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So what does one do after running seven 5ks, three 10ks, four 1/2 marathons, one full marathon and one Ragnar Relay? One runs a 9 mile trail race!

I’ve been wanting to try trail racing for a while now. I’ve heard it is a very different experience than road racing. So on Saturday I signed up for my very first! And in the name of accountability I thought I would share with you my training plan. It will be a challenge…but I can do anything for four weeks, right?!?

The goal: To complete a 9 mile trail run with energy to spare.

The countdown (from Saturday): 28 days.

The nutrition plan:

NO junk food

NO soda

LOTSA water

The training plan:

Sundays: rest

Mondays: strength training

Tuesdays: shorter run (less than 6 miles)

Wednesdays: strength training

Thursdays: shorter run (less than 6 miles)

Fridays: stretching

Saturdays: longer run (more than 6 miles)

 

I will be updating my progress each Saturday until the race. Wish me luck!!

 

What are you training for these days?? Leave a comment and let me know! ūüôā

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. A lot of thinking. Even more than usual. I have been questioning things I’ve never questioned before. Questioning everything really. Around and round I go each day, the ground shaking beneath me, shifting and turning, keeping me from nailing much down. But as much as I’ve been questioning, as many things as I’ve been rethinking, there are these few that I keep coming back to.

It has been a year of change. But these things keep staying the same…

  • I believe in Creator God.
  • I believe Jesus lived, died on a cross and was who He said He was.
  • I believe that my husband and my children need me more than anyone else does and need me more than anyone else.
  • I know I feel so…alive when I am running (or otherwise active), writing, reading and experiencing this gorgeous planet (and that the purer I experience its form, the better). I believe all that has to mean something.
  • I believe Jesus is the answer to a lot of my questions.
  • I believe in real food. I believe it is the solution for much…maybe even most…of what ails us today.
  • I believe that being still, being quiet, truly simplifying, is the answer to finding the Holy Spirit. I believe it is through the Holy Spirit that we find peace, wisdom, clarity, direction, purpose, discernment, awareness, compassion, self control.
  • I believe in adoption. I believe it is on my heart and in my mind through out the day, every day, for a reason.
  • I believe in generosity and compassion.
  • I believe in green living. It makes so. much. sense.

These ten things I still believe.

And I would love to know, when your whole world is changing, what things do you still believe?

I can’t believe it’s been 3 1/2 months since I’ve posted on here! Where the heck have I been?? And what the heck have I been doing??

Oh right, I have been…

…giving birth to Canyon Boaz in September.

…surviving the roller coaster of having Canyon admitted to the NICU for 9 days, 12 hours after being born.

…processing the likelihood that the antibiotics they had him on permanently damaged his hearing (they didn’t, he eventually passed the hearing test).

…discovering that mouth malformations were causing Canyon to have a weak suck which was causing my milk to disappear and him to gain no weight for the first month of his life.

…watching my baby endure and then heal from the procedure needed to fix his tongue tie.

…pumping and nursing around the clock for 3 months.

…resigning my hope of nursing my baby for his first year of life and accepting that I would be pumping full time instead.

…getting our house ready to sell (a 6 week long, gigantic project that included¬†lots of cleaning, decluttering, reorganizing, painting, furniture rearrangement, carpet and parquet replacement and landscaping).

…keeping our house ready for showings (which looks something like trying to keep a 2200 square foot house spotless 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while parenting 3 small humans, 1 of which is still completely dependent on me every second of every day of his life right now. mercy!).

…house hunting.

…training for my first 10k since giving birth.

…working my arse off trying to lose the blasted 40 pounds I gained during my pregnancy with Canyon (please pardon my french…and I think it was more like 36 but it feels like 40!).

…”going green” (green post soon to come…).

…learning about real food, eating real food, cooking real food for my family (real food post soon to come too…).

…homeschooling my first grader.

…joining a new small group.

…dealing with the shock and the sadness of Josephine Faith and Ty Osman Junior being welcomed through the gates of Heaven looong before anyone here was ready to let them go. Ugh, my heart hurts just writing the words.

…beginning, with my husband, our inquiries into adoption.

…spending a blissful week on the beaches of Indiana.

…having my world rocked by¬†Kisses from Katie¬†and¬†Seven.

…selling our house!

…packing up our house and putting nearly everything we own into storage.

…moving in with my parents as we wait for an offer on a house to go through.

And for the last 4 weeks- breathing. Breathing and talking and reflecting and praying. I have experienced life altering paradigm shifts in the last 6 months. My whole world is shifting. I feel like I’ve learned so much and understand so little. So many ups and downs. So many tears, so many questions, so much change. I’m not really sure where I fit right now, not really sure where I belong.

I am sure of so little. And hoping you will join me tomorrow so I can share with you what I am sure of these days.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for letting me share my heart.

His and Yours,

~Echo~

My post today is the fourth and final one in my series on being a peacemaker. In part one and two I wrote about five things that peacemakers must do. And in part three¬†I wrote about two more: they must be willing to state their opinions as opinions and they must be willing to ask permission before sharing those opinions. And just as my first three posts were inspired by the Scripture (in italics) I read that night so many years ago, today’s post was as well.

 

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Try to be sympathetic and compassionate of John’s situation. John’s mind and heart are a complicated mess of darkness and emotion, remember that when you are tempted to be affected by him. I know that it is easy to be affected and offended by John but stand above that. Be unmoved by his words. When he makes emotional statements, do not respond to them! Stick to the issue and to reality, do not get lost in his emotion.

 

“If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrong-doing is sin and there is sin that does not lead to death.”

Pray for John. Pray unceasingly for him. Pray for his heart. Pray that you will have wisdom to know how to love him. Pray that his eyes and ears will be opened. Pray that he will allow you into his life. Pray, pray, pray.

 

“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

Keep loving him! That is all you can do right now. Hopefully, prayerfully, John’s eyes and ears will someday be opened and if and when that day comes you will be there to help guide him. But until then, keep loving him. Who knows, your love may be the very thing that brings him to that day.

 

Do you struggle to be compassionate towards people who are hard to get along with?

How often do you pray for the people in your life?

Are you diligent about loving those around you?

 

I hope and pray that the words I have shared with you over the past week have in some way been a blessing to you and to the relationships in your life. I have included a summary (below) of the ten things we have covered. As always, thank you for reading!

His and Yours,

~Echo~

 

In summary:

Peacemakers must…

…be slow to speak.

…speak to their listener.

…be sincere.

…be willing to let disagreements go for the sake of a relationship.

show people God’s love rather than just telling them about it.

…be willing to state their opinions as¬†opinions.

…be willing to ask permission before sharing their opinions.

…be compassionate.

…pray without ceasing.

…be diligent about loving those around them.

 

‚ÄúBlessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.‚Ä̬†-Matthew 5:9

Welcome to part three of my series on being a peacemaker. In part one of this series I blogged about two things peacemakers must do. And in part two I blogged about three more: they must be sincere, they must be willing to let disagreements go for the sake of a relationship and they must show people God’s love rather than just telling them about it.¬†Today I want to share with you two more thoughts inspired by verses (in italics) I read that night several years ago.

 

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor?”

There was a time in my life when I presented my opinions as law. Instead of a statement being my perspective, or my opinion, it was law. For various reasons, I cannot do that anymore. That may be good, that may be bad (I haven’t decided yet) but I just can’t find it within myself to express my beliefs as law. I encourage you to consider this. For example: Instead of stating: “The beach is the¬†best place to go on vacation.”, consider: “I believe¬†the beach is the best place to go on vacation.” I have found that less doors are closed when a subject is approached this way. Also, this guarantees that you are right! It is true that you believe the beach is the best place to go on vacation.¬† (I don’t actually know that you believe this, I’m just using it as an example.) Therefore, no one can argue whether your statement is true or not. And as an added bonus, you come across as more approachable if they want to discuss their opposing belief with you. Let God be the judge of John. If he asks for your opinion, your advice, your help, then by all means, be eager. But otherwise, in this particular case, let God deal with him.

 

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Another thing I have changed in the last couple of years is offering my opinion when¬†I have not been asked for it¬†or gotten permission to share it.¬†I try to always start a conversation with: “Can I talk to you about something?” or “Can I give you advice about something?” That way you know whether the input is welcome or not and can respond accordingly. Take the time to solidify your thoughts and beliefs so that when someone does ask, you can answer. But answer gently and respectfully…even when you don’t feel like it.

 

Do you usually present your opinions as law?

How often do you ask for permission before sharing your opinion with someone?

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the fourth and final part of my series on being a peacemaker, coming soon.

Yesterday I blogged about two things peacemakers must do: they must be slow to speak and when they do speak, they must speak to their listener. Today I want to share with you three more things peacemakers must do. These thoughts were also inspired by verses (in italics) I read that night several years ago.

 

“But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

I think it is wonderful that you are pursuing peace. Don’t give up! I know it feels hopeless but do not allow that! Be merciful of John! Be impartial to his ridiculousness but sincere in your love for him (when I say love, I mean “doing what is best for and wanting what is best for” the other person).¬†

 

“See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

I know it is near impossible to ignore John‚Äôs choices but I believe you currently have no other choice if you want any chance of mending things. Do you agree with him? No. Do you approve of his choices? No. Can he hear anything you say about it? I don’t think so. Let God deal with him. Maybe someday God will use you for that and I¬†hope that if or when He intends to, you will know it without a doubt. But for now, let it go and leave it to God to deal with John.

 

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Let John see God’s goodness and wisdom in you by your actions, not your words. For whatever reason, John cannot (or again, will not) hear your words. For now at least, let your actions be a testimony to God’s beauty and goodness. Be humble and be forgiving of John. Show him God’s love rather than telling him about God’s love.

 

How do the peacemakers in your life¬†show¬†you God’s love rather than just telling you about God’s love?

Do you have a relationship with someone who’s choices you do not agree with? Have you been able to set that aside for the sake of the relationship?

 

Thanks for reading part two of my series on being a peacemaker. Stay tuned for part three, coming soon…

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9

 

A few years ago, after a dear friend emailed me asking for advice, I prayed for wisdom, let my Bible fall open in my lap, and began reading. These are some of the verses (in italics) that I read that night. The words written after them are my own, inspired by those that I read. I hoped and prayed then that these words would be a blessing to my friend. I hope and pray now they will be a blessing to you.

 

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

I encourage you to talk with a neutral party before communicating any negative emotions. Find someone that you respect and admire and run your thoughts and feelings by them before sending any Emails, making any phone calls or pursuing any confrontations. Find a good “sounding board” to incorporate into your life. Also, be quick to ask questions, slow to make accusations. I have found that this is ALWAYS more effective, especially initially. Some people can handle bold statements, most can’t. Most people can handle sincere questions, few can’t. Speaking out of emotion almost always gets me in trouble. Learn to communicate¬†emotion without communicating through emotion. This is a very hard concept for most people (myself included) and takes much practice and guidance.


“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

Consider your words very, very carefully. Remember that everyone’s perspective is different. Speak for the benefit of your listener. If you came to me and said, “Your choices are ruining your marriage.” I would be eager to hear why you think so. If you go to John and make that exact statement,¬†he will likely be hurt and respond defensively. Same statement, same mouth, same motives: different results. John cannot (or will not) see God or God’s love (or your “religion”) through statements like these. Remember to speak to your listener.

 

Who are the peacemakers in your life?

In what ways have they been a good example of being quick to listen and slow to speak?

Are you known to be a peacemaker?

 

Would love to hear your answers in the comment section below.¬†Stay tuned for a continuation of “Ten Things Peacemakers Must Do”, coming soon!

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