Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Halloween

Due to the fact that I grew up in a home that does not really celebrate Halloween, my childhood Halloween memories are very limited. I have never been tricker treating, and though I did go to a harvest party once or twice, most of my halloweens have been spent watching movies and eating candy with my parents. I never felt deprived or anything, and I honestly understand why my parents are not too fond of the holiday.

This being said.... the memory that halloween is bringing to me this year is London. Or Harpenden, rather. I miss England so much... The first time that I actually celebrated halloween was last year in Harpenden, England, with my close friends Marie Jo and Peter. We decorated cupcakes with gummy worms and eyeballs and handed out candy to little British boys and girls who said "cheers" instead of "thank you" :) 

I miss Harpenden because it looks like this....! 
The funny thing about this is that my only real halloween memory and the only real time I actually participated in halloween was in a country where it is not really that popular. Halloween will probably always bring up good memories for me, but not of tricker treating or dressing up as a little girl. It will remind me of my favorite place in the world, England. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We Love Fall!

Did I mention that???

This weekend we made pumpkin soup and played in the leaves :)

Also, I have been LOVING Psalm 27 lately: 

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
      so why should I be afraid?
   The L
ord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
      so why should I tremble?
 When evil people come to devour me,
      when my enemies and foes attack me,
      they will stumble and fall.
 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
      my heart will not be afraid.
   Even if I am attacked,
      I will remain confident.

 The one thing I ask of the Lord
      the thing I seek most—
   is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
      delighting in the Lord’s perfections
      and meditating in his Temple.
  For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
      he will hide me in his sanctuary.
      He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
  Then I will hold my head high
      above my enemies who surround me.
   At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
      singing and praising the Lord with music.

 Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
      Be merciful and answer me!
  My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
      And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
  Do not turn your back on me.
      Do not reject your servant in anger.
      You have always been my helper.
   Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me,
      O God of my salvation!
  Even if my father and mother abandon me,
      the Lord will hold me close.

  Teach me how to live, O Lord.
      Lead me along the right path,
      for my enemies are waiting for me.
  Do not let me fall into their hands.
      For they accuse me of things I’ve never done;
      with every breath they threaten me with violence.
  Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
      while I am here in the land of the living.

 Wait patiently for the Lord.
      Be brave and courageous.
      Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jogging and Blogging

Just to clarify, I actually do not "jog", I run. And there is definitely a difference :) But I think I need to get more creative with my titles, so there it is!

SO first, the blogging part. Yesterday I told my mom and sister that all I really want to do is be a writer. I love to blog, I love to journal, and I love writing in general. The other day I had to do an in class write, and I legitimately enjoyed it. When I told them this though, they just said "join the club". I already know that my dad is a writer (he has published several books), but apparently my older sister loves it too. And my mom has been writing a book. So I guess it just runs in the family!
This is me finishing my race yesterday. It was freezing!
Now for "jogging". Yesterday we had our Chukar Cross Country Invite. It was honestly little more than a glorified practice... in fact, only three other girls other than the ones on our team were in the race! It was so hard to be serious about it, and I felt silly for being so nervous for it the night before. But I wanted to do well, being that it was the last meet before NWAACCs. And my mom and sister came to watch too! So I had to impress them :)

I love my team!!! And playing in the leaves! 
Everyone ran a little slower than their PRs, but it was ultimately a fun meet. It felt like it was over as soon as it started practically, like they all do! The most fun part (other than running around the practicing boys soccer team and having to dodge soccer balls) was probably playing in the leaves with my team after we were done :)

And on our cool down, I found a dandelion and blew on it. And all of the umbrellas (or whatever they are called) came off! And I made a REALLY good wish :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-Race Jitters.

I am so nervous right now. And I'm not sure exactly why.... Tomorrow we have our home meet. Its not exactly the biggest meet we have had... probably only thirty girls will even be there! And its not crucial in any way. Its not necessarily a fast course either. So what is it that is making me so nervous? I suppose I always sort of get like this before races. Kind of... anxious. Or testy. And my old coach always said that nerves were a good thing, so that's good, right?

All I know is that even though the race is not for about twenty four hours, I don't feel like doing anything tonight. I need to distract myself... this is ridiculous!

I'm going to force myself to go do something productive, and then I think I'll come back here and read or something. I need to relax, seriously :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To Be, or Not To Be, Content.

Honestly, today has been a stressful day. Homework has been piling up, I don't do very well on little sleep, and for some reason I just was not too on top of things.

During practice we ran an easy forty five minute run, but I was so stressed that I didn't go that easy. I just ran, and it was a good release. And for some reason, I always have all of my greatest and deepest realizations on my runs. Today was no different. It was the first time I have run alone in awhile, so I had a lot of time to think.

I started thinking about being content. It is so easy, no matter how good life is, to complain. Last year, I lived in the most beautiful city in the world and had the opportunity to travel around Europe. How can you complain about that, right? Wrong. There were so many hard things about it. Even though it was an amazing experience and I am grateful for it, I did my fair share of complaining about being homesick and things being hard. But I learned about contentedness over there.

Being content is a choice!

Everyday I am faced with the choice to be content or not. Compared to last year, life here is a breeze. And God has blessed me with everything I wanted: the college experience, the ability to run, being close to my family, amazing friends... but still it is easy to let that complaining spirit creep up when I'm not careful.

Why? Because that's our human nature. To be discontent. To be negative. The point is, it doesn't matter what life throws our way. Its all about perspective. Its my choice to be content, no matter what the circumstances are. Happiness is based on happenings. Joy is based on my faith in God! And when we realize that God is in control, everything becomes a lot easier.

When we stop focusing on our problems, our life becomes a lot easier because it isn't about us.

So those are my thoughts for the night.

My dad is going to Pakistan tomorrow on a mission trip! If everyone could please keep him in their prayers, that would be great! I know amazing things are going to happen, and God is going to use him!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Favorite Fall Days!

This morning started off with homemade pumpkin spice lattes and breakfast with my mama and sisters. It was complete with Christmas music of course :) This is by far my favorite way to start the day! Did I mention how much I love Sundays???

After breakfast, we headed downtown to the Co-Op for some grocery shopping!


I always feel so cool when I'm in there, 
and I always come out with something new and exciting!

This time, it was this chia seed kombucha.
It is a fermented tea that is SO healthy, with tons of probiotics and enzymes
This one has chia seeds in it too, which have more antioxidants than blueberries
and more fiber than oatmeal! Its a super drink I guess! 

Then my sisters and I headed to Forever 21 for some shopping :) 
We all found such cute things, and got somewhat matching necklaces!

This one is mine. "Sister necklaces". We are so adorbs. 

And Chipotle for lunch :) 
Actually, around this time it was already three thirty, so we were starving!!
I have never tasted mexican food that tasted so good! 
And I love Chipotle because its so fresh!

This is me with my sister's dog Boston!
(It's way early in the morning...Don't judge!)
I love him :)

And this is Naphtali with him too, playing in the leaves! 

Basically, it was an amazing day. And its too bad its winding down. 
I finished it off with a bike ride with my roommates!
But I really think this is going to be a great week. So Monday, bring it on :) 

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I love Saturdays. 
I love finishing 90 minute runs and being so tired but feeling amazing. 
I love that I got to go home and see my sisters and parents. 
I love that my dad gave me Saltwater taffy that he got from the coast just for me :)
I love that I got to sit at Lib's work and eat pumpkin spice fro-yo while doing homework.


I love the trees lately! The colored leaves make me so happy. 
I loved seeing my aunt, uncle, and cousin tonight. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile!
And I love that right now I can sit here and watch Project Runway with my sisters.

Most of all, though, I love Sundays. 
And tomorrow we are getting up early to make breakfast
 (complete w/ homemade pumpkin spice lattes) and then head out for a Co-Op adventure! 

Goodnight! :) 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


This has been the most relaxed night I have had since school started. There is tons of homework I should have done. There were tons of activities I could have gone to. But instead, I sat in my room with my roommate and watched Pretty Little Liars :) It was much needed downtime. Life isn't all about working anyway.

This is just a picture of Leish and I being cold. If we complain about practicing in the fall, 
I wonder what winter training is going to be like!!! 

Practice today was really hard, but I feel so accomplished after it and ready to go. 
6 x 1000s and weight training. 
NWAACCS is only a little over three weeks away...

Cafeteria Food....

After about exactly one month of eating the meal plan here, I can officially say that I am starting to get sick of it. Actually, I was honestly sick of it after a few days. The problem is probably that I'm just overly picky. And hey, if I don't want to eat beef every night (which I don't, because I don't like it anyway) I can always choose from the variety of deep fried foods they have to choose from like pizza, burgers, fries, and mozzarella sticks. My go to places in the caf have been the sandwich line and the salad bar, but you can only eat that so much... and iceberg lettuce doesn't really do much for me.

I think I am just thinking about this so much at the moment because we just watched the documentary Food Inc. in class. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It will seriously change your life. And all of a sudden I don't trust any of the foods the caf serves us. Its not like I'm an overly healthy eater or anything. I'm eating candy corn right now as I write this. The point is that, when I eat my main meals, I want to be able to choose from foods that taste good and have at least some nutritional benefit in them. But those are not options, even for the ridiculous price I am paying.

My roommate has the same problem, and hasn't eaten anything but pizza and sandwiches ALL year!!! So she must really be getting sick of it!

Basically, I'm really excited to go home and have quinoa. And green drink. And tons of vegetables! I miss my mom's cooking :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello Monday!

Good morning! :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Monday mornings are usually pretty rough, and this one has really lived up to expectations to be honest. Monday's have a way of piling a million things on you at once, and I don't do very well with stress unfortunately! But it was a great weekend, so I'll focus on that right now!

This weekend, my cross country team road tripped it to Portland for the Adidas Concordia Invite. And Portland is probably one of my favorite cities ever. It looked so pretty with all the leaves falling everywhere, and the atmosphere over there is just so cool. After a late dinner at some Italian restaurant, we went back to the hotel for our team meetings. I knew our girls team was going to do so well... this last week was the first week in practice that we actually packed it up together, and you could tell we all really wanted it. 

Then, my best friend Christi, who goes to school in Portland, came to talk to me at the hotel!!! It was SO good to see her, and it always makes me remember even more how glad I am she is in my life :) We could only talk for a few minutes, but it was great. 

Race morning was a mix of crazy nerves and excitement. This meet was definitely one of the cooler ones I have ever been to.... Tents everywhere with leather couches for the runners to hang out in, free tshirts and adidas things, and huge tv screens everywhere with running clips playing. My dad, who was in town for work, and Christi came to watch me! The gun went off.....

And it was a good race! I pr'd by 10 seconds, bringing my record down to 18:27. My team did amazing too, closing the gap by so much compared to the last races. I honestly felt like I had more in me though. And that's why I know I haven't reached my full potential. I was tired, and I felt accomplished because I pr'd on a faster course, but I didn't give everything I had. I settled. And if I want to be great, I have to not settle. I have to make a conscious decision to push myself further and harder than I even know how to.

We got back pretty early Saturday night, so me and a couple of friends had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows! Its probably the last bonfire for awhile, so it was nice! Then yesterday, after hours of homework (I powered out two papers and loads of other stuff) I went with some people to check out a new youth group that I LOVED! The rest of the night I spent hanging out with friends until really late. Thats probably the reason I'm so stressed this morning... lack of sleep :)

Anyway, I'm going to be positive and believe its going to be a good week! Because our days are what we make of them!!! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just Some Thoughts!

I finally have a few minutes to relax today! So I'm doing it with some peppermint tea, Phil Wickham on Itunes, and some blogging. I just came across this Bible verse that I wanted to share... I actually had circled it before, so it just jumped right off the page at me:

Galatians 1:10- "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant". 

This really gets to me every time, because I struggle so much with wanting to please everyone and be liked by everyone and be everyone's friend. But its so true. I live my life to please Him, and I should not have fear of what anyone thinks about that. Obviously this verse does not mean that we are supposed to not care about others at all. Its quite the opposite. We need to constantly be reaching out to others and trying to befriend them, because we need to have love for everyone. BUT we can't be driven by having approval from others. We need to be driven by following Jesus. 

Its so easy to go through my day focusing on everything else but God... running, school, homework, friends, stress... I have a to do list that seems to go on for days. But I want to constantly be in His presence and constantly be aware of what he is doing. He lives in the present, after all, and he is always trying to talk to us. Think about how much easier stressful days would be if we stepped back and sought Him first? Sought his approval first? 

I have been trying to start my day off every day reading the Bible, and I absolutely LOVE doing that first thing. Just filling myself up with hope and making my best friend my first priority. But I realize that I need to give God my attention all the time, even when I'm in crazy busy seasons like right now!!! Especially then!

I hope that made sense to everyone else. Its just something that stuck out to me today. In the midst of all the craziness going on around me, He is in the whisper. And I don't need to worry so much about what people think of me. My fear of man shouldn't be greater than my fear of God!!! 

The end!!! :) 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes...

  The title is pretty self explanatory... Only the thing I have been obsessing about for the last month now!

Today, after going to church (It was SO nice to be back at my church and see everyone. Capital is by far my favorite church anywhere!) and having lunch at home, my sisters and I went out for a little coffee date. What did we get?? 

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes of course :) I went by Suzette on mine, which is what my older sister calls me a lot. This was the most delicious thing I have had in a long time. The most exciting thing about it though was just sitting with my sisters at Starbucks chatting away and sipping coffee :) 

This is us and our coffee! Me, Naphtali, and Liberty.
I have been excited for this moment for forever!

Then we spent the rest of the day shopping!! I got some new ankle boots, a really cute sweater, and a new shirt. What a great day! Starbucks and shopping. Then my mom and sisters drove me back to school, and here I am! Getting ready to start another crazy week of studying and cross country. 

It was such a needed weekend away though. This is me and my sweet mama on a walk last night. She sent me back to school with SO much food, including candy corn, which I have been snacking on all night :) 

I just love her! 
Okay, now to get some homework done for the week!
Luckily my eight a.m. class was cancelled tomorrow, so I'll get to sleep in a little. 
Goodnight bloggers :) 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Yesterday was finally Friday, which means I finally got to go home! School has been great, but I was ready for a little break from dorm life. And mostly I was so excited to see my older sister/best friend who just moved back in with us for a little while :) She has been so far away for so long, and I have missed her so much. She is honestly one of my favorite people in the world, and almost no one understands me as well as she does. 

She and my mom picked me up, and then we all went out to Red Robin for dinner! It was definitely better than cafeteria food. That's one thing I love about coming home... delicious and HEALTHY food that I trust. Today we ate things like rolled oats, carrot and red pepper soup, and cous-cous salad. I wish I would have taken a picture of our lunch. All of the fall colors were incorporated into it... and I love eating pretty food for some reason! 

And as I have said before, I am so excited about fall... I think little things just excite me like that. The weather is perfect today. Its sunny but crisp, and leaves are blowing everywhere. I'm wearing a scarf and boots and a light sweater and its just perfect. 

I had to meet up with my team (or the seven that showed up anyway) for practice today at Camelsback park this morning for a ninety minute hilly run, but the rest of the day I have just been relaxing with my family... and eating! :) Runs like that kick your metabolism into crazy high gear I guess. I thought I would blog a little since I have some time. I'll be back with some more after the weekends over!`

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hello October!

There are so many things I love about the cozy fall weather outside my window right now. I love the idea of curling up next to a window sill with hot tea and a good book, or falling asleep listening to the pitter patter of the rain. I loved that during practice yesterday at the park, leaves were blowing every which way. Practice today in the pouring rain was a little rough, but its worth it as long as it means that its finally fall... which means that its almost Thanksgiving, and practically Christmas!

Some of my favorite things about this season are:
Pumpkin Spiced Lattes,
Cinnamon and nutmeg, 
Candy Corn (I know, but I can't get enough of the stuff!), 
Pumpkin soup, 
Pumpkin pie, 
Warm applesauce,
Tights and boots and cardigans and scarves and sweaters!! (pretty much obsessed with the fall wardrobe)
Hot tea
College football!

I realize that more than half of those things are foods... but great flavors are a good reason to love any season :) 

And this is a little off topic. But something I was thinking about today. Psalm 139:1 says that God knows EVERYTHING about us. Everything. Every emotion I experience, every thought I have. And its so easy to feel distant from him... I kind of did today. But then I step back and realize that he is constantly there, waiting for me to recognize him. I want to walk in his presence all the time. 

Another thing is, I always struggle with worrying about man's opinion of me. But my identity is not in that. My identity is who he says I am. And he can and will use me, despite my shortcomings. After all, in our weakness he is made strong. 

Thats all for tonight :) 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Is Running Country!

This weekend, my team ran at the Willamette Invitational in Salem, Oregon. One of the biggest races I have ever competed in, my race had around 230 girls, and that was just one of four races. The energy was unreal; Salem, which is only about 45 minutes from Eugene, Oregon, loves running. All of Oregon, really, loves running. You could feel it in the air there. It smelled like competition, desire, and pain... all the things wrapped together that make cross country so hard and so irresistible at the same time.

The weekend started off disastrous. My roommate and I, who is also on the team, didn't wake up to our alarm clock and almost missed the bus. We are both really responsible and dedicated, so needless to say nothing like that had ever happened before. And we felt so guilty. I was seriously worried that the stress was going to affect me the rest of the trip... because it was SO stressful. I can't even explain it. And our coach was NOT happy. But we all let it go, and moved on. And since we are always so dedicated, our coach let it slide.

The night before my race I wrote down these goals:

.Beat as many schools in my conference (NWACC) as possible
.Don't get boxed in at the start
.Never give up
.Short and quick steps up the hill
.Top 30/18:50 for time
Aleisha and I at pre-race dinner... A buffet!
Runners love to eat :)
We had so many things going for us. A lower elevation. A flat course with tons of bark trails, perfect for absorbing the "bounce" in my step. Tons of NWACC teams present.

I was so nervous the day of. We ate Denny's for breakfast, since that was the hotel's continental breakfast... luckily they had my go to pre-race meal, oatmeal. I also had some almonds, raisins, and as always, green tea. Our race didn't start until 11:35... the last of four. So we really had time to let the intensity build up. We also had time to get really cold, and had to keep walking around to keep the chill off. It was honestly perfect racing weather though.

And on the starting line, I tried to imagine every good athletic experience I had ever had. I repeated the quote my coach had said the night before over and over in my head: "If you want success, your will to succeed has to be greater than your fear of failure". I prayed and gave it all to God. It's all for his glory after all. And I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I'm in the orange... and I totally took out that girl in the pink!

The gun went off so fast. And just like that, the race had started. I didn't get boxed in at the start. In fact, I almost led it through the small little opening that I was so worried about. I briefly thought "why am I doing this?" and then the thought disappeared into the competition. I ran a hard but smart first mile, coming in at around 5:49. I powered up the soap box hill with short quick steps. I focused on the long backstretch of the 2nd mile, keeping intensity and trying to move up. I flew down the soap box hill again, coming into the 3rd mile. That was where it got hard. I wanted to give up, to slow down. And then I remembered a workout I had run that week where I had killed the last mile. And I knew it was in me, I just had to pull it out. So I did. We came around the last loop. We entered the track. I took off, trying to pass people, and I did. Two hundred meters to go, still passing people. One hundred, all I have left.... and then, at ten meters, I got out-strided by a really tall girl. There was nothing I could do, and I didn't know she had been there. I muttered "crap" under my breath, and finished.

But... when I saw the board with my time, I just smiled. 18:37!!!!! Over a minute PR. And I broke 19 minutes. And even though I didn't collapse... even though I do have more I can give... I can honestly say I have never given so much before. And I was so happy. Runners high hit me almost immediately. And I later found out that I got 29th, which means I met my goal :)

I just can't explain how fast it felt. How it was over in the blink of an eye. How I finally found that level of pushing myself as hard (or almost as hard) as I could go. I know why I run now, even though people who don't couldn't possibly understand. It's hard, and it sucks, but its so rewarding. And I want to see what more I can do. How much further I can push myself. I'm so excited for NWACCs.
This is from a totally different race. But its a good running picture :)