I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Can't Get Enough-Pumpkin French Toast

I don't know about you, but something comes over me this time of year.  It's this crazy force that makes me want to have Pumpkin.....EVERYTHING!  Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin creamer (homemade) pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin pancakes....I mean lets face it, if I could incorporate pumpkin into every aspect of my life, I most certainly would.  I'm obsessed.  I have been in the kitchen this week cooking up a whole-lotta pumpkin...
And how about the beauty outside right now?  Wow!  I'm just taking in all of this gorgeous weather and extraordinary fall colors right now.
Pumpkin French Toast
1 cup of pureed pumpkin
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 TBSP dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stale Baguette sliced into 1 inch thick slices (I always go into the bakery and ask for a day old, preferably 2 day old baguette, or you can "stale" it yourself in your oven) *If you don't get stale baguette the inside could be mushy after cooking.
Mix together all ingredients.  Place baguette slices into baking dish.  Pour pumpkin mixture onto bread and coat evenly.  
Preheat griddle, cook baguette about 5 minutes, flip and cook other side.  They should be golden to medium brown when cooked through.
Serve drizzled with cinnamon non-dairy butter,  warm syrup and coconut milk whipped cream.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Splendid Fall

It’s Friday and I am so happy for that! We have a full weekend with NOTHING on our calendar!  Thankful!
The past 3 weekends I (we) have been on the run, out-of-town.  One Canadian adventure to see friends and participate in some fabulous wine events/tastings for 4 days during their Fall wine crush.  A quick out-of-town to the Gorge to see Maroon Five with 7 crazy girls, only to have them cancel due to weather.  I mean…what’s a little hurricane force winds, right?  We had a blast, nonetheless….and last weekend, in Seattle.  Seattle was a wind down weekend.  After an amazing summer, we wanted a little closeness with our Cub.  High school flies by, as we saw with our older kids.  They literally step onto the high school campus as freshman, and in the blink of an eye, you are watching them cross that stage, being handed their diploma.  The older they get, the harder it is to really have that quality time.  I heard the idiom once that trying to have quality time with teenagers is like nailing jello to a wall.  That's some truth right there!  Now, I’m not a helicopter parent.  I don’t hover over my kids and require them to sit on my lap when they would rather be (and should be) out exploring the World, becoming independent, and finding out who they are and their place in this life, but we really felt like we needed some good one-on-one time with her.  So off to Seattle we went for along weekend.  Everything about it was delectable.  We laughed, shopped (that girl can SHOP) indulged in some amazing food, and sought out some sites that we had not visited in a long time.
In Canada at the Farm to Table event.  Gorgeous 6 course dinner, paired beautifully with wines from the Okanagan Valley.
In Canada at the Farm to Table event. Gorgeous 6 course dinner, paired beautifully with wines from the Okanagan Valley.
What's a trip to Seattle without seeing the Gum Wall?
What's a trip to Seattle without seeing the Gum Wall?
....and the Fremont Troll?
....and the Fremont Troll?
An afternoon in Who-ville.  Loved these Sonic Blooms and hearing their symphonic sounds and we walked under them.
An afternoon in Who-ville. Loved these Sonic Blooms and hearing their symphonic sounds and we walked under them.
What a great food city Seattle is.  We just enjoyed the moment.  Really savored our family time.  I adore moments like that.  When the world stops spinning, the other people around you are faded out into the background of your minds photo, and all that is there is the three.  We talked about past trips to Seattle, and had some funny stories of when it was the five. It’s weird being a parent with your last child at home.  Thankful are we, that we enjoyed every drop of our kid’s lives growing up.  And still do.  As our older two are off into the world, gleaning their careers, finishing school, and getting ready to move away, we are still proud parents, watching them, relishing who they are becoming as adults, but it’s still strange, to be on the cusp of an empty nest.  We have “trained them up” (Prov 22:6) and now it’s time for them to leap out.
On another note, I am LOVING this fall running weather.  The crispness in the air. The stunning scenery of the changing leaves.  This is truly one of my favorite times of the year.  The colors here are amazing.  God has given us such a beautiful world to live in, and right now, it’s like living in a painting.  I think I forget ever year.... I forget what it looked like, and then fall arrives, and I see it again with fresh eyes.  I am wowed every year!  Hope you are out enjoying it.
I have been laid up with an injury the past few weeks, which has taken me out of my fall marathon.  That saddens me.  But I am so thankful, that with a little rest and some therapy, it is starting to feel better.  I have been out doing some short 4-5 mile runs.  It’s not where I want to be, but it’s where I need to be.  And sometimes, after an injury, you come back stronger than ever, right?  I’m banking on that.  I’m trying to keep a good focus on my form, and trying not to overdo it on the days I feel strong.  That’s a hard thing for a runner.  I’m on “simmer”  which I suppose is just about perfect for Fall.  It’s giving me some time for the other things I love.  Reading, decorating, cooking new recipes (speaking of simmering) and planning my race season for next year.  I have a few races picked out that I am excited about!
Have you started planning for next season?  What races will grace your calendars?
Driving up my hill to our home and stopped dead in my tracks by the beauty of Fall
Driving up the hill to our home and stopped dead in my tracks by the beauty of Fall

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Antioxidant Power House

This is one of the top three all-time favorite smoothies that I make.  Mainly due to the fact that I am CrAzY about berries!
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Antioxidant Power Smoothie
1 cup coconut milk
1 scoop veggie protein powder.
-I use Life’s Basics Plant Protein.  It’s Vegan, non GMO and Gluten Free.  Contains Omega 3.6.9 and is made from Pea, Hemp, Rice and Chia seed.  Giving you 22 grams of protein per serving.  Plus it is DELISH!
-Packed with a powerful blend of more than 40 different fruits, vegetables and botanicals, Fruit N Veggie Might is specifically formulated to give your body the wide variety of whole food concentrates, micronutrients and antioxidants it needs to function fully.  Read more about this here: Core 4 Nutrition
Core 4 Fruit N' Veggie Might
Core 4 Fruit N' Veggie Might
Big handful of blueberries
¼ cup pomegranite kernals
Handful of raspberries
Blend until smooth and drink up!!
Look at the amazing color!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Creamy Avocado Pasta

It's been a while since I have posted a recipe.  So I thought I would post one that I supplied to Runners World for my Vegan article.  It is a quick, delicious and nutritious meal.
It's no secret that I absolutely adore avacados.  I put them in smoothies, on vegan burgers, make chocolate pudding from them, mash them and put them in my hair, put them on toast for breakfast, make salad dressing from them.....You name it, for me avo's have a place everywhere.
Easy ingredients
Easy ingredients
  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, to taste (I used 3 and it was super garlicky, but if you are not a big fan of garlic use 1 clove)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, PLUS salt for the water
  • ~1/4 cup Fresh Basil snipped right from my patio
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used Quinoa curly pasta because that's what I had on hand.  I usually use Quinoa spaghetti)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Bring water to a boil in a pot.  (Salt your water as you would normally cooking pasta) Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by adding garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.
When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse and place pasta into a bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper.
Serves 2
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I love how green everything is
I Love How Fresh and Green Everything Looks

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Soothing It All In Saltwater

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I am thankful for vacations.  I am really thankful for vacations that seem to pop up JUST in the right time.  Summer is winding down.  School is starting back up.  The routine and schedule of fall and winter is starting. It's that last little slice of the freedom of summer.
This came at just the right time for me, because rest was on my bodies mind.
Training has been going great!  Until, it wasn’t.  I had a very high mileage week, that started strong, came winding around the mid-week strong, feeling awesome and then….Saturday!!  My 10-miler turned into a 6-miler that was 12 minutes S L O W E R than the 7-miler I did the day before.  Huh?  Scratch your head and do that math!  TWELVE minutes slower!  I could tell when I left my house that things weren’t feeling “so great” and when it came time for me to turn around, I knew this run was &%$*!!!! I came home completely used up.  Sick.  In pain.  Total bonk!  I was irritated.  I pouted.  I even told the Hubs, “I know why people hate running.  If it feels like this I WOULD HATE IT TO”  In fact that day…I did.  I hated it.  Hubs sat dumfounded in hearing my words.  This man has been with me for over 19 years, I honestly don’t think he has ever heard those words leave my mouth before.
I showered, didn’t stretch, never do (hello, we may have a problem here) and sat down for about 30 minutes.  In silence.  I am a thinker.  A contemplate-er.  A talk-it-out’er.  A resolve-er.  And then…my optimism (ya know…the one that’s ALWAYS there) showed up.  I immediately thought, hmmm I am bound to have a bad running day here and there.
I’ll be back out again tomorrow!!!  (Dang optimism)
Didn’t happen.
**Side note**  I am not a “get sore” type of person.  It doesn’t matter the sport, the distance, if I’m doing yoga, lifting weights, doing Insanity, running, cycling, swimming….I don’t get sore.  Hubs hates this about me.  But it’s a fact Jack (yes I just watched an episode Duck Dynasty)
Well, the next morning when I woke up to run…I was sore.  Sore in weird spots like, my ankles.  My left hip.  My stomach.  I actually felt kind of sick.  Not the kind of sick you feel as in over training.  This was different.  This is where the vacay fits in, because we were leaving in 3 days.  I think I needed the rest.  From what, I have no clue.  But a rest none-the-less.
So off we went.  The hubs and I, on a little three state, coastal vacation.  It was perfect!  It was just the rest that I needed.  We left Idaho for Bend, OR on our first day.  We love Bend.  I could live in Bend, OR.  The next day, we headed to California.  It was nice being home, and seeing family and friends.  Even had a little sneaky-surprise party planned by my oh-so-sneaky best friend.  Good thing we have been friends for 100 years or she would’ve NEVER been able to pull it off.  And boy, did I make things difficult for her.  HAHA! (sorry K, I do love ya)
Sun Dial Bridge in Redding, CA
Leaving Redding, we headed for the coast, and just took our time driving the NorCal coast on Highway 101 and into OR and WA.  The Oregon coast by far, has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve seen.  I love all of the lighthouses.  I love just being ON the ocean.  There is a huge magnetic draw for me, towards the sea.  It's when I am most happy, most at peace.   Along the way we stopped where we wanted, when we wanted.  Really had no agenda or itinerary, all the way to Seattle.  It was fabulous!  Life is extraordinary on no schedule.  Especially when you are on the coast, in the sand, with your best friend (this time referring to the hubs)  We laughed (a lot) prayed (a lot) read, talked, walked, visited breweries, hiked, ate amazing food, visited the memorial of Nirvana’s Curt Cobain, visited several lighthouses, picked sea glass and moon stones and some times, just sat in utter silence.  The weather was the best we have ever had driving the coast.  It rained one day, but the rest were blue skies and full of sun!  I didn’t think about running the whole time.  OK…that might have been a white lie…but I didn’t “stress” on the fact that I wasn’t running, and was just enjoying the moment.   I did wonder (for a split second) if taking that much time off was going to hinder fitness.
Along The Way Cannon Beach, Newport, Yaquina, Patricks Point, Pacific City, Sea Lion Caves, Gold Beach, Bandon, Cood Bay, Seaside, Astoria, Crescent City, Eureka, Arcata
One of my favorite pictures from the whole trip
Gorgeous Lift Bridge outside our room in Florence, OR
Gorgeous Lift Bridge outside our room in Florence, OR
Went to a glass blowing studio and Hubs made me a Glass Float in Lincoln City, OR
Went to a glass blowing studio and Hubs made me a Glass Float in Lincoln City, OR
Visiting the home town and Memorial of Nirvana's Curt Cobain.  Aberdeen, WA
Visiting the home town and Memorial of Nirvana's Curt Cobain. Aberdeen, WA
Aracata, CA
Aracata, CA
Sea Cave
Sea Cave
So back home today, I went out in this wonderful fall-like rain, and did a nice casual run.  Just to see how the body was feeling.  It felt incredible.
I’m glad I listened.  Glad I took the rest.  Marathon is 8 weeks away.  And guess what?  I love running!  Even when I have a bad day, or sometimes a bad week.  It's bound to happen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

I just came off of such and incredibly, inspiring, weekend.  A weekend of nervous energy, loads of laughter (LOADS) tired muscles, roadtrippin’, group hugs, high fives, some tears, (from both nerves and happiness), tired aching muscles, a little anxiety, great friends, amazing girl time, new friendships (Hi Jenny and Tomek) Swedish Fish, a Twilight Zone McDonalds stop, toilet sleeping* and Ironman camaraderie.
Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3. (This is not a race report)
A few weeks ago I had made the decision to withdraw from racing LS.  A decision that was hard, but I knew was in my best interest.  A few days after that, the decision was made that I would still attend, with friends and my training group, as support & cheerleader!   I had SUCH a great time!
From the fist 15 minutes of our car ride out of town, I knew this weekend would be amazing (hello Mini Vacation)  The energy of a race has a way of oozing onto you, even if you aren’t racing.  And of course a car of friends wrapped in laughter on a 4-hour road-trip is always Fab-ulous!!
We spent our first night in Issaquah, which is such a beautiful part of the Pacific NW (always so grateful that we get to LIVE here), at my friend’s sisters.  They were great hosts (ummm, hot tub under the stars and a little vodka who can complain?  Not this girl!) The next day we set out for a short drive into Lake Stevens, hit the expo, checked in and met other friends that were racing.
As the one not racing and just /observing it was funny to see my friends rituals of set up.  Clothing, shoes, helmets, bags, changes of clothes.  I observed, being sure to be very quiet as they worked.  They talked to themselves, changed things around, walked around the hotel room…. all this, while I sat in silence.  I felt like Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist, watching…from afar.  Taking it all in, but being careful not to “startle anyone!"  They asked for advice on things, to which I carefully answered what I would do…but adding, “everyone is different.”  A strange breed us Triathletes are.  But then again…having something “off” can make or break a race.  All joking aside, they were great....I just know how it is when I am in race prep, and let them carry on, not getting into their way.
After the packing ritual….we hit dinner with our whole group.  Italian of course, and again the laughter and wine flowed easily.  We toasted everyone, toasted our coach, toasted to the hard work and dedication of this group of athletes.  Then…bed!
We don't have ANY fun!
Watching and waiting for friends to finish a race, especially a 70.3 distance is a test of patience and sometimes frustration.  Not knowing (on a huge course) where people are and trying to keep everyone tracked down is cRaZy!  Especially when you know so many racing.  Luckily, I had some great friends to keep me company throughout the day that had also made the drive over to support our BAM’s
For many of them, it was a first at the 70.3 distance.  They all trained hard and well during the past few months.  But as anyone knows on race morning…you forget all that you have put into training and your mind wanders to the “what if’s” and the “maybe I should’ve.”  They have ALL trained, but of course 2 minutes before jumping into a lake with 1500 other athletes for a 1.2-mile swim, you forget that.  So again, we spoke softly, but gave lots of hugs, smiles, "go get 'em's" slaps on the butt, quiet whispers (R.T.B.) and sent them on their way.
Lake Stevens 70.3
Click to Enlarge Photos
Watching friends from my training group cross the finish line at a race is amazing!  It brings tears to my eyes, and a huge smile to my face.  It makes my heart happy to see people accomplishing their goals!  To see their families waiting in anticipation is priceless!  Their hard work and dedication paid off.  And as hard as they worked out there…the minute they cross that finish line it’s all worth it.
The SWEET success of a Finish Line
The SWEET success of a Finish Line
Great work BAM’s!  You ALL finished!  You ALL rocked!  Congratulations on your Ironman 70.3 finishes, Fishes!!  The big one’s next!!
PS:  IM Lake Stevens put on a phenomenal race.  It is a GORGEOUS venue to race at.  Great support, great seeing the Pro's out (Congrats to Craig "Crowie" Alexander and Meredith Kessler on their wins) there, and perfect climate.  This 70.3 is definitely on my future race list.  No doubt!!
* I've discovered that this is what happens when you are so sleep deprived and you stop for a potty break.  It allows you a 2-minute nap.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Break-Up

Summer has so far proved to be amazing...as usual.  It's my time of year.  My season.  It never disappoints.  Well...OK,  I retract that as sometimes living in the Pacific Northwest our summers are more of a quick blip on the calendar in August.  I love the hot (sometimes but rarely humid) days.  I love waking early, and getting in a run while the sun is rising.  And some days like yesterday, absolutely killing it on a six-mile run in the blistering, heat of the afternoon.  I love that feeling of sore, tired, muscles.  Sweating so much you feel like you've had a complete detox or a good session in the sauna.  Finishing off those miles wondering if your legs will give out on you altogether or if when you stop there will be a puke-explosion!  Now....six-miles is not a lot to run mileage wise, but when your last mile is entirely uphill, it is 85 degrees, full sun, and you feel like you may collapse....that six-miles can feel like your twenty-sixth.
That hill I speak of, some days it's my best friend.  It's my "cool down" and I walk that 1-mile hill to my house.  Some days it's my worst enemy, as I run it and do repeats on it...either way, I live at the top, and what runs down, must run up!  Yesterday I felt like calling the Hubs for a pick-up at the bottom.  Luckily I didn't have my phone, so it was "tackle this B*tch!"  Glad I did.  The first thing that came out of my mouth, all exasperated, out of breath, sweating like a dog, used up completely, when I got back to the house, and Hubs was sitting on the front porch, in the shade, was "WHY ON EARTH DO WE LIVE AT THE TOP OF A GIANT HILL!!!??"  After I grabbed some water, stretched and cooled out...all I had to do was look around.  Enough said.
Not Such a Bad View Coming Up Our Hill
Not Such a Bad View Coming Up Our Hill
I have officially started training for my Fall marathon.  I am excited!  I of course scoured through different training plans *see last weeks blog post* and
felt pretty good with my decision.  Annnnd.... have since changed my mind.  Go figure!  Thank goodness we are only 2 weeks in.  So switching gears a bit, I decided to use the Hanson Method.  Their book, Hansons Marathon Method: A Renegade Path to Your Fastest Marathon, just made me laugh.  And I thought, how apropos.  I like the "renegade" part.  Again...Go figure!  Those who know me know that this word "renegade" alone would've sucked me in.
So I am starting this week (yesterday) 3 weeks into their plan.  So far, so good, but it's only been 2 days.  It will be a completely different approach for me, as far as marathon training goes.  My longest run will only be a 16-miler (which I will do 3 times during training) VS a 20 or 22-miler.  They say they train you for the last 16 miles of the marathon and not the first 16.  It's a 6-day a week plan, that incorporates speed, strength and tempo workouts and trains your body to run on tired legs.  From some of my Ultra friends, I hear this is a great approach.  I will be putting in anywhere from 46-62 miles per week.  The reviews are fantastic!  So that's settled....for good this time!
This is What My First 8-weeks Will Look Like (I Started on Week 3)
This is What My First 8-weeks Will Look Like (I Started on Week 3)
On another note, I am sad to say, I am going to be breaking up with my running shoes.  This crushes and breaks my heart.  I do not understand (well I do) why manufacturers need to change-up their shoe's design.  I know as technology and science betters with time, they need to make a change...but OH MY GOSH...do I love my shoes.  Unfortunately since they made a small change, my last 2 pairs have been a little lackluster.  Including my newest pair.  I feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I type, and am now wishing I had been better at hoarding these shoes.  As in buying up 25 pairs while they were so great!  I would've had shoes for a few years.  So now I am left in a quandary, trying to figure out what to switch to.  LUCKILY, I am in early training and have some time to get this worked out.  The break-up will be hard, and I will go through a mourning process, possibly locking myself in my room and listening to old Journey or some Total Eclipse of the Hearts   for a few days.  But like any other break-up, I know something better will come along.
I'd love to hear from you about training plans and shoes.  Which plans have worked and which have not?  Which running shoes have you had a love affair with?  Have there been bad break-ups? How did you cope?  And what was the "something better" that came along??  Was it hard saying Good-Bye?

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Little Scratching. A Little Cleaning. A Little Focus.

Travel is done for a bit now.  Coming off of our Honduras trip was like coming back from the moon.  It took time to re-acclimate to life in Idaho.  I was in a little bubble for about a week..NOW,  it's time to get down to business again.  Running business.  Training business.
I decided late last week to officially scratch from Ironman Lake Stevens in July.  Tough decision, being I have never missed a race.  (I take that back...one sprint Tri several years ago, due to incredible sickness...the kind of sickness that we won't speak of)  Here's the deal...life sometimes throws a curve ball, in this case, it was ALOT of travel and fun...and not enough training time.  That's fine.  I mean...I really can't complain about the travel.  Could I have raced Lake Stevens??  Yes!  ***But, for me, at the risk of a possible injury.  I don't know.  It would've been ugly, and I just felt that it was really in my best interest to let it go.  I have to be smart, and train smart.  So I withdrew and will race it another year.


I took 4 days this week while my Wiley Coyote of a daughter was at Track and Field Camp at WSU to absolutely de-clutter every closet in my house!  That's a lot of closets. (You have NO idea)  The purging of the closets, was so cleansing for me.  In a way that I didn't expect.  I was sad and had my head hanging about Lake Stevens....and then as the un-needed stuff <read crap> came out of the closets, and I saw these fresh, clean, organized spaces, I thought....this is JUST what I needed.  De-cluttering of the mind.  Trip after trip to the trash, Goodwill, the dump....until it was all gone.  My closets are clean, my head-space is clear, and I have a fresh, new, outlook for a race plan.  I needed to kick that old race away.  I have.  And I feel good about it.  Refreshed!
So, back to training.  Running!  With occasional cross-training with my girls.  "Occasional" meaning, most swim and bike days.  But my focus has tilted and I am ready to start my new training plan for a Fall marathon.  If I pick up a few 5 or 10K's along the way, so be it.  I am considering a couple different ones, Portland Marathon and Tri Cities Marathon.  Both in October, both look and sound like a great time!  Neither I have done before!  New races make me excited!
Monday, I am back at it.  I have been scouring over training plans.  I have done this before, but ya never know what kind of nugget you will pull out of various plans.  By Sunday night, the plan will be set, and Monday will be D-Day!
D-Day |ˈdi ˌdeɪ|noun the day• the day on which an important operation is to begin or a change to take effect: 
I'm looking forward to being back on a training plan.  I guess I don't function well without one.  It's such an internal fight for me...not wanting to be tied down to a "plan" but knowing that I need a focus.  That's how I succeed.  That's the type of person I am, and how I roll.   And I know if I "fail to plan, then I should plan to fail!"


It was kind of ironic this afternoon when I went to pick up Wiley-Coyote from camp.  We had a "end of camp" pow-wow, and one of the coaches addressed the campers and parents.  Wow did he have some great stuff to say.  Sitting there, I got SO pumped that I wanted to jump out of my chair.  It was the final motivation for me.  He even talked about Olympic track and field athletes that were set up for greatness and things didn't end up so great, and that sometimes in life, this happens.  It's what you do about it after that makes a huge difference.  This is so true.  I could sit and beat myself up about missing this 70.3 or I could clean and sharpen the lens and Find the focus!
Monday....I Run!!


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Build

Our Amazing Build Team
Tuesday through Friday were dedicated to building.  I had no idea how this was going to work…being I have never built a single thing…especially a house!!  This amazed me, but I knew that God put us here and would equip us with the needed skills.
We got to the build site, and it was a flat foundation.  We were literally starting from the ground up.  Our lumber had not been delivered, so we had a while to chat and get to know our wonderful Honduran builders who were there to help us out.  It was interesting to see all of us, so…. flexible, about not having the wood when we got to the job site.  We had been prepped for this.  Hondurans, and I think the whole of Central America is…shall we say…on their own time.  You really have to go with the flow, and if you are a punctual, Type-A person, this might bend your nerves.
As we waited, the kids of the neighborhood started to emerge, checking out the “gringos.”  They were precious.  So loving and sweet, with huge smiles and hearts to match.  We had brought treats to share with them.  Candy, gum, bubbles.  And they ate it up.
We had some time to interact with a few ladies living within the neighborhood, and I was amazed at the faith of these people.  They have nothing of material means, but are so rich in a million other ways.  We heard great stories of how God has provided so much for them.  Their smiles and heir thankfulness was astounding!  They have faith like I’ve never experienced.
It was incredible to see and hear of the physical miracles that God has provided for this area of the country.  A well that has pure water, when ALL of the surrounding wells are contaminated below the dump.  How unbelievable!!  But that’s our God!  He’s up for the unbelievable!
As the day went on we started building.  It was amazing to see our team move together in unity.  Each of us, taking a job, from carrying lumber to the site, learning to use a hammer to nail boards, using a saw for the first time, measuring (NOT my forte') faming doors, windows, putting up siding or playing with the sweet niños who were surrounding us all day.  We all tried things we have never done before.  Our Honduran friends were great at allowing us to try as they got the giggles a few times watching us.
On our first day at work, we managed to get up all four walls, framed, and three sided.  WOW!!  Can you say, we work well together?  As the days went on, we felt more and more comfortable in our environment.  We laughed a lot, and were so thankful everyday for cooler temperatures (even a little rain) we learned about one another as we worked, and formed an amazing bond with our Honduran friends that will last a lifetime.  The kids became more and more familiar with us, as we learned their names.  They would come running every morning to see us and the ones that were in school, we looked forward to seeing in the afternoon.  Personally for me, this was one of my favorite things.  I have such a heart for children, and always have.  There were so many conversations with these sweeties, that neither of us had any idea what the other was saying…their English is non-existent, and my Spanish is muy malo!!  But somehow, there was this transcendence between us that made it all work out.  We laughed, and had the best time taking pictures, blowing bubbles and eating candy.  They loved helping us as we built.  Helping us carry wood, and sometimes nailing a few nails.  They acted goofy, just like kids do, and I was happy that they were so willing to allow us into their lives.
Great Team Work
After that first day, half of our team was ask to go and work on another project in the neighborhood.  Building a room for another woman, who needed some extra space for herself and her house full of nephews.  Half of the team and half of our Honduran workers left, and I wondered how this would affect the time frame of our house.  God knew we could all handle it, and as we worked on two different projects, it all came together, and both projects were completely finished.
A Gringa and Her Saw
A Gringa and Her Saw
On our last build day, we were full of anticipation to meet the new owners.  We had a few small jobs to finish up on the house, and then were taken down to AFE school for a special treat from the kids…WOW were we surprised to walk into a room full of ALL the students, cheering for us, and embracing us.  They all performed songs and dances for us, by grade, and at the end had us all come up, and ran to us in a giant Hug Attack!  This made me burst into tears!  These kids, who in one short week completely stole my heart, were laughing and hugging every single one of us, all at the same time!  It was incredible.  My heart was bursting with happiness, love and also sadness at the same time, knowing this was our last day to see them.  I took hundreds of pictures, and cannot wait to go back and see as these kids grow year by year.
These Kids Stole our Hearts
The time came for us to go back to the house.  We were going to meet the family, and dedicate the house.  I was full of anticipation and excitement!  As this sweet family crested the hill, I saw them for the first time and my heart leaped out of my chest.  Thank you, God for allowing me a glimpse that first day at AFE….the little girls running up the hill to us, were the very girls that leaped into my arms that very first day that we visited AFE.  Again, little Lucy leaped into my arms, standing outside of her new home.  I could hardly believe it!  What a blessing to us.  We loved on the family as we talked/met their mother, Carmen.  We learned of her story of how she and her 4 girls had been abandoned, and they had been living in a hostile environment with her sister alongside the road, 8 in the small shanty.  She told us that her oldest daughter had told her sister that they would soon get a house….this was BEFORE she actually knew that they were getting a house.  Her sister had been mean-spirited and said, "they would never have a house of their own."  Her daughter prayed and asked for a house….and that’s where God brought us into the picture.  Our team formed to build this house for them.  As we presented her with a Bible, prayed over her, her children, and their new house, and handed her the keys, I couldn’t hold back my tears of joy.  God is so good to the faithful.  It’s amazing to me, to feel at first we were called to go to Honduras to be a blessing to those in need, and as it turns out, I feel that WE were the ones receiving the blessings a hundred times over.  God taught us so much while we were in Honduras.  Thankfulness in any situation, that He WILL provide exactly what each of us needs, to have giant faith, that He can take any situation and make it extraordinary, that we don’t “need” a lot to be happy and joy-filled, that language and culture are never a barrier if you go in with an open heart, a smile, and God’s love that flows through us.
Our fearless leader.  Thank you for listening to God's prompting to form this team, and your love for Honduras!
Our fearless leader. Thank you for listening to God's prompting to form this team, and your love for Honduras!
Adore this family and their leadership on this mission.
Adore this family and their leadership on this mission.
Mama and Daughter....and the blond gringa.
Mama and Daughter....and the blond gringa.
Untitled HOUSE
From Framing to House
Our Sweet Family...dedicating her knew house!
Our Honduran Crew....man did they show us patience!
Being back home has been tough this week.  How do we go back to normal?  I have never experienced having culture shock, coming HOME.  I am again grateful for the night before we left and the meeting we had on how to come home.  We prepare for this trip for a long time, but often don’t think of how it will be coming back home.  We learned that when we come home we could have feelings of guilt.  That after seeing what we saw, being where we were, the experiences we went through, we come home to the familiarity of home, clean water, flushing toilets, clean clothes, our jobs, house, cars, etc to not allow guilt to take over.  We should feel a burden.  Not guilt.  A burden for what we can do….How to respond.  We talked about our emotions, when people say, “How was your trip?” and our reaction when people say, “it looks like a great time” well……..
I know they will never understand.  And that's ok.
We know that what we have in our country is by God’s design.  He has seen us fit to live where we live and have the lives that we have because He knows we can handle it.  He put us here.
I know that He changed me…and all of us, on this trip.  He grew us in ways that were unexpected and astounding.
I have had on my heart for so long, to do a mission trip and was SO thankful that on our very first night in Honduras, as Greg and I sat and prayed together…in the quiet of our room God said, “Paula, I know the desires of your heart.  I placed them there.”
Beautiful confirmation.
So as we take our time, each of us, to get back to "normal life", dealing with the shock of being home, may we never lose sight of the changes that were brought upon us, a burden to help those in need, to think of others and not always put ourselves first, to shine God’s love everyday, to have astounding faith in every circumstance.  And to see everyday that we are so blessed.
After our week of hard work and dedication, we had some great down time.  To laugh, and play and shop.  Eat Pupusas and get hopped-up on phenomenal coffee!  What an incredible  city!  What an amazing country.  What a sensational team!
Sean and Melissa (brother and sister-in-law) after a week of hard work.
Sean and Melissa (brother and sister-in-law) after a week of hard work.
At Valley of the Angels on our day off
At Valley of the Angels on our day off. Best coffee EVER! Think I'm still buzzing from it!
Girls just wanna have Fun!
Having Our First Pupusas
Having Our First Pupusas
Yes, I DID eat this....A Lychee.
Yes, I DID eat this....A Lychee.
None of us will forget the HUGE military presence keeping us safe in Tegucigalpa.
None of us will forget the HUGE military presence keeping us safe in Tegucigalpa.
Leaving for Home
Leaving for Home