Half Marathon is Done, So Let’s Bake!

Well, I did it.  Finished my 2nd half marathon! And it was still just as challenging as the last.  I really slacked my last 2-3 weeks of training and it showed.  BUT I had my wonderful sis-in-law to push me to the finish with her encouraging words! Thanks, Lindsey!   It was about 45-50 degrees, which in my mind is a perfect running temp.  We never over heated. . .even though my knees felt like fire at the end.   That’s all for race updates.  I’ll do a more detailed post soon.  Thank you for all your support and encouragement.  Now I’m going to need it  x100 for the full marathon. What was I thinking?!?!

Before the race began

Since Sunday, the weather has definitely cooled down.  The high today is 52 degrees and it’s been raining all day.  Which is really nice because TX doesn’t see many rainy days. In fact, I think since we’ve lived here, there hasn’t been any good thunderstorms.  Miss those!   Anyway, I made some soup for din and thought it would be a great day to bake some bread (especially since I wasn’t working!).   I bookmarked this recipe a while ago and just pulled it out of the oven! It’s going to be yummms!  I used all whole wheat flour and nixed the white flour.  I also didn’t have buttermilk, so I made my own by mixing skim milk with 1 tbsp vinegar.

Pantry not gone.

So, I know I had this goal at the beginning of the week last week not to go grocery shopping…BUT I kind of made that goal on the whim without checking out what we had in our fridge.  It wasn’t much.  HA!  However, we have managed (and it’s definitely taken some adjustments) to rarely eat out.  It’s so easy to fall into the habit of just picking something up and not worrying about cooking dinner.  Preston and I knew from the beginning of marriage that eating out was something that would have to significantly decrease if we wanted to save money.   And guess what?  It has been hard at times, but we’ve done it.  We have saved some money and our health. Yay!

Something that has changed in the last month or so, is that we are eating a lot less meat. And guess what?  We don’t miss it that much.  We mainly did this for health reasons, but also because meat is expensive!  If we’re going to eat meat, it’s going to be organic. . .and that’s expensive to say the least!  It’s what I feel strongly about and I’ve done too much research to be blind to the effects of eating non organic, commercial meat.  Ick.  Don’t get me wrong though.  The cheap stuff entices us often and I sometimes have to give in for the sake of our bank account.   It’s hard to find a balance, but we are really trying.   I’m still researching, thinking and contemplating all the things being said and discovered in the food world. . .and oh my word there is so much to be said by so many different people.  All I know is that whole, natural and organic foods are suppose to heal, promote health and give us energy,  not make us sick, fat and tired.

I’m not on a soap box, I promise.  You can still invite us over for dinner or out to eat.  Organic or not.  Meat or not.  I’m no food snob…I just like good food!

So on the quest of less meat, I bought some tofu.  Didn’t really know what to expect.  I forgot where I found it, but I found a simple recipe for first time tofu-ers. And it wasn’t bad.  Tofu pretty much takes on whatever flavor you cook it with. Here is the brand that I tried. $2.99 for the whole package which has 5 servings! Pretty dang great!

Only later, after eating about half of this package, did I see the “Best by” date…Hmm.  I’m still alive, so that’s good.

I’m really obsessed with these little guys right now.  They’re great to take to work.  Plus, I don’t look like an idiot who eats PB out of the jar. . .or a fatty.  Okay, I do it at home.  It’s really embarrassing when Preston finds me licking PB off my fingers and elbows.

If you have any tofu tips to share, please do!

Or any tip for that matter.  Money…advice.  Whatev.

A concert

The beginning of this week Preston and I ventured to Waco for a great little concert.   The Civil Wars are always fun to see in concert and they definitely did not disappoint.

Half marathon is a week from today.  Sheesh.

I was going to share a video that we took, but apparently the file is too large.  So I found some one elses’ recording to share.  It’s not bad. :o)

Goodnight.

Fridge and Pantry Food Be Gone!

I know this is a weird goal to have, but I am going to try to use everything currently in my fridge and pantry to make dinner this week.  Not going to go grocery shopping.  Not going to eat out.  I don’t think this will be too difficult, but I guess we’ll find out.

I made these little healthy muffins today.  Yummmm.  Added in some Flaxseed and Chia Seeds.

For dinner, I threw this in the crock pot and I think it’s going to be tasty.

An exciting announcement is coming this week. Get ready! (And for all of you who think every time I say I have announcement it means I’m pregnant, you’re going to be disappointed every time for a long time. Sorry)

Two weeks from today I run the Dallas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon with my sister-in-law, Lindsey!  We have some family coming in town, which will make for a fun weekend!

Just 7 weeks after the half, I begin training for my full marathon that is in October.  Woah.  I can’t believe I’m going to do it!  I am going to be enlisting the help from a place called “Run On” that meets three times a week to train together.  Sunday long runs, and Tues/Thurs run workouts.  It’ll be really good for me to have some accountability because this is going to probably be the hardest I’ve worked for something in my life physically (and probably mentally, too).  The workouts start at 5:15 am.  Help me Lord.

Tomorrow Preston and I are going to see The Civil Wars!  This will be Preston’s first time seeing them and I am excited for him to be blown away by freakin’ amazing talent.  Plus, they’re at a really awesome venue in Waco. Common grounds, woot woot!

Finale 2.

Here it goes.  My thoughts. (Warning: extreme honesty about my feelings are revealed. You’re welcome)

So many things changed and were about to change when I graduated that I caught myself having these moments of complete meltdown.  Was I going to find a job? Was the wedding going to be as beautiful and meaningful as we hoped?  Was I going to be a good wife?  Would we make enough money to survive?  Was I going to lose all my free time and neglect working out, thus gaining weight?(silly, I know…but true) Were we going to be moving to Texas?  If so, was I going to find a job?  Was I going to have anyone to talk to or be friends with if we moved?    Maybe all that sounds a bit dramatic, but they were questions that I asked myself and continued to do so when we made the move to Texas.

Of course moving had a lot to do with all these anxious feelings about life;  Moving was and is really really hard.   Once we got settled after the wedding, I remember  sitting in our little apartment hating that we had moved and hating that I had not found a job.  My day literally consisted of waking up and trying to find stuff to fill my day until Preston came home. My day usually consisted of job hunting, browsing blogs, and rarely leaving the apartment.  If I have ever been depressed in my life, it was those first few months of living in Texas.  I was homesick and I felt so discouraged and beat down by the job market.  I couldn’t (and still haven’t) even gotten an interview.  One can only take so much rejection before cracking.

Once I found a job (2 weeks after moving, thank the Lord), I felt like I was contributing to society once again.  Even though I was only getting paid minimum wage and I could have been working this job without a college degree, it was something.  And I was (and still am) grateful. Truly.  However, I still felt so defeated.  Here I was a college grad and didn’t have a salaried job to show for it. That is after all why I went to college.  I felt like I had let everyone down even when they were my biggest cheerleaders.  I was disappointed in myself and mad that no one saw my potential.

Looking for a job has been one hard task.  It’s not easy being humbled; It’s not easy being told, ‘Thank you for your submission,but the position has been filled’ about 20 times.  It’s easy to let having or not having a job define your value.  When I realized that I was letting my job tell me how important I was, I really tried to focus on being the person I wanted to be no matter where I was in life.  The Lord and I have wrestled so much and in hindsight, I am really thankful for this season of rest.  This season of extreme Liz makeover.

The Lord is always faithful.  He has blessed me with so much good in life and I would much rather focus on that; I have my wonderful, super awesome, supportive, encouraging husband, my family,  my friends, a roof over my head and good health.

If I could give any type of encouragement to those in a post grad slump, it would be to trust that the Lord has a plan and not to be too hard on yourself.  Do NOT let a job define you or your worth. Those are  things that I did not do very well.  Don’t worry as much as me.  Enjoy life wherever you may be, and just know that you are never alone; someone,somewhere feels just what you are feeling.

When I finally get a big girl job, I will surly be enthused . . .but for now, I am going to be happy with where I have been placed.  Trust me, it was not easy to get to this place of peace, but I am now welcoming it with big open arms.

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-Told you this would be long and scattered.  I’m so glad I had others blog about this…So, thank you to my guest bloggers!  Jen, Alex, Liz and Jill-You are all so great! I love you and cannot wait to see where life takes us!

Part 3. The Finale.

The last part of the series has been delayed a bit simply because it was my turn to share my thoughts on the topic of life after college.  Honestly, there are so many and to organize all those thoughts into a nice little blog post was kind of intimidating to say the least.

However,  here I am about to share the last few months of my inner thoughts.  First,  my dear friend and former roommate, Jill, is going to share a little of her life with you.  She’s a smarty pants in all the right ways.  She also loves to make random exaggerated noises that scare anyone who might live with her…just sayin’.  Love her.

Jill's actually a lot taller than me, but I was sneaky on the stairs.

(Liz—thanks for thinking of this. If nothing else, it was really good for me to sit down and reflect on these things. So thanks! Also, keep in mind that I’ve only been back in STL for a week.)

I knew that my life after college was going to be different, especially when I was moving back to the city and house I grew up in; however, the things that have changed the most are not the things I expected. Some things I knew would be difficult and would take some time getting used too—things like living with my parents, seeing old friends on a regular basis again, finally getting involved in my church as a young adult.

The things that have unexpectedly changed are things like my goals, and my definition of success. Before I graduated, my goal was to get a full-time salaried job and live anywhere but with my parents. Now that I’m actually here, I’m more so accepting of where I’m at, if only because I have no choice but to be. I’m working a part-time, minimum wage job, which doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t really. But it’s a job that I love (so far), with co-workers that I like (so far), and I’ve got room and plans with the company to move up. What more could I ask for, really? I would’ve been embarrassed to consider this an option before I graduated, but now that it’s my reality, it’s more than enough. Some people might feel as though I’m settling, but I know that I’m not. I don’t mind paying my dues, and working hard to get somewhere. I have a specific goal, and when I reach that goal, I will consider it a success, but I also have to consider being on the path to “success” is, in and of itself, a success.

Another way that my goals have changed is that they’ve become much smaller, but at the same time, much more realistic, obtainable, and practical. Instead of wanting to run off to France, my goals include meeting new people— being able to go somewhere with a friend and not being glued to their side, but instead, mingling.  My goals include being productive, but also not being afraid or embarrassed to enjoy the extra leisure time I have; building a community where I can know and be known again; allowing myself to do the things I didn’t have time to do before; reconnecting with old friends.

My goals have very much so become short-term goals (not that I don’t have long-term goals), but I find that I am living on a day-to-day basis (ok…maybe weekly) more than I ever have before. With school, I was constantly thinking about the upcoming month, upcoming semester, and upcoming year. I can’t see that far out anymore, so I’ve had to focus on the daily things more.

Overall, I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what the hell was going on in my life. But that’s life. I am excited to see where God takes me—I just have the misfortune of being overly anxious and worried as well. It’s unbelievably cliché, but I honestly am constantly repeating Jeremiah 29:11 to myself—God has plans that will PROSPER me; plans that will give me HOPE; plans that will give me a FUTURE. It is extremely difficult to allow my heart to rest in that fact, especially on the days where I sit at home with my retired parents, but God has never steered me wrong, and I can’t imagine Him starting to now.

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Thanks, Jilly Bean for your honesty and just being you.

I’ll share my thoughts later this evening; not that I’m putting anything off. . .but I just don’t won’t the post to go freak long. :o)

Toodles.