November 29, 2010

Shrinking Jeans Holiday Tradition & Recipe Vlog

I mispoke, but since I had taken several different takes I wasn't ready to have another redo.  In the recipe its either balsamic vinegrete OR balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Your ingredients:
fresh spinach leaves
strawberries, capped & diced
crumbled feta cheese
sliced almonds
balsamic vinegar
olive oil.

Nutrition information varies, based on how you make your salad.  I go easy on the oil, relying on the vinegar to coat the salad.  I love feta so I probably put a little more on my version than most people.

I had to work quickly to get all my chatter in 2 minutes, take one was almost 5 minutes long!!

PS - I forget that I have an accent.  Seriously, compared to the rest of my family I speak "normal.

Thankful Monday's Ten

I've decided to combine Thankful Thursday and Thursday's 10.  Sure, its Monday already, but its my blog and I can do what I please!!

  1. My familyThey are the greatest thing ever.  Really. 
  2. Black Friday shoppingI didn't need anything, just enjoyed the experience with my parents and Jay.  This isn't something I get to do when we're spending Thanksgiving with Jay's family.  The town's only store is Dollar General and I've never heard of them having door buster sales. 
  3. My In-LawsWhile I don't think they understand my desire to run (neither does my family) they went out of their way to help me get my 17 miler in yesterday.
  4. Good healthIts trite, sure, but after the year my family has had its not something we take for granted.  My anemia, my grandmother's foot surgery followed closely by congestive heart failure, now my mom's thyroid issues.  Hopefully 2011 will be a more healthy year, but I'm thankful that we made it through and even got most everything either fixed or diagnosed. 
  5. My runningThe ability, both physical and mental, to run 17 miles.  15 of which was on a treadmill.  Yes, I know I'm incredible.  But thank you for noticing.  Also the incredible change in my running since getting rid of the anemia.  11:30 for a long run?  Who'da thought it was possible??
  6. The BibleI'm exploring new parts, thanks to my read the Bible through in a year plan.  Of course I was supposed to be done back in May.  And I'm no where near close to being done, but I'm reading Isaiah for the first time.  Can't say I'm enjoying it, but its important to wade into uncharted waters.
  7. ReadingBeyond the Bible, I just love reading.  I lost it last year, just because I had trouble balancing training for races with other parts of life. This year I'm very close to my 52 books read for the year (with a little help from audio books.)  I'm currently listening to a fiction book by one of my favorite authors (Anita Shrieve) and reading a non-fiction book by a financial guru (Larry Burkett).
  8. The InternetI've said it a million times, but its worth repeating.  Yall are great :)
  9. My jobSometimes its hard to get up and get to work.  Sometimes the job itself is stressful, but over all I can't complain.  I have great benefits, great flexibility.  Who else in the world (besides professional athletes) gets paid to work out??
  10. My bathroom remodel!!!!!Um...sorry...I meant my hardworking husband who has done well enough this year to allow for the master bath being gutted.  Hopefully sometime next week I'll no longer have to hold my ankle in my hand in order to shave my legs!
Even though Thanksgiving has passed - I don't think it hurts to consider our blessings.  What are you thankful for this November?

November 24, 2010

Race Report - Secret City Half Marathon

Since last year, I've been excited to repeat my half marathon experience from last November.  It was my first 13.1 miler, I had vacationed two weeks prior (and missed a whole week of training), and almost came in last.  (But I didn't.)

I was disappointed when I went to register for the race - not only had they changed the name (it was the Oak Ridge Half Marathon last year), but also the course.  This wouldn't be an apples to apples comparison.

My tune changed, however, when I learned that a friend of mine from college would be coming in for the race.  Something new to get excited about!  I hadn't seen her in over 6 years (I'd like to think I haven't been out of college that long, unfortunately, I'll be graduated a decade this time next year.)  and was excited to be able to race with her.

I did my standard race routine - laid out my stuff the night before.  Gave myself 30 minutes to get dressed, eat breakfast and get on the road.  When I arrived at the race headquarters, my race tears arrived also.  I always cry during race.  I hate it, but that's just how I roll.

As I went to register I couldn't help but tear up.  What a difference a year makes!  At my first (and only other) half, my sister drove her family in from 2 hours away so that the Princess and the Little Man could be there at the finish line for me.

This year, Jay didn't even bother to get out of bed. 

13.1 miles was no longer a milestone.  It was just another stop on the way to 26.2.

After picking up my packet I headed back to my car.  I wondered how I was going to meet up with Lisa and her mom before the race - I hadn't even gotten her phone number. As I sat in my car pinning on my race bib, something made me look up.

Who was parked right in front of me but Lisa and her mom.  We smiled, laughed, and waved before getting out for hugs and pictures.  (Most of which are on her camera.  I plan on stealing them from Facebook as soon as she gets them posted.)

The race was fairly straight forward.  It was billed as a flat course, which was mostly the case.  There were a few tiny hills here and there, highlighted only by the flatness of the rest of the course.  I noticed another lady running beside me around miles 3-4.  At mile 5, a race volunteer said the official time was 54:58.  "I'll take that!"  I said to my new found running partner.

"Yeah, those people behind us said that you were an 11 minute-miler, and I'm wanting to finish in under 2:30 so I thought I'd pace off of you."

Big Gulp.

She was using me as a pacer?  That wasn't the moment to tell her that my Half Marathon PR was 2:44.  For the next few miles we were pretty consistent.  After the first loop, around mile 8 or so, I felt the wheels starting to loosen.  By that time, "those people behind us" joined our group.

I'll just be honest - if not for them I would have probably slowed considerably.  I kept at it though, pushing myself to keep up with them.  By my 11.5 I hit the "leaking oil stage".  My dad, who watches far too much Nascar, called it that while we were watching the New York City marathon together.  Its that part in the race where you know you've pushed yourself as much as possible and you're just hoping to coast across the finish?  Yeah that was me.

By mile 12 we started to break apart.  Our group has served all of us well.  It was weird to talk during a run.  Weird, but nice.  I had helped keep them steady during the first party, they helped me from backing off too much at the end. 

It was now time to run our own race.  They ended up finishing before me, but the 4 of us all smoked our "under 2:30 goal".   My official race time was 2:26:45.  I could have sprinted across the finish line (as is my signature in all my races) but there was a couple right before me and I would have had to pass them with 10 feet to go. 

Instead I crossed with my head held high, knowing that I'd well surpassed my hopes for a great race.  Afterward I refueled and waited on my friend Lisa to finish.

One of the ladies that I had ran with also had a friend behind her in the race, so around the 3 hour mark we decided to head back out onto the course and find our friends.

(Lisa's mom on the right, my new found running buddy on the left)

I came up on Lisa just a little before the 13 mile marker.  I'll just tell ya know that last tenth of a mile wasn't any short the 2nd time around!  She trotted for a little bit, but was having some foot pain, so we walked most of the last stretch.  As she turned the corner she picked it up to a run to the finish.  I dropped back to get some pictures.

I'm still sore.  I guess that's what happens when I think of a half marathon as a race, rather than just another training run to get through.

Next stop - 26.2 through Disney!

November 19, 2010

Its almost that time again...

...that "most wonderful" time.  Of course I'm talking about the time to send out Christmas cards!!

I'm that annoying person that sits down the day after Thanksgiving, completes all of her cards, and gets them in your mailbox by December 1st.  I love getting my cards out early every year. 

One problem that I have with cards is that its hard to find a pretty, yet young looking religious card.  They either look old and stuff, or cartoonish like for a child.  Since I celebrate Christmas as the birth of my Savior, I want my cards to reflect that.

In the past I've done more of a letter type card.  Not the kind with my past year's ventures, just one with a nice piece of clip art and my favorite Christmas Bible verses.  The first year of marriage we did a picture card, since we were newlyweds and could be sappy like that.

But who's to say in for our 3rd married Christmas we can't be sappy too?

When I found out about Shutterfly's Holiday Promotional campaign, I started thinking about all the different pictures I could use.

With this design, we could include pictures of us in various facets of our lives - dressed up, casual, just chillin, with family.  This one would mean getting dressed up for a nice family picture.  Even though we're just two people - no kids, no pets - we're still a family.  Last night would have been the perfect opportunity, if my husband would have cooperated.

Although I must say, I really do like the wall calendar idea.  I somehow doubt, however, that my mother-in-law would enjoy a calendar full of my race photos.  If children ever come in the picture though - perfect!  On a more serious note, I'm going to ask the Mutant if they would enjoy a calendar full of some of his best photos in the National Park.  Two of the things they love most in this life - their son, and a gorgeous piece of real estate!

Can I confess my main motivation for this post??  Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: Copied and pasted directly from their promotional material.  Gotta love free!! 

November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Choose Your Own Adventure

Good morning all!  Its thankful Thursday.  I've got so many blessings in my life - so why am I so grumpy?

The lie I'm believing: I'm stressed/nervous/anxious about going to a semi-formal charity event tonight.

I feel like a fake, a phoney.  People are going to look through my fancy dress and see the blue collar blood running through my veins.

The Voice of Truth: My husband's business has been blessed to include a network of people hosting this event as well as money to donate to help this wonderful cause.  The only people who will care that I purchased my designer silk dress for $13 at a consignment store would be impressed about the awesome bargain I got.  And hello -  I'm wearing a designer silk dress!

The lie I'm believing: I'm fat.  I have nothing to wear.  A glimpse into the mirror is disgusting.

The Voice of Truth: I'm healthy.  Sure I'm not the 123 pounds I was at the first of the year.  But that girl was also anemic and unable to churn out the kind of mileage/pace that I'm doing now.  While I hope to find a middle ground between then and now, I'd much rather be this girl.  A little pudgy, with a bottom her hubby can't help but smack - and able to race.
I have plenty to wear.  Too much really.  That's why I have a hard time finding clothing.
As far as looking into the mirror...apparently I need a new mirror.  The mutant seems to be enjoying what he sees. 
The lie I'm believing: Having to get up and go to work every morning (not to mention the difficult of finding time for my medium runs) sucks.
The Voice of Truth: I'm incredible bless.  Not only do I have a job, I have a job with excellent benefits.  Yes, its true I get a bonus of $50 every 3 months just for working out.  I have incredible health insurance (necessary given the Mutant's hemophilia), vacation time and sick time.  I couldn't ask for anything better!  Well I could, but it wouldn't be realistic. :P
The lie I'm believing: I totally flaked on my run last night. As per my training schedule it was supposed to be an 8 miler. 4 miles were completed outside, then the dark forced me to retreat inside to the treadmill where I was only able to churn out another 6.2.

The Voice of Truth: I didn't want to run at all yesterday. I even had an out - I had forgotten to pack my sports bra. But instead of throwing up my hands and bagging the whole thing, I completed over 3/4s of the prescribed mileage (wearing a friend's too big bra).

The lie I'm believing: I'll never be able to complete a 26.2 mile race!   What have I gotten myself into??

The Voice of Truth: To quote the bondiband I won from Christie O's giveaway - I can and I will!!

Do you know what the first song that came up on my IPod (yet another thing to be thankful for)??  "I will choose to listen and believe The Voice of Truth."
I'm very thankful to have a God who puts up with my fits of ungratefulness, yet still loves me.
What are you thankful for today?

November 17, 2010

Tinsel Vixen Checkin' in!

Good morning!  Today is the first day of the rest of my life!! Or something corny like that. 

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

Actually its the first day of the Holiday Hoedown Challenge.  I'm feeling hopeful!  I'm proud to say that I'm a member of a team that's focused on adopting healthy habits.  Sure most of us want to see the scale move downward, but we're not going to freak if it we don't see big losses every week.

We've agreed on the following habits:

~ 30 minutes of activity 3 times a week. 

This one should be easy peasy for me.  I'm supposed to be running 4 times a week, plus strength and cross training. 

~ 3 fruits/veggies a day

A little more difficult for me.  Sometimes I have to consider tomato based sauces as a veggie.  Must be more diligent about this one.

~ No negative self talk

Our mental challenge for the week is to be nice to ourselves.  Sadly this will probably be the most difficult of the 3 for me.

The Sisterhood has added a challenge of their own.  They're asking us to log our exercise minutes starting today through Tuesday.  I should do well in this aspect, given my long runs.  Since a couple of my teammates are training for events too, I suspect the Tinsel Vixens will represent in this challenge.

I hope to gain several things from this challenge - a good, sound nutrition plan for my marathon training.  I'm up to 16 miles already and I'm still eating crap and not hydrating like I should.  This will be my downfall if I'm not careful.  I can't ask my body to do something its not fueled for.

The challenge hasn't even started and the Vixens are at it in full force.  I'm loving the team support we already have going.

I hope to lose several pounds during this challenge.  I'm really trying not to care.  To accept the "just be healthy" label.  But it really does suck that I have several cute outfits purchased last year that I can't wear any more.  And the constant tugging at my shirt to make sure my belly isn't hanging out is getting really old.

Even if you aren't signed up for a team I encourage you to join us in our goals! 

November 16, 2010

Looooooong Weekend Update

Long referring to the fact that I had 4 days off.  Not at all related to the length of the post.  Although with 4 days to recap no promises!!

Thursday - Finally got my kitchen cleaned up and a little laundry one.  Then it was off to Sam's Club to stockpile and pick up the world's largest jug of laundry detergent.

Friday - A run, some house cleaning, and then Jay & I headed to the University town to pick out tile and fixtures for our bathroom remodel.  We came home empty handed, but I think we got a great idea what we were looking for.

After our shopping was complete, we headed to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to enjoy our belated anniversary dinner.

We took our signature arms-length photo and headed in for one of the most expensive meals of my life.  Wanna see what $151 worth of food looks like?  (Tip not included)

Caesar salad and a glass of Guinness

T-Bone steak, shoestring fries, 2 more Guinness, a filet, mashed potatoes, and a glass of red wine.

The world's tiniest cheesecake with raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry garnish
with chocolate pecan bark on the side.

We had the waiter snap a picture of us with the river front in the background then we headed home.  I had to get up early the next morning for a long run (don't tell on me for the glass of wine 'kay?) and Jay put on a documentary that had him snoozing before 9 o'clock! 

Saturday - Woke up at 4:30 for my long run.  Jay told me that it would take 2 hours to get to Cades Cove from my house.  When I arrived in the park - this is what greeted me:

Due to the lack of traffic on the Parkway, I had arrived an hour early, before the picnic area or loop road was even open yet.  Thankfully the campground bathrooms were open, so I got to take care of business before heading out to my run.

I brought my new camera along (an anniversary gift) to see how annoying it would be in the pocket of my jacket.  I want to get pictures of Disney, but didn't want to bring it along without knowing how it would feel.

Most of the pictures were taken early on in the run, before the hills had sapped my energy.  Before I questioned if I had enough to finish 26.2 miles at Disney.  (The rest are on Facebook if you want to check them out.)

After my run I caught a quick nap then met my parents along with the Princess and Little Man to head to Dollywood.  They have their Christmas lights up now and this past week was only a $5 entrance fee for residents.

Sunday - All of my dad's  brothers and sisters met up for lunch - there are 8 of them (including my dad) still living.   As per my standard, I took a to-go plate so that I could cart off some of the best mac & cheese ever.  My cousin makes a big pot and uses a box and a half of Velveeta!  Since the Princess and LM were with us, I had a run for my money on the mac & cheese, but there was still plenty left over for me to have for leftovers this week.

Then it was time to take the kids back to my sister and BIL.  We met at a restaurant, but since we were still so full from lunch we just got salad (I boxed half up and will be eating it for lunch today) and soup.


Is it any wonder I'm still exhausted 2 days later??

November 12, 2010

Fitness Friday

While completing my long run (15 miles) last week I had what I thought to be a genius idea.  I'd love to hear what you think about it, possible logistic problems, benefits, etc.

I always carry my phone with me during long runs for safety reasons.  What if I trip and fall and can't make it back to my car?  (A long shot, I know.  Ahem)  What if someone tries to kidnap me and calling 911 then getting a picture of the car's plates is my only means of defense??

Can you tell my mind is very active during these long runs?  When you've got 3 hours and only the thoughts in your head to entertain you it takes you to some interesting places.

Last week was the one and only weekend I'm ever expected to work.  Our big Winterfest kickoff even requires some weekend planning when its on a Monday, and since I'm the coordinator's right hand gal Saturday work happens.

Since I was going to be in town for my long run anyway, I volunteered to meet the guys dropping off our tents.  I was told they would arrive from 10-12, so I had to start my run a little early.  For my long runs, I typically map an out and back course so that I don't go past the same point more than twice. 

If they called at mile 12 of 15, there would be no way for me to cut it short in order to get to them sooner.

When I heard the beep of my voicemail alert at mile 11 I almost panicked.  Sure enough it was the driver telling me he was on his way.  I called him back and he kept saying a location that was not associated with us.

Thankfully he had just gotten the tickets wrong.  He was on his way to his first stop, and called us by mistake.  I hurried and called our event coordinator - he had called her when he wasn't able to get in touch with me and she was coming into town to meet him.  Thankfully, I caught her as she was just leaving her house so she could turn back around.

While all of this was going down, I was running.  Sure its not very professional to be panting in some one's ear (at least not in my profession) but he was early so I didn't feel too bad.

Making those phone calls made the time go by much quicker, which led me to wonder.  I mean what else am I going to do for the final hour of my run??

What if I wore my blue tooth during the race?  I'd have to carry my phone any way to meet back up with Jay, Kirsten, Karena, Roo (you're still coming right??) and Christie O.   Why not clip the ear  piece in and have it turned on.

I thought about talking to friends/family and setting up a schedule.  At the top of every hour have someone different lined up to call and chat for a few minutes.  And if I hit the wall and needed someone to talk me through it, I could pull out my phone and call someone up.

What do you think?  Do you runners think its a good idea?  What sort of issues might I have?

For you non runners, how would you feel if someone asked you to do this for them?  Am I being self centered and presumptuous?

The race starts at 5:30, but I'm sure for the first hour or so I'll be just fine.  If I started the shifts at 7, my mom (an insomniac) and sister (mom to a 2 year old who doesn't believe in sleeping in) could handle the early morning hours and then normal humans could kick in.

I would love your input.  I think its a great idea, but since I came up with it I might be a little bias!!

November 10, 2010

Weekly Check In Time!

No, I'm not referring to the lack of consistent blogging here recently, (That should start to change next week) but rather the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jean's Weigh in/Check in Wednesdays.

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Even before the new challenge was posted, I decided to jump back on the bandwagon.  I need the accountability.  I still want to pursue the Intuitive Eating route and I never want to be chained to the scale again. However I desperately need to break the fast food and coke cycle I've been on lately.

Today I will run 7 miles.  That's my medium distance run.  16 this weekend is my long.  My body needs fuel full of nutrients.  My body also needs proper hydration something it hasn't been getting with my 1-2 a day Dr. K habit.

Each Wednesday I want to check in, let you know how marathon training is going as well as asking you to hold me accountable for my food choices.  I'm not going to consider it a big deal if I eat a cookie after lunch, UNLESS I don't accompany it with good foods.

Like today I had a ham and cheese sandwich w/mustard on wheat bread, tortilla chips, mixed veggies w/ranch AND cookie.  I consider today a success.

Monday (which was crazy because of work so I'm taking a free pass) would be considered a big fat fail.  I had 2 donuts for breakfast, 3 pieces of pizza and a can of Pepsi for lunch, nachos and cheese for snack, and a corndog for dinner.  Where's the fuel there? 

I'm not beating myself up for it because Winterfest Kickoff (Monday's event) is the most insane day of my work year.  I didn't have a lot of options available to me.  Sure I could have packed a more appropriate breakfast/lunch/dinner but I didn't. 

And I felt like crap for it.

I don't mean I mentally beat myself up.  My body felt horrible.  Like I had pumped it full of toxins and it was struggling to get rid of them.

I really think that's what I needed to get back on track.  I don't think I can go so far as to say "no cokes" and "no fast food".  April is right - they are my weakness and need to be limited.  I've just found lately that whenever I put the "off limits" sign on something it makes it all the more attractive.

I pledge to you, but mostly to myself, that I will make sure my body's nutritional needs are met.  Then and only then will I allow myself an indulgence.  I am starting back meal planning - my key to successful eating.  I will be thoughtful about when I don't feel like cooking (7 mile run after an 8 hour workday anyone?) and I will plan in advance.

I'm doing well so far.  Baby steps.  Last night we had veggies and a baked potato with chili.  Tonight is Mexican Bean Soup in the crock pot.  Both healthyish meals (compared to pizza rolls at least), both easy to make. 

Now to our final order of business - the Sisterhood has challenged us to create our own teams for the new challenge we're starting on the 17th.  I'd like to be on a team that focuses more on taking care of ourselves more than the number on the scale (though I'm confident the number will move as we put more thought into what we're putting in our bodies).

Please let me know by Monday if you're interested in being on my team.  Also I'm not sure how we'd track progress.  Meals planned and executed?  Water drank?  Miles logged?  Or a variation.  Even if you don't want to join a team your advice on this would be greatly appreciated!!

We need 4 more team members!  So far its me, Jaime, Kim, and Terri.  I'd love for some of you non-sisterhood bloggy friends to get involved. 

November 07, 2010

The New Old Married Couple

Its official - Jay and I are no longer newlyweds.  And since I'm working a 12+ hour shift at work on our anniversary (Monday) I haven't gotten into a very romantical mood about it.  Since we were out of town for our anniversary last year, we never got around to eating the top tier of our wedding cake.  We'll be doing that, as well as enjoying a bottle of wine we bought in Napa last anniversary.

If you'd like to read the sappy account feel free to click here and here for a complete walk through the day (pictures included).  Other wise grab a can of Natty Ice or PBR out of the cooler and settle back to enjoy some random facts from my wedding day.

  • I seriously considered wearing camo flip flops under my dress.
  • My father yelled out the car window into traffic "If you wanna see a bear go to the d@mn zoo!"
  • Dressed in my veil and full bridal makeup, I flipped off another vehicle as we sped by.
  • My flower girl didn't wear shoes.
  • There was no electricity in the church.
  • The father/daughter dance was to a song about a homeless man.
  • My tuxedo clad husband crawled under his our vehicle to bang the starter with a hammer so that we could get the honeymoon started.
All of that, and it really couldn't have been more perfect.  I suppose if you don't know our wedding story you really do have to read the sappy version.  Despite evidence to the contrary, it really was a beautiful day.

November 02, 2010

Radical Response - Chapter 7

For the past 7 weeks Marla has been hosting the read-a-long of David Platt's book Radical.  I was excited to join along.  I've already read the book in its entirety, thanks to my pastor mentioning it in a sermon several months ago.  Its definitely the kind of book you have to read slowly, chapter by chapter, to take in the full intent.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to actually participate in the weekly discussions.  I could give you a list of excuses, but it comes down to the fact that everyone has time for what they want to have time for.  Its just a matter of priorities and what you value most.

Sad that something this life changing wasn't high on my list.

After my first reading of the book I was prompted to want to do more.  Jay and I have been very blessed.  All of this saving and frugal living isn't just so one day we can be millionaires.  While that day will be nice, that status is partly desired for the impact we could have in others' lives.

My immediate reaction to the book was to play the "spiritual mismatch" card.  Not a believer himself, Jay would never agree to giving until it hurts when it comes to Christian organizations.

I immediately caught myself.  How would I know without asking?  What if I was using his unbelief as a crutch for myself, keeping me safely in my comfort zone?  I prayed that God would show me my out.

As always, He stepped up to the plate.  That week I felt prompted to "pay it forward" and pay for the person in line behind me at the drive-thru.  Of course I couldn't think of a phrase that didn't sound fake or preachy, so when the cashier asked me why he should tell them I did it I said "just because".

This chapter addresses one of Jay's big hangups with the gospel. 

The same week I read this, a missionary spoke at church.  He and his family commit to a single people group, travel there, and immerse themselves in the culture.  Its only then can they begin to build a Bible translation in their native tongue.  Their newest location doesn't even have a written alphabet.  No wonder it takes 15 years to provide a translation!

I brought a brochure home to Jay and asked him how he felt about donating.  I was shocked when he said he'd like to, especially since it addresses his "but what about the people who don't know" question.  When he asked me how much I wanted to give, I told him I wasn't sure.

He then proceeded to mention an amount over twice what I was thinking.  Without a moment to waver, I said "yes" to that amount and wrote out the check. 

I was humbled a few weeks later to receive a thank you card from the couple.  Her wording (well I assume it was her - do men ever write those?) floored me.  "sacrificial gift" 

Only it wasn't.  That gift, although substantial, wasn't sacrificial for us at all.  Have you heard the song with the line "Put a twenty in the plate but I never give till it hurts?"  While this was more than $20, it certainly didn't hurt us to give.

As I drove home this weekend, from friends who are unbelievers, I cried.  Because I truly don't know how to be a light for Jesus.  My life is different because of Him, but I don't know that any non-Christian types could see that.  My friends certainly don't.

While I truly believe those without Christ won't be with me in heaven, I find myself praying for their salvation far too little. 

I'm not down on my knees every night praying for my husband.  Begging God to do something - anything - to change his mind. 

I'm not being the "deeds not words" kind of wife I should be. 

I don't live - and give - like I believe it.

Lord forgive me.