Thursday, February 27, 2014

Real Strong Women

Pinterest is awesome. I'm a frequenter of the "Health & Fitness" boards because, well, I suppose I'm passionate about health and fitness.

I'm noticing more and more that there is an ungodly obsession with being a "strong, independent, and powerful" woman. One Pinterest image I saw related the marathon was "Never underestimate the strength of a woman. Never f*** with one who runs 26.2 miles for fun." I enjoy running 26.2 miles "for fun", but would never want to be included in that quote's generalization. I have more accurate text to go with that Pinterest image I mentioned...

"Never underestimate the stubborness of a woman who runs 26.2 for fun." Running a marathon doesn't necessarily mean you are super strong. In my case, I'm just a stubborn Scandinavian that likes shiny medals, the runner's high, and staying in shape :)
The world's concept of a strong woman is seriously delusional. They don't get it. It's not just Pinterest. This idea is everywhere; in movies, TV shows, magazines. Women with an attitude problem that "don't need a man", they swear, are catty, and don't think before they speak. They are the exact opposite of everything God made a woman to be!

Worldly Perspective

I've been there. Before I had a relationship with Jesus, I was a liberal-minded, near-feminist, aggressive woman-power kind of girl. You know, the kind the world wants you to be? All I can say is thank God for His grace and mercy, that He didn't leave me in that frustrating, bitter, and lonely place.

As a worldly "strong" woman, my life was about ME. My degree, my career, what I wanted, and where I wanted my life to go. I wanted to get married someday, when I was ready to settle down, but I certainly didn't need a man. A husband and kids might cramp my style.

Not exactly the image of a Titus 2 woman, huh?

I despised the idea of being soft and nurturing. Actually, I pretty much despised anything that described the way God made a woman to be. Being submissive truly enraged me (seriously). I thought being a stay-at-home mom was a waste and limited women and their talents. Anything a man can do? I wanted to do it better. My dad said I had a chip on my shoulder. It would be more accurate to say I had an entire chunk missing!

Here and Now

In 2011, Jesus turned my life around and now I'm here. I'm married to an amazing man and we have an energetic, almost-one-year-old boy. I'm enjoying a few quiet moments during E's nap time, working on a daily homemaking schedule, baking bars for my husband, putting away groceries, and cleaning the house. I'm a homemaker, full-time mom and wife.

Being a homemaker doesn't mean I fit the June Cleaver or Betty Crocker mold. I still prefer yoga pants and running shoes to a dress and heels. I would still choose going for a run over curling my hair and doing my nails. And I'm still a strong-willed, driven, type-A style person. God didn't want to completely re-wire my personality. He did redirect my motivation to serving Him instead of myself.

A Real Strong Woman

Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 describe a real strong woman. This is a woman who honors the Lord. She doesn't gossip and overindulge on worldly desires. She teaches what is good and mentors younger women. She loves her husband and children. She takes care of her home and creates a welcoming atmosphere for her family and visitors. She is a woman who embraces who God made her to be, takes honor in that role, and glorifies God in all she does.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. TITUS 2:3-5 (emphasis added by me)
You don't need to go to the weight room or to a marathon to find the "real strong women". Some of the strongest women I know are "just" mothers, wives, and homemakers. They are "just" serving the Lord, denying their sinful desires, and loving on their husband and children.

I tell you what, I find it much harder to deny my sinful nature daily than to run a marathon. Marathons are challenging but you can persevere and push your body and mind through the rather uncomfortable miles. Denying your sinful nature is truly impossible without the Holy Spirit's help. I thank God for the women He has put in my life to mentor me. My mom is definitely one of them.

I'm not trying to downplay the strength of women who are physically fit and strong. It's just a different kind of strength I'm talking about. Staying physically fit is important, but godliness is even more important. Godliness is eternal.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 TIMOTHY 4:8
Running is something I'm really passionate about, but it doesn't define me. (Which is good, because if I did, I would feel horrible about myself every time I saw a picture of Kara Goucher!) I am a woman of God. A wife. A mother. My identity is in Jesus. God just happened to create me with a really odd desire to run long distances. I've sometimes asked why I can't be super passionate about crocheting or crafting or something that's a bit more productive... but then I remember that God knows exactly what He's doing and I need to glorify and serve Him with every gift I have (quirky or not)!

What person or what words come to mind when you think of a strong woman?

Serving God, my family, and taking care of our home is truly the most rewarding (and, at times, the hardest) career I've ever had!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Self-Control, Strength, Stretching

Today I'm memorizing Galatians 5:22-23 which lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The verses of the Bible aren't just useful for Sunday morning church and they aren't just for the "super religious people". God's Word carries over into everything in our lives and His Truth is available to everyone! I desire for all of the fruits of the Spirit to be evident in my life and self-control has really stood out to me lately.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! GALATIANS 5:22-23
I need self-control for everything in my day! Reading my Bible on those days when I don't feel like it, spending quiet time in prayer, loving and serving my family, eating healthy, making time for exercise... you name it. So much in life requires self-control!

Are there certain areas in your life that require more self-control than others?

This week's Motivation Monday topic is an area where I have lacked self-control and discipline in the past - strength training. Since the Blue Ox Marathon in October, I have been incorporating strength training into each week and have definitely seen positive changes.

3 Reasons for Runners to Strength Train

I read an article on Active.com recently about why runners should balance running and strength training. The points they make have all been proven true for me. When I add strength training in to my weekly exercise mix, I am injured less and my entire body is more balanced. (Source: Active.com)

  1. Muscle Burns More Calories.
    An increase in lean muscle mass means an increase in your body's ability to use oxygen and burn more calories.
  2. Be More Efficient.
    Strength training increases your leg strength and your endurance. Personally, I enjoy running more when mixed with strength training because it switches things up. Strength training helps me to avoid burning out on running.
  3. Be Less Injury-Prone.
    Increasing your strength will also increase your joint stability and reduce your risk of repetitive stress injuries
Strength training isn't anything fancy for me. I do the Jillian Michael's"Ripped in 30" DVD once a week and the {Fit from Home} circuits other days.

{Fit from Home} workouts are easy circuits to fit at home while E is napping. If he's not napping, usually he's crawling on me trying to get in on some of the action... that doesn't always work so well.

Along with strength training, stretching is another important aspect of running. When I first started running marathons in 2010, I hardly stretched at all. These days, I'm realizing the importance of dynamic stretching before the run and static stretching after!

Leo and I both got 30 minute massages on Friday and it felt amazing! A combination of tight hamstrings, calves, and IT bands have been causing hip pain on my right side. He gave me a new stretch to do at home and I'm going to be more disciplined in stretching. I want running to be a lifetime sport so it looks like I have many foam roller and elastic band dates in my future. Besides, E thinks the foam roller is a fun toy :)

My new favorite stretch! Take a small blanket or elastic band and position as seen above. Bend your toes towards the floor which stretches your calf muscle. Gently rotate your leg to the left and right side of your body without lifting your shoulders or hips off the floor.

Do you stretch consistently?
What is your favorite stretch?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Burpees and Bananas

It's amazing how much joy the sunshine can bring. We were blessed with three 35°F days in a row! E has been enjoying his first snowy adventures. He wants Leo and I to walk him everywhere and, if we keep this up too much longer, we're going to be permanently hunchbacked!


We even snuck out for a 5-mile jogging stroller run yesterday in the snow. That run definitely counted for strength training and cardio... my arms were jello afterwards! The BOB Ironman stroller is such a beast in the messy snow; it's probably the best invention for running moms EVER.


When we reached the 5-mile mark, I was a sweaty mess and E was sound asleep. I forgot how to dress when it's 35°F above zero! My body just isn't used to this heat :) I hope it sticks around for a while...


500 Burpees Down

Along with playing outside, we've been burpee-ing a lot. Well, more so I've been burpee-ing. Leo is doing some now and then and E is usually attacking me while I'm trying to do burpees. My goal is to reach the 1,000 #FFBURPEE Challenge by February 28th and I just hit 500 burpees today. Half way!

One thing I've learned from this burpee challenge is that there are many burpee variations. E has his own unique "burpee" technique (see below). My stand-by burpee is the "standard":
  1. Stand up straight at front of your mat.
  2. Forward fold and jump back into plank position.
  3. Do one push-up and jump your feet back up to the front of your mat.
  4. Stand up straight and jump up as high as you can.
  5. Repeat again... and again... and again.

Burpees... love 'em or hate 'em?
What is your favorite burpee variation?

What About the Bananas?

This post is so random. Running, burpees, and bananas. Life is random, isn't it? At the rate that we're going through bananas at our house, I'm soon to turn into one myself.

This week I made Homemade Chai Tea Mix for the first time from Purposely Frugal. This mix turned out really well. 1 Tablespoon chai mix + decaf coffee is a delicious combo! Fortunately, this recipe DID NOT contain bananas :)


About the bananas... Frozen chocolate-covered bananas are my new favorite sweet thing! Forget ice cream. They don't look especially beautiful, but taste good enough to make up for it. For the next banana adventure, I'm going to make frozen yogurt-covered bananas. Wild, I know :)


And more bananas... I made the Easiest Healthy Cookies yesterday, too. 2 bananas + 1 cup oats + 1/2 cup choco chips + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes and that's it! They stay a bit gooey, so I store them in the fridge and heat them up for 10 seconds before eating. Again, so good. Especially alongside a chai decaf coffee :)


And this is the verse I'm memorizing and meditating on today! (also unrelated to bananas)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. PSALM 19:14

What is your favorite banana recipe?
Do you have a specific Bible verse or song on your heart today?

Linking up at Freedom Fridays, Friday Favorites and Fancy This Fridays.

Truly Lovely

Monday, February 17, 2014

Peace of a Run

This week's topic for Motivation Monday is "Favorite Cardio" and I bet you already have a hunch of what mine is.

Running.

It's my all-time favorite because it's so simple, you can run pretty much anywhere, and the time spent with just God, you, and the road is perfect for prayer and reflection. While running, I just think... a lot. Sometimes I write in my head (that sounds weird). I repeat my memory verses and I feel so thankful to see where God has taken me and my family and where He is leading us now.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. PSALM 73:26
Enjoying the peace

Over the weekend, Leo, E, and my mom watched the Olympics while I headed out for a quiet 6-mile run. Running is an escape from this ultra-busy and hurried world. Hurry here, hurry there. Do this, do that. To-do lists, planning, and calendars. They can all be good things, but sometimes I miss the peace and quiet. Growing up on a small farm in the country was peaceful and running down a quiet country road brings back those memories.

The sunshine feels so good!

The only people I saw on my run passed me on a snowcat (translation: snowcat = snowmobile). It was awesome. This winter is feeling a bit long and, though our treadmill is great, I am thankful for each time I can sneak outside for a run!
Lifesavers!

Today I fit a 5-mile hill and speed interval run in while E was napping and was focusing on memorizing a new verse. I want to know more and more about the Holy Spirit and know that I need to pray and memorize more Scripture about Him! Here is my memory verse today:
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of your sinful nature. GALATIANS 5:16

Firsts

This weekend E had a few "big" firsts. Leo and I went on our first overnight date without E and, though we missed him and he didn't sleep well for the grandparents, we had a blast! We went on a supper date and had dessert at DQ, went to our hotel and sat in the sauna and hot tub, and watched a movie. It was a simple date night and having a break together felt great!

Along with having his first overnight stay without mom and dad, E also had his first non-family babysitter last night while we were at a Bible study with friends. He cried when we left and initially I felt bad for leaving him, but it was worth it. Our little guy is growing up!

Our Valentine's Date

What is your favorite cardio exercise?
How was your Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cravings

No, I'm not pregnant ;)

I'm talking about the daily cravings. We all crave something whether it's food or non-food! For me, carbs (too bad I don't crave vegetables) or, for a non-food, people's approval. I learned this week is that God actually made us to crave. God made us to crave Him, and Him alone!


I'm two chapters into Lysa Terkeurst's book "Made to Crave" and it's really changing the way I think about food and healthy living! Seriously, God cares about that stuff?! He sure does! God never intended for us to want anything more than we want Him. Lysa asks the reader this question:

Is it possible we love and rely on [insert your craving here] more than we love and rely on God?

What is my source of joy, my reward, my comfort, my happiness? If it's not God, then I've got a problem. As Lysa says, "I craved food more than I craved God". Personally, I have craved worldly desires more than God for the majority of my life and that is something that needs to change. 1 John 2:15-16 covers all the bases. Whether your desire is for physical pleasure, a craving for material possessions, or a desire to prop yourself up in significance; these are not from God, but from the world.

And so the journey begins. This isn't about losing weight for me. As stated in this book, I need to recalibrate my soul so I want to change spiritually, physically, and mentally. I want to crave God and His Word more than anything in this world. I look forward to diving deeper into this book and seeing how God works through this!
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 JOHN 2:15-16 NIV (emphasis added by me)

Healthful Things

My goal is just to eat real food in moderation. I'm not too keen on fad dieting or super-restrictive approaches. Here are a few of my objectives:
  1. Memorize Scripture. When faced with temptation, quote Scripture. The Truth is powerful!
  2. Have a daily plan for meals and snacks.
  3. Drink more water. 
  4. Cut back on the caffeine. Surprisingly, decaf tastes pretty good!
  5. Enjoy dessert in moderation.
  6. Keep up the same exercise routine: Running five days a week with one hill session, one speed, two easy days, and one long run. Strength train with the "Fit From Home" workouts post-run. Thursdays are the "Ripped in 30" DVD day.

Here are some "healthy choices" from this week.
Just an FYI, I'm still going to eat bacon (in moderation).


Treadmill running is a regular part of my running these days due to our continuing cold winter. Besides, hill training is only possible on the treadmill around here. I don't think the unit "vertical feet" exists in this town!

Why Change?

Like I said, it's not about the scale for me. If anything, not having a weight issue has been part of the problem. My entire life I've been able to eat what I want and it hasn't affect my weight, but that doesn't mean it is okay. "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial"(1 Corinthians 10:23). The issue is how I feel spiritually, mentally, and physically. It's about my relationship with God.

E works hard at keeping me accountable all day :)
I want to crave God and His Word more than I crave food; more than I want my morning coffee; more than I want a beautiful box-made brownie. I want to be a good example for my family and encourage them to make healthy choices and to desire God above all things. Plus, while I'm breastfeeding E and with future pregnancies, what I eat affects our babies' bodies, too. It's not about just me!

Cravings are my new prompt to pray. Redirect the cravings to God!

Family Fitness... woop woop!

Lastly, A "Healthy" Treat

Speaking of cravings, here is a new treat I made this week. These popcorn balls were delicious, in moderation, of course ;)

Healthy Honey Popcorn Balls

  • 1/2 cup plain unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup honey
Prepare popcorn kernels according to directions. In a saucepan, melt butter, marshmallows, and honey. Stir melted mixture together. In a large bowl, pour mixture over popcorn and stir until all popcorn is covered.

Layer a baking sheet with wax paper. To keep the popcorn mix from sticking to my hands, I had a bowl of water to wet my hands with after rolling each popcorn ball. Roll a handful amount of popcorn into a ball, set on wax paper, wet hands down again, and repeat!

Allow popcorn balls to set before serving, if you are feeling patient :) For leftover popcorn balls, wrap in plastic wrap.

What is your favorite Valentine's Day treat?
Any book recommendations?
Have any healthy tips to share?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Motivation Monday - Healthy Valentine's Dinners

I can't believe it's already Monday again! The weekends fly by so fast, but I'm thankful Leo made it home safely after drill. Today is another round of Motivation Monday and we're sharing "Healthy Valentine's Dinners".

Leo and I are actually planning to go out for Valentine's Day supper. On a DATE (!) while Mr. E spends the evening with Grandma. Though it's only Monday, I already know what I'm going to order for supper! For our Valentine's date, I'm looking forward to a Ham & Cheese Sandwich on Naan Bread and probably a pickle on the side. YUM! This happens to be the same meal I had while I was unknowingly in labor with E. Despite the contractions, I remember the food being absolutely delicious.

Since I'm not making our Valentine's supper myself, here is a tasty dessert recipe for Blonde Puppy Chow that I will also be making this week. I have to be careful not to make this too often! This could easily be Valentine's Day-ified by adding red hot cinnamon hearts or Valentine's M&M's to the mix:

Blonde Puppy Chow: Melt this in the microwave -> 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter + 1/4 cup butter + 1/2 cup brown sugar. Stir in 9 cups of chex mix and stir until coated. Pour coated chex mix in a ziplock bag, add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, and shake until coated. Add special Valentine's Day candies if desired :)

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?
Do you have any Valentine's traditions?

Life Lately


Naps have not been very regular lately. E gets to watch mom run, play with his toys, and not even break a sweat. Baby life is good!

My dad and I were out in the woods a bit this weekend hauling firewood (his version of strength training). I like CrossFit, but it's got nothing on my dad, that's for sure! Just to be clear, he's the one that runs the chainsaw and lifts the big logs. I can't lift those big fat ones!

Try not to get jealous of the luscious pink bomber hat :) (Abbey and I were working SO hard outside!... right)

I snuck out for a chilly evening run while E was with Grandma and Grandpa.

Hard-boiled eggs are going to be one of my new healthy go-to snacks. So easy!

E doesn't know how to be "nice" to the puppy :s

Friday, February 7, 2014

TRUTH Day 07: The Ultimate Marathon

My Women's Bible study group is studying the book "Choose Joy" by Kay Warren and, though we're only two weeks in, I will already say it has been life-changing. My view of Jesus has been very skewed in the past, as I've seen Him as more of a sad, stern character than a joyful person. Jesus was actually a Man of joy and this Man had a sense of humor, too!

Last week's study presented the verse Hebrew 12:2 and helped me to see it in a new light. Take a read below:
Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. HEBREWS 12:1-2 (The Message)
After reading this verse three times, we were asked to choose ONE word that stood out to us and what emotion we linked to that. Then we were asked to illustrate or explain what this spoke to us. My brain is so weird sometimes because I got really excited... like giddy excited. The word I chose: Finish. And the emotion: Exhilaration.

Jesus didn't just run a race. He was (and is) the ultimate marathoner and He ran the ultimate eternal race. Jesus was focused on the prize and running with purpose.

Here is my take on Hebrews 12:1-2 translated to the "marathoning perspective":

Race Entry: It's Free. And God Gives You A Coach!


Unlike marathons in this world, the eternal race's entry fee is grace and God gives it to us as a gift. There are no strict qualifying time requirements. To qualify, all we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and live our lives for Him! And, to top it all off, God gives us our own personal coach, the Holy Spirit, to guide us every single day. This definitely is the ultimate marathon.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--" EPHESIANS 2:8

The Start: Jesus, the Author of Our Faith


From the second Jesus crossed the starting line until the time He crossed the finish, Jesus fixed His eyes on where He was headed and let nothing distract Him from His purpose. Jesus is the Author of our faith. He is our Starting Line and the Finish Line!

Hitting the Wall: Persevering Through Life's Trials


Jesus passed through more trails and pain than I will ever know in my lifetime, yet He didn't lose His focus on God or lose faith. He wasn't distracted by sin and temptations. We can't let the side-stitches, cramping muscles, and GI distress of life cause us to stray from the race course. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

The Aid Station: Filling Up On God's Truth and His Spirit


Jesus filled Himself up at the best aid stations ever: spending time with God and knowing His Truth. In our faith journey, we can fill ourselves up with the Holy Spirit, time in prayer, and reading God's Word. In the 26.2  marathon, GU gels, pretzels or cookies will do ;)

The Finish: Being United With Jesus, the Perfecter of Our Faith


Jesus has already crossed the most exhilarating and the ultimate finish line to an eternity with God. Crossing the finish line of a marathon is an amazing feeling, so how much more exciting will it be to cross the eternal finish line! Imagine the relief, the joy, and the peace we will feel.

The Finisher's Tent: Spending Eternity with God


After Jesus crossed the eternal finish line, I picture Him grabbing a bagel (or two) and some chocolate milk in the finisher's tent. Of course, He's wearing one of those beautiful aluminum marathon capes, too (a.k.a. "Heatsheets"). Now Jesus is sitting alongside God for all eternity in the best finisher's tent ever. I can't even fathom how wonderful that will be. It fills me with so much joy to even think about it!

The Prize: Eternal Life


Eternal life is the ultimate finisher's medal. Jesus has already ran this marathon and now He is our Coach. He's been there, done that, and is now waiting for us in the finisher's tent. We need to follow His example to get there! Thank God for His Holy Spirit and for the guidance available to us for every mile of the journey.

This is my favorite "worldly" medal - if you look at the bottom text, Hebrews 12:1 is right there! This was also my first Boston Qualifying time and first road race... memories :) It's special, but no where near as awesome as the eternal prize (no kidding, huh?)!

What do you picture Jesus to be like?
What word and emotion stands out to you in Hebrews 12:1-2?

I'm running fast and free to You
'Cause You are the movement and fight in me
I'm running fast and free to You
'Cause You are my home where I wanna be
Come move in me
Where I wanna be, come move in me

"Movements" by Rend Collective Experiment

The TRUTH Challenge Series --- Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry, Day 03: Love, Day 04: Guard Your Heart, Day 05: Gracious Words, TRUTH Day 06: Be Joyful, Pray Continually, Give Thanks


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

Womanhood With Purpose

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TRUTH Day 06: Be Joyful, Pray Continually, Give Thanks

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18
I've found that actually drawing out the verses helps me to remember them! It's a little hard to do when E is climbing me, but I tell myself it's okay if the drawings aren't perfect :)

Being Joyful

Joy is a whole lot deeper than the emotion of happiness, which depends on outward circumstances. True Christian joy reflects an inner peace and delight in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the blessing that flows from our relationship with Them. How awesome is God's immeasurable love for us, what Christ has done for us, and ultimately what is in store for those who remain faithful to Him!

Praying Continually

In the 2014 resolutions post, I mention that growing as a "prayer warrior" is one of my goals this year. God has revealed so much to me about what prayer is and how to do it. What I've learned is that prayer isn't anything super extravagant and I can't be "bad" at praying. When we pray with a sincere heart and with God's will in mind, our prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:16). It is simply communicating with God; a two-way conversation. More important than speaking to God is actually taking the time to listen to what He is saying to me throughout each day.

Praying continually has more to do with having an open heart than having an open mouth. My goal is to go through the day always open to God's voice and following His guidance.

Giving Thanks

A defining character trait for Christians should be a continual attitude of gratitude for all God has done for us through Christ. Reflecting on where God has taken us in our past, being thankful for the blessings we have now, and for what is to come is a vital part of being joyful always.

God's Will

God wants us to live joyfully, to be in continual communication with Him, and to be thankful for all He has done. That's His will for us! Everything in this verse is connected. When I pray consistently, I am more thankful for what I have and where I am now. Being thankful for all God is, all He has done, and all He IS doing leads to that pure joy that is only possible through Jesus Christ!

What helps you to memorize verses?
What are you thankful for?

I'm thankful for...

I'm so thankful for my handsome men

I am definitely thankful for egg pancakes. We had a beautiful batch this morning!

And I'm thankful for all the times together with my wild family :)

AND I'm thankful for one day when the green grass returns and I can take E out for a run in the jogging stroller. One day!


The TRUTH Challenge Series --- Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry, Day 03: Love, Day 04: Guard Your Heart, Day 05: Gracious Words


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

http://weliketolearnaswego.blogspot.com/2014/02/what-i-learned-wednesday-90.html

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oatmeal + Winter Fitness

For Motivation Monday, I'm sharing my latest favorite healthy snack. "Moroccan Oatmeal" is one of the easy breakfast recipes I added to our meal planning schedule this month.

What is your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?

1/2 cup oats + Greek yogurt + dates + raisins + coconut + a little milk = Moroccan oatmeal

Sunlight is Amazing!

Despite the unusual cold of this winter, I was really excited to fit in a 4-mile and a 6-mile run this weekend! Maybe my tiny amount of exposed skin even got a tan. One can only hope.

After I got in from both of those runs, I had a bowl of Moroccan oatmeal to warm up because my body always "thinks" it's starving after a workout. Problem is, a little boy wants to eat my oatmeal, too. Next time I'm adding a little extra oats to my bowl to account for sharing with E ;)

YAY sunlight!!!

Both of the runs went really well and I know I need to fit more outdoor runs in along with treadmill running. Running outside, especially on snow and ice, is a great stability exercise for your legs and entire body. I'm thinking a bit more about the May half marathon coming up and I want to get my body used to running 6+ miles with ease again.

Love the frosted eyelashes look. So fashionable.

Half Marathon Adventure

I've trained for six full marathons but, honestly, I don't know too much about training for a half. My initial thought for training is just do half of everything I do to train for a full marathon... but I'm guessing it's not that simple. I adore the full marathon, but I know I will enjoy running only 13 miles as my longest training distance!

Back in a September post, I talked a bit about my motives for running a half this time. We are praying for Baby #2 and we know that everything will happen in God's perfect timing. Running a half will be a great way to work on my speed, if I'm not expecting by then. AND, if I can keep up with her, I can race with my sis-in-law. (I've never ran a long distance with someone before!) If we are expecting, I can always walk-run the race if necessary!

When we found out we were pregnant with E, the doctor asked me to back out of a challenging trail marathon I was signed up for. Might as well not chance it this time; I'm just not cut out for running 26.2 while pregnant. So, the half it is!

My trusty ole Garmin has been through a lot. Sprinklers, heat, and humidity in Boston to freezing temps up here! I'm renaming it "Old Faithful".

How do you stay fit in the winter?

Guest Post at the Marathon Training Academy

And, on the note of winter running, here is a post I wrote about maintaining fitness in the winter. It was featured last week on the Marathon Training Academy. Feel free to give it a read!

Here is a snippet from Maintaining Fitness in the Winter Months:
"Staying motivated through the winter is challenging and this winter I’m doing my best to battle cabin fever.
The cold temps and shortened spans of daylight can really sap motivation. Where I live, we have what I will call a “seasonal imbalance” where winter consumes half of the year. Staying inside and being sedentary for six months just isn’t an option. Despite my dislike for the winter, I make the best of the season.
Click here to read the entire post!

Last but definitely not least, happy 11 months to Mr. E!