Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Week in Review

It's hard to imagine what all has happened this past week. Please excuse my personal reflection and brain dump.

Sunday evening I saw tweets from a friend in Joplin saying he safely made it home and how horrible the weather was. I soon learned an F5 tornado ripped through the town destroying about 1/3 of the city. My friend, Steev Inge, pastors Mystery Church and he'd just been to St. Louis the week before for a training we hosted.

Monday I had my normal meeting with my boss and asked what we were doing for Joplin. One of my many responsibilities includes administrating and organizing the midwest region of Acts 29, a church planting network with over 400 churches around the world. I soon found myself organizing the midwest regions' relief effort. Immediately I'm thinking through ways to mobilize our region and whole network to get Steev help and support.

Tuesday my grandpa had major surgery. Through an amazing turn of events, they found an anuerysm in is abdominal artery. If it would have ruptured, it would have killed him. I drove up for the surgery late Monday night and was at the hospital early Tuesday morning. I'd never seen my grandpa so upset and nervous. We walked into the prep room and he just started crying. My big, strong grandpa reduced to tears, scared of what might happened. The nurse walked in and gave him a sedative to calm him down. (Note to self: if you get upset tell them you don't feel so well, they give you the good stuff.) My mom, grandma and uncle spent the next three hours waiting. I spent the majority of the time on the phone and email coordinating Joplin relief. Grandpa's surgery went VERY well. They were able to put a stint in and were out an hour earlier than expected; however it to much longer than expected to get him to ICU. Hours later we were in the ICU; he was awake and hungry.

Wednesday we went back to the hospital after spending the night at grandma's. They were getting ready to move him to his normal room. He wanted to walk and they let him. He ended up walking the entire way. The doctor happened to walk by him and stopped when he saw my mom and asked if that was Ray. She said yes and then with is mouth open said, he shouldn't be able to do that! He got settled into his room and ordered lunch (nothing seems to keep his appetitate away). I ended up leaving around 2 or so and stopped at the house to work a little more. That's when I saw the weather St. Louis was having and decided it was better to stay put awhile. My grandparent's have a weather radio and it kept going off, ironically when I was on the phone working on getting relief for Mystery Church in Joplin. At one point I thought I heard sirens so I went outside to see; my grandparents live in the country where you shouldn't have such warning systems. Sure enough they were going off so I moved my car into the garage (literally just got my car back from previous hail damage) and headed to the basement. Around that time I heard my family (minus grandpa) walk in the door. We made a quick sandwich for dinner and went back to the basement. Luckily nothing really happened and I was able to get back to St. Louis late that night.

Thursday was an early, early morning meeting with our Belleville campus leaders followed by more coordination with Joplin. The day ended so very well with birthday celebrations for myself and two of my friends. Last year we started the tradition of having dinner and cake at one of our friends houses. I'm very excited this has become a tradition. I spent the evening over good food, great conversation and even better friends.

Yesterday started a little later, but was another full day of work. Ending at the same friends house celebrating their oldest graduating high school!

And, now, it's Saturday. I'm sitting in my room wondering where the week went. It's been here and gone like a flash.

I'm hoping to wrap some planning up today and take Sunday and Monday off. Next week will be exciting as I leave for Joplin Thursday. I'll stay a day and go to Kansas City for the Mumford and Sons concert Friday night. Hopefully go back to Joplin on Saturday with a group of my friends and meet with some regional churches on Sunday.

Over the next couple of months, I'll be spending a lot of time in Joplin. I'm praying for strength and perseverance for myself, but more for the people of Mystery Church. They are tired and exhausted; a handful have lost everything. I pray God will use me to bring refreshment and encouragement into their lives. God use this devastation to show us your grace and restoration that you are bringing all things new.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Illinois Half Marathon

Life has gotten busy. You could probably tell since my blogs have gotten fewer and fewer in between. I'm not into blogging enough to actually put this on top of my priority list. Actually, I'm not sure if it even makes the list.

Somehow I've squeezed in a half marathon. Isn't it funny how I can manage to train even in the busiest of times, but can't find the time to go for even a short run if I'm not training... priorities!

This was my fifth half...yes, my fifth! And, I did GREAT! Knocked a good 16 minutes off my best time. Sadly, I missed my goal of under 3 hours by 1 minute and 22 seconds :( I was seriously disappointed... as in had to stop myself from crying disappointed. I calmed myself by telling myself I actually did get under 3 since I stopped to use the restroom at mile 9. If I hadn't of had to do that, I would have made it in WELL under 3 hours.

It was a great race! The absolute perfect weather, perfect amount of people, flat course, etc, etc, etc. My brother and sister-in-law drove me to the start line... it was FREEZING!!!
They started the full marathon, then a 10K and finally the half. It was a tad confusing. I really should read the race packets more closely... I'm only ever concerned about my start time. Traffic was pretty bad, so my brother and sister-in-law went straight to mile 3 and waited for me there instead of making their way to the start. I kept my phone in my pocket and didn't get a single picture during the race; maybe my family did, I should ask.

I ran the first 7 miles without stopping!!! Yes, sir, that's the longest I've ever run... EVER! At one point I wondered if I could run the whole thing, but soon knocked myself back into reality. My brother and sis-in-law (SIL) saw me at mile 3, conveniently next to the Starbucks. My brother offered his scalding hot coffee, which I politely passed on.

There weren't a terrible amount of spectators which was kind of good. Great cause I had three people out watching for me so they could get around really easily and see me multiple times. Most of the race was through residential areas so people just sat in their lawn chairs on the yard to watch. Many kids out wanting a high fives!

Around mile 6.5 I saw my brother and SIL at the top of a slight hill. I still felt pretty great and the adrenaline from the longest run in my history was pushing me forward. Then came mile 8-10!  The worse part (as always), but here we were in a park so there was no one around, it was boring, and I hated it.

I made it through the hell that was the prairie park and found my mom was stationed at mile 10. By this time I had my head down and was just going; never looking up. Soon there after we pasted a cemetery where they were digging a grave; this of course made me giggle inappropriately. I just kept thinking they are already getting ready for me!

We turned and there were the ROTC Navy men ringing the touchdown bell and of all miracles the Stadium!!! I had one mile left and I miscalculated that I had 15 minutes until the 3rd hour. I rounded what I thought was the last turn and there were my mom, brother and SIL! I nearly started crying as I told them I'm going to PR! Then we just kept running... running past where I thought we'd enter and then past what I thought was our second option. (have I mentioned I need to read the race packet closer). Finally we entered the stadium:

I was digging in and could care less about getting a picture.
Memorial Stadium's End Zone!!
It was soon after that I got a text from one of my friends saying "Oh Katie... 1 min. 22 secs. away... I want to kick ur timing chip's ass."

Looks like this won't be my last half marathon!