Friday, September 4, 2015

Yes | Five-Minute Friday

Hello there! It's Five-Minute Friday link-up time.

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!
______________________

Let me tell you a little something about myself.

I am petrified of singing in public.

Singing in church with the congregation is fine, as long as no one hears me, but to actually sing a song in front of someone makes my stomach turn and my palms sweat profusely. I just can't do it!

Yet, I sing all day to my boys. Like, ALL DAY. I didn't grow up listening to Christian music but random songs come to my mind every day and I know it's the Holy Spirit putting them on my heart. He is the only possible explanation because I don't know how I even know these songs!

This week, E and I were singing the "yes, Lord, yes, Lord, yes, yes, Lord" song. That's the only verse I know so we sang it over and over again. He loved it! "Mama, sing yes, Lord!", he would say.

This morning I looked up the rest of the lyrics and the Lord put the verse Psalm 90:14 on my heart as well. Lately, He is saying so much to me about being satisfied in Him and choosing to live in joy.

Here are the official lyrics to "I'm Trading My Sorrows":
I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Chorus:
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
(View Lyrics Source)

Saying "Yes" to the Lord meant breaking off a bad relationship in my pre-marriage days. It meant going to church by myself in search of a church family. (and meeting my husband there the next year!)

Saying "Yes" to the Lord in my life meant me leaving my career to stay home with our boys and moving to a tiny little town soon after.

Saying "Yes" to the Lord has meant joining in with Bible study groups where I knew only one or two people.

So many opportunities to walk boldly in faith lie in the future and I'm deciding right now to say "Yes" to the Lord; to walk boldly in His will.

Saying "Yes" to the Lord means taking leaps of faith - big or little ones - and trusting in God to guide my steps. Leaving the comfort zone is never easy but God knows what is best for our lives and following Him brings such great joy!

As I look back on many more of the Yes's in my life, I am reminded that God is always faithful. ALWAYS.
Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. PSALM 90:14
______________________

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Training Week 8: Putting In The Work

Top o' the week to ya! Today I'm joining up once again with the Fit Dish and Faith & Fitness crews.

Over the weekend, I made a spontaneous decision to run a local half marathon. Many small-towns have 5k's and 10k's but it's not often they throw together their own half marathon. Instead of doing my 1:45 long run solo, it sounded much more appealing to actually run with other people!

The weekly Faith & Fitness Bible verse is Proverbs 14:23.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. PROVERBS 14:23
As I dug into the application in this verse, I found that the "profit" mentioned isn't exclusive to financial gain.

According to the Merriam-Webster, profit is a valuable return; a gain. A gain is something that is wanted or valued that is gotten through some activity or process - a.k.a. work!

Applying this verse to Saturday's half marathon...

The WORK: 8 weeks of training (for a different race but it still counts!)
The PROFIT: Physical fitness, endurance and preparation to run the best race I can on that day.

If I had just talked about running a half marathon for the past 8 weeks instead of putting in the work, I would have lacked readiness and fitness to run the race. That's exactly what poverty means - the lack of something! Mere talk just doesn't get the job done. 

The truth in Proverbs 14:23 applies to everything we pursue; especially our spiritual growth.

If we want to grow in our relationship with the Lord and knowledge of God's Word, we need to put in the work of spending time with Him.

Put your work into what matters. It is worth the gain!


---

Run Roll Ride Half Marathon Results:

Finish Time - 01:45:00
Average Pace - 8:01/mile
Placing - 4th Overall out of ??

Summary:

Leaving the house by 6:45 am with both of the boys felt like an accomplishment in itself! We had to meet my husband on the road to drop off his forgotten wallet and then left on our way to the race.

We made it by 7:30, just in time to meet Grandma, register and make a potty break for E before starting time.


The morning was cool and a little breezy with 88% humidity and thick fog. The half marathon runners set off at 8:00 am, followed by the rollerbladers and then the bikers. The 10k and 5k runners had their own starting lines at different points on the course. This was a point-to-point race, starting in one town and ending in the neighboring town.


When we took off, E told Grandma, "I miss mom." (Grandma informed me of this after the race) It felt good to know he actually misses me sometimes!

For the first 3 miles, I hung with the front group of runners, which was perfect because the course was unmarked and I had no idea where I was going! The group of half marathoners spread out after that point and the thick fog made it feel like I was running alone again for quite a few more miles.

Mile 1 - 7:27
Mile 2 - 7:48
Mile 3 - 7:42
Mile 4 - 7:48
Mile 5 - 7:48

At around the 45-minute mark, I came to my first water station where they were handing out full water bottles. I was thankful they had water available for us but wasn't sure how to handle running with a water bottle in-hand. I carried it for a while, took GU #2, drank some water and then left it on the side of the road. I had intentions of picking it up on our drive back...

During training runs, I start slower and speed up at the end of the run (negative splits) but my races always work backwards. I knew I started out too fast with that lead group and payback time would come.

By mile 8, I felt like my energy was tanking. Bikers and rollerbladers were zooming by and they were very encouraging. That helped me to keep trucking through the headwind!

Mile 6 - 7:53
Mile 7 - 7:56
Mile 8 - 8:07
Mile 9 - 8:04
Mile 10 - 8:13

When I hit mile 10, I kept telling myself, "Just a 5k left. One mile at a time!" I was SO hungry! Eating one GU before starting and then one at 45 minutes just wasn't cutting it. I wanted a cheeseburger... bad!

Taking a walk break was tempting and my mind was offering up excuses - hey, you had a baby 3 months ago, just take it easy! - but I kept pushing. Walking meant it would take longer to get more food!

Mile 11 - 8:25
Mile 12 - 8:41
Mile 13.1 - 8:04

I followed another group of bikers into town, which was perfect because I didn't know where the finish line was. Sounds like I prepared well, right?! Finally, we made it and, WOW, did it feel wonderful to cross the finish and stop running.


Racing long distance is a lot like childbirth. There are times when I ask myself, "Wait, why did I decide to do this again?" but the feeling of being able to push through that mental barrier is worth it. After crossing the finish line, I think, "When can I do that again!?" (Don't read into that too much - we are currently NOT expecting baby #3!)

I changed into non-sweaty clothes during the car ride back to the starting line (no, I wasn't the one driving!). We stopped in to the local cafe for a "second breakfast" and some time to visit.

The food was awesome - breakfast is always awesome - and I was thankful to have that special time with some of my favorite people. THANK YOU, GRANDMA, for watching the boys and hanging out with us :)

.....

Wild Hog 1/2 Training Week 8


8/24 M - Easy: 3 treadmill miles, 27:00 @ 8:58/mile + Strength Training.

8/25 T - Speed Intervals: 5 miles, 42:00 @ 8:20/mile. 3 x 1600m - 8:20, 7:37, 7:25,  Finished with a little extra time to spare before everyone woke up so I ran an extra mile before going inside.
.
8/26 W - Strength Training.

8/27 H - Tempo Run: 5.56 miles, 45:00 @ 8:05/mile. 9:02, 8:20, 8:04, 7:37, 7:40, 7:38 (.56 mile)

8/28 F - Rest.

8/29 Sa - Surprise weekend race instead of solo long run! 13.1 miles, 1:45:00 @ 8:01/mile. 7:27, 7:48, 7:42, 7:48, 7:48, 7:53, 7:56, 8:07, 8:04, 8:13, 8:25, 8:41, 8:31, 8:04 (last .08 mile)

8/30 Su - Off. Race recovery day.

Total Mileage: 26.66 miles

What are you putting work into this week?

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Alone | Five-Minute Friday

Good morning! Today I'm joining up with another Five-Minute Friday link-up.

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!
______________________

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, the concept of "alone time" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Alone can be a word that translates to loneliness. Or it can be a word that means peace and rest.

While I treasure the time I have with my sons and my husband, waking up for that special alone time in the morning is something sacred. Usually the word "rest" makes us think of sleep. For me, I feel a rest in my soul by starting my morning in peace, quiet... alone.

Alone time isn't something I am entitled to. It's not something I deserve and some days (or life seasons) it just doesn't happen!

Starting my day in God's Word or going out for a peaceful morning run or just going to the bathroom alone are gifts from the Lord.

Jesus knew that His disciples needed rest and that's exactly what He gave them.

Can you believe they didn't even have time to eat? That part of the below verse is relatable for most of us - especially moms with little ones at home!

Even if finding a little window of alone time seems impossible, go to the Lord and He will give you rest in His perfect timing. He knows exactly what we need!
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. MARK 6:31 NLT
______________________

05:00 STOP the timer!



Six Ways to Save This Wedding Season

Snazzy outfits, visiting with family and friends, delicious reception food, cake, dancing, and the beauty of watching the bride and groom exchange their vows before God...

What's not to love about weddings!

Well, maybe there is just one thing. All the travel, overnight stays, dressing up and gift-buying gets expensive. Attending the wedding of a friend or family member is worth the cost. The key is saving for these sunny days ahead of time.

The Fall months are a part of the peak wedding season and that means more weddings to attend! My family and I attended a wedding last weekend and, as a family of four, we do our best to stretch the travel budget.

Here are a few ways we are saving as guests this wedding season:


Wear Something Borrowed (or Rented)

Can't find the perfect outfit for the wedding? Borrow from a friend or rent from a bridal shop to save money and closet space. If you do decide to buy a new outfit, choose items that are versatile and will work for other occasions as well.


Make a Gift From the Heart

Get creative and put together a gift that fits the couple. For the DIY'ers, Pinterest is full of so many great gift ideas.  Even adding a little note for the Mr. and Mrs. gives the gift a more personal feel! If you decide to shop the registry, browse early to have more buying options before everything is already spoken for.


Repurpose Gift Bags and Tissue Paper

The next time you receive a gift - or a bunch of them - take a second to fold the bags and tissue paper. Simply reuse the next time you are the gifter and save a couple bucks. After a bridal shower, wedding gifts and two baby showers, I have enough gift bags and tissue paper to last my lifetime!


Pack Healthy Snacks

Whether you are traveling via road or air, pack snacks for your travels and for the day of the wedding. Bringing your own healthy snacks will prevent you from buying junk food at the gas station or airport. I always travel with a "snack tote" in our van mainly for the toddler, and me, too!


Share a Hotel Room or Camp Out

Price out hotels in the area and share a hotel room with a friend to cut the cost of overnight accommodations. If you're the outdoorsy type and the weather is favorable, pack up the tent or RV and camp out. For this wedding, we are camping with my extended family and it's going to be a blast! Check on shower availability to get rid of the campfire smoke scent before the wedding.


Skip the Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks at hotels or other wedding venues tend to be on the expensive side. If you plan buying a drink or two, check the prices before you buy and bring just enough cash with. Save money by skipping the alcoholic drinks and opting for complimentary punch or coffee instead.


Sunny Days start here.  At SunTrust, we have the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Start here to find out how we can help you enjoy the things that matter most to you.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

yoursunnyday.com

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day.

Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What's in My Bulu Box? REVIEW + SPECIAL OFFER

Last week, I received some fun mail from Bulu Box! As a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I was sent my very own Bulu Box to review.

I love getting "fun mail" (a.k.a. not bills). As soon as the box came in the door, my toddler was all over it, ready to dig in!


Here is a little rundown on how a Bulu Box subscription works:
"Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you." (from the Bulu Box website)

What's in My Bulu Box?

One of the best features of the Bulu Box is every month you receive a different combination of products. It's always full of surprises! Here is a quick look at the products I received in my Bulu Box:

A photo posted by Amy Will (@creativeaim87) on

Nuvia Café

First, let me admit that I am a slight coffee snob. I like my coffee dark and bold! Nuvia Café had a great flavor, for an instant coffee, and even earned my husband's coffee approval. It is considered a "healthy" coffee because of its special ingredients including Ganoderma extract, ECGC, and pomegranate.


Martha Stewart Vegetarian Multi-Vitamin Gummies

Who knew that Martha Stewart has her own line of vitamins!? It was news to me! I did like that the gummies look like those spice drop candies - all sugar coated and tasty. The Multi-Vitamin Gummies' taste reminded me of the Flintstones vitamins I took as a kid. Chewing one of these vitamins is much easier than swallowing a horse-pill every day!


Movit Energy Gummies

These energy gummies have cute little smiley faces and they taste great! This was another product that was approved by my husband, too. I made sure to keep these Movit Energy Gummies away from toddler boy because they look like fruit snacks and he doesn't need any extra energy!


BPI Sports Funnbar

I was not a fan of the Funnbar protein candy chews. The chew samples came in citrus and caramel & chocolate. Both were very chalky-flavored. Protein is great and all, but I will pass on these!


Ovega-3

All-natural, packed with DHA and EPA from sustainable algae and no fish aftertaste? Sounds like a good deal to me. The Ovega-3 pill size is on the bigger side but the benefits are likely worth choking them down.


Urgent RX Upset Stomach

This product is a good one to keep in the diaper-bag or purse, you know, just in case. You don't even need water when taking the Urgent RX fruit-flavored powder packs!


Try Bulu Box for Yourself!

The Nuvia Café takes the cake as my favorite product in this Bulu Box. Try Bulu Box to explore more vitamin, supplement and healthy snack samples for yourself.

Use the code SWEATPINK to receive 50% off a 3-Month Subscription to BuluBox.com!

While I was sent a free Bulu Box to review, I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Training Week 7: Whatever I Do

Heyo! Here begins a new week and another meet up with the Fit Dish link-up and the Faith & Fitness crew! This week, the [optional] Fit Dish topic is to share a "day in the life" photo collection.

Not too long ago, I shared a day in my life as a new mom of two. A month has passed since then and our days are developing a little more routine, yet there are always surprises with a toddler and 3-month-old.

Despite the daily spontaneity, there are constants to my day. A day in my life usually includes:
  • Bible reading and prayer
  • Morning coffee with half n' half
  • Exercise (rest days are the exception)
  • Baby W diaper changes
  • Nurse Baby W throughout day
  • Dishwashing - We finally got a dishwasher after 3 years of marriage!!!
  • Laundry stuff
  • Reading books to toddler and sing songs together
  • Outdoor adventures

Over the past week, some of our adventures have included going for a family run, eating my husband's famous sourdough waffles, baking a bunch of muffins, painting E's playhouse, camping with family and dancing it up at a wedding.


Working at home can feel monotonous with never-ending dishes, diapers and laundry to do, but no matter I'm doing, keeping an eternal perspective motivates me to give it my all.

Whatever I do...

Whether it's an early morning run,
Studying the Bible,
Reading to my kids,
Cooking meals for my family,
Or folding the endless heap of laundry,

I want to work at it with all of my heart. God cares about the work I do - yes, even the mundane daily chores - and it is the Lord Jesus Christ that I am serving. Some times I may feel unappreciated but Jesus sees my heart and my efforts.


.....

Wild Hog 1/2 Training Week 7


8/17 M - Easy: 3.04 miles with the double jogger, 29:00 @ 9:32/mile. Family run with Leo and I taking turns pushing the stroller!

8/18 T - Speed Intervals: 5 treadmill miles, 42:00. 4x800m @ 7:30, 7:30, 7:00, 7:00/mile pace with 800m recovery at 9:15/mile pace
.
8/19 W - Strength: Pump & Burn DVD.

8/20 H - Tempo Run: 5.5 miles, 45:09 @ 8:12. This run felt hard. Hope I'm not getting sick.

8/21 F - Long Run: 6.2 miles, 52:00 @ 8:19/mile avg. Shorter long run for this week.

8/22 Sa - 3.11 miles with the double stroller, 35:00 @ 11:15/mile. Great visit with my sis-in-law while running! I'm not a fan of pushing the stroller on gravel but it was a great talking pace.

8/23 Su - Off. Wedding dance recovery!

Total Mileage: 22.85 miles
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. COLOSSIANS 3:23-24
What are the "constants" in your daily life?

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Find | Five-Minute Friday

Hello Friday! Time for a free write with the Five-Minute Friday link-up!

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

Our topic for this week is:


00:00 START the timer!
______________________

For quite some time, I asked God how I could find His will for my life. Looking back over my 20's, the way His will for my life looks has changed drastically from age 20 to 28.

My 20's began with me having no relationship with the Lord. I was bitter, empty, and frustrated with life. There was nothing of this world I could find that would fill the void.

Then I surrendered my life to God; one of His lost sheep was found.

At 28, my life looks drastically different. God changed me from the inside out when I gave my life to Him in 2011. Now He is sanctifying me day by day, chipping away at my sinful, selfish heart and transforming me to be more like Christ.

What does God's will have in store for my future? It's not my job to find out. What I do know is I trust Him and I know that He will give me the strength for whatever lies ahead.
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” JAMES 4:14-15
Life in God's will is a great adventure that has stretched me out of my comfort zone over and over again. It's beautiful, more wonderful and more challenging than I could have ever dreamed up.

I am so thankful the Shepherd found me. He drew me to Him, threw me up on His shoulders and took me home.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. LUKE 15:3-7
______________________

05:00 STOP the timer!



What would you write on "Find"?