Jan 29, 2012

What I Have Learned About Life While Running

Abigail and Dolley readers I am not a natural runner, I am a natural cookie baker and couch snuggler.  I have a love/hate relationship with exercise... I never WANT to do it but usually makes me feel good afterward and I am vain enough to realize that if I want to stay in a reasonable dress size, I have to do it.  I try to motivate myself with cute running clothes, new iPod music, and a heart rate monitor that measures my performance.

I decided last May that I was going to learn to run and believe me, I use the term run very loosely.  When I run, I look like a defensive lineman that suddenly finds himself holding the ball and needs to run down the field for a touchdown, it is not pretty.  I have done the research (of course I have) and intellectually know all about Good Form Running, Chi Running, and 180 footfalls per minute running.  I know how to do it, I just suck at it.

Some days I go out and it is like I am running through jello.  I can't breathe, my heart rate goes through the roof, and my body feels like I weigh 300 pounds.  Other days, I am stronger and every once in a while I can catch a rhythm.  All in all, I am really slow and it is embarrassing how long it takes me to pass a walker.  Inevitably, I have to speed up so much, to not look like a dork, that once I pass the walker, I can no longer breathe and end up walking a few steps just so I don't pass out....

I went out today, to my favorite spot.  I run 4 miles or shall I say I jog, walk, run 4 miles.  It was a beautiful day and I hit the trail.  I am always quite optimistic when I start, the first mile will usually determine if its going to be a good one or a jello one.  It was a decent one.  As I was finishing the last half mile, I knew I wasn't going to beat my record but I had a shot at a respectable time and I started thinking about all I had learned about myself and about life through running.  In no particular order, these are some:

  1. You can not cry and run at the same time.  I learned that the day my Grandma died.
  2. You can intellectually know how to do something but still not do it well.
  3. Progress is slow.
  4. Some days everything is going for you and your performance sucks.
  5. Other days, you head out hurting and in a rotten mood and beat your best time.
  6. You can go farther and work harder than you think you can.
  7. You can take way more pain than you ever thought possible.
  8. Cute running outfits don't improve performance but new shoes do.
  9. Always go to the bathroom before you get out on the trail.
  10. It is easier running in cool weather but the trail is prettier when it is hot and muggy.
  11. It doesn't matter how hard you are breathing, everybody has in headphones.
  12. If one part of the trail is flooded, there is a good chance that so are others - turn around!
  13. God hangs out on the jogging trail, he'll run beside you if you let Him.
So I keep at it and I hope one day to actually be good at it but I am not holding my breath.

Jan 28, 2012

GOP Media Betrayal

Abigail and Dolley have you ever seen such a spectacle as we have witnessed in the past month?  Tried and true, trusted media outlets, commentators, and institutions have betrayed the faith we have placed in them.  It is baffling and disconcerting to realize that there is almost no one left to turn for news that is not propaganda force fed to us by a GOP establishment bent on their own power and control.  No where is this more evident than at Fox News; with the exception of Greta, Hannity, and Brett who are still playing it straight.

Rush has said for years, the reason he lives in Florida and not NYC or DC is that being human, you want to hang out in your social group.  You want to be liked and respected, you want to be invited to the right parties, you can not help it you are human.  What is the best way to fit in?  You must conform to the crowd, you remember high school?  Well, we don't change that much.

The truly shocking thing to me is the vitriol directed at Newt, as if he was the enemy.  Really?  When did a Conservative Icon become the enemy?  When did one of the greatest idea man of our age become worse than BHO?  I just shake my head and say that we are indeed living in strange times.

There are several that have struck a deep chord in me and my trust and respect in them is gone forever:  Beck, Coulter, Hume, and Drudge.  Thank God for Rush and Brietbart...

Jan 18, 2012

Mourning My Dad

Mourning my Dad is hard work.  Being who I am, ya'll know I have done my research on grief.  I do not expect that I will go through all the stages in perfect order, nor do I think there will be a timetable.  I merely wanted to understand what was coming my way.  I'm still in the shock and disbelief stage right now, it is hard for me to fathom a world where Jack Robinson is not here.

The grief comes in waves and I am comforted by talking about him, comforted by writing about him.  Nobody is sick of me yet, so I am taking advantage of their sympathetic ears while they are willing to listen to me.  I am in regular contact with all of my family, even my extended family is feeling the loss of such a good man.

In the days leading up to the funeral, I had to think about what I was going to say.  Each Daughter had a minute or two to say something about him and I struggled with what I could possibly convey in such a short period of time.  The night before the funeral, I was talking with some of the family and feel like the Lord laid on my heart that I should tell folks how Dad mirrored God the Father.  This is what I said:

"When I was four years old, someone pointed to picture of a man I did not know and asked who he was.  The answer was "The best man at Jack and Pat's wedding".  I was appalled and quickly spoke up saying, "MY Daddy was the Best Man at that wedding!"  I believe I speak for all of us girls, when I say we all felt the same way.  Dad was one of the rare people in this life that preached the Gospel without saying a word.  He modeled Godly behavior to all of us and especially showed us what a loving Father was like.  As a result, I have a wonderful relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I understand the reverential fear that the Proverbs speak of.  I understand the protectiveness and intense love that He feels for me and how no matter how bad I screw up, I can never loose his love.  I understand loving discipline and even at my age Dad would come and talk to me if he did not agree with something I was doing.  I carry with me a fierce desire to make Him proud of me.

Everyday, when I pray the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father" carries with it all the warmth and love that it is supposed to and I have my Daddy to thank for that."

In the days that have passed, I realized that my relationship with the Lord has been primarily with Jesus.  My prayers, my conversations, my images - they were all about and to Jesus.  The other night as I was praying, I felt a strong presence of God the Father and was comforted beyond measure.  When I was feeling bruised and battered and buffeted by guilt and regret, I felt the protective hand of the Father on my behalf and I was safe.  I will trust in this process, I will thank God for his provision, and I will rest while He keeps watch.

Jan 8, 2012

Jack Robinson - A Tribute

Abigail and Dolley readers my Dad, Jack Robinson went to be with the Lord on Friday, January 6, 2012.  He leaves behind a powerful legacy and he was an exemplary man who deserves a tribute.  I figured in the trillions of pieces of data on the internet, such a fine man deserves a few, so I will endeavor to do him justice.  For the purpose of this blog, I will not attempt to write a biography but instead I'd like to pay tribute to his life from a daughter's perspective.

Jack Robinson and Family
Dad was one of those rare men who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ without speaking a word, he lived it.  The Holy Spirit resided quietly behind his kind brown eyes.  He was a church going man but was never "religious".  He dragged me out of bed every Sunday for the entire 18 years I lived under his roof and believe me I complained almost every Sunday.  He never wavered.  His favorite Scripture was Rev 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  He realized that salvation was each individual's choice and he loved the below picture and would always point out that Jesus did not have a door knob on his side of the door.

He was honest and demonstrated it to me one Christmas when a store clerk gave him too much change.  Times were lean that winter and he loaded me back up in the van and drove back to the crowded mall to return the extra cash.  I groused about going back and told him he should just keep the money since it had not been his fault.  He shrugged and said, "That would be stealing.  How is it different than if I would have gone in and taken it from the register?"  Several months ago, I was faced with the same situation and after an internal struggle handed the extra money back to the surprised cashier who commented on my honesty.  I just smiled and said, "I was raised that way."

Jack Robinson was a smart guy and well respected in the field of mechanical engineering.  His name is on several pattens and a report he did was presented before Congress but you would never know it by talking to him.  He was quite humble and always praised others intelligence while never bragging on himself.  My 10 year old son commented the other day that his Grandpa Jack had known how to do all kinds of stuff but he never bragged.  That is indeed some of the highest praise a boy can give a man.

When I was 12, my Sunday School Class needed a teacher so I volunteered him.  He taught for most of the next 31 years.  Dad opened the Bible to dozens of students, young and old, who gained an understanding and appreciation for God's Word in ways that they never would have without him.  He took his role as a teacher seriously and would make time during the week to prepare and plan his lesson for the following Sunday.  One of his concerns after his heart attack was that somebody needed to take care of his class.  He was especially intrigued and interested in eschatology and my husband and I both share a wonderful memory of the day he came over with his charts and bible verses and explained the sequence of events in End Times Prophecy.
Dad and me with his Mom and Dad

We shared a love of science and the study of God's world.  We could talk for hours about the proofs for a young Earth and a Creator.  While he was in the hospital, we spoke of the marvels of the human body and its intricacies. We were blessed with several hours to just sit and talk, we enjoyed each other.  I know there will be many times over the course of the rest of my life that I will wish my Dad was around to talk about some interesting fact or another.

The Original Captain Jack
Dad was great with kids, his own of course, but also with our friends.  When I was really young, the neighborhood children would hear the rumble of his Dark Green GTO coming down the street and greet him with cries for him to play "Monster".  He'd laugh, his brown eyes sparkling, and give the kids what they were clamoring for by sticking out his long pointed tongue, dragging a leg behind him with arms flalling, all the while growling, "I'm gonna get you kids... Raaaahhhhh!"  Screams of delight mixed with a touch of childish fear filled the neighborhood as the children ran for cover.  The kids loved him.  There was one boy, who had lost his Father in Vietnam, that would come over and ask if "Jack could come out and play?"

Dad was rough and tumble with his girls.  My earliest memory of him is playing, running from him.  If he caught you, you knew you were getting tickled and he was a great tickler.  He wasn't too rough and he didn't hurt you when he tickled you.  I guess he had a lot of practice on his two younger siblings and his four daughters.  He called it "The Claw" and depending on where he was tickling you it changed names, my particular spot was the "Knee Claw".  It would send me into near apoplectic fits of laughter.  He had a weakness though, if you could get to his feet he'd throw all us kids off and run away.  He was so very ticklish on the bottom of his feet.

He was quite gracious and would never mean to hurt your feelings.  He'd praise the worst drawing or eat the worlds most horrible pancakes with a smile.  Jack Robinson took the words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" to heart and you rarely would hear him speak ill of someone else.  He never engaged in gossip and did not want any part of folks who did.
Daddy's Girl

Dad was a handsome man and the first love of all us girls.  I remember being quite devastated to learn that I would not be allowed to marry him when I grew up.  We adored him and I believe it could be said that we were all "Daddy's Girls".  Many a boy tried but few ever managed to live up to our Dad's example.  He became the model for Manhood but also the living example of our loving Father in Heaven.  I relate to God the Father in a way that would not be possible had my Dad not demonstrated his strong, protective, and fearful love to me. 

He put his family first, always.  He drove older cars so he could afford Christian Schools for us girls.  He faithfully made generous child support payments for many years.  In spite of a divorce, he never abdicated his role as Father in our lives.  He left a job of many years to avoid going overseas.  He demoted himself when he realized the job he had grown into was going to take too much time away from his family.  Engineering changed over the years and he commuted long distances and worked long hours when he had to do so.  He wasn't happy about it but he was a man of honor and he did what he had to do to provide for his family.

God gave Dad four girls and he raised us to be "tough".  We were all athletic, we all played and excelled at sports and he was always there to watch and to teach.  He had a great jump shot and I do not know if I ever won a game of Horse or Cat with him, I don't know if anyone ever did.  He taught me to play softball and must have thrown the softball to me and with me several thousand hours.  He did the same for all of us girls and in later years he got to with my son.

In Canada with his Grandson
One of the greatest honors of my life was to share my precious son with him.  He was Grandpa Jack's boy and quite proud of it.  They got to fish, sharpen knives, build bird houses, and drive the tractor.  They hiked to the Indian Rock and flew through the air on the zip line, then they'd pile up in the man cave upstairs and laugh at the Three Stooges.  There was always a swagger in my son's steps after he spent a few hours with my Dad, he would come home with a confidence and a reassurance of his manhood.  I regret that they will have no more time, but I praise God for the time they had together.  I think all who knew him and loved him are feeling that way.

As he passed away, I was overwhelmed with peace and comfort that he was not dead but alive in Christ.  The blessed assurance of salvation and the peace that surpasses all understanding has sustained me through these difficult days.  I know that he lives in all of us who he loved and loved him back.  His wit, his humor, his intelligence, his faith, and his spirit survive in us.  I will endeavor to do my part in living up to that legacy and honor his memory with my life.
Jack Randall Robinson
  May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.