Category Archives: Friends and Family

Oh no…what did I do?

Did I really just announce to all of you that I will run a marathon in March? Ugh…documentaries…you know?

It has been awesome to hear the response from all of you about my decision to run this stupid distance…er…I mean…marathon. Really, your encouragement has meant a lot to me. It already seems a bit daunting but since I have already announced to all of you my reasons for doing so…there is no backing out.

One thing that has been interesting has been to see how many of you are thinking about getting back into running as well. All different ages and experiences…you go!

Because some of you might join me on this crazy journey, I thought I would start my first running post out with some thoughts about training for this distance. I have run 2 half marathons and learned a lot from the preparation and running of them both.

My first half marathon was in Disneyland. The night before the race, my wife and I attended a wedding in Arizona. We had already made plans to run but the wedding was short notice so we decided to do both. The wedding was great and at the reception…there was an open bar and some dudes were having a cigar. Ugh. Of course, I partook with a beer…well…two…and had the cigar. I know…not great race prep…but it was a great cigar! (don’t worry…I can definitively say that I still love Jesus after having beer and a cigar)

We arrived in Southern California at midnight the night before the race and did not get to sleep in our hotel room until 2am. Alarm goes off at 4:30am and I hated life. I put on the shoes I had been training in and a cotton shirt and gym shorts. All bad ideas. I finished the race in 2:28 and I had sweat so much that my shoes were making a “squish” noise when I walked and I looked as if I had stood in the shower for ten minutes. Gross. But, I finished.

The second half was in Sacramento. The night before, we met with friends over a pasta dinner…no beer…and went back to our hotel room which was a five minute drive from the race site. Drank a Gatorade and ate a banana…and fell asleep at 10pm. I woke up ready and alive. I put on my new shoes, (I had broken them in for 2 weeks) my actual running shorts and a running shirt from Nike. I finished the race at 1:58 and felt amazing afterwards. I was tired…but not soaked.

You learn things along the way that help you feel more comfortable out there and I hope you learn a little along our journey together through this blog. Below as promised are a few things to consider when beginning your training for any sort of distance.

1. Your weight. You may be thinking…I want to run to take off some of this weight…and it will work. But, if you have some more serious weight issues…its best if you focus on losing some weight first and leave yourself time to train after. Imagine carrying a 40lb bag of dog food around while running…think your joints will love you? Get your body used to moving by taking long walks (longer than 30 minutes) and reduce your calories. Your body will thank you.

2. Make a plan. Don’t just go out there and run for 30 minutes…out of breath and hurting. Do a walk run. Four minutes of jogging and two minutes of walking. Do this for thirty minutes 4 times a week (for two weeks) and see how you feel. Find a running plan online and try to stick to it.

3. Avoid injury. Make sure you are stretching before and after your run. Keep a pace that would allow you to talk…no matter how slow. Don’t push yourself too hard the first month or you will get hurt. My wife hurt her knee training for our 2nd half and she stayed away from running for one week with ice on the knee every night. When she returned, she ran at a much slower pace and kept up the ice packs when we finished. After three weeks…she felt much better and avoided serious injury.

4. Get the right equipment. When running 2-4 miles, you can get away with wearing cotton clothing and older shoes. But…when you start to seriously train…you need actual running shoes…not just Nike’s. If your knees are hurting you when you run…go to a running store and ask them to evaluate what kind of shoe you really need.  You will eventually want some good shorts and shirts as well to avoid chaffing.

5. Know your heart. It may surprise you, but jogging for under thirty minutes does very little to help your cardio endurance. The heart has not had to settle into a rhythm and really get worked like a muscle needs. Anything under thirty minutes and you are working your muscles, burning calories and teaching your body to run…which are all necessary things…but that’s about it. At first…training for 30 minutes is great because it allows your body to get used to the pounding…but once you’re less sore…its time to get in the longer runs.

Blessings and have great runs!



Life changes…

I’m changing the focus of this site for awhile. It has been great to talk and share my thoughts about worship leading here…but I think I have shared enough…for now. Don’t worry…I am sure there will be plenty more to write about as time goes on. But life is changing…and I need a challenge that doesn’t involve weekly service planning meetings and practices.

I love leading worship. I love music and creativity and I feed off of those who are far better than I am at it.  I am by far not the best worship leader or musician out there but there is something that has eluded me out there I have not yet accomplished. It is a full marathon. I will be writing about running…if you can believe it 😉

I watched this documentary about marathons and tonight…it has pushed me over the edge. Sitting here overweight and a little bored…I find strength in the stories of these people who accomplished a full marathon in Chicago.

Right now, I am an unemployed…volunteer worship leader. I am trying to find my way. My definition. I am yearning for direction and significance. I do not believe I will become something different by running 26.2 miles.

But, I do believe that dedicating myself to something as strenuous as running for that long will change me. It will continue to create the story I began to write at the beginning of this year. I started this year unemployed and lost after my wife and I suffered a miscarriage. But life changes things.

She is pregnant now…with a boy…and he looks as healthy as ever. I love him already. He will be born in January…and that is not soon enough.

I have never run a race alone. My wife has been with me all the way…for a 5K and 2 half marathons…but this time…she cannot run with me. This one is for me…for the future of my family. I cannot rely on her speed or training partnership. I will be pushing this alone…sort of. I know she will be with me in spirit, and knowing my boy is right there with her…gives me strength.

So here is my plan. I am going to run the Big Sur half marathon in November. I will then run the full marathon in Napa in March 2011. My boy will be 1 ½  months old. I am already excited to see him at the finish line.

I know my family health history and I will do my best to help my boy stay away from the pitfalls of being a Peterson. Diabetes and being overweight runs rampant in my family line and I will do my best to pass on strength and a fighting ability on to my boy. I am not disappointed in my family line…but I aim to change its path. I will run for my own story and the stories of many Peterson’s to come.

Below is the link to the documentary that finally pushed me over the edge and some great lines from the movie:

Spirit of the Marathon on…awesome.

“People run the marathon to prove that there is still triumph and there is still possibility in their lives.”

“The marathon is the sort of the search for the Holy Grail that we’re all after. I think it’s a journey that we’re on.  It’s not necessarily a destination of just getting from the start line to the finish line. And I think that what people learn over the course of the training for the marathon is every bit as important as what they learn on the day of the race itself.”

Writing A Better Story…

I am really at a loss for words. I look to this New Year with hope that it will be better than the last. I look to this blog as a way to open up my heart to you and let you in on the struggles of life because 2009 was an interesting year for me…in all aspects.

  • I imagined that I would begin leading worship at a church full time again in 2009…and that has still not happened.
  • I imagined that Joanna and I would start a family…and we suffered through a miscarriage in December.
  • I imagined that I would begin to write music again…and I did not finish one full song.
  • I imagined that I would continue to travel and meet new people…but got laid off in November because HP cut contracts and there was no work left for me to do.
  • I imagined that 2009 would be different…

On December 22nd, Joanna and I filled the car with clothes, Christmas gifts and food for the drive to Oregon. I was cautious and careful with her because the day before…she had a D&C to clear her body of the miscarriage. With small tears in our eyes and heavy hearts, we began the 9 hour drive to Independence, Oregon.

We had downloaded Donald Miller’s audio book,  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and started to listen an hour into the drive. He talked about writing a better story for your life. Every day is an opportunity to create stories that will define your life.

As we sat listening in the car to Donald Miller read his book…we could not help but reflect on this last year. We knew it was filled with great blessings…but in our time of sorrow…we asked each other what kind of a story we had written in this last year and we could only answer that it was a poor story, lackluster and filled with moments of excitement but otherwise boring storylines.

Donald quotes a speaker saying, “It’s conflict that changes a person.” 2009 was filled with personal and professional conflict. I can’t help but feel as if I barely attempted to write a better story last year. I continued to try and write a story with little conflict and hurt, but life had a different plan.

In 2010, I am determined to begin writing a better story for my life. With God’s guidance and blessing…I am learning how the conflict of life has changed me and readied me for this new beginning.  I pray that you play a part in my new story of 2010 and that we can write something more compelling with the lives that we are given.

Grace and Peace. Jesse.

Expect God’s Presence…it will make you better

 “It’s where you need to be Jesse. Depending on God to show up is where you need to be. It won’t matter how good the band is…how well you play the songs or how you lead. It won’t be a success because you were able to manipulate the audience or because of your abilities…it will be great because God showed up. That is where you need to be…where you will not succeed unless God shows up.”

I will remember those words for the rest of my life.

I had just begun to tell my mom how worried I was about a particular worship leading situation and she reminded me that while my worries were justified…it was the right place to be. And she was right…I would fail miserably if I depended on my own strengths…and worse…I would be blocking God from working in the lives of others because I wanted to control the situation.

Guess what…God did show up.

I often wonder how many times I have stepped behind a microphone with only the power of my knowledge and experience. How many times…my fear had blocked not only myself but others from the presence of God? There is not much I can do to change this reality…but there is much that I can do to change future endeavors.

Living comfortably is not what we are called to and placing ourselves in situations where only God can rescue us and thus bring Him glory…that’s the place where I want to be. Expecting God’s presence in our lives, places us where only He can be praised.

I hope to remember this conversation…and this time in my life for as long as possible. I pray that I do not live comfortably in the settings of my abilities and that I am stretched beyond what I can achieve alone.  For the sake of the Kingdom and for my life…I pray that I continually learn to expect God’s presence…

Blessings. Jesse.

Invite Criticism…it will make you better.

The band is solid…people are engaging with God and the room is full. Your voice is not cracking, your fingers are moving and you are in the zone. Everything seems to be going right and when you step off from the stage…its like you have a surge of energy and can’t stop bouncing your way to the next thing. You get to the back of the church and stand next to someone who gives you a hug and says…“That was a great worship time!” “It was…wasn’t it,” you think to yourself. You give yourself a little pat on the back and move on to the next piece.

Sunday comes and go’s and you hear nothing but praise. And then…welcome to staff meeting. You are grinning from ear to ear and the topic of the weekend comes up and inevitably you begin to receive it. It is the piece that can turn that smile upside down. Criticism.

I found this quote on an article about receiving criticism in your life…not just worship leading:

“For the vast majority of people, criticism has a negative connotation. Consequently, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you hate criticism and avoid it even when constructive, you make avoidable mistakes and cause even more disapproval. If you change your mind-set about criticism, however, and view it as either neutral or positive, it will have a neutral–or even positive–result for you.”

Criticism can be the most brutal…but most eye opening piece of information you will receive about how well you really did. Criticism has the ability to crush your spirit. One criticism seems to erase the bountiful praise…if you let it. However…if you begin to embrace the criticism and let it mold you where it needs to, then you become that much better.

I understand what it is like to take harsh criticism with no uplifting value…criticism where someone is just pissed off and wants to let you have it. This is not the type of criticism I am talking about. Someone mad that you moved the cross…or the same person saying week after week… “it’s too loud!” I am talking about finding people in your life that can answer you honestly on how it went…how you did…and what could make you better.

Begin to invite critical thinking and objective opinions in to your life and you will grow. Here are some ways you can do just that:

  • Find someone you trust, who you respect…and ask them to be honest in their critique
  • Use your “teams” to develop feedback…encourage honesty.
  • Get some counseling…really…everybody needs to talk something out without a judgment being held against them.
  • When receiving criticism or praise, remember to pray and ask God what He might be telling you by this.
  • Remember to receive praise just as objectively as criticism.

I hope you begin to desire honest criticism of who you really are. I pray that God gives you the strength to receive it. It’s never easy…and this is a tight line to walk…but would you rather everyone pat you on the back…or take time to seriously invest in your life?

Blessings. Jesse.


I am blessed. I am lucky and I am thankful. I am surrounded by many who encourage and spur me on to be the man God has called me to be. I am a rich man because of the people in my life who have touched my heart.

I was listening to the free Phil Wickham CD, Singalong…and I was moved by a song called Cannons. It is an amazing song with lyrics that express my feelings about God, my family…and my friends. There is one line specifically from the chorus that sums it all up:singalong

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me. Forever my heart, will sing of how great You are.”

I know this song is a worship song about God and I can’t help but feel moved by this line. I truly believe that our life will not be measured by our accomplishments or awards…but we will be measured by the people whose lives we were allowed to be a part of.

I posted on Facebook the question of what to write on this blog entry and there were quite a few who responded. I was moved not by the responses or the ideas but by the sheer fact that people continue to take an interest in me…in my life…and in my journey.

As Joanna and I begin to figure out the future and begin to seriously explore the possibilities of change and movement…I feel blessed to know that people continue to support and encourage us. The next few months are sure to be filled with anxious moments, joyous embraces and hard decisions. But I take comfort in the reality that we are loved.

I am loved not only by a God who I am unworthy of…but of my friends and family who continue to amaze and encourage me. To you…I say:

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me. Forever my heart, will sing of how great You are.”

Thank you for the love. Thank you for the heart. Thank you for the prayers and thank you for being a part of my life.

Peace. Jesse.

TOMS shoes…done up.

I am surrounded by amazing people who can create beauty and transform something normal to something personal and special. Recently, my brother has begun to use bleach to create unique designs on clothing and what is coming out of his creative mind and hands is just awesome. I will post some pictures of my favorite designs and his newest work…including a pair of TOMS shoes that he custom designed for a friend of mine.

This was his first shot at bleaching a pair of TOMS…and now I am jealous…I want some now. Of course…the art is not free…but for what you get, it really is pretty cheap. Contact me through the comments if you would like me to connect you with my brother. Check IT!

PC Toms 1










– PC likes to read and each shoe has a different design on it.

PC Toms 2









 – TOMS…Right shoe

PC Toms 3








– TOMS…left shoe.

Ben - Bruce Lee

 Ben - HatBen - Guitarist

Ben - Pandas



Ben - Van Goh