Breathe

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Breathe….
I love the smell of spring. Nothing makes me happier then spending the day outside or having the windows open to the house and breathing in the smells of spring; clean, fresh, and crisp.
Breathe also means; stop, slow down, take a deep breath and take time for others. I can get so wrapped up in myself that I don’t want to take the time for others. I might be late… I need to get this done… I have that to do…. The list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to take time for and with ourselves. But we live in a world where there are a lot of people who are hurting and they just want or need someone to listen to them.
Yesterday as I hurried from errand to errand I stopped at the gym to do a quick 10 minute workout on my legs. I had lots of things I still needed to get done and places I needed to go. In the parking lot I stopped and talked to a young woman. She was in pain; life is tough for her right now. I tried to keep my mind focused on what she was saying, but I kept thinking I need to go. I was wondering how do I stop this conversation without being rude. Then she said “my husband is tired of me talking about how much I hurt. I just need someone to listen.” I took a deep breath and spent the next hour listening and enjoying standing outside in God’s creation listening to this woman’s concerns.
I still had time in my day to take pictures and edit the blooms from my pear tree.
Breathe in God’s goodness.

before and after edit

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A Stroll through an Italian town

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Sharing with a Friend

A friend shared pictures of her journey through Italy with me. They were beautiful, but I knew with a little Photoshop magic they could be amazing. So I asked permission to work on a couple of her pictures. Below is the Before and After of her stroll through an Italian town.

I shared a few techniques with her on applying textures and using the blend mode in Photoshop. She is now ready to learn more about Photoshop.

The gift of friendship is a circle filled with love.

Friendship is a sheltering tree

Before and After

Sheltering Tree

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Free to Soar

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Freedom to Soar in Our Lives
By placing one foot in front of the other my goal of running a marathon in every state is almost in my grasp. I ran 26.2 miles in New Jersey last weekend, my 34th state completed.
It has not been easy, early morning runs with too little sleep, rain, snow, ice, wind, heat, humidity, and sun. Weather is unpredictable and last weekend was no exception. Fog, mist, headwinds of 20 miles an hour, cool temperatures, and torrential downpour the last couple miles made for a grueling race.
The next day the sun came out and I had the opportunity to walk along the beach. For a Midwest farm girl the ocean and shore are an amazing sight.
I will complete all 50 states by keeping my goal in mind; no matter the obstacles keep moving forward.
Let your imagination soar.

Before and after pictures.

Soar

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Encourage Others

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Enjoyment in all we do.

 

The church I attend has an outreach program that helps people prepare to run the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. This week I gave the devotional that follows.

 

Speaking in front of a group is something I do not enjoy doing.

But God prepares and commands. We need to listen.

*2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

We need to remember when we tell others we are part of Connection Pointe mini-marathon training we are ambassadors for Christ. Are we hindering or helping spread his love.

During races; encourage other runners, tell volunteers thank you.

*Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

We do not always know how words and actions impact others.

I hated running when I was younger. In high school I went out for track because my older sister went out and I did not have a ride home. Surprisingly I was decent.

The following year the cross country coach asked me to go out for Cross Country. He will never know how his belief in me would change the rest of my life.

After I finished school I found a community of runners who encouraged me to compete in a marathon this was in 1985. I loved the distance, but it would be 8 more years before I ran another marathon. I kept running but it would be 6 more years before my 3rd marathon. Then I connected with a group of women that also ran. Our goal became running a marathon in every state. It has been 29 years since I ran my first marathon. Training is not always easy or convenient.

Just like when we dedicate our life to Christ it is not always easy to do what God requires.

My mantra – Stay with the resolution long after the mood of the resolution is gone.

 

Cabin in the Valley was taken while zipping down the back roads of southern Ohio in 2013. I was on my way to Virginia to run my 30th state.

Cabin in the Valley

Cabin in the Valley (before and after photos)

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Never Limit Yourself

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I have always struggled with writing.

I’m not comfortable with sentence composition, it takes me multiple tries to get my thoughts on paper. My tendency is to write like I talk. Also my brain goes faster then I write, which causes whole sentences and thoughts to be skipped in my writing.  Not only am I uncomfortable with my writing, my spellings atrocious. This is another reason I love the computer; spellcheck and quick access to an online dictionary.

In elementary school I had a teacher who humiliated me in front of the class by making fun of my sloppy handwriting. I was trying to learn cursive. I thought I would show her by printing everything from that time forward. I look back and realize I only hurt myself.

As I get older I realize that I don’t want to limit myself, I love the challenge of learning and trying new things. Many things I feared or hated in youth I now embrace.

I have taken Calligraphy classes and enjoy the process of making beautiful letters.

Never limit yourself because you are uncomfortable.

Calligraphy, beautiful letters.

Calligraphy, beautiful letters.

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Before and after pictures.

Unhurried

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Instead of a New Year’s resolution, a friend of mine picks a word to weave into her life during the year. At the beginning of this year she shared her aspiring word while we were on our morning run, unhurried

Morning runs are great for solving problems of the world, and supporting each other in our life events. But it was not a positive morning for me. My negative thought; what kind of word is unhurried. Of course I had to open my mouth and say “what a stupid word.” I had to add one more comment “who would ever want the word unhurried?”

For me time is of the essence. The more you cram into the day the happier you will be.

That was until four weeks ago. During a run I fell on ice and injured my back. I now have taken unhurried as my word.

I no longer get up at 4:30 in the morning to run. I have changed my schedule to riding a recumbent bike at the gym in the afternoon. The injury has changed my daily schedule and the activities that filled that time. My life is unhurried.

 In 2010 I started taking pictures of ordinary things that happen in our daily life. These pictures were placed in photo albums with names such as Project 365, Project Life, and Day to Day Memories. Daily photos help me practice my photography skills, they also helps me see the beauty in everyday life. 

Living life unhurried.

Enjoying daily life unhurried.

Enjoying daily life unhurried.