Tag Archive: Friends


First Cross-Country Meet

First Cross Country Meet

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a runner. And when I say I’m a runner, I don’t mean I like to go for an occasional run or I just really love my team (even though I do). Nope. That’s not it at all. When I say I’m a runner, I am implying that I have a deep love for the activity itself and everything that comes with it; even the aches and pains. Running is hard. As in when you finish practices or races, you want to drop to the ground and vomit. That kind of hard. The thing is, running brings me joy like few other things can do. I’m willing to fight through injuries, exhaustion, and 100+ degree weather to continue pursuing that passion.
Why the display running love (verging on obsession) today? I’m glad you asked. My team’s first meet was today, and it was terrific! Personally, I ran a time I was more than happy with. My goal was to run a time of about twenty-four minutes, but I ended up finishing at 22:58. That is a little more than a minute more than my personal best, and for a first meet, I could not be happier! Not to mention the small fact that I am fighting not one but two injuries right now (hips and one of my calves). In other words, once I heal, I am going to be able to do even better. All that in the beginning of my cross-country season.
But onto the larger picture: our team result. The goal of my girl’s team this year is to improve at phenomenal rates, and, hopefully, take down the team that has dominated the state championship for over ten years. I am glad to say that we are off to a good start. The meet we ran at today wasn’t big, but we placed incredibly well, and easily took first place. I am so proud of all of my teammates, especially our new runners who ran competitively for the very first time–honestly, they were more impressive than our top runners! More importantly, we ran for the glory of God. The race itself, for me, was beautiful. The song lyrics going through my head throughout the beginning of the race were simple: “all for the glory of you”, and the words were perfect. There is no better way to run a race than when your focus is on praising God. However, after the race was amazing too. As we were warming down, my friends and I took turns praying and thanking God for the blessings he has given us, and even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face!
I will leave you all with this: my first cross-country meet was great!
End of book quote: “Then he turned into Lee avenue and was gone.” —The Chosen by Chaim Potok

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My Take On Football

My Take On Football

I hear about one thing all the time without understanding most of it. That thing is football. As a cross-country and track runner, I’ve never understood the appeal of playing football. Contact sports have never really been my thing; I’m not nearly aggressive enough. Besides, why willingly submit yourself to numerous injuries caused by other people when you could cause injury to yourself more easily? It just doesn’t make any sense to me. However, as I am a girl, my lack of any desire to play football competitively has not been a problem. But my dislike doesn’t stop there. I don’t even enjoy watching football. It just doesn’t interest me to watch boys in tight pants tackle each other or almost get into fights (not that I really go out of my way to watch other sports either). With this in mind, I was incredibly surprised to have had a good interaction playing football a few days ago.
Yesterday, my high school returned from retreat–three days in the beginning of every year designed to bring us closer together. The freshmen and sophomores go to one place while juniors and seniors go to another, which actually works out well. And I have to admit, it was pretty fun (despite the bed bugs that forced all the girls to move into different rooms), and I did grow closer to some people I didn’t start off knowing well at all. So, on that level, it was definitely a success.
Enough explanation, I’ll explain my miraculously good experience with football. On the second day of our get away, we (the juniors and seniors) had the chance to verse each other in flag football. Basically, the girls and boys from each grade verse each other while everyone else watches, creating some serious competition. This year the girls ended up going first, but, as very few of the girls in my class know how to play football, our guys had to step in as our coaches (which was sweet, but not overly helpful because there were a lot of them telling us different things to do and using foreign football terms without explaining them at all). Sadly, we (the juniors) ended up losing to our opponents (the seniors), but that was nothing unexpected. Thankfully, what we lacked in skill was made up by enjoyment. I acted as a substitute and had the most fun I’ve ever had in an activity with my classmates. As an added bonus, the flag football was actually pretty exciting (even though I did get slammed into rather hard by some of the senior girls).
Maybe I was wrong, and football isn’t so bad after all (though I’ll still probably never take any pleasure in watching other people play it).
End of book quote: “The kind that you’ve always known.” —Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

The Amazing Spider-Man

Last week, I grabbed ten dollars and a knapsack, and headed out the door with most of my family to drive to the theater. After a quick stop to pick up one of my younger brother’s friends, we arrived at the mall. My brother, his friend, and I exited the car and headed inside where a group of my friends were waiting to meet up with me. In only a few short minutes, we went inside and took our seats (they were pretty good ones, right in the center). The previews were showing, so we sat patiently until the lights dimmed and The Amazing Spider-Man began.
May I just say that the title describes the movie quite well. I loved it! I’ve never really liked the original Spider-Man because of numerous plot holes and unbelievable characters, but The Amazing Spider-Man did an incredible job of fixing those problems.
For starters, the acting was much better in the remake. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were the perfect people to cast for the roles of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. They pull of the awkward high school romance beautifully. The older Spider-Man never made any of the younger characters seem like actual high schoolers. Sure, Peter Parker was nerdy and MJ was popular and out-of-reach, but they never came across as believable, angst-filled teenagers.
This brings me to another perk. I never liked MJ as a character. Not only was she a bit of a pansy, but it never made sense that she would end up liking Parker. She was popular and she had a lot of boys to choose from, but she went for the dork. However, Gwen Stacy came across much better. She was Peter’s intellectual equal, and she proved herself to be independent and able to take care of herself. Not only that, but she was also not way out of his reach. She spent time with one of the popular kids, but she tutored him, she was not dating him. So, their relationship made a whole lot more sense.
Peter Parker himself was a much more interesting character than he was in the first edition. He was incredibly intelligent and obviously loved photography, but he had more depth than that. Marc Webb, the director, did a brilliant job of making Parker’s back story more than him losing his parents at a young age. Instead, there were hints that there was something far more sinister at play in their deaths. Webb also did a wonderful job of keeping Peter’s emotions real throughout the movie. Peter doesn’t fit in perfectly with his aunt and uncle; he had many moments where he disappointed them and couldn’t accept their authority because they weren’t his actual parents.
After his uncle died, he didn’t decide to become a hero because his uncle said something that inspired him. He started hunting down thugs because he wanted revenge. There was no fake sense of nobility, there was only hatred for the man who murdered his uncle. His nobility was sparked after he saved a young boy from falling to his death after the Lizard attacked for the first time, which seems more understandable than the first movie’s motivation.
This brings me to another important aspect of any movie: the villain. A lot of people have claimed that the Lizard is a weak villain, but I think that works in a beginning Spider-Man movie. Spider-Man logically can’t be a professional hero in his first movie; he had no idea what he was doing, so if the Lizard had been, say, the Green Goblin, Peter probably would have died.
I’ve also heard some complaints that the new movie spent too much time developing a story that had already been told, but I think it was necessary. The remake was to give a new perspective on an old story, but that doesn’t change the fact that the plot line is still inherently the same. People seem to forget that The Amazing Spider-Man is a remake of the original movie, meaning it starts at the beginning. With that in mind, I think Webb was smart not to give Parker’s back story ten minutes and then move on to the action. Instead, he drew out the back story, and made it flow a lot better than the original did.
So, in my opinion, if anyone wants to go see a good movie, I would recommend The Amazing Spider-Man.
“Then shouldering their burdens, they set off, seeking a path that would bring them over the grey hills of Emyn Muil, and down into the Land of Shadow.” —The Fellowship Of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Faith Without Works

“This faith is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full rights of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he takes them up again.” –The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Faith in God is not the easy way to get to Heaven. It never has been, and it never will be. In fact, we are promised that we will suffer just as Christ himself did, but it is all worth it. Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That verse is beautiful to me because there is an all-powerful God who loves us enough to give his own son up to die for us. Nothing can ever separate us from that love if we should choose to accept it; not sin, not pain, not hardship, not our faults, or even all the mistakes we have ever made. It’s crazy to think anyone could love so selflessly, yet God proves us wrong time and time again.

There are so many pictures of his endless love painted in the Bible. The entire book of Hosea is a representation of God’s love for us. For any who does not know the story, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and stay faithful to her even when she did not stay faithful to him. Symbolically, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea represents the relationship between God and his people; with the Lord constantly bringing his children home after they continuously stray back to their sin. The book of Hosea still applies to us today. We will never be perfect, but Christ pursues us anyway.

When we discover our love for God, it is easy to understand why James 2:14-17 is so true. [“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”] Faith prompts us to act in ways we never would otherwise. When a person dedicates their life to Christ, it is no small commitment because following God is not a simple task.

God does not hesitate to call us out of our comfort zones, but it is up to us to decide whether to obey or not. Lloyd C. Douglas put this idea into words excellently in the quote I used above. If we choose not to act upon our belief in God, then how can we claim to be wholly devoted to him? That being said, we will fail to act through faith over and over and over again, but God does not abandon us even though we can never measure up.

I am dwelling on these things tonight because of my baptism yesterday. It was an incredible time for me. My family and a few friends were able to attend, and their attendance meant the world to me. But more importantly, God proved to me once again that he is working in my life.

A few days ago, I blogged about my concerns for my upcoming baptism. I was stressed about not fully understanding what baptism meant, and went through an anxious period over the last week, but God did not leave me in that state of mind. He answered my prayers two days ago with only a short time left to spare before I was actually baptized.

I spoke with one of my good friends while we were on a run, and realized that God did not require me to fully understand what baptism meant. Instead, I firmly believe that he desired me to act on faith, and obey him no matter what my comfort level was. After I got home from Cross Country practice that morning, I felt at peace with my decision to go through with getting baptized. As I explained to my mom, I don’t think Abraham quite understood what he was doing when God commanded him to be circumcised [Genesis 17], and he didn’t need to. God worked through him even though his comprehension was limited, and I figured that God could easily do the same with me.

While I am still unclear about baptism in its entirety, I am overjoyed that I was baptized last night. It was the absolute perfect time, and God knew that and prepared me for it. I am immensely grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible night with him and my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

End of book quote: “And when the colt, nothing but a bundle of legs and wet fur as black as Enna’s hair, fell into her arms, Ani might hear a name.” —The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale