Bittersweet Changes are coming

It is with mixed emotions that I announce the end of my blog!  It is a bittersweet moment for me, because this blog had become a place of healing.    It started with Aaron’s deployment to keep family and friends up to date on our happenings.  Then, it turned into a place of healing as I worked through life and the scary roller coaster I was on.   However, it has now turned into a ministry.  A ministry that must continue somewhere else.

I will continue to blog, but I am moving on to blog as part of Combat Boot Divas, and with that my personal blog will end.   I am so excited about what we are doing and how God will use us.  I am also a little scared because you have been here reading and cheering me on.  My hope is that you will follow me there, and learn to embrace the new side of me as I and others write about our life in boots!  For now, I will be the single author of that blog, but eventually others will write too.   I wasn’t excited about sharing my blogging with anyone else, but God has impressed strongly that he is creating a team.  A team that will take Combat Boot Divas further than we can ever imagine.   A team that will include me and Dina, but others as well.  A team, we are excited to watch form.

With that, I would like to say Thank you to a few people”

Aaron – Without your love of country and family, without your willingness to serve, we would not be here today.  I supported you as you re-joined the military, and now you support me in my ministry.  I love this about us and I would not be able to do it without you.

My Kids – Ministry is not always easy on the kids.  Sometimes, it means long hours and money.   They don’t always get it, but they have never complained about Combat Boot Divas.   They just watch and give input, and now the girls want to be part of our movement.  It makes me so proud to have their support.

Parents/In Laws – Our parents have been amazing in their support of us and our issues.   Yes, sometimes, they get a little defensive for their child.  BUT ultimately, it is about helping us grow as a couple and as parents.  Truthfully, their hard loving words about the kids helped snap us back.   That snap helped save us and our marriage, and now they support our journey.

Amy – There is a lot I can say about Amy.   What I am most thankful for is her ability to keep pushing forward and claiming the win, even when it looks like failure to others.   She has believed in me when it felt no one else had.  When I “failed” in other’s eyes, she showed how I had won.  She inspires me to be a better me.   I am thankful for the day, she asked for volunteers to go to Bataan and the day I said YES to a stranger.  That day was a defining moment in my path.

Dina – She is my partner in Combat Boot Divas.  She is my battle buddy.  She gets me like most people don’t.   She knows when I need words, and she knows when I need quiet.  I couldn’t have asked for God to pair me with a better person for this journey.

Danie – Before Combat Boot Divas, Danie was my co-leader.   We are waiting for God to show us what her role in Combat Boot Divas will be.  She was my right hand.  She lives in the military world, but is not dealing with PTSD.  My prayer is that she never has to go through that.   Danie is my cheerleader, my friend and she has become family.  We have spent many nights together at Vanderbilt Children’s hospital with sick kids.  I am not sure what I would do without her.

Rosa – My running buddy is amazing.  She has taught me these past few months to push myself.  She has taught me to be comfortable in who I am.  She has played therapist during our runs.  I can only hope that I give her the same support she gives me.  This is a newer friendship, but one I hope lasts for a very long time.

To My Haters:  Thank you for telling me I can’t because I need someone to prove WRONG! and I will.

To My Fans and everyone else not mentioned:  I love you and appreciate your support through the years.

Please join me at


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Website Fun!

She said SHUT UP!!  And I laughed!   Yes, that would be the conversation Dina and I had during a discussion over the website.   I was being a smarty pants and retold her what to do.  She replied “shut up, I am.”   I read the message and busted out laughing.  WHY?  Because Dina doesn’t say shut up to anyone and because a second message followed:  “It wasn’t supposed to say that, I don’t know where it came from.”  I replied back “Satan”

We had been working on the website for three days.  THREE LONG DAYS!   I will back up to Saturday morning, when we started.  I get to Dina’s house, and we are going to start working, I just need to log in to WIFI and get to the website editor page.  No BIG deal.   Except Dina has FOUR connections and NONE of them will let me on.   Not a single one.  We laugh because we know what it means.  We try one more time and connect.

The website is a drag and drop type creator, you know, the kind for dummies.  Good because we do not know what we are doing.  We start the process.   The long process of staring at a screen.  We need pictures for the website and we don’t want copywrite infringement issues.   Amy does this all the time, so we call her.  She sends us to a website.  YAY!  When get to it, it wants a lot of money.   UMMM….We are POOR!   We call her back and keep digging.  Finally, we realize there are other pricing options that are not that expensive.  It was a close call.

Keep in my mind, we have children here while we are working on this website.  Dina thinks hers were acting up.  I think they were fine and anything they did wrong, I am sure my child put them up to it.  In and out, all day, we kept seeing kids.  Kids, who wanted to be fed.  I mean really, we are working on a website and they wanted us to be adults and feed them.   Fine!  Dina fixed lunch for them.  Pizza Rolls.  It is important for you to know that I LOVE PIZZA ROLLS and I can’t eat them.  I immediately whined about it.  Vinnie tells us the package man brought a package.  COFFEE.   Dina loves coffee and she can’t have any right now.  She whines.   She informs me we are eating salad for lunch, except the lettuce is bad.   HA! Only for us, we order in salads.  Who sets up a work day and orders in salad?  Apparently, we do!

Of course, we get off track and start planning 2015.   There is a lot of ADHD going on during this website.  I am jumping all over the place and she is jumping somewhere different.   At one point, I declared we may not have it done by January.  Dirty looks abound!  Are you kidding me?  Have you seen how much we have accomplished?  Plus we have the penguin on the page under construction?

We have a section for Wellness.  It will include articles and devotionals.  How about we ask some of the ladies to be contributors?   We send a message:  We are looking for contributors for the website, you write something about fitness, nutrition or spiritual.    Everyone of them answered back with the same answer: Sure what do you want me to do.   Really???  WRITE!! That is what I want you to do, WRITE!!   All are willing to write, but I am still waiting on something to hit my inbox.  Waiting is not my strong suit.

Move along to the Bio Section. It has my name on there. It says FOUNDER!  You know that means it must be the perfect BIO.  I am brain-dead!  I got nothing.  There is nothing I can say that qualifies me to write a bio.  NOTHING.

We have a store and no clue how to add anything to it.   Then it happens, Dina hits PUBLISH.  She published our website.  OOPS!!  Guess what?  We have stuff in the store.  Stuff we are really selling and it just magically appeared.   Only could have been a God thing because I sure didn’t know how to put it there.

Sunday, I can’t get anywhere on this bio and it is starting to stress me out.   Monday,  I don’t really like the blog feature and I am trying to figure out HOW to get the one I want on there.   I email some people I know with questions.  Good News, they are willing to answer them and help me.   Bad News, it still didn’t solve my problem.   I added this script in to add WordPress, and well, let’s just say it didn’t do anything.  I deleted it.  I am trying to explain to Dina the issue and my workaround on the website.   She is not getting what I am saying.   So I repeat myself in a smart alleck tone, and she tells me to SHUT UP!    I am telling you, Satan was trying to come between us.  I was frustrated with the webpage, and she was busy making product for our craft show this weekend.  All I could do was laugh at her.   I know that without a shadow of doubt that she would never talk to me that way and her phone is obviously reading her mind.

I ask my boss to help me write a bio.  She tells me to me to google it.  Google is your friend, she said.  No, google keeps giving me bad news and I don’t like google right now.   I finally get a bio written.  It is being modified.  Dina can’t write hers until after the show.  NO, you have to have a bio.  I write one for her.  LOL  I mean, I can talk all day about her, just not me.   I am sure they will be refined and changed, but having a starting point is a good thing.

Since, she is coming over for a meeting a couple of hours later, I call the web people because my research says I have to rebuild the whole website if I want a better blog feature.   OMG  Are you freaking kidding me?  It has to be live by Thursday.  We moved up our deadline.  Why you ask?  Because we bought business cards and ONLY printed the website.   Yeah, we can’t give them out this weekend without a website.

When she gets to the house, I show her what he says to do.  Guess what, we need a login/password and we can’t find it anywhere.  Best, we can tell, it went to Jason’s email.  UH OH.  He is so busy that he doesn’t have a clue about any of our issues or antics.  He should be asking Dina about it soon.  😛

After many painful, FUN hours, we give you our website!
Please enjoy it!  Share it!  If you want to be a contributor, let us know!

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Awful, Beautiful Life

I have been reflecting a lot on life recently.  An older country song has been on my mind.  It was funny because I couldn’t even remember the name of the song or words….I just remembered the words “tragic, beautiful life”.  Usually that is a word for me, so I asked a few people and discovered that the song was “Awful, Beautiful Life” by Darryl Worley.

I love Darryl Worley’s love for the military, and I thought it was fitting, but still didn’t know the words to the song, google became my friend.    Here is the verse that stuck out most to me.

We said a prayer for Cousin Michael in Iraq
We’re all aware that he may never make it back
We talked about the way we missed his stupid jokes
And how he loved to be a soldier more than most

I laid in bed that night and thought about the day
And how my life is like a roller coaster ride
The ups and downs and crazy turns along the way
It’ll throw you off if you don’t hold on tight
You can’t really smile until you’ve shed some tears
I could die today or I might live on for years

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

The verse hit home because I needed to know that as tragic and crazy as life can get, it is so beautiful and precious.

Sunday night, Aaron came home from drill.  We had company so we didn’t get to spend much time talking until we went to bed.   It was then that he updated me on what I needed to know.  Due to some events and the past creeping into our lives, I have thought a lot about our marriage.   Honestly, I am not married to the person I thought I would be married to, and neither is Aaron.   Our past took us places we never wanted to go, places of deep hurt.  Yet, when I look at Aaron, I can’t imagine being married to anyone else.  While, he is not a verbal sentimentalist, his actions this week, tell me he feels exactly the same way.

I reconnected this past week with my first military wife friend.  I have always been told that military friendships are different than any other friendships out there.  I think it is true.  It is a life that if you are not living, you simply can not understand.  You can support us.  You can empathize with us.  In the end, it is not the same as understanding it as living.    I remember the first time I met Sara, well, the first time, we became friends.  They had announced our unit was going to border patrol for a month.   A month without my husband, I would certainly fall apart while he was gone.   Well, as life would have it, I fell apart BEFORE he left at a meeting that Sara was at.  There were only 4 of us there.  I remember her reaching across the table and taking my hand.   Her words were soft and gentle.  She said “It nevers gets easier, but eventually, you learn to love this life because they are living their purpose.”    She went on to give me pointers about military life and she and the others invited me to a retreat.  There I learned to start embracing the hand I was dealt.   One day, sometime later, she was discussing a potential MOS change for her husband, one that I am not sure if it ever happened, but one that could have been more dangerous than he was doing.  I asked her how she dealt with that, knowing he could die.  Her words have never left me, and changed who I was as a military wife that instant “If he dies, he will die with honor. He will die fulfilling his purpose and love in this life.   It is something I can never take away from him, so I stand beside him while he lives out his purpose.”      I am sure the wording was slightly different, but the meaning was the same.  It is a motto I have come to adopt.   Sara may never know the magnitude of what she did for me in our time together, but I know as I help other wives, that without her support, I would not be here today fulfilling my destiny.

Our marriage started off in one direction, but war took us in another one.  While, we would never wish this pain on anyone, it has grown us in ways we never knew possible.   It has created a bond that no man or woman can break.    Our pain had a purpose, and purpose became our passion.  I am not sure if that is the way is supposed to work, but for us, it is a beautiful testament to what we have endured.    When a military family says to us, I am in pain.   We can say, ‘we understand’ and mean it.   We can love them through it, while remaining true to who we are.   Our purpose is very similar in serving other families, but mine is God-Driven and his is not.   Guess what, this journey led us to a place where we can co-exist while being unyolked in a harminous way.  Not something, I recommend, but it is working for us. 🙂

Our children drive us bonkers on a daily basis.  They are head strong and smart mouthed.  I try to remind myself, they are growing into who they will become as adult and trying to figure out who that is.   I remember the days, and I try to remind myself that this too shall pass. I am a parent not a friend.  Some days, it is so hard to live with a teenager and two in the tween years.  UGH.  I don’t even like that word.  This morning, the youngest curled up with me for a few minutes before I left for crossfit.  She was quiet and angelic.  The other two are passed the cuddling phase, and it made me a little sad to realize, soon she will be moving out of this phase.   So, I held her a little tighter, because letting go of them is hard.  Letting them learn through natural consequences how they should act is hard.   Letting them fall is hard, but it is my job.  A job that was entrusted to ME.

All of this to say, our lives don’t always end up where we thought it would.   BUT we always end up exactly where we should.   I will close with the chorus of Darryl Worley’s song:

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life



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Veteran’s Day 2014

Veteran’s Day is a day set aside to honor those men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.   We get patriotic, fly our flags, post pictures of our loved ones, and say Thank you to all the Veterans.  Yet, to me, it seems like we should be honoring our military more than one or two days a year.  We should be honoring them every day.     WHY?  Their sacrifice allows us to do the things that are important to us, and some of those Veterans made the ultimate sacrifice.

Every year, for me, Veteran’s Day is different because as a military wife, I am always at a different place in my journey.   For now, I am in a peaceful state of loving my solider and knowing he could be called to duty at any moment.   We fight to bring awareness for those suffering from PTSD because losing 22 soldiers a day is TOO MANY!  We honor the fallen with our physical events, because their ultimate sacrifice allows us the freedom to do so.

Ten days ago, I visited the Fallen Boots memorial with my friend, Amy.   Over 6800 boots line the Division Headquarters at Ft Campbell.  One boot for every fallen solider since 9/11/2001.   The boots represented every life missing from a family and homes that would never be the same.   It was a day full of emotions, tears and pride.  It was also day that reminded us why we do what we do.   I came home to tell my family about my day.  My youngest daughter, Georgia,  asked to me to go back and take her.  See, she found a picture of someone who died during her birth year.   I shared with a picture of a Marine who had died the same day she was born.  All night, she looked at that picture, like she was trying to figure out who he was. It was as though she was missing him.  She had a connection and  wanted to honor him, but she needed to go to Ft. Campbell to visit his boot herself.


On Sunday early afternoon, we loaded up and went back to Ft. Campbell.  We explained the boots and how they were ordered.  As soon as we arrived, Georgia went on the hunt.  Suzie asked if I thought there was one for her birthday.  She came back shortly and asked Amy to take a picture, she had found one and she wanted to honor him.   Georgia came back pretty upset and said “a lot of men died on my birthday, momma, there are a lot.”   She and Aaron took pictures of each boot.  She wants to honor them all.  In no particular order, Georgia will participate in her events in honor of these fine men:  LCpl. Lawrence R Philippon, Cpl Richard P. Schoener, PFC Nicolas E. Messmer,  LCpl Nicholas C. Kirven, SSG Thor H. Ingraham, SPC Steven R. Givens, SGT Gary A. Eckert, Jr., and Cpl. Dustin A. Derga.  Suzie will be honoring SPC Marshall L. Edgerton.

I will be honest, I don’t know if their method for picking who they want to honor is correct.  I do know they feel a connection to these men, and their wish is to honor them.  It was real and they have spoken of these men often since that day.   As a military wife, you wonder if you children get it.  You know they understand if Daddy goes, he may not come home.  But do they really understand the sacrifices that are being made daily.  After witnessing them at the memorial, I am going to go out on a limb and say, YES, my babies understand the magnitude of what the military does.

Today, I participated in the Three Wisemen WOD at Crossfit.   It is named after three brothers.  Two of these brothers, Jeremy and Ben were killed at separate times in Afghanistan.  Beau is still currently serving his country.  This WOD kicked my butt today, but, I looked down several times at my bracelet to remember the fallen from our friend, Jason’s unit.   Every day, Jason gets up and continues with life while remembering his fallen brothers and sisters.   So, today, I was honored to take them through the #3wisemen workout with me.

After I attended a very nice Veteran’s Day ceremony in my town, I signed up to participate in Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga.   A luxury afforded me by my husband.  He works hard to provide and to keep me safe. I know his duty helps make the whole country safer, but it makes me feel a little better sending him out when I think of him doing it for me and the kids.   He believes in my dreams and my passion to honor our military.   He knows when I cross that finish line in May, it will be in honor of him and ALL of our military.  I am forever grateful for his heart and love of country.   As a wife, I stand beside my solider when duty calls.   It is nice to have him beside  me  when I feel a purpose calling me.   That medal won’t be ours, it will be dedicated to someone – a fallen member of our military, but all of our military will have earned that medal because they allowed me the freedom to participate!!

Today, we thank Veterans, but there is a new push out to not be so generic, and be specific and geniune in your thanks.   Thank you for my freedom!  Thank you for fighting a war away from home in an effort to keep it away from MY home!  Thank you for my ability to sleep at night!  Thank you for my ability to participate SAFELY in sporting events!   Thank you will never be enough to cover my gratitude for your sacrifices!  From one military family to another, we THANK YOU!!

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“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”  I have always disliked that statement, because it seems like things are always coming at me, and I get tired of being strong.  Nothing has really changed.  This statement has been coming to mind very frequently.  I found this picture and I knew it was time to put my thoughts into writing.


I have been Ms. Crankypants for a while now.  Life has been coming at me hard.   My schedule doesn’t have breathing room for three more weeks.   I thought it would lighten up after I graduated from college.  NO, I have a purpose, a destiny to fulfill and God is giving me his strength.  My strength ended a long time ago.

Time is so minor compared to my emotional drain.  We have been hit with sickness and injury with the kids.  We had a scare with DJ’s heart and had two doctor’s appointments.   Mostly, we played a waiting game.  The issues turned out to be minor and manageable.  Knowledge is important and we were armed with knowledge.   Ultimately, he is fine, he just to mindful of a few things if he wants to continue in sports.   We can live with this!

Georgia is still having issues with her back from the pool accident in August.   She is still a fighter and a trooper.  She finished out her softball season with a bang.  We were already suspecting, she needed therapy on it.   Our championship game would prove us right.  Coach asked her to give her it all.  She did and gave her two best hits EVER.  For the first play, she got out at second.  I watched her walk off and I knew those tears were NOT from getting out.   I gave her some ibuprofen and she sat the bench.   Next inning, she repeats the process.   This time, we had to ice her back while wrapping her in a blanket.  Then she finished the game.   Tears have been falling ever since.   Monday we started Physical Therapy, and it has been a painful process.  He is good, and she understands she needs it.  It is scary and not that comfortable.  She had to be removed from physical activity for a little while, and she is not happy.  She cornered me in the kitchen and reminded me she couldn’t do the PIG race.   She wanted to know who thought that was a good idea. We have tried to help her understand that the long term benefits outweigh the short term boredom and disappointment.

This past weekend, I attended a Fallen Hero Boot Memorial at Ft. Campbell with my friend, Amy.  We were asked to take pictures of boots for family members who could not attend.  It was an emotional day, and based on a request from Georgia, we went back for a second day.   The next morning, Aaron did something to aggravate me.  It was unintentional, but I was emotionally depleted.  I wanted to argue but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  All I could do was cry, because HE WAS ALIVE to aggravate me.   He was alive to argue with me.  He was alive to laugh with.  He was alive to love me.  He was ALIVE and in that moment, it was all that mattered.  (I have a Veteran’s Day post coming, and it will talk more about this in detail.)

This week, I also gave up sugar and soda.  I have done it before, BUT, I perform better when I eat clean.  My workout routine lacks consistency if my diet is off kilter.  However, it is a process to detox the bad out of my system.  I am not using chemicals, just WHOLE foods.  It makes me grumpy and sick, and it gives me a major headache.  I know in about a week, I will feel on top of the world, so I am suffering knowing what is coming.

When I get overly emotional, I think ALOT.  The thoughts have taken me on a journey of whether or not I have actually grown over the years.  God would provide a very clear answer.     I had a glimpse into the past – pre-Aaron- this week.   Overall, it has not been too earth shattering because I am very secure in our relationship and our vows.   However, it has had me thinking about the past and who I was versus who I am now.   If I allow this person to get to know ME now, they won’t even know me anymore.   I highly doubt that will happen, because it is not smart for my marriage.  I have changed A LOT, so much so, I may as well be a different person.   It is amazing if you compare a long span of time from point A to B, and not the journey, you can see the results.   Sometimes, we forget, it is the journey that makes us grow, not the destination.

All of the heartaches, All of the pain, It was for a REAL purpose.   It set me on a journey; a journey to change the world.  In the end, the statement is correct, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  I am LIVING PROOF that I am STRONGER even if I am tired, grumpy and cranky.

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Got Confidence?

Since making my announcement to train for Ironman 70.3 Augusta(2015) and Ironman Chattanooga (2016), there has a been many discussions over abilities and confidence.   Because of these discussions, I have also been watching those around me.  I am shocked at the lack of confidence that most people have.   I am not sure where I fit in all of this.

My kids are going through it with softball.  Georgia was hurt.  Now, she has fear around doing anything that could re-injure her back.  I completely understand, but fear has paralyzed her this season.  Her coach and I were actually talking about how to build the confidence, so she can let go of some of the fear.   Then there is Suzie, she too has a confidence issue, but hers is much different.  Hers is more concerning.  Suzie has come to the realization that with hard work she could become really good at softball.  She can also have a bit of an attitude.  I don’t fault her for this because she gets it honest.    However, it creates a problem.  See, she wants those infield positions and she is willing to do whatever it takes to get them-extra practice, going to outfield even when she doesn’t want.    However, there are those who want to keep their positions and they feel threatened by Suzie.  It is tween drama, so it is nothing severe and nothing anyone really needs to get involved with.  But it is causing tension and making Suzie doubt herself.  She is trying to figure out how to succeed in softball and not lose her friends.   Honestly, I don’t think there is any danger in losing her real friends.   However at 11/12 years old, this is real concern and it is rocking her confidence.   Believing in my girls doesn’t get them to believe in themselves.  I hope one day they see the potential I see and that what is right and important will work itself out.

Then confidence rears its head in my friends.   I am going to be vague and general during this part for two reasons.  First, I don’t have permission to talk about their issues.  Second, this is their battle, not mine.

The hardcore honest truth is I did not have many friends growing up.  I had a few, but I always lacked in the trust department.   Over the past few years, my life has changed drastically.  I have changed.  I have found a set of friends with a bond that is explainable.  Friends that I have no idea how I functioned without them in life.  Friends that I hope never go anywhere.   They love me at my worst and celebrate me at my best.  They are truthful AND compassionate.  Without them, I would not be who I am today.

When I announced my Ironman plans, I told two of these ladies that I wanted them to join me.  I have listened to the reasons why not.  It makes me sad and even a little angry.  Not because they might not do it.  My heart is hurting because they are far ahead of me in the athletic abilities than I am, and I KNOW THEY CAN DO IT.   I feel like I have failed them.  Somehow, I missed how hard of a time they are having with confidence in themselves.  Just like with my kids, I wish they could see the potential that I see.  I wish they could believe they could do anything.  I wish they loved themselves as much as I love them.

One said “I don’t know how to get from I am to where you are.  How do I do it?”   It was a question that broke my heart, because she is part of the reason I am where I am.  Now, it is my turn to hold her up so she can get here too.   Since I don’t HOW or WHAT I am supposed to do in this moment, I am writing to see how I got there.

Short story from 2009-2012:  I was overweight.  I had surgery and lost almost a hundred pounds.  I opened my mouth and said I wanted to do a half-marathon.  Someone heard me and convinced me to sign up. I got hurt, but finished hurt.  It was a confidence boost – BUT it would not last.  I was in a car accident, gained some weight – confidence plummeted.

After the car accident, I fought hard to get back to where I was.  I wasn’t sure it was possible.   Why? I was a people pleaser who wanted her way.  OXYMORON at its finest.   It was true.  Ultimately, I did what I wanted, but I agonized over what everyone thought.  I could have fifty “YOU CAN DO IT” and one “NO YOU CAN’T” and I would listen to the one.   It was easier to say to the fifty, I didn’t even try than to say I failed.  It was easier to say to the one, you are right I can’t so I won’t, than to say I tried and I failed.   It gnawed away at me for a long time.   I wanted to be so much more than someone who was afraid of life.

Around this time, we started getting involved in runs for causes.  Aaron was doing 5ks and I was also doing them and training for another half.   I was going to DC for a cause.  I was out of my league, but I was prepared.  As I crossed the start line, a woman who was in the wrong corral got a little rough and pushed me out of her way.  In doing so, I fell over a curb and hurt my ankle, knee and hip.   I was done – 100 yards in.   I was a failure.  I just had proven it to all the world.  I didn’t even go ONE MILE.   So I quit!  I quit doing anything, and I became miserable.

Fast forward to the end of 2012 to now.   During this training, I was added to a run group.   When I quit, I didn’t leave the group.  I was reading AND I was jealous.  Jealousy is an ugly thing.   The need to get back out was killing me.   Around that same time, I heard about the boot campaign and Bataan.  So, I did what any sane person would do, I volunteered to go to Bataan and I ordered my boots.  Yes, that is what I did!  I trained in those boots and cried everytime I put them on.  They were hurting my legs and I couldn’t function.  I had been running in minimal shoes for so long, my legs could not readjust to them.    Aaron and I went to Ft Campbell for something and we found minimal boots.  He bought them right then and there.

I would put on my boots and I loved every minute of it.  I went to Bataan, and made a nutrition mistake.  I was put out around mile 11.  I was devastated.  Aaron was proud and I vowed to go back.  I did go back.  I was pulled for being too slow.  I was picked up at mile 23 and dropped back off at mile 26.  I crossed the finish line.  Bataan considers me a finisher, unless they recently changed the website.   During all this time, I have not ran much, mostly walked or rucked in my boots.   I was also training for an IM 70.3 and I joined crossfit.  Both meant more running.   I trained hard and I was ahead of schedule, until that fateful day on the Mud Run.  I fell off the creek bank and hurt my shoulder.

I was now sidelined from CrossFit AND training.  Finally, I was released back into training, but never regained my training ground.   I showed up at the start and I intended to finish and my shoulder seized up completely.  I couldn’t even lie my way out of it, because it was that locked.   My race was finished.   I cried like someone died.  Same as I did for Bataan both times.   There were these few people each time, reminding me of how far I had come, how much accomplished even if I didn’t finish.

One day, while I working through some body image issues, I looked at my body and I realized just how much it was capable of.   YES-I had three major DNFs and they hurt my heart and my pride.   Yet, my body came back from a fall that it shouldn’t have come back from so fast.   I know three months is a long time, but I went from you may be out to a start line in three months.  WHO does that?  Apparently I do.

I used to base my confidence on my finishes.   It wasn’t until these non-finishes broke my heart that I finally realized I didn’t need a finish to be confident in what I can do.    I figure as long I keep  training and I keep showing up, eventually I will finish.  If I learn from each event, then in the end it was worth it-finish or not.  For now, I take pride in showing up at the start line. Why?  Not everyone can show up to the start line, since I am healthy enough to show up, I am going to be proud of that.   Soon enough, I will be called an Ironman, but until then I am going to enjoy the journey.

To my friends struggling, it is a decision only you can make.  I hope that you come with me, but I will love you regardless.   You are worth so much more than you know.   I see it and one day you will too.

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It has been 81 days since Ironman 70.3 Muncie.   About 10 days before Muncie, life began to get crazy and hasn’t stopped since.  My life has been full of major drama for 90 days.   It gets tiring.   After Muncie, I wasn’t sure if I would try another Ironman 70.3 event, let alone think about a Full Ironman.  I have been in a weird place these past three months and I am not sure of the cause.   It could be the non-finish.  It could be turning 40.  It could be starting a ministry.  It could be mourning over eggs. It could be a lot of things.   I don’t know the cause, but I do know that my relationships are suffering.

This weekend, it got pretty bad and I was considering walking away from it all.   When you start a ministry, those wiser than you will remind you to expect the unexpected.   When God is doing something big, Satan will try to stop it and he will go to major extremes.   Although, I haven’t written much on here, trust me, Satan has really been trying to knock me down.  He ALMOST succeeded this weekend.

Sunday morning, I left for Chattanooga to volunteer at Ironman and to support my friend, Amy.  Amy inspires me to never quit.  Amy reminds me of what I am fighting for, even when she doesn’t know there is a battle.  You see, I didn’t tell her what was going on, because her big day was coming AND you don’t do that to a friend.   I plastered a smile on my face the best I could and I showed up to volunteer.  I waited at that run station for her.   She rounded the corner and I remembered what we were fighting for.  She was representing everything I was and wanted to be.   She was happy to see me because she loves me.   In that moment in time without her ever knowing what she did, she gave me back hope.  Hope that was lost just two days before.  Hope that I couldn’t see because of the enemy attacks.  Have you read the meme on FB: One day someone will hug you so tight, they put all your broken pieces back together again.   I think I came super close to experiencing that on Sunday.

After she moved on, I called our friend Dina and told her about seeing Amy.  Dina had been texting me for updates all day.   I told her I was reconsidering my plans, but I didn’t tell her what Amy did for my heart.   We just talked about future races and how proud we were of Amy.

My shift at the run station ended and we moved to the finish line.  The finish line is nothing short of AMAZING.  The atmosphere is something that can’t be described.  It is something you can only experience.   I waited for Amy.  I watched strangers cross the finish.  Strangers of all shapes and sizes were finishing and becoming IRONMAN.   In my mind, I was transported back to 300 pounds and watching Biggest Loser.  One of the contestants completed an Ironman.  I said “I wish someone would help me lose weight.  I wish I could be an Ironman.”   I remember the feeling of a dream that would never be within my reach.  I remember the hopelessness of that moment and the sadness.   I also remembered that I was not 300 pounds anymore.  I did the unthinkable as I had those memories, I sent my husband a text and said I AM GOING TO BE AN IRONMAN!   Although we were struggling and I didn’t leave for Chattanooga on great terms with him, he sent me a simple text “Yes, you will.”  As much as we fuss, as much as we have our PTSD issues,  I sometimes lose sight of his belief in my dreams.

Amy’s timing chip was pulled from her leg due to time constraints, but she is not a quitter, so she continued until she got to 140.6.   She NEVER QUITS.  When I saw her at the finish line, she knew she was a winner and an Ironman.  She may not have been an official finisher, but she was a finisher!   The next day, they even gave her a medal for one of the angels on her pack.  I did not tell her of my plans at that moment.  I was just so proud of her.  I wanted to take in all the emotions that were there, and all the emotions were positive!

After Muncie, I was pulled from open water swim for the remainder of the year.  I put most racing on hiatus.  I cancelled our half-marathon plans in November.   I knew that I wasn’t hanging up my boots, but I had hung up my plans.  Those plans are what drive me.   Monday morning, my hotel roommate had a meeting before we could drive back to Nashville.   While she was gone, I devised a two year plan to get me to Ironman!  I will go back for Ironman 70.3 in September, 2015 and in September, 2016, I will be at Ironman Chattanooga.

I have shared the plan with a few people.  Some of those turned their nose up at me, and let me know they weren’t sure it was possible.   My response was WATCH ME!   Others told me they knew this day was coming and smiled.   Mostly, my family got excited about my plan.

Forty is not bad.  It doesn’t bother me now that I am here.   I am done with mourning of eggs.  I saw this weekend how hard it will be, but as long as I am careful, it will be fine.  (On a side note, I haven’t traveled without Aaron since the egg allergy, so going solo was a little scary.)   My ministry is going to grow, therefore, Satan will continue to attack and there is nothing I can do to stop him, but I won’t let him stop me.   I have devised a plan to get back on track.  I am allowing myself a few more days to get use to what I am about to start, and then I am jumping in head first.

If you don’t support me, it is fine, I just ask you to keep it to yourself, at least for a while.  If you do support, I thank you in advance.  For those who have offered to help in my training, I already know I will need you and while I may come to not like you, know that I will always love you!

In 104 weeks,  I WILL BE AN IRONMAN!!!  Count on it! Come back here for updates, because I am sure it will be a fun journey!

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