Those of you that missed Miles For Mary have no idea of the memory you missed out on. In 70 days, my dearest friends and family put together the event of my lifetime. I have no words to express what type of an experience it was, but I know it was a spiritual one. I walked away knowing one thing without any doubt: Family is not who you are born to, it is who you are bonded to.
These are the master minds, minus Jorge (he always seem to be missing). These the primary driving force of this event. I have no idea how much time they put into this. All I know is that every time Josue and I asked what we could do to help we were told “Nothing. We got it.” These nuts have been by my side through some of the worst chemo days and slowest walks that you can imagine. They build me up when I cry about my discouragement and fill my spirit full of hope by sharing their faith. There are not words to express the gratitude I have for them. These are the type of friends you hope your daughter finds. I got so blessed that Heavenly Father included them in my life at such a crucial time.
There are literally hundreds of pictures from Miles for Mary. I can, in no way, post them all. I love them all. I am struggling to decide which ones to post. So, I have decided to post the pictures that are the best representation of how I saw the event. This does not mean I wanted to purposely exclude someone or include someone, for that matter. It means these photos captured my emotions and thoughts in ways I couldn’t have. They are truly the meaning of what this event meant to me.
This brought together people I haven’t seen in quite some time. It left me feeling like long lost friends are still the strength in my life they have always been. I must comment on Superman (B.J.). He appeared out of nowhere, after Rachel Gillette posted on Facebook. He contributed to the run and than totally out ran everyone. Not that it’s fair since his stride is one step to three of everyone else’s. The other pictures are the perfect symbol of long lost friends that still mean everything to me. My dear friend Nicole (also mission companion) left Saturday by saying “you’re in good hands.” Oddly, I needed those words. She is the person I call every so often when life is falling apart. She puts me back together. However, she has now given me permission to fully trust in the hands of those angels the Lord has given me at this time.
He is a real life super man. Yes, I spelled that all correctly. Josué might not have super strength or be able to spin the world to reverse time but he’s SUPER! He has been by my side for everything. Super heroes are people that find those in need and do all they can to help them, using the unique talents they have been given. What better way to describe the guy I married. There are days when we are both frustrated but he forgives me for those, usually more often and quicker than I forgive him. When I crossed that finished line, despite all the support that was there, his were the arms that refueled me more than any others. His faith in me and our needed miracles has been a motivator for our entire family.
This is my extended family. Some of them traveled a great distance to be there. My cousin, Terra, told me “I want to personally thank you for your willingness to go through this trial. I have seen miracles take place in this family in the past few months that I know are because of you…” As much as I would like to accept the credit for such things, it is not me. It is the willingness of this wonderful group of people to move past old feuds and move on. Miles for Mary was a chance to heal. It brought me an uncle that hates hurt and allowed me to hug him. He can see I’m still alive. I’m still going strong. This event showed the community the strength of being part of the Stevenson and Nelson families. These people rock. I have male cousins that run in green tutus and female cousins that out run us all. I have not forgotten from which stock I come. We are pretty awesome.
I laugh every time I look at this photo. I love Super Heroes. However, what makes me laugh is that I love Marvel Super Heroes. Now, I realize that most people don’t know the difference between Marvel and DC. Well, I do, and besides Hulk these are all DC. I have spent years developing a healthy taste for Marvel Super Hero Comics and learning their back stories. What is so funny is that I have, on more occasions than I can count, made snide remarks about DC Heroes. I take them all back! These Super Heroes, including the Mini Batman are freaking awesome. Everyone was so incredible. It was an honor to stand among the DC crowd. Although, Cat Woman has a ways to go to look as good as me.
My dad used to say, “Work hard when you’re working but play hard when you’re playing.” If anyone out there doubts miracles, please, look at my siblings. In the past few months, I have found my oldest sister, seen selfless gestures from another, found the approval of my brother, and felt the prayers of all their children. These are miracles far greater than no cancer in my lungs. These are my siblings. These are my hidden gems. They know me better than anyone, even my friends. They have come together at a time of most need and these gems now shine. They are real heroes. I want them to see themselves how I see them.
- Teresa, you are a second mom. You silently stand in the shadows and make sure every detail is attended to. You never ask for a thank you or recognition. You just get everything done. You are a pillar of strength. You are 100% selfless. I want to be a mom like you.
- Ann, adversity does not stop you. You continue to move forward, setting high goals and reaching them. You do not let your own mind or dark places hold you back from being great. You are a light in the darkness. I want to brighten people like you do.
- Karen, you are the best example of the atonement that I have ever met. You and Eric are the statistic that should have left the gospel and been making chaos. But you aren’t. You are dedicated to your faith. You love your family. You work to strengthen your belief in Heavenly Father. I want to beat the odds the way you have. I want a testimony like you have.
- Lance, you are diligent. That says a lot since it’s my favorite gospel word. Everything you do is done with great care and with the focus of bettering the people around you. I have very few memories of our dad, but I don’t need them. The memories I have of you have taught me the life lessons he would have wanted me to learn. You are a great man. I want to be like you.
Mom’s shirt says “I am Mary’s mom, isn’t that super hero enough?” I’d like to answer that. YES!She is the greatest mom ever. Anyone that knows my mom knows that she does not share emotions often and that she is not likely to express feelings willingly. However, she is probably the most emotional person I know. She feels everything. She cries at commercials during the Christmas season and loves Sunday naps (who doesn’t). Since starting chemotherapy, she has not missed a week. She comes up on Wednesday, after my shot and takes care of all the house hold duties. She washes laundry faster than we dirty it and is now totally familiar with my grocery store (which is great since Josue still isn’t). Mom walks around the block with me when I’m slow and sore. She sprays the weeds in my rocks and some of the neighbors’ too. Mom listens to me cry when I’m so scared I don’t know what else to do and she comforts me that this great Plan is designed to take care of me. She is unwavering in her faith. She has become such a dear friend and trusted part of this process. The word “woman” in the Bible is used by Christ to express reverence and humility toward his mother. The way I can fully express my emotions for Mom are “Woman, thank you.”
I don’t even know who this is. However, it is the perfect photo to represent the hundreds of people that were there to support me. They ran, not because they wanted to win a prize or break a record. They didn’t even ask for recognition. These people just showed up to meet a need because they saw one. This man, whoever he is, turned out to be the symbol of all the unnamed people that deserve my thanks.
My brother-in-law, Chad , created this picture. Please see his blog, Chad’s blog, as he will be posting more photos and it’s pretty dang awesome to read. However, since I’m not on social media, I haven’t read the post he posted somewhere on Facebook. It is the best picture ever. Besides the balloons being a huge surprise, it is just the best way to sum up the whole event. It was perfect. Balloons are what you give to children to make them happy or you send to the hospital as a Get Well Soon gesture. Balloons are sent on Valentine’s to lovers or tied up for birthday parties. These balloons, these pink balloons, are hope. They are the reminders that even our heaviest burdens are made light as we allow others to lift them with us. This event was epic, not because it was for me, but because of the people who where there to make happen. I love you all.