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!?


i ran a marathon a little over a month ago and i’m writing about it over on peas {in a blog} today. i love them and love their site! vegetarian food and exercise…what can get better than that!?

p.s. i laugh because even though it’s been over a month i’m just now learning and fully wearing a battle scar from running 26.2 miles…um hello runner’s feet and losing toe nails! bah!!!! cue hilarious blog about that next week after i’ve emotionally recovered from the horror.

Reading the Bible Chronologically

One Maxwell Leadership Bible

One cute journal

One chronological read-through plan

Six months time

+ Lots of pencils and pens               

a journey of love

Every time I read through the Bible, I am blown away by all of the new ways God speaks to my heart and life.  I remember when I first became a Christian that I didn’t get the whole “read the same book for your entire life.”  I am totally a check it off the list, achieve it, and move on type girl.  I legit voiced concern that I would get bored with re-reading the same book.  I love how God’s shown me that His word is living and active. Such a testimony to His truth and trustworthiness.

While going through these six months, in many ways, I held tight to the anchor of a steady, consistent plan.  The anchor that kept me still while everything else thrashed around in my world.  Outwardly I did not experience earth-shattering news like I did last fall, but I went there inwardly.  I intentionally opened cracks in walls for others to help tear them down and expose the core issues, the core roots.  In that same way, the stripping down gave a chance for some roots to go down deeper.  Lately my heart’s echo has been to “be unmovable and unshakable in You…so let my roots go down deep.  be like a tree planted by the streams of living water…”

There’s so much I could say about the journey this last six months.  I could let you know that I loved seeing how the stories weave together in the Old Testament and the intricacy is beautiful.  I could laugh about how at one point I was a week ahead on the plan because when you’ve read through in 90 days you know how to read and yet was three days behind at the end.  I could whisper my fears of not knowing what to do now that the plan is done.  Yet, that’s where I find myself in life right in this moment and it’s oddly fitting.  Because now that the plan ends, I get to settle into a few of the parts of the Bible that my heart needs to soak up.  I’m learning how to stay when all feels uncomfortable like rough sand whipping in the wind against my face.

But right there, with no plan really means I’m letting go with trust.  Trust that even though I’m letting go of it all over again (and will likely have to keep letting go) that I’m trusting God knows.  He sees my heart and knows me.  And besides, in all good stories the people who stay during the hard…they so appreciate the beauty when the desire blossoms with vibrant life.

what are you praying and believing for even in the hard and the unknown?

not what i thought


you’re not who I thought you were.

in a good, hard way

you show me

your ways are not mine

when I go knocking for ways to run

you slip in with your “not now, baby girl”

you gently pry my hands

so i can let go


lay down my “isaac”

to finally admit

God, I want this

but I want what You have more

even in the midst of learning to


you love me

you teach me how to soar

and be planted

all at once

because that’s beautiful

dreaming, hope, trust

with deep roots

right there in the breaking

i find you giving me the

yes, walk this way

but be prepared to


surrendering all

and remember

“i’m everything i promised

my faithfulness is true”

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? 

marathon recap

Oh hey. Maybe you thought I forgot to fill you in on all the amazing marathon-ness. I didn’t! Granted, I wrote eight pages of my own memories shortly afterward so you’ll get the condensed bulleted version.  Here goes….

(this was taken toward the end…love that i’m still smiling–that was one of my goals to smile a lot! one group of girls even made a comment about how i was still smiling. happy.)

What I learned/memories from running a marathon:

  • I love people. I love hearing their stories. I love sharing my story to give them a glimpse of God.  I love talking about Africa and babies and ministry and dreams and hopes.
  • I met the doctor with the goal of running a marathon in each state (he’s finished 22 states).  He also threw in a few Ironman’s to boot.  Twice in Brazil.  He informed me that they are easier than marathons—can you say my head went down the road of “Maybe I should do an Ironman” because it totally did.
  • I sat next to an amazing lady who “lost track” of how many marathons she had done–her guess was 90.  Including one in Antartica and a few trail ones where you have to pull yourself up cliffs.  Hardcore.
  • Met a couple of girls who did something “crazy” each summer.  This summer was a marathon.
  • Another sweet girl just had a baby named Olivia Rayne seven months ago.  She shared how she didn’t like being pregnant at all because she didn’t like being “controlled.” Such an interesting perspective I’ve never heard.
  • I met a lady who grew up Catholic and is now Lutheran. She shared parts of her story and I was so honored to hear them.
  • A guy whose idea of celebrating his 60th birthday meant running a marathon—granted I found out later that even though his sign said it was his birthday today it was really two days ago! Wha! I loved his blunt honesty. He shared that he started running because of “ego.”
  • Another man shared with me about how his wife just got back from Swazi. I heart Africa.
  • I joked with a lady about how we were going faster than the bus.
  • I found myself furrowing my brow at blow horn guy standing on the sidelines trying to tell people about Jesus. Um, excuse me, get out here and run and chat with these people and get to know them and love them…
  • An adorable couple with shirts letting us know they were newlyweds.
  • Matching texas flag shorts on a couple who held hands and melted my heart. I want a man like that who takes his wife’s hand and loves her well.
  • Giving high fives to everyone I could.
  • Kids holding signs for their moms….oh my heart.
  • Laughing with God about the rain. Embrace the rain and do it anyway.
  • Saying thank you to every single volunteer
  • Pushing through the hard…and there definitely comes a point where it’s hard. Keep running.
  • I’m all about doing life WITH people. That’s when I’m happy. That’s what I love.
  • Some people run with you a long while, others only a bit, but they all can add or take away from your journey.
  • The wonders of a heat blanket at the finish line.
  • Pure exhaustion.
  • Love.

I learned so much.  About myself, about God, about life.  God blessed me so much through this process. He showed provision and protection along the way.  Encouragement in all sorts of forms showed up when I needed it most.  He taught me to persevere even in the rain.  He reminded me that I care more about bringing people along to run the race with me…my motto lately has been God sees you; see others.  Put value on them, encourage them, love them, help them run their race well, run with them.

My heart still overflows with so many thoughts from this experience, but there’s a little snapshot.  You might just hear a bit more over the coming weeks and months or just chat with me sometime and I’m brimming with all sorts of God-stories from this.

p.s. if you’re thinking of running one….my advice…do it! and then let me know so i can run it with you =)

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? 

letting go of things that are of little value

i started thinking about letting go….after i got asked/pondered a few questions/statements yesterday:

what difference does it make that Jesus experienced hell in your place?

live like you have been crucified and have died… it’s not about you…not about what you want…

did jesus die to make us comfortable?

how do you go about life on a daily basis that would give evidence that you’re going to heaven? why would your life be attractive to others?

spend the time that you would enter food & exercise on loseit, count calories, talk about food and exercise…spend it instead thinking and talking about the amazing things God has done, who God is, and focus on the internal and the things that will not pass away like a vapor…there is little value in physical training but godliness has value for ALL things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come…don’t waste time on things that are of little value…(1 timothy 4:8 and 2 cor 4:18)

just a thought or two that challenges my thinking, living, and feeling.