Beauty In All Things

A single mom loving Jesus and surviving suburbia

Day 21 – Amazon Prime

boxesAmazon Prime has saved my life. I receive all of my bulky grocery items, paper towels, toilet paper, etc in a big box once a month. I also order all birthday presents and some household supplies. And occasionally some basic clothes, and….and… you get the picture. Amazon Prime comes right to my door and if I need to return I just go online and schedule a pick up. So easy and it fits into my busy schedule and life. I have to search a little bit for the best prices and use the subscribe and save program to get 20% off. Makes trips to the store with 3 kids manageable.

Shopping from home,

alison sig

Day 19 – 13.1

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13.1  I did it. I finished a half-marathon.

Dreams.  Broken dreams, shattered dreams, the death of dreams. These have been my close companions. Today, I have fulfilled a dream.  I almost can not type. There is so much emotion tied up in todays dream. So much. So much pain, so much joy. I’m not un-athletic. I am up for a fun hike or bike ride around town, but I am not a runner and I do not seek out physical activity. I am not one to push myself phyisically when the same end can be accomplished at a sweatless stroll. But years ago I got it in my head that if I was strong and healthy emotiionally I could run. 6 long years ago.  Honestly, when I said it it was as likely that I would climb mt everest. My kids were 9 months, 2 and 4 and I was suddenly an only parent. Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew I would never actually do it.  Each year the sign ups came for this race in SF that ends with a tiffany necklace. I thought for sure if I was going to run this would be it.

When I actually signed up this year I was a little shocked. The funny thing was how casual my sign up was. Sitting poolside with a friend, she mentioned that she was gonna sign up. I had 24 hours to commit. And I committted. 6 months out I wondered if I would actually make it as I went on an occasional walk or swim. Then the horrible news about “the sweep”. I mentioned it in my earlier post. The idea of getting picked up for running to slow motivated me to train. And train I did. Enlisting the help of a great friend and serious runner I worked hard. It became my part-time job as I scheduled runs and cross training into my already busy week.

At this same time my bible study started the Life Of Moses. Having studied Moses before I didn’t think much of it, but God’s word never comes back void and He is using this study in powerful and practical ways. Something I had not noticed about Moses is that he did not think he could do it AT FIRST. At first is the important part of that sentence. For those familiar with Moses his brother Aaron spoke to pharaoh for him, at the beginning. By the end of the plagues MOSES is leading the people out of Egypt, leading a nation through the wilderness. Moses did not think he could do it, but God showed him he could.

As I sat on the plane home it hit me, God needed to show ME I could do this. I COULD find support from a runner friend, I COULD fit this into my schedule, I COULD run 13.1 miles.

I thought I was just fulfilling my dream, but God in his tender grace was also showing me more and using his word to do it. He can and will use me for his glory no matter what my past. His word is living and active. Sharper than a two edged sword. Yes indeed.

Running,

alison sig

Day 18 – Trolley Cars and Big Shoes

IMG_0818Can’t believe it, but I am in San Francisco. I haven’t been here since before kids. But here I am on a girls weekend preparing to run a half marathon. Traveling changes when you leave pieces of your heart behind as you adventure away. While I had a blast in the 7 story Nike store all I could do was take pictures of everything to send to my 10 year old boy. I love having a 10 year old boy to think about while on vacation. I love my 3 sweet babies and seeing all the things they would enjoy here, like giant feet at the Nike store.

Day 17 – Flight

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Yep, these are my shoes. Happens rarely, but today I fly. I will run my first ever half marathon in San Francisco. I have become such a running nut that I am actually carrying my shoes on just in case my luggage gets lost. Can’t run without this pair!! More to come after the weekend.

At 10,000 Feet,

alison sig

Day 16 – Digging

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I love the beach. I love the sound of the waves and the great expanse of deep blue stretching as far as the eye can see.

Last summer my littlest and I were digging a hole at the beach. We dug and dug and then woosh a wave came and covered our hole filling it with sand. We dug again. Again a wave. Then my son had the idea to build a wall to stop the waves. Great! But the mighty ocean took down his wall and his hole. Finally, we moved up shore a bit and started anew.

For the first several years of my single mom-hood life felt much like that day at the beach. I’d work on my hole until something would come fill it up. I’d find a new plan a new wall and again, life would thwart my plans.

Working outside of the home and scheduling was my biggest hole. I was coordinating dropping off covering child care expenses, etc. etc.

Finally, I “moved up shore a bit and started anew”. Now I work from home and it is an amazing blessing. I can throw in a load of laundry between emails and client calls. It is not perfect. Working for yourself makes budgeting difficult and challenges my self esteem daily. (but that is for another post). God has graciously brought new clients every time my plate looks empty. He is provider, caretaker and boss.

Working away,

Day 15 – I’m Gonna Be An AUNTIE!!

 

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I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend, worker, and now…..I am going to be an Auntie. My sister announced to the world today that she is having a baby. They decided to announce it using shoes!!!!  I love it. So today “in my shoes” has new little  shoes.  Enough said.

Day 14 – The Sweep

IMG_0150I am not a runner. Truly, I can barely go a mile run/walking. So the last few months have thrown me for a loop and I have really surprised myself.

When  I was first single I was intrigued by a race in San Francisco. At the finish line of the Nike Women’s half-marathon you are greeted by firemen in a tuxedos holding Tiffany & Co boxes with your winners necklace. What?!  Awesome!! I am not sure it still works the exact same way, but the idea captivated me and each year I consider running. This year is my year. I am signed up and I am committed. I started training figuring I could eventually make the end of the race. And then last month I learned a terrible phrase…

“You must BEAT THE SWEEP”

If you run you know what this means. Basically if you are too slow they come and pick you up in a van and drive you to the end!!!!

Noooooooo. I do not want to do all this training and then miss out on the prize. It was more than I could bear, so beefed up my training and today was my last long run before the race. There are so many spiritual parallels to all this training and preserving and ways God is working through this and I am sure I will share more. But for today, I am focusing on the sweep.

It is a funny thing to focus on failing. Failing in this case being picked up and unable to finish. I have geared my training based on the sweep time. It has given me motivation to get out there and run and cross train. But it has kept me looking backward too. I keep saying I think I will make it. A friend texted this week, “There is no think. You are going to make it”. Suddenly I was looking forward. I am going to run 13.1 miles. I have trained. I have prepared. So much of life can be like that. Moving forward for fear of what may happen if we stop and we forget to look forward with anticipation for what God has for the future.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

 

And guess what I learned today….if you get picked up by the sweep they take you right to the finish and you still get your award! In life when my mind is set right on God, when I am truly relying on the Lord, sometime he gives me strength to persevere and sometimes, he picks me up and carries me to the end.

Looking forward,

alison sig

Day 13 – Confessions of Re-Entry

IMG_0419Photo: My Welcome Mat

 

We have all seen the astronaut movies. You know the ones, man up in space, part malfunction, coffee drinking Huston ground crew scrabbling for solutions to bring the ship home. Then it happens they fix the problem, tighten the screw and the ship heads home.

But it’s NEVER over here. Now the ship must re-enter the atmosphere. They always loose radio contact. With bated breath (had to look up the spelling) we wait. Will they make it. The ship gets hot, fiery red, as it sears through the barrier from weightlessness to gravity and then….plummets to the sea below. Hurray! Right? But seriously, that was a rough ride.

I gotta be real here. My last post have been pretty great. Traveling to the beach, getting away, enjoying Beth Moore and re-living my conference last year. I am living it up. But man, coming back to my life after that short time away was, well….,  shocking.

As I opened my garage door I can hear the space theme music playing in the back ground “dum dum da dum dum”. And there it is. The pile of stuff to go to good will, the bikes half-parked, my storage stuffed clumsily around the edges. I walked into my kitchen and praise Jesus the sitter had cleaned the dishes. Oh my sweet house. Mostly clean, but the clothes I left on the floor were still right there. The trash and the recycling happily awaiting my return to be whisked away to the curb. My kids, my sweet kids, whom I missed so much, peppered me with kisses and questions and then right went right back into the ebb and flow of bliss and sibling rivalry. In the blink of an eye all of the responsibilities that fall squarly on me were right back on my shoulders.

Re-entry is hard. Whether a night away or an afternoon. I wish I could say that I handled it with grace and charm filled with joy. But, I didn’t. I let the kids play and I took a nap. Yep. It has taken me several days to process my response and recover. And you know what I have realized, I am normal. And my kids are normal and our house is normal. We are not perfect. Single parenting is hard, but as my sweet friend reminded me, God is providing strength enough for today.

Strength for the Adventure,

alison sig

Day 12 – Captivating 2013

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It is a rarity to actually get away. I have the opportunity about once a year around fall to be gone for a weekend. Last year I was at the Captivating Retreat in Colorado. I traveled with a good friend and had an amazing time away. I posted this when I got back and thought I would repeat it again here. If you look close you can see my shoes. 🙂


 

My hands shook as I stepped out onto the ledge. I looked down through the grate to the ground a hundred feet below….Why am I doing this?…. I clipped in with harnesses fit tight around my legs and shoulders…. Again, why am I doing this?…. I stopped a moment, turned to the young guy holding the lever and begged him to confirm that I was indeed hooked in. He assured me and the floor began to slowly drop. There I was hanging. Suspended far above the canyon. 3-2-1 the latch released and I plummeted.  It felt like a lifetime before the rope caught and I swung out over the ravine. As I swung I shook, scared I would still fall even as the rope held taught. Once the arc of the swing decreased, my body started to relax and I settled into the joy of soaring hundreds of feet above the ground. Knowing I had faced my fear and jumped!

 

For whatever reason I felt compelled to have a physical representation of the emotional and spiritual cliff jumping I have been doing over the last few years. Larry Crab calls it jumping off the cliff of safety into the abyss of rejection and trusting that the “rope” of God will hold you tight before you hit the ground.

 

It was a funny thing to actually jump. First, when I stepped out it seemed like a really BAD idea. My terror was greater than I anticipated. And so it is with most steps in life. It is much easier to stay put. It may not be good, but it is familiar! I know how to navigate my current situation and make it the best it can be. I made my literal jump with a friend. We sat side by side and once we stepped out there was no turning back. Truthfully, I don’t think I could have made it up the stairs to get harnessed in without her. I didn’t need her to do anything. She didn’t hold my hand, she didn’t force me, in fact, she barely spoke. She just walked beside me as I faced my fear. God is so good to put us in community. Sometimes we are called to act or to speak, but sometimes we are called to just walk beside our friend as God does His healing work in her life.

 

Second, it was not instantly fun. Even after the rope caught it took several swings for me to relax. Why is that? I was safe, secure, but the shadow of the fear I had just faced took a moment to vanish in the light of my new reality. That is the thing about facing fear, it takes a little time to get used to our new reality. Our new freedom. Often we have been in darkness and fear for so long it is difficult to embrace the freedom and light Christ offers us.

 

can you buy modafinil in canada Click Here It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1

 

Third, the jump actually hurt. Later that day large bruises showed up on my arms and legs, tender to the touch. Life is not instantly peachy when we risk and leap where God is calling us. It is messy, painful at times. But it is right where I want to be – trusting God and enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.

 

For I know the plans I have for your declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

 

On the Adventure,

alison sig