Decisions. Decisions.


alright, guys. I’m always painfully honest with you….so here it goes.

by the time it was all said and done, we raised over $60,000.00! God is good!

I am 100% conflicted about the Princess Half this year. And I really don’t know that I want to do it again.  Part of me does want to; and part of me doesn’t. It’s such a huge commitment.

Here are the thoughts rolling around in my head. They’re random and in no particular order.

Year 1 was a challenge I wanted to prove to myself. It was a thrill. And I loved celebrating my 4-0 this way! Truly loved it.

Year 2 was a motivator because we were running for something SO much bigger than ourselves.  Team Freedom absolutely, positively BLEW ME AWAY! We raised over $60,000 for Abolition International. And coincidentally, part of that money went to a home in Atlanta! Yes, Atlanta….where, oh btw, we added to our JOY family in December. I never knew Atlanta was one of the homes until Natalie was here at our Princess Pasta Party. Providence? I think so.

I started to love running; I’ve fallen out of love.

We had 134 people run last year. ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR people! How many would it be this year?  Would we pass 200?

Could we raise $100,000? And target 2 specific homes?

Would women be willing to pay $10 to help cover the cost of the Princess Pasta Party? Or could we get a sponsor?

Would a few of the women be part of a Princess Pasta Party committee? and help plan the event? Decorate? It required many hours and was disproportionate to mine & Mary’s workload. It was an exorbinant amount of work, y’all! But I also like things a certain way. So I’m picky, too. Would y’all be willing to work for an OCD visionary? : ) (just being honest! feel Dave & Bill’s pain!)

Would someone be in charge of correspondence? I can’t personally respond to the hundreds of (legitimate) questions from Team members. I want to serve. There’s isn’t enough of me to serve well. Last year, I recruited my daughter Abbey to help me return email. Child labor. And we’re running against this! haha! KIDDING.

I’ve had a number of folks tell me they want to “get healthy and have been inspired by my/our running the last 2 years.” (their words). Lord, really? Talk about using the UNQUALIFIED. I am NOT a runner. I am a fake runner. How in the world did God ever decide to use me to inspire running? Y’all seriously don’t know how laughable this is!  But, I will say each time I get an email or someone talks to me personally, it makes me cry.

I was so touched by all the women who responded to this event last year. Team Freedom happened so organically through a random tweet between Natalie and me. I’ve never seen such dedication, determination and heart.

I’ve received no less that 50 emails/FB comments/tweets since last year’s event telling me they’re starting to train for next year. No pressure, guys! : )

Will my friend Kellie be able to run with me? I don’t want to do it without her. She’s been by my side the last 2 years. And this doesn’t excuse you – Becca (Josh, she needs the weekend off). Molly (you’ll need to check on your knee. AND schedule a tour around this date). Alissa (nice excuse being pregnant this past year. You are NOT exempt this year if we do this. So NO more babies. 3 in 10 months is plenty!) Jayar? Krispy?

I will hate giving up every Saturday in November, December, January & part of February for long runs.

I will love how I feel after I run every Saturday in November, December, January & part of February for long runs.

I have an opportunity to go to Bangladesh in February. I’ll get home 1 week before the run. Of course, the trip is human trafficking related. Of course. Just like the Lord.

Can I just be a coach?

Am I just being lazy?

Is it fair to make Dave & Bill go one more round with me?  They’ve been so supportive and generous with the show as a platform for this cause.

I’ve permanently damaged 3 of my toenails on my left foot. It ain’t pretty. It will require pedicures for the rest of my life. Oh wait. Maybe that’s not so bad.

It’s hotter ‘n poodunkus and I know I really won’t start running until October.

I need motivation.

a few of TEAM FREEDOM at the finish line!

Bottom line: It’s a lot of work physically, mentally, and emotionally. For me, anyway. (Not talking to you experienced runners, who I really don’t like right now. hahaha!)

Of course, the physical, mental and emotional requirements pale in comparison to what innocent victims endure.

For some reason it feels like I’m “cheating” if I’m not running. Organizing a non-physical fundraiser is the easy way out.

More than anything, I don’t wanna let you down! But I know I won’t like you very much while I’m training. (Only half kidding here!) I know anything worthwhile in life requires a tremendous amount of passion and hard work. It requires you to dig your heels in and commit. There’s nothing in me that wants to do this right now, except for the feeling of what I should do.

So….there’s really no point to this post, other than letting y’all know what I’m thinking and to start the conversation. I’d love to hear back from you. Are y’all wanting to run? Are you willing to raise $350 to help free women? rehabilitate them from the sex industry?

Talk to me.





27 Responses to “Decisions. Decisions.”

  1. Connie July 30, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Carmen –

    If you decide to run….let me know. I won’t run, but I’ll consider being your “admin” for the emails and hostess (or help) with the pasta party. Will need more details before the full commitment, but I’m pretty close.

    Connie (Your “favorite” phone volunteer – ok…I know…no favorites but the one that you see the most) :-)

    • carmen July 31, 2012 at 2:45 am #

      thank you, connie! you are precious.

  2. Regina Brassil July 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Some of us have already discussed that if this were to happen again, we wanted it off your plate. I know many girls are running, and know some are not. I know I wrestle with the same things you mention.

    You are a catalyst, a firestarter. You got alot of people up and running, some for life. Many lost weight and took back their health, many became involved in organizations because of this, many have had their eyes opened. thousands ave been inspired. Yes, by you.

    If you choose not to run this as a station, the heart you inspired and the cause you illuminated will continue with us. If you choose to do this as a station, you can rest assured, NO DOUBT, that you will get the help you need.

    I truly believe your gift is to get people going, and letting them run with it (pardon the pun) If the Lord has other things for you, the ones the Lord has chosen will carry the torch forward. Well done, lady. We love you. And I for one am willing to shoulder your portion, and allow you to soar into new things if that is what you so choose. Whatever you do, will be blessed. Regina

    • carmen July 31, 2012 at 2:49 am #

      Regina, you’re the BEST! If I can get my head in the right space, I know I can break it down and we can conquer it. Plus, I wanna open it up to ATL this year too. I think we’ll get some folks from there. So it has the possibility of turning into a huge event. Probably just need to form a committee and divide and conquer. Pray for me! I’m still deciding…. Thanks for the note. I know for sure you will help me. You are great!

  3. Elaine July 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Hey Carmen – I am in, bad knee or not. Fully prepared to represent the “not a runner” group :)

    • carmen July 31, 2012 at 2:50 am #

      you mean my group? :)

  4. Regina Brassil July 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    If that was not clear, my plan is to run..and I have 4 with me this time.

  5. Trish July 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I am SOOO with you on this! I just started running again…with my eyes on the princess half. I would love to help with organizing and planning of the events, it would actually be an honor! You have started a really good GOD thing and I pray you can contiune. The funny thing about this group you created is that we have become a family and we continue to support each other through our daily lives…and WE will continue to support YOU!
    I will pray that the plan God has for You and Team Freedom is revealed to you soon. And no matter what the plan is blessings will come from it!
    Sending you hugs!
    Love ya Carmen!!!

  6. Juli Anne Beckman July 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I started running again when my friend challenged me to do the Prinses Disney with Team Freedom! (and she & I haven’t stopped). I am planning to do it again this year. I was so blessed by all the ladies on Team Freedom & so glad we could run for a great cause!
    Thank you, Carmen (& others) for all you did to inspire & make it possible! I live in Lakeland, but I will gladly do all I can to help this year! Just let me know when & where to start!
    I agree with Regina, that we all love you & will support whatever you feel God is calling you to do about the run this year. (BUT, are you really going to let us run without you?? Haha!)
    God bless,
    Juli Beckman

    • Juli Anne Beckman July 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

      That was Disney Princess. ;-)

  7. Patti Hazlett July 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    You know this has been a consideration for me for the past two years. Being a wimp (and “not a runner”), I went slowly and ran my first 5K the first year. This May, I ran my first 10K. When I heard you guys talking after the race this year, I heard a story of a girl rescued and it brought me to tears. Tears that wouldn’t stop and a feeling that I HAD to do something. God put a number in my heart $500. That moment, I knew I was committing to this year’s race, somehow, and I am committing to raise that $500. It will require training in the dead of Colorado winter, but I’m willing. If those rescued girls can endure what they’ve been through, training has to be nothing for me to endure. I’m willing to pay for things to help, should you go that route. If not, I’m honored to say that you motivated this desire in me and I’m on team Regina :)! Love you – love your heart, Carmen!

  8. Stephanie Knight July 30, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Carmen, Carmen, Carmen… OK I am responding with my random thoughts and opinions as well, I do have ADD so I will try to not bounce around too much. Team Freedom, is a wonderful group of ladies and a few gentlemen lol and I know we have your back, front and both sides! Anything that needs to be done, helping, being on committees, raising money, encouragement, you name we will provide it! I have been constantly amazed at all this group has accomplished and continues to do. I don’t think any of the details will fall solely on your shoulders this time around. As a fellow OCD’er I see no problem with this personality trait. :) I concur with Regina and can’t put it any better than she did. Just know that we love you and we are with you no matter where the Lord leads you. I know I plan to run, busted knee and all. If I can’t run, I’ll walk, knowing I am doing this for something much bigger than myself. There is power in numbers and I can add at least 5 women to the cause :)

  9. Connie July 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Why not let us non-runners do the “admin” and party planning. In case you don’t already know this about me…I’m a bit OCD too so you won’t bother me.

  10. Brandi July 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    You have to do this, Carmen! Maybe the Lord is calling you to step out of your comfort (lazy Saturdays ;) zone?! I cried reading this because I know that sometimes trying to “figure” it all out is the hard part, but don’t worry about those things, God will provide! Your heart is in it. If you need help, ask! We are all here for you! ♥ love your honesty, humor & heart!

  11. Jacqueline July 30, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    I have told you this before, but hearing you talk about your first half marathon is what got me literally off the couch. It was one year ago this month that I started training…what would become training for the princess half. I literally could barely run to the mailbox and definitely could not get to the end of my street. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with running, but it is the only thing that has stuck. Here it is 1 year later and I still run regularly (2-3 times per week). You inspired my start with your own running and gave me cause…great cause with team freedom. I have kept running so I can do the half again – afraid if I stop I won’t ever start again!

    All of that to say this, I’m in! I’m in all the way (or as much as my time and boss allows!) I’d be happy to help with communication, moderating the group page, organizing the practice run(s), and planning the pasta party…however you see fit. I know there are other former team members who would rise the occasion as well. I certainly don’t have an issue with a fee to help cover the cost of the pasta party.

    Your role is between you and God. If you feel your season of running is over and/or feel called to use your time elsewhere, WE GET THAT! I just can’t thank you enough for sharing your personal goal for your 40th and for all your hard work creating last year’s group/run. And thank you for all you have done raising awareness on the human trafficking!

  12. Jenn July 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    You could commit yourself to run 6 miles or10 miles (or how ever much) of the race if the 13.1 seems too stressful. There is no shame in walking it in!!

  13. Robin Sarigumba July 30, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Carmen, thank you for sharing your heart! All I can say is Team Freedom has forever been touched and will continue fighting against this darkness race or no race. God used Free To Run to set me on a path to serve Him in the those trapped in darkness. So for me I would encourage you to not run for any other reason than because God has given you that desire. You have my support and I am grateful that God has already used you to open doors for many of us to go be His hands and feet for those in darkness!

  14. Keisha July 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Our sisters need you and team freedom. Its rear to find a group of men and women willing to do something on the behalf of those who cannot…and be a voice. You guys are an encouragement to the whole body.

  15. Linda July 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

    Carmen, I had Gastric Banding on May 12, 2010 and have lost 88 lbs to this date. I am in need of a walking partner and you aren’t going to believe how far I work from the station. I’m located at 6416 Parkland Dr., 751-7611. If you ever want to get motivated and keep me motivated, I would feel very blessed. I need to lose 40 lbs to get down to where I was 27 years ago. I don’t have any close by friends that are up for this challange. Can you? Just give me a call sometime. I work from 8am-5pm and can walk/trot/run around the complex most any time. I’m usually in the office around 7am. I will answer the phone then as well.

  16. Dailene July 31, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    I’ve already registered and my sister may do it with me this year.

  17. carmen July 31, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    Hey Guys!

    I’ve got to get to sleep. I’m not done reading all of your comments, but I will tomorrow for sure! Thanks for caring so much!!!

  18. Alissa July 31, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Thanks for being honest….but girlfriend, lets do this thing! I know the help will come which is something we talked about you needing to ask for at the emd of last year’s race. Im in and we’re gonna do this together! :)

  19. Kim Davis July 31, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    Would love to do it again! Do what God is leading you to do…but it was such a powerful experience and how great it would be to have more followers of Chrit reach more girls/women trapped in slavery! I am not a big fan of running myself, but for me, I have turned it into a time of worship, where I am alone and can meditate and (kind of) be still and have time alone with God! It’s one of the times where I know it’s not me…but it’s what God can do through me!

    So keep praying and find peace about what it is God wants from you! We support you in whatever decision you make!

    I would love to help as well! Oh, yeah, I’m a little OCD too…so I guess I’d fit right in with the rest of the gals!

  20. Susan Nations August 1, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Dear Carmen,

    First, let me say YOU and your testimony are totally a part of “why I run”! Your story is inspiring beyond words. And when Team Freedom formed I never would have dreamed that it would be the support network that it has been. Matt won’t let me tell people “I’m not a runner…” because he says “once you run even a little bit, you’re a runner.” So, first of all, from one “non-runner” to another…you ARE a runner (even if there’s a little–or a lot of–walking thrown in there).

    I agree with the comments of many of my sisters here. I am IN…I will HELP. I am willing to serve on a committee, lead a group, decorate…whatever I can do. I want to see this thing expand beyond what any of us imagine. And I want to see GOD represented LARGE at Disney Princess on behalf of those who are still not FREE. TO. RUN. I know these girls are serious when they write their comments. As Regina says, many have been talking about all the support and help that will be needed to do it well in the future.

    I’m praying for you and where to go with this. I know that it’s hard. I’ve had more stops and starts than I ever dreamed I would since February. Yet, I believe I can do it again…even though it’ll still be SLOW by the standards of most runners.

    Most importantly, I think/know you can count on there being a lot of support/help behind you. Praying for the next steps and those who will be an important part of whatever is around the corner.

    Love you, Carmen! Your heart and your willingness to be REAL is so refreshing!!

    :-) Susan

  21. Kellie August 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Of course I’m in! So proud to be a part of something so wonderful. God has really worked through this event to raise awareness for an amazing cause. It can only continue to grow and be blessed! Proud of you my friend!


  22. Cathy S August 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Being a “starter” and less of a “finisher”, I can relate to this post. I have spent a lot of time recently thinking and feeling quilty over starting a program or ministry, seeing it through for the first year or two, and then, turning over to others to maintain. And I have come to see that some of us have the gift for inspiring and motivating others to serve God and there is a place for us in God’s service as well as those who stay in the same place of service year after year after year. The question is of obedience. What is God calling you to do? Not any human or corporate voice can tell you that. Only God so be still and listen to Him. He may be calling you to a new ministry. Or He may tell you to stick with this one but get some help. Either way, run the race He sets before you.

  23. Karen Rinehart August 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

    Carmen~ Every runner goes through periods of “ugh~so don’t want to do this…”and it is common to take rests from it off and on even through the years. Thank you for your openness and honesty…so heart felt. God has and is using you in a mighty way even if is is as ” co-authorand administrator”, (perhaps for this year if you don’t rest) for a tremendous cause. You help to motivate so many others it is easy to become depleted and need motivation as a runner from time to time..hang in there with it all….stay open …and keep listening for God’s still small voice regarding it. Love you and all that you inspire and motivate for so many others in so many ways…God bless you!

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