A Year of Surprises, Trials, and the Unexpected

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October 7, 2015

 

I got engaged. Me of all people got engaged to a man I am eternally grateful for.

Somehow, I have to catch you all somewhat up to speed with me. I wouldn’t know where to begin since I made this blog centered on fitness and health and have not spoken much about Luke!

Luke in a nutshell:

  • Loyal
  • Good listener
  • Caring (treats me like a princess…literally, it’s crazy)
  • Christ-centered
  • Athletic
  • Smart
  • Hard worker
  • Obnoxious (the things he does…men have funny ways of expressing love)
  • Funny
  • Soon-to-be Army Chaplain
That’s right. That last bullet…not only will I be a PW (pastor’s wife), I am also going to be an Army Wife! You all have no idea how far that was from who I thought I would end up with. I never wanted anything to do with the army, because I was scared. Terrified. I would say: “I’d never be strong enough for that. I just know that one day, an officer would show up at my house to tell me my husband would not be coming home.” Now here I am. Giving myself to a relationship that I never thought would be possible.

How did I make this change?

How did I go from: “I’ll never marry. I’ll never get involved with the Army. I’ll be single for the rest of my life, and I LIKE it that way.”
Let’s start with God. Like it or not, take it or leave it: God is the reason.
As I may have mentioned way back in a previous entry, I was a very pessimistic person after many relationships gone wrong. I chose then to simply have fun, not suffer any repercussions, and not get too close ever again. With that kind of attitude, I was nowhere near ready for Luke–my future husband.
After a while, I got fed up.
I was done feeling meaningless to the guys I devoted time to. I was done feeling like I was getting nowhere fast and that no matter how many hearts I stole, I was never going to feel fulfilled. There was a hole (which is still not entirely filled, but I’m getting there) and no amount of meaningless familiarities and sentiments would gratify me.

God is the answer.

And so I turned to Him. Lent season 2014, I told God I was done: “From here on out, it’s just you and me, God. No one else. I only want you.” For all of Lent season, from February to April, I worked on my heart and on restoring my relationship with God.

Luke messaged me that June while he was in Lithuania for an ROTC trip.

That summer, I knew for a fact I was done with heartless relationships. However, I didn’t think or know for a fact that Luke was going to treat me better than all the rest. I was prepared full-heartedly for the downfall.

Well, we started dating October 31st 2014, and 11 months and seven days later, Luke proved that he was not like anyone else I’ve ever met. In that time span from June of 2014 to now in December of 2015, my heart has changed radically for the better. This is all such a crash course of what God has been doing in my life, but let me tell you all that had I not stepped out of my old ways and directed my whole heart and life to Him, I would NOT have been ready for Luke, the Army life, and the future God has had planned for me.

I am praying for you all, that this Christmas season, you will not wait so long like I did. That you will not dwell on bitter memories and hold tight to them to protect you. I promise you that God will protect you.

Thank you for reading, xoxo

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Wedding Date: June 17, 2016
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What I’ve Been Up To

Work, Work-outs, and Homework

That’s where I’ve been! Hey guys! It’s been a while, and thanks to whoever just started following me recently when I haven’t even been posting at all hahaha. It’s just been CRAZY busy. But I cut out a few other social media distractions so I now can dedicate more time to my blog!! Yes.

So as of a little over a month ago, beginning of February, I took a job at Starbucks as a Starbucks barista! (Also I am posting this off my Ipad and it won’t let me post pics as I go so I guess they’ll all just be at the end lol) And so you would never imagine how hard, draining, and exhausting that job is. Unbelievable. Like it’s as demanding as me taking care of a bunch of ten and eleven year olds at summer camp last summer. And then I get questions like “Do a bunch of hipsters come in all the time?” And I’m like, “try senior citizens for black coffee, soccer moms, and junior high kids for frappucinos.” And let me tell you, their orders range from “Chai tea, extra hot, no foam, 7 pumps chai, nonfat, no water” to “orange mango, strawberry, and raspberry to the first line, lemonade to the second line, with ice and shaken.” So WEIRD, SO excessive, and many times I want to yell at them and say: “Look. If I don’t know how to ring it up or if I find your drink to be too obnoxious, then forget it. Go home and make lemonade.” It also goes so beyond coffee. Like we have to start our closing tasks way in advance if we want to leave on time at the end of the night AND so we’re not working our butts off to get everything done and stepping on each other’s toes. I could go on and on, but I think we’ll have time for stories later…

Work-outs. 🙂

So since it was my spring break this past week, (I worked essentially full time last week) I literally did work, work-outs, and homework. That was my break. But I ran every day except for Sunday last week, and on top of that, spring actually came!! The week before, we were still getting snow. But I ran in cropped tights and a t-shirt! What?! It was amazing. I’m still nowhere near satisfied with my times. I had to do so much cross-training after the stress fracture and I still didn’t get to run as much as I wanted because we had such a horrible winter. BUT, my season has arrived. And from March- October, I’m gonna kill it 🙂 Hoping for longer, but we’ll see how long I stay injury-free! haha

And there was homework. Ugh, life of a college student junior year. Enough stated.

So I’ve been really busy! And I’m actually writing this post in class….whoopsie 😉 And I have so much more to say, but I suppose those will go in separate posts. I hope you all have been enjoying your spring weather!

xoxo

Starbucks barista life.
Starbucks barista life.
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Scout and Meeko 🙂 Going for a walk!
Work hard, play hard. I've also been implementing a lot more lifting into my routine! I am actually doing specific body part lifts: back, legs, calves, shoulders, chest, etc.
Work hard, play hard. I’ve also been implementing a lot more lifting into my routine! I am actually doing specific body part lifts: back, legs, calves, shoulders, chest, etc.

Back to That Grind

Books

Well here are most of my books for the semester! For all you college kids out there, doesn’t this look about right? Okay sorry, English majors, does this stack strike an accord?

Luckily, I am NOT in over my head like last semester. Trust me, I know this looks bad, but I don’t think any semester will top the one I just had, and I still managed to pull off straight A’s!!!! Don’t ask. It was a miracle. The Lord was with me day by day. I am a Dean’s List student and have always been an academic nerd, and I will give everything my 110%. No doubt about that.

But here I am again, back to the grind of school. Today was my second day back so I’ve been introduced to all my classes besides my lab (yeah. I’m an English major but I gotta have those two courses of science. yay.) But I am entering this one strong. No falling behind; I am going to make sure I am as ahead of my classes as I can be and get a bunch of these projects and papers out of the way NOW. Makes a huge difference come April for sure. Some keys to success I’m going to uphold:

Get those papers and group projects done sooner.

I am not going to have this option with all of my papers, so the ones that you can fulfill at literally any point in the semester…yeah I’ll take that now! Especially while I am waiting to hear back from a job that I may possibly be starting at the end of this month!

Plan accordingly.

Well that sounds awfully vague, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. I can’t be planning date after date with Luke, or have a New Girl marathon when there a billion things to attend to. Label the whole week out, assignment to assignment, and plan each day. I usually don’t spend hours on media or Netflix, but it can get easy to succumb to after a long day of classes and running. But when I just plan little things to do, or one movie to watch AFTER the work gets done, it seems like the greatest reward of all time. I tell myself, get coffee after you’ve done three more pages or having read this much for Friday, etc. Little plans suddenly sound like gold after all the work I’ve put in!

Smile.

Oh geez, I don’t know about you, but every bubbly brunette can also twist that alliteration into a bitchy brunette. I am guilty! When things get overwhelming, stressful, and I have deadlines up to my chin, I tend to want to drown everyone out. Friends included, classmates definitely included, and people who just want to ask me about my day can get the death glare from time to time. Not okay. Smile and push through it. Research has proven that “faking it till you make it” really does work, and I plan on doing just that, but also to genuinely ask more of my classmates about their days and how their studies are going. I want more people to know that I am praying for them; I want people to not look at me and think “Yeah. She’s having a rough semester.” I want people to look at me and think “Wow. Even when we’re in the grind of the semester, she still always has such a positive attitude and a smile.” 🙂

Pray, Pray, Pray

Pray when things are good; pray when they are bad. Do it when you want to, and when you need to. I have so much to be praying for and I can’t let my prayer time get lost in the craziness, or my devotionals. Neither are going to suffer this semester 🙂

It’s 2015, going in still as a Junior and will be finishing out 2015 as a Senior in college. Phew. Just day by day. The Lord assures us that He will strengthen us day by day and we don’t need to worry about tomorrow and what’s looming ahead. When we do that, we become overwhelmed and can’t handle all that we are about to face. That’s why we take it day by day, with God. It is then that we can really do anything 🙂

Goodnight everyone! Got a good run in the morning waiting, xoxo

Runner Girl’s Fluffiest Post-Run Pancakes

Just got done with a hard run, core, and a little strength? You’re going to need some good-quality carbs and protein after that, and next to my banana bread pancakes, these things are crazy perfect!! Fluffy, taste amazing, and all that jazz.

Runner Girl's Pancakes

Runner Girl’s Fluffiest Post-Run Pancakes

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup soy vanilla protein isolate (one I use in all my pancake recipes)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional cacao powder (1/2-1 tsp.)
  • Water if needed
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • **Optional- 1 tsp. sugar or Stevia packet
  • **Optional- Vanilla Greek yogurt to top with and dip in!! So good. Use with all pancakes

There are only about 255 calories in this WHOLE stack you see above without the Greek yogurt. There will be a little more with sweetener. This is the perfect breakfast for me after a hard work-out. I usually add raspberries and blueberries which are both crazy good superfoods. This is one of the most balanced breakfast’s I make, adding the berries helps a lot with recovery and don’t forget your water!! Hydrate!

Enjoy your pancakes if you make some!! These are so simple but so good. And you can add any flavor you want. PB2, extra cacao, butterscotch, banana, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cinnamon apples.

Have a great day, I’m off to an interview! xoxo

Berries
Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all superfoods for runners. They are incredible for recovery and just some of the greatest sources of antioxidants, natural glucose, and energy!

 

To A Great Day: Don’t Get Burned Out

5 miler

A completely, unashamed selfie taken after my first 5 miler today since the stress fracture!! I have been doing a ton of 3 milers and 4 milers (1’s and 2’s at the very start of course). And have been consistently running 5 days a week since the first week of December. So I haven’t been consistent for very long, but here I am! Very excited, and very happy.

With completing this feat, I have been thinking of the new year ahead. Last year, I entered 2014 still being injured and the injury lasted until mid March. The recent stress fracture was from September through mid November. Though when I wasn’t injured, I had an incredible straight 5 months of races and pure, good running!

My goal is to keep this year injury-free. With that, I am actually not concerned with the whole #15in2015 thing. If I do 15 races, great! If not, whatever! Did I stay injury-free and have a great, full year of running and races? If that answer is yes, I’ll have had one of the best years of my running career.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet for you and compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind in your running, workouts, sports, etc. This list is for everyone, from beginners to the most elite athletes.

Runner Girl’s List of How to Avoid Injury/Burnout

  1. Do not overlook anything. Whether you’re an athlete in school, or an athlete post-school, you cannot overlook the smallest ticks. Especially if it seems irregular. If something seems out of the blue, or worse, you’ve experienced these symptoms previously which led to injury, then you HAVE to tend to it! Do not ignore strange pains/atypical symptoms.
  2. Tell your coach/trainer at first signs of pain. Do not wait for it to worsen because I assure you that it will. When you explain the situation immediately, then the healing process is A LOT faster. Catch it early, fix it fast, get back to running sooner.
  3. Do your exercises!!! The trainer is going to give you a lot of exercises to help; do not do only two things on the list and be done! Complete each exercise fully and completely. Basically, just listen to your trainer. Do your work. It’s good for you.
  4. Research. If you do not have a coach or trainer and do things on your own, then you have to be responsible for researching exercises. If you are a veteran athlete, chances are, you learned a lot from your school sport/track/cross country. Regardless, go to Runner’s World. That’s a great place to start, and just research the heck out of your early stages of injury.
  5. Don’t overtrain and do progress slowly. Research states to increase your mileage by steady 10% increments each week when building your weekly mileage. Don’t jump from 15 miles per week to 30 the next. The body isn’t ready to make that jump.
  6. Mix it up. Want to keep running but don’t want to ONLY run? Or do you just want to stay active and have no idea how to not get bored? Well there’s Insanity, P90X, yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, outdoor adventure biking, hiking, HIIT, aerobics classes, dancing classes, basketball at local gyms (YMCA offers a very wide range of activities)….there’s so much out there. Keep testing out new things and bring friends!
  7. Do local races/themed races. Chances are, you’ve heard of glow runs, color runs, Tough Mudder. These can be a lot of fun to do and are exciting to anticipate!! Again, if you need friends, call them up! Do it as a group! I promise, it’ll be one of the most fun and rewarding things you’ll do. If you’re a solo runner like me, keep looking for local races and again, test your abilities. Step up and do 10Ks, half marathons, though don’t over-commit yourself.
  8. Since that last thought is important, Don’t over-commit yourself. Be practical with your schedule, and ask yourself “Will I be tired every day if I try to train for a marathon right now? Work has been crazy, the kids still need a lot of my time…maybe I can just do a 5k or two right now.” There are tons of other ways to stay active than setting aside hours to run and train for a marathon.
  9. Eat right!!!! Ahhh. Can’t stress this enough. You will hurt yourself or get burned out if you’re eating crap and trying to run. Please visit this site for superfoods that are amazing for runners! http://www.runnersworld.com/photos/41-superfoods-how-they-can-help-your-running   Try incorporating some into your everyday diet. Nutrition is a huge topic, so I’ll have to talk more in separate posts or this bullet point would get obnoxious.
  10. Good ole dynamic stretches. Alright, and lastly, before EACH run, do some dynamics!! Don’t just go out cold! Do some calf raises, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, walking quad stretch; there’s a ton of them. Look into it if you aren’t too familiar 🙂

I hope this list helps you in your training! There’s a lot to running. That’s why there’s a million magazines and books and coaches dedicated to talking about it and helping everyone else 🙂 And there’s me too, who will hopefully have a book and be a coach someday 🙂

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Saturday! xoxo

We Can Still Make It A Good Night

I live in the frozen tundra...but it's still home.

I live in the frozen tundra…but it’s still home.

My home has been Illinois for the majority of my life…with that comes a lot of frustration and downright turmoil. Of course Chicagoans are bitter and rude; it’s because we live with gusts of 50 mph wind in the summer, spring, fall, AND winter. So don’t get us started with the wind chill!!

Yeah we’re bitter about the cards we got dealt.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Location and happiness do not go hand in hand.

“So you’re saying that me moving to Florida, getting a steady job, moving into a new home…all of that wouldn’t make me happier??”

Yeah, basically.

When I said I have lived in Illinois for only the majority of my life, I am referring to the small periods of time when we moved to Nebraska when I was very young, and Tennesse, which was a move that happened just 2 years ago. We are clearly back in Illinois and back to our frozen popsicle-house, but we are amazingly happier here. And I’ll tell you why.

We wanted a change. Everyone in the house wanted a change, besides Katie. I mean, she was happy as a clam to stay back with her friends and cousins. Our grandparents also live just two hours away. But Mom, Dad, and I didn’t really care for all of those factors. We wanted to see the grass being greener on the other side; we knew it had to be true! There is nothing to lose when you go to Nashville!! Am I right??

But people are everything. 

And that is what makes all the difference. Do not think that you can re-create them somewhere else, because I have personally experienced that you cannot create those unique, dear, close friends who have been in-tune with you since Day 1. And when you transfer to a new school as a sophomore, people seem to already be pretty settled in their own groups. And when you get yourself in at a new job, the environment could be off. The boss doesn’t get your jokes, or your co-worker is lazy, strange, or just has a tendancy to drive you insane. I actually can’t really say anything for my sister because she was the one who actually did very well! Moving as a middle schooler?? Whoa. But Katie has just always been a success story 🙂

Katie, though, was thrilled when she was told of the move back home. Back to our Illinois home. Back to the home of the same town, same restaraunts that we missed in Tennessee, same cousins that never have a dull moment, and same friends that never leave our sides. Even when we’ve been gone! Everything clicked right back into place, it was like we had never left. We all just picked up where we left off.

And I know we can’t do that with everything in life, so I am very grateful for this experience that I got to share a fraction about. So don’t be like us and spend all your time wondering when you could be experiencing the best moments of your life right where you are. Because I know all of my best memories come from this state and this town.

Make it a good night. If you had a fight with someone, see how you can ammend it. If you’re growing pessimistic, stop and reflect on all that you have and also how far you have come. If you’re feeling stagnant with your life….well I could help you there! Go running! Sort of kidding. If you are feeling stagnant, set up extra time for devotions, time with loved ones, time for hobbies. It seems that we can’t slow down enough these days to do one simple thing: love.

“The one thing we can never get enough of is love; and the one thing we never give enough of is love.” –Henry Miller

Have a good night everyone 🙂

The Darkness Cannot Stay When There Is Light

In my news feed, I came across The Blacklight Candelabra’s post asking writers to respond with a story of simultaneous creation and deconstruction.

I am a strong, level-headed realist. I wasn’t always that way, but for good reason, I sure became one. I have seen and have personally experienced a lot. One of my family members had a horrible first marriage, changing her own life and the lives of her children forever. I have seen my friends fall head over heels for men not worth the heartache that would follow. I have seen some of my friends stay in the wrong relationships, not leaving when they should, giving someone a 100th second chance. There’s so much heartache in this world, that it makes it hard to see the light. I certainly have had my own share of turmoil, despair, and so I chose quite some time ago that I wanted to be single. I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, I have far too many plans. I want to do so much with my life, why would I want anything holding me back? And besides, a family? Lord have mercy, I was far from thinking that that was in the realms of my future. If I even got married, I didn’t think a nice guy would ever find me. All hope for that was lost somewhere around sophomore year in high school. True love in marriage is a myth (besides with my own parents). This world has gotten lost; people don’t believe in love anymore. People believe in convenience, quick remedies, easy pleasure, and guilt-free pleasure at that. Families? Families are broken; children are mistakes that happened unexpectedly. Yes, this was my mindset for about 6 years. And just two years ago, I sunk further into those beliefs.

Spring 2013

I walk into his room, and something still doesn’t seem right. Did I forget to bring him something, was my hair askew, my outfit all wrong– did he just not see the same woman anymore? I sit at his bed. I let my fingers trail his back, trying to smooth over whatever remnants remained. My fingers move to his hair as I try to smooth out whatever is being brought back to surface in there.

Am I still his darling? Have I ever been his or was this just a mirage seen by a lone, lost soul aimlessly looking for love?

My. I certainly had put a fair amount of trust in him. Though he had never given reason for me to do otherwise. Why, he wanted me with him everywhere. He wouldn’t go anyplace without me, wouldn’t want to spend a single day without me. Certainly, we had our share of fights as does any couple. And they were getting a little less common…

We don’t talk much that night, but I lay by him. I promise my presence, when he needs it. This could be the greatest gift he’s ever received, a dream come true. Turning to face me and smile, he acknowledges the silent promise I have given. I would come to the know the days I wouldn’t see him at all or even hear from him. I would come to know the days when I would see him and absolutely dread it.

“Why do you ridicule me in front of everyone?”

“Babe, I’m not trying to make fun of you. We’re laughing with you! It’s cute when you don’t know something!”

I look around at my teammates all seated at the dinner table, laughing and looking at me, waiting for me to laugh too.

Days later. 

“You don’t practice with me anymore or throw with me. Is something wrong?”

“Can’t you understand I don’t have the time?!”

I sigh angrily, “You never tell me anything; I have no idea what goes on with you!”

He sighs, staring directly ahead, not for once meeting my eyes, “You wouldn’t understand. None of this.”

Oh just the age gap argument again, is it?

Days later.

“You said you knew the way back!”

I am about ready to lose it, “We were both talking and distracted. You and I are both in the wrong here. We weren’t paying attention to how we got here! And I told you, ‘let’s try that direction’. We should have just used the GPS!” I brace myself for his response.

“You know what, this is ridiculous. You should have known this didn’t look right. None of this looks like what we saw on the way up, I was trusting you,” he spits the words out like venom, hoping each word leaves an impact.

“Why is it only me?! Just why? Why am I the one at fault here?”

“Because you told me to go this way!”

“You could have double-checked! I even said that I didn’t know!!”

The remaining twenty minutes were spent in silence broken by his single question, “So you’re just done talking now?”

Weeks later

My friend asks me, “So are you two doing better?”

“Oh much so,” I say with as much enthusiasm as I can manage.

She smiles at her phone, “Gosh, Aiden just told me that I looked gorgeous last night. I didn’t really try that hard, but I mean, when he takes us out, I kind of try–”

“Wait. You guys just went out.”

“No, that was like a week ago. It’s been a little while.”

I stare at her confused, “A week ago? Only a week ago?”

“What do you mean ‘only’? When was the last time you guys went out?”

I bite down hard on my lip and pinch my wrist to stop any tears. Valentine’s Day, which was nearly two months ago.

Instead, I ask something else, “You said he called you ‘gorgeous’?”

“Well yeah, and I mean he told me last night too, but he likes to tell me again. Kind of a thing with him; he always compliments me on the dumbest things,” she laughs as if it’s so absurd, but anyone can tell it lights up her whole world.

I smile and nod and decide to confess about my own boyfriend, “He’s never called me beautiful.”

Days later. 

I ask him to meet me that night, that we have a lot to talk about, and it just can’t wait. I settle into the passenger seat of his car as I’ve done so many times, usually for stolen kisses, long talks before his shift, a chance to warm up in the middle of the day between classes. I imagine how many times our hands were held just there by the clutch. I also see us singing ridiculously to the radio, but not him singing to me. I see his eyes fixed on the road, but not because he’s being a cautious driver. I see his gaze and that face–that face I’ll never understand–that mind I know is never fully here.

“I’m leaving,” I said.

“What?”

“I’m transferring, and we’re breaking up.”

Liberation, sometimes, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Spring 2014

Much more had happened between May 2013 and February 2014, but most importantly, nothing got any better. I had imagined leaving would solve everything. But running from situations tends to only leave you in the same mindset, just in a new location. Hiding out  tends to make the person you’re hiding from seem gone forever, but it doesn’t actually make that person go away. Hiding does not stop communication, and a new location does not promise all you’ve ever wanted.

When I returned to Illinois and Olivet in December, I made a promise for the Lent season. This is a season of the Catholic church, but I as a Nazarene still choose to take part in it. And this past spring, I chose God, not men. I prayed for renewal and healing. I prayed for a security like no other. Most of all, I prayed for forgiveness.

My ice castle I had created had started to melt that spring. The fortress surrounding my cold heart was starting to crumble, pillars of marble bitterness and towers of frozen fear began to crack and break. My fortress that I had worked so hard to preserve was coming down slowly. Though my ice castle was being destroyed, a soft heart of gold was taking its place.

Ezekiel 36:26- “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

This was not easy for me by any means. But to relinquish yourself– well who ever said that feels easy? We are creatures of control, we like to have control and order of our own lives. But this is not what Christianity is about. If you cannot give up your old ways, then you cannot accept the new life being given so freely. I realized that I didn’t want the path that I was creating for myself. It looked bleak and miserable, a tightly-wound, vicious cycle.

I am still a realist today, and I am by no means completely transformed. But I no longer hold a heart of ice, but now hold a heart of flesh. Because there are traits of me that will never go away, which I am perfectly okay with. However, the shattering of the ice in my heart, the disassembling of old, bitter memories, and the eradication of old fears have allowed the creation of this new heart.

I am now hopeful again.

I don’t see the world through pessimistic lens anymore. I have regained the vivid, optimistic, and brighter version of myself in my younger years. Though I am so uncertain of what lies ahead, I am open-minded, trusting in God every step of the way. It’s a much better way to live. Do not stay in the darkness, but seek renewal of mind and spirit. It takes time, but I think our generation needs to learn to have a little more perseverance and patience anyway.

“Light overcomes all darkness, for where there is light, the darkness cannot live there.”

https://blacklightcandelabra.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/illuminating-the-darkness-with-a-second-blog/