Thursday, January 30, 2014

The gift of service.

    I was running around frantic! Somehow in between my other daily responsibilities I had found myself overwhelmed with the "task" of service. Several hearts were in need of mending. There were dinners to be made. Babies to hold. A run to be ran. A pile of laundry to the sky. An after school play. Somewhere in the madness and anxiety I found peace. I felt that even though my load was... well, overloaded! Everything would be fine. Silently praying I began to reflect on the wonderful gift of service. I began to really focus on how and who I was blessed with serving on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon...

    Nearly eight years ago I took a leap of absolute faith! With nothing to lose and everything ahead,  I packed up the sparse items my daughter and I owned and set on a grand adventure. Thirty miles away from home our new life began to form. These were tough days. Going back to school in my late twenties with a baby in tow was nothing short of a miracle. We were able to qualify for housing, and I was not allowed to hold a job at this time because I was the recipient of a generous state program that paid my tuition in full. We had to survive on a government stipend that was under $400.00 a month.  My objective was to complete school as quickly as possible and become employable. At times I felt as if the weight of the world was upon my back. I knew however this was the only way to make a better life for the two of us.

    Not long after we had moved into our apartment we began to experience the humble service of others. I would often return home late in the evening, sometimes just long enough to give my sweet girl a bath and kiss her goodnight. On our porch I would often find small packages of toddler clothing. Or bags of food items, blankets and toys. Twelve days before Christmas a baby doll and a hand mixer, the first I had ever owned and a dolly she has to this very day. We had nothing, yet because of the kindness of others we had it all! The gifts continued throughout our time in that apartment and I learned a very wonderful lesson from our angels. I may never know who these silent angels were. Keeping watch over us, but I vowed when I could, when I had enough to give....

 I would! Not once. Not twice. Every chance I got. I would serve those in need. I would show my gratitude.

    Fast forward several years, my husband and I are sitting close together fidgeting on our couch. Across from us the Stake President! In our home to commend us for an act of service we had just completed. "We just did what anyone would have done." I offered meekly. Knowing in my heart of hearts that is simply what we are meant to do. Take care of one another...

    Back to the eye of the storm within my kitchen. I felt a warmth spread through me as I recounted the many times I have been blessed by service. Knowing that I posses the power to serve. That it is indeed a gift. Understanding the power of being a blessing in someones day. The blessings that come back three fold.

    We are all capable of great service. As mothers we serve our families daily. Its the warm batch of cookies awaiting school children. Their arms around your waist. The prepared dinner for the returning husband, a kiss upon his cheek as he teases you about your yoga pants. The clean house full of love. Or perhaps a disastrous house that you didn't get to because you were too busy playing peek a boo and painting tiny toe nails.  As friends we serve as a patient heart willing to listen. Help me to understand. Let me take your kids...

Sisters, Brothers, Aunts and Uncles, Neighbors, cousins...

    Service does not require an invitation, but rather intuition. Who will you bless today?

Friday, January 24, 2014

heart songs...


    Wednesday I had a good laugh, a few actually! My ten year old baby sat next to me wiggling uncomfortably in her seat. Cheeks red with embarrassment. Poor thing! I giggled and wrapped my arms around this beautiful girl who is fast becoming a young lady. Maturation will do that to a pre teen! A first for both of us I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Sigh! I feel like I say this every post, "Where does the time go!"

    What does maturation have to do with a bedroom canopy? Not a thing! Last summer she started pestering us to redo her bedroom. We agreed. On the condition she chose colors and decor she could live with for a good long while. Over Christmas break while away with her grandparents, we worked like slaves to pull off the ultimate "big girl" room. I will never forget the teary little blue eyes that took it all in. 

    I've known her from the moment of conception, the two of us have been through so much together. I remember just trying to survive and make it from one day to the next. It was her and I against the world for a long time. Being a part of her journey is heaven sent. Sitting beside her Wednesday I couldn't help but marvel at who she is. This kid has been through so much. I know she will conquer the world! I know I need to be the best me I can be. A role model and parent she can rely on. I'm not perfect, far from it....
     So anyway an amazing afternoon led to an amazing evening! My little girl is growing up! Every big girl needs a canopy;)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Start off right!

     As I look ahead to the many races in the upcoming season my excitement is mounting! I hope to participate in Top of Utah again, my goal is to shave 30 minutes off of my finishing time! I would also absolutely love to do Ragnar! I learned so much about my body and its capabilities last year. I learned that I am a better distance runner than short distance. My friends schooled me in Color Vibe and various other 5K's....but where they pooped out I could keep going the distance, and my overall time averaged out evenly.

      I also learned that while training for long distances I am unable to lose weight! In the latter part of June I was logging nearly 30 miles a week and the scale refused to budge! Concerned about possible thyroid implications I visited my doctor. Turns out I was low on the sunshine vitamin! Even after vitamin D supplements the scale still refused to move. I was in shape, but yearned to see a smaller number! Luckily I have access to health professionals that helped me understand the process that was taking place. Either focus on weight loss or distance running.... that is what it came down to. 

    With the dawn of a New Year my focus is first on overall health and weight loss as well as HIIT training for 40 minutes daily. So I get to have my cake and eat it too! I have found an amazing meal plan that suits myself, as well as my family! Which is even better! We are an active family and making small changes here and there to the foods we already eat has made a major improvement for us all! My amazing husband and I have even set a long term fitness goal! We want to run an ultra for our 10th anniversary! We have a few years:) I want my kids to have a healthy attitude about food. When you are the role model to young girls there is no other option. 

    Everyone should own a Nutribullet! They are amazing! I love to experiment with smoothies! Plus they are tasty and satisfying! Baby K and I are gearing up for an outstanding day! Here is our recipe for today!

!/2 cup organic baby kale (be sure to rinse!)
1/2 large naval orange in segments
1/2 large red apple sliced
3 medium strawberries
1T water
1/2 cup Silk unsweetened Pure Almond Milk
6 ice cubes

Throw into your blender, mix and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Faux Fireplace!

    As usual I am about 10 miles behind. Keeping up with my crew can be daunting at times. With the holidays finally behind us! What an amazing time we had! A fresh New Year full of possibilities is upon us! How exciting is it that each year we get to start fresh! It is wonderful and amazing! 

    So for my first post of the New Year I am happy to share my newest prized possession! With a little imagination you to can create a simple mantle! This piece was built for me by my amazing little brother. After pouring over other tutorials we combined a few ideas into one! 

   Using MDF and my specific measurements, also knowing my intention was to draw the "fire" this is what my lil brother came up with! Did I mention he is an amazing craftsman:) It has also been tapered so that the weight of the mantle will rest upon the wall, which is great if you have little ones and your husband has forbidden you to attach it to the wall. My husband is a great sport when I'm in Martha mode! MDF is fairly soft so you have to be gentle when filling and sanding. Also a few coats of primer will help smooth the appearance of your final coat!

    Using chalkboard paint I created the back drop. Carefully measure and cut out the shape of the fire box. I used a thin paper to first hand draw the fire and brick. do this with pencil, followed by a sharpie. Coat the back of your design with a heavy, even coat of chalk. Do this by simply rubbing a stick of chalk over the surface. Once the chalkboard paint has cured apply your drawn design face up and with firm yet gentle pressure trace with a fine tip pencil. The design will transfer onto your chalkboard!

   Once all the lines have been traced remove the paper and then use chalk markers or a piece of chalk that has been sharpened and is wet to really finalize your design! Wet paintbrushes in various sizes work excellent for touch ups and removing excess chalk! When you are pleased with what you have done coat with a clear sealer and enjoy!

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