Must watch video

My friend Kaitlyn forwarded this video to me and I HAVE to share it with you. About half way through was when the whole thing really hit me and I realized what a great picture they were painting of how our relationship with Christ is so often and how he always comes to our rescue. And maybe it’s just me but be prepared because you might cry. 🙂


Rock N’ Roll Marathon: The truth about 26.2 miles

Everyone who has done one, has their own unique story about their first marathon. This is mine, no frills, the real deal, exactly how it all went down.

Warning: This is gonna be long….

Let’s start from the beginning. With the 7 HOUR drive from Atlanta to Savannah. FYI: It is NOT supposed to take that long. Nicole and I thought it would be best to head out early to ensure we had plenty of time to pick up our packets. Expo ended at 7pm on Friday evening. We were thinking “This will be great, leave at 11:45 get there around 4:30 enjoy the expo, maybe cruise around Savannah and then leisurely make our way over to dinner to “carb up”. A relaxed approach b/c we don’t want to be freakin out on time unsure if we are going to make it anywhere! But of course, before we even hit Macon a MINOR and I mean MINOR “construction zone” if that is EVEN what they want to call it, began our first hour long set back as we creeped along the interstate. “Seriously?! It’s like the middle of the day, who does construction at THIS time?!?!” Then to further annoy us we come to see they have an entire lane closed for TWO worker trucks. TWO! What were they doing??? I have know earthly clue but it wasn’t productive and it wasn’t enough to warrant shutting a lane down and causing that much traffic. And side note: we must not forget our poor three daughters in the back that are starving for lunch. Because obviously you start this kind of construction when we are wanting to exit to get our kids a stinkin HAPPY MEAL! You can just see how “relaxed” I was at this point. 🙂

When we finally made it through that and fed our poor starving children, took a few deep breaths and started calculating our time, we were still doing okay. That was before we got into Savannah, took a little detour that cost us another 30 minutes and then got onto the big bridge to see it was backed up all the way from the convention center to the very beginning where we were getting on. About 2 miles of hundred and hundreds of cars all going to the same place. At this point it was passed 6:00. I was totally bummed thinking about how rushed we were and that we wont get to spend any time looking at the cool expo stuff. Sigh.

We successfully picked up our packets and tees and I even bought some new ear buds and a long sleeve shirt. As I’m standing in line checking out looking at all the cool stuff I realize, I had forgotten my fuel belt. I had been training with it, planning to run with it. It holds my gels and gives me access to water when I need it. Did I really forget something so important!!!! Yes I sure did. Should I buy another one???? Well I paid 10 dollars for mine, a sweet deal at TJmaxx and for the exact same one they wanted 35 dollars! Umm no thank you. But what the heck was I gonna do? I decided to delay my moment of panic and save that for later. Let’s just get out of here and get dinner.

FORTUNATELY my parents had already headed to Carrabas long before us to get a table because the wait was over an hour and it was 7:30. I’m already thinking about my pillow! Dinner went well, my pasta Carrabba as usual was fantastic.

After we left dinner we went to CVS to pick up some last minute items. Now it’s off to the hotel. Not my hotel. I spent the night with Nicole, which logistically made way more sense. But I was nervous with where we were staying, alone, just us two gals, no Jason or Scott to protect us and no mommy and daddy. Thank heaven for ambien. But before I took one of those I of course went into melt down mode. “We were so rushed, and I don’t have my fuel belt, and how will I sleep” wah wah wah. Take your ambien and get over it. First I called my mom, and then I went to sleep.

Morning time! And I was REALLY nervous. I only knew this by what my tummy was doing and I did NOT like what it was doing. I could only manage to eat a marathon bar, not ideal for when you are going to run a marathon! I think they want you to eat it during your run??? other wise I have no clue why it’s called that. Once I got dressed in my spiffy outfit. I tried to figure out what I was going to do with out my fuel belt. I pinned my gels inside my shorts but that wasn’t going to work so I stuck them in my top. I was gonna be okay! Let’s do this!

Off to the shuttles, which took way longer than I think it was supposed too.

Finally we made it!!! Run to the porta potties for one last pit stop and than I see something on my shirt….. what is this and where did it come from??? As I investigate the situation I realize my GELS were leaking inside my bra- through my tank- through my long sleeve shirt- to my outer layer. That’s a lot of gel. (By the way, a gel is a packet that has carbs, caffeine, sugars and things that give you a boost when you are doing really long runs. It really helps keep you fueled.)  I wasn’t that concerned about the gel all over my “girls” but more concerned that I had to throw away 3 out of my 5 gels. I knew they would have some “stations” along the course but I wasn’t sure where or what kind. Anyway, I didn’t have time to panic because we were literally walking toward the start line. I was able to grab a mini water bottle to hold which made me feel better about atleast having some water on me at all times.

The start of the race was good. I was feeling great. There were a LOT of particpants so there was quite a bit of weaving. But I was taking it easy, getting into a slower pace because I didn’t want to speed off and have nothing left after 20 miles, the furthest I had gone. I had two gels on me and usually take my first at 3 miles. I was getting nervous because at 6 miles I still hadn’t seen any gels at the water stations. On my 7 there were some people with muscle milk passing bottles of chocolate milk out and I was so worried my body would need SOMETHING I grabbed one of those and swigged it a few times. Actually was really good and helped me make it to the gel station. Finally at 8 they had them and I grabbed two. At mile 12 the half marathoners split off which really cleared the congestion out. At this point though my watch was calculating over a mile of what the markers were saying. This was not going to be good for me mentally. Took a pit stop at 12 and then headed onto the over pass which led to the interstate and also brought wind. Eww. I was definitely not loving that. We finally took our exit and went back through some neighborhoods and a park. At mile 17 I was again on my last gel and again freaking out wondering if they would give more. I knew I would need another one to finish. I began having a lot of doubt about this whole thing so I walked as I took my gel and got ahold of my thoughts. Once it kicked in I felt great, tuned into my music and got in the mode. “I whip my hair back and forth, I whip my hair back in forth. I’ma get more shine in a little bit soon as I hit the stage applause I’m hearing it.” 😉 It’s funny the music that gets you pumped running, lol. Lovin the Willow Smith, I’m confident, at mile 20. I came to another gel station and I was excited to count down with 6.2 to go. But every time I looked at my watch it was well over where I was REALLY at. I didn’t know what the deal was, I thought it was accurate, it always had been. I thought “My body can’t do more then 26.2” My watch was saying 24.5 and I was just hitting 23! And then we were back on the dreaded interstate with more wind. You think, “Only 3 to go” but 3 feels like 30 when you have already run 23. I started to walk and run and walk and run. I was defeated mentally but I wanted to be done so I’d run. Then I started to feel it,….. when I picked up my pace my body was saying “Yoooouuuu need to go to the bathroom.” Like number 2!!! I have never done that on a run. And wasn’t about to start lol. So I pressed on, run for a bit, walk for a bit. The wind STUNK. I could tell it was wearing on a lot of runners and ones that did not look like amateurs like myself. I started thinking, “What was I thinking?! Why would anyone want to run for 5 hours! I will NEVER do this again.” Not great thoughts when you aren’t even done yet. Mile 25 came and then I see someone familiar…. it was my mommy! She caught me in a walking moment and I was so disappointed. It finally set in that I actually was walking and that was not what I envisioned. But it was exactly what I needed because she cheered me on, and started to jog with me.

I got to 26 and there was the rest of my wonderful family. Nicole calling my name, Jason taking pictures, the girls, my dad, and the rest of the Grahams.

I picked up speed and crossed the finish line. I was so glad to be DONE.

The stinky thing of it all is I wasn’t really excited when I finished. I was definitely glad it was over. But I was kind of down because the experience was not as I’d hoped. I didn’t love it like I wanted too. And I definitely did not want to ever do another marathon again. It’s hard for a perfectionist to complete something imperfectly. 

Also, BIG MAD PROPS to my cousin Nicole who finished her first 1/2 marathon in 2 hours 14 minutes. You rock!!!! So proud of her!

Course now a few days later I’m already re-evaluating those comments. It will definitely be awhile till the next full. It’s a huge commitment and takes a lot of time and energy. But with one under my belt I definitely will be more prepared for the next.

God is faithful when I am not

The Lord’s faithfulness constantly amazes me. Especially when I continue to fail at being a true follower, continually putting Him on the back burner and allowing MY life, MY world, to take over and ultimately disappoint me. Why do I do this? My only conclusion is because I am a broken human and I desperately need Him but often don’t acknowledge that and rely on myself and others to meet my needs. No one can meet my needs except for HIM. Isaiah 45:24 couldn’t have spoken to me more clearly this morning “In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.”

I casually mentioned in one of my recent blogs that I recently have weaned off my anxiety medicine. For now I wont go into the details of why, that will be for another blog. I will say that I may or may not begin taking celexa in the future again. I did not choose to go off of it because I believe people shouldn’t take medicine for anxiety or depression. On the contrary, I think lots of people should! If you have ever experienced anxiety or depression you know it can be debilitating and often distract you from your relationship with Christ. It has done that to me before. This time though I truly believe God allowed that decision to take place to bring me to my knees once again and realize that I DO DESPERATELY NEED HIM. Coming off of it has been frustrating to say the least. My emotions have been out of control. And of course the ones who are mostly affected are those closest to me. In my mind I am constantly reminded that “You are being so selfish right now.” and I have felt incapable of coming out of it. Well that’s because I am when I’m relying on my weak and broken self. Which I have been for too long.

A few months ago I started a Beth Moore study called Believing God. I was also trying to read through the Bible in a year with Bible Gateway. Two weeks into my Believing God study I became overwhelmed and stalled out on everything. I was coasting along, not feeling any major effects of being out of communion with Christ. I knew this wasn’t going to last, I knew I needed Him, but I continued to ignore the small gentle voice of the Holy Spirit and go about MY life. Then it all hit me yesterday, on Jason’s birthday of ALL days, when everything out of my mouth was negative and ugly. I was irritated by everything and everyone and only wanted to think of myself. In the Bible it talks about grieving the Holy Spirit and yesterday I could FEEL that. I knew that my behavior and attitude was grieving Him. Grieve is defined as: To cause to be sorrowful; distress. To mourn. To hurt or harm. Conviction set in and I knew I had to change something and that something was someone, my Savior, and where His place was in my life. He needs to be first.

This morning I got up before the girls to spend time with Jesus. I haven’t made this effort in too long and what amazes me is that He is always waiting for me. He shows up, He reveals Himself, and reminds me of His love, faithfulness, compassion. He gives me renewed strength and washes away my sin of yesterday. As David Crowder sings in one of my very favorite songs You Never Let Go:

When clouds veil sun
And disaster comes
Oh, my soul

When waters rise
And hope takes flight
Oh, my soul

Ever faithful
Ever true
You I know
You never let go

Oh, my soul
Oh, what love, oh, what love
Oh, my soul
Fills with hope
Perfect love that never lets go

Oh, what love, oh what love
In joy and pain
In sun and rain
You’re the same
Oh, You never let go

Today has already been a million times better than the last 5 days. Why….. because I am walking WITH the Spirit. I hope this brings comfort and encouragement to any of you who struggle like me. 

Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Fall Family Photos

You wanna stress this girl out, try and have me take some pictures of our whole family. Why is it the devil always shows up to family picture day??? Often it seems like he’s taking up residence in me! Yikes! But seriously, between knowing Jason does NOT want to be there and I mean really can you ever get everyone to smile, the lighting right, the perfect pose, and zero wardrobe malfunctions??? FORGET IT! Family picture day is a recipe for disaster! Or maybe a cocktail I don’t know! Here is what we got though. Hope you enjoy.

Starting off good… Micaila is already being very cooperative……

This is why you will see more pictures of Ryann…. it has nothing to do with favoritism…. I swear, it doesn’t.

Here is where we lost Micaila. She was having a TMD over laying in the grass. Paaalleeeease spare me the drama!

This is where we tried to have me lay down and have Micaila lay on my back so she wouldn’t be “attacked” by the grass.

Hold on tight, you might fall off! I mean really??? This is not happening. It’s fine, we can just crop the tude out.


And this is where we decided to end the madness…..

Gosh they are just SO happy! 🙂

I admit though, we did get some good ones. I guess it’s just burned in my brain what all REALLY went on that I didn’t catch on camera. Fun times!

Fall visits, Georgia A-Scarium, Pumpkins, and Halloween OH MY!

I don’t think I have had this much activity packed into 4 days in my entire life! Truth be told I do NOT handle busy-ness well. I’m overwhelmed so easily and with the recent weaning of my anxiety medicine (another story in itself) I realize I REALLY am overwhelmed easily. Not to say that I didn’t have fun….. it’s just at moments it probably didn’t look like I was having fun hahaha. Fortunately God has designed us (or maybe just me?) to primarily remember the GOOD. 🙂 So let me tell you about our wonderful weekend!

The most exciting thing was that my wonderful friend Kellie came to visit again. This time she brought her whole family. I was so excited for Jason, myself, Kellie and her hubs Andrew to hang out again like we used to in FL. It had been so long and I miss the good ol’ “rock band days”. As you grow older and get married you realize it is extremely difficult to find couples that you both click with. I blame the men because I can get along with anyone! It seems like it’s harder for guys to find a “BFF”! Anyway, Andrew is a stitch and I’m pretty sure anyone would enjoy hanging out with him so the 4 of us really get along well. Sooooo here are some photo’s of our fabulous weekend with our fabulous friends. 🙂 Oh yeah, be prepared for TONS of pictures….. you can’t blame us though…. 😉

Here we are off to Henry’s this really cool Cajun Louisiana feel restaurant in Downtown Acworth. In fact it was SO COOL there was a 2 hour wait and we actually didn’t make it to dinner b/c we didn’t want to have our sitter out all night long. Note to self: next time go EARLY 🙂 We still enjoyed appeteeaazers and a little music too!“Sold Everywhere!” haha, no we are not! 😉

And yes, we were totally rockin the fake lashes, so fun!

Saturday morning….. these photos remind me of Christmas morning. We had a big yummy breakfast and enjoyed our morning Joe. I think my favorite part of having visitors is the morning. It’s so relaxing. 🙂

The girlies

Gavatron and his beautiful blue eyes

Whelp…. that explains it all 😉

Scrump-dilli-umptious! In fact check out this pancake recipe, it’s amazing!

Next up on our agenda was White Oak Park and fall photos. Ahhh, family pictures…. such a joy to take :-/

Moving right along to the fall festival…. not super impressed. Really need to find a good ol’ church fall festival like Lutz used to have back in the day.

After a busy day we came home rested and then made S’Mores!!!! In our new/unfinished fire pit 😉 Jason put pavers down on the patio and decided he wanted to put a different kind of stone on the pit. Gonna have to hold off till we get back from Savannah.

:-/ !!!

Sunday we headed off the the Georgia Aquarium. If you brought your kids dressed in costume they got in free. Which is a big deal because that place charges you an arm and a leg!

Moving on to Halloween…. I had more pictures but they wont load and well I already have like a thousand in this blog anyway.

We carved a pumpkin as usual.

And now it’s time to get all dressed up for Trick or Treating! Yay!!!

Introducing Cinderella!!! Sometimes late but worth the wait 😉

Where is your slipper Cinderella!?!

And now we have Snow White. Care taker of all the woodland animals with a voice that melts your heart.

Watch out for those apples Snow White 😉

Best Princess Friends Forever

And introducing Barbie and friends!

That’s all for this blog, can’t fit any more pictures in it. But I have tons from the park that I will upload to another blog. Coming soon!