Monday, November 21, 2011

Sad and Confused

I generally don't have a reason for disappearing from the blog world for a week, but today I do. Today my Uncle Mark went home to be with his Heavenly Father. I don't know too much, I just know it was very unexpected, and we were not ready for him to leave us just yet. I don't know why God makes the decisions He does sometimes, and I don't always have to like them, but I know that he uses times of grief and hardship and the questions of why to show His love and mercy and compassion and grace. So I am heading to North Carolina in the morning to spend the next few days with my family, looking toward Him for comfort -

Please keep my Holland family in your prayers - especially my aunt (pronounced "ant" in the south please) Rosemary, my cousins Jenny and Charity and his grandsons Je'Shaun, Ian and Malachi. 

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun - Ecclesiastes 3:1

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life - Psalm 119:50

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you - 2 Thessalonians 3:16 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - Ephesians 3: 16-17

Dear Avery

Is the title of the blog my dear, sweet friend and very extended family - "my other sister", has started for her sweet daughter Avery. Get out your tissues, because thus far I have cried happy and sad tears every single post for Carey, Jeff and Avery. Imagine going in to find out the sex of your baby and being sent off to a specialist.. That is big, scary stuff, that I can't even imagine. I will let her do the storytelling, but just know that they are in need of your prayers! I am a firm believer that the will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you - and I know that Carey and Jeff are going to be the best parents to little Avery. So read Carey's letters to Avery, get to know them and pray for them.

Avery Alis

I pray for peace and comfort for y'all, and that you would seek God and trust Him in the unknown. 

2 Corinthians 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort." 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

I love fall! It is unbelievably beautiful in the northeast right now. As much as I miss Florida and the beach - our leaves don't even know what the colors orange, red, and yellow even are. 

"therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.." 2 Samuel 22:50

Today I am thankful for...

Dear Friends: Near and far. I am so thankful for great friends here in Connecticut - that we all live so close to each other now and can just drop in whenever for whatever reason. And that I actually have the chance to love on these sweet faces whenever I want - Laney and Libby

Since I never get to see this sweet mug -

And for friends far far away that we can call and chat and it's like we never even went months in the first place. And for all my friends that are about to become mommies and daddies (I know I touched on that last week) but I just can't be thankful enough and excited enough for them all. From the fullness of His grace, we have all received on blessing after another. John 1:16

Cracker Barrel: yes friends, I am thankful for Cracker Barrel. If you've never eaten there you should, than you will understand. Seeing as how the hubs and I live so far away from our families and neither of us have enough time off work to go home and be with family (go ahead, feel bad for us) But again, we have wonderful friends to celebrate with and lucky for us Cracker Barrel is open on Thanksgiving and I'm going to go all American and traditional on y'all and eat this -

Nice sales people: Such a simple thing really, but I'm finding them harder and harder to come by. Remember when I went shopping at Lululemon and the girls there were SO nice. And at Saks no less, the lady at the Bobbi Brown make-up counter, after only two visits, remembers my name. That is special (said in my most southern Scarlett O'hara voice) Especially in a time when everyone is so me me me - we should all just be nice in our day to day life. So, I am thankful for nice people.

Whole Foods: because they make the most wonderful salad with the most freshly prepared ingredients -

What are y'all thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Scared-y Cat

In the form of one cute puppy...

We took our first bath since August last night - and when I say we, I mean him... I mean I at least try to shower every other day... Talk about traumatic. For him. Again, not for me. I have a feeling all this stems from the one shower that we tried to give at 230am one time and that didn't turn out well either. But we're clean and fresh and smelling all minty now. And he only had the tremors for about an hour after and he didn't even pee on the bed - it's like a new record for him... 

He is feeling much better today and showing off his new clean coat... to anyone who will look

Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Reaching New Lows...

As friends - since we all are so close - I really must share the new low that I reached today. I woke up at 730am and was slightly unproductive, which isn't unusual but I had wonderful plans to run outside and enjoy the amazing fall weather that is happening here in the northeast. I even got dressed in a real cute Lululemon from head to toe outfit

If trying out a great new shirt isn't motivation, than I don't know what is. BUT my dear friends can we please be so honest with each other - and please right now don't judge me when I share with you that I had this outfit on, with my ipod, ready to go outside on the sidewalk - than thought about how hungry I still was and how I had forgotten my Garmin upstairs, and that is my running crutch, makes me feel all official and such - so I went upstairs to grab it real quick - and my friends, this is a true story - I changed my clothes and went straight to Crumbs to get one of these -

(I had to reuse a picture because I ate mine so fast)

Confession: It did not meet my pumpkin loving expectations. When I eat a cupcake, and waste my calories I want it to be good and worth it. This was not. I might have to go to Crumbs again, soon, for redemption of course...

and I had to hang out with this sweet little girl and her sister and her mommy -

Sometimes holding a baby trumps running...

I am not proud of this - this is why I am not a serious  runner and I am sooo slow. And I know this. I am a work in progress. And I'm glad that we're all such great friends and I can be so honest with y'all.  

Proverbs 16:9

The Famous Uniform

If you're like me and absolutely love NFL football and never miss a game... Yeah right. Okay, or if you're like me and you just watch Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Making the Team on CMT because when you were little you thought you'd be cheering for them one day too... I just can't. I have no words. Sometimes I get sucked in to all this reality television and I just. can't. look. away. If it's wrong not to look away then I so don't want to be right. This show is a rocky horror picture show in the making...

I gape open mouthed staring at the screen eating almond butter by the pound as they tell half these girls that they are just way to jiggly for the uniform because you apparently don't pick the uniform - it picks you - and sadly it just isn't going to work out for them. And I quote - there is apparently a big boned club!! Those shorts are 4.25 INCHES. INCHES y'all!!!! from waistline to cover their bum - um that's like my inseam length on half my shorts. And comparing trying on the uniform to trying on your wedding dress... in the words of Rachel Zoe - this show is bananas. I die. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going here -

to eat an undisclosed amount of these -

Yum! Yum!

Just a side note FYI - I ran another workout PR yesterday - a 5k in 31:20!!! Goal: before 1/1/12 I will run a sub-30 min 5k workout! Even if I have to run to the nearest bush or garbage can or wherever to puke my brains out... too much? Sorry. 

Proverbs 16:9

Monday, November 14, 2011

Main Squeeze Monday: Running Clothes

Hello my name is Holly and I am addicted to buying running clothes. 

I have some personal preference to what I wear, but at the same time I do not. If it gets a good review, and it's cute, and it says something about sweat wicking and keeping ones self dry, then I'm game to try it. I do try to check out prices and really mull over something before I buy it, and I'm really a believer in quality because when you're wearing something 7 out of 7 days of the week, you want it to last. I love Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon, Asics, whatever. I am slightly more partial to Nike and Lululemon - I'm sure that the hubs and my wallet wish that I was not partial to these particular brands - but again I'm all about quality... and obviously not quanitity, because from the looks of it I own about 20 pairs of Nike Tempo shorts. I love them, my collection started my freshman year of college and has just expanded since then. I can sweat all day long (which I do) and while these get gross and nasty - they dry quick and I don't feel as gross and nasty as I probably should. Now I am semi- new to Lululemon. I had actually never heard of this company and their workout clothes until I moved to New York and actually had access to the store. Their prices scared me. Scared me. So I stayed away. Then I heard over and over how great their products were and how I really needed  to try their stuff. So I gave in to peer pressure.. I'm an easy target and as gullible as they come... so I saved up for pair of the Wunder Under crop pants to wear for my first half marathon, because by golly it was getting cold and I needed a new outfit to run in. I loved them. 

They fit perfect, although they do show off the saddle bags a little more than I'd like - but for someone who hates hugging spandex and clothing that actually touches my skin I did really like these. They kept me warm, without being too warm, and I never felt super sweaty. Again, huge in my book. I don't know how long y'all have been around this blog here, and how many times I've mentioned it in this single post, but I sweat a lot. It does not matter the temperature. So when I found out that we were moving and I would not have access to a Lululemon store, and I do hate ordering things online, I went and invested in two more pairs of the wunder under crop. They have all since lasted me an entire year. and are still like new. Except for all the dog hair covering them... I'm pretty sure I didn't buy them like that. Side note: One should not buy black things and have a dog that sheds white hair... These 3 pairs of crops thus ended my shopping affair with Lululemon. I peruse their website like everyday and think of all the cool things that I could wear when running, and I'm not even that serious about running. But I am 100% all about comfort. So when I signed up for the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning and I started thinking about just how cold it might be I started really looking for something that might keep me warm and reading reviews, etc. I have been looking for warm pants and I found this cool running website Oiselle - which is a small company with AMAZING customer service and actual elite runners working and designing the clothes. Now again, I am far from what I consider to be a serious runner but I am super serious about staying warm. So on Sally's (she's like the founder and CEO and she took the time to email me back.. within an hour... so cool) recommendation from Oiselle I ordered the Onyx running tight. She had just been visiting New York and said this is what I wanted. 

It says they're made of brushed nylon and spandex, and like a fleece lining to keep you nice and warm. Yes, please. I love fleece. I'll let you know when they get here what I think. I also jumped the gun and bought my first top from Lululemon - a run swiftly tech shirt - again, I am serious about staying warm. 

It is made to wear as a base layer under a jacket until you're warm enough - which generally happens pretty quickly for me - it is also anti-chafing - which again happens quite often to me and it hurts real bad so I need that - and moisture wicking. PLUS the girl at the Lululemon store was SO nice! I had to buy it. Considering where I live, I never expect people to be nice, which is kind of sad, but true. Actually two of their sales people were SO nice! And since they are so nice, they now have my loyalty, I love good customer service! Another side note: I found this to be true at Saks too! (Big surprise!!)

I love getting new running clothes as much as I love getting a cupcake from Crumbs - OR banana pudding from Magnolia bakery... mm SO good. Oh yeah, and if you don't own a pair of Nike tempo shorts - I highly recommend investing in a pair, even if it's just to wear around the house with your slippers. 

Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

How appropriate right? It is November, we are about to celebrate what I like to call the "forgotten holiday" - Thanksgiving!! I mean every store under the sun has their Christmas stuff out already, and don't get me wrong I love Christmas, but let's not forget those Pilgrims that sailed the ocean blue in 1492 and had what I'm sure was a fantastic first meal with Pocahontas and Meeko... Oh you mean the 1995 Disney version of Pocahontas wasn't accurate? I'm sure you get the general idea. I'm with Nordstrom all the way when they publicized that they won't be putting up Christmas decorations, until another certain holiday has been celebrated. That's right - Thanksgiving! So I find that sharing a few things I'm thankful for today seems befitting...

Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever." 

 Starbucks: I am addicted. I need caffeine and they are never in short supply. I am thankful for the sweet boy that gave me four shots in my venti mocha instead of just two... addicted. And I may or may not have just harped all over skipping over Thanksgiving BUT I do love the Starbucks Christmas red cup and it just makes me happy that it is here!

We are not moving this year!! I am thankful that for the first holiday season since we've been married, we are staying put! We will not be moving apartments across town, or driving halfway across the country. We will also not have to start packing like now - because we are actually putting down roots in the same place! Yay!!

Babies -  I'm not just thankful for babies because its kind of my job and I'm with them all the time... but for ALL of my friends that are getting ready to welcome little bundle of joys into their lives. I'm real excited for ALL of them. And I say ALL, because ALL of them are. You know I love you guys! And Auntie E has enough love for everyone!

Work - I'm thankful that the hubs and I both have jobs, when so many people don't right now. Because we have been there, and learned a lot about patience, and oh yeah, being thankful. And the opportunities that we have because of our jobs.. and something has to support my Starbucks addiction...

 Sleep - when working nights I feel like this is so important and some people just don't have the luxury, but I have a great puppy that has an innate ability to sleep all night, get up and go potty, and then sleep all day. His snoring is music to my ears. oh yeah and I'm thankful for a great pair of pajamas because when 68% of your time is spent in your bed staring at the back of your eyelids - it is a necessity.

The hubs - can't forget him, I'm thankful for the hubs, because (excuse me while I skip over thanksgiving) he is going to let me go crazy in Target getting Christmas decorations because WE'RE NOT MOVING THIS YEAR!!!!! Oh yeah and because he puts up with all my wants :)

My sweet nephew - he had surgery today, and I'm sure that little ball of energy handled it like a trooper!! He is so cute and I hate that such a small child who has no clue what's going on has had to go under the knife, but he'll be the coolest kid in kindergarten when he tells people "well oh yeah, I've already surgery x2 - beat that" or some such insult that only a kindergartner can come up with...

Love you little man - I am thankful for you!! Love your Auntie E

Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review

Hi hi fellow reader friends! I would first just like to point out how hard it is to blog when this mug -

-is in your face ALL the time. He is feeling super deprived and I don't blame him. All his owners do is take him out to potty and sleep ALL the time.

In between all this sleeping and the SNOW that has been happening around here I've gotten a little reading done. Not all of what I had originally planned, but they were books that I had! I finally finished Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot and then because I just really really wanted to know what it was about, and since it's my book club, or my reviews, or whatever - than I can kind of do what I want - I read Kisses for Katie  by Katie Davis.

I guess being a good God fearing person that I am, I probably should have heard of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, and Jim Elliot's story, and maybe I did, but being the self absorbed human that I am (I only speak the truth..) I never really thought twice about it or stored their story to memory. But I recently read Radical by David Platt (also, so so good!) and it is about living radically for our heavenly Father, and what better story of absolute radical faith than that of Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming and Nate Saint and their death. I'll just share some of my favorite quotes from the book, I didn't have a pen most of the time so I just have a lot of pages with the flaps turned down, and looking back I can't for the life of me remember what stood out that I should turn the page ear down, and re-reading those pages, it all stands out... -

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

"The gaining of Christ is both an inward reckoning of loss and an outward suffering of it. I have known myself to lose something for Him, yet cherish it in my thoughts."

"I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it dies, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will lose it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life."

"Father, take my life, yea, my blood if Thou wilt, and consume it with Thine enveloping fire."

"Missionaries are very human folks, just doing what they are asked. Simply a bunch of nobodies trying to exalt Somebody."

I think what really hit me about this book is just how often Jim asks God that His will be done, and if His will includes Jim losing his life then so be it, but let him go to South America and share God's word with the Auca Indians. I don't know how many of us that go on missions, pray to go on missions, etc ask for God to take our lives if it's His will but please just let us go... a little extreme, even just 60ish years later, but still a true exemplification of how a Christian should be living. 

So while I'm reading Shadow of the Almighty,  I came across the book Kisses from Katie,  I had found Katie Davis' blog a while ago, and enjoyed reading it and seeing her faith in God, and listening to Him. I thought this book, was encouraging, and real, and a blessing. I definitely think we all would benefit from reading this book, and learning just the teensiest bit from Katie. I enjoyed reading this book, but I'll be honest with y'all, she makes it sound so easy. The decision to leave her home, not go to college, move to Uganda, adopt children, start a huge successful nonprofit, and start her life over in Uganda. Easy. Um, I don't think so. Again, maybe its just me and my self absorbed ways (again, I just want to be real with y'all) but just wanting to go on a two week mission trip is a big decision in our lives. I looking for the strife and conflict, and big decision making process that she went through in this book, it's not there - she makes it look EASY. God wants me to go to Uganda? Okay. God shows me these children that need a home, and to adopt them? Okay. Um okay!? I was talking to the hubs, looking for an explanation of how she makes it look so easy - and his simple response - well shouldn't it be that easy? Oh sure... I definitely married up and he teaches me new things everyday, and knows so much! Anyway.. here are some of my favorite quotes from Kisses for Katie -

"Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but things that can destroy the soul. I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world's longest-running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy." 

"Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe. We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His hands" (Amen! <-- that's from me)

"God shows Himself victorious. He reminds me that all of this life requires more of Him and less of me"

"When we stop be kind when we don't want, that's when the sacrifice becomes most rewarding"

That last quote, out of the whole book hit me the most, because that is me. I'll admit, most of the time, I'm so wrapped up in hurrying - hurrying home to sleep (because I need sleep), hurrying home to eat, to catch up on ridiculous TV shows that I think I need to watch, etc. Again, I married up, because even though reading this book, I see this action everyday in the hubs. He is the one who digs for change for the man asking for it, he is the one who brings me home and goes back to the grocery store to take a man to the train station and pays for the train ticket, he is the one who gives a slice of pizza to a homeless man in the city while I look at my two pieces and think if I give one away then I'm still going to be hungry. So much for taking care of the least of these Holly - seriously!? I'm worried about being hungry!? there are millions of people who go hungry and I'm worried about skipping a meal!?... He is a blessing to others and to me. This book was real good, and it just makes me want to go to Africa even more! I read this in Radical, or a blog somewhere, but I know that I need Africa so much more than Africa needs me. So pick up this book and read it, and be touched by someone who listened to Matthew 28:19-20.


Working out:
Tuesday: speedwork on the treadmill 3.66 miles in 40 min (10:56 average) - considering there was some walking thrown in, I think this was pretty good.
 Today: more speedwork on the treadmill 3.2 miles in 34 min (10:38 average)

My speedwork at the moment is consists of:
5min 9min mile : 5 min 12 min mile
4min 9 min mile : 4 min 12 min mile
3min 9 min mile : 3 min 12 min mile
2 min 8:30 min mile : 2 min 12 min mile
1 min 8 min mile : 1 min 12 min mile

I feel like I've read about this workout before in Runner's World and it sounded good, but I also could have just made it up... But so far it seems to be working. I've also been throwing in some 1 min sprints at the end. Where I run at an 8 min mile for a min, slow down and catch my breath, then run a 7:30 min mile for a minute, and then slow down and catch my breath - I did this the other day until I got to a 6 min mile for an entire minute. I thought for sure I was going to fall off the treadmill, and or throw up. I don't think this big girl has ever run so fast, and I'm not sure if I plan to again... 

I know its 3pm but nighty night y'all - I must get in a nap before my first of four nights! I'm still questioning why I do this to myself - oh yeah because I want this and I want to go here. Oh hubby hubs... Christmas maybe!? Or black friday!?

Now if y'all will excuse me, I'm going to canoodle with this animal and fall asleep to the glorious sound of his snoring!

Proverbs 16:9

Monday, November 7, 2011

Turkey Trot 2011

Yes, yes I am still running. I kind of took a hiatus after the WMC quarter marathon except for a handful of treadmill sessions BUT all the ING NYC Marathon talk this weekend around the bloggy blog world made me just the teensiest bit jealous. Not that I'm in any kind of shape, way or form ready to run have run a marathon yesterday, but all the excitement made me excited for all the people running and kind of wishing that I was running too. And besides I'm itching for a new t-shirt... So I searched around for any Thanksgiving day Turkey Trots that I could sign up for and I found this five mile turkey trot in Rockland County. It's just a short jaunt across the Tappan Zee and I'm there. It's also raising money for childhood cancer at the local hospital where I work and I have Thanksgiving off, so it's a win/win. I'm not sure how I feel about running just five miles, but that is usually my everyday distance around the neighborhood, so I at least know I'm comfortable running this distance. I'm sure it'll be freezing cold, so I'll need to figure out something super super warm to wear seeing as how I have uber thin blood. Any suggestions? 50* outside and I'm whining like a two year old, and last year standing outside for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in like 30* weather, you'd think I'd be smart enough to know just how cold it is at 7am on Thanksgiving morning. I guess it'll be a good thing that I'll more than likely be traveling solo to this race as the hubs might be working - I'll have absolutely no one to complain and cry to asking why I was so stupid as to sign up to run outside in November in New York! I'll just have to make friends with someone to put up with my toddler antics. I guess as long as we don't have a freak snow storm AGAIN and get a foot of snow from a nice little "wintry mix" than I should be able to suck it up.. Ridiculous.

I'm not really worried about time, as usual I aim to finish BUT I am hoping to see some improvement, as I've actually started incorporating "speed" work into my running.. and when I say speed work I mean faster than usual... like five whole minutes at a 9:30 pace... I'm not sure how you remember the story but the turtle always wins in the tortoise and the hare anyway! So I'm happy to be representing turtles everywhere!

*Speaking of stories... For my handful of "book club" peeps I promise I have actually been reading... but none of what I said I was going to... go figure - I promise to post this week!!!*

Proverbs 16:9