July 31, 2012

never a dull moment

This is the first time I've opened my computer in something like four days. I wrapped up my house-sitting stint on Saturday and things have been relatively non-stop since then. I don't know if I've mentioned it yet but I moved out of my apartment. Yes, I am back in small town America. Or at least my things are. 

moving chaos

Moving is probably top on my list of Activities I Hate. If there is a silver lining to it, it's that it gives you the opportunity to get rid of the crap that you don't use any more. I put on my bravest, non-sentimental face and purged my heart out. Below is what ended up in the Donate pile. (There was even more in the Toss pile.) Happily, this helps me out with one of my 2012 goals. Winning!

After moving all my things out and spending some quality time with some very harsh chemicals cleaning my apartment, I was ready to relocate to the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant. My parents have a second house we call the Ministry House which is generally reserved for people that are either a)  speaking at one of the conferences or  b) in need a place to stay for a while. I have taken over the walkout basement which also has a full bathroom so it's kind of like a studio apartment, minus a kitchen. I will have "roommates" in the upper level any time we have a conference (which is usually once a month) or out-of-town guests.

my new view
Here's where things get exciting: For the past two days, I had been having some of the same symptoms I had when I had my PE (pain in my rib, shortness of breath, etc.). Being stubborn and busy, I didn't want to immediately head to the hospital and just attributed it to stress and activity. However, during the move-in process yesterday, the shortness of breath part got to the point where I was having to stop what I was doing to try to get a deep breath.

After a talk with my mom, a call to my doctor, and some quick family prayer time, I found myself in the ER . Because of my history, an IV was placed and I headed in for a CT scan before blood tests even came back. And then we waited.

i was hoping to be done with all of this

Results: All clear! After 2.5 hours there, I was released. The only major excitement was when they removed my IV and blood literally spurted everywhere. I quickly applied pressure to it while the nurse grabbed some towels but not before both of my hands, arm, and shirt got sprayed. (I thought about having my mom take a picture but it was a little gory.) I did document the blood spatter on my shirt when we got into the car, though.

Also: I haven't had any of the symptoms since I went in. Amen

To those reading this wondering why I didn't call/text you about what was happening: I didn't want to worry you until I knew there was something to worry about. And turns out there wasn't. Don't be mad. xo

July 25, 2012

it was bound to happen

I've joked about becoming a Cat Lady for several years now (and still, for the record, do not own a cat) so when I walked into the bathroom and saw this, I had the overwhelming desire to document and share it. I realize this is probably a bad sign.

seriously, how cute is she?

I guess this can be considered my first official Cat Picture post. My only saving grace from permanently entering Cat Lady Land  is that this is not actually my cat. (I'm house/cat/chicken/plant-sitting.)

Up next? Probably a cat video.

July 23, 2012

the pits

This post is about something awkward and uncomfortable. No, I'm not referring to the three hour Bachelorette finale... I'm talking about chafing. 

post-cake massacre and a 1/3 of what I drank
After spending most of my weekend in a car traveling to/from Iowa for a wedding, taking advantage of the open bar and late night snacks, and then purchasing obligatory road trip food (read: Twizzlers, Baked Lays and Sweet n' Hot Beef Jerky), not to mention Taco Johns and at least a half gallon of Diet Pepsi in attempt to make myself feel less like the walking dead, I returned home at 4pm yesterday to the reality that I hadn't long run this week. It was also like 90 degrees and humid. I also had dinner plans at 6. 

There were two options: I could either skip it and keep my Potato Ole calorie surplus OR I could complete a rare night run.

Enter the 9:00 p.m. run. I got dressed, filled my water bottle and tried to psych myself up for what was sure to be a very sweaty run. 

My shirt came off around mile 2. (Thank goodness it was dark.) The miles ticked by (15, to be exact) and I returned home literally the sweatiest I have ever been. My shoes were squishy and I had to wring out my socks and shorts before hanging them to dry in my shower. 

Since I had chickens to put away, I hustled over to my aunt and uncle's after changing into dry clothes. I decided to hop in the pool to cool off and was immediately alerted to all sorts of hot spots, namely, my armpits. Yes, armpits. Technically speaking, it's not my actual armpit but rather where your arms and body meet when you put your arms at your sides. So really I've chafed above and below my armpit. I think it's from taking my shirt off, exposing my fleshy arms to the steady friction of arm pumping.  I did not think to BodyGlide my armpits. Lesson learned.

I thought about taking a picture of these battle wounds but that's just awkward. Even typing the word armpit has been awkward but saying underarms is far too lady-like. 

The only comfortable position is keeping my arms above my head which isn't really conducive to doing anything except watching The Bachelorette finale on Hulu.

In conclusion: Isn't it incredible how just a few days of poor food choices can make you feel just absolutely gross? Not to mention it takes the next few days, if not more, to begin to feel like your healthy self? Maybe it's just me. Either way, I need some detox tips.

July 20, 2012

a mobile post

This is my first attempt at posting fron my phone so bear with me. I'm house/animal sitting for the next week and haven't hooked up my laptop yet.

This is what I'll be dealing with for the next few days: keeping an eye on the pool, feeding chickens, and watering flowers. It's going to be rough.

In other weekend news, the ministry I work for is hosting a conference tonight, I have a wedding tomorrow in Iowa and The Bachelorette finale is Sunday. Can it get any more exciting?

In disturbing running news, I wore bun huggers today because literally all my shorts were dirty. My apologies to all drivers and pedestrians in West Bloomington. I know their appearance is a few weeks premature.

Mostly I just wanted to assure everyone that I haven't disappeared into a black hole of unemployment, nor am I buried under Snickers wrappers on my couch watching daytime television. I thought some of you might be worried.

July 10, 2012

like crazy

Note: This happened a few weeks ago while I was in California and although parts may seem unbelievable, it's seriously true.

The atmosphere shifted after my brother Luke pointed her out to us. Look at that girl, he said, motioning over my shoulder. Did she get beat up?

We had just finished an incredible meal at one of Eureka's nicer restaurants and were enjoying post-dinner coffee and conversation in a dimly-lit dining room. The darkness made it difficult to see her face, though a large red mark on her cheek and forehead were visible. We took turns stealing glances at her and watching the waitress interact with her, trying to read the body language between them. 

She was sitting alone and looked upset, playing with her food, then the flowers on the table. It was very clear that something about her was just off. Then Luke, ever in tune with the supernatural, said I think she's a witch. His next sentence made my breath catch in my throat as he looked at me and said, Go talk to her.

I spent the next few minutes arguing with God, Are You sure You want me to do this? What would I even say? I tried to procrastinate as long as possible, hoping she would leave, though I knew she wouldn't.

I got up from our table, still without a clue what I would say to her. As I got to her table I heard myself saying, Excuse me, I really like your bracelet. Where did you get it?

Within five seconds of her answer, I knew I was dealing with one of the most mentally ill people I've ever been around. She spoke in stream-of-consciousness without making eye contact with me, saying the strangest, creepiest things I have ever heard and will dare not repeat here. I bent down next to the table and saw that the marks on her face were not cuts or bruises but hearts that she had drawn on. Bracelets covered both her wrists and she was in the midst of explaining what each one was.

I asked about the ring she had on her ring finger and it spun her into a story about how that ring is from Peter and he just left me. I told him I loved him and that I would wait for him but I'm done waiting. Everyone always leaves me and I don't know why. I want to take this ring off but it won't come off  because a parrot bit it and bent it to my finger. Here, see how it won't move? I want it to come off. I don't belong to him anymore.

She was trying to pull it off her finger and it was clear it really was stuck. Then she said, I think I feel it moving. I think you're helping, will you just stay here with me and see if I can get it off? I have some lotion in my purse. 

Within seconds, a massive amount of lotion covered her hands, and the waitress came over to see if everything was alright. I assured her it was and she pulled a chair around the table for me.

The woman (Larisa was one of the names she would eventually give me) was still talking in circles, oblivious to what was happening around her, solely focused on getting the ring off her finger. I asked if I could try and she gave me her hand. My knees began shaking under the table as I took her hand in mine, the first time I've ever had a physical reaction to something like this. Instinctively I began to pray JesusJesusJesus.

I pulled at the ring. It didn't move. At all. I began to see visions of taking her to the emergency room to get it cut off. Scared of hurting her, I asked her to try it again as I prayed under my breath. After pulling so hard I was sure her finger would come off too, the ring slipped off her finger.

It was clearly bent (though I have doubts that a parrot did it) and judging by the large cut at the base of her finger, it had been on a long time. She was so relieved, so happy, so thankful. You're so nice, she kept saying. You're the nicest person I've ever met.

I lost all track of time as I was sitting there talking to her- or rather, listening. She needed no prompting to continue a conversation. I could see my mom, Luke and Trey talking to the staff, who were asking them who we were and why we were helping this woman.

To make this very long story short, we left the restaurant with her after paying for her meal. (She insisted the police had her wallet.) Once outside, there were more shenanigans as she taught me how to pose like a ballerina, and attempted a "healing" by removing "bad energy" through my left thumb. 

trey took this picture outside the restaurant

As we helped her gather her things, Luke asked if we could pray for her. She said yes. We laid hands on her and immediately her body went limp and she collapsed forward into the wall. We braced her against it and continued to pray. For the first time in over an hour, Larisa was completely quiet, her eyes closed. Whatever was in her had been silenced. Toward the end she started to speak, saying things like I wish I had a family like you. I love you guys. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

After we finished praying, we began walking down the street with her. She had became extremely agitated, screaming at cars that went by, cursing every other word. She eventually stormed ahead of us, yelling to no one and everyone. We continued to walk slowly and let her go ahead around the corner. When we reached it, she was halfway down the block, still yelling and seemingly unaware that we had ever been with her.

We watched as she turned the corner at the top of the block and disappeared from sight.

The next morning I ran past a homeless shelter where many people were waiting outside for breakfast. I didn't see Larisa. (We would learn later that Eureka has an extremely high rate of methamphetamine use, in addition to its high homeless population.)

I wish I could end this story with a happy ending of complete, immediate deliverance for her but I can't. All I can do is pray for her every time I think about her (which is daily; an experience like that is hard to shake) and know that the love and compassion that I felt for her is felt infinitely, outrageously, and incomprehensibly more by the One who created her.

So today, tomorrow, this week... look for an opportunity to love like crazy.

July 6, 2012

adventures in meatloaf

Yesterday while I was at my grandparents' house, the topic of dinner came up. When your meals mainly consist of Meals On Wheels and PB & J,  any deviation is usually a welcome one. I told my Grandpa that I'd bring lunch over the next day (today) and asked him what he'd like.  Meatloaf, he tells me, a dish I have never made, or even thought about making, really.

An all-call went out on Twitter. Google got a workout. Recipes abounded. But then I remembered I hate following recipes. So I winged it.  From what I could tell, meatloaf is a glorified hamburger. Game on.

I had three pounds of hamburger (thanks, mom!) in my fridge so I divided it into two parts, figuring I'd experiment with the first and then make a more "traditional" recipe with the second. In went sauted onions and spinach, garlic, sundried tomatoes and feta cheese.  An egg found it's way in, as did garlic, salt, pepper and a cup or so of instant oatmeal (which turned out to be a pretty decent substitution for breadcrumbs).  I mixed it by hand and formed it into a loaf on a baking sheet. Into the oven it went and I kept my fingers crossed. 

slightly unappetizing

 Success! It didn't hold together very well but it tasted amazing. I was a little worried about the feta, as none of the recipes I looked at had cheese in them. I didn't know what an hour in the oven would do to it but it worked just like I had hoped. 

Not sure if my grandparents would appreciate my food experiment, I made the second batch with red pepper, onions, tomatoes, spinach and a dash of tabasco and soy sauce. I also added two eggs and more instant oatmeal. Results? Also amazing. The consistency was much better and I broiled it for the last 5 minutes of cooking time, giving it a nice crust. 

side-by-side comparison. You can see my second attempt is denser.

Grandpa's verdict? Really good.  He told me I should cube some of it and hand it out to eligible bachelors to show them I could cook. I just might have to try that...

July 4, 2012

declaring my independence with a bang

With dew points rivaling that of Thailand (for real), I laced up my mizuno's for a little 5 mile race through northeast MSP this morning. I was supposed to run the relay portion of the Red, White & Boom! TC Half Marathon with Robert but due to the predicted weather conditions, race organizers shortened the entire thing to five miles. 

Two words: Good Great call.

Not a fan of fast running or hot weather, I didn't have a goal time for this race. I thought I'd hover around 7:30's but when I started to get chills at mile 2, I figured I'd better slow up. 

I finished around 38:30, which translates to a 7:43 pace, but with the heat it felt a ton faster. I immediately shoved ice down my sports bra and grabbed water at the finish while waiting for Robert to finish. He finished a few minutes later looking every bit as miserable as I felt.

We were literally soaked with sweat. From a 5 mile run that started at 6:30 a.m. Obviously this needed to be documented. 

Minnesota's summer equivalent to the Snow Angel

wait for it...
...the Sweat Angel. 

Robert was sweatier than me...

... resulting in a more complete figure
Here's a picture to document my awkward farmer's tan and how shoving ice in your sports bra will make your body think it's cold and adjust accordingly.

hooray for popsicles

And of course, the dreaded dreadlock. I might just leave it.

Have a safe and happy 4th!

July 2, 2012


It's JULY! How did that happen?

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Both my brother and sister made the trip to church in Mankato to surprise her. It was the first time in a long time that the original four have been together.

Of course, these days there are a few others... (and this isn't even close to everyone!).

I'm so blessed to have an incredible family and an amazing mom! Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!