Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Days like These

The weather here has finally turned beautiful. We are in the 80's and I'm LOVING it! Spring you didn't abandon us!


This past Sunday, I struggled a lot. If you know me, I don't let things bog me down or define how I'm going to react. This year has been hard for me in a lot of different ways. On Sunday we went for a run and I thought surely I was going to go down.. I definitely thought I was going to pass out or dare I use the word that starts with an S..(seizure)  I told my husband I was going down, but somehow I willed it not to happen. This is scary.. My husband freaking out.. Telling me I could crack my head open and such.. . I could feel it come on and then it stopped. 

We finished our run. We slowed down for a quarter of a mile and then I picked it right back up.  Even to the point where we reached about 15 houses from our apartment complex and I yelled at him "How bad do you want this?" I proceeded to floor my legs, as much as possible, but he still passed me.. Next time, I need more of a head start. :)
Photo: Double Dare Dumbo training begins!!

 This feeling repeated itself into the evening. Feeling like I was going to vomit and then pass out.. Now, if you're thinking pregnant, nope... Not a chance... Just a typical day in my life. I went to the Dr. on Monday, I knew something was wrong... I was tested for an infection, which was positive.. I'm on antibiotics and this could possibly be causing problems, especially with female reproductive organs, which could be triggering seizure like events.. Let's hope they got this figured out..


Either way, I'm down 11 pounds from my doctor visit last month! BAM!  I couldn't believe it... I'm not even working out, or least not enough.. I have to wonder if it's because I'm eating healthier and have lost muscle mass.. 


As I have been reflecting on my week, I have been reading this book called "Days Like These" written by Kristian and Rachel Anderson. Kristian Anderson is a young husband battling bowl cancer. His story is moving and an ordinary person who loves extraordinary. His story leaves such a legacy to those facing cancer and those who have lost a loved one. 

Days Like These: Even In The Darkest Moments, Light Can Shine Through
He even made this Youtube video for his wife's Birthday. Take a peek. It's very inspiring and humbling.


As I reflect on the human, father, son and husband he was, I am reminded that we must love deeply. He also has made me remember when I feel like I've reached the end, I still can stand and keep moving forward. My reflection comes from a place of ...

How will I be remembered? What legacy did I leave here?

Aren't these questions we long to ask ourselves and wonder the answers? 

I am reminded by Kristian and his wide, Rachel, life is short. Every moment counts and live life to the fullest. You never know when a trip to the doctor could turn fatal.. "Days Like These" will bring perspective back into your life. It did for me.


Question: How do you want people to remember you?



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wishing on Willows Book Review


Katie Ganshert is the author of "Wildflowers from Winter", which I have not read, but has written this sequel "Wishing on Willows." 
The plot revolves the little town of Peaks Iowa changing to build houses and a community to fit a more wealthier population of people. Many of the residents are in favor of the changes, but The Willow Tree Cafe is a staples in the town and the owner does not want it to change. 
Robin Price is the owner of The Willow Tree Cafe. She is a widowed with a young son who has dreams for the cafe and isn't ready to part with them, especially since her husband passed away. The cafe was their dream together and she isn't ready to let that dream fade away.

Ian McKay, a developer offers to buy The Willow Tree Cafe, Robin does not budge. She cannot let go such a huge piece of her life. Ian is interested in more than just acquiring the cafe. His father owns the development company and Ian feels pressured to get the cafe. Not to mention his mother is dealing with cancer and he is feeling even more forced to acquire this business. 

Will Robin and Ian have a romance or will the guilt of her husbands death and memory keep her from loving again? Will Ian's business involvement be more important than finding love??? Who knows.. You'll have to read the book to find out.

Thank you Waterbrook for allowing me to read and review this book. The oponions expressed here are my own. 

A real princess and a run disney challenge

Glass Slipper Challenge

Disney has a way of getting people into their parks and spending their money. I was really excited and thrilled to hear of the New Glass Slipper Challenge.
It is very similar to Double Dare Dumbo Challenge in California. Participants can run a 10k one day and the next day a half marathon earning 3 medals. 4 medals if your running a C2C challenge.. I'm hoping to do this in February. I think we are choosing not to do marathon weekend, but instead do the Glass Slipper event. Registration opens June 11.. Anyone else thinking about doing this challenge??


Speaking of being a princess, my sister had her prom this weekend! I cannot believe my sister is old enough to go to the PROM!!! When did she grow up?? I don't know! She looked liked a princess though!




I know she had a great time and enjoyed herself! I cannot believe my baby sister is going to be a senior next year.


Question for today: Would you do the glass slipper challenge??


Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday, Animal Kingdom!

Happy Birthday, Animal Kingdom!



Today, Animal Kingdom celebrates 15 years! So, exciting!!! It's Earth day too.. They have some pretty cool things going on and I wish I was there celebrating.



The best thing about Disney, they allow their guest experience the excitement near and far. 

If you're at Disney, their was a special ceremony this morning at The Tree of Life.. I'm sure it was awesome. Did you go? Have you ever attended a ceremonial event at Disney??



Since it's Earth Day- "Party for the Planet" Festivities are going on at the park. These events focus on animals and nature that go till 5pm. I hear special food is around the park too.

Also, you have the opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise in he park and online. So even if you cannot be there, you can order a shirt and celebrate at home!

If you're not at the park, you can purchase this special shirt here!!

 Happy Birthday, Animal Kingdom! Can't believe you're 15 today! You've grown into being a favorite for many people and one of my favorite parks! 

I will see you and all your animal friends soon!!




Sunday, April 21, 2013

2 Book Reviews

If you're like me, you're probably dreaming of summer vacations, lazy days by the pool or laying on the beach with a good read in your hand. Although summer is not here yet, I have some great book recommendations coming up in the next couple of months.

I have two new books to let you know about.


So, let me get to you to my favorite book first.

 "Waking up in Heaven" is written by Crystal Mc Vea. She is your average mother of four children, but her experience in Heaven is nothing ordinary. 
Waking Up In Heaven

She went in for a surgery where the doctors were putting a stent in between her pancreas and liver.  She was experiencing a lot of pain, was in the hospital, closed her eyes and was then a code blue at the hospital. Upon closing her eyes at the hospital, she immediately opened them and entered the heavenly realms where she begins to tell her experience in heaven.

What I love about this book, is how authentic Crystal is. She says she would be skeptical if she saw a book and may not even believe it herself, except she experienced this and she knows it was real. I love that she addresses the elephant in the room, because let's be honest, we all have a little doubt in our minds and we're all thinking "Did she really go to Heaven?"

She begins to describe her life as a child and also introduces us to the people she meets in heaven. At the final moment, she had the option to stay or to go, but she kept hearing her mother call her and she remembers God saying " Tell them what you can remember" and responds " I'm going to remember everything." 

Without giving more details, you will need to read this book! So great!


 Book two:


My second book that I have to tell you about is called "Jesus was a Country Boy" written  by Clay Walker. Clay Walker is a Platinum Selling country Music Star.

I like the way this book is written. It is very easy to understand, it's a smooth read and it has different stories where Clay brings the reader into understanding Jesus and not Jesus as religion.

 


 I really like how Clay brings the Bible into each of his stories. I like how authentic his writing is and I think this book is such a great read. It's a quick read and I can relate to it, which makes me want to listen to country.

 One of my favorite stories is about wedding crashers. I love how he talks back in Jesus' time people who weren't invited could come to the wedding and it would rude to turn away anyone who wanted to attend. I love how he explains things and I love how he makes Jesus come to life for me.

This is a great read, I really enjoyed this book.


These two books would make perfect beach reads for this summer or a great gift for a graduate.


Thank you Howard Publishing for these two great books!



 



 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Flooding

This week has been an insane week.. Here in Grand Rapids, we have been dealing with some major flooding issues, which has made this week even more stressful.
 
Drew and I have been responsible for two children, their home and ours.. It has been a long week and I'm so thankful for the weekend.. With everything going on in Boston, Texas and here, I am emotionally exhausted..  Also, a huge change in routine has thrown me for a loop. I haven't worked out at all and that makes me really cranky!

Due to the rain and the house we were overseeing, I spent all day Thursday taking care of their home to prevent flooding.

Their is a on a corner lot and all the other yards have hills that lead to their backyard.. I spent half of my day at Lowes getting this 100ft hose to put in their yard and hooking it up to their drain, so their entire basement and backyard wasn't a pond! FRUSTRATING to say the least.

I then had to get a generator too because they did not want their basement to flood, especially since they bought a house in Georgia and are trying to sell their home in Michigan.. I had some problems with the generator.. It wasn't my week..



 Thankfully, we didn't get the flooding, but my parents sure did..


This is their backyard, Look at all their water!!!!


 
 A couple of houses down, they had major flooding and were taking kayaks and boats to get around. It's nuts!!



 I'm glad to be back home. This week has been hard emotionally and very draining.. The spare time I had during the week was spend reading Bread and Wine.



 bread&wine_cover_art 

I was looking so forward to this book coming out. When I heard other bloggers were getting this book for review, I was jealous and wanted it. Thankfully, I was able to get my hand on this and have enjoyed every chapter along the way.
Bread & Wine: A love letter to life around the table by Shauna Niequist is a book that you will enjoy each chapter. I want to sit down and read it in one space, but I am trying to savor the journey. 

This is a book with a collection of short essays about different life topis. You don't need to read it front to back, although I am, but this is a book you can pick up and read a chapter and then skip to another essays. The essays are written about faith, food, marriage, babies, running, and trials. It's a dose of everything and that is what makes this book wonderful. I also love all the recipes in her book.. Some seem so simple and she has made me feel better about my lack of cooking skills.

What I also love about this book, the writing. Shauna writes as if your sitting down with her and her friends at the "table" or drinking coffee with her. She relates to her readers and she makes the reader a part of the conversation. 

I love this book and highly recommend it ! 


Question: Did you experience flooding??


Monday, April 15, 2013

Heavy Heart for Boston

Shock, confusion and anger are the things that my brain can process at this point. Originally, I was going to post about a very frustrating Dr. Appt, but I can't even think about that right now because I feel like a community of my people have been deeply hurt.


I'm sure at this point, you have seen the media coverage regarding the Boston Marathon... Would I say that Boston is a dream of mine? Yes. It's a feat and qualifying race that ever runner dreams of. People train years for this moment in their running career.





Will I qualify? No, but these are my people. 

These are the people who inspire me to run faster. These are the people who cheer me on despite my limits and these are the people who inspire me when I tell them my story. These are the people who believe in a girl with Epilepsy finishing a marathon. These are the best. Elite. These are people who run for charity events and these are my people. These are your people. These are our people. If you're a runner, even a 5ker, you get it. Runners are a strong bunch who accept everyone and encourage each other. Running has its people and these are my people!


Runners have always been strong.


I know what it takes to run a marathon and I don't even do it fast.
I know what it takes to have a medical condition that changes you life.
I know the hope that running brings to the lives of others.
I know the hope it brings to my life.




With that, I can only believe there is hope for future Boston Marathons and other Marathons.  Security will become tighten, race fees will go up, registration numbers will become limited but runners, will keep running and will keep fighting for charities, will keep moving one foot in front of the other...

Because that is what runners do..

Run..


I'm praying for victims, volunteers, runners, families and all helpers involved in this event. 



Sunday, April 14, 2013

Whoa, I'm not ready for this!

This weekend, my husband and I gained an instant family. We have watched these two kiddo's for a couple of trips, while their parents have vacationed.. 
Usually, we save the money from babysitting, dog sitting and other odd jobs for our favorite spot in the whole wide world, Disney World.  Or we pay off student loans.. Depends if we want to be responsible or not....


However, we recently found out they were moving to Georgia (GA). We are so excited for them, but are so sad to see their family leave.. Goodbye extra income :( 
Goodbye great birth control! It's nice hanging out with them and then sending home with their family.




Either way, Drew and I are spending the next week with these little hunnies, while their parents buy a house in GA!!! 



It's so weird to instantly gain a house, mini-van and family.. It's just odd.. No more sleeping in for a week or working out whenever I want, I have to schedule things. This week I can see it's going to be extra hard to find workout time, motivation and blogging time..


This morning we didn't go to church.. But, I got a 7:30am wake up call by Sid! It made me remember why I loved not having children for the ability to be able to sleep in...

I really felt liked I needed to get a workout in, so I decided to put in a Bob/ Dolvette Video in.. I was hoping the kids would join in, but you can see Sid was not amused.. She wasn't going to work out with me... 



As I speak, the kids are running around. .This is going to be a crazy Sunday.. Did I mention we are getting hit with snow?? Oh, I am so tired of snow!!




Did Michigan not get the memo??? I hear the weather is great in GA.. Like 80's??? Really!!!



Question: How do you get your workouts in on vacation or when your in unfamiliar places, what are your favorite workout activities?????






Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

I have been on a hunt mission to find a swim suit. Usually, I don't have the difficulties that I'm having this year.. Stores seem to be stocking less two piece tankini styles and more 1 piece suits.. I already have a 1 piece that is completely fading and it's almost embarrassing to keep wearing it to the Y. The color is so fading and I am disgusted with it.


I bought over $500 worth of swim suits online and well.. they all sucked!!! I tried this JCrew swim suit below, but it was too big! That is always a good thing....



D-cup twist-front swing top 
I tried Eddie Bauer and I can tell you I was not impressed with the quality of their suits. Having spent $300 on a few of them, the quality was not going to last the entire summer.. The material felt very thin and too stretchy for a swim suit. Plus you can't try them on in the store, but I don't recommend them...  I had horrible luck!!

 

I just made a huge order from JC Penny!! Almost $300 Let's hope I can find a swim suit in this shipment! I usually can find my swim suit at Kohls or JCPenny, but again, a lot of stores aren't stocking swim suits.. I feel like by now, they should be out..

 
 Speaking of Jc Penny, I scored a great deal on a pair of Women's Nike Fit Dry pants!! They were only $8, but I had a 20% off coupon, so I scored them for only $6!!

 

They are so cozy and I love them! If they had another pair, I would have purchased them.. Be on the look out to see if you can score a good deal on them yourself.. It will be the best $6 you spent!! I promise!!


Question: Where do you purchase your swim suits from? Are you a tankini or a two piece kinda girl?? Maybe a 1 piece????



Sunday, April 7, 2013

My favorite from last week + Workout Review

Apparel :

1) This super cute hat!!! It was $2.50!!! Smiles are free!! 



( I was eating a Banana.. Not the best time to snap a picture)


2) Some if you're looking for somePRO Compression  socks, they are having a great deal on their baby blue and purple socks (yay, epilepsy representation) this month... I scored a pair of purple for $30 with free shipping.. Coupon code is SOMF4. Pretty sweet deal!! I would like some other colors and their shorty socks, but maybe another pay check!



Media: 


1) A Dream so Big:


_240_360_Book.833.cover

As I have a heart for Africa, and have experienced first hand the devastation of AIDS and the heart for orphans, this was the perfect read for me this week.. It was a great escape from my pity party.

Steve Peifer and his wife, Nancy experienced the loss their son, Stephen after having only spending 8 days with him due to a chromosomal condition called Trisomy. The way the God transformed their lives, was nothing that they could have even dreamed of. After agreeing to be dorm parents in a boarding school in Kenya for a year, their lives completely transformed and so did their hearts.  They experienced first hand the disease, deep poverty and hunger. The two didn't stop, but instead built a life to helping the people.  I recommend a tissue and a couple of hours because you won't want to put this down. 



The Voice:

I love Usher and Shakira.. It adds a different dimension to contest and I like it much better than American Idol!




Food:

These delicious and I mean DELICIOUS Apple Muffins from Costco! I could eat them all.. So YUM!!!





Hobbies:

I am working on my Run Disney Scrapbook.. I really have needed a lot of encouragement this week.. The awful seizure brought me down... Every time I look at these pictures, it gives me the strength to keep going.. I've been scrapbooking like a crazy woman to get these pictures done...





These are a few things that I have enjoyed this past week....  My workout re-cap isn't that bad for the week either..


Workout Re-cap



Sunday: Walked- 20 mins

Monday: Elliptical 1 hr, Bike- 20 mins

Tuesday: Elliptical 1 hr

Wednesday: Yoga- 45 mins.

Thursday: Walking- 30 mins.

Friday: Walking - 20 minutes

Saturday- Rest

This week, I am going to work on strength training, foam rolling and getting my body rest and ready to train for Double Dare Dumbo!




Question: What are the little things you enjoyed this past week?? If you workout, what are you going to do better this week?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

3 Book Reviews

A Quilt for Jenna 

book title front

"A Quilt for Jenna" written Patrick E. Craig is an Amish story and is the first book in the Apple Creek Dream series. Jerusha is one of the best quilters in Apple Creek, Ohio state. She learned her quilting skills from her grandmother who believe that Jerusha would be a wonderful quilter. Jerusha has been working on making a beautiful quilt for the fair in Dalton.  Jerusha is hoping that by winning the fair she can get out her current way of life. She wants to forget the past and the daughter Jenna she lost. 

As Jerusha is on the way to the fair, she gets caught in a snow storm and gets into an accident. As the book continues, Jerusha reflects on her life, her marriage to Reuben and the series of events that she has endured. Will Jerusha be reunited with her husband? Will she get over her past and see what God has for her future?

This book was well written and I'm curious to read the rest of this series. 


Mountain Homecoming

book title front

"Mountain Homecoming" is the second book in the Smokey Mountain Dream series written by Sandra Robbins where we meet Rani Martin who lives in Cades Cove and enjoys her life. She has visions of one day marrying and starting a family. Matthew Jackson returns to the Cove and the two start talking, but instead of falling in love, they can't seem to get along.
 When Matthew isn't around, she can't stop thinking of him.

 The two start to fall for one another, but Matthew is convinced that they should be together. Matthew isn't sure that they should be together, so he pushes her away, which causes more heartbreak, but don't worry... With all love stories, they end up together and even get married.. I liked this one! Sorry to spoil the ending..



Ring of Secrets
book title front

Ring of Secrets

Ring of Secrets is written by Roseanna White who does a fantastic job at bringing the reader into this book. It is written as if in the Revolutionary War time period and a lot of research went into the book. It just felt very real and accurate. I could imagine each character as I was reading the story.. This is a page turner.

Winter Reeves is a Patriot spy, but Colonel Fairchild of the British Army has no idea that he is courting a spy who is sharing information that he is giving her. People do not really give her credit and believe she isn't very intelligent. I love how the other characters perceive her in this light.

She lives with the Hamptons, her grandparents who aren't the kindest people who demand that is to get to marry within 6 months.

Bennet Lane returns to New York in search of his wife, which is the cover for his mission, but ends up for more than he originally bargained for. He meets Winter whom he starts courting and taking her to parties. He find out that she is indeed very intelligent and he knows she is hiding a secret. 

Winter is dating two men and is starting to fall for Bennet. Unfortunately, she needs Colonel Fairchild for information. Will she make her Grandparents deadline for a 6 month engagment/marriage or will she end up losing both men because her secrets are discovered? I can't tell you, but you will enjoy this book! It's a page turner, for sure!!!



Thank you Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to review these books. The oponions expressed here are my own. I was not compensated for a positive review.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Deafening Fear

I haven't blogged in the last few days because I have been down, really down..

After two years of victory, I thought we were over this.. I thought we had passed this... I looked back and can't believe my body endured 26.2 miles on a UTI.. This should have happened then, but it didn't!


I've been living life, like this  didn't exist, knowing it was there the whole time, but deafening the doubt in my mind. I've been living in freedom...

The freedom has been AMAZING!



And isn't it amazing how five seconds can change your whole frame of mind?
How you can go from thinking you're capable of anything to feeling like you'll never do it again..


Wednesday I woke up feeling ICKY.. As I look back, that was the first indicator and has always been a warning sign.. I ignored it, took my half pill and went on my merry little way.. Feeling exhausted, I needed to get myself going and I knew I had a BUSY day, so I shrugged the feeling off.. Two hours later, I felt it and wished I would have LISTENED!

All of a sudden, a rush came over my body and I knew what was coming. I went to grab my purse to find the emergency stash. I felt the bottle in the palm of my hand, but I was too late.. I could feel the black coming, I felt like throwing up everywhere. I started going deaf and then darkness came over me.. 

It's the scariest thing. 

EVER.

Not having any control.


5 seconds later, I was completely on the ground and with a bloody elbow.. I realized, it happened. I just lost a piece of my life. It was seconds unaccounted for..


Seizure. 

No one prepares you for the endless thoughts that go through your mind, the safety concerns, the doubts of your ability to function or the life you could have if this keeps rearing its ugly head.


I've been angry.

Pissed, actually.

I've come this far. 
I've build a life. I'm in a place where I am enjoying my career, learning and making a difference in the lives of children.


I've come to  this place in my running. I've felt completely free.. Although I am recovering from injuries, which are frustrating, I haven't let it determine my attitude or love for running.. It's just fueling the reasons to get back out there.. I've been free..

One moment has left me paralyzed this week. I act on the outside like I'm okay because I have to be tough for others, I need them not to worry and we can't do anything for this.. 

I pick myself up, take my medication, reduce stress, get enough sleep and keep moving.



Keeping up with the spirit of moving on, I went to Yoga class on Wednesday night, even though I probably shouldn't have. Yesterday, I walked around outside and spent time making some online purchases.. 

It will work out.. Although I am in a weak spot, this isn't over. 

I'm strong.




Question: What challenges in life do you face? How do you overcome them?





Monday, April 1, 2013

Goals Update


As we enter the month of April, I want to be very intentional about my goals this month. I ended February in a good place, but March has been a very difficult month for me. As I try to be more intentional this month, I'm going to put a lot of 
focus on health this month. 





{Health}


WeightI really would like to lose 25 pounds this year. I need to lose it. This past month, I gained 8 pounds in 1 week. It took about two weeks to lose it.. I am thinking water weight, but my pants were having a difficult time going on. I'm thankful to have lost the eight.. My next goal is to lose 5 pounds for the month of April!  Goal date: July 1, 2013


Sugar: I have highs and lows this month.. The yummy Easter Candy did not help!!! 




Salt: I love all things salty. Crackers, chips, munchies. I am going to need to cut down this area too..
I've gotten better at picking healthier options with lower contents of sodium.. I am going to try and eat more veggies this month! 









{Finances}



Pay off two large medical bills from 2012:

Done! These suckers are paid off!



Pay off 1 student loan.

Done! We paid this thing off last week!



Pay off half of Drew's Car:

Just have paid the normal payment...


Start saving $ for a house:


Haven't saved a dime!







{Travel}




Our travel plans for this year are going to be dramatically different. Since we are planning a trip to California, none of these adventures will happen. I'm a little disappointed, but that is the price you pay for being a runner, who wants to travel the world!!!

Our tickets to CALIFORNIA are BOOKED!!! 



{Other Stuff}



Bible: I would like to read the entire Bible in 1 year. Every year I set out to do this and every year I get halfway through, stop, give up and get discouraged. I can do this! I believe this would help me grow closer to God.

Fell off the wagon on this one, will get back at it!!! 


God Size DreamerI have the opportunity to dream with other women about the dreams God has placed in our hearts. I am excited to be on this team and exploring the dream God has for my life... Even though, I have no clue what it is..

Have had a lot of set backs on this one!! I've had some health issues that have declined my ability to blog as much... 


 Finish my 101 in 1001 goals: It ends this year! I have 49/101 in to go! Every goal not finished = $1 to St. Judes Research Hospital

Just checked off another 101 in 1001 goals! 58/101.(Over halfway). I can do this!


How are your goals coming?