My First Half Marathon

This morning Brad and I ran in the Kansas City Waddell and Reed Half Marathon!

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Here you have the before…

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…and the after!

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Happy faces. Tired legs.

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Apparently my “I’m getting ready to run for a long time” and my “I just ran for a long time” pose are the same.

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Pretty sweet medal!

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Seeing all the Royals blue fountains throughout the race was really fun! I’ll always remember the year I ran a half marathon when the Royals were in the World Series!

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For those of you that knew me in high school or even early college remember me as mediocre to less than average when it came to athleticism. I played sports, but that was mostly because my friends played sports so that’s what I wanted to do even though my talents lied more in the arts. High schoolers.

I’ve always been able to run at least a mile, but running was always something that I thought I just couldn’t do. “I’m just not a runner,” I told myself. I even did track and field for two years, but I shied away from running events and stuck to jumps and pole vault.

Then in college I started running a little further than I normally dared. I stepped off the treadmill and tried the track. Then I ventured outside of my comfort zone and took to the road. My running really began to pick up when Brad and I started dating.

After we got married I thought I was still just a 5k runner. A half marathon seemed like something completely out of my reach. Then about a year and a half ago Brad decided to train for a half marathon. I opted not to do it with him, but I’d cheer him on and help him train!

Throughout the course of his training, I inadvertently increased my endurance just by joining in on his runs. By the time he ran his race I had gotten up to 6 miles without even training. I figured I’d made it halfway, so I could make it 13.1 if I tried!

To be honest, we did not train like we should have for this race! We only ran 2-3 times a week and didn’t go any cross-training. We’re terrible runners! Part of me can’t believe we actually did it!

But we did. We went all 13.1 without stopping or walking! We are so thankful for all of our friends and family that encouraged us during our training and prayed for our race!

One half marathon down, and I’m sure there will be many more in our future.

Pinterest Recipe Triumphs, Fourth Edition

Hey Ya’ll. It’s that time again. Every once in a while I share some recipes I’ve gotten from Pinterest that turned out GREAT and that I will definitely make again in the future! I hope you find something you enjoy as well!

(You can find my past Pinterest Recipe Triumphs here, here and here.)

1. Baked Teriyaki Chicken. You guys, this was sooooooo good. Like, this could have been from a restaurant good. I’ve tried several chicken teriyaki recipes over the years and this was definitely my fav. Try it.

baked chicken teriyaki

2. Chicken Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce. Sometimes pasta can be super heavy and leave you feeling weighed down after you eat it, but that is not the case with this pasta! It made a pretty large batch, so I’ll probably half it the next time I make it. I felt like it needed a little bit more kick, so I’ll pump up the volume on the lemon and chili flakes as well.

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3. Favorite Marinated Vegetables. I couldn’t believe how easy and tasty this was! If you get tired of the same old vegetables plus ranch dressing you have to try this: your favorite vegetables + italian dressing + marinate in the refrigerator overnight = delicious.

favorite marinated vegetables

4. Sparkling Cider. I served this recently at my mom’s birthday party and it was a hit! Perfect for a fall party! This recipe calls for apple cider + sparkling water (sparkling tonic). At the party we served apple cider + champagne, which was equally fantastic.

sparkling-cider

Let me know if you try one of these and what you thought! Happy cooking!

Little Ways We Save Money

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My friend Amy recently shared ways her and her husband have found to save money while he is in seminary. Brad and I both have jobs now, but we essentially survived on only his salary while I was in school for the last two years. We never went without anything important, but we definitely had to find ways to make our money stretch. I got some great ideas from Amy, so I thought I’d share some of our own strategies.

1. Plans meals for the week, make a grocery list, and stick to it.
If I don’t plan our meals, we end up going out to eat. And if I don’t make a list, I end up buying things we don’t need. We go shopping on Sunday evenings, so each Sunday afternoon I set aside some time to evaluate what we’ve got going on that week, what meals I’ll make on what days, and plan out my shopping trip. Once I get to the store, I really try to stick to the list! It’s tempting to buy something because it’s on sale, but I have to remind myself that just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean that I need it.

2. Virgin Mobile. Brad and I had Verizon for two years and were happy with it, but we were not happy with the price. We had some friends that recommended Virgin Mobile, so when our Verizon contract was up we decided to give it a try. Virgin Mobile is pay-as-you-go, so you can cancel it at any time. I pay $40 a month for 1200 minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited data. It uses Sprint towers and my service has been pretty good in KC. You have to pay full price for your phone up front, but it paid for itself after just a few months of only paying $40 compared to almost $200 a month. Disclaimer: they advertise as unlimited data, but once you reach a certain limit your speed slows down. This hasn’t been much of a problem for me because I don’t use my phone much while I’m at work and I’m on wifi when I’m at home, so I don’t use that much data.

3. No cable. There have been times that we’ve wished we had cable (like for watching Royals games!), but in general we feel like we haven’t missed out at all. We pay for wifi and use a Roku to watch Netflix and YouTube, and we listen to music through Pandora and Spotify. It’s kept us from watching mindless TV and kept our entertainment costs down!

4. Making your coffee at home. Brad and I love our coffee, and while we do buy plenty of coffee outside of our home, we try to at least get our morning coffee at home. Even spending a dollar on coffee every morning can really add up over time! We fill a travel mug on our way out the door and can drink it on the way to work so we are awake by the time we get there!

5. Go to free things. There are tons of free things to do out there, sometimes it just takes a little bit of work to find them. Ask your friends what they like to do for free. Google free things to do in your city. Brad and I enjoyed a lot of things when we lived in Springfield without spending a lot of money!

6. Tithe faithfully. For people who aren’t familiar, tithing is giving 10% of your earnings to your local church. It may seem a little counter-productive for saving money, but I’ve learned over and over again that God is faithful to provide when you are faithful to Him with your finances.

We’re not experts on finances. Sometimes we buy things on impulse. I don’t keep my receipts like I should. But we try to make wise choices and find the small ways to save money, so we can be good stewards of what we have. How do you save money??

Some things we miss about Springfield

We are lovin’ life in KC. We’re both enjoying our new jobs, we like our apartment, we have a great church, and we love being near our families.

But any season of transition comes with some longing for the past. There are things about Springfield that I’ve found myself missing that I certainly didn’t expect.

I miss my Phelps Grove-Roundtree-MSU runs. Springfield was where I fell in love with running and that part of town was my favorite. I haven’t found a new favorite running spot here, which has left me feeling a little unmotivated. There are days when I get off work and wish Phelps Grove would just appear for me. I also really miss the MSU gym for those days when its too hot to run outside. It was the bomb. 24-Hour Fitness just doesn’t compare.

I miss my Price Cutter. I still haven’t settled on a grocery store here. I miss having a grocery store 5 minutes away and knowing exactly where everything is, what their normal prices are, and knowing all of the cashiers.

I miss the coffee shops. We had no idea how spoiled we were with so many great coffee shops at our disposal! It seems like most coffee shops close early around here and we don’t have very many close to where we live (or on the way to work).

I miss the thrift stores and flea markets. Second-hand shops are ubiquitous in Springfield, and you can find some really great deals. They are harder to come by here and people know what great stuff they have, so it’s not as cheap!

I miss Gailey’s, MSU campus, Canton Inn, Starbucks on Sunshine, the Palace, Silver Dollar City, living a mile from Hobby Lobby, Mister Lube Express, and Hurts Donuts.

I think when it comes down to it, I miss the familiarity of Springfield. We knew all of the local places, if I needed something I knew where to go, and we knew what places to avoid.

There have been moments lately that I have felt a little lost in my “hometown”, but when those feelings start to creep in I remind myself that it took us time to adjust to Springfield. We’ll find our niche in KC. And any suggestions or advice from you Kansas Citians are welcome! I’ve found that word-of-mouth is the best way to discover new things.

Springfield MO

Slowing Down

Confession: I hate when people talk about how busy they are. I hate even more that I’ve been doing it as of late.

But seriously, we’ve been really busy lately.

We’ve been busy with really great things! We are so excited about the opportunities that God has been providing for us! We feel so blessed everyday. But I’m also feeling a little bit worn out and there are some things I’m missing lately.

Brad starts his first semester of seminary classes tomorrow (yay!), we’re joining a small group at our church in a couple of weeks, and the holidays are looming in the near future.

I’ve been thinking about how full our schedules have been the last few weeks and I begin to feel quite weary when I think about all of the new things that are going to be added.

As I head into this full, joyful season, I’m praying that I will make time for rest when I’m tempted to overload myself, and I’m praying that I will have energy to serve others and God when I am tempted to become selfish with my time.

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DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder

I’m so excited to share one of my favorite projects to date!

DIY Pallet Coffee Cup HolderWe picked up a pallet off the side of the road when we were living in Springfield and I had been mulling over what to do with it for a while. I finally decided to use it to make a holder for all of our coffee cups! (Or at least some of them.)

This was actually a pretty easy project! We did it in two days, but we definitely could have done it in one.

Materials and Equipment:

  • Pallet
  • Hooks and screws
  • Paint, letter stencils, sponge brush (Optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Right angle ruler
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Circular Saw
  • Cordless Drill
  • Screwdriver

First, a couple of notes: (1) You may want to power wash your pallet before you dive into this project since you’ll be hanging things that you drink out of on it! (2) I added the COFFEE detail on the top, but this is obviously optional! The top board was longer, so I decided to add some words instead of hooks.

Okay, let’s get started!

We used a fourth of the pallet, so first we decided which fourth looked the best and had the most stable and best-looking wood.

Pallet

We marked where we wanted to cut using a pencil and right angle ruler.

Pallet coffee cup holder

Next my dad cut where we had marked using a circular saw. ****Make sure to wear safety goggles****

Circular saw

Once you have your mini pallet, sand it down! How much you sand is up to you, but make sure it is smooth enough that you won’t get splinters when you hang up your coffee cups!

Sand it down

Next I painted COFFEE on the top. I used letter stencils and a sponge brush. I’m really happy with how it turned out! (Sorry I didn’t get a picture while I was doing it!)

Coffee cup pallet

Putting on the hooks was probably the most difficult part. Use a ruler (or tape measure) and pencil to mark exactly where you want the hooks to go, then drill them in. My hooks weren’t totally even, but once we hung the coffee cups you could hardly notice!

DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder

DIY Coffee Cup Holder

DIY Coffee Cup Holder

We bought these hooks at Lowes for $1.50 each, so we spent a little less than $20 on them. There were cheaper hooks, but I’m so glad we opted for these! I think they make it look really polished. Plus, this was the only material we had to buy for this project!

DIY Coffee Cup Holder

DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder

I love how well this project turned out! A big thanks to my dad for helping plan the project and for cutting the pallet, Brad’s dad Danny for advising us on how to hang it, and Brad for always being supportive of my projects and for drilling in the hooks!

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Two Years of Marriage

Brad and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last week.

We went to Blue Grotto in Brookside for dinner, then to Starlight Theater to see The Sound of Music. It was a beautiful evening. Eighty degree weather- much different than two years ago. If you were at our wedding, you remember how hot it was.

Anniversary

During dinner, we read the blog post I wrote a year ago for our first anniversary. It was fun to read about all of the things we experienced that first year, and to reminisce about all that we encountered during our second year.

This year was a crazy one. The Lord was so good to us.

One year ago we were about to help plant a church in Springfield. We actually spent our anniversary weekend helping with the church’s vacation bible school! We spent 9 months there before we moved to Kansas City. We got to witness the Lord work in us, the church, and in the community in incredible ways during those months. We miss Freshwater and we pray for them continually. We knew from the beginning that we weren’t there for the long-term, so our motto was 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Yes, we helped plant Freshwater Church. Others are watering now and others will in the future. But God is the one who has given the growth.

To find out more about Freshwater Church, go to the website, or read this blog post.

Freshwater

In November Brad ran his first half marathon! We (yep, I’m joining this time) are currently training to run another one this October! I never thought I would be a runner, but now it’s one of my favorite hobbies! I’m really thankful that it is something that Brad and I enjoy doing together.

half marathon!

My very favorite thing that happened to us this year happened in December. We got Libby. We were at Brad’s grandma’s house on Christmas Eve when we announced that she was looking for a new home for Libby. We called our landlord, got the okay, and took her back home with us to Springfield the day after Christmas. She has brought so much joy to our lives and I can’t image our lives without her.

Libby

February is when things really started to get crazy. The day after Brad’s 25th birthday, he got in a hit-and-run accident, totaling the car. We were pretty upset. We had the Blueberry for less than a year and we were not expecting to have to buy a new car any time soon. This added to what was already an unclear next few months of our lives. So we decided to wait. Sharing the Jeep was inconvenient, but we managed. Two months later we had the opportunity to buy Brad’s great-uncle’s Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight. Wanna guess how many miles it had on it when we got it? 6,000. Yep. God provided for us in a way that we never expected.

New car!

So in March, we knew that I would be graduating soon and that Brad was going to go to seminary. However, we had no idea where that would be. We’d been praying for months that the Lord would lead us where He willed, but we were still in the dark about what would happen in two months. So we kept praying and waiting. Our tentative plan was for me to start applying for jobs in March in both Louisville, KY, and Kansas City, because Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were Brad’s top choices for school, respectively. I would work full-time while Brad went to school. We figured that I would support us while he was in school as he had done for me and our goal was to pay for school along the way so that we didn’t have to take out more loans. We were looking at three more long years of watching our pennies, but we were okay with that.

Then out of the blue Brad got a phone call advising him to apply for a job that had just opened up at Midwestern as an admissions counselor (what he was currently doing at SBU). So he applied, we went up to Kansas City for an interview, and he got the job! Whoa. Again, God provided for us a way that we never expected.

Brad started at Midwestern about two weeks later. I stayed in Springfield to finish school until May, then we permanently made the move to KC. (For more about my graduation, read this post) The next item on our agenda was for me to find a job. I assumed that I would be searching for a job for months, but instead the Lord blew away our expectations once again and provided for me a job just one week after my graduation.

Now we live in Kansas City north (by Worlds of Fun for those of you from KC) in an apartment that we love, I work at Viracor-IBT, and Brad is about to start seminary at Midwestern. God clearly brought us to Kansas City. He provided for us in ways that we didn’t even know to ask for.

Kansas CityThe last piece of the puzzle was to find a church. As He usually does, the Lord led us to a church that we did not expect. We’ve decided to join Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. We are so excited to get involved and to see how God is going to use us and grow us during our time at PV!

A year ago I thought that year two was going to be hard to top, but I was very mistaken. I can’t even begin to image what Brad and I will encounter in year three.

Brad is the best, marriage is wonderful, and God is good.

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