Setting A Place At The Table

Thanksgiving 2020

***

This Thanksgiving will be different from ones in the past.  This Thanksgiving might be the first one that includes the complete absence of friends, family… loved ones.

There will be smaller gatherings and many empty seats.  

There will be empty homes.  And empty hearts.

The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and the rest may taste less rich and be less fulfilling because they cannot replace the void that will be continually present on this day.

There will be an absence of voices and of laughter.  

It will be a Thanksgiving with seemingly little to give thanks for – a Thanksgiving of emptiness.  

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Not entirely.  

No matter how you celebrate, and with whom, no matter how empty your table, or full, there is still room for one more – one who, if you welcome him, will, in his own way, ease the emptiness, the longing, and the sadness.

This Thanksgiving, open a spot at your table, and in your heart, for Christ Jesus.  

Use this Thanksgiving, one where there will be more time, to make time for Him.

Find the space this Thanksgiving, one will there will be more space, to make room for Him.

Open your hearts, open your spirit, open your lives, completely, to the goodness that Christ brings.  Open it all to the love, to the fulfilling richness and to the fullness of a life with him.  

The joy.  The peace.  The love that Christ shares will then be with you.  

But unlike those that come and go with the holidays, once you open your table and heart to Christ, he will stay.  And you will be richer for it.  

There is always room at our table for Christ.  He always wishes to be part of our lives, but we often forget to invite Him, especially at those times when we seem so full with the companionship of others.

This year will be different.  

Set a place at your table for Christ.

You will be glad you did.

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 31) – NYC Marathon Day

It’s been over a month since my last update here…

My running hasn’t been great, but it hasn’t been bad either. I’ve been running about three days a week, usually about 3 miles at a time. It’s basically been a succession of 11-mile weeks. This approach has made sense because I just need to get strong.

About two weeks ago, though, I decided to ramp it up a bit. I want to start building miles and becoming a stronger runner. (I need to do that. “Want” makes it seem like a choice. It isn’t a choice.)

Two weeks ago, I did five miles. That was my longest run in a while.

Last week I did six.

Today is NYC Marathon Day.

I am actually sad about this, today being the day when, if all was normal in the world, they’d be running the New York City Marathon. They are not running the race, of course, and even though I would not be running the race this year because I couldn’t ramp up to the high miles quickly enough, I am still sad that the race isn’t happening.

On the Sundays that I don’t run the marathon (The Marathon, it deserves to be capitalized), I watch it on TV, all day long, and I run along with the elite men (them on the course, me on my treadmill). In the days before the race, I also always visit the Expo at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in Manhattan. I love to bask in the glory of everything that is the New York City Marathon.

I miss it all.

I am really sad about this today. My heart is empty. It may seem to some to be a silly thing to be sad over, but feeling are feelings and those are my feelings.

Since it was Marathon Day, I decided to push it a bit and I ran seven miles on my treadmill, my longest run since August. I feel great.

I wasn’t fast (73:52), but it was a strong run. I’m building up strength. It’s one day at a time.

The Marathon is now just 366 days away. I really cannot wait for it. I miss it all.

Happy Marathon Day to all.

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 29) – Continued Progress

Well, I needed that.

It’s good to be back. Again.

After my five consecutive days of three-mile runs, two weeks ago, the next week, I set out to do four consecutive days of four-mile runs.

It didn’t work out.

After the second of the planned four four-milers, I felt pain in the back of my right leg. A somewhat familiar pain. Stiffness.

Coming back after an injury can leave a person somewhat paranoid. Any pain in the back of my right leg makes me think, “Oh no, I re-injured the Achilles…”

But, after a short time, I realized it was just my calf that was stiff and tight and uncomfortable. The pain was way above the Achilles where I had surgery. Whew.

The calf was telling me that I was overdoing it. (I have a tenancy to overdo it, I want to back, 100% right now.) What makes me a different runner than before is that I am smarter now.

The pain, I quickly realized wasn’t an injury, it was my body telling me to slow down. My body said, “Don’t rush the recovery. I’ll come back in time… if you let me.”

So I took a few days off…

and that led to more than a week.

Have you ever been the principal of a school that looked to open a new academic year after being closed for about six months all during a pandemic?

Neither had I.

But we did it – and it was a success. I knew we’d be able to open. We have great people at the school highlighted by an amazing staff of teachers. It wasn’t easy. It was a week full of angst and stress and so much more.

But in order to do it, we all had to work hard, and the principal (that’s me, of course), who always works hard, never worked harder. I always give the job 100%. I work 24/7. Last week I had to gave 1,000% and work 48/14 in a 24-hour day.

Everything was new. Some people were scared. There were a plethora of new procedures and schedules. We had students learning from home and some coming into the school. There were questions. Lots of questions. A plethora of questions. And I tried to answer them all immediately. I tried to be everywhere and do everything. (And I think I was – and did.) Each day I was at the school for about 14-hours. There were no lunch breaks, or dinner breaks. I lived on energy bars, iced tea, and sugar-free soda. (Certainly not the breakfast, lunch, or dinner of champions.) That’s no exaggeration either. I literally didn’t have dinner all week.

And none of that is an exaggeration or hyperbole. I literally did not have dinner for a week. (On the bright side, I lost a few pounds.)

Within all of this, I refused to take a day off of exercise. I didn’t have the time to stretch and run – and since I was leaving so early for work each day, I didn’t want to use the treadmill (which isn’t the quietest thing in the house). So, I used the quietest things I have – dumbbells and my exercise bike.

Up by 4:00 a.m. (usually earlier), on the bike or pumping iron by 5:30 a.m., and off to work soon after. It was a week that was truly unique.

But I did it. I survived. The school opened. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. And the teacher were happy too. We pulled off the impossible. And we did it extremely well. This was a success story. All of the hard work paid off. (Doesn’t it always?)

Yesterday morning, I did an easy two-miler on the treadmill. It was my first run in about nine days and I didn’t want to push it. I then did a radio/youtube video podcast with the great Mac and Jack show before heading to see my family at the beach. (They had left a few days prior. Why not? I wasn’t around anyway… why not enjoy the last days of summer?)

After all of that, today was the run I was looking forward to – a nice 6.2 mile route at the New Jersey shore. My own personal 10K – a run I have done for two decades or more, from Chadwick Beach Island to the end of the Lavalette Boardwalk and back.

This is one of my favorite runs. I love this run. This run is one that gives me confidence. It is long enough to be a challenge but it’s flat and fast and, well, if one is at the beach, most often (not always) the stressors melt away.

And I did it.

This was my longest run outside since last October when I finally gave up on the marathon because of the Achilles pain.

Oh, how great it felt to be out in the early morning hours, just me and the road and the boardwalk (and the the road again). Just me and the sun and the warm air. Just me and summer, saying goodbye to each other.

Just me and the run.

I used to do this run countless times each summer, but this year I was only able to do it once. Today. Just now.

When we lose things and find them again, we appreciate them more.

Boy, did I appreciate this.

I went the distance, 6.2 miles, without stopping. I felt great. My stretching before felt great too. I have no pain or discomfort.

I’ll be home tomorrow morning.

On Tuesday we’ll be back at it at work, but it should be a better week because we worked through the kinks. We’ve got this.

My run is in. I feel terrific.

And life is good!

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 28): Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back!

Whew.

I did it.

It wasn’t easy, but it was easier than I thought it would be.

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 28): Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back!”

“Scattering the Ashes” is Phenomenal!

Readers’ Favorite recently reviewed my novel, Scattering the Ashes.

The review was glowing!

Scattering the Ashes earned Readers’ Favorite’s prestigious 5-Star Rating.

The reviewer noted:

The narrative was perfectly paced and incredibly rich with details.

 

Sam’s voice proved to be exactly what the reader needed to immerse themselves in the narrative and feel each part of the story resonate inside their heart.

 

Scattering the Ashes was just as self-reflective as it was entertaining.

 

I enjoyed the descriptions of the places where Sam went, I enjoyed the way the story flowed and I loved the way Sam over thought everything (that was common and human of him!).

 

Scattering the Ashes by Paul Russell Semendinger was phenomenal.

 

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 27) – TEN!

I didn’t really think I could do it this quickly.  I mean, ramp up to ten miles.  My longest run just a little over a week ago was six miles.  Then last week I did seven.  That was HUGE!

Up until the moment I decided to do a long run today, I wasn’t even thinking ten miles.  That seemed just too far.

Way too far…

And then, this morning, I thought, “Why not just do ten?”

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 27) – TEN!”

Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 26) – Seven is Heaven

I had planned to write this a few days ago, but a huge storm, a loss of power and Internet, and such got in the way…

Last Monday I jumped on the treadmill with the intention (and hope) of matching my six mile effort from two weeks previous and with the faint hope of being strong enough to power through one extra mile to reach seven.  

I didn’t make it. 

I ran well enough.  I covered five miles, but five isn’t six and it certainly isn’t seven.  

Continue reading “Chronicle of a Comeback (vol. 26) – Seven is Heaven”