Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Band...An Update

If you are a long time follower of the blog, you may recall that I am in a band called Grace Reigns Down. I say "am in" and not "was," though that could be up for debate. :-)

To make a long story short, Grace Reigns Down does still exist. We took some time off to catch our breath, regroup, send a member or two off to college, and discern what it is God is calling us to do.

For right now, as we all work full time and have 7 young kids between us all, leading worship on Sunday evenings at 6:30pm at First Lutheran Church is where you will find Grace Reigns Down. We feel truly blessed to be able to share our gifts each Sunday evening in a friendly and open environment where all are welcome regardless of age, gender, sexuality, color, etc. Performing beyond that has just not been a priority for us these days.

But there is always one exception to the "Sunday evening rule."

And that is CROP Walk.

CROP Hunger Walk is a 5K Walk that raises awaresness and money for the hungry in our community. CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. In addition, the Greater Greensboro CROP Hunger Walk & Run returns 25% of the funds it raises to Greensboro Urban Ministry's Potter's House Community Kitchen.

Each year, we are honored to be asked to "kick off" the Greater Greensboro event and play our music for the thousands of participants. This year was no different. It was a beautiful fall day and such a blessing to play for such a giving and compassionate group of people from all faiths.

Thank you, Greensboro Urban Ministry and CROP Walk, for welcoming us once again and making us feel like rock stars. :-)

And just because they are totes presh....
Grace Reigns Down, The New Class:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just Woo It!

So, my Facebook newsfeed has been a mass feed of three things this season: kids in pumpkin patches, people selling products, and Zumba. I'll get to sorting my pumpkin patch pictures soon and the only thing I am selling these days is the Greatest Leadership Program for Girls, so in honor of several friends getting their Zumba licenses over the last few months and another friend taking the plunge this month (yay, CL!), I thought it was time to post again what I like to consider "Zumba Etiquette."
Or, in other words, "Know Your Role, People!"

This was originally posted on Monday, November 4, 2013.

Zumba Etiquette 101 (OR What the instructors want to tell you but are too nice to say outloud)

This post is brought to you as a friendly public service announcement. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.

[Oh, heck, who I am kidding? Y'all know where I Zumba and with whom I Zumba.]

I LOVE it when friends and family come to try out Zumba at Heart in Sol. I get that nervous "Oh, I hope they liked it" after they come to their first class. And then I get the relieved "Yay! They came back!" feeling when they come back for a second and third and tenth time. I know it takes courage to step into your first Zumba class. And most of you know it took me about 4 months after receiving my Living Social gift to take that plunge myself, and I've been doing it about 18 months now pretty religiously. There is almost always a new person whenever I attend a Zumba class and, whether I know them or not, I get those "yay for you! hope you have fun! don't be scared!" thoughts that I wish I could telepathically send across the room to them.

Though I am obviously not an instructor, I do spend quite a bit of time with a few licensed instructors, and we have gotten into some great conversations recently about the fact that there is an unspoken "Zumba Etiquette."

So, humor me for a few minutes as I walk you though some Zumba Class Rules to help you (and more importantly, those around you) have a most enjoyable experience...

Zumba Class Rule #1 (and my favorite):

Zumba Class Rule #2 (my own expansion of Rule #1): Don't worry about what you look like because no one is looking at you anyway.
[Seriously, the class is so fast moving and action-packed that no one has time to worry about what you look like because they are trying to keep themselves in check.]

Zumba Class Rule #3: If you want to claim a "good spot" then get to class early.
[It's first come, first served, people. You come in late, you get what's leftover. Period.]

Zumba Class Rule #4: Respect the "Markers."
[Building on Rule #3, for those people who were able to come early and "claim" a preferred spot with a water bottle/hairbrush/jacket/tennis shoe/rubber band/whatever, please be mindful of that claimed spot and find another one. Seriously.]

Zumba Class Rule #5: Respect the "Personal Space" of your fellow attendees.
[And building on rules #3 and #4, once you find your alternate space, please make sure you have left enough room that you are not invading the personal space of another Zumba attendee. There is a lot of booty shaking and shimmying going on, and you need some arm and leg room. Trust me.]

Zumba Class Rule #6: Respect the "Personal Space" of your instructor.
[Just as important as in class rule #5, the instructor also needs his/her space. Imagine a fishing dock coming out in front of the instructor about 3-4 feet. Avoid this area. If they move forward when you move forward...Do you see where this is going??? Give them room to get their own shimmying and body rolling on. This could also be referred to as the "splash zone" in some instructors' classes. For realz.]

Zumba Class Rule #7: When the instructor says to "wooo," you "wooo." And "wooo" hard.
[Speaking of instructors, I am just in complete awe of them, and they have my utmost respect. They spend so much time and energy into crafting the very best 45-60 minute class that they can. They give 110% to their attendees, so how sad is it when they only get 57% back? They want to see you having fun. They want to see smiles and hear you having fun. We need to give that back to them. So, just "wooo" people.]

[Side note about verbal participation in class: Wooo-ing and yow-ing is great. Talking to your neighbor about where your husband is taking you for dinner this weekend or gasp, even YAWNING during class, is not.]

Zumba Class Rule #8: "Front and Center" is not where you start off your Zumba experience.
[While the instructors love a good, enthusiastic participant (see rule #7), if it's your first time attending a class, front row center may not be the place for you to start. There are other people in that class who want to see what's going on, and they don't need to be trying to look around you to get their sights set on the instructor. It's harsh, I know. But I'm just being honest. Not to mention, having a first-timer all up in the instructor's personal space (see rule #6) can be very distracting to them.]

Zumba Class Rule #9: If you are trying to be perfect, you probably aren't having fun.
[This statement was said out loud in one of my first classes and I just KNEW it was directed at me. I took it to heart and never forgot it. Your Zumba class is not Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. Don't stress over getting all the moves right- especially your 1st, 2nd or even 10th time. Just have fun. Do your best, but don't stress. 'Cause remember rule #2.]

So, whether you have been taking classes for years, just started recently, or have been tossing that thought around your head for a while, trust me when I say that both the instructor and the folks around you will appreciate the effort you make in following the above rules.

And when all else fails, enjoy that unexpected solo and give a big 'ole loud "woo!" 'Cause you are burning some crazy calories while having the time of your life.


Monday, October 27, 2014

A Quick Roxie Update...

Just in case anyone was wondering, the kids are doing great with Roxie. Brooklyn loves to take her out on the leash and give her treats, and Jake is growing more and more comfortable every visit.

Last weekend, Roxie even got some snuggles.

This is pretty huge. For two kids that have never grown up with a furry pet, I am super excited to see them taking to Roxie so well and so quickly. She is the best puppy, and we love having her as a part of our extended family.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall's Not Giving Up

If the glorious Sunday bike ride picnic day wasn't enough, we had to go and spend a wonderful morning at J.Razz & Tazz Farm a few weekends ago and soak up some more Fall fun.

Grrrr...Fall. Why do you have to offer such fun activities for the kids?

This is a great place just about 30 minutes from where we live. Definitely worth the drive and we got there right when it opened so we had the place to ourselves for about 30 minutes.

The Corn Maize:

Play Area:

The Cow Train:

We were super surprised to run into one of Jake's BFF's, Haley, that morning.  It was so fun playing with Haley and her mom and little sis.

Grandpa and Daddy loved the corn silo.

And the kids kinda did, too.

Snack break.

Tractor Hay Ride:

It really was a super fun morning with Nanny and Grandpa. We even got a few pumpkins just to round out the entire Fall experience.

But no pumpkin spice lattes. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Welp, Fall is here...

...and I was not a happy camper.

I love Summer. So much. Summer is my BFF, my homegirl, my Boo.

The sun, the beach, the relaxed mornings, being tan, the flip flops...

I love it all. [Insert video clip of Olaf singing "In Summer" here.]

So, as you can imagine, when the sun set on Pappy's Paradise in September, I was sad.

Very sad.

I ignored Fall. I ignored the pumpkin spices, the light jackets, and the falling leaves.

But alas, Fall plays a hard game.

Because on one Sunday morning, we decided to go out and run and ride bikes and have a picnic at the playground.

And I noticed the falling leaves, and they were kinda pretty. And well, I do like my lightweight UNC jacket. It's pretty cute.

And nothing beats some weekend family time...

Yep. Nothing beats some weekend family time.

But I still don't like pumpkin spice lattes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yes, I did lose my mind...

...but it was quickly found.

Found about 13 miles around Greensboro on Saturday.

Y'all, we did it.

We actually got up early on a Saturday morning voluntarily, drove downtown, got out of the truck, took a few pictures...

...and RAN a freakin' half marathon!

Like, I think if there weren't any pictures, I wouldn't believe it myself.

Because honestly, I thought the only picture of me from the race would be a selfie in the back of an ambulance with a cute EMT worker.

Some of you may think I am exaggerating. But seriously, you guys. I am 100% honest in saying if you would have told me 2 years 1 year 6 months ago that I would be running a half marathon, I would have laughed (loudly) and said I was sticking to Zumba.

But something happened around May when Chad asked me if I wanted to do it (because he wanted to do it), and the crazy part of me thought, "Well, hell. If Chad does it and I don't, then I will just be mad that he did something that I didn't do. And then I will have runner's envy (which may not even be a real thing, but I do think I'd have it, real or not)."

So, I said sure. And started training.

"Training" is a loose term, because I kinda just glanced at a schedule online every other week or so to see what was recommended for that week. And then just kinda did what I wanted to anyway and what my schedule allowed me to do. I also would ask my co-runners what they were running that week. And sometimes do what they were doing. And sometimes not. But by about 2 weeks before the race, I had run a few 8 milers and 1 10 mile race. And felt good. So, I thought I was on the right track.

Then, one week before the race on a rainy Sunday, I was being stupid on the treadmill (why, oh why will I not learn?) and jacking up the speed to "sprint." I sprained my calf muscle and found myself not running at all the whole week before the race.

So, on race Saturday, I said a few prayers, put on some makeup for that selfie with the EMT worker, and thought, "Well, at least I made the effort, registered, and got a cute shirt out of it."

5 minutes before the race, I panicked slightly when I realized I was getting ready to run the same amount of time it takes me to drive to the mountains.

The FREAKING mountains, people.

But then, before I had a chance to change my mind, we were off. And I had no choice but to see what happened.

My calf hurt for the first 3-4 miles, but then it loosened up some and felt pretty good miles 4-8. Mile 9 both calves hurt, so that was actually slightly encouraging. I think it was then, though, that I thought I was going to make it.

In fact, when I got to mile 9, I knew I was going to make it. Mile 10, I thought "Oh, I got this." And mile 12, I think I actually got a lump in my throat and thought, "Holy hell. I GOT THIS."

In 13.1 miles, I did a lot of sightseeing. A lot of jamming to my tunes. Waving at neighbors. Counting minutes. Counting songs.

I sang along with Cher, Brendan, the Rent cast, and Kelly Clarkson.

It actually was pretty glorious.

And while I will probably always, to the day I die, say that I am not a runner and I don't like running, I do have to say, I kinda like finishing a run.

Like a lot.

Thanks to this guy, right here, for wanting to do this. Which made me want to do this.

Because of him, I was able to have this moment...

...and get these medals.

I'm so thankful for these two guys (and my other Heart in Sol family members) for their encouragement and comraderie. The best kind of peer pressure out there!

I have nothing to compare these results to. They look good to me, but honestly, anything would look good to me, because there is a total time listed- meaning a start and more importantly, a finish time.

I completed it.
I did it.
I survived.
I lived to tell about it, blog about it, and was able to get out of bed the next day.
I can't tell you where my running will take me next. I'm just gonna take it mile by mile. But once again, I am here to tell you, if you set your mind to do something, you can do it.
I promise.
Set those goals.
And then set them just a teeny bit higher.
You will thank me later.

Friday, October 3, 2014

I've Lost My Mind...

It's no secret that I truly believe this:

So, when Chad asked me back in May if I wanted to run the half marathon in October, I paused.

I could eat a LOT of food after running a half marathon.

I hemmed and hawed. I had always operated under the belief that "If you have to eat/drink/use the bathroom/wear special socks" when running, you are running TOO LONG."

5K's? Rock them.
10K's? Did my first in April. Loved it. Would do it again.

A half marathon? Eh.

Could someone please invent a 1/3 Marathon? That seems to be the next step in my progression.

But I do love to set goals and do get excited about meeting a good challenge, so I made the mental committment about a month or so ago to throw caution and just do it.

[And yes, Mom, I've been very cautious about watching my back and making sure we have no recurrence of Backageddon. :-)]

Training is going well, and today I ran the farthest and longest I have ever run.
Y'all, I know. That's a long time to run. I even look at myself funny and think, "what the h- are you doing?"
I want to tell you, though (and "you" being those of you who are out there thinking about running but have never tried it), that YOU can do it. You can run. You can run any distance, any length of time, anywhere. I promise.
Three years ago, I couldn't run to my mailbox. I didn't WANT to run to my mailbox. Much less around the neighborhood. Or gasp, on a public street.
But I found this amazing app...It's called Ease into 5K.
In 8 weeks, this app takes you from walking about 2 1/2 miles (depending on your own speed) to RUNNING a complete 3.2 miles without stopping. It starts you off easy (take a look at Week 1 Day 1).

And it goes on from there, adding more running around the walking until you are running consistently for about 25 minutes. Then, you run for distance.

It plays your own music and has a male or female voice that comes on to tell you when to walk and run and at your preferred intervals to tell you your pace, time, distance, calories, etc. (Confession: I like to pretend that it's Bob Harper cheering me on in my ear bud. Love him.)

I went on to buy the Ease into 10K to help me with my 10K training and now I use that app to record my long distances and to keep my pace in check.

I promise you when I say "I was never a runner." And I can probably pretty much still say that I don't consider running "a hobby." But I do like the workout, and I am pretty psyched about checking this half marathon off my bucket list. Well, if I had a bucket list and if I ever actually would have thought to add "half marathon" on said list.

So, thinking about running? Keep thinking about it. But download the Ease into 5K app first and think about it while you are walking.

Meanwhile, I think I need to go start a bucket list...


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