Thursday, May 30, 2013

The 40 Year Trip

I'm a ranch kid. All my references for learning stuff has been from the viewpoint of agriculture. I also grew up in church. So the Bible stories or the lessons that I really understood where those that talked about planting or harvesting because that's what I knew and understood. But recently I've acquired a new viewpoint for things and it's running. (I know, back to a topic that I seem to write about a lot lately). 

I had an aha moment in church last week. I was at home and visiting my dad's church Grace Baptist in Prineville, Oregon. They have a new pastor and I was a little nervous about going to church on the 19th. Not because church makes me nervous; I grew up there and most of the people there I have known my entire life but to be honest, it was going to be a test as to whether I was going to continue to visit Dad's church in the future.  I was going to see what he was like because with his last pastor I didn't get anything from his sermons and to be honest I really would just read the Bible on my own while sitting there and not pay attention to what he was saying. 

So the sermon was great. I totally got and went with it and even got excited. I wanted to jump up and shout Amen! (not something I would ever do) and so badly wanted that to be a Bible Study where a conversation and other people's thoughts were shared because I got so much from that talk and to be completely honest, that's never happened in that church, for me, in my entire life. 

He sermon was on persevering and keep moving forward because change makes us uncomfortable and that with change and being uncomfortable we grow. He used the example of the Israelites and how they wandered in the desert for 40 years on a trip that really should have been a several day trip instead of a several decade trip. 

He pointed out that when we come to Christ as new Christians we have no ideas or notions as to what our faith will be like. We just do each step... baptism, joining the church, being involved. That it's easy to accept Christ and it's easy to be baptized and it's easy to to go to church but then the next few steps require a bit more commitment- tithing, teaching a class, share your faith with someone.

But just like the Israelites we need to keep moving forward, even when we want to turn around and go home to what we know is comfortable. They had to walk by faith. Imagine if they would have turned around and went back to Egypt in year 39. What they would have missed out on. And they have the privilege of seeing real miracles (hello- manna, cloud, burning flame, parting of the Red Sea)!  

Growth requires sacrifice. In your growth you will hit a wall. In your growth, sacrifice and inconveniences  God has a plan.  He has placed the steps in our lives to move forward and when we hit wall we need to rely less on ourselves and trust God. He has a plan. Keep moving forward. Check out Psalm 37:23.

So here was my aha moment. One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 4:7 it talks about finishing the race and keeping the faith.  And I think the Apostle Paul might have been a runner because he has a lot of verses that talk about it. Halfway through the sermon I realized my journey with running and training for races is just like my faith (go with me here). You start off with old shoes the first time you run because most likely you haven't learned that there are several types of shoes for different things. Then you take the next step and get new shoes and maybe a new tech shirt then you realize you need to get running shorts and it progresses to eventually you have a running app on your phone or a nice expensive gps watch. What I am saying is that just like growing and moving forward in your faith with small steps (new shoes, new shirt) eventually lead to bigger commitments (running apps, magazine subscriptions, gps watches).

Your 8x10 Crop Selection
Rock n Roll Half Marathon
Savanah, GA 2012
And just like your faith, in running sometimes you grow weary (training miles), your legs grow weak and sometimes you just want to quit or take the short cut home but if you persevere and stick it out the things that you learn about yourself and what you are capable of are incredible. Some may be able to understand the emotions you get when you cross the finish line at a 5k, a half marathon or even a full one. You've spent hours and miles training yourself for the race and you have challenges along the way in training but you also have them during the race. You get blisters and you might injure yourself and you might hit a wall but if you keep moving forward one foot step at a time, you will eventually accomplish great things and yes through running you learn things that even God wants to teach you. 

Faith is just like running. You need to keep moving forward and you need to keep your eye on the promised land because it might seem like a 14 day trip but it might take you 40 years to accomplish your goal and travel the path that God wants you to travel.

And yes, I will be looking forward to going home and going to church in the future. When you see and interact with people who have a passion for what they are doing and love it it's contagious and I can tell by just the last two visits that the new pastor will be good for Grace Baptist Church (but that's just my opinion).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I’m going to get on my soap box here and talk about genetically modified organisms otherwise known as GMOs. I here and see this conversation play out almost daily on Facebook, twitter and in the media.  I have heard the arguments that we don't know the science or that tests have shown that mice get cancerous tumors or that it is creating Frankenstein foods. I also have heard the argument that Europe is against it so we should be too. 

So here it goes....  We have had GMO crops for decades and have been consuming them as well. the crops have gone through extensive testing.  Monsanto isn't the only or the first company to use or create GMO products. There are several companies but you only hear about how horrible Monsanto is. The argument of mice having cancer or stomachs exploding is a big scare tactic because mice don't have the exact enzymes that we have. if these crops were as bad as some say we would have exploding stomachs and extra limbs growing on the side of their bodies. i use the example of a person eats a carrot and lots of carrots but we don't see people in the process of evolving into a carrot. they are consuming genes and your body is breaking down genes and chromosomes of plant but they are not becoming part of our genes and chromosomes. In addition people have been throwing around the legislation that was passed and how it protects Monsanto.  First, EU and other European Countries do allow GMO foods- corn and soybeans to be used as animal feed that is fed to animals who are then introduced into the human food supply. Secondly, the piece of legislation was to protect the farmer not Monsanto. It doesn't have anything to do with “getting sick and taking someone to court”. What it really is about is it allows the farmer to keep growing his crop while the litigation is being decided. For example, if a person or group sued Monsanto or any other seed company after a crop had been planted that farmer is allowed to keep growing it and even harvest it while the court case is being decided. The farmer isn't being paid by Monsanto so if there weren't allowed to continue to grow their crop they would be out an entire harvest which in an industry that works on a very narrow margin of profit (and sometimes there isn't a profit) this would be devastating not only to a family farm (98% of all corporate farms are family owned) but to communities and industries as a whole.

If you want to choose to not eat GMO’s, that's alright but to force a industry to eliminated GMO’s is in my mind a selfish act. GMO’s has done a lot of great work in this world. Read “The Man Who Fed The World”. It’s about Norman Borlaug. He won a Nobel Peace Prize for creating GMO wheat that would grown in arid/desert climates and was drought resistant. This wheat was then grown and harvested in Africa where people where starving. Also, GMO’s have allowed farmers to used less chemicals on their plants to protect them from harmful insects. I get that GMO’s are scary but the fact is that we need GMO’s and other cutting edge technology to keep feeding and clothing this country and the world. The average American farmer now must feed 155 people. In 1960, the American farmer fed just 26 people. By 2050, the world’s population will double and we (the farmers) will need to produce more food than all the years prior combined.

I am not an employee of big corporate farmers or ranchers. I don’t get money from big seed companies. My family ranches- I eat meat, my family’s ranch doesn't feed cattle corn or soybeans; they are grass fed and we do spray for weeds since we got rid of the sheep (they eat weeds cows won’t). We don’t overgraze and we choose not to eat organic but we will eat foods that are all natural and even some of the beef we raise is marketed as all natural. You may totally disagree with me and that’s ok. That’s your choice and why we live in a country with abundant food supplies (thanks to farmers and ranchers) that allows us to have many choices but I in good conscience couldn't let this information go without giving a different opinion. If you are going to be on the anti-GMO or anti-Monsanto bandwagons then at least research both sides.

Below are some neutral (from actual scientists or farmers and ranchers) websites to find out more information about production agriculture and your food supply. The packet attached is a list of facts in regards to the Genetic Roulette movie that attacks GMO’s today. I would encourage you to read it. Also we have actual facts for Food Inc (which is full of miss information as well).

  • Resources from various sources on GM/BT safety and potential benefits (NOTE: Not an inclusive list.)

  •  Review (Pro-Con) of the issue (what are the activists saying and what are the counter positions)
·         Consider these recent myth busting reports by NPR and The Atlantic and Reason Magazine.
·         Mark Lynas – one of the leading anti-GM activists –spoke at a conference in Europe earlier this year and announced a dramatic change of opinion on GMOs. You can view his speech or read a transcript online at: This speech has generated a broader discussion around the science.

  • GM-BT Position Statements from government (USDA, FDA, EFSA), NGOs, Trade Groups and Other Influencers/Stakeholders (Gates Foundation) (NOTE: Not an inclusive list.)
·         Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy, recently wrote a very thoughtful Huffington Post piece on critical thinking about GMOs at
·         Sam Dryden, Director of the Agricultural Development team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also posted a very thoughtful piece on critical thinking about GMOs at:  
·         Anne Glover, the European Union's Chief Science Advisor, discussed the science last year. You can find her comments online at:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Miss You

Disclaimer: I don't always write about running but I wrote this last night in my head and needed to get it out before I forgot the rest of what I haven't already forgotten.

I have been sick three times in the last 7 weeks (twice since the Diva race) or so to the point that I haven't worked out- running. My asthma has been horrible to the point that I sound like a pack a day smoker and my cough is just irritating. I've walked and that's fine but I just don't feel the want-to to go out on my normal wogging path (half walk half jogging). The path is a loop through the neighborhood and if I add in a few side streets and even cul-de-sacs I can squeeze 4.5-5 miles out of a 3.8 mile loop. I never thought I would ever utter the words- I miss running. It's not about the running- I'm really, really bad at it but it's more about the dripping-with-so-much-sweat that you actually stink to the point you can't even stand being next to yourself and challenging yourself to beat your time or in my case run farther segments. When my friends Dana and Christi ran one time in my neighborhood with me they each had a small glimpse into how I think when I run. Which in case I haven't mentioned, Dana was a great running buddy because she walked faster than me but we ran about the same speed. She rolled her ankle almost back to the house and being the worst friend in the world, was trying to stop my running app while I was asking her if she was OK because I didn't want to mess up my per minute mile average. Thankfully she forgave me.

I run to things- for example, Here's how my brain works during a run on a Friday.I leave my house after starting my Charity Miles app (earning meals for Feeding America because someone besides me should also get something out of my workout and if I can't have choose not to eat a cheeseburger someone should) I start my Run Keeper app to track my mileage and time. I walk to the corner house and then tell myself run to the other end of the street. If the landscapers are at one of the houses in the middle, I think ok hold your breathe when you go by so you don't breathe in the fumes from the exhaust and start wheezing. (I know I shouldn't hold my breath but I don't like exhaust fumes they are bad for my asthma). If the house cleaner is at the house at the end of the street I have to run past her van and circle the sidewalk to the next house marker.   I walk till I can breathe and then run to another house marker then walk a little more but then I make myself run to the gate and walk out the gate and turn to go up the side of the community towards the end of Recker. At this point if I'm doing only 3 miles, I stick to Recker and just the main loop, if I'm adding mileage I go down one side street walking when I need to breathe and then running to things- cars, a shadow, the stop sign on the opposite side of the road, the house that use to have the for sale sign, ect until I get  to the hill that runs across the back of Red Mountain Ranch Area. It's not a large steep hill but it's deceiving because you think you are at the top and then you realize it gradually keeps going so. I learned a few weeks ago that by running on the opposite side of the street the scenery is different and that I could go farther up the hill than before, that it was a mindset that I couldn't go farther than the second cactus past the light post that was just past the garbage can.

Don't judge the writing, I'll never have a job at ESPN!

And here's what my brain and I talk about on the way up. (All of about 45-60 seconds). OK make it to the second cacti past the light pole that is past the garbage can. "OK Run. Keep running, maybe I should switch to the side walk then I'm closer to the garbage can, I need to focus on praying for my prayer list, OK you are almost to the garbage can, I want to stop, I can't do this, just make it to the light pole. OK you'll make to the light post you can stop there, No suck it up and go the rock past the cacti because you don't think you can do it." And I stop at the rock or the cactus after the rock. This whole thought process goes on after I've walked about 30 seconds and am ready to hit the rest of the hill "Ok, start at the bench this side of the metal box and go to the second-rock-past-the-light-post-that-is-around-the-corner-just-before-the-God-Bless-America-sign-that-is-hanging-on-the-fence.  I'm always running towards something and I can't run past my house if I am short mileage because that just messes with my head. In between my self talk,sometimes I channel my cousin's husband who is USMC and imagine him yelling at me to "suck it up buttercup" (I don't know if he has ever said those words in real life and if he wasn't family might be scary). Running lets me work out problems or allow myself to be creative and let my mind wander but more often than not I have used that time to pray for people in my life that are hurting or celebrating. I pray for my friends for their first year of marriage and pray for them during their pregnancy and the first year of the kid's life. But I also pray about my county Farm Bureaus. There's a lot of pressure on our leaders of our counties and there's only so much I can help them with. I can do the Farm Bureau stuff easy but sometimes their stresses come in the form of water shortage and drought, equipment failures, crop failures, livestock diseases, or just the very high cost of growing our food and fiber that we take for granted or sometimes it's family stuff- health issues, adoption. I also pray for my family for the same things- health, business, that we just all get along and finally I pray for my youth group. It's nice having a small group because we get to know them but also I can picture each of them for different running segments and pray for them. They have a lot of challenges that I don't think I was aware of when I was their age- peer pressure (not any where close to what we had back in the day), college, future, parents, siblings.

I miss the feel of the pavement under my feet and I miss the running to the second rock past the bush that is just past the second light post. I miss the high you get from seeing improvement. I know I will be back, I just don't know when but when I do we have a lot of catching up to do. And I want to see if my perspective has changed.

Footnote: if you are a runner and you haven't heard about Charity Miles you might want to check them out they have over 20 charities to choose from and if you walk, run or bike they earn things. And it's free to use. They get their money from sponsorships.  You just have to post to your Facebook or Twitter account how many miles you have gone (they have it pre-typed out for you) when you finish.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Race Insight

As most of you know I have been trying to become a runner. I actually had a half marathon the last Sunday of April and it was fun but it wasn't my best.At the expo I met Ali Vincent from Biggest Loser. It was so nice to actually see in real life a person you watched struggle on TV and then celebrate when she achieved her goal. She's much shorter and smaller in real life and I was impressed that she could wear high heals the day before the race. She finished about not long before I did.
Shiloh and I met Ali Vincent!

My race wasn't my fastest but I did learn something from it. I forgot my food for along the race and only ate a banana at the beginning so it overall didn't  go as as well as it could but I also chose to walk more than I normally would so I could stay for awhile with my cousin and friend who due to injury was not running the race. She and I did run parts of the last half of the race and we finished in 3 hours and 26 minutes. But I had some insight into the running community. The original plan was for E, C, S (E's friend) to all do this race (at our own paces) and have a girls weekend. E and S are part of a running group called "Mom's Run this Town". This group is all over the country but their chapter is out of Savannah and so two more ladies joined E & S and then we all stayed at a hotel with three other ladies and had dinner with an additional two. All I can say is it was amazing to see the common bond that brought all of us together. There were some really fast runners and then there were the turtles working their way through peanut butter (me) but there was acceptance.

I don't like to run with groups because I am so slow and I need to walk and I just feel as though I'm holding people back but I had started running a few months prior with my friend Dana and it worked out well. She is a fast walker and would push me during the walking breaks and we tend to run at the same pace and we could chat about life. I saw that the Diva's Race weekend  with these ladies. And it was reassuring to me. Like any race you meet people along the way and you either usually find out where they are from and why they are running/walking and how many half's they have done. I usually find encouragement from these fellow travelers along the route. This race was no exception because E and I met a woman who was walking (and struggling) in the first 2-3 miles who along with 40 other women were participating in honor of their friend who had died from cancer and who had loved to do halfs  The husband of the woman they were honoring was the race coach for all these women and would stay with our girl for a mile then run back to encourage other runners and walkers. He didn't have a bike to go back and forth- just his feet. It was cool that that many women would come and take on that goal to honor their friend.

When we left her we came up on two of the MRTT ladies from E's group. They were just grooving along and having fun. I had met them the night before at dinner and they made me feel so welcome. My other cousin C fit in with the group because she's a mom to 7 kids but I don't have kids and not even a pet so I was the odd ball but they accepted me just the same. I even met a girl who grew up in Oregon and went to school at OSU!

At the start before the race. 

When I say I am a slow runner I really do mean it. I left E with the two MRTT ladies and started off and a few miles down the road E caught up to me and we were able to finish together. I was really inspired by her because for now she's not going to be able to run and may never run a half again because of an injury but she came and did this race and didn't complain. And she could complain and be on the pity party tour (If I was her, I might). She's injured and may never run again, her husband is deployed and it will be months before she sees him). But she has found joy even in her injury.   All of these ladies came to run the race but they have accomplished so much running (marathons and halfs) that I was impressed but just like my friend Stacey they don't brag about it's just who they are. And they are some really, really great runners who kick butt. They all have a quiet spirit about them when it comes to their accomplishments in running shoes or in life.

 I wasn't sure how I was going to write this blog but the lesson that I kept thinking about over the miles I drove this last week was that yes we train and work hard for the races and sometimes we are in it for the tech shirt or the medal but in the end it's about the people you meet along the way and fact that you are really running against yourself. It's you against the voice in your head that tells you can't do this or that someone like you shouldn't be out there. It's also you that is going to determine if you listen to that voice or if you tell it to shut the hell up and keep moving forward toward a goal. As E said today on Facebook  we have enough obstacles running or working toward our goals that we create ourselves that it's nice to have the people around you be supportive and allow you to go out and reach your goal and if you fail you have a place to land that is supportive. I realized that's what the running group is for. Yes it allows you to train with other runners and maybe push yourself but it also gives you a group of women who are encouraging you and sharing in your goals. That unlike society they don't want to tear you down, they want to lift you up and for two days I got to be apart of that.
Finished and we earned our medals!!!