Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful for technology

We really do live in an amazing day. I'm so thankful for the many avenues of communication and functionality technology has provided us with. Some of my favorites:

- This blog. I'm able to archive the most beautiful moments of our life, and also share them with our family. All while venting my creative outbursts.

- Facebook. I have groups for my CrossFit family to socialize, our OEIS support group is organized through Facebook, and I can keep up with family, friends, and children who's medical stories I'm following. FB is definitely my social media of choice.

- Skype. When my aunt and uncle lived in Germany we would Skype with them. It came in REAL handy when my mom went over there and my brother was missing her.

- GPS. Could we get anywhere without it? I think not.

- Banking. I love being able to transfer money back and forth, check my balance, and look through my history online. I haven't ventured into the "photo check depositing" zone yet. Some day.

- The Google. I Google everything. Seriously. One time I Googled why roaches always die on their backs. Do it. The Google knows everything.

- Church. Our church has an online campus where you can watch past messages, read the One-Year Bible, search Small Group options, and find basically any information you could ever want to know about Church of the Highlands. They also broadcast one message from the Birmingham campus out to all of the other campuses live. They're even in 8 prisons throughout the state!

Technology has it's pros and cons, but I believe God gave our generation these tools to better society and use it to spread the message of the love of God. There is hardly any area that can't be reached with the gospel in this day and age. The internet has boundless resources, including the ability to translate into any tongue for any nation. Use it for good!

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

- Psalm 96:3

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful for kindess

Today I'm thankful for kindness in the world. While in Birmingham today for the BHAM Games competition, Carter and I walked a few blocks to Moe's for lunch to get out for a bit. The lady in front of us paid for our food and left us one of Church of the Highlands "Acts of Kindness" cards. We just finished a series on Generous (you can watch the archived messages here) and they gave out thousands of these cards and asked members to bless others in the name of Jesus. There are countless stories of changed hearts and lives just through these random acts of kindness. In a world that can seem so dark sometimes, it's nice to see that good people can still make a difference. Time to pay it forward!

Be the Good

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

- Ephesians 4:32

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for Greyson

I'm thankful for my little brother, Greyson. For those of you who don't know, my mom had Greyson when I was 15 and it rocked my world. I'd been an only child my entire life. In some respect, he gets to be an only child, too. He also became an uncle at the ripe age of 8. Carter and Greyson love each other, and when they don't see each other for a few days Greyson is begging mom for a visit. I'm thankful that Carter will have another male influence that's closer to his age, and that he can relate to and talk to. Greyson has the sweetest spirit, and I hope that Carter favors him as much in that aspect as he does in looks. I love you, Grey!

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
- I John 4:20

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful for aunts

I'm very thankful for the female influences in my life. Most of those came in the form of aunts. My mom has three sisters: Melanie, Melissa, and Heather. (My mom falls between Melanie and Melissa.)  

Left to Right: Melanie, my mom, and Melissa

My aunt Me-Me (Melanie) lives in Lake City, FL. She's been a nurse basically her whole life, and has a true servants heart. She has two boys, Landon and Jordon, and I spent many summers at their house since Landon is only a year older than me. We almost lost her in October of 2009. She contracted H1N1 and went through months of treatment and therapy. She was one of the most critical cases to come into the Orlando hospital, but the prayers of many were heard and she was restored to full health. When I found out about Carter's complications, I knew immediately that I wanted her here with me when I delivered. Landon's wife was pregnant at the same time, and she delivered Nathaniel on January 5th, 2011. They scheduled my induction for January 10th, and my sweet aunt Me-Me left her brand new grandbaby to come take care of me and put my mind at ease. She was an absolute blessing, keeping me and my mom calm and advocating for me to my nurses and doctors. I'll never forget that, and will always be grateful.

My aunt Melissa passed away on December 14th, 2012 while still living in Williston, FL, the city where they all grew up and my grandparents reside. My favorite memories of her typically involve animals. Over the years she had many interesting pets: two Persian cats (Murph and Butler), a snake, a horse named Dino, and the living legacy (who my mom inherited) Boo. She worked at a vets office for a while and I loved to visit and color with her. I lovingly referred to her as "Uncle Lissa" when I was little. She loved children but was never able to bear any. She led a much different lifestyle from the rest of her family, and ultimately ended up on a bad path of prescription drug addiction. She fought hard to battle it, and went through many ups and downs in the process. Many of us became very frustrated with her decisions, and began to limit our exposure to her. Her cause of death was an accidental overdose (a bad combo of medicines) while receiving treatment for her addiction. Our avoidance of her over the years leading up to her passing caused a lot of emotional grief and a tremendous amount of internalized guilt and regret. This experience taught us all that FAMILY should always be there for each other, no matter what the situation. Not to become enablers, but just to be a constant encouragement in their life, giving a steady stream of love and prayer. We're coming up on the anniversary of her passing, and I ask that you'd please pray for our family, especially my grandmother.

Heather and her husband John


Heather married into an Air Force life and currently lives in Ellicot City, MD. She has lived all over, and I've been lucky to visit most of the locations she's lived such as: San Antonio, TX, Colorado Springs, CO, Greenville, SC, and Ocean Springs, MS. My mom was lucky enough to visit them at their most recent location in Germany (I'm not bitter). Heather is by far the aunt that I'm closest to. She lived with us for a while, and I even became extremely jealous of her since my mom's attention was divided between us (little did I know Greyson would come along...). Some of my favorite memories with Heather include me biting her nose because she was aggravating me, crying because she "said I had a turtle neck" (I was wearing one), and her gesture/explanation of what the male genetalia looked like. She has two children, Ryland (who is a little older than Grey), and Ella (a little younger). She's always good for parenting advice - one of the most helpful things she told me was this: "Don't let him determine what you're going to do. He'll adapt." I was always impressed at how GOOD her kids were for a shopping trip or a day in town, and it's because they were always on the go. She refused to sit at home and let life be dictated by feedings and naps. As a result, I've instituted the same with Carter, and he LOVES to go, much to Josh's dismay :) That's probably why he's awesome at competitions and can snag a nap in the midst of chaos!

The Fill-In

Kelli, lovingly referred to as "KK", is Josh's aunt (his mom's sister) and she lives in Millbrook. She is the perfect fill-in for an aunt when my blood is just too far away :) She's always good for a laugh (or a SNORT!) She recently became an animal lover and has a cat named Roxie, for which Josh loves to tease her. She works with kids through the National Guard, but doesn't want any. She's one of the most independent women I've ever met and I truly admire that about her. She recently switched to our church and started CrossFit, and we're loving the extra time with her. 

We love because he first loved us. 
- I John 4:19

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful for food

Today I'm thankful for an abundance of food. I woke up bright and early to make two giant green bean casseroles to take to our Thanksgiving Feast at work. The amount of food that was brought in was astounding, and of course delicious :) We take for granted not only the sheer amount of food that is made available to us as Americans, but also the nutritional value that we can afford and acquire when compared to other countries. Hunger is still very real in many countries, and sometimes even in our own. School systems have made it a priority to provide hot, wholesome meals to children because it may be the only one they get that day. There are many organizations world-wide devoted to ending world hunger - do some research to find one that supports your beliefs and ideas most closely, and give to it if you're able. As a family, consider participating in or leading a canned food drive for your local food pantry, or serve at a soup kitchen. "Find a need and fill it; Find a hurt and heal it."

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.
- Proverbs 19:17

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful for down-time

I'm thankful for down time with my family. Tonight I skipped the gym to get home early, and Josh, Carter, and I spent time together. I cooked dinner last night, so I didn't have to rush to get that done. We played outside for a little while. We cleaned up the living room and started a donation box with some of Carter's old toys to make room for what he may get at Christmas. We watched Superman and played in the floor, and we went to bed early. I love slow evenings like this, and wish we had more of them.

Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry.
- Jeremiah 2:25 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thankful for public servants

I'm thankful for every man or woman that has a heart for service. Specifically, our public servants. For most, it's just a job. For many, it starts as a job and becomes something more. For the few, they choose the job intentionally for the service. Firefighters and police place their lives on the line every day, work complicated schedules, and spend time away from their families - all in service to people that they may not know. I'm extremely thankful for the firefighters and police in my life, and am very proud of Josh for excelling in his career as a firefighter and for his selfless service to the citizens of Montgomery.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
- I Peter 4:10

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thankful for Charlie Jean

Today I'm thankful for a community of athletes that came together to support a family in need. The story started like this: Josh has competed with Brett at a few CrossFit competitions over the past couple of years. Some of our Facebook friends were circulating a page for a little girl that had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer. Her name was Charlie Jean. Josh finally made the connection that Brett was her dad this summer some time. I began to follow her page fervently for updates and progress. Late one night I was browsing Facebook and came across an update - they had been admitted at Children's for nearly a month, with no sign of "home" in their near future. Charlie Jean was very sick as a result of some of the treatments they were doing, and had developed a liver disease. If you know me, you know I have a huge heart for children with medical complications and families that are stuck in the hospital. Josh was at the station and I was just laying in bed crying and praying, so I texted him to ask him to do the same (pray, not cry... that rarely happens). The next day he talked to Jake (our friend and owner of CFI) about starting a donation bucket at the gym for the members to contribute if they felt led to do so. That night, Jake and Mandy decided that we'd host an event and take up donations to WOD and invite all of the local boxes. That week, I created the event on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming.

We ended up with 55 athletes as well as some spectators. Almost every box in the area came out to support. My favorite part was that Brett was able to come into town to participate, and to let everyone know about Charlie Jean's progress and their hope for future Charlie's Angels events to benefit neuroblastoma research or Children's hospital. This family has BIG faith, and it's so encouraging to see their continued diligence in spreading God's love through Charlie Jean's story. Please take a minute to like Charlie Jean's page, and keep her (and her family) in your prayers as she continues to fight.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful to run

I'm thankful for my ability to run. It sounds basic, but today provided me with an opportunity to test myself physically and mentally. Put one foot in front of the other. Go fast or go slow. Walk a little. Run a little. The Color Vibe 5K was a great "first" experience for me. My friend Amanda made it so much more tolerable. She's an "expert" runner in my opinion and she really motivated me to keep going. We had a blast getting color ALL over us and spending time with our CFI family.
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- Romans 5:3-4 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful for motherhood

Tonight I'm thankful that my child obviously loves me. We had our first "homesick" experience tonight. He was supposed to spend the night with my mom so I could get up early to head to the Color Vibe run tomorrow. He was fine when I left, basically shooed me out of the door so he could play. At about 9:30pm mom called and he was wailing in the background "I want my momma! I wanna go home!" So I loaded up and headed to her house and we're ALL having a sleepover :)

I guess this more or less boils down to the fact that I am so thankful that I'm a mother. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I NEVER wanted kids. God had other plans. I'm not sure if I've ever divulged this on the blog... but I completely panicked and used Plan B at his conception. Obviously, it didn't work, and I'm thankful for that every single day. When we learned of his defects in-utero, the doctors at UAB gave me the option of terminating the pregnancy. This also makes me thankful for that motherly instinct that God placed in me - I already loved that little life inside me... how could I end that? I can't imagine my life without this little muffin. He's rocked mine and Josh's world, and we're much better for it. He's taught us faith, hope, and love in his short lifetime.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
- I Corinthians 13:13

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.
- Jeremiah 29:11 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful for Maverick

I'm thankful for my beast of a dog, Maverick. Josh can't NOT have a dog. He had a bull mastiff named Bella when we started dating, and she was his pride and joy. She ended up with an injury from being hit by a car, and never did heal well, ending up with other health issues. We had to put her down in December of 2009 after a couple of months of trying to get her well, and Josh was pitiful. By late January 2010 he was already itching for a puppy. He came up with the notion that he would get me a puppy for Valentine's Day... "Do you want a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler?" I really wanted neither, especially not a puppy. We'd been through two litters, a total of almost 24 puppies, in Bella's short life and I'd come to the conclusion that while cute, they're disgusting and messy. However, he was relentless, so I found a litter of Rotts in Montgomery for a decent price. The owner is a breeder, but doesn't breed often, and this litter was an "accident" in which he didn't know which male was the father, so they were unable to be registered. His honesty was compelling, and we couldn't wait to meet the little bears. There were three puppies left when we went by. Two females, one male. He brought mom and one of the prospective fathers in for us to see... at which point Josh sat on his hands (he's scared of dogs). We loved on the babies and watched them for a while to see which one we wanted. The male was such a little fatty, and he kept pulling a blanket off of the ottoman. Josh was drawn to his destructive behavior (go figure) and said he wanted that one. I was game, because I didn't want to fool with the prospect of ever having MORE puppies. He HATED being crated and fussed for almost a month straight every time we locked him up at night. He would shred anything in his path. Toys. Shoes. Clothes. Pillows. Blankets. EVERYTHING. One time he managed to pull an entire pillow through the slats of his crate and destroy it - stuffing everywhere when I came in the next morning. He was absolutely the CUTEST puppy, though, and it's a good thing, because it kept me from killing him some days. He grew so fast, and was so awkward during his growth spurts. I had never had a puppy before - I'd only had one dog my whole life, and he was much older when he came into our family. He and I bonded since we were home alone the nights that Josh was at the station, and he's my baby. He had to become an outside dog when we had Carter, mainly because we were gone from the house for a month. He doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves, and I'm trying to work on that. Carter is leery of him since he's so big (Mav weighs nearly 130 lbs...) but I'm hoping in the next year or so he'll start getting more comfortable with him so we can spend more time around Mav. He's my protector, and our entertainment - we call him the Sandlot Dog... our neighbors kids lose more footballs and frisbees. I'm thankful Josh ignored my pleas and pressed the subject - I can't imagine our home without this brute.

Little Bear - he was maybe 3 months old here... 
and had torn up that fleece from a blanket
I was very pregnant, so this was winter 2010. 
He never has been able to grasp that he's big.
Both of these were taken in the past year or so. Both of those footballs came from the neighbor kids. We never buy him toys anymore.

O Lord, You preserve both man and beast.
- Psalm 36:6

Thankful for small group

Today I'm thankful for our small group, Strong in Faith. We have a wonderful group of men and women that meet at CFI on Wednesdays as part of the Church of the Highlands small group fall semester. I'm always sad when I miss it, and I'm refreshed when I make it. "Hump Day" is the perfect time of week to hit a workout and then fellowship with believers that will encourage you and lift you up in prayer. I'm thankful for every one of you, and super proud of Jake and Mandy for stepping out in faith to lead this group.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
- Matthew 18:20

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thankful for home

I'm thankful for our home. It's not perfect. It's not huge. But it has everything we need. We didn't house hunt for long, and after seeing this one it was love at first sight. The kitchen sold me, while the location sold Josh. The backyard is huge and perfect for Maverick. We have just enough room (as long as no more babies are in our future...). I fuss about not having enough wall-space, and the layout of some of the rooms, but those are minor issues. Most importantly, our home is filled with LOVE.

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
- Proverbs 24:3-4

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thankful for our Veterans

Today I'm thankful for our Veterans. Land of the free, because of the brave. Pray for our troops.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
- Matthew 5:9

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thankful for medical advances

I'm thankful for medical advances. To put it quite simply - if it weren't for medical advances, a few important members of our family wouldn't be with us today. Carter, Brenna, and Evan were all given life through medical advances, no matter how basic. Evan's NICU stay was very typical of most preemie twins - helping his lungs grow and develop through treatment and time while limiting his exposure to other sicknesses. Carter's care involved surgeries that made his body compatible to life - he needed an exit for bowel so he could eat! Sweet Brenna - the medical advancements of our time, a doctor in the delivery room that had her diagnosed almost immediately, and the absolute blessing of a specialist in her area, have led to a THRIVING toddler. I can't imagine our lives without any of these miracle children. I thank God that he's given doctors and scientists the ability to provide healing to his creation.

 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.
- Psalm 30:2

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thankful for Josh

Today I'm thankful for my husband. We spent the entire day together as a family at his first weightlifting meet. I'm so glad that his hobbies are something that we can all be involved in, and that are overall a healthy and productive addition to our lives. Josh did a great job, and took silver in the clean and jerk and the total for his weight class. Carter had a great day watching the event, playing with new friends, and even taking a nice nap on the floor of a super-loud room - I don't know how he did it! Josh is the best dad EVER - hands down. He's been involved in every aspect of Carter's care since day one. It pains him to leave him at school when he's home, and they have the most epic play time ever when he finally gets him in the afternoon/evening. I've watched Josh transform over the 6 years we've been together. He was WILD when we met. He became a father the instant he found out I was pregnant. He's continued to change as he becomes more social through his love of CrossFit and weightlifting. His heart is changing daily as we get more involved in our church and in service to others. Everyday I'm thankful that God put me in his path - I love you, Josh!

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
- Colossians 3:18 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful for silence

Today I drove to work with the radio off. Just me and the quiet. I'm thankful for the time that I can spend in silent reflection and prayer with no distractions. Try it sometime!

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful for support

I'm thankful for our OEIS Support Group that we found on Facebook. We're currently at over 150 members... mothers, fathers, and foster parents of children with OEIS/CE, teens and adults who are living with OEIS/CE, and even some advocates and educators on these conditions! Everyone who is active in the group is SO helpful. We vent our fears and frustrations, talk about products that work best for our kids, and share funny stories that other families just can't relate to. There are families from different countries, religious backgrounds, and all walks of life - all gathered together to support each other as we tackle a crazy life with these special kids. I can't imagine not having them there to ask questions in my moments of panic, and it's always nice to have a reassuring word from them when times get hard. If you're reading, and you're one of those members - thank you!

Ecclesiastes 4:11
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankful for generous people

Today I'm thankful that there are still generous people on this planet. Our Booster Club hosted a Bake Auction to help raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project in conjunction with our Combined Federal Campaign. We had 85 donated items, and most of those were homemade. One cheesecake sold for $110! Overall we raised over $1300 for the WWP. It was overwhelming to see 100+ coworkers rally to support a cause that is so near to many of our hearts, especially considering the decline in morale over the last year. If you're reading and you're one of those coworkers - know your donations and participation are greatly appreciated!

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful for mom

I am so very thankful today for my mom. She's always been a source of strength and a quiet presence in my life. She's watched me make choices, and has supported me as I experience the "life" that was a product of those choices. I inherited her love of reading and her non-confrontational spirit. She has a heart for giving and helping others, and even when she's been wronged she can find the best in it. I'm blessed to call her my mom.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” -Proverbs 31:28-29

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thankful for friends

Josh and I have been blessed with some of the greatest friends. Lifelong friends, the MFD brotherhood, and our CFI family have all been there along our journey - praying for us and supporting us in every way.  We have a lot more friends than what's listed below, but these are the ones that have been around for a lot of life... the nitty gritty, down in the weeds details that not everyone gets to hear or see.

Briana - My most adventurous, independent friend. She inspires me to follow my dreams no matter how hard and real the struggle may be. She's one of the most motivated people I've ever known, and I know someday she'll achieve every goal she ever made for herself.

Nichole - My stubborn friend. We've been side by side through almost every phase of life. We've fought, ignored each other, loved each other, and cried together. We've given tons of advice to each other: taken some and ignored some.  We've learned a lot of things the hard way, but we always make it work in the end. She just recently married an amazing man and I couldn't be happier for her to start this new journey.

Michael - For the record, Michael was MY friend first. My older brother, the sole trustee of the male population by my parents, I could often be found as a 15 year old riding around with this 30 year old looking man. HA! He's the reason I met Josh, and there's never a dull moment when he's around.

Shannon - This girl provides more life lessons for me than anyone. She gives the best advice, and she's always real and real blunt with me. She took the leap of faith and we started CrossFit together and we've since become great friends. She's also my sanity on bad days at work. She talks me down. Often.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankful for health

Today I'm thankful for mine and my family's health. Josh & Carter just got over a bug, and I'm working on one (I think)... but in spite of that we are far healthier than others. Despite Carter's medical challenges, I am constantly reminding myself that our situation could be so much more dire than it is. His kidney is his most fragile component of his health, and we've been blessed for the issues surrounding it to be minimal. Right now we're fighting iron fluxes and anemia, but we could be fighting fluid retention with dialysis. We could be on a transplant list. I make it a point to stay in prayer for a child that has more immediate medical needs than Carter. Our precious cousin Brenna, Carter Cline, my preemie cousin Evan, sweet Charlie Jean - they all are reminders that our God is BIGGER than any medical anomaly and that my family is blessed with health. Along those same lines - I'm thankful for a God that provides peace when I do lose perspective in the times of sickness, and for His grace that will one day give me a Heaven with no more sickness, death, or pain!

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankful for church

On Easter Sunday of this year, our friends Jake and Mandy invited us to come try their church - Church of the Highlands - in Montgomery. My number one hang up on going to church is the childcare factor - since Carter is so intimidating to some people. My friend Nichole had been attending for some time, and told me that the childcare is top-notch and they have an awesome notification system if a problem should arise. So that morning, we put on our Sunday best and headed downtown. I cannot explain to you the vast ways this church is different from any other church I've ever been to. We instantly felt at home. They were understanding of Carter's mobility delays and let us pick which age group he attended. We chose to put him in the class underneath what he would normally be in as they aren't nearly as wild and crazy (the 2 y/o class is aptly named "Zoo"... he's definitely more of a "Bee"!) We went back downstairs and fixed coffee, and Josh got a handful of mints. The worship service was moving, to say the least. I boo-hoo'd the whole time, I think. Pastor Chris is such an intriguing speaker. He's able to keep Josh's attention for the entire message - and that's saying something. You can feel his heart absolutely spilling over with joy for sharing the love of Christ. His vision and mission for the church is to be the hands and feet of Jesus - to LOVE people - to show the world that church does NOT have to fit the mold of boring Sunday services, judgment and damnation, and trying to be the "perfect" Christian. He is fully aware that there are tough subjects that have to be addressed, but believes that it's more appropriate to address those subjects in a small group setting where people are close to each other and can provide accountability and support. I have never wanted so badly to serve in a church - in fact, I never have served in a church! This will be my first! We've changed our view on generosity, on service, and on giving. The pastor that married us referenced the triangle (God at the top point, husband and wife on the two bottom points), where as a husband and wife get closer to God they get closer to each other, and we are seeing this in action! It's also important that we found a place where Carter can grow and thrive in the Word, aside from the teaching he gets at school.

I am forever thankful to our friends who urged us to try Church of the Highlands. We are so grateful for our new church family, the joy it's bringing to our home, and the growth we're experiencing in our personal walk with God.

14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. -- Col 3:14-16

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful for faith

Ahh November, the only month out of the year we FOCUS on being thankful for things...First, some facts on the Thankful holiday:

(From Wikipedia... so you know it's legit...)

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well. Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God."

I love religiously founded holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. For those families that may not have their feet firmly planted in faith, it's a time of year that they stand still and recognize that religion, faith, and the belief in a greater power are still prevalent in the world, despite the fight to demolish those views by our society and our government. It's an opportunity to share with our children about "true meanings" of a season, and that while we can enjoy the secular spins on these holidays (ie; candy, presents, food) we always remember and honor their roots.

This year I am most thankful for my faith. Through every trial of life, my faith in Christ has kept me going. I've watched others who have little to no faith face situations that instilled in them some hope of a God that loves them and takes care of them - that's an awesome event to witness in a life.

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety. --George Müller

I wrote a book report on George Müller in high school, and his accounts of prayer and faith have stuck with me. George Müller was known for caring for over 10,000 orphans, as well as his education and missionary activities. Many times he could barely make ends meet for the orphanage, but he never solicited funds. He always prayed. Every need he ever had was met through prayer and faith. It doesn't get much better than that!

For many, faith is something that seems far out of reach. For others, faith seems silly and uncalled for - to depend on an "imaginary" being to provide for them. For few, a devastating life event will bring them to their knees and cause them to beg a God they may have never called on to answer a prayer, and they will find faith, and it will bring comfort and peace like they've never known.

I was raised in the church, but it wasn't until our experience when I was pregnant with Carter that I truly understood the power of prayer and the peace that faith brings to a situation. I'm thankful that my upbringing prepared me for that call to faith, where others may have been more likely to waver. You'll hear more on that subject in future thankful posts :)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. --Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How to Deal: Beat the Cheat

This scoreboard shows a lot. It shows that these athletes worked their butts off in a ton of WODs to put all of those numbers up. But what does it NOT show? Does it show the fact that a judge let less than acceptable burpee reps slide by? No. Does it show that a judge miscommunicated the acceptable movement (let's say... shoulder-to-overhead... behind the neck jerk?) to an athlete and then was corrected by another judge MID-WOD after several reps of that movement had already been completed, putting the athlete so far behind in reps that it was nearly impossible to come back from? Nope. Does it show that in a final, head-to-head tie-breaker WOD a different start system was used and the WOD was not communicated effectively before said start? Negative.

Every competition... every event... will have a glitch. Here are some tips on how to avoid or deal with those glitches.

Event Hosts: Make sure information is communicated well, and well in advance if possible. Pick movements that are easily judged. Test your WODs. Plan for ties. Educate your judges on exactly what you're looking for - leave NO details out. Be consistent with your briefings and rulings. YOU are the START. Lay the foundation for a seamless event.

Judges: Make it your priority to be honest and fair. I have witnessed a guy get no-repped on 20ish HSPUs trying his hardest to finish out the WOD, and his judge had a look of pain on his face with every no-rep. But here's the reality - the athlete (ONE person) may have been thankful if he'd let a rep or two slide, but the 100+ spectators would have been outraged. Everyone wants to see the guy finish, but they want it to be done honestly.


Athletes: Listen during the standards briefing. Ask questions. Talk to your judge before the WOD starts. Demonstrate a rep or two for him so he knows what your good movement looks like. Josh's arms are so bulky that during HSPUs (and sometimes overhead barbell movements) it sort of looks like he's not at full-extension even when he is. He's always careful to show a judge before a WOD with those movements in it. Most judges don't enjoy no-repping athletes. Make sure you're on the same page before the WOD to decrease the possibility of no-reps and the impending frustration that comes with them. As far as how to deal with that judge that is letting bad reps slide - Be better than his athlete. Your good movement should be more efficient than his sub-standard movement. Unless you have the time to grab a higher-level judge, drag him over, and let him see this fool in action, chances are the athlete's score is going to stand. Don't use that as an excuse later on. The best way to overcome that is to beat him! Along the same lines, if we expect our judges to be honest, our athletes should be honest as well. If you know your movement is sub-standard, and you're not getting no-repped - shame on you! It's a disgrace to the sport to intentionally skimp on movement to "get ahead." Don't be that guy that everyone tells stories about months later... take pride in your reps! And if you can't muster up some self-pride, please think about your family, your coaches, and your fellow members that know what your best is. Don't embarrass your box!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

10 Reasons I Hate Nasty Outlet

Josh asked me to go by Nasty Outlet today to get food for their meal tomorrow at the station. I'm convinced that part of their training as recruits involves burning their taste buds off and making them immune to salmonella. That being said, here are 10 reasons I despise going to the Nasty.
1. There was a bird flying around in there. A real-life, capable of crapping bird. I've seen this before in Walmart and stuff. But never in a strictly grocery related store. And I overheard one of the clients say she'd seen a bat in there before?!?! It was disturbing... but not as disturbing as....
2. Chicken paws. What do you even do with these things?!?! There's no way there's a significant amount of meat on them. Is it like a ham-hock only poultry?! I'm stumped. Are these paleo?

3. The clientele present is less than attractive, socially unacceptable behavior abounds, and many are unaware of the most basic hygiene. That's all I have on that.
4. The meat department is always disgusting. Packaging is sparse and blood is abundant. Blecgh. The poor cashier actually thanked me for bagging my chicken and she was wearing gloves.
5. The floors are always gross.... Half of the aisles have some sort of unknown substance smeared down the middle.
6. Some of the produce was heavily guarded by flies and gnats.
7. I have seen a whole hog's face in there before. Sadly, there were none present today for a photo op. Poor piggies.
8. The EBT system was down. SAY WHAT?! I can't use my non-existent food stamps?! Oh yeah... gubment shutdown. Oops. I forgot.
9. The conveyer belts are always yuck. Probably because of the aforementioned pitiful meat-packaging.
10. The previous 9 points I have experienced more than once on my seldom-made trips to this establishment... this one was a first, though. I found this in the produce section. Georgia White Dirt. Not for human consumption. A "novelty item" apparently. And a steal at $1.38 per pound. Now the question is... what is it for?!?!?!
So that's it in a nutshell... why I despise frequenting Nasty Outlet... Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Combat at Calidus

Event: Combat at Calidus
Powered by: Hi-Temp Athletics

Hosted By: Elijah Muhammad

Location: Tuscumbia, AL

Date: 9.8.13

Category: Rx Male

Ranking: 15/27
This was a great event. There were several athletes present that have competed at the Regional level, and it was awesome to watch them do work throughout the day. The competition ran smoothly and the lunch provided for athletes was a nice surprise - steak and sweet potato! They also provided great swag bags. This may have been the best event we've attended, mostly due to the great athletes. We were essentially there by ourselves, but as always the CrossFit Community proved itself. We met a lot of great people, saw wonderful sportsmanship in action, and overall enjoyed our day. With a field stacked with elite athletes, Josh was happy with his overall placement and really had to push himself to the limits to be competitive. Here's to hoping they do this one again next year - we'll certainly be there!
WOD #1
 For Time:
1,000m row
50 GHD sit-ups

*row will be scored as one event. Then there will be a score for total workout.
*15 min time cap on workout.
Waiting for the start

"In order to beat me, you're going to have to suffer."

This WOD was a ton of upside-down. He was spinning by the end of it.

WOD #2
 8 min to build to 1RM

 Hang Clean

 *tie breaker is deadlifts at weight on the bar.
*cannot decrease in weight.
Heaviest lift before time ran out. 325# Hang Clean.

Chillin' and watching Madagascar


WOD #3
 7 min AMRAP:
20 wall balls (20)

10 squat snatch

* weight will increase after each set of wall balls
*weight can only be put on by athlete after wall balls have been completed
*any style snatch is acceptable, as long as weight goes overhead in one fluent motion & is squatted & back to full extension while weight is overhead.


WOD #4
  For time:
40 yard sprint
Rest 1:00

Double Under
Deadlift 325/185
*sprint will be scored as one event.
Not necessarily built for speed, but he held his own :)

After a brutal day, we made the 3 hour trip home (with a quick stop at Chili's to refuel that machine of his). At 9pm, He continued on to the new box to help Jake tear some concrete up.... they pulled an all-nighter and finished right before the plumber came to do his thing! These are some dedicated folks - CFI members, never forget the things your coaches do to bring you amenities like a nice hot shower! :)