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#26miles26girls PART 2!

#26miles26girls PART 2!

Sometimes life feels a little crazy. Which is what it felt like for me when I got a spot in the New York City Marathon. Thanks to my awesome new job, I was able to enter to run on November 3, 2013, with 45,000 or so of my closest friends. As this race is a lottery, it was not something I could turn down!

And in the craziness I had to ask myself, “Why?” (And also, “Ummm HOW? WHAT IS GOING ON?” but that’s another story…) The why became very clear: we started funding the 2nd year of school for The 26 girls in Nepal thanks to your overwhelming generosity. 2nd marathon? 2nd year of school? Yep, that’s why.

Watch this video and be sure to click here to donate (and tell all your friends)! Thanks for joining us for the 1st round — who’s in it for round 2? -EL


Along for the ride


I once heard Tammy say, “She’s the First runs itself thanks to a dedicated group of 20 or so volunteers. I’m just along for the ride.”

As her roommate, I see how hard and tirelessly she works, so I rolled my eyes a little (just a little!) Now I think I know a little better what she means.

We have sponsored 27 (almost 28!) girls in Nepal. Typing that sentence helps me believe it a little more, but I don’t think I’m quite “there” yet. I mean, we’re about 2 weeks away from the race and only $300 from our actual goal, which by the way, was WAY BIGGER THAN BROOKE AND I EVER FELT COMFORTABLE WITH. 

All I did was sign up for the race. The training, the miles, the craziness that ensued… It all comes with the territory. I wouldn’t be running without your encouragement, and 27 girls wouldn’t be going to school if it were just up to me. Thanks for letting me be part of the journey. -EL 


With a friend in a kitchen on a Sunday afternoon

I was attending church in midtown Atlanta at the time and realizing more than ever before that I lived my life as a sprint. Try this thing today. But I will be tired of it by tomorrow. And that thing yesterday but I’m done with it today.

I was so convicted by the fact that life is a marathon. Not a sprint.

When I got home I saw my roommate, Kara, and told her this. That I thought I need to run a marathon to really learn the lesson for the long haul.

That conversation took place about five years ago, and to date no marathon has been completed. Five years later and so much has changed: my residence x 7, my roommate x a few, and my city x 3 or so. What hasn’t changed is that nagging thing inside that says life is the long haul, the journey, and I haven’t learned that yet, and a marathon will help.

I am now living in NYC… Enter She’s the First. This nonprofit sponsors girls’ education in the developing world so they can be the first in their families to graduate. I got connected through a friend through twitter through a meetup and here we are, volunteering and learning more and more about the need to educate girls around the world.

So girls need an education? And I need to run a marathon? Bam. Something like that happened and it came together; I want to do something meaningful, something bigger than me, something God-sized and see Him do it. So how about run 26 miles to sponsor 26 girls?Image

Girls like Jarana, a fourth grade student in Nepal who will be the first in her family to pass 10th grade. When you see these faces and learn these names and let your heart start to care you get a glimpse of what can happen when a group of dedicated individuals come together.

Which is why I am completing a marathon. Being able to go 26.2 miles is not something that happens overnight. And neither is sending girls to school in Nepal. It takes time, months of effort, creativity, exhaustion, frustration, patience.

I also talked my friend Brooke into it. Read more about that from my sweet friend Abby here. And my roommate Tammy is running it, too. So we have a tribe — but this tribe is all the people who are supporting the girls in Nepal one $26, $75 & $300 donation at a time. The people who “like” our Facebook statuses and comment on Instagram. Who text, gchat, cheer, ask about it. And the people who will be on the sidelines cheering, passing out water, holding up posters, crying buckets with me if I cross the finish line. It truly does take a village and the reality of that is both moving and humbling.

ImageI spoke with Kara last night and remembered the times we had. I also shared this with my friend Sarah five years ago, so the marathon thing for this non-runner wasn’t totally off base when I saw her last month. Sometimes the journey just takes five years to come around, and then hours and hours of pounding the pavement to make it to the start line.

Learn more and get involved here. Thanks, truly, for everything. -EL

Google+ Book Club this Monday with @shesthefirst!

I have the privilege and blessing of volunteering with an organization called She’s the First based here in NYC. They’re working to sponsor girls’ education so they can be the ‘first’ in their community to graduate. When girls are empowered with an education it’s amazing what they can do for their families, their communities and our world.

We’ll be discussing just that and then some on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7 pm via Google+. In case you’ve never been part of a G+ meetup (I hadn’t until our last book discussion!) you join via video conferencing and there can be up to 10 participants. Just add She’s the First on Google+ here, and let me know you’ll be attending. Then just sign in to G+ at 7 pm, and once the meetup has begun it will appear in your stream on the right-hand side. Easy breezy. 😉

We’re discussing “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn–a book I have heard lots about in the past but just now reading and very excited to discuss. The authors have traveled the world chronicling stories of women and girls across the globe with a huge amount of hope to share: Unlocking the power of women could be our biggest chance in the fight against poverty.

I hope you join us! -EL

Random Happiness

This just makes me smile. Top o’ the week to you!


Staying Power

Talking about things helps you remember them. Duh, I know. But typing it helps you remember, too. So consider this my chance to help myself remember something.

Today I joined a few young ladies in a book chat via Google+ which was super fun. We discussed a book (I haven’t read. Oops.) called “Start Something that Matters.” It was written by TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie. The good thing about book clubs is that when you discuss something that affects you it’s more memorable.

I am reminded of how many things I have and have not said aloud and the profound amount of staying power these ideas did and did not have on me. I am scared to open my mouth sometimes because I don’t want to be accountable. Every little idea that comes to mind could not possibly be accomplished. (Not being a defeatist here; lots of things enter this brain.) But some can be accomplished. Is my pride keeping me from opening my mouth sometimes because I don’t want to be accountable? What about you: what in your life needs to said out loud so you are motivated to move on it? -E

PS-If you want to join the next virtual book club (via Google+ meetup!) tweet me: @ErinLeighNYC

You Know How Sometimes you Feel a Little too Much Like Liz Lemon?

Every night at 9 pm E! plays old episodes of “Sex and the City.” I’ve been watching them lately and the gross misrepresentations to what life in NYC looks like to me and the way Carrie lived are far too many to list here. I read an interview of Tina Fey recently where she talked about writing the pilot for “30 Rock” near the end of “Sex and the City” and she liked the show but didn’t want to do sex scenes and didn’t think she could wear those clothes. “Let’s explore the opposite of that,” she said.

Now that I live in NYC I can’t help but laugh at every episode thinking of Tina Fey’s words. “The opposite of that” in so many ways.

Every day something will happen that makes me think, It would be lovely to go one day without a moment that Tina has already parodied (when I talk to myself she and I are on a first-name basis. Get over it.) I thought today might be that day until a few moments ago I was reading this very poetic and beautiful blog written by an artsy fartsy friend of mine.

I was reading thinking, Wow, I need to update my blog again. It’s so nice to read hers. People probably love to read things in this artsy fashion. And then I realized that my attempts at single-subject, poetic sentences are like Liz Lemon trying to be Miranda on the Brooklyn Bridge saving a dying relationship. Worked great for Miranda; not so much for Liz.

The moral of that story? I’m back. And hopefully you’ll enjoy what’s to be shared but it won’t be as cool looking as this friends‘ or as well-written as another but we can’t all be Carrie, can we? -EL

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