Strength and beauty — Washington DC (April 2014)

"Tough times don’t last but tough people do." —A. C. Green*

Close friends are the family you choose.  The friends who mail letters and make you fall off a chair {literally} laughing. The friends who would/do drop everything to be there, no questions asked.  The friends who are *always* up for adventure — big or small — even being the best/worst/best partner {hypothetically} on The Amazing Race.  The friends who inspire you with their strength, loyalty, empathy, and love.

*Today’s MilePost quote resonated deeply.  Tonight, especially, counting every gift…particularly, family by birth, by choice, and by love.

My mantra through much of my marathon training so far as been “I run this body.” This is a saying, coined by Dorothy Beal, I found while looking for good running blogs to follow (mile-posts.com). Ever since seeing those words I knew I wanted the shirt. Lucky me, they just came back on the market!

Aside from the shirt though, I think this is a powerful mantra whether you’re a runner or not. You’re in control of every decision that you make. No one puts the cake in your mouth and chews it for you. No one downs that last shot and then makes you to drive. No one ties you up to stop you from getting in your run today. Besides you. You run your body. I run my body. So let’s do this. 

Any ministry is a stewardship from God. Think of it: God has entrusted you to take care of something that matters deeply to Him. Does He have to minister through fallible human beings? Only because He chooses to. And to know He chose you to tend His church should bring a heightened sense of responsibility to handle it with due care.

Telephoto view southward from the I-17 rest area at milepost 296 toward the Verde Valley of Arizona. The view shows the northbound and southbound lanes of the highway as they climb into the mountains out of the Verde Valley.  It wasn’t terribly hot that day, and not awfully windy, so the image is pretty clear.  Temperatures in the Verde Valley were in the 90s (F).  Photo by Levon76.

Lessons From The Last Time Civilization Collapsed

Consider this, if you would: a network of far-flung, powerful, high-tech civilizations closely tied by trade and diplomatic embassies; an accelerating threat of climate change and its pressure on food production; a rising wave of displaced populations ready to sweep across and overwhelm developed nations.

Sound familiar?

While that laundry list of impending doom could be aimed at our era, it’s actually a description of the world 3,000 years ago. It is humanity’s first “global” dark age as described by archaeologist and George Washington University professor Eric H. Cline in his recent book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed.

1177 B.C. is, for Cline, a milepost. A thousand years before Rome or Christ or Buddha, there existed a powerful array of civilizations in the Near and Middle East that had risen to the height of their glory. Then, fairly suddenly, the great web of interconnected civilizations imploded and disappeared.

The question that haunts Eric Cline is why. What drove such a complex set of societies to all perish almost all at once? The answers and its lesson, Cline argues, are a story we moderns should not ignore. When I asked him about the parallels between 1177 B.C. and A.D. 2014, Cline responded:

"The world of the Late Bronze Age and ours today have more similarities than one might expect, particularly in terms of relationships, both at the personal level and at the state level. Thus, they had marriages and divorces, embassies and embargoes, and so on. They also had problems with climate change and security at the international level. These are not necessarily unique to just them and us, but the combination of similar problems (climate change and drought, earthquakes, war, economic problems) at the very same time just might be unique to both."

Read more

Pit stop otw to Chelan. Good beer great friends. Dagger falls IPA, Sockeye Brewery | 6.8% 100 IBU | Honey orange in color. Light head with long lacing. Burst of resinous and citrus peel hops. Dry bread malt. Not much sweet. Dry finish with sticky linger. (at Milepost 111 Brewing Company)

Best of luck to our elite @sparklysoulinc ambassadors @mileposts who takes on the @runrocknroll marathon tomorrow and @nycrunningmama who is rocking the @philly_marathon tomorrow! We heart you ladies and have a SPARKLY awesome race! Xo #numberonefitnessheadband #fullelastic #headband #nonslip #mileposts #sparklysoulinc #nycrunningmama #sparklysouleliteambassadors

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End of Day 1 - Milepost 61, May 12

"I can’t believe I’m doing this.  Still feel pretty guilty about all that unfinished business I left at home, but now I have a new mission: survive.  And take pictures.  (I received that directive from Mother herself!)"

Memorable things about the day: 

  • There are birds everywhere: goldfinches, crows, hummingbirds, robins, blue jays, small fighting birds, nesting birds, vultures, you name it.
  • Gigantic storm clouds accompanied by peals of thunder coming from the west.  Managed to outrun or miss them entirely until the last 15 minutes of riding for the day.  This was followed by the moistest fog that didn’t go away until the following morning.
  • "My freehub is full of bees"
  • Went through my first tunnel for the trip.  It was a lot darker than I’d realized it’d be, even with good lights.
  • Hamstrings are tired, but still hanging on
  • Day one means attacking the hills as if you were racing, but without any of the speed, endurance, or reason to.  This includes blowing past three pairs of more heavily laden cyclotourists even though it might be nice to slow down and talk.
  • "I’m probably not saving enough firepower for tomorrow’s Apple Orchard Mtn. climb, but oh well."
  • "Yeah, I could totally ride twenty extra miles at the end of today." - Me, before I had even ridden twenty miles yet

This is a great article by a great blogger. Dorothy’s blog, mileposts.com, documents her running 27 marathons while juggling a family and loving it all. 

”It may not be pretty, it may not be fast, it may be hard, and it may only last a minute or two at first. But I promise you it’s all worth it.”

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