Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wear Blue: Run to Remember - May 9th

On a day when I was laughing with family or friends;

eating my favorites foods,

making wishes,

blowing out candles....

These people died for my freedom to do so.

I will not forget.

USNavy LTjg Richard Lin


USA Chief Warrant O2 Hans Gukeisen KIA May 9th Iraq

USA Chief WO3
Brian Van Dusen
KIA May 9th Iraq

USMC Cedric Bruns
May 9th Kuwait

Taylor Prazynski
KIA May 9 - Iraq

Omar Albrak
May 9 - Iraq 
Ara Deysie
KIA May 9 Afghanistan
Mary Jaenichen
May 9 - Iraq
Isaac Palomarez
KIA May 9 Afghanistan

Walter O-Haire
KIA May 9 - Iraq
USA Spc Aaron Latimer
May 9 - Iraq
Marcus Mahdee
KIA May 9 - Iraq
USMC Staff Sgt
Anthony Goodwin
KIA May 9 - Iraq
PFC Stephen Baldwyn
KIA May 9 - Iraq 
Jeremy Brown
KIA May 9 Afghanistan 
Ken Hermogino
May 9 - Afghanistan

USA CPL Richard Carl
KIA May 9th Iraq
USA Sgt Rodney Murray
May 9th - Iraq 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

For Michael: on your graduation

When the milestones come, sometimes we moms get a little choked up. And by a little, I mean, the UGLY cry, every time someone cues up a photo montage.  While there are 101 (at least) stories on the internet written by moms to their kids, this list (which I edited some) is the best summary of what I hope I have said, and what I hope you remember.
1. Congratulations! Ignore my sniveling and carrying on. In fact, forget my sniveling everyone and make this about you for a moment. Accept every slap on the back and lean into all those hugs (even though they aren't your favorite). Smile and say "Thank you".  Take your victory lap. This is one of the big moments. Drink it all in.
2. Put one foot in front of the other. Take your minute, then move on. Now is the first time, but certainly not the last one, that you’ll learn that life just keeps rolling on. Hold your head up, put your eyes forward, then take the next step. The truth is that everybody worries about what’s around the corner. 
3. Be thankful.  It won't always seem like things are going your way. You were born when Dad and I had a one bedroom apartment and everything we owned was given to us by your grandparents.  Everyone starts out small. Take care of what you have and pride in what you earn.  Remember to thank God for all of it. 
4. We’ve got your back. You are never alone in this world. There’s a safety net of family who are all ready to reach out when you need that helping hand. So ask for help if you need it.  
5. Dare mightily. Dream really, really big, but also live every day with a spirit of wonder and brave resolve too. A lot of adulthood is not so much an exciting new road, but a familiar, well-worn path. Dare to imagine a better you every day.
6. Show up. We never wanted you to just be a guy. We were always hoping you would be a certain type of guy. So show up for people. Celebrate their successes and ease the burden of their failures. Make them laugh and sit with them when they are sad. Go to boring parties, lame weddings, and uncomfortable dinner parties because someone asked you to be there for them. Just show up. You’ll be amazed at the joy you’ll find from doing the thing you really didn’t want to do.
7. Love is all you need. You will have a lot of choices to make the next few days, months and years. It can all seem a little overwhelming. Let The Beatles provide a little clarity in the chaos: All you need is love. If you have it, give it. Plain and simple. Spread love around like you are lousy with it. Then you won’t just have a blessed life, you will be a blessing to others as well.
8. You look so handsome. Seriously.
You have no idea what it’s like to watch someone grow up before your eyes yet, but I hope you get that privilege. You were a beautiful, perfect boy the minute I met you and your bright, golden light has never dimmed. We are so unspeakably proud of the young man you have become inside and out. And you look great in that cap and gown too. Really, you are rocking it.
9) I am proud to be your mom.
This is one not every mom can post, because you came into our family differently than most.  I can't understand all the puzzle pieces that God put into place from the beginning of time until you were picked to be our son.  But I am more grateful than you will ever understand. Even though there are five siblings after you, you get the title of "DID IT FIRST".  All the first things Dad and I did as parents were with you.  
10. I love you. Truly, honestly, deeply. This day. Every day. Forever. Take that knowledge with you into beautiful corners and brave new worlds. Let it warm you on cold nights and lead you out of dark places.
The best is yet to come, sweet boy. Knock ‘em dead.

first paycheck!  

slow run for Michael - hard run for mom

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Since our personal connection with Wear Blue: Run to Remember  (you can read that by clicking HERE)  our family has participated in many runs to honor the fallen.  This year, the following names were honored by our family on Memorial Day with purposeful steps.

(*links are included by clicking on their names for more information)

Captain Brandon Lee Cyr USAF
Staff Sgt Daniel Fannin USAF
Captain Reid Nishizuka USAF
Staff Sgt Richard Dickson USAF

Navy Culinary Specialist 2nd class Milton W. Brown
CDR Joel Del Mundo Tiu
USA Warrant Officer Joseph Schiro 
Staff Sgt Justin Marquez

"The debt we owe our fallen heroes is one we can never truly repay.  But our responsibility to remember is something we can live up to every day of the year.     

Less than one percent of our nation wears the uniform, and so few Americans sees this patriotism with their own eyes or knows someone who exemplifies it.  But every day, there are American families who pray for the sound of a familiar voice when the phone rings.  For the sound of a loved one’s letter or email arriving.  More than one million times in our history, it didn’t come.  And instead, a car pulled up to the house.  And there was a knock on the front door. 

My fellow Americans, today and every day, listen to the stories these Gold Star families and veterans have to tell.  Ask about who he or she was, why they volunteered. Hear from those who loved them about what their smile looked like, and their laugh sounded like, and the dreams they had for their lives."    (excerpts) President Obama 2016

Friends running for the crew of the Indy 08
KIA 4-27-13

The cost of freedom is always high,
but Americans have always paid it.  JFK 1962

*Wear Blue photos (with the boot watermark) credited to:  Joe Newman 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

when things are hard.....

About 4 years ago,  Mike and I were foster parents on Guam to a baby girl.
She came to us at a day old,
with no name given to her,
and we gave her the name that had been picked out for years for a baby girl in our family,

Meleah Elizabeth 

If you want to read more about our foster care journey and / or Meleah, click HERE.

We hoped to adopt her but after several months, custody was shifted to her grandfather.

Yesterday I heard a song that brought me back to December 2011.

Meleah had an hour long visit with her grandfather at the social services building.
I just sat in the van in the parking lot -
sad that she wouldn't be "my" little girl forever.

And this song came on the radio....

I had the same flood of emotion yesterday that I did four years ago.

I have equal emotion of wanting something to be true, but not true at the same time.

I know, without a doubt, that the hard things in life have made me a stronger, wiser person.
but at the same time, I don't look forward to going through hard things.

But what if? 

Lots of crazy things are going on in the world.
Some people struggle during the Christmas season with loss and depression.
Hard things are happening right now to some people I love.

I felt like I should share this song.
I'm not sure who needs it, but I hope you see this,
Because I believe.....



Have you ever heard a love song
That set your spirit free?
Have you ever watched a sunrise
And felt you could not breathe?
What if it's Him? What if it's God speaking?

Have you ever cried a tear
That you could not explain?
Have you ever met a stranger
Who already knew your name?
What if it's Him? What if it's God speaking?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough
He'll do and He'll use whatever he wants to
To tell us 'I love you'

Have you ever lost a loved one
Who you thought should still be here?
Do you know what it feels like
To be tangled up in fear?
What if He's somehow involved?
What if He's speaking through it all?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough?
He'll do and He'll use whatever he wants to
To tell us 'I love you'

His ways are higher, His ways are best
Though sometimes strange
What could be stranger than God in a manger?

Who knows how He'll get a hold of us?
Get our attention to prove He's enough?
Who knows how He'll get a hold of you?
Get your attention to prove He's enough?
He'll do and He'll use whatever He wants to
To tell us 'I love you'

God is speaking, 'I love you'

Monday, April 27, 2015

Running in BLUE - my connection

My love of running began on Guam.
(*If you would like some "backstory" click HERE for my last running post on Guam)

I hit the ground running when we arrived back in the states, getting some runs in at my in-laws in Michigan and also on family vacation in Tennessee.  But I hit some low spots during the winter months of Virginia.  Although a friend from Guam and I were training for the DC Rock n Roll half marathon, we were clueless with how to dress for cold and snow.  We skipped a lot of runs and opted for warm fires and hot chocolate.  Then spring rolled around and we were busy getting ready for the girls arrival and my trip to Guam.  At some point over the summer, my friend Debbie Cyr sent me a Facebook invite to a running group called, "WEAR BLUE, RUN TO REMEMBER".  I was honored that she thought of me and proud to join.  I ordered my first WEAR BLUE shirt.  I begin to run with a different purpose and mindset.  

The mission of wear blue: run to remember is to build running communities that honor the service and sacrifice of the American military.

As a military spouse, you always prepare yourself in whatever secret way you think you can for your husband to not come back.  Every time they leave, every time a letter (now email) seems untimely late;  the doubts in your mind creep up.  And then you also consider your friends husbands next.  But I never, ever thought about a friend losing her son.  

On Sunday morning, April 27th 2013 - our phone rang.  
Phil and Debbie Cyr had lost their son. 
If the first stage of grief is denial, then I am textbook - 
because I said, "WHAT?"

I have felt horrible at least 1000 times for forcing the words to be repeated.
"Brandon was killed"

Today is the 2 year mark of Brandon's death and I run with purposeful steps and a mother's heart for her boy to remember and honor him.  If you would like to learn more about Wear Blue or Brandon, please contact me or check out the links.

Here is Brandon's Memorial Page on FaceBook  click HERE.
And the Wear Blue page is HERE

ARMY 10 MILER - October 2014

 Veteran's Day 11K 2014 - BURKE LAKE

Harbor Lights Half Marathon - Virginia Beach - November 2014

 This was my seventh half marathon and my best time.  
I had been striving to come in under 2 hours since my first half on Guam.  

And now I have the kids involved!   

 Chantilly High School Track

Rock and Roll Marathon DC - cold and rainy but wonderful experience!!

Before each run, they have a "Circle Of Remembrance".  They read the names of the fallen and have prayer.   I started saving the names of the people that ran for that day.  Their willingness to lay down their life for my freedom was something I still can't completely find the words for.   

Come join us for a run - 
volunteer to hold a flag - 
you won't regret it.