Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Am Found

On some level, I have known that this Journey would take me way beyond where I expected to go from it's inception.

I did not have some psychic ability or some unique spiritual insight into what the future would hold. But I knew! Not in formed thoughts or grand words...but instead, in a quiet...strangely peaceful way...that was the perfect combination of God's Grace and my willingness to surrender.

The past few weeks I have come face to face with some old health challenges that feel uncomfortably familiar and at the same time, uncomfortably foreign.

I find myself feeling shocked but not surprised. Defiant...yet resigned...living an old behavior in a new life. Straight up confused and sadly, lost!

From a physical perspective...flattened...exhausted...sick...too pooped to pedal!
From an emotional perpspective...just a ball of worry, stress, and fear...a hot mess!

But today...God's Grace and my surrender met again.

To the naked eye...it may be hard to detect...but it happened...just as quietly as before.

Today...I had the opportunity to step out of myself...see, clearly, some of the blessings in my life. I had the opportunity to have a bird's eye view of what happens when a group of people momentarily put down their own worries and lives to be of service to others and I got to spend precious time giving back...in no grand way...but in gratitude for what I have received.

My words may not make complete sense to those reading them...but for me...these words represent a crossroads...another intersection of God's graceful guidance of my journey and my surrendering to that grace.

Some of the blessings of this day/week:

1. Working in unison with a group of volunteers who came together for a common cause.

2.  Meeting new people and seeing old friends...I am talking "back in the day"... "high school old"...friends.

3.  Spending time with family

4.  Getting to have a proud moment for one of the kids in my life...and getting to tell her how proud of her I am!

5.  Getting to hug two of my all time favorite teachers and tell them I love them!

6.  Having the honor of watching a man and his family work all day long at a fundraiser for the hospital that is helping him fight brain cancer.

7.  Having people in my life that see strength in me...even when I feel my weakest.

8.  Having those in my life who remind me I have come to far to turn back now.

9.  The spontaneous conversation with a former professional cyclist who assured me that I will finish the MS 150 :)

10.  The reminder that God provides all I need to do my best...even when my body and spirit are tired...and that doing my best is all He asks for...not perfection.

So...as always...this Journey continues  to take me one step farther than I think I can go...and in the midst of feeling Lost...I AM FOUND...

Amazing Grace.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Prayer Supported-Grace Driven

The last 2.5+ years have been nothing short of miraculous for me.  Sweeping changes in my life...better health...newfound inspiration...energy and all kinds of amazing adventures!

Many of you know most of my stories...and further know that the changes in my health have been the biggest blessing of this Journey.

Additionally, most of you know that I, by the Grace of God and the power of prayer, have been able to overcome many of those health challenges that kept me stuck...immobilized by my circumstances.

I have had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things in the past 2.5 years...walking, running, climbing, playing volleyball, swimming...all kinds of unimaginable activities prior to this "lose the fluff" campaign!

Now...as I prepare to ride in my 1st MS150...I have hit a bit of a snag in my training.  I am experiencing a health setback that is definitely slowing my roll...so to speak.

My not so stellar immune system is not cooperating with my current  training plans...How Rude!

I'm not going to bore everyone with the details...BUT...because I so fully believe in the power of prayer...I am asking for you, one more time, to pray me through this bump in the road.
One thing I know...this Journey is and has been fully supported by the prayers and support of others...other people's grace!

I find myself relying on the courage that only comes from faith!

Thank you for reading! Thank you for your prayers and thank you for your graciousness.

29 DAYS TIL THE MS150...PEDAL ON!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pedaling and Praying All the Way

Well...31 days until  the MS150!
Training is going better...but am still a bit behind.
Over the last few weeks, I have spent a ton of time trying to recover from my fall and convince my body that it was "merely a flesh wound"!
Spending an obscene amount of time on a bike...wearing spandex and a funny looking hat seems an odd way to spend my time....BUT...I must admit, that each time I go a little farther, pedal a little faster or manage the hills a little easier...I find myself wanting to go again...give it another shot and see if I can pull this off!

As I make this final push...I am facing  some physical challenges I had not planned on...I suppose that is not shocking...all things considered....but it is something I am having to work around.

However, even with these obstacles, I still really cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I, after so many years of lethargy, illness and severe fluffiness, get this kind of chance to live differently...it truly blows my mind...

This Journey is one hell of a "do-over".

I don't want to waste this chance...too many amazing things....amazing blessings have already happened. The thought that I might miss something...miss another amazing moment...is motivation enough to keep going.

AND...IF you have an extra prayer to spare...I could use it more than ever!

I can tell you this..I will be praying my way through the next 30 days!!!

Pedaling and Praying All the Way!!! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Lesson in Patience

From the very beginning of this Journey I have been challenged  by patience...

Being Patient

Having Patience

Losing Patience...

I am inclined to rush...figure out...analyze...constant mental motion.

So...as a part of this generally constant  state of change I have experienced over the past 2.5 years....I must work at settling  into God's timing...embracing  stillness...so that I hear God's  plan.

It is work for  me...part of the learning and living of this Journey.

Yesterday, I did my 1st "Hills" group training ride for the MS150. The ride was to be approximately 33 miles (37 miles actually) of "rolling hills" roads in the Huntsville, TX area. 

Going in to the ride I was pretty nervous...
A.  This was only my 2nd group ride
B.   The words....Ride...Bike...Uphill...are intimidating in the world of the newbie  cyclist....
C. A+B....and an inordinate amount of Fluff!

So...something important  to note....when I am nervous...my patience is often the 1st thing to go...with myself and others!

So...the ride begins...within the 1st 2 miles I had to stop...thought my chest was going to explode!

I was horrified!

Truly thought I was done....before I even really started.

But in retrospect...here is what happened...I took on that 1st hill absent  of any patience...Bull in a China shop style and it knocked me out!

So in order to continue, I had to practice, at times battle, and ultimately embrace patience...for 37 long miles.

The entire ride was a Lesson in Patience on SO many levels. A lesson in overcoming obstacles one at a time.

I had to compartmentalize each hill...take each hill at face value...with patience...patience with the hill...with the bike I was riding up the hill on and with myself as I learned to maneuver the obstacle.

As I reached  the finish  line...I was pretty  close to tears...exhausted...mentally  as much as physically. Having Patience is exhausting...it seems. :)

So many big lessons in that ride yesterday. 

Patience gives me strength...It gives me the space I need to be imperfect but not paralyzed by those imperfections.

Patience breeds courage...because courage can take time and needs room to grow inside of us all!

Patience teaches me to see the gift in the battle...to keep moving toward each "finish line".

Patience heals the heart...allowing  me to embrace those challenges that scare me...or that feel bigger than I can handle.

There is a line from a country song (by Lone Star) that says this...

"The good Lord gives us Mountains so that we can learn how to climb".

Still here...Still learning...Just Be Patient!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

OH....YES YOU CAN!

Well...it has been a bit since I posted last!!

Life is quite full! Lots and lots of bike riding mixed in with normal life stuff...makes for very busy days!

But..this weekend I participated  in my 1st group training  ride...a supported 33 mile ride that would be my 1st real test for my knee and my courage, post-crash!

I was exceptionally nervous the night  before and despite going to bed pretty early for me...I still managed to get minimal sleep! I woke up at 3:00 A.M. played out every possible  scenario in this crazy brain of mine...until...it was actually time to get up and go!

But...despite all of the nervous pondering, I was pumped  full of adrenaline and ready to go.

Now...of course, I could give all of you a blow by blow description  of the day...but instead I just want to say this...

Once again, God gave me the strength, the courage and the support  I needed to take on this challenge and finish!
My biggest  gift of the day...having 3 unexpected  guardian  angels who rode with me...despite my slow pace...encouraged me...coached  me and pushed  me to finish!

Every single time I think I CAN'T...God provides the Oh...Yes You Can. Without  Fail.

Today...after some rest, I met a friend for lunch and spent  several hours talking, laughing...truly getting a big dose of God's Grace! I left feeling Inspired...Loved...Encouraged and oh so very grateful!

Tonight, I go to bed with a full heart...a tired body, a strong desire to keep going and a voice inside my head saying Yes You Can!

Thanks to my guardian  angels...all of you...Every Day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

True Grit

GRIT-Definition
 
Noun
 
1.  Small, Loose particles of stone or sand
2.  Courage and resolve; strength of character
 
Verb:
 
1.  Clench, (the teeth) especially in order to keep one's resolve when faced with an unpleasant or painful duty.
 
 
Monday night, my phone rang around 8:30 PM. Monday was a holiday for me, so I had managed to get a lot done and was resting comfortably on the couch watching a movie!
 
On the other end of the phone, one of my favorite sounds ever broke the silence..."Aunt Jaime, I need to talk to you about something.  Of course, I was all ears.
She proceeded  to let me know that she had a school project that had to be completed by Wed....an interview...then she paused and said, do you know what "Grit" is...or what it means to have Grit?
 
I gave her my best off the cuff definition of grit...much like the 2nd Noun definition above...She said...yea, that's right.
 
She informed me that she had to conduct an interview with someone who had "Grit" and who had accomplished a big goal because of that Grit...
 
Now what is important to note here is that I, over the past year or so, have worked with Emily many times on homework assignments...so getting a call about school work was not particularly unusual.  But what she said next...well...was a bit of a twist...unexpected.
 
She said (and I am paraphrasing)...Well, I have to do this interview with someone that has Grit and I want to interview you...cause you have Grit...You know...the whole weight loss thing, and all the challenges and meeting Ms. Kerri, having the Event (Play it Forward)...you know all the Journey stuff."
 
Oh my heart! 
 
In that moment, that singular moment...I was so reminded about how amazing this Journey is...how God graces my every step and how someone else's view of my little life can open my eyes, my heart and my mind to "big"ness of life...in ways I could have never imagined!
 
So...I had spent a portion of my Monday "processing" my Journey to date with someone (someone whom I adore and that is WAY smarter than I)...talking ( a long damn time) about where I had come from, where I am and where I am going.  Now I will spare all of you the gory details of that conversation but sufficed to say, as I have from the beginning, I expressed some trepidation about the direction I am going...and the admission that I in fact, at times feel a bit lost along the way and question my courage to find the way.  Having the Faith that I will have the Fortitude...is the thought that pops into my head...and though I am not fond of this cliché...noting during that conversation, that I am definitely a "work in progress".  A WIP!!!
 
So...back to my call with Emily...Now you gotta know I was a little caught off guard...touched deeply and rapidly flipping through my thoughts about Grit...what it really means to have it...who I know that I think has it and am I really the right girl for the job...so to speak. 
 
Do I really have grit?...I know I grit my teeth a lot (SEE ADDITIONAL DEFINITION ABOVE) but do I have GRIT?  I hate Grits...I know that...have my whole life despite a strange insistence from people in my life that I try to eat them...but do I HAVE Grit?
 
Emily thinks so....
 
I sat down with Emily, answered the interview questions and took the opportunity to share with her that if I do in fact, have Grit...it is by the Grace of God and because I have some pretty amazing people in my life and some pretty amazing strength that I draw from others, their inspiration, their courage and their Grit. 
 
It was a great experience and I had this thought...
 
God in his infinite care and love for me is very funny, and a little sneaky...
 
You see...I, in the last week alone, have had a few very specific opportunities to question my fortitude...question my ability to keep pushing through this process and trust!  I spent a portion of Monday...talking about that very thing...Talking about how I still feel SO VERY compelled to follow this path I have been on for the past 2+ years...yet, really have concerns about my ability to keep Forging ON...as I like to say. 
 
I was questioning my Courage and My Resolve and my Strength of Character...and then, out of the blue, and from a voice that reaches my heart faster than most...I hear this..
 
You have Grit...
 
Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky...Why do I think it was sneaky...Because I am pretty sure that God knew I would NEVER say NO to that voice...that I would do my best to HAVE Grit because she believes I do!!!  Forced Grit!
 
By the way...Forced Grit...is much easier to swallow that Forced Grits! 
 
As I close...I am again in awe of how God works in my life...the subtle nuances of His guidance to those moments when I am left speechless ( a rarity).
 
I have some amazing folks in my life who ooze Grit...Who exemplify great courage, resolve and strength...thank you for setting such a great example! Thanks for living with True Grit!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Best Laid Plans

Hello to all...

I hope you all had a lovely, loving Valentine's  Day. 

As I sat in church this morning, I heard this:

"We can make our plans, but God determines our steps".

I have made many plans in my lifetime...some good, some not so good.

When I decided  to start  this Journey, I made a plan...with a very specific goal and strict timeline.  Very early on, I began to feel God's refinement  of my plan.

As most of you know...my specific goal and very specific timeline have changed, morphed, mutated into something  completely different than my original plan.

That at times, has been scary  for me...but each time  I feel off plan...off course...something  happens that keeps me grounded, safe and moving forward.

As I have planned...God has clearly  determined my direction...guided my steps...changed my heart...and cushioned the reality that my plans are not perfect!

I heard one more thing in church this morning...

"Nothing  can ever separate  you from the Love of Christ"

As I proceed with my plans and as I experience this God-guided Journey...I time and time again, am reminded of the above...reminded that when my plans fail, when my courage wanes and my flaws are exposed that nothing separates me from God's abiding  love...

Thank God!