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Sunday, June 23, 2013

What I Love About Sunday

I had a great day today.  It started off with one of the absolute best decision I could have made.

I have always had this tiny piece of me that felt guilty for never going to church in Whitewater.  Over the last 8 years, the only time I've attended church has been when I've been home with my family, at a wedding, baptism, or a funeral.  I had the Fellowship of Christian Athletes when I was in school... and though I didn't go every single week, it felt like enough to me then.  Once I graduated, I stopped going to FCA.  It wasn't until this fall, when my faith was truly tested, that I started to really get the urge to find a place to worship.  I prayed... don't get me wrong.  During that time, I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.  But it wasn't enough.  I was lost, and going to church was not something I could direct myself to do.

There was a lot of working, a lot of reading and a lot of exercising during those months... but nothing seemed to help me cope with the feeling that something was missing from my life.  My faith had been weakened, and I needed something to strengthen it.  I wanted to go to church, but I kept finding other things to do, reasons why I couldn't go.  I think I was trying to avoid admitting that I "needed" something, something I couldn't provide to myself.

Last night I made a decision to try a church in Whitewater.  I woke up this morning, got ready, and headed off to Crosspointe Community Church. I have never... I repeat... NEVER gone to church by myself before.  However, I was instantly overwhelmed by the people of this beautiful church.  The door was opened for me upon entering and exiting the church by a woman who could put every single Wal*Mart greeter to shame.  As I sat down, I was instantly recognized by one couple as the "gymnastics coach from UW-Whitewater" (their kids are in my GymHawks program), and they immediately welcomed me to their church.

Worship itself was amazing.  I have grown up in a Catholic Church, so the non-denominational service was very different from what I am used to.  We sang... a lot.  And for those of you who know me- this was right up my alley!  The sermon was on point, and the pastor was captivating from the very first word.  It was incredibly engaging... and I left the service feeling happy and strong, checking my calender to make sure I could attend next week.

I can.  :)

After church I headed off to celebrate the graduation of the sweetest girl.  My friend Jadrian, is a wonderful young lady.  She is beautiful, a loving daughter, a great friend and a devoted big sister.  You know how I know all of this about her???  Because Avery told me!!!  Jadrian is Avery's big sister, and boy oh boy, did Avery love that girl.  She would talk my ear off at practice, "Jadrian this" and "Jadrian that" and "Jadrian is so great" and "Jadrian made me so mad" (the last of which absolutely confirms her AWESOME big sister status... trust me, it's a big sister's job to make the little ones mad -haha, sorry Abby!)
Hanging out with two of my favorite people!  Bridget and Jadrian! Congrats, Jai!


I met some truly beautiful people today.  People who also love this wonderful family, and I know exactly why.  They are remarkable in their strength and their love for one another.  They are remarkable in their faith and their sense of humor (Hey Bridget, Yahtzee!!!).  They are remarkable in their passion for life and their devotion to the ones they care about.  I am blessed to know them, truly blessed.

I left the graduation party feeling happier and stronger than I did when I left church (if that was even possible).  Once I got home I got ready and headed to the gym where I planned on knocking a couple of miles off of my to-do-list.  Well, the strength kept carrying me through, and a couple of miles turned in to 5!  I was so proud of myself!  5 miles is the farthest I've ever run without stopping.  Maybe by the end of this 30 days I'll be ready to try a 1/2 marathon!?  (Hold up, Al.  Don't get ahead of yourself.)  

I apologize for sounding like a journal entry today... just wanted to share my wonderful day with you all.  Sometimes all you need is a great Sunday to help you smile.

Love True,

Allison

Craig Morgan- "That's What I Love About Sunday"

Raymond's in his Sunday best,
He's usually up to his chest in oil an' grease.
There's the Martin's walkin' in,
With that mean little freckle-faced kid,
Who broke a window last week.
Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me. 

That's what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazin' Grace,
An' then we shake the Preacher's hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken an' some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That's what I love about Sunday. 

I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an' Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it's about time.
It's 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby. cut that coupon out! 

That's what I love about Sunday:
Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;
Carve our names in that white oak,
An' steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah. 

Ooh, new believers gettin' baptized,
Momma's hands raised up high,
Havin' a Hallelujah good time
A smile on everybody's face.
That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah. 

That's what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Challenge

I've been watching my kids bust their butts at practice this week.  They've been working extremely hard.  Many are getting new skills, many are trying skills that frighten them, and I couldn't be more proud.  I have seen a fire lit in most of them.  Watching them work out has been like watching that fire rage, gaining strength and power as the days go by.  They all have a goal... and they are working incredibly hard for it.  

I decided that I need to have a goal.  I spent 20 years with physical goals.  Goals of perfection.  Goals to better my ability, and to "better" my body.  Though some of those goals had misguided intentions, well intended goals are good to have- In fact, they are great to have, and I'm quite certain that I am ready to tackle a challenge.  

I started running a lot when I was sick.  Sure, it was a great way to burn calories... but it was a perfect escape for me.  I do some of my clearest thinking when I'm running.  I love the way the sun feels on my skin, the way the air blows my ponytail back and forth, and the way my muscles ache when I'm at the end of a long, satisfying run.  It's like the best form of meditation on Earth.  :)

Anyway, I decided to give myself a little challenge... I'm going to try to run 75 miles in 30 days.  Yes, I know... that's not a huge number for big time runners.  That's like 6 days worth of running for a marathon runner.  But hey... I was a gymnast, not a runner... so this is my challenge.  I need something to work towards, I need something to achieve... and running 75 miles in 30 days will be quite the accomplishment for me!  Day 1 begins tomorrow :)  I shall keep you all posted!  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Love True,
Allison


"Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Love.

Love.
noun
1.
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3.
sexual passion or desire.
4.
a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5.
(used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie,love?

My amazing friend, Nicole
and her new husband, Eli.
What is love?  As you can see above, Love is something that can be felt, it can be given and it can be received.  Love, as a noun... is everything we hope to obtain in this world.

Last weekend I witnessed Love.  Real Love.  Love so strong that it was able to bind two beautiful people together in marriage.  My dear, sweet, friend married the man of her dreams and I was fortunate enough to be included in their blissful day.  And it was just that... BLISSFUL.  There was so much Love in the room when Nicole and Eli exchanged their vows, and the Love was overflowing from the room as we celebrated their union all night long.

With the beautiful Bride and her Groom!
These days, many of my dear friends are discovering Love in it's truest form.  I have been to more weddings and witnessed more Love in the last 24 months than in the previous 24 years of my life combined.  Watching two people commit to each other, vow to love one another until the end of their days is the most inspiring and exhilarating event to watch.

Today my parents celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.  On a daily basis, I am witness to a love that is so pure and so honest, and I couldn't be more grateful.  My parents, whose friendship began in middle school, are best friends.  My dad is my Mom's Prince Charming and she is his Queen... and as cliche' as that might sound, I can guarantee that spending just one hour with them would most certainly clear up any doubts as to the truth I speak.

My always inspiring parents. 
Love is the single most desired "thing" in this world.  Anyone who tells you they desire something else, something less, does not fully understand the magnitude of Love or the influence Love can have on a person.

My life has been abundantly blessed with Love; but I have yet to discover the Love that Nicole and Eli have found or the Love that my parents have so beautifully demonstrated.  I hope and pray that myself, and everyone else who is still looking, will uncover something great, something magical, something everlasting like the love of my wonderful parents.

One of my favorite songs these days is an Adele remake of a Bob Dylan song.  The song is about longing, and what lengths a person would go to for Love.  These lyrics are so beautiful and are such a testament to the Love my parents still share after 29 years.  Here's to the next 29! I love you both!!

"I could hold you for a million years.  To make you feel my Love."

Adele- "To Make You Feel My Love"

Love True-
Allison