Tag Archives: Jesus

Elation at the finish line…

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As I wake up to Good Friday, Facebook so kindly and gently reminds me of the significance of this weekend.  Scrolling through the ‘On This Day’ memories my emotions are all over the place.  Funny how that happens!  Embedded within the memories is this verse: John 14. 27:  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God is so good.  He knows that my heart is troubled as the memories of Boston 2013 flood back into my mind but He also knows He provides the ultimate peace for these times. What a picture that provides for me on this – Good Friday.

This picture is a true visual of His unshakeable love for us.  Sadness prevailed as His son was crucified and died for our sins on Good Friday – BUT – Sunday was coming.  Do not let your hearts be troubles and do not be afraid!!!   Why? Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you! I do not give you as the world gives you!  HE is GOD! He offers more than this world could ever give – ETERNITY!

As I relive the memories and the emotions coming flooding back – I have to remember I have an unshakeable God who will give me peace through all things.  The world cannot and will not take me down because HE died to bring me up!

What an amazing journey God has gifted me with and allowed me to live through.  His never-ending love and peace carried me through as He does daily.  My Boston story from beginning to end has too many happy moments to even count.  It has scary and sad moments sprinkled through with joy and elation at the finish line.  He allowed me to experience emotions – and still does – that bring me back to Him.  That point to the fact that SUNDAY is coming! Through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ – we are made whole again! We have nothing to fear! The day we thought was so very bad brings us to the joy and elation at the finish line!

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My finish line on earth cannot and will not ever compare to the finish line in heaven!
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Romans 10.9-10
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

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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…

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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. 🙂  And, I am so glad we did.  I have heard him preach before but that was in college – a long time ago! 😉

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. 🙂 Another divine detour….

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Running Recap…2015 was out of this world!

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1 Corinthians 9.24

 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.

This year the Lord blessed me beyond measure with my running.  I ran fewer miles – by a lot – than I have in the last 4 years.  With that came rest and many PRs(personal records) as well as 3 marathons.  Never did I imagine I would be able to attempt, let alone complete 3 marathons in 62 days… if you told me on December 31, 2014 I would run 3…I would have called you crazy! (I hear I am crazy all the time!)

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,

By God’s grace I did just that.  I ran two world major marathons and an awesome small town marathon!!  I also set PRs in all race distances(1 mile, 5k, 8k, 10k and Half marathon) expect the 15k and the marathon.  I will get the times I am after one day! In His time!

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

The miles He has given me represent the strength and the struggle…the ups and the downs…the loss and the victories of life.  My running journey mirrors life.  I love the parallel.  During many of the miles of the journey I have my amazing family and friends by my side and at other times it is just God and me.

God has taught me so many lessons on the roads.  This year I would say He taught me less is more.  When I started pose running over a year ago, I had no idea how it would affect my running as a whole  Well, now, I know. It works. Fewer runs – but quality runs – work! I have not been as tired and I have been able to slow down and smell the roses. 😉  I had more time on my hands this year because I wasn’t running every day.  (and I am not knocking running daily – at all!)  I just know for me I had lost the joy in running. This approach helped me find my joy as well as help me be successful in my efforts.  I also have had more time for family and friends.  Joy!

In the spirit of the shorter runs(the ones I hope to focus on in 2016), I am keeping this running recap short and will sum it up by saying ~  2015 was out of this world! 

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

Happy New Year! Here’s to running blessed in 2016!

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂  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 – my time – not 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. 🙂  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. 🙂  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? 🙂

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. 😉

  • 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. 🙂  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 ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause 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 – family 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. 🙂  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. 🙂
  • 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, 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. 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 – wow! 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’t 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.”  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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Ready or not…here we come! Chi Town Bound!

Last week was our last official week of training.  Taper begins tomorrow…yay! It was a successful week for me.  I felt good on all my runs and feel READY! I had some fun runs…most of them this last week involved rain.  We are like the postmen/women – no matter what the weather we run. 🙂

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Here are my rain-soaked donkeys and I was a drowned rat most runs…but that is what memories are made of. 🙂

Run #1 – 6 x 600 with 400m rest – comparable to past 600s.  Some better some not…but overall consistent and felt good.  It was one of the sunny runs of the week. 

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Run #2 – Ladder – 4 x 200 w/ 1:30 rest; 3 x 400 w/ 1:30 rest; 2 x 1000s w/ 3:00 rest – WET!!!

200s – :44, :45, :44, :43  – consistent and GOOD

400s – 1:37; 1:37; 1:43 – consistent again…:)

1000s – 4:22 and 4:26 – HARD but done! 🙂

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Ladders – THUMBS down!

Run #3 – 18 miler  2:47:59 – 9:20 pace – I knew I needed a change of pace and scenery to mentally get this run done.  I decided to go to Cleveland and try out their greenway.  I knew I would be able to get around 9-10 there and then would have to double back at times.  I was willing to do that because I needed to be able to run and not know how much more I had to go because I knew the landmarks.

When I woke up Saturday, after sleeping in,  it was pouring down rain. 😦  Yoli called and invited me to run with them.  I hadn’t been up long and couldn’t get it all together to meet up with them.  I debated staying closer to home but then decided to stick with the original plan.  I drove to Cleveland and I am sooooo glad I did.

The run was supposed to be a time trial but considering the rain wouldn’t go away and I had to do some trail and river running…I was pleased with my time! This was a fun run believe it or not.  I listened to Pandora and sang along as I ran in the rain. I loved to play in the rain as a child and I was reliving those memories.  God sent song after song about being there in the storm or hurricane…there were numerous songs about rain…it was humorous at times but also I viewed it as a blessing for my soul.  He was showing me He will get me through what He started!  I was soaked when I was done…but it was fun!

At one point, I ran by a prayer garden.  I ran to it and stopped.  It was a blessing in the rain as well.  I prayed for the girls. I prayed for our trip. I prayed for our run.  I prayed we would run well, finish strong and glorify Him in all we do.  As I keep stating, He is the reason we run and He has brought us this far…He will help us through to the finish line.  We are excited!!!

Run #4 –  10k – Today, I still had my 10k left.  My thinking was the hay is in the barn…I don’t need the run. 😉  About that time, Yoli text me and asked if I had run yet.  Of course, I had not.  She made me do it…:)   I am glad I did because it was a great run on tired legs. I am ready.

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DONE with official training….LET THE TAPER BEGIN!!!!

We have been working hard and we are all ready for Chicago. It has been a fun journey with amazing friends and an awesome coach.  Four of us will conquer Chi Town together – Iron sharpening Iron….Proverbs 27.17 – As iron sharpens iron,  so a friend sharpens a friend.  We will all start in different corrals and run our own race.  He has prepared the way and we will travel the streets of Chicago taking it all in. My prayer is for safety, strength and endurance.  

Later in the week I will post information on how to track our run, if you are interested.  I ask that as we finish this week of tapering you will join us in praying that we glorify Him with every move and every step….pray for safe travel…pray for a safe and strong run finishing the race He set out for each of us!

 

Hebrews 12.1 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Exodus 23.20 

 “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.

RUNNING BLESSED!!!

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Your story matters…

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Looking through the eyes of a child…when do we look in awe and wonder anymore? On April 5,  I turned 46.  Wow! 46 years old! I still feel like a child so often, but I am obviously NOT.   Currently, I am sitting  on an airplane behind a 6-year-old flying for the first time.  As we took off, her eyes were full of awe and wonder.  She didn’t have one ounce of fear in her gaze.  She trusted the process…her mom bringing aboard, the plane itself and the pilots guiding us to our destination.  She was fully engaged in the wonder of it all!

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As I watched her, it got me thinking…we too should approach life with a sense of awe and wonder.  We should trust the process…our heavenly Father who gave us life, the body he gave us to live out this life and the fact that He guides us daily.  He wants us to give our life to Him every day and take off for Him!

My morning started early today.  I am flying to California to see friends and family.  I had to catch a shuttle in Chattanooga to the Nashville Airport due to unforeseen car issues.  To ensure I made it on time for my 7:45 a.m. flight, I had to take the first shuttle available – 3:30 a.m.  Now to most of you that know me know that isn’t too bad. I am used to getting up to workout at 5:00 a.m.  My day always starts early.

Over the past 8 months I have come to truly appreciate the early morning time.  It has become me time.  Time for me to work the body God gave me to the best of its ability.  I have learned a new appreciation for this amazing temple He provided each of us to travel on the journey He is providing.  This is a story of the awe and wonder He is giving me daily when I listen to Him en route to His daily plan and the journey of my life.  I hope to continue to find the awe and wonder daily!

Fitness is nothing new to me.  I have my degree in physical education and have been teaching spinning classes as well as group exercise classes for the last 10 years.  I know how the body works.  I know all this! But, it was just recently I got it! God revealed to me how my body is not my body but His temple.  His! What I do to it and for it affects Him greatly!

Walking and running have been important to me for over 20 years.  Moving comes naturally.  Eating does too…but my eating is where I neglected the temple.  My relationship with food started a very long time ago.  I will never forget the day in 5th grade, when still young, a classmate grabbed my backside.  From that time on I had a complex about my ‘big butt.’  This is when food and I started a roller coaster ride.  I would go up and then come back down, literally and figuratively.  I have been on the spectrum from the overweight side and then would make a swing to the anorexic side and back.  Thankfully, after the anorexic symptoms in my early 20s I didn’t visit that loop again.  So to help me fight the battle, I received a degree in home economics along with my physical education degree.  I figured this would help me get off the ride and stay level, I was wrong.  It has not until recently, that as I said before, I got it!

Fast forward to June 2015 – after a few crazy years of severe ups and downs in life – Boston Bombings, Mom’s subdural hematoma and Mike’s broken shoulder – I was moving my body but I was not taking care of the inside of His temple.  I had added extra padding to the temple cushions.  It made moving harder. It  also took a toll on my mental state.  I knew I was moving and exercising but I wasn’t fueling properly or taking care of me properly!

In June 2015, I started CrossFit.  There are a lot of opinions out there about CrossFit, all I can say is, it is the best thing I have done for me or His temple – ever.  It has shown me what this amazing temple is capable of – NO MATTER what age or size you are. CrossFit has helped me make my body – CrossFit! Fit for life never fit for what He did for us on the cross…Fit for bringing Him glory daily.

Lamentations 3.19 – 28

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
    while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

He has shown me the true beauty He created.  How if we fuel it properly, we will truly move like a well-oiled machine.  He is the creator of the universe.  He knows how all of the intricate parts of it work together.  He was the first machinist.  He knows how we are woven together and how we are supposed to move seamlessly.  He also created fuel for us to be able to move efficiently and effectively.  Between learning how to properly eat and drink His fuel – I feel better and younger than ever.  What prompted this story telling? First, I am stuck on a plane for 4 hours. Second, everyone has a story.  Our stories are our testimonies for Him.  He continues to write my story, page by page and day by day.  Hopefully, someone will resonate with it.  This journey started ages ago and is still unfolding.

 

 

I am just a normal person with normal goals.  I had to work to overcome and I am still working to overcome the food issues in my life.  My journey changes daily.  I have to get up daily with awe and wonder at His creation to make it work.

This year I am not going to Boston.  That has been my story the last three years.  I will miss it this year. I will miss the team.  But, my story has taken a different turn this year.  The next mailbox is not Boston but Chicago.  Now that I am moving better and fueling better I have high expectations for this great run.   Along with CrossFit, endurance running and proper nutrition I plan to glorify Him with every amazing step.  I’m excited God has brought me to this place of sharing.  I have tried so many things to get right with food and all of them sent me up and down.  I am hoping by sharing and by recognizing this is His story too that this time I will be successful in keeping His temple clean.

 

1 Corinthians 6.19

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Will you join me?

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Coming full circle on a point to point course…

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

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

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Isaiah 41.10 

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

Isaiah 45.2-3  

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

Judges 6.23-24

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8.28

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

Boston 2014

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

Proverbs 27.17

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isaiah 41.10 

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

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

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

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

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

Before we were off…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://youtu.be/ODlQBOJrsoU

http://youtu.be/Q1mIZtWXKxQ

http://youtu.be/pyU9BAd3GT0

http://youtu.be/V8nkMPblKoI

http://youtu.be/s52-DVrJlTE

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://youtu.be/kBfrEKij3zs 

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

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

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

Romans 10.9-10

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Do we have eternal eyes?

Do we look at things through the eyes of eternity?

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

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

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

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

Philippians 3.18-21

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

John 14.1-4

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

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

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

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

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Forgiveness…Let Go & Let God!

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

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

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SERMON NOTES and SCRIPTURE:

Forgiveness with Humility and Love!

Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARE WE FORGIVERS? LIFESTYLE FORGIVERS?

  • Forgiveness is an obligation not an option!

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 17:4

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

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

Romans 3.23-26

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

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

John 13.34

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

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

Philippians 4.13

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

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

Philippians 4.6-7

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

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

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