Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

"I love this time of year"- pretty much everyone everywhere.

But seriously. I. LOVE. THIS. TIME. OF. YEAR!

The weather, the trees, the football, the friends and family, the parties, the FOOD, the decorations, the music. All of it! I wish the whole year consisted of Halloween to New Years on repeat.

My Facebook timeline is blowing up right now with people posting daily what they are most thankful for.   Which is awesome. But, as I was reminded by a friend recently, where is all of this thanks the rest of the year?! Good point. Maybe we could spread more of the gratitude and less of the crazy rants and snarkiness? Just a thought, guys. Just a thought.

Last year, I compiled 30 days of thanks into one blog post. Looking back on it now, I am equally, if not more so, thankful for the things I listed then.

Last month, I attempted (twice) to launch a 21 days of happy. What I ended up with was maybe not what it could have been, but I got some great perspective out of it all. It was reminded of the the importance of being present, enjoying the moment and giving back whenever and wherever you can. I think we sometimes have this idea that we must do big, grand gestures to create happiness for ourselves and others.

But we don't.

Mother Teresa said "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

Jesus said in Mathew 25:33-40 "I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your home. I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you came to visit me..... I tell you the truth. Anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me."

So, let me share with you how you can do something so power and so special for someone and it only takes 5 minutes, a card and a stamp. More Love Letters is a movement like I have never seen before. I discovered them around the time of 21 Days and I have been hooked since. From their website:

In October 2010, Hannah Brencher began writing & leaving love letters all over New York City to ward off the loneliness and depression that ambushed her after graduating from college. Knee-deep in student loans and desperate to know her “place in this world,” Brencher’s letter writing efforts grew a platform on her blog after she made a promise to the internet: If you emailed her a snail mail address, she would write you a love letter. No questions asked.

What I love the most about More Love Letters is that there are real people, in really tough situations that need encouragement that we can simply give through a simple letter.  MLL staff receive and update on their site requests from people all over the country. In a time where most everything is electronic, love letter bundles of actual, REAL letters are created and distributed weekly. I have bookmarked the page and visit frequently to find stories that speak to me. Then I just write what my heart says. Yes, it feels a little awkward at first because you don't know these people and you don't know what to say and you are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Just stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself "if this were me, what would I want someone to say to me to make me feel better?"

In this time of joy and thanksgiving, I hope you will consider joining me in lifting up people who need more of both in their lives.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Running at the Happiest Place on Earth to Fight Pediatric Cancer

It's hard to believe just over a week ago Randy and I completed our second half marathon at Disney World! And let me just say, Disney knows how to put together a race. I was so impressed with the check in, the runners expo (we met Jeff Galloway!), the transportation to the race, the pre-race entertainment and the race itself! 14,000 runners participated in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and it was incredible. The race started at 10pm so we got the special honor of running through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot at night. The parks were all lit up (including the newly unveiled Christmas lights) and there were tons of Disney cast members and volunteers to fuel us with water and cheer us along the way. The best part about the race is that we finished with a new PR and we got to meet Minnie!

Emily would be so jealous.

If you are looking for a fun race with a little vacation tied in, you have to check out Disney. Throughout the year they host marathons, half marathons, relays, 10 milers, 5ks and family fun runs. In addition to all the fun at the parks, there are tons of activities for the whole family. We loved spending time at the Expo and spent the rest of our time at Downtown Disney.  Check out Run Disney to find your next race! I can't wait to do Wine and Dine again!

This amazing adventure would not have  possible without the amazing staff at the Rally Foundation. We originally singed up to run the Disneyland half  back in September. With a surprise baby in July, our training plans got a bit derailed. They worked with us and allowed us to transfer over our fundraising efforts to participate in the Wine and Dine. They took care of the registration and kept us in the loop ever step of the way. We ran 13.1 miles and raised more than $2,000 to fight pediatirc cancer. Doing good never felt so rewarding! Consider joining us as Rally Athletes and we will hope to see you at our next race. 

Until then, keep calm and run on!