Saturday, March 15, 2014

How You Can Help: Sex Trafficking

Hey, All! I know that I haven't been around much for awhile. I've been reading, but not writing. But I wanted to pop in and share something with you all.

I have a very dear friend from college who after graduation moved to Mexico City to work directly in the battle to end sex trafficking. I really did not know anything about it before I started learning from her.

Here's the thing: Sex trafficking is so much more prevalent than you think.
Go HERE to read some numbers about it.

This is not a pretty issue, but it's real. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history.

And here is a simple, easy way YOU can get involved.

Phillip Abraham and the Volviendo crew (You can watch Volviendo on Netflix) have the opportunity to rescue Penny.

They write:
For most of us, human sex trafficking is a horror that we only read about. For others, it’s a daily reality. In this case, it’s been Penny’s reality for more than 20 years.

Imagine knowing that your family knows, but will do nothing. Imagine knowing you’ll be beaten today with nowhere to go. Imagine knowing that you’ll be forced to sexually serve violent, abusive men with no choice. Imagine feeling your body break down a little more each day, and your hope fade away with it. Imagine having every dream of rescue, freedom, healing, and a different life start slipping though your fingers. 

This is Penny’s reality, and we want to help her change it. 

We need your help. 

We are under the gun and are running out of time to rescue and relocate Penny to a place where she can not only get away from the people who stole her life, but to a place where she can start over and reclaim her future. We have the chance to help save a life. 

Because of the increased complexity and danger regarding Penny’s situation, traditional rescue methods are off the table. Working with a team that has successfully rescued victims and moved them to safety, we are asking you to please help us put a critical puzzle piece into play and help us fund Penny’s rescue and relocation as we move her from one coast to a safe house on the opposite coast. With multiple physical and mental health issues, ongoing financial support will be necessary. Help us bridge the financial gap!

- Various costs of her physical rescue
- Her immediate medical expenses
- Her transportation out of town
- 1 month of her living expenses

We can give you more detailed information when Penny's safety is secured. Collectively, we have more power than we realize. Let’s help Penny take it back and give her the life and future she’s always deserved.

BUT they need funds. So here is how you can help. How you can make just a little difference, but a difference all the same. Any amount, you can be part of removing this woman from slavery. The friend I mentioned at the beginning is how I heard about this and she is friends with the people behind this and I trust her and she vouches that they are legit. So please, if you can, be part of Penny's rescue.

You can visit their Go Fund Me Here.

Thank you if you can help. And if you can't help financially, please pray! Please pray that this woman would find freedom and healing. Pray for those rescuing her. Pray that it would be smooth and safe.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5 Ingredients for My Running

1. My past-a competitor, a team, a coach. Where I gleaned important knowledge and 

developed my love of running. Those years were where the spark of competition became 

ingrained in my being.

2. My present-hip deep in motherhood of 3 small boys and dealing with injuries. But I 

persevere, not giving up because I remember my past and my love of running. Running is 

me–something that gives definition to me outside of motherhood, my family and my friends. 

Running is just for me where I can be alone and come home better a better wife and mother 

than when I left.

3. Running is where I can put each foot in front of the other and allows me to dream about 

the future. Running is what gives me a place to prove to myself that I can, even when I think I 

can’t and a place to turn my dreams into plans.

4. Running has been joy and pain. It has been sweet and bitter. A source of elation and 

depression. It has allowed me to feel. And if you do not feel, you are not alive.

5. But mostly my running is fueled by my love for dessert. I love running, but I really, really 

love dessert.

- See more at:


Friday, October 4, 2013

Fall Photos

Fall in Nebraska has been beautiful so far. The trees are starting to change and the weather has been lovely. I walked around the yard with my camera during naptime yesterday. I bought a nice camera two years ago and haven't spent nearly enough time practicing with it. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

some deep thoughts and some not so deep ones {would you rather survey}

It's hard to know what to do when running doesn't go the way it's supposed to go. While I was pregnant, I had planned that I was going to be in fantastic shape this fall. I was going to be able to take on races and chase after PR's. The seasons lined up perfectly and the nicest weather was going to be when I was running the most.

Nope. Not quite. I am hardly managing three days a week without pain and while things are slowly getting better, this isn't what I thought my fall was going to be like. I won't lie, either, it's been rough. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions from depression, fear, anger, apathy and glimmers of optimism. I keep having that voice in my head that is telling me to quit and that it isn't worth it.

And I keep trudging on, silencing the voice by reminding myself that this is something I LOVE. This is something that I feel lost without and the exercise that I have found that I truly enjoy. I rarely want to run anymore because my runs are so hard and seem to beat me up more. But I run anyway, because I know that one day they will be better. One day, running will feel effortless again. One day, I will be able to run over 3.5 miles again. One day, I will be able to push my limits and chase after PRs.

I realized, too, that all of this strengthening I am doing in my hips, glutes, abs, and ankles is going to pay off on the other side. It is drudgery now, but I am going to emerge a stronger runner. I have learned that I need to be more balanced in my approach to running. I cannot just run. I need to make sure that I am strong enough. My first visit with my chiropractor, he stressed the importance of strength training. He gave the example of it is better to run 35 miles a week and strength train, than to run 40 miles a week with no strength training.

I have also learned that I cannot define myself or especially my mood by whether I am running or not. I may be happier when I run, but it is not okay for me to be grumpy and take it out on my husband and my kids. It is not okay for me to sink into a depression over not being able to run. Yes, I can want to run and do what it takes to run, but while running can be a huge part of my life, it is not and should not be my entire life.

And on that note, I going to jump to a lighter note and link up with Cori again with her latest Would You Rather Running Style Survey. I always get a kick out of these, but I've decided some of her questions are getting a bit harder to really want to answer {licking armpits!?} I digress, without further ado


Would you rather…  run with one of your ancestors or your role models?
I'd rather run with a role model. I'm not sure which one, but runs are a great time to impart knowledge.
Would you rather…  run a race that is a few hour drive but in a beautiful location or in your city with a short drive?
I'd rather run in a beautiful place, but with children logistically, in my city. 
Would you rather… take an ice bath for a half hour or foam roll for a half hour?
Probably foam roll...I'm good at not doing what I really should because it hurts too much and just doing what feels good ;)
Would you rather… have a black toe nail pulled off or have your entire back chaffed from running and be forced to shower for a hour straight?
I think I'd go with the toenail. Then it's over. Done. And I've had problems with a black toenail that never came off and it's still infected and then it'll get better and then get infected again. Such a pain.
Would you rather… spend an extra $100 a month given to you on running/fitness or save it?
I'd probably buy more shoes, because my husband doesn't understand my constant need for new shoes. 
Would you rather… be known for running the fastest marathon or running the longest distance at one time?
I'd go with the fastest marathon. I just can't imagine running for days.
Would you rather… have your medal handed to you by Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan?
Kara Goucher. I just really like her.
Would you rather… lick someone else’s armpit after a marathon, or lick their foot after a marathon?
ugh...really. The thought of either makes me want to throw up. But if I had to, probably...armpit?

So I'm dying to know, what would you rather?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Friday: I'm so Glad/Five Fun Things

Fall is definitely in the air. Even when it is warm {we've been having days in the 80's} you can feel the crispness in the air. The nights are chillier and the leaves are beginning to turn. School is in full swing and harvest is underway. 
^^Yes, Yes!

5 Fun Fall Activities:

1. Run a Race: Fall really is the best time to run. The weather is great 
and the scenery is pretty {if you pick the right race that is}
Scenery from the Crazy Horse Half Marathon in 2011
2. Plan a Fall/Harvest Party complete with a bonfire. We used to have
a lot of bonfires but haven't in years {read since having kids} In fact we got 
engaged by a bonfire {complete with a candle walkway, peanut butter
m&ms, and sparkling grape juice.}

3. Visit the pumpkin patch. Whether or not you have kids, the 
pumpkin patch can be a blast.
Pumpkin Patch 2012

4. Learn to knit. There is something comforting about yarn in cool weather.
I love knitting, but haven't done much since I've had kids {sensing a trend here?}. 
If you want to learn check out your local yarn shop. There are usually classes
and there is something so nice about high quality yarn. {Hi, my name
is Renee and I am a yarn snob.} And if you knit a scarf you are ready for winter.

5. Make all of those pumpkin and apple recipes that you've pinned on Pinterest!
I definitely need to try This, This, This, and This!

What's on your To Do list this fall?
Any pumpkin and/or apples recipes I should try?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Person Behind the Words

I was so excited to start blogging, but I very quickly realized that it did not come as easily to me as I had hoped. The words did not come easily and I found that like in real life, it is easier for me to not say anything.  It's hard to put myself out there to let anybody and everybody to be privy to my life. But as I think about the blogs I like best, I realized that my favorites are the ones that I feel like I know them even though I have never met them. I want you to get to know me a little better and to start seeing glimpses of the person behind the words.

1. I can be very opinionated, but I most likely will not share it with you. I struggle to articulate my opinion and don't like disagreeing. I'm working on articulating my opinions in a practical way--writing product reviews for things I buy! I find nothing more valuable when choosing a product than a well written review.

2. I want to know the right answer. I hate how one study will show something is good and another will show the same thing is bad. Who is right?!

3. It's hard for me to express extreme emotion--hurt/sorrow or joy. I don't like to process the things that hurt and I can stay in denial {just a tip: this doesn't really work} and I also struggle to be extremely joyful over things. I tend to just hold it all inside.

4. I am an introvert. I don't do small talk well, but there isn't much better than good friends that I can really, really go deep with.

5. I have lists all over my house--grocery lists, to do lists, gift lists etc. And if I have written it down, even if I forget my list, I can usually remember most of it.

6. I didn't start drinking coffee until after my second child and that was because my friends drank coffee and I didn't want to be left out. I quit during pregnancy with #3 because it didn't taste good anymore, but now I drink coffee almost every day {with cream! I can't do it black}. I find it comforting and my husband and I have been trying to get up a little earlier together and spend a few minutes together {with our coffee!} before he goes to work.

7. I get extremely obsessive over researching things, especially if I don't know the answer. {It's back to #2!} You should have seen me researching running shoes and running injuries. It was just a wee tad bit ridiculous. Roadrunnersports is one of my top 6 most visited sites and I've never even bought anything from them.

8. I am not an independent person. I went from living in the dorms at college to married. Looking back, I wish I would have had to be independent. I never had to do things on my own and doing certain things on my own still scare me--I am getting a little better. I so admire people that are.

9. I can't stand the smell of cold tomato sauce.

10. My favorite nuts are almonds--I can eat way too many of them.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Coffee drinker? If so, what's your favorite way to drink it?
Tell me something about you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Fridays: Beef Barley Soup

I absolutely love fall. It is by far my favorite season and the Nebraska weather is giving us glimpses of fall and it makes me so happy. I love the crispness in the air, the changing leaves, the cornfields turning brown. While spring, I think, celebrates new life, fall celebrates the culmination. It celebrates all of life. Running is just better too with the cooler temps and faster paces.

Well, any pace right now is faster for me after time off. I'm getting better. My IT Bands, while they still get sore, are not constantly painful and my feet for the most part feel good. I have been diligent with the strengthening exercising my chiropractor gave me and {started last Wednesday} I am going to do a full strength training routine 2 days a week. I back to running 3-4 days a week averaging about 30 minutes total with about three 1-2 minute walking breaks {per my training plan}. I find the walk breaks help me from getting so fatigued that my form suffers and bad form=injuries. I am definitely out of shape and it is discouraging sometimes. I fight myself daily over whether it is worth it--and it is so I keep going.

Anyway, in honor of my favorite season, each Friday I am going to post something fall related and I going to start with a SOUP recipe. I have a hard time eating soup when it's hot outside, but about the second the temperatures drop, I'm in the mood for soup again. Beef Barley Soup is one of my favorites. It is hearty, filling, cheap, and easy. It makes great leftovers and to top it all off, even my boys will eat it.

Beef Barley Soup

1 pound hamburger, browned and drained
5 cups beef broth
1-14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups sliced carrots
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quick-cooking barley

In a large pan, combine hamburger, broth, tomatoes carrots and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add barley, return to a boil, cover and cook until barley is tender--about 10 minutes.

What is your favorite season?
Favorite soup recipe? I'd love to try it.