Friday Love

We made it to Friday!  A full week with the husband back at work.  I’ve been having fun getting to know our little man more each day and he sure makes us smile and laugh a lot!  Plus, he’s already 3 weeks old today!  That is way close to being a month old and so far I totally get how things are in a “blur” for the first bit of having a newborn.  Mostly, though, I’m loving this stage!  Here are some of the things we’re loving…

Things I’m Loving:

1. Tummy time with the little man.  He’s pretty good at cuddling.


2. Lots of walks.


3. Tacos! Pretty sure I’ve eaten tacos for lunch for the last three days.

4. Reading with the husband.  We have continued our habit of reading a book together before bed and it’s one of my favorite times of connecting.  And let’s just say any time spent with him is pretty much my favorite.


5. Sitz baths and showers.  My midwife and my nurses were big on telling me to soak/take a sitz bath in order to help things heal.  I totally jumped on board and have continued to take time to be alone and enjoy hot water!  I like to think they’ve helped me heal up fast too 🙂

Things Asher is Loving:

1.  Falling asleep during tummy time.  This is one of his favorite places to fall asleep.

2. Eating. eating. and more eating.

3. Being in his car seat for walks or car rides.


4. Kicking his legs like crazy and getting his arms out of his swaddles.

5. Being rocked in his rock n play.


Things Our Family is Loving:

1. Walks with the four of us!

2. Time together in the evenings and mornings.

3. Ice cream! Well…Asher hasn’t tried it yet, but I’m guessing he might like it someday. 🙂

4. Sleep.

5. Reading books.


What I Learned-February

I had so much fun writing last months “What I learned” that I thought I would jump on board again this time!  February really felt like a short month and yet I definitely feel like there were a lot of big learning curves as well as fun things to learn too!

1. The Olympics are my favorite, but I learned that I do have a limit of watching…I eventually hit the: “We need to do something else!” stage!  But all in all, I loved being able to see the athletes and the competition.  Plus, my husband likes them too! Even Boaz loved all the times he got to either “watch” or sleep on us.


Boaz is so high maintenance.

2. There are SO many baby options for everything. I’ve started bookmarking a few things and my Pinterest page is growing!

3. This baby loves to move and I am in love with baby feet.  One of my favorite ultrasound pictures definitely was the one with cute little feet.  Not too surprising because I have always taken feet pictures wherever I travel.

photo 2

Speaking of, I’m ready to be back in Africa… 🙂

4. I definitely have a bump and people have noticed. Maternity clothes are around the corner.  Not yet, but definitely soon!


Oh and how cute is this picture with my husband.
image 2

5. My limit of handling winter is getting shorter.  I am longing for walks and runs outside.

6. It’s okay to spend money to take care of me (even when I’d rather spend the money elsewhere!) and to do things afraid. I definitely had to be open to making this decision and to God’s promptings.

7. Downton Abbey turned into a perfect thing to watch while on the treadmill with Boaz! And I will say that I was thankful for a “happier” ending than last season.


8. Communication is ever a learning process, but worth the hard work.

9. Even though February is a “short” month, we totally used all of our grocery budget to make good food early in the month.  Next month, I might need to spread things out a bit!


10. This salad dressing is delicious. 

11. The book of Numbers hasn’t been nearly as hard to read as I thought it would be this time around and I am loving reading Romans this month.  (I’ve been using this plan since I think July last year and have been more or less reading a day or two or three at a time.  I love getting to read out of 4 different books each day.)

12. Baby names are hard to pick!  But I am loving all the potential names and options…I may or may not be a name hoarder.

What did you learn this month?


This past weekend was full of fun {mostly}.   Valentine’s day got pushed back a few days to feeling icky and sleeping most of Friday, but when we did celebrate, we certainly had a blast.  Yep, I love my husband and I love that he loves good food just as much as I do.  Not to mention that he’s all about trying new things.

We had these the day after because we were too full…but they were delicious! Blackberry Izze with vanilla bean ice cream…perfect kind of ice cream float!IMG_7543

Our fruit for the fondue! Bananas, strawberries, and blackberries!  The husband didn’t think he’d ever really eaten a blackberry without it being in something…so we definitely added those! Plus, they were on sale and just ripe!


Focaccia bread!!! We went the easy route and bought this instead of making it from scratch since our Sundays are usually a little full with church. IMG_7516

Oh and who doesn’t love the idea of dipping cheese & garlic tortellini in fondue?! Next time, we want to try toasted tortellini! IMG_7517

There’s the tasty pesto fondue! We loosely followed this recipe.


Hello white chocolate fondue…my favorite! We didn’t do anything crazy to make this.  We had thought about trying bananas fosters fondue, but didn’t quite have all the ingredients.  This was more than satisfying still. Oh and check out this adorable little fondue pot.  We got it for Christmas from sweet friends and it’s so cute!  It even worked well too!IMG_7526

Oh and who can resist sprinkles! IMG_7527

and last but not least..a little bump picture.  This is from right after taking some time to walk/run on the treadmill!  There’s no denying there’s a bump.  On the upside we are OVER halfway to meeting this little baby. Ultrasound got pushed back because of a silly blizzard that snowed in our driveway…so that’s coming soon!
In other news…I hear that the weather *might* warm up.  I’m hoping so!

Saturday Love

Here’s a nice little weekly round-up/picture catch-all/fun post for you to enjoy on your Saturday.  I’m mostly napping and catching up on some Downton Abbey today…I might sneak to a coffee shop for a treat later. 🙂

Sunroofs and sunglasses always make a day better even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Hello Minnesota winters.IMG_7387

At least somebody has fun running in the snow 🙂IMG_7379

Meanwhile, I try to convince Boaz that we can just go on the treadmill and that I get to read…he’s kind of a fan, but I’m sure he would rather go faster. IMG_7372

this sign in my office is always a good reminder…this week: be open to what I need and be willing to ask for it.IMG_7362

my pretty new planner! While I would have loved one of Kelly Rae Roberts, this little one will do the trick since hers sold out so fast! IMG_7363I’m working my way through this now that I don’t have graduate school.  I’m learning about vowels right now!

back to my lazy saturday…. 🙂


Productive Days

Let’s be honest…December was a whirlwind and definitely not my most productive month of the year.  Between all the family get togethers, present buying, not feeling the best….not much got done.  Thankfully, we got to eat out and to eat at other people’s houses, which was such a blessing!  Now, January, on the other hand, always seems to be my “go to” month.  I typically start off the year with ambitious plans and resolutions (I kept mine extra simple this year and didn’t even include too many lists! And I just love my word. Open.).  I love new beginnings and starts.  Plus, the weather is just plain cold so it translates to perfect weather to get things done inside!

Here are a few of the things that have been keeping me busy…


I LOVE handwritten cards.  I am so thankful that my parents (even when we totally hated it) made us write thank-you cards for gifts.  There is much to be said about being thankful and taking the extra time to express it.

I’m not always prompt on my response time for cards, but I’m adamant about doing them!  These were a mixture of birthday thank-you’s, Christmas thank-you’s, and a few happy notes.  Besides, who can resist cute, bright, colorful cards!?

Hello Lasagna Soup! This was another Pinterest find.  I totally did not follow the recipe…I only had 2 cups of Vegetable broth instead of the 6 cups (they said chicken stock, but same difference).  A little water helped make up the difference.   I had pasta sauce instead of tomato paste and fire roasted tomatoes.  I didn’t take the time to cut an onion (I needed my one onion for another recipe this week!) and I more or less threw in whatever felt right for all the spices.  I am NOT going to be nominated for the person who can follow a recipe or be known to measure correctly.  However, this was delicious!! I even told my husband that I was excited to eat the leftovers tomorrow.  I am a total sucker for ricotta cheese so that was a highlight! Here’s the link for the original recipe…I would guess that it is just as good if you follow the actual recipe! Plus, if you like meat…there’s sausage! (I opted out of that one!)


Boaz and I have been rocking out on the treadmill!  He prefers outside, but I’m a wimp and I like to read and walk. 🙂 I started A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!  I’m also pumped to dive into Angie Smith’s books–What Women Fear and Chasing God!  This is going to be a good year for books.IMG_7302Lastly, my domestic diva qualities (well…really a facebook post that said this was super easy and running out of my own almond milk and happening to have extra almonds) led me to believe I should try making my own Almond milk!  I was impressed with how easy and fast everything went!  I need to work on perfecting the taste, but other than that I am a BIG fan!  Separating the milk and almond meal was my only not so favorite thing, but other than that, I approve!  I’m eyeing a few recipes to try out with the leftover almond meal too…so I’ll keep you posted!

That’s what is keeping me busy around here! Other than work and spending time with the husband, of course. 🙂

What have you been up to!? Any suggestions for recipes or crafts or projects or books for me to try!?

Hello December

You’re beautiful already.

I daresay I may be holding out a little bit of hope for you.

When you’ve been wrestling hope for so long, the teasing glances it brings make you want to run for the hills.

Yet, somewhere deep beneath the rubble I just know there must be some speck of yellow, some dash of hope.

Because y’all, I want an answer to this question:

What are your hopes for Christmas?

I think therein lies something beautiful unfolding.

With the unveiling of a birthday month list and baby steps in heart wrenching areas, I think just maybe I’ll find a thread of hope.

My answer remains a work in progress. An unraveling of sorts to in a sense re-capture hope. To reclaim the vision of a hope-filled, good future. That’s where I’m headed.

Here’s the start of the journey of this birthday month….


oh how i love finding out that a new yogurt land like store has opened up nearby!

birthday list number 18 eat at a yogurt land like place


unexpected birthday month happiness of cute, cheap vibrams. i’ve always wanted to try them out!


in preparation for birthday list number 43

The Journey to Marathon Day

Since a few of you asked for a bit more about the marathon…here’s a little bit about my journey to marathon day:

January 31, 2011

I hit confirm and paid my $91.05 (with tax).  I did this mostly on a whim. I decided that if I wasn’t going to be moving back to Africa like planned then I wouldn’t be able to do the Two Oceans marathon so then I might as well do something. I needed something to look forward to when all seemed snowy and dark.  I wanted a goal, something happy. So, I committed and took the plunge of hitting submit. Plus, if you’re going to run a marathon, it’s gotta be legit.

Hello mixed emotions of “whoa did I really just do that with yay hello training.”


Indoor training. Love me some track running even if I have to go around and around and around. 14 times around a track per mile gets a bit tedious.  Thank goodness the distance wasn’t horribly long at this point.  I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and loved playing with my Garmin watch.  Tracking heart rate, pace, and all sorts of fun things.  Plus, I got fancy new shoes–pretty pink Asics. All in all, I totally embraced the honeymoon stage.


Changes throw me for a loop.  I am an S (shout out to disc) which means that I do love structure, routine, schedules, and consistency.  These months challenged me because the weather started getting nice–kind of…Minnesota is weird like that.  I wanted to run outside, but had to wait until later in the day.  This meant a lot of runs getting switched around or missed.  All of which stressed me out because I wasn’t able to check the run off my list! I’m a list girl (oh hey J from mbti).  Here’s where God taught me about grace.  Giving grace to myself. Learning to prioritize. Learning to let go of the little things. Seeing that life does go on if my run moves to another day.  Embracing cross training. Allowing myself to be flexible and still live life.  Going on that bike ride with friends instead of a run because I love people and they matter more than a schedule.


Cue freak out month and even more changes.  I adjusted to my job at school ending for the summer and warm weather.  I went through a long time where I totally stopped running. I threw my plan out the window and ran when I wanted and did cross training with lots of days off. I had gotten through my last long run (cue point in my training where I decided I do not like my asics but I am committed to them for this marathon) and I needed to reclaim the joy of running. I missed running with God. I missed running for fun. My marathon plan suffocated me and I wanted air. I so very much didn’t want to burn out on running because I do love it. However, because of these crazy last few weeks…I totally got extremely nervous about running the race and battled in my mind over whether I even wanted to do it.  Many times I said I don’t even know if I want to run. This is where that commitment and money paid in January came back to hit me over the head along with my achiever personality. I said yes. So I would let my yes be yes. I wasn’t going to back out now even if I was so ridiculously fearful of failing and failing miserably. At some point, I threw my hands up in the air and said let’s do this and let’s just ENJOY. That’s become part of my word for the year. Learning how to enjoy even when I’m scared I won’t live up to my own expectations and learning to love life.  Still working on it.

Day before the marathon

Totally embraced it and here’s where all my mental game sprang into action with knowing what a long run feels like, playing my head games of “Oh only 8 miles to go, no big deal.”  Smiling and laughing and listening to good music and chatting with God. Remembering that He’s the one who will do this with me. Being thankful and intentional about seeing Him everywhere. Finding that grit and stubbornness inside me that I SO need to carry over into a few other situations in my life…I have it, I know what it feels like, sometimes I just lose sight of it amidst the hurt and the digging deep and looking back to let go. That last bit was a side note but if you got it then yay for you and you get a bit of me and you probably had a conversation with me about finding that confidence that’s lacking =)

Marathon Day:

Love. Pure love. I am still like how can I recreate more of that in my life. Read more from yesterday’s post here.

Post Marathon:

Oh hey I can’t WAIT to pick another event to sign up for even though I can barely walk and I’m ridiculously sore.  Not to mention I had to give myself a pep talk: “I ran a marathon….I can make it up six steps!”  But I totally am looking at new events already and I want to do something new! Maybe an Ironman, Half Ironman, Ultra marathon, trail marathon. So many options. Decisions and weighing all the possibilities. Cue my analytical and detail crazy information gatherer personality. Not to mention that I need new cute running shoes. So, I loved it. So much. Here’s to pondering what to do next and actually chatting this one over with God a bit more =)

So, all in all. I definitely found myself on a topsy-turvy, up and down journey to marathon day.

Are there things I’d do differently? Absolutely. I learned a LOT. Though, in the areas where I “failed” those are the ones that I see so much to be pondered in my heart.  Even in writing this out, I see the areas where running this race translates into so much… so I’m still processing and pondering.  I do a lot of that. There’s a bit more for you to fill in the picture of this crazy thing called a marathon.

What about you…what have you learned from some journeys in your life? Have you experienced the honeymoon and the hard stages too? 

triathlon mind dump =)

i’m following perry noble‘s “sunday night reflections” bullet list style for this post (ps love his latest post about leadership convictions and being concerned about WHO people are becoming not WHAT they can do). so get ready.  all of that to say that my mind is reeling with all sorts of connections, intersections, thoughts, and ponderings after finishing the triathlon this weekend. so here are some of my thoughts that very well may get expanded later!

  • god has a funny way of making things happen…like how it just happened to be raining during the triathlon when i’ve been talking about pressing on even in the rain lately. just sayin’. though it kind of made me smile
  • i loved the volunteers. seriously. they were amazing. i made a point to thank the ones i could or at least smile as i went by them.
  • unexpected encouragement is always a bonus! especially familiar faces. yay for church family and friends’ parents.
  • my highlight of the race? mile 6 of the bike ride when i got to make a friend and chat with her a bit. so sweet.  wish i could have found her afterward to say hi 🙂
  • tie your shoes tight.
  • keep swimming even if you don’t know how to pass someone…you’ll figure it out eventually.
  • repeating psalm 37 in your head makes for great biking music.
  • i finished feeling the….”okay, now what?” most times i wrestle with being an achiever and the let down of finishing something.
  • i like training more than racing i think. ask me in a few days.
  • i liked the actual journey and process more than finishing. now to apply that to seeing there is a process and a purpose and a journey in life…that if i were to just “get there” now…i’d miss the journey, which is my favorite part.
  • i don’t know what to do with the juxtaposition of being realistic and being competitive. no, i am not going to devote my entire life to winning races and even if i did….there’s always someone faster, stronger, naturally built for it, etc. but at the same time i am the only one who can run the race like i can run the race…
  • we are to steward the money given to us. how does that factor in with race fees, expensive bikes, equipment, and clothing….is the money being spent where god wants? maybe. maybe not. it is His money after all. can the gospel be furthered by your example in sports? absolutely, i think so. but does that justify spending thousands when babies are starving and dying and people’s basic needs aren’t being met? plus, what if it’s already spent…and has depreciated in value so might as well keep it…or is it a long term investment…or does it just lead to more and more, bigger and better…hmph.
  • big picture perspective: did i love god? did i love others?
  • surrendering the outcome to god and trusting.
  • trusting that your breaks will work. you don’t think about certain kinds of trust until something happens.
  • i totally would rather do something “together” than to just do it.
  • trust and faith steps and hope.
  • there’s more i’m sure, but this is a start.
so, how about you? any thoughts on races, triathlons, marathons, life, anything?

pride and triathlons

in less than two days, i’ll be swimming, biking, and running.

in order. consecutively.  600 yards, 13 miles, 2.8 miles.

i’ll be honest. i added this in partly because i’ve never done an official triathlon and hey it was on my “before going back to africa” list (i did an unofficial one so i figure an official one should be extra brownie points) and well i just like running and biking and trying new things and training.  though, i also wanted to add it in for “fun.” lately, whenever people ask me, “are you ready?” or “how’s the training been?” i half laugh and remark about how well i just added it in for “fun” and my main focus is marathon training. i mean i ran 18 miles last saturday. i should be able to finish this. plus, i cross train and i have been training some too. cue hiding from potential disappointment, but yes….moving on…

today, i did my first “brick” workout by biking and then running. (insert: i know, i know….probably should have been doing a LOT more of these) i have done days where i do two a day workouts…just hadn’t done one back to back really since last summer.

as i jumped on my bike and now reflecting back, i started listing those “fears” that come up with a race.

  • what if my goggles break
  • what if i can’t get my bike shoes on
  • what if i get a flat tire
  • what if i forget how to run
  • what if i can’t find my bike
  • what if i get disqualified
  • what if i run into a rabid dog or rabbit (okay i just made that one up now…but it could happen)
  • what if i wear the wrong thing

and you know what i realized. for me. i saw pride rearing it’s ugly head.

Why am I afraid? I’m afraid that I’ll look “dumb” or that I won’t “fit in” or that my time won’t be “good enough” or that I will be slower than “so and so” or that I’ll have to face disappointment.

Not only that, but….I’ve made my God so small that I forgot about all the awesome lessons that I could learn through those trials.  I’ve made my God into a God who only wants to shower me with prosperity and spare me the fire that refines me into gold.  Instead, I want to remember that I could learn how to persevere in the midst of all these roadblocks and things that could take me out of the race. I don’t want to forget that God is in the details. He’s not just concerned about having me cross the finish line, but He’s concerned about what happens on the journey (oh and don’t forget to cue philippians 4).  I forget that sometimes just maybe He lets rain fall down to teach us how to keep running in the storm.

Besides….how can I ENJOY God and ENJOY this race if I’m too busy focused on MYSELF and making me look good or perform well…and how can I love God and love others when I’m so busy puffing myself up and loving me according to the world’s standards…

just a few thoughts i’m pondering and mulling over. raw, unedited, not all that pretty and eloquent. just thoughts for now.

so…what about you…have you ever finished a race? how did it go? any tips!? what did you learn?

running in the rain

Saturday. 18 miles.

I set out in the direction of the blue skies and fluffy clouds.  I’m starting to get over the “Oh my…I could be running for 3 hours or more.”  I’m already looking forward to hitting my sweet spot of mile 5 where I clip along and enjoy the run.  The wind plays with the clouds and I stand in awe at all the different views I soak up.  The dark rain clouds tease me to the right while the high wispy clouds dance behind me.  I loathe miles 2 and 3 but keep on staring into the sun for encouragement.  When I hit mile 5, I’m going up hill and like clockwork the rain clouds have shifted to directly over my head.  There I am.  Running uphill in the kind of rain that stings and makes you wonder if your ipod will survive.


This is mile 5. I’m ready. My muscles are warmed up. I’ve settled into my long run pace. I know better than to stop.  I keep running.  I can’t stop the rain. I can’t change the circumstances. I can’t outrun the downpour.  So, I just run in the rain up the hill.

God meets me there. Brings me back to a conversation on that couch where I hold a pillow and play with my earrings thinking nervously about what my body language says as I find myself crossing my arms here and there.  In the midst of the words, a thought is held in my heart.

Have you ever thought that maybe God knew…  God knew and trusted that you would keep running the race.  He knew that the rain wouldn’t pull you out of the race, but would only strengthen you and that you wouldn’t stop.  He knew the time when you could handle the rain.  That’s when He let the rain fall.

I don’t know. But maybe…maybe the same’s true for the desert and the tears and the breaking because really deserts and storms are awfully similar.

p.s. I finished in under 3 hours.

have you kept running in the storm? or turned back to strengthen your brothers like peter after you fell? thoughts?