Running for Anna

On December 12, 2010 our family was devastated by the loss of my niece, Anna Rogotzke, on her fourth birthday, to a rare cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. On December 4, 2011, I ran in the California International Marathon to raise money for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, a leader in the fight against sarcomas. This blog is created to update those interested in my journey and progress as I train for this event and events thereafter.

....And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

As We Begin 2013 ...

I don't consider myself a "New Year's" person.  I get the desire to want to "start fresh"...become a "better person"...resolve to be "perfect".  But, the fact of the matter is our past never completely goes away.  It has made us who we are...sometimes for the better, sometimes not.  Have we made mistakes?  Absolutely!  Do we have regrets?  Unless you are super human, I would imagine all of us have something we would have done differently given a second chance.  However, the person I am today is the sum of all my experiences - good and bad.  I can look back and see that God has led me through the happy times and has used the sad / hard times to develop strength and character I may not have had. 

So, while I don't fault people for making resolutions at the beginning of the year, I realize that I'm the type of person who needs more short-term goals.  Just about every morning and evening, I need to pray for God's help to be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better employee, ... I could go on and on.  I fall short every single day, so a general resolution that should last all year won't do me much good. 

The end of 2012 was kind of tough for me.  My sister said that December probably won't ever be the same for her again.  We celebrated Anna's 2nd birthday in heaven on December 12th (what would have been her 6th birthday here on earth).  I don't think any of us who experienced that day in 2010 will ever view December the same way.  While we rejoice in the birth of our Savior and the promise that it brings, we also remember that the pathway to that promise is often difficult and heart-breaking.  Whether it be a child succumbing to cancer or a gunman entering an elementary school and taking the lives of innocent kindergarteners, we come to realize that God's plans are not ours.  We, by ourselves, cannot comprehend why these things have to be.

As with all tragedies, I hear people ask, "Where is God?".  Or, they just give up on their faith because a loving God couldn't possibly allow these things to happen.  I find that I just have to cling to Him all the more tightly.  I will never understand His ways this side of heaven.  But, I do know He is in control of all.  I do know He is the only one I can turn to and that, without His loving comfort, I would be completely lost. 

On to lighter things ...

My running is going pretty well.  My son continues to train with me for his first half-marathon.  We've had a few interruptions (sickness, travel, etc.), but we're right on track to complete the Davis Stampede Half Marathon on February 3 in Davis, CA.  At some point, I realized this was also Super Bowl Sunday and couldn't believe I scheduled a race on that day.  However, we should be done in plenty of time to get home and watch the game.  If the Packers somehow manage to be in it, we WILL be home in time.

Some memories from the latter part of 2012:

The following pictures are from Thanksgiving weekend.

Our annual Christmas tree hunt in the mountains

Grand-nephew Noah

Grand-nephew Carter

 The next pictures are from none other than Lambeau Field.  My brother texted me one Friday and said he had an extra ticket to the Packers/Lions game.  I got on the Internet and found a semi-reasonable plane ticket to Chicago the FOLLOWING DAY (I live 2000 miles away from Green Bay, after all).  It was AWESOME!  I'm still not sure if my brother was seriously inviting me with his text, but wave a Packers ticket in front of me and watch out!  Ended up going with my dad and three of my brothers.  Was treated to a classic division game - in the snow - on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.  No better way to spend a Sunday evening. 

My son participated in a "We the People" constitutional law competition on December 15th.  He and his team did great! 

And, of course, Christmas...

I never thought I'd be excited about a kitchen appliance, but LOVE this!

Me and my best friend (since 5th grade)

My husband's gift... like the gift wrap?  (This is what I had to bribe him with in order to go to the Packer game)


  1. Jen- love that you guys go hunting for a tree in the mountains! And I really appreciate your thoughts on how God is still good despite tragedy. It is so hard to comprehend his ways. It is enough just to know that HE knows all things and is good and loves us.
    Great family photos- though I'm not sure what your husband's gift was?
    Also- I know you'll find a way to see the game AND run the race :)

  2. Great post and great pictures, Jen!
    I think I'll be rooting for the Packers when they play SF (shh...don't tell John :)! Go GB!
    Happy New Year and hope to see you guys soon!

  3. You've been quite busy lately! I am sure you guys had a great time at the Packers game. It would have been odd if there wasn't snow for that game.