I just ran a nice, slow 7-miler in the rain and am still reaping from the harvest of strawberries I picked a couple of weeks ago in the form of a nomlicious smoothie complete with a raw egg just to live life on the dangerous side...
Last week I got to road trip through six states making the total states visited during my break and even 10. Reason why I love this coast: so much variety.
I got to take a road trip with my best friend, the other half of my soul, my little sister Emma. It was just wonderful because she gets what I get: life isn't a rush or a thrill but it's the slow moments that we wait on God and that we wait for people and with people. Emma and I first stopped in Atlanta and hiked up Stone Mountain with the incredible Naomi Attaway, an incredible friend to both of us who is also an incredible runner and Jesus lover. It was happy and we started off the week by eating pizza, a trend we would continue. After ATL we drove to Gainesville.
ATL miles: 3.5 miler through Naomi's neighborhood in Decatur.
ATL prayer: the amazing work being done for preborns and against sex trafficking would flourish
Wednesdays and Fridays were always big days for me when I lived in Gainesville because those were the abortion days: 1 p.m.-3 p.m. I've spent some of the best and worst hours on the sidewalk of Bread & Roses abortion clinic just praying and waiting. Emma got to fulfill a vision of hers to offer roses to the women going in and coming out of the clinic. No patients took our beautiful roses but God took our prayers and we know he will save these beautiful women trapped into choosing death. God is using some faithful Catholics who are keeping a constant prayer vigil at the clinic. I pray abortion ends in that town that I grew so much to love.
We stayed with Katie & Glen, and Brianne, my pro-life inspirations, who are doing amazing things through their nonprofit, Florida Students for Life. I'm so excited as they continue to travel the state and equip student organizations to teach the value of mothers in our society. I got to reconnect with one of my best friends, Gina, who was Pro-Life Alliance pres. last year. She is a true baby-lover and she & I are sharing the joy of anticipating nieces due in October! Also got to see Jean, a brilliant pro-lifer who wants to use her policy acumen to change this great country into respecting life. Love these great friends.
Gainesville miles: 4 miler in Katie & Glen's prairie neighborhood.
Gainesville prayer: the amazing work done by a few prayer warriors would spread to all the churches and that we love students into choosing life
The Florida-est part of the trip was heading down to Cocoa Beach and camping at Jetty Park. I love the Atlantic Ocean. Ran on the most familiar stretch of beach that I used to run on in high school. Good memories and tough memories. Running in familiar places is my way of reconciling with the past and hoping for the future--always good to remember the faithfulness of God. Emma & I sampled our first MRE and Katelyn helped us fend off vicious racoons attempting to take over our campsite.
Cocoa Miles: 4 miler from Jetty Park to Cocoa Peer
Cocoa Prayer: may the God of pasts, presents, and future enable many unlikely futures
Got to catch up with some college & high school friends on Friday on the beach. Excited for what God is doing in Emily, Jackie & Lydia, Katelyn, Keely and Clark, Smitty, and Kelly's lives. Each are so devoted to truth & justice.
In Otown, keeping with tradition (it feels like a tradition), we met Muriel at a Chipotle. We decided to be introverts and just hang out at Barnes & Noble where I read a couple chapters of Camp 14 (gotta buy it!). Yay Muriel--she is so chill with Emma & me when we get weird. Thankful too for Katie & Seth Neale hosting me for dinner and telling me about their new married life. Yay love.
My last run in Florida was in my old neighborhood. Em & I stayed with our old neighbors, the "BJ's" (short for the Bruce Johnsons). They're from Miami so they turn their house into an impenetrable fort at night. You can't get out without setting off 5 alarms. They're in their late 70s and I didn't wanna bug them to let me out at such an early hour. Solution: I snuck out the window of our room in order to go for a 5 a.m. run before we drove back to VA Sunday.
Orlando miles: 4 miler through Waterford Lakes, my old neighborhood where I learned to jog & pray
Orlando prayer: may God take a transitional town and turn it into a fortress of truth and permanent devotion to His Glory.
Driving up and down I-95 this week reminded me that I live in a big country, a great country, a safe & easy country. It's incredible how simple and easy it is to just travel around in a car and see people and places--no check points, no borders--freedom EVERYWHERE. Why is it not so safe & easy for so many to be born to enjoy its richness? I have great hope it will be one day. Because I love America.