Monday, November 12, 2012

A testimony about transformation

BJ is a “doer” while I’m more one who reflects, so with his permission I’m going to share this testimony as I’ve witnessed his transformation…. 

On Saturday, I stood on a corner in a busy street in Richmond, Virginia and witnessed an answered prayer as I watched my husband finish a marathon. 26.2 miles. 
Now I didn’t pray for him to run a marathon…but I did earnestly desire for him to take his health seriously yet could not have imagined all he has done to make it happen. I’m not really sure I believe in praying for things like this, but if I did I would say something like God [or crossfit] sometimes has bigger plans than we do for ourselves – or for our husband. 
Anna Cate, Molly and I met him along the course with less than a half mile to go, and seeing his face light up to run to embrace our little girls was so poignant. 
Shortly after Molly was born, a 4-year old Anna Cate told BJ, “you should go on the biggest loser,” a show we affectionately called Fat People Getting Healthy. “Daddy you need to be healthy, ” she added, not out of malice or embarrassment of him, but stating a fact the simple way that kids share the truth. Shortly afterwards, BJ bought some running shoes and ran/walked a 5k in our neighborhood that took him about 53 minutes. For a guy that was almost 100 pounds overweight, I thought it was a pretty good time. So, I talked to Norah to see what she thought and she agreed that if he can do that, he can do a half marathon the upcoming Fall, so I signed us both up for the Richmond half marathon, and once he saw how much it cost he was serious. 

He consistently ran/walked 3 times a week that 5k loop in our neighborhood, and we ran our long training runs together on the weekends so in November we could completed the 13.1 in 2 hours and 31 minutes. He wrote about that experience here on this blogSince the Fall of 2010, we have run 3 more half marathons together….well, sort of together. He is faster than I am now. 
After his second half marathon in May of 2011, he accepted Norah’s invitation to RARE Crossfit. She was pregnant but made the commitment to meet him 3 days a week at the 5am classes. He loved how he can get in there, get out and get his tail kicked in less than an hour. Additionally, he ran 2-3 times a week and completed the RARE challenge in the Fall where he strictly adhered to the Paleo diet. In November of last year, we rode together to run the Richmond half marathon where BJ took almost 20 minutes off his time the year before. 

We didn’t leave Richmond before texting Adam (his crossfit coach) to share his success and setting the goal to run the marathon in 2012. In January of 2012, he wrote it on the white board at RARE. 

Over the last several weeks, BJ increased his mileage, tweaked his hydration techniques, used salt pills, heeded advice from fellow runners, and skipped a few Sundays from church to do his long runs with crossfit friends. And on November 10, he ran a marathon. BJ KING FREAKING RAN A MARATHON. I still can’t believe it even though I saw it…. 
I’ve been a runner (mediocre jogger) for over 20 years, and have run 11 half marathons, but I think the difference between a half marathon and a marathon is probably similar to the jump from one to two children. I’m quoting my friend Laure: It is double the fun, but exponentially amount more work. A marathon seems more than mere double the mileage, but exponentially more taxing on the body, but BJ left those 26.2 miles prostate at his feet... along with 70 pounds he's shed in the last 2 years. 

His accomplishment is a story of balancing health, work, family and personal goals. BJ works 6 long days a week and goes to church on Sundays. During the week, he gets everyone up in our household, packs Anna Cate’s lunch, and fixes our breakfast. He does the grocery shopping most weeks, helped coach Anna Cate’s soccer team this Fall, and spends one to two evenings a week swimming with Molly at AFF. My point is that this is not a story of someone taking time off of his life to train for a marathon or of a fanatic who lives at a gym. Rather, his is a busy life filled with well-rounded commitments where he has found a way to make it happen. His successful training was evidenced in the fact that he didn’t hit that “wall” many runners face, and I believe the coaching and camaraderie he received at Rare was a key component. Before Anna Cate told him he should go on the Biggest Loser, he had a laundry list of excuses. Yet his circumstances didn’t change too much in the years since she called him out…his values did. 
 Anna Cate is so proud and Molly (pictured as a baby in the left) won’t even remember a time when her Dad didn’t value his health. Thank you, Norah, RARE Crossfit and BJ for helping my girls’ Daddy get healthy.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  ~Jim Rohn

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Opportunities... Be the Message

I grew up in a church where we went on Sunday morning --  the church in which my father grew up, and where his father grew up. I sat on a pew between my parents (and brother) and my Granny. I spent most Sundays holding her hand during service, so I know about the importance of feeling connected to a church.  BUT I also went with my family to visit many Baptist revivals, Church of Christ Sunday night services, many pot luck lunches, African Methodist Episcopal celebrations, Seventh Day Adventist Sabbath services. I have walked to church with the Amish, and listened to rural Pentecostals play and sing music stirring my soul.  In college, I visited a Methodist Church but found my nitch across the street at a Presbyterian church.  

When I visited Budapest, Hungary I worshipped at their national cathedral. I have worshipped and visited with monks in a trappist monastery in Iowa, taken communion with people of all sorts of faith walks; I have reflected with awe upon icons in Eastern Orthodox churches all over Russia.  I have stopped in the streets of Egypt to honor the call to prayer for Muslims. 

I have met my husband and some of my dearest friends at this point in my life in church. Where we go to church now is a big part of my family's life, and it is a good thing.  I've become a two-time-a-week going Baptist in a church I love whose opportunities abound.  My children have so much good around them in this church, and at the end of this month Anna Cate will join this fellowship, but I've been thinking....

How do I make sure that my children still know that you can find good communities, fulfilling spiritual experiences elsewhere?  I don't want my kids to believe that the Spirit is contained in church or that one building or community represents the mulititude of  beautiful faith experiences.  I know that you find good people in church and you see fruits of the Spirit all over and I want to pass along this understanding, but it isn't something you just say. You live it, or in my case you were schlepped to churches and revivals. But quite frankly, I am just not sure I have room in my life for that.  I wonder if there really isn't very much I can do about this and think on that quote "some time we spend so much time giving our kids what we didn't have that we forget to give them what we did have." But an opportunity arouse...

Last night at our neighborhood grocery store, BJ noticed flocks of families shopping with lists and filling paper bags and when he inquired about it, a family explained. "We go to the Salem Fields Community Church

 [a contemporary church across the street from our neighborhood] 

and tonight we have left service to shop to fill up trailers of relief supplies for the victims of the hurricane."  BJ then commended their church on the good they are doing in general, then the guy said, "oh yeah, our church is a great place. You should come tomorrow morning." BJ replied that he appreciated the invitation and we already had a church, but here is $20 for your supplies. In BJ's relaying this story to me, I smiled and thought, "we should go." 

The service was filled with beautiful music and after some praise music, there were images of New York as a lady sang "New York State of Mind." One of the ministers said, "today we are going to be the message rather than your hearing one" and the project was explained...the bags, the lists, the trucks.  And if you didn't have money, time was needed to sort the supplies and make cards. 

So, the King family got a bag, went to the store to fill it and then back to the church.  

We were blessed to have witnessed a message in the grocery store line, empowered by  the chance to be a message amongst a family of faith , and I was grateful to relive and share with Anna Cate and Molly a message of my childhood:  F1998798-4A0B-4CD7-B1F7-4AF1B61555B1-882-000001A9B02DB6A8.jpg

You find God and His flock everywhere. 

“Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified.”  —Bahá’u’lláh