Pressing through

365 Project: Day 43 I started ramping up my miles again this week, getting ready for my upcoming races this spring. My new schedule starts with 20 miles the first week. That doesn’t sound quite as bad if I can get outside, but it’s been cold here again, so I’ve been on the treadmill this whole week. A little boring, but I try to lose myself in my music and not think too much about it, which seems to really help. I read something funny in my Runner’s World magazine the other day. Here’s the quote: Treadmill (n): A torture device perfected in the 20th century, designed to destroy one’s mind through sensory deprivation and monotony. That made me laugh. Everyone, even elite runners (of which I am not), seem to be affected by how the treadmill can zap your motivation and make you feel kind of discouraged about sticking with it. The treadmill is just not most people’s first choice. But oh well, what can you do? You can choose to not do it at all, or you can do it in or out, and I guess I’m too much of a wimp to do it outside when it’s 10 degrees, so the treadmill it is! It doesn’t help to complain about it. I just realized that registration opens next month for the Twin Cities Marathon already. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I may be registering and running it again. I think I might be addicted. 🙂 A far cry from last year at this time… I started running more seriously and regularly in February 2011, and I’ll never, ever forget how hard it was for me. I hated every minute of it, and I couldn’t run for half a mile without stopping to catch my breath. It’s amazing to me how the Lord has helped me and sent me encouragement just when I’ve needed it along the way to keep me pressing through when I want to quit. I’m thankful for that. Every day there’s hope for each of us to do the things that either seem so out of reach or are just plain difficult. One day, we’ll all look back and be so glad we pressed through. Psalm 42:5 ~ Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God! Philippians 3:12-14 ~ I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning...

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January leader meeting

365 Project: Day 42 This is Renee and Terry at our HomeMakers leader meeting on Wednesday night. We were planning our Valentine’s Day party, so I can’t say too much about it what the moustache is all about, in case any of our 200+ HomeMaker girls read this. It’s a surprise until Renee announces it, but it’s going to be a really fun party.  Although this picture has an element of grossness, pay no mind to that. 🙂  There are always unexpected moments like this one, and I like that our leader meetings are never boring. Even though we use one of the school classrooms to meet in and are sitting at tables, it’s never a stuffy old brainstorming session, it really is 1 ½ hours of pure joy and laughter. Just like you’d expect from leadership, right? Somehow we do manage to get real work done too. Proverbs 17:22 ~ A happy heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit drains your...

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No more excuses

365 Project: Days 40-41 Look what came in the mail this week! My new weighted hula hoop! Who said hula hoops were just for kids? I see hours upon hours of fun here, don’t you? We all need to exercise, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t be as fun as possible—even at age 37, or 47, 57, 67…and so on. I’m pretty sure hula hoop-makers everywhere knew there would be women like me who’d grow up some day, and recall fond memories from their elementary years of being the hula hoop CHAMP, so they reinvented the hula hoop as an exercise tool… snazzying it up by encircling it with foam, adding a few pounds of weight, some flashy colors, and even making it travelable by the ability to unsnap each segment. Ingenious! I got an Amazon gift card for Christmas, so apparently, yes… this is what I deem most important to spend my gift of $30 on (plus an additional $2.50 out-of-pocket). I’m pretty frugal, so that seems like a lot of money. We don’t have a gym membership, but I’ve discovered with minimal equipment, determination, and a pair of legs, you can exercise every part of your body, whether you’re outside, in your living room, or a fancy gym—and still have fun doing it. I’ve used all the excuses in the book about why I can’t work out, including the “I NEED a gym membership, but I don’t have money for one, so don’t blame me if I get fat!” one. When I decided I really wanted to be healthy about a year ago, I stopped the excuses and took some personal responsibility for my own health, and started doing whatever I could do with what I have. Over the years, I’ve collected lots of “equipment”. Some things get used more than others, but all in all, I’d say it’s a relatively cheap investment in my health over the years, as long as it gets used. And the great thing is that anyone in the family can use any of it at any time, so it’s like your investment is multiplied. 🙂 Let’s see, I have a jump rope ($10); hand weights from 2-15 pounds ($50 maybe?); a stability ball ($20-ish); resistance bands ($20-ish); Jillian Michaels DVDs (under $10 each); a heavy bag with gloves (mounted to the ceiling/floor joist in the basement (under $100), a treadmill (which we’ve had for many years); a mini-trampoline (which I currently have loaned out because I didn’t use it ($25)); pepper spray for when I run alone outside ($5); my new hula hoop ($30); and… …now a kettlebell ($30-ish), which Jon just brought home this week. Working out and getting healthy has become a family affair, and I’m so happy about that. Something Jon has done consistently for a long time is to strap on his pedometer and, every day at work, walk the length of our church building in the covered walkway for a half hour. On top of that, he also gets on the treadmill after dinner almost every day too. This IS the year of the follow-through for us… the year of consistency, making things happen, and doing what we say we’re going to do. I couldn’t be happier that we’re doing it together, and working toward the same goal—all to the glory of God. When our bodies are in shape, we can do everything the Lord asks us to do (at least removing the physical limitations anyway)… with no excuses. I’m going to remember I wrote this on January 11th, and come back to it on those days I just don’t want to do anything. Sometimes I LIKE to laze around, so I know those days will come, but I never want to forget that I’m the boss of my body, and I get to tell it what to do—not the other way around. Isaiah 40:30-31 ~ He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag...

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A Dozen Scrapbookers

365 Project: Days 37-39 This was one of my views from Friday through Sunday this past weekend. Is this beautiful or what?! There were 12 of us who loaded up our photos and our scrapbooking stuff and went for our annual girls’ scrapbooking weekend. We stay at a resort-type house, which backs up to the Saint Francis River. Even though it’s only 30 minutes from my house, the remoteness makes it feel really far away. This trip is always so much fun… and so much more than just scrapbooking, especially since I have never scrapbooked up there. Over the years, I’ve brought ginormous totes of decades of photos and sorted them, or brought different projects to do like Swedish weaving, knitting (major fail), reading, cookbooks and recipes, and even the dictionary–to read for fun. I’m a total wannabe-scrapbooker, but I am blessed to have such dear friends who not only inspire me, but invite me to come, regardless of my lack of scrapping skills. I totally feel the love! Every year, Terry says I get to be in charge of the music though. I like having a “job”. I feel useful, and I like being a part of seeing/making people happy, so it’s a fun deal for me. I bring my laptop, my speakers and extra bass (gotta have bass!), and my iTunes all ready to shuffle. We are women, many with different tastes in music, so it can get tricky to make sure everyone is happy with what I decide to play. I have music of every genre (except opera), so I do my best to mix it up, but sometimes I really start to perspire if I sense that someone wants to leave the room. 😉  Such pressure, but I love that I get to do it. Most of us will get up and dance, and that’s when the real perspiring starts. Here we all are at our “stations”… not perspiring, except the occasional hot flash. This year was going to be the year I ACTUALLY scrapbooked (albeit digital scrapbooking), but the internet was paaaaaainfully sloooooow there, and the program I was using to do my digital scrapbooking required the internet, so it was a lost cause. Bummer. I made the best of it and drank lots of coffee, stayed up way too late, and had some sweet, heart-to-heart conversations, as well as ones that made me get a stomach cramp and laugh until I cried. I laughed so hard at a Tim Hawkins video we watched, that I thought I might, well… nevermind. I won’t go there. I stood up and danced and lip synced at my station, read a book on my Kindle, imagined what Jon and Hannah were doing back at home and hoped they were having fun. I carried in firewood like a beast, and at times I ate like a beast too. Man, these ladies have some mad cooking skills. I sat on the deck and breathed in the fresh air and soaked in some sun with a couple of the girls (without jackets even!) as we drank our chai tea lattes and listened to the river flow peacefully over the rocks. Here we are on our last day… outside without jackets again–in January in Minnesota. I just love these girls. I can feel so much how God loves me by the people He surrounds me with each and EVERY day, and I was so blessed to spend the last three with these beautiful women. Friendship truly refreshes the soul. I’m looking forward to next year already. 1 John 4:7-8 ~ Dear friends, let us love each other, because love comes from God. Those who love are God’s children and they know God. Those who do not love do not know God because God is love. 1 John 1:7 ~ If we live in the light as He is in the light, we share what we have in God with each other. And the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, makes our lives clean from all...

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