A Pinterest 4th

It was both mine and my husband’s year to have the children for the 4th of July this year and I wanted to do something special with food. Where do you get such inspiration? Why Pinterest, of course!! When you put something in the search section, a plethora of fabulous ideas pop up! Now, several years ago I did a Jell-o concoction and spent waaaayyyyy too long cutting out watermelon with a star cookie cutter so I wanted something different – and easier – this year. I did need to watch my budget, though, as holiday food can get very expensive, particularly if you’re buying fireworks too!

I opted for something healthy and did wood skewers, mini marshmallows, blueberries and raspberries. The raspberries were a little pricey in my opinion ($5.98) but wow, were they yummy! Absolutely delicious and incredibly easy! I also made a cake (only a box mix) but although I wanted to decorate it with red, white and blue M&M’s, I couldn’t due to my stepson’s severe peanut allergy. That’s okay, though, as I had left over blueberries and found some red crystal toppings I could add to it and the family size was nearly $9 – gulp!! I forgot to take a picture of the stripes of the crackers and cheese that I made as well, leftovers from a party that we had a couple of weeks ago so that helped with the budget!

Here a couple of pics of what actually turned out . .

20180704_153953

So not as pretty as the M&M cake but no allergic reactions!

20180704_151100

Fresh blueberries, raspberries and mini marshmallows. Yum!

We cooked out (jumbo pack of turkey franks were very reasonable and tasted much better than the beef ones, in my opinion!), visited, played soccer, and made s’mores (already had these when they had a buy 1 get 2 free of the ingredients) around the fire pit before shooting off some fireworks that we had bought.

IMG_6979[1].JPG

Even Buddy enjoyed playing soccer!

IMG_6991[1].JPG

The fireworks all around us were beautiful!

The downside? Well, my older children had their own agendas, understandable at 18 and 21,¬† and didn’t even stop by. My youngest preferred to hang out with his girlfriend so I didn’t even have my own children with me in which to celebrate the holiday and partake in my yummy special food! At least my parents came over for a bit to help us celebrate! ūüėČ

Advertisements

Tis the Season

I must admit that although I love Jesus, I find the holidays to be a bit of a downer. Well, maybe not a bit, a lot might be more like it. How can I possibly be feeling funky at the most wondrous time of the year when my Savior was born? Hmmm. . . I don’t know. I honestly struggle to interpret the emotional roller coaster I’m on at this time of the year.

Life itself continues to be a challenge but things have changed, mostly for good this past year. The relationship that began the year prior blossomed and I’ll be marrying this wonderful man next week.¬† I did some traveling to Sanibel Island with my parents and children as well as Colorado and Nebraska.¬† I accomplished many things – 3 half-marathons and a personal best, hiking my first 14’er, moving not once but twice, volunteering in a new section at church¬† – just to name a few. Challenges? Knee issues running, significant ocular migraines, strep throat, relationship issues, my oldest son moving not only out but out of town, family/friends death and health issues, my youngest son’s back issues from weight lifting . . . But I prefer not to dwell on the negative. Or at least I try not to anyway!So, what does one do when they’re struggling? Although sometimes difficult to let go, God’s got it. Even though I can’t put into words why I’m crying, He’s got me. When I want to sleep and never wake up, He’s holding me in His arms. When social media is too overwhelming, He gives me the strength to focus on what matters. When those that I love make poor decisions and my heart is hurting, He’s there. God is good.

I’ve mentioned before that God speaks to me through music. I was mesmerized by Tenth Avenue North’s song, Control¬†that I heard about a month ago. I can’t seem to get enough of it! Here are some of the lyrics:

I’ve had plans
Shattered and broken
Things I have hoped in
Fall through my hands
You have plans
To redeem and restore me
You’re behind and before me
Oh, help me believe
God You don’t need me
But somehow You want me
Oh, how You love me
Somehow that frees me
To take my hands off of my life
And the way it should go, oh …
I pray that you’re able to give God control of your life. If you’re struggling with the holidays like I am, lean on Him. He cares for you. He wants you. Allow Him to fill the voids in your life. He’s got you.

A Different Type of Thanksgiving

img_6213

A gorgeous sunset on Hilton Head Island by the lighthouse

I had the opportunity to do something different this Thanksgiving which was a relief but at the same time, a little stressful. ¬†For many years my family would travel to my husband’s family as a Thanksgiving tradition. ¬†The past couple of years I’ve spend it in Keystone, CO with my parents, my children (or some of them at least), and my fur boys. This year my parents were driving¬†to Hilton Head Island, SC to visit my brother and his family and had invited my eldest son and to fly in later and join them. ¬†Well, my son didn’t want to lose out on work money (I don’t blame him! As a server in an incredibly busy restaurant, it would make sense to earn beaucoup $!) and, unbeknownst to me, his father had asked him over for the holiday since he already had his brother and sister . He had accepted, not knowing that I hadn’t made any plans as I refused to leave him¬†alone on Thanksgiving Day. Hmm, communication problems?! Yep, I believe so! Argh. .. ¬†Well, now that these other plans were in place, that now meant that I’d be alone on Thanksgiving.

Parents to the rescue! I still managed to book a flight and although my heart hurt being away from my children and things that they had to deal with by being with their dad, I got to visit with my brother and his family in a state they’ve called their home for four years that I’d never seen before, run in a 10K race with a new PR, run on the beach, see some humongous alligators, and make some new memories. I was certainly blessed to have had this opportunity!

20161124_094217.jpg

Thanksgiving Day Race – 5K and 10K participants!

20161125_100651

Mandatory beach run selfie! If I hadn’t have been on a time crunch, I’d have been out there for HOURS!

IMG_6182.JPG

Group shot on the beach following our Thanksgiving meal. It was a beautiful day!

IMG_6169.JPG

My brother and I – we’re only a year¬†and 17 days apart and were very¬†close growing up. Not so much now ūüė¶

IMG_6151.JPG

Easily 12-14 feet long. Gulp! Glad they were on the other side of the water!

img_6227

My new beau (ha!ha!) – and my Dad photobombing in the background (he was actually keeping the nutcracker’s mouth closed!). I love Christmas lights. . .

20161125_095447.jpg

Isn’t this a beautiful walkway to the beach?¬†

20161126_092247

My Dad and I Рone last look at the beach before I headed home. 

thanksgiving

Turkey Trottin’ 2016

Last year when I ran this race I called it The Longest 10 Mile Race EVER¬†and swore I’d never run it again. It wasn’t¬†even an option this summer either, when I was comparing races with my new running buddies until I heard that they had changed the location and the route and since it was during yet another one of my training cycles, I thought, “Why not?” And if I was one of the first 2,000 runners registered, I’d get a free turkey. And who couldn’t use a turkey? (Okay, so maybe that’s not the best reason since my daughter is a vegetarian! Oh, and I still have last year’s in the freezer.) I’m glad I did.

So, prefacing the race was more family/teenage drama. I woke up the morning of the race sick to my stomach, with a thought racing through my head that I hadn’t in the slightest entertained. ¬†I mean, I TRUSTED my daughter, yet why would this thought not go away? Something wasn’t right. Hmm, before the race I confirmed what I knew to already be true. ¬†After the race, I double-confirmed it. Great thoughts to run on, trust me. Grrrr. . . .

We¬†were all lined up in the chute for a good 20 minutes before they told us that we could go back inside due to a delay. Well, I’ll tell you that the real feel temperature was 25 degrees that morning, and standing around waiting for the horn to go off for that long wasn’t the most pleasant. It took a while for my toes to thaw out for I’m sure those guys in tank tops and shorts were feeling it much worse than I was! ¬†Turned out there was a high risk situation somewhere in the area that may ¬†have impeded our safety. Thanks to the race directors for keeping us all safe!

Going into a race there’s always many variables that you usually don’t have any control over. ¬†Weather is one of them, particularly the Kansas wind. ¬†Fortunately, even though the past few days had been gale force winds, it had died down significantly for the race. Yes, it was cold, but at least the sun was supposed to come out. I had a goal for this race knowing that my past two races were 1:32 and 1:31 so I was hoping for around 1:30. ¬†I’d been training well and as long as my IT band didn’t act up again, I felt confident that I would meet it. Due to shuffling back inside and out to the starting line, I lost my fellow runner buddies but I figured I’d meet them on the course somewhere (I only saw them in passing in the last mile:(). All the waiting and the cold even made my MP3 player die before I hit the first mile. ¬†I don’t always run with music, though, so I knew I would overcome yet another challenge this morning. One of these days I should record all of the thoughts that go through my head when I’m running a race. ¬†It’s actually quite comical!

It was a beautiful course with nicely placed water stations that I took of advantage of. I managed to maintain a fairly consistent pace and crossed the finish line with a time of 1:27:18, nearly a 4 minute PR! Yep, I was a happy camper!

Now I’ll need a new goal if I run it again next year. ¬†I haven’t signed up for any other races yet, either, so I’ll need to figure out what’s next! I find having a race on the calendar definitely holds me accountable, as well as running with my group. ¬†I’m going to have to up my mileage a little, too, if I’m wanting to finish 2016 with my goal of 1,000 miles!

turkey-trot-2016

Why do all of my race pictures make me look like I’m dying? ¬†Maybe the photographer should hold up a sign saying “Smile!” as I wasn’t expecting pictures!