May 23, 2016

Losing My Keys

I graduated last week. I went through all the pomp and circumstance, wearing heavy polyester robes and a weird hat. It was actually pretty fun minus the itchy clothing.

After graduation I stopped by my office to pack up. Everything fit into a single cardboard box. I don't know if it's the minimalist in me or the fact that I've only been on campus once a week since Zianne was born {and not at all this year, obviously}, but I did not keep much in my work space. A few pictures of my family, a few paintings from friends, a lamp, some pens, and some plastic utensils for eating lunch. That's pretty much it. I always knew that whatever I brought in, I'd someday have to carry out in 100 degree heat.

Thankfully, it was only 90 degrees the day I moved out. But I was wearing high heels, so you win some, you lose some. I locked my office door for the last time and made my way up to the offices on the 6th floor. I handed an administrator my keys, made my way down the elevator, and walked out of my building, possibly forever. I felt a touch of nostalgia as I left. As I was cleaning out my desk, I had come across some student papers from my very first semester teaching at ASU back in 2010. I remember that first group of students fondly and often wonder what they are doing now. 

But then I noticed how light my keychain felt in my hand. It might seem silly, but it was a significant difference. I had dropped off two decently large metal keys and the physical weight missing was noticeable. It was like my keychain could sense the freedom I felt upon graduating. No more dissertation. No more exams. No more night classes. No more juggling teaching at two different institutions at same time.

I know I'll add more keys to my keychain next year, probably literally and figuratively. I'll have a new, bigger office, and I'll have to fill the shelves with books and frames. I know I will take on new responsibilities and, before I know it, my calendar will be full.

But not yet. For the first time in six years, I don't have to spend my summer reading or writing or grading. I'm going to spend my days reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to my girls, baking cookies, going to the splash pad, and blogging for fun. I know the fall will be full and busy, but right now I've got a bounce in my step because my keychain is light.

May 21, 2016

Saturday Snippets

An interesting perspective on cremation...

This feels like a splurge, but this might be the best bedding for Zianne's big girl bed...

What does the prosperity gospel mean in the face of cancer?

This kid could pay his own college tuition...

50 books kids should read before age 12 (Zianne's favorite and one of my favorites)...

Items you should definitely be buying at Costco...

A new app to keep kids safe online without being a helicopter parent...

These picnic blankets are genius...

Loving this rose gold watch and this fun ring...

Can Christian women be strong?

May 19, 2016

Talitha Joy {eleven months}

Growing // I have no idea how much she weighs. Some days she feels heavy (like maybe 23 or 24 pounds?) but on other days I think of how much smaller she is compared to Z at this age and she seems as light as a feather.

Eating // T dropped a mid-day feeding, so she now eats in the morning, before her afternoon nap around 2 or 3pm, and at night. I feel both sad and relieved that nursing will be over soon.

Wearing // Holding steady in 18 month clothes and size 4 diapers.

Doing // Scooting along furniture, standing with just one hand perched on the wall to keep her steady, opening drawers and cabinets, waving "night night" when she goes to bed, throwing her paci back into her crib on command when she gets up from her naps.

Loving // Listening to music in the car, swimming, baths, pulling all the books off her shelf (but never reading them), hitting toys together to make a tapping beat, climbing on sissy's toddler potty (yuck!)

Loathing // Why does she still hate having her diaper changed so much? I'll never know...

**Read other monthly updates here.

May 18, 2016

Breaking the Rules {My New Job}

Moving to California was the wrong decision, they said.

You should never relocate while still on the job market, they said.

You must be willing to move ANYWHERE, they said.

I started my PhD program six years ago knowing the job market would be rough when I finally earned my degree. People would ask me all the time, "What do you want to do when you get done?" "I want to be a professor," I always replied, in spite of the fact that professor opportunities are very limited. The job market in higher ed has been rather dismal for the past decade or more. Tenure track jobs are becoming outdated. Online schools are growing. Universities are hiring part-time workers instead of full-time professors because of budget cuts and the increasing costs of employee benefits. As a country, we have produced too many scholars with advanced degrees in a struggling economy that doesn't have jobs for its most educated workers.

These were the truths I faced as I ran the marathon of graduate school... so much hard work with no guarantee of a job once I crossed the finished line. However, I felt like I was supposed to get my PhD and I trusted God to take care of me once I finished. He gave me the desire to teach college long ago, and I believed He could bring that dream to fruition.

These are the rules of grad school if you want to stand a chance of getting a job when you're done:
  • Join many committees. Spend many hours on campus doing service, even if it infringes on your ability to get your own work done.
  • Be the director of something. Gain experience doing administrative work, tutoring in the writing center, or specialize in teaching second language writers. You stand no chance of getting a job without these experiences.
  • Get published. If you don't have at least one journal article by the time you graduate, you might as well not apply for jobs. If you learned one thing in school, it should have been the phrase "publish or perish."
  • If you are a woman, NEVER have children. They will drag you down. You will never get tenure. You will make less money. You will get behind in research. You will suffer the wrath and prejudice of the patriarchy.... FOREVER. Babies will ruin you.
  • And, finally, never, ever think you can picky about where you get a job. If you have an opportunity in Wyoming, you go. Nebraska? Hope you like corn. Northern Minnesota... buy boots and a parka and pack your bags. One professor told us you can say "no" to five states. You can pick five states where you refuse to apply for jobs, but you have to be willing to go to ANY of the other 45 states. Period.

Here is how I broke the rules:
  • For my first three years of grad school, I served on one committee per year. I think service is important, but I didn't want grad school to take over my life. I was newly married and wanted to invest in my husband. I was committed to our local church and wanted to serve there as well. I was blogging and growing a thriving online community. There was no way I was going to overfill my plate with volunteer work at school and suffer in other areas of my life. During my third year of grad school, I co-hosted an awesome interdisciplinary conference right after I found out I was pregnant with Zianne. The conference was phenomenal, and I learned so much about planning academic events that I will apply in my future career. But then I resigned from service for the rest of grad school and mostly stayed home writing my dissertation and raising my babies.
  • I was the director of... nothing. I never worked in the writing center. I never took an administrative role during grad school. Would I have excelled at these things? Probably. I am gifted in administration, organization, and communication... but I just didn't have time. I watched my peers take on these roles, usually classmates that were unmarried and had no kids. I applaud their work, but I knew these positions were not for me. As job advertisements came out this year, probably 80% of them asked for administrative experience of which I had none. I applied anyway and trusted the Lord.
  • I still don't have a peer-reviewed article. I have published a couple things... a book review and chapter in a trade book, but I don't have the holy grail of all academic work... a single authored article in a top-ranked scholarly journal. Some might consider this an utter failure on my part.
  • I am the crazy woman who had not one, but TWO, babies while in grad school. Women having children in PhD programs is uncommon, but I knew a couple women my age at ASU who had one child. But intentionally having a second child before I was done with my program? I am sure people thought I was insane for ruining my chances of a career when they saw my huge pregnant body waddling around campus.
  • And then we moved. In October, at the start of my last year of graduate school, Micah had a job opportunity in Southern California and we went. It was totally wrong. Since my chances of getting a job were so slim, we should have waited until I graduated and then moved ANYWHERE in the U.S. if a school offered me a position. Micah should have put his own career aspirations on hold to accommodate my need for a job. Under no circumstances should we commit ourselves to a new geographic location where Micah would likely need to stay for at least the next 2-3 years That would limit my job search to a 50 mile radius which was basically academic career suicide. But we packed our U-haul for Orange County right as all the jobs were opening up for next school year. As we settled into our new California home, I would get job alerts daily... Washington, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee. They all sounded like fun places to live, but now they no longer made sense for our family.  

But when God is control, you don't always have to follow the "rules" to which society pledges its allegiance: 
  • I didn't get to serve a whole lot at ASU, but I look forward to taking on more service projects in my new job, especially as my kids get older and I have more flexibility in my schedule. I especially love that at Vanguard, I get to invest in the hearts of my students and hope that my ministry experience at church and in YoungLife over the past two decades will help me point students toward Christ.
  • I didn't gain a lot of administrative experience at ASU, but now I get to direct the writing center and use my leadership, communication, and organization skills in a new way. I am so excited to grow this campus resource.
  • The day after I found out I got the job at Vanguard, I also found out I am getting a book chapter published. This is my first true academic publication and will be a huge step toward earning tenure at my new school. Vanguard has a small research requirement, which is perfect for me, as I want to focus on teaching without completing disregarding the scholarship I've been working on for the past three years.
  • All of the professors I've met at Vanguard seem to have amazing work/life balance. Most of them are home with their families on Fridays and in the late afternoons. One of the other English professors is also a mom and she leaves campus in time to catch her sons' hockey games on weekdays. There is a precedent on campus that families are important, and I look forward to spending ample time with my girls while thriving in my career.
  • Vanguard is TEN MINUTES away from Micah's work. We will move soon and there is a good possibility that neither of us will have to get on the freeway to go to work. You know all the horrible Southern California traffic you hear about? Well, we might not even see it because God knows how to break the rules.

May 17, 2016

When God Writes the Story {My New Job}

"What's the highest degree you can get?" I asked my mom.

"It's called a PhD," she replied. "It's kind of like being a doctor, but instead of having patients, you're a doctor of books."

"That's what I want to be then," I said. "A doctor of books."

I vaguely remember this conversation. I was probably eight or nine years old, and I had just learned that you could go to school again after college. This possibility was intriguing to me. I loved reading and writing, so going to school for extra years sounded like an amazing idea.

This idea of getting my PhD lurked in the back of my mind for the rest of my youth. When I checked out books about colleges from the library in 8th grade, I thought about my PhD. When I went to a college fair my junior year, I thought about grad school. I lost sight of my PhD a bit as I delved into journalism during high school and considered a career as a news writer or editor, but by my sophomore year of college I had switched my degree from journalism to English and began contemplating graduate school once again. As I watched my English professors talk excitedly in class about poetry and novels and politics and the history of kings and queens and priests, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a professor. I wanted to read books and grade essays and mentor students and stand in front of the classroom each day passionate about teaching and writing and learning.

I taught high school English for five years after college. I loved it. It's one of my favorite things I have ever done, and I acquired a wealth of experience about students and learning and different cultures and worldviews from my time in various high school classrooms. But I always knew it wasn't my forever job. I always knew I would eventually get my PhD and teach college like I had always dreamed of doing.

And now that time has come...

I am thrilled to announce I will be starting as an Assistant Professor of English at Vanguard University in August.

This is the job I've always dreamed of. It actually exceeds my dreams. It's so perfect for me, for our family, for this season of life that I can honestly say it's only by the Lord's favor and sovereign plan that I have this job.

It all started when I was two years old. You think I'm exaggerating here, but I'm not. The Lord started writing this story for my life in 1985 when my mom was searching for a preschool for me. She chose a new preschool in town called Cedar Park. It met at a church near our house, and I excitedly started attending two days a week. The following year the school was quickly expanding, so it moved to the back of a mall. {This is not important to the story; I just want to note that my school met in a mall for one year.} Eventually, the school moved to its permanent location in Bothell, Washington and I attended there until 3rd grade when we moved to a different town. My time at Cedar Park was transformational for me. It's where I realized I loved school and excelled in academics, but most importantly, it's where I met Jesus. My parents talked about God at home and I had a good understanding of the Bible at a very young age, but it wasn't until Miss Sitki, my pre-kindergarten teacher at Cedar Park, shared the gospel one day in class that the truth of Jesus' redemptive work on the cross began to sink into my heart. I went home that day, hid my five-year old self behind the sofa because I somehow understood the gravity and reverence of my choice, and I asked Jesus to save me from my sins.

Twenty years later, I had recently moved back to Washington after spending six years in Texas for college and my first teaching job. Micah and I were dating and, although I was anxious to attend graduate school and start working on my PhD, the timing still wasn't right. Instead, I needed a job to pay the bills. My sister had just started teaching kindergarten at our old school, Cedar Park, so I decided to apply to teach English at the high school. I got the job and loved it.

Two years later, Micah and I got married and moved to Arizona, so I could finally attend graduate school. I knew my job prospects would be slim once I got done with my PhD, as professor jobs are increasingly competitive and hard to find, but I pressed on toward my goal, trusting that God had a plan. When the opportunity arose for Micah to take a job in Orange County this past fall, it made no sense. I was excited about the idea of a new adventure, but all the jobs for this coming academic year were starting to come out {open positions in academia get posted about 6-12 months in advance}. I saw jobs that might be a perfect fit for me in Florida and North Carolina and Tennessee, but we were headed to California and Micah needed to commit to his new position for the next few years.

At least, if I was going to be "stuck" somewhere, Southern California is filled with colleges and universities. Maybe, just maybe, God could provide an opportunity for me here. I began applying for jobs as far north as L.A. and as far south as San Diego. I analyzed commute times, as I sent off applications to universities more than 50 miles away from our house. Surely something would turn up.

Our very first week in California, before we had even found a place to live, I began scanning the employment pages of some of the private, Christian universities in Orange County. I loved my time teaching at ASU, a huge research university, but in the past year or two I had been feeling drawn to working in a private school again. I wanted an intimate campus where I would pass my students on the sidewalk in between classes and know the other faculty really well. We had been in California for about four days when I noticed Vanguard University was hiring adjunct faculty for the spring semester. On a whim, I decided to apply. Most of the time, it's not beneficial to take an adjunct job at an institution where you might want a full-time job. Once you've labeled yourself as an "adjunct" it's hard to lose the title. But I thought that maybe a smaller school with a Christian mission might not play by the same rules. Maybe if I could get my foot in the door and show them that I am an excellent teacher who cares about my students minds and hearts, I could apply for a full-time position if it were to open up. I told them in my interview for the professor position that I took the adjunct job "strategically and prayerfully." I saw that the English department only had three full-time faculty and none of them specialized in writing. With nearly 2,000 students on campus it seemed apparent they might need more faculty in the English Department, especially someone with my background in rhetoric and composition. I skimmed the list of other adjuncts and none of them had their PhD. If a position opened up, I would be the only internal candidate qualified for the role. I also learned that Vanguard is an Assemblies of God School, just like Cedar Park where I had attended as a student and had worked back in Seattle. I mentioned the connection in my cover letter and submitted my application.

As soon as the department chair emailed me back about the adjunct job, I knew in my gut I was going to get it. I started teaching at Vanguard in January (two weeks before my dissertation defense - it was nuts), and within a few weeks the chair had offered me more adjunct classes for the fall. I was very candid with her and told her that I was actually seeking a full-time job. However, I was loving the Vanguard campus and students, so if any full-time faculty positions opened up, I asked her to please let me know. She emailed me back instantly. "Serendipitously," she said, she had just been conversing with the dean about adding a new faculty member. Ideally, it would be someone who specialized in writing. Within in a few weeks, the job had been posted and I worked diligently on my application materials.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Micah and I were still looking for a church in Orange County. We visited many during the fall, and for one reason or another they just weren't right for us. Now it was January and we still hadn't found a church home. It was discouraging, because we are the opposite of church-hoppers and just wanted to settle down. For some reason, I kept feeling a pull to return to a church called Encounter we had visited once in November. The first time we visited the church there had been a guest pastor preaching, and we had already visited another church we thought we might commit to, so there was no real pull to visit it again. However... I met the pastor's wife on our first Sunday. And she brought us dinner the VERY NEXT NIGHT. I explained to her that we were in the middle of a crazy move from Arizona to California and she quickly replied, "You need dinner. I am bringing you dinner tomorrow night." Her kindness was amazing. So when January rolled around, and we still didn't have a church, I kept suggesting to Micah that we try Encounter one more time. We did and instantly realized it was the church for us.

We got to know our pastor Jason and his wife Julie well from the start, and learned that he had attended Vanguard for college. Before planting Encounter, he had worked as a youth pastor for years at a nearby church under the leadership of a senior pastor named Mike... who had recently resigned as head pastor to become the president of Vanguard. At the time these seemed like mildly interesting connections, but a few weeks later the full-time job opened up. I told Pastor Jason at church the following Sunday and he instantly put his hand on my shoulder and prayed that I would get the job. After he said "Amen," he said, "The president of Vanguard is preaching for me here in three weeks. You'll get to meet him." So three weeks later, Micah and I dressed up a little extra for church {ha!} and I conveniently got to meet the president of Vanguard face to face a two weeks before my scheduled interview with him. By this time, I knew I was a finalist for the professor job and he had just read over my application materials when I met him.

Two weeks later, I was sitting in the president's office in the midst of my on-campus interview day. Since we had already met, we fell into conversation easily and I asked about his daughter who lives in Seattle. I told him about my teaching experience at Cedar Park, and he looked at me and exclaimed "No way! That's where my grandson goes to school."

Five days later, the provost called me at 8am to tell me I got the job! I am thrilled. It's everything I ever wanted in a professor position... I will teach three classes a semester and run the campus writing center. I should have a reasonable work schedule and be able to spend a lot of quality time with my own children. I will be able to share the gospel with my students and disciple them to know the Lord more deeply. And my university is ten minutes away from Micah's work. Ten minutes. We will move this summer or fall and both of us will live so close to work we won't even have to get on the (dreaded) freeway.

I laugh now that I was contemplating jobs in L.A. and San Diego, considering a 90 minute commute and tracking rush hour traffic on my phone to see where we should live if my work was 50 miles away. I should have known God had something better in store for me. He knew all along that He had prepared this job for me. When my mom was enrolling me in preschool, He knew. When I took a job at Cedar Park while longing to go to graduate school, He knew. When we moved to Orange County on whim for Micah's job, He knew.

Vanguard University, I'll see you in the fall. God knew in August of 1985 where I would be working in August 2016. His story is better than any I could ever write.

May 14, 2016

Saturday Snippets

Who you might meet in a strip club {I agree with almost everything except the last line}...

Why it might be okay to still shop at Target...

However, what Christians really need to consider in the transgender bathroom debate...

An interesting look into wealth and poverty in America...

How to talk to bereaved mothers...

Zianne is excited for scissors school this summer...

If you are a hipster in need of a new desk...

The novel I just finished...

Love this story about embryo adoption...

May 10, 2016

Mean Girls

No, not the Lindsay Lohan move. I wish. Then I could laugh about it...

I have two mean girls living in my very own house. Their names are Zianne and Talitha, and they are my daughters.

We are nearly a year into this parenting-two-children gig and many days it feels like our girls haven't bonded at all. I hear other moms talk about how sweet it is to watch their kids become best friends, how their older child protects and nurtures the younger, and I cannot even fathom those images in my mind.

In our house, we have hitting, kicking, pushing, choke holds, and the occasional toy launched at another's head. Typically, Zianne is being aggressive toward her baby sister, working out some lingering anxiety toward this human that usurped her from the only-child throne. But to give Talitha some credit, she knows how to fight back. She's not even 11 months old, yet she can wrestle with the best of 'em.

It's gotten to the point where Micah gets home from work, hugs Zianne, then scoops Talitha up and takes her upstairs with him while he changes out of his work clothes, all so I can get dinner on the table without the interruption of a trip to the ER. Micah and I talk about the issue soberly at night after the girls are in bed. "We can't even leave them in the same room together for two minutes..."

My sister and I were extremely close growing up. We rarely fought {at least in comparison to other childhood stories I've heard from friends} and we are still the best of friends to this day. My hope is that Zianne and Talitha will have a similar relationship.

Right now that feels nearly impossible...

But then God gave me a dose of hope in an Instagram photo. A fellow blogger friend posted a picture of her two sons jumping on a trampoline, exclaiming that, FINALLY, they are becoming the best of friends. For her family, it took 18 long months. Other moms shared their stories in the comments, about how it also took a year or two for their children to become friends or how they are still praying their way through the "mean" stage. The dialogue lifted my spirits a bit. My children are not the only ones who are mean. I am not the only mom waiting for the friend stage to start. Thank you, Lord, for a bit of grace in my Instagram feed.

Until the long-awaited friendship begins, I will celebrate the little moments where my mean girls seem to have a bond. They started sharing a room a few months ago, and they are both still in cribs, across the room from each other. When they wake up in the morning they usually stand and laugh and bounce together until I come in to get them. This fully-caged, can't-touch-each other playtime is a beautiful glimmer of hope that my mean girls are actually best friends in the making...

May 5, 2016

How {NOT} to run a half marathon

I woke up feeling shaky, clammy, and anxious.

I guess the fact that I woke up at all was a miracle. After a night of restless wakefulness, I think I finally drifted off minutes before my 4:30am alarm. I heard it go off and wondered, "Should I just get up now or try to sleep until the 5am alarm?" In desperation, I chose the latter. Surely, you can't run a half marathon on zero hours of sleep...

At 5:35am, I woke up, sweaty and frantic. I never heard the second alarm. I stumbled to the bathroom. The race was starting at 6:15am. My house was a half an hour away. I couldn't really do the math in my incoherent state but I knew it was bad. I had less than an hour to get ready, choke down breakfast, and fly down the toll roads to an unfamiliar part of the town where the race festivities were already underway. At that exact moment I should have been starting to warm up by the starting line and instead I was fumbling in the medicine cabinet to find drops for my red, dry eyes.

Thankfully, in the midst of my insomnia, I had already put on my running clothes around 3am. That saved me a minute or two. I brushed my teeth and shoved shoes on my feet, before racing downstairs for breakfast.

The day before I had planned out my pre-race food perfectly... a bagel with peanut butter, a sliced banana with yogurt and granola, my normal morning coffee, and a protein bar to eat in the car on way there. I grabbed the bagel from the pantry and sliced it in half with hands still shaking. Although I didn't really have time, I made my normal coffee because it seemed insane to run a race on one hour of sleep with no caffeine. I forgot all my other food and ran out the door, coffee grounds and bread crumbs strewn all over the counter in the midst of sleeping pill wrappers from the previous night...

Ever since we moved to California in October, I have not been sleeping well. As the time for my dissertation defense drew near in late January, I began to regularly struggle with insomnia at least once or twice a week, often not falling asleep until 2 or 3am. Two nights before my defense I didn't sleep at ALL. I was supposed to drive to Arizona the next day and ended up taking a flight because I couldn't fathom driving six hours through the desert on zero hours of sleep. Now that my dissertation is finished, you would think I would sleep better, but that hasn't been the case so far. If I'm in a high stress situation, I anxiously lie awake in bed counting down the very few hours of sleep I am going to get. Knowing I might struggle with insomnia the night before the race, I bought some sleeping aids for the very first time. Three sleeping pills and two Melatonin later, I was lying awake in the middle of the night with a stomach ache.

Now I was on my way to the half marathon wondering if it was even worth it to go. The fact that I had paid $120 for the race was at war against my disappointment that I might not PR like I wanted to. I had trained so hard for this race. 12 weeks of running 3, 4, 5, 6 miles on weekdays, hauling the girls to the gym or squeezing in a run right after work. 12 weeks of long weekend runs. 7 miles around the neighborhood, 12 miles by the beach on the windiest Saturday in history. I was so ready...

until I wasn't.

I thankfully found good parking and rushed to the starting line, stuffing energy blocks and gum into my running belt as I went. Everything felt off. My body. My mind. My game plan. Friends of mine were running the race too, but they had taken off in the first corral ages ago. I was now crammed in the 2:45 pace group and my entire vision for how I would run the race was crumbling before my eyes. I took off at the starting line and broke away from the pack. I accidentally ran an 8:20 first mile (oops) and then tried to settle into my pace. By a mile and a half, I caught up to the 2:30 pacers, but as my stomach churned from those stupid sleeping pills and exhaustion overwhelmed me, I considered quitting. We were close enough to my car still that I could just walk back and go home. I knew if I ran much further I would be so far away from my vehicle that I would have to finish the race no matter how slow or painful. I caught a glimpse of a cheesy slogan on the back of another runner's shirt. I'm pretty sure it said "Quitting is not an option." I pressed on.

Because I ran my first mile so fast I actually didn't lose sight of my ideal pace (2:10 finish) until around mile 10. My splits were slower than they should have been, but when I reached ten miles I still thought I might be able to pull it off. Then I hit the big hill at mile 11 and slowed down just a bit too much. Overall, it was actually a decent race. I just used up the adrenaline I needed to PR simply by running on so little sleep.

I ended up running a 2:14, just four minutes shy of my goal. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I ended up doing both. I crossed the finish line feeling like a robot and mindlessly filled up my bag with Gatorade, bananas, and energy bars, not wanting to eat any of it. I got a free massage and then walked to the shuttles, alone and exhausted.

When I finally made it back to my car and my phone, Micah called. When I answered, his voice was a mix of worry, surprise, and relief. He was home with the girls and had awoken to my pill wrappers all over the counter. He was about to go looking for me. I broke down in tears for a minute or two, devastated that I hadn't accomplished the goal for which I had worked so hard. He piled the girls in the car and met me at my favorite coffee shop. As I drove, I tried to console myself. On the one hand, it had been a rough morning and not at all what I had pictured when I started training for the race back in February. On the other hand, I ran over 13 miles after, basically, being up all night. If they were giving out medals for running on the least sleep, I probably would have won that division...

***I'm sure I will laugh even more about this incident later in life, but right now it's bittersweet. I'm thankful the Lord humbled me by making me miss a goal I was so sure I could achieve. I'm also thankful He sustained me to run a race when I felt so needy and ill-equipped. I'm sure there are a million things I could learn from my sleepless half-marathon, but the main one is this: "But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, 'God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

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