Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blessings of the Week - vol. 52

Wow! Has it really been an entire year that I've been counting my weekly blessings!

How quickly that time has gone!


Last Weekend's Retreat. I already blogged here and here about how wonderful my retreat was last weekend, how it filled my reserves to overflowing. The best part: that calm has continued to permeate what was a really crazy week, and will hopefully stay with me a bit longer, as I get through the next two weeks of houseguests, First Communion, Homeschool Project Fair, birthdays, scouting commitments, and anything else that crops up. But, for now, I am grateful that I can still close my eyes and access that deep peace I felt on retreat.


Volunteering at the Food Pantry. Once a month, BigBro and I serve a shift at our local food pantry. We've done it for about 18 months now, and it took me a while to feel comfortable in this form of service, where we see the real faces of poverty, right here in our neighborhood. Last month, the director of the pantry asked me to begin training on "intake" and "recertifications," which means learning a lot more about the hardships and struggles of our clients than I do when I assist them in shopping.

This week, I sat in on several intake and recert meetings. I barely made it through the meetings without crying. It breaks my heart that there are people struggling so much just to survive... right here in my neighborhood. (In order to qualify for our food pantry, you need proof that you live in our zip code).

This week, I pause and offer thanksgiving for all that I have, and also for the blessing of my shift at the food pantry, that I may never grow complacent in thinking the "poor" live elsewhere or that I can do nothing significant to help. And I offer prayers for all of our clients, that they may feel the presence of Jesus in their trials.


Barefoot Running. So, in a series of coincidences that seem too ordered to be coincidential, my attitude toward running has taken a shift in the past month, going from tolerated activity to one of pure joy. Several months ago, I heard about the barefoot running movement, but quickly dismissed it as "ridiculous." Well, in the past week, I've been re-introduced to the concept, have done some research, and even tried a few short sessions running barefoot on my treadmill.

I have this to say: wow! Talk about changing the experience of running. There are the biomechanical changes necessary when you find yourself without the extra inches of padding and shock absorption in your heel. But, that's not what I am talking about. I am talking about feeling more involved in the run. Finding out that my feet can "feel" the ground (or treadmill surface) and respond. And, once my soles toughen a little, I can see running longer distances with less effort, because the whole process is so much easier on my knees and ankles.

I know, for those of you who don't run (and maybe some of you that do), this sounds absolutely crazy. Jen's finally gone off the deep end. There are research studies (including one done by Harvard) that show we evolved to run on the soles of our feet, not heel-strike the way we do with fancy running shoes. Studies which show an increase in injuries when wearing running shoes. Even a book that follows an African tribe of barefoot runners. But, I am not talking about studies and books. I am talking about my own experience, and how freeing it was for me, even though I was a bit sceptical at first.

All that being said, I can't see me actually running barefoot anywhere other than the treadmill and maybe, the high school track. I like to zone-out in prayer too much when I am running, and if I'm watching out for pebbles, broken glass, etc while running, I'll lose my prayer time.

Which is why I got myself a pair of these as an early birthday present:

Believe it or not, they are actually really comfortable... and I can't wait to see the reaction I get running around town in them!


Won't you join me in offering praise to the Lord this beautiful spring morning?

1 comment:

  1. So, Jen, do you care if I include you on the blog roll on my sidebar?