October 20, 2016

The Smile Run

A year ago this month, a beautiful little boy met Jesus sooner than anyone would have expected.

Christian Egner, the son of Keith and Tricia Egner, and little brother to Caleb and Kyle, succumbed to complications from asthma, and suddenly, this amazing family was forced to face the darkest days of their lives.

But in the midst of the shadows of grief, this family vowed that their little boy's life would be remembered. They pledged to honor his memory by finding a way to celebrate his life and, simultaneously, leave a legacy in his name. It would have to be something that would produce a lasting impact, as he had done in their lives and in the lives of all who knew him.

This was where the idea for The Smile Run came from - the hearts of grieving parents. Because Christian was always smiling, that name for this 5K, fun run, and tot trot was perfect. So a group of individuals got together with the Egners, the Christian Egner Foundation was created, and The Smile Run became more than just an idea - it became a reality.

"The Christian Egner Foundation was founded in 2016 to provide an avenue of giving back to the community.  Their main purpose is to raise monies that can be donated to various causes, mainly those that impacted the life and family of Christian Egner.  Their primary event is "The Smile Run."  This event was appropriately named after the smile that always encompassed Christian.  Whether on his face or on the faces of those who were around him, these smiles will never be forgotten.
The beneficiary of The Smile Run is the Ralph Bunche Preschool in Cherokee County.  This is an amazing preschool that specializes in special needs, offering services such as teachers, therapists and nurses.  One of three Cherokee County School Preschools, they host Head Start, Georgia Pre-K and special needs preschool classes for Cherokee County residents." - from The Smile Run website.
This race was by far my favorite race this year! It was a GREAT family event. Even if running isn't your thing, I would encourage you to set your calendar for October 7, 2017, and get ready for a great time with the entire family! My husband ran the 5K, and I ran the fun run (1K) with the girls. They even have the cutest tot trot this side of Georgia!

Upper left (Keith Egner - 5K), Upper right (Michael Wills - 5K)
Both were first place winners in their age groups.
Again, no worries if you are not a runner, there is so much to enjoy with your children (for free!): bounce houses, games, delicious cupcakes (made by Tricia Egner), and face painting!

Honestly, you can't help but smile the entire time at this event!

It was great to honor the life of Chrisitan Egner while at the same time investing in the lives of other children in our community as the proceeds of this event go to a local pre-school for children with special needs. Christian has truly had a lasting impact in the hearts and lives of so many here and now and in the future. It just goes to show you how God can take such a little life and make a huge impact for His kingdom.

Please join us next year! You can run, or walk, or both. Or you could give a donation to the Christian Egner Foundation. Or you can just come and love on this amazing family and honor Christian with your smiles.

Today's forget-me-not:

October 15, 2016

Tortoise and the Hare, and Us

Better late than never!

It is a cliche, somewhat overused, but there's a tremendous amount of truth in that phrase.

Anyway, On September 3rd, I ran the Tortoise and the Hare 10K with my running bestie, Jaimee.

And then, I forgot to write about it.

Yes, yes. I know. Shame on me!!!

We've run this race before and enjoyed the fact that it was a 10K, a trail race, and an overall unique experience, so we signed up for it again this year.

Flashback to September 2015

I'm glad we did it again. It was long and the course was hard, but that's what makes running this race so rewarding.

Just like life, right?

Get ready for another cliche: the best things in life aren't free.

Truly though, it's after those hard times when you can look back in retrospect and say, "I came through that alright." Or even better, "I came through that a stronger individual."

Those are the best of times; those are the most fruitful and fulfilling of times. 

Sorry. I can't seem to help myself tonight.

I've been talking about this with my students lately. No. Not how to utilize cliches and formulate puns. We have been talking about how our identity can be shaped by our circumstances for better or for worse. The choice is really up to us. 

As Lou Holtz once said, "Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you react to it."

Like when you find yourself running a race you didn't train for, but you run it anyway, throwing every ounce of energy you have into it while striving to maintain a smile on your face. #likeaboss

It's just like when the tortoise ran against the hare. Yes, that timeless tale. No one expected the tortoise to win. He would surely be defeated. Deflated. Destroyed.

But he "ran" that race. The best he could. And then he won it.

Now, allow me to switch gears and change my tone to make an important connection: It's just like those who have suffered the loss of a child.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (October) is soon to be upon us, and this idea that our tragic circumstances can be used for good is truly exemplified in the lives of those parents who have lost a child and yet work tirelessly in that child's name to bring beauty from ashes.

If you haven't seen NBC's new hit show "This is Us," you need to see it. *Spoiler Alert!* In the very first episode, a father and mother lose one of their triplets, and the doctor, in an effort to comfort the grieving father, talks about when he and his wife lost their first child. He explains how it inspired him to become an obstetrician - with the hope of saving the lives of other babies. He admonishes the father to do this: to find a way to take the worst this life can give an individual and make it into the best.

I've put the clip below. Please watch it. Be inspired. And whatever life throws at you, just keep running even though it seems as if everything is working against you. If you do that, you can't lose. Just ask the tortoise.

Today's forget-me-not:

September 4, 2016

The Prodigal Daughter

My oldest daughter, Beth, went to two church camps this summer. That’s two full weeks my baby of nine years was away from her mama. (And yes, I know, at nine, she’s no longer a baby, but to me, she will always be my baby girl.)
When she was gone, I missed her something terrible! Especially after she went off to the second camp, I immediately yearned to have her back. I guess the reason it was so hard the next week she was gone is because it was a camp I wasn’t as familiar with. She went to the second camp with a neighbor’s family and not with our church, so I knew she would be surrounded, mostly, by people she didn’t know. People I didn’t know...

Please continue reading to find out what happened next!
Today's forget-me-not can be found by clicking on the image below:

August 19, 2016

for the truly terrifying times

(Adapted from John 6:16-21 NIV)

It was evening. It was dark.

But they were traveling. Trying to reach a destination.

They got into a row boat and set off across a lake.

Suddenly, a strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.

They pressed on.

The disciples were surely tired. They were probably desperate for relief from the fierce wind and wild waves.

But they rowed on. For approximately three and a half miles, they rowed on.

Because what else can you do? Stuck in the middle of a lake. In the midst of a storm.

When life gets dark and the winds of unexpected change and the waves of shattered dreams begin to crash over you again and again and again, what else can you do but row on?

And when you are the most terrified? When you're not sure if you can make it through on your own? Guess who shows up?

Jesus. Walking on the troubled waters. Toward you. The absolutely terrified you.
And he says, "It is I; don't be afraid."

See Him. Let Him in the boat. Let Him take you to your destination.

It's okay. He's got you. He's got this. Trust Him.

"Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately, the boat reached the shore where they were heading." (John 6:21 NIV)

Today's forget-me-not: my hurting friends

August 12, 2016

Win Win

Last Saturday, Chick-fil-A sponsored a race to benefit education and special olympics in our county.

I wasn't sure if I was going to get to run this race. My hubby also wanted to run it, so I tried to find a babysitter so we could go enjoy the race together, but that didn't work out. Since someone was going to have to stay home with the kids, I was gonna sit this one out so hubby could go, but then my awesome, selfless, and giving husband said I could run it! And then I caught a nasty stomach bug. But praise the Lord, the day before the race found me feeling much better, and I got to enjoy the day with some of my favorite running buddies!!!

Pre-run selfie with running buddies Jordan, Jaimee, Bruce and Pamm!
It was a hot day, but, in my humble opinion, this GREAT course will always be worth the run. It is almost entirely flat, and it takes place inside two connecting parks - beautiful parks! The only elevation runners experience is when they go over an awesome bridge. #win

It was just that, a winning day. My run felt great despite the fact that my running time of 36:32 isn't my best for this course, and I also won a free three month membership to a nearby gym complete with access to a personal trainer!

My buddies were winners too! Jordan improved her 5K time, Jaimee's school (she's a teacher) won $1,500 in prize money, Bruce placed second in his age group, and Pamm ran a race for the first time in a long time (way to jump back out there!).

That's how you score a win. You take a chance. Put yourself on the line. And when you hear the gun go off, run. And keep on running. Never hold back. Have faith. Stay the course. And ultimately, child of God, you win.

With Jesus, we always win.

Today's forget-me-not: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No. I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

August 6, 2016


My girls and I ran another fun run a couple weekends ago.

Collins Dixon 5K and Fun Run
Race Recap: The race was fun and hot. End race recap. ;-)
I'm just now getting around to writing about that event because it fell on the weekend between pre-planning for teachers and the first week of school. Can you say, "BUSY!"?

Yes. We've been super busy. I now have a little girl in pre-k and a big girl in fourth grade.

When did I get so old?! ;-)

The beginning of a new school year is exciting but also hard. It's hard to get back into the routine of getting the kids up early and out the door. And it's hard standing all day on my feet and teaching after sitting on my butt all summer. Our bodies sure take a beating and go into a bit of shock during this time. Needless to say, the kids are asleep by 8:30 pm with momma not that far behind.

And there's one more thing that makes the first week of school hard. Memories.

Memories of the day I was miscarrying Angel but went into work anyway. Not realizing how agonizing the physical and emotional pain would be.

That was a hard day.

And here I am, six years later. Remembering.

Remembering that day. Remembering the loss. Remembering the sadness.

Remembering you, Angel.

I'll never forget you.

Tell Diana, Christian, and Jen that your mommy sends her love and eagerly awaits when we can all worship Jesus together.

Until then, praise Him, sweet one. Praise Him!

Today's forget-me-not: Angel

July 15, 2016

December 10, 2015

On December 10, 2015, my friend Jaimee called me and suggested we go for a run. She had bought entries for a virtual 5K that came with medals. For those of you not familiar with virtual races, you buy the bib (and other swag that may come with it) and run the race whenever and wherever you want to run it.

It was the perfect gesture of friendship from my best girl who knows I love running.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

And for some reason, I never wrote a post about that run. How could I have neglected to do that?!

It was a good run. We both needed each other's company that afternoon for various reasons. We had a lot weighing on us both. Jaimee had a lot more on her mind than me given her mom had gone on to glory only two months ago.

So we ran. And we walked. We paced ourselves. And we talked. It felt good.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Afterwards, we hung those virtual race medals from our necks, enjoying their awesomeness, and took the above selfie.

"Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?" C.S. Lewis

It was a great run. Our friendship is a great run!

And in honor of all our runs and, more importantly, in honor of my Jaimee, please enjoy this video: Jaimee and Jamie - Running Buddies.

Today's forget-me-not: My best buddy (running and otherwise) Jaimee.

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