Before I sit down to write, I like to read something interesting, something that can lift me away from whatever negative thoughts or issues bothering me. And then, feeling inspired, I write. But when it comes to taking in the beauty around me and appreciating it, I don’t need to see “beauty” before I can appreciate it or even be inspired by a beautiful thing. It is because I know that beauty is all around us.
When you wake up in the morning — with matted hair or puffy eyes — you are still beautiful. You are beautiful because you are a creation of God. I know, you may not feel that way early in the morning especially when you get a glimpse of yourself and wince. But know you are a marvelous creation of our heavenly father! In Psalm 139:14, the psalmist praises God by saying, “Thanks you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it.”
When you leave home for your morning run or to head off to work, you are also surrounded by so much beauty: a fallen leaf, a budding flower and or a bloom past its time yet still managing to hold onto a lovely hue of pink. There are beautiful smells and wonderful things to tease the eyes and ears like chirping birds, laughing children and the sun dancing across the landscape.
So this week, do not forget to notice and enjoy all the beauty – the dirt trail filled with gray stones, the beach boardwalk splashed with water to the treadmill in the gym that helps you make it through a workout. Stop a moment, take in that beauty and be grateful for it, be grateful for you – and your beauty.
And may we see not only the physical beauty that comforts us, but the internal beauty that sustains us. For a bit of inspiration, let us read a Bible passage on “beauty.:
“Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God. That kind of deep beauty was seen in the saintly women of old, who trusted God and fitted in with their husband’s plans (1Peter 3:4-5).
Run, girlfriend, run!
Making friends in interesting places: So I ran in the April’s Lisbon Half Marathon. I finished it in 2:45. Slow, I know, but I didn’t get lost this time. LOL! And I made a few friends along the way. When you run in a half marathon in a foreign country and run past English speakers, you can’t miss an opportunity to say hi, where ya from? I ran with a group of American moms who lived in England. It was great running with them and I was fortunate enough to cross the finish line with them.
I told myself that I would hang up my marathon shoes after this last one, but I am having second thoughts. I just can’t get enough of the challenge of running. Now that I have run the 22 kilometers I am no longer afraid of not finishing. I am more afraid of finishing last. I hope to increase my speed this next run, but my first goal is just to finish what I start. It is my hope that some of you guys who read this blog in Portugal will also take up the challenge and run with my in September. The half marathon will also have a mini marathon and a mini-mini marathon. I invite you guys to register for the marathon at Banif Bank in Cascais (the one with the purple sign). It will be a great experience and you will never be the same – after running across a bridge in a wave of eager people! Did I mention free snacks at the finish line???
Putting your right foot forward — It is important to replace your running shoes often. If you run regularly, you might want to replace your sneakers every three months. I have been a procrastinator myself because I hate to get rid of sneakers that I have broken in. But atlas, I must throw out the sneakers I wore in last month’s marathon. I am now on the hunt for new sneakers. My favorite are Aasics. If you have a favorite sneaker, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me your favorite sneaker and why and I will post your message on our upcoming running gear section.
Trying something new: If you always run on a treadmill, be bold and run on the beach or on a paved running track. If you have weak knees, cobble stones are not for you.
Recommended runs this week: Drive to Casas da Guia in Cascais and park your car. Then, run to Guincho Beach. It is a challenge, but a change of scenery can help you break through a running plateau. Or you can run on the boardwalk from Sao Joao do Estoril to Cascais and back – it is a 3 mile journey. If you get tired, you can always stop along one of the many restaurants along the way for a coffee, a big water or a bolo de arroz.
Until next time!