Saturday, March 29, 2014

this is what we call a miracle

First off, this post is not weight loss related. It has been so long since I have actually written a post, but I wanted to share this with a large group of people and the actual telling of the story requires a bit more space than what is ideal for a facebook status update.

Second, I want to talk about something that we, as a family, do not talk about with a lot of friends and family. Some people know. Some people don't. It's not that some people are more important than others and it's not that we are ashamed of it, but...we just haven't shared it with everyone. Okay, sorry for the vagueness. I'll just be blunt. We are in the process of trying to determine if Silas (the biggest) is on the autism spectrum. We have had had suspensions and he has displayed symptoms for quite some time.

Silas loves to tell us 'hi' and 'bye' and wave at us appropriately. He loves to sing and he is building quite an extensive repertoire of Veggietale songs. He is sweet and caring. He likes to wrestle and run and swing and play with cars. He likes to line up his stuffed animals and 'talk' to them. He dances and does a mean downward dog while we are doing yoga together. He likes to lift weights with his mama and daddy. He loves to ride the school bus and has fun with his friends at school. He is making academic progress as well as social progress. He can climb and run and jump and has such good control of his body. He is starting to like books, but he doesn't like to be read to. He just wants to look at the pictures on his own. He is an ace at some of his games on his ipad. And that kid loves. He loves with his whole, huge heart!

But that's not all there is to say about Silas.

Silas has taken 3 and a half years (basically his whole life) to call me mama/mom on a regular basis and that just started recently. He still doesn't call Dave dad or daddy. My mom and dad and Dave's parents have yet to hear a clear granny/papaw/mamaw. He is just now putting two (very unclear) words together. He has an extremely high tolerance of pain. He is a hand flapper. He refuses to eat if you don't have his 'approved' foods on hand. I'm not talking picky. I'm talking refuses to eat. Meaning he will go days and days without eating a single thing. He sometimes has tantrums that involve banging his head on the floor or wall until bruises form, biting, pinching, scratching (sometimes drawing blood) himself, screaming until his throat is raw, and sometimes he requires physical restraint and relative darkness to get him back under control. He is sometimes too overwhelmed to go into a store to shop. Or if we are somewhere new and there are lots of people, sometimes we can't stay.

I don't tell you this so that you pity me. We don't need pity. I don't tell you this so that you think my job as parent is more difficult than your job as parent. If you are a parent, then you are on your own crazy ride and I'm right there with you. Holding on for dear life! Being a parent is hard no matter what your circumstances. I tell you all this so that maybe, just maybe, you can understand how big this miracle really is.

We have been waiting for an entire year for an appointment at the Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center in Louisville, KY. After getting all his paperwork and application sent in at the end of April 2013, we waited. In June of 2013 I started calling. I continued to call every single day until mid February 2014. Every day I talked to a string of people and all they could tell me was that his paperwork was being processed. In mid March, after deciding to go a different direction with his evaluation and treatment, we finally heard back from the Weisskopf center telling us we had an appointment scheduled for April 22. I talked to the receptionist at our pediatrician's office and was told that we no longer needed to keep that appointment since we were going a different direction. I called the Weisskopf Center and told them, in a rather smug and snippy manner, that we had decided to go a different direction since they had taken such a long time to get back with us. I confirmed that I no longer needed, nor wanted, the appointment. They cancelled it and that was that. Since the packet of information they sent to us contained social security numbers, medical records, and personal information I took it to work with me. I put it in the shredder, pressed the button, and was glad that I was not longer going to have to wait for the elusive Weisskopf Center to get back with me.

  Fast forward to this past Thursday, March 27, 2014 . I finally get a call back from a special program that we were banking all our hopes on for this new path we were taking. It's a clinic here in Eastern, KY just for children with special needs. It would mean no more trips all the way to Lexington for his doctor visits. No more taking off full days of work (which we cannot afford to do) so that I can take him to his doctor appointments. We were thrilled. As we were talking, the sweet (amazing) nurse asked me if we had had our evaluation at the Weisskopf Center yet. I informed her, in my rather smug and snippy manner, that we had declined that appointment since they had taken so long to get back with us and that we, his parents and primary care provider, had decided to go a different route. This route. With this clinic.

"Oh," she said. "Does your primary care provider know that we and the Weisskopf Center are two separate entities that work together and that we need you to have that appointment so that we can best manage your special needs care?" My heart dropped into my stomach and tears immediately sprang into my eyes.

"No," I wept into the phone. "I was told to cancel that appointment because we didn't need it anymore."

"Well, we've had families sometimes wait up to 15 months for those appointments. If you have cancelled your appointment, we'll have to call and get you back on the waiting list." At this point I was basically sobbing into the phone as she tried to calm me down. "Here's their number. Maybe you can call them and see if you can get the appointment back. I'll do anything I can to help you out as well."

I hung up the phone and sobbed at my desk. There was no way we could wait another year. I felt like a failure as a mother. I had robbed my son of this apparently hard to get appointment that he needed to get help. I had done all that, in a stupid smug and snippy manner that no one was going to forgive. I had sentenced us to another long year of waiting on another appointment.

I pulled myself together as much as I could and dialed the number she had given me. I was put through the same string of automated responses and accidentally hung up. So I called back. Tears of defeat rolling down my cheeks and completely ready to beg and plead for an appointment that wasn't a year away. This time I managed to get through the automated system correctly and got to speak with an actual person.

"Yes," I croaked into my phone. "My son, Silas Allen, was supposed to have an appointment on April 22. I called and canceled that appointment because I was told that I didn't need it anymore." Sniffle Sniffle. Quiet sob. "Is there any way possible for me to get that appointment back? I was just told that I do, indeed, need that appointment. I need it desperately." I closed my eyes and waited for her smug voice to tell me that since I had already cancelled that there was no way to get it back. She asked for his social security number and date of birth. I could hear her typing away. I could hear every conversation going on in our office at work. I was hyper aware of everything going on.

"Ma'am," her voice was just plain. No inflection and I basically just started crying. "We still have him scheduled to be here at 8:00 am on April 22. Your appointment wasn't cancelled." Cue happy sobs and complete hysteria. Not even joking! I jumped up from my desk and squealed.

"Seriously?! I cancelled that appointment!" That's at least what I was trying to say. I'm not sure how she understood me.

"Well, he is listed and I'll go ahead and confirm the appointment for you. Is there anything else you need help with today?"

"No! You have completely made my day!" I hung up the phone and completely just let go of all the sobs that I had been trying (unsuccessfully) to hold back.

I immediately called the super nice nurse at the clinic back and told her the good news. She was just as thrilled as I was and because the appointment was so close, made an adjustment to our appointment with them. After even more tears were shed with her, I finally was able to pull myself together and get the rest of the workday done.

When I got home, the thought occurred to me that I no longer had the packet of information that we needed for this long awaited appointment because I had shredded it at work. I called back and they told me that I needed that packet and that it couldn't be resent because it contained all kinds of crazy passwords needed for online surveys that was time sensitive to each case, etc etc, and a bunch of stuff that didn't make sense to me. So my elated mood went simply crashing back to the ground. They told me to continue to look for a day or two, but if I didn't find it I would have to re-do the entire application process and get put back on the waiting list.

Back to where I started earlier today. Sobs. Tears. Shaking. Failure. My fault.

I stood at my kitchen table and just shook. There is no way we could wait for another year, or longer, for this appointment. But I was out of options. I knew I had shredded the packet of information and there was no need to look. I would call back on Friday and get the application process started over again and cancel that precious appointment that was ours.

I mindlessly started shifting things around on my kitchen table and picked up an unfamiliar 'certified' envelope that had been opened. I turned it over and saw a Louisville postmark. My heart skipped like three beats. I pulled out the thick stack of papers and saw the Wesisskopf letterhead. Every.Single.Page was there. It was all there. Not shredded. Not destroyed! It was there in my hands! There would be no need to call and cancel and start over.

You can call it coincidence. You can call it a fluke. You can tell me that I must have shredded something else instead and that it was an accident that someone didn't do their job and cancel his appointment. You can call it a lie. I CALL IT A MIRACLE! A downright, bona-fide, God given miracle!

So now we make plans for this miracle. I have to find a hotel close to the center. There is no way we can drive all the way to Louisville from West Liberty the day of the appointment and be there at 8:00 am. I have to take off work and plan for that.We've got to save money so that we can get that hotel and food and gas taken care of. But the Lord will provide. He will not turn His back on me! He has brought us this far and He will not forsake us now! He is holding my son, and my family, in the palm of His hand and we will not be moved!

Thanks for sticking with me through this long winded story. Thanks for your friendship and your support. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and hand holding and tears and everything. I have amazing people in my life and I am thankful for you!

Friday, February 7, 2014

fill up your cup friday

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I have been a wife for 7 years. I have been a mother for 3.5 years. My identity is now tied up in a name change and two balls of dirt and milk and legos and hotwheels cars and snot and poop that make a lot of noise (otherwise known as two little boys). I am no longer Sarah Stoltzfus, single. I am Sarah Stoltzfus Allen, married mother of two. 

And I wouldn't change that for the world! Let me just say that again so that the next part of this post doesn't sound all selfish. I wouldn't change that for the world!

Here's the deal, though. I spend so much of my time pouring into the lives of my husband and sons that I sometimes forget that I exist. I sometimes forget that Sarah likes to take photos of subjects that aren't her sons. Or that she enjoys reading Dave's gaming magazines on occasion. Or that making music with other individuals fuels her creative juices. I'm sure she has forgotten what it is like to poop by herself.

So in the spirit of taking care of myself (and being selfish for about 20 minutes every Friday), I have declared Fridays as Fill Up Your Cup Friday! What is this, you might ask? Well, every Friday I plan to find a way to spend 20-30 minutes doing something that I want to do (hopefully with no interruptions). Something that fills up my 'cup' and helps me re energize. It could be reading a bit more scripture than normal. It could be journaling, reading, making music, dancing, savoring a piece of dark chocolate without sharing. Whatever. It just has to be something that satisfies me on a spiritual/emotional level. 

I want you to join me! We pour ourselves into the lives of others so much, that we NEED to have some time to pour back into our own lives. We often find ourselves unhealthy simply because we don't take care of our emotional and spiritual needs. That needs to change! So every Friday, do something that makes you happy. For you! I promise you will be a happier, healthier person. 

Let's make it a movement, shall we?! (yeah right!) If you use instagram, tag your photos with #fillupyourcupfriday !

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

needing a change of scenery

disclaimer: this is not a paid review. i just love me some Focus T25 and wanted to share that with you!

When I started this whole lifestyle flip, I was a bit overwhelmed. I would start one thing and then I would do something else. Then I would start this diet and that wouldn’t work so I’d do something else. Finally I settled into a good routine of walking every other morning with my mom and then hula hooping, then on off days I would do a kettlebell workout with Dave. I was also running three to four evenings a week and throwing in a pilates video on Saturday after my morning run. All while tracking calories and exercise on myfitnesspal. And let me tell you, it worked. I lost my first 50 pounds that way. 

Then my body hit a plateau and I got discouraged. I made bad food choices for a bit and stayed put, weight wise, for about a month. I was also stressed to max with Silas starting school about that time and workouts didn’t happen as frequently as they should have. Anyway. Another story for another day. 

Someone approached me on Instagram about a beachbody product called Focus T25 around the middle of July and I kind of blew them off because I thought I couldn’t afford the program. She was cool about it, no pushy pushy crazy buy my stuff now kind of girl. A month later, after much research, I decided that maybe I could afford the program and bought it through her on her beachbody site.

The rest is Focus T25 Love history. I seriously love this program! It focused me in ways that I hadn’t been able to do before (promise I’m not trying to be all ‘let me keep using that word focus because it is in the title of the program’). It kept me motivated. It wasn’t the same workout I was challenged every day. There was no ‘muscle memory’ because it was different every week! There are two phases: alpha and beta. Each phase has a ‘focus’ and 5 workouts for each phase. You use the same stretch video for each phase. And get this: IT’S ONLY 25 MINUTES A DAY! Plus, there is amazing online support.

I also LOVED that there was a modifier involved. Another reason I was hesitant to invest in a program from beachbody was because I was afraid I couldn’t do it. I had seen the Insanity infomercials and KNEW there was NO WAY I could do that. No way. Enter T25 and Tania the Modifier. My life has changed forever. No really. Changed forever. I lost another 20 pounds in the 10 week program. I followed the included nutrition plan and fell in love with the process. 
I have now completed two rounds of Focus T25 and added in the Gamma (sold separately) round as well. As much as love this program, I am ready to try something new. I’ve hit another plateau of sorts. I see changes in my body, but the scale has stayed the same for about a month. I know, I know. The scale isn’t the end all be all. BUT I want my weight to drop.

 So I’m going with another beachbody program called The 21 Day Fix. I had such great success with Focus T25, that I figured it was a wise investment to choose another program from the same company. This program focuses on nutrition as well as the workouts. T25 was a workout program with a nutrition guide kinda just thrown in. It was effective, but it wasn’t the main focus. This program focuses equally on the nutrition plan and the workout program. It comes with color coded pre-portioned containers to help you build proper sized, balanced meals. There is no calorie counting. No food tracking. No points counting. If it fits in the corresponding container, you can eat it. ­

There are not a ton of options here in small town, USA for exercise options. We have one gym and a couple classes that are offered during the week at a local church. Those options are GREAT if you have the time and money to do it. I decided it was more cost, and time efficient, for me to invest in a quality home workout program and some weights for my 'home gym' than to try to manage a daily/weekly class fee and specific time. With my home workout programs, I pay one price and they are mine to use over and over again. Which I like. (and if I'm honest, I don't want to work out in front of anyone other than Dave.)

I’m looking forward to my new program. I am rocking this process and even though I have a long road ahead, I am proud of myself!

If you have questions about either program please don’t hesitate to ask! Or you can visit my beachbody site at 
or click that little T25 button on the right hand side of your screen.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

overcoming...little by little

I am about to admit something that I don't really want to admit. That's the point of this whole blog though, isn't it. To be transparent. To be honest. To get it out there so that I can own up to this whole thing. Own my choices and my mistakes and move forward. So here goes:

I am a secret binge eater. No purging involved.

There. I said it.

I, obviously, cannot diagnose myself with a disorder. I am not a doctor. BUT I fit the description. It creeps up more in times of stress, but it can literally happen at the drop of the hat. If I have tried to restrict my food to the point of being hungry several days in a row, I can almost always guarantee a binge happening the first change I can get to the store. I will consume large amounts of food in a short amount of time all while hiding it from others. I will go to the store get what is on the list and then as I'm checking out I grab one of those bags of mini donuts and eat over half of it (very quickly) as I take the long way home. Or I'll grab those bags of chips that are always at the checkout line. Or a couple of candy bars. Or a half dozen cupcakes out of the bakery. Or whatever. Then when I get home, I feel completely depressed and disgusted about it. I push myself harder during the next morning's workout and drink my weight in water trying to flush it from my system so I don't see it on the scale at the next weigh in.

I am better than I was. Before this lifestyle flip back in April, I used to get myself something at the store every.single.time. that I shopped by myself. Then I would scarf it on the way home so no one would see. Now I make it out of the store about 70% of the time without getting some garbohydrates to shove into my mouth on the way home. There is still that 30% of the time though.

I tell you all of that so I can now acknowledge a big victory for myself! I am stressed to the max capacity right now. Like holy stress levels batman! I bit Dave's head off because I called him to ask a question and he answered. Just so you know, there are no typos in that sentence. I called, asked him a question, he answered, then I proceeded to lay into him. (Sorry, babe!)

Today I wanted nothing more than to go to the store and buy some chocolate chip cookies and eat the whole package. I did go to the store. I put the cookies in my cart. I got in the check out line. I put the cookies onto the conveyor belt. The cashier rang them up and put them in the bag. I felt the guilt already creeping into my throat. I got in my car and sat there holding the cookies. Then (THEN!) I fished the receipt out of my purse and took them back into the store for a refund. I TOOK THEM BACK INTO THE STORE AND GOT A REFUND!

Let that sink in for a minute.

This is the first time that I had already flipped the 'gonna binge' switch and then talked myself out of it. Normally if I buy it, I eat it. All of it. But not this day!

So yeah. I'm not gonna say I'm cured, but that was a big thing for me today. I'm sure the cashier thought I was crazy, but hey. Whatever. I can bring the cookies back if I want. BECAUSE I CAN!

I know that what I eat in secret, I 'wear' in public. I know, without a doubt, that I waste some of my hard work when I binge. I beat myself up over it constantly. I don't need a reminder of that. So please don't remind me. I know. I'm getting better about it. I will beat it. I'll get there. Be patient with me. (Did you hear me, Sarah. Be patient!)

Today was good. Today I will be proud!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2 Days on Plan!

So I decided to just go ahead and jump in with Weight Watchers. I started tracking yesterday and have been on plan since. I did well using MyFitnessPal and tracking calories and eating clean, but I felt very stressed by it. Our budget is soooooooo tight and completely clean,and healthy, foods in our area are sometimes hard to come by and break the bank! Big time. What I like about weight watchers is that I can still eat as clean as possible, but can also use ingredients that are easy to find in our area. Does that even make sense? It does in my head, so sorry if I can't explain it!

This doesn't mean that I'm back to processed and packaged foods. Quite the contrary. We are still eating as clean as possible, but I don't think I will feel as stressed. And right now, I need less stress in my life. I have seriously had a love/hate relationship with food for awhile because I was soooooo concerned with calorie content. With the points plus system, I can eat many of the things that I like, but not get it 'counted against me' like I would have if I was counting calories. The constant counting calories BIG TIME. So a change was needed. I think I'm going to dig this change.

I'm also excited about going on this journey with a friend from high school that is also local. We have or own little facebook group going on. We are the only members, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem to add someone to the group if they wanted to join us on our weight watchers goals. We both have a BIG GOAL set for late April and early May. Lots of weight to get rid of and I've got the Flying Pig 10k. So come join us if you want!

I was planning a run for this evening since I finally got my headlamp in, but my back (which I hurt late last week) was still feeling a bit twinge-y, so I just watched an episode of Doctor Who on netflix and walked on the treadmill at a 3 to 4.5 incline at 3-4 miles an hour. So I did get some exercise in today. 

So yeah. Update of sorts and really just an effort to get back into the blogging routine. Maybe if I can just get back into the habit of logging into blogger, I can get back into writing posts with a bit more substance. We'll see!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

i so wish i could stick with this!

I want to be a good blogger. I want to be one of those amazing women who have gumption to get these great posts up and have a connected community going on. I want that, but I never commit. I say I'm committed. I do good for a month or two, but then I fall off the blog wagon. Oh well. I am what I am, and right now I'm a "blog when I feel like it" kind of girl.

I haven't fallen off the weight loss wagon, though. I'm still going strong. Well, kinda going strong. I've hit a plateau and I'm frustrated. I'm about to try something different. I've counted calories and exercised since April. I'm down 70 pounds, but I've been stuck at my current weight for about a month. I CAN tell a difference in my body, though. My legs are becoming more muscular, my pants are all too big, shirts are getting baggy, but the scale isn't moving. So I'm moving on to online weight watchers in addition to exercising.

A friend and I are planning to start a private Facebook page for sharing weekly weigh-ins, recipes, pictures, motivation, support, etc. We also hope to start meeting up in person to workout together and possibly do some meal prep together. If you want to join us, let me know! I'll add you to the page.

So what have I been doing? Mostly I have been doing dvd program called Focus T25. It's from the creator of Insanity, Shaun T (if you are familiar with that program or him). It's a 25 minute workout with a 3 minute stretch. I did the straight up 10 week program  and lost 20 pounds. I am now working my way through the program doing doubles every day instead of just on Friday. So my workouts are now 50 minutes with a 3 minute stretch.

My running has tapered off because it's too dark in the mornings and too dark by the time I get home. I tried running on the treadmill, but I hate it. I mean I really hate it. I ordered a head lamp to take care of that problem, but it came to me not working. So I have to return it. I do have plans for running though. I'm searching for some local 5ks, a possible Color Me Rad 5k in April in Lexington, and The Flying Pig 10k in early May.

So let's set some goals. Shall we? I like goals. It's like one big to-do list. I like lists and I especially like ticking things off the list!

Running Goals
1. One 'official' 5k between now and May 1.
2. Flying Pig 10k on May 4

Weight Loss Goals
1. Get out of the 200 club (meaning I want to weigh less than 200 pounds by the end of the year)

Food Goals
1. I want healthy food to be my lifestyle. Not my 'diet.' If we keep good for us food in the house, we will only eat good for us foods.
2. Up the water intake. Lots of water every day.

Fitness/Physical activities other than running Goals 
1. Take up bicycling.
2. Use bicycle for work commute on weather permitting days.
3. Bike Cades Cove with/without (hopefully with) my Dad in October (it's an 11 mile loop) 

So there we have it. My goals for 2014. Let's get it started!

How about you? Goals? Resolutions? Dreams? Let me hear it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

And just like that, my first 5k is complete!

Today was amazing.

I woke up with a bit of a nervous stomach and didn't eat anything but an apple and several glasses of water. I just couldn't stomach anything else. By the time it was time to leave at 8:15 am, adrenaline was already pumping through my veins. The wait at the start line was the worst part. One because I had to wait. Two because it was FREEZING! Not even joking. Literally freezing. Like 26 degrees. It was nice, though, that my wait was with friends and co-workers.

I felt pretty good when we started. I had my music going and was enjoying myself. People passed me up (including a few speed walkers), but I didn't care. It wasn't about when I finished, it was only about finishing.

I started slower than I normally would, but after the first mile I picked it up a little bit. I wanted to make sure that I at least finished at my average time. I was a little worried about the weather, actually. Did I have too many layers? Not enough? But I decided that no matter what, too hot or too cold, it would be less than 50 minutes (my average), so it didn't matter.

Dad drove along the route and took pictures throughout the whole race, so it was nice to have the pictures, but it was even better knowing that I had a van full of people who love me following me around and rooting me on!

(For the record, I run in a skirt over leggings because of modesty reasons. I do not feel modest in leggings and a tshirt. People have asked, so there you go. My reason for a running skirt.)

Along about half way through, my hands started to sweat and get really hot, so I had to slow down a bit and get rid of my gloves. I tucked them into my waist band and kept going. Also about that time, my hips started to ache a bit, but that is kind of normal for me. When you are carrying around as much weight as I am, I guess it's just par for the course.

At this point in the run (less than a mile to go), I switched my music to a playlist where all the music is in 6/8 and I force myself to run in time with the music. It helps me focus and put one foot in front of the other and keeps me running at a steady pace.


The last half mile of the race took place around the track at Old Mill Park. I knew that a hill was coming and I was cursing the person who decided to make the finish line at the top of a hill. Also about the time that the above photo was taken, the app on my phone told me that if I kept at my current pace, I would beat my personal record. So I kicked myself into a higher gear and went for it!

AND DONE! It was awesome to see my dad there at the finish line. He's been a big supporter and encourager through this whole thing. I would have liked to have both my boys there, but it was too cold for them to be out. They get sick if someone sneezes 20 feet away, so I didn't take a chance. Silas was in the van with my mom, so they came over after the race was done. He gave me a big hug and kiss, and that made my day even better!

When I turned off the app on my phone, I finally realized what my time was. Two whole minutes under my previous best time! THRILLED! And yes, that is sweat turned frost on my head.

Here's part of Team Morgan-Franklin (my co-workers) finishing their walk. I am very proud of them as well! Some of them weren't sure that they could finish, but they all did. So yay for them!

I seriously love the ladies I work with! They have been nothing but supportive in my whole journey and it was amazing to have them there with me. We were missing Shelly, but she had some family stuff that had to be taken care of, but she was with us in spirit!

It may not look like it, but I was quite emotional today. I kept the tears at bay, but they were always ready to spill over. Today wasn't just a 5k. It may have been to other people, but to me it was so much more. It was the culmination of literal blood, sweat, and tears. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would have ever ran an entire 5k, I would laugh and say no way. I have had many, many ups and downs on this path that I am on. I am a different person than the girl who started months ago. This journey started back in April, but there is much more to come. More weight loss, more races, more running, more exercising, more healthy eating. I'm not done and I'm not stopping.

Now for another reason for my emotional-ness today. All the race proceeds went directly to the KY Pink Connection. It is an organization that provides monetary assistance for people with breast cancer for doctors appointments, mammograms, and other women's health issues.


 I am not usually a very gushy person, but four women that are dear to me have survived breast cancer. Bertha Fyffe, Lisa Fyffe, Martha Stoltzfus, and Sue Hooley are strong, amazing women that I get to call my step-grandmother, aunts, and Grandma. These women, my family, have endured more than many of us ever will. They are the epitome of fighter. I know two of those women probably wouldn't want to be considered a 'fighter' since they are conservative mennonites and we don't typically call ourselves fighters, but they are. Their endurance, and faith, kept me strong today. Knowing that they are alive and kicking kept me putting one foot in front of the other. If these women can go through the hell of cancer and come out strong, surely I can start and finish a 5k. The above picture was originally going to be on a shirt that I was going to wear, but since that didn't work it was my phone wall paper. I kept them with me through the whole race. Every time I looked at my phone to see my average pace or how far I had ran so far, I would see their smiling faces and it would spur me on.

So thank you.

I'm going to stop now, because I am having problems keeping the tears at bay, now that I am in the privacy of my own home with only my husband and sons to see me.

P.S. Speaking of husbands and sons. Seriously, I have the best! I talked about a lot of people today that have kept me going, but without those three special guys, I wouldn't be where I am today. So yeah. Couldn't forget them!