Tuesday, November 13, 2012

60 days until race day!! $500 to go!!

Let me start by saying yes, I know...I just did a fundraiser for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and now here I am fundraising again. I guess the phrase "break my heart for what breaks yours" did a double take with me. I was given the opportunity to run for PCHAS - Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services, and I had to take it. I didn't have an entry into the marathon this year (because genius me, missed the entry), and so when I was put in contact for PCHAS I felt like this was meant to be.

PCHAS was founded in 1903 as an orphanage in Dallas and provide residential services, adoption, foster care as well as education and aftercare. A quick look at their success story page here are a testimony to what they are doing.

Every day we watch the news and hear stories of a "good kid" that got mixed up with the wrong crowd. Or the young student that was abandoned or abused. I hear people every day say they can't watch the news because it's too sad. I don't know if it's because it's sad or if it's because we feel hopeless. I'm humbled by the work that PCHAS does. They don't sit back and get overwhelmed by the massive need. They live the story of the little boy that tossed the starfish back into the ocean. He could not save them all, but he knew that doing as much as he could mattered. One starfish at a time.

So I am honored to raise funds for such a wonderful organization. I hope that you will take the time to research them and find out what they are about. Please pray for me as I train and hope to beat my personal best. Pray for the students that in their care that they should feel loved and see hope. Pray for the others that will come into their arms in the future. And, if you feel lead, please make a donation to support me. I have goal of $500 in 60 days. That's less than $10 per day. We don't have to feel helpless, we can help. See my page here

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More people die by suicide than car accidents

I have a very good problem right now...but a problem none the less. I am currently fundraising for two great organizations. Since the first organization is for a walk taking place next Saturday, I'll give them their due, and focus solely on them.

Awesome organization #1 - American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I have been participating in the Out of The Darkness Walk for several years. The organization raises money for suicide awareness and prevention. Every 13.7 minutes, someone in America dies of suicide. That is 105 Americans every day that die of suicide, and is the 10th leading cause of death in the Unites States.

In fact, in a recent study, more American now die of suicide than in car crashes, making suicide the number 1 injury-death in America.

More US soldiers die by suicide than in action.

I hope this opens your eyes. I hope this shocks you. It means that if you have lost someone to suicide, you are most definitely not alone. It means that when you tell your loved ones to drive safe, the truth is they are more likely to take their own life than to lose it on their drive home. I know that's rough, but if we don't face the facts, we will live in medieval times forever and prevention will go nowhere. It means that we need to stand up and fight!

There is hope! 90% of those that die by suicide have a diagnosis and treatable disorder at the time of their death.This is frustrating and makes me angry, but gives me hope that there is something we can do. It makes me angry that suicide is not spoken about more. Where are the PSAs, the billboards, the ribbons? But we cannot focus on the anger; we can only focus on the hope.

It's understandable, but most of those that come to the walk have lost someone to suicide. We share a special but terrible bond that cannot be explained. It's so comforting to know that there are people out there that share your pain. But there are so many affected that are still ashamed. If this is you, you are not alone! Fight for your loved one! If you are lucky enough to not have lost a loved one to suicide, please help support.  We need everyone's help. This is a world problem.

You can be a part of the hope. If not for you, for a friend, for your family. Please consider making a donation to help and support me and Mark's Mates in the Out of the Darkness Walk this Saturday. If you want to see what it's all about, come out. See the hope, see the need. Thank you greatly for your time in just reading this. Awareness is so important. Let the families who have lost someone know it was not in vain.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Eat At Chili's - give back to AFSP

Who wants to work all day, go home and cook, and then clean up!? What's that? No one? Well then, how about you take the family out to Chili's and 10% of proceeds go to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Less work for you, and 10% of your sales go to a great cause. The promotion is this Tuesday, September 18, 2012, and October 16, 2012, Chili's at Sawyer Park (near I-10 and Taylor). All you have to do is print out this flier below and go eat!

Service opportunities like this are awesome! They are easy to do, and you can get a lot of people involved. Take the family, invite your parents, invite your friends! Go for happy hour, lunch or dinner.

It's not all about making service easy. I believe that we need to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty, but this is a great way to spread the work about an organization many may not know about.

Suicide Prevention is one of those causes that unfortunately people tend to rally around only when they have been affected by it personally. But even then, many victims of suicide don't know how to get involved or are too ashamed because of the dark stigma around suicide. However, with one American dying by suicide every 14.2 minutes - 100 people per day - chances are high that suicide will touch your life. With such an epidemic as this, why do we not get involved? The fact is it's portrayed as a dirty little secret, when in fact, people who commit suicide die from a disease. According to the AFSP website, 90% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. AFSP raises funds for  research for prevention of suicide and for aftercare for those left behind.

I was left behind. My life has never been the same since I lost a loved one to suicide. We were left questioning why and battled feelings of anger, guilt and sorrow. The more that I talked about it, the more that I found that others have lost loved ones to suicide. Knowing that I wasn't alone comforted me, but also angered me. The thought of a mother losing her child, a wife losing her spouse...why does no one talk about this!? Because as much as we try to sound enlightened in 2012, we still have so much work to do in suicide prevention and awareness.

In 2008, I discovered that AFSP hosted an Out of the Darkness walk in Houston. This year's walk will be held November 3, 2012 at Stude Park. It's a beautiful walk to help bring suicide awareness out of the darkness. Visit www.afsp.org for more information. I'll post more on that later...

But, tomorrow, please consider going to Chili's for dinner and making a difference. At least tell someone about it! We are a city of 4 million...we can make a difference.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One step at a time...

Running for me and most is a form of therapy. Sometimes it helps manifest problems I may need to address. Anything that is going on in your brain will manifest in your running. You can't separate it.

One of my biggest struggles is worry. I will worry about things that have a less than 1% chance of happening. In the past year I have realized that by worrying, I am not trusting in God. But, it's interesting how much we can let worry infiltrate our lives.

I realized that I've done this in my running. Oddly enough...it has nothing to do with my falling! I've started running with a running group, and the coach and all the other runners keep telling me that I should be running 15 miles for my long run to train for the full in January. I know these are coaches that have gotten hundreds of runners across the finish line, but I still am worried that I'm not running enough!

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner

That quote is true, but when to train too hard too soon, you are asking for an injury. Then, all in one moment, your hard work, dedication and hope is gone. All because I worried and trained too hard.

So, I will train for the race of life as I train for the race set before me on January 15, 2012. One step at a time. With diligence, patience, and care. I will trust the Lord to get me through life just as I will trust coaches to get me across the finish line.

After all, I trust the Lord with their lives...www.asourown.com...why don't I trust Him with mine?

Monday, October 17, 2011

I love Fall!!

When I was younger, my favorite time of year was Spring/Summer...or let's call it like it is...the 8 months of the year that are triple-digit temps in Houston. I loved that it was hot, there was no school, you could spend all day at the pool, go to the lake, and so much more. It was a season of renewal. But, let's face it...Summer is a bit of a selfish season. It's all about the bikini body, fun, and freedom.

Maybe it's a sign of me aging (I know I know... not old...yet), but the past two years, Fall has wedged it's way into my heart. I think it shows that my priorities have changed over the years. Fall is when the holidays start and family events begin. I love the food, the decorations, and the idea that family, friends, and love really matter.

Also, Fall has become the season that reminds me of new beginnings. Two years ago in October, I met my favorite person :). We spent the Fall and Winter learning about each other and ourselves. That same year, I was able to venture to India where I met some amazing girls that touched my heart. My life has never been the same, and I thank God for Fall 2009.

When I came back from India, first, I looked to see if a certain someone had emailed or messaged me! Then, I thought, how do I bring this fight back to the states. I had seen the Red Light District and the homeless suffering. But I had also seen girls rescued to the light and men determined to spread love to a country.

Almost two years later, it feels like a dream. India was the most amazing experience of my life. And as much as I want to be there, hugging these sweet, amazing young woman, I know that I am an advocate on this side of the world. That is why I run. As the air cools, I am reminded of packing by bags, and heading across the world.

We are here for a short time. How do I want my time used? I want to do something extraordinary. I want to do something that lives beyond my years. So I run. I run for every girl in India that has been told her life is worthless. I run for every girl that needs to know she is a daughter of the King.

If you want to be a part of something that will last for eternity and will leave a legacy of love across the world, please consider donating. You can donate to As Our Own by clicking the title of this blog or copying this into your browser https://iwillrun.myetap.org/fundraiser/houston/individual.do?participationRef=977.0.134245405. I promise, you won't regret leaving your legacy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm a klutz!!

Bam! That was the sound of my face, nose and tooth hitting the pavement after 3.5 miles of an 11-mile run. It was a great run! I was feeling great, so excited, then I felt my foot hit something, my body lift off the ground, and in a split second, without a chance to catch myself, my face, then my body slammed against the concrete. It was not my finest moment! I ran home bleeding and bruised.

On my way home several people looked at me like I was crazy! Not one person asked if I was OK or if I needed help. As I running, I wasn’t in pain as much as I was scared of what was wrong. I knew I was bleeding pretty badly, but I did not know from where or why. I just wanted someone to stop and tell me how bad the damage was.

I did stop at a Target, and when I asked for help, the workers were kind enough to get me a first-aid kit to clean up a bit before running home. The compassion was truly appreciated.

Compassion is something that when received, we remember for a lifetime. When we give it, we tend to feel like we did something special. Yet, compassion is something we should do as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Leprosy was a disease that was highly contagious and incurable in Jesus’ day. Those with the dreadful disease were forced to live in a colony. When in contact with others, they had to announce that they were unclean. In Mark 1:40-45, a leper approaches Jesus and says that he knows that Jesus can heal the leprosy if He so chooses. Then, “Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him,” and healed his leprosy. Jesus TOUCHED the man with leprosy.

Compassion is not something that we should do to feel good; it is something we do because the compassion of Christ fills us and we can’t resist helping others. It is something we should do on a daily basis.

Sunday, we talked to our students about Jesus’ interaction with the leper. We challenged them to be purposefully compassionate. Compassion isn’t easy because it requires us to think outside ourselves. It requires us to think about the person on the street holding the sign every day.

It’s easy to think the man on the corner doesn’t have work because he’s lazy or on drugs. But, what if we are too busy judging, to be compassionate. I am in no way saying we need to give money everyone on a corner, but why aren't we moved to compassion? Why does my heart not break?

As you know, I am running the Houston marathon raising funds for an orphanage in India. The funds will go to provide rescue, food, water, shelter, care and education for young girls who have been abandoned by their families or whose mothers are enslaved as sex slaves in the brothels of India. The girls can’t work to pay their own way. Their mothers are trapped in a cycle of death. Without God’s intervention, and As Our Own, these girls would too be in the cycle of death.

We challenged our high school students and ourselves to be purposefully compassionate. I think it’s something we can all think about in our own lives. I ask you to at least look at www.AsOurOwn.org. I have made a commitment in my life to love these girls and this ministry As my Own. As such, I can’t stop spreading the word.

My team has a goal to raise $10,000 by October 23,2011. We are only a little over $1,000. If you feel God is calling you to be compassionate, please first, dedicate a time to pray for my training, then, if you feel led, please visit my donation page https://iwillrun.myetap.org/fundraiser/houston/individual.do?participationRef=977.0.134245405. I promise you, you will NOT regret this compassionate gesture.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Better to have loved and lost...

My Uncle Red's secret to a long life was,"Tobasco sauce and fried chicken." My Uncle Bud's advice includes, "Sales'll kill ya." My babysitter, Ms. Lupe always made sure we ate our lunch and taught us Spanish.

I have been very fortunate to know some pretty spectacular and wise people. One of those wonderful people, Mrs. Lupe Gonzales passed away last week. This amazing woman watched my sister and I, and almost every other child in the neighborhood, from the time I was born until I could stay home alone.

The idea of no more Ms. Lupe boggles my mind. Ms. Lupe is no longer here to watch children, to talk about the Big Bad Wolf in the attic, to make Lupe-males, and to hollar "Gatos Pintos!" (I really hope that's not a slang term for something bad!) She loved the Lord, and I know she is running on streets of gold and hugging her daughter and husband that entered Heaven's gate before her. I am not sad for her. I am sad for me and sad that I probably took her for granted so many times.

She was approximately 94 years old. No one knew her actual birthdate, which adds to the mystery of this fairytale-like woman. Wife of one, mother of 3, and influencer of thousands. I wonder if this caring, yet hard-nosed woman knew how much she impacted our lives.

And just like Edward Bloom's funeral in Big Fish when all the people he helped came to wish him goodbye, Ms. Lupe's "kids" came to her side to tell her we loved her and to thank her for all the effort and time she gave us.

The last time I got to speak with her, 3 days before she went home, her mind was still as sharp as it was 27 years ago. When I walked in the room, her eyes were so joyful and thankful, and in a short whisper, she just said, "Debra." She told me stories of when I was a little girl like it was yesterday, and I was the only girl she ever watched. And when I left, I hugged her, and she told me, "It's going to be OK, mija."

I have been so fortunate to know some spectacular and wise people. I have had to say goodbye to some, but I have to remember that God will always put people in our lives that bring us joy. We have to cherish them and cherish their memories. I will always miss my Ms. Lupe, but it is better to have loved and lost...