Saturday, April 23, 2011


My Grandpa died this week.

I am sad.

He was a great man. When I went home to AZ for visits, I had lunch with him and my Grandma. Over coffee we talked about everything - religion, space exploration, politics, travel, and my favorite - his stories of my Dad, aunt, and uncles, growing up on a farm in Nebraska and his stories of him and his siblings growing up. He would laugh over the long-past antics of two generations of childhood to the point that tears would be streaming down his cheeks and he could barely finish the story for his laughter.

I still cannot believe he's gone and that we won't have another coffee time when I go home over Memorial Day weekend.

I am thankful that I knew him - knew about how he grew up and stories from his childhood. Knew how he raised he kids. Knew that he loved me very much. And that I loved him back.

Miss you Grandpa.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Preparing for Easter

My friend Jessica and I have been reading through this book over the past couple of weeks. It's a book that Nancy Guthrie compiled from various sermon excerpts, from pastors such as Augustine, Luther, Owen, Sproul, Mahaney, Edwards, and Keller, to name a few. The sermon excerpts focus on Easter and the work of Christ on the cross (Ms. Guthrie has a similar compilation in "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus- Readings for Advent" in preparation for Christmas- which is fantastic).

The book has 25 readings and we backed that out from Easter for when to begin reading one-a-day. This book has been amazing, convicting, renewing, and oh-so-focusing on what Easter really means. The other night, Jessica and I easily spent a half an hour going back and forth, each sharing a particular excerpt that was particularly encouraging/jaw dropping/convicting. Here are a couple of my favorites:

In the excerpt "The Silence of the Lamb" by Adrian Rogers, he addresses why Jesus was silent before Pilate and his accusers. Why didn't he defend himself?

"The Bible teaches us that when Jesus Christ took our sin, he took all of the punishment that goes with that sin. A part of that punishment is shame. Had Jesus defended himself and protested his innocence, he would have suffered no shame, and that would have left us guilty. Jesus could not prove himself innocent and then die in our place the shameful death that we deserve. Thank God that Jesus was willing to be counted a sinner before God, that we might be counted as righteous before God!"

In "Gethsemane" by R.Kent Hughes, he speaks on Jesus being arrested in Gethesemane and how that this wasn't a surprise to the Lord. He knew who was to betray Him, He knew that he was to be arrested. Gethesemane is in actuality a beautiful example of God's sovereignty and faithfulness (sorry for the long excerpt, but it is SOOO good!):

"The surroundings of Christ's final hour clearly display his sovereign control. The intensity of his agony and he sovereign resolve to bear it, his control over his captors, his protection of his own, his grace to the wounded, all proved he is an omniscient, all-powerful God. Christ was in control when life was falling in, when things looked the worst.

How does this related to us? Though Christ's Gethsemane was infinitely beyond human experience, Gethsemanes are part of believers' lives.

Gethsemane was not a tragedy, and neither are our Gethsemanes. This does not do away with the woulds of affliction in this life, but it is encouraging to see that behind human tragedy stands the benevolent and wise purpose of the Lord of human history. Life may be dark at times, tragedy may come, and at times the whole world may seem to be falling a part. The wheel may appear ready to crush us. But this is not the end. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28), even in Gethsemane."


I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book for those of you who want to focus your heart and mind on the Easter (or Advent) season from a Biblical perspective. So thankful for resources like this!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Garmin- least for now...

My superwoman watch is broken. ::pausing for cries of "oh no!":: Yes, yes it's true. My trusty Garmin 310XT has decided it does not want to be a GPS unit any more and only function as a stop watch. Gone are the days of it acquiring it only mocks me with the status bar creeping towards 100%, only to jump back to the beginning and start over again. The Garmin customer service people have been great though- on the phone and via email. Unfortunately, all their ideas thus far have not panned out...Master reset?- fail. New software upload? - fail. I think I may have to send it colleague at work quipped "looks like you have a master antenna failure" (note: this is a truly nerdy and hilarious NASA-esque comment, but I am not going to expound on what it means because 1) you all would fall asleep 2) you would not find it as hilarious as the group of us did when he said it and 3) explaining it will just make me more nerdier than I already am :) ).

Aww, see how excited I was a year ago about my new superwoman watch...when it was working perfectly? Ahh ::memories::

Now I must rely on ::gasp:: a regular stopwatch type watch and actually listen to my body whilst running rather than on my beloved gadget that could pretty much calculate every drop of sweat I sweated.

::disclaimer- yes, this is meant to be a lighthearted, self-deprecating post, spurred by my fleeting sense of loss and panic when it first died...and then the next thought of exasperation "oh good night Melissa, it's JUST a watch". Just in case you all thought I needed to be prayed over and spoken to about idols ;-) :: Oh technology.


I ran an entire 5k (3.1 miles) this morning!!! The furthest I had run since The Back was only a little over 2 I was definitely in unknown territory this morning! I did the Yuri's Night (Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space- the 50th anniversary of his flight was this past week) 5k. It was in a great park on both paved, grassy, and dirt paths. The grass was a little challenging for me- the bumpy terrain jarred my back quite a bit. There was a decent short hill and I had to walk/run the descent cause my feet were landing too hard and jarring me too much. I tried to pick up the pace during the last mile, but The Back wasn't having that, so I decided to just be thankful that I was going to be able to finish the entire distance. My friend Jessica happened to be doing the race too, and she's also overcoming an injury, so we ran together. It was a gorgeous cool morning for a run and the race vibe was laidback and fun. I would definitely like to do this race again next year.

This morning, when I woke up, I prayed "God, I am going to run as far as you will let me". And 3.1 miles and 34 minutes later, I crossed the finish line, having run the entire course :). Praise Him.

Post race shot with my running/training buddy Lisa (she finished in 29 minutes!)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


That would be where my sis and her family lives...which includes the two cutest and bestest nephews EVER. I saw them at Christmas, but hey, it's been a few months...time for some auntie time!

Laughing at something...

It's a Carter!

Look at me Sissa! I'm going UP the slide!

Yeah, I am ridiculously cute and I can't say "Sissa" quite comes out either "Sis" or "Sissy" :)

John Michael's preschool class just finished studying space. Here he is with his teacher introducing "Sissa" :) to his classmates. I had a ball answering their questions and listening to their stories (For instance, one little girl asked "Can you have pets in space?", so I spent a few minutes talking about the animals/insects we have had in space. This was followed by at least 5 different hands being raised in the air...each to tell me about THEIR pet that they have at home :)

I was one of their "stations" in class that day. Here the kiddos are looking at space pictures.

Sorry for the rice cake smiles, but these guys needed a snack before taking me to the airport. Love these guys!

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's incredible, really....

Incredible how amazingly adaptable the brain is. Bear with me here...I'll get to the incredible part, but a little background first...

My workouts over the past two weeks have included 1.5-2 mile runs, over 500m swim workouts, a two-workouts-in-one-day morning swim/afternoon run, a brick workout (6.5 mile bike/1 mile run), and a spinning class.

Oh yeah, and I signed up for my comeback triathlon at the beginning of May, Mother's Day actually, - a super sprint distance of 200yd swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run.

And I am doing a 5k next week, with the goal of running as much of it as possible.

I am feeling good. But it is a different type of good than I felt a year ago. My body has a new "good".

My back still hurts. It's usually just a small nagging ache and sometimes (rarely these days) a sharper-suck-in-your-breath-quick kind of pain.

This is where the brain is's adjusted my pain tolerances. These days at work, I rarely am aware of my back (unless I have to stand for a long time or sit for awhile without my lumbar pillow). That's AMAZING. I could be constantly aware of my back, constantly aware of it not "feeling right"...I imagine that would make me very sad and not much fun to be around...(at first, because I've seen God's grace in my attitude the past 9 months and know that He would bring me around eventually :) ). I am SO grateful to God for designing our brains to adapt to uncomfortableness so that we can still enjoy life. I'm overwhelmed by the mercy in His design. And yes, there may be days ahead where I will have trouble remembering this mercy and be constantly aware of pain, but not today. Today I am going to marvel at the design of my God (and pray that on that day when I am hurting and having trouble remembering, that one of you will remind me of this post!):

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:13-14

More than 3 months gluten free...

Crazy how fast three months goes by...

Yup, and still eating gluten free. I've decided to stick with it as much as possible. As much as possible meaning staying away from things that obviously have gluten (things with wheat flour) and not really paying attention to things with modified food starch, vinegar, "natural and artificial flavors." Although, it is hard to break the habit I started with reading food labels...I keep finding myself grabbing a product from the grocery store shelves and turning it over to read the ingredient list.

I like the gluten free diet because:

1) Some GI issues I had that I thought were related to my meds have completely disappeared
2) I've found some great new ways to eat more veggies
3) I feel better...healthier in my "insides". Weird description, I know, but hopefully it makes sense.
4) I can do it - it hasn't been a hardship for me to switch to gluten free. I thank God for the easy transition.

Do I miss bread? Every so often...but then I think, "but I feel better not eating it"...and then I don't miss it so much :)