April, 2010

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Things to look forward to…

Friday, April 30th, 2010

… in reverse order:

Christmas (duh)

christmas-tree

Thanksgiving (double duh)

thanksgiving-feast

A destination-to-be-determined trip in October

question

Kyle & Emily’s wedding

e_k

Josh & Meg‘s wedding

picture-51

A visit from Christina

a_c

A mountain climbing vacation…

mt-sneffels3

… with these dear boys

hg

Brook & Cara’s wedding

c_b

A Gretchen Peters show

picture-21

A visit from Josh & Meredith

j_m

Sarah’s college graduation

sarah

A Sugarland concert

sugarland

And, of course, being present in the moment, whatever it is that I’m doing.  Right?  Right.

Steady on.

I am done apologizing

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

-For being introverted.
-For scheduling things months in advance.
-For being task-focused.
-For hating going out to breakfast.
-For loving “The Climb.”
-For not liking every person I meet.
-For not doing music right now.
-For not being able to pronounce “entrepreneur.”
-For hating the summertime.
-For using so many washcloths.
-For not liking dance parties.
-For not being “sweet.”
-For not being a phone person.
-For changing my mind sometimes.
-For not having a “career goal.”
-For wanting to have babies.
-For preferring order to spontaneity.
-For loving fiercely and loyally.
-For being honest.

Post-race, posthaste

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I’m alive!  I finished!  And I cut 9 minutes off my time from last year.  I’m glad that I did it, and glad that it’s over.  That just about sums it all up.

I will never be one of those people who loves to run, or who is super fast – but I have an able body and legs that work, and therefore, it’s a privilege to participate in something like a half-marathon.  A sometimes torturous privilege, but a privilege all the same.

Such a privilege that I will post a grody picture of myself.

race

Get ready, get set

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Have I mentioned that my half-marathon is tomorrow?

FREAKING!  OUT!  I am so nervous.

After all of my months of preparation, I’m in Nashville for the occasion.  I have Mile High lungs for the lowland race.  I have hundreds of miles of training put in.  And whereas last year, my only goal was to finish, this year, I have a time that I want to beat.  I don’t know if I can do it.  But I’m going to try.

Chances are that by the time you wake up tomorrow morning, I’ll already be done.  Bring it on.

My heroes

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Jo March
Belle
Tami Taylor

I think that’s probably it.

Our only comfort

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Last week, my sister-in-law lost her dad.  My nephews lost a grandpa.  And all of the Parsons lost a man who has been family for the past 9 years.

Today, Kent McElroy will be laid to rest in a cemetery in Missouri.  A few weeks ago, he chose his plot, and bought kites to be delivered after his death, asking that Jeremy and Ashley take Micah and Tyler to fly them next to his grave.  He knew that he was leaving.  If he could have willed himself to stay, he would have – but cancer does not honor our will, our wishes, our fight.

It is cruel.  It is callous.  And in its aftermath, it tempts me to be the same.

But Kent was the opposite.  He was generous, and positive, and selfless.  In the face of terminal, inoperable cancer, his heart was continually for God, and for others.  He touched so many in his 56 years – and never so many as in his last one.

I was in Kansas City last week to say goodbye.  It’s so hard to see death up close – painful, and terribly sad.  But it’s also an enormous privilege to be invited into that precious time.  I will never forget it.

Hearts are broken today.  They will be for a long, long time – and maybe forever, because I don’t know that we ever “get over” the loss of a loved one.  I think of my sweet sister-in-law Ashley, and how the mountains of her heart have slid into the sea – how nothing will ever be the same again, how nothing COULD ever be the same again.

But, as the Heidelberg Catechism says, my only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.  I believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Cor. 5:8).  And even when I can’t see it or feel it, I have faith – and faith, no matter how small, is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

kent

Life and books and such

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Wow.

Ever since last Monday’s blog, you have returned day after day, expecting to see something new posted.

But NO.  Here a crotch, there a crotch, everywhere a crotch, crotch – day after day after day.

My most sincere apologies for the assault on your eyes for an entire week.  Last Monday night brought some sudden news that took me out of town for the rest of the week – I’m sure that I’ll unpack some of that in the coming days.

In the meantime, spring has DONE SPRUNG here in Denver.  I returned on Saturday to trees in full bloom and 70 degrees of sunshiny weather.  I don’t have to wear a coat anymore, and I am sneezing like the dickens (whatever that means).  I would be tempted to get outside and do some more hiking, but I’m home just long enough to repack my bags and fly to Nashville tomorrow night for two weeks.  I have a half-marathon to run on Saturday, and will spend some time working from the Nashville office.

Let’s talk about books.  After several false starts, I am finally reading “The Poisonwood Bible.”  Any recommendations for summer reading?  You’d better believe I’ll be reading “Beatrice and Virgil” – I can’t wait.

If you haven’t read these, I suggest:
Plainsong
The History of Love
Water for Elephants
Peace Like a River

Up to my crotch

Monday, April 12th, 2010

“At least it will make a good blog,” I laughed.

“What will you title it?” he asked.

I thought for a second, but really, there was only one choice: “‘Up to my crotch,’ of course.”

– – – – – – – –

See, what happened is… I have a friend named Bennett.  He and I knew each other when we lived in Seattle, but in the last few years, had totally fallen out of touch – until I ran into him at a church here in Denver last month.  I didn’t know he lived here, he didn’t know I lived here – there was hugging and exclaiming.

Yesterday, Bennett and I went hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.  He is rugged and outdoorsy and works at REI, so he is a good person to follow into the wilderness.  The first two miles of the trail were snowy, but we only sunk in to our ankles or so.  It was promising to be a doable 8 miler.

But then.

“Look at that mountain,” Bennett said.  “We could climb it.”

I followed his stare to a 12,000 foot peak.  “THAT?” I asked.  “THAT is not on the path.”  A planner to the extreme, I have a hard time deviating from any original goal.  THAT mountain was not a part of my Sunday ambition.

“It wouldn’t take that long.  We could be at the top in an hour,” he said.  Bennett knows these things.  He cuts his own trails all the time.  He drives a 4-Runner and has a dog.  He owns, like, FIVE backpacks.  Plus, he is very tall.

And I, thirsty for adventure and a well-deserved beer at the end of the day, found myself saying, “Okay!”

We left the path, and began to cut our own across a snowy field.  Bennett went first, and I followed literally in his footsteps, stretching to place my foot where his had been by matching his very long stride.  “How tall are you?” I asked.  “6’3″,” he answered.  I grunted.

The snow got deeper and deeper, and suddenly, with one step, Bennett’s foot sunk and his entire leg was submerged.  The snow had to be at least 4 feet deep, and the sun had softened it just enough that it would no longer hold our weight.

Disaster?  Turn back now?  Not when you have a MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB.

I followed Bennett for two hours, one step at a time, across the snowy terrain and precisely in his footsteps – meaning that I was bending my knees up to hip-level, only to plunge my feet down into holes made by Bennett’s very long legs.  Sometimes, the holes were so deep that my foot would not reach the bottom, and I would be stuck, UP TO MY CROTCH, in snow.  And then, with both legs floating in holes so deep that I had no solid ground beneath my feet, immobile and helpless, I would call for Bennett – and he would come back and pluck me out of the ground.

Like a carrot.

We did not make it to the top of the mountain.  But our 4-hour adventure did result in me writing a blog featuring the ugliest word in the world – twice.

rmnp

Swifty

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

You can take the girl out of Nashville, but you can’t take the stage-side-at-the-Taylor-Swift-show-and-THIS-IS-SO-AWESOME out of the girl.

Jenn and I had tickets for the uppermost balcony last night, literally behind the stage.  But my most excellent friend Kelli (SHOUT OUT) back in Nashville pulled some strings, and all of a sudden, a man was tapping us on the shoulder and giving us wrist bands and we were… well, we were this close:

cimg2284

She was bedazzled, to say the least.

This week has been full of some very fun surprises – things I haven’t tried for or asked for or even imagined might happen.  It’s kind of comical, actually.  But surprise is an important element of a good story – and these days, I’m liking mine.

I mean, I wish I knew where this story was headed… but that would ruin the surprise, now, wouldn’t it?

I’ll be me and you be you.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

In this life of trying to figure out who we are, when it comes down to it, we all just wind up being ourselves.

Rather than finding this discouraging, today, I find it freeing.