Living simply, loving deeply!

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

25 Years Later: Wisdom from a Sailor

This weekend is my 25 Year High School Class Reunion. I graduated in 1988 from a high school on the shores of Lake Erie. We were known as the Vermilion Sailors. Last night was our pre-celebration and tonight is the actual reunion. Fun times. I was thinking today about how different 18-year-old Heidi is from a 43-year-old Heidi. A lot of life happens in 25 years. So in honor of my 25 year class reunion here are:
25  26 things I have learned since high school!
(I couldn’t whittle it down to 25)
1. Having lost about 20 family members since my senior year…life is way too short to hold a grudge. Let it go. Let those important to you know that you care. Send a card. Tell them you love them. Mend fences.
(I LOVE this song…so fits!)
2. Don’t let who you were as a teen-ager or how you grew up dictate who you are today (unless it is positive). Don’t be the victim. Choose to be the victor.
3. God is faithful. Always. Through the good and the bad times.
4. Childhood friends are a blessing. Sharing the same childhood memories, growing up, and experimenting with boundaries as teens form bonds of friendship that cannot be broken. I look at my group of friends and how diverse we were/are (conservatives, hippies, single, married, divorced, pastor, cop, business owner, environmentalist) and am grateful that no two of us are the same and that we never expected that of each other.

Some of us from the pre-celebration.

Some of us from the pre-celebration.

5. Don’t judge people. You have no idea how hard their life has been and what goes on at home.

6. Laugh. A lot. Life can be tough but there is healing in laughter.

7. Don’t be afraid to cry. God’s healing comes through tears and laughter!

8. Grumbling, complaining, and whining is a waste of time. Do I really want to waste this one life I have been so graciously given on that? Hold to what is good, let go of the bad.
9. Prayer works. Really. God has always come through in countless times and in countless ways! A blog will be coming shortly on a miracle that has occurred in the past 2 weeks in my own life.
10. Life can really be hard. Excruciatingly hard. Mind-numbing, take your breath away hard. You need people. You need God.
11. Life can be breathtakingly wonderful and fun and full of joy. You need people to celebrate and rejoice with! You need to thank God for those times.
12. Jesus is everything to me.

13. Everyone you meet still has some of that shy, awkward teen-ager in them. Everyone. So cut them some slack!

14. Beauty is a state of mind, a disposition…not your appearance. The most beautiful people I have met have been those who are genuinely kind and compassionate. This has been my toughest battle. Has taken me 43 years to get here.

15. Family is important. Before my dad died, he had us 4 girls around him and said “remember, you always got family.” Very touching…that was until he tried to punch the nurse.

My dad and me before he passed away

My dad and me before he passed away

16. If you don’t have family around, God can create one for you. It says in the Scriptures that God sets the lonely in families. Many people in VA I still consider family from my time spent there.

Two guys I consider family! They come over every Sunday night for family night. Some family is not blood but just as strong...they were out for Dylon's bachelor party :)

Two guys I consider family! They come over every Sunday night for family night. Some family is not blood but just as strong…they were out for Dylon’s bachelor party 🙂

17. There is NOTHING God can’t forgive. NOTHING! I speak from experience.

18. You have to learn to laugh at yourself. You are not as great as you think you are, nor are you as sucky as you think you are. Lighten up!

19. Deal with your insecurities. They will cripple you if you don’t get them under control.

20. Enjoy life! Arms wide open, lifted high, embracing every experience with as much wide-eyed joy, wonder  and gratitude as possible.

21. Every so often throw your clock/watch out the window. Don’t allow time to rule you. I learned this when I was in Mexico City and Jamaica. Slow the pace. God was on to something when He said to keep the day of rest.

21. Exercise daily. Your mind and your body.

22. Learn something new every year.

23. Don’t be afraid of failure. They are only failures if you don’t learn from them or quit.

24. Following Jesus is the best decision I have ever made.

25. Be kind to everyone you meet. Even if you don’t think they deserve it.

26. It’s never too late to start over. Some of the most awe-inspiring people I have met are older people who are brave enough to face change!


The Battle of Berlin Heights

Recently I have taken up running. Again. A few years back, I ran for a season. And I loved it! I somehow got out of the habit. I don’t remember why. Laziness? Busyness?

Saturday, I was signed up for my second 5k of the summer (it took place in Berlin Heights thus the name of the blog). We have recently started a walk/jog/run club at our church and five of us were running the race. The whole week leading up to the race, I was an emotional mess.

The five us running!

The five us running!

I am currently leading 6 women through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free. These 6 ladies will help lead 3 separate Bible studies in the fall. And it has been a painful process for all of us. I have been surprised at how much stuff that is still in me that God needs to break and bring healing to. Each week you think it is going to get easier and it doesn’t. And it is stuff that I have been dealing with for years. Insecurities. Frustrations. Guilt. And I have prayed that I would deal with this stuff once and for all. I do not want to be 45, 50, 55, 60 and dealing with the same issues. I am of tired of going only so far in my walk with Jesus only to be pulled back like I’m tethered to the stuff with a bungee cord. And these past 2 years have been pivotal in my walk. I have been set free from so much and am growing in my faith like never before…but there’s residue…something more that needs dealt with, healed, exposed to the breath of the Holy Spirit.

And my 25-year class reunion is in a couple of weeks which causes all kinds of angst! I was e-mailing a childhood friend about it. And the awkward, teen-age Heidi was shining through! I actually had to apologize for that! The fact is, that particular Heidi has been shining through a lot lately!

So last week was the perfect storm for a cataclysmic melt down.

After I left the office on Friday, I was agitated. I knew it was partly because of the race in the morning. Instead of dealing with it in a healthy way, I resorted to my standard mind-numbing behavior…shopping and eating. As I shopped, nothing appealed to me. It didn’t satisfy. Even food had lost its luster (that in itself is amazing 😉 ) So I went home and went to bed.

I had a hard time getting up the next morning. I kept thinking of excuses of why I should not run the race. I don’t even know why I was so nervous. Fear of failing? Looking stupid? Being last? I get to the race and signed in and went to find my friend Katie, who was running the race with me. She got to see the crazy, neurotic, teen-age Heidi. It was not pretty. We met a lady while waiting for the race to begin. The lady we met had run this particular race before. Poor thing! When I’m nervous, I become the Riddler…I ask a million and one questions. I annoy myself when I’m like this. I want the crazy Heidi to shut up but she won’t. The lady was very sweet and obvious a follower of Jesus. She said exactly what I needed to hear. Katie and I prayed together and walked to the starting line. At this point, I was ok. Not good, just ok. There was no going back now. Had to make the most of it.

This is me stressed :)

This is me stressed 🙂

I remember praying at the starting line, “God whatever this is, it is obviously mental and spiritual, please show me what it is and help me deal with it. And help me to do what I have set out to do this morning (which was to never stop running and not be concerned who was in front of me or behind of me).”

As I began running, most people pulled ahead. I began to panic a bit. I shook it off and remained focus. Over the next 39 minutes, God taught me some things:

  1. Every time I have run in the past, I have concentrated on everyone around me. I end up starting too fast and instead of building up and finishing strong, I run out of steam at the end of the race. This race, I kept my eye on the finish line and met my goals. So many spiritual applications to this one.
  2. Power Trek (our walk/jog/run club at the church) is about training together. Pastor Jim always says that training together makes you train harder, longer and funner. And that is so true and we need each other but when it actually comes to race time….no one can do it for you. In this race of life we need people to encourage us, to train us, and to motivate us and to run WITH us but when it comes to the race no one can run it FOR us. We have to choose to put on our running shoes and do the work and run the race. The race that day….was me putting one foot in front of the other. Lori and Katie and Sandy and Renee could not do it for me. They could encourage and pray for me before I started it but only I could choose to run. When it comes to allowing God to heal the broken parts of our lives, no one can walk through the process FOR us. They can walk WITH us but can’t do it for us.
  3. The first mile of the race was breaking through the mental stuff. Words that had been spoken over me came to mind. Every insecurity that I ever had came rushing at me. With every step I ran, those things were being pounded under my feet
  • Every time I was called fat…under my feet
  • Every time I have struggled with my hair being too thin…under my feet
  • Every time I have felt ugly…under my feet
  • Every time I have had an irrational fear of looking stupid…under my feet
  • Every time I have been made fun of…under my feet

I could feel the stuff just leaving me as my feet pounded the pavement. And I finished. Without stopping. I was 7th from the bottom. And I was SO ok with that! One of my other friends from the PT Crew, who also ran it, had a very difficult time. It was hilly and humid. But she had her best time! We knew that some of the PT Crew would place so we all stayed for the awards ceremony.

This is the hysterical part. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US RECEIVED A MEDAL IN OUR AGE GROUP!!! Even me! I took third in my age group (there were only 3 or 4 in my age group running). When they called my name with my time, I started laughing. An old family friend was there that I hadn’t seen and he yelled when he heard my name (mortifying but it made me laugh all the more.) The medal may not be much to other people but to me it meant a lot! I placed it on my shelf of favorite things. Every time I look at it, it will remind me of the battle that was waged that day. A battle I have called “The Battle of Berlin Heights”  because I am THAT dramatic! 🙂 A battle, that through Jesus, sweat and tears (and bit of crazy) I won!

Me and my 3rd place medal!

Me and my 3rd place medal!

Our group with our medals! :)

Our group with our medals! 🙂

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