Sunday, April 19, 2015

5 Things I Learned From My First 5K

Back in January, I did sort of a wacky thing. I signed up for my first 5K run. Since it was a Color Run and hey----color is awesome and fun, it didn't take much for my sister to pull me on board. After I signed up, I was totally pumped about the generous amount of time I had to train.
In my mind, this was going to be perfect. This would be the ideal reason to use the treadmill we own, that I don't use often enough. Woohoo! I was excited.

So, I started training. For a few weeks, I stayed on schedule (with this program) and then, since I had an ample amount of time to train, I fell off track. I mean, why run if you don't really have to? How about waiting until I actually really need to train? And so, I didn't train like I should have- that is, until the Color Run 5K was right around the corner and I realized that oh darn, I'm really signed up to run and I'm NOT A at all.

Running is something that's always been hard for me, but I started doing it anyway. I made peace with the fact that it sometimes sort of feels awful. I get side aches. I breath loud. However, on a positive note- it's super-duper rewarding. Although I'm still such a beginner, I've got to say I think I'm actually starting to like it. The burn tells me I'm getting stronger and you know what? I want to be a strong Mama. I want to do crazy runs and hikes and all sorts of things when I'm an old lady. It just sounds fun to me.

When I'm running, I think about the fact that I CAN run. Some people are stuck in bed with a debilitating illness and they'd only wish to be out pounding pavement with sweat dripping from them. When I run, I thank God that although it's hard, I can and so.....I do. 

The Color Run 5K was an absolute blast. If you've never ran a 5K and you think you need to be an all out "real runner" to do such a thing, please squish that idea right now.

Here are 5 Things I Learned From My First 5K

1. Not everyone runs the entire thing!
What a relief, right? You can do run/walk intervals and you'll still totally fit in. We walked quite a bit and we still made great time. You do NOT need to run every moment of it!

2. It's way more fun to do it with FUN friends.
The two friends I did the run with were absolutely wonderful. We were all there to simply have a great time and when one of us needed to slow down, we all slowed down. These girls were the perfect running partners. I seriously love them.

3. If you're into coffee, have some about an hour before and then pee right before the run.
We arrived early and walked to Starbucks. My americano kicked in right as the run started and Yeehaw! I had a spring in my step!

4. Expect to see ALL levels of runners there. 
Like I mentioned above, I didn't stick to my training perfectly. It was a relief to see all levels at the Color Run. Some gals had strong runners legs. Others looked like they'd never run before. All different levels and body types will be there and for me, a beginner, I found this kind of nice!

5. I can do it, you can too, and it's a total BLAST. 
Before the run, I looked for reasons to bow out. I hadn't trained like I'd planned, I thought everyone would run the entire thing, I thought I'd look like an absolute fool. Oh my word....I'm so glad I didn't cancel! If I would have let my insecurities win, I would have missed one of the BEST Saturday mornings I've enjoyed in a long time.

Friday, April 17, 2015


When we moved in, there wasn't a single tree, flower or bush. 4 years later, it hardly looks like the same place around here! The grass is green, there are more trees than you can count, the garden beds that Jeremiah built me have brought me more joy than I ever knew was possible and oh yeah...we did that BIG kitchen remodel. That was crazy.....and so worth it.

Today I got a call from the sweetest lady, a real estate agent looking to purchase a home for herself and her 2 kids. She said she wouldn't mind if we were here while she looked around and since I've been rushing our kids out for showings all week, I opted to stay.

While I gave her the tour, we clicked. She shared some of her story with me and while we stood in the driveway, talking about life, kids and homes, we both got tears in our eyes.

Right before she left, she told me she was heading back to her office to submit her offer. This afternoon, I signed next to her name and I feel like I couldn't have picked a better person to hand our keys over to.

It's NOT all said-and-done with a SOLD sign in the driveway and this may sound wonky, but I've been praying over the family that buys this place. I've prayed for God to help them make special memories here, like we have. Today I saw God's hands all over this crazy adventure we're on.
So, I guess we're pending! Whoop!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Elliott the Otter and Arrow to Alaska Giveaway!

When Judah was only 2 years old, a gal came and spoke to our MOPS group about preparing our kids for school. She gave lots of different suggestions, but what she drilled into us  more than anything was "Read, read, read to your kids." That's about it.

Reading with my kids has become one of my absolute favorite things. It's our sweet spot, I guess you could say. It's when we're on the couch, reading together, that right then, I know I'm doing exactly what I should be doing, nothing more, nothing less. Just reading.

Today I'm combining my love for the Pacific Northwest, with my absolute obsession with beautiful books and bringing you all a really fun giveaway: Arrow to Alaska, A Pacific Northwest Adventure and Elliott the Otter, The Totally Untrue Store of Elliott, Boss of the Bay.

These books perfectly combine Pacific Northwest living, with fun illustrations and a story line kids can easily relate to. I absolute love them.

Arrow to Alaska

A Pacific Northwest Adventure

"Elliott the Otter lives in Elliott Bay and claims that it’s named after him. And why wouldn’t it be, since he’s in charge of its daily activity? From the freighters bringing in cargo from around the world to the salmon passing through on their way upstream, Elliott is the boss of it all. Young readers will delight in Elliott’s antics as they learn about the bustling bay in Seattle’s Puget Sound.
John Skewes is a professional illustrator living in Seattle. He began work as a product designer and character artist for Disney Consumer Products before leaving to start his own company, Retrodyne Industries, in 2001. As the creator and illustrator of the award-winning Larry Gets Lost children’s book series, John has followed Larry from the southern tip of Texas to tiny Nome, Alaska, and has been lost several times himself. He has illustrated over twenty children’s books.

Eric Ode is a national award-winning children’s singer, songwriter, and the author of Sea Star Wishes. He lives in Bonney Lake, WA."

Enter the giveaway by using the Raffelcopter below, or just leave a comment telling me who'd you love to read these books with. The winner will be notified by email. 
Happy Reading! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

10 Mother's Day Gifts that Can Help Change the World

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.”
― Mother Teresa
It was a life long dream, this whole Mama thing, but my story started a little bit differently than I'd pictured. I was engaged. Not married. I was 24 and my test showed positive in a Target bathroom on my lunch break.

There were tears in our Pastor's office, letters sent to family I was afraid to tell in person. There was sickness, lots of eating and then a bigger wedding dress ordered. It was hard, awesome and healing all at the same time.

I knew I'd love being Mama to a little person. I knew I'd experience a love for my children that was incomparable to anything I'd ever experienced before. What I didn't know is how valuable it would be to surround myself with other Moms.....inspiring, strong, incredible women. Moms that would set the bar high, so when I was having a bad day, I'd think of them and I'd want to pull myself up and do life a little better.

See, the people who really influence others are usually the ones who aren't even trying. These women who are loving, fun and brave, aren't this way because they want to be an "influencer". They're shining in who God created them to be and that kind of bright light just rubs off on those around.

Some of my dearest friends are walking through BIG, ROUGH stuff right now and yet, they're just rocking this Motherhood thing. The funny thing is...... I don't think they even know it. They're too busy Mothering well and taking care of their families to even know how amazing they are.

With Mother's Day around the corner, I've been thinking........

What if we did Mother's Day a bit different this year? What if right now, in April, we start hand-writing notes to our girlfriends, telling them what we love about them. What if we started calling out their best qualities and building up the ones who might not get an encouraging word often?

What if we gave meaningful gifts.....Gifts that one by one can make a difference in the world?
What if we celebrated each other, instead of focusing on the ideal way we think WE should be celebrated?

Here are a few gift ideas for your favorite Moms, that one by one, can help change the world:

"Wanting to add a charitable dimension to the business model, it wasn't long before Caitlin’s vision became clear. She found the missing link on a rainy day when she saw Rob and Cera on Hollywood Blvd, sitting under an umbrella, and holding a sign that read Ugly, Broke, & Hungry. They went to dinner and Caitlin discovered that Cera made jewelry – this was the a-ha moment. Rob and Cera joined the team and started making Giving Keys the next day."
"Each purchase of Sevenly merchandise, whether a campaign-specific shirt or print or an item from our curated collection, results in a $7 donation to the featured charity.
With nearly $4 million raised and counting, Sevenly is helping to inspire a generation of generosity."

“In 2000, we founded Camano Island Coffee Roasters with the simple philosophy that a business can change the world for good. Our vision was to combine our passion for ethical coffee with generational change in coffee growing regions. We believe that our company’s value is not solely in the quality of the ethical coffee that we roast, or in the people who grow it, but in the coffee lover (YOU) who drinks the best coffee for home.”
Jeff Ericson – Founder
"Proud to be the first Organic and Fair Trade fair for Life Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory in North America.
We’re passionate about chocolate. And changing the world.
We’re committed to creating amazing flavors. And a lasting legacy.
We’re here to make people happy. And make a difference."

Better Life Bags
"We hire women, who otherwise cannot get jobs, to work for BLB. We rent them a sewing machine and tools while teaching them a skill set that allows them to become a primary or secondary provider in their families. Most of these women are first generation immigrants from countries such as Yemen and Bangladesh, so we are also able to provide them with much needed fellowship and friendship as we visit their homes to deliver fabric and pick up orders."

"Our passionate commitment to human rights has always shaped how we trade with our suppliers around the world. We build close relationships with those suppliers and work together to ensure ethical trading is at the heart of our, and their, business. We believe this is the way business should be done."

"Yoobi, pronounced “you-be,” means “one for you, one for me.” For every Yoobi item you purchase, a Yoobi item will be donated to a classroom in need, right here in the U.S. It’s that simple!"

"We travel the world to find artisan entrepreneurs who are passionate about creating opportunity in their communities. Artisan businesses in the developing world struggle to gain access to a global market where they can sell their handmade jewelry and accessories. When you shop our collection, host a Trunk Show, or become an Ambassador, you join us in creating a growing marketplace for artisan businesses, enabling them to make a difference in their communities."

"To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery."
Farmers Markets for Fresh Flowers
For fresh flowers, there's nothing better than supporting our local farmers. Instead of hitting up the grocery store, try supporting your local farmers by purchasing your flowers and produce at Farmer's Markets or roadside stands. 
Here is a great tool for finding a Farmer's Market in your area: Local Harvest Search


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