Running a Marathon All Your Life

I ran my first marathon years ago. I call it my first, because that sounds better than calling it my last. But both are true.

At mile 26 in the run, I learned something I had never known before: a marathon is not 26 miles. Don’t believe it when people tell you that. It’s a bald-faced lie.

Running a marathon all your life

(Photo: Jon Rawlinson, The Long Road Ahead, via Wikimedia Commons)

As I stammered past the 26th mile marker, there was no finish line! I discovered—to my surprise—a marathon is 26.2 miles.

I learned some valuable lessons from that decimal point—as well as from all the running I did to get ready for that crazy race.

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Need a Break? Listen to Some Crooning Croatians

When Cathy and I were in Split, Croatia, this summer, we stopped for an ice cream and I heard these Croatian crooners behind me.

I took their picture, but I also recorded about sixty-seconds of their music with my iPhone. (It was a lot cheaper than buying a CD.)

Press play to hear them:


While you listen, enjoy a few more pictures of beautiful Split, Croatia (below).

Then you can resume your normal day.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. —Psalm 127:2

The Sounds of Music—and a Funny Conversation

“Are you the mother?” a strange man asked my wife after approaching our family.

Cathy looked at our two daughters and replied hesitantly, “Yes.”

“I thought I noticed a resemblance when I saw ya’ll sitting in front of us on the front row!” Then he called his wife and family over to us. “Honey, she’s the mother!”

We had just finished attending a concert where the Plano Symphony Orchestra played “The Sound of Music from Salzburg.” It was outstanding! The concert included pieces by Mozart as well as a special appearance by the “Von Trapp Children Singers”—four young siblings who descended from one of the Von Trapps.

My family and I love watching our The Sound of Music DVD, so we coughed up the change and bought tickets for seats on the front row. Great seats! That’s where we were sitting when the man behind us noticed us. And then we stood in the lobby, and his exuberant call to his wife brought his whole family toward us with smiles.

“It’s so nice to meet you,” his wife gushed, “we’re the Smiths” (not their real name, of course). By now I thought it was really odd that he didn’t even ask our name, so I offered my hand to the man, adding, “And I’m the father. We’re the Stiles family.”

He smiled back and shook my hand, asking: “And so . . . you’re just touring with them?”

Then it hit me. Oh, good grief!

This man and his family thought Cathy and I were the parents of the Von Trapp children! After we clarified that our only children stood there beside us, we all had a good laugh. Then they sheepishly shuffled into the line to get autographs from the real Von Trapp kids.

“For thirty seconds we were famous!” I told my family as we got in our van to leave.

What a great reminder of the fleeting satisfaction that the pursuit of earthly fame offers. Isn’t it great to live for the glory of God instead of the fame of your own name?

Okay, so here’s a picture of our kids with the Von Trapps. Can YOU tell which is which?