"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Suffer Well. Race RECAPs

"Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasions to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing." Thomas Jefferson 

Andy and I watched an older movie with Justin Timberlake called "In Time". The basic story line was that time was a commodity, when you ran out, you died. You lived every moment with intention. 
Time was valuable. 

I think of my dad, such an amazing man. "The man takes the drink, the drink takes a drink, the drink takes the man." Addiction took him in his early 40's. He never saw his daughter graduate, walk her down the aisle or be a grandpa to her boys. Gone too soon and left time filled with tears to many. 
I think of my mother, a beautifully broken soul. "One day at a time." was not enough time for a woman that didn't want to live on this side of earth. No drugs, alcohol or man could give her the time to heal her wounds. 
Addiction takes time from you, it robs you, lies to you, deceives you. I still find myself choking back the tears of time lost. Years destroyed. Moments I questioned my purpose in all the pain. 
I decided years ago I would live out this life. If the Good Lord had me suffering, I would suffer well. 
I would not let my broken beginnings pave the rest of my time.
I knew how to suffer, I would suffer well and suck it up.  
I would pull up my bootstraps and dig in. I would fight. I would go down fighting. 

SUFFER well. 
There is something in the back of my head that scares me. I feel like I was born to suffer. I fight life like I am training for trials. The harder I prepare, the stronger I get, the easier the trial should be when it shows up. 
Even getting cancer, I felt like I had trained my whole life for it. 
I would find myself running with my fists clenched. I was so mad at cancer, so determined to fight it, ready to suffer because I felt like the Lord had prepared me from my beginning. 
I remember a day that running 3 races in a month was a lot, this week I ran 3 races in a week. 

November 19th. 
I flew solo to Nashville where my girlfriends picked me up for a race weekend.  The race was the TOUGHEST marathon course I have ever ran. Consisting of over 3000 feet of constant hills. 
My girlfriends themed the marathon Wizard of Oz , I was the scarecrow. 
The first half of the marathon I stayed with the girls for fun and encouragement. The second half of the race my suffering numbed out and I felt strong. I came down a hill at mile 20 and was ready to drop a gear. I could feel my body switch gears from fun mode to race mode. 
The last 5 miles my pace dropped and I began picking runners off. 
I finished smiling.

TIME: 4:14:08
PLACE: 2nd place Masters
OVERALL: 68/245
GENDER: 12/80
Erica was 2nd OVERALL, we both got handmade flying monkeys for awards. 
Your shirts are personalized with your nickname! One of the best race shirts I have ever gotten!

RACE 2: Turkey TRAIL Trot
November 23rd Thanksgiving
My sweet daughter in Love hates running. "I will do it because I love you and I get to be with you.." 
Shelby, Andy and I ran the turkey trot together. We had fun frolicking in the woods at Stoney Creek. 
I never looked at my results, because all I cared about with being with Shelby, I didn't care about pace just time spent with her. 

RACE 3:  Black Toenail 1/2 Marathon
November 24th. 
Andy and I have a warped idea of dates. He signed up to race this and insisted I do the same. My thoughts were to just try and beat last years' time of 1:59. I had just run my marathon 5 days prior and was still in the hurt locker. 
Several of our running friends were there as well. Half marathons are hard for me. It literally takes me 10 miles to warm up. 
When we took off I was by myself. About a quarter mile in, I see Andy blow by me. I picked up my pace to try and catch him. 
I was cutting in and out of the trail around other runners. I would jump off the trail to get around larger groups of runners trying to keep my eye on Andy. 
I caught up to Andy, running next to him for about a minute before he even spotted me. 
We laughed, briefly chatted and I told him I would "TRY" to stay with him. Truth is Andy is really strong on the trails and I was questioning my life choices again. 
I tucked in behind Andy desperate trying to stay on his heels. It took everything I had to not go head over heels, I felt so wobbly. He would see a runner, pick up his pace and I would panic. I fell back a couple times wondering when I would just let him go. 
At mile 10, I felt myself settled in. I had my music playing and I had been praying for miles. 
We came out onto the road, a gal had been running in my shadow for a couple miles presented herself. 
"You can pass us if you want, your doing great.."  I spoke to her. 
She replied "You guys have been doing all the work, thank you..." She then took the lead and moved on. 
That just didn't settle well with me. 
I could tell Andy was just holding pace. Andy knew ...."Nita, GO!! GOO race this..." 
I fought him for a few minutes but before I got passed again, I took off to catch her.
I caught up to her, but she was struggling, as I passed her I said "STAY with me, stay on my heels..." 
She replied, "I will." 
I am not sure when she fell back but I caught up to another runner. He turned around and did a double take, "ANITA! I run with you at Complete Runner..." 

"STAY with me, let's GO, you got this...." I cheered him on. 
And that is what I did all the way to the finish. I kept trying to grab runners to the finish, encouraging them because it encouraged me. 
I finished alone, breathless, trying not to vomit and the tank was empty. 

I raced it for Andy. 
I beat my time. 
TIME: 1:53:52
PACE: 8:42
Division: 1/7

"Count it all joymy brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full 
effectthat you may be perfect and completelacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

We can profit in our trials. Life will make you bitter or better. Fight the good fight. Put on your armor and remind yourself the Lord doesn't put you through something He doesn't see you through. He makes a way when there is no way. Your strength may fail but the Lord's strength is unwavering. 
Keep training. Be weary in well doing. When you do it all unto the Lord, give Him all the Glory, Honor and praise and you will see your strength in your suffering. 

The Lord uses all things, even the passion of a ragamuffin like me. 

In Peace, Not Pieces,

Monday, November 13, 2023

Another Day!

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. The are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Maybe one day there will be no anxiety when I walk into a Dr's office to get blood work. The nervous laugh will dissolve, and the tough girl performance will be no more than a memory. 
Maybe not. 
But for today, I do all I know how to do, run and pray
Running 20 miles before my 4-year checkup gives me a small amount of control. For just that little bit of time I can run free, I can control my own suffering. 
I can embrace my breathlessness with comfort. 
I can relax in my elements of madness. 
I can keep my fear and anxiety trampled down by the steady pounding of my feet. 
I can swallow down that lump in my throat, blink back my tears and just run.  
Rate of reoccurrence for the first 5 years for TNBC. 

My oncologist, Dr. Cotant and I have this little game we play every time I see him for my checkups. 
I smiled as we played our little game waiting for him to ask, not about how I was feeling rather about my run. 
"Anita, how far did you run today?" Dr. Cotant asked smiling knowing the question wasn't "Did you run?" rather "How far did you run?" 
I responded with a smirk, "20 miles, almost 2000 feet of elevation.." 
And I waited for his smirk and laugh, and like sorcery, he looked at me and laughed. 

I brought the office donuts; little did they know it was my celebratory gift to them. I have made it, 4 years. This stupid cancer is a living nightmare. 
Every day I celebrate. I have made it another day
My 4 year date was the day of my surgery in October, but today Dr. Contant made it official! 
"Those thick veins look great but they like to roll" But my gal was all ready for them! A quick POKE and the blood was flowing. 

Another Day. 
There is no amount of suffering that can compare to feeling like you are going to die. 
Begging God for another chance. 
Bargaining with God for do overs. 
Desperately seeking another go at this thing called life. 
Watching people get their panties in a wad over the mundane as you just pray for another clean bill of health. 
Just begging for another day. 
Another day to practice forgiveness. 
Another day to practice grace. 
Another day to tell someone I love them. 
Another day to share kindness, to love the unlovable, to give grace to those who have hurt me and to seek forgiveness to those I have hurt. 
Another Day. 

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. The are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
The Lord isn't finished with me yet, I continue to run for Jesus with His power, and His strength I go. 

4 years later and I have Another Day. By the grace of God go I. 
Count it all JOY, I have Another Day. 

In Peace not Pieces, 

Monday, November 6, 2023


 "What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power and take the rest as it naturally happens." Epictetus 

A friend of mine came over this afternoon to run. She barreled through the door with eyes wide opened. I was confused by her look when she said "LOOK!" as she pointed outside. 
The sky darkened, the wind whipped, and the skies opened up. 
My mind was racing how we were going to run when she said "You don't need to run..." 
I replied, "Yes, I do, I have goals..." 

I have no power when it comes to the weather, but quitting was just not an option. We gave it a few minutes as she laced up her shoes and we headed out. The rain had settled down to a soft drip and within the mile it had stopped with the sun beaming overhead of us. 

SHOW UP: The Power of Resilience 
Most of life is about just showing up. No excuses. No procrastination. Just get it done. As soon as I make room for an escape plan you can bet, I plan on the escape. I may not be able to control the elements, but I can think with pause and find my POWER in resilience. 

My Power lies in my OUTLOOK. 
No stinking thinking. There are days we feel like there is literally a black cloud over our head and finding that small ray of sunshine seems hopeless. 
In those cases when you have exhausted all possibility of butterlies and rainbows just do it in a slumber. Do it as an overcomer. 
You are the sunshine. You bring accountability. You bring consistency. You don't always have to show up all giddy, I have shown up a mess and even finished a mess, but I showed up.  

My Power lies in my Faith. 
The closer I come to 50, the more I feel my physical power fade. The aches and pains of life are taking their toll. 
I have been running for over 20 years now by the grace of God. This is the gift he has given me for His glory. 
He has protected me in danger. Boston Bombing. 
He has redeemed me. Multiple injuries and breast cancer. 
He has pulled me out of the pit. Deep depression and darkness. 
It is His power in me when I want to quit, when I want to cry, when I feel discouraged, dark or defeated to get back out there in HIS POWER not mine. 

MY POWER Scriptures:
  • "The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic." Psalm 29:4
  • "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Cor. 12:9
  • "He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power" Isaiah 40:29
  • "For this purpose, also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." Col. 1:29
Total miles 2,600 miles completed.
October miles: 287
The last couple months I have pulled myself away. I have had to settle down. Calm down. Quiet down. The calmer you are the clearer you can think. I find myself moving more with intention and less with emotion. 
I am a tangled mess. I have to unspool the tangles. Running helps me do this. I am such a free spirit but life is broken, and the simplicity of solitude heals. 
I need His voice to cover the ones that say I am not enough. His voice to tell me I am not defined by my failures. I need His voice to tell me I am strong, I am capable. I am enough in HIM. 
My power fades. 
My power is broken. 
My power is messy. 
My power is a failure. 

It is His power that is immeasurable, unmistakable, unchangeable, and unfathomable. 

In Peace, not Pieces,

Thursday, October 26, 2023


 "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.." Marianne Williamson 
Shelby ran in Tawas with us. My heart was overflowing with love

"Anita, how long are you going to keep running like this?" A client of mine jokingly asked me. 
I laughed, because that's what I prefer to do whenever I am asked this question. 
They responded with intensity, "No, No, seriously, you cannot keep running like this, your body is going to break down." 

I have several different answers on speed dial. I have asked myself this question many times. 
The answers depend on the audience. 

If it is THE LORDS will for me to no longer run, I have always prayed the He would give me peace to leave my running behind. 

Many miles of running. 
Many seasons of running.
Many injuries from running. 
Many Praises to the Lord in my running. 
Many races, many faces and many places. 
But the Lord continues to keep me running. 

After I laughed to my client, I walked in front of them and said, "I am not afraid of my body falling apart from running, it actually is the best way to have my body fall apart, I am more afraid of being afraid of living in fear. " 

But I had many more words, words that were deeper, heavier, however, I thought it was best to keep it light with laughter. I added some joke, poked fun at myself and jumped into another subject. 

"Call onto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which though knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3

If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I would still be running, I would have told you NO. 
Over 2 decades of running compiled of victories, failures, friendships, experiences and destinations I could never have dreamed of. 
I can look back over the last 20 years and see God made a way when there was no way. 
The glory was not me being in the limelight, The Lord was in the LIMELIGHT and always gets the glory. 
It has nothing to do with miles, or pace, or where I place, it has everything to do with humility in those miles and giving GOD all the Glory. 
My bravery has NOTHING to do with where I run, or how I run, my bravery is in full faith that I fully trust God no matter the outcome. If it looks like a failure to man often it is a victory to the Lord. 
The Lord has given me over 20 years of GREAT AND MIGHTY things I would never have known if I never stepped out in faith.  

I am reading in Exodus chapter 1:20 "So God was good to the midwives and the people multiplied and became VERY MIGHTY."
Just a few verses back Exodus phrases the growth of the nation as "exceedingly mighty.

All this MIGHTY talk counseled me. When we put the LORD first, without FEAR from our surroundings and live our faith out loud, we are MIGHTY. 
Moving against the grain in a world that is morphing into mayhem is MIGHTY. 
Living in faith with both compassion and conviction is MIGHTY. 
Finding security in Christ alone is MIGHTY. 
Being brave to feel EVERYTHING even when it hurts is MIGHTY. 
Learning to stand alone in a world that is populated with people is MIGHTY. 
Allowing the mundane to be monumental is MIGHTY. 

Be Brave friend. It just takes a step of courage and a call unto the Lord. He has great and mighty things for you. 

In Peace, not Pieces. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Somewhere in the middle of NO where

"Bless me, even me also, O my Father.." Genesis 27:34
Another rainy day.  
Another cold damp day that the dreariness leads to weariness. 
I set goals to prepare for these days in hope that I could prevail in times of dread like today. 

I didn't have a lot going on today. My phone wasn't ringing, my calendar was open and my head really was more active than my legs. 
I decided to just RUN. 

After an early morning in the word flipping through Genesis, I took my empty coffee cup to the sink and started to get ready for the next few hours of running. 
It left me with many thoughts I needed to think on. 
I ran and ran, my wheels were turning. Thoughts were colliding with the scriptures I read on DECEIPT, GRUDGES, BLESSINGS, and REDEMPTION. 

I could totally relate on so many levels. Some of the people in our lives we thought we should trust duped us or deceived us. 
We cried bitterly, as Esau did in Genesis when his blessing was stolen. 
And a seed is planted, a seed of bitterness from that first tear and a grudge against them develops...
Friendships dissolve. 
Families separate. 
Jobs are lost. 
Moments turn to bitter memories. 
And hearts are broken. 

As I ran the backroads in Holly I had no idea where my legs were taking me. I had no knowledge of my limbs I just circulating thoughts. 
Mile into miles I ran. 
Genesis 48:15-16 "The God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, The angel who redeemed me from all evil." 
These were the words of Jacob.
The brothers reconciled over 20 years later. 
Out of a wounded heart our thoughts can turn evil. Two brothers with over 20 years of grudges. Vengeance and grudges are entertained but the Lord can redeem. 
We can't camp there. The road off the cliff is fun for a while, but I had to reign in back in. 
On these thoughts I began to feel my legs sore from running. I was aware of my heavy breathing and breathlessne. 
And I Smiled. 
I have been redeemed. 
As I ran all by myself, with only my thoughts I smiled. I have so much comfort and peace all by myself. 
The Lord redeems. 
His redemption gives us peace. 
His redemption removes the shackles of bitterness.
His redemption shines grace upon us to give to others. 

"Mastery requires endurance....Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved line, constant pursuit....Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving." Sarah Lewis

SOMEWHERE in the MIDDLE of NO WHERE is where I ended up without a plan just a goal. I knew I wanted to run long and slow. 
It happened gradually...
With that being the case, I really didn't map out a course. I ended up with more miles that I wanted and when I discovered I was going to be running over I knew I needed MUSIC. 
My wobbly legs got a second wind. I found myself running and smiling. 
Even as the drizzle wet my skin and a head wind hit me, I was still smiling. 

In Peace, Not Pieces, 


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Don't Flinch


Yesterday, Andy and I went over to our oldest sons house to help mount his TV.  Austin, he is a rowdy man. I think you can figure out where he received his rambunctious behavior from. 
A younger Anita used to love to box. I know, hard to imagine. I had a little bit of crazy in me back then. Becoming a mother, I had to retire the gloves.  
But "Boy Wonder" about the same age I was when I took up boxing, took up martial arts. 
He loves to wrestle, grapple and throw his 200lb weight around. 
At his place yesterday, he threw a low thigh kick at me, "OUCH" I yelped. A couple more kicks, and down I fell onto the couch. Truth is he has NO IDEA how strong he is. There was a day I would have got right in there. 
But instead, I waited....
And with his back to me I threw a weak roundhouse to his buns, SMACK!! He didn't even flinch
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
–1 Peter 4:16

Austin knew his mom would not quit. He knew I would not let him get the last move in. HE KNEW. 
That is why he didn't flinch. Even with his back to me he knew it was coming but he was not AFRAID.

I thought of this with my day-to-day grind. I know that I am going to face trials. I am going to have hard days; life is going to sucker punch me. But to live Flinching in fear is not showing Faith in Christ. 

Part of the reason Austin didn't flinch is because he knows he is much bigger, much stronger and much more capable than his little mother at protecting and defending himself. 

Flinching Chickens
I have 6 chickens, a motley crew of hens, I love them, I feed them, I visit them, I have a safe home for them, I take very good care of them. When I walk into their coop, they come to me but when I bend down to touch them, they FLINCH! I am crushed, "I am here to LOVE you little ladies..." I sing softly to them. But they are filled with fear. 
Sometimes even we are so filled with fear that we even flinch in areas of safety. 
Fear can do that. 

"I ask that He strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of His glory through the spirit." Ephesians 3:16

Never flinch. The Lord strengthens you.  
These days maybe not as much physically but spiritually I am being restored and redeemed so I do not have to flinch with life throws its punches at me. 
Stay strong in the Lord, He is your strength in your struggles, you do not have to FLINCH, keep your Fatih. 

In Peace, not Pieces,

Monday, October 9, 2023

The Place of Vulnerability.

 “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” Brene' Brown


What is this place? Is it an actual location? Is it a destination? 
Some foreign land? 
A place that frightens most people and a place that has left many broken and never the same. 

Vulnerability scares me. It is my land that I protect with all cost. I have invited others into my very sacred place with extreme caution and realized too late that my space was abused, and I invited the abuser in. 
My fault. 
My weakness. 
My misjudgment. 
My bad.

Vulnerability is like a land that is exposed in the darkest of nights. 
The deepest of wounds. 
The sunniest of skies and the cheeriest of moments.  
The spaces of extreme. 

Vulnerability cannot be retracted and can be defined and judged in its intense form with ease from others. 
Vulnerability is often a place of regret because of this. 
Disorganized chaos. 

Vulnerability is a place I have licked my wounds, ripped my scabs and still...heart wide open bled out over and over again with the intention....
To Love. To Believe. To Hope. To Trust. 

Sometimes it is reckless, feeling like I am going off the deep end but if one person can see that land with LOVE, with FAITH, with HOPE then I will share that Place of Vulnerability. 

Vulnerability in the darkest hours and the deepest pains. 
It is dark and quiet except for our feet crushing the limestone on the Hennepin canal. 

I was pacing Erica over the weekend for her first 100 miler. Erica is strong, a mother, a wife, an incredible athlete. She knows pain, my kind of pain. She grew up in darkness that made her resilient, strong, dangerous and risky. 

At 10pm, I jumped in again to trade pacing with her husband. Her armor was cracking. She had been running effortlessly at a 9:30min/mile for over 70 miles. However, when she arrived this time at the aid station, she was almost an hour late. 

It was so dark we both needed light. This is the place of vulnerability. 
As we ran the chill in the air left me shivering. I kept myself hushed. I walked next to Erica under the moonless sky, the trees looming over us, wanting to feel her pain, wanting to carry her pain so I could help her better. 
But I couldn't. All I could do was stay beside her. Pray for her. Listen to her. 
All I had was my light and she had her own light.  She trusted me weeks ago to be beside her, truth is she is a much better runner than I am. 
What I could give her was a place of vulnerability.  A place where I could only give me, and she seemed ok with just that. This is the place that scares me. 

Erica finished like a rockstar! 

Andy and I snuck out of our hotel room a few hours later for a 6-hour drive home. 
The drive home was quiet, but my thoughts were loud. 
As the minutes turned into hours I had not heard from Erica. 
I thought many thoughts and struggled to take mine captive. That place of vulnerability began to tug a little. 
The place in the darkest of nights. In the cold, quiet path down the Hennepin canal that I spoke vulnerability. 
Did I share too much? Did I say too much?
I found myself settling down the closer we got to home. The Lord wrapped me in His security with peace and soon Erica texted with such love I knew it was from the Lord. 

"For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" 2 Cor. 10:3-5 

Just be who God made you to be Anita. 
I am made to be vulnerable. To give myself freely, openly and transparently. Not everyone is going to like you, understand you, accept you, and the list goes on. 
But when we do things with LOVE we have succeeded. And you will accept others in that same place. There is peace in that. 
Taking our thoughts captive helps drown out the noises so we can hear the melody of love, peace and grace. 
We all come with a light. Sometimes that place of vulnerability drains the batteries. And sometimes that light burns out and darkness covers you. 
Take time to Pause, Rest, Recover and daringly turn your light back on. 
Shine the way you were meant to. 
Be who God made you to be. 
Confidently. Boldly. With a Reckless Love Shine on.  

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 
Phil. 4:8

In Peace not Pieces,