Searching

Lately Switchfoot has been singing the soundtrack of my life. Some of these songs are fifteen years old and some are pretty recent, but it’s like Jon Foreman is reading my mind and just saying things more eloquently than I could.

I feel like I’m quickly approaching a crossroads and I’m praying God will show me the right direction to take and that I’ll have the guts to follow through even if it’s to walk down an uncomfortable path. Comfort zones are overrated, I know, but I get awfully settled into mine.

I’m reading a book called Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I just came across this book the other day in the Kindle Monthly Deals section and it was $2.99, so I bought it. I’m halfway through it now. This gal is so much like me, except she’s been brave where I have not, but the book shows me it didn’t come naturally, so that helps a little. Also, her sense of humor is very similar to my friend, Janie’s, so it just makes me like her even more. There have been moments reading this book where I’ve thought – Bingo. I could have written this exactly. It’s like she’s reading my mind.

I’m one week into an eight week Bible study called Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul by Jennie Allen.

Next up on my Must Read List: Do Over by Jon Acuff and another older Bible study by Jennie Allen called Restless: Because You Were Made For More.

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Is it obvious to anyone else that I’m itching for a change or is it just me?

It seems every time I have attempted to make a plan in this town, it has failed. (Not a plan like going to garage sales with my sister or going to see a movie with someone, but bigger things.) Ah, and there goes Switchfoot:

All attempts have failed, all my heads are tails
I’ve got teary eyes, I’ve got reasons why
I’m losing ground and gaining speed
I’ve lost myself or most of me
I’m heading for the final precipice
But You haven’t lost me yet

Then there’s this:

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps. – Proverbs 16:9

So, for that reason, for that wisdom, I have to be thankful that none of my plans are working out. I’d rather the Lord determine my steps than me, because He’s a whole lot wiser than I am, but I sure wish something would come together. A girl can only hang out in the bedroom she slept in the night she graduated high school in a dead end job in a lonely town for so long before something’s gotta give.

Again, Switchfoot –

I swore it would never come to this
the average, the obvious
I’m still discontented down here
I’m still discontented

If we’ve only got one try
If we’ve only got one life
If time was never on our side
Then before I die, I want to burn out bright

The future is a question mark
of kerosene and electric sparks
There’s still fire in you yet
Yeah, there’s still fire in you

I’m thankful for a God who reminds me of the good stuff even in a frustrating season of searching and trying to figure things out.

About four or five months ago, I took up running. Up until the month of June, it was pretty enjoyable because the weather was bearable. Now it’s just hot. The excessive sweating (and probably stress to an extent) have caused me to have the complexion of a fourteen year old, so that’s not fun. It’s so humid outside, it’s ridiculous. One morning last week, I happened to wake up on my own around 5:20 so I considered getting up to run. I checked my weather app and it was currently 100% humidity. One hundred percent. Needless to say, I decided not to run that morning. Louisiana summer has made running less fun, but I’m not giving up entirely. After several miserable runs, I recently went on one where there was a light breeze (for the first time in a while) and a light rain. It was still hot and sticky, but also refreshing in comparison to recent weeks. As I was finishing my cool-down walk on my way back to the house, I was walking right into the wind and it was such a welcome feeling, it was overwhelming. Then this came to mind:

Because of the Lord’s faithful love, we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! – Lamentations 3:22-23

God gives me reminders like this at the perfect time. It was perfect for the moment – a much needed cool breeze on a hot, sticky morning – and it was perfect for this unsettled season of life.

It’s an uncomfortable prayer to pray when you ask God to keep you discontent and uncomfortable until you’re actually heading in the right direction, but that’s where I am. That’s the prayer I’ve prayed and that I’m still praying. Complacency comes naturally to me and digging in my heels is pretty bad habit of mine, so I’m praying for direction and for a clue and for bravery, and counting the blessings I have, because I have lots of them. I realize this sounds so contradictory unless you’ve been there. I’m thankful that even with this underlying unsettled, discontentedness that has been sticking with me, I notice all the simple pleasures like a great homemade iced mocha, puppy kisses, laughing around the table with family on Thursday nights, Grey’s Anatomy marathons at my sister’s house, and a ridiculously comfortable bed to sleep in at night. There’s a lot of good mixed in and that leaves me with a sense of gratitude.

So here’s praying for a clue and some guts.

Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go, because I long for You. – Psalm 143:8

Thoughts on Father’s Day

Bo Leporati is as good a father as you will find on this earth.

As a ten year employee at the child support office – which I didn’t even know existed until I interviewed for a job there – it has been made abundantly clear to me how blessed I am to have the dad I have. I see that there are a lot of biological fathers who did nothing more than participate in the creation of their child and otherwise have nothing to do with them. (This certainly isn’t the case all the time, but it is very common.)

Then there’s my dad.

My sisters and I never went without clothes or shoes that fit as we grew up.

We never missed a meal except for the time we were driving to Florida for vacation and nobody was hungry and I was asleep. I woke up the next day angry that I hadn’t had supper and tried to demand four meals that day to make up for the one I missed. What can I say – I’ve always loved food.

My dad took off work early for every one of my middle school basketball games, just to sit in the bleachers and watch me warm the bench. I wasn’t a star player and only even got put in the game if we were ahead by 20 points with a minute or two remaining, but Daddy was always there.

My dad picked me up one night at the high school after a marching band competition and gave me no choice but to drive us home in his new truck when I had no interest in learning to drive. The death of a friend in a car accident resulted in an aversion to driving, but Daddy knew I needed to do it, so I found him firmly planted in the passenger’s seat when I got to the truck. That’s one way to do it. Then shortly thereafter, once I had my license, he sold that same beloved new truck so he could buy me a used car and then he drove a company vehicle for years.

My dad would go out in the driveway at night and play basketball with Melissa and me. We spent a lot of time out there.

My dad would drive to the Calhoun ballpark on summer nights when Melissa, Craig, Greg, and I had ridden our bikes out there earlier in the day and we were too tired and it was too dark for us to ride back home safely. Daddy would load our bikes and the four of us up in his truck and drive us home without complaint.

My dad was kind to friends of his children and would treat them as well as he treated us. A lot of my childhood friends called him (and some still call him) “Daddy Bo”. He took in a few of our friends over the years and allowed them to live under his roof for a while when they needed it. At the moment, I’m living under his roof again.

When Mama called Daddy two years in a row to announce she had agreed to host a foreign exchange student, he took it all in stride. He was a wonderful host father to Jana and Sharon. I remember he taught Jana how to drive when she lived with us.

As a young child, after I counted my change all week long in anticipation of buying from the ice cream man and the ice cream man ripped me off and made me cry, Daddy got in his truck and chased him down to have a word with him. Then as a college student when I bought my first digital camera and UPS delivered an empty box to the front door, Daddy went back and forth between UPS and Sony, who were both blaming each other, and finally called Sony and told them, “Let me tell you how this is going to work. By next Friday, you are going to deposit. $___.__ into my daughter’s bank account.” Sony obliged. Daddy is such a kind and patient man, but when someone is messing with one of his children, he’ll step right up and work things out if necessary.

To this day, Daddy insists on changing the oil in my car because he knows he’ll do it right. When my car needs anything – new tires, new inspection sticker, new windshield – he runs those errands for me so I don’t have to take off work for it.

A few years ago, Daddy drove me to IKEA in Frisco, Texas, was patient as Mama and I spent hours roaming the store, then he loaded up all my purchases on his trailer and drove us back home. He spent the next few days putting together a bed frame, a dresser, a book case, a night stand, and a linen cabinet. He has helped paint many bedrooms, bathrooms, and pieces of furniture over the years.

When I was in college, Daddy once forced me to go to a Dave Ramsey seminar on a Friday night. It was the last place I wanted to be. My friends were having fun in Ruston that night and I was reluctantly sitting in a four hour financial seminar against my will. Since this seminar, I’ve become a Dave Ramsey fan and actually was finding it interesting by the time hour four was wrapping up, but I didn’t tell Daddy this until later. I wanted to keep up appearances of being mad that he made me go.

My dad will do anything he can to help anyone out. Acts of service are his thing. As his daughter, I’ve seen him serving people and treating others with respect and kindness my entire life. I know what a good man looks like, because I was raised by one. I think I can speak for all his girls when I say we could not love him more.

I’ve asked Daddy before if he was disappointed he never had any sons and only had daughters. His reply was, “I wouldn’t trade my girls for any boys in the world.” We wouldn’t trade him either. We couldn’t have dreamed up a better dad than the one God gave us.

For any friends who may read this who are fathers, know this – you matter. Even in the times when culture makes dads seem irrelevant, you matter. Your kids are paying attention. There are things your kids won’t understand or appreciate until years later sometimes, but keep being a good dad. You are incredibly special and important in your childrens’ lives and they are blessed to have you.

And I Was Running …

Four months ago, my philosophy on running was that I would run if something was chasing me. Otherwise, I wasn’t interested.

But always in the back of my mind was how fun I thought it would be to run the Warrior Dash and actually be able to endure it. Also the thought of being more active was appealing. Living like a couch potato can get boring. Also there was the fact that my parents live in the most perfect neighborhood for walking, running, or biking and I am living at their house at the moment. But still, nothing was chasing me, so sleeping later won out.

Then came Lent. I’m not Catholic, but I understand the concept of sacrificing something and I’ve given up things for Lent the past several years. This year I decided to give up laziness and downloaded the Couch To 5K app. My goal was to be able to run a mile by Easter. A friend of mine who runs felt confident I’d be able to do it, so I gave it a shot. Those first 60 or 90 second running increments were rough, but I stuck it out and built up endurance. And it happened – I ran over a mile straight before Easter.

So now here it is two months after Easter and I’m still running. It’s a strange thing to admit, but I actually enjoy it. I actually look forward to it. I look forward to getting up an hour earlier than non-running days and running. I’ve found it to be a great way to start the day.

I get to see the moon before it goes into hiding for the day. I see rabbits and turtles and squirrels and ducks and geese. (I’m cautious of the geese. I’ve heard they can be aggressive.) I talk to God. I clear my head. Ideas come to mind. Things seem to make a little more sense early in the morning when I’m outside in the fresh air. Most of the neighborhood is still asleep or getting ready for work, so there’s very little traffic. It’s peaceful. Usually I’ll turn my music on after a few minutes and it keeps me motivated. Then the day carries on, I get to work, and thoughts/ideas can get a little fuzzy again, but the morning starts out wonderfully. I love it. I’m thankful for it.

For the longest time, I was running around 2.5 miles, but hadn’t made it to 3.1. That was my next goal. First was run a mile by Easter (check!) and next was to make it to 3.1 miles, which is the distance of a 5K. I’ve done it my last three times to go running. I’ve run at least 3.1 miles. (The most so far was 3.42.) Wonders never cease.

On the day I first accomplished 3.1 miles, Melissa and I signed up to run the Warrior Dash to celebrate. Now I have no choice but to keep going. I’m thankful for the motivation though. I want to keep at it and nothing is even chasing me.

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Sayid likes to give me a post-run bath when I get home. He likes the salt. Then I head to the shower and wash off the sweat and dog slobber. I’ve gotta say though, I’d be a fool to refuse some sweet Sayid kisses.

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