A Quarter Mile (Final Part)

“All right Jez, don’t give it everything at first, save it until you absolutely need it, then show ‘em what you got!” I gripped the go-cart frame, leaning forward so Jez could hear me.

“There are a lot bigger carts than ours here,” Lucas pointed out.

“Don’t think like that, then we for sure wont win.” Wyatt folded his arms across his chest and gave Jez a thumbs up.

“You’re right, Wyatt.” Johnny glanced at Jez as she slid on her helmet. “Jez can win.”

“That’s right she can, because I want my . . . I haven’t decided what I want yet, but I want something with the prize money.” Wyatt smiled, nodding.

“I want a bike so I can ride on Stephan’s bike track,” Johnny said.

“I want a video game.”

“We know you do, you already told us.” Wyatt stared at Lucas.

“Oh.” Lucas turned his head toward the track. “Hey, Jez is entering the track. The race is about to start.”

I walked toward the boys and watched Jez pull in line with the rest of the racers. I scanned the area, wanting to see my dad’s car pull up. But no more vehicles drove in, the people at the gate were walking toward the race track. I turned my head toward Mom and returned her smile. My mom sat with the other parents, watching the racers line up. I turned my attention to the racers and nodded. We’re going to win.

The horn blew and the racers pressed the peddle. Jez took sixth place at the start. At the first turn she passed a cart, but waited until her third turn to pass the second cart. The racers finished the first lap; four more laps to go. Jez still had time to climb up the ladder. She could pass the third cart on her third lap and be in second place by the fourth lap. Jez held her speed until the third lap, just like I told her to.

At the third lap, second corner, she pressed the peddle down and turned to the inside of the track. When our cart wouldn’t pass the other cart, Jez pressed the peddle down further. I stood on my toes, moving my head with the carts. Jez had one more lap to go, but she still hadn’t passed the third cart. The third cart’s motor puffed several times, causing it to slow down, giving Jez a chance to pass. Jez now rested in third place. She had one more corner to turn until the reached the finish line. I lowered my head and gently kicked the ground. It was over now.

The crowds cheered as the carts drove by in front of me. I looked up to my mom. She sat in her lawn chair, smiling. Then I looked at the track, as Jez drove by me in third place. We lost the race. My mom and everyone’s parents smiled, but why? We lost the race. I looked at the boys; their eyes followed the carts around the track, and watched as Jez pulled to the side and parked beside us.

“I’m sorry I lost,” Jez said, taking her helmet off.

“Oh, it was just a race. I can get a bike another time.” Johnny walked up to Jez; Lucas and Wyatt followed.

“Yeah and I don’t need a new video game. I probably have to many already.”

“And Wyatt didn’t even know what he wanted.” Johnny lifted his hand toward Wyatt.

Jez smiled, lifting her head toward me. “Stephan?” I stood behind the boys, with my head lowered. “We had fun; we should enter again next year.”

“No, I don’t want to.” I shook my head. “Let’s load the go-cart; everything else and go home.”

“But I think we get a third-place prize,” Wyatt said.

“Who cares about third place,” I said.

“You can go home with your mom and cry about it, but we’re going to stay here and wait for our prize.” Wyatt folded his arms across his chest, nodding his head.

Mom heard our conversation; she walked over, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Stephan, let’s stay until the whole thing is over, then we’ll go home.” Mom smiled and patted my shoulder, meaning, “Act like a man.”

I nodded. The group stared at me, until I looked away. I stepped back and sat down on the cooler, waiting for them to announce the prizes. I listened to the group talk about the race and what they might win.

Later, after the prizes were handed out and everyone started to leave, Mom and I pushed the go-cart onto the trailer and loaded the cooler and chairs. I wished we would have left sooner, staring at everyone talking, while I refused to say a word, was very difficult. A few times I thought about giving in, but I had to stick to my point.

I hopped in the pickup and waited for Mom. At least my dad wasn’t there to see us lose. Where was he anyways? Maybe if he would have been there, like every other dad, he could have given us some pointers. Then again, he didn’t know anything about racing. I should’ve talked to Bobble-head Beamer some more; he could have given us some pointers.

At home, I helped Mom push the go-cart off the trailer and unload the cooler and chairs. Dad’s vehicle stood in the driveway; behind the house swirls of smoke rose to the sky. I walked to the backyard, where Dad stood grilling pork chops.

“Hey Stephan! I thought I’d grill on account of your big day.”

“Now you want to be nice, why not this morning? You could have gone to the race with us.” I lowered my head and sat down beside the patio table, mumbling to myself, “We might have won then.”

Dad set down his spatula and walked to the table. “I told you son, I had to go to work.”

Dad leaned back in his chair. “Besides, winning’s not everything.”

“You don’t understand,” I whined. I placed my hands on the arm rests and sat up straight. “I thought if I won, maybe you’d notice me, or be proud of me, or something! You’re never around.”

Dad nodded, studying my face. “I know, son. My job keeps me very busy, but I am proud of you.”

“Of what? I can’t even win a race.”

“The way you treat others, it’s admirable.”

I looked at Dad, my hands folded in my lap. I didn’t do a very good job today: the way I treated the group. But Dad didn’t need to know that.

“It’s not about winning the race; it’s about how you act while you’re racing.” Dad leaned forward. “Ten years from now people aren’t going to remember if you won a go-cart race. They’re going to remember how considerate you were, or how you made them feel better when they were feeling down. Things like that is what people are going to remember.”

I stared at Dad. “I don’t think people who don’t take their own advice should give advice to others.”

“I know I haven’t been the best example. But you know what’s right, even when people around you don’t do it, you still do. And that’s why I’m proud of you.”

I leaned forward and said, “Thank you, Dad. Sorry I told you what to do—just now.”

“Oh, just don’t do it again. Remember older people are wiser 99.3% of the time.”

I nodded and stood up. “I have phone calls to make. I have people I need to apologize to.” I stood underneath the porch screen doorway and faced Dad. “Dad, you’re wise and I’m glad you’re my dad.” I smiled and walked into the house. On my way to the phone I repeated Dad’s words in my head: “It’s not about winning the race; it’s about how you act while you’re racing.”

A Quarter Mile (Part Three)

“Pull harder!” Jez pushed her leg down, gripping the handles on her bike.

“I can’t! My legs are about to give out.” Wyatt leaned forward, standing while he peddled.

“Put your legs to use: peddle!” Jez titled her head from side to side as she peddled down street.

“We’re trying!” I looked back at Jez, then focused on the road. “A go-cart isn’t supposed to be this heavy.”

“Well it’s not supposed to be pulled by bikes either. But your ideas are always great.” Jez rolled her eyes and stood up on the peddles.

“I thought it would be a good idea too.” Lucas focused on the street, peddling at a steady pace, breathing in and out.

“I don’t know why we always listen to you Stephan.”

“Just keep peddling, Jez, we’re almost there.” The Beamer mechanic shop stood on the corner of Cornerstone and Walnut street. Mr. Beamer sat in front of the store, holding a coke bottle. Why wasn’t he working?

“Everybody, slow down. The turn is coming.” The gang halted their bikes and stood on their feet. Lucas reached out his foot to stop the rolling cart.

“How are we going to cross the street?” Wyatt scanned the group.

“Any ideas guys?”

“We wait until the cars are gone,” Lucas mentioned.

“We won’t be able to hall the cart across the street before more vehicles come.” Johnny folded his arms and stared at the street.

“Let’s leave our bikes here and push the cart across the street.” Jez looked at Stephan.

“Jez has a good idea. Everyone, untie your bike from the cart.” I untied the rope from my bike, then walked to the cart to untie the ropes from the frame. “Let’s put our bikes to the side of the sidewalk so they’re not in other people’s way.”

We put our bikes to the side and gathered around the cart. “Johnny you can operate the steering wheel.” Jez pointed to the steering wheel and placed her hands on the frame.

“One, two, three, push!”

Johnny turned the steering wheel and the go-cart rolled onto the street. “Faster. Cars are coming.”

We pushed the go-cart up to ten miles per hour. I watched the street, biting my lip as the vehicles came closer. I looked up and yelled, “Don’t hit the curb. Turn the wheel.” Johnny turned the wheel; the tire missed the curb by half an inch. The people on my side jumped over the curb and onto the parking lot. We slowed to a steady walk and pushed the cart through the open garage door.

“Hoof!” We sighed and dropped our arms.

“I’ll go find my dad.” Jez left the group and walked out the door.

Two minutes later, Jez’s dad walked under the garage door frame, arms folded across his chest. “You want me to make this cart faster?”

“Yes.” We all nodded.

“Well,” Mr. Beamer bobbled his head and walked around to the front of the cart. “I think we can work something out. I can’t do it for free.” Mr. Beamer jerked his head up at us.

“Oh no sir,” I said, “We don’t expect you too.”

“Okay good.” Mr. Beamer bobbled his head. “I’ll work on your cart, if you sweep the front of the shop. A lot of ladies come to pick up their cars, we don’t need anyone slipping because of rocks.”

“Of course not.” I scanned the gangs faces and nodded. “We’ll do it. How about tomorrow after school? The race is in two weeks so we have to get going with it. We don’t have a lot of time to waste.”

“No, no you don’t want to waste your time and then be unprepared.” Mr. Beamer bobbled his head. “If you sweep my front parking lot tomorrow, I’ll have the cart done in three days.”

“Three days!” I swallowed my saliva and shook my head. “I guess that will have to work. Deal.” I reached out my arm and shook Mr. Beamer’s hand.

The gang’s smiles nearly reached their ears. In three days, our cart would be the fastest go-cart in town. We would for sure win the race.
I checked to see if I had everything, then I strapped my backpack on my back. The go-cart was loaded, with the help of my mom; we had fifteen minutes until we needed to be at the track. The gang and I decided to be there early so we could get a couple of passes in. I didn’t want anyone seeing the go-cart’s speed before the race, so we agreed to be there before anyone else would be there.

“Dad are you ready? We have to leave soon.” I stood behind Dad, watching him put files in his briefcase.

“Oh, about that son,” Dad scratched his top lip and turned around, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.”

“Why not? Where else do you have to go? It’s Saturday?”

“Just because it’s Saturday doesn’t mean the work stops. I’m sorry son, but I just don’t have time.” Dad walked pass me into the kitchen.

“Can’t you make time?”

“No, I can’t. But your mom is going to be there.”

“I know, she closed the nursery so she could come.”

“And that’s very nice of her.” Dad grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and picked up his briefcase from the table. “I’ll see you when I get home.”

If Mom could close a store, why couldn’t Dad stop working for one day? They should have scheduled the race for a Sunday, then dad would come. But it wasn’t on a Sunday, it was today. And I had a race win.
“Three guys are already here. I guess everyone had the same idea we did.” Jez unloaded the cooler and set it down beside the pickup.

“Looks like it. Oh well, we’ll continue with our plan. The rest of the boys are going to be here soon.” Mom helped us unload the cart, then she set up the lawn chairs. I pushed the cart out of the way and picked up Jez’s helmet off the seat.

“Where’s your dad?” Jez asked.

“He couldn’t make it today.” I handed Jez the helmet. “Here, climb in, we have to do some practice runs.”

Jez nodded and climbed into the go-cart. “Hey, Stephan, don’t worry, we’re going to win this thing.” Jez smiled, and slid on her helmet.

“I know.” I nodded, walking toward the motor. I pulled the string and backed up as the engine started. “We’re going to win.”

A Quarter Mile (Part Two)

The next day after school, I dragged a pallet out of the garage and dropped it behind the four-wheeler. We decided Sunday afternoon to build a raceway around the bike track and because it was at my house, I was in charge of building it. After I attached the pallet onto the four-wheeler, I drove around the bike track to even out the ground. Then I shuffled dirt into my mom’s wheelbarrow and filled in all the pot holes. If we were going to get the best time, we needed an even surface.

That day I asked around school to find out who was entering the race—to see what our competition was. Math-wizard Mark planned to enter, but I wasn’t too worried about him. He knew his way around a math problem, but I doubted he knew his way around a track. The rest of the entries went to middle school. I didn’t know anyone from middle school. But I wasn’t worried. Middle school boys might have been older, but they still had to follow the same rules. My overall concern was: did their go-cart have a larger motor than mine?

“Hi, Stephan!” My next-door neighbor walked up to the wheelbarrow. “What are you doing? Where’s your bike?”

“I’m not riding my bike today. I’ll be busy the next couple of weeks.” I dumped the remaining dirt onto the track and drove the wheelbarrow to the side.


“My friends and I are entering in a go-cart race. It’s in three weeks, so I have a lot of work to do.” I walked to the maple tree and picked up the rake that leaned against the trunk.

“Can I help?” Johnny’s chocolate colored eyes grew wide.

“Well Johnny, if you help then you’d be part of the racing group, and if you’re part of the group then you deserve part in the prize money. Now if it was just me racing, I’d be happy to let you in, but because there’re more people included, I’m going to have to ask them first.”

“Oh.” Johnny lowered his head and bit the inside of his cheek.

“But they should be here soon, so I’ll ask them then.”

Johnny nodded.

My mom slid open the screen door and yelled at the top of her lungs. “Stephan, Johnny? Brownies are done.”

I turned my head toward the house and yelled, “Be there in a bit.” I dropped the rake to the ground and started walking toward the house. “Come on, Johnny. We’ll wait for the group inside the house.”
I tilted my phone left and right, trying to drift the corners on my racing game. My mom sat across from me on her lazy boy. She worked hard at the nursery every day, so in the evening she wanted to relax on her lazy boy and look at garden magazines. How could she work with plants all day, then come home and look at them in a magazine? If she wanted to look at plants in the evening, she might as well work at the nursery in the evening. But I wasn’t going to tell her that: I liked having her home. I guess she didn’t look at magazines every night, sometimes she helped me with my homework, or I’d help her plant flowers.

Dad’s vehicle drove onto the driveway and parked in front of the garage. The vehicle honked twice as Dad locked the car. Dad cracked opened the kitchen door and I ran into the kitchen to meet him.

“Dad! I got a new racing game and I’ve won three times in a row.” I waited beside him, until the microwave finished heating his dinner.

“That’s nice son.”

I followed Dad to the table and sat down on my knees, in the chair next to his. “Yeah I figured it would help me understand racing a bit better. Since we’re entering in the go-cart race and all, I figured it be a good idea. What do you think Dad?” I rested my elbows on the table, lifting myself up.

“Don’t sit like that Stephen. Eleven-year-old boys sit like men: your feet on the ground and your hands on your lap.” Dad said grace and ate his food.

“Okay.” I sat down the way Dad told me to. “What do you think Dad?”

“I don’t know son. Don’t you have to be twelve to enter in that race?”

“Well Jez is going to be the one racing. All they want is for the racer to be twelve, they don’t say anything about the pit crew.”

“Oh, well you have fun.” Dad nodded at me, then continued to eat his food.

I nodded, studying the food on Dad’s plate. I glanced at him, then I swung my feet to the side and stood up.

Dad didn’t like racing that much. I should have picked a different competition. One that he would like if I won. But everyone was to far into it, I couldn’t ask them to backdown now. I plumped down on the couch and picked up my video game. Either way, losing wasn’t an option.
“What’s my time?” Jez removed her helmet and placed it on her lap.

“Not good. Let me try it.” I slid the timer into my pocket and walked toward the go-cart.

“No. I’m going to be the one racing in the race, I need to be the one getting better.”

“If I want to drive, I should be able to drive my go-cart.”

“Yeah well until the race is over, I drive.” Jez shook her head and faced the rest of the boys.

I bit my teeth and clinched my fist. I inhaled and exhaled three times, until the words in my head went away. Then I turned around and faced the boys. I kept my distance from Jez: I didn’t want to speak to her, unless I had to.

“Your problem isn’t in the driving, it’s in the motor. Your cart is to slow.” Johnny slid his fingers in his pockets and studied the cart.

“Johnny, I like you being in our group, but I don’t think that’s it.” Wyatt shook his head and folded his arms.

“Wyatt, Johnny might be right.” Jez lifted her head toward Johnny. “How do we make it faster?”

“I don’t know.” Johnny drugged his shoulders. “We need a mechanic.”

“My dad!” Jez jerked her head. “He owns the mechanic shop.”

“That’s right Jez. Let’s bring it there.” Wyatt’s smile nearly reached his ears.

“But how are we going to get it there?”

Lucas and I faced each other, smiling.

How I use my Bible Study Guides

So I don’t know about y’all but I love blending arts and crafts wherever I can, so today I’m going to show you a few tips and ways that I mix fun ideas into my Bible study. Also I’ll show you how I use Bible study guides to help me out. Now, the guides I use, you can download them on my website and you can find them by simply clicking here. They do come in a size A4 so when you print them out, change your printer settings to A4 and it should work. If you don’t have a printer you can fill them out on your mobile device as well.


Okay so to print them out I use thick copy paper just because they feel more like cards then, but you can use whatever paper you like. I do print them out on letter size paper, then I cut them out with a pair of scissors. Although with a paper-cutter it would work a lot better, but I don’t have one so this works to. To cut straight lines I just draw a line and cut along that line. And then you have a small enough size card to fit in your Bible or even a small binder if you wish.

Now, I have a NIV Life Application Study Bible that my husband gave me for my last birthday–I love it! It’s so clear and I learn so much from it. But . . . we can learn from any version of the Bible. Although I recommend investing in some type of Bible study recourse to help you understand the tough verses.

Here are a few Bibles and recourses you might be interested in.

NIV Life Application Study Bible

Bible Studies


So the way I use the guides: I simply fill in the boxes, answering the questions above. (What did this scripture mean to me? A special phrase that stood out to me was . . . What are my goals after reading this? My prayer:) I also have this thing where I underline or circle any verse that I like. Although I know some people don’t like to write in their Bibles and if that’s the case for you then I recommend putting post-it-notes or bookmarks by a chapter that you really like.




Now you’ll notice this card on the left. It has five different ideas on where you can read and then on the other card–on the top–you right down where you read for that day. Of course, as you continue to study you’ll have to print out more cards. So maybe print out five or ten right away, so you won’t have to worry about not having enough cards. Also I put washi tape on one of my cards. I like adding my personal touch to almost anyting, if you haven’t noticed. But you can do whatever you like to make it your own. But I thought this was kind of pretty.


Now when it comes to putting these cards away after you’re done, I like to put them in the front of my Bible. I use a paper clip to keep them on the first page of my Bible. Of course, as you collect more and more cards, you can use binder clips to keep them in place. Once I’ve collected a lot I will defiantly have to find a different storage system, and when I do I will be sure to share it. As for now, this works great. 20181214_093510.jpg

Wait. Before we head out for the day, let’s talk about Bible journaling. What if you want to add a little more color to it? Then s defiantly for you. You can use a Bible journal to color in your Bible, to draw and make notes on what you read. It depends on how I’m feeling that day, sometimes I’ll do Bible journaling in my Bible journal, sometimes I’ll do Bible studying in my study Bible. Both work for me, so it just depends what I feel like doing that day. 20181214_093949.jpg


This is my KJV Bible that I use for Bible Journaling. I’ve started doing a lot more Bible journaling and I even got some neat journaling supplies to make it even more colorful. But if you want to journal, and still use those study guides–all the better! I just wanted to quickly share with you another process. There are so many fun ways to get to know God’s Word, that if we really try we can for sure learn something.

You can find more ideas on Pinterest. And if you have Pinterest be sure to check out my Bible Journaling board here.  I hope this blog inspired you to study your Bible and I wish you the best on your Bible studying journey.

Until next time,

Maria 😀

Sunday Morning: What is Rest?

Rest. What is rest? It seems to me that people constantly run through the day, getting one thing done, then another, never stopping until it’s to dark to work. The next morning they get up and do it all over again. Whether they want to or not. Are you one of them? Or do you find satisfaction in crossing finished task off your list? Or are you so caught up in work that you don’t think of life any other way?

Work is important. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “. . . The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We know that God worked six days in the week, creating this world, and on the seventh He rested. If you’re the man of the house you surely know the importance of work. If you didn’t work your family couldn’t eat and the bills wouldn’t get paid. If you’re the lady of the house you know that without work you’d live in a junk pile. Often times the lady will work at her job until she’s tuckered out, then on her way home she picks up the kids from school, wishing she had ear plugs to avoid the noise. When she gets home laundry’s piling up, the bathroom’s a mess, and dinner’s waiting to be made. She looks at the calendar and sees dentist appointments, soccer practice, and art classes all jammed into that week. While the man of the house dreams of some rest, he cleans the garage, mows the lawn and when he finally thinks the days done, his kids ask for help with their homework.

How does that life sound? Does it sound like yours or does it sound way to busy? Some people enjoy a schedule like that, it makes them feel important. I’ve heard girls say, “I like the sound of your life, it sounds so hectic. Not like me. I never have anything planned.” I admit, I like a hectic life. When I don’t have anything to do I go crazy! Yet I long for rest. Perhaps you’re a teenage girl who’s always on the run. Tuesday you have a Sunday school meeting, Wednesday is youth night, Thursday is Bible study, Saturday you’re going shopping with the girls, Sunday’s game day, Monday you planned to meet up with your friend to plan a birthday party for another friend. Above all this, you have CNA classes, a part time job, a little brother to babysit, a thirteen year old sister who begs to be driven to the mall and Mom and Dad who depend on you to do a good job with, well . . . everything. Sure the youth nights, CNA classes and game days are fun, but where does the rest come in that you so desperately need?

So often I hear moms saying they’re always busy. I know one mom even put it on her social media profile. I also heard a girl say, “Literally, I don’t know rest. I am always on my feet. I get up, go to work, come home with a ton of chores waiting for me. Then I work until it’s time to go to bed. I read, sleep and start all over again.” I heard another girl say, “I work all day every day, when Sunday comes all I want to do is rest.” This gives the girl no time for friends, because obviously, when we’re so tired hanging out with friends is the last thing on our mind.

In my case I’m the teenage girl who has a ton of things to plan, with work that adds up to be a full time job, all the while thinking she can do everything and do it all by herself. There’s so much to do, so many possibilities, with such little time to do it. When this happens frustration hits, we feel left alone with work stacked ten miles high on our shoulders. This happens to everyone who never has time to rest. To the tired parents, to the overwhelmed teenager, to the single parent, to the nine year old boy with to much homework. So in a world with over enough work, how do we find time to rest and why?

Why? Because don’t you feel your body breaking? Even when you think you’re fine and used to it, you’re body’s slowly cracking. Your brain literally feels like it could explode any minute with all this pressure. The Lord worked six days, then He rested. He found rest important and He even commands rest in the fourth commandment. Paul says we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). In many places he tells us to take care of our body. In most places it means keeping our body clean, but should we not also keep it healthy? In Mark 6:31, after the apostles had done and taught so much, Jesus told them to come with Him by themselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

Sundays are often filled with family and church activities, which does not rest our bodies at all. I was raised with people all around me thinking Sundays were for rest and weekdays were for work. But when Sunday came friends and families would get together and we’d get just as tired as we would on a weekday. You see, hanging out with friends or family on weekdays was not acceptable; you must work. So that only left Sunday for fun activities. While weekdays are for work, it’s very important to squeeze in some quiet, simple, fun and restful moments. I’m not saying do no work at all, as we read earlier, whoever does not work, should not eat.

I also understand that finding time to rest is nearly impossible. Just today I found so many excuses not to rest, I heard so many excuses, I heard people saying how they don’t need it. And well, I felt kind of awkward hearing all this, while I was trying to write an article about rest. Yet I know how badly it’s needed, even though it seems like it’s the most unimportant thing in the world. When we get so tired or caught up in our work we get angry, we push people aside, we complain, we forget to put God first, we eat to fast or not all giving our bodies lack of nutrition. We start thinking, ‘I don’t need food. I don’t need sleep. Rest is not for me.’ Pushing people away, complaining, giving in to anger are all things that rot our soul. So why would we not prevent this by letting ourselves find time to rest.

So how? How does the busy mom find time to rest? How does the overwhelmed teenager find time to herself?

To be Continued . . .