Joy

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore me to the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me…  You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51: 10-12, 16-17

It’s been a tough few days with little joy for me, but things are better.  I was just overwhelmed and feeling the weight of a lot of responsibility.  Good thing my joy doesn’t come from myself, right?  😉 

Matt and I have our 5K tonight, and we are ready!  I don’t know if I’ll be setting a PR or anything, though.  I haven’t been training for speed, but just barely chugging through the running at all.  We shall see.

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Sand between my toes!

The weather has been glorious the past couple of days!  The sun is coming out more, and the cool mornings have been transforming into lovely warm afternoons.  It’s the kind of weather that makes me crave the outdoors, so I have been spending as much time outside as possible.

On Friday, Krystil and baby Kaley came over to hang out.  We ate lunch and talked and played.

Kaley is getting so big and currently loves to grab her adorable little feet.

We decided to go for a long walk since it was so beautiful out!

Yesterday was another perfect Florida day!  It was cold in the morning, but then the sun started shining and warming everything up.  I think it got up to about 77 degrees, and I enjoyed the amazing weather as much as possible.

After going to the morning BodyPump class (my new fave!), I went to watch my little sister Anna’s soccer game in the perfect soccer weather.  Her team lost, but it was still a great game.  This is her first season playing at a real league with kids her own size, so I was excited to see that even a U7 game could have such good, competitive kids. 

After a quick lunch at home, I headed outside for a beautiful run!  It actually ended up being a run/walk because my quads were feeling beat after BodyPump.  That was perfectly fine with me because I just wanted to bask in the sun.  I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the beginning of warm weather so much, but after this freezing winter I am so ready for warmth.  I really hate being cold!  By the time I got home from my 4.5 mile adventure I was a little sweaty, but my skin was warmer than it has been in forever and even a little pink.  Love it.  🙂 

Matt was at a youth conference at the church for the first part of the day, but by the time he got home I already had an idea for how we could spend the rest of the beautiful day – at the beach!!  It was already late afternoon, so we decided that instead of trying to get in a real beach day that we would just head out to the beach to find a waterfront restaurant for dinner and hopefully take a little walk on the beach.  Best idea ever!  See how excited I was?

We drove south to Bradenton Beach and ended up on Anna Maria Island.  We drove around a little to look at the real estate.  😉 

I loved this little yellow cottage with a porch (awakward angle, oops).

Then we found an adorable restaurant on the water called The Sandbar.  Apparently everyone else in Florida had the same idea for this perfect sunny day, so the place was hopping.  We had over an hour wait, but it was perfectly fine with us.  We got drinks from the bar and went outside to wait on the beach!

Is it possible I forgot how glorious the sand feels!?  It was so perfect and beautiful and not too hot.  We walked around a little, then found some rocks to sit on and enjoy the early part of the sunset. 

Before we knew it, our buzzer went off and we were seated inside near a window with a view of the beach.  We ate lots of delicious seafood and shared some key lime pie, then strolled slowly back to the car.  I was exhausted and fell asleep in the car, then went straight to bed when we got home.  Perfect day.  🙂

I am hoping I can make a real beach day happen next week!

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Surprise

So, I told you I was going to my sister Shelly’s house for the weekend to attend a baby shower in her honor, but what I couldn’t tell you at the time was that our sister Marissa was coming down from Virginia for the shower as well!  It was all a surprise for Shelly, and we spent weeks planning it – so proud.  🙂  My mom picked up Marissa and baby Elijah from the airport Thursday evening, then headed over to the bookstore where Shelly and I were hanging out.  My mom got a little overexcited, grabbed Elijah, ran to find us in the store, and approached from behind Shelly to surprise her.  She was surprised.

Here’s how it went:  Mom sneaks up and touches Shelly’s neck with the baby’s foot, Elijah makes a lil baby noise, Shelly SCREAMS at the top of her lungs and flails/jumps back in her chair, Elijah freaks out and starts wailing, Marissa comes out of hiding unable to stand straight because she is laughing so hard, Shelly recovers and realizes what is going on, we all crack up, and the employees from the other end of the store come back to make sure everything is okay.  We laughed and laughed.  It was ridiculous.

Doesn’t Elijah look like he could be my baby?

We had a fun weekend!  Matt came over after work on Friday and brought my now-fixed camera with him.  Woohoo!

We played with the kids, went to Chick-fil-a with friends, had a great baby shower (Shelly loaded up!), and just hung out.  My mom babysat on Saturday night so us 3 sisters plus Jon and Matt could go out to dinner.  We had fun but missed Ben, Keri, and Marc.  I can’t wait to have the siblings/husbands all together again!

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Playing catch-up

I’m pooped!  I worked the past 4 nights straight and am now trying to recover.  I like working my nights in a row so I have solid blocks of time off, but I do get a little frustrated with not having time to do anything around the house.  My priorities between shifts are SLEEP and working out if I have the energy.  The laundry piles up, dishes pile up if Matt doesn’t do them (he did this week!), and the living room tends to get a little cluttered.  So, I slept some today, caught up on some TV, and then tried to get the house back in order.  Now I have a mountain of clean laundry on my couch and little motivation to fold and put it up, but progress is good.  I actually really like working nights, but sometimes I just feel like I’m not a normal person!  I’m continually trying to find balance.

My camera is broken.  It may be noticeable from pictures I’ve put up on the blog in the last couple months.  It’s nothing major, but it was dropped and the arms that cover the lens have not been opening/closing correctly.  I took it to a repair guy last week, and he said he was putting in an order for parts that day and it would be ready to pick up in 5 days…  It’s been 7 days, and I haven’t heard anything.  I’m headed to my sister Shelly’s house tomorrow to visit and go to her baby shower on Saturday, so I’m bummed I won’t have my camera!  And people keep asking about our curtains, which are up, but I am unable to give a visual until I get my camera back.

Running has been going great still!  I have been feeling the itch to do another race already, as has Matt, so we just signed up to do a 5K together on March 26th!  Proceeds from the Honda Grand Prix St. Pete 5K go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).  Matt found out about the CAF when some athletes from the FL chapter approached him after his half marathon a couple years ago.  They saw his prosthetic and just wanted to let him know about CAF, so Matt was excited to find out about this race and its cause.  I think it’s too soon after my last 5K for me to be trying to set any lofty time goals, but I am hoping to PR (as in beat my first and last 5K time of 29:55). 

I am also looking ahead to running a 10K next.  Matt and I will be in North Carolina in May for a family reunion and after some research I found this race and am thinking of signing up.  Matt says I’m crazy to plan a race there, but I think it would be so much fun to do a race in NC!  I will want to get in some running there anyway and the timing is good for me to train for a 10K, so why not?  I’m trying to talk Matt, and his brother Josh and his wife Mandy, into running it, too, so we will see!  I’ll go it alone if I need to.  😉

And just so you have no doubts that I am crazy, I am also looking ahead to another half marathon!  The Rock ‘n Roll marathon series has always piqued my interest.  I just think having live bands at every mile and running through a fun city sounds amazing.  I found out that there is a Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in Chicago on August 1st and am seriously considering signing up!  I could turn it into a long weekend to visit my sister Keri up there and do an exciting race!  I mentioned the idea to her and she sounded excited and said Marc (her husband) said he might want to join me.  Am I crazy!?

I am such a goal-oriented person, so planning ahead and having running goals really helps me.  Next week, I am going to begin my 10K training using Hal Higdon’s 10K training plan.  I am planning to create a custom plan for myself by combining elements of the novice and intermediate programs and, of course, will be switching around the days as needed to make training work with my work schedule. 

I donated blood last week and found out my vitals and cholesterol for the first time in a while.  Here are my numbers: temp 96.6, heart rate 54, BP 104/60, total cholesterol 104.  I don’t know my HDL/LDL levels (the ratio is way more important than the total), but I have a feeling that with such a low total my ratio is good.  I am going for an annual soon and will get the complete work-up.  This stuff is all very important considering the major risk for heart disease I get from my dad’s side.  Genetics can be a big factor, but lifestyle is in my control and I want to prevent all the problems I can.

I am off to fold laundry, eat a little something sweet, put clean sheets on my bed, and pass out!  Gotta rest up for a run in this amazingly warm Florida weather and some sister time!!

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Running Ramblings

Why do we enjoy things that cause us pain?  Running makes me sore, has caused me injuries in the past that still hurt me at times, and quite frankly is not fun sometimes.

But I’ve found that running, for me, is a challenge I need in my life.  And it can be so rewarding.  Putting on my shoes and heading out the door is half the battle most of the time.  With my schedule, I am often tired and have sore feet from work.  Sometimes I just don’t want to get up and go, but when I do it is always so rewarding.  I always regret choosing to not run, but I never regret pushing past my resistance of body and mind and going for a run, even when the run itself ends up being a flop.  I’m just glad I did it!

I headed out in the cool weather this morning after working the past two nights.  The sun was shining bright so I had to come back inside to grab my sunglasses.  Despite being tired, I was pumped for a nice run in the sun and started out at about a 9:00 pace.  After 1.3 steady miles, I turned a corner and it all fell apart. 

The sun was gone, I was on an uphill stretch, and a cold wind was practically blowing me over.  I walked for a minute, then picked it back up and pushed.  My ipod lending a fast beat, I pounded through the obstacles. 

At the next turn, the wind slowed and the rain started. 

It was beautiful.  It was cold and gray and rainy and beautiful.  I turned my ipod off and my face to the sky. 

The rest of my run was perfect as the Lord just drew me into His presence in the most random way.  He has a funny way of doing that.  I’m sure I looked like a lunatic with my sunglasses in the rain, the goofy smile on my face, and my occasional raised arms. 

I’m okay with that.

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10

Today, running was so much more than running.  And that’s why I do it.

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Gasparilla!

I did it!  It was a cold and rainy morning, but not too bad for running.

We got to the race expo early to pick up our packets, then headed over to the finish line to catch my dad as he finished running the 15K.  My dad is my running hero.  🙂  He has done 7 marathons and a ton of other races, which I think is pretty fabulous!  Also, he ran the Gasparilla Half Marathon with me back in 2007 and stuck by my side the entire time when he could have finished much faster.  Amazing.

Then, it was our turn.  It was suuuper crowded, and we had to do a lot of weaving in and out of people and jumping up onto the sidewalks and median.  Rebekah and I finished the Gasparilla 5K in right under 30 minutes – 29:55 chip time!  Under 30 was our goal!  I am happy with this but would definitely like my next 5K to be at least 3 minutes faster.  Guess I should start working on speed.  😉  Rebekah had to push me a little bit to even keep the pace we did, so I was so glad she ran with me.  Matt, my dad, and Casey (Rebekah’s boyfriend) met us at the finish line with hugs!

After our race, we all headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  CB is my favorite.  😉

My little sister Anna came to breakfast, too!

This week has been a very long, exhausting one.  I feel like I’ve barely seen Matt, so I am off to relax with my hubby!  My friend Rachel is coming to visit tomorrow!  🙂

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Nate is 2!

There must be something romantic about the month of May, because each of my three sisters has had a baby in the month of February…  This is the third birthday post in two weeks, and it is dedicated to my nephew Nathan.  🙂

That’s Nathan.  AKA: Nate, Natey, Nater-Tot, Nate-Dawg…

Nate is a sweet, funny, wild-n-crazy little boy!  He is a very picky eater, but will almost always eat PB&J and bread/rolls.  He has the funniest reactions to things, never giving simple answers to questions but rather making insane faces and saying cute things.  Here’s a classic Nate face:

That boy cracks me up!  He is a little ball of energy and so much fun to be around.  I was visiting his family a couple days ago, and Nate was acting so sweet and attached himself to me, begging me to hold him instead of running around like a crazy person for once.  Usually he just wants to play with Matt and asks for Matt even when he’s not there, so I loved that he just wanted me.  I was in Heaven.  🙂

Nate enjoys playing hard, being outside, eating candy, showing his independence, getting messy, making faces, cuddling with his mommy, and playing with/bugging his big brother Micah.

Happy Birthday, Nate!  We love you!

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