Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Weekend!

This past weekend, I had the chance to spend some quality time with my family!! If you know me, family is EVERYTHING! My brother and sister-in-law were suppose to arrive on Friday (from New Jersey) with their brand new golden-doodle puppy, however things ended up not working out and they were unable to come in, sad face. So that meant we would not see them again until Easter, which seems like millions of days away.  BUT it was still nice because we had super fun things planned out with my dad, sister, soon-to-be brother-in-law, dad and hubby!

Friday night we ate dinner at The Sharp Edge in town. Matt and I never head into town that often, because we are sooo tired by the end of the week (from work and workouts) that we usually grab something close to home, then rent a movie and head to bed (I know so exciting!), so that was a nice treat!

Saturday I had to get up super duper early, 3:45am to get my long bike ride in before I had to leave for work (just half day). Then it was more family time spent around the dinning room table (that evening), enjoying food, fun and fellowship over our annual Valentine’s dinner. My mom and dad started the tradition when we were little tikes and I guess we continued to carry it out forever. It’s nice; we usually have a yummy meal that consists of brie cheese and crackers, flank steak, homemade sweet potatoes, veggies, and chocolate cake or WHOPPIE PIES!! My absolute favorite! Speaking of traditions, another one of our traditions we carry out is on birthday’s, we go around the table and say why we are thankful for that person. This typically lasts anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the conversations. It is so encouraging and uplifting to hear the words spoken. I highly recommend! On Christmas, we do the same, we talk about the highlights of the year along with what we are expecting and looking forward to in the new year. I am blessed to have such a Godly family who loves one another and invests in each other’s lives.

After dinner, we watched the movie, “Courageous.” One word: INCREDIBLE!!! I believe every man should see this movie! It will change your lives! I could see this movie over and over again. It's a great movie about what a family and father can be with Christ in their lives! It will encourage and inspire you to want to live a life on purpose! Courageous is also about mustering courage, not to die or face danger, but to live. It is about taking stock and being responsible as an act of courage. It also makes the point that children need fathers to balance their lives and it is a natural God designed way of giving them confidence and becoming complete and productive human beings.                                           Even those who have a good family life will be touched by the message because after all Christ did say, “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matt 23: 9) GO SEE IT!!! You will not be disappointed!                                                                        Sunday was a full morning of swim, bike and run, followed by “catch up day” of cleaning, laundry, running errands, grocery shopping, quick bite to eat at Panera Bread and then home to get things ready for the week, phew! Wouldn’t it be so nice to have Monday’s off (permanently)??

Overall, it was a great weekend of family time well spent!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Littlest hearts desire!

Have you ever had that burning desire to want something so badly? It’s constantly on your mind, you can’t get to bed without thinking about it, you know deep down you’d be so stinkin happy if it was yours??
My littlest heart’s desire…………….KIDS!!!!!!!
I can’t wait to have them!!!!!

I am in NO way pregnant right now, but I have such a desire inside to start a family!! I guess God has been stirring up a lot inside of me lately and it’s something that I’m, OOOH SOOO, looking forward to in my next chapter!  If you would have asked me one year ago today if I wanted kids, I would have said “nope, no way, definitely not for a few years.” But like I always say, “there is a season for everything.” In all honesty, I’m ready now, HOWEVER, I have signed up for quite a few races this year (which aren’t cheap), the cost adds up quite fast when you factor in hotel and travel arrangements!  Sooo no little kiddies this year, but God gives us the desires of our hearts!! So when it’s time, it’s time!

BUT, I’m pretty sure, NOTHING compares to the joys of being a future mom:

Naming rights. First, middle, and last!

Glimpses of God every day

Giggles under the covers every night.

More love than your heart can hold.

Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.

A hand to hold, usually covered with jam.

A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.
Changing stinky diapers around the clock, oh boy!

Someone to laugh yourself silly with.
Daily devotion time with God (my favorite!)

You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightning bugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus.

You have an excuse to keep: reading fairytales, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a soccer team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel.

You get to be immortal.

You get the opportunity to learn swim, bike and run all over again.

You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God.

You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so that one day they will, love unconditionally too!

Knowing that I’m ultimately responsible for another person’s life, just plain excites me, not to mention is such a rewarding experience (regardless of how many times you’re up at night)!!

I get to change a life!! Woo!!!! J
Sooo who knows, maybe next year at this time, I may have started to fulfill my littlest heart’s desire.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What defines you??

Who or what defines your life?

Is it work, friends, hobbies, income, stuff, house, cars, bikes, kids, clothes?????

When you define yourselves, most of you go around saying, "This is what I am. I am a wife. I am a husband. I am an athlete. I am an engineer." Or "I am a publisher. I am a teacher. I am a mother. I am a strategic analyst." Or whatever you feel the need to introduce and define yourselves as.

Matthew 6:21-“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

If someone were asked to describe you in 10 words or less, what words would they use? What words do you hope they would use? I meet people every day who are unsure of who they are, struggling to find their identity.

Most people allow themselves to be defined by things other than who they are. They allow themselves to be defined by what other people think, by circumstances, by many things beyond their control. Or they allow themselves to be defined by their achievements, how much money they make or how successful they are. Perhaps they define themselves by how much education they have or how much power and influence they have. This one is especially prevalent in political circles. Some define themselves or are defined by others according to their station in life. Do they work for that big law firm or major corporation and live in a six thousand square foot home on the lake or the golf course.

At most weddings, it is extremely easy to identify the bride. As long as a bride is wearing her wedding dress, it is plain to all around her that she is a bride. Her identity in that moment for all who see her is “a bride”. In Isaiah 61 and in many other Bible passages, we are referred to as the “bride of Christ”. If we are clothed in the garments of salvation, then our wedding dress (the most dominating part of our outward appearance) is our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Now, a bride can attempt to show her interest in other activities by wearing cleats to appear athletic or motorcycle boots to show that she is a part of the motorcycle culture. She can don glasses to appear intelligent, or wear a crown to appear as royalty. No matter how you look at it though, all of these things are vain and really silly attempts at bringing a bit of old identity into what everyone else can plainly see is the new identity. She is “a bride” no matter what boots she wears or what accessories she includes. So once we are robed in the wedding dress of Christ’s righteousness and ultimately salvation, any worldly identity we strive for, only takes away from the beauty of who we are in Him.

AND sometimes we pursue titles or identities that are even good ones. We want to be known as great worship leaders, great pastors, teachers, athletes, counselors…. Maybe we wish to be known as a great musician or a renowned thinker. All of these can be good and noble; however, it is important to remember that first and foremost our identity is in Christ.  When we let Christ define us instead of our talents and abilities, He is then glorified in EVERY part of our lives instead of us glorying in our own abilities.

Gal 2:20 says,“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me”

Everything in our lives from business to relationships to our faith and most certainly our sense of self worth, depends upon how we feel about who we believe we truly are. Most of us have difficulty being honest with ourselves. Perhaps we are afraid of what we will discover if we probe too deeply. How can we be comfortable in the many different relationships we have in life, personal and business, if we are not comfortable with and have not accepted who we are? So do yourself a favor and ask yourself. What defines you? Or, in the words of a philosophy professor I had back in my college days, can you tell me who you are without telling me what you are?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


As I was running on the treadmill this morning, I couldn’t help but THINK. There isn’t much to look at on the treadmill other than watching the T.V in front of you, or listening to praise and worship music, or people watching (well I was sort of doing all three today). But I always seem to do the most thinking when I run, who knows why. Anyways, what kept coming to my mind was the word “Humility.” I have been reading a lot about Tim Tebow lately and what a truly humble man he is, BUT I also think pride is something we all struggle with from time to time. I know I will admit I do.

I think it's safe to say that most sin stems from pride. It's an independent spirit that wants to do its own thing without any authority or direction from anyone else.

In Proverbs 6:16-19, God lists seven things He hates and one of those things is pride. Soooooo how can we refuse to let pride take root in our lives?

The only way to uproot pride is humility, freedom from pride and arrogance, a modest valuation of your own worth. It doesn't mean you think lowly of yourself, but it means you are very careful not to think more highly of yourself than you should.

In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says, Learn from me, for I am humble. He then goes on to describe Himself as gentle, meek and lowly. I just think all of those character traits are so beautiful. On the other hand, a spirit of pride is often harsh, hard, sharp and persistent. Who wants to be around a prideful person all the time?

So what are some characteristics or ways of how to live a life of humility? Here are some that help me:

1. Be Quick to Forgive

A humble person is quick to forgive, difficult to offend and joyfully waits on hearing from God. If someone is mistreating you, the best thing you can do is forgive them and be friendly. I'm not suggesting you let people walk all over you, but learning to trust that God will right the wrongs.

2. Don't Brag

Every time God lets you participate in something great you need to simply say, "Thank You, God, that You let me have anything to do with it. I know it's not me, it's You!" Give God all the Glory!

3. Patiently Wait for Promotion

Don't be in too big of a hurry to be in the limelight somewhere, to have your name on the office door at work or to have somebody call you the boss or the leader. God will choose who He puts where, and if He puts you there, then be humble about it and do what He asks you to do.

You're not going to be rewarded for whether you did what the world would call a great thing. Your reward is going to come because you obeyed God and were willing to do what He asked you to do.

Humility and patience are probably two of the hardest virtues to come by. But the truth is, all impatience is a sign of pride. If you can't stand to wait on that promotion or wait for anything, it's because you think you are too important to wait, and you should be getting what you want right away.

To truly live a confident, “humble” life, you'll need to remember where your abilities come from. The more talented you are, the more humble you should become. It should amaze you that God would put those gifts in you. It should amaze you that God would enable you to do anything. It's only with that attitude that God's glory can be fully shown through your life! I personally think humility is such an attractive trait to possess. Just remember, God wants to use YOU to further the kingdom! So HE wants to bless EVERY AREA of YOUR life!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 12 in 2012!!

Sooo here they are! My top 12 goals for 2012! Some I’ve already been working on, but still like to write them down:

  1. First and foremost, to grow closer in my relationship with God. I firmly believe that if you want to go anywhere in life, you must put HIM first! HE will bless your life richly and give you the desires of your heart! I know HE already has!  Spending time daily in the Word, will help me become more and more like Him. Matt. 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom and ALL things will be added unto you”

  1. Better serve my husband! Continue to focus on his needs, his love language, and to love, honor and respect the Godly man he is. Matt is my better half and I couldn’t imagine doing this life without him. He challenges me in ways, no one can. I love him so very much.

3.  Bang out a 3:00 ( 3 hr) Marathon!! Definitely doable!

      Past 2010 Races:

      Pittsburgh Marathon: 3:10

      Columbus Marathon: 3:13

      Boston Marathon: 3:23

      This year, NYC marathon is where it’s at!

  1.  Invite a couple over at least once a month for fellowship. I believe it is very important to continuously build and encourage one another. Relationships are a huge part of our makeup.

  1. Find more ways to serve in my church!

  1. Read at least one book a month, that’s 12 books a year! (Good one sis!) It doesn’t hurt to increase your knowledge.

  1.  Improve by at least 15 mins on my next half Ironman race! One full year of triathlons is under my belt. Year two is in full force! (My hubby was generous enough to get me a coach this year!).  Currently, I am signed up for 3 half Ironman’s, and a couple short distance triathlons.

  1. Start Journaling! I want to highlight the following: daily nuggets of what God’s teaching me, highlights and lowlights of the day, things I am believing God for (prayers), and any “memorable” moments. It will be nice to one day look back and see progression, fruit produced in my life, where I missed it, what areas need improvement, and what I prayed and believed God for come to pass, etc.

  1. Continue to knock things off my bucket list!! I still want to travel the world (Prague is a place I’d love to travel to!), have kids!!!! I am soooo excited to start a family! I wish it was today! LOL, and possibly swim the English Channel (yes, I know it is 21 miles long). But isn’t it all about stepping out and taking risks?

  1. TRY my hardest to cut back on my chocolate intake for the year. If you know me I have at least a piece of chocolate per day. I might have a slight obsession! LOL I just LOOOOVE it! So maybe 3 times a week instead.

  1.  Get more sleep!!! I usually get about 6 hrs a night. That is def not enough! My goal for this year is around 7-8 hrs/night! I guess 9pm it is! 

  1. Try at least one new recipe a month! I need to add more variety and practice my cooking skills!

So that’s most of my goals for the year! What are you looking forward to in 2012?? Write it down, make the most of it!  It’s exciting to see the journey ahead!  God is good!