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Athens Classic Marathon Completed!
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We are finishers! 🙂 Brian and I completed the Athens Classic Marathon!

Brian and I returned home from our amazing anniversary vacation in November.   It will truly go down as some of the best experiences of our lives!

One of the highlights was running the Athens Classic Marathon while praying for 28 couples.  We had committed to pray for 28 couples while we ran, see previous post, and this turned out to be so much more meaningful than we ever could have imagined!  I wrote the couple names on our bibs, upside down, so that we could read them while running.  As each mile began we would look to see whose mile it was and then spend several minutes praying for this couple out loud while we ran.

As we prayed, these marriages and families would flash before our minds.  The Lord would bring thoughts to our minds of things we knew were in their lives that needed prayer: job pressures, heart connections with their kids, finances, good in-law relations, having date nights, recent car theft, being in ministry together and so much more.  If we did not know the couple as well we knew things to pray for all marriages!  There started to be repeated themes that we would pray for each couple: unconditional love, purposeful pursuit, faithfulness and deep heart connections between the couple and between them and their children.  We were both surprised how this activity brought us to tears repeatedly!  It was a holy moment that we were honored to have, and greatly inspiring to us!

As far as the actual run, well it was slow and it was painful but this run was not about reaching a personal record or impressing anyone with our time!  It was about being together, running together in prayer and finishing together!

I love running marathons!  This is our third and with each one the Lord has taught me something new.  Athens was no different!

Moments after completing the marathon we recorded this video to say thanks to our 28 couples:

 

 

 

 

Marriage Marathon (Celebrating 20 years!)

San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon

One week from today Brian and I will be headed to Greece!  On November 10th we will be running the Athens Classic Marathon!

This summer we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  We are blessed beyond words by the Lord’s gift of marriage and we like to celebrate that 🙂  Fifteen years ago we started a tradition to take an anniversary trip every five years.  We have celebrated our “fives” in Colorado, Alaska and St Thomas.  Three years ago we started the adventure of long distance running.  Since that time we have run two half marathons and two full marathons (San Antonio & Pittsburgh pictured here).  We thought it would be awesome to combine these two things and run a marathon during our 20th anniversary celebration.  We chose Athens, Greece and the site of the first original marathon!

We would like to invite other married couples to “join” us on our run and celebration.  While running on Nov 10th we plan to pray for a different married couple each mile.  That would be 26 couples!  We desire to pray the Lord’s blessing on these couples and give thanks for the blessing He has given to us.  Would you and your spouse like to be one of our 26?  We would love to have you join us in this way!

Here is what to do:

1. Send us word “Add us to your marathon prayer list!”  You can do so through a comment on the blog, on FaceBook, on twitter or on Instagram.

2. If you have a special mile number you would like us to pray for you and your spouse on, be sure to include that info.  Maybe your anniversary is on the 10th so you would like us to pray for you on mile 10…  We will try to honor your mile request!

3. On November 10th post a picture of your wedding day on Facebook, twitter or Instagram and tell one thing you love about marriage.  Be sure to tag us in someway so we can see your post.

May the Lord bless marriage and keep those anniversary celebrations coming! 🙂
Pittsburg Marathon

The Power of Accountability & Friendship!
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In the last 12 years there has been one constant tool the Lord has used in my life to bring growth in my spiritual walk…friendship and accountability!

Twelve years ago I started meeting with a small group of ladies for accountability, not Bible study, but accountability and prayer.  Each week we openly shared with each other how we were doing in our walks with the Lord.

Each week we answered the following questions using the acronym SOAP:

Scripture (How have I done with reading God’s Word in the last week, what am I learning?)

Outreach (How am I doing loving on others and reaching out to them?)

Accountability (What area of my life do I need to be asked about, where am I struggling, or where do I need a gentle push to get something I know needs to be done…done?)

Prayer (What do I need prayer for?)

It would be impossible for me to describe how much this faithful meeting impacted my life and spiritual walk.  Having to share with others how I am doing every seven days really helped me develop some life habits I had been longing to develop.   I work well with accountability!  I don’t mean the in-your-face discouraging accountability but the cheerleader you-can-do-it kind.  I don’t need someone to beat me up, I need someone to say “Mandy, you can do this and you need to.  I am going to ask you about it again next week.  Oh, and I love you.”

Another acronym that I have used are the M’s: Master, Marriage, Mothering and Ministry.

Master (How am I in my walk with the Lord, my master?  How are my daily times with Him?)

Marriage (This is a question focused on me as a wife.  What and how am I growing as a wife?  This is NOT a time for me to gripe about my husband, there never is a time for that!  What areas of wifeliness do I want to work on?)

Mothering (How is my relationship with my kids?  Are there things I need encouragement to do in relating to them and taking care of their needs?)

Ministry (How am I reaching out to others?  Where am I using my god given gifts to bring him glory?)

Let me state this clearly: For me kind accountability from friends who I know love and support me has been life changing!


A little over a year ago I heard about Hello Mornings, an online accountability challenge for women.  Knowing the value of accountability I wanted to know more.  Hello Mornings is a gathering place for women who long to be consistent in their seeking of the Lord, planning their days purposefully and exercising.  The challenge runs for 15 weeks.  Through different social media avenues or email a group of ladies work to encourage and hold each other accountable to spend time with the Lord daily, to plan out their days and to exercise.

I am on my second session of Hello Mornings, and it has been encouraging and helpful in setting patterns in my life.  The two groups I have been a part of have functioned using a private Facebook group.  On the group page ladies check in and give an account of how they are doing, some do so daily, others weekly.  There is honesty in those posts and encouragement in the comments, it is great!

Accountability can come in many forms.  If you have not given this a try, I would ask “why not?”…it is well worth it!

Marathon Update – One Step in Front of the Other…over, and over, and over!
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There are only two major runs left for Brian and I in our marathon training, 18 miles and 20 miles.  Our training program has us running three times a week with one run being a long distance.  Some weeks we scale back to give our bodies a rest and our long runs are not a “new” mileage but a maintaining mileage.  We have those two long distances yet to reach before our longest run the marathon itself.Marathon Training

I find myself pretty excited!  I can see the end goal and I know it will be here before we know it!

One of the things I love most about running is doing it with Brian!  What a joy to have a hobby we both enjoy!  This hobby was mine first and Brian joined in.  I was rather encouraged when I thought back on this and realized it.  There are many hobbies that we do together that originated with his interests, camping and hiking to name two.  But running was something I did and Brian decided to join me in.  That makes me smile!  I am thankful to be married to someone who enjoys hanging out with me and investigating my interests.

As we put one foot in front of the other for each long run we have had a few interesting experiences!  Running in Lancaster county brings it’s own sights, sounds and smells!  Around here they fertilize with manure.  One run had us passing an Amish farm while the farmer was spreading this liquid manure!  It was even on the road and we had to run around it.  All I could think was run faster, get past this guy before you get sprayed!  We have been threatened by dogs, one got a kick in the jaw from my husband as he defended me!  But my favorite thing by far is just the running conversations.  When you hit the road for mile after mile and it is just the two of us for a couple of hours it is a good time to talk a little! You must realize we can’t talk the entire time, if so our pace would be too slow.  But talking comes in spurts and it is good.

So I am thankful!  Thankful for the gift of being able to run.  Thankful for the gift of a great running partner, and thankful for the feeling of anticipated accomplishment as the end is drawing near. Before we know it we will be standing with the crowd of runners at the beginning of the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 6th! The video below gets me so excited for the day!

Mandy’s Monday – Resolutions Review
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In 2010 we set a goal as a family to each read 20 books. I learned a great deal from the books I read as well as the process of trying to reach this goal. I will reveal right up from that I did not accomplish 20 books 🙁 I love to read, I have said that many times, and I loved reaching for this goal but just fell short. I read more books than I would have with out the goal. It pushed me to continue reading and therefore it is a goal I am going to set once again in 2011!

Below is a listing of the books I read in 2010. I will not be listing them in order for one main reason, I lost my list two different times this year and had to recreate it both times. There is a good chance I forgot a few books and I know I did not remember them in order!

1. Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson
2. Stomping Out The Darkness by Neil T. Anderson
3. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
4. When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
5. Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
6. Emma by Jane Austin
7. Mansfield Park by Jane Austin
8. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin
9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (why not throw it in there one more time!)
10. Jesus, 90 Days With the One and Only by Beth Moore
11. The Poor Will Be Glad by Peter Greer & Phil Smith
12. Helping Your Kids Deal with Anger, Fear, and Sadness by H. Norman Wright
13. Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton & Tim Keown
14. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (still finishing this one with the kids)

I really believe there are a few books I forgot about, that I read in the beginning months of 2010 and were lost from memory when I lost my list. It is amazing how long ago January 2010 feels from today!

This coming year as I set a 20 book goal once again I decided to add a layer to the resolution. I desire to read at least one book from each of the following categories: marriage, parenting, classics (Jane Austin does not count…I have now read all of hers), NY current best seller list, spiritual walk, and theology. I look forward to reading and blogging in response!

Now to reveal a few of my new resolutions:
1. I have fallen in love with my slow cooker! Therefore, this year I will use my slow cooker at least once a week, with the exception of the summer time. During the summer I use the grill all the time…and love it completely!! I found a blog with great slow cooker recipes, A Year of Slow Cooking. Be sure to check it out if you do not already know about it.
2. Run a second marathon with a new PR! I can not say enough about how much I loved running the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon in November. It was such an encouragement to me in many ways.
3. Attack the basement…AARRGGG!! For years I have wanted to do something drastic down there, just too many things are down there that need to be given away or thrown out…too much clutter.
4. Do a Bible Study with Addie and Emma. They are at a wonderful age and I want to take full advantage of the opportunity to disciple my daughters!
5. In 2010 I started a twitter journal of sorts for God’s love. I began in Genesis and as I read through the Bible I noted where I saw God’s love. I tweet each of these and am currently in I Samuel. In 2011 I plan to continue with this #God’sLove twitter journal.
6. In a restatement: I will work to read 20 books this year with at least one from each of the above stated categories.
and lastly:
7. I want to be faithful to post a blog for each of the Monday’s in 2011! (I missed one last week, but I am OK with that.) Hopefully, there will be 51 Mandy’s Mondays at the close of 2011. Writing is enjoyable for me, so this goal is for me to force myself to take the time to do so!

I am looking forward to a new year, the old has gone the new has come!

Tuesday’s Tunes
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One of the things that has been very powerful in my life through the years is music.  I think that is mostly universal for people, and we all resonate with certain types of music.  I love all types of music, but the words are important to the experience that I have as well as they style of music.

So here is a place that I want to share some of the songs that have impacted me through the years and currently.

This summer we loaded the family up in the suburban to take our long Oklahoma/Texas/Georgia tour, as we were leaving town we stopped at our traditional first stop, Starbucks!  Mandy went in to get the drinks and I stayed back with the kids…then this song struck me at the heart

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0f5g18EbG4

I bought it on my iPhone right there while waiting on Mandy, and it quickly became one of those “our song” types of songs between Mandy and I.  His advice for making it in marriage is right on!  We could use this stuff in the premarital counseling we’ve done…

“Be a best friend,
tell the truth,
overuse ‘I love you’
go to work, do your best
don’t outsmart your common sense,
never let your prayin’ knees get lazy,
and love like CRAAAZY!”

“Always treat your woman like a lady,
never get to old to call her baby,
never let your prayin’ knees get lazy,
and love like CRAAAAZY!”

Now, That’ll Preach!
May the Lord grant us 58+ years together.

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