Looking Back

Oh hey, it is January 2017. And nine months have passed since my last blog post…My bad. I suppose I should do one of those 2016 recap posts. So grab a cup of coffee because this is going to be a long one….

If I am being completely honest, 2016 was tough. I had gone into the year feeling that I had finally gained some solid footing in most areas of my life and work, only to have that stripped away. A lot of things happened last year and I still find myself asking God, “Why?” I have been hesitant to write…. I have not known what to say and frankly, it is kind of embarrassing. Aren’t I supposed to have my stuff together? Am I allowed to share my mess in this little corner of the internet? But I am feeling God push me to do so, and here we are.

2016 held a lot of hurt, doubt and frustration.

Two close friends quietly disappeared from my life and I am not sure if I will ever get an exact answer as to why…regardless, it hurt. It still hurts, even months later. As I processed (and some days, still process) these losses, I cannot help but wonder if it is me.

Am I a terrible person? Did I do something wrong? Or did we just outgrow each other? Is it because of my faith? Do I have a terribly irritating personality flaw? As much as I hate to say it, I may never know. That unknown is the most difficult part.  I find it creeping into my other relationships and as a result I hold people at arm’s length, wondering if I am too much of a burden or a hindrance. This is something I have to continually give to God and trust that He knows what is best. As you can imagine, it is easier said than done.

As I come to terms with this, I realize that God is using this to draw me closer, forcing me to rely completely on Him. Again, this is hard. A lot of pre-conceived notions have been stripped away and at times I feel raw, like Eve, standing completely naked in front of Him. And yet… He is so good! He simply takes me as I am and asks only that I follow Him.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Even after all this time, it is so hard for me to grasp this. Grace. I am so flawed, and yet, He loves me anyway. My prayer is that as a minister–as a human being–I would be able to give even a small portion of that grace to those I interact with. And this cannot be done apart from God.

2016 was also a time that I was able to grieve an event that occurred several years ago. At the time, I thought it had no effect on me but for whatever reason, it came to the forefront last year and I finally dealt with it. It was hard. Harder than I ever would have guessed. But I like to believe it has made me a far more compassionate person and it is something God is using to refine me.

Work is an area in which I have always felt confident, but working in ministry is different. This year held so many changes and un-answered questions. So many questions. Life does not make sense…and sometimes that really sucks. In my line of work, we see the best of people, but we also see the worst. We see amazing God-things happen, but we also see terrible things happen to good people. A lot will simply not make sense this side of eternity. And for the sake of being transparent, some days this burden is not easy to carry. I do not like to broadcast it, but I am a very sensitive person. I have BIG feelings, always have. Dealing with people as intimately as I do, this makes things messy. When I see someone hurting, I hurt for them. And it is hard to talk about–who do you talk to???

Still, God is there. Patiently waiting for me to come to Him. Whispering, “Be still, and know” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV). And again, I am completely overwhelmed by His grace, that we can bring absolutely anything to Him.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).

It still takes my breath away.

It would be unfair to mention a portion of the bad  without mentioning some of the good. And there was a lot of good!

While there were many hard days in 2016, I was never alone (even if I felt that way). Ben was–and is–a huge blessing to me and I could not imagine doing this life with anyone else. We celebrated five years of marriage last year and while each year holds unique challenges, I like to think we came out even stronger than before. I have never met someone so patient and understanding. He has taken on my ministry–a task he didn’t choose!–without batting an eyelash. Frankly, I don’t give him enough credit for this. I would not be able to do what I do without his support.

It still amazes me the people God has placed in our paths and the friendships we have formed; People who have encouraged and supported us, but also told us when we need to rethink something. Sometimes, it is difficult to be honest and I am glad to do life with people who love us enough to tell the truth, even if it may be unpleasant. This last year, I desperately needed that. I had so many insecurities come to the forefront, things that I had not thought about for years, and I needed a lot of loving (and sometimes brutal) truth. I have learned that we cannot go through this life alone. We need people to hold us accountable and sometimes, to pull us along. We’ve had the opportunity to experience adventure, heartbreak, worship, prayer, tears and pure joy with this group. I am so grateful for each one of them.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV).

It was also a huge blessing to help with the baptism of some of the teens I work with. Making a public declaration of Christ is reason to celebrate! These teens continue to challenge me and surprise me. I am encouraged by the wisdom and the love for God some of them possess at such a young age. It is incredibly humbling to have the opportunity to be a part of their faith journey. This is something that I do not take lightly and while it is not for the faint of heart, God has shown me amazing things through these kids.

2016 was also the year that I was granted my first district license in the church of the Nazarene and I was able to preach my first sermon. I still cannot believe that I am in this position. Looking back on my life, I never would have guessed that I would be here. This only could have happened through God’s grace. Again this is not an easy task, but I have found joy in the small things; hearing answers to prayer, seeing people come to Christ and spending time, sharing burdens and celebrating the small victories with hurting people.

This is hard work. Some days it is downright overwhelming, but still I am blessed. And I am looking forward with hope.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NKJV).

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Photo Credit: A. Clark

Cheers to 2017!


Life Update: March & April

Hi Friends! It’s been a while since we chatted, so I figured I should update you on what’s happening behind the blog! Prepare for a ramble! (Note: I actually started writing this post on March 17… and then again on April 2. Oops). 

The meeting that I had at the beginning of March went well… it was actually my interview for my district minister’s license. So, starting in April, you can officially call me Pastor! After getting my district license, I’ll have so many years to complete my classes and work as a pastor until I move toward ordination. It’s so crazy to think about how I ended up here. If you had told me even two years ago that I would be taking this path, the path of full-time ministry,  I probably would have laughed in your face.

Speaking of which, I cannot believe that I have been at my job for a year (it was a year on March 18). If I am being completely honest, this is definitely the most difficult job I have ever had, but I know that it is exactly where I am supposed to be. That week was really bittersweet because it was also a year since we lost Pastor D. Looking back over the last 12 months is a bit overwhelming. There has been so much change! Some of it has been really hard and some of it has been incredible…either way, God is in control.

I have not had a lot of time to just sit down and reflect on all of this until recently. Yes, we are still grieving this loss, but God has been so faithful to us! He has revealed Himself, even in the midst of tragic circumstances. I cannot even wrap my head around how much He has carried me through in the last year. Even in the moments of doubt (and there have been a few!), He shows up.

So, though it was a tough first year, I have also been very blessed. The song It Is Well has come up so many times throughout this year and our lead pastor mentioned it in her sermon on the 20 (which was the anniversary of D’s death). Not gonna lie, I had a few “moments” on that Sunday.

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In other news, Farmer Ben and I took a vacation a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome. We got to spend time with the family, including this cute little lady!

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She looks so much like my sister it’s crazy! (And said sister would kill me if she knew I posted this. Ha!)

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We also drove around the finger lakes, ate way too much and I did something a little wild (for me)….

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I got my nose pierced! My sister and I decided to do it together. She even caught my blood, that’s a good sister! Bahaha!

I also got to show Ben the sites and all of the places I hung out as a kid, including the ice skating rink. I have so many amazing memories there! We didn’t have much time to actually go skating because of the hockey schedule, but it was nice to show Ben some of my past.

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Side note: I JUST now noticed the hockey player falling in the background! 

In other news, we moved! We were renting a cute little house just outside of town but we just moved into a house that’s about 1/2 mile from the church. Not gonna lie, I will definitely miss our sunny little kitchen in the mini-house.

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We are currently in the midst of finishing up renovations/painting/cleaning but we have all of our belongings in one place now and even have a lot of them unpacked!

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While I am a little sad to be leaving our old place, it was the perfect time to move on. I loved our mini-house but it was just a hair too small and we were starting to feel it (note to self: one closet for two people is rough!). I am most excited about having an office and a guest room. I am on the hunt for the perfect desk.

This month has been full of lots of fun things besides the move. I was very excited when I got to spend a few hours with some of my favorite people from high school. Two of them were in town visiting so we randomly got together for lunch and coffee.

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Ben and I also spent some time at our friends’ maple farm to help them out with an event and eat copious amounts of maple syrup/drink lots of sap water coffee. It was rough. We even got to go for a ride!

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In other news, I started doing an online bootcamp with Erica House. We are doing a carb-cycling program, complete with workouts. So far, I am really loving it, especially the accountability. With my schedule, it is all too easy for me to put off doing a workout, so this is great motivation.

I’ve followed Erica’s blog for a long time so when she opened up the program I knew it would be a great fit for me! She even sent each person a sweet journal and water bottle.

I’m a week into it and so far I am feeling pretty good. It definitely doesn’t feel like a diet and I am loving the motivation to get out and get some exercise!

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Phew! I think that’s pretty much it! So, long story short, Farmer Ben and I have been busy!

What have all of you been up to? Any big weekend plans? Most exciting thing that’s happened in the last month? 

I have an event tomorrow and then hopefully I’ll have some time to unpack/clean/paint. Very exciting, I know!

Happy Friday!

 


Things That Drive Me Insta-Bonkers

Happy Thursday Friends!

Any big weekend plans?

I am heading to Syracuse tomorrow for a meeting on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, Farmer Ben and I start vacation! I am SO looking forward to taking some time off. We will be visiting family, resting, and sleeping in. After almost a year of being out straight, I am totally ready.

Anyway, moving on….

I was scrolling through Instagram this morning and I have to be honest… I was bored. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Instagram and it’s really the only form of social media that I keep up with on a daily basis (I don’t use Facebook or Snapchat and Twitter is just downright overwhelming!).

I follow some amazing accounts but there seems to be a lot of monotony in my feed lately. Maybe this means it’s time for an insta-cleanse? Perhaps.

Now… I’m not saying that my own Instagram feed is perfect, because it’s definitely not. I’m so guilty of posting things that other people find super annoying (see: post-run selfies, #bigasssalads and pictures of my bulletproof coffee and eggs).

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That being said, it got me thinking about the things that drive me most crazy….So, here are the top five posts (in no particular order) that I am totally over!

  • Pancakes, specifically protein pancakes. I’m sorry, but there are only so many things you can do to a pancake to make it look interesting. Do I enjoy eating them? Yes. Do I want to see 123435431341341 pictures of them? No.
  • It Works anything. Come on! We get it… you love being an independent distributor, blah blah blah! Also, telling me that the wraps and vitamins will help me get a body like yours, when I’ve known you since birth and you’ve always had a super model physique is not convincing me to buy your product. Sorry. It doesn’t work like that (see what I did there?).
  • Smoothie Bowls. My apologies, but I don’t get the appeal. If I’m going to drink a smoothie, I  want it in a glass. Otherwise, it’s just a sad pretend version of ice cream.
  • Pictures of you doing a handstand. Is it awesome that you can do a handstand, heck yes! I cannot do one… Do I want to see you doing a handstand not once, not twice, but three times a day? No. There are only so many ways to make this interesting.
  • Negativity. I get it, sometimes you have trouble squeezing into your jeans, or you spill your coffee, you get in a fight with your significant other or you are just having a no-good-rotten day. But taking a completely unrelated picture or using a selfie to complain about your life, your looks or to berate your spouse on the internet? Come on. You’re better than that.

This is all meant in good fun… and totally not serious. Except maybe the protein pancakes.

Let’s chat! What drives you crazy on Instagram?! 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks to Amanda for hosting the link-up!

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Real Talk: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars

Helloooo! Happy Tuesday y’all!

Can we talk about snacks today?! I am stopping in today with a quick review for Manitoba Harvest. They recently came out with a new product, their hemp heart bars, and I was lucky enough to get to sample two of the flavors!

*Full Disclosure-Manitoba Harvest provided me with product for review purposes through my relationship with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. Per usual, all opinions are my own.*

I was excited to test these out as I am a big fan of hemp seeds as a plant-based protein and am always game for trying new snacks.

There are many days when I get caught up at work and do not have time to sit down and eat a real lunch, so I try to keep relatively healthy and filling snacks around. These definitely fit the bill!

I was sent the apple cinnamon and the chocolate to try. While both were good, the chocolate was definitely the winner in my book. I will be on the lookout for the vanilla so I can try all three!

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Side note: I know this probably doesn’t matter to most people, but I really like the packaging for these… it’s nice and simple, just like the ingredients.  

Speaking of the ingredients, I can pronounce all of them, which if you know me, is very important! You can also see pretty much everything listed!

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A quick run down of the bars from the Manitoba Harvest Website:

“Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart bars are crafted with the goodness of hemp and other tasty ingredients too. We’ve whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day!”

10 grams of protein! I was super thankful to have one of these in my purse the other day… Once again, I hadn’t had time for a real lunch and I needed a quick snack before heading out to meet a friend for a run! It didn’t bother my stomach and kept me satiated through my workout and up until dinner! Winning!

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Overall, I would absolutely buy these again. However, I would definitely recommend the chocolate over the apple cinnamon. It’s just…I personally would rather eat an actual apple…but that’s just me…don’t let that rain on your apple cinnamon loving parade!

In other exciting news, Manitoba Harvest is running a wicked cool photo contest! You can find the full details here.

Here are some quick details if you’d like to play along: 

  • Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!
  • A winner will be chosen each month!
  • Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents.

AND if you’d like to order your own hemp heart bars, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering 15% off your purchase. You can buy them here.

  • The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016 

A big thank you to Manitoba Harvest and Fit Approach for allowing me to sample out another awesome product!

Lets’ chat: Hemp Hearts-yes or no? Favorite pre-run (or other workout) snack? Chocolate or Apple Cinnamon? 

 

 


Stuff on My Phone

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday!  Not gonna lie, it’s been a while! Let’s catch up!

I finally crossed over to the dark side and got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago. In all honesty, I had been thinking about it for a while (since August/September) but my poor old phone was finally on its last legs, so I gave in and made the switch.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show you some pictures I’ve taken in the 2 weeks since switching phones. I have to say, the camera on this phone is WAY better than my old one and I LOVE that. I also love that I can take screen shots(as you’ll notice!)…I know… I’m like 2341343 years late to the screenshot party. It’s fine.

What you’ll find: 

  • My friends’ excitement over my finally switching to the iPhone.
  • Final grade in the last class I took (So pumped about getting that A!)
  • Screenshot of some books I recently added to my Kindle library
  • Food (Lots of food)
  • Chocolate (the BEST chocolate for baking)
  • Farmer Ben (my favorite person) and I freezing our butts off at a youth retreat
  • The not-too-shabby view at said youth retreat. Still freezing.
  • Screenshot of my workout summary on Map My Run
  • Some books I ordered and am excited to dig into (both for class and for pleasure)
  • A page I really liked in my reading for the class I just finished.

(Click on the collage to see individual photos)

Enjoy! 

 

That’s all I have for today! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

What are you taking pictures of lately? Screenshots? Let me know! (I’m really nosey like that and am dying to know!) 

 


2015 In Review

Hey Y’all! Happy New Year! I totally started writing this post last week last year but I put it aside for a few days….

Last year In December 2014, I wrote a post outlining my goals for 2015. There were three (marathon number 2, coaching certification and cleaning up my diet).

Not gonna lie, reading this post now makes me laugh!  I have only partly accomplished one thing on the list. Just ONE (half)!

While a normal person would look at this as a major failure, I am giving myself a bit of grace this year. Am I letting myself off the hook too easily? Probably… but I am okay with that.

I was dissatisfied with myself last year in 2014.  I was stressed to the max, ready to snap at any moment!

This year… I don’t really feel that way…at least not as much. Am I perfect? Heavens NO! Of course not! But I have made some progress. While I am still striving to make improvements and I still have stress, I’m not obsessing over it and I am enjoying this chapter and what God has planned.

One of the major changes of 2015 was on the work front. I am in a job that I love. Is it easy? No. Absolutely not. But I know this is where I need to be. This is where God wants me, a place where I have to fully rely on Him.

A hard part of my work is that it requires me to work on Sundays. Unfortunately, this means no racing on Sundays….and all of the local(ish) half marathons and marathons take place on Sundays (except one…which I was and will indefinitely be unable to attend due to another work conflict).

As a result, not only did I NOT accomplish marathon number 2, but I also did not do ANY races this year. Not a single one! I realized this the other day… am I little bummed out about this? Yes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Another change that 2015 brought was going back to school. I started taking classes for my minister’s license in August. This means that a typical day (while classes are in session) starts around 7 am and goes until 2 am, when I finally finish my homework. I’m still working on my schedule and how to fit in regular life activities (including exercise and dinner!

While finding my footing with a new job, classes and the many changes that occurred (and are still)  with our head pastor’s death, I had many days where I was just trying to hang on… But even in that, I am amazed at the work that God accomplished. I haven’t written about this (on the blog) very much, and I am not entirely certain that I will, but it’s been a very good year. Tough… but good.

Will I ever get that run coaching certification? I think so. I get updates about upcoming courses and I would still like to take the certification course, but my reason for wanting it is a bit different than it was last year. I guess I will let that one roll over to 2016.

2015 was also a year of friendship.

This afternoon, I sat around my kitchen table with five other women for our monthly book club. As we laughed together, I realized how lucky I am to call them friends. When I started the book club, I never knew how much of an impact it would have on me. When I was first approached about working at my church back in February, I sent an email and with the click of the send button, I knew that I had (at least) 12 people praying for me, asking God to give me direction, even though they didn’t know the details.

When our pastor was sick, and eventually passed away, Ben and I knew that we had friends we could grieve with and walk through this chapter with.  We’ve been blessed to have support in many areas of our life and are glad to offer our support to the people in our life.

Ben and I have an ongoing group text with our friend’s Ben and Ashley. There are many times throughout the week when these texts will absolutely crack me up… but we can also send out a group “Hey, can we pray about XYZ together in the next few minutes?” It’s comforting, knowing that we have friendships where this is a normal occurrence. God is so good!

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image via She Reads Truth.

To be honest, 2015 was a huge blur! There are a few moments that stand out, but honestly, I have no idea how it is already January 2016!

I had no idea what was in store when I wrote this post last January….but I hope that I don’t lose that boldness and that desire to speak life!

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I’m looking forward expectantly, wondering what God has planned for us.

 

Cheers to 2016!

Let’s chat! Favorite moment in 2015? Did you accomplish all of your goals? 

 

 

 

 

 


Life Update: What Day Is It?

Hi Friends! It’s been a hot second since my last post. Life has been…. kind of a beautiful mess!

The truth is that I am exhausted. The last month has been a total whirlwind and most days I am not entirely sure which way is up. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it.

As an example, about two weeks ago (Maybe?) I had a meeting on a Monday and didn’t realize that I had completely forgotten about it and not shown up until Thursday. Oops. Luckily, I was able to reschedule.

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post anything on Instagram for 3 WEEKS! If you know me, you know that I typically post about once a day!

Also, the blog turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago! I had been thinking of doing a sappy throwback post with a lot of fanfare…and then I completely missed it… so thank you to everyone who keeps reading! Moving on…

In other news, Ben and I are adjusting to a new schedule as he started a new job a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out balancing schoolwork and adulting. Most days, I am usually up until about 2 am doing homework. Needless to say, this month has required a lot of prayer, patience and coffee (mostly on Farmer Ben’s part-#besthubsever).

 

But even with all of the hustle and bustle and adulting failure, life is good and Ben and I have so much to be thankful for.

Life is SO good!

Ben and I took a quick trip down to see the family for Thanksgiving. (We drove down Wednesday after work and drove back on Thursday night). Yes, it was a lot of driving but Farmer Ben is probably the best car dancer road trip partner on the planet so we had a blast.

I spent a large portion of the trip scanning radio stations (I know, I’m incredibly behind the times) so I could belt out Adele’s “Hello” while speeding down the highway, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate almonds and drinking coffee like a champ!

The highlight of our trip was going to Wegmans on Thanksgiving day and completely blowing our grocery budget on beer and cheese buying some awesome foodie things that we may not be able to get at home.

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Just kidding! While this beer and Wegmans brie are both wonderful treats, it was even better to spend time with the family….especially because I finally got to meet my beautiful niece! Her name is Olivia and she is perfect!

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She already looks so much like my sister! (Side note: Can we talk about how good my sister looks after delivering a human baby three weeks ago?!) It’s crazy….strong genes! It was awesome to see the rest of the family as well… I always hate to leave!

Since being home, I’ve been going pretty much nonstop but I am thankful that I am able to do what I do.

Phew… this was an incredibly random post! I had something much deeper planned when I first started typing and…well, clearly that didn’t happen. Next time friends!

Let’s catch up! How was Thanksgiving? Favorite road trip snack? What’s your favorite foodie item/beer? 

 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks for hosting the link-up!

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