Sunday, June 29, 2014

AM~Erica Conquered

So anyway...

I did it! I worked so hard...and it paid off. I actually DID IT!

Was it one faction of it...but overall? Nope. But I did it!

Today I'm at 12 weeks of running! That's right...I went for my first motivated run 12 weeks ago, today. (right HERE is where it started)

Because of my friend, Beqi (everybody, wave hi to Beqi), I was convinced I should join her in the Firecracker Flight 5k & 10k. It looked like it might take place in a neighboring town, so I figured I was in! I talked to my hubby about it...and he decided to join in, too. YEA!!

When we got registered, we were sent our obligatory confirmation email & it contained important information: where to pick up packets, reminder of race date & time, what comes with packet pick up, and a link to the course map. Perfect! So my hubby decided to go over the course map with me. As it turned was actually RIGHT by our house! SWEET!! We go by that route all the time! we looked further...we never realized what a hill it was. The more we studied it...and the more we drove by it...the more terrified we became. Driving it, you never notice what an incline it is. We it turned out you are gonna take it by discover what a mini-mountain it actually is.

Now then...we live in a very hilly part of town. Our 'hood is nothing but hills. So this should be easy to train for...amm-i-rite?

Man, I thought I was gonna literally keel over & die after trying one of our 'hood's hills. But I kept at it about 2 weeks before the race...because we kept driving by a view of "the hill"...and just gulp deeply. Not only would we have to hit that ginormous hill...but we'd have to do it TWICE!!

See, we signed up for the 5k. Those who registered for the 10k had to run the course TWICE! That meant hitting that hill FOUR times! YIKES!! Just the thought of the bare minimum was terrifying enough!

But the training was getting better. I felt better about hill after our 'hood hills were getting "easier". Not easy!

My friend, Rob (an avid runner), likes to say he's having hills for breakfast. That's kind of how I looked at hitting our hills in the mornings. "Hills for breakfast..."

I got to the point that I needed a boost in motivation, so I even bumped up some of my training gear to help. (reminder HERE)

We went & picked up our race packets, got our race shirts (that we chose to save for AFTER the race), got our time-chipped bibs, and began to prepare for the following day: RACE DAY!

We convinced our running friend, Rob (mentioned above...everybody, wave hi to Rob), to come encourage us. He was going to run with us, but was planning on running another race just a few days after that. So we discussed him coming in backwoods, cajun-type gear & yelling, "YOO CAHN DOO EET!!" (al a Rob Schneider in 'Water Boy') We were going to have him mix it with a little Will Ferrell cowbell, too. We were supposed to bring the cowbell (which I thought was already in the car), but the bell had been removed from the cowbell. But he came ready to yell!!

Now hubby picked out what he was gonna wear to run in. And...since there was a costume contest, I figured I'd have to take that part in. DUH! (my views on costumes in contests HERE) So, I got my tutu(s) together & found the best combo (for me) to wear for the Firecracker Flight!

I needed by Wonder Woman socks. I just did. Don't judge.

Thanks for this pic, Beqi!

I really felt the double tutu was necessary.
A) the perfect combo to add to the costutume (yeah...I said "cosTUTUme")
2) Big hill? I need double superpowers of tutus

So...pre race, I entered the costume contest when anyone wanting to take part were called up.

It was me, another tutu'd gal, and a group of runners kinda dressed alike. That was it.'s what went down:

One of the gym employees (of the gym who hosted the race) came over to the DJ table. He told the employee that only the 2 ladies in tutus & the group were there. So, a decision was made. After a semi-discussion with other tutu'd gal (something about age, I think??), it was decided that the group won the "Group Division", I won the "Adult Division" & the other gal won the "Masters Division"!
We all won!! WOO HOO!!! And we all got a $5 poker chip to spend at Red Racks (aka - Disabled Veterans Thrift Shop)! YaHoo!!!!

** Side note: her name is Sandy. We did not know each other until a mutual friend, Kristal, knew both of us, saw this pic (above) & connected us on Facebook! So...everyone, wave hi to fellow tutu runner!

Then it was race time...*GULP*

We got started...and we went up the hill. So glad Rob was there to yell,
...cuz we needed it! Then it was downhill & some flatland to recoup for a bit. Since the route was so close to our house, we had our kiddos walk to the halfway point & take a few pics & cheer us on! Thanks, kiddos!!

See that big hill behind me? Yeah...that. And the tiny figure at the top right is Rob waiting to cheer us on.

...heading back toward the big hill...again...

Then...sadly & was back up the hill! But still enough gusto to smile for the camera...

I love this pic of my hubby! It's awesome!

So thankful that Rob was still there...
Plus some added encouragement as I ran down the hill & he...walked the side...cheering me on...
He was walking as fast as I was running??? I must've been exhausted!!

But we made it to the end! And ran the whole way! THE WHOLE WAY!!

I knew I would NOT even come close to a PR for this race with that hill...just wanted to conquer it. And I did...running the whole way!

My hubby was AWESOME!! He came in 11th overall & 3rd place in his age division! I'm married to a stud, if you weren't already aware.

Beqi had a rough finish, but she beat me! She was awesome & I'm totally proud of her!!

I finished. Running. The whole way.

That's right! 10th in my age division! I'll take it! I had to simmer down the tutus so I didn't die on the hill. And, with the extra time...I took more chances at better photo-ops. Because...why not?

And...I'm still going. Looking forward to more running adventures! At 12 weeks...I've gotten so much encouragement to keep going. I've got more goals of 5k runs to reach...and be tutu'd for! My journey continues...and thank you for coming along with me!

Anyone else wanna join in?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AM~Erica is a Marvel...But...

So anyway...

I'm a geeky girl. I know it. I'm now proud of it. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

My geek levels to run a large gamut in the spectrum of I know quite a bit about several different things geeky.

** Here's a guide to the difference between Geek & Nerd **


Star Trek already runs in my veins (reminder HERE), and really so does Star Wars (check it out HERE). I love Dr. Seuss (if you need a refresher, click HERE). I do try to stay at least semi-fluent in other realms of geekery to keep up conversations with the kiddos, too. But when it comes to the comic universe, I tend to lean more one way than the other...usually...

I grew up with Christopher Reeves' Superman being in the limelight. Eventually, Tim Burton brought back the world of Batman in the beginnings of a movie franchise, too. Who knew that Michael Keeton would honestly be a decent Batman? Since then, Batman has become like James Bond movies: not only the toys...but it's always about WHO will play the caped crusader next! With Ben Affleck up to bat (*SNORT*...yeah...I just said that), the nerds & geeks have exploded with opinions on it! Personally, I'm in the camp that believes it will work. Just for the record.

With all the DC Comic stuff that I grew up with...heck, I even had my Wonder Woman & Super Girl Underoos as a kid (remember those?)! But I have wavered from that. I've come to be a HUGE fan of Stan Lee & the Marvel of this superhero universe he's created. It's brilliantly done...even with the villains. The crossovers have been spectacular, too.  The Avengers & The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are all coming together & crossing over with Spiderman & The Guardians of the Galaxy are all making their way together...where the same atmosphere contains all Marvel!
Heck...Stan Lee even had the TV show where he was to immortalize super civilians in their own alter ego hero. It was quite entertaining trying to keep up with "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" to see who would be the reigning champ to get their own Stan Lee comic book.

...geeks, too.

Here is my only real disappointment with Marvel: even though there are several female "heroes" & superhumans/mutants...not really any of them have been lifted up to stand alone. Black Widow is PART of the Avengers & just really excels at what she does. Even Storm & Rouge are part of the X-Men. What's up with that? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's SO many more than that!

As I have been running (reminder HERE), I have been thinking of running & race outfits (some thought process HERE) that would be great, especially with tutus. But, I don't always wear the tutus since those are reserved for race days. But I've been needing a little extra motivation for just the training runs.

I have been researching & noticing a boost in tutu superhero running outfits. And I love them! But I've seen them more drawn to to Iron Man, Captain America, Superman & Batman (per se) get the idea. A lot of feminized male heroes. Which is FINE! Even if you took Super Girl & Bat Girl (ugh..."girl"), they are feminized versions of Superman & Batman. Amm-i-rite?

Then there is Wonder Woman. Where is she in all of this? She's stand alone. She's awesome. And no one can seem to give her the respectful reboot she deserves. She's supposed to make a cameo, apparently, in the new Superman/Batman movie to try to help lead up to a Justice League gathering...but c'mon! WHERE'S THE RESPECT?

Wonder Woman (that's right...WOMAN) got stuck in my head. I did find a few gals in running outfits inspired by this strong female superhero. And I wanted in on it! And I began reminiscing about my Wonder Woman Underoos when I was 4 or 5 years old...

So, I found some leggings (that I actually got for a different reason, but they work beautifully), I searched out a sleeveless top or tank I could afford, some socks to top off the order, and a gold-colored Bondi Band to give it a boost.

Though it's a race outfit in progress...I wanted to use it as some motivation for some hills. I have this race coming up that is just one giant hill...that we hit twice. That's just for the 5k...those doing the 10k has to double up on that! Geez! And since my 'hood is filled with hubby & I started tackling them to build up a bit for this race...
And after I got my WW tank & socks, plus the Bondi Band, I threw it all on with the leggings for a hilly 5k training run...

You know what? Even though my hubby just looked at me like I was crazy & said, "Nice get-up." I just thanked him & continued to get ready to go out the door to run. And I hit those hills like they were almost nothing! I felt SO good...I could've hit another hill! But I didn't want to overdo it with the race coming. But I felt nearly invincible! I ended my training run SMILING! I even got weird looks from neighbors...but I think they were just jealous they couldn't be Wonder Woman, too. Even the dudes...I'm sure of it!
When I got back, my hubby looked at me (since he'd been following my run online) and said, "Must have been the Wonder Woman outfit."

Well yes...I think so, too.

My following training day did not feel as good...but I was trying to keep it a bit shorter as I build to the race. So today, even though I didn't have a full-on superhero socks came in a variety of DC characters. So, I opted for the Batsocks today. I paired them up with my gray Beast Mode Bondi Band from RunJunkEes. And I felt pretty good!

Even though I'm a Marvel universe kind of chic...I almost deferring back to my DC Underoos days. I'm thinking of Super Girl & Bat Girl outfits to just do training runs in.

And then...let the neighbors talk...
...whatever it takes to motivate...

In the meantime...c'mon Stan! At least one superchic to be stand-alone. Seriously...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The AM~Erica Costume Approach

So anyway...

If you haven't figured this out about me by now, I love costumes. LOVE COSTUMES!

Not even just costumes, but creating a character, creating a look. Anything from a pirate, a flapper, super fantastical, sci-fi, 50's housewife, a hippie, etc. Even in everyday wear. Channeling a character or a decade, for example, can help how you walk out the door for the day...or for whatever event it's for.

I love keeping up on cosplay out there, too. You know? The hardcore geeky fans that go ALL out on their recreation &/or interpretation of the character they are trying to portray. You see it a lot at Comic Con & other conventions like it. From makeup to the the overall attitude. Yeah. That.

I have seen some CRAZY stuff out there, too. People go SO above & beyond...I'm not even sure how they stand or move. Live with Kelly & (now) Michael have done annual costume contests for Halloween. The stuff these people come up with are SO elaborate...they've created a scene! Seriously...and it's even hard to tell if there's a human being in there!


With all the incredible work that goes into the show, here's how I see it:

If it is going to hinder my movement in any way, if I can't see, sit, turn my head, move my arms, keep me from walking, etc., then it's a no-go.

Wigs, headpieces, makeup, accessories, clothing, and footwear all make a difference for what you are trying put out there. I will work what I can to go above & beyond...but so I can still function in my own weird & creative way, of course.

Find out more HERE

This has been on my mind as I have some 5k runs coming up. And part of my motivation to do these, if you remember HERE, is that I can wear a TUTU! Since I used to wear costumes ALL THE TIME back when I danced hardcore & competed, the glitz, glamor, lycra & fabulous get-ups all had to set the tone of the dance & the message we were trying to convey, AND we HAD to be able to move while doing so. Tutus were just a part of some of the costumes that were a ballerina standard. And I loved getting to wear a tutu with the sequins & shimmer tights. Ahhhh...those were the days...

Anyhoo...I've been thinking up some really great tutu running outfit ideas for some of these races coming. And...since I'm RUNNING...that means I need to be able to MOVE without being hindered in any way. Just like my thought on costumes to begin with!

Tutu running outfits for 1) Park Trot 5k (by Bass Pro); 2) [Chiefs] Finish on the 50; 3) My Girl is on Fire Bday 5k run you plan your upcoming costumes for Halloween, or whatever (since it's already THAT time of year for me...but it's always Halloween for me), I'd just ask you if it's worth winning a costume contest for 5 minutes to an hour that you can't move in...or to embody your costume you can wear for a long time, and hopefully a few times (and maybe even reuse), for hours of fun?

If you choose to go elaborate enough that you cannot move, or it is difficult to move around, all for the show, then good for you...have at it. But what can you do or create to be able to move around for a longer period of time without having to take off or have to carry parts of your costume you can't keep on...

So, I'm already looking forward to some fun running tutu outfits. Some of the races even have costume/outfit contests! You know what? If I can be elaborate ENOUGH to at least compete...awesome! But I won't sacrifice mobility/view to try to win it.

Anyway...if you are one that does go so elaborate that you are willing to sacrifice ANYTHING to win a costume contest, even if it only lasts 10 minutes...and you can't move or question for you is: Why? I would love to hear! Seriously! Just comment, below here on the blog, so we can keep the responses together. I'm genuinely curious.

In the meantime...I'm planning my upcoming running tutu outfits, as well as planning ahead for Halloween. My Favorite!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, June 16, 2014

AM~Erica has Raised the Goal

So anyway...

If you read my last post (HERE), you can see I am asking for help to walk Out of the Darkness.

Since then...big & generous things have transpired!!

Due to a few who are very moved, touched & committed to this cause because they suffer or know someone close to them who has suffered, or even have a loved one who died by suicide...the contributions to my fundraising page have been emotional for me.

My original goal was $150; the Team SOLOS goal was $500 overall. I surpassed both goals in less than 2 days due to some very generous donors. Just overwhelming...and amazing!

Well, I already have $660 donated, at the time of this post...which includes a donation from my very supportive & wonderfully loving husband. So, I've slightly raised my goal from here to $750.

I am one that hates asking for money. I'm not the fundraising-type of person. But I am unbelievably passionate about this cause! As someone who as suffered depression & failed my suicide story tends to resonate with folks. The private conversations I have had with several have been moving! And I'm so grateful I am able to have these conversations.

The stigma must go! I have found that I am in a rare few who have opened up about my struggles. The numbers who actually suffer is astronomical! And it's the downtrodden comments, looks & overall judgmental responses from those who don't understand is exactly what keeps so many from telling their own stories of struggle. And believe me when I say that I have certainly heard some those & read some of those judgmental comments.

Even though the walk is happening in October, won't you help me & my team do our part to help beat this illness, stop the suicides, and just get rid of the stigma so those who struggle with these thoughts & feelings won't implode from feeling so embarrassed by what society says is OK & isn't?

If you click on my picture, below, it will take you to my Out of the Darkness fundraising page. Pray on it if you don't struggle or haven't been affected by this illness & if there's a spot in your heart to help out, we would appreciate it. If you ARE or have been affected (either yourself or someone close to you) by depression & mental illness that can lead to suicide, or by losing someone to suicide, let's beat this! Let's fight this fight! Even if you can only do $5...that's $5 more toward the research & resources needed. The donations are 100% tax deductible, too!! There will be more info on my fundraising page...

 AFSP Fundraising Page for Erica Williams on Team SOLOS
Click the image for my story & to donate

And if I get to my $750 goal...that's awesome!!! I look to raise my goal again. Considering my original goal was $150...this is HUGE!! Who else wants to step up? Anyone wanna force me to raise my goal again?? Let's do this!

Also...if you are one of the ones who have struggled in any way (either yourself or a loved one), and if you are or can be in the KC area on October can walk with us, too. Let me know so I can get the info to you to join Team SOLOS (Survivors Of Loved Ones to Suicide)!

Your help would be appreciated & would help so many!! Plus...I got a bunch of '6's going on this moment. Not so fond of that either! ($660 raised by 6 generous donors...would you be donor 7? Even for $5?)

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, June 13, 2014

AM~Erica is Gonna Walk Out of the Darkness

So anyway...

I'm gonna do it this time. I am...I'm actually gonna do it...

This girl, right here, is going to walk out of the darkness.

I was asked to so this last year, but I could not work it.

The time is coming, and I am so moved to finally be a part of this.

If you haven't figured out by now, I have picked up running. (reminder HERE) I have even done a couple of races...with some more on the way very soon. Several of them are raising money for different charities. Most of the ones I've seen & looked into all have the donation from sent from your registration fee.

Well...I have now registered for a 5k coming up this fall. It's a walk. It's the walk Out of the Darkness. And it's a fundraiser to help with research & resources, as well as bring suicide awareness.

This is where I will need YOUR help!

On October 4th, I am walking with a team. Team SOLOS has graciously asked me to be a part of their team. Survivors Of Loved Ones to Suicide is headed up by my friend, Jenn, who lost her mother to suicide. And she has actively & beautifully been building a support system to family & friends who grieve for their loved ones due to suicide. And the stories are heartbreaking.

Jenn has been a friend of mine since high school, and who I haven't seen face-to-face since that time. And I have been so glad to have reconnected with her in the last couple of years. And she has become quite a rock for me in my own struggles.

My #SelfiePortraitProject, "Overthinking"

If you click HERE, you will get to the blog tab of my blog posts about my own struggles of depression & suicide. And it will tell you a lot as to why I have been so moved to have her ask me to be apart of this. But she knows I need it, too.

I will be in a group of thousands who have lost those they love due to suicide. That's overwhelming. And I'm sure there will be others who are in my very position, too. That's terrifying...and beautiful. It means we are fighting the fight. We are fighting the fight for the ones who will surround us who are still living in the aftermath they were dealt. They didn't ask for it. But it happened. And I will be in that the failure I am. Which is a good thing, by the way...

WHEW! Geez...I'm chilled thinking about it. And I know how important it is.

I have also, very recently, come to the understanding of the beatitude, "The meek shall inherit the earth," may possibly be referring to using our weaknesses as our strength to help others with our same weakness. We just keep using our sympathetic reach from our soul to help each other out. And then prevail! Over and over and over again...

So here's where I ask for your help.

I have a personal goal of raising at least $150 BY October 4th. My team's goal is $500 overall. Anything over that is incredible & generous bonus!

If you click on the link, below, you can donate to the cause. I also have a link set up, to your right at the top of the page, that you can also use until October 4th as I continue to blog about the insanity of my life.

I want to thank you in advance for anything you can do. Especially if you are struggling with these things, or if you have lost someone to suicide...let's try to work on the research to move forward in getting rid of these suicides & the attempts, the depression & mental illness that leads to it.

Our local news station, Fox 4 KC, lost a very popular weather guy, Don Harmon, to suicide. It was a shock across the city. But the news anchors & staff continue to do stories keeping depression & suicide in the forefront of some of their newscasts, as well as doing commercial spots reminding viewers that, "You Matter."

Yes. You. You matter! Let's keep this I work on my own journey as I continue to walk Out of the Darkness.

My #SelfiePortraitProject, "Out of the Darkness"

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica



Due to a very generous donor who this cause has effected greatly, not only is my personal goal met...but my team goal, too!!! But don't let that deter you!! The more we can get for research & resources, the better!! I still ask for your help for the sake of the cause! Thank you!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

AM~Erica Has Spoken

So anyway...

Today I am back home from a big weekend. BIG!

This past weekend, my hubby & I do what we do every year: Go to the annual conference of Missouri United Methodism. Clergy & laity gather to take care of conference-wide business, take in some worship opportunities, have the fixing of appointments (where each pastor will be thru the upcoming year), and to basically hob-nob & catch up with friends, colleagues, as well as meeting new people.

I do go each year, but certainly not-Not-NOT for the business!! I like the time away, but I also like to catch up with a lot of different folks, too...clergy I know, laity I know, vendors I know, and absolutely with the other clergy spouses! (read HERE about me being a pastor's wife)

If you read the above link, you will see that I truly have a passion for lifting up my fellow spouses. Why? It's because I've heard enough stories from them about how each of us are expected to be like the previous spouse before us. And...if you read the above will note why this is quite difficult. should read the above link.

Two years ago, I heard enough of these stories & became sad and baffled by the thought of it. And then I was SO bold as to actually imagine myself SPEAKING about this at conference!! WHAT??? Who do I think I am?? I don't even sit in on the business sessions because I would get bored & yell, "BINGO!!" just to throw things off a bit. It's just how my brain works. I was even working on soccer chants with my friend, Rob, to possibly yell/sing. But I would have to leave that to him since he is clergy.

See why I'm not in there??

But I digress...and back onto how bold I apparently am. Who do I think I am?? (OK...back on track now.)

Yes. I imagined myself standing in front of people letting them know how beautifully different each & every spouse of clergy is. At conference. Whatever...must be me with big thoughts. Right?

Well...this year I was asked to help out somehow with the annual clergy spouse luncheon. I had no idea what that meant, but went with it & figured someone would tell me what was happening.

Last week, I found out that I would be greeting the spouses coming to the room our luncheon was being held. OK...I can TOTALLY do that!! And as I was speaking with this other lovely spouse, she told me she probably wouldn't be there & wanted to hand off several things to me. She had an idea for a song to sing, but needed someone to lead it. There was going to be a speaker, but it fell thru. So things were up in the air...

...then it happened... voice was coming out, but it wasn't me talking...

I found myself saying I could do table decorations, maybe lead the song &/or sing/lead another song...and...speak.

Wha-WHA??? WHO DO I THINK I AM??? Where was this coming from?? It certainly wasn't me, but it was coming out of me!

And there we had it. I began to weave together table decor that would also be fitting for a table with guys, I put both songs on front & back of of some paper that I decorated for each spouse attending, led the first song after a great lunch & awesome conversation...and happened...

See, after God had me agreeing to speak to this awesome group of nearly 30, I didn't have time to work on what I would say. When I tried to start, something always came up. I then knew that God had me speak it, and I should trust Him to guide me thru this.

For all of those who were praying for me, I cannot express enough how much that meant! I could feel them & the Spirit flowing! And? It caused conversation afterward. I spoke to the spouses about being themselves. And I tried to keep in within the theme of the songs chosen.

God laid it on my heart to speak at conference one day about clergy spouse individuality...and I did it! Not for a large group by any means...but in front of a group from all over the state of Missouri, and a group that I hold close & dear to my heart. We share a bond of our very title & role...and it's comforting to know there is the blessing of this group to have my back. Cuz I've sure got theirs!

Two years ago, God laid it on my heart...and this was apparently the time I needed to speak.

This is a big deal for me, y'all! My heart is full & I am blessed by such a wonderful group of gals & guys. My cup overflows with love & support with this group!

Also...those big & bold thoughts & visions you have may very well be God setting you up for something. You may not know when it's coming...but it will. Be ready. God has you on this.

What a beautiful & blessed weekend overall...but this is what we were all praying for!

And thank you for your patience on this. I don't like to put out there when I am out of, with so much going on, it was hard to just sit down & let you all know what all was in my heart.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica