Archive for July, 2008

It is hard to believe that I am 27 years old now! Kinda crazy I know. We had a great weekend celebrating my birth and other – more beautiful – aspects of God’s creation. I haven’t had a lot of time to unpack the thoughts and organize the pictures so I’ll start with a glimpse of what I wrote about the trip on my running site:

After the run Friday morning we packed the car and headed to the Minnesota North Shore and went camping at the Finland State Forest Campground. I almost didn’t run but decided I really couldn’t miss the opportunity to run on some very scenic trails. I decided to run on the Superior Hiking Trail, north from Lake County Rd 1. I had to power walk within the first mile as I hit some steep inclines! The trail was quite rugged, as to be expected, with a lot of rocks and tree roots, so even the downhills where quite hard and dangerous. It was worth every second of the 1:20:25 run and every inch 1,500 elevation gain over 4 major “summits”. Talk about some amazing vistas! They made it worth the effort for the ~7 mile run. It was cool up there as well – not sure an actual temp, but I started in long sleeves and got cold even while sweating. The air off Lake Superior has a nice cold tinge to it. After the run I waded into the Baptism River at Lake Superior for a nice ice bath!

Sunday:Cross training. Lots of hiking and exploring waterfalls for my birthday!!

This completes week 8 of my marathon training. It also marks the halfway point on my quest for the marathon! Check back for more updates from our trip!

We are preparing for a visit from my in-laws in a few weeks. As part of that process we created a list of things they will want to see while they are here. We’ll be going with them to a lot of these things but some they will visit on their own.

First of all, they are arriving via the Megabus. Round-trip from Indianapolis to Minneapolis (one pole to the other) their bus tickets are just around $100 (total for both of them)!!

  • MICKY’S DINER (St. Paul) famous diner in several movies.
  • CANDYLAND (St. Paul) a great little candy store!
  • FAMOUS DAVE’S Pit BBQ (Minneapolis – Uptown) Great BBQ in a really fun part of time with lots of cute little shops!
  • THE BAD WAITRESS (Minneapolis) This diner is right across the street from our church, it lives up to its name! Its funny so check it out!
  • THE MALL OF AMERICA (Bloomington) We could spend a whole day here!! It is huge!!
  • MINNEHAHA FALLS (Minneapolis) this is beautiful! Maybe we can rent one of those 4 person bikes!
  • MILL CITY MUSEUM – WALKING TOURS (Minneapolis, historic St. Anthony) Not sure if the museum sounds great but the walking tours sound cool looks like there is one on Fri and Sat
  • THE WALKER ART CENTER (Minneapolis) We haven’t been yet but is supposed to be a really cool art museum with special outdoor art and an artists putt putt course!
  • COMO ZOO, CONSERVATORY, AND BUTTERFLY GARDEN (St. Paul) This is free zoo, the butterfly garden is super fun!
  • LYNDALE ROSE GARDEN (Minneapolis) We went here the other day! It was beautiful. It is next to a park where there are outdoor concerts most nights!
  • THE GLOBAL MARKET (Minneapolis) A couple of blocks from our house there are fun restaurants and shops along with concerts!
  • LAKE CALHOUN (Minneapolis) One of our favorite lakes near-by has a beach boat rental!! and a good view of the city

This is just a sampling of what there is to do in the city and really represents her parents interests – her dad is a big diner fan!

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So in case you hadn’t noticed things have been a little busy for Team Cross. The past two weekends we’ve been scurrying around the countryside attending weddings and having fun. We were only able to make it to 2 of the 4 weddings and they were back to back weekends. So here is a quick photo update of our most recent adventures:

Sadly the journey starts almost 2 weeks ago with 4th of July Celebrations. Note: It is hard to pick only 1 shot from each event, so if you click on the picture you can go see the full album!

We went to the house of newer friend and had picnic and set off fireworks (CJ had to work so we didn’t see any major shows this year).

The next day we drove to Madison, WI for a friend and former teammate’s wedding. It was actually in a rural suburb and several of us got a little lost, but the reception was on a beautiful lake.

After rushing home to make sure CJ could get to work we were exhausted. But arose the next day feeling a little adventurous and decided to check out the Taste of Minnesota. We were sadly disappointed by the actual event (under new management for 2009) but stayed and wandered around downtown St Paul for awhile.

A busy week ensued and we found ourselves at Friday morning, waiting for Amy to get off work so we could begin our next big adventure – driving to Clare, MI. We spent the night in Wheaton, IL (Chicago suburb) with the Burgess family, picking up our final passenger – Eugene, before making the final push into upper Michigan (not the UP, just upper). Jessica (another friend and former teammate) was pleased we made the long trip for the wedding and we got to see some other friends too.

We made it home quite tired Sunday night and prepared for another busy week. Sadly we couldn’t make it to the two weddings that occurred this past weekend (19-20), although we really wanted to. CJ was working again so on Saturday evening (after a 16 mile run in the morning by me) we went to the famous Rose Garden by Lake Harriet. While wandering around there we saw a schedule for the Harriet Band Shell and lo and behold the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra was playing. So we sat and watched. An earlier storm left lots of water droplets all over the flowers which only accented their beauty!

So that is pretty much an update from our point of view on life! Hope your July is just as adventurous!

There hasn’t been a lot of good news coming out of Somalia lately as aid groups are contemplating pulling out their staff due to several aid workers being killed. Recently three elders were killed while distributing aid in a refugee camp outside Mogadishu.

Here are some stats provided in a recent e-mail from UNICEF’s USA Fund:

  • More than 100,000 displaced persons in Afgoye receive safe drinking water from UNICEF—over half a million liters a day.
  • One in six persons displaced from the capitol, Mogadishu, is a child under five, and UNICEF is there providing lifesaving, nutritious meals.
  • UNICEF provides aid to more than 40,000 persons west of Mogadishu, where the start of the rainy season has forced many families to crowd tiny shelters too small to lie down to sleep.

UNICEF is one of the few organizations working in this war torn country. You can read more about their work and hear from Clay Aiken’s perspective what is happening in the country.

I’ve recently been able to chat more with one of my Somali colleagues and I’ve been learning more about what led up to the civil war and how the crisis continues. I forget the exact number of years but he has been here between 15 and 20 years. He was a wealthy man in Somalia earning $1,000’s of dollars a week as a farmer and businessman. Now he is an associate educator at a middle school. He happened to be a part of the wrong clan when the civil war broke out – doing everything he could to ensure his family fled to safety. He holds no hopes of going back home. It is a sad story but he is making the most of it for himself and his family.

Pray for him and pray for those who aren’t able to flee the violence. And heck while you are at it why not pray for those perpetrating the violence!

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Week 6 of training is in the bag. Here is a quick recap but be sure to check out the full post.

This has been kind of an up and down week physically. Alternating between tired and sluggish and almost euphoric – sometimes in the same day! Keep reading to find out all the details. Another wedding this weekend forced some major changes to occur at the end of the week. There wasn’t going to be any time for running on Saturday so I opted for a Friday long run! Bike miles have also taken a huge nose-dive. The culprit is that summer school has started and I get 15 minutes in between summer school and working at Commond Bond – not enough time for a bike ride in between the two and neither time is flexible. So for the first time in 6.5 months I’m driving a car to work on a regular basis, yuck.

You can also read about all 6 weeks of training by clicking on this link.

Also, don’t forget that I am dedicating this marathon to all of my friends in Africa by racing with Team World Vision. I need your support to make this happen. You can read the posts I’ve written about that, I’ll post some here as time permits.

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

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Matt Redman’s Breathing the Breath

We have nothing to give
That didn’t first come from Your hands
We have nothing to offer You
Which You did not provide
Every good, perfect gift comes from
Your kind and gracious heart
And all we do is give back to You
What always has been Yours

Lord, we’re breathing the breath
That You gave us to breath
To worship You, to worship You
And we’re singing these songs
With the very same breath
To worship You, to worship You

Who has given to You
That it should be paid back to him?
Who has given to You
As if You needed anything?
From You, and to You, and through You
Come all things, O Lord
And all we do is give back to You
What always has been Yours

We are breathing the breath
That You gave us to breath

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Dangerous Faith: Growing in God and Service to the World written by Christian leader Joel Vestal is an excellent recounting of the many ways God is moving around the world in dangerous and tough places.

, director of ServLife International, has pulled stories from his vast experiences overseas and weaved in vital truths from the Word of God. His official bio reads:

Joel Vestal has traveled to more than seventy nations, often working to improve living conditions in some of the world’s least-developed countries. He has conferred with Mother Teresa, has worked in Sudan during the height of its catastrophic civil war, began reconstruction after the devastating tsunami hit near his home in Thailand, was interrogated by secret police in Cuba, and was part of a team that started the first Christian church in northern India.

So you can imagine he has a lot of great stories, but more importantly he has had a lot of encounters with Christ throughout the world. It is from those encounters where I learned the most from this book. His hope for us the reader is that the book will “leave you ready to risk, step out in faith, and live the adventure called Christianity.” (p 17) There are many great quotes and excerpts I’d like to share but that’d take a lot of time and energy that could be better spent reading the book!

One great challenging quote is found on page 35:

The central issue, as I see it, is that our missionary efforts should not be reduced solely to proclamation and evangelism; instead they should focus on whole-life transformational discipleship. After all, we are not commanded to make converts; we are commanded to make disciples. (emphasis original)

He ends each chapter – with names like The Bride is Bigger than you think and Jesus, the Singer from America? – with a set of questions to help guide your thought process or to lead a small group with.

I took several pages of notes while reading Dangerous Faith and would highly recommend that you take a few hours to challenge yourself and your faith.

Disclaimer – I was given a free copy of this book to write a review of it.

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