Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A View Inside

My friends Molly and Shawn Matthews have had their worlds turned upside down this year.
I certainly don't mean to make their story my story.  But my heart is aching for them and it is why I am running for an organization like Inheritance of Hope.

Shawn was our Area Director for Young Life when I was in college. He was on the camp trip at Saranac when I met Jesus!

He actually had the most impact out of anyone in Matt's life when Matt talks about his "faith journey". Shawn just kept showing up in Matt's life. Matt was in Molly and Shawn's wedding.

This February, Molly had some scans due to some severe stomach issues and it was found that she had colon cancer with potential that there were further issues upon her liver.

Here is their Caring Bridge site if you want to catch up on them.

Now Molly has endured colon resection and chemotherapy. About 8 days ago, she had surgery to further biopsy the liver and get it sorted out. They assumed the recovery would be difficult. But she has had complications and the physicians can not figure out why she is not getting better right now. It could be an infection, a clot or "something else". She has been in the ICU for 8 days.

All through this Shawn has been by her side.
They have a strong community of faith to surround them and pray for them.
Take them meals. Do anything they need.

And see their kids? They have been at friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It is incredible to see the outpouring of love and support.

I can't imagine how worried I would be about my kids if I were going through something like this.
And how they were processing this. And how much they worry, how scared they are and hurt. Even in the best of circumstances, kids work through their fears and anxieties in such a unique way.

And Shawn is holding it together the best he can.

This is a good scenario! She has a good prognosis and doctors are very hopeful. But complications arise even in good circumstances and recovery can change in an instant.

It has clarified for me just how hard illness is on families of all kinds. And they need hope. They need space to process and cry together. To pray together. To talk outloud with others who are going through this too. Not just with people who are sad for them. That just isn't the same.

This is why I am running for Inheritance of Hope.
Families need to get away from hospitals, doctors and bills.
They need to laugh and play.

Will you help provide this space for a family? The $5,000 I am raising sends a family of four on a week-long retreat with Inheritance of Hope.

Donate Here

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mile 1: Staten Island

A lot of people think about the NYC Marathon and Staten Island and think of it as simply the starting point. Mile 1. Just get off the island and onto the bridge and then the race will begin. 

This is EXACTLY how I felt in high school.
Now I can't wait to get back there. 

My dad was stationed in Bayonne, NJ. We moved from Carlisle, Pennsylvania and were assigned housing on Staten Island exactly two weeks before I started high school. We moved onto the base, Ft. Wadsworth onto Mont Sec Avenue and thought we were going to be there for two years. 

This was our house. 
We ended up living there for four years.
I lived at the top of that fire escape. 
This is actually a duplex-type house. We lived on the left side.
I loved the front porch.
 It was old and ginormous. And awesome. 
One 1/2 hour ferry ride from Manhattan. For four years of my life. 
It is still crazy to think about. 

 I played an insane amount of soccer on in high school. If you know high schoolers who play travel ball, you understand. If you don't, buckle up...because eventually you will and it will frustrate the bejesus out of you because they don't do anything other than that.

Well, that was my life in high school.
Every Saturday and Sunday morning we were on the soccer field. Or getting ready to spend the entire day/weekend/night on the field.

With that being said, we would watch the setup for the marathon the whole week. The mile long urinal, the port-a-potties, the signage, the goodwill donation was insane! International kids at my high school would go into the radio studio and record pre-race instructions for international racers. The whole place was crazy for the marathon.

And I would have to get up super early in the morning, get across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge so that we would be able to avoid the race and get to our soccer games. Then we would have to hang out on Long Island all day waiting for them open the roads again so we could navigate the insane traffic, then back across the bridge to get home.

My mom and I would get home to be greeted by my dad and brother who would share with us the "goodwill bounty" of the day. All of the clothes that runners throw off before the race would become next years "pre-game" clothing for me. I loved old school Adidas warmups and really worn out sweatshirts and this was like HEAVEN. My dad would find all these things, wash them and have them waiting on me when I got home. 
I had two pair of Adidas pants that I wore until there were holes throughout them in college from Marathon Sunday. 

The craziest thing about running this marathon is that I have NEVER GOTTEN TO SEE IT. 
Not a minute. I always wanted to. It's like a myth to me. 
Because of soccer, I never got to be a part of this most insane race on the planet. 

Then this year, I was so excited about the marathon, just tuning into to see what would happen. 
Then the weather turned. 
It turned nasty. 
Mayor Bloomberg and the race directors were making crazy decisions because well...
people's homes and lives were all the sudden: GONE. 
These were my classmates from high school! 
Their parents, grandparents, themselves!

Facebook was crazy. 
Also, I had several friends who were supposed to run the race. 
It was nuts. 
They needed to cancel the race, but what a tough situation for everyone. 

Right then, I knew I wanted to be back there on the starting line the next year. 
One year after Sandy.
17 years after I graduated from high school. 

The place that got me off the island and into South Carolina.
Playing college soccer.
Working in ministry.
Meeting my husband.
Gaining a career.
Having kids.

So much has changed in me since I left Staten Island and so much of me was formed during my years there. I love that I grew up there and that I was able to leave to have the life that I have now. 

I can't wait to get back and hit that starting line. 

Classic New Yorkers. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Classic Staten Island

Want to know what it was like going to high school on Staten Island?

This is a video of my high school basketball coach and assistant principal grilling Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner from CNN yesterday.

Absolutely hilarious, uncomfortable, LOUD, unrelenting, neither side backing down or apologizing and full of accents.

That describes Staten Island in a nutshell.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Playlist Update

Here it is people. The current playlist. 
Just a reminder: $20 for one song. $50 for three songs. 
The worst songs of the bunch are clearly the Clemson songs.
The Goforths have cleared me to remove the songs until I actually RUN the marathon. 
That is probably going to happen this week.

Maybe you need a little inspiration before adding to the playlist?

New York Songs
Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z
No Sleep Til Brooklyn-Beastie Boys
The Rising-Bruce Springsteen
New York, New York-Ryan Adams
59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)-Simon and Garfunkel
M79-Vampire Weekend
Tom's Diner-Suzanne Vega
Jenny from the Block-Jennifer Lopez
Stayin Alive-Bee Gees 
I and I Love You-Avett Brothers
Angel of Harlem-U2

Songs about Running
Footloose-Kenny Loggins
Livin' on Prayer-Bon Jovi
Moves Like Jagger-Maroon 5
Legs-ZZ Top
Ran (So Far Away)-Flock of Seagulls
Ridin Solo-Jason Derulo
Young Turks-Rod Stewart
Run-Vampire Weekend
Born to Run-Bruce Springsteen
Running Down a Dream-Tom Petty
Running on Empty-Jackson Browne
Run-Around-Blues Traveler
Pump It Up-Elvis Costello
Start Me Up-Rolling Stones
Good Feeling-Flo Rider

Want in? 

Week 2: Training Update

I just finished the 2nd week of the training for the NYC Marathon and I am actually seeing the results of training!

It feels gooooood.

I saw some improvements in pace and in just little things, like I had to sprint up a hill to grab something from the car one day and it was absolutely no problem. Rejoice!

I ran two times inside on the treadmills at the Y.
It has been raining a TON here and I just got exhausted from trying to dry my shoes out, and in general just deal with muddy, wet conditions. I just ran on the treadmill, watched the news and listened to my "new playlist" courteous of my donors for the marathon! It was glorious. And boring. Not recommended but easy.

I hit 28 miles this week. It wasn't a huge leap in mileage over last week but about 5 miles more and than has added up the calories burned and time spent running! I'm doing a LOT more laundry this week.

I hit some personal "Bests" this week on the runkeeper app. Obviously I wasn't using this application when I was training for the half-marathons this Spring. But it is fun to see the improvements with this training alone and not over the last year.

I ran with the group of women training for the Asheville 1/2 Marathon on Saturday morning. It started spinkling as we headed out of the parking lot. As we finished up mile 2 it was an all out thunderstorm downpour. I have not "played in the rain" like that since my soccer days. Needless to say, shoes are in front of the dehumidifier today. 

The most important gear items I found this week are:
REAL running socks, not Target running socks
Moji Massage stick for sore calves, quads and IT Band
Handheld miniwater bottle for the long runs on hot days
Jelly Belly Sport Beans gave me some extra kick on my long run at the end. Tasty and easy to eat!

The craziest thing I 've done all week is stand ALL day long at Bele Chere (a free street festival here in Asheville) and sell parking spaces at our downtown YMCA in an attempt to raise money for Inheritance of Hope. My legs are shot from doing that--NOT RUNNING! I'm taking a rest day today from running and getting after it tomorrow. 

This upcoming week is slated to be a 30-mile week. 2 miles upward! 97 days till race day. 

Click here to donate to Inheritance of Hope!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

YL camp

It's true. I flew home from Colorado to get on a bus to come back to Colorado. For the best week of my life! Ahem, the best week of my high school friends lives!

I have a cabin full of the coolest girls you'd ever meet and we have endured a 30-hour bus trip and now we are at camp! 
It is so much fun to be here, you have no idea. Amazing meals, deep talks, laughing hard at things like misheard song lyrics, farting in public, getting the Snookie bump in your hair at 35---it might be the best week of my life after all. 

Also, I get to be in a cabin with Natalie Knauer. One of my best friends since I got married 13 years ago. 
It's going to be a great week. I love Crooked Creek and I'm so glad to show it to all of my friends! 
Why are we doing this? Read this quote below. It's a good summary:

"To worship God means to serve God. Basically there are two ways to do it. One way is to do things for God that God needs to have do have done--run errands for God, carry messages for God, fight on Gods side, feed Gods lambs, and so on. The other way is to do things for God that you need to do-sing songs for God, create beautiful things for God, give things up for God, tell God what's on your mind and in your heart, in general rejoice and make a fool of you yourself for God the way lovers have always made fools of themselves for the one they love." 
--Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Define Hope

Can you come up with a strong definition of the word "hope"? 

Wikipedia says: 
Hope is the state which promotes the belief in good outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life. Despair is often regarded as the opposite of hope.[1] Hope is the "feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best" or the act of "look[ing] forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence" or "feel[ing] that something desired may happen".[2] Other definitions are "to cherish a desire with anticipation"; "to desire with expectation of obtainment"; or "to expect with confidence".[3]

The Bible says: 
1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

CS Lewis says: 
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it."

Why is hope so hard to wrap our heads around?
Because so often we want to use the word "so" at the end of "hope". As in, "I hope so..." Hope is based on a future that is not seen and we have no control over it. But it is as C.S. Lewis puts it, "fresh and pure" due to the untainted nature of our desires not yet being dashed by the world. 

I started pinning several images from pinterest that gave me great visuals of "hope" as I run for Inheritance of Hope that I want to keep in mind. There are families, kids, parents, those with a terminal illness that are living in fear for the future, not the reality that hope has been sealed up in Christ. We are on the outside, the "wrong side of the door" like Lewis says. It is so hard to see the new reality that is being created for us. 

When I'm running, I want hope to make me glad. I want it to make me patient. When I get in trouble, I want hope to help me to never stop praying.

I run for hope. 
It's so hard to wrap your head around it. 

I want it to be said when people see me running they see hope! 

Want to donate for hope? CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 21, 2013


From my high school friends: 

I thought this was hilarious. And exactly what Princess HS would be like. 

Apache Boy

We just dropped my 8-year old off for two weeks at Ridgecrest Camp for Boys. 

Two whole glorious weeks just for HIM.

Many parents would think that we signed him up for US, but that would wrong. Asher is a great kid. He does almost everything right. He lives by the rules, the clock, the schedule, the system. In fact, camp is a GREAT place for him because of such regularity. But he needs freedom. He needs to run around with his shirt off, to talk loudly, to tell nonsense stories (over and over) and have someone else tell him "we heard that before" or to laugh super hard at him, he needs someone else to play with, run around with and to teach him things that we simply don't have the patience right now to do (i.e. chess, how to build a fire, a dam in a creek or any of the other crazy things he is going to get to do).

The biggest reason he is going? He gets to be a boy. ALL BOY. So much of school these days is geared towards sitting in your seat, being polite, standing in line and having your finger on your mouth. Which are proper and fine things.

But at Ridgecrest, he gets to be WILD. And totally accepted. And loved. And his leaders will tell him how loved he is because of the God who made him. And that is why life is important and full and worth living to the limit.

I can't wait to see him at the end after sock wars, paint wars, bedlam ball, camp outs and everything else they are going to do.

This is a typical day at camp:
Typical Schedule
7:30 AM     Reveille
7:45AM      Morning Assembly
8:00 AM     Breakfast
8:25 AM     Morning Watch
8:45 AM     Quiet Time
9:00 AM     Cabin Clean-Up
9:25 AM     Inspection
9:45 AM     1st/4th Skill begins**
10:40 AM   1st/4th Skill ends
10:45 AM   2nd/5th Skill begins
11:40 AM   2nd/5th Skill ends
11:45 AM   3rd/6th Skill begins
12:40 PM   3rd/6th Skill ends
12:45 PM   Free Swim (Lake Open)
1:15 PM     Waiter’s Call
1:30 PM     Lunch
2:00 PM     Rest Period
3:00 PM     Canteen
3:30 PM     Afternoon Activity
4:55 PM     End of Activities
5:00 PM     Free Swim (Lake Open)
6:15 PM     Retreat
6:30 PM     Supper
7:00 PM     Evening Activity
9:00 PM     Go to cabins/showers/devotions
10:15 PM    Taps

Yes, they wake them up with a trumpet blowing Reveille every morning and go to sleep with a trumpet playing Taps every night. Seriously. 

His six skills this week are:
Outdoor living

The camp is split up into tribes based on ages. Asher is an Apache this year.

He's going to be a well-rounded Apache beast when he gets home. In Wikipedia, it says this about the Apache tribe: The fame of the tribes' tenacity and fighting skills, probably bolstered by dime novels, was widely known among Europeans. In early 20th century Parisian society, the word Apache was adopted into French, essentially meaning an outlaw.

I love that! Asher with tenacity, fighting skills and a little outlaw in him will be exactly what we are looking for.
Check out this video for a little bit more of a taste of camp:

If you want to send Asher mail at camp, go to the Ridgecrest website and look for the mailing address! 

You can also follow along this week at camp on Facebook and "like" them if you do that sort of thing: Ridgecrest on Facebook

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Week 1 Training Update

One week into training! I'm not technically done with the week yet as I am running my weeks Monday to Monday, but my tracking app on my phone runs Saturday to Saturday. So....this is the end of week 1. And my general feeling is "Wow, all that running didn't add up to a marathon. This is going to hurt."

And my playlist didn't really help me out much. Thanks Tiger Rag. 

Thankfully, as the week went on, so did fundraising and so the playlist improved too. I even got a request for Taylor Dane. So, that is going to be hilarious!

I ran two 4-milers, a hilly 6-miler and joined a group of women training for the Asheville 1/2 marathon (which I'm also doing--that's on Sept 27) for a 7-mile long slow distance run this morning. I have an easy 4-miler to round out the week tomorrow to finish up the week at 25 miles. 

I should finish the week with about 4 hours of running under my belt! Not too bad! I did have to buy some new running shorts this week and now I'm considering a GPS watch because Runkeeper uses my data and I could just sync them up when I get home. 

A solid week 1. Week 2 jumps up to a 28-mile week. Let's gooooo.

Donate here:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blow Me Away

I am 16 weeks away from the NYC Marathon right now and I am so stinking pumped.

Matt and I started looking at flights the other day and are trying to get all our ducks in a row to get there with enough time to have fun with family but also get all my race organization taken care of. Be a part of the Inheritance of Hope team and enjoy the whole experience. Also--it is going to be Halloween weekend AND my sister's birthday! SHEW. Throw that all in the pot and cook it.

I got my official training shirt from the marathon on Wednesday and I put it straight to use the next day on a hilly 6-miler the next day.

I just saw this video and I can hardly believe that I am going to get to be a part of these 47,000 runners crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn in the NYC Marathon on November 3rd!

I definitely need your help to get there. I have a long way to go with fundraising. I can't get my bib unless I raise the money with Inheritance of Hope, so if you have been thinking about donating and haven't, I would love to encourage you to go ahead and join my team of support! It definitely helps the training to know I have all of you thinking of me and encouraging me!

Here is the link again: Inheritance of Hope 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fill My Playlist

As I start my training for the NYC Marathon this week, I have considered what songs I want to run to. Music is super important to me when I run. I almost never run without music and so often it is crucial to me to "craft the perfect playlist" for a run according to my mood to either lift me, slow me down or pump me up.

Right now this is what my playlist looks like for the marathon:
I have NO music.

I would love to ask YOU to help me fill the playlist.

For every $20 donated to the Inheritance of Hope, you get to have a say in what I will run to when I train for the next four months. For $50 you can claim three songs! Yes please!!!

When you enter your credit card info, there is a comment section at the end; this is where you can request your song. I can not wait to see what will come in. If nothing comes in...then I will have no music to run to.

Please don't do this to me! Every time YOUR song comes on, I will think of you! Your family! Your life! How fun is that? It will be like YOU are running with me!

Let's do this!

Click here to contribute and request a song. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Affecting the Whole Family

I just watched this video from the founder of the Inheritance of Hope and I thought it would be helpful to share on here.

Kristin Milligan, the founder of IOH died in October this year and it is incredible to think that her vision of serving families during their deepest time of need is continuing on and thriving!

People have shared in other running blogs that being a charity runner for a marathon is really like running two marathons because of how much work goes into raising money AND running.

I didn't "get that" before, but now that I am looking down the barrel of another ~$4,500 to go for my goal, I TOTALLY get it.

If you have been thinking that maybe your wanted to wait to donate, maybe think about donating today? I start training this week and it would be so encouraging to have a solid 1/5 of the money raised. Or even 2/5 of the money raised!

Thank you so much for even considering this!
Inheritance of Hope Donation Page

Monday, July 8, 2013

Best Week of My Life

Last Monday we got back from YL camp at Crooked Creek. This marks this 16th summer of my life that I have spent at Young Life camps and I will be honest, this was one of my favorites.

These girls, their stories, their lives being changed--it was so much fun to be a part of.

We laughed so hard. Cried, enjoyed life together. There are so many stories to tell. But I just want you to know that I am so grateful for your prayers and consideration of care for us during this summer. We had an incredible time and these high school students have been forever changed by having an encounter with their Savior.

They have come home and want Him to run their lives. It is so fun to be a part of.

You can see in the pictures that their hearts, minds and eyes get lifted and more free as the week goes on. We truly love one another by the end of the week and I am so glad that I get to be home with them now for the rest of the summer.

All of Buncombe County Young Life. LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

These are my girls that made a declaration of faith at camp. I am so proud of them.

I was so sad to leave to Colorado. Wouldn't you be? Gah! 

The bus is pretty grody going on 24 hours. 

Love my cabin! They wanted to get together for a reunion after only being home for 24 hours. They are precious!