Skating: A New Year’s Day Tradition

Skating CollageWhen I was a little girl, I wanted to be a figure skater. It never happened, but I still love to go skating. It’s one of the reasons I love winter. So this year, I decided to make it a New Year’s Day tradition. This was our first year, so I don’t know if can really be called a tradition yet, but I don’t really care.

Our favorite place to skate is Centennial Lakes Park in Edina. Not only do they have a HUGE skating area (I don’t particularly enjoy skating in a circle), but the setting is lovely, it’s free (unless you need to rent skates), and they keep the ice smooth and cleared off with a Zamboni. Oh, and the warming house and fireplaces are pretty nice, too.

Do you have a favorite winter activity?


Ten Resolutions for 2013

I’ve been making New Year’s Resolutions for the last three years. And after last year’s didn’t go so well, I’ve decided I need to make this year’s public. And I need to put them where I’ll see them often. So I’m sharing them with you and posting them on the fridge.

Without further ado, here are my goals and resolutions for 2013:

1.That’s only two books a month—what a sad number. With working full time, freelance editing jobs, blogging, and having a life, it’s tough to fit reading in, but I still want to make sure I’m doing it. Two books I want to get to this year are Don Quixote and Les Miserables. And maybe Mere Christianity, since that was on my list of resolutions last year and I bought it but never read it. Oops. But right now, I’m going back to an old favorite: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

2.With all the dental work I’ve had in the last two months to make up for a childhood of poor dental hygiene, this is a big one for me.

3.Ideally, this will be running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday or Sunday, and two days of yoga.

4.Not gonna lie—this one scares me. But I really want to get there just because I think I can’t.

5.Jonathan and I read together most nights, but I want to make more of a concentrated effort to spend time in the Word on my own. I haven’t really gotten started yet, but I’m planning to use a reading plan from Canvas Church’s website. If you’re interested in joining me, you can find the reading plan here.

6.Last year, I wanted to journal every day. It didn’t happen. Not even close. So this year, I’m shooting a little lower and broadening the possibilities—it can be journaling, a blog post, or something else. And unless I’m having a bad week, stuff I write for work won’t count.

7.We eat out way too much. Especially when we don’t have leftovers for lunches and we eat out then, too.

8.I made this a goal for myself two years ago, and it was a great challenge. I love finding and trying new recipes. Especially when they turn out great. I think I’ll start with one (or both!) of these . . .
Sun-dried Tomato Spread
Man-Pleasing Chicken

9.I’ve written about this before, but I fell out of the habit. It made life much easier when I didn’t procrastinate in the small things.

10.Earlier would be even better, but as it’s been, I’ve been getting up at 7:45ish, only about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work. No bueno. Things have got to change. And if they do, I might even have time to get my run in or do my quiet time before I go to work. That sounds like a recipe for a much better day.

What are you goals/resolutions for 2013?

Lately I’m . . .

Preparing for our trip to Michigan. I’ve been saving vacation time all year, and we’re heading “home” on Saturday. All my family is in Michigan and we try to make it back once or twice a year. And on the way, we’re going to stop and see my college roommate. We’ve been wrapping up stuff at work (poor Jonathan has to prepare two papers in one week!), shopping for snacks (Vitamin Water and beef jerky are our non-negotiables), and doing ridiculous amounts of cleaning.

Here are a few pictures of us with my siblings from the last time we went home for Christmas : )gingerbread house 2 gingerbread house 1Getting into the habit of running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday or Sunday. A week and a half after starting the schedule, it’s still going. AND I’m even planning to run next week when we’re in Michigan. I’m glad my aunt has a treadmill—otherwise, I’d be skipping the runs. No way am I ready to run outside. In the cold. Up and down hills. No thank you.

Watching Ashley and JP’s wedding. Yes, I’m talking about The Bachelorette. I don’t usually watch TV (we find a show we like and get it on DVD), but when Ashley was on The Bachelorette, I got hooked. I fell in love with her and JP as a couple (my husband is rolling his eyes right now), and I got super excited when I found out they were actually getting married. As I write this, I’m watching the parts of the wedding I missed on Sunday when it actually aired. If you’re like my husband and you think it’s stupid, you’ll be happy to know I haven’t let myself watch the show since.

Going to the dentist. Two weeks ago. This week. And two more times in January. I’ll spare you the details, but when I have kids I am making sure they get proper dental care. I didn’t, and now I’m making up for it. Dental work is not fun, folks.

Signing up to do book reviews for Tyndale and Thomas Nelson. For the past year and a half, I’ve only reviewed books for Bethany House Publishers, but I’m switching things up in 2013. Check out the links in the sidebar for more information and stay tuned!

Brainstorming my 2013 goals. I work best when I set goals for myself and make them public. Last year did not go so well. I’ve been brainstorming goals for about a month now, and I think I have some good ones. In the next few weeks, I’ll post a list. Maybe accountability will make them happen this year.

Let It Snow

12.9.12 caesar snowstorm It finally snowed. For real. We got a light dusting in November, but it was nothing compared to this. We got about a foot of snow (and these pictures were taken hours before it finally stopped.)

12.9.12 caesar snowstormI’m not one of those sad snow-haters. I’ve been waiting for it since the leaves started falling back in September. I’ve been daydreaming of frosty trees and slushy walks to Starbucks. I’ve been smelling the air and watching the clouds.

12.9.12 caesar snowstormI’ve never quite been able to explain it, but nothing brings me joy the way snow does. That’s not to say other things don’t bring me joy. It’s just a different kind of contentment and anticipation. Trees come close—especially in the spring when their leaves first pop out and the whole world seems green. And Lake Michigan on a warm day—that comes close too. But this . . .

12.9.12 caesar snowstormIt’s the kind of beauty that makes you ache because it’s just so pretty.

There’s nothing like standing outside at night and watching the snow, looking up as it falls, listening as a gentle hush descends on your little corner of the earth. Snow makes everything beautiful. It covers imperfections. It makes everything clean.

12.9.12 caesar snowstormSometimes at night, I wrap myself in a blanket, turn off the lights, open the window, and just watch the snow fall. (And sometimes I make my very patient husband do it with me. He must love me a whole lot.)

12.9.12 caesar snowstormIf you’re one of those sad snow-haters, I’m sorry. Not because it snowed—oh no—I’ve been praying and praying for that. I’m sorry because you’re missing the magic. The magic that makes you giddy and hopeful and excited. The magic that makes you feel like a kid again.

I know it’s easy to miss the magic when you have to get up early to clean off your car or it takes you two (or three!) times as long to drive home from work, but next time you’re out in the snow, take a second to breathe it all in. And listen to the sound it makes. That’s my favorite part.

12.9.12 caesar snowstorm

Running? What’s That?

It’s been a long time since I posted about how my running is going. And I have a good reason: I haven’t been running. At all. Probably not since my last running post.

I have a good reason for that too. Remember when I mentioned I thought I had Runner’s Knee? I stopped running altogether because it hurt too much afterward. My knees (and hips, for that matter) would just ache. As it turns out, I was right about the Runner’s Knee (in case you’re wondering, the technical term is “patellofemoral pain syndrome”).

Three weeks of daily exercises and stretches and five physical therapy appointments later, I finally got to run yesterday. For four whole minutes (I didn’t even die!). And the therapist told me to go buy new shoes this week. Apparently I need a motion control shoe because I overpronate. Or something like that. Who knew?

Do you know how much goes into buying the right running shoes? I had no idea. And for the record, most of the “find the right shoe for you” tools out there are wrong when it comes to my feet. Apparently motion control shoes are typically for people with flat feet, but I have high arches. And apparently people with high arches often underpronate, but I overpronate. I just barely know what I’m talking about, so don’t take my word for it. Moral of the story? If you’re spending $100 on running shoes, have someone who knows what they’re talking about analyze your stride and tell you what to look for.

That’s exactly what I did tonight. At the recommendation of my PT, I went to Marathon Sports and bought these lovely new shoes.

Asics Running Shoes

(If you’re in the Minneapolis area looking for shoes, go to Marathon Sports. I was super impressed with the service, how much the employees knew, and the price.) I get to break my shoes in tomorrow when I try running again. For a whole five minutes. Think I can make it?

If nothing else, not being able to run has only made the prospect of starting again that much more exciting. Despite the fact that I theoretically hate running. Who knows? Maybe spending a lot of money on PT and fancy new shoes is the motivation I needed.

Thankful for Leaving TUFW

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18–20When I found out it was happening, I never would have guessed I’d be thankful that my college, TUFW, closed after my junior year. It was my home for three years. The place where I met my then-fiancé/now-husband, the place where I came out of my shell and got over being painfully shy, the place where I learned the skills I needed to do what I love for a living, the place where I made life-long friends, and the place where I encountered God in deeper ways.

When I found out I wouldn’t be returning for my senior year, all I could do was worry about how I’d finish my degree without having to take out loans for a fifth year of college at a different school. On top of that, the news shattered all the plans Jonathan and I had for living in Fort Wayne after we got married that summer.

We found out in October that the school would close in May, and the advance notice gave us time to grieve, process, and plan. And it gave Jonathan and I time to come to terms with the fact that God could send us wherever He wanted—even Africa. Our options were wide open.

It turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened. Yes, it was hard to see my school close and my community dispersed. And it was hard to see our plans go to crap, but if TUFW hadn’t closed, we wouldn’t have moved to Minnesota. Jonathan wouldn’t have had a job that wanted him right away. We wouldn’t have ended up at our church. And I certainly wouldn’t have given up my career plans in order to help build the kingdom of God.

Moving so far away from my family was the hardest part (six hundred miles is a little far for a weekend trip), but it gave Jonathan and me a chance to make our own home and figure out what “being us” was going to look like. It gave me a chance to get to know his family better. It gave me a chance to find out, for the first time in my life, what it’s like to be part of a growing, Bible-believing church family.

And our classmates ended up spreading out all over the country and the world. So many of them are doing things they never would have done if our school hadn’t closed. Just one more reason to be glad God doesn’t always show us the big picture. If He had, I never would have started down the road that led me here.

(In case you’re wondering, I was able to transfer to Taylor’s other campus and take the rest of my classes online. The difficulty of that season is another story entirely.)

Missed my other thankfulness posts? Read post #1 and post #2.

Thankful for Little

With thanksgiving coming up, I decided to do a short series on what I’m thankful for. Click here to read my introduction and first post.

Today, I’m thankful that I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money. It was hard not being able to get some of the things I wanted, missing out on class trips, and not getting to play on a soccer team or take dance classes, but having limited funds then has really shaped who I am now.

I’ve become a bargain hunter—I love the thrill of finding a good deal.  The downside is that I often have a hard time paying more than $20 for clothes or accessories. Shoes included. But now I know how to find the good deals, how to hold out for them, and how to forgo a purchase if I can’t get one . . . most of the time. (Speaking of Black Friday—and I know you weren’t—what is America coming to? Does anyone else see the irony of following up Thanksgiving with a day full of the scariest displays of consumerism available in the US? Anyway . . . )

I’ve also learned that stuff isn’t everything. There’s more to life than having a Barbie Dream House, Furby, Tamagotchi, or other must-have item. (Those are all things I asked for and never really got, by the way.) And, despite my constant desire to shop, especially on a bad day, I know stuff won’t fix my problems or make me happy. The best things in life aren’t made of metal or plastic. And they certainly aren’t on clearance at Target.

Sometimes I forget these things, but if I hadn’t learned them as a kid, Jonathan and I would probably be broke by now . . .