Monday, July 16, 2018

(Ice cream) Sunday and Babysitting Goodbyes

This was going to be a long day...I got to bed really late after work as usual on Saturday nights aka Sunday mornings, but at least it was before 1 am this time! But I'm dead. All day I could not stay awake; my eyes and head were dropping at everything. Church was really good, but I was struggling. All day I just tried to keep myself occupied to stay awake. I didn't have time to take a nap, but I would've given so much for one...

Pastor Dean's sermon was about how God is the giver of all things new. He forgives our sins, makes the sun rise each new day, changes hearts and lives in ways that we never could imagine. Passages of scripture about "new" have been great encouragement to me when I have struggled in the past and/or am trying to make a change in my life. He can take any bad situation, any sin, any sinner, and make them new. One of my favorite verses on this is Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." 
Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10 are about putting of the old self and on the new self that God made to be righteous. 
In the passage Pastor Dean used in Luke 5:36-39 and another I love in 2 Corinthians 5:17, old can't stay with the new. You must let go of what is holding you back and work in the life ahead!
This is a recurring theme in my life, especially lately with the studies I have been in! Personally (and usually with most people whether we admit it or not), I know the old that I need to get rid of. But we can't just get rid, we have to replace. New and good!
in Sunday School, our contemporary worship leader and his wife came as guest speakers. I have always loved them even before I really knew them. Last semester I got to work with Brooks in the media department as an internship in place of one of my classes. There are just some people that have that "something" about them that others admire. That's a gift from God. It is great to hear from people in all walks of life and how they have seen God at work and the advice they can give. Fellowship is one of the most powerful tools that we have!
My little kids are moving this week! I met the Mom and son on a dog walk in the old neighborhood the end of last summer, and I babysat them a time or two a month most of this year! It was really nice since they lived just down the road. I had never babysat before, but I apparently did well because they kept asking me to come back! Almost a year later, we have moved and now they are moving, too. The parents were taking an afternoon to get outside themselves, so I came and occupied the kids! David and Svea have grown up loving to be outdoors, which is something I admire about that family. It is hard to find people "not of this world" anymore. It was always good for me to get out and away from the rest of the world when I was with them, too. Today I took them some little things and some cake, then we went to the park to enjoy the beautiful day! We rode bikes, kind of (we walked a lot for the hills and roots), but David wanted to take his scooter. Svea and I didn't think that was a good idea, but he insisted and learned the hard way. Scooters are not made for trails.

Dad has been working almost nonstop on our dock for a week now. He is almost done, but it is another one of those projects that once he finally gets going, he doesn't stop. Bless his heart, he is such a hard worker, it just drags out. I am usually okay huger-wise eating dinner really late (a bad habit I've gotten into), but I have really felt the affects of this over time now. I eat later, have a really long day, do more stuff later, then get to bed later, and I just can't seem to get back on track. I have to.
**SOS my family needs sleep!

Today's holidays are National Give Something Away Day, National I Love Horses Day, and National Ice Cream Day! I didn't have anything to do with horses except drive past them on the road, but I did give my little babysitting kids a gift, card, and slice of cake! For the ice cream, here are just some pictures of the best ones...and some Breyer's that got me to win some for free from a Twitter contest!

Here we have Cold Stone Creamery (my mix from the beach with strawberry cake batter and triple berry yogurt with strawberry wafers, brownie, coconut), Breyer's, Kirk's (also from the beach, pistachio, coconut almond, blueberry pie, banana pudding), Halo Top (most of the flavors that I have tried are amazing), Bruster's (some of the best creative flavors and a good price!), Clumpies (local to Chattanooga, creative flavors!), Foote's Rest Sweet Shop (the one and only in downtown Frisco, Colorado, homemade daily!), and another not pictured is the Comfy Cow!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Greenway, Gratitude, Goals


While I don't like to ride then run, sometimes it is really good to go out and do something different to mix up my training, routes, mind, and daily routine. This morning I drove down to Knoxville to meet up with a guy I met through high school racing/coaching, Sho Gray, who is the coach at Johnson University and coached one of my good friends now running at UT, Niamh. 
We met at Ijams Nature Center at Mead's Quarry. I have been there once on a school trip, but I've never run there. We went out and back two ways on the greenway. It was great to have someone to talk to and learn from and some new places to go! Sho is a great runner himself, record holder for Tennessee in the 100 miles, and he is going to race Leadville in Colorado next month. We had a fun, but I also learned some things that can really help my life and running. Small things, but those are the things that matter. "If you can't take care of yourself at the foundational level, then you can't get better beyond that." After the main part of our run, we ran/explored some cool stuff around the quarry!

When I go places, I want to make the most of it, and I actually ended up having a lot more fun on this trip than I even expected! I had an email from Panera for a free soup for all of the rewards members this week, but I sadly am never near one. However I got lucky with this run trip this week! On my way home, I planned to go by Panera and pick up my soup to take home for later, but along a road on the river, there were several cute/cool shops that caught my eye. Finally at the fourth one, I turned into a parking lot, almost instinctively, like I didn't even really mean to until after I did it. I went in a couple coffee shops and looked in a sporting goods store (but didn't look much because I would be too tempted to buy something), and made my last stop in Honey Bee Coffee! This part of town is definitely a place geared for college students: coffee shops with wifi and places to hang out. This one was on the corner of Jones Street, so it was meant to be for me to go. I didn't have to have something fancy, and even though I love my fresh and local coffee, I decided to get a biscotti! It was pistachio, almond, and cranberry. A young girl was working the counter, and it reminded me a lot of me at Gelato Brothers, so I told her about my job! It's good to connect with people even if you don't know them nor may ever see them again. You can always make a difference in someone's day.

Well, after my busy and fun morning around Knoxville, I had to come home, regroup my belongings, and do some planks and stretch. By this time, it was time for me to take Chloe out to go to the bathroom and get some exercise herself. I have sadly not been able to take naps lately, and with getting to bed later and my training schedule increasing, I need them! But Chloe and I had a good walk. It has been so humid lately, but walking at least gets some air flow. After our walk, I fixed a new lunch that I kind of started last week, and I am very excited about it! It's got all kinds of nutritious things in it, and it tastes like the perfect summer treat!
Frozen fruit (today I used strawberries and mango)
Kefir (my newest purchase, pomegranate from Aldi)
dried coconut
cheetah chomps cereal
oats microwaved first with some egg

Mom got her cast off at her appointment today, so while I sat in the sun on the deck, she got to finally lay on her float in the water! She is so happy to be able to freely move a bit more. Still lots of healing to go, but we have progress!

For today's section of the Focus chapter of Daniel Plan, it was about gratitude and attitude. Being thankful makes a huge difference in how your brain works (proven in scans) and how you perceive situations, and therefore how you act in them. Things happen that we cannot control, but how we react is what really matters. The Bible often connects prayer, thankfulness, and a life of peace in God's will in the same scripture passages (Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). One of the things that stood out to me most in this section was "I will see the outside based on how I am on the inside." Then I also have to start with myself. How do I see myself? It will be most helpful to begin to see myself as God sees me: I am useful for good and worthy of love, health, and a full life of joy! In my attitude, I have to have the right attitude towards setbacks and failures. With the right view on them, they can be more helpful than if I had gone on without making the mistake. We can't only learn what works, but we have to also know what doesn't work. Again, the reaction matters. Something else that connected deep with me is that we often don't change "when we see the light but when we feel the heat." God knows the best ways to get our attention. Finally, goals and purpose. If you are just living life with no real driving force, you won't be moving forward! (Kind of cool, Sho and I even talked about setting specific goals and steps to reach them this morning.) So for each of the five essential parts of the book, faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends, I wrote out 3 goals.

I wish I had known about this earlier, but I got an email this week about "Free Card Fridays" at Hallmark. They've been doing this since April, so I don't know why I am just now finding out. It goes through August, so every Friday, Gold Crown Rewards Members can get a free card from the Hallmark store! They are doing this to promote giving encouragement to others. ****This is already one of my favorite things! I've made several cards this summer and put another one in the mail today. While I may not be able to go to Hallmark very often, I'll do it if I can, and I will always send my own cards! It's the little things that make a big difference to people.

This is another sad, but funny and true comic. Magazines: they're usually filled with fake, unattainable, crazy stuff. I read them for entertainment unless it's something that is information-focused. People or Vogue? Lol.

Monday, July 2, 2018

JULY 1 it's a good day! And Dad's birthday!

Not only is it July first, the start of a new month, a new section of summer, and a new week since it's Sunday, but it is my Dad's birthday! I was house and dog sitting all week, so I didn't get to see Dad but for a few minutes when he and mom came by on their way home from dinner out one night. I had to work really late both Friday and Saturday, so when I got home Sunday morning after work (around 12:30 am), Dad came to get a drink and gave me a hug! It felt so good; I just love my dad! Since it was so late/early, I got to be the first one to tell him happy birthday! No one can ever guess how old he is; he seems so much younger in both looks and how he lives.

Since I've been staying up so late all the time, and it was a holiday weekend that our church doesn't have normal services, I got to sleep in (relatively). Mom and Dad were up earlier and ate breakfast casserole and orange juice, one of Dad's favorites. After I got up and halfway awake, I took a bike ride around the neighborhood and up the big hill out. Biking is so refreshing! I was surprised that I was able to make it much farther up the hill this time than I did before! Almost all the way! It's so much easier to run up hills.

Even though it was a Sunday and his birthday, Dad had to go into work for a while to finish stuff for closing weekend. We had planned to take the boat out for a ride to relax and celebrate, but he decided not to jar Mom around with her arm, and we could just sit on the deck. It turned out to be cloudy and stormy all around us, and the water would've been rough. It was a good and relaxing family day, though! I finally got all my calendars for my phone and the wall all caught up with the things that I know of so far for everything from birthdays to holidays, to work and cross country meets. It's strange to see so few; in high school we raced multiple times every week.

I got to sit out in the sun and do a really good section of my Daniel Plan Bible Study! This chapter is on focus: your attitude, thoughts, mind. In Philippians 4:8, we are told to think about all sorts of good things, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy. Thoughts release chemicals from our brains to our bodies. Imagine how we would feel if we didn't have so many negative thoughts floating around all the time! Thoughts have such an impact on how we feel and live our lives. I can be one of the first to tell how our minds can be our own worst enemy. It is another scientific fact that in workouts or running, you can always physically go farther; your mind is what stops you. So in a race of two physically equally talented and trained runners, the one with the stronger mind and willingness to push through will win. Not only do we have to train our bodies for success in both life and sport, but we also have to train our minds. Thoughts just happen, and we can't help what comes sometimes. However, we have to stop and ask ourselves if that thought is really true. This reminded me of the song "Fear is a Liar." If you Google the lyrics, you may find that you have been filled with many of those same thoughts that you are not good or strong enough, troubled, alone, ashamed, and can never change. Then you lose sleep and happiness (and health). There are so many lies and ways that our thoughts flip things around that really throw us off even though they don't have much validity. It is so important to take time to pause, breathe, and think--no not that same bad thought, but think about that thought and get some truth!

"What truth?" you ask. God is the truth (John 1:14), and we were given truth through His Son Jesus (John 14:6). This truth can set us free from whatever lies and chains hold us back (John 8:32). All the Word is truth (John 17:17), and it says so many things we ought to believe! He loves us, forgives us, has a plan for us, wants us to live a full and joyful life (John 3:16, Colossians 3:13, Jeremiah 29:11, John 10:10, John 15:11). Let your mind be filled with the good things of the Lord, and your life will take a great turn.

For dinner, Dad decided that he wanted Texas Roadhouse steak (I like his kind of birthday dinner better than mom's...sorry mom.) They aren't near as expensive as so many other places, but I think they have some of the best steaks I have ever had! Their service and atmosphere is great, too. If I have to look for another part-time job, that's an option I think I would enjoy. I would even get to dance! I also think it was too perfect that the name of the sirloin on the kid's menu is "Andy's Steak." It's the same as a 6 ounce on the regular menu, so I said I was eating an Andy's Steak for Andy's birthday.

I am trying to not eat much high-sugar, processed, "junky" foods with a lot of fake ingredients and all that jazz, but I am still going to eat the things I have already bought and enjoy new things when I want to try them. At the beach I found the Hershey's crunchers smores, and I LOVE smores, so I am trying it. It's so good! So, it is both good that it's tasty and worth it, but also bad that I want more. But there are also Luna smores bars and so many other things with a greater health punch for me!

Today is a pretty good and tasty holiday in my opinion! And one of my little fun project things.

1. National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day: you know I love my creative ice creams! I don't do plain Janes. No chocolate, vanilla, Neapolitan. You gotta have some mix-ins. These are some of the best places that I have been for kinds like this! Sugar Life and Kirk's at Myrtle Beach, The Fudgery, The Pied Piper in Nashville, The Comfy Cow, Bruster's, and Clumpies in Chattanooga.

2. National Gingersnap Day: not a snap, but these seasonal bars from Quaker made me so happy Mom bought me two big boxes at Target back then. Other brands have great protein bars in gingerbread, too! Like Clif and Fitjoy.

3. National Postage Stamp Day: I am sad that these are almost gone. Another thing Mom got for me that I love to use to personalize my cards and express myself!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Global Running Day--Dad's Here--Read and Pray


I got to celebrate global running day in style by running in a new and favorite sports bra down the beach in the beautiful sun! It was a longer run than I had planned, but I got so far and was so close to the pier that I just went on. I'm glad I did; it felt like a great accomplishment, and I got to see a cute, young lifeguard that took my picture. I got his phone number, but only because I sent myself the picture from his phone. But hey, a girl can dream. 
Running on the beach is a challenge for many reasons (I even read an article about it in the most recent Runner's World that afternoon--this was not planned, but God works in neat ways!). Your muscles have to work way harder to keep you stable and push forward since the sand is so much looser than grass or pavement. Even on the packed part that seems like a dirt path, you get a tougher workout. That's what I do; that loose stuff is killer when I have to go up and around a couple water run-offs. I think I could walk faster. There is also more wind being close to the water and no shade! However, this didn't feel too bad. I also don't like really long out-and-back with no turns, but this one didn't seem monotonous. I guess I will call it beach bliss.

It turned out to be a super hot day again, and it was one we were staying out long and staying at the hotel. Dad was on his way, and he got there by lunch time even leaving later than Mom and I do (we say he drives blazing fast, but I wouldn't want that drive ahead of me alone either). He took a picture of me and Mom since we didn't get one our whole time of being there just us! (And this has become my new favorite bathing suit! Who says you have to pay big bucks? Mom got this for me for Easter at Walmart.) After sitting so long for the drive, he and Mom took a walk, so I held down the fort at our chairs and umbrella.
I usually would do my Bible study before lunch to get a positive start that I could keep in my mind for motivation the rest of the day. Another day in the Now booklet, the first section put an emphasis on meditating on God's Word. I can attest after many solitary moments in some recent years' struggles, the Word was all I had. In despair, it brought me hope and courage. Looking back, I honestly don't know how I did it other than God's power filled me up. It's something that the right words at the right time can do way more than any tangible thing. You can't buy or create your own peace, but God can speak it to you in His Word. It's one of those things that the same verse can mean something different to you at different points in life; it never gets old. There are always new things to learn and new perspectives to gain. The more I read, the more I want to; it's a good kind of addiction, a habit, one that I need to get into more of again! Just like any habit, reading the Bible and prayer (which was the next thing) are slow to start and keep up regularly, but once you do, it is easier and easier! The Bible speaks of reading it and keeping it in our hearts and on our minds to guide our lives (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:11, Psalm 119:105 and more), and the Word also speaks of prayer (Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and more). Jesus outlined it for us (Matthew 6:9-13) and set an example in His own prayer life (Luke 22:39-44). Both of them can soften our hearts to our situations and open our eyes to see more of what God has in store for us. Reading the Bible and prayer don't have to be a certain way or fake or habitual. It is how we develop a relationship with the Lord. You don't make friends by following some guide or step-by-step plan, and that's not how you have to relate to God. He wants us to be honest. He already knows everything, so why try to be something that you're not? Just talk to Him. Something about prayer--it doesn't mean that God will give you what you want, but He will give you the power to do whatever you need in the situation.

For the afternoon, I made a pina colada parfait with a drink and blended pineapple, cereal, and chickpeas. But then I spilled some in the sand...Having all afternoon and even longer gave me a ton of sun time, which has now left me losing my tan and a little depressed without the sun and warmth since it has rained basically every day since we got back. I got to read parts from several different websites, magazines, a book, did a lot of word searches, and found some unplanned things to look at along the way! Not having obligations weighing me down felt so was actually a strange feeling, but it was so good. My flavored and energy-helping drink of the day was a Lifewater! Placebo effect was at work by simply telling myself "Drinking Lifewater today because I'm dying in this heat," and it helped.

Mom and Dad moved their smaller chairs down to the water after the lifeguard took up his chairs and umbrellas, and I laid on our blanket. Not that we had anywhere to be, but it was after 6:00, and we were planning to order pizza and wings to be delivered! It is from the best pizza place in Myrtle Beach, and delivery takes longer, so I didn't want it to get too late. Luckily, after we chatted a little longer and went up to the room to order, it would only be about 45 minutes since it was a Wednesday and not as busy. Good planning, Kenz.
I was SO happy that Dad agreed to bike to Dunkin with me while we waited! We used to go to Dunkin a lot when I was in high school after some of my weekend runs, so this was a fun little trip. (There's a post about my Dunkin days, too.) After we got back, I jumped in the shower, but the food beat me! As soon as I opened the door, it smelled so good...Not that I am a pizza person, but Ultimate California Pizza makes one that is superb. Mom and Dad like basic extra cheese, pepperoni, and sausage, so I usually get my own creation, but it is more expensive, so to save some money and try something new, I got mango habanero wings! This is a great beach thing to do...spend all day out, eat in the room (in bed to make it better), relax, and watch one of your family's favorite shows (Big Bang Theory) and the NBA playoffs (Go Warriors). These are the little things that make my heart so happy.