A big responsibility…

Every morning on my way to work I listen to the Family Life radio station and like clockwork the last 3-4 minutes of my commute always consists of the radio program ‘A Word With You’ by Ron Hutchcraft. I wanted to share today’s with you because it really hits home. The title is: Driving better when you’re being watched. Here’s the part that I think grabbed my attention most: 

You can be a reason they’re attracted to Jesus or a reason they reject Jesus-a major factor in whether they spend forever in heaven or hell. Did you know that most people who come to Jesus do it because of a Christian they know? Did you know that most people who reject Jesus do it because of a Christian they know?”  (You can listen to or read the whole program here.)

Woah. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this. I think about it quite often, especially everytime I feel like I’ve screwed up. I don’t want people, especially those who don’t know Jesus yet, to look at me and think ‘if that’s what a Christian looks like, I don’t want any part of it.’ I’m not perfect, I’m a work in progress and always will be, and I have to try my best to remain close to God so I can live the way He wants me to. Life is hard and we’re all human and speaking for myself, I can think of many, many times in the past where I shouldn’t have ‘vented’  or over reacted, or should have bit my tongue or been more patient. At least I can learn from my mistakes and try to do better.  I’m a Christian, a work in progress, and one who wants to turn people TO Jesus, not away! 

On another note, it was a great morning for a run- I love my Friday morning runs…TGIF! 40* on December 1st, I’ll take it!

Baked goods and Jesus…

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November 30, 2017

In my Run for God devotional, one of the questions this morning was: ‘What do you share with others that gives you the greatest joy?’

I have always loved sharing the food that I make, especially baked goods, with others.  At every job I’ve had, I’m always the coworker who brings in baked goods to share.  I run into people from my previous places of employment and they still comment on missing my ‘yummy baking.’  I’m thankful for my ability to bake and I do appreciate seeing people enjoy things that I’ve made.

In the past I have compared sharing Jesus to that of sharing baked goods… I don’t ever want to ‘bug’ people, but I do often invite people to church…it’s like when you have your favorite food – let’s say a luscious cheesecake – you want to share it with people, you want other people to try it too because you think they will like it!  That’s why I invite people to church, especially people close to me.  I LOVE our church, our church family, and the way God speaks through our Pastor. I love having a relationship with God and looking back and seeing how things have changed in my life for the better because of that relationship.  Why wouldn’t I want to share that with others? I want them to experience it and enjoy it as well.  It’s never about judging anyone or saying or even thinking, ‘Man, I think you really need to go to church’; not at all.  It’s always out of love and just a desire to share something so wonderful that many are missing out on.  So for my friends and family, neighbors, etc. reading this – don’t be offended when I invite you to church, just know that I love you enough to share my yummy delicious cheesecake… and my church with you.

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Back to the real world…

November 29, 2017

Back to a normal routine, including up way before dawn for an early run, usual route, favorite running partner, then to start the day back to work after a long Thanksgiving break!  The only thing out of the norm this morning was the weather/temperature!  It was an unseasonably warm morning with a temperature of 51*; beautiful morning for a run and a great way to start the day!

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Chasing another sunrise…

November 28, 2017

When I’m running alone, I don’t always have a set plan where I’m going to go… depends on how I feel, the weather, whether it is light out yet or not, etc.  This is one reason my husband has encouraged me to recently start using Strava.  If you aren’t familiar, it’s an app for running or biking that ‘maps your run,’ giving you statistics, lets you share with others, and also allows for friendly competition with other fellow athletes.  I however, do not use it for any of those reasons – lol – I use it so my husband can track me using the ‘safety beacon’ option, allowing him to see that I ended up running in a different direction than where I originally may have intended.  I’m thankful for this feature because it does make me feel safer when I run.  It also gives him the opportunity to message me while I’m running and encourage me or make some sort of funny comment.  *creeper*

Anyway, I set out for my early morning run that began by taking my normal route around town until I decided I couldn’t really stand to run around town for the entire 6 miles this morning…so I headed slightly out of town, turned onto another less traveled street and intended to turn around at the last street light—beyond that was quite dark and I had no intentions, initially, of going any further.  It may sound like I’m scared of the dark… but I will admit I’m totally scared of skunks (we’ll save that for another day).  After turning around at said street light, now facing a different direction, I caught a glimpse of what looked like a potentially beautiful sunrise.  I went a few more paces and thought, if I turn around and head back up that hill (into the dark) I’m sure I could see a beautiful sunrise at the top, overlooking the town.  It took a few more steps to convince myself it would be worth it, then turned around and decided to go for it.  I had never run up this direction before, let alone in the dark.  Thankfully dawn was quickly approaching and I knew I had to get moving if I was going to reach the top to see the sunrise.

About half way up the hill I get a text from Chris, ‘you picked a pretty big hill to run up this morning’… Yes, yes, I guess I did. My legs were burning but the sun was starting to peek up and set the base of the sky on fire; like all the other times I’ve found myself chasing a sunrise, you tend to forget or pay little attention to anything else.  It was a Win-Win – a good work out climbing the hill and the sky over the little view of the town was quite pretty.  Thankfully I was able to enjoy it further, as the colors of the sky continued to intensify as I reached the bottom of the hill and headed in an eastward direction towards home.  I love the mornings I get to chase a sunrise; it makes me feel so thankful that I got out of bed and had the opportunity, ability, dedication, willpower, endurance, etc. to run!  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it…

Scenic run…

November 24, 2017

Sometimes you have to switch it up… I love to #run and often find myself running the same routes over and over.  I have a running friend, Whitney – the story how we met is a good one for another post another day 🙂 — anyway, when we run the same ol’ route in the early dark hours before work, its enjoyable and passes by quickly because of the company and nice chats.  However, sometimes by myself I just feel like I need to switch it up… those were my thoughts this morning when I headed out for my run.

It was a beautiful morning to run a couple scenic trails, one of which leads to a reservoir that I often forget exists.  To be honest, for being born and raised in the same small town I live in now, it might be surprising to some to know that I didn’t even know this reservoir existed until a year or two ago.  I guess it’s a hidden gem… if you like quiet, natural beauty of course.

Ps. I’ve seen people occasionally attempt to fish in this  and until today I had never been able to see the bottom … well, they are waisting their time.  It was crystal clear this morning, not nearly as deep as I thought, and not a fish anywhere to be found.  Sure is beautiful though!

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Turkey Trot…

November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday (to 4th of July), some of my favorite things are my traditional morning run and cuddling with the kids on the couch to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Today was no exception.  Finished 8 that felt really good- another day with no aches and pains so I was thrilled!

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Spent my entire run praying- thanking God for many things and lifting many people, friends, family, random people, even strangers up in prayer.  It was a great start to my day.  Then after a quick shower I was exactly where I wanted to be – on the couch cuddling with my two kiddos, enjoying the parade.  I love traditions that I grew up with and passing them on to see my children enjoy them as well.

Lastly, the day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t discuss what I was contributing to the Thanksgiving meal at my in laws this year… 1. Green Bean casserole, the hubby’s fav. 2. Baked Corn (my mom’s recipe) 3. Homemade cranberry relish- MY fav! (recipe below) And 4. I’m always good for a dessert and this is one of my Thanksgiving favorites: ‘Chumpcan’ Pie… Cheesecake, pumpkin & pecan all in one!  I cannot take credit for this beautiful thing… you can find the recipe here: http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2011/11/15/11750/

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We all love cheesecake, and then you add the fall flavor of pumpkin, and top it with what is my favorite part, the crunchy, slightly gooey pecan topping; it’s truly the best of all dessert worlds because it doesn’t make you choose between the three desserts after an over satisfying Thanksgiving meal. I chose to make mine in a spring form pan with a graham cracker crust, rather than a traditional pie crust like the recipe calls for (my hubby isn’t a big pie crust fan).  Additionally, the recipe gives you two options for the pecan topping, I went with the traditional pecan pie topping over the ‘gooey’ pecan pie topping- I’m sure either would be delicious though!

To enjoy your own cranberry relish see the simple recipe below.  Each time I make this I think of where the recipe came from (as I do with all handwritten recipes), and this came from a former coworker kindergarten teacher who makes this with her students at their annual kindergarten Thanksgiving feast. So simple and yummy.. if you don’t like the canned cranberry sauce, try this anyway! And if you do like canned cranberry sauce, after one taste of this, I’m sure you’ll never go back!

Cranberry Relish

Combine all in the food processor:

2 (12 oz) bags of fresh cranberries

2 apples (cored) (no need to peel)

2 oranges (I peel one and leave one unpeeled)

2 cups of sugar

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ENJOY!

Breakfast for dinner…

November 20, 2017

Breakfast for dinner? Yes please!  Pancakes and sausage… I have several different flavors of pancakes that I make and my family loves them all!  One of my favorites is the Banana Oatmeal pancake  (Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Pancake recipe below) that I made tonight.  They are my favorite because I can eat peanut butter on them! Peanut butter is by far my favorite food; peanut butter ice cream is a close second! (haha) I’m not a fan of syrup – whether its real maple syrup or not; we actually buy the fake sugar free stuff lol.  My husband isn’t a fan of real maple syrup either – I guess we’re both weird.  One year prior to having children, for our Christmas gift to each other we took a long weekend ski trip to Killington, Vermont.  We ate breakfast every morning at this cute little ‘syrup shack’ where you could watch them make their own maple syrup while you dined.  We were probably the only people that didn’t order anything that required syrup!

Anyway, back to dinner – Banana Oatmeal pancakes… would make a good pre-race dinner I suppose, with all those yummy carbs.  Some of our other fav’s, to be shared at a later date include:  Pumpkin, blueberry, peach, and apple. Here’s the recipe, but remember I’m new to this blog stuff and hope to figure it out soon, so for now it’s nothing fancy with a ‘print here’ button or anything. I will try to learn quickly!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Pancakes

1 cup quick oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
MIX THESE DRY INGREDIENTS, THEN ADD:
2 cups milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp veg. oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 overly ripe banana mashed & another normal banana cut into chunks

Let batter rest 5 min. If using electric griddle I set it to 300*.

They become so fluffy and satisfying – the picture doesn’t do it justice… something else I will try to improve!

Enjoy!

Decisions, Decisions…

November 19, 2017

The title makes it sound more important than it is lol, so don’t get too excited… to run or not to run is more like it…

I’ve been on the fence about a marathon that I really, really wanted to do for the past two years now.  Last year I did a different fall marathon, so doing another in December wasn’t really an option.  This year I passed up a couple other October marathons I was considering, kind of holding out for the #RehobothMarathon in December.  Last year it was just an ‘oh that would be a nice marathon’ thought, but it had some trails involved and I wasn’t sure what the trails were like and I prefer the road, so I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought.  Then we made our annual beach trip this past summer and while running on vacation, I discovered this state park that we surprisingly had never visited before; I decided to venture back on my next run so that I could explore a little further.  I found #Gordon’sPondTrail and finished a beautiful 10 mile run that morning—it was gorgeous!  A new favorite spot of mine at the beach, for sure! I couldn’t wait to bring my family back here to show them as well!

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So, remembering that the Rehoboth Marathon consisted of some trails, I looked it up again and realized that this was one of the trails that made up the marathon.  I was instantly excited and starting considering the possibilities of running this race this December.   It was a pricey marathon compared to the others I’ve ran in the past, and it doesn’t help that I don’t like to commit much more than 8 weeks ahead of race day.  I kept it on the radar however, and as I said before, passed up other marathons with this one in mind.  I had the training planned out; even if it felt somewhat foolish training for a marathon I wasn’t sure I was even going to participate in, however I wanted to be ready.

For the past 2-4 weeks I’ve been back and forth between reasons I should and should not do this marathon. The biggest thing holding me back was the price of the marathon itself as well as the cost of the hotel, trip, etc.  I felt it was selfish of me to spend that much money on ME right before Christmas; I was having a very hard time justifying it.  Then when I talked to some others about it (mostly running friends), they all have the ‘You Only Live Once’ motto – Go for it! You’ll regret not doing it!  So I pressed on with my training. Meanwhile people think I’m crazy for running 16, 18, and even 20 mile training runs not knowing if I was even going to do the race!  I was beginning to wonder right along with them…

Anyway, I’ve had this list of pros and cons to running this marathon and knowing there are only 68 spots left open (and fewer hotels available everyday), I knew I had to make a decision.  With a birthday coming up, part of me was like, ‘YES, I’m signing up as a Happy Birthday to me! This is how I want to celebrate!’ The other part of me was still feeling selfish about dragging my kids that far in a car to watch mommy run and my husband away from a day of deer season, and then again the cost of it all right before Christmas.  I belong to the Facebook marathon group page that gives information about the race and facilitates runner conversations about all the excitement leading up to the race; this I think was a mistake.  Between the post of the picture of the ‘10th anniversary medals’ and the beautiful picture from Gordon’s Pond Trail, I wanted to run in this race SO bad!   I told my husband on Saturday, the day we were supposed to go Christmas shopping and out for my birthday but were home instead with my poor sick kiddos (stomach bug strikes again), that if my final 20 mile training run went well tomorrow I was signing up for the race!  He, as always, was supportive of whatever my decision would be.

Sunday morning, I set out to run my 20 and to pray about whether or not I should do this marathon.  The weather was downright miserable; I’ve ran in rainier and colder weather but add the wind on top of it and miserable is the only word I could think to describe it. The wind in my face for the first half really took a lot of out of me, so even after turning around and having the wind mostly to my back on the return, it still wasn’t much fun.  My mind was flooded with all the reasons I shouldn’t run the race and although I LOVE to run, my desire to run this marathon – that I very well could be paying big bucks to run in similar weather next to the shore – had dwindled by time I reached home.  I’m thankful I completed the training, including the 20 miler, but decided I would sit this one out… Maybe next year!