Friday, January 27, 2017

The Little Moments

 This week on "The Little Moments" ......

 1. Saturday I got to take my kids and a couple of their youth group to Winter Jam in Columbus. A concert full of great Christian bands (including one of my most favorite, Crowder) I love making memories with my kids! I love seeing them be silly and laugh and smile. I love watching them in their element.

 2. Learning to laugh. I intended to blog on this story, but it'll just have to settle into being a little moment in the week. With my word being vivacious this year and learning to live life to the fullest this year, I am working on laughing at myself a little more and trying to be a little less serious at times when it comes to how I feel about myself. This week was the perfect opportunity. I totally messed up dinner one night. (Refresher.... I am not the cook of the family at all. Michael is. But with his schedule having changed, I have taken over that role... and it's quite the interesting learning journey!)  Between a small grease fire (it didn't last long!) in the oven and forgetting to turn on the crock pot on time, the meals this week have been less than thrilling. But the kids have been gracious and we have survived it. And instead of crying about it.... I laughed and ran out for some fast food. Hey.... you cannot improve if you never mess up! (don't worry- the minor grease fire was very minor and was only a few seconds and did no damage to anything )

 3. Free Groceries!!   That thrilled me! I ran to the store for some ingredients (does anyone else ever end up getting an extra thing they were not intending to get every time they go to the store??) and when I was checking out, the cashier said "Would you like to use your pharmacy points?"  I was confused. I said in response, "Do you mean gas points?" (Kroger gives you gas points when you shop there.)  And he said, "No, you have pharmacy points. You can use them now if you want." I was still confused, so he turns the screen around for me to see and confirms with the other cashier and she said "You earned free groceries for switching to the Kroger pharmacy."   Who Knew??? I had no idea that was the case!! But of course I won't turn down free groceries! Surprise to me! And thank you Lord :) I even still have some leftover to use when I do my actual grocery shopping this weekend. Yay for free groceries!

 4. A day off. On Monday I took the day off. For no reason honestly except to take a day off. For the first time in a few years, Michael was at work and the kids were at school and I had the house to myself. It was so quiet....and so refreshing. I needed that. Random days off are good for the health.

 5. Clear Lip Gloss. I am not a make-up person, but I do enjoy lip gloss. I am thankful for it during this winter when my lips seem to be forever chapped in this forever changing weather.  It's a silly thing, but nonetheless, I am thankful for it.

 6. Wheel of Fortune. Ok, you can call me nerdy or old or whatever you wish with this particular "little moment" but Joseph and I have taken to watching Wheel of Fortune together. And if I walk out of the room for a moment, he will call me back in to help him solve the puzzle. This is truly one of those little things that is sort of silly, but something that makes me smile.

 These day by day things, these little moments that compile over the week, these are what make up the moments of life. One day at a time.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fear or Faith

Will I act out of Fear or Faith? This has been a topic crossing my mind the last several weeks.

 The truth is that what hinders my acting in faith is often because of my fears.

 Fear of what someone will say.
   Fear of how a person might react.
Fear of not being liked/loved.
   Fear of messing up and looking ridiculous.
 Fear of being laughed at/made fun of.

Those are some vulnerable statements for you from my head. But the truth is, all of those fears hold me back sometimes from jumping out in faith. God has helped me make huge strides in this in the last year - like going back to school- but there are still many little fears sitting in my head that hold me back from being all the me He has created me to be.

 And I am working on letting my faith be bigger than those fears.

It is easier said than done. But as I have begun studying this word fear in the Bible to see what God has to say to me about it, it has been refreshing to read His words.

 He knows the very amount of hairs on my head.
   He feeds the birds.
He calms the oceans.
  He moves mountains.
He parted the Red Sea.
  He holds every tear I cry.
 There is reason upon reason and verse upon verse to remind me I need not fear when following Him.  And yet I struggle with this. I pretend I'm not afraid, but how many times have I held back because I didn't believe in myself? Or because I was afraid of what others around me might do or say? This is something I am working on whole-heartedly this year.  

 What if....
   Noah had listened the the ridicule of others instead of stepping out in faith and building the ark?
     David had let the laughs of the Philistines stop him from fighting Goliath?
   Ruth had stayed in her comfort zone instead of going with Naomi back to her homeland?
       Moses had run from the burning bush rather than stand in awe of it?
    Abraham had refused to leave his homeland?
          Joseph gave in to exhaustion from fighting against the bad happening to him?
    Rahab did not hide the spies?

 The stories in the Bible go on about how these common people acted out of faith rather than fear. All the while being ridiculed by others around them, and often times not even seeing the results of their own faithful decisions.
   These stories can be found in Hebrews 11, often times referred to as the Hall of Faith. When the day is done, I want my name to be in that same hall. It doesn't mean I won't mess up or make the wrong decision sometimes. If you look at all of those people, along the way their bad decisions were recorded along with their good, but in the end, their faith was bigger than their fear.

  I am reminded of some of my childhood bible songs.... I am weak, but He is strong. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Deep and wide. Father Abraham had many sons. Be a missionary every day. The wise man built His house upon the rock.
  And the list of those songs go on. Simple truths taught to me at such a young age that somehow as I grow into an adult more every year seem further from my mind. It's good to have a little song session every now and then (my mom, by the way, was an expert at that. to the day she lost her speech, she was always singing something- sometimes silly, but often times full of truth to teach us. I now realize it was just as likely to remind herself of those truths.) 

   I'm far from being an expert at this, but the more I learn about it or see it in myself, the more I feel compelled to write it out and share it. That alone, for me, is an act of faith, if I'm being honest. But I am tired of letting fear win over faith.  Probably there will always be some sort of thought dangling from the tree branches of fear, but with faith, anything is possible.

  Hebrews 11:1
 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for an assurance about what we do not see.....
    By faith Abel
     By faith Enoch
       By faith Noah
         By faith Abraham......"
And by God's grace may the words be said "By faith , Rachael...." Not by my own strength, but by His. One day at a time.


Friday, January 20, 2017

The Little Moments

 This week on The Little Moments....

 1. A New 10K PR!

 2. Hanging out with my kids at the school basketball game

 3. Celebrating my mom's birthday. We like to still remember her, and this year we celebrated her by making her homemade brownies- a dessert I have not eaten in years. Both my kids said they liked it better than box mix brownies! Mom would have been 68 this year.

 4. A day off with my husband. When life is crazy and schedules are opposite, a rare day off together is much-needed. Thankful for this.

 5. Finding a great book- I discovered this book oddly enough at the race expo last weekend and picked it up and it is absolutely fascinating to me. Switch on Your Brain is a book which links science and the Bible together in regards to how the brain is wired. When I find the time to read... I can't put it down. It is completely fascinating to me.

 6. Beautiful music that is soothing for the soul. I can't stop listening to this song. It truly brings a sense of peace to sing with it.

 7. Kraft Mac N Cheese. It's really the little things in life. With just me and the kids home for dinner right now, we are rediscovering some of the simple things we have not eaten for a long time (Michael is definitely a fancier cook than I am!) But we devoured the simple box mac n cheese. Healthy? No. But it brought a smile and every bite was worth it.

 8. WhatsAp. Do you know about this? It's sort of like a text app. But for me, the cool part about it is that you can plug in any number, world wide. Which allows me to communicate regularly with my Colombian friends at the tap of a "send" button. I don't have to wait for email or FB messenger or be charged extra for sending a message across the world. I especially love when we "voice text" each other, because it allows me to feel like we are conversation. Sometimes there is beauty in technology.

 9. Lastly, another YouTube video. I follow a few podcasts/videos that I have found bring me encouragement to listen to during the day. This one I watched multiple times.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Race Recap

It's Race Recap time. Like it or not, choose to read it or not, not everyone cares to hear all the details of my race, but I get so excited, I have to share them :) Lucky you!

 I just returned from Phoenix, AZ, where we were promoting the Air Force Marathon at the RocknRoll Marathon, Arizona. I really enjoy visiting new locations and I especially enjoy running new races. Due to the time of our flight leaving (and the fact that I'm not fast) I could only manage to fit the 10K in as my race. But I had a blast!

 I experienced a lot of "firsts" on this trip, one of which was using Uber. (I know... I am behind the times.) The start line was several miles from the hotel/expo area, so I used Uber to get there. Not knowing the city at all, I was completely reliant on this person to get me there. But the experience became all the more fun, as I waiting to get my coffee to go (on my ride in the Uber) and the girl ahead of me was also wearing a race bib. Of course, chatty me struck up a conversation. What are the chances that in Arizona, the girl in line in front of me is from Lancaster, OH! Small world...
  As we began chatting, we decided to Uber together and we carried our conversation into the car and all the way to the start line. The amount of things Christina and I had in common was ridiculous and we stayed talking until the start of the race. She is a little bit incredible in the sense that she does these races like I do (trying to get all 50 states in, and her family isn't into it so she travels alone) but she doesn't even train! She literally shows up and runs... and she is nearly an hour faster than I am! Some people are just naturals. We had a very good time chatting it up until race start. I love the running community in this way.

 When the race began, the temperature was low/mid 50s and running in a tank top in January felt really great! The first couple miles were in back parts of the city and not as much to see, but when the 10K and the half marathon split (which they did really well as a race) we went into a park area. It was beautiful. It was along a river and had cactus (or is it cacti?) and signage describing the native trees- which I did not stop to take time to read. The path was wide and smooth and relaxing, honestly. Mile 5 was nearly all uphill, not steep but steady. And the last part was down a bridge into the finish line. I finished with a  new 10K PR by one minute! It is my goal this year to get faster and the 10K was a great way to start out my races and even better when I was able to PR. One minute is one minute ;)

 I experienced another first after the race ended and that was taking the rail back to the hotel. Those things sound so silly, but for a small-town farm girl like myself who has never really done those things, it is a really great experience.

 It wasn't long after that we were boarding our plane back to Ohio. Quick trip, but a really great experience over all.

Being Silly in the City




My New Friend Christina

10K PR- One happy girl !

My favorite way to end a race- Coffee!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Little Moments

In lieu of what has been an honestly chaotic week for me (not at work, but just in life) it feels good to take a moment to reflect on the positives of this week. It feels right to breathe for a moment and move into the Friday with a smile. Here are a few little moments from the week:

 1. Palm trees! Strange fact about me: I absolutely love palm trees. I find them very beautiful and symbolic. They bend and don't break in storms. They stand tall. They move with the wind, but hold their ground steady. And they are just beautiful. Perhaps also because they are found in warm climates, which I prefer over snowy ones. I am currently in Phoenix, AZ and it's like the best of both worlds with palm trees surrounding me and the mountains in the background. Breathtaking.

 2. People who are kind.
  That sounds rather silly, but so many people any more are disgruntled or in a hurry and don't take time to smile. The other day the guard at the gate where I enter was so friendly and happy that it was contagious. I appreciated that start to my day. Not all of them have that demeanor, so I found it refreshing.

 3. Mexican food.
 Who doesn't love tacos and salsa? I could eat it every day.

 4. Laughing with Lisa
  I love a good laugh. Lisa and I find ways to laugh over the most stupid things, but those are the best things about which to laugh. It is good for my soul. She's a great travel partner.

 5. A run in a new city
  I took a short run this morning in a new environment. I enjoyed the huge buildings and the palm trees. I liked seeing new places. I will run the 10K on Sunday, but today it was enjoyable to get out and just go with no agenda.

 6. Conversations with my kids
 This week began a new schedule for us at home. One that is a large adjustment. But as we have entered it, I have found myself enjoying my kids adult like conversations with me. They have stepped up and helped out with some cooking and chores and it's a proud mom kind of moment that makes me smile.

 7. Coffee
 This one might make my list every week :) Coffee just plain out makes me smile and take a deep breath. It has also served as a great tool this week to help me get through my days.

 The week was a challenge, but it's good to be in a fresh environment this weekend doing something I love- promoting the AF Marathon. It gives me energy to talk to these people. And having a little quiet time in a new space also brings fresh perspective to the soul. It's wrapping up well and I'll recap on Sunday or Monday about the race. First race of the year. I don't aim to win or even PR, but I aim to do my best and to have fun.
  Until then... keep looking for the little moments.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I confess: I am totally a routine oriented person. And when my routine gets thrown off kilter, life feels a little off kilter.
  Welcome to my morning :)

 I am typically an optimist by nature. But when change brings an adjustment to routines, the pessimist in me crawls out and growls a little at the world around me. I don't like it, but I own it. So, here I sit to write and process it a little. Because when I write, it helps me embrace these changes a little better.
 The silly part is, I knew all this change was coming.

 Today our life schedule gets rearranged for a while. Classes start back up for me today, and since I am not a procrastinator, I am already sitting with my planner, scheduling my assignments. It's silly to do that at 6 am, but also, with a full work day ahead and a different evening routine, I found that to be the best time to do so. (And they weren't available ahead of time, so today it is.) Michael's work schedule also changes dramatically today. And at the idea of sparing everyone all the details, it just will make life a little more crazy for me and the kids. It'll work itself out in time, but for the start up of this, it's a little hairy.
 So, I skipped my workout today (pretty well had to to figure this new routine out) said goodbye to him as he left at 5:30 am and got the kids going on all their duties/preparations. While they are old enough to do life more independently than young children, they still need some prompting. It's funny- when it comes to change, I tend to do pretty well. I think change is good. But, certain changes tend to throw my smile sideways for a bit. Like changes in my routine.
 Routines help me. I don't think I realized it until this morning, but routines really keep my anxiety at bay. I know I will get up at 4:30, have my quiet time, get dressed at 5:30, go for my run (or TRX) and be in the shower by 7 and out the door at at work a few minutes early.  When I return home, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
 Today shifts that. My quiet time was interrupted by others being up and moving around, my workout was skipped, the kids needed driven to school because it honestly is too cold for them to walk, and well, you get the picture.
 what I am not intending this to be is a post of pure complaining. Take it as you will, but for me, this is an "aha" moment. A way for me to take a deep breath, push out the frustration and move forward with a smile for the rest of the day, rather than growl inwardly. Or rather than let the anxieties rise and be a negative force on my plate.
 We will find a new routine, it will just take a few days to get the groove going. Everyone is healthy. God is providing. I'm launching into a new semester of learning. And hey- since this new schedule means me cooking now (because the cook will now be working all kinds of weird and different hours) I get to explore a world of food. That can be fun! More factors play into all of this change, but for today, day 1 of experimenting with a new routine, I can choose to laugh over all the chaos. This girl (ahem... that's me) can really use a bit of a wake up call to shifts in schedules. It happens. Get over it. (So I tell myself as I move into this Monday.)
  That being said, the verse that has been playing in my mind this morning is one I plan to hold on to as changes evolve in all of this. Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper  you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will see me and fi nd me when you seek me with all your heart."

 A very good reminder for my soul today.

 And now it's time to be off to work. Really sitting here and writing wasn't part of my schedule either, but it somehow seemed to fit just right and be one of those necessary moments.

  Smile, friends. It's Monday. And Change is good.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Little Moments

Every Year I have attempted to create the habit about blogging on Fridays about the little moments.
 Those "things", conversations, people and experiences that take place in a week that often get discounted but really, if I take the time to ponder them, make me smile and collect to be wonderful little moments that make me happy.
  So, as I roll into 2017, I have started a jar of little moments. I am attempting to write down these little moments and put them in a jar and at the end of the year I will empty my jar and remember. But, as I do the jar, I also will once again attempt to place some of them here. Because I believe that we all could be reminded more often of the little moments for which we should be thankful. They aren't profound and may not even be something anyone else can understand. But they are for me. And maybe to help others think about their little moments in a week.
 So, as we near wrapping up the first week of 2017, here are a few little moments that took place for me.

 1. A text from Jessica.  She seems to know just when I need them. I don't know how, but I tend to get a message from her at a moment I'm just really needing to feel a smile. Just a note to say she's praying for me. She's  a special friend.

 2. Minimizing. I've begun this journey of minimizing. I follow the minimalists and while I modify for my life, the concept they bring to the table is really quite simple yet somehow fascinating. This week I gave away 4 garbage bags and a box full of stuff I don't need! Someone else out there can certainly use that. And I filled 4 more garbage bags of clothes to give to Fairborn United Methodist Church because they run a free clothing store for people in the community who need clothes. Need them. I don't share this to say yay, me! I share this because it is freeing to get rid of things I do not need. And to share with others who may. I am blessed. No need to keep that to myself.

 3. Coffee with Meghan. My week has been sort of full with some various meetings or lunches, but I was blessed by this hour with my friend Meghan. You can't beat coffee and conversation!

 4. Promoting the Linda A. Ferguson Memorial 5K
  I had the chance to do something new this week. I got to go out and promote the 5K I host. This was really a first opportunity for this, and I loved it. If you know me,  you know I love running and I am passionate about what I do. The 5K, in memory of my mom, is an extension of that. And my dad and daughter joined me in the experience, so it really was a sweet time.

  There are plenty of other little moments from the week, but those are a few. Life is back in swing and next week will bring on some changes for our family schedule as Michael's work schedule shifts pretty dramatically and I launch back into school for my 3rd semester. It might be crazy, but there will still be little moments to be found. You just have to be willing to see them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hello, 2017

Gone are the more reflective moments of 2016 and here are the days of looking towards to future of 2017. Of course, by now you likely realize that I am a goal setter all the time.
 I love creating lists and thinking about how I want to become better in my life. I don't always succeed, but a large part of growth is the journey towards the destination. 
  So, that being said, I have many goals in mind for the year. I literally get excited about these. I have spiritual goals,  fitness goals and personal goals and financial goals and family goals. I enjoy sitting down and thinking about these not just at the beginning of the year, but all year long. We never know what the next day may hold, let alone the rest of the year. I don't like to call them New Year's resolutions because honestly, it's more than that to me.
  But each year, I choose a word to define the year. This seemed like a strange idea to me the first time I heard of it, but it has grown on me every year since. In 2016, I had the word Strong and it became a significant journey.
  When I thought about my word for this year, I thought about how I want my year to play out (if it could be my way, of course, which isn't always reality!)
 So my word for this year is
 Vivacious is defined as : happy and lively in a way that is attractive. Full of energy and good spirits. Lively, spirited, bubbly, sparkling, lighthearted, cheerful, full of fun. 

 I like the idea of all of those words. But the biggest reason I chose this word is that as I thought about my year, I thought about the fact that I want to live life fully this year. Often times I have sat back quietly. Or my pensive, serious self hides the laughter that really is bubbling inside of me. The silly part of me gets pushed aside by the delicate life issues that need to be handled. 
 But really, I think God has made me someone fun. Yes, I have a very serious side. But really, I love to enjoy life. And how often have I let my enjoyment and my vivaciousness get shelved? How many times have I said no or backed down from the woman He has made me because I feared the results? 
 My faith will be bigger than my fears this year, Lord willing.
  My smile will outshine tears that sometimes fall.
My determined heart will inspire others. 
  My light that He has given me will shine brighter for His glory because I am living life fully. 

 I learned that the root of the word is Latin and it means "To Live" 
 So as I enter into 2017, I want vivacious to define the year. Not because I am someone super great, but because it is time to live life fully. I will take chances. I will dance like no one is watching and sing like others are not listening. I will laugh instead of cry. I will pray instead of worry. I will seek God instead of others. I will love deeply and let go of hurts. I will get rid of things I don't need and spend more time with people than I spend money on things. I will live in the moment instead of being consumed by a list of to-dos. I will work hard but not be defined by my career. I will follow dreams. I will grow deeper in who I am. In my faith. In my fitness. In my family. And in my friendships.  
    Will I be perfect at this? Absolutely not. I know that I have a long way to go in my life in order to become more of this vivacious person. But she's in there. And I cannot wait to see how the year may unfold with opportunities and ways to live life more fully - Vivacious.