Monday, February 18, 2013


I feel like there's a really good post hiding somewhere in my brain that may emerge eventually, but for today, let's just talk about some "currently's."

Loving: Martial arts classes. I feel like I'm pretty slow in catching on to things, but I've been getting a lot of encouragement from (way more experienced) classmates and even the instructor, who keep telling me I'm doing well and improving steadily. It's definitely an intense workout! I am hoping to improve my flexibility so I can start making my kicks look like they could actually knock someone over rather than knock me over trying to execute them.

Reading: Harriet the Spy, Chief Complaint: Brain Tumor, The Giver, and The Brothers Karamazov. (Yes, I read multiple books simultaneously rather than one at a time.) Harriet is one I've been wanting to read ever since I saw the movie with Michelle Trachtenberg a million years ago; so far, it is pretty delightful. Chief Complaint is a book I won in a Goodreads "First Reads" giveaway. It's a true account of a man dealing with the extremely unexpected diagnosis of a brain tumor and how he used his sense of humor to help cope with the whole process. The Giver is one of many books that fall under the category: "How Have I Not Read This Yet?" and I absolutely LOVE it. And The Brothers K is one I've been slooooowly working through because it's long, it's heavy (not literally, since I have it on my Nook), and there's a lot of characters to sort through. I tend to read a chapter or two and then focus more on the other 3-4 books, then go back to the Brothers once I'm about to start another batch of "easier" books. At this rate I might finish it by the time I'm 40.

Watching: Too many shows, as usual, but my favorites lately are How I Met Your Mother (gah! the big reveal is so close, I can taste it!), Pretty Little Liars (guilty/ridiculous pleasure), and Bunheads (even though Joe says it's got "cancelled" written all over it). I absolutely love trying to spot former Gilmore Girls cast members in episodes of Bunheads.

Anticipating: The birth of my second nephew, Ezra! Oh man, I can't even begin to express my excitement for this. He's scheduled to arrive in just over a week, and we'll be going down to meet him and see my family the second weekend in March. CANNOT WAIT! (Except I'm glad I have to wait a little because I have a little something that needs to get finished before Ezra is allowed to come.)

Listening to: Christy Nockels' album "Into the Glorious" and a song by Jeremy Riddle called "Fall Afresh." I stumbled upon Nockels' album looking for a song I'd heard a few times in church, and I'm so glad I did because it is full of some really great worship tunes. I've been listening to it a ton in the last couple months. Then, a few weeks ago, Joe and I went to a worship night at our church's campus in Ventura, and I heard "Fall Afresh." Pretty sure I've listened to it like a thousand times since then, and you should definitely hear it at least once.

Planning: To go on a hike soon! It has been way too long since I've gone on a hike and I need to make it happen. Wish I still had Lauren and Caitlin and Kindra here to go with me, but I'll hopefully find some other hike-lovers to join me.

Working on: Dressing more like a twenty-something and less like a fifty-something. Because apparently I dress like a grandma most days, and Joe has lovingly informed me that I should be showing off a little more leg. Yesterday I went shopping with the express instruction to buy more skirts, and what girl wouldn't say yes to that? Here's a couple of the things I found on my excursion.

Today's outfit includes a purple skirt from Cotton On.
Thanks Amy for recommending this place to me!

Last night we went out for our Valentine's Day dinner and I wore
another new Cotton On skirt (hard to tell, but it has fun ruching!)
and a strapless top from Angl, with a necklace I made this weekend!

Wishing: That I had an extra four hours a day to dedicate to cooking, exercise and general domestic awesomeness. Really I wish I could work half as many hours each week without losing half my paycheck. But alas, I have a steady job and I am so thankful for that!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Guest Post: On Grace

Hi friends! My sweet blog friend Stephany is guest-posting here today on what grace means to her. I hope you enjoy it! Feel free to leave your comments below, and be sure to check out her blog!

 “Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.”
Grace is Jesus dying on a cross for me. It is all my many sins and of Jesus forgiving me each and every time I fall.

Mercy is the fact that I can enter Heaven simply because I believe in God. Not based on my works. Not based on my actions. Just because I believe. Even though I deserve a death on a cross.

My pastor is the one who said the above quote and it’s a phrase that has stuck with me for over a year. From that moment forward, grace and mercy became the cornerstones of my faith. I grew up in church so they were words I heard over and over again, but had no real connection with what they meant to me. They were just “Christian-ese” words that you spouted when you wanted to appear holy.

Then I heard the definition of these words. I grasped hold of them. I tucked them next to my heart. And at age twenty-four, I finally began to understand what faith was. 

Since then, I’ve been so intrigued by these concepts and they have held so much meaning to my life. They have been what I am striving for. They have picked me up when I have fallen. They have comforted me, held me close, gave me relief.

For me, my faith stopped becoming about being perfect. It stopped being about my actions and all the ways I needed to be “good” for God to love me. Because He already does. He loves me with a crazy, incredible passion and I am never going to earn this love. I am never going to be good enough for it. He showers me with love, grace, and mercy on a daily basis because that’s His heart. That is who God is.

Even when I deny I know him. Even when I do things I know I shouldn’t be doing. Even when I pretend He doesn’t exist.

He’s still there. His love is still alive and beating in my heart. His grace is still abundant, his mercy anew every day.

It’s an incredible thought. It makes me want to sit up straighter, pay more attention, learn more about the heart of God. 

Grace. Getting what I don’t deserve. God’s love. Something I don’t deserve. God’s forgiveness. Something I don’t deserve. 

And yet. I have it. He gives it away. Freely. It feels like a warm blanket to my skin on a cold winter night, something to bask in and understand this is God’s heart.

I don’t deserve grace. I don’t deserve mercy. I don’t deserve God’s love. And while we, as humans, feel like people have to earn our support and love and do so much for us (or maybe that’s just me?), God has a different M.O. He gives freely. 

We could learn a lot from Him, wouldn’t you say?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 6

Feb 6
3.8 lbs
Jan 30
2.6 lbs
Jan 23
1.8 lbs
Jan 16
0.8 lbs
Jan 9
2.2 lbs
Jan 2

Last week I jinxed myself by saying I would surely see a significantly bigger loss on the scale this week since I was on my period and bloated and yada yada. And I'm not saying that 1.2 pounds isn't significant, but I know it should've been better. Because last Friday I burned like 900 calories before 7 AM, and Saturday I went to two separate classes at the gym and burned another 1,000 calories, and I've been pushing myself physically to the max lately, so I should be seeing amazing results on the scale.

Except I can't seem to get my eating habits under control. Despite the huge amounts of calories burned on those days, I still managed to out-eat my calorie maximum pretty much every day. Ugh.

I've been better these last couple of days, probably because in the back of my mind I knew I didn't want to have an embarrassing gain on the scale for today's post. So I'm really happy, all things considered, with a 1.2 pound loss. But the past week has been a big wake-up call to remind me that I don't have it all figured out yet. I'm still struggling to find the balance.

I'm EXTREMELY happy with the frequency and intensity of my exercise lately. I just need to work on training my body to realize that, after a hard workout, I don't need to eat everything in sight

Amazingly, I managed to attend a Super Bowl party and not pig out on All The Snacks. It probably helped that it was a party at a house where one of the roommates is a trainer, the other is training for a triathlon, and I was allergic to half of the snacks that were brought. (Nuts, hummus, raw veggies, etc.) But there were SunChips and burgers and sodas and beers, and I had one burger and one handful of SunChips and zero soda and...well, three Blue Moons, but I deserved those because I ran the 4-miler that morning, right?

And speaking of the race: I loved it! I'm glad I didn't go into it with a time goal because I would've been disappointed. My average pace was almost exactly 12 minutes per mile, but my first mile was 11 minutes and I just got slower from there. My legs and lungs felt fine, but my heart rate monitor was telling me to keep an easy pace. I think I need to start incorporating more runs into my weekly workout regime if I want to do even remotely better at the 10K than I did the first time I ran it (in 2011). I never really concern myself too much with my speed, since I am more interested in building up endurance to run longer more than faster. But it's always nice to be able to say, "I ran this race two years ago, and this year I shaved ten minutes off my time!" So, we'll see how that goes.

If this past week has taught me anything, it's that I am getting stronger (again) and I LOVE IT. And also, I like food too much. But you know, let's focus on the positive!