29 April 2009

Another Lovely Sunday

The playlist below was inspired by a wonderful Sunday in downtown Orlando followed by "Another Lovely Sunday" over the weekend. Felt like sharing.

Running Lately

In case you didn't know, I've been steadily training all year long for the Indianapolis Mini 500 Half-marathon, which is this Saturday! Mom & Dad are running it, too, and I'm super excited! I ran 10 miles in 1:40 last Monday, which is fantastic for me! My first half-marathon time was just under 2:30, and I'm hoping to run this race in 2:10. Anyway, more on this weekend's race after I run it.

Lately I've had a couple of really fun and successful 5Ks:

When Mom was visiting we had the pleasure of running with the Orlando Women Runner's group at the Windermere Run Among the Lakes 5K. They had Panera and Chik-fil-a there - yummy! Neither Mom or I ran that great a time, but we had a blast regardless! It was really fun to share OWR with my Mommy.

Mom and I in our traditional pre-race photo:

The OWR group + Momma:

The other 5K I ran recently was the Corporate 5K at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. The race was HUGE! Numerous corporations in the area sponsor teams to run this race to support the community. This year Lockheed Martin had its largest team yet! Krista ran with the Campus Crusade team; they had the largest team present! She had a really great race, too! I was quite surprised when I finished in 25'55" despite the severe crowds! That time is a personal record on the 5K! After the race we had pizza and hung out with new friends within Lockheed Martin. It was a great time.

Here is a picture of Lake Eola, some city skyline, and the fountain:

There are tons of swans that reside at Lake Eola. There are even swan paddle boats for rent on the lake! I guess the swans make the lake a bit of an attraction. They are such graceful creatures! Here is a pretty swan I saw before the race:

And here is a photo of me and some friends from work:

(Going left to right, I don't know the first guy, me, Steve's wife (Laura, I think?), Steve, JT, and another guy I don't know.)

Wish me luck at my 13.1 mile race this weekend!


25 April 2009

What I Learned from an Herb

Last Sunday I learned a lot about life from an herb.

A man named Berry Johnston's wife was laid off. He took a huge cutback in his salary. In this time of severe economic crisis, this is the up there with the worst possible of news to receive. One afternoon, as he was trying to sort out how he was going to make ends meet, Berry noticed how weak his basil plant looked. As he began to investigate how to revive the herb he realized that his life needed exactly what the herb did: a good pruning season.

Have you ever thought about pruning? Wikipedia says this about pruning: it is the removal of diseased, non-productive, or otherwise unwanted portions from a plant. Pruning involves cutting, and knives, and clippers, and snipping. It's a pretty nasty process. But, through all of this, it is an experience of pain, not death. In ridding the plant of the dead parts, pruning allows the plant to grow back even more fruitful and to flourish.

Remember when your parents said, "I love you, but I'm going to spank you?" Remember lashing back with "well if you love me so much, why are you going to cause me pain?" In retrospect this all makes a lot more sense to us. Pruning causes a plant pain, yes, but it is testing the plant in a way. When our parents punished us, they were testing us to see if we'd learn our lesson. From the pain we'd get angry, sad, numb - we'd grieve.

The release of sap is a plant's equivalent to our grieving process. A plant will release sap for the necessary amount of time that will allow the plant to recover, heal and redirect its energy. Where energy once flowed to a dead limb, it can no longer flow - because that limb has been removed; it was pruned. Now, that same energy is flowing to a living limb, and it is beginning to flourish! What brilliant design plants have!

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." -John 15:1-2, 5

Here is a visual representation of my life as a plant:

early innocence and health as a child

over the years I continue to grow (adolescence),
but parts of my life decay; pruning becomes necessary

with only lively limbs to put energy into,
I am on my way to becoming a flourishing plant

Here's another fascinating thing about plants: in every inner-working of their existence, they put forth every effort possible to reach up and towards the sun, their source of life. Now I know, after hearing Berry's story, that I am not alone when I think about how wondrous nature is. I'm not the only person who thinks nature was designed in a very specific way. There's so much we can learn from our earth!


(Thanks to Pastor David Loveless and Berry Johnston who inspired this blog entry. What an amazing comparison they drew, basil:human.)

Have a Picnik

Sick of using Microsoft Paint to edit your favorite photos? Have a Picnik! It's free, registration-free, and couldn't be easier to use! Just upload a photo and modify your photo as you wish!

Below is my first Picnik creation. Have fun!




Help from India

I had heard this song before, here and there over the years, but I heard this version on the Sex & the City soundtrack. As it turns out, the entire soundtrack was incredibly therapeutic in my getting over what used to be me and Adam, but this song in particular was very helpful.

The heart of the matter for me was that I needed to do a lot of forgiving. Mostly I needed to forgive myself for ten years of allowing myself to forget just how precious God is to me. Let me tell you, it's not easy to forgive yourself. Many times I wished I could blame someone other than myself.

These lyrics, specifically, are what hit home the hardest with me: "The more I know, the less I understand. And all the things I thought I'd figured out, I have to learn again."

The thing I've learned through all of this is control. I don't have it. I never did. I never will. It's simply a black and white matter. I don't even need to understand. I thought I had a lot of things figured out, and, man, was it convincing. So very convincing. But I know better now. It's a relief not having to fret about anything, really. Such peace of mind.

It's an interesting transition from a serious relationship back to being single. Of course I miss Adam dearly, but being single is just what we need at this point in our lives.

Any way. I was compelled to share a little about what this song means to me.


24 April 2009


The bulletin board in my office is almost as large as a mural and very much my masterpiece - a photographic potpourri of so many children in my life, yet none of them mine. Each time I glance up, I understand how family can be extended and precious without being biological.

Several pictures are of my handsome nephews, Ben and Sam, now grown. There's Daniel and Michael, also adult children who still call me Auntie. Two photos are of David and Emily. Their parents, both sets of their grandparents, and I traveled with them to Israel to celebrate their coming of religious age in a moving ceremony.

Then there's Katie, defiantly bald after braving chemotherapy to conquer her cancer. And Molly and Lia, sisters celebrating their special friendship. Impish Lily is swathed in a silk scarf I found in Jerusalem's Old city.

The latest is Tong Yan, hugging a soft toy rabbit. Friends Peg and Bill traveled halfway around the world to adopt this beaugiful toddler, found abandoned in a railroad station in China. In her photo she is staring at me shyly, her dark eyes glistening with the same anticipation we all felt during the days before her new parents were to meet her for the first time.

Peg and Bill had waited months for a child, as their plans became entangled in endless legal papers. After they headed off to China, I waited, too, for a message about this newest family member. Finally, the recognizable "You've Got Mail" tone sounded from the computer, and bill's email announcement of their frenzied journey appeared: "Arrival in Hong Kon after 24 hours, 3 bad movies, 2.5 mediocre meals 1 book each and numerous naps," Bill wrote. "Slept. Whirlwind tour of city. four-hour bus ride to Guanzhou Airport. One hour, 15-mintue fligt to Hefei. Thirty-minute bus ride to hotel. Meeting (15 families). Dinner. Slept. Elaborate breakfast buffet."

Then, finally, Peg and Bill met Tong Yan face-to-face. bill summed up their feelings in three words: "Gift from God."

Tong Yan is now part of my bulletin board family, too, a precious member to be cherished like the rest. Another "gift from God."

By Ellen Mazo

Raven Takes a Beating

Yeah. That's my brand new, 2009 Honda Fit Sport (aka Raven). Purchased 2 January 2009. Someone rear-ended me on Sunday, 6 April 2009. Don't worry, no one was injured. My x-ray's showed nothing abnormal; the soreness I experienced was only muscular and didn't last more than a couple days.

I have a rental for the time being. Raven is in the repair shop, and I hope to have it back next week, although I was told to expect it back this week. We'll see about that.

The best part of all this - yes, there is actually a best part to the tragedy - is that I made a wonderful friend. Krista was a complete stranger who happened to witness the wreck. It was no coincidence that she happened to have that rare Sunday evening free. She was my angel that night: she pulled over, called the police, provided a witness statement of the wreck, loaded up my groceries from my car to hers, helped me drop them off at my apartment (my car was being towed away), took me to the emergency room, then took me to pick up my pain medication prescription. A complete stranger. I find it so comforting to know there are Good Samaritans still around.

Since the wreck Krista and I have kept in touch. We met up at the Corporate 5K race downtown last week, we're planning a night to have dinner together, and we're planning to attend church together.

Bless Kirsta! I had no one else to turn to, being down here all alone, but God sent me an angel!


20 April 2009

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I am enjoying where I am in life right now. I have had a very blessed life, and I've learned so much about who I am in the last year. There is so much that I am thankful for. And I'm okay with not always knowing exactly what's next. I am resting assured in knowing that my story isn't finished, but rather just getting started.


06 April 2009


Multi-task (v): to perform more than one task at the same time.



Common Multitasking Situations:
driving and chatting on the phone
computer operation + [insert just about anything here]

My thoughts:
I used to be proud of my ability to multitask. Folks would tell me how talented I was because I could keep up with several IM chats at the same time. Simple, trivial online chats + multi-tasking isn't such a big deal. Lately, however, I've noticed that anywhere you look you find people multi-tasking. It got me thinking that I don't want to multi-task much anymore. A fact of the nature of the concept is that the more you are doing at one time, the less attention to detail and/or the lower the quality work.

Multi-tasking makes me uneasy, especially at work. I find it annoying when I'm on a call and the speaker asks someone else a question, then the person questioned pipes up only because they heard their name. That person wasn't multi-tasking like they claimed. That person was working on something else and only screening the call for their name to be called. I hope I don't ever fall into that sort of habit. I think it's rude, not to mention the annoyance and waste of time of having to repeat the question because it wasn't paid attention to the first time around.

I think society has become so fast-tracked that we're forgetting all about quality. These days multi-tasking translates to "I'm more concerned with the quantity of work performed than the quality of work performed."