Saturday, December 27, 2008

Caption Please

Hope you had a fun, love-filled Christmas...

I know I did.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

In Christ-mas Alone

I spent my first Christmas Eve alone with Jesus.

No tree this year.
No colorful decorations.
No big feast.
No family or friends around to celebrate (most were on vacation or with their families).

I went to work in the morning and came home in the late afternoon.
Ate leftovers Mom left me.
Did some chores around the house.
Stared at my friends' holiday cards lying on my bookshelf.
Glanced at the small set of gifts in the corner of my bedroom.

Up to last night, I was secretly hoping something would come up.
Maybe someone would be kind enough to invite me to their place to celebrate.
Maybe Mom & my sister's flight will be canceled and they can spend the holiday with me.

Maybe it would start snowing and I could sleigh down my hilly street. (Snow in LA....pray that God will do it, ok?)

But none of those happened.  Just me and Jesus for the night.

I cracked open my Bible to read my devotion (and it's admittedly been a while).  This caught my eye:

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." ~ John 15:9-11

Notice the first-person references Jesus makes with the word "love".  Notice how direct and personal He makes it for anyone reading.

In the midst of being on my own this holiday season, if I confessed my need for God, I would imagine He might respond with:

"Could it be that all these things were stripped away so you can be closer to me?  It's what it's all about. I love you so much that it's the only thing I want you to see this season: love.  It's this love I have for you that I crossed over to your life with my only son.  Don't try to cover this fact with anything or anyone else.  Let my love be your joy this year."

I brought out my guitar and worshiped.
I prayed.
I gave out free Facebook gifts w/ notes to people I haven't seen in a while.
I browsed through the many pictures I had with friends.
I was blessed with a great joy & peace I haven't felt in a while.

I don't know how you're celebrating Christmas.  You might be spending it alone or with someone(s) special,  at home or elsewhere, with many presents or none.  But I'm beginning to think that more than anything, God wants a closer relationship with us and His love through the Son is the greatest gift that can bring us the greatest joy.  And all those trees, families, and decorations can't nearly wrap a present that beautiful.

Merry Christmas, everyone. =)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rose Bowl Half Marathon 2008

Running AlongA nod of thanks to those who have been following and/or cheering me onwards in my training.  It feels more worthwhile when I find we're in this together.

I've come to learn that every race, even if it's the same course, has a story of it's own to tell.  The longer the distance, the more there is to share.  This one is no different and none more unique than other ones I've raced.

So about a week before race day, I developed some sore muscles in my left leg above my ankle.  I had to cut my last couple workouts to give it the rest it needed.  I ran my last few easy runs with little pain, but I wasn't sure how it would hold during showtime.

On that Saturday morning, it didn't really matter.  The minute the gun went off, I found myself surging forward with the crowd.  Some were well stretched, some needed more emptying-time in the bathroom, some were just determined to finish no matter how they felt.

It's always the first couple miles where you're letting out the creaks and tightness in your lower body before you find your rhythm.  That was a good thing because it was the three-mile stretch of Orange Grove Blvd that felt like a treadmill missing an off-switch.  Just road, road, and more road.  When we looped around to the Rose Bowl, I was relieved because the first half of the race was done in good time (~ 46:58).

Finish LineThe trails, hills, and gravity took its toll as we ran higher ground.  My left leg started acting up again.  I felt like I 'm going to pull something on my other leg and then it'll be all over.  But the green change of scenery and knowing that really, most of the race is done, pushed me forwards through the nagging pain.

The support came in good time.  Pasadena Pacers were manning the 10th mile fluid station, and I was greeted by several racers from last year's race!  Their smiles, cheers to press on, and applause became mine to take with me to the end.  And of course, there was AOW on the 12th mile to give that extra boost to the finish line.

Final time:


Going back to the 12th mile station w/ AOW.

On a separate note, it was good to be home for the holidays with the rest of the AOW family:

Home for the Holidays

There's been thoughts in my head about running more races in the future.  Anyone interested?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Merry Christmas at the Happiest Place on Earth

I received this through email to my uncle.  It's about time it was done...

I could die happy and go to heaven right now. =)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

It was a while back before, but it was too fruitful to forget.

Like another event, I can't find the words to describe the experience.  Maybe one day I will.  But for now, see for yourselves what God did on November 21st:

Packing Checking
Packing time
Writing Notes More notes More notes
So much happiness in this event Annie & Ben
All done!
Prayer Prayer

Some numbers:
  • 30+ Junior High Youth
  • 1 1/2 hours of packing
  • 56 shoeboxes filled with gifts and notes
  • $595 money donations for shipping


God is good.
I love Eureka.