seem wrong to go on about our day, sharing good news or helping a friend in need, despite the tragedy in Boston (or in West, Texas). No…..because of yesterday (and today’s) events we should be talking about it. We should still be sharing life together. It’s COMPLETELY appropriate to talk about life.  Because if we don’t. If we don’t appreciate every moment and live in fear—the enemy wins.

We cannot hide. We cannot be afraid. We know who reigns above all. We know who HAS won…..our sinful world, though ever present since the Fall of man, is temporary. This is not our home….

I am certain there would not be one single tragic event if there were no sin in this world. After God completed His work of creation, “He saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). There were no tragic events in the Garden of Eden before the Fall, and there will be no tragic events in Heaven, because there will be no sin there. So sin is the root problem behind all tragic events. Romans 5:12 says “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, for all have sinned.” According to the Bible, everyone falls short of God’s absolute standards (Romans 3:23), so there really are no “innocent” people. Furthermore, in Romans 8:20-22, we see that sin affected the natural world as well, so tragic events like explosions that injure hundreds and shootings that kill innocent ones are also the result of sin which man brought into this world.

So, why does it happen and what does the Bible have to say about it?

God can certainly use tragic events to judge the wicked and discipline His people. God brought judgment to the Earth through the Great Flood (Genesis 6-9), as well as Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). However, the fact that God can use human evil does not in any way make God responsible or morally culpable for the evil. The Lord strongly suggested that that way of thinking is backwards and perversed (Luke 13:1-5).

So when tragic events occur, either as the result of natural calamity or human evil, let’s not jump to the conclusion that the people who suffer the results are guiltier of wrong-doing than others who escape tragedy. Just as “God causes His sun to shine on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45), so God sometimes allows tragic events to occur, regardless of the moral condition of the people who are caught in the tragedy. While God can and does use tragic events in sovereign judgment, Luke 13 teaches us that this is not God’s normal operating procedure. In fact, unless there is a clear indication of direct judgment, we should assume that the tragic events are not the judgment of God for some specific sin.

For some a tragic event may be used as a “wake-up call” for individuals who have drifted far from God and are centered on sinful lifestyles. Unfortunately, a tragic event may be the only way God can get people’s attention! In Zephaniah 3:6-7, the Lord revealed that the calamities that befell other cities were a warning to Jerusalem. Unfortunately the warning was not heeded: “I said to the city, ‘Surely you will fear Me and accept correction! Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all My punishments come upon her.’ But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.” The violent events mentioned in Luke 13 were a wake-up call to the Jews of Jesus’ day, and Jesus’ message to them was “Repent!” Their failure to repent resulted in the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. It is a blessing when a tragic event brings people to their knees in repentance. As a result, one tragic event may serve to prevent further and greater tragic events.

God may use tragedies of illness or death to display His power and glory, with the purpose of bringing unbelievers to salvation. In John 9 we read of the tragic situation of a man who had been blind from birth. In that culture a physical disability or illness was thought to be God’s judgment for sin, but Jesus explained to His followers that sin was not the cause of the man’s blindness. No, it “happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (9:3). The man’s sight was restored, and he became a believer in Jesus (9:38).

In Acts 16, God used both the evil intentions of men and a natural calamity to bring about the salvation of the Philippian jailer and the establishment of the church at Philippi. And the Roman persecution and dispersion of the early Christians caused the gospel to be spread throughout the known world!

The greatest demonstration of how God caused good to triumph over evil was the “tragic event” of the Cross. Here God used the intentional moral evil of man and Satan to triumph over sin and Satan. At Pentecost, Peter captured the concept concisely when he said, “This Man [Jesus Christ] was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing Him to a cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:23-24). Notice that it was the intentional evil of man that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, but the situation was never out of God’s control. God’s plans were not disrupted by an evil government or the hostility of unbelievers. The death of Jesus Christ was accomplished according to God’s predetermined plan. God’s ultimate purpose was to conquer death, the penalty for sin. “Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33).

So, what can we decipher and concur from all of this??

Evil is real and this act reminds us, once again, that we need the hero who is able and willing. Thankfully, Jesus Christ, the righteous, touched down on this cracked sphere and is ultimately, subversively undoing everything untrue. His coming proves we can trust the world will not always be this way. And though we may not fully understand why God allowed this senseless bombing, we do know, unquestionably, that he cares and his covenantal commitment will not be diminished by the flailing death rattle of evil in any form. –David Fairchild

Our present world is subject to tragic events of natural disasters and intentional moral evil. God calls us to trust Him and live faithfully in the midst of the sin and suffering. But we look forward to a glorious future when evil will be gone forever, and tragic events will be no more!

A Post of Pics

I feel like I’ve had a little bit of “bloggers block” lately….not much to write about or else I can’t get my thoughts ironed out in my head. There’s much I WANT to blog about, but I can’t figure out how to write it down….

So, until I do….here are some pictures.

Every week there are several Little League games that occur over at the park. The park is about 4-5 blocks away from our house, so frequently I walk up to the park to see who’s playing….

DSCF4678

Heath running into home…..DSCF4679

Heath ready to batDSCF4680

Mason and Luke taking a break in the dugoutDSCF4684

Heath being silly….DSCF4686

MasonDSCF4688

Heath with his pickle juice sno-cone! All the kids love the pickle juice sno-cones!!DSCF4689

Mason and Layla playing with each other through the fenceDSCF4690

Zoe and me (she took a “selfie”–I think it’s pretty good considering she’s only 5)DSCF4691

Zoe took this one, too, of Kristyn (her mom) and me.DSCF4697

Zoe’s big brother, Billy, playing catcherDSCF4698

I HAD to take a picture with Zebra….DSCF4699

Zoe and KristynDSCF4700

Heath and Layla playing togetherDSCF4702

I love this picture of Layla laughing (even though it’s only her profile)DSCF4704

Heath and Layla

These next three pictures are just cute….

Every Sunday in church we have “Children’s Bags” available to any kids that stay in church. They are filled with crayons, coloring books, books, spiral notebooks (to draw in), and various activities that the kid can utilize during the service.

After each Sunday I go through all the bags to make sure they are “re-stocked” with paper/crayons, etc. I also go through the spiral notebooks (just to make sure there are no inappropriate pictures drawn in the notebooks–sometimes I find pictures of guns, weapons, etc….I simply tear them out and throw them away). Well, many times I find pictures that just make me smile. Here are a few….2013-04-13 14.44.15

This one is a little fuzzy but it says, “God Diyed on the Cross”–it’s a picture of Jesus on the cross.2013-04-13 14.44.46

This one says, “God raised from the cave.” I’m liking the fact that Jesus kind of has an “afro” going on…..2013-04-13 14.48.35

In this picture it looks like one of the “little ones” in our church was trying to take sermon notes!

Overall, we’ve had a good several weeks. My next big post will be about ILLINOIS!! I leave in 4 days….