Shout Out to Miami

This time last weekend, these lovely people were together in Miami.

We left Friday 9am, returned Sunday 6pm. Our mission for the weekend was to serve two ministry partners, City Church and Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. 

Friday afternoon Pastor Tommy gave us a tour of City Church’s facility, where we prayed for them and their work before heading over to Miracle Mile to engage the community to introduce people to this new church opportunity in their neighborhood. 

Saturday we spent most of the day at the Miami campus of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes where we provided lunch, talked with the house parents and kids, and assisted in cleaning up. What a memorable visit!

Here are a few of our takeaways from this weekend mission trip to minister to our southern Floridians:

  • They are open to an invitation to church
  • They recognize how impactful faith can be in their lives
  • Having a pastor who is committed to making roots in a community is needed and has potential for long-term impact
  • Churches of all languages are needed in South Florida
  • We have an obligation to continue to embrace foster children and those ministering to them
  • Immediate response to a spoken need goes a long way in showing you heard them, you are for them, and so is God

We see you, Miami! 


Running Tuesdays: Smart Cross Training

by Monika Oberer

I joined a class to train for my first half marathon; it was only running involved. After finishing my first half-marathon, I was hooked in to running and wanted more! A full marathon!  I started to read more about running and spend more time with runners. Overall I had the feeling that only “real” runner athletes need to cross train. Me-I’m new and not at all on a upper level of this sport.

As I started to train for my first full marathon a friend of mine said, “You can run a lot of miles to train, but if your upper body muscles are weak you will never run proud looking up to the sky.” That made me think, and I tried some home exercises. I have never been to a gym and was very intimadated by the thought of going to a gym where everyone sees me not being in shape.  One day I did a long run and I could not look straight up; my shoulders hurt and I was in upper-body pain. THAT WAS IT!

I started to go to a gym 3 times a week for 30 -45 min. And of course I started to like it! I very much liked the fact that my body started to change! I started to feel proud at my runs!  So as I added weight to my X Training I became more and more aware that it helps my running, and that’s all I wanted!  I did finish my first marathon in Miami looking up to the sky proud and said, “Chicago, I am coming to get you!”

As I trained for the 2014 Chicago Marathon my dear friend Lorraine and I ran 5-6 times a week in the morning and went to the gym after work 3 times a week. It was a lot of training BUT so much fun!! We pushed each other at the gym hard and it started to show and we could feel it! OH CHICAGO, we were ready! And we had an amazing race.

Then Lorraine introduced me to something I, for a month, said I would NEVER do… (well never say never with good friends) Cross Fit LWR. Box jumps, pull ups, Trusters, deadlifts, burpees, back Squat, clean and Jerk, Kettlebel swing, pushups……… WHAT ???? Anyone trying to kill me??? 

Yes, I did sign up and did the beginner’s class. That week I learned that I had muscles I did not know existed in my body. However I started to like it as much as I hated it. And the gang there was so welcoming and supportive, so it made it easy to stay. The different movements I have learned have also strengthened muscles to help me prevent injury and keep me going! 

I have now been doing Cross Fit 3 times a week with running 3-4 times a week for 22 months. I can see and feel the difference in my running performance. I don’t think I would be as strong of a runner and would have not accomplished so much in the last 2 years without Cross Training.  Of course, every runner does Cross training their own way; I just believe that ANY smart cross Training will improve your injury-free running and most importantly your health and fitness level. 

Don’t we active people want to do this forever? 

Running Tuesdays: I Run…

by Monika Oberer

I was a horseback rider and trainer for 23 Years – in the time I lived in Switzerland – not a fitness or physically active person at all. Never did I do sports activities in school on a voluntary base, only when I had to. So when I moved to Florida in 2002 I enjoyed American fast food and gained weight. I did realize at some point that I needed to change something. Not wanting to put effort in a change, nothing happened for years. 

A friend told me about a “gym” called CURVES. “It’s great! It’s only for women, and you can go when you feel like it!” That was her line to sell it to me. So I did it and did not like to be in a room with other heavy women moving a bit and complaining about how hard it is. I quit and went back to my fast food, desserts and beer! Then I saw the neighbor across the street run. HARMONY- She looked great. She was happy. She loved life. She was just that perfect woman…(I was jealous).

One Friday night at a bar my friend at the time Amy said, “You are complaining about your looks. Why don’t you come and run with me?” ME?? I am enjoying my beer and my cigarette. WHY would I run??? She pushed me, and I gave in (probably I had one to many beer and agreed to a run).

Feeling like the world is ending is an understatement of how I felt the first time on a treadmill. Amy was a great pusher for me, and I was a great companion for her! So we “trained” for a 5K. I did it in 43 min, and I felt like winning the Olympics! I loved the vibe on the route and all the happy people. That was Summer 2008.

After doing several 5 & 10K races, I did my first 1/2 Marathon with my dear friend John Gregory in Nov 2009. He was the one telling my brain it’s okay to move from the “small” distance to the “middle” distance. I finished with a HUGE SMILE on my face in 2.01.54. THAT felt like winning the World! I was so happy, and I was getting the running bug. Definitely I did not think I ever would run long distance and enjoy it. The half marathon distance was totally okay with me and my new body.

So I registered for every 1/2 Marathon I could find. I LOVED it! “Bonded by the Pace“ was the running group name of the new running peeps I had in my life! All girls. My life had changed, and I was getting happier! BY THE MILE! 

John Gregory asked me if I was up for a Ragnar Relay race with 10 other runners. SURE!! Not really knowing what I was getting in to. Jan 2011 we did the Key West Ragnar Relay, and it was a great experience. RUN – EAT – SLEEP – REPEAT x3 

One week after that, the Girls decided we needed to do one full marathon, only one. Then we go back to the 1/2 ones…… 
Training started, and I started to fall in love with my running shorts more and more!! 

Miami Marathon Jan 2012 4.42.06 NOW I WAS ADDICTED! I crossed the finish line and told my mom in HAPPY TEARS, “I am going to run Chicago 26.2!!”

Rebekah, my extreme running friend (we ran since I trained for my first 1/2 Marathon), introduced me to the LWR Running Club. I was the slowest at my first run with them. After some time I got a chance to keep up with some of them; that’s how I met my dear awesome mentor and friend for life, Lorraine. When she heard I wanted to do Chicago she just said, “Okay girl, lets do it! Get ready because you will have to train 5 days a week hard with me!” Oh yes, she was not kidding! I started to go to the GYM and ran pounds off my body! 

Chicago 2014 – 4.01.36 

So after that I decided I need to go places! Travel and do marathons! 

Two weeks later I did the Marine Corps Marathon with Rebekah – an amazing experience with a wonderful amazing friend! 

September 2015 I BQ 3.38.32, and in April 2016 I was privileged to run the Boston Marathon 

I have so many memories with so many miles. One thing is very clear-I RUN BECAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY. It was a long path until I got there, but so worth it. 

I have met so many great people and had so many great moments. I only look back to the late nights, fast food, cigarettes and too much beer with a smile and say, “Yes, that WAS YOU.” I love the new me! 

It’s not always easy; it hurts; it gets hard; I feel every muscle in my body, however not all runs have to be great! It’s a lifestyle I chose, and I pace it to my health. 

I am thankful and happy for every mile I can do with my own feet.