Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blue Lake Tri-It Triathlon

Yesterday I made my first attempt at a triathlon... and it was great!  My friend Leslie told me about this all-women's sprint triathlon at Blue Lake Park just outside of Portland a while back and I've kept it in the back of my mind.  I feel pretty strong in running and fine in biking, but I'm never been much of a swimmer.  So I started swimming at my community center a couple months ago, slowly built up my confidence in the water, and signed up for this year's Blue Lake race.  I decided to participate in the "Tri-It Novice Triathlon" which has a shorter swimming distance than a sprint triathlon.  The race includes a 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike ride, and 5k run.

The race was great and I felt strong the entire time.  Swimming was definitely the hardest since I'd never actually swam a fair dinstance in a lake and since there were lots of people surrounding me (kicking, splashing, scratching, bumping).  But I ended up finishing 1st in my age group (25-29 year old) and 10th overall for the Tri-It race with a time of 1:26:05 (11:12 swim, 42:53 bike, 24:33 run, plus transition times).  This race was so fun and definitely not boring.  My mom and dad are in town for a long weekend (more to come on that soon!) so they were able to come out for the race.  And Megan and Drew came to watch too - thanks, guy!  You're the best.

marked with our race number and age

starting off with the swim

transition area between the swim and bike

headed out for the run

my friend (and coach) Leslie

the crew post-race

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interview with God

Right now we are in the middle (hopefully closer to the end) of hiring a new development officer at work. This position has been open for a while and needs to have been filled yesterday. We have seen a wide range of candidates. All have come across as good, nice people; kind, intelligent, hardworking. They have put on their best suit, presented a resume of skills and accomplishments, and done their best to “sell” themselves as the best fit for this position. They tell us what a respectable organization this is, how much they would love to be a part of this team, and how they would add value to our work. After the interview, they write thank you letters to show appreciation for our time and consideration. One last plea for our acceptance. Then await a phone call saying, “You’re hired.”

Of all of the people we have interviewed so far, we still haven’t found the right one for this position. Despite their accomplishments, kindness, and desire for this job, there’s just something about each one that wouldn’t work. I think about what each candidate must have thought after their interview. Probably: “I nailed it. I was professional. I answered their questions. I showed confidence. There’s no reason for me not to get this job.” And then they receive the phone call saying, “Thank you for applying for this position and interviewing with us. However, we have decided not to hire you.” Rejection. In their mind it just doesn’t make sense.

Sometimes I think we are this way with God. We do our research by reading the Bible and studying theology. We build our resume by going to church, attending Bible studies, volunteering and just being "good" people. We put on our best suit, present our accomplishments, and give him the answers we think he wants to hear. We write our thank you letters through prayer – pleading for him to grant our requests – and wait for him to say, “Well done. You’re hired.” We want him to give us what we want: that perfect job, husband, financial situation, opportunity, health, life. Yet sometimes (maybe more often than not) we get rejected.

And we think: “Seriously? I thought I nailed it. I’m the perfect fit for ___________. I’ve got the skills, the personality, the desire. Why wouldn’t God hire me?”

Apparently God has his own business plan which is bigger and more encompassing than our narrow little daily task list.  It's definitely frustrating at times to not be the boss and have control.  And God is a tricky boss because sometimes he doesn't call us into his planning meetings where he casts his vision for the upcoming year, goes line by line through the budget, sets hard fast goals for us and then sets us loose to close the deals for ourselves.  In God's business, faith is a key corporate value.

But the good thing is, God can see past our crisp black suits into our aching, vulnerable hearts.  He's not a boss we have to constantly impress and keep a completely professional relationship with.  Although he may not "hire" us for every position we apply for, he we always listen to our requests and be open to discussion.  And no matter how many times we let him down and fall short of our goals, he will never fire us.

Trusting the Boss Man
"The Lord teaches you what is best for you and directs you in the way you should go. If you pay attention to his commands your peace will be like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea."
- Isaiah 48:17-18

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
- Isaiah 55:8-9

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is going to be the best summer in Portland... because I now own kayaks.  Last weekend, I went kayaking for the first time ever in a friend's borrowed kayaks and absolutely loved it.  There's just something about being out on the water that is so peaceful, soothing and enjoyable.  Kayaking is the perfect summer activity around Portland because there are so many great spots in the area to easily drop a kayak in the water and enjoy some amazing scenery; whether its on the Columbia River, the Willamette River, the Deschutes River or a nearby lake.  So I decided that investing in kayaks would be a great idea because I was sure to get plenty of use out of them.

So a few days ago I bought a pair of kayaks on a whim.  Today Megan and I took them out on their first excursion on the Willamette near Sellwood Park in SE Portland.  It was the perfect afternoon.  I have a feeling that this is what every weekend is going to look like from now on.

I just realized that KAYAK is a palindrome: spelled the same backwards as it is forwards.  There aren't many words like that, but my niece Hannah and my friend Hannah always point out that their names are palindromes as well.  So here's a little story about kayaking in palindrome form...

Megan and I headed out to the river sometime after NOON.  When you talked about the Willamette, many people say, “EWE, GAG! That water is dirty.” But I’ve had my EYE on getting out on that river.  The water LEVEL is unusually high on the river, but we stayed safe and didn’t even have to yell SOS. I rowed hard and the KAYAK moved as fast as a RACECAR. Thankfully I didn’t injure my ROTATOR cuff. When I told my fam about the kayaks, DAD and Uncle BOB said, “HUH, you know how to KAYAK? WOW, that’s a pretty sweet GIG!” And MOM told me to wear sunscreen (which I DID so my skin wouldn’t get REDDER). Maybe someday I can take my niece HANNAH out, but for now she’s just a TOT. There are many more kayaking SAGAS to come!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Long 4th of July Weekend

This was a wonderful, long 4th of July weekend.  So good that several times I felt like I was back in college!  The weather in Portland was perfect!!  Apparently it was the first weekend that we've had 2 consecutive days of sun since February.  Summer is finally here!

The weekend consisted of several bike rides, lots of reading outside, nachos and margaritas, fire pits and smores, kayaking on the Columbia River at Rooster Rock in the Gorge, a real deal road trip (9 people in a 7 passenger van, stopping at visitors centers, lots of pictures, trail mix, guide books and maps, James Taylor on the radio) touring Mount St Helens with the Moores and Amoses, corn hole, cook outs, and fireworks.  I love fireworks and Fort Vancouver just across the border in Washington is known for its amazing fireworks show.  So the 9 of us (plus Toby the chocolate Lab) drove up to watch the fireworks from the top floor of the Murdock office.  The boys and I even climbed up on the roof of the building and had an incredible view of all the fireworks shows (there were at least 40-50!) going on around the Portland and Vancouver areas.  It was amazing to be stand up there and have a 360 view of fireworks exploding all along the horizon.

It's weekends like this that make the long, dreary wait for the summer worth it!