Believe in yourself, have some guts & make it happen.

Isn’t she beautiful? My run last night, while a complete mental battle, was filled with beautiful scenes. I couldn’t help but notice all the fall flowers on porches, wildflowers along the road and this stunning sunflower.

Last night was my first run in quite some time that was quiet. I almost always have a running buddy, and for the few times lately I haven’t, I’ve brought music to accompany me. But this run was just me and my loud mind, for all five miles. It was intimidating, but also freeing.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be running my race solo a week from Sunday. Tonight’s run really let that scary truth sink in. Because I haven’t been running solo often, I learned my pacing is horrible, which of course made me nervous about pacing 13 miles by myself! Well, surrounded by a crowd of people running faster than me, anyway ;).

But with each pounding footstep, I told myself to keep going. Even though it was scary, even though it was hard, and even though I’m still unsure about my race… I kept going.

Last night I learned a huge lesson in being brave and doing hard things, which seems to be the theme of my life lately. What makes it the most difficult, though, is that it’s almost completely a mental game. Friends, I know this is cliche, but you can do whatever you set your mind to do – you really can. Believe in yourself, have some guts and make it happen.

There are a lot of exciting things brewing in my life right now, both blog related dreams and other crazy dreams of mine, I can hardly focus on one thing at a time. But none of them would be happening if I didn’t allow myself to think big and then believe those dreams could become a reality. Friends, life is short. Do things you love to do, be around people who inspire you and chase your dreams, y’all. Even if it’s scary at first.

Take one step at a time.

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But I discipline my body and keep it under control.

My first 5k, 2013.

Or so I hope.


Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Man, this section of Scripture screams so many different lessons to me. As a runner, I automatically think of how much running is a discipline! More often than not, it’s really hard! But I persevere because I want to get better, I want to win the race (whether that’s beating myself or anyone else), and I want to remind myself I really can do hard things.

But also, I think about my life in general. I think about how often I want to eat sugary treats when I know I shouldn’t, how often I hit snooze and miss out on what I had planned on doing before work, and how quick I am to spit fire with my tongue instead of first tasting my words.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.


I don’t want to run aimlessly. So often those things I described above – speaking harsh words, sleeping too late, indulging in treats too often… it feels like I’m swaying with the wind instead of holding onto the solid rock.

I mentioned in my MMR post this weekend that Jacob and I have made some serious diet changes lately. We’re not eating sugary treats or anything with added/processed sugar. We’re avoiding bread and choosing instead greens and natural power foods. We’re attempting to be more intentional about what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.

But it’s hard, y’all. I love sweets – I want something sweet every day.. multiple times a day. It’s a horrible habit and I know my body won’t be able to take that for long! So this Scripture brings me back to the why we’re making these changes. Obviously we need to make changes for our health, but beyond that, we are testing and trying our discipline. We are exercising self control now because we know the rewards to come are much worth the short-term hardship.

Pushing my body to work hard and restraining my food intake are just skimming the surface of discipline. I want to learn to control my fiery tongue, my very un-blog worthy thoughts, and my heart that more often than not lacks compassion. I want to change those habits, which results from changing my heart… And no change comes without discipline first.

Friends, as silly as it is, I would appreciate your prayer in this journey in discipline! And I’d love to pray for you. How are you striving to seek Christ before all else? What hinders you? How would you like to grow in discipline?

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P.S. Head on over to Rachel’s blog to see us talking about our Foodie Favorites today!

What “I’m a Runner” means to me

Tank : ℅ YogaOutlet  |  Pants : TJ Maxx (similar)  | Shoes : New Balance

 

Running for a long time was something I told myself I couldn’t do. In middle and high school I was very self-conscious about my body type (I still waiver on and off with those issues – read this post if you do, too.) and about how my peers perceived me. I wouldn’t do anything I was bad at. That meant at  weekly frisbee games, instead of running around and trying, I’d sit on the sidelines and watch, too worried I wouldn’t catch a toss or would be huffing and puffing too much. That meant if someone jokingly said, “Race you!” while we were out and about, my stomach would turn over with dread. That meant that I didn’t try out for any high school sports, even if I had wanted to do so.

About a year ago I started a new journey with running. A friend wanted to run a 5k, so I thought, sure, I’d train with her! I didn’t commit to the 5k right away, but I tried. I’m not sure what changed in me then – I think a lot of it had to do with the fact she wasn’t a “runner,” either. (right, Mosby? :))

Almost a year and half later, I run on my own. I run with new friends I hardly know (scary, right?!), and I’m not afraid for others to see me. In fact, I’m proud. I proudly call myself a runner and, I won’t lie,  a little pride swells up inside when someone else refers to me as a runner.

The other day I sat down and pondered why I love calling myself a runner now, something I never believed to be possible… here’s why.

Calling myself a runner reminds me I’m strong.

Running is hard! It takes work, it takes dedication and it takes a lot of pushing. But it strengthens my muscles, builds my endurance and teaches me hard things. The day I ran my fastest mile ever, that day I couldn’t help but be filled with joy because I accomplished something I literally never imagined possible.

Calling myself a runner reminds me I can be disciplined.

Anyone else out there commit to doing things all too often than you never follow through with? I know I can’t be the only guilty party here – and it sucks, flat out. I commit to too many hang outs, Bible studies, free side-jobs (AKA blog designs & invitations for friends), and other responsibilities… and I often get discouraged when I fail or come up short. But you know what tells me I don’t always have to fail? The fact I can make myself run – which is a very hard thing. Also note, “not failing” in this includes not only following through with my commitments, but also saying “no” when I genuinely can’t handle something… the latter is most often the hardest.

Calling myself a runner reminds me I’m capable.

Anyone else ever feel not equipped to accomplish something? Maybe it’s a goal you’ve had in the back of your mind for a while, or a job you want to apply for, but you just don’t feel qualified? It seems too far from your already-stretched reach? Well, I wasn’t qualified to call myself a runner in the beginning, but I did it anyway. And then I became one. Running reminds me I’m able to grow, push myself, and get after those dreams that feel so far away.

If you’re a runner, do you feel that same pride swell up when you call yourself a runner? Or when someone else does? What does being a runner mean to you?

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I received the blue tank above from YogaOutlet.com in exchange for a review, but rest assured all opinions are my own. I received two tanks from them – the royal blue tank pictured above and the light blue “goal digger” top I posted on Instagram – both of which were the quality I expected. I’ve been more than pleased with their service and timely delivery of my order. You can check out their Summer Sale items here and can use the code BRIDGEPOSE for 15% off your first purchase.

Beat the Heat this Summer & a Giveaway!

Despite the fact I have complained about the heat, I love summer. The sunshine, warmth, sandals, new skin tones, beach days – it seems like summer only brings good things. But it does bring challenges, especially in the fitness area. I love to run outside, but I honestly can’t handle the heat most of the time. So here are a few ways I plan to beat the heat this summer:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

I drink a fair amount of water all year long, but in the summer I try to double what I typically drink, especially if I know I’m running the next day. The hardest part for me is staying hydrated at night. I almost always wake up absolutely parched and not feeling well, so I make sure I have a glass of water on my nightstand all night long. First thing in the morning, I finish whatever is left and head downstairs to fill it up again.

Plan ahead.

At the beginning of each week, look at the forecast for the next 7 days ahead. Which days will be the coolest? I’d suggest choosing those days to run or exercise outside. This week I’ve learned there’s a huge difference between 75 degrees and 85 degrees… and it’s only going up from there!! Being intentional will first help you to actually get out there instead of putting it off, but it will also help you to not be horribly miserable the whole time.

Run early, or run late.

All of you early morning birdies, I envy you. Almost every day I go to bed thinking it would be so great to start my day off with a run. But every morning I wake up and decide my bed feels just oh, so comfortable. And the breeze coming through the windows is so heavenly I just want to enjoy it right there… you get my drift. Morning runs just don’t happen for me. But this past week I attempted a lunch break run and, well, I remembered why I don’t do those, to say the least. Grab a buddy and plan to run in the evenings, if you’re a morning bed-lover like me. 😉

Dress appropriately. 

This goes without saying, but don’t wear pants and a long sleeved shirt. Don’t be one of those crazy people who try to sweat like crazy in the summer heat! My go-to outfits these days are shorts and a tank, and sometimes even a ball cap to keep the sun out of my eyes. Also to hide my frizzy mane… the summer has not been gracious to me so far in that area.

But! I do have something exciting for you today – speaking of cute workout clothes, six lovely ladies and myself have teamed up to bring you the chance to win a $75 Albion Fit gift card! Albion Fit has the most adorable and well made workout gear, plus swimsuits that are to die for! So if you need some extra fitness motivation, enter the giveaway below & you can score yourself some cute outfits to feel great as you “beat the heat” this summer, whether that is by the pool or pounding the pavement 😉
Albion fit giveaway

 

The giveaway will run from 12:00 am EST on June 24th until 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Entries will be verified, so please be honest. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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P.S. Don’t forget – I’m giving away two prints to my shop this week, too! You can enter here.

How to Start Running AND LIKE IT 2.0

Now let me just tell you that I never in a million years thought I would call myself a runner! Anybody with me?! Well, little did I know… once I started, I wouldn’t want to stop. And now I proudly, with a smile, say, “I’m a runner.”
So for those of you cynics like me who think running can’t be fun, ever… I have something great for you.
running, start running, like running, girls run, how to run
1. Find a buddy.
This is seriously the most helpful thing for me. Having a buddy who is close to your level of running experience will do wonders for you! When I started running a year ago, I started with my best friend. And neither one of us could make it half a mile! But knowing that she was struggling right next to me gave me the encouragement I needed to keep going. It also helped to hear her urge me on and to hear myself encouraging her, even when it was tough for me to keep going! I probably wouldn’t love running today if I hadn’t started out with her.
And I even have a running buddy here in New Hampshire! Just knowing we are meeting to run – that she’s depending on me to show up – gives me the motivation I need to get off the couch. And I always feel great afterwards. It’s so worth it!

2. Pick a place you enjoy.

I love running outside because it gives me an excuse to get out there and enjoy the beautiful world around me. It’s especially fun for me now that we’ve moved to a totally new place. Each run is an adventure to see what’s around us in our new town! So if you’re just starting… pick a nice day so you know you’ll enjoy the outdoors. It’s magic, I tell you.

3. Be patient with yourself
It’s okay that you can’t run very far on your first day! Running, like anything worth your attention in life, takes time. You have to build up your endurance and your strength… which is so rewarding, by the way.

4. Set realistic goals
Start out each run with a goal: I want to get ____ far today. The first day, that was half a mile for me. The next day it was at least half a mile, but three-fourths if I could keep going, etc. Listen to your body and know when it’s best to stop. Every day (especially in the beginning!) you can run a little farther than the day before and that in itself is motivation to get back out there! I’m always thinking how far can I get today?

5. Keep at it, even when it gets hard. 
When you plan to get up in the morning to run… do it! Don’t hit snooze! If you planned to run after dinner, don’t opt to sit on the couch and watch TV instead. And if you have started your run, but you’re struggling to make it to your goal for the day… push through it! A second wind will come and you will be so proud that you kept going after you’ve finished, I promise.

6. Run a race! 
If nothing else, it will give you motivation to be diligent with running. I promise you, it’s actually fun! I didn’t think I’d ever want to actually run in a race… but it gave me motivation and I was excited when the day came! Not to mention I felt extremely accomplished afterward.
Now get out there, get running, and tell me how it goes! 🙂
And for those of you who are runners already, what did you do to get yourself started and ENJOY it along the way? Share your wisdom with us!!
*Segments of this post first appeared here, but I’m going through all of these challenges again with starting in a new place after a short break, so it’s very relevant to me now. And I’ve updated it with a “going back to running” outlook.

you were built purposefully

new England house, pretty house, New England blogger

Sometimes my favorite thing about running is observing what’s around me. And I’m learning that New England is full of beautiful things, especially beautiful houses. So much of what’s here is old and its character has grown more charming with seemingly each passing year. We live close to several streets of well-kept, unique, sometimes grand houses and I literally stop in awe too often on those runs because of it.

But running does so many great things for my soul – it’s a time of endless thought, and what I hope will grow into endless prayer. My small group has been talking a lot lately about the life happenings that we Christians attribute to God’s hand in our lives… many non-believers just chalk up to coincidence. And it’s hard to fight for faith in those circumstances because, well, it’s faith – believing what you cannot see.

On occasion, I am very discouraged by my lack of faith. My inability to remember God throughout large chunks of my day(s), my mindset that the world revolves around me, and my tendency to gravitate toward what’s easy rather than what’s needed are just a few of those reminders. But then I look back at the course of my life, and there’s no doubt in my mind that God’s fingerprints are all over it. There are so many “because of this, then x happened, which caused y to happen, and that was an opportunity for z…” storylines that are so intricately woven together, I can’t believe it is just coincidence.

While I ran through streets of houses that differ in every physical attribute, I thought about how different my life would be if I didn’t befriend my high school friends, didn’t go to Tennessee for college, didn’t change my mind about transferring schools, didn’t apply to work as a member of the camp teams for school, didn’t decide to get married before graduating, etc. There were so many opportunities for my life to be radically different, but this is where God has me now.

I’m thankful that his plan is much greater than mine – his plan for all of humanity. And I’m also very thankful that, much like those houses that were built so differently – with different floor plans and decorative doors – we are all equipped differently to serve the same purpose, to shine brightly the light we’ve been given.