Connect with Scripture

Friends,

My church has begun a read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, and we’re blogging about it every weekday. We include links to the day’s passages at BibleGateway.com, and you are welcome to read along, view the day’s commentary (by church members – just laypeople like you and me, plus the pastor once every couple of weeks) and even leave a comment sharing your thoughts, asking a question or issuing a challenge.

It has been rewarding to participate in this community-building exercise, and doing it together keeps us accountable to reading the Bible each day. And can’t we all use a little bit of encouragement in that area every once in a while?

If your interest is piqued, click on Connect+Scripture to join us. I believe you will be inspired.

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Nanny saves the day

After The Great Pepper Turtleneck Misadventure of Thursday morning (see previous post), my mother took pity on my tiny pooch and finally bought her an XS sweater (she had been telling me that Pepper’s XXS sweater was too small, but I disagreed – still do).

Mom went shopping in Jonesboro yesterday and came home with matching sweaters for the girls. Salsa is a cold-weather dog and wouldn’t wear one if we put it on her, so Mom’s going to return it. She will have to make do with the nice bouncy ball that Mom brought her.

Thanks, Nanny.

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Woof … woof … woof …

You cannot imagine how guilty I feel.

Five minutes ago, this was going to be a different post. Similar (less blurry) picture but different words.

I had been e-mailing an old friend with whom I had lost touch – in fact, I was writing about the Spice Dogs because he had written to me about his dog. Pepper had been talking to me for half an hour from the bedroom: woof … woof … woof.

Usually when she does that, there is no discernible reason. She just feels like woofing. You barely can hear it if you’re not in the room with her.

I had told my friend in the e-mail that Pepper was letting me know it was 30 minutes to breakfast. She usually dances around my chair when mealtime is that close, but this time she chose to communicate from the bed.

I kept saying, “Pepper, hush!” But she kept on. I finally went to look in on her, and she was lying there, chin down, just staring at me. Nothing appeared to be wrong, so I took a picture of her, told her to hush and came back to the computer.

When I uploaded the photo, I saw that it was blurry, so I went to take another one. She lifted her head, and I told her to get back in that “cute position” so I could take her picture in the cute little turtleneck I had bought her (size XXS) so she wouldn’t shiver so much when going outside to potty.

Then I saw her little paw sticking awkwardly out of the sweater.

Her left leg was hung in the collar of her little turtleneck. She had been woof-woofing because she couldn’t get off the bed!

Needless to say, the second photo went untaken. It took some maneuvering, but I got her tiny little leg back to the correct opening of her sweater.

The Spice Dogs got breakfast 10 minutes early today.

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How to win a race without really trying

This post was supposed to be titled “Fun run – an oxymoron,” but by the time I had wrestled the computer from Bruce, I had written it on paper and the story had evolved. Bottom line, though – 2011 has started off great!

Here’s the scenario: Someone in my household had signed up (without his housemate’s permission) to run the New Year’s Day Resolution/Prediction Less Than 4 Mile Fun Run/Walk (whew!) in downtown Batesville. After finding out, I eventually made my peace with it, because that someone just itches to run (he itches because he runs, too, but that’s a story for a Crohn’s-related post).

I went to take that someone to his less-than-4-mile race this morning, ran into some friends and, at their urging, ended up registering at the last minute. And I won the women’s division, as you can see by the above photo of the first running trophy I’ve ever won (and probably ever will)! John “The Penguin” Bingham, author of the two most recent books I’ve read (No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running and Training for Mortals: A Runner’s Logbook and Source of Inspiration) would be so proud!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Stay up hours past your bedtime the night before, not to watch the ball drop in Times Square but because A&E is showing a New Year’s Eve marathon of a TV show you’ve recently become obsessed with.

2. Eat two pieces of cold pizza for breakfast, washed down with diet Coke, about an hour after consuming a mammoth cup of coffee.

3. Wear clothing you normally would do your walking in, but not an athletically appropriate undergarment suitable for the type of bouncing a “full-figured” woman does while running.

4. Don’t take the race seriously because:

a) There’s no registration fee.

b) You weren’t planning to enter in the first place.

c) Success is based not on how quickly you can complete it but on how good you are at guessing ahead of time how quickly you can complete it. (You’re not allowed to wear a watch during the run, because the whole point is to make your prediction before the race and hope you know your own pace; in fact, the race director said he would have the cops beat you up if you wore a watch. He was kidding. I think.)

d) They call it a “fun run.” (The precise meaning of fun run is a story for another day.)

5. Drive your housemate to the race with the intention of either:

a) Reading the book you stashed in your purse “just in case there’s no one to talk to while I wait for him to finish” or

b) Walking/jogging around the block a few times to get your day’s exercise in, just in case there’s no one to talk to …

6. Let some  friends you run into before the race talk you into registering 10 minutes before the start time.

7. Hurriedly fill out the form and make a wild guess at your finishing time because, frankly, you haven’t been wearing your stopwatch during the get-back-in-shape walk/runs you’ve been doing the past six weeks. Or even really paying attention to the exact distance you’ve been walking/running because you weren’t planning to get serious about it until the new year.

8. Don’t stretch, warm up (unless you count going back inside the heated building) or do anything remotely racelike ahead of time.

9. Spend the entire 3.75 walking/jogging/bouncing miles writing the inevitable blog post in your head (isn’t everything in life a potential blog post?), telling yourself things like “Don’t forget to mention the two dead cats in the gutter on Water Street” and “Wouldn’t it be funny if I actually won this thing?” (the thought that occurs right after this one, as you’re struggling to make it up the course’s most heinous hill: “Hey, there’s Mom’s street. I bet she’s up by now. I could just cut across here, go into her warm house, use the bathroom and maybe have a cup of hot tea. Then I could cut back over to the race course and finish up”).

10. Tell yourself that you must make it clear in your blog that you would never seriously entertain the thought expressed in #9 – that it was just a fleeting lapse in judgment, something to joke about later. Yes, folks will get a chuckle out of that!

11. Run significantly faster and longer (more jogging than walking) than you have run these past six weeks because:

a) In your haste to register (and predict your time), you probably were a little too confident in your abilities. Fifty minutes for nearly 4 miles? At this early stage in your training? Are you kidding me?

b) You at least want to finish before those last two ladies bringing up the rear, one of whom foolishly passed you early on, before you got your head out of the clouds and got down to business.

12. When waiting for the winners to be announced, tell yourself you were only joking when you said it would be really funny to win (what you meant is that it would be really great to win), but, after all, this is just a “fun run” and at least you finished before those last two ladies.

13. And finally, in shock, go up and accept your trophy for predicting better than any of the other women how fast you could do this.

How fast? Not very. But my 50:17.3 was only 17.3 seconds off, much closer than the second-place woman’s prediction. And we don’t even remember her name, do we?

Sign up for your own race at White River Road Runners. See ya there!

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