We Dashed Like Warriors.

This past Saturday, we gathered with thousands across the Southeast to compete in the Warrior Dash 5K, the world's largest running series.

Barbed Wire. 
Turkey Legs.

Here's a taste of what our race obstacles looked like...

The Warrior Dash came to Alabama for the first time this year. Appropriately, the race was held in the city of Warrior, Alabama. 

We thought the fire trucks were present because of the fire obstacle (in case someone caught on fire). However, we finished the race and found the competitors washing off the mud and dirt under the showers of the fire trucks' water hoses. Crazy.

Brandon and Theresa (JD's sister), and Matt and Julie all came up to compete with us.
Brandon and Theresa came up with the perfect idea of coordinating the super rad Tees, bandanas and socks (bright ones for the gals and camo for the guys). Theresa and I designed and crafted it all though. ;) Of course, us girls had to paint our nails to match our tie-dyed shirts.


Pre-Dash Photo Op....

How about the awesome stenciled warrior helmets?



We ran into Mo, a college friend of JD, Brandon and Theresa. Check out his handlebar 'stache and shirt ("You can go blind from my pure awesomeness")?

After the race, we drove up to Julie's parents' house for a fantastic dinner. Honestly. It was a dinner for true warriors, or Vikings, if you will. It's a good thing we received these shirts, metals and Viking hats as a reward for surviving in the race. The outfits made for perfect dinner attire.

The weekend held amazing, Spirit-filled conversations and laughter between a few of our favorite people. Thanks Mrs. Leslie and Mr. Craig for hanging out with us crazy couples and for opening up your lovely home to us without caring about getting mud all over your floor. We had such a blast!


By the way, JD and I flew back in from Hawaii last Wednesday! The past three and a half weeks were magical, challenging and awe-inspiring. We're going to postpone writing about Germany a few more posts because we are that excited about our Hawaii adventure this year. 

Philanthropic Friday : Emma Kate & the Nephcure Foundation

Things have been INSANELY crazy over the past couple of weeks. We've missed keeping up with our blogger friends and posting about our adventures but time slipped away before we knew it. Here's an attempt at getting back on track...

We want to introduce you to our sweet little cousin, Emma Kate.

Isn't she precious!? She was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome a couple of years ago.

Emma Kate is our inspiration for a new series we are beginning this week: Philanthropic Fridays.

We will probably only host Philanthropy Fridays about once a month. It will be a chance for you to link up and post about philanthropies or ministries that are close to your heart too. Let's get the word out!

Here's an excerpt about Emma Kate from Meredith's (Emma Kate's mom / my cousin) blog....

The entire time she was at the hospital she was SUCH a trooper. Never shed a single tear or complained about the treatments. Even through all the needle sticks, IV's, night wakings, ect., she was braver than us. 
The nurses were impressed. 
We were all impressed.
There were so many unknowns, and the doctors were far from encouraging! It didn't help matters that my son (5 months old at the time) was fighting a 104 degree fever and double ear infections. Thank God for family! And thank God for all the people lifting us up in prayer. With so many hard things coming at us at once, we were so thankful Emma Kate embraced the situation so well. Seeing her strength helped us out.
I cried more then than I have in my entire life. Part of the tears were from seeing how the steroids affected my sweet little girl so much. She went from hugging and smiling, to hitting and not wanting to be touched, overnight. Despite the behavioral changes on the second day, she still did well with the nurses and treatments. Thankfully, by the third day the initial shock to her system had calmed down and she was MUCH better. Needless to say I hugged on her ALL day that day, since she hadn't let us touch her the day before. A 2 year old not wanting to be touched or hugged by a parent is so much harder than you can imagine. Especially when all you want to do is love on them and let them know it's okay.
You can check out the rest of Meredith's blog here. Daniel and Meredith have changed Emma Kate's diet to reflect a gluten-free, dairy-free and low sodium lifestyle because of her condition. Along with other great tips and wisdom, Meredith's blog has fantastic insight and options on which foods to buy with that diet.

So what is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic Syndrome, in itself, is not classified as a disease. However, it can potentially lead to blood clots and very serious conditions such as kidney failure if not treated correctly. In a properly-functioning system, the kidneys spill protein into the blood. With Ns, the kidneys spill protein into the urine instead. This causes swelling, lack of energy and urine output. Though Ns is most common in kids, doctors have yet to figure out the cause. More importantly, there is NO CURE. There are two types: minimal change (what Emma Kate has), and FSGS which is far more serious and often ends with a transplant. Eighty percent of the kids have the minimal change and do respond well to treatment. Though the cure has not been found, high doses of steroids or chemotherapy drugs can help put the body in remission.

There are a few ways you can help to find a cure...

(1) Walk. Are you free on September 15? Do you live near Alpharetta, Ga.? Go walk. Registration is free; they have a Zumba warm-up activity; and a Pancake Breakfast begins at 10:15... Do you need any more enticing?! 

(2) Donate. Emma Kate's team is trying to raise $2,000 for the foundation by Saturday. If you or your company are interested in donating, click on the Donate link. 

(3) Get the word out.

(4) Pray. Pray. Pray. For the kids who have the rare condition and for the families who have the challenge of comforting their kids through it. And pray for a cure. 

Philanthropic Fridays Button

Link back to us on your blog adding the button above to your post!

Chick-Fil-A Connect Race Series : Our first 5K together....

It all started with these ladies...

Kellie, Leah, Kandess and Rebekah. They have become such dear friends of mine here in Huntsville. (This was a photo from a crochet class - yep! finally took a class!) The girls wanted to start training for 5Ks, the first one being the Cotton Row in downtown. They raced and conquered, while JD and I were in Chattanooga celebrating our 2 year anniversary. 

Once I started training with the girls, JD decided he wanted to start running with me so he could be prepared for the 5Ks too. JD and I have been wanting to jog a little on the local mountain here. What better time to start than now? JD jogs the entire trail (3.5 miles) but I try my best to jog fully to the first mile marker. :) His training and endurance encourages me to push harder.

While training one day, we ran past this massive nest. Tracker jackers, anyone?

On that day, we got lost and stumbled upon this breathtaking view!! Fortunately, we found our car a few minutes later. 

Then the BIG DAY!! Our first 5K we would run together... the Chick-fil-A Connect Race Series this past Saturday in Decatur.

Note the hardcore guy who is running with a hiking backpack...

Runner #4209: JD
Runner #4210: Whitney 
These dri-fit shirts are awesome.

Leah and I got to snag a photo with the girl Chick-fil-A cow! Oh yeah! 

The gun was fired and we took off. We hit the first mile marker and JD looks over at me, "Ok. One mile. Let's pick up the pace." I shake my head, "Nope. Nope. I'm just going to keep on at this pace. My only goal for this race is simply to jog the entire thing without walking." And I did! Fortunately, a little girl named Gloria with a "Runnin 4 Chikin Nuggitz" T-shirt ran beside me when I started giving out towards the end. 

"And here comes JD Todd crossing the finish line," said the announcer. "Man. He's got a NICE head of hair!!" Haha - he gets that compliment a lot but that must've been one of the best ones! His time was 32:57. Incredible. :)

Gloria and I round the corner towards the finish line. "Surely Whit will finish before that little girl," said JD to his buddy Davy.

Around that time, Gloria looked like she was about to give in. "It's sooo hot!!!" she said. But I encouraged her saying, "Alright sister, it's time. We have to finish strong here! Ready? Go!" 

Gosh. Bad idea. She took off!!! Left me in the dust. She must've beaten me by several seconds! Haha!

But I finished. Right behind a man in the 80+ category. Well done, ole' man. Well. Done. 

I finished with a time of 36:09. It's not that great, but at least I completed my goal successfully by not stopping (well, with the exception of the one stop at the water cooler). Plus I got to witness the site of my sweet husband cheering me on at the finish line. I can't ask for a better experience than that!

Post-race card load up with free Chick-fil-A biscuits... 

Leah finished with a time of 32:34! She also ran it without stopping! She did a fantastic job. :)


And here's JD and Davy waiting for the results... Davy finished with a time of 19:56, taking a medal away with pride. He smoked us all.

JD and I may just run a few more 5Ks but we will definitely continue training on the mountain. It's glorious up there! Training has been a fun thing to do in our marriage and it allows us a new way to challenge each other. On the mountain, trees lift their arms in praise to the Father and creation declares His name. Plus, it kind of feels like we're in the Hunger Games up there. That will make a person sprint...