Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ACL 2011

Hi friends!
Since I just started back blogging, I wanted to share about the most incredible experience Andrew and I had a couple of weekends ago...

ACL Music Fest is a music festival in Austin that takes place at Zilker Park. Zilker Park happenes to be 1 mile from my front door-which is pretty cool. So we live in a pretty great location for ACL. Well, ACL is pretty expensive. I think tickets for all 3 days were somewhere around $150.00. Which is really not all that expensive, but for Andrew and me-that's over $300.00 plus any food and drink costs (a beer was $7.00-and not special beer. Bud light...). So we had resolved that we weren't going to get to go this year. I was super bummed because one of the headliners was Coldplay. I have told Andrew that 3 bands I want to see most in concert are: U2 (saw them in Dallas in 2005), Dave Matthews Band (saw them at ACL in 2009) and Coldplay. They were going to be so close, I just HAD to see them. But alas, it wasn't in our budget. WELL, in June, one of my old youth kids turned great friend of mine, Christa Scholtz, told me she was coming for ACL and her dad would have two extra 3 day passes for me and Andrew! Woo-hoo! We were so excited. So when ACL acturally rolled around and Christa gave us our passes, she also had another special pass for us. It was an AMD pass. Now the AMD pass is kind of like gold. There are like 6 or so stages at ACL and of the 2 biggest stages where the headliners play, one of them is the AMD stage. With these passes, we could come and go in the private AMD area as we please. This private area has shaded areas, lots of seating, huge screens with live ACL shows streaming on them and the best part, free all you can drink tea, water, beer, wine and snow cones-and free meals catered by central market. It was heaven. But the BEST part was this-you can also get to the side stage of all of the shows on the AMD stage with these passes. But, if you have these:
Sweet Christa and I with our super sweet VIP passes!

you can go straight to the front of the line for back stage or side stage of the show!

These are the stairs leading to the side stage of the amd stage!!!

So Christa tells us we have side stage for Bright Eyes (I had never heard of them, but they are great), Iron and Wine, Ryan Bingham and best of all COLDPLAY! Here is a pic of what its like to be side stage for a show!

Here is my view of Coldplay. Yes, that is Chris Martin doing a backwards roll. Rock stars...

Anyway, backing up a bit to our first side stage experience was for Bright eyes and as we were up there we noticed that there was a camera crew filming someone. As we looked a bit longer, we realized it was CHRISTIAN BALE! Of course I screamed at him until he looked at me. Then we waved at each other. It was kind of a big deal. Whats even better is we saw him everyday and he and I exchanged waves all 3days. We are kind of friends...

Here is a stalker pic I took of Christian, my new buddy.

Anyway, back to our side stage Coldplay experience. We were literally RIGHT THERE for the whole show. Not only did I get to see the show, but when you are on the side stage, you feel like a PART of the show. Andrew and I were just so happy. Amazing that we got to walk to a music festival a mile from our house, amazing that we got free tickets, amazing we got VIP passes and free food and drinks, amazing that we got side stage, amazing we saw Christian Bale and Coldplay-but best- we got to experience all of this TOGETHER! That's the MOST amazing! We literally will tell our kids about this incredible experience!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And, I'm back

Hi friends!
I know it has been a long while since my last blog-since the end of may- to be exact. I took the summer off from blogging. But now I am back and ready to go! A quick update on my summer...

I had a great summer. Super fun, lots of outside water activities, a great week at Fun in the Son (the conference I work for), a wonderful week in Lubbock with family and an amazing time at my 10 year reunion. But, I also just stopped taking care of myself. I didn't exercise regularly, I ate whatever I wanted, I was lazy. So while my summer was fun and good, it was not my best. I didn't really figure out how bad it was until I saw a picture of myself. I could NOT BELIEVE that was me!! So I just faced reality. I went back to weight watchers 3 weeks ago. I have just flipped my switch. I've started making decisions to live in a way that not only makes me feel better, but glorifies God. So, I am back. I have lost 4.2 lbs since re-joining weight watchers. I really like my meeting leader and I am just really feeling refreshed.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you guys a GREAT meal I have been eating lately that is SOOOO good and is healthy and it satisfies one of my main cravings-Buffalo chicken!!! I love buffalo chicken (but not wings-I hate bones. gross.) My favorites are from Cheddars-especially this meal they have called their buffalo chicken wrapper. Chicken strips covered in buffalo sauce, then put in a tortilla with shredded cheese, pickles, slaw and covered in ranch. I literally am salivating typing about it. BUT, I found a HEALTHY weight watchers friendly version of this and here it is:
I purchase some pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts from central market or HEB. I can get them cheap and they are already fully cooked and seasoned. Easy. Cut up one breast and heat it in the microwave for 2 minutes or so. I place it on a flatout tortilla/flatbread. Flatouts are these great super low calorie and high fiber tortillas( I use them for EVERYTHING. Great for fajitas, sandwich wraps, breakfast tacos, pizzas-great. Then I use franks buffalo style hot sauce for my buffalo sauce. It is 5 calories per table spoon. So you can be pretty generous with it. I will warn you, its hot. But amazing. Then I use 1 table spoon hidden valley light ranch (I hate fat free ranch. Tastes like glue to me-but the light is good and way less calories and fat than regular) Then I chop up some dill pickles and wrap it up. To me, it tastes just like-if not better than the cheddars original. And, its only 8 points on Weight watchers for the huge wrap. I have a great salad and a few baked crinkle fries (15 for 3 points!). Its an amazing swap and it good for you too!

Excited to be back blogging!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

new post/old post

Hi friends!
I tried to post this on saturday and for some reason its just now letting me post!

Happy holiday weekend! I have been so excited for this weekend for
weeks. No, I don't have any special or fun plans. I just am SO EXCITED
to sleep in for 3 days!!! Haha! I have already started this weekend
off really well. Andrew and I went to a great Thai restaurant with
some frinds last night. I got a fantastic veggie dish with eggplant
and soft tofu. It was spicy and served with brown rice. I saved half
of it for lunch today and it was just as good the day after! I also
went to my first Zumba class today! It was great! I have been to
similar classes many times and regularly attend an aerobic dance class
on Monday's. But today I went to a legit Zumba class. It was called
Zumba Toning. It was awesome. It was basically Zumba, but you hold
hand weights and just kill your arms the entire class. It killed me
and I loved it. I was just telling Andrew that I feel really good with
where I am right now with everything with my health. I
control. I know that might sound weird. But I feel in control. I feel
like I am in a good place mentally with my eating and working out.
Here is why:

The last time I blogged, I blogged about my fast. It was an amazing
experience for me. I think it freed me. I had really struggled lately
with compulsive eating. I was just eating and not even really thinking
about it. Mostly, it was with the girls I watch. I would find myself
unable to resist the food I made for them (grilled cheese, bagel
bites, taquitos, pb and j). I literally could not resist eating bites
of what I made for them. Sometimes what they were eating was kind of
gross to me...but I just was in a bad place and would eat it! Well,
when I fasted, I didn't eat their food! I literally ate nothing. I had
water and really kept my fast all day until the planned time to break
our fast together with my Bible study. It was really empowering to me
to have a day where food was not an issue for me. I was able to
realize my self control. So, since then, I have been in such a healthy
place. I think while I fasted and sought the Lord, He revealed to me a
huge idol in my life and that I let it consume me-food. So I was able
to ask God to take that idol from me and I'm serious that I have felt
different. I just have. I have exercised more, eaten less, and really,
thought less about food. All this to say, fasting was a great thing
for me. I might make it a regular thing for me. Obviously, it would be
in a healthy way-but it really helps me maintain perspective.

I am so glad to share these things with you all. I hope this doesn't
seem too weird. :)

I am just kicking back and thinking about my weekend ahead of
relaxation. Ahhhh!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

disciplining your spoiled child

Hi friends!
Happy wednesday! Today is a sad day...Oprah's last show. NO!!!!!! I cant handle that. Too sad. Love love love her. The girls and I will be watching and crying!

I am excited to blog today and tell you about what is going on today. My Bible study that I am in has been reading a great book called "celebration of discipline" by Richard Foster. It is all about Christian disciplines. I love it because I have really been revived by how honest and forward he is. It is very refreshing. Well, this weeks chapter is on fasting. So as a bible study we are all fasting today and breaking it together tonight (over mexican food :). I have definitely fasted before, but it has been a while. The best experience I had while fasting was when I went on a mission trip to China. We fasted for 3 days while praying for a specific meeting the team was having with local government officials. Our whole team did it together and it was just an amazing experience. I remember just being so mindful of praying and seeking the Lord. I have not fasted since then. As I was reading the chapter this morning about why we fast and how we fast a few things really stuck out to me....
1. Fasting happened all throughout the Bible and is practiced by so many in our biblical history. It is a time to set aside the indulgences of the world and to have an open heart and spirit with God.
2. It is also a way for us to clear out distractions. Honestly, I probably think about food more than most people. I love food and have a constant appetite for all things food. BUT, even when I am doing well with eating, I am still thinking about it all the time. Counting points, planning meals, logging it into my food journal. It is a big deal for me. This is a chance for me to find freedom from that. To just let go and feast on the Lord.
3. It is not ok to fast for weight loss purposes. Our goal in fasting should always be in worship to the Lord. As a rule, fasting is something that is private. It is not something to boast about. But, since this is something I am doing with a group, i decided to share it. But, I like the idea of sharing it so I don't abuse it. So I don't use it for any other purpose other than to worship and spend time with Him.
4. As Richard Foster is talking about what to expect when fasting, he talks about how in your first time fasting, even if its just for 2 meals, you will experience hunger pangs. Here is what he says about it...."You will probably feel some hunger pangs or discomfort before the time is up. This is not real hunger;you stomach has been trained through years of conditioning to give signals of hunger at certain hours. In many ways the stomach is like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence, but discipline...You must not give into this "grumbling". Ignore the signals or even tell your "spoiled child" to calm down, and in a brief time, the hunger pangs will pass. " Obviously I know that if I'm not fasting, I should not ignore hunger and eat when I'm hungry. But I just really like that analogy.

I am excited to fast today. Honestly, I am already feeling "hungry" but just have to remember to seek the Lord. To see what he may be teaching me. I look forward to giving a full report of my day tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy birthday, dear Andrew!

This is us in Spain in 2009. So cute!
A sweet photo from our wedding. An amazing day!
This is us when we got engaged!
This is us when we were just dating. But i think it portrays us pretty well...

Hello friends!

I hope today is a great day for you! It is a special day for us because today is my husband's 27th birthday! I wanted to take sometime to share about how great he is in this blog, so here goes!

Andrew and I met in 2002 during our freshman year of college at Texas Tech. I thought he was kind of weird. The first time we met, he was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Ralph Wiggam picking his nose (a character from the simpsons. I want to clarify, the cartoon was the one picking his nose. Andrew was not picking his nose). So cute, right? No. We were acquaintances for a while before we really became friends. His sophomore year of college, he moved into a house with some of my best guy friends, so that is how I got to really know him. Andrew was not the funniest or most outspoken boy in our group. He tended to quietly be in the back ground, but over that semester, I got to know him more and more. By the fall of our junior year, there was a strong group of us that were friends and we did everything together. It was super fun hanging out in a group setting. I remember thinking about dating Andrew, but just not being sure about it...Well, that spring, he told me he liked me. I nearly had a heart attack. We had never heard him talk about girls or anything along the lines of dating. When he told me he liked me I told him, "I'm not sure I can date you now. I need sometime." His response was, "Thats fine, I dont really have any money. I'll need money to date you." So true. Ha ha. We went on a mission trip to China that summer and it was there that Andrew really went after me. Our friend Dillon was his roomie in China and Dillon gave him all kinds of advice on how to woo me. I wish Dillon would remind Andrew of those ways...Anyway, we kind of started dating there and after we got back, decided to go for it. Since then, we have been in love. We dated all through our senior year of college. Got interships at Westlake Hills Pres here in Austin and while working there, we got engaged. Got married in August 2007 and are still loving living life together. I am so blessed to have Andrew as my best friend. He is so calm. He is clear headed. He listens. He is patient. He is clean. He is so funny. He is silly. He is good with money. He loves Jesus more than he loves me, which is key. He has an amazing family. He has incredible friends. He seeks to serve me and love me. He admits when he is wrong. He likes hugs. He encourages me in every aspect of my life. He is such a gift.

I don't mean to be mushy here. I just really lucked out with him. He is precious and walks with me through everything. Literally through thick and thin. He thinks I am beautiful no matter my size, but also encourages me to be my healthiest. He has been great in my journey to health. He himself has been incredibly disciplined with exercise and eating and has lost like 15 lbs! So, yay for Andrew and Happy birthday to him!

I am doing really well right now. I am working out, eating well and feeling really good. I am down 1 lb this week and was down 1lb last week. So I feel like I am back on track and doing good. Seeking health!!!

Love to you all!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Mercies Every Morning

Good Morning!
My girls and I have spent all morning sitting on the porch or looking out the window at the rain!!! It is such a glorious sight for a very thirsty hill country! It has been fun watching the wonder in the girls eyes...caitlin keeps saying, "water??". So funny!
I had an amazing experience this morning. My weekly Bible study has been reading "Celebrating Discipline" by Richard Foster. Our chapter we studied this week was on meditation. I think when some people think about meditation they think about eastern religions and maybe even are a little weirded out by meditation. But, as Richard Foster describes it, Christian mediation is about being filled. It is about seeking time to let the Lord fill us. I think the entire discipline of meditation is pretty foreign to western society. The thought of sitting in silence, hearts open, minds quiet seeking to be filled by the Lord seems like a waste of time. BUT, i decided to try it. This morning I got up 30 minutes earlier than usual. Made my coffee. Then I sat on my couch closed my eyes and meditated. I started off just in my heart asking the Lord to quiet my soul and speak to me, to give me the desire to just be with him. Then, I picked a phrase to think upon to help get my soul quiet. Today it was, "I am my beloved's and He is mine." So i just kind of kept repeating that to myself. One of the ways Foster encourages meditating is to have your palms up as if you are ready to receive something. If something comes into your mind-like a concern, a fleeting thought, a worry, anything, turn you palms over and identify that thought. My first thought was about breakfast, so I turned my palms down and said, "Lord, I give you my desire for food." and then I turned my palms over to release that. It was amazing because as soon as I prayed that, I was reminded of the scripture where my "mantra" had come from- I am my beloveds and He is mine...part of that Scripture is "He brought me to his banqueting table". I just was reminded that we are called to FEAST on the Lord and HIS goodness. It was such a loving reminder of what it means to delight in the Lord. I just kind of sat in His presence for maybe 15 minutes. But it was so amazing. I can't believe how great my first experience back doing this was for me. I used to do things like this often in college, but am glad to have a taste of it again.

I also wanted to share a recipe for an amazing cobbler I made this week. It is a weight watchers recipe that is so easy and sooo good! Here it is:

Berry cobbler

1 cup fresh blue berries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh black berries
1 cup fresh cut strawberries
3/4 cup flour (i used whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar (you can use the splenda blend)
1/2 stick of butter (I'm sure you can use other things, but i just used the butter...)

mix all the berries together in a baking dish sprayed with butter flavored Pam.
mix together flour and sugar and then remove 3 table spoons of that mixture and sprinkle in berry mixture and mix together.
Combine butter with remaining flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Then spread over berry mixture in baking dish. Bake in oven at 350 for 45 minutes. then to get the crust crispy, broil for 1-2 minutes (really watch it!). Let cool. great with light vanilla bean ice cream or fat free cool whip. Cut into 8 pieces, each piece is 4 points plus!!!

I also made a healthy dinner that Andrew LOVED!

I made an Asian marinade with Hoisin sauce, low sodium soy sauce, siracha sauce, garlic salt and pepper. I marinated chicken breasts in that for an hour and then poured it all into a baking dish a baked it for an hour at 350. It was sooo good. I also marinated some fresh green beans in the same mixture and then sauteed them with a tiny bit of olive oil. So awesome. And then I made a healthy amazing rice. I boiled brown rice then I toasted 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut and sauteed some bell pepper and then combined it all to make yummy rice. Andrew has LOVED this meal (minus the green beans...but I have loved those!).

Anyway, that is all I have for now!

Seeking to feast on the things of the Lord today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

feeling good!

So last night 2 of my favorite friends joined me at my cardio dance party class. Here is a picture of Sarah Brents, Emily Rice and me before our work out. Looking good!

This is us after an amazingly fun work out! We were all really sweaty, but glad that we had fun and got a great burn!

We really had a GREAT time! Exercise is so much more fun when you have friends with you :). There was an amazing class participant last night that was literally like the episode of friends where Rachel is embarrassed to run with Phoebe because she runs with her arms going crazy...well, there was a Phoebe in our class. You had to give her lots of room-otherwise you will get hit by her flailing arms! Haha. It makes it so fun!

I kind of have to take some time to brag on my friend Emily. I spent lots of time with her last weekend and was just really encouraged. Emily has been working really hard lately at eating healthy and taking good care of her body. She is so inspiring to me. I am amazed at her discipline and her success. She is just really committed to taking the best care of herself. I am so lucky to have her as an inspiration to me and am now trying to get her to join my gym so we can work out together ALL THE TIME! I just had to give Em a shout out!

I kind of have a mantra for this week...When I eat I say to myself, "Is this good for my body?". I get so wrapped up in calories and points that I forget to think about my HEALTH! So when I start to take a bit of caitlin and Isabel's Mac and cheese, I think to myself, "Is this good for my body?". It has really helped me make better decisions!

I made an awesomely easy dinner that is good for me and that my picky hubby likes! I also made a healthy cobbler! Recipes and pics to come!

Happy tuesday!