Saturday, August 22, 2015

You are my

With week one of pre-k behind us, this seemed very fitting. 

"You are my I love you"

I am your parent you are my child

I am your quiet place, you are my wild

I am your calm face, you are my giggle

I am your wait, you are my wiggle

I am your audience, you are my clown

I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down

I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice

I am your dandelion, you are my first wish

I am your water wings, you are my deep

I am your open arms, you are my running leap

I am your way home, you are my new path

I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath

 I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake

I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake

I am your finish line, you are my race

I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace

I am your favourite book, you are my new lines

I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine

I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo

I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

 Author: Maryann K Cusimano

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The almost four year old

The almost four year old is independent.
He wants to wash his own hair.
Bathe his own body.
Pick out his own clothes.

The almost four year old can *almost* brush his own teeth.
Can ride his scooter and asks to do so as a Transformer
in February.
The almost four year old can
Dream big dreams.
Pray real prayers...
and believes God for them with every ounce of his being.

The almost four year old 
pauses long enough to say 
"mama will you snuggle with me."
Loves big squeeze hugs.
Loves to tickle, loves hide & go seek.
Loves fruit, veggies, and eggs.
And pancake picnics.

Pictures taken on a random Tuesday in February-courtesy of Emily Cathryn Smith.

Monday, January 26, 2015

McLendon Christmas Letter: Now that it is almost February...

Well...Robert wrote a Christmas letter this year and we failed to get it in the mail. It is too good not to share, so we are posting it here. For all to enjoy. So, now that it is almost February we are going to officially say good bye to 2014 and say hello to 2015. 
Does anyone else wonder where January just went?

I hope this season meets you with merriment and diminished anxiety (whatever that means). Once again, we decided it was best to send you an update on our family through the written word rather than a picture-perfect portrait of our family sitting in wonderment at how organized we are. We would have done that, but we really couldn’t find one or pose for one long enough for the needed millisecond of camera flash. 

Kristin is still taking on the world one student at a time as the RiverStone Student Pastor. She loves what she does when she’s not drowning in kids. She took a lovely group of students to Costa Rica this year to work with an orphanage and a local impoverished community near the orphanage. She is really good at hitting teenagers over the head with selfless reality. The kids are really no problem for her at all. She is having a blast with her students. Kristin fulfilled one bucket list item this year – she ran from the top of Mount Hood in Oregon, through Portland, and to the coast of Oregon. She did it with several friends and had a great time. They finished the relay in 34 hours! What is currently killing her is her recent decision to go to Grad School!!! She just finished up her first semester at Asbury Theological Seminary where she is getting her Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies with a focus in Church Planting – this really means she is studying missionary processes both domestic and international. As much as it pains me to say, her school seems to be harder than mine. 

Robert has also had an interesting year. In January of 2014 he started a counseling internship working with individuals who were court-ordered to go to counseling for anger/violence problems and alcohol/drug abuse problems. Whatever you picture in your mind when you read that is probably pretty accurate. He encountered lots or rewarding and heartbreaking moments over the past year. This internship was long and had some late hours, so Kristin was single mother for most of the year. Robert also continued to work at RiverStone as the Missions Coordinator helping missionaries and mission teams get their finances in order and counseling leaving and returning missionaries through transitions. Robert also went back to Scotland this past summer to work with kids and host a summer camp – And his dad went with him. Robert did take time off during the summer to drive a 15-passenger van from the top of Mount Hood to the coast of Oregon. He drove 34 consecutive hours and stayed awake for 42 consecutive hours (needless to say, Kristin had more fun than Robert did). With all the busy-ness, Robert looked at life a lot like Forest Gump looked at running across the country. “When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.” Robert finished his internship on December 12th, and started working with Kristin at RiverStone as a Student Pastor January 1st. A dream come true for the McLendons!  

Jude has been a beautiful behavioral challenge this year.  I’m sure after reading this letter you can probably deduce that he has been acting out because he has been the only child of a working single mother this year. Jude’s energy level equals that of the sun. He is either “all systems go” or asleep. It is not fair to say he has been all bad this year. We have shared so many sweet times with our boy. We took a road trip to Asheville, NC, Lynchburg, VA, and Charlotte, NC with Jude in October. He had a blast, and we had sweet family time. 4-6 hour car rides are not really his thing, but he managed. 

Top 10 Lessons Life Taught Us this Year

10. If you take your dad to Scotland, don’t let him buy a kilt.
9. Kristin can run longer than most people can drive.
8. Oregon has traffic jams at 3am. 
7. Jude can go through a “hungry-tired-angry-wired-happy-snuggly-screaming” cycle in 90 seconds. 
6. Three-year-olds are the worst.
5. Three-year-olds are the best.
4. Kristin’s bucket list will probably kill Robert.
3. If a 3-year old wants to walk the dog, you have to walk the 3-year old while he walks the dog.
2. Don’t promise a 3 year-old movies for a 5-hour car ride if the portable DVD player doesn’t work.
1. Only the McLendons can get photo bombed by a man in a kilt while picking out a Christmas Tree!

Happy 2015 friends!

**Disclaimer:  Letter was written by Robert**

Sunday, October 19, 2014


When is it that you re-start your blog?  Is it August 1st like I originally intended?  Or Maybe September 1st?  Or wait, October 1st?  Or the start of Fall?  Or maybe just go and publish all the drafts that are waiting in the ole blogger window....'eh how bout October 19th.  That sounds like a good day.  Although I don't know where to start.  The last time I posted was in February and to be honest that about sums up our year in the McLendon household.  We knew it would be by Gods grace that we survived 2014 and after this past week, all back together under the same roof, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Maybe I'll be able to process this past year one day.  But for one thing I know it's Jesus that I held onto ever so tightly.  Knuckles are a little whiter that's for sure.  Faithful is who He is.  Jesus.

Cheers to actually hitting publish on this blog post.  Cheers to my theme song of 2014.  Thank you Jesus for being my source.  Thank you for being faithful and being the One that remains.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yvonne is Running This Year!

Happy Friday Friends!  Excited to share another #RunThisYear Runner's Profile with you today!!  Don't you just love this community?!  

Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Yvonne!  Praying you each are encouraged as we share her story today!!!

Hi Yvonne!  I believe one of the best ways to be encouraged is to hear one another's "stories".  So let's start out by hearing YOUR Story!  Tell us your "Running Story!!"
Growing up, I was a tall-uncoordinated girl.  I was never, NEVER, picked to be a part of a team.  I tried out for everything – volleyball, basketball {hello .. I did say tall}, softball and cheerleading (not even sure what I was thinking there-remember “tall-uncoordinated”) and wasn’t selected for a single one.  The only thing I could join was band {tallest trombone player in the marching line-up}, ha, because I couldn’t be turned down!  In my head – I am not an athlete!
I sit here now, a “twenty-year wife”, mother of two crazy teens and a 4-legged pup.   I am a vegetarian, part-time vegan foodie, and a dedicated running road and trail {race} fan.  Some may even say now an athlete.  Somewhere in my later 3rd decade, I decided to really run full force and haven’t stopped, only sped up!
Are y'all encouraged yet?!  I am! :)  

Is this your first year participating in #RunThisYear?  What is your goal for this year?
This is the first year for RTY for me.  I watched from afar last year and was mad I didn’t join in.  So this year I was ready with my goals:  an Ultra and 2400k or 1200 miles for 2014. 

Having a schedule and a race to prepare for helps me stay on track.  This year (running wise) so far will be my biggest race accomplishment.  The goal is to cross the finish line feeling strong and happy...then there may be a second Ultra shortly after!!

Tell us about your favorite race to run and if you follow a training plan to meet that goal!
I did my first "race" almost 11 years ago and it was a full marathon -- it wasn't graceful, fast or love at first run either (up until this last California International Marathon 2013, I disliked full marathons).  Yes,  I learned the hard way TRAIN PROPERLY and you succeed. It was after my first not so fun marathon when I fell in love with the half marathon distance, my first one in 2007.  Since then, I have ran approximately 17 half marathons, as well as 4 full marathons, three 200-mile relay races (Ragnar Relay) and several road and trail distances in between.  None of my races have been "easy" but I have found that if I stick to a schedule and stay consistent I finish successfully (as mentioned above this too was learned several races into my journey) -- and I am always ready to sign up for my next!

Right now, I am now just a few weeks out from my first Ultra 50k (on March 8th!).  I started running the trails about 3 years ago and  I love it! I am currently following a plan from Tiffany (Running Hutch) and one from a local running store.  I've also recently added strength training into the mix.  I really do think it's added to my successful long training runs that have varied from anywhere from 13-24 miles, with my longest trail run to date coming up tomorrow...26 miles!!!!

To close us out, do you have any tips to encourage us with?
One of my biggest tips or lessons that I've learned is to stay consistent with a training schedule.  It is okay that some days are good run days and some not so good.  It is the act of continuing to move forward that makes success. For me I feel so lucky and blessed with my running friends who motivate, inspire and cheer me on every mile along the way! Seriously some days you don't feel like running, but once I get out there it is like therapy, and it turns every day into a better day! 

I also finally feel that I have learned how to properly fuel my body for endurance training.  In several races and during training in the past, I found myself crashing towards the end or immediately after.  This too is something that I finally took seriously and stuck to.  It has made a huge difference in the way I feel during and after long runs. 

Thanks Yvonne for encouraging us today!  
Yvonne has her eyes set on her BIG RUN--Ultra50k just around the corner and her longest trail run TOMORROW!  Let's jump in and encourage her today!!!

FaceBook: Y Now an Athlete
Instagram: @ynowanathlete
Twitter: @ynowanathlete

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tara Jane Is Running This Year!

One of the really fun things I get to do as a #RunThisYear Ambassador is introduce you to fun people within the community!  I am excited today to introduce you today to Tara Jane! 
Tara is new to the Run This Year community this year--but signed up this year eager to do it!  With her church and work commitments, she knew she probably wouldn't be able to do the full 2014km--so she got creative (which is why I'm so excited for you all to get to know her--and be encouraged by her!!).   Her goal for the year is to run 201.4km twice.  Once she has achieved this, she will then try to do it a third time!

One of the things I am most eager to learn from other runners is what a typical week looks like for them.  We all have different things on our plate--so I am fascinated the most by this from other runners!  For Tara, she let us know that in a typical week she runs about 10k, 5km on a Saturday and 5km on a Sunday.  She occasionally throws in a weekday lunch run.  (Who else out there runs on their lunch breaks?!).

Tara is a social runner--so as long as she has a friend or two to run with, she's out there!  If she finds that she is alone for her run she will usually head to the gym for a class.  This is still a great way to get a work out in--but she does confess it is not helping towards clocking those km's! 

I asked Tara to share a little bit about her running story.  She shared it so well, I thought I'd share it here with her own words....

"Until a year ago I thought running shoes were reserved for Dads in jeans and gym fanatics, two groups of people I never wanted to be anything like.

My running story starts January 2013, in a sweaty tent. I had been married for ten months and working full time for twelve. My life had shifted from single, on-the-go university student, on my feet all day serving coffees, to days on end of sitting and dinner every evening. After a year of living like that, I felt overweight. I felt slow and sluggish all the time. I didn’t like it. And so during my summer camping trip, I made the decision to sign up for the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT) - a fitness and food program I had heard about.

I met Rachel’s Runners through the 12WBT community. They ran on Saturdays and anyone could join. I was just getting used to the idea of exercise, and I love socialising, so I thought “Sure, I’ll give it a go!” I started by doing a Learn to Run program, and within 10 weeks I had run my first 5k fun run!

Since then, I’ve run in a few fun runs organized by the group, three 5km runs and a 10km run, and I’m working my way slowly up to a half marathon. I love the Rachel’s Runners fun runs the most because I get to run with the girls who push me to work harder, run faster and get better every week.

If my weekend is normal, I join Rachel’s Runners and participate in Learn to Run training with the new runners, plus half marathon training, and then a distance run of anything between 5km to 15km. Aside from this, I have no regimented training plan.

Running for me is not about strict training and achieving goals. I’ve still got goals, and I still train, and these are great things. Running for me is about exercising in community. It’s about sharing life with each other, and running while we’re at it!"
To close us out, I asked Tara if she had any tips she'd like to share with us!  Here are her awesome words of wisdom:

  • Get a running buddy - if you’re social like me, a running buddy will make you lace up and get out there.
  • Find a local running group - Facebook is super helpful for finding these.
  • Start slow, but work on improving
  • As the girls at Rachel’s Runners say: Don’t stop!

I am excited about us connecting with one another and encouraging each other on as we #RunThisYear!!!  Let's start by connecting with Tara!

Instagram:  @eatinghappy_

Twitter:   @thisistarajane

Saturday, February 15, 2014

January Check-In, #RunLove & Happy Valentines Day

Hi friends!  Are we already hallway through February?  Back to back to back conferences or retreats and hello two snow storms in GEORGIA--that is how we got to mid February!  I had big plans to hop on here and tell you all of my big goals for 2014---I even started a post at one point---and well you see how far that got!  I did just want to hop on here tonight to check in for my #RUNTHISYEAR community!  How is everyone?  How did January go?  How is February going?

Here is my honest check-in.  I am no where near my 2014 miles in 2014 goal BUT I ran ZERO miles in December due to sickness.  The fact that I jumped back into running in January and logged 31 miles makes my heart very happy.  So--I am going to take it for a win and keep on keepin on....following January's #RunThisYear theme #rundetermined !!!  I felt very determined in January!  How about you?!

February's theme for #RunThisYear is #RunLove.  I love this theme.  Thinking through all the reasons why we love to run.  Just a few to throw out there off the top of my head---it is a mental release for me.  It is where I can encounter Jesus.  It is where I can pray, think, clear my head.  It is where I can take a deep breath of fresh air.  It is where I can worship.  I have found that my body craves a run.  It's a stress reliever.  This may sound weird, but it is for "me."  I have 30 minutes (minimum) by myself. :)  I love the challenge.  I love having the goal.  I love completing one goal and then immediately going after another one.  You cross one finish line and you are ready for the next one!  I have now entered into the realm of pushing my body a little bit harder to be a little bit better--to go a little bit harder...and totally fascinated by other runners who push the limits.  The best part I have found of being a runner?  The community that you become a part of when you become a runner!

So tell me!  What do you love about running?  What gets you to go out there when it is so, so cold outside?  What makes you run ridiculous miles over and over again on a treadmill?  Tell me and share it using the hashtag:

Speaking of LOVE...Happy Valentines Day my friends!  I hope you each had a great day!  Ours was filled with beautiful family time and the things that are okay to bend the "rules" for a day (donuts, take out, picnics, cuddles, & movies on the living room floor!).