JUN 13, 2018 WAWA: “Half-Dozen AND then One More!”

Time for some hill repeats into our weekly run rotation!  Blowing off the dust from a workout we did on Dec 31st last year….and it was a very COLD morning that day!  Tomorrow morning won’t quite be a complete opposite end of the temperature spectrum, but it will be much warmer than it was back in December.

Morning temps expected to be around 67 degrees, mostly cloudy but no chance of rain.  Sunrise is planned for 6:10 am.

Half-dozen hill repeats on tap for the morning, about a mile into our route.  And those six babies will equal two miles by the time we’re done!  Quarter mile uphill; quarter mile downhill.  Six times!

Then the final mile and a half will take us back to the Cornwell Center, with a steady climb the last three-quarters of a mile!

Don’t worry.  You can do this!  Run route is at this —–> LINK

Total planned route is about 4.6 miles.

Gather outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am.  See you then!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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JUN 6, 2018 Devotional: “Praying for Birdies”

For this morning’s run, I had one of my favorite baseball caps on my head….turned around backwards, of course, to be more aerodynamic!  Didn’t help much, but today’s specific cap was more to emphasize my theme for the devotional….a “golfing” one.  The cap was a green Augusta Masters trucker-style cap.

If you’ve been around me more than 15 minutes this past year, then you’ll agree that one of my new passions is golf.  I try to play it as much as possible, but there’s work, family obligations, community involvement, tending to my chickens…..I live a fairly busy life!  But most weekends, I am on the golf course playing.  It’s created a whole new network of friends that rarely overlaps with some of the other circles I play in traditionally.  Not to say that any one group is better than the other.  Simply different pools.

And my endurance within golf is increasing.  I started out only playing 9 holes at a time.  Now, I’m able to swing the clubs 18 holes without much thought!

In our family, my brother-in-law, Kermit Murphy, carries our golfing banner.  He’s our resident “family champion” having played in college and also a VERY frequent participant in local tournaments and outings.  Safe to say it will take me years or even a lifetime to reach Kermit’s skill level.  But, still, I try and try … and it’s certainly a focus of mine.

But my focus, physically, rarely extends beyond the weekend.  Sure, there are days when I can play a quick 9 after work.  Mostly, its weekends on the links.

So, like most things in life, only swinging the golf clubs once or twice a week, also affects my performance.  While my stroke handicap has gone down…..generally a “good” thing…..my overall game is relatively stagnant.  I was thinking this week about my Christian life as well.  If I’m only a “good” Christian on Sunday mornings when we attend church services, could the same be said about that side of my religious life similarly being “stagnant”?  How many of you might say the same?

Much has been argued over the years about who are the better Christians.  Is it the group of individuals who we see in the pews regularly, singing all the hymns?  Surely they are the most pious of all.  Or, rather, could it be those who are more spiritual in their daily lives, focusing on their families, friends, and work colleagues?

In his book, “Jesus Outside the Lines“, the Rev. Scott Sauls tackles this point in one of the chapters that he’s labeled…”Hypocrite or Work in Progress”.  Sauls relays a famous quote from Mahatma Ghandi when asked why he chose to be a Hindu instead of a Christian.  Ghandi said, “I love your Christ.  I don’t like your Christians.”

Wow.  Pretty harsh stuff but maybe worth some introspection for all of us, even still today.  Ghandi’s observations seemed to indicate that the Christians he knew seemed more focused on materialism over service; richness over charity.  Famously, there’s another story about Ghandi where he was asked why he would use the pencil all the way down to the nub.  “I don’t want to offend the pencil maker”, he replied.

Let me reel this back into the boat before I get to far down a tangent.  I think Ghandi’s example for us is that living a Christian life is an every day thing….not just something we do on Sunday mornings.  We live busy lives….and I don’t want to be a hypocrite either.  You want your golf game to improve?  Spend some time on the practice range?  You wanna be more satisfied in your spiritual “game”….look for opportunities throughout the week to be thankful, be service oriented, love one another, and build on that relationship with our heavenly father.

My good friend and frequent Charlotte golfing buddy, Brandon Lawn, has a trucker cap he wears from time to time that’s labeled “Pray for Birdies”…. And for my non-golfing friends, the hat talks about aspirations of shooting one-under-par (a birdie).  Aside from Brandon’s lighthearted nature, the hat does point out that, in golf, there’s plenty of room for prayers.  And, more importantly, in our lives, there’s always more room for that as well.

My prayer this week is that in our lives, the fairways are wide, the greens are flat, our drives off the tee are perfectly straight….and our Christian efforts, too, are always focused on living well under par!  Work in progress, indeed! 

Amen!

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JUN 6, 2018 WAWA: “Crossword Puzzle Run….2 down, and 3 up!”

You might think the title of this week’s run sounds more like a crossword puzzle than a workout:  “Two down, then Three up”!  Actually….I’ve mapped out nearly a perfect 5-mile route that goes gradually downhill for two miles, then gradually uphill for the final three miles!

Part of the route will take us along the Briar Creek Greenway behind Myers Park high school.  Once exiting the greenway, we’ll travel around AG Middle School, before taking Colony Road back towards our starting point.

The actual run route is at this LINK.

Great weather in the morning:  65 degrees with zero chance of rain.  Sunrise is at 6:10 am, about half-way through our run!

Meet outside the Cornwell Center, ready to go at 5:45 am.

See you then!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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MAY 30, 2018 WAWA: “Who’s Ready for Some Stairs??”

Bringing back one of my favorite workouts this week, since it’s been a long time coming!….STAIRS!

Meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am ready to go.  We’re going to tackle the stairs over at Queens University, just across the street.  Lots of stairs….and a beautiful “sunrise” view from atop one of the parking decks….hopefully!

Weather tomorrow will be more of the same we’ve seen the last few days here in Charlotte:  Overcast in the morning, with a minor chance of any precipitation.  Upper 60’s for temps.  Sunrise is at 6:12 am ET.

Workout details will be covered in the morning.

See you then!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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MAY 23, 2018 WAWA: “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise…!”

I hope I’m not really dating myself by referencing one of Gomer Pyler’s more famous lines from the Andy Griffith Show.  It’s really a play on words….as it relates to our planned run route for this week.  You’ll recall that I’ve asked for Burt Phillips’ input more often lately on our routes…especially when we’re running through Eastover.  Such is the case again this week….and I won’t know the details until the morning.  And that means, we’ll all be surprised in the morning.

All I can say is that our route will be around 4.5 miles, give or take.  Last week we made a point to realize the humidity and will adjust our pace as needed.

Weather should be great this Wednesday morning; Temp will be in lower 70’s with humidity around 85%.  No rain expected during the run and sunrise is at 6:14 am.

Join us in the morning.  Gather outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready to go.

WORKOUT Leader:  Burt Phillips

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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MAY 16, 2018 WAWA: “Morning Mint Run”

We’re heading back to the Eastover neighborhood this week, which means we’ll journey close to the Mint Art Museum (most likely).  Burt Phillips will lead the run; Mike will provide the end of run devotional.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center, ready to go at 5:45 am.  Distance will be 4.0 + miles.  Recall that since last week’s WAWA, we’ve entered a “build phase” in our running workouts for the next several weeks.  Meaning, we’re adding distance to the runs gradually each week.

Temps will be upper 60’s at run start.  Slight chance of rain but otherwise will be overcast.

See you in the morning!

WORKOUT Leader:  Burt Phillips

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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May 9, 2018 Devotional: “We All Need a Little Fortnite in Our Lives!”

If you’re the parent of a middle-schooler or high-schooler, especially boys, then you undoubtedly know about the “free” video game called “Fortnite” that’s sweeping the country….literally!  “Free” to download to your child’s Xbox, iPhone, iPad, etc….but certainly not free from the headaches that will ensue.  Trust me, from personal experience and the many stories from fellow parents, this Fortnite has been a nightmare!

According to a recent article in the New York Times, Fortnite generated $223 million in March 2018 alone, mostly attributed to V-bucks which is a currency that players can purchase to buy things like “skins” (ie. character uniforms) and other cosmetic items.  Fortnite is also one of the latest trends of social experimentation where players can play along side friends in virtual settings while communicating via headsets, Facetime, alerting other players about upcoming threats in a particular game, coordinate strategy, or even talk “smack” to one another.  Believe me, if you’ve heard the screaming of “give me bandages” from your living room during a son’s game, then you know what I’m referring to!

Another positive is that while the game does involve shooting weapons, the graphics are free from blood and gore, unlike another video game series, Call of Duty, which was just the opposite.  Lastly, there’s research to confirm that action video games cultivate spatial skills needed in advanced math and engineering.  Maybe I should have played more video games before “Plebe” math at West Point?

With all these positives, how can Fortnite be bad, you might be asking?

One word….”addiction”.

Just the word alone conjures up images of someone who’s lost control and cannot make decisions without some assistance, either it be counseling, prescriptions, or going “cold turkey” altogether.  There are stealth habit-forming features in this new game such as the element of “luck” that, by human nature, keep players coming back for more.  Players need that “hit” or the “high” or the “rush” with the belief that good fortune is just around the corner.

That same NYT’s article explains the adrenaline rush that comes if you almost win.  Players will feel like they have to play again to try and overcome that near win scenario.

My wife and I have found ourselves struggling for ways to apply some controls around these video game sessions.  There are days, especially on the weekends, where our living room if filled with a half dozen boys.  I’ve seen some pictures of multiple monitors and devices where teens are playing Fortnite.  Recently, we purchased an Eeros system for our home which creates a “network mesh” for our WiFi.  Every device on the home wifi network has a profile to which a schedule can be applied.  So, the boys’ Xbox is one profile and during the school nights, the Eeros system will shut down the Xbox from the network between 5:30 pm until 6:30 am the next day.

We have another schedule on the weekends where the Xbox shuts down between 10 am and 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ingenious?  Maybe….but even the Eeros as a means of our sanity has created an uproar from our two sons.

“What are we supposed to do until 3 o’clock on a Saturday,” was one response from our oldest son when we were explaining the rules one evening.  It was a literal melt-down.  As a parent who was himself raised doing chores around the home on weekends, and mowing lawns around the neighborhood to earn some extra spending cash, the “what are we supposed to do” response did not sit well with me.  A conversation about responsibilities around the home quickly followed.

Now I’m not writing today to say we have it all figured out.  In fact, it’s just the contrary.  We are still struggling.  And many of you are too.

What are the “Fortnites” in your lives?  For me, it’s my aspiring love of playing golf.  I’ll have a terrible round and I’m ready to throw away my clubs, but then magically, I’ll hit an amazing drive straight down the middle of the 18th fairway, and I’ll turn to a playing partner to say, “Man, I love this game!” or “Isn’t golf easy….?”.

Some might call that my addiction.  There’s an element of the “rush” or “hit” in my golf game too, isn’t there?

Addictions are not always the historical ones of drugs, alcohol, or other vices.  We live in a new age where everything in excess can become addictive.

There’s a biblical message for all of us, especially as it relates to Fortnite.  The video game, although caustic as times, has become a focal point for conversations.  I’ve learned to be a little more patient.  Learned to keep to my word as it relates to the Eeros schedule.  And I think we’re talking more as a family.

We’re learning to tackle problems head-on instead of festering in a back bedroom.  There are fewer slamming doors, fewer shouting matches, and, thank God, we actually have some quieter times in the evening after 5:30 pm.

Funny or not, I find myself talking to God on a daily basis….”Lord, just help me through this final 30 minutes of hearing Fortnite in the other room…!”

And the boys, well….they’re coming around too.  Amazingly, our youngest doesn’t treat the kitchen as his personal diner anymore, demanding anything and everything on the menu…..And I’ve even witnessed him wiping down the kitchen island with a damp sponge after taking his plate to the sink now.  Progress!

If there is a “Fortnite” in your household, consider yourself lucky.  Really….lucky.  Embrace it.  Monitor it.  Keep it in check.  Use it as a focal point to bring the family together rather than tearing it apart.

I’m learning.  And I know you can too!

Amen!

 

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