Welcome Friends

I hope you enjoy reading these stories and thoughts. Ryan and I have recently moved to San Marcos as members of a church plant team, to reach out to the campus of Texas State University. We love spending time with family and friends, and we are enjoying the adventure this life is taking us on. We have a lot of fun ideas and enjoy our life together. These are the gems we'd like to share with you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

day 3ish

The challenge is going well. I am starting to consider the challenges this challenge insists.

No Dining Out: the challenge is to prepare our own meals, instead of buying them. If we weren't on a meal plan, this might be a little easier since we wouldn't be restricted to only vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Otherwise, I could just buy some boxed frozen dinners, chips, and lunch meat, and make pretty easy meals out of that. We have already decided what will be for dinner for each night of the week, so planning is not too difficult. The biggest challenge about not dining out is overcoming laziness.

Being on a meal plan (ie restricted diet, but I don't like to refer to it with negative words) means that we are consuming about twice as many vegetables and fruits. And that's really good for us, so I am happy! But. Those fruits and veggies ain't gonna wash and chop themselves either. I spent about an hour and a half yesterday cleaning and preparing the vegetables. So now when I want a snack, I just need to reach for the bag of carrots or the container of cucumber slices. Salads will be quick and easy to prepare because the lettuce is already washed and torn. The time for all that cleaning would have to be spent at some point. If it hadn't been knocked out in one very long fell swoop, it may not have ever been done. I hate to say it, but laziness has triumphed in the past, and dinner came in a bag from the drive through window, and the veggies spoiled from the bitterness of rejection.

I think I will be able to meet all my goals this week. The meal plan is being followed, and I haven't gone out to eat. As long as I go get on the treadmill now, I'll have a perfect 3 for 3 day record of exercising every day. I'm feeling good!

Other reasons why I feel good today: Kara taught me how to drive a standard, and then we went to the store and back without stalling out even once!
I had an interview for a teaching job at a Christian boarding school at 1230. I only got the call at 11, so I wasn't really prepared. I don't know how it will turn out, but I am encouraged that I might get a teaching job eventually.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August Challenge: Day 1 & 2

We started last night, with dinner. It was beef fillet (about 6 oz), Greek salad, and boiled yucca.

Kara and David came over just as we finished eating. David and Ryan killed Zombies on the Zombie level of Call of Duty 4.2; Kara and I went to the fitness center.

I "ran" for about 11 minutes at 6.5 mph, with a little bit of brisk walking in between, so about a mile. It was tough! I haven't ran or exercised in over a month, and I am feeling it! Then I did chest presses on the machine; 3 sets of 8 at 45 lbs.

Today, Ryan and I had fresh mixed fruit for breakfast: strawberries, orange, blueberries, and grapes. I boiled some eggs, and had one as a snack. I'm about to go wash and prepare a fridge full of vegetables for salads and snacks: lettuce, carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumber.

Dinner tonight is fish fillet, asparagus, and whole grain brown rice. Dinners will usually have a type of starch, since there's not really any other starches in the meal plan.

I want to try to do one of those dance videos today. If Kara comes over to work out again, I'll do some leg presses on the machine.

Beginning stats on day 1:
- 139.6 lbs
- 11 minute jog
- clothes: very snug

the august Challenge

I hate running.

But I know that if I'm going to get into better shape, it is the one thing that will get me there. The exercise that I do enjoy includes weight training (on machines; free-weights + reanna = dangerous), group sports, and most recently zumba. Other factors involved in getting into better shape include healthier eating, and getting proper rest.

I'm doing ok on getting enough rest. I drink plenty of water. I take my vitamins and supplements, though I'd like to get onto a good multi-vitamin (of the pre-natal sort). So with the beginning of a new month, I am giving myself a month-long challenge.

My fitness goals:
- no dining out
- stay on the meal plan
- do some kind of exercise every day

An explaination of the goals:
- No Dining Out. The purposes of this goal are twofold. One) to save money on unnecessary spending when we have plenty of good food at home. Two) to resist indulging in fried, fatty, or overly processed food.
- Stay on the Meal Plan. The meal plan includes vegetables, fruit, light dairy, and lean meats. Goal #1 is key because the savings will most likely be transfered into spending on goal #2.
- Exercise Every Day. Our apartment has a fitness center with weight machines and cardio machines. I also have access to some dance workout videos through Netflix. Now I want to make good use of these resources.

Ryan is in on this, too. He found a great deal on beef filet at a meat market. We also have chicken breasts and fish filets. The fridge is full of vegetables and fruit. There are some non-meal plan foods in the pantry that I'll allow myself to snack on until they run out, but I will not buy any more.

I will try to chronicle my progess during this challenge. There will be a few blips throughout the month, I'm sure. This weekend will definitely be one, since it is Ryan's graduation weekend! There is a church retreat we're going to in a few weeks, too. But everyone knows that calories at a church function don't count, right?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

food and clothes

Ryan and I are working on setting a budget. This is tricky because I still don't have a job yet. I've been applying to a lot of postings, and might visit the TX workforce if I don't get an offer soon. So thinking and/or worrying about money has consumed my mind and energy lately.

This morning I wanted to study Matt 6:24-34. I read it slowly, bit by bit, in about 12 versions. I studied more with the Lexicon. I was asking the Lord to help me not to worry, but to also tell me how do this.

So birds don't work, and are still fed. Lillies don't toil and are still better dressed than the nicest clothes on a man. They don't do anything, and are well provided for. So am I supposed to just have faith that even if I don't work, I should still trust and expect God to provide all I need?

He can do that. He often does. But more often it seems like he has us working in a money making job so that provision can be made. So then what do I "do?" is my question. In the past, I've scrambled and stretched myself in silly ways to make money so we could be better off. Then I realize it may have been a mistake. But then what can I do to seek his kingdom and righteousness, so that all the rest will be added?

Then Deut 28 came to mind. "If you do these things, you will be blessed. If you don't, these are the curses you'll receive." That's the gist of it. And I realized that even though God may not have laid out specific instructions on how I should acquire and spend money, he has laid out instructions I should follow on how to act. Doing things according to his way results in blessings. Not doing those things, along with being unwise and wasteful has natural consequences of curses.

For me, that's what it means to "seek his kingdom and his righteousness first". Follow the principles of Godly living. Be wise and responsible. Be content. Trust him in and for everything. If I can be more concerned with this, then money and stuff will become less important. And besides the natural consequence of Godly living, there will be blessings. I see it all the time, for others and in my own life. I feel like this is one of the best and most practical promises that proves the love of God.

He is real, and he is good, and fullness of joy is for the one in his presence.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Leadership Training

I just read an update letter sent from a good friend. She's in the Colorado Rockies for the entire summer at a program called Leadership Training. She is on staff with a college ministry, and is one of the leaders leading Leadership Training. Basically, LT is a +/- 12 week internship that +/- 200 college students (and ministry staff) from around the nation attend because they want to learn (and lead others in) how to be effective in the kingdom of God, and how to be effective in the lives of others. I really enjoyed reading her letter, and it reminded me of my LT experience, and what I've learned from it.

I went to an LT in 2004. It was in Orlando at the time. And I was 22. On my way to Florida, I remember thinking "I am not a leader right now. I am going to be trained to be a leader. At the end of this summer, I will know how to be a good leader!" It sounded like a good idea. But it was the wrong idea. I expected sessions on "How to come up with good ideas that people will follow", and "How to problem solve", and "How to be a good Christian Leader".

Imagine my surprise when the first speaker said something to the effect of "I don't really have this being-Christian thing figured out. All I can tell you is it is a process." I didn't get what I expected to get from that summer. I got a lot of headaches and issues, and a lot of other stuff that came to the surface. There were some good times and good friends made too, though.

But that's LT for you. I think of it more as Life Training. Because really, life is about the decisions we make and living with the results. The effect of LT is to help young people learn how to be whole and live well. You become more of someone who is devoted to the Lord and to loving people, and who makes good decisions in line with the will of God, and who helps others do that too. LT is a pressure cooker that brings a lot of issues to the surface, so they can be dealt with in a healthy way. When you are whole and healthy, you are more able to do what is right. That type of person has more influence on others who also want to be that way. That person also knows how (and why) to choose to be less self absorbed. A leader is not the chief of the clan or the alpha of the pack. It is a person who is able to share wisdom learned from experience. Someone who is willing to step up and do what others are afraid/embarrassed/ignorant/unwilling to do. Leaders still make mistakes, but they know how to learn and grow from them. These are some of the things I learned from LT.

But opportunity is the true test. Leaders became leaders because they learned how to make the right choices and were blessed. LT teaches you how to interpret life, others, yourself. Its okay if it brings out the worst in you as long as that leads to bringing out the best in you. Its a season you won't ever forget because of the life lessons you go through. I know I am still learning from them every time I remember that summer 6 years ago. I know I am also living more in reality today than I was the first day of LT. I know I'm better off, and am more whole, and am more in God's will than ever. I went to LT because I wanted to be a leader in a group, to be respected, and to get to make decisions. It was still a long time after that before I could be anything close to real leadership material. And right now, I'm not a recognized "leader" of anything, but I'm still a leader. Not even because I want to be. I am because I love the Lord, and He has given me love for people. I've had a lot of chances to make mistakes, learn from them, and learn how to make good decisions. I still mess up, and still don't have it figured out. But it's a process.

What have you learned from LT?

Monday, July 5, 2010


the picture is me with Lindsey and Caleb Alberson, at reimer ranch on the 4th of july. we stayed with the albersons a week and a half while waiting to get into the apartment. they are. so. awesome.

woah hi. i need to do a for-real update soon! this is a quick run down of the past month for us:

ryan started his new job in on May 24, as a drafting tech at a survey company. he stayed with friends for about a month.
we got to see each other on weekends from then until i moved to san marcos.
i had a really fun birthday party on the 29th of may.
ryan and his brothers moved almost all of our belongings into a storage unit in mid may.
i spent four weeks packing the cabinets and closets, and getting the inside of the house looking good.
we tried to sell the house, but ended up renting it out.
we spent 2 weeks waiting for our apartment application to be approved, and stayed with friends until we got the apartment.
my last day of work at a&m was june 18, and they gave me an awesome farewell. i will miss them all.
we got our apartment 5 days ago, and are almost completely done. all the rooms are set up but the office.
our first guests will be the Floods, who will be here to stay the night this friday. hope we're ready for them by then!
i like it here. i like being in the same town with my people. i love it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

the Bird.

I have waited 3-ish long years for this day. And here I sit in bliss, with the first half of my regular Regular almost gone. Even Jack knows this is a day of rejoicing. He is yelping and howling, anything to get my attention, to share the magical goodness otherwise known as a Freebird.

Their slogan is "It's not Normal". Very true. Where else can you get a fantastic, addicting, overly satisfying tex-mex meal rolled into a burrito at a reasonable rate? I have not driven hours for any other restaurant. I would not have waited in line for 45 minutes today for any other dinner.

One of the first things I did when I found out we were moving to Corpus was research whether there was a Freebirds here. No, there was not. I then promptly put in my request to their headquarters, via a friend in the business office, for them to open one. The day has finally come!

My house is completely empty except for some dishes, bathroom items, clothes, and an air mattress. I will be moving to join Ryan in San Marcos on June 18. He is finished with school, and has found a job in Austin as a Surveyor. Today was actually his first day of work. My desire is to work at Texas State University, motivating students to be proactive about finding a career. There are still hours and hours of work left to do before I will be satisfied with the condition of the house. I've been wanting to add to this blog for a month, but can't bring myself to invest the time which would be more wisely spent on boxing up appliances or polishing the floors. All of that in good time, now.

I want to rest and enjoy my moment. I want to rest and enjoy my dinner. I want to reminisce back to November 1997, when I enjoyed my first Freebird burrito. It was the night of Bonfire, and my sister, then a freshman at A&M took our family to the original Freebirds on Northgate. I was unimpressed by the long line. Unimpressed by the trendy music, decor, and staff. Then the Good Lord Dear Sweet Jesus blessed my soul upon my first bite. Since then, I've determined and stuck with my regular:
Half Bird on Spinach; rice & mix cheese; black beans; white chicken; roasted garlic; lime; salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, corn relish, and lettuce. HC - $5. Freebirds opening the week of my birthday - $ priceless.

Not everyone will appreciate my infatuation. I know, without question, that Ryan does. He, too, for the last several years has been awaiting something as equally awesome in its own right. Then a few months ago, his dreams were realized with an invitation to be a beta tester for StarCraft II. Today I must humble myself and ask his forgiveness for giving him a hard time for loving his stupid new game with such devotion and attention.

Tease me if you will. But I likes me some Freebirds, maybe a little more than others. I know it's not normal.

How do you get your Bird?