Thursday, March 31, 2011


So recently, like probably since the holidays, I've noticed that I'm getting a bit soft around the edges. Last spring when I was training for the Flying Pig half marathon I was in as good of shape as I've been in since high school. After the race, however, I was burnt out on running and probably ran about 5 more times the rest of the year. I tried to make it to the gym, but that didn't happen on a regular basis either. When you work from 7:30 to 5:30 every day and have commitments most nights of the week, it's hard to to make time to work out. And my body was beginning to look like I was having a hard time making time to work out.

I've heard good things about P90X. I wanted to try it. I did not however want to spend the $130 or however much it costs to get it. Imagine my excitement when one of Derek's friends already had it and let us borrow the DVDs.  There are 12 DVDs that you rotate. Each one lasts about an hour - except for the ab ripper which is only 15 minutes and you just do that at at the end of one of your hour long workouts once or twice a week. So 11 different hour long workouts. You're supposed to do it 6 days a week. I decided to go for it a few weeks back. I made it about a week, and then all the craziness with Derek's mom happened so I stopped for a week. Now for the last 2 weeks I have been going strong. And I love it.

The workouts are hard and I am sore for days after some of them. But I feel so much stronger already. I haven't noticed a lot as far as weight loss goes, however I think I've probably lost a pound or 2 so far, but I know I am gaining muscle, so I'm not too fixated on the numbers. Whenever I gain weight it is usually in my waist, butt and thighs, so I'm excited to see if I notice a difference visually in those areas after a couple of months. I can't imagine that I won't.

I'm not following the official rotation of videos, because I don't have it. Also, some weeks I am only able to get 5 days in. But I already feel much more muscular and fit. I've been doing the plyometrics workout as well as the legs and back workout every week as I prepare for my upcoming ski trip. I always try to be in shape whenever I go out to Breckenridge, because the town sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet and if I'm not in shape I get altitude sickness. So usually I do a lot of running to prepare. Which is great for the altitude sickness, but doesn't do a lot for the muscles that you use skiing. After the first day my legs officially hate me and I wonder if I will be able to walk the next day. So with all this working out my legs, I'm really curious to see if I notice a difference when I go skiing. I'm sure it would be better if I was more than a few weeks into it, but I'm hoping I won't be as sore.

So that is my latest workout regimen. So far I really like it. I love having different workouts to do everyday and not repeating the same workout twice in a week.  I also feel like Tony Horton is my new BFF.

P.S. I'm not really sure why I feel the need to add this disclaimer, but everyone else does so I will too - but I wasn't paid to say anything about P90X. Tony doesn't know me, even though I feel like I know him. This is just what I'm doing right now to try to get in shape.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Monday!

This weekend we were able to stay home and relax and it was so nice. The last few weekends we've been gone,  and when you work full time during the week and then are gone on the weekends it makes life seem a bit out of control and hard to manage. So this weekend was just what we needed.

My friend Sarah came in town from Chicago which was such a treat. We pretty much just hung out with friends and watched basketball all weekend.  And our basketball team made it to the final four!!!! It's always so much more fun when your team wins.

The last time UK made it to the final four was in 1998, when I was a freshman in high school up in Ohio, and the University of Kentucky was not at all on my radar.When I came to college here I knew they had a good basketball team and there were some good seasons, but as far as the NCAA tournament goes, we've had a bit of a dry spell. So this was my first time getting to experience the excitement and ensuing madness of UK making it this far in the tournament. I had so much fun watching the UK games with our LCA friends and cheering our hearts out. Although I was disappointed that one of UK's wins had to come at Ohio State's expense. There is no reason that UK should have been a 4 seed, let alone in Ohio State's bracket. Being the overall #1 seed of the tournament, Ohio State should have had the easiest route and to have to play Kentucky (even on a year that wasn't their best) in the sweet 16 shouldn't have happened. But I'm still pretty psyched about UK's awesomeness in the tournament.

So, in summary, lots of chill time and time spent with friends, plus some March madness that goes in your team's favor equals a wonderful, fun relaxing weekend. Now I have a busy busy week at work followed by another hopefully chill weekend and then early next week I'm headed out west to see my little sister (who I have not seen in so long I'm not sure I'll recognize her), spend some quality time with my parents and get some skiing in! On my way there I'm also going to meet up with one of my favorite blog friends, Callie! So lots to look forward to, but lots to do before I get there. Happy Monday!

P.S. Even though it's officially spring, I'm leaving up my snowy mountain blog header because that is where I'm headed next week, so I'm waiting to change it til I get back. That and I haven't had time, but I like the first reason better!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Columbus (A Few Weekends Back) and Painting Cabinets

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for Derek's mom. She has had such a rough week and we just need to continue praying and trust that God has a purpose in it and that He doesn't make mistakes. It really means a lot to us and her. I will definitely keep you all updated.

Since all this craziness happened I never got the chance to blog about our weekend trip to see my parents. The weekend before Linda's surgery we went to Columbus. It was a pretty low key weekend. We didn't get in until Friday night, which made the weekend fly by too fast. But we did get to do some fun stuff like watch the Big Ten and SEC basketball tournaments, do a little shopping and go out to eat. We went to a restaurant called Tucci's which I had never been to but was absolutely delicious. Everything I tried was like heaven in mouth.

One other thing my mom and I did was test out Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformations product. I read about it first here. Derek and I really want to paint our kitchen cabinets and so do my parents. Our houses were built within a year of each other and they both have that late 80's early 90's oak that was so popular. This product basically takes out the sanding and priming phase of refinishing your cabinets and instead all you have to do is use their 3 (or 4) step method to cleaning, applying 2 base coats, applying a glaze (which is optional) and a top finishing/sealing coat. It looked pretty easy and based on the review I read, I thought it was worth a try.

My parents recently had their bathroom redone and they save some of the cabinet doors from it (which are the same as the kitchen cabinets) so we figured those would be perfect tests. We went to Home Depot to get the product. It took us close to 24 hours to refinish 2 cabinet doors, mostly due to the time you need to let everything dry in between coats. We definitely made a few mistakes and have some lessons learned, but I won't go into all that - you can e-mail me if you want to know more about it. As for the finished result, it wasn't bad. It was definitely better than they looked before. We used the color called linen and it was very white. A little whiter than we expected actually. We used the optional glaze on one of the cabinets and liked that look a little better.

Here are a couple of a before and afters from their website:

However, after trying this out I don't think it will be the route we go to redo our kitchen. There was definitely still the texture of the oak wood underneath the paint. The instructions did say you could prime the cabinets before adding the base coat and that probably would have helped a lot, however our painting skills weren't good enough to not make it look like we did it ourselves. I think if I'm going to go through the effort to redo our cabinets I don't want it to look like we did it ourselves - which will probably involve a lot more sanding, priming and renting a sprayer. I like the idea and I think if you didn't have grainy oak cabinets and were a very neat painter it would work. I just don't think I'm skilled enough. But, I'm glad we gave it a shot and it seems like a pretty cost and time effective solution if you either don't have grainy cabinets or can paint really well.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me to take any before and afters of the cabinets. Also - I wasn't paid or asked to review this product, I just wanted to try it out and see if it would work

So that was our fun little weekend in Columbus and adventure in cabinet painting. I still feel nervous about taking my own kitchen cabinets and painting them but I'm working on building up my courage :)

Monday, March 21, 2011


We went to visit Linda this weekend. We headed up Friday afternoon and met some of Derek's family from PA at the hospital and saw Derek's parents. Linda appeared to be doing pretty well, 2 days post op. We were able to pray over her and spend some time visiting.

On Saturday, things took a turn for the worse. Not cancer wise, but surgery complications wise. The things she has had to go through I wouldn't wish on anyone. It's really hard to see her like this. We're praying that these complications get resolved and she can focus on healing from the surgery and getting ready for chemo. They would like to start in 2-3 weeks. On Sunday, the doctor said her white blood cell counts were low, so she needs to get those up as well to start chemo. We were hoping she would get to go home over the weekend, but now I we're hoping sometime this week. Thanks everyone who has prayed for her. We appreciate those prayers. Even though things are not going as we expected, we continue to trust God with it.

I was thinking this weekend how when something goes well or better than expected, we are so quick to praise God. But what about the times when you pray for healing or protection and things don't go well? Praising God is not at all our first instinct. It's so easy to question God, to wonder if He has forgotten about you. This week we are clinging to verses about suffering, trusting that God is using it for good, that He has heard our prayers, even though right now, not much good seems to be happening.

3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death...

We know and trust that God is at work. We'll continue to pray for healing and we will continue to choose joy. Because no matter what, we know that God is for us. Thanks for praying. Hopefully I'll have some good news soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Ugh. I hate that word. It's so unpredictable. So devastating. The results of Derek's mom's surgery yesterday were not what we hoped. I have been putting off writing this post because I haven't been sure what to say. We don't know all the details yet and will find out a lot more tomorrow (hopefully) but I didn't want to put off any longer asking for your prayers.

They found cancer in a spot that they cannot surgically remove it. And the chances of being able to cure it are not so good. Like 10%. But it isn't terminal. Which is the good news. Either way, one thing I remember my friend Libby writing when she first found out she had cancer was that their hope was not in percentages or statistics. And ours is not either. I was reminded of the time when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus heard Lazarus was sick  while he was still alive. But he waited 2 days to leave to go to him. And when he got there Lazarus was dead. And Martha said to Jesus "If you had been here my brother would not have died." Later Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When statistically he would have had less than 0% chance of survival. So our hope is not in numbers, and it is not in how or when we think Jesus should bring healing. We trust Him and know He is capable.

So I am asking you to pray for healing. Pray for peace and comfort for our family. There is so much more I could say about Linda, how wonderful she is, how strong she is, etc. But for now if you could please just pray for her and for us, for Derek's dad, his brothers and their families, her sisters and their families. I know it would mean so much to all of us. And I believe it will make a difference. Thanks friends.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Exodus 14:14

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Memory verse for the first half of March and very appropriate as today Derek's mom is having surgery to remove the spots they believe to be cancerous. Right now, all we can do is be still and trust that the Lord is fighting for her. And we know that that is enough. Will you join me in lifting her up in prayer today. Thanks friends!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Friday List

On this Friday, I share with you a list of things I love:

1. Fridays.

2. Sunshine.

3. When the sun is shining and it's cold outside but when you get in the car, the sun has already warmed it up for you and you don't need to wait on your heater.

4. Lunches with good friends that you haven't talked to in a while.

5. The color of green of new grass as it begins to grow in the spring.

6. Trips to Columbus to see my family.

7. The blessing of seeing fruit in ministry.

8. The first blooms of spring.

9. March basketball.

10. New purses that your husband picked out for you that are smaller than your old purse and don't hurt your back.

11. Tax refunds.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why haven't they called yet?

This was the question that came out of my exasperated husband's mouth last night as I was making dinner. He is in the middle of his busiest time at work right now, where he has to make teams for a soccer league of over 800 kiddos and coordinate signs, jerseys, golf carts, port a potties, deal with parents, etc. Knowing that he could be referring to anyone, I asked, "Who hasn't called?"

"The dream home people! They're running out of time!"

You may remember this little post a while back about Derek's love for HGTV's dream home. Well apparently the show where they reveal the winner is supposed to air in 18 days or something like that, and he hasn't been contacted yet.

I asked what he would do if someone else wins it. He said he hopes they enjoy it as much as he would. He said he thinks that it will go to a family that has kids, and since we don't have any kids we probably won't win. But, that it would we be awesome if we did win, because his mom could go up there and stay in the dream home while she goes through her chemo treatments. I think that would be awesome too.

I can't think of a good transition so I am just going to completely change topics on you and share what I was making for dinner last night while this conversation took place.

I think a while back in some random post I mentioned that I have a good recipe for pesto. But I don't think I shared it. I may have. I've never gotten around to categorizing my posts, which I really should do, so I may have already shared. Either way, last night we had tilapia, whole wheat pasta with pesto sauce and strawberries and blueberries for dinner. This is one of my favorite dinners to make and eat, so I thought I would share with you.

First for the tilapia, I preheat my oven to 350. I just use frozen tilapia fillets that are still frozen. I spray a baking pan with olive oil and then brush a little olive oil onto the fillets so the spices will stick to them. You can use whatever spices you want. I used "Northwoods Seasoning" from Penzy's spices, which is an awesome spice store in Columbus. If you live in Columbus I highly recommend it.{Looking online it appears they have stores in multiple states, just not Kentucky.} The fish was delish! So I shake the spices onto both sides of the tilapia and stick it in the oven. I'm not really sure for how long, but just until it's cooked and flaky. While the fish is cooking I make the pasta and pesto.

First boil some water on the stove, and add pasta. While doing this, make the pesto. {I got this recipe from the newspaper a while back, so I don't know who it belongs to.}  Here is what you'll need:

2 cups chopped fresh herbs (I use a mixture of cilantro and basil)
1/3 cup of chopped nuts (I use almonds or pecans usually)
1/3 cup of olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
pepper (not sure how much, but make sure to add enough or it will be kind of bland)
(and last night I added in a little bit of cayenne pepper, which I thought was really good.)
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Add all of the ingredients except the parmesan cheese into a food processor. I use a cousinart mini food processor and it all fits. After blending it all together put it in a bowl. Fold in the parmesan cheese.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and serve with the pesto and the tilapia. Last night we had strawberries and blueberries with it, but some nights we do broccoli instead. It's whatever floats your boat. But I love this dinner because I think it's pretty healthy and you know exactly what is going into it.

And I should mention that I think the pesto tastes so much better when I get to use herbs fresh from my own garden. But it's still winter, so I will settle for store bought. I think this year I might try to make a bunch of pesto when my herbs are going strong and freeze it for the winter.

Sorry I have no pictures. I didn't think to share this with you til dinner was gone.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's been a while since I've done a post on what's going on in life. That's probably because there is a lot going on and I have not really had time to update the blog. And I want to add pictures, which takes time. So here is the rundown.

A couple weeks ago we found out that Derek's mom likely has cancer again. Which was really hard, but God is already using it for His glory. He is good like that. Derek's family was supposed to come down to Lexington this past weekend to celebrate his birthday, but with this new diagnosis, a couple of his aunts, and an uncle and cousin from PA came to northern KY to visit his mom, so we went up there this past weekend and hung out with them and celebrated Derek's birthday. I didn't take many pictures, but I got a few of our nephew Oliver while Derek and I were playing with him. It was good to see family and I got to spend some time talking with Derek's mom about things.

Speaking of Derek's birthday, it was last Wednesday and we both had to work and he had Bible study with some LCA guys, so we went out to eat at Old Chicago Pizza and came home and he opened the gifts I got him. I also picked up some delicious deserts at a bakery right by my work. It's called Mondelli's Bakery and I got a bon bon, a petit four and a cupcake and all 3 were amazing! I didn't bake a cake because I knew we would be having cookie cake this weekend and we really didn't need an entire cake for just the 2 of us. These little treats were perfect and my mouth is watering just thinking about them.

On the young life front, we added 2 new people to our little family that does ministry at LCA. Ethan and Megan joined our team, making us a team of 6 who are able to go be part of the lives of high school students and share the hope of the Gospel with them. I love getting new leaders because it's like getting instant new friends. You grow so close to people you do ministry with  and I am so excited that God has brought these two into our lives.

Also, my little Bible study of LCA girls is going strong. God is so faithful and is really showing up in our time and is working in each of our lives. I am experiencing so much joy in this ministry and would live this past month or so over and over if I could.

I think that hits most of the high lights. It's a busy week for both Derek and I at our jobs this week and then we are heading up to Columbus this weekend to visit my parents. Can't wait! Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Phillipians 4:19 & A Birthday

"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

This was my memory verse for the past 2 weeks, and I wish I had spent more time really meditating on it instead of just memorizing it and calling it good. I love this simple promise - that in Christ, all of our needs will be met. There is nothing else in this world that can meet them. 

It seems that in everything I am doing right now God is pointing me to this truth. In my Bible study on the book of Isaiah, both this week and last, the scriptures speak to how powerless idols are. Back in the day, idols were physical things that people made to worship. Today, very few of us worship little statues, but things like money, power, financial security, stuff, relationships, family, cool experiences - we definitely bow down to those things and spend much of our time trying to figure out how to get more because we think those things will meet our needs. But the scriptures say in Isaiah 41:

22 “Tell us, you idols, 
   what is going to happen. 
Tell us what the former things were, 
   so that we may consider them 
   and know their final outcome. 
Or declare to us the things to come, 
 23 tell us what the future holds, 
   so we may know that you are gods. 
Do something, whether good or bad, 
   so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. 
24 But you are less than nothing 
   and your works are utterly worthless; 
   whoever chooses you is detestable.

Idols cannot tell us what will happen or what has happened. They can't do anything good or bad. They cannot meet our needs. They have no power in and of themselves.

In my Bible study with the LCA girls we have been reading about the fall of man, when Eve at the apple. And we have been talking about the after affects of the fall. How we now look for things outside of God to satisfy us because our relationship with Him has been broken. We have talked about things that we think we need to have in order to be able to look back at the end of our lives and feel good about them. We all have one thing right now we think we need to give us meaning and purpose and to feel good about ourselves. But when we look back we see that not long ago there was something else we needed, and when we got it, it satisfied for a short time, until it didn't anymore, and then we were on to the next thing. Nothing outside of Christ can meet our every need.

And finally, in the book I'm reading, Searching for God Knows What, which I just wrote about recently, he talks about how life is like a lifeboat that we are all in, but it's too small. So we spend our lives desperately trying to convince everyone why we deserve to stay in the boat, trying to show others what is worthwhile about ourselves, why we are better than others. And again we worship at the altar of good looks or success or whatever else we feel will convince others that we have value. But again it's never enough. And it all boils down to this simple principle:

"And my GOD WILL MEET ALL YOUR NEEDS according to His glorious riches IN CHRIST JESUS."

I think He is trying to tell me something. It's such a simple concept, but so hard when everything else is telling us we can buy something that will meet our needs. We can have an experience, be special or good looking enough. Like most of the other verses I have memorized, I NEED to remember this.

On a lighter note, today is Derek's birthday! Holla! Happy Birthday Derek! So thankful you were born 27 years ago today, and that God has already prepared good works for you to do for His kingdom in advance. I love that I get to share this adventure with you :)