Sunday, July 25, 2010


Move us with compassion.

Have you ever thought about all the decisions you make in a day? Let's think about this..
Decisions to make in the morning:
--Regular or flavored coffee or for some Caribou, Starbucks or Dunn Brothers
--Toast or oatmeal
--Green shirt, blue shirt, pink shirt...

Have you ever thought about decisions that other people in the world make in a day? Let's take one woman in Africa...
--Blue shirt or blue shirt
--8 hour trip to get water or two 4 hour trips
--Bread or bread

There is a stark contrast between the two. I picked up the book "Hope in the Dark" this week with photography and reflections about Africa. The comparison above was in the book as well as many other striking photos and comments.

"In this world, God has given us the gift of choice. Injustice threatens to take it away. They can drink the filthy, bacteria ridden pond water or drink nothing. Clearly, that is no choice at all."

So how do we respond to the problems in Africa? What should we do?

This week I traveled to Atlanta to Proskuneo Worship Institute (PWI). Proskuneo's mission is to bring nations together in worship and PWI was an opportunity to create, practice, worship, learn, and spend time with the LORD. It was an amazing week. Here are a few reflections:

Discussion on Compassion:
Compassion means to have a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. The Biblical word compassion means to be moved in one's bowels. Take this passage:
Matthew 9
35Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

Do I have a heart like Jesus to move when I see people in distress? Do I respond with tenderness and hope? Do I want to relieve other people's pain? Do I see people as Jesus sees people? Am I gripped by what is happening in the world?

Sermon video by Crawford Loritts:
The church should be a noble place that represents the priorities of the Kingdom. Develop relationships with people who are not like you. Minister to those who are not like you and allow them to minister to you.

What are the Kingdom priorities? What does it mean for the church to be a noble place? How can I minister to those who aren't like me?

Theology of Worship Session:
No one sees humanity for what it is more than God.
When we truly encounter God, we will see a need and respond to it.

There are many needs. What needs should I respond to?

Kari and I are running this marathon in order to help meet a need for the kids in Africa. We want to help provide clean water for people there. We want to be compassionate towards them, and we want to pray for them. We see them as brothers and sisters in Christ. Will you join us in our efforts?

For more information about Proskuneo Ministries, visit their website:

For more information about the book:

Twenty-five years ago, AIDS was unknown in sub-Saharan Africa. Today it's overwhelmingly the continent's biggest killer. In Hope in the Dark, photojournalist Jeremy Cowart documents the hope and pain of Africa's AIDS generation - a generation beset by poverty and fear, a generation in which children in some countries are more likely to die of AIDS than not. But despite the sickening odds, Cowart captures brief glimpses of beauty, optimism and joy as he makes his way across the continent. Through this collection of startling, remarkable images, his lens uncovers not just the magnitude of the problem, but also the places where God is undeniably present in the midst of it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How many miles does it take?

If you follow Hal Higdons novice marathon plan, here is the number of miles a person will traverse in marathon training. It amounts to 242 "long" day miles, 108 miles of speed workouts, and 75 miles of hill workouts,(425 total miles) 36-40 hours of stretching and Pilates Reformer training to keep muscles healthy and 36-40 hours of cross training to activate non running muscles.

You can help the miles go by easier by helping us in our quest to help kids in Africa, please consider donating today :-)


Monday, July 19, 2010

Lovely Feet

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, and who bring good tidings"

When it comes to feet I am fairly ambivalent about mine. That is, until I lose a marathon toe nail. Then I have a certain pride because I know the struggle, work and triumph that brought this event about.

In the context of beautiful feet though, this hardly merits a mention. Beautiful feet bring good news. Dawn and I ran our first long run on Saturday. 16 hot, sweaty miles. There is little that can be done to keep your nutrition cold on a day like Saturday. So, at mile 11, we toasted each other with our sweaty, hot, water bottles, "for the children". We are running to hopefully bring just a little good news. I imagine the conversation in my house would go something like this.

"Mom, what are we doing today?"
"Well, we are not having dysentery and explosive diarrhea"
"Oh, that rocks?" "But what about the rest of the week?
"As far as I know, we aren't planning for any intestinal worms this week either."
"And, as far as the month goes, nobody in our family is going to die from water borne illnesses"
"So we can play, and go to school and help farm this week?"
"Yes, you can do all those things a kid should be able to do"

One bore hole in Africa can bring a lot of good news.

With every one of your donations, you are joining Dawn and I in growing beautiful feet. Please click the link and help us today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Phoenix, Arizona. One of the hottest places in the US. It's July 15th. Why visit Phoenix in July? My sister and brother-in-law live in central Phoenix and just had a baby girl, Tessa. She's adorable and I am not at all biased.

Yesterday I woke up and checked the temperature at 8 am. 98 degrees. I wanted to go for a run and thought well at least it's under 100. The high for the day was predicted to be 110 and today 115 degrees. The news had little blurbs about drinking enough water especially if you are out exercising. So I drank a few glasses of water and headed out the door. I told my sister that I would probably be back sooner than later.

It felt hot, but not horrible. In fact, I felt pretty good. Not many people were out exercising, just a few. I ran through the neighborhood and towards Camelback Mountain. I was hoping to do some speed work, so I decided if there was any shade, I would attempt to sprint for a block or so. I did, but of course there really wasn't that much shade. As I ran, the heat started to slow me down and the attempts to sprint ceased. Not a good day for speed work. After about 30 minutes, I jogged back to the house. All I wanted was a cold glass of water. I went inside, went to the cupboard, pulled out a glass, filled it with water, and drank it down. And then repeated the process. I wanted cold water, and I got it within a matter of seconds.

When I was living in the DR, I began to drink a lot of water. If I wouldn't, I would get really bad headaches. We would buy three botellons of water (like the Culligan bottles) about once a week and haul them up three flights of stairs. At first, I didn't really like changing the bottles because a third of the water would end up on me or on the counter as I changed it, but after some practice I got good at it. Drinking water wasn't just available in the faucet like many of us are used to. Neither was water always available for showering or for flushing the toilet. There would be times where we had to fill water into buckets for showering or go without a shower, or wait several hours for the water to come back on. After a three day hiking trip, all I wanted to do was to take a shower. But alas, the water was not on when we got back, so the shower had to wait. Another time the owner of our apartment building decided to shut all the water off in all the apartments so that everyone would come to a meeting. It worked. Most people showed up and after the meeting, the water was turned back on.

Water, no one can survive long without it.
Did you know:
884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
More people in the world have cell phones than access to a toilet.
n the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.
At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

(Information taken from

We use water numerous times each day. We all need it, but it doesn't seem fair that many people do not have access to it. If you would like to help, contact Kari or I. We run for Africa!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Puzzle Pieces

Porque estas corriendo con World Vision? Why am I running with World Vision?

I'm not very good at being still. In fact earlier this year, I had a running/skiing injury that forced me to wear a stylish boot on my foot and my friend's comment was: "Guess now you really have to just rest and be still." She was right. Being still caused me to be a bit more reflective. I didn't like it, but I do think that God wanted me to remember Him, rely on Him, and reflect on His faithfulness in all the events and details of my life including injury. Oddly enough, all the injuries I have had over the years have brought me to some low points, but afterwards have brought about change, growth, and a greater understanding and love for the Lord's hand in my life.
I see my life as a large puzzle with God putting together the pieces of a much greater and more beautiful picture than I could ever imagine or put together myself. Sharing some of these pieces might help to answer the question of why I am running the Twin Cities Marathon for World Vision and water for Africa.

Piece # 1: Missions and Africa
My sister always told me that she saw me living and teaching in Africa someday. I think mostly because she saw how much I love missions, cultures, and kids. I ended up in the Dominican Republic instead, but I still would like to go there someday.

Piece # 2: Orphans in Mexico
I still remember the first time I ever visited an orphanage. I was in California helping a church do their Bible school for the summer. One day we crossed the border to Tijuana, Mexico to a small pastel green orphanage (the color of choice for many buildings in Latin American countries). I don't remember too many details about that day, but I still have images of those kids in my mind and how happy they were to have people play with them. I really think you can't ever go to an orphanage and not be impacted by it. Those kids desperately want love and affection, and it breaks my heart knowing that there are many kids in this world who are not getting it.

Piece # 3 Orphans in Ukraine
While on a mission trip with a music group, we gave a concert at an orphanage in Ukraine. The room was packed with children from infants to teenagers. During the concert, the kids started dancing to the music. I noticed one little boy dancing his little heart out. He didn't understand the words, but it was obvious he loved the music. So we began to dance with him. I still remember the big smile on his face and his bear hug as we left that night. Kids need to dance, play and be loved wherever they are in the world.

Piece # 4 Dominican Republic
Aah the Dominican Republic. I could tell story upon story of living in that country, but I have several from visiting orphanages there. One year my home church in Iowa collected toys and I brought them to bring to the kids in the DR. My friend Bielka and I went to a poor barrio in Santiago and passed out toys to a line of kids. Those kids might of have had one toy or maybe they played baseball with a stick and a bottle cap, but they didn't have much. I have one picture of a cute little brown eyed boy with his new blue truck. Who knows if he had any other toys in his one or two room home. How many toys do some of the kids in the US have at home?

Piece # 5 Haiti
The streets are sandy and dirty. It's hot. There are few trees, many have been cut down. We walk through the neighborhood. There are some small tin homes, some concrete. We make a left turn towards what looks like a side street. As we walk, the street turns into a dead end. I follow my friend Brian as he descends down some concrete stairs. We keep descending and descending and descending into a community of Haitians living in this concrete village in the middle of Port Au Prince. Everywhere we turn there were people. Half dressed kids pass us and Haitians look at us oddly. I begin to feel very much out of place. We enter into one family's home, a small concrete room. It ia full of people. I'm not sure how many people live there. I wonder where these people got water, went to the bathroom or took a shower. Brian knows some Creole so he starts talking to the people. After a little while, we walk back to the Baptist missionary home we were staying at. We didn't say much as we walked. I keep thinking about what I had just seen and where these people were living. After the earthquake in Haiti, I thought about those people. I wondered how many of them had survived the earthquake, but also how many of them could survive living in their small concrete homes.

Piece # 6 Ethiopia connection
Two of my good friends from growing up adopted a son from Ethiopia a few years ago. I love listening to her stories of traveling to Ethiopia to pick him up and their adventures while they were there. He is a cute kid and I love watching them love him. This year at school I had two Ethiopian students in my class. One was just adopted from Ethiopia a little over a year ago. His younger brother was adopted several years ago and then last year my student was adopted by the same family. He wrote a story about his orphanage, when his brother was adopted and then when he was adopted and reunited with his brother. I cried when I read it and also when I read the story from his adopted parents' perspective. He is doing really well and has a great family. These kids are all getting the love that they need, but there are still many more orphans in Africa.

Why am I running for World Vision?
I am running for Africa--but mostly for the kids. I am running as I remember orphans and the poor around the world. I am running as a reminder that much of the world lives with very little and I have way too much. I am running because more than 2.7 billion people in the world have inadequate or nonexistent to proper sanitation. I am running knowing that when a child has good water it reduces his or her mortality rate by half. I am running because it only takes one person to make a difference in the life a child. I am running because I am a small part of a larger kingdom that God has designed to love and care for each other. I am running because of these 6 puzzle pieces that have helped transform my view of the world. I am running because I love kids, cultures, and missions. That's why I run for World Vision.

"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst,
but I the LORD will answer them." Isaiah 41:17-18

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Brownies for Breakfast

"It smells good in here" I announced as I walked in the house; a pleasant revision on, "what's that smell and where is the darn dog? " which is the normal refrain when I enter.

"I made brownies" my 13 year old piped in. "We didn't have anything else to eat in the house". With mom, dad and the 16 year old out for the night, the 13er was in charge.

"You had brownies for dinner?"

"Yep. But we didn't have any milk so it wasn't really like dinner, it was more like a snack."

My American Dietetic Association membership card just spontaneously combusted.

Why we didn't make soup or eggs or mac and cheese I have no idea. I imagine the conversation went something like this. I'm's not home....nothing to eat.....let's have brownies. What else are you going to use these eggs for?

I was still contemplating this logic as I grabbed my meal replacement brownie for breakfast and strolled out to the car in the pre dawn hours. The chocolate goodness worked it's magic as I barely noticed the small tidal wave of water that rolled out my car door and landed on my shoe. The windows were left open and of course it rained most of the night. Apparently it is easier to escape your pursuer when you can go in and out of the windows while playing car tag. Perhaps if you camoflauged yourself as a wet beach towel you’d fair even better, no one would ever find you in the back seat.

I love my children. They are going to make me prematurely gray and wrinkled, but I love em.

And I love that I’ve been given a great country and a good home in which to raise my kids. I love that I can go out and run and come home to brownies for lunch and a game of tag.

My life is simple, difficult at times, but simple.

There are a lot of moms around the world who do not share this luxury, so this time, they are why I run.

Please join me and my running buddy Dawn as we train and raise funds to help the moms and kids in Africa. You know how it works, I have generous friends J Please click the link.

(oh, and secretly join me in hoping to venture to Africa in the near future to visit the kids we are helping-but that’s just between you and me)