Monday, June 30, 2008

Secret Places

I read this devotion this morning and wanted to share it here in my blog. I was just speaking to some folks yesterday about this very issue of secrecy. It isn't until we share these things with a Godly friend or counselor that we are able to actually break free from our secret places.

"He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light." Job 28:11

Have you ever noticed how often Satan uses secret things to trip us up on our journey...those secret places that reside deep within our soul that we keep hidden from others and even try to hide from God?

Think about it... pornography is usually done in secret. Excessive shopping can be done over the Internet, with no one watching. Eating disorders develop in isolation when we binge by ourselves, then purge with no one around. Or when we publicly pretend to eat, but privately starve ourselves.

The things we watch, what we think and how we spend our time are the "secret places" Satan can and will use against us. Yet often we continue in our secrecy, afraid to reach for Truth. Why?

Secret places seem safe. Secret places are familiar. Secret places feel comfortable to us. So we cling to them.

It's not that we don't want to be honest and get real about the secret places in our soul. It's just sometimes easier to keep the truth hidden than it is to get real about things from the inside-out. Though most of us crave authenticity, our fears of being "found out" are what keep us living in secret, exactly where Satan wants us to stay. The crafty, conniving one knows that if he can get us to continue to bury our secret places deep within our heart, we can't be effective for God. He knows that thoughts of our private sins will eventually eat away at us, causing us to feel fraudulent and unworthy of the love and acceptance of others, and most of all, our Heavenly Father. But the truth is, we are the ones who don't love and accept ourselves. Not God.

Friends, the message of Jesus Christ is one of hope and restoration. It is one of freedom. It is one of unconditional love and acceptance. And it is one of Truth and spiritual exposure. What He is after from all of us is greater authenticity, greater genuineness, and the Truth, found in Him. In His sovereignty, He knows it is what we truly crave. "What you're after is truth, from the inside-out" Psalm 51:6 (MSG).

So, how do we combat those secret keeping habits we've developed over time?

1) Practice telling the truth. Telling the truth is a choice and needs to be a conviction. Healthy habits can and will be formed when practiced repeatedly, and truth telling is an important habit to get into.

2) Develop a genuinely authentic faith. Recognize the importance of authenticity, and begin making it of utmost priority. Do things to strengthen your walk (prayer, Bible study, etc.) and guard your mind.

3) Recognize that no one has it all together. See Satan's lie for what it is and determine not to get into the comparison trap with others. You cannot know what a person is all about by what they look like on the outside.

4) Stop trying to be perfect, act confident, appear happy, and seem super spiritual. These are some of the most common ways we, as women, pretend. It is only when we operate in a spirit of truth and openness that we will be able to live without pretense.

5) Determine to live your life with a genuineness that others will cling to and want to emulate. Honesty facilitates honesty. When you begin to get real and honest, hiding nothing in your relationship with God and others, people will begin to take notice and follow suit. This will strengthen all of your relationships and build up your self-esteem!

When we no longer hide in our "secret places," we can venture down a different path of greater authenticity and truth, bringing us to a place of ultimate and lasting freedom. And it is in freedom that we find no value in being a secret keeper any more.

By: Lisa Whittle

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Community

Today was a very special day for Ko and I. For several years we have been serving as leaders in a couples community group at our church ( called "Connections." Today was our last day to serve as the "main" leader couple for the group and we will be stepping into a new leadership position in the fall.

We knew today was going to be more of a social gathering than our typical Bible-teaching class but little did we know the plans the group had set out for us. We were blessed by two of our pastors - Mark Davis & Pete Lackey - who came and thanked us for our service. Pete is the current "Marriage & Family" minister and he presented us with a "service towel" which is somewhat of a tradition in the Marriage & Family ministry. The towel was placed nicely in a shadow box (they joked that it wasn't for Ko to wipe himself with after Tae Kwon Do!) and it had our names inscribed on it with the scripture reference:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Col 3:23-24
After the two pastors spoke there were several more people that stood in front of the class and spoke some amazing words to us and about us. Then the class presented us with a wonderful gift basket which included gift cards for !!! What an amazing gift.
The rest of the morning consisted of some amazing video/photography footage and some yummy treats.
Ko and I have been very humbled to be part of the leadership team in this community and as we look forward to what the future holds for this community we are excited beyond belief. With the great leadership stepping up next year and the strong pastors to lead us we will no doubt be able to serve not only our community but the greater DC area.
Thank you, Connections - we are so blessed to have been by your side in service.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

To Blog or Not To Blog...that is the question

For a long time I resigned myself to think that anyone would actually want to look at my personal thoughts in the form of a blog. C'mon people - this is just today's version of a diary. Why would anyone want to read my personal diary? But, the more I thought about it the more I thought I might as well give it a whirl.

Some of you reading this may still be wondering "WHAT IS A BLOG?" You hear people talk about blogging or reading someone's blog and you might have thought you were the only one in the world that didn't know what they were talking about. So, I decided to help you out a little.

Wikipedia (which I rarely have used - although some of my friends (Tammy) think I use it regularly) describes a blog in the following way: A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries (See - I told you so!). A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.With the advent of video blogging, the word blog has taken on an even looser meaning of any bit of media wherein the subject expresses his opinion or simply talks about something.

Okay, so is this more information than you ever wanted to know about blogs and blogging?

Now, go get busy creating your own blog!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Homeschool graduations

I have found a new favorite scripture. Micah 6:8 says "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (NIV). I also like the translation from The Message: "But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously—take God seriously."

Tonight I went to my first ever homeschool graduation ceremony and I saw my favorite scripture being played out first hand. Here stood four young adults who have acted justly, loved mercy and have walked humbly with their God for their entire lives. The little girl that used to babysit our children is now all grown up and headed to college. The young man that my son looks up to in martial arts class is now becoming the man his parents always dreamed he would be. I can't wait to see how God is going to use them in the future.

As I watched the ceremony I couldn't help but think what my childrens future will be like. In only 9 short years my "little baby" will be going out on his own. Will I have taught him all he needs to know about Math, English, Science, the Lord? Will he understand the intricate details of interviewing for a job? Will he know that sex is to be saved for marriage (he better - we've been going through "God's Design For Sex" series!!!)? What more do I need to teach him so he can go out on his own into this big, sometimes scary world? ...

...then God reminded me that I am here to teach my son HIS ways and that God will do all the rest.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My official race results

It's official - here are my race times:

6th place in age group (AG), 128th overall. Time: 36:37
Swim: 6th place in AG, 153rd overall. Time: 5:33 - much better than I thought!
Bike: 2nd place in AG, 81st overall. Time: 17:21 - includes Transition 1 (T1) time
Run: 16th place in AG, 170th overall. Time: 13:44 - includes Transition 2 (T2) time

It's obvious where I lost the race - THE RUN!!! I knew my legs were dead and my breathing was horrible but I guess it's something I'll be working on in training a little harder. Time for a BRICK (Bike/Run combo training) or two...or three...

Just for comparison sake I wanted to update the blog with my race times from my first triathlon back in March. Because it was March in VA they did the swim last so my times will be a little different because of that.

March Tune Up Tri results:
4th place in AG, 108th overall. Time: 37:02
Run: 8th place in AG, 138th overall. Time: 12:05
Bike: 5th place in AG, 82nd overall. Time: 17:04 - includes T1 time.
Swim: 6th place in AG, 131st overall. Time: 7:54 - includes T2 time.

Also, just to note:

March Tune Up Tri:
T1 consisted of putting on bike helmet & sunglasses
T2 consisted of taking off run/bike clothes, bike helmet, sunglasses, shoes and socks

Manassas Mini Tri:
T1 consisted of putting on run/bike clothes, bike helmet, sunglasses, bike shoes
T2 consisted of taking off bike shoes, putting on running shoes, taking off bike helmet & sunglasses, putting on running hat, drinking some water.

I really wish I had specific transition times for these two races so I could compare how I'm actually doing both in the transition area and on each sport. Maybe the next time I'll remember to actually use my watch!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Manassas Mini Tri

I was as prepared as I could be coming into this least I thought I was!

It was really cool to have friends join me in the race this time. Now I know I'm not the only nut case out there - Mike, Tracy, Roger & Antoine are just as crazy - not to mention the 300-400 other folks that were there today.

This was my first official "in the right order" triathlon. The mini tri I raced in March had the run first, bike second and swim last. I really like that order because I'm fresh for the run and can get a good time on it. Doing the swim first (the way about 99% of triathlons are raced) was very different. By the time I got to the run my legs were drained...but I'll save that conversation for a little later.

So, the race began and I waited in line for my turn into the pool. Right away I knew I had made a big mistake when the race director said the numbers began at 300 and I was 389. That meant I was the 89th person into the pool which meant that I must have lied BIG TIME when I estimated my swim time. Anyway, I knew I would be giving it my all so I just went ahead. Each person went into the pool in 5 second increments and after I hit the pool I was getting passed in about 10 seconds. YIKES! I knew the guy behind me looked fast but he was a little faster than expected and that put a real psycological damper on my swim. During the 250 yd swim I had about 5-10 people pass me but I knew once I got on the bike I would catch up. However, after looking at my final times I seem to have actually gotten stronger in the swim than my last time.

Out of the pool into the transition area. I was pretty quick in the transition area throwing on some shorts, a shirt, my sunglasses, helmet and cycling shoes (no socks just like the REAL triathletes!). Off I went. I was breathing really hard coming out of the pool and I could barely catch my breath on the bike. It'll be interesting to see my bike split times because I felt I was giving it my all but with the breathing issues you can never be too sure. During my entire ride only one (really fast) guy passed me so I felt pretty good about that.

On to T2 (second transtion) where I made the mistake of sitting down to change shoes. I felt I could have done a little better in T2 although it was still somewhat fast. Dropped the hat & glasses, took off the cycling shoes, put on the running shoes with quick pull laces, put on the running hat, grabbed a big sip of water and off I went. I was still breathing a lot harder than I wanted to but I had a goal in mind - at least third place in my age group.

Now I'm out for the run. I couldn't believe how little energy I had. I felt really drained. The run was only 1.4 miles and believe it or not I took about 3 short (about 10 second) walk breaks. THAT is how drained I was. I've run 22 miles before without taking a walk break but this little 1.4 miles just about killed me. When I came around toward the end I was super excited to see my family and friends waiting at the finish line (as well as several other places along the way...) cheering me on.

Although I wasn't able to place in my age group I really felt good about my first "in the right order" tri. Lord willing, my next tri will be in August and I'm hoping to get used to an open water swim before then because I hear that is another totally different feeling.

Overall I had my best tri time of 36:37 - that is 25 seconds better than the last time. However, I came in 6th place in my age group which was a little further back than the 14 seconds I missed 3rd place by back in March. I guess the real triathletes have come out hiding now! God has brought me through yet another success!

On to Iron Girl!!!

P.S. I didn't have the camera batteries charged so we didn't get as many good photos as we normally would have. Thanks to Amber for the few we did get!

Monday, June 2, 2008

What is a triathlon?

tri·ath·lon /trahy-ath-luhn/

A triathlon is an endurance sports event consisting of swimming, cycling and running over various distances. As a result, proficiency in swimming, cycling, and running alone is not sufficient to guarantee a triathlon athlete a competitive time; trained triathlon athletes have learned to race each stage in a way that preserves their energy and endurance for subsequent stages. In most modern triathlons, these events are placed back-to-back in immediate sequence and a competitor's official time includes the time required to "transition" between the individual legs of the race, including any time necessary for changing clothes and shoes.

Modern triathlon:

Early triathlons were held as off-beat training exercises for runners. The first known swim/bike/run triathlons were held at San Diego's Mission Bay in 1974. Organized by members of the San Diego Track Club, the events were held on summer evenings and were intended as no more than light-hearted breaks in the normal grind of training for marathons and 10Ks. Amongst them were runners, swimmers and cyclists and before long training sessions turned into informal races. Directed and conceived by Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan, the first Mission Bay Triathlon was held on September 25, 1974 and welcomed 46 athletes. This date is celebrated as the day modern triathlon began.

The first modern long-distance triathlon event (2.4-mile) swim, 112 mi bike ride, and a 26.2 mi run was the Hawaiian
Ironman Triathlon, which was conceived during the awards ceremony for the 1977 Oahu Perimeter Relay (a running race for 5-person teams). Among the participants were numerous representatives of both the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club, whose members had long been debating which athletes were more fit: runners or swimmers. On this occasion, U.S. Navy Commander John Collins pointed out that a recent article in Sports Illustrated had declared that Eddy Merckx, the great Belgian cyclist, had the highest recorded "maximum oxygen uptake" of any athlete ever measured, so perhaps cyclists were more fit than anyone. CDR Collins and his wife, Judy, had taken part in the triathlons staged in 1974 and 1975 by the San Diego Track Club in and around Mission Bay, California, as well as the Optimist Sports Fiesta Triathlon in Coronado, California in 1975. A number of the other military athletes in attendance were also familiar with the San Diego races, so they understood the concept when CDR Collins suggested that the debate should be settled through a race combining the three existing long-distance competitions already on the island: the Waikiki Roughwater Swim (2.4 mi.), the Around-Oahu Bike Race (115 miles) and the Honolulu Marathon (26.219 mi.). It is worth noting that no one present had ever done the bike race so did not realize it was a two-day, not one-day, event; CDR Collins calculated that, by shaving 3 miles off the course and riding counter-clockwise around the island, the bike leg could start at the finish of the Waikiki Rough Water and end at the Aloha Tower, the traditional start of the Honolulu Marathon. Prior to racing, each athlete received three sheets of paper listing a few rules and a course description. Handwritten on the last page was this exhortation:

“Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!”
Commander Collins, (1978)

With a nod to a local runner who was notorious for his demanding workouts, Collins said, "Whoever finishes first, we'll call him the Ironman." Of the fifteen men to start off in the early morning on February 18, 2978, twelve completed the race and the world's first
Ironman, Gordon Haller, completed it in 11 hours, 46 minutes, and 58 seconds

Today, a number of triathlon events over varying distances are held around the world. The standard "Olympic Distance" of 1.5/40/10k was created by long time triathlon race director, Jim Curl in the mid-80's after he and partner Carl Thomas successfully produced the U.S. Triathlon Series between 1982 and 1997. USTS, as it was known, did more to bring accessible triathlons to the masses than any other group. The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon now serves as the Ironman world championship, but the entity that owns the race, the
World Triathlon Corporation, hosts other triathlons around the world that are also called Ironmans. Long-distance multi-sport events organized by groups other than the World Triathlon Corporation may not officially be called "Ironman" or "Iron" races. Such triathlons may be described as "Full distance" or "Half distance", but the "Ironman" and "Iron" labels are the official property of the World Triathlon Corporation.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Joshua's First Triathlon

I couldn't have been more happy than if I was competing in the race myself but today my oldest son Joshua (9 yrs old) became the newest triathlete in our family. The feeling of completing a race is great but when your child completes a race you get this overwhelming sense of joy.

Joshua didn't train for this race but his pure athleticism got him through the course. He started with a 100 yard swim. He swam really hard but, like his mom, still needs to work a little harder on his stroke. His transition from swim to bike was amazing and FAST! We picked up some new shoe laces for him yesterday and he opted for the "no sock" race so he was super fast. Running through the transition area with his bike and into the bike course was smooth (much more so than mine!) and he was strong as could be during the 2 1/2 mile bike portion of the race. He passed just about every bike he came close to and finished the bike portion really strong. The transition from bike to run wasn't quite as smooth because his bike fell over and then he was turned around running the wrong way with his bike helmet still on to leave the transition area. Quickly he realized what he had done and took of his helmet and headed in the right direction. The 1/2 mile run wasn't as smooth as it could have been but he really pushed so hard in the bike portion that he felt the realization of never completing a BRICK workout (bike/run combo) during his training. It is a feel you really need to get used to before the day of the race.

Joshua finished his race in 22 minute and 11 seconds. FANTASTIC JOB, Joshua! Before long he'll be kickin' past me in an adult triathlon...not if I have anything to do with it. :)

To view photos from the race you can watch the slideshow below. If you would like to see larger photos you can either double click the photos below and then pick "slideshow" option or you can go to: .