Have you been Stamped or Fingerprinted?

Downtown Tampa is one of my favorite places to spend the day with my hubby. One sunny afternoon we found ourselves strolling through the galleries at the Tampa Museum of Art. Modern Art isn’t really my thing so I was a little disappointed to hear that the traveling exhibit was, “Famous Artists from USF Graphicstudio.” After an hour of reading plaques and descriptors, I still had no idea what graphicstudio, lithograph, intaglio, and serigraph meant. My husband on the other hand, apparently majored in art (while I wasn’t looking)! He eagerly gave me a whole dissertation about the various forms of printmaking. Somewhere around the history of intaglio print I found myself… slowly…. breaking….. away…… from……. the…….. conversation………. There were two intriguing images that were calling me from across the room.   The first was a portrait of a man-made completely out of office stamps. The image felt dark and grainy. The man’s features were heavy and harsh. As I looked closer the effect of the stamps gripped me. The stamps read “To Be Destroyed,” “Abandoned Project,” “Rush Medical Supplies,” “Caution,” and “Copy.” Staring deeper into his “date stamped” eyes I began to see the truth in this image. How often do we stamp ourselves or allow others to stamp us with labels. Are you still wearing labels from your childhood experiences or past failures? Have you been stamped with helpful or harmful labels? My fear is that all too often we continue to identify with the negative stamps people have placed on us, like “Damaged” “Abandon Project,” and “Fragile.” If you were given a basket full of stamps which ones would you use to recreate your face? The heaviness of this portrait lingered. Combersomely I backed away from the portrait. At the end of aisle hung the second intriguing image. T “Fanny” by Chuck Close The second portrait possessed a haziness from afar. The soft glow of the woman’s eyes drew me in. As I neared her gaze I was amazed to discover the entire image was made out of finger prints. The artist did not use pencils, chalk, markers or pens. Every detail and intricate work was made simply with pigment and a fingerprint. This creator worked diligently to form a uniquely beautiful masterpiece.  Her features were carefully crafted. Just think our Heavenly Father, the God of this universe has taken great care to craft us. Isaiah 64:8 says “Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.” His fingerprints are all over us! Both of these images rolled off the canvas and imprinted my soul. I walked away asking myself, “When people look at me do they see the stamps I’ve labeled myself with or do they see the fingerprints of my creator and Lord?” What do people see when they look at you? Fingerprints or stamps? Share...

Running Tips for New Runners

Jayde’s Valuable Running Tips for Runners: 1. Taco Tuesday with jalapenos and extra hot sauce is a VERY BAD idea before running 2. DO NOT text and jog! The probability of running into a tree while strangers are playing soccer in the street goes up dramatically! 3. Always run with a flashlight, running light or flashlight iphone app at night. You may save the lives of few frogs and slugs. Just saying! Although my tips are priceless in so many ways, I’m sure you all are looking for real running tips. Here are a few real tips for new runners. Mommyfunfast.com is a wonderful website with resources and tips. Click here to read the full article. 1. Just do it.  Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week, or next month.  Do it today.  Run to the mailbox to get your mail, run to the end of the block, run with your dog until he goes to the bathroom and then run home.  Start today and never look back. 2. Don’t start out too fast.  This is a common mistake that new runners make.  You start out too fast, then feel exhausted, out of breath, and defeated.  We don’t want that, so start slow.  No, I mean really slow.  Slower than you think you need to.  If, after a while, you feel like you can pick up the pace, then great, go for it.  But, for now, pace yourself, you are in it for the long haul. 3. Get fitted for some good running shoes.  Find a running store and get fitted.  A good pair of running shoes will cost from $85-$120 but they are so worth it.  Take the time to get the right pair.  It will save you time, blisters, and injuries in the long run.  Suncoast Running is a local running store that will do a stride analysis. 4. Try not to get frustrated.  Even the most seasoned runners have a bad run.  If one day you have a terrible run, don’t give up, it happens to the best of us.  The next one will be better, I promise. 5. If you are running on the road, run against traffic, that way you see the cars and can get out-of-the-way if they don’t see you. 6. Don’t compare yourself to others.   So what if tiny shorts lady can run a 7 minute pace.  You run at your pace and that’s that.  If you want to do speedwork when you have this running thing down, then by all means do it.  But do not compare yourself to others.  Running is individual.  Run for yourself, not for anyone else. 7. Listen to your body! Don’t push yourself….stop if you need to stop, slow down if you need to slow down, and eventually it will all come together and you too will feel that “Runner’s High”. 8. Find what motivates you– whether it is getting faster or losing weight or going to new distances, set a goal and work towards it in small increments. You can do this! Keep up the hard work. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in 8 short weeks. Share...

Flourish in Endurance

I am so excited about my Flourish in…Endurance class starting this Saturday, October 19th! There are still a few more days to register! Please complete this quick survey if you would like to participate in this physical and spiritual endurance building group! Click here for the survey! Flourish in…Endurance Details and Information: WHEN: SATURDAY mornings – October 19-December 14 TIME: 8 AM – 10 AM WHERE: SUNCOAST PARKWAY SR-54. We will meet in the Target parking lot behind McDonald’s. COURSE FEE: $25 (race fee, not included) RSVP by October 16th. Fee is due on the 19th. Spiritual and Physical Endurance for the Soul – Led by Jayde Gray This is an 8-week course that will encompass a spiritual journey on the subject of ENDURANCE. As a woman, endurance is an important key in us fulfilling the calling that God has placed on our lives. In order to finish our race, endurance is a necessity.  Please join us for this spiritual study on endurance as well as applying it to our physical endurance. This will be for first-time runners as well as experienced runners. Our final “Hoor-ah!” will be a 5K race together…The Color Run in St. Petersburg, FL. Come join us!! For more information, please contact us on facebook @ www.facebook.com/growandflourish or jayde@launchps.com   Share...

Crap Happens…Keep Running!

Crap Happens…Keep Running!

I wrote this post a year ago. I published it for about ten minutes before quickly removing it. I thought it was too “crappy.” I decided to repost it today because God can use our worse moments to touch other’s lives. ————————————————————————————————————– Today, I caught a glimpse of endurance that I’m not soon to forget! I made the horrible mistake of googling “gross running images.” I was hoping to find a picture of a sweaty girl. Instead I found chaffed skin, disfigured toes and blistered feet. As I scanned the page I thought I found a promising picture. Disgust contorted my face once I realized what I was looking at. Iodine colored poop was dripping down the legs of a runner. This poor man ran for miles with poop all over his shorts, smeared on his legs and oozing into his shoes. (Just writing that made me gag!) This runner finished strong despite his obvious obstacles! He did not allow crap to slow him down! As gross as it was, this image reminded me that sometimes bad things happen.  It is in these moments that we have to cling to our heavenly father because he will never leave us no matter how messy things get. Life and nature can cause us to stop short of our goal. It takes faith to push through adversity and keep on moving. Life can get messy, stinky, painful and dirty but I’m going to keep running because I know the Lord is with me. He encourages us all to, “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14. I’ll keep running…who is with me? Share...

Treading Water

Treading Water

I watched anxiously as my breathless five-year-old desperately tread water in the deep end of the pool. Her body was furiously fighting to stay vertical. Unwittingly, my inner swim coach took control of the situation. With reassurance, I encouraged my struggling daughter to do something unnatural. She had to submerge herself in the very thing she was fighting against.  The only way for her to get to the side of the pool was to go under, get horizontal and START KICKING. After a few moments of hesitation she finally followed my instruction. A confident smile swelled under her goggled-eyes! She made it to the other side! I wonder how often God feels like that swim coach/parent on the side of the pool. The Abba Father wants to jump in and rescue us from the deep waters we have found ourselves in. Yet the Holy Spirit, our guide, stands on the edge instructing us on how to persevere. Are you trending water?  Are you stuck in a situation? Do you feel like your relationship with the Lord is stagnant? Do you feel like you are struggling to hold on? My daughter knew how to swim but in that moment of crisis she forgot her training. Exhaustion and crisis may have paralyzed you for the moment but don’t forget your training! SUBMERGE: Submerge yourself in the word of God! GET HORIZONTAL: Get on your face before the Lord and PRAY! START KICKING: Do something to move out of that situation. Kicking could mean seeking Godly council, journaling, distancing yourself from unhealthy relationships, etc. Simply take action; don’t remain stagnant. LISTEN TO YOUR COACH’S VOICE: The Holy Spirit will guide you to the other side! You will make it to the other side! Joy will overwhelm your soul as you look back and see just how far you swam. Keep kicking! You are getting closer.   Related Scripture: Romans 5:3-5 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”   Share...

Starting Lines

Starting Lines

Last night I toed the starting line of a new race in my career. I’ve committed to lead a passionate pack of dedicated parents at Dayspring Academy. As I drove away from the meeting I felt a tad overwhelmed by this new role.  Self doubt wanted to take over! Then God reminded me of Cliff Young’s extraordinary story. At 61 years old, Cliff Young decided to run Australia’s 875 kilometer, ultra-marathon endurance race from Sydney to Melbourne. Only a few young, highly trained athletes participated in this event each year. The race usually took a week to complete. On the day of the race, Cliff Young, in his overalls and gumboots was mistaken as a spectator. As he approached the registration table to take his number, it became obvious that Cliff Young was a participant! He was going to join a group of 150 world-class athletes and run! Many thought it was a publicity stunt. Curious reporters began to question Cliff: “Who are you and what are you doing? “I’m Cliff Young. I’m from a large ranch where we run sheep outside of Melbourne.” “Are you really going to run in this race?” “Yeah,” Cliff nodded. “Got any backers?” “No.” “Then you can’t run.” “Yeah I can,” Cliff said. “See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or four-wheel drives, and the whole time I was growing up – until about four years ago when we finally made some money and got a four wheeler- whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep and we have 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d catch them. I believe I can run this race; it’s only two more days. Five days. I’ve run sheep for three.” When the marathon started, the pros left Cliff behind. The crowds smiled as Cliff set off in his gumboots and overalls. Reporters commented on his “incorrect” technique. Instead of running, he leisurely shuffled. Australians fixated on the live telecast. Many feared the worst for Cliff. The professional runners knew that it took approximately 7 days to complete the race. The athletes knew they needed to run for 18 hours and sleep for 6. No one informed, 61 year old Cliff Young of this formula; and so he ran. The next morning, the public was shocked to find out that Cliff was still in the race. Rather than stopping to sleep, Cliff jogged all night! When asked about his race tactics, he said it was “to run to the finish line.” And so he kept running. Every night he would inch closer to the leading pack. Finally, by the last night, he passed ALL of the world-class athletes, while they were sleeping. Cliff remained ahead until the finish line. Not only did he run the Melbourne to Sydney race at age 61 (without dying)…he won first place, breaking the race record by 9 hours! Cliff Young finished the 875 kilometer race in 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes. He didn’t sleep because he didn’t know that he was supposed to; he just kept imagining that he was chasing sheep and trying to outrun a storm. If this man wasn’t amazing enough already, when awarded with the first prize of $10,000 he said he did not know there was a prize and insisted that he had not entered for the money. He said, “There are five other runners out there doing it tougher than me,” and he gave them $2,000 each. It is astonishing how often unremarkable people impact the world in remarkable ways. It’s inspiring, because there’s probably a Cliff Young in each one of us. The starting line was a critical moment in Cliff’s journey. I applaud his courage and inner strength because the odds were stacked against him. He did not have…. Proper training A national sponsor backing him Conventional running shoes or clothes Racing experience Correct running form But, this is what he DID have… Life experiences – running sheep over 2,000 acres A straightforward plan – “To run to the finish line.” Ignorance – His lack of knowledge was a key component to his success. No one told him he needed to sleep Courage – Cliff believed in himself! All too often, we become paralyzed at the starting line. We allow our lack of experience, lack of support, lack of training, or improper attire stop us from taking that first step of faith. Romans 8:28 (Amplified) says, “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all...

How to Increase your Spiritual Endurance

How to Increase your Spiritual Endurance

My 2 lb, 3 oz miracle baby started kindergarten yesterday! Lela’s premature birth taught me about spiritual endurance.  My tear ducts have been on overdrive this week as I reflect on God’s faithfulness and provision during life’s squeezing moments! Once my fluid level returns to normal I will post more on spiritual endurance! In the mean time, take some time to watch this teaching by Wes Martin. It is 45 minutes of profound insight. I have watched it at least 4 times already! I want to type his sermon word for word and put it into my Endurance book but I think there is some sort of plagiarism law about that : ) http://www.ihopkc.org/resources/2012/12/30/pray-give-fast-and-bless/   Share...