I want to let you know just how SPECIAL this event was. It was one of God's 360's for me. You see, when I started these walks back in 2006, my husband and I were in a pretty good place. Or I felt as if we were. In 2007 and 2008 I began to see the wear and tear of a struggle and as many already know, by 2010 an earthquake hit. ( So I did not walk that year. ) But I don't want to talk about that - we are GREAT now! In fact, my sweet man told me he would do the WALK with me in a few years - us alone together - THAT meant the WORLD to me!
The walk in 2008 had me grieving the loss of my nephew and so therefore, in 2009 we walked in Chicago for some NEW sights and NEW memories. 2010 was skipped - life had halted. Then in 2011, both RAchel and I shared this experience with our girls - Taylor and Darby -- which was just a blessing. We declined to walk in 2012 - both of us were too busy with college kids, new experiences and Brendan and I were in a state of moving every 6 months...... So, as I said, God gave me a 360 - at this walk -- as I endured this walk with my dear pal, I met new people and shared with old friends too. I got to see the walk through the eyes of a 'newbie' and I got to see some of Tampa's beautiful physical features with a whole NEW set of eyes. I was happy -- and in a good place, I could experience the WALK for the 'first' time again -- like I did back in 2006. I honestly have NOT had THIS much joy on an enduring walking marathon..since 2006. God - of course - blessed.
Our first walk in 2006 was just a unique experience for both of us - I had NO clue nor could I have imagined how much people FIGHT and deal with this disease. At the time, I had two uncles that had battled other cancers but breast cancer had not 'hit' close. This year -- it has. This year, as I walked, I prayed and prayed for my pal Trace in Wisconsin who is in the BATTLE of her life right now - so it was close. I walked for her back in 2009 as well! This year was probably my 'last' walk here in Florida as the Susan G. Komen foundation has made some cuts and are reframing the structure of the Walk for the Cure and they have gone from 14 National Cities to 7 and Tampa Bay did not make the cut. I don't think they estimated the people in Southern Florida...in 3 days, 853 walkers raised over 2.2 million dollars! In Washington DC 2700 walkers raised 4.7 million -- do the math -- we ROCKED it here! But, anyway, that is neither here nor there. These walks have changed my life and have given me a passion to fight for a cause -- and believe WE CAN find a CURE -- we are so close.
For 3 solid days, you are told you are LOVED and you are appreciated in ways you would never think of by fellow walkers, but mostly by TOTAL strangers along the roads -- it is HARD to explain but it is something EACH and every person should experience. I really believe that. Many have told me they could not walk 60 miles and there are some that can't ....but Lord, to see the ones that CAN....People of all ages, of all body types, and of all weights and physically strength - start and finish ...and if they can't - they head to a 'sweep' van and get carried or carted to the next check point. Blisters, rain, or whatever it is -- we continue to walk because WE CAN. It does become mind over matter and even with training - walking that distance when you are closer to 50 than 25 .....takes a toll. We sleep or camp in a tent, we take showers in a traveling portable shower truck and then brush our teeth in a M.A.S.H. type set up or we just use a water bottle and spit out towards the backside of the tent into the grass. Then there is the PORT - O - POTTIES - where you learn to pee in the dark, where you never look down, and where you must retrain your brain to FLUSH when you get home. LOL As I said, it is an experience that I will continue if God says to.
I wait to see -- if the Lord leads, I will do it again. Taylor wants to and maybe we will do the walk in Atlanta next October...I need to heal my 'arches' from this walk first! The added expense to travel will make a difference -- but, I teased Trace that she would be ALIVE to walk the Komen with me in Atlanta next October and she stated - "sounds like fun, I can do that, and I have never been to Atlanta!". So.....I just prayed again -- Lord, make that happen!
One last thing, I do want to thank my supporters. I know many of my friends prayed for me -- especially Pam and Linda -- and my man -- and my kids too -- Taylor's texts were perfect -- it was through prayer that I made the quote to raise the $2300 and it was through prayer that my feet did not spasm in PAIN constantly, but just enough to remind me to take care of them! (Plantar facia problems )
It really WAS by the power of prayer that I completed this feat - and so thank you and thank you GOD!
Thanks for speaking loudly -- and blessing me on this walk --
.....time with RAchel
... time to meet a new pal, Melisa
..time to see Carrie, Jon and the boys
.time to listen to YOU Lord,
time to meet heros
time to learn new ways to stretch from some GREAT Chiropractic students and young interns
time to be by myself to just PRAISE God for the blessings of these past 8 years
time to see a beautiful city and its parks and walkways
time to laugh and cry
time to mourn Blake again
time to reflect on HOW each walk changed me.....
time to see ALL that YOU have restored
time to hear my hubby call me and leave sweet messages -- that he missed me
time to hear my family say, "I am proud of you"....
Can you see -- why I could of been a little depressed on Monday when I got home?
OH -- and God went over the top -- I was a part of Opening and Closing ceremonies -- and that is a whole other story - that could be blogged - but I will end.
God is so good.
God is so sweet.
Thank you for helping me accomplish this goal -- michelle
|Me standing backstage - ready for Closing Ceremonies|
|2nd day done.....|
|Tent City -- our spot was just ahead.|
|My cousin Carrie lives ON the route-- great spot to live but now we won't walk in Tampa again....|
|We did it!|
|She is the one that GOT me started in this adventure - loved spending the 60 miles with her!|
|And - I LOVE chocolate -- thank you from a supporter!|