Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn's Arrival

I love Autumn, the Fall.  It's my favorite season.

This is our first Fall spent together as a married couple.

I can't wait for the chilly weather, the blue and gray skies,

dry air, scarves, jackets, jeans, boots,

pumpkin everything, spiced coffee, herbal tea, crunchy leaves,

brown grass,  bare trees, dried mangos, glowing afternoons,

plaid shirts, cozy socks, a good book, fresh bread,

church festivals, the fair, family,

banana bread, open windows, fair isle sweaters,

mountain music, no rain, dark chocolate, seeing my breath,

running in the chill, rich colors, cuddly mornings,

warm foods, new recipes, switching wardrobes, a little extra creamer,

pumpkin pie, acorns, dry bark on the trees, house slippers,

flannel, apple cider, soft rugs, hot tea, tea and coffee in my little mugs,

English muffins for breakfast, hot oatmeal, brown sugar,

warm colors, old wood, scented candles, peanut brittle, owls, lattes, decorations,

Once Upon a Time, cuddling up with my husband,

pinecones, cobblers, sweet potatoes, crisp mornings, pumpkin patches, 

kids in costumes, short days, long nights, long weekend drives, 

butternut squash soup, October, November, earth tones;

and right now it's the beginning of fall, Autumn.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brit + Co.

Brit + Co. - This is an amazing craft site that I happen to fall upon while searching the internet for ways to make natural soda pop.  At first I thought it was a neat looking blog and wanted to know what engine they were using because it just looked so cool!  As I scrolled further and further and further down the ever-increasingly-long page, I realized that it wasn't a blog, but a place where bloggers have shred their creativity and (GASP!) it wasn't Pinterest!  So I've been looking through right now and finding some pretty neat things!

They have categories for style, DIY, Technology, Cooking, and Health, and a few other miscellaneous things mixed in there.  I signed up for an account, found them on Facebook to like and discovered that no one else I knew liked them!!!!!  I get so so soooooo excited when I find great new things that no one else knows about! :D
I clicked the share button wanting to tell my facebook friends about this neat site... and hesitated.  I hate sharing things with so many people because I feel like it's taking something that makes me who am I am and exposing it to people who don't appreciate it as much as I do... But I clicked Share anyways so that maybe some really crafty people can benefit from it.

This is how it happened with me and Pinterest though: I shared Pinterest with a few of my hall mates and my roommates Freshman year of college.  They had all already seen the crafty things I liked to do during the school year and thought I was pretty creative.  When I showed them what Pinterest was (after I learned about it from my now mother-in-law) none of them seemed very interested.  7 months later, I log in to Pinterest and discover that 170-something of my facebook friends have Pinterest accounts.  Great!  Or so I thought...

When I came back to school, EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER had a Pinterest account.  That was aggravated in a small way since the same people I showed Pinterest to asked me if I knew what it was - of course I did.  What really hurt is this: when I would make something, people would ask, "Oh my gosh!  Did you find this on Pinterest!?!?!"  That really hurt.. I had a creative mind and sense of craftiness before Pinterest ever came into being... And I thought people knew that about me - my own friends.  But since Pinterest had taken over the world at that point, nothing I could do would be considered original; it would all be taken after Pinterest.  Because of this, I've felt like I've lost my joy for creativity, for making things.

Now I've found this great new website called Brit + Co.!  It's such a neat place and I really want to share it, thinking maybe it will be among the next big things!  I just don't want to hear about how all of my natural God-given creativity is attributed to yet another website.  I just want to enjoy it for what it is and keep being who I am :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Avoiding an Avalanche

The artist is chosen by God to fulfill his commands and must never be overwhelmed by public opinion.

~Albrecht Durer

    This start to the school year hasn't exactly been a graceful one...  I worked full time all summer.  No biggie, in a way, since I've worked a full-time job before this summer.  However, a hard school year ended last May on a Friday.  Frank got into a car wreck that night (he was completely safe, no worries.  Just totalled the car... for clarity, it was not his fault.) we were apart on Saturday, rested on Sunday, then I started working full-time on Monday.  And I worked full time until Monday, August 19, then went back to school the next day.  I had no time to recover from the last school year and all of it's growth and stresses, but I had no choice but to start right back again on an even harder semester with brand new challenges.

#1.    First, my hours at work were cut because of budget cuts happening at my school.  This was already a very painful stress on us.  However, I can now see that as a blessing since I'm taking the most time-consuming class on campus: Hermeneutics.

 #2.   Yes, I am in my fourth year of college, yes I waited until now to take the sophomore level Hermeneutics class, but... I'm not going to explain myself.  Well I can work on one assignment for Herm for easily seven hours.  I have been spending ALL of my designated homework time on these stinkin' assignments because there's one due EVERY CLASS PERIOD!!!!!  It's not one of those classes where I can ask, "what on earth will I ever need this for?" Unfortunately, it's a class that I know has great purpose in studying the Bible - I know it is important to know.  I understand and respect that.  I don't learn by cramming, though, and I almost feel like this class should be divided into two semesters.  It's wearing me down, not just mentally, but emotionally, physically and in sleep.  I haven't been able to eat proper meals every day because I choose to work on homework for this class instead.  There have already been a few nights where I've gone to bed at 2 in the morning because I'm up trying just to complete an assignment - I'm not even trying to correct it!!  (I know, these are choices I'm making, but it's hard not to choose this!) I have hardly been able to touch any of my other homework between Herm-work, class, work, any housing cleaning I can actually get to, sleeping, eating, and breathing for a few minutes every day.  These few minutes I have to write this blog post are precious to me because I'm finding something to vent through.  I haven't run in days because I've either been busy with homework, or I've been exhausted in every way from going and going and going and going and going and not stopping until I'm beat up and tired!  Everyone tells me it's really not that bad, and I'll get the hang of it - WHEN!?!?!?!?!  Was it at the end of the semester!?  I'm in the library every minute after classes are over and I've been there quite a few mornings until class starts.  My homework is stressing my husband out who has already taken this class.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad class, the professor is great, it's alllll the freakin' homework every single night!!!!  I'm just so tired...

#3.    And now I've got my first exam in Research Statistics this Friday.  I think I understand a little more than half of what we've gone over by now.  I think. I hope.  My professor for that class has been so helpful taking time to help me understand what he's teaching.  That has been a huge blessing.  I feel fairly confident about this week's exam - fear and anxiety haven't even crossed my radar.  I just hope I feel that same confidence on the day of.

    Frank usually has a good amount of confidence in himself when it comes to school.  He's starting to feel like he's lacking the confidence he needs.  He's been helping me so much understanding my own homework, and through that, he's starting to question his own ability to do what God wants him to do - he doesn't want to miss it.

#4.    I'm behind already on my online class, and I'm behind on reading and notes for my Progress of Redemption class :(  I like that class, and I like the professor (just so we're straight, I like all of my professors) but I've sacrificed a class to get an outline done for herm, I've worked on herm-work while I was in class for Progress.  (Again, I know that I have chosen to do this, but I feel like there's not enough time anywhere else!)  It makes me sad.  And this isn't because I don't manage my time well - I'm a time manager through and through!

#5.    Also, please pray for family... I'll leave it at that ;)

#6.    Frank and I are thinking about moving next summer.  Where we are now is helpful because it's 'on/off campus' but it's not far enough from the rest of the CIU world to be of comfort.  The apartment we live in is a small box (less than 300 square feet, and we are being charged more than double that number for it.  I'm tired of hearing about how "we're paying for the community" - the community should be free since the community is people - and I'm not paying for people.  "It's all inclusive" actually, not entirely true...  It's not that we don't like CIU or the community around us, it would just be more comfortable to be a bit more separated from CIU, and the community is still great and refreshing to be around.  The only benefit is that we don't have to drive anywhere.  And if we were to move off-campus, that would pose another problem...

#7.    Our car is falling apart... What can we say?  It's an old, well-used car and it had 275,000 miles on it when we got it.  It was a blessing, truly, and we're thankful for it, but no matter how thankful we are won't change how the door panel is falling off, the gas gauge doesn't work, it doesn't start every time we turn the key, and two of the wheels inside the tires are rusted to the point where the mechanic said they'd have to break it in order to fix it.  Whether we move or not, that car is going to cost us something.

#8.    Okay... phew... that's feeling much better now... getting all that out in one breath...  When will it end?  I don't want to hear "welcome to the adult world" because I've been "in the adult world" longer than most people realize.  This isn't new to me - it's already getting old, and so I'm wanting to know: when will it end!?  If it's not one thing, it's another!  I couldn't imagine having children to go with this!  Hahaha what an entertaining thought :) That remains a thought, don't worry ;)

#9.    Please pray for us, you guys... and let us know how we can pray for you.  We want to focus on others right now, we are trying to avoid the avalanche that seems to be heading right towards us.  Pray for our sanity, our spirits, our growth in the Lord, for us to have good rest while we sleep, and for us to not get so caught up in what the man says is best.  Our purpose here is not to please man or feel suited for man's expectations - it's to fulfill God's call on our lives, following Him to where we need to be.

#10.    And seriously, please let us know how we can pray for you in all passion for the Lord.  Send me a facebook message, click on the "No comment:" link below and leave me a comment, comment on the facebook status.  We are all in need of the Savior, and only HE can fill the void we feel when we're lonely and overwhelmed and stressed out.  ONLY HIM.  I'm so thankful for God's strength, He is so good.  Praise Him, no matter what my days are like.

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live."
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(The Message)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cross Training For the Win

    There have been a few people who have asked me, "what is cross training?" or "what do you do to cross train?"  I want to help give a few answers to these questions for those of you who share the same query as others.

    To start, cross training, in plain terms is anything you do besides your regular fitness workout.  I will be using running as my main example.  There are countless things you can do to improve your running besides just running.  I want to answer this question though:

"I run all the time and I never cross train - I do fine!  What's the point?"

    I guess, technically, in a way, that's fine if you don't do cross training while you're training to run.  Technically, running does a lot for your body that will make you faster, able to endure more, you'll burn fat.  Sure, just running isn't a bad thing.  What cross training does for you, though, is strengthen all parts of your body, not just your legs and lower abdomen (and a select few other muscles).  With cross training, you can help your body reach it's best potential for you to run.  You can be more agile and limber, and this helps your whole body join in the task of being a better runner.  Want a few examples of cross training now?


What are agilities?  These help you become more agile - simple enough.  You're probably already familiar with a few agilities and don't realize it.  Ever heard of butt-kicks?  What about knee-highs?  Or burpies (also known as frog-stars)?  These are all to build agility in your legs.  They tone your muscles and build muscle memory so that you have a better runner's position while you run.  Look at this picture:


Do you see how close their legs come to their derriere's?  Or how high their knees come in front of them?  Look at how thick their thigh muscles are, and look at that wide gait between each step.  Because of doing exercises like agilities, those runners have been able to train their legs to give their best and all while they run.  Now they have excellent strides and faster times, and a better feeling while running overall.  So the purpose of agilities is to be able to make your body (particularly your legs) more agile, or flexible, so that you can use those muscles even more than when you just run.

Weight Training

This one you may see as not as big of a deal if you're running.  Why should you work out your arms if you're using only your legs to run?  That's just it - you don't use only your legs to run, you're using your whole body.  Arms included.  Keeping your arms in shape help your blood flow well throughout the rest of your body while you run.  You don't have problems with poor circulation or having your heart beat faster than necessary.  Also, having your arms in shape can help move you forward better while you run.  They're light, toned, don't flop around and let your legs do all the work.  It's important to keep your arms strong and able to help your body keep moving.  
Your arms aren't the only thing to be worked out with weights.  There are weight machines designed for other purposes.  There are weight machines geared towards your abs, your back and your inner and outer thighs (among many others). Again, why is it important for you to keep those areas in shape?  Your ads and back are key for making your legs work well.  Keeping a strong core help keep your breathing under control, and those muscles have way more to do with your legs than you may realize.  Your abdomen muscles pull the muscles of your legs in order for them to move the way they do.  Keeping a strong back helps for good posture which means an easier and more beneficial run.  

Yoga, Pilates, Medicine Ball

Yoga, Pilates, and the use of a medicine ball - these are all good techniques for core strength.  As I said earlier, keeping your core strong is vital to your overall performance.  Sit down in a chair, now try lifting yourself up out the chair to stand straight - all without activating your abdominal muscles or back muscles.  It isn't exactly easy to do, right?  Now imagine running without using those same muscles - nearly impossible, right?  It's not only important to use these muscles to perform tasks, but it's very important to keep these muscles strong and functioning properly.  Yoga and pilates, as much as they're stereotyped for women only, are meant for humans in general.  The strength that can be attained from doing these stretches and exercises can be some of the benefitting for your overall run.  Just look at the picture below; how much better wil your stride be when you can do that!?


Swimming is a great way to work your muscles everywhere.  If you have ever gotten in the water and tried to swim correctly (not just float), or if you've even done water aerobics - you know exactly what I mean.  You feel muscles you never knew existed from how great a swimming workout is!  These muscles, like every other muscle in your body is actually toned and used while you run.  Also, the demand of breathing exercises is high with swimming.  This can help to expand your lungs and muscle memory as you learn how to take fuller breaths for longer.  You will not regret this as you train to run longer distances.  Doing real swimming strokes and exercise is a great way to take some pressure off your joints while you cross train, improves your breathing, and really works your muscles in strengthening to improve you for the run.

I just thought was a cool picture ;)


Bicycling is another good way to expand your lungs, work muscles you usually don't work, and take some pressure off of your joints.  Even if you go on a short ride, do you ever notice that achy feeling you have in your buttocks?  Part of that might just be the seat you were riding on, but a lot of it is also the muscles you worked and stretched from riding around.  This is also a great leisure activity that can be done by anyone and with anyone.  If you'd rather not spend time walking, take a ride on your bike, you'll have a great distance covered, and might actually work a few new muscles in your body!

Kick Boxing

This is something that I REALLY want to try doing!  Apparently our school is now offering a small kick boxing class in the fitness center for anyone who wants to come and try it out!  I'm going to ;)  Kick boxing, while not too much like the previous things I've mentioned is not necessarily all about flexibility - even though this activity does require you to be limber.  This activity if more about toning and training your muscles where to lead your movements and how to execute each movement correctly.  Kick Boxing requires good agility, strength, and energy.  I'm pumped about taking this class, and I hope that if you try it, you'll love it too!

Remember, I focused on training to run races in this blog post, but each of these activities can be used interchangeably; whether you're training for a bike race, training to swim, or training to kick box - each of these activities, when used appropriately, support each other in your end goal.

Understanding the importance of cross training is crucial to your routine of exercising.  Yes, you can run and run and run and you're fine, not feeling anything getting harder.  In doing that, you're creating the same muscles memory over and over and over again.  Cross training helps train your muscles in other ways to make you stronger, faster, and more agile.  Cross training benefits you in so many ways; your bones grow stronger, your muscles are firmer, you prevent regular injury, you feel better, and you perform better.  When you cross train, give the same kind of intensity you want to have in your running - this will produce the best results.  You'll feel more energetic, more lean, and much better about your overall performance.  That's not a gimmick, that is a truth.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Getting There + Anna's First 5K!

This was a fun-filled week in the running world here!


Monday was altogether a good day, start to end.  First of all, my best friend, Anna Donovan, RAN HER FIRST 5K!!!  Not only was it her first 5K, but she finished with a time of 31 minutes and 14 seconds! AND she came in first place in her age group!!!!  Hot dang!  Great job, Anna!! :D

Again, she did a great job, and she had only been able to get up to 2 miles before she embarked upon this race!  Commemorative quote from the journey: as she and her dad passed the 2 mile mark, her dad alluded to Samwise Gamgee saying, "this is the farthest I've ever run!"  Proud o' you!
Next, Frank and I ran tonight as we've been trying to stay consistent on.  And Peter joined us about a month ago, so he was there.  AND we had someone else join us today: Terrance!  The cool thing is, that I would like to let Anna know is that she's the cause for all of this ;) Ask me, why? How? Anna running at the beginning of the summer inspired me to run; I inspired Frank to start running; we inspired Peter to start running; and then the three of us inspired Terrance to start running!  All because of you, Anna ;)

Here were our times and distances from Monday night:

Frank ran one last 3.1 miles before his race this Saturday.  Frank ran 3.1 miles in 30:46!  He's a bit nervous right now, but I KNOW he'll do great this weekend!

I ran 2 miles with a time of 22:55.  I need to remember not to beat myself up; I've been trying to get my pace faster, but I keep ending between 22 minutes and 23 minutes for my two mile run.  I know that's still a good time, but it's hard to feel good about it when I'm consistently making the same time no matter what I'm doing different.

Terrance ran and walked his first mile, and did great!!

Peter also ran a full mile, even though he wasn't feeling the greatest.  He still did a great job!  

Neither Terrance nor Peter recorded their times.


Today we cross trained.  Peter wasn't able to make it tonight, we missed him, but we still had a great time!

Terrance, Frank and I all started with a quarter mile warm-up run on the treadmill.  After running for the past few months, a quarter mile was a breeze.  

Next, the three of us took turns doing the weight machines.  They use them for strengthening, I use these machines for toning... so I felt a little like a wimp when I lifted 20 and 30 pounds. Ha!

After that, we did a few agilities - this was the first time for both Frank and Terrance!  But they admitted - it wasn't so bad ;) And then I told them they 'd be feeling it tomorrow!  Sure enough...


Tonight was another great night!  

Frank ran 1 mile for "fun" tonight in an effort not to kill himself before his race on Saturday!  During this, he helped Terrance finish his first running mile!  Way to go, Terrance!  And although he was late, Peter also ran, he did a mile and a half though!  Great job Peter!!

I didn't do so shabby either!  I ran 2.5 miles in 28:44!  I'm still a bit discouraged, because as I crossed the 2 mile mark, Frank read me the time: 22:55 - the same 2 mile mark time as Monday.  I thought I was pushing it a little bit more tonight, but I guess I wasn't... I know I still didn't do so bad, but I would really like to beat 33 minutes for my first 5K of the season.  I can do it!  

One thing I noticed in growing in my relationship with God through all of this:  as I've grown closer to Him, He has encouraged me by putting songs of praise into my head.  Not secular songs, not slow songs, but songs of praise to Him that glorify Him and give me a good beat to run to while I'm running :)  That's my love language between God: singing.  And He's sure using that to help me!  I can run, focus on Him, praise Him, give Him the glory, and He gives me the strength to keeping going and to finish!  Praise God!


Today, Anna and I went to church before Women's Bible study because our church wonderfully offers a pilates class for women to attend!  Oh my gosh, my hips were cramping, and I kept laughing because some things made me feel awkward!  But we had a great time, and I'm glad she and I did it together :)


Rest Day - getting ready for Frank's big day tomorrow!


To be continued...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Major Change + Someday Certifications

    Right now, as most of you are aware, I am spending an extra year in Undergrad because of a recent change in major choice.  For my first three years of college, I was a Youth Ministry, Family, and Culture major here at CIU.  The reason why is because God had other plans than my own for my life and I felt Him give me a passion for ministering to youth, particularly high school teenagers and young adults, but I never really knew why.  Even with all of the excellent training I've received in the past few years, I never felt like God was equipping me to be a youth pastor, or anything like that, so I wasn't sure exactly what I was supposed to do with my life once I graduated.

    As you might probably remember, I wrote a post about what I felt my calling was: Counseling.  I truly believe that the gifts God has given me throughout my life has led me to desire counseling others and helping them where I can as a professional.  I like for people to trust me and ask me to help them work through their problems.  I still feel that ministering to youth is involved in this.  I want to work in a school district in this area that allows family therapy counselors to work with teens, then stay late afterwards to have counseling sessions with their families.  That's how I feel I can help people and still minister to youth - this is my calling.

    What's that got to do with my major change?  I spent this summer praying and thinking and seeking wise counsel in a short amount of time, and decided to switch my major to......drumroll..... Psychology!!  I feel like everything I was supposed to learn from Youth Ministry, I have learned.  Now I feel like the training God has for me in the near future would best be given through the training I would get from my Psychology classes.  I loved being a Youth Min major, but I'm just as excited about being a Psych major!  And although Psychology is not required to enter the Counseling program, I feel that it's a better stepping stone than Youth Min would have been.  So there you have it: I'm a Psychology major now, and I'm proud of it!

    So by the time I've finished Undergrad, I would have stuffed four years of college into five!  And every minute is totally worth it.  So now I'll be here a year longer than most of my classmates.  However, I'm not alone!  My friend Anna will also be graduating in Spring of 2015, so we will be partying together all the way through!  We've talked a lot about what we want to do in life and what kinds of things would be really cool to have the skill of doing.  And we've talked about doing a few things together B)  This is where the certifications will be coming in...

    Individually, Anna and I have wanted to learn how to do different things just so we can have some sort of side skill apart from what we're doing in life already.  What would be the harm in that?  So when we talked about it, we decided we could work to get these certifications together.  Although I think welding and carpentry would be pretty amazing, I don't think I'd be able to get that certification... however, I still could.

    What are some of the certifications we've talked about getting someday?  They include:

  • Hair Stylist (probably from Kenneth Shuler)
  • Nails Technician license
  • Massage Therapy license
  • Just an overall Cosmetologist
  • Personal Trainer license (I don't remember if we talked about this one, but it'd be fun)
  • Carpentry (I would like to do)
  • I would like to take some classes in design and decorating for anything to do with interior decorating
  • and maybe a few others...
    So while we're finishing Undergrad, both in Psychology, we can start looking at what it would take to get at least a few of these licenses!  I know I'll be going to Grad school for Counseling.  Anna says she is also going to Grad school.  These license things could probably be a small part of our grad school life!  Then, by the time we've finished getting our master's degrees, we can do what we majored in, fix and cut people's hair, do their nails, help them get in shape, and help them with small things to fix up their house!  Who knows what else we would be able to do!  I am honestly pretty dang excited about this, and I hope there really is a way for us to do this :)  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Trying To Get Into It Again


Frank, Peter and I all ran together this time.  I was a little nervous at first since I hadn't run since last Monday, and since I'm a girl and therefore typically a little slower than these big buff men.  However, I was able to keep up with them for the first lap.  On the second lap, Frank sped up a bit (since he's little speedy Gonzales) and Peter was only a few feet behind me (doing great!)  We all finished our first lap at 4:48.  In the last leg of the second lap (since Peter and I only ran two laps each) Peter sped up and passed me.  I didn't think to clock his time, but I would have to say that he finished roughly 8-10 seconds before I did.  I came in finishing one mile at 9:35!  Frank finished 2 miles at 18:10!  And Peter, I'm estimating, finished at about 9:26!  We all did a great job, stretched and cooled down.  I'm still not back up to par with where I once was only a few weeks ago, but I'm getting there ;)


Peter, Frank and I cross trained today.  We went up to the gym to do this.  Here's what I did:

I started off with the guys doing a quarter mile run.  Then I moved to the weight machines.

20 reps of lower back at 60 lbs.
20 reps of Glutes at 40 lbs.
20 reps of Pectoral Fly at 30 lbs.
20 reps of Chest Press at 30 lbs.
20 reps of Row at 30 lbs.
20 reps of Shoulder Press at 30 lbs.
20 reps of Lat Pull Down at 60 lbs.
20 reps of Adductor at 35 lbs.

I finished this by riding a mile on the bike at level 8.


Today I ran two miles!  Peter, Frank and I met and ran separately tonight.  Here were my lap times and final 2-mile time:

Lap 1: 5:41
Lap 2: 11:20
Lap 3: 17:12
Lap 4: 23:00

I ran 2 miles in 23 minutes!  Frank ran 2.5 miles in 23:15!!!  And (sorry Peter!) I don't remember Peter's time, but he did an excellent job at finishing two miles!

I didn't do as well as the last time I ran two miles, but hey jack, I think I still did pretty good in my effort to bounce back.  I honestly don't think I'd be able to keep going like this if it weren't through God's encouragement through my sweet husband :) Thanks sweetie, I love you :)


Today was a really long day... that ended lovely with returning from Bible study with my friend Anna :)  Since we got back around 9-9:30ish, I decided I was going to stay in and spend some time with my hubby.  My health and fitness is important, but my husband is my priority :)


Rest Day


I went and saws a baby today... Somewhere in between that and the football party Frank and I had, I forgot about running :(  I've been very slack about it this week...  However, one of the things Frank and Peter did tonight inspired someone else.  Another friend of ours, Terrance, came over for the football party we had.  That night, Frank and Peter were prepping for a run, and Terrance helped by timing them.  When they got done, Terrence said he wanted to join them next time.  Now Frank's duo is a trio! :D

Prayers for my Getting in Shape Journey

Please pray that I continue to grow closer to the Lord in understanding my purpose for His Kingdom.  I have learned more how God is using me in this process to reach out to other people - believers and unbelievers alike.  Please pray for God to continue to use my journey and struggles that accompany to help someone else, even if it's only one other person.  Please pray for me to continue growing physically in strength and endurance so that I can learn how to discipline myself better, take care of myself, and do what is best for the body God gave me.  Pray that the enemy quits attacking me in these many different ways (through distraction, injuries, stubbornness, etc.) and that, when he does attack, I'll be prepared to defend myself.  Finally, please pray that I not see myself in a negative light, that I don't put myself down or speak poorly of myself when I mess up, don't do well, or don't do anything.  Please pray that I can learn to love myself more and see myself as a child of God, and not as a separate entity from God.  Thanks to all of you who already pray for me, I love you!

Emily's Senior Photos

Back in June, I spent a weekend with my sister Emily.  She just started her senior year of high school and, boy, is she excited!  I remember those days of counting down until we were out of the small town public school system, the wrath of teachers who didn't like kids, and getting out from under our parents' (loving) control.  And now my little sister is going through that same stamina dn senioritis this year!  I'm so proud of her and how hard she's worked over the past 17 (and a half) years of her life :)  She asked me to take her senior pictures for her since usually the people who do the professional pictures charge a gazillion dollars for a few select prints.  I am no professional, and she knows that, but she asked me to take these for her anyways.  I was honored :)  Here are scenes from the life of Emily beginning her senior year of high school!

One more year Emmy!!  You can do this!!! And we are all excited for you to make it here with us next school year!!!!!!! :D