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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Running

4th of July race in Cedar Rapids

Though I’ve announced I’ll soon end my tutoring “career,” I’m continuing with my brave adventures. Wish the weather would cooperate.

I’ll soon be back out on the trails, taking those long walks, getting back into some sort of running shape so I can tackle a 10K this year. A year ago I said I’d do a different length race each year. I’ve done plenty of 5Ks so there is no challenge left there (I guess if I cared about speed, I could work on that, but I don’t). After completing a 10K, I’m looking at a pretty big milestone for this late-in-life runner…in the year I turn 60, I want to run a half-marathon. Some would say I’m stupid (that may be the voice in my head, I’m not sure)…I choose to say I’m being brave.

To me, bravery is facing the giants in our lives…no matter if they are just in our heads. What do I fear? What do I see as insurmountable? What do I see as impossible? Do I allow my age to hold me back from potential adventures? Do I think it’s too late to try some new things? Not yet.

I’ve got a few things in the works to stretch my “fear factor” but I’m not going to allow the argument “I’ve never done this before” to be the deciding factor. Now, I’m not silly. I know my limitations physically. I won’t be taking up any extreme sports or gladiator challenges. Not yet anyway.

I hope you are cheering on those around you who are venturing out of their comfort zones to take up new exploits. My inner cheerleader shouts encouragement when I see my friends stand up and go forth and conquer fear.

I hope YOU are taking up new things. Maybe it’s beginning a fitness program, or letting go of an addiction, or learning a new skill. Don’t allow fear or insecurity keep you from reaching out and grabbing all that God has in front of you to do. I’ll be cheering you on!!

Not_Too_Old_Late

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Pride.

It’s a nasty thing. Pride keeps me from trying new things, meeting new people, and praying fresh prayers. I don’t want to look foolish or feel uncomfortable. I want people to think highly of me or more accurately, not find fault with me. So I try to be perfect. And fail miserably.

Within the last few years I’ve come to accept my shortcomings a little more. I know now that I’m missing out on fun adventures and amazing friendships. I’ve attempted to live a little bigger and give silliness a try once in a while. As I’ve grown older (and grayer), I’ve tried to see the world through new eyes. Instead of wasting time criticizing others’ looks and behavior, while trying to appear “exactly right,” I’m letting go of pride and embracing who God made me to be. Sometimes silly. Sometimes adventurous. Always less than perfect.

Kris_Morgan_dancing

I still fail. Often.

I still struggle with pride every. single. day.

But I will not give up. Life is too short to give in to an issue that has no place in my life. Or yours. Let go of pride and pick up your dancing shoes.

“Pride leads to destruction.
    A proud attitude brings ruin.” Proverbs 16:18 (ICB)

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Stream_2_Yosemite

I know I am a blessed woman. I’m so grateful for the many friends I’ve made throughout my life…the many places I’ve visited…the many opportunities I’ve had to travel, work, play, serve and enjoy life. I have thousands of pictures in my head of places I’ve been, people I’ve met, and memories I’ve made.

My view of my world includes:

  • That breathlessness in my chest when I walked up the steps to see the grassy field and ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field for the first time. I stood in quiet wonder as people swarmed in and out, beer and cotton candy vendors selling their wares. Definitely a forever picture.
  • The magnificence of El Capitan and Half Dome,Half_Dome_distance the gurgling waters of streams rolling through the forests, the blackened trunks of burnt pine trees, and the awe-inspiring heights of sequoia trees – all this kept me snapping almost 400 iPhone photos on my week’s vacation visiting my first national parks.
  • Looking out my plane window to see the Grand Canyon spread out in all its glory below me. What a great view I had from 15,000 feet! Couldn’t get a stamp for my new national park passbook, but I should did get a pretty good picture!Phoenix_race
  • The view of the finish line as I ran the last hundred yards of my half-marathon relay with my brother in Phoenix, holding hands over our heads as the emotion of the moment overwhelmed me.

Also:

  • My first glimpse of my nervous bridegroom waiting for me at the end of the church aisle.
  • Crying as I hold my first-born son in my arms after a very traumatic labor and delivery, his brown eyes staring up at me.
  • My throat closed with emotion as I hold my second-born son, after his non-emergency C-section turned into a few anxious moments….once again, looking into sleepy deep brown eyes.
  • Looking out over my classmates during our high school graduation in that little gym in Durand many years ago, excited to think that my life was about to change forever but having no idea how much.
  • The indescribable views from the top of the Arch in St. Louis, the pinnacle of the Washington Monument, the basket of a hot air balloon, the viewing platform at the summit of Pikes Peak and tramway ride up to the crest line of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico.Sean_strech
  • Some of my favorite moments are just normal, everyday sights…like looking out my kitchen window while I did the dishes, watching my kids play in our backyard. Or the misty view of David’s back as he heads off on one of his many trips to places around the world. Or recognizing Sean’s signature stretch before he steps into the batter’s box.Grandpa_boys_lawnmower Or looking through our bookcase for a naptime story. Or watching my dad take his grandkids for rides on the John Deere lawnmower.

But my favorite view and the one for which I’m most grateful is my view forward…into the continuing journey I have ahead of me. It isn’t always clear but I know it will be full of fun and adventure. I don’t regret any of my past experiences but I desire to be intentional in looking ahead…always onward!

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daily-routinesThere’s nothing inherently wrong with liking routine. In fact, most of us would be a whirling mass of chaos if we didn’t have a set routine to follow, for at least a portion of our day. As a list-maker (and follower), I need the day-to-day routines in order to function well. I wear a lot of different hats each day and without a set routine, I’d be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong supplies more often than not.

As a working woman, I get up early Monday through Friday to achieve as much as possible prior to heading to my job. I have a to-do list with me at all times and often type myself a quick reminder in my iPhone, if I’m without paper and pencil. (Oh yes – the pencil. The master tool of any list maker! I don’t have the confidence to write my calendar items in pen…though I have been known to complete a crossword puzzle in ink.)

Routine helps us complete our commitments…give us confidence that we are where we need to be…assists us in getting the most accomplished in the least amount of time. There are no surprises in routine.

BUT, routine can be a adventure-killer. Routine can become a fixed mindset, keeping you from enjoying the journey you take everyday. Routine can keep us from embracing the experience, discovering the treasures hidden in each day.

I’ve enjoyed developing routines but I’ve totally embraced the wonder of new things, new places, new food, new people, and even new routines. Don’t allow yourself to get stale by doing the same thing over and over. It becomes mindless…our vision blurs…our ears tune out the voices around us…our feet become entrenched and that is when a routine becomes a rut. I would rather consider routine as a thin wire act – delicately balancing the new and the old, the sameness of routine blending with the excitement of discovery.

So put away your pencil, your list, your time piece and take a walk outside…spur of the moment, go off grid for an hour, change up your routine for a day. The freshness will blow those left over winter cobwebs right out and you’ll be able to enjoy the hope of spring with a fresh sense of adventure!

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I love that memories feature on Facebook. If you have a consistent social media presence, you know what I mean. It pops up in your notifications once a day, reminding you of what you posted on that date as far back as you’ve been on Facebook. I enjoy seeing what I’ve written throughout the years. It gives me perspective on what I was going through that day, or the events and activities I was a part of. Yesterday was a significant anniversary in the McGarvey family. It was seven years ago that we made a pretty big announcement.

The next step…

It’s now official.
What our family has known for certain for the last six months is now public knowledge.
The McGarveys are making a step of faith and joining with God in a new adventure.
God has somewhere else for us to be.
He’s preparing another church, another town, another home for us.
It’s all uncertainty and sadness and apprehension…yet, also excitement and joy and anticipation.
The Lord is for us – we are not afraid.
The Lord is for us – He has somewhere that He’d really like us to minister.
The Lord is for us – His plans are perfect for each of us.
So we wait, and listen, and pray.
We’d love for you to join us on this journey.
Maybe you can’t move with us – but through Facebook and other technology, we can keep you up-to-date on all that’s happening, or not.
We’d love to have you praying with us.
We’d like direction, guidance, wisdom, discernment for our decisions.
But then again, who wouldn’t?
Can’t wait to see what God has in store!

 

Golly! Look at my kids! So young… By the way – I still have that sweater and Don still wears that suit.

Hindsight – we were so excited, so sure we would be moving away, positive it wouldn’t be long before we’d be set up in a new church, confident in God’s provision and timing (but secretly hoping it would be very, very soon). My boys were still in high school so I was filled with mixed emotions. How could I tear them away from their friends or the only church they had ever known? How would David handle his senior year of high school in a different city? What if they hated it? We had many, many more questions than answers. And that turned out to be our new normal.

We started boxing up belongings – to get a head start on what we knew would be happening. We researched open churches across the country. Updated and sent out our resume. Regrettably, I even took Sean out of basketball for a year, because we were confident we would be moving away from Cedar Rapids and headed to our new church. Somewhere. Remember this sentence – God’s ways are not our ways – it’ll save you grief if you just believe it and live it and not argue about it.

We were right. The Lord was (and is) for us. He did have places for us to minister. We worked beside and made friends with wonderful people in many churches and ministries, yet never had a “place” we knew was for us.We learned some hard lessons, cried buckets, saw God’s provision every. single. day. We learned about faith, and trust, and pride. We received answers to prayers for direction, guidance, wisdom and discernment…but never for the one we really wanted. Where do you want us, Lord? Well, not until last August. When God’s sweet Spirit said…here. Here in Troy Mills. Until last summer, when a little church 25 minutes north of Cedar Rapids emailed and asked if “maybe you’d be interested in being our pastor.” For seven years, God was working on the people of that little church and really, really working on us. Preparing us for them, and them for us.

We absolutely love our little church. It is filled with wonderful, generous, kindhearted people who, for some reason, really like us. They work hard to reach out and serve their community. They are our friends and we treasure each and every time we are together. God has been so good to us. And I still have stuff boxed up. God put us exactly where we needed to be. And He’ll do the same for you. But it may not be easy. Actually, it definitely won’t be easy. But it’s worth it. It is so worth it.

 

 

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Finish Well

I ran another 5k last weekend. It wasn’t very fun…at least not the running part. It was hot and already 100% humidity at 8 a.m. One of my good friends was running also. Alanna’s a different class of runner than I am. She loves the long stuff…8-10 mile training runs are nothing for her. She’s a beautiful and godly woman who I have known for over 10 years. When we first met, Alanna was very shy and quiet. She was hesitant to share her opinion, but very willing to help in any way. She’s a great wife and mother and in recent years, has grown into leadership abilities I would guess she never thought she had.

On Saturday I noticed her confidence. She has found her place and she walks in it with assurance. She has grown and matured and, though she’s still quiet, she isn’t afraid to speak up and share her advice and encouragement.

We had a nice time getting reacquainted prior to the start of the race but I knew once the race began, I would be eating her dust. And I was totally ok with that!

The race began and I took off at my normal pace…slow. The weather conditions were ugly. I’ll take running in rain or snow over heat and humidity any day. The route was well marked but I knew I was in trouble when I had to stop and walk at the first mile mark. Though I’m not fast, I can usually run the whole 3.2 mile distance. But by mile two, I was struggling to run more than a half mile at a time. I knew my time was shot but I was moving forward and making little goals along the way.

I always have my run app going through my phone so every half-mile I’d hear the app’s voice tell me how far I’ve gone, how long it’s taking me and my pace. It helps me realize how far I have left to go. At mile three I knew I only had two-tenths of a mile and I was determined to gut it out. There was a turn in the course ahead of me so I assumed the finish line was just around the corner. Then I saw my friend Alanna coming toward me. She met me saying, “I’m going to run you in.” It was then I realized I had further to go than I thought. As we turned the corner I saw more than a quarter mile left to go.

I can’t describe how discouraged I became at that moment. Physically I really didn’t think I could do it. I knew I could walk it in, but Alanna was running alongside me and, to be honest, I didn’t want to disappoint her. I wanted to finish well…or as well as I could. I felt sick, my legs were rubber, I was panting, almost gasping, and sweat was dripping in my eyes. I was literally “a hot mess.” But I prayed “God, just get me home,” and with Alanna’s verbal encouragement and physical presence, I dug a little deeper and ran across the finish line.

My time was awful – but that wasn’t the important lesson. Here are my takeaways:

  • Train hard. It’s the everyday journey through life that prepares you for those sudden races that occasionally pop up.
  • Run your own race. It doesn’t matter where you are in comparison to other runners. You are the best “you” there can ever be. Be good with it.
  • Don’t believe the voice in your head. Keep your eyes and ears on the truth. My app was “off” on the distance of the 5k and I had put my whole mindset on its veracity. When I realized I had more to go, I was so discouraged. Run using the sign posts along the way – the Word of God is your sign post. Let it be your training manual for your own race.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, when you are confident and secure in your race, go back and encourage someone else along the way. Alanna’s voice and presence brought me in. Without her, I probably would have dropped back to a walk which was a failure in my mind. Be the coach, cheerleader, mentor, leader – whatever term you prefer – to bring others along toward their finish line.

The times we live in are getting hotter, tougher, harder…We need each other so we can all finish well.

By the way, I got first place in my age division…I was the only one in it! One more life lesson: There are no other runners in your race. As long as you show up and finish, YOU WIN!

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Not exactly Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but my weekend is going to be tremendous. And because it will be so amazing, I started it a day early. If you’ve read any of my blogs (don’t do it now – in fact, find some better reading material for yourself. Dr. Seuss comes to mind), you know that I’ve been trying to get beyond my little world and explore things I’ve never done, or said I’d never do, during the month of April. Well – today’s April 30th. Do or die day.

There were a bunch of things on my list that I never got to. Eyebrow waxing, for one. It can wait. In fact, seems the thick eyebrow look is trending right now and I’d hate to bring it down. I also never got to a Zumba class. Tried to find a DVD for in-home use, and the local public library is woefully lacking in the Zumba category, as in…none. This naturally segues into my desire to learn how to bake bread. The library does have how-to books on bread making, but since both Don and I are watching our calories this month, it is a good thing it never happened. Just the thought of homemade cinnamon rolls causes ninja pounds to jump on my scale. I wanted to pick up garbage along the nature trail, serve lunch at a homeless shelter (actually – I have done this, just not in April), and eat veggies only on Meatless Mondays. Didn’t do any of these either. Nope, nada, zilch. But now I have a great list started for another month of “new things.”

What I DID accomplish – shorter list, but felt good, nonetheless.

Ran another 5K – through Hiawatha – finished 6th in my age group (though I was bested by two women in their 60s). Still work to be done here. My running adventure will continue.

Signed up for a public display of an art piece. Scary. I’m not an artist but I decided to go for it. It’ll be on display in Cedar Rapids’ NewBo district through the summer. Thankfully my name is only on the back so no one will really know which one is mine, except for you guys, since I’m posting a picture. Don’t tell.

2x2xU My Tree

Ate fish tacos for the first time. So good. Proceeded to make them at home. Very good. I’m a believer.

Had an authentic Chocolate-stuffed Almond Croissant from Croissant du Jour. Well, part of one. Which was probably a good thing since it was awesome and I’m sure it had more calories than I’m allowed in a week. I will definitely do that one again and take my guy.

Kris_sushi_4_30_15

Lastly, today in fact, I tried sushi for the first time. My two wonderful girls took me. They are old hands at sushi selecting and eating so I knew I would be safe. I specifically asked for one selection to be raw fish, because really, why brag about eating sushi if it’s all just rice rolled around a vegetable? Where’s the bravery in that? So one was raw salmon, one was shrimp & yam, and another was crab-something. All delicious! We had great crab rangoons too – creamy REAL crab filling – hot and oozy. Swoon-worthy. I’d definitely recommend Sushi House to anyone wanting the sushi experience without a huge price tag. My favorite part? Having Tristen and Ellie with me to explore this new thing together. They are beautiful women and I love them.

I’m certainly noticing a trend in these last few paragraphs. I seem to like food. A lot. But I guess if I keep running and working out at Curves, I’ll be okay with it.

So my big weekend continues tomorrow…road trip to Ames to see my boy. I’m expecting a superhero or two to show up, along with more good food. Of course.

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