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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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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 – relationships!  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. 🙂 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.  🙂  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 – Empire 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 – WOW – sensory overload.  I know all of this was preparing me for the run of lifetime – the largest marathon in the world – 50,000 runner and over 1 million spectators – talk 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 – Subway rides, fall foliage, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, 9/11 Memorial – What a day! We packed it all in. We rode the subway, the bus, the ferry and a taxi.  We walked as well – across 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 – divine 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.  🙂  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. 🙂 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.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
― 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. 🙂

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 – am 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! 🙂

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.  🙂 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. 🙂  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.  😉

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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Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow…Albert Einstein

So our trip continues on to Chicago.  At one of the stops along the way we found some inspiration on the wall.  Little did I realize as I took the pictures, that the second one would be foreshadowing of my race day.  And the crazy thing is…that I just reread it today and realized how true it was! God is so good…He knew I would need to read the words and find encouragement once again.   The first picture was true too…we all planned to give our best to the streets of Chicago and not sacrifice the gift we had been given.  I truly believe each one of us did that on October 11, 2015.  Now, here’s the rest of the story….

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As you can see from the above photo gallery, we had fun.  #1 goal = accomplished.  We all said we wanted to train hard but have fun.  God blessed each one of us with a desire and gift to run.  He then allowed our paths to cross due to running.  Now, we are friends because of running but the thread that holds us together is our love for our Lord Jesus Christ.  We encourage one another and lift one another up.  We obviously have fun together and do all we can to point upward as we live.

We exploded through the expo.  We gathered our numbers…took photos, many photos….We bought a few items(just a few)…We got our pace group info for race day….we just had fun with the MANY other runners who were doing the same.  Once we were done at the expo, I split off from the girls to go meet up with a few Team Hoyt members who were running Chicago too.  I met some new running friends at dinner as well.  We had a great time catching up and celebrating these friendships.  God started the Team Hoyt journey in 2012 and though I don’t run Boston with them any more, I am still part of the alumni and they will always be family.

One of the very cool parts of this story is that Jim and Riley, who I am seated next to, were part of the first group of DUOS allowed to run the Chicago Marathon.  This was the first year they allowed Jim to push Riley after trying for the last two.  I guess third try is a charm. 🙂  Jim is really fast – even pushing Riley. I had the great fortune of beating him at Boston 2014 because he started before me but stopped to walk and finish the race with Dick and Rick as I did.  We finished together but due to my later start I beat him.   I decided to mention that to him at dinner and then the next day I got a Facebook message stated that he beat me even having to push Riley through the crowds of people.  They did not give them preferential treatment…they had to start way back in corral E.  I was in D. 🙂  His chip time was 2 minutes faster than mine.  Oh well, like I said, he is really fast. And, I deserved it! Go Team Hoyt! Yes, You Can!

Dinner was great and then off to the hotel to prepare for the next day!  The hotel I met Team Hoyt in was about 2 miles away from my hotel.  I took a taxi so I didn’t have to walk in the dark alone. 🙂  My taxi ride was a fun one.  We started talking football….college football.  Being a good SEC fan and an Arkansas fan I had to talk about the Arkansas vs. Alabama game I was missing and headed back to watch.  We were actually leading and I wanted to see it played out.   Throughout the ride through the city, the driver I continued to banter back and forth.  He was from up north and didn’t have a dog in the fight but he sure had the last laugh when I exited the taxi.  I told him to make sure he cheered for the Hogs and he quickly said, “Roll Tide!”  At that point I was tempted to take my tip back. 😉

I beat the girls back to the room which gave me a chance to get my race gear ready.  Once I was prepared I put my PJs on and settled in to watch the game.  I was alone and able to enjoy the Arkansas lead for a while.  As soon as the girls got back Alabama took the lead and kept it.  It didn’t help that Deirdre is a HUGE Alabama fan. 🙂  She was very gracious unlike several I received text from that evening. 😉 At least we held our own and didn’t get slaughtered.  Go Hogs!

I was able to fall asleep…but sleep was not easy.  It was a lot like Christmas Eve.  The anticipation for the next morning made the night a long one.  It gave me time to pray and reflect but boy I was glad when the morning alarm finally went off….

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RACE DAY is here! This is the day we have worked so hard for.  Now we are all hoping and praying our training pays off and we finish well! We all got up on time and started our individual routines.  It was real.  We were doing this whether we liked it or not.  We headed downstairs to the sea of runners headed to the start line.  There were so many people.  We jogged a little to warm up and get the nerves out.  We finally made it to the welcome gate….and we had to stop and stand.  There were so many people waiting to get through the bag check.  It was crazy.  It was a sign of things yet to come. Here are some statistical information provided by Competitior.com on the number of runners:

  • 45,000 entrants are selected to run through a lottery, which had more than 70,000 applicants.
  • A total of 37,182 runners finished the race (20,144 men, 17,038 women)
  • Dickson Chumba won a slow men’s race in 2:09:25, while Florence Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2:23:33.

Crazy numbers – number of finishers and winning times.  I will come back to some of the additional stats later.

We did make it through the bag check and in to the porta potty lines.  Thankfully they were short.  While we were waiting it dawned on us that this would be the last time we would be together.  We all had different corrals.  We grabbed hands – yes, as we waited on the porta potty to come available – we prayed.  We asked the Lord to bless our steps, keep us injury free and help us to glorify Him as we ran.  He answered those prayers…we all finished for Him!  Once we all finished up we gave one another hugs and off we went….To run our own race!  We all had had numerous texts and messages from dear friends and family encouraging us to do just that – run our race.

Run my race is just what I had planned.  I decided to get with a pace group to help me do so.  Nike provided runners who led different pace teams.  A pace team is a group of runners led by an experienced leader who run together in the marathon. The pace leader runs a steady pace and keeps track of that pace so that the group can achieve their goal of finishing the marathon at a particular time. I wanted to finish in 3:45.  My personal best is 3:48:59.  I wanted to beat this time and go for around 3:45.  Pace groups can be good and they can be bad.  My experience was the latter.  Here is how marathonpacing.com describes problems for marathoners: One of the biggest mistakes that marathoners make is starting out too fast and then hitting the wall in the later portions of the race. The pace team will run at an even pace per mile. Sadly for me this is what the pace group did after having two slower miles in the beginning.  They did all they could do to catch up and this caused us to have 9 miles too fast.  We were supposed to stay steady at 8:35 and we did not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have trained all season not looking at my watch and trying to run on feel…so on this day I did the same.  If I had looked at my watch I would have realized we were way off on pace.  I didn’t realize it due to the fact I felt like I was always jockeying for position to keep up with the pace group leaders.  It was a constant up and back for those first 9-10 miles.  There were SOOO many people out there.  I constantly felt like I was in someones way or I was going to trip.  It was crazy crowded!  It was fun being with like-minded souls, in the city of Chicago, running a world major – but it was crazy crowded! 🙂  As you can see from my splits above I slowed down significantly the second half.  You also may notice I had a record-setting mile 22, 23 and 24.  I should be in the record books for mile 24. 🙂 I have NOOO idea what happened here…but I do know my watch said I ran a personal best 26.2 as seen below.  LOL!

My mind raced during the first half.  I was constantly talking to myself while trying to stay close to the pace team.  Water stations were tricky and oh the turns in the course.  Between the turns, the crowds and the water stations I was back and forth like a yo-yo with the pacers.  Mentally it was exhausting.  Finally, I remembered those words – run your race.

When I let these sink in and let the pace group go, I ran my race.  Granted it was slower than I wanted but I ran it and finished well.  The second half was mental as well.  It was get through this course and enjoy.  I was hurting and feeling every ache and pain.  I know now it is from pushing too hard on the front end.  You can not bank time. You can not start too fast in 26.2 and not have it bite you…you just can’t.

I would go through my ups and downs like the training.  I had moments that I knew I could and would do it.  Then I was trying to figure out ways to get to finish line without walking or running.  Was there someone who would carry me or drive me? 😉  Then the amazing crowds would lift me up.  I had on my music but seldom heard it because the crowds were electrifying! I did hear some of the music at just he right time.  The song Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave came on.  Mike and Chase sing this as a duet and I could hear them in my head.  It lifted me and kept me moving.  Another highlight was running through Moody University.  I listen to Moody Radio daily and am encouraged daily.  It was a quick shot of encouragement on the course.  I kept putting one foot in front of the other repeating the faster you do it the sooner you get to quit. 🙂

Once I made to mile 20 I knew I had it.  I can do a 10k in my sleep.  But, then I remembered it would take me at least an hour.  Oh, I didn’t want to run another hour.  At this point, I took it one mile at a time.  I had a PBJ on the run.  I had Peanut M & Ms as well.  My fueling was on target…now to get my mind and feet to follow suit.  During the last 10k I did have to walk through some water stations and pull over to put BioFreeze on my hamstring.  It was slow going but it was going.  I hit the 5k mark and knew I had it.  3.1 miles was a walk in the park.  One mile at a time….one mile at a time….  So the sign I was waiting for….ONE mile to go…finally came.  At this point, I finally looked at my watch.  I knew it had taken me 10 minutes to get to the start.  The clock showed 3:58 and my watch had 3:48.  I knew then I had 12 minutes to finish in under 4 hours, which was my secondary goal.  The last mile was broken down in meters for us.  At the 800 meter and 400 meter sign I was in the mode of “I so have this!”  We did so many 400 and 800 meter repeats in training I knew I had it…and I did. I finished in 3:57:39.  This was my official time and my watch time….even with the crazy splits…the two were identical.  🙂

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I am thrilled with my finish and my run.  How can I not be? I ran Chicago.  I ran my 3rd world major.  I ran with my amazing friends and I ran for HIM! He gave me desire and gave me the opportunity.  Did I finish like I wanted? No.  Is that okay? Yes! As Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow!”  I lived for the day.  I will learn from it now that it is a yesterday and I will hope for tomorrow which is NYC, November 1.

Also, I was 10,336 out those 37,000+ finishers.  I was 2995 out of 17,038 females.  I was almost an hour faster than the average finish time for my age group – it was 4:50.  I am thrilled! God was good. He showed up that day in many ways.  He showed up in China Town in the form of music to keep me going.  He showed up several times along the route when people yelled “Go Iron Lady!” (I had Iron Sharpens Iron on my shirt.)  He showed up in a sign that had Philippians 4.13 on it – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  He showed up every time I crossed a timing mat knowing it was sending a text to many of you.  He showed up in the last mile when I saw 8oom LEFT and 400m LEFT.  He showed up every step of the way! He was there and will continue to be there during my next steps.  I felt Him! I felt the prayers! What a glorious day for a run!!!! Now to find my running angels…

We all found one another in the mass of people…the runners + spectators = unreal numbers.  We hustled through the crowds to make it back to our hotel.   We managed to stop and have our picture taken as a group – Chicago Marathon Finishers. We did it.  Yoli and Deirdre met their goals of around 3:30.  They both qualified for Boston 2017.  Shannon and I finished our race and enjoyed leaving all we had on the streets of Chicago.  This trip was a gift from God.  He allowed me to run with like-minded friends and we have amazing memories we will live with forever.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

We made back to hotel in time to shower and get on the road.  The second marathon of the day – the 12 hour drive home – was about to begin.  We relived the day and kept one another awake as we made stops to refuel the car and ourselves on our way back to home sweet home – TN.  Now on to the next one….NYC! I will learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow!

 

26 scriptures for the MARATHON – Marathon of life! Thanks to Dorothy Beal from MilePosts for compiling this list!

Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of age.

Matthew 28:20

 The Lord will work out his plans for my life.

Psalm 138:8

 I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as the mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

Matthew 17:20

 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.

Luke 19:26

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

Philippians 4:13

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we can not see. Hebrews 11:1

 ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.’

Jeremiah 29:11

Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

I Timothy 4:12

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.

Romans 8:28

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Psalm 37:5

With God’s help we will do mighty things.

Psalm 60:12

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3

 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:9

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5

Be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.

Chronicles 15:7

Whatever you do, do well.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

Psalm 91:11

 Anything is possible if a person believes.

Mark 9:23

The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

Luke 6:38

 I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize…

Philippians 3:13

 Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

2 Corinthians 4:17

I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

 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.

Isaiah 40:31

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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!

finishline2014

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

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

Romans 10.9-10

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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God’s 45th birthday present to me…

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Run with Trish 5k 2014 Prayer Circle

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

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

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

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

img_8390Newsom/Taylor Families…

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

img_8337Dad – He too won his age group.

img_7923My niece Taylor did too!!

img_7674My sister, Lisa cheering us all on!

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

img_8251The Estes Family

img_7981Gracey and I coming into the finish!

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

img_8397The photographer, my niece Lane…

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

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

Romans 8.28

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

who have been called according to his purpose.

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img_7647Mike…:)

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

img_8401My running angels!!!

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

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

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

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

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Taking my ‘Breath of Heaven’…Boston 2014 training has officially started…

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Today it started! Boston 2014 training is now officially underway.  The first four miles of many are now logged en route to the 2014 Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt.  Yes, You Can! is Team Hoyt’s motto and the message they spread.  This training season I will rely on this mantra more than ever.

2013 has been very eventful to say the least.  Running has been good therapy but hard to do.  I have taken the last two weeks off and quite honestly I am ready to get started again.  The physical and emotional fatigue of the past year have taken a toll.  I know God gave me running as a ministry to reach others…but I also know He gave it to me as a form of worship and comfort.  This season will be one I try to find the joy the fatigue has taken.

Last week God provided me with encouragement through song once again.   I was asked to share my story with my church’s women’s group at our Christmas banquet this past Saturday.  While preparing my testimony I heard Amy Grant singing Breath of Heaven on Pandora.

The song took on new meaning to me in regards to the year I have experienced.  The words flowed over me like a calm.  God showed me He was there helping me with the load I was carrying and He would surround me with His breath of Heaven.  Now, I don’t compare myself to Mary at all!!! Her role is a very special one ordained by God.  But, I do believe we all have our own loads that scare us…cause us to feel alone…make us feel as if we are in the dark…and make us feel weak when we need to be strong.  This song cries out to the Lord and asks for light, strength and HELP! The words ‘breath of Heaven, hold me together…’ have been and will continue to be my prayer.   I too want to ‘offer all I am’ and have you ‘Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy!’

Then His breath of Heaven hit me again today as I was finishing my first four miles of many, many more…I know I have already stated this…but I had to state it again! This is the beginning!  He showed me He will be my strength when I feel as if I am falling apart.  He will help me be strong.  He will light the path and HIS breath will surround me every step I run, walk or jog.  His strength is made GREAT in my weakness…

Isaiah 40.29

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

2 Corinthians 12.9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Listen and let His breath cover you and all you may be going through this season:  He will be your strength and breath!

Breath of Heaven – Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven

Stay tuned for more tales from the Boston 2014 journey!

You can be a part of the journey with your tax deductible donation to the Hoyt Foundation here:

http://www.crowdrise.com/trishnewsom

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The Overcomer!

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There are days during mom’s recovery she feels as if she is moving at a turtle’s slow pace.  When in her reality, considering the traumatic experience she has been through, she is really moving more like the hare. 🙂

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She is an OVERCOMER….

Overcomer – Mandisa

Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

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

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Oh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling You!

As mom and I were driving to therapy last week we heard Overcomer by Mandisa.  As I listened to the words I told her “This is your song! You are an overcomer!”  Those of you that know mom, know this is very true!!!

As far as recovery goes, she is doing extremely well.  Most days are strong.  We have stopped counting the duration of the strong days because they are all strong now.  There are times within a day she might struggle…most of the time it is at the end of the day when she is tired.

We learned last week she can’t stay up too late! Her body needs rest and more than usual.  Mom has always been the last one to bed.  Staying up to watch the news…to wind down…to read.  So last Wednesday we were watching ESPN’s ESPY awards late into the night.  Team Hoyt was being awarded the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.  This excerpt was taken from the JimmyV.org website:

Father and son running team from Massachusetts exemplify determination

Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father and son team who have been participating in races together for more than 30 years, will be presented the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at The 2013 ESPYs presented by Capital One on July 17. Rick, now 51, was born with cerebral palsy and though unable to use his hands or legs he and his 73-year-old father have run in more than 1,000 endurance events—including triathlons and marathons—with Dick pushing his son in a custom-made running chair.

We wanted to see this amazing duo receive this prestigious award.  They have been such important part of my life these last two years.  Even more so now!!! Who knew when God orchestrated my  Team Hoyt membership that their example of determination and perseverance would encourage me on a different type of marathon – mom’s recovery?  God did!  He also knew mom would draw strength from their example.  So needless to say, she wanted to stay up and watch it as well.  She slept through it in the chair but she was up. 🙂  As we learned that night, strength comes from knowing you can but also respecting the need for sleep. 🙂  The week before the ESPYs mom received this from Team Hoyt…

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Yes, She Can!!!

Therapy is going well.  Mom doesn’t look forward to these days but knows they will make her stronger.  We are seeing the fruit of her hard work every day.  She is moving through the house at lightning speed…not really but she is moving faster and more confident.  She is coming back center.  We are not having to direct her right as much.  She is sensing her boundaries on both sides now.  She didn’t care for her left side for a while. 🙂  She is overcoming…once again!

Dad, mom and I are laughing a lot.  We are enjoying the quality time we are being forced to have…but we are thankful for it.  Lesson – don’t wait until you are forced to have quality time with the ones you love! Of course, I miss the rest of my family that I am missing my quality time with but…thanks to my mom’s generosity with her air miles, Mike was able to fly to Arkansas and visit us a week ago.  He was a blessing all of us. He helped daddy around the yard and he lifted mom’s spirits with his kind heart.  We loved having him here and I hated seeing him go! 😦  He and I both know this is where God wants me now and his never-ending support in that is so very comforting.

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So, as you can see….Mom is doing well. We are doing well.  We are all working in unison to help mom progress and get back to being ELT! She is on her way.  She is taking it one step and one day at a time! If she gets discouraged we remind her how far she has come! This is all a direct result of prayer…we firmly believe that!

Mom is still hearing amazing stories of people praying when this all first started and throughout the whole process.  She is humbled. We are humbled.  We are thankful for placing such godly people in the right place at the right time to pray mom to where she is now.  Prayer works!  Keep them coming!

As mom and dad’s child, I am in awe of the community of people who have come together to encourage and lift them up in so many ways! How? Through prayer, through cards, through phone calls, through visits and through meals! I couldn’t be more comforted by the outpouring of love I have experienced from their community.  It is often said it takes a village to raise a child….well it takes a village to take care of a traumatic brain injured person as well…and Bella Vista Village has shown this is so true! I cannot express my gratitude enough!

Now, the rest of the story is my story…

Today’s devotional summed up my day yesterday.

Youversion – Praise In the Presence of God Daily Devotional – July 21, 2013

Psalm 16. 8-9

8  I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
 

Deep Down Gladness

If you’ll allow the Holy Spirit to, He will enable you to receive God’s precious Word with faith, hope, obedience—and with joy. The joy He brings is not only personal down deep in your soul, but it penetrates your relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

As God’s redeemed, walking in His Word and by His Spirit, you can enter tomorrow rejoicing that God’s commitment to His purpose in you is absolute. And you can live every day with confidence, assured of the inevitability of His life triumphing in you.

Rebuilding the Real You

God is rebuilding the real me and helping me find my joy in my circumstances!  I have figured out during this process I am pretty good at bottling up my emotions – good to bad – and then they all come out on my long runs.  Running long is physically draining as it is but when you are a little sleep deprived it makes it a tad bit harder.  Then when you have emotions bottled up it makes it even that much more difficult.  Have you tried to run and cry when you are TIRED and trying to go up hill? It doesn’t work too well. 🙂

Now, I am not looking for sympathy at all! I know I need a release and that is why I run.  It allows me, especially on a long run, to deal with it and get it all out! I listen to praise music as I run.  These songs are how God speaks to me!  He used Laura Story’s Blessings to speak to me yesterday.

 

As this song played, I listened and I cried out to Him.  I also realized that I had DEEP DOWN GLADNESS as the devotional talks about.  I want to be obedient. I want to receive God’s grace.  I want mom to heal and to be blessed in the process. Our blessings are coming from unexpected sources as the song describes.

Blessings – Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

(Chorus)
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Chorus

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Chorus

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

God is in control! God is rebuilding all of us! God is showing us how to receive deep down gladness.  We are so thankful!  God is blessing us through the prayer of others, through the time we are having together, through laughter and heartache, through friends and family, through small steps like the turtle and through eager steps like the hare!

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The day after….

Today is a new day.  Today is the day the Lord has made so let’s rejoice.  I am trying. I really am.  I know our God is in control, I do.  But I am struggling right now. I know I am to have faith. It is my job to trust…not understand. I know all that…and it does bring me comfort. BUT, I am struggling.

A roller coaster of emotions have hit me today.  The events of yesterday are settling in.  As we left our hotel today we were met with armed guards.   The street in front of the hotel was blocked. The swat team and numerous police officers were at the hotel across the street.  Unsettling is the best word to describe it…eery.

These sights are imprinted in my mind.  I know they are nothing compared to the sights others saw yesterday.  Many of Team Hoyt’s family members were in the stands across from one of the explosions.  One said he has replayed it all in his mind over and over again! I can’t imagine…the replay of smoke in mine is bad enough.

Team Hoyt came out physically okay.  Emotionally scarred and changed…forever I am sure.  It drew us closer to our families and closer to each other as a Team Hoyt family!  We were thankful to share hugs! We were thankful to receive emails from those we were unable to see and touch.  Dick and Rick were stopped on the course when they cancelled the race.  They made it back to their home without too many delays. Thankfully, they are well!  The Lord truly watched over our team and helped us through this horrific day.

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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’s 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’t see the big picture. He can.

After reading the different accounts in the newspaper it makes me really, really thankful for our safety and God’s provision. I have said this already but will continue.  My heart is broken for the families of those who lost their lives. One was an eight year old boy who had just hugged his dad before he crossed the finish line.  He ran back to be with his mom when the bomb exploded.  He was killed and his mom and sister were both injured. The father was headed down the corral to get his medal.  Relieved to be done I am sure.  Thankful to have a Gatorade and a Power Bar to refuel.  Then as I did, heard the blast and I am sure turned around to horror.  My story had a better ending.  His did not!

Sadness and tears consume me as I think about this…I know how panicked I felt trying to find Mike.  I know the fear that overtook me.  Prayers were being lifted but I was in shock and my instincts of go and find Mike kicked in.  This father did the same.  I can only wrap prayer around this family. I don’t know their names, but God does.  God also has this family and the others in His hand.

We are now in flight on the way home.  It still seems surreal. On one of the newscasts being broadcast in the airport a reporter said this is like 911 you will always remember where you were and when you heard.  I sat back and thought about this…I was there in person.  I saw the smoke. People were killed and injured just 2 blocks away from me.  The reality of this has not really hit me yet.  I know it will. On this roller coaster I go from reality to really? What a place to be!

The outpouring of love Mike and felt have humbled us beyond belief.  Due to the circumstances we were without cell phone services for a while. They were taking precautionary measures just in case cell phones were being used to detonate the bombs.  It was a scary time.  We wanted to get in touch with our loved ones – friends and family all around the world.  Please know that if I could give each of you a huge hug – I would.  That is what I needed and wanted….Mike was there for me.  { } Consider this your virtual hug!

As we have traveled God is showing His presence.  Before we took off in Boston I had to use the restroom.  I walked in and a girl was on the phone crying.  She had her Boston Marathon shirt on so I knew she had run the race.  When she was finished I said “I know I don’t know you, but can I give you a hug?”  We embraced and then she told me her story.  She was right there when it happened.  She was thanking the Lord for her safety.  We stood and talked for a while and I made a new friend. Liz-I am praying for you! I feel blessed that the Lord allowed our paths to cross. It was a Godincidence like so many other happenings this weekend. She talked about how she felt God was working. How He was drawing us back to our families.  We talked about God’s sovereignty.  He is in control.

After landing in Charlotte we were walking to connecting gate.  A complete stranger reached out and put her hand on Mike’s arm and said, “I am really glad to see you two!”  We thanked her as she walked on.  Good is out there….everywhere.  We need to live more intentional and show others our love and God’s love daily.  This is where the hope comes from in these times of tragedy.  That is what we are made of!

Does it make us sad? Yes! Do we hurt? Yes!  Do we wish we could erase it? Yes!  Questions are raised why? Why would a gracious God allow such tragedy?

I know our Lord is good…I know He is sovereign and He is in control.  Searching for answers is part of it…as I searched I found this article BIBLE TRUTHS FOR TRAGIC TIMES on www.cbn.com – The Christian Broadcasting Network written by Laura J. Bagby.  It was written after Hurricane Katrina.  She has conveyed the message so well.  She has referenced the word of our Lord and Savior that brings us comfort.  READ BELOW:

5 “The waves of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me. 6 The grave[a] wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face. 7 But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I called to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears (2 Samuel 22:5-7, NLT).The above Scripture passage, a heartfelt cry of King David written thousands of years ago.  The Lord God is close to the brokenhearted, to those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He is our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 59:16).
In the meantime, as the rest of us stay glued to the television set, transfixed at the images of horror that have transpired these last couple of days and waiting to hear from loved ones, we must not allow our hearts to faint to the point that we lose hope and begin to question the goodness of God. We can become overwhelmed when we dwell on tragedy, which is exactly why the Bible tells us to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2).When our hearts are troubled, we must seek the Lord. When we give our anxious hearts to God instead of remaining paralyzed by our fearful thoughts, we gain His peace. The Bible tells us plainly in 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 (NIV).

John 14:27 also notes the exchange of fear for peace. Jesus states:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (NKJV).

These are the times to remember just 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.

Me again:  I couldn’t have said it any better.  I want to reiterate her words…”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.”

I prayed 18 weeks ago, at the beginning of my marathon training, that God’s will be done and He was glorified on race day.  Never in a million years did I ever imagine or could I have ever imagined it would or could be happening in this way! God will prevail.  We know the ending! Thanking Him for His Hope and love!!!

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Do you believe I am able to do this? Matthew 9.28b

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“According to your faith will it be done to you.” Matthew 9.29b

Tonight our pastor used the following text for his sermon:

2 Kings 4.1-7:  The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

He started the sermon by asking me to bring my Bible up front to the podium.  This is not normal.   🙂  I guess he knew I would be a good sport.  He asked me what my Bible was worth to me…if I would give it up or sell it.  My Bible is priceless to me! So, of course I said no. 🙂  He then asked me if I would give him $20.  I said I don’t have $20.  He proceeded to ask me for my Bible. I hesitated at first…but then gave I gave it to him.  To my surprise, he opened it and there was a $20 bill inside.  His point was that there is a hidden treasure in all of us and that some situations may be more than meets the eye. (Mike placed the money in my Bible while I wasn’t looking.)

His title was “Discovering the Hidden Treasure!”  He used the above scripture to show that the widow had a hidden treasure in her home that was sacred and significant.  It was a jar with overflowing blessings.  She tapped into the blessings and/or hidden treasure with FAITH!  She knew she needed a miracle.  As Brother Alan said tonight, “miracles begin in the hands of obedient people.”  She put her faith in action and believed as Matthew 9.28-29 stated.

As I listened to the message and thought about what is going on in our lives right now, I could not help but think of the Run with Trish 5k for Team Hoyt on Saturday.  The widow lady was distraught.  She was forsaken.  But she was faithful in it all.  I am not distraught or forsaken…I am blessed. 🙂  But, I am at the point of anxiety and worry because I am human. 🙂 I have been trying to let go and let God have it.  With that being said, I keep pulling it back down and trying to do it myself!  Tonight is just what I needed to hear.  “Do I believe HE is able to do this?” Yes, I do!

He has prepared a way for Saturday.  He knows whether not it will snow. He knows who will come out and run in the cold.  He knows HIS glory will be shown because He knows who will be working the race and shining for HIM.  He knows we have been obedient to Him and want HIM to be glorified!!  We are to have FAITH and have our jars open and ready for an overflowing blessings on March 2nd.  I will be bringing my jar and placing it at pavilion #3 on Saturday.  Will you join me?  🙂

If you are local, I hope to see you there!  If you are not, we would love your prayers.  A race report will come soon! 🙂

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Let HIS teaching fall like rain…

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Deuteronomy 28:12
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.

Deuteronomy 32:2
Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.

Today I ran in the rain. The pouring down rain.  The wet rain. The cleansing rain.  I stomped in water puddles.  I watched the water flow down creeks that I didn’t know were there.  I listened to the rain as it hit the ground. I listened to the water run in the creeks through the woods.  I watched rain drip off my hat like tear drops.  It was magical.  I felt alive. I was alive. God blessed me with a cleansing rain.

The Lord let His heavens open and the storehouse of His bounty flowed down…He blessed my run with His beauty!  My running is my work for Him.  He is providing the journey to Boston once again and I have to do the work.  Today it was wet but it was eye-opening and sense heightening.

Many people choose not to run in the rain, snow, cold or dark…but in my opinion,for what it’s worth, they are missing out! As long as you have the right gear…rain, reflective…then these runs can be the BEST ever!  Your senses are alive in ways they are normally not. You see things you might not normally notice.  You hear in a different way.

The Lord teaches on these runs. He allows me to hear Him and see Him in the beauty of his bounty – today it was the rain.

What can you do to step outside your normal routine and see Him and hear Him in a different way?  Do it and let His teaching fall on you like RAIN!

RACE REPORT….The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Atlanta

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This picture was on Facebook today.  It is a perfect picture or yesterday’s race in Atlanta.  We were Road Warriors yesterday in the hills of Atlanta.  (This may be my first and last race in Atlanta…During the race I saw several shirts that read Heat, Hills, Humidity…Welcome to Atlanta! AMEN! 🙂

I approached this race as a training run. The schedule called for a long run of 12 miles at a moderate pace – 915.  I decided to go with how I felt and add a few miles running others in after my race.  The race was a 15k or 9.3 miles.  Running others in would help me get my 12.  As in fact it did.

How did it go? Really well.  Despite the hills, I felt great! I ran well! My Garmin reported 9.45 miles with a 8:20 pace. I am so excited because I can tell my training is paying off. The speed work and the tempo runs are working. As much as I hate them, they are working. 🙂 The time on my feet during my easy run are bringing JOY to my runs.  My new running form is helping me praise HIM as well as keeping me from running with chicken wings.  God is showing up every run.  He is showing His hand through the beauty around me, with the friends who encourage me,  through the family who support me, with the strangers who inquire about Team Hoyt, with the strength He is giving me on every run and with proof the plan is working.

God gives us direction.  God leads our steps.

Proverbs 20.24

A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?

Let Him lead you today!!!

 

SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST:  One VERY important thing about this race is that it supported the Ronald McDonald House.  The Ronald McDonald House Charity is very close to the Newsom family.  It has been a home away from home for my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their children as their oldest son has and is still dealing with Aplastic Anemia.  The RMH in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was their safe haven as he went through treatment and is available if and when they have to return.  My nephew is still fighting and he is showing all of us how the hills of life can be turned into joy.  I think I can safely say, we have learned A LOT from our nephew.  He is an amazing young man who loves the Lord and is using his circumstances to make a difference for others! Thanks, Connor for being such a pillar of strength for us. We love you and are praying for you daily!!! You are a warrior! Keep fighting!!!

 

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