Leggin’ it

This was Race Weekend in Ottawa. I guess there was a 10K on Saturday, then other marathons on Sunday–full marathon, half marathon, marathon-and-a-half… or something like that. All I know is, my brother ran 40K in under 4 hours! I also ran last night, my usual 5K-in-about-an-hour, go me!! :D

Because, you know, that’s what we DO in Ottawa, Be Super Fit Athletes! :P

And this is where I admit how hard I’ve been finding it to keep jogging for that whole, mere 5K. :S It did work better to do longer intervals though; I jogged 8 minutes/walked 2 minutes, and covered the whole trail-section of the 5K, plus the sidewalk back to Canyon Walk, in about 4 of those intervals. So the last 6 of my 50 minutes (yes, not quite an hour) was a cool down walk to my front door.

Actually I’m not feeling quite as sore today as I have been feeling after those runs, but it was definitely harder than last fall. As I said the other day, it’s my legs that need strengthening. So that’s what the summer fitness-schedule is going to be about!

I guess being “on my feet all day” doesn’t count for strengthening exercise.

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more running notes (just close your ears :P)

When I think of how amazed I was at the fact that the first few weeks of this run-season seemed so easy, it’s funny that these last few runs have been so hard. The very first time I tried running, it was about learning to catch my breath; but now I find that’s no problem, it’s just that my legs get so sore. I’ll have to be sure to do leg-strengthening exercises over the summer.

But it’s time to change things up again. Yes, I like to push myself to “run” (very slowly) that 30 or 40 minutes without stopping. But I’ve done that now. The only thing left to do in this season’s program is the actual 5K (my own map, in the trails around my home). That was slated to be more of the same 30-40 minutes, that I’ve been doing for the pre-run training. Now I’ve decided to go back to the intervals for the 5K, just make them longer intervals. I’m figuring walk 2 minutes and run 8 minutes, until the end (at least I won’t have to count the intervals). So we’ll see how that goes!

The instructions seem to think that I could come close to finishing a 5K in 40 minutes, but it always takes me about an hour, and I end up walking for half of it. This way, maybe I can keep running all the way. As for the time: that’s not important to me. As the saying goes, it’s not about speed, but endurance.

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This is a repeating chorus with me, but I do hope you get some days this season to just walk around slowly–very sloooowly–and just notice little things. For me today, it was at 6:30 this morning, walking around my back yard. These are the kinds of little things I mean:

  • The rain must have pounded hard during the night, because my Oak tree “vomited” its hanging seed-thingies all over the ground.
  • There are strawberries growing among the river rocks, at the edge of the yard.
  • The currant blossoms are slowly beginning to open, and the Purple Sandcherry, though it WAS looking kind of sparse, is now getting more full/lush.
  • I finally noticed the difference between my two spruce trees, besides the fact that one is a little scraggly. They both seem to develop the same way, but one has rounded ends in the new growth, and the other has pointed ends!
  • The globe pine has lots of new growth as well. Maybe I’ll leave it there after all; it may be squished up against the spruce, but it’s not hurting anything, and it does look interesting.
  • Even the Siberian Maple has little blossoms!
  • There are at least two birds’ nests in our cedars, one robin and one pigeon/mourning dove (are they the same? I always thought they were.)
  • Lots of airplanes take off this early in the morning (we live near the airport).
  • The various birds all chirp away, in spite of that noise.
  • The back yard neighbour’s dog trots around very silently, and is hard to see through the wooden fence. But I’ve finally figured out that it’s a big poodle-type. At first I just had a sense that something was peering at me through the cracks! :)

Just to switch subjects, last night’s run was pretty hard, even though it was only 30 minutes, compared to the 40 I completed last week! It was clouding over and threatening rain storm, so with the gusty breeze I thought it would be cool enough. It was very humid! Tomorrow it’s supposed to be much cooler, so we’ll see how much easier it is then.

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don’t be overwhelmed

My son said yesterday that my blog misses me, haha! Perhaps he is missing his scripture lesson. ;P

I’ve been reading lately in Matthew, chapter 10 to be exact. Jesus is such a great teacher, using repetition, stories, etc. In this chapter I’ve noticed how he balances one thing he says with another. (I use The Message here, but if you hover the mouse it’s the NLT that pops up; and if you click you can choose whatever version you like.)

We’re asked, as Christ-followers, to do some pretty difficult things. For example, putting up with people attacking us, as they did Jesus: “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being…” (Matthew 10:28). He goes on to assure us that we are worth far more than the sparrows that God knows all about, and that every hair on our head is counted; so we shouldn’t “be intimidated by all this bully talk.”

Bully talk is one thing, but then there’s this: “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy…” (Matthew 10:34-37) But I like cozy! This section also tells us that we are not to prefer father or mother, son or daughter, over Christ. He says we are to “go all the way with me, through thick and thin”. Doesn’t sound like there’s any room for compromise!

In verses 40 to 42 he talks more about this “harvest-work”, and I love this phrase (from The Message): “Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help.” How often we are too proud to ask for help!

But here’s where the balance comes in, at the end of the chapter:

“This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” (Matthew 10:42)

Wow. Thank You!

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“…unspoken truth is spoken everywhere…” (from Ps. 19)

Oh my, May is paying Winter’s debts a hundredfold, I think! (See the poem in my header.)

You know how parents love to talk about their children? Well, I’m feeling like talking about some adopted “children”, or perhaps you could call them “rescue trees”, since they all need some much-neglected work. We did do some pruning last summer, but I was hesitant to do too much before going through a whole year with all of them, especially the flowering ones.

  • Dogwoods: the first thing you come to outside our back door. What I love about these is the red branches, that I’ve used inside to decorate a couple of different times already, including Christmas. They are supposed to have a blossom, but we’ll see how these ones will do when they haven’t been pruned much for awhile.
  • Serviceberry: a small tree beside the dogwoods, and now that it’s blossomed I’m quite sure that’s what it is. The best thing about this one is the lovely burnt orange colour of the fall leaves.
  • Smoke Tree: this gives lovely shade beside our hot tub. The leaves have a lovely colour in the summer, and of course, very interesting “smoke” flowers.
  • Oak tree: not far from the Smoke–I love saying “the Oak and the Smoke”. :P This oak tree doesn’t have the most colourful leaves in the fall (though they’re not too drab), but the tree is a lovely shape, and of course gives lots of shade. It grows tall even with a narrowish trunk, which surprises me. Also surprising (only because I didn’t know): it presently has a hanging catkin-like seed, along with the leaves beginning to grow. It provides lots of raking-exercise in the fall though!
  • Spruce trees: we have two of them at the back fence, and I think they’re different kinds… although it could be because one is dying (perhaps from emptying the hot tub, with its bromine water?) Squished beside these is a couple of globe pines that are not doing too well there.
  • Currant: this is supposed to be a bush, but it has stretched up a couple of branches as tall as the spruce! It is getting ready to blossom, and then I’ll cut it right down–there are some runners(?) coming up around the main trunk, so I’ll see how those do. Not sure about this one though, because it has huge thorns!
  • Purple Sandcherry: not a tree, but very pretty bush with its burgandy leaves and little pink flowers. Actually, it has grown quite tall in my Mom’s garden. Again, it’ll probably do much better with some pruning.
  • Nine bark: Another bush; we have one by the shed, and one at the side of the house. The leaves are coming out green now, but if I remember correctly, they have a nice dark colour in the summer. They seem to grow well with hardly any attention, but they DO need some pruning, I think!
  • Cedars: LOTS of cedars around the fences, and decorating the front of the house. These do NOT need pruning, nor any kind of attention, it seems! I love the smell of them on a rainy day, but best of all is how beautiful Christmas lights look on them.
  • And of course, the HUGE Maple tree out front! Not the flaming-fall-colour kind, but a nice fall colour none-the-less. I can see us having to have this removed someday, just because it’s so big. Maybe some stump can be left to let the Virginia Creeper crawl over it? (Which, by the way, DOES have a wonderful fall colour!)

I think that’s all of them! :)

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When was the last time you saw a Disney movie?

Volunteering is a great way to meet people. I’ve been helping look after the kids on Wednesday mornings, during the ladies’ meetings. This week the kids’ leaders had their end-of-season lunch pot luck, so 20-odd of us got together after the usual morning sessions. There were some other new people there as well. And THREE of the ladies were American wives of Canadians!

The university student that worked with me this week, got into a conversation with me about Disney movies. I commented on what a shame it is that adults stop going to them when their kids are grown up, and she told how she makes her mom take her to them all the time, even now that she’s in college. What a great idea! In fact, I’ve been thinking that we should make it a tradition to regularly see a Disney movie, maybe at Christmas or something. We have such wonderful memories of The Lion King!

Then the next day, when I took back a movie to the library and picked up the next one on hold, lo and behold–it’s FROZEN! My niece tells me this one is better than most, at least in some ways, so I’m excited to watch it.

Hannah (that Disney-watching student) also told me about this new “live action” stuff, where they have actually re-made some Disney movies without the animation. That sounds amazing!

Who needs to waste time on Adult, R-rated movies?! :P

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vigorous and total attention

After what I wrote last time, guess I’d better ‘fess up and admit that this week’s runs have been hard. That’s a good thing, as long as I’m not in pain (since “pain is gain” is a myth). At least it seems that I’m always able to think of it as something I HAVE to do, once I’ve made a plan. Well, not that the plan doesn’t get tweaked a little, sometimes. Not usually at the last minute though–I’m not good at last-minute things, as much as I try to be better at that.

The intervals are now up to walk 1 minute/jog 4 minutes, 8 times; next week that is, this week I kept to 7 times. The week after that it’ll be NO intervals, just jogging for a certain length of time, which makes me happy! Because then I don’t have to keep thinking about which number of interval I’m on, and can just enjoy the scenery. And that should make the time go by. Also, it’s time to schedule runs for evenings, since it is now too warm to run in the afternoon. That’s another reason this week’s runs were hard; it’s always much easier to run in cool temps.

It’s still feeling good though! Man, did I ever sleep well last night!

In other news, I’m STILL learning things about meal-planning. Things that I already know in my head, but need to practise more. I’m talking breakfast and lunch meal-planning here, which is just as important as supper menus. I’ve been pretty good at planning for a variety of supper things, but we do tend to get in a rut with the other meals of the day. Which can lead to stomach problems!

When we paid to have that special blood testing done for Sam last year, it included a bunch of paperwork–information to help you with all of your particular intolerances, as well as some general stuff. One thing they said, is that if you eat the same thing again and again, you could develop an intolerance to it. Wheat is sometimes a problem, so I thought we were being careful about it. But what about the snack cookies every day, and wheat in either breakfast or lunch EVERY day?

Now that I think about it, we’ve always tended to latch on to something that we like, and keep eating the same thing for a long time: the same cookie every day (lo-cal or no), sometimes a particular restaurant that we keep going back to, or fast food place; one summer it was ice cream; I remember one vacation that every time I saw a Tim’s I wanted to get a cafe mocha. Even if it’s once or twice a week, if it goes on and on for many weeks, it can become a problem.

The good thing about intolerances though, is that you can usually fix it by staying “off” the food for awhile, and then carefully and slowly adding it back in. And after that, not overdoing it! Apparently the gluten-free diet fad is finally fading. However, we do have SO much wheat in our diet, it would be good to try for more of a variety. Really only celiacs need to be “gluten-free”, but the fad has been good for causing an availability of variety, so that you don’t have to eat SO MUCH wheat.

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life–to God!–is vigorous and requires total attention.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

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I can testify to that!

Have I ever said how amazed I am about how quickly the body can improve? :P

Today my intervals were walk for 1 minute–jog for 3 minutes, 8 times. Several times when my alarm went off for the 3-minute mark, I said Already? Even with taking the summers and winters off, I’m so much better than the very first time, when those 1-minute run intervals seemed sooooo long!

Regardless of it getting easier and easier, it still feels so good to sit and relax, after the cool-down stretches. And–what an excellent sleep I have on those nights! This pleasant feeling comes in rather handy on these cold, cloudy days that come after Spring has fooled us into thinking the warm weather is here for good.

The other thing I want to testify about, has to do with our new business. It takes a LOT of hydro power to run it, so we’re in the process of buying some land in Quebec, where they charge much less for their power, for businesses. We’d had in mind to be starting up in Quebec in April, but things just don’t work out that quickly. So it turns out that we’ll be shutting down for the month of May.

We decided that, and then heard the news that Ontario Hydro is hiking the power rates on May 1st! Plus, the value of the things we’re making (bitcoins) is in kind of a slump right now… they’ll perhaps go up by the time we’re “in business” again…

We can’t always see it that easily, but God’s timing is perfect: I can testify to that! :)

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HOW many times??

You know the expression “blow away the chaff”, referring to being able to take something of value from what people say, and just “blow away” anything that isn’t (in a nice way, hopefully!) Well, I’ve had to do that with a book I purchased recently.

My current little preoccupation has been about praying scripture. There are so many verses that you can actually turn into prayer, and I started by trying to record the ones that I might use, as I came across them. When I discovered that I’d totally missed an excellent way to make Psalm 1 a prayer, it seemed like it would be a good idea to search out one of the books I’d heard about, that have listed prayers from the Bible for you.

The one I ended up buying (Kindle) seemed worth getting excited about: a modern day Prayer Book, extolling the benefits of praying scripture–helps you find the right words, keeps you focussed, etc.–using a modern version of the Bible and organized nicely into categories. Then I came across this paragraph, in one of the introductions:

“My advice to everyone is always the same: Both you and your children should begin to pray Revelation 4 at least 100 times out loud to God, 10 times a day, for 10 days straight. Then, you will see God!”

Now, I’m so embarrassed that I’m not even going to tell you the author or the name of the book! But, look what I happened to read this morning (not in THIS book!):

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply…” (Matthew 6:7-9)

*wince*  That is a bit harsh on the poor guy… He does say some good things, pointing out that the Church has had prayer books since “time began” kind of thing; the Jews (in Jesus’ time) prayed three times a day, just like the Muslims, etc. He’s not actually presenting a formula for getting what you want, he just wants you to draw close to God. But still…

Anyway, I guess I’ll forgive him for that paragraph. Mostly.

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Right Now

Did you know that negative ions make you feel positive? And there are LOTS of negative ions outside on a Rainy Day, so stick your head out! It will feel much better than it looks! I’m going out, since my 3 days of running shouldn’t be done two days in a row (now that I’ll actually be running more than 2 minutes at a time).

Sometimes you have to “remain under” a shower, in order to clean out your soul… That’s a segue to my sermon words for this week. The word that translates into “persevere” means to “remain under”: we have to remain under the trials God allows, in order for him to complete the work he is doing in us. One of the ways we often respond, is to desperately look for an escape. We need to just hold on/endure, looking forward to the eventual, glorious result. (“Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross…”)

That verse is always coming to my mind; perhaps I should look up the reference. :S However, I have FINALLY changed my Home Page verse!! This is another one that is always coming to mind (Matthew 6:34), which in the NLT begins, “Do not worry…” I DON’T worry… because I’m always thinking of this verse! But I love the way The Message puts it, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.”

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