Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Team World Vision Virtual 6K

I am struggling to put this experience into a coherent story, so just stay with me. My heart is so full, and I want the world to know it.  But that picture above. That joy plastered across Griffin's face. Priceless. My chest practically bursts open every time I look at it.

On March 22nd (World Water Day), I had the privilege of running a Virtual 6K with Griffin. The race was put on through Team World Vision, and there were runners from EVERY state participating at one point or another throughout the day. The distance, 6K, was chosen because this is the average distance someone has to walk in order to access water (mostly dirty) in Africa. The $50 entry fee guaranteed that you would provide one person clean water for life within 6-9 months.

It is no secret that Team World Vision is near and dear to my heart. When I started running with TWV back in 2010, I had NO IDEA how much this organization would change my life physically, mentally, and spiritually. I had no idea that I was stepping into an INCREDIBLE community of people who are on fire for Jesus. I had no idea that I would become the healthiest I have ever been, both inside and out. I had no idea I would become so passionate about something I HAD NEVER DONE BEFORE. I had no idea I would become determined to solve a problem I had never really thought about or comprehended. I had no idea that I would meet some of the most awe-inspiring people. My journey with Team World Vision has been nothing short of amazing, and I was stoked to finally share this community with Griffin.

It didn't take long for Griffin to want to run like me. In 2012, he ran his first 5K, and he was hooked. From that day forward, he has been asking all about when HE gets to run with Team World Vision. TWV typically does endurance races, so being that he was five at the time, I knew it would be quite some time before I allowed him to train for a half or a full marathon. But, this year, that all changed with the creation of the 6K.

Griffin was on board with running this race IMMEDIATELY, and one of the first things he said was, "Now I get to help provide people with clean water." Despite the fact that he is VERY new to typing, he took the time to email family and friends inviting them to cheer him on and donate on his behalf. He even talked to a few people in person. He was set on accomplishing a goal....which leads me to another story :)

I learned through this process that God is bigger than I give Him credit for, and Griffin's heart of servitude is capable of accomplishing more than I can ever imagine. When I originally asked Griffin if he had a fundraising goal a couple of weeks ago, he told me that he wanted to raise $800 because he is 8. I quickly let him know that his goal was rather large, so he changed it to $400 because that meant 8 people would gain access to clean water. "You know, cause I am 8." So, that became his goal. Well, by race day, family and friends had donated over $800 in honor of Griffin's race. God honored the desires of Griffin's heart. Not the goal of my choosing. Through others' generosity, He honored Griffin's original goal. HOW AMAZING IS THAT? We serve an amazing God.

You guys, I can't even begin to describe how truly AWESOME Sunday was. I have completed two full marathons and have fundraised a lot of money thanks to the generosity of others, so I know what it is like to be full of emotions at the start and end of a race. But nothing prepared me for the joy and pride I experienced doing this with my eight year old son. My little man ran 3.78 miles in just over 35 minutes. He had 17 people show up to cheer him on (a few even ran with us) and celebrate even though it was COLD.  Not only did I get to share my love of TWV with Griffin, we got to once again experience the love and support of some of our closest friends and family members. Words of encouragement were constant, and smiles were plentiful. Griffin prayed for support, and now 19 people will have clean water for life because of his desire to help change the world.

I am determined to help solve the clean water crisis in my lifetime folks, and I am so honored that so many of you have joined me (and Griffin) on that journey. It is hard, at times, to reflect about things that don't affect your day to day life. But TWV has helped me think outside of my little MN life, and I am beyond grateful for the support I have received thus far. To those of you that sponsored Griffin, cheered him on, or have sponsored me (through financial giving and/or running support) in the past, words of gratitude are not enough. Actions speak louder than words, and I am surrounded by people who act in such a way that gives me SO MUCH HOPE for the future. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy 6th Birthday, Grayson!

Today we celebrate Grayson's 6th Birthday. While I occasionally worry about the size of my tiny man who packs a lot of energy in his 37 pound body, I absolutely LOVE that he is small for his age. I just bought a pair of 4T pants (which are slightly big) for my six year old, but I am perfectly okay with that. All it means is that I get to pretend he isn't growing up so fast :)

His enthusiastic smile from the picture above really says it all. Grayson has more energy than most people I know combined, but his enthusiasm for life is truly contagious. He gets excited about the littlest things, and he often makes me reflect upon what truly matters in life. It doesn't take much to make him smile, and pretty soon we all have smiles on our faces.

If I am honest, I worried about Grayson starting school this year.  A LOT. He doesn't do well with sitting still, and I worried school would be a disaster. Thankfully it has been the complete opposite. According to his teacher, he is a joy to work with and is uber respectful. We even found out that he has started working with an intervention specialist because he is ahead of where he needs to be academically. I am thankful they have already identified this in him because I believe this will decrease his chances of becoming bored with school. I am pretty sure he might get away with a few things because he has most of the women in his building charmed by his smile, but hey, he is liking school and learning. I'm not sure I can ask for much else.

Tennis continues to be his sport of choice, and he told me last week that he doesn't want to play soccer again this summer. I imagine he might change his mind when he watches his brother play, but I refuse to sign him up for something he doesn't want to do. Last month he ran his first bigger (and longer) race at the U of M, and he loved it. Griffin has always loved to run with me, but Grayson is hit or miss. However, it appears he might have been bitten by the running bug, so I foresee more running in his future. For now, he is more than content playing outside and taking tennis lessons at the PIT. He is also very much looking forward to PlayNet this summer.

Another new hobby for Grayson is playing board or card games. I love being able to play a full game with both of my boys! I think Connect Four might be his favorite, but a close second is HANG MAN! Now that he can read and spell, he wants to play this always. His words started out pretty simple when we began playing in January, and it has been pretty awesome watching his choices become more and more challenging as he learns bigger words. 
Speaking of summer, Grayson does NOT LIKE WINTER. I have always known that winter wasn't his favorite, but just the other day he said, "Mom, I would be SO happy if winter was only for one day." Me too, little man. Me too
Despite being rather small for his age, we have been super pleased with his eating this year. Legally, school has to provide Grayson a Gluten Free lunch option because of his diagnosis. I was pretty nervous about this because Grayson is definitely picky. Well, he has tried many new things this year, and he LIKES them :) He actually eats breakfast and lunch at school, and he prefers school meals to the ones we send. (This is not shocking considering my lack of cooking skills!) But let's be honest; I don't mind. It's less work for Brandon and me in the mornings.
Happy Happy Birthday little man! I can't imagine life without you and your compassionate heart. I am so excited for what God has in store for you this year!