I’m Not 40 Anymore!

21 09 2013

I turned 41 yesterday, hence the title. I must say, being “over the hill” has been a great ride so far. I am in far better health now than I was 20 years ago. My cholesterol continues to decrease each year and is at an all-time low of 133. I can still do 180° right and left leg splits. My 5K speed continues to get faster. Spiritually, I am more in love with the Bible than ever and find prayer calming and humbling. Professionally, I continue to revise my curriculum every year. I am not content teaching the same stuff just because it’s easier. I just started working on my MBA. In terms of behavior, I am more patient all around and am much calmer in the car. When it comes to my family, I am ridiculously blessed with an amazing husband and two incredible sons.

I am also very goal-oriented, so I decided to take stock of my “40 Things to Do in the Next 40 Years” list that I wrote a year ago. (My updated notes are in parenthesis after each item.)

1. Do 40 military style pushups at one time, no breaks. (Still working on this)
2. Successfully finish a Tough Mudder. (Tough Mudder teased us with a Nashville race in May 2013, then moved it out of state.)
3. Swim freestyle for 50 meters without stopping. (Nope, practicing would help)
4. Run a sub 30-minute 5K in an actual race. (I’ve done several races this year, but not a straightforward 5K, not yet. I have 4 more races before 2013 is over, so I’m really hoping this will happen. I ran a marathon relay not too long ago and PRd with an 8:28 minute mile at one point.)
5. Do ab ripper at least twice each week, preferably three times. (Nope)
6. Bike once each week. (Nope)
7. Run two-three times each week. (Yup! I’m averaging 10 miles per week over 4 runs)
8. Swim once each week. (Nope)
9. Always remember to wear sunscreen. (Almost always)
10. Hike the Appalachain Trail. (Maybe next decade?)
11. Still be able to do 180° right and left leg splits 40 years from now. (Yup!)

12. Eat at least two servings of fruit each day. (Yup! Except on my birthday; then I get all my calories from sugar and lard . . . and maybe some cheese)
13. Eat at least two servings of vegetables each day. (About half the time)
14. Remember to take all my supplements each day—multi vitamin, calcium/Vitamin D, fish oil. (Usually)
15. Cut back to one sweet/dessert item each day (except on birthdays). (I’m down to two per day which is way better than it was a year ago.)
16. Try one new recipe each month. (Yup!)
17. Drink more water. (About the same)

18. Fast 40 hours straight once each week. (I still fast, but not for 40 hours—my body did not take kindly to that. I was getting too dizzy and lightheaded.)
19. Memorize one scripture each week. (Sadly, nope. I do read the Bible every day, and my knowledge of scripture is growing, but I just don’t officially memorize verses.)
20. Give half our income away, probably through Compassion International child sponsorships. (Well on our way!)
21. Teach my children to pray in all circumstances. (Working on it; this will be a lifelong lesson.)
22. Teach my sons the importance of sexual purity and protecting and honoring their bodies and the bodies of any girls/women they have relationships with. (Praying about this regularly and having age-appropriate conversations as they arise.)
23. Watch my sons grow into their own faith in Christ. (Yup! So cool to see my sons coming into their own faith rather than living out simply what we tell them to do and say and believe.)
24. Go on a mission trip. (Yup! Texas in March 2013 and India in June 2013)

25. Get my MBA. (Just started my classes! Graduation = fall 2015)
26. Get my PhD. (Maybe next decade; need to finish the MBA first.)
27. Not go crazy. (Debatable)
28. Read on average one book per week. (Pretty darn close)
29. Become fluent in another language. (If sarcasm counts, I’m fluent.)
30. Learn to play the piano. (Too busy; maybe after my MBA and PhD?)

31. Have a weekly date with my love. (Desperately need to do better!)
32. Play more games with my family. (Same #32)
33. Visit all the Wonders of the World. (Five down, two to go—Petra and Angkor Wat)
34. Travel to a new country each year. (So far, so good)
35. Grow my hair out to my wedding day length. (Almost there!)
36. Join a community choir. (Too busy with #1-35)
37. Watch no more than 1 hour of TV each night, except when Dancing with the Stars goes for two hours. (Yup! I have almost cut out TV completely, probably because I’m reading so much. I honestly don’t miss it . . . except Dancing with the Stars.)
38. Re-invent/re-paint/re-design several rooms in my home. (Consulting a friend who is an interior designer is on my to do list for the summer of 2014.)
39. Build a library with floor to ceiling book shelves in my home and fill it with great literature. (Also on my—as in my husband’s—to do list for the summer of 2014.)

Most Important
40. Remember that each day is a gift and to live a life that reflects how grateful I am to be alive. (I’m better at this than I used to be, but there will always be room for improvement. Can we ever be too grateful?)


This Is Why You’re Not Getting a Christmas Card From Us This Year (or maybe ever again)

6 12 2012

No More Christmas Cards explains how we came to our decision to NOT send Christmas cards this year.

So, the winner of what would have been our Christmas money was Safe Haven Family Shelter, by almost a 3-1 vote.  I was introduced to Safe Haven almost two years ago, and since then, both Caleb and Jason have joined me on various occasions to help provide dinner for the residents.

Besides the money issue, the other reason you are not getting a Christmas card from us is because this is it!  SURPRISE dear readers!  We’re going all-digital this year.

Many of you keep up with us via Facebook anyway, so you already know our year in review.  For those who don’t, here you go:

The Huddleston 2012 Year in Review

Matthew continues to teach physics and launch high altitude balloons at Trevecca Nazarene University.  He loves his job, and even took on the challenge of hosting a national high altitude balloon conference at TNU in June.

He finished his first (and possibly, probably, hopefully last) full marathon in April.  His goal was an ambitious 4:00, but he made it around 4:25.  This is incredibly impressive considering he only “trained” once each week . . . most of the time.

He has also completed several mud runs, the latest rage in running races around the country.  Now that he’s in a new age bracket, he will probably start placing and winning some nice prizes.

On a heavier note, Matthew’s dad, Mark, was diagnosed with colon cancer in October.  He had surgery just a few days after.  The doctors thought they got all of the cancer, but subsequent tests showed a spot on a lymph node.  He is currently undergoing chemo therapy once every two weeks for six months.  His doctors remain very optimistic, but we’d still appreciate your prayers for complete healing and for strength and endurance for Mark and Martha during this time.

Kelly (me) continues to teach technology and journalism/graphic design at Franklin Road Academy.  I also love my job.  I did NOT do a ½ (or full) marathon this year, and I feel great!  Triathlons are my new thing (My First Triathlon).  Having successfully finished three of them, I can no longer qualify for placings in the Beginner category.  However, being really a really weak swimmer, mediocre bicyclist, and slow runner, I wouldn’t qualify for placings in any category anyway.  Maybe when I’m 80 and still doing triathlons will I win something.

Gourmet cupcakes are my newest indulgence so if you are ever looking for a gift . . .  (I also love chocolate and a good extra sharp cheddar cheese.)  However, I really need to be eating more fruit and vegetables, so a membership in some sort of fruit-of-the-month club would be a better gift.

Matthew and Kelly’s (our) international trip this year took us to Nicaragua in July.  We met another one of the kids we sponsor through Compassion International.  Always an eye-opening, life-changing event, you can read about it here:  Open My Eyes.  You can also read about the amazing amount of fun hell we had as we hiked a volcano on Ometepe Island.

Next year’s trip is another once-in-a-lifetime trip:  india!  For three weeks we will traverse a good chunk of the country in June.  The first 10 days or so will be spent in Chennai and traveling up the Indian Ocean coast of south eastern India, mainly to visit two more kids they sponsor through Compassion International (link) as well as spend some time with a friend who pastors a church in a small village there.  During the second half of the trip, we will get to play tourist:  visit the Taj Mahal, ride elephants and camels in the dessert, visit Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, and take a boat tour along the Ganges River in Varanasi, the heart of the Hindu culture.  Expect great blog posts to come from this adventure.

Other big news for 2012 included placing membership in a new church, Priest Lake Christian Fellowship.  Our former home church group, the Gathering, fizzled out as families found new churches around the Nashville area, so we started looking, too.  Being less than a mile from our home was a great benefit, but the people were the main draw.  We have never been to a more humble church where the Holy Spirit is so alive and thriving among its members.  It’s inspiring and challenging and moving each week.

Caleb is in fourth grade at Franklin Road Academy and continues to love school and excel in his academics.  To brag on this child for a moment, he has yet to receive a B in any term grade since he started PK.  He’s got his Daddy’s brains and aptitude for math and building things.  Caleb continues to love all things Star Wars, but his Pokemon obsession (thank goodness!) has come to an end.  If you know of anyone interested in buying a 700+ card Pokemon collection, please let us know.

Caleb’s newest obsession is legos.  The kid lives and breathes legos, which we are fine with.  He actually builds some really cool things, like a working flashlight—complete with an on/off lever and working bulb.

Caleb is also learning to play the recorder and trumpet, and we (as in Kelly) are trying desperately (and futilely) to get him to sing “This Song is Just Six Words Long” by Weird Al Yankovic in the Fourth Grade Variety Show in January.  Weird Al is another recent obsession of Caleb’s, and being the cool parents we are, for his birthday we bought him tickets to see Weird Al in concert in April when he comes to Nashville.

Caleb is a Webelo scout this year, and is a popcorn selling machine!  He sold over $1500 to win first place again in his cub scout pack.  He won an archery set, 8% of his total sales in cash, a $50 Walmart gift card, an LED head lamp, a patch, Predators’ tickets, and a trophy.  (Don’t get me started on winning trophies for something like selling popcorn.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan of the practice.)

Caleb’s most exciting adventure this year, though, was his ER trip that led to a hospital stay for a couple of days at the end of August for pneumonia.  Despite this bump in the road, we are still tremendously blessed.  His asthma and allergies have plagued him something fierce this fall, much worse than normal.  We have an appointment with an asthma/allergy specialist next week so we are praying for something to help manage this better.

Jason started preK at FRA this year, and is loving it.  Being the second child, we did not work with him on things like the alphabet, drawing, writing, or reading much (hardly at all) before he started school.  Thankfully, the kid has a mind like a sponge and is taking off in the writing and reading department.  He also loves to draw.

Jason, too, is obsessed with Star Wars and legos.  At three he could recite entire scenes from Star Wars.  I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this.  Did I mention he was three at the time?  The kid can build lego creations with the best of them . . . well, maybe not a working flashlight yet, but he can build really cool spaceships, race cars, jails, mouse traps, and monsters.

Jason and Caleb took their first official swimming lessons this summer.  Lesson 1 involved Jason crying and screaming for the full 45 minute session.  He had snot running out of both nostrils to his belly button when I picked him up.  He only cried for about 15 minutes of lesson 2, and by lesson 3 he was actually excited to go.  Now, of course, the kid is terrified to put his head in the water, which reminds Kelly of herself as a child forced to take swimming lessons.

Packer, our dog, continues to love to eat anything that falls on the floor including baby spit-up (true story) as well as grass to later make herself throw-up said baby spit-up.  She loves to sleep during the day and wake us up around 4:00 a.m. to pee and play.

Finley Bubbles the VIII, our beta fish, didn’t last the year.  At this time, we are uncertain if we will buy Finley Bubbles the IX.

Hopes and prayers for 2013:

  • Good health for everyone
  • A safe and amazing trip to India
  • Jobs we love
  • Caleb and Jason would continue to grow and mature in their faith, following Christ
  • Matthew and Kelly possibly beginning a new Marriage Builders home church group
  • Kelly hopes to begin working on her MBA at Trevecca in the fall

As we reflect back and look forward, may we always remember WHY we celebrate.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
-John 1:14

Love and prayers to all,
the Huddleston Family

PS.  If any of you find yourselves in Nashville and need a place to stay, we’ve got plenty of room and love house guests.

First World Issues

7 11 2012

“Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:18

A few months ago, a friend posted a comment on another’s friend’s Facebook post in response to having to wait a few more days for his iPhone 5 to arrive in the mail.  Friend 1’s impatience was painfully evident.  Friend 2’s response was, “First world problems.”  Since reading that, I have become rather unsettled whenever I ponder what that means.

Here is a sampling of what I’ve read lately—mainly on Facebook, although some were comments on news articles.  There has to be a better way to respond to these First World inconveniences we Americans face.

  • I had to wait to vote! – Thank you, God, for allowing us to live in a country where we have the privilege to vote and choose our leaders with relative comfort, ease, and convenience and without the threat of persecution or punishment.
  • My iPhone hasn’t arrived yet! – Thank you, God, for allowing us to have the resources to afford this kind of technology to make our lives so much easier when an estimated 79% of residents in Third World countries don’t even have access to electricity.
  • The price of gas is ridiculous! – Thank you, God, for allowing us to live in a country that has a stable supply of gas that is also cheaper than most other countries in the world.  (In Norway, the price of gas is over $10.00 per gallon.)
  • When is the hockey lockout going to end?Thank you, God, for allowing us to live in a country where we have such a plethora of entertainment options to keep us busy and occupied.
  • I can’t believe these replacement NFL refs! – Thank you, God, for allowing us to live lives with such simple comforts like a big screen TV on which to watch football.  Eighty percent of the world’s population does not have this simple luxury.
  • My washing machine/dishwasher broke! – Thank you, God, that we have access to clean, potable water that we can use to keep our homes and families healthy and sanitary, even if we have to wash by hand.  Over 2.5 times more people around the world lack access to clean water than live in the United States.
  • They are going to raise taxes on millionaires!  Thank you, God, that we are fortunate to have an income that is in the top 0.15% of all the world’s wealth, and even if the government took half of it, we’re still ridiculously blessed with more money than 99% of the world’s 7 billion people.

To be fair, I’ll include some of my own.

  • The interstate was backed up, and it took me an hour to get home! – Thank you, God, for allowing us to have not just one, but three vehicles that run so I don’t have to walk miles and miles to make a living for my family.
  • That guy took my parking space! – Thank you, God, for a healthy body that is able to walk that extra block because I had to park farther away.
  • There’s nothing I want to eat in my house! – Thank you, God, for allowing me to have an abundantly stocked refrigerator and pantry.  Thank you for allowing me to live a life in which I will never know what it is like to truly be hungry.

What First World issues do you struggle with complaining about when you should be giving thanks?

Run Kelly Run (part 2)

10 01 2012

(A continuation from Run Kelly Run (part 1))

“So, why do you run?” 

I’ve been thinking about this question for several years now.  It was most recently posited to me by a friend after hearing me tell of how much I disliked running.  (Okay, I used the phrase “I hate running.”)

I have been a “serious” runner for about seven years now.  Though I’m not sure what exactly constitutes being a “serious” runner, that is how many friends and family describe me.  I run 2-3 times per week, 3-4 miles per time.  I’ve participated in three ½ marathons, two Ragnar Relays, and numerous 5/10/15 Ks over the past three years.  I currently have 13 races/triathlons on my calendar for 2012 and am looking for a few more.

Yet despite my discipline and sacrifice, I still don’t really enjoy running.  I never have, and I keep waiting for the day when I get really excited about going for a run.  Before most runs, it is a huge mental challenge to ready myself to run.  I often wait to the last minute to change into my running clothes.  Then I’ll stand on the treadmill staring at the Start button thinking, “Just push the button.  Push the —– button!  All you have to do is push the button.  Push the button, already!”  And on it goes in my mind till, minutes later, I muster a bit of resolve and push the button.

So, then, why do I continue to partake of this activity several times a week?

Simply stated, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

The health benefits, in particular, are numerous.

  1. My asthma is well-controlled.  The fact that I can even finish a ½ marathon with just a preventative puff of my inhaler before it starts is an amazing accomplishment in itself.  (I was the kid who couldn’t run one lap in PE without ending up in the nurse’s office.)  I remember having a series of pulmonary breathing tests done a few years ago by my allergist.  I had been running just a few years at that point.  My doctor was astonished by the increase in all the different results.  She commented that anyone looking at just those test numbers would have no idea I had asthma.
  2. My weight is a non-issue.  I don’t know too many women who can claim that they are just fine with their weight, but I really am.  I am not trying to lose weight.  I’m in maintenance mode.  In fact, if I were to lose only five more pounds, my BMI would drop to an unhealthy level.
  3. Endorphin boost!
  4. I sleep really, really well.  Even though I run at night most of the time, usually ending within an hour of bedtime, I have no problems falling asleep.
  5. My body is more tone and fit.  There is more muscle definition in my legs, arms, and abs.  I look better, and I feel better.  Or do I feel better because I look better?
  6. Running helps me clear my mind and focus in ways other activities can’t.  I often have some of my best prayer times while running, and I can often hear God’s voice much easier on my runs.
  7. Every year I get a comprehensive wellness exam consisting of a blood panel, EKG, ultrasound of my heart and other major organs, chest x-ray, and a few other tests.  My cholesterol is lower, and my risk of developing heart disease is lower than it was before I started running.  How many people do you know can claim to be in better physical health with each passing year as they age?

The ROI (Return on Investment, to borrow a finance term) is also great.  For the time it takes and the amount of energy exerted, I burn twice as many calories running for 30 minutes than biking and about four times as many calories as I would swimming.

I can’t leave out the practical nature of running either.  This is a sport I can literally do anywhere in the world, at any time of day, in almost any kind of weather without much hassle or cost.  I run at home.  I run on vacation.  I run in the rain.  I run when it’s 95° outside, and I run when it is 30° outside.  I run with friends.  I run alone.  I run on the treadmill at home.  I run in my neighborhood.  I run at the state park that is two miles from my house.  I run at dawn.  I run when the stars are out.

I don’t have to drive to a gym to run.  I don’t have to wait till the park opens or be done before the gym closes.  I am not limited to a certain time on a certain day.  I don’t have to rely on a partner or team.  I don’t have to tote around a huge gym bag full of clothing or a van-full of equipment.  I don’t have to memorize a play book or adhere to a set of game rules.  I am not judged, nor do I have to worry about a referee.

I just have to place one foot in front of the other.

Running has helped me to develop discipline in how I treat my body.  Running has helped me learn to sacrifice for the greater good.  Running has taught me to push the darn button to do something that I know will bless me in the end, despite how I feel at the start.

So no, I do not need to find another form of exercise as my friend suggested.  I will continue to run, and I will continue to be blessed by it.

“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 

2012 Resolutions

5 01 2012

Being the list-maker, goal-setter, and all-around do-er that I am, I LOVE coming up with New Years Resolutions.  I actually began thinking about my list in November.  My focus verse for the year is from James 3:17-18.  I want to be the kind of woman that embodies this type of wisdom, and yet I struggle greatly in so many of these areas.

 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive,
full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Spiritual/Relationship Goals

  • Have a dynamic marriage.
    • Stop what I’m doing and greet my husband with a hug as soon as he/I get home from work each day
    • Pray together every night
    • Monthly dates
  • Read through the Bible
  • Fast 1x/week
  • Give at least 16.5% of our pre-tax income to charitable organizations (hopefully more)
  • Volunteer somewhere at least 1x/month

 Exercise/Activity Goals

  • Participate in an average of 1 race/event each month (I actually have 13 on my radar for next year and am looking for more!)
  • Run/walk 2-3x/week (6-9 miles)
    • Get back to a sub-10-minute mile
    • Do a sub-30-minute 5K
  • Bike 1x/week (6-10 miles)
  • Swim 1x/week (.25-.5 miles) 
    • Learn to swim freestyle (Out of everything on my list–this one is the most daunting to me.)
  • P90X Ab Ripper 3x/week
  • 40 perfect pushups by my 40th birthday

Nutrition Goals

  • Eat 2 servings of fruit
  • Eat 1 serving of vegetables (not counting potatoes)
  • Consume less sugar
  • Drink more water

What are your goals for 2012?

Overflowing with Thankfulness

22 11 2010

“So then . . .
continue to live your lives . . .
overflowing with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:6-7

As Thanksgiving approaches in a few days, the question “What are you thankful for?” has been entering many conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks.  Here is a sampling of what I am thankful for.

  1. The cross.  The blood of Christ.  He who died for my sins.
  2. God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness that he offers me on a daily basis.
  3. Peace and joy that God offers me on a daily basis, if only I am willing to accept it.
  4. The working of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Hearing that still, quite voice convict me when I need to be convicted and encourage me when I need to be encouraged.  Taking my heart’s cries to the Lord when I’m not sure what I even need, but knowing God does.
  5. God’s word.  Life-giving, life-sustaining, life-changing word.
  6. My husband.  Renaissance Man.  Wonderer and wanderer.  Creator and blower-upper.  Pyromaniac.  Stargazer.  Talker and listener.  Coffee brewer extraordinaire.  Pig manipulator.  Man of God.  My foundation.
  7. Caleb.  My sensitive, creative, artistic, inquisitive, perceptive, insightful, inventive, imaginative, resourceful one.  Expert Lego builder.  Walking Star Wars and Pokémon encyclopedias.  Comic book author and illustrator.  Top popcorn salesman.  Giver of amazing hugs.
  8. Jason. My stubborn, headstrong, fierce, funny one.  Thomas the Train lover.  Busy, busy, busy little boy who needs far too little sleep, especially on the weekends.  Creator and perfector of silliness, chaos and messes.
  9. Passing on a legacy of following Christ and serving Him to my children.
  10. My parents and their unconditional love and support and the way they love and adore my children. 
  11. My job.  My amazing coworkers.  My students and their parents.  I am having the best semester I’ve ever had and am completely refreshed by my choice of career.  I am confident I am where I am supposed to be.
  12. FRA education for my sons.  An amazing education at an amazing school with amazing teachers.  You are my second family.
  13. My home and the place of rest and refuge it is for me.
  14. My neighbors.  I can’t begin to tell them thank you enough for the way they take care of us and love on my boys.
  15. My friends, teamship, and community that matters.  They have opened my closet, pulled out and dusted off the skeletons, and walked with me in love and grace through the mess of dealing with them.  What a blessing it is to be free to be real, ugly, messed up and still adored.
  16. Financial discipline.  We have been tremendously blessed living with the philosophy of “if we can’t afford to pay for it in full right now, we can’t afford it.”
  17. Giving of our time and resources.  We are usually blessed more than those to whom we are giving and serving.
  18. Good health.  Even amidst the colds and sniffles, we enjoy tremendously good health.
  19. Running and being able to physically challenge my body in ways a few years ago I would have thought impossible.
  20. Music.  How quiet and sad my world would be without the music of my husband, my sons’ silly songs or the CD in my car (or even ridiculous commercial jingles that stay in my head for hours on end.)
  21. Learning and reading; they have transformed my life.
  22. Traveling the world.  Nothing compares with being able to experience a life drastically different from my own.
  23. Hope.  Without it, where would I be?

What are you thankful for?

Hope Lodge

16 11 2010

I was surrounded by about 40 adult cancer patients.  Many were bald or had head scarves or hats on.  Most moved very slowly and needed the help of a walker or cane.  Some were very upbeat and positive.  Some were discouraged and seemed to know they didn’t have many more days left on earth.

On Monday, November 15, I had the privilege of participating in a group dinner for residents of Hope Lodge—the adult equivalent to the Ronald McDonald House (RMDH).  (Read about my experience:  The Blessing of Cooking for Strangers.)

A little background first.  Hope Lodge was begun by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to “offer cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city.”  The Hope Lodge in Nashville has 42 rooms, and there is usually a wait list.  Like the residents of the Ronald McDonald House, some stay for months at a time during their treatments.  Others stay for just a few days at a time.  There are 30 Hope Lodges around America.

This was a much bigger project than the RMDH.  There were 15 volunteers—strangers to one another—who came together to provide a home-cooked meal for these patients.  Unlike the RMDH, groups are not knocking down the doors to provide a meal.  Other than the twice-monthly meal that Hands On Nashville coordinates (the group I was with), the Hope Lodge residents don’t get a home-cooked, free meal very often.

Their gratitude was overwhelming to me.  Such a simple act—providing a warm home-cooked meal—meant so much to them.  And a meal spread out among 15 people doesn’t even equate to that much work for any one person or family.

I left with my own sense of gratitude that my family is healthy.  I needed this reminder, that despite our occasional colds and allergy issues, we are very, very blessed.  I take our good health for granted far too often.

Finally, I left feeling completely refreshed after a long, busy day at work.  Sadly, I am too often exhausted and worn out after a service project, but not this time.  I’m not sure what the difference was, but I am grateful.  I am already signed up for next month.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

  “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
-Matthew 25:34-40