Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm finally diving in - Some thoughts on Community


Sometimes I'm not quiet sure how to start a post off and today is one of those....

Let's just say after a year and two months of living in a small town I finally made the decision to jump into community here. You are probably thinking "Why haven't you done that sooner?" and I have an explanation.

I moved to Woodward a week after getting married. I wasn't planning on being here long at all. I initially thought we would be gone and moved away by December of 2013. "Hooray! I will be free from small town life," I thought. Then, in August, Dave told me we would stay through December. I didn't love that idea but knew we needed to stay. Come December our lease was up for renewal and we had a 6 month option; which meant I would be in Woodward until June. "I can make it until June," I told myself. 

I had plans you guys! I vividly remember on the way to Hawaii, in full planning mode/voice, telling Dave that as soon as we got back from Hawaii (end of March) I was going to organize & throw out stuff in April. In May I'd pack and on June 1st we'd be out the door! "Hooray," I thought, "Bye bye small town!" We would visit the east coast, see family and be in Asia by August. Go me!

Friends, It's June 26 and I'm still here. However, I'm thankful and wouldn't have it any other way. After planning, re-planning and re-re-planning the Holy Spirit used Proverbs 16:9 to turn on the lightbulb for me. The verse says: the heart of man deviseth his way, but the Lord directs his steps. I can plan all I want but in the end God's plans are so much better than mine, and I'm so glad. 


Friends, it took me over a year but I finally just surrendered. Surrendered to His timing. Surrendered to His plans for me and my schedule. I don't know why God has kept me in Woodward so long but I can tell you that it's been good for me to learn that life doesn't revolve around me. It's about God and what He wants. 

I don't work full time and I'll be honest, there have been some super lonely days; which although they are hard, I'm thankful for. Having so much alone time I started volunteering at the senior center which in turn opened my eyes to how the elderly people need friends. I would have never learned that if I weren't lonely. 

I've also seen God provide just what I need. When I was at my wits ends going bonkers from being home all day God opened the door for me to watch little Isaac two days a week. His Mom is one of my best friends here and such an encouragement in my walk with Christ. 

When I panicked at the beginning of this summer, not knowing what I would do, God provided a part time job for me at the water park. I might be here this fall and I know God has something for me. 

In the mean time, I finally made the decision to intentionally build relationships here, where I can. Dave and I travel a lot on the weekends, either back home or to a new place so building community hasn't been a huge priority. That also means I have Monday through Friday to be intentional. I'm not sure why I haven't made it a priority before and in a way I regret not doing so earlier. However, I'm really glad God finally opened my eyes and heart and showed me that there are wonderful people right here to get to know and to grow closer to Christ with. 

I don't know how long I'll be in this town but I'm excited to see what God has! He is good, friends and has made us to build up and encourage each other. I don't know what your situation is but I hope you'll plug in where you are and see God work.

How is community where are you are at? Are you intentional? 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberry Mint Limeades


Today is another round of Cooks in the Kitchen hosted by Sweet Lavender Bake Shop and Elah Tree. This is a monthly linkup about cooking! They give you an ingredient each month and you can create whatever you want using that ingredient.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I don't love American strawberries. There, I said it. I'm guilty. You can't blame me though. When I lived in Korea we went on a field trip picking strawberries and I'm here to tell you that those were the sweetest, tastiest most delicious strawberries I've ever had. I had them all the time when they were in season. When I came back to America and tried a strawberry .... um, excuse me? That's not a strawberry like I know!


Anyways, even though I don't love strawberries as much I still do eat them (it's Dave's favorite fruit) - I'll put them in salads and smoothies. Today I put them in a limeade. This personally wasn't my favorite drink but Dave and my Mom really liked it so I'm guessing if you are a strawberry lover you will like it. It's a fun refreshing drink and I think it would be fun at a party. 



Also, this recipe was inspired by make and take



Do you guys like strawberries? If so, what do you eat them with? 


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On another random note - next month is my BIRTHDAY! It's going to be a fun month on the blog - think favorite summer treats + the monthly giveaway will be a big accumulation of my favorite things! I'm currently taking sponsors for July. Your sponsorship comes with a group feature and automatic entries into the giveaway. I'm currently offering 23% off all sponsorships with the code BIRTHDAY. For more info click here

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life Lately #18 - Whidbey, Siblings, Colorado & The World Cup

Hi! I wanted to do a mini recap of what's been going on lately. I feel like I've been MIA with blogging for a while and to be honest, it's felt really good! Sometimes those breaks are just needed.

Life Lately #18

Guys! I had the best time with my siblings and nephews. We talked, we laughed, we cooked together, we watched the World Cup, and of course we played with the nephews for countless hours. I love seeing those two little boys enjoy life. They both are just so fun.


After saying bye to my siblings and nephews I went to Colorado Springs to vacation with Dave's family. We hiked, went white water rafting, toured the Olympic Training Center, hiked Pike's Peak (my legs hurt, really really hurt) and spent some fun time together.


The World Cup is on! I'm rooting for Brasil and happy they have been doing well so far! If they are out I'll root for the US next but come on, America has their sports mixup by calling football soccer. Seriously! I also found my Brasil jewelry just in time!


While in Washington and Colorado I did a devotional on fear. It was short but really good. If you have fears/anxiety I highly recommend this devotional. It gave a lot of verses which me and some friends in Woodward are planning on memorizing this summer.


 My hair! I finally let my good friend, who also happens to be my hair dresser, cut and color it. Ever since living in Asia my hair hasn't been a huge priority but I knew it needed something soon. Also, my friend sits a few pews behind me in church and weekly I'd get a text saying "I can see your split ends from here!" or "I'm glad you wore your hair up today so I don't have to see your dead ends." ha ha! It sounds rude but if you knew the level of sarcasm that comes from Shenel you'd understand why it's funny. Anyways, I got bangs, added red, blonde and let her trim about 3 inches off (which is huge for me!).


Tomorrow Dave and I are headed to OKC to meet with some missionaries from Thailand. We are praying and seeking about what we should do with missions. If you think about it would you please pray for us? I'll give a more in depth update later on this but in the mean time prayers are much appreciated.



How has your life been lately?
Are you watching The World Cup? If so, who are your rooting for? 
Anyone else out there dread cutting off inches of hair?
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Linking up today with:

A Harvest of Blessing

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Runners Tell All - My Favorite Running Story

Hello and welcome to June's edition of Runners Tell All. Runners Tell All is a monthly linkup hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie that occurs on the 21st of every month. Our goal is to build a community where we can encourage and inspire each other on our running journeys. Each month we offer two co-host options. This allows for us to connect with you, advertise your blog and it also helps fund the monthly giveaways. June's prompt is your favorite running story and next month's theme is your go to for optimal running nutrition. 

Sponsorship Update: I put the ad spot for Runners Tell All on my advertising page. I have the $15 listed but if you want the $10 option just let me know and I'll give you a coupon code for that.

I'm looking forward to reading about your favorite running experiences. I'm on vacation right now with my family so I won't be able to read all of your posts today but I will read each one of them soon! If you don't normally post on the weekends no need to worry because the linkup will be open until Thursday.

My Favorite Running Story




I have sooo many favorite running stories but I'm only sharing one today. My most favorite race since being married has already been blogged about so I chose something else. You would think my favorite running story would be how I managed to run 26.2 in hilly Seattle or maybe that time when I got hailed on during my first 1/2 marathon but it's not. My favorite running story is super simple.

Each year my hometown of Wichita has an annual River Run. The whole week is a festival but they also have a 10k run around the river. I signed up for this race and I believe it was my first or second 10k. I was nervous, excited; you know how it goes. Well, it also happened that my brother flew in that weekend and we ran 'together'. I know I already mentioned that by 'together' that means we started out together and when he looked back I was no where to be found. I can't run 7 / 8 minutes miles .... yet! 

Of course my brother finished about 10 - 15 minutes ahead of me but guess what? He came back and found me. He then cheered me on to push as hard as I could and to finish strong. I love that! In fact, that is one thing I love most about races are that I have friends and family who will wait close to the end to give me that boost.


Giveaway

Today there will be TWO winners! We are giving away a watermelon nuun hydration pack and a running tank top. If you haven't heard of nuun it's a great way to rehydrate after a long run.  Each tube of Nuun contains 12 tablets. Each tablet makes 16 oz. of Nuun, and delivers 360 mg Sodium / 100 mg Potassium / 25 mg Magnesium / 13 mg Calcium. Plus it's watermelon flavor which is perfect for summer!

This giveaway is open internationally and if an international winner wins we will work with you on shipping. All entries will be verified so please be sure to play by the rules =)


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Sponsors

We are excited to have Jessica and Z for our June sponsors. We hope that you will stop by and get to know them a bit more. 

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Linkup Rules
1. You must leave a comment on the person's blog who linked up directly before you. This linkup is to build community by reading, commenting and encouraging one another. 
2. Only link up the posts related to the running prompt. Unrelated link or links directly to your homepage will be deleted. 
3. Please link back to either Beka and Amanda in your posts or use the button below. The more we have join in the merrier!

Sunshine to the Square Inch


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seattle - A Day at Pike's Market

Seattle. I can't even tell you how many times I've visited this city but it's been a lot. I first started visiting because my brother moved to this area. My normal routine is to fly in, take a train to downtown and then explore the market. Today I thought I'd take you on a little tour of my go-to places at Pike's Market in Seattle. 

For starters, getting there is super easy. The light rail to get downtown is located at the airport. It's a 40 minute ride but the view on the way there is sooo pretty. The light rail is about $5 per day / round trip so it's super affordable. 

A tour through Pike's Market 

1. The Piano Man 
For starters, I always find either the piano man or the man who has cats. This day the piano man was out. He is super talented. Yes, there is also a man who has cats that you can pet for a donation. I always donate something =). If you can't find either of those guys the market has plenty of people to watch. It's their own unique culture there and I'm not gonna lie, some of the most interesting and weird people I have ever seen or met have been at this market. 


2. Beecher's Cheese
The eating saga beings at Beecher's Cheese. Seriously, if you go to Pike's, Beecher's is a MUST. They handcraft all their cheese right before your eyes. I get in line and order a cup of mac'n'cheese then while I sit to eat and watch the workers make cheese. It's the best. 
 

 3. SurLaTable
This is a kitchen store that has every fun kitchen thing you could imagine. They often do demos and give samples too, which you know, that means more free food. 


4. Le Panier Bakery 
After all the food I ate I walk down to the bakery and swoon over all kinds of amazing pastries and then usually decide on this. I forget what they are called but it's a flaky pastry with cheese, potatoes and bacon. You can never go wrong with bacon. 


5. The Flowers
They always have tons of fresh flowers in season and they are only $10 for a big bouquet of them. This time of year peonies were in season.


 6. The 1st Starbucks 
Okay, I normally make a stop here but this picture didn't even begin to capture how long this line was. The 1st store is actually pretty small but I've never seen it this packed and I didn't want to wait 30+ minutes for a cup of coffee. If you are only going to be in Seattle once I think it is worth the 30 minute though. It's a fun atmosphere in there. 


Have you ever visited Seattle? 

Also, a quick reminder that Runner's Tell All is this Saturday, the 21st! We are sharing our most favorite running moment. I'm looking forward to reading your stories. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Friends in Action - A way to bless missionaries


Have you ever taken a really long road trip? You know, the kind where you travel for a super long time and by the time evening comes you just want to get to your destination, find some good food and sleep. Imagine for a moment that you are a missionary. You pack up your family in a car and travel from church to church going from one side of the country to the other. The 'wanting to find a place to stay' is a common thing for missionaries. I grew up traveling like that and let me assure you, it’s great and super tiring all at the same time. I didn’t pay bills when I was a kid but I’m sure all the gas and hotel costs add up.

What if I told you there was an opportunity to help minister to these missionaries? Friends in Action offers just that! FIA is a wonderful program that finds people all over the country willing to house a missionary! How fun is that? You fill out a form letting them know a bit about you and sharing how many people you can host to spend the night at your house. If a missionary knows they will be traveling through your area Friends in Action will put you in touch with that missionary. What is required of you is the following: 
  • Feed them breakfast and dinner
  • Offer a place to sleep for the night
  • Visit with them, find out about their ministry and make a new friend

I think housing a missionary would be such a blessing, for both you and the missionary. Not only are you housing them but you are given a chance to make new friends, to hear about what God is doing globally and to pray and minister to a family serving Jesus. It's a true example of the body of Christ at work. 

I know this might be a foreign concept to people but I would encourage you to pray about it. Romans 12:13 says we are to be 'distributing to the necessity of the saints; given to hospitality.' This is a great way to put that verse into practice. 

I'll also tell you that I signed up for this program about a year ago but I'm sad to say Woodward is just too off the beaten path to bring visitors. booo! Maybe the next place we move we can house people. If you are interested in this you can find more information on their website here

What are your thoughts on housing people? 
Would you ever consider something like this?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Whidbey Island Sunset


Hi from Whidbey Island, friends. I'm up here for a few days for a sibling reunion, to see my nephews and to celebrate Elliot's 2nd birthday. If you ever visit Seattle you really need to take the 2 hour trip north to Whidbey, Island. Commuting here is easy as there is a shuttle directly from the Seattle airport to the island. 

It's interesting how time has changed me. I've been visiting this area for quiet some time now and I used to love the hustle and bustle city life that Seattle offers. Don't get me wrong, I love Seattle and all it offers but I really am starting to love small town life more and Whidbey is just that. The pace of life is slower, the yards are bigger and it's peaceful. It's also coffee central up here which is just a plus. 

Friday evening I went out to the beach to catch some sunset pictures in the golden hour. I <3 the ocean! I like hearing the waves, smelling the salt and just sitting there watching. I also thought it was really interesting how different the sky looked at different points away from the sun and into the sun. I hope you enjoy these pictures and if you ever travel up here shoot me an e-mail and I'll get you some good info on the island. 



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