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Walking in Cold Weather

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Friday, a non-running day for me. I went out for a walk early this morning to count as cardio and get some steps in. This afternoon, my step count was lower than I liked, so I went out for another walk.

I was cold. The temperature wasn't all that cold, at 25F (-4C). I was dressed appropriately for the weather, or at least I thought I was. But it just plain felt cold.

Yesterday I was cold clearing the snow off the driveway, and cold running errands. But then I was comfortable out running yesterday afternoon.

This afternoon, I walked at the same temperature, the same degree of cloudiness, and similar wind as I ran in yesterday. But I was cold. Then it hit me.

Part of why I felt cold was because this is as cold as it has been so far this winter, and I'm not properly acclimated to it yet. But the bigger part is because I'm a runner. Walking just didn't warm me up enough for comfort.

Running has many benefits. I get a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, and the ability to lift weights to the limit of my muscular strength without necessarily breaking a sweat. But I also get to feel cold in temperature that was comfortable walking weather, before I was a runner.

Oh, yeah. I'm carrying less fat around now, too.

So, what to do? I suppose I can learn to dress warmer for walking than I have for the past four decades. Or I can run a bit when out for a walk, just to warm up. Or maybe I'll get lucky and I'll simply acclimate to the cold, and not notice it so much in a week or two.

Thinking back, I was cold when I was losing weight in the summer of 2011. Most work days, I took breaks to leave the air conditioning and walk around the building, in order to warm up. But in the summer of 2012, in maintenance mode, that wasn't a problem. Other things noticed in hindsight lead me to believe I was on too restrictive a diet in 2011; but since I didn't have to stay there all that long to take the weight off, I got away with it. Perhaps I was cold then because I wasn't eating enough to stay warm.

That's another possibility for right now. My weight is hanging out at the low end of my desired range, and has dipped below the range recently. I bumped my calorie range up to force myself to eat at least in the middle of my former range; perhaps I need to eat toward the middle of my current range? How much do I really need to eat to support my running habit?

It's another maintenance puzzle. Either I'm cold because my cardiovascular system is too efficient for walking, or I'm cold because I'm not eating enough. Or perhaps there's a bit of both going on. I'll have to try one thing and another, and see what works to make me comfortable walking in cold weather on non-running days.

One thing I know for sure: Sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket is the Wrong Answer to this problem.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

6BALLMAN 12/30/2012 6:34PM

    Good analysis...and I am glad I am not alone in this. For me the cold thing started more than a year before I started the weight loss routine, so I put it on being unhealthy and old. LoL

I am healthier now, but still well over my ideal weight. When I complained about my extremities being cold at the cardiologist's office, she had her hand on my ankle, and she told me that if I had told her that, and I had a weak pulse down there she would react to it as a symptom. Since my pulse is strong there she is not concerned about it.

I have graduated to long sleeve shirts for work and have even started wearing them to the bowling alley. I was surprised that they didn't restrict movements enough to be noticeable.

Good luck!!

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GREENGENES 12/29/2012 11:22AM

    Good observations. I tend to lean toward the acclimation explanation but I've also noticed other differences in my perception that also support the fitness/nutrition explanation so I am firmly sitting on the fence on this topic.

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MEXGAL1 12/29/2012 10:32AM

    do not like cold!
I couldn't live where it is cold. my blood is way too thin
dress warmer!
Happy new Year!

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GOING-STRONG 12/29/2012 10:17AM

    Interesting observations!


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BOB240 12/29/2012 6:41AM

    Hey..I've watched your blog for some time ..brilliant work..

Cold... I'm suffering on this one. I'm now "lean" as judged by body fat for my age..

I go out for a walk (it is not that cold here) and I feel it..

Have you tried swimming... pools feel so much colder when your weight is down.

I have visions of skiing in racing type gear.. the reality is that the gear is too cold to wear all day so I have to wear so many layers I look like a snowman.

Your choice is easy... more layers of fat of more layers of clothes :)

Keep blogging..

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BLITZEN40 12/28/2012 10:16PM

    Funny, earlier today I was just telling a friend how I'm cold and have no energy when I stay on a low cal diet for a few weeks. It makes sense that the lower calorie intake you have the colder you'll be (to a point) since calories provide the energy needed to properly heat the body. In your case I'd think it would be extra important to take in more calories since you are needing not only energy for your workouts, but also to heat you up since you are currently doing your workouts in a 25 degree climate. Unfortunately, I have never seen a calculator that has a formula that you can plug in height, weight, gender, workout length and type AND workout climate temp and then provide you with the proper calorie number you need for the day. So trial and error it is. Good luck! And last I checked, there is nothing wrong with using a blanket on the couch to warm up with after you've been out in 25 degree weather.

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RG_DFW 12/28/2012 10:11PM

    Yeah, I seem to remember too much sitting on the couch always made me feel colder, too.

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MSLZZY 12/28/2012 9:16PM

    Interesting observation. I was just as cold when I weighed
50 pounds more. In the summer I leave the office and sit
in my pickup to warm up from the AC. I can wear a long
sleeved sweatshirt on a 100 degree day. Now that it is
Winter, I make sure I walk faster to keep my body
temperature up. Maybe once the snow settles, you can
get back to running.

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DALID414 12/28/2012 8:40PM

    Great self-analysis! What if you walk wrapped in the blanket? emoticon Kidding, kidding.

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/28/2012 8:33PM

    Interesting look at being cold . . . .
I suspect I would have just gone with the non-acclimatized explanation without analyzing and looking back on similar occurrences. Good on ya for considering how this might be health/fitness related.

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RUN4FOOD 12/28/2012 8:10PM

    I have the feeling you'll figure out this puzzle and enjoy the process.
I guess the answer is to run all the time, except when you're sleeping with an extra blanket or two on the bed.

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    I noticed this also even though I still have a good bit of weight to go. The natural insulation is going and my system needs to adjust.

Make sure you don't go too far below your ideal weight. There are really bad negative effects to that.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/28/2012 7:55PM

    I agree about the blanket and couch being the Wrong Answer. FYI, I have been colder since getting to my natural weight, and learned to dress more warmly. But I'm not as cold now, in my third year of maintenance as I was in the first year.

So, yes, one does adjust. And part of that adjustment is automatically going to the heavier sweater end of the closet when dressing in the morning.

Good luck with this "next puzzle"!

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Snow and a Short Run

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The forecast snowstorm arrived, dropping about 9 inches in my driveway. That's right in the middle of the 6 to 12 forecast, which is high for me. Typically I get less than the lower end of the forecast range. Some of the snow on the bottom was wet and heavy, particularly close to the street; and drifting plus the way I have to clear the driveway resulted in my snowblower barely being adequate for the job. OTOH, I didn't get the forecast winds for this morning, so that made it a little easier. I went out to start clearing the driveway at 7 am:

I got done about 9 am:

By noon I was ready to give up on running due to road conditions. That, and I was cold. Clearing the driveway is cold work, and walking between the car and various merchants while running errands was cold. But as I came back from an errand about 1, I saw cleared shoulders on part of a potential running route. What the heck. I got out to run about 3:30, and ran the shorter winter route because I was more confident of shoulders being clear on that one. Tacked a bit of distance on to the end to make 25 minutes, and it came out to 3.61 miles in 25:09, for an average pace of 6:58 per mile:

For reference, from the crest of the big hill at 1.66 miles to the bottom at 2.05 miles is a drop of 107 feet. The relatively slow second mile featured most of the uphill stretch of the big hill as well as the worst footing of the run. "Worst" is a relative term here; it wasn't like running in fresh snow, and I was OK in ordinary running shoes.

This isn't as far as I would have run under better road conditions, but it was a pleasant run. The only down side was that my phone rang, and I was wearing wired headphones to hear the app instead of a bluetooth headset; so I couldn't answer it. That turned out to be a good thing. If it had been my daughter, I would have wanted to talk to her while running; but it turned out to be work reaching out to grab me. I addressed that issue after cooling down and before stretching.

All in all, it's been a pretty good birthday. Normally, I ignore my birthday because it's overshadowed by a much more significant birthday; but I see from comments on my Spark Page that my sister sounded the trumpet today. And that's okay, too.

Life is good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NWFL59 12/28/2012 3:09PM

    Running in the snow sound a bit nuts to me but it seems to work well for you and your sounding like you enjoyed it. Thanks for the explanation about screw shoes. Down here in FL we really don't need some things unless I guess you're running on a cinder track or something like that (I guess). emoticon

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MEXGAL1 12/28/2012 10:07AM

    Snow is beautiful but sure can mess up one's schedule and such.
Have a terrific day.

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STRIVERONE 12/27/2012 11:29PM

    That's just crazy and I mean that in a good way.
Happy Birthday.

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LOSE2BECOMEMORE 12/27/2012 8:20PM

    You've got the running bug bad! hehe

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BLITZEN40 12/27/2012 7:55PM

    Wow, that's quite a large area you cleared. Most people just shovel the walk, but you really went the extra mile in doing your whole driveway! Add your run onto that and you are going to have the best brithday sleep ever tonight. Hope it was a happy one! emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/27/2012 6:38PM

    Glad you got your run in. We didn't get the snow predicted... yet... it's starting to come down now, but we're on the southern edge of the predictions, so maybe an inch by morning, they say. I'm A-OK with that!


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RUN4FOOD 12/27/2012 5:47PM

    Glad you still got your run in. Quite persistent aren't you.
Happy birthday again.

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Snow Forecast, Contemplating Tomorrow's Run

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's Wednesday, a non-running day. I took a 40 minute walk in the morning for cardio and steps, and lifted weights this afternoon. It wasn't a great weight lifting session; I had grip issues on the third set of Romanian deadlifts, and I wasn't able to do 45 incline DB chest presses with as much weight as I thought I should be able to use. But it was a weight lifting session, and even a session like this helps maintain the strength. There will be better sessions in the future.

Tomorrow is a scheduled running day. The weather may interfere with that. We are forecast to get 6 to 12 inches of snow overnight, and another 1 to 3 inches during the day tomorrow. My new running shoes have not yet arrived, so I will face the same options for dealing with snow tomorrow that I had to think about yesterday.

The snow has started as I write this, and the way it's falling is consistent with the forecast. I frequently get less snow than is forecast, but this isn't lake effect snow. It's a storm that moved up the Ohio valley. I'm more likely to get as much as forecast from this type of storm. And the important thing isn't really how much snow, but how well the roads are cleared. I need those shoulders to be cleared to run in straight running shoes, and I need the early snow to be cleared to run even if I make screw shoes to run in. Screw shoes don't do a lot for running in even 3 inches of snow.

The other runner in the office tells me it's all good. He describes running in snow as being like running on a sandy beach. You don't go as fast, but you work harder to maintain a slower pace. I might get an opportunity to test that theory.

Meanwhile, the plan is to wait and see what tomorrow afternoon brings before making a decision. I have the early morning to clear my driveway, and I have a 9:30 appointment for an oil change in my car. After that is out of the way, many of the current unknowns about the weather will have become known.

By noon, I should have a firmed up plan. Either I'm running and have a plan for what to do about however much snow we get, or I'm walking. We won't get so much snow that I can't walk.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 12/27/2012 10:06AM

    Christmas Day started with lightning and thunder and ended with a couple of inches of now, after the obligatory sleet and ice. It was short sleeved weather the other day and now is down in the low 20s... brrr

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MSLZZY 12/27/2012 8:13AM

    I'll be shoveling sometime today and may break out
my Nordic poles. Time will tell!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/26/2012 10:37PM

    OMG, why would anyone want to run in snow if they could XC ski on it???

Hehehehe. emoticon

It's coming down pretty thick over here in the Finger Lakes, too.

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NWFL59 12/26/2012 9:37PM

    I'm confused about your shoes. what are screw shoes? Are they shoes you don't mind ruining by running in the snow or are they actually shoes with enhanced traction? Have an enjoyable outdoor experience. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RUN4FOOD 12/26/2012 8:28PM

    Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
It will be 35 here. Way too cold for us southerners. I'll get my short run in, probably with more clothes on then you'll be wearing.

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BARBANNA 12/26/2012 6:28PM

    Bummer, maybe a nice longggg walk in the snow will be best! Good luck~! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/26/2012 6:14PM

    I never had the chance to run on a sandy beach, but I ran a lot in deep snow and I can similar experience as your friend: good traction, slower pace and more effort.
It is really good for ordinary shoes.
It is another story if road is heavily used and snow gets tightly packed, then melts and freezes back at night... Then you really need the screw shoes.

Have a wonderful day!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/26/2012 5:41PM

    We have an 80% chance of snow in tomorrow's forecast here. Today, just plain COLD. It was 2 above when I got up and started trying to make myself feel well enough to go to work.

My outing to Christmas eve church services and my walk outside on Saturday were enough to convince me that running outside this time of year is not for me unless I am going with a companion and the trails have been cleared. Icy patches are NOT good footing, and *should* I slip and fall, I want immediate help available. Wimp. Yep. Or wise.

Good luck with your decision... run, walk, or whatever. emoticon

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COOP9002 12/26/2012 5:37PM

    I am blessed to have a membership at our local rec center. Though i don't enjoy running laps, i am thankful for this option as opposed to missing out on my runs completely. Hope you make it out.

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MAEBEAR26 12/26/2012 5:36PM

    My home town is a snowy place, and we get a LOT of snow. I used to run in the snow and I agree about the sandy beach but add in that cold snow is hitting your face as you go. I think it is fun to run in the snow, but I think depending on the temp you might need to do a few less miles that usual, and you will have to be slower. I recommend a scarf over your nose and mouth if the air is super cold, and sunglasses or goggles of some kind to keep the snow from smacking you in the eyeball... yes.... it is very unpleasant. Once you have these things going for you running in the snow can be very nice! Another idea is to get some cross country skis or some snowshoes for a very fun snowy cardio.

Good luck with your chill emoticon y run!

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Christmas morning run

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday I ran in the snow. While I got my run in, the situation pointed out that I need to do something about footwear for running in the snow. Sunday I got to the local running store and ordered another pair of shoes. Yes, ordered. My reality is that my size won't be in stock. Monday I checked at Dick's. They had the shoe I wanted on sale, which means my size wasn't in stock. I left without buying anything.

This morning I woke up and saw snow on the driveway. Sigh. The snow arrived before I was ready to deal with it. I considered my options: Run in straight running shoes. Put more screws into last year's screw shoes to replace the ones lost on Saturday's run. Turn my walking shoes into screw shoes, leaving me with no stability shoes to walk in until my new running shoes come in.

Well, it's Christmas. Traffic will be light even if I wait for daylight. So I had breakfast, then went out to clear the snow off the driveway. There was only a half inch of medium weight snow. The road showed wet traffic lanes, with a snow or slush coating on the shoulder. I expect I can mostly run in the traffic lane, and retreat to the shoulder in the face of oncoming traffic.

Got out to start running about 8:15. It was 30F (-1C) with N wind 9 mph. This is weather I understand, and it was easy to dress appropriately. Went to run a standard winter route of 4.63 miles. I can do this same route Thursday, run 8 miles on Saturday, and still be adding less than 10% to last week's mileage total.

There was a bit more traffic that I expected, but it wasn't bad. I encountered 11 oncoming vehicle and had 8 overtake me. The only moderately concerning situation was the time an oncoming vehicle and an overtaking vehicle arrived at about the same time on a steep downhill. I slowed, retreated to the shoulder, and ran a few paces as a heel strike runner. Got through it.

Total time was 32:23, for an average pace of 7:01 per mile. The little hills didn't seem to be as big a deal as they were last year on this route. The pace and elevation chart and the splits according to RunKeeper are:

For reference, there is a 64 foot rise from the low point at 2.5 miles to the crest of the hill at 2.73 miles.

My bad foot complained about this run, but I had a totally sedentary afternoon watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and some episodes of Dr. Who with my daughter. It's possible I'll need to forego my planned run on Thursday; I'll have to see how the foot is doing then.

I note in passing that TV is truly a Lack of Exercise Machine. It's not quite 5 PM, I've run 4.63 miles and done a good walking cooldown this morning, and I haven't hit my 10K steps yet. That's one seriously sedentary afternoon today.

All in all, it's been a good Christmas. I got to candlelight services last night, got a good run in today, and spent a lot of time with my daughter. I couldn't ask for anything more.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEXGAL1 12/26/2012 10:33AM

    glad to hear you had a good Christmas. Sounds like a great day.

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MAGGIE101857 12/26/2012 6:47AM

    Merry belated Christmas and an early Happy New Year! Sounds like you had a great day; sometimes tv time with loved ones is exactly what is called for!

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    Merry Christmas to you! Any day spent with you daughter has positive effects on your mind and your ticker! Almost as good as 10,000 steps emoticon

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MERRYMARY42 12/25/2012 10:22PM

    sounds like you have had a great Christmas Day, Me too,

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MSLZZY 12/25/2012 9:28PM

    I'll be shy of my 10K steps too. Guess running around
the kitchen getting lunch ready is more stress and
less activity than I thought. Either that, or my mind
was imagining I ran a half marathon LOL!

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NWFL59 12/25/2012 8:49PM

    Sounds like you had a good day. I enjoy watching some Dr Who reruns and am waiting for this year's Christmas special to begin in a little while. I'll be on my stationary recumbent bike pedalling away while viewing, well not for the entire hour probably but that is my goal to help justify my otherwise sedentary day.

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RUN4FOOD 12/25/2012 6:40PM

    Sounds like another good day. Glad you had a good Christmas.
Got my run in this morning and had friends over this afternoon.
A good Christmas here too.
By the way, never watch the Lack of Exercise Machine. At most an hour every month or two.

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LOSE2BECOMEMORE 12/25/2012 6:18PM

    How do you do it? I mean brave the cold? I hate the cold sooo much that if I get even the slightest chill all I want to do is craw into a cave and hibernate (I know that sounds funny, but it is more true than not).

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DALID414 12/25/2012 5:48PM

    Yeah, the TV is a steps killer.

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/25/2012 5:38PM

    WOW! Impressive!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/25/2012 5:35PM

    Sounds like a great Christmas to me! Looking forward to hearing how the new shoes perform, and what you do in converting a snow pair.

My holiday flu seemed to be under control this morning, and I did my workout on the treadmill. To Handel's Messiah. Some parts of this work resulted in my doing short segments of speed work mixed in. A good compromise between long / slow and speed work, with a medium distance of 7 miles.

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MYUTMOST4HIM 12/25/2012 5:03PM

    Actually I use my treadmill while I use my "Lack of exercise machine"

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AJB121299 12/25/2012 4:59PM

    Great job & happy holidays

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Somber Christmas Eve

Monday, December 24, 2012

I could write a typical Spark blog for today. The scale has me below my desired range for the second day in a row. Perhaps I should increase my calorie range. I lifted weights today, weighing 164.8 in my workout clothes, and I squatted 165 lbs. Squatting my weight is a new accomplishment, made possible by having a lower weight than I had when I first started lifting. Woo-hoo.

I could write all that, expanded somewhat, on Christmas Eve. I could do that because Christmas Eve is low key for me. I'll go to Christmas Eve services later, and sing in the choir; but I have no major social obligations or family celebration. So most of the day could be devoted to paying attention to my fitness journey.

But this Christmas Eve, I'm in a somber mood. When I was out driving to get a few groceries this morning, I turned on the radio. The local news was all talking about a story where not much was known, and people were calling in with what they had seen. In the drives between various shopping stops, the story unfolded. Firefighters in Webster, New York answered a burning building call. When they got there, somebody shot 4 of them, killing two. The initial report of 2 houses burning grew to 4 houses destroyed and 4 more damaged by flames by the time I quit listening. Apparently it was three hours from the initial call before the situation was resolved to the point that firefighters could actually fight the fire.

Somehow, hearing this as it unfolded, before everything was known, makes it hit very hard. And the fact that it's local makes it hit hard. I've been at the place where this happened. My first thought was that this spot was picked because of limited access to get in or out, a military or terrorist consideration. I know someone who is a volunteer firefighter in the next town over. It's possible that his unit might have been called in to fight the fires after there was no longer an active shooter.

That makes it more real to me than the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Maybe I'm shallow, but it's more real because it's closer, and I know the area. And because I heard unfiltered eyewitness reports before I read the composed news stories that organized facts into a coherent pattern.

I turned on the radio briefly a few minutes ago. The local radio personality who had covered the breaking story read these words from a familiar Christmas song:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men."

This final stanza is a call to faith, in the face of insanity and evil and the apparent lack of peace on earth. I am wrestling with this, finding no other answer than the one God gave to Job. (For those of you who didn't read that far, God refuses to explain anything to Job.) Still, I pray that Wrong may fail, that Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men.

May it be so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTUPTON 12/27/2012 5:14PM

    emoticon emoticon chris

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PHEBESS 12/25/2012 3:24PM

    I keep hoping the "New Age" and post "Mayan Apocalypse" means tighter gun control, banning assault and semi-automatic weapons, and hopefully preventing such man-made disasters. And yes, I do mean man-made.

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WATERMELLEN 12/25/2012 2:28PM

Big sis is so right. The book of Job does not explain why if God exists and is all knowing (and so knows about evil) and all powerful (and so could prevent evil) and all kind (and wo would wish to protect us from evil) there can be evil: but there is evil, inexplicably. Not just natural disasters, not just non-voluntary evil arising from mental illness, but premediated evil.

Since we cannot understand it, we can only live our lives in such a way as to make life meaningful.

And that's why for life to matter we need to acknowledge and to cherish every instance we can experience of peace on earth, good-will. Not just to men but to women and to children as well. The language matters.

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/25/2012 2:06PM

    So sad. Praying for peace.

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MEXGAL1 12/25/2012 12:12PM

    yes, Peace on Earth!
Merry Christmas!

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NWFL59 12/25/2012 2:20AM

    Peace unto you

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_LINDA 12/24/2012 8:59PM

    So very sorry to hear of yet another atrocity :((( Will it never end?? A sober Christmas Eve indeed. My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones..

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MERRYMARY42 12/24/2012 6:03PM

    We are going through such a terrible time, so very sad, such angry people, We used to think safety was home and familiar places, sure not so any more

We can only hope and pray for a better time

Merry Christmas, and Thank You for your blog.

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RUN4FOOD 12/24/2012 6:00PM

    Faith. It is difficult to have faith in God at times like this, but impossible to be without faith at times like this.

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MSLZZY 12/24/2012 5:51PM

    I read this on the inet when it was still breaking news. How sad. All we can do is pray for peace. God is in charge.

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SENIMMO 12/24/2012 5:43PM

    I will pray you find peace of mind in the midst of this. I just keep reminding myself that God has a plan and He has prepared a place for us where these horrors will not exist.

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PICKIE98 12/24/2012 5:30PM

    Yet another reason I scoff at those who say there is no live person called the

he devil..He is alive and here among us..

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/24/2012 5:06PM

    Wrestling with the presence of evil in a world where we seek good is the essence of faith, my brother. As I have mused in the wake of my son's fallen comrades... nothing we can do will bring them back. Best we can do is live our own lives forward in ways that may honor their sacrifice.

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