Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Life reflections

So, I have a couple new Bible Study books and just not sure which one to go with first.

  1. Downpour - leads believers to life up their eyes and return to the Lord.  When we do, He will heal us...revive us...and restore us.  That was the message God gave Hosea, and it's still true today.  
  2. Espresso with Esther - a reminder of God's practice of using flawed people to accomplish His purposes in every age.

Both sound excellent and I know I will do both, just a matter of which one to do first.  I think I will start with Espresso with Esther.  

When I think of the story of Esther I am reminded that she was placed for a time and purpose for her people.  I know the Lord has great plans for me and I enjoy seeing His hand working in my life.  

For such a time as this....
  • I think about the opportunity of living in Honduras for three years serving at an orphanage.  I enjoyed my time and saw life in a way that was so different than my life here in the states.  The poverty was extreme and yet I where I stayed we were extremely blessed by the Lord.  It was like living in a little bit of the US in the middle of one of the highest crime areas in Honduras.  We were well guarded by guards, as well as Angels watching over and protecting us daily.  My time there was filled with good times and sad times.  The blessings and memories I have from spending 3 years there are ones that I will not forget, although they fade a bit over time.  I still remember when I see photos or the Lord brings different things to my mind.
  • Operation Christmas Child was my next opportunity of ministry.  I began volunteering in 2004 simply by being available for other churches and individuals to drop off shoebox gifts for children all over the world.  When I first began volunteering I had no idea what the ministry was about, but I knew I was called to work with them.  I have continued volunteering yearly with them to spread the news about the simple gift of a shoebox and how it can and does change the life of a child.  Not only a child, but a family and on occasion an entire village.  It is not what is put in the box that matters, it is the fact that we are obedient to packing the box to spread the message of Christ's love that is important.  Even tho I have had the opportunity to serve in other countries, I realize that not everyone can.  But, everyone can pack a simple shoebox gift to spread that love.  
  • I am reminded of my dear friend Bennie.  Bennie was a retired Chaplain for Hillsborough county.  He had faithfully gone to the jail every week for many years.  One day, Bro Bennie had an accident and was no longer able to drive himself to the jail to minister to the inmates.  The Lord had recently blessed me with a new car and as I was driving away from the dealership I remember praying to the Lord saying "Lord, wherever you want me to go this car is yours".  The next Sunday in church Bro Bennie announced that he needed someone to drive him or pick him up from the jail ministry.  I was intrigued and spoke with him only to find that the jail he went to was right around the corner from work.  This was a divine appointment ordained by God.  You see, I just needed to be obedient to His calling and my resources (my car).  It wasn't out of my way at all.  Bro. Bennie lived not to far from my house and it was on the way to and from work.  In the beginning his daughter, Krista, would take him in the morning and I would pick him up in the evening.  What a wonderful time of fellowship we had.  This adventure started in 2005 and continued until this year 2013.  Over time, he slowly began to decrease the amount of time he would do his ministry.  At first it was weekly, then it went to bi-weekly.  Occasionally he would take time off because of health issues, but would soon return.  It wasn't until late last year that he retired from his ministry.  Although, I know it was always in his heart.  He went home to be with the Lord March 12, 2013.  I so enjoyed the fellowship time we had.  I know his family misses him terribly.
  • This brings me to today.  This past February I was privileged to join a group of ladies who call themselves Team Freedom.  We are a group of ladies who are passionate about helping to stop human trafficking.  We cannot all be on the front lines of this ministry, but what we do is join together to raise funds for Abolition International.  Then, we all join together for the Princess Half Marathon to "run" for those who are not yet free to run.  There are 27 million people enslaved today and that is 27 million too many people.  We fight to help empower those who are equipped at assisting these individuals restoration.  But, more importantly, I believe we are all praying for anyone involved from the girls enslaved, the pimps, the law enforcement and other agencies fighting against enslavement to those who are rescuing and restoring.  I am not sure what all the Lord is calling me to do, but he is stirring within my soul, for such a time as this.  
All of this to say, just like Esther, we are all called to something.  We must be strong and courageous in the calling that we each have.  The Lord has equipped each of us, it is time to embrace this calling He has on our lives and go forth in His strength.  I strongly encourage everyone to yield to the call of the Lord in your life.  

Many times, I don't think he calls us to the big things but the small things.  Many of the things I have been privileged to share in have been small things for me.  It didn't involve going out of my way, costing me anything extra or anything like that.  It was just about living life daily and being open to the opportunities that the Lord gives us.  

Let's go forth, living our daily lives, and see where the Lord takes us.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Weekend

The weekend didn't go as well as I had hoped.  I did have a good time, but was a bit disappointed in my race attempts.

Saturday was the Royal Family 5K, I woke up that morning not feeling well and was nauseated.  But, I thought I would be able to push through it.  I was wrong.  I made it a little past mile 1 and into the Epcot before I had to leave the track.  I got sick and cut the track and finished it off.  I am thinking it was my body's way of saying you haven't been getting the sleep and rest you needed.  It had been a tough January/February for me physically with having my asthma issues.  Maybe I tried to push it more than I really should have.  Who knows.

 Here's our group Emily & Debbie Hoy, Shannon Collins, me, Sharon Thomas and Rhonda Stephens.

Shannon, Debbie and I goofing off before the race.

Sunday was even more disappointing.  When we got on the bus transportation to get to the race we were packed into the buses as if I were in Honduras all over again.  My legs were cramping up from the close quarters of how we had to stand.  Then, we got off the bus and walked over to meet the rest of our group (Debbie, Emily, Rhonda and Shannon).  We took some photos and off we were to the start line.

We had a 2 mile walk to get to the race line.  The lines were packed and hard to move, it was a great warm up but then we came to a dead stop waiting for the start.  We had to arrive around 4:30, the race started at 5:30 for corral A.  We were in corral H and didn't start until 6:35 am.  After walking to our corral we had to stand for an hour.  This was not good for my feet or my calves, they were warmed up and feeling good and then stopped abruptly.  I tried to keep moving but it was so difficult.  As we were waiting the cleaning crew had already started to clean up the barricades to get them picked up and off the course.  I almost felt defeated before the race started.

The race finally started and my legs were just cramping up so bad I could hardly walk.  I tried to run through some of it but could not.  The pain was so great and it seemed like each step I took the farther I got behind.  I made it to the first water stop and they said I was too far behind to catch up so they just picked me up and took me to the finish.  At the time I was picked up there were 5 others picked up at the same time.  One was a sweet young lady by the name of Chrystal.  This was her first race as well and she did great.  I was so proud of her that I gave her my "Magical Triumph" button with Mickey and Minnie, she was so excited about that button.  When we exited the "pokey bus" I asked if I could take a photo with her and she was gracious and said yes.

Sharon made it to a little past mile 4 and they picked her up.  At least she made it to the Magic Kingdom.  One thing that we found was that you had to be completely inside the Magic Kingdom before 7:30 or you would be picked up.  For those of us in the last corral we were at a complete disadvantage as there was almost no way we would be able to get there, as that was mile 5 and even if you were doing a 16 minute per mile you wouldn't have made it.

The highest bib number I saw was 33850, and I believe there were 26000 participants in this race.  It was wall to wall people trying to run/walk through the course.  Just about all the pictures I saw I could only image how difficult it was to continue on with the crowds as large as they were.  The first place racer came in at 1 hour and a few minutes - not sure official time but it was crazy.  The second came in shortly after that and then there was like a 20 minute delay in between the next participants.

All in all I had a great weekend.  The great thing about the race and weekend was the awareness that was brought about through our Team Freedom shirts and the amount of money that the team raised.  A check was presented to Stacia and Natalie for $72,000.00 for Abolition International.

Hoping to be able to try to do the race again next year.  Next year I also hope to train a bit more and meet some of the team members and actually train with them.  I found the Facebook page a bit late in the year, but know I am in the group so will be able to see more things this next year.

This princess needs to get to bed now, as she has to come back to reality in the morning and get back to work.

Until next time!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tomorrow is the Day

Race time is here.  Are you excited?  I am.

I have been working on my bib and medal display for quite some time now.  I have just been trying to figure out what embellishments I wanted to use.  I think I have it figured out.  They are not glued on yet, but I think this is what the final outcome is going to look like.  It was very easy to make.

I have seen others that were nice, but I didn't like them.  I wanted something that was a bit more unique and something that represented me a bit more.  I think I have nailed it.  I have the letter B for Barbra.  I have my crab, which represents my nickname and part of my last name.  I have a crown to represent that I am a princess of the King of Kings and I have 2 crosses.  One that says faith and the other believe.   You see, you must have faith that you can complete the race and believe in yourself that with God's help and strength you will make it to the finish line.  

Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Races

January - Marathon Weekend 5K - Disney - not able to participate

*February 23 - Disney Royal Family Fun Run 5K

February 24 - Disney Princess Half Marathon

Previous Races

2012 Races

*February - Royal Family Fun Run 5K (Disney)
*October - Happy Haunted Fun Run 5K (Disney)
*November - Jingle Jungle Fun Run 5K (Disney)

2011 Races

January - Run in the Dirt for the Hurt - trail run in Tampa - completed in 1:02 minutes
February - Strawberry Classic (Plant City, Walden Lake) - completed in 1:05 minutes
*February - Royal Family Fun Run 5K (Disney) - completed in 1:10 minutes
February - Gasparilla 5K + 3K (Bib #27714)- Tampa - completed in 1:44:40
March - Champion at Dick's Sporting Goods (Disney) -  could not finish this race
March - Fight for Air Climb fundraiser only, wasn't able to participate
April 10- Iron Girl 5K (Bib #4901) - Clearwater race was completed in 58 minutes
May - Expedition Everest 5K (Disney)

2010 Races 

**First 5K**  February - Gasparilla 5K (Bib #8794) - Tampa - completed in 1:03:52

April - Iron Girl 5K (Bib #1240) completed in 1:07:26 
May - Miles for Moffitt 5K (Bib #2481) - USF in Tampa completed in 1:08:32 
June - Rap River Run - New Port Richey completed in 1:13 minutes
December - Jingle Bell Run - not able to participate

Here we go

We are less than one week away from the big event.  I have still been having pain in my foot, so last night I thought I would listen to some of the advice that I have heard and tried to "ICE".  I have a foot massager, so I thought that would be perfect to put the ice in and then put my feet on top of the ice.  Let me just say one word.  OUCH!  That was painful.  More painful that the pain I have in my foot to begin with.  Let's just say, I will not be doing that again.  At first I was barefoot and then I tried with socks.  I could not even get beyond 5 minutes and that was with taking my feet in and out of the ice.  Heat is more of a friend to me.

In just 3 short days I will be on my way to Disney for the Fitness Expo to pick up my bibs. I can say I am excited about going to get the bibs. I am a bit nervous, excited and thinking "what have I done" all at the same time.  I am excited about the race and more so for the cause in which I am doing the race for.  I am nervous because I have never done a half marathon and I haven't been able to train like I want to, thus the "what have I done" thinking is settling in.

My personal goal is to finish at least 7 miles of the 13.1 miles.  I know that may not sound like much.  But, I will be doing the 5K the day before.  I haven't been training, I have been having foot problems, as well as allergy issues.  Although I am taking allergy medicine and trying to rest my foot a bit I am hoping since I will not just be standing in one place my feet will not bother me as much as I think they might.

Currently I can do 3 miles in an hour.  If I look at that timing, I should be able to do at least 9 miles.  We have a total of three and a half hours to complete the race.  If that is the case, I should be able to complete about 10.5 miles.  I am going to keep going as long as my body will take me.  I have a new gadget that hopefully will help me.  It is a GYMBOSS, it is an interval trainer.  I am going to set it to walk 2 minutes and jog 30 seconds and try to keep that up for the entire race.  Hopefully that will put me further along that what I think I will be able to do.

Thursday night before the race I will be treating myself to a nice 2 hour massage with a sugar foot scrub.  Hoping that this little bit of pampering will help me this weekend.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One week away

In one week I will be completing my first Half Marathon.  I would love to finish all 13.1 miles, but I am being realistic and if I can get to mile 7 in the allotted time I will be happy.  Although at my current walk time I should be able to get 9 miles in the 3 hours.

I got a new tech toy in the mail on Friday and have just now been able to try to set it up.  I had been hearing a lot about this "GYMBOSS".  I saw it on Jeff Galloway's page and saw it mentioned in the Princess Half Marathon program booklet.  I decided to invest the money in it and set the interval time up for a 16 minute mile.  Run 20 seconds, walk 40 seconds.  I think I can do this, actually I know I can do this, as I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.  This is definitely a time in which I will be leaning on the Lord's strength to get me thru this race.

My feet are still hurting a bit, but I am going to try to "ice" them tomorrow.  I am not so sure about that.  I have such pain when I am cold due to my arthritis and when I get cold I just stiffen up.  So putting ice on my feet I don't know.  I am just going to trust this, I have heard lots of people mention this, so I am going to give it a shot since it comes so recommended.

Also, as a treat to myself before the race I am going to get a massage on Thursday and hoping to try to go get a massage on Sunday after the race, if we feel that we need it.

I am starting to get really excited about the race and the accomplishments I know I will feel after completing the race.  This is one of the biggest challenges I have put before me in a long time.  We must challenge ourselves if we want to grow.  Oh, and I saw an incredible inspirational video tonight of a vet who lost about 140 pounds in 10 months from yoga.  I want to look this up more.  He did a great job losing all the weight and he is able to move about so much better now.

Gotta go and finish the laundry for this week.  It is going to be such a busy week trying to get everything together for the race and trying to do a bit of training, but not over doing it.  I want this week to be an easy week and need to get LOTS of water in me to try to get some of the toxins out before the race.

Until later in the week - have a great day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Praising God for Small Accomplishments

I am so excited.  Today's workout was a great surprise for me.  I was so stoked at the end of the workout.  I made it to the Y tonight and wanted to get on the treadmill.  Honestly I was a bit nervous as in the past when I have made an effort to walk, for instance a 5K, I would start out and my legs from my knees down would be killing me at about a tenth of a mile in.  They would start to feel as if I had a million needles busting out of my legs from the inside and it was so incredibly painful.  Then the tops of my feet would start to go numb and I would have to make a mental decision to continue walking and just walk thru the pain.  Well, tonight a breakthru.  I got on the treadmill and put in the profile to do a 5K and to my surprise I did not have the leg pain that I typically have.  PRAISE THE LORD.  I do have a bit of heal pain, not sure if it is plantar fasciitis or if it is plantar warts. Last night I started to duct tape my heals just in case it is plantar warts.  I am going to suffocate them to get rid of the pain.

I am just so stoked that I feel like I am making a breakthru that I have been wanting to have for a couple years now.  I know if I start to lose some of this weight some of these issues will resolve themselves, it is just slow baby steps.  Making it thru this half marathon is going to be a good thing, who knew that this would get me motivated for my fitness health.  I was thinking I was doing this as a challenge, and that it is.

Just praising the Lord for His goodness.  Tomorrow is a new day and will make it back to the Y to see what I can accomplish tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A New Week

Well, it is a new week officially.  After starting my blog last Thursday I feel that I ended the week pretty well.

Friday I came home after work and got some rest, much needed as I was pretty tired.  I had planned on going to the movies, but sleep won out.  Sometimes that is necessary.  Saturday I awoke and decided to get on the bike before going out with friends.  I finished the movie "We bought a zoo" and rode the bike for 75 minutes and rode a total of 19.5 miles.  Not too bad.  Then I walked around the Brandon Mall with Christine and Shelby so I could take pictures of Shelby meeting Dez from Austin and Alley on the Disney Channel.  She was so excited it was hysterical.  Can you tell how excited she was?

My feet were killing me by the end of the day.  We closed the day out by meeting Hewitt for dinner at Beef's.  Sunday got up and went to worship and listened to Bro Michael speak about Elijah and how he prayed to God to answer in BIG ways.  We need to ask God to answer prayers both big and small.  The Lord really does care about the small things and the Big things.  Sometimes we don't go to the Father about the BIG things because we think they are too big for him, or that we don't want to bother him.  Well, I walked away from that service knowing that I do need to ask for God's favor in the upcoming Princess Race and need him in a BIG way to miraculously help me to finish the race to the best of my ability to bring Him the glory.  See, Elijah prayed to God out of a humble spirit and did not ask for things selfishly.  Although, I do want to finish this race, it is not about me, but about the girls that are living in slavery.  The 5k race that I will be doing on Saturday is for me, but the half marathon is for the girls.  I will continue to prepare as much as I possibly can between now and the race and will absolutely give God the glory for my finishing the race because I know I will not be able to do it without him and his strength.  Thank you in advance Lord for your supernatural strength.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Journey Starts Here - Day 1

Well, you have to start somewhere.  My journey started last year when I signed up to do the Princess Run and be a part of Team Freedom.  I had all intentions of starting to train then and life got in the way.  Doesn't that always seem to happen?  Well, here it is February and the race is just 17 days away.  Have I begun to train - no, not exactly.  
You see during the month of January I was not feeling well and recovering from a chemical irritation on my lungs and an asthmatic attack.  Lots of time went by and wow look the race is just around the corner and I am in no condition to walk 13.1 miles.  But, that is not going to stop me.  I am going to go and walk as much as I can and really start to train better for more races throughout the year.  You see, my ultimate goal is to do a half marathon at Disneyland and at Disney World in the same year.  I WANT THAT MEDAL.  I think it is so cool looking.  
We all have to strive for something and this is a way to hopefully motivate me to get in shape.  I would like to maybe sign up and train for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon next year, but I have to make sure I also have the money as that would be a huge expense to go to California, race and have a hotel.  Then I could do the Wine and Dine in the fall here at Disney World, because I think doing another Half Marathon in February would be too much for me, but hey you never know.  Depends on how my training can go throughout this year.  Only problem is that these races fill up so darn fast.  
Anyway - enough about that.  What's your goal this year?  Do you even have a goal?  I know we all seem to make New Year's Resolutions and then forget about them come the end of January because they all sound great at the beginning of the year, then life seems to get in the way, doesn't it?
My goals for this year are as follows:

  • Complete the Princess Half Marathon
  • Continue working on my degree with Rasmussen College, I should finish next year since I am having some set back issues this semester.
  • Get into better physical shape by taking better care of myself
  • Get into better spiritual shape
  • Spend more time with friends
All are attainable.  When you think about it any goal that you set for yourself is attainable, you just have to keep it in the forefront of your mind and have some great accountability with friends and family.

So, I will close with one question for you.  

What is your goal for this year?  Please comment and share so I can keep you in my prayers as we journey this life together.

God Bless.