She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

Inspiration Oozing Out of Me

on September 13, 2012

I am so high I feel like I’m in the purple and orange hues of a Los Angeles sunset.

I just returned from a retreat. (Now, please don’t run away and click off.)

It was a different sort of retreat.  We called it a “Girlfriends’ Retreat,” a mix between a “girls’ weekend” and a traditional churchy women’s retreat.

My BFF in New York City, Kim, and I were in cahoots on this. Being on opposite coasts since our college days we had talked and dreamed about meeting in the middle of the US of A with our besties.  Then our other BFFs would bring more BFFs, and so, you get the idea.  Lots of estrogen coming together for rich Girltime. Which I am an addict of and strong advocate for.

Austin, Texas was the destination, and 16 girls were set to meet up and breathe in the heat, eat BBQ, and learn to do the 2-step at The Broken Spoke.

But that is not all.  We wanted something deeper and richer as well as good old-fashioned girly-girl times of TALKING,  shopping, TALKING, pampering, eating, and more TALKING.

Before our plan was on paper, I called NYC Kim and said, “What if we contacted Kristin Armstrong to come and speak at the retreat? She lives in Austin, Texas! It’s a crazy idea that she would say yes (to us strangers), but why not try?”   We both agreed to go for it.

Both Kim and I (and everyone who would take the books we handed out) had recently read Kristin’s book Mile Markers, and fell in fan-love with her.  Given that we, too, were mothers, runners, and writers, we felt a kinship to her.

We loved her honesty and transparency, her style of writing, and her intentionality in life and in motherhood.  What we also felt extremely like-minded about was how she cherished her girlfriends, and that she called them “sacred and mandatory.”

We were drawn to her.  And God authored the idea of bravely asking her to come and share her wisdom with our precious friends.

The short story is well I wrote to her…and SHE SAID YES!!

Kristin said in front of everyone that she receives many letters, but that with mine, it was compelling, and she could hear my voice coming through.  (What every wanna-be writer wants to hear!!) It was like God hugged me through her and told me to keep writing.

And I’m still dizzy from the weekend away.  And not from hitting 6th Street college-town-craziness on Saturday night.

My head and heart are just spinning around with all the one-on-one talks I had with UH-MAZING women who inspired me in an incomprehensible way.

I’m gushing even more about Kristin Armstrong, and what she brought TO US.  That she cared deeply about being there.  We were not just another speaking engagement and honorarium to collect.  She had been praying for our group, and even had her friends praying for our group.  She came in to share her heart and wisdom, but NOT TO BE ELEVATED in any way.  And she was gifted.  She is gifted by God.  In “getting” women, how we are, what we need, what our souls long for.  She was genuine and honest and funny, and so wise for being so young.

AND despite any hardships she may have been through in her life, she had no edge to her.  She was soft, full of grace and composure.  A breath of peaceful, fresh air.  This left me inspired to be SOFTER, and less sarcastic, in my home life, especially.

I left with many points of inspiration:

  • To be intentional about my time and my kids’ time (that I might BE WITH THEM, not just watch them grow up)
  • To continue to write, write, write
  • To be full of grace with my kids
  • To not be so irritable with my kids or Chris
  • To be more in prayer
  • To remember always that girlfriends are sacred and mandatory, for life
  • To plan more events like this one where women connect openly, spiritually, and beautifully, AND have some girly-fun!

When God authors a dream, it does come true.  So now I ask and pray, what’s the next one, Lord??  (I think I have a few ideas…)

11 responses to “Inspiration Oozing Out of Me

  1. Micah says:

    LOVE IT! I was just about to write you and ask how the weekend was! Thanks for posting about it and for making some great bullet points of your “take-aways.” I am soooo proud of you for going for it with your life!! xoxox Micah

  2. That is so cool that you got to do this. God really blessed you so much. I love you!!!!!!!! xoxoxo Luke

  3. Liz says:

    Sounds wonderful…. Hope I can be part of the next one! We are up in Big Bear right now for some much needed family time and I’m going to try to put some of your inspirations to work… Guess that means I should turn off the iPad now right?!?! XO Liz

  4. What an experience to stow away in your memory bank. Thrilled you had such a rich experience and brought back inspirational thoughts for living a richer life!

  5. Kylie says:


    your calling is to write, about you and your beautiful family, we can all learn so much from you. You are a wonderful gift from god to all who enter your amazing life. You do run a damn good race!!

  6. Erika says:

    I can’t wait to hear more about the weekend!!

  7. Amy Groshell says:


    So thankful your heart was ministered too. Sounds like (from what you learned) God is teaching you the same things though we are coasts apart!
    I love you and the way you share your heart!

    Xoxo topped with GRACE,


  8. adexoxox says:

    I got choked up (more times than not) when she said her girlfriends were praying for us…that’s what it’s all about! Not competition or one-upping other women, but coming together both face to face and heart to heart in prayer and encouragement, pushing and cheering one another on…thank you for letting me be part of the weekend…there is so much beauty to come from it! xoxox

  9. Dana Chelf says:

    Jess, You are my inspiration and I can’t thank you enough for so eloquently sharing your experiences and wisdom. You are helping me stay on the right track and reminding me to live for the here and now. God bless!!

  10. Kristin says:

    Jess, so well put! Especially about participating in their lives, not such observing them. I’m saving this one

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