Miracle Marathon – Update #1

Miracle Marathon instagram

Well. Today is Day 5 of the Miracle Marathon, and I’m going to be brutally honest – I’ve got some miles to make up this weekend.

The first two days went great, and I walked just like I was supposed to do. The third and fourth days didn’t go as planned (as it goes with so many days!). So this weekend I’ve got to make up some mileage, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

As I instagrammed on Wednesday, I haven’t walked outside and I didn’t even put on real walking shoes. Still, walking two miles in four days is way more than I’ve done in quite a while! And since I’m using my Walk Away the Pounds video that has a super easy one-mile walk and regular two-mile walk, I can do that two-mile workout today and tomorrow.

Wondering what I’m talking about with this Miracle Marathon thing? The short version is that it’s a one-mile-a-day “marathon” from September 16 to October 12 to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. I’m a team leader, and I’m walking in honor of my friend’s son, Raef.

You can read more about it here.
It’s not too late, either – you can join my team here.
And if you’d like to help me save kids’ lives, you can donate here.

EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS. For example, $10 would provide 20 preemie-sized diapers and $25 provides 4 baby blankets for the NICU. As the mom of a preemie, I know how valuable those tiny supplies are!!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Looking for Lemonade Stories

31 Days of Making Lemonade

October is just around the corner, and you know what that means!

No, I’m not referring to pumpkin everything, Annalyn’s birthday, Halloween or the anniversary of my first date with Mark. Those things are coming, but today I’m talking about 31 Days.

Every fall, hundreds of bloggers take the challenge to write (and post) about one topic every day in the month of October. It’s Nester’s idea, and I fully anticipate cursing her “brilliance” by about the third week of this insanity. But not for long, because writing daily on one topic for a full month has benefits that last way longer than 31 days of blogging stress and chaos!

In 2012, I wrote 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect.
In 2013, I wrote 31 Days of Giving Up on Fairy Tales.
In 2014, I’ll write 31 Days of Making Lemonade.

As in, when life gives you lemons… And I need your help. Do you have a story about a time in your life when life handed you lemons but you turned it around (made lemonade) into a positive situation? I’d love to hear it and possibly share it with everyone here as a guest post.

If you’d like to submit a guest post for my 31 Days series, please email it to me by Friday, September 26.

Will you participate in 31 Days this year?

It’s Here! TV Premieres of Fall 2014

Fall TV Preview - 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . .

Well, fine, maybe we shouldn’t compare the fall television premiere season to Christmas. We shouldn’t. Right?

Okay, so we won’t. But I also won’t deny that I am ridiculously (though, unsurprisingly) excited for old shows to return and new shows to start. Especially after the past two weeks of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BEING ON.

I asked on Facebook which shows you all are most looking forward to beginning this fall, and you had lots on your lists! You’re excited for Parenthood (tons of votes for this one, no surprise), The Good Wife, Scandal, Blacklist (the previews are making me question my choice to not watch this one last year…thoughts?), Person of Interest, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Newsroom, Agents of Shield, Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Galavant (I can’t wait for this one, but unfortunately it’s a mid-season premiere.), Gotham, Scorpion, and NCIS: New Orleans.

Wow! That’s a lot of shows and a lot of variety. You all have good taste! (Although I’ll confess I’ve never watched a single Batman movie and I’m just not sure Gotham would make sense to me.)

So let’s talk specifics. Shows. Dates. Thoughts. Opinions.

(NOTE: All times are CST because that’s where I live.)

Returning Shows I’ll Be Watching:

  • Once Upon a Time (Sundays at 7pm, premieres 9/28)
  • Castle (Mondays at 9pm, premieres 9/29)
  • NCIS (Tuesdays at 7pm, premieres 9/23)
  • New Girl (Tuesdays at 8pm, premieres 9/16 – tomorrow!!)
  • The Mindy Project (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 9/16)
  • Arrow (Wednesdays at 7pm, premieres 10/8)

I’ll probably DVR Brooklyn 99 (Sundays at 7:30 pm, premieres 9/28) and About a Boy (Tuesdays at 8:30 pm, premieres 10/14), but I’m not quite ready to commit. Oh, and Hart of Dixie and Parks & Recreation are returning mid-season.

New Shows I’m Thinking About:

[Don't worry. I'm not planning to watch all of these. Yikes! Can you imagine? TOO MUCH TV!!!]

  • A to Z (NBC, Thursdays at 8pm) – This one feels like How I Met Your Mother all over again – partly because the main female character is The Mother, partly because the concept of the show is based on a relationship with an expiration date. I watched the pilot on Hulu, and it was cute. I’m not sure it’s a keeper, but I’m going to give it a try for now.
  • The Flash (CW, Tuesdays at 7pm) – A spinoff of Arrow, based on comic books. I don’t read comic books, but I do watch – and like – Arrow. So I’ll at least watch the first episode of this one.
  • Forever (ABC, Mondays at 9pm) – So. This show is about a guy who can’t die. Every time he does, he comes back to life, waking up naked and in water. Also, he’s a medical examiner and works with a pretty cop. I realize that might just sound a little ridiculous, but I will be watching it anyway.
  • Gotham (Fox, Mondays at 7pm) – Batman before Batman was Batman, apparently. Lots of people are real worked up about this one, but since – like I said – I haven’t watched any of the Batman movies, I think I’m going to sit this one out.
  • How to Get Away with Murder (ABC, Thursdays at 9pm) – Lots of you mentioned this one and lots of critics have talked about it. But…I don’t know. I gave up Grey’s Anatomy a long time ago and never got started with Scandal, so I’m not really inclined to add the latest Shonda Rhimes show to my list.
  • Jane the Virgin (CW, Mondays at 8pm) – A Christian girl accidentally gets artificially inseminated and then her show is compared to Ugly Betty. Ummm…okay? I figure I’ll give this one a try, since I liked Ugly Betty. We’ll see.
  • Madam Secretary (CBS, Sundays at 7pm) – Former CIA agent becomes Secretary of State and “shakes things up.” The preview looks good, so I’ve already put this one on my schedule. (Yes. I have a schedule.)
  • Manhattan Love Story (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – Oh my gosh, shoot me. You know how people joke about reading each other’s thoughts and how it might not be a good thing? Yeahhhh, it’s NOT. Just watching the preview was painful. And this is coming from someone who’s currently watching Greek and loving it (the show this one’s main character was in).
  • Marry Me (NBC, Tuesdays at 8pm) – I liked Happy Endings, Penny included. And Vinnie Van Lowe from Veronica Mars always cracked me up. But I do not buy these two together, and I am not interested in this show. Watching the preview felt like watching a bit, like they could not possibly be serious – BUT THEY WERE.
  • Mulaney (Fox, Sundays at 8pm) – It’s the new Seinfeld. It might be funny. I’ll maybe watch it if it’s on On Demand.
  • NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesdays at 8pm) – No, I do not need another procedural in my life. But I liked the episodes that previewed this new spinoff last year, soooo…I don’t know. Maybe? I’ll try it? I guess?
  • Red Band Society (Fox, Wednesdays at 8pm) – Uggggghhhhhhh. You guys! It’s another show about sick kids! I blame John Green for this new trend, and I do not approve. Because TEARS. But the critics are all over this one. And I don’t want to miss out on the Next Hot Show (unless it’s about Batman). So I’ll watch the pilot. If it makes me cry, though, I’m out. (I mean, not really. Reruns of HIMYM make me cry. So.)
  • Scorpion (CBS, Mondays at 8pm) – A crew of super smart people save the world. I believe I saw one critic say it’s Big Bang Theory meets the Justice League of America and/or Fast and the Furious. Clearly I will be watching this from Day One.
  • Selfie (ABC, Tuesdays at 7pm) – I don’t know why (I was bored?), but I watched this pilot on Hulu. It was not good. I don’t plan to watch. Annnnnd that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
  • State of Affairs (NBC, Mondays at 9pm) – Katharine Heigl is a CIA agent, working with the president and tracking down the terrorists who killed her fiance. I know, okay? But I’m going to watch it anyway.

Some TV Resources for You:

What shows are you looking forward to this fall?

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Tell {Themselves} Lies


It’s been a rough season for me in the friendship arena.

I’ve felt rejected, disappointed, deserted and excluded. I’ve been certain that nobody likes me, nobody cares and if I were a couple decades younger I might just finish that little chant with, “I guess I’ll just eat worms.”

And speaking of younger days, I have definitely experienced a few flashbacks to those middle school years. The ones where I desperately wanted the cool girls to like me. Not because they were popular, but because I genuinely liked them. And, maybe just a little bit, because they were popular.

But they didn’t – or they didn’t for long. And that’s been a little bit how I’ve felt recently.

I don’t know about you, but when I struggle with friendship and community, it’s way too easy for me to move from thinking sad thoughts about the situation to thinking sad thoughts about myself.

If I were cooler, they’d like me.
If I shopped here or worked out there, they’d invite me to the party.
If I wasn’t such a dork, they’d want to hang out with me.
If I were thinner…
If I didn’t make so many stupid jokes…
If I had more time or more money…
If I weren’t so ME…

To be clear – these are actual thoughts I’ve had THIS YEAR. I’m not reminiscing about the awkward years of adolescence. Nope. I’ve actually let those words enter my 35-year-old brain.

Join me over at (in)courage, where you can read the rest of this post
and we can talk about what to do when these kinds of lies come up.

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On Mondays and Miracles and Marathons


You might notice this post is about Mondays … and today is Tuesday. That wasn’t intentional, but it does illustrate my point brilliantly.

Starting new things on Mondays doesn’t work for me.

I wish it did. I really do. I like it when things are organized and straightened and structured. I like it when they fit into boxes and categories and calendars. But the fact is that Monday mornings are rough at my house and plans that depend on first-thing beginnings just don’t work.

That’s one of the MANY reasons I’m super excited to be part of the Miracle Marathon. {It starts on a Tuesday.}

What’s the Miracle Marathon, you ask? And how on earth do I think I’m going to RUN A MARATHON? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

The Miracle Marathon is a one-mile-a-day “marathon” to benefit Children’s Miracle Network. Between September 16 and October 12, participants walk one mile a day.

ONE MILE. Anyone can do that! {Yes. Even me…the just-had-a-baby, work-from-home-on-the-couch one!}

So this is great motivation for me – and you?! – to finally start exercising. But in a totally reasonable, doable, won’t-strain-muscles sort of way. That’s ANOTHER one of the reasons I love the Miracle Marathon.

But the main reason I am honored to be a team leader for the Miracle Marathon? The cause. THE KIDS.

Miracle Marathon

Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network has raised more than $5 billion for 170 children’s hospitals across the United States and Canada, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.

Its mission is simple: to increase funds and awareness for local children’s hospitals. And its vision is inspiring: to save kids’ lives.

My local CMN hospital, KU Medical Center, is able to provide kids with all kinds of injuries and illnesses with the care they deserve because of this organization. And that kiddo up there in the picture? He’s one of them. And he’s my friend’s son.

Raef and his family (including his mom and my friend Gretchen) go to my church. His bio calls him “a charming 7th grader who loves playing all kinds of sports,” but I know him as the sweet kid whose quotes crack me up every time Gretchen posts them on Facebook.

Though he seemed healthy at birth, Raef began having seizures when he was just a few months old. By the time he was six months old, he was having 200-300 seizures a day. Can you even imagine?! Thankfully, a radical brain surgery when he was just eight months old treated the condition, and he’s been seizure free for nearly 12 years. His battle didn’t end there, though.

Raef also has Neurofibromatosis Type I, a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow along the nerves, and just before he was two years old, pediatric oncologists at KU Medical Center discovered a tumor on his optic nerve that threatened his vision. That discovery led to 14 months of chemo at KU Med Center, which stabilized the tumor.

Today, Raef is active, healthy and happy – thanks in large part to the excellent treatment he received at KU Medical Center – and his family remains involved with Children’s Miracle Network.


Starting next Tuesday, I’ll be walking one mile each day – not just to get myself in shape, but in honor of Raef and all the other kids who have received miracles at my local CMN hospital.

Will you join me?

It’s simple. Walk one mile each day. Fundraise, but only if you want to. And make miracles happen for more kids like Raef.

If you register using my 10% discount code [MiracleMary] you will donate $24.48 to the cause and that is AWESOME. And then all you have to do is walk. I’ll be doing it with you – and I’ll update you each week during the “marathon” about how it’s going. I’d love to have you join my team – and hear how it goes for you each week, too!

Don’t wait for Monday. Register NOW for my Miracle Marathon team!

This post was made possible through the support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All opinions are my own.

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