Life’s a Marathon

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”  -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner

They say everything happens on God’s timing, and although I’m not one to always be a fan of this thought, I have to say the older I get the more I believe this wholeheartedly.

Four years ago, I got bit by the marathon bug. I wanted to run my first full marathon. I committed by signing up for the Chicago Marathon. I trained and got up to 18 miles. The day I ran 18 miles (I’ll never forget it) was my longest run to date, and around mile 17 I hit a wall. I told my friends, Leslie and Boomer, that I was done and planned on hitch-hiking home. I felt funky and just completely drained. The next day, I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test in complete shock and tears. There was no way I was pregnant, but after three more positive tests I figured I pretty much was. Since I’ve had four knee surgeries from my high school and college soccer days, my OB advised it wasn’t the best idea for me to run the Chicago Marathon, and so I didn’t.

A year and a half later, I once again signed up for a full marathon. And once again, on my first scheduled 18 miler I was in a lot of pain but pushed through it. However, there comes a point where your body tells you it’s more than just the normal pain, and my body was telling me something was seriously wrong. A couple days later at the doctor’s office I found out I had a pretty bad stress fracture. Once again I had to face the disappointment of not being able to do something I had worked so hard to accomplish.

This past Saturday I finally completed my first marathon. Running is truly my therapy.  It’s free, and it gives me time to think about life, my family, our brothers and sisters in Haiti, WeAreDAR,  etc. During those long 26.2 miles I thought about all those things.  I thought about the pain I was going through, the boredom, beating Oprah’s time, and then I stopped thinking and just started talking to God.

I first thanked Him for giving me the health to be out there running.  I thanked him for all of you, and then my sass came out.  How dare I go there with God, but I did.  I asked him why it was so hard for me to pursue what I felt like he laid on my heart to do.  Why was he being so “non-responsive” to my bold prayers?  I thought if you truly seek and pursue what God set you out to do it would be a piece of cake. In our case, it’s been the hardest damn thing I’ve ever done.  All we are trying to do is impact lives by providing life changing opportunities to women in extreme need.  Women who don’t even have access to clean water, a basic necessity for themselves and their children.  By giving them this job opportunity all of that can change.   They will be working under fair trade regulations, allowing them to enjoy their jobs, but most importantly allowing them to change their lives and the lives of their loved ones for good.  Providing not only clean water, but food, shelter, and education, thus breaking the cycle of poverty in their lives forever.  So why, God, why is it so hard to do?  All we need is about 13k and our women can survive for two months.  We laid out where every penny would be distributed, and we have tried to reach out to anyone that will hear our story.

I’m not sure if anyone is listening, or maybe these times are just so hard that it is truly just too difficult to give right now… But what I do know is that God’s timing is never wrong. I think He put this last marathon on my path at that exact time because I needed its therapy. I needed the time with Him to understand and appreciate what we’ve already accomplished and that everything will be OK. This marathon was my self discovery of who I am and who I could be while I am figuring out my purpose in this world. It was a reminder that there is peace at the center of every hurricane. We are weathering the storm. We are remaining hopeful and determined. We are DAR.


P.S.  In case you were wondering, I did beat Oprah 😉

Being Faithful and Thankful

“True happiness means forging a strong spirit that is undefeated, no matter how trying our circumstances.” -Daisaku Ikeda

Everyone has a story, a beautiful, interesting story.  I’m the weirdo who tries hard to make eye contact with complete strangers in hopes of sending them the secret message of, “you are loved.” A simple reminder that we each have beauty and can connect with others in unique ways. It’s the passing glance of a stranger, and the earnest offering of a reciprocated smile that makes me genuinely smile ear to ear. Today after all the stress of the past two weeks I remembered gratitude in simplicity changes everything.

Let’s face it, whether big or small, stressful or simple, we all face challenges every day, some easier to deal with than others. Unfortunately, we aren’t given an instruction manual to handle these challenges. I naturally hide any fears, or insecurities in front of others, in fear of showing any vulnerability.  Not sure why I am like that.  Especially when I know, no matter how much I try to plan in advance, calculate our every move, or predict what the future will bring, it’s impossible to prepare enough for the unexpected.

I know I’m all over the place, and sound a bit cray cray, but I’m getting somewhere here. I’ve been stressing out quite a bit about our funding, and all the costs associated with starting a project like ours.  Crista (our product development consultant) met with me last week and gave me the news that we hit some more bumps on the road with aDARable.  See, Crista is a recent graduate of O’More. She doesn’t have all the experience needed to grade, cut, and do all the other things needed to get things in place to return to Haiti soon.  But what she does have is the heart and the passion to figure it out.  Taylor, our young, sassy business developer has that IT factor as well.  And that IT factor is all that is needed.  That IT factor means forging a strong spirit that is undefeated no matter how trying the circumstances. These ladies along with Tiffany, Annette, Jen, Jenny, Ashlyn, Jamie, Sarah, Kayla, all the students involved with aDARable, and all of you, are what makes me look back at this past year, and this holiday of Thanksgiving, and it makes me so thankful for all that I have. I am beyond blessed and thankful for all that I have been given, and I only hope I can give it back to all of you and those in need.

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