Tag Archives: friends

Who Keeps You Healthy?

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the American Recall Center and asked to participate in their latest campaign, “Who Keeps You Healthy?” which is a way for health bloggers, like myself, to share about the person in their lives that motivates and empowers them to be healthy. I was excited to participate in this campaign and began thinking of who in my life I would highlight in this post as the one who keeps me healthy.

My dog came to mind, because she is always eager to go for a walk, which often motivates me to get out in the fresh air. My parents have influenced my health by always having healthy, whole foods around their house and encouraging me to cook and bake since childhood. My fiancé helps me stay motivated to work out by going with me to the gym and always being up for a hike or jog at the park.  the beagle girl

However, as I thought more about all of the things that go into “keeping me healthy” I realized that the true credit for my health really goes to someone else.

I’ve been through quite a journey with my health, including a battle with anorexia, followed by binge eating, and then wrestling with poor body image for years. My weight has fluctuated a lot. I’ve gone through periods of restrictive “healthy” eating and periods of binge-ing on pizza and cookie dough. I’ve made tons of health resolutions, workout goals, and learned to give myself some grace along the way.

When it comes down to it, my health these days is the best it’s ever been, and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve thought I was healthy many times in the past during my eating disorder and subsequent recovery, and I often fooled myself. But the kind of health I am living out at this point in my life is not just a healthy BMI or number on the scale, it’s a health that encompasses my emotional and spiritual life as well.

1097965_392214087544816_872314355_nThere have been many times in the past several years of my journey where I was “doing all the right things” in terms of health, but I was unhappy, stressed, hating my body, and frustrated at not being able to control my appetite and cravings. I’ve come to learn that health is so much more than just eating the right foods or getting exercise every day.

Health to me means being happy with my body, focusing on things besides how many calories I’ve eaten since breakfast or whether I worked out enough this week.  In a lot of ways, health for me is measured by how LITTLE I think (or obsess) about my health. Health for me is having a career I love, being in a nurturing relationship, and finding time to enjoy hobbies and downtime. Health is taking time in the morning to pray and be at peace, and taking time to enjoy the little things each day. It’s getting enough sleep, and letting go of worry and learning to forgive. It’s knowing when to skip a workout and read a book in the sunshine instead.

My health journey has meant letting go in so many areas, and just living life with more joy and peace. Giving up my obsessions with being skinny, learning to eat ice cream again without guilt, and finding a balanced workout routine that energizes instead of exhausts me.

And I’m not saying I’ve “arrived” at the pinnacle of health, but I’ve made so much progress from where I used to be. There were a lot of people that helped me along the way, as I mentioned above. But in the end, it was only by God’s grace that I got through the hellish trenches of my eating disorder and made it to where I am today.

1474395_10201127367930761_1712911136_n And it doesn’t end here. There are still days where I feel fat or frustrated with the size of my body. Especially since getting engaged, there have been more frequent thoughts in my head taunting me to start a diet or design a new, intense workout plan to prepare for the big day. I’ve had moments where I questioned my evening bowl of ice cream or the occasional potato chip feasts with my fiancé while watching a movie. But then I hear another voice in my head and heart, telling me to remember how far I’ve come and the work it took to get here. Reminding me that even when I was a size 0 and obsessively in control of everything that went into my mouth, I wasn’t happy.

Even when I was the epitome of a “healthy eater,” I wasn’t actually healthy. I was emaciated and depressed.

1098478_392213077544917_769335534_nThere’s no doubt in my mind that God and His grace is what has enabled me to get healthy again. And it’s His voice in my heart that keeps me healthy, gently reminding me to embrace freedom and never look back.

I’m so thankful for the many friends and family members that have been there for me throughout my journey, and above all, the faithfulness of God to lead me where I am today.

For more information on the American Recall Center, check out their website here!

3 Ways to Ward off Sickness This Winter!

It’s that time of year…Christmas is in the air, but so are lots of cold and flu germs!

No one wants to miss out on the holiday parties, cookie baking, and gift exchanges, so I’m here to give you my 3 top tips for warding off the germs this season!

 TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY:

1)      Build your immune system up so you’re better able to fight off the germs. This means eating lots of nutrient-rich veggies, drinking lots of water, and taking your vitamins. Regular exercise also helps equip your body to fight infection.

2)      Keep the sweets to a minimum. There’s no reason to deprive yourself of Christmas cookies altogether, but try not to go overboard. Large amounts of sugar temporarily weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Enjoy your candy, cookies, and chocolates in moderation – this means eating one or two, not the whole bag or plate!

3)      Get your zzzz’s. It’s a hectic time of year, but make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. When you don’t get enough sleep….you guessed it, your immune system is weaker! Beginning to see a common theme to these preventive tips? A lot has to do with keeping your immune system strong – i.e., giving yourself a fighting chance in the battle to stay healthy!

Ok….well, what happens when I do get sick??

As much as I’d like to say the 3 tips above will completely prevent a single sick day this winter, it’s just not realistic. Life gets the best of us sometimes, and even the healthiest person will find themselves nursing a scratchy throat and sniffling at a Christmas party sooner or later. It happens. And it happened to me this past week. (Which is largely what inspired me to write this post!)  head cold

 

Wednesday afternoon, my throat started getting sore and I began to feel that dread that comes the night before a cold really sets in. You know that feeling when you just know you’re about to get sick? It’s not fun. And before learning about holistic health, I would usually raise the white flag of surrender at this point, and resign myself to 5-7 days of a horrible head cold. Time to start stocking every room of the house with a box of Kleenex.

However, this time around, I decided I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The battle was on. It sounds dramatic, I know, but if you understood how much I DID NOT want to get sick this week, you’d be in battle mode too.

So, here’s what I did:

1)      Pumped myself full of immune-system-boosting vitamins! My favorite is Congaplex from Standard Process.    Since this is made of completely natural, whole-foods products, you can take them as often as possible. Whenever I start feeling sick, I pop 2 or 3 of these every hour!

apple cider vinegar2)      Gargled. With apple cider vinegar. It’s not fun, and it’s not tasty, but it gets the job done. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many reasons (see the graphic on the right), one of which is clearing out the “gunk” in your throat and sinuses! However, not all apple cider vinegar is created equal; it’s important to get it raw and un-pasteurized, so that it still has the “mother” in it . My favorite brand is Bragg’s, which is available at Whole Foods and several other health foods stores.

3)      Drank lots of Throat Coat tea! My chiropractor was the one who first told me about this amazing remedy, and I’ve had a box in my pantry ever since. It’s available at your local grocery store, as well as CVS and Walgreens. I drink Throat Coat tea whenever my voice is feeling a little sore or hoarse, even if I’m not technically sick. It’s great stuff! throat coat tea

4)      SLEPT. I realized as I thought back on the past week that I hadn’t been getting nearly enough sleep, which is probably one of the reasons my body finally succumbed to the head cold boogie monster. Thankfully, I only had one client on Thursday morning and was able to reschedule with her so I could get some more sleep. I slept until noon and woke up feeling slightly better. Even though I didn’t notice a huge difference immediately after my nap, I really think the extra sleep helped me come out on the winning side with this cold. As I said earlier, when your body is sleep-deprived and exhausted, you are much more susceptible to the germs and viruses around you.

Thankfully, my story has a happy ending. By Thursday evening, I was feeling much better and the cold never actually went to my head or chest. The sore throat was annoying for those 24 hours, but I’ll take that over a week-long head cold any day!

I know there will still be times that the cold, flu, or other nasty virus gets the victory over you and me, but why not do everything possible to nip it in the bud and get healthy again as soon as possible? Your body (and your friends and family) will thank you!

Here’s to a healthy Christmas season!

head cold

That Time I Ran a 5K in a Tutu…

Last weekend, I crossed another item off my Bucket List – Race Edition:

– Dress up in a costume for a race.

On Sunday morning, I donned a purple tutu and set out to conquer 3.1 miles on a lakeside trail at a local park.

This all began when my bride-to-be friend messaged me a few weeks ago with a link to a Groupon deal: half off the registration for The Bride’s 5K.

The race – as the name suggests – is for brides-to-be and their bridal parties.

I’m always up for a fun 5K, and after doing some poking around on the race website, I discovered that runners were encouraged to dress up in costume – done deal! I replied to her message with a very enthusiastic “let’s do it!” and so the adventure of the tutu began.

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As a bridesmaid, I felt it my duty (and pleasure) to be in charge of our outfits for the race. I’m not usually a procrastinator when it comes to these kinds of things, but somehow I found myself in Walmart the day before the race, buying yards of tulle and googling “how to make a tutu” on my phone.

In case you’ve never made a tutu from scratch before (I sure hadn’t), there are many different options suggested online (and countless Youtube tutorials) and each one claims to be the best. I settled on the one that looked the simplest (considering I had less than 24 hours til race time) and picked out some $3 Walmart tank tops to go with our tutus.

The bride, of course, would be decked out in white: a white tutu and veil, accompanied by a matching tank top with some glittery fabric paint proudly announcing her status as the bride.

I, on the other hand, chose purple for my tutu and a turquoise tank to go with it.

The tutus didn’t turn out as ruffly and obnoxious poofy as I would have liked, but I consoled myself that this was my first tutu endeavor and each one from here on would be much better. (If you ever need a tutu, let me know… the next one is sure to be a huge improvement)

We showed up at the race on Sunday morning and mingled a little bit with the other bridal parties. They were apparently very intent on winning the award being given to the best dressed bridal party…one group was decked out in redneck gear, camouflage viels, overalls, and carried a huge sign that said, “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding.” We passed them halfway through the race, mopping the sweat off their faces with red bandannas. I’d be sweating too, if I tried to run a 5K in overalls.

This race definitely got me thinking about other ways I could embarrass myself costumes that would be fun for a race… (I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture of that redneck bridal party)

My friend and I set off in a flurry of excitement, as she had arrived late (GPS glitch sent her to the wrong side of the park) and it was well past the starting gun. It didn’t matter, though, because we were definitely just running this for fun. (Is it even possible to race competitively in a tutu?)

1149101_10100108489433266_1615179197_oThat being said, we did keep a good pace and even passed several brides that had started way before us – score! After a quick water break at the turnaround point, we finished strong and crossed the finish line with a cheer. Post-race pictures followed, of course. 😉

I’ve heard of women running half or full marathons on the morning of their wedding, and always knew that was NOT kind of my thing. (I’ve only run a half marathon once, but I definitely did not feel up for getting married afterwards! I spent the day watching movies on the couch and eating copious amounts of chocolate covered almonds.) However, after my tutu experience on Sunday, I think it would be really fun to do a casual 5K with my bridesmaids (when that time comes) and burn off some wedding stress a few months before the big day.

Plus, it would give me chance to perfect my tutu-making skills.

The Happiest 5K on the Planet!

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Generally speaking, I go into most 5K races with few expectations, simply looking to have fun and perhaps hit a new personal record. I don’t expect the race itself to “give” much to me…except the opportunity to run a few miles with a bunch of strangers other runners and get a t-shirt out of the experience. Free coffee at the finish line is a plus, too.

However, when I headed downtown for the St Louis Color Run 5K last Saturday, I will admit that I had some expectations. This race is marketed as “the happiest 5K on the planet” so I felt justified in expecting it to be…well, HAPPY!

You’ve probably seen some of the posters and pictures from this nationwide 5K race series…people covered in rainbows of color splatters, huge smiles on their faces, waving their arms in the air or riding triumphantly on the shoulders of a friend. It’s hard not to feel happy when you see the glossy displays of color and the sheer pleasure and triumph on every face.

On Saturday morning, I headed downtown with my boyfriend to see what this gloriously happy 5K was all about. The day didn’t start out on a particularly happy note as we drove down Highway 40 with a steady drizzle of rain falling on the windshield. I don’t have a problem running in the rain (I enjoy it, usually!) but when I think of a HAPPY race, I think of sunshine and butterflies…not puddles and ponchos.

It was pointless to worry about the rain, though – rain or shine, I was going to be a mess by the time I reached the finish line – what’s a little extra water? After several minutes of navigating the one-way streets downtown, we found an open parking garage and quickly made our way to the start line. It took about 15 minutes before I was able to start, as they were sending out waves of people in 5 minute intervals. I wasn’t able to connect with any of my friends before the race (it’s hard to find people in a sea of 1,000 white t-shirts) but I just told myself to enjoy it and have fun regardless.

After about a quarter mile of running past tutus and tiaras (apparently it’s popular to dress up for this race) I heard someone calling my name and turned around to see two of my good friends. I stuck with them the rest of the way and we talked the entire time, which was so much fun!

color run collage

The color stations weren’t exactly what I was expecting… I didn’t realize we would have to go up to a volunteer and specifically ask them to spray us with color. For some reason, after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the awesome posters on the Color Run website, I pictured “color machines” showering color all over us as we ran by – or a similarly innovative method. But nope, volunteers with plastic bottles of colored powder! It was still a lot of fun, though!

Three miles have never flown by so quickly for me. Because of the color stations and the distraction of good conversation with friends, I was shocked when the finish line came into view. We coasted in at a nice, easy pace and then evaluated the damage. 🙂 I was pretty covered with color on my face, arms, and t-shirt, but thankfully I didn’t get too much in my hair. I’ve seen some horror stories posted on the Facebook page…people that have been showering up to 3 times every day since the race, in an attempt to get the blue and green highlights out of their hair. Yikes. The color came off of my skin with some good scrubbing and a bar of soap, and it washed completely out of my shorts, which was a pleasant surprise.

We hung around downtown for a little while after the race, taking pictures and shivering in the drizzle of rain. All in all, this 5K was a great time and definitely a fun race to put in the books. We could have used some “happier” weather, but the rest of the experience was a lot of fun!

The Color Run is quite expensive for a 5K (almost double what I’m used to paying for smaller, local races!) but I guess someone has to cover the cost of all that pixie dust powdered color they’re spraying all over us! I don’t think I’d pay for it again, but it was definitely a good one-time race and I’m glad to check it off my “Bucket List: Race Edition”. 🙂

Refreshed

My 2013 started off right with a fun visit from my friend Alyse! She lives in Minnesota and came in town for a conference on the 27th. After the conference ended, she came to stay at my house for a few days! I picked her up at her hotel on New Years Day and it was such a great reunion! Alyse and I met back in 2008 on a mission trip to Nicaragua…I had just graduated high school and she was going into her junior year. That’s the same mission trip where I met my friend Amy, and she and I became best friends because of that summer.

We had a lot of fun together while Alyse was in town…lots of girl talk, chocolate, giggling, Starbucks, and a chilly walk in the snow!

Alyse and I:

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Blurry iPhone picture taken by a fellow Starbucks patron:

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And of course, the Beagle had to join us on our walk:

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Alyse headed back to Minnesota on Friday morning and the rest of my weekend was pretty low-key! I had a friend over on Friday afternoon to hang out before she headed back to college, and Saturday I joined some friends for a chili dinner and the Packers game. I’m not a Packers fan, per se, but these friends are diehard fans from Wisconsin, so it was fun to watch the game with them!

On Sunday I woke up in the mood for a trail run so I got on my All Trails app and discovered a new-to-me park that was just minutes from my church. I packed up my running clothes before heading out to the late morning service, and threw in a couple Larabars since I’m always ravenous after church! I made it to the park at around 12:45 and found the trail without too much trouble.

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I’d never run on the Chubb Trail before, and it was not exactly the best day for a trail run because of the melting snow going on here in St Louis! The trail was still icy in many parts and the rest of it was slushy and muddy. It definitely made it feel like more of an adventure, though! I love muddy runs for some odd reason, so I was perfectly content. 🙂 I took the Chubb Trail down into a beautiful valley, where I crossed some railroad tracks and found myself in Castlewood Park:

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I ran through a gorgeous, sunny field before the trail headed back into the woods.

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I love trail runs for many reasons, but largely because they bring me back to the FUN of running! It’s so easy for me to get focused on the STATS of my running – distance, pace, miles logged – instead of just enjoying the ability and opportunity to run. Trail runs make me feel like a little kid again, exploring the woods just like I did when I was 10. 🙂 Trail runs remind me to enjoy the beauty of nature instead of focusing on my “workout” all the time. And I always do my trail runs without my ipod so I can listen to the rustling of the wind and the cracking branches in the woods as I run. It’s cheesy, I know, but I LOVE being outside so much and I wish I did more of it. Trail runs are one way I stop (figuratively, haha) and enjoy the beauty of it all.

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My blurry phone photos don’t do it justice.

I also got to run alongside the Meremac River for a little bit, which was fun! I loved all the different scenery I got to witness on this trail.

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Needless to say, by the time I made it back to my car, my shoes – and legs – were covered in mud! It was well worth it, though, as I drove home with a refreshed and happy heart.

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Trail runs are so good for the soul. 🙂

Ready for Christmas!

It’s beginning to *feel* a lot like Christmas…

1) Christmas shopping is done!!

I finished up the last of my Christmas shopping this afternoon. Yes, I know, I cut it very close this year! I don’t really have a good excuse, except that December seemed to fly by even MORE quickly than usual this year. And I’ve never really been one of those people who starts picking out Christmas presents for people in July. 😛 I’m not a procrastinator in most other areas of life, but when it comes to Christmas shopping, I’m almost always squeaking in at the last minute.

I still have some wrapping to do tomorrow (Christmas Eve, yikes!) but at least everything is bought!

2) Amy and I went on a “Christmas Lights Run” on Saturday evening around my neighborhood, in order to enjoy the bright, colorful displays. Of course, we talked for most of the run so we didn’t really notice the lights a whole lot, but it was still a festive activity to do together. 🙂

3) Christmas cookies have been baked!!! These are just one of the numerous favorites we bake each year. I baked these on Wednesday with a friend, while listening to the Christmas station on Pandora. 🙂

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4) The “Wild Lights” display at the St Louis Zoo! Friday night, I headed down to the zoo with a few friends, as well as my sister and brother-in-law. Although it was bitterly cold, we lasted about an hour (thanks to thick scarves and Hot Hands!) and enjoyed walking through the huge lights display at the zoo!

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5) Watching Christmas movies! On Thursday night, I had a friend over for dinner and we watched A Christmas Carol – the Jim Carrey version, which I had never seen before. I liked it; the CGI stuff was really impressive! I’ve also watched White Christmas and A Christmas Story over the past few weeks, but I have yet to fulfill my annual viewing of my favorite Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life!! I guess that will be happening tomorrow!!

6) Treasuring time with family and friends:

Because my sister and brother-in-law will be with his family on Christmas Day, we decided to have a special family celebration TODAY that lasted all day long. Since my best friend Amy is practically family, we invited her to join in the festivities too. 🙂

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We started off with church at 11am…our church always does an amazing Christmas service and they definitely did not disappoint this year! The message was really good and the music was incredible. They sung my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night, which always gives me goosebumps.

After church, we visited with friends for a little bit and then headed over to TGIF’s for a delicious lunch. We have a family tradition of eating at TGIF’s on the Eve of the Eve every year (the 23rd). I ordered the cobb salad and also nibbled on some of Amy’s sweet potato fries. Love me some sweet potatoes!

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After lunch, Amy and I finished up my Christmas shopping and then met my family back at our house for some games and relaxation. We also gave our presents to my sis and brother-in-law and opened theirs in return. Around 6pm, everyone started to get a little hungry and Mom brought out some smoked trout, cheese and crackers, cocktail shrimp, and other munchies for us to enjoy. Then we migrated into the family room to watch A Christmas Story, which I had never seen before! It was definitely a very unique movie…not my favorite, but it did make me laugh several times. 😉

Amy just left and now we are relaxing some more and watching football. 😀

So excited that Christmas Eve is tomorrow!!

I hope you’re enjoying these final hours before the holiday! 🙂

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The Christmas season is here in full force! Every year, December flies by way too quickly and this holiday season is over before I know it. I wish there was some way to slow this month down…there is so much to do and so much to enjoy!

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about the Holiday Season this year:

5) Christmas music everywhere! I’ve never heard a Christmas song I didn’t like. Oh wait, I take that back…Santa Baby.  Haha, never been a fan of that one, for some reason.   😛 As much as I do enjoy the holiday tunes, I don’t usually start listening to them until after Thanksgiving, because I like to give each holiday it’s allocated time for celebration.  😉

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4) Looking at Christmas lights displays! There’s something about glowing multi-colored displays of Christmas cheer that I can’t resist. I love to drive around nearby neighborhoods in the winter evenings and look at all the lights, and I also try to visit at least one drive-through lights display at a park each year…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3) Baking Christmas cookies! Although I haven’t baked any official Christmas cookies yet this year, I did whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies a few days ago, for a dear friend of mine. I didn’t try any (hello, gluten!) but the ones I left at home for my family didn’t last long at all, which I always take as a good sign. 😉 Hopefully in the next week or so, I’ll get around to baking some legit Christmas cookies, like these guys!

2) Sharing holiday cheer with random strangers! I love how everyone seems to be in such a great mood in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. In stores and restaurants, people strike up conversations about their plans for the holidays, their Christmas shopping, or share a “Merry Christmas!” greeting with each other. I’ve even caught a few people humming Christmas songs in the check-out line at Walgreens! Love it. 🙂

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

1) All the special little things that make up this season. Sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fire, singing Christmas carols around the piano, cutting down a tree at the Christmas tree farm, celebrating with out of town relatives, taking walks in the snow (really hoping we get some this year in St Louis!), attending Christmas productions like The Nutcracker, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and having an extra excuse to get together with friends!

Andy Williams truly got it right with his song…It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I hope you’re enjoying this Christmas season! 🙂

Flying By!

Whew, this week has been crazy!

Saturday was the boyfriend’s birthday, but since we had another friend’s birthday party that night, we celebrated C’s birthday on Sunday. So, it was one, big birthday weekend! Loved it! Saturday morning I went out for Starbucks and a walk with my sis. Her wedding is only about 6 weeks away so we had lots of wedding details to discuss! It was a blast and such a beautiful fall morning to be sipping coffee and having girl talk.   🙂

Saturday night, C and I went to Dave and Buster’s for a friend’s birthday party! It was so much fun! I’d only eaten at D&B’s one other time; this time I got the Lawnmower Salad, which was filled with tomatoes, peppers, avocado, radishes, and hard boiled egg. I loved it. After lots of eating and general party banter, we moved into the arcade room for some games!  C and I did some Mario Kart races, skee ball, and several rounds of the claw game! He always wants to win stuffed animals for me, haha. Usually we play the small claw game, but this time we also tried the huge one. The huge claw game is much more difficult, but the prizes are…well, huge. This time we really hit it big and I walked out carrying this baby:

I have since moved the whale to the top shelf in my closet, and every time I look in there, that big whale eye creeps me out just a little.  😛

Sunday morning after church, C and I enjoyed an amazing lunch at one of my favorite lunch spots – Jason’s Deli. I never get anything but the salad bar there, because the salad bar is just too great for me to pass up! Such a good variety of toppings and some extra-special touches like Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and whole, hardboiled eggs! What’s not to love?

After lunch, we drove out to C’s house, where his relatives had gathered for a birthday party! There was a lot of delicious-looking food, but I was still full from lunch so I just had some of the fruit.  After our early dinner, C opened his presents and we sat around the living room, talking for awhile. It was so good to see his family again; I hadn’t been out to his house in awhile.

This week has been really busy with the final preparations for my sis’s bridal shower on Saturday! Lots of emails flying back and forth among the bridesmaids, lots of grocery shopping and errands. I’m really excited for tomorrow! We’ll have lots of delicious food, a fun “how well do you know your groom” game for the bride, gifts, cake, and lots of good girl time. 🙂

The other highlights of my week included a great coffee date with the sweetest friend on Tuesday evening, followed by a nighttime run when I got home! It was such a beautiful night and I was itching to be outside. I had a great 5 mile run with no ipod, just the nighttime sounds and my own huffing and puffing.  😉

Wednesday night, I went to A’s church with her. It was great service and an awesome time of worship. We sung one of my current favorite songs, Forever Reign, by Hillsong. It’s such a good song that it’s impossible to excerpt, but you can read the full lyrics here: Forever Reign

On that note, I wanted to share something neat that happened on Tuesday! I had a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and without going into a bunch of details, there was something a little concerning that needed further testing. Everything turned out to be ok, (thankfully) but the bill was $150, all of which I have to pay out of pocket. (That’s a whole other complicated story) Combined with the $200 I had to pay a couple weeks ago for the x-rays of my wisdom tooth, that adds up to a good amount of unplanned expenses in a short amount of time. Needless to say, I was stressing a little  a lot about money on Tuesday afternoon! I hate spending money in big chunks, especially on medical things. (Somehow it’s not as painful when I’m spending it on clothes?!)  I kept trying to just calm down and stop freaking out about it, but it was not going so well. I left my house to meet my friend at Starbucks, and as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed it was sprinkling. The sun was still shining, though, and you can probably imagine what happened next…  I looked up  to see a rainbow stretching across the sky, poking out of the clouds with gorgeous rays of color! It took my breath away.

This blurry phone pic doesn’t do it justice!

Seeing that rainbow reminded me to focus on the positive things in my life, of which there are many! I am incredibly blessed in so many ways. Yes, the $$$ stuff is stressful, but it helps me calm down when I focus on all that I have to be thankful for. As cheesy as it sounds, the vivid image of color coming out of the clouds reminded me of all the beautiful color in my own life, despite the clouds that may be there too. Even in the midst of my stressful expenses, my personal struggles, my failures and shortcomings, I still have so much to be happy about!  And that rainbow was just the reminder I needed on Tuesday afternoon. 🙂