Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Well, it's almost that time.  As for the next 5 days, though, it is summer, and I will make the most of it!  However, I am a strong believer that we should go back to school in September, not the hottest and most summer weather month of the year.
I wanted to share this picture I made last year as a reminder to myself and hopefully an encouragement to lots of other people to remember that we are lucky to be here.  Each and every town and life has its bad spots, that's for sure, but we also have to remember how miniscule those things are in the grand scheme of things.  God has given us life to live to bring Him glory.  He said, "..I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." in John 10:10. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, God's will for our whole life is spelled out in the most simple way it can be put:  "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  This words in my picture are from a song by Jason Gray called Good to be Alive.  It is kind of a throwback song, too, but it is wonderful! 

I just found this picture on my mom's phone yesterday.  On the 4th of July, it would be "un-American" if there were no fireworks.  Actually, it would be un-American to not have fireworks for the whole week before and after July 4th.  It is so strange that my dog will go nuts over a storm that is so far away that we can't even see clouds yet, but fireworks don't even phase him.  Sophie, on the other hand, is not bothered by storms, but does not like fireworks!  That night we had to let her inside the house because she stood at the back door crying and scared, wanting to come in.  I am not a late night person, so I was in bed.  Sophie doesn't care.  If she sees that door to my room closed she actually sees neon lights that say, "Come in!  Kenzie would love for you to wake her, purr, and walk on her face!"  My room is the first place she heads every time.  I love her, though!  Mom came in my room when she heard me talking to Sophie and took a picture of us cuties. 

Best Friends' Birthday Bash

Chantal and Cherie turned 18 on July 20th, and they invited all of the cross country girls to their grandparents' house for a sleepover party last Friday!
Here are the gifts I got each of them:
Cherie likes green, so I got her green cupcake papers and a green bucket with bananas (her favorite fruit) and cashews (her favorite nut) inside.
Chantal likes blue, so that is the color I got her bucket and cupcake papers.  She also likes bananas, but her favorite is raspberries, so I got her some of those, too.
On their bananas, I decorated one like a little person and put a Bible verse about being fruitful on another.
"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name."  John 15:16
"We pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:  bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father..."  Colossians 1:10-12
I LOVE their house!  It has lots of yard space, beautiful scenery, and is off the roads enough to be nice and quiet.  I took this picture out the living room window because who wouldn't want this view to their yard?
This is from the driveway looking at the front of the house.
We are a team who plays lots of games, especially card games.  We also tend to get violent, especially during spoons.  You may be more likely to get injured in a spoons game than in practice.  Another one of our favorites is Kemps, and sometimes we play "BS."
Since I just recently got my iPhone5, I am still learning how to use some of the new features, including panoramic photos.  I didn't leave myself enough room to be included, but that's okay because I wanted a picture of everyone else at the table!
These girls can't get enough candy!
We spent a good deal of time over dinner discussing our summer reading that we have to do for school.  Each grade has a different list, but multiple people have read some of the same books.  We also all agree that summer reading is a waste of our valuable time, especially since we only spend one class period on it.  Not all the students do it or all teachers even grade it.  We spend enough time on school as it is.  We would gladly read if we got to choose what books we would read, then actually enjoy it!  I could go on and on about this, but I will refrain...
The little girls who live with the grandparents found a bunny a couple days before!  The poor baby was all alone, so they brought it inside.  I don't know if it will live long like this, though.  Precious baby animals are my favorite! 
This brought back memories of when I was younger and my dream was to be a veterinarian or zoologist.  I would watch Animal Planet tv shows, read animal magazines, and play with my stuffed animals for hours on end.
Something that I have learned over the time I have been on such a family-like team, is that you get THE BEST PRESENTS.  We all know each other so well and enjoy giving to each other more than receiving.  Chantal and Cherie thought my decorated bananas were adorable and didn't want to eat them!
Here they are with almost all their gifts opened.  They got so many wonderful gifts that I think will come in so handy!  Those are the best kind, of course.  Animal crackers, fruit, gatorade, picture frames, water bottles, and more are all things that they can put to good use!
We also make tons of homemade cards, letters, and notes for each other!
This was a fun game that I got to play for the first time at this party:  Imaginiff...
You roll to choose a player's name to fill in the blank on the card, then you read it to everyone.  For example, it may say, "Imagine if __________ were a road sign.  Which would he/she be?
1) curves ahead
2) speed limit 75
3) stop
4) dead end ahead
5) dangerous intersection
6) slippery when wet"
Then all the players would choose a card from his/her hand that corresponds with the option that he/she believes is the best fit.  Once everyone has chosen, they all show their number.  Majority rules!  All players who chose along with the majority get to move up that many spaces on the pinwheel.  First one to the center wins.
We had more players than sets of 1-6 cards, game pieces, and name boxes, so we substituted gummy bears for the extras!  They're cuter and more realistic, anyways.
After dinner, a game, and opening presents, we had some dessert!  It was one of my favorites, too, which is awesome because it wasn't even my party.  We had chocolate, vanilla, and butter pecan ice cream, whipped cream, fresh fruit, cereals, and candy to fix it up with!
The twins are also the cupcake queens, and everyone's favorite flavor is cookie dough, so they had some of those up for grabs.  (All their cupcakes have something in the middle, and for this flavor, they are cookie dough ball filled.)
Time for the happy birthday song and candles!
Here's one of my bowls I made.  This was the first time I have tried the new Dark Chocolate Crunch Cheerios, and they are very tasty!
Everyone knows that I am the ultimate dessert maker, so Emily was cracking up and got several people started taking pictures of me with all my bowlfuls.  I was snapchat-story-famous!

After dessert we headed out back to play volleyball.  We split into two teams with a birthday twin captain of each.  My team, above, ended up being named the Sassy Seagulls.  We had a signature move, pose, and chant!  We also kicked butt in the game, but we didn't end up keeping score.
The other team was the Winner Whales...ironic!  They also had poses, chants, and moves.
This was the most I have laughed in a really long time.  I was really in need of this!  It's a good thing we are runners and not volleyball (or anything else with a ball, for that matter) players, some of us more than others!  I wish we had all of it on video to show people and just to watch ourselves.  It was hysterical.  Both teams had people laughing until they cried and/or couldn't breathe multiple times.  I just can't explain why some of the things that happened were so funny.  It was just bad.
The "Winner Whale W"
My wonderful team
I'm not sure whose horses these are, but they were right next door in the back yard, so I think they were the neighbors'.  Anyways, they were so pretty!  We got to feed and pet them.  A couple of us also got stampeded at when the volleyball rolled down the hill and into their fence.  That gave us a bunch of laughs, too!
Another game that I have recently found fun and downloaded on my phone is called Heads Up.  It is very similar to Taboo, where you have a word that you cannot say, but must get someone else to guess it.  In this case, one person has the words' card on their head, and everyone else has to get the person to guess that word.  We use actions a lot, and sometimes cut out all the talking to make it like charades!  
Another one of my favorite things:  campfires and roasting marshmallows!
It was a great night to do this, and the fire was nice and warm.  I am addicted to the taste of freshly roasted marshmallows, so I gladly had my fill.
I also made a song!
Marshmallows roasting on an open fire
Mosquitos nipping at your knees
Campfire carols being sung by a choir
and folks dressed up like we-don't-knows
Everybody knows a teammate running to-and-fro will help to make the season bright
Midnight swim with the pool all aglow
We'll find it hard to sleep tonight
Chantal and Cherie's aunt (I know her name, but not how to spell it) played with us most of the night.  She can also play the ukulele!
The cat found a frog to chase and play with!
The next game we played was also a new one for me:  Sardines.  It is like hide-and-go-seek, but a little different.  We got in partners, then chose one group to hide first, then text us when they were hidden.  That group stays hidden while all the others go out and search for them.  When someone finds them, they hide with them.  The groups keep piling up in that hiding spot like sardines until the last group finds them.  That last group hides next.
They also have a good-sized, round, maybe 4-foot pool that they filled with glow sticks for our (after) midnight swim.  I was cold, so I didn't spend too much time in the water, but I ran around in our super-strong whirlpool for a while!
They thought putting the glow sticks in their bathing suits was hilarious.
Almost 1:00am and still going strong.
I wasn't in the water yet, so I was designated picture-taker for the wet ones.
Emily and Megan
Chantal, Katlyn, and Cherie, the 3 amigos
After I had all the whirlpool I could take, frozen and shivering, I told them I had to get out and go take a hot shower!  Of course we had to get group pictures first!  Two other girls, Azalia and Calista, didn't get in, so they aren't in this photo, but were there to take it for us!
Water photo, goofy style.
It helped my coldness a little bit since Megan was holding me:  body heat!
This is a typical Katlyn pose.  Anything with hands and arms flying
Elizabeth was really struggling the next morning.  Not only did some of the girls stay up until after 3:00-3:30 (I crashed a little before 2:00), but Elizabeth had been at a swim meet all day Friday before she came to the party.
Breakfast for me and some others who chose:  cereal!  I love cereal.......
They also had pancakes, eggs, peanut butter, and fruit.
However, the fun was not over yet!  At least for 4 of us.  Chantal, Cherie, Katlyn, and I ran home when everyone else had gotten picked up.  I knew that I would be going to the lake later, so I wouldn't be running again that day, so I decided that I would add a couple miles to the 8 home and make it 10.  After separating from them at around 6 miles, I went through the industrial park.  Then I decided to go out on highway 160 to a certain distance then turn back.  Hey, I still felt good, so I decided to run down old 11E that parallels 11E highway.  It also goes past my old elementary schools and church.  My goal mileage just kept creeping up.  I came out across from the BP and crossed the highway there.  Then I realized, oh, this is going to be a little over 12 miles.  Once I got to the driveway, I looked at my watch and thought, "Whoa!  Less than a mile more, and I will have a half marathon distance!"  Therefore, I might as well, right?  I yelled to my mom and dad who were outside as I passed and continued down and back on the road until I got to where I could hit my push-back-corner hard and up the driveway to my desired distance.  I felt awesome!  It was really exciting to do my longest run (for all at one time) and it be a half marathon distance.  My last 7 miles also really picked up the pace, too. 
This was a great start to my weekend, and it was only around noon on Saturday at this point!  I was so thankful to have gotten to spend such fun times with a great group of girls.  I hadn't done anything like this in years.
Sometimes, you really do need to let go and act like a kid.  It will be a blessing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I love this verse from one day's post on 365Promises.  Rest is something we rarely get in this life, so it is so reassuring to know that in the midst of all life's chaos, we can go to God, and He can provide peace at any time or place.

People are all about taking pictures when they "match," and it has also become kind of a joke of people making fun of others for saying that they match when they really don't, but they just want an excuse to take a picture with someone.  Nobody can say that about us; Cherie and I are wearing the exact same shirt!  Emily and Chantal also have on pink tank tops, and we are all three wearing Nike Pro spandex.
This was after we did something new for a summer practice.  We've never done speed workouts during the summer before, and never done fartleks at all since we've been running cross country at West.  This morning, though, we split up into our 3 time/ability based groups, boys and girls training together (which I love the challenge), and did almost 7 and a half miles of fartleks!  It was a challenging workout, but we all liked it!
You may be wondering, "Why is farting considered a workout?" but that is not what it is.  It's some other language's word for "speed play," but you can read about it to find out more.
Mom and I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some items for some gifts for two of my best friends who were having a birthday party the next day.  I could spend hours in there (kinda like I do whenever we go to Target.  I thought these owl bowls set on their new fall display were adorable!
Hobby Lobby also has lots of cute, small, and cheap, yet meaningful cards that I enjoy looking at, too.  I got one each for the twins, and another two to have on hand to give to someone later.

This one finished in "because God made you special in every way!"  I gave it to one of the twins because they are considered the cupcake queens!
--I gave the ice cream bowl one to the other twin because they were going to have ice cream at the party, we all love frozen yogurt and desserts like that, and there were three bowls, which I wrote inside represented one for the each of us.
--The chicken one will be a surprise for a friend whenever I think it will be a good time to give her a card.  (She has pet chickens)  Shhh!  Don't tell her, if you know who it is!
--The middle one with the big bowl of ice cream is one that I got because I liked it, but I don't know who to give it to yet.  I'm saving it for a special occasion!
I love Hobby Lobby because you can always find spiritual and encouraging things there.  Bible verses are everywhere!  All the cards I bought today have one in them.  Sharing God's love is the best thing I can ever think to give someone.  So, when you don't know what to give someone, Jesus is always a good choice!
After leaving there, Mom and I went next door to Walmart.  I know it sounds strange, but I love that place (when they have what I'm looking for).  I just love to shop.  I don't even have to buy things when I shop.  I go to the mall sometimes just to look.  It gives me ideas!  Grocery stores are probably my favorite, though, with stores like Hobby Lobby, Target, and odd-and-in/crafty shops a close second.
Next stop:  Farmers' Market again!  Fresh and local vegetables and fruits are the way to go.
There's more to this Thursday that I am so thankful for!  I ran home from the Farmers' Market!  It was hot and humid, but some clouds came, so it wasn't too bad.  My afternoon runs have been feeling way better than in the mornings lately.  By then I have had time to warm, loosen, and fuel up, leaving me more fresh and energized to run strong and finish faster.  This run was really great!
I have really enjoyed days like this, and I wish that I could have more summer to do all these fun things.  I feel like I haven't really had much of a summer at all because it has gone by so quickly!  However, I am trying to make the most of every day.  Laying down at night feeling that you have had a productive day is a great feeling!  I got to do all kinds of things and be outside in the summer weather, and spend time with people that I love, and that's why I was thankful God blessed me with this beautiful day!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday Faith, Fuel, Fitness, Funnies

So here is another Friday post that is just now being updated.  Only a little over a week late, though, instead of over two this time!  I added some things along the way, too.
What to do when you have some almond butter left and want to finish it so you can buy a new kind?  Do you also have bananas that are on their way to going bad soon?  Well, I did.  For a Sunday post-church, pre-run lunch, I mushed up a banana in my almond butter and microwaved it and mixed it:  rich, warm, and yuuuummmm...

Coach Rita from Furman University Cross Country tweeted this list of Coach John Wooden's favorite sayings for athletes (and just people).
I found another blog post that lists way more than the above picture, but I advise you to check it out!  They're simple and encouraging!

Yeah, it's been really humid around here lately.  I really love the heat, though!  There were times that it said 100%, but I missed the screenshot.

These post-run pancakes were peanut banana with a peanut butter glaze.  The nuts in the batter added a nice crunch!
Pancake:  whole wheat batter, chopped peanuts, mushed banana, water
Glaze:  Bee's Knees Peanut Butter, honey, sugarfree syrup; microwaved and drizzled

Reading my Snoopy daily calendar is something I look forward to every day.

These are another new pancake flavor:  Dark Chocolate Coconut!
Pancake:  Special K Dark Chocolate Protein Shake, whole wheat batter, shredded coconut, coconut extract, water
Topped with honey, sugar free syrup, and coconut

I won't waste my typing and your reading of my pumpkin pancakes, because I've already talked about them a lot, but I have made one change:  instead of Linwood's ground mix stuff, I am using pumpkin seeds.  (I ran out of the other, and I actually like using the seeds more!  They are so healthy, too, but also add a little crunch!)  I also had 3 egg whites this meal to add some extra protein!

Since I finished my almond butter, I was free to get a new kind!  I had seen this grinder at Ingles a while ago and have really been wanting to fix my own.  So a few days ago, I grabbed a container, flipped the switch, and here it is!
The Funnies:

I love the comics that relate to my life so well.
I used to do this at TCBY all the time.  Whenever they would have a froyo flavor I wanted, I would grab up a bowl of snacks and cereals and various things from the kitchen and take it there to get them to put it in a shiver.

With global warming (if it's real?) is heating things up, yeah, we might could cook outside.  People also would wear less clothing!  Ahhh! 

Yes.  If my friends saw this, they would ABSOLUTELY agree.  My desserts do pile sky-high.

This one is a picture of my mom and me.  Can you guess who is who?
We both love our cereal!  I love anything healthy and whole grain.  Mom does eat whole grain cereals, but it is because she says she can't taste the whole grain; she just likes the cereal.  If it's not cereal, but contains something "healthy," she won't touch it.