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? 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Confessions: On Turning 28

Today is my 28th birthday. Ever since I turned 25, I have begrudgingly gotten older, panic setting in as I realize that I am hurdling toward my thirties and there is no turning back. As an example, I vividly remember a conversation with an old friend last year. They wished me a happy birthday and asked how my day was. My response? “Thanks. I’m okay… I just thought that I’d have my sh*t together by now.”

But this year is different. I am totally okay with 28. I feel that I have fully used my 27th year and am ready for the next adventures that God has for me. I want to celebrate this life that I was given!

As I reflect back on the last year of my life, I smile at that conversation. I had no idea of the wild ride that God had in store for me.

I am so incredibly grateful. Not that it was an easy year, by any means, but I (eventually) chose to be joyful. And I am so grateful for the blessings that came with all of the hard things.

Year 27 was a year filled with loss. Ben and I left the restaurant; we lost a great mentor and friend and closed the book on jobs, projects and relationships that meant a lot to us. I struggled with not feeling my best and not doing things that I enjoyed doing. Not gonna lie, the first few months of 27 were spent very angry, upset and feeling as though I could snap like a rubber band.

But then something changed. I surrendered. And I let go of the fear and the bitterness that I was holding onto. Life didn’t get any easier; I simply chose to be grateful for whatever good I could find. I sought contentment and it changed my life.

Because of that choice, year 27 was filled with blessings, renewal, strength and so much love! Looking back, I realize that these things never would have happened if I had not decided to find joy and to submit to God’s plan.

I am absolutely amazed and humbled by how much God has done in my life as a result. He has blessed my marriage, my career and my friendships. Everything! I’m not saying that I have it all figured out, and there are definitely hard days where I would rather choose a pity party than gratitude, but I am actively seeking Thanksgiving and Joy.

I took a chance to start a book club, and have seen so much growth, friendship and wisdom come out of this.

By clearing out our schedules, Ben and I were able to spend more time with another couple. As a result, Ben and Ashley are some of our closest friends and we can’t imagine doing life without them! We’ve been through a lot with these two and are so grateful for their friendship.

We were also able to spend more time together. This year, we were able to have dinner together almost every day. Before my 27th birthday, I don’t think we ever did that more than 1 night a week. We’ve been able to take walks, to try new things together, to read and just be together in comfortable silence. I know that it won’t necessarily be like this forever but I am so grateful for this season of life.

I also took risks. I left my comfortable, secure job and am trying something new. Every day is filled with new challenges but this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I am doing something that I’ve always wanted to do, but it is not anything like I imagined it would be.

So, this year, instead of groaning at the thought of turning a year older, I am smiling. And I’m looking forward to what year 28 will bring. Because God has a plan.

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Happy Independence Day

Hello!

Just stopping in to say “Happy Independence Day!”

Last night, Farmer Ben and I practiced our right to grill and had a pretty delicious meal of chicken hot dogs, vegan beer brats (I’ve been really digging Tofurky brand sausages lately-Ben thinks I’m such a weirdo!), zucchini, radishes, scallions and hot sauce-dipped pineapple.

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Everything was delicious… but we probably went a bit overboard for two people (We also had cheese and baguette).

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Luckily, I have lots of leftovers to eat while Farmer Ben is feeding the masses today. I may have eaten some for breakfast, paired with some iced mango-black tea I found at Trader Joe’s earlier this week.

Honestly, I can’t complain about this day one bit… it started with delicious food and some quiet time before doing some work. That feels like a total win!

Anyway, remember to take a moment to thank those who serve and protect our freedom today!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

What are you doing to celebrate the 4th? 


(Food) Scenes from a Christmas Weekend

Hi Friends!

Hope you had a lovely holiday… I know that I did, in spite of still having this pesky cough! I didn’t capture a lot of photos…

Here’s a quick recap:

We continued our tradition of Chinese food on Christmas Eve paired with some wine (thanks Uncle Mike & Aunt Terry!)

The Christmas day menu was as follows: delicious leg of lamb, along with spanakopita, tabouleh, a marinated mushroom salad and a roasted root vegetable soup on Christmas Day. Basically, we ate all day long…which is totally fine! Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling up to baking so we didn’t have any desserts other than a few cookies (thanks Ben & Ashley!) and some chocolate. And that was really okay with us.
 

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Even though I was really missing the family this year, it was really nice to sleep in and just relax—I ended up reading a book and a half (the half a book being really long!) and sipping on hot toddies for the long weekend.

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Other than some major relaxing, we went to see Into the Woods with a couple of friends. Who knew Chris Pine could sing?!

On Saturday, we drove over to Burlington to pick up a few essentials (like siggi’s and coffee) and skipped over to Trader Joe’s… I LOVE that store.

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We also discovered a new pizza place which was delicious…and we may have eaten all but two slices of the pie on the drive back across the lake… Whoops!

I made a batch of almond butter and a chocolate peanut butter (sweetened with stevia) in the ninja. Note to self: Next time either soak or roast the almonds first.

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Sunday was spent doing a lot of running around and church. Not gonna lie, it felt like a long day.

Monday we had small group and wound up at the bowling alley. Have I ever discussed my bowling skills? Yeah, I don’t have any. My friend Ashley tried bowling with her left hand and ended up tossing the ball into the next lane… it was probably the funniest thing I have seen in 2014!

Tuesday, I started my morning at the DMV…after work I went home and went to bed early!

 And here we are on Wednesday…At the moment, we don’t have any plans for New Year’s Eve… which is okay. Ben is working for part of the evening… we will probably pick up some wine and snacks and call it all good! I’m hoping this cough goes away.. It is so last year!

What about you? Any NYE plans? Most embarrassing bowling experience? 


#elf4health & #holidaysweat Week 4 Recap

Hi Friends! Happy Monday! And happy-almost-Christmas!

Yesterday was the last week of the #elf4health challenge and another week of #holidaysweat. Overall, I did pretty well! Let’s take a look!

Big thanks to Elle & Lindsay for organizing the #elf4health challenge again.

#elf4health:

Monday-Read, Write or Meditate: My small group is going through The Purpose Driven Life and with the chapter-a-day approach, this was the perfect book to read today. It’s very timely for Farmer Ben and I and so far I’m enjoying it (even though only reading a small chunk at a time is a challenge in and of itself).  

Tuesday-Push-Up Challenge: I really meant to do this, but I failed.

Wednesday-Share your expertise: I didn’t do this but I did share a few recipes last week… let’s call it even!

Thursday-Veggies with breakfast: I had a smoothie with Skoop and spinach, paired with a carrot pear muffin.

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Friday-What You Love About You: I didn’t do this, but I did share some life updates and discussed some recent acceptance of life happening. Again, let’s call it even.

Saturday-New Fitness Goal: I shared my 2015 fitness goals in my last post. Check it out here.

Sunday-Make a donation: Hmm… On Saturday, I volunteered to help with our youth Christmas party at church… this included making a RIDICULOUS amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with the some teenagers. Boom. Done!

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#holidaysweat:

You know how last week I said I was starting to feel better? Well, I lied. I’m still sick. Therefore it was more walking, some stretching and not much else.

BUT, I’m still on my freggie and H20 a-game, so that’s something!

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Let’s chat: How is your December eating/fitness? Favorite kind of Christmas cookie?


#Elf4health and #HolidaySweat weeks 2 & 3

Hi friends!

My apologies for being a bit behind on these updates… let’s catch up! Full disclosure: my participation has only been so-so.

#elf4health

I’ll come right out and say that Weeks 2 & 3 were kind of a bust. I’ve been pre-occupied with work and had an awful cold that has kicked my butt for the last two weeks… but here we go:  

Monday-12/1-Handwritten note: I still need to do this and try to make a point to do this on a somewhat regular basis.

Tuesday-Eat the rainbow: Yes, Done. I’ve been really good about eating my veggies lately.

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Wednesday-Go Makeup Free: this is most days, so it wasn’t really a challenge for me.

Thursday-Buddy Workout: Fail. Nothing more than walks lately.

Friday-Operation Beautiful Note: Nope. I did send some encouraging emails/texts though!

Saturday-= Pantry Purge: This is an on-going process in our house. Farmer Ben and I have a lot of food in our house, but we’ve been making a conscious effort to clean out our cabinets. Some things have been tossed, some given away and we’ve been baking/cooking up a storm to give ourselves some cabinet space.

Sunday-20 things gratitude list: Okay, I didn’t physically write out a list, but I did get to share so much that I am thankful for at my book club last weekend, so I’m counting this as complete.

Monday 12/8-Fastest Mile Challenge: To be totally honest, I haven’t done much running as of late, so this is on the to-do list.

Tuesday-Pay it Forward: I took care of something for a friend of mine. I can’t say what because I don’t want to be found out.

Wednesday-Pack a Healthy Snack: I typically bring some kind of healthy snack every day. I don’t remember what it was on this day…probably energybits or something with my homemade nut butter.

Thursday-Take Some You Time: I had an unexpected snow day (seriously, this NEVER happens at my place of employment) so I ended up having breakfast with Farmer Ben, going for a walk and grabbing lunch with two friends. Then I went home and spent the evening with Farmer Ben. Win all around.

Friday-Circuit Workout: Fail. I barely made it to work on time and then I spent the rest of the day prepping for my book club meeting. After a hot toddy, I fell into bed.

Saturday-3 food groups per meal: Yes, I did this. My book club meal was (hand-grated!) mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta, veal chorizo, mushrooms, onions and red peppers, a big salad and roasted pumpkin with a maple chipotle & fig balsamic vinaigrette. This was on repeat for dinner.

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Sunday-12/14-Clean Out Your Closet: As Farmer Ben and I only have one closet in our new place, this has already been done a few times over… I also did some frantic cleaning before my book club on Saturday.

#HolidaySweat:

As I mentioned above, running hasn’t happened much lately as I have been under the weather (and, okay, I admit, lazy). I’ve done some walking, which is something, but I know it’s NOT enough.  This week is my week to get back on track…I’m finally starting to feel better and can almost breathe normally again.  
However, I have hit my freggie (fruit and veggie) and water goals almost every day.

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Pumpkin Smoothies

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Let’s Chat: How’s your fitness/health this season? Doing any challenges?