Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rearranging the Furniture

This weekend I rearranged my room. It feels so much better! Previously I had the head of my bed against a wall, parallel to the desk on one side, and the two bookcases on the other. I preferred it like that for a long time but recently realized that’s not what I wanted. So I split up the bookcases and put my bed against the wall. This gave me a wall to lounge against and more open space in the room. (Is this what I prefer in life, perhaps, to go against the conventions, switch things up a bit, and in the process gain something solid to lean against and some space to move around in? Ah, space AND security!)

The next physical change I think I need to make is at work. I don’t have a window anymore. Can’t see outside and there’s no natural light. It’s driving me crazy. Half the staff with windows keep their blinds closed, which stirs up resentment in me both in that they don’t appreciate what they have (just seeing the heat and light as a negative) and that I STILL can’t see outside. This should not be such a big deal that I need to carry it as my cross and find a way to cope with it. Nope. There is a simple solution. I just need to ask if I can switch cubes!

The office has been pretty lacking in harmony, warmth, and natural light on a metaphorical level as well. It is just so hard to get past the ugliness, confusion, and broken trust associated with the breakup of our old ministry. In my reflections on what happened I suppose tragic management mistakes in 2006 were really what brought our ministry down, although I can entertain the notion one of my former coworkers put forward that we had a great thing and it was amazing it lasted as long as it did. And maybe it would have been OK if this decision had been made and that one hadn’t, or this person had been involved and that one hadn’t. I guess we will never know.

I guess what’s troubling me now are the things that went on in 2007 with some of the folks who remained. And I still have to work with some of these people, which has been quite challenging.

The ol’ Serenity Prayer seems apropos here:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Here's something that may really help. In a few days our new organization, Pioneers, is sending 4-5 trained counselors to Denver for a time of “Debriefing and Moving Toward Reconciliation.” One of them writes about what this may look like:

We met yesterday to plan our time together and are eagerly anticipating the Lord to work to bring about greater healing and reconciliation among us.

We want you to think about our time together before we gather. We would like for each of you to prepare a “personal impact statement” that you would be willing to share with the group. We suggest in preparation that you write everything down that has significantly affected you in this time of change, transition and loss. Then focus on 4 or 5 things that you would like others in your team to know in order for them to understand how the events have personally impacted you. Then create “I messages” about those 4 or 5 things, i.e. “When this event happened this is how it affected me.” We are seeking to create an atmosphere of safety and “speaking the truth in love” by having each of us use “I messages” rather than “you messages.” That way each person takes ownership of their own responses. We want you to be prepared to share them with the group. The purpose of this is to help the group as a whole to move toward reconciliation.

Here is the proposed schedule (which could change as the day unfolds):

8:00-8:30 Continental breakfast
8:30-9:00 Introductions and overview of the time
9:00-9:45 “A Review of the Facts that We Know” Ted E.
9:45-10:30 Group debrief of Ted’s summation
10:30-11:30 Break
11:00-12:30 Begin to share and process personal impact statements
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Continue personal impact statements
3:00-3:30 Break
3:30-5:00 Continue personal impact statements
5:00-6:00 Dinner
6:00-7:30 Finish the personal impact statements

8:00-8:30 Continental breakfast
8:00-8:30 Continental breakfast
8:30-10:00 Close our time together
10:00-02:30 Opportunity for individual time with debriefers

We are looking forward to being with you and praying that the Lord will use this as a healing time together.

You know how to pray! I like and am inclined to trust the folks at Pioneers - particularly perhaps the one who wrote this, a woman named Deb. She sought me out when we were in Orlando and we had some great conversation. Deb knows people; she knows pain. And I think she and the others can help.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Back in August 1996 God told me in a dream that I had a part in the families of our Caleb Project staff – a part to play through prayer. So I started collecting prayer requests for each of the kids through their parents and about twice a year I led the staff in lifting these kids and their parents up in prayer. It’s been more than ten years since then.

With all that has gone on in recent months and years… Caleb Project’s shift from being more family-focused to being primarily business-oriented, the merger that made us co-workers with people whose families we might never meet, then the disintegration of the new organization altogether, I led prayer a few times but sort of lost focus.

In fact, I did not realize until the last month or so that four of the kids we’d been praying for since they were small were approaching a significant rite of passage, graduating from high school. In each case I'd been closer to their older siblings, and had not realized what was going on with these 'younger' kids. Those 8-year-olds are now 18-year-olds!

Three of the families invited me to graduation events. It was such a blessing to see how they have grown up, grown in their faith, acquired the skills and maturity and experience to take the next step in life. May God use these kids to change the world...

I know that many, many people have prayed for, befriended, supported, and invested in the lives of these kids. Although I have not been close to most of them or even spent much time with them in recent years, I’ve been part of their lives by coming alongside their parents, grandparents, and many others in prayer. What an honor it has been for me - for all of our former colleagues - to be part of the lives of Jennifer, Lauren, Lori, and Luke (and the others) in this small way. There’s an open house for Lauren this afternoon, so I just went through my files and made copies of all the things we’d prayed about for her and her sisters. God has done a lot!

There's something about growing up / raising kids together that creates a deep bond; perhaps these families will never know that kind of community again. They are in a different place in life. But may the Lord continue to place these kids and their parents in places of nevertheless rich and fruitful community and raise up others to pray into being the things He wants to do in their lives.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Paper or Plastic?

For all the new scams and dangers of living and doing business in today’s world, I’m grateful for so many resources to combat them. Consider the systems that so ease our management of money. Overdraft protection keeps careless people from bouncing checks. Debit cards can help control overspending and limit the need to carry cash or pay ATM fees when we don't have the right amount. Automated electronic funds transfers help us stay generous and consistent in our charitable giving. Online account access makes record-keeping easy, and keeps me, anyway, motivated to save: (I like to see those big, round numbers in my savings and CDs, and can put money in my ROTH IRA without bothering with checks and forms, envelopes and stamps.)

Today, I’m glad for fraud protection. The good ol’ MasterCard company seems to be looking after my checking account for me. If they weren’t, I’d be out almost a month’s pay.

After filling up my Honda with gas on Tuesday night, I must have dropped my debit card. At any rate, it wasn’t in my wallet at my next stop, at Target, on the way home. (I didn’t give it much thought, assuming it was somewhere in the car.) But somebody else must have picked it up. By the next morning my online banking records showed more than $1200 in unauthorized charges. I called the credit union to get the card canceled and see what could be done to cancel the pending charges or get back the stolen funds.

I hope this will all be cleared up in a few days. We shall see. So for now, am I broke, as I would have been after such a significant theft in my cash-only days? Not at all. I could refill my checking account from my now well-stocked savings, then write checks - or use my credit card for things. On the other hand I think I’d rather just celebrate the poetry of limitations: trying to get to payday with the $10 in my purse and $100 in my back-up local bank account.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Deb's Birthday

Yesterday I did manage to get out of bed, dressed, out of the house... and today, big step: I came back to work. Still not feeling great but my strength is growing. Staying home sickish is a tricky thing. I hate to mope around. But resting and reflection are good...

And it is such a blessing to have a wise and encouraging friend in the house... My roommate Deb is seasoned in dealing with pain, loss, accepting one's limitations etc.; she has lived with serious arthritis most of her life. Well, I'm not just grateful for Deb for what she does for me but want to thank God for who she is - a woman who loves God, who is curious about the world and likes to learn, a consistent friend, fun to be with, faithful in prayer.

Today is a big day in our household - Deb's fiftieth birthday. Happy birthday, Deb! This pic is of the gigantic bouquet her mom and sister sent in honor of the day. It graces our kitchen table.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writing from Home - and Desperately Homesick

Take a break; catch your breath. Get some rest. Maybe you just need some time off. Take it easy. Don’t think so much. Don’t feel like you have to seize the day or change the world or 'produce,' let yourself off the hook. Spend some time at home.

Where is home? I’ve tried to make our little house in Highlands Ranch a home but I spend so much time here already that it feels confining. And there’s no other place (on earth) that really feels like home to me either. Not my mom and stepdad’s new house, not my dad and stepmom’s boat, not just being in the Northwest. I feel like a guest there; I don’t really know my way around anymore. It doesn’t feel much like home! A little bit, maybe. But it is hard to live a life with so little schedule or structure for very long.

To ‘get away’ anywhere else, like taking a vacation or even just a few days in the mountains (when I don’t really like being in the mountains) sounds so much more draining than refreshing. I don’t want something new and unfamiliar. I don’t want to be alone, it's not good for me to be alone and idle! I want partnership and purpose and to be part of something bigger than myself, I don’t want to just sit around being lonely and doing nothing.

It used to be that Caleb Project was my home, my family, the center of my world. There were days I didn’t want to go to the office, things I didn’t want to deal with like there are today, but in general it was hard to keep me away. My Caleb Project co-workers and contacts were my best friends; there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I don't know, maybe that's not healthy, but that's the way it was.

Well, it’s not like that now. I still have my job more or less and some of the same people are still there at 10 W. Dry Creek Circle. But for almost all intents and purposes, it’s gone. My pleasures, my memories, the place where I felt safe and known and effective, and that was the focus of my closest relationships: gone. To the extent Caleb Project was my home, it’s deserted, burned down. Something else may be built in its place, but there's not much there now. I don't know how long I can hold out, or if I can and am willing to do my bit in the rebuilding.

What do you do when you are homesick and your house has burned down?

There is one thing that sounds like going home: being with Tom! ... in Australia or Central Asia. But it seems so much to ask of one man: Will you be my home? Just because we both want a home does not mean we'd be effective in providing that for each other. I’m not in a place to make that kind of decision yet. But of course it’s often much on my mind, huge, way bigger than the stuff with work.

So, yes: I am getting over some kind of infection, but I’m also depressed, can you tell?! This things don't usually last long but they are scary while they do. One of the things I hate about being depressed is that it is so unfair to other people. We have so much to be grateful for, to be happy about, why do I have to be so negative and useless? Others try to help, but I don't know what I want, I don't know what I need and when other people tell me or try to draw it out of me I get frustrated by that too. However, I have come to believe that the only way through such a test is just that: through it. Not around it.

Well, yesterday’s sermon was on Joshua 1:1-9. Here’s what God says to Joshua, who may have felt much the same as I do at that point. Homeless, hopeless, grieving. Ill-equipped to face the future. Uncertain that he had what it took or that God was leading him. Wondering where to look for direction, what to do. Feeling alone. So God came to him and addressed these things specifically, and turned his perspective around as sometimes only God can:

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

My prayer for myself lately is: God, do your thing; be as thorough as you need to be, and as gentle as you can be. Blogging does help, you know, in the same way that counseling does. I started this almost two hours ago, came back and tweaked it - and it provides shape for what's going on in my head, helps me get a bit of distance on it so I can tell what I'm looking at.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Kidney Stone

The pain that woke me Thursday night did not begin to subside until nearly dawn. Weary and confused, I wondered if I should try to get to the emergency room. But I had never taken the time to familiarize myself with the details of our new health plan; the papers were somewhere at the office; wonder where?

[My only ER experience to-date resulted in a $1200 bill which was more painful than the original malady. So you can see why I’m reluctant to go there without studying my insurance policy.]

After the most awful pain ebbed I slept again, and woke dazed, at 8:30. Not long after that I had a call from my friend Nancy who was able to give some advice and the name of a doctor we thought would be covered by my new health plan.

At my afternoon appointment I learned that the likely cause of my pain was a kidney-stone, bladder-infection combo. Now I have antibiotics and painkillers, but the doctor urged me not to hesitate to make a middle-of-the-night visit to the ER over the weekend if the pain comes back in a big way.

So, I guess it's time to take it easy. Meg says I shouldn’t go jogging either – suggesting that such activity could spread the infection throughout my system and have some nasty effect like rendering me infertile. Wonder what the doc would say about that? I joked that it would be nice to have the decision about whether or not to have children made for me since life is just too darn complicated already, but Megan scolded me for such thoughts…. Ah, just blame them on the meds!

So, I’ve been reading. Nothing too challenging: things like Deb’s Good Housekeeping magazine. I read it cover-to-cover and discovered a small article written by someone I know. This afternoon I put my greasy hair up in a Central Asian headscarf and settled myself out on the back porch to read the latest Joel Rosenberg thriller, enjoying the international travel and vicarious adventure without having to move a muscle. Ah, life is good. Really, it is. Time for a cup of tea - and another Vicodin...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dealing with Differences, Part 2: Loyalty & Dissonance

The last year of my life has held so many twists and turns. While most of the time I’ve navigated them – and helped others navigate them – without losing grace, faith, and hope, I think I’m experiencing delayed whiplash.

As our ministry fought to survive, leaders appealed to staff to give loyalty to quickly changing plans, policies, priorities, and personalities. I’m not one to give unthinking lip-service or to just shrug my shoulders and say “whatever.” At times I’ve been tempted; it would certainly be easier! But a friend, a counselor / intercessor type, had prophesied over me that I should not disengage, so I’ve tried to resist that; I’ve been fairly deeply involved in everything that happened. And it has cost me.

My capacity for loyalty has been badly strained. I’ve been enlisted to defend disastrous practices. I’ve come out of it not knowing whom to trust. Even interpreting what happened has been very difficult. People I’ve known for years and/or worked closely with hold radically different and contradictory opinions about that. And I’m in relationship with people on all these different sides.

I think that’s part of why I feel so ‘lost.’ I am trying to stay respectful and loyal and sympathetic to people who have strong, conflicting points of view. It leaves me both feeling confused - not sure what I think - and hypocritical, for listening to ‘the other side.’

It’s not that I don’t have experience with this sort of thing. There are several situations in my family that are like that; I guess I’m just used to them. And of course my work often has me, an evangelical Christian, sitting down with Muslims letting them tell me how great Islam is, but that’s never bothered me. I think everybody and everything is interesting and I want to hear their story and point of view.

But this time it’s tearing me apart. I think this is what my college professors would call “cognitive dissonance.” Here are a couple of definitions I snagged off the web:

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term which describes the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation.

Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.

Dissonance increases with:

- The importance of the subject to us.

- How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict.

- Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief.

Trying to understand and give credence to radically different points of view has left me with a pretty serious case of dissonance this time. Sort of like indigestion… Actually, a lot like that!

So, with my insides still churning over these indigestible conflicts, I am reluctant to trust. This counselor I’ve started seeing says if you don’t trust someone, yes, it could be because there is something wrong with you, something hurt or broken or cynical, and you have to be able to ‘own’ that. But it could also be that the people you don’t trust are not trustworthy, and it may be a really good idea to, you know, not trust them! How does one know the difference?

I think all the loyalty whiplash has caused me to seriously doubt my own judgment. I come up with alternate points of view about everything and am constantly second-guessing myself. I’ve lost my ability to evaluate things and stand by my own judgments. Or to be a bit more crass, I can’t tell crap when I see or hear it. Or maybe I can tell, can feel it, but I am not willing to call it what it is because maybe it’s just something I don’t understand; maybe it isn’t crap after all. I don’t want to make the call; I could be wrong. Basically, I don’t trust myself.

This is making it very hard to make decisions and commitments and be happy about them. I’m angry, hurt, frustrated and disappointed with various people and situations, and I’m wired up in such a way that people can usually tell. But I’m unwilling to really acknowledge those emotions or give myself permission to let them run their course, partly because I find emotionalism rather distasteful, and partly because people punish you when you express negative emotions, but more, I think, because I have little confidence that my own feelings are justified or valid. All this is making me a bit sick in the head I think. Well, fairly unstable and unhappy anyway.

Phyllis (the counselor) says the way to get better may be to get in touch with who I am as a person. What do I really care about, need, value? Not what do people expect or want from me, or what are good girls or mature Christians supposed to do and think, but who am I really? If I can identify and pull back in the bits of my personality that are really authentic, I can evaluate them and decide what to keep. I can decide what I really need and care about and what things I am willing to be flexible about or want to change or grow in. That should make it a lot easier to trust my own judgment, and then to trust and give my loyalty to other people. Not to always trust, always be loyal, but to give my trust and loyalty where I choose, or (though it still sounds arrogant!) where it is due.

Of course, I seriously like being someone who is open-minded and knows how to listen. And I’m also pleased that a lot of my harsh edges have been knocked off, that I can be gentle and compassionate and flexible and forgiving and understanding. And fair. I want to be fair. I don’t want to get rid of those traits. But I’ve got a hunch there are some unhealthy aspects of them that I don’t need to keep.

This is all pretty scary to me, because Christianity and psychology sometimes seem to pull in different directions. I want to be one of those people who has faith and takes risks. I don’t want to be one of those people who has to have everything figured out. And I don’t want to become one of those people who is mostly interested in ‘doing what is good for me.’ But a true walk of faith is going to be healthy, sustainable, and authentic. So, with your prayers, some help from Phyllis, and the love and wisdom of friends... that’s what I’m working on.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dealing with Differences, Part 1: Groovy Spirituality

Self-Directed Life

- Self is on the throne
- Christ is outside the life
- Interests are directed by self, often resulting in discord and frustration

Christ-Directed Life
- Christ is in the life and on the throne
- Self is yielding to Christ, resulting in harmony with God's plan
- Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God's plan

"These two circles represent two kinds of lives.

1. Which circle best represents your life?
2. Which circle would you like to have represent your life?"

See this illustration in context, here.

Roommate Deb and I were recently talking about our college experiences with Campus Crusade for Christ. A sincere nonbeliever until her junior or senior year, Deb would patiently let the Crusaders share the Four Spiritual Laws with her every semester or so. She thinks she frustrated more than one by answering the 'second question' here in Law 4, "Which question would you LIKE to have represent your life, incorrectly, glibly professing, "The circle on the left."

Moreover, Deb took issue with the diagram.
She insisted that God must be a God of creativity - the whole thing with the dots did not seem right. Wouldn't He want the dots all different shapes and sizes and colors, not all lined up in a rigid row around the edge of the circle? She knew God was more groovy than that! (It was the 70s...) And of course He is. (Every model - and every evangelistic strategy - has its limits!)

"You must have had a lot of Crusaders praying for you!" I remarked.
"They were! And it worked," she added. The Four Spiritual Laws never did much for her, but seeing her friend Lisa coming back from a Campus Crusade Christmas conference clearly transformed by the power of God, did. Deb listened to Lisa’s scattered 'testimony' and wanted what she had. Deb gave her life to Christ and has been walking with God ever since.

I think Deb's objection to the circle diagrams is similar
to the debate that's been going on in missions circles about the question of contextualization. How much is it appropriate to change our message and means of communicating the gospel and the call to be the church? On one hand, allegiance to Christ seems to mean turning from our old ways and leaving them behind - a clear change of power, as in the circle diagram. Christ on the throne, not self, and that has a way of radically rearranging everything else in one's life. On the other hand, Christ meets people where they are, within their lives and families and cultures. Why would He want to extract us and make us unable to share and model new life within the communities He had put us in in the first place?

Ironically, believers struggling with these contextualization questions
seem to seek universal answers - models and principles that will work the whole world over. But if what we are talking about has to do with context, the answer has to be: there's not one right answer. It depends.

Discovering (under teaching from Campus Crusade, actually) that God loves diversity
and wants to be glorified in different ways by different kinds of people, was a key aha! moment in my life. It's what turned the key for me to say, yeah, I can be part of this evangelism/missions thing. On a personal level, I knew there was room for someone like me, and on a missiological level, I was no longer suspicious of - or even offended by - the idea of taking the gospel to all the nations of the earth. It was about inviting people to be set free and tap into God's power for transformed lives and communities; it wasn't about making them give up who they are to be like us.

So, this is a key thing in my life,
what I do and how I see the world, but it's been assaulted in recent months. And that’s really what I want to write about: I've been holding out on you. Stay tuned. Part 2 will be up Tuesday or Wednesday. (Later: You can read it here.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jogging - Update

Today - for the first time, I did it: I ran two whole miles. Woohoo!

It is nice to have someone to tell. (I love attention...)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Don't Leave Home Without - What?

Unpacking my suitcase for, what, the sixth time so far this year? I see that for a basically unsystematic person I have a definite packing system. Here are my top tips for getting in and out of town with minimal hassle and regret.

1. Avoid packing and unpacking toiletries by maintaining a separate set of just about everything. Pick up some of those 3-oz. plastic containers and fill them with shampoo, lotion, etc. Store them in an airplane-ready quart-sized bag. This way you can pack fast and are less likely to forget important items. You can also fly without checking your luggage, at least on short trips given current regulations. Keep another ziplock bag with all your 'dry' toiletry items like cotton balls, kleenex, and Q-tips. The plastic bags are not as elegant as some things available, but there is an advantage in being able to see what you have! When you come home, you can brush your teeth and wash your face without having to dig in your suitcase, because your regular stuff is still waiting for you at home. When you do get around to unpacking, stash these travel-ready bags in the closet until you need to refill and use them again.

2. Want to fit the most clothes in the smallest space? Lay out the largest thing on the botton, and layer everything else on top of it in a single pile. Roll the pile tight and put it in your bag or suitcase. You'll be amazed how much you can bring and how much space you save. This only really works, though, if you are going someplace where you can unpack at your destination. If you are moving around every day or two and need to live out of a suitcase it is awkward, as you cannot extract specific items from the roll without unpacking the whole thing.

3. Pack any medications you may need in small transparent containers that don't take up much space; again, there's an advantage in being able to what you have so you know when you are about to run out. You can also pack dissimilar meds, like antacids and aspirin, in the same container to make sure you have what you may need without having to overpack. The chances of getting them mixed up are slim.

4. Always bring an eye cover, ear plugs, a pair of socks, and a sweatshirt or something else to keep you comfortable if the place you are sleeping turns out to be too light, noisy, or cold.

5. Make sure you have a good book - preferably a paperback with lots of words on the page so you won't finish it by the time your shuttle gets to the airport. When I say a 'good book,' I don't mean one that's particularly improving, something heady or serious or related to your field which you want to be seen reading or have been meaning to pick up - no, I mean one that's actually fun and easy to read, a good escape that can be enjoyed without a great deal of thought.

What do you think? What are your favorite tricks?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

White House Atwitter

"WASHINGTON, May 4 — How does George W. Bush, a towel-snapping Texan who puts his feet on the coffee table, drinks water straight from the bottle and was once caught on tape talking with food in his mouth prepare for a state dinner with the queen?

"The White House is atwitter over the visit on Monday by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. ...It will be closely watched by the social elite for its collision of cultures — Texas swagger meets British prim."

[The cultural differences between Britons and Americans can be as big as any. I enjoyed this article from the New York Times. Click the headline to see whole story.]

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blogging and Jogging

I have some deeper stuff to write about but for today, just this: I'm still running. Like blogging, it's good therapy, and I'm gradually improving. 1.5 miles has become my new minimum. OK, usually the maximum too, but it's a step up! (Extra benefits: I've lost 10 pounds and my legs look, well, um, pretty great.)

But Westridge, the rec. center I frequent, is closed this week. I'm not quite up to running outside. Although it would be more beautiful, the trails nearby lack the clear benchmarks that keep me going and include weather, hills, and other challenges / distractions.

Yesterday I tried another rec. center in our system: Northridge. And I'm here to report, it's a dud. The track is covered with carpet, no markings of any kind, and 18 laps to the mile, too small. Plus it was overrun with teenagers. I felt like I was running in their living room.

Tonight I will try Eastridge, and maybe go check out Southridge, as well, within the next few days. That's the newest and may be the nicest.

Who would have predicted I'd become a recreation snob? Of course, not so much a snob that I'd put money into it. All four of them are free, benefits of living in Highlands Ranch.