Sunday, December 25, 2016

Waiting During Christmas

{Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay. Close by me forever, and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in your tender care, And fit us for heaven, to live with you there.} 

As I sat in the nursery re-reading part of The Purpose of Christmas, the last verse of Away in a Manger popped into my head. As joyous and magical as this Christmas season has been, it is evident to both Kipper and I that a piece of the puzzle is missing. 

It is sometimes hard not to allow those moments of longing not to steal our joy. But in those moments when I quiet my mind and let God speak to my heart, I have so much peace. Peace that He is guiding each step of this adoption journey and that each experience is important for what is to come. 

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I pray for all the young pregnant women who are scared, overwhelmed and facing one the greatest decisions of their lives. I pray that they can quiet their mind and let God speak to their hearts. And I pray that when God does speak to them they experience strength and peace (much like Mary) to follow through on the plans He has for them.

Friday, December 23, 2016

All I Want For Christmas - Guest Post From Kipper

Because today his words are far better than mine I had to share these words from my sweet husband. 

I have not wanted for anything in a very long time. My wife and I are exceptionally fortunate to live in a safe environment with reliable transportation and fantastic careers. We do not think in terms of what we want as much as what God wants and try to make those two things line up. 

This year, however, all I truly want for Christmas is a child. I know that for many of you, children are a given and on some days a pain in the rear end you wish you could take a break from. I hope that some day I will want to take a break from the little pain in the tail too. 

Allie and I have said and maintain that God will bring us the right baby in His time. Patience is a virtue I have lacked most of my life and I am finding patience even more elusive now. While we appreciate all of the prayers and support we have received, we ask for you to pray for all of the lonely and scared expecting mothers who have no idea what the right decision is or how they will raise a child. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Prayers for My Heart

From the moment we started telling people about our plans to adopt we have felt loved and supported. And while it is sometimes easy to get caught up in the fun details and daydreaming of the future, we knew going into this journey that it wasn't for the faint at heart. This journey would test our faith in ways it has never been tested before. 

For several months I have asked for friends to join us in praying for our future birth mother and I am thankful for those prayer warriors who faithfully stand by our sides as we continue to pray for her. 

Tonight I have a different prayer request, one for me and my heart.

Over the last few days I have learned that as much as I thought I had prepared my heart for how emotional this would be, there is no way to fully prepare yourself for the twists and turns that take us by surprise. I am learning that guarding your heart in this process is easier said than done. And when I have been so focused on prayer for our future birth mother, I might have underestimated the spiritual support I would need. Tonight I am overwhelmed and confused, praying for the peace I felt just a few days ago. Praying that I can get out of my own way and let God's plan for our family be done. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Ellipsis

Finally got our 2016 family ornament today. Every few years the person personalizing our ornament will do something odd like make our last name possessive.

This year it was the ellipsis. But in a weird way we kind of like it.

There is a part of us that is missing. And while that probably won't change in 2016, we are praying harder than ever before that 2017 is the year we get to add a new name to our ornament.

Friday, December 9, 2016

We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So!

{Oh, please don't go - we'll eat you up - we love you so!} 

A few years back, we found this adorable little book shop down in the Pearl Brewery area of San Antonio. I loved it because it reminded me of the little local book stores of my childhood. 

A few weeks ago, to celebrate taking the next steps on our adoption journey, we bought Baby Martin their first book "A Family Begins With A Wish". I always wondered what the first book we purchased would be and as the tears ran down my cheeks in Target the night I saw  "A Family Begins With A Wish" I knew the answer. 

Well today we returned to that adorable book shop down in the Pearl Brewery area of San Antonio and bought Baby Martin their own copy of one of my very favorite childhood books "Where The Wild Things Are"

I can't wait to sit down and pen a letter to them in the front cover when we get back home. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dear Future Birth Mother: The Nursery

Dear Future Birth Mother ~ 

For just over 11 years this room was known as "our future babies room" and it just sat waiting. For the last 6 years the sight of this room, empty and still waiting, broke my heart in ways I can't put into words. Yet in the last 2 months it has become my favorite room in the house. 

Because of you, my heart no longer breaks when look down the hall. Because of you, we aregoing to finally fill this room with the love, laughter and sleepless nights that it has longed for. The sense of peace God gives me when I pray for you is unexplainable. 

Tonight as I sit here, I pray He is giving you those same moments of unexplainable peace. Peace to know you are making the right decision. Peace to know there is a family in Fort Worth, Texas that He has created specifically to raise your precious child. And peace to know that child will never go a day without knowing how incredible and brave you were. 

Until our paths cross, 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I am so behind on blogging. I normally have several unfinished posts going at any given time, but this year I haven't event been able to get started. It has seriously been months since I have posted on my blog.  I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that 2016 just isn't my year to be Blogger of the Year. lol.

All joking aside, so many wonderful things have happened in our lives since my last post. As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends tomorrow I want to take the time to slow down and reflect on the last few months. On top of the normal everyday joys, there have been some life changing moments and there is only one word to describe my emotions - Grateful.

In August, after 15 long and trying months, Kipper graduated from nursing school and started preparing to take the NCLEX.

We also welcomed a precious new family member when Whitley gave birth to princess River Ann.

September was huge for us.

The month started out with dear friends hosting a fundraiser to help support our adoption. Kipper and I were blown away by our friends and loved ones generosity. For so long I could never make sense on paper of how we were going to make everything work, but through our sweet friends God provided in a big way. For the first time I was able to lay my head down at night and know that we could make this all work.

Shortly after Kipper took his NCLEX, and was blessed to have two job offers through Cook Children's as long as he passed. At the end of the month we found out he passed with flying colors and starting in November he would be the newest Cook Children's NICU RN.

Come October, or Allietober as it is known in our house, things were still busy as ever. We started the month out by Kipper joining me at his first every Birthday Party Project celebration at Union Gospel Mission.

We got started on painting the nursery to prepare for our adoption home study.

Kipper ran his last call as a member of the Cook Children's Teddy Bear team.

And I celebrated my 35th birthday with my dearest friends who surprised us with the yellow crib I have been in love with for over 2 years.

We kicked November off with Kipper's first day in the NICU and his Teddy Bear family throwing him an amazing surprise party that night. Complete with his favorite cake and a generous donation to our adoption fund.

We were able to take a family girl's trip to Canton that was a blast!

We scheduled our adoption home study and got the crib set up in the nursery (thanks to Little Polley's help!) Fenway is loving all the new baby apparatuses. He thinks they are for him. lol.

I have also been spending a lot of my free time painting the other nursery furniture, with Gulliver's help. ha!

On top of all of this work has been full speed ahead as I am in one of my busiest seasons and Kipper is drinking from the fire hydrant trying to learn everything he can about his new job. My training has suffered quite a bit, but I am accepting my season and have had fun going to weekly Zumba classes with Bridge and running when I can.

Now we are frantically getting ready for our adoption home study at the beginning of December and everything that the holidays brings. Yet, even though life has seemed to move at the speed of light the last few months we have still been able to enjoy so many special moments with friends and family.

This season has been full of change, both scary and exciting. Our hearts are full and we are embracing the change. We are surrounded my a community of love who supports and lifts us up at every turn.

We are thankful. We are humbled. We are more grateful than we could ever express.

From our family to yours - Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Great Paint Debacle of 2016

Raise your paw if you are a 20 pound Boston Terrier who has decided that your someday soon two legger sibling's room is your new play room.

Keep that paw up if when your Momma turned her back for two seconds you decided to walk in the paint and instead of letting her pick you up you thought she wanted to play chase. Across the carpet, down the hall, up the side of the living room rug and up onto the couch.

Thank goodness for a blanket on the couch and a fast acting husband who scrubbed the paint out of the carpet while I chased said Boston out the back door. 😐 Never fear Little Crab, Momma and Daddy got the last laugh. All the paint came up, someone got a much needed bath and now we have another fun memory to add to our story.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Love Conquers All

As we prepared for starting our adoption journey I was warned by friends (yes, more than one) who had walked this path before to prepare our hearts for the stones that would be cast our way. Especially if there was fundraising involved. Some of the stones might come from expected places, but others would cut you at the core.  In the same conversation they would tell me not to let the negativity and hate distract us. That for every stone that was cast a handful of angels would surround us with love and support.  And as much as the actions of a few would hurt, seeing the love and support from people you never expected to step up will be an incredible part of our journey. 

Every time I heard a version of this cautionary tale I thought my friend telling it might be slightly mad. I couldn't imagine a situation for someone to be so hateful. Apparently I was just extremely naive. 

Some of what I am about to say is a repeat from past posts, but after the last week it bears repeating. For over a year a group of dear friends have said that when the time came they would be ready to step up and fund raise for our adoption. And for over a year, we said no.

If I am being honest, it terrified me. It was so out of my servants heart comfort zone. I am the one who is supposed to be helping and serving others. There are so many people who are far more deserving or in need of the blessings of others. What if people judged us for asking for help?  What if when push came to shove we were left standing there alone? In my moments of panic, I could come up with all sorts of crazy. But then I remember my favorite quote from a book I read earlier this year, Rhinestone Jesus. 

Suddenly my way of thinking changes. What if there are people wanting to help us, but they don't know how because we have been too proud to ask? What if the only thing standing in our way of our God sized dream is getting out of our own way? What if our amazing community of friends and family is the key to making our dream a reality?As stubborn as we both are when it comes to asking for help, God has shown us that we have to humble ourselves. We have to allow those who love us to help us through this part of our journey. So when a dear friend approached us about hosting a fundraiser to help support us in this journey, even though it still made us a little uncomfortable, we said yes. 

Since the invitation has been made public we have received so much love and support. It has only been a week and we are completely blown away. But at the same time my dear friends were completely correct - people have cast stones. Lots and lots of hateful stones. (I told you I was extremely naive.)  Not only about the fundraiser our dear friends were hosting, but also about Kipper and I's character.   

At first I was shocked. Then I crumbled. I cried more than I care to admit. And then I just got angry.

After some thoughtful prayer and time, I am better. It would be easy to shout out everything that has been said and who said it. It would be easy to stoop to their level and fight back. But we won't.

We refuse to allow the hate of a few steal our joy from the love and support we are feeling from the army who has surround us.

We refuse to let hate infiltrate this journey we are on to find the child God has created just for our.

We refuse to allow the hate of a few to tarnish the hard work the girls have put in to plan an incredible fundraiser and a special day that I know we will never forget. 

We refuse to allow hate to win. 

Love conquers all. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Keeping The Faith And Growing In The Journey

Not long ago I was chatting with a friend who is currently dealing with infertility issues. Normally a bubbly and positive person, the entire situation is starting to take its toll. Not only on her, but her husband and their marriage as a whole. As we talked she made a comment about how she admired me for my strength and faithfulness though our journey. Listening to her tell it I sounded like a pretty amazing person, but I had to stop her before she could finish, because that person she was describing wasn't me.

While I have been pretty open about our journey and struggles, but at that moment I realized I sometimes sugar coat parts of it when outside my core confidants. And sometimes I even sugar coat it with them. If I am going to be open about this part of our life, I need to really be honest about it. Even when it isn't pretty.

Throughout this journey (5 years and counting) I have worked so hard to find peace in trusting God's plan for us. But the truth is this - I struggle in some way nearly every single day. NEARLY. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  

I still spontaneously cry. Sometimes it is just a tear or two, sometimes it is full on ugly cry out of nowhere. I have been flooded with anger and pain out of the blue.  I have avoided situations, like baby showers or holding an acquaintances baby, because at that moment it was too much for me. And then afterwards felt so much guilt, because I felt like I was being selfish.

Those moments have become less and less frequent over the last two years, but they are still there. They are still very real. Earlier this year was one of the worst times in a few years. I never planned to share it publicly. Heck, this is something I have only shared with 3 other people. But crazy as this will sound to most of you, the last few weeks I have had that nagging feeling that I am supposed to share my experience for the sake of someone who is going to read it. I hate these nagging feelings. They push me be so vulnerable and raw. Yet every time I have taken the leap of faith and listened to that little voice, I start to see the big picture and why sharing that part of my heart was important at that moment.

Two years ago my prayers changed drastically. They went from being focused on us getting pregnant and bringing a healthy baby into the world to simply allowing God's will for growing our family to be done in his time.  We knew we were being lead to adoption and we pray daily for our future birth mother and for God to prepare us for this next step. But all that said, I have never discounted the idea that miracles happen and the chance we could have a biological child through a God sized miracle was there.

My mind and heart are focused on adoption so it wasn't something I thought about often, but when my normally right on schedule period was nearly 3 weeks late you can imagine the thoughts that ran through my mind. For nearly 2 1/2 weeks I just waited for my period to start. I didn't say a word to anyone about it, not even Kipper.  I just waited. I didn't want to get my hopes up and I was terrified to take that test because I had been there so many times before. We were so close to starting our adoption journey so why was this happening now? Was this the miracle we had once prayed for?

For 3 weeks I stewed in my own thoughts, until one night I had the courage to finally open the test. Within moments I was reliving the same flood of emotions I had experienced more times than I care to recall. Once I pulled myself together, I decided there was no way I could tell Kipper right now. He was so stressed out over an upcoming exam and his workload.  I didn't want to burden or distract him from where his focus needed to be. And the truth be told, I couldn't handle seeing the sadness/disappointment in his big blue eyes.

Needless to say this wasn't what I should have done. If you know us at all, you know we have NO secrets. We share everything with each other. We have never successfully pulled of a surprise party for each other. And there is a reason we are such last minute Christmas shoppers when it comes to giving to each other. The fact I held this to myself was rare and awful. To make it worse, he knew something was up the whole time but couldn't figure it out.

I went another week and an unfortunate meltdown before I told him everything. I saw the sadness in his eyes I was hoping to avoid. But as I sat there bawling and attempting to apologize, I realized while he was experiencing  disappointment from the news I just shared, he was mostly sad that I tried to carry this burden alone.

It would be 2 more weeks until God presented me with a moment to confide in someone else, but I didn't take it. I brushed it off and made up a lame excuse for the reason I wasn't quite myself. I felt terrible about it.  I couldn't make the words come out of my mouth, but I just knew I was supposed to share this with her. Later that afternoon, through streams of tears, I wrote out one of the longest, rawest texts I have ever sent. My sweet friend's response spoke right to my heart and put everything into such perspective for me. I was thankful I stepped out of my comfort zone and shared it with her.

You would think after 5 years of walking this journey I know nothing good comes from trying to shield others from my pain and troubles. Just a few weeks ago I finally told on of my very best friends the whole story. I tried to explain that I didn't want to be that friend who had been crying about the same thing for 5 years. I didn't want to burden those who love me every time I struggled. Once again I was met with the words I needed to hear - You are not alone. We want to walk with you. We are invested in your dream too and are here to support you through it.

Through this experience I am reminded that each of us are an important part of the body of Christ. We are not meant to be alone in our struggles. We are not only meant to lay our troubles at His feet, but to allow those around us to help us walk through that storm together. That doesn't mean every person we know has to be privy to every trial and tribulation, but we should never allow ourselves to suffer alone. Satan knows my greatest weakness and by allowing myself to get lost in my own thoughts, instead of turning it over to God, he found a way in. When I am tired and my faith is weaker than it should be, others are there to help carry some of the burden and lift me up. Just as I would do for them.

Everyday I pray for peace and reassurance that we are following God's path for us. I know that he would never put the desires of being parents on our hearts like he has if it wasn't part of the plan, but simply knowing that doesn't always take the worldly struggle away completely. And while I would never wish our experiences and pain on my worst enemy, I am grateful for it. We are not the same people we were 5 years ago. I can't even begin to explain all the ways we have grown and changed for the better. Ultimately this journey has made us a stronger couple and in turn will make us much better parents. I can already look back and tell you why I am grateful for this recent experience.  This recent storm was the lesson I needed to ground and center myself before we take the next major leap.

I know adoption is an emotional roller coaster.  I know that there are going to be some challenging and emotional days ahead of us. And I know that I still can't tell you on paper how it will all work out. That used to really stress me out, but then I read this amazing book Rhinestone Jesus by one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Welch. The entire book spoke to my heart but this one quote really stuck with me.

It was in reading those words any worry that we were not following God's plan for us washed away.   As we move forward, both Kipper and I both know that can't do this alone. Alone we don't have all the answers, resources, or funding.  As stubborn as we both are when it comes to asking for help, God has shown us that we have to humble ourselves. We have to allow those who love us to help us through this part of our journey.

If I am being honest, that terrified me. It was so out of my servants heart comfort zone. I am the one who is supposed to be helping and serving others. There are so many people who are far more deserving or in need of the blessings of others.  What if people judged us for asking for help?  What if when push came to shove we were left standing there alone? In my moments of panic, I could come up with all sorts of crazy.

But then I remember that quote and my way of thinking changes. What if there are people wanting to help us, but they don't know how because we have been too proud to ask? What if the only thing standing in our way of our God sized dream is getting out of our own way? What if our amazing community of friends and family helps makes our dream a reality?

Since truly humbling ourselves and openly admitting we need help, God has showed up in such a big way. It started with a dear friend approaching me (after a Joe T's marg I might add) about hosting a fundraiser for us. I still chuckle that the conversations started with "I want to ask you something and I don't want you to tell me no." It seems my friends know me pretty well. :)

Saying yes that night has not only led to some of my dearest friends coming together to plan a fundraiser to help grow our family, but other offers and generosity I could have never imagined. It still doesn't quite seem real to me that there are already so many others that are truly invested in our God sized dream. But it is real. Very, very real.  I just hope someday we will be able to pay it forward in a way that is just as meaningful as this is to us.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dear Future Birth Mother

Disclaimer: Over the last 9+ months Planned Parenthood has been a hot button topic in the news, conversations and social media.  While Mr. Martin loves a good political debate/conversation Mrs. Martin tends to shy away from them.  I have had a decade long struggle with my thoughts on Planned Parenthood. I am that weird Pro-Lifer who actually thinks that defunding Planned Parenthood will increase abortions, but this isn't about that.  I am not wanting to start a debate or shame anyone. I have dear friends, who I respect the heck out of, on both sides of this issue. Friends who have real experience on all sides of the issue. And while this isn't a new debate or conversation, this time around it has weighed on my heart more than ever before. I am sure our personal situation and journey to parenthood has a lot to do with that. This post is my response to the lump in my throat and ache in my heart that has lingered for the last several months watching the mud slinging over the latest Planned Parenthood controversy. After sitting in my draft box for nearly a year, I had sort of forgotten I even wrote this. But during prayer over the last few days I remembered it and today I felt this overwhelming need to publicly share.  

June 14, 2015

Dear Future Birth Mother,

I have been thinking a lot about you lately. I don't know you. At least I don't think I do. I don't know where you live or even how old you are. Sometimes I try to imagine you and your situation. Are you a young teenager or a college student? Maybe a young woman who is struggling to make it week to week. Or is your situation more dire? Do you struggle with an addiction or are you in an unhealthy relationship? I wish I could know more about you so I could be more specific when I pray for you each day.

Right now you aren't even pregnant and given our timeline it could be a year, maybe more before you are. Maybe you know the birth father or you might not have even met him yet, but I am still praying for you both.  I pray that even though you have no idea what is coming God is helping to prepare your hearts.

I often think about you in the moment you find out you are pregnant. I can only imagine the emotions you will feel as you stare down at those two pink lines for the first time. In those moments when you might possibly feel like your world is crashing down around you, I pray that you feel the presence of God with you. As you run through the emotions of feeling helpless, scared, alone, even angry - I pray that God will give you strength and a sense of peace that in the end things will be okay.

Because I don't know you or your situation, I don't know what type of support system you have or how those around you will react. In a perfect world I imagine you with a loving and supportive family and group of friends. They will stand by you, love you and never show judgement. I also know that we don't live in a perfect world so I pray that no matter your situation you have at least one person you can trust who will love you, support you, and never judge you.

I pray that they will walk beside you through your journey and as you make a decision of how to move forward. As you weigh your options I pray that God is there guiding your heart; giving you strength and wisdom. I pray that if you feel abortion is your only option or if you are being pressured into that decision that God puts the right people in your life at the right moment to show you there is another option. That there are families, like ours, who would love nothing more than to give your child the life you could only dream of giving them.

When the day comes that you decide that placing your child for adoption is the best choice, I pray for peace and comfort. I imagine that decision will be one of the hardest, if not the hardest one you will ever make. It is also one of the most selfless decisions anyone women can make and I know is made out of pure love for your child.

As you begin the journey to choose a family and you pour through adoption profile books, I pray that our family is the answer to your prayers for your child. I hope that in that profile you are able to see our hearts, our love for each other, and our desire to serve others. And if we are able to meet, I pray that we are able to confirm all those feelings you felt reading our profile.  I pray that you find comfort in knowing that you have found a family that will raise your precious child (with the help of a generous village of friends and family) to always know the beautiful gift their mother gave them and to never take a moment of it for granted.

And when the day comes for you to sign the papers, I pray that you still have the same peace and comfort you felt when you decided we were the family for you. I can't even imagine the emotions you are feeling. For me I pray that in all our excitement of becoming parents, I never lose sight of the fact that one of our most joyous days is one of your most painful. I pray that in even in your pain, you feel loved, supported and comforted not only by God but those around you. Us included. While I know every adoption is different and there is no way to know right now how open ours will be in the end - I pray that God will guide all of our hearts to the perfect arrangement that isn't just best for the child, but for you as well.

Even though I don't know you yet, I think about you and pray for you every day. And I imagine someday when I am looking into that precious baby's eyes, I will still think about you. I will think about how brave and selfless you were. How in world where you had other options, you choose life. And even though I don't know you yet, I am already beyond thankful for you and in an unexplainable way, I carry a piece of you in my heart.

Until our paths cross,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Yellow Shoe Diaries: I Never Want To Forget What Today Felt Like

I never want to forget what today felt like. 

The last minute panic over what I was wearing. 

The mix of nerves and excitement as I made my way up to the start line with up AJ, Jen and Garrison.

The moment it hit me for the first time ever I was actually able to pace with AJ and we were running together. And taking silly selfies. 

The brief moments of doubt and the overwhelming peace that quickly followed. 

The moment I realized I was running a race far greater than I could imagined. 

The joy that seeing Kipper and Watts along the route brought me. 

And that last mile. Oh that last mile. My body ached and my emotions were high. I never want to forget that last turn to the finish. The salty tears streaming down my face and my favorite Chris Tomlin song turned up just enough so I could hear it over the crowd. 

Then crossing the same finish line where this crazy dream started. It was surreal. It was so special. It was a defining moment for me as a runner.

Being able to text Lil' Polley my results and her ecstatic response.  

Meeting Jen on the back half of the course and being able to run her across the 20 mile mark and the final bit into the park. 

Watching and cheering Jen cross the finish line of her first Full Marathon! 

And the huge smile that was apparently plastered on my face during every single phase of the day. 

No mater where my journey leads next these are moments I never want to lose sight of. Moments that were all made possible through God's love and amazing grace.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Yellow Shoe Diaries: One Week To Go

Today was my last long run Sunday before the big day! The next week will be all about hydration, nutrition, relaxation and mental preparation. (With a big emphasis on the mental part!) This season of training has been unlike any before. I am experiencing a weird mixture of confidence and fear. I know what I am capable of. I just have to keep believing in that and stop worrying about the perfect racing conditions. 

Last year was the exact opposite of of perfect conditions and it was an incredible day.  I have learned that while the weather does affect me some, having my heart and mind in the right place is so much more important. In moments of doubt and fear God had carried me. Mental preparation for me is really spiritual preparation. I don't run for my own glory - I run for His glory. 

I just need to accept that I don't know what the outcome of my personal race will be, but I do know it will be an epic day for our little running tribe. Jen is taking on her first full marathon and I can't wait to finish my race so we can cheer her through the back half of the course.  And our newest (and youngest) recruit, Garrison, is taking in his first half. 14 years old and running a half marathon! 

Now for the next week to fly by and Mother Nature to remember to take her crazy pills just in case.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yellow Shoe Diaries: Worst. Training. Run. Ever.

Running is a humbling sport. 

Today I had my worst long run of this year. Maybe ever. I decided to share this not for sympathy or admiration but because I often look at old running posts when I need inspiration. And I am pretty sure future Allie needs to remember today. 

Mother Nature set the stage for a great 10 miles with gorgeous weather. Seriously is was like an Spring day in late March or early April, but in January. Of course to keep things interesting Mother Nature also threw in some awesome cramps. Every step it felt like I was being stabbed in the stomach with a knife. Sometimes being a girl really sucks. 

By mile 3 I considered calling it a day because I was so off pace and hurting badly. By the time I made it to mile 7 I was still moving slower than I needed but was starting to feel a little better. That was until a group of 7-8 year old boys started "cheering" me on by chanting "Run Fatty, Run!" 


I would be lying if I said I didn't want to flip them off or knock on their parents door. But then I started thinking how lots of kids learn their behavior from their parents and I was a little scared of what the response would be if I did knock on their door. I just kept going. I would also be lying if I said I didn't shed a tear or two over the next mile or so. I didn't cry because they hurt my feelings. I am fully aware I am a bigger girl. No one looks at me and says, "Oh that girl is totally a runner!" 
The tears that were falling were tears of pride. 

I had every reason to stay on the couch with a heating pad today, but I didn't. I had every reason to quit at mile 3 when Kipper offered to come get me if I was in too much pain, but I didn't. Today I dug deep, gave what I could and made it just over 9 miles. Today I am thankful for the reminder that in the long run of this journey, the accomplishments on my worst days are just as sweet (sometimes sweeter) than setting a PR on my best days.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bold and Brave in 2016

I have been doing a lot of thinking on what my overall focus for myself would be for 2016. So much so that we are half way through January and I am just now ready to put this out there. Last year was all about breaking down walls and making myself uncomfortable. I still have some work to do in that area, but this year I want to build on that by being bold and brave.

You see I have always been a creative and used to think of myself as somewhat of a free spirit. The older I get the more I realize while I have been blessed with a creative mind that loves to day dream, but I am FAR from a free spirit. I tend to be practical and a worrier. I am a creature of habit. I over analyze things that really don't need that much thought. I started to realize this past year that often times my creativity and sense of adventure is muffled by my practical side. And fear.

Which brings me to the point of this post - living bold and brave in 2016! I have to stop muffling gifts God has given me because in my head things don't seem practical. Practical has become a new word for comfortable in my life. I read a blog post last year that I wish I could find because there was a paragraph that was amazing. It talked about how God doesn't call us to things that are easy or meant to be comfortable. Following His plan often means things might seem messy in our heads and won't neatly fit into our color coded planner. I am pretty sure the author was speaking directly to me.

Living bold and brave doesn't mean I am going to drop everything and run away with the circus. (although there is this awesome circus school in Dallas that looks like a blast!) Or suddenly lose all manners and tell everyone exactly what I think in that moment. Honestly I am not 100% sure what it will look like, but here is where I am starting.

1. Pray Boldly. Sometimes I find that there are things that I want to pray for but I hold back. I am not sure why, because my hesitation doesn't come from a doubt in Him. For some reason I feel more comfortable praying boldly for others situations, but not always for my own. When I do step out in faith and pray boldly the spiritual reward has been incredible. If this is something you struggle with you might be interested in this great blog post I read on Proverbs 31. It was incredibly helpful to me and said what I was feeling better than I could. 

2. Bravely Follow. In line with praying boldly, I have to be ready to bravely follow. I can recall several times in my life when God spoke to me, but I let fear hold me back. I am much better than I used to be at this but there is still so much room for growth. This means letting go of worry over what others will think. It means getting uncomfortable. It means a world of possibilities far more amazing than I could imagine. 

3. Boldly and Bravely Adventure. We aren't talking cliff diving or anything too crazy here. Last years goal of getting out of my comfort zone was really focused on my weight and working out. This year I want to keep that momentum going, but hitting all aspects of my life.  For starters I know as soon as Cowtown is over I am going to face my fear of taking my bike out on the trail. I have let the fear that has been building from my wreck keep me inside far too long. I  just want to wait till after I set a new PR at Cowtown just in case! (I told you I wasn't going to go too crazy!) Maybe I'll try a type of cuisine that I am pretty sure I will hate. Or finally put aside the fear of failure and start my Etsy shop back up. I don't quite know where this goal will take me, but I am excited to see.

Outside of these three key areas I still have other goals and areas I want to make sure I am always incorporating being bold and brave. Running, giving and saving are three that immediately come to mind.

Feel free to ask me periodically how things are going. I welcome the accountability. And if you have been feeling like you need a change - join me!!  How could stepping out of your comfort zone change you? Think about all the incredible things that could happen in 2016 if we are just bold enough to ask and brave enough to listen when He answers!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Yellow Shoe Diaries: Titanic Kind of Day

Some runs I feel like I could fly. And some runs feel like I weigh 500 pounds and I am dragging the Titanic behind me. First long run of 2016 and it was a Titanic kind of day.

I walked in the door afterwards beating myself up about it. Then I realized something. I had three choices this morning: say screw it and go home, take the easy flat loop, or suck it up and run hills. Two years ago I would have gone home. A year ago I would have taken the easy route. Today I ran mile after mile of hills. I knew that my pace would be crap but I also knew in the long run time on those hills would make a bigger difference come race day than a faster pace on a random training run. Just took a little perspective to help me remember that some progress can't be seen in distance or pace.