Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"These are a few of my fav-o-rite things..."

"Ice cream with friends when I had ringworm on my cheek from a child, Maddy spending time with her cousins, Anabelle enjoying some heat in front of the space heater, Frank loving the drive to Arkansas in 'daddys truck', Maddy super excited about finally getting a DSi, Jeremy caught offguard by Batman 'draws', Getting the 'eww' face from Maddy when kissing her cheek, standing in the freezing cold with friends after serving, Jeremy and Maddy making cookies for the gate guards for Christmas, Pictures aren't the same if Maddy isn't making some silly face, Taking 'creeper' pics during trainings at work, Jeremy humbling himself and dressing up for a couples Halloween party (he's done this for me for 3 years now), Morrison snoozing on the radest chair I got from Goodwill, Newlyweds Brett and Nicole help me paint my hallway 'Eggplant', I say 'cheese' and Brynleigh says 'spit up', 'It's the Great Pumpkin Maddy Grist', Being with my little brother and sister for Christmas after 3 years, Anabelle giving me attitude because I put the Christmas shirt on her, and going for a walk with Frankie...and being 'that person' when he pooped on the grass and using a baggy to pick it up!"
"These are a few of my fav-o-rite things..."

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Do You Hear What I Hear?"

"Said the little lamb to the shephard boy, Do you hear what I hear..."

We have experienced quite a bit this year. Dealing with panic/anxiety due to a breakdown, saying good-bye to friends, my mom getting diagnosed with breast cancer, meeting new and wonderful friends, the birth of my neice, completing my 4th marathon, getting Frank, the death of a friend, and preparing for my husband to leave again.

A lot of things have changed this year but through it all, one thing remained...the voice of the Lord.

During the times of anxiety, I heard "Do not be anxious about anything..."

When saying good-bye to a really good friend, I heard the voice of the Lord say, "For the I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord..."

When my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer and struggled emotionally, I shut down. I wasn't listening to the voice of the Lord. It was when I decided to lay it down and allow God to show me how to love is when I heard the change HE was doing in her. It is a real and authentic change. That alone inspired me.

Meeting Sarah has been a great journey of faith. We talk about everything and our main passion is the Lord. She inspires me to be graceful, motivates me to go for my goals, and encourages me in my "weakness." The voice of the Lord speaks loud through our conversations.

My baby sister had a baby girl. I got to witness this amazing experience and I felt complete joy in the form of laughing, crying, and hope. The voice of the Lord was rejoicing just as much as we were!

Completing my 4th marathon? Well, lets just say I was the voice during that whole run. I pouted at the end and wondered why I felt the way I had...and then I heard the voice say, "you have your own purpose, there are too many states to be completed for you to cry over one." I was done pouting.

Getting Frank has been JOY! I mean that from everything I have. He has helped me with my "mothering" desires. You always hear about a woman's biological clock ticking...well, I don't think mine has ever stopped. I have always wanted more children. Frank is the baby of the family now and he has an amazing personality. I love him!

The death of a co-worker came as a surprise. Along with everyone else, my thought process was blank. I heard the voice of the Lord say, "it could happen just like that" and "only I am the judge."

With Jeremy leaving soon, I haven't really thought about what it's going to be like in the upcoming months. I don't have to think about them because the voice of the Lord has been using the Brandon Heath song, "Your Love" to show me He will be there.

I am learning to end this year with a new beginning. I want to hear HIM through everything!

"With a voice as big as the sea, with a voice as big as the sea"

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Man, has God been showing me in small (to others) ways the freedom He can give if we would just take it.

Can you imagine someone trying to give you a gift they made, bought, or handed down to you and you continue to refuse it? Well, it seems that is what I have been doing, closed off as I have been, with an area in my life.

Here is God giving me, with all his heart, a gift but I have continued to turn my head and say it's okay, I can do it on my own. This is the struggle that doesn't have to be, yet I have continued to feed it and allowing it grow.

This month we are learning how to have complete Joy without all the hype and "extras"of Christmas. You know what I mean when I, decorating the house to perfection, talking to others about grace, love, and peace, yet refusing it to your own loved ones. Gee wiz, how selfish I have been.

After reading the things we can do to end this year with a new beginning, one goal caught my eye. "Reconnect with a family member, friend, or someone you have been estranged from and make peace with them."

I know God did that on purpose. He knows my struggle with this person and He doesn't want us to live like this anymore. I am the one who has to make this step, I know. This blog is just my accountability and I want to do this, as nervous as I am.

I once heard a pastor say that the true meaning of "JOY" is found in that 3 letter word. Jesus Others You. Sad to say, with this person I have not lived it in that exact order. I lived it in my order, You (me) Others Jesus. And on a good day, You (me) Jesus Others.

God is so patient with me, as with you. I am so thankful He deals a little at a time with us. I don't know what it would be like if He threw everything (sin) from our hearts at us and gave us a deadline to resolve it all by. What a merciful, loving, saving God we have.

What does JOY look like to you?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"St. Patricks Day"

I struggle. Is that anything new? You struggle. Is that anything new to you?

I have found some victories lately in my life, but along with victories come the opposite. I am willing to admit them. Although, I do wonder if I am just talking to myself when I blog.

I have experienced freedom in forgiveness from others this past year but I struggle with forgiving some. The past keeps coming up every time I feel like I am closer to forgiving. I have breakthrough one day and the next day I am back to where I was and where I don't want to be.
The song "The Cat's in the Cradle" plays like a broken record in an area of my life. I feel justified, at times, to feel that song and at one time said to God, "that's what happens God, I am tired of being hurt."
Not too long ago I was watching seasons of "The Office." (If you watch it, then you know the strange relationship between "Dwight" and "Jim" but if you don't watch it...then you're missing out!) I began watching season 6 and the episode was called "St. Patricks Day." There's a scene where Jim finally comes back to work after being on paternity leave. Dwight messes with him about how his baby will not know who Jim is because he is at work working. He teases him about how the child will think the refrigerator is his father. Dwight tries hard to make Jim feel bad and Jim eventually does. All of a sudden Dwight (and Andy) begin singing..."The Cats in the Cradle."

All I can do is laugh right? I mean, "The Office" is funny!
At that moment I did laugh. A song that normally makes me feel rebellious in my attitude toward this life situation made me laugh.
Can I ask you a question? Why is it so hard to let go and forgive someone for letting you down, time and time again? And why is it so hard to give, like Jesus would, your heart in their time of desperate emotional need? Someone out there needs my emotional support right now and I cannot seem to give them the grace they need.
I have tried. Though most of the time, it feels fake. I have sought God about it and to be honest, I cried about it on Sunday. I cried out about how I don't like this heart of bitterness but at the same time God knows my heart and if it's not genuine I shut down.
What do you do?
I have to take it day by day. Forgiveness is an everyday thing. I can't live condemning myself for not being sympathetic or compassionate it, if it's not there...right? *sigh*
God knows.
He also knows me well enough that I would sing that song over and over in my head everytime I communicated with this person, allowing it to bring me down. That's when He decided to use the one thing that can help you get over many battles...laughter.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones"-Proverbs 17:22

I am a work in progress but I can honestly say that when I hear that song in my head, it's from the voice of Dwight (and Andy)...and all I can do is laugh!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Carrie" On...


It's a topic people try not to think about. Whether it's a family member, close friend, or themselves, it's just too deep to discuss.

I got a phone call from my boss on Sunday November 14th, 2010 about a co-worker (Carrie) who passed away unexpectedly, in her sleep, the night before. I was speechless. I told my boss I was sorry but I really didn't have any words at the moment and I didn't. What do you say? I mean, she and I had just talked on Friday about taking our dogs (we both have Mastiffs) to the dog park before she had knee surgery. I was so excited for Frank to meet "Nephi" and for them to play...and she was gone, just like that.

Walking in to work the next day was hard for some people. I really didn't know how to feel, until I walked passed the classroom she worked in and saw the grief counselor, commander, and crying parents holding their children. I walked down to my section and began hugging my co-workers telling them how much I love seeing them everyday and working with them. One of them asked me, "I am just worried about her soul. She was Mormon. What do you think happened to her?" I calmly said, "I am not really thinking about that. I just want her family to feel peace."

How judgemental are we? You see someone with tattoos all over their body and automatically think they are a rebel...did you look closely at the tattoo? Maybe they were once lost and now they are found. Maybe they need grace and because of an image they were taught to have, they have been tossed to the side.

What about the way a female dresses? Do you think their shirt is too low? Are you snarling at how they are showing off their body? Maybe the only attention she ever got was through her looks and at the very moment you are judging her, she is praying for God to show himself.

"Stop judging by mere appearances..." John 7:23-25

I learned that we cannot be the judge of what someones denomination is, we allow God to do that.

I did not attend the funeral on Thursday due to some classroom issues but some friends of mine, who attended, came up to me and said, "Wendy did you know Carrie was a missionary? She once had her own business. She loved her dogs. Her husband gave a moving speech. Man, they loved each other so much." Just hearing them talk about all the things I didn't know made me want to know people so much more. Especially the ones I have been judgemental against. You know those grumpy, negative, and immature people. Fleshly as I am at times, I can see their faces right now. Maybe instead of growling about the way they are, pray about what God can do with them. Like I said before...I am still learning.

What will it be for you? Will you take time to get to know someone? Better yet, someone you have already labeled? Or will you continue to live for yourself? Well, whatever your choice may be..."Carrie on."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Txting has become my new way of communicating. I know it's not the most personal way to communicate but I like it. Sometimes I feel as if I can say what I need to if I am writing, typing, or txting. I am sure there are many to dispute.

Over the summer I got a chance to go "home" to see family. I am still on this journey to reconnecting and rebuilding a relationship with my parents. I suppose it may always be that way but as long as I am trying, I'm okay with it.

Seeing my dad after a year felt normal. There are some quiet moments and still awkwardness but he's my dad and I love him.

We didn't have too much to say, we just smiled at each other when the moment was right. And when he would hug me, it felt good. I guess I just don't know what to expect from him. I have already come to terms that God is my Father and since He makes perfection...I just want to know my dad.

After coming back home in June and getting back into our routine, which is so hard to after vacation, I thought about my relationship with both my parents. I reflected on something that had happened in early April and I got bitter and angry at the thought of it. I needed this parental figure and felt the door slam right in my face. I literally cried out to God in the car asking, "Why does this always happen to me?" I immediately felt God's gracious response, "remember...I am your parent now." I stopped crying at that moment and said, "you're right." I had come to terms with God being my parents.

Maybe that's what allows me to see my dad the way I do. Knowing he has nothing to live up to. No one can live up to God. No one can fulfill you the way He can. No one can calm the storm inside of you yet stir it up even more!

A month ago I got a txt. It said, "hey Wendy this is dad. This is my new number. I love you and I miss you." Did that really just happen? Did I seriously get a "txt" from my dad? I lit up! I immediately responded. I then called Jeremy and told him. We were both laughing with joy.

We have been keeping in contact through txting. He calls me "Sweetie" (smiling real big). It may not be the way people are traditionally supposed to communicate but it's where we've started.

Will this be the beginning of a father-daughter relationship? IDK...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

WO-mans Best Friend

A few years ago I talked with Jeremy about getting a dog. I really wanted a big dog and a Boxer was what I saw our family with. We did a lot of research and just decided we weren't ready.

A year ago I talked with Jeremy about getting a dog. I really wanted a small dog and a Brussels Griffon was what I saw our family with. We did a lot of research and just decided we weren't ready.

A month ago Jeremy talked with me about getting a dog. He really wanted one because his boss breeds them and an English Mastiff was what he saw our family with. We did a lot of research and decided we were ready.

His name is Franklin Woo Grist, a.k.a. Frankie, Bubby, Frank Frank, Frankie Boy, Woo Woo, etc.

I know it sounds funny to have a dog named Frankie and his middle name Woo but I have to reminisce some.

When I was in 6th grade my brother, sister, and I were outside playing in the yard with some friends. A man drove by in his truck and stopped right in front of our house. He had a sign on his truck that said "Free Puppies." We ran inside to tell our parents. My step-dad came out and talked with the man and we got our first "family" dog. I was in love with him. We didn't know what to name him so my parents left the name to my little sister who was 4 years old. The very first name she said was "Hooter." That was his name. My dad added a little "male-ness" to it by calling him "Hooter Brown Morgan." Man, I remember that dog! We had him for 6 years before we lost him to the countryside. I would say he was "WO-mans" best friend. Going through a lot in my homelife, I could cry out to Hooter and never have to worry about him losing love for me. I loved to watch him lay on the grass on a warm day soaking up the sun or chase rabbits off into the field. Thinking about him now takes me back to childhood and how grateful I was to experience the joy of a pet. One of the nicknames we called Hooter was "Wooter." I was very sad the day he ran off into the field and didn't come home. After looking for him in our little red truck for days, we decided he wasn't coming home...and he never did.

Here it is 20 years later and we have a new family member. It feels like having an infant in our home at times but I am enjoying this while it lasts because this baby will someday be that of the size of Godzilla. I talk about Frankie like he is my child...and he is. Entering him in a Petsmart Halloween Contest was the start of something rediculous and I love it!
I hope Maddy enjoys every minute (frustration and joy) with Franklin Woo as much as I did with Hooter Brown!

Future Frank

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Simply the Best!

With training STARTING off awesome and ending with side stitches at every run, I went into this marathon with a mind set of enjoying and finishing. I am glad I had that in mind because they hit at mile 11 and didn't stop until after I was done. I had to walk most of the end. I beat myself up for not making my time but I quickly got over it as I was reminded that I have 46 more states to complete and there is no sense in pouting over one!

Look what just happened! I got to run Chicago, I ran with 38, 132 people, over 1 million spectators and volunteers, I got my name in the Chicago Tribune, we rode in our very first taxi, we saw one the 7 great lakes, got to see the "Adventures in Babysitting" building, we were on Chicago's news by waving in the background, saw the Chicago Theater, visited our first comic book store, and I got to reunite with Dean. I finished the marathon in 4 hours and 52 minutes. It wasn't my BEST race but I'd say it was my BEST race!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The North Face

It was March 2006 when I had first discovered "Runners World" magazine. I remember reading about Dean Karnazes and how he was going to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. Dean is the spokesperson for The North Face, the Ultramarathon Man, and the world's fittest man. At that time my plan was to run a 50 miler but after reading on Dean (and talking with Jeremy) I decided to do a marathon.
In one of my previous posts I describe what it was like to run with Dean. It was my first blog and may sound crazy to others but it was the one of the best days of my life. It was also then that I decided to do all 50 states.
Fast forward 4 years. Here it is October 2010 and the time for me to run my 4th marathon is here. I was keeping up with Chicago marathon through Facebook. All the updates of runners and expected people to fill the course. All that was fascinating but one thing stuck out. Dean was going to be there! I immediately was brought back to that initial feeling I had when I experienced running with him. If you read the post you would have read that Dean was "Mayor of the road." He didn't hang out with the top runners at the front or pick and choose who to talk to. He talked to everyone. And when hypothermia hit me at mile 18, he was there. Trying to shield me from rain and eventually giving me his jacket, until I had to quit. That was the most memorable time of running. It was also the time that I was introduced to The North Face, I love that brand!
As we drove in to Chicago on Friday, I got word that Dean was going to be at The North Face store that night. But big cities and traffic determines your arrival and we didn't make it on time. I was told by a friend of mine that he would be at the expo the next day. And since everything has a purpose and I got to experience that.
We showed up at the expo at noon only to find out Dean would be there at 1:00-2:30. Jeremy and I looked at each other and said, "well, looks like we're waiting an hour." The volunteer showed us where to stand and as we arrived we noticed we were 1st in line. Maddy having a bored look on her face couldn't understand why I was so excited to see Dean. She patiently listened to me tell my story and she responds with, "I know mom. I saw him before." I had to laugh as I put myself in her shoes.
A guy came and stood behind us asking if we were in line for Dean. When we said yes he introduced himself to us and we talked for 45 minutes. It's amazing how when you start talking to fellow runners you are instantly family. Although this guy runs 2hr 45 min marathons, he was so welcoming and encouraging and interested in my story. I was able to share how God brought me from Lame to Leaping once again showing me my purpose.
The line began to get longer and my heart started to race. I get to reunite with the person who gave/gives me inspiration to go for my goal! With my map in my hand, I was ready for him to see my accomplishments and have him sign it!
"Hi!" he says as he pops out of nowhere. There he was. His running gear on, camelback in tact, and The North Face gear on-he had arrived. "Sorry I'm late. I had planned on running all the way here but I got lost. I see you guys are the first in line. How are you today?" he says. I had been rehearsing "who I was" in the mirror earlier that morning and finally got to say it. "My name is Wendy and I ran with you during your 50/50 plan in 2006. I am from Wichita and didn't get to finish with you due to hypothermia." He then hugs me and says, "YES! I remember! You poor thing! Wasn't that a brutal day! Did you see the video? Wow, the weather... Did you go on to do the marathon?" "I did. Here is my map. You inspired me to do all 50 states and I was wondering if you could sign it for me."-I nervously say. He looks over the map, takes a photo with me, hugs me again and says, "see you in a couple of states."

Something I learned from that experience is how excited I was to reunite with Dean after so long. I wanted to share my experiences with him and show what I had accomplished. It made me think of how God wants us to be that way with Him. We have so many experiences we could share with Him and rejoice with Him if we would get that hyped to reunite with Him. I don't do that enough. That experience showed me how I need to be excited to share those things with God too. I have to look up and forward in everything I do. I mean after all...God is The NORTH Face!

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."-Philippianss 3:12-14 The Message