Long distance family

How far do you live from your extended family? In the same town? Hours away? States away? Across the country? We live hours away from both our families. In fact, as I write this we are on a 4 1/2 hour journey to Grandma’s house.

I’m not gonna lie. It is hard. Those of you that are farther apart, I don’t know how you do it. There is this balancing act of spending time with family but still managing to build your life at home. We want our kids to be in sports but that means tying ourselves down on the weekends. We want our kids to love their grandparents and enjoy spending time with them but that means giving up some of those precious days when they don’t have school so they can be with them.

My parents are migraters. They come here for the summer and then head south for the winter. What that means for us is that we have to fight the urge to spend all our free time with them when they’re here because we know they’ll be gone for a good chunk of the year.

And don’t even get me started on holidays. Trying to fit a celebration in with everyone leaves only crummy leftovers for our immediate family. The last few years we have made it a priority to carve out special time to be with our family for Christmas. We realized that time was slipping away and we weren’t making any memories of our own. I hope our kids remember the huge extended family Christmases but also the precious ones we spent at home just the 5 of us.

There’s no one to grab the kids after school or watch the kids so we can go on a date. There’s no mom to rescue me when I have a bad day or dad to help with house repairs. Because when we do see them we want to do fun stuff. Not work or be grumpy.

And before you start feeling sorry for me, it’s also a blessing. Jeremiah and I have built a family together. Just the two of us. Leaning on each other for support and knowing that we will always be there for each other.

I remember growing up we would spend vacations with out cousins. They would visit us. We would visit them. All throughout the year we’d see each other. And then we got older. And we’d see each other less and less. And now I never get to see those precious cousins that I love so much. It makes me sad.

And I remember five years ago thinking “that will never be us. We will always see our brothers and sisters. All the time.” But it’s hard now. They have all those same things going on that tie them down too. We still see them but not as much as we’d like.

Family is important to us. Our precious family of five and also our extended families. No matter how far apart we are!

How do you make family time work?IMG_6780.JPG

You Know You Are a Runner if…

This list started while Sami and I were running our half marathon last weekend. We needed something to talk about to keep our minds off of the race and how much further we still had to go. We eventually had to stop talking about it because it was making us laugh and because at some point in the race talking just ceased. To those who don’t run much, I am a “runner” and to those more hardcore than me, I am probably not. Personally, I consider myself a runner and have been since I was 17. I started it as an off season workout regime from my tennis coach. I will admit that it was not love at first sight. I hated it at first because it was hard, but as time went on and I got in better shape it got easier. Running is still never “easy” though and that is what I love about it. I am constantly challenged to run faster or further. I will never be the best and/or perfect and that is good for me, as someone who struggles with perfectionism.  However, it is also rewarding in that there are tangible goals and results to strive for. That is good for me too, as someone who is goal oriented. After 15 years of faithful running at least 3 times a week, it is just part of who I am now. It is something I enjoy and can’t imagine not doing. I know it is not for everyone, but those of you who do run will understand this and those of you who don’t run can get a laugh out of us crazy people who do…

You Know You Are a Runner If…


1. Your bladder and bowels are a big factor in what time you can run and how far.

2. You have or have had missing toe nails and/or black and blue toenails.

3. You time your eating based on when you are going to run. Even if that means sometimes you eat supper at 3:30pm or 10:00pm.

4. You have carb loaded the night before a race.

5. You have paid money to run a race.

6. You have a collection of race shirts.

7. You have experienced the “runner’s high”.

8. You have tried but just can’t explain why running feels so good.

9. When you’ve had a bad day nothing sounds better than a run (cheaper than therapy).

10. You finish a race and then think about how much fun it was and you want to do another one.

11. You have mastered finagling family schedules to fit in training with loosing as little family time as possible.

12. You have run in all types of weather-hot, cold, rain, and shine.

13. You know just how important running shoes really are.

14. You have spent way too much money on a good pair of running shoes.

15. You have run pushing jogging strollers full of children if it is the only way to fit it in the days’ schedule.

16. You have run while on vacation.

17. You have a running app on your phone.

18. You know the term “PR”.

19. You have experienced chaffing a time or two.

20. You have had emergency bathroom breaks in the trees or bushes.

21. You have a drawer just for running clothes.

22. You only wear your running shoes for running so as not to wear them out any faster.

23. Your children have various race medals as jewelry in their dress up clothes.

24. You have analyzed the thickness of socks that you like best.

25.You run even when you aren’t training for a race…just because you love it!

26. (just because I hate odd numbers to I can’t stop at 25) You have routes memorized all over town.

Obviously this list is just for fun. We are no experts. In my opinion if you run regularly…you are a runner. There is no magical formula or passage to officially become a runner. Just a fun list of the silly things we do to keep running.


Source: http://itsfunny.net/page/263/

I just had to share this picture…if you have never been a runner, I encourage you to give it a try. Even if you have tried before and hated it, just try one more time. You may surprise yourself. Don’t expect it to be easy, but I promise it will be worth it.


Surviving Winter

Surviving Winter

It’s no secret among my friends that I HATE winter.  And by winter I mean anything colder than 78 degrees.  Pick your jaw up and bear with me.  Seventy-eight degrees is my ideal temperature and anytime it’s below that, I’m cold.  I think I have poor circulation or something because I am not making this up.  Ask my husband.  He gets to warm up my hands and feet when it’s below 78 because they’re freezing!  Living in Kansas does not help my hostility toward winter.  The winters here can be very cold and then you add the wind on top of that and it is almost unbearable.  Jeremiah is also the complete opposite of me.  He is usually hot.  And since it costs money to heat the house, he wins the battle of the thermostat and I have to cover up.

I can’t bear the thought of being negative all winter, so I am gearing up to face the winter with a positive attitude.  Here are all the things that I plan to do to stay warm and survive the winter.

1.  Heated blanket-Janae just got this one and says it is amazing.

heated blanket

I like that it’s already soft and cozy and then you add heat and it’s like paradise.  The only problem will be having to get out of the blanket to get something done.  Could someone please make a heated snuggie for me?  Can’t you picture me here?  Just add a cup of coffee.


2.   Coffee!!!!  I’m even thinking of switching to decaf for the winter so I can have more cups of coffee without overloading on caffeine.  A very wise friend of mine also gave me a tip on how to stay warm without the caffeine.  She drinks hot water.  At first I was like, “That sounds disgusting.”  But seriously.  That’s a great idea.  It’s totally going in my arsenal this winter.


3.  Hand warmers-I plan on making these made by rae at raeannkelly.com.  They are so cute and so easy.  You could even use liquid stitch if you don’t have a sewing machine.  Plus, these could go with me wherever I go solving the “don’t want to get out of the heated blanket” problem.  I guess I won’t be needing that snuggie.



4.  Mittens-To put the hand warmers in of course.  That does create a “how am I possibly going to do anything with no fingers” problem though.  I’ll have to work on solving that one.  Maybe I can just not do anything that requires fingers all winter.  Yay!  No cooking.

These ones even have a spot for the home made hand warmers.



These are really cute too.  I must always have the flap so I can access my fingers when needed.  Not for cooking obviously, but other things.


5.  Two words.  Leg warmers-my legs always need to be warmer.  Always!  I love these ones with lace and buttons by YoyoVintageLife on Etsy.



These ones from Amazon look really warm and snuggly too.

gray warmers

6.  Entertain myself-to keep myself from being depressed and lazy all winter, I will be reading lots of books.  It may not be productive but if it keeps me feeling happy, it’s totally worth it.  I better steer clear of any books with a tropical setting though.  And my genius friend Jayme reminded me that puzzles and Bible study are perfect for this too.

7.  Letting my son ride his tricycle inside.  I know.  Sounds crazy, but a happy child equals a happy mom.  I did resort to this once last year and it worked quite nicely.  He got out lots of energy and I got to stay sane.

8.  Astronaut boots-Okay, they’re not actually astronaut boots but they look like them.  Janae swears that these are the house shoes to have if you want to stay warm.  And I’m desperate to keep warm, so I’m in.


9.  Leggings-I wear my running leggings under my jeans almost all winter.  I may feel like a marshmallow, but I’m a warm marshmallow.  I also love the fleece lined leggings so I can wear my dresses all year without freezing.


10.  Soup-like for every meal.  Maybe even breakfast.  Okay.  Just kidding, but I love soup for so many reasons.  It is easy to cook (and you all know my hate, hate relationship with cooking), it tastes so good, and it is oh-so-easy to reheat so I can make a lot at a time.

11.  Bible verse-this one is mine, but I encourage you to pray about it and find one that speaks to you.  I can’t tell you how many times a special verse has gotten me through a depressing or difficult time.  And memorize it so you can have it no matter where you are.

Philippians 4:8 
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

I hope you will join me in my quest to stay positive as I face the cold winter months.  And I hope some of the things in my list will help you as you’re surviving the winter too.

Winfield Arts & Humanities Make It and Take It


We had our first official “Make It and Take It” class through the Winfield Arts & Humanities Council last Thursday. It was an evening full of fun, laughter, and crafting. There is something so refreshing about getting a group of women together to create. Some of the participants knew each other and some did not, but it didn’t matter. They all ended up talking together and enjoying the fellowship. Sami and I’s goal is to make a place that women can come to for a night away. A night where they are pampered and everything is taken care of for them so they can relax and create something all their own. Life is busy and it is hard to carve out time for things like that. Time to be creative and allow yourself to unwind is needed. Our hope is that our craft nights will do just that.

In this class, the participants each got to make a “fall” pumpkin. We showed them our example but encouraged them to really make it their own rather than feel like they had to stick to what we did. They took it and ran with it. Each lady made theirs totally unique. It was awesome to see them each use their own creativity and style. I also enjoy seeing those who consider themselves “less crafty” stretch themselves and realize how much they can do. It is neat to see their accomplishment in the end. We had so much fun with these ladies!


We had orange, turquoise, various shades of cream, gray, and pink pumpkins. The ladies also learned how to make their own burlap and felt flowers! Well, most of them. We had a few flowers we had pre made before the class that were snatched up quickly by some. Our craft nights truly are for anyone and everyone. We get women who craft a lot and really have a knack for it to women who have never created anything on their own before. All that matters is that we have fun in the process and learn together as we go. I promise you that you will have a finished product you can be proud of by the end of the evening. Contact us today if you are interested in attending our regular craft nights and/or the Winfield Arts & Humanities classes. We love meeting more and more wonderful ladies each time!


Be Faithful

Few times in life do you push your body to its limits.  I’m not talking about just doing something that’s hard.  I’m talking about pushing past the point that you think you’re even capable of and then pushing more.  I can only think of a handful of times that I have done that.  The delivery of each of my kids is what comes to mind first.  I don’t think you can push your body much more than that.  After that, it’s running.  Specifically our half marathon last Sunday.

I knew immediately after the half in May that I needed to train hard and overcome the disappointment that I felt afterwards.  I was not okay with living with that failure looming over me and I knew that wasn’t the plan God had for me either.  So two days after that race, I started training for the next one.  I pushed myself physically each run, but I was not even remotely prepared for the mental battle I would face.

Sometimes it was easy and I felt fierce, like I could conquer anything.  Other days I felt defeated and just wanted to give up.  I knew I needed to equip myself with a way to battle those moments I was down.  Jeremiah 29:11 ran rampant in my mind throughout my training.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I knew that I had to trust those words.  That God really did want me to prosper and that He would be faithful to help me do just that.

I don’t like to set goals.  And when I do, I set easy goals that I know I will not fail at.  It would have been easy for me to set a simple goal for this race.  Like to “just finish” or 2:10-2:15.  Those would be the normal goals I would set because I knew I would beat those, but I knew God was calling me to be honest about my goal.  So when people asked what my goal for the race was, I was obedient to God and made myself vulnerable by saying that I wanted to be under 2 hours.  I know to seasoned runners 2 hours is not a lofty goal, but that is a time that I knew would be hard for me to reach.  Janae informed me today that I never actually told her what my goal was.  Maybe I secretly didn’t tell her because I knew she would hold me to that.  She knew without me having to tell her though.

A lot happened during our training for this race.  It was already an important and intense training experience for me, but it was even more important after Janae’s dad was diagnosed.  It became a sort of therapy for us.  A time for us to talk and work through emotions.  A time to get away from it all.  And sometimes even a time to stop and cry.  I hate to see her hurt and going through something so tough, but it was a special time for me to get to help her walk through a really tough time.  It reminded me that running isn’t about the results of a race.  It’s so much more.

God kept reinforcing to me that I was to trust Him with the results of this race.  That He would take care of the weather and my health and all the things that are out of my control as long as I was obedient to Him.

The weather was perfect and I wasn’t sick, so God was already showing me His faithfulness.  Now it was my turn.  The beginning of the race went really well.  I felt good and we kept up a really good pace.  We stayed ahead of the 2 hour pace group almost the entire way.  It was about mile 11 that things got rough.  I started to crash and I couldn’t keep up the pace.  I utilized every technique I could think of to get me through.  Concentrate on making it to the next cone.  Then make it the next three steps.  Then just follow the person in front of me.  Janae was again the perfect running partner.  She gave me some space for a while.  Jeremiah said he thought it was weird that she was running about 10 steps ahead of me for a while.  Then she came back and pushed me to keep going.  At one point she said, “If you don’t want to keep going, I understand, but I don’t want to hear “I can’t” because I know you can.  Do you want to do this?”  A few times I didn’t respond.  I wanted to say no, but I didn’t want to admit defeat.  But then I just could not keep going, so I finally said I was done.  I don’t think I actually said that.  I think I may have just nodded that I didn’t want to do it.  But I kept going and she kept pushing.  “I know you can do this.”  “You can’t give up now.”  “We’re almost there.”  And even when the 2 hour pace group went by us and I thought I had missed my goal, she kept encouraging me.  (She told me later that she thought we missed it too.)  And she pushed me to go faster and I did.  Even though there was nothing left in me.  That’s how I know God was faithful here too.  Because I had given up.  I didn’t have anymore to give. And yet my legs kept moving.  And even when I thought I was defeated, the time was under 2 hours when we crossed that finish line.

So even though I felt like throwing up right after we finished.  And even though I almost fainted as we went through the post-finish area and ended up in the medical tent.  It was all worth it!  The amount of satisfaction that comes with training that long for something and coming out on top.  It’s priceless.

Janae kept apologizing for being obnoxious during the race.  She said she was so obnoxious it was getting to her.  And that if she was me she probably would have wanted to punch her.  I joked that if I had had the strength, I probably would have.  But really.  I can’t thank her enough for being the encouragement I needed at just the right time.  For not letting me give up on myself when, really, I already had.  And for helping me reach the goal that I never even told her I wanted to reach, but she just knew.

be faithful in small things

This medal, even though it’s the same thing I got at the three races before, means so much to me.  I want to wear it everywhere I go and display it forever in my house.  It’s a symbol of a struggle that God was faithful to get me through.  A way to remember that we need to be obedient to God and let Him take care of the rest.  And that great friends will push you even when it’s tough, but they’ll be right along side you the whole way.



janae and sami half