I care. And so I run.

For the short time that I've been running semi-competitively (aka. competing in 5k races), each new race was mainly a competition against myself, trying to run faster and to improve from the previous race.

A couple weeks ago, I sort of spontaneously registered for the Shamrock Shuffle 8k (March 21, 2010) with a few other people from my church. This time I'm running with more of a purpose. We joined Team World Vision to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief as part of this race.

The four of us from the left of the picture are all racing again in the Shamrock Shuffle (plus one of our youth group members too!)

So the challenges of this race for me are twofold:
  1. It's the longest distance I've ever run (4.9 miles). I'm gradually trying to increase my endurance and distance over these next few weeks of training. I ran 4 miles last week, so I'll get there, but my goal is to just finish and not worry about my time.
  2. To raise at least $200 as a team for Haiti. Right now we're at $130, but I really think we can go above and beyond our $200 goal if we all kick up our fundraising efforts a few notches.
Will you consider sponsoring us in this race to raise money for World Vision and Haiti? You can donate to our Salt 'N' Light Team or you can donate to me (but I've already reached my personal fundraising goal, so I'd encourage you to donate to the team first).

If you have questions about donations or the race, feel free to contact me. If you can't sponsor us financially, consider coming out to watch the race on March 21 (if you're in Chicago) or at least be praying for us as we train and run!

Once a Pug, Always a Pug

Tomorrow marks exactly six months after our first and precious pug, Jasmine AnnMarie (left), went to doggie heaven.

Losing Jasmine was like losing a family member of our family. She lived with us for 16.5 years so I basically grew up with her. Jasmine was at my college graduation (literally...sort of. She was staying at my college house while we went to the ceremony), she comforted me when I cried, she brought so much joy and laughter to our home, and she was the subject of many of our family prayer times.  Those six months of being pugless felt like so much longer! Those who have dogs understand that life just isn't the same without them.

This past Saturday, though, our family welcomed our new baby, Lexie Madison (right)! What a joy it is to have another pug in our lives! Lexie has been adjusting well to her new home and has already proven herself to be smart. She learned "sit" in two days (though she still needs some practice)!

At times I've felt a little sad because now I want to change my laptop background and phone background from Jasmine to Lexie. I almost feel bad because it seems like I'm pushing Jasmine aside and paying all this attention to our new puppy. I realize this is partially true, but I also know that Jasmine would probably tell Lexie what a great family she has now. Many people get excited about their dogs when they're puppies and when they're new and then get tired of the daily care for the dog. Not so in our family! We always loved spending time with the pug or just having Jasmine around. Although all us kids won't be home much longer, I know Lexie will be well-cared for by my parents.

Jasmine, though you're no longer physically with us, you will never be forgotten. All our great pug memories are from you and we wouldn't have gotten Lexie if we hadn't enjoyed the past 16.5 years you gave us. We'll never get another breed of dog. Lexie, we'll try not to compare you to Jasmine. I know you've already proven yourself to be unique and we love you too!

Our family never expected to get another pug so soon, but that's the way it worked out. I'm excited to see what other great things God has in store for 2010!

Jasmine loved sleeping. Lexie may be the same way.

Dog (or animal) lovers! Do you have any dog stories to share?
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