After the race, there was music and celebrating and, though it was only 4 miles, it was one of the better races I've run. :)
When you live in a 'walking city' like New York, weather determines almost everything - mood, plans, commute - and having such a lovely weekend really makes it hard to be patient for winter to be over. I happen to love the cold and, though most southerners don't because they're not used to it, that's precisely why I do. When I first moved here, I don't think I even owned a pair of gloves! To me, it's such fun getting bundled up and sharing warm comfort foods with friends. I definitely took advantage of the sun though to meet a friend for coffee, read outside for a while, meet more friends for some catching up and laughter...it just made me long for spring and summer to arrive where picnics in the park are the norm each weekend. I also cooked a really nice homemade tomato sauce that is one of my favorite simple 101 Cookbooks recipes, though I jazz it up a good bit:
(FYI, Italian turkey sausage is delicious and you hardly miss the fat. I use it all the time in Italian dishes.)
I also spent a good deal of my weekend in prayer. I feel like god is moving in distinct and powerful ways presently and urging me to truly release a great deal that I've struggled with. I've heard so many times in life about how god "speaks" and so on but I have never truly experienced that...until now. I'm finding that the more I begin to let go and "let god", the more he moves and the more I begin to see even tiny cracks in windows opening around me. I have come to physically know that I cannot do anything in my life without god. It is a highly personal and intimate thing for me and it is based on very deep reasoning due to certain experiences but it is something I know beyond the shadow of a doubt. At the same time, this sort of growth is nothing short of excruciating at times. Learning to close my eyes and just jump off the cliff is terrifying but it is also incredibly fulfilling. I started the year determined to begin fresh. With that, has come some deep confusion of the heart and some very raw pain but I cannot explain how incredible it is to embrace this season and to allow it to grow me. I spent so much time in prayer this weekend because I am humbled, grateful, sad, in pain, weary...but I am alive. I've never before been "called" to give up so much but I am following what I feel to be god's requests and I will obey, even though it hurts. I'm building my life on a foundation of stone, not sand as I have before, and it is so colorful and real for me. For the first time, I'm not afraid and I'm instead simply ecstatic about what and who god has to reveal to me in time.
You know, I write this blog more as a journal for myself than anything. I want something to look back on as each year goes by that shows me how I've changed, messed up, and grown. Over the weekend, my beautiful sister, Stacy, wrote to tell me that she feels inspired when she reads this. She feels inspired by my words. Reading her note was like pure validation that my greatest hope, for people to see god through me, is happening. Can you believe that? I wouldn't have before. But, I do now. That, my friends, is joy.