This is my friend Jessica.... I love her!

by Jessica Garvin

My name is Jessica and I’m a regular Joe… or Joan, or Jane… whatever, I’m just average. By the way, it’s all a part of Spartan’s plan, to turn the “average person” into a Spartan Hero. Well, they found me.

I’m a single mom of two, and I live in L.A.I drive a mini van. I don’t like boo boo’s. I don’t like scrapes, scars, blisters, splinters, bruises or paper cuts. I will cry if I stub my pinky toe. My nails are not long, but are manicured. I don’t like to be cold or too hot for that matter. I don’t want to put anything of mine into a bucket of ice. Ever. I like Chai tea lattes from Coffee Bean and fuzzy socks. I’m a little bit of a girlie girl. But don’t judge me yet.

On the flip side, when my kids are not around, the F-bomb is a necessary part of my vernacular. I can drink almost anyone under the table. I can gross out the most perverted, dirty dudes, and I rock at bar basketball. I own one pair of heels and none of my purses cost over $50 bucks, not because I can’t afford it, but because $1000 bag is really stupid. People are starving. I live in flip-flops and converse, and hardly wear any makeup. BUT, I would grab my lip-gloss first if in a fire.

I like pink.

So what does any of this have to do with Spartan Race, you ask? This year I re-connected with an old best friend. The kind of best friend you laugh with, hysterically, while going through a drive-thru. The Thelma and Louise kind of best friend. I don’t know what happened that made us lose touch. I got married; she moved to NY, blah, blah. It sounds cliché now, but we found each other on facebook and picked up immediately where we left off as if no time had passed at all. Except it had: a very important, life altering chunk of time for both of us in our own ways. I told her of my two kids; she told me of her two battles with cancer. I told her of my divorce; she told me of her third battle with the same cancer. I was trumped. Humbled. Suddenly, selfless. I wanted to cry for her, but I didn’t. That would have been self-gratifying and in no universe should someone with an illness be made to comfort someone without one.

With a torturously brief “clear” period, she was here in Los Angeles with me. She was hoping to grab a stake in this life again. She looked for a job, made some new friends, got drunk with an old boyfriend, walked on the beach, met my daughter who said to me, “she’s your friend that’s in the picture on our fridge”. The picture I placed there after we re-connected with a word bubble over her head that reads, “Suck it cancer.” I told my children who were 3 and 5 at the time who she is and that she’s sick but fighting it. And that that’s what we do. We fight for things that we want. And she is very brave.

Periodically, when standing in the kitchen, they will ask about her and my son will say, “I hope your friend gets better mama.” So do I, little man. So do I.

But, her time in LA was short and a routine check proved that her fight was not over.

Today, she is in NY, fighting again. This is her fourth battle with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s. Fourth. And I miss her. And I need her. And I’m sad. I was supposed to be the friend that would hold her hand after chemo, read her the tabloids, mock the male nurses or sleep with the hot one. I was supposed to be the friend that would shave my head when she lost her hair and paint funky moles on our scalps. I was supposed to be there. But, I am here.

One morning I read an email from her. She had been looking at my facebook profile. Admiring my life, my kids, my various pictures of me doing stand-up, out with friends, random status updates that have no meaning. Her email simply read, “I’m so proud of you. I love your life.” I was changed. I’ve always felt blessed. Not a day passes when I don’t feel grateful, but it suddenly became clear that I wasn’t giving my life the respect it deserved. I wasn’t giving my life the respect SHE deserved. And so it began. Seek and she shall find… or something like that. I sought.

Then, I found Spartanrace.com, or it found me, and I was mesmerized. Hooked. Stunned. I. Was. In. Love. Crazy Love. Mad Love. Almost immediately my thoughts went to my friend. If she could fight cancer, I could climb a wall. In the same instant, my goal for my 40th birthday went from rocking a bikini at burning man, to making Spartan my b… Okay, that’s a bit of an over statement.

But something happened to me that day. I wanted something for myself for the first time in a really long time. I wanted to feel my life running through me. And I wanted to show my friend that I feel it. Suddenly, I started finding myself doing pull-ups on the monkey bars while at the park with my 4 year old. I found myself not only taking the stairs instead of an elevator, but also taking two steps at a time. I found that when just sitting on the floor, I would lean back a bit and secretly, isometrically do a crunch. I bought a chin up bar for my room door and I don’t hang laundry on it.

I was recently asked why I would want to do this. I couldn’t explain it. You either get it or you don’t. But, the real answer is, because I can. My best friend sits in a hospital room today, waiting for chemo so that she can be strong enough to have a bone marrow transplant. Again. I don’t want to have to get cancer or have a near death experience for me to find out who I really am or appreciate all that I have been blessed with or what I’m really made of. I won’t finish first, but I will finish and I will show my friend that I may not be able to fight FOR her, but I can fight WITH her. I will wear her name on my sleeve so when I want to exit the race, I won’t. Because she can’t exit hers.

My name is Jessica. I’m just a regular person. Just a mom. Just a friend. And this race terrifies me, which is exactly why I am doing it.


Confessions of a weak bladdered woman!

Haven't done these in a while.....

1. I love ranch dressing. On a LOT of things.
2. I wish I could eat at Outback at least 2x a week. I don't care how fancy a steak place you like I always end up wanting good ol' Outback in the end.
3. I have weighed my pregnancy weight not being pregnant 3x. (like "Hi I'm due to have a baby today....wait no I'm not) Kind of chubby.
4. I want to hire a housekeeper for 2x a month but have guilt that I don't want to pay someone something that I can do myself. I always want to go help the gardeners or apologize. (they come with the rental...everyone in L.A. has a gardener. NO one does their own lawn)
5. I wish I was in Relief Society still. I love my activity days girls but I REALLY love R.S.
6. I will go where the Lord wants me too. (and I will try to like it)
7. I am super blessed and have guilt for wanting more.
8. One day I will hire someone to decorate my whole house. I hope it's Tiffany Thomas. I LOVE what she does to a house!
9. Someone peed on my mattress and I didn't know what to do so I just flipped it over. SO gross I know. I hope no one pees on this side or I don't know what I'll do? Suggestions?
10. I would have another baby today if someone would just hand them to me. All though I sure like not having a diaper bag. No..... I would raise another. Anyone want to give me a baby? :)


Happy Halloween!

SO here we are in November and I am still trying to catch up Halloween so I can move on to Thanksgiving! Juliet changed her mind on a daily basis from the end of September til Trunk or Treat on what she was going to be. She ended up being Cinderella on Trunk or Treat night. Someone hand me downed this beautiful costume and she LOVED it. She was a cheerleader the day of the kids school parade and because she spilled on it she was a "farmer girl" the night of Halloween! (overalls and cute shirt with piggy tails only because she didnt' want to be Cinderella again!) She looked and felt beautiful! She got to wear makeup with MY help and sparkle spray and a tiara. I want to wear the tiara secretly! She loves it and has been wearing it with her every day clothes too.
So pretty. (and a little low cut too....who is this little harlets mother?)
Darby as B-Mo from Adventure Time the cartoon. Of course Brandon did her costume for her! Dash the Dementor from Harry Potter and Max as Link from Zelda and of course Cinderella!
Journey and Jeremy came to Trunk or Treat with us at the church. Juliet LOVED that Journey was Tinkerbell! Jeremy was the best little skeleton ever! He is SOOOOO cute!
At the Ward party they had bobbing for donuts. You can't use your hands. It was hilarious!

Dash finally got his off and onto the floor where he attacked it! Juliet got mad and pulled hers off with her hands and walked away !
Jeremy just took one too. There's no messing around with this silly no hands thing when there are donuts involved.
The cute littleies with their donuts.
Darby and her friends went to town.
Get it girl!
Then there was a cupcake walk. I had to get a picture of the princesses. This is Journey, Juliet and Daisy! Daisy is a close family friend of ours. (Anna's niece)

Anna went as Tangled! She even got contacts to make her eyes extra big like the Tangled girl!
Juliet after the Trunk or Treat showing off her card that one of her friends, Gavin, gave her. Gavin told his mom and me that he thought Juliet looked beautiful as Cinderella. What a sweet boy. Gavin is only 4. I love it!
Ahhhhh enjoying the fruits of her labors!
Hanging with my bros.
What a sweet princess.
Starting to tucker out.
and she is down for the count, sucker in her mouth and all!
More pictures of the super cool costumes! Thanks Nana for making the costume and Daddy for making the shield! Mommy couldn't have done any of this!

I did do this one. I drove to party city and pulled out my 14$ like nobody else could! Pretty good stuff right?

Darby as B-Mo. If you don't watch the cartoon then she looks like a game boy. BUT if you did watch then you know how very cool this is! VERY VERY fun and Happy Halloween! The only thing I do want to know though is when did Halloween become a week long event? When I was little it was one AMAZING night! Now there are SEVERAL if not A LOT of opportunities to put on your costume and get candy. I wish we could go back to the ONE amazing night with the parade at school or one other party. If only I were in charge! :)

Darby's Birthday!

Darby turned 11. I don't want to talk about it. She is growing up so fast and is becoming such an amazing young lady. She babysits for me and she will be ready when she is 12 and REALLY good at it by then. I have a feeling she will be in high demand. :) These are the creepy monster cupcakes I made for her primary class. They were super fun and yummy! Here she is blowing out her candle/match. She got this cute hat for her birthday and then bought the cure crochet hat with some of her birthday money from Nana and Papa when we went downtown.
Her siblings gave her a book light.....
and the next 3 Leven Thumps books. She really was this happy. This is not a posed photo. She is great to be happy for what ever gifts she receives. I love her for that.

Brandon asked her to go get him a soda from the garage. This is what she met at the door. An electric guitar with an amp.
She wanted a guitar and I said no. She does sooooo many things and I knew there would never be time (or money) for her to take lessons. BUT our good friend Anna made it possible for her to get a guitar. (details later) Anna is amazing and we LOVE her for all she does for our little family. I love her like a sista! Brandon taught himself how to play the guitar so I think with his help Darby can find the time to play around and eventually learn!
She couldn't believe it. She just kept saying "It's too much. It's just too much! I will pay you back, it's too much!"
Our little rock chick! (I didn't know this but electric guitars have softer strings so they are easier to learn on! Who knew?)
Plugging it all in so we can get our rock on! ALL the kids (even the big one, Brandon) were excited to test drive this machine. The amp makes it REALLY fun because it can make all different fun noises with the guitar. Darby stayed home sick for 2 days with the stomach flu and she played guitar so much that she had blisters on her fingers! Happy Birthday beautiful girl! We love you!