Tag Archives: Eating

Living the High Life

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I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

(3 John 1:4 NLT)

This week we are busting through milestones like crazy in the Buckland house. Today was Gentry’s last day of Pre-School/Pre-K EVER!! He graduates on Monday and I remember when I thought he would snuggle in my arms forever. I thought he would never wean from nursing and that he certainly would never be potty trained. My mind had convinced itself that I would be elbow deep in dairy production and poo forever, and then, bam…it happened. They started growing up. Does anyone else feel that from the moment your kids start school, even if it is just pre-school, that time flips a Fast Forward button?

The second milestone is that Reese turned 8. Eight suits Reese rather well. He is developing into his own. There are many things about him that have matured exponentially over the last few months. In addition to revealing his gifting for teaching, admonition, instruction, mentorship, research, memorization, and writing, his basketball skills have gone to the next level. I am very thankful that I can raise him in the truth of Cleveland sports. Nothing teaches you to fight for the fruits of the Spirit in your life and learn resilience like being a Cleveland sports fan. I woke up this morning to him being fully decked out from head to toe in some of his new birthday gear. He wanted to be ready in time to have his morning research and writing time and his hoop shooting practice time before we walked to the bus. You seriously can’t teach that level of dedication!

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You may be shocked to discover that this blog is in part about healthy eating and fitness. Seed-Lead-Run-Eat-Repeat

Sometimes, however, we get stuck in a pattern of eating and repeating things outside of the scope of our meal plan. The meal plan is part time vegetarian but most of the time clean and healthy. I strive for an 80% clean and healthy to a 20% party time ratio. The problem with the Buckland clan calendar is that Easter, my birthday, Reese’s birthday, and mother’s day all pile up on top of each other making my “splurges” seem like they are a way of life. If you are new to this blog, you may have whiplash from the fact that two days ago I was posting about all of the superfoods I am striving to eat regularly and then today I have pictures of Five Guys and Cupcakes. It’s ok though. I googled spring weight gain today and apparently I’m not alone in the fact that when the sun comes out I want to party all night and all day long and enjoy good food and good friends. I am on top of the situation though. Have no fear! Reese did request Five Guys and I was good ordering only the little cheeseburger, even though my heart wanted 2 doubles. Then, I absolutely had to have one of Costco’s famous Chocolate Cupcakes. Literally Costco cupcakes are the size of a small toddler. They have 750 calories in them, and every bite will make you glad you are alive.

As a side note, when looking up the calories, my LiveStrong App computed the calories for an entire Costco Sheet Cake…..12, 567. I am beginning to feel better about myself. I have never eaten an entire Sheet Cake in one sitting. I’m feeling a challenge coming on? 🙂

So, I delivered Reese a happy meal for lunch to school, Five Guys for Dinner, an ice cream social and cultural arts night at his school, and Cupcakes. I think my mom of the year meter is going on up Reese’s end and plummeting to new depths on Michelle Obama’s end. Thank God this isn’t an everyday occurrence. Today has been all health and wellness but I won’t bore you with those details. We will get back on track tomorrow.

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Getting in a workout on Reese’s birthday at Teeball. Reese was burning calories lapping the playground and telling all the younger kids what to do.

 

20130509-175911.jpgMe, my momma, and our reasons for living rocking the party flow.

20130509-175929.jpg20130509-180116.jpgLet the good times and great gifts roll!

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It’s my last day of Pre-School. Kindergarten is going to be way more awesome.

What is your best parenting moment?

Do you allow yourself to step off the healthy train periodically? What ratio do you strive to live by?

I will tell you that I NEVER compromise exercise though. I may eat 8 gallons of ice cream in one sitting, but I will lace up the tennis shoes for damage control.

 

 

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How to run a mile

You can’t grow if you can’t be uncomfortable.-@leadershipfreak

Growth moments occur with one foot on solid ground and one foot firmly in midair. Growth happens “where the sidewalk ends.”

The bottom line is that you can’t do anything if you first don’t start. Two and a half years ago I couldn’t even run one mile from start to finish and was 55 pounds larger than I am today. Saturday I will run my 6th official half marathon race (I’ve also raced a full). Contrast that to this morning when I ran 1.5 miles just to keep my run streak alive (the powers that be usually recommend a complete rest day before a race) and literally felt like I had done absolutely nothing. Two and half years ago I would’ve wept at running a solid 1.5 miles, and now it felt like almost a waste of all the time and effort it took to put my clothes and tennis shoes on, but keeping the run streak alive is no joke! Keeping these 55 pounds off and toning up a body marred by two pregnancies and 14,000 years of yo-yo dieting is no small task. This girl is on fire. I’m not letting anyone slow my go. I’ve come to far to turn back now. (I think I have the makings of a political speech. Please vote for me. I’m Citizen of the Year.)

20130503-101634.jpg Because I have learned that you are all dying to know what I eat, when I go to the restroom, and the temperature that I like the room set at, I didn’t want to forget to leave you with these nuggets of information. In keeping with the part-time vegetarian lifestyle, once my Daniel Fast was over this week (the Daniel Fast is more vegan than vegetarian), I had an amazing egg sandwich for lunch. This is my go to lunch 4/7 days a week usually, unless I’m on one of my nut butter kicks. I get my protein. It tastes delicious. It is very filling. And, it has the health muscle building fats and complete yada yada yada that you need to thrive. I add one serving of cheese on the egg and place it on two slices of whole grain bread with a serving of strawberry jelly. It will change your life. Try it ASAP.

20130503-101640.jpgRaising the kiddos as part-time Vegemite’s too. They don’t know it though. They just like the healthy food to make them big and strong. Food always tastes better on a cartoon plate. Look at all this protein and body building fruit from Gentry’s snack/lunch combo yesterday. Yum.

20130503-101651.jpgOne of two of my favorite athletes.

My delicious breakfast today! A perfectly healthy and delicious carb loading oppourtunity.
My delicious breakfast today! A perfectly healthy and delicious carb loading opportunity.

Full disclosure: I followed that gorgeous plate with a bagel and jelly. I definitely think that extra glycogen will buy me a first place win.

My first full fat, whole milk cappucino since the fall. I'm not going to lie, the foam is amazing with whole milk.
My first full fat, whole milk cappuccino since the fall. I’m not going to lie, the foam is amazing with whole milk. Good thing I ran a whole mile this morning.

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Before you are jealous of what you perceive to be my at home coffee bar and perfectly crafted breakfast, you must be made aware that I’m out of town for a business trip that coincided beautifully on the calendar, in the same city, with my Half Marathon tomorrow (a Race and Expo Recap will be going down on the blog) at a hotel with unlimited Starbucks coffee. I caution all citizens to be on high alert because by 8 AM this morning I was about a gallon of the goodness into my day. I “hydrate” so well for races. I’m following all of the rules. I mean, certainly coffee is better than water correct? It’s a bean!

I love it when business and pleasure piggyback. Isn’t that what life is-a mesh of mind, body, spirit, work, and play?

Seed, Lead, Run, Eat, Repeat: I love the cycle.

Learn when to work, when to play, and when to rest. It isn’t weird at all that I consider running 13.1 miles rest. Mind. Body. Spirit.

He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. (Proverbs 10:5 ESV)

Ok, now I want a vacation. Seed, Lead, Run, Eat, Repeat. Fly away to Australia for 3 weeks (I wish)

How do you make sure that your work involves play and your play includes work? We don’t want any workaholics or sloths. We were created for so much more than the extremes.

Climate Change

Fact: Every run counts. Every bit of junk food hurts. It’s not a game. It’s your life and health.

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The weather here in the Cleveland Metro Area has finally started to meet my standard of approval. I am not one to complain of the weather, because if you wanted paradise in terms of temperature and weather patterns, you probably shouldn’t live in North East Ohio. However, there comes a point at which when snow is falling in April that you throw your hands up in the air like a child and start trying to call fire down from heaven like Elijah. Thankfully, global climate change caught up with us and we are enjoying pure heaven on earth this week. I took the kids on a bike ride to the park to play with about a hundred of our closest friends. I am doing my best to instill good food and fitness principles into them without making an issue of it. Like in other areas of my life, I am striving to lead by example. I think eating disorders and an odd relationship with food are born by people obsessing too much about the weight of their kids or making certain foods forbidden (Notice my theory in practice in the above photo. Gentry rode his bike two miles round trip and that necessitated the ingestion of the leftover Easter peeps. He needed to boost those glycogen stores). Model good habits and patterns and get your kids off the couch and outside. Since the weather has been nice my children, and just about ever kid in the neighborhood, have been playing in our yard for hours.

On this bike ride, Reese informed me of all of the good things he is learning at school, like how the fact that we own 2 cars is killing the environment. He told me that we need to get rid of our vehicles and ride our bikes or walk everywhere so that we can stop destroying the earth. He was sent on a mission with his classmates to tell their parents all of the horrible things they are doing on a daily basis to ensure our planet is annihilated. These tidbits of knowledge will serve him well. Who needs math and language arts skills anyway when you are armed with these inconvenient “truths”? I told Reese that I will take him up on that next time we have to go somewhere that is beyond the 2 mile radius of our home and see how his little legs keep up.

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Vegetarian can be delicious. To the left is a HUGE pan of Oven Roasted Vegetables I made seasoned only with a little Mrs. Dash. To the right is Organic Brown Rice (Bought in a 987 pound package at Costco) and Stir Fried vegetables. I really do enjoy eating like this as long as I'm not within 3 miles of smelling a Five Guy's Burgers and Fries.

In other news did you know that eating meat is also destroying the planet. Who knew? It’s a good thing that Meatless Monday was turned into Meatless Tuesday and Meatless Wednesday this week. At the end of one month and beginning of another month, Jonathan and I do at least a 3 day vegetarian regime commonly referred to as a Daniel’s Fast. I will write more on this later, but in short, we like to “tithe” a segment of time of our month in a season of more intense focus.(Most months are 30 days, hence a 3 day fast.)  This is for renewal physically, spiritually, and mentally. As mind, body, and spirit, we can’t ignore the fact that life has a way of adding pollutants, a Spiritual climate change if you will, and the only way to break through the fog is for your body to feel healthy and renewed, your mind to be focused on things outside of yourself, and your Spirit to be in tune with God. It sure did not hurt that our end of April/beginning of May vegetarian spree occurred right as I was detoxing from the birthday celebrations. These short little fasts every month always make me feel so energetic in both Spirit and body. I encourage you to read up on this and start implementing it. I will be blogging much more about it in the future. Science has also proven that seasons of fasting can prolong your life, so even if you don’t care about Spiritual renewal and mental focus, your health will thank you.

What do you implement in your life to reset your mind, body, and Spirit?

What is your favorite vegetable?

How do you hand the “Inconvenient Truth” of climate change?

I recycle. I try to be a good steward of the earth. I do not litter. I do, however, like having a car.

 

Who is my neighbor?

The difference between who you are now and who you want to be is the work you put in.

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I am super proud of my husband. You have to admit that he is a rock star. When we first started dating, he told me that his dream was to be a rock star. Although I’m pretty sure this was tongue in cheek, when you decide to plant a church you have to be willing to wear many, many hats and Jonathan has been totally owning the drummer hat. We are, however, accepting applications for the Bridge Church drummer position in case you were wondering. Jonathan would give up that seat in 3.2 seconds if somebody able AND talented wanted it.

On Sunday, after playing with mad skill, Jonathan continued our Parables Sermon Series at the Bridge Church with the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke Chapter 10 is where you can read the parable).  This parable speaks to me every single time. I think we have all been guilty of being so busy, even busy with good things, that we neglect the greatest calling that we have, and that is to serve, bless, and minister to those around us. Too many people are more interested in getting people to COME to them that they fail to GO and tell or GO and show or GO and share.

An individual who is more interested in building barriers rather than bridges has missed the heart of the GOSPEL!

Barriers can be big or small. Sometimes barriers aren’t even spiritual, but they are cultural. We don’t want to step outside of our comfort zone or interrupt our schedules. We are inherently selfish. I know this to be true because you have to TEACH your children to share. They aren’t born wanting their sibling to have a turn on the swings, they have to be taught that. We must learn to teach ourselves to share of our time, talent, and treasure and look at people with the same compassion that Jesus looked at us. Jesus came to save the entire world and his mission on earth was only 33 years long and his ministry was only 3 years long and yet he was never too busy to be interrupted. He didn’t hang out with “church” people or religious elites all the time, he focused on the least of these. My challenge this week is to ask myself who I can serve and to focus less on my to do list and my ministry and my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health and see who I can pour into. Not that I don’t already do this, but we could all be significantly better at being intentional in every interaction we have on a daily basis. You may think you know somebody, but it could be what you don’t know that could cause you to miss a God given opportunity. You don’t know their hurts, fears, failures, private lives, or prayers. Lend a hand!

When I went on my run this morning, because the morning was nice, there were lots of people in their yards trying to get a few things done before work, or people walking to their cars to leave and I tuned myself into my surroundings. Do you know that I heard 5 different languages spoken just around my subdivision on that one run? Literally portions of the entire globe are residing in my neighborhood. By reaching out to one neighbor, you could affect not only individuals, but families, networks, regions, and nations. There is no time to not live your life on mission. You can’t keep your distance and make a difference!

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We practice Meatless Mondays as part of our routine. This was last nights dinner. Besides the hours spent gathering a super fancy plate and place mat, this “Taco Salad” meal is super delicious and quick. A HUGE bed of Spinach with Tasty Bite Madras Lentils on Top (Purchased at Costco. They also sell this brand at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s and other places but it is way more expensive there than Costco). You top the lentils off with organic salsa (Costco brand Kirkland of course), and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or fat-free sour cream. This is filling, amazing and less than 400 calories.

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Could my life be filled with anymore cuteness or greatness? I think this picture is evidence that it could not be.

Have you ever heard of part-time vegetarianism or Meatless Monday’s? Do you practice it?

What can you do today to serve your community, starting with your neighborhood?

Have you  noticed most pastors wish they were rock stars? Their favorite move is to sing loudly into the microphone at the end of service, even if that’s not their gift. I have observed this 87% of contemporary churches.

Body Building

If you don’t take care of your body, your body won’t take care of you.- @rwchallenge

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A peek at my lunch today. Who says Oatmeal has to be for breakfast? Oats, Cinnamon, Bananas, and Strawberries. Yum!

I saw the above quote on my twitter feed and it was a great way for me to start my week. As you know if you follow my blog, my birthday was last week and I gave myself an excuse to basically not monitor my eating for an entire week. I’m a firm believer in moderation and I am against dieting. I dieted on and off my whole life and even dabbled in disordered eating at one point and I know God did not create our bodies to need nourishment and put us in a Garden of Eden initially so that we couldn’t enjoy His bounty. That is where reality comes in though. We are to enjoy His bounty. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t envisioning a steady diet of Pop Tarts and Burger King when he created our digestive system. So, because I am against dieting and a believer in moderation in all things, occasionally I deviate from the pledge I made to myself to eat clean, eat natural, and run away from processed/man made food. I’m not a health nut, but I am a wellness evangelist and my body operates with infinitely more energy and zest when it has been worked out and fed properly. My clean eating and life long health pledge is back full swing and my stomach and skin couldn’t be happier. I normally only “cheat” a day at a time, or a maximum of a weekend. This is the first time I’ve basically reverted back to horrific eating patterns for a whole week stretch and I forgot how greasy it makes you look and feel!

As a side bar, Sunday’s are my day “off” running. I always run 2 miles at 5 AM so that I’m warmed up and awake for church and to keep my run streak alive. In order to stay injury free on the run streak, you have to have a day or two a week with very low miles. I call this a day “off” because I do not care about pace at all and I never go farther than the 2 miles. I can’t imagine my Sunday without this short run. It enables me to be refreshed and have quiet minutes to get my mind on the worship set for the Sunday and align my Spirit with the mind of God. I got my 2 miles in yesterday and did  4 miles this morning followed by a 1 mile walk. I was so ready for this week running wise. I am very excited for the Capital City Half Marathon this Saturday and my tired legs are getting rested up so I can try to OWN the day Saturday.

20130429-075140.jpgI started eating clean again on Saturday. Here is an example of “Fast Food” you can allow yourself that is way tastier, less expensive, more filling, and will fuel you far better than the engineered ingredients you will find slapped on a bun and in a bag at a Fast Food establishment. I was very busy on Saturday so I didn’t have time to plan a feast, but with some forethought and a decently stocked pantry you can put together good meals quickly. I always keep some sort of whole grain pasta on hand. Notice that there is a lot of protein and fiber in it. Don’t run away from pasta. It is your friend, but you definitely want 100% whole wheat pasta or 100% whole grain and not white pasta. I sautéed a large pan of fresh spinach with garlic, bought a $4.99 whole roasted rotisserie chicken from Costco when I was loading up my cart for a week of fresh, clean eating (Giant Eagle also sells these. Eat them without the skin), and served them all together with some tomato sauce. The pasta was probably $1.30 for the box and the spinach was a couple of dollars. So, basically for less than $10 a family of 4 ate a healthy, vitamin packed meal. This same family of 4 could not have eaten at Taco Bell, McDonald’s or any other such joint for the same price. Healthy eating does not equal pricey eating if you plan well.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure I will tell you two things:

  • My kids will not touch spinach, so that made getting them vegetables at dinner challenging, and
  • I will never buy animal crackers again. I have found that I “buy” them for my “kids” and then am tempted to eat the whole allotment by myself. Truth be told, my kids could take or leave them so I will buy them things they like that I’m not tempted by instead of things they are iffy about that if I’m honest I buy for myself.
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20130429-075035.jpg A peek at the Costco Bounty. Pears, Strawberries, Bananas, Spinach, Plums, Celery, and Toilet Paper are all geared for a Clean week of eating 🙂 You may have a house full of runners if your banana corner looks like that.

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At a birthday party yesterday I realized how Reese is the ladies man of his second grade class (Help me Lord) and that boys think Barbie’s are totally gross. Gentry thought the birthday girl wasted her entire party because she didn’t get any sports gifts.

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My theory that Gentry was in a growth spurt was confirmed this morning by the pants that fit him just a week or two ago. Babies turn into men when you’re not even looking. Make it stop!

What is your favorite healthy  meal?

What is one snack that you need to stop buying because you are too tempted to dive into it?

I am addicted to Costco! What is your “go to” store to load up?

Your Dog and My Run

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I want to say that I’m pretty excited and proud of myself. I was given the highest compliment that anyone can bestow upon a Proverbs 31 lady of God. I was told that I display none of the typical mid western bloat/swell and that I look like I’m from the west coast. I only had to run 530 days in a row to warrant such a compliment, so it’s a pretty big deal.

I frequently encounter wildlife on my outdoor runs. Between the deer population, wild turkeys, and Canada Geese, I have my fill of beauty to behold and pests to ignore. Bugs, snakes, worms, and birds all fill my day. To be honest, this was shocking to me at first because I live in a metro area not the country. Jonathan has even been attacked by a pack of turkeys one block from my highly populated neighborhood.

Even an avid pet lover could fill with disdain if they frequently worked out outside. I promise you every pet owner thinks that their pet is the cutest and most friendly little thing in the world. Today I encountered not one, not two, but three unleashed dogs. All three owners were grinning from ear to ear as they strolled down the sidewalk with their pet untethered at their side. One of the dogs nipped at my ankle for an entire quarter-mile while their owner stood, unmoving, in the driveway simultaneously grinning and yelling at me about how their dog is just having fun and means no harm. I had to literally stop, turn around, and run that dog back to its owner (.25 miles back and then .25 back to where I was to start with) just to be told that my running was the cause of the situation. I will tell you that as someone who is definitely not an animal lover and, is in fact apathetic about pets, somebody on their daily exercise routine is not at fault for making your animal run. They are animals. That is what they do. They may be cute. They may be trained, but deep down inside they are wildlife and should not be allowed to roam untethered and free while you stand totally still laughing about it. If this was still 1990 you may have been the unwilling star of “Animal Attacks” on Fox.

This has been a public service announcement. No animals or humans were harmed during the recreation of this event for your consumption. My God promises me that the lion will lay next to the lamb, because if not, I don’t want to take a victory lap on that side of glory.

Today was day 530 of my Run Streak and an absolutely gorgeous, sunny 7 mile run ended with a 1 mile walk. I read in Hal Higdon’s book that adding a walk to the end of every medium to long run will help you avoid injury. I read that book when I could hardly even move because I was suffering from Achilles Tendonitis. My expert opinion is that this works. It just gives your muscles and body a chance to cool down and process all the blood and oxygen through the system and gives you a minute to return to normalcy. You only need to walk .25 miles at the end of a medium to long run to see the benefits. I swear by it. In fact, when the weather is decent, I will gladly run 14 miles just to be able to stroll 1 mile at the end of it. I love to walk and it is usually during this .25-1.5 mile walk that I have my deepest and most amazing thoughts of every day.

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I found this drawing and couldn’t help but display it prominently. It means as much to me as Reese receiving a graduate degree from Harvard would mean. The amazing intellect and good taste that Reese displays with his word choice is uncanny.That’s a boy that knows what is important. He has his priorities straight.

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Reese and Gentry chilling on a Saturday afternoon. I definitely think Gentry has a career in fashion design. Look at the amazing outfit he chose and his color blocking skills.

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This is a nice lady that I saw while out today. It may be difficult to see, but she is wearing a full blown surgical mask. Unless there is a new style trend that I’m not aware of, I’m thinking that if you have this large of a germ phobia, a kids play area is not the place to hang out. Play places are the giant bacterial petri dish of God’s science lab

Reese taking a break during extreme dodge ball at Karate this morning.

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In closing, Saturday nights always give me a rush of excitement and adrenaline. Not only can I never sleep because I know the hope and potential of every service, but I can’t wait to get to The Bridge Church and hear this hottie preach tomorrow! Not only is he an amazing pastor, but he is easy on the eyes.

Is there a night of the week that you can’t sleep? Why?

What is on the docket for your dinner tonight?

I am back to clean eating today, sorry to disappoint all of my fans who thought for a moment they could be eating french fries, giant sandwiches, cake, restaurant food, and all of the other random things I’ve blogged about and be able to maintain a fit, healthy body. Remember, I’m a daily work in progress. I will never gain the 55 pounds back that I lost and that takes focus, dedication, commitment, and throwing away all clothes that give you room to breathe. Knowing I will have no skirts to put on for church tomorrow if I have one more bad eating day motivates me to put a stop to the birthday week celebration train! One day a week where you indulge, and one weekend or week here and there will not kill you, it is the daily and overall habits and choices that will.

Citizen of the Year

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WARNING: Daily Bible Reading, Renewing of the Mind, Fresh Air, and Exercise Induced Endorphins will lead to Joy, a continuous state of happiness, and overall contentment regardless of the circumstances!

So I weighed today (and truthfully everyday)….I’m happy to report I am only up 2 lbs from all of the festivities and at least 1 of those 2 lbs can be attributed to the much higher than average sodium I’ve been consuming. I normally really do eat clean and at home. I’m not making that up, and because of that, eating out and eating salty/processed food really reeks havoc on me.

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This morning I woke up pretty pumped so I decided to throw an immediate party with several of my best friends. I invited Claritin, Chobani, Mrs. Banana, an entire pot of coffee, sunshine, my Garmin Watch, a hug from all 3 of my men, and a sunny outdoor 8 mile run/1.5 mile walk into my life and started the party early. The extreme pleasure evident from the above photograph has less to do with my pot of coffee, and infinitely more to do with the fact that I was able to run outside today. My 8 mile run today felt easier and was done at a faster pace than my miserable 4 mile run yesterday. While I only averaged 9:28/mile, I am in taper mode, which means taking it easy and no speed work, so I deemed the run a great success. My favorite part was the walk at the end of the 8 miles though. It gave me ample time to breathe pollen deep into my lungs and enjoy the side effects of a freshly mowed lawn on my eyes and nose.

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Below: Peace, Love, and Donuts (Sounds like very good philosophical advice)

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My clean eating is going super well. Between last night’s community event (more on that below) and my post run work lunch dates, I am managing to keep my calorie consumption well below the 9,000 calorie a day mark. I count this a great success on a birthday week.  The best Gyro you will ever eat is at a little hole in the wall in Lakewood, Ohio called the Greek Village. Their Chicken Gyro and Fries will definitely change your life. I definitely need to make a stop there this week in order to celebrate God’s goodness and another year of life. (At what point does the week long birthday celebration turn into gluttonous excess? I really don’t know the answer to this. I am trying hard to find out though and I will report my progress back to you.)

We made a pit stop on the way back at a place we’ve wanted to try at  Kamm’s Corner  called “Peace, Love, and Donuts”. This was a very unique spot with INSANE donuts. Gentry had a dirty worm. Jonathan had a M&M donut, and I couldn’t decide, so I just chose a basic powdered donut. These donuts were amazing. They are made right there on location and are consistently rated best donuts by Cleveland magazine. Everyone that lives in the Cleveland Metro Area should also spend their birthday week exploring local places. It doesn’t take long, and you are completely justified because it is your birthday. Also, be sure to sign up for all the free birthday coupons at all of these places. All of my celebrating has cost me very little $. Don’t let me fool you. I explore and have fun on like $1 a day.

In the middle of all of this goodness and partying and play, I have been doing lots of seeding and leading today. For example, we don’t just visit these places to eat and explore, but we plants seeds of the gospel and invite people to church with us. Today the lady at the Greek Village told me that I was a ray of sunshine and how she was energized by our encounter and how I uplifted her soul. We have invited them to church, in fact, my husband even preached about the amazingness of their Gyro’s, so we are believing that at some point the Seeding, Eating, and Repeating will result in harvest.

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So last night was super fun. We took the boys to karate, watched them name names and take prisoners, and my mom picked them up there from us so that we could network, lead, seed, eat, and repeat. We went to the Citizen of the Year Banquet with 400 or so of our closest friends. The food was predictable banquet style high sodium, high fat, medium taste, maximum bang for your buck, and maximum caloric content. I also ate a bacon wrapped water chestnut ( or 12). This was a first for me. I like water chestnuts and anything involving bacon is always a hit, so I figured it couldn’t really fail as an appetizer item.

In all honesty, it is an honor to live and serve in our community and God did some amazing things at the Citizen of the year Banquet last night. We went to represent the Bridge Church and continue to network with the officials and friends that we have made and be the “Johnny Appleseed’s” of the gospel that we are called to be. You wouldn’t even believe the doors that were opened and the conversations that we had. Great things are in store and God keeps laying bricks onto our foundation: Line upon line….precept upon precept…here a little, there a little. Serving God and living for him is the best. One person said “Every day is a holiday and every meal is a banquet.”We sat next to and dined with the Director of Law and the Director of Finance for the city, as well as with a former citizen of the year. I’m pretty sure that was divine strategy. I also saw my friend, Reese’s best school friend’s mom, who serves on City Council and is up for re-election (friends in high places), the president of the women’s charitable league that I have been serving in, and hung out with the mayor again.

In addition, we dined with Andrew Bernard (Ed Helms) from the Office. We are bonafide celebrities now. His company was very enjoyable and he removed his face tattoo and black tooth to be in our presence.

How involved are you with your community?

Do you see value in investing in people even when you have no guaranteed return?

How much weight do you usually gain the week of your birthday?

I am voting for myself as Citizen of the Year next year. I deserve it because I keep trash out of my front yard and the lawn stays in a moderately pleasing state.