FEB 20, 2019 WAWA: “Roswell Intervals”

Throwing in some interval work this weekend for the Wednesday workout.  And staying close to “home” at the Cornwell Center in case the weather gets a little soggy.

Plan is to run down and back along Roswell Road, just behind the Center on the following intervals:

Set 1:  Down 1 minute, back 1 minute

Set 2:  Down 2 minutes, back 2 minutes

Set 3:  Down 3 minutes, back 3 minutes

Set 4:  Down 4 minutes, back 4 minutes

Set 5:  Down 3 minutes, back 3 minutes

Set 6:  Down 2 minutes, back 2 minutes

Set 7:  Down 1 minute, back 1 minute

TOTAL workout time is 32 minutes.  Rest no more than 30 seconds between sets.  Goal is to maintain or “beat” your interval time on the way back to the start line.

Weather forecast calls for upper 30’s with light rain likely.  Dress appropriately!

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

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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FEB 13, 2019 Devotional: “Getting dirty on my way to getting Clean!”

I’m going to tread lightly on this week’s devotional in order to protect the names of the “innocent”.  Mostly because the story I’ll share this week was fostered out of comments from a friend who I know did not mean to imply what ultimately came across by the comments.  Anyway….so here goes…

Most people who know me might tell strangers that “Mike loves to be involved in community…”.  And that’s true.  The flip side, however, is that it’s always a fine balance for me with the other responsibilities in my life….family, work, chickens….(okay, maybe not so much the chickens…).  When you stay involved in community efforts over time, eventually you get asked to become the “leader” of such groups.  Such is the case for me…and for one particular church effort, where I get to help several leaders assist some of the wellness interests of our members and the goals of our church.

All well intentions….always.

One such focus has been a program through a partner organization, Urban Ministry, and “Room In The Inn”.  The committee was discussing how we might assist with a perceived laundry bottleneck that occurs when “guests” from less fortunate members of our community come and stay overnight on church property one night a week during the winter months where sleeping on the street might otherwise be dangerous or even deadly.  Twenty-four guests are provided a warm dinner, access to showers, comfortable sleeping arrangements, and access to two pairs of washer and dryers.  And while the overall program is very efficiently run, its been my observation that the sheer volume of laundry from our guests and the limitations of only two washer/two dryers contributes to the bottlenecks that ensues.

“What’s our role here, Mike”, I was asked by the committee.  My response was a longer explanation to which if we cannot provide “rest” for our guests because many are staying up all night waiting in line for laundry machines to free up, then I don’t think we’re contributing to the full wellness of these same individuals.

“Let’s just add more machines” was one solution offered up.  Yes…maybe, but that requires some intervention by facilities management, potentially a new laundry room, renovations to existing infrastructure, etc.  Could be a longer process, if you ask me.

And there’s the ideal of a mobile laundry service that I talked about after reading of a similar offering out in San Diego.  Think of a food truck, of sorts, but the truck is filled with a bay of washers and dryers.  Could be a solution down the road, but again, there’s a lot of planning involved.

I heard about a church north of Charlotte that tackled this problem another way.  When the guests arrive, there’s a team of church members who are standing “at-the-ready” with laundry bags to take dirty belongings from the guests.  There’s a dialog that occurs, a quick inventory of items, and a commitment from the church member to bring back the dirty clothes “clean” in a couple hours.  And, during the two hours of separation, the guest can relax, take a shower, get off his/her feet, etc.

Without knowing all the details, my initial thoughts for this third solution are “man, there must be a huge amount of trust….”.  For many of these guests, their laundry in a plastic garbage bag represents most if not all of their personal belongs.  Their “life” is inside that plastic bag.  Would you be willing to part with your worldly possessions to a total stranger?

When I shared this story with the committee, one individual said, “I think we’d have trouble with this type of solution….I mean, think of all the dirt and grime in those clothes.  Imagine what we might find…..”.

Now, as I said above, I am 100% certain the person who expressed those concerns did not mean for it the way it came out.  But while the room became completely silent….I politely replied…..”I think that’s the entire point…”.

Picture me up on my soap box for a minute now.  I firmly believe that we have an obligation to serve those in our community who are far less fortunate than us.  And many times that means we’re getting dirty and filthy along the way.  I checked my answer to my fellow committee member…but what I really wanted to say was “while we might experience two hours of filth and dirt…..that’s nothing compared to those individuals less fortunate who deal with it every day…”.

When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in the upper room, it was symbolic in many ways.  But above all, it was His demonstration of humility and servant-hood.  Frankly, I bet the disciples were stunned.  But this was just one of the many ways Jesus reiterated that He came to serve….and not to be served.

Remember too when Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan….and He asks “which among the three was a neighbor to the (Samaritan) man…”?  And, after the correct response is given, Jesus reminds them to “go and do likewise.”.

I believe we need to stand face-to-face, toe-to-toe and (perhaps) shoulder-to-shoulder with our neighbors who are less fortunate.  Maybe it’s as simple as doing a dirty laundry inventory and agreeing to bring back someone’s worldly possessions.  Maybe it’s building a Habitat home.  Or maybe it’s tutoring a fatherless child in his/her math homework.

Regardless of what we’re doing, my prayer this week is that we remember Christ’s call to us to do “likewise”.  I promise you will get much more out of serving than those who are being served.

….stepping down from soapbox now…..

Amen!

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FEB 13, 2019 WAWA: “Sweetheart of a Run!”

This week’s run comes on the eve of Valentine’s Day….So, in that regard, I’ve named this week’s WAWA a “sweetheart of a run”!

Good 4-mile route planned this week.  Generally downhill for the first 2.75 miles.  And then generally uphill for the last 1.25 miles.

We’ll exit the Cornwell Center at head towards the Starbuck’s on Providence Road.  Head down Laurel Avenue towards Randolph Road, but turning right onto Colville Road as we approach Randolph.  Then we’ll head all the way down Colville, through Eastover, until we hit Providence Road.  Follow Providence up to the Harris Teeter, then left onto Queens and back to the Cornwell Center.

More details on the ROUTE here.

Gather outside Cornwell ready to go at 5:45 am.

Temps will be in the lower 40’s with no rain in the forecast.  Sunrise is at 7:13 am.

See you then!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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FEB 6, 2019 WAWA: “Longing for Latta”

Excellent weather on tap for this week’s WAWA!  What a difference 7 days makes!  Temps will be low-mid 50’s at run start in the morning.  Great stuff!

We’re back to Latta Park in Dilworth this week.  Long steady run.  4.5 miles planned with an option to cut it a little shorter for some who have to wrap up early.  (Ask me in the morning on that!)

Here’s the planned RUN ROUTE.

General route is as follows:

-Right out of Cornwell Center parking lot, then left onto Radcliff.

-Radcliff down to Queens Road West, and head towards East Blvd.

-Follow East all the way into Dilworth and make a right on Winthrop.

-Turn right off Winthrop onto Park Avenue, skirting along the southern side of Latta Park.

-Exit back towards East Blvd onto Dilworth Road West.

-Left onto East Blvd and back towards Queens Road West.

-Right on Queens Road West, then left onto Wellesley Avenue.

-Wellesley to the Cornwell Center

DONE!

Wear your reflective gear and/or headlamps.  See you outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready to go!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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JAN 30, 2019 WAWA: “Gettin’ Our Stretch On!”

Erring on the sensible side this week, given that temps are forecasted to dip into the high teens/low twenties.  WAWA workout this week will be the Wednesday morning yoga at The Cornwell Center.

Class starts at 5:45 am.  Come in from the cold, and work on your flexibility and stretching.

Plan is to be back outside on the streets next week when the weather is more favorable.

WORKOUT Leader:  Katie Kucich

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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JAN 24, 2019 Devotional: “Life, Death, and Getting Clean In-between”

In our new-age of “on demand” television, I’m becoming more and more of a binge watcher for programs that strike a chord with me.  Such is the case with a new series I’ve been watching called “The Cleaner”.  This show aired on the A&E network for two seasons (2008-2009) and now can be viewed on Amazon Prime.  My wife and I finished up season 1 last week, and we’re already four episodes into season 2.  It’s becoming our routine before heading to bed for the night.

The star of the show is Benjamin Bratt who portrays the character, William Banks.  Banks’ character is based on real-life person, Warren Boyd.  Both Boyd, and “Banks” are recovering addicts, mainly drugs and alcohol.  Banks makes a deal with God as his daughter in born and his life is a rapid, downward spiral of heroin and other drugs.  He tells God that he will commit his life to getting others “clean” if God would help him beat his drug addiction.  God does….and now Banks is working through his side of the deal.

Now whether or not you believe this type of conversation can or does happen between God and us is another question.  As for me, I’m absolutely convinced conversations like this occur….and more often than we understand.  Part of God taking us “as we are” means he also connects with us in a myriad of different ways too.

Banks, himself, admits that he has an interesting way of communicating with God.  “I don’t pray, all right?  I talk….”.  His elder son early in season 1 accuses Banks of being a little crazy as he appears to be talking to himself.  One of the other story lines is the relationship between Banks and his son….very rocky at first, but evolves in season 1 and carries over into season 2.

With each episode, Banks and his team of ex-junkies are faced with the addictions of many.  There’s the cop who stays high so he won’t feel the pain of shooting an innocent victim, a dad who’s so enslaved to alcohol that he asks his daughter to pour his drinks for him, and the prodigal daughter who sells her body to pay for her drug habits all the while her twin sister, also a junkie, masks as “at least I’m not as bad as her…”.

The monologues that represent Banks’ conversations with God are most poignant to me.  Sometimes, they’re accusatory.  Other times, very questioning.  Often times, retrospective.  Upon the death of Banks’ dad’s best friend, the interventionist says to God:

“You make birth.  You make death.  And you ask us to hang out in between and figure out the rest.

Very telling, right?  I mean, is Banks suggesting that God leaves us alone during the long stretch between life and death?  Probably not…but I think what he’s revealing is that God expects us to take some responsibilities of how we’re living our lives, and the consequences there-in.  I think that’s what’s called “free will….”.

At best, I believe a review of The Cleaner series in Christianity Today magazine sums it up quite well:

“Of course, the messy work of addiction recovery is smoothed over for TV audiences; each junkie-of-the-week story-line is wrapped up in an hour.  But all along, we see the complicated nature of Banks’ journey, living with the consequences of his past while slogging through the full, complex cycle of rebirth.  All of us have hit a point where we have recognized our sin, cried out to God, repented, been made new, and shared what we’ve found with others.  And, in that sense, we are all cleaners….”

Here’s to the messiness in our lives….and our efforts to clean them all up.

Amen.

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JAN 23, 2019 WAWA: “Return to Fire and Ice”

Colder temps this week, again, in Charlotte, which always means we run in the tall, heated stairwell over at Queens University.  So I’m dialing up a “fire and ice” workout again this week.  “Fire” is the exercise effort in the heated stairwell; “ice” is the exercise OUTSIDE the stairwell in the adjacent alley.

Here’s the workout details:

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

-Easy jog over to Queens, across the street from the Cornwell Center.

-First Set:  Up/Down stairwell, then down and back once in the alley.

-Second Set:  Up/Down stairwell twice, then down and back twice in the alley.

-Third Set:  Three times up/down and three times down and back.

-Fourth Set:  Back to two’s.

-Fifth Set:  Back to one’s.

Dress warm.  Temps in the morning will be hovering around freezing; 32 degrees F.  We’ll shed some outer-wear inside the stairwell and “grin & bear it” for the sprints in the alley!

See you outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready to roll!

WORKOUT Leader:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL Leader:  Mike Lenhart

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