While breaking the ice up on my property after the recent ice storm I realized I would have to come up with a plan due to the enormity of the job. Making matters a bit more difficult I only had one bag of salt and the stores had sold out of salt. I looked for places where the ice was not as thick and broke these areas up first. Later on I would go to the areas beside the freshly broken ice and break more ice. Some areas were so thick they required salt. I found by constantly moving around and breaking up the weakest ice after seven and a half hours I eventually was able to clear all the ice off my driveway and sidewalk.
Sometimes in life it seems as if we are the ice and life is taking it`s best shots at areas of vulnerability in our lives leaving us with a heaviness in our spirit. This day I saw the empire that holds the children hostage in various Countries as sexual commodities as the ice. I believe God is in the process of constantly moving around and striking areas of weakness until the day this empire built on evil is dismantled.
On the path I run in the winter is a sign warning the users that "The City of Mississauga does not clear the path, and people must use at their own risk."
I have found the only people who understand how a person can run outside in the winter, are people who run outsides themselves.
I am trying to patiently endure the quizzical looks and rhetorical questions such as: "Your not running tomorrow because of snow, freezing rain, slush, extreme cold etc." The best comment came last year from a friend at work when he remarked to me in April "You must be happy now you can start running outside again." Instead of an answer I smiled at the thought of preparing for a marathon in May by doing all of my winter running on a treadmill, this would be impossible at least for me.
One day I passed a lady who was struggling with her footing, and she remarked to me "how can you do this?" I responded "it is easy" as earlier I had thoughts of my upcoming spring marathon and the purpose for it and it was indeed easy to run in trying weather conditions while looking ahead to a noble cause.
What I did not know was that this was waiting a short distance up ahead
I saw six deer on this day. There is about fifteen or so who live in the forest around Pearson airport seeing them is the closest I have ever came to animals in the wild. Last year I only saw them three times so each time I see them is a blessing.
They are so beautiful that each time I see them I stop running and just look at them.
Some of the older deer are afraid of me and run away as soon as they see me. The younger ones have not learned to fear men yet and allow me fairly close. Gazing into their big brown eyes I cannot help but think of the girls in Cambodia. I think the older deer who run away are like the girls who have experienced men`s cruelty and know to fear me. The younger deer represent the girls who have not faced abuse and give me hope. For I do know that if somehow Governments around the world join together and protect young children from abuse, there would be more children like the young deer living life as it was intended. If this was to happen eventually there would be no need of aftercare facilities for abused children.
A snow storm on a Saturday in December produced more than 20 cm of snow. I started a long run in my ravine just as the storm started. Part way through my run I passed a man walking his dog who was looking very miserable. He sarcastically told me "nice day for a run."
What he did not know is that for me it was a great day for a run. Freshly fallen snow is a beautiful sight. The ground, trees, river etc. covered with this snow is very breathtaking.
The day after a snowstorm I find that the same snow that was so beautiful the day before when covered with road salt becomes ugly. It has a different colour, white has become black.
It has a different feel, soft has become hard.
This day I thought of a child born into this world as the fresh snow, beautiful, innocent, and pure.
My thoughts drifted to the exploited children in Cambodia. I thought of the road salt mixed with the snow as the taking of something pure and heaping sin, depravation, and guilt upon it. The result being the total look and intention of something being altered.
I then thought it would be impossible for me to remove the salt from the snow and restore the snow to its original state.
Men are very limited, with God all things are possible.
I have seen pictures of girls in Cambodia at graduation ceremonies looking more beautiful, radiant, and alive then any princess I have ever seen. Yet a few short years before these very girls were being sexually abused many times each day.
Five young women in a Ratanak International program are well on their way to completing their first year of University, again girls who have life stories that bring tears to the hardest people.
I wish the problem of children being sold into sexual slavery for profit did not exist in the world. I wish people did not think their entitlement in life allows them to use and abuse others for their enjoyment.
I wish that one day that all people regardless of age, religion, sex, social standing were all truly equal.
Until this happens I will continue to raise funding and awareness for Ratanak International as it continues to minister to the needs of exploited children in Cambodia.
June 7 2014 is the date of the third 5km walkathon in Mississauga at Erindale park.
In the book "Dream Giver" by Bruce Wilkinson he says something like "God is looking for the dreamers of today to dream big, impossible dreams, and allow for God to make them come true."
Brian McConaghy director of Ratanak once said he felt "seeing dust on the horizon was God showing Brian that God was already at work, and was calling Brian to follow Him."
By nature I am very conservative. Every race I run I usually tell my family a time a few minutes slower then what I feel I will finish. This is called "setting the bar low."
The first walkathon a goal of $5 000 was set over $7 800 was raised.
The second walkathon a goal of $10 000 was set $15 406 was raised.
My original thought was to keep the number low as last year we had a lot of very unexpected positive donations that I felt may not happen again.
As I wrestled with a number I thought of Brian`s comments and thought God is not standing still or retreating. He is moving forward or advancing.
I then thought of Bruce Wilkinson comments and thought pick a number well out of my comfort level and give God the credit when this goal is reached.
The number I came up with was $20 052. The $20 000 represents about a 30% increase from our donations last year.
The number 52 came to me as I ran on the day of the snowstorm.
I am training for a spring marathon in which I will run 42kms. Neil Boron host of lifeline a radio show on WDCX 99.5 F.M. is going to take part in this year`s walkathon. This is great news as selfishly I thought of his help in promoting Ratanak events in the past and thought the publicity he can generate can only help. Selflessly I enjoy Neil`s company especially his sense of humour and look forward to spending a June morning with him.
Not everyone in my family was as excited about this news as me. For those of you who have read my blog know that most of the laughs all at my expense have came from comments my competitive 11 year old daughter has made about my running results.
She asked me "Do you think because he is famous people will let Neil win?" I asked her "are you going to let him win?" A look of determination crossed her face and she shook her head no!
52 represents my 42km Neil`s 5km and Isabella`s 5km.
The numbers 5 and 2 are significant numbers from the Bible in a particular story.
Luke 6 vs 8-12 tells the story of a young boy who gave his 5 loaves and 2 fish to Jesus, and Jesus was able to feed 5 000 men with this with some food left over. And while most people do not ever give everything as the young boy did. It is my hope and belief that God can and will take a very determined, united, and somewhat overmatched skill sets of the volunteers from the Toronto core group and reward us with an even greater number then we can even imagine or predict.