Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our HUGE School Decision!

"Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done."
Psalm 105:1 

Although this is supposed to be a "jogging" blog, my post today will not be about jogging. It will instead be about a huge blessing the Lord has given our family. 

Around a year ago, Jack started preschool. We had him enrolled in a Christian preschool at a local Methodist church, and he absolutely loved it! His teachers were amazing, he had a great group of classmates, and most of all, Jack loved learning about God. He loved it so much, it was the first thing he asked his teacher at orientation. "When are we going to learn about God?"

I have to take a moment here to explain something. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas and public school is all I've ever known. I even decided on a public university over a private Christian university when I attended college. My degree is in early childhood education and most of our emphasis was on teaching public elementary school. I have always been a *HUGE* supporter of public school. I remember, on more than one occasion, saying,  "My kids WILL go to public school!" I felt VERY strongly about it! I felt like I had good educational experiences in elementary, high school, AND college. I saw absolutely no need to change things when it came to my children.

And then my child started preschool.

In this faith-based preschool, my son absolutely blossomed. He had no shame in praying, he yearned for God's Word, and he had such a sweet heart for other people. It wasn't long before I started to question my decision on public school for the future. I suddenly began to feel very uneasy about Jack going to a school where his relationship with God would be put on the back burner, or not even acknowledged at all. I knew it was the Holy Spirit telling me that maybe I didn't know it all. Maybe what I originally thought was best, wasn't right at all. Maybe what was best for me when I was growing up wasn't going to be what was best for Jack.

At the end of October, I knew my plans were going to have to change. Jack accepted Christ into his little heart and I knew, without a doubt, that we needed to look into Christian school for him. I had absolutely no experience with Christian school and I also had no idea how we'd pay for it. It's no secret that we're a one-income family, so that I can stay home with the kids. Although Jack is starting kindergarten, Charlotte is still at home, and while I knew God was calling us to change our educational plan for Jack, I didn't feel like God was calling me to leave my work at home with her. 

I was scared. I didn't know how we were going to do it. But we started talking about it anyway.

While volunteering in Jack's preschool class one day, I was talking with his teacher about how we were thinking about private school. Devin and I had pretty much decided on a Christian school and were discussing how we'd be able to make it work financially. And then Jack's teacher said some of the best words I'd ever heard, "You know they take scholarships there now, right?"

I couldn't believe it. Can you say answered prayer? I called the school to verify and went straight home to check scholarship requirements. I nearly cried at what I saw. We were going to qualify for a 100% scholarship. God had already taken care of everything before I even had an opportunity to really worry.

Before Christmas, we put Jack on the enrollment list for kindergarten. And then came the waiting game. It wouldn't be until mid-February before we could apply for the scholarship. I was tempted to worry, but I knew that God would not have laid this on my heart without following through. So I trusted Him. And come through He did!

Jack's future school had a parent meeting in February and helped all of us submit forms for our scholarships. In less than a week, it was official. Jack had a 100% scholarship and he was going to a Christian school in the fall!

I would have been satisfied if the blessings had stopped there, but that's not usually how God works. I'm near tears every time I think about the things that happened next!

Over the summer, God sent our family two more huge blessings. First of all, the scholarship Jack received paid for all of his uniforms! As if that wasn't enough, someone donated school supplies for the kids on scholarship, too! I still can't quite believe it. What seemed like nearly an impossibility a year ago, will become a reality tomorrow morning when I take Jack to his very first day of kindergarten. 

To a school where they will pray together. Where he can talk about God as much as he wants! Where he will learn about the Bible daily, and memorize Scripture, and where he can grow more spiritually than I could even help him grow at home. 

Our family has been so blessed! I can't think about this entire experience without Ephesians 3:20 coming to mind, "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Thank you Lord for your blessings! And thank you for loving my son, even more than I can.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

NO Judgment

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised."
Proverbs 31:30

While perusing Facebook this evening, I read an interesting blog post. The title was "Why Christian Girls Post Seductive Selfies."
It really got me thinking. 

Where was this post when I was in high school?


But even if it had been around, would I have read it?


Heeded it's advice?

Probably not. 

I was that girl.

Almost desperate for attention from the opposite sex, it reflected in the way I dressed and often in the way I acted.

"Selfies" weren't what we called them, but I definitely knew how to take the "right" picture.

I hear a lot these days that parents should control and monitor how their daughters dress/act/etc.

And that's true, to an extent.

Christian parents are judged and berated by other Christians for not "having a handle on their kids."

Well let me tell you, I have wonderful parents who were quick to let me know when I was wearing something inappropriate.

(I STAYED grounded in high school!)

But like any teenage girl, there were times, a lot of times, when I just didn't care and just didn't listen.

It wasn't until I developed my own deep relationship with Christ that I was convicted enough to care.

I made a profession of faith as a preteen, but it wasn't until I was in my 20's that I truly understood what it meant to have an actual relationship with Christ.

As I sit and reflect on this, I think I see what we're missing with our girls.
It's more than just telling our girls that dressing and acting a certain way for attention is wrong. 

Let's be honest. They already know that.

I knew that.

It wasn't until I understood God's love for me that I finally saw that I'd been looking for attention in all the wrong places.

And that's where we have to start. 

We need to teach our girls about God's love first.

Not by telling them to read their Bibles, say their prayers, and follow a list of rules. 

We need to read our Bibles with them, disciple them, pray with them, listen to them without judgment, and show them God's love through us.

Will this always work?
No, it won't.

No parent can force a child to do anything that child really doesn't want to do. 

But let me tell you a little secret.

It's not just the parents job to show our girls God's love.

It's every Christian's job, especially the women.

Don't just spew criticism and judgment toward our teenage girls and their parents.

Love them.

Love changes everything.

And that's what our girls are seeking in the first place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Embracing Imperfection

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:8-9

I know I've already written a blog post today, but I've had an epiphany. 
Are you ready for it?

Here it goes. 

Don't tell me you already knew that? 
Okay, you did.

And I knew it too. 

I just haven't been living like it.

You see, I have this problem. I have this tendency to try so very hard to be perfect ... and when I fail, because I always will... I condemn myself. 

I feel defeated.

I feel guilty.

Why CAN'T I be the perfect wife? The perfect mom? The perfect daughter? The perfect sibling? The perfect friend? The perfect Christian?

Oh that's right.

I'm not God.

And let's be honest, I have a head knowledge of that. 
I know that realistically, I can't be perfect.

But man if I don't wake up every single morning, making my to-do lists, and trying my hardest to prove something to someone.

But to who?

I prayed before my devotion tonight, begging God to show me what I most desperately needed to hear.

This is what I learned:

God does NOT condemn me for my sins.

I have already been forgiven.

I was forgiven the moment I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my heart!

But yet, I constantly condemn myself.

I feel like if I admit my failures, it makes me less of a person.

But in reality, I'm less of a person for hiding them. 

There is FREEDOM in embracing my imperfections.

There is FREEDOM in letting go of my pride.

Yes, I said it. 


 What else makes me want to check off a list of how "good" I've been all day?

I have nothing to prove to anyone.

Not to you.

Not to me.

Not to God.


I am FREE to be ME.
So here it is.

My confession.

I am NOT a perfect person.

No matter what my Facebook page or Instagram account reflects.

I mess up DAILY. 

And you know what?


My new life goal is to show you God's GRACE in my life - not my attempt at perfection.

I'm not perfect.

But He is.


"Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:58

This has been an awesome week for me, as far as running goes! Last Wednesday, I ran a 5k on base and although I didn't PR on my 5k time, I DID PR on my 2 mile time! (18:57!) It was an extremely hot race, but I can tell that I'm slowly getting faster and stronger! While running, God brought Isaiah 40:31 to mind, "But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint!" It was just what I needed!

Yesterday, I surprised myself AGAIN by breaking my 1.5 mile and 2 mile records! (13:11 and 17:51!) I almost threw up afterward, but I was pretty excited! The current training I'm doing is preparing me to pass an Army PT test. (No, I'm NOT joining the Army!) My goal was to run 2 miles in under 18 minutes and I did it!

I've also started cross-training on my bicycle! I try to bike every other day. I can usually ride around 6 miles in 30 minutes. On Saturday, I rode 13.5 miles in an hour and 10 minutes and it was wonderful! The roads were empty and there was a nice breeze. I spent a lot of time talking to God and it was great!

I wish I had something amazing to blog about today, but I don't. In fact, I had a little bit of a rough week. In spite of my rough week, God proved his faithfulness over and over again. So I'm actually thankful because I've been able to see God working in my life, yet again. 

God always sends, or allows, things to happen in my life to either teach me, prepare me, or both. The more quickly I can recognize those instances, the better! Although I wholeheartedly believe that Devin and I are answering God's call by going into the ministry full-time, I've been so fearful that I wouldn't be able to handle it. Even though we aren't "officially" there yet, God has shown me that we CAN handle it, with His help, and that He is our protector and defender. 

Whenever I question what I should do, or how I should handle a situation, God always gives me the answer. Whether it be in His Word or through the Holy Spirit's conviction, the Lord always shows me the way. Most of the time it's hard, and it's usually not what my nature wants to do, but in the end, when I listen, I'm so grateful that I have a loving Savior who cares enough about me to show me the way.

While writing this just now, God showed Himself to me, yet again. I couldn't decide on a verse or a title to use. My dad usually sends out a verse every morning, but for some reason, he just sent it out as I was writing this. The verse was exactly what I needed to hear. "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58) As long as I make every decision based on what God wants from my life, nothing I do is in vain. That makes every heartache or difficulty worth it.

Monday, June 30, 2014


"You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."
I Peter 3:4 

What an eventful month it has been! I challenged myself to run 100km in June and I can't believe it ... I actually succeeded! Don't ask what possessed me to take on that challenge in one of the hottest months of the year. I'm really not sure!

In other exciting news, I finally ran a mile faster than my goal of 8:30! I finished a mile this past Saturday in 8:23. Not only that, but I kept running! I finished 1.5 miles in 13:43 and 2 miles in 19:03. It was a very happy day for me!

And lastly, I finally got a hybrid bicycle! I can't wait to start cross training ... and trying something new while talking to God!

While doing my Bible reading today, I came across I Peter 3:4, "You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

This verse hit a nerve with me.


Because this verse describes someone I'm not.

Over the past couple of days, I've read What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey and In My Father's House by Corrie ten Boom. Both books made me desperately yearn to be more grace-filled and Christ-minded.

I truly want to have a gentle and quiet spirit. 

I desire to show others grace, even when it's not easy.

Especially when it's not easy!

In Yancey's book, he states, "When it comes to grace, the word deserve doesn't even apply."

No one deserves grace. That's what makes it so amazing!

It genuinely hurts my heart to see the church in such a state of un-grace.

But even more so, it hurts that I'm in such a state.

My prayer is that I become more aware of my gracelessness and that when I see it, I admit it, and I beg God to help me overcome it. 

I want to be a person who is comfortable with conversational prayer. I want to lean on Christ day in and day out, talking to him continually about all things, big and small.

Lord, heal me. Help me to become gentle, to give grace, to speak to You, and to pour out Your Love.

"My help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and Earth!"
Psalm 121:2

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Casting My Cares

"Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."
Psalm 55:22

My 100km challenge is going so well! So far, I've run at least 2 miles every single day of June, except the 6th. But I made up for it by running a 10k on Saturday morning. So far, I've finished 24 miles this month. Just 38 left to go!

This past weekend, I started to feel very overwhelmed. Sometimes I personally put way too much on my plate and when I feel like I can't get it all done, I break down a little. 

Okay, a lot.

My daughter's birthday party is coming up soon, my son started science camp this week, I'm teaching Zoo Zone for the month of June, we have family coming into town this week, and on top of all that, my husband is on swing shift!

On Saturday morning, 6.2 miles were EXACTLY what I needed to release some stress!

While talking to God, I realized that a lot of my stress really comes from me. 

No one is pressuring me to do a million things and do them perfectly. 

But when I don't succeed at things, or feel like I haven't done them well enough, I feel so defeated. 

Why do I feel this way?

Satan knows exactly how to burden me and I make it so easy for him! I put unrealistic expectations on myself. I don't even know why I do it!

After my run on Saturday morning, I felt much better.

But my run on Sunday morning was the icing on the cake. 

I came to realize that I needed to listen to 1 Peter 5:7 and give all of my worries to God. He really does care about me! He even cares about the little things!

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

I shouldn't even have heavy burdens. Ever burden I currently have is a burden I've laid upon myself. But Jesus promises to take even THOSE burdens and give me rest. 

While listening to my iPod Sunday morning on my run, God had his hand on my playlist. Some people may think I'm crazy, but I know that God moves in every part of my life, and He knew that I was physically listening! I LOVE when God moves through the "little" things!

The first song that came on was called, "Cast My Cares" by Tim Timmons.

I will cast my cares on You the Almighty
I will cast my cares on You 'cause Your good
I will cast my cares on You 'cause You love me, You love me
Oh, oh because You love me

Next, "Revelation Song" by Kari Jobe.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

And then, "Lift Up the Light of Your Countenance" by Shane & Shane.

You are the Light of the world
Light up our darkness
When the night is upon us
You are the Light of the world
Nations will walk by the light 
Of the glory of a Holy God

And finally, "My Heart Cries Out" by Rush of Fools.

Flood my life
Fix my gaze
Fill my lungs
With Your grace
God, I need You
I need You

The Lord was showing me that I need to let go of all of my stress, turn my attention back to Him, and spend my time in worship, not worry. My prayer is that I can just let it go and give it all to Him!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Your Will Be Done

"Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air."
1 Corinthians 9:26

A lot of things have happened for me, as far as running goes, the past few days. Sunday night, I beat my mile record by 5 seconds! I really tried to beat 8:30 but it just didn't happen. I finished in 8:52, but I was still so excited to pass 8:57! I haven't even come close since last year!
I also dedicated myself to a 100km in June challenge! That's 62.137 miles! But more than the distance, that's 2 miles with God daily!

On Sunday, I ran with my praise and worship music for the first time in a long time. My iPod has been dead and sometimes I enjoy it just being me, the road, and the Lord. But one song came on and touched my heart in particular. 

"For all of this life
Your Spirit ignites
A heavenly fire
Untouched by the night
You opened our eyes
Turned death into life
Revealing all truth
There's no one like You"

There is absolutely nothing I love more than when God opens my eyes. Especially when I ask for help in a certain area in my life and I can physically sense and feel Him helping me. The Bible says in John 14:13-14, "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it."

This doesn't mean that anything I ask will be given to me. Not everything is God's Will. But when I struggle with sin in my life, it is God's Will that I come to Him for help. And He is faithful to answer my prayers and to help me!

While doing some personal study this week, I came across my opening verse, "Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air." It just warms my heart when I come across verses that mention running. Just like I don't run outside with no goal or purpose in mind, I don't live my life with no purpose or goal in mind. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about purpose and what God wants from my life. God wants me to start with the little things. He wants me to give him everything, my entire being. If I hold back even one area of my life, I'm not fulfilling my purpose. My purpose is to serve God! 

Can I serve God while being judgmental of other people? 


Can I turn around and serve God after gossiping?


Can I serve God while being puffed up with pride?


I know I won't ever be perfect this side of Heaven, but it's time to let go of those seemingly "little" sins and give EVERYTHING to God.

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."

Your Will be done .... Your kingdom come .... My hope is in You.
Lord don't delay, come have Your way, my hope is in You.
my hope is in You. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Glow Run, 2.0!

"With God's help we will do mighty things ... "
Psalm 60:12a

Last night, I was able to run my sixth 5k since I began this jogging journey. When I say ran, I literally mean ran! I was able to run the ENTIRE 3.1 miles without walking for the first time, ever! Although I really wanted to break 30 minutes, my main goal was to finish a 5k with no walking and I did it! I'm so thankful for my sweet friend Mallory, who is a 5k beast, for staying with me and encouraging me to keep going!
We were able to keep a 10:04 pace and finished in 31:01. A new personal record for me!

Every time I run a race, I'm so thankful that the Lord convicted me last year to make fitness a priority in my life. When I run, I'm only able to finish because of God's help. Psalm 60:12 literally speaks right to my heart. With God's help, I can do mighty things. Whether it be running a race, teaching my children, being a friend, or loving my husband, with God's help, I can do more than I ever thought possible. 

This past year spent running has grown my faith immensely. The Lord knew it was just what I needed. He knew that He was going to call our family into ministry and that I'd need faith to trust and follow our call. I sincerely believe that if I hadn't experienced His faithfulness in a small thing like running, I wouldn't have the faith I have now. The more I look back, the more thankful I am for the Holy Spirit's conviction!

My husband goes back to swing shift this week, so we'll have yet another schedule adjustment. But, I have an intense running goal for June and I intend to meet it! Already this year, I've met two of my goals: running a full 5k without walking, and finishing a mile and a half in less than 15:00. It's time to work on the rest of my list: running a mile in less than 8:30, running a 10k, and finishing a half marathon in less than 3 hours! I'll keep the words of Psalm 60:12 in mind ... With God's help, I can do mighty things!

Friday, May 23, 2014


"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

I feel like I've started my last several blogs with, "I know it's be awhile..." and it's true. When I got out of my regular running routine, I got out of my blogging routine. I've also found that I'm a lot more motivated when I'm self-motivated. When no one was reading this blog, I wrote a lot more often. 

After the Disney Princess Half, my running schedule was pretty much nonexistent. My husband was getting ready for a PT test and then went through five weeks of ALS, so it was really hard to find time to run. I have to give myself a little credit, though. I hate pushing the jogging stroller, but since that's the only way I've been able to go running lately, I've been doing it. Even though it's tough, my daughter loves going, so that in itself is worth it! She's become quite an avid bird watcher! :)

I've been thinking a lot lately about my purpose. When I started running a year ago, I had a reason. I wanted to use that time to grow closer to God. It worked! I spent a lot of time in prayer and those first several months were a season when I've been closer to God than I think I've ever been!

After I "confessed" to the world that I was now a "runner," it started getting tough to keep my original purpose in mind. Suddenly my running became about distance, times, and races. What happened to maturing my relationship, spending time with God, and focusing on the "big" race, life? I was running for the wrong reasons and it wasn't fulfilling. 

For the last several weeks, I've honestly yearned for that special time with God again. For the first time in months, I feel like I'm back in the place where running isn't for me, it's for God. My husband preached his first sermon this past Sunday and his key verse has been on my mind all week. "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) Why was I able to get up at 5:30 a.m. and run a year ago, but don't feel like I can do it now? Because a year ago, I wasn't getting up to run: I was getting up to spend time with God. The reason changes the results!

Lord, take everything I do, and remind me to do it for You!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"There will be sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of brides and bridegrooms. There will be the sounds of people bringing to the Temple of the LORD their offerings of thanks to the LORD. They will say, 'Praise the LORD All-Powerful, because the LORD is good! His love continues forever!' They will say this beause I will again do good things for Judah, as I did in the beginning," says the LORD.
 Jeremiah 33:11

Have you ever had one of those days where you can tell that God is right there actively working in your life? Even though the day may actually be tough, you can almost physically see God's Hand moving. I've had one of those days today. Little bits and pieces of blessings that I can not only see now, at the end of the day, but that I recognized as they occurred. I'm so thankful for days like today. 

It all started this morning. I've been really trying hard to get up early and have some quiet time before the kids wake up. I've been guilty of pursuing God on the first two or three days of the week, and then kind of thinking that's "good enough," so I slack off the next four days. It has been my heart's desire to get back to that place of daily rapport with the Lord. That's the reason I started running in the first place!

I don't have any set plan for devotions in the morning. I've been in-between Bible studies, so I've just been reading whatever I feel like God has laid on my heart. I opened my Bible app on my phone and saw a verse from Jeremiah 33. But instead of reading on my phone, I felt the need to get up and get a devotional Bible. The devotion was for Jeremiah 33:11 and it was about expecting God's endless love. That's right: endless love. Not conditional, but unconditional. Even if the love I have for myself comes and goes. 

I just really haven't felt like myself lately. I've been frustrated with my running, with my attitude, with my parenting ... with everything. I feel like I just can't keep it together. Why can't I seem to do things right? To be the best mom, wife, and child of God I can be? Why don't I pursue Him more? Why isn't it easy now like it seemed to be last year? 

And then I read something in the new Bible study we started today that shifted my perspective. First of all, we don't pursue God: He pursues US. And secondly, we don't act the way we do because of who we really are. We act the way we do because of who we think we are. 

I've been acting the way I have lately, because that's who I've told myself I am. 

But I'm not that person.

And I don't have to keep chasing after God.

He never left me in the first place.

 I was just looking in the wrong direction.

During my run tonight on the "dreadmill," I started seriously training for a 10k. I know that probably sounds crazy. Yes, I've finished two half marathons, but no, I've never run a 10k race. I've made it my goal this year to improve my times. Run a faster mile, mile and a half, 5k, 10k, and half. Lots of opportunity to lean on God's strength!

While nearing the end of my workout, I prayed, "God, PLEASE send a song on my iPod that will get me through this last ten minutes of running. I'm mentally and physically exhausted!" Not your ordinary prayer, I know. But God and I, we talk like this a lot during my runs.

And wouldn't you know it, 'Stronger' by Mandisa came on next. 

I'll leave you tonight with a few of her lyrics. Hopefully you can see how God used this song to not just bless my run, but to bless my day. To remind me that He loves me endlessly, that He is constantly pursuing me, and that there is never any need for me to believe lies about myself. 

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

 When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

 'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

Friday, February 28, 2014

Run Like a Princess!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won't become weary and give up."
Hebrews 12:1-3

 It has been several months since I last posted, but that's mostly been because of lack of training! After my first half marathon in Pensacola in November, our family stayed busy with traveling, holidays, the flu, and abnormally cold weather for Florida. With the Disney Princess Half Marathon quickly approaching, I was filled with more dread than excitement. I knew I hadn't trained like I need to and I was terrified!

Between the two races, the furthest I ran at one time was five miles. On the morning of the race, I woke up nauseous because I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to finish! My whole reason behind running Pensacola was so I could submit a time to Disney. What if I couldn't make it? What if I got swept by the balloon ladies?!

Luckily for me, I was able to exchange my nausea for excitement by the time we reached our corral. When Disney does an event, they do it big! It was so exciting to see all of the awesome costumes and the amount of people who showed up for the race was overwhelming!

By the time our corral reached the starting line, I couldn't wait to begin! Disney made each and every runner feel special by shooting fireworks for every corral. As the sky turned red overhead, at 6:04 a.m., corral J was off!

Until I'm right there in the race, I always forget how exciting the race feels. A half marathon is no longer 13.1 miles in its entirety. It's one mile at a time! And these weren't your average miles. These were miles seasoned with Disney magic!

For the majority of the race, I jogged half mile intervals. I didn't wait in line for characters on the journey toward Magic Kingdom, although it was interesting to see who all showed up to cheer us on! Hercules, Aladdin, Flynn Ryder, Prince Eric, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts were just a few of the many characters I passed along the way.

After five miles, the moment I had been waiting for finally arrived. Magic Kingdom! In all of my many trips to Disney, I have never experienced anything like this. Running through the heart of Main Street USA, traveling through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and finally running right through Cinderella's Castle!

 It took me over twenty minutes just to make it through Magic Kingdom. There was really no rush. I wanted to enjoy it! I stopped to pose with mile marker six before passing Splash Mountain and exiting Magic Kingdom. It was time to enjoy halfway and make that journey toward the finish line!

At the halfway mark, dozens of speakers lined the course, playing "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen. I think it gave everyone that boost of energy they needed to keep going! We passed Mary Poppins and Bert outside of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Lilo and Stitch posed for pictures near the road to the Polynesian Resort. Somewhere near miles 8 and 9 were the Incredibles. Just taking in the surroundings made me forget that my legs were starting to get a little sore!

Around mile ten, I made the decision to start walking. I knew I could walk and finish within the time limit. I didn't want to overdo it, especially considering my lack of training!

I could see Epcot as I approached mile 11 and it finally became real that I was going to finish my second half marathon! We passed mile marker 12 before entering the park and there was finally one character I was willing to wait in line for: Sofia the First! My daughter loves Sofia and I didn't mind resting my legs to get a picture!

For the last mile of the race, there were so many people cheering us on! I passed the Fairy Godmother doing interviews and taking pictures. I passed Spaceship Earth. Finally, after seeing an awesome gospel choir, I rounded a curve and there it was! Mile marker 13! And just beyond that, THE FINISH LINE! I started to jog again and made sure to smile this time for the Marathon Foto people! ;)

 My official time was 3:29:04. Was I disappointed? No way! Running for time was never my intention! I wanted to Run Disney for the experience! It was the best birthday present ever and I can't wait to spend my 27th birthday running through Disney World next year! February 22, 2015, here I come! :)