On a Winter's Day {Why I make them go outside}

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~ 3 John 1:4

We walk through snow and ice and sometimes we wear rubber boots. Three days a week, I tell them, just three times are you required to get out here and raise your heart rate a little.

There are complaints and pleas, there is sometimes a giving-in, but these minds need air and the cold just makes us walk faster.

forest

 

I am teacher-mom, and that means I have to be the whistle-and-gym-shorts kind, too. Or in our case, the layered-up goof with ear muffs and a camera around her neck.

I even bought umbrellas, because it's Oregon and we are nearly aquatic. There'll be no weather-related excuses.

So we walk and there are kids spread out for a quarter-mile in front and behind me, some of them trying to keep up and some of them trying to break free, I think. I annoy them with my camera and my pep-talks, with my smile and my Pollyanna-isms.

"Look at how the buds are coming on the trees!"

"Oh they put fresh gravel down!"

"If you are cold you could always run!"

I annoy them because I stop to take pictures, because I walk too fast, because I run circles around them sometimes in my goofy tights and neon yellow shirt.

I think they love me anyway.

eyes to see

I am freezing and there are at least 30 other things I could be doing at the moment but we walk. Out and back, the same route, and sometimes we talk or hold hands or race home.

Sometimes there are just 5 separate people, walking alone but in the same direction.

I think we're making memories that will be stored up for one day, for a day when we can't take walks together and make each other laugh with our cheesy jokes. I want them to see all the joy I see and be satisfied with the simple things like frost on branches and budding twigs.

So when we go for a walk and they complain, I press on because I know it's the moments that are important and the years are only made up of so many. I press on because I know that seeing takes practice, and nothing is perfect so we take the imperfect and find God there.

I know that the exercise profits a little. I know that it's cold and torturous and there are other things to do but this moment has to freeze and we have to seize it.

And I know that there is always a truth to see in walking. Not a Pollyanna, look-at-how-the-ice-forms-on-my-eyelashes attempt, but a true Truth that the seasons change, the ground freezes under you, but everywhere in every corner God is at work.

That's the Truth I want my children to walk in.

rose bush in winter

 

The world will tell them otherwise, that the ground freezes and the leaves fall because there is no God at work. They will have people try to tell them to take the easy road, to stay warm and comfortable. To live in ease and find beauty only in the work of their own hands.

Not so, my children.

I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the whole truth of this created world and the God who made it and them.

See how the tree buds after a long winter.

See how the road is made firm for our walking.

See how far you can run.

 

 

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose #TellHisStory,  and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays

 

How to Run Whole-Heartedly {Five Minute Friday:Race}

racing, running on the road, tortoise and hare He's always racing someone.

When he runs like that, I'm afraid of the pavement coming up fast in his face, afraid of the long shoe laces and the flailing arms.  He doesn't look ahead.  He looks side to side and sometimes even backwards, to make sure no one is going to overtake him.

He races in flip-flops and cries when he loses.  He runs with his whole heart and sometimes his body follows suit.

If he were to ever focus ahead, stop looking around and stop wasting so much energy trying to win, he'd be a force to reckon with.

Whereas I don't race anybody but myself.  I'll run a race tomorrow that I'm not prepared for and my goal?  Finish faster than last year. Or just finish.

My son runs wholeheartedly but I lack enthusiasm.  I run passion-less and slow, but consistent.

So what does the tortoise learn from the hare? The moral is always in the hare's favor - slow and steady wins the race.  But this steady one needs a dose of wild-abandon and eight year old fervor.

And life is that way, too.

 

This post is part of Five Minute Friday, where we write on the prompt given by Lisa-Jo and these are the only rules: set your timer for five minutes and no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.  It's scary fun!

Today's random prompt is RACE and I really do have one tomorrow, so I couldn't help myself. I feel the same way I did here, all unprepared and breathless.

 

When You’re Not Ready to Run

IMG_20120820_192840 We could spend all our time preparing and never go anywhere.

We think there’s something more we need, something else or something better.  Really, what we need is more Breath and instead we hold it, prevent it from escaping and the Life stays stopped up inside us.

Breathe.

God exhaled Life into us and we gasp for more, but it’s really all there.  Everything we need for life and godliness, right down to the adrenaline, He breathed it into the dirt and we stand up to demand more.

Adrenaline is a wonder.

I skip days on the prescribed running plan and my preparation for this 10k is laughable.  I worry about not having enough breath and are there hills and can I really go the distance again, all unprepared as I am?

This is where I explain why I pay money to run.

Running is cheap exercise and it’s easy and there’s not much coordination or skill involved.  Buy some decent shoes and go.

But some days the go wants to not and what we all need is motivation.  So I send in my check a month before the race, sign the waiver on my excuses, and I commit.

When race day comes, I run because the adrenaline surges and I paid to be here and sometimes that is all the motivation I need, and there is breath enough.

I question the sanity of it all mid-race, but I put one foot in front of the other and finish.  I’m happy with my time and there are cookies at the end, a second-place ribbon, and a task accomplished.

You don’t need me to draw the parallel between running and our walk with Jesus.  But what you might need to hear, again, is that all-preparation and no-action will never get you anywhere.

Even if your preparation is lacking, there comes a time to act.  Ready, or not.  You can only hold your breath so long and then, just the way He designed it, your body will exhale.

We started school in full force yesterday, my 13th year of homeschooling and learning right along side the ones God has entrusted to me.

IMG_20120809_150145

I was not prepared and gasping a little.

It made my husband nervous, telling him that I wasn’t sure what I was doing and didn’t really know yet how it would all work out.  He’s the one that always says, “We’ll know more when it’s over,” and he’s right. We learn as we go, but we have to GO.

Those dreams you never start, they never fail.  They bring no heartache or disappointment,  but don’t we learn best from the processes we go through, rather than the ones we only daydream about?

The letter you don’t write because you’re not ready, the meal you don’t make because it might flop, the mission trip you reject because you don’t think you have anything to offer, and the friendship you don’t offer because you might be rejected…none of those things ever hurt or disappointed you, did they?

Yes, they did.

You have big dreams and you have everyday things that you want to do, need to do, and have Breath enough to do.

Exhale.  And begin.

We’ll all know more when it’s over.

{And if you want real motivation, tell someone your dream.  Accountability is a powerful thing.}