Memories…a trail of faith!

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Today is a day I have been dreading in a sense.  Not really sure why dread is the word…but I know how I have been feeling.  One year ago today is when we received ‘the phone call’.  Mom had suffered a subdural hematoma(brain bleed) and we didn’t know what was next.  Our whole world changed in an instance!

As today approached, my anticipation grew.  Again, I don’t know why…I should be thrilled we are one year out! (and don’t get me wrong I am!!!)  This morning when I awoke and read my devotional I realized God didn’t want me to feel anxious…He wanted me learn.  And learn I did!

The first thing I did upon waking was make one of two phone calls.  The first phone call was to mom.  Guess what she was doing? Getting ready to go play golf! Is God not so good? He is so very faithful! I was able to tell I love her and how blessed I am to know she is one year out from her ordeal.  AND – she is 100%! God is so good!  Wow is all I can really say!!!

The second phone call was to dad.  I blubbered a little bit with mom and more so with daddy.  I remember so vividly crouching down on the floor in one of our back bedrooms when I took ‘the call’ from dad last year.  Mike sat beside me with his arm around me.  He knew it wasn’t good.  This years call was the opposite. Yes, there were tears, but tears of joy. This ‘call’ was happy! God has been faithful!

So what did God teach me? Well, after making the phone calls I had my breakfast and read my devotionals.  I have three books I am reading out of and would you believe ALL three spoke in some way to this day! The messages were clear.  First, from Jesus Calling:  The first sentence: “Let ME help you get through this day.”  The last sentence: “Thank Me for each problem you encounter, and watch to see how I transform trials into blessings!”  Wow!!! This year has been a year of transforming trials into blessings!!! I have had a front row seat between Boston, Mom and Mike. :)

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Second was from Daily Devotions for Die-hard Fans-Arkansas Razorbacks(This devotional is awesome and all SEC teams have one…just an FYI!)  The title for the devotion was Memory Loss.  Within the devotion he writes:  “Memory makes us how we are.  Whether our memories are dreams or nightmares, they shape us and to a large extent determine both our actions and our reactions.”  He continues, “God uses memory as a means through which we experience spiritual revival.  To remember is to keep our faith alive!”  He was referencing the Lord’s supper and the importance of remembering Jesus.  We had to remember Jesus during the whole ordeal with mom.  He was our strength and our hope.  The memory of today shows God’s faithfulness!

The last devotion book was Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore.  The last scripture she used is one I reference a lot, but one that gained a whole new meaning to me this last year.

Hebrews 12.1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The journey we started as a family on June 12, 2013 was a tough one.  One of the hardest ones I have been on in my life.  The uncertainties, the fear, the doubt, the emotions, and the helplessness all led us to one thing…God! He helped us lean on Him and one another.  The memory of today was not to be dreaded but to be celebrated.  It gives us a chance to really look back and see how far God has brought us!  He helped us see the importance of today…the importance of relationships…especially the one with HIM which leads to eternal life.  He helped us see the importance of prayer and of hope! Our faith is what brought us through.   My life verse sums it up:
Hebrews 11.1

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

We could not see the end.  Now we can.  We hoped and had faith His glory would be seen.  We are blessed the outcome was what it has been – mom at 100% – we know His glory would have been seen with another outcome as well…but boy, are we thankful He chose this one!  As our family verse states:

Romans 8.28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

He had a purpose in the events that happened on June 12.  He is still fulfilling that purpose.  The memories of today help us continue to have faith in the one true God! He is alive and overcame death so we too can be alive in Him.  My prayer for all reading this is that you too will experience the one true relationship that leads to eternal salvation – the one with Jesus Christ our Lord.  We would not have made through this last year with the many ups and downs without Him.  Our faith is what sustains us and gives us peace and joy in ALL circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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Mom ~ We love you so much! We are all so very thankful God chose you for us! We are also thankful for the amazing spirit of perseverance and true grit you have shown us over this last year.  Here’s to making many more memories on our trail of blessings and faith!

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Coming full circle on a point to point course…

The first starting point – the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  The day that changed my life and the lives of many others forever.  That is the point where the circle started.

Where did the circle end? The finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon with 20+ Team Hoyt members following their inspirations Dick and Rick Hoyt across the historic line in the ultimate TEAM finish.  This day will forever be branded in all of our hearts and minds!  This is the story of how we, as a team, reclaimed the Boston Marathon Finish Line for all who were a part of 2013’s marathon and America.

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Isaiah 41.10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 45.2-3  

I will go before you  and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lordthe God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Judges 6.23-24

But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

As I got closer to marathon weekend I could sense an overwhelming peace blanketing me.  Many people asked in the days leading to April 21 how I felt about going back.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was part of my journey and part of my story.  God started the big circle years ago.  He knew I would miss qualifying for Boston on my first try.  He knew I would run a qualifying run on my second try but fail to get in due to stricter performance standards.  He knew I will find the BEST team in the world – Team Hoyt…A team that truly represents HIS unfailing and unconditional love for us  – by giving us an earthly example of that love through Dick’s love for his son Rick.  He knew He would place me on that team for a reason…to experience the historic marathon in a way unlike any other – with an extended family!

He knew 2012 would be a great run – a hot one, but one that allowed me to slow down and enjoy the music.  The music of cheering crowds and clapping hands the entire 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.  He knew my mind would be focused on the experience because it was too hot to race!  What a phenomenal day it was!

Then came 2013 – this was my year to run as a Team Hoyt charity runner with no pressure.  I was in and my goal was to qualify on Boston’s course. I was on target…but fell short by 7 minutes or I thought I had.  :) Again, God knew.  He had other plans.  He allowed me to finish that race 11-12 minutes before the devastation hit. He put a hedge of protection around me and around Mike.  He gave us 12 short minutes to find one another…though it felt like an eternity.  He protected our team.  He knew we all would be forever changed! He knew we would want to come back and see this thing through again in memory and in honor of those affected.  We had to do it! Yes, we did!  He also knew I would be returning as  qualified runner in 2014.

My beauty from the ashes was that 16 days before the 2014 Boston Marathon I turned 45.  That meant I moved up an age division and gained 10 extra minutes on my qualifying goal time for Boston.  So, on April 15, 2013 I qualified to run the 2o14 Boston Marathon and I was accepted to run it as a qualified runner in September.  Once again I would run the streets between Hopkinton and Boston as a Team Hoyt member…but as a qualified runner who gained my own entry.

Running Boston as a qualified runner was a dream or a seed that God planted over 14 years ago.  God is faithful.  God has been sowing this seed for a long time.  I obviously wasn’t ready when I wanted it…I was ready when He did.  And He did in grand fashion!  He knew the circumstances that would get me to 2014 and allow me to once again experience a life-changing event! He is so good! I am so very humbled to have been chosen to represent His feet during this monumental run.

Romans 8.28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Boston 2014

This year I was not only able to experience the weekend with Mike and Team Hoyt, I was also able to take it all in with Yoli and her husband Tim.  Yoli is my training buddy.  Her friendship is priceless! I am a better person because of her – in all areas.  Running with Yoli is the reason I qualified in the first place…she is my rabbit. :)  This made Boston 2014 even more special.  We didn’t get to run together or really hang out on race day but we got to take in Boston and the expo together.  Special memories were made!

Proverbs 27.17

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

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Another first time experience was being able to participate in the Boston 5k with 10,000 other runners on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day for a run! We lined up and took off. It was pretty much survival of the fittest as people jockeyed for position the entire 3.1 miles.  I just tried to stay on my feet because I knew I needed them come Monday morning.  The course brought us over the finish line of the marathon. I got to cross it twice.  The Saturday run prepped me for Monday.  It was a prayerful 5k.  I was able to soak in the surroundings and be thankful for the journey to run the historic roads once again.  It was a blessed run.

After the 5k, Mike and I got ready for a day filled with Team Hoyt fun.  We had the traditional meet and greet where we got to meet all the new Team Hoyt members and reunite ourselves with the alumni.  What a great time! Our team is beyond phenomenal.  Not only are we led by two amazing men, Dick and Rick Hoyt, but we are made up of quality people from all walks of life.  All who have one goal as the run – to show everyone Yes, You Can! no matter what you are going through.  You can get out there and take that first step no matter what! One team member was told he would never walk again after he hit a moose with his car…he is now an Ironman! Another was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy at birth and his parents were told he would suffer with life long disabilities .  He was hoping to run a 2:40 on race day but an injury slowed him down.  Another team member was hit by a car during her training last year.  She saw the blessing in it when she realized if she had run the race she trained for she would have been crossing the finish lines when the bombs went off.  Story after story after story was told during the meet and greet.  Team Hoyt is a dream team.  A team of 53 caring individuals running for a purpose as one!

As a team we then went to listen to our inspirations share their story at the Boston Marathon Expo.  Inspiring…once again. It never gets old listening to Dick and Rick share the reasons why they run! Yes, You Can!  The evening finished with the Team Hoyt Pasta dinner.  As a team we heard inspiring words from our two coaches, Uta Pippig -3x Boston Marathon winner and Varinka Ensminger – Army National Guard Marathon Team.  It is such an honor to call them friends and coaches! They are both a wealth of knowledge and such inspirations!!!  We had an amazing musical surprise…check this out: http://youtu.be/PzHTir1PNmo

We closed the evening with fun photos of the team.  We were ready to bring our team together on Marathon Monday and reclaim the finish line for Boston as a team.  We were and are TEAM HOYT! As one of the runner’s daughter’s posters said…”How do you spell HERO – H.O.Y.T. – TEAM HOYT!” We were inspired and ready to do this!

Sunday was Easter…the day we celebrate our Lord and Savior’s RESURRECTION! We attend Park Street Church right on the border of Boston Commons.  This is the park where the 5k started on Saturday and where the runners would be picked up on Monday morning and taken to the start line.  It is a beautiful park….full of life! Life is what this day was all about. We enjoyed the traditional Easter service in a church away from home. We missed our home church but were thankful to be surrounded by others singing praises and thanksgiving to our Lord for sending His Son to die for our sins! He defeated death and gave us eternal life! This was a very special part of our journey.

After church, we explored Boston.  The past two-years we wanted to take a trolley tour and it never worked out.  This day was the day.  We enjoyed a trolley tour, lunch at the Chart House – in the old Gardiner Building – the restored 18th-century offices of American Patriot John Hancock, and a harbor cruise.  It was a grand day.  God is so good. He gave us great weather and a wonderful day to soak in HIS goodness.  We finished our evening up with Yoli and Tim at the infamous Cheesecake Factory.  We carb loaded and added some extra fat in the form of cheesecake…Godiva Cheesecake…just in case we needed extra fuel on Marathon Monday. It was a fabulous ending to a blessed day!

Throughout these two days, no fear was present.  We felt the comforting hand of our Lord around us sent by so many prayers.  We were surrounded by love from afar and it made all the difference in the world. We knew He had come before us and was with us every step of the way! Next up was marathon day!

Isaiah 41.10 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

No fear was present only peace. Peace from above! HE ordained the perfect day with His many angels from all over the world praying for us! The day was almost indescribable.  It has taken me almost a week to sit down and attempt to pen it.  I will not and cannot do it justice.  It was surreal.

The day started early.  5:00 a.m. to be exact.  We had a bus to catch…a team bus.  This year we were still able to roll to the start line as a team but we were unable to go to our Team Hoyt house.  Our home was the charter bus we rode on…not too bad considering all the other athletes had to ride school buses, get off and sit in the grass with 30,000+ other runners.  We had our own reclining seats, our own bathroom and are own area to just chill for the 6+ hours some of us had to wait. :)   Before loading the bus we took the race day morning photos…bright eyed and bushy-tailed for sure! Then we were off….

As we arrived at the school where we were to hang out until 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., we noticed the police presence. They were everywhere. We parked next to a Vermont Bomb Squad vehicle.  Looking around you were able to see armed officers everywhere.  We were definitely protected.

The 6+ hours of waiting were fun times with our teammates. We chatted…we laughed….we went to the bathroom…some slept…we took photos…we made race day plans…we ate…we went to the bathroom…we waited….we went to the bathroom….we waited…

Before we were off…

Slowly our runners would leave based on their wave. There were four waves this year in order to accommodate the 9,000 extra participants.  I was in wave 3 along with my friend Joann.  We didn’t start until 11:00 a.m.  It was a cool morning. Perfect running weather or so we thought. :) Our race day plan was to keep it at around a 9:00-9:30 mile and catch up with Dick and Rick.  My plan was to finish with them.  Joann was going to see how she felt and then decide.  The day started to warm up and by the time we made it to the start line we had shed all of our warm clothing, donating it to the shelters in Boston.   As we made our way to the start we were corralled through security. No bags, nothing extra at all! We were wanded from head to toe and sent on our way.  They were not taking any chances.  Hats off to all of the officers present to keep us safe.  WE felt it!

As we towed the start line we were ready.  Joann said this is our day! We were smiling and joy overcame us! This was a day to reclaim what they tried to take away last year.  Joann didn’t get to finish. She was stopped shy of the finish line.  I had finished but felt something was ripped away.  We were ready to get it back! Let’s do it!

Off we went! The first couple of miles flew by.  We were having to watch our pace and back off because we were getting caught up with the excitement.  People were cheering us on by clapping, yelling, holding signs.  Several told us thanks for coming back.  There were so many spectators.  The towns were electric.  We had kids and adults giving high fives.  We had people holding signs that said “go random stranger go!” Love it! It was magical the entire way…or so we thought!  We hadn’t even experienced half of it yet. The best was yet to come!

As we approached mile 8 we knew Joann had friends waiting.  This was where one of our team members family hangs out.  They have cheered Team Hoyt on for their 32 years running the Boston Marathon.  They can spot them from way off.  Joann’s friends teamed up with them and we had a grand welcome to mile 8.4.  It was truly awesome.  We received hugs, water and encouragement.  Just what we needed to keep on going!

Then as we rolled up on mile 10 I thought I heard someone calling my name…TRISH, TRISH! I did! Emily from Alabama (originally from Massachusetts) was standing off to the left-hand side with a sign that said GO TRISH.  IMG_7520

What a nice surprise! How in the world she spotted us and I heard her…I know how…God put her there for us! It was awesome!  I just met her at my Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt in Chattanooga.  She read about it and came out to support us.  Being from Massachusetts she was familiar with Team Hoyt and wanted to supported them and our run.  Then she did it again at the Marathon…how cool is that???

After this point I was energized but my legs were heavy.  It was getting warmer.  We were running a marathon…it is not always easy. :)  Joann encouraged me to keep on keeping on…as we both did.  I thought about our team and what it stood for…yes, you can!  Another time I was feeling heavy we came across a young man running the marathon on crutches.  Boy, I knew I could do it if he could.  One step at a time.  Joann pulled me through.  Our goal was to make it to Dick and Rick we could do this! Yes, we could!

As we ran my eyes continually glanced ahead of us looking for red jerseys.  I knew we should find the team soon.  One lady told us that they had been there recently and were walking.  We weren’t far behind. Yay!  Then we saw them…or should I say heard the roar.  Check out the videos:

http://youtu.be/ODlQBOJrsoU

http://youtu.be/Q1mIZtWXKxQ

http://youtu.be/pyU9BAd3GT0

http://youtu.be/V8nkMPblKoI

http://youtu.be/s52-DVrJlTE

These just give you a small taste of what it was like…truly amazing! Indescribable!!!! Once we caught up with this dynamic duo we walked the last nine miles with them and just took it all in.  I really can’t put it into words. There were several very special moments along the course.  Two different times Dick and Rick pulled over to speak with a young girl and young boy in wheelchairs.  The parents were so very honored that they took the time to stop.  It was so moving…this is what they are all about….inclusion! Yes, You CAN!

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Photos taken by a team member – Dave – thanks for capturing  these priceless moments DAVE!

Then at the top of HeartBreak Hill, where we are all tired no matter what, we found MIKE! I was overjoyed.  He is as much part of our team as I am. They were all so glad to see him.  This was the encouragement and boost we needed to make the last 5.2 miles.  They all hugged him then it was my turn.  I got a hug and a kiss. :)  IMG_7533

What a day it was turning out to be!!! We had the best waiting on us.  The last mile from the Citgo sign on to Boylston Street! We were ready to reclaim that finish line together….Team Hoyt STRONG and Boston Strong! Joann went on and attacked Heartbreak Hill.  She did great!

Around mile 24 we picked up our three-time Boston Marathon winner coach – Uta Pippig.  Joann was waiting with her to finish with all of us.  She was so very excited to see Dick and Rick and the whole team. We were now ready to finish strong.

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Off we went! We rounded the corner next to the Fire Station who lost a member of their unit not too long ago…he was supposed to be running the race.  It was moving in itself to see the signs for him and hear the cheers.  Then the final turn toward the finish line.  It was remarkable! It was beautiful! It was magnificent! It was surreal! Team Hoyt’s leaders – Dick and Rick Hoyt led the charge for the finish line. This would be the last time Dick and Rick Hoyt would cross the finish line together.  This was their chance to reclaim what was taken from them last year. The roars continued to erupt along the course as the team got closer.  It was unreal!!  You could sense the respect the crowd have for these two who we call Team HOYT! Their 32nd and final Boston Marathon finish. This was it.  The crowd was gong to make sure they had a proper farewell.  And that, they did!!!

http://youtu.be/kBfrEKij3zs 

The crowd said thank you.  They showed Dick and Rick that they were as much as a part of the marathon as the marathon itself.  Dick and Rick showed the nation that they were Boston Strong and Team Hoyt Strong and no one was going to keep them from doing what they set out to do last year…finish their 32nd Boston Marathon! They did it with many of their team members by their side and others there in spirit.  Team Hoyt will continue with another team member pushing Rick along the streets in the future.  The Yes, You Can spirit will live on!

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It was a day for the record books.  It was a day forever etched in my heart and in my mind.   God knew what He was doing so many years ago.  He knew He was giving me a story to tell.  A story of His love and grace.  A story that shows good triumphing over evil.  A story that will forever show HIS true spirit of unconditional love through two amazing men – Dick and Rick Hoyt.  Dick has given Rick the opportunity to live life to the fullest through different sporting events.  He loves his son so much he is his legs.  They say Dick is the arms and legs and Rick is the heart.  This is a real-life love story of a father and son that is hard to top.

We have a heavenly Father that wants to do the same for us!  He can give us life that we can live to the fullest as well….He can push us through our journey and carry us through the tough times.  The finish line is eternal life with HIM as long as we believe.  He is there waiting!

Romans 10.9-10

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

 

I am truly honored and humbled to be given this story. God has been so very good. He has blessed me beyond what I deserve.  He has been with me every step of the way even when I have stumbled…when I have fallen…when I am not worthy…which all of these happen daily! He has given me a story! An amazing story! I want to shout it from the mountain tops…that is why it has taken me over 3500 words to get it out.  The event I thought was indescribable was far from it…I could keep on going but I won’t!

Last words – I am just so very thankful for the Lord allowing me to come full circle…full circle from the time I stated I wanted to run the Boston Marathon so many years ago AND most importantly coming full circle from last year’s horrific events to this year’s joyful and peaceful events.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

Thanks to all of you for your prayers, your support and your love! This journey is as much about you as it is me.  We have to live life to the fullest and help others along the way!

This post, about this remarkable day, is dedicated to my amazing husband who follows along on my many running journeys – He supports me no matter what and loves me all the way to the finish line.  I would never want to do this without him.  He makes it worth it all….IMG_7593

 

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God’s 45th birthday present to me…

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Run with Trish 5k 2014 Prayer Circle

As Boston 2014 approaches, I can’t help but reflect on Boston 2013.  My emotions have been pretty tame up until about a week or so ago.  I think of the joy and excitement we had going into the run and then the tragedy that struck and broke those emotions apart.  But we are runners and we are resilient…we will run!

Little did I know on April 15 that God was giving me an early 45th birthday present.  He was delivering beauty from the ashes on that day…He allowed me to run a 45-year-old Boston qualifying run at age 44.  So, I turned 45 on Saturday – 4/5/2104.  Race day age is the age you get to count when trying to qualify…of course that didn’t dawn on me until the Saturday after Boston 2013.  God allowed me to live through April 15 and let His goodness soak in through the tragedy.

My dream of running Boston as a true qualified runner is coming true on April 21, 2014…and God orchestrated that last year.  He also knew when I started my Boston journey in 2011 that it would work out this way.  He knew I would find Team Hoyt and be able to run with them for two years as a charity runner.  He knew the beauty from the ashes in 2013 would be to once again join Team Hoyt in 2014 as a qualifier!  Happy Birthday to me! Thanks to the Lord for this amazing blessing!

So, this past weekend we had our 3rd Run with Trish for Team Hoyt for my Boston journey. This year was different from any other in several ways.  First, I had the majority of my family and Mike’s family present for the run/walk.  They all participated and some of them even won their age groups. Blessed and thankful is all I can say.  Our families were on a roller coaster ride much of 2013.  To have us all together and healthy brings more joy than I can truly describe!

img_8390Newsom/Taylor Families…

img_8361Mom – Doesn’t she look great??? She won her age group! :)

img_8337Dad – He too won his age group.

img_7923My niece Taylor did too!!

img_7674My sister, Lisa cheering us all on!

Secondly, I had the incredible privilege of pushing a sweet 12-year-old named Gracey.  Gracey has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.  I was able to be her legs across the 3.1 miles.  When a hill would come I would push through it for her.  I would tell her what was coming up along the way.  Gracey did a couple or should I say several wheelies as we turned corners.  She exclaimed with excitement throughout the whole course.  AGAIN, what a true joy!

img_8251The Estes Family

img_7981Gracey and I coming into the finish!

Thirdly, we had GREAT weather. It was perfect! We couldn’t have asked for more idea running weather! The venue was ideal.  The surroundings made for awesome pictures by a wonderful photographer…my other niece, Lane.

img_8397The photographer, my niece Lane…

Check her photos out here:   http://laneybugphotos.smugmug.com/Proofing/2014-Sessions/2014-Run-With-Trish-5k/

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Fourthly, my dear husband and gift from God spoke of his experience during the Boston bombing aftermath.  He talked about how without the bad we really and truly wouldn’t experience the good…how it all works together to help us appreciate the life God has given us!  Mike is such an encourager and he definitely shared his heart with us!

Romans 8.28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

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img_7647Mike…:)

What was the same? My running angels…they were there all around helping make the DAY a grand one.  They started it by singing happy birthday and providing goodies to snack on at our early 6 a.m. set-up.  They made sure the race went smoothly from registration, to timing, to emceeing, to the sound system, to ice for drinks, to post-race food, to door prizes and awards, to clean up…I couldn’t ask for better friends!!! It takes a village to run the Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt!

img_8401My running angels!!!

So needless to say…God gave me a BLESSED 45th birthday…He started orchestrating it last year with a BQ and had it complete itself with an AWESOME day that cannot be replicated! It was a day to remember forever! One to say was truly one of the BEST! I was surrounded by people I love more than life itself, doing something I love and God gave me as a tool to use for HIM all while helping others in the process! What a day!

God is good all the time and all the time God is good…as one of my running angels likes to say!

So, going into Boston 2014 my joy runneth over!!! The good and the bad help me see the joy in life! I am ready to go to Boston and run for HIM with a team that is an earthly example of what our heavenly Father does for us….check it out here:

This God-given journey that started many years ago is going to finish Boston Strong on April 21, 204.  Stay tuned!

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Do we have eternal eyes?

Do we look at things through the eyes of eternity?

He prepares for us a place! If we have accepted HIM in our hearts we can confidently say: “Our citizenship is in heaven!!”

How comforting is that? It is so very comforting to know Christ is preparing what is good for us…better than any good we could EVER imagine…in our heavenly home! The things we battle in this world are preparing us for our eternal home!

This conjures up all kinds of thoughts for me…Are we looking at life through the eyes of eternity? Are we sensitive to those around us and where their eternal citizenship may lie?

This past week I have had three different people close to me lose loved ones. These loved ones do not have another chance to determine their eternal home. They gained their eternal citizenship last week.  Did they hear the good news?  Are they experiencing the good Jesus has been preparing?  Did someone share with them the saving love of Jesus Christ?

Philippians 3.18-21

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

John 14.1-4

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

As I live comfortably with the assurance that my citizenship lies in heaven, am I burdened for those who may not be have that same assurance? My prayer should be as Hillsong’s song Hosanna states:  Break my heart for what breaks yours…

He wants all of us to see Him and fellowship with Him in the place He is preparing – Heaven! Are we reaching out to ensure our neighbors, our loved ones, our co-workers and others will have citizenship in heaven?  What is keeping us from sharing the BEST news ever????

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http://youtu.be/AQGJdTpMUcU – Go here to listen to Hosanna by Hillsong…be blessed!

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What is i2? Follow up to my latest blog.

After I posted my latest blog, God’s reasons for i2, it hit me…not everyone knows what i2 is. Oops! So here you go:

i2 is really “i” squared. It is a symbol for the scripture Proverbs 27.17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” A symbol for iron sharpening iron…i2.

My brother, Rob came up with the logo and used it for a company he used to own. Rob is a godly man and wants to sharpen all he comes in to connect with according to God’s word.  He gives credit to God for i2.

In 2012 when I hosted my first Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt, Rob’s company sponsored our t-shirts. From this point on my running buddies and I started using i2 to encourage one another as we ran and in life. It has now become a symbol for us all to be encouragers for the Lord.

Over the last two years I have felt a prompting by the Lord to use i2 as a way to encourage others…family, friends and strangers…so I went to social media to make it a reality. Thus the i2 Facebook page was developed in December 2013.  On this page I try to post pictures with scripture, Christian music and up-lifting words on a daily basis.  The Lord has blessed me with the love of photography as well.  All of the pictures I post are from my travels around the world.  The music posted are songs that have touched me in some way as I walk with Christ.  The scripture is God’s ultimate guide-book for our lives.  It blesses me to post for others.  God is good! I want to share up build, bless and benefit others in the process.  The blog post, God’s reasons for i2, described the journey through scripture that led me to the Facebook i2. If you have not found it yet, go here: https://www.facebook.com/iron2

Be encouraged! Sharpen and be sharpened!!

 

 

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God’s reasons for i2

Today as I was reading my daily Bible reading, I kept coming across different scriptures with i2 written next to them.   It became clear to me that I wanted to share the reasons for i2…God’s reasons for i2.

The scripture i2 is based on is Proverbs 27.17 – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. (New Living Translation)  We are called by God to encourage one another…whether that be in running, as it started for me or in every day living through every day situations.  As the Bible says in Hebrews 10.23-25 – 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)

We see the Day approaching…we see the world turning to worldly ways…we see evil all around us! It is hard to live in this world.  We have to remember we are not of this world and we are not alone!  We need to sharpen one another as we move along on this journey called life.

In 1 John 2.15-17 the Word encourages us to not love things of this world: 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Ephesians 6.20 states “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Due to all of this we need encouragement, we need friends who are like-minded, we need others who love Christ and we need to give ourselves to those we love in any way Christ would have us to.  I believe i2 is one way the Lord is encouraging me to encourage others.

Below you will find the scriptures the Lord laid before me over the past couple of years in reference to i2.  I sense His prompting me to encourage others on how we, as God-fearing people, can encourage one another to be all we can be in Christ as the Day approaches.  I hope you are blessed and bless others on your journey!

It is better to give than receive…

Acts 21.32-35

32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Share with others!

Hebrews 13.16

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Are we bond servants for Christ?

2 Corinthians 11.29-30

29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?  30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying.

In my Bible I have written the following words below the next passage: 

When God puts a thought, a vision or a dream in your heart – DO it! We are jars of clay…

2 Corinthians 4.1-5

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

So…

Romans 15.13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

for OTHERS….

Because….

Romans 14.7-8

7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

And finally there is JOY in serving…

Philippians 2.1-8

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

So, let’s BUILD, BLESS & BENEFIT others for Christ!

1 Thessalonians 5.11

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

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Forgiveness…Let Go & Let God!

The Lord has been dealing with me on this topic quite a bit lately.  Today after finishing my morning devotional reading, I was flipping through my Bible.  The Bible fell open to Matthew 18.   The page caught my attention because there were sermon notes written in the margins. I like to write sermon notes, prayer requests, and answered prayers in my Bible so I can go back and read what God has done…to see how faithful He has been…to see His love for me and those I love!  I love how God always brings these messages and notes back up.

The scriptures referenced in the sermon notes were Matthew 18.21-35 – where Jesus is dealing with the unforgiving debtor. The sermon notes hit home as well as the commentary I had written down that day.  Most of the time I write the pastor’s name down who delivered the sermon…but this time I did not.  Credit for the following words goes to him and God knows who He used to present this message.  These are not my words but the servant of the Lord’s.

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SERMON NOTES and SCRIPTURE:

Forgiveness with Humility and Love!

Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars.He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

ARE WE FORGIVERS? LIFESTYLE FORGIVERS?

  • Forgiveness is an obligation not an option!

~You are no closer to God than the person you like the least.

Mark 11.25  But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

  • Forgiveness is a matter of grace not law – Amazing Grace!
  • Forgiveness sets people free!
  • Forgiveness sets us free!

~Bitterness and unforgiveness are like acid- They are worse on the vessel they are stored in than the one it is poured on!

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This is great stuff! It is HARD but so simple with God! God is so good! How many times are we to forgive? Forever!

Luke 17:4

“Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.”

Christ sent His son to die for us and forgive us of the many wrongs we do over and over again.

Romans 3.23-26

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

We are to love as He loved.  He loved the unlovable and we are to do the same!

John 13.34

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

He can and will give us the strength to do so when we ask!

Philippians 4.13

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

We are to release our pride and let Him help us forgive.  Oh the peace that comes from letting go and letting God!

Philippians 4.6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Are you ready for that peace? Are you ready to forgive and be set free?

forgivingothers-2

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Do we anticipate Christ’s return like teachers/students anticipate snow?

Last night as I was falling asleep thinking ‘snow’…hoping for ‘snow’…wanting ‘snow’…it hit me – Do I think this way about Christ’s return? Do I wait for it? Do I hope for it? Do I anticipate it like I should? Do I live expectantly for His return?

What  does the Lord say to us about Christ’s return in His word? A lot(more than 300 times in New Testament)…but here are a few key scriptures that spoke to me as I searched out the answer for myself:

Do we know when He will return?  Should we be waiting and ready?

Mark 13.31-36

31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.  35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.

John 14.2-3

2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

2 Timothy 4.7-8

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

How are we to live while we wait?

Titus 2.11-4

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Why do we wait?

Philippians 3.20-21

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Revelation 21.4

4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

So, should we anticipate Christ’s return like we(teacherslol) anticipate snow? YES and more so! This gentle reminder from the Lord reminded me we should be living as if Christ could return todaybecause, yes, He can! 

S tay focused on the Lord daily…

N ever losing sight of our eternal home…

O pen and willing to share His love with others…

W ith anticipation of HIS return!

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He will RISE again…let’s get excited!!!
Song of the day – Chris Tomlin – I will Rise!

http://youtu.be/Bms0ZiM_KG0

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Another blessed year of running…1750 miles strong!




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2013 proved itself to be one of chaos. Controlled chaos…but chaos.  Running saved me.  Running took me to places I hadn’t planned on going.  Running proved to be therapeutic and necessary for so many reasons.  Running allowed me to lay everything down and truly run the race He set before me.

Many mailboxes were passed…in my 1750 miles.  They were run in 8 states:  Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Massachusetts.  Most of my runs were training runs for my three marathons: the Boston Marathon(April), the Tupelo Marathon(September) or the 7 Bridges Marathon(October).  So thankful to the Lord for the ability to run and move!

This year I did more solo running than last.  God and I conversed while I pounded the pavement in His wonderland.  It was a year of truly finding myself in Christ as I put one step in front of the other.  Most of my races had deep meaning! Running also allowed me to get closer to my friends and faithful running angels! So grateful for them!  And I can not go without thanking my family and dear husband for being with me on every run whether in spirit or body.  Very blessed!

I did a lot of picture-taking along the way.  I learned to take time and smell the roses…to seek the joy in the run.

Here is a pictorial review of my 1750 blessed miles that got me through 2013…

Hot Chocolate 15k in Atlanta

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Scenic City 5k

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Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt

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15k in Indianapolis with my sister

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Boston 2013

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Meeting Ryan Hall

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Team Hoyt 2013

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Boston Marathon Finisher – April 15, 2013 – Qualified for 2014

Chickamauga Chase 8k

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Destin, Florida with my sister

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Springfield, Missouri – During 21 day hospital stay

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July 4th – 4 on the 4th – Fayetteville, Arkansas

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Bentonville, AR

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Bentonville, Arkansas – When Mike came to visit! Yay!

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The Pinky Run – Welcome Home – Chattanooga

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Tupelo Marathon – September

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7 Bridges Marathon – Chattanooga

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Bethel Bible 4 miler

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Turkey Trot 8k

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Funky Monkey 5kIMG_6703

Families on the Run 5k

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2014 will bring many more blessed miles…I have around 750 left on my journey to Boston 2014.

Thankful for the ability and the desire!

Joyful I run.

Grateful I run.

For God, I run!

Here's to a fun 2014 enjoying the run!

Here’s to a fun 2014 enjoying the run!

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i2 ~ Iron sharpens Iron

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i2 is not only the chemical formula for iodine it has also become a symbol of encouragement and love.  Like iodine, encouragement and love are essential to humans.  This symbol has very special meaning!

My brother first started using i2 as a part of his business logo while he was in Arkansas.  Not long after that  we were organizing the first Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt.  Rob’s company sponsored the race and we placed i2 on our t-shirts to represent his sponsorship.  Realizing the power of encouragement while running the roads I asked Rob if I could use i2 to encourage others in our running.  He said i2 is not mine but God’s. :)  So at that point, my running angels and I started using the symbol i2 to encourage one another on the roads.

i2 stands for iron sharpening iron as found in Proverbs 27.17.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

In November 2012 of the Lord pressed upon my heart that I could use i2 to not only encourage running friends but everyone.  At this point I did not act on it.  Then the year 2013 hit me like a Peterbilt truck…:) (that’s for my brother!) I was the recipient of an overwhelming amount of encouragement and love.  i2 was lived out in my life through others…many of you! You all encouraged me through Boston 2013, through my mom’s accident and then through Mike’s accident.  There were times I felt like giving up and because of the overwhelming outpouring of love and encouragement I didn’t! God provided encouragement in ways I couldn’t have ever imagined.  Then today during my devotional I felt God pressing once again…”you have received much encouragement and sharpening, it is now your turn to give back.”

With all of this being said…I am acting on it!  I have built Facebook page called i2.  Go here to like and share: https://www.facebook.com/pages/i2/639734179417709?ref=hl  This page will be used to encourage God’s way! I will post daily scriptures from the best encourager we all have – our Lord and Savior. My goal is to write and post smaller snippets as my family continually encourages me to do. This page will be used for encouragement and sharpening for all of us through the Holy Word of God.  In this process I will continually pray that the Holy Spirit leads me….this page is about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ encouraging His children through one another.

Life is a journey.  This journey is one with ups and downs and we all need a little encouragement along the way.  I hope i2 will be a positive source of God’s encouragement for you during your journey of life.  Share with others and feel free to post your encouraging words with us.  We are not alone! Let’s….

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 1 Thessalonians 5.11

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