Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Counting My Blessings

On 4/22/17 I put on a walk for people going through grief. I called it the "Journey to Hope" walk. It was held at Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim, CA. And we walked around the paths that wound around the lakes there. It was just under 1.4 miles long.
The money raised from the walk, and a virtual 5k, will be used to support Grief Share programs. Either to supply books to churches that already have a program, or to start a new Grief Share class at a church that wants to purchase the program. (To find out how your church can receive these donations please email:
NOTE: I will have virtual 5k medals available until the end of 2017, or until I sell out... whichever comes first. This is the reg link: Journey to Hope Virtual 5k

This blog entry is to record all the amazing things God planned for this date, 4/22/17. Even though I made some of the plans, God had some of His own. And I was blown away by the outcome!
Proverbs 16:9 "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps."
There were many decisions to make. Some of the hardest were the location, the date, and the time. I looked at several places and priced out the venues. I checked out one location, and it seemed perfect, until I found out it would cost $5000 to rent! Then I found another seemingly perfect location, it had a USATF certified 5k course all planned out, and I could do the 5k and the walk there! But that was $500. Better, yes. But also a bit farther from where I live. I was concerned that the people that I know, and would want to attend, may be turned off by the distance they had to travel to get there. 
One day I was talking to a running buddy of mine during a run, and I told her about my trouble finding a course location. She puts on a lot of 5k fundraisers for charities, so I was also using her as my guru for all things event planning. She said very casually, "Why don't you just do it at Yorba Linda Regional?" And I was like, hmmmm.... maybe I should check it out. And then she said I should do it in Spring, around the time when Easter was just ending. Good thinking.
By this point I had dropped the timed 5k race idea, #1 because the cost of the timing company didn't make sense. And #2 the ideas I had for the signs along the course really didn't fit with a timed race. #3 I knew that I needed to focus on those that NEEDED this walk. Those in grief. And not the runners trying to run as fast as possible through it. So I made the 5k option "virtual" instead. Which means people could buy a bib and a medal and run wherever and whenever they wanted (and as fast as they wanted). Even if they lived in another state!
So I looked up the cost of renting a shelter, and it was $200 for a 150 person shelter. They had a 300 person shelter, but it was already rented all the days in April. But Shelter #1 was available, a 150 person shelter. And I thought, "It's doubtful I will have 300 people at my first event. But 150 seems reasonable."  I went to the park to scope the location of the shelter out, and walked around. It just felt right in my bones. It was peaceful and beautiful.

Before renting the date for 4/22/17 I talked to a gal at work about my struggle to pick a date. She opened up the calendar and talked it out with me. We figured out when Spring breaks were, and when Easter was, and decided that the 22nd sounded good. And once we she said that date she said, "That's actually the anniversary of my Mom's passing." I got chills. And I said, "I think that should be the date then." And $200 was doable! So I went ahead and rented the space.
Another big decision was the time. I settled on an evening walk. I thought, "Sad people don't want to get up at 6am for a walk on a Saturday!" And then I thought, "A sunset ceremony at the end of the day would be pretty!" So I chose 4pm to sunset.
After the location, date, and time were set it was time to get the registration page going and to get the word out. This was difficult. I work full time, and this was just a side gig for charity. I was alone in the planning, even though I had some great ears to bend when I had to think things through. But all the calls, the plans, and the decisions I had to make on my own. And by relying on God to direct my paths. (I prayed and asked for prayer over everything!)
As the date for the walk approached I had only 20 people signed up. So many things were happening that same day! Person after person told me about events, and school obligations, and sports obligations, and parties etc... I was getting frustrated! I had to cut some ideas out because of costs (like t-shirts for the walkers). And I had no idea how I would pay for the signs I wanted to post along the walk ways. And then there was food! And the closing ceremony! How was that going to be taken care of with only 20 people registered?! I freaked out. I was going to cancel altogether. And then one of my prayer warriors asked how many I had signed up. I said 20 and she said, "That's great!" I guess its all about perspective ;)
I also talked to my boot camp instructor about getting people signed up for the virtual 5k. And NO ONE had signed up. I was frustrated. And he told me, "Every one signs up last minute. Don't give up." And then he said, "If only one person's life is changed by your event, then it was worth it." He was RIGHT! I was floored that this wisdom was being given by my BOOT CAMP instructor! I mean, he's great and all, but that was amazing that he saw the event as something that could change a life! And if he could see that, then I needed to act like that was the case as well. This was too important to give up on. This was God's plan, I was just following His calling. Two ladies I spoke to also had told me, "This is a meant to be kind of event. It will all work out." I just needed to keep the faith! They were right. Even if I broke even and didn't have any money left to donate to Grief Share, if I helped others, that is all that mattered.
Next I had to come up with an idea for the signs, it cost around $13 to make a sign. I wanted 50, but didn't have any money to spend on them. Then I thought about putting a "Sponsored by" sign underneath and asking for sponsors to make a $15 donation per sign to get their logo/ business name on it. I told another gal at work about needing sponsors and she said she would sponsor a sign! I was like, "Interesting. I guess I could put the name of a loved one that has passed under the sign instead of a business name." And she loved the idea. And then another three gals at worked also loved the idea, and before I knew it I had 5 signs that day! I started to share this sign dedication idea on social media and at church, and people were hopping on that faster than any other idea I had! So amazing! I decided that no sign would be paid out of my pocket or the reg fees. Whatever the Lord provided, that's how many I would put up. And in the end I had 33! And 33 ended up being plenty. Here is an example of what the signs looked like. This one was for my Mom.
I also got a few sponsors that I would like to thank for their donations: Blessed Seasons Photography (who also gave me images to use), as well as Ryan Luna Photography (who provided images and sponsored signs), Succulents are for Sharing, College Works Painting, and John Luciano (a non-professional photographer who donated images).

Then for food I decided to drop the food truck plan ($1500 for a food truck was not in the budget). And I asked the head Deaconess at my church for help. She hopped right on it and got some pasta salad, fruit, and pizza handled, as well as offering $100 from the Deaconess fund. I decided I would have my husband Bar-b-cue some hot dogs, and get some waters and juice boxes, and that would be enough. We planned for 35 people. Done!
Lastly I had to come up with a closing ceremony. I couldn't do candles, like I had wanted. That wasn't allowed at the park without additional insurance. So I wanted to do something else. Another gal at work brainstormed with me and came up with a flower ceremony. And I loved it! So I decided to ask my neighbor, who has a flower shop locally, The Flowery in Villa Park, to donate 35 to 50 white carnations. She agreed. Done!
Location, date, time, signs, food, ceremony... it was enough to put the Journey to Hope walk on. Not fancy. But good enough! A few items purchased at the dollar store to cover the tables etc. And I was done.
As the date approached my pilot husband started to wonder if he would have to work that weekend. To take the stress off him and myself I decided to skip the hot dogs. Actually, I was at work and we got a couple trays of tacos for the office to have lunch, delivered for a guest visiting from corporate. I looked at the spread and thought, "This could feed 35 people! I wonder how much this cost?" I asked the receptionist and it was all around $165. And due to having those other sides provided by the Deaconess at church I decided I didn't need the rice and beans on the side, just a pile of tacos would be great! So I placed the order and for $100 I had 48 tacos and delivery was $12!
So those were MY plans. And my worries over money, and location, food and number of participants. By the time the walk started I had about 35 people signed up. Including my family.  What happened the day of the event is going to blow you away!
First, let me share this. I was looking for a vase for the flowers I would be getting. And then decided to go pick them up, and figure it out later. When I picked up the flowers from the florist, she told me she had 70 in a vase for me! I was blessed that I no longer had to worry about a vase, and then I said, "I only have 35 people and not 50, so I guess everyone will just get 2. Thank you!" Little did I know...!
Then it was time to set up the shelter. See the photo below? I am in blue and a white baseball cap. The people I am with are the Byrd family. They were setting up at the shelter at 1pm when I pulled into the parking lot. I was with a lady from church, my friend Melissa, that came to help me set up the course and decorate the shelter. We walked up to them and told them I had rented the shelter for an event. They apologized and started to gather their belongings to move. I told them there wasn't a hurry, my event didn't start for a few hours. But at 4pm I would have people coming to participate. And they were very polite, "We will get out of your way. No problem."

And as they were starting to pick up their lawn chairs and gather their things I asked one lady, "So what are you gathering for? To celebrate a birthday, or...?" And she said, "We are here because two Aunties died recently. And we just wanted to meet for a time of comforting and to be together." And I said, "Wait! That is why I am here!" I looked at my friend Melissa, and we both had goose bumps. My voice cracked as I explained the event, and that it was open to the public. I told her to stop her family from leaving, that I wanted them to stay. The woman said, "I don't want to intrude on your event. That is okay." And I insisted they must ALL stay. 

Soon people from her family were walking up one by one telling me they would be leaving soon, and I told them what I was doing and how they MUST STAY. I wanted them to. They were blown away, and accepted my invitation. We agreed this was a God ordained thing. A Divine appointment. I said they could just do what they were doing, it wasn't starting for a few hours. I was just arriving early to set up the course.  
Here is a crazy thing too, once they started carrying their stuff back to the shelter one gentleman asked, "Are you using the bar-b-cue?" And I smiled, "No, no I am not." They set up on the side of the shelter by the BBQ and the rest of the tables were left open. 
Also, there were about 35 of them, at least. And I thought to myself, "Now I know why I got 70 flowers today!" God knew this family would be there! April 22nd, at Yorba Regional Park, at 1pm. As they arrived, I arrived. A walk for grief, and a family grieving. God is AMAZING! 
Once the walk started about 15 or so of them came over and accepted a bib, no charge, and did the walk with us. I guided a few of them personally with the music playing from a Bluetooth speaker, playing songs I had selected for the walk. Here is the playlist link: Journey to Hope 2017 Spotify Play list  And they followed along. 
Here are some of the signs along the paths that day, and the walk participants:

One of the women told me they were her Aunties that passed. And we walked and talked along the paths. She was so sweet and we were so abundantly blessed to be there together. We both agreed God had ordained that day, that shelter, that time etc... for them to be there to meet me and to be a part of this walk for grief. The woman in Pink (center photo above) was the one that I was talking with, I think she said her name was Shirley, I am bad at remembering names, but I will never forget her. 
At the end of the walk I held the flower ceremony with music. Melissa sang "I am not alone" by Kari Jobe, accompanied by another friend from church, Jodi Spangler, on her guitar and with harmonies. I added a few vocal harmonies here and there. The family joined us for this part as well, and they took the flowers and we placed them in a vase to show how we are not alone. We are in this journey together. We have God, and we have the community of others that grieve. We understand each other. 
We who grieve need a space where we have the freedom to remember and honor our loved ones. And that is what the "Journey to Hope" walk provided. A calm and serene space in which to remember, to talk, and to grieve. But there was a feeling of joy and peace that day. Not one of gloom! People were smiling. We had joy in our hearts, and were comforted. 
I was in awe by what God had done. After all my fretting over how many were coming, or not coming, or the cost of things etc. None of it mattered at this point. God had a plan! 
On that day alone, $200 was raised for the charity, Grief Share. I am truly blessed by everyone's generosity. Such a beautiful day! And thus far total I have raised $350 to donate to local churches, to support Grief Share programs. I hope that through the virtual 5k we can raise another $500 to $600! 
I may have not raised thousands, but it was a good start. The most important part was accomplished. God used it for the purpose that He had intended it for. To encourage others and bring glory to Himself. I am glad I didn't give up, when so many times I was tempted to.Many that attended said they want to do this again next year. And many that were not able to attend, due to other things going on that same weekend, also would like to attend the next one. I am going to move it over one week to see if that helps. I definitely plan to do this again! And I look forward to what God does with it, as the event grows over the years.
Many people told me they loved the peaceful setting at the park, and the non-rushed atmosphere. Unlike most 5k races, this was peaceful and quiet, not a lot of loud pumped up music, sponsors, vendors, and noise. We just had a wonderful time fellowshipping and remembering our loved ones together.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Biology 101

There are topics that I write on once in a while, that are non-running related. And I don't do it that often. But when I do, it's something that I passionately believe in. Something I feel needs to be said! Some times we have to speak up. Sometimes, it is required of us, as believers in Christ.

“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?” Matthew 10:32-33 The Message Bible

I have been on a political posting fast on Facebook, and my blog, since February. And life has been peaceful. And if I do post something, I tend to regret it due to the little Facebook arguments that break out underneath my post. Often, the arguments are not worth my time. Nor do I want them happening on my wall or under my posts. So, I delete the post! Problem solved.

Well, this is a topic that I feel needs to be talked about. Californians need to let their voices be heard. We can't stand on the sidelines with our mouths agape, in shock at the scene unfolding before us. And then go ranting over it, after all is done and we have no more say about it. The time is NOW to act! The time is NOW to show our indignation.

There is a bill that is being voted on in California. I am a Californian. I do not support this bill. I wrote my Senator, and those heading the committee voting on this bill. I am not a political activist. This is not something I typically do. But I feel this bill is taking things too far. It's called SB179. The bill lets anyone change their gender on a driver's license or a birth certificate to male, female, or non-binary. No questions asked. No physical proof necessary. Check this article out: cfc-testifies-against-gender-change-bill

This was the first article that told me about the bill being voted on: bill-to-make-gender-a-personal-choice-in-hearing-tomorrow  In this article they state, "Under current California law, individuals can change their sex on their birth certificate, but they must make the request in person before a judge. Additionally, a doctor has to verify an individual is receiving gender transitioning medical treatment before making the change. SB 179 would remove both of these requirements. Choosing a new sex on a driver’s license will only require a person to check one of three boxes: male, female, or the new third gender option “non-binary” for those who do not want to identify as either sex."

Okay, so right now someone can change their sex on their birth certificate, but they have to talk to a judge first. I think this is a hair better than the new proposed law. At least someone is there to check your mental stability and rationalization behind the choice to do this. I suppose some people have gone through sex changes and appear like they are a woman, or a man, and would like their driver's license and birth certificate to reflect that. Now, I may not be "stoked" about this. But if someone really wants to do this, they already can. They just have to go see a judge, and make their case.

I would think the argument for changing the description on your driver's license makes the most sense. Because you now look like a man, or vice versa. But changing it on your birth certificate? Really? ...Why? For some sort of validation that how you feel is also reality? It's not reality. You want it to be your reality, you feel conflicted, and you don't want to feel that way anymore. And you think this will be the thing that sets things right in your life. Well, I will talk more on that later. But that is not the resolution to your conflicting feelings. (And yes, I do feel for you. I really do. I am not an insensitive person. But I am talking about laws here. Not feelings.)

This new law would let people choose what sex they want to be, based on how they feel. No questions asked. Sounds like a dream come true to a person going through "the change." Or transitioning. But to me it sounds ludicrous! Why? Because you can't change your biology!

A friend of mine even went to check out a biology book, just to see what kids are being taught in school these days. Perhaps times have changed! So she went to get the facts. She sent this image and said, "It's biology! Your chromosomes determine your sex." That is factual truth. The non-changing truth.

She posted this image and it's something we have all seen.  It's Biology 101 stuff here. If your chromosomes are an "XX" you are a woman, and if they are an "XY" you are a man.

Now, I know some people do not feel they are in the correct body. And as I said, I do have sympathy. I really do! People that have this internal struggle about their gender identity have a struggle that no human being wants to have. No one WANTS to feel like a man in a woman's body, or a woman trapped inside a man's body. I am sure this is torturous to them! I am not doubting that it creates anxiety. And there may be plenty to testify how a sex change operation helped them to feel more at ease with themselves, taking away the anxiety. And I am sure there are others that this did little to help (I have read on the topic, and there are studies that have shown this,)

If you have a personal story to share, I am sure you have been convinced that this was the best solution for you or someone you love. Because they seem to feel better! Or you seem to feel better! But the fact is, no matter what you wear or what you do to your genitalia, your chromosomes will not change. You can't change your biology based on how you feel! And we can't make laws based on a person's FEELINGS.

The law is not here to validate your feelings. It's not. We have been using laws to do this, and to justify our actions for too long. When is this going to stop?

This is akin to allowing a white woman to say she is a black woman! Remember that lady? Her name is Rachel Dolezal. Do you think that is insanity? "Come on," you think. "That's just ridiculous," you say. Does this comparison make you upset? Well, she headed up the NAACP for a while so I guess some people took her seriously at one point! If you don't know what I am talking about here is one article about  Rachel Dolezal here. There are plenty more you can find, if you Google her name. She is trying to claim that race is as fluid as some people claim gender is. And the transgender society doesn't like that at all. No? Really? Because her argument is very similar to yours! She is trying to say that her BIOLOGY does not match how she FEELS about who she is.  This is the SAME argument as the transgender argument, or the argument of "gender fluidity."

Doesn't it sound so open minded and wonderful to say that we can love whom we want, and have sex with whomever we want, and that our sexuality is fluid? And that gender is fluid? Well... then everything else about our biology is FLUID! Right? Where does the argument stop? Where does the line get drawn? Where you FEEL it should be drawn? When your gut doesn't FEEL right about it anymore? Then it's no longer right? That kind of logic is absurd! How can we make laws based on our feelings? And what if I feel you are wrong? How does that make me wrong and you right, and not the other way around? I am simply sharing my FEELings, after all!

The voice of reason, from the article I posted:
"While sympathetic to the difficulties of those experiencing gender dysphoria, California Family Council CEO Jonathan Keller has grave concerns about this bill’s impact."
“We believe government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes,” Keller said. “Secondly, the bill advances a falsehood; that being male or female, or no gender at all is a choice each person must make, not a fact to celebrate and accept. Laws like this will simply erase any meaningful gender definitions, if being male or female is completely divorced from biological facts.”       - Keller
Well said, Johnathan Keller.

This blog post is a call to action. Come on, Californians! Come on Christians! We need to speak the truth! We need to call our Senators! We need to stand for what is true, and right, and holy! The ONLY person that spoke out against this is a man named Greg Burt, the Director of Capitol Engagement for the California Family Council. And I thank the Lord this man was there speaking. But we need to let the committee know if we agree with him! Otherwise our silence shows we approve of this new law.
My name is Greg Burt and I’m speaking on behalf of the California Family Council.
The bill before you today marks a profound change in the way human beings have defined themselves since the beginning of recorded history. Previously, human beings by their very nature have been thought of as binary, either physically male or physically female.  This bill attempts to completely change this understanding. 
Today you are being asked to make a momentous decision regarding how our government will define sex and gender. There are only two real choices. Either one’s sexual identity or gender is a based on self identification or feelings, as the proponents of this bill believe, or it is based on biological facts. What is a male? What is a female? That is the question before you. 
It is our contention that the words  “male” and “female” describe biological reality and this reality should be listed on state identification documents.  “Male and female, He created them,” as the Scriptures say. But to be male or female is not simply a religious belief, it is a description of the human race that has been integrated in to the very definitions of the words. 
Look up the words “male” and “female” in the Dictionary and ALL you will find are physical descriptions. Our state driver’s licenses have always recognized this truth. Pull out your driver’s license and you will see that all the identification characteristics listed are physical descriptions. 
Eye color, hair color, height, weight, and Sex: These are all listed on a driver’s license because these physical characteristics can be independently verified by physical evidence, even if a person is unconscious. 
If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie. That’s assuming we are still using the dictionary to define what a male and a female is. 
As state senators, I know you think you are powerful, but you do not have the authority to simply change the meaning of words just because you want to. 
If you are trying to resolve the identity document difficulties of those who identify as transsexual, you would be better off removing sex as part of a person’s physical description on a driver’s license or a birth certificate. Otherwise you are knowingly letting citizens put false information on these documents. 
Senators, think about your own children. What did you tell them about their gender after they were born? Did you base what you told them on their physical characteristics or did you encourage your children to choose their gender based on how they felt? This is a rhetorical question, because I know what most, if not all of you, did. You exclaimed to the whole world with joy the moment your child was born, that you had a “boy” or a “girl.” And you did this completely and without hesitation based on the child’s physical characteristics. 
In closing, the California Family Council believes government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes. Secondly, we believe this bill advances a falsehood; that being male or female, or no gender at all is a choice each person must make, not a fact to celebrate and accept. Laws like this will simply erase any meaningful gender definitions, if being male or female is completely divorced from biological facts.
We respectfully ask you vote no on SB 179. Thank you.

Perhaps you want to live in a genderless society. Perhaps when your child is born you will say, 'I have a non-binary human!" And will wait until they are old enough to talk, so they can tell you if they are a boy or a girl, and then you will treat them accordingly. But that is not the world I want to live in. Nor is it the world I want to pass onto my children.

I want my children to be raised to be compassionate. To not bully others that look different than them.  To treat people with disabilities like people. Just people, differently abled then them. I want my daughter to be proud to be a woman, and to fight for her rights. And I want my son to be a leader in his home, but also a man that unapologetically loves his wife to his core, and would lay his life down for her. That is the world I want them to live in. A place filled with respectful, compassionate, kind individuals. But also a world that does not discard the truth, simply based on how one feels.

You know what you need? You know what we ALL need? A new identity in Christ Jesus! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come!" Yes, you can have a new identity! Jesus wants to give you that identity!

There is also an interesting verse that says, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, NOR IS THERE MALE AND FEMALE, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Wow. God gets it. Maybe we are all just longing for something that only HE has to offer us! But has also been there for the taking all along! A new identity. Neither male or female! If you are in Christ your identity is not found in your biology. It's not found in your race. It's not found in your status in society either. You are a child of God. Period. Once you decide to follow Jesus, and believe in him, that is where your identity is and where your freedom will be found!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
John 8:36  

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I think I just PR'd a little!

I have been chasing down a half marathon PR (personal record) of mine for the past couple years. In 2013 I ran a half in Long Beach and finished in 2:11:23 (2 hours, 11 min, 23 seconds). I was training at the time for my first full marathon, so that day the half felt effortless and the finish time came easily. Besides that race, my average half times were typically about 2:28 (2 hours, 28 min). But the past couple years I have slowly been increasing my speed and have averaged 2:15! The last two races before the Surf City half 2017, I got 2:13's! I was working hard, doing speed work, doing my longer runs at a faster pace... and I saw that 2:11 PR slip away those past two races.

I had one more half planned for 2017, then I had decided it was time for a break (this is because of the stress of the race weekend, like getting a sitter for the kids if I didn't have my husband home. My husband's work schedule being unpredictable, and the in-laws availability iffy on race days make the whole weekend a HUGE hassle. I am pretty much over it for now).  My point being, I had one more shot to beat that PR, before my race break. And I really wanted to beat it! I just recently have been struggling once I hit that 9 mile mark to keep the pace up fast enough.  It's one thing to run 4 or 5 miles at a 9:45 minute pace, or even 6 to 8 miles, but a whole other thing to do that for 13.1 miles!

I decided to focus on this race for that PR, and to dedicate it to LIFE Runners. Through this group I support my local pregnancy crisis center, and hope to raise awareness that the life of the unborn is as important as the mother's. I believe women need us in these crisis moments, to support and love them, to be there for them, so they can feel empowered to choose life for their unborn child. Often decisions are made to abort based on their emotions in that moment, and it only takes ONE person to tell them that they will be there for the for a woman to choose life. By being a LIFE Runner, I am saying I choose to be that ONE!
The back of my Meg's Miles shirt, and the back of my LIFE Runner's shirt. 

When I woke up race day I wasn't feeling 100%. Earlier in the week I was fighting dehydration, and I still was feeling off. I wasn't sure I wanted to try for a PR anymore. But I got up, and went to the race anyways. One of the MRTT gals I car pooled with, Andrea, was going to be my pacer, and she had a migraine and threw up when we got to the race. Things were looking bleak. But she said she was going to stick it out and stay with me. We both felt pretty horrible, but sometimes once you start running you start to feel good. I can't really explain that one very well. Seems counter intuitive, but I have often felt better DURING a run than I felt before or once I sat back down after an invigorating run. Kinda weird. But the truth. So we both resolved to give this PR thing a shot. She felt I could do it, and I needed the mental push. So I accepted her offer of sticking it out with me.

Some of the MRTT Mommas that came out to race! 

During the race I felt pretty good. Mile 3 a hill came along, but I was able to keep up the sub 10 min pace that I wanted (sub 10 meaning, anything faster than 10 minute per mile pace, for you non-runners). Then we rounded the corner to the long out and back section along the Pacific Coast Highway, at Huntington Beach CA. This section can get monotonous. Even though you are running alongside this amazing ocean, you just feel like this section is never ending! There is a lot of mental work to be done at this point. However, one mental boost came from seeing a friend, Renee, on her bike rolling by... it was awesome! She came out to cheer the MRTT Mommas out there. Many of us were on the course that day. And each time I saw one they cheered me on to meet my goal! They all knew I was working hard to get that PR. So that was amazing too. Can't beat having an amazing group of supportive women around you!

Another mental boost came from this app called "Motigo." Friends can record cheers for you, these are played along the route as you run. So you get your own personal cheering section while you run! It's awesome! At mile 9 these cheers really became needed! My music app stopped playing, but the Motigo app was still working. So here I was, on this long stretch of highway, in silence, only the sound of people's feet around me hitting the ground and my mental chatter. I focused on my friend's shoes in front of me, and kept chasing them down. I would catch up, then fall back, then catch up. I was fighting to not give up! And she wasn't slowing down enough to let me lose the pace I asked her to help me keep (a mark of a good pacer). The first part of the race I had remembered to pray for many people. But at this point my prayers turned to God for His help! Mental chatter can be very negative when you run. But I had to keep it positive. Besides mantras like, "Fight for it," "Beat that 10 minute pace," I also prayed for God's strength to take over. My body was fading, and I needed His supernatural help.

As I slowed down, right past the mile 9 marker, first I saw Renee on her bike again, which was an awesome boost. Then a gentleman was running by me and he said he loved the back of my shirt. He said he supported that his whole life (he was referring to the words, "Remember the Unborn. Jer 1:5" on my back). I said thank you and God bless you. Then another guy came by and gave me kudos as well. These little affirmations came at just the right time. It was time to pick the pace up and fight for that PR! Then on my Motigo app a Meg's Miles friend Missy came on and said "Jeremiah 1:5! Get that PR!" YESSSS!!

Then she came back on and spoke the words back to me from a post I had put on my Facebook wall earlier in the week. "The God on the mountain is still the God in the valley."

That's all I needed to hear! Yes! Let's finish this race, for the unborn, for women in crisis, to show that God is still the same God in the valley, and he will get me through these final miles! I was struggling, but the fight was not over!

I kept struggling to catch up with Andrea. But I kept her close. Chasing down those shoes.... left, right, left, right... repeat. I kept focused on my PR goal. She turned her head back after mile 12 and said, "We hit 2 hours! You can do this!" I dug deep, prayed for more strength, and pushed through that final mile! Once I saw the finish line ahead, I stepped on the gas (what little was left in the tank). Right before we crossed that line I grabbed Andrea's hand for a strong victorious finish! We did it! According to her Garmin she said we got 2:11:04! I said that was a PR! But still had to wait to check on my chip time. But I knew, no matter that final time, I had PR'd. Maybe by the skin of my teeth, but I did it! Thank you, Lord!

As I walked over to grab my medal I almost felt like I was going to fall over. My legs were ready to just SIT down already! LOL I guess that is what happens when you lay it all out there. Nothing left to give! (Funny side story: I went to pick up my "beach cities challenge" medal, the HUGE starfish medal, and they asked me what my first name was. I blanked. My buddy, Andrea, had to tell them and spelled it out for them. LOL. Yup. I ran pretty hard that day!)

This funny meme came to mind after I finished, so I put my finish time on it. 

Some more of my running peeps! (Andrea is in front taking the photo. Renee is on the far left.)
With this race, my last half marathon of 2017, I completed the "Beach Cities Challenge." Interesting fact, I started my racing career with the same challenge in 2012/2013! After my first half I found out it was a part of this challenge, you do the OC half, the Long Beach half, and the Surf City half and get this HUGE medal to celebrate your accomplishment. 5 years later and I did it again. Back then I did those races in about 2:28, but this time I did it in 2:11! In the running community that is a big deal! Shaving off minutes, even seconds, is considered an accomplishment!

What I have learned from running these past 5 years, is that dedicating my runs to God always equals success. Through running I have been able to raise money and awareness for melanoma cancer, and a few various other charities, as well as run for the LIFE runners and the unborn (supporting my local pregnancy crisis center), and run for Meg's Miles (supporting a grieving family, and an amazing loving online community of runners). But most of all I have learned that God first, is always the best move to make in my life.

If you would like to help me support Living Well, my local pregnancy crisis center, go here to this link:

Thank you for reading my story! And thank you for your support!
-the Annagizer

And remember... #ChooseJoy #ChooseLove #ChoosePeace

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I Choose Joy!

It's been a crazy week. 1/20/17 Trump was sworn in as President. That day, and the days that followed, caused more division among friends on Facebook then I had ever seen before! (Well, there was division long before this day, but it seems like it was at a whole new level!)

My husband made a post on Facebook that simply said he was home sick from work with our 9 year old daughter, who was also sick, and that they watched the inauguration together. He said it was great to witness history happening with her, and that he would be praying for our new President. And then a "friend" of his started attacking him. We still are scratching our heads as to why he was attacking. Nothing my husband said was particularly stating that he was either pro-Trump or anti-Trump. It was history. Period. And we were both happy that our daughter got to witness it live!

Not only did the attack on my husband start (including saying there was no way he was a man of God), but the "friend" also attacked our friends! One of which is a woman in her 70s, he said her Mother must have not raised her right. (Her Mother is dead, not really a classy thing to do.) Of course he had no idea who he was talking to. And usually that is the case when friends attack their friend's friends on Facebook. You don't know their background! You don't have a clue who you are attacking! And usually, you just sound plain foolish in the end.

After the inauguration there was a Woman's March all across the US. Women stated why they marched, others stated why they didn't. Then things got ugly on one of my own posts between some of my friends! It is such a horrifying thing to be the hostess of such an ugly conversation. I bemoaned how I wish I could state my views without being attacked, or in the midst of a debate. But then, yes, this is what happens on social media. Every post opens yourself up to an opposing opinion, as much garnering a "like." And I have to come to terms with that reality. Not everyone is going to just scroll by and ignore it if they don't like what they read. (And I don't mind a statement of opinion that is different than mine, it's about the delivery more than the fact that we believe differently that bothers me. And cussing at my friends isn't something that makes me very happy either. You can keep that language and behavior on your own wall, thank you.)

As Trump started sending out executive orders and making changes, the posts kept getting more and more heated. It became "unsafe" to make any political statement, or to post something that had anything to do with politics in any shape or form. Unsafe, meaning you couldn't make any statement without opening yourself up to criticism or debate.

This past week I had to log off of Facebook a couple times. I left, came back, left again. I was trying to figure out how to navigate all of this negativity and how to combat it. In the end I decided to choose joy.

This is how I choose joy:
#1 Don't post politically charged posts. I chose to take a break from 1/28-2/28 in order to make my page focused on more positive topics.

#2 When I do start to post anything politically related again, after 2/28, be prepared for the negative comments and choose to not respond. Just let it go. Or opt to not post, if I am not in the mood for it.

FYI... The Bible gives us clear direction on this (bottom line, it's best not to engage):

Proverbs 9:7-8 "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you."

Proverbs 18:2 "A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind."

Proverbs 29:9 "When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest."

1 Corinthians 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight."

#3 Focus on the joy I have in my faith in Jesus and share that with my friends! I like to encourage my friends. My faith brings me joy and hope! And I want that for you! 

#4 Focus on family and the blessings I have.

#5 Instead of focusing on the things I can't control in life, focus on what I can. And that is my reaction to them.

In the Bible we are given guidelines to find joy, Philipians 4:4-9:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be obvious to everyone. The Lord is near.  
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things. Whatever you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, put these things into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I like how the Bible says to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, to pray, and provides a list of what to think about. And then the Bible promises peace in return!

And bottom line, let us remember this:

I choose joy! I choose peace! and I choose love!

God bless,

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Running Overview

In 2016 I completed 1 full, 4 half marathons, 1 virtual half marathon, 1 10k,  1  5k and a virtual 5k.

I also ran 830 miles for the year, and completed the "Run the Year" challenge to complete 2016 miles in 2016 with a couple gals from my Meg's Miles group. We called ourselves "Team ShellBowGizer." A mash up of all our names, Lashell Head from SC, Julie Bowman from VA, and my running nickname "Annagizer." I called them "Lashizzle-Shell" and "Run-bow." We covered many miles and covered each other in LOTS of prayer over the past year. The bond that was created by this challenge was a blessing and a half! It went beyond the miles, and permeated our lives spiritually. A bond, not only as sole-sisters, but as soul-sisters in Christ.

This is the break down of my accomplishments:
LA Marathon Feb 2016 finished in 5:25:45 

I wrote about this in my previous blog post Last Minute Marathoner. This photo below is now proudly displayed above my medal rack. My Meg's Miles buddy, Doris, and I conquered the LA marathon beast and crossed that finish line together, hand in hand! We both had previously taken almost 6 hours to complete the marathon. Together we beat our previous times and crossed at 5 hours and 25 minutes and some change! It was a beautiful journey alongside an amazing and kind hearted woman. She is a dear friend, and we met through Facebook! (See, Facebook isn't all bad!) And I dedicated my miles as a LIFE Runner, to support pregnancy crisis centers and support Pro-Life and honor the life of all women, even those women struggling with an unexpected pregnancy. We need to be there for these women, and be the voice and advocate for the unborn!

Living Well 10k April 2016 finish time 1:15:42. 

I helped the race director put on this inaugural event. I felt personally responsible for its success or failure. There were only about 6 or 7 people that ran the 10k. Many more chose to do the shorter 5k distance. I led the group through the trails to complete their 10k without having to do the 5k route twice (something runners would prefer not to do). I ran ahead and stopped to make sure each runner made the final turn and then found the turn around point successfully. I was the 2nd to last in. I ran as a "LIFE Runner" and did this as a way to support Living Well, my local pregnancy crisis center. Once we gathered for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medal ceremony they called the names of the people that had won the race and so on. Afterwards the gentleman who won found me and gave me his first place medal! He said if it wasn't for me no one would have been able to figure out the route and I was in front most of the time, until the end. (Because I hung back to make sure every runner had made it in.) I was floored, and very moved. I felt that God had chosen to reward me for the help I offered the race director and the support I showed Living Well. 

So Cal "Ragnar 4 Rett" Virtual 5k April 2016

I ran a virtual 5k for #TeamSparkle2016, to help raise money and awareness for Rett Syndrome. The Team Sparkle Ragnar team put on this virtual event to support their fundraiser while they ran Ragnar. And what can I say, I am a sucker for a good cause. I had run So Cal Ragnar the previous year, but didn't have it in me to do that challenge again. (Plus it costs a bit of money). But I was happy to support a good cause during the event, and live a little bit vicariously through them.

iCure Melanoma 5k May 2016 finish time 30:51 For "Team Paul and Ruth"

I put together a team in memory of my brother Paul and his wife Ruth (they both passed away from Melanoma only 17 months apart), for the 10th Anniversary of this local 5k for Melanoma! Friends showed up to support me from my Run for God group, my Meg's Miles group, and MRTT. It meant so much to me for them to be there, I don't think they even realize how special that was to me. My kids even came and saw a dove release in honor of those who had passed from Melanoma. It brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat as they flew over us. I know Paul and Ruth are looking down from Heaven, proud of me and my running accomplishments and all I have done in their memory to raise awareness of Melanoma and to help find a cure. 

OC 1/2 May 2016 finish time 2:14:20

I was trying to beat a previous half PR,  "Personal Record," of 2:11:23. I ran almost the whole race with a gal from Meg's Miles, Juie Bravo. We tend to be at a similar pace for races. And we have run a few together last year.  She was going at a strong and steady pace and I kept up with her until mile 9. I knew I couldn't keep up that pace for the entire 13.1 miles, so I let her continue without me. At mile 10 there is a ruthless incline, and then the last 3 miles you feel completely spent. All things considered, the finish time was great. And I am proud of my accomplishment that day. It was my best for that day, and my best time on that course. Not too shabby. This race I ran for "Girls on the Run" a charity group that inspires young girls "to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running." Something that I would love my own daughter to become involved in one day!

Rock n Roll San Diego June 2016 finish time 2:31:35. 

This race I ran with my MRTT buddies (Mom's Run This Town) just for the sheer fun of it! One gal I ran with, Miranda,  has a lot of nerve pain issues and is just plain INSPIRING! She released me at mile 12 to run ahead, but in the end we were only separated by about a minute. I should have just stayed with her. Despite all the pain in her body she chooses to keep running fulls and halves. I don't know how she does it. She makes me think of my brother Paul, because he dealt with a lot of chronic pain from a broken back. How anyone with chronic pain can keep a smile on their face and stay positive day to day is amazing to me. But Miranda seems to be able to accomplish this! God bless her. 

The Annual Annagizer Half and Virtual half marathon July 2016

The finish time for this race is not important.  This was my virtual 13.1 race I put on for my birthday in July every year, called the "Virtual Birthday Run." I run 13.1 miles on my birthday for melanoma research and donate funds, from sales of virtual medals, to the Melanoma Research Foundation. It's something I have been doing for the past 3 years. And it's always a very special event for me. This year many of my online buddies ran virtually for me and posted their dedicated miles to melanoma research, in memory of my brother Paul and his wife Ruth. It was very moving. Such a blessing to have so many running friends all over the USA and beyond. 

Long Beach 1/2 October 2016 finish time 2:25:35

I ran this race in my LIFE Runner jersey as well. To honor the life of the unborn and support/ bring awareness to pregnancy crisis centers. This is the race where I got my PR of 2:11:23 in 2013,  I was training for my first full that year. So perhaps its unfair to expect myself to beat that time while just training for the half marathon distance. But I wanted to beat my time at this race really bad! I started this race with my buddy Julie Bravo again. This time she kept with me until mile 6. She said to go ahead as she made a quick stop. I was thinking she would catch up eventually, but she never did. The first 7 miles I was tracking for a PR. But this year the heat reared it's ugly head, and at mile 8 I was faced with a long stretch of beach where felt like I was running in the desert! No shade and no relief in site! By the time I came to the turn to the finish line , at mile 10, all the gas was out of the tank and I struggled to complete the last 3 miles without walking the whole way. I forced myself to keep picking up my feet and shuffling. The PR was gone. But the time of 2:25:35 was actually quite decent, considering my averages for the past few years have been around 2:28. So I accepted it for what it was. A great time, in light of the circumstances. Julie wasn't too far behind me and did a great job in that heat! 

Richmond VA 1/2 November 2016 finish time 2:13:20

During this race I got the closest to beating my previous PR. And it was my fastest half marathon time of 2016. My running buddy for this race was Kimberly Erin. She is from the Meg's Miles group I am in. And she was upset with me for not letting her know my PR goal, she said she would have helped me reach it. No doubt that was true. But honestly, I was feeling the pace as it was and didn't think I was going to be able to run the last few miles. Seemed that lately those final 3 miles were my nemesis. However, running with Kim I was able to push through and keep running. In fact, mile 12 was my fastest mile! 

Kim and I are as OPPOSITE in our view points, including our political views, as two people can get. Yet, we are joined by our mutual love of running and our compassion for Meg's grieving family. In the photo below, the frame on the left is of Kimberly and I crossing the finish line hand in hand. 

If two people as different as we are can cross a finish line hand in hand, there is HOPE for this country! We can all live in harmony and respect for one another. It is possible! We ran together that day for Meg's Miles, and for peace! She is my sole-sister for life! 

I decided to run the half this year. Last year I went to this race in VA and ran the full. The reason I really wanted to run the half this time was to be there to cheer in all the first time full marathoners. After I finished my half I ran back and hugged and high fived many of the Meg's Milers. One was my roommate, Gloria Sisneros, from NM. She and I ran the full last year. Then I ran further back and found our other roommate Nancy Cornect from Canada, she also ran the full the previous year with us. (This year she woke up sick and STILL finished the full!! Amazing!) I ran back just a little bit to find our 4th roomie and my dear friend Kimberly Kidd, who lives in VA. This was her FIRST full! I let her go before the final bit of the route to claim her glory at the finish line! She did an amazing job! Such an inspiration! 

I was headed back into the marathon route once again when I saw Dee, the gal in the center of the photo on the right above, running with Missy (the gal to the right). I had just met Dee in person two days before. We met online on the Meg's Miles Supporters page on Facebook. This day she was running the full. Missy had also run the half and was going back into the route to help other Meg's Milers run into the finish. I ran over to them and hugged Dee. She grabbed my hand and was very emotional. It was just too awesome to be a part of that moment. I can't even describe it! We ran into the finish stretch together, and then she and Missy took off and sprinted the last 100 feet while I raised my cowbell in hand, and whooped and hollered after them, "Go Dee!! Whooooo!! Go, Dee go!!" All the while a HUGE group of Meg's Milers hollered and cheered for her from the sidelines. Once we crossed the finish she was obviously moved that we had done that with her. She said, "I thought no one would come back for me!" Well, Dee. Welcome to Meg's Miles! That is what we do! We run as one! And no man or woman gets left behind! 

In fact, the majority of us stayed until the very end to watch every single member of our group cross that finish line. Including our "reluctant marathoner," Keith Cartwright. He never thought he would run a full. And he did that day! We basically had a party at the end of the race, dancing and cheering the rest of the marathoners in. Even complete strangers were greeted by a mass of Meggers high fiving them! It. Was. Awesome.  

And not to be forgotten, even Meg Cross Menzies' own mother, Pam Cross, finished her first full marathon that day! Talk about a special day.

And that concludes my 2016 running career. 

So, as we say goodbye to 2016, I want to say "Thank you" to all who have supported me along my running journey this past year. Thank you for all the donations. Thank you for the help with all the training miles run, most of which I ran with my MRTT ladies. And thank you for the online support and daily inspiration that has come from my Meg's Miler virtual friends! Especially Team Cross Connections #TCC4ever and #TeamShellBowGizer and my So-Cal Meg's Mile race buddy Julie Bravo who came from that amazing group! Thank you to my LIFE Runner teammates! Particularly my SBFF (Spiritual Best Friend Forever), and LR teammate Karen Patnaude! She is an ambassador for LIFE and for Jesus, and I love her so dearly! #AllinChristforProLife! And thank you to my Run for God group/ Walk and Witness group! Your walks and talks and spiritual support through this year has been invaluable! I love my "Run.Walk.Witness" group!

May God bless you and yours in 2017!
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." 
Numbers 6:24-26 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Last Minute Marathoner

I got a "double medal" for running SoCal Ragnar and LA! 
Well folks, I may have just gone from "half crazy and fully determined" to just full on crazy! I decided to run the L.A. marathon on the Thursday before the race!

When I signed up to run the Richmond VA marathon with my Meg's Miles group in November 2015, and to raise money for the family that lost Meg due to the actions of a drunk driver, I also had been considering doing the L.A. marathon in February 2016. But then I found out I had a Severe A-typical mole on my thigh that had to be removed, and I would have to take time off from running while the spot healed. And at that time I thought I wouldn't be able to ramp my training back up to be able to run L.A.

As the L.A. race day approached I saw all my Mom's Run This Town ladies getting excited about running L.A. as their first race. L.A. was my first full as well, and I was excited for them: Click here for my 1st Full story  Then there were my Meg's Miles friends that were planning on running it again, I had cheered them on last year, along with the MRTT ladies who ran it last year. I was going to try and be there to cheer them on this year too, and was in the midst of making plans to do so when I started to wish I had signed up to run it.

I received an email from the L.A. marathon that said "Last chance to register before midnight tonight!" And then I REALLY started wishing I had the money to join in!! I posted on my FB page that I wanted to join my friends and run L.A. again, but didn't have the $200 plus dollars to do so, so I would just have to accept that I would be the cheerleader for them again. Well... a short while later one of my friends tagged me on a post in Facebook that said her charity she was running for was selling their left over/ un-taken bibs for a much lower price than the $200 last minute registration!! Lower than even the price I would have paid if I had signed up when registration first opened! I was stoked! I texted my husband, and after a little bit of back and forth and "sighs" from him LOL... he said I could take her offer.

Well, the story gets even BETTER! After I registered and posted on my Facebook page that I was now running L.A., one of my friends asked if I needed a sponsor. He was going to sponsor me when I initially thought about running L.A., and so he said he would love to help me out. I said, "Sure!" And took him up on his offer. I then decided the charity I would run for would be the LIFE Runners organization that I lead a chapter for. Here's my chapter's FB page to check it out: Orange CA LIFE Runners LIFE Runners is currently doing an A-Cross America Relay for LIFE and I decided to take on all the legs they had left for the day I was running the marathon, which added up to 24 miles. It all clicked together.

And to top things off I found out that I qualified for a "double medal" for doing the SoCal Ragnar relay in 2015 and the LA full in 2016. (That explains the two medals in the photo above) I was like, "Thank you for the confirmation that I am a crazy person." I try to keep convincing myself I am only half crazy, and then that happens. LOL But what is cool about that is, I signed up to be a LIFE Runner the week before I ran SoCal Ragnar. I received my LIFE Runner shirt the day I got home, or I would have worn it during. But I like that this medal is a connection between my starting point as a LIFE Runner and the L.A. marathon, where I would run 26.2 miles in my LR shirt. A very cool symbol of my journey thus far.

Once I was signed up I told one of my fellow Meg's Miler buddies, Doris,  that I would run with her, and perhaps we could try to finish together! A lot of my friends were faster than I was, so I knew keeping up with them would be impossible. But she seemed to be at a similar pace to me, from what I saw of her running posts on Facebook. She was doubtful she could hang with me the whole way, but I had a feeling she could do it. Well, long story short... we ran the ENTIRE L.A. marathon, just about stride for stride, together!

Check out our tracker results!!
This race was a PR for Doris, and I crushed my previous LA finish time, of 5:59:45! I did run faster at my VA race in November, but comparing that race to L.A. is like comparing Apples to Oranges. Similar, but not exactly the same. Courses are different, weather is different... it's just different. Same distance, but not the same. So I am very proud of what I was able to do in L.A. this year. And I have to say, I feel like a bit of redemption happened. The first time around L.A. wasn't my favorite experience, but this time around it was pretty amazing. Last time they ran out of Gatorade, this year they had PLENTY. I brought my own electrolytes and water bottles this time, but I took a few cups of Gatorade along the course, and then looked at Doris and said, "Because they owe me." And gulped it down. LOL I also notice the side line support was better this time around. Even the cheerleaders in "Cheer Alley" stuck around, while last time they were walking home by the time I got to mile 18. It was too hot that year for them, I guess. All the things that had gone wrong the first time went perfectly this time. I felt God had given me a gift. Redemption!
Anna and Doris at the finish line.

I don't know why I thought I could run a full marathon last minute. Perhaps it was because my previous full was only a few months past, and I was still running and working out. But I wasn't doing the full training long runs. I had only done one long run of 11 miles about a month before. But for some reason God took my "crazy" desire (or maybe only half crazy desire) to run a full last minute and He decided to bless it. It cost me nothing, and I was able to run for my LIFE Runner's group. I did raise a little bit of money, although I could definitely use more donations: Click here to donate to Living Well - Pregnancy Crisis Center But even if I don't raise any more money, I wore a shirt that hopefully raised awareness of this group and was a voice for the unborn, and the pregnant women in crisis who need our help. I ran for LIFE, and I ran to support a friend. I ran for God. He gave me redemption, and I hope to spread His love and redemptive message to others!

Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." The Lord did this for me. He gave me a desire of my heart, and I think that is pretty cool. Thank you God! xoxo -Anna
LA Marathon finishers!!