Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just Making Plans

Nothing too special to write about today. I have some things that I plan to write about in a few upcoming posts, but I need to relax and plan them out so I don't have 7 posts in a day and then go 2 weeks without blogging again. ha ha...

Tonight I'm getting dinner with my good pal, Laurie. Her and her family just returned from a pretty extended vacation with family, so I can't WAIT to get caught up on all the things that I missed and everything exciting that happened. It should be a great time of catching up... there's certainly never a dull moment when we're together, that's for sure!

Random Alert: There's a new show on USA called Covert Aff@irs. It's pretty good, but I'm not sure what I think about it, just yet. What about you guys? Have you seen it?

Okay. Back to reality. McStudly and I are hoping to plan a cruise sometime in the coming year. Neither of us have ever been on one, but... we're stoked! We've been saving while paying off our debt and are pretty much stoked about the thought of a cruise with just the two of us.

Actually, since we've been married, we've only been on "two" vacations alone together. Our honeymoon (obviously), and the one that earned the quotes around the number above, we took an impromptu weekend (and by weekend, I mean friday night into Saturday) at the ocean.

Other than that, we're pretty "green" when it comes to travel and romantic getaways. Well... not for too much longer! Anywho - more info to come on that, but I'm stoked and I'm hoping that all y'all that may have been on a cruise before will have plenty of advice for us on who to sail with (or maybe who not to sail with), and maybe where we should or shouldn't go.

Anywho - that's it for today. Looking forward to your input, and I guess I'll catch y'all later.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Worry Warts

I recently wrote an article for our Women's Ministry eNewsletter. Just wanted to share it with you guys, as well.

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

As women, we worry a lot. In fact, some of us could make a pretty successful career out of it. For the most part, we think we have a pretty good reason to worry. We feel justified and call it “concern.” Justified or not, concerned or not – the fact is we let it consume us to the point of constant worrying.

We worry about every aspect of our lives. We worry about our husbands, kids, and home. We worry about our cars, jobs, and finances. We worry about our hair, wardrobe, and weight. Ultimately, worry about our past, present, and future. Why do we do this to ourselves? We were created to be caring and nurturing, but somehow we’ve turned it into controlling and worrying about anything and everything.

Take another look at that list. What do you notice? It’s all about possession. They’re my kids – I’m supposed to worry about them. He’s my husband… It’s my house… It’s my future… But ladies, Psalms 100:3 says “Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” [emphasis added] By allowing ourselves to worry about all of these things, we’re claiming them as our own. When we cling so closely to those things in our lives that feel so important, we’re not allowing God, in his sovereignty, to hold them close. We regularly say we trust Him. We sing songs about how we’ve given our lives to Him – our whole lives – and yet, within ourselves, we find it necessary to hold on to bits and pieces that we feel most connected to or responsible for.

These things that we care about most; these people that we care about the most – we’re picking them up as if we are a small child that thinks it’s strong enough to carry something heavy by itself. And just as that child pulls away when you try to help, we’re pulling ourselves farther from God, and saying, “God, I know You’re good and perfect. I know You created them with Your own hands, but I can do it. I can take it from here.” And God, in his gentleness, let’s us try. We struggle, grunt, and strain to do it on our own, but ultimately we’re not successful. So we worry.

Other than a headache and countless other health problems, excessive worrying gets us no where. Matthew 6:27 says “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” There is no benefit associated with worry. Not one.

Each time we worry, we’re turning our back on the God who loves us. Instead of entrusting him with every ounce of our lives, we’re taking the reins. We’re so consumed with “possibilities” and “maybes” and the thought of “what if” that we have caused ourselves to sin. We’re sinning when we’re focusing on these things rather than God, just as an adulterer turns her attention on her lover, rather than her groom. That sin then pulls us even farther from God and, before we realize what has happened, we’re caught in this deep pit of worry.

Even in that moment… in that pit, God, in His mercy, loves us still. He doesn’t just leave us there to figure things out, but He picks us up, dusts us off, and tells us to cast our cares onto Him. Not only does He forgive us for worrying, but He actually offers to carry the load FOR us! Psalms 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.” When we do that, the worries, the concerns, the anxieties no longer weigh us down, and we’re free to live the life he’s designed for us.

The next time you feel overwhelmed with concern or find yourself worrying excessively, remember that He has a plan and a purpose for you. He’s on your side! He won’t harm you, but has promised you hope and a future. And at the end of the day, he’s the only one who knows what it is, so why bother worrying about it when the very creator of our existence is waiting, arms opened to us, and willing to have us walk through it together.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Barometric Pressure

This Barometric Pressure shift is really messing with my head today... literally.

I called in to work to tell them I'd be going in late today.

And I was completely genuine when I said that my head was pounding. I took some medicine and went to lay back down, hoping that would help a bit, and then I'd go in at lunchtime.

So I lay back in bed, trying to go to sleep (it's always sooo much harder when you're fighting one of these splitting AND throbbing headaches. Double whammy. Be still my heart. *sigh).

As you can tell from the fact that I'm writing a blog right now, I am not able to sleep. My head is ssllooowwwwllly feeling better, but something even bigger happened. I'm being 100% vulnerable with you guys today (like I'm not usually?! Ha). I was trying to think about something... anything to get my mind off of the pain so that I could sleep and it would go away. Sounds like a good enough plan, right?!

Yeah. God thought so, too.

He knew it would happen. He knows how I tick. He knows what happens when the barometric pressure drops or raises (whatever it is, today) and my head starts running the show. He knows what my usual plan is to make the day bearable again, and he knew it would happen today. Right?! Right.

I started (don't even remember it getting there, actually, but grateful that it did, to be honest) thinking about running. I think it was because today is a running day for me (this evening, anyways), and how I'm meeting a girlfriend for dinner, so it'll be a late run, and possible hard to do since it's supposed to rain and/or I'll have just eaten... blah blah blah. It doesn't matter, really. But here's what does -

As I sat there thinking about my training for this 1/2 marathon in December and how it benefits a foundation which would find a cure and/or treatment(s) for a disease... I began thinking about all of the other races out there.

In that moment, I felt God directing me. And I felt it so strongly that I started to cry.

I still keep welling up, even as I write this post. I sat. I googled. And after seeing that there are similar events, but nothing quite like it, I just knew...

Now, I don't have all of the details or logistics, yet. I don't have a clue how it'll work or when it'll happen. All I know is this:

Through God's grace, I am going to organize a race.

Ideally, it will mix a 5k, 10k, 1/2 and full marathon, so that anyone with any and all background in running/walking - rolling, for that matter - can participate.

And every bit of the money raised will go to building water wells in 3rd world countries.

As I lay there thinking about how I would need to hydrate at the right time for my run tonight, and then what hydrating would be like during the race. My mind wandered to people that don't have water. And then it wandered to people that have to walk a marathon or more just to get to water... water that may or may not even be clean...

My heart just broke.

How silly am I? I'll tell you: I am a self-proclaimed water snob. I don't like Deer Park because, to me, it tastes peppery. I don't like Dasani because, well, it tastes like chemicals. I'm fine with most, but not all, tap water and I prefer the water from my Pur water filter at home...


How much more of a selfish, spoiled little ungrateful girl can I be?!?! I'll probably still prefer water this way. But honestly, AT LEAST I HAVE CLEAN WATER available at my FINGERTIPS pretty much any time I want it.

I'm not saying any of this to sound holier than thou or anything - this was a very very personal conviction. Well, less of a conviction, really, and more of an appreciation for my American comforts, all while there are people that still die of dehydration.

That sounds so... Hollywood 'Sahara Desert", doesn't it? Or so "Oregon Trail"...

But it's true.

And it breaks God's heart to see some of his people living so comfortably, all while some of his children SUFFER just because there in another part of the world... and world which, in it's entirety, was created by his own hand.

I won't sit here and say that he looks down on us for that. I don't believe that. But what is wrong with us, as Christians... Heck - as a human race - if we just sit back and do nothing with something so simple?!

This is true for any and every sadness in this world, really: Human trafficking. Slavery. Drug smuggling and addiction. Terrorism. Abuse. Neglect. Corrupt government. Greed. Gluttony. The fact that the porn industry is one of the most successful. I could go on for quite some time, unfortunately, but this just isn't the point.

How hard could it be to give clean water to a village. We have the capabilities. We have the technology. We have the manpower and the resources. I mean... water is one of the most abundant resources on earth, and yet people grow ill and die because it's out of their reach.

So I've done just a little bit of research in the past hour (Trust me, there will be MUCH more done), but here's what I found from one reputable organization that helps collect money to build wells... in Africa, specifically (for the record... I want to even go beyond Africa, but this is a huge starting point, and there is a HUGE need there):

"Every day, nearly 4,000 children die as a result of drinking unsafe water. Every 22 seconds a child perishes from waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. Six million people are blind as a result of contaminated water and bacteria. Please help bring safe, clean water to children and families across Africa.

To give water is to give life. Clean water can cut a community’s child mortality rate in half. It means food for families whose crops are failing due to drought. It saves livestock. It gives parents a powerful way to improve the health, hygiene, and well-being of their children, and enable them to reach their God-given potential.

Your gift will help us dig wells to bring safe, clean water to thousands. You can also help provide purification equipment to treat contaminated water, and water storage containers to save fresh rainwater for later use. And, most importantly, your gift will help improve children’s health with sanitation systems that keep water sources clean.

No other gift produces a more dramatic effect on life than clean water and sanitation. You can help wash away suffering by providing access to one of life’s most precious resources..."

Can you believe that? Look at that first paragraph again: 4,000 children a day. Every 22 seconds!! That is just gut-wrenching.

And read those diseases again - typhoid, cholera, dysentery. The only thing I know about those illnesses is that your eldest daughter in Oregon Trail almost always die from something like that... or diarrhea. But I have don't even have any idea what that looks like, much less what it feels like or how rough it can be on the body of a child.

Well, that's that. This is what's on my heart, right now. I just talked to McStudly about it and I'm snotting like a baby, again.

Wow. Even with all of the crying and blubbering... my head feels a lot better.

So here's what I need from you guys:

#1 - your opinion. Do you think it's something people would do? I mean, with God ALL ALL ALL things are possible, but I'm being a silly little girl and wondering if people will do it.

#2 - your voice. I want TONS of opinions, here. I want to hear from people who run and people who don't even walk more than to the mailbox. I want to know if this is a cause they'd push themselves for. So do me a favor - spread the word about this and encourage other people to comment, as well.

#3 - your experience. Have you ever started your own race before? Do you know someone who has? Have you ever been part of a "1st" race before?

#4 - your suggestions. I was thinking it'd be super cool to have the race somehow involve Embassy row in DC, but the realist in me knows that probably couldn't happen. But who knows, right?! Are there any other locations that you think would be awesome? Maybe starting and finishing the race in Baltimore at the World Trade Center in the Harbor would be awesome. Ideas, people... give me ideas!

#5 - your support. I know this is a huge feat. I need lots of prayer. Tons of encouragement, and a whole Whole WHOLE love of accountability. Ask me about it. Challenge me. Call me out on other posts. Remind me what God's placed on my heart and don't let me get caught up or distracted by little petty things, but keep me focused.

#6 - your help. This could be monetarily as we move closer to the race. This could be signing up and running it with us. This could be cheering us on through the process or on the sidelines of the race... handing out water and goodies to the runners.

Anywhere you can help, I'd be GREATly appreciative. I do still plan to run the 1/2 marathon in December, if I can, to benefit Crohns' and Colitis. It's still something near to me and my husband, since he was diagnosed last June. But even beyond running, I'll get to see that a race of this size is like and how it's organized. I may even get to make a few contacts while I'm there? At least that's what I'm hoping. So continue to pray for us with regard to that race, as well. We need to race a good amount of money and will need a lot of support and encouragement through the training... and we can always use prayer - can't get enough of it!

You'll see a little link or some "Donate" button action in the coming months, so help us spread the word when that pops up. the less stressed we are on raising funds for this race, then the more I can focus on preparing, planning, and organizing the Race for Water (I'm not sure if that's what we'll be calling it, yet, but we'll get to those details later, eh?!).

I pray that God will provide every single cent, and then some for this race in December, as I know he can. And then for the Race for Water, he'll continue to provide: Every single runner. Every single penny through fundraising. Every cup of water needed for the race, and thus every drop of water through a well to villages and countries in need around the world.

Today, I'm thinking God for shifting Barometric Pressure... just remind me of that the next time I complain about a headache, will ya?!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Workin' It

It's official. Monday night at 10, I have logged about a marathon worth of running!


No really, though - there are now 26.24 miles on my training log and I am SO stinking proud of myself. I am not a runner. I mean I've tried running before, but it's never really stuck. Having a race or something to work towards has been so fabulous, you don't even know.

Honestly, every time I'm out there, I'm a big cheeseball and feel like I'm running for my husband. And in a way I guess I am. I'm training for a race that will directly benefit his health and well-being, so maybe I really am running for him. And everytime I push myself harder, I feel like I'm loving him in that.

See?! Total cheeseball.

But anywho - I had the best run the other day. Saturday evening's run was so stinking phenomenal that I can only hope that my next run will be that good. It wasn't too hot out, so I'm sure that helped a bit. And it's very possible that the Vanilla Bean Frappacino I had about 2 hours before could've had a little to do with it, too, but I don't even care. I felt SO great about it!

McStudly was hanging out with a buddy of his and so I figured I'd knock out my run for the day (since I'm running every other day, now) while he was gone. So I threw on some of my running gear, laced up my new running shoes (I can't wait to tell you all about them), charged up the iPod shuffle and went for it.

At the previous run, I had finally reached the point where I could run a full mile without stopping to walk. That was HUGE for me. Seriously! So I figured I try to push it up to a mile and a 1/4 or maybe... maybe a mile and a 1/2 if I could. Why not aim "big", right? ha ha... that seems so silly, now.

Well, aim "big" I did. Once I got going, I felt great so I just kept running. I ended up running 2 1/2 miles straight!!


I couldn't believe it, but I just kept pushing myself and pushing myself and it. was. awesome!!

at one point, Studly and his friend drove past me and waved. I felt so great because of where I was at the time and the fact that I was still running. Still running. Hadn't stopped, yet!

Oh man.

You have no idea how much of an accomplishment that was for me.

Well since then I've run once, but had to tone it down for two reasons: time and temperature.

It's been way hot out in these parts, lately, and I don't want to kill myself so I'm staying smart. Studly and I got home later in the evening on Monday, so we just decided to go around the "block" and take Austin with us, but we had to run the whole thing.


No sweat.

Well... there was plenty of sweat, but we did it, nonetheless (and Austin didn't almost keel over, this time. I guess we're all doing better, now) and felt great afterwards, so we through in some crunches after we stretched it out. 50 of them, to be exact. Awesome.

Anywho, it was over 100 degrees Tuesday (luckily it fell on a no-run day, for me), which wasn't pretty, but it looks like it'll be right at that, or close to it for a little while. So I may be sticking to a few shortened run sessions, for now. But the way I'm looking at it is that I'll be getting better at a straight run and will hopefully be able to push myself further and further when it starts to cool down.

That sounds reasonable, right?

Well, that's the status for now. I have a few more runs to log, but won't cheat and add them into the total that mapmyrun.com is giving me for now. I'll just give you what I haven't been too lazy to log and hopefully that will make me better at logging everything.

Anywho - that's the 411 on the 1/2 marathon training. Have you been pushing yourself to exercise, lately? What other kinds of goals have you set for yourself - crafting, blogging, cleaning... do tell!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I know - I'm Slacker McSlackipantalones for sure. BUT I thought it was a nice chance to take a break (break from what, most of you are probably thinking... it's not like I've been exactly on the ball, lately) over the 4th Holiday and just relax with my McStudmuffin...


It was fabulous. We did a whole lot of nothing -

Wait. That's not true. We did a lot, BUT we have nothing PLANNED, so it was oh-so relaxing.

Friday night, we went up to Annapolis and mosied on around the new Town Centre. We bought new running shoes (more to come on that) for both of us, had dinner at one of the newer restaurants in the area (nothing to write home about, unfortunately), and I day-dreamed about shopping at Anthropologie (window shopping at it's finest) as we walked past.

Saturday, we slept in a little, I went up to Joanns and scored BIGtime (LOVE me some fabric sales), had lunch with some of mi familia (momma & pappa bear, and little sis), scored yet again when I stopped at a local consignment shop with Momma and little Sis on the way home from said lunch, went our separate ways for a big (Studly and I, that is), then met up again a little later. He spent some time with a good friend of his, and I met up with one of the awesome ladies' from our church (more to come on that, as well) before going for a run (and again... more to come on that). It was awesome.

Then comes the 4th. We slept in again (oh so lovely...) and then we'd planned to meet up with a buddy of his and his wife and little girls on base for the festivities, but then changed plans. We Goodwill hopped for a bit, then mosied on around in Annapolis again before checking out another new restaurant and chowing down on some yummy frozen yogurt at one of our new favorite places, Menchies (yumm-o!), where we happened upon some old pals of ours (Hi Livi, Leah, and Natalie!! oh... and you too, Lane). And out of pure laziness, we decided to stay in the Annapolis area for some fireworks. We wandered up to the top of one of the many parking garages and watched a few of the different shows (since you could see about 3 or 4 of them from there) before heading home for a movie and some puppy time with our favorite dog, Austin.

Wow.. there's STILL another day to talk about?! Gesh. I looove long weekends. :-)

So Monday morning came around and we slept in again (not too long, this time... we wanted to take full advantage of our day off). I called one of my bestest buddies in the whole world, Ash-a-Bash, and we decided to drive out to Virginia, meet up with her, and then go check out a fun new golf place in the area. It ended up being a TOTAL blast. Seeing her is always a super fun time. I love my Ash. *sigh And then getting to hang out with her family again (it's been for-eh-ver!) was also a blast. I miss them all. *tear

Aaannnnd that was pretty much my awesome long weekend. Woot!

It was fabulous, for sure.

So what about you all - what'd you do with your long weekend?