Staying missions-minded

As time goes on, it’s becoming more and more evident to us that we are being called into missions. “Called” can be a term thrown around in the Christian circles.. but basically what I mean is that we have a very strong inclination and desire to go. Aaron still has four years left in the military. He’s just passed his three-year anniversary. (I know. Seven years. Unfortunately his year of training wasn’t included in his six-year enlistment. Someone screwed up.)

But really, four years isn’t that long. That’s… high school. College. A car loan. Actually, in about three years we’ll need to start formulating a plan for life post-Army. I’m really really excited about that. And nervous. But mainly excited. We both have portable careers (me=teaching, him=computers), and we could take it around the world. We could become Assemblies of God missionaries. We could support missionaries who are already in the field. Who knows?

Where will we go? What will we do? How long will we do it? I have no idea, and I’m thankful, because being the planner I am, I would be going crazy right now.

It’s exciting to me that we will raise our family to be in the world, but not of the world. While we (well, I) wouldn’t mind moving back to Illinois, central or the Chicago suburbs, I don’t think settling down, buying a house, and having a picket fence is what God has in mind. And this isn’t a new development; we’ve felt for most of our nine-year relationship that we’re meant to travel into the world.

It’s encouraging to think that, hey, we won’t really need to buy new furniture, or appliances, or cars, for the next 3-4 years. Our cars now are old, but what’s the sense in buying newer ones if we can make these last? So many people we know are settling down, having children, buying newer and bigger cars for the children they’re having. And as well they should… we’re in our later 20’s now. It’s what happens.

It’s hard to not center my desires around what most everyone else is doing. Then I hear about some distant relatives of mine who are doing various things in Afghanistan, Uganda, Tanzania…. all over the world, and it makes me want to go somewhere, too, and leave the comfy American lifestyle behind.

I think the military was always in The Plan. I never could have guessed that it would have been. I think it’s preparing us… 1500 miles from home is only a drop in the bucket if we go to Asia, or Africa, or the Middle East. Seven years pales in comparison to a lifetime of serving globally. Trusting God for our personal finances now is small when you think about having to trust God for the finances of an entire non-for-profit, or school, or orphanage. 95 degrees in El Paso is cool compared to 115 in the Middle Eastern desert….

This is big stuff, people.

Getting rid of my potty mouth

If you’re thinking that I don’t have the best language sometimes, well, you’re probably right. I think I let a few words slide out of my mouth last night coming home on I-10. Seriously. I almost had at least three panic attacks.

Anyway, what I want to get rid of even more than my dirty language, is my dirty eating. I had a revelation at the gym yesterday when I was kicking the crap out of the treadmill. (4-mile AWESOME progression run!) Last week, I ate very “clean”, meaning cutting out processed foods, refined carbs (white flour, boxed cereal, etc) and refined sugars (popsicles, soda, etc). I ate like this about 80% of the time.

I worked out 4 days this week…

Monday: 2 mile walk in the canyon in the AM, 2 mile run around the neighborhood in the PM

Tuesday: 4 mile interval run at the gym… 400’s and 800’s, 2.6 mile walk to and from Jess’s house

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 30 min elliptical workout, 30 minute supine (seated) bike workout

Friday: 4 mile progression run in 41:20, starting at a walk and speeding up to 8:00 pace at the very end. FOR SURE I felt the running high! LOVE IT.

TOTAL MILES (running/walking): 15!!!

…and I felt GREAT!

And I realized, beyond just having a good attitude towards running and working out, I’ve been conscious of what I’ve been eating. I love fruits and veggies, so it’s easy for me to include them in my diet. I’ve also been drinking more water. So many times I just forget about it, which means I will feel lousy by the end of the day. It’s dry here, like 7-10% relative humidity on a regular basis. I could drink water literally all day long and probably not get enough.

Like I said, I tried to eat clean 80% of the time. The other 20%? Well, on my list I had some pineapple/coconut popsicles, white chocolate mocha creamer (flavored creamer is a non-negotiable…), a blended strawberry lemonade at Starbucks (BUT it’s a better choice than a latte/frappuccino with all the fat/calories!), Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (duh!), and pizza last night at the bowling alley.

Ugghhh. Pizza. It did NOT agree with me. I should have eaten dinner before I went, but I met Jess for some gym and Starbucks time (there’s a Starbucks across the street from the gym on post) and didn’t have time to eat. I did eat a pear on my way. I realized I need to have more mobile healthy options like fruits, carrot and celery sticks, and healthy trail mix.

Really, the clean eating is not a foreign concept to me. It’s basically how I lost the first 35 lbs a couple years ago. However, I want to slim down and tone up, and I think even with running and doing POP Pilates I need to change my diet.

I hate saying I’m going on a “diet”. I like to call it an “eating plan”, and I love that there’s still 10-20% of time when I can eat not clean. That’s for the nights when I just don’t feel like cooking, so I eat the can of Spaghettio’s that’s been hanging out in my cabinet, or for when I’m craving Dairy Queen.

I’ve been doing some reading on different blogs and websites, and I’ve consistently found that our physiques are determined 80% by our diet, 10% by genetics, and 10% by exercise. So, the excuse that “some women in my family are just curvy, so I’ll always be comfortable in a double-digit size” is completely invalid. Who says I can’t still be curvy even if I’m 10-15 lbs lighter?

I mean, what woman doesn’t want to look smokin’ hot in a bikini?? I like the confidence that comes with being able to wear whatever I like and not feeling self-conscious, or going to a get-together and feeling like I actually have control over my eating rather than feeling guilted into eating whatever is there.

I’m thinking cleaning up my mouth (language and food) is a win/win.

Tales from the farm

Seriously. I think I need to start a new blog just about the things that happen while I babysit.

Yesterday on our way back to the house from school, we stopped by Grandma and Grandpa’s to wet down the pig. 1) They have a pig. 2) They have to wet it down??? Okay. So. Anyway. They introduced me to Gibbs, which is apparently a name off of the TV show NCIS. I don’t know these things! I don’t even know what that stands for…

Anyway. Gibbs is such a small and cute little piggy! He’s all black and white and has a little piggy nose. I really should get a picture. I asked A what they do with the pig when he’s all grown up and they’re done showing him at 4-H.

He said that they eat him. Gasp! The little piggy??? Then I was okay with it, because the pig grows up to be a massive, well, pig, and also because I. LOVE. BACON. So. Pig issue resolved.

Then, after homework, we had to go clean out the horses’ water. And by we, I mean they. While I watch with my sandals… SANDALS. Really, Elizabeth?! I need to get me some boots.

So, I helped A dump out the trough, and we started cleaning it out and filling it back up. Again, by we, I mean they. This mix of water and sand made mud, and before I could say anything, A and H had jacked up their pant legs to the knees, taken off their socks and boots and started playing in…the… gulp.. mud. It was brown and squishy and… muddy. And there was horse poop not too far away.

Anyway, I was a lucky girl that they didn’t start lobbing mudballs?? (???!?!!) at me. Then they cleaned up and went inside and changed and you never would have known the difference. Whew.

I never really thought I was THAT much of a city girl. I mean, my grandpa was a farmer, and my dad worked on the farm too, so that means I’m somehow by blood a country girl right?! I mean, my grandparents had an address in Farmer City, Illinois. And I went through two years of initiation when I taught at a school in the middle of a cornfield…. but I guess this “city” girl has a lot more to learn!

And then after Mom got home, I drove home a different way through the country, and it was so pretty. I’m pretty sure I saw the $590,000 house/property that I want. HAHAHA. Yes. Keep laughing with me. But it looked like it was on a farm…

April 25

This is my first post as a 26-year-old! Somehow the birthdays lost their ring after 21…. However, my 26th birthday brought me this lovely piece from Aaron…

And a totally awesome hair day… This won’t happen again until maybe Christmas or something.

I’ve logged 11 miles this week so far! I took Missy to McKelligon Canyon on Monday morning and we walked about 2 miles. She did better than walking around our neighborhood because there were less distractions. The car ride, however, was not so great. After dinner I went out and ran 2 miles in the neighborhood. So many people were out walking their dogs and playing outside. After 7, the sun’s behind the mountain and therefore not burning my flesh off. The temp goes down and it’s perfect “summer evening” weather. In April.

Yesterday I met Jess at the gym and did 4 miles of intervals, all uphill. Man, I kicked that treadmill in the butt. Later yesterday instead of driving to her house for dinner (it’s only 1.3 miles), I walked.

Today I rested. I’ve been watching my carb and sugar intake. I am trying to eat less refined sugars and carbs and more protein. It’s kind of my own version of “eating clean”. On my way home from “work” I stopped at the gas station to get gas and totally resisted the urge to get DQ. Go me. Even after just a week of watching my refined sugars and carbs, I want it less.

This whole waiting-to-have-kids thing is making me be waaay more accountable to getting and staying fit. One of the big reasons I lost weight in the first place was to get healthy before we had kids. Well, now that we’re waiting longer than we expected, I need to keep up a healthy lifestyle for longer. I want to run and workout when I’m pregnant, have a healthy delivery, and bounce back as soon as possible after giving birth. Anyway, I try not to think about it too much as it’s in the future, but it’s definitely a motivator for staying healthy.

This is kind of random, but… I’M GOING TO HONDURAS!!! I went to the meeting at church the other night. We’re going at the end of August to help with an orphanage and school we support as a church. I’ve had the itch to travel internationally for.. well.. since my last trip (Honduras in 2008), so I’m really excited. (I never got the chance to visit Aaron in Korea….silly Army… and $1700 plane tickets.)

Anyway. Life is good. I can’t imagine going back to such a stressful job… ever. Unless it were absolutely necessary. Missy and I only have a week left to party like there’s no tomorrow before Husband Man comes home… we might even do some yoga or POP Pilates.

April 20

This week has flown! I’m thankful because that means only two more weeks until Aaron comes home. I fell into my “single” married woman routine pretty fast.

I’ve worked out a total of four days so far this week, which is three or four days more than I have been, and I’ve been more mindful of the food I put in my body. So.

Monday: 30 min run/walk intervals on treadmill; 25 min bike ride

Tuesday: 20 min run/walk on the track; 50 min kettlebell class

Wednesday: rest — the kettlebell class works my legs more than anything!

Thursday: I posted the video yesterday of the pilates workout I did and a picture of the Pinterest workout. I am feeling it today!!!

Friday: 2.12 miles on the track; 30 min supine bike workout

Saturday: I either want to take Missy on a walk in the canyon, go to yoga, or both

Sunday: rest! IT’S MAH B[EARTH]DAY!!! 😉

I really enjoyed my track workout this morning. 11.3 laps equal a mile, which is a little cumbersome to do mental math with, so I kept track of laps. I walked for 2 laps, ran moderately for 2 laps, and picked up the pace for 2 laps. I won’t say I sprinted because I wasn’t going all out… I was probably running at 80-85% effort.

I have no idea what my pace was, and honestly right now I’m not concerned with that. I need to do the cardio so that when I have totally ripped abs (or not….) you can actually see them! Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates workouts are gonna be my go-to at-home workout. If you haven’t seen her workouts yet, check it out! She’s really energetic and encouraging. I love her blog, too.

WIth the warmer weather on the way, I’m considering holding off on races and lots of running training until fall rolls around. Like I posted earlier, I’ll be taking classes May through August, plus working more since the kids will be out of school.

Well, I’m so glad I already got my sweat on for the day! I’m off to get some sewing/crocheting done and then go to P.F. Chang’s for an early birthday lunch date with Jess! 🙂

Almost a year: a smattering of thoughts

April 30 will mark a year since Gabi and I ran the Illinois Marathon! To this day I still can’t believe we did it!

I believe a year ago, I was in the best shape of my life! I had tons of energy, was running anywhere from 15-30 miles a week and I had it goin’ on. Really. I mean, I ran a 46:18 8K in Chicago! For me, that’s flippin’ awesome.

July 8 will mark a year since we’ve been in El Paso. There are so many things I can complain about when it comes to running in the desert, or working out here in general, especially since by next week we’ll have temps in the 90’s. Yes. 90’s in April. Oh my. So, here goes. I’m just gonna get it out of my system, ok?

  • It’s hot
  • It’s dry
  • I have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to get a run in before temps soar,
  • The gym (you know, the free one on post) is a 10-15 min drive away

When I was working full-time (and going crazy…) I would have given anything to have time to work out more and just have the energy to do it. Now that I’m working part-time, I should be all gung-ho about working out, right?

Heh. Not so much.

Running and I have not been getting along. Once I’m actually running and can see and feel my progress, I’m good. But lacing up my shoes to run outside in our less than scenic side of town? Ugh. I miss the river, and parks, and trails, and GREEN. (Please, cry me a river because the Rio Grande here is nothing more than an oxymoron.)

I’m not really sure where running and I will go. Currently I’m not signed up for any races. I’m not sure that’s the key to getting motivated, either.

I’ve been attending spin and kettlebell classes once a week for a couple weeks now. I love group fitness because it gives me accountability. As in, I get there before class starts, and I stay until the end. Sometimes peer pressure is good! No one wants to be that person who chickens out and leaves before the class is over.

I think something that will help my cause is to work out more at home. I have a yoga mat and I actually did use it this morning! I found this workout on Pinterest, and man, it kicked my butt!

I also did this workout to the best of my ability:

And of course, this is always some motivation….

The early bird gets the… workout

A certain husband of mine left for TDY (temporary duty) this morning, so we were up at 4 AM to get him to the airport. He was supposed to leave yesterday, but on our way to the airport he got a call saying his flight had been cancelled. I’m thinking it’s because of the crazy winds we’ve had this past weekend. In any case, it was nice to have him here for one more day! (By the way, whether he’s gone for 18 days or 205 days, I hate saying goodbye.)

The gym on post opens at 5 AM, so I was there and on the treadmill by 5:15. I’ve had such a running complex recently. I think that if I can’t run 3 miles and xx:xx pace, then it’s not even worth it. Well, we all know that’s a load of rubbish. Yes, pure rubbish. While I haven’t gained weight, I can feel my body composition changing since I haven’t been working out. Since Bataan I’ve been suuuuuper lazy. Horribly lazy. Making 571853 excuses to not work out lazy.

how true is this?!

This morning I walked/ran for 30 minutes, and then got on the bike for another 30 minutes. It’s about moving and burning calories, which in turn give me happy endorphins for my morning. While I hate getting up early, I love the feeling of having my workout, being showered, and drinking coffee by 7 AM. While he’s gone for the next couple weeks, I’m going to get back on this proverbial horse. I need to.

I’ve been working on a couple of orders over the past few days! I opened my Etsy shop and also started a Facebook page for the things I make. On Saturday I went to JoAnn’s to get more fabric. I’m excited for the next few months; they’ll be busy! I start a couple online classes at Indiana State University for a graduate certificate in ESL on May 14, and I still need to get my books for that. Once school is out, I’ll be watching the kids all day rather than just after school. There’s also the possibility of going to Honduras in August with a group from church. A busy summer is ahead!

Do what you love & leave your legacy

I’ve really been thinking about my legacy lately. While it’s something that can’t be touched, it’s probably the most important “thing” I will leave behind on this earth. For such a long time, in fact, until just a few weeks ago (!!), I thought my “career” defined me. I’m a very driven person, and success is something I’ve always strived for. Then I thought about people I’ve felt have left an amazing legacy. People like my Grammie Leta (great-grandmother) who had five children and outlived two of them plus her husband. She sewed, knitted, crocheted and crafted her little heart out. I don’t think there’s a wall in my parents’ or grandparents’ house that does not have something of hers hanging on it. She dyed her own yarn to make rugs, stitched tiny stitches on beautiful quilts and  made needlepoint projects like you would not believe. Absolutely gorgeous stuff.

So, I was thinking about her and her legacy. She passed away when I was only 11, but I remember that she loved her family, poured into others’ lives, and used her God-given talents to bless others. That’s what I want my legacy to be. It doesn’t matter if I teach full-time, start my own business, or stay at home as a wife and someday a mother. (Seriously, being a stay-at-home mom is my dream job. Always has been.)

What do I love??

I love… sewing/crafting/anything you can think of that involves fabric, yarn, thread, and the hum of a sewing machine.

I am seriously, very seriously, considering opening my own Etsy shop in the next few months. Many would say, “Finally!” Although at the age of seven I was armed with a needle, thread and embroidery scissors, I have my reservations. What if no one buys anything? What if it’s too cheap? What if it’s too expensive? What if my products don’t fit my customers (or their children)? Those are silly worries… I love sewing. Like, LOVE. I am not an expert by any means. I don’t have a ruffle foot, or a zipper foot, a rotary cutter, a fancy sewing table, or a serger. I plan on investing in some of those things, but for right now I’m turning out projects on a sewing machine I inherited when my mom’s father passed away seven years ago. Sewing and crafting is a way for me to honor my family’s traditions, and I experience such joy when someone tells me her daughter feels like a “princess” in the dress I made.

Annnnnd, I need a name for this shop! (Suggestions welcome!) I have no idea where it’s going to go… but it’s exciting and it will offer me a great creative outlet.

I love… teaching, creating relationships with students, impacting their lives for the better.

I am blessed to be able to be a nanny. I can’t wait to see where the summer takes us, and I much prefer having a closer relationship by having only two “students” than having 100. Don’t get me wrong; I miss teaching in a classroom every day, but I love feeling like I’m part of their family.

I love… running. When I actually run.

Today I went on a two-mile run, on the treadmill. It reminded me that I can. (I doubted for awhile after Bataan;)). I have no races on the calendar any time soon, but just because I’ve been maintaining my weight for 2+ years doesn’t mean I can give up on what got me there! Plus, it makes me a happier wife.

Anyway, here’s something that’s in progress… hopefully soon I can offer you a link to my shop!

 

Not for the faint of heart

I started my new job this week as a nanny and tutor for a family in New Mexico. They have land with horses, a dog, a bunny, a cat, and a gorgeous view of the mountains and west side of El Paso. I tell you what; these kids are gonna wear me out this summer!

I pick them up from school at 2:30pm, and then we go back to the house to get a snack and something to drink. I can’t even remember everything we crammed into three hours yesterday, but I know it involved spraying down the trampoline with water before jumping and feeding stuff to the horses.

H is six and so adorable. Long blonde hair bundled in a braid, she’s a cowgirl at heart. She rides and does tricks and other cool stuff with the horses. A is ten and could figure out how to survive if you dropped in the middle of the dang Death Valley. Both kids are so creative. Today they rigged up the three hoses they have.. two to sprinklers and the third had water running down the slide. I watched from the sidelines as I did not realize I should have worn my swimsuit today. 😉

Before they played Waterpark Tycoon in their backyard, we went “down to the valley”. What that means is that we loaded up with Gatorade and went on a short hike through part of their property. Pretty much everything growing had thorns on it, and little miss H trudged through it with her boots on. Yes, red and black cowboy boots.

these would be a perfect b-day present!

I was smart today and wore my tennis shoes, but can’t you see it’s imperative that I invest in some real boots so that I can continue on these cross-country adventures! I asked H if we needed to watch for rattlesnakes and what we should do if we see one. Without saying anything she picked up a big rock and a little rock and gave the little one to me. Okay then. Ten-four there, little lady.

After taking a couple pit stops in the shade and drinking Gatorade, we headed back to the house. Lord knows I feel like a city girl if there ever was one.

I made strawberry smoothies after A decided he would try this nasty-looking smoothie made with Gatorade, graham crackers and strawberries. Ewww. Boys are gross. 😉 We watched some iCarly (um, LOVE that show) and chilled in the living room after cleaning up the mud we tracked in. I crocheted a little bit and H asked me if I would show her how to knit. I let her know that it’s indeed crochet and I showed her how to make a chain stitch. I think I’m gonna get her one of those fat hooks to work with.

I already have plans for A’s birthday in July.. I want to make a paper mache pinata and some watermelon sorbet for dessert.. he said today that watermelon is his favorite food.

I tell you what; this is gonna be a fun ride! Literally, I hope. Before the summer’s over I’ll be riding horses into the sunset with my amazing tan ropin’ me some cows.. or something like that. Just you watch.

It’s what we’re good at

Aaron leaves soon to go TDY (temporary duty) at another post in the great country of Texas. (Bet your geography teacher forgot to mention that Texas is a country. ;)) He’ll be gone for a total of two months, with a few weeks in between trips. We’ve managed, however, to actually live together in the same place for almost a year. That’s almost a record!

While I always always always hate to see him go, I’m happy that he’s able to do the job the Army trained him to do. It’s amazing looking back at how the job was actually opened up for him because of his kick-ass scores on the ASVAB. That was totally a God thing.

I have to admit, I’m looking forward to what extra money we’ll have from his daily allowance for food and other things. I’m also looking forward to time alone. Yes, I love my husband and yes, I’m no longer working full-time, but sometimes it’s nice to read in bed until all hours, or sometimes that sewing project takes a little longer than anticipated. And when I sew, I sewLike a mother.

It’s gonna be awesome having him in the same state and only an hour difference in time zones instead of 15. Not even kidding you. I mean, guys, Korea’s in the future!

Now, these two trips conveniently happen over my birthday (April 22) and our anniversary (June 21). This will be the fourth year in a row that he’s been absent. We are looking at purchasing a Living Social deal for Santa Fe, New Mexico and would love to take that the weekend before our legal anniversary (May 16, 2008, we got married at the courthouse).

Most likely while he’s gone, I’ll be subsisting on Spaghettios, grilled cheese, egg sandwiches, and ice cream. That’s all the food groups, right? 😉 Then I’ll go work my tush off at the gym, or something like that. And have wild crazy parties. With my dog. It’ll be a good time, dudes.