Posts filed under Running and Ruminating

Music To Run To #4

Here is my newest list of songs to run to. I can't help grinning as I think of those of you who will take these songs and add them to your playlists and then stumble upon them the next time you have that playlist on shuffle while you are running/or are working out/or cleaning the house/driving in your car/walking/or just listening to music for the pure joy of it. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the songs on this list and give me a few of your favorite songs on your running playlist. Enjoy!

1. Never Finished- Aaron Strumpel: Probably my favorite song on this list. When this one comes on it connects with my body and soul.

2. Fastly Gone- Aaron Strumpel. Yes, Aaron has two songs on this list. They are just that good (at least I think so, my husband thinks they are a bit weird but hey, I really like weird :)

3. Calgary- Bon Iver. Come on, this song is a no brainer.

4. Princess of China- Coldplay. I am sick sick sick of finding Rihanna on other people's songs BUT Arggghhhhh is this song a great song to run to. Boom, boom boom. The darn bass is what gets me.

5. Not In Love- Crystal Castles (featuring Robert Smith): This is the second time this song has appeared on my Music To Run To list but I'm a sucker for just about anything with Robert Smith's name on it and this song will have me sprinting up a boulder strewn mountain.

6. No Light, No Light- Florence + The Machine: This song is a catchy, hooky, four on the floor, harpy, many vocaled wonderful madness. Try to run slowly when she hits the chorus, just try.

7. Blood Pressure- Mute Math: Really? Are you surprised to find a Mute Math song on here?

8. Lisztomania (Alex Metric Remix)- Phoenix: Phoenix has had music on my running playlist since years ago when my husband snuck their song "Run, Run, Run" on my running list for a half-marathon I was in. Now here they are on the list again for a remix. It's so good that I have to make myself focus so that I don't trip.

9. Cruel- St. Vincent: Now I will give it to my husband, St. Vincent is weird but this is classic great/weird. This song is only for the great/weird lovers (Mom, don't buy this one).

10. Chicago- Canon Blue: 1:15 into the song and he still hasn't started singing yet??? Yep. Horns, drums, bass, strings and weird keys thing? Yep. Enjoy

Now grab your shoes, IPod, and running clothes and head outside. You can tell me your thoughts when you get back.

While Your Legs Propel You Forward...




I have been thinking about how many things in my life that I've needed to take one step at a time, focusing not on the end, but the right now.

Running a marathon.

I spent months training and conditioning my mind and body to be prepared and capable of running for 26.2 miles straight, without stopping. During the training, the longest run I did (based on the training schedule I followed) was 23 miles, so when the race day came I was a bit nervous about what the added 3 miles might do to my mind as well as my lungs and muscles. I'll tell you what they did, they rocked me. My legs were jello and my brain was empty, but I assume, because of the repetition of the miles of running, my body kept going, carrying me through the finish line with a huge smile on my face.

Having a child.

Once again I spent months (9 to be exact) preparing my mind, body and house to bring a child into this world. I changed and adjusted the way I ate, exercised, slept, dressed, breathed, sang, and moved, little by little, till the day came when my baby girl began a ruckus that brought her out crying and gorgeous.

In both of these instances, there was a point towards the end, where I was physically thrashed and mentally exhausted and if someone had dropped me straight into that moment of absolute pain and weakness, then asking me if I wanted to try it, I probably would've said "NO!" But, I wasn't dropped into those moments, I started from a place that I could wrap my brain around with only enough pain or discomfort that I could handle and would challenge me enough to help me the next stage of uncomfortable challenge. There were little things, subtle at first that I adjusted to until I no longer noticed them. Then, I could handle a little bit bigger things that would once again cause me to adjust. On and on it went like this until I was able to look back and see that "Ah! I just finished a marathon!" or "Oh. My. Goodness. I just had a baby!"

Now again there are little tiny things in my life that are rubbing me, pushing me, making me just uncomfortable enough that I need to change, wrapping my mind and body around a new line of thinking and moving. I do it happily (or, I really try to do it happily) because I know if I'm diligent and stubborn and patient enough, then one day I can look back and see what great challenge it was all for.

So, if you find yourself in this moment, don't worry about the end and what it is all for, but focus on learning and adapting and growing in the now so you are ready for that end. Tuck your chin down and head into the wind, pumping your arms while your legs propel you forward.

You can do it.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."-James 1:2-4

Music To Run To #3...

My latest running playlist has me moving fast. Just thinking about it makes me want to lace up my shoes and hit the road. Soooo, I will share it with you so that you might find yourself jogging and bopping to these same songs, almost as if we are running together via a musical playlist. 1. Triumph Of A Heart- Bjork. I'm pretty sure there will always be a Bjork song or two on my running playlist. Her music is so intricate and creative that it makes for a fun 3-4 minutes. Good thing she has a new record coming out so I can stock up on some new songs.

2. Skeleton Bones- John Mark McMillan. This song has a rhythm that says, "run, run, run." So, I run.

3. You Will Leave A Mark- A Silent Film. I heard about this band from a friend and immediately placed this song on my playlist. This is the song that pumps up my running. I speed up and I smile. Ya!

4. Traveler's Song- Future Of Forestry. This is one of those bands that I frequently grab all of their songs and shuffle through them for an entire running playlist. I love, love, love their music and creativity.

5. Youth Knows No Pain- Lykke Li. Yep. This will be the song that some of you think, "Uh, has Sarah flipped her lid? That girls voice is crazy!" Well maybe I have flipped my lid, but it still love running to this song and other Lykke Li songs, so there.

6. My Body- Young The Giant. This song is one of those that has me wanting to shout along with it. This can be hard to do when running at a fast clip :)

7. Call it What You Want- Foster The People. Am I even allowed to choose this song for my playlist instead of their uber-famous single "Pumped Up Kicks?" Well, yes, I am. This is my list after all and this is the song that has me jamming through it's exactly 4:00 minute length.

8. Heaven Resounds- Jimmy Robeson. Ok, I've already talked about running to this song in my Jimmy Robeson album review blog, but I would be wrong not to put this song on my music to run to blog because I truly love running to it. Steady, upbeat song about the people of God worshipping, uhhhh, YA!

That's it. That's my current list and I'm sticking to it. I hope you find some new songs you can add to your own playlist (for running, biking, house cleaning, driving or whatever) and have fun listening to. Enjoy and feel free to leave a comment here with your own songs you would add to this list.

Happy running.

Hillsong United-Aftermath: Album Review...

Last Tuesday, February 15th, Hillsong United released their latest CD called, "Aftermath." I'll admit, I was a casualty of the pre-sale, "get a free song if you pay for the cd early" tactic and was happy to find it bought and downloaded onto my phone when I woke up Tuesday morning. As with all new music I get, I upload it to my phone and slip on my running shoes and head outside to my running trail to get a good listen. I had overly high expectations about this new cd but, crept out the door tentatively, knowing there was a very good chance of being disappointed. I mean, how many good songs can this band put out? How many CDs of boundary pushing worship songs can they actually record? So begins my run and so begins the first song, "Take Heart," written and sung by Joel Houston.

Here he is, the backbone of Hillsong United, who has written or cowritten 7 of the 12 songs on this new record, is the oldest son of the head pastor of the 20,000 person church, Hillsong, in Sydney, Australia, and is starting this new cd off with a slow song. Maybe he is being a bit cocky, after all who starts of the cd with a slow song? I think the type of person who has a vision for the whole CD. He knows where this record is going to go and he wants to start it off right and boy does he. With a drum beat that tiptoes and then marches into the song propelling my feet to a steady cadence, with lyrics that talk about finding God as our hope among our times of trouble, and with Joel's great vocal this song has quickly become a favorite and has set me to almost shouting (even though I don't know all of the lyrics yet) the bridge "He has overcome!!!" What better way to start out a time of worship than with that lyric? This record proves once again that Joel is not established by nepotism but by the actual ability to craft and record some of the best, most worshipful songs currently being sung by the church.

This is the first time, that I can remember, that Hillsong United recorded a cd without the gorgeous vocals or songwriting of Brooke Fraser. In the past, she has contributed some of my favorite Hillsong United songs, Hosanna and You'll Come. But although she isn't on the new CD she was replaced by another stellar female vocalist, Jill McCloghry. Jill sings on two of my favorite songs on the CD, Like An Avalanche and Bones (which she cowrote with Joel Houston). I don't think a day has gone by yet where I haven't listened to "Bones." It's a little bit Blondie and a little bit Abba, which means a lot of bit great. This is the song on the cd that makes my heart want to burst and so everyday I listen and let it burst with smiles and singing while planting the bridge lyrics deep inside my chest

"Breathe in me Your life I can feel You are close now I can never hide You are here and You know me All I need is You And I love You I love You I love You I love You

Breathe in me Your life 'Til Your love overtakes me Open up my eyes Let me see You more clearly Falling on my knees 'Til I love like You love Like You love me I love You"

A couple of my other favorite songs on the record are "Like An Avalanche," also sung by Jill McCloghry and "Rhythms Of Grace" led by Dave Ware.

This, 12th album released by Hillsong United, was produced by Michael Guy Chislett, James Rudder, and Joel Houston and let me tell you the collaboration of these three guys is wonderful. This CD is one of only 2 Hillsong United CDs that wasn't recorded live but instead all in the studio. It sounds fresh and boundary pushing. Worship leaders across the globe will be saying to themselves, "Can I get away with that? I am going to try!" and then once again they will see their congregations take deep breaths of gratitude for bringing this new life into their worship services.

This record is the words, melodies and sounds that will urge the church further into worship. I know I already have been and will continue. Here is the song placed on my tongue today:

"Take my life Take all that I am With all that I am I will love You Take my heart Take all that I have Jesus how I adore You" -Like An Avalanche

Music To Run To #2...

So I am posting my second installment of a few of the songs I currently love having on my running playlist. You can see my first list in my blog "Music To Run To...."

Go Do- Jonsi (This is a great starter song on the playlist. It always makes me feel happy I just headed out the door)

Manifesto- The City Harmonic

Bones- Hillsong United

Not In Love- Crystal Castles (featuring Robert Smith)(This song is ridiculous. When it comes on and hits the chorus I feel like I could run for hours)

Only The Young- Brandon Flowers

Grenade- Bruno Mars (Don't judge me. Just add it to your running playlist and see how much you love it.)

Airplanes- Local Natives

Wild Eyes- Local Natives

Rococo- Arcade Fire

I Am Not A Robot- Marina And The Diamonds

Lisztomania- Phoenix

1901- Phoenix

You Will Leave A Mark- A Silent Film

Age Of Adz- Sufjan Stevens (This one is only for the crazy. If you are not up for crazy then DO NOT add this to your playlist.)

Congratulations!- Towa Tei (This has long been a favorite song of mine since I first heard this song in 1999 but I just recently dug it back out of the cobwebs of my music attic and boy am I glad I did. Careful running with this one though because the beat is weird enough to make you trip.)

Well, there are 15 songs that could possibly make your next run (or bike ride or brisk walk) your best one in a while. I hope you enjoy the list of songs and, as always, I am looking for new good running music so send me any songs that make it on your playlist :)

Gotta take these songs out with me right now. This is the path that is waiting for me to run down it today:

Give Me Rest...

The past two days I have run 3 miles around a small island where my husband, daughter and I are spending a couple of nights retreating/relaxing/refilling/refreshing. I feel like I took a trip back in time. Once you cross the bridge onto the island everything gets small. There are tiny cottage like houses tiny shops and storefronts. Tiny restaurants, tiny streets, and even tiny cars(some of the residents use fancy, souped up golf carts as their island cars). As I jogged around the island, just basking in the beauty and uniqueness(my husband really wants me to use the word fantastical here so..there you go Jonny:) of it, I saw many different groups of people. There were parents with small children digging in the sand, elderly shuffling with their walkers, lovers walking hand in hand, people walking their pets and pets walking their people. One thing I saw in common with each of these groups of people is that everyone looks happy. There were smiles aplenty and happy voices. It was about three quarters of the way around the island that I started to think about how much it was standing out to me that these people were calm and happy. This is a tourist spot and people coming here are all doing something similar to what my family is doing. We are all getting away and as a result we are relaxing and are happy. Now I've started thinking why I don't see this more often. Why are these people so smiley here, on vacation, but when I think about going to the park near my house, or my gas station, or the grocery store do I remember more stern looking people with creased brows and weary looking faces?

I started thinking about these verses that I grew up hearing:

Matthew 11:28-30 says

"28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

This is an interesting statement. As I'm sitting here reading this I can't help thinking it sounds strange. If you are worn down by heavy burdens then come to Jesus because He wants to give you His yoke. I find myself thinking "Wait a second. Doesn't that sound like it's saying to come if you are burdened down by things and I'm going to give you something else to burden you with but it is supposed to make things better?" Well since I know and believe in the inerrancy of scripture I thought I should look up what this actually means since I seem to be tripping over it at the moment.

My mother in-law just recently told me about the Amplified Bible translation. Basically it takes a translated bible and where, say a NIV version of the bible would say one word like "Blessed" then the Amplified Bible will give you all of the actual words that the original Greek or Hebrew word meant, like "fortunate, happy and to be envied." This bible gives me something I've been looking for a long time. I know that there are words in our language that other languages don't have words for, so we end up giving three or four additional words to describe what we mean. Thats what this translation does.

So, back to the verses in Matthew, now in the Amplified Bible translation

"28Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] 29Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good--not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne."

YA! Now you're talking! Learn of Him and I will find relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and a blessed quiet life. I will find rest. In order to have more rest in my life I need to know more of Him. This is why each time I dig into the bible and spend time alone with God I walk away feeling refreshed. Now why don't I do it more often? Imagine if we all did..then we could have this smiley, vacation-y feeling at home.

Just thought I would share what I just learned, just in case anyone else thought it was cool. :)

Posted on February 9, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Running and Ruminating.


My husband Jonny and I were out on a walk last night. It was at dusk and my daughter was laughing and pointing and chitter-chattering in her stroller. A brisk cool evening perfect for a relaxed sunset walk while we chatted about the things that had gone on during the day and what things might happen tomorrow or the next day...While we were walking and talking a man came up quickly and loudly behind us sounding like running trash bags. In fact he also looked like a large running trash bag. He was wearing one of those sauna suits underneath his t-shirt and sweat pants. As he laboriously "ran" past us with the combo sounds of swishing and grunting I turned to my husband with a creased brow of sadness. The man only making it a few more yards past us before stopping and gasping and trying to regroup before heading back off in his labored gait. I have been running for 21 years, I have a section in my library devoted entirely to running(training for races, eating habits of a runner, preventing running related injuries, and other science about running), I am the person who gets giddy when the new Runner's World Magazine shows up in the mailbox, and I can't help talking/blogging/thinking about it. I am also a gatherer of information(sometimes useless, sometimes valuable) and throughout all these years attentive to the subject of running I have learned what works and what doesn't work for weight loss through running.

Have you ever seen boxers in the movies wearing sweats while running or training in the sweltering heat, sweat dripping from their brows, noses and chins? They often are trying to drop a great amount of weight just before a fight so that they can qualify for a lower weight class. This means a day before a fight they will sweat and sweat to lose sometimes 10 to 15 pounds in one day. One day! A normal person trying to lose weight with a nutritionist or trainer at a gym would be advised to plan on loosing 1 pound per week, meaning it would take 15 weeks or almost 4 months to loose that same amount of weight.

This is what made me sad about this sweat-suited man last night. He was obviously not moving with the ease of someone who has logged in hours of running. He also didn't have the build of a boxer. So why was he killing himself like that?

The 10-15 pounds that a boxer might loose the day before a fight is water weight. It's an illusion of weight loss because the moment you begin to drink fluids again your body absorbs all of those fluids back up and you are back at square one. This means on Monday you might weigh 170 pounds, Tuesday (after sweat-suiting it) 155 and then Wednesday (after returning to normal liquid intake) you'd be back to 170. For someone trying to lose weight for a healthier, slimmer lifestyle this type of weight loss would be pointless much less dangerous, difficult, painful and draining.

I see people constantly doing this with their lives. They have some wrong that they are trying to lose or get rid of and they go to huge shortcut extremes to get rid of it. These extremes end up being unproductive and ultimately putting them right back where they started but now with the added disillusionment that they can never be changed. Being healthy, both physically and spiritually, takes time and hard work. I spend hours even when I don't want to and even when it is hard to make it out the door running and running because I know of the benefits it has in the long run. I spend time in the word or in prayer or listening to teaching of the word or studying because I know that it not only makes me healthier in the short term but also in the long term. Knowing more about Jesus today and why He came, helps me slough off the excess weight of sin, whether anger, bitterness, self-pity, lust, deceit, greed or pride, tomorrow...and the next day...and the next. I hope that some day I can see myself standing before the Father with the thin frame of someone unhindered by that baggage because I was willing to put in the hard work for the long term instead of looking for the quick fix of a sweat-suit.

Hebrews 12:1,2

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Posted on January 25, 2011 and filed under Anything and Everything, Running and Ruminating.