thepassionatelife

Colorado Trip 2017

I had a friend once tell me that she doesn't read my blog for anything other than the travels that I do and the tips that go along with that because she's not interested in fitness. I thought that was wonderful! Lol! How fun that she still had a reason to make her way over here ;)

So, with that said, I'd love to tell you about our trip thus far. We already know what we are doing for our final two days here, so I'm sure I can give a pretty good picture of what that's going to be like, and help anyone out that think that they may want to find their way out to Colorado (specifically Denver/Boulder area). 

We actually flew out of Atlanta on Wednesday morning and stayed the night with our friend from NYC that moved to Atlanta on Tuesday night. As you all know, we have friends seriously everywhere across the US and love using these times to catch up! :) We have decided however that we don't think that we will fly out of ATL again just because we still live a good 3-4 hours from there depending on traffic and that makes for a really long, unnecessary travel day. But seeing Peter made it totally worth it. He's single ladies, and quite the catch! HAHA! (He would kill me if he ever read my blog and saw that sentence). 

When we landed in Colorado, I had no idea and thought that the friends that we are staying with in Colorado lived only 30 minutes from the airport, so we got our rental car and headed that way! My friend, Bridget, actually works from home so that was convenient and easy to arrange! :) 

The first night, we went back into Denver for dinner with a friend that was once a follower, but over time we just realized we had a lot in common and the last time that I went through Denver on the way to Utah, I had lunch with her, and so this time, we wanted our boyfriends/husbands to meet and do dinner so that was a lovely dinner at a place called Linger. They have vegan/vegetarian options which is great! As usual, when the option is presented to us, it's wonderful to have it, but we don't mind either way! :) However, people who follow me, know that we eat mostly plant based so they pick restaurants with options! ;) 

The thing I will say about Colorado is that they are SO GENUINELY friendly. When they say hello, they mean it. When they ask you how your day was, they want to know the details. If you want any sort of substitute for ANYTHING food wise, they do it with a smile on their face. I don't have Celiacs, but I know a lot of people want to have that option and they have it EVERYWHERE here. More than anything, I think it just says something about the character of the people, and I appreciate that. 

Before dinner, I went and ran on a single track trail for 9.5 miles. It was ridiculously freezing cold, hazy so you couldn't see the mountains but I had been stuck on an airplane so it felt good to move!! The second day, the ice had set in everywhere so I decided to keep the workout INDOORS on that day. I also fell on the ice, and ran straight into a pole because I had my hood up and now have a bruise on my eye lid, but no pain no gain right? LOL. NOT. It hurt. 

The next morning, we went for a hike in Boulder. To give perspective, my friends live in Louisville which is one of the towns surrounding Boulder. Boulder is CRAZY expensive to live in, and so many live in Eerie, Louisville, Longmount and some others to be able to afford the area but just not being in actually Boulder, but we are only 15-20 minutes away. It was super snowy, and when we got halfway up to the peak, it got super hazy and looked dangerous. We had Yactrax on our shoes, but just didn't feel safe (and I also was being lazy because it was a heck of a climb) so we turned around. We still got a beautiful day out in nature and the snow and had a ball. That afternoon, we went into downtown boulder for some coffee. It's ADORABLE! In North Carolina, the walking malls would include Ann Taylor and Banana Republic whereas Boulder has a walking mall of Patagonia, Newton Running, and all the other outdoor hippy shops! ;) I loved it! 

The second night we also were able to have dinner at the home of someone that I grew up with from Shelby. She made us dinner, and we got to meet her husband and precious little girl Madeline. It was SUCH a treat to see such a familiar face and she is someone who has done INCREDIBLE things. She's in politics, and has been on Fox News/some sort of TV probably around 300 times, and was named Forbes 30 under 30 in Law and Policy last year and this year, the 3rd most influential Republican female. She is SUCHHH a joy to be around, so I loved our evening with her. 

On Friday, we spent the day going to 5 breweries all over the area. I'm honestly not a beer drinker...like at all haha! But Tanner is and so that was fun for him to be able to try out a bunch of different places and we were with our friend Matt, so he was leading the way. Needless to say, I drove home at the end! ;) On Friday night, we visited a vegan restaurant and then out for drinks again! ha! 

On Saturday was altitude sickness day! I woke up so excited to get in 18 miles with my friend Bridget (which it turned out being better that we didn't because of Tanner and I's hike on Sunday). We started off and got in the first 6 and it was totally fine. When we turned the corner, there was an intense wind going back but then I started feeling REALLY bad. We started slowing up and going like 9:30 and I still couldn't hold it. I was for sure that I would pass out. We stopped and I took a break for like 5 minutes and ate some Honey Stinger Gummies, and even though I was super nauseous, we kept continuing our way back. I had to stop at least once per mile to breathe and genuinely felt I was for sure going to pass out. We were doing like 10 min/mile and I felt like we were doing 6. It was awful. I was sick the rest of the day with GI upset, headache, nausea, and lack of appetite. Yikes. 

The rest of the day we spent going to consignment gear shops around the city and I found a Prana vest for $20! Score! We also found a ski rack for our car that would save us like $150 but we have no way to get it back so we passed. BOOOO!! 

That night we went to their house to help them paint because they BOUGHT A HOUSE HERE! YAY!!! It's officially official that they are going to be here for a while, which is exciting for them (they just moved in April). I left early to go to bed because I felt so awful.

On Sunday, which was yesterday, was the epic hike. We found a hike that we thought would be "moderate." Tanner has what appears to be walking pneumonia (yea I know lol) and his hamstring issue and he's like REALLY untrained cardio wise right now, and we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into. It ended up being 10 miles (5 miles of 3500 ft of gain mostly rock climbing in the final 2 miles). There was snow and ice and mud and rocks and falling and cussing and 5 hours worth of work but we made it up and back down and are glad we did. Tanner felt bad that he was "holding me back" because he's so sick but I just couldn't believe he was even doing that altitude while hacking up his lungs. He woke up this morning crazy sick so he is going to just study for his oncology board all day today in coffee shops. 

The hike was beautiful but challenging. It opened up once to where we could get some views and the rest of the time was just climbing. I genuinely thought it would never end, but it did and I'll never forget it. 

We did decide that we aren't as "badass" on the mountains as we try to think we are (I mean we knew this but just a slap of reality check). We also decided that we aren't even sure we enjoyed that kind of "push" as much. So, we decided we will leave the Everest climbs to other people, and I'll leave the 100 mile races for those that are a little more intense than I! ;) I'll stick with road running and triathlon for now! It's interesting the difference in the peaks of Utah and Colorado. Colorado is very pointy so you have to climb a lot to get to the peaks, but then you are like on the ledge looking out over the world. In Utah, it's like you can see more beauty quicker. I like that more! hahah!! 

I had a few ask me about this peak, and it was South Boulder Peak, and when you summit, the other side of the peak that you can't really see in the pictures is a complete drop off. As we were walking around in these pictures, we were holding on to that rock for dear life just because one motion and you're done. I had no idea that it would be so intense of a day but it's a memory of a lifetime. It also helped me to get 61 miles on my feet for the week which is exciting! 

Last night, for the Super Bowl, we headed to a local restaurant and bar and it was a relaxing good time. Today, we chill. Tomorrow, we are going to Winterpark and skiing all day so of course I'm more than thrilled to be doing that!!! Our epic Colorado outdoor adventure is slowly coming to a close, and it's crazy how many trips and memories Tanner and I have made together, and I can't wait for the next one. However, we have decided to not have anymore week long trips away from home for the remainder of 2017. We have some big goals that we are trying to accomplish, and I also feel bad always leaving my dogs with other people. So, this was our big trip of 2017 and it's been amazing! :) 

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San Francisco Trip

In the past couple of months (since July), I have traveled more than I think I ever have in my life. I remember making a status of all that I had to come and couldn't believe all the places I was getting to go. Tanner and I sat down one night and decided that we wanted to take every trip we possibly could make work with the amount of PTO that he had, and we started scheduling. One of the places that I had been dying to go was California. I had been in touch with North Face about the possibility of running the 50K, and so I knew that this was a viable option.

With all of the places that we have been, I have not been on the plane on our way with butterflies. California had the same kind of allure to me that New York City once did (and still does but I've just been lots of times). It's a place where you hear so much about but it has just never felt tangible. So, needless to say, I was excited. We landed in LA first, and just had a short lay over to San Fran. I will say that I wish I had got to stop in LA at least for a few hours because I feel that might be more of the Cali that I was dreaming of (not that San Fran wasn't a-mazing lol). We didn't arrive until 1am on Friday morning which with the time change was 4am our time so we were TIRED. We slept until 7am (which would have been 10am) and we felt refreshed for the day on Friday.

As I said yesterday, we were staying with a friend that I met at the Boston Marathon, and she is an absolute gem. She had her entire living room area set up for us with a nice queen air mattress. I wish I knew this brand of air mattress because it's certainly the best I've ever slept on and has never deflated. haha! I feel like I always wake up in a taco with air mattresses. Just me? lol.

On Friday, Tanner and I started exploring. One of the things that I had told Tanner the night before is that I HAD to have an acai bowl while I was here. Ironically, Meredith told us "You have to go to this place called Basik" and that's exactly what they are known for. We LOVE some coffee so we first stopped into a coffee shop called Saint Franks and then moved onto those acai bowls. Immediately we realized how expensive San Fran was and even more expensive than NYC (although I think we just learned tips and tricks with living there). We always find it super interesting that the day before we were in a different spot on a map having a coffee for $1.50 then we fly on a plane and then it costs $3.50 for a small. Ha!

After acai bowls, we headed to Lombard street which is the curviest street in America and we were close by. They have turned it into a garden area as well so it was super pretty. If you don't know this about San Fran, the temperature is ALWAYS moderate. It never really goes below 40, but never really above 80. I haven't decided if I love that, but I love some snow so that would make me sad to live here (but let's be real Shelby gets no snow either). We could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and all of the houses look like the set of Full House. I felt like I was in a dream in this place I've dreamed about for so long. Isn't life funny like that? Why haven't I just come here sooner? Who knows!

Another thing about San Fran-THE HILLS! I didn't know about it, and I'm not exaggerating that it's the steepest hills I've ever seen on streets. I feel as if they go straight into the air, and when I saw that, I was like "Ohhhhh boy" thinking about how I was supposed to be running a race on Saturday. Tanner and I wandered around and ended up at the Ferry Building for lunch. Most all of the places at the Ferry Building were very heavily meat focused, but we were able to find a place that had some options for us that was overlooking the water. It was absolutely beautiful. We came back to the house at that point to meet up with Meredith before we went to the Cliffhouse to watch the sunset. With daylight savings time as we all know, it's like super duper early and that's where my best friend Brandy met us. We had talked earlier in the year and decided that we were going to plan a trip out here, so she was staying with a different friend but we spent a good amount of time together.

We went to a place called Cliffhouse but the beach was right beside of it, so we laid out a blanket, and a bottle of wine, and just enjoyed it. It was breath taking to be honest, and the prettiest sunset I think I've ever seen. We could NOT stop taking pictures!!

From there, we got dinner at an amazing stop in place called Blue Barn that Meredith took us to and headed back as we knew we had an early morning with the race (4am to be exact). Read all about Saturday HERE.

After the race shenanigans, we showered and went down to Fisherman's Dwarf for some drinks. It was a super cool area that is one of the touristy spots so I would definitely recommend it. I thought when we came, we would need to rent a car and Brandy did because she was staying an hour outside of San Fran proper, however Meredith lives right in the heart and with the parking situations, you definitely don't need a car. We took ubers or walked to most places and found that to be the easiest. Renting a car wasn't that expensive for this week, but I'm glad that we didn't for ease of travel.

After having drinks we met up with Brandy and her friend for dinner, and as usual, we headed back early. We knew we were planning on going to wine country on Sunday so we thought we'd go to bed early. Truth is: we had jet lag the entire time and went to bed at 8pm and got up at 4am every day but we figured we would keep doing it and then we could adjust easily going back.

Sunday morning, we got up and went to brunch at a little hole in the wall and then headed on our way. I knew that west coast was much more "liberal" for lack of a better word so I was challenging myself to stay vegan the entire trip and I totally was able to easily. It's been no problem at all, and I've really enjoyed it to be honest! :)

After that, we headed off to wine country. There are a couple of different areas that you can choose for wine country but we chose to go to Sonoma. It's a little more chill than Napa. We went to three different vineyards and tried about 10 different wines none of which were Pino so then we got a bottle of Pino at the last place and split it between all three of us. Of course, we had to stop and take beautiful pictures in the vineyard as well. We had a REALLY great day at the vineyard and all kept talking about how blessed we felt to be getting to do these things and how much we love life.

We stopped at a restaurant called Soul Food on the way back, and again, AMAZING vegan food. It's so cool to be in an area of the country that values this lifestyle soyou are able to try the most amazing dishes that are all plant based. There are so many combinations and it makes me appreciate food more now that I live this lifestyle. I won't complain but I do wish Shelby had just a fewwww more vegetarian options as it basically is nonexistent.

We got back at about 6pm and no lie watched Netflix until we fell asleep at 8pm. HA!! We are party animals clearly! Monday morning we woke up somewhat wishing that we had flown out on Monday but our flight was on Tuesday so we had an entire extra day. We really didn't know what to do yesterday so we basically meandered around doing nothing pretty much all day. LOLLLL! On Monday morning however, I went to a run group called Back on My Feet. It's meant to help the homeless. They have a point system for when you come to the run club and if you come a certain amount of times then you are able to get certain benefits from that that helps them lead into independence. The program is brand new in San Fran so there weren't that many people there, but it's an amazing thing they are starting. I laughed because I've never done a huddle where we didn't pray but we did this huddle and they like started encouraging everyone, and I bowed my head and then popped back up like "Oh, we aren't praying!" hahahaha! It was hilarious in my head, but makes sense because it is San Fran after all! ;)

We have LOVED San Fran and will definitely be back sometime. We are so lucky that we were able to stay with a friend, and I definitely want a little redemption on that 50K course at some point! ;) We honestly however are REALLY excited to get back to our puppies, decorate our home for the holidays as I'm having family at my house for the first time on Christmas day, and we have big plans for fun things we want to do in our area! :) We have left the season of travel but are really looking forward to some time at the house. Our next trip is Feb 1-8 when we go to Colorado for visiting friends in Boulder and a ski trip! The beautiful thing about travel is that it's beautiful, it's exhausting and when you get a little tired of it, home is always waiting with open arms.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

 

 

 

 

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The Cleveland County Fair is in town!!!

So, in Shelby, we like to pride ourselves on having the biggest fair in North Carolina aside from the state fair in Raleigh. I have so many memories at the fair, and there's only been one year of my life that I haven't been able to go. I have to say it doesn't feel the same now that I'm an adult, and there are tons of things that have changed, but it still gives me this nostalgic comfort while being there. Rachel is also an absolute gem for taking these pictures. She is trying to learn photography better, and I think she has an amazing talent. She also put up with my awkwardness. Now time for no words and just a bunch of pictures! :)

Such a good sport hahaha!

Such a good sport hahaha!

And last but not least, my beautiful friend!! You know those people that you feel like you are even lucky to get to be so close to...that's how I feel about Rachel. Her and her husband Wes have become some of our best friends over the past year. She's such a good, fun person and I love her to pieces. I could go into all of her spiritual gifts, but just know she's awesome! lol!

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Things We Do to Keep Our Marriage Healthy

I believe health is many things including relationships. I also find it's very hard to find health is other areas of our lives if our closest relationships aren't at peace. I want to start with the disclaimer that I know that we have "only" been together for 5.5 years, and we most certainly are very lucky because there are MANY MANY situations where people wish that things were different and just some simple steps are not going to fix the deep wounds after decades of hurt. But, from my young, 4 year old marriage, I'd love to share how we fall in love more and more every year. 

1. We keep Christ at our center with each other as our first priority.

I remember when I got married, my best friend Brandy said "Let's go to Boston on spring break" and I was like YESS! So we booked the flight and I told Tanner after. He was so kind about it but he was just basically like, "You didn't think twice of me. You knew I had to work and you didn't even care that I couldn't go."

I was so convicted because it was so true. I hadn't given him a second thought. Ooops. I love my friends dearly. I love my family so very much, but my husband comes first to me. We genuinely desire a true Christ like marriage. I also feel that this sounds so .... just ... cliche Christianese talk. But we discuss it frequently, and how can we make this something that actually happens and not just something that is a nice catch phrase.

2. We found common ground and became best friends.

The reason that I said "we found" and we "became" is because I would actually say this was not the case when we got married. I didn't work out at all, and he lifted weights pretty seriously but we never talked about health and fitness. We connected because we had similar backgrounds and upbringings, similar religion, political views, and we just clicked very quickly on many topics however we didn't really share any hobbies. This has evolved over the years. 

While I know that a big one of ours is fitness, that's not the only one. We are dreamers. We are travelers. We are bucket listers. We love to make lists of places that we will go. We commonly say "Okay if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?" or "If you could do anything right now, what would you do job wise?" and then we try to make action plans towards those things. We love to dream, but we love to actually see some of those dreams come to fruition. It gives us such passion and zeal in life together. We get jacked up...together. It's fun. 

3. We listen to one another. 

I hate when he chews loud. He hates when I lose my keys. We created systems to prevent the moments of tension. I eat many times per day, and so a lot of times I just leave my plate, fork, spoon just out and dirty. The other day he said "This really actually bothers me a lot." (He is a clean guy) and I was like "Wow. I'm so sorry. I've been doing that forever." But guess what? I'm not going to do it again. It's small stuff like that that's not worth arguing over. I know you can't help if your spouse won't do the same but maybe if you start doing the things that they tell you they don't like, then they might feel more love towards you in that and start doing the things that bother you. 

4. We seek counsel from healthy Christian marriages and we ACTUALLY listen to what they have to say. 

If I see someone doing the marriage thing right, you better believe I'm going to ask them like that moment what makes them the way that they are. If I see an older couple holding hands, I ask how they have stayed so in love. If I see children that are just so mature at a young age, I ask how they feel they raised them differently. Many times I get answers that I don't want to hear to be honest, and think "Man, I need to change some things" and sometimes those things don't change and I have to revisit them, but I try. And he tries. I'm very lucky that I have a man that tries as well. 

5. We waited/are waiting to have children. 

For us personally, this was actually a big deal. When we met, we were in pharmacy school and I'm a huge focuser in things like that. I don't make adequate time for relationships. From there, we went into residency. From there, we moved to NYC and he worked evening shift and I worked day shift. We are just coming into a season of normalcy and we want to really enjoy one another during this time. We didn't "date" long and got engaged quick and we don't regret that at all, but are kinda sad we missed out on some dating phases of the relationship and so we want to take this super slow and date each other now! :) 

6. We don't nag and we aren't needy

AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Seriously. I really do think I might be more nagging if I had the energy but ironman + small business owner + everything else = who cares if he did this one thing? I'd rather just move on. 

He used to try to talk things out with me but he knows better now. I'm just like "if we could just wait 10 minutes, I'll probably forget this even existed" and that's basically how we handle things. 

7. We make sex a priority.

Sorry, mom. Women, I know this is tough. It really is at times, and I totally get it. BELIEVE ME. But I love my husband and I know that it's a huge thing for them. It's also huge that we not just say "Uh yea sure whatever" but that we are excited. It is a huge part of how they are made, and I firmly believe that sometimes it's just not always about me and if I'm feeling it. 

8. We desire a loving, compassionate marriage. 

We are probably too anxious about how "bad" we do at this. We are very over analytical on our marriage with our desires to make it better, so maybe that's not good either but we are constantly talking about what we can do to make it better. We talk about how to break down the walls of getting too busy to even just hold hands or go to dinner together. We just make small efforts...small tiny daily efforts.

9. We talk through conflicting issues when we aren't in conflict and we don't talk about each other to anyone else. 

Remember how I said I just like to walk away in conflict? Yea, usually that's what we do. But sometimes, Tanner will later say "I feel as if this is maybe an issue I don't want to become an elephant in the room so now that things are calm, let's talk this out" so then we do. We have a no yelling policy. I needed a policy for myself. Tanner has probably never yelled in his life except maybe during a max deadlift or something. haha! 

We also have really found a common ground that we agree on for bigger issues. I know we don't have children yet so I can't speak for that. Finances for example, we put our money together and we have a $50 limit where we at least call and say "Hey do you mind if I get this?" We also had conversations before about how we wanted to handle money to make sure that we were on the same page. The same goes for other topics as well. 

10. We are each other's biggest fan and cheer each other on. 

He will be at every event that I do with bells on. He gets off work and changes his schedules to be there for me (except when he was like in residency and didn't have a choice). He is a pharmacist that works in an outpatient chemotherapy clinic and he is wanting to get board certified in oncology so that he can be better at his job. This requires a lot of studying at nights now, but I'm so proud that I'm like "Let me make you coffee and bring you dinner!!" We just always say that we are a team and that if one of us is doing something then we are in it together. 

 

 

 

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Life, Training, Goals, and Friends!

Ever get something off your chest and think "OH MY GOSH I FEEL SO GOOD NOW!!" 

Shewww, that's how I feel. Thank you for all of the emails and comments. Every single one I read in full and it meant so much! Also, shoutout to my mom who was about to like come over and bring me chocolate and flowers or something. LOL!!! Who else loves mommas? I mean really..they are just the best! I had been holding out on her so now I know I can't do that either or she might whoop me! ;) 

Last week was actually really great for training, and I got in some solid miles going into 6 weeks out. It was one of two of my highest weeks of mileage, and I actually took a second rest day today because I was still feeling soreness. That might not be what most would do but whatever, I'm not one to care about taking a non scheduled rest days. There are some workouts that are crucial and some that are not. Haha! 

So, let's talk about last week! My totals were: 50 miles running, 140 miles biking, 6000m swim

I keep the same structure every single week but with the weekends going back and forth in intensity and dialing up in mileage. I've changed one weekly mid week run from 6 miles to 8 miles but otherwise the structure is: 

Monday-8 miles speed (speed work is kind of a joke right now-my body is just too tired) + 90 min interval cycles

**Obviously I didn't do this today so I'll probably run/bike/swim all tomorrow. 

Tuesday-Swim intervals (2500m) + Run 6 miles 

Wednesday-Run 8 miles (this was 6 a few weeks back) + 120min steady cycle 

Thursday-easy 6 mile run + Lifting (if I feel like it-lifting has literally been non existent HA-I got gains to make post ironman FO SHO)

Friday- Long Run + 3000-3500m swim 

My long runs, I've just been dialing up slowly trying to cap out at a 20 miler right before the taper. I only like to have a 2 week taper and that's just preference. I get lethargic if I do 3 weeks. I typically dial up 3 weeks then dial back then go up again in this type format: 

12, 14, 16--> 14, 16, 18 --> 16,18,20 

That's just an example but kind of the format that I follow. If I feel tired after a weekend at 18 miles, then I might do 12 miles that following weekend and then 20 the next. I'm very unstructured with training sometimes. I just do what feels right. I call it intuitive training. I know I know...it's ridiculous but it works for me. 

Saturday- Long Bike + Shorter Run (2-6 miles) 

The long bikes I'm alternating between super long and then kinda long. This is how I dialed up over the past few weeks.

50, 65, 50, 75, 30 (I wasn't feeling it lol), 85 (last week), 50 (this week), 100 (shoot me now lol), 50, 70, 50 (that's the last few weeks plan going into it!)

September 24th is my big day that I'm going to try to basically do the entire ironman across the course of two days. I'll do 20 miles + 3800m on Friday followed by 100 miles solo + 6 miles off the bike and then I'll have a regular week and then go into the taper. 

I'm using the method of don't think-just do. I kept over analyzing this weekend and it wasn't necessary. It never is. It always works out and is FINE. I just put in the time and I just keep running or keep pedaling and then I finish eventually. 

NOW MOVING ON TO LIFE AND FRIENDS!! :) It was Jackson's 2nd birthday party this past weekend (that's my precious sweet nephew if you are new here). He was so cute. His little mind is growing every week and I love him so much. He calls me "Tay tay" (I was going to Kay Kay) and then "Nanner" is Tanner. Every time he says Nanner, he laughs after it. I basically melt into a puddle. 

Also, can we talk about how sweet Uncle Nanner is? The dogs sleep with us, and he's so just naturally nurturing (I know that's weird to use but it's true) that he has a little tiny bowl set out by the sink that he fills up with water and he brings it over to the dogs just in case they want one last sip. HA!!! I pick on him all the time, but each night they know dads coming over with some night time water. He's going to make the best dad (Yes, I'm having the fever! ;) haha-and because I tell everything we plan on traveling a lot in the next year and starting next June after we take a 5 year anniversary trip to Ireland/Scotland as I've been asked like 500 times).

He likes cows so his entire party and outfit was moo cows. When I put on his outfit, he pointed to his pants and said MOOO and then he poked me in the eye and said "TAY TAY EYES" lol!! 

He likes cows so his entire party and outfit was moo cows. When I put on his outfit, he pointed to his pants and said MOOO and then he poked me in the eye and said "TAY TAY EYES" lol!! 

So Jackson turned two, but I turned 27! My brother turned 29 and my grandmother turned 89! Our birthdays are the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th! This is the grandmother that is still with us! :) Tanner knew I needed new luggage and he got me something that I'd NEVER in a blue million years buy myself which is nice North Face luggage. It's always weird when you're married. Like, it's both of our money and I wouldn't ever want to spend but you allow it when it's your birthday! LOL!!! I linked it up for you guys and I didn't really like doing that because then I saw the price and can't believe the husband. HAHA!

When he asked what I wanted to do, I told him apple picking. He was like "really?" and I was like...REALLLLLY. So basically, I look like I'm in the garden of eden and I'm Eve and so basically I caused the fall of humanity. We went to the orchard and I told Tanner one of my main goals was to just have fun with photography while we were there. I absolutely love playing around and getting fun images.

In all of my DRAMAAA, he told me that he wanted us to really fix up some things in the house because he knows I loved that. We added pillows and trinkets to the mudroom upper shelves, I styled all 3 of our bookshelves, we changed the entire set up of our bedroom, we moved around furniture in our house, and we deep cleaned everything. We have a white couch with slip covers (that I LOVELOVE) but it has to be cleaned every once in a while. 

I also got the final touches on my run coaching certification. I finished the testing a few weeks back, and did really well so I was very pleased. It's funny how well you can do on something when you love it so much. I had to also get my CPR certification renewal, so I went to Charlotte last week and did the day of fun CPR/First Aid course. Ha! Did I go to a McDonalds breakfast, and a Target visit after? #DUH.

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The 15th anniversary was 9-11 this week. It always hits me differently after living literally right across the street (I'm talking I could throw a baseball to Ground Zero). Being there just makes you realize how very real it is. 

We even talked about moving back if the stars were to align. Who knows? LOL! All of that to say, I miss my friends more than anything, and so we texted and two of them are actually going to come out to San Fransisco while I'm out there running the North Face 50K race!!! And yes, that's how good of friends we had there! The kind of friends that we text and say "Hey! Let's plan a trip!" and then it ACTUALLY happens! It's the same ones I went to Nashville with.

Needless to say, it's been a fun packed last week and I'm one blessed gal! My goals moving forward this week are just to focus on the workouts ahead of me, and to enjoy life! That's all I got for this week! This weekend is one of my best friends bachelorette weekends in Charlotte, and I can't wait to celebrate her and hang out with some college girlfriends! I thought in college I'd have this whole life thing figured out when I got out. What happened to that? ;) ;) 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Story to Becoming Young Life Leaders

{{This got a bit lengthy but I wanted to share the full story}}

I remember the first time that I ever explained to Tanner what Young Life was. The infamous Blair Jones put up a facebook post that she was organizing a team of runners to run across South Carolina in efforts to raise money for Young Life (200 miles). I was like YES I WANT TO DO THIS! Life is so crazy because I remember that we lived in Raleigh, and we were to meet in this parking lot at the home of the organizer (blair) and ironically enough, that is now our neighborhood. I had NO idea at the time that I would be living RIGHT BESIDE this parking lot 4 years down the road. But, I digress. 

I raised the money for Young Life, ran the race, and I told Tanner all about my high school years of Young Life and how much I loved the ministry. That was that. 

But, that's just the first time I told Tanner. Let's rewind to how much I feel the Lord has been pursuing me for this ministry for a long time. 

When I was in high school, I was involved. I won't say I was SUPER involved, but I was very very busy with the sports that I played and I remember always thinking how badly I wanted to go to their events but couldn't seem to ever make it. I always thought it was so cool when the girls would come talk to us at lunch (which is funny because of how AWKWARD that had to have been for them) and how I wanted to be one of the cool kids that did Young Life ;) I always went to Windy Gap. I wanted to go to summer camp, but my family didn't have the money and I actually didn't know that you could fundraise most of it. 

I went to college at App, and became instant best friends with Erica Aguero (Gardner now). We decided to go to College Life one night (I have no idea why to be honest). We decided we wanted to be leaders. We both talked about it, and right before everything was about to start, I bailed. I knew I did not have the time or energy to be this "perfect student and get into pharmacy school" and also be committed to Young Life. I lived with Erica sophomore year. I loved watching her be a leader. I went to a few meetings & events with her...nothing serious. I knew the Lord. I loved the Lord, but my focus was so skewed back then. Pharmacy school or die because I "had to be successful". I told Jesus I'd get to know Him when I was done with all of that....which I guess I kept to that promise at least. HA! 

Pharmacy school ends and we head up to New York City for a year of adventure. The first thing that happens is how involved we become with our church. One of the first months that I'm there, I meet someone who is a young life leader. I talk with her literally the entire night about how much I love the ministry and want to be involved. We exchange numbers. It was a go....until I left and talked to Tanner. He knows me. He knows how I jump in before thinking. He was like "Katie really? You are working 40+ hours a week, commuting 2 hours, studying for boards, training for your first marathon and opening up an incorporated business. This is just too much." I remember thinking that he was not "being a spiritual leader" hahahaha! No, the boy just had common sense and spoke it into my soul when I needed it. 

Then, we move back to Shelby. We get really involved with our church and still are, and I run into a friend, Wes. He is married to this really cute, sweet girl named Rachel. She is so bubbly, introduces herself and I tell Tanner how I could be such good friends with this girl and how she totally had the "Young Life Vibe." I knew they were very involved. At this moment, I literally had ZERO intentions of any involvement, and honestly just hadn't thought of it. Rachel facebooked me later that week and asked if I'd like to get coffee. I was like UH DUH and that's all she wrote on our friendship. It's been a go ever since. ha! 

In the midst of that though, I remember one night she texted me and said "I promise I'm not a recruiter, and I don't normally do this, but I just honestly think that you and Tanner would be great Young Life leaders." When I read her message, my heart kind of stopped because I thought "God, here you are again, for the THIRD time bringing this ministry to me across the span of 8 years." Like, how insane right? There are MANY MANY different ministries that I could have met along the way, become friends with people involved and been pursued. Yet, somehow from Shelby, to Boone, to New York City then back to Shelby and it's there every time. I honestly don't think I'd ever felt so "led" like "Woahhhhh...this just happened." haha! 

Then, I got nervous. How am I going to tell Tanner I want to think and pray about this? He's going to tell me I do too much and I don't need to, and he has no idea what it is so I doubt he will want to do it. So, I started dropping subtle ((which I know Rachel will probably LOL as she's reading this)). Like- "hey babe-Rachel gave you the best compliment today that you'd be such a great leader of Young Life and obviously NOT THAT WE ARE but like IF WE WERE, you'd be so good at it." You know--build up the man's ego...yall know that's how they work ;)

His three comments were: "Well I just don't know what it's about because I've never done it" and "I don't feel like I'm good enough to lead" and "I'm not against the idea at all...I just need to think and pray about this." 

A few weeks went by. We kept talking about things. I had honestly come to the conclusion he really didn't want to. Tanner is either IN or he's not. He said he "wasn't against it" but I know him. If he's not ALL IN, he might as well be out and if he was in, he would talk about it nonstop and be so excited. He wasn't that (STAY TUNED).

We went to a marriage retreat with our church, and Wes and Rachel did too. Tanner was able to talk to Wes a little bit more about what Young Life looks like day to day from a full time working spouse type thing. He was coming around and I could feel it! HAHAHA! 

I honestly didn't say a word. I prayed individually about it, and continued of course talking to Rachel about it, but I didn't want to pressure him at all. I wanted this to be 100% his decision and not something I forced on him, so honestly I didn't talk about it like....at all. 

I can't even remember how soon this was, but we were on our way to pick up something at Wes and Rachel's one night and the conversation went like this: 

Tanner: Oh, by the way, I'm 100% in now.

Me: For what? Wait what?

Tanner: Yea..Young Life-I'm 100% down now. Let's do it!

Me: How did this happen? When? Why did you make this decision? 

Tanner: I don't know. I prayed about it, but I just know now and I'm 100% in. 

AND THEN MY EXCITED TANNER KICKED IN. I told yall, I know the kid.

At that point, we reached out to the area director in Shelby now, and had dinner with him and his wife. Shoutout to them for being the absolute best hosts and I'm so excited to get to know them even better than we do now because they are FAN-TASTIC. I feel like God hand picked them to be just what Cleveland County needed for YL. 

Things happened quickly at that point, and we were placed at Burns High. For a little background, I went to Shelby High. Burns High is a rival, but not like a deeply routed rival. It's more of a friendly rival. LOL!! I had a REALLY incredible leader in NYC tell me once that being humble is not about never recognizing where you are needed. It's having the maturity to think so little of yourself that you are able to recognize from the outside an area that you are of need, and to fill that need. That's EXACTLY the emotion that I feel about being at Burns. I feel as if God hand picked us for this spot, this school, at this time. It's pretty incredible to be apart of something I know to be just SO RIGHT, and I'm so excited for the future of it. 

 

 

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Marriage Retreat & Asking the Awkward Questions

When we were asked to go on the marriage retreat, for some weird reason, I was hesitant because I had two other trips that month so it was going to be three weeks back to back. I know that with training that can get tricky. However, my friends at church started talking about it and I was like "Uh I wouldn't miss this for the world" and I'm sure glad I didn't. 

The hotel was at Lake Lure Inn which is a beautiful lake in the NC mountains if you aren't familiar that's only an hour from Shelby (which I didn't realize-going to be making other trips ;)). It was a really old hotel and we had 21 couples that essentially took up the entire place. I heard a young couple coming down the stairs on Saturday night say "There's this church here taking up the whole place because they have so many da** people!" hahaha! It wasn't THAT many, but it was a small(er) hotel I guess. 

Friday, we stopped with 2 other couples at a restaurant before we got to the first session at 8pm. The way that a marriage retreat or any retreat goes for that matter is that typically you will have a speaker and they just get real with you. It's not meant to be a sermon. The theme of the weekend was "How to Love well" which #DUH #marriageretreat! :) The speakers were an absolute joy...really. They have been married for going on 20 years, and I just LOVE hearing about faith based marriage and they are still very much in love. It's a beautiful thing to see and be mentored by. 

At the end of each session, they would provide questions for us to talk through (and pray over) with our spouse. This is where half of the title comes from, because I'm officially a huge fan of that. The only time that you are ever going to do that is in a setting like this. I'm not going to write up some questions for Tanner and I to go over, and if I did he would be like "love ya babe, but I have to go brush my teeth" because most likely he would find that activity more productive! It is so transformative. I'm not even lying. You get down in the dirty with your spouse or if it's at your small group or even just with a group of friends, and you talk about the things that you wouldn't EVER talk about. What are my fears? How does that affect our relationship? Do I represent and respect you well in public? How can I change that? 

See, not too many right? ;) 

See, not too many right? ;) 

It is just an open line of communication for things that might not have even surfaced that you can work through. The same goes in other settings that might just be within your own thoughts of things that you might not have realized are there, but you need to work through. I was able to see SO MUCH about myself in just talking to Tanner about it, but also really walk through the steps on how I can do better. (Specifically always fear of failure-are you shocked?-probably not). 

It's cool because typically you only would start asking these questions in marriage unless you went to like counseling or something because your marriage wasn't doing so great. It's really neat to be able to do them even when your marriage is good so that hopefully before the red flags of anger are even drawn, and the bitterness is not even there, you can work through things that might come up in the future. Tanner and I realize how lucky we are with our marriage. We fight very little, and are just super chill about certain stuff. We also agree on almost ALLL life things, so that produces very little arguing but we have been together for only 5 years. We haven't walked through the absolute DIRT together of maybe one of our parents passing away when we are older and some who have lost children or those fathers who have to work all the time to be able to provide. Life can be REALLY REALLY tough sometimes, and it's so good to hear these couples talk about how they worked through these times so that we can be prepared to know how to do that. 

At the retreat we had 3 of these sessions and I loved working through the questions with Tanner. On Saturday, we had a breakfast buffet provided for us, and lunch and dinner we were on our own.

{{Just to throw a little bit of health in for the readers at home...as you can imagine... I really don't think nutrition is something that needs to be concerned with. I eat well if I can. I stop when I'm full. Listennnnn to yooooo body. Just because you go on a trip doesn't mean you have to eat everything in sight but it also doesn't mean that you have to stick to your nutritional plan either because that's cray cray. I also typically will take Saturday as my rest day and do my longer run/ride when I return from trips on Sundays. I literally don't even think about health and fitness when I leave for weekends like this, and I planned on vlogging but my mind is so far from thinking about that, that I just don't. ha.}} 

Saturday, we also had a picture scavenger hunt. IT WAS SO FUN!! We paired up with couples, but ours didn't win. BOOO! ;) Saturday night was filled with fun and so much laughter with all of these people whom I have grown to love dearly. I felt this way about my NYC community as well, so maybe I just love people, but I really really do think that both my church in NYC and my church here are so very special.

The people at BRCC (Broad River Community Church) in Shelby...I just can't explain. They are just SUCH genuine people! I hear them talk and I'm just like....wow. It makes me want to model my life after some of the older ones just seeing how much of a servant heart they have, and how they genuinely pursue Christ in every day life. It's really inspiring. Our entire staff is volunteer so you'd think our services wouldn't have the most qualified worship leader and pastor. I'm telling you how amazing they are, because they could EASILYYYYYY go to another church and make A LOT more money!!! 100%..no doubt in mind. Our pastor is incredible...such a theologian who has spent so many years of his life speaking all over and seeking genuine truth in the bible always, and our worship leader could literally be on broadway. It just doesn't matter to them. They seek Jesus. That's it. They don't care about the money. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! 

Coming back this week leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed and honestly just at peace. I tend to get really stressed out throughout the weeks, and this just felt so good. I will be updating you guys soon as well on my decision to work in high school ministry, but for now, I'll keep it suspenseful. My mom reads my blog so she saw that in one of the posts and was like "I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DO THAT!!" and I was like "How in the world did you know?" and she said "It's just been a part of your life for so long that when you mentioned ministry, I knew that had to be the one." So, there's that. Momma's always know best ;) #Sometimes #Don'tGetArrogantMOMfitscript #JKILOVEYOU !! 





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My 2015 Year in Review

I have probably spent approximately an entire extra day re writing blogs that get deleted because I forget everyday that squarespace is now shutting down on me. I have switched browsers, and it’s still deleting my posts therefore I’m going to be emailing them today **insert fake happy face because I’m about to go mad**

However, I always get really excited to do these posts. I always feel like I’m bursting at the seems when a new year starts with all of my new ideas and ways to improve and not just Katiesfitscript but just life in general. I like to look back on this blog and see what I’ve done throughout the year, and at my post from last year and see what I realistically did because I do like to actually do those things I say I will. HERE is that post if you are interested.

I find the most interesting the fact that I thought I was going to be able to do all of those races. I thought it was my last year in NYC and so I wanted to do as many as I could but come to find out, we were going to be moving much sooner, so that didn’t happen. With the Boston Marathon and my full ironman this year, it’s a little unrealistic of me to think I’m going to do a ton of races, but I do hope to do an ultra this year as well but not sure which one yet.

This post is going to just be about how 2015 panned out and tomorrow I’ll do my goals so that this post isn’t 20 pages long! ;) The thing I did above all of my races that I'm most proud of is that I read the Bible from start to finish this year! It has absolutely transformed my life from the inside out, and set in place a quiet time in the mornings that I hope to hold onto forever and ever.

January

We went to Hunter Ski Mountain with a huge group of friends-I personally haven’t been on a trip like this so I found it to be really fun. I’ll have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when they go this year, but so thankful I got to go and plan last year’s. 

February

We went to Norway, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Berlin. I think that it takes getting on the outside of a trip like this, and remembering it that you realize just how amazing it was. We went somewhat spontaneously, and just looked up things to do in each city on the train on the way. We slept in two train stations not knowing that there would be no heat in the middle of the night in Europe. It made for THE BEST memories with Tanner that I’ll never forget. If you’d like to see how we did it $2500, HERE’s that. But of course, it is of note, that’s because we slept in train stations.

One night we found a hotel across the street, and went and asked how much it would be because we would only be there like 2am to 6am, and they said $100 and we were like “NAAAA we’re good” HAHAHA ;) So, we froze.

March

NYC Half Marathon-PR’d with a 1:33 and got to run through Times Square and the rest of the city which I absolutely loved! Do that half marathon if you get the chance, and I’m hoping to qualify for the full soon!! You need a 3:12:53!

April

We announced our move and had to sleep on friend’s couches because our lease was up and there is basically nowhere in the city that you can go for that short of time. I was honestly REALLY stressed out during this time because I lived in a constant state of guilt of having to ask people for help. I didn’t like that AT ALL but I’m forever grateful to the friends that were so gracious to us in this time when we didn’t know what to do. 

May

We moved back to North Carolina on the 11th. I’ll never forget it.

I did the Over the Mountain Tri also, and this is the course that my bike broke down halfway. Honestly, I was trying to ride like a Walmart cruiser on the hardest bike course on the east coast and just thought my endurance would carry me through. I hadn’t even rode a bike outside at all I don’t think at that point. Legit, just signed up because I wanted to know what an open water swim felt like, so at least I got out of it what I came for ;) I found out that OWS does not bother me at all so that was good.

June

We started the process of buying our first home which we are in now. Super exciting stuff! I was studying like mad to take the licensure exam for NC at this point. BUSY BUSY.

July

I (FINALLY) became a licensed pharmacist in North Carolina which is something that I’m so incredibly proud of.

I also ran Grandfather MountainMarathon and somehow got first place in my age group. I found that I absolutely love running through the mountains and on trails which leads me to believe that I would love ultramarathons, so I’m hoping to be able to do one this year. It’s a marathon up a mountain so it’s pretty intense (aka crazy lunatic) stuff.

September

Katiesfitscript became incorporated which was a huge deal to me! I keep telling people that I’m going to keep doing this as long as it’s the Lord’s will and it keeps providing, and as of right now it just continues to grow so for that, I’m grateful!

October

Beach to Battleship Half Ironman

I think back on that race, and after my crash, I thought maybe tris just weren’t for me. Maybe I just wasn’t meant for it, and then when I crossed that finish line, every moment was worth it. I’ve never been so proud of myself…ever. It changes you. I also hired a coach

November

Thunder Road Marathon where I PR’d with my 3:15:20 and was the third female overall winner. I still absolutely CANNOT believe that.

I also took an overnight 12 hour bus to surprise my BFF, Brandy so that was an adventure.

Now, here we are. December was a blur full of memories and laughter, and we leave on thursday for our last trip of the year to Nashville for New Years! 

I always am so mushy but when I think about how much this life has to offer, I’m just in awe. When I sit back and think about the rest of the world, and how incredibly LUCKY we are to be in the positions that we are in. Just let that sink in.

Are you reading this? That means that you have the capacity to have internet, and most likely a computer. If not a computer, then that means that you have a phone. I don’t know why but the world poverty and all of the needs in the world have been HEAVY HEAVY on my heart this week.

Even before I spoke with the family from Haiti, I just felt like I was being called to help more in my community and far beyond that. I think it started when our church took food to needy families in Shelby. I’m not going to go into full details here, and I’m going to save that for tomorrow’s YouTube to explain my emotions lately with food and world hungry and poverty. So, if you haven’t subscribed, now is the time ;) 

This is the final week to sign up for the January challenge (The Blueprint). It will teach you everything that you need to know about macros (how to calculate your own, how to track, how to eat out, what to do with food allergies/preferences). You will have a Facebook group for accountability and at the end, there will be prizes. There are new workouts that are gym focused but you can choose to be sent my other workout options (hybrid training programs OR home workouts). It has a full meal plan for 4 weeks. Y'all, I call it the blueprint because I truly want it to be something you can't fail with! You can find it at SHOP > CHALLENGE GROUPS > The Blueprint Macro Guide & Meal Planning.

Lastly, if you want to convince your friends to join up and earn money while doing it, shoot me an email and I'll give you a code to do so. You'll make 20% for every sale!

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Christmas Traditions & Haitian coffee

Can you guys believe that Christmas has come and gone? It’s hard to believe that we are wrapping up 2015? I actually haven’t officially wrapped up all of the Christmas fun as I’m currently in Bristol TN with Tanner’s family. First, I love Bristol. It’s so beautiful with the mountains. You will find me doing a 10 miler at sunrise in the morning because I can’t imagine coming here and not running through it. So beautiful.

Tanner and his dad are currently in the shop downstairs working on some things together. He just built a table out of wood that he got out of his back yard, and yall, I wish I had a picture of it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and he is incredibly talented. It looks like something off Restoration Hardware. We told him he definitely needs to sell them. Tomorrow, we are going to have lunch with his moms side of the family for our final party which will wrap up party #11!!! WOAH! This Christmas has been CRAZY and it definitely snuck up on me. I don’t know how I wasn’t prepared, but I was super unorganized, and had to get gifts last minute. That’s not normally my style, so I’m going to be much more prepared next year.

I’m craving a bit of a routine, but we are actually leaving again on Thursday for New Years to go to Nashville with our friends from NYC. I know that it will be a fantastic time, and I’m super excited about it but also just that small part of me like “What were we thinking? I need rest!” LOL! However, I’m HUGE on giving experiences for gifts instead of material things as I feel those memories last forever. So, I gave my mom a raod trip with me this Christmas.

We don’t get a lot of one on one time together so I thought this would be a perfect bonding time in the car, so we are going to start planning that (most likely to the OBX).

I don’t know about you guys but my Christmas for 25 years has basically looked exactly the same. We have Christmas Eve with my dads side of the family and then on Christmas day, we wake up at my moms (“Santa”), have a big breakfast and open those gifts, and then we go to my stepdads side of the family then finally head to my Mawmaws at around 5pm and stay until 1am.

That family is big, and we do it up big-food and gifts. There are about 22-25 of us, and it used to be that everyone got everybody a gift. This obviously got excessive quick, so a few years ago we dialed back to just drawing names. This year, we decided that we were going to scale back one more time and get gifts for the kids next year, but the adults were going to put money towards getting a gift for a needy family in Shelby. None of us really need anything, and the older I get the more joy I find in giving to those less fortunate. I’m also totally a fan of us having less food or giving the extra to the homeless shelter! J

This year Christmas was different. Tanner and I have our own house now so woke up there and had our Christmas morning together in our home, and of course worked out in our home gym together ;) (haha typical). We headed over to my brothers house at 9am and had breakfast because of course, Jackson is here now, my nephew, and they are starting traditions with him. Tanner helped him on Christmas Eve with setting everything out for Santa, and we did the milk and cookie decorating so that was so precious.

If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that today I spent the afternoon with a family who are refugees from Haiti. This was not intended to be, but it turned out to be quite the life changing experience. I hope this is something that we can continue to help with…indefinitely. This family lives down the street from Tanner’s mom, and the daughter graduated with Tanner, and they actually escaped from Haiti years ago. The husband has made it his life mission to send every dime that he can possibly back to his country to help. He works solely to send more money to them, and even worked two jobs one time to do more. They shop at Goodwill just to be able to send more. It’s incredibly inspiring.

When he was in Haiti, he worked for the government and instead of using it for power like most, he used it to help the people. The government did not like this at all, and he found out they were planning to kill him so his family went into hiding for 4 months. During that time, he got to know someone that would help him get out of the country and so he escaped.

He goes back 2-3 times per year, and takes money and helps in the villages. Right now, they have taken on 27 children to sponsor their tuition for school because if they don’t go to school then of course they stay at home, get no education, and don’t eat. My heart like bleeds for third world country children and always has so we sponsored a child. It feels so much more personal too rather than the larger corporations because he is literally going to hand deliver the money to them. They don’t use a middleman just to cut back on costs. We hope to one day be able to go with him, and meet the child that we are sponsoring. 

They gave us coffee that was ground in Haiti a month ago when they went, and it’s the best coffee EVER. I never like coffee black and I loved this. They gave us some to take with us, and we also bought his book talking about being a refugee. They showed us pictures of the children in the villages, and videos, and shared stories with us that were bringing them to tears. I’ve never seen someone so on fire for the Lord’s work in their lives, and making that everything they are about. I was incredibly moved, and it was the best final Christmas gift I could have received.

And I promise we will be back to regular programmed fitness activities soon enough ;)

WHAT ARE YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS? (forreal tell me, I want to know!!! lol)

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First Annual Ringley Christmas Party

So, this party went better than I could have anticipated! :) When we were thinking about New Years, I told Tanner that maybe we could have a party at our house. He was like "Girl, you can't have a party at every holiday and call it yours and annual!" hahah! What can I say? I like to party! And by party, I mean putting on a Christmas onesie with one drink and everyone gone by 9pm!

Like I said in a previous blog, this party was planned VERY last minute. I realized on Sunday morning that I had a general idea of what I wanted to do but no real plans, and for that, I am proud of the way that it turned out. I always think that if there is something to actually do at a party then it ends up being a lot better, which is why I knew I wanted the kids to build the gingerbread houses and for the adults to have the photo booth to keep us entertained.

We have a space on our wall that we normally have the dog crate, and so I knew it would be the perfect spot. We put the dogs upstairs in our bedroom, and they did surprisingly well to be able to hear 20-25 people down below them and not tearing everything up. If they had been at the party though, it would have been crazy because there was 8 kids, and unfortunately Zoey my anxiety baby, does not do well with kids so we are going to have to work on that! Haha! 

texted my friend Leigh Ann on Monday morning and asked her if she had a rolling pin and parchment paper for the gingerbread houses. She so sweetly laughed at me and told me I was crazy for trying to have kids like actually make the gingerbread, and that she would bring all of the supplies (she’s a teacher and a life saver always). She’s super organized, so she comes in with this box. Yall, it was great! I wish I had a picture. It was stocked full of milk cartons and waffle cones and icing and candy for all of the kids to decorate with.

 

I had NO IDEA what was required for the making of gingerbread houses, but now I know and will be better prepared in the future. I didn’t have a table cloth and she brought one and suggested that I put trash bags over my white upholstered dining room table chairs. CLEARLY I DON’T HAVE CIHLDREN YET! Hahaha! 

I also was running crazy behind because as you all know, Mondays are my check in days. It all worked out though and I just worked 12 hours yesterday with an hour break for some Salvation Army bell ringing and singing (proof I am one track to hollywood with my voice in the video below #jokes) to make up for the time that I missed on Monday when I had to stop work at 3pm. I knew I had to at least stop then so that I could speed clean my house and get things at Ingles and pick up pizza. I had no time to change so I had to go to the grocery store in my onesie. Most people stared and laughed, and one rolled their eyes at me. COME ON SCROOGE! IT’S DECEMBER 21ST! I saw a friend and of course she was cracking up at me! I rushed out and went to grab the pizzas, which took forever of course. So, at 6:18pm I was walking out with the pizzas and my party started at 6:30pm and nothing had been set out. WHOMP!

I called Leigh Ann who had come early and asked her to start putting stuff out and preparing the chicken salad croissants! Hilarious how crazy this day was!

I knew I needed to get my hot cocoa bar set up, which when it was over and we were cleaning up, Tanner said that the only reason I have that is so that I can take a picture because no one uses it. HAHA! Unfortunately, my picture is not even pinterest worthy and he was right in that no one used it. So, that was expensive and I will not be doing that next year. Everyone opted for pizza, beer, wine, and spiked egg nog and of course all the other snacks. 

As the host, the night was a blur. With being so underprepared, I was running around just making sure that everyone had everything! I sat down with some of the kids and helped them do their gingerbread houses, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this in action, and how fun is this activity for kids! This will DEFINITELY be a holiday tradition with my kids! 

Everyone filtered out starting at 8:30 and some of our good friends from church stuck around towards the end and we just chatted until around 9-9:30! They also helped me clean up everything. I’m always the person saying “No no no! I’ve got it” but they insisted and when I woke up on Tuesday morning with a clean kitchen, I could have hugged them.

Shoutout to Leigh Ann because she had NO idea that she was going to be such a huge person in making my party go well, but she is the reason it did! Haha! They have parties at their house literally all the time so I think that she is well versed in how it all goes. She’s the tiny one on the far right and was my babysitter when I was a little kid during the summers! 

Also, my brother is really inappropriate but hilarious. 

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We had such a good time, and I think me and mom may make one at our party tonight because we had so much fun with the gingerbread houses! :) 

And look who has been doing a better job about Vlogging! Be impressed guys! BE. IMPRESSED! ;) I plan on keeping it up and this talks about my training for this week and moving into next at the end if you are curious just so you know what's included. I know videos are hard to watch, but I've really gotten into listening to YouTube videos while riding on my trainer instead of Netflix, and I thought this might be something fun for me to keep up with as well!



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What Marriage Means to Me

Let me tell you, this is not an advice/how to blog. Lord knows, I'm 25 years old and have been married for almost 3 years so I know that I don't have even close to all of the answers, but I just wanted to share the way that I approach my marriage. I also am very blessed with a man of God who leads me in that way. I know there are SO many circumstances when the way I view things would not really apply but I wanted to share.

Yesterday, Tanner said "I love how our marriage is just ..... strong." 

I think that's a good way to describe it. I will explain what we mean. When we decided to get married after only dating for 5 months, and we got engaged, we had a conversation. We talked about how if we were going to do this, we needed to be sure. This was fast and if we really felt the calling that our engagement was to happen so soon, there could be no doubts. We talked about how once it was done, it was done. It didn't matter what happened. It didn't matter the circumstances. We were together always, forever, and ever.....and ever. 

After all the engagement to wedding excitement died down and we were settled in Raleigh, I remember having a minor freak out. This had nothing to do with my love for Tanner, but I was like "Oh my gosh, this is forever....and ever." I knew though that God had led me to this man that I was deeply in love with so that feeling faded quickly. 

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We like to describe our relationship almost like you would your mom or dad or brother. It's hard to explain but the point of that is to say that it does not matter at the end of the day what happens, your love for them is never ending. Family is forever, and so is marriage in our eyes. 

Don't get me wrong, I think that we are lucky in the fact that we don't really fight much. He annoys me with how loud he chews, and I annoy him that I lose my keys every day but for the most part, it's minor things. We laugh because the more time that goes on, the further we fall in love, and the less we argue. We have learned over time that marriage a lot of times means acceptance. There is no changing of the other person, but you just have to love those qualities that may cause you to nit pick at one another after spending so much time getting to know each other so deeply. 

I feel like that our marriage as of right now sounds very formal and that's not what I want to portray. The point that I want to get across is that even when it's not passionate, even when it's not Valentine's Day, and even when we go weeks at a time that we are so busy that we can't see straight and hardly even speak to one another, it's an understood fact that "I love you with all of my being. You are one with me, and that will never change." 

Valentine's Day is so cliche, but it's also a really great time to reflect. Just like the New Year is cliche, but it also gives you new perspective. I love all of these holidays. We were able to just take the day to be with one another and talk about our marriage. We talked about how we really have begun to think as one. When I hurt, he hurts. When he is stressed, I begin to feel myself getting stressed. We have found that we really bounce off of one another's emotions (which can be dangerous at times), and it's pretty phenomenal to watch that happen to yourself after being married for just a short time. It makes me excited for what 10 years will look like. 

Obviously, faith is a huge part of our marriage and Christian marriage is always described as keeping God at the center. What does that even mean for your day to day life though? Let's be real here. That's hard. 

It takes conscious and sometimes awkward effort. 

Awkward? Yes. When we get in the heat of a moment, after much counsel in bible studies and friendships within the past 6 months, I'm able to consciously make the decision to back down. He does the same. It's a mutual agreement that somebody has to and so we both end up doing it. And it sometimes ends in these weird moments where one person is really jacked up and the other has backed down, and so you feel almost like "okayyyyy now I feel dumb because I'm flipping out and you're not."

We did a foot washing at our service. We wanted to portray John 13:1-17 in our marriage. Jesus washes the feet of His disciples to symbolize service and humility. That's how we wanted to model our marriage. (And side note on the subject of awkward: people thought this would be awkward but we did it anyway)

I've been doing a bible study with my girls for the past little while called Love and Respect. If the man loves you, you will want to give him respect. If you respect your man, then he will love you. This is somewhat how we are calculated (please don't get all feminist on me here as I think we can agree that's how things are most of the time). However, neither one of you can expect the other one to do it first. If Tanner is making me feel a certain way, then it does not matter. I do not "deserve" his love, and I will still give him respect. The same goes for him. If I'm not giving him respect, he must still love me. Conscious, daily efforts. 

This takes work that then becomes more natural, and it has been so worth it in our marriage. We have never had anything but a strong marriage but this just makes every day wonderful. We have visibly been able to see a change in the love that we feel for one another. It's even deeper than ever. I like to think of it as we have emptied ourselves out to one another, we let the Holy Spirit pour into us, and with that we are able to pour that out into one another. 

I love him so much. I love him beyond words. I also know that he feels the same and he expresses that often. He tells me I'm beautiful like too much (okay not too much haha). However, I think that we both know that marriage is something that you have to make efforts towards or it won't be as wonderful to go through every single day together.

With love and marriage, 

Katie

All photography by: Sarajane Case

For more info: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-does-couples-therapy-work/

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