September 28, 2007
Posted by Nicole under Family
| Tags: EconoLodge
, Fork's Drum Closet
, Jewelry Television
, Pigeon Forge
, Ripley's Believe It or Not
|  Comments
I took a little hiatus from blogging because I went with Tyler’s family (mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law) on a mini vacation to Pigeon Forge. We left Sunday and got back Wednesday evening. It was so fantastic! I’ve needed to get away from work for a while. I love my job, but I am always able to come back to it with renewed enthusiasm after I’ve been able to get away and re-energize myself.
We stayed in Pigeon Forge at a really, really nice EconoLodge. Tyler’s parents paid for the hotel rooms, which had heart-shaped jacuzzis in them. We definitely took advantage of that. I have been so sore from running and I’ve been wanting a day at the spa, but this was a nice substitute. I also didn’t go running the entire time I was there; I felt guilty about it, but I ran on fresh legs for the first time yesterday (and had my fastest 5-mile run yet, so it must have been what I needed).
The thing Tyler and I were most excited about, though? Cable! We don’t have cable at home because we just don’t think it’s a necessary expense and will just make us lazy. The three days with the cable proved we would be couch potatoes if we had it. We enjoyed watching The Girls Next Door (one of our guilty pleasures), MTV music videos, Next Top Model (me moreso than Tyler) and this interesting cooking show.
We did a lot of shopping, too. Pigeon Forge has a Nike Clearance Store (muuuuch cheaper than Nike Outlets, where you really don’t get a deal) and when I saw the prices they had, you would have though I was in heaven. There were so many good deals, it was hard to narrow my choices. I bought a running top, and my mother- and father-in-law bought me a shirt that says “Catch Me If You Can,” a pair of running shorts and a running bra, all for my birthday. Tyler bought a really nice jacket for $20. You can’t even get those prices on eBay!
We went to Gatlinburg on Tuesday, too. We ate at the Pancake Pantry and had some amazing pancakes, eggs and bacon. Then we walked the shops. Tyler purchased a $6 pair of aviator sunglasses. He looks pretty hot in them, if I do say so myself. Then Tyler and I went up on the sky lift with his sister Kyla and his dad Kerry. I was a little nervous on the way up; all that’s holding the seat to the cable is a little hook welded onto it. It would be a long, hard fall if something went wrong. But the view at the top was worth the nervousness. I just love the mountains; seeing all the homes that peeked through the trees made me very jealous of the people who live there. After that, we went to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum. Definitely some interesting things in there. You can learn a lot of things that never make it into the history books.
That night, we went to dinner and then to have some fun as a family. Tyler and I rode the go-carts. It was such a blast! They were really fast ones and the course had a couple big drop offs that were fun. It’s so great when he and I can be silly with each other. We really should have more times like that. We played miniature golf afterwards. I’ve never seen my mother in law laugh so hard in all my life. It really was such a great time and brought us all a lot closer.
On our way home, my mother in law Lana had to stop at the Jewelry Television Gem Store in Knoxville. She watches Jewelry Television religiously (so much that she has the logo burned into their big-screen television at home) so she was very anxious to be able to stop in. She got a ring there, and while she was looking Tyler and I went to the new Fork’s Drum Closet. He looked at cymbals there. He’s needing a new one since one has a crack in it. Since money is always tight, he didn’t buy one; he’s such a deal-shopper!
We were glad to get back home Wednesday. We missed our baby Lola. Our friends Eric and Angela kept her while we were gone. She barked every night, so they had to bring her back to our house when they would go to bed so they could get some sleep. We gave her a bath to get the cat dander off of her since Tyler is so allergic. She was so glad to have us home.
All in all, it was a great time. There were some tense times with conflicting personalities, but overall everyone got along. I ate way too much unhealthy food, so my body has let me know it the past couple days. Most importantly, Tyler and I were able to have some quality time together. I was so happy that we were able to put all the stress of the daily grind behind us and focus on one another. Made me even more happy that I married him; I am one lucky girl to have a man as good as him.
I took tons of pictures, but they’re on my computer at home, so eventually I will post some of them on here.
September 21, 2007
Each day, I get a passage from one of John or Stasi Eldridge’s books emailed to me through Ransomed Heart Ministries. Ever since my pastor sent me the first one, I’ve been hooked. They have been a source of encouragement, thought, and change for me. They’ve really helped me examine my life and reflect on God’s promises in my life.
The one I got this morning was a reminder to me of just how much I love my church and the people who comprise it. We should lift one another up on a regular basis; not just on Sundays, but throughout the week as well. Even if it’s just an occasional email, letting others know you are there for them means a lot. It can hold us accountable, but even more it lets us know we are loved and important.
My church has been that and more. When I first started going, I wanted nothing to do with it, really. Tyler and I had been having some rough spots and I felt abandoned by God. I was angry at God, the world, myself. Unknown to me, it showed on my face every time I was at church. My pastor came up to me several times to talk. I always gave him the shortest answer possible, hoping he’d get the hint. Who did he think he was, anyway? He didn’t know me.
But he, and everyone else in the church, loved me just the same. They let me know that no matter what I was dealing with, my heart was good. They kept loving me until I let God heal me. When I finally allowed God to change me and take down the walls I’d built around my heart, I saw that I had a family there that loved me.
A lot of people love going to these mega churches where they can hide (not that all of these mega churches are bad, but unless you are in small groups, you just don’t get the fellowship you need). But our church is small enough that we actually know each other, inside and out. We know each others’ struggles. We tell each other what we’re going through, knowing that we are in a safe place and won’t be judged. Sure, we may hear things we don’t want to hear, but more often than not we need to hear what God is saying through these people. We don’t need to be afraid of it; we need to take it in and pray that God will allow us to make the changes in our lives that will allow us to be free and really live.
I’m not saying that you should go to church just for what you can get out of it. Sometimes it’s also for what you can give to others. But always for what you can give to God.
The passage is posted below. What do you love about your church? Or if you don’t have a church, what would it take for you to be a part of one and fight for it?
Fight For It
Be kind, for everyone you know is facing a great battle.
A true community is something you will have to fight for. You’ll have to fight to get one, and you’ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it like you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work. You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church; this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to prison.
Suddenly all those “one another’s” in Scripture make sense. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Forgive one another. Acts of kindness become deeply meaningful because we know we are at war. Knowing full well that we are all facing battles of our own, we give one another the benefit of the doubt. Leigh isn’t intentionally being distant from me – she’s probably under an assault. That’s why you must know each other’s stories, know how to “read” one another. A word of encouragement can heal a wound; a choice to forgive can destroy a stronghold. You never knew your simple acts were so weighty. Its what we’ve come to call “lifestyle warfare.”
We check in regularly with one another, not out of paranoia (“Do you still like me?”), but in order to watch over each other’s hearts. “How are you doing?” But be careful about what you are looking for from community. For if you bring your every need to it, it will collapse. Community is no substitute for God. I left our annual camping trip absolutely exhausted and disappointed. As we drove home, I realized it was because I was looking to them to validate me, appreciate me, fill this aching void in my heart. Only once in ten days did I take time to be away with God, alone. I was too busy trying to get my needs met through them. Which is why community cannot live without solitude.
(Waking The Dead , 199, 200 )
September 18, 2007
I think the number of the day must be three because:
- This is the third post in one day (I obviously have a lot on my mind).
- And I’m about three weeks away from running the Evansville Half Marathon again!
As I was looking at the race’s web site I came across a picture of me. Not my most flattering picture, but it does show how much I’ve changed this year. I’ve gotten a lot thinner in the face. Well, really all over. I’ve lost about 15 pounds since the beginning of 2007. My clothes that once were tight now fit either like they should or are even a bit baggy. It’s quite an accomplishment for me. I owe much of it to running and some of it to healthier eating habits.
You can also now see some muscle definition in my arms. I love this. I used to be solid muscle in high school and now that I’m nearing the quarter-century mark (on Oct. 10…I’ll post a wish list later if you’d like to buy me a gift), it’s a good feeling for me to know I’m not too far from where I was back in my high school days as far as size.
However, I’m nowhere near where I was as a runner in high school. I was one of the top runners in my area back then, and now I’m humbled by some of the most amazing runners each week. I think I’m doing well when I run 5 miles in 40 minutes; meanwhile, there are some runners who run it in much less time with much less effort.
Looking at the picture also made me very excited to be running the half again this year. It reminded me of how far I’ve come. After my near-death experience in the half last year, I wasn’t sure I’d do it again. Especially after seeing the fear in my daddy’s eyes when he told me he thought I was going to die. He said he wouldn’t come watch me in another race because it was too much to bear, but I hope he does anyway. I want to show him that I can do it.
The thing is, I know I can do it. This past Saturday I ran 10 miles while on the retreat at Harmonie State Park. The weather was perfect. I was energized and had a positive outlook. I ran the entire distance (which included several hills) in less than an hour and a half. I know that I could have done a full 13.1 as good as I felt that morning. I definitely needed that run. It showed me that come race day, I’ll have the training and adrenaline to carry me through the finish line on both feet.
I’m also very excited about all the support I’ll have that day. My family (Tyler, mom, dad, in laws) and several people from church will be there to cheer me on.
I hope I make them proud.
September 18, 2007
My little world of blogging is just that…little. I don’t have many people view my blog let alone comment on it. I’m pretty particular about which ones I even read on a regular basis. So far, my friend Billy, you’ve been about it.
But today I stumbled across a blog that is exactly the spiritual food I needed. I’ve been dealing with some spiritual and marriage battles for quite a while now, so todayI did a search about marriages (I neglect to be more specific on purpose, but I will note that I am constantly interested in finding ways to strengthen mine). In doing so, I came across this post from Magnanimity’s blog. The clarity, honesty, and spiritual maturity drew me in and I decided to browse through the author’s collection of posts.
One passage in particular really moved me. As I read through this prayer, it was me. Inside and out. I’m filled with so many insecurities, inconsistincies, and insufficiencies, I often find myself a mess. All of this should bring me closer to God. But for so many years, I depended on myself to bring about change in my life. I dug my claws in, gritted my teeth, and did what I had to do to make everything better. Only it didn’t make it better. It just gave me temporary relief. A reason to feel good about myself. That is until the next trial came up.
And I’m finding that even though I’m in a renewed, refreshed relationship with Christ, I still revert back to my old habits.
I don’t pray enough.
I don’t thank Him enough.
I don’t witness enough. (And not just by words. But also my life.)
I’m not enough. Period.
But God is enough for all of this. I forget this so many times. He makes up for all of my shortcomings, all my struggles. I too often fail to give my burdens, my baggage over to God. I hang my head in sadness and struggle instead of giving it all over to God and looking up with a thankful heart.
And Satan would love to keep me there. If he can keep my eyes on the ground, then I can’t look up to see all that God has to offer me. It keeps me from giving all that I have over to God as well. I don’t want to live in this place anymore. I want to move forward, be someone who others take notice of, not because of me, but because of What is in me.
I want to be a better Christian.
I want to be a better wife.
I want to be a better friend.
I want to be everything God already sees in me.
September 18, 2007
We went over to our friends’ Eric and Angela’s house last night because they are keeping Lola when we go to Gatlinburg. We wanted to see how Lola would handle staying there with their cats, which they didn’t have last time she stayed with them. This is how it went most of the evening:
She just couldn’t understand 1) what they were and 2) why they wouldn’t play.
Then she put on the cats’ Halloween costume. Too cute for words:
September 17, 2007
This weekend I stayed at Harmonie State Park with 9 amazing women. We stayed in the family cabins for my church’s women’s retreat. Although the cabins were made for 8 people (2 bunk beds, a double bed, and a hideaway bed) we managed to squeeze all 10 of us in the cabin. Those of us who didn’t get a bed slept on the floor on air mattresses, while others slept on air mattresses on the screened-in patio. The weather was just amazing…70′s all weekend with a light breeze. Couldn’t have asked for a better setting.
While it was a church event, it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill retreat. Most people, when they think of a church retreat, envision women sitting around the table, Bibles open, discussing Scripture all weekend long, and learning how to be a more Godly woman. While we did discuss Scripture at our own leisure, there was no schedule. Instead, we did what we enjoy doing: scrapbooking, photography, knitting, crocheting, reading, etc. I even was able to get my 10-mile run in to keep in schedule with the training for the half marathon I have in three weeks (YIKES!). We also had plenty of time to sleep in, take naps, take walks, and just get to know one another.
I was amazed at the fact that despite all 10 of us being crammed in the cabin all weekend, we got along amazingly well. There were no incidents of arguing or even anyone getting annoyed with another person. We were all as relaxed as we could possibly be. And it showed on our faces…smiles and laughing the entire time.
While I got A LOT of scrapbooking done, the best thing I accomplished was to grow closer to these women. I went to the retreat knowing these women as church members and left knowing them as friends and even sisters. It was amazing. And we loved it so much that we decided we needed to do it more often than once a year. We are hoping to schedule the retreats every four months, especially since there were some women who were not able to attend this weekend. I don’t have the pictures off my camera yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to post some of the pictures that show just how much fun we had.
September 13, 2007
To Newburgh. In the form of a Walmart. And I’m not too happy about it. Read here to learn more about the plans. (more…)
September 11, 2007
Today is Tuesday, and that means half marathon training with the 13 Weeks to 13 Miles crew. I’ve been at this since July, so I’ve come to accept that taking some time out of my evenings, away from Tyler and Lola, is what I must do to prepare for this big race.
Like I’ve said before, I have a love-hate relationship with running. There have been times I’ve absolutely dreaded going to training while what I really wanted was to go home to crawl in bed, fix dinner, or just lounge around the house. I’ve skipped training for reasons including that I’d had a long day at work, my allergies were acting up, or because it was incredibly hot outside.
But tonight should be a fantastic night for hitting the pavement. According to Ron Rhodes, my favorite meteorologist of all time, the humidity is supposed to drop right along with the temperatures — to sub-80 degrees. Regardless of the how warm or cool it is, I’ll sweat like crazy. But tonight I’ll actually be able to breathe. I’m very much looking forward to it.
Yes, looking forward to running. People’s reactions to how much I run range from that of admiration to thinking I’m crazy. I’m always amazed that there are still people who, when finding out I’m a runner, express what they think of it. Maybe I don’t look like a runner (darn thunder thighs). Maybe it’s because most people don’t see many runners out actually running (likely because we either get up really early to run, or we’re out kicking our own butts when we should be sitting down to dinner). There are people who run a lot more than I do, though. We’re definitely a different breed, but we truly love it. We may have blisters, calluses, and sock tan lines, but there are very few things that could keep us from doing what we love.
In the picture are the people who I run with every week: Nicole, Mo, Chuck, and then me in the pink top. These people are the ones who keep me going, encourage me to run harder when all I want to do is give up. Nicole is a mom of two with the third on the way. Before she found out she was pregnant, she pushed her two kids in a stroller and still beat just about everyone. Needless to say, now that she doesn’t push the stroller anymore (doctor said it’s a no-no) she’s even faster. Mo is running the half marathon because he has been trying to lose weight. After he got married, he put on the pounds and his wife made a friendly wager that he couldn’t lose a certain amount by May. He did, and he’s still training hard not only to lose weight, but to prove to himself that he can complete this race. And I’ve known Chuck since last year. He’s only been running for three years, but already he’s done the Evansville Half Marathon and the Nashville Marathon. He’s definitely been an encouragement to me.
There are so many others who are there to offer me advice, give me an encouraging word, or just show me what it’s like to be a good runner. If you’ve ever been interested in giving running a try, I’d definitely suggest the 13 Weeks to 13 Miles program. You can start out walking (they have walk, walk/run, and run groups) and build up to your goal.
Come on over to the dark side of running. You just might like it.
September 10, 2007
I just want to say a special thanks to Billy and James for helping me get this blog going. Billy provided some much-needed expertise since I obviously was as inept (as icing) at interpreting blog lingo. I had no idea what a “widget” was nor how to differentiate between the blogroll and links.
And thanks to James for commenting on the blog. It’s good to know that people actually do read others’ blogs. Although I don’t necessarily write just for others (mostly for me since it’s one of my favorite pastimes…I have a journalism degree, so it’s in my blood), it’s encouraging to have a complete stranger comment. Kind of makes me feel like a rock star.
Head over to their blogs for some interesting content. Much more interesting than mine thus far, that’s for sure.
September 10, 2007
No, I don’t usually like saying that overused phrase, but I have to boast a bit. I just won two tickets to see Larry the Cable Guy on WABX. He’ll be at Robert’s Stadium on Oct. 25.
Most people who know me know I’m notorious for winning tickets to events. I’ve seen Gretchen Wilson, Blaine Larson, Van Zant, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, Dancing with the Stars, and Blue Man Group, and I didn’t pay for a single one of them.
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