Refresh Summit South 2014

When I sit down to write out all that is Refresh, I have no words. Lots of tears, when I see all that God is doing, but I feel like I don’t have the words to get it all out. [like Brittany said, “Not that I have nothing to say… I have too much to say.”] I’m gonna give it my best shot though.

I went into this retreat a little differently than the other. I was going as a host to refresh others. I was going to let God use me. I was also going to try and remember names better. We (that would be the host team of Bobbi, Brittany, Amia, Heather, and yours truly) have been preparing for this pretty much since the last Refresh Summit. We’ve been tweeting and emailing and instagramming and meeting via Skype and preparing our hearts. We each bring something different to the table and God was using our gifts to cover all areas of this retreat. As I got on the plane on Wednesday, it was hard to believe it was already happening! How could it be here already? How could it feel so effortless and right? There were 40 of us coming from 14 different states. I kept getting a picture of a map with each of us flying closer and closer towards each other!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that's the visual I kept seeing!

imagine this with 38 more arrows, that’s the visual I kept seeing!

Heather and I arrived about an hour apart and headed to meet Bobbi and Michelle (her sis in love). We spent the first couple of days spending time together and also getting last minute details finalized (like packing swag bags and putting together welcome mugs). Bobbi, Heather and I went on a chilly run in 30 degree weather! Brrr. And I finally got to hug Brittany and she is a doll! My favorite little Southern whippersnapper! We’re also walking through infertility together. So lovely to make another connection and be able to share in each others joys and sorrows. We hit the town on Thursday night and got to taste some southern favorites as well as listen to live music, including dueling pianos!

Photo Nov 12, 6 36 06 PM Photo Nov 13, 4 36 16 PM Photo Nov 13, 5 51 04 PM Photo Nov 13, 10 37 09 AMWe arrived on Friday early afternoon and set up Deer Run Lodge for our refreshers. To say that the lodge is wonderful is an understatement. It’s nestled on a backroad outside of Franklin Tennessee (oh my gosh, I just realized I never played Tennessee Boys by GRITS while I was there. Missed dance party opportunity for sure!!) We spent the early afternoon getting the Lodge ready for our guests. There were cozy touches all over the place, I love that we (okay Bobbi ended up doing the crafting!) made mugs for each guest with their name on it. Seriously, it was the perfect touch! Heather and I did check-in and got to put a face to each name!

Photo Nov 14, 1 53 58 PM

The Refresh Summit South hosts!

Photo Nov 14, 3 34 28 PM Photo Nov 14, 10 57 50 AM Photo Nov 14, 11 12 36 AM Photo Nov 14, 11 56 46 AM Photo Jan 20, 11 15 37 AM

Friday night we had a lovely time of worship with Krissy, an intro session with Amia, and Holy Yoga. I had never experienced holy yoga before. It was awesome. We also chatted in our room until way too late at night! As we were finally falling asleep, one roommate screamed bloody murder. She thought someone was standing over her. Nope. After our heartbeats all slowed down, we were able to relax. Saturday morning started with lots of coffee and a delicious breakfast!

Photo Nov 15, 7 55 48 AM

We had workshops on body image with Lindsay, nutrition with Brittany, and how to study the bible with Amia.

 Photo Nov 15, 8 46 32 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 37 25 AM Photo Nov 15, 8 43 43 AMWorkouts included bootcamp with Bobbi, PiYo with Reina, Zumba with Amia, and Holy Yoga. Oh how I love the yoga and the zumba, but for completely different reasons!

Photo Nov 16, 12 49 16 AM At the main sessions on Saturday morning and night, Krissy led worship and it was absolutely beautiful. Amia was the main speaker again (we brought her out to California in May), and it was wonderful to watch her being used by God! We learned a lot about letting go of baggage and letting God use us. She has so much wisdom, it’s hard to capture it all in one post! After the last session on Saturday, I got to lead my workshop — pinterest crafts! I taught a few girls how to turn old t-shirts into tank tops. But it turned into a time of sharing and opening up and prayer. It was awesome! So cool to sit back and watch God do what He does!!

Photo Nov 16, 6 23 54 PM

Of course we took lots of pictures as we said goodbye, but we also had an awesome raffle (everyone went away with something!) and farewell session with Amia.

Photo Nov 16, 10 12 30 AM Raffle Prize Winners Photo Nov 16, 6 10 42 PM Photo Nov 16, 6 16 04 PM Photo Nov 16, 10 10 15 AM

So much more that I could say, but I will leave it at this. Refresh will truly refresh your soul. It will bring you to a place of stillness where you can reconnect with God and with other like minded women. You will leave rejuvenated and with new dear friends. 

For more recaps, you can see posts by Brittany, Ericka, Kimbre, Lindsay, Kelsey, Jolene, Lindsay S, and Dana!

And a major thank you to all of our sponsors. Brittany wrote more about them. But I stole a list of them from her page. :)

Reebok, Organic Valley, Detour Bar, PB2, Quest, KIND Bar, Growing Naturals, Vega, RX Bars, Plant Fusion, Love Grown Granola, Skoop, Nu Naturals, Zevia, Musselman’s, The Good Bean, Purely Elizabeth, Cocogo, Evoke Foods, Chipotle, Wisdom Walks, Glorify Apparel, Jeremy Scott, Sara Haley Fitness, My Vitamins, Raw Threads, NHerShoes Shred, Sizzlefish, Healthy Bites, Refit, Sweat Pink, Bic Bands

Sponsors

And a major shout out to Love Grown Foods for sponsoring breakfast on Sunday and Chipotle for sponsoring lunch on Saturday.

Fire House World

If you think back really hard, you might just remember that last year I went down to San Diego for Fire House world. Matthew and I made a weekend out of it and got to meet some awesome fire families (and wives) there. We had planned to go this year, but I never actually looked at the dates. What do you know, it’s a Sunday through Thursday, aka my work week. Ugh. Lame. I was so looking forward to going. My twinsie is gonna be there! Other couples that we LOVE will be there. But, you know what, it’s okay. For some reason, the whole conference is not in the cards for us this year. HOWEVER, I will be going down for the FireFighterWife meetup on Wednesday night. If you are anywhere near, you should come join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

This could be you!! Join us!

We will be at the Rockin’ Lobster in the Gaslamp in the Puerto Nuevo Room. The fun starts at 6pm, and lasts til 9. I may be late though as I work that day and have to get my booty down there!

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 2)

Today marks day 17 of the 21 day sugar detox! Like I said last time, it has been a completely different experience this time. Sure, I’ve wanted wine and sweets (birthday cake oreos) here and there, but I have never really been tempted to cheat. It’s just. Different. I did have a major meltdown on Saturday though. I think we can say my hormones are getting back on track. Ugh. I got so angry with Matt and told him I wanted to throw the cast iron at him / on the ground. he ended up calming me down, but I spent a good few minutes crying at the sink with the water running. The realization that this isn’t just 21 days set in. The realization that this is my fade in. That it gets harder after this (candida diet / GAPS diet). But then I remember why I’m doing it and that it will be worth it for my health. So I’m gonna keep on keepin on. And enjoy my coffee this week, because it’s bye bye coffee next Monday!

I love the 21 day sugar detox book and cookbook because it’s giving me lots of options. We’ve also created a few of our own things. Below you see a tomato basil bacon casserole, open faced chicken sliders, shrimp pad thai, almond “cheese” and crackers. Tasty. Bright and colorful. Different. I have to remember that I still have SO MANY options. oh, and next week I can add in some stevia if I so desire. Whoop whoop!

IMG_8540.JPG

Now. Onto the #21dsdphotochallenge

———–

Today’s lunch is leftovers! My favorite!! We’ve got a slice of meatza, mashed faux-tatoes (cauliflower), mustard chicken, herb biscuit, and roasted garlic spinach soup! A variety of flavors, and a nice change of pace from giant salads!! #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day8 #lunch

IMG_8299-0.JPG

There are some kitchen tools that I just can’t live without. My knives are one of them. I get so frustrated when I’m cooking at someone else’s home and they have dull knives. That’s just asking for an injury!! The food processor is also super helpful. Lately it’s been helping me “mash” cauliflower, and it’s great for quick grating. What kitchen tools are must haves for you?? #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #kitchentools

IMG_8320-0.JPG

Tonight’s #21dsd dinner, which was shared with good friends. Shepherds pie (with lamb + ground beef + bacon + carrots + peas + mashed cauliflower). I brought this to my pastor’s home to share with him and his wife, before we prayed him off to India! #21dsdphotoaday #dinner

IMG_8355-0.JPG

A few days late on my #21dsdphotoaday challenge. Groceries. Today I picked up a bunch of veggies and a few cuts of meat. Most of my meals this week will come from leftovers in the freezer! I forgot to take a picture of all of the bags, so here is one of the bins from my fridge. #21dsd

IMG_8455-0.JPG

These #treats are pretty tasty. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + cocoa, topped with unsweetened coconut. Clean chocolate to satisfy my sweet tooth. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #treat #day12

IMG_8456.JPG

The doctor told me to eat more fat, these lemon meltaways have been the perfect fix. It’s coconut oil + coconut butter + lemon juice & zest. Glad I expanded my palate and tried something new. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #somethingnew #day13

 IMG_8458-0.JPG

#21dsdphotoaday #drink #water. Always need more water. Tracking to make sure I’m getting in 100 oz a day! Feel so much better with all that water tho! #21dsd

IMG_8495-0.JPG

I’m also learning to take what people say with a grain of salt, and know my facts. Two people told me that I was probably drinking too much water and could be in danger of water intoxication. First off, with the amount of supplements I’m taking, I need lots of water. Second, I’m trying to get my liver to detox my system, it need water to do that. Third, my doctors have all told me to drink more water. Third, 100 oz is not even a gallon (128 oz is), and I learned from a quick google search that your liver can process a quarter of a gallon per hour. So I am drinking over the ENTIRE day what my body can process in four hours. Also, you are supposed to aim to drink as much water as 1/2 to 1 ounce per pound you weigh. That puts me at aiming for 118 a day. I think I’m good. I guess I’m not used to online criticism. oh well. Time to get thicker skin and deal.

Are you doing the 21 day sugar detox? How’s it going?

2014: Insta-Review

So last week I deleted a post in my drafts called “fall,” because I realized it was from Fall 2013!! Whoops! I had fun posting my semi-regularly instagram updates, and had planned to do the same this year, but alas, plans can sometimes fail! So here are my favorite instagram pics of 2014, all ready to share with you! Although, some are missing, like Christmas and Refresh, because I have other posts planned for those! Most photos are in collage form, but my top 3 come first!

Photo Apr 18, 4 46 56 PM

I love this picture because it represented a huge chunk of this year for us. Kekoa being injured, Matthew being exhausted, and our house being a disaster. True story. I am so grateful that a good portion of that season is behind us. Kekoa has completely blended into our family and the only injuries are small scratches, Matthew is still pretty tired, and our home is much cleaner now that I started using (and selling) Norwex. Good stuff!

Photo Nov 23, 10 42 43 PM

This is our family. That pretty much sums us up right now. The two of us laughing and being attacked for snuggles by our crazy pups. (Yes the cats also decided to fly the coop this year. It was pretty rough and I still get sad about it, but I keep telling myself they were stolen by needy old ladies, not coyotes).

Photo Oct 18, 1 48 11 PM

Lastly, this year we got to know our nephew. His family finally moved back in November and it has been a delight to spend so much time with him. Matthew loves him dearly, and I will admit it does break my heart a little bit that we don’t have one of our own yet. I see how good Matthew is and how he just flowed so naturally into the uncle role, that the unknown timing of the father role makes me ache. Usually it’s good tears of joy, but sometimes it’s painful. At Christmas he was running around with little J on his shoulders, and he reached down to kiss him. Break. My. Heart. haha

Photo Jan 14, 11 49 20 AM

Top: Big Family pic at Thanksgiving; Pies from Scratch
Bottom: Matthew and J at the Station; Crazy how much things have changed in 2 years!

Photo Jan 14, 11 45 59 AM

Top: Girls Night, Kekoa’s First Injury, Anniversary Date (before B & B getaway)
Middle: Entitled KO, Spa Day with the Cuzzo, Two Little Beggars
Bottom: Disney Drawing, Working in the Field, Puppy Play Time at the Dog Park

Photo Jan 14, 11 46 30 AM

Top: Rylee’s First Birthday, Megan’s First Oyster (verdict: meh); fourth of July
Middle: FireFighterWife Paint Day, Matty & the Pups, Snuggling with J
Bottom: Disney Day; Sushi Date (which was nearly weekly), Auntie & Uncle Time

Photo Jan 14, 11 46 57 AM

Top: Our Family; Disney for RJ’s Adoption Finalization; Big Bear for HJ’s Birthday
Middle: #biblein90summer; FireFighterWife Beach Day; Reading with the Parentals
Bottom: Fresh Ink; Marriage Inspiration; First Norwex Party!!

Photo Jan 14, 11 47 33 AM

Top: Nashville with Sarah; Halloween at Disney; Halloween with the Hovey’s
Middle: Refresh Summit South Cozies; Halloween Fun Run Costumes; End of an Era
Bottom: Wine / Beer Tasting in Nashville; Matt’s Refresh Tees, SMART Conference

Photo Jan 14, 11 48 16 AM

Top: Big Family Thanksgiving, Cooking Birthday Dinner at the Station, First Zumba Class
Middle: Thanksgiving Brunch, Grand Ole Opry; Disneyland Christmas
Bottom: Thanksgiving Fun Run; Matt & His Pups (they love him); Big RJ Birthday

As I look back over the pics, I remember the fun, full year that we had. There were also tough moments too, but who takes pics in a counseling session? hahaha I also don’t see any Refresh Summit (inaugural!) or Flame Fest pics, but then remember that I did individual posts about those. And a post of all my craftiness, although that has definitely taken a backseat to other things this year. It’s cool tho. God has me right where he wants me. He’s planted me, pruned me, and I’m starting to see fruit.

What was your 2014 like? What pictures would best define it?

Insta-Crafty

I had an abundance of crafty instagram pics on my phone from 2013/2014 that I wanted to share. So here you go!

IMG_1524.JPG

That blanket is probably my favorite project of 2014. It’s beautiful. It photographs well, and it used up a lot of yarn. it’s the perfect addition to my blanket stack, and is great for cuddling on the couch!

IMG_2883.JPG

Top: Repaired my KO chewed boots, Making a bottle cap tray together
Bottom: Owl Chevron Blanket for Ryles, Coffee Cozies I made for Refresh (also in my shop)

IMG_2884.JPG
Top: Zebra Baby Shower Gifts for my Goddaughter, Starry Blanket, Easter Basket
Middle: Love the Blanket, More Cozies, Blanket in Progress
Bottom: Hawaiian Cozies (collab with my dad), Crocheted Cheesecake, Charm Necklaces

Oh what a crafty year I had in 2014. For not having a ton of craft time, I feel like I made good use of what I had!! What did you create last year?

21 Day Sugar Detox 2015 (Week 1) & a Rant on Pregnancy Talk

Two years ago I did the 21 day sugar detox, twice! I blogged about it too. The first time (January), I fizzled out after Matt’s grandpa died, using that as my excuse to welcome wine back into my diet. The second time my goal was to get back to gluten free and eat clean, and I stayed gluten free for about a year after that. Pretty decent. (you can read my recaps of week one, week two, and week three, if you are interested). My motivation for the sugar detox wasn’t very solid though, and I think that’s why I kinda gave up on it. You see, getting rid of acne and a gluten baby are good goals, but honestly I will choose the Reese’s over that any day. My will power is strong, but only if I want it to be. I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to, but I can also talk myself out of a lot of things. Confusing, yes. Welcome to my mind. I digress, this time things are different.

IMG_8297.JPG

A few of my meals and a puppy who wanted some meatloaves!

I started seeing a functional medicine doctor last summer. Matthew and I wanted answers to my infertility, and we also wanted a baby. So I asked my go to health person for a recommendation and he recommended Dr Hubbard. I have to say she was fantastic, but not covered by my insurance. I spent a few months seeing her, and had so much blood drawn (18 vials the first time, which was a lab mixup, they were only supposed to do half of it that day. oh well). All of the labwork showed a multitude of issues (greeeeat lol), including most likely PCOS. The diagnosis didn’t really scare me, in fact it comforted me because I already knew it, I just hadn’t had a doctor agree with me yet. However, after three or four months with really no changes and lots and lots of money spent on appointments and supplements, we decided to stop the appointments. I knew in my heart that my diet was a huge reason that no changes had happened. I hadn’t fully invested in my health yet. I wasn’t making changes for the right reasons. Fertility was the ONLY reason to make changes, and while good, it can be a frustrating road, especially after lost pregnancies. I knew that I actually needed a stricter eating plan (let’s just avoid the word diet) than her recommendation (no dairy, gluten / eggs / chicken / soy every 4 days), and I needed to fully eliminate sugar. Basically I need to go on an anti-candida diet. Until I got serious and did that, no supplements or acupuncture or essential oils would help. I had planned on a sugar detox in October, but decided to wait until after the holidays. I already knew that would get me off track, so why bother. And a pesky dirty needle stick to the hubs (thank you, AMR medic who is no longer employed) meant postponing the baby making for 6 months (thank you potentially underlying diseases that are dormant for 6 months. Really though we think he’s fine as the patient didn’t have it, but we just choose to be safe).

So with four months of that left, I can really, truly, finally focus on my health for the right reasons. I can accept the heart changes that God has been working in me and focus on health. I will choose to clean my diet and lifestyle because God made me to be his temple. It’s crazy how freeing it has been. I know everyone says “just stop trying to get pregnant and relax and you will get pregnant,” but can you honestly say you did that? I mean, honestly? Unless you are someone who did, if so I want to know how. Because I have tried. I stopped tracking and charting and even taking any meds. I tried to not think about it. It got me nowhere. We ladies have a monthly reminder at the very least. Go get wasted and then it will happen. Nope. Honestly. I love how everyone tries to help, but the biggest thing I have learned in this journey is no one is the same. My mentor had three failed attempts to IVF, adopted two handsome boys, and five years later (at fourty something) found herself pregnant. Do you really think that’s because she stopped stressing because she adopted? Also, I had one person tell me just to adopt because then I would get pregnant. I mean, it was what happened for her. But seriously, that is the worst reason to adopt. I really want to adopt. I do. But not so that I will not stress about a baby and be pregnant. Also, my sweet friend adopted an infant who is now seventeen months, and she didn’t magically get pregnant either. Would she love to be? Yes! Is that why she adopted? No. Okay, so I have totally gotten off track here and gone on a rant. But truly, I have no idea what to say some days when I talk to other women facing infertility. I can say it sucks, I kinda get it, ugh. But I can’t give them a magic pill, I can’t tell them why I’m at peace now. But I can tell them that I have truly been in the depths of despair and I am truly at peace now. And I can join them in prayer.

Okay. Seriously. So I’m doing this sugar detox to get my body healthy. I think it was hard to take the first step because I knew that it would not end in 21 days. I honestly have no idea when I will have wine again. Is that bad? Nope. But a lot of my social life was spent having wine with friends. That will change. Or at least, my beverage will change. And that’s okay. I just needed to be at a place where I was truly okay with it. Where I chose it. Where I stepped in freely. That’s how this sugar detox has been for me. Natural. Right. Normal. And I know it’s because God changed my heart about it. He has been preparing me. He has readied my heart and equips me with strength daily. He’s also given me a supportive husband (although he almost got punched when he told me how AMAZING the sugar free donuts were with brown sugar and honey on top. haha) He’s also given me wise friends who offer nutritional advise, council, and hugs! (Oh, and I can probably add stevia or honey back in at some point, but for the foreseeable future, no sugar / fruit / wine / etc even after the 21 days!)

IMG_8296.JPG

Sugar free treats. Almond Butter Cups, Lemon Meltaways, Green Apple Donuts, and Chocolates

Last time, I did a photo challenge for the sugar detox. I’m doing it again this time. And, funny story, as I was reading the book, I found my blog in the back. No joke. I was listed as someone who shared their journey. I nearly peed my pants reading that. I also find it funny because I’ve never gone the full 21 days before. hahaha Maybe Diane needed an example of real life / finishing meh. hahhaha Anywho, I am doing the photo challenge again, and it’s really cool to see how God has completely changed my perspective this time around! The photos + this instagram captions below. (some of it is a repeat of what’s been said above. sorry)

———————

Today is day 1 of the #21dsd — and it feels like day 1 of something a whole lot bigger! Honestly. My #goals for this sugar detox are to completely eliminate sugar for the whole three weeks, but mostly to kick the wine. I don’t think there’s a problem with wine or loving it, but for my health it needs to go. My functional medicine doc says I have candida (along with a whole slew of other things like PCOS) and the best way to eliminate that and get healthy is through dietary changes. I tried over the summer, but got frustrated every month when I wasn’t pregnant. So I would binge on junk food and wine to say screw got body you don’t work right. However God has been doing a work in my heart to show me that I shouldn’t be healthy and whole for fertility, it’s because that’s how he made me. So I’m doing this as a kickstart into the anti candida diet. And I’m doing it for me. Not for fertility, although I do hope that all works out. Hopefully my hormones can get to where they need to be and I can be healthy! And I also hope my acne gets better. Just being honest!

IMG_8103.JPG

#21dsdphotoaday #day2 #before I wasn’t sure what to use as a before picture. As I said yesterday, it’s about so much more than cutting sugar for me. But one main reason is to regulate blood sugar. I HATE the 3 pm slump / blood sugar crash. It has me turning to coffee and dragging til later at night. I feel drained all the time and there’s a certain pep in my step that’s missing. I’m sure there’s adrenal issues going on too, but we shall deal with things one step at a time. I am also excited for the acne to go away, but didn’t wanna post a red faced blotchy pic. Hahaaha

IMG_8120.JPG

#21dsdphotoaday #day3 #inspiration So I just found my blog posts / photos from my last sugar detox in 2013. It’s crazy how different my goals and inspirations were. Yes I wanted to clean up my diet, but it was more about checking things off a list. This time it’s completely different. It feels different. It’s more spiritual. I’ve been praying a lot. Because I know this is more of a soul shift for me. It’s choosing to be wholly healthy. To heal my body from the inside out. And God is totally doing it already. My attitude is completely different. And really it doesn’t feel hard. It feels right. And praise goes to Him for that! I asked my girls for a verse on #health and Alice gave me this word. Such a great one. And perfect inspiration for this! #21dsd #soulsisters

IMG_8144.JPG

#21dsdphotoaday #breakfast — the biggest thing that’s helped me be so successful this time is prep work. I started a little late (Tuesday night!) but I made buffalo chicken egg muffins (yum!) and mini meat loaves and some lemon melt away “not sweet treats.” Breakfasts and lunches are hardest for me because I’m always running late, well not late but I just prefer sleep to cooking, and I’m at the office for lunch (monday through Thursday). So the meat loaves have been great lunches, and egg muffins are easy enough to reheat. Plus it’s something fun and different!

10929922_900202220831_3374686110053708133_n

#21dsdphotoaday #day5 #fridge our fridge is packed full of veggies and meat, also far too many jars of pickles and jams and condiments that really need to be sorted through. The freezer is full of veggies, meat, fruit (which I normally use in smoothies) and lots and lots of coffee!!

IMG_8233.JPG

I love snacking on nuts, but plain almonds get old after a few days. So tonight I whipped up some Cinilla Nuts, from the #21dsd cookbook. Basically vanilla and cinnamon (plus an egg white and oil) baked onto your nut blend (I used almonds, macadamia nuts, and walnuts). So ready for the next work week! #21dsdphotoaday #day6

IMG_8293.JPG

For those asking about the detox that I’m on, it’s the 21 day sugar detox. Basically cut out all sugar and sweeteners and retrain your mind and body to not crave carbs and sweets. For me it is a bit of an intro to the GAPS and I have no idea how long I’ll be doing it. But this is the book I’ve read and other #resources I’m using. Highly recommend it. #21dsd #21dsdphotoaday #day7 #oneweeknobooze

IMG_8292.JPG

I’ve also been drinking 100+ ounces of water a day! It’s a miracle. Oh, and I can still have coffee. Praise the Lord!

Mission Inn 10k

Last year (well, 2013), I thought about running a 10k. Then I laughed at myself. That’s ridiculous. I can’t do that. I can barely run three miles. No way I can run six! But I downloaded the couch to 10k app and started working at it. And then gave up! Then I talked my sister and love and friends into the Run Riverside Challenge. And I signed up for the Mission Inn leg as a 10k. What?? I realized that I could do it, I just needed to train.

IMG_4768

After the Hometown Heroes Honor Run, I continued my 10k training. I had started a little before and worked up to four miles. I wanted to go six before the big day, but knew I needed to run at least five to give myself the confidence and mental stamina. So I started running my long runs with the Friday morning running group and worked my way up to five miles with them. The Monday before the race, I ran up a big hill (Ford for you locals) with my Matty. It was a 5.5 mile run and I ran the whole thing, including the hills! That gave me the confidence I need to run the 6.2 mile race. I was ready!

pre race

Race day arrived. Matthew was sad that he would not be able to cheer me on (darn, work!), but made me breakfast and coffee. I packed up my little race bag and met Lisa and Kim at Target. I wasn’t super nervous, just ready to go! I also couldn’t believe that I would be running for over an hour. The girls and I talked and agreed that we would all be running our own race. We would start together, but if one of us needed to walk, the others would not feel like they had to stay with them. In all honesty (sorry, girls!), I thought Lisa would smoke me (she ran a half in September) and Kim would be behind (she had a hard time pacing herself for the 5k and had not run more than a few miles here or there at her crossfit bootcamp).

running happy

Before  we knew it, we were off! The first two miles were pretty smooth and relatively flat. We stuck together and I only h ad one headphone in with music on. We chatted here and there. Kim started to fall behind around mile two, but Lisa and I kept pressing on. At mile three I took a Gu at a water spot and felt awesome. They also had some Gatorade type drink that I took a few times. Lisa and I chatted a bit, more hills came, and she was hurting (stomach cramps). She had to walk at mile four and I was on my own. it was time to run my race. What I had been training for all these months. I tried listening to podcasts like normal, but could not get into it. There was so much energy all around, I needed the music. Mile five (from four to five, is that mile four? new things I need to learn!) was rough. I kept asking why on earth was I running? Who in their right mind would voluntarily run for over an hour? I was halfway, but not 75% yet (I’m a number girl, I do fractions when I count laps in the pool haha). I hurt, but I was gonna do it. Then I saw a camera, remembered the horrible pics from ALL MY OTHER RACES and put a big old smile on my face. Although, apparently I missed a couple, as you can see below. (and yes those are the pics from the site, I actually was going to buy one, but couldn’t justify $30 for a digital copy of one pic).

running sad

Mile five (well five til the end?) was awesome. I was a little tired, but felt amazing. I had one mile left, I could so do it! I kept saying “good morning” to the onlookers as they cheered me on from their porch. I heard them chuckle, I think my greeting was unexpected! Before I knew it, I was on the final street before the turn to the finish chute. I started to cry a little. I could not believe I had done it! I thought, this must be what Bobbi feels like at the end of a marathon! I have come so far! So many emotions! And then I said suck it up and soak it in (which is kinda like what my dad told me on my wedding day as he walked me down the aisle, “you don’t need to cry, all these people are here because they love you,” I digress). These people are cheering for you! And I finished strong. I felt so good as I crossed that finish line. It was crazy how amazing I felt after (usually I am wheezing and feel like I’m gonna hurl). I was talking to Matt’s friend and then Lisa was there, just two minutes behind me! We decided to walk to the finish chute to wait and cheer Kim on, when she appeared behind us! She had finished just one minute behind Lisa, not having run further than three miles ever before. I’m still so stinkin proud of her.

finish

My official time was 1:09 (although Nike+ said it was 1:07:49 and my pace was 10:56). SOmehow I messed up my Nike+ app and could not hear my pace or miles or anything. I  had no idea that I was running a faster pace than I had planned. I also couldn’t hear Matthew “cheering” me on as he liked and commented on the status from work. He also posted my medal selfie (below) before I even had a chance. Talk about supportive!! I was still bummed that he could not be there, but definitely felt the love! We went out to a diner for breakfast afterwards, and I DEMOLISHED my eggs + bacon + hash browns + toast.

post race

All in all, I’m still amazed that I ran six miles without stopping. That was my one goal. Oh, and I cannot wait to finish the last leg with these two awesome ladies at the Citrus Heritage Run on Saturday!!

Bible in 90 Summer (& Fall)

Reading the bible, cover to cover, has been a lifelong goal of mine. I have started countless times using various plans, but never finished. I cannot tell you how many times I have read Genesis! I usually had a one year cover to cover goal, and lost momentum around month three or four.

So in June when I saw Brittany post about her #biblein90summer reading plan, I thought she was cray! That’s like sixteen chapters a DAY! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that quick timeframe might be key. I always lost momentum at three months, so why not finish by then? On June 18, 2014, I started reading, the original finish date would be September 15. I knew I would not finish by then. I thought four or five months was more likely, but still a shorter time period and the momentum would carry on. So I started reading, and reading, and taking a short break, then reading again. I would get a few days behind and then see Brittany post a picture on instagram, which would snap me back into it. I started eighteen days behind Brit, and wanted to catch up! Somewhere around Kings, I did. And then I wanted to keep my lead (I may or may not be too competitive!) so I stayed a little ahead, finishing the Old Testament on October 26. The minor prophets were super interesting as I hadn’t really read any of them before. It was also a huge accomplishment to finish the entire Old Testament. I had never read that far before! That definitely gave me momentum going into the New Testament.

IMG_6864.JPG

Brit and I kept checking in and encouraging each other via instagram, text, and snapchat as we made our way through the New Testament. I loved Acts. It was so cool seeing what the apostles did, totally an adventure story! I was a little troubled by some inconsistencies in the gospels though. I have heard it is because a lot of what was written was what people remembered after the fact. I want to look into that a little bit more though.  And I actually really liked Revelation. Well, the first half at least. I’ve avoided it a lot because I do not like thinking about death or the end times. Shoot, sometimes thinking about eternity in heaven freaks me out. (I’m very literal and logical so that kind of thinking is a little overwhelming for me). However, reading Revelation meant I was finished!

On December 10, 2014, 175 days after I began, I finished reading the whole bible! Five days less than six months. I did it! It feels like a huge victory. But what’s cooler is God has been bringing up stories or verses as they apply to conversations. I think that’s one of the reasons why Brit started reading the whole bible. If you have read the whole thing, then it’s accessible in your mind somehow. God can bring his words back in necessary situations, if you’ve read them! That’s the best part. Somehow, somewhere, the whole bible is in my brain now. And God will call our parts as necessary. Amen!

Now, what to study next?? I’m going through Hebrews with my mentor, and looking into a Beth Moore study. Or a good book. And I want to read the bible again, but chronologically. I did that before and it was great. I got a little lost in the Old Testament when stories kept repeating themselves. And I like knowing what Psalms David wrote when.

Hometown Heroes Honor Run 2014

This Race is the first of three in the Run Riverside challenge. We get a medal for each one that we complete, and a special medal for running all three. Originally I had planned on doing the 5k for each race. However, some point earlier this year, I decided that this would be my 10k. To me that was huge and an impossible goal, but that’s a story for another blog post!

I had goals for each race. For this one, to finish under 35, for the 10k to run the whole thing, and for the 5k in January to keep running enough over the holidays to be able to run it! haha When we got our soul sisters team together, we all came from different spots in a running journey. Lisa had run a half marathon before, Heather had trained for one before (I believe), and Kim had never run a 5k before. As the time came to get ready for our first leg of this series, I realized that running as a team and encouraging Kim was more important than my time goal. So I threw the goal out the window, and kept to my original goal of just run the whole thing no matter how slow. Kim started off a little quick, and that actually made my pace really good. She had to take a few walk breaks, and I just kept running next to her and the other girls. During the last 1/4 mile Lisa somehow ended up way ahead, so I decided to catch up to her, and then get pics of the other two. When I caught up to Lisa, she got a cramp and slowed down. So I decided to just keep my momentum going and finish strong. As I neared the finish I saw the clock at 34:45 or something. My goal was in sight! I booked it and crossed right before it turned to 35! I was so stoked, and even more so when I got my official time of 34:37!! And I was able to turn around and get pictures of the other girls finishing.  

IMG_3586

IMG_3710

IMG_3635

IMG_3650

IMG_3646

This was the first time I ever earned a medal, and to say I was excited is an understatement. At first I thought it was weird to get a 5k medal, like it wouldn’t be earned. But after this race I definitely felt like I earned it!

Running

In 2013 I had a goal to run a 5k. Actually, I think I had the goal back in 2012, but actually made it a reality back in 2013. Since then, I believe I have officially become a runner. Sure, I go through phases of excitement about running and not wanting to run. But I think that’s just how it goes. I have signed up for a series of three races this fall / winter. It’s the Run Riverside Challenge and you get a special medal for completing all three runs! I think getting real running shoes, and not just picking up whatever shoes they had at Ross, made me feel like a real runner. Now the fact that I want to lace up my shoes and go for a run just because makes me really feel like a runner!

IMG_2020.JPG

April 21, 2013 – Run Through Redlands. This was my first race in about 9 years. That link will tell you everything you wanted to know and more.

November 2013 – Turkey Trot fun run. I actually rolled my ankle two days before this, while training (ok training = going on a run with Matt). I ran / walked it, but took it easy.

IMG_2146.JPG

December 2013 – Santa Hat Fun Run. I hesitate to call this a race, because it was really just a fun run with a group of friends. But since I wasn’t running regularly with the group then (I am now), I will count it!

IMG_2851.JPG

March 2014 – Phoenix Westin Well Being 5k fun run – this was the worst run ever. We hadn’t trained and drank a margarita before. Not to mention it was hot. We finished though. That’s what counts, right?

IMG_5201

April 2014 – Run Through Redlands. Heather and I ran this, and Bobbi decided to join us with Rylee that morning. It was great to have her (with the stroller) as a pacer! Plus she kept us chatting and made us forget we were in a race. lol This was the first time I had run the whole 5k!

IMG_6509.JPG

May 2014 – Rock N Glow 5k. Lisa and I signed up for this together and had a blast. I think we would have enjoyed it more if we had planned to stay for the glow afterparty and had more friends with us!

IMG_7907-0.JPG

June 2014 – SCE Linemans Rodeo 5k Fun Run. Heather and I definitely got on a racing kick and signed up for so many races. I think there were 50 of us in this whole race. But we chatted as we ran and had a good time.

IMG_8412.JPG

July 2014 – Fourth of July Fun Run. Another run with Shari’s running group, that I now consider myself to be a part of. We showed up in our patriotic gear for this one!

IMG_9352.JPG

 October 2014 – Hometown Heroes Honor Run 5k – Recap and pictures coming soon!

November 9, 2014 – Mission Inn 10k!! Full Recap with pictures coming soon!

And here are some random pics of us running together (and me running solo). If this was a movie, this is the point where it would be a montage with the Rocky soundtrack. Mandatory clip of me running the stairs (at the U of R) included.

IMG_1569.JPG

IMG_1687.JPG

IMG_3132.JPG

IMG_1540.JPG

IMG_1652.JPG

Officially in the Friday Morning Fun Run gang!

IMG_2376.JPG