Monday, August 27, 2012

Raising Money for Africa- Interview with Matt

Today's post will be an interview with my son, Matt, about his idea to raise money for Africa through my NYC marathon run.  Matt has been reading the book, "Take Your Best Shot" by Austin Gutwein.  At the age of 9 years old, Austin wanted to raise money for Africa by shooting basketballs.  His one act of obedience resulted in "over a million dollars in international AIDS relief and built a school and medical clinic in Zambia".  I sat down with Matt to ask him a few questions about his money campaign to provide clean water for kids in Africa.

1)  How old are you and what grade are you in?
I am 9 and in 4th grade.

2)  Have you ever raised money for anything?
No- but I have donated money at Sports Camp this summer.  I think it was for clean water for Haiti.

Sports Camp 2012

3)  What has motivated you to challenge others to donate money to World Vision for clean water?
So people can have clean water.

4)  How did you come up with the idea?
Reading the Austin book with my mom- Austin talked about marathon running is a way to raise money.
Amazon pic

5)  How do you plan to raise money for this cause?
We might do a lemonade stand or a yard sale. 

1 Timothy 4:10-12 "Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.  Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity."

If you are interested in donating money for clean water through World Vision in support of my marathon run, go to
ING New York City Marathon 2012: Mrs. Jennifer Gemmill - Team World Vision


Monday, August 20, 2012

Where has the time gone?

My boys are starting 4th grade and 2nd grade tomorrow.  Sometimes it feels like they should be 4 and 2 again.  Where has the time gone?  My heart aches as I think back to the earlier days when I had two little boys running around the house- tomorrow I have two big boys entering another year of elementary school.

Matt- 3 years, Jake- 8 months (2005)
Beach 2012
So many questions run through my mind as I flipped through a photo album from their first few years of life.  Did I enjoy the moments or was I always busy "doing"?  Were they happy?  Was I happy?  We look happy but sometimes it feels like such a blur- it was so hard when they were so little.  Did I do enough- enough of whatever they needed at the time to develop into well-adjusted children?  We receive so little training on how to be a parent that at times the average mommy can feel very unequipped to do her job. 

Matt- 4 years, Jake 2 years (2006)
Beach 2008

I know you can't go back but if I could, what would I do differently? 
Clean less, play more.  Worry less, laugh more.  Be busy less, listen more. 

Be silly more!

But I am not through this journey called parenthood and I still have plenty of time to "do more" with these sweet boys.  Not entertain more or buy more or indulge more but really listen when they tell me a funny story, sit & play Legos even though I have many other things that I could do, read together every night and continue to kiss, hug and speak words of affection to their sweet little hearts. 

Beach 2010
I do not want to go back to the younger years- those of you in the thick of it know how difficult it can be- sleepless nights, dirty diapers, potty training, terrible twos tantrums, etc...  But what I will take away from the ache for yesterday is that I need to be more intentional to live in the moment.  The moments with our kids go by so fast and we can get caught wishing for the next stage to come.  Each day is a blessing- one that should not be taken for grant as is each stage of our children's lives.  Each stage has the good, the bad and the ugly but once that stage is done, we can never go back.  So savor each stage for what it is and enjoy your kids-  before you know it that journey will be over & they will be grown. 

Christmas 2011

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Tribute to my Girlfriends

I spent an amazing weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado with 5 awesome ladies- my dearest friends from high school (we were missing one since she just had a baby). 

Breckenridge 2012

We graduated about 20 years ago and have remained friends ever since.  Some of us went to college together but we all continued to have contact with each other through out our twenties.  One of the girls, Terry, set me up on a blind date with my now-husband, Glenn.  A couple of the girls I have known since elementary school.

Senior Year, 1991

The fact that we are still in contact is amazing but what is more incredible is that we go away on an annual trip each year.  These trips started when my husband and I moved to Tampa in 2003.  Our move to Tampa was an excuse for a road trip from the Maryland girls.  After Tampa's trip, three of us got pregnant which left only 3 available for the next trip which was Las Vegas.  These three were troopers and braved Vegas :)which helped to establish our annual trip.  Our trips have included:

2005:  New Orleans- Jazz Festival
2006:  Miami, FL
2007:  Chicago, ILL
2008:  Estes Park, CO for Courtney's wedding
2009:  Boston, Mass
2010:  Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival
2011:  Block Island, RI for Andrea's wedding
2012:  Breckenridge, CO

Jazz Festival, 2005

Chicago, 2007

Courtney's wedding, 2008

Epcot Food & Wine Festival, 2010
Andrea's wedding, 2011

Next year we all turn 40 and are planning a special trip still to be determined.  We will also be celebrating 10 years of girls' weekends. 

So I'd like to say a special thanks to our husbands who volunteer to watch our sweet children while we go on these trips.  Without their support we could not make these special weekends happen.  I'd also like to say thank you to the LPHS ladies who make this trip a priority each year- only births or deaths have kept us away.  The bond we share as friends is special to me- the ease in which we reconnect to each other is refreshing- the support we give each other in good or bad times is rare.  Thanks for being a part of my life- you are an amazing group of friends!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beach Bliss- Training Blues

Last week we spent a great time at the beach with my family.  We went to Topsail, North Carolina which is located near Wilmington, NC.  My family stayed with my sister's family and my parents stayed in a house with my brother's family.  Our house was beachfront which was the first time we have stayed on the beach.  It was amazing- we had easy access to the beach-lunch, bathroom and rest breaks were a breeze.  Every morning we woke up listening to the ocean waves.  The house we rented was perfect for our families- the cousins had a great time hanging out together for a week.

Our beach house

The boys at the beach

Patio playground

While at the beach, Glenn and I had planned on running a long run together.  Unfortunately this didn't happen for a variety of reasons.  I was disciplined to wake up early two mornings to get in a 6 & 8 mile run.  Glenn also did 2 runs- 5 & 6 miles.  Each of us had feet issues on this trip. 

Glenn got several foot blisters which forced him to take it easy for the remainder of the week.  I have been dealing with some heel pain which seems to be my nemesis injury.  Off and on during my running & tennis "careers", I have had problems with heel pain.  Usually I can heal it with rest & care.  So I decided to take it easy the rest of the week- no reason to push myself with 14 weeks of training left.

Glenn's nasty foot blisters

On the trip I bought a book with me called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall.  My good friend, Wendy, who is also running the NYC marathon recommended this book to me after I mentioned my heel pain.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book for many reasons.  The book follows the story of a man's search for pain-free natural running which leads him to researching the practices of Tarahumara Indians in Mexico and ultra-marathoners in the United States.  It is pro-barefoot or minimal running, building the case against the use of shoes that promote heel-striking running.  As a lover of running, I was intrigued with the ultra-runner community (though I have no desire to run an ultra-marathon).  I also found a lot of good advice about running techniques which has caused me to evaluate my own running technique. 
Courtesy of Amazon

Due to my constant foot & heel pain, I am going to slowly change my running gait as well as my running shoes.  When we returned on Sunday, I went out for a 3 mile run and focused on my foot strike, trying to land on my mid-foot and not the heel.  I immediately noticed a difference in my foot pain.  The next day I ran 5-6 miles which I did at a slower pace than normal, continuing to work on landing on my mid-foot and keeping my foot under my hips and not out in front. 

Wearing my Brooks Trance, which has a high heel sole, made it challenging to take the heel strike totally out of the picture.  Luckily there are great blogs about running that are easy to find and I located a blog called Runblogger @  I found great information about shoes and technique.  I am not looking to get into barefoot running but I need to change something in order to get rid of my chronic foot pain.  So I am going to go shoe shopping today- looking at the Brooks PureFlow and Saucony Kinvara as possible shoes. 
Saucony Kinvara

Brooks Pureflow

Running is a physical, mental and emotional challenge at times- right now I am experiencing a physical challenge which I am confident I can overcome.  I am lifting this up to God in prayer but I also believe that God wants you to help yourself as well.  Sometimes we need to be actively praying but also actively participating in the solution. 

For example, on my 6 mile run at the beach, I was discouraged that I was still feeling the pain in my heel.  I kept running, praying that God would carry me through my training, getting me to the marathon in New York.  When I got home, I checked my email and I had an email from Runner's World titled "Fix Your Feet Fast".  It was advertising a book about foot care & injury prevention.  What a coincidence- you might say!  But I believe when we give it to God, there are no coincidences.  So what did I do?  I ordered the book- I can actively participant in the solution by researching my options while asking God to take away the pain.  Either way I know that He got me in (marathon) and He will carry me through!

"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in ME will carry it on to completion.." Phil. 1:6