The writing of this book was birthed on the eve of my first marathon. As I sat in an Oklahoma City hotel room, looking out the window at a stretch of the racecourse, I was suddenly struck with how my journey to get to that moment was an example of the life we lead.

There had been vision to accomplish something big. I had faced many obstacles. There were times of discouragement, almost defeat.

But I also had moments of fierce determination and renewed hope. I experienced minor victories and major accomplishments. And always, always, there was training.

I saw amazing sunrises and ran through sudden rainstorms. I faced attack birds, crazy cows, and early morning skunks. But I also ran by waterfalls, ocean waves and mountain peaks. There was everything wonderful and many things monotonous. It was life and it was good.

As I considered it all, I felt compelled to write to my family about this amazing life race that we are all given as a gift from God. I wrote about our purpose, and attempted to convey the message that, in this race, we must never quit. We must cross our finish line having completed the purpose with which we were entrusted.

As the writing of a book unfolded in my mind concerning four big themes of life, the challenge to complete four marathons settled into my spirit.

Train and write. For almost three years, that was my task and one of my time-consuming aims. Amazingly, the lessons kept coming as I often arose before the sun and watched the Creator begin to paint His beauty across the sky.

There were moments in the writing of this book that I felt that I was being “given” key portions. When that happened, I realized I was using words that I had not dreamed up in my own mind. One such moment came at the end of “Mile 16” as I wrote about the death of a son on a battlefield in Vietnam.

I hope there are stories herein that will cause the reader to stop and reflect and receive something that is spoken directly into their own heart. I hope you will be challenged to consider new things, new ideas, and new ways of looking at age-old problems. I hope you will find new strength that will help you in your own challenging endeavors, whether that is running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or making it through the next day in one piece.

If you are inspired with renewed hope and uplifted with new vision, then my years of writing will have been worth the effort. The race may be long, but there is so much beauty along the way.

The journey to arrive at this moment had been long in many ways, and the most physically challenging of my 54 years. The will to accomplish what ½ of 1% accomplish had been there; the dedication to train, to plan, to learn, to endure. But it was hard, very hard.

Go See the Beautiful, Mile 1: the Race

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