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I hate wet socks!

What do wet socks have to do with CHRISTmas? Well, a lot in our world. ūüôā ¬†God used a single wet sock to start the trail of details that showed us He is with us and cares about the small details of our lives! ūüôā

It all started this morning before we were about to do our small Christmas. ¬†Cleo – our calico kitty – played the part of the kids. ¬†She started pawing at our door when she thought it was time for us to mosey out of bed. We abided. ¬†Once up, we needed coffee. ¬†Our simple routine kicked into gear. ¬†Mike made the coffee and I threw Christmas cinnamon rolls in the oven. ¬†It was at this point I decided we needed festive Christmas music. My wireless speaker was in the¬†the garage in my car. ¬†So off to the garage I trot so we can open presents. ¬†Mike is so excited. He can’t wait for me to open my gifts. ¬†ūüôā

This is when the story really started Р I stepped in water that had pooled from the rain off the car and hence the wet sock.  Something had to be done!  The sock came off and I walked back inside headed for the bedroom to get another sock.  I hate WET socks!

Mike stopped me and would not let me get another sock. ¬†I argued I need a sock – one foot is bare and cold. ¬†No! He wanted me to sit down and open one of my presents. So I humored him – so I could get my sock! As I ripped the paper I notice one of my old shoe boxes…hmmmm. ¬†Then to my surprise I found a new pair of house shoes…with SOFT material! (I am a texture person – so I LOVE the fuzzy stuff!)

The wet sock opened the door for this perfect gift! Mike noticed I am always in socks or flip flops and didn’t have any house shoes! Love it! (But, inside I was a little curious why he was so excited about this gift – because he didn’t know I was going to have a wet sock! But, God did!)

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My new feet warmers – I already have great leg warmers!

So, now that I was thinking…hmmmmm…that is the gift he is so excited about – he grabs another one. ¬†As he tries to hand it to me I run outside to take a photo of the sunrise. (Photography is the one thing I LOVE – and wish I made more time for it.) ¬†Mike is curious about what I am doing – but he figures it out! (Because I run outside and take photos – A LOT!)

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In I come and he hands me the gift. ¬†I soon find out that this is the one he is so excited about! ¬†This gift is small but heavy. As I am holding it I am thinking “it is really small but I bet he¬†added weight to the box.” ūüėČ ¬†Ripping the paper open I see a Nikon box. ¬†I say “Is this a camera?…No, this isn’t a camera….Is this really a camera?…Noooo…this can’t be a camera!” ¬†But guess what? It was a CAMERA! God is that good. ¬†He paved the way yet again for a PERFECT open door to my next gift. I had just stepped outside to take a picture with my phone and now I am opening a camera that my phone can’t hold a candle to….wow!

Needless to say – I LOVE IT and I am soooo excited to get busy taking photographs!!!! (Those will come soon – we are making some adjustments to the new purchase!)

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Not the camera – just a representation of THE camera!

Now it was Mike’s turn to open a gift. ¬†But, he was so excited about my camera he wanted to research more on it. ¬†I stopped him. He only had one more gift. ¬†He persisted in doing research.¬† I said – stop, open this gift. ¬†So, he did. ūüôā And God once again had paved the way – it was a photo I took years ago of the old barn put on a canvas.

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So in God’s amazing fashion He showed us how He truly cares about the details. ¬†On this day we celebrate Jesus’s birth – a detail that created eternity for us all – He shows up in the simple things. ¬†He does it daily but most of the time we forget to look for Him.

Mike and I looked at each other as he opened the canvas and were in awe of how God had made His presence known in our simple Christmas at home Рjust the two of us.  He confirmed that the ultimate present of His son was a detail we will forever be grateful.

This season has proven to many that life is short and we only have one to live.  God sent Jesus on this day thousands of years ago to save us Рa small, yet eternal detail we can not ignore.  All we have to do is add the detail of belief!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  

John 3.16

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

Romans 10:9

With all of this being said – I hope you have some wet sock moments where you are able to see the hand of God in every detail of your life! He is there. He cares. He wants to be a detail in your life – He will if only you believe!

Merry CHRISTmas!  Trish

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Chattanooga Heroes Run…Freedom is NOT free!

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Today is the one year anniversary of the shooting deaths of 5 fallen heroes in Chattanooga, Tennessee –¬†Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith. ¬†Our hometown hero – Dennis Pedigo was injured on this day one year ago.¬†The Erlanger Hospital Trauma Services sponsored the Chattanooga Heroes Run to commemorate the day that forever changed the lives of so many – showing us that Freedom is NOT free. ¬†We are seeing this day in and day out with the events of our world. Once again, Freedom is NOT free! ¬†Lives are lost and lives are changed daily in the fight for freedom!

The Chattanooga Heroes Run was phenomenal. Kudos to all who came together to make it happen. ¬†What a day! First, I got to be there with friends – running friends, CrossFit friends and people I have known forever. ¬†(I have been in the Chattanooga area longer than any other place I have lived!) We all came together for a common cause and reclaimed Chattanooga¬†streets….like in Boston in 2014.

As we ran we were able to thank countless police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and the families of the fallen. ¬†They were spread out along¬†the 5 mile course. ¬†One mile for each fallen hero. Moving along the course I was reminded mile after mile that these families made the ultimate sacrifice – they lost someone willing to die for our freedoms. ¬†1300+ of us ran or walked by these families today – strangers to them – but their loved ones died for us. ¬†Wow! How powerful is that? They died protecting the great country’s freedoms.

After running Boston 2013 and experiencing the Boston bombings my life was forever changed as well. ¬†Events like these are never easy because you realize some of that freedom has been taken away. ¬†As I run…I think about safety things I have never thought of before – I wonder about the what-ifs – I second guess my decision to be in a large crowd! THEN, those feelings¬†change when you see the genuine love and care that the others who are taking part, show to one another – strangers in the crowd. ¬† There are more of us than them!

We need to remember LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13.4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…
God gives us love! His unconditional love we can all experience.  I have no idea how I would do life without His hope and love.  He is what gives hope in the evil times we live.  He made the ultimate sacrifice we can have eternal life where there is NO evil.
John 3.16
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.
Love was very present today in the Chattanooga Heroes Run.  It was truly an honor to run and regain Chattanooga streets! #noogastrong

 

Isaiah 40.31

…but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

#eternalhope

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Divine Detours…

trishsandiego

This photo was taken 5 years ago yesterday – June 5, 2011 ¬†– at the San Diego Marathon. This is where I attempted to qualify for the Boston for the first time. ¬†Seeing this photo come up on the ‘On this Day’ feature of Facebook brought back so many memories and emotions. ¬†Ones I will not detail today! ¬†It appeared in my newsfeed¬†after I had been to church in Destin, Florida and heard an amazing sermon by none other than former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

The night before we were looking for churches close to the condo¬†due to the fact we had planned on walking to the service because we were without a car. ¬†Destiny Worship Center popped up with the banner – Guest Speaker, Governor Mike Huckabee. ¬†This is where I wanted to go – so we did. ūüôā ¬†And, I am so glad we did. ¬†I have heard him preach before but that was in college – a long time ago! ūüėČ

He spoke about detours. ¬†How we all have them…How we don’t like them…How we don’t plan them and we don’t want them. ¬†He asked the question – “What if your detour is your destination?” ¬†He gave examples from the Bible which included –

  • Joseph – being sold into slavery
  • Jonah – being swallowed by a fish
  • Jesus – who was betrayed and paid the ultimate sacrifice – death on a cross

As we all know – we all have detours! He went on to say that God’s priorities may be different from ours. ¬†We have to have spiritual maturity and totally trust God’s best for us. The detour will take us down a path where we will learn things we would have never learned on the main road. ¬†The purpose is to help us reflect the character of Jesus Christ and the product will be something bigger than we could have ever imagined!

What are the benefits of these detours?

  • We will see things we wouldn’t have seen normally.
  • We will go places you wouldn’t have gone.
  • We will go slower than you intended to go – so we can hear Him!

He closed with 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 many of you may already know – this is the verse my family calls our family verse. ¬†It is one dear to my heart and one the girls and I had been discussing while at the beach this past week.

As he dissected this verse, he pointed out what many miss – it doesn’t say that all things are good – it says all things work together for good AND it is for those who are called according to His purpose – or who KNOW Him and call him Savior.

The detours in life are working together for good for all of us who love and know Him. NO – it is not all good but in the bigger picture – bringing glory to Him – it does work out for good! And – we may never understand or see it on this side of heaven.

Wow! What a powerful message! I needed to hear that in regards to detours I have had recently – so thankful He has the big picture and I only have a small piece of it.

Now, back to the above¬†photo. ¬†As I stated, the photo came up on my Facebook page as a memory. ¬†¬†That day God had planned a detour – a major one in my mind. ¬†I¬†missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 53 seconds(around 2 seconds per mile). ¬†I was CRUSHED! But, I didn’t have the whole picture. ¬†Oh, and how thankful I am!!!

Due to that detour – I met Team Hoyt. ¬†I had the amazing privilege of running the Boston Marathon not once but three times! I was able to qualify two times after this race and one of my qualifying runs¬†was while running the Boston Marathon itself. ¬†Running solo became running with a team – a team who makes a difference. ¬†(And guess where a lot of the team members live – San Diego. I was surrounded by them that day and didn’t even know it!)

I could go on and on about how this one detour in San Diego truly changed the trajectory of my running and my life but I won’t. ¬†Though yesterday after Governor Mike Huckabee’s¬†sermon I knew I had to write the story down. ¬†The story about how attending a different¬†church service than planned – because we didn’t have a car was a divine¬†detour. ¬†A divine detour that enlightened me in so many ways!

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

Ephesians 3.20 –¬†Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

Sidenote: ¬†Governor Mike Huckabee was one of my dearest friend’s pastors¬†in Arkansas. He performed her¬†and her husband’s wedding ceremony. ¬†I will never forget he had them face the congregation during the ceremony because he said everyone¬†had come to see them not him. So true! Due to this fact – Mike and I did the same thing in our wedding. ūüôā Another divine detour….

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Cheerful Endurance…

 

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Mile 26.1 – The face of CHEERFUL ENDURANCE!

Run until the race is won! God works in mysterious ways. I believe He speaks to us in our ‘love’ language. ¬†Mine is through running! Many people call me crazy…and sometimes I agree…especially on mile 18 of marathon.

Since the¬†Chicago Marathon I have been inside my head…crazy. Agreed! ¬†I was after a certain time and didn’t get it. ¬†I was bummed. ¬†After the race I examined the run and figured out what went wrong. ¬†I knew what to change. ¬†I approached NYC 3 weeks later with the option of trying again. ¬†But, due to it being 3 weeks later, as I blogged earlier – I just enjoyed running NYC and took it all in with no pressure.

In fact, King & Country have penned my exact feelings in the following song:

It’s Not Over Yet:

They are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one
You won’t win your freedom

It’s like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated

This goes out to the heaviest heart

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et

Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, woah
Yea-et-et, woah

Oh, game set match
It’s time to put it in your past, oh
Feel the winter leavin’
It’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart (Here we are)
Cheers to a brand new start (Here we are)
We’re revived and breathing
To live a life of freedom

Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
Oh no never give up (Here we are)
Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
We will never give up (Here we are)

Knowing life is a race we run and I was going to run until the race was won¬†or for me my goal time or PR(personal record) was achieved – I wanted to keep on going. ¬†So upon my return from NYC – my CRAZY marathon mind started going again and saying – I know I can do my time. I know I can. ¬†And like the¬†CRAZY marathoner I am…I looked for yet another run. ¬†And lo and behold, I found one. ¬†AND it was only two hours from home! Count me in! ¬†Rocket City Marathon – here I come. ¬†PR – here I come. ¬†But, God had a different kind of PR in mind. ¬†His work continues….

Once I decided to run this marathon¬†God started really speaking to me. ¬†He spoke in so many ways….I am glad I was listening.

It all started, or so I thought, with a sermon preached by a guest speaker at our church.  (I will tell where it really started later.)  The pastor preached on Romans 5.3-5.

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.

He used the term CHEERFUL ENDURANCE.  At that moment I knew I needed cheerful endurance as I ran.  Perseverance and struggle are a part of 26.2 miles as they are a part of life.  I knew I wanted to be cheerful while on this part of the journey.  The seed had been planted.

He preached again the following Wednesday and used another scripture from Romans.  Romans 15.4.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Here it was again….learning from the past. ¬†The past is to teach us! ¬†And through (cheerful) endurance taught in Scriptures – we can be encouraged and have hope!!!

These scriptures became my training scriptures for the RCM. ¬†I had hope that ‘the time’ I was working for was going to happen. ¬†My PR! ¬†But, as I said earlier, God had a different plan. ¬†I was still in my mind and He wanted me in HIS!

2 Corinthians 2.14 was His goal – He wanted me to spread HIS aroma everywhere. ūüôā

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

In a marathon His aroma is much better than all of ours –¬†for sure! ¬†This scripture was given by another guest speaker at our church. ūüôā ¬†I was starting to piece it all together. ¬†As the lyrics in Casting Crown’s JUST BE HELD say:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

He was piecing it together when I thought I was falling off pace and my training was falling apart.

Since July I have worked hard for that time. ¬†I was doing what the tagline for Believe In It apparel says –¬†back that up with hard work, anything in life is possible. ¬†I knew I could and I believed in it. ¬†My ‘it’ was my time. ¬†But, God’s ‘it’ was His peace.

I won’t say I left Him out of the process the first go around. ¬†He is the reason I make it through every day. I don’t know what I would do without my relationship with Jesus. ¬†He is my rock and my shelter. He is the constant in my life through everything. ¬†I say this because I truly experience Him daily and know beyond a shadow of a doubt I could not and would not want to live without Him.

My desires in life come from Him. My talents come from Him. ¬†My goal is to use those for Him. ¬†I kind of left him out of the time goal first time around. ¬†As I stated earlier, I let myself get in my head. ¬†I didn’t allow the peace that surpasses all understanding get in my head. Philippians 4.7 states:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I had allowed my mind to take over and not His.  The journey from Chicago to NYC and Huntsville revealed this to me and concluded with a mental PR on December 12, 2015.

Now to the rest of the story – (Confession – this race was for God and me. That being said – I told only a handful of people. ¬†My mom and dad didn’t even know I was running it. ¬†I wanted to do this one with no strings attached. ¬†There was tracking for the runners – but I didn’t share. ¬†God was tracking me and that was enough.)

God winked at me over and over again during the 5 weeks between NYC and Huntsville.  He was preparing me for His peace through what would be my Cheerful Endurance run. He set the stage for the most mentally strong race I have ever had.   A mental PR was set on December 12, 2015 and I will forever remember this run as a spiritual retreat from the pressure filled mind of hitting that time Рmy time Рnot his.

Some may think – well this is just a way for you to write off not getting the time once again. ¬†If they do – so be it. ¬†I know how I felt crossing that finish line. ¬†I know the last half mile I have NEVER felt stronger running. ¬†I knew I was doing it. I was pose running at it’s best – falling, pulling and moving strong. Many commented on my strong appearance in that last half mile – that was confirmation I had done this in HIS strength! I was able to dig deep and finish smiling! Cheerful ENDuRANce.

Going into race day I felt great. I had had good training runs. ¬†I slept better the night before the race than I had in days. ¬†The pressure was gone and the race was on. ¬†Originally, I had planned on going alone. ¬†Mike is on a hunting trip or he would have been with me. ūüôā ¬†I did have a couple of friends who knew I was running offer to go. ¬†I was totally okay with doing this one solo. ¬†I wasn’t alone…God was with me. ¬†In the end, one of my running angels did come and keep me in line. ūüôā ¬†She prayed with me, prayed for me, kept Mike informed, tracked me(she was the only one because she was there), chauffeured me home and cheered me on. ¬† Iron Sharpens Iron – i2!

Proverbs 27.17 

 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

The race was in Alabama – Roll Tide country. ¬†This Arkansas fan heard those words often over the two days I was there – starting with the check-in at the hotel. ¬†My hair was a little crazy from the Friday fun day at school. ¬†I decided to put my ball cap on before we went into the hotel. ¬†Of course my hat is a Razorback hat. ¬†I guess this was too much for the guy waiting on me at the hotel. ¬†As we were about to finish up he said, “Roll Tide. You can’t be coming in here with that hat on and not expect me to say something.” ¬†I was kind and talked about the SEC being the best and walked on saying nothing else. Later I had my opportunity to give it back to him and he chuckled.

As I ran the race I had some awesome God winks. ¬†The first dealt with Arkansas once again. ¬†Throughout the race many locals yelled ‘Roll Tide’ to the runners. This gave me an¬†opportunity to yell ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ back to them. ¬†A couple of runners from England were a bit shocked and asked what in the world I had just muttered. ¬†It was fun answering them and hearing their English accents. ¬†Another runner gave me a fist bump and congratulated the Hogs for beating Ole Miss. The same guys saw me once the race was over and said, “are you ‘Woo Pig Sooie’?” and gave me another fist bump. Don’t you love SEC football? ūüôā

Here is¬†a sampling of the other fun stories along my CHEERFUL ENDURANCE run – in attempt to shorten this post I will put them in bullet form. ūüėČ

  • The run started at the Von Braun Center where Shannon, Deirdre and I saw a Priscilla Shirer LIVE event in April. ¬†This is where God started this peace journey.

Priscilla talked about the Armor of God.  We have access to this armor because we are a child of His.  Ephesians 6.10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Little did I know in April of this year God was laying the foundation for my runs in October, November and December. ¬†He knew I would allow the devil to try to take away my joy when I failed to reach my goal in October. He knew that I would get inside my head and not let God in for a while. Guess what? I didn’t forget who ultimately wins…it did take me 8 weeks and 3 marathons to figure out this message. ¬†I never said I wasn’t hard-headed. ūüôā ¬†As she said during her message “The victory is irrevocable! The devil¬†has already been defeated and we aren’t fighting for victory – we are fighting FROM victory!” AMEN!

She talked about girding up our feelings and thoughts with HIS truth!

The Voice of Truth – this song by Casting Crowns came on at the right time yesterday during my run.

“the voice of truth tells me a different story – do not be afraid…this is for My glory…I will soar with the wings of eagles…When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus…Singing over me.”

As did several other amazing songs –

Overcomer by Madisa

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‚Äėtil the final round
You’re not going under
‚ÄėCause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

So don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

You Deliver Me by Selah –

 Deep as the ocean, bright as rain
This powerful emotion lifts me up above the plain
It’s taking me to places I never thought I’d go
Showing me a grace I never thought I’d know

When I feel like I can’t go on
You deliver me.

He definitely delivered me and gave me a promise He sent to me in NYC – The best day ever!

The Best Day Ever¬† by American Authors –

I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

I’m never gonna look back
Whoa, I’m never gonna give it up
No, please don’t wake me now

Oo-o-o-o-oo
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-ife
Oo-o-o-o-oo
This is gonna be the best day of my life

The Rocket City Marathon is a small marathon with a HUGE heart.  There were around 1500 marathoners.  Many of these runners had a following Рfamily and friends who found them all over the course.  These people also encouraged strangers along the way.

  • A group of 3 who lifted my spirits every time I saw them by saying “Hey there’s that pretty lady again!” ¬†When I realized they were talking to me I am sure I blushed a little beneath the sweat. ūüôā ¬†I passed them again and they shouted “There’s the cute girl – your hair looks great, it hasn’t changed!” ¬†I ran past them with a huge smile.
  • A father with a megaphone encouraging us individually by calling out our numbers. ¬†The second time I saw him I told him I loved that he was out there. ¬†His daughter lovingly said, “Don’t encourage my dad!” ¬†I told her we needed more of him. ¬†I saw him as I finished and I shouted – “I love that you are here!” ¬†He smiled.
  • Crazy man – He started by yelling at us and telling us we were crazy but awesome. The second time I saw him I told him I agreed we were crazy. He disagreed and said we were great. ¬†The last time I saw him I told him I had a new word for him – stupid. ¬†I had just passed a runner who¬†said to me “this is stupid.” ¬†I agreed and said I had done enough of them to know better. ¬†The crazy guy said “No, you are not stupid – you are awesome.” Smiling again!
  • A cop came strolling by in his cop car. I asked if I could have a ride to the finish. ¬†His answer – “Only in handcuffs!” I replied, “It would make a great story.” Smiling!
  • There was one couple I saw at least 5 times. I asked them for a ride to the finish as well. ¬†I told them they would definitely beat me there.
  • I heard Shannon yell “go Trish” at mile 1. ¬†She met me again and encouraged me at the halfway point. It was great seeing her smiling face! At the finish she captured the joy on my face rounding the last curve to the finish line! Once I had crossed the finish line she took photos and yelled my name many times before my tired brain heard her. Thankful for my awesome God-given friends who understand my craziness!
  • Several signs were on the course that made me smile –

  • Press on to the finish!¬†

  • ENDurance!

  • Chafe now, BRAG later! Toenails are overrated!

  • Gym teacher sign – As I took this photo a lady laughed and said that is great! I replied, “I am the gym teacher.” This picture is for my 4th grader Bradley. ¬†He is always asking if I have another run. He asked me Friday and “I said yes, tomorrow. Pray for me.” ¬†He smiled!IMG_5979

  • I ran past one guy who was walking. I encouraged him, as I tried to do with everyone I passed, and he started running with me. ¬†He said, “No PR today.” I replied “We toed the line and we will finish. That is a PR in itself. ¬†He replied, “yes, I need to find something to focus on.” I told him I would stay with him but then he cramped and had to pull back. ¬†I did see him finish and he finished well!
  • Mike would be proud because I yelled “Go Vols!” to a gentleman with a Vol hat on. ūüôā
  • The Spirit Teams along the way lifted our spirits as well. There were high school bands, drum lines, an orchestra in front of a coffee shop, cheerleaders, FCA group and many others!
  • Peanut Butter Jelly Time playing over speakers during one water stop…and the PBJ I was able to eat at the finish thanks to the volunteers who were making them. ¬†That was probably the best PBJ and chocolate milk I have ever had.
  • Shaking hands with the race director upon my finish. ¬†Class act! RCM was awesome!

All of the spectators were amazing…there were not as many as in Chicago and NYC but they were full of southern hospitality….you just can’t beat that! It was truly an awesome experience! During the fleeting moments I wanted to quit or find a ride, someone would lift me up. ¬†I tried to make a point to do the same. ¬†I thanked the MANY police officers and volunteers! They not only made it a safe race they made sure to make a fun one.

The spectators, runners, volunteers, scenery and music all made the day amazing. When I hit the half, I knew I was going to battle physically during the second half. ¬†My goal to keep cheerful endurance was tested. But with God’s help we won out. ¬†He showed me His strength. ¬†He gave me Words. He supplied His messengers. ¬†He carried me through to the very end. ¬†The hope I had for a PR was rewarded with the most peaceful 26.2 miles I have ever had. ¬†Physically I hurt…but who wouldn’t after 3 marathons in 8 weeks…but mentally I was on top of the world. ¬†God showed up and so did I!

Hebrews 12.1-3

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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I was able to run with CHEERFUL ENDURANCE and find the peace in the hope of Him showing up as He promised He would.  He gave me the strength to push through marathon number 3 in 8 weeks Рwow! He did it! All glory goes to HIM! He had a journey set before me that started in Huntsville in April and He concluded it yesterday.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6.10 

I was strong in HIM! He gave me His mighty power. I was able to endure the runs He sat before me. Over the last 5 weeks, ¬†I was able to hear Him speak and learn that perfection(or a time) was¬†not the goal – His glory was…and the peace that comes with it!

Being that I was in Roll Tide country for the race, it is quite fitting that I stumbled upon Derrick Henry’s Heisman Trophy acceptance speech while I was writing this blog. ¬†His words were powerful and truthful. ¬†He sums up words I would love to impart with my running and blog:

“Always keep God first. Always pray. Don‚Äôt be afraid to pray. He always hears your cry. If you have dreams, go chase them. If you believe it, you can achieve it. And God will be there every step of the way. I am a¬†living testament, man. Growing up, having this dream, I am so nervous. I never thought I would be up here. But God is good. And I get on my knees every night and thank him for everything. So keep God first. Always pray. And always chase your dream.‚ÄĚ ¬†Derrick Henry

God is good all the time! God will give you dreams. Chase them! Keep God first in all things! Always pray! Chase your dreams and find God in them. He will be there every step of the way! Believe in it but believe in HIM first!

Running blessed but now taking a rest….Trish Newsom

 

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A marathon post about the Marathon of a lifetime…beware – reading this could take 26.2 miles!

We are home! We did it! We survived a month of whirlwind travel which included 2 major marathons – Chicago and New York and a trip to Arkansas. ¬†What a month October was for me! It was a month of reflection and a month of thankfulness. ¬†It all started with an amazing trip to Chicago with my running angels. ¬†Chicago – Major #3 for me is in the books. ¬†See previous blog for race report. ¬†I will say one thing – I was running for time at Chicago – didn’t get it but learned A LOT. ¬†The learning did not stop but continued in New York with a stopover in-between in Arkansas.

Why Arkansas? Well, let me first say the seed to run was planted many years ago when I watched my mom and dad run races. ¬†I didn’t really start running until I was 30 but watching them in those early years made an impression. ¬†Now back to the question – Why Arkansas? ¬†My dad was inducted into the Ouachita Baptist University Athletic Hall of Fame. ¬†Dad was the golf coach at OBU for many years and helped the program grow and win! ¬†Dad was a difference maker. ¬†His work ethic and care for his players was contagious. ¬†He is a life changer. ¬†His love for athletics of all kinds filtered down to all of us.

This was a perfect stopover between Chicago and New York.  It helped me remember where I started and helped me focus on what is really important in the game of life Рrelationships!  Running has helped me develop many relationships I would NEVER have had without it!  Thanks mom and dad for planting the seed that has forever changed my life for the better!

Proverbs 22.6 ~ Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I have so much in my head about this trip – a trip of a lifetime –¬†¬†and don’t want to lose any of it or bore anyone. ūüôā So a photo journey it will be! ¬†I will start from the beginning.

Day 1:

We are on our way! NYC we have arrived!!!  Welcome to New York!IMG_5130

The Expo – it is getting real!!! ¬†I have never seen so many people in one place. ¬†It was absolutely crazy. ¬†The line to purchase official gear snaked around forever. ¬†I know we had to have walked close to a half of a mile just in line to pay. ¬†It was a mad house! We met a mother and daughter while making our way to the checkout line. ¬†This would be the daughter’s second NYC Marathon. ¬†She was local. ¬†She gave me a great piece of advice – take cardboard to the starting village to sit on. ¬†The cardboard kept me from sitting on wet ground or pavement! I was so thankful for this awesome advice. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Once we made it through the check out line we explored the expo itself. ¬†This is always fun. ¬†Once this very important step was over – we headed out to the streets of NY!

First stop РEmpire State Building!  It was breathtaking to see NY from the top of the Empire State Building.  Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the 360 degree views from what seemed to be the top of the world.  Mike chatted with a worker while I hit the restroom. Hydrating for a marathon was not fun in NY where there are NO public restrooms unless you pay for services.  Crazy! She told her story of working on 9/11 and how it affected her.  Story-telling at its best!

Second stop and third stop – Rockefeller Center and Times Square

Night was coming and so was the chill.  Perfect for watching the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center.  Times Square was nuts.  We were there about 10 minutes and were ready to move on.  We are glad we saw it but РWOW Рsensory overload.  I know all of this was preparing me for the run of lifetime Рthe largest marathon in the world Р50,000 runner and over 1 million spectators Рtalk about sensory overload!

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Not only was New York hosting the largest marathon in the world but they were also hosting games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series! We got to enjoy the hoopla around this as well because we had to get off the train at Mets-Willets Point…the train stop for Citi Field – Home of the Mets. ¬†This was fun all three nights. ¬†We took in the sights and the crowds before heading back to our hotel. ¬†We even picked up a free towel and sign that said BELIEVE! This was my first sign for the marathon – Believe!

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Day 2 РSubway rides, fall foliage, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, 9/11 Memorial РWhat a day! We packed it all in. We rode the subway, the bus, the ferry and a taxi.  We walked as well Рacross the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond.  The love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge were fun to see with the one I love! I am so thankful to be experiencing this city with him!  The One World Trade Center was very emotional for both of us.  It is hard to put into words the feelings that arose when looking at the memorial where the towers once stood.  There was a sense of sadness in the air and respect given by those visiting.  Then we went to the top of One World Trade Center.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  New York has definitely done it right when it comes to remembering the victims, survivors and families of 9/11.  We were honored and humbled to be there reflecting on the loss of our nation.  We are proud to be Americans! This city is a melting pot. We heard so many languages spoken.  We saw so many nationalities.  While visiting these two sites we were reminded why we love our country so and the freedoms we have just by living here.

Now, to the TCS New York Marathon! Wow is really all I can say! What a day.  A day to let time goals go and enjoy being a part of the largest marathon in the world.  God had a plan for this day.  He knew I would struggle letting my time goal go, so He placed people along the way to remind me to let go and let HIM!  There is so much to this part of the story.  It started long before we hit the ground running in New York.

Proverbs 27.17 ~ As iron sharpens iron,
    so a friend sharpens a friend.

God has blessed me with many close friends who know me well. ¬†I had more than one remind me to relax and run on November 1. ¬†They knew I had a battle going on inside because I didn’t meet my time goal in Chicago. ¬†The battle was real and raging until Sunday morning at the starting village. ¬†Though these friends continued to remind me of the real reason I was there….I kept wanting that Garmin time of 3:45. ¬†But God placed two people in my life after arriving at the start village on marathon day that helped change that!

First, I had to load the bus by 5:30 a.m. to get to the starting village for a 10:40 start. ¬†That’s 5 hours to kill – wow! ¬†As you can see in several of the photos, I dressed warm for this occasion and it worked out well. ¬†I took my cardboard from my Domino’s Pizza ¬†pre-race dinner to sit on. ¬†I found a spot next to a light pole and made myself comfortable. ¬†I wrapped up in an old thermal blanket from a race I ran in Louisville last October and settled in. ¬†As I was sitting and taking it all in I received several texts. ¬†One¬†was from a dear friend. ¬†It was a prayer for the day. ¬†I so needed it…it was the first of amazing encounters all day. ¬†I thought of this prayer often as I ran that day. ¬†The struggle was real and He is what got me through.

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After corresponding back and forth I just sat there and looked around at the people. ¬†Two girls next to me were from another country. They spoke no English. ¬†This is one of the things I loved the most. ¬†There were so many nationalities running this race. ¬†We were all there together to achieve one goal and that was to finish the world’s largest marathon. ¬†Prejudice and hostilities pushed aside all working together toward a common end. Too bad we can’t get along like this everywhere and all the time!

As I was listening to the sounds around me I heard the word ‘y’all’ come from behind me. ¬†I turned around and asked him where he was from. ¬†Are you ready for this? ¬†He was from Arkansas AND he runs with and does running groups with a friend of mine from college. ¬†Can you believe that? YES! Because God is that good!!! ¬†Out of 50,000 runners hanging out in the starting villages, I was able to run into someone from Arkansas – not only from my home state but someone who knows a friend of mine AND loves the Lord. ¬†Can I say it again – God is that good!

Romans 8.28 ~ And we know that God causes everything to work together

for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I call it a Godincidence Рdivine intervention by God! He was talking to another guy from Kentucky that is going to Arkadelphia, Arkansas(where I was born and spent the previous weekend with my family!) in a couple of weeks to do a race.  Small world! We discussed everything from running to our jobs and to our spouses jobs.  We talked about how running has been a great way for us to share our testimonies.  What a way to start my day! One of my friends who encouraged me to relax and have fun also said she knew the 5 hours of wait time would be special.  She was right!  Boy, was she right!

At 8:15 I was supposed to meet up with two of my Team Hoyt buddies. ¬†We were all blessed to be in the blue corral. ¬†There were three corrals – Blue, Green and Orange. ¬†God is good yet again. ¬†ūüôā ¬†On the way to the meeting place – Blue Corral letter D – I passed the Interfaith Religious Service tent. ¬†They were playing praise music. ¬†I had time to kill so I sat down and let the words cover me. ¬†They announced the service would start at 8:00. ¬†I decided to stay for about 10 minutes and I am so glad I did. ¬†We sang a praise song about God being our strength. ¬†One paster prayed over the race and runners. ¬†Then another pastor gave a short sermon. ¬†He started with the words – ‘Let Go and Let God’. ¬†I told my mom on Thursday before we left that I was changing my mantra for the race from ‘Let Go and Let God’ to ‘Let God and Go Have Fun!’ ¬†This was another way of God tell me to run and enjoy every step of the way. ¬†Again, God is so good. ¬†Next the pastor gave us three scripture references in a certain order – Psalm 22, 24 and 23. ¬†He said for the OCD runners¬†that order would drive them crazy but there was a purpose in the order. ¬†It too gave me strength for the day.

Here is the short of it: ¬†In Psalm 22 Jesus feels abandoned. He says, ¬†“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” ¬†Then in Psalm 24 we see is not forsaken but He is lifted up to Heaven and seated on God’s throne.

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The Lord strong and mighty,

The Lord mighty in battle.

Then back to Psalm 23. We see “ he represents Christians receiving the benefit of all the care and tenderness of that great and good shepherd.” The pastor was saying we could¬†fill abandoned on this course of 26.2 miles but He is with us. He will carry us through and we will finish well for HIM! ¬†Let Go and Let God! Oh, how I needed yet another confirmation. ¬†I slipped out of the service as they were still sharing to meet 2 friends/family amongst the 50,000.

A Team Hoyt reunion was about to happen.  I found Wes first and shortly thereafter we met up with Dana.  We had a group hug and wished Wes well.  He was in the first wave because he is the fast one.   It would also be an understatement to say how grateful I am for Team Hoyt.  Team Hoyt is the reason the three of us from very different parts of the world could meet up, hug and share encouragement.  Wes is Canadian.  Dana lives in New York. And I am from Soddy Daisy, TN!  Again, how good is God???  Team Hoyt is my forever family that God introduced me to on my road to Boston several years ago.  They have been and will continue to be a blessing!

So off Wes¬†went and off we went to gather our Dunkin Donuts coffee and beanie hats. ūüôā I can’t put into words how awesome it was to spend the rest of my morning and the start with Dana. Her spirit is contagious. ¬†I really don’t think she has ever met a stranger. We lined up to get in our corral and watched Wave 2 move to the start line. ¬†Then it was our turn! We moved in and finally moved up. ¬†As we towed the start line I removed my warm clothing and deposited it for Goodwill of New York. ¬†It felt so good to let go of one piece of clothing that represented part of the past for Mike and me.

‚ÄúYesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē Bil Keane

As we waited for the canons to go off and Frank Sinatra to sing we met Hugo. ¬†Hugo was starting and hoping to finish his 100th marathon. ¬†100! Wow! I can’t imagine 100 marathons!!! It was a true honor to meet him. (and he did finish!) Yay HUGO! ¬†Then what we were all waiting for…the canons and the serenade! ¬†As we started running the excitement was electrifying. ¬†The announcer yelled my name and go Team Hoyt. Dana and I were happy! I took one last selfie with Dana and off I went…to run my race. ūüôā

I figured out early on I was really going to enjoy the race and take it all in.  It was freeing.  I stopped looking at my watch and started looking around. My Garmin was not going to control the run. I was going to Let God and Go Have Fun!  I ran on feel and for the first half did pretty well. The sights were amazing.  At times I was thinking Рam I really doing this? Is this real?  And, of course it was.

Mike had a plan to meet me and encourage me on the course. ¬†His first stop was the 5k. ¬†He met me there joyfully with a kiss. I was feeling great here! Mike was and always is an uplifting sight! So very thankful for him and his never-ending support!!! ¬†He was able to meet me two more times on the course. He walked a marathon of his own. ¬†I am one blessed wife! ūüôā

In days leading to the race I read a story about the¬†Quinn brothers from Ireland. ¬†35 years ago they ran the NYC Marathon together and they returned to do it again in 2015. ¬†I ran up on two of them early on. ¬†Frank and I had a great conversation and took a selfie. ¬†ūüôā Then further down the course I met another gentleman. ¬†He tried to take a photo of me running but to no avail. So, we took a selfie. ¬†He encouraged me to keep moving! And I did!

I felt pretty good until around mile 15 as we approached the Queensboro Bridge. ¬†It is about 1.5 miles with a steady incline. ¬†There were a lot of walkers and I joined in because the pain started here. I knew I was in to finish so this is when the camera really started to come out…hence the windy selfie on the bridge. ūüôā ¬†Upon leaving the bridge the crowds were deafening! It was so encouraging!!! It gave me a little pep in my step. ¬†But, I was hurting. ¬†Though, I knew at this point Mike would be a mile 19. ¬†I kept pushing through knowing I would see him there and he would lift my spirits.

As I approached mile 19 I was looking for my tall handsome husband with the Tennessee hat on. ¬†I found him and the tears started flowing. ¬†He reached out and embraced me with a hug and a kiss. ¬†I was honest with him and told him I was struggling…I was hurting. ¬†He said you can do this! You have this! He knew I could dig deep even though at that point I didn’t believe it. ¬†He gave me the lift I needed. I told him I would probably walk a lot the last 10k. ¬†Thankfully, I had the strength to keep running. ¬†Though it was slow – it was not a walk unless I was getting water at a water station. ¬†I am so glad because Mike surprised me again at mile 22. ¬†I knew then I would make it…running…to the end! And I did!

Mile 24, 25, and 26 couldn’t have come any sooner. ¬†The finish line was magical. ¬†I did it! I was a New York Marathon Finisher! I had just finished my 4th world major. ¬†Wow! Can I say again, GOD is so good!

God provided so many people and things along the way…

  • The gospel choir serenading us on the course.
  • The smells of great food.
  • The cheers of random strangers yelling ‘Go Trish!’ or Go RUN..because of the big RUN on my tank.
  • Encouraging words like “You’ve got a good pace!”
  • Another runner saying “Hey, Trish…how are ya?”
  • Congratulations from all the volunteers.
  • The friendly NYC Police and Fire personnel.
  • The amazing crowds….over 1 million of them….truly electrifying!
  • The helpful strangers!!!!
  • The prayers felt when¬†the struggle got real – I felt every one of them.

Philippians 4.13

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

 

 

As the Taylor family verse states:¬†IMG_3049This is the card dad pulled out while doing our family devotion the morning we were all in Arkansas. ¬†It has long been the verse we live by. ¬†For dad¬†to pull it out of the daily bread box that day was as mom likes to call it ‘a God wink.’ ¬†God was with us that day in Arkansas as He was with me on Marathon Day. ¬†I am so very thankful, blessed, humbled and undeserving of and for His love and mercy. ¬†God has been good to our family and He has been good to Mike and me. ¬†He has been to me with running and He has given me a testimony for Him – saying God is so good all the time and all the time God is good. ¬†God allowed me to run my race – which was His race on November 1, 2015!

Thanks for making it to the end of what was supposed to be a short post! I had too many God winks and just had to share. ¬†ūüėČ

Running blessed!

4 World Majors down…2 to go! Tokyo and Berlin…here we come!

Oh, and I made the New York Times….

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World Marathon Majors…checking them off one at a time!

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God has truly blessed my life with running. In a little over 2 days I get to take many steps to get closer to my goal of running all 6 of the World Marathon Majors.  Up until this point, I have had the great fortune to run 2 of the 6 РLondon and Boston. Sunday it will become 3 of 6 and after running New York on November 1, it will be 4 of 6.

If you had told me many years ago that I would be running and running all over the world…I would have told you that you were crazy. The Lord has allowed running to introduce me to many different cultures as well as introducing¬†me to many different wonderful lifelong friends. On Sunday I have the AWESOME privilege of running with¬†three of these running angels…Yoli, Deirdre and Shannon. ¬†We have been coached well and we will own Chicago.

Major number 3 will be in the books and major number 4 will come shortly there after. Majors 5 and 6 are on the bucket list! On Sunday I get to run with three of these running angels. We will own Chicago. Feeling blessed!!!

God has taught me a lot about life along the journey as well!  These scriptures sum it up perfectly:

Hebrews 12.1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Corinthians 9.24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Phillipians 3.13-14

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Starting tomorrow expect many updates and photos recording the journey! #blessings #runforgod #chicagomarathon #TCSNYCMarathon

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Running Blessed! Let’s do this! For HIS glory!

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Faith, food and fitness…

This morning I came home from my 3rd run of the week and was hungry. ¬†(Imagine that! Mike would say I am ALWAYS hungry! :)) ¬†As I was thinking about breakfast, I remembered I had just picked some butternut squash from our garden. ¬†The cool thing about the butternut squash is that I didn’t plant it intentionally. ¬†It grew from table scraps we threw out in our raised bed garden. I googled recipes and found a great one – butternut squash hash. ¬†I made my own adjustments to the recipe and presto – breakfast was served. ¬†It was pretty amazing if I say so myself. ūüôā

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BUT, the awesome thing about this recipe was it was on a blog named Food, Faith and Fitness.  This summer God has been tweaking things in my life and these three words were impressed on my heart on 23 June 2015.  I wrote them in the order РFaith, Food, Fitness.

This past year my journey has truly been all three of these combined…the puzzle is finally coming together in terms of wholeness – spiritual health, mental health and physical health! I was so encouraged when I found the site I started looking around. ¬†I found a blog post from April that truly hit home with me today considering¬†the events of yesterday. ¬†It was just a series of photos/quotes/scripture written or taken by random people. ¬†I wanted to share some of them.¬† They hit home for me!

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Let’s remember where our hope comes from – it comes from the Lord!

The blog Food Faith Fitness can be found here:    http://www.foodfaithfitness.com/

Stop by…I was encouraged and I know you will be as well!

Now to my run…today’s run was a 5K at 85% of my 10k pace. ¬†I was not looking forward to this run. ¬†It meant keeping a steady pace without a race environment. ¬†Tomorrow’s time trial 5k will be the same. ūüė¶ ¬†But, this is what makes us stronger. ¬†I also thought a lot about the blessing of being on the road today. ¬†My mind shifted to the ones affected firsthand yesterday. ¬†Some of the first responders and police personnel are my friends. ¬†I workout with them. ¬†I have run with them. ¬†It made me give thanks once again for every step I am able to make… ¬†Their lives were forever changed yesterday as mine was in Boston on April 15, 2013. ¬†We will forever know where we were on those days. ¬†It changes you!

As today’s run pushed me to places I didn’t want to go…it made me better! It made me stronger. ¬† I can refuse to get out there and do it or I can move forward through it. ¬†Some things are thrown at us without us knowing they are coming and we are not prepared…and others we choose to do and go through. ¬†In either case, our attitude and our faith in the process can and will get us through! ¬†One step at a time…we do get #stronger!

Joshua 1.9 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for theLord your God is with you wherever you go.‚ÄĚ

Friday run – 5K at 85% of 10k pace – done

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#strong….

#strong – Whether it be #chattanoogastrong, #noogastrong or #bostonstrong – The word “strong” has been paired with cities that are close to my heart and has gained new meaning for most of us over the past several years.¬† It’s pairing has followed senseless tragedy.¬† A tragedy where innocent people lost lives and where phenomenal people have helped save them.

When we feel a personal connection to the tragedy it does something inside.¬† God has placed me close to two of these cities…two of these tragedies…way too close!¬† As I ponder it, I know there is a reason.¬† I don’t know what the reason is and I don’t know that I ever will on this side of eternity.

We live in a fallen world.  We live in an evil world.  BUT, we also live in a world of selfless individuals who are willing to protect and serve for our freedoms.  Today we lost four of those heroes and several more were injured.  Senseless is the first word that comes to mind Рsenseless!  In the middle of the chaos heroes were made and communities were made stronger! #strong

I went back to the blog I wrote the day after Boston 2013 to help me process the activities of today.¬† It has been so hard to get my mind/heart wrapped around it all. And why it keeps happening!¬† The statements I wrote then, along with the scripture brought calm back to my soul…

God is showing me He is in control.¬† Tragedy causes people to search for reasons why…to search for a sense of hope.¬† We may never know why but God is providing hope.¬† He is in control.¬† Romans 8.28 – For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

A friend sent me a devotion today.¬† It was talking about being thankful in all circumstances.¬† My brother sent me 1 Thessalonians 5.18 – here is 1 Thessalonians 5. 16-18….16¬†Rejoice always, 17¬†pray continually, 18¬†give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God‚Äôs will for you in Christ Jesus.¬† It is so hard to be thankful for the tragedy that unfolded on Marathon Monday but in the devotion it stated again, we can‚Äôt see the big picture. He can.

“Remember who our God truly is, a God who is there and a God who cares. ¬†So let us pause to consider our Great King. Let’s look on heavenly things for a moment to calm our nerves.”¬† Full blog here: http://wp.me/p1uMx6-lo

#strong in Christ is what gets me through daily.¬† He has shown me through tragedy and through triumph HE is there and will be my strength when I can’t do it alone….which is often.¬† Hope is found in Him and Him alone.¬† We are just passing through this chaotic world…thank goodness.¬† Love others! Pray often! Stay #strong….I am proud to say I am #chattanoogastrong and #bostonstrong BUT most importantly I am #Jesusstrong Because we know HE wins in the end!

Psalm 119.28 ~ My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

Ephesians 6.10 ~ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Isaiah 40.29  ~ He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Philippians 4:13 Art Print

I want to say thanks to all of those  in our community who did an amazing job today bringing calm back to our city.  You will be in my prayers as will your families.  Praying for peace and comfort for the families who lost loved ones. Praying for peace and comfort for those who were injured as well as their families.  Here is my prayer for all involved:

Isaiah 40:27-31
27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

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Memories‚Ķa 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‚Ķbut 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‚ĶI 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‚ĶHe 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 Рshe 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. ūüôā

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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‚Ķjust 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 Рmom at 100% Рwe 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 Рthe 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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God’s 45th birthday present to me‚Ķ

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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‚Ķwe 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‚ĶHe 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‚Ķof 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! ūüôā

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‚Ķmy 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‚Ķhow 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‚Ķthey 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‚ĶI 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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