Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Running, running as fast as I can

I am not a runner, jogger, fast walker...whatever you want to call it. I enjoy running about as much as getting a tooth pulled. As a matter of fact, I'm convinced that no one really enjoys it when they first start running. I mean really, who likes side cramps, sore muscles, creaky knees and chest pain? My philosophy has always been to only run if I'm being chased. 

So why, of all things, would I even want to run in a marathon? I think there is something to be said of people who can endure months of training and hours of pain. Marathon runners have self-discipline and drive. They see an end goal and can endure agony and pain to achieve that goal. It's more about determination than physical prowess. Ideally, my goal is to complete a half-marathon either this spring or next spring. 

To go along with the topic of this blog post, the next memory verse, of course, is about running...1 Corinthians 9:24. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."

Also, some tools that I found to help train for marathons...yes, one is an iPhone app. 1) During the month of January, RunKeeper is having a special promotion where you can download the RunKeeper Pro app for free! It's normally $9.99, so this is a great deal - but there are only a few days left to get this for free. I haven't started using it yet, but it has tracking, routing and social capabilities. 2) As I was reading the February issue of Fitness magazine, I came across a section of marathon training plans that provide a weekly guide of how you can work up to your goal. These can all be found for free online and you can even sign up for e-mail newsletters.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Numero dos

Ready for memory verse number two? Since I started off easy, this next one is a verse that I'm not as familiar with, but love when I read it. It reminds me of God's supreme sovereignty, power and control, even when we have no power or control in our lives. 

11 Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
   and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
   for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
   you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
   you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
   to exalt and give strength to all. 
{1 Chronicles 29:11-12}

Also, I'm brushing up on my Spanish...because I'm headed south of the border via boat within the next few weeks! Yes, I did it. I finally booked a cruise last week. I'm not sure if it was the subzero windchill temperatures that pushed me to do it or the fact that it's been more than a year and a half since I've stuck my toes into warm sand. Needless to say, I'm ready to hit the beach! I may even get to check a few things off my list while I'm there!

In Mexico, on my honeymoon in 2008.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's cookin'

I am by no means a gourmet chef or even a chef, for that matter. I never understood why people would slave over a hot stove for hours preparing food, when it takes just a few minutes to devour it. However, after I got married and left home, I realized my mom isn't going to be cooking for me anymore and now someone else depends on me to feed him. Since my ever-trusty meals of spaghetti and potato wedges have grown a little stale the past few years, I've decided I need to add new recipes to my repertoire of culinary "masterpieces". Well, not so much masterpieces, but just edible creations that my husband willingly consumes.

Earlier this week, I found a recipe on the Cooking Light website that looked extremely easy...okay, it was so easy that I really wouldn't even call it cooking. It's basically combining a few ingredients (I didn't even have to turn on the stove). 

{ Curried Chicken Salad } from Cooking Light
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 cup chopped skinless, boneless Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup chopped Braeburn apple (about 1 small)
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 3  tablespoons raisins
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preparation: Combine mayonnaise, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and salt; stir mixture well to combine. Cover and chill.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 222 (22% from fat)| Fat: 5.4g (sat 0.9g,mono 1.7g,poly 2g) | Protein: 17.5g | Carbohydrate: 26.9g | Fiber: 2.5g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Iron: 1.5mg | Sodium: 731mg | Calcium: 30mg

** I bought a cooked rotisserie chicken (1/2 price at Walmart) and used the breast meat. It was a tad on the salty side, so I didn't add any extra salt - just black pepper. I also used whatever apple I had in the fridge, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Braeburn. You can substitute the mayonnaise for fat free mayo, Miracle Whip or plain yogurt. **

Below is a free printable recipe card that you can download for your recipe file. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Every morning during my less-than-stellar commute to work, I listen to one of two radio stations, K-Love or Air One, to kick off my day. Today my radio was tuned into the K-Love morning show, where they discuss several news topics and human interest stories. 

The first story that I heard as I pulled out of my driveway was about a pastor at a church challenging people to pick just one word to be their resolution or vision for the year. Of course this got me thinking, what would mine be for this year? About halfway through my commute, one of the songs playing on the radio really spoke to me and my one word came to me...PURPOSE - to live life with a purpose, to be intentional, to find my purpose and calling. 

As followers of Christ, our primary purpose is to glorify God in all that we do and say. But really, how does that translate into my everyday life? What gifts and talents has God given me to serve Him and His purpose? Is everything that I'm doing purposeful? My greatest fear is to come to the end of my life and say, "I wasted my life".

Image from Allposters.com

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Capturing memories and emotions in a point in time - that is what most fascinates me about photography. It is both an art, as well as a means to stop time in an instant. I can't help but marvel at beautiful and breathtaking photographs. It's almost as if it draws me into another time or another place. 

My challenge is to be able to take better photographs and to record and document those memorable moments that I want to cherish for a lifetime. These enduring images are something that surpass time, and I want to be able to leave these behind and pass them on for generations. 

For my wedding gift about two and half years ago, my husband gave me my first digital SLR camera, a Canon 40D. It gets the occasional use every so often, mostly on vacations, but I admit that the frequency of use has yet to justify the investment spent on the equipment. That is something that I would like to change, so I've been looking for a photography class to sharpen my skills and reinforce the basics that I've never been taught formally. 

I'm a sucker for free stuff, so of course, I scoped out the web for any free, online photography courses to take. No surprise, a whole slew of sites seem to offer free courses, online videos, seminars, and advice. Decision, decisions...Well, I'm sure it doesn't hurt to try several of these out, so I've compiled a list of the ones that most interested me. 

  • TwoPeasInABucket.com offers an archived 12-week course, titled "12 Weeks to Better Photos". There are downloadable pdf lesson guides each week, as well as coursework and challenges. 
  • Photographycourse.net does not have a structured class format, but does offer more advanced topics. It's more of a resource center rather than a course. 
  • Poynter's News University, offers several online journalism courses and seminars, ranging in a variety of topics related to journalism, media training, and photojournalism. The class that most intrigued me is called Language of the Image. This is a self-directed course that teaches about visual language in the context of photo storytelling. 
  • Digital-photography-school.com is another site that features an array of photography tips and tutorials. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One down, 29 more to go

Scripture memorization has officially begun! I'll start off easy, so the first one is a verse I am familiar with but want to master word for word, reference and all. It is relevant almost everyday of my life and is a constant reminder that I need to focus on daily. Drumroll please...Philippians 4:6-7. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Along with the iPhone app I recently downloaded, I've created a couple other ways to provide reminders throughout my day. One is a printable 4x6 image that can be printed and placed anywhere. I have mine on my desk at home, but it's just missing a pretty frame to prop it up. Another idea would be to place it in one of those cheap, acrylic frames with the magnet on the back and stick it to a refrigerator (or any other magnetic surface). Click here to download the free 4x6 printable.

My other creation is an iPhone wallpaper image that can be downloaded and used on the lock screen. Everytime I go to check the weather or see the latest message in my inbox, I'll have a reminder of the verse I'm memorizing. To set it, just download and save the image to the camera roll and select "Use as Wallpaper". Click here to download the free iPhone wallpaper.

Monday, January 3, 2011


In the past, I have memorized a few scripture verses here and there, but have never committed to it as a discipline for spiritual growth. My goal in the coming year and a half is to memorize at least 30 verses of scripture. To aid in this endeavor, I wanted to find a useful and convenient tool. And of course I thought to myself..."there's an app for that." So I took to the Apple iTunes store to see what it had to offer in the free category. For some reason, I can't bring myself to pay for those shiny little tiles on my phone if there are free ones.

The one I found and downloaded is called Bible Memory Verses by Woody Hays. This particular one allows you to choose from four different versions of the Bible, including ESV, KJV, NASB and NIV. I am somewhat partial to the NIV version, since that's what I grew up using. However, my church has adopted ESV as its standard. Other neat features that I have yet to test are the word removal tool, flashcard tool, and audio record and playback. This app will also keep a log of all the verses you have memorized. Next task on the list...choose the 30 verses I want to memorize. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Today is actually day 2 of my One Year Bible reading and journaling. I will not be sharing everything that I journal on this blog, but I have instead opted for a private online journal that I found yesterday. The site I've started using is called PENZU.

The main features that I thought were appealing were that it is free, private, user-friendly, fast and easy to set up, and...the fact that it's online. No more pen and paper for me. My embarrassingly poor penmanship and the ability to edit really pushed me to want to try my first online journal. So far it's been an easy transition and one that I wish I would have made earlier. 


Here it is...the start of another year, another decade. This one seems to have a greater impact on my life than the rest. As this year begins, it will only be a year and a half until I turn 30. That 3 in 3-0 looks especially ominous and signals the the beginning of real adulthood. At the age of thirty, I feel like I need to be accomplished, need to know who I am, need to have it all together, and not have any excuses. 

This fear and impending dread has motivated me to start living life to the fullest, hence this blog. This is where I will document the things I want to experience or the goals I've established for myself before I celebrate my 30th birthday, and it will pretty much be a place to just voice anything else that I learn within the next year and a half. I can't say that these goals will not change or that I won't add or replace some, but this is my starting list from January 1, 2011, in no particular order.

My Thirty Before 30 List: 
  1. Read the complete One Year Bible and journal what I learn
  2. Memorize at least 30 verses of scripture
  3. Launch my own freelance design business
  4. Purchase a car with cash
  5. Quit my day job to pursue my passions
  6. Go on an international mission trip
  7. Have a baby
  8. Return to my pre-baby weight after having a baby
  9. Run in a marathon
  10. Learn to scuba dive and get PADI certified
  11. Read at least 3 classic literature novels I never read in school
  12. Take a photography class or seminar
  13. Cook at least 30 new recipes
  14. Grow an herb garden
  15. Learn to water ski
  16. Visit a famous museum
  17. Learn CPR
  18. Print/publish a cookbook with my mom's recipes
  19. Go indoor rock climbing
  20. Cook a whole turkey from scratch
  21. Decorate a cake using fondant
  22. Learn how to play chess with my husband
  23. Write a song
  24. Do something nice for a stranger
  25. Try snowboarding
  26. Begin a stock portfolio
  27. Become a certified Zumba instructor
  28. Learn to sew and complete at least 3 sewing projects
  29. Start a blog and learn web design
  30. Celebrate my 30th birthday in another state/country