9/11 x 2 – Two days to remember…

Mountain Meadows Massacre – September 11, 1857 – 164 years ago

9/11 – September 11, 2001 – 20 years ago

Both events were tragic.

Both events were senseless.

Both events should not have happened.

One event was led by fellow Americans.

One event was led by foreigners.

Lives were lost.

Forever.

In both!

Both events should be remembered.

Never forgotten.

One event is an integral part of my family’s history.

One event is an integral part of our country’s history.

Both SENSELESS.

Both UGLY.

Both should have NEVER happened.

9/11/1857 – “On September 11, 1857, some 50 to 60 local militiamen in southern Utah, aided by American Indian allies, massacred about 120 emigrants who were traveling by wagon to California. The horrific crime, which spared only 17 children age six and under, occurred in a highland valley called the Mountain Meadows, roughly 35 miles southwest of Cedar City. The victims, most of them from Arkansas, were on their way to California with dreams of a bright future.” Source: https://mountainmeadowsmassacre.com/what-is-the-mountain-meadows-massacre

9/11/2001 – “September 11 attacks, also called 9/11 attacks, series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism. Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania (where one of the hijacked planes crashed after the passengers attempted to retake the plane); all 19 terrorists died (see Researcher’s Note: September 11 attacks). Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed.” Source: https://www.britannica.com/event/September-11-attacks

On June 25, 2021, Mike and I visited the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Emotions swept over me and I cried. I had no idea how this sacred place for our family would affect me. It hit me like a brick. The gravity of what happened that day and how it affected my family weighed heavy on my heart. Tears flowed. As we walked around the meadow, peaceful at the moment, the thoughts of what happened all those years ago flooded our minds. There was no peace that day. Just horror.

The Baker/Fancher Wagon Train consisted of more than 150 men, women and children. Only 17 survived, all under the age of 7. The Mormons believed that children became “adult” at the age of 8. It is speculated that they wanted no “adult” survivors who could give credible testimony to the heinous crimes committed.” states https://mtnmeadowsmassacredescendants.com/in-memoriam/the-survivors/.

My great-great grandmother, Martha Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Baker, age 5 was one of the 17 survivors. Our family verse is 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.” As I entered the memorial site, the word ALL in this verse really came to life.

I am here today because Betty survived.

Betty Baker

In November of 2015, Mike and I visited New York City for me to run the NYC Marathon. We toured the city the days before the run. We visited the 9/11 Memorial site. The emotions were strong that day too. Thinking of the many lives lost during the horrific tragedy. The lives that forever changed.

These two events changed lives. These two events make you ponder the ‘why?’ of it all.

Evil is very present in our world. Bad things happen, very bad. Lives are changed. But, God is good. He uses all things to bring about His purposes. We may not and will not truly understand – ever understand.

Trusting in His purposes and His character…knowing He is the victor. We are fighting through these evil days from VICTORY. What comfort that gives me.

Again, both events were senseless…both events were tragic…both were life altering.

But, today is a day to remember and to trust, as is every 9/11.

Today is a day to honor those who are here thanks to the bravery of others.

Today is a day to be thankful for the beauty that has come from the ashes.

Today is a day to remember God is good and in ALL things He will work things out for those who love Him and are called according to HIS PURPOSE.

Thankful today for the emotions and for the opportunity to live and remember.

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Watching God work…

The last two weeks have been a true roller coaster ride. There have been ups and downs, tossing and turning, excitement and fear. Not once has God left me or led me astray. He has gone before me.

Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

At work I am surrounded by positive words on my walls, on my shelves, and on my desk. Daily reminders of His goodness and how He always provides. Even when I doubt Him. I need these reminders because I am flawed. I try so hard to do it on my own. But, I can’t.

He is my strength. He has reminded me over the last two weeks to allow Him to work. I still have to do my part, but I need to follow Him and look for His hand and trust His heart.

Have you ever just really felt like you can’t take anymore? You are truly at the end of your rope and can’t hang on? (and I mean in circumstances that hit you at work or home – every day things that just pile up…) You are living this illustration below. Everywhere you turn, something else pops up. Well, that is where God has me now.

I could get discouraged and run away hiding. I could refuse to spin the plates and drop them intentionally. But what fun is that? Then I would not be able to see God work. Some of these plates are great! Some are not so fun! But, they are all spinning around me for a reason. I can choose to spin alone or ask God to help.

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.

This verse is my family’s life verse, as I have mentioned in the past. We try to filter every thing through the word ALL. If we approach the spinning plates with the attitude that ALL of them have their purpose and ALL of them will lead to God’s grace, then we can have peace in the moment. God’s grace…God’s Joy….and God’s peace. Three things I cannot live without in this moment or any moment.

Spinning plates can lead to hopelessness. God wants us to have HOPE! He is the God of HOPE. He provided joy and peace as we trust HIM. And in doing so we will overflow with HOPE and the power of the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about you, but if I can truly do this, spinning plates and watching Him work in the process will be fun. Let Go and Let God do the work.

This past month I have been doing a study on the book of James. God started this two week season of ups and downs with showing me I needed to count trials as PURE JOY. I posted this on Instagram:

God uses His word to change our hearts and attitudes. As I faced the trial I referred to above, another one hit, and another one. He was showing me how to have pure joy in the moment – real time. I guess I needed extra credit on this one. I obviously needed it. I sit here today, taking in this scripture and relying on His amazing truth:

The Lord goes BEFORE me. He is WITH me. He will never LEAVE me. He will never FORSAKE me. And because of all of this – I should not be afraid or discouraged. He will help me continue the ride and get off at the end better for it. He will help me spin the plates and not drop them but help me catch them. I am very grateful for this tried and true lesson He is teaching me in the moment.

There have been so many Godincidences of God winks along the way.

Songs on the radio.

Podcasts with the perfect messages.

Devotionals cutting to the core of the issue.

Timely messages from friends.

All Simple things He has helped me notice He is in control!

These things show me His hand and that if I:

“Look to the Lord and His strength, seek His face always”.1 Chronicles 16. 11

I will not be shaken!

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be SHAKEN!” Psalm 16.8

My prayer is when I get tired of doing good and what He wants me to I remember:

– He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak….

He has us! He goes with us! He is working! Let’s be obedient and watch His Hand and trust His Heart!

May you find joy, peace, grace, strength, and comfort that only HE can give!

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Empty or FULL!

Empty – are you empty?

As I ran today in the gloomy weather, the Lord revealed to me His glory in more than one way. He showed me He can fill us up with HIS glory. He provides in so many different ways! How did He show up today?

-Waterfalls and roaring water rolling down the mountain creek-

“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” Psalm 42:7

-Ducks in water by a dilapidated bridge-

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 26.6

-Rocks balancing on each other-

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11


-Droplets of water on the limbs-

“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams..” Job 36.27

-Thorn bushes that have a odd sense of beauty

“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them.” Proverbs 22.5


-Random rocks tucked away in the root system of a tree


“His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.” Job8:17

-An old rock wall

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” Psalms 40.1-3

-An empty house

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will FILL you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

The empty house was at the end of the run. As I looked at it, I thought about how the house once had life. It is now being gutted for new life. This is the perfect picture of God’s redemption and how He redeems us from our past to give us new life. Eternal life in and with Him!

It also made me think of where we are in our world today. This last year made a lot of us fill gutted. It zapped the life away from us. We felt empty and sometimes still feel empty.

March 7, 2020 I ran a Boston qualifying time after a productive training season. I worked hard for that goal and I made it. I was living on that runner’s high when one week later the world stopped. The world changed. We started living life in a way we all never dreamed would be possible. This led to an empty feeling for most of us. It jolted us. It made us dig deep.

This year has been one of much reflection. One where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we don’t have to feel empty because we have access to the living water to truly fill us up in these gloomy times. There is sun and a SON that can provide eternal hope for all times.

As God reminded me today during my entire run, there is beauty in the gloominess of life. Jesus! He can provide peace to help us feel full and full of life even in the deepest of despair when we feel empty.

How do I know this? Because HE is the only reason I am making it through this thing called life. This year God has put me in places I NEVER ever thought I would be. And He is providing along the way – if I let Him. That is the key. I have to be willing to let go of the hard stuff and let Him direct me and give me His strength.

This is my story. HIs story of glory. He wants to give! He wants us to ask. He is willing and waiting. We don’t have to be an empty shell because we have access to the gift of LIFE – eternal life. Fullness of His spirit is waiting for all of us!

Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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Difficult but amazing…

One week of school is in the books. The most difficult first week ever. And the most amazing first week ever. To say I am proud to be leading an incredible group of faculty and staff would be a total understatement. This group is going over and beyond in ALL they do. They love our students and it shows. The time and effort they have put in since their ‘first’ day back is inspiring.

People have always described my school as a special place. A place full of people who call one another family. This is the truth! We are family. Family loves no matter what. Family bickers at times, but loves each another no matter what. Family jumps in when something needs to be done without thinking. Family loves up close and from a far. Family extends grace. Family is empathic. Family is helpful. Family is fun.

2020 started as a year to ‘refocus’ our vision – our perfect vision. Well, there is nothing perfect about 2020. Nothing at all. DIFFICULT is the only way to describe 2020 – DIFFICULT!

But family who is you want to do hard with…and turn it into amazing.

We will do amazing things this year. They are already doing amazing things. You know, none of us when to school to be remote/virtual/online teachers. This new way of teaching and delivering content is outside the box, not abnormal, just not what we do. It is now because we have a staff who wants to do amazing things and IS DOING amazing things. They will get the hard work done. They are getting the hard work done. Their value is unmeasurable.

We have a mantra at school – “Together, We Dream, Believe, Lead, and Achieve! Go Sweatbees!” This year we will bring new meaning to it…because:

  • We are truly in this together
  • We are dreaming of getting it done no matter what…
  • We believe in one another and our students…
  • We will lead by example despite the difficulties…
  • We will achieve amazing things in 2020-2021!
  • We ARE the Sweatbees!

As the above quote states: “Don’t miss out on something that could amazing just because it could also be difficult.” We will not miss out on an amazing year because we will use the difficulties to help us press forward. As a family we will lean on one another and make 2020-2021 the best year yet.

#proudtobeadcssweatbee

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I will not be shaken…

Today was my ‘first day’ with students for the 26th time. Wow! How can I be that old? It truly is hard to believe. Today I started, not as a p.e teacher, not as a school counselor, not as a principal, but as a superintendent. How did that happen? God! This is not a job I ever saw coming, but He did.

He has paved the journey for me over the many years in different states, a different country, different positions – all for such a time as this. He has led me to lead. I come by it naturally. Both of my parents were in public education and were administrators. It took me 23 years to take the administrative plunge because I watched them do it for so long. It is a hard job. Why would I want that? Well, because God wants it. So I followed.

I am glad I did. Today, was the first day back from our extra long break due to Covid. It has been a very long time since kids have walked in our halls. We treasured today. We knew whatever came our way – we would not be shaken.

As I type this blog, I am sitting at my new(old) desk. A desk that was used by great leaders in the past – my grandad, Daddy Dale and my dad. There is a story to tell. One that helps me remember to not be shaken.

This desk was purchased by my grandmother, Dena for my grandad in 1949. He used the desk at home and then when he was called to be the pastor of his first church. Many sermons were written and prayed over at this desk.

Mom and Dad with my grandparent, Dena and Daddy Dale – days after they were married.

Then my dad inherited the desk in 1997. He refinished it and used it in his office at Rogers High School where he was a principal. Many talks and messages were written for his staff and students at this desk. Now, in 2020, it is mine.

As you can see below, the desk was in bad shape. My plan was to help Mike refinish it and use it at home. Unfortunately and fortunately, it was too big for my home office. Plan B went into effect. We decided to refinish it and match it to my furniture in my new office. Boy, he did a phenomenal job!

Most of you know, my husband Mike is a master craftsman. Anything he makes is amazing. With his help, we refinished the desk and he made a brand new top for the desk. It was a labor of love and patience. (As this job is turning out to be as well…)

The desk originally had a place for a typewriter. It had been removed and was just bolted together. This gave Mike the opportunity to make a brand new drawer with the brand new top. Mike put his special touch on the drawer with the dove tails, but he also added one more extra special item.

He wrote out Psalm 16 on the bottom of the drawer to help me remember to never be shaken. Why Psalm 16? Well, when I got the news I had the job of superintendent for Dayton City Schools, dad sent me this scripture reference and said this should be your scripture for the year.

He knew the job would be hard. He knew the hours would be long….all of this is without Covid. Add Covid and it just makes it that much more interesting.

Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God is so good. He has prepared me for this journey my whole life. I am honored and humbled to be able to serve as my parents, and grandparents did. I will not be shaken. He holds me in His right hand and I sit where my heroes sat. This gives me strength for the days ahead.

For Such A Time as This…

I will NOT be Shaken!

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The things that keep me up at night…

As I was doing my devotional today, this sentence jumped off the page: “Then it hit me. The things that kept me awake at night were the things that I wasn’t trusting God to handle. I was holding onto them, ruminating over them, trying to find a way to gain control over them, to solve all my problems, to plan for every contingency.”

Talk about a slap in the face. Since March I am sure all of us have had trouble sleeping. Things are uncertain. Things are different. Things are just weird.

I’m a hard worker but I have worked harder in the last three months then I think I ever have. Or at least I feel that way. I know it’s because of the uncertainty and as we plan things change. It is hard to plan for the future when the future is so unknown. But, it is not unknown to God. He wants us to trust. He wants us to surrender every day. He knows what is ahead.

God has been preparing me for my new job journey for longer than I know. It started before all of the uncertainty. When I knew it was a possibility, He ministered to my with with a Ryan Stevenson song- WITH LIFTED HANDS. Part of the lyrics read:

With every heartbeat in my chest

Lord, I surrender all that I have

The days yet to come, the days in the past

I’m giving You all I am

With lifted hands, with lifted hands

When I heard this, I was on the treadmill. Running. What I do. Listening to Him while pounding away. God said to me – your days ahead are mine and it will be okay. He asked me to surrender. I did. Or so I thought.

And now, He is leading the way to the new job and new reality. The new normal – somewhere. Somewhere scary. Somewhere keeping me up at night. Which led me to today’s devotional.

If I’m up at night worrying, I haven’t surrendered. I’m trying to control the situation instead of trusting Him. Who knows.

Then, today, I heard yet another song by Ryan Stevenson before reading the devotional and it also spoke to me. I think God is trying to send me a message. There are too many God-winks for Him not to be yelling at me. (I guess I’m a little hard headed.)

In the sing ALWAYS BEEN YOU- It says, LEAD ME TO A PLACE WHERE SURRENDER NEVER ENDS…

So put me in the fight

That I know I can’t win

And lead me to the place

Where surrender never ends

Jesus, I don’t want the glory

I’ve got nothing left to prove

‘Cause the hero of my story

Has always been You

In January, when I knew God was working on my job, I asked God to lead me. I told Him I would follow. I asked for His will. I said put me in coach, and He did.

He has definitely put me in the fight and this fight requires me to be on my knees daily. I cannot do it without him. If I try it will beat me down. I won’t let it!

Thankful He opened my eyes and praying He will get my attention daily as I start the day on my knees.

Lord, you have led me to a place where surrender should NEVER end. Help keep me in tune to you!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalms 139:23-24 NIV

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalms 34:4 NIV

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Always Been You

With Lifted Hands

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April 15, 2020…Looking back – 7 years

As I sit here today, April 15, 2020, many thoughts go through my mind of how far we have come since April 15, 2013. While I was in the midst of this tragedy, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hard to imagine beauty coming from the ashes.

It reminds me of where we sit today in our new reality. I wanted to share this post once again for a couple of reasons – one, to honor those who were lost and affected by this tragedy 7 years ago and two, to share that there is hope in the midst of the chaos. God is good! God is faithful! He is close to the broken hearted! God has us and goes before us – we are truly in this together. I hope you are blessed as you read this.

Race times don’t matter…relationships do!

546040_10152770725785492_365972724_n

Yesterday I stood right at the finish line! Today, I started my run at the start line looking forward to crossing the finish line.  Today looking at this photo brought sadness to my heart.

This blog will not cover much of my run but more about the ups and downs once I  crossed the finish line.   Yesterday there was joy in the air all around. Of course it is marathon weekend. 🙂  Boston is the oldest marathon in the nation.  It is the super bowl of runs.  Runners come to celebrate running and life as we travel from Hopkinton to Boston.

Little did we know that today it would turn from a happy, joyous event to an unimaginable tragedy.  I had a goal for my run…to finish but to finish with a certain time. Unfortunately, I did not make it.  But, that is all I know. I have not checked my time. I have not looked at my mile times.  I have not uploaded my race information.  It doesn’t matter.  It is not relative.  My race was put in perspective about 5-10 minutes after I crossed the finish line.

As I was walking through the corral – this is where I picked up my medal, a banana, a power bar and my blanket – once I picked up my medal I was headed to pick up my bag in a big yellow school bus.  As I headed that way I heard and felt a big boom. I turned around and saw a huge gray cloud of smoke right by the finish line.  At this time I bumped into one of my Team Hoyt members and said “what was that?” He responded, “I don’t know, but it can’t be good! I am going to find my wife.” (I can say all Team Hoyt members are accounted for and their families…we are all safe.)

At this point I realized Mike had a VIP pass to sit in the grandstand area next to the finish line.  That is where the explosion happened from what I could see.  This is when I went into panic mode and prayed that he was safe.  My phone was at 7% so I was trying to find him quickly.  He did not answer at least 3 phone calls and did not respond to 1 text.  I was frantic.  A photographer asked to take my picture…I couldn’t do it.  I was in tears.  I couldn’t find him.  Help me Lord! Help me! This span of time, which was no more than 20 minutes, was longer that the 3:30+ hours I was on the course.  Then he called, and we were literally 50 yards from one another.  I saw him first…ended the phone call…and ran to him and embraced him in a hug before he saw me.  My prayer had been answered.  God had provided both of us with a hedge of protection! We were both safe.  Boy, what a moment…much better than crossing any finish line EVER!

We headed quickly to the hotel and have been here watching footage ever since.  Tragedy, senseless, sad, evil…many other words can describe this horrific day.  A holiday in Boston…a family day…a day of typical celebration…a historical day…and now a day to ever be remembered by this tragedy.  Blemished!

BUT – 540519_10151450083784125_845468183_n

Faith has been present. People were responding in way that GOOD people respond.  They help people. They are selfless. They run and do what is right.  There were more of that today in the aftermath.  We have seen amazing stories of human nature at its best…even when the worst was shown today.

I don’t understand it. I am still in shock. It is surreal! But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my GOD is in control.  I know Satan is fighting a battle on this earth and evil is real! But our Lord will win! But sadly, many will be hurt during the battle.

Friends shared these verses today….

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 91.1
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

Prayer and comfort is what we needed and prayer and comfort from so many is what we got.  Due to this tragic day, I have reconnected with many from years ago…I have heard from friends I have not been in touch with in a very long time.  My family has too. Mike and I are truly humbled by your love and support! We are thankful the Lord has blessed us with an amazing support team.

That is the support team that matters.  The relationships we form are God’s way of helping us through these ups and downs from our start to our finish.  The main relationship is the one with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not always going to be an easy ride or run because evil is present.  But believe me, today as been easier because He is my Savior and my Father.  He brings me comfort and has allowed me to surround myself with people who do the same. God is good…all the time! Evil is not!

Here in Boston Team Hoyt is my family. We loved one another after it was over. We hugged one another with new appreciation of life.  We will continue to stay in touch and have yet another bond and story for Yes, You Can! We did live through this day that will forever be etched in our hearts.  We will forever be thankful we made it out alive and uninjured.  We are praying for those who did not.  Won’t you join us?

Race times don’t matters…relationships do! Hug your family, your friends, your kids.  Tell them you love them! You truly never know when you many not be able to.  And if you don’t know our Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior – don’t wait! He is the comforter, the counselor, the father and the SAVIOR!

John 3.16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10.9-10

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

photo-39

I do give Him the glory for today’s run, His hedge of protection and His control over the situation!  Thanks for letting me process this event and reading it.  I wrote from the heart and it may be jumbled…it has been a chaotic day and my thoughts are there too.  I am so ready to be home…Still running Blessed!

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For such a time as this…

Those of you who know me well, know that my faith in Jesus Christ is the most important thing in my life. This faith has led me on a very interesting journey throughout my adult life. Some people see living by faith as chaotic, random, or crazy. I tend to disagree. Faith is trusting that the Lord knows best for me and will lead me if I follow.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16.9

My life story is full of examples of leaps of faith or as some would say crazy/chaotic moments.

  • Move from Texas to California to work at a non-profit after being in education for 8+ years
  • Move from California to England to teach on an American Air Force Base
  • Move from England to Georgia to teach on an Army Base
  • Move from Georgia to live in Soddy Daisy, TN to date an amazing man I met ONLINE…without a job. (This one might have been a little crazy!) But, I married him. 🙂
  • Found a job at an amazing school with incredible people – started as a school counselor and then moved to PE teacher
  • After 18 years of avoiding the suggestions to be a principal, I started graduate school again to be an administrator
  • God opened the door for me to become principal at this amazing school who took me in when I moved to TN without a job
  • And now….for such a time as this…He has opened the door for me to lead and serve this school in a new capacity – as superintendent!

All I can say is GOD IS GOOD!

God has provided a Golden Opportunity as my devotional read today. This is today’s local paper from Dayton, where I work. His timing is spot on! Over the last couple of months, knowing this was a slight possibility, if God worked it out, I had a couple of God winks to let me know He was there.

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Albany Snickers Marathon Recap

Yesterday was the conclusion of 14 weeks of hard training with a total of 565.19 miles running – including the race. My goal was to run 26.2 miles in 3:45:00. I’ve been after this time for five years now.

Yesterday was my 18th marathon. I’ve done it before. I’ve trained before. But, this training was unlike any other. It was more mileage, more hours, and more demanding. And, it worked.

Yesterday, was hard…God, grit and grind got me through for His glory…along with some awesome praise music. I met some great people along the way. Heard a great testimony. Made some friends. Unfortunately, I had to stop to go to the bathroom. Dang it! (That’s what gets me every time. Dang it!) A lot of self talk happened – sometimes it was positive sometimes it was negative. But, in the end it got me through.

God has been with me throughout this whole journey. He gave me the desire of my heart. He knew 19 years ago that I would start running marathons. He knew this non-athlete would turn athlete and start chasing her dreams. I have now qualified for Boston three times. 3 times!!! (And New York with this run!) When at one time, while appearing on the Wheel of Fortune, I stated to Pat Sajak during my introduction -in a joking manner – that I would want to run Boston one day. Knowing that would never be a possibility. God had other plans.

My goal with this marathon was not qualify for Boston….that would just be icing on the cake. My goal was to run a 3:45:00 – Which would be a PR and a Boston qualifier. My chip time yesterday was 3:47:59 seconds for 26.59 miles. It was not the 3:45:00 but it was still a PR and a Boston qualifier. I was happy! Extremely happy!

Then this morning I decided to look at my stats on one of my running apps. After reviewing the data on the Strava app, I noticed I had earned several new achievements. When I looked at the achievements, it said I had a new marathon PR of 3:44:49. I was ecstatic. I knew my Garmin had clocked 26.59 miles. Sometimes races are off and if you don’t run the tangents, you don’t get the exact mileage. So at first I accepted it. Then, I started looking at everybody else’s data from the marathon on Strava. Everybody’s Garmin was 26.5 or more. Some were a little less so they must’ve run the tangents better than others but consistently it was a quarter-mile longer.

So with that I am claiming my sub 3:45 marathon. I trained hard. I worked for a goal. And I met it yesterday. I also qualified to run Boston and New York. #Operation345 was a success!!

I didn’t do it alone. I had amazing running friends who were with me most every step of the way. Two were going to be running the same race. One couldn’t make the trip – but she was there in spirit. #ironsharpensiron. Yoli ran a Boston qualifier too and won our age group. She’s a beast!! The rest of them were back home praying for us every step of the way. Tracking us and cheering us from a far. #thankfulandblessed

I had a great coach who knew what I wanted and gave me workouts to get me to the finish line and meet my goals. I put in the work with his direction! I didn’t miss one run. It paid off. We did it. They all believed in me!

And last but not least an amazing husband who never doubted my efforts. The time and effort it takes to go hard and dream big sometimes takes away from the ones you love the most. He never complained. He always supported me. And when I got home from race day he had a hot bath waiting.

My number one fan!

Running Angels

Rock n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon
Chattanooga Marathon Relay
Chattanooga Marathon Relay
Headed to Berry Half Marathon
Huntsville Relay and my coach

Training runs….

God gave me dreams. My family taught me to go after them. They aren’t given – they are earned. There will be ups and downs but God gives you the power to push through and get back up.

March 7, 2020 will always be a day I count as a blessing. The journey leading up to it was a blessing. The parallel with life and work helped me get through to the finish line. There is more to come…

Yesterday was an amazing day!! We made it that way.

“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,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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One month…and oh, what a month!

One month ago today, daddy started his inpatient rehab after being transferred there from his stay in ICU at the hospital on November 10. One month! Let me show you how God has worked in one month…

In one month dad has gone from an inpatient rehabilitation facility to a new home! We knew God was working through all of this and was providing.

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.

Romans 8:28

Often times we have to wait to see the results of our patient endurance, but with this situation it feels as if God is working in overdrive.

Everyone has a story to share. Our story is very different than many, I know. We have been blessed in a way that:

  • kept daddy with us
  • provided mom and dad a new home
  • allowed both of them to keep living as they were before his fall.

We are celebrating God’s goodness! The last two weeks the blessings have also come in the form of GREAT news from the doctors:

  • From the neurosurgeon – He is 100% and can drive! (Mom said they were in her car at the doctor appointment so he didn’t drive away from the appointment but did drive as soon as they picked up his car that was getting an oil change.)
  • From the physical therapists – His balance issue is from inner ear issues – simple! Woo hoo!
  • Mom is back at work…and I am sure dad will be too very soon. (Yes, they are both still working by choice at the age of 80 and 82!)

As I look back over the last month, my first thoughts go to God’s goodness and mercy. All of this could have turned out very differently. My sister, brother, and I are very aware of that. We are thankful it did not. Secondly, my mind is drawn to the fact that mom and dad have always trudged through whatever life has thrown them, no matter what. They lean on God and follow wherever He goes. Thirdly, the doctors told us when daddy was in ICU, that they expected him to make a full recovery due to the fact he was in such good health coming in. He said that good health is one of the number one predictors of recovery at his age. Both mom and dad are living examples of this. Finally, when met with a challenge, they both meet it head on. My brother-in-law, John, told Lisa he understood where she got her non-stop work ethic after watching mom and dad jump on the new project of moving so shortly after daddy’s release from the hospital.

  • Mom and dad continue to model godly lives for all of us. They are in God’s word daily to discover His goodness and mercy.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Psalm 23:6 
  • They choose His will no matter where the road it leads.

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Psalm 25:12
  • They have moved and been active their entire lives. Good health has been a priority.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” 

Proverbs 3:7-8
  • Hard work and perseverance have always been mom and dad’s go to – NO MATTER WHAT.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

God is good!

All the time.

All the time.

God is good!

What more can I say? Oh, what a month it has been!

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