Saturday, November 11, 2017

God is winking!

Hello! It's great to be back here...blogging that is.  As I sit here, tears streaming down by face, my hope is that this post of vulnerability, pain, heartache, and loss can be a source of faith, hope and strength for those of who you find yourself in a valley of life, a season of pain. 



The last two months have been a season of heartache, pain, loss, & hopelessness; however, I want to share with you a message of hope, encouragement and faith.  Over the last couple months I have heard from several people how strong I am, how my faith is inspiring, but I am hear to tell you that it is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute CHOICE I make.




I don't necessarily understand it. I ask questions.  I wonder why.  In the end, I'll see the big picture and realize it was for the best. God's plan never disappoints.  God's plan takes us further than we could ever imagine.



EACH AND EVERYDAY...

I experience pain, but am overwhelmed by JOY!
I feel hopeless, but am reminded of the HOPE  I have in Him.
I feel weak, but have so much STRENGTH!
I feel alone, but my cup runneth over with LOVE!
I battle not being good enough, but know that I am MORE THAN ENOUGH.
I questions WHY?, but the real question is WHAT?
When I want to say NO, I say YES!





WHEN GOD WINKS...

Each and everyday I experience God Winks, letting me know that everything is going to be ok, and that He has everything under control.


I have been surrounded and embraced by the most amazing friends, family & loved ones that a person could ever imagine OR ask for.  The cards, random texts, words of encouragement and so much more have been overwhelming.   Throughout this season, people who are near and dear to me have come to me for love, support and encouragement as they work through their own pain, darkness, & hurt.  It is such a blessing to be able to pour into their lives during this season.



I am constantly asking myself WHY? Why me? But one day my mom encouraged me to switch my thinking from asking WHY?, to asking WHAT? What am I supposed to learn from this? One thing I have learned is that seasons of pain, loss, heartache etc are most often preceded by a season of abundant joy & blessing.  Often in life, we refer to the dash, the line between our birth and our death.
For me,  I focus on the dash of that joyful season of life, and pray that I was a blessing in the lives of those I loved so dearly, that I left a legacy and a lasting impact, and that my love for them will never be questioned. And I choose to focus on all of the fun times, memories, blessings, and more that I experienced.


As the pain was often paralyzing, I searched for JOY, and made it a point to say YES! Yes to coffee dates, dinner invitations, the opportunity to travel and spend time with those who are closest to me, yes to uncomfortable situations that can result in so much growth and healing...YES to surrounding myself with the things and people that mean the most to me. Two weeks into my season of heartache, pain, & loss, I had the opportunity to be on team as a leader for an intense personal leadership class that focuses on embracing vulnerability, overcoming complacency in all areas of life, developing trust, living life to the fullest, etc..saying YES was perhaps the scariest decision I made, as having been through the class before, I knew how much emotion would surface over the course of the 3-day class.  But I am here to say it was one of the best YESes I have made on my journey to healing. It was a YES I deserved to experience, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be vulnerable with others and grow from the experience together.  

Perhaps the most important & impactful thing I  have done is to be aware of and in search of God Winks...those signs, encounters, and reminders that God has everything under control.  From the Bible verse you randomly come across that speaks truth & wisdom, to the fortuitous encounter with an old friend, to finding a sign on a walk,  to those things we like to call coincidences...they are everywhere, if you look for them. I have been overwhelmed by the assurance that everything, and I mean everything, is going to be more than ok.

While I don't know your personal story, or the season of life you are walking through, I want to encourage you to seek JOY,  have HOPE, experience LOVE, & find your STRENGTH in Him...because you are MORE THAN ENOUGH!



Keep your eyes, heart and mind open to God's winks! 





Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What's Your Story?

Disclaimer: this is going to be a rambling of my thoughts, but hopefully by the end you leave inspired, encouraged, and motived to share your story. 

This post has been influenced by my opportunity to hear the story behind two successful companies, both of which inspire me on a daily basis, one of which I am blessed to call my employer.


For those of you who know me, you know I am a major Dutch Bros groupie! I hit up MY drive-thru every morning, the baristas know my drink, my name,  and my story {often inquiring about my morning run or whatever non-profit event I am currently working on}, and I have been fortunate enough to work with the local franchisee for several fundraisers.  But often times, I hear a lot of criticism in the community about the "bro-ista, whats' up dude!?" culture of the company.  A couple weeks ago I, along with hundreds of other individuals in the local business community, had the opportunity to hear the owner of Dutch Bros' story.  A story of faith, of compassion, of loss, of doing doing the unthinkable, of risk taking, of family, of paying it forward....and so much more.  As an owner of a company that started in a parking lot and now has over 260 locations in 7 states, Travis' mission it to provide a compelling future & hope for people both within the company and the community...he wants to make a difference, and be a ray of sunshine in the lives of others.  As he said, he's not in the coffee business, rather he's the relationship business...and the product is LOVE! So do me a favor, next time you buy a $3.50 cup of coffee & the barista takes the time to ask you about your day, think of the individuals you are blessing {as Dutch Bros donates millions of dollars each and every year to local communities} & perhaps take a moment to ask the barista about their day...maybe, just maybe, you could return the favor and be a ray of sunshine in their life.  

On a daily basis, I am beyond blessed to go to work for a family and company that embraces integrity, compassion, generosity, community, family and so much more. Stephen, the owner of the company, was recently named The Chamber's First Citizen, and the presenter of the award said it best: "He creates a preferred future and brings it into present reality. He's somebody who puts common welfare in front of self-interest. He's a servant leader who has given endlessly and tirelessly of himself to make our community a better place to live."  That is powerful! That is the kind of company I want to work for and support! In his emotional & moving acceptance speech, Stephen shared that he prides himself in carrying out the legacy of his papa.

So where am I going with all of this...

Whether you're the owner of multi-million dollar company, a stay-at-home mom, single, married, a recovering addict, someone struggling to find their way & purpose in life...EVERYONE HAS A STORY! Yes, YOU, have a story! 


I think often times we underestimate the impact our stories can have on others OR perhaps we don't genuinely take the time to listen and hear the stories of others.  I think so many times we all present the best version of ourselves, avoiding sharing the ugly, the struggles, the pain.  But its through those that we can provide hope, courage, inspiration to others. Those who have been blessed abundantly I think feel the need keep quiet, out of a humble heart, for fear of bragging, making others feel inferior...but there is so much we can learn from others' success.  And let's be honest, how quick are we to judge others before we truly know their story! And I am here to tell you that EVERYONE has a story.

So now what!?  I have a have challenge for you...

Share your story with others and take the time to learn the story of others.  Why do you do what you do? How have you overcome failure & obstacles in your life? What are you passionate about and what drives that passion? How did you get where you are today? How have you been the recipient of and/or extended grace & mercy to others?

I know what several of you are thinking right now..."but I don't have a story!"  I challenge you to dig deep and discover your story, because I guarantee you that your beautiful story has the power to inspire, encourage, and provide HOPE for someone.  Perhaps the story you are currently living is one of pain, discomfort, loss and you are searching for that hope...I beg you to embrace vulnerability and share with someone, allowing them to pour into you, and walk along side you during these difficult times.  If your story is one of abundant blessings, pay it forward and share with others, as your story might have the power to greatly influence the life of another.  

In a world of go-go-go, where we are consumed with to-do lists, deadlines, goals to meet, standards to live up to etc., I encourage you to take the time to meet with someone over coffee, lunch, a drink...and have no agenda or purpose, other than to just be present and get to know the other person. It is amazing what can happen when we take the time to truly invest in the lives of others.  

Are you ready!? Let's go share, giving and receiving hope & love! 



Monday, September 26, 2016

My Training Needs to Expand Beyond the 5am Hour

It's a routine...my alarm goes off at 4:30am, I roll out of bed and throw on my running clothes, drive to one of two spots to meet my running partners, and run one of a couple varying routes. The temperature is rather consistent throughout the different seasons. I always fuel {or in most cases don't fuel} the same way. I come home and get ready for work, go about my day, and do it all over again the next morning. I do this 6 days a week.  Many times in life a routine and consistency is key, but when it comes to my training, I need to expand it beyond the 5am hour.  Physically and mentally, I need to prepare for varying race day circumstances, and I need to embrace the full picture of training, not just the running component.  

I can honestly say that right now my training consumes 1-3 hours of my day, and that is it.  As I start my day, I quickly forget to hydrate, often times neglect proper fueling, and fill my day with obligations which end up taking a priority over sleep...none of which are advantageous to taking care of my body as I train for a marathon.

In 9 weeks I will be toeing the start line of my 6th marathon, and I want to know that I did everything to prepare for the best race I am capable of, and that means more than just being disciplined at getting up at 4:30am.   Here is where I intend to improve my discipline & focus, to ensure I make the early morning wake-up calls worthwhile:

FUELING: This is not necessarily an issue of what I eat, rather what I DON'T eat. I'll be the first to admit I have been know to skip breakfast, wait hours to refuel following a long run, and not consume enough to properly fuel by body. Sometimes my lunch consists of a trip to a co-workers offers to grab a piece of candy from her candy dish. No bueno!  I plan to focus on eating to FUEL, ensuring everything I consume is advantageous to my training, while making certain I am getting all of the nutrients needed to properly fuel my body.    

Being an early morning runner, I ofter times don't fuel before or during a run either.  These next several weeks will be my opportunity to dial in my race day fueling plan. 




HYDRATING: I'm going to be honest...I'm a sweater. I run warm.  More than others. Following my morning run, it is so easy for the hours of the day to slip away, without drinking any water/electrolytes...so I will be making a valid effort to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.




SLEEP: For those who know me, you know this is hard for me...but I have been saying NO to commitments, to free up my schedule, and make sure I have time for proper rest & sleep. While I feel like can survive on little sleep, I know that it is detrimental to my training. Here's to 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

TRAINING VARIATION: While I love my morning running routine and all of my training partners, it is time to switch things up and add a little variation to my training.  My body is SO accustomed to running at a certain time, in a certain temperature, over a certain terrain etc..none of which simulate race day conditions.  I have started running at different times of the day, on the treadmill, solo, and on different routes, in an effort to add variation, while keeping things fresh!





RECOVERY, STRETCHING & MORE: It's time for me to be more diligent about my stretching, foam rolling, recovery and more, in order to be a more balanced runner and really optimize the miles I putting in.  I am looking forward to incorporating Jasyoga 26.2 into my training regimen & becoming a more balanced & resilient runner on my journey to the start line. 

TIME & STRESS MANAGEMENT: I am notorious for overcommitting & over extending myself.  While I genuinely enjoy everything I am involved in and blessed to be a part of, it is stressful! Even positive stress takes a toll on the body.  As cliché as it sounds, I keep reminding myself that saying NO to something is saying YES to me!

I also have control of how I respond to situations in my life, and I have become more aware of the unnecessary stress I bring to my life.




As I write all of this, it all seems so obvious, and I KNOW what to do...but if I am honest with myself, running has just become a routine part of my day, and I need to refocus...because there's more to training for a marathon than just running.  







Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My GARDING Birthday Bash


Recently I have been thinking about what I want to do for my birthday.  I want it to be more than just another birthday, my 33rd birthday. I want it to be a day that makes a difference.  I thought about ideas such as the Red Nose Day and Bob Goff’s Book and Company Love Does, whose goal is to change a few lives for the better. A couple weeks ago I was inspired by the documentary “CAN YOU DIG THIS?” not only for the literal effects of planting a garden but also for the symbolic impact. During a solo drive home from Portland, when I had hours of uninterrupted time to think, I came up with the perfect idea…



As I celebrate my 33rd birthday, I would like to invite you to celebrate with me.  Those who know me know that I love a good party, especially a birthday party…with a THEME! Birthdays are a day to make someone feel special; I want to do just that.  I don’t want this July 18th to be just another day, another birthday, another candle in the cake; I want it to be more.  I want this to be a day to look forward to, a day to remember, a day in which several people feel special and loved, a day that leaves a mark.  So let’s go GARDENING!



Can a simple act of planting a seed change lives? YES! Every type of seed that is planted grows, and everyday you are given the opportunity to grow where you are planted.   To change a community, a relationship, a family, you just need to change the compost of the soil.  






So for my Birthday I am throwing a Gardening Birthday Bash, and invite you to plant a seed on July 18th.   A seed of HOPE, seed of LOVE, seed of LAUGHTER, seed of GENEROSITY, seed of THOUGHTFULNESS, seed of FAITH, seed of SERVICE, seed of HOSPITALITY, seed of FORGIVENESS, seed of COMPASSION, etc.

logo design by Sarah Robinson at sarahrobinsondesign@gmail.com 




 Here are just a few examples of SEEDS that can be planted:

GENEROSITY-make a donation to a non-profit of your choice

FORGIVENESS-call someone who you need to offer of accept forgiveness to/from

THOUGHTFULNESS-leave ice cold water or Gatorade out for your mailman, garbage man, contractor, etc.

THOUGHTFULNESS-Send flowers or balloons to someone Just Because. COMPASSION-make Homeless Care Packages and deliver them to homeless individuals in your community

FUN & LAUGHTER-go to a local park and hand out popsicles

SERVICE-volunteer at a local organization OR help an elderly neighbor with yard work and household chores

KINDNESS-purchase a coffee for someone in line at the coffee shop

LOVE-have uninterrupted playtime with your children

HOSPITALITY-take someone dinner who you know is overwhelmed, sick, or could just use a little extra help. Or better yet, invite them over for dinner. 





EVERYTHING starts from a seed, so I encourage you to DIP DEEP and make this world a beautiful, fruitful place.







Please share your gardening experience with all of us as you cultivate the soil of your life…I can’t wait to hear about all of the seeds planted. Post on social media using the hashtag #plantaseed33



Please join the Facebook Event page so we can all share ideas and encourage one another in our gardening adventures: https://www.facebook.com/events/269456250087804/


Sunday, July 3, 2016

WIld Rogue Relay

My 9th relay is done & done! I guess its safe to say I love me a good relay! Call me crazy, but running close to 20 miles, in 30 hours, with little to no sleep, sleeping in a suburban, eating cold breakfast burritos, and creating power arches for runners to run though is my idea of a fun, somewhat relaxing weekend {I love that my only concerns are cheering on my teammates and getting out of the van to run!}. 

After being unable to run the Wild Rogue Relay for the first couple of years {the race director is a good friend of mine and relay teammate}, this year I was not only able to run it, but was asked to join a team, consisting of employees from a company in my office building...I couldn't say no.

There are SO many things I love about a relay, but perhaps my favorite part is the instant friendships that are formed {unless of course you have the unfortunate experience of being in a van where not everyone's personalities mesh well...but knock-on-wood that has never happened to me}.  We had a runner drop out last minute due to a family emergency, and no sooner than I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a runner I received a message that someone was interested in joining our team...a very talented runner, new to the area, who was hoping to meet people while doing what she loves..RUNNING! Anyone willing to join a team of 11 runners, knowing nothing about them, with no questions asked is a winner in my book! And MOLLY was just that...such an amazing and perfect addition to our team! 

Molly got the party, and a good lead, started.


It's always amazing to witness a very talented, yet humble, runner! Rocking the 6:30s.


If it looks like I am struggling here, it is because I was...6 miles slight steady incline, but NO break! One thing I will say about this relay is it is definitely one of the more challenging races, in terms of terrain...lots of climbing. But I guess that is the price you pay to enjoy amazingly beautiful scenery.


These two...amazing...so much fun to have such a fun, loving, supportive, positive, talented father daughter duo in the van! I loved seeing the two of them bond over the experience, and Halyn ROCKED it!!!



There's something magical about finishing your first leg of a relay and experiencing your first hand-off.



See...Jill's smile says it all.






No relay is complete without a picture with Big Wayne and his cowboy hat...Wayne and I were van-mates for the Cascade Lakes Relay {another amazing Oregon relay}



The major exchanges are where the party's at.  This was the first time in which I ran a relay where we switch up our legs each time..as in I was not always runner 2.  I am not sure if I have a preference one way or another, but it did create a sense of flexibility in our ran and we switched up legs as we went....Molly took my TOUGH MOTHER leg for me, and I swapped legs with Ryan, as he jumped in and ran the last couple miles with his daughter on her final leg, and then continued on to run my leg.  I did like the lack of pressure to run our specific legs, in a specific time etc.  Created more of a team support atmosphere. My only complaint per se would be that our team captain assigned all of the more challenging legs to the stronger runners {although everyone in our van was a strong runner}, thus resulting in a lot of miles AND climbing for some.

Wonder Woman rocking the costume leg.



These two...as if 4 or 6 miles UPHILL wasn't enough, they both decided to run both legs back-to-back, for a total of 10 miles, with about 2500 ft of climbing...can we say bada$$.

Perhaps the best part of the entire relay was when they were getting ready to run, and Ryan was still contemplating whether or not to join Molly and run both legs, she looked back at him and said, "Are you ready, because I am going to take off like a bat out of hell!' She was ready to roll...and Ryan was still unsure. But of course he rallied and they crushed all 10 miles. AMAZING!







All I kept hearing about when I signed up for the relay was the amazing breakfast burritos at exchange 24..which you pre-order before the relay...so they are waiting for you! Throughout the relay we kept talking about & anticipating the burritos, building up the hype...only to pull into exchange 24 which was rather crowded with limited space to park and sleep...and no sign of burritos. As we all got tucked in in hopes of getting an hour or two of sleep, all we could think about was our damn breakfast burritos. Devastation started to sink in...until Molly woke up around 3:30 for her leg and found the {cold} burritos...WINNING! 

I had to try it...




This picture says a thousand words...Liz is running with, encouraging and supporting her sister-in-law Kim, as she runs the final leg of her first relay...their entire team was running in memory of Ethan, their nephew and son, who lost his battle to cancer several years back. Such a power & inspiring image.



Not only did we have a father-daughter, we had an amazing husband-wife team in our van as well. Seriously, we had an amazing van...I can't say that enough!


You'll notice there are no nighttime running photos, because I was the only one in Van 1 with a nighttime run...Van 2 ran through the night and the rest of Van 1 missed out on the truly amazing experience of running through the headlight and blinky light lit night! But I think they were thankful and relieved..

The checking off of our final legs...












We were happy to be DONE! 

Another relay in the books with a supportive, encouraging, and FUN team made up of 12 runners, some who work together, some family members, some complete strangers...who all ended the 220+mile relay as FRIENDS!!! 



MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!



I didn't really share much about my legs, but I ran just shy of 20 miles over 3 legs, did a lot of climbing, and enjoyed every step of the way. Wild Rogue Relay...JOB WELL DONE...I'll be back!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

a Dream {home office} Come True

After 6 years in my house, and using my dining room table as my desk/office, I finally tackled my office project, with the help of Madelynn Hop & Co.

I had two main wishes for this bedroom-closet-storage-room turned office project:
  • A dining room table for my desk, as I like to spread things out while I am working
  • Either a large chalkboard OR a chalkboard 
I had already purchased my desk chair, so we had to work around that as well. 

After the first dining room table I ordered arrived damaged, Maddy helped me find this one from AllModern. Then the look was complete with "puff" ottomans {in asparagus}, which match my chair perfectly.  I seriously just want to schedule meetings here now.



Another item which I ordered prior to the start of the official remodel was a large print banner made by threefeatherdesignstudio.  Check out her stuff...its quite amazing, and she does custom orders as well. 


Unfortunately I don't have much closet space in my bedroom {or perhaps I have too many clothes}, so I have to utilize the closet space in my office.  We used a neutral color Belgium linen fabric that blended well with the color of the walls, but added a fun element of design to the space. 

For wall decor I ordered two {2} Modular Galvanized Magnetic Wipe Boards and a Galvanized Framed Cork Board {arriving in August} from Pottery Barn.  I love being able to display things like pictures, invitations, inspirational quotes, to-do lists etc.  


Oh my, I absolutely love office supplies, and had so much fun accessorizing my desk, shelves and baskets.  Most of the items, including the rustic glam light fixture,  were purchased from Pretty In Paint, here in town. 



I truly love everything about the office, but perhaps my favorite part is how Maddy was able to incorporate my love of running, while maintaing the rustic-chic feel of the space.  


A chalkboard wall...I can't wait to continue to add to the creativity of the space!


I couldn't be happier with my industrial-rustic-chic office with a few splashes of glam.