From Stranger to Running Inspiration

Outside Navy Pier in 2006

In Memoriam of Elizabeth Lynn Glovier, my best friend and “bosom buddy”

Anne of Green Gables was my favorite book series as a child. It might still be, actually. And though I’ve always had deep, beautiful friendships, I didn’t really understand the kind of friendship that Anne and Diana had – though I did long for it. That’s not to say that my best friends growing up weren’t truly dear, intimate friends. I still love each and every one of them – from Jodi Mellema, Rachel Peters, and Ivy VonHeemstraaten to Amber Christine – but it wasn’t until I met Elizabeth Glovier that I understood what a true “bosom buddy” was.

Elizabeth and I were introduced by a mutual friend about two months into our enrollment at Moody Bible Institute. This friend, Greg, knew that both of us had a passion for loving those who have been marginalized by society. “You have to meet this girl,” I remember him saying. “If you aren’t best friends in a second, then, I know nothing.”

San Francisco 2008 – Elizabeth loved Spongbob

He was right. By the end of the morning outing into the notorious Cabrini Green neighborhood where we led Bible study and safe playtime for the kids there, Elizabeth and I were indeed, best friends. We didn’t know how deep the friendship would go, but we knew we were destined to be friends for the rest of our lives.

Together, Elizabeth and I started a street ministry in which we took food, clothing, Bibles, blankets, and even flowers out to give to people living on the streets and to horse-drawn carriage drivers (I used to be a driver, in case you wondered). We met Bonnie, a woman who initially hated us, yelled at us, and told us to go to hell. We met Fred, a manager of the carriage company who basically told us the same thing.

Russia, 2007

The last night of the ministry (i.e. two weeks before I graduated), Bonnie and I had Bible study together, and Fred gave me one last free carriage ride to say thanks for being a friend over the years.

When Elizabeth and I returned to Chicago two years later, Fred greeted us with hugs and kisses and another free carriage ride.

Our first year at Moody, Elizabeth and I had different roommates. Elizabeth’s roommate, Julie, and my roommate, Mary, are wonderful women whom we both adored. But the following year, we had the opportunity to become roommates, and we thought we should.

In our second year of college, Elizabeth got up each morning to go running. She ran for miles each week. I, however, remained mostly inactive. I hated being overweight. I hated being inactive. But I had asthma, and I thought that meant I couldn’t exercise.

With my Christmas gift to her in 2006, inspiration for her vision trip to Russia that we took in 2007

But that summer, I knew I wanted to do something special for Elizabeth. I was in South Africa on a concert tour with my college chorale and heard my friend, Joel, often speak of running marathons, 5ks, and other races. Something clicked inside me.

“Joel, teach me what I need to know so that I can run.”

The man taught me everything he could on that three-week tour, and I took my first run in Africa. I kept running all summer.

One morning, about two weeks into my final year at Moody, I popped up early one morning with Elizabeth and said, “Okay. Let’s go running!”

She didn’t know what to do. “Running? You and me? You?”

We went running. It was beautiful.

In St. Petersburg, Russia 2007

Unfortunately, she had some issues with illness that year, though, so she wound up not being able to run with me much. I got up every morning, though, and went running with my R.A., Jessica, with her, or on my own.

I’ve been running ever since.

And today, Elizabeth, I run for you. I will go out and do a slow 5k (thank you hot weather!) in your honor. I will do my virtual “Run Across Australia” 5k because my heart is there as it always has been. And you always encouraged me to pursue God, pursue His dreams for me, and to pursue the most loving, kind way of living that could be had.

Being utterly ridiculous in a fancy bathroom somewhere in Ayrshire, Scotland, 2007

You’re gone now, Elizabeth. And I miss you greatly. I miss the long talks we had. The all-night prayer meetings we held. The jokes we shared. The backpacking across Europe and Russia where you dreamed of serving in missions. I miss you.

Happy Birthday, bosom buddy. You’d be 36 today. Thank you for giving so much life to me. Thank you for being so much love for so many of us. Thank you for teaching me the love of running, even if you couldn’t go running with me.

My virtual race bib for today

Today, I run in your honor because you can’t go running here on earth yourself. I hope you know it and I hope you know that I will ever be grateful to God for the best friend He gave me in you. I love you. I miss you.

If You’re New to Working At Home – Don’t Forget to Do This

Thanks to COVID-19, a bunch of folks who usually don’t work remotely are doing so. Graphic designers, writers, and other freelancers already have a handle on a lot of things for home-based work – like scheduling, organization, etc. – but one thing I didn’t get a grasp of was my physical fitness.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Before I started working from home, I had a number of active jobs. I was a nanny who played with kids and took them for walks multiple times a day. I was a dog walker who biked her route and then walked the dogs – putting in between 10 and 45 miles a day between the two activities. I was an adjunct school staff who coached kids in tennis and other outdoor activities. I was a cycling/walking performance artist.

But when I started working from home, everything changed. I suddenly had the opportunity to stay fit and healthy by running, walking, and the usual activities on a free schedule. The free schedule, however was my routine killer. I got out of the habit of getting to the gym, going for a run, taking a walk, etc., because “I could do it later.”

I just want to remind you that as you work from home, it’s crucial to keep active. Set some timers throughout the day. Get up from your desk and walk around every 25-45 minutes, even just for 5 minutes. Take a morning walk before you start your workday. Go for an afternoon or evening run through the neighborhood. Watch some online workout videos or buy some workout DVDs or Blu-Rays.

Learn from my mistakes. Make a new schedule and stick to it as you work from home, maintaining social distancing as you walk, run, and cycle. And get off your butt multiple times throughout the day. Seriously. Everything will feel better if you do.

2020 International Women’s Day Honoree: Jerrie Mock

Jerrie Mock, moments before her takeoff on March 19,1964

You have probably heard of Amelia Earhart. And you likely know that she was an aviation pioneer. You probably know she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, solo. And you’ve probably also been taught that she was the first woman to fly around the world.

But that last part isn’t true. Amelia may have signed up for such an adventure, but she didn’t make it. The woman who did make it around the world solo happens to be my grandmother, Jerrie Mock.

Jerrie Mock with one of her planes – photo from her collection

She was a girl from a Newark, Ohio, a small town not too far from Columbus. She wasn’t anything “special” as far as the world was concerned. Even when she made the flight, she wasn’t all that accomplished as a pilot. In fact, she only had 750 hours’ flight time under her belt, which isn’t a whole lot of time for such a feat.

She’d always dreamed of flying around the world, though, and in 1964, she decided it was time. On March 19, she took off from Port Columbus, the airport in Columbus, Ohio, and flew to Bermuda. From Bermuda, she flew onward making multiple stops, exploring small bits of the world along the way, until 29 and 1/2 days later, she arrived home in Columbus and officially became the first woman to fly around the world.

Jerrie Mock in the cockpit of Charlie, her faithful Cessna 180

To read more of her adventures, you can get her book, Three-Eight Charlie, via Kindle or a paperback copy on Amazon. You can read some of my own stories on her adventures in Papua New Guinea and around the world. This year, I’m also hoping to release podcast episodes of her adventures on the anniversary dates of each stop along her trek.

Seriously? Not Another Writing Blog…!

Hopefully my blog will be useful for folks looking to improve their craft and career – or hobby – as writers.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

I’ll be offering tips, thoughts, suggestions, etc. on writing in all the various forms that I do, including:

  • Magazine and online publication articles
  • Writing on Medium
  • Pitching to publications
  • Pitching to literary/book agents/publishing houses
  • Novel writing
  • Cookbook writing/recipe development
  • Podcasting
  • Content writing
  • Ghost writing
  • Blogging
  • Travel writing
  • Short story writing

I’ll also do some walk-throughs on how I got where I am (writing full-time for a living), how I earn extra income, etc., but this is not a “get rich by writing” or program kind of thing. I’m just offering up tips that I’ve come across, discovered, or learned myself along the way.

I’m far from perfect, and far from pulling in 6-figures a year. I’m just here, doing one thing that I love so that I can support what I’m passionate about (missions work & the arts) and not starve to death in the process.

Just Me

Writer, Novelist, Journalist, Actor, Director, Adventurer

Rita Juanita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing. She now writes on travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

With the Jerrie Mock statue at the airport in Columbus, Ohio