10 For the Win

This year, 2016, I am thankful to celebrate 10 years cancer free. I am celebrating by completing 10 5K events. What better way to celebrate a temporary health decline than by putting the power in powerwalk toward a healthy goal? As of August, I am only about half way to my goal, but I have more 5Ks on my calendar through December.

As some of the fittest people in the greater DMV and Baltimore areas zoomed past me, I made a few observations applicable to life, especially church life:


Organization and communication

The most well attended and enjoyable 5Ks were well organized as evidenced by accessible organizers and clear instructions. To successfully host a race, there must be an organized team working together as a healthy team.


Encouragement from the sidelines

Some 5Ks were in residential areas, others were in more business-oriented areas of town. Regardless, there were always at least some people on the sidelines cheering and encouraging the runners and walkers. Positivity is particularly important during up hills and the final stretch of the race.



Some of the most inspiring moments of the Olympics and even local 5Ks are when fellow participants help each other. While there were always professional medical personnel, there were minor issues such as a small cut or younger participants getting tired. There is power in handing the runner next to you a band aid or an encouraging pat on the back.

We were all moving toward the same goal- to finish well after giving our best.  Each person is responsible for themselves AND we are all in the race together. This is not multiple choice. I hope you will join me in finishing this year well- finish 2016 well personally, spiritually, socially, professionally, and otherwise.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” -Hebrews 12:1




Go For the Gold!

The 2016 Olympics are upon us. Opening ceremonies begin Friday evening. The usual nationalist fanfare and moving stories of determination are already circulating. Socio-political tensions are high in Brazil and questions about the environmental impact of hosting the Olympics linger.
This Olympics includes a refugee team of 10 dedicated athletes from nations in conflict including Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo. As their life stories are shared, I am increasingly inspired by their resiliency. For example, Yusra Mardini began swimming at 3 years old in her home country of Syria. When she and her sister fled Syria in 2015, their small dinghy with 20 people on board began taking on water between Turkey and Lesbos. Mardini and a few others swam while pushing the dinghy to shore. Now, she is swimming in the Olympics.
I am also increasingly convicted to respond to the ongoing global refugee crisis, especially as a result of incessant warfare. How can we love our neighbors on micro-next-door levels and on macro-global levels?
I invite you to watch the Olympics and read the stories of as many Olympians as possible. Learn the experiences of real people around the world. When possible, watch the Olympics and discuss the athletes’ and their families’ stories with other people around you. Knowing each other’s stories is an important step toward recognizing the imago dei, Divine Image, in all people.
“‘Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien. You must not be partial in judging: hear out the small and the great alike; you shall not be intimidated by anyone.” [Deuteronomy 1:16b-17a]