The Flock

Friday, June 6, 2014

He gives us help in our time of need

Alot has been going on.  I have run 3 races since the last weekend of April and all have gone well.

200 million flowers 5k for the Fatherless: 1st overall female 
      This race was super hot and also my first race in a while since I have been focusing on my training/base building.  I ran the first mile in 6:13 which was under my goal pace for the day.  Then, I saw that there was not another female in sight, and I just cruised into my tempo pace for the rest of the race.  Ever since my dehydration episode exactly 1 year ago from this race, I have erred on the side of caution in really hot races and workouts.  Thus, I was just racing to win, and it was a good workout. I seriously don't even know my time:)  Won $200, and we are so thankful to the Lord as we need this for some extra expenses this month.

Quite a few workouts and training were missed in the next 3 weeks due to tornadoes hitting Mississippi and having meetings and other functions during my usually running time.  I was not happy about this and even felt like I was stupid for trying to still do this when I do not have the time or the motivation.  Luckily, my Coach, Stephanie Bruce, gave me a pep talk and one thing that stood out was "you are still doing this because deep down you have a love and a desire for running and still want to see what you are capable of."  It's definitely true.

I am really praying that the Lord will help me to be able to wake up EARLY before so that I can run when there are no other distractions.  My first priority is to serve Christ and that means spending intimate time with Him in the morning through prayer and the Word and meditation on it that continues throughout the day. In addition to that, I desire to spend free time sharing His Gospel with the lost and teaching His Word by inviting people into our home weekly.  I would love to freely focus on these things after work while also being able to serve my husband and manage our home.  Thus, Early A.M. runs should be a must !!! And with this heat now, I should Want to ! I still need so much of the Lord's help though.  My flesh wants to stay in bed until time to leave for work and nap immediately after when I could be out sharing with others! Side note: Joy fills my heart when I find out runners (or any athletes) are Christians, especially pro runners with a huge opportunity to influence as many people follow and watch them.  I loved this Oiselle elite, Amanda Winslow's, latest blog on the priority of Jesus over her running career.

Greenville, MS Cotton Classic 10k: 1st American female
     It's always a good thing for American runners to note their place as an American when there are numerous Kenyans that are racing against you.  This race was a good tempo--wasn't ready to really race one yet--as I had one of my past male teammates pace me at 6:40 pace (humbling as my PR pace is 6:15).  It truly was enjoyable having him there and just running a steady tempo. This also was a confidence booster to ensure that I should be running my 3-5 mile tempo runs at atleast 6:25 pace, not 6:40.  I HATE tempo runs, but man do they help me get better.  Won $250 and once again the Lord provided this for a specific need.

Crayola Classic 5k: 1st overall female
   This race was last weekend and the first race in which I had stuck to my training plan and had zero sickness or other issues.  Praise God! I wanted to run about 6:20 even splits for this race, and I did just that.  AND.. other than the ab cramping, it felt easy and great!!! This definitely showed me that I can be back in 6:00 pace shape in the fall.  Won a $100 gift card to Stinky feet for some new shoes! It is that time where too much mileage is on my trainers, so I was incredibly thankful to have shoes provided for.

Racing Schedule coming up:
Stephanie has really helped me figure out my training schedule for the next year.  I am doing two Triathlon relays this summer with my former college coach and a past teammate/fave running partner.  These will be a fun way to get in a good tempo and enjoy the team atmosphere.  One of my legs is a 10k and the other is a 7 mile.  I am not really looking to PR in these since it will be super hot and humid, but I am wanting to see progress from my training and to see our team win!! Here are the possibilities coming up:

Half marathon in Aug. : Possibly Tupelo, MS

Another Half in Nov. or Dec. : Possibly Memphis, TN St. Jude or Meridian, MS

Another Half at the end of January : RnR Nola

*Hoping to PR and run sub 1:29 for one of these

Then, I will shift gears and develop more speed for a 5,000m PR of sub 18:30 on the track and a 5k & 10 road PR somehwhere in the spring to summer as well.

Here are my new favorite running shorts that I have EVER owned----from Oiselle
Black Mac Roga. These are perfect for racing and track workouts.  If you like to race in spandex but aren't too comfortable with the tight fit, then these are for you.

Fresh Green Distance Short. I am hoping to get these in brill blue and fast red as soon as my size is back in stock! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

She did what??!!

ALOT has gone on in the running world the last few weeks, and I need to update.

First, Kara signed with Oiselle!!!!! My husband is my witness that I called this one from the day she announced she was looking for a sponsor.  I have been following Oiselle for a year now with the anticipation to apply for the team.  Last year, when applications were available, I did not know enough about them, so I decided to wait.  However, after only a few months I knew I wanted to be a part of this unique group of running women.  Hopefully, I will have an opportunity to soon.

Back to Kara, I knew she would join Oiselle because I have heard Kara speak and have read many articles of how she wants to one day impact and lead a running group, and Oiselle is the perfect place for her to do that.  That was my opinion, and turns out she thought so, too.  

This is Kara signing my Nalgene bottle at RnRNola last year

This was an awful angle and lighting for a picture, and it was awfully humid outside, hence, the bad hair day.  I am so thankful for this though! 
I love hearing the athletes' interviews at the Expos.  I wish more people, mainly recreational runners who do not follow elites, were more aware of this when they come.  They would learn a lot. 

Kara Goucher also announced today that she has a sacral stress fracture. I am sad for her but also glad that she has a group like Oiselle behind her during this time.  She is not defined by how well she performs, and she will able to still be herself as she is involved with her teammates and her passion.

I am no Kara Goucher or Lauren Fleshman or Sally, but I have had some great weeks of running since I last updated you.  I am finally feeling like I am not in miserable/pathetic shape, so I am super motivated to really get to work now.  My coach, Stephanie Bruce, has had me at 50-55 miles per week for the last few months to ensure that I am consistently running and consistently without any nagging injuries.  While that seems like it's on the lower side of mileage, she has had me do up to 17 miles for my long runs.  This is a big change from the 10-12 I have always been consistent with, and I ran 60-64 mpw while doing those.  I think it will be fun when we start ramping up the overall mileage, and I think she hinted that that would be soon :)

Here's a look at some of my workouts without all of my training details.  I am finally hitting at familiar paces from college. However, I am not yet hitting the ones I hit during my PR season. That's some confidence, at least. 

3 sets of 300, 200, 100
3 x 2 mile
3,2,1,1,2,3 Fartlek
5-6 mile Tempo runs
10-12 100m on/off
2 sets of (3 min hill, 6 x 30 sec hill)
2 sets of 1000,800,600,400
8-10 400m with 90s rest

Also, we have implemented these form drills about twice a week.  I truly can feel a difference even if I look funny doing this in the neighborhood ( I get some looks ) ! And they feel good, too. These videos are from my coaches' You Tube channel called Running with the Bruces. Check them out: ( I love the music that goes with the moves :) )

Friday, March 28, 2014

Righteousness & Moon Cake

Anna, our Chinese friend, came over again last night. We have finished the gospel of John.  Praise the Lord.  Now we are starting Romans. Praise the Lord! The only chapter we studied last night was chapter 1 because of its depth.  Anna now understands what faith is, and she understands the basics of righteousness according to the Word. If you want to know the background of our friendship with Anna, click here.

Here are some things that Anna communicated:

  • She desires to "do good" and even wants to teach others to "do good" by teaching them the Bible.
  • She believes in the existence of Jesus--how He lived on Earth and how much He loves us.
  • She wants to learn from Christians and sees that they are different because they have the Holy Spirit.
  • She may believe that Jesus is "the Christian's God's Son", but she struggles to believe that this God is the God who created the Universe.
  • She knows many Chinese people that teach moral standards to live by, therefore, they know not to commit "unrighteous deeds". She understands that Christians only can be made righteous by faith in Jesus.  However, I do not think she likes this idea and chooses to believe that a society that educates well to produce morality in their people is good enough.
  • She says the Chinese Christians that she has met in China may not rightly divide the Word (She did not know she was quoting scripture..ha) because the Bible translation is in Old Chinese and not in Modern Chinese. She says it is not a good translation and prefers to read in English.  She also wants to help them to rightly divide it. 
How we can pray after knowing these things:

  • Pray that God will help her to understand that all of our righteous deeds are like filthy rags.
  • Pray that Jesus will be real to her as someone who is alive now, and not just a historical figure.   Pray that she will not just know that we believe that He now lives at God's right hand, but that this will be a reality of His living and reigning over us and the world.
  • Pray that God will give her the faith to believe in Him!
  • Pray that He will help her to desire the Holy Spirit that she sees as such a wonderful thing in Christians' lives. Pray that as she is used to us asking the Holy Spirit to help us as we read His Word and try to understand, that He will show her the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that she will see God as Creator as she looks on His creation--as she explores, takes walks, admires the spring flowers--she loves all of these things.
  • Pray that she will not see Christianity as an American cultural tradition, and that she will see that many all over the world have believed in Jesus---and that it is not because they adopted it from Americans.
  • Pray that God will show her the sin that is within her and that her good works cannot save her.  Pray that she will see the seriousness of sin.
  • Praise Him for giving her a desire to share what she has learned in His Word, to do good, and to help others.  Pray that He will continue to do this good work in her and transform her, save her.  Then, that she may teach His Word without falsely holding back the truth of His gospel because she will have believed ! 
  • Pray that God will help Chinese Christians rightly divide His Word, and He will provide a way to have a better translation published.
Just for Fun:

We were excited that they brought us some Chinese treats to try! 

 This is called a Moon Cake. That yellow thing in the middle, yea, it's an egg yolk--a dried candied yucky egg yolk.  The one on the right had more of spicy taste.  I thought Paige was going to vomit. ha.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Indwelling What???..

Shane and I ate dinner at our pastor and his wife's house last night. He encouraged us to think on indwelling sin and righteous anger vs. sinful anger while walking us through many scriptures.  So today, I am definitely thinking about it.....

Charles Spurgeon put it this way:
"When a man is saved by divine grace, he is not wholly cleansed from the corruption of his heart."

This makes so much sense because all of us Christians know that once we believe, it doesn't become easier, and we still have to deal with this "indwelling sin." 

Here are some more Spurgeon quotes that really helped me:

"Even the righteous have in them evil natures."

"In your best and happiest moments, sin dwells in you."

"The truly loving child of God, though he knows sin is there, hates that sin; it is a pain and misery to him, and he never makes the corruption of his heart as an excuse for the corruption of his life."

"When you desire to be most alive to God--you will generally find sin most alive to repel you. Sin exerts a checking power on every good thing."

"Indwelling sin makes the assault on us. I would not expect victory from one in which I am doing to the attacking."

"The evil nature is always evil. The new nature must always wrestle and fight with it. When they are not in conflict, they are still foes."

"Nothing shows blackness like exposure to light. If I would see the blackness of my own character, I must put it side by side with spotless purity."

"Self-sufficiency is Satan's net, wherein he catcheth men, like poor silly fish, and doth destroy them. Think yourselves nothing, for ye are nothing, and live by God's help."

For the full text click here.

John Piper says these things about indwelling sin from Rom. 7:14-25:

"Paul is not saying that Christians live in continual defeat, but that no Christian lives in continual victory over sin."

The normal way a healthy Christian should respond: 
1. I love the Law of God. Rom. 7:22
2. I hate what I just did. Rom. 7:15

"The Christian admits that there is in all of us Christians, as long as this fallen age lasts and we live on the earth, the reality of indwelling sin." Rom. 7:17,20

"Do not get off balance with either extreme to say there is no holiness necessary or that perfection is possible in this age."

Piper says that when dealing with indwelling sin, the question is not whether we are a Christian or not.  I have gone through times where I have read through the works of the flesh in Galatians 5 and thought surely I am not saved when I know through many assurances that I received the Holy Spirit when I believed many years ago.  Or... I have struggled with my attitude and failed time after time to think surely I am not saved because I cannot "do what I will to do" which is live for God as Paul says.  Instead, if we are born again Christians having received the Holy Spirit as our guarantee and deal with indwelling sin (and we will), according to Piper, the test is this:
"Do we love the law? Do we hate our failure? Do we cry out in dismay over our sinful condition? Do we look to Christ and His righteousness? Do we fly to the cross? Do we confess and repent and renounce Satan and set our faces to go forward with Jesus on the Calvary road?"

I believe there are 6 parts to John Piper's sermon on Rom. 7.  You can find them here.

Of course, Shane and I had a lot more personal encouragement and applications learned in fellowship with our pastor.  I hope this encourages you to think on this as well. How does it affect your personal relationship with Christ and your relationships with others?

Running through Sickness

I haven't talked about running in a while since I have been off and on with some sort of sickness lately:(  The rule of thumb is if it's the neck and above, you can still run.  If it's below the neck, you should probably take off.  I have had some of both, but this is how it has been going:

My endurance has definitely improved now that I am doing longer long runs than I ever have consistently.  When I say endurance, I mainly mean my legs are making it for more and more miles at one time.  My breathing is never a problem.  Cardiovascularly, I can run allllllll day.  My legs, however, get to a point where they cannot go any more.  I have seen major improvements in this in which where they normally wind down, they don't until a mile or two later. Also, we have added more speed to my workouts which I am very excited about.  I hate lacking speed! It's an awful feeling. Hopefully, this will keep improving as well. Here is what I have been doing lately when it comes down to long runs and workouts:

Long Run:  3 mile W/U. 5k Race. 8 mile Run.  Total: 14
15 min w.u. 3 sets of 300, 200, 100 @ 5k effort with 200 jog between reps, 2 mins between sets. 10 min c.d.
15 min w.u. 5-6 x mile @MP with 1 min rest 10 min c.d.
15 min w.u. 10-12 x 100m on, 100m off @5k effort 15 min c.d.
15 min w.u. 3 x 2 mile @MP effort with 3 mins rest 10 min c.d.
Long Run: 15 miles with the middle 4 miles at Tempo pace

For normal runs, I have been doing a set of drills and some strides. My coach Stephanie Bruce sent me their YouTube channel with some basic form drills. Here is the link if you would like to check it out:

As much as we try, our running form cannot be corrected each day when we run, no matter how much we are thinking about correcting that foot strike or having our body in alignment.  Form drills are what will correct our form over time.  I am really excited to implement these into my training a few times a week.  I have done a few of these in the past, but the ones that I think will really help, I have never done before.  I think my running form changes every season that I run, so I hope this will help me be more consistent in the proper way.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My favorite part of the week

One day out of the week is spent with one of my sisters in Christ and two Chinese friends that we have met.  I will say that their names are Anna and Joe for their safety, and I will not post any pictures of them.  Yes, I say that because there is still a lot of persecution against Christians in China.  Although there are churches that are allowed there, they are government controlled. If any Chinese person exercises their Christianity outside of it, it is illegal, and they will be severely punished.  Non-Chinese Christians who lead church gatherings outside of these government churches, and a Chinese citizen attends, then the leader may be punished. An example of a punishment consists of an arrest and possible torture in what is called a "tiger bench." Read more about persecution in China hereEven though they are free to study the Bible here in America, if it was found out once they returned to China, anything could happen.  If God graciously saves our friends before they return, we plan to teach them to hold fast, pray, study the Bible, and share His Truth with others no matter the cost...just as we do and all believers should.  However,  it must be done with wisdom, and in no way will I be guilty of leaking who they are.

Anyways, me and my friend, Paige, meet with Anna and sometimes Joe once a week.  Once my husband comes home from work, he, too, joins.  Paige and I met Anna one night at Mississippi College as she came to another of our friend's apartments for a night of girls' fellowship. We ate taco soup, talked about the Lord, and watched the Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot.  Watch here.  It's only 39 minutes.  After the movie, a group of us girls began talking with Anna and sharing the gospel.  She was so excited to learn and eager to hear.  By the end of the night, I figured out that she worked at a university near my home (She's a brain!).  I had already invited Paige to come over that next week, so we asked if she wanted to join if we picked her up when she got off work (she did not drive at the time).  She was so excited and gave us all of her contact information. We drove to the university, which is known for crime in a worse part of town then my home, not knowing where we were going, and as it was nearing dark, we finally picked her up.  She came running to the car! (Now I realize she runs--or shuffles with quick feet-- every where she goes, even inside the house) We had dinner and started teaching the gospel of John.  We simply go verse by verse, alternating readers, and pause when clarification is needed.  This is often (If you ever read John and go through how you would explain it--which we all should be able to through the Holy Spirit and need to to equip others--it's pretty weighty), but it is SO good because we have to explain the gospel over and over, every single detailed piece.  Anna left by saying, "We will do this every week." Ha. We love how assertive she is at times.  Of course, Paige and I agreed.  That was the first week of November, and we are still meeting every week! 

Neither Anna nor Joe are believers in Jesus.  They have shared with us many things that "their culture" believes.  It was confusing at first because Anna's excitement and eagerness to learn made it seem like she had believed.  Then she made it pretty clear one night.  I respect her so much that she will not be naive to believe something she has heard for the first time, and she is truly seeking God for the truth. She is like the Bereans who search the Scriptures daily to see if what we are teaching is true (Acts 17:11).  If I have never truly grasped how it is nothing of us but is the Lord who changes hearts and brings salvation, I do now.  It will be Him who works miraculously in her and draws her to Himself.  She truly is in the Word every day and hangs out with Christians multiple times a week.  We pray that during those times that He will reveal Himself to her and save her soul.  Our labor is not in vain as we pour our lives into her and love her (1Cor. 15:58).  His Word tells us that.  We plant the seed, and He grows it (1 Cor. 3:6).  Nothing is impossible with Him (Mark 10:27), and He can melt the heart of stone (Ezekiel 36:26).

Joe does not speak English as well as Anna.  I do not think he cares too much about learning the Bible either.  I think he just enjoys to come with Anna.  Praise the Lord though! He does listen and ask questions at times, but his heart is very hard and confused.  This is still not too difficult for our Almighty God though!

Some things that Anna has said that gives us hope:

"One day maybe my soul will be made alive, too."
"We say 'oh my God' in China." After explaining to her through Exodus 20 why we do not say this she said, "Ohhhh..... I will not do this anymore." She fears Him !
"You are the planters, and I am the one you are planting seeds into."
Paige: "Excited to see you tonight!" Anna: "Yes. I thank the Almighty God for bringing us together."
"Why did everyone want to kill Jesus? He was perfect."
When we gave her a new Bible she said, "Thank you! I can take this back with me to China."
"I realized the difference in romantic love and Christian love. I love you."

And man do we LOVE her, too! So much.

Those are just the main ones I can think of right now.  Paige, Shane, and I learn so much during this time as well.  There is nothing like being constantly reminded of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and teaching someone the Bible who has never heard it before is a rewarding and satisfying feeling. We labor to preach with internationals living in this area with the hope that God will save them.  Once they return to their own country, we pray that they may spread the gospel there, and He will multiply His church.  I praise God for her and Joe daily and beg for Him to save their souls. I pray that the Lord is preparing Paige, Shane, and me for the people we will invest our lives in in the future He has planned for us. Please join us in prayer for these things.

"And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, 'Those who have never been told of Him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.' "
                           Romans 15:20-21

Anna gave Shane and me each a Chinese Mandarin Duck Bookmark.  It represents love and happiness in our marriage. I need to post a picture of Paige's because hers is a little Chinese girl that is SO CUTE. Anna said it reminded her of Paige which if you know her--little, bubbly cute Paige--it is so true!

These are "rice sugar sesame seed balls" that Anna brought us for dessert. haha

They look like boiled eggs.

This is the inside. The outside texture is extremely mushy and has zero taste, but once you get to the middle, it tastes like peanut butter.  It was not bad, but I cannot say I would desire to eat another one. Ha. 

This is the Bible we gave Anna. It is the NKJV because she liked it more than the NIV that she had.  Even though she prefers to read the Bible in english, we still got the Bilingual Bible so she could have the opportunity to share it in China, Lord willing, if He saves her. We engraved her name at the bottom which she jumped up and down and screamed as she saw it.  She said, "It is Mine." It was very personal and precious to her:)

Joe's wife and son came to visit him from China for a few weeks, and she brought us these Chinese language books.  Anna says they are very easy. Nope. They are very much not! We will enjoy them though:)

Joe's wife also brought us this giraffe to share.  So sweet.  We gave it to one of our friends who loves giraffes AND just had a baby girl a month ago, so it was perfect. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Man's Burger: Avocado, egg, & onions too

The Man Burger

Whenever I think to make my husband a burger, I think of how to make it as big as possible and loaded with as much as possible. This is 80% 20% ground beef from Whole Foods, and he LOVED it! 

Ingredients: Servings for 1

Ground Beef (~1/4 lb)
1 Wheat Bun
BBQ sauce
olive oil
Grilled onions 
Avocado slices
American cheese slices
1 egg
soy sauce


Saute sliced onions in olive oil. Put aside when done.
Season patty with soy sauce and pepper with a sprinkle of salt.  Cook in skillet.
Toast wheat bun with cheese slices and onions on top so that they'll stick. 
Once you remove the bun, slice some avocado and place on bottom half.  
In another skillet, fry one egg. 
When patty is done, place on bottom bun and add BBQ sauce.
Place fried egg on top to complete the burger.