Don't Go to Church on Easter Sunday

3.30.2013


If you're going to go to church, Easter Sunday and Christmas are THE days to make sure you're there. Churches are packed more on these two days than any day the rest of the year.

But here's what I want to know: why?
Why do those Sundays mean more than any other day to you if you aren't a believer in Jesus Christ?

Going to church doesn't get you bonus points. It won't get you into heaven, and it's not what is going to save you. So I don't understand why you would bother going to church at all if you don't care about what it actually means. 

Sometimes, I don't like going to church. I'm just being honest here. Sometimes I wish I could sleep in on Sunday mornings. Other people are all, "I don't go to church." And I think, "Man, that would be nice to have an extra day to sleep in."

Because in my selfish, sinner's mind, OF COURSE it would be nice to sleep in! (Some people go to church on Saturdays, which is fine too; my church just doesn't have that option.)

Still, I get up, every Sunday (or at least most Sundays), because I get the undeserved privilege of meeting with God along with fellow believers, and because God commanded it of us. It's not because I get brownie points or because I'm better than you.

Listen: I am not. 

But if you don't care about meeting with God, and if going to church on days like Easter Sunday or Christmas is a checkmark on your morality list, then I don't think you should bother coming at all.

Now, I'm sure this might make some people mad. I'm not saying don't ever come to church if you're not a Christian. It's good to come to church, and everyone is (or should be, in a perfect world) welcome no matter your background or the fact that you're wearing jeans or slacks or you're a former drug dealer or whatever your story is. Yes, Christians are hypocritical, which is a common reason I hear for people not going to church. But the fact that we're all hypocritical sinners is exactly the reason we need to go to church! 

I wish everyone went to church. But why go just on special holidays? We celebrate Easter because we are rejoicing in Jesus's resurrection, but we also do that every week. Going to church on Easter is essentially the same as going to church any other Sunday. There are just more pastels, and you can be sure you're going to sing the old hymn Christ the Lord is Risen Today. 

I guess my convoluted point here that I've been thinking about this week is: why do you go to church on Easter Sunday? Are you thankful for Jesus's sacrifice, or are you going because it's your yearly church check-in?

Sometimes, for me, it's hard to go to church. Right now with my job stuff, it's been hard to pray, hard to trust, hard to be joyful. But I also take comfort in this promise: 

So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us
an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen 
but to the things that are unseen.

For the things that are seen are transient, 
but the things that are unseen are eternal.

-1 Corinthians 4:16-18

Christ the Lord has risen today. 
Love's redeeming work is done. 
Death in vain forbids him rise.
Christ has opened paradise. 
Alleluia. 

Pinterest Favorites: 358 Repins

3.29.2013

At some point in the previous couple of months, my pinterest page exploded. I started getting followers all over the place, and I had no idea why. I'm up past 1,000 now and would like to keep that train moving.

This is exactly the kind of thing I keep hoping will happen on my blog, but so far no such luck.

The thing with Pinterest is that it doesn't have to be overwhelming. It's better when you just pin things you actually like or will do. I don't get people who make random boards full of pictures of celebrities. That seems completely unhelpful. I use Pinterest as a resource to find fun new recipes, clothing styles, and fitness tips, and I don't get all stressed out about it.

I thought it would be fun to share are a few things that are getting pinned and repinned like madness. You should get on the bandwagon and do some pinning yourself.

First, follow me on pinterest. Everyone's doing it.
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1. Teardrop necklace DIY -- 44 repins
I saw this necklace tutorial on my blogger friend Ashley's blog. 
I haven't tried it yet, but I will. Promise.
Get the pin here.
Tutorial here.

2. Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas -- 29 repins
I haven't tried these either, so apparently I lie about trying the things I pin. 
But I WILL make these. Promise x2. 
Pin here.
Recipe here.

3. Crispy Glazed Snack Mix -- 12 repins
Yum! Yes. 
Pin here.
Recipe here.

4. 100 Running Songs -- 358 repins
This blog has a HUGE list of running songs, and people are going crazy repinning this one.
It's what I like to call pintastic.
From my fitness board here.
Running songs here.

5. 10-Minute Ab Video -- 116 repins
This workout is TOUGH. But awesome. 
Everyone is obsessed with planking right now. 
Pin here.
Video here.

My fitness board is getting the most love. 
I am having a lot of fun pinning workouts, videos, and exercise articles. 

I used to say I didn't like Pinterest, but that's because I didn't know what I was talking about.
It's kind of like when I said I didn't like pistachios. 
Seriously, who doesn't like pistachios? They are SO GOOD. 
Jordan and I are obsessed. 

Anyway, if you have a pinterest, follow me. 
And if you don't have a pinterest, get one and then follow me.

And then pin something about pistachios. 

currently: feeling dramatic.

3.28.2013



--FEELING--

dramatic. 

people of the world wide web, hear this: 

there is nothing like losing your job to make you ultra dramatic about everything.
or, you know, just being a female.

one moment you're completely fine, waltzing around the room like you're on dancing with the stars. the next, you're sobbing into a kitchen towel. 
then, just as suddenly, you're shaking your fist at the sky while shouting, "WHYYYYYYY?"
then you're laughing hysterically and writing blog posts that don't make sense.

i'm not talking about this one. this one makes perfect sense. 

anyway, sometimes you start getting dramatic.
case in point: my dramatic tweets from last week, when i had the flu. (or thought i had the flu. i refused to go to the dr., so we never got a verified flu positive.)

I tried to think of something funny to say, but let's just be honest. I think I'm dying.

I haven't run since Monday. I doubt I'll ever be able to run again.

I was too busy fighting off the flu to make a bracket. Now that I'm on the mend, I wish the flu had just killed me.

see what i mean? 
and if you missed my dramatic and hilarious post about the flu, you are missing out on some of my best material. 

thank you, someecards, for being awesome. i love you forever.  


--IMAGINING--


what it would be like to not wake up with a horrible pain in my stomach from all the stress. 
kidding. 
kind of.  
okay, no i'm actually being 100% serious. 


--CONSIDERING--


selling my kidney for money. 

how much do you think i'd get? seriously. i've never smoked (except that one time. don't tell my mom. well, actually she knows. but don't tell my dad for real.), and i don't drink (except those other times), so my kidneys should be in pretty good shape. right?

--LISTENING TO--


the sound of my future.


listen.

yes, that's right. NOTHING. 
there's nothing. 
silent as death.

--MOVING--

NO WHERE. because our brilliant saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-house plans have stalled. 

dear apartment, i guess we're stuck together for the foreseeable future. so please, for the love of meg ryan, stop burning out all the lightbulbs! one in the bathroom just went out yesterday. we are not replacing them. i'm serious this time.

okay, then.
it's like 9 hours past my bedtime. 
#yolo


what have you been up to?
hopefully something awesome, for your sake.

- - -

currently linking up with a few less dramatic people.



HK

March Cara Box Reveal

3.27.2013

Earlier this month I signed up to participate in the monthly Cara box exchange from Kaitlyn at Wifessionals. It's a great way to meet other bloggers while getting something fun in the mail!

I was paired with Amanda and Alicia
Amanda sent me a box of goodies, and I send one to Alicia. Each box had things that started with the first letter of my name, because that was the theme for March.

Here is what was in my box. All "A" stuff! I had also told Amanda that my favorite color was red, so she went with it!

An "A" cup, an apple (because I told her I love apples), A Little Princess, and "a" sparkly red headband for running! 

So much fun! Thanks, Amanda! (It's weird when the other person's name is your name. I feel like I'm thanking myself.)

You can sign up to be part of April's Cara box at Wifessionals

Cara Box

My Favorite Running Gear: Sports Bras

3.26.2013



Last year I wrote a few posts about my favorite running gear: socks, shorts, and shirts. The one thing I never wrote about were sports bras, mainly because I didn't have a favorite sports bra. I've honestly never spent too much time thinking about sports bras. Socks, shorts, shirts, and shoes, yes. I have actual opinions about them.

But my sports bras are just sports bras. I have a few Nike sports bras that I've been rotating for marathon training these past few months, and while they look cute and are even reversible (weird fact about me: I LOVE clothes that are reversible), they chafe me SO BAD.

It's only for runs over 8 miles, but since I've been training for my marathon, that's like ALL my runs. I get home, peel of my sports bra, and there's a lovely raw and sometimes bleeding band under my boobs. And yes, I said boobs. Sorry, Dad.

I've been chafing around my chest area for as long as I can remember, and like an idiot, it never crossed my mind to think, I wonder if there's a sports bra that doesn't chafe.

And it's not like I have a huge chest, so I don't know what the problem is, but I chafe, and it hurts.

So when a running blogger posted a review of a Moving Comfort sports bra, it's as if a lightbulb went on. "Oh! There are other places that sell sports bras! There are even brands that sell ONLY sports bras!"

Brilliant.

The downside to a specialty sports bra store is that their bras are dang expensive, especially for someone like me who is trying to spend no money. Luckily, I was able to hit up a sale they were having, and I ended up finding this really cute, high-impact sports bra for only $27 (+$5 shipping)! That's not too much more than one of my Nike bras anyway. Win.

After taking a run with my new sports bra, and here are my thoughts. As you can see, the pros are definitely outweighing the cons.

What I Love:

1) Really good support. There's just not a whole lot of bounce going on.
2) Good fit. Feels snug but not too snug. I think this is because on the website, instead of sizes like S, M, L, you actually choose a bra size. (32D, 36B, etc.)
3) Closure in the back. It takes some getting used to, but it is so much easier to take off when you're all sweaty.
4) Cute! I really like how it looks, which doesn't matter a whole lot because I'll be wearing a shirt over it all the time, but there's something to be said for a cute sports bra.
5) No chafing so far!

What I Don't Love:

1) Getting it on can be tricky (but getting it off is NOT, which is the key)
2) The velcro strap does poke me every once in a while

I will let you know how it goes on my long run this weekend. Cross your fingers for no chafing! But so far, I am a Moving Comfort fan!

Do you use a Moving Comfort sports bra? 
What type of sports bra do you like?

What's Mine is Mine

3.25.2013


Here's something not so nice about me: I have a problem with sharing.

No, I am not an only child, but I am a firstborn child, which in some cases means the same thing. Ie, acting like a five-year-old about sharing.

I also lived on my own for 3 years before getting married and now, though I am married, currently have no pet or child. But NEWSFLASH: You still have to share with your husband. I know, right? Mind blowing.

When they told me marriage was about sacrifice, I didn't fully take that to mean I needed to sacrifice my stuff. So after almost 2 years (by the way, WHERE has the time gone?), I am still learning that what's mine is his, not mine.

I tell you the following story to illustrate my ridiculousness and highlight my embarrassment.

So a few months ago I told you that I won an ipad at work. (The work at which I was fired a few weeks later. SUCKERS. Okay, moving on.)

Since then, I've been all "this is my ipad, and you're just lucky enough to get to use it." And then, two nights ago, Jordan was listening to some music on it when I decided I wanted to look something up on the internet. Instead of asking nicely and being calm, I grabbed it and shouted, "IT'S MINE!" while ripping the headphones out.

It was not my best moment.

This made Jordan upset, as you can understand. Because I, um, acted like a five-year-old. So yes, I have a problem with sharing. Apparently to me, what's his is mine and what's mine is mine, and what's mine is NOT his.

I have since felt very convicted both by my obvious materialism as well as my inability to act my age.

But, guys, sharing is hard. Like, really hard.

This is where Jordan is most definitely making me a better person. He's always willing to share, and he is daily teaching me what a humble, selfless giver looks like. He is also making me realize what an insensitive selfish jerk I am a lot of the time.

That's how marriage is kind of a bummer, because it shows you plain as day how ridiculous and mean you are.

I'm not sure what else to say at this point except to note that I have since given Jordan full responsibility for the ipad. I am no longer thinking of it as "mine," and I'm also just getting it out there that I have a problem. For accountability and a public apology and for those of you who might (wrongly) believe I don't have flaws. I have lots of other problems too, but I'll just save those for another post.

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I don't like to share.

linking up with carissa.

 - - - - 
p.s.
follow me on bloglovin' here:
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Marathon Training: Week 12

3.24.2013


This week was a very sad training week in that I did almost no training. I did run 12 miles on Monday, but it was actually the long run from the previous week that I was supposed to do on Sunday so it doesn't really count for this week.

Tuesday was an hour of boot camp, which was great, and then Wednesday - Saturday I did nothing but lie on the couch and take my temperature.

Today, at long last, I was finally feeling up to activity, so I did 3.5 miles on the treadmill at a terribly slow pace that was a mixture of walking and running. I'm super bummed I had to skip my 20 miles this morning. I thought it wouldn't be the best idea to try to run 3 hours in the wind and cold after being sick for most of the week. But, I guess at least it's good that I'm on the mend.

I'm still not positive I had the flu since I never actually went to the doctor, but I'm going to blame Jordan for my sickness anyway. Let's hope this week I can get back on track. It's just over ONE MONTH until the marathon!

Struck Down in the Prime of Lime

3.22.2013


Public service announcement: our apartment has become a petri dish of the flu virus.

We aren't letting anyone in or out, and we have a large collection of antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs as well as a stack of saltines and large collection of 2-liter Sprite bottles.

Andddd....I just realized I said "large collection" twice in one sentence. Go with it.

I haven't kissed Jordan since Friday, and in fact the most we've done is touch elbows and feet. Not at the same time. Also, I have been sleeping on the futon on our extra bedroom. We set up a morse code-type system of wall knocking. It's very romantic.

This was all in a concentrated effort for me to NOT catch the flu. Because, you see, I have an immune system of steel. It's like the great wall of China (before it started crumbling...okay, bad analogy), and I refused to catch his sickness because it would ruin my streak and subsequent ability to brag incessantly.

He got the flu Friday night and has been coughing and throwing up and feverish all week, and I was the supportive wife, getting him medicine and water and saltines while secretly I was thinking:


I held out pretty well myself against the virus. I was like, "IMMUNE SYSTEM OF STEEL!" and patting myself on the back for never getting sick. Plus, I have a lot of conspiracy theories about the flu shot, which is why I've never gotten one. But that's a post for a different day.

Anyway, so like I said, I held out until last night, when I started running a 102 temperature. But if you know me at all, it shouldn't surprise you that I refused to accept it. I was like Monica on Friends when she says she's in the "prime of lime" as she's coughing everywhere.

So I just started popping Tylenol and freaking out about my impending liver damage. (I love when you take a medicine for headache that includes the side effect of major liver damage.)

I was bundled in blankets and sweats and shivering and repeating, "I am not sick. I am not sick" over and over. Because I wasn't, obviously.

And now we're both like:

Because we both look TERRIBLE, and all the coughing makes us sound like a disturbing symphony of death.

Don't worry, though. I actually am feeling much improved. I think my flu bug was like a 6-hour thing. That's what I'm hoping, anyway, and Jordan's back at work now. We are resilient if nothing else.


Amen.

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Where I Splurge on Basketball Tickets

3.21.2013

Back in November, I bought Jordan and I tickets to see the Oklahoma City Thunder play the Utah Jazz at the Thunderdome in March. After months of waiting, the game night finally arrived last week.

If you're not from Oklahoma, I might not be able to properly explain the basketball craze that has completely taken over this state since the Thunder arrived from Seattle in 2008. As a sports fan myself, I love it. Who knew the NBA could be this much fun? Not since the days of Michael Jordan. 

Since the Thunder arrived to the sweeping plains, we've gone to see a game at least once a season. We even took my brother to see one. It's fun because there really isn't a bad seat in the house and, oh yeah, the Thunder are really good. Remember last year when they were in a little event called the NBA finals? (As a Cubs fan, I understand the fun involved with having a good team.)

We always buy tickets to sit in Loud City, aka the cheap seats, aka so far away it makes the 7-foot players look like ants. I'm always like, "They don't look that tall." And Jordan's like, "They wear a size 15 shoe and could step over you." Okay.

We have literally sat in the very last row up against the concrete, but this time I decided to splurge. Hello, lower level! I'm not even going to mention that the tickets are 2x face value. Not even going to mention it. 
These are the seats we hang out in 2 hours before the game is supposed to start while we look at all the rich people and wonder what it would be like to sit in such amazing seats. These pictures don't even do it justice. We were in the eleventh row, for crying out loud! 

I only wish I would have brought my good camera, but we're usually so far away it doesn't matter. 

And here's the thing about the expensive seats. There really are a lot of local celebrities you can say "so and so walked within 2 feet of me." Bob Stoops, coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, for one. Plus (and even better), there are a LOT of people you can make fun of. There was this fancy guy with his hair slicked back and a pink collared shirt with really tight pants, the too-tan news anchor, the fancy rich women in their 10-inch heels. It was a sideshow going on all game long. 
I sure won't be coughing it up for the good seats any time soon, especially now that I'm currently out of a full-time job. But for a special occasion, it was fun to live it up like the rich folk. 

What do you like to splurge on?

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The 411 on Energy Bars

3.20.2013


There is a lot of information out there about how to properly fuel when you're consistently working out. (For example: This article from Runner's World on what foods speed up recovery.)

It's overwhelming because it seems like there are so many different things you can do that it just depends on your body and your own personal taste. I still don't know a lot about fueling during a race and refueling after, but I have been testing out some different energy/protein bars, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you and also see if you had any to recommend.

There are 4 bars I've personally tried that I will talk about in this post. I will rate them all on taste, price, and amount of healthy goodness. 


1. Cliff Bar

I should start with the sad report that the Cliff Bar is listed in this article as a top 10 energy bar to avoid due to its sugar count (6 teaspoons in every bar). Still, seeing it on the list didn't completely surprise me, since the Cliff Bar is freaking DELICIOUS. How good can it be if it tastes that good?

I've tried the chocolate mint flavor and the chocolate, and both are very good. The price per bar is around $1.50 depending on where you go, which isn't cheap, but with 20 grams of protein and yummy chocolate flavor, it's worth it.

2. Lean 15

There are some obvious differences in stats between this and the Cliff Bar. However, the Cliff Bar is 2.4 oz, whereas this is 1.76oz. The price of this bar is $1.50

It's a pretty good taste and compares similarly to a granola bar. For the price and overall taste factor, however, the Cliff Bar wins in my book.


3. Life Choice High Protein Bar

I bought a box of 5 bars at Walmart, and after the first one, I wanted to toss the entire box. I thought it tasted gross. Like, chalky and just really bad. However, as I started writing this post and looking at the nutrition facts, I realized that this bar is smaller than the Cliff Bar and the same size as the Lean 15 and has more protein and half as much sugar as both! 

That fact alone makes these more appealing, but you know what else? After forcing down the first bar, these little guys are growing on me. I still think the Cliff tastes better, but these protein bars aren't too bad. And clearly they're better for you. See the entire nutrition index here.

Plus, price = approximately $.75/bar
Win. 


4. Power Bar 
Clearly we need to talk about the sugar intake on these bad boys. At 2.29oz, it's a heftier bar than #2 and #3, but it's still smaller than the Cliff Bar and packs in 6 more grams of sugar! 

Still, I am a fan of the Power Bar. It's the perfect snack to carry with you on a long run, because it's dense, almost thick to the point of paste, and it won't crumble apart. The peanut butter was very good. I also have a vanilla crisp flavor that I have yet to try. These cost approximately $1.40/bar.

So what's the takeaway? Personally, for me, Cliff Bars win for overall taste. They're just really good, almost like a candy bar. 

The Life Choice Bar takes some getting used to, but it is the clear favorite for price and nutrition. 

I won't be buying the Lean 15 any time soon. When you consider the cost, taste, and nutrition, you can get more for your money with a different option. 

The Power Bar is a great bar to grab for a long run. One issue: on the front of the package it tells you to eat 1 before, 2 during, and 3 after. At almost $1.50/bar, I want to know who has money for that! And let's not forget the crazy sugar intake. Still, I'm a fan, even if I'll just be eating 1 a day, not 6. 

Now that you've read my thoughts, I would love to know what you think!


What energy/protein bars do you love?

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Real Simple Recipe: Smoky Corn Chowder

3.18.2013


I first had this delicious corn chowder at a friend's house. It was so good I had her copy the recipe for me, and then I made it for Jordan. Now he requests it all the time.

This is an easy, simple corn chowder with only 11 ingredients. And the best part is that you can cook it all in 1 pot!


Ingredients

1/2 lb bacon
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
20 oz frozen corn
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
salt & pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
crusty bread (optional)

> Cook bacon in a large saucepan or Dutch oven until crisp. Transfer to a plate when done.

>Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. Cooking the onion in the bacon fat is delicious and good for you. (Yeah, it's not good for you, but that's what I tell myself.)
>Add the garlic, paprika, red pepper, and stir. Cook for 2 minutes.

>Stir in the frozen corn, chicken broth, and half-and-half. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 

>Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir in 1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper. 

>Top with scallions (if using) and crumbled bacon. The bacon is honestly what makes this soup, so don't leave it out! Serve with bread. So good! 

Linking up with: 
 

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・ DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS