Monday, August 8, 2011

Once in a Lifetime Experience

I had a once in a lifetime experience today. I flew to Washington DC yesterday to attend the Body & Soul 30th Anniversary celebration last night and to watch today as Jessica Tanihana, from Roseville, CA, rode into DC on her bike. Jessica started out June 20th and has ridden 3,300 miles in 48 days for the American Lung Association. Jessica’s precious husband, Martin stayed behind to be both Mom and Dad to their three children while Jessica was gone.

The Body & Soul celebration was awesome from beginning to end. So many memories across the years. I especially loved all of the music from the 80’s to present day that Body & Soul has used for their exercise routines. The video congratulations from so many of the musicians that B & S has used were awesome. One of the highlights of the evening was when all of the International Body & Soul leaders were on the stage in the dress of their native countries.

I am staying with Steve & Debbie Reynolds while here and that, in itself, is a huge treat. We left early this morning and drove to the Capitol. At 10 a.m. we were guests at a reception for all the family and friends of the riders. It was a lovely occasion and great to meet up with Jessica’s husband Martin and two of their children, Molly, 15, & Joseph, 10.

At 11 a.m. we walked as a group, the 30 minute walk to the Capitol reflection pool to await the riders. The riders rode in two by two, spaced about 30 seconds apart. As they rode through the crowd everyone was cheering and hollering congratulations. Each one stopped their bike, took off their helmet and received a medal for completing the ride.

Jessica was probably in about the 5th group to ride in but before she came I could already feel the emotion rising up inside of me as riders dismounted and fell into the arms of their wife/husband. One wife/rider held on for dear life to her husband and he was trying to hold back tears and was totally unsuccessful.

I was snapping pictures on my Iphone the entire time but when Jessica came into view I could see her radiant smile clear across the street! She fairly glowed as she removed her helmet and received her medal. When I finally got to hug her neck she whispered “mama” in my ear and I nearly lost it.

I am so proud of Jessica. She has lost 100 lbs. on the First Place 4 Health program and began doing all kinds of exercise; swimming, biking, and running. Looking at her little frame today, no one would have dreamed how far she has come. I think that what affected me so profoundly was that God has big dreams for every one of us but we just might miss them because we are unwilling to do the hard work of change.

Zig Ziglar says, “When you pay the price, the price is mighty nice” and Jessica was a living example of that truth today. I cannot wait to see all that God has planned for this precious woman of God and she gives all the credit to God for being able to make the ride.

I was so impressed that she would even attempt a feat like this that I sat down and wrote her a card for every P.O. Box she had listed where she could receive mail. To my utter astonishment, she sent me a hand written card for every card I sent her along the way! What a woman!!!

She told me that she took a devotional booklet with her by Sarah Young, writer of Jesus Calling. The booklet she took with her was 40 Days With Jesus. Since the ride was 40 days of actual riding with 8 rest days, Jessica decided to read the devotional every day she rode. I can’t wait to read the journaling she did every day along the way. I’m thinking it might even be a great book about persevering.

Tomorrow, Jessica is speaking at Capitol Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia, the church where Steve Reynolds is pastor. They will be bringing her bike and she and Martin will both share about her amazing ride.

I am so pumped, I feel like I can do anything God calls me to do after watching Jessica today. The pictures of Jessica show a face glowing with pure joy; only the look of someone who loves Jesus.

Is God calling you to do something that the world would see as radical? Don’t be afraid; those He calls, He equips!



  1. Very helpful post! I really enjoyed reading it. So wonderful to read a blog that's written in good English! I am going to surely be back for more from now on. Thank you.

  2. Carole, It was such an honor to have you and Steve at the finish line of my Big Ride. You are such an inspiration and your cards along the way certainly helped me to stay encouraged and helped me to persevere. As you know, we are constantly going to be tested and I have learned that with God, all things are possible. Including riding my bike across the country. Thanks for posting my story!!

  3. Awesome testimony! Congratulations to all involved, including the First Place 4 Health staff members, leaders and participants!


Thanks for your feedback!