You Never Regret It

Running has become a sort of hobby for me over the past six years. I say “sort of” because it comes and goes in spurts. The most regular I have been about running was my last summer of grad classes at Hays. I got up every morning before class for three weeks straight (21 days makes a habit, right?), with the simple goal of running a bit further each day. This experience stretched and built my stamina and prepared me to run a 5K (quite the feat for this girl who was told by her high school track coach that she “ran like a girl,” and who has been accused of walking around like an infant giraffe, and who has never been a fast sprinter, runner, or jogger).

However, the week of the first 5K I was going to run happened to fall after a string of exhausting events: I moved to a new town, injured my knee by tripping over the smooth, flat pavement (Hey, I never said I was good at running!) started a new job, and began coaching volleyball. I promptly allowed running regularly to fall by the wayside.

And you all know how easy it is to let a discipline nearly disappear from your life. And it’s hard to get back into it! Since then, I had become a more regular runner (as regular as running four to ten times a month can be), until this year. I believe I allowed four and a half months to roll by without running. I’ve done a lot of walking, but I just had no will to run.

All of that changed last Tuesday when I made myself get out there and see how far I could run in thirty minutes. I ran an average of 11.5 minutes per mile for 30 minutes. WOW, did it feel good! My legs were feeling the burn as I ran, and I’ve been sore every day since then. I did it again today and ran even further!

I now have regained that feeling I used to get as an athlete which I can’t quite put into words. It’s probably just my muscles repairing themselves after I’ve stretched and torn them from their semi-sedentary state, but honestly, it feels GOOD. I want more! I can’t wait to get out there and run again on Monday! One of my friends once said something to the effect of “No matter how little I wanted to get out of bed to go running, I never regret going out for a run.” It’s so true. After runs, I think more clearly, I’m less stressed, I am more positive, I make better food choices, and I get more accomplished. I hope to put all of this work into a road race or two before I turn 30 in September! :)

Advertisements

Back to Blogging With a Book Review: Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes

I’m sure the whole world has been just waiting for me to blog again! HA.

My last post was about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m now in that light! :) And, honestly, it’s just as wonderful and just as terrible as I thought it would be. This summer is my first free one since, oh, probably about 10th grade. But particularly, since I have started my teaching career, I’ve been busy with either classes or a job the whole summer. This summer, no classes. And I miss them. Surprisingly, I’ve found it difficult to be without stress. I guess I just operate best under stress. However, I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to read the books that have been waiting for me. Maybe I’ll write about some of them. Also, I’ve been able to do a bit of planning for next year, which is nice strange. . . I mean, I’m going to have a plan? Well before the year starts? What a novel idea! I already have the first nine weeks of Freshman English laid out, including that dreaded grammar instruction.

Volleyball camp is coming up. Can’t wait to get on the court and teach the little girls to love volleyball!

Since I don’t have Internet access at home, I can’t post all that often, so I think this is going to be a long one. I’m at the library. Can I just say that public libraries rock my world? Free internet, free books, free newspapers, and when I logged on today, they had an ad on their website for free music downloads. LOVE IT!

Okay, a book review. Here it is. I bought Tim Tebow’s Through My Eyes and finished within 24 hours. Loved it! It’s possible you haven’t heard of him, if you don’t pay attention to football, so let me oblige. Tebow won two national championships at the University of Florida, was up for the Heisman Trophy three times (the first of which he won–after his sophomore season), and was a 2010 first round draft pick for for the Denver Broncos. Those are just his football accomplishments. He has done and is so much more. The son of missionaries to the Philippines, he is a miracle baby, the youngest of five children, and has grown into a man with a desire to use his football platform (his word) to spread the message of Jesus. I hadn’t heard of this guy until after his second Heisman nomination, but once I started paying attention to him, I began to be more inspired than ever to be more open about my faith. His book has only inspired me more.

I’ll admit this book might be a tough read for a person who doesn’t know anything about football. He almost takes you through every game of his college and professional career play-by-play. Of course, this is only five years, so it’s okay that he’s so detailed, even telling about each of his injuries. I enjoyed hearing his mindset as a team player and leader. He also gave lengthy descriptions of his workouts, which sounded insane, yet inspiring. He detailed his relationship with his coaches, Head Coach Urban Meyer and Strength & Conditioning Coach Mickey Marotti. I could identify with that as well as with the descriptions of his encouraging, faithful parents and the crazy stories he related of growing up on a farm, getting “Farm Strong.” I felt like I was reading about MY life! :)

Throughout the memoir, Tim weaves snippets of spiritual discussion and inspiration. He doesn’t shy away from the tough questions, like “Why does God let bad things happen?” and “Why doesn’t God always answer my prayers?” and “Which way do I go?” As he discusses God, he truly gives readers the gospel message in a non-preachy kind of way. He simply explains why he believes certain things, usually backing it up with scripture and then helps the reader directly (in second person, even) apply it to their lives. What an encouragement!

I highly recommend this book to you if you fit in any of the following categories:

  1. A Coach
  2. An Athlete (current or former)
  3. A football fan
  4. A Christian
  5. A mother of boys
  6. A teacher of football players
  7. A farm kid
  8. A sports fan (especially of the SEC)
  9. A high school student
  10. A college student

You will find something in the book to relate to the very experiences you are going through or have gone through. Tim Tebow leads a very public life, as most star football players do, and he is one of the good ones, who is trying to do good things. He stands for things in this world that other people scoff at, and those people are eagerly awaiting his public mistakes. Say a prayer for him when you think of it.

Tim Tebow

After discovering this guy about a month ago (I know, I know, he’s a bit legendary, but, hey, I don’t have a TV!), I’ve been so encouraged in my beliefs and values in life. He stands up for what he believes and seeks out ways to help people. He is who he says he is. Of all the males I’ve met in my life, the ones I respect and love the most are the ones who are who they say they are. I hope to marry a man someday who is who he says he is. Integrity. That’s what it is.

Lots of writers are focusing on how Tebow embodies what we really demand of our celebrities. We want to know what they think about issues, we want to see them stand up for their beliefs, and we want to see them be real. Tim Tebow is that. So much so that he has agreed to help Focus on the Family make a Super Bowl commercial about their organization.

This is really big in the news right now. Just google “Tim Tebow commercial” and you will find many, many interesting articles about it. Not only does the ad come from an organization many view as too conservative and right wing (too polarizing. . .go figure, a Christian organization is too polarizing. . .), but also the ad touches on the topic of choosing life over abortion. Now, it isn’t clear how much of a pro-life message is evident in the ad (since nobody has actually seen it), but if you read about how some of the women’s groups are responding, you would think this commercial is screaming obscenities at women who have chosen abortion.

All I can think about is how much we need to pray in this situation. Pray for Tebow, that he would be strong and continue to live in the world, but not of it. Pray for Focus, that they would be able to weather the storm of controversy and then the flood of business they receive after the commercial from families who need help. God is doing something big in our culture war with these events. Pray for all involved, and be encouraged in your beliefs!

Motivation

Why is motivation so difficult to come by sometimes? I probably have more pressing projects to finish in the next few days than I’ve had in several months! But, I just can’t seem to get started on some of them. And, the ones I start, I can’t find the momentum to finish. Part of it is probably due to the end of the holidays. And, for once, this New Year’s wasn’t an exciting one. I usually get all reflective about the previous year and then begin to think, dream, and plan for the next year, but I haven’t had any epiphanies or bursts of motivation. I didn’t even celebrate on New Year’s Eve because I was too tired from driving home late and unloading my car. I think I’m just getting older. :)

So, I guess I’ll channel some of my lack of motivation into production by telling you about some interesting stories I found when I was trying to find motivation earlier today (read: avoiding work by surfing the Internet).

CNN holds voting for a Hero of the Year at the end of each year. People vote to pick one of the ten do-gooders for the award. One story that really touched me was that of Jorge Munoz. He’s a bus driver in Queens who makes about $700 a week, but spends $400 to $450 per week feeding the homeless homecooked meals in the evenings–every evening of the week! And, he’s been doing this for four years–hasn’t missed a day. You can read the article CNN did by going here: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/19/cnnheroes.jorge.munoz/index.html

Another random story I found was that of Harvard basketball player, Jeremy Lin. He’s one of the .3% Asian college basketball players. His father immigrated from China in the 70s and taught his son how to play basketball at a very young age. Jeremy has been a stand out in the last few major games Harvard has had, and their season is going well. Lin has encountered quite a bit of racism from basketball fans, but he says he doesn’t let it bother him because he is used to it. That made me sad. I haven’t considered prejudices towards Asians due to my lack of interaction with them, but I now realize they also have to deal with racial issues. The article also pointed out that Lin is a Christian and will probably me going into the ministry after he graduates. This is the kind of news I like to hear about. Good people doing GREAT things!!

You can read more by clicking here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1951044,00.html

Over break, we did watch Julie and Julia (though I think that’s the only movie I was able to cross off the list!), and I found Julia Child to be very fascinating. However, it seemed like the film didn’t have very many close up shots of Child. I wonder if this was because examining her face too closely would have ruined the suspension of disbelief. Anyway, it was a very interesting movie, with lots to think about concerning both food and blogging. I was a bit annoyed at how Julie literally idolized Julia Child. It almost got too sappy at some points. But, I digress. My reason for bringing this up was to tell you I found another “foodie” book (yes, that’s what they’re called) that piqued my interest: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry. This one is about a thirtysomething who loses her corporate job and decides to take off to pursue her lifelong dream of earning her cooking degree from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in France (the same one that Julia Child attended).

Well, have I provided you with some deviations away from your work? You should probably get back to work now. I’m going to bed!

Crunch Time!

I love reading. No matter when or where, nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands and the sound of the pages turning as your mind flies to Pemberly, Vietnam, California, a middle school in London, or an island off the coast of New Zealand.

Those are all fictional novels, and good ones to boot, but can I say I look at academic reading in the same way? Most definitely not. There is the rare essay that will show me something completely new, usually in the field of education, but reading people’s theories on Sacred Narratives? Reading about those crazy literary critics’ ideas about what you can draw from a text? NO! My mind wanders, I lose the main point, I have to constantly re-read, and I do not enjoy it.
This weekend was filled mostly with fictional reading, which was great! And, I’ve only two works left before I’m finished with the reading for these two classes. Add on one take home exam, one small presentation, and two project presenations, and my work for this summer’s session is done! So, I’m hoping to use the time I have here to work on papers from last year and this year. I’m a planner, and I like to tell others about my plans. If you don’t want to hear about them, feel free to stop reading now. Sometimes I have to just sit down and write it all out!

I will finish my grammar paper from last year (it’s basically outlined, and after a little more reading, I can begin writing).

I will write my Community-Based Writing paper before I leave Hays!! It is a great topic (Intergenerational Service Learning) which I’ve found lots of info on. The paper will practically write itself! :)  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Those are my first two priorities. If there is any time left over, I will strive to write one more paper, probably from one of this month’s classes–Film and Lit or Mythology.

That will leave me (providing the profs get them graded in time) 15 hours of graduate work completed! Then I can move over on the salary schedule, which would be great, since I’ve dropped my Concession Stand supplemental.

Okay, enough planning and plotting. I should probably go do something.

Did I tell you I’m going to start training for a 5K race? :) :)

25 Random Things About Me

1. I am a master at Microsoft Word.
2. I do not have a business mind at all (WHY did I run the concession stand for two years?)
3. I’m becoming more of a techie every day. (My principal told me I was in charge of the laptop carts…YIKES!)
4. I LOVE traveling.
5. If I could go back to college, I would major in communications.
6. The best thing about teaching English is teaching kids to write.
7. I wish I had dear friends within closer distances.
8. I MISS MY FAMILY!
9. I love dress socks, and I love showing them off (it helps when your pants aren’t long enough in the first place.)
10. I enjoy typing in proper MLA Format.
11. I wish I could make a career out of writing.
12. I’ve thought about being a reader for audiobooks.
13. I want to chop my hair off sometime (think: Sharon Stone)
14. One of my greatest passions is PEOPLE.
15. Students can make me cry…when they think I don’t believe in them.
16. I’ve only owned a cell phone for three years.
17. I do not own a TV.
18. I despise horror flicks.
19. I love discussions about how faith interacts with, clashes with, and complements culture and society.
20. I am addicted to reading blogs of people I’m sort of acquainted with but not really.
21. I cannot play basketball to save my life.
22. I blush easily.
23. I have heard multiple stories about the men who are dating me in this small town. (There have been four different ones so far. I just went walking with one of them this weekend! In the 10 degree weather. WOW. I have a great life!)
24. My older brother and I used to be considered twins….then parents of our younger sister…and now boyfriend and girlfriend.
25. I will go anywhere to live in the future, but my heart will always be in North Central KS, preferably in Northern Ottawa Co., on Windmill Rd.

Forensics and Basketball

Forensics season has officially started. Usher in the earlier-than-the-paper-delivery-guy leave times, add blocks of time every day after school to critique kids, and break out the Forensics shirts. Ours are way cool this year. They say, “We’re who Chuck [Norris] calls when he needs back up.” I love it!

This morning I awoke at 4:15, and left by 5:15, to drive two hours further south and west in KS (KS is big) all for three kids to compete in four events. A waste of my time? No. Two of these kids are sophomores who are actually interested in Forensics (one was merely attending to get my communications class requirements out of the way). I’m building my team, and every new experience helps. I was able to work more with these two kids and help them with their pieces, and I believe they are sold about Forensics.

Being sold on Forensics is a unique thing in these “economic crunch” times. One area coach told me that her school board was going to cut the program because it is “frivolous.” That same school board sent three nearly empty vehicles to the same basketball game the other night. No frivolous spending there!

Forensics is far from frivolous, and I’m sad that it has to conflict with basketball so much (the reason only three students went today: Our League bball tourney is this week, and tonight our boys play for the championship!). I am an athlete. I’ve played competitive volleyball for 12 years. But, I believe that Forensics will help a student with more future life and career skills than any sport ever can. (That is, unless you’re a child of Katelyn’s mom, who can make a sports analogy for any life struggle one is facing.) School boards and many admins are obviously blind to the great benefits of Forensics. I’m happy that the ones I work for are still paying our meet fees and transportation bills. It’s a good deal!

So, I’m off to watch the boys play in the championship tonight. I really hope they win. This is the same team we played last year when we lost at Sub-State. Go T-Wolves! The senior boys are constantly asking me if I’m coming to or did come to their games. I love watching them play. It makes me say to myself, “Those are my kids!” in a sort of motherly way. I don’t mind putting in the extra time to watch them. I just need to decide whether or not to ride the loud and bumpy pep bus….for free….or drive myself. Isn’t four hours of driving enough for one day?

p.s. I found out last night which classes will be offered this summer for my Masters degree in English. I was so excited after reading the syllabi and reading lists that I couldn’t make myself go to sleep at 10:00.