Friday, July 3, 2015

Let the Traveling Begin!

This is my last one before we get to summer!
Right off the bat, my summer was a busy one!  The last half day of school, I went home for a couple hours then headed back to get ready to leave for MTSU for the state track meet!
Here are all the kids who qualified this year.  A few of us didn't get the team shirt memo.
Mrs. Bowen's pretty fun, as you can see here on the left (she makes me laugh all the time!), but she didn't last long before she was out like a light.

After a little while, we all got tired of that bus ride.  It wasn't near as long as many of our cross country trips, but it's just not the same.
Team dinner's are usually one of two places, unless something goes wrong:  Cheddar's or Olive Garden.  At Cheddar's this time, I got red beans, broccoli, carrots, with shrimp and mango salsa tilapia!
This is us at our table inside.  I feel the need to clarify that becuase this was an interesting night.  We started out having to wait forever, but finally got seated outside.  Then it started raining.  Then pouring.  There were umbrellas, but they did not do much good.  When a table opened up inside, they rushed us in and we all crammed around 3 tiny tables.  It was also about 8:30, so that was a late dinner, too.

We had some fun back at the hotel!  The past two years, my room has been the one that people come to for the fun.

She's my favorite.  I mean, look at her.
Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn was fantastic!  We did have to pay for it, but it was worth it in my opinion.  For $8.75 we got all we could eat fruit, cereal, made-to-order omelettes, oatmeal, breads, pastries, and all that good stuff!  The lobby and breakfast area were also really nice.  During the day and evenings, they even had free fruit drinks and white chocolate macadamia cranberry oat bars.
Since my race wasn't until late that night, I had a lot of time to myself up in the room, so I did some Bible study.  I had a nice view to go with it.
I focused on Ephesians 4:22-5:2, about putting off your old self and living in the new self, which is the way God intends.  The other passage I loved this day was Psalm 119.  It was just full of encouragement and things that spoke to me!  I went to this chapter first just because of verse 32, "I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free" because that had really become my focus.  I wasn't so much concerned about a state title as I was just getting back to enjoying this activity that used to make me so happy (which it still does now!).  Then I kept reading, and just took on the whole chapter! 
It's a really long chapter, but I'll share some of the ones that stood out to me.
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey Your was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees."  (verses 67 and 71)  This is something in me that has changed the closer to Christ I get and the more mature in my faith I grow.  I appreciate the hardships.  Not saying that I "like" them, but I appreciate them.  Without God smacking me with wake up calls, I could not be where I am in my faith right now.  I am so thankful for the lessons that I've learned and the times that God has kept me humble.

"Trouble and distress have come upon me, but Your commands are my delight.  Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live."  (vs 133-144)  Things in life will always make us unhappy, but God's Word uplifts our souls.  There are so many things that I don't understand, and that really frustrates me.  I have to calm down and remember that I am not supposed to know everything; that's why I have God.

"Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble." (vs 165)  That's great to know because I need peace all the time!

"Let me live that I may praise You, and may Your laws sustain me."  (vs 175)  Yes, I want a fun, satisfying, happy, fulfilling life, but not for myself.  This life is for God, who gave me life.
Funny story.
This pineapple was in a pretty fruit display at breakfast at the hotel.  The people working there said that the fruit was free, so Jessica went and asked if she could take the pineapple.  The lady went and asked the manager.  They all thought it was strange, but we got to have it!
Subway was my lunch and it was a honkin sandwich.  I love the trimmings and condiments!

These pictures didn't turn out too good, but I have to include my 4x800 teammates!  They did awesome!  We went to watch them race at the begining of all the events.  Second in the state...not shabby at all!
The cold and wind was too much to stay out in, so we camped out in the parking lot.
At least I got a good start and led for a while.
So yes, the weather was quite unfavorable, especially for me.  I can run a pace in the cold, but it's hard to speed up.  We'll just say I did not have a good race at all.  I was very thankful though to have a friend from another school to cool down with me.  I love talking to other runners because we are truly the only people (besides God) who understand each other.  Thank you Nichole, if you ever see this!  You're awesome.
The last late night because-of-track dinner was at Red Robin.  None of my famliy had ever been there before, but it was really good!  I had a great big burger, but I was more fascinated with their side items.  Many of them are bottomless!  You can get as much as you want!  I love steamed broccoli, so I was all about that!  Dad got the fries.  Not only were they bottomless as in as-many-as-you-want, but literally--the containers had no bottoms!  It was a nice double entendre.  They also had several spicy sauces, which I love, too.  I even got to try something different as a trimming: grilled pineapple!  It may sound odd for a burger, but it was delish!
After the race, I changed hotels.  Mom and Dad were at a Holiday Inn Express nearby, and I was staying with them the second night.  All the other girls went home because of graduation and they finished early in the day, but we had a super late night and plans to go to Vanderbilt and shop the next day.
I honestly can't say which hotel I liked better!  Mom said this one knew I was coming because they had to-go boxes, bowls, and plates already there for me.
I had dessert while I watched NBA with Mom and Dad:  ice cream, whipped cream, fruffles, and a mint shake!
I just love continental breakfasts.  This one had turkey sausage, honey granola, boiled eggs, and Fruit Loops!  I was excited about eating those.  It had been so long, and I was ready to have some fun.  The coffee cups are great, too.  I rarely miss a day of coffee.
We stopped by the Vanderbilt Athletic Building to check it out and meet with the coach for a bit before we went into Nashville to shop.  I'm glad I got this opprtunity early, because I wasn't really prepared for any of this college stuff!  Now since the recruiting period has started, I've got a much better feel of things.
Bass Pro was where Dad wanted to go, and he always has to try on his outfits and show Mom and me.  The Opry Mills mall is HUGE!  And freezing cold.  If you go there, dress for Antarctica.  I seriously think we walked a few miles just going from store to store.
They had a Moe's!  This and Salsarita's are my favorites.  Some people like the fancy sit-down restaurants, but I like quick and customizable.  These pictures just describe me.  My food is art, and Moe's food is good enough for me, even though I am picky!
I also think it's awesome that at Moe's, all the salsas are on a bar where you can get any amount of any salsas you want!

So my summer started off with travel, but there is WAY more traveling to come!