Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jack's Party, Goodbye Chemo!

We had the honor of attending our little friend Jacks No Mo Chemo Party!  What a long road this little guy and his family have been on!  Jack was diagnosed with A.L.L. Leukemia in January of 2012, when he was just 2 years old.
 He is such an inspirational little fighter!!

 The pinata, a pill bottle listing all of Jack's meds that he has been on through this journey.

 Everyone wrote prayers and wishes on the balloons for Jack before we let them go.
 Each family member got to take a whack at the pinata!

 Jack even got a few punches in!

Please do pray for continued health for little Jack, and peace for his family as this phase doesn't come without worry or fear.   

That being said, I couldn't be happier for them as they enter this new phase of life, chemo free! This is such a wonderful thing to celebrate!!  Here's to a happy, healthy future little Jack!  We love you!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hiking and Geocaching, what ever that is...

The other day we went on a little hike with my friend Jessica.  She just had her third boy, Crosby, so we finally got a chance to meet him.  We also did a little geocaching along the way....
 Love my Ava girl.
 Crosby, I just love the name.  And he is adorable.
 They found the first box!
 It turns out that it is filled with junk, like the exact stuff I'm constantly trying to eradicate from our lives.  Maybe we can bring, and leave our random little kid treasures here, for other kids to find...just a thought.
 Love these girls!
 Our bug.
 Oh I adore log cabins.  Had to force a group shot.  That is my job.
 Ava caught a butterfly.
 And eventually let it go...
 Boys.  Good luck keeping them out of the water/dirt/mud.

 I love this.
 Apples for all.  Ava struggled with her complete lack of teeth.

 Turns out it was mom that ended up in the water.  Someone had to save the ball that was booking downstream...
The littles were the king of the hill!
There is no one I'd rather hang out with.  These girls are fun! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running by Faith

On Sunday, I was asked to speak at our church (IN FRONT OF EVERYONE!!) about the lessons God has taught me through running and how it has strengthened my faith. 

First off I was sweating buckets, I was so nervous!  I am not a fan of public speaking, it is not really part of my skill set.  I was terrified.

Somehow, I got through it, here is what I said:

Three years ago I could never have imagined myself running at all, much like pastor Terry, I saw it as a torturous thing to be avoided at all costs.  I was forty pounds heavier, with terrible asthma & three pins in my hip, it's just not something I could imagine myself being able to do.

The Lord helped me push past all of that, and as I became a runner, I started to see that I was the only one holding myself back.  

I wanted to run this race, to break through my fears and my doubts, to prove to myself that there is nothing that I can't do, but I did not do it alone. 

As a new Christian the lesson keeps coming to me over and over that with the Lord we can accomplish greater things than we ever could on our own. 

So why not translate that into 26.2 miles, a terribly humbling distance?

I have prayed and invited the Lord to come with me running every time I have ran. I've asked him to help give me strength, and endurance, and keep my body free from injury.  He is always with me, through every training mile, and He was with me through that whole race.

When I run, to keep myself mentally focused I like to listen to Bible studies, or just tune everything out and pray. Anytime I am feeling weak I ask for help, & strength, to let my body keep moving forward.

God has taught me through running that he is always with me, that if I ask him to bear my burden he will, we are in this together. Not just the race, but life. 

He will be with you wherever you invite Him, you are not in this alone. 

Also, He has taught me that what He wants to use us for is often outside of our comfort zone, we need to embrace being uncomfortable so we can be better equipped to do His work. 

This picture is from The Falcon 15k, I did it as a relay with some of the wonderful ladies from my running group, 6 days post marathon.  My ankle is a little mad, but it was fun to jump back into racing after resting all week. 

Friday, April 17, 2015


On Sunday I ran my first marathon.  

There's something I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD SAY. 

Notice the word "first" slid in there too, you can't run just one can you?  Now I have a time to beat....

Kind of crazy when you think about it: 26.2 miles.  But it's so much more than that.  A journey.  A physical, mental, and spiritual journey.  So many hours of dedication & discipline all coming together.  Those miles taught me a lot about myself and what I can accomplish.  They brought me closer to God, as I spent nearly all of them listening to, and studying His word. 

This whole process really got me thinking about how we set our own limits.  I had been telling myself, for all kinds of reasons, what I can't do. But when I push through that negativity, I realize I can do whatever I put my mind to.  

Even if I fail, that's okay, it is all part of the process that eventually leads to success.

I really didn't think I would become a distance runner.  But as it turns out, I actually enjoy it. 
As we pushed through each training run: 18, three 20's and a 23, all the while, my confidence began building, and I started to realize that I can do this, I really can run a FULL marathon.  

Even if it's totally nuts.  Which it is.
Here I am with Mariah and Melanie, right before the start.  
I ended up staying with Mariah for the first 13 miles, then she just flew away, that chick is FAST. 
Beast mode!!
 That is our friend Michael, who is one of the nicest guys ever.  He came to pace Mariah for this race, he was not even running in it.  He jumped in at about mile 3 and took her all the way to the end.  After they left me, I didn't think I'd see him again.  At mile 25.2, with one mile to go, he came back for me, he fell back into step with me and encouraged me the rest of the way.  It was such an incredibly nice thing to do!  And it helped so much.  That last mile feels sooooo long!
 I had the best surprise as I came around to the track where you do your last lap to the finish, Katherine, Lauren and Thea were there holding a sign and cheering for me!! I had no idea they were coming! It was such a wonderful welcome sight! Julia, Dad, Angi, Jessica, John and the kids were there too!  What a great cheering squad!  I was really feeling the love!

 I love Ava snuggling Norah up on top of the bleachers.

Ava ran the final lap with me. She was adorable!  

Quick, someone tell me to go under the marathon sign, not the half marathon!!
  So happy to be so close!

Having my family and friends there to cheer me on, it was just so awesome!!

 Love this one!

I'm so very thankful to have had Mariah to do all those long runs with in training, it was really great being able to end them with a race together.
  What an accomplishment. 
 Love my sister Jessica and Lauren, my two best cheer leaders!
 These girls.

 I'm so grateful to all who showed up to support me!  What a gift!
Super Amazing Radical Athletic Hero
What an awesome sign!!  Thank you Katherine for making it, and having everyone sign it.  That was so sweet!!
 This is my very favorite shot, Mariah's husband took this and he even photo shopped out the "half" part of the sign, since I accidentally ran under the wrong one.  Haha

All in all, it went great.  I ran it in 3:54.  I may have started out a little too fast as I didn't have nearly the energy left over that I was hoping for.  But I am happy.  

Since I ran this on Sunday, and it is now Thursday as I'm writing this, I will add that as I had expected to be really sore, I had greatly underestimated HOW sore I would be.  It was intense.  Wednesday was the first day that I actually had remarkable improvement and started to believe that I may heal and quite possibly might be able to run again sometime in the future. 

Even though I was hurting, all the while I couldn't stop thinking about and planning the next one, because when you CAN run a marathon, why not keep running them??