Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tap, Tap, Tap... Is this Thing on?

Just checking- it's been a LONG time since I posted- my birthday- ALLLLLL the way back in June.  A LOT has happened since then!  I went on a trip, said goodbye to friends with lots of tears (by me), moved from Tennessee to Indiana, looked for a job, cried a lot while I wondered if I made the right choice, looked more for a job, found a job (more on that in a minute), ran a 5K for the first time in months, wondered if I am ever going to have a life (that hasn't changed), oh, and I got a new car (literally brand new- it had 5 miles when I drove it off the lot!).  That's the quick summary- more details will be forthcoming.

So, why blog now?  My friend Jess who blogs over at Tune My Heart was challenged by her husband to blog at least twice a week- Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I don't know that I will have specific days (my schedule is CRAZY right now) but I do want to attempt the two days a week thing.  Today is going to be a catch up and my next post will be a recap of the 5K.  Next weekend I am heading to Ohio to run with 15000 of my closest friends the OSU 4 mile race.  We will end on the 50 yard line of Ohio State's stadium!  I am not anywhere close to be able to run 4 miles but I will finish and the 50 yard line thing is cool and am an Ohio State fan so it's got it all wrapped up in one!

Anyway- so the move- first took me to my parents house and as God so perfectly prepared I ended up getting a job in the next town over so, for a while, since prices are ridiculous for renting, I am continuing to live there.  Not where I planned to be at 40 but as God so eloquently reminds me- I have a plan for you- a plan to prosper and not to harm you.

My job- I am teaching Kindergarten.  There's a lot of similarities to my school in TN and a lot of differences as well.  I will say that I am enjoying it (most days ;) other days I would love to sleep in)- again, probably not what I would have chosen (I took about an 18,000 pay cut) but He had a plan for me.

The new car- I drive a minimum of 40 miles in a day because of work and the miles were racking up on my HHR- after it broke down I finally decided to see what could be done.  I walked away (drove away) with a brand new Nissan Sentra and my payments are only a few dollars more.  Works for me :)  I struggled with the idea of the loan but I still owed a year and a half on the other loan but they gave me a great deal on my trade in which made it all work out.  I am grateful for God's provision in that matter as well.

So- there you have it in a nutshell- my last few months- give or take a few things.  I am going to continue to work on posting, healthy living posts, accountability posts and a few other things to get myself going again (I even stamped a few cards this weekend- my other stress release - and didn't feel guilty!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Life goes on and another trip around the sun

So- yeah, it's been a while.  I could give all kinds of excuses- and while all valid they are still just that- excuses. The bottom line is that I needed to step back for a while, to evaluate my direction, to steady my heart, to let go of some things that needed to be let go of, and to identify what my next steps were going to be.

What have I been up to?  Well my last post found me sick with what they thought was strep- it wasn't.  I had missed two days due to that and back at school for three and then that weekend I woke up with the worst pain in my joints ever and a rash (oh and I ran a fever for about a week and a half).  I ended up missing 6 more days of school because they thought my mono test was wrong.  However, it still turned up negative and they never could pinpoint what the issue was- it basically became an unknown virus that mimicked the symptoms of mono.

I ended my ten years at my school and am currently unemployed (which I won't lie- scares me out of my mind) but am actively looking for another job as well as packing to move (which is a daunting task itself)

Right now I am making my to do lists (yes, more than one) for moving- the sad thing is, for everything I cross off the list- I add about 5 more things.  I try every day to get some things done but today- Wednesday- I am taking a break!  Why?

Well, it's a time to celebrate that trip around the sun and it's a big one y'all (yes I said that LOL)!  To celebrate I am spending time with friends and then heading to Atlanta where I am going to see not just one game but TWO games, hit up The Varsity and probably Ikea, and most important- visit with friends who for the last 6 years have made their house my home.  The closer it gets- the more I am struggling, the more tears fall and the more my heart aches- and yet, I know that I am smack dab in the middle of where God wants me.  For too long I have plodded along and not really live- I am choosing to live and to focus and love on people who mean the world to me!

I am also going to be working on other some other things- things that will come out in time- things that I need to put into motion first- and when the time is right I'll share but in the meantime I leave you with this:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sunday Inspiration- Oh Wait- it's Wednesday

**If you got this twice- I posted prematurely so I deleted and prepped it again!

Seriously- the days, the weeks, the months are flying by!  We are halfway through the month of April and as of the writing of this post (on Tuesday night) we only 26.5 more days of school with students- WHAT?!?  I think it feels a little surreal because I have been off the last 6 days- Thursday I had a dr appt, Friday I took a personal day to travel to Atlanta (more on that in another blog post), Saturday and Sunday (obvious).  Anyway, Sunday as I was traveling back I noticed that I had a swollen and extremely tender lymph node/gland under my left jaw in my neck.  By Sunday evening I was running a fever over 100.  It went down to 99.4 on Monday morning but I decided to call off and go to the dr instead.  It's a good thing too- they did a rapid strep- negative, they swabbed to send for a more thorough strep, and did a test for mono (negative).  When I went to pick up the antibiotic I just started feeling worse- by the time I got home my temp had climbed back up over 101 and eventually hit 102.3.  I haven't had a temp that high in I don't know how long!  When I woke up this morning (Tuesday) the fever was gone but I felt like I was swallowing glass.  To this moment- that's still how I feel.  I have eaten things that slide down the throat and that I don't have to swallow, I still have a swollen and tender (hurting) gland but no fever so work will go on tomorrow!  God obviously wanted me to slow down!

In other news I have no cable so I can't watch my beloved Braves, Criminal Minds, or any other number of reruns that I got hooked on over our snow-cation.  I have been doing some reading, playing some mindless iPad games, and packing (but not as much nor as quickly as I should- that will change SOON- as soon as my body stops rebelling).  I have applied for a couple of non-teaching jobs and am still in the process of the licensure (being sick put a hold on a few things).  With that being said, this song has come up several times in my playlist- running and traveling and each time it just resonates deep with me- I think- because the bottom line of the song is about TRUST!

"Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin' on You
I'm leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin' it all for the plans You got
Is it so crazy to believe"

Then I read this- Enough

Steps of faith- as tiny as they are- are still steps of faith!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

AD- Food- Diet-to Go

*I received 5 days worth of food in exchange for a review.  I also will receive compensation for clicks through my link and sales purchased with my link/code.  All opinions are my own.

A couple of years ago I was given the opportunity  to become and ambassador and review a food delivery service called Diet-to-Go.  Through the past year they have undergone some changes (significant) and "re-invented" their ambassador program.  I received this food back in February right in the midst of all of our crazy weather and then some travel and life got in the way.  I ate the food and took pictures but didn't have a chance to sit down and write the review until tonight.  First things first, I have not finished all of the meals- I actually did that deliberately- we are coming up on the end of the school year and my moving time so I am trying to make sure of two things 1) I eat at home and 2) I eat what is in my freezer/fridge.  Since these are still in my freezer it fits both of those- so you may actually even get another review in a few weeks :)

I went with the Low-Carb meals this team- in the past I went with the traditional/low-fat but this time I wanted to have less bread.  They really worked with me to make sure I didn't have two of my BIG kidney stone triggers and made substitutions based on that.

Some quick notes about the service now- they have changed their packaging- I love their new packaging.  I'll be honest- I can't remember what the old one looked like (it has been a couple of years ago) but this new packaging is much easier to open, more visually appealing and just looks "clean".  They also have hired various nutritionists, dietitians, and health coaches to help create the meals and there are lots more that they have done within the past year.  With that being said- here's a photo collage of a few of the meals and my thoughts:

From the top and going clockwise:
This was the beef tips- I will be honest- I am not a huge fan of beef cooked this way but this was really good and very tender.  And, as a bonus- I have tried asparagus before and not been a fan- I tried it again with this meal and REALLY liked it.  It's even been roasted since then.

Breakfast-  sausage and eggs.  These are also both good-however I LOVE both of these foods so I don't think you can go wrong (and if I remember correctly I ate breakfast for dinner here) :)

This one- for the life of me I can't remember what it is- I do know that I liked the entree and the green beans.  I believe this one also had artichokes in it.

Tuna Salad and mixed veggies- I am picky about my tuna salad- this was pretty tasty- it had something added to it that gave it a kick and the veggies were good too- I just had to remember to remove the tuna salad before I heated up the veggies ;)

Another breakfast for dinner- pork chop, eggs, green beans and canadian bacon- this turned out much better than I anticipated- all the flavors meshed well.

Omelet and sausage (I can't remember if it's turkey sausage or not)- this was good also!  I did this one on a weekend but if I had done it for dinner I would have just grabbed some veggies to add in with it and would have had a good meal.  (this did have cheese inside the omelet).

All in all- so far- my experience with the new DTG has been phenomenal.  My delivery was delayed a day due to weather and I let them know that- they reached out to me to make sure all of the meals were still okay.  I did "lose" one meal (an alfredo chicken with broccoli) that I was REALLY looking forward to but the power went out (for the fourth time in a week) while it was in the oven.

If you want to check them out you can click here: Diet to Go (this is an affiliate link).  And a code for you to use if you choose to give it a try is: DTGA125 that code will give you 25% off!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Keeps You Up at Night?

*disclosure- I received an advance digital copy of the book and will receive a signed hard copy upon release as part of this launch party group.

Last week I got some great news (which was good because I had a rough week).  I had been chosen for the launch team of Pete Wilson's new book.  A few years ago I read Plan B by Pete and it was quite timely for the stage of life I was in (actually I have it sitting out to reread if I ever find any free time).  I also have Empty Promises and would like to read Let Hope In.

So- let's back up- how did this come about.  I was reading through FB one day (see FB can be good) and saw a post on Pete Wilson's wall about his new book and the launch.  

(see that tag line- that is what led me to follow through)

I read these words: "I wrote this book for me and so many others that at times feel paralyzed by uncertainty. You know as well as I do that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual and rarely does it follow a straight path, yet so often we wait for clarity before moving forward on our dreams. My dream is to help you move forward with your dreams even when you are scared to death. I truly believe that if you want to experience a breakthrough in your life, you must find a new cadence that will provide the strength you need to move forward in spite of your doubts, questions, and fears. The rhythm of faith is not hinged upon our circumstances but our willingness to surrender." 

I read them and cried- I felt like he was speaking into my heart- that post announced the launch team, I applied and was chosen.  I have received an advance ebook copy that I hope to share lots of thoughts from- here, on twitter, and on FB.  I am so excited about this and feel like it's another step into the journey I am embarking on.  

So- why am I sharing today?  Well, glad you asked!  You can go HERE to place a pre-order.  BUT, it doesn't stop there!  If you place a pre-order because of my post/suggestion of book/etc- for the next 48 hours (or 48 hours from when his post goes live): they are going to be doing a cool giveaway this week called 'Dinner with Pete'. Whoever pre-orders the book in the next 48 hours can submit their receipt for a chance to win 1 of 25 spots to this dinner.

And, in full disclosure- if I have the most pre-orders (so if you order as a result of anything I have said PLEASE send me an email or post in the comments/screenshot the receipt whatever!) I have the opportunity to be part of that "Dinner with Pete" as well!  

The book itself is due to be released on May 5- so get that pre-order in today!  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Inspiration- Not Alone

As I have mentioned a few times I am getting ready to make a big life change- turning 40 in June, moving closer to family and contemplating a career change (for sure a job change though)- okay maybe more than one life change :)

Anyway, this song has been on repeat in my playlist and I wanted to share (this is where I wish I could sing).  The biblical truth in the words (straight from Isaiah 43) are full of promise- promises that, in this time where fear is trying to take over, I am NEVER alone- He goes before me- I truly can rest in that!

I love this part of the song: 
In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through 
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

Friday, March 20, 2015

Gone and Done It...

What popped into your mind?  For me it was the Shania Twain song BUT nope- that actually has NOTHING to do with this post!  LOL :)

(image found here)

So, what did I do?  Well, two years ago I was training for my first half and had a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished.  Last year I did my third and that was dealing with sinus/respiratory issues and the beginning of the heel issues and while I did not do as well as the previous year- I was okay with that.  In the last year- well, let's just say (and if you have been reading my blog you know this) I let life take over and run the show.  So, this year- no half BUT I did sign up for the 5K- I know that I am not going to have my best time, PR, or anything of that nature- it's what happens when you have gained weight and haven't done the training BUT I do know that I NEED this.  I waffled back and forth on whether or not to sign up for it.  My mom encouraged me to do so but then I read THIS story and it clinched the deal.  You see- if that man- can put aside his pain, his discomfort, his self-consciousness to do it well, there's no excuses.  So- I signed up for the Covenant Health 5K.  I may be walking 90% of it (shoot, I climbed 5 sets of stairs today at the dr office and felt like I was breathing hard) BUT, I will finish it, I have to start somewhere and that is the somewhere I am going to start (well, hopefully sooner with some nice weather this coming week).

(image found here)

Setbacks and obstacles are a part of life- the question becomes- how am I going to use them- or how is God going to use them to strengthen who I am?  I saw this on FB and loved it (I have no clue who the original source is)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Deep Waters- Part 2

I wrote this blog back at the end of November and in it I talked about how I felt like I was barely treading water.  Since then a lot has happened some of which I have touched on here and some of which I have alluded to.  So- this is kind of a catch up post along with a couple of thoughts regarding those deep waters.

- I have not had hardly any heel pain whatsoever- some stiffness every once in a while but I haven't been wearing shoes much this week (more on that in a few)

- I went on a mini getaway to Gatlinburg which was to help me find time to think and pray about God's direction which led to...

-It's time to share- I have talked to the people who needed to know so I am free to do so.  Part of this journey I have been on with trusting is going to be lived out over the next several months.  I am planning on leaving the job I have had for the last 10 years, leaving the city I have lived in for 20 of the last 22 years, and at the age of 40, possibly moving back in with my parents until I find a new job or figure out where God is leading me.  I am working on my licensure for Indiana and Ohio but am not confining myself to the education world.  Quite honestly- I am tired, my body is tired, my brain is tired and I need to get my groove back- so if that means taking a step away from teaching for a while then I know that God will provide.  I will be honest- I am SCARED to death.

-We had a week of snow and ice, bookended by the flu the weekend before and a stomach bug the weekend after.  And during that week of snow and ice-3 power outages.  1 was 4 hours (before the snow and ice), one was 29 hours (during the snow and ice- it was cold) and one was 1 hour that was in the midst of the coldest night of the winter.  Of course that meant that I had a week to work on things- I should have worked on packing (didn't) but I DID work on lots of rest, reading, and when I had power- working on the licensure information that I needed.

So- back to that fear- I am doing a 40 day challenge for Lent- it's a reading challenge and it's reading through the Gospels.  My friend Angela and blogging friend Brooke are also participating so that's kind of fun and I love the accountability from their posts on FB.  Now, I will admit that I used today (Sunday) to play catch up.  And I read Matthew 8:

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

And I immediately went back to my thoughts of how I felt like I was drowning and the fear that I have with all of the changes going on in my life.  Verse 26 jumped out at me and I felt like he was standing in front of me asking me that exact question.  If I say I am going to trust- then I NEED to trust- regardless of the storms going on around me and in me.  Regardless of my fear- I need to trust that the man who can tell the winds and waves to be still and they obey can tell MY winds and waves to be still and they will.

Then- I "happened" across this article and realized that God is definitely trying to get my attention and wants me to fix my eyes on Him

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Lost, a Restless Heart or ???

 (can found HERE)

I have started this post several times in the last few weeks, however, while I am continuing to walk out the journey of trusting- it's taking my heart and my soul to places I never anticipated.  Those who really know me and I mean REALLY know me- know that I have been struggling.  I have hidden it from a lot of people- put on the mask at church and said that all is "fine" because in reality- compared to the struggles and trials that others are going through my life is "fine".  Because of this lost and restless heart feeling I knew that it was time to get away- I drove to Pigeon Forge- which while not a huge trek was enough of a getaway that I didn't have the pressures and distractions of home looming over me.  I got a decent price on a hotel room for two nights and as it stands will be visiting a church in the Townsend area tomorrow morning as I make my way home.  This time away was for me to pray, seek clarity, search for peace and look for God's direction in my life.  Through this time- this blog post was "born".

I was in the middle of reading a book and for some reason I had to put it down- I pulled out my journal (with Proverbs 3:5 on it) and just started writing.  Occasionally I'll do that and not pay attention to what or how I write- just write what's on my heart.  These were my words tonight- words I didn't even really were in me:

"I feel as if I have lost me- or a part of me this year.  That all I have done- all I have known- it's gone.  My dreams are vapors- they have disappeared.  Or maybe not disappeared- maybe more like rendered themselves invisible.  They are there but are lost- can't be seen- seemingly undefined- my purpose, my passion, my vision.  I have no idea what mine is anymore and that scares me- it fills me with a fear that threatens to overtake my entire being.  What is my calling?  What is my dream?  Who am I? The questions burn within as I seek to find answers, and I have none."

There are a few things going on that have led to this restlessness- as I continue to seek and read I will continue to trust that He is going to bring me through and find complete rest in Him- He will lift me up on his shoulders.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Inspiration- Bruised feet

This song is the reason for the reason for my word this year being trust- as I listened to this song the following line just kept playing over and over in my head and my heart.

The past couple of years have been a series of ups and downs (and if you have read my blog you know that) and my feet (as well as my heart) are bruised.  What causes bruised feet?  Overuse, stress on them, dropping things/physical trauma, internal trauma from other issues.  Trust involves in lacing up those bruised feet and following Him and knowing that He is leading me down a road that will be filled with those twists and turns and before they heal it may get worse.  It's trusting that He is with me in the pain and along this journey.  It's believing that as I take the steps of faith into what I cannot see His path is laid out before me and it's the most amazing journey I will ever take.  It's trusting that even if, at the age of 40, I end up beginning new dreams, He is going to lead those dreams if I let Him.

Friday, January 2, 2015

All Roads Lead to...

Hope and change!

In thinking of my "word" for 2015 I ended up with a phrase. 2013 saw perseverance and 2014 saw LIVE (which I am still working on) so deciding on this year's I had to take a look at what was going on in my life currently and throughout the past year. I am starting out this year with an eye on the future- an eye on "Hope and Change" (but not the kind other people say...)

Trust!  Okay- so, I had started another post with a "word" for the year and then as I was traveling back to TN from Indiana I just really started thinking, praying, and listening and I just felt like God was telling that hope and change was not ALL He was going to have for me and while that's a huge part of it- TRUST is going to be the whole picture.  

I have talked about trust in the past- it's something that has been hard for me- it's something that has led to heartbreak and turmoil yet this time, I feel like it's all about resting in Him.  When I rest in Him then I will TRUST!  And as I pondered this post throughout the week (I really wanted to have this up on the 1st but it was not ready) I read this post on the (in)courage blog and this jumped out at me: 

"It’s not about not being afraid, but about trusting in a God who is bigger and greater than even our biggest and greatest fear. "

And this one by Ann Voskamp: Falling Forward and these words enveloped my heart and said I needed to read them: "Sometimes you can hardly trust your legs, trust turning and taking the next step."

and "Failing? What feels likes losing is really gaining experience.
Falling apart? Fall forward into whatever. comes. next.
Whenever you are lost, FORWARD is always the way Home.
And in a fallen world, I fall forward into a New Year, and I fall forward into Christ’s safe arms andit is safe to trust. He is safe to trust."
So, yes, TRUST remains my word- it will be the word on which my heart stakes its claim.  It will be the word on which my anxious thoughts rest.  It will be the word that my uncertainty comes to peace. When I venture to take a step into the unknown- trust is knowing that He is holding my hand, directing my path, and stepping with me.  While my "life" verse is Zephaniah 3:17- my "year" verse is going to be Proverbs 3:5-6.
Will you step with me?  
(and I am putting this out there that my goal is to have 1 post a week talking about trust- it may be about my personal journey, a song, etc. but I know that I am being called to share this journey with others)