Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Love Note to The Bit

Bit started her last chemo treatment yesterday. 

Looking back at the past year, it's just amazing how the Big Guy works. I am truly in awe of Him and how He worked through a sweet little girl. 

Bit is the most resilient child I've ever known. And my love for her is something I can't put into words. 

Her sweet voice, hotter-than-the-sun bald head and infectious giggle are just a few of many things about her and this whole journey that remind me of all that is good in this world. 

She gives me hope. Hope to overcome things that seem impossible. Hope to be brave when I'd rather not be. Hope that my child-like ability to love and trust people is not lost. 

My life has forever changed. 

The good Lord used a four-year-old to put my life into perspective. Some things just aren't that big of a deal. And worrying is not going to make any situation better. 

But trusting in the Big Guy, knowing that He is in control of everything and actually seeing Him do His work....Now that's important. Loving people just because He made them....That's important, too. 

Thank you for the support this past year. 

Thank you for the bold prayers. 

Thank you for the unconditional love you've each shown to this child. 


I mean it. 

From the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Next Race

There is one universal thing all runners share: The thrill of the next race.

It doesn't matter if we ran a PR. Or had the worst racing experience ever. Or fell down at the finish line. Or DNF. Or broke a toe. Hurt a knee. Didn't fuel properly. Threw up. Got the euphoric Runner's High. Passed 28 people during the race.

We are always planning for the next race.

It's true. Really. One could even call it slightly masochistic.

We willingly run 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles knowing we will be sore and have to resort to "hobbling around" for a few days.

No matter how bad we feel running a race once we cross the finish line we forget. We forget the pain, the excessive sweat, the tears, the chaffing.

We hobble over to get the medal hung around our neck, and then we hobble over to the chocolate milk and snacks just to turn around  to our friends and say, "What's next?"

I've been hobbling around for three days. Today is the first day I feel back to my normal self. Even though I got a PR at the Little Rock Half Marathon, miles 9 to the end will forever be engraved in my quads and hamstrings, and I'll always be the girl who sat down and cried at the finish line. (Totally not ashamed.)

So what's next for me?

Races on My Radar
3/16 --- Lil Cheetah 5K in DeWitt, AR
4/6 ---- Capital City Classic 10K in Little Rock, AR
4/20 --- German Heritage 5K in Stuttgart, AR (if it doesn't start at 9 a.m.)
5/18 --- Dino Dash 5K in Little Rock, AR
6/15 --- Go! Mile in North Little Rock, AR

If those races don't tickle your fancy, go check out Arkansas Outside's calendar of races across the state. There are races all over the place so you really have no excuse not to get outside.

What's on your race radar? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Heart to Serve

The good Lord has blessed me with a heart to serve. It's simple. I want to help other people.

I've worked in the non-profit sector since I graduated from college. For the most part, I've had a very pleasant experience, and I've learned a whole lot about how different people are in the process.

The hardest lesson I've learned/am still trying to learn is some people don't have a servant's heart. They don't see helping people as a priority, unless it benefits them in some way.

My soft heart has been callused in more ways than one in my 25 years on this earth. But I try to be open to other people's perspectives and plights outside of my own.

My favorite definition of to serve is to be useful.

To be useful.

Because if you're not being useful, you are being useless. And that's not how I want to live my life. Useless.

I've recently been struggling with my purpose. The Father's purpose for me.

And over the course of the last few months, I've seen His work come to life all around me. I've been freely giving of myself and my time to this and that, and I've taken hits from all sides. I've heard it all.

"You can't do that."

"It will never work."

"People won't participate."

"It's never been done that way before."

"Why do you even try?"

And I've asked myself at various times why am I doing this. The answer is always the same.

He put me here to do good works. To give of myself and my time freely. To love people because they haven't been loved on in a while. To serve. To be useful. Despite all the backlash and speed bumps. He will make me useful for His purpose.

Does that make me perfect and free of frustration? Absolutely not. I'm constantly frustrated by people and things that are out of my control. But I'm also constantly reminded that He is in control. He knows the outcome and worrying about it is absolutely pointless.

About a week ago I was in a moment of self-doubt, and my daily devotional said this:

I'm leading you, step by step, through your life. Hold My hand in trusting dependence, letting Me guide you through this day. Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy - even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine. This, like all forms of worry, is an act of rebellion: doubting My promises to care for you. 

Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future, repent and return to Me. I will show you the next step forward, and the one after that, and the one after that. Relax and enjoy the journey in My Presence, trusting Me to open up the way before you as you go. - Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I've been wanting to write about this for a while, but I struggled to find the words to say it. Whether you know you have a Servant's Heart or not, I challenge you to be useful and serve. And try to be mindful of other people who are serving.

It's not rocket science; it's love.

Love people.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Little Rock Half Marathon Recap

I ran the Little Rock Half Marathon, and I'm happy to say I survived. I feel like we all need shirts that say "I survived the Little Rock Marathon." because that race will test every aspect of your ability to keep moving forward.

I prepared for this race. Not quite as well as I prepared for St. Jude back in December, but I did train. I ran all my long runs on Little Rock hills.
So when I set my clothes out the night before the race, I felt prepared. Not as confident as St. Jude because I was battling a major sinus infection that decided to show up three days before the race. But I knew I could run the distance.

Sunday morning was cold. 27 degrees is not what you want, and I knew it was going to be tough since I was still pretty sick. By the time we got to the start line, my toes were numb. And I didn't feel them again until mile 5. But more on that later.

The first six miles were golden. Minus the cold air, snotty nose and numb feet. Downtown Little Rock was lined with people, and I was super excited to see some elite runners pass us on their way back around the six mile loop. I felt good. I could actually breathe for the first time in days.

After mile 6, I didn't know the race course as well. But we weaved in and out of downtown streets before running up Capitol Street. I've ran up that street many times during training, but it's a whole different ballgame on fresh legs.

Mile 9 was the game-changer. One mile uphill. A slow climb. Calves burning. Quads screaming. Battlefield of the mind. I kept telling myself just make it through this mile, and you can take a walk break.

Miles 10, 11 and 12 looked exactly like 9. Slow uphill climbs with some downhills. Just to climb right back up the next mammoth. By mile 12, any incline of any shape or size was a mammoth in my mind. My hamstrings were screaming. I was exhausted.

When we turned onto Cantrell for the final half mile, I was basically a machine. Just. Keep. Moving. Your. Legs. I was hot and cold and tired. And I was starting to feel kind of hypoglycemic-ish.

I crossed the finish line in tears. And then sat down immediately. Tears of relief and joy and humility. I was just so happy it was over. And I was even more happy I didn't pass out at the finish line.

I looked down at my watch to check the time, but it was still running. I didn't stop it.

But I did something amazing. And absolutely not planned.

I finished in 2:39:45.

That's six minutes faster than St. Jude's.

I ran a PR on the hardest course I've ever faced while I was sick as a dog.
 This medal will be one of my most cherished possessions. I gave that race everything I had, and I left it all on the course. Those 13.1 miles were the hardest, yet most fulfilling, miles of my running life so far.

Let's do it again. But for now, I rest.