Friday, August 30, 2013

High Five for Friday

Excited for the weekend?! How about ECSTATIC? Because that is what I'm feeling right now! One night shift separates me from a fun filled weekend with my Whole Family at the Lakes in Okoboji. We haven't been all together with Alex included since Michael's graduation way back at the beginning of the summer so this is going to be such a blessing to have 3 days together! 

1 // Thursday Morning after work I prepped some Greek Chicken Gyros in the Crockpot and by the afternoon when the house smelled delicious and Alex was begging to have some to take to work. We were fighting over it and I had to make sure there was some left over for me to have for supper. Note to self...Make about 3 pounds at a time ;)
2 // Mike had is first week of classes at ISU and he is getting used to being in class sizes that are in the 300's rather than 20 student classes at MMC! I was lucky enough to get to chat to him on the phone and loved it because he always knows how to make me laugh. I told him to keep a look out for a girl that was on MTV's Catfish because she just started at ISU and I thought they could be friends ..haha! 
3 // Where's Kobe? He cracks me up and has become an expert fly killer and daytime "snuggler" while I'm sleeping 
4 // My bestie Kendra posted this picture and I asked her permission if I could share it because it gave me goosebumps right away. The caption read "The car I followed home from work..License plate, CJD DAD..Someone's initials? Someone who's dad was affected by CJD? A sign..? Pretty Crazy!" 
God sends us signs every day and if Kendra was too busy with the hustle and bustle of this world she may have missed this very special sign from The Lord. We are so blessed to have these little miracles from above that help us know the Lord is looking out for us and that everyday He is working to heal our heart :) 
For full details about her Dad's struggle with CJD you can read her blog and if you would like to know more about CJD visit this website 
5 // Finally after 1 week I was able to run. With this stubborn sinus infection and busy work schedule I had been lacking in the workout department so I was blessed to finally get some fresh air and listen to some great Pandora radio. I started to wonder if Pandora knew I was sick because these were the songs that came up...
I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for this {High Five for Friday} 
Hope you all have a safe and fun Labor Day weekend! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Worship Wednesday

Thank you to anyone who read my last post on prayer and for the positive feedback! My prayer list is getting longer and longer and I hope you have found time to have a quiet moment with God too in this crazy (Cyrus circus) world! I was hesitant to bring up Miley because I know attention was the main goal of thy performance but I want to add her (and all the young ladies watching) to my prayer list too. But honestly what I was more troubled by was Kayne Wests heartbreaking introduction when he performed at the VMA's because it is a direct hit to my faith. Or should I say 'swing and a miss' to my faith because nothing will stand between me and My God! The singer was introduced with an 'Amen and Hallelujah!' And shockingly even 'jesus' (pronounced hey-sues as in the Spanish version) 
This hurt my heart and I immediately turned off the TV in disgust. I know I am naive to some of the things that go on in our culture but why should I be surprised by this even? In the Bible there were plenty of parables of people worshiping Idols such as gold cows and false prophets but I'm not here to write a research paper on the topic. I'm here simply to say I was saddened by that introduction and it brought me to close my eyes in prayer and once again praise The Lord for my Christian upbringing. 

And now... With a proper and pure introduction .. I give the Worship Wednesday song 'He is With Us' by Love & The Outcome 

Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken
Remember when you wonder if you're gonna make it
There's a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt
We can't pretend to see the ending or what's coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows

We can trust our God
He knows what He's doing
Though it might hurt now
We won't be ruined
It might seem there's an ocean in between
But He's holding on to you and me
And He's never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us
Always, always
He is with us, He is with us

We believe there is purpose, there is meaning in everything
We surrender to His leading
He wants nothing more than to have us close

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Power of Prayer

I have said many times that the closest I have felt to God was when I was in Africa. God is always just a prayer away but there is something really amazing about feeling a certain connection to a place that sets your faith on fire. That place may be in a small church, near a calm lake or even halfway around the world in an impoverished country. However you don't even need to be in that certain nostalgic place to be close to God. Even though the world around you may be spinning with to-dos, computer screens, and heavy traffic there is always one calm place that is only a prayer away. Prayer is a unique gift that I believe is a Godsend (Literally!)
♫ ♪ What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! ♪ ♫ What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! ♪ ♫ O what peace we often forfeit, ♫ ♪ O what needless pain we bear, ♫ ♪ All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. ~Scriven & ConverseFor some people it may not come natural and for others it is a necessary form of communication. I have learned to open up more in prayer and welcomed the notion of praying out loud before my shift at the pregnancy center with the other wonderful women there. And I wholeheartedly believe that prayer is a powerful thing! Prayer can heal a broken heart, cure a condition that was thought to be hopeless or bring two people closer together. I don't really have to go into a lot of detail but asking, thanking, worshiping, or connecting with your Lord is a tool that comes in very handy in a busy, busy world!
And even though I felt closest to God while I was in Africa, I feel day after day God working to bring special people into my life even if our paths cross for just a short amount of time. These people could be patients of mine, coworkers or even just someone in line at the checkout of Target. I found myself thinking the other day that as much as I attempt to work on a higher acuity unit to gain more experience, I am on my unit for a very important reason. I am in the spot God wants me when I meet a special patient that shares my faith and also when I struggle with finding the reason for such illness and pain in the world. I can grow closer to the Lord through other Christians but I can also grow closer to God when I use the compassion He has taught me. 
Some shifts are frustrating and beyond tiring but when you hear a patient's testimony and see her struggle but know that she will prevail because of God's glory then it makes it all worth it! Some nurses may not find the depth of their work as a caregiver. I hope I never become blinded to the good in every shift at the hospital and knowing that a little prayer can make all the difference! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fitness Friday And... A GIVEAWAY!

Happy Friday everyone! Unlike most of you my work [weekend] is just beginning. I start my 3 shifts in a row tonight and lets hope they go by fast! Today I wanted to share with you my little workout I did earlier and also explain a great giveaway that features my blog and Etsy Shop! 
I started off with my normal run around the neighborhood but stopped at a little shelter area to do some power squats, quick jumps and oblique twists. I know I probably looked silly but oh well ...I'm not embarrassed about it because I got a great workout in. Then I finished the remaining 1.5 miles or so back to my house. It was a hot one outside in Omaha and the UV index was 6 so I'm sure my arms got a little tan too! When I got back to the AC (yes it is working now!!) I did some planks, crunches and more power squats.

Now ...For the Giveaway featured on Hallie's Blog at Life Oceanside 

Starfish Wooden Nautical inspired Picture frame
I'm giving away this beauty to one lucky winner! 

Samantha- Hooah & Hiccups// Ashley- Let's Get Bananas// Stephanie- Never The Same Spice Twice
Lauren- Something Beautiful // Cait- My Life As A Long
want to give you alllll of this....
Seriously? I told you they rock!  So get your butts in gear, meet these lovely ladies, and enter to win some GREAT prizes! 1 lucky winner takes the whole haul! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Worship Wednesday

Happy [late] Wednesday everyone! I have a lot to be thankful for this week, and most importantly is my wonderful Aunt Julie who is letting Alex and I stay at her house tonight because our AC isn't working. Today in Omaha it was well over 90 but felt like Aruba temps! Not a good time for the AC to stop working. It has been acting up lately and we hadn't made it a priority because eventually the temperature would drop and we could just handle having our windows open with the nice breeze. But today we wanted to take refuge in a place that was cool because it became pretty uncomfortable. I worked last night and couldn't sleep past 2:30 pm today because laying in 80 degree weather even with the ceiling fan on was just not cutting it.
So tonight I am very glad that my aunt lives in Omaha and has plenty of room for us! I even brought Kobe over for a play date with the other cats. They are chasing each other around currently and judging by their hissing and growling they are hitting it off well ;) 

Can you tell which one is Kobe?
Not having AC is such a first world problem. I shouldn't grumble about it because everyday there are people in this world that are living in extreme heat and have to go about their daily lives without the convenience of a cooled house. Alex did make a joke when he got home today though that made us both laugh,"Tonight let's sleep like Kings and be in the AC!"

This week's song comes from one of my favorites right now on KLove called "One Drop" by Plumb. This song is really lighthearted and catchy! It is so fun to listen to in my car and I find myself singing along with a smile! 

Left alone, we will never be who we could be
So take my hand and, don't forget that
We can do anything together

Just one drop of your love
A single ray of sun
Just one thing to change the world
It's just you and me
Starting with a dream
And giving it all we've got
Only takes one drop
So if you are thankful for AC like me.. After watching that video you are probably also thankful for clean running water too! There are so many astonishing things that you see when you are in a third world country but I felt like one of the most surprising is the lack of clean water and the availability of water. 

I hope you all have a great rest of the week and remember it only takes one drop to make a change in the world! 

Blue Moon on my night time run!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Prepping for Bay's Shower

Last Thursday and Friday were designated to getting ready for Bailey's Shower that we had on Saturday. Trisha, Kendra and I emailed back and forth for over 2 months so that we could discuss all of the details of the big day. We had a lot of fun planning together and everything went off without a hitch. I will post pictures from that day soon but for now I wanted to explain how I made the cake pops and party favors. Bailey is now 37 weeks along and soon she will be the mother to little Harper Lee Johnson! We are already planning our trips to see her once the little one arrives! 

  First I started by making the Strawberry Cake mix (Pillsbury Super Moist Box Mix) and baked it in a 9x13 pan like any other cake. Then I cut the cake in cube pieces and crumbled the cake a little bit to let it cool down. 

Once the cake was completely cooled I added a couple large spoonfuls of cream 
cheese frosting. I used about half of the container of frosting. I figured cream cheese frosting would be delicious with strawberry cake. I also looked on different blogs for tips with cake pops since this was my first time making them. One of the useful tips was to not mix in too much frosting and to add it a little bit of a time so that it was a good consistency for forming balls.  

Then I rolled all 28 balls and froze them overnight. The next day I went to Kendra's to start dipping them. I used vanilla flavored pink almond bark chips from Hobby Lobby. And I ended up using the whole bag of chips. For the dipping technique I used a tall ceramic mug, dipped the sticks first about 1 inch down in the melted almond bark and then put the cake pop on it.

To let the pops dry I stabbed holes in a box lid so that the pops could be upright and not have any flat spots when they cooled. 


Coffee and Polish Party Favors

Bailey loves coffee but hasn't been able to have any while she is pregnant. That doesn't mean her guests can't enjoy some freshly brewed coffee on the go! I got this idea from a friend at work and it was reasonably priced since. Each reusable cup was $1 and if you use it at Starbucks then you get 10 cents off your order! I also found 97 cent pink NYC nail polish at Target which I was excited about because I had to buy 16 of them and wasn't going to pay $4 a piece for nail polish. 

 I used some whole bean coffee that I already had at home and filled the bottom of the cups with some great smelling beans. I wrapped the nail polish in tissue paper, tied it with ribbon and placed it inside the cups. Then I added a little tag that said "Bailey is "Brewing" up Something Special" to finish off the party favors! 

And they were a hit with the Beautiful Momma to Be!

To see more photos from the shower this weekend follow me on Instagram

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Worship Wednesday

This post is brought to you by halls cough drops and hot tea.... because I think I have a cold...In the summer! Weird I know but unfortunately I had to miss a day of work (haven't called in sick for almost a year) last night due to a sore throat and headache. Thankfully I have a wonderful job where I have the next 8 days off from the hospital so I will have plenty of time to recuperate. But besides the awesome schedule, another reason why I love my job is because I have the opportunity to talk openly to patients and their families about various subjects that might not come across in daily conversation. Last night my patients' wife explained that she was a Jehovah Witness for over 30 years and just recently converted to Christianity. And she said that even though she is much happier with her new faith, her whole family disowned her...even her own daughter! I can't imagine that type of loneliness! As happy as I am for her to be part of the Christian family I know that must have been very hard and thinking of what I would do in that situation I wonder if I would have had the strength to break away.
It also brings up the fact that I am so thankful I was raised in a Lutheran family where I had the opportunity to go to a Christian Camp at Okoboji during the summer when I was young and attend a Christian Youth conference in Florida when I was in high school. Church on sunday and all of these activities of given me a strong foundation for my faith today.
I thought every Wednesday (I know I'm a day late) I would feature a song that has really helped me express my faith and has been a great song to worship the Lord with. for the first week it is only fitting that I feature the song that was the inspiration for the title of my blog

I have seen NeedToBreathe 2 times in concert with my wonderful friend Kendra. Their songs are so upbeat and the lyrics are really strong! I was driving in my car and happened to hear 'Something Beautiful' yesterday playing on KLove which they don't play too often so I always feel God is speaking to me whenever it is played :) 
Check it out... 

In your ocean, I'm ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will you let me drown, will you let me drown?

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side, no I can't leave your side.

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Marcus 5K & Smalltown Fair {Curing #NOtivation}

This past weekend I traveled 2 hours north to my hometown for the biggest event of the year...The Marcus Fair! I grew up on a farm outside of Marcus which has a population of around 1200 people, but if you added in livestock we would be about the size of Omaha ;) What Marcus doesn't have in population it makes up for in heart! Being home for the fair always feels like being part of a big family and it is always great to see old classmates or kids I used to teach swimming lessons to.

I'm Linking up again with Mal Smiles and Life Oceanside to stay fit and cure #NOtivation!
Mal Smiles

Sisters Finally Reunited after over 2 months apart!
Got into town around 7 pm and after hugging my wonderful family, my sister and I headed up to the Methodist Food Stand for some delicious food! I met up with Trisha, Anna and Kelli at the bar and headed to the street dance. But only one drink for me because the next morning was the day of the big race! Unfortunately my mom had made some amazing O'Henry Bars (I will have to post the recipe on here!) and I inhaled them when I got home late at night...Not a good idea for running bright and early in the morning!

Apple Pie, Taverns, Taco in a Bag Oh My...

Day old Piglets!

Anna and I (Soon to be roomies in the Spring!)

Marcus Fair Partner in Crime - Trish!

Yes, We got carded...
All those oats, sugar and peanut butter from the bars must have fueled me decently for the 5K because I got my second best time for a 5K. My goal was to be under 29 minutes but I got 29:52 which I was still happy with. This 5K is special to Marcus because it is in memory of Michael Letsche, Hunter Heidesch and Sawyer Leavitt who lost their lives at a very young age. Sawyer Leavitt was friends with my brother and we had a moment of silence before the race started to remember these wonderful guys. 
My sister, mom and aunt Nancy participated in the 5k and my Aunt Nancy, Grandma and cousins did the 1 mile walk. After the race I showered up fast and returned to the fair to set up a stand in the fair buildings to display my Etsy Shop Items At 4:00 pm we watched the parade and then shortly after Trisha, Brendan and I went to Germantown for some broasted chicken! 

Ready to Run!

Aunt Nancy (2nd place in her age category!)

Something Beautiful Inventory on Display at the Fair

Look at this Cutie!! Little Brady Man!
Ready to Catch A LOT of candy at the Parade!

Went up town to watch some of the mud volley ball tournament and also try to sell some more items for my shop. I received several custom orders and sold a few items so that was exciting! The fair always goes by too fast and when I was little it was especially sad because it meant school would be starting within the next weeks. 

Mud - Volleyball Tournament 
Taelyn with Uncle Kyle

So whether you are running in a small town 5K this summer or a big city Marathon, stay Motivated! No matter what the distance is it is worth the effort ... just try not to eat a whole bar of O'Henry bars before the race ;) 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Curing #NOtivation { Link Up }

90 degrees/Humid in Omaha..Still like my HOT Caribou Coffee
Well I can't sleep anymore for some reason so I figured I might as well brew some coffee and blog a little. Since today is Tuesday it is time for another Curing #NOtivation Link Up with Mal Smiles. She has really become one of my favorite bloggers and her workout posts always inspire me! She is on to a new adventure in Colorado and I'm excited to follow her as she begins that journey with her husband (in the least creepy way possible) Last week I talked about the BIG10K that Alex and I did in Chicago which was a blast! I am now working on beating my personal best 3.1 mile time for the Marcus Fair 5K this Saturday and hoping all the training for my 10Ks helped be to accomplish this goal!

I think you know you are addicted to running when you feel really disappointed when you have to choose sleep over running. That is the decision I had to make the last 4 days because of my work schedule. I was able to get in a run before my first shift but then from Saturday-Monday I had to choose sleep. As a night shifter you never know how your sleep will go during the day and when you randomly wake up at 2 pm and find yourself suffering from insomnia you know that a workout is out of the question because when you finally get back to sleep you know you really need every hour you can get. But enough about me whining about my work because we all have our busy weeks...I'm blessed to have a great job and I love my early evening workout sessions before work when I am able to get them in :)

I am not a personal trainer, dietitian or even a huge fitness fanatic but I do like creating workout circuits for myself and jotting down what I did. With training for 5Ks and 10ks I haven't focused a lot on strength training but last Tuesday I concentrated on my abs. I have some pretty decent motivation with a Labor Day trip to Boji coming up and of course our trip to the Dominican in January. I did this workout on our balcony with a beach towel and two 3 pound weights. I would have liked to had a 5 pound plate but you gotta work with what you have at home :) 

Do Circuit 3 times through

Here is a descriptive breakdown of each workout...

Oblique Reach //  Stand with feet shoulder width apart and both weights in right hand, slide weights down your right leg as you work your obliques! Then repeat on the left side.
Russian Twists // lay on towel in V position while holding weights in center of body. Twists side to side as your legs are raised (keep stomach tight and don't hurt your lower back!)
Straight Leg Crunches // Just like they sound, then stack right leg and repeat while stacking left leg. 
Crunch 'Ups' // didn't know what to call this one and it is a little hard to explain but lie on back holding weights at chest, then crunch up and rise all the way up as you raise weights above your head. Your feet should stay on the ground as your knees are bent. Reverse the motion and that is one total.
Weighted Plank // I did this exercise at a boot camp class and it helps if you have a partner. I didn't have anyone home (except Kobe but he wasn't willing to lend me a paw) so I had to balance the weights on my back as I moved my arm down to complete the plank position. You can do the move on your hands or elbows. 
Ab Kick with Punch // Stand in a high lunge position holding weight in right hand with left leg back. Swing left leg up to 90 degrees at you punch out your right hand with weights. Think of keeping abs tights as you bring your leg up! Then repeat on the other side.

I did the workout 3 times through and felt it in my abs the next day! Hope you enjoy it :) 

Mal Smiles

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Highlights from a Jam Packed Week it!

I'm currently in the middle of my 70 hours in 6 days! Ugh! Between picking up extra shifts at the pregnancy center and switching my schedule so that I can have time off for the Marcus Fair, I will have worked 8 out of 9 days which might not seem too bad but with 7 of those days being 12 hour shifts it gets to be pretty tiring. However I really shouldn't complain because right now I'm getting paid as I sit here blogging and sipping on Mountain Dew (yes I know it isn't Paleo..but I needed something to keep me going).

I like this quote to the left because I often find myself praying right before work so that I can be used as the Lord's hands and feet. But the second half of the quote makes me really think of my dad and the great ethic he has instilled in his children.

My dad cracks me up!!
I texted my dad last night at the beginning of my shift and told him of all the hours I will be putting in. He told me Mike got a new car for college and that Meg was coming home for Creekfest. I tried to facetime with Megan on Tuesday but we didn't have a very good connection. She is pretty excited about only having one more week up at Mayo and finally returning back home for a few weeks before college (And I am really excited to have her one state closer to me!!) We talked on the phone for almost an hour about various things that sisters talk about :) I can't imagine not having a sister and I really don't know how people make it through life without one! Know that I'm getting to the age where I can start having kids, I think about how badly I want 2 girls close in age so that they can have the kind of relationship that I have with my sister. But having 2 consecutive girls isn't really up to me I suppose ;)

Monday Alex and I ate at Blue Planet after he had golfed all day with the big wigs at Omaha Home for Boys. I had never been to Blue Planet before but it is really good and has a lot of all-natural menu items that are perfect for my paleo diet. Alex had the cheeseburger (that he wouldn't even let me have a bite of!) and I had a grilled chicken salad with fresh fruit on it. We also ordered a side of sweet potato fries that were delicious! After that we stopped by Jones Brother's Cupcakes to pick up some celebratory treats for Alex's dad since he landed a job as editor of Omaha Magazine! We talked about our Chicago trip with his parents and also picked up a piece of art that Alex's dad made us for our entry way. I am in love with this piece of art and it is almost as tall as me so it adds a lot to our entry way :)
Top R - Dinner at Blue Planet // Bottom R - grilled pineapple & cucumber Tuesday night
Tuesday I went for a 3 mile run and pushed myself to see how well my time would be for the Marcus 5K next Saturday. I want to beat my personal best time which is 29:30 that I got 2 years ago at the fair. My goal is to get 28:30 and hopefully the flat course will help ;) Tuesday nights are of course "Catfish" nights and I am pretty addicted to that show because it always surprises me. If you haven't watched it you should check it out! Wednesday I had an overtime shift that went by pretty fast. One of my patients had a bouquet of flowers delivered that had white carnations in the shape of a puppy and it was just too cute not to take a picture of! Thursday night after working at the pregnancy center I finished up a wedding gift for Shelby and Brady that I made with Sharpie Marker on ceramic mugs. I read afterwards though that you should probably use "painters pens" on ceramic so that it stays better. After you are done making the design you just put the mugs in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Puppy Bouquet / DIY Sharpie Mugs / Guess that Movie / 159 days till the Beach!
When Alex got home from work we watched Hollywood Game Night which is also one of my new favorite shows! They had a category called "Picture Purrfect" where they take photos from movies and replace all the actors heads with cat heads...OMG! Funny stuff! Thursday while I slept Alex and Kyle went to the travel agency to book our vacation to the Dominican Republic for Kyle and Dacey's Wedding in January! So of course I made a countdown with an app on my phone... only 5 short months to go!
So usually peoples' highlights of their week are during the weekend but for me I will pretty much just be living at the hospital. I hope you have a great rest of the weekend and I will be writing soon about our Okoboji vaction we took a couple weeks ago!

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