meet pam! {peeps with passion}

This next Peeps With Passion interview is with our friend Pam!

1.Why do you love to run?

 That’s a great question.  I haven’t always loved it.  It was my goal in college to run from my college campus to the Foster Avenue Beach on Lake Michigan and back.  It would have been 7 miles round trip but I couldn’t do it.  I think my longest run in college was 3 miles.  Back in 2005 I went to cheer for my friend Michelle who was running her first half marathon.  It was such a fun atmosphere and I just, on a whim, decided I wanted to try a half marathon.  I ran my first half in 2006 with the support of that same friend Michelle.  Around mile 10 I remember thinking it wasn’t my smartest life choice.  I kept talking myself through the last 3.1 miles and I remember comparing it to watching a 30-minute sitcom and that if I could watch TV for 30 minutes I should be able to run 30 more minutes.  A year later I ran that same half marathon ago, the Indianapolis Mini marathon.  This time I ran it solo because Michelle wasn’t able to run and I shaved 8 minutes off my finishing time.  I was kind of in awe of that.  I also thought, “Hey, I’ve run 2 half marathons, maybe I should try a full.”   That was in May of 2007 and in September of that year I was at a fundraiser with my mom for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (my mom lost her mom to Leukemia).  There was a table about an organization called Team in Training – a fundraising marathon training program where you raised funds for the cancer research and they trained you to run a full marathon.  I took some information about an upcoming information session.  I went to the session a few weeks later and called my mom afterward to tell her that the next event they were helping people train for was the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, TN.  I remember my mom telling me then that she would support me and go cheer for me if I went to Nashville.  Well that was it, I signed up, spent every single weekend with a group of people running crazy amounts of miles and hearing about their personal stories and motivations and somewhere along the journey I fell in love with long distance running.  One of my teammates from my Country Music team is my good friend Elaine.  She and I have gone on to run two other full marathons together and a bunch of half marathons that I have lost count.  Long distance running is good for my mind and heart.  I love being outside, love being reminded of how I am physically able to run and that’s not true for everyone, and it is a time for me to think, pray, and clear my head.  I have had real encounters with Jesus when it has just been he and I running.  So, to answer a simple question, I love running because it is one of my ways to connect with others and with God.

2.Tell us about Tutoring at Abbey Lane.

I love that you are asking me like you don’t know about it.  🙂  I was so nervous to start tutoring.  Until my first time at Abbey Lane I had never talked with anyone from Somalia.  It has blown my mind to hear kids talk about moving from Somalia, to Kenya (most likely to a refugee camp), and then on to Ohio.  It’s kind of common place among the Somalia kids I have met and it makes me realize how I take for granted the stability I have here.  I can’t imagine living in a place where there is so much unrest that me and my family move away from our country.  My good friend Abdulfatah and I hang out almost every Tuesday night and we read stories about Paul Revere, Thomas Adams the inventor of bubble gum, or Butch O’Hare (you know the famous fighter pilot and the namesake for the Chicago O’Hare airport).  When we aren’t reading we are practicing long division or doing speed drills with multiplication facts.  It’s so much fun and a highlight to my week to go to Abbey Lane and tutor every Tuesday.  When I’m helping out with the registration/check-in process I use my rusty old spanish to talk with the families who speak Spanish at home and I try to make them feel comfortable and welcome at the World Relief apartment.  Through this rusty Spanish, I’ve become friends with Yasmin, a lady who is originally from Mexico.  I’m so excited that she invited me over to her house to be conversation partners and me work on my Spanish and she her English.  We just started texting each other last week and she invited me to join her family for dinner this week!

3. How did you become a part of the Taviano family?

Hmmm…it has been sly on my part…I’ve just worked my way in.  I don’t even think you guys saw it coming.  Man, it is crazy to think that before Sanctuary we didn’t even know each other but then I stalked your mom and dad on the internet – your dad’s 1 Photo per Day and your mom’s blog and the next thing I know I was coming to your house, playing games, eating pizza and ice cream (pre-vegan days) and now cauliflower and broccoli.  I remember when I had to work so hard to keep straight you and your sisters.  So funny now to think about that.  So, I can’t pinpoint a specific date but I am so grateful to be a part of your family.  I love you guys!

4. What has God been doing in your life lately?

God seems to be up to something in my life.  I recently started working through the Storyline stuff by Donald Miller to find my subplot in God’s story.  This kind of goes along with Pastor Rich’s sermon on creating a Rule of Life.  It’s interesting to plot out some of the major points in my life where I walked through a doorway and my life will never be the same and see how God has been there all along.  Most recently God has been bringing to mind the word of ‘hope’ and reminding me of the hope I have in Christ.  As you know, we went to the Crescent One Day seminar about sharing the hope we have in Christ with Muslims and it struck me how not everyone has hope.  I mean, I know that not everyone believes in Jesus but I guess I hadn’t really thought about the fact that there are people who go through life without having anything to put their hope in.  Tonight I just noticed that the Crescent Project’s tagline is “Hope Worth Sharing”.  So, I guess you could say that God is reminding me of my hope in Jesus and that this hope is so worth sharing and I am called to do just that.

5. And my favorite question! How do you feel about going to Cambodia with us on our next trip?

How do I feel?  – I’m excited and nervous all at once.  I went with you all to see the Pink Room documentary about a year ago and then recently we all watched the CNN documentary “Every Day in Cambodia” together.  I find myself wanting to know more about this place and these people that have captured your guy’s hearts.  Sometimes I also find myself wanting to not think about such horrible things like human trafficking and the extreme poverty there.  I keep thinking about the documentary and how those mama’s sold their kids because they were so far in debt and the money they could get for their daughters was just too much to turn down.  I can’t even fathom this.  I want to go to Cambodia to meet your friends and also I want to not shy away from doing something because it makes me nervous.   So that’s a little how I feel…there’s more but I don’t have any words for those feelings yet.  🙂

 Thanks for interviewing me!  You’re so much fun and so creative, Nina-Bus!

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