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.
Happy Saturday Friends!
Any exciting weekend plans? Farmer Ben and I are having some friends over for an evening of good food and games. I’m really looking forward to it!
Other than that, my back-to-school game is in full swing! Not gonna lie, I’ll be happy once my orientation class is over so I don’t have to log in every day. I probably still will… but I won’t be obligated to. That makes all the difference!
In other news, have you guys heard of EBATES? It’s stupidly easy. You sign up, download their button, and when you are on a site that gives cash back, it turns red. Once activated, you get money back! If you don’t want to download the button, you can go to the EBATES’ site and find what you’re looking for that way. I’ve gotten money back on a book for school, protein powder and a baby shower gift.
(Full Disclosure, if you sign up via the link above and make a purchase, I get $5. Thank you in advance!).
I signed up about a month ago and I’ve already gotten $8.05 back from online purchases. My sister, on the other hand, got $26 back (I think she does more online shopping than I do). It doesn’t seem like it’s that much, but those few dollars here and there add up! You’ll either receive a check in the mail or you can have it go to your PayPal account.
Confession time… (Mostly Food)
- Farmer Ben and I had pizza for dinner three times this week (Unless you count Sunday as last week, then it’s technically only 2 times). One of said pizzas was a “nacho pizza.” Yes, it was ridiculously good and I think I gained approximately 5 pounds.
- I am officially over summer squash and zucchini…we’ve been eating it SO MUCH and people keep giving us more! I’ve gotten creative, making a zucchini “lasagna,” and just eating it raw, dipped in hummus or dressing…and a few other ways… but there are only so many things you can do to squash. Sometime next week, we’ll have zucchini fritters and the elusive zucchini pizza crust (because clearly, we never get sick of pizza). Gulp…wish us luck!
- I made these cupcakes with a few modifications, to use more zucchini up (and then my mom gave us 3 more). They were good but only required a cup… I may need to quadruple the recipe and freeze them! Any suggestions for what else we should make?
- I am really into snack plates (Always with radishes and cucumbers)… I think it’s becoming a problem…this was a recent work meeting.
- Farmer Ben and I have a problem with making everything boozey. The cupcakes I talked about earlier? I put Kahlua in them… And Farmer Ben? He made this…
I can’t even.
- I’ve been alternating between three pairs of running capris. I have other bottoms to wear, but they just aren’t as comfortable! I’ve been doing a lot of laundry the last few weeks.
- Speaking of running… I’ve been eyeing different GPS Watches/Heart Rate Monitors… I’ve even gone as far as putting some in my online shopping cart… but I can’t convince myself to spend the money on them. Any suggestions on brand? I’m bouncing back and forth between Garmin and TomTom. Are they worth all the hype?
- And sports bras. It’s time to cough up some cash for some new sports bras. Why is having boobs so darn expensive?!
- Looking back over my last month of posts, I realize that I haven’t blogged about so many things…look for some major photo/catching up posts in the next week or two!
That’s all for today, Friends! Any confessions on your end? Let me know in the comments!
You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything for GBN last week, so we are making up for it with two weeks of workouts today! I started my online orientation class and I’ve had a ridiculous amount of meetings the last couple of weeks, AND Farmer Ben’s schedule has changed, which makes the morning run a bit trickier now… so there were many missed runs. Even though I am a bit frustrated by this, I realize that I just have to prioritize my time better. And, today is a new day!
Farmer Ben joined me on a couple of runs over these two weeks and I was absolutely ecstatic. There is something about running with the hubs that just makes it so much better…even if he is way faster than me!
That being said, my runs were … just okay last week. I don’t know if I was overtired or just bored, but pretty much every run was a struggle. Also, apparently last week was the week of meetings. Holy moly! I literally had some kind of meeting every day!
This week… I was sore. Like, I had a hard time bending over and putting pants on kind of sore…So, there’s that.
Anyway, here we go!
Gross But Necessary: August 23-September 5.
Sunday: So… I’ve decided to just go ahead and call Sundays a rest day.
Monday: No run. Instead of my usual forcing myself to run in the morning, I came into work early with the intention of running to a friend’s house after work for our usual dinner and small group. As I was about to
literally run out the door, I got a phone call from someone who needed help. I was annoyed that I missed my run, but it was perfect timing and I was able to pray for this person AND practically help them…And honestly, that’s more important to me.
Tuesday: Short Night Run. I ended up going out in the evening with Farmer Ben for a little over 2 miles. This was after a taco dinner and a beer. Needless to say, this was extremely poor planning on my part and I didn’t feel too hot and it wasn’t pretty.
Wednesday: I woke up at 5:00 am and got ready for a work conference just north of Albany (I was thrilled. Heh). We got back to town around 4:30 and I was incredibly car sick from the trip. After lounging around on the couch, Farmer Ben forced me to go out (God bless that man!). We did 3 miles and a cool down.
Thursday: 4 Mile Morning (!) Run and a 1.5 Mile cool down. Knowing that I had a meeting on Thursday night, I set out to do five miles in the wee morning hours. And I tried. I got to 4 miles and decided to finish the loop as a cool down, so I alternated walking and running. This was a “meh” workout.
Friday: I slept in that morning, went to work, had another meeting and marathon cleaned my house that evening, prepared for my monthly book club, cooked and baked until about 1:30 in the morning. Does anyone else do this? I always pick really inconvenient times to decide to do the really OCD cleaning. Am I alone on this?
Saturday: I finished tidying up, did dog duty for friends who were out of town,w drove to a work luncheon, sped back to my house, frosted cupcakes for book club, hosted book club, second dog duty, had dinner with the hubby and took some chicken broth, soup and medicine to my mother who caught the black plague.
Sunday: See note above. Work, lunch with friends, work, delicious pizza with Farmer Ben celebrating the end of the week of meetings. Phew!
Monday: I can’t even lie, big fail; I didn’t drag my butt out of bed early enough…Then, instead of running in the evening, I started classes.
Tuesday: This workout from Erica House. I loved this workout…and I hated it. I love doing pushups and squats. I HATE lunges. Especially being as out of shape as I am…I’m still sore. Yesterday, I had trouble putting pants on! I know this means that I should probably do more lunges.
Two notes: We actually did a 1/2 mile warmup and 1/4 mile cool down… We also did about .32 miles instead of 400 meters. Also, did you know that running on a soccer field is more challenging when it needs to be mowed (we did this at a field near our house)? True story.
Wednesday: Um…I hurt all day. I had a lunch meeting and then ended up doing school work til late.
Thursday: Still in pain. I probably should have gone out and done something, but after work and homework, I really just wanted to spend some quality time with Farmer Ben…so that’s what I did.
Friday: Evening run. 3 miles, slow and easy.
Saturday: 5 miles with lots of hills.
Takeaways from the last two weeks?
I was very happy to get at least one good workout in this week after such a rough time the week before… I probably overdid it (or else I am just a major wuss) but I’m thinking that it was better for me to just start doing stuff like this, instead of waiting to “get back in shape.” If I wait for that, it’ll never happen. So, in spite of being sore, I am really glad that Farmer Ben and I did it and we will keep it in the rotation…it can only get easier, right?
Looking at my calendar, I really need to just go ahead and block out time for working out, otherwise, it won’t happen. Especially with schoolwork and all these meetings!
I’m also thinking that I need to sign up for a race… I unfortunately won’t be able to do the Ragnar Relay like I’d hoped, which means I haven’t done any races this year and have none coming up! That’s kind of depressing. Any race suggestions? They have to be Saturday races.
Happy Weekend, Friends!
Tell me, how are your workouts this week? Any Saturday race suggestions?
Today, we are going to talk about one of my favorite things…Food! Specifically, what food I’m snacking on after a workout! If you’re anything like me, you may be kind of nosey… and you may be really curious about what other people are eating….If you were to peruse my Instagram feed, you’d probably find a lot of foodie accounts and food photos. It’s something I get excited about, what can I say?!
I was recently asked what I’m eating after all of my GBN workouts. This changes often because I go through food phases, but there are a few staples that stay in the rotation. I typically like to eat snacks with lots of protein, fiber and healthy fats.
Just a note, this is what works for me. I’ve discovered this mostly through trial and error, and what I do may or may not work for someone else. So, do you, Friend!
I was recently introduced to a great site for all of my snacking needs! Nuts.com has a great variety of healthy snacks for every type of person–whether you’re a parent, career person, or a crazy runner, vegan or paleo, Nuts.com has something for you. And, if you’re not sure about something, you can buy a sample size!
They have everything from nuts, spices, gluten free and regular flours to chocolate, coffee and other cooking/baking ingredients. One stop shopping for dry goods, friends! I personally love that you can buy tons of ingredients in bulk…because, let’s be real, that saves money! And saving money=extra cash to buy more snacks! #winning
Anyway, let’s get started…here is what I’m snacking on lately!
Nut Butters. I really love peanut butter. And cashew butter. And almond butter. But, they can get pricey… Luckily, my family got us a Ninja for Christmas last year, so I’ve been able to whip up all sorts of nutty creations.
It’s stupidly easy…just dump whatever nuts and flavors you want in the food processor and you’re on your way to delicious nut butters! I love that I can control the ingredients and am able to make small batches. Don’t want salt? Done! Don’t want sugar? That’s okay too! Pro-Tip: Buy your nuts in bulk. This saves money!
My favorite varieties are chocolate peanut butter (peanuts and chocolate chips OR cocoa powder and some maple syrup) and maple cashew butter (cashews and maple syrup with a pinch of smoked salt).
Just a note, for harder nuts like cashews and almonds, I’d recommend roasting first. If you’re into raw nut butters, soak nuts for a few hours to soften so you don’t break the food processor.
I typically eat nut butter with a banana or apple, or throw it in a smoothie, slather on crackers or make a sandwich. But sometimes, I just eat it by the spoonful! Easy to grab and go!
Smoothies. If you’ve been following along, you know that I struggle with waking up and getting out the door in the morning. As of late, I’ve also been trying to run in the morning, which means I don’t have
any a ton of time for breakfast. The easiest thing for me to suck down after my morning run and shower is a smoothie.
My favorite concoction is usually protein powder, nut butter (duh), banana, any other fruit we have in the freezer/on the counter, coconut milk, cold coffee and some cacao and maca powders. If I’m looking for an extra protein boost, I throw in some siggi’s yogurt (coconut).
So to review, we have some protein, healthy fats, carbs and caffeine. This will usually satisfy me until lunch time. *coconut milk, coffee, nut butters or dry nuts and cacao and maca powders available on nuts.com*
Yogurt with seeds and/or fruit. This is another super easy to make snack, packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats so it keeps me full.
I’m not a big fan of flavored yogurt because of the added sugar, but I have a soft spot for siggi’s coconut (simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar). If I don’t have that on hand, I use a full fat, plain yogurt. I top with berries if I have them, then I add chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seed meal. *seeds available on nuts.com
Random Snack Plates. Confession time; Farmer Ben and I are eating a lot of plates that look like this for lunch and dinner. If I run after work, a lot of times I am too
hot and sweaty tired to cook. Farmer Ben is often so busy at work, that he doesn’t have time to eat meals that require a fork… can you relate?
We are super lucky to have an amazing landlord and mom who frequently give us veggies from the garden. We typically just chop up a cucumber, tomato, radishes, peppers and add a piece of chicken sausage or lunch meat and some hummus (another thing we make at home to save some dinero and control the ingredients) and nuts/a few crackers and call it dinner/snack/lunch. Plates like this are easy to make, fill us up without being too heavy and make us feel good because we are eating so many colors!
So there you have it, this is what Farmer Ben and I are snacking on lately…again, this is what works for us! Do you!
*All nuts, seeds and powders are available on nuts.com…along with many other products!
What are you snacking on lately?
Thanks to Nuts.com for starting this conversation! I was not compensated for my time and all opinions are my own.
If you’ve seen my last few posts, you already know that I’ve been working through this Gary Thomas book. I finished it a couple of weeks ago.
I typically read very fast–I am totally guilty of rushing through a book to finish it and not taking enough time to think critically and reflect on it. I couldn’t do that with this book. It’s not incredibly long, but it is FULL. I have about 2/3 of the pages dog-eared with information/quotes that I want to go back and read.
The basic premise of this book (at least from my point of view) comes from 2 Timothy 2:20-21:
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
As Christians we are called to be:
- Instruments for special purposes
- Made holy
- Useful to the Master
- Prepared to do any good work.
That’s a lot of responsibility.
As Gary puts it:
“Desiring a silver soul means that we stop treating our bodies like ornaments-with all the misguided motivations often displayed by those who build their bodies out of pride and ambition-and start treating our bodies like instruments, vessels set apart to serve the God who fashioned them. Whether we have strong or weak bodies, healthy or sick, overnourished or undernourished, how do we begin moving from where we are now to more purposefully building bodies that function like instruments?”
Um… treating our bodies as ornaments? Guilty. This means that we must put our vanity aside. That we stop beating ourselves up or worshiping our looks and start treating our bodies as something that God has given us…and use them accordingly!
This is heavy stuff. And that was only the first chapter!
I mentioned before that this really hit home. I’ve been a bit lax about taking care of my physical health the last few months. Not that I’ve taken up binge drinking, smoking and eating bacon cheeseburgers for dinner every night (How fun would that be?)… I just haven’t made a concerted effort to get out and move. And I was starting to feel it.
With my new-ish job, being healthy and physically fit is important. I have to be on the move at any given time…I never really know what I’m going to end up doing during the week (Seriously).
And then there is the other aspect of my job; As much as I don’t like to admit or think about it, people are watching what I do and say. Especially younger people. And their parents. What I do directly impacts my accountability. How is that for scary responsibility/reality? Wow.
There is a chapter called The Three-Hundred Pound Pastor that hit the nail on the head in this regard. Let’s just say that my Gross But Necessary posts came back right around the time I read that chapter.
To quote the book:
“Let’s be honest: There were times when I was discredited because of the way I looked. When I talked to the kids about self-control in other areas, they could look at me and understandably ask why I wasn’t addressing my issues with food…”
The chapter goes on to talk about how the church can actually enable people who struggle with food/physical fitness. Farmer Ben and I have definitely noticed this before-someone always brings cake/cookies to a group function, there are donuts and coffee on Sunday mornings, and so on.
As the books states;
“Please don’t misunderstand. Making delicious meals is a wonderful way to serve and love others. There’s nothing wrong with communal meals and tasty snacks. There is something wrong, however, about enabling someone who is trapped in an unhealthy pattern of living…
…Let’s create room in our churches for conversations rooted in love as we show concern not just for a person’s emotional well-being but for the physical well-being of that person too. Let’s be more concerned about someone walking in right relationship with God than with whether that person thinks we are loving accepting, and tolerant.”
Now, I realize that I may have a slightly different view because of my employment and my personal areas of struggle…but I think this is definitely something that needs to be talked about.
And the author is not saying to go around and criticize someone’s eating choices/physical appearance. Not at all. But he is saying, that maybe we shouldn’t be so accepting, so nice about letting someone continue an unhealthy lifestyle. There’s a balance.
Moving on, the book has many stories of people who were spiritually strengthened as a result of becoming physically stronger and as I mentioned before, there were many inspiring quotes.
There was also some tough reading.
Gary Thomas doesn’t mince words. He’s very honest about what he feels is the role of the church and its members And he doesn’t excuse a total focus on spiritual health:
“All this talk about fitness, facing the pain of getting in shape, actively combating indulgence and laziness, is in many ways an appeal for the church to get tougher. We are soft. We often cave in at the slightest challenge. Men are lost to superficial sins; women are lost to superficial cares, and the work of the kingdom is neglected. If we don’t get tougher, the work will never get done.”
He has a point. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Heck, being human isn’t easy! If we can’t suffer through an hour of strength training, how will we suffer through persecution? A crisis of faith? Or worse?
It’s pretty clear that I loved this book.There is so much more that I could go write about but we’d be here for another week! That being said, it was not an easy read. Did I take everything in this book as an absolute? Of course not. But it gave me a lot to think about.
There were many pages that made me say, “Amen! Yes…Absolutely!,” There were slightly more that gave me pause… that caused me to ask if I am really living up to the standard to which God calls us.
It’s definitely a process.
Because I loved this book so much, I’m going to give one away!*** Update: Giveaway closed!
To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what gets you motivated to improve your physical health!
(US or Canada Only)***
For additional entries (1 entry for each item):
- Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did so.
- Follow me on twitter and comment telling me that you did. (@noellesnotebook)
- Follow my blog and tell me how you follow (email, WordPress, BlogLovin, etc.).
- Follow me on Instagram and let me know in the comments! (@noellesnotebook)
I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, August 29! Good luck!
*I purchased this book (and the giveaway copy) with my own money. No affiliation, I just really loved this book and want to share with y’all!
Another week has flown by and it was a good one! I had a “laser maze” evening with the kids at work and Farmer Ben and I celebrated 4 years of marriage. Thanks to all who called, texted, emailed and brought bottles of wine to celebrate!
I will admit, I didn’t get out the door as much as I would have liked, but sometimes spending an evening with your hubs and watching him make you an amazing dinner* (which will be continued this weekend) far outweighs needing to workout.
And then, on mornings like this one, we need to run. We need that time to be alone with God, to cry out to Him and to push ourselves…for Him. This morning’s run blew me away.
Anyway, here we go!
Gross But Necessary-August 16-22:
Sunday-Rest Day? I’m still trying to figure out how to get a workout in… And then I wonder if I should just call it a rest day. I can’t seem to get a handle on Sunday workouts because I’m busy with work. Any thoughts?
(Side note: We were also recovering from a super speedy trip to Mass the day before. No big deal.)
Monday-Afternoon Walk with Farmer Ben. We didn’t have a lot of time, but it was good to get some steps in, even with the heat.
Tuesday-Rest Day. I had every intention of going for a short run…instead I spent the afternoon taking a hardcore nap and reading. You win some, you lose some.
Wednesday-4 mile run, 1.6 mile walk/jog/cool down. It was disgustingly hot and I was completely drenched by the time I finished this run. It took me almost all day to recover.
On Wednesday evening, my friend Tina and I prepped the Laser Maze (a workout in and of itself).
Sidenote: I think we made it too hard.
And then the “Something Stupid.” After the maze, I was pooped and had a ridiculous amount of stuff that I had to lug in from my car. I decided to carry as much as I possibly could inside, instead of making two trips or pausing to shove a few things into my bag. As I was carrying/juggling everything into the house, I managed to drop a mason jar on my foot. Let’s just say, it hurt and I had a few choice words that do not bear repeating. It still hurts.
Thursday-Date Night with Farmer Ben. *I ended up going into work a bit early to make sure I would be out by 5. And then I had a date night in with Farmer Ben. Dinner, wine, etc. Perfect anniversary date. This was supposed to be our appetizer… but we were full after this.
Friday-4.5 Miles. I mentioned above, this run blew me away. I could tell it would be a struggle and I could not get my head in the game. So I gave it to God. I spent the run praying. I prayed for loved ones, personal struggles and so much more. I was absolutely empty, yet overflowing when I finished. That peace which surpasses all understanding… and it helped so much.
Saturday-5 or 6 miles. I have a route picked out and I’m aiming for 5 miles. If I feel good, I’ll run 6.
Overall: The heat and humidity was rough this week. I have given up feeling badly about not running fast… it’s too stinking hot! I’ve been using my runs to pray, to think and to listen to terrible girly pop. Also, I’m still not a morning person. Yes, I’ve been running in the morning, but it’s only because I force myself to. I’d much rather go for a night run any day of the week.
I’m happy to report that I’m down 3 lbs since I started running again and our food has been relatively healthy (80/20 principle).
Your Turn: How are you sweating this week? Are you better at running in the heat or in cooler weather? (I’m definitely a cold weather runner).
Farmer Ben and I were married. It was a disgustingly hot, but absolutely beautiful day. It wasn’t ridiculously over the top, but it was exactly what we wanted in a wedding–good food, the people we loved and wine in a beautiful place.
Our life has changed so much since that day….especially this year!
We’ve been through a lot over the last 365 days. There was a new business, followed by the decision to leave that business. There was a move, job hunting and job finding. There was a major career change, followed by a major loss of a friend and mentor. There were family milestones and weddings and runs and new friendships! We’ve been tried, tested and pushed to the limit, but we’ve been through it together.
I’m grateful for all of the laughter and the tears and I am blessed that you were by my side through it all.
Thanks for being the best hubs, Farmer Ben. I love you. Each and every day.