Sunday, December 16, 2012

There Are No Answers


I've been thinking all day about what to say about the horrific mass murder of children and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. How do we wrap our minds around the fact that some madmad -- practically a kid himself -- became the monster, the boogeyman, of childhood nightmares, then forced his way into their safe haven and shot them systematically? Twenty little children, babies really, have been slaughtered before their lives began.... How do we comprehend the incomprehensible?                                                                

I have no words of wisdom to share. There are no answers to insanity. I wish I had the power to ensure that this will never happen again, but I feel powerless. The sad fact is, this will happen again...and again...and again....We live in such a fallen world,  and evil resides here among us. Evil is real and vicious, unpredictable and everywhere. It roams throughout our world looking for innocence to devour. We cannot lock it out of our lives, we cannot protect the ones we love. Evil knows exactly which weapons to wield to wound us to our very core.

And yet....

I have been witness to the immense outpouring of a bottomless pool of love from very good and caring people. Strangers to those who grieve in Connecticut have grieved along with them. Wherever we were, we wept together, we prayed together, and we continue to pray. We have poured out our love as a balm on those who are in pain. We feel helpless, and do not know what to do to relieve this enormous weight of suffering, and so we offer the only thing that we have -- our love. Those children were our children, and those faculty were our family, and we shed tears and mourn them as our own. We are all one in crying out to our God in pain and grief.

Today I watched in awestruck wonder as the father of one of the victims spoke to the world about his daughter. Before he described Emilie, the joy of his life, Robby Parker talked of how he and his family sent their love to the other families -- and most amazing of all,  to the family of the shooter. He said he was not angry. I believe he is telling the truth. He holds no hate in his heart.

I realized when I saw him, struggling in his own terrible grief but reaching out to others, that I was watching a truly courageous and beautiful thing -- a faith in action. Not just lip service, but a living, active faith, a faith that has held steadfast in the darkest moment of despair. I was seeing someone walk the walk. I was seeing, simply,  the face of Christ.


Evil has dealt us a devastating blow, but evil did not win. Evil will not win. No matter how it tries to deliver  the death blow to conquer us all, no matter how many times we stagger, falling to our knees, we will not be vanquished. Evil cannot triumph over the goodness and love and heart of humanity. We will continue to love, we will continue to forgive, we will continue to reach for one another and clasp hands and pray. No matter what we suffer together, our love for one another will always prevail. It is all we have, but it is everything we need for victory.


"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." -- Matthew 5:4

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." -- Revelation 21:4

"Three things will last forever -- faith, hope, and love -- and the greatest of these is love." -- 1 Corinthians 13:13

 You can help the victims of Sandy Hook here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great Gifts For Athletes

 Don't have much time to shop? Here's a handy little gift guide I put together to make things easier for you!


1. Garmin 410 Sports Watch
Who wouldn't want one of these? You can track your miles, pace and calories burned -- and SO much more!!! Amazon has them on sale right now -- both the base model, and the one with the heart rate monitor.

2.  Muscle Milk
This drink is amazing!! I use it for recovery. After my daughter's first 10k, Muscle Milk was giving out samples and we tried it. I had NO pain the next day. Awesome!! And it's on sale now at The Clymb.

3.  Bani Bands Headbands
These are the ONLY headbands I have ever worn that have stayed in place. I was extremely skeptical when I saw them at an expo. I even told the sales rep that I would be back the next day after the race to report on whether they slipped or not. I did go back -- to tell them how great these bands performed. I even recommended them to some people who were looking at the bands. Right now they have a variety of sparkly holiday ones -- FUN!!

                            Bani Bands

4.  China Gel Topical Pain Reliever
This is the best topical pain analgesic I have ever used. Again, I was pretty skeptical -- wondering why it was going to be better than some of the tubes of pain relievers I could get at my local drugstore. Wow, there was a night and day difference in pain relief!!

5. Bheestie Bag
Have you ever been out running, it started to rain, and your phone or iPod got soaked and wouldn't work? Or you sweated so much it got wet?  Or worse yet, you dropped it in the toilet? (I had a son do that once.) Yeah, we've all heard about putting them into a bag of rice, but that's iffy at best. Here is Bheestie Bag to the rescue. This is the best 15 bucks you'll ever spend. Put your electronic device in the bag and leave it for 24 hours. It removes all the moisture and will work again. It's a miracle! Much cheaper than having to replace the device!! On sale right now on Amazon. (I spent $25 for mine.)

6. Bern Women's Audio Helmet
I will admit, I know nothing about helmets, but I just happened to see this one today and thought it was pretty cool. It is made of an open cell foam which lets air circulate to keep you cool. And it has built in earphones. Sweet!! On sale now through Rue la la.
                                                                            Rue la la

7. Shred Sled 4 Wheel in line Caster Board
This looks like so much fun for adults and kids!! More challenging than a regular skateboard, apparently it is more maneuverable. I haven't ridden one -- yet -- but from customer reviews, everyone loves this! (Please wear a helmet when riding.)


8. Shoes
'Nuff said.

9.  Foam Roller
Yeah, it hurts so good. I found some good ones on eBay with free shipping.


.10.  Kettlebells
Tone your body at home with these great weights. They come in a variety of weights. You can buy dvds with workouts or find them on YouTube. Lots of fun!


I have not been paid to endorse any of these gifts. Many are ones that I myself own and like, and thought you might be interested. If you order through the link provided with The Clymb, I do receive credit in my account for that. But feel free to purchase the items wherever you prefer. 

I hope these gifts give you some fun ideas for the athletes in your life. May your holidays be active and bright!! Peace to you from ArmsWideOpen.