Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Guest Post at the Marathon Training Academy

Just before Christmas, an article I wrote about new parenthood and marathon training was featured on the "Marathon Training Academy".

Here's a snippet from the post: How to Beat Training Burnout
"As I signed up to run my sixth marathon, the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon, I couldn’t anticipate how very different this race would be. This would be my inaugural marathon as a wife and new parent.
My post-baby body felt near normal, but I found myself physically and mentally exhausted as I adjusted to being a mom. In the peak mileage of training, I found myself completely burnt out and questioning whether I wanted to even run the race anymore! My desire to run had somehow snuck away. What was I thinking when I signed up for another marathon? Basically, I was burnt out – big time.
Click here to read the entire post!
Guest posting is a great experience - I've learned so much by collaborating with other bloggers. Check it out if you have a chance! The Marathon Training Academy has free podcasts for download about marathon training. Angie and Trevor's podcasts encouraged me to run my first marathon in 2010! I am very thankful for them, their running expertise, and encouragement.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas just isn't Christmas without a blizzard.

I hope your Christmas was full of Jesus and quality time with friends and family! We spent an awesome week with my side of the family and just made it home this afternoon. It feels good to be home, but I miss everyone already.

The week involved lots of food (LEFSE!!!), family time, snowmobiling, Kinect dance parties, firewood chopping, piano playing and board games! Leo and I were both baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and it was awesome. God has done a complete 180 with my family and it is amazing to see how He is working each day! I am so thankful to serve the Lord with my whole family.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ACTS 1:8
Family "Selfie" :)

E jamming with the Uncles and Grandma!

My Great Grandma's sign, "God Bless Our Home". My mom and I made lefse for Christmas. I'm a mix of all things Scandinavian (a "mutt", as my Great Grandma would say) and I love me some carbs! I will share our lefse recipe in a later post :)

I even spent some time with good ole Lester! I miss playing piano.

December Running

The weather up here has been very... interesting... lately. Winter has been excessively cold this year; icy, windy, cold, snowy. All those good things! My parents gave Leo and I gift cards to Cabela's and I was very excited to invest in a pair of Yaktrax finally! The roads around town are very icy compared to the town we lived in previously, so these will come in great use. My running shoes usually have decent traction, but I get nervous when it sounds like I'm running down a glass hallway!

The answer to running in the north

Gotta love winter running! Leo must think I'm crazy for running outside all winter because he got me one of the coolest Christmas presents EVER. See below ;)
Tada!!! It's not here yet, but I'm SO excited :) Now I can run inside while E is sleeping. It's been wayyy too cold to take him outside in the jogger this winter.

At the very end of our Christmas vacation, we went on a roadtrip to a neighboring town along with my parents, brother, and sister-in-law. It is a requirement for at least one blizzard to happen during the holiday season and this just happened to be the time. God protected us the whole way and we made it safe and sound! Thank God for safe travels - and for the Erbert's & Gerbert's supper we had upon arrival!

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How was your Christmas?
Who loves lefse?!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Homemade Baby Cakes

On Monday, the clinic said E has low iron levels :( They are at 8.4 and should be 11. SO I'm on a mission to fit more cereals or meats into his food. E isn't too keen on baby cereal OR the baby meats, so I'm trying to get creative with my cooking. He loves the Gerber Lil' Crunchies and these pancakes were a hit, too! The best part is I can tear off little bits and he eats them on his own. Now that he's learning finger foods, E loves to feed himself. It's just a whole lot messier!

Baby Cakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used thawed breastmilk)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 3/4 cup dry infant cereal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (I used banana baby food instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Heat the skillet and grease with a small amount of butter or coconut oil. Break egg into bowl and whisk. Add remaining ingredients and mix.


Pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto hot skillet. Flip pancakes when little bubbles start appearing. Cook until golden brown on each side. Let pancakes cool before feeding baby.


Tear into tiny bite-sized pieces for baby to eat (unlike the photo below, with an entire cake given to him!). Make sure they are small enough so baby doesn't choke! E thought this was a great finger food for him to throw all over.

Have you had children with low iron?
What creative baby recipes have you tried?

PIN MEme

Monday, December 16, 2013

TRUTH Day 04: Guard Your Heart

The Bible has a lot to say about the heart! In fact, so much that I started this post before Thanksgiving and keep placing it on the back burner. There is so much information about our hearts in the Bible and keeping your heart in check is such an important aspect of spiritual growth. Like Solomon says below, EVERYTHING you do flows from your heart!
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. PROVERBS 4:23-27

The Heart

God's Word isn't referring to our physical, blood-pumping organ heart, or those cute little red hearts we draw on love notes ;) The "heart" referred to in the Bible represents our intellect, emotion, and will.
"Our heart dictates to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy." Proverbs 4:23 commentary in the Life Applications Study Bible (NLT)

An Unguarded Heart

If we don't guard our hearts, this can result in a loss of God's blessing and direction and may lead to spiritual destruction. An unguarded heart is easily lead astray by Satan's lies. Keep your heart in check by watching what you think and say. If you are saying mean things and thinking nasty thoughts about others, that is a sign there is a heart problem going on!
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. MATTHEW 12:34

Summary

In Proverbs 4:23-27, Solomon tells us to guard our hearts above all else and to concentrate on desires that keep us on the right path; the "right path" being God's Way.
  1. Guard what I watch, listen to, read, and think about.
  2. Make sure my affections lead me in the right direction.
  3. Put boundaries on my desires and don't go after everything I see! Pray for discernment.
  4. Keep my eyes focused on Jesus and don't get sidetracked. (Proverbs 4:23-27)

I'm thankful for...

Mr. E looking like a fine gentleman and me in my "homemade" ugly sweater.
Eli was dedicated to the Lord on Sunday!
I'm also thankful for Oreo Delight... in moderation, that is :) I will share the recipe in a future post. It's a recipe I got from Leo's mom and it's heavenly and ridiculously easy to make!
The TRUTH Challenge Series --- Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry, Day 03: Love


Study Resources: http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You Know It's December When...

Only 15 days left until Christmas day and I'm so excited! I love the fact that it is Christmas and the birthday of our Savior is coming soon, but there are a few characteristics of December I could do without... mainly the cold. Long stretches of below zero weather make me question why I still live up north!

Running Requires Extra Motivation

We've been in a cold stretch these last two weeks and I'm fighting for the motivation to continue running outside. Extreme cold is definitely a de-motivator for me. I've been opting for strength training and cardio indoors, but try to get outside to run at least two or three times per week.

I ran outside one morning last week end the temp was -25°F (with windchill)! Despite dressing appropriately, my eyeballs still felt like they were going to freeze in place. Maybe I should start wearing goggles while I run ;) The neighbors would think I'm REALLY cool then!

I don't really like any temperature with a "-" in front of it.

Christmas Parties Have Begun

Eli and I went with Leo to his drill Christmas party! It was a cold weekend and we avoided leaving the hotel at all costs, but enjoyed the party and visiting with one of my best friends from college!
Eli and Dad

Thinking About Christmas Presents...

About now I start panicking about what gift to buy or make for who we have on our list. I know I shouldn't let the consumerism of Christmas stress me out, but it just does. I get a little overwhelmed. This year I'm trying to do more crafts and make more gifts with meaning.

Looking for a baby gift this Christmas? This is the best baby book ever! I have to keep Eli from tearing the pages, but he loves looking at all the pictures while I'm reading to him. It explains the life of Jesus in an easy-to-understand manner with beautiful artwork!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

I'm making some gifts; still work in progress.

This boy got four front teeth for Christmas!

Time to Decorate!

Our gigantor Christmas tree is officially up! It stands at a whopping 18" tall ;)


Do you have any Christmas family traditions?
What is your favorite part of the Christmas season?

http://runningbloggers.com/the-fitness-friday-blog-post-linkup-21-runchat-sweatpink-runningbloggers/

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TRUTH Day 03: Love

Biblical love is very different from "love" the way the world sees it. Over our Thanksgiving trip last week, I saw a true example of biblical love and it was beautiful. The story is a bit lengthy, but hang in there. I wish I could have had pictures to go along with this story because I still see it clearly in my mind. It is a picture of true sacrificial love and a person laying down their life for another.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. JOHN 15:13
We headed to the Carousel in MT on Wednesday last week so all of the cousins could go for rides. Fortunately it was indoors; it was a bit too chilly for an outdoor Carousel in my opinion! This place was full of kids, parents, and really good ice cream. Lots of laughing, smiles, and all kinds of cute family moments. It was like the county fair, but all year long!

E went for two rides on the Carousel and that was enough for us. I tried to get him to nap while we watched the other kids ride. As I was sitting there, I saw an older man and a young boy in a motorized wheelchair. I'm not sure what their relation was, but to keep the story more clear, I will just say they were grandpa and grandson.

The man and his grandson waited for a ride on the Carousel and, when the gate opened, the grandpa bent down and picked his grandson up out of his wheelchair. He then carried him to his own Carousel horse to ride and away they went. That boy looked like he was having the time of his life! They went on a few more rides and I couldn't help but tear up watching them. I'm not sure what caused my emotional response; it could have been the pure joy in that boy's face as he went 'round and 'round, or the true sacrificial love that man had for his grandson, to carry him around and take the time to make this boy's day. All I do know is that it was beautiful.

I prayed that the Lord would show me something I could do for those two. I always get nervous praying prayers like that because I feel like I am socially awkward and nervous when talking to random strangers. So I prayed, watched all the kids go 'round and 'round some more, and then the time came to leave. I figured there wasn't anything I could do to show my appreciation for this grandfather and son... until I ran into the card rack, literally.

The cards featured all of the different animals that were on the Carousel and I found the one the boy was riding. I felt a nudge to buy it and give it to him, but felt nervous that he would think I was weird... or something like that. Anyways, I tried to push past the nerves and just DO IT instead of worry. So, before thinking much more, I bought the card, wrote him a message and walked over to the man and his grandson. I took E with me because he is a great ice breaker!

The grandfather and son were very nice people and the boy seemed happy to receive the card. His grandpa shared the boy's name and said he was 8 years old. I introduced them to E, but awkwardly forgot to introduce myself. Anyways, that's the story. I wished them a happy Thanksgiving and God's blessings and we went on our way.

I hope their day was brightened and that they really did have a great Thanksgiving. This world needs more people around like those two - more sacrificial love and more pure, innocent joy. When God nudges me to do things like that, I am always initially resistant and extremely anxious about leaving my "comfort zone". Though, it is always worth it to follow His lead. The thought of missing out on blessing someone else is enough motivation to act on the nudges from the Holy Spirit.

I hope I can love people and lay down my life the same way that man laid down his for that boy. Loving others the way Jesus did is truly what this life is all about.

I'm thankful for...

And I'm thankful that same monkey just turned 9 months old!
The TRUTH Challenge Series --> Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry


Study Resources: http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in Pictures

Happy belated Thanksgiving! It's been a while since I've posted because we've been on our first long family vacation out to Montana, covering ~1,946 miles round-trip.

We had a great time with family and friends and stayed with Leo's sister and brother-in-law the whole week. I am so thankful for all that God has blessed us with and for the safe travels on our road-trip! Even in the tough times, we have so much to thank the Lord for. I am most thankful for God's patience and that He sent His Son for us instead of giving us what we really deserve (Hell).
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3

So much went on I can't even think where to start, so here's a bunch of pictures to tell the story! (WARNING: I had wayyy too much fun with the photo filters on Leo's phone/camera.)

We ate at the delicious Cracker Barrel, one of Leo's favorite restaurants. It's growing on me, too!

My new favorite kind of licorice. These are AWESOME!

Beautiful MOUNTAINS

It may be hard to believe, but I FORGOT my RUNNING SHOES?!??!?!? I usually take them everywhere. I needed something to run the Turkey Trot 5k in so I found some on clearance at Scheels. These are now my cross-training shoes.

Our little bed hog :)

Family photo at the Carousel

Eli's first Carousel ride! Forget Carousel horses; we chose the fish.

Leo and I crossed the Turkey Trot 5k finish line together at 24:31. My sister-in-law Amanda ran the race, too. It was her first 5k race!

Making Christmas ornaments for the kids. Crafts are so fun!

Eli driving Leo's old toy tractor. He's our little future farmer.

Swimming at the hotel. Eli is much better in the water than I am!

How was your Thanksgiving?
Does your family have any holiday traditions?

Monday, November 18, 2013

TRUTH Day 02: Worry

Worrying is something I do way too much and Jesus has a lot to say about that!
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 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. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." MATTHEW 6:25-34
(emphasis added by me)

Worrying = Atheism?

Leo read this devotional to me last night and it is very convicting. Rick Warren makes a great point; by worrying, I am completely ignoring God's promises and not trusting Him to take care of me.
Worry is really a form of atheism. Every time you worry, you're basically saying, "I don't believe there's a God who is going to take care of me.” If you're a Christian and you worry, you're acting like an orphan. You're acting like you don't have a heavenly Father who has already promised over and over again in Scripture, "I will meet your needs if you will obey me and do what I tell you to do.” Trust forces you to live by faith. Rick Warren's post "Hope in God, Not Your Bank Account"

Prayer & Worry Don't Mix

I heard the song "Hands of the Healer" by Brandon Heath for the first time this weekend and the lyrics speak so much truth. I swear this song is written about me... I pray and yet continue to worry. What's the point of praying if I'm going to be like that?! I need to pray, give my worries to God, and then let them go.
If we’re gonna pray about it
There’s no use in worrying
If we’re gonna worry about it
Why are we praying
Just leave it in the hands of the Father
Leave it in the hands of the Healer
Leave it in the hands of Jesus
And walk away
Walk away

Summary

Instead of wasting time worrying, I need to seek God's Kingdom above anything else in my life and trust Him to give me all that I need. Here are a few steps I'm taking to seek God's Kingdom:
  1. Put God first in my life.
  2. Fill my thoughts with His desires.
  3. Take His character for my pattern.
  4. Serve God in everything.
  5. Obey God in everything.

I'm thankful for...

This man and his safe arrival back home after another drill weekend.
He's such a great husband and dad :)

I adore this boy. And I also like the taste of his baby food ;)

Visiting Great Grandma Grace before church on Sunday!

A barn cat and my new shoes! For any running nerds like me, they are the "Inov-8 Terrafly 277".
Got em on sale at leftlanesports.com ;)

Saturday = almost 50°F and sunny
Sunday = snow

The TRUTH Challenge Series --> Day 01: Wisdom


Study Resources: http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

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AProverbs31Wife.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TRUTH Day 01: Wisdom

I'm starting a 30-Day TRUTH Challenge today. The purpose of this challenge is to go further into the only actual truth in this world - God's Word. For 30 not-necessarily-consecutive days, I am going to take a piece of Scripture and dig further into it, study it, research, or just write about what God has laid on my heart!

My goal is to learn more about the Lord and the Bible, to develop a deeper understanding of God's Word, and ultimately to allow the Holy Spirit to work in me through this challenge. This was important for me to write about on the blog because I want to start the challenge AND finish it! I get really excited about ideas like this, but when it's a long term goal, sometimes I can forget the mission :) If you have some insight on the Scripture I'm studying or any thoughts, please share!

Have you ever done a challenge of any sort before?
How long was it and did you finish it out?

TRUTH Challenge Day 01

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. PROVERBS 1:7

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Biblical fear of the Lord is to honor and respect God, to live in awe of His awesome power, and to obey His Word.

What is wisdom?

In today's world, knowledge is plentiful, yet wisdom is scarce. Wisdom doesn't mean simply knowing a lot; it is a basic attitude that affects every aspect of life.

Who is Solomon calling a fool?

A fool is a know-it-all person with a dogmatic opinion about everything! They are close-minded, resent discipline, and refuse to learn. To avoid being foolish, it is important to learn from others, especially those who I know well and can give me godly insight and counsel. And, remember, only GOD knows it all!

Summary

To gain wisdom, faith in God needs to be the controlling principle for my understanding of the world, my attitudes, and my actions. By trusting in God, He will make me truly wise.

I'm thankful for...

Sunny and deceivingly cold days!
Taking little man out in the jogger!


Study Resources: http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

8 Months

Well, Eli slept through the night for the first time last week! Now he's been sleeping every night since! Okay, not quite. We're back to the old routine - up 2 to 3 times a night again. I was so excited for about... one day. Meh, sleep is overrated, right?

Mr. Eli turned 8 months on Sunday and his personality is sure starting to show through!

Eli's Favorite Things

  • Army crawling and rolling has Eli on the move and usually towards trouble. He's fascinated with the wood for the living room fireplace.
  • Growling, random babbling, giggling, and high-pitch squeals are his means of communication.
  • Clawing parental faces is one of his favorite past times. It looks so innocent, "oh, he just wants to pet us!", and then BAM! out come the nails.
  • He's a good eater. Nursing, baby food, whatever - he just likes food, especially bananas.
  • Splashing in the bathtub is a new discover for him. I always have his cow and pig toys in the bath with him, but he would rather try to tear down the shower curtain.

In the last month, Eli has experienced his first sliver removal, "swam" in a pool for the first time, watched his first marathon, and has grown to 22 lbs! I can't believe how fast time has gone... Being a parent definitely hasn't been easy, but it is teaching me so much. We're so thankful God has blessed us with this little man!

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Modern-Day Idolatry

In my Gideon bible study this week, I read a devotional that lead to another heart check - it covered the topic of idolatry. That seems like such an ancient, old-school concept but it is still running rampant through the world. In today's culture, we sugar coat idolatry by calling it an "obsession", "habit", "craving", "issue", etc. Those words sound so much cuter! So, what exactly is an idol?
Idol = anything in the visible, created realm that begins to operate in a role that should be reserved for God.

The Truth About Idolatry

It's hard not to think about my two handsome dudes
all the time. Even loved ones can become an idol!
With whatever it is in your life that you worship, nothing will ever completely satisfy you other than a relationship with the Lord our God! Our human nature always wants more, more, more! For me? There is no such thing as "enough" running, coffee, food, or acceptance to fill the God-shaped whole in my heart. That place of honor is for God and Him alone!

Even "healthy" idols are never enough and will eventually take you hostage, shackling you down with something you used to rightfully enjoy.

My Personal Battle

Here are a few things that try to sneak ahead of God in this season of my life:
  • Running and exercise
  • Approval and acceptance from others
  • Coffee
My personal idols have transformed over my lifetime; believe it or not, I haven't always been a "runner". Long before I had a relationship with Jesus, I was one horse crazy girl! I loved my horses and loved showing. If I wasn't riding, I was grooming or cleaning barn or out in the pasture or thinking about horses. Completely, 100% devoted to horses. I frequently got in trouble for cleaning the barn before doing my house cleaning chores... woops. I made no room for Jesus in my life and I guess I didn't even realize there was supposed to be!


Then I moved away to college and didn't have much time to ride horse anymore. My idol transformed into ungodly relationships, ungodly activities, and then there was tennis. Still at this point, I didn't know Jesus. I played tennis in college and, even only at the Division II level, it took up quite a bit of time! Between playing matches, practice, lifting, and practicing outside of practice, my brain thought about boys, school, and tennis, tennis, tennis. On a side note, I didn't enjoy playing matches very much because I put SO much value in how I did. Because my identity wasn't rooted in Jesus, I stressed about it way too much, feared failure, and letting others down.


I dedicated my life to the Lord about 3 years ago and since then, life has changed drastically! God has been working on my heart, character, and healing me from a very ungodly past. Even now, as I am striving to lead a God-centered existence, I still struggle with the same old negative thoughts that have always ran circles in my mind. "You're just lazy" "Spoiled rotten brat" "You don't even know what work is!" "If I don't workout, I'm going to get fat!" "Don't let yourself go!" Those negative thoughts used to be the fuel behind my passion to achieve and to be the best, to go the extra mile (usually literally).


To win my personal battle with idolatry, I need strength that only comes from the Lord to focus on God's Word every day and actually believe His promises! When a negative thought comes to mind, I need to take it captive and make it obedient to Christ. I can't let those negative thoughts follow me anymore. As a new Christian, I had a hard time believing that God's Word applied to ME. "How could He love me? His promises apply to special people who have it together, everyone but me." I've wasted enough of my life A.) Not living for God and B.) Not believing His promises and accepting His grace. So onward ho! I'm living a God-centered existence for now on - enough with the worldly, unsatisfying idols and negative thoughts from Satan. This is a daily battle. I'm keeping my focus on Him and working on having healthy relationship with good, but potentially idolatrous areas for me.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
What "idols" do you struggle with in your life?
How do you combat modern-age idolatry?


Life in a Break Down