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( http://www.flatoutbread.com/). 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 feel...in
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!

Friday, May 6, 2011

mother's day

This is an old pic! She is going to kill be because since this pic, she has lost a ton of weight, but this was the only one I had on this computer :). Sorry mom!

As we all know, sunday is Mother's Day, so here is post all about my awesome mom!

I wanted to make a blog that was dedicated to my mom. I almost feel bad doing this, because I don't want all of you to be jealous of how awesome my mom is. But, I think most of you already know it, so I thought I would write it anyway! Here are a few reasons why Melinda Shanklin is the best...
1. She is beautiful, has soft skin and always smells good. I love my mom's smell so much. I even stole a pillow from their house about a year ago because it smelled like my mom. I just love how sweet and clean she is. Haha. I also love how pretty she is. I think she really looks like she did 30 years ago. Her beauty has not faded. I hope I inherited that!
2. She is THE best friend you could have. I think if I asked 100 people who the top person they would call if they were in a pinch would be, 100 of those poeple would say, "Melinda Shanklin". She is selfless and giving and will get WAY too commited for her own good to ensure that you are taken care of. I hope I have learned that from her. I want to love people like my mom does. I want to be a friend like my mom is.
3. She is funny. I laugh so hard with my mom. And typically it is about inappropriate things. She is my favorite person to sit and sip coffee or wine with and just chit chat about life!
4. She loves my dad more than anyone. I am thankful to have their example of a marriage that is loving and most of all centered on Christ. She is dedicated to loving and serving my dad. To being a helper and a joy to him. I love it.
5. Above all, she LOVES Jesus. My mom is one of the most beautiful pictures of a Christ follower I have ever seen. Her life refelects Jesus in every manner. She is dedicated to seeking Him in all she does. I have learned SOOO much from her about what it means to be a woman who seeks to walk in holiness.

I could go on all day, but I have to do my job at some point! I hope you all take some time to think about your moms. If your mom isn't as awesome as mine, its ok. She is always open to taking in new children!

Love you, Mom! You are THE BEST!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

back on the wagon

Hi team!
Well, Emily Rice gets really mad at me when I take too long between blogs. Needless to say, she is mad at me. Haha. Sorry, Em!

I have just had such a hard time getting back on track with EVERYTHING since Easter. But, I am feeling better and am slowly returning to normal. So I hope to get back on track asap. I have this mentality sometimes of all or nothing. I have just been thinking things like, "Well, since I didn't work out, I guess I can eat whatever I want." How crazy is thinking like that? It doesn't even make sense! But I see that I am in this pattern. I am trying to be more mindful about my cravings and eating right now. I feel frustrated. But I know that each day is new.

I am in a bible study that meets on Wednesday nights. We just started going through Richard Fosters book , "Celebration of Discipline." We met last night to go over chapter one. It was almost comedic that as we were there studying this book, I ate 3 chocolate chip cookies! But I am really so excited to read this book...I love this quote, "By themselves, the spiritual disciplines can do nothing;they can only get us to the place where something can be done. They are God's means of grace." I understand this book is far from being a book on food and weight loss. But, it is about practicing Gods disciplines. Walking in that should help me to honor Him by not using food as an idol. I'll be excited to share my gleanings from this book!

Happy cinco de mayo! Or tomorrow, as billy streu would say, cinco de seis! (I realize that means 5 of 6- that is a college inside joke...but it happens to be inside with like 30 people...)

Monday, May 2, 2011

thoughts.

Hi friends!
Sorry it has been so so long since I blogged. I have had a rough couple of days during the past week. I last blogged that we thought I had kidney stones. Thankfully, it was not kidney stones! We are not sure what caused my pain, but my scan came back clear and normal. So I am thankful for that. My pain has improved...so I am really glad for that. I also developed a cough last week during this and turns out, I have bronchitis! Ahhh! I am so annoyed with all of this sickness! Thankfully, I have not missed any work! So that is wonderful. I am just trying to not cough super hard and break a rib!

Since I have been sick, I have not done much exercise. That has been really hard on me. But I am just working really hard to focus on my nutrition and eating the right thing. I have to start trying noticing my hunger cues. I find that I eat when I am bored. So I am just trying to really pay attention to my body and hunger. It has been good for me to be mindful of that. I am ready to get on the mend and get back to cardio dance party and boot camp!

I also have had so many thought on this day that the United States is celebrating the death of one of our enemies. I really am struggling. Now, I want to make sure you hear me say that I am thankful that Bin Ladden is no longer able to harm others. That his hate is over. That he is gone. But, I have had a really hard time with the response I have seen from people-especially those who claim to be Christ followers. I have seen posted all over facebook, "burn in hell." It is hard for me to hear this. I realize Bin Laden was an evil man with the blood of many on his hands, but the truth of my soul as a sinner is I am no different than he is apart from the blood of Jesus. I am just as deserving of hell out side of the blood of Jesus. I want to proclaim my joy in Christ's sacrifice for me. Without that, I too would be condemned. Because of that, I can never rejoice in the death of someone or in their burning in Hell. Instead of running in the streets and chanting "USA, USA, USA" I urge you to fall to your knees and beg to God that we would continue to seek His mercy for our nation. That his Gospel would go forth to other nations.

I know everyone will have an opinion on this. If you have a hard time with what I've said, you can for sure email me whitbell25@gmail.com. But please dont post anything. I dont want this to be at all political. I just am kind of explaining my own journey and thoughts as a christian.

"remember, beloved, God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
Ezekiel 18:23

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

have you missed me?

Hi friends!
Sorry it has been a WEEK since my last post! Longest ever!

I haven't posted this week because I have a hard time writing when I have something else really on my mind. So I just decided to write what it is on my mind....

Last Wednesday I started having a weird pain in my right side and back. As the week went on, it got worse (I was sobbing on Easter morning)...well, I went to the Dr yesterday, and we think its.....Drum roll please.....KIDNEY STONES! I have a ct scan today to confirm. But, lets just say I am in some pretty intense pain. And, I am still working (meaning chasing and lifting 20 lb babies!). So I just havent had much to write about. I am just ready to figure my pain out. This is how bad its been- I had a coveted ticked to Mumford and Sons last night and I sold it! That is pain. So, I am just waiting for my scan this afternoon and to hear back from the Dr. I will let you guys know once I know!

Sorry to be a debbie downer!

Cheers to kidney stones!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

and we're off!

Hi friends!
Today is the day we leave for Easter in Lubbock! Super excited! I may even get to see some of you while I am in the hub!
I wanted to blog really quick about a workout class I went to on Monday night. It is called "cardio dance party." If that isn't an awesome name for a class, I don't know what is! It was at 7:30 pm and was packed. It was basically dancing to all types of music for an hour. We did swing, African tribal dancing, hip hop, BEYONCE!-I mean it was great. And, the instructor was a legit dancer. She actually reminded me so much of my bff Priscilla. She was fun, funky, and could dance! It was amazing. I wore a heart rate monitor to watch my calorie burn and I burned 900 calories in an hour! Wow! It is definitely something I am going to put into my work out routine! Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday. I pray we can all celebrate the life we have because of Christ and the selfless sacrifice of His own life. Love to all of you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter week! Hooray!

Hi friends!
Well, finally we have made it to Easter week! I have been looking forward to this for so long! I am so excited to go to Lubbock and get some wonderfully needed time with my family! I am also really hoping for time with my sweet niece, Laney-Who yesterday said, "mimi" and "elmo". So funny. So we leave wednesday night after work and are there Thursday-Sunday. I just can't wait!

We had a great weekend! I went to yoga on saturday and am really loving getting back into it. It is such a great way to kick off a weekend. It was also great because while I was there I knew that the memorial service for Jen was happening and I was able to just be quiet and reflect on her and celebrate her in my own way, while also doing downward dog :).

On sunday I went to boot camp again. I still love it so much, but made the mistake of eating lunch at maudies after church. Now, I ate really well- we split chicken fajitas for 2. But I skipped the tortilla and just ate chicken, peppers, salsa, guacamole and black beans. It was so yummy! But, when 3 pm rolled around and I was doing bungee runs on a football field (yes, it is as bad as it sounds)- I was really regretting the mexican food. But, I was able to keep it all down and was really proud to not quit. That was my goal, just don't quit. It was amazing.

I have another funny story for you. My husband, Andrew, is a very picky eater. He does not like ANYTHING weird. Like hummus really freaks him out...Well, recently, I have really been a fan of morning star foods. Morning star is a vegetarian food brand. I love their corn dogs, chicken nuggets, burgers, etc. They are super yummy and really low ww points. Well, I recently purchased their buffalo chicken nuggets and andrew spotted them. He has not caught on that it is vegetarian. So when he asked me to cook some for his dinner last night because he thought they looked good, i went right on ahead and baked them. HE ATE 10!!! He loved them. After he ate them all I asked if he liked them and he said yes. Then I told him it wasn't chicken, but vegetarian. He looked kind of mad and then just congratulated me for making him eat something healthy and said he would eat them again! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!!!!

Haha. It was great! I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

kind of amazing

Well, I realize I have already blogged once today. But I just had a realization that I had to share with you. I was looking at my prayer journal from last week. I try to spend time while my gals sleep in prayer and reading the Bible. Last week, I had just gotten off of the phone with my mom and had gotten an update on Jennifer that she was starting to fade. Now, she was still walking, talking, eating, and all of that. But, her eye was beginning to droop and her balance had gotten bad again. So they knew she was fading. So I was led to pray for her and her family-specifically for her mom, Chris. Now, my prayer journal is VERY private. It really is between Jesus and me. But, I will break my own rule to share with you my prayer from last week. It is amazing to see how the Lord answered this...

" Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. Lord, I cry out to you to cover the Jones family. Cover them with mercy, Lord, right now. We ask that if you can, please protect Jen from suffering. Protect her from slowly going. Take her quickly, Lord. May it be quick and sweet. Protect Chris's heart. She is just really walking through it. I know she must feel so worn out, so afraid, so alone. Lord, how amazing it is that in each moment of each day, you walk with her. I see a picture of her walking through their house and you behind her, leading her with your hand in the small of her back. I see you in front of her, holding her hand, taking her to sit. I see you singing over her. Sitting with her weeping. You know! You know what it is like to watch your beloved child die. I see you smile as Chris sees Jen do well. When glimpses of Jennifer are visible. Please God, draw so close to her. Pour your spirit into their home. I pray that you breathe your spirit of hope, eternal life, joy, trust, WORSHIP, an their home. May any anger, despair, fear, worry or pride all wash away by your blood. Cover them. I just keep feeling Psalm 23 so so strong on my heart for this family.

Psalm 23- the message

God is my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows., you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through deaths valley, I am not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd crook makes me feel safe. You serve me a 6 course dinner right in front of my enemies.. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me everyday of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life."

Amen.

I am just amazed to see that my prayers for Jen to go quickly with out suffering were answered! God is so good. Even in death, He is still so so good.

Jen's service is saturday at 10 at westminster in Lubbock. Sadly, I can't go. But I am really excited to get to spend a little time with her family when I'm home for easter next week. Please keep praying for the Jones family!!

work out routine

Sweet Isabel was pretty excited to have on my headband!



Sweet Caitlin was excited to have on her headband!




Hi friends!
I hope everyone has had a good week so far. I am really excited for it to be over! I am headed to Lubbock for Easter and will be there thursday through sunday of next week and am so excited for a little longer period of time with my family. Especially my niece, Laney. She is just so cute. I am literally surrounded by cuteness everywhere I go! When I'm in Lubbock, Its with Laney, here in austin, my girls are too cute...just always cute little ones. which I love! I will post some really cute pics of Caitlin and Isabel from yesterday. Anyway, next week could not come sooner!
I wanted to update you guys on my exercise routine. I have had a hard time really getting into a consistent routine. Since my hours at work have extended its been hard for me to have time for the gym on week nights and I just have been lazy...but I think I'm in a groove now. Here is my schedule as of late!
Monday-Walk or jog in the AM before work (this is my earliest morning-but better to just get it over with!)
Tuesday-Get up and do Jillian Shred at home
Wedneday-Walk/jog with Sarah Johnson (one of my new old favorite friends in austin!). Our husbands are both in a Bible study on wednesday evening, so Sarah and I have decided to have a town lake date with dinner after from Thundercloud. We both love the veggie sandwich!
Thursday-get up in the AM and do Jillian shred
Friday- Day off!!! (I'm not "intentionally" working out. But with 19 month old twins, I get pleanty of movement!)
Saturday- Yoga at noon at my gym. This is not my biggest calorie burner, but it is just really great. I love the calming music, the fluid motion, the quiet, the stretches..just all around good.
Sunday-Bootcamp weight training with Jay Patterson. I went back this week for round 2. Team, I cannot get enough of this class. I was already seeing improvement this week. I was able to do things I thought would take months for me to have the strength to do. It is just really amazing. We use these TRX straps. They allow you to do strength moves, but your core is ALWAYS engaged. It is so amazing and Jay is just such a great instructor. Again, if you are free on sunday at 3, please give it a shot. I promise you can do it and I promise you will be sore!!! I need to know if you are coming by friday so I can tell jay. This class is not one that can be over 12 people, so spots fill up! It is $10 for an amazing class. Be sure to let me know if you want to try it out!

Anyway, I have realized that I have to have a realistic work out schedule. I cant get up at 5 everyday. That is not realistic. But 6:15 -3 days a week is do-able. I am truly trying to set myself up for success!

How do you maintain your exercise routine? I'd love to hear how you do it!!

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Jen and Jesus





Dear Friends,
I come to you today with a heavy heart. My dear sweet friend, Jennifer Jones, that I have blogged about for a while, passed away last night at 8:45. She was home, it was peaceful, she was surrounded by her family and those that deeply loved her (including my parents). We are so thankful that her suffering was non existent. Thankful that she was not afraid. Thankful that she is free from those things that have handicapped her during her life. It is still so so difficult. But also, easy to rejoice and thank God for no pain.

As I have walked with the Jones family through this (from a distance-since they are in Lubbock), I have just really had to take a good strong look at death in the eye. It is something that all of us are going to have to face one day. No matter how healthy or rich you are, you will die. Nothing can help us escape that fact. My first reaction to this truth of life is fear. I don't like death. It kind of freaks me out. But then, when i think about the biblical truth of death, I can take a deep breath and know I don't have anything to fear. As a Christian, I know that death is a good thing. It means I get to be with Jesus, to worship God face to face. To be free from sin and sickness and fear. I know there is joy in earthly death, because that is when eternal life begins. But, I realize not everyone has the same belief system as me. I have a lot of friends who are not Christians. And I wonder how they deal with death? This is not coming from any judgemental place in my heart, but just real curiosity. How do you look death in the eye and not fear outside of faith in something bigger than death? Just a thought. If you have any thoughts on that question, don't hesitate to answer I genuinely am curious.

I just praise the Lord for the life Jen led. She was a remarkable woman. Her mom is a remarkable woman. Her dad is an amazing man. But its because of who they are, not what they are. I have learned SO much from them. If you think about it, please pray for this family. The parents are just not going to know what to do with themselves with out caring for Jen. It has literally been their life for 38 years. Pray for nearness of the Lord as they walk through this.

Above is a pic I have already posted of me and jen when I visited her a few weeks ago. I also posted a pic of Jen and that my mom took last week. Jen had been asking my mom to take her to lunch for weeks. So last week they loaded her up and went. Jen wanted Logans Roadhouse. She LOVES their chicken tenders and sweet potato fries and above is a picture of her when her food was delivered. She was super excited. So amazing that my mom had that time with her on thursday.

I will blog about food and diet stuff later, but needed to make this one just about Jen and Jesus. It's fun to think about them together-a motley crew indeed!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

look what I made!


Look what I made! Isn't it beautiful? I worked so hard to make this healthy masterpiece. Here is what I did:

I took it out of the box and put it in the microwave because it's a....
LEAN CUISINE! Butternut squash ravioli with bell pepper, sugar snap peas, walnuts and a garlic cream sauce. Stop it. It is so stinkin good, 7 points and put with a small piece of crusty bread-Y'all this is a killer lunch. Lean Cuisine has started a new line of frozen meals called "spa cuisine". All of them are hearty, healthy and really fresh clean ingredients. I seriously love them all. Avoid the salmon one...but everything else is great. I take these for lunch everyday (i like a warm lunch) and they just hit the spot and are pretty cheap (about $2.20 each). I HIGHLY recommend them. Also, I didn't put this in my last blog with my enchilada recipe, but i put about 1/4 cup of chopped onion in the chicken mixture. I was a little worried that Andrew would turn his nose up to it...and he had NO CLUE there were onions in it. I still haven't told him. Might never tell him!! But he loved it!! Anyway, Hope you all are having a great week! I'm going on a walking date with my friend tonight! If she reads this I hope she feels like she can't back out! Yes, I'm talking to you, Sarah Smith Johnson.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. please continue to pray for my friend Jennifer. She is starting to really go down hill. I'll update more later. But pray for mercy and grace as her family walks through this.

Monday, April 4, 2011

hello hello!

Happy monday, everyone!
I hope your weekend was great. I had such a fun weekend. On saturday I slept in and then my friend Morgan and I went to a yoga class. I took a yoga class in college every tuesday/thursday for 3 years and loved it...but have not been quite as much of a yoga lady as of late. And let me tell you...I have missed it and it killed me. Morgan and I tend to laugh at things when they are inappropriate...and well, we laughed really hard during yoga. At one point I was in a pose and had a hold of my foot and just lost the grip and my foot thumped so loudly on the floor causing lots of people to lose balance and fall. Needless to say, Morgan and I could not stop laughing the rest of the class. It was so nice to exercise in a different way. I get SO tired of my routine and its great for me to do new things. I also went to a boot camp on Sunday that my friend , Jay, leads. I have blogged about Jay before...but lets just say his boot camp is not for beginners. I died. Jay is psycho and everyone there was super fit. Luckily, I know Jay, so I felt fine with the fact that I was kind of dying. I nearly threw up. And, I'm going again next week. If you live in Austin and want to come, Its $10.00 per class and is from 3-4 on sundays. It's a circuit class, so you can go your own pace. Trust me, if I made it, you can make it too! Let me know if you want to join! You will love it and feel so strong after!

One thing I also did was make chicken enchiladas! I love to cook a big meal on sunday and then we eat it all week. I was craving chicken enchiladas all week-My boss made some for her girls and they looked so good. So i decided to make a weight watchers friendly version. I looked all over for a recipe and couldn't find one I liked so I made up my own! here is what i did
I bought a rotisserie chicken because I wanted really moist shredded chicken. But I only used the meat from the breast. It was cheaper and saved me time (got a whole chicken for $4.99!)

So I shredded the chicken breast meat and ended up with 3 cups of chicken In a large bowl I mixed:
3 cups of shredded chicken
2 cans of diced green chilies
1 small can of diced jalapenos
1/2 cup of reduced fat shredded mexican blend cheese
a few dashes of taco seasoning
a small dash of cayenne pepper (i like spicy!)
and here is the secret ingredient:
1 cup of non fat greek yogurt (it is a PERFECT sour cream substitute and tastes great for less calories)

mix together.

spray a baking dish with pam and then set aside 10 corn tortillas (I bought the larger ones they have 2 points per tortilla)

Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of chicken filling roll and place seam down in baking dish.

put in the oven at 350 COVERED with foil for 12 minutes

while enchiladas are baking mix sauce:
1/3 cup of light sour cream
1/2 can of diced green chilies
1/4 cup of shredded cheese
dash of taco seasoning
dash of garlic salt

mix together thoroughly in a bowl until runny

take out enchiladas and cover each one with 1 table spoon of sauce.

put back in covered for 10 minutes

take out and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and bake for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with black beans and salsa.

Amazing. Each enchilada is 5 weight watchers points and is really filling. I have plenty if I have 1.5. with 1/2 cup of black beans.

Hope you make it and enjoy it!!!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Im ready for you when you're ready for me...

Hi blog friends,
I wanted to update some of you on my friend Jennifer that I had written about lately. Her condition has improved a lot. Now, she still has a brain tumor that is terminal. But, just as far as her alertness and all of that, she is so much better. When i saw her, she was just post-op from her surgery, so as her body was fighting brain cancer, it was also healing from brain surgery. No wonder she wasn't really with it and was sleeping a ton! Now she is able to walk around the house with out the wheel chair and is much more conversational. She was actually getting quite frustrated that she couldn't hear and started asking questions like, "Why can't I hear? Why can't i go back to work? Why am I sleeping in a hospital bed and not my own bed?" So the Jones's decided that they had to tell her what was going on. Because Jen can't hear, they typed out a letter to her explaining what was going on. The whole family sat down and worked on this letter. They gave it to her and she read it and just went to bed, like no big deal. The next day they gave it to her again and she read it again. Then they asked if she understood, and she said, "yes". This was as far in that story as my mom had heard, so when she went over to see Jen after Jen got the letter, she didn't know what to expect. When she walked in Jen said, "Mindy, I'm dying" and my mom, ever the wise, said, "Sweetie, we're all dying." I love that. So true. Although Doctors have given her a time frame for how long she may live, none of us is ever guaranteed tomorrow. So then my mom got Jen's dry erase board and wrote, " We love having you here with us, but Jesus and Ray (Jen's grandad who passed away in November, who was her bff) will love having you with them in Heaven." And Jen responded with, "I know!!! I'm not afraid!" I am just amazed by that. I don't know how you look death in the face and announce, "I'm not afraid!". My mom went on to tell me that Jen had prayed at a meal since she got her letter and her prayer was, "Lord, I'm ready for you when you're ready for me..."
This just explains Jen's faith. Having watched them walk through this had made me really look at my own mortality. As someone who struggles with anxiety and phobias, this is a hard thing for me to really do. My mind tends to panic, literally, when faced with the reality of death and dying. I have just continued to see that a.Its ok to be scared. We have a God that wipes away our tears and takes away our fears with the strength of His love. B. We know that in our journey, we are never alone. In the darkness of the night, He is with us. We know he will not ever leave us in our darkest moments.

Its good for me think about that. Honestly, it stirs my soul to worship. Just to proclaim faith in the one who gives life. Anyway, sorry that I haven't really blogged much about health and all of that, but this is just what is so strongly on my mind!

Andrew and I have been going through this puritan prayer book called "The Valley of Vision." It is filled with the most beautiful prayers... and we read one last night that just rocked my soul . I don't have it in front of me right now, but I am going to share it with you guys. If you are looking for new way to pray, pick up this book!


Monday, March 28, 2011

stomach viruses and brothers.

How could a child look this happy in the morning and then get so sick like only hours later! At least Izzy had a fun morning!



Caitlin felt great too! She had so much fun on the slide!
If only we knew what was coming!




My awesome brother and his new car! Fancy!!!


Happy monday!
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was part great and part terrible. It all started friday. I had actually thought to myself last week, "I have been a nanny for over an year and still have not had to deal with vomit. That is so awesome!". Well, I thought too soon. I had my first child vomit experience on friday afternoon. It was awful. And I was able to see the one of few downsides to twins: Dual Child vomiting-on me, in my car, everywhere. Luckily the mom was able to leave work and we tag teamed it. But omg, it was terrible. Right after this sick extravaganza started, I recieved a call from my brother that he was on his way to austin to buy a new car. So I was excited for that, but also, had done zero prep for a guest in our house. Prep involves things like:
-Blow up the air mattress
-put ninja turtle sheets on air mattress
-buy groceries (we literally had to feed him cheese its and grapes for lunch on saturday)
-clean bathroom
-turn on ac

None of those things got done. When I came home, I was overwhelmed from my day with the girls and feeling a little nausea myself. But Chris arrived at 8 and immediately required us to turn on the ac. which i was perfectly glad to help out with that. And we were off to a wonderful favorite resturaunt, Eddie V's. I actually was pretty impressed with how I ate there. I decided not to order an entree and got a delish salad as my main meal and then got a side plate for bites of the boys steaks and sides. It was great!

Well, at 6 am saturday morning, I woke up with HORRIBLE stomach cramps. And I got super sick all day saturday. It was so sad because I was excited to go to lunch with Chris, but didn't get to do that. I literally could not eat saturday. I ate nothing. That NEVER happens. We went to bed super early and I woke up sunday feeling so much better. I still was not hungry at all, but could keep food down.

So the good news is:
-I lost weight this weekend
-I got to see my brother
- I slept a lot

The bad news is:
- i got a stomach virus
-my time with my bro got cut short
-we literally did nothing fun after dinner on friday because I was sicky

All that to say: I dont know how moms deal with vom. I am amazed by you. And, I hope that this smaller appetite me gives me a boost for the week. I'm hoping that my appetite stays that way! I have other fun stuff to share this week! Get excited!

Friday, March 25, 2011

delicious treats and eats

Ok, so I tried something new last night. I have to admit, I was pretty terrified to try it, but it was amazing. I had Morning Star Corn Dogs. Morning Star is a vegetarian brand. So yes, I ate veggie corn dogs. But lets be honest...do we really know what is in a regular corn dog? I would rather have a corn dog that I know is made from veggies than one that is made of pig snouts and horse hooves-not that I have a problem with regular corn dogs. If ever I am in Lubbock for the fair, i bee line for a corn dog. But I have to tell you, the veggie dogs are just as good as regular corn dogs. I baked them in the oven so they were nice and crispy on the outside and then I ate them with mustard and ketchup (yes, i mix them together. Don't judge me.) Each of these dogs is 4 ww points - 2.5 grams of fat, 150 calories...just stinking good. I also had sweet potato fries with them and I felt like I was totally cheating, but I wasnt! So awesome! try it! Dont be afraid!

I also made an amazing dessert this week. It is a weight watchers recipe for chocolate chip blondies. Here is the recipe:


-Pre heat the oven at 350 degrees
-spray a baking dish with non stick cooking spray

-In a medium bowl, Mix 2 cups of flour, 2tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt

-In a large bowl, beat 1.5 cups of brown sugar and 6 tbl spoons of light butter
-add in 2 large egg whites and 1 tsp of vanilla
-gradually add in flour mixture-alternating it with water to keep it moist
-stir in 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

-put in sprayed baking dish and bake in oven (at 350) for 30 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces.

These things are like chocolate chip cookies, but moister...and if you put it with 1/2 cup of dryers slow churned vanilla ice cream...you have a delish dessert for 6 points. Just the bar is 4 points. Totally worth it.

Im so excited it's friday. Looking forward to spending time outside enjoying this weather! Is it too early to want to go to Barton Springs? Because I might go!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

struggle

Hi team,
Well, this blog is kind of a "state of the union", if you will. I honestly have really been struggling with...everything. I kind of feel overwhelmed and like I can't get anything under control. I know I have to keep all of this in perspective. Understanding that I may be struggling, but others are struggling SO much more...with cancer, with earthquakes, with divorce etc. So I get that...I do. But here is my struggle. Since I got the flu I feel like I haven't been able to get my eating and exercise under control. I literally am JUST getting back into regular exercise. I also am struggling to get my eating back under control. I think so much of the problem lies with me being tired. My work hours have just extended and so my days are 8:15-5:45ish and I come home so tired. The girls are getting more and more independent as well as strong willed. I know as I write this, my mom is laughing saying this is just karma...But its hard when its someone else's children. They are daily becoming more and more defiant and I am struggling to know how to discipline them. I think so much of it is my day is longer and I am just worn out. I also tend to just eat whatever when I'm tired. So if the girls have pigs in a blanket, I eat them too...10 of them. I just am feeling tired and like I can't get on a schedule and I'm overwhelmed. I cried a little last night with Andrew. With his ever calm and logical wisdom we decided to get up at 6:15 and just do a Jillian DVD at home, that gets me some exercise, but doesn't require me to get up in the 5's like going to the gym does. I just am trying to adjust and do all of this in a way that will get me on the right track...and I am struggling. Ha. So there is my pity party. Thanks for listening. Its a journey and I am learning how to walk it...I am sure some of you can identify. I'm writing this as I watch the little monkeys run around, so if I sound like I wrote it with half a brain, its because I did. Off to the park to feed the ducks and turtles!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

scarlett Jo?


A pic from my wedding. Quite a few people commented that I looked like Scar Jo here....

The beauty her self....flawless...



Hi blog friends!
I have just had a great day so far today. I got up at 5:30 and headed to the gym. Today was the first time in a WHILE I got up early and went. I had a really good run! But usually when I get up in the 5's, I need a nap in the afternoon....Which I just did. Having a job with a built in nap is not too shabby! Ha ha!

So I wanted to share something hilarious with you guys. Since i got married (in 2007- I was my thinnest ever then...and looked pretty amazing if i do say so myself!) People have been telling me I look like Scarlett Johansson. Now, this is rediculous to me because, while I am pleanty cute, I am no Scarlett Jo. She is BEAUTIFUL! I promise I am not telling you this because I am searching for compliments, I have endless confidence...haha. But, I just dont get it. I did see how a few of my wedding pics, I could MAYBE resemble her, but since then, people still tell me I look like her. I have been told like 10 times I look like her. Someone even took my picture at a concert in the fall. Well, all of this comes up, because yesterday, I took my girls to the childrens museum. I looked pretty rough. I was in work out pants, a t-shirt, tennis shoes, and was wearing a hat. And after I got the girls out of their stroller I was walking by a mom and kind of bumped into her and she gasped and then grabbed her chest like she had seen ghost and said, "Oh my gosh. I thought you were her! Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Scarlett Johansson?" And I died laughing. I feel like if ever I am having a rough day and maybe not feeling as cute as I am, God lets me get this little compliment. Anyway, I dont get it, never will...but will NEVER get tired of hearing it. Maybe one day she and I will have matching bodies!!

Thanks for all of you prayers for Jen! Keep them coming!!

I also have a great recipe I'll be sharing this week for chocolate chip blondies- weight watchers style!! yummmmmy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

an amazing day...


I can't even really put into words the day I've had. I'll put it this way...I have not had much of an appetite all day. which is rare. The only other time I remember feeling this way (when i wasn't sick) was at my wedding reception. When Andrew and I arrived at our wedding reception, we were instantly taken to a room with all the food you could eat and all the wine you could drink...and i didn't touch a thing! I was just full of emotion! I was so excited not even chips and queso could distract me! Well, I feel the same thing today...not so much with excitement. But with emotion. Today was an extraordinary day. I woke up and my mom and I hopped in the car and headed to Starbucks (first things first!). Jennifer LOVES lattes. So we went and got coffee for us as well as for Jen and her mom, Chris. Then we headed to their house. I was a little nervous. I just didn't know what to expect...I had an experience a few years ago when a friend of mine had a friend who had passed away from terminal cancer. After that friend had passed away, they asked my friend to go over and clear out her room she had lived in with hospice for the past few months. Well, my friend had been the day before and didn't want to go back alone, so I went with with her. When we walked into this house, it just was...dark. I don't know how else to explain it. But death was palpable. Since then, I have been really wary of walking into a situation like that. So I was nervous today. We walked into the Jones house, bearing Starbucks, and I promise you, that house was filled with life and the Holy Spirit and peace. Such the opposite from my other experience.When we walked in, Jen was just waking up. So Chris sent us to the kitchen to get her breakfast ready. My mom and I heated up her cream of wheat and had her latte waiting for her. When she saw us she said, " Hi mindy! Hi whit!" so it was sweet that she knew us both. We fed her breakfast and Jen was sure to ask about my niece Laney. Jen also is getting used to her new home health nurse, Elaina. I actually ended up kind of being besties with Elaina. My mom was trying to help Chris with all the odds and ends and I saw that as my opportunity to spend some quality time with Jen. Now, Jen's hearing is still not working because of the the tumor, so outside of charades, the only way to communicate with her is with a dry erase board. So I told her I loved her and her scar was cool and all of that! But we decided Jen would probably benefit from fresh air plus she kept saying she wanted to go for a walk. So we bundled her up and got her in her wheel chair and headed out. While we were walking, I ended up really connecting with her home health nurse and really ended up sharing the gospel the with her. The truth is, if you are going to be around the Jones family much, you are going to hear it anyway, so hearing it from me, her new bff-at least eased her into it, right?! Anyway, it was such a sweet time. After we walked for a while, Jen looked really tired, so we decided to go in and let her rest. So my mom spent some time helping her mom get a few odds and ends tied up (like fill out the paper work for Jen to donate her body to science...imagine filling that out for you child...) and we went and picked up lunch and then came back and spent more time with Jen. I have to tell you, I don't think that, out side of my own mom, I have even seen unconditional love like I see in Chris Jones. I see Christ all over her. She is just walking through this nightmare with such grace. She is not in denial, she knows what is happening-and still with such grace walks in it. As I was reflecting on my day, I kept coming back to psalm 23...." even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." I have never walked with someone through the valley of the shadow of death...but here i was today. And you know what we did? We did puzzles. We laughed. We hugged. We celebrated and we grieved. But we DID NOT FEAR. We know as we walk through it, HIS rod and HIS staff will comfort us. I don't think I will ever forget today. What a gift it was...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

im...in Lubbock?

Yes its true. I am in the hub city. I have never made a decision to leave town so quickly in my life! It was pretty comedic to watch me scurry around throwing God knows what into my bag. (if you see me in Lubbock and I am wearing a weird outfit, its because i packed in 4 minutes :). Here is how I came to be in Lubbock-I have written all week about my friend Jennifer. Last night when I blogged I wanted to wait until her caring bridge was updated to tell you guys that her family decided to not do treatment. It would be torture for her and really, only prolong life like 2 months. So they went home from the hospital today and she is on hospice care. After hearing that and talking to Andrew and my parents a ton, I just really felt compelled to want to come see her and tell her how much she has blessed my life and that I love her. But, I didn't want to be a burden or an added person that wants so badly to see her. So this morning I called my mom on my way home from the gym and my mom told me she had also thought I should maybe come see Jen. So I thought I would at least ask my bosses when I got to work. When I got there and told them ,they so lovingly told me to go ahead and go- they didn't even ask me to work today. So I ran home, packed, hopped in my car and...here i am. It is so bitter-sweet. Bitter because of why I am here. Its tragic and just gut wrenching to walk into this situation. But sweet because I get a chance to: a. See Jennifer and tell her I love her . b. See my family who I haven't seen since Thanksgiving. One reason I want to see Jen so badly is because in 2000 My mom's mom, Mimi Kay, was dying in the hospital. She was probably in ICU for a month. And I was really afraid to see her so ill. So i never went up there. And she died. She died having not seen me in month. It is one of my biggest regrets to this day. So I have just made a point to make sure to tell people what they mean to me, given the opportunity. So I am overjoyed with this opportunity. I'll be sure to blog tomorrow to let you know how everything was. Pray, please, for peace in their home. The first night home from a hospital stay is always uneasy. Pray for peace, rest, and comfort for their whole family.

On a brighter note, I got to see my brother and sister in law and my niece, laney tonight. Y'all, Laney is ridiculously precious. Pics to come!

Love you all. Pray pray pray, please.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

thoughts on Jennifer

Hi Blog friends,
Well, I have a little update on my friend, Jennifer. Its not good news...She has a stage 4 Glioblastoma. Which means it is the meanest ugliest kind of brain tumor possible. They have had some really hard decisions to make...I'll let you know once these things become public. But lets just say its been excruciating for this family. The great news is Jennifer feels fine. Literally she has no pain. My mom helped give her lunch today and said Jen ate a ton. Which is really good for her to have a big appetite. Some of you might be wondering why this is such a big deal to me. Jennifer and I aren't bff's, I don't talk to her regularly or anything...but here is why. Since I have been alive, Jennifer and her family have been a strong presence in my life...From the Westminster family retreat in like 1988- I remember Jennifer, Erin Cunningham, Lindsay Fegan, Audrey Terrel and me all dancing together at the sock hop there. I remember Jennifer being at the first play I was in the 3rd grade at trinity. She worked there and we have a picture of us from that day. I have countless of memories of Jennifer, my mom and me going to lunch and a movie when school got out for Christmas or for the summer. I remember when we went to kids camp and Jen came and shared to her testimony of God saving her-after, we played DC talk and she really shook her tail feathers! That girl can groove! I have lots of fun memories from Thanksgivings with the Jones family, and my favorite is seeing Jen on stage at Westminster play that tambourine with Matt Holtzman next to her. She was so authentic in her worship. But mostly hearing her say, " Hi my whit!". I'm HER Whit! Haha. She is just such a strong part of my roots. Its therapeutic for me to be able to write all of this. She is so young, yet has made such an impact on not only my life, but countless lives. I have NO IDEA what the future holds-even how long her future may be. But i know that in everything she does, she points people to Jesus. She has pointed me to Jesus. And I can only imagine what the party will look like in heaven when she runs through those gates. No limp, no leg braces, no right hand issues-and jumps into to Christ's arms and says, "Hi MY Jesus." THAT will be a good day, whenever it is-and we can rejoice in that.


For more on her journey and how to pray with the family, Please see her caring bridge journal http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jenniferjones2011.


Also, I will write about this more, but I blogged a few weeks ago about my friend, Karisse. Well she just got news of more cancer. A nodule in her leg and in her breast. For more info on her here is a link to her blog www.karissejoy.blogspot.com/. Please life her up as well.

Lots of love....


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

obsessed

Hi team!
Hope everyone is having a fantastic tuesday! I sure am! It has been breathtakingly beautiful here in the atx. I have thoroughly enjoyed this weather and the time change. Although it meant losing an hour and that it is dark when I get to work, I love getting home from work at 5:45 and getting to go for a run and the sun is still out. Gah, I LOVE spring. I hate the heat, but love getting to it!

I have been doing ok with eating. I really kind of ate poor last week. I think I was able to kind of see that my disappointment from our rejection letters led me to feel like I had a free pass to eat what I wanted. So I am back on the train and when I weighed in on sunday was up .5. Not proud of it, but also, not the worst damage. I also have to confess that I already broke my lent! :(. It was an accident! I just forgot about it. The manager at our favorite mexican restaurant lovingly brought me a free margarita on the house on friday and I drank it! Oops! About half way through Andrew said, "Didn't you give up alcohol for lent?" and I was like, "Oh my gosh! I did! I just forgot!". It was hysterical and typical. So funny.

We decided since it has been so pretty that we would utilize our grill and grill all of our food for the week. I got some of my faves, portobello mushrooms. I just sprayed them with some Olive Oil pam and them sprinkled them with some garlic salt and pepper. They were amazing. I also grilled asparagus, Squash, zucchini and red bell peppers. Last night for dinner I got one of those sandwich thins (which really is like a bun) and put just a bit of light mayo( maybe a half table spoon) and some dijon mustard on it and then a slice of weight watchers pepper jack cheese and then one of my grilled mushrooms and I grilled it on the skillet. Then i had a side of all my grilled veggies and a serving of sweet potato fries with it...and y'all. I am obsessed. It was amazing and the entire meal was 8 points. I was full and satisfied for sure. I am also really loving Fage greek yogurt. They have the fat free greek yogurt and then you can get it with fruit to mix into it or my fave, Honey. I am obsessed. And it is soo filling. I love the honey and yogurt over a chopped up banana. If you want to really make it a meal, Add in some of your favorite cereal or granola. Lastly, I made a recipe last night that was so good. It was originally supposed to be a banana cranberry bread- but i modified it and made banana raspberry muffins. Here is what I did:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup splenda sugar mix
3 table spoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup egg beaters
3 bananas
1 cup raspberry's

In a meduim bowl combine flour, baking soda and Cinnamon

In a mixer beat together oil and sugar mixture, after a minute add egg beaters, after a minute add mashed up bananas

turn mixer to stir (the lowest setting) and gradually add flour mixture and raspberries

after thoroughly combined, pour into sprayed muffin tins.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

5 ww points plus per muffin.

Andrew bell liked these. That says a lot! I hope you have a great week!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

still praying

Hello dear blog friends!
I want so bad to blog about all of the fun I had this weekend-my great run yesterday, buying and planting flowers today, the amazing worship service we attended tonight...but I just can't stop thinking about sweet Jennifer and the precious Jones family as they walk through this trial. So, once again, i want to ask for your prayers for her. Here is the link to her caring bridge website http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jenniferjones2011/journal. If you are interested, please visit and please post on their guestbook if you have been praying. I know many of you may not know this family-but even so-if they know that the body of Christ is praying all over the world, I KNOW that will bring so so much comfort to them.
One thing I love to do is make people cd's. Many of you may have been lucky enough to receive one of these from me :). Music is one of the most powerful ways I experience comfort. The Holy Spirit totally ministers to my soul through music. So, I decided to make the Jones's a cd. I spent like 3 hours friday going through lots of my songs and picking the perfect mix. My hope and vision is that this would be something that Chris can have in her car, so as she is going back and forth from the hospital to the house, she can have hope in her car. One of the songs I picked is a song called "healing is in your hands". Christ Nockels, who has the most amazing voice, sings it. Here are some of the words:
No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love

How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands


I was Just praying this over them. That they would know, NOTHING can keep us from His love.

Join me in praying for them. I'll do my best to keep you updated!

p.s.
We bought a ton of food for our week and grilled it all up today. I am super excited for my grilled: Squash, zucchini, bell pepper, portobello mushrooms and asparagus. Its a healthy week, y'all!!!
Will post as soon as I can!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

jennifer-update

Jennifer, who i wrote about yesterday, just got out of surgery. It went well and they were able to drain a lot of fluid from her tumor. This is a huge praise and will help her symptoms dramatically. They got a good look at the tumor and have determined it is the same tumor from when she was little. So it is back. Its amazing to think that almost 30 years later it could return. God saved her once and is able to do so again. So, they got a biopsy of it and sent it off to pathology. It is either a level 3 or 4 tumor. We are praying for a 3-the possible treatment for this tumor is much more successful on a 3. We are praying that it is a 3. My mom has talked multiple times with Jen's mom. They are best friends so of course they have been in contact so so much about all of this. Today Jen's mom told my mom, "I'm not afraid of the end. I'm afraid of the journey." to which my mom responded, "over and over again in scripture God says," Fear not. I am with you." She responded with, "It is impossible to not fear when it is your baby." Now, Jennifer is not a baby-but she is their baby. She is their precious child and to watch your child walk through this seems utterly impossible. As a nanny, I have a deep deep love for the girls I keep. But, I know that is nothing compared to a mothers love...So i can't even imagine what that looks and feels like. As I was thinking about all of this, I was just reminded that we have a savior who knows what it feels like to fear the future. That He experienced dread and anxiety. He felt massive pain and suffering. He walked through it. Our savior is not a God who sits in the sky and has no idea what His people walk through. He has walked with us. He suffered more than we can know. This brings me comfort to know that He will provide every ounce of comfort and strength and mercy for this family as they face a journey they do not want to take. Pray with me, that they will walk hand in hand with the savior who knows what it is to walk a road of suffering. I'll keep you updated as I hear more! Lots of love!!!