It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

B.....Y....O.....BooooooYahhhh! 6.5

Another long run down and only 7 more to go! Building up to 13.1......

Some days it is easy to get my run on and some days I try and talk myself out of it. This training session and this run on March 25th is somehow easier to embrace simply because I am not running for my glory! I am not running for me! If I were I probably would still be thinking about the year gone by and how I should get moving again.....

What I do LOVE about each of these long runs I have embraced is the encouragement that comes when I need it most....

The first two long (at those times it was 4 and 5 miles....) runs was that I opened emails saying that someone had sponsored me.
The other 2 (6.2 and 6.5 miles...) was the conversation with my Maker that kept me runnin' running'....

The long run this past week needed to be 6.2 or more. I am trying to move up .5 each week in order to get to 13.1. I know the math doesn't add up....but the training that I am doing takes us to 10 miles...never 13.1 so it will be a BIG surprise to run all 13.1!!!!

I set out with the mind set that I was going to run and relax and see where my thoughts and conversation with my Maker took me....

Here is my Boooyaaaahhhhhh 6.5 adventure........

I began running....slow slow start...movin' movin'. I was off to the school to drop off lunch money. I plugged in to my phone (I have a sweet line up of music:) and got my run on! I started with the usual thoughts....HMMMM where should I go today...6.2 is a lot of ground to cover. I don't want to run in circles and I should try to check out the neighborhood next door....Wow...those gardeners are doing a great job...Hello friendly neighbor....hmmm...there are so many people out this morning....I probably look silly jogging in place at this stop light...OH well...If I stop I will never get moving....better to look silly than be stuck here! Whew the school......

Into the school....drop the goods...out of the school....tie the shoe....adjust the earphones.....turn the music up and off I go.........

I am gonna rise
I am gonna fight, keep believing
I am gonna prove that you can count on me.
I am running across this battle line and I ain't leaving
I lay down my life cause that is what you are worth to me.
I will stand by the word I gave you til you see what a promise means.
I am your 11th hour rescue!
I am the one who set you free~
Worth~Paul Brandt

It occurs to me...

I am not only running for the Parul so she can live in FREEDOM...... FREEDOM from people who will hold her captive. People who will fill her with the idea that she is WORTH nothing. People that will rob her from knowing and experiencing what she was created to be.

I am running for me!
My story of captivity and FREEDOM.

"Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here."
~August Boatwright in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I am running for Brooklyn, MacKenzie, Ella, Lily, Eden, Olivia, Ava, Lucy, Ella, Erin......

I am running for Erica, Elia, Sydney.....IVY!

I am running for Sarah, Sam, Skylar, Jenna, Kara, Meagan, Trish, Patricia.......

I am running for girls and women in the private places of my heart that I know are in captivity and feel worthless and long for FREEDOM....

My thoughts take me to a special little friend!

I delight in my most recent snail mail from her!

I knew this mail was coming!

A sweet and precious voice called me one day and said, "Hi Michelle!"
I replied....."BROOKLYN! How are you lovey?"
"Good...Michelle guess what. I drew you some pictures and I am sending them in the mail to you!"
"OH Brooklyn, thank you that will make my heart happy."
and the conversation went on a bit about other things......

When my snail mail arrived and I opened it up. It brought me to a place of pure joy and revealing in what Brooklyn meant to me and how we came to a place in our relationship in which I was the receiver of her beautiful art work. A place where I was chosen as the recipient of her creativity and expression.

A place where I would receive her LOVE!

This relationship blossomed as I stood from afar and admired who this beautiful 2 year old was. She was strong. She was quiet. She was creative. She was beautiful and she was a girl.

I have generational family messiness surrounding girls so they are unfamiliar to me and often my own messiness scares me when it comes to what to do with girls! I also was blessed with boys and live in a home full of testosterone:)

I had the honor of watching Brooklyn grow.
I also had the wonderful privilege of watching her momma raise her.
It would be through this that I would learn.
Learn how to truly LOVE the unfamiliar that was messy for me.
Through Brooklyn and her momma I learned how to Be Your Own Beautiful (BYOB).

B's mom would cringe when people would say "Oh Brooklyn you look so beautiful in that dress" "Brooklyn your hair looks so beautiful". You see Brooklyn's momma wanted Brooklyn to know that it was not what you wear or what your hair looks like that makes you beautiful or determines your worth. She wanted Brooklyn to know and live out the TRUTH that it is your heart that makes you beautiful.

As my journey continued with Brooklyn, I watched her momma celebrate everything about Brooklyn. Even the strong willed character that would drive her momma to the brink of not smiling her lovely momma smile!

You see she was teaching Brooklyn that despite what other people feel about Brooklyn's antics and behavior she is a beautiful person. Her momma wanted her to know the ARROWS of peoples thoughts of Brooklyn is not what defined her or determined her worth.

I also watched her momma carefully do the dance of self image. Through her own eating and healthy habits teaching Brooklyn how to live a healthy life rather than worry about being skinny or worrying about what the media was saying about cute little girls. When people would comment about Brooklyn's stature her momma was sure to LOVE her regardless of the ARROWS the outside was shooting.

Brooklyn is celebrated for who she is. Fearfully and wonderfully made. More precious than rubies. Chosen for a purpose. Encouraged and edified by her momma!

When the mail came and I had pages and pages of beautiful art work I knew that I learned sooooo much from Brooklyn and her momma and all of the other little girls and momma's that were placed in my world during that time.

I learned how to truly LOVE them.
I basked in their beautiful gifts and celebrated them.
They are worth it!

~When Lily would look at her momma from the highest point in the hockey rink letting us know she was jumping. I smiled and basked in her strength, celebrating it (while her momma had a heart attack).

~When MacKenzie sat and experienced frustration because she could not get her clothing design right for her drawing I smiled and celebrated her perseverance as she worked through her frustration.

~When Ava and Lucy and Ella waited while their momma shared herself with me I celebrated their ability to practice patience and learn what it meant to give of your time.

~When Eden embraces me with a big hug after our special time together I celebrate her ability to share affection.

I know that I truly LOVE Brooklyn and she truly LOVES me.

Even though it was hard for me to understand girls and I was scared and afraid because of my own story I know that in my heart I believe in girls.

I believe in living in FREEDOM!

I believe that girls need to know they are WORTH it!

They are more precious than rubies NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE (media, family, friends, boys/men, strangers, music) TELLS THEM!

Thank you Brooklyn for being the light that shines for me as I journey to let girls know they are WORTH it!

Thank you for teaching me how to celebrate who girls are in their hearts!

And so I run for Parul and all of the beautiful girls that are given me to LOVE!
May I impact them in a way that loudly shouts out to them......


For we are his masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared long ago to be our way of life. Eph 2:10 (ISV)

Monday, January 23, 2012

WOW! What a Great DAY!!!

I was sure today was going to be a BLAH! Day. I couldn't find my MO JOOOOO!
It was my day to run my long run!

I missed it on Saturday as I was partying with Beth Moore and the Siesta's learning to take my ground back!

Then there was the Pine Wood Derby! My third born did a great job creating his car!

And then we wished our dad farewell as he set off for a very very far away place!


Sunday was much the same...full of adventure!

Today was a beautiful day for a run!

SO SO SO much to do!
Clean !

If I did not do this long run I would surely pay for it!

So I completed my morning routine and said "SELF...... you are not doing this for you! You are running for Parul.
If it were about you, you could get away with sabotaging yourself!


So I chose to not be a stumbling block for me or for Parul.

And checked my email (just in case what I do not know....)!

In the IN BOX was this.....

Congratulations! Someone has decided to sponsor you in your participation in Team Dallas :: Parul!

Donation Information
Donation Date: 1/22/2012
Donation Amount: $50.00
Donor Message:

If you have any questions or believe that there is an error with this transaction, please contact the administrator at


There was no rethinking. There was no slacking!
My first sponsor sponsored me and this is for REAL!
This is BIG!
This is BEYOND ME!

I set out and ran...
Ran 6.2 miles...easy...slow and steady!
WITH OUT headphones!

As I was running I realized that this hour and a while was so peaceful and energizing!

AND to make my running day full and without void....

My As Our Own Race Shirt arrived.
As Team Bayou City Fellowship running for Team Dallas: Parul we decided to order shirts!


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:1

As March 25th draws near my miles will increase until I reach that wonderful number....
Slow and Steady I will run!
I will run for FREEDOM!
So Parul can have the FREEDOM I experience daily!
So that she does not have be bound by a yoke of slavery!

**If you too would like to be a part of this adventure by way of sponsorship, or just encouragement please know that I appreciate your support****

To sponsor me (which really is not me...this is not about ME!) Please visit this website!

My GOAL is $1000!


I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,
2 Timothy 4:7


It was a GREAT! Day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Need a What.....hmmm...Let Me See!

The neighborhood children had just got together and decided to go to the green space down the way to play Airsoft. I am not to fond of Airsoft but there is richness in community, collaboration, problem solving and strategizing even at the expense of being pelleted by a "friend" who after the rules are laid and the teams made...may be your opposition.

My third born was not interested in going so I thought it would be a great idea if him and I walked our crazy muts that we acquired at Christmas time. We set off him and I and two dogs unequal in size. We decided to walk down by where the children were playing. As we were walking we embarked on great conversation about life and how things were feeling since we moved. We talked about our neighborhood and our neighbors, what we missed and what we would do different and/keep the same.

As we rounded the corner I could hear the shout outs from the "leaders". It was very military! I could also here the shear joy of children playing together. And what I saw when we rounded the corner were 12 boys running around climbing, jumping and shouting, dodging the ammo. And then they saw me.....

The all retreated to the bench, sat down and played it off like they were just chatting about logistics! I chuckled because I knew why they were "innocent". I have voiced my concern about them "playing" with guns and shooting each other. I gave them a smile of approval and my third born and I carried on walking and talking.

I said to him "Mommy should really try to find some new friends because new friends seem to be fun. I miss my old ones. I miss my angels but I know there are friends here for me somewhere. I should leave the house once in a while and try to make new friends." He concurred and we carried on with the dogs.

We had just passed one of his little friends houses and after about 3 more was when Max (the beagle/ english pointer mix) decided he needed to relieve himself. As I went to get my bag to pick up after my pet I realized there were no bags in the bag dispenser so I sent my boy on his way to his little friends house to ask for a bag. I sat down on the cement and waited. When your send a child on a task he is unfamiliar with and a bit uncomfortable with it sometimes takes a lot of time! So I waited......

Meanwhile the lady whose house I was in front of came out and looked at me with a bit of concern. I tried to never mind her as not to bother her. She kept looking and looking and finally came down her driveway and asked me if I was OK. I explained what I was doing. (AKWARD..explaining that my dog did his duty on her lawn and I wanted to clean it up and was waiting for my son to return with a bag......) She was so grateful and went and got me a bag.

In my attempt to try to be kind and LOVE people (and the fact that I LOVE LOVE LOVE to talk) a conversation ensued. I kept looking at her. Looking deeply at her. This is nothing new for me. I often get told that I listen with authority and intently as if to draw more out of a person. Finally I said "I know you from somewhere." We went through the usual and nothing fit. Her children were grown she was not involved in anything I was involved in (which is not much) so I decided it must have been the grocery store down the way.

We got on to the dogs and where I got my dogs.....

And if you can believe it she had gotten her dog at the same shelter we got the little dog at only she adopted hers (and yes you adopt these animals you don't buy them ((I learned at the shelter when I said I wanted to buy that dog)) several years ago. She invited us up to her back yard to see her dog and introduce the dogs.

Her and I continued to talk. My boy tried so hard to be patient. He knows his momma loves to talk and he always knows he is in for a long stay when I begin to chat. So he endured as we continued. She shared with me what she had been doing that day; putting away Christmas decorations and going through stuff in the attic. She showed me these wonderful sports banners she made her children when they were young. She was sad because she did not know what to do with them. I wanted to ask her why she wouldn't give them to her children but before it came out (thankfully) she shared with me that her daughter lived at home again after graduating University and her son was home on break from University......

And then she looked at me deeply and tears began to stream down her face...and she said.....
"My husband passed away in May and this was my first Christmas with out him and I am lost and it is hard." And by the GRACE and MERCY of GOD I embraced her and hugged her (not my normal behavior) and told her I was sorry for her loss and I prayed for words because I had none...I can't ever seem to find words in situations like that.....and I kept hearing....LOVE HER SHE NEEDS A FRIEND RIGHT NOW! As she profusely apologized for her tears I reassured her it was more than OK to cry!

And she cried and I held her!

She began to tell me that she was looking for an new job. A full time job with benefits and a stable salary. She currently worked at Pier 1 and that was not enough for her to sustain their home. She shared her worry about having to sell their home that they had lived in since they moved to Texas in 1997.

I said..."That is how I know you....I saw you in Pier 1. You were on your way out the door that day and I was working with your manager ordering stuff and she needed to talk to you before you left and asked you to wait" She said "You remember that?" "YES, YES I do!"...............

This day in this moment I saw GOD. I saw that he knows me! He knew I needed that moment. He prepared me for that moment weeks before when I saw her in Pier 1! He knew I needed to be a friend so I could have that new friend I desire. He makes no mistakes this was not by mishap this was authored and planned. A part of my story to prepare me for what he has for me. To mold me and shape me to LOVE people like HE first LOVED me! TO LIVE BEYOND MYSELF!

The most beautiful aspect of all of this is that a little boy who is learning about LOVE and friendship got to experience this moment with one of his mentors and teachers who sits under the Authority of her Maker. He got to watch his momma LOVE this woman who was sad and hurting. He got to see how to comfort those in need. He got to witness what it is like when your heart has a desire!

I have not seen this woman again but today as I was running for Parul it was laid on my heart to take her a card and maybe even dinner and check in to see if she has found a new job! LOVE people ...LIVE BEYOND MYSELF!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I RuN Because?????'

I aspire to be a runner.  I have for a few years now.  It began about 7 years ago when my mother asked me to run the Peachtree Road Race 10k with her in Atlanta Georgia.  With the help of a supportive friend we embarked on the training necessary to accomplish that what seemed like huge endeavor.  

July 4th rolled around and I ran that race.  It was this moment that I now would answer the questions "What do you like to do in your free time?, What are your hobbies/interests?  Who am I?"  Running captured me.This would now be a part of me.  

People would often respond with a "WOW!  You run marathons!"  NO NO I don't.
10K was far enough for me.  I could enjoy and hour of running but more than that did not excite me!
I vowed to never run beyond 10k....that would be more than crazy, boring, silly!

Years came and went and my running was often strong but sometimes at a lull.  In those time where I could not run regularly or when I was in between running partners (it is more fun to run with someone)  I longed to be a runner.  I longed to say to people "I run!".

For the past year my running has been non existent due to life circumstances.  But I longed for it. I longed for what is has become for me.  I longed for what it gave me.  I busted needed a nudge.

The nudge came.
Her name is Parul.

Saturday, Jan. 01 2012
I began again.  I began being a runner.  This time for more than me.  This time for someone else who needs  me to be a runner more than I need myself to be a runner.
I began training for a half marathon on her behalf.
I am stepping out of my 10 k comfort zone and pushing to something more.
Not for me.  For Parul.

Jan. 08  2012
After only 2 days of very very short runs with beautiful running partners (I found a few new ones here in my new location:)
I embarked on my first long run!  I have to build up to 13 somehow!
My second born has found a love for running through his new school here so I encouraged him, my third born and Max (our new dog) to sent out with me on this adventure!

And so off we went......

The three of them were champs and hung in there as long as they could and then headed for home while I continued.

I don't usually run with my i pod because usually I have someone held captive as a listener as we run and/or I love to run in silence and listen to the majestic sound of the Creators beauty.

But today.....

I took my i pod!
When my running partners left me I plugged in!

At minute 25 I was done.
MY feet were slowing down.
My muscles were tightening.
I wanted to walk.

A sweet gentle whisper...a nudge....

Your not running for you!  Your running for Parul.  A beautiful girl held captive.
and the music in my ears began speaking to me....

My Heart is Open by Keith Urban
"My heart is open, I am letting you in.   Cause you give me a reason the faith I have been needing to start again!"

I was back at pace!
Runnin' Runnin'

My Maker started speaking very clearly to me!
And I ran and ran and ran!

And singing in my ears was My Wish by Rascal Flatt
I hope the days come easy!

Days don't come easy for these girls.
I can choose to run.  
They don't have that choice.

"My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to.  Your dreams stay big your worries stay small.   You never need to carry more than you can hold."

These girls carry a tremendous amount of pain and suffering.

And I ran and ran and ran.

It became very very clear to me at this moment.  I run for freedom.  I run to meet with my Maker.
Not only was He speaking to me about Parul.....
He was speaking to me about me!
My story!

Never Gonna Be Alone by Nickelback
Your never gonna be alone.  From this moment on.  If you ever feel like letting go, won't let you fall.  When all hope is gone, know that you can carry on....

My Maker never leave me nor forsakes me.  He is my HOPE!  He won't let me go!

Runin' Runnin'

After that heavy heavy conversation with God...
Never Wanted Nothing More by Kenney Chesney
"I am what I am I am what not..."
I am me...created for His good works!  Made new by HIM!

Minute 41
I am experiencing chills and that burn in my stomach.
And I again here the whisper....
Parul's stomach certainly must feel sick when she is being perpetrated and exploited....
It must be chilling not to have a choice to say "NO"


Night Like This by Shawn Desmond
"I feel like nothing nothing can touch me know.  In this moment right here.  No one can bring me down.  I don't want this feeling to end.  It is like anything can happen!"
"Freedom you just can not deny"

Runnin' Runnin'
But I see the end.


No Air by Jordin Sparks....
"Tell me how I am supposed to breathe with no air"

And I felt like I couldn't breathe.  Burn in my stomach, burn in my legs but mostly overwhelmed with this experience and thankful that He chose me.  He nudged me to run.  I listened and in obedience I am running for Parul.
He chose me to LOVE!
He too chose you!

All things are possible through Him who strengthens me.
I will train and run 13.1 on March 25th in Dallas Texas.

Runnin' for As Our Own.....

I will run for Parul.  
I will run for FREEDOM!

I will run with Bayou City Fellowship as a body of believers who LOVE JESUS and LOVE PEOPLE!

I am a runner!

I challenge you to find a race near you to run to help these girls in India.
Come run with us in Dallas, we would love to have you join our team!
Pray for us!
Support our team!
It is amazing when Mercy and Justice collide!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

All Y'all Did It Again! Texas Style

Whew.....It has been an adventurous 6 months...

The summer flew by and from previous posts you would know I have been absent....absent minded for sure but absent from the blog and sharing what living in FREEDOM means to me, to us, to you!

We relocated in October.  It has been slow going organizing the house but the children have embraced the move and are handling it like champs.   My wonderful free spirited 3rd born who believes in living abundantly and sharing it with those around him longed for a Birthday Party and a Christmas tree amidst the disorganization.  

 I worked DILIGENTLY to organize the house enough i to honor his request for a Birthday Party.

It would have been easier to have the party at a "location" however the cost would take away the meaning and purpose of how we do Birthday parties.   We came to the consensus to have the party at our house!  

My post Happy Happy Birthday! shares our hearts in regards to how we approach birthdays!

This year right here in sunny Texas we experienced the same abundance.  With a house full of boys they set out on a wild scavenger hunt.  There has to be a bit of competitiveness with boys so we challenged them to collect items for the Fort Bend Women's Center.....And that they did!

We proudly dropped off our car full of Gifts and food to the Penny Wise Store to be sent to the shelter!
This is how we change lives together year by year!
NOT only the lives of the recipients but the lives of the children who join us each year!

Happy Birthday!
Y'All did it AGAIN!