my search to understand the bigger picture

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I've Put This Post Off Long Enough

i'm still not sure where this post will end up, but i've decided i don't want to sit on it anymore.  sunday evening, my family and i were putting up our christmas decorations in our living room.  we don't really do much, just set up a fake tree, plug in the lights, and put the ornaments on.  we have a few snowmen that we display throughout the living room, and actually have kept our nativity scene set up for a number of years in a row now.  

as we were setting up the tree, i began to sense a connection to this representation of a live tree, and the stripped bare, rugged, cross (tree) that Jesus was crucified on.  1 tree is utilized to celebrate his birth, the other to remind us of his horrible death.  

i allowed those thoughts to stay with me for a few days, revisiting them every few hours or so.  it's possible to take this and completely make up some outrageous point, but i don't really want to complicate this too much.  i just thought it interesting how a tree full of life, decorated with glitz and ornament is used by people of all religious backgrounds the world over during a time that's set aside as "christmas", a time to remember that jesus became flesh as a little baby.  and then there's the cross, stripped bare of life, rough, rugged, full of splinters and pain, very much a common symbol come Easter.  

it's quite possible i'm a little slow, and many of you have thought about the correlation already.  i suppose the takeaway for me, is that it made decorating our house this fall a little more special.  no longer is it a meaningless activity, something to be done after thanksgiving.  no longer will i look at a christmas tree the same way.  it will forever serve as a remembrance for me of what Christ came to do for each of us.  

as you celebrate the christmas season, as you decorate, as you wrap and then open presents, as you walk past that christmas tree many times every day, may you remember all that christ came to do.  may you remember how much he loves you today!  may you remember what a good God he truly is.  and may christmas hold a new, special meaning for you the rest of your days.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things I Don't Need But Have Me Excited Anyways

two very similar products.  i love the concept of the bottles in the front, instead of hydration being stored in the back.  i also love the thought of no handhelds.  i've already got a racing vest, and i won't be looking to upgrade for some time, but when i do, you can be sure i'll be looking to ultimate direction and one of these bad boys.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Current Run Streak

today was my 49th consecutive day of running.  7 straight weeks of running, without missing a day.  i've had a minimum goal throughout this streak of 3 miles each day, and only missed that twice (one day was 1.25 miles, the other day a 2 miler).  this past week i bumped that minimum up to 4 miles, because i've been enjoying myself so much.  during that time i've accumulated 233.05 miles, for an average of 4.76 miles per day.  i purposely started out smaller to help avoid injury.  not really sure that i had a goal in mind when i started, other than to try to get to 20 days.  once i reached that i continually strive for short goal.  i will go until i no longer feel like it.  what i've enjoyed more than anything else is that the love for running is back.  for every runner there is a love/hate relationship with running i think.  there are certainly times that we love doing it, and other times that we run simply because we have to.  that's why it's a discipline.  it takes effort, work, determination.

the longer the streak has gotten, the more thankful i've become of the ability i have to run.  by no means do i have a runner's physique (5'11", 228 pounds is rather stocky).  but what a gift it is to be able to move about freely.  so many others cannot run for any number of reasons, and i want to make the most of this gift while i can.  so, i'm making this public today, that i have a goal of moving up to the 50 mile race next fall in Wisconsin at The North Face Endurance Challenge.  it's time to step it back up.  i ran Comrades Marathon 2 1/2 years ago now, and it's the proudest moment of my running "career".  but since then i've stuck with 50k's and it's time to bump it back up.

so, that's what's been going on with my running lately.  i'll head out the door tomorrow morning, getting up at 4:30 to get in day #50.  my next goal will be to get to day #60.  from there, who knows where i'll end up.

Friday, November 16, 2012


He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.

- Napoleon Bonaparte

fear is a nasty thing.  it's the whole, "you'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take" mentality.  it seems like such a strange thing, yet it absolutely paralyzes so many, myself included at times.  why is the "fear of failure" so powerful in our society?

for me, the temptation is to think the final outcome of any event/attempt/project/etc is the final report card on me.  it feels so true doesn't it?  note this quote from thomas edison in regards to the lightbulb.

"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward"

if only we could get this concept.  failure is not what we think it is.  failure is not trying.  failure is not giving 100%.  failure is not taking the shot.

40 days ago i decided to try to run every day.  honestly, i didn't think i'd last a week.  my only goal was to get back to running on a regular schedule, and to learn to enjoy short runs again.  a consecutive days streak was just the means to an end.  after 14 days i was shocked, and figured it was only a matter of time.  no way i'd make it to 30 days.  and then 30 came and went, and now, after this morning, i'm sitting on 40 consecutive days.  not really sure where i'll end up from here; just gonna take it one day at a time.  tomorrow i've planned to run 10-12 miles with my friend scott.  

i just know i love running short runs again.  i love running period.  but this is just surface level.  i know that whatever i succeed or fail at, that i am loved by my father in heaven.  jesus loves me regardless.  he's already proved his love, and continues to do so every day of my life.  when i understand that, i realize that little things do not count as my final score (judgment).  my final score isn't even from my efforts anyways, Jesus took that test for me.

all that to say, if you are afraid of failure, don't be.  it's not the report card on you as a person.

get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Beer With Jesus?

i came across this video a few weeks ago, and it really caught my attention.  i've grown to really love the song, but i'm not sharing it today to get into a huge debate on whether or not jesus would drink, whether or not christians should drink.  there's a different trail of thoughts running through my head this morning.  i spent some time journaling while listening to this song on repeat today, and here's some of what i wrote down.....

"This Beer With Jesus song has really inspired me quite a bit, in the way of spending these very intimate, private moments with Him.  I need that today Jesus, I want that.  I want to spend time with my friend Jesus.  I want to include you in everything I do today.  Will you come hang out with me?  Will you spend some time with me at work today?  Will you have lunch with Tim Payne and I?  Will you maybe run some errands with me?  Will you hang out with me and the girls after school?  Will you have dinner with me and my family tonight?  Will you go on a run with me after the girls are in bed?  I want more adventures with you Jesus."

my prayer today is not only for myself.  it's for you as well.  i pray you invite Jesus into everything you do today.  ask him to go with you.  seriously.  do it right now.  i believe he's waiting for that invitation.  i believe he wants that more than anything.  share a cup of coffee with jesus today.  share a meal with him.  share your drive into work or home after work with him.  tell him your thoughts, feelings, dreams.  just spend some time with him.  it's amazing when you do this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Good Ideas/Bad Ideas

came across this quote today as i read over some thoughts from bryan allain, who exists to "help folks find their fans, extend their reach, and build their killer tribes."  

"So don't be afraid of the bad ideas.  They don't exist to shame you, embarrass you, or make you look stupid.  They exist to help you find the good ones."  

this was good for me to read today.  too many times i struggle with fears of failure, that what i produce won't be good enough.  at some point you just gotta swing the bat.  you'll never hit the ball if you don't swing.  so, i'm gonna start swinging today.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Trail Running on my 29th Consecutive Day of Running

what a beautiful morning it was for a trail run.  yesterday i was graciously given the day off, because of all the hours worked at church this past weekend during a conference we put on.  i got a nap in yesterday afternoon, went to bed at a decent hour, and slept in for the first time in a month.  my wife got the girls ready and took them to school, so that i could sleep in and then leave to hit the trails.  what a woman!

god began to bless me even before i got to the trailhead.  one of the things i love most about trail running is seeing all the different animals and scenery.  on the drive in, i saw a flock of at least 30 wild turkeys.  i actually stopped the car in the road and just watched them for about 5 minutes.  it was awesome.  not something you see everyday.

a few more minutes down the road i saw a huge buck saunter across the street.  again, just stopped the car in the road and watched.  what a great way to start the run!

i didn't get a long run in, only a 10k which took me a little over an hour.  it was perfect.  i stopped by an inland lake about half way, felt god stopping me.  so, i took off my het, sunglasses, gloves, and stood by the lakeside for a few minutes, throwing rocks.  i knew god wanted me to stop.  could sense in my heart he wanted to say something to me.  so i waited.  eventually i got stir crazy, and began to leave, but something wouldn't let me.  so, instead of fighting it, i turned back around to face the lake.  i began to thank god for making wonderful things like nature.  i then sort of got frustrated and began to ask god out loud what he wanted to tell me.  

then he whispered, "Don't you know Thad?"  even more frustrated, i responded, "Don't i know what?"  patiently, god responded, "Don't you know how much I love you Thad?"  then it hit me.  he stopped me at the lake, persuaded me to run this particular trail even though I hadn't wanted to, made it so that i could/would go trail running this morning.  he orchestrated this entire event, this specific moment in time, to tell me he loves me.  isn't that just like god?

this put a metaphorical spring in my step.  i swore that i heard a chorus of angels begin to sing excitedly once i began to grasp what god was doing.  pretty sure i heard them singing, "Get Ready!" over and over again; dancing all over the place.  i don't really know why, but it seemed they were excited about something.  

now, some of you might be thinking this was something in my imagination.  i think this was a divine encounter with my savior, my god, my friend.  father, i hear you loud and clear.  thank you for meeting me out there today, specifically to tell me you love me.  

tomorrow will be day 30.  seems like it's gone by pretty fast, this little streak of mine.  my next goal is to hit 40 consecutive days, and then we will go from there.