It’s here.

OK, friends. It’s here. The marathon is in THREE DAYS. Final confirmations received, bib #’s assigned. Oh my word. I am getting super excited and super nervous all at the same time!!! I have been so busy this week, I honestly haven’t thought much about it until today…and right now my stomach is in knots! We have one more run on our training schedule for 2 whole miles tomorrow and then that’s it. All that’s left to do is load up the iPods, charge up the Garmins and head to Houston! I can’t believe this is really gonna happen. This dream will become reality. That item on the bucket list can officially be checked off.

I am pumped to be able to participate in this adventure with some awesome teammates! I seriously could not do this alone and appreciate the encouragement each one of them gives me. There is no way I could have completed those long training runs by myself! I am thankful for Ryan and my running buddy Christy who has spent many hours on the road with me. We have had good runs and hard runs. We have struggled and laughed. We have sweated and froze our tails off. She too lost her father suddenly a few years back. I can’t speak for her, but I feel like running together these last few months has been therapeutic for the both of us. A blessing for sure. Everyone on our team has different reasons for registering for this marathon. It’s so neat and so inspiring how running means something different to everyone. In fact, a few days ago, Ryan’s cousin Tim wrote this note on FB. I LOVED reading this and just had to share….

Houston Marathon

by Tim Ivey on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 5:32pm

I used to find it silly when someone dedicates something to someone, whether it be a work of art or a book, or even a personal accomplishment.  However I realize now that dedicating something to someone is not just a nicety or obligatory notion, but it’s an acknowledgement that the thing that has been achieved could not have been achieved without this person(s); whether it be by simple motivation or greater forces.  A week from today I’ll be running the Houston Marathon with my cousin Ryan, his wife Traci, and a small team of others along with thousands through downtown Houston, near where I grew up.  I wholeheartedly understand and realize that I am not the first person to run a marathon, and I am not the first person to attempt, nor will I be even close to the fastest person.  However, not many people have run a marathon after being morbidly obese for most of their lives.  Just 8 years ago I weighed 396 pounds, and could never have dreamed up training for something for 6 months and being psychically able to finish such a feat. Weight loss + the subsequent complete life reversal was not achieved on my own, and for that I am eternally grateful.  So I dedicate this half of a year of training, and the 4 (or so) hours next Sunday on the Houston asphalt to a couple who helped to revolutionize my physical life, and subsequently by emotional, spiritual and so on.  I would like to publicly dedicate next week to Dick and Teresa Young.  Aside from my immediate family members, I have never in my life had two people who believed in my more than the Youngs have.  Before, during, and after my weight loss journey, they were a constant motivation, encouragement, and hard love giver.  I know beyond a doubt that I would not be where I am today if not for their relentless love and patience.  Even though we now are half a country apart, they will always be a part of my family.  Thank you to both of you, and just know that I will be thinking of you during every one of those grueling….I mean fabulous 26.2 miles. 

I’m so proud of Tim, my other teammates, and of course my wonderful husband and am stoked to be there with them as we finish those 26.2! It’s gonna be a great & special weekend. My goal is to soak up every minute of it. Houston Marathon 2012, here we come. HIGH FIVE TO THE SKY!

P.S. If you have any interest in tracking Ryan or I as we run on Sunday morning, you can register here to get status updates via email or texts. My bib # is 7912 and Ryan’s is 5698.

It Works!

Above is a pic of one my best friends. Yes, these pics are real & yes that is a real person that I know! She sang at my wedding and her husband was our best man. These are her before & after pics while using It Works! Ultimate Body Applicator. CRAZY!

I am excited to announce that I’ve started distributing It Works! all natural products & body wraps. I am usually a huge skeptic when it comes to this sort of stuff but after talking with my friend (above) from Lubbock who started selling it & seeing her before/after pics, I was convinced. Plus, I’m always looking for ways to promote a healthy lifestyle!

The Ultimate Body Applicator is a non-woven cloth wrap that has been infused with a powerful, botanically-based formula to deliver maximum tightening, toning, and firming results where applied to the skin. It helps reduce stretch marks and is perfect for people who have lost a bunch of weight and have excess skin. Even after running my tush off for this long, I still have a small pooch left from having kids that I’m ready to get rid of! You can seriously wrap for 45 minutes & see instant results! Most people lose an inch after the first wrap. As you can imagine, these “skinny wraps” are quite the popular product, but it is in no way supposed to be a “quick fix” but rather a jump start on a new, healthier you. Results from the wrap stay off anywhere from 2-6 months depending on your lifestyle. Obviously if you eat healthy and work out, they will stay off longer or remain off! 

I’d love for you to take a sec and look at my website here.

Also, I’ve set up a Facebook page you can follow here.

You can also read all about the all-natural products and other supplements available on my website. As a runner, I’m really excited about the “Relief” supplement that contains glucosamine & chondroitin and promotes joint health. Also, the product called “Greens” which is a powder that you can simply add to smoothies to get 8 servings of fruits & veggies. They contain 38 herbs & nutrient-rich “superfoods.” 

OK, I’m done w/my sales pitch! Just wanted to let you all know what I’m up to. If you would like to try a wrap or want more info on the supplements, please let me know! 

Messy Night.

Tonight after dinner, I was doing my nightly ritual of cleaning up. You know, the usual…dishes, wiping the table & faces, picking up the toys on the kitchen floor as well as the socks and shoes that I’ve tripped on a few times, etc. After starting the bath water, I continued cleaning up books in the hallway and then on into the girls’ room which was utterly disastrous. Stuff was everywhere. I honestly felt annoyed by all the mess. If you know me, you know I prefer order and organization. Things have a place and they belong in that place. And just as some not nice words were about to escape my mouth and regrettably enter loudly into the house for all to hear, something smacked me in the face (and heart) so hard that tears came to my eyes.

You see, at this very moment there is a mommy out there in my city who is mourning the loss of her precious 3 year old daughter. I can’t even fathom that. And here I am griping and moaning about the mess my daughters have made as they happily played in their room this evening. For those of you from Tyler, I’m certain you have heard about Haven Grace. For those of you who haven’t heard, please take time to watch this. What a blessing this child was to so many and what an amazing life she lived in her short time here. My heart has been heavy for this family for the past few days. Sad for her mommy & daddy and their incredible loss, but also inspired by this sweet little girl, her caring heart & her courage. Wow, what an angel.

So, how dare me & my complaining tonight. I should thank God for this mess we call our home. Lord, forgive me for being so stinkin selfish at times. Stepping on that toy while cooking should remind me…I have healthy children who are simply being kids and enjoying life. Instead of being annoyed, I should hold them close & give them a big fat kiss while thanking God for them. And the fact that He loves me and doesn’t shout out ugly words even though I’m a mess at times.

Christmas, New Years & 21 Miles.

I love the holidays and all they entail. Starting with Thanksgiving through the New Year, I love all of it so much! Celebrating all we have to be thankful for to celebrating our Savior’s birth to celebrating a brand spanking new year, what’s not to love?! The holidays are much fun. Family traditions, no school, hot chocolate, parties, Christmas music, feasts, gifts, memories, lights, pie, movies, late nights, game nights, naps, and the list goes on and on. It has been a great two weeks.

And then…today arrives. The day that seemed so far away a couple of weeks ago but has somehow snuck up on us. School day. Oh boy, you would have thought we were causing Addi physical pain this morning as we drug her out the door and took her to school. The girl was not at all excited. She didn’t like getting up out of bed early. She didn’t like not being able to watch an entire movie while eating her breakfast slowly. She didn’t want to actually put on clothes and fix her hair. She didn’t want to go to computer lab. Poor baby was not a happy camper! But, I feel pretty certain that come 3 o’clock when I pick her up, she will be all smiles and in love with school again. But it is hard getting back in the groove of our normal routine!

A quick update on running. We are less than 2 weeks out from our marathon. We ran our last long training run this past Friday – 21 miles. TWENTY ONE MILES. Oh my word, it was tough. So hard. 16 wasn’t bad. 18 was even manageable. But 21 was very challenging. We did have some factors going into it that worked against us though. Lack of sleep the night before, lots of excess holiday eating, and running the same route as the previous long runs but adding in an extra mile here & there to meet our distance goal was a mental roadblock. This was honestly the first run during our training that I really wasn’t sure if I was going to make it the entire way. But we did it! I’m thankful for Ryan & our friend Christy – I couldn’t have done it without them. But here’s the good news. We have two weeks of easy running (a.k.a. tapering). We gladly welcome that and hope to be reminded during these 3 & 5 milers of the reasons why we love to run. Also, Houston is FLAT while Tyler is NOT. Training here hopefully has better prepared us to run 26.2 with a bit more ease. All in all, I feel ready.

I’ll leave you with some random shots from the holidays. Happy 2012 friends! I’m excited about another great year together. Much love!

Traci

Kam’s Hot Chocolate Birthday Party

A few months back, Kam informed me that she wanted to have a “hot chocolate” birthday party. Easy enough! So this past weekend, my baby turned 4 and we had her a partay. Did you hear that? MY BABY TURNED 4, PEOPLE!

This sweet litttle bundle who just looked like this yesterday…

Now looks like this today…

I think as soon as you become a parent, you enter into some kind of weird warped time zone. Seriously, I’m amazed at how fast it goes and at the same time challenged to cherish each precious minute of each day! Anyways, enough of the sappy mommy talk (before I start crying!) and on to the birthday party.

A hot chocolate birthday party is what she wanted, so a hot chocolate birthday party is what she got! After all, it’s not everyday YOUR BABY TURNS FOUR. Here’s what we did to celebrate. On the invite, we told everyone to come in their pajamas to the party – since it was a mid-morning party on a Saturday, we thought this would be appreciated! Each of the kids got to decorate a chocolate cupcake to enjoy along with their cup of homemade hot cocoa in a snowman mug. We had a buffet of marshmallows, peppermint sticks, mini M&M’s, different colors of icing, and holiday sprinkles. I also made marshmallow snowmen (thanks Pinterest), which were a hit! After this fine dining experience a.k.a getting hopped up on sugar (sorry mommy friends), we had storytime. Ryan read one of our kid’s favorite books called Snowmen at Night. Then, we went on a snowman hunt (thanks to my friend Rach for this fun idea). I printed out blue snowmen and hid them all around the house. I told the kids that last night, twenty snowmen had snuck into our house & hid (you know…as a follow-up to Snowmen at Night) and they had to help find them before they melted! Then, it was time to open gifts & pass out goodie bags. Each kid was able to take home their snowman mug too. All in all, I think it was a fun party & Kamryn had a great time and felt special. Addi said it was the best party ever! Love that my girls appreciate such simple things like hot chocolate.

Happy birthday to the sweetest four year old ever!

Pink & Blue: Session 6

Pink+Blue=Purple 

1. Review of the Crazy Cycle:

Crazy Cycle: Without Love > She Reacts > Without Respect > He Reacts > cont’d

2. Review of the Rewarded Cycle:

Rewarded Cycle: His Love > Produces her Respect > Her Respect > Produces His love

  • His love motivates her respect and her respect motivates his love.

3. Introduce new concept of “unconditional” in the Rewarded Cycle:

His love…Regardless of her respect…Her respect…Regardless of…

*Question: What does the word “unconditional” mean to you?

a. Unconditional definition: Without conditions or limitations; absolute.

b. Have you ever been in a situation where you responded without respect/love?

  • Remember…“My response is my responsibility.”
  • Your spouse doesn’t cause you to be who you are, they reveal who you are.

c. Husbands are commanded to love their wives. Wives are commanded to respect their husbands. It’s not about your spouse, the command is for you!

Read: Ephesians 5:22-33

*Couples Question: In one sentence, how would you sum up these verses in regards to marriage?

d. The Rewarded Cycle deepens and demonstrates our love and reverence for Christ as we do this UNTO Christ.

  • Our marriage is another opportunity to not only obey but glorify God. He uses it in our lives to sanctify us.
  • Pink plus blue makes purple. Purple is the color of royalty = holiness.
  • A godly marriage demonstrates Christ’s love.

Marathon in ONE MONTH!

One month from today, we will run 26.2 miles in Houston. ONE MONTH!!! 26.2 MILES!!! I may have lost my ever loving mind.

Crazy that we received this email back in June and the marathon seemed so far away then. Time, as usual, has flown by and we here we are just a few short weeks away!

Training has been going well. Life is busy and it’s been hard to stick to the schedule completely. We’ve made adjustments here and there to do what we could. But overall, I think we are right on track. Last weekend we ran 16, which has been our furthest run yet!

Here’s what we have left pre-race:

  • Week of Dec 12 (this week): 5 on Tues, 9 today (on the treadmill since it’s raining, ugh), 18 on Sun
  • Week of Dec 19: 5 on Mon, 10 on Wed, 4 on Fri, and 21 on Sat (this will be our longest pre-race)
  • Week of Dec 26: 5 on Mon, 10 on Wed, 4 on Fri, and 10 on Sat (tapering begins – YAY!)
  • Week of Jan 2: 3 on Mon, 5 on Wed, 3 on Fri, and 5 on Sat
  • Week of Jan 9: 3 on Mon, 3 on Wed, 2 on Fri (this will be my favorite week)
  • January 15: RACE DAY!
Headed out now to take Kam to school and shocker…run! Please pray for us & the rest of our team that we can complete these last few weeks of training injury-free & can complete this marathon feat successfully. Thanks friends. Can’t wait to mark this off the bucket list and get that 26.2 sticker for my minivan. High 5 to the sky!
Run for Sight 5K, Dec. 3rd

Prayer Life In Training

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor preached on prayer and the importance of it. It was such a good message & sweet reminder for me. Obviously to have a good relationship with your spouse, your children, your friends – there must be open communication. Same can be said with God. He wants to hear from us. He wants us to talk to him daily. He clearly loves us. I’m going to be brutally honest here and say that I struggle with this area of my relationship with the Lord. Praying does not come easy for me. At least not on a daily basis. Oh, I can pray when there is a need – when I’m struggling with something, my kids are sick, when Ryan interviewed for his new job, when there is a death in the family, a friend has lost a job, etc. It’s easy for me to remember to pray when there is something wrong or someone is hurting or something big is going down. But it’s hard for me to remember to pray on the days when everything is going A-ok. On that random Tuesday when nothing major is happening and everything is just fine…I may forget altogether to pray that entire day. Do you struggle with this?

I’ve read books like A Praying Life and Forgotten God. Mentally, I know what is right and true. I know I need to pray to my heavenly Father, just like I talk to Ryan every day and just like I expect my own kids to talk to me. We need to “pray continually” as it says in Thessalonians. Spiritually, I have to work on this. Just like training to run this marathon, I have to train myself to pray each and every day. After hearing Doug’s message, I told Ryan that I was going to work on this more. So here is what I’ve challenged myself with: I need to realize that prayers do not always have to be requests, so I am going to pray more thanksgiving prayers. Prayers to just praise God for all that He has blessed me and my family with. Thanking him for the creation I get to run through, my children’s health and their beautiful faces, my warm cozy bed, good tasty food, my loving husband, great friends to share life with, freedom of worship,  our house, my morning cup of coffee, the fact that this world is not my home, etc. After all, any and everything good comes from Him. He deserves a thank you, every day. I tell my kids this all the time…I need to apply it more in my own prayer life.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17

Life is hard and usually there is something you can think to lift up in prayer. But when all is going ok and there is not an immediate need, simply praise Him for that! There is really always something you can talk to God about. He desires that. The creator of the universe cares for us more than anything. His love for us is indescribable. He wants to provide for our needs, yes. But more than anything he wants that sweet relationship with us. Each day. How awesome is that?

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” – Ephesians 3:17-18

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” – Matthew 6:26

Bird on the Coast of New Hampshire, November 2011

Simple Christmas.

As Christmas approaches, school is winding down, and some major life changes are headed are way, things have been on the brink of nutso around the Dixon casa to say the least. Add into that bowl of craziness: training for our marathon (that is in just over a month), my acquiring another client starting in January (yay!) and leading our Community Group this semester…wow, we’ve been slammed. I told Kam yesterday, while we were out and about running errands, that mommy needed a vacation. She agreed and so I asked her where should we go, to which she replied, “the park!” Not really the kind of vacation I was thinking, but I love how easy she is to please!

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO not complaining – all of the above has been great stuff. Ryan and I have felt so humbled lately by God’s goodness amongst all the appointments, meetings, long runs, homework, and shopping. He has truly blessed us and we are incredibly thankful. In awe really. Through the good times and the bad, God is consistently there loving us and providing for our needs. His love is overwhelming and His grace and mercy abounds.

During this season, my prayer is that my family and I can take a “vacation.” Not go anywhere or do anything, but simply escape the craziness for a few days and center our full attention on Him and each other. Uninterrupted, quality time. No schedules or places to be. Just really enjoy Christmas for what it’s supposed to be. Spend time together as a family as we celebrate our Savior. I also pray that we can teach our children about generosity – and how giving can be even more fun than receiving.

Here’s is a video that I recently saw on Facebook and wanted to share. Such a sweet reminder. Much love, dear friends. Merry (Simple) Christmas to you all!

Simple Christmas

Pink & Blue: Session 5

Sorry it has been so long since we’ve posted a recap on our Pink & Blue series! The last two sessions were video sessions, so there was not a recap. Not to mention the topic of those two session was sex, so I don’t think I could have shared on here anyways! ;)

If you missed the first two lessons, you can see them here:

Session 1

Session 2

Session 5 (below) was more of a discussion-focused lesson, which was great. It was neat to hear different stories, tips, struggles, etc. from our friends. Here are the scriptures, talking points and questions that we discussed. Good stuff! Session 6 in a couple of weeks will be the final one. We have enjoyed sharing with our Community Group this semester and pray that marriages have benefited! God is good.

Pink & Blue: Session 5

Your Parents

Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Questions:

  1. How did your parents “training” as you were a child influence you as an adult? What did you learn to do/not to do from them?
  2. How would you describe your parent’s marriage & how do you feel that affected your perception of marriage?

Us as Parents

Genesis 2:24

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

-Our main responsibility as parents is to train our children to love the Lord & become good adults & send them off.

-We are the primary authors of our children’s hearts.

Questions:

  1. Do you feel like your home is kid-centered? Is your child your trophy? What’s the reason for this?

Proverbs 31:10 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

-A good marriage is the greatest gift you can give your kids.

-We need to prioritize marriage. Will you run or will you fight?

  1. How important do you feel it is to be “one flesh” (unity) while parenting?

-Never talk down to your spouse in front of your kids.

-Individually focus on your own relationship w/Christ & that pours all areas of life (spouse, parenting, work, etc).

Us as Us

Hebrews 13:4

“Let marriage be held in honor among all…”

-Your marriage is to be honored. Held high. Your spouse should be your object of affection.

-You have your children for 18ish years in your home. You have your spouse until “death do us part.”

-Remember your date night & keep it holy. Needs to be a priorty!

-You need time away with your spouse: daily (10-15 min uninterrupted talking, date nights 1-2/month, trips once a year).

-Laugh together

Questions:

  1. When was the last time you dated your spouse? What are some examples of things to do on a date? give examples: put kids to bed, have date night at home (cook, watch movie, talk, etc), swap out nights w/nights, meet for day dates
  2. Why do you think so many people struggle w/dating?

Tips for Date Nights at Home:

  • fire pit & sit outside
  • cook dinner together after kids go to bed, have candlelit dinner
  • play cards or board games together
  • get takeout & watch a movie
  • put a blanket down & have a picnic in the living room
  • put on music and dance
  • make your favorite appetizers (cheeses, crackers, chips & salsa) and have a glass of wine on the patio
  • play video games
  • work out together (walk, run, exercise)
  • take a bubble bath together
  • spend the night in the guest bedroom
  • sit outside and read together
  • give each other a back rub

Date Night Conversation Starters

  • If you could store up only one hour’s worth of memory in your mind, which hour of our marriage would you want to remember?
  • If you could have witnessed any biblical event, which one would you choose?
  • When do you feel most loved?
  • Which strengths in your life bring you the greatest satisfaction?
  • What is the best way for me to encourage you?
  • What time of day is best for us to talk?
  • If we could just drop what we’re doing and go do something fun, what would it be?
  • What is one of the most adventurous things you’ve ever done?
  • In your opinion, what makes a great parent?
  • What are five essential values we want our children to embrace above all others?
  • What can we do as a couple to change the world in which we live?
  • What goals would you like us to accomplish in our marriage in the next year? … five years? … ten years?

My New Life.

I am about to begin a whole new life. One that I’ve only really imagined possible up to this point.

God moves in great ways. I am actually humbled and taken-back that He finds me valuable enough to bless me with the life He has. Seriously. It’s recently brought me to tears when I look back at His ever powerful, ever guiding hand in my life. This change for us is no exception.

I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted a new career with Pearson Education as a Multimedia Course Developer. I will be developing video tutorials and learning resources for the #1 educational eBook publisher in the World. This career will bring about many positives for the Dixon family. I begin on the 19th and am ecstatic about the changes.

Here are just a few of the changes…

My new commute.
My new office space.
My new cafeteria.
My new office building.

I found out about this opportunity about a month ago from my sis-in-law Jen, applied and was granted the opportunity to do some sample work as part of a “test” to check out the candidates. I was asked to build a presentation based on this graphic/script.

Here is my video submission. Click it!

Later I received a call requesting a “get to know you” interview, interviewed and was later offered the position.

I am amazed and once again humbled to be able to take on this role and am so excited about not only the changes for the Dixon family but being able to really utilize my trade skills to a higher level.

  • Audio experience, check.
  • Graphics experience, check.
  • Teaching experience, check.

This is my new life.

News Story.

A few weeks ago, a sports reporter from the Dallas Morning News emailed me and asked if we could set up a time for her to interview me regarding our Turkey Trot family tradition. She had read the story I submitted in the “Why we Trot” contest (which you can read about here) and said it intrigued her. I love that she wrote this article for 3 reasons:

1. My Dad’s legacy remains and he still continues to impact others with his valuable influence.

2. Dad loved reading the newspaper, collecting memorable days’ papers, and being in the paper. He would have thought this was just too neat!

3. I love my family and I love our memory makers. I love sharing our experiences with others.

You can read the story here.

Fans for Friends

A few nights ago, Kam spent the better part of an hour working on some “fans for friends.” She meticulously folded and colored on probably 20-30 sheets of construction paper. She came in and asked me if I would like to buy a fan. Of course I did and she “sold” one to Ryan as well. She was proud of her fans and even wrote her own jingle. Reminds me of her entrepreneurial sissy and her colored pages. So, without further a do, here’s is Kamryn Jane’s commercial for her “fans for friends.” If you would like to buy one, please send money to Tyler, TX (that’s what our address is according to the girls).

Art Contest

We love Addi’s school. It is an Arts Academy and promotes art & creativity in all they do. She gets to take dance, drama, music, and art every week. How cool is that? She enjoys these classes so much. Recently, they sent home a flyer about a school-wide art contest that they do every year. Addi is always a little nervous about entering into contests or playing games. She’s a perfectionist, doesn’t like to lose, and worries about every detail. (Not sure where she gets this from!) However when she heard that everyone that enters gets to attend an ice cream party, it was on. She was ready to get her creative on.

For this contest, you can submit a painting, a musical recording, do a dance, photography, etc. But the student has to do it all by herself. Addi chose to paint. We got her a blank canvas and let her have at it. Of course, Kam had to paint something too. (She’s a bit more free-spirited and carefree as you can see with her painting below.) Addi is so serious about everything she does. She worked on this piece for a couple of days, shed some tears of frustration if she “messed up”, and asked a billion questions about the contest and what was going to happen. I reassured her (a million times) that the beauty of art is that you can’t mess it up…you can make it however you want it and anything goes. It’s her canvas and every stroke she makes can be whatever color or shape she wants. She’s such a rule-follower and likes to color in the lines, so this was somewhat difficult for her to understand.

It turned out great. She was very proud of it and was excited to turn it in to her teacher. The painting is of her standing outside her house. She’s holding an umbrella and Bailey is next to her. The sun is shining (and smiling), there are flowers along the pathway and a rainbow in the sky. Oh, and don’t forget the pink heart clouds.

I love these artists, their personalities and their sweet little hearts! They are beautiful.

Our Trip to New England

We had a great time in New Hampshire & Boston last week. It’s beautiful there in the Fall – the display of oranges, reds, and yellows on the trees, snow on the ground, the hills and mountains, the coast, the history…it’s amazing. If you are new to reading this blog & don’t know the history of why this trip began, you can read all about last year’s special trip here and here.

The vacation was filled with much laughter, some sweet reminiscent tears, and good memory making. It’s always great to see my family that lives there. My Aunt & Uncle are great hosts and we always have a blast with them and my cousins. We did a lot of different things this time around, which was cool. And my brother Jeff and Ryan’s brother Ross (from Minnesota) came this year too, which was awesome! We ate a ton of food, tried some tasty New England brews, toured Fenway Park & Sam Adams, drove down the coast, walked on the beach (even stuck our feet in the ocean, even though it was frigid!), shopped a bit, ran the Manchester Half, and just enjoyed all being together.

The race was truly great experience for me. My little brother, Jeff, decided months back that he wanted to run his first half marathon in Manchester. In honor of Dad. So we put together a training schedule & he prepped for months. I decided that I would pace myself to run with him for this race. I wanted to absorb and enjoy the experience together as we trotted through the streets of this beautiful town in a race that my Dad did. Special. Jeff did great, tackled the tough hills, and finished. Quite the accomplishment & I was a proud big sis! Ryan and Ross together too, which was neat for them. Ross & my cousin Mary achieved their best time ever for a half. High five to the sky!

Addi’s First Protest Letter

We got home from our fabulous New Hampshire trip last night after flying all…day…long…and when we walk in the door my Mom catches us up on what’s been going on with the girls while we’ve been gone. Then she proceeds to hand me this handwritten, very passionate & opinionated note (while totally cracking up).

Apparently while at school yesterday, Addi was presented with the opportunity to participate in karate. And apparently she does NOT want to participate in karate. AT ALL. Little Miss Addison Dixon wrote the following letter to her teacher.

Translated:

If you want to go to karate stand up. If you want to stay in class sit down. Karate is a bad choice. You hit and kick. You have to be safe and responsible and respectful. Big kids can but little should not. Addison does not want to go to karate. I’m going to stay in the class and learn. Addison wants to do a dance recital. Gramma had a long talk with me about karate and we decided not to do it for now.

-Addi

How awesome is that?! I’m sure her teacher got a big kick out of that this morning when Addi waltzed into class and handed it to her. I definitely had to “scrapbook” this to show her when she grows up! Her first official protest letter. I have to say, reading this made me so so proud. After laughing and being impressed with her writing skills, I was proud to see that she is fully prepared to stand up to what she believes in! If she feels karate is a bad choice because you kick and hit, then she will not do it. She would rather stay in class and learn. Hahaha, that’s my girl!

Run for Sight 5K

Our friends, Josh & Maggie Ghrist, are missionaries in Mombasa, Kenya. Right now they are in the states on furlough while also raising funds to support their ministry, Lighthouse for Christ.

Lighthouse for Christ is a non-profit ministry in Kenya dedicated to healing the physical and spiritual sight of the people along the coast of Kenya. They provide free eyecare and treat 30,000 people yearly, who could not otherwise afford to fix minor or major eye problems. Awesome.

To help raise money for this great cause, we are helping the Ghrists plan a 5K event. If you live in or around Tyler, you should come & run for sight! Saturday, December 3rd at Faulkner Park in Tyler. Runners, walkers, kids, strollers, doggies – all are welcome!

Click here for more details.

Click here to print registration form.

Running for my heart’s sake.

Yesterday, I set out for a run. Dropped Kam off at her pajama/pizza party day at school and headed to the trails. It was chilly out (yay!) and windy. I was really looking forward to running. This hasn’t happened in a while, honestly. For those of you who run and have endured this blazing summer – you know what I mean. Now that it’s Fall, you actually want to run again. So I hit play on my iPod filled with the new Coldplay album (again, yay!), started my Garmin, and took off. The wind felt good against my face and the chill bumps on my arms made me smile. I’ve been waiting for this. From the moment my feet hit the pavement, I was reminded. I LOVE TO RUN.

Running is so much more than just exercise to me. I realize it is beneficial to my heart physically, but for me, it’s beneficial to my heart emotionally and spiritually as well. Running allows me time to be quiet and listen. To process and pray. To think without interruptions or obligations. This is my “me” time. I can be stressed, angry, sad, or worried, then go out for a run & come back with a new perspective, a new attitude. I talk to God a lot during this time  as I admire the beautiful backdrop of nature He has provided for me to enjoy. I also listen a lot as He penetrates my thoughts and guides my steps. Running is almost a time of rest for me as well as restoration. It’s good for my soul.

What do you do that you do just for you? It obviously doesn’t have to be running. It could be walking, having coffee on your porch, going camping, hiking, painting, etc. It’s not selfish to find something that you can do that benefits you in this way. Everyone needs this time. A time to draw close to the Lord and allow him to work in your heart. A time to think, reflect, and get clarity. A time to escape the craziness of life, even for a few moments. Jesus did this while he was here on earth. We should too. I have no doubt, I’m a better wife & mom because of it. The state of my heart affects everything in my life. I run for the sake of my heart.

World Series Game 4.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend game 4 in Arlington this Sunday night with my little bro-in-law Jeff for his 21st birthday.

The Dixon’s are probably the weirdest most inseparable couple in modern history. Anytime one of us is out with someone else, the other is insanely jealous. Not because we’re jealous in the sense of jealousy, but because we just enjoy each others company and our likes and hobbies are identical. Actually in typing this I’m creeping myself out. All this to say, with Jeff and I attending the game, Traci and the girls decided to join in the festivities and so we made a day point five out of it.

We booked a hotwire.com hotel for the evening so that we would not have to drive back after the game. It is only 2 hours from Arlington back to Tyler but 2 hours at the end of a game and long day is not my favorite way to drive it. Also, any excuse for me to take the day off from work is fine with me. Traci planned to take the girls back to the hotel while we were at the game for girl time including hot tubbing, toe nail painting and jumping on the beds.

We left town Sunday after church and headed to the big D. We arrived around 3 to join up with long time friends Clay and Lauren for some pre-game tailgating. The girls had a blast running a muck as we enjoyed the food, company and the fact that we were actually there at a World Series game. Still excites me to think about being there.

Around 5:30 Jeff and I said bye to the Dixon women and headed in. The best part of walking into Rangers stadium is walking thru the corridor towards the inner field. Stepping out from the tunnel and letting your eyes open up the the vastness of The Ballpark in Arlington. The green grass, the massive amounts of seats, the dirt infield and all this stage’s grandness.

We found our seats and instantly started snapping pics.

After receiving the beating of Game 3 we were nervous for this one. We definitely didn’t want to be at a game like that one. We were very hopeful though especially since the Rangers have been good at not losing 2 in a row as of late. All of the pre-game stuff was great and it was exciting to see all the seats fill up as it got closer. It was time.

Our pitching was superb! And the home run by Napoli was just perfect. I’ve been a Nap fan throughout this season and to be there when he blasted that one was just great. We had a blast and enjoyed literally every pitch and hit as the game continued. The victory was very sweet. Even leaving our seats and heading down the winding ramps, the fans continued to cheer and celebrate this World Series win.

After one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in forever, Traci and I  got the girls and headed to Katy Trail to get in some mileage. Beautiful place. Also in typical fashion, we made it to some of our favorite hot spots in Dallas including the Apple store, Rangers Fan store, In and Out Burger and of course Central Market. What a great getaway. We made it back into Tyler just in time to settle in and get our game faces back on for another Ranger’s victory last night. Cheers to October baseball! Go Rangers!