Monday, September 3, 2012

Counting One Thousand Gifts ~ August {Triathlon Treats, etc}

Eight months of counting gifts now, and is it just me, or does this practice seem to make those months FLY right by? ZOOM, actually. I could hardly believe it when I saw the new September Joy Dare posted on Facebook.  Is it already time to print out another one? And because my friend Betsy and I were signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon in August, many of my gifts for the month center around it ~ with a really fun and out-of-the-blue one the day of the event.

Gifts centered around a triathlon?  Well, yes ~ even though it was one of the most challenging things I've ever done!  And even though the two days prior, I was so nervous ~ had non-stop butterflies.  And even in spite of the fact that I really don't have extra time to train for something like this, and that I began feeling completely overwhelmed with all of the tasks of homeschool, church, relationships, travel, and home beside this big one that wasn't even necessary!  I must be crazy ~ or just plain dumb as I've mentioned before.
But there was the gift of spending time with Betsy and laughing over our common craziness in braving the very cold water of our local pond twice a week.  And then gift of being healthy and able to exercise.  And the gift of very early morning and quiet bike rides through the very beautiful part of New England I live in ~ time to think and pray and worship. 

I did freak out a bit when I saw on the Facebook page for the Triathlon that there were only 80 people registered and that the time frame for the event was from 7:30am to 10:30am.  I even emailed the contact person to make sure I had not signed up for some elite-athlete-only event, because 80 people???  I was hoping to get lost in a sea of hundreds.  And only three hours to finish???  I knew it would take me at least three and a half.

They got right back to me and assured me this was an event for everyone from first-timers to seasoned triathletes and that the Facebook page was wrong about the times.  Each participant would have five hours to complete the course.  Whew!  Oh ~ and they expected to cap the registration at 150 people, so there would at least be a few more than 80. {But still really not enough of a crowd for my anonymity!}

It was a bit concerning, though, that when we arrived and they began to welcome us and give a few rules and announcements, two of the groups they gave a special welcome to were the Coast Guard Academy "guys" and the Yale cycling and/or triathlon teams.  Yep ~ college guys from the Coast Guard Academy and Yale.  Guess how many of them lapped me multiple times on the 25 mile bike ride which was a 6.25 mile loop repeated four times?  If your guess was ALL OF THEM, you'd be correct.  And they didn't smile and shout encouraging words as they passed either like the hundreds of women did for each other last summer at my all-women's sprint triathlon.  Nope.  They were serious competitors.

Do you see me crossing the finish line in that bottom right photo above? Did you notice that there is no one behind me?  Well, that's because not only did those college guys pass me up on the bike ride, but eventually everyone was out in front of me, and I came in last place with a time of 3 hours and 17 minutes. {Well, there was a woman WAY far behind me, but she was so far behind that I think they eventually pulled her from the course.} The funny thing is that that is a pretty good time for me!  I really thought I would be in the three and a half to four hour range.

The fun and out-of-the-blue gift happened as Betsy and I were arranging our things in the transition area.  She ran to the bathroom, and so Robert {the photographer/encourager} and I were just standing there waiting for things to get started. Ours were the only two bikes on our rack, until this man came along and asked if he could put his bike there, too. When he started arranging his things underneath for a smooth transition, I couldn't help but notice the t-shirt he prominently and proudly spread on a box top for easy access once he came in from his swim.
"I like your t-shirt," I said.

"Oh, thanks.  Never sure what kind of a reaction I might get because of that t-shirt," he replied, still wondering if I was sincere or not, and then started comparing it to the "Got Milk" t-shirts and campaign to make conversation.

"My girlfriend just texted me a verse ~ Philippians 4:13," he added to the conversation.

I didn't know it was a test, but I immediately began to quote it...

"I can do all things through Christ..." I said.

"Ok ~ NOW I know who I'm dealing with," he enthusiastically replied finally convinced we weren't mocking.

About that time, Betsy returned from the bathroom, and I pointed out his t-shirt to her.

When he saw me pointing I said, "I wanted to make sure my friend saw your t-shirt.  She's 'got Jesus' too."

At this point he stood up {he'd been working on his gear}, faced us, and stuck out his hand to shake ours...

"Well, I think it's time to meet my new brothers and sisters in Christ!" he exclaimed.

We enjoyed exchanging names, getting a little history on each other, and being in fellowship for a few moments before the race began.

And even though he's a guy {and a competitive-former-police-officer one, at that}, when he passed me on the bike portion of the race, I saw a smile and heard a kind and encouraging voice shout out...

"Keep up the good work!  Remember Philippians 4:13!"

And yet the Lord also provided all of these other August gifts, too:

1. Ferry Boat to Bustins Island, ME (white)
2. Cottages on the island (white)
3. Sauvignon Blanc to toast 20 years (white)
4. Eggs, toast, and fruit breakfast by Robert (eaten)
5. Gluten free soup and sandwich at Fresh Batch in Freeport, ME (eaten)
6. Grilled asparagus (eaten)
7. Reading on a foggy island day (10am)
8. Still fog, still reading (1pm)
9. Book finished! (10pm)
10. Devotions on the island cottage deck (sitting)
11. On a rock in the ocean with Robert (sitting)
12. Scrabble game and dark chocolate (sitting)
13. Seeing the sunset from an ocean kayak (outside)
14. Candlelit dinners (inside)
15. Olympic gymnastics! (upside down)
16. My kiddos floating and laughing (in water)
17. A pond/place to train for the triathlon (in water)
18. Cooling rain (in water)
19. "I am the bread of life..." (John 6)
20. "That My joy may be in you..." (John 15)
21. "Ask the Father for anything..." (John 16)
22. California wedding trip (in summer)
23. Cindy and Ben's wedding (in summer)
24. Backyard cookouts/Picnic table dinners (in summer)
25. Oceans and ponds for swimming (hole)
26. Farm fresh raspberries and veggies (whole)
27. Coconut Curry Rice from Fresh Side shared with Kayla (half)
28. Janet's life and death (hard eucharisteo)
29. Ministry and money (hard eucharisteo)
30. The pace of life (hard eucharisteo)
31. Anniversary bracelet (metal)
32. Old, but workable/ride-able road bike (metal)
33. Two good family vehicles (metal)
34. Wisdom and strength in Nicolette (half hidden)
35. The Lord's abundant grace to me (half hidden)
36. My kids' spiritual gifts (half hidden)
37. Lily pads on island pond (green)
38. Fresh mowed lawn (green)
39. California avocados (green)
40. Full circle phone conversations (in a ring)
41. Bike wheel fixed (in a curve)
42. Ripe summer tomatoes (in a sphere)
43. Health scares that give perspective (ugly-beautiful)
44. Dental appointments that reveal more serious health conditions (ugly-beautiful)
45. Parenting (ugly-beautiful)
46. A home and heritage (in family)
47. Memories hard and good (in family)
48. Comfort, laughing, and belonging (in family)
49. God's Word (in the morning)
50. Exercise/Running (in the morning)
51. Cups of hot black tea (in the morning)
52. Fresh picked raspberries (red)
53. 1 Kings & Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge (read)
54. 20th Anniversary Card (written)
55. Baby dedications (in church)
56. Laughter (in church)
57. The Gospel reiterated every Sunday (in church)
58. The good feeling of giving away/contributing (in serving)
59. The privilege of being used by God (in serving)
60. Joy in lifting the burdens of others (in serving)
61. First day of Classical Conversations Challenge 1 (straight)
62. Celebration cups of FroYo (curve)
63. Reconciled relationships (turn)
64. Teen homeschoolers filling my sunny backyard (in light)
65. Dinners at the picnic table (in light)
66. Lunch out with our Senior son (in light)
67. Etsy spice racks (old)
68. Funny photos found while cleaning/organizing (old)
69. Friendships (old)
70. Kayla running to prepare for 5K (moving)
71. Jayden (Kayla's dear friend who is moving!)
72. Church business and prayer meetings (moving)
73. Susan Branch tea pot (fragile)
74. My grandmother (fragile)
75. Pregnant mamas and new babies all around (fragile)
76. Sweet slices of watermelon and cantaloupe (cut)
77. Beginnings of reconciliation (sewn)
78. My lips in self-restraint (buttoned)
79. Eyelet top from TJ Maxx (new)
80. Running shoes for Cooper and Kayla (new)
81. Small groups for women (new)
82. Kory's senior year! (long awaited)
83. Annual trip to Maine (long awaited)
84.  Cindy's and Stu's weddings/marriages (long awaited)
85. A loving and faithful husband (one)
86. Challenge classes for Cooper and Kayla (two)
87. Strong, unique, and smart kids (three!)
88. A cyst that was not a "lump" (very small)
89. A believer's bike parked next to ours (very small)
90. Marigold and Bonk Breaker Bars (very small)
91. Chuck's heart valve issues found and repaired (miracles)
92. My church (miracles)
93. My salvation from a young age (miracle


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We're glad God sent you the Phil.4:13
reminder. Love you, K&J