Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is beautiful Carissa.
Carissa is my training partner.  Our "partnership" is mostly electronic.  We message each other when we run, lamenting when it's super tough and celebrating when we fly through a run.  We check in with each other for accountability and encouragement and once a month try to run together.

Over time our partnership has grown from running accountability to life accountability.  We check in with each other, lamenting when life is super tough and celebrating when we're in a season of victory.  We pray for each other.  Carissa rolls her eyes at my crazy antics and laughs at my jokes.  I appreciate her take-charge attitude.  Going somewhere with Carissa is like going somewhere with Curt.  She does all the planning, takes care of the details and I just show up at the appointed time (or maybe a few minutes late).  Like I said, we're good partners.

Us before our race.
We celebrated Mother's Day a week early by running the Eugene Half Marathon together.  Our husbands were kind enough to hold down the fort for 24 hours so we could go play.  The ride to Eugene was a great chance to catch up on life.  It's much easier to share a story sitting in a car than when you're out of breath and laboring up a mountain.

Our goal for this race was to run fast and beat our previous best times.  For me, that meant anything under an hour and 46 minutes (1:46).  For Carissa, it was anything under 1:51.  We thought if we ran a great race we could finish in 1:45 (a flat eight minute mile pace), although we were both hoping for our time to read anything with a 7 in front of it for our pace.

II Samuel 22

I was reading II Samuel chapter 22 this morning.  It's a song King David wrote in the twilight of his life.  He uses the song to reflect on how God has continually rescued, saved, sheltered, and protected him over the course of his life.  It touched me.

Verse 17 says, "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters."  This verse stopped me dead in my tracks.  You all know how terrified I am of being in water over my head.  Drowning is never far from my mind when my family is near a large body of water.  David is using a figure of speech but we all know exactly the terror he's feeling.  I could be like a fish in the water but what about those times when life is literally suffocating me?  Pain, overwhelming tasks, finances and parenting push me further and further under water.  Before I know it, I'm too deeply submerged to make it back to the surface.  In the moment when I stop struggling and surrender to what feels like death, God reaches down from on high.  He takes hold of me and draws me out of deep water.  He resuscitates my limp body and breathes life back into me.  Oh the goodness of our God!  

Verse 20 continues, "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."  Am I the only one who finds this shocking?  The Almighty God swoops down from heaven, draws me out of deep water and brings me to a spacious place.  Why?  Because he delights in me.  He knows my every thought, sees all my sin and filth, and yet he delights in me?  Amazing!

Verse 36b say, "You stoop down to make me great."  I've been meditating on this verse all morning and still can't get over the irony of this imagery.  My great and mighty King stoops down.  He bends down and gets on eye level with me.  His look pierces through my clean facade and he gazes into my soul.  The good, the bad, and the ugly laid bare before the King and yet He loves me still.  He stoops down to make me great.  Unbelievable!

Today I join with David is declaring, "The LORD lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mice Don't Be Nice, by Katie Stilp (8 1/2 years)

My kids like to write.  I wish I knew where they get that...  Katie wrote the following story as part of a 3rd grade class assignment.  They all submitted their stories to The Club Hearld, a kid newspaper that covers all the schools in Newberg.

This afternoon she burst through the door shouting, "Mom, Mom!  Guess what?  They picked my story for The Club Herald.  I have it right here."  She handed me the newspaper clipping with a big smile and said, "Some of it's true, but some of it isn't."  For the record, we did trap a few mice in our house.  And I did scream and jump on the counter.  But the mice did not over-run our house.  Thank God for that!

Without further ado, here's is Katie's awesome story (words, punctuation and grammar not corrected).

Mice Don't Be Nice
by Katie Stilp (8 1/2 years)
3rd Grade, Mabel Rush Elementary

One bright day we found a small hole in our chip bag.  We were wondering what made that hole.  My dad said, "Maybe a mouse made the hole."  I was scared a mouse was in the bag.  My mom sad "we'll all go to Fred Meyers' and buy mousetraps and we'll just see what happens".

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Francis' Oregon Trail Journal, by Grant Stilp, age 10

**Grant's 4th grade class has been studying the Oregon Trail all year.  They took a couple of months to keep a pioneer journal of what it would be like to travel the Oregon Trail.  Grant's real journal had pencil drawings and barely legible handwriting, but I just loved how descriptive he was and how much history he packed into his entries.  I typed it up so we can decipher it later in life and so you can enjoy it as much as I did.  Happy trails to you.***

Francis’ Oregon Trail Journal
Written by Grant Stilp, age 10 years
April 2011
No edits made for spelling or grammar

February 2, 1848 (entry from my son)            Peachy Beaches, Florida

Dear Journal
Today after I came in from milkin’ Betsy, Ma told me that we were movin’ west.  I’ll miss all my family but Ma said that Aunt Bella was movin’ to.  That means I’ll get to see cousin Josh.  I am very sad that we’ll have to leave Betsy but at least we’ll have a fresh new start in Oregon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Running Aimlessly

**I originally wrote this post for JoJo's Journal, but it ended up being used on the Not Your Own blog first.  I thought I'd post it here too since you were my originally intended audience!  **

The unanticipated theme of this year for our family has been Managing the Chaos.  Since school started this fall Curt and I have fought to manage our personal schedules, our family schedule, our time together as a couple, and our time with our kids.  We've had periods of balance but the majority of this school year I've been functioning on the brink of Could I Be Any More Overwhelmed.  It's not a place I like to be.  

Earlier this month, one of our pastors was preaching from I Corinthians 9:24-27.  It's a passage I love because Paul uses the analogy of running.  He says, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly..."