Friday Fun

Friday Fun

photo (55)It’s been a fun, productive week. On our way back to Memphis from New Orleans last Sunday, we dropped the girls off with grandparents and they’ve been having a blast all week with them eating vast quantities of sugar and being spoiled completely I’m sure. What are grandparents for, right? Meanwhile, I’ve been able to get a lot of projects done around the house, have lunch with girlfriends and even sneak in a couple afternoons at the pool. At night, Matt and I have gotten to eat out, go on long walks on the Greenway and have lots of date nights. We do this every few months, and it’s always a great time of rest and fun for the two of us. Meanwhile, the girls get to spend lots of alone time with their grandparents.

I had several projects I wanted to tackle around the house–projects that take far less time when little hands aren’t nearby. My favorite project was finishing Charlotte’s wall in the girls’ shared room. I only purchased two things for the all. Everything else we already had on hand. I love the adorable Lindsay Letters canvas that reads, “Sweet as S’mores. Feisty as Fire.” That sums up our Lottie perfectly. The picture frames and gold “C” came from her nursery. Matt’s mom made that vintage frame with the chicken wire, and little clothespins hold up a couple pictures and her birth announcement. The pumpkin hat she wore home from the hospital because we called her “Pumpkin” since she was due in October and we didn’t find out gender before hand. The Charlotte’s Web book was mine as a child, and it’s resting on a piece of driftwood that I found on the beach from Charlotte’s first trip when she was six months old. I wanted a fun little something to cap it all off, and the gold dots were perfect because we call her Lottie Dot as a nick name. The hardest part of the whole project was putting the dots up in a “random” pattern. Random is hard for this perfectionist girl. Fortunately, they are peel and stick and easy to move. I got them from I love how the wall turned out. I also got all her clothes and toys moved over and organized too, so I guess next week we’ll move Charlotte from the nursery to the big girl room. Eek!!!

Let’s talk about running during pregnancy. Several people have asked questions, and I need to go ahead and let you know I am NO expert. This is my first pregnancy to run, so I’m a novice all the way. First, definitely talk to your doctor. Every check-up I ask Dr. Miller again if it’s still okay to run. She’s probably getting tired of the question, but my first priority is healthy baby. She has given me the go-ahead with a couple of cautions. I have to drink lots of water, and I have to make sure I don’t get overheated. The former is not a problem because aside from the occasional iced tea water is all I drink, and I’m part camel. The latter Matt took care of. Immediately upon finding out I was pregnant, he went to our local YMCA and got us a family membership. Sweet man wanted me running in the AC and not in the Memphis summer heat and humidity. So, aside from a couple of rare cool mornings I’ve been running on the treadmill since March. The view isn’t nearly as great on the treadmill, but they do have cable which we don’t have at home so that’s a plus. I’m 21 weeks now, and I’m running 3-5 miles four times a week. So, no long distances and my pace is much slower than normal. I also have a water bottle with me and drink water all throughout the run. As soon as I finish my run, I eat a snack with carbs and protein to refuel. I am a big believer in eating bananas every day to curb muscle cramps. On days I run I eat a whole banana, and on rest days I eat a half. I’ve been able to wear my normal running shirts up until the last few weeks, but now I’ve switched to wearing t-shirts because they are looser. They make maternity running shirts, but I haven’t bought one yet. My running shorts have an elastic waist, so they still fit just fine. I actually live in running shorts most days, so they get lots of wear. I think the running has helped with sleeping better, eating healthier and preventing swelling during pregnancy, so those are definite perks. Plus, I get to watch the Today show. 🙂

Have you had a KIND bar? I’m always on the lookout for things that are easy to throw in a diaper bag since I try to eat every few hours. My favorite go-to snacks are a mozzarella stick and apple, a handful of walnuts and banana, and recently I tried a KIND bar and loved it. My favorite flavor is the dark chocolate sea salt. They are very low in sugar and high in protein with no GMO ingredients. It’s always nice to have something fresh, but when I’m running errands or away from the house this is great to have on hand.

It’s rainy here today, so I see some Scrabble and Netflix in our future. Happy Friday!



Start Where You Are

Start Where You Are

I’m writing this post from my phone, so please excuse any formatting or editing flaws. (I’m talking to you, Mitzi May–wink, wink.)

I’ve had the words “Start where you are” on my mind recently. Yesterday morning I ran in 50 degree weather under a velvet, sapphire sky spangled with a million winking stars. For this runner it doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve been a runner for 16 months now. It still feels weird to say I’m a runner but it’s true. I’ve run in rain, snow and sleet. I’ve run in temps scaling 90 and single-digit temps. Through all that running, well over 1000 miles, the first mile is still the hardest. Getting out of the bed instead of hitting snooze is still the most painful. The first step on the asphalt is still the most taxing.

Whether it’s running or eating clean or prioritizing my time in God’s Word, the first step is always the hardest. Choosing the clementine over a cookie, putting the iPhone away and getting out my Bible, leaving my comfy bed to don my running shoes–it’s always the first step.

Maybe this is just me, but I’m tempted to wait to run until the weather is good or my right calf stops feeling tight. I’m tempted to give up on eating clean because it takes more work and is more expensive. I’m tempted to postpone my time with God until the house is quiet. But the weather is rarely perfect. My muscles are rarely not sore. Fast food is almost never healthy and my house is never quiet.

But start where you are. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty or ideal. If you want to start exercising, you don’t have to dole out tons of money for a gym membership. Try the Couch to 5K app for free. If you want to start eating clean, just try one meal every day. Chicken and roasted veggies is super easy. Almost every veggie I know tastes even better roasted. Just turn your oven to 425, cut up your veggies, drizzle a little olive oil or coconut oil and sea salt on top and stick the pan in the oven until the veggies get just a little brown on top. Our favorite veggies to roast are sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots and broccoli. If you want to start reading God’s Word, try the one-year reading plan on the Bible app. And my favorite idea to memorize Scripture is to use paint chips from the hardware store to write favorite verses on. I love the color and the price tag. (Side note: I regularly paint anything that stands still so I have lots of extra paint chips. You could also use 3×5 cards if you don’t hoard paint chips like me.)

Whatever your goal is, just start where you are and take one baby step forward. Give yourself freedom to mess up and not be perfect. And remember the first step is the hardest. Push through that and a blanket of stars awaits you.

Running Hard

Running Hard

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOne foot in front of the other.

Those are the words I will say over and over to myself tomorrow. My friend Heather gave me that sage advice at the beginning of my training and it’s the phrase I’ve repeated countless times, sometimes with my hands in the air and other times muttering those words through clinched teeth. I packed my bag this morning preparing for warm temperatures. The high is 65 tomorrow. Earlier this week I ran in single digits, so the weather change should be interesting. My tummy feels like butterflies have taken up residence, but I’m really just ready for my feet to hit the pavement.

Somewhere during the early part of my training I realized this journey of training was about far more than just physical stamina. I have this habit of writing Scriptures I’m praying on little paint chips collected from trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s. One day last spring on a little peach paint chip, I scribbled 1 Corinthians 9:26-27…

Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

The New Living Translation says, “So I run with purpose in every step…” Purpose in every step. The easy ones and the ones that leave me cringing. The beautiful ones where it seems almost easy and the ugly ones where I’m tempted to give up. The brave ones and the ones that leave my toes curled in fear. Each footprint on the asphalt a testimony to God’s redeeming work in my life.

This morning I took my peach paint chip off the cork board in my closet so I could pack it in my bag. But before I put it away, I pulled out The Message to see its interpretation of this Scripture…

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

God, you are my Sustainer, and I’m grateful for this journey you’ve brought me on this year. I’ll forever treasure the sunrises You painted for me, the timely truth you brought to my ears and the freedom You’ve given me over perfectionism. Thank you for never giving up on this very imperfect girl. I pray every victory I experience brings glory to the One I love.

One foot in front of the other. Purpose in every step. Running hard for the finish line. Tomorrow and every day. This is my prayer.

My #1

My #1

elissa and mattA few weeks ago after my Saturday run, I came around the sidewalk curve heading into our cove. I was exhausted and disgustingly sweaty because August in Memphis means heat and humidity to the nth degree. In my training for the marathon, I was at the half-way point in distance having just finished 13.1 miles. And as I rounded the corner, I saw my girls, one with her pink princess night gown and some awesome bed head and the other with legs flapping out of sheer excitement. And holding the little one was my husband, my best friend and my #1 fan. He had a pom pom (my big girl did too, of course) waving it wildly in the air. The moment I locked eyes with him, tears welled up.

It was such a literal representation of the way he cheers me on every day, a memory I’ll treasure forever. This morning during my run, I was listening to the podcast of last week’s episode of the Andy Savage Show. As we ended the show, Andy challenged listeners to not let anyone speak more highly of your spouse than you. Not the people at the office, not the people at the gym, not the barista whipping up espressos. No one should speak more highly of Matt than me. This is why it matters that I listen when he tells me about the new client. This is why it matters that I notice how hard he’s been working. This is why it matters that I tell him how good he looks. This is why I kiss him as he walks out the door in the morning and again when he comes in the door every evening.

Matt and I know a little something about fair-weather fans versus real fans. While it’s fun to be a Bama fan now after three national championships in four years (Roll Tide!) this was not the case when we were in school. Real fans are the ones who sit through five overtimes during the Tennessee/Bama game while it is raining cats and dogs (or Smokeys and Elephants)  only to wind up losing the game. Real fans wear crimson and white and anything houndstooth even when you lose to a Div II school. Real fans leave the stadium hoarse no matter what the scoreboard reads.

Being my husband’s biggest fan means encouraging him no matter what. When the preacher said for better or worse, he meant it. It’s easy to tell ourselves, “I’ll encourage him as soon as he encourages me.” Whenever I’m tempted to fall into this trap, I think back to Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait until we were lovable to love us. He didn’t wait until I got my act together to rescue me.  I’m called to love my husband in the same way. I don’t cheer for him because he’s perfect. I cheer for him because he’s my favorite. Because he’s my team. And because I love him.

A short text, a little note in his work bag, cooking his favorite meal for dinner… it doesn’t have to be big. But sometimes the little things, like coming around the corner to your own personal cheering section, leave the biggest impression.