Thursday, October 8, 2015

Twin Cities Marathon 2015

I don't know if I can truly capture everything that transpired on Sunday, but I will try.

Most of you know I am a VERY competitive person. I compete against others, but I mostly compete against myself. I think this is why I like running so much. I rarely win a race, but I can continually beat myself and PR. With that being said, when I agreed to launch an EBC Team at SLP and host a group run, God made it abundantly clear that this racing season could not be about me.

And that was hard. Really hard. Who wants to train for 26.2 miles and not attempt to PR? Not me. But over and over again, God broke my competitive heart. Through prayer, He reminded me over and over again why I am part of Team World Vision, and slowly but surely, it became easier to let go of my PR and focus on my team. To be fair, I had one relapse a week ago when I contemplated a PR, but then I cam to my senses. This team means the world to me, and it was my time to give back.

All season long I ran with whoever needed me on Saturdays, and I had the time of my life meeting new people and helping new runners do something they never thought possible. Time and time again I was blessed by THEIR stories. Their successes became more important than my own, and it was truly magical. Leading Team EBC has been one of my greatest joys.

Up until race week, I hadn't been nervous. But then the reality that I wouldn't be running with my big brother set in. Could I really run without him? What if I had a bad day? What if I couldn't find a TWV runner to run with that day? Thankfully Boyd agreed to run with me, and it made my nerves settle. I owe him big time. On Saturday night, I prayed over and over again. Use me God. Use me. Keep my eyes open. Help me be aware of others and not myself.

Sunday started off spectacularly. I woke up to a donation providing two kiddos clean water for life. Dawn Flint drove Jen, Scott, and me down to the start, so I didn't have to worry about parking. THANK YOU, DAWN! It was the first year I attended the pre-race church service, and I am SO VERY glad I went. Worship and Prayer...It was the perfect start to a race.

The start line was chaos. I tried finding Kelsey and my former athlete Katie, and I couldn't. I was with Jen and Scott, but Boyd was nowhere to be found. Panic set in, but thankfully he found us. PHEW! And off we went.

I told Boyd I wanted to have a good race, but I had no trouble slowing down. My goals were to have fun, spread TWV cheer, get a few donations, hug/hi five my spectators, and help other runners. And if possible, I wanted to be able to go back out after I finished to help bring in other runners. This was my weekly tradition during group runs, and I wanted to do it at the race itself.  Off we went, and it was fairly uneventful. I rarely looked at my watch, and we just ran. I was LOVING the scenery because it was the first time I actually took the time to enjoy it. I saw friends and family along the course, and I stopped to hug or hi five every single one of them. Thank you Brandon, Christopher, Griffin, Grayson, Holly, Nikki, Anna, Missy, Isabel, Gwen, Melinda, Laura, Holly, Aaron, Linda, Catie, Kelsey, Tom, and Carol. Your presence meant the WORLD to me. I also received two donation while out on the course, and my heart was bursting. I was LOVING it. Really.

Around mile 8 or 9 we came upon Kaelyn. She did not look well. Immediately I heard God prompt me to slow down and stay. Her words told us we could take off, but her eyes said otherwise. I agreed to stay, and so did Boyd. *Side note. Boyd is a FAST runner. Slowing down to be with Kaelyn was really not that sacrificial for me (I only finished about 30 minutes slower than I did last year). But for Boyd, it was definitely a sacrifice. He is that awesome. And did I mention it was his birthday? I want to be him when I grow up :)

At mile 14ish, Steve Spear handed me the flag. I thought he would take it back, but he took off, so it was mine. I felt like I was carrying GOLD, people. My upper body was a bit sore on Monday and Tuesday, but thankfully it really wasn't that difficult to run with. But MAN, it was awesome. This team is made up of SO MANY INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, yet I got the honor of carrying that flag.

Crossing the finish line, three in a row like that, was simply incredible. There really are no words to describe how amazing it felt to cross together. It was even cooler to hear that the announcer didn't announce our names (which they typically do). Instead, he announced us as "Here comes Team World Vision." And that was it. No names. We were a team. A team of individuals serving an incredible God. A team of individuals doing what we can to solve the clean water crisis.

After we crossed, I discovered my family was at the finish. This had not been the plan, so it was a total shocker. My family didn't make it to the finish line the last two years, so I was completely emotional knowing they watched me cross for the first time.

Boyd and I quickly ate, drank some coffee, and went back out on the course. As each remaining member of our team came through, we had the honor of running them to the cathedral and almost to the finishing shoot. I got to witness person after person take the ordinary and turn it in to the extraordinary, and I will never forget it. Thank you Mike, Amber, Andy, Monique, Steph, Jamieson, Molly, Tammy, Dan, and many others I don't even know for allowing me to be a part of YOUR journey.

There is so much beauty in doing life together. And that's what we do at Team World Vision. We do life together. Here in MN and in Africa.

To those of you that have joined me in one way, shape, or form on this journey, THANK YOU! If you haven't, I encourage you to join us. You won't regret it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

God-Sized Goals

As I write this, I am listening to Griffin and his friends watch a movie during his first sleepover. I am upstairs because I can't concentrate. I am simply at a loss for words, and if you know me, you know that doesn't happen often. Words are sort of my specialty. But right now, words are not enough for the emotions bubbling inside of me.

We did it. Through faith, prayer, family, and friends, I officially reached my $10,000 goal for 2015. In fact, I went over it. As of today, my fundraising page sits at $10,315, and I don't even know what to say.

But I am going to try.

Back in February, I decided to set a $5,000 goal. At the time, $5,000 seemed IMPOSSIBLE. Last year I raised $3,475, so going for a higher amount felt unattainable. But, I publicly announced $5,000 was my goal, and I was determined to do it. Then I went to Chicago for a conference with TWV leaders from across the country. It was there that God placed it upon my heart to change my goal to $10,000.

I didn't change it at first. I was scared. What would people say? Would people continue to donate year after year? Wasn't $5,000 enough of a goal? Would I really be "that" person and continually ask people for money. When I went back to school that Monday, I talked to one of my closest friends, Holly, about it. I was totally scared about how she would react, but she simply told me I should do it. Same thing happened when I told my friend Missy. So, I listened to the nudge from God, and I set a God-Sized Goal.

Slowly but surely, I received support from people left and right. Josh and Eric agreed to put on my benefit concert, and it was a smashing success. But even when I reached numbers I had never seen before, I doubted. Just LAST week, I was frustrated because I couldn't see how I would ever get from $7,000 to $10,000. Just last week I talked with Sinead about how I felt stuck. She told me to pray. And I did. I turned to the One who created the heavens and the earth. I asked Him to provide me with more fundraising ideas. I prayed for Him to put names upon my heart to ask. I felt like I had already asked everyone, so I even prayed for names of people I could bravely ask again.

The next day, without ever even asking a single person, a friend who had already donated got his company to donate to my page. Then that evening, a different friend donated for the second time this year. Then an anonymous donor gave a hefty amount. I NEVER said a word to anyone about my prayers. God simply answered them. And in less than 24 hours, my fundraising page jumped a $1,000.

And then today happened. Today a different family donated for a second time. Their generosity alone will provide FORTY people with clean water for LIFE. And just like that, my God-Sized Dream is no longer a goal. It is a reality.

To my friends and family who have listened to me talk and talk and talk about Team World Vision, THANK YOU! To my friends and family who donated, THANK YOU! To my friends and family who have physically supported me on my runs in a variety of ways, THANK YOU! To my friends and family who have prayed for me along the way, THANK YOU! To my friends and family who simply believed in me, THANK YOU. Words will never be enough.

Jesus is alive and well my friends. He is alive and well. And with Him, all things are possible.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy 9th Birthday, Griffin!

I have been pretending this day wouldn't come for weeks. Each birthday signifies that another year flew by, and I just have a hard time accepting that fact. How in the world are you going into 4th grade? Seriously, you were just born YESTERDAY!!!

Griffin, I write this post TO YOU because I know that soon enough you will be old enough to start reading this blog. You already enjoy the occasional scroll through my Facebook account, so it is only a matter of time before you start looking through this :)

It's hard to put into words how very proud I am of you. You are growing up to be more kind and compassionate than I ever hoped you to be. You love school, your brother, and anything that involves competition (wonder where you get that from?). You are more wise at 9 than most are at 30. And I am lucky to witness it.

Reading has been a passion of yours for a while, and this year has been no exception. You officially reread each Harry Potter book this year, and you are on Book 7 of How to Train Your Dragon. Sometimes I worry you read too fast, but you are always entertained :) Currently we are reading Wonder together; I am so blessed to be able to spend all summer with you, so we get to read it together often in the mornings. I am sad that we go back to school in just three weeks! Academically, you really took off this last year in math. Reading has always come naturally to you, but it appears that you might actually be better at math! This means Dad wants you to be an accountant, but somehow I know that is highly unlikely. Speaking of careers, you have oscillated between wanting to be a police officer and a teacher for quite some time. Recently, though, you announced that you want to work for Team World Vision when you are older. Dad and I agree that this is a perfect fit for you :)

This year you asked to go to Feed My Starving Children for your birthday party. How could we say no to that? So, next week, you will pack some meals with a few friends and have your VERY first sleepover! Technically we have had sleepovers with cousins and the Scalias, but this will be your first friends sleepover.

Tennis and running are still tied for #1 on your sports list, but you are going to play on your first soccer team this fall. I am not quite ready for anything that commits us to 3 days a week, but I really think you are going to love it. Running with you is still one of my all-time favorite activities. Now that you have your own GPS watch (birthday present this year), I can only imagine how much more competitive you are going to be with me! You have been staring at that watch since the moment you put it on :) You play football at recess, and you love the Green Bay Packers, but I don't see you playing any formal football soon.

One of my favorite things about being your mother is watching you take care of your little brother. The two of you can fight like the best of em', but at the end of the day, the two of you are the BEST of friends. You constantly have his back, and you often give something up to make him happy. This selfless love simply warms my soul.

I know I tell you this all the time, little man, but I am so very blessed to be your mommy. I cannot wait to see all that God has planned for your life. Dream Big. Be Bold. Love others.

I love you to the moon and back! Forever and a day.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

My continued journey with Team World Vision...

Happy Sunday, folks! I wanted to take the time to update you all on my current journey with Team World Vision. We are getting ready for a HUGE team dinner this Friday, so my excitement is through the ROOF! Due to my excitement and passion, this will be long, so THANK YOU in advance for reading :)
This summer has been going by WAY TOO FAST!!! I go back to teaching in just five short weeks!!! That also means that I have just 31 more days before I leave for HOOD TO COAST!!! In exactly 32 days, I will embark on one of the most incredible races of my entire life.
I was also given the opportunity to up my involvement with Team World Vision. In addition to running and fundraising, I became a Team Captain, I lead a Saturday group run, and I gained two new titles: Fundraising Coach and Team World Vision Church Recruiter. It’s a good thing I like to talk because I spend a lot of time on the phone encouraging others to DREAM BIG and make GOD-SIZED goals with Team World Vision :) My involvement continues to fuel my passion, and I have been lucky enough to meet some AMAZING people with incredible life stories and dreams of changing the world. I owe so much to this community, and it is an honor to give back in a variety of capacities.

I have said it before, but running with Team World Vision has been life changing for me. I started running with TWV in 2010. Had you asked me about running long distances just a month prior to my commitment, I am pretty sure I would have laughed in your face. Put simply, running wasn’t really my thing. Sure, I ran on the treadmill, and I pushed my athletes to run during practice, but it was simply a means to staying in shape. After having two kids, it wasn’t anything :) But here I am, and running has invaded every area of my life. But in a good way.

Because of Team World Vision:

  • I am the healthiest I have ever been.
  • I wake up REALLY early on Saturday mornings to help lead some INCREDIBLE people. 
  •  I know about hydration, protein shakes, gels, gu, energy chews, Advocare, and Isogenix. 
  • I get to experience sacrificial love. 
  • I have been able to complete races with both of my brothers.
  • I know that Body Glide is my best friend.
  • I spend more time talking to God. 
  • I get to enjoy running with my two boys. 
  •  I am able to teach my boys what it means to be generous with time and money. 
  • I learned that I CAN DO HARD THINGS! 
  • I am reminded of how blessed I truly am.
  • I get to do what I believe Jesus asks of me…LOVE THY NEIGHBOR! 
  • I can be a WORLD CHANGER!
Never in a million years did I think I would become so involved with something other than my family and teaching, but alas, Team World Vision has stolen my heart. I am committed to teaming up with TWV until the Clean Water Crisis is officially solved. I am committed to raising $10,000 in 2015. $10,000 is a ridiculous amount of money. But you know what else is ridiculous? The fact that children around the world are dying because they don’t have access to clean water. Today, nearly 1,600 children will die because they lack clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. The best part…WE CAN CHANGE THAT STATISTIC RIGHT NOW! There is no searching for a cure. We have the solution which is why I am so determined to fundraise $10,000. 

Right now, my fundraising page sits at a little over $6,000. That number is absolutely amazing to me. OVER 100 lives will be changed because of the support Griffin and I have received from family and friends. To those of you who have come alongside us on this journey, THANK YOU! If you haven’t yet or you feel the nudge to support our efforts again, I ask that you prayerfully consider helping another child gain access to water, education, and LIFE! Let’s change lives together.