Friday, August 23, 2013


Trials, we all have them, right?  Sometimes more than others, sometimes more heavy than others.  As of late, it seems like I have several friends going through heavy trials, with kids, sickness, jobs, alcohol, etc.  Recently I've been faced with a few trials.  They seem minor compared to my friends, but still, on some days, really major in my world.  As I've wanted to encourage friends during this time, I've looked for scripture on trials, words of wisdom, or encouragement.  One favorite is in James 1:2-8

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

I was telling a friend not long ago that I thought he was missing the boat on finding the joy in his trial, on giving thanks for his trial.  Not wanting to be a hypocrite, as I drove to work this morning, I took some time to thank God for my trials, for what he is teaching me, for how he is maturing me and showing me His plan for my life.  It's not easy when you are beat up to find the joy and to give thanks, but the peace that gave me and the perspective it gave me to pray that is tremendous.  It takes away a little of the pity party and instead gives me a burst to push through to the other side. 

As I've studied this passage, I was also comforted seeing wisdom offered in Verse 5, because what are we searching for during most trials, wisdom.  And we are promised this wisdom if we ask for it. 

Verse 6 is hard, because I doubt sometimes whether my wisdom is coming from my own brain and desires or from God and His will and desires for my life.  So the prayer becomes a request for wisdom along with confidence that the Holy Spirit is involved and guiding my mind. 

Then, what do I find today, as I read on in Verse 12?  12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
So he closes it out with the biggie, the promise of eternal life, the promise that if we trudge through, if we fight the fight, and persevere, we are promised life with Him.  What a blessing, what hope, what a gift. 

You know my other secret for perseverence thorough trials?  God has blessed me with the best family and friends a girl could ask for.  I have Christian parents and sisters standing ready to help me fight, along with friends that would make you jealous.  That kind that pray for you whenever you ask and when you don't, love you when you are dumb, listen to you when you are dumber, and love love love you through it all.

Yup, I'm blessed.  Thank you, Lord.   

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What's been Pinteresting lately?

I'm kind of a fad girl, and so when I first found Pinterest, I was all about it, but then I fell off the wagon.  I've jumped back on lately and I've found some good stuff!

First, my latest smoothie recipe...

greencitrusrazzledazzle: 1 large bunch/bag of organic baby spinach (stems and all), 4 peeled whole oranges, 1 cup of raspberries, 1/2 cup of ice, 2 bananas and about 1/3 cup of fruit juice (mango puree is awesome) or water... I used strawberries instead of raspberries and orange juice
It was good, and filling.  I'd give it a thumbs up.  PS... what has happened to the embed feature on Pinterest.  I feel like I'm going to have to quit using pics, because I don't know how to link and give someone credit.  But here's the pinterest link..

Then, my not-so-healthy find.  I've just discovered the amazing deliciousness of Nutella.  I know, not sure how on earth I missed that train, but holy smokes, it's incredible, so when I saw this picture and label, I knew I had to give it a try...

Nutella-Stuffed Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Amazing!!  They were so good, rave reviews from the family.  The recipe is here.

So, that's my cooking world lately.  I'm thinking tonight I'm going to go back to a favorite pinterest recipe of mine I reviewed in this post.  Love that chicken recipe.

Have a great Thursday!! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Running Update

I've been running, and it's fun. 

Several things have happened in my world of running in the past few months.

First off, I enlisted the help of Running Start to speed up!  Jane set me up a schedule to start some serious speed work.  Let me just say, I had never done the speed work stuff.  Whoa nelly, that is NOT easy.  But it's kind of a fun hard, it's also a kind of "I think I might die" hard, but I like it, and I'm seeing results. 

A few weeks ago I did a 5K, hoping to improve on my PR.  Um, not so much, but completely my fault.  I didn't have my watch and I started out like a wild woman, 90 to nothing.  Needless to say, I couldn't hold that pace, and people started passing me.  Note to self, don't start out at a 6:30 pace when you run 10 minute miles.  Looking forward to the next one and pacing myself a bit better.  It was a fun day, with fun friends (who, let me brag, ALL placed in their age groups), followed by a delicious breakfast, great Saturday morning in my opinion.

At the end of April, I did the country music half marathon in Nashville, TN.  This was my second half.  The fun part, I knocked over 13 minutes off my last time and set a new PR (thank you speed work!).  The not so fun part, it rained the WHOLE time.  I mean non-stop.  The actual run in the rain, not so bad.  The beginning and the end, of just standing and freezing in the rain, not fun at all.  But, I do think the rain encouraged me to run and little harder and and little faster.

Then two weekends ago, I did my first relay.  It was really fun, and at the end of the day, I still had friends.  You see, I first read about this relay on this great blog.  I thought it sounded like so much fun, 5 friends and 53 miles, supporting a great cause, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  I kept it in the back of my mind all year, and early this year, I looked it up.  Several of my favorite girls from high school run, so I had this vision of us bonding, enjoying each other, pictures, running.  I just can't tell you how much fun we were having in my visions, so I send an email about it... crickets, I hear nothing back from any of them.  So, one by one, I begin calling them.  And it went like this, 3 phone calls in a row...
Me: Did you see my email on the relay? I didn't hear anything back.
Friend:  That wasn't a joke?
Me: No
Friend: Are you crazy?
Me:  No, it will be fun!
Friend:  What part of 53 miles is fun?
But eventually, after much prodding, all 3 said yes.  I added to the group a friend from work who loves relays, and we had our team!  I had commitments from the team members and just needed to fill out the paperwork.  I was having so much trouble with a name.  In the meantime, a very close friend of mine's father passed away.  His father had had Type 1 diabetes, so in tribute to his dad, who was also a runner, our team name was born, Ronnie's Road Runners. 
Race day, we were at the school ready to go.  And it was raining.  And it rained 50 of the 53 miles on us!  Running a relay is so very different, and I know there are things we could have done better (like the van not getting lost trying to find the next checkpoint), and we probably could have been a little faster (we finished middle of the pack of the all female teams, darn tutus beat us), but overall it was so much fun.  Great to hang out with old friends I don't see enough, great to want to push yourself for your team, great to jump back out in the rain for another leg, great that my mom let us borrow her van with heated seats!  I can't thank my friends enough for being willing to join me in this adventure.  Looking forward to next year!
Our team's donation page is still open if you want to donate.  A goal for next year is to do a better job fundraising!  Ronnie's Road Runners

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Best Compliment

So, I think I've finally realized what I want to be when I grow up...
drum roll please...
a good friend. 
 Dorky, right, but true.
 I want to be kind of friend that makes an impact,
the kind that keeps your secrets,
 the kind that gives advice that is loving, wise, and seasoned with salt,
the kind that encourages when you are down, and helps pick you up,
the kind that loves well,
the kind that speaks truth in love. 
That's what I want to be.
And I know I can only do it with God's help. 
 I know that without God, there is no wisdom, only worldly opinion,
 and there is no truth with love, only judgement. 

So today, when I sent a discouraged friend a message,
and I received the following reply,
 it made my day,
my week,
maybe my month.
  "Thank you so much.  You have no idea how much I need that. The Lord sends you things when you no doubt need them most." 

You see, what greater compliment can I receive than to know the Lord used me to encourage today?  I say this not with any pride in my heart about anything I did,
but with thankful heart that God allowed me the opportunity to give a friend a boost today,
 that He gave me the words that this person needed to hear.

Today also reignited a passion to be studying God's word regularly. 
I want to be wise,
I want to speak truth,
and the only way to do that is to be knowledgeable in the things and ways of God. 

So here's to great friends, those that change our lives for the better!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Long Time No Talk

I have a million things to say, and several half written posts.  But let's start with the present.  Boston.  I was at work listening to a radio show when I heard the news.  Sick.  As more info came in and then video, the feelings turned to horror, sorrow, and disgust.  How could someone do this?  This was premeditated.  This was with intent of maiming and injuring people.  I just can't wrap my head around that. 
Today, I worked from home.  I normally don't turn on the TV on days I'm working, but I saw the news on the bombing suspects this morning, so I turned it on and left it on all day.  You know what struck me?  The number of times the word fear was used.  Now please don't take this the wrong way.  Please don't read the rest of this and think "wow, she must think she's really high and mighty".  If I had been in Watertown today, my rump would have been inside, probably in the basement, away from windows, praying no one came to my door.  I don't play around with stuff like that.  But still after 12 hours of news time (way too much), I'm plagued by this word 'fear'.  It just doesn't have to be a reality for us.  We don't have to live in fear.  First I watched the news, where fear was a hot topic, then in commercials, celebrities are telling us to buy gold so we don't have to fear the economy.  I'm telling you, you need a nerve pill just after watching a couple round of commercials. 
All this to say, WE NEED JESUS!!!  So desperately.  We don't have to live in fear.  I catch myself in fear over what political leaders might do, or might vote in, or might allow, but my hope doesn't rest in them.  I love America, but my hope doesn't rest in it.  My hope, my freedom of fear rest in Jesus.  Knowing that he has paid the price for my salvation, and He has promised me eternal life in heaven.  I really can't imagine life without that promise, I can't imagine thinking that this world is all there is. As America becomes less and less isolated from the dangers of the rest of the world, I think it's so important to remember fear shouldn't control us as Christians.

2 Timothy 1:7 - one of my favorites
  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline"

We have power over our thoughts.  Don't give into fear.  Remember we are God's children.  He loves us.  He has a paradise laid out for us.

As a favorite hymn so truthfully says, "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.  The angels beckon me from heaven's open door and I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

Monday, February 11, 2013

Killed It!!!

I saw an email from Fleet Feet the other day advertising a free 5K for tonight.  I asked my cousin if she was up for it.  She said she was in, so I packed it up early at work tonight and headed that way.  My running buddies told me this morning they were expecting a PR.  I thought it was a possibility as it was a night race (I run faster at night), and I've been putting in lots of miles and feeling stronger.  My last PR was a 33:27 last April. 

I forgot my watch, which was a little frustrating, because I had no clue on my distance or speed the whole time.  I told Emily before we started I was going to shoot for a PR and she was a huge encourager.  So, race started and I kicked it, probably a touch too fast.  I think the first mile is the worst, it just takes that long to get in the groove.  But I digress, I just ran and ran hard.  Hard enough it hurt a little but with enough reserve to try to make it the whole time.  It started out on concrete, which I don't love, but then we turned and ran through a very pretty neighborhood.  There was some incline, a one short but tough real incline, but once that one was over, the last half was a lot of decline.  I tried to take advantage of every one of those.  I was going crazy in my mind wondering what my pace was, I knew I was running hard, but I just have no sense of pace. 

When we turned back into the parking lot, I was wincing to see the clock.  Couldn't see, couldn't see, finally started to make it out, 33:07, I think kick it, beat your time, until I get a little closer and see it's not 33 minutes, it's 30 minutes.  Shock I tell you, pure shock and joy!!  I run to the finish and pass the clock at 31:07.  Woo-hoo!!!!  2:20 faster than last year!!  Almost a 10 minute pace!! 

And I didn't believe it.  See, tonight was called a Ladies First.  So they started the women, then 2 minutes later started the men.  So, I think, they must have started the clock over when the guys left, and that's ok, I still PR'd.  So I found the race girl, and asked if they started the clock over.  She said NO!!!  I fist pumped, might have scared her a little, and a grin that would not go away crossed my face.

So here I sit, with achy legs, and a goofy grin!  I'm one excited girl!  Thanks to Emily for meeting me (wouldn't have made it otherwise) and for cheering me on!  Good times!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Happiness Project

So I really, really liked the January Happiness Project more than I expected.  I may not have met all goals perfectly, but I made progress in all areas. 

January was all about surviving work, and I did it, with much more grace and many fewer breakdowns than last year.  Yay, me.  During February, I would like to continue with the January goals, but add some new things.  February's focus is going to be health.  So here are the problems, and the goals.

1.  6 pounds.  Yes, January was a success in many areas, but I also apparently ate my way thru January, and between it and the holidays, I've put on about 6 pounds in the past few months.  Not pretty.  My clothes are tighter and it just doesn't feel good.  By the end of February, at least 4 of those need to be gone!  A pound a week is not too much to ask, right??

2.  Arms.  I've been doing a better job with my abs when I'm on the floor doing my hip exercises.  Normally, I just add some crunches to the mix, but my arms are getting nothing!  So, I ordered some 3 pound weights yesterday to be delivered to my office.  I watched a you tube video with a 15 minute workout.  I think I can incorporate some of these during lunch maybe 3 times a week, just to do something to be working on my arms. 

3.  Water.  At some point last year, my friend, Melissa, and I started holding each other accountable during the day on drinking 64 ounces of water.  It really helped me.  It's not that I don't like water, I just get busy during the day and forget to fill up my cup.  We jumped back on the wagon yesterday, and mission accomplished!  When I drink my water, I find myself with less headaches, less desire for Coke, and I know it's great for me. 

4.  Lunch.  It's my most difficult meal of the day.  I really wish I weren't hungry and I didn't have to worry with it.  I rarely leave for lunch during the work day, so most days, I end up sending money with whoever is headed out to bring me something back.  Bad idea, unhealthy and expensive.  So, last week, I headed to Target and bought fruits, yogurt, string cheese, etc. so I would have some healthy alternatives in the office.  Friday, I made my first smoothie in the office.  I overdid it on the spinach, but overall, not too bad.  So, the plan is to eat in and healthy on the days I don't have lunch plans. The biggest challenge is planning ahead and making sure I have food at the office.  Planning ahead is not my strong suite, but I need to be working on bettering myself, right? 

So, that's the plan.  I can't go too stringent on dieting rules, it just doesn't work for me, I have a bit of a rebel streak, and when I set strict parameters, it seems like all I want to do is eat pizza and Snickers, so hopefully some added exercise, more water, and more intentional food choices will help me feel stronger and healthier by the end of the month.  I'll keep you posted!