Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review (video)

What a year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Mirror in the Manger

I shared these thoughts today in the communion meditation.  They are not mine... a college professor of mine at Milligan College, Lee Magness, wrote them (found HERE).

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (Galatians 4:4, 5).
The scene is a sparse hill in ancient Judea, not far from Jerusalem. Nearby is a cave. Jesus wears one meager garment. Mary watches, wondering what it all means. A man stands by, not the father of Jesus, but the one who will care for her. Beneath Jesus are beams of rough wood. Above, the heavens sparkle with supernatural splendor. In the city sits Herod, pondering Jesus’ death. Jewish leaders discuss his coming. Nearby are outcasts, giving their own crude testimony. Soon the rich arrive with gifts, better for burial than for birth.
What did you picture? A birth or a death? A crèche or a cross?
The hill could be a sheep-studded hill near Bethlehem, or the hill called Golgotha. The cave could be a stable crudely cut into one of Bethlehem’s hills or a burial vault recently carved in a nearby cemetery. The garment could be swaddling clothes or a bloody, ragged loincloth.
It is Jesus of course, but is he a newborn baby or a dying man? And it is Mary, but is she sitting at a cradle comforting her baby or is she crouching, crying, and in need of comfort? Is the man Joseph the carpenter or John, who will make her a home? Are the wooden beams a manger or a cross? Are they eyeing a cold, clear star or an eclipsed sun and a blood-red moon.
The Herod could be “the Great,” who tried to kill the baby, or his son, who in a sense succeeded. The outcasts could be shepherds, kneeling on either side, or subversives, hanging on either side. The rich men could be magi who offer exorbitant gifts or Nicodemus and Joseph who offer only an empty tomb.
There’s a mirror in the manger, a birth reflecting a death. So there is no better way to celebrate Christmas than to keep Communion.
God, thank you for sending your Son, to be born, to live, to die, and to live again. We celebrate him this day and pray in his name, Amen. 

Carol of the Bells... Crowder Style

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why We're Still Here... 12/22/12

Matthew 24:36
36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son (Jesus), but only the Father."

Jesus... and He would know if anyone would know... said that no one knows the day or the hour... not even the angels... nor Jesus himself... nor the Mayans... know of the end.  

Only God himself... and He hasn't told anyone.  


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

#FallingPlates - Powerful Images of the Gospel

Powerful stuff!


Where Was God... last Friday... Sandy Hook Elementary...

I shared this video on Facebook yesterday... but I thought it deserved another and potentially wider posting...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Different Perspective on Christmas...

Here's a bit of a different perspective on Christmas...

WARNING: You shouldn't take a sip of coffee as you start this video... you might wear it (you were warned...)!

December from 328 Stories on Vimeo.


Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 03, 2012

And the winner is... Michelle Savage!

Last week, I posted a blog post (original post here) about my plans to run the Blue Ridge Marathon in April 2013 in Roanoke, VA.  I also posted how you could get in on the action at Blue Ridge for free.  Many did... and for me, I wanted them all to win.  Unfortunately, there could be only one winner.

After a drawing, the winner is Michelle Savage from Cincinnati, Ohio (you can follow her on Twitter here).  

I thought it would be fun to Twinterview (like an interview over Twitter... nevermind) her and she agreed.  So... that will give you a bit of a chance to meet another great runner.


Question 1: Tell us a little about yourself?
Answer 1: I'm a wife, mother to a little boy and avid runner :). My next feat will be to complete an ultra marathon! 

Question 2: How long have you been running? When did you start and why?
Answer 2: I've been running since 2007. I got sick of staring at the inside of the gym. So I went outside and started to run.

Question 3: What do you enjoy most about running?
Answer 3: I love that it's just me & the pavement. Nobody judging me, competing against me. Just me. Time to think, create, plan, dream.

Question 4: Random/Non-Running Question: What is you favorite Christmas movie and why?
Answer 4: The Grinch, because so many times I think the Spirit of Christmas is lost in lines & gift wrap.

Question 5: What has been your favorite marathon or half-marathon experience and why?
Answer 5: The Columbus Marathon this past October.  It was my 1st full and a great experience. I was so humbled and grateful for being able to run.

Question 6: Why do you want to run the Blue Ridge Marathon?
Answer 6: (took 2 tweets...) I was challenged by a friend and I love new opportunities to see myself grow as a runner. It will be a challenge but what better way to grow and have wonderful experiences along the way. Prove to yourself what you are made of! :) 

Great thoughts Michelle! Thanks for sharing and congratulations! 

As I said before, you can keep up with Michelle's training on her Twitter feed (HERE).  

If you entered... but didn't win... the free registration to the Blue Ridge Marathon, you can still register for the Blue Ridge Marathon (HERE).  Additionally, there are others who are running the Blue Ridge Marathon who will be offering free registrations.  As I see them posted on Twitter, I will retweet them on my feed... so keep following me.  You can also follow the hashtag #runBlueRidge for tweets from anyone running Blue Ridge! 

Keep running friends!

Monday, November 26, 2012

What's Next: Blue Ridge Marathon!

It's been almost 2 months since the Chicago marathon.  It's hard to believe that it's been that long already... but it has.  Last week, I jumped in on a turkey trot in Columbus and felt really good.  So it's time to get back into the training ring.

So... I thought I'd tell you all what's next for me and how you can be a part of it!

Some have called me crazy... and there may be some precedent for that.  But I've decided to set my eyes on America's Toughest Road Marathon... The Blue Ridge Marathon.

I know what you're thinking, "Really Jim, how could they know that?"  Take a look at the course map and the elevation map if you don't believe me... about 7,200 feet of elevation change over the course of the marathon.  (The Chicago Marathon... that I just did... elevation change of about 30 feet...)

Needless to say: I'm going to be spending some time on the hills training for this marathon.

But I've picked this marathon for a couple of reasons (and I think you should too):

  • First, It's small! After Chicago (45,000 runners), I'm ready for something a little smaller.
  • Second, it's a challenge.  It's going to be really, really hilly.  I've never done anything like that so it's going to force me to change my training cycle to get the job done.  
  • Third, it's in an area of the country that I've never run in before... Roanoke, VA and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  
  • Fourth, some friends of mine are going to be a part of it... and I've never had the chance to run a marathon with them!

So...  I've teamed up with them as an "official blogger" for this year's coming marathon.  "What does that mean?" you ask.

A couple of things...
First, I'll be blogging about my experiences in training, running and after the race in evaluation.

Second, I'm helping them out with some promotion of the event!

But third, it means that you could win a free entry into either the half marathon or the full marathon.  I'll tell you how you can do that in a second.

Take a look at the course video... along a map and elevation marker... and see if this is something YOU want to tackle:

If you think you'd like to put the Blue Ridge Marathon on your calendar for April 19 and 20 and run with me, here's how you can do that:

  1. First, follow me on Twitter... @jimmclark.
  2. Second, follow the Blue Ridge Marathon on Twitter... @BRM26pt2.
  3. Third, post this tweet exactly (without the quotation marks, of course) to your Twitter feed: "thinking about running America's toughest road marathon: crazy? You could win a free registration! @jimmclark @BRM26pt2 "
  4. Fourth, post that tweet each day to your twitter feed to receive another entry per day through Friday 9 pm (eastern time). 
  5. Fifth, post in the comments below that you did all those and you'll receive up to seven entries (2 for the follows and up to 5 for the Tweets) for the race entry of your choice: half marathon or full marathon.  Include in the comments below your name, your email address (so I know how to get in touch with you if you win), your Twitter name (so I can count the entries) and what you would prefer: a half marathon entry or a full marathon entry.  
I will choose a random winner on Saturday morning and contact that individual.  

Happy Running... and Good Luck! 

Keep running friends!

Jim Clark

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): As an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I am receiving a free entry into the Blue Ridge Marathon in exchange for promoting this event.  This in no way discredits any opinion I may or may not have about the marathon or my excitement about participating in the marathon.  My opinions and excitement about the race are solely mine and are not the product of anyone other than the author.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Returning to the Turkey Trotting World...

My first race 3 years ago was a turkey trot... the Naperville Lion's Turkey Trot.  I haven't run a turkey trot... or Thanksgiving Day run... since.

This Thursday, I return to the turkey trot crew... I'm running the sold-out Flying Feather Four-Miler in Dublin, Ohio.  And I couldn't be happier.  I'm running with one of the ministers on staff, Donnie, and it should be rad!

It will be my first time running a 4 mile race.  I've done the 3.1 miler... and obviously further... but never just a 4 miler.

Overall... I'm feeling good.  I have been resting quite a bit since Chicago and am ready to get back into the ring and back into a regular training cycle.

Just thought I'd share!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Fun... Skydiving Cats!!

I'm not sure exactly what they are advertising... but I think it's insurance...
But you can't beat skydiving cats!

Now, there's a tag I never thought I'd put on a blog post...


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Evernote - Youth Ministry Tech

I'm just going to put it out there...

Evernote helps me get stuff done.  Flat out.  

I'm not being paid for this spot... I am receiving no benefit whatsoever other than passing along a good thing.  So, this is a genuine recommendation. 

I love Evernote.

Saturday, I was sitting in a gathering/meeting with some other youth pastors.  As my faithful readers will know, last summer I declared the age of the Moleskine in my workflow dead.  At that point, I moved exclusively to working in Evernote.  In this meeting, one of the other youth pastors commented that he had been saving notes in the "notes" app on his iPhone.  When I asked him if he used Evernote, he looked at me like I had 3 heads and 7 eyes (which I don't... in case you were wondering...).  Briefly, in about 2 minutes, I explained the awesomeness that is Evernote and we moved on.  Then he said, "we should have a tech day at our youth ministry gathering."

Then it dawned on me... There are still some who don't know about this wonderful Evernote service.

If you haven't heard, Evernote is an amazing program for just about any device you have.  My experience is Mac-based... sorry PC users... But I have Evernote as an app on my MacBook Pro, my iPhone 3Gs (yeah, still rockin it old school) and my iPad (3rd gen).  Basically, it allows you to create a note... about just about anything... and then tag it and upload it so you have access to it on any of your other devices.  Additionally, you can created notebooks where you can keep notes organized according to type or function.

Currently, I have approximately 1,100 notes in Evernote in a handful of notebooks.  Everything from shopping lists at Home Depot to ideas for upcoming events (like our Holiday Lock-In that I'm planning right now).  The tagging option is great because then I can go back and search for a note and find it. Additionally, most web browsers (I use Safari... but they also have a Firefox app... no idea if Internet Explorer does (does anyone actually still use IE?)) have a clipping option where you can clip articles or pages and save them in Evernote.  I clip blogs... games... ideas... pictures... just about everything that I think I might have a use for down the line.  Then I tag it and I can find it quickly in the future.

As if that wasn't enough... you can email email messages to Evernote and it will add them as notes... You can send tweets to it and it will save them as well.  It really is a handy tool.

One of the best parts: it's free (up to 60mg a month)!!! For a small investment, you can get more storage.  But honestly, I have rarely gotten close to maxing out my monthly free limit (only a couple of times when uploading hi-res photos).  Want to check it out for yourself, head right over here and get rolling.  They just released new apps for the Mac iOS and they are really slick and well put together.

Good stuff...
Check it out and get stuff done!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicago Medal and Catch Up

It's nothing personal...
Honest... it isn't...

I haven't blogged in quite some time.  And honestly, its not you, it's me.  My life has been so crazy lately that I really haven't had time.  I know, I know, you make time for what's important.  I guess you know where that puts my blog.  Over the past month, we have bought a house... painted... cleaned...  packed... moved... unpacked some... had a baby shower... unpacked some more... and there is still more to do and more to unpack.

But I'll try to do better.

Here are a few pictures wrapping up my Chicago marathon experience.  It was a great experience.  But now I know why marathon runners say not to try to do amazing things at a major marathon, like Chicago.  It was huge!  This was one of the biggest marathons in Chicago history... 45,000 runners and about 39,000 finishers.

To the left, you can see my official Garmin time. (All the watch data is here... including splits... if you're into that sort of thing.)

But it was fun.
I did well.  I set a new Personal Record by 6 minutes.  It wasn't was I had hoped for... but I think I set my sights too high.  So, I'll take the new PR.  Below is my official data from the Chicago Marathon's website.

Not bad.

The best thing about the Chicago marathon was the money raised for Active Water.  I raised, through the help of some awesome people, $820 for clean water in Africa!

That's amazing and made the experience all the better.
I have a new piece of hardware... and a new shadowbox to do.  Actually, I think I have two to do... which shows I'm not only behind in my blogging.

Oh well.

Keep running friends!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Running for Active Water Means to Africa...

Many of you know that I run for Active Water... a non-profit running and endurance athlete group dedicated to clean drinking water for people around the world.

I saw this video from their latest newsletter and thought I would share it.  The $800 plus raised by my friends and supporters for Chicago went to help provide these filters...

Watch for yourself:

Executive Director Shares About The Delivery of Bio-Sand Filters In The Community from ActiveWater on Vimeo.

Video HERE.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

One more week for Active Water!!

First off... If you have already donated to Active Water for me,
        THANK YOU!
        THANK YOU!
        THANK YOU!

But I am sooooo close to 100%.  I am a little more from $300 from being fully funded for my Chicago Marathon on Sunday.

Only one more week!

If you haven't had a chance to donate yet, get on board... send me to Chicago fully funded.  All of you money goes to help children and families in Africa have clean water.

For more information, go HERE and HERE.  To donate, go HERE!

Send me to Chi-town fully funded!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - I am Second® - Sujo John

A powerful video from a 9/11 survivor...
A powerful reminder to be about the things that matter for God's Kingdom...

Check it out HERE.



It's a boy!!!

Friday, September 07, 2012

If you're wondering why I'm raising money for...

If you're wondering why I'm raising money and running for Active Water... Watch this video:

Children using a Hand Pump Well In Zambia, Africa from ActiveWater on Vimeo.

Then head over HERE and donate to help me raise money so more kids have clean water like these do!


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Get Back In The Saddle

We all have one every now and again...
It keeps up without warning...
Boom... it's there!

A bad run!

One crept up on me this week.  In my training, I've been alternating between Yasso 800's, Hill Sprints and Tempo runs on Tuesdays for some variety.  This week, Yasso's were up.  I didn't have time on Tuesday to run up to the high school where I usually do my Yasso's on the track where I coach... so I bumped them to Wednesday and decided to hit the local walking track instead. 

The session started out well.  I was set for 7 cycles of 800 runs in a 4 minute time frame with 400 jogs between.  The first one was normal... the next two were amazing, about 20 seconds faster than normal.  I was excited about the possibility of the remaining four. 

Then it hit me... a brutal side cramp came out of nowhere.  You know the kind where you can barely move.  I tried stretching... I tried breathing... I tried running it out... Nothing worked.  With that cramp hanging around, I couldn't get back up to speed.  The incredible start to my Yasso's was wasted.  I limped home defeated. 

How do you handle a bad run?

You get back out there the next day!  You get back in the saddle, so to speak! The next morning, I got up as I usually do and went out and did a 10 miler! Back in the saddle!

When you have a bad run, focus on the good that you accomplished.  There is always a little good.  Maybe the only good is that you ran while others didn't.  Then get back out there the next day and do it again.  Sitting on the couch... licking your wounds... isn't going to help. 

Get back in the saddle!
Get out there!

See you out there!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Help me... As We Help Others!

It has been an extremely hot and dry summer... possibly one of the hottest in a while.  As a runner, this has been both a blessing and a curse.  It's been a blessing because the weather has been pretty consistent: sunny and hot (the absence of rain is good for training).  But it's been a curse because I have consumed so... much... water...

I don't know about you, but I often don't think twice about going into the kitchen, turning on the faucet and filling up my glass. What continues to amaze me is that there are still millions around the world who don't know what that feels like.  Because they don't have access to ANY clean water.

What they are forced to drink is dirty at the least... contaminated with deadly bacteria at the worst.

That's where Active Water is trying to step in. 

Active Water is a nonprofit group of endurance athletes (folks who run marathons, half-marathons, triathlons, etc) who are dependent on water for their training who are trying to help provide clean, drinkable water for families around the globe who don't have access to clean water.

You might be thinking... "What can a little bit of money donated help in the face of so many without water?" Well:
  • $25 will provide one Africa with clean water for the rest of his or her life! 
  • $85 will provide one family with a bio-sand filter which will provide their whole family with clean water for 20 years! 
  • $4,000 will provide a clean well for an entire village!
So... even a little bit goes a long way!

So... here's what I'll do! I've been doing the hard work all summer... running... training... sweating... and preparing for the Chicago Marathon on October 7th.   I've joined Active Water's Team Chicago for the Chicago Marathon.  Together: We are trying to raise $40,000 for clean water in Africa.  I will go out and run the 26.2 miles of the Chicago Marathon.

Here's what I'd like to ask you to prayerfully consider: Go over to my donation page and make a small donation to Active Water.  I am setting a goal of raising $1,000 to help my team reach it's $40,000 goal.  Even a small donation: $5... $10... would be awesome!  If you can make a larger donation: $20... $50... $100... that would be awesome as well!

All the money that I collect goes to Active Water... none is kept by me.  Let me say that again: 100% of what I raise goes directly to Active Water.  It's all about providing water for those without.  If you would rather not make an online donation and would rather hand me you donation, I'd be happy to donate it for you.  It's all about clean water!

Will you help me???
Will you help Active Water???
Will you help a few of the millions in Africa without clean water???

I just thought of this... this might be a bit goofy... but it could be cool as well.  For everyone that donates to Active Water... I will write your name on my legs or arms in black marker for the race!  While you can't be personally with me, your support will carry me through the race and I'll carry your name on my body! The more you donate... the bigger and darker the letters!!!  Who's in?

Let's do it! Go HERE to donate!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Honor the Rest

Exodus 20:8-10
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work...

One of the instructions that God gave to his people was an expectation of rest.  God knows us.  He knows that we will work non-stop if we are allowed (some of us will...).  So he expected his people to take one day off per week. 

Last week was a hard week for me as a runner.  Last week was an intentional mileage cut back week.  I build a couple of these into my marathon training plan when my mileage gets really high (for me).  It gives me a bit of a mental break.  It gives my legs and muscles a bit of a break as well.  But it's so hard to cut back.  It's so hard when my mileage is high (54 miles the week before and this week) to not run that many miles.  When I'm used to running 12 to 20 mile runs to only do medium 9 to 12 mile runs. 

But I must. 

If I want to stay healthy... I must rest. 
If you want to stay healthy... you must rest. 

It's not a suggestion... It's not a good idea... It's a command. 

In the midst of marathon training... I take one day a week off (Thursdays).  No running... No walking... No nothing.  I throw in a couple of cutback weeks at the height of mileage.  Your body needs the rest and the break.  Your minds needs it too! 

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I might be crazy... But I...

Just signed up for the hardest road marathon in America...

The Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA! If you don't believe me, take a look at this video:

Looks pretty intense. 
I don't yet have Chicago under my belt... But I always want to know "what is next..."

Well... The Blue Ridge Marathon is next! April 20, 2013!  I registered "officially" today and booked my hotel room. 

Join me???


Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 CIY Mix Video

If you missed the CIY Mix video this morning, featured as a countdown, here it is.  Enjoy!

Click HERE if you'd like a direct link. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Fun - Muppet Show - Mahna Mahna!

Nothing like some pink cow-like things and muppet craziness to add a little fun to this Friday! Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Mileage Markers

Anyone who runs knows the importance of mileage markers.  Without them, I don't know how far I've gone on a run.  There are a variety of ways to figure that out... GPS watch... websites like mapmyrun... or the old fashioned drive around with your car and check the mileage.

Those are vital to any runner.

But I'm not talking about those markers today.  Today I officially crossed 3,000 miles running (with my 7x Yasso 800's this morning).  I'm not sure if I'm due for an oil change or not but I'm totally blown away by this little factoid.  (Check out my mileage and connect with me on DailyMile!)

Here's the thing: Keeping track and remembering this little mileage markers keeps you going.  It gives you something to look back on... something to celebrate... something to gauge how far you've come.  It's vital to look back every once in a while.

Running is hard.  It's hard work... and it takes a lot out of you.  Take a few moments every once in a while and see how far you've come since you started in the same way that you take a few moments every time you run and look back to see how far you went that day!  You can look back by tracking your mileage online (DailyMile is a good place) or a paper mileage journal will work too.  Just find a way to keep track of it and do it!

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Well... that cat is out of the bag...

We have been working very hard for the past two months to keep that cat IN the bag (although a few folks figured it out).  But now... we're happy to have it OUT running around. 

If you missed the big social media news last night, Jackie and I are expecting our first child.  She is 16 weeks along... this is the 10 week ultrasound from the beginning of July. 

We've kept it on the down-low because we wanted to visit our doctor a couple of times and make sure everything was alright.  Then we wanted a chance to tell our families (which we did), some of best friends, our youth leaders at church (which also fall into the "best friends" category) and our students.  But now... the news is out!  After we told our students last night at the "Back to School Swim Party", I posted it to Twitter and Facebook! 

We are both very excited! We will know the sex of the baby after our next appointment (in about two weeks), when we will get another ultrasound.  We plan to share that news with everyone.  We are not, however, planning to share the baby's name with anyone until he or she arrives. 

Right now... we're focusing on landing a house and a space for a nursery for the little one! And I'm... I'm excited to be able to openly tweet and post all the funny things about my wife being pregnant (within reason, of course... you know me!).  She is having some of the weirdest cravings and choosing some of the weirdest meal choices.  Right now, she is totally addicted to anything vinegar based... pickles... ketchup (I caught her eating ketchup out of the little cup at McDonald's the other day)... Weird! 

More on this front to come!  This is going to be fun!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

3 Years Running...

Happy Anniversary to me. 

I've been running for three years now.  My first run was officially on today... August 15... in 2009.  So... maybe I'll take a minute to look back. 

Since then, I've run:
  • 1 full marathon (Air Force - 2011)
  • 3 half marathons (Akron, 2010, Flying Pig 2011 and Cap City 2012)
  • 6 5k's (too many to list)
  • Nearly 3,000 miles

It's good to stop and look back.

Next: Chicago Marathon in October!

Keep running friends!


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Matt McGill - Track and Field Sports Instructional Video

Oh man!
Matt McGill Sports Instructional videos are back!  And just in time for the Olympics! Love this guy!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Homemade Gatorade Recipe

It's been a while since I've posted up a Quick Running Tip... no better time than the present. 

Summer is here! 
I don't know where you are... but where I am, it's been hot.  This week is the first week in quite some time that we are beginning to see overnight lows dipping back into the upper 50's, which is great for those early morning runs. 
It's been hot. 

With my Chicago Marathon training in full swing (my first ever 50 mile week is happening this week), I'm taking in a lot of fluids... before, during and after my runs. 

If you haven't checked the grocery stores, Gatorade is great... but expensive.  Unless you're sponsored by Gatorade (and I'd love to be if you could hook me up), you could spend a small fortune on Gatorade each week.  I've discovered a super-cheap recipe for homemade Gatorade that my wife has tweaked to where it tastes almost identical (in my humble opinion) to the lemonade flavor of Gatorade... which is my favorite. 

Here it is:
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (but could use splenda to save a few calories)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of hot water
  • 1/4 of apple juice (the original recipe called for orange juice... but apple makes it taste like lemonade (don't ask me why)... but you could use cranberry juice or experiment with other juices)
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice (or lemon juice if you want a little less flavor)
  • 3 1/2 cups of cold water
Directions: At the bottom of the pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water.  Add the juice and the remaining water.  Chill and drink away.  Super quick and cheap. 

I've been doubling the recipe because I'm going through a lot of it and I'm still going through a gallon or so a week.  But, at about $0.25 a jug, it's A LOT cheaper than buying Gatorade at Kroger.

Keep running... and hydrated friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Monday, August 06, 2012

I haven't forgotten you...

Hey all...
Just a quick note.  I haven't forgotten all of my faithful blog readers. 

I didn't plan it.  But it's been a busy summer.  I didn't plan to take time away from my blog... but everything just happened at the same time and so something had to give.  I've been traveling a lot with students... preaching a lot in main service at church... had a little vacation time... and been generally pretty busy. 

Hopefully you will forgive me. 
And allow me to return to my normal blog pace. 


Saturday, June 23, 2012

CIY Picture of the Day (BONUS): Saturday!


One more day...

So many good pictures.  And so many great people to include.  But I've gotta do this one.

I didn't do this week alone.  I had some incredible help.  My wife, Jackie, made her return to the summer trip team this year after taking last summer off.  Sue was back for her second year. 

Plus... couldn't have done it without my muscle... Terril and Tim... who helped me corral the boys into bed and taught some great D-Group lessons.  

Donna... who took almost 700 pictures during the week.  Most of those you've enjoyed on here and others you can view on my Facebook page or our Youth Ministry's page.  

And last, but certainly not least, Jordyn who made her first appearance on the summer trip team.  These guys did an incredible job connecting, encouraging, challenging, praying for and helping our students have an incredible week.

Thanks team!
You guys rock!


Friday, June 22, 2012

A little Friday Fun... Cadbury Eyebrows (official version)

Enjoy! It's Friday!


CIY Picture of the Day: Friday

Today, being the last day of the CIY picture of the day series on my blog, I thought I'd share the official 2012 CIY Group picture.  I love this picture!  It's an amazing place to take a picture.  It is about halfway out to Laurel Falls on the Appalachian trail near Elizabethton, TN.  Love it!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

CIY Picture of the Day: Thursday

In keeping with this week-long series, there is one thing that I love (maybe the most) about CIY Move... it's the relationships that are established and built up during the week. 

These pictures feature girls and guys... graduated seniors and incoming freshman... kids from four different school districts (Zanesville HS, Tri-Valley, West Muskingum, & Maysville). 

And they are all playing together... enjoying each other's presence.  Without this week of conference, these kids would never have hung out at the pool. 

Splashed around... 

And had fun together. 

Love it!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CIY Picture of the Day: Wednesday

I'm going to cheat a bit in today's CIY picture of the day... because the picture is actually from Thursday night.  But I'm going to throw it in on Wednesday because I already have Thursday's picture picked out. 

One of the great things about this week of conference was the worship.  Brandon Grissom, from Willow Creek, did an incredible job leading the students in worship all week.  Thursday night, when this picture was taken, was a night dealing with forgiveness.  Each of the students wore a white shirt with a red piece of paper tapes to the shirt reminding them of something that they needed to be forgiven for or something that someone needed to forgive them for.  During the service (at this very point), they were challenged to talk to someone about what was written on their paper.  Only after talking with someone about their issue of forgiveness could they remove their paper. 

But I love this picture because of the white shirts... in the dark room, you can see all the students! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CIY Picture of the Day: Tuesday

Continuing in my week-long series of some images from CIY Move last week, here is Alex digging into some morning encounter time. 

Every year, as we are beginning the week of conference, we ask the students some form of this question: "Why have you come this week to CIY?"  Answers usually vary... but almost always, this answer pops up more than any other: "I've drifted from my relationship with God and I need to get back." 

It's a natural occurrence.  School, sports, friends, girlfriends/boyfriends, homework, part-time jobs, families and much more begin to crowd in on the time that students have to dedicate to God every day.

CIY makes space for rekindling that fire.  Every day our students had 20 minutes to dig into a morning devotion, some Scripture and an opportunity to reconnect with God one on one... just as Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Jesus had on a regular basis.


Monday, June 18, 2012

CIY Picture of the Day: Monday

Back in the day... like 5-8 years ago... I would try to post 8-10 pictures from our CIY trip to my blog.  I would give a brief description of what was happening in the photo and give parents, leaders at our church and anyone who was regular to my blog an idea of what was happening at CIY. 

Since Facebook has made sharing of pictures so much easier and digital cameras have made it so much easier to take pictures, posting a few pictures to my blog every day didn't seem realistic... especially when you're too tired to sit up straight. 

Since I've got about 900 pictures from this week (thanks to Donna, Sue, Jordyn and Terril), I thought I would go through and pick a picture or two from each day to share with a little description of why I like this picture so much. 

Up first: Monday. 
With the conference being in Knoxville, the drive time from Zanesville to Knoxville would have been a little tough for one day.  So Sunday night we traveled to Johnson City, TN and stayed at a friend's church.  With some extra time on Monday, we visited the Appalachian trail and Laurel Falls.  There are a couple of great things about this part of the trip. 

First, most of these kids have never been out in the woods like this.  There are some incredible views (my wife Jackie and one of our juniors Reagan are enjoying one here).  So it gets them out of their element a bit. 

Second, it's an opportunity to begin to build some relationships and step outside of their comfortable cliques of friends.  I don't know what it is... but when we unload the vans and start to head out, kids begin to talk to one another and walk with different folks and hang with different people.  It's quite unexplainable.  But it happens.

And it's crucial to the week!

Plus it just makes for some great pictures!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daily Read - May 30, 2012

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Talking To Yourself (May 29, 2012)

A few weeks back, I posted THIS VIDEO of a twitter-friend of mine.  In the video, she is repeating to herself the motto: "I run this body.

Last week, I was watching the Conan O'Brien show on TBS (as I do regularly).  Every once in a while he does a bit where he pretends to cry over something and as the tear rolls down his cheek, he drinks it and flexes his muscles and says, "I drank the tear and it made me strong.

The past week has been a tough week of running... with daytime temps in 90s with lots of humidity.  These phrases (and others) are some of the things that I think to myself... and sometimes say to myself... and sometimes say out-loud to myself as I'm running. 

And that's okay.  It's okay to talk to yourself... encourage yourself audibly while running.  We all do it.

I'm a music-listening-runner.  I listen to music on every run... even if I'm running with my wife (I have one ear bud in and one out (so I can hear her)).  Part of the reason why I do that is the positive, inspiring and challenging messages that I find in the songs. 

Take this morning for instance.  I headed out for my first tempo run of this training cycle (I have a tempo run scheduled for every third week... hill sprints... then tempo runs... then track workouts (mostly Yasso 800's).)  The tempo run expected a 1 mile warm up... then about 10-12 minutes of flat out 10k speed... then about 10 minute cool down.  As I rounded the corner onto a straight stretch that was slightly downhill, I began to pick up the pace to start the tempo part.  As I did, I hit skip on my iPod.  The next song to come up was "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins.  Anyone who is a child of the 80's knows the power of this song.  Chills started in the back of my neck and went all the day down to my feet and the pace picked up. 

It's great to encourage yourself as you're running.  Find a phrase or multiple phrases that work(s) for you.  Repeat it to yourself.  Say it out loud.  Find some music that pumps you up and let it carry you.  In the same way that the crowds cheering and chanting at a marathon, 1/2 marathon or 5k encourage you, you can encourage yourself with some phrases that challenge you to dig deep and keeping moving! 

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Daily Read - May 29, 2012

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Monday, May 28, 2012

We Remember... This Memorial Day (Skit Guys)

Daily Read - May 28, 2012

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daily Read - May 27, 2012

14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Daily Read - May 26, 2012

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Loved this quote...

I picked up a copy of Marko's latest book... A Beautiful Mess.  It is a short little e-book that I picked up for free off of Simply Youth Ministries website a couple of days ago. And I loved this quote...

"There really is a magic formula - a math equation - for great youth ministry...

A grace-filled caring adult who's willing to be present to teenagers + a smallish group of teenagers + the power of the Holy Spirit and presence of Christ = a freakin' awesome opportunity to impact the world" (page 24).

That's good stuff there.  It's so easy to get wrapped up in new ideas... programs... events... sermons... planning... outreach... programs... volunteers... programs (did I mention programs)... that we forget that youth ministry is really just an adult who loves Jesus and is growing more like him who likes and is available to teenagers and the power of God wrapped into one fun-loving ball of ministry!


Daily Read - May 25, 2012

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Youth Ministry Tech - Dropbox

I don't think that I've blogged about this... If I have, please forgive me.  But I just really love this tech.

I love the Dropbox program!

I have multiple computers that I use on a regular basis for different things.  My main MacBook pro.  But I also have an iPhone.  Hopefully soon, I have an iPad.  I also have a windows computer that runs slides in the hallway at church.  Additionally, my wife has a MacBook.  I'm always moving files around to different machines or wanting to have some of those files on my phone and will want them on my iPad (when I get it). 

Dropbox is perfect for that. 

It's free.  You can create a free account HERE.  It creates a file folder on the harddrive of your computer.  Whatever documents, pictures, files, etc, that you put into that folder will be available on whatever other computers have access to that folder.  If you want to share a file, document, presentation or whatever with someone else, you can create a shared folder with anyone.  They can upload from anywhere they have internet and "boom!", it's on your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod or whatever you have it linked to (depending on your network speed and the size of the doc, pic, etc, it might take a couple of minutes to upload).

Easy peazy!!!

I use this program to share documents with folks around the office.  My wife puts documents in there that she wants me to see or that we edit together.  I put mp3s in there of music that I want our student worship band to check out.  I put docs on there that I want to have access to on my phone. Good stuff.
You get a small amount to start out.  But if you jump through a couple of hoops, you get some more.  If folks join based on your usage, you get some more (up to 16gb).  It's not great for moving huge files like 2gb movie files, as it take a while to upload (unless you start it and walk away for a couple of hours) but it still works pretty great! 

Check it out and get started HERE.  Would I steer you wrong?


Daily Read - May 24, 2012

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Read - May 23, 2012

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”