A work in progress

Our theme for 2012 at Harvest is “Get it done”, based on Ephesians 2:10, which says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Works do not earn us salvation, rather they should be a product of salvation. In the shuffle of every day stresses, I get so consumed in my little bubble and how I’m going to get everything done.

I want to be focused on the eternal, but I cannot do it in my natural state. I’m selfish, arrogant, prideful. I get worried, anxious, and needy. I need a sanctifying work. 1 Thessalonians 5:23:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

When I first got saved, and even years later I turned a lot of people off to Jesus. Heck, maybe I still do. I’ve made mistakes and taken wrong turns. I disguised myself from behind a mask of “miss goody two shoes straight A’s virgin church girl”. At least that’s how I perceived myself. When you make mistakes, you learn from them and I think I’ve learned to be more like Jesus and just love people.

This blog post by Jamie the Very Worst Missionary put things into perspective. I love  her blog because she’s just so real. I think she says what a lot of Christians are afraid to say. She cusses. She admits her failures. Publicly. No sin will ever get dealt with if it’s kept hidden. [Believe me, I know from experience.]

I want to love Jesus and love people, but I also don’t want to go off the other deep end and be all about loving and not about salvation or discipleship. We don’t need to be from the world to be relevant in the world.

To be honest, I’ve been doubtful lately. Gasp. What?! Doubting?! You mean, you haven’t been 100% walking in faith? Who woulda thought.

I’ve been wondering why bad things have to happen to good people. I found out this week one of my friends is starting chemo treatments… and it’s just not fair.

I’ve been wondering how people who did walk in the faith could be the furthest thing from it.

I’ve been wondering how to share Jesus with people without sounding preachy. Is being their friend enough? What’s the point of having “friendships” if it’s just a “missionary friendship”? Sorry, but I refuse to befriend people with the sole purpose of sharing Jesus with them. I want to actually like my friends, spend time with them doing things we like to do together, and just be friends.

I wonder how the Church has gotten so so so far from who the real Jesus was. The Jesus who talked to strangers, whores, lepers, preachers, tax collectors, fishermen. He never asked any of them to change who they were before they started following Him. He only asked for an undivided heart… so… what is with this judging and labeling homosexuals, potheads, divorcees, big wigs, abortionists, etc who don’t even claim to be Christians?! Who says that’s the “Christian” thing to do? It pisses me off.

I think God has done some sanctification in my life thus far. I’ve let him change my attitudes towards nonbelievers and believers alike. I still have a lot of bad attitudes to work through, and cussing up a storm is not the way to do it.

I’m sick of my inner dialogue being about myself and how I feel about things. It’s all about me, me, me. More than once in the past week I’ve felt on the verge of an anxiety attack… it’s a throwback to life four to five years ago.. and I thought I got through it.

Thinking on all the things that I need to be sanctified for or from can be overwhelming and depressing…. however, I am thankful for a Savior who loves me for me, Elizabeth, the Elizabeth that talks behind her boss’s back, the Elizabeth that lusts after attractive actors (it must be their fault, right?!), the Elizabeth that doesn’t pray or study the Word nearly enough, and the Elizabeth that picks fights with her husband.

There is so much that God’s planned for me to do, so with my undivided heart and His willingness to pursue and purify, we can get it done.

Whew: a general update.

That’s about all I can say about the past couple weeks. I apologize in advance if this is not all that coherent. It’s been a little hectic with my increasing hours at work and only having one working car. This week I’ve opened three days in a row, so I take Aaron to work, head off to work myself, work 9 hours with an hour lunch if I’m lucky, and then I pick him up after I get off work and we get home almost 12 hours later. His poor ’96 Honda will be fixed soon.

I’ve definitely toyed around with the idea of just trading the sucker in a getting better car. However, I’d hate to add another payment for a car. I want to save a good chunk of money so we can just buy him a new (to us) car outright. My car is a ’97 and has now 171,000 miles. I’ve put almost 100,000 on it since I bought it used 5 years ago. It’s been an amazing car.

Anyway… work is good. Busy, but that’s a good thing because that means we’re getting more inquiries and students. I’m up to 40 hours a week, which is normal for any full-time job. However, since I get about 6 hours on Saturday and only work four more days out of the week, that means that most days are 9-10 hour days. And that’s 9-10 hours of going through books, answering the phone, managing the teachers, making sure the students are on task. In general, I enjoy my job, and it gets better every day, it’s just hectic.

I’ve finally gotten over my nervousness about speaking Spanish at work, especially over the phone. Every once in awhile I’ll get someone who speaks too fast. Most people are kind and slow down a little bit. It’s good to know my attempt is appreciated. 🙂

As far as running goes, we attempted a 15-miler on Sunday, but we only eeked out 7.75 miles. I need new shoes SO badly it’s ridiculous. My feet were in so much pain. We walked part of it, and even with the walking our pace was 13:49. The sad part about running lately is that I just don’t know when to get my mid-week runs in. Getting up in the morning is really my only possibility and I HATE getting up early…. I need to buckle down and just do it….

….and lastly, we might be getting a puppy! We have been talking about it for quite some time and I think we’re ready, financially especially. We were talking about pit bulls.. they’re so cute and loyal. I HATE that they have a bad rap. The next day hubby was talking with a guy at work about it and this guy has two pit/lab mixes that he kept from a litter. We might get to meet him this weekend, Bear, that is. I was researching the pit/lab mix and have read so many good things about it. I’m excited to 1) have a dog I can run with and will be up at 5:30 waiting for me! 😉 2) a big dog and 3) a dog that can protect me when Aaron’s gone.

Cheers to January being almost over! “Febrero loco y marzo otro poco” are just around the corner….

Spring in January

Ahhhh. It’s a LOVELY 70* here today. I don’t even care if I’m rubbing it in to all you folks in Illinois… if we have to live in the desert against our will, we need to get something in return! 😉 Jess and I went on a walk around the neighborhood today and I might go for a run before I pick up Aaron from work. It’s my day off, too, so I’m in a super-good mood today.

This week has been pretty good. My work schedule will be changing a little from week to week to accommodate my boss’s strange schedule with conferences at different places. I got to leave work before 5 on Wednesday, and it was nice to actually be home and make dinner and have time to relax before Google+ Hangout-ing with family. Here we are…

My father-in-law (second from right), my mother-in-law (second from left) and my brother-in-law (on the far right) were all in the same house. Hilarious. Later in the conversation our cousin Anita (well, Aaron’s cousin) joined us from Ohio. So we had three time zones represented: Mountain, Central and Eastern. In the famous words of Kip, I love technology.

i don't care what y'all say, i will always love this movie.

So, we hung out. And then it was Friday. Already! We fly back to Illinois THREE WEEKS from tomorrow! Woohoo! We could have chosen a better time of year to go, but it’ll be good. Maybe we’ll take some warmish weather back with us. Illinois kind of boycotts these temps so early in the year.

But seriously. I opened up the window in the kitchen and I have the front door propped open. The air smells fresh and warm and…. just awesome. It really really makes me want to go on a roadtrip…

Over my birthday weekend (April 22) we’re talking about taking a long weekend and going camping in Silver City, New Mexico. It’s on my list because it’s a new place to visit, it has some cool art and history, and they’re close to the Gila National Forest. Temps will be nice with highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s. Even if there’s nothing really going on in town, a relaxing weekend of camping and hiking in the fresh mountain air will be a perfect way to celebrate my 26th birthday. (This will be the first one in four years Aaron’s been present for.) We’d like to stay at the KOA Kampground… I’m quite partial to them. And at ~$30 per night for a site, how can you beat that?? Here’s a pic I found on their Facebook page:

One word: Yes. So, if you remember, I had a race tentatively scheduled for this same weekend, across the state from Silver City in Hobbs. Welllllll, Aaron might get to join his company’s team for Bataan AND they’re trying to get it paid for by the company. In that case, I’d then be able to pay for myself for Bataan. After my recent success in the half marathon, I realize I could train to run 26.2 just two months from now. That is definitely heartening!

The next few months will be good! January is almost over, which is good because I HATE January. February we’ll be back in Illinois for half of it. In March I have my spring break from work and we have Bataan, then in April is my birthday!

Now, excuse me while I sit outside and enjoy the sun and blue skies. 😉

Race Recap — Ft. Bliss Half Marathon

Running in Texas ain’t so bad, folks. Aaron and I ran the Ft. Bliss Half Marathon (13.1 miles). I was going into it pretty undertrained… I ran 8.6 miles on December 13, 11 on Sunday, and other than a few 3-5 mile runs I really wasn’t racking up much mileage. I’ve been spinning two times per week which has been amazing! Anyway.

My goal was 2:30, which was an 11:27 mile. Not gonna lie, I was giving myself a lot of wiggle room so I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was looking at it more as just a Saturday morning long run. It’s hard to get all amped up about 13.1 when you’ve done 26.2. Just sayin’.

It was COLD this morning. Well, cold by Texas standards. It was about 24* when we woke up at 6 AM and wasn’t supposed to feel much warmer than 40* by 10:00, when the race would be well underway. I wore leggings (I need new running tights!), shorts over those, a t-shirt and a long sleeve tech shirt over that. I had my cute gray running gloves Aaron got me and my earband. That was all quite enough, as once the Texas sun comes up, it gets warm.

The gun went off. Aaron was next to me for about 2.4 seconds and I didn’t see him again until I was 1/10 mile away from the finish line. He must have been blazing because I couldn’t make him out of the crowd.

I started off slow, around a 11:15-11:30 mile. People were zooming past me, of course, and while there was a 5K in progress at the same time, most of them were the half marathoners. I knew that if I held steady for the first few miles, I’d pass them towards the end.

Miles 1-3 of a long run I consider a warm-up. I get settled in my pace, focus on my form and breathing, and just relax. I walked the water stops too. By mile 5, when we were running past Aaron’s company building, I knew I was going to do well. I felt strong and was keeping about a 10:45 pace.

Mile 7 is when my feet started to HURT. I don’t what I did Sunday on the mountain run, but the bottoms and outsides of my feet were hurting all week, but felt better when I had more support. But, I decided to push through it and by the time I knew it I was to mile 9. Four more miles. That’s nothin’, right?! I was doing a 10:15-10:30 pace by this point and KNEW I had this race in the bag. I started passing a lot of the people that blew past me. I was so proud of myself for holding a steady and decently fast pace (for me).

Mile 10 I started telling myself, “Okay, Elizabeth, bring it in, bring it in!” At this point my goal had now shifted to 2:20. At the 12-mile mark, I had exactly 10 minutes to hit my goal.

I saw Aaron 1/10 mile before the finish line, high-fived him and raced to the end. I don’t have official times yet, but my Garmin reads 2:19:07, or a 10:36 pace. Heck yeah! Not too shabby! And technically a PR. 😉

Aaron told me he finished in about 1:50. Whoa. A sub-2??? Amazing. Downright amazing. And that was his longest distance ever and first half marathon!

This race was sponsored by Under Armour, who just opened a store on post near the PX. The first 200 registrants got a shirt and we all got finisher’s medals. (I do have to say, however, that there was no sizing chart. Also, running apparel should also be in tall sizes because this shirt is too short. Annoying.)

the goods

When results are posted, it’ll be interesting to see if I was even close to placing. I know I ran faster than some who  places in other age groups because they were handing out the cards as I crossed the line and asked me my age. A girl can dream….

I like the on-post races. They’re cheap (this one was only $35 for me; many halfs are $50+) and they have a hometown feel. Many of the runners know each other either from the military or other running groups from the community that participate. The course is only crowded for the first half mile or so, and after that you pretty much have the road tank trail to yourself.

I also decided that I really like the 13.1 distance. This was my first race for that distance, though I’ve run 13.1 before when training for the marathon (I finished that in 2:15, so not too far off!). It’s considered a long distance, but you don’t have to sacrifice hours and hours per week to train. I’d like to stay at a fitness level where I can run a half without much extra training.

I’m going to take off the recommended 13 days (one day for every mile you race) of hard running and do spin, yoga, and other cardio workouts. I still haven’t registered for that marathon that’s over my birthday weekend in New Mexico, but my success on this race was confirmation to me that I can still race long distance and I’m at about the same fitness level as when I ran the Illinois marathon.

My next step is to get a hold of these beauts. I tried them on at the PX and they felt great. The definitely relieved the pain I’ve been feeling this week. Time to retire the Brooks. 😦

new balance minimus

Like a boss

yep.

This week I had a breakthrough at work. Today was my first “good” day in a long time. Not “okay” or “not bad” but “good”. I think with all the change and uncertainty surrounding our cross-country move and finances, I’ve been on edge. Life changes take some getting used to, but this one’s been six months in the making. I’ve complained about how I don’t make what I really should for the responsibility that I have and blah blah blahhhh. I’ve whined about how expensive it is to certify in Texas and how there are no teaching jobs. The latter is not entirely true; they’re just few and far between. A couple times a week we have a displaced teacher come to us looking for a tutoring job. I wish we could hire everyone. Anyway.

I started teacher observations this week. I mean, I’ve been informally observing for some time now. From the hours of 9 to 3:30, I’m in my office or running around getting things done, usually with only one other person there. Once 4 o’clock comes around, I want to interact with people, be with the kids, see how they’re doing with their lessons. But this week I actually had a form to fill out and I’ll have to talk with each teacher about his/her evaluation.

It’s not like the evaluations determine a pay raise. (There are none in the works for anyone right now as far as I know.) It’s not like this is something that will follow my employees (yes, my, weird) forever, but it’s my first experience carrying out this sort of responsibility. I know I’m a good teacher and that I possess a lot of knowledge about pedagogy (I’m a natural! ;)) but it’s intimidating to evaluate a teacher who taught for 20-some-odd years in the classroom and is now tutoring because they feel like it and have nothing better to do.

I realized that regardless of what I’m getting paid, or not paid, to do my job for about thirty hours a week, my job is important. I have right now about 50 kids and sets of parents who are affected by my day-to-day decisions. I make no less decisions now than when I was teaching full-time. Regardless of what I’m getting paid, this “supervisory” experience will be fantastic on my resume.

This is a completely new avenue for me, being a “boss”. I hate hate hate the stereotypes and cringing that term conjures up. Bill Lumberg. Michael Scott. Darth Vader. But, it’s about time I accept this role and decide what I’m going to do with the influence I have.

I get to train teachers. I get to meet and work with all kinds of families who have one goal: to help their children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews succeed in school and in life. Build confidence. Encourage creativity. I believe in our programs (though they’re expensive.. wish we had scholarships or grants or something), but more importantly, I believe in compassionate comprehensive education.

While I’m looking forward to (hopefully) starting grad school in the fall, I’m actually enjoying my experience now. I’m done complaining (for the most part), done whining (for the most part), done pining for a teaching job (for the most part), done begrudging the early Saturday mornings (for the most part) and instead focusing on using my God-given talents and brains to the best of my ability.

God honors excellence and excellence honors God.

Like a boss.

Six months in El Paso: a photoblog

I put this together on Friday, but waited until Monday to post. We’ve been in El Paso for exactly six months today. Um, wow. It doesn’t seem like that long at all! It feels like the whole cross-country-move is still “new” in my mind. Enjoy!

July

our house!

August

Had an interview and got hired at my current job on the 2nd. I can’t believe I’ve been there for five months now! August was hot. Annnnd that’s about all I remember.

September

Near Cloudcroft, NM (~9000 ft)
Natural entrance to the Caverns

October

La Union, NM
Look! It's corn! In the Southwest!
View from a hike in McKelligon Canyon
Found a cafe/gift shop called Coffee Emporium on the west side

November

Aaron manning the Libya booth at Taste of the Nations at HCC
Taste of the Nations
A Thanksgiving dinner for two
The trees do change here!

December

Before our first race together! Holiday 8K
Our Christmas tree! (Yes, it's real!)
SNOOOOWWWWWWW
Christmas cookies!
Went to the Sun Bowl on NYE and got sunburns (UTEP campus)
We stick with what's important in life: coffee. At Kinley's House of Coffee & Tea

Holters, Headaches, and Hunger Games

Today I went to the cardiologist for my second appointment. I had a stress test on the treadmill, and I kind of laughed to myself because the nurse wanted to get me to my target heartrate, which is 166. From my experience, this only happens when I’m running or biking hard. After the stress test, I got the 72-hour Holter monitor, which will record all heart activity onto an SD card. I push a button on it when I feel symptoms of arrhythmia. BUT I can’t take a shower for those 72 hours. Or go through any metal detectors. Fortunately I work tomorrow and we’re doing a long run on Sunday so the monitor can capture anything strange going on.

I’m still having migraines, and one is developing as I type. I didn’t have one for at least a week, but yesterday around 4pm I felt one coming on. I took my medicine and it still didn’t completely go away. I woke up with a headache this morning. Ugh. I don’t have visual aura (I don’t think), but it feels like someone’s squeezing my head and sometimes I even get nauseous. I’m hoping all this stuff is related. I think since this is my day off I’m going to relax, knit and watch me some Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil. 🙂

I’ve been reading The Hunger Games series and oh. My. Gosh. Amazing. I love books like this… 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver. I’ve just started the third book in the series, thanks to my mom giving me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas. I loaded up my Kindle with the three books. After that? Not sure what I’ll read. I have some Spanish novels that I bought awhile back and haven’t touched them… this would be a good time to check those out.

Fear of failure

I’ve had a major breakthrough recently that explains, well, a lot. I have a crazy fear of failure and a major lack of commitment… I know it’s only human, but it fuels a lot of my decision making.

I went to Bradley because I was afraid I couldn’t afford or be successful in med school. I mean, I was at the top of my class, but could I really be an expert in science and medicine??

I majored in Spanish instead of music (piano) or math because I was afraid I’d have to actually work at something. My piano teacher,  a professor at Bradley, wanted me to practice at least four hours a day. Um, what?! And as far as math goes, Calc 2 was hard. Like, crying my eyes out and panic attack before finals hard. (P.S. I got an A. Yeah.)

I’m good at Spanish. I’m good at teaching. In fact, I think I’m a pretty great teacher. I’m glad I went to school for something that I could do and use in the real world. I really believe that I’m called to be a teacher.

Honestly, the reason I haven’t pursued a teaching position here in El Paso is not explained by the following statements excuses:

  • I’m happy with being a part-time SAHW (stay-at-home wife).
  • I’m okay with working part-time.
  • I’m relieved to not have to do the lesson planning, grading, and dealing with parents. (Oh wait, I deal with parents in my job more now than I ever did teaching.)
  • I’m a military wife; who will want to hire me?
  • At least I have a job in my field.
  • It’s expensive to recertify in another state.
  • I’ll look for something when we “settle”.
  • I’ll just spend the time getting my Master’s. Might as well.

The excuses make me sick. What happened to the go-getter who actually worked for what she wanted?? I’m afraid that girl’s been hiding for a long, long time. I’m not sure when the transition was, but somewhere along the way, I must have failed at something and then became afraid.

That’s it, folks. I’m afraid. I’m scared that my Spanish will just suck. I’m scared I won’t pass my certification tests the first time. I’m scared of not getting an interview. I’m scared of getting an interview and totally botching it. I’m scared of actually getting a job and having to perform at a certain level. I’m scared of not getting my contract renewed.

I’m a walking self-fulfilling prophecy. This is not how a follower of Christ walks in faith!

I could go on about the other things in life I decide I will, you know, certainly fail in before I even try, but I’ll stick with this topic since it’s the most pertinent in my life right now. I think about it, a lot.

So. This is what I want to do. I want to eventually secure a full-time teaching position. If that happens next fall, fine, if not, fine. Chances are we’re going to be here for quite a while, if not the next four years until Aaron’s done. And we might even settle in Texas somewhere depending on job opportunities. Thing is, I’m gonna take steps towards my career goal(s). I want to teach. I want to someday be a professor.

I’m still planning on starting my Master’s (and yes, I’m even scared of that!).

Now that I’ve realized my biggest weakness, I can begin transforming it into my biggest strength. I’ve decided to have a better attitude at my current job and see it as a stepping stone to the next big thing in my life.

Race schedule bandwagon

I couldn’t help but be motivated by all my running blogger friends who are posting about their 2012 race schedules. I have also been inspired to keep an actual running journal, though I will use the journal I have for more than just running. I want it to record so many things from 2012… feelings, poems (maybe??), thoughts, prayers, Bible verses and sermon notes.

Annyywayyyyy….

This is what I found for races. (Just so you know, the cardiologist has not yet given me a mileage limit…) You know my whole thing about sticking to “shorter” distances (i.e. <13.1 miles)? Ehhh. I might be throwing that out.

Jan 14 — Ft. Bliss Half Marathon — This one was only $30. It’s in two weeks and will be more like a long run than a race. My goal is 2:30, which is 11:27 pace. I haven’t run a distance longer than 2 or 3 miles since December 13.

March 17 — St. Patty’s Day 6-Miler — This is on post. Love race distances between 8K and 15K.

March 25 — Bataan Memorial Death March — Due to finances and my lack of running recently, I’m gonna sit this one out. Aaron’s still planning on rucking it, but I’d like to volunteer.

April 21 — New Mexico/Texas Challenge Marathon/Half Marathon/10K/5K (Lovington/Hobbs, NM) — This is only $15! (Or thereabouts.. that’s what it was last year.) This is the day before my 26th birthday. We can go camping and make a weekend out of it. Aaron said he’d go with me and volunteer.

Sept 3 — Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler (Tucson, AZ) — Looks like a fun race! Love the distance, plus I LOVE Tucson and Arizona.

I checked out the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon… $125+ per person!! That’s ridiculous, in my opinion. We’re definitely sticking to cheaper races. This calendar isn’t complete.. I haven’t added the on-post races we might do. I definitely want to add in a 5K somewhere to see if I can PR (gotta beat 27:56 for that to happen).

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year!

2012

2012 Events

We go “home” to Illinois in February for a visit.

I turn 26 in April.

We celebrate four years of marriage in June.

We celebrate nine years of togetherness in July.

We have four years left being a military family.

I will [hopefully] start my graduate program this summer or fall.

We might face a deployment this fall. Or maybe not at all.

2012 Goals

Stay healthy and get fit.

Worry less, pray more.

Enjoy the little things in life.

Step out in faith in (or out of…) my job/career.

Seek out missions opportunities in our city.

Be creative and crafty.