One Grandpa Walks into a Grocery Store...


Is anyone else still sweating it out over my last blog post? No? Just me? Okay then. I hit publish and literally had sweat dripping down my back. I guess that means I won't be running for congress any time soon. Can't handle the politics.

Let's move on to a topic that is much less controversial and much more fun like this guy: 

You will remember my grandpa as the unfortunate recipient of an inappropriate tie, which he wore to my cousin's wedding. If you don't know the story, you really MUST check it out and scroll to the end of the post for a picture of the offending article.

He is the sweetest, kindest man. Papa, we call him. He's turning 77 on July 26 and still works full time. The man is a nut! When I asked him why he didn't just retire already, he said, " Well, your grandma's dad retired and a year later he was dead."

You can't argue with that kind of logic. 

So this past week was a family reunion at the lake. Twenty-seven people, give or take a few, and we had a blast. One surprising highlight of my lake vacation was taking a trip to the store with Papa and Nonnie to get a few boxes of jello. For a 77-year-old, the dude speed-walks with the best of them. My grandma and I were left behind to scurry along in his wake.

This is how it went:

Those glasses kill me.

Love Wins: On Christianity, Same-Sex Marriage, and Google


A few days ago, I took my daily visit to Google's homepage and noticed a link at the bottom of the search bar:

Clicking on the link sent me to YouTube, where I saw this: 

If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I am a Christian. At least, I hope you know that from my more serious posts where I've talked about God and prayer and church. I normally don't get too political or religious on here, mostly because those are topics I would much rather discuss in person. Words in print can get twisted and misunderstood all sorts of ways. But when I saw the Google link, it got me thinking. I hope you'll hear me out so I can share some thoughts with you.

As a Christian, I do not support same-sex marriage. That's not to say there aren't Christians who support same-sex marriage, but my interpretation of the Bible leaves no question in my mind of God's intention on this subject.

What I DO support is the right for Google or YouTube or anyone else to express their opinions on the subject, whether it's through a link or a banner or a flag or a t-shirt. That's one of our rights at citizens of the United States, and I think the fact that we are allowed to publicly express our opinions, whatever they are, is something we often take for granted.

When I saw the Google link, I admit that I was frustrated, but it might not be for the reason you'd expect.

Google is one of the most powerful enterprises in the entire world. (I didn't look up any statistics on that, but I'm pretty sure it's a well-known fact.) It's not as frustrating for me to see a link on the homepage of Google openly supporting same-sex marriage as it is to consider that last year when the CEO of Chick-fil-A issued a statement in support of male/female marriage, people instantly got upset. (The "Chick-fil-A Marriage Controversy" actually has its own Wikipedia entry, interestingly enough.) The word boycott was mentioned, and suddenly everyone and their mom, conservative and liberals alike, wanted a piece of the debate.

I don't understand how Google putting up a link on its homepage is any different than Chick-fil-A issuing a statement, except it's from the opposite viewpoint. And maybe I'm wrong, but I think if the Christian community (conservatives, whatever you want to call them) were to get upset about a company like Google supporting gay rights, A) no one would care and B) anyone who did notice would say the Christians were just being ignorant and unloving.

I used Google to Google Google's gay pride banner. (Did you follow all that?) I did find this article from 2012 about a group who was going to boycott Google for their support of gay pride (yeah, good luck with that since Google owns everything). I also found this article about 25 companies that have been boycotted by conservatives for supporting gay rights. I'm not daft enough to claim that the conservative group doesn't boycott things too. (I'm not even going to talk about the Westborow Baptist Church crazies who would boycott socks if they could.) But it seems like there's far less backlash when a person or company is in support of same-sex marriage than when its not.

It's upsetting and even personally insulting when "conservative" is lumped in with "ignorant" and "hypocritical" and "judgmental." You bet there are ignorant, hypocritical, judgmental people. That's you. That's me. That's every single person on the planet, not those who label themselves a "conservative."

I'm all, "Jordan, don't leave empty water glasses all over the apartment," but I leave them all over too! Hypocrite!

I pray.
I go to church.
I believe in God. 

But I have many people I call close friends who don't pray, don't go to church, and don't believe in God. I have friends who are gay. I have friends who curse and get drunk and have pre-marital sex. Some of my friends pretty much disagree with me about every political and religious topic. That doesn't mean I don't like to hang out with them. It just means that maybe we don't talk about politics or religion.

Do I wish all my friends went to church and believed in God? Of course. But I don't beat them over the head with my Bible about it. I don't stop being their friend or tell them they're going to hell or act like I'm better than them. If you don't believe me, I'll give you their email addresses so you can ask them about it yourself. I'm not going to defriend someone on social media or stop following their blog just because they don't agree with me. I'll stop following their blog for reasons like bad writing or boring subject matter, but I'm not going to write them nasty comments because they don't agree with my thoughts on God.

I know there are Christians who do write nasty comments and hold up signs and use racial slurs, and for that, I'm sorry to those who have been hurt. I believe a Christian is called to be a light to the world, and often we don't do that very well. (One example is Christians being notoriously bad tippers at restaurants, which I think is lame.)

Am I perfect? Heck no. I'm a hypocritical, selfish jerk, and I'll be working on that my entire life. But I'm doing the best I can to show the love of Christ everywhere I go. I fail at it almost as soon as I wake up--Jordan can tell you that. But I'm trying.

Just because I don't agree with same-sex marriage doesn't mean I'm ignorant. It just doesn't. When Jordan and I have discussions, I enjoy playing devil's advocate. I like hearing and thinking about different points of view because it makes me think about what I truly believe and why. I sat and read this blog for a few hours because reading differing viewpoints on homosexuality was so interesting, and I wanted to see what other people were saying.

I don't think that's ignorance. I think that's being in the world but not of the world.

I keep seeing the slogan "Love Wins," and it makes me feel like the liberal community think Christians are villains who want love to die.

Here's the truth: I believe in love too.

I want to love people. I want to serve people. I want to be kind and real and uplifting to those I come into contact with throughout my day. And I want to have real, honest, adult discussions about religious and political issues without name calling and assumptions. 

I don't have all the answers, and I know that some of you who've made it this far are raging mad at me. But what I also know is that I believe Jesus died and rose again, and one day he's coming back for all of us. If that makes me sound ignorant in your mind, so be it.

I will still love you as Christ has called me to love, even if I don't agree.

And finally I believe that one day, at the end of all this, love will win.*

(EDIT: Saying "love will win" is not a reference in support of Rob Bell's theology in his book Love Wins.)

*If you are going to leave a comment, be nice about it. We're all adults here. 
Also keep in mind that this is NOT a post about same-sex marriage or homosexuality specifically but more on the hypocrisy that surrounds the subject on both sides.

**Feel free to email me if you want to continue this discussion.
abumgarner [dot] editor [at] gmail [dot] com

My First Kiss Went a Little Like This


*My brother Austin and I circa 2006. This picture has nothing to do with this post except that I happened to see it when I was looking for a picture that would actually fit with this post. I never found one. P.S. I still have that hat. And that signature pose.

Whenever I hear the song "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer, it brings me back to the days in high school when I would sit around thinking about what my first kiss would be like. Some of you probably know the great expectation of first kisses I'm talking about. The other half of you got kissed while boys chased you around playing cops and robbers on the playground in the third grade and are laughing at me right now. 

For my first kiss, I figured there would be birds chirping somewhere close by. I would be wearing something cute. And there would be rain. Light rain, which necessitated the use of an umbrella. A red umbrella. 

And I would pop my foot, a la The Princess Diaries, before Anne Hathaway chopped her hair off and started singing.

I didn't get kissed until the grand old age of twenty-one. I think. How old are you when you're a junior in college? Junior year was the same year I decided to go insane and sign up for the soccer team even though I'd never played before in my life. I warmed the bench pretty hard that year.


I was a junior, and Josh #1 was a senior. I call him Josh #1 forever and always because of the three boys I've kissed, two were named Josh. They also happened to be roommates, but that's beside the point.

The third boy I kissed was named Jordan, and I married him.

The night I got my very first kiss, Josh #1 and I were over at a friend's house watching Lost. That was when the show was big, and we had a group who got together every Wednesday to watch it. Too bad the show's ending was Lame with a capital L.

Okay, so Josh #1 and I are sitting on the couch watching Lost, and we're alone. A commercial comes on, and that's when he leans over and kisses me. So I giggle obviously, because it's so random and because I'm the most awkward person ever. Then I think, I just got KISSED and then LAUGHED. OHMYGOSH.

That's when our friends show up, so Josh #1 and I sit there awkwardly, staring straight ahead at the TV for the last half hour until the episode ends. And the whole time I'm thinking, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

After the show ends, he walks me back to my dorm room. It's dark and cold, and there are no birds and no rain, and I am most certainly NOT wearing anything cute. He kisses me goodnight, and I don't laugh this time.

Then I make a beeline into my dorm room and immediately tell the entire story to my roommates while they dissolve in laughter.

After that, Josh #1 and I dated for a lengthy total of 4 months, during which time his roommate developed a crush on me, making him an easy rebound and thus creating an opportunity for Josh #2 to enter the scene for a total of 9 months before I swore off any boy with a J name.

Then I married Jordan and decided I shouldn't make promises I can't keep.

**No husband's egos were harmed during the writing of this post.


My Favorite Chicago Places: The Popcorn Shop


I have a confession: I'm not really from Chicago. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, but I tell people I'm from Chicago because it's an easier landmark. 

Chicago is my favorite city, and I love taking the train downtown to eat deep-dish pizza and see a Cubs game or go to the beach on Lake Michigan. But I also have some places in Wheaton that I love too. 

One of those is the popcorn shop.

It's literally an alleyway between two buildings that was made into a candy store. You can buy popcorn there too, but what we all come for is the candy.

The alley is only wide enough to stand in single file facing the wall of jars and boxes labeled from 5 cents all the way to $1. You can fill up a bag for pretty cheap if you count it right.

So you fill up a white paper bag with candy, and you pay with cash. Nickels, dimes, and dollar bills, which are counted out on a piece of wax paper by the cashier. Then you eat gummie worms and peach rings and swedish fish until your teeth rot from sugar.

It's just not a visit to Wheaton without a visit to The Popcorn Shop.

Minnesota Is Surprisingly Awesome


You might have seen a few weeks ago when I posted some pictures from girls' weekend over Memorial Day. It was four of us who met in college and became those types of friends where you know you'll be in each other's lives forever. Since leaving college, we've taken root in different parts of the country (Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Minneapolis--hence the coffee mugs), and so far the only time we've seen each other is at weddings.

For Memorial weekend, we decided to meet up in Minneapolis, which is where our friend Erin lives.  I'll just be honest here and say that I wasn't expecting much. I'd never been to Minnesota before, so admittedly I was judging the book based on the cover, but I just thought the biggest (and only) perk of the trip was going to be seeing my friend.

I didn't plan on falling in love with the city quite like I did, and now I feel like I just have to tell everyone about what a cool state Minnesota is. Did you know that Minnesota is one of the healthiest states in the country? Maybe I appreciate this more because Oklahoma is routinely at the bottom of the list, right there next to the other Southern states.

Shocking, I know. It's probably all the fried food. Did you know at the Texas State Fair last year they served fried butter? Fried. Butter.

Minnesota actually has bike lanes, and apparently it's like China, where everyone bikes everywhere. Erin and her husband, Alan, bike all sorts of places, even in the winter! When we were there, it was pretty chilly, and people were just pedaling down the road without a care in the world down lovely trails and bike paths.

Another awesome thing is that Erin lives across the street from a weekly farmer's market. My eyes bugged out of my head at that one. I freaking love farmer's markets!

Apparently mini donuts are a big Minnesota thing, so of course I got some. Fresh out of the fryer. So cute! I EAT ALL THE DONUTS!

Another thing I like about Minneapolis is the weird spoon sculpture. It reminds me of the Bean in Chicago. Both serve no purpose except as a strange and expensive tourist attraction. I love it.

Minneapolis is a old city with some cool history. Erin took us to the Gold Medal flour plant, which was cool, especially since it's right across the river from the Pillsbury plant! How awesome is that?

We hit up the Mall of America, which was fun, and Lauren and I rode a roller coaster! 

I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in Minnesota. Pretty much the only thing I didn't like was this French restaurant we ate at on Friday that had portions that probably would only feed a tiny bird. 

I finished my tiny slice of quiche and was like, is my second plate coming soon? Oh wait. Nevermind I can eat these five pieces of lettuce. 

So that was a bummer, but maybe that's another reason the people of MN are so healthy. I, on the other hand, went back to Erin's hose and raided her fridge. Tiny portions are for the birds. 

See what I did there?

The point? Don't knock Minnesota till you've tried it!

Now excuse me while I go jump in the lake. 

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I Take Wedding Pictures Sometimes


I saved up for almost a whole year to buy my DSLRSince then, I've been annoying Jordan by taking my camera with me everywhere all in the name of practice. He gets super embarrassed by it, but that doesn't stop me.

I've been trying hard to learn more about photography. I know that a lot of people consider themselves a photographer, and I am definitely not a professional, but it's a hobby I have a lot of fun with. 

Recently, I was asked to be the second photographer for two weddings, one in April and one in May.

I wasn't the main photographer, so I wasn't in charge of getting the high-profile shots. I mostly caught candid shots and pictures from different angles. I was super nervous, but it was a lot of fun! I still have a lot to learn, but I'm thankful for the people who have let me get some practice in.

Here are some of my favorite shots.

You may remember Ryan + Sarah from the engagement pictures I took last year. 

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6 Tips for Faster Postrun Recovery


In my last post on running, a friend of mine suggested I write a post on how to recover from runs. She's just getting up to two-mile runs and said she has a hard time recovering after a run to have energy for the rest of the day.

First I'll say that I am certainly not an expert on the subject of fitness, and you should consult a qualified physician if you are experiencing any symptoms related to illness, dehydration, unusual muscle soreness, etc.

That being said, I can offer 6 suggestions for easier recovery based on what I've experienced. 

It might suprise you to know that my most difficult runs have not been my 18- or 20-mile marathon training runs. I've had more difficult 4- or 6-mile runs that have caused me to lie on the couch all day while fighting the urge to throw up.

Every single time the reason is the same: I pushed myself too hard.

It's one thing to go out for a tough weekly tempo run or give it your all in that 10k race or when training for a PR (personal record); but when you're a regular person just going out for a jog (ie. not a competitive elite athlete), there's no reason to make yourself sick by pushing too hard.

In any run where I felt tired to the point of nausea, it was because I ran too fast for too long and made myself sick. I was probably also a little dehydrated (see point #2).

As you continue exercising and get to know your body, you will be able to know more when you're pushing too hard and when you need to back off a little bit. Don't be too proud to take walk breaks or cut your run short if you aren't feeling 100%.

This is an obvious one, but it's also something that's easy to forget about. When you're consistently running 2+ days/week, make sure you're drinking water all day, all week long.

When you keep yourself hydrated, you won't feel as bad during and after your runs because you'll have proper fluids. This is just a good health practice anyway, but when you're exercising, proper water intake is essential to an easier recovery. This is especially important as we get into the summer months! Ain't nobody got time for a hospital visit.

Take water with you on a long run and stop to drink every mile or half mile to keep fluids in as you sweat. <-- This is something I'm bad at. I rarely stop to drink water during a training run. Not smart.

One note to keep in mind: There is such a thing as having TOO much water, which results in a condition called hyponatremia. This is where you aren't getting enough sodium in your body. To combat this, make sure you are also occasionally drinking some kind of sports drink that contains electrolytes (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.). Here's a great blog post with more tips for running in the heat.

(You're welcome for the most awkward picture ever of my brother trying to show my dad how to do a stretch.)

One of the biggest changes between when I first started running and now is the time I take to cool down and stretch. I know there are people who don't stretch after a run and do just fine, but I personally notice a difference when I take at least 5-10 minutes to stretch after a run.

The first thing I do when I get back from a run is grab my water bottle, half a Cliff Bar, and start stretching. I normally stretch for no more than 15 minutes, and I also continue to take bites of my protein bar while sipping water. Getting in a nice stretch is a reward for my hard work.

At first, you're probably going to feel winded, and you're still going to be hot and sweaty. But as you continue to exercise consistently, your body will learn to more quickly cool itself down, which will lower your heartrate and help you recover faster. It's a golden light at the end of the sweaty running tunnel, if you will.

There are plenty of great stretches, and I've even found some yogo moves that are great for runners. I've added a few links below for you to check out.

A stretch for your lower back and hips
13 Yoga Poses for Runners
Yoga Cool Down Sequence
You can also follow my Fitness board on Pinterest for great articles and such.

Like I mentioned in the previous point, I try to keep a protein bar on hand for a postrun snack. Cliff Bars are my favorite, but I review a few others in this post.

They say you're supposed to eat protein within 30 minutes of a workout. I don't know about you, but I usually don't feel like digging into a chicken salad sandwich right after a hot run. A protein bar, or even half one, is my preference for some easy carbs and protein that tastes good while not filling you up.

I'm sure there are differing opinions for or against what you should or shouldn't eat after a run or workout, but I'm just telling you what I do and what works for me.

FACT: There is no good way to take a flattering picture of your legs while wearing calf sleeves.

If you've ever been to a race, you've probably seen runners wearing colorful socks that go up to their knees like you see me wearing. In most cases, these are compression socks, which many runners wear to reduce soreness and inflammation in the leg muscles, specifically the calf.

I bought a pair of purple calf sleeves (shown) about 6 months ago when I found a half-off sale on this site. (Those babies can get expensive!) I wore them on a three-mile run and ended up stopping to take them off after just over a mile. They were awful. I decided to try again, and the second time I made it almost 2 miles before I took them off.

For me, they made my legs feel tight, and it was hard to run. I haven't worn them on a run since. 

However, I'm actually the only person I know who hates them. All of the runners whose running blogs I read wear them, my dad wore them for the marathon, and my friend Natalie wore her calf sleeves during an 8k and said they made a huge difference, in a good way.

So I guess it's just me. But I did discover that although I hate wearing them during a run, I absolutely love putting them on after a run. It's hard to describe the feeling, but it's kind of like your calves are being held tightly, almost being massaged. It feels great, and I end up wearing them most of the day, even under my jeans! Jordan likes to make fun of me.

The compression aspect, like I said, is intended to reduce soreness and inflammation of muscles, so if your legs feel sore, you might try putting on some calf sleeves for at least an hour or two after a run and see if that helps.

(I've also heard amazing things about foam rolling, although I've never tried it myself. Mostly because I'm too lazy to actually go out and buy a foam roller.)

After you stretch and shower, try to avoid sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time. I know this can't be completely avoided if you're, say, going to work to sit in an office all day; but as best you can, realize that moving is going to facilitate a faster recovery.

That doesn't mean you can't sit down or that after a particularly tough run you can't lie on the couch and take an afternoon siesta. But for me, I've actually found that when I continue to move around every so often instead of immediately falling to the ground for the next couple of hours, I am less sore and able to act like a normal human being instead of a dying robot for the rest of the day.

Again, like I mentioned in point #1, the ultimate goal for a non-elite runner is (or should be) to get fit and have fun. And you're not going to have fun if you dread every single run because of how terrible you're going to feel at the end of it. If you keep moving and keep running, eventually your body will adapt and you'll be able to recover faster and hopefully have more fun.

I hope that helped! Feel free to offer your own opinion of how you like to cool down after a run in the comments or call me out on something I missed!

(*Nerdy editorial side note: Post Run? Post-run? Postrun? You have no idea how long I debated this. A Google search comes up with Post-Run everywhere, but my trusty Merriam-Webster Dictionary shows Postrun as one word, so I'm going with it. Who can understand hyphen rules anyway? Not me. The editor. Ahem.)