A year! Wow. A lot can happen in a year. Good, bad, ugly--it all makes up a year. The amazing thing about a year, is that it happens a day at a time.

I heard a story once about a woman that could remember every day of her life. I can't imagine the weight of having all those memories stuck in my head. I believe that forgetting some things is a way God helps us stay sane. Our brains get to sift through the dross and find the precious metals of good memories.

I'm not trying to imply that all memories are good. Some are bad, but there is purpose in those memories as well. Those memories can help shape the decisions we make in the future. There is always hope for the future.

I am so glad that none of us are able to see ahead. It might be too much for us to comprehend how to either make that future we see happen or not happen. It's comforting to know that the past is the past, and that now is now, and that the future is full of infinite possibilities. With God, all things are possible.

Thank you, God, for a blessed year! Thank you for special visits with friends!

I am going to say something sad in a bizarre way, because I don't like saying it the normal way because it is painful.

My dear friend-like-a-brother, Brandon, turned in his earthsuit last Saturday. The news broke my heart. I don't think I've heard news quite that bad in awhile. Grief isn't something one wants to be good at, but I guess if we live long enough, we will experience it. This was my first (in the words of Anne of Green Gables) bosom friend to die.

I loved my friend. If I hadn't loved him, it probably wouldn't hurt as bad. That's another thing about life. Loving someone is a precious thing, but when you lose them, it is very painful. It's most always worth the cost. Loving Brandon was worth any pain I may feel now not having him around.

When someone is gone, memories flood your mind. You remember things that had been covered over with tax due dates, grocery lists, events, laundry, work, email, and all the other things which clutter the mind. The memories are good and can bring joy, but also can bring pain from again facing the fact that your loved one is gone.

My sweet friend was the first friend that I was able to share my faith. I met him in middle school because of his crush on my good friend, so he used me as an informant--like only savvy middle school boys do. And then we bonded because of our imaginations and life and carpe diem. As we grew older and went on to high school, more life issues seemed to be after us, so we'd talk about God, and how God carries us through circumstances. Because of those early talks, our conversations always seemed to flow back to spiritual check-ups. It was a blessing to me to hear his heart.

He was so talented. When I was younger, I thought maybe I just hadn't heard a lot of guitar players, but I couldn't figure out how he made one guitar sound like two--or three. Later I realized, it was because he was amazingly talented. When he finally was brave enough to add his voice to be a companion to the guitar, it was unbelievable.

We lost constant contact in our early twenties, but we reconnected a few years ago. He wrote me a card telling me I was still the same. He must've figured out that I still adored him. I have read that card over and over many times. I laugh every time I read the part where he mentions he couldn't stop eating chips while writing so there are food stains on the card (another reason we were friends--very similar to me).

I feel weird now, because the ache that I had for years in my heart for a reminder to pray for him and to love him, is gone. It's like God ended that season, because Brandon is free. It's going to take the rest of me a little while to catch up with that closure of duty, but I know God will heal the broken places.

My prayers at this time are for his beautiful sisters and family and many friends that are grieving for him. I pray that the God of all comfort will bring peace. And then eventually joy.

Thank you, sweet Jesus, for giving me the privilege to love this friend for so many years. And to be loved by him. We had so much fun. I miss his smile. I miss his amazing mind. And his curly hair. And whatever stories he had to share that I never heard. Heal us, Lord. amen.

A few weeks ago, I decided to embark on a journey. A 13.1 mile journey. I frequently keep up with my friend, Abby's blog, and she mentioned that she was training for a half-marathon, but then almost gave up. Then her father helped her realize that she could complete the journey even by walking, if needed. [Abby, forgive me if I am telling the tale wrong!]

After reading that Abby was going to run/walk the marathon, I realized that it was something I might want to try one day. Then, after blog stalking a couple that are friends of friends, I learned about a trip they went on with Living Water International. I checked out the site (I have been a fan for awhile) and found out that there was a Half Marathon fundraising team.

Because the Houston Marathon gets sold out so quickly, I assumed there would be no chance of me getting a spot on the LWI team, which is a huge reason it was so easy to email them about joining--because I thought it was a fat chance! Little did I know, there was a spot for me! So...hence the journey of training for a half-marathon!

This is something that I have been praying about, because I know that only God can give me the physical and mental strength needed for the journey. There are millions of references in the bible to running and endurance, so it's become a spiritual experience as well.

I am also humbled everytime I think about my love of water and almost unaware dependence of it since clean water is something I really don't have to think about. It's a given. I can't imagine this being a daily struggle. Without water, we die. With dirty water, we die. But there is also a water that once we drink, we never thirst. I am so excited to run this race on behalf of Living Water International.

Please donate, if you can! If not, say a prayer for my run, but also for those who need living water.