Friday, October 9, 2015

If I Trusted God | Five-Minute Friday

Gooooood morning! Thanks for joining us for another free write with Five-Minute Friday!

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

00:00 START the timer!

What would life be like if I really trusted God?

I can say confidently that I trust the Lord and I know He works out good for His children (Romans 8:28) but it seems that my trust wavers throughout the day and life circumstances.

When a worry or frustration arises, I get worked up about it for a while and, eventually, when I'm sick of mulling over it, I surrender it to God. Once it's in God's hands, I feel so much more peace and freedom.

How different would my life look if I trusted God every second of the day?

If I trusted God every second of the day,
My worries would be replaced with peace. Is my husband going to come home today? I hope there haven't been any accidents tonight.  Do you think the boys will grow up to be godly men? Are toddler boys supposed to be this crazy? Will God provide for our financial needs?

If I trusted God every second of the day, 
I would look to the future with excitement and a sense of adventure! We could dream of the amazing things God has in store for us rather than wonder what bad thing will happen next. What's the next tragedy to make the newspaper headline? Can this world get any worse? (Sadly, yes it can.)

If I trusted God every second of the day, 
I would be free to be the person God has made me to be. I would no longer question what so-and-so thinks of me or if this person likes me. I wouldn't feel insecure about my career choice as a full-time mom. I wouldn't feel anxious about sharing with others that we may homeschool our boys. I would be my goofy self more often.

If I trusted God every second of the day,
I would believe His promises and fill my mind with them. The lies that God is "mad at me" or that He is going to give up on me would be gone. The guilt and the shame of my past wouldn't try to return anymore. All negative thoughts would be replaced with God's perfect truth.

If I trusted God every second of the day,
I would tell more people about Jesus. The thoughts of them shutting me down or thinking I'm weird would be gone. Every insecurity would be replaced with confidence in my God and compassion for the people who don't know Him yet. My own ego would be out of the way and I would be on a mission for Christ, and Him alone.

Heavenly Father - 
Starting today, teach me to live in complete trust in Your promises and who You are! Free me from my insecurities, from the fear of what others think of me, and the fear of bad things happening. Thank You for Your sovereignty and knowing exactly what we need every day! Show me how to live boldly and fearlessly for You. Lord, You are wonderful and I choose to rest in Your truth today and always. 
Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. PROVERBS 29:25
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. PSALM 112:7
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to You. PSALM 86:5
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. MATTHEW 6:31-33

05:00 STOP the timer!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Breaking Through the Afternoon Crash

I love my mornings. When my alarm goes off, I fly out of bed regardless of how much baby boy was up that night.

Grab my coffee, open up my Bible and spend some time with God.

Lately the toddler has been up at 6:00 am to join me for my quiet time. Which means my quiet time is no longer quiet! I have mixed feelings on that.

So mornings are my favorite. But after lunch, my body realizes how tired it really is.

This week I'm joining up with the Fit Dish crew's [optional] topic to share our favorite afternoon energy boost.

I really enjoy my morning coffee but it's not an option later in the day. Unless I want this little honey to be up more than he already is at night...

Eating sweet treats after lunch is a temptation, especially when you're running low on sleep. Problem is, the sugar high will eventually crash and leave you worse off than you were before!

My favorite afternoon energy boost is to GET MOVING.

If I didn't workout early that morning, I exercise during the toddler's nap time. Baby W is (usually) content to nap in his swing so I do my best to juggle his needs with a quick endorphin-blasting workout.

On those desperately tired days, I take a 20- to 30-MINUTE POWER NAP with the baby. It's hard to shut off my mind enough to nap but I feel like a million bucks even after 20 minutes!

Today's afternoon workout was 3.5 miles on the treadmill at base pace (8:35/mile). During the peak of sugar beet harvest, my running options are either the treadmill or the double jogging stroller. On a rainy and windy day like today, the treadmill sounded mighty fine to me.

I am SO thankful for that treadmill!

Since last weekend's half marathon, I'm in that awkward "not-training-for-a-race-so-now-what-do-I-do" phase. Currently I'm figuring out my exercise goals for the next couple months.

Having a goal in mind is really important to me. It gives me the motivation to make time for exercise.

I'm thinking speed-work and strength training are going to be my focus. My goal is to get comfortable with the 7:00-7:30/mile pace for upcoming races.

On the topic of upcoming races... I'm running a full marathon in May 2016!

This will be my 7th full marathon but my first as a mom of two. I'm looking forward to racing my favorite distance again, especially after trying my hand at the half marathon over the past year and a half!

Training for the full again will be quite an adventure. It always is!

More to come on that topic...

How do you break through the afternoon energy crash?
Have you experienced the "not-training-for-a-race-so-now-what-do-I-do" phase?

Linking up with the Fit Switch and Jill Conyers. #dishthefit

Friday, October 2, 2015

Our Messy Home | Five-Minute Friday

If it weren't for Five-Minute Friday I likely would have forgotten today IS Friday!

October means nocturnal harvest hours for my husband and daddy being gone all the time has been hard for our toddler to understand. This is farming and I'm fine with that. Though this week has felt like it's Monday EVERY DAY!

Today our free write topic is "family". Stop by the link-up to check out everyone else's writing as well :)

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

00:00 START the timer!

No matter how hard I try to keep it up, I feel like our house is always a mess.

Maybe one room is clean but then all of the others are messy. If the laundry is caught up, the kitchen must look like the aftermath of a tornado. It's rarely all clean at once!

Back in January, my husband was at an out-of-state training for three weeks. With just the toddler and I at home, Baby W still "in utero", my husband gone and brother-in-law back at school, keeping the house up was so much easier.

The chores were all done and mess was gone. My husband's work boots weren't tracking dirt, I didn't need to cook full meals and therefore we had much fewer dishes.

But the house felt quiet and lonely, especially when my toddler was sleeping. While I'm not an advocate for neglecting the home, those three weeks helped me to see blessings in the mess.

Dirty dishes in the sink is evidence of our family meal. We are blessed with food to eat and we have enjoyed the time together!

The mountainous pile of laundry means we have clothes to wear. Like a lot of clothes! Too many clothes...

My husband's greasy work clothes mean he is working to provide for our family and he is blessed with a great job.

The little baby and toddler outfits mean the Lord has blessed us with two beautiful baby boys!

The impossibility of having every room in the house clean means there are numerous rooms in our house! Having a bigger house (compared to our last one) is a wonderful thing I don't want to take for granted.

I'm tired and, no, the baby is not sleeping through the night. Yet I feel so blessed to have that baby boy to snuggle with at night. He is an answer to prayer!

My devotion time in the morning tends to be distracted because the toddler joins me to "read his Bible" (translated: I read to him) at 6:00 am. I'm thankful for him joining me because I want him to see the importance of spending time with the Lord and reading the Bible.

Our home isn't perfect, it's certainly more messy and much more exhausted than it was four years ago. But I love it.

Keeping a perfect home isn't my mission as a stay-at-home mom. It's not about the vacuuming or the loads of laundry I do.

Staying home with my children is about investing time in our family. I'm here to teach our children about the Lord, to take care of my families needs and, yes, to make this sometimes... okay, usually... messy house our home.

This messy home is full of family, love, memories and, most importantly, Jesus.
Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love,
   that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us,
   for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May Your deeds be shown to your servants,
   your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
   establish the work of our hands for us—
   yes, establish the work of our hands.
PSALM 90:14-17

05:00 STOP the timer!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Race Report: Wild Hog Half Marathon 2015

Hey there! We're back after a fun weekend away as a family and I've got a race recap to share with you.

After an "unplugged" week, I'm joining up with Jessica and Jill at the Fit Dish link-up. The week was wonderful but it's nice to be back!


Wild Hog Half Marathon Results:

Finish Time - 01:39;58
Average Pace - 7:37/mile
Placing - 43rd/553 Overall, 13th/300 Females


We traveled to the race on Friday evening, picked up my race number and went out to eat with a friend at Noodle's & Co. It was a nice night... minus super cranky children. Baby W cried from Noodles & Co. until we made it up to our hotel room. And then cried some more. E was beyond tired.

Leo and I both agreed that we should never leave our home with the boys again.

5:30 AM - My morning alarm came way too soon! I was thankful to have a decent night's sleep with E sleeping through the night and Baby W only up a couple times to nurse. First things first, I pumped and prepped a bottle for W and put on my race clothes.

6:00 AM - E was awake so he came down for breakfast with Grandma and me. I had a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and honey plus some apple juice. My race morning nerves tend to suppress my appetite but I knew I needed to eat as much as I could (within reason).

6:30 AM - Time to go! After saying my goodbyes and taking a quick picture with E (and a pair of socks), Grandma and I were on our way to the race. Grandpa and Leo hung out with the little guys in the hotel room.

7:30 - We checked out the starting area and then my mom (alias "Grandma") dropped me off at the sports arena. I wandered for a while, watched the sunrise, jogged a little, ate my first GU (vanilla bean, of course!) and then headed off to the starting line. God blessed us with such a beautiful sunrise that morning! I was thankful to be able to take the time to watch it.

7:45 - The half marathoners, relay teams and 10k runners all lined up. I found my way to the 1:40 pace group and announcements and anthems started soon after.

8:00 - And we're off!

As the mob of runners spread out, I ended up with the tail end of the 1:35 group. I did my best to hang with them in last year's Wild Hog and I knew that wasn't a realistic goal at 4 months postpartum.

Even in the first mile, I could tell my body was just worn out. I did taper from running in the week prior but life itself just wore me out. For every race, I write a Bible verse on my arm to help me keep perspective and Ephesians 3:20 had been on my heart that week.

My energy tank was running low but I knew that God could give me the strength to run my best race - He can do so much more than we dare to ask or hope!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. EPHESIANS 3:20 NLT
Mile 1 - 7:08
Mile 2 - 7:19
Mile 3 - 7:29
Mile 4 - 7:31
Mile 5 - 7:26

I was feeling good and the miles were passing by quickly now. Just before the next aid station, I took part of my second GU gel.

My stomach wasn't really feeling it but I had to eat it now to prevent running out of gas in the last third of the race. Racing while I'm nursing our youngest has forced me to eat and drink more than I used to while training and racing.

Mile 6 - 7:30
Mile 7 - 7:37
Mile 8 - 7:45

My goal was to maintain sub-8:00/mile. It was tempting to speed up and chase after the runners racing by me but I couldn't maintain a faster pace all the way to the finish. Many of the runners breezing by at that point were relay runners with fresh legs, as the faster half marathoners had already pulled away from the mid-pack, but my mind still wanted to chase.

"Stay in your own lane!" 

This was something Leo and I had talked about earlier this week. While there aren't any "lanes" in long distance running, his words reminded me to run my own race rather than comparing myself to the other runners.

We were talking about spiritual growth rather than running but it applied to both. "Stay in your own lane" means guarding yourself from spiritual pride and comparing our faith walk with someone else's. Because we do this or don't do that doesn't make us "more holy" than someone else and God doesn't "love us better" than someone else. We are saved by grace alone not by anything we say or do.

In both running and our walk with God, we can give our absolute best effort and be satisfied with that. We can experience so much freedom when we choose not to compare ourselves to others!
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. GALATIANS 6:4 NLT
Mile 9 - 7:50
Mile 10 - 7:49
Mile 11 - 7:57
Mile 12 - 7:49
Mile 13 - 7:39
Mile .17 - 7:00

When the race clock was in sight, I had a couple more seconds to finish sub-1:40.

So I sprinted... and thankfully I didn't trip over my own feet because the home stretch was lined with people watching.

As it turned out, I beat the 1:40 mark by 2 seconds. That last kick made all the difference!

The assembly line after the finish was a smooth one lined with pineapple, pretzels, oranges, chocolate milk, and other goodies. I was given my medal and grabbed a water bottle and some licorice before finding a spot to sit down in the grass.

Then this fine looking group made their way over to me (including Grandma, who took the picture):

This was Leo's first time watching me race and it was so special to have him there! Baby W was asleep when I met up with them and E was very distracted by all of the race chaos going on.

The Wild Hog Half Marathon's race "swag" is awesome. The BornFit® long-sleeve zip-up shirt and the FitSocks are my favorite!

Overall, the race went better than what I expected 4 months after W's birth! Leo, the boys and I picked up drive thru sandwiches from Erbert's & Gerbert's and coffee. We headed back to eat, shower and nap time for the kids (and parents!).

The Wild Hog is one of my favorite races and I hope to be back next year. They announced that a full marathon is in the works for next year but I'm eyeing a full marathon for May 2016. We'll see...

What is your favorite half marathon and/or full marathon?

Linking up with the Fit Switch and Jill Conyers. #dishthefit

Friday, September 18, 2015

Celebrate This Place | Five-Minute Friday

Good morning! Welcome to this week's Five-Minute Friday!

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

This week's word:

00:00 START the timer!

Today we're having a party!

Won't you join me?

Let's kick this party off by praising God for where we've been, where we are and what the future might hold.

Our faith journey is something to celebrate! Looking back on where God has taken us reminds us of His awesome sovereignty, the hope we have in Jesus and the power of our prayers.

Today let's celebrate by reflecting on answers to prayer as reminders of God's faithfulness.

Let us give praise to the Lord for His work in our lives and pray boldly for the future to come. God is capable of so much more than we can imagine!

Think of all the miracles that Jesus did in the Bible - that's OUR God! He hasn't changed. He is still amazing, He loves us and He can handle our bold prayers.

Celebrate by praying boldly today! God has such great things in store for us. 

Now that's a reason to celebrate!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. EPHESIANS 3:20-21

05:00 STOP the timer!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Training Week 10: Finding Balance

Whew, this past week was a doozy!

First things first, I'm joining up with the Fit Dish and Faith & Fitness link-ups again this week. Today we're talking plans. We all have them!
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. PROVERBS 16:9 NLT
Proverbs 16:9 is the perfect verse for this week because I had a plan and God had something better planned for me.

"My" plan included the usual to-do list plus another week of half marathon training with higher mileage than the previous week.

God's plan for my week was REST. Almost two weeks ago, I acquired some lovely cold-sinusy-allergy symptoms and, despite all of my efforts to fight them, it had to run its course. As of today, I'm feeling much more like myself!

I'm currently reading through Susie Larson's book <affiliate link>, Balance That Works When Life Doesn't, where she defines balance and breaks it down into three parts.
"Encarta dictionary defines balance this way: A state in which various elements form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest." Susie Larson
Susie then explains that everyone's life involves these three things to some degree:
1. Input (Nourishment)
2. Output (Response)
3. Rest (Replenishment)
This was an "Aha!" moment for me, as I realized how out-of-whack my life has been.

Ever since Baby W was born 3.5 months ago, I have been lacking replenishment (rest) while I expected the same response (rest) from myself. (Though that smiley boy is worth any amount of exhaustion!) I kept pushing myself until finally my body said "Enough! I quit!".

So you know what I did? I rested!

I rested physically by taking a nap with Baby W while toddler E napped. I found rest in my heart knowing that God loves me for who I am, not for what I accomplish. He won't hold my unfinished to-do list against me and He doesn't think I'm lazy because I skipped a few days of exercise!

Susie Larson's book has been teaching me that true balance means being flexible and adaptable with our plans. As Proverbs 16:9 says, we can make our plan but we must allow the Lord to determine our steps.

In some seasons we are able to accomplish more and, in others, we have to cut back on what we do. Sometimes it takes getting sick to remind me that I am NOT super human and I DO need rest. When the boys are both sleeping through the night (some day in the far, far future!), I will have more energy to give! As for now, I just need to do what I can.
"When we live with the constant sense of the ebb and flow of nourishment, response and replenishment we will find balance wherever life finds us." Susie Larson
By Sunday's early morning long run, I was feeling much better and my legs felt fresh. That was my last 2-hour run before the half marathon and I'm thanking God for the extra rest last week!

His plans are always better than my own.


Wild Hog 1/2 Training Week 10

8/31 M - Rest. Sick.

9/1 T - Rest. Still sick but my cough is loosening now.
9/2 W - 3.9 easy-effort miles. Did some front planks later.

9/3 H - 5.03 miles, 45:08 @ 8:59/mile avg. The run felt comfortably hard and my lungs seem to be clearing out now! I had a tiny bit of motivation so I did 1 minute of a front plank. That was enough for me :)

9/4 F - Rest. No running but I did some strength training outside. Walking lunges, squats, side lunges, DB presses and flies.

9/5 Sa - Rest. Took another day to rest! Perhaps I'm getting better at listening to my body. The race is coming up soon and I want to be healthy on the starting line.

9/6 Su - Long Run: 14.34 miles, 2:00:52 @ 8:26/mile. Feeling MUCH better! All the rest days this week were worth it. I hope this cold/sinusy/allergy mess is done now!

Total Mileage: 23.27 miles

Do you struggle with making yourself rest?

Linking up with the Fit Switch, Jill Conyers and Faith & Fitness Friday. #dishthefit  #FridayFaithFitness

Friday, September 11, 2015

Some Things Never Change | Five-Minute Friday

There is something I love about this almost-Fall morning. The cool, crisp air makes 42°F feels refreshing, my coffee is still a lukewarm, and it's Five-Minute Friday! Win, win, win!

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

This week's word is:

00:00 START the timer!

My best friend came over for a visit yesterday and we had a wonderful time catching up, reminiscing and laughing.

Over the past four years, we have changed so much. It seems like nothing is the same.

Marriage, moving away and two kids make it hard to recognize the "me" in the pictures from four years ago.

We used to see each other daily and now it's more of a every-few-months sort of thing. We're older... and I would like to think wiser as well :)

Some things never change.

Months have passed yet our conversation starts off right where the last one ended.

There is never a dull moment. While we both have changed so much, something about our friendship stays the same through it all.

A true friendship that sticks together through all the changing seasons of life is hard to find. It is a treasure and I am so thankful for ours!

Our friendship is a reminder of my relationship with Jesus.

This world is changing - and not for the better.

Yet Jesus is the SAME.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. HEBREWS 13:8
He hasn't changed and He never will. Jesus is our Rock and our Refuge. 

Throughout the turbulence of life, we can count on Jesus to be by our side through it all. He is with us and His promises stand the same yesterday, today and forever!

05:00 STOP the timer!