Within the past two years or so I've become "involved" with running. In high school I was a hurdler and sprinter--distance running (I considered an 800m run a distance race!) was not my thing. In the spring of 2008 I ran my first 5k, and this spring I completed my first half-marathon. As my husband and I drove through Eagle Canyon out at Lake McConaughy tonight to try to catch the sunset, I began thinking of running--but in a different way.

I've never really been very good at dealing with struggles. I don't like confrontation and usually run whenever a threat of it draws near. Recently Nate and I have experienced a type of struggle we'd never thought we would encounter--having children. You see, we've been trying to start a family for the past two years and well, have been unsuccessful. It's really hit me hard this year as we've been in and out of doctor's offices trying to figure out what's wrong and have helped friends and family welcome new little ones into the world. I've been doing a lot of digging around in the bible this year and have spent a lot of time talking with God trying to find some sort of solace and gather some wisdom into the situation. I am fairly certain that one reason God has dealt me this hand is so that I can relate to others who may be experiencing/have experienced/will experience something similar. And I can respect and even appreciate that. But...as I was processing this whole concept of running tonight, I began getting that feeling I get when I run from confrontation. It's a very unsettling feeling where my stomach does somersaults, my legs grow restless, and my mind begins racing. I don't think I've ever experienced an anxiety attack--but I imagine it's similar to what I felt tonight.

As I talked through this awful feeling with my husband he said, "Good luck running...I don't think you'll get very far from Him." This isn't a novel idea for me--I've tried running from inner confrontations before and I never get far before He brings me back. But I'm glad my husband reminded me of this simple truth--it's not going to be easy to resist my nature to run when trouble hits. I'll continue to struggle, but I believe that God sends struggles our way so that we will draw closer to Him*. I often think that when God comforts me to the point where I feel a little better, my troubles should vanish. But then another month goes by and the dilemmas still exist. If God took away our troubles simply when we felt better about our situation-we would only call on Him when we experience pain and not simply because we love Him. Nobody wants to be treated like this---I am very annoyed by people who only contact me when they need or want something.

I'm feeling a little better about my situation now but this doesn't mean God has taken away my issues. Though I desire to run from my struggles--I know I can't--He still has a lot to teach me and emotional baggage is not easily ditched. And like I said earlier---He has a habit of bringing His children back even those who are tempted to run from Him.

*"We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us" (Paul in his letter to the Corinthians-- 2 Corinthians 1:8-10).


Quiet mornings

This morning I woke up at 5:45...I couldn't even wake up this early during the last few weeks of school! I have to admit, I was a bit peaved when I rolled over and saw what time it was. However--I decided to take advantage of the extra hours to sneak in some reading. Last Christmas my parents bought us a cute little patio set with an umbrella (I'd take a photo to post here, but it's raining outside right now, so I packed it all up)--so, I took my breakfast and bible outside and enjoyed a much needed quiet time.

It's amazing how peaceful it was--the sky looked bruised as the clouds grew heavy with rain, and as I read there was a soft rolling thunder in the distance. It was a beautiful moment where I was reminded of God's power. I am always astounded by nature---it has this ability to really put life into perspective for me.


Southern Food Day

My English 9 classes just finished reading my favorite classic novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird." We only have a few days of school left, so we are watching the video the rest of this week. But to make things more exciting we had a southern food day to kick off the film. The book is filled with references to foods, so as we read we kept track of these and the kids could bring an item that was mentioned in the book or bring food that is southern in nature. Here are the different things we had today"
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Crawdads
  • Angel food cake
  • Corn bread
  • Apple butter
  • Molasses
  • Butter beans
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Lemonade
  • Sweet tea
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Salt water taffy
  • Squaw corn
  • Gumbo
  • Tea donuts
  • Pickled okra
  • Sweet pickles
  • Coca Cola
Overall it was a hit! I loved watching the kids try new things :)

These are the crawdads that a student brought....they were delicious!


Lincoln Half-Marathon

Two weeks ago Nate and I ran the Lincoln Half-Marathon. We started training for it pretty late in the game (7-8 weeks before) and ran into a few busy spots where we didn't get to run much during the week (the week of the musical and the week of the race I had the flu!)...nonetheless, we finished the race in 2 hours and 19 minutes! It actually was pretty fun---there were 8,000 runners and a great crowd cheering us on. Thanks Amy for taking these photos!

This was about mile 2...

Mile 6 or 7...starting to feel the burn---notice our smiles aren't as big as in mile 2!

At about mile 12 I started crying a bit partly because I realized I was so close to finishing a goal I never thought I'd achieve...but mostly I was crying because of the sheer pain I was feeling in my legs! We finished on the 50 yard line at Memorial Stadium...

These are the signs our nieces, Denelle and Alexis, and my sister in-law and mother in-law made for us...they cheered us on during the race.


This July Nate and I will be traveling to Chojnice, Poland with International Messengers/our church (New Hope) to help run a family camp where we will teach English using the Bible as our primary text.

We have never experienced an overseas missions trip before, so we see this as a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus with the people of Poland. In our training packets that IM sent us, they wrote that Poland has a population of 40,000,000 people but probably less than one-tenth of 1% have a personal relationship with Christ (Matthew 15:8-9). There are only about 80 missionaries in Poland (about 1 for every 500,000 people). Most people have never owned a Bible or read it.

Since we started dating Nate and I have always wanted to go on an overseas missions trip to serve God (Mark 16:15) but have not seriously considered it until this year. After some reading, praying and lots of late night conversations, we finally committed. It's exciting and scary all at the same time! Be watching for more posts about this exciting opportunity!

The end of a year...

I've been a terrible blogger this year! It's been a whirlwind of a year with me taking classes, teaching, coaching, directing the musical, etc. But....the end of the school year is 7 days away! Though I love my job, I am looking forward to summer.

I started thinking today about all the fun experiences I've had with students this year...this picture is of one of my 9th grade students holding Nate's stapler...covered in Jello! She is a fan of "The Office" just like us--and one day she came up to me and said, "So...do you think Mr. Helzer will be made if I put his stapler in Jello?" I of course told her to go ahead with her plan :)