Dance over me

“You dance over me, while I am unaware”

This morning in Central Illinois was extremely peaceful for me.  This is a rarity in my life, let me tell you why…

#1: I’m in general a pretty anxious person

#2 I have 3 amazing, beautiful, wonderful, perfectly healthy active children whom I am blessed to stay home with (that means they are home with me all day)

#3 Those children, and myself, and my husband and one very large labrador actually live in our house, so therefore there are many muddy paw prints, clothes to be washed, dishes to be cleaned, you know normal life stuff

However, this morning I woke up at my normal 4:15am, headed off to crossfit and as I walked out of my car into the gym it began to snow, since that moment we have been getting this unexpected, soft, continuous, pretty white snowfall that is just blanketing the ground and I’m loving it.  My girls asked me to make them the “good pancakes” mommy makes, so we made some pink ones and I turned my Apple music onto Elevation worship and I heard this song for the first time by Desperation Band called “Amazed” and the very beginning caught me off guard.  It caught me so much that I started the song over 3 times to hear it again.


  Maybe before I continue you should know something about me.  I like to celebrate.  Nope…I LOVE to celebrate.  I love hosting birthday parties, baby showers, spending New Year’s Eve with my family in a hotel, watching the fireworks on the 4th of July.  It really doesn’t take much for me to get excited.  Especially if I work hard for something or somebody I care about has been working diligently towards a goal.  Immediately when I heard these words my brain made the connection to crossfit because this morning some friends at the gym had helped me to work on this toe to bar move.

 Check it out below if you’re clueless, and don’t feel bad about it because I was a few months ago too 😉


And after some practice, I got one and I wanted to jump up and down, because this crossfit crap is HARD.  At least for me it’s hard.   When I work at something, or I see others struggle through something, or when I watch my child tie her shoe for the first time, do I celebrate with them? You bet I do! I jump up and down, I clap, I cheer for them. Because when we overcome something, we deserve to celebrate.

 I had never imagined that Jesus, the Creator of the universe did that for us.  That He literally dances over us.  He celebrates us and our accomplishments.  He watches our every move and He is proud of us.  And the more I thought about this, the more I loved it.  Because not only does He celebrate when we overcome hardships like depression or working through hard times in a marriage, or choosing to take steps toward overcoming an addiction.  He dances over us and is proud when I make the choice to love on my children or to show kindness to my spouse.  He’s proud when we treat our body like a temple or when we show patience or self-control when we don’t want to at all.  Great title for the song right? Amazed.  I’m completely amazed that the God who Created everything would dance over me 🙂 I don’t know about you but it makes me want to live in a way that is worth dancing for.


my “bif if”

Back when my oldest daughter was about 5, learning to sound out words and use phonetic spelling she asked me if her aunt Jen was my “bif if”.  When I asked what she meant by that she wrote it out for me.  BFF… “bif if”.  That’s exactly how it sounds right?  That’s when she was introduced to all of her little buddies  writing and saying they were eachother’s best friends forever.  And so her life of choosing friends began.

My children’s’ Aunt Jen is actually my cousin so I guess she has been my “bif if” since she was born.  Honestly as long as I can remember this lady is the closest relationship I”ll ever have to a sister.  We laugh together, cry together and now we have been blessed to raise our children together.  I adore her, I look up to her, I appreciate her…and now I’m gonna cry.  But anyway, to the point here, I asked her to be a guest on my blog AWHILE ago because she has completely changed her life as far as her health goes and I think it’s awesome. (I put awhile in caps because I”m the slacker here trying to get homeschool into a routine and not typing this up, she has had her answers to me for weeks!)

Me being the one that is typically the health fanatic was stuck in a rut, and being the anxious girl that I am I lean on her for support often, whether she is aware of it or not 😉  And then out of nowhere, she shocks me and just changes up her life and it was so cool for me to watch her get out of her comfort zone and make some huge changes, so of course I wanted to know more about it and how it made her feel because I could tell a huge difference in her confidence.  My “bif if” who never really liked the gym was LOVING working out.  This was a big deal and it motivated me big time! She’s a beautiful person inside and out, a strong, supportive wife, a hard worker, and she has 2 of the most beautiful, fun daughters you’ve ever seen, and now she’s freakin’ awesome at Crossfit and just recently, jumproping 😉 AND she isn’t a fan of burpees….but who is?


  1. What is your current exercise routine and how long have you been at it?

My current routine is Crossfit 3 times a week or sometimes 4 depending on the week.  Those classes are one hour each.  We randomly go for walks and I started working again so while I am there I don’t have much time to sit down.  I wouldn’t consider that working out but it’s better than sitting at home.

2.  Have you always been active? What made you change?

I was active when I was younger until I got to high school and I was just done with sports.  I have always wanted to stay active after that but once I start I give up.

3. What’s your average day look like?

On an average workout day I usually just relax most of the day.  Or I am either working or cleaning.  My Crossfit class is later in the day so I have all day free to do whatever I need to.

4. How has being active changed you?

Being active has made me feel better because slowly I am seeing some changes.  I feel stronger than I have in the past.  Once I start changing other things I know I will feel even better.

5. What else do you want to improve?

There are many areas I want to improve.  First I love doing Crossfit and I want to make sure I can and will continue.  I need to push myself more than I do now.  I know with changing my diet it will help me to improve a lot.  And that will make me feel better all around and will boost my confidence.

6. Why do you keep going?

I keep going because I know this is something good for me and I love it.  Also because I feel like I am being a good role model for my children.  They see me being active then they will hopefully stay active and healthy their whole lives.

7.  Advice for others out there who might feel like quitting right now?

If someone was going to quit their workout routine I would tell them to think about their decision again.  And if there was a good reason why they couldn’t continue then once they can, start again.  If you wait too long then all of your hard work will go down the drain.  If they couldn’t do it for money purposes, I would tell them to do as much as they could at home to stay in shape and active.

Can I just say what I love about her story is that yes…she is improving herself, yes….she is getting stronger, yes…she is seeing some positive changes, but she isn’t a different person.  She’s choosing to bring out the potential that’s been there all along.  When you start taking care of yourself, I don’t believe you become someone different, it’s always been there.  Jen has always been strong and determined, she’s just doing her absolute best right now to show it by taking care of her body, and I’m completely encouraged and inspired by my “bif if”. Thanks for keeping me accountable. Love you buddy!!! And thank you so much! I”m honored to share your story!!!




A couple weeks ago I had one of those weeks…ya know where everything was just terrible.  Even though in the grand scheme of the world there wasn’t one significant horrible event, I was just overwhelmed.  I was overwhelmed with homeschooling with 3 little ones, I was overwhelemed that my husband worked all week then was going away for drill weekend, overwhelmed that my laundry didn’t just do itself.  I just wanted to go to an ocean beach for a day or head out on a shopping spree or heck maybe go on a date with that husband of mine.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  Not realistic, but fun.  The nearest beach to me, and I’m talking ocean beach here is at least an entire day’s worth of driving, my income is a grand whopping total of $0 so a shopping spree isn’t an option and the hubby like I said was away at drill, so what’s a girl to do?

First of all, I had to put the brakes on this attitude and look at all the positives in my life.  I know everybody has rough days but COME ON Jami.  I have 3 beautiful, healthy children that I am blessed to stay home with.  I have struggled a bit with how different homeschooling looks this year because I have a moving toddler, not that little baby who snuggles me all day.  I’m dealing with a little man who wants to climb on the table, throw toothbrushes in the toilet, color on the wall and occasionally hit his sisters.  My husband has a great job and we have all we need and more.  I’m able to get to the gym a few times a week (thank God! ;)) and my kids are involved in extra curricular activities that they love.

My house on any given day during homeschool.  My daughters take turns keeping my little guy company.  This is a COMPLETE variation out of my comfort zone.  My husband and I are both major clean freaks.  Especially with his military background! We try to get it back in order before he returns home, but if you stop by between 7 and 3, you’ll see my living room like this with at least one child working at the table. I’m horribly embarrased to post this!

What amazed me during those few frustrating days wasn’t that my attitude could change the direction of my day, which is something I am very well aware of, it was the fantastic people in my life, specifically the women.  I think we are solely responsible for who and what we let into our lives and it was so cool for me to see that I have so many positive people in my life. It’s taken me 30 years to learn I need to be choosy about who I let into my life and that that’s okay!   I know I can go to them when I have a rough week and they have my back.  I realized that the key to getting through those frustrating days are building enough positive relationships that when tough times come you have someone to lean on but also who will give it to you straight.  Someone you can text and say “today being a mommy sucked”, someone who will send you a funny text, someone who will tell you to go workout, someone who will send you a picture of their laundry baskets and say “I’m there too sister”, someone who will pray with you.  Make it a priority to have those people in your life and more importantly, make it a priority to be that person for people in your life that you love.  God never intended for us to do any of this alone.  I hope you have an awesome week, but if you don’t I hope you know that it’s completely normal and that you have some people in your life who are as fantastic as the ones I have in mine 🙂 If you don’t, get to work on finding some!


TBT, Crossfit and Jesus

Catchy title right?

I grew up in a small town.  And within that small town there were a few different school systems.  You could attend the “big school” in town if you lived inside city limits, you might attend a Catholic school, or you might be one of the few townies who lived outside of city limits and attended the little rural school in the country.  As in, 50 people that stick together from Kindergarten through senior year size.  I remember when I went away to college so many people were shocked a school that tiny even existed.


Think Kenny Chesney “Back where I come from” ish.  You know you want to listen to this CD all day now, you’re welcome 🙂 As I grew up in this small town and rural school district, athletics became a huge part of my life.  I’m sure this is the case in many small towns because what else are you going to do? That’s why there are so many songs, movies and books dedicated to Friday night football, or small sports teams and huge victories, it’s a BIG deal and a huge part of the identity of so many kids growing up today.  Luckily for me, I didn’t compete in sports because I felt there was nothing else to do, I truly loved it.  I loved being a part of a team, challenging myself and competing.  I participated in track, volleyball, softball, dance, cheerleading, gymnastics and soccer.  My mom was awesome at allowing me to try anything and getting me to ALL the practices I needed to be at.  The only sport I didn’t ever attempt was basketball, I like my personal space and couldn’t stand the thought of girls waving their hands in my face for an hour.  But don’t get me wrong, I spent many nights shooting hoops with my dad and brother in the drive way and I cherished that time.

All sounds great right? Until you grow up and realize unless you are college or Olympic material, the day you graduate high school that entire life and identity is over.  I don’t remember having a hard time with that because I always continued to be active, whether it was running, getting some gym time in with girlfriends or just hiking at the local state park.  But I do remember that time period where you become a mama and your life is wholly consumed by your new family (as it should be) and as I adjusted many times I thought….”It stinks that there isn’t a way for adult women to participate in some type of a sport”. (Actually, I probably was thinking more along the lines of GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE)  Now I know there are volleyball leagues and basketball, but honestly those are usually all men or co-ed because as women we just don’t give our physical health the care it needs.  Because somewhere, between the period of being in high school and becoming an adult, we are led to believe that we should look perfect, feel happy, have successful families, and that none of these things should require any time or effort.  Just look on the magazine rack of any store…”lose 20 pounds in a week”, “wear this lotion to look 10 years younger”.  There isn’t an article that says “take at least 30 minutes a day, eat food that is made to maintain your health, love your family and it doesn’t matter what you look like, God made you perfect as you are.”

For me, and I’m going to guess most women, this can be a constant battle.  But ladies let me tell you, if you want to be a better mommy, wife, friend or co-worker you’ve gotta find a way to take care of yourself.  About a month ago, I started a Crossfit class and I have to tell you I was a bit nervous about it.  I trained for a half marathon a few years ago and it completely took over my life.  I spent all day and night thinking about it and every chance I got I would be working to fit in a run.  I believe there is a time for training, but for me it can be a tricky balance figuring out how to go all in and not neglect your first priorities.  I’m loving that for me Crossfit means  I have a set time that I can attend and it’s not negotiable, I’m able to challenge myself and at the same be competitive with others.  It’s not about being skinny, it’s not about looking perfect, it’s about taking care of your body and working to make YOUR body the best it can be.  When I look at my body as a tool to complete what God has laid out for me, it makes perfect sense.  If you’re given a car to drive to a destination you want it working perfectly don’t you?  You aren’t so much concerned about the paint job or if other people look at it as it drives by, but you want it to get you to your destination efficiently and safely.


Now there’s a reason that last paragraph had a lot of “for me” phrasing in it.  I wanted to give you an idea of what taking care of myself currently looks like and how it fits into my life but that works FOR ME.  If taking care of your body looks like going for evening walks, do it, if it’s yoga, do it, if it’s an exercise DVD when you can squeeze it in, do it.  Just know that you were given this body to take care of it and your worth isn’t based on what it looks like, your jean size, your weight, your measurements or anything else.  You were worth more than you can ever imagine the moment you were created.  Someone thought you were worth dying for and there is nothing you can do to change that.  I just believe that the least we can do is take care of the bodies we were given by that Creator and use our experiences to encourage others.  And hey, if you can find a class that reminds you a bit about a part of your life that you used to love and you can use it to your advantage….do that 😉

God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

How do you do it?

I think taking care of your health is so important.  I also think it’s a struggle for so many mamas out there.  Between the busyness, feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, and finding something that works, it can feel impossible to get into a workout routine.  But I also know that if you’re a mommy, that means you have little ones watching you very closely.  You have daughters looking to you for beauty while at the same time they are seeing supermodels on t.v., you have sons watching how you take care of yourself and whether you know it or not, when they choose a wife one day, the way you raised them will be extremely significant.

So I thought instead of my perspective, this fall I would find a few women I know that I feel are rocking it.  They are taking care of themselves and are living in a purposeful way.  Lady #1 Molly.  Molly is one of those people I couldn’t get rid of, not that ANYONE in the right mind would want to.  What I mean by that is we didn’t necessarily choose to become friends, we just kept running into each other.  Our daughters went to the same babysitter, then to the same daycare, we began attending the same church; clearly God knew we needed to become friends because He kept placing us together at random places.  7 years after meeting, we participated in a small group together, trained for a half marathon together (and completed it!) and our families have become buddies for sure.  She’s encouraging, inspiring, fun and I just love her!

So….I”ll let her take it over, meet my good friend, Molly.

1. What’s your current workout routine?

My current workout routine consists of two hours of Volleyball one time a week and one hour of CrossFit three times per week.  I just started CrossFit in the last couple of months and I’m still getting adjusted to it.  I have a feeling that as I get deeper into it, I may be practicing a lot of skills at home….can you say “Double Unders”?!

2. Why is it important to take care of your body/health?

I feel that it is so important to take care of your body.  I have always felt that way, but now that I have joined CrossFit, I believe it even more.  I feel working on your STRENGTH should be #1.  As one of my CF trainers recently said…building your muscles, in the way that CF does, prepares you for every day life.  It prepares you for those lids that you just can’t quite get off, or those heavy boxes you need to move. Strength/weight exercises are so essential and, I truly believe, are THE most important.  So many people have the misconception that to lose weight you must do cardio.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth!  Building muscles/weight training has been proven to have WAY MORE positive effects on your body than cardio alone (check out this video –  We all need to break out of this funk…especially women…DO NOT be afraid of heavy weights!  There are NO pills, NO shakes, NO wraps, NO cream…NO magic fix to losing weight, and keeping it off.

3.How do you fit it in to your busy life?

How do I find time to squeeze in workout time with my busy schedule (husband, kids, work, practices, games, Awana, small group leader, LOTS of other ministry work, new LuLaRoe consultant, hanging out with friends/family, etc.)???  I MAKE TIME!  You HAVE to!  Your life depends on it!  Now don’t get me wrong, I was quick to find excuses myself (in the past)…I know that game!  Hypothetically, if you get 8 hours of sleep per night (and honestly, who gets that?!) there is still 112 hours left in the week.  For me…only THREE of those hours are dedicated to work out!  That means I still have 109 hours left for everything else!  We have to be honest with ourselves…do we really not have time, or are we just making excuses?   Now, I am very lucky to have a supportive, athletic, dedicated husband, who supports me and my fitness goals…and he doesn’t mind me not being home for ONE hour, THREE times a week.

4. How has taking care of your body affected your relationships/life?

Taking care of myself, has had major positive effects on my relationship with my husband and with others as well!  Because my hubby is so dedicated to fitness, my personal dedication has led to having more things in common with one another.  We can talk about the “WOD” or how our bodies are changing, or just plain encourage each other…what a great aspect to add to your marriage!  I feel more energetic, happy, motivated, encouraging, strong, etc….which also leads to positive effects when it comes to any relationship.  Extra bonus…I have met and developed relationships with so many new people through CF…also have deepened current relationships further with having a common ground.

5.What do you hope your children take from watching you live this way?

I hope my children learn the value and importance of taking care of your body.  God, our Heavenly Father, has given us these bodies to carry us through our lives…they are all very different and very unique.  We all carry weight differently, metabolize calories differently, have different strengths/weaknesses,  etc.  It is very important to keep our bodies healthy and strong, so that we can be healthy and strong for each other for a longer period of time.  To take care of our bodies, is telling God that we appreciate what He has done for us, and what He has provided for us…we don’t want to take any part of our lives for granted.  Also, I want to teach my children the value of being and staying active.  In this digital world we live in today, it’s easy to get caught up with cellphones, tablets, computers, video games and other digital devices…and what are we most likely doing while using these items?  Yep…you got it…SITTING DOWN or even LYING down!  <—trust me…I’m guilty of this myself!

6.Have you always been active? If not, what changed to make you an active person?

I would have to say that I have always been a pretty active person.  Growing up, I was always athletic and enjoyed being active.  I played soccer, volleyball, basketball and was a cheerleader when I was young.  I was in dance classes as a child and was a Streatorette (dance team) in high school.  I played softball almost my whole entire life…even for a few years as an adult.  After high school, I slowed down a bit, but started visiting the gym with my boyfriend (now husband) and to try to stay active.  The gym stayed very important to my husband (and obviously to this day), but I slacked off a few years here and there.  A few years ago, I had some tough times in my life, and decided I needed to change.  I was the heaviest I had ever been and was destined to turn my life around.  I started the C25K (couch-to-5K) program and became a….GASP…RUNNER!  (If you would have told me this is earlier in my life, I would have laughed in your face…my 3 other siblings were track stars…I was not blessed with that talent.  I actually remember being told by my dad to “unhook the trailer” as I ran to 1st base at one of my softball games).  For the next 2 years, I participated in every 5K event possible.  I had met Jami before, but was blessed to cross paths with her because of a mutual friend and this new found hobby…DING, DING, DING, this hobby/workout ALSO connected me with new and better relationships.  I also began my heavy weight lifting regimen, thanks to my husbands guidance.  I was in the absolute BEST shape of my life at age 30, and felt absolutely AMAZING!  After all of those 5K’s, naturally it was time to step up my game.  And thanks to *cough* Jami and another mutual friend, we signed up for a half marathon…which we conquered in 2014!

7.What’s your advice for a busy mama wanting to get on some type of a workout routine?

If I could give any advice to the busy moms out there, I would say you have to take care of yourselves FOR your children.  If you don’t take care of your body, then who will?  I guarantee you will feel more energetic and feel better about yourself.  You have to make the time.  I guarantee if I told you I had free backstage passes tomorrow night for you to meet Luke Bryan, you would punch a hole in that schedule and make sure to be there!  Therefore…whenever it’s time to hit the gym, just tell yourself…”Time to meet Luke Bryan!”  Besides, wouldn’t you want to look your best for that occasion?!  *Side note…I’m more of an Adam Levine gal myself…but whatever works for you!  😉

Thank you for reading my “workout story”!  My wish is that I can speak to the heart of just one busy mom out there and turn her life around.  Remember…if not for yourself (which all of us moms are guilty of)…do it for your family.  And now, let God speak to you…“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13


She’s amazing right? Her answers make me tear up. ESPECIALLY the end of #2.  Let’s do this women, let’s change what the world thinks is beautiful.  Each one of you was created uniquely to fulfill a specific purpose, appreciate your body and treat it in a way so that you can live your life to the fullest! Thank you Molly so much for sharing your story, love you lady 😉


Don’t count me out…

A few weeks ago my family headed about an hour away to this small town with adorable boutiques lining the streets.  There was a farmer’s market going on, music coming from the speakers, it was a beautiful day.  I had been there earlier in the summer with a group of girlfriends and wanted to return to purchase a gift for one of them.  Plus, there’s a canal that runs through the town so I thought we could spend some time hanging out there as we aren’t huge shoppers.  (Especially boutique shoppers, if you haven’t read my blog before I have 3 children; ages 1, 5 and 7….sounds like fun in a store with a bunch of fragile items packed tightly together right?)

Knowing we would be spending the day with our children, my husband and I planned a picnic near the canal and brought along the kids’ rubber boots and nets in case they could catch a critter.  That’s more our kind of day anyway.  The girls and I went in to grab the gift I needed, we visited a couple of other shops, stopped at the candy store and then headed to the water.   We found a picnic table in the shade and met up with some family and friends to visit.

As we sat and ate, my husband and I noticed a man lying down over on a bench with a bike parked next to him.  Clearly, he was either traveling or carrying most of what he owned with him.  He had a radio and was relaxing on the bench.  My first impression was that he was homeless and it was a scorching hot/humid day and I wished we could help him.  Whenever I see someone in a similar situation as this, I always want to help them but I’m at a loss as to how to do it. I don’t have a ton of money, I had some food with me but honestly I didn’t want to offer goldfish and chewed up grapes. And what if I offend someone by offering help?  I just never know what to do.

I said a prayer for that man and followed my daughter along the canal to search for turtles.  After awhile, I looked over and saw my husband chatting with him.  He probably spent over an hour talking with this man and when I glanced over at him I could tell he was intrigued.  My husband doesn’t waste his time on things he isn’t interested in, so I was anxious to hear what he had to say when he returned.  Finally, he walked over, I smiled at the man and waved and he got in the car. The man had told him all about his life.  He had served in the military, had grown children whom he loved very much. He was extremely thankful for all he had and for his life and expressed gratitude for the opportunities he had to serve our country, to raise his family and to live here freely.   He reaffirmed to my husband many times that his freedom in this country and spending time with his children were the most important things in life.


We sat there talking about how that man didn’t want our help and as a matter of fact, on that day and all the days since that we have thought about him, he gave something to us.  He was completely content and enjoying his life laying on that bench, all he wanted to do that day was listen to the Cubs game.  Shame on me for immediately assuming just by looking at him that I was the one who could offer something to him.  And even worse, after I made that assumption, I did nothing. Way to go Jami. I literally pretended he wasn’t there.  I wasn’t consciously doing that but if I look back and my actions that’s what they showed.  I saw a man whom I thought needed help, and I looked away.

In church today our pastor mentioned our “daily bread” and how God provides so much more for all of us than our basic needs and again I thought about our new friend.  He  was grateful for all he had.  If you were to take me and place me in his situation right now, I highly doubt I would be feeling gratitude towards God for my daily bread.  But this man truly was thankful.

All he needed that day was the exact opposite of what I did.  He needed someone to not pretend he was invisible.  Many of the times I looked over I noticed both he and my husband smiling during their conversation. They were chatting like old friends.  I hope that my husband made that man feel a bit less invisible that day and that somehow he would know that he has given us such an appreciation for our freedom, family, friends and all that we have been blessed with.

To the gentleman in the park:

If you read this, we appreciated the little time we were able to hear your story and we aren’t counting you out 😉

Thank you for allowing us to learn about your life and giving me the permission to share it here. May we all be more like you.


Tattoos and scars

I spent some time this afternoon reading my Bible ( I bet that’s not how you expected this post to start!) because I felt like I needed some more information on a particular Bible verse….Isaiah 40:31.

You see, a couple of years ago this verse grabbed onto me and held me so tightly that I got it tattooed on my arm and I haven’t regretted it for one single second.  It wasn’t my first tattoo, (don’t regret my first one either) not sure if it will be my last, but I genuinely felt I needed it and there have been many instances since that moment walking into the tattoo parlor, where I have benefited from that ink on my arm.


I could write a book on the whirlwind that was going on for a few years before this final straw, but my final straw was a lump that was mysterious looking and had to be removed.  I had been through a few months of watching it with no change, back and forth to visits to the doctor and finally the surgical removal.  So, I had the day off work to return to my doctor for the resultsespecially with two children under four at home I was terrified.  You know the cancer/no cancer results. Why can’t they ever call you for that? Who wants to do that car drive seriously?! You sit around all day wanting to vomit or cry or I don’t know… Anyway, I decided I would wake up, go to the gym and then get this tattoo. I was certain that if I had cancer, God would use it for some good and I would need this verse to remind me that I could handle it and if I didn’t I would need a daily reminder that my life would have many more ups and downs and that He has me here for a reason. All those hills and valleys would serve a purpose.

I can’t describe to you how blessed I felt to walk out of that appointment with a positive report.  I text my husband and some of my close friends as I sat in the parking lot, but more importantly I was certain that I was here to do a job.  The fact that I didn’t have cancer meant that I needed to be using my health to help others and I needed to be taking it seriously.  I have been given one body and I try to take care of it the very best I can.  Since then, I have refered to my tattoo to help me not grow weary (weary :feeling or showing tiredness, especially as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep) when:

  • My children are throwing fits
  • My husband is away at military training
  • I’m on mile 5 of the half marathon I thought was a good idea
  • I’m STILL running the half marathon
  • It’s the months of March or April during the home school year 😀
  • I want to give up anything
  • I find out someone I love very much has cancer and it’s not going away
  • A dear child passes away
  • I’m anxious about all the crazy things I get anxious about!
  • I’m trying to do a workout even though I”m extremely exhausted
  • I have no idea what’s for dinner and everyone is hungry
  • L-A-U-N-D-R-Y
  • I haven’t actually talked to my husband for more than 10 minutes in like a week (don’t act like that doesn’t happen in your household!)

Anything I’m telling you, I can use this verse for ANYTHING.  So, what I learned today while I was reading that the point of this verse was that it was written for comfort for exiles.  When I looked it up in my husband’s study Bible it actually said comfort; UNFAILING strength for weary exiles. I love that. Unfailing.

Whatever you are going through Jesus is there and he is unfailing, even if it’s something that is life consuming like cancer or your child throwing a fit. (Which I feel like that can be life consuming as well!) 

I’d love to hear your stories behind your tattoos! Please share in the comment section if you’re up for it 🙂

the pursuit channel

This morning I woke at 4:30 for my morning run, did some chores around the house, kissed my hubby before he went off to work and then realized none of my children were awake.  This is a rare occasion around here.  I thought about getting a few more miles in on the treadmill, maybe finishing painting our bathroom, doing some work for the 5K race we have coming up, prepping for our homeschool year and finally decided that about the moment I opened the paint can the baby would probably wake up. So I opted for the treadmill, completed a few miles and they still were not awake.  I looked over to my couch in front of our big picture window, grabbed a cozy blanket, my daily devotional that I’m a week behind on and began reading, until…I saw the hummingbirds!


I love hummingbirds.  We get several each year and I used to spend what seemed like hours watching them with my grandmother.  I could write a book about my memories of her. Such a strong amazing woman, I often wish I could run over to her house and ask her questions about cooking, parenting, the Bible, just everything! Okay, back on track.  I have been bummed we haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet this year and last night I put a new batch of food in their feeder and finally we have them.  So, I sat on the couch, tucked my feet under my yellow lab, read and watched the hummingbirds.  It was a great way to start my day.

One of the devotionals I read was about how our Savior is in pursuit of us.  I’ve gotta tell you I’ve always had trouble understanding that concept.  It’s not because I don’t believe that Jesus wants all his children to know Him and love Him.  But let me tell you what images I have in my head about pursuit.  I’m married to an avid deer hunter.  Is there a word that means more dedicated than avid? Because if there is, that would be him.  Obsessed? That’s it! Ha! To me, pursuit is hunting something down. When we were dating we spent several hours watching the pursuit channel; all these men and women spending their lives figuring out the best way to kill a big buck.  And actually, not even deer hunting, because in that situation they are usually sitting in a tree.  One time my husband told me a story of someone who saw an animal who was suffering horribly and he chased it down and tackled it to put it out of it’s misery.  That’s pursuit. I”m not hating on deer hunters here, I’ve been deer hunting before, if that’s your thing go for it, but to me, Jesus doesn’t have to do all that work to know us.  For goodness sakes He created us.  And when I consider my own children, we don’t pursue them, we are just there, always present, always there for them.  If they fall we pick them up.  We love them, we cherish them, they are ours.

So I guess that’s my perspective on the whole “pursuit” thing.  Maybe I’m more of a Footprints in the Sand kinda girl. I was blessed to grow up in the church so I always knew I was loved by God and Jesus was a part of my life.  That doesn’t mean there weren’t many difficult times throughout my life.  But I don’t have that big, exciting story.  That, I was here and then all of a sudden, BAM I changed story.  I would bet if that was my story I could relate more to the pursuit.  And PS if you’re that person, I love you’re story and I love hearing it and I love that you have it and I don’t think it’s any less valid than mine 🙂 Even in the darkest most horrible few years of my life, I remember being very angry at what was going on and the situation my family was in.  But there was no doubt in my mind that as I sat on my bed crying and praying that Jesus was sitting there with me.  Maybe there are 2 kinds of stories, maybe more…maybe there are Footprints stories and Pursuit stories.  People who have lives that were drastically changed when they began their relationship with Jesus and then there are people who have just kinda always known Him through the ups and downs of life and every once in awhile He’s had to pick us up for a little bit.


I think I’m cool with that….I’m more of a beach girl anyway 😉

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you.  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

I would love to hear your stories of how your life has been, do you relate to the pursuit? Or has your life been more like the footprints poem? Or a mix?!


I run to lose weight

Way back when I started running after my first daughter was born I began running mostly out of desperation and frustration.  I had tried “everything” to lose the baby weight.  Everything meaning I had stopped eating a few things I didn’t like anyway and was probably doing the elliptical for 30 minutes a day in my basement slowly enough to glance through an US Weekly magazine and maybe going to the gym every once in a while.

hate run.jpg

Running wasn’t ever something that I loved, as a matter of fact, I pretty much hated it.  During junior high and high school I was a sprinter, and pretty good at it without having to put forth much effort.  I was able to compete at the state level both individually and as a part of a few team relays.  I remember a few conversations post baby that led me to believe running was my only option if I was serious about getting back into shape.  The first was with my family practitioner.  We were discussing my migraines and some medication options that might give me some relief.  She mentioned that she would not put me on any type of medication until I began exercising regularly,  lost some weight and began following a healthier diet.  I remember leaving stunned; not angry, just stunned.  I knew I was overweight for my height but to be honest with you, compared to people around me, I didn’t seem large.  Don’t get me wrong, I was completely unhappy with how I looked and felt, but I almost wanted to say, what about all those other people?! That’s why I love my doctor, she knew me and she’s straightforward, that’s what I like about her.

Next up, chiropractor.  If you don’t see a chiropractor, just find a good one right now.  That is my family’s stop EVERY time when we don’t feel well.  I won’t get on that soap box right now but I have trusted our family chiropractor for information on such a wide range of subjects and she has never steered me wrong.  In that office they always focus on the whole patient and I greatly appreciate it.  So again….chiropractor, how do I lose this baby weight??? Running.

The worst part about their responses was that my husband, the soldier, had been telling me the same thing for years…crap. So I started running, if you could call it that.  Thank God we lived in the country because I was horribly embarrassed.  I walked most of the way.  I swore my asthma that I had been diagnosed with as a child wouldn’t allow me to run.  It took me about 45 minutes to complete 2 miles and I complained about it when I got back BIG time.   I hated it, I hated it every single day. I kept telling my husband I just wasn’t a runner.  He didn’t understand, he was a runner, I wasn’t.  After all, I had asthma. And remember, I just had a baby. Also, I was a teacher working full-time, so he didn’t understand that, I was exhausted. I had shorter legs than him.  I mean I had all kinds of excuses. I felt weak, I felt tired, I felt lonely, I felt like I would never get there.  I cried, I didn’t feel like I was seeing results at all.  Until one day I did.  And then, in April of 2010, 10 months after my first daughter was born.  Hold on can I say that again? All of you who want fast results like I did? 10 MONTHS AFTER MY FIRST DAUGHTER WAS BORN. I could run a 5k.  IT TOOK ME 10 MONTHS TO BE ABLE TO RUN A 5K.  I met up with a friend for the first time ever and we were nervous, we had no idea what we were doing, but we stuck together and we did our first ever 5K.  Can I tell you that on that day, my weight didn’t matter at all? I felt powerful, strong, happy and like I was a part of something I had never been a part of before.  I felt like I was someone worth looking up to for all those little girls and young women who were there, cheering on their mommies and sisters and friends and family members.  I knew in my heart that this was a part of me that I needed and that my daughter needed to see.  It had nothing to do with a number on a scale.

Here I am, 7 years in.  I am a runner.  It brings tears to my eyes to even begin to write about what God has done in my life through running.  I’ve had the opportunity to complete several 5K races, 5 mile races and a half marathon.  (My goal is to complete MANY more half marathons!) I have been completely fortunate to run through 2 pregnancies.  That woman who I ran my first 5K with is my “sole sister”, we have completed trail runs together, much-needed runs that feel more like therapy sessions, we trained for the half marathon with a group of amazing women (love them, I could write an entire post about each of them!) and completed that entire process together, she and I continue to grow and change in this thing called running together.  I have been encouraged by family members and friends who amaze me by their motivation to begin running when they aren’t sure they can do it, then they allow me to be a part of the journey as they never give up.  Words can’t describe the support my husband has given me, whether he’s running with me or waking me up at 4:20am when I don’t hear my alarm and giving me the hand signals for you….go…run? 🙂 so that the kids don’t wake up.  He’s my forever #1 cheerleader, I adore him for that.  And my absolute favorite lesson from running that I never expected to learn was what I’ve been able to give.  The running community is all about being a team and supporting each other.  If you told me 7 years ago I”d be directing a race with a group of friends for St. Jude, my response would have been “I don’t run, I hate running.” The fact that I’m able to use running which is so close to my heart and show my children that their body is a tool that can be used to care for others is more than I could ever ask for.

So the moral of the story? Take care of yourself.  If for no other reason than you don’t wanna miss out on this!  You don’t have to run, but do what works for you to take care of your body because it can be used to do some pretty awesome things while you’re here on this Earth and people are watching you! So encourage them, bless them, create a team with them and be their cheerleader.  You never know where you’ll be in 7 years but this body is going to be what will be taking you there!


If you’re interested in donating to the race I direct, please visit or you can checkout the facebook page at 3rd Annual Reagan Wednesday 5K.  Thanks for reading!

why I love hillbillies

My first experience with county fairs didn’t come until I was in high school.  My boyfriend and his group of friends raced demolition derby cars and I would spend my summers anticipating him winning as I stood and watched from the sidelines.  I’d watch each heat of cars as the mud would go flying in the air praying there wasn’t a fire and that he would finish the night’s derby safely without having to jump out of his car.  I don’t remember having a bad view of the people at the fair but I remember viewing them as hillbillies.  Now before you go judging me on this, I have never thought of a hillbilly as a negative thing.  Honestly.  The people I met at the fair were always kind to me and struck me as the kind of people who didn’t care at all what they looked like. They were friendly, would chat with you all night long and weren’t stuck up at all.  I liked them and I enjoyed spending time around them.  I genuinely loved going to county fairs with him and watching him race. Meeting new people from all around the state was a lot of fun for me with him by my side.  I loved hearing the stories they would tell of the effort they put into preparing these cars and watching their children play at the fair as they raced.  My husband and his buddies spent all summer getting their cars ready and racing them and I took part in as much of it as he and his friends would let me.  I wanted to soak up as much of him as I could and if that meant helping get derby cars ready, I did it, if that meant going to fairs, I rode along.  At one point my friend and I even made shirts that said “Save a car, ride a driver”.  I know, we were classy.  But it was a fun part of my life, hey fair people….hillbillies, whatever you want to call them, are fun people!  You get to hang out with animals, watch demolition derbies, go on rides, eat delicious food (nobody said it was healthy) , watch the kids play on the playground, and just have a good time together.  It reminds me of the atmosphere at the campground.  Many nights we would spend all day driving to a fair, wait in line to check in, walk around eating funnel cakes and drinking lemonade shake ups, go on some rides, watch the guys participate in the derby, drive half way home, stop at a Monicals for pizza, drive the rest of the way home, and then camp out at someones house and sit around a fire and have a few beers. And so went many of my summers after high school.


Once we had kids of our own, the demo derby lifestyle has taken a backseat and we haven’t been to any county fairs in quite a while as our own children aren’t old enough to participate as far as showing livestock or projects independently yet.  But this year we were determined not to miss out on the county fair.  My husband really wanted to take our kids to see the rodeo.  I hadn’t even seen a rodeo before so I was pretty excited to be going for the first time.  As the day went on, our chances of getting to the rodeo weren’t looking too great.  The temperature was 90+ degrees, it was VBS week at our church so we were all exhausted, I had a terrible migraine, so we were thinking maybe we better sit this one out.  After a bit of back and forth, we decided it’s a once a year thing and we were going, so we packed a bunch of water, were prepared for the reality that we may have to come right back home and made the drive to the county fair.


We got there, looked at all the livestock, let our kiddos see some of the entries of their friends and then found some seats to watch the rodeo.  Now the rodeo was awesome.  So cool.  My kids loved it, it was entertaining, they mixed it up with barrel racing, bull riding and cattle roping.  There was a portion of the show where the kids got to go out and have the opportunity to race and try to win a bike.  But that wasn’t the best part of the show.  To me, the best part of the show, was where all these HARD working men and women and children…these hillbillies, people call them.  These families who have children who are disciplined enough to rise early and feed and care for animals, work on projects like cooking, sewing, training animals and building .  They stood for the flag, they sang the national anthem together, they prayed together.  They stood in silence and honored men and women who have served in the military together.  They stood and honored men and women who are serving as police officers together.  It brought tears to my eyes.  All these people had to get up the next day and go to work and do life, but they were brought together by this commonality. They were proud to be American, they were praying together and honoring those who were serving together.  It wasn’t a holiday, it’s just what they do because it’s right.  That’s why I like spending time at the county fair around hillbillies, hard-working American families… them. They were there that night just being themselves because they don’t know how to be anything else.