What can I say? I love to run. I've run 4 full marathons and 6 halfs. But I love God more and I'm determined to run this race of life for Him to receive the ultimate prize of Heaven. I'd like to share my thoughts with you. You can agree or disagree. Comment or don't. You can read or not read. But it's here if you want it. Enjoy! .

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Couple of Reminders

Don't have a long time to write today. I'm pretty busy getting ready for school. I cleaned out my office this week. Took everything out and threw away about 1/2 of it. Hadn't done that in years. Needless to say, it was pretty dirty. I even got sick due to the dust. Stuffed up. Watery eyes. Runny nose. You know. But it's pretty clean now. I'll try to keep it that way. Next week is classroom. Getting it ready because the next week starts school. Hard to believe. I got my class list and it looks good to me. Mostly because I don't really know but about 3 of the kids in there. But I'm looking forward to getting to know them. I've got high hopes that this is going to be a really good year.

Still not back to normal in my running. Heel still not 100%. I've even started wearing a brace at night that my in-laws let me borrow. I'm running when I need to at CC, but I'm still going to take it easy for another week or two.

But I really just wanted to throw out a couple of verses as reminders and encouragement. These were given out in sermons at our church last Sunday and God spoke to me through them. The first is Isaiah 55:8-9. It reads...

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This is the perfect verse to help me understand why things happen, even things I don't understand. It also reminds me that God is so much bigger than I could ever imagine. Just like Heaven is so much "higher" and "further" above the Earth, so God's thoughts are over ours. He knows what I need. I pray and He listens to me and is faithful to answer prayers, but it's on His time and in His plan. And I have to respect that. If a prayer doesn't get answered the way I want then I know He's got something better in mind. He knows what's best and that's what I want. His will be done. Even if I don't understand or even if I have to wait. I trust God because He knows. I want His will to be done.

The other verse was from Jeremiah 20:9. It reads:

9 But if I say, “I will not mention his word
or speak anymore in his name,”
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

I love how Jeremiah basically says it's impossible to hold the Word of the Lord in. He has to speak about God and tell others. This is how we should all be. We should be unable to keep from telling others how great God is and what He's done for us. Has God blessed you? Has God answered your prayers? Has God spoken to you or has His Holy Spirit given you a supernatural gift? If any of those are "yes" then tell others. Share it. Don't hold it in. I'm here today confessing that God has done all those things for me and so much more. He's a truly awesome God and I want everyone to know.

God is so good. He is so real and so apparent in my life. I pray the same for each of you. I hope these couple of verses can encourage you today as they did me. Have a blessed day and weekend.

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)


Friday, July 22, 2011

God's Egg

2 weeks!! That's it. 2 weeks of summer left. Summer gets shorter every year. It seriously does. I remember growing up distinctly starting school in LATE August. Like the 26th or something. Now we register on the 9th. The NINTH!! We don't get August anymore. August is a school month. I wish we would just cut to the chase and do the year round thing. Come on! 9 weeks on...2 weeks off. That's what I want. Who's with me? Cross Country starts Monday. I'm really excited. I hope my team is as excited. Come on - running in this heat = FUN! I know they feel the same. We actually are starting tonight. I sent out an email to the team telling them I had decided to have a pre-season Ultimate Frisbee game tonight...totally optional....just for fun. I sent it out to the 40ish runners and waited for all the responses. 6 are coming. Six. Go team! I know, I know. It's last minute. Several are on trips or had plans. I can't blame them. So needless to say, it's gonna be small teams. But I'm still excited. I love playing UF.

I changed my FB profile picture. It wasn't easy. Part of me didn't want to and I know I didn't have to. I could've kept it the same forever. But it's just a small way to show that everything is ok. It's a small way to tell God that I trust in Him. He knows what's best. I don't have to dwell on anything sad because it's all good. Griffin's good. He's happy. I'm happy. I need to look ahead to when I will see him again and be even happier. To when I will see God and be something more than happy that I can't even understand right now. I changed it to the picture of God showing his love to me there on the beach. I love that picture because it's so easy to see God in it. And you know, I can see Griffin in that picture too.

God continues to speak to me in ways that are small and big. He continues to reassure me and show His obvious love for me and my family. He even uses others to share things with me and tell me things He wants me to do. God talks if you just listen. Funny how I really didn't take the time to listen until recently. Here's what he showed me in the last couple of days....

Remember the birds. Remember how when we got home from vacation and I was afraid I left God at the beach. But then I saw what God had done right outside our house. He created baby birds that had just hatched and were beautiful. I showed this picture:

Remember how I said that actually 2 had hatched and one hadn't quite gotten there just yet. We've been watching these birds the last few weeks. We've looked at them almost every day trying very hard not to disturb them too much. When we would get close, we could see the mother sitting on them but she would see us and fly to a branch on a very nearby tree. She'd watch us, probably thinking very mean thoughts. They slowly got bigger and bigger. It's funny, we knew there were 3 but it seemed we only saw 2 whenever we looked. I just assumed one was small and hidden under the others. About a week ago, I went to look once again and one of the little birds was standing on the edge of the nest. I quickly tried to back away trying not to scare him but it was a little too late. He took off. Oops. I hope he was ready to fly. He kindof disappeared into the tree. I really didn't mean to give him that push and I kindof felt bad. But I assume he's fine. We didn't hear or see him again. After he left, I could still only see one bird in the nest. Again, I assumed the other was hidden or had already flown away. The next day, I looked again and the 2nd bird that was easy to see had gone. But I didn't see an empty nest. Here's what I saw:

The third egg never hatched. Something must have gone wrong. I watched the egg for a few more days this week but it's still there. It's not going to hatch. The first 2 baby birds made it. The third did not.

Can anyone tell me that's not God talking!?

Here's what God said to me through that.....'You're not alone. These things happen. It's part of this world I created. And it's not a perfect world. I AM perfect, but the world is not. Bad things will happen. But rest assured and be comforted because you are heading to a place very soon where bad things will NEVER happen. There will be no sadness. No loss. No "unhatched eggs." Keep striving to do My will and I will bring you to Me soon to see your son and My son. '

Yep, I got all that from an egg. Funny, huh? But it's true. I don't know if that mama bird up in that tree felt sad. I'm not a big expert on bird emotions. But I felt sad for her. But it's ok. God's in charge. And He is good. He's faithful and He's preparing us all for a wonderful place beyond our comprehension. I don't know if there are birds in Heaven. I've never heard a sermon on that one. But today I'm imagining Griffin with a big smile on his face, holding a baby bird. Maybe that's silly, but it gives me comfort.

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys.

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Can I Keep This Going?

It's been 10 days since I last posted. Quite the break. Maybe a needed break. Maybe I'm posting too much. It's hard to know how much to post. I could always find a topic and write some thoughts but I try to wait until I feel called to do so. I try to wait until a topic is relevant to me or others. I have been busy the last 10 days but I could've posted. I just didn't feel that strongly about anything to post on. That feeling actually led me to this post. In other words, not posting led me to think about a post on not posting. So I decided to post on the fact that I wasn't posting. Confused? Me too.

Some other news first.....

I've stopped running again. My heal really was getting better but it just wasn't like it should be so I decided to take another week off. I hate it...again, but it's probably best. CC starts next week so I'll try running then. I bought a heel-gel-pad-support-thingy for my shoe. I like it. Hope it helps. If not, I'll wear it anyways just cause it feels good.

I did do a long run a week ago Sunday. We had just gotten back from Hilton Head the night before. When we got back, we started going through the mail. I always enjoy that part A week's worth of mail at once. It's exciting for some reason. Maybe I'm weird. Actually scratch the "maybe." Anyways, one of the letters that Susan opened up said that the grave marker for Griffin was finished. It said it had been delivered to Woodlawn Cemetery and would be installed in a couple of days. Susan noted to me how that letter had been sent early in the week of our vacation and so the marker should already be installed. "I doubt it," I said. I figured it would take them a while to install it for several reasons: 1. We didn't purchase it through the Cemetary. 2. The plots didn't originally belong to us and getting them in our name has been a lenthy on-going process. I didn't figure they'd install it w/o it being in our name. 3. They are busy like everyone else. I figured it would take weeks. I decided to run there the next morning, Sunday morning. I typically do this. It's an exact 5 mile run there and 5 miles back. The run was great. Heel hurt at first like always but then went away. I got to Griffin's grave in a great time. I felt really good. As I stopped to rest and slowly walked up the sidewalk to the beautiful area that is his resting place, I could see it. It was there.

"It's there." was all I could say. I was still breathing pretty hard from the run and I just couldn't believe the marker was there. I just didn't expect it so soon. But there it was. It's beautiful. They did a wonderful job. It has my name, Susan's name and right in the middle, Griffin's name. His name is there. I think I even said "there's his name" out loud. But I quickly thought something wonderful. The marker was there. Griffin's name was there. Even his body was there. BUT HE WASN'T THERE! I know this has been stated and it's obvious but I love any reminder of this. He wasn't looking up at me. He was looking down. The four of us went yesterday in the pouring rain and added some flowers to the new vase on the new marker. It was the first time Susan has been back and the first time the boys have been at all. They agreed the marker looks great but we talked about how it's just a reminder. It's not his final home. He's with God, safe in the arms of Jesus, waiting for his brothers and parents, having an amazing time. What a blessing!!

Speaking of Griffin.... I had someone suggest that I tweak the signoff on these posts. They very kindly suggested that I add my wife and other sons. I talked to Susan about it and I do want to do that. I hope I never implied that I don't love those three. And I wouldn't want them to ever think I don't love them just as much as I do Griffin. It's just that he's been a little special lately because he did enter and exit this world a little differently than expected. But I will change my signoff. It's time.

So back to the topic. Can I keep this going? Keep what going? This. My new life. My new relationship with God. This blog. My desire to share what God, His Son and His Spirit have done for me over the last few months. Being on fire for God. Wanting to know Him and study Him and be with Him. Can I keep that going? When I didn't post for over a week, the thought..."am I losing it?"....crossed my mind. Could I not think of anything to post on because I'm losing what I've gained? Is that was that was? Since that terrible day on March 27, I have been so much closer to God. I am learning so much about Him and my relationship with Him. There is so much I want to share and talk about. It's almost a constant euphoric feeling. I don't want to lose that. Will I? I'm afraid I might. Will it get stale? Will I run out of things to share or talk about? How can I stay on fire like I am if I live another 50 years? Anybody else worry about this? I want to keep this going always. And I plan to. I'm just wondering how exactly I'm going to do that. I think I've figured out that it's going to take effort on my part. I'm going to have to work to stay in constant contact with God. I'm going to have to continue to look for ways to serve others...look for ways to share with others.....spend as much time with God as possible....and yes, keep posting away on here. This definintely helps, but it will take so much more. But I'm not giving up. I don't want to go back to the way it was....not that it was bad....but this is so much better. So I dare say it's more than a "little Christian light". It's a fire. And I don't ever want my fire to go out. (Lev. 6:13) Help me keep it going and I'll do the same for you. Let's keep the fires strong, bright, powerful, and very easily seen by others.

I love God, Griffin, my Girl, and my Guys. (How's that?)

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did I Leave God at the Beach?

I appreciate the positive response to my last post. I didn't sleep much that night worrying that I had posted too much or maybe it was too personal to post. I guess I still worry what people think too much. I was just afraid some would find it uncomfortable or strange. I also worried that maybe it was just the grief talking and that five years from now I wouldn't feel the same, but you know, I think I will. Why in 5 years would I think it silly that I need to hear Griffin's name? I'll always want to hear his name. Even when my sadness and grief has all but gone (never fully gone of course), that won't make me not want to hear his name or remember him. So personally, I don't think it's just the grief talking, but it's truly something that will help me. Thankfully, I got some great feedback and wonderful supportive comments and they helped tremendously. Thanks to all of you who sent encouragement and especially to those of you who mentioned Griffin.

So we're back from vacation. Yes, we were on vacation. I made it pretty obvious on Facebook, but didn't want to make it too obvious on here. I mean, is there such a thing as posting too much on here? Probably so. Anyone can read this so I guess there could be some wacko out there that would read we were on vacation and seek out our house. Not that he would make away with anything of real value. Plus, my neighbor is a cop and he's mean. (Hope he's not reading.) So stay away robbers!! Actually, we're back, so ha ha...missed your chance. But we did just get back from a week in Hilton Head, SC. We LOVE it there! This is our 4th or 5th year in a row to go. I've lost count. It's just the perfect vacation spot. We have our favorite beach spot, our favorite parking spot, our favorite restaurants, activities and traditions. It's a wonderful week every year and this year was my favorite I think. I just felt more relaxed this year than I've ever felt. We had so much family bonding time, just the four of us, and it was what we needed.

One of the reasons this year was the best for me personally which is the same reason I love going to the ocean/beach each year is that it seems so easy to find God there. I know He's everywhere, with me 24/7, but it's so easy to see Him there in that beautiful setting. This year, with my stronger and new relationship with Him, it was just awesome. I really think God loves the ocean, the beach, you know...the tropical locations. I don't know about you, but it just seems it's so much easier to see him there when I look out at what He's created. The ocean, the horizon, the clouds, the sun - it's all just so beautiful and I can't help but think of Him when I look. I spent a lot of time with God this week. He talked. I talked. I woke up one morning at 6AM to go to the beach and watch the sunrise. I was so excited to get to spend an uninterrupted hour or so with him. It was PERFECT! There were clouds so the sun was a little hard to see itself, but I actually think the clouds made it even more beautiful. I really felt God with me sitting alone there on the beach. I spoke outloud to Him. I read His word allowing Him to talk back to me. I felt His Spirit guiding me and reassuring me in my spiritual walk. He spoke to me in other ways too. Wanna see? ......I took the picture below mainly for myself, but I thought I'd share it.

After I took it, I noticed something very special about the picture. Do you see it? Let me help out.

I know it's not perfect, but it's there...and I don't believe it to just be coincidence. I didn't doctor the picture at all. God was there. He showed me His love in an awesome way. He reminded me right then and there that He's in charge. He has a plan for me and I'm just along for the ride. It's so much of a bigger picture than I could ever comprehend. I love when He shows me and reminds me of this. It makes me want to shout, "His will be done!"

But here's one little thing I thought about as I was driving home today.....9 hours....uggh. It actually wasn't too bad. But I was thinking....can I get that same closeness with God that I had at the beach? Can I come home to Nashville, see my "boring" old backyard and see Him as clearly? Is the smog over Nashville going to form into a heart shape? Or did I leave God at the beach? I guess it's kindof like when you go on a spiritual retreat or camp or participate in a worship service where you get that spiritual high, but then wonder if you can keep it going. I felt the same way driving home. I was wondering if I'd see God as strong as I did that day (and frankly all week) on the beach. Well, we got home, unpacked, ate supper, and I walked outside to begin mowing what had become a jungle of a yard while we were gone. I then remembered something. Before we left for our trip, we had accidently found something in one of our trees. It was a small natural container with three small blue containers in it. So I was mowing the front yard today and it hit me. I wondered if what we had seen before we left had changed. I got off the mower and quitely and carefully checked it out. This is what I saw. I took a picture for you.

The three blue containers....a.k.a. eggs had changed. They had hatched (actually, it looks like one has yet to). There's God again! He did come home with us. He did remind me once again how powerful He is. He did show me His love once again through something so small as brand new baby birds. I showed the boys and they were amazed. It was an awesome moment as our vacation came to an end (or maybe a beginning). No, I don't need clouds or birds to see how awesome God is. I shouldn't expect things like that. But you know what....He shows me anyways. That's how big His love is for me and of course for us all. So God went on vacation with us and then He even rode along for the long trip home with us as well. He's here. He's amazing. And He's my Father. Praise God!

I love Griffin and I love God.

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I Need a Favor

Happy 4th to all. Yes, I know I'm a day late. I have been too busy havin' a blast with my awesome family. We had a great 4th yesterday. Hope your family did as well. I love the 4th. It's right in the middle of the summer when we need a holiday. There's hardly any holidays around it so we're more than due for one when it arrives. Somehow Father's Day in June and National Smores Day in August just don't cut it for big celebration days. Plus I love the pride that arises each July 4th. I also love the fireworks. I know a lot of people that say once you've seen one fireworks show, you've seen them all, and that's true to an extent. But I still love them. Each one is new and exciting to me. Saw some great ones last night. Also saw a lot of USA pride throughout the day. Made me feel like this country is one big family. Also makes me feel blessed to live here which I often take for granted.

I'm running again. Yay! Man, I've missed it. I took 2 weeks off trying to get this heel to heal. It's better but not healed, but I'm tired of waiting. It only hurts in the morning. And when I put pressure on it. And when I step on it wrong. And....nevermind. It is better than it was. I'm hoping it will eventually and gradually just get back to normal. But I've run 4 days now including 10 on Sunday. Felt great. Hot, but great. I had to start back at some point. I'm going to have to keep up with some much younger and much more in shape (I hope) Cross Country runners in just a few weeks. Can't wait!

So I need a favor. From you. Yes you. You reading this. Not that we deserve anything else. Since our family experienced the tragedy of losing our son, Griffin a little more than 3 months ago, we have been given so much. There has been so much outpouring of love, prayers, thoughts, kind words, gifts (amazing gifts), generosity, and care. And it continues! We are still remembered often with all of the above. God has truly shown us how blessed we are to have so many wonderful friends. From church friends to school friends to Facebook friends to neighborhood friends to longtime friends to life-long friends and of course to family, we are so blessed and we wish we could do something to thank each of you personally. But we can't. The only thing we can do is pray for you all and return the favor if you ever have a need. And we hope and pray you would let us know if you ever need anything from us. So I hate to personally ask for another favor, but I really think I need this. If possible. What do I need? I need to always hear his name.


Maybe I'm crazy...again (stating the obvious) and maybe this is just my weird thing, but it scares me a little. And I'm not accusing anyone of doing anything wrong. But here's an example.....I put up a picture today on Facebook of our family on the 4th yesterday (the one seen here). We immediately got several comments about what a great looking family we have. And I agree. Except for the tall guy with a big nose, our family looks pretty good. At least I think so. But I couldn't help but think how much better it might look with a little baby boy in the picture. And I don't mean to say I'm angry at the comments that were made. They were so kind and thoughtful. For some reason, it just made me think about Griffin too. I'm sorry. I don't want to dwell on this loss. I don't want to keep bringing up something sad. I'm not trying to get more sympathy or anyone to feel sorry for me or my family. So like most things on here, I had mixed feelings about posting anything about this. I promise this is not to dwell on a sad situation. If it makes you sad, I'm sorry. I truly am. But to be honest, I do still get sad sometimes. I hope that's ok. I'm pretty sure it is. I'm sad for us. I'm sad for me. I'm not sad for Griffin. I'm happy for him. It's a selfish sad. And please believe that I'm happy more often than sad because it's true. Seriously. But even though Griffin is in Heaven and that makes me so happy and it has brought me so close to God, I can't help but think what it would be like if he were in that picture. What would our lives be like right now if he were here on Earth instead of in Heaven? So maybe we do have a good looking family, but wouldn't the picture look so much better with my 3rd son in it? I'm just scared that he'll one day be forgotten.

Maybe this is a normal fear. But here's how real it is. He's my Facebook profile picture. Griffin and me. I love the picture. But I have typically changed pictures every so often. However, I'm scared to change this one. I have a great picture I'd like to replace it with and almost did the other day, but I got scared. What if I remove the picture and he's forgotten? I can't bring myself to change it. Not yet. I also considered changing how I sign these posts. "I love Griffin. I love God." Is it getting old? I questioned myself. But I don't think I'll change it. I need to keep posting his name. So I'm just letting you know of my fear. Maybe it's irrational and a little dramatic, but it's there. So back to the "favor" I need......if you feel comfortable, I'd love to hear his name. When you make comments or send kind emails, use it. In 5 years, I'd love to hear "Can't wait to see Griffin" or "Bet Griffin is having a great time right now" or even as simple as "I haven't forgotten Griffin." It won't make me sad or uncomfortable. It'll make me happy. I like to hear it. It keeps him from being forgotten. At least in my mind.

So feel free to use his name if you can. Always. Forever. No problem if you can't, feel uncomfortable or don't want to. But he had one. He was a person. He was our son. And always will be. I believe he's in Heaven waiting and even watching and listening when God allows. We won't forget his name. Please don't forget it either.

And once again....2 words that could never, ever be enough....Thank You!

I love Griffin and I love God.

Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)