So Long, Farewell

Hey friends – as you might have noticed, this page has been quiet for several months now. In the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

In my case, I have been doing a little less sitting at my computer and lot more chasing dreams and kids, getting knee-deep in ministry, building community and of course, running. As for the blog, I feel like it is time to retire this particular site. It has been eight years since I began writing, and you wonderful readers are amazing. This little space where I have shared my heart and my journey has been therapeutic. It has helped me heal as I have dared to put my stories out there for all to see.

Now, I am embarking on a new leg of my journey and entering a new season. My heart has been pointed toward single mom ministry for some time, and as it is materializing in my everyday life I feel like it is time to move my writing towards that end also. With that said, my new blog space is called Single Mom Must Haves. It will be a blog dedicated to sharing my single mom journey and the stories of other moms who are doing this thing – the good, the bad, the ugly, the REAL . . . I want to show Christ’s love in this practical way by helping single moms find hope, resources and tools to live fully. I hope you will prayerfully support my new space!

Again, thank you for every prayer, word of encouragement and share. I am truly blessed by you.

New Site Address: Single Mom Must Haves

Traditionally Speaking

I look around my small living room where we have celebrated four previous Christmases, and I sigh pondering how it’s the same – same shabby tree, same family ornaments, same old decorations . . . yet so much has changed.

This is the year where the Christmas season has been a gift to me rather than a burden. I have done my best to slow things down and take out more stuff, replacing that with more memories. These memories are made of traditions, a precious labor of love for my family that I have struggled to build as a single parent. These traditions are part of the glue that makes me and my tribe who we are – it’s a reflection of what we hold near and dear. It has helped my children remember over the years of grief and recovery from divorce that a family is a family, no matter how small, different, dysfunctional, weird or what-have-you.
After my divorce several years ago, the holidays that once brought me so much joy had turned sour; every Christmas song felt like a barb in my heart. I smiled through many gatherings then soaked my pillow with tears later on. The combination of loneliness, exhaustion from raising three kids alone and grief crashed in on me. For the first couple of years as a newly single mom, I just wanted to hibernate until the season passed. But like all amazing moms and dads I know, we push through the pain to do what’s best for our families even when it’s akin to walking on glass.
The reality is that if you are anything like me, the Christmas (Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Easter . . .) traditions that you had probably included someone else who simply isn’t present for a multitude of reasons. So what do you do with all the shards of what used to be your Christmas? You hand it to the Father, and together you build something new. Because God is not in the business of recreating old memories and taking you backward. No matter how good things were or how hard they are now – He is moving forward and is able to do more than you can imagine. Just read some more of this blog, and you will see that I am proof of that.

I began to celebrate Advent many years ago with my kids. I have always loved biblical history and wanted to make Jesus the central part of our Christmas, and as my faith has grown along with my children it has become equally precious to all four of us. The kids take turns lighting the advent candles on Sunday nights and hanging the ornaments on the Jesse tree. It just gets better every year as they grow in their abilities to understand the Biblical stories of Jesus’ ancestry.

Yes, we do the (dreaded) Elf on the Shelf. Really, Santa is not a big deal in our home. I love St. Nick, but as a single mom who works her hind-end off to provide for these people, I wanted the credit for the gifts I bought. They don’t think the elf spies on them, and I don’t think the girls ever really bought into him coming to life at night, but it’s a game and good fun. Now that my son is a pre-teen he has taken over Elf duty. Let’s just say that the elf doesn’t “rest” as much as he did in years past!

Ninnymuggins – Elf on the Shelf

A couple other traditions we enjoy are baking gifts for teachers, Christmas Eve service with our extended family and the Joy stocking – where each family member receives a small gift from mom signifying how they brought joy to the family this year.
But the best thing you can do this Christmas? Do more than remember the “reason for the season.” Spend time at Jesus’ feet just being quiet. The busyness does nothing but mask pain, rob you of joy and wear you out. Stuff is just stuff, and let’s be real – we don’t need more stuff. We need Christ and His peace. And hey, you’re not alone. Find a church, call a friend, join a support group, find somewhere to serve, go run a 5K . . . resist the urge to isolate.


So Merry Christmas friends. 2015 has been a pivotal year of much-needed change and breakthrough with much, much more around the corner! I pray your Christmases are blessed and that you can celebrate the Greatest Gift – Jesus. Below I am including some awesome links for Advent, Devotionals and Sources for dealing with hurt during the holidays.

Looking for a church to attend Christmas Eve service?  Come with me or visit any of our many locations Life.Church

DivorceCare is an amazing support resource if you are going through or grieving a separation or divorce – this link will give you info for Surviving the Holidays.

Visit Ann Voskamp’s site A Holy Experience and check out her book The Greatest Gift, which is hands down my favorite Advent study.

Also, I encourage you to get into the word by downloading Life.Church’s free Bible App (available in the app store and Google play) – every version of the Bible is available you as well as hundreds of Bible studies and devotionals. Did I mention free?



It’s a Wonderful Life Indeed

For years I have been one of those staunch, “We will not watch Christmas movies before Thanksgiving!” people. As my kids get older and more aware of seasons, I am losing that battle. It’s mid-November, and we have already watched Home Alone and It’s A Wonderful Life. Christmas movies are awesome because they are full of hope and cheer, or in the case of Elf, just good old-fashioned idiotic hilarity. My favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I could watch it all year-long. Donna Reed is flawless and Jimmy Stewart has that raw emotion and vulnerability that grips me. But it is Jimmy Stewart’s character, George Bailey that strikes closest to home. I relate with his sky-high dreams and expectations to match along with the crushing weight of disappointment as those dreams go up in smoke.

Like George, I was an ambitious, passionate, big-dreaming young adult. I began college at age 18 still a new believer equally zealous and immature, working out my theology and values. I had big, fantastic dreams of serving the Lord anywhere and everywhere. I spent my summers working at camp and serving on mission trips. Meeting new people and sharing the gospel felt effortless. I felt most alive mingling in new cultures and serving wherever, whenever. While many of my friends were meticulously plotting out their graduation and career plans, I imagined going overseas as a missionary. I was full of promise.

If I had a catch phrase to accompany many of the dumb things I have done in life it would be “Then I met this guy . . .” SMACK MY HEAD. You see, while I loved the Lord, my roots were not quite deep and I was easily pulled away because my insecurity ran rampant and I had not yet learned to step into my identity in Christ. The enemy is real, friends and is all too familiar where your weak spots are. So I met this guy, and he was great, and I ran headlong and fast into something I was not prepared for or called to. I got married all starry-eyed and naive. I had no idea that I was following in the footsteps of my predecessor Esau and trading my birthright as a daughter of God for a moment of satisfaction. I was in for a world of hurt that I knew nothing about.

That year that I wed and my new life began as a bride I also had a death and a burial. The belly full of fire for the Lord, that passion to take the gospel to the nations, that girlish love died a quick death to my new role as I worried about learning to cook and keep house while finishing school and working two jobs. Like so many others, I found out that I married a stranger who was not interested in following those dreams. What had we done? I guessed that my dreams just weren’t in God’s plan after all, when what I could not understand then was that I chose to bury that dream when I made a rash choice out of my brokenness.

Many years, three children and a painful divorce later I have found myself in a place where I have started to dream again. It was several weeks ago when I was freed from some fear I was experiencing. In the midst of the conversation and prayer I had with my friend the Holy Spirit moved in and did what He does – he unburied something I thought was dead. This long-dead dream of setting the world on fire rose up so quickly that it startled me, and I began to weep. I realized in that moment that a resurrection had just happened. A part of myself I had forgotten about shook off the grave-clothes and began walking, no – dancing!

Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Bill Johnson of Bethel Church says, “What was meant to destroy us becomes a time of refreshing . . .”

And I am not 18 anymore. I am 36. I have three children and rent, student loans, and loads of responsibility. I also have this fresh perspective of who God is and His utter disregard for the word impossible. I have this desire for more, and through my trials I have seen Him move in ways that I can only accredit to Him. I had heard about God, but now I have seen Him with my own eyes. (Job 42:5)

My point with all this? Maybe you buried something long ago because of choices you made. Maybe you figured that you have been disqualified, counted out. Maybe not. I pray that God would grant you the gift of fresh perspective and awaken dreams. It’s never too late because there really is no such thing as impossible. And like George Bailey, look around and see just how wealthy you are. Dream new dreams; trust God that He cherishes you.

“A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.” – Harry Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

If you need prayer or encouragement, please feel free to comment here with your email address; I would love to talk with you!

Thoughts on Haggai : The Time is Now

So my pastor is preaching a series of three messages out of this itty bitty book at the tail end of the Old Testament called Haggai . . . confession time: I have pretty much read the whole Bible but somehow never made it to this one. WOW. Right out of the gate, the first message was like an arrow straight to my heart.

On a quick side note: when you are consistently spending focused time with the Lord, you get to know His voice. You just might find that there is something for you – a word just for you -in every single message/study/yes, even conversations – JUST FOR YOU. He’s just good like that. He still speaks. Trust me, all the time.

Okay, back to Haggai. Haggai is a minor prophet that God raises up to get the people of Israel back to work rebuilding His house after many miserable years in captivity. They start off great, all gung-ho and whatnot until they run into some opposition, and they think “Oh this must mean the timing is all wrong. We can’t do this now.  We’ll do that later . . .” Famous last words. Fourteen (some scholars say sixteen) years later they STILL haven’t touched the work they started on the temple yet they are living large (like the neighborhoods that give out the full-size candy bars at Halloween). They have it pretty good; they’ve definitely been busy, but not doing what they were sent there to do. So God basically says, “So what’s up ya’ll?” (This is the Crystal’s Southern Translation) The really haunting thing is reading Haggai 1:3-7 . . . it sounds so familiar.

The Lord absolutely nails the Israelites for mindless consumption, trying to satisfy themselves with stuff, working with nothing to really show for it. It sounds way too familiar. He says more than once in chapter 1, “Give careful thought to your ways.”

I hate to admit that I have had a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing them. This blog is one of them. How many times have I been so pumped about whatever it is I start  – a clean eating diet, training for a race, a Bible study, a blog post . . . and then it gets sort of hard and not so easy to do or I get distracted (Squirrel!) Before I could blink an eye that project ends up as just another pretty thought collecting dust on the “I will finish that later” shelf of my mind. But nearly a year ago I chose a word for 2015 Discipline. Oh yeah, I chose a scary one!  My lack of discipline was not something I liked about myself, and I knew that it leaking into all areas of my life. I mean I could SEE IT on my waistline. Not cool. I could see it in my lack of relationship with God and cycles of habitual sin. Not cool at all. So discipline started with tithing (I can never ever thank Chris Beale enough for that First Things First sermon last January . . . it was the beginning of something beautiful.) So I started there, then I began a year Bible plan in the New Testament and little by little I began to be famished for the word, I am talking morning, noon and night. Then I asked God to renew my prayer life, and I have seen healing and transformation and intimacy like I have never known with the Lord. I stopped eating sugar for good and made running a priority – 14 pounds gone so far. I asked the Lord to show me how to parent like He does, and I am in a sweet season with my children where I am finally connecting with them rather than bullying them. GUYS – hear me, ask and you shall receive. Seek and you WILL find. Knock, He answers.

I do not say any of that to toot my own horn; I could not do one single bit of that without God empowering me. It’s all Him. Anything good is all Him. He gave me the single mom ministry I dreamed about in the form of my precious lifegroup. He gave me friendships that are intimate and vulnerable and stronger than blood. My pastor asked tonight if maybe we were not in the place where we thought we would be at this point in my life, and I thought, “Yeah. I am not where I thought I would be at all! I NEVER KNEW LIFE COULD BE THIS GOOD!”

Oh but there is still work to do, a lot of it. Life is super messy and hard. I still get distracted and discouraged when things get hard. As I was sitting in service tonight Craig asked if there was something God had given us to do that we had shelved for later. And here I am.

I cannot tell you how many times I have sat at the computer frozen with fear. What if they don’t like me? What if my theology sucks?  What if, what if, what if . . . okay let’s just close this laptop and do this later. Tonight I knew – it’s time. Then my friend and her husband sit across from me after church (he wasn’t even in service!) and he asks, “So are you still writing? Because you really should. You’re good.”  Yes Lord, I surrender!

I really don’t have time to write, just like I don’t really have money to tithe or time to run or sit with the Lord. It’s a funny thing when you give your very best to the Lord how He takes what you give and multiples it. It’s a downright awesome thing to have people ask, “How do you do it all?”  And I reply, “I don’t, but God does. With Him, nothing is impossible.

So whatever your thing is, give careful consideration to your ways. I am asking for a supernatural dose of discipline and bravery to tackle this writing thing again. Nothing, NOTHING is impossible with God. I would love to sit down with you and tell you my stories . . . and I will.

Just My Plain Old Feet Forward

It is Mother’s Day, and I believe it is the perfect time to announce that I am officially changing the format of this little piece of the blogosphere. Like any writer worth their snuff, I want to bring something valuable and intentional to the table rather than a bunch of egotistical nonsense. While my identity is not totally wrapped up in single parenting, it is my life and my unique perspective and journey.

I have covered a lot of ground these past seven years, and I have so enjoyed sharing my life with you! This Mother’s Day marks my fifth year as a single mom. Year to year my emotions shifted from sadness to anger to loneliness and now JOY. I have gone to church on Mother’s Day cried and a couple years I could not bear to go to church at all; I begged God for another way – any other way but this one, sat silent and angry feeling quite the victim of my circumstances and at one point felt too exhausted with it all to even raise my head. It’s a process my friends. Yeah, it took me a good five years to grieve the loss of my dream and to accept my new reality. If you’re in the really gritty part with stingy eyes and an aching chest, pissed off or just confounded – I get it. No shame. It is a process.

While I cannot sit here and say, “I’ve arrived!”  I am in a very different place than I was five years ago. A good place where I am looking up. Author/lawyer/dreamer Bob Goff says that it takes imagination to change, and I agree. It takes courage to dream again when a lifelong dream is suddenly gone. It takes tenacity to hang on when grief rages at its worst. It takes faith to keep believing when everything in your life shrugs its shoulders and says like Job’s wife, “Just lay down, curse God and die.”

Was I just born with those things? I think we all are. When circumstances bring us to our knees, we can forget who we are. It’s almost like Peter Pan where the older we get the more we forget. I have rarely met a kid that wasn’t audacious, big-thinking, tenacious and full of simple faith. For me, and I will argue for anyone, it takes a real encounter with Jesus – with LOVE – (not fairy dust) to wake us up and jog our memories.

I have discovered that the real secret to change is a transformed mind and an altered heart. At the beginning of the year I decided to do like Martha and spend a ridiculous amount of time sitting at Jesus’ feet, just listening and soaking up everything He is about. Little by little, not only have I been able to walk out of the grief and into the light, I am different. It’s like I got a new set of eyes.

And here we are. I admit I am scared. Part of the reason I stopped writing for a while is because I lacked authenticity because I was not able to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is absolutely necessary for successful relationships. I have worn a mask for such a long time – the girl who masks her hurt with humor, who covers up her shame with wit and downplays herself so no one will take much notice. Flying under the radar. We all have something beautiful to offer, and I have been encouraged by other brave, vulnerable souls to not put my best foot forward – just my feet. I prefer them in my Teva sandals – incredibly comfy.

So I invite you to get to know me, and I want to know you. I want to share my stories and the stories of other single parents who have been wrecked by Jesus and have wisdom to share. My hope is to create a little place to dialogue together and bring whatever we need to bring to the table – the good, the beautiful, the hard and the ugly. It’s all welcome.

So single mom or dad (or former single parents) here is your invitation to put your feet forward – how can I pray for you?  Please comment here or email me at

The Truth About Feeling Lonely – Get Used to It.

Hi. It’s been awhile.  While I would love to greet you with a lovely and uplifting post after such a long hiatus, I can’t. This is a difficult season – a lonely season. The great news -it’s also a season of growth and major breakthrough.

It’s taken me 5 years to come to a place of acceptance of this life and singleness in general. I have said it a thousand times, and I don’t plan to stop beating this drum now – grief is a strange unpredictable thing. You cannot control it. Ron L. Deal, author of Dating and the Single Parent stresses the importance of feeling the full weight of grief in order to work through it towards acceptance and healing. He says, “To truly move out of your pain, you must first sit in it.”

Here I am, grieving again over another loss. My biggest foe? Loneliness. And all the single people said, “Amen.” Especially -no, specifically those of us who for one reason or another are not in a healthy place to date. “This loneliness just sucks,” I said to my best friend today. “Yeah, it does,” she sighed into the phone. Stink as it may, it’s an animal we must learn to harness, or it will control us. Let’s just get real. while there is nothing inherently wrong with sitting home alone on a Saturday night while all of Facebookland lives it up, the lonely feelings that flood in can feel paralyzing.

I don’t know anyone who wants to admit that they’ve cried themselves to sleep because the bed is cold and you’d give anything to have a warm person next to you or skipping a meal because cooking for one is too much trouble and you’re either too broke to eat out or can’t stomach the idea of eating alone – again. Yes, the ache of it physically hurts sometimes. It bites. There is no two ways around it. That’s just the thing, there’s no two ways around it. I think Elizabeth Gilbert says it best in Eat Pray Love  “When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.”

I have been regretfully guilty in the past of using people as a way out of my pain, or as Ron Deal calls it “a ladder”. The tables have  turned, and I became that ladder, and I was a poor one. Shaky, fragile and prone to bending under the pressure of keeping it together. I have never been super good at that. To say it hurt is a grand understatement. Still, a blessing because it caused me to open my eyes to my propensity for trying to scramble my way out of the pit of pain rather than feeling the junk and then climbing out on my own when I was healthy enough to do so. Lonely friends, just don’t. Don’t go looking for a distraction in the form of another human being. We’re not just bodies, we’re souls and hearts.

So here I sit in this pit. I am not happy about it, but I am also not really alone. Never have been.

“14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 

It comforts me to know that I can cry out in the pit of my pain to Jesus, who gets it. We’re not lifting up prayers for help to a God who has no idea what we’re talking about. Jesus’ followers abandoned Him, betrayed and denied Him. Yeah, He gets it. He felt the pain of the Father turning His back on His son as Christ took our sin on Himself. Utterly alone. He was alone in ways that I don’t think my experience will ever touch, and He did that for you, and me and all of us sad, broken, messed up and barely limping along. SO feel the loneliness, turn to the one who can handle it, and don’t sin. Striving in vain to run from your pain or medicate with whatever it is that you think makes you feel better only leads to more emptiness.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:14

What’s your experience with loneliness? What were the blessing that came from learning to turn it over to God rather than allowing it to control you? Is loneliness something you’re struggling with now?

Number Three Turns Four!

You guys, we have come to a very important milestone in our family . . . there are no more toddlers living in our house! The youngest, Jules, will be a four year old as of tomorrow morning about 11am.


Julia’s namesake is the late Julia Child, which I think suits her quite perfectly. Much like her predecessor, my Jules is creative, fun, colors outside of the lines literally and figuratively and forges ahead on her own whether you are with her or not. She has often been called my little space cadet, my dreamer and my tactile baby. Or as I call it, messy.

Maybe it it a youngest child trait, but she is incredibly articulate. She does not beg to be the center of attention, but waits quietly for her turn to crawl up in your lap and share her deep thoughts or witty remarks. She loves to be weird and freak you out my bugging out her ginormous eyes or staring at you until you’re uncomfortable.

I thought she might be sad with both her older siblings in elementary school this year . . . not so. She is happy to be the top dog as part of the pre-K class at her daycare. I love my silly, pensive, independent girl. I am VERY interested to see what God has in store for this one!

Happy birthday Julia Goolia!  Mommy loves you!


As you might have noticed, I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Also, my laptop died. Here I sit tonight with my brand spanking new laptop. I love the click of keys.

As I navigated to my blog I looked at the last thing I started to write, the day after the half marathon. I don’t know what I was thinking trying to write anything that day. My brain was positively mush. So here is what I began . . . “I’m at home today surveying the damage of at last two weeks of neglecting my house. Yeesh. Oh, and recovering. Yesterday was the big dance – the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I ran and finished the half marathon. I’ve heard other participants call this race tough, weird, dramatic, interesting . . . it was just straight up crazy. It started with me waking up late. My alarm didn’t go off. I rushed to get ready and thanks to my amazing chauffeur, I made it just in the nick of time…”

Now, I will finish the story!

My running partner and I joked and laughed nervously as we made our way to our corral, and hoped that we were in the right one. It was dark and perfectly cool . . . great racing weather. Then we saw the flicker of lightening illuminate the clouds accompanied with the low rumble of thunder directly followed by the first delay announcement. A collective sigh swept across the expanse of jittery runners. No matter though!  One little delay wouldn’t hurt. We’d be starting just a teensy bit late. A teensy bit late had come and gone more than an hour and several delay announcements later. The crowd was irritable, sweaty, damp and thirsty. I can honestly say I was willing to risk being struck by lightening as long as I could just run the danged race.

By the time we started, it was unbearably humid, and  I would soon find out just what humidity would do to my poor body. Three miles in I was crazy thirsty, and sweating profusely. Five miles in, we’d lost sight of the pacer group as we got caught up at a congested water station.  Eight miles in I was badly dehydrated and struggling with cramps in my calves. I tricked my partner into going ahead without me. While it killed me to walk, it killed me even more to see her not run her first big race.

At mile 9 I was miserable and sad. My training had gone so well. I had worked so hard, for it to end like this?  Just as I was ready to cry I looked up and saw the face of the man I had just begun dating. He was waiting on the corner in his church clothes, grinning from ear to ear. I gave him the sweatiest, most disgusting hug of his life (which he argues was also his best hug ever!) Truthfully, seeing him there to cheer me on was better than an energy gel. Only four miles to go!

I don’t remember much about those last four miles except a lot of pain. My feet were so swollen they felt like they were trying to escape my shoes. The cramps in my legs were excruciating, and I had taken in so much water I was sloshing. I vaguely remember crossing the finish line (and glimpsing my family screaming like crazy people to my right!). I got my medal, wandered through the finishers area, found my partner, said a few expletives and stumbled to the medical tent. Then I sprawled out on the concrete for an hour with my family standing around me.

Friends, this race messed with me. It pushed me physically, sure, but mentally and spiritually, it hurt. It’s taken me literal months to bounce back. It’s forced me to accept some things about myself – okay, chiefly that humidity and I do not mix. It doesn’t make me a weak runner or mean that I am in poor health. It means that if it’s humid, I better not push so hard or take my butt to the YMCA. And that’s okay. I have also realized that I often do expect way too much of myself. The truth of the matter is that most everyone I talked to or read about felt that this year’s race was miserable and exceptionally tough. Why am I so hard on myself for finishing 15 minutes slower than I had planned?

So I was slower than I had hoped I would be. I never stopped. I finished. While I don’t know that I will be doing any more half marathons in the near future, I do know that what was my worst race might have very well been my best race. Perspective is golden. I have run three 5Ks since then with a few races including a 10K and a marathon relay leg on the horizon. I think my new motto will be, “I may not be fast, but I finish!”

Twelve Weeks

More than twelve weeks ago I convinced a long time friend of mine to join me on a journey. It’s a journey I have been on before a few times alone, and I realized that I wanted it to be different this time. It would require a partner . . . a really great one. My friend and I have been through a lot together over the years. College, weddings, babies, brokenness, plenty, laughter and pain. One thing I knew about us both, we were incapable of giving up even in the face of insurmountable odds. We’d both been to hell and back in our own ways, and neither of us came away bitter. Somehow, we came away with hearts more tender toward God, more grit, more laugh lines, more love, more grace. Who better to run a half marathon with?

My friend has never run a half marathon. When I posed the idea she was a little leery. To her surprise, her husband jumped right on board and told her to go for it. So we began. We’ve both been running going on three years. Admittedly, wed both fallen off the running wagon for a bit. Hard to believe that as we began training 3 months ago, we struggled to run three miles without walking. 

Week after week we trained on our own time with Saturday morning long runs. On my weekends with kids we ran in Piedmont while her awesome husband kept all (SIX!) kids, using our oldest children for water stops and rewarding us afterwards with bacon and chocolate milk. On weekends when my kids went to their dad’s, we ran in Edmond eventually joining the RunHers women’s running club. 

It’s become our pattern or habit or whatever you’d like to call it to have “adventurous” runs. Cross country one week, dodging animal poo and cactus, trail running another where there might have been an unfortunate fall and “great” advice from another runner to “pick up our feet.”  Thanks, Mister. There was snow . . . and another fall. Icy mist where we came home to numb faces, 20 mph winds that resulted in a double ear infection for me, and one week where I was sure I had miscalculated the miles by 2 or 3 but thankfully ended up being spot on. We’ve bonked and wanted to give up. We’ve gone from being the slowest to improving our pace by two minutes since training began and improving our endurance to being able to run more than 5 miles at a time without walking breaks. 

Now we’re only three weeks away from our race day. I am so emotional. I am excited to get to this point, delighted with our progress, but sad to see this journey end. Today we ran 11 miles in the face of a week that had been full of sadness and disappointment. Still, we met this run with joy in our step and determination in our hearts. As we rounded the bend into mile 11 I had an epiphany, this was not the end . . . this race was another beginning. Training for this race has given a long time friendship a breath of fresh air. It has reminded me that though I am another year older, my spirit feels younger than ever. 

In three weeks we will finish our race strong and think ahead to bigger races and many more adventures. Friend, I know you are reading this, and I cannot tell you enough what an inspiration you are to me. I asked you to dare to do a half marathon, but you have dared me to do better than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you.