Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fourteen Years

On Tuesday, James and I celebrated our 14th anniversary. We got a sitter on Saturday evening, and we went out to dinner. We had hoped to go to the Shakespeare Festival, which was about to wrap up for the year. The play this year was Anthony and Cleopatra, which I was kind of familiar with. The Festival takes place every year in the late spring. We've lived here for 7 years, and we still haven't been because it was raining when the show was scheduled to begin. Oh well.
Photos by Kevin Beasley

We went out to eat at The Shaved Duck. The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so there's a bit of hype surrounding the place.

We got there a little before 6 pm. I don't think they have a parking lot, but we were able to find a free spot on the street close by. The place was insanely packed. You couldn't open the front door without banging the doorknob into someone's rear end.There was an hour wait for a table indoors, so we opted to sit outside in the sun. If that option hadn't been available, we would have left. After we sat, I wanted to wash my hands. That meant having to go inside through the crazy cram-packed-maze of people to get to the restroom. I spent five minutes digging in my purse for hand sanitizer before giving up and making the trek to the restroom. Back at our table, it was hot. Thankfully, another guest showed us how to tilt the umbrella at our table to provide some shade. James ordered a combo plate with three different types of BBQ meat. I ordered the duck breast, which was delicious. James was not wowed with his food. He said it was good, but he prefers the burnt ends at Super Smokers.  The service was slow, so this wouldn't be a good place to take the kids. They do have an extensive menu of local beers and whiskeys, so if you're into that, it might be worth a visit for you. I'm glad we tried the place, but I don't think it is worth a second visit unless some things change - like they start accepting reservations.

We drove to Ted Drew's for dessert. They are where Dairy Queen got their inspiration for their Blizzards. We still have never eaten there because there were about a hundred people in line when we drove by. It might be good, but I'm not going to wait in a line that long for ice cream. We had dessert at Bissinger's Chocolate instead, which was amazing. The had a large seating area, inside and out. This place is certainly worth repeat visits.

 On Tuesday, our actual anniversary, James had flowers waiting for me when I got home from work. He cooked scallops for dinner - and even the kids liked them.

Celebrating our anniversary made me reflect on our wedding vows. Our vows came from a seminary's website. We tweaked them a bit. Here's a link to them if you want to read them: Wedding Vows
I think the most weighty line in them is the promise to serve Christ together. Satan finds way to deter us, sometimes using the most benign means possible.

James, I am so thankful for you. You have been Jesus to me when I was too heartbroken to worship Him. There is a sacredness to my love for you that grew in hospital rooms, doctors offices, and on our knees in Ethiopia. After our first Ethiopian baby girl went to be with Jesus, you were by my side week after week at church, quietly hoping for the Sunday when I could make it through the service without weeping. In the midst of that despair, had I known that three more Ethiopian babes would slip through our fingers, I would have been utterly hopeless. It is a good thing that God doesn't let us see into the future. I had no idea when I said "I do" at age 21, what God would ask of us. You have stirred my affections for my First Love, and I pray that our children will say the same of you. May they be able to say that their Daddy showed them the love of Jesus.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tour de Cure Recap

A little over a week ago was the St. Louis Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes association. I signed up on my gym's team, hence the yellow and black jersey in the photo above. All of the participants who  had diabetes, received a "red rider" jersey. I've had diabetes since I was a kid, so I got a red jersey. I decided to leave my team jersey on for the ride though.
I wore this pin on my jersey. The photo on the left is my Dad's younger brother, who just just recently lost his battle with diabetes.  The photo on the right is my Mom's sister. She passed away 14 years ago, and she battled with diabetes for years. Neither of them saw their 55th birthdays, and they are both sorely missed by many people. Two lives cut short, partially due to diabetes. 
The ride started a bit later than originally announced, and I never heard why there was a delay.
I met a couple of other people to ride with, and this is the three of us at one of the rest stops. 

This is the  50 mile route I was riding. See that pink bar at the bottom of the photo? That shows the elevation changes. This was a hilly course, but I'd been training on some hills.  Somewhere between 28 and 30 miles, I crashed. See that last tall pink peak? I was near the summit.  I'm frustrated that I had made it through almost all of the challenging part of the route when I crashed. If I could have hung in for a couple more miles, I would have been back on mostly flat terrain. I still don't remember what happened. I was exhausted. I hadn't slept well for 2 days. It was kinda hot, and I was taking the descents too fast. A deputy found me on the downside of a hill with my bike on top of me. I have no memory of even speaking to him. He stayed with me until first aid arrived.
My helmet and gloves did their jobs. The foam on the interior of my helmet was cracked. The straps were bloody. I started to try to wash the blood out of my gloves, until I saw that they were ripped. I threw it all away. The day after the crash, I checked my bike computer to see what the maximum speed recorded was - thinking that would be what I was doing when I crashed. It was just over 30 mph. Too fast. 
I had to get checked out at the ER. X-rays and CT were all clean, thankfully. Just a lot of road rash. I saw my chiropractor two days after the crash and my internist the day after that. The appointment with the chiropractor was so helpful. He adjusted my back, neck and ribs. It was the first adjustment I had ever had there that was painful, but I felt much better afterwards. My ribs are still sore a bit, but they have healed to the point where I can breathe deeply enough to exercise.
My new helmet and gloves arrived last week, and I have already put them to use.  Over the weekend, I got an email from my team captain. He told me that there would be a small gift for me at the front desk of my gym on Monday. I had no idea what would be there, and I went and picked it up today.
 Here's what he and the regional manager sent me!  A new helmet, new gloves, a water bottle, a dri-fit shirt (which was the right size!), and a card. This was so thoughtful!  I love the card. Here's what the inside says.
I found this to be so encouraging.