Walking Around Omaha…February and March

March 9, 2009  In which I became a slacker, then became encouraged and pulled my act together…

I hit a lull in February, but kept walking some.  My daughters and friends kept me going.  We were in Portland during the first week of March for a Banfield conference and are now home, and I am walking with renewed energy!

Westwood Church sponsored a great women’s conference by Set Me Free Ministries that-strangely-focused my goal of walking on every street in Omaha.  My friend Stephanie Olson and her sister Joy (I LOVE that name!) started Set Me Free, and this, their first conference, was just really encouraging.  The day before, my friend Tracey Gardner, who was the main character in the Everything drama* that was a part of the conference, said that she and her dogs would walk with me.

And the night before the conference, I walked with my daughters and our dogs around the church and the neighborhood, and prayed for the next day and for the people I knew who were still at church working hard on preparation, which reminded me I am walking with a purpose.  I had started to lose focus and feel like I was just walking.  Omaha, as I mentioned, is big, and I was becoming overwhelmed.

I got to go to the conference with my Mom-in-law Karen and sister-in-law Kristi, two of my favorite people ever.  And many more of my favorite people were there.  Karen and Kristi both agreed to walk with me, so I know this year is do-able.

Then today, Dad called and took the girls to school and me to Starbucks on his way to work, and I was, again, so encouraged!

After coffee with Dad, the dogs and I walked around Hanscom Park, which was one of the areas I had decided to pray for when Luis Palau was in town.  It is near 30th and Center Street.  When we moved to midtown, I realized what a beautiful park it was, and over time I started hearing awful stories about what goes on there.  In fact, while the dogs and I were resting mid-walk, we saw two police cars and one arrest.  And that was mid-morning!  In the park itself, there is a great little lake, a kid pool, tennis courts, two amazing greenhouses, a basketball court, a soccer field, and gorgeous trees everywhere.  There is also a sign that tells the history of Omaha parks.  The set of parks in midtown (including Hanscom Park and Elmwood Park) were designed by some famous park planner from Minneapolis in the mid 1800’s.  I will find out his name for you and what he said about his vision for the park.  (I did not have a pen.  I just had my house key and a ROCK and a bunch of doggy walk bags!)

On the way back home, I saw my cousin Benjy (YAY), and then we passed a beautiful mural of Hanscom Lagoon, painted on the side of a building.  Today makes me think that Omaha could be as incredible as God Himself must picture it…as cool as any of us hope it could be.  So much of it is.  I love our city.

*Did you notice I learned how to link things??  I started in January linking stuff I mention in the newsletter to their websites.  How fun.  Just a warning if you watch the Everything video…It is pretty intense.  I wouldn’t let my daughters watch it.  In fact, they changed it a bit for the Set Me Free conference because I had a really hard time with the gun scene. But it is an incredible drama, and you will never again wonder if God is on your side.

March 23, 2009  In which I go on a much anticipated walk to pray for our military and the dogs come down with three very serious cases of “Bad Dog” which, of course, does not really exist…there are no bad dogs…

Each of forty Omaha churches took one day of Lent (the forty days before Easter) to pray for a specific aspect of Omaha…Westwood’s day is today and we are praying for our military.  How cool (I thought).  I am not great at praying for huge general topics, so for weeks I have been looking forward to walking with the dogs around the VA Hospital near 42nd and Center and praying for friends, family and acquaintances who have served or are serving in our military.  I figured that would be a great way to stay focused and to make a big huge concept personal.

So, the three dogs and I set out.  I have taught them all to sit and wait at crosswalks and to speed walk across when I say “cross.”  Impressive, huh?  (Ha!)  More importantly, it keeps everyone safe and well controlled when we are crossing busy streets.

At EVERY intersection today, between one and three dogs had to be reminded how to sit with a push on the butt.  That is the FIRST command Joy learned, and Ebony and Noodle have known how to sit for ALMOST A DECADE!  And, for the first time, Joy decided that “cross” didn’t mean speed walk straight across the street, it meant Ebony and Noodle will be speed walking across the street, so that will be a great time to bite their ears, cuz they will be looking straight ahead!

I am so tired!  They are too, but they are happily resting and have no idea how frustrated I am!  I guess that is good, and tomorrow is another day!  What a bunch of dorks.  I love them though.  Maybe I will pray without them this time…

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