Running and growing

About 8 weeks ago I started a Run for God 5k training program through my church. I made it a goal of mine to do a 5k this year and God agreed with this goal so he placed it on the hearts of some fellow runners to set this up.

I have always wanted to run but have always been scared to do so. I have tried in the past, but each time I started I quit. It was hard to do. Also, my knees hurt really bad. When I was 16 it was discovered that my knee caps were slightly diagonal.

I started dancing at 3 years old and loved it. When I was in 6th grade my best friend tapped at a place called The Atlanta Dance Works. It was “the place” to learn to dance. I had to go there and I did. I loved it. My goal was to learn everything I could, move to New York, spend a few years as a Radio City Hall Rockette (seriously practiced kicks in my room just in case), and then complete my career as a choreographer. When I got the news about my knees, my career ended. At 16 I was told that I shouldn’t dance, run, hike, skate, bike… pretty much should not use my legs for anything other than walking. I was devasted. I was told that I could possibly out grow it, but it wasn’t gauranteed.

Well, I can tell you that I didn’t outgrow it because my knees still give me fits. I try really hard to take care of them but I like to be active. I can not sit still. When I decided to do this 5k shindig I knew I was going to need do it slowly and at my own pace. Armed with knee braces, a blend of essential oils, and a written goal for all to see I started with my training.

Each week I am always convinced that I can not complete the intervals. Each week I do. When I run I am exhausted and ready to quit, but I have learned to turn my focus on Jesus and I get through it. Seriously… I repeat “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” over and over. The last minute is the hardest because you know you are almost done but you can barely make it. This week became a learning experience for me. This week I learned that I am stronger than I think I am. This week I realized that as hard as the training is for me, the feeling I have when I am done is so worth it. I am proud, exhausted, energetic, excited, at peace, and accomplished. It’s a reminder to me that anything worth doing is going to be tough, it’s going to hurt, there are moments you are going to want to quit… but don’t. Turn your focus from you on to Jesus and He will guide you through the rest of the race.

I still have a lot to do and I am not looking forward to the next session, but it’s part of the process. I’m still growing and getting better every single day. I am fortunate enough to have a great support system getting through this. My fellow runners & walkers are absolutely the best. I know wouldn’t be able to do this without them because they make it fun and keep me accountable. Thanks y’all!

I love this picture. It says it perfectly:

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Working towards excellence each & every day!

Easy Oven Fajitas

Because I love you all very much, I need for you to know about this recipe I found on Pinterest. It comes from the website: http://www.budgetbytes.com. It is ridiculously tasty and easy to make. It’s simply called “Oven Fajitas”.

I am not a fajitas fan at restaurants, but my husband loves them. I wanted to switch things up in the Mexican food department at my house but it had to be super easy. This sooooo is. It even comes with a recipe to make your own seasoning, which is much more fun to do than buying the seasoning packets at the store.

After all of this blabbing about how good it is, here is the recipe for “Oven Fajitas”:

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Ingredients

Seasoning:
* 1 TBSP chili powder
* 1/2 TBSP paprika
* 1/2 TSP onion powder
*1/4 TSP garlic powder
*1/4 TSP cumin
*1/8 TSP cayenne pepper
*1 TSP sugar
*1/2 TSP salt
*1/2 TBSP corn starch

Fajitas:
*2 small onions
*2 medium green bell peppers
*1 medium red bell peppers
*1 lb. chicken breast (I used chicken tenders)
*2 TBSP Vegetable Oil (I used olive oil because I use olive oil for almost everything)
*1 Medium Lime (I didn’t use this because I didn’t have a lime)
*8 (6-inch) tortillas (or whatever size tortillas you have on hand because that is what I did).
*1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
*1/4 bunch cilantro (optional)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients for the fajita seasoning in a small bowel and set aside.
2. Cut the onion & bell peppers into 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide strips. Place them in a large 9×13 casserole dish. I cut my chicken tenders in half and made them slightly thinner. Add them to the veggies.
3. Sprinkle the seasoning over the meat and vegetables. Drizzle the vegetable (or olive) oil over everything and then use your hands to toss the ingredients until everything is completely coated. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring once half way through (oops… forgot that part… turned out fine). Squeeze the juice from half of the lime over top of the meat & veggies after it comes out of oven.
4. Make your fajita and top the meat with what you would like.

If you want the original recipe with the budget information & exact details without my two cents, please visit the Budget Bytes website: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/02/oven-fajitas/

You will love this recipe. It really is that good. Enjoy!

How to stop over committing your schedule

Today I would like to address the problem of over committing. We all know what happens when we over commit. We get frazzled, stressed out, irritated, resentful, confused, and many more ugly words. Truth is, we over schedule because we are afraid to upset other people. Do you know what this means? It means you think of yourself as less important than others. It means that you worry more about what someone else may think of you outside of your family than you do your family. When I say “Your family” I mean your immediate family. Those that live in your home under your roof. They and YOU are your first priority.

So. Are ready to take back your calendar and your life. Okay. This is what you do. Next time someone comes to you and says, “Can you help with this?” or “Would you like to be a part of something?” or “If you don’t do xyz for so and so then it will look really bad for you.” I want you to say the following sentence to that person.

No.

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It’s a complete sentence. It doesn’t have to be said ugly or rude. If you are like me and your southern gets in the way of just saying “No” you can try the following:
“No, thank you.”
“No. I can’t make it.”
“No. I’m sorry.”

It sounds selfish, but it’s not. It’s all about priorities. For example, I am part of a group that leads a women’s bible study on Sunday afternoons. I committed to this a while ago. Since I have already committed to it then it is my obligation to honor it. Plus, it’s a group of women loving and learning about Jesus… that’s an important priority! This doesn’t mean that invites and other things come up that aren’t important but it does mean that I have already scheduled that time and therefore will be unable to cram anything else in for that day. In the past I would have stressed, freaked out, bailed on my commitment to appease others but I have found a peace in acceptance that I can’t be everywhere at one time. I have missed some things and will miss some things, but I am okay with it. I am learning to not over commit my schedule. I am embracing the peace that comes with saying, “No. I can’t do that for you today.” I’m not perfect at it, but I am getting better at it. Slowly, but surely.

Simplify your calendar if you feel overwhelmed. Stop the madness of over committing. Just say No.

Quiet Time

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I am one of those people that needs quiet time. It helps me clear out my head and regain focus on what’s important. During the day I do not have music playing or the TV on. It’s just noise. There is so much noise in our world that at times, it is necessary to shut it down.

I started thinking about who I am and why I react the way that I do to noise and chaos. I can not stand things being tense or chaotic in my environment. I love to live in my little bubble where everyone works together, we communicate, agree to disagree, support each other no matter what, and we lift each other up. When tension builds and there is constant bickering, I lose my cool. My brain can’t take it. Good thing I never joined the armed forces. I would have been a miserable soldier.

Earlier this week, while we were all home because of the snow & ice, my boys were fighting over crazy cat. It was 7 AM and I wasn’t out of bed yet, so to wake up to those two fighting & screaming over who was going to pet the cat really irritated me. Oh… did I mention that I am not a morning person either? Nope. I like quiet in the morning. Needless to say, I stormed out of bed and sent everyone to their rooms, including crazy cat. I was so mad and frazzled.

This got me thinking, “Why was I like this?”. I began to think back when I was a kid. I come from a big family and there was constant chaos and tension. I can’t remember how old I was when I couldn’t take it anymore and started to hide in my room just to get away from the noise. My siblings pick on me a lot about that time in my life, but I was there because I couldn’t take the constant chaos in our home. I had to be able to get to a place where I could escape the madness. I found solace there and felt oddly protected in the silence. Silence, to me, meant that all was well in my teenage years.

Now, I do know that this isn’t the reality. Silence is just the absence of noise, not the absence of problems. It’s in the silence where one can focus with a clear head on how to address those problems. How to gain strength and wisdom without interruption. It’s in the silence where I can see hope and know that the world isn’t really falling a part. It’s in the silence that I get back to who I am. It’s in the silence when I hear God’s truth loud and clear. I need my quiet time…. even if it’s for 20 minutes. I need it. I thrive on it.