Sunday, October 25, 2009


If anyone told me when I was a clumsy, gangly, asthmatic fifth-grader that I would be running half-marathons with glee, I would have knocked the fool down! I hated running! Loathed, detested, and abhorred running! How insanely jealous I was of my friends who used the mentrual card to avoid the dreaded activity in P.E. I was a late bloomer so that wasn’t an option. I deviously sucked on my inhalers to show my P.E. teachers how fragile my poor lungs were but drama was also one of my weaknesses.

I carried that loathing for running into adulthood along with my asthma. Even though the movie, Forrest Gump, became one of my favorites, I experienced a mild asthma attack watching his masochistic running. Poor Forrest, I thought, running for no reason and getting janky in the process.

Then one lonely day a switch flipped in my little brain. I needed to challenge my mind and body, see how far I could push it. In 2003, I entered my first 5K and trained on my own by reading Galloway’s Book On Running (2nd edition). I ran that race with my oldest daughter and thought I was going to die. But I didn’t. Crossing the finish line was the best adrenaline rush I ever experienced, surpassing any drug-induced high I’ve inflicted myself. My passion for running turned into a full-fledged addiction. Running revealed my body’s potential to soar and my mind’s ability to stave off insanity and depression. A few years passed without entering races until last year when my loneliness and despair threatened to catapult me onto a self-destructive path. I finally understood Forrest Gump’s resolve to run for no particular reason.

I reviewed my bucket list not too long ago and laughed at one of the items I needed to accomplish. Number 3 out of 10 was run a half-marathon. This year, I ran 2 half-marathons and a 10K.
October's Nike Women’s half-marathon in San Francisco was THE best! The view, the city, and the loves of my life that were waiting for me at the finish line were my propellers. Secretly, I was afraid this race was going to drive me to my grave but my fear didn’t deter me. I fell seriously ill two weeks before the race that entailed massive blood loss. My training came to an abrupt halt as I willed my body to heal. My well-intentioned friends and family warned me not to run but I guess they forgot that stubbornness ran deep in the Ricaforte veins. I might as well have stuck my fingers in my ears and chanted la-la-la-la-la! I was going to finish that race and nothing and no one was going to stop me. Stupid of me? Of course. But life is too short and I’d rather die doing something I’m passionate about than dying a slow death playing it safe.

Nike Women's Half-Marathon San Francisco 10.18.09
Mile 6:
I can do this!
I crossed the finish line in one piece!
The loves of my life waiting for me
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Nike Human Race 10K 10.23.09 Midnight!
We did it!
 This is my 2nd Human Race and it's like a party in the streets. I'm so grateful to have friends just as

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Clinical Director position for My Refuge House

A good friend recently reminded me of my old nickname, "the energizer bunny", because I just keep on going and going and going. Apparently, I'm the cause of her fatigue as she sits back and watches my frenetic antics. This also led to my friend asking me why I put so much time and effort toward My Refuge House when I wasn't getting paid. Ah, always the proverbial question! Instead of defending myself I recounted Bob Marley's story when he decided to perform at a concert two days after he was injured in a shooting incited by political groups. When Marley was asked why, he responded, "the people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?" Let me repeat that: the people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I? And that, my dear friend, is the fuel that drives my passion to tirelessly work for My Refuge House without pay.

Today I don the hat of messenger for My Refuge House as we search for a qualified individual that will fill the shoes of the new Clinical Director. I ask that you help spread the word and pray that the right person will be revealed to us.


My Refuge House is currently seeking qualified candidates for Clinical Director of its shelter facility in
Cebu City, Philippines. The primary duty of the Clinical Director is to develop, expand and oversee an
effective aftercare program for women and children rescued out from commercial sexual
exploitation/trafficking. This is a full-time position with a minimum of one-year commitment with a
possibility of an extension. The Clinical Director will report directly to the Board of Directors of My
Refuge House based in the US and will receive technical support and guidance both locally and abroad.
Please inquire by submitting an application letter, an updated resume, and statement of Christian Faith* to Prospective applicants will be contacted for an interview.

  • Graduate degree in psychology/social work-related field, and licensed or on track for licensing in your particular field.
  • Minimum 3-5 years experience in the work with victims of trauma, preferably victims of rape, sexual abuse/exploitation and/or prostitution; demonstrated experience with case management; strong clinical skills for trauma and crisis management.
  • Strong evidence of a mature Christian faith and experience serving as a spiritual leader and mentor; demonstrated commitment/involvement with a local church body; strong theological understanding of seeing the gospel in a holistic manner, commitment to personal growth and one’s own healing/self-care as key to working responsibly and effectively with others
  • Ability to develop a genuine passion for MRH, its mission and its values.
  • Excellent writing, communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills; ability to take initiative and multi-task as necessary.
  • Demonstrated experiences and competence working in a cross-cultural environment. Christian
  • Missions experience a plus
  • Word-processing and database skills (ie. Excel, MS Word, etc).
  • Ability to balance autonomy, accountability, and collaboration with shelter facility Administrator and My Refuge House Board of Directors.
  • What is a Statement of Christian faith?
  • A statement of faith should describe your Christian faith. The statement can either be incorporated into cover letter or submitted as a separate document and should include, at a minimum, a description of your spiritual disciplines (prayer, study, etc) and your current fellowship or place of worship.