It is late in the evening of May 28, 2012 – Memorial Day 2012. Sometimes we forget too easily what this day is for. Time off work, no school, picnics, holiday sales…our minds are often on these things when we think of Memorial Day Monday. My family is in Annapolis, Maryland, for the graduation and commissioning of the United States Naval Academy Class of 2012. Our son, Charlie, will receive that commissioning tomorrow, and so tonight my thoughts are more oriented towards the true meaning of the memorial holiday. [Read more…]
Quote of the Week: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
On February 29th my husband, James, was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of his throat. I suppose there was some point in my life when I wondered what it would be like to hear the words from a doctor that someone I loved had cancer. But, I never thought it would be my husband, 48 years old and healthy, the father of 9. [Read more…]
If you are thinking about seeing a movie this holiday, I highly recommend “The Way” with Martin Sheen. It is actually a collaboration between Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez, to honor the pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The Way of St. James is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried. Depending on where a person starts on the Camino, it can take a few months to travel “the Way”. [Read more…]
I’m leaving for Washington, DC tomorrow and will run the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday. Trying to dismiss the hamstring pain that seems to now be creeping around my hip, I thought I would re-read a favorite book, “Born to Run”, to get psyched up and forget my soreness for a while. I should have remembered the kind of emotion the book evoked from me the last time I read it, but just like that time, I got sucked into the way Christopher McDougall tells a story. If you haven’t read his book , I highly recommend it, whether you consider yourself a runner or not.
This time, though, I realized that one of the reasons I enjoyed reading his book so much was the intriguing people he wrote about. They are not like most of us, who, while we all may be a little nuts, are definitely more sane than crazy. The characters (real in every way) in McDougalls’s book are definitely not afraid of pushing themselves and living on the edge…the closer to it the better. These are people who run for long distances (way longer than 26.2 miles) for the fun of it…literally. FOR THE FUN OF IT! I guess we can all live a little vicariously through these wild runners who seem to throw caution to the wind.
Even the very pious need exercise. While in Kingston, Jamaica last week I caught a peek at Father Richard Ho Lung, founder of the Missionaries of the Poor, playing a serious game of racquetball with Brother John, Brother Edward, and Brother Ramil (brothers of the Missionaries of the Poor ). It was about 6 pm, right after evening prayers, and after a day of serving the poor in any one of the seven centers in the heart of Kingston’s inner city ghetto. For me this glimpse of the athletic side of the MOP was important. Why? Because it speaks to who we are as human beings. Even those who have given themselves up totally to serve the poor, who gather to pray multiple times everyday, and who live as incredible examples to all they come into contact with… even they need to let off steam, to workout, to sweat a little. [Read more…]
I love the morning. Getting up before everyone else…in the dark…in the quiet…and leaving the house for an early morning run … this is one of my favorite things to do. My street at dawn is silent except for the occasional bird or cricket and a few car motors in the distance. We live on a cul-de-sac and a slight hill awaits me before I get onto the main road to begin my run. I usually walk my street and slowly ease into my run as the sun is coming up. Its my favorite way to meet the day. [Read more…]
“Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes,… and all things are vanity…”Ecclesiastes 1:2.
“We can’t take them with us when we die.” This is something we might think of in terms of our material possessions, yet it also pertains to something else as well…our bodies. If we are fitness enthusiasts we tend to care about our bodies…maybe too much at times. Yet, in terms of the spiritual world, they are fleeting too. I think it is good, every so often, to contemplate vanity. Its counterpart, pride, is said to be the root of all of our sins, and is one of the Seven Capital Sins. We can fall prey to this sin when we place too much importance on our appearance. Let’s face it, one of the main reasons most of us exercise is because of the way it makes us look. Sure, there are plenty of other good reasons; health, wellness, mental and emotional well-being, and so on. We all know that exercise keeps us strong and healthy throughout all the stages of our life. But the bottom line is that for many of us, the main motivator for working out is our physical appearance. The definition of vanity (often called vainglory) is excessive pride in one’s appearance. Also… clinging to things without solidity and permanence (such as physical beauty). [Read more…]
On Monday I wrote about endorphins, those neurotransmitters in the brain that have been known to induce euphoria. Today I am writing about another kind of euphoria that can also come from running and exercising…the spiritual kind. Although we have all heard of the slogan “mind, body, spirit“, it can sometimes seem strange to integrate the three in a literal way. One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie, “Chariots of Fire”. In the movie, runner Eric Liddle of Scotland (a missionary and winner of the 400 meters in the 1924 Olympics in Paris) is explaining to his sister his desire to run in the Olympic Games. He says, “God made me for a purpose. But he also made me Fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” [Read more…]
There is really only one thing to say on this day, and that is “Thank you”. Thank you to all the men and women who died serving this great nation of ours. Thank you to all of our military, both living and deceased. Thank you to those who are in foreign lands serving at this moment. Thank you to all of our retired veterans. Thank you to those in military training who will serve our country in the future.
Thank you for your bravery and commitment and especially, for your sacrifice. I hope on this day, we can all take some time to think about those men and women who are presently in harms way, and remember those who fought and who died so that we can continue to live in the Land of the Free. Yesterday at church we sang what is known as “The Navy Hymn” in honor of Memorial Day. With a son at the United States Naval Academy, I have grown to love this hymn and so use it as my Quote of the Week. The following are just a few of the verses:
Eternal Father, Strong to save, [Read more…]
I think one of the hardest parts about being a mother is that we are real… and so are our children. Parenting is a continual act of living in reality…even if we would much rather just live in a world where our children didn’t get hurt, didn’t make mistakes, didn’t have to suffer. I remember when my first four or five children were little. My oldest was no more than 10. Sometimes it felt like I was the mother duck and they were my little ducklings; if I looked behind me, they were all following…my little brood. I’m sure I thought this was real, and it was. But it was also only temporary. As my first few children embarked on the teen years, the “real” was not so easy. When I looked behind me I didn’t always have the same view. What I saw was the older ones venturing off in different directions and I couldn’t as easily herd them back. I started to lose that control that I must have believed I would always have. It hurt a little, and my fur got a little tattered. [Read more…]