Monthly Archives: October 2010

My Cousins are Crazy

And here is our insane idea:

What makes this so insane is that it is almost November, we are in the mountains, it’s 65 degrees outside, the sun is setting, and the water is absolutely ice-cold. But it’s a well-known fact that you can’t come to Tate without jumping in the lake, so we did what we had to do. We changed into bathing suits, shivering before we even touched the water, wondering where on God’s green earth we got the bright idea to jump off the tower into a large liquid icebox. We climbed to the top of the tower, and….

…..one by one, we jumped. It was chaos on the top ledge as we frenziedly tried to figure out who would jump next, and which direction they would go so as not to land directly on anyone below. Here I am milliseconds before plunging into the arctic water.

BRRRRRRRRRRR. The water was SHOCKINGLY cold; it took your breath away on impact. The second I was fully submerged, I frantically swam to safety, and more importantly, warmth. The after photo in no way captures how intensely hypothermic we were.

Yep, I told you we are crazy.

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Tate Mountain

Tate Mountain is located near Jasper, Georgia, and on it resides my aunt’s 80 year old family cabin. The Tate House is overflowing with memories, and it brings together family and friends in the unique way only a secluded mountain home can. Every moment is filled with love and togetherness, and it is the perfect site for enjoying God’s beautiful creation and fellowshipping with the family. It has been several years since I’ve been there, and it was every bit as magical as I remembered.

Last Friday morning at 7am, we caravanned east with Georgia on our minds. Tate Mountain, more specifically.

The seven hours in the car passed quickly, and before we knew it, we were curving our way up the mountain and toward the cabin, where 23 of my loves congregated for a weekend of wilderness and adventure. When we approached this sign announcing our successful arrival, I was giddy with anticipation. 

Immediately upon pulling into the driveway, we passed out hugs all around, then headed for the woods, which were full of colorful leaves and practically shouted autumn from the rooftops.

We spent the afternoon tossing the Frisbee, throwing the football, and playing a friendly game of kickball, Taterators versus Tater Tots.

From there, we played some interactive board games, ate a delectable meal of spaghetti and salad, had a family dance party, and then busted out the Tate games. For those of you who don’t know what Tate games are, and that’s probably the majority of you, I apologize, but I’m not at liberty to discuss these clever antics. All I can say is they have names like Black Magic, Going on a Safari, Malaga Grapes, Meet the Joneses, Pass the Scissors, and on and on and on. Just know that they are ridiculously fun and result in multiple hours of hysterical laughter.

After a late-night trip to the basketball court, we settled to bed, but only to awake the next morning for…..

…..a family hike! My favorite!  

We wandered for a couple of hours with no direction or destination, and eventually came across the highway, which was much further down the mountain than we expected or intended. In order to make our way back, we climbed the ridiculously steep hills for several miles, which was one part beautiful, one part exhausting.

                  

After a solid couple hours with little progress, we eventually decided we must call for help. We were dehydrated, exhausted, without cell phone, and nowhere close to home. We flagged down a passing car, called back to the cabin for help, and then collapsed on the side of the highway to wait for our rescue vehicle.

Once we got back to the cabin and regrouped, the cousins decided to do something thrilling, and by almost anybody else’s account, just plain crazy. I’ll fill you in on the madness in my next post!

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LuvMud 2010

I have been holding off on this post for a while, because it just wouldn’t make sense without pictures. But now that I’m armed with photographic evidence, let’s do this.

 

A couple weekends ago, Mere and I participated in LuvMud 2010, an awesomely fun and hilarious 5k obstacle course at Shelby Farms. We called ourselves the Flee Mudsketeers and dressed up Three Musketeer style – rich blue tank tops emblazoned with the trademark cross and fleur-de-lis symbol, sweat bands adorned with their signature plumes, and knee highs, just for kicks. Here we are prior to crawling through a pit of mud:

The 800+ runners were assigned wave starts, and very luckily for us, we were in the second group. I say lucky, because I had a wedding to attend just 1.5 hours after I finished the race, which, when you factor in travel time, did not give me much time to transform myself from muddy mess to well-groomed wedding guest. But I made it to the church on time, and you would have never guessed that I’d been crawling through the mud less than 90 minutes earlier.

Anyway, there were obstacles set up along the Tour de Wolf trail, and each gave you the option of performing an easy or difficult version of the task. You don’t even need to ask which way we went with that. The obstacles consisted of crawling under a low cargo net, going down an inflatable slide into a pool of water, hightailing it through a tire drill, climbing up and over a wooden structure, and hurdling over large hay bales, which was actually quite hilarious. Mere and I would run at top speed, throw ourselves at the bale, and then claw our way to the other side. Times three.

But the real excitement comes at the end of the race, when you find yourself face to face with a pit of mud and the only way across is on hand and knee.  Time to get muddy!

 We seriously laughed the entire way across, it was so much fun!

Afterwards, we hosed off and donated our shoes to Soles4Souls, a charity that distributes donated footwear to the needy.  Supporting Habitat for Hope (the beneficiary of the race), tackling obstacles, donning costumes, and plowing through mud, what more could you possibly want?! You should do it next year, we can be on the same team!

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Marathon Training

We are 6 short weeks away from the St. Jude Marathon, so I thought I’d give you a little update as to where I am training-wise. It’s hard to believe race day is right around the corner — seriously, where does the time go??! I’ve been reasonably diligent with my training, occasional lapsing (hey, rest days are good for you!), but otherwise I’ve been generally on top of things. Well, running, anyways. Can’t say the same about the pile of clothes I’ve yet to hang up, or the Pumpkin Cake with Whiskey Whipped Cream I intend to make, or the bed end bench I plan on reupholstering, but you can’t do everything at one time now, can ya? I’m saving those items for a rainy day.

Just this past weekend, Allie and I ran a solid 16 miles without walking a step. At a 9:30 pace. The whole way. If you told me that story several weeks ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. It really is amazing how much progress the human body can make when exposed to consistent training. I remember the days when I was maxing out at 7 miles, and now I consider that to be an easy day. Now that I’m running 13+ miles at least once a week, I’m afraid half marathons just aren’t going to satisfy me anymore. At the same time, though, I’ve promised my body that I’m only going to put it through full marathon training once. I can already feel myself getting addicted to these longer distances, but I know how burdensome they are on your body, and I do want to have functioning knees when I’m 50. So if ever I start talking about running another full marathon, give me a good shake and remind me of all the reasons why I shouldn’t. Please and thank you.

At some point during my productive hours of web surfing, I came across this blog post detailing the St. Jude Marathon route mile for mile.  The guide gives you a taste of what to expect as you progress throughout the course, and it really made the fact that I’m actually running a marathon tangible. It is an excellent source, and I highly recommend everyone running the race check it out, not only for the informative aspect, but for pure inspiration. I literally teared up as I envisioned running the 26.2 miles on that cold December morning, and more importantly, my reason for doing so, which you can read more about at www.mystjudeheroes.org/melissam.

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ARTjamN

Last week (or was it the week before?), one of my great buddies had the brilliant idea to throw a paint party, with the end result being a collection of artwork for his new place. Brave soul that he is, Blake decided that he wanted his friends’ art to adorn his bare walls. Never mind the fact that we are amateurs and have never given him much of a reason to think we were capable of such a task. Given these minor details, however, the night was a total and utter success.

A group of nine of us gathered together at ARTjamN at Cooper-Young, channeled our inner creativity, and had a blast creating our masterpieces. Our lovely guide, Maria, gave us a little guidance, a quick introduction to the supplies, and access to all the materials we wanted. Blake gave us zero guidelines, free rein to paint whatever moved us, and told us to get to work. We claimed our easels and got down to business, painting as we had inspriation, mingling when we were at a loss. The hours we spent in the studio were relaxed and inspiring and triggered in me a newfound interest in painting. For in my spare time, right?

Our host, diligently painting:

Here we have Jax in action:

My final product. Minimal, abstract, and textured, just the way I like it. Paint splatters are bonus.  

And a group shot of the starving artists after we had created our visions, admired everybody’s latent artistic talent, and declared that we would have a viewing party once Blake gets the paintings hung.   

The night was a total blast; I highly recommend you go see Maria at ARTjamN and unleash your inner artist!

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Your Story

I want my life to matter. I want to fill it with meaningful things, things that further God’s kingdom, make a difference in people’s lives, and share hope and joy with the broken. And I am learning more and more that the only way to truly find myself in this place is to let God write my story. And not just merely to let Him, but to embrace it. We are all living a story, you see, and we can either be an active character in this narrative, or we can let the story happen to us. We can choose the story that leads to transformation and fulfillment in Christ, or we can take the path built to increase our personal comfort, the one that is empty and meaningless at its core.

There is no story without change. Change is constant. The point of our life story is not in the search, but in the transformation the search creates. We were built for change. The human body essentially recreates itself every six months, our minds were built with the capacity to continually learn new things, our feelings vacillate, our preferences alter, our physical appearances change. People get stuck thinking they are a certain type of person, but that’s just not true. We are in a perpetual state of growth as we move through our story, and that’s a good thing. When someone suggests that you’ve changed, you hope they are right, because the opposite would imply stagnation.

At times, the journey is painful. Oftentimes, you can’t see where the story is going next, and since we are creatures who crave control, this makes us uncomfortable. We live in an age of instant gratification, and we want the answers to our questions immediately. But God doesn’t work that way. He sees how all of the stories fit together and how each scene is significant and purposeful in a way that we cannot.  So enjoy your place in His story. This very moment matters, it is a page in your book. Live today with a grateful heart, or else you are missing out on the beauty of your story.

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Welcome to October

It’s October 1, and an absolutely glorious October 1 at that. Because today is such a great day, and because I love you, I thought I’d share a little of that greatness with you.

1)  The beginning of October marks the beginning of holiday season, and that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Even though I don’t love the cold, I do love bundling up in fuzzy winter clothes, making and eating soup, spending time with family and friends, cheering for my teams during basketball season, and enjoying the general good cheer the holidays bring about.  

2)  I ran four miles during my lunch break this afternoon, and it worked out famously. It had never occurred to me to run during lunch before, but now that it has, and it worked out so flawlessly, I think I shall make a point to do it more often. Now I don’t have to worry about running after work, fight the desire to skip it and get my weekend started sooner, or rush to make my 7:30 dinner reservations.

3)  Dinner reservations: Party of two at Texas de Brazil, in honor of Jax’s upcoming birthday. Yes, please. I have actually never had the pleasure of eating here, but I have salivated over the menu and cannot wait to partake in the deliciousness that awaits. And I can’t wait to give him his presents!

4)  Tomorrow night, in honor of certain birthdays, a group of us are gathering for a super secret surprise birthday event, of which I cannot share any details in fear of the guests of honor finding out such details. I can say, however, that I love my friends. All of you, not just the attendees of said event. I’m so thankful for the people God has surrounded me with. He is so purposeful in every detail, and our friends and acquaintances are no exception. I’m grateful for the friendships with which I have been blessed.

5)  Marathon training is going strong. This past Tuesday, Mere and I ran a measly 13 miles. We were joking that it’s not very often you run a half marathon on a random Tuesday night after work, but that’s the reality of marathon training. Especially when you train like us, which means loading your calendar with all the activities your heart desires and somehow squashing 30+ miles of running into the mix. This weekend, we only have to run ten, but next weekend, we are up to FIFTEEN. Heaven, help us! If any of you kind souls out there want to donate between $5 and $1,000,000 dollars to my St. Jude Heroes fund at www.mystjudeheroes.org/melissam, I’d be might appreciative, and so would the sweet children at St. Jude!  

6)  I wish all of you a beautiful beginning to this new month. The weather is just exquisite, I hope you all get a chance to enjoy it this weekend!

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