Friday, April 27, 2012

Great Read on Gluttony

I appreciated today's post from The Resurgence sight. It's called, "How the Gospel Overcomes Gluttony".

For a girl who battles moderation, contentment and false comforts on a regular basis, this article reinforced many truths that God has revealed to me over the years - just written all in one place. Whether you find your pleasure in the over-indulgence of food, TV, athleticism, alcohol, sex, work, or anything else .... this is a fantastic read.

"The root of every sin is a disaffection for God".

Right on.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A link that works, please

One of my growing frustrations on the beloved Pinterest, is when people re-pin things without actually following the link. (And yes, I will confess to doing this myself...a habit I plan to stop because of this frustration.) When I actually go to the link to find the recipe, the craft idea, or whatever it may be - I've been coming up against nasty websites, dead links, or recipes in Spanish. None of these are entirely helpful to me. So many things look great in a 1x1 square with some fantastic rave review underneath - but really people, don't believe everything you pin.

Rant over.

The entire point of this post is because there was a recipe I had pinned recently that I bought what I assumed would be the needed ingredients earlier today. I came home and went to pull up the actual recipe to make it. Only, the URL could not be found, I was told my my trusty computer. Sigh. So I figured, how hard can this be? The little description on the pin said Cottage cheese/tomato/cucumber/pepper and had a little picture. So I decided to throw together what I imagined the recipe would have told me to, had I ever gotten to it.

And I'm here to tell you how yummy it was! (Actually, is...I'm eating right now. ) So in case I led you astray by pinning the dead recipe, I'm trying to make right my wrong here.

My mother is going to be so proud of me. I hate tomatoes. Of course, I blame it on her - 1, because you blame everything on your kids will do it to me one day too. (KIDDING, MOM!) And 2, because she once made me eat a grilled tomato with brown sugar (or something) on top. It was a soggy nasty mess of an idea if you ask me. I don't mind the taste of tomatoes, but I've never been able to handle the texture. And yet I can eat cottage cheese??? I know.... I'm strange.

So, here it is .... the Cottage cheese/tomato/cucumber/pepper thingy.

1) Cut the center out of a large tomato. Make 3 slits on sides of tomato. (I have no idea what the slits are for, but it was in the picture, so I did it.)
2) Scoop out inside of tomato and dice finely. I say dice finely, because then you won't notice the texture as much. I suppose you could have large chunks if you are strange and prefer that.
3) Chop 1/2 of a cucumber.
4) Cut up 2-4 green onions. (When you have one of the little bunches of green onions, is the entire bunch considered the onion? Or is each little sprig thingy it's own onion? I have no idea. I'm talking here about 2-4 of the little sprigs..not 2-4 bunches. And yes, all my friends who think I'm this amazing cook can now laugh away at my lack of onion knowledge.)
5) Combine tomato, cucumber,  and green onion in a bowl. (I added 1/4 tsp of chopped/minced garlic because I love garlic. You could leave it out, I would imagine.)
6) Add 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7)Mix together and scoop back into shell of tomato.

So this is really good! The cottage cheese completely conceals the gross tomatoes. I wasn't able to fit the entire amount back into the shell, so maybe next time I may cut back on the cottage cheese? Or I might just go over and eat the rest of it out of the bowl. I haven't decided yet.

And if you are interested in the nutrition facts, using 2% cottage ya go:

Calories: 153, Fat: 2.85 g, Cholesterol: 10 mg, Total Carbs: 12.4 g, Fiber: 1.15 g, Protein: 16.84 g

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I FINISHED! With a total time of  2:12:42. My goal, as you remember, was to just finish! I did also have it my head that I wanted to average 10:15 miles. I finished at 10:08 instead! Yippee! The best part is, I had a blast! I loved the atmosphere, I loved running with 3000 of my closest friends...okay, so maybe only about 10 of them were friends, but whatever. I loved the joy of finishing. I honestly just had an all around great time! Sure it was challenging, but it was so, so good. Some great songs would come on my itunes, and sometimes I decided to have fun with it and get into the groove with my whole body. My arms were moving, my feet were dancing, and at one point I began to sing along hoping the crowd would join in. But nooooo...everyone was so serious. Boring. So instead, I just made a fool of myself. At least I'm used to it! In the pictures to follow, Aaron was making fun of one of them saying - "oh, way to smile for the camera". And in all honesty, I don't know that the smile ever left my face! Well...until about mile 11. Then I'm pretty sure it was replaced by grunts and huffs and puffs and words that are not suitable for this blog.

Miles 11-13 were for sure hard for me. I had never run past 11 miles in all of my training - so my body was screaming out in confusion. And go figure, mile 12-12.5 was a very.large.hill. I knew from looking at the course map that there was a hill there - but when I saw what was before me, I wanted to cry a bit. My trusty friend and coach (Corrine) assured me that I could do it, that it was no worse than a hill that we would frequent in our training. I thought about smacking her upside the head telling her that said hill was not after 12 miles. But I didn't. I pressed on. And it helps that a song with a pretty powerful beat came on my iTunes as I started the hill. So i tipped my hat down leaving only enough room to glance at possible feet in front of me, and I ran to the beat until I was at the top. I didn't want to know when I'd get there, only when I was there. That worked for me.... Because next thing I know - I hear Corrine saying, "LOOK! It's the finish line!" With about 100 meters to go, I saw the clock saying 2:15:and some amount of seconds. (The time difference between that and my finish time is because I was not in the first starting wave of the race. The times were adjusted and printed later.) I was determined to finish strong and before that clock said 2:16. So I went into a full on ugly sprint. (No really, U.G.L.Y. I am not a cute runner, and an even uglier sprinter.) What happened at that moment just made me smile again. The crowd began cheering! Maybe they weren't cheering for me - but it felt like they were! The only flaw in this, is that my body was not happy with my sprinting and was begging me to stop. However, my pride said - but they're all cheering for me...I must finish!

And then it was over. 11 weeks of sweat, sore muscles, and a lot of time .....and it was over. And it was so worth it! I can't wait to run my next race! (Which by the the Chicago Half Marathon in September. More to come on that, as it involves YOU!) Other than "just finish", I saw a pin on Pinterest (go figure) recently that I had in my head as my "mantra". See, I'm really good at hearing the voice in my head that says I can't do things... so this was a fantastic quote for me. I should really think about using it in several areas of my life, to be honest. But today, it was all about the run!

Before I post pics, I wanna give a shout out to my friends and coaches, Corinne Baur and Christy Hires. These two women have encouraged me and inspired me (as many of you have as well). I can't tell you how huge FINISHING this has been for me. I am not known for endurance or long suffering. No, I am best at running (make that a brisk walk, actually) and hiding. I'm best at starting things and not always finishing them. But these two women, as well as the rest of my running group, made this endeavour fun and do-able. And honestly, I credit the amazing training program laid out by Corinne in her recently published book - Running By The Book - for the much needed solid foundation to stretch myself in this way. If you do run, want to get into running, or know someone who does - this is the book for you! And in fact, to celebrate my little victory - I'm giving away a copy of her book! Leave a comment, get your name in the drawing once. Link to this post on Facebook, get two entries! LIKE Running by the Book on Facebook (click on that link) and get your name entered three times.can't do this. Because if I can - trust me, you can...and you need this book to get there!) I will draw a name one week from today, Sunday April 22, 2012.

Okay, sorry to blab for so long. Here's the pics. I look almost as cute as the woman in the picture above...but nowhere close, actually.

 Nothing like a cold April day in Colorado. Thankfully,  the skies cleared for most of the race. Near the end, a brutal cold wind was at our face, which was annoying...but I'm thankful it wasn't snowing or raining!

Corinne was "pacing" me throughout the run. I joked with her telling her that I felt like a dog, constantly looking back to make sure my master was still right behind me. (I'm #303!)

I'm just a tad excited at the start. But why wouldn't I be???

Wow, that is one tall person in front of us. Random, I know.

Sprinting to the end. (Hey, I warned you it wasn't cute.)

I snuck around a few at the end and squeezed in just before 2:16! 

DONE! These 2 stayed by my side the entire time. Corinne on the left, friend and running mate Danielle in the middle. This was Danielle's first half as well. I was so proud of her! She ran today even though she was sick! And she never once  complained.

Always good to be able to laugh after! At least we weren't crying!

Christy and her husband Tracy. He was brave enough to be the one man in our running group today!  

Waiting for post-race food. It turned COLD! The girl in the white jacket next to me is a long time friend, Kassie. I'm so proud of her. She finished today with a time of 1:59. She is my hero! I basically want to run like her when I grow up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Run, Forrest, Run. (A lesson in Identity)

Compartmentalizing life is easier than one could imagine.

When I began running, I didn't really give any thought to there being a spiritual aspect to running. I hear a lot of people intertwine the two, but I wasn't getting it. I mean... I was just running. What does that have to do with God?

As I was driving to meet my running group for a 6 mile run (so about 3 weeks into the program), I heard the Lord ask me - "Are you ready to let me into this yet?" Huh. I responded with, "sure". Then proceeded the rest of my drive to contemplate what that meant. How do I let God into my running? I was so confused. As I continued on my run, all I could do was to thank God for my energy, the strength to run, etc.... I also asked Him to clarify what it meant to let him into my running, because I was still unsure.

If you've hung around my blog (or me in real life) for any amount of time, it probably is no secret that I wrestle with identity. I struggle with what defines me, or what I want to define me. I have a lot going on in my life, and depending on what capacity you know me - I could be known for any number of things. A mom, a wife, a pastors wife, a singer, a writer, a cook, a friend, a mentor, a crazy person. Take your pick. I struggle often with feeling like I do a lot of things just okay. I don't really do any one thing amazingly well. And that bothers me - a lot. I know it shouldn't, but it does. So when I picked up running - it's no surprise that my mind ran with what could be. (Pun intended.) Maybe, just maybe - I was going to be really good at something. I pictured myself as this super athlete with 5 kids who everyone would be in awe of. I would be in fantastic shape with that runners body I always dreamed of.

I know...this is a funny story, huh? Seriously. Me?? A superstar athlete. Um, no. It is not who I am. I get that now. But let's take it back to me letting God into my running. As I wrestled with my identity, with body image (more on that to come in a later post), with my new found hobby - God slowly revealed to me what it meant to invite him into my running.

Here's the story:

On week 5 of my training, I got hit HARD with the stomach flu. I completed one run the entire week. Stomach flu hit on Wednesday morning, and it was a solid 48 hours before I felt anywhere close to whole again. so I went to bed Friday night feeling like I just might make my Saturday long run (8 miles). However, my sleep was interrupted by my oldest child who had been struck with the misery I had just days earlier lived through.

Here is an email I sent to my running coaches the next day.

last night before bed, i was feeling like i could do the run this morning. clothes were laid out, and alarm was set. but then, providence woke up once, and i was annoyed thinking - "she's gonna ruin my chance to run" - rather than feeling love and compassion toward my child who was feeling the misery i had felt just days earlier. the next time she woke up, i quickly became agitated again thinking i for sure would NOT be able to wake up. but then as i was assisting her, i noticed my head was hurting a little bit....maybe i wasn't feeling ready to go just yet after all. she wakes for a third time, and as i get up to help her, my head is hurting big time and the world is spinning - and in this, i hear God say to me to LET IT GO, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE. and that i need to take care of myself and my family and that is more than enough. so i went back to sleep just after turning off my alarm and helping provi. 

i woke up w/ a small headache, and was a little bummed to miss the run. i've really come to look forward to sat runs.

fast forward to 3:30 this afternoon and i decided my only physical goal for the day was to walk the poor dog who had been cooped up all week with a bunch of sickos. ;) but after about 5 minutes, i decided i felt okay to try a walk/run combo. after 10 minutes, i was still running and still feeling good. so in the words of Forrest Gump, "I just kept running". ;) but it's true. i did! around 3 miles, i began to thank God for the energy to keep going, and was asking for him to help me be wise w/ my distance, that i'd love to do the 8, but wanted to be wise. then it dawned on me....i won't be able to re-fuel if i do try to keep going! i have no water, no gel, nothing. so i was going to turn around...until i spotted the gas station up ahead and remembered that i had money in my pocket that i had intended to give my neighbor earlier in the day. so i tied up the dog and ran in for some "fuel" (haha!). i drank it down and kept going! 

i got home 80 minutes later. i took the truck out to track my mileage....and it was 7.8 miles (and i'm throwing in the extra .2 for extreme wind. :) ). i was so happy! and you know what??? today was maybe my best run ever! i felt good the entire time, and even felt like i could keep going. my legs were strong, head was clear, lungs felt good. i just was tired of circling my house trying to get to 80 minutes, so i let myself be done. :)

 i'm so glad God spoke to me in the night, and released me in the afternoon! :)

I had nothing to prove. My running was not my identity. At the moment I wanted to prove myself, God called me to be a mom, not a runner. Bringing him glory was in mommy-hood, not super athlete.There are plenty of times he calls me to do other things (other things being something outside of being a mom), but this was not one of them. He reminded me through this that my identity is in none of the things that I do. It is solely in Jesus.And THAT is a life worth living! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Finish

Providence joined track this year. She's being pushed to new limits, and I'm so proud of her. She had her first meet this past week. I must admit to tearing up a bit as I cheered her on with each lap. Not sure what that was all about - other then the joy and strife that comes in seeing your child give it their all even when it's hard, and you can't just do it for them. One of Provi's events was the 1600 meter (AKA: a mile). For a beginner runner, this is HARD! (Heck, for seasoned runners, I hear the first mile is always the hardest!) She was thrown into the mix with 6th, 7th & 8th graders. The boy that came in first place lapped her. I'm fairly certain he's going to be in the Olympics this summer. With each lap, all I could do is encourage Provi to keep just finish. I wasn't sure why this was my biggest source of encouragement, but it was. In the end, Provi came in last - BUT BUT BUT ... she finished!!!! I was so proud of her! She had a couple of other events that she needed to do after running the mile, but she was so tired - she just wanted to be quit. Same story.... I just encouraged her to finish. She finished her other events, and we were on our way with one tired 6th grade track star.

As we were riding in the car, I couldn't stop telling Providence how proud I was of her. She finally laughed, and said, "Why? I came in last." (The tears surfacing again.) I began to tell her a story that I don't think I've ever told anyone other than Aaron. And now I will make a fool of myself and tell my blog.

When I was in the 6th grade, I joined track. I was mostly interested in shot put (which Provi also chose!) and discus. (I was AWFUL at both.) We had to choose a running event as well, so I chose some puny sprint and also the 400 (one lap). You know...the least amount of running possible. Well, when it came time for our first meet, I took off like a bat out of hell on the 400. (Which still happened to be a very slow, tired & weak bat...but a bat none the less.) Half way through, I realized that everyone was way out in front of me. I remember feeling so embarrassed. I was going to be LAST ... and by a lot. So..... something in my brain decided that an injury would be better than finishing last. Next thing I know, I was on the ground. Yup, I faked an injury. I claimed my ankle gave out. I was sure it was sprained. I was escorted off the track and the nightmare was over.

Watching Provi run, I realized that there was no pride in my fake injury. No one ever regrets finishing, even if they come in last. But I wasn't there. I thought nothing could be worse than being last. Of course, my story was hilarious to Provi - and she has told everyone who will give her a chance to tell it. So there you have it, my secret is out.

Fast forward 20 some years later - and guess what? I'm giving this running thing a shot again. Only this time - I'm shooting for a half marathon, not just 400 meters. I've been training for 10 weeks (give or take), and the race is this coming Sunday. I must say, I'm really excited. I've learned a lot about myself through running, and will even admit - I LIKE running now. Providence said to me that running isn't her thing like it is mine - that it's hard. She was surprised to hear me tell her that running IS STILL NOT easy for me. I have to push myself every.single.time. But the feeling of just finishing has become such a source of accomplishment and joy for me. So in one week, I'll be running 13.1 miles. There will be no fake injuries, and hopefully no real ones.

Can you guess what my one goal is?

Just finish.

****Over the course of this
 week, you're going to have to put up with my thoughts about running. I've come to realize a lot about myself through this running thing.****