Cohosted Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

4th of July When Will and I bought the Walsh House back in February we didn’t know what this adventure of home ownership would hold, but we knew what principles we wanted to guide it.   We wanted our home to be a place that was open to all, full of life, full of love, and we wanted to make the most of the gem of a backyard God blessed us with.

This year for Fourth of July our good friends Jaclyn and Zach asked if we would be interest in co-hosting their fourth of July party so we could put to use Jaclyn’s party planning skills and our back yard.

 Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza  Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza  Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

Jaclyn had such a fun and beautiful vision for the party; she and her mom made so many decorations and lent the perfect serving dishes and tent.  We brought Jaclyn’s idea of a hot dog bar to life, had a celebration station for recording the great things that have happened this year, and a photo station to help cement the memories made.  We had 30 people there at one time, and several others come and go throughout the day.  Needless to say, there was no place to park in our cul de sac.

Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

And let me just say co-hosting is the way to go.  When there are two couples involved you have the ability to do more, to create a more intentional environment, and to stress less because you have some one to share the burden with.

Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

celebration station

Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

Photo Station with us and our roommates =) #thepomeroyden

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Jaclyn's Mom's awesome banner!

Jaclyn’s Mom’s awesome banner!

hot dog bar

hot dog bar

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But it wasn’t the decorations or the well displayed food that made the party – it was the people who came over, the laughs echoing in the air, and the smiles that filled our rooms and yard.

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Izzy Pup even got a special 4th of July Treat

Izzy Pup even got a special 4th of July Treat

people everywhere!

people everywhere!

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love birds

love birds

There are so many wonderful moments from that day – watching babies toddle around and discover new things, our friend Peggy receiving glowing reviews of her deviled eggs, her boyfriend Brian being RIDICULOUS with the sparklers, the feeling of a home bursting at the seams with love and joy, meeting new people, inspiring others to make bed frames of their own, getting Ben to take pictures with us, and when people would ask what the hot dog toppings were – even though there were labels right in front of them.

Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

<3

One of the best things though, is looking back at the end of the day and knowing that we are living the life we feel called to – the life we want to.  We set out to have a house that was open, a house filled with love and joy, a house that though ours is shared with others, to be good stewards of this chunk of the world God blessed us with.  After every one was gone and the house was mostly back in order, Hubster told me how proud he was of Jaclyn and I, because what we did on the 4th of July exemplified what we stand for.  Our door was open to all, and for that day our house was a home to a solid 40 people (10 times more than usual). My response – “It’s not really standing for it if you don’t live it out.”

So here’s a question to think about next time you are throwing a get together or a party – why are you doing it?  We put a lot of effort into this party because we wanted to create an environment for memories to be made and people to bond.  Our framily is pretty tight-knit; people see each other pretty frequently.  Jaclyn and I wanted to provide them with an opportunity that was out of the normal routine, an opportunity to draw nearer and laugh a lot.

After this Red, White, and Blue Extravaganza, I am already looking forward to next year!

Red, White, and Blue Framily Extravaganza

The lovely, thoughtful, loving, and visionary Jaclyn and I. It was such a privilege to get to host this party for all of our friends with her!

Achieving Our Goals – 2015 Check In

Lately Will and I keep getting ourselves into the circular argument when we talk about goals.  Turns out we both have the same goal – to help the other one accomplish their goals and dreams and see them be happy and fulfilled.  We decided circular or not, it’s a good problem to have!

Well, at the beginning of the year Will and I shared some things we wanted to accomplish/grow in this year.  You might recall that we set goals for things to do together as well as individual goals.  That circular reasoning problem I just mentioned, I think it has been working in our favor.  For only being a third of the way through the year, I think we have accomplished a lot and grown even more.

2015 Goals 2

For the goals we set together:

  • Grow Together Spiritually –

I am really happy to say that we have been been praying together multiple times per week and learning how to challenge and encourage each other to act and think more like Jesus.

Achieving Our Goals
  • Meet our Car Fund Savings Goal – We have a plan in place to meet our car fund saving goal, and we are steadily chipping away at it.
  • Go on Vacation – Either to Glacier National Park or a Short-Term Mission Trip – summer 2015!
  • Build a Headboard for our Bed – summer 2015!  I am taking the summer off from school to work on this and many other house projects.  
  • Be More Organized about the Garden – Starting with Making a Planting Schedule – The Garden is up and running!  Will turned an old hot tub deck that was in the back yard into a nice, neat little raise bed.  Now our challenge is fighting off the bunnies! 
  • Go on 3 Camping Trips- We have gone on our first of 3-4 camping trips!
Achieving Our Goals
Achieving our Goals

We are pursuing friendships in large part by opening our home up to our friends.

For Will’s Goals:

  • Develop a Morning Routine – particularly morning devotion time. – This ties in with the above goal we had together.
  • Read 6 Books – 1.2 down! 
  • Learn Basic Programming
  • (he will probably have more goals once we buy a house…. aka a honey do list)  – He has put in a pallet wall in the house, built a planter wall outside, and has a nice long list of things he wants to accomplish.  For his birthday I told him to pick out a hammock so that he can enjoy resting in the yard that he’s been working so hard in. 

For my Goals:

  • Find a Place to Volunteer – I spent the first few months of the year raising money through my race for OCA, and now some of my good friends and I have started handing out PB&J in downtown on Monday nights to some of the people who hang out in the parks. 
  • Eat Fewer Sweets  – I have my ups and downs… Right now I am on an up! 
  • Finish Menu Planning Certification Course – Summer
  • Finish the T-Shirt quilt
  • Run a Marathon

Achieving our Goals

  • Downsize Wardrobe – did this when we were packing to move.
  • Develop a Routine for Being a Better Friend (ie – phone dates and such) – I was doing good with this for a while, but I really dropped the ball the last month. 
  • Cook Through a Cookbook

We are over a third of the way through the year, and I am very pleased to say that I think we are doing pretty well achieving our goals!  We have been busy beavers, but we have still been enjoying life.

Crossing the Finish Line

Saturday morning came.  I approached the starting line, and 3 hours 22 minutes and 8 seconds later I crossed the finish line.

KDF Marathon

Me before the race.   I run because it’s what I can do.

At the suggestion of a friend of mine who PR’d in the half-marathon, I read up on Thursday about how to run in the rain. I never run in the rain.  I don’t enjoy it, and I am afraid of slipping.  One of the perks of having a gym with an indoor track is that I have a place to run when the weather is bad – which is the only way I was able to get in enough training for this race.

I went to Kohl’s on Friday night and bought some new shorts that would hopefully help prevent chafing (they did!), I put to use that free hat they gave us this year because it’s breathable unlike my other baseball hats, and I put to use my Brook’s long-sleeved shirt from the Iron Horse Half in 2013 and the Asics shirt they gave out for this race. Both of those shirts are moisture wicking, not cotton, and lightweight. Another tip I put to good use – Vaseline.  It makes a barrier to help prevent chafing from clothes and blisters from your socks and shoes.  If it’s cold, it can also help keep you warm.

KDF Marathon

This is the first race that I haven’t worn my “Red Racing Shorts” or since I was wearing them the first time Will saw me “the Husband Getting Shorts.”

Now for the real stuff, let me just tell you, I was dying.  God gave me a lot of stubbornness, which usually I think is more of a character flaw than a gift – not on Saturday morning folks.  Stubbornness helped me keep pushing my way through.  That and the slogan on the shirts this year “I run because…” I knew why I was running.  I was running because of a commitment that I made to myself, to Orphan Care Alliance, to all of you who donated (THANK YOU!), and to God.  Running is something God gave me the ability to do decently well, so I run because sometimes I get the opportunity to use that gift for the greater good, to make the world a better place, to make an impact.

I have to say I have never been more sore and exhausted, but more happy at the same time.  Ok, maybe when we won nationals my junior year.  Finishing this marathon is definitely right up there with bending in a corner kick and being part of an amazing team of girls who were national champions in college.

I know that I ran 25 miles 3 weeks ago, but I have only run over 15 miles 4 times in my life.  That isn’t a strong base, which is why my legs felt like they were going to fall off from about mile 17 on.  I sorta knew that would be the case though, so I strategized a little for it.  Three weeks ago when I ran 25 miles, I realized that I had a shot of finishing with a Boston qualifying time – much faster than the guess I plugged when I registered.  My bib had me placed in coral B at the starting line, which was the 3:30 pace group for the marathon.  To qualify for Boston I needed to be under 3:34. I knew that my legs were going to start hurting, and that consequently I would slow down.  Rather than stick with the 3:30 group which I knew I could do, I jumped up a coral to the 3:20 group.

KDF Marathon (6)

 

As sore as that made my legs, I don’t regret it.  I ran the first 12 miles at a crazy fast pace with a woman I met at the starting line.  Guess what?! She is a dietitian!  That’s what I am going to to school for at the moment. It was so encouraging to meet her and hear her story and passion.  I feel like that was a gift from God.  She ended up finishing 7 minutes ahead of me because I had to slow way down after running so fast for so long, but it made the first part of the race very enjoyable despite being sprinkled on.

After that, the hills came.  Then I hit the wall around miles 15-17.  That was terrible.  I kept thinking “This is too soon;  I have too far to go to feel like this right now.”  But some crowd encouragement, remembering why I was running, and a little prayer helped me muster through it.  As I was pushing through “the wall” to a second wind the rain came.  COLD rain – about half an hour of it.  I was soaked, freezing, couldn’t really feel my fingers, and extremely grateful for the free hat that they gave us. The rain stopped after that, but there were still several miles to go.  Miles 20-22 were a difficult stretch, but again God placed someone right there to talk to and be an encouragement to each other. After a quick prayer at mile 22, God gave me the final boost of energy and stubbornness I needed to keep putting one in front of the other.  I knew that the distance I had left was the same distance I run from the gym to our house – I just needed to make it home to where Hubster was waiting, proud, with warm dry clothes.

I finally made it to the home stretch.  I turned the corner for the finish line (about 200 yards I would say).  Will was right there as I was turning with a HUGE, proud smile on his face.  Seeing someone love you enough to stand in the rain while you do something crazy is a pretty good motivator.  I kicked it into the highest gear I had left for those last couple hundred yards and heard them say my name as I crossed the finish line.  Running in a race gives so much more understanding and depth to Hebrews 12:1-2 and 2 Timothy 4:7.

After the race.  I have never understood why they give out those emergency blankets, until today!

After the race. I have never understood why they give out those emergency blankets, until today!

I did it.  My first ever full-marathon.  3:22:08.  12 minutes under Boston Qualifying.  I was so exhausted, sore, and excited all at the same time.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up, cry, or be able to move again. I really did feel nauseous (the rest of the day), and I did almost start crying (especially once I found Will again), and seriously… I have never “walked” so slowly in my life.

On the way home in my nice dry clothes.  Shout out to McDonalds on Market Street for being such gracious hosts to all of us runners!

On the way home in my nice dry clothes.
Shout out to McDonalds on Market Street for being such gracious hosts to all of us runners!

When we got home I took a hot shower and did a yoga video called “Runner’s Stretch and Unwind.”  Then we napped, and then Will and I ate this GIANT Reese’s Bunny he had been saving for me for the last month as I was trying to stay away from sugar till the race was over.

After our nap we went to John’s Walk Run Shop.  What better way to celebrate a marathon, than with some new running shoes?  AND these are my favorite color!  I can’t wait till my legs recover enough to take them for a spin!

Mizuno Wave Riders This is a new brand/style for me.  I am excited!

Mizuno Wave Riders
This is a new brand/style for me. I am excited!

Thank you all for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  I definitely could not have finished that race without it.  Without my amazingly loving/supportive Hubster, my family, some God given athleticism and stubbornness, and I wouldn’t have run this fast without the help of soccer teams and guy friends past who taught me I am faster than I realize.

Here’s to hoping I make the cut when registration for Boston opens up later this year!  You can see below that not only did I finish the race and raise around $900, but I was the 132 person to finish the marathon, the 23 woman to finish, and the third woman age 20-24 to finish. I ran an average of 7:43/mile.  Apparently that’s really good for a first timer because everyone I was running around was on their 6+ marathon and was very shocked to find out it was my first.

KDF Marathon (4)

 

All in all, it was a great experience.  I am glad I did it.  I learned a lot about myself, even more about how great Will is, and experienced so much kindness from everyone’s support and donations to OCA.

 


UPDATE:

I posted this too soon I guess, they just updated the OCA page, and God brought in $10 more than my goal!  Thank you to everyone who gave!  You were part of raising $1010 for Orphan Care Alliance (all of the runners for OCA combined raised about nearly $10,000)!!!!  So blown away!!!!