To Boston

I was all set to give you the low-down on all the ridiculous things going on in my life lately.

But then this Boston business happened and none of that seems to matter right now.

I haven’t been able to find the words to accurately describe how I feel… or how awful this event was.

But the running community is strong. And we’ll recover. God won’t give us anything that we can’t handle. That’s what I keep reminding myself.

We’ll keep running and keep pushing.

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Army Ten Miler, 2012

So, as I lace up my running shoes, I’ll be thinking of all those Bostonians, those marathoners, and those supporters.

I’m praying for them. And I’m running for them.

As runners, we support each other. We push each other. We help each other out. That’s something that no one can take away. It’s something that won’t change.

 And that’s really all that needs to be said.


Happy Easter

He is risen.

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Sunrise service on the beach. March 31, 3013

Many blessings.

Noelle


When did L-O-V-E become a Four Letter Word?

It never ceases to amaze me that we, as humans, can be so hurtful. Consciously hurtful.

Allow me to vent for just a moment:

Today, I had a conversation. A very short conversation (if you can even call it that!). I received the g-chat version of the phone slamming down in my ear.

Basically, I reached out to someone close to me. I admit, it had been longer than it should have been since we last talked, but not for lack of trying on my part…perhaps I should have tried harder?

I contacted them to ask a question and instead of an answer, I received a very nasty, downright rude response. And then, they were gone. I was left with the notification that they were offline.

I allowed myself to get angry, but upon closer inspection, I realize that I am just hurt. I waited a few minutes, then I typed out a short response–an apology, even–and sent it into cyberspace.

It breaks my heart that people use their words as weapons. What happened to respect? To treating others how we would like to be treated? When did being hurtful, manipulative and downright mean become acceptable?

I will be the first to admit that I am NOT perfect. I have a temper, I take things the wrong way and I often jump to conclusions and get bent out of shape about silly things.

But I try to show respect for every person I come into contact with, regardless of who they are and the medium by which we are communicating. I try to think before I speak and weigh the impact that my words will have.

I look to my faith for guidance and try to do what is right.

I haven’t always done this and I still screw up. But I try.

I’ve been stewing about this all day and wasn’t sure if I should post this or not…but, to be perfectly honest, I really need to get it off my chest.

When did it become so difficult to be kind? To forgive others? To be respectful?

What happened to loving others? 


“A List for the New Year,” an Update.

Oh hey! It’s March 4, 2013. Where has the time gone?! I figured I owe you all an update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

I haven’t given this much thought….I can’t even pretend.  Shame.

2. Excel in my new position.

I’m still learning a lot of new information. Every day.

Just when I finally think I have something down, something happens and I realize I am just scratching the surface…. Whether I am excelling or not, I don’t feel that I am, yet…. but I am definitely enjoying the learning process.

I’ll check back in another month or so.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I think I’m doing pretty well with this one.

  • The hubby and I did a Valentine’s Day Wine Tour. Wine and Chocolate. Perfection.
  • I attended a farm and food event and got to chat with some local farmers and producers.
  • I signed up for some fitness challenges
  • I volunteered to make favors for a bridal shower (super excited about this…even though I’m not very crafty)
  • Expanded my cooking/recipe arsenal.
  • I am working on the perfect dessert for the wedding of two friends. It’s not cake!
  • I’m also signed up to take two online nutrition courses. I cannot wait!

With everything else,  planning Strides for James (a charity run) has gotten me out to meet a ton of new people as a direct result. Getting sponsors and taking the lead on this has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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Terrible picture, but here is an initial race flyer design. I love it!

Yes!

As far as spending less time on my phone, it depends on the day. Race planning has taken up a lot of my time the last couple of months and because I get emails, texts and check our Facebook page on my phone, some days I spend a lot more time doing these things than I should… it’s a work in progress.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

I’m killing this one! So far I’ve read a lot of books and have expanded my blog reading (some blogs have been added to the current web obsessions page)…

Books include my Bible,  all three Hunger Games Books, A book of stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (which, surprisingly, I hadn’t read before), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Garlic and Sapphires and I just started The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest… that’s been in the last month.

I’ll be re-reading the Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice… just because, I need to.

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

As you know, I started marathon training. However, winter running is not going as well as I had hoped….between being sick, silly injuries (falling down a flight of stairs and shin splints) and my body not wanting to cooperate, I’ve had a tough time.

Initially, I planned on doing a May race but given some setbacks, I am starting to have second thoughts. I realize that a few bumps in the road are part of the training process, but I worry that I won’t be ready.

So, I am tossing around the idea of doing a fall marathon and checking off the half marathon in the spring. I haven’t made any decisions yet. And I won’t for another couple of weeks.

I’ll keep you posted. And don’t worry, the GBN posts will be starting up again soon!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Not gonna lie, I’ve had some setbacks with this one, some out of my control… but it appears that I am back on track.

I’m working on practicing an incredible amount of self-restraint to get me even closer…. we’ll see how I do.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been working on my burpees. Fail.

10. Do more food-ing.

As I mentioned above, I’ve expanded my food-blog reading in the last few months, I also signed up to take some nutrition classes online…done some wine-tasting and gone to a farm/food expo.

I’m working on expanding my cooking knowledge… I feel like I do pretty well, but being married to a chef, a lot of times I just let him take care of our meals. Not anymore. I’ve tried a few new recipes, nothing crazy difficult, but still tasty and have been dabbling with vegan and gluten-free cooking/baking.

I also have been doing some food research. With friends, for other people and through other people. Food research is a great conversation starter!

Farmer Ben has been diligently planning his garden and I am pretty pumped. I hope to improve my growing skills and help him out a lot more than I have in previous years.

Oh! And we are looking into a CSA. Meat, Dairy and Eggs. So excited about this!

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…

Don’t forget to sign up for Strides for James!!!! (Sorry…shameless plug… I know!)

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


Confession Time: Life, Lately.

It’s finally Friday.

The weekend.

Today, we are doing a lunch-time perch fry at work . I made pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. Recipe is coming…I still have half a pumpkin in my fridge!

There are some perks of living in the North Country…like random Friday Frying at lunch. Yum. Is it sad that this is the highlight of my week? I don’t feel bad.

I’m obsessively reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started The Girl Who Played with Fire last night and I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much until I finish it..probably sometime in the next two days.

I am also obsessed with the library. Movies, books, cookbooks. My inner nerd is so happy these days. Yesterday, I borrowed Citizen Kane and requested a few books that I have been dying to read. I also took out a book on Jewish Food for Farmer Ben. He loves it. I love him. It’s perfect.

My last post highlighted a serious food event. I melted a giant chunk of dark chocolate in a double-boiler. Then I dipped pretzels, placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. Such a quick and easy snack to satisfy your sweet and salty craving. Farmer Ben had gotten to the pretzels during the day, so I’ll have to make more this weekend. Le Sigh. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous brick of chocolate that is dying to be used.

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Chocolate Pretzels.

That’s another thing. The hubs and I have gotten into a routine of prepping food on Sunday night for the week. I blame our Financial Peace class…

But I love it. I get to mess up the kitchen, chat with the hubs and daydream about all the delicious things we’ll be eating throughout the week.

We typically soak some kind of bean, cook off some rice, pasta or quinoa, make a batch of tortilla dough to hang out in the fridge until we are ready to whip up some breakfast burritos or wraps, chop up some veggies, boil some potatoes for breakfast and cook some kind of meat or lentils. I even make granola or bread when the mood strikes!

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Aprihop Beer Bread with Lemon Peel and Tarragon. Another Sunday Adventure

It’s almost therapeutic. Until I have to do the dishes.

Also… Farmer Ben and I have Serrano Cream Cheese. Delicious. And Brilliant. Especially on breakfast burritos.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of all things pickled… like pickled asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Running has been rough. It’s been cold. Really cold. I feel shin splints coming on. I hate shin splints…I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I need to keep running. I need to get those miles in. On the other, I don’t want shin splints or other weird aches and pains I’ve been having.

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A surprisingly warm night. You can’t tell but I am actually wearing 37 layers.

My body hasn’t been very happy with me lately, which further frustrates me. I’m playing around with my food intake to see if I can figure it out.

On a happier night, the hubby and I, after a bit of a hiatus, moved onto Level 2 of the Shred. It’s hard, but in a good way!

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Post Shred.

I desperately need new running shoes. But I’m broke. I think it’s time to get a part-time gig…as much as I don’t want to.

I recently discovered Pinch of Yum. Great site with some great recipes. Check it out!

I also discovered Dinner with Julie. Ditto.

This is probably going to offend some people, but I want to put it out there. You are NOT going to hell if you eat meat on a Friday. Sorry to disappoint you.  If you need further clarification, open up your Bible and read Mark 7:15-23. If you still feel that you need to deny yourself, that’s fine, too. To each their own.

Speaking of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been all over my brain lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am training. Regardless, this passage has kept me pushing through a lot of tough situations lately.

Race planning has officially taken over (most of) my life. Speaking of which, if you’d like to enter Strides for James, click here. Not only do you get a sweet t-shirt, you also get entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes. Do it!

The amount of sponsors we are racking up is crazy. I am just overwhelmed.

This is a lot of hard work, but I am so looking forward to the outcome. Seriously. We are not only going to reach our goal, but we will surpass it.

I think that’s all for now.

Happy Friday. 🙂


Oh Hey, It’s 2013-Or “A List for the New Year”

A new year… A clean slate, if you will.

In the spirit of starting anew, I figured it was time to come up with a few things to do for 2013.

I don’t necessarily like the term “New Year’s Resolutions,” so I’m calling it “Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013.”  That has a much better ring to it… yeah.

Anyway, this is the first moment I’ve really had to sit and think, as my NYE was spent working 18 hours and helping others have a good time.

I could have done it yesterday, but let’s be real. After getting home just before 3 am and being busy all day, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out in my giant sweats and be a bum….and I did just that.

Some of the things on this list are not very impressive…but others are kind of a big deal…at least for me. They are in no particular order…some are meant to be repeated and others are one-time items.

So, it’s the second of January. Better late than never!

Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

As I’ve gotten more passionate about blogging, I’ve decided that I want this to go somewhere. Maybe not as a full-time thing, but as a creative outlet and something more.  

It’s so touching to hear/see people tell me that this blog is helping them and inspiring them to do more and it just makes me want to make it better. Period.

That means it’s time to get serious. I’ll probably be asking some of you wonderful people for feedback and maybe even some design ideas! I’ve got a lot to learn!

2. Excel in my new position.

I’ve been holding out on you, mostly because I wanted to wait until it was official… but I’m getting a promotion. I officially start next week and I know it sounds corny, but I want to do the best job possible. I’m super excited and a little nervous to start a new chapter and to learn a ton of new information and skills. But I’m all over it.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year.

I always lament that I don’t make enough time to do more fun things. Not this year. I’m going to say “yes” and make time for new adventures. Whether it be taking a vacation, doing something silly or learning a new skill/hobby, count me in.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

4. Run a half marathon.

No big deal. If I can do 10 miles, I can do 13.1 miles.

5. Take more time to read.

I haven’t been reading as much as I used to and I miss it.

6. Run 26.2 miles.

Maybe a big deal… but I’m turning 26 this year, and what better way to celebrate than running a marathon before it happens?!

I figure that if I put all of these fitness goals into writing, I’ll be more likely to succeed.  This means that the GBN posts will be making a comeback. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Also, the half marathon fits into the marathon training schedule… coincidence? I think not.

7. Be more present.

This kind of goes along with the third item on the list. I want to be around and available to my loved ones. I want to share in the joy, love and wonder of every day. I don’t want to work my life away. I want to live it!

I’ve realized in the last 24 hours while my phone has been completely dead–and I still totally enjoyed myself… I spend far too much time online or messing with my phone,  instead of in the real world. I’m going to work on that.

Love spending time with FB!

Love spending time with FB!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I have student loans, a car payment, a credit card payment and the regular monthly bills… I’m not terrible with money but I never seem to be able to save it–at least not for very long. While I have enough to cover my expenses (most of the time), I don’t usually have (much) extra. I want to change that this year.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I think that would be bad-ass. Right now I can do about 20-25 on a good day.

10. Do more food-ing.

Whether it be researching, growing, baking, cooking or enjoying. I want to know more about my food.

 Let’s do this.

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Here’s to a new start!

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the year grows on so I’ll be creating a separate tab to keep track. And so you can hold me accountable!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any goals or items to check off your list this year? Tell me about them! Any advice for me? I want to hear from you!


The Daniel Fast-The Experience

So now that you know the details of the Daniel Fast and what we ate, I suppose it’s time to tell you what I got out of the whole thing.  

As I said, I’ve been a bit hesitant to write about the experience because it’s definitely not something for everyone…and I really don’t think some people will get it…which is totally fine.

While Ben and I were doing the fast, we only told 1 or 2 people. If someone asked why we weren’t eating certain foods, I told them that we were just watching what we ate.

What were some of the every day trials?

As I said, there were a few social situations that were a bit difficult to navigate, but we managed. It was especially hard this time of year because of the constant influx of candies, cookies and baked goods at the office. I passed by the back counter in the office every day and had to avoid the temptations of the season.

To be honest, I’d usually go over, scope out the goods and then scurry away before I got too close. And really, I didn’t feel like I was deprived in the dessert department.

I was very surprised to find that it wasn’t the sweets, or even coffee,  that I missed the most. I actually missed cheese and products with yeast more than anything. I am not a huge bread eater (anymore), however I absolutely love sandwiches of any kind–subs, wraps, paninis, burritos/tacos, etc.

In the second week, we started eating matzos with peanut butter. This was a nice change and was a great substitute for crackers or chips. Love crunchy foods!

I found that I could survive without caffeine but I missed the feeling of drinking something hot. In order to manage this, I started drinking mugs of hot water. Sometimes I would add a lemon.

 Working in a restaurant–especially a steak and seafood restaurant–is especially hard when you’re on a special diet–vegan or not! The last month has been full of parties, tasty treats, appetizers, specialty items, cheeses and dips…and I couldn’t eat any of it!

The biggest thing was that we needed to plan ahead. The nights we worked at the restaurant, we’d pack the ingredients to make dinner. The fast also forced me to pack my lunch each day (luckily, I have an amazing husband who does way too much for me and takes amazing care of me) because it’s so difficult to eat out.

The days I wasn’t prepared were difficult and I found myself scrambling to find a snack–vending machines are pretty much off-limits and it’s hard finding time to run to the grocery store, especially since you have to pay attention to ingredient lists.

So what did I learn?

I learned that I am a lot more patient than I give myself credit for. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’m getting there. Doing the fast took a lot of planning, time and preparation and I was surprised that I was able to do so well.

Again, Farmer Ben was a big help and those three weeks were a great reminder that we can lean on each other for support and encouragement…or just to vent about how badly one of us wants coffee or cheese.  

I also learned that I can go without, and practice self-control, something that can definitely be applied to my every day life. I found that, even though I was restricting certain foods, I was still getting everything I needed and I wasn’t starving to death by any means. He takes care of me and continues to provide for me, even if I don’t always get immediate gratification.

We saved a lot of money during this time…and that was perfectly okay.

I won’t go into my personal reasons for doing this, but I definitely learned a lot. There were a few verses that I kept in mind during this time period–something to focus on if you will–and they were so encouraging, especially on days when all I wanted to was  a cheeseburger and a beer…or something of the like.

It was a much-needed push to take time out of my day for prayer, studying The Word and reflection. I’ve always struggled with this aspect of my life and I feel like this journey has helped me refocus.

I will admit that some of the lessons from the Daniel Fast were not what I was expecting, but they were valuable nevertheless.

I managed to lose a few pounds…it’s amazing how much your calories are cut when you aren’t eating certain foods. I didn’t do this to lose extra weight, but it was a side effect. I have to say, some days I was hungry most of the day and other days I could barely eat.

It was very strange and my body is still trying to balance out the changes. I’ve gained back a few pounds, but I’ve also noticed that my appetite and cravings have changed. I’m not hungry and I’m wanting to eat different things than I did before.

After 21 days, my head was clearer, my body was cleaner and my spirit was calmer.

Would I do the fast again?

In a word, yes.

I definitely think that deliberately setting that time aside to plan, refocus, and organize your mind, body and spirit is a necessity.

I will tell you that I usually get very stressed out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This time, while I did still have some stress, I was at peace and was ready to take on all of the activities that come with the season.

I can tell you that you need to go into this time with an end purpose, a goal of learning something, having a prayer answered or making a change. You need something to focus on. If you don’t, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.

It’s amazing what you can do when you take yourself out of the everyday hustle and bustle and set aside time for a higher purpose.

I cherish the three weeks and continue to remind myself of the small lessons I learned along the way.

So, any questions? Have you ever thought about doing a fast? What would be your biggest obstacle/item you’d have a hard time cutting out? What would be your focus?