To answer your question… Number 2

This post is part of a larger dialogue. You can see the first post here To answer your question…number 1
I’m glad you returned safely and I hope you and Scott had a good time on your vacation.
It sounds like we both agree that Jesus doesn’t micromanage our lives but I’m sure you also agree when looking at verses in Proverbs, Jeremiah and other books of the Bible, that Jesus does have a plan for our lives and establishes our steps. Your quote from Paul affirms this very idea that God will bring good out of evil, not as a puppet master but as someone that “…will fulfill his purpose…” for us.
I heard it was 2 – 3 million, legal and illegal votes that Hillary got, which proves that the Russians helped Trump win; wait a minute, if the Russians helped Trump, why did Hillary get that many more votes, very confusing; maybe the Russians were actually attempting to help Hillary?
I am familiar with Hobby Lobby; that is where the Obama administration thought it was wrong for Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plan to provide for only 16 different types of birth control. His administration thought they should provide for all 20 types even though the remaining 4 types kill a fertilized egg. It sounds like the Green family believe as I do, that not only are we created in the image of God but that life begins at conception, when do you believe life begins?
Thanks for your good thoughts regarding my trip to Europe. It was 2/3rd work and 1/3rd vacation…but all in all a very good trip. The seminar regarding Luther was very enlightening and helped to remind my of why I am Lutheran. One reason is that we value reason. I will most likely write some posts on some of the discussions that were part of the seminar.
We don’t agree at all on how we see God’s presence in our lives. As a Lutheran I recognize the idea that paradoxically God is present and active in the world, while also not micromanaging the world. In fact, if I believed that God was directing our steps in such an ordered way I would need to become an atheist because I would have to reject such an awful, capricious, judgmental God. If I believed in this God, I would have believe:
  • that the violence that plagues our world is God’s plan
  • that a society that chooses to withhold healthcare from millions is doing so because they are just following God’s direction
  • even that abortions are God’s plan…since God is directing our decisions
  • that racism is desired by God regardless of Jesus’ call for us to love our neighbor
  • and on and on and on…
The God of my faith, sent Jesus out of great love for, not just me, but for the world in which we all live. This Jesus taught us that the ultimate in following him is to love God and to love neighbor. He taught that our neighbor is not only the one who is familiar to us, but also includes those we don’t know, those we fear, those we dislike, and those who are our enemies. I often think that if we could truly love God and neighbor, we wouldn’t really need to know anything else because we would naturally be following the rest of the law. Unfortunately, on our own, we are not capable. For this I am forever grateful for the grace and forgiveness that is ours through Jesus. It is this grace and forgiveness that propels me to keep trying, even (especially even) when I fail to love. I fail because I have the freedom to fail.
Also…is it God’s plan that I am a pastor? Conservative evangelicals, in their patriarchy would say “no.” Given my history, I say God has a wonderful sense of humor! I know that I have a Call from God to serve, even when I look at the state of the white church and its support for a racist, misogynist, bigot for president and wonder if there really is a place for me.
As for your claims about Hillary Clinton and Russia. The only people who think that illegal votes were responsible for Clinton’s earning more popular votes than Trump are Trump and his supporters. It is also quite clear to our law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump. If you want to believe otherwise, I don’t really care.
Last, regarding Hobby Lobby. Yes it was regarding specific forms of birth control. You asked me when I believe life begins. My answer is that I don’t truly know. I believe that the potential for life exists at conception but at conception this life is not viable. In fact, looking at studies, the estimates of miscarriages each year is 10-20% (Mayo Clinic). The number, according to professionals, is probably higher than that because many women don’t even know they miscarried. I guess the God who is controlling everything is murdering babies? Of course this is a cynical statement, but it is also the logical outcome of believing that God controls everything.
Regardless of what I believe, the reality is that there are concerted efforts by Republicans to remove access to reproductive healthcare for women, especially poor women. The ongoing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are attacks on such access. The government already prohibits federal funds to be used for abortion, so those who say they are seeking to stop any funds from going to Planned Parenthood to prevent federal dollars being spent on abortion are lying. It looks like they may succeed however, so poor women will have no place to go to receive needed healthcare. This is incredibly sad. My prediction is that, because of changes that are happening that will effectively take away access to reliable birth control, the rate of abortions will increase. Currently it is lower than pre Roe v Wade.

Bracing – Gratitude 4/27

Training on the M2B course
My sixth marathon, Mountains 2 Beach is now a short 4.5 weeks away. As part of my preparation I’ve been reading Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? I must confess this is my third time through this book 😏. Last night the following words hit home in a big way. When I think back to my first marathon I can still remember the difficulty and the sheer exhaustion I felt upon completion. That first marathon took almost 6 hours to complete. Mentally, I know that I expect it to get easier with increased fitness when in fact it should be harder because I’m running harder. So the mental preparation for M2B will be bracing…and having run the course I know where I’ll be challenged so I’ll embrace that challenge.
“In the context of endurance competition, this “favorable contrast” can enhance performance. The more discomfort an athlete expects, the more she can tolerate, and the more discomfort she can tolerate, the faster she can go. It’s no wonder, then, that champion endurance athletes habitually brace themselves for important races. The great British runner Mo Farah told a reporter for The Daily Mirror ahead of his first marathon, “This will be the hardest race of my life.” He wasn’t being negative; he was bracing himself.

You never know how much your next race is going to hurt. Perception of effort is mysterious. You can push yourself equally hard in two separate races and yet somehow feel “on top of” your suffering in one race and overwhelmed by it in the other. Because you never know exactly what you’ll find inside that black box until you open it, there is a temptation to hope—perhaps not quite consciously—that your next race won’t be one of those grinding affairs. This hope is a poor coping skill. Bracing yourself—always expecting your next race to be your hardest yet—is a much more mature and effective way to prepare mentally for competition.”

Excerpt From: Fitzgerald, Matt. “How Bad Do You Want It?.” VeloPress. iBooks. This material may be protected by copyright. Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/9Bx_-.l

Today I’m personally thankful for: this good book; Mary Jones who helped me nail my last lap at track last night; good coaching.

Healthy Breakfast – Gratitude 4/26

Go-to breakfast: Coaches Oats, blueberries, and organic milk. Yumm!

Although I can think of some foods that I don’t like, I’m not a picky eater. Over the past few years my diet has gradually changed to one that is much healthier. Overall I’ve tried to eliminate processed food and its accompanying added sugar, replacing these foods with “real” food…fruits and vegetables. When I first started running I tried a low carb diet, and learned very quickly that low carb and running don’t work together…at least for me.

I remember a 4 mile run (which at the time would have been a long run) when I very clearly felt the lack of energy after the third mile. After that run, I decided I needed to start my days with some healthy carbs. I settled on oatmeal with blueberries. The problem was that I detested oatmeal. I remember an older sister forcing me to eat it when I was a child and it was awful. But at this time in my life I was more interested in health than memories of bad breakfasts.

I tried Coaches Oats, and learned the texture was not as awful as rolled oats. It’s been my most common breakfast since (4+ years). Surprisingly to me, it was this breakfast that I missed most while I was in Europe for three weeks. It’s amazing how our tastes can change!

Today I’m personally thankful for: the great variety of healthy food choices we have in California; that our food tastes change when we quit eating highly processed food (real food tastes better); and the opportunity to go to track workout tonight.

Eating Fish – Gratitude 4/25

The remains of my fish dinner…I didn’t think to take a photo before eating, probably because I was worried about how to eat it.
One of my earliest memories is of adults in a tizzy because one of them swallowed a fish bone. I think it was one of those very small, pliable bones that’s hard to see. I think the bone became stuck in someone’s throat. I say, “I think,” because this memory is from when I was about 4, thus approximately 50 years ago. Maybe it was this experience that resulted in our eating very little fish as I grew up. As an adult I discovered that fish is good…yummy good. But I always ate it in the form of fillet, or sushi, thus no bones. That all changed when I ordered a fish dinner while in Marseille recently. The menu was all in French so I wasn’t completely sure what I was ordering and was thus surprised to receive a fish, rather than a fillet. Once I carefully removed all those little bones from my mouth (first bite), I figured out what I was doing and enjoyed this meal. In retrospect it was one of the best meals that I had while in Europe. As I remember this, I find it interesting that childhood memories can powerfully hold us back. What childhood memories affect you today?

Today I’m personally thankful for: good food; beautiful spring days; living in California.

Never Say Never – Really

Of course “never say never” is a worn out cliche, but maybe that’s because it is so true. I never thought about this until a couple weeks ago when I stopped at a furniture store with my husband and daughter. We were looking for something to put in our small den…maybe a small love seat…but definitely comfortable. I was thinking that a love seat recliner that doesn’t look too bulky and ugly might be nice, if such a thing existed. So, we went to the recliner store.

There is no such thing as a love seat recliner that doesn’t look bulky and ugly. But while looking through the store, I saw a mission style leather chair. Here’s where a little back story helps:

  • First, I’ve always said that even though we live in a 1915 Craftsman Bungalow, I don’t like mission style furniture and will never buy it.
  • Second, I had run a nice hard 16 miles in the morning before this particular shopping trip. My legs were a bit tired.
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Me. In the store. Feeling pretty comfortable.

Thinking that this trip was a bust, I decided to sit in the mission style leather chair, “just for fun.” It is a recliner! And it is the most comfortable recliner that I’ve ever sat in. We bought two! Never say never,

If you follow my blog, you might know that our family activity is now running. My husband, son, daughter, and I run together, go to races together, and eat after running together. My daughter, Megan, and I are the marathoners and are almost ready to run (my sixth and her third) marathons at Mountains 2 Beach at the end of May.

Now Megan had been talking ultra for a few months and every time she mentions it, I say, “I have no desire to run an ultra.” She signed up for the Ray Miller 50k today. So of course I had to look at the website. Of course the race takes place at my favorite hiking place (and the place that inspired me to start running in the first place). Of course the race is on a Saturday, meaning I have the day free. So of course I just signed up for the 50k, to run with my daughter. Of course! Never say never!

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So I’ll be running here in November
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Beautiful post rainy winter.

Art – Gratitude 4/18

As I began my run yesterday I looked towards the ocean and saw this beautiful Easter memorial. The cross, once a powerful symbol of torture, has been transformed into a powerful symbol of life, of forgiveness, of God’s love for us, of Jesus’ ongoing presence in our world. May we learn to love one another as Jesus loves us. Happy Easter.

Today I’m personally thankful for: the love of God through Christ Jesus; community; and public art.

Thoughts while watching Boston – Gratitude 4/17

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That’s a lot of water!

 

This morning, from the comfort of my living room,  I watched my first Boston Marathon. My thoughts were on my hope qualify to run it next year (I’ll be trying to shave off the 6 minutes I need to qualify May 28th). While watching I was surprised by the emotional effect of something so ordinary… the water table!

Yes. The water table. While watching I noticed the stacks of water cups, three or four layers! Having never run in a BIG race I’ve never seen so many cups stacked high on one table…and then multiplied by many tables. I told my husband, “look at all those cups!” The weird thing though, was the emotion that was distorting my voice. He’s used to me being a bit emotional at times…but water cups? Seriously?

Seriously. I thought about it a couple hours later as I did my own 8 miles for today and understood the significance of the water cups. Here’s the story…

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My husband (middle) with our friends Steve and Michele. They and others from Our Redeemer have volunteered each year so far. No nearly as many cups as Boston!

Four years ago I heard a fellow pastor share how the members of her church worked at a water station for the Pasadena Marathon. I had been running for about 18 months and had just completed my first half marathon. I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if members of my church (Our Redeemer, Oxnard) could volunteer for a marathon?” Then I saw information about the Ventura Marathon to be held in September, coincidentally on a day we dedicate to volunteering in the community.

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I think these were some of the early starters and we had no clue how busy it would become.

I recruited enough volunteers to fill one shift at one station. I didn’t know about signing up as a group, so I signed us all up as individuals. We’ve since figured this out and have volunteered at all four Ventura Marathon races. My part in the last three has been coordination up to race day, but not actually handing out water. Instead I run!

I still remember that first year, while giving cups of water to marathoners and half-marathoners. It was so much fun. It was so inspirational. That day, I decided that I would run the Ventura Marathon the next year… and I did.

At this point I wasn’t part of the local running community. My training was all found online. My goal for this first marathon was to finish…not last! I met these goals, but barely, coming in at 5:51:02…just 9 minutes before the deadline. This was among the hardest things I’ve ever done! Of course that was only until the next, and next, and next marathons. My May attempt to qualify for Boston will be my 6th in just under 3 years (I’ve also shaved 1 hour 37 minutes off that first time).

Would I have done a marathon anyway? Maybe. But the Ventura Marathon was my entry into the local running community and so will always be special to me. And it started with a table full of water!

Today I’m personally thankful for: all the members of the M26 Running Tribe; for my family becoming a “running family”; and for all those who volunteer at races.