Friday, April 21, 2017

Pensacola Beach Pictures

If photographers have one crime it would be that they aren't in front of the lens enough. It's fun to take pictures but we often forget that in 50 years people will want to see us in those pictures too. So, while in Pensacola I hired our awesome photographer, Naomi, who did our wedding photos to come and take some pictures of us.

It should also be noted that 45 minutes prior to these pictures the Univeristy of West Georgia had just finished their daily 10am - 5pm drinking escapade that ended with a fight and police involved. After that though, the beach cleared out real quick and we got to take pictures without 50 million people in them.

These pictures were fun to take and Dave was a good sport about it. I had him wear comfortable clothes because guys take pictures much better when they are comfortable. That's just a free tip for you.

I got these pictures printed in a soft cover book by Artifact Uprising and the quality was great and I highly recommend them.

We are 4! 

I thank crossfit for the following picture ;).

Also, when you have a photographer taking pictures and one photographer in the pictures and are trying to explain to Dave how to pose you just pick him up real quick and show him how to pose. ha ha! This picture just cracks me up.

When was the last time you took pictures of you and your family?

If you are in the Wichita area I now do photos! You can check out my website, Sunshine Photography by Beka. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Rock the Parkway - 1/2 Marathon Recap

Two weekends ago I ran my 8th half marathon! I hadn't ran a half marathon since fall of 2013 so in a way it was like starting over.

I still remember in Myanmar when Pam asked me if I thought getting back into crossfit and fitness would be hard and I said I didn't think it would be. ha ha ha ha! It was so hard! When I started running again last fall I was at a 12ish minute mile and my legs felt like tree trunks. Then I threw in crossfit into that mix and that added another whole new dimension of difficulty! But you know what? With time I got stronger and faster and it paid off because I ran 13.1 miles.

I want to give an overview of my training and the details on how the race went.


For this training plan I used my running book to look at their half marathon schedule. I used that as a base to get ideas and then tailored it to my specific needs. I decided to run three times a week with runs consisting of a tempo run of either 3, 4 or 5 miles on Monday or Tuesday, speed drills and a long distance run. I also added in crossfit and some intense stretching into the mix as well. I did well with crossfit for the first few weeks but after traveling to New Mexico twice and then taking a 13 day vacation with Dave I pretty much fell off the crossfit wagon for the last half of my training, and I'm okay with that. I am really proud of myself for how I did with my training.

Here is a more detailed look at my runs:

Tempo Runs:

For my tempo runs I often would try and beat my previous run of that same distance. For example, one week I would run 4 miles and then a few weeks later when I had a 4 mile run again I would try and beat my previous time. It was a good challenge, kept things interesting and I think it helped me shave off time from my mile.

Speed Drills: 

For speed drills I tried to change it up every week. One week I would use the plan from my running book but shorten it a bit. I also used these ten minute treadmill drills that I found on-line and I really liked them! Those drills also majorly paid off because the race course had a lot of hills. The majority of my speed drill runs were done on a treadmill and for some reason I like treadmill drills. It's kind of sadistic but I like that I can set my pace really fast and can't slow down unless I manually push a button.

Long Runs: 

The long runs mentally got easier over time but oh my word, they were torture in the beginning. My first long run was 5 miles and I thought I would die. Actually the first three long runs were really mentally hard and then it started getting better. My longest run was 11 miles and I did that at Pensacola beach (paved sidewalks) midday. Not the brightest idea I have had but it was really pretty scenery. I also did an 8 mile run in Little Rock, AR by the river and that was beautiful. I missed one long run and shortened one and still did fine in my race. I tried not to beat myself up over missing a run but I also tried to get every long run in that I could.

Here is recap of some runs:

Fastest 5K - 27:57 (side note - I just beat this time TODAY by 4 seconds! Hoooray!)
Fastest Mile - 7:57
Longest run - 11 miles
Total Miles Ran During Training - 106

Here is a look at some of my plans written out in my journal:

Our run was Saturday morning so we headed up to Kansas City on Friday afternoon. For dinner we ate at the Cheesecake Factory and I did not have pasta but I did indeed eat a big fatty steak with lemon cake for dessert. It was the perfect pre-meal.

Race day morning we got up at 5:45am. For breakfast I had bacon a few bites of bread and some coffee. Before any big race I get extremely nervous and want to cry - so weird.

The race course was very hilly and we started up with a three mile hill incline. It was brutal but somehow Shenel and I ran the first four miles with a sub ten minute pace. I think it was adrenaline and I also think those speed drills on the treadmill paid off right there. Shenel and I ran together for the first 6.5 miles and then I was a bad friend and ran ahead of her. =) I honestly ran without stopping until mile 7.5 when all I could see was a never ending hill and I had to walk up a little bit of that hill. At mile 10.5 I called Dave and told him I needed motivation to finish this race because I was done and he said he would buy me flowers. The race course said the last three miles were all down hill and that was a big fat lie. Mile 10 and 11 were super hilly but mile 12 to the finish line was a steady decline which was awesome!

Here is a breakdown of my miles:

Mile 1 - 9:41
Mile 2 - 9:52
Mile 3 - 9:53
Mile 4 - 9:49
Mile 5 - 10:08
Mile 6 - 10:00
Mile 7 - 9:28
Mile 8 - 9:32
Mile 9 - 10:45
Mile 10 - 10:26
Mile 11 - 11:35
Mile 12 - 10:45
Mile 13 - 9:34

My total time was 2:13:09 with an average pace of 10:09 minutes miles, which I think is awesome for hills, water stops and a few minutes of walking! I'm already thinking about signing up for another half marathon this fall to see if I can shave more time off. BUT before I do that I have started training for a race over Memorial Day weekend. It's a race called 'Get your rear in gear' and it honors those who passed away from colon cancer. They have a 5k run which I'm hoping to do in 26 minutes and if you aren't a runner they also have a mile walk. It's on Sunday evening at 7:30, which I'm so excited I don't have to get up early for this run. We have a team set up in Dave's Mom's name, Carol A. Johnson, and we will run it in memory of her. If anyone is interested in joining our team you can do so here

Lastly, I don't say this to scare anyone, but one of the runners on the course of our half marathon in KC collapsed after he crossed the finish line and passed away. You can read the article here if you are interested. I have thought about him and his family every single day since I heard that news. He was 34, an avid runner with no apparent health problems. I don't even know how to respond to that kind of news I just know that you have to be ready to die at any moment. Please pray for his family if you think about it.

If you have any questions about my training, race, etc. please let me know in the comments below.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Things I've Learned in 4 Years of Marriage

Dave and I have been married for FOUR years as of March 23rd. I can hardly believe it. Since our first anniversary I've always held up however many fingers old we are in marital years and told Dave, "We're one!", "We're two!" and so on, and this year, we are four! At first Dave thought I was so weird for doing this but now I think he secretly likes it. 

Also, these pictures were taken at Pensacola Beach in March by the same photographer, Naomi McIntosh, who did our wedding and trash the dress photos. I have another post coming with more of these pictures but today I wanted to share some of the things I have learned in these last four years of marriage. I wondered if four years was too young to write out 'advice' like I'm full of wisdom compared to those who have been married 20, 30, 40 years but these are still good lessons God has allowed me to learn so I thought I'd share. 

1. Before you get married meet with some godly women, who have godly marriages, to seek their advice on marriage. Dave and I dated long distance for a year and while away I met with some of the godly women in Korea. The advice I received was custom fit for my marriage because I still think of it and refer to it often. I even have a Word document called 'life as a wife' with their advice in it. I'm so thankful I asked those women and am thankful they were willing to invest in my life.

2. Cut out as many distractions as you can the first year of marriage and focus on each other. Did you know that in the Old Testament when a couple got married God said the husband couldn't go to war for a year. They also weren't to be intricately involved in public affairs or business but had to spend a majority of their time at home. You can read more about that in Deuteronomy 24. Now, I know that isn't feasible in America today but there are things you can do. When I got married I didn't really have a choice because I moved to Oklahoma where Dave lived and didn't know a soul. At first it was really hard but looking back I think how much time Dave and I spent together away from family and friends and it really helped establish our marriage. Not everyone gets to move to Oklahoma where they don't know anyone either but here are some things you can do:

-Log out of social media for a year. Gasp! Yes, it can be done.
-Decide you won't discuss marriage problems with all your friends but will first go to God and then your husband.
-Make time with your husband a priority and guard that time!

Any other ideas on that one?

3. Get a mentor. Life changes are so incredibly difficult for me. I always think I'll do okay and then the struggle is real! When Dave and I moved back from Asia to America, as wonderful as it was, transition was hard and our marriage had some hard days. I told Dave I wanted a Christian mentor and he thought that was a good idea too. I asked a lady at my church who leads our Bible study and she said she would be glad to do so. (side note: I have no idea how old my mentor is, probably 20-30 years older than me, but I know she is further down the road than I am. I think a mentor should be someone who has more experience in life than you do.) I meet with her probably once a quarter and tell her all about my marriage and life. She encourages where I need encouraged and corrects me where I need correcting and I'm so thankful for that. It's been a huge blessing. Lastly, in my opinion, a godly mentor should not be family. Your Mom will most likely pick your side on issues and you should have someone more neutral.

4. Laugh about lots of things. I think Dave and I have improved on this a lot in the past year. Which, now that I think about it my mentor encouraged me to do this more, Dave is already good at it. Laughter can often diffuse a situation. Instead of taking everything so seriously laughing and kindly joking is sometimes healthy. Dave and I have serious discussions too but laughter can do your marriage and heart good.

5. Psalms 127:1 is a great verse to pray over your marriage. It says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." You can do all the work you want for your marriage, and you should, but if you don't ask God to build your marriage than the work you do is in vain.

6. Marriage is a tool God uses to show you the best qualities in you and the ugliest ones and I'm thankful for both. It's not fun to realize that we struggle with certain things but I'm thankful marriage brings those to the surface so The Lord can refine and mold my heart into who and what He wants it to be.

Those are some of the bigger lessons I have learned these past four years and I'm thankful for them. If you have some good marriage advice or have any more questions about what I wrote please feel free to comment below.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

St. Patrick's Day 2017

Tonight we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with Dave's family. I know I have shared on the blog before about Dave's family celebrating St. Patrick's Day. I honestly don't know any other families that celebrate this holiday but I am glad we do. Dave's Mom celebrated many holidays and this was one of them so I am glad we can honor her in that way. 

Becky painted the dogs using a marker. It's always fun to bring your pets into the festivities. 

Everyone was asked to bring green food.

Dave and I made green alfredo pasta.

Becky made salad and guacamole. A double portion of guacamole apparently because Caleb really likes it. ;)

JB & Gloria brought drinks which consisted of ginger ale poured over lime sherbert.

Caleb, Andrea and Aidan brought green dinosaur cookies. 

Dave loves it when I put fun decor on his face.

We then all drew a picture of a lepricon. Caleb and Andrea arrived later in the party so they were the judges. We had five drawings and five categories so everyone could be a winner.

Left picture is JB's and the right picture's is Becky's. 

Left picture: Dave, Center picture mine, right picture is Gloria's. Don't be jealous of our awesome artistic abilities. 

Cheese got a good rest in.

 And so did Aidan.

 Static got a good begging session in. She could be hired as a professional beggar.

And here is a group photo of all of us, minus Byron because he was working.

If you celebrate St. Patrick's Day I hope it's fun for you. We celebrated early this year because Dave and I are headed out of town and won't be here to celebrate on the day of.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 13, 2017

On Being a Swim Instructor

Today my friend Amanda and I were texting about social media and blogging and I was telling her how I sit down to write all these great ideas that are in my head but once I finally sit down the writing just isn't there. I told her I feel like I have abandoned all my blogging friends but I also think those who blog understand that sometimes life isn't just about how many posts we get up.

However, I am finally here to sit and write out one of those ideas in my head and it has to do with my job.

Whenever people ask me about work they tend to ask what I do and if I am full or part time. When they find out I am part time, they usually ask me how many kids I have. (I'm rolling my eyes...) Then, when I tell them none, they often don't know how to answer. It's awkward you guys! And people make me feel bad for not working full time. So then I proceed to tell them how my husband is a PA and works really crazy hours at the ER and to make sure Dave and I have time together and to make sure all bills and other things in life get taken care of I work park time. All in a run on sentence just like that!

I do work part time though and I overall enjoy it. I am a swim instructor at one of the YMCA's here in Wichita. If you aren't from Wichita you should know our Y's are some of the best in the nation. Our area has 9 branches and 4 of those branches have really nice outdoor water parks. The Y is a big part of the community here in Wichita. I work at a smaller branch that does not have an outdoor water park.

I never actually thought about working at the Y again. I worked at the Y in highschool and some in college and never thought to do it again. Last year, when I as applying for jobs no door would open for me and then someone told me that the Y was needing swim instructors. I interviewed and got the job. I didn't exactly know why God had me there but over time He has shown me a few things.

Our branch has a lot of Asians. And after living in Asia for a year I love interacting with them. I also feel like I understand their culture and know why they do some of the things they do. I also have had opportunities to share my faith with some of the kids and some of my co-workers. I had two little American-Cambodian girls that asked me so many questions about God during swim lessons. I could hardly believe the type of conversations we were having in between kicking and floating. At the end of the session I was honest and told their Mom about our conversations and gave them a Bible and invited them to church. She was nice and thanked me and I'm really thankful I had that opportunity.

Also, last summer I saw this Muslim family at Walmart. I stared and stared because she looked American and I couldn't figure out where she was from. Finally, I figured out I was staring and decided I should stop. A few weeks later that same family came into the Y for swim lessons. Thankfully she didn't recognize me as the rude starer at Walmart. However, her daughter was so much fun to teach and they are the nicest family! I asked where she was from and she nervously told me Syria and then asked if I had ever met someone from Syria before. I told her no but that I was glad she was here. The Y has a policy that while you are teaching someone you can't visit them outside of work. When swim lessons finished that family was on my heart. I began praying that I would see them out and about and a few weeks later I ran into one of the daughters and the Dad. I gave them my number and told him I would love to visit with his wife. And I did! A few weeks after that I went to their house and had the nicest visit. I hope to visit with them more and I really hope to be able to share God's love with them.

For more specifics of my job though ... Here are some very frequently asked questions I get:

How old should my kid be before I put them in swim lessons? 
This is the number one question I get asked by everyone. I think every kid should be enrolled to learn how to swim at the age of 3. However, before you enroll them there are things you can do with your baby and toddler to prep them for swimming. Making sure they submerge their head in the bathtub now and then and swimming with them before they turn three really helps a child acclimate to water and swimming pools.

What age do you teach? 
I have taught from six months old (so so cute!) to adults. I am often so proud of adults who come to class because they don't know how to swim and are taking big steps to overcome their fear and swim. I had never taught adults until this year but I really like it.

What do you teach? 
The Y has a new swim lesson program that has rolled out nation wide and it is really amazing. There are 6 levels and levels 1 through 3 are basic water movement and life saving skills. Levels 4 through 6 are stroke introduction and technique. I wasn't sure about the program when it first rolled out but I really like it now. We teach a kid how to get out of a pool if they fall in rather than teaching them the strokes first. It does make a lot of sense and has worked really well with the kids too.

How many hours do you work? 
It changes by month. In March I am teaching 5 classes a week. In February I taught a minimum of 56 classes in a month and I was majorly burned out! Even if I work fewer hours it is a lot of showering between classes and that takes up time.

Lastly, I thought I would share two funny stories from the Y. The first story happened after one of the little boys burped so loud during class. He said excuse me and then one of the other little girls said this to me:

Girl: "My Daddy toots at home."
Me, calmly: "Yeah. People have to toot sometime."
Girl: "My Daddy toots reaaaaaallly loud at home."
Me: "Yeah, sometimes toots are loud." I thought she would let it go at this point but no....
Girl: "Yeah, when my Daddy toots it's loud and it stinks reaaaaally bad."
Me: "Well, sometimes toots stink."

I laughed inside so hard! What was more hilarious was that after class her Dad came and picked her up. If only he knew what her daughter had just told me. =)

The second scenario happened when I was trying to teach a boy how to do breaststroke kick:

Me: "When you whip your legs you need to squeeze your butt muscles together to get power!"
Boy: "Yeah! Squeeze your bottom together real hard like you do right before your Dad or Mom is going to spank you real hard!"

I busted out laughing! I don't know why it cracked me up so hard but it just really did.

That's my job in a nutshell. If you have any other questions about what I do or if you have any questions about swimming in general please feel free to ask in the comments.

And now I want to know what do you do for a job? Are you full time or part time? What's your favorite thing about your current job?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Life Happenings

Oh, hi there!

It's me, the non writing blogger, Beka.

I do realize I have been so silent on the blog but I will also tell you two things:

1. I have just been living life and loving it. Blogging hasn't been a big priority right now because I'd rather be living than sitting behind my computer.  Not that I'm against sitting behind my computer but lately I just felt like that isn't a priority for me.

2. I think I've been a social media recluse. I haven't wanted to blog or post too much on FB or social media. Sometimes I go through phases like that and I think it's good to just be still and take a little break.

However, I do realize that I haven't updated anyone on anything lately, other than my Galentine party, and I want to do that. Some of my friends stay updated through this blog so I want to share about life and keep you all in the loop.

So, what is all going on?

First off, I opened up a photography business. It's called Sunshine Photography by Beka. I have a blog and FB page for it and I still need to file for taxes and do a few more behind the scenes business stuff but it's up and going. I'm excited and nervous about it. I'm excited because it means I can create my own schedule and hopefully be off when Dave is off. I'm nervous because if it flops then it flops and that would be sad.

I've had other photographer friends to meet with and e-mail with and that has been a huge blessing. You'll have to check out my blog and FB page and let me know what you think. And if you are in the area and want me to take your pictures I would love that too!

I also searched high and low on Etsy for a logo. I wanted something floral and I found the perfect logo. The designer does branding kits, it was very affordable and I'm really happy with it. You can see their work here.

Can I just get an Amen that social media is a big fat pool of drama lately? I mean, I thought the election would calm people down but then that women's march happened and I was almost embarrassed to be an American woman. Seriously! What in the world? After too much drama on social media I deleted about 250+ people from FB and I unfollowed a few people on Instagram. I did indeed unfriend some people on social media that I am friends with in life. I kind of felt guilty but I also am just tired of seeing mean and disrespectful hashtags about who God has put in as our President. I think it is disrespectful and I just don't want to be bombarded with that all the time. I will see those people in real life if our paths cross and I still consider people my friends but for some reason social media just really shows people's true colors and it was too much for me. Moving on ....

Kansas has had warm weekends and I AM LOVING IT! I have been doing my long runs on a Friday so I can win the weekly FitBit competition. I am not even lying, a FitBit competition is a real motivator to run 6 miles on a Friday.  However, by Friday's it is in the 60's and is perfect for running. Last Friday my friend ran 6 miles with me. She was pushing her baby in a stroller and still lead the way in front of me. I wanted to quit, but how could I when she was pushing the stroller and there I was just huffing and puffing.

Valentine's Day! It was so fun this year. I actually worked that morning but came home to FarmGirl flowers on my door. Yes, I did indeed send Dave a FB message requesting them and he was nice to order them for me. I love them! But you all know me and flowers so that is a given. We ate lunch with Dave's family and then we went to Krispy Kreme because my nephew had never been there and I think we spent around 2 hours there. He was fascinated by those donuts and apparently watching donuts being made is exhausting because he slept from 5:30pm - 7am the next day. That evening my parents and granny came over for dessert so it was fun to see them too.

Here is Dave, trying to eat the flowers he bought me. ;) 

My nephew in Idaho turned 4 on Valentine's Day too. I have no idea how he is four years old but he is and I just love him to pieces. I always feel sad when I think about how far away they live but such is life.

I've been working more. Our Aquatics Director at the Y moved so I have been filling in until the new one arrives NEXT WEEK. I'm happy to fill in but it has definitely been a learning experience, fun and challenging all at the same time.

Next weekend Dave and I are headed to Albuquerque. The missionaries that we stayed with in Thailand will be there for a visit so we will head that way to see them. Those missionaries are two dear people, faithful to The Lord and an inspiration to my walk with Christ. I'm so excited to hug them! I will also be stuffing my face with every Hatch green chile that I can get my hands on. Bring on all the chilis!

Happy Friday, friends! Thanks for staying updated with me and my life.

PS - If you have a FitBit shoot me an e-mail and I'll add you.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Be My Galentine!

Be My Galentine Party - 2017! 

Several years before I got married there were a group of girls at our Bible school that would wear black each Valentine's Day in protest to the holiday. I thought that was ridiculous and I decided that instead of pouting every year because I was still single, I would just host a girl Valentine party and celebrate.

Well several years later, I got married! But I still didn't want to stop hosting my Galentine parties because they were so much fun. So I didn't! I haven't been able to host due to living in Oklahoma and Burma but this year it happened. 

First off, us girls were wondering where the word 'Galentine' came from becuase it seems to be a new word and someone mentioned that it came from Parks & Rec (a TV show). I looked it up and it was indeed from that show where they had an episode called 'Galentine's Day'. Click here if you want to know more about that. 

So what exactly do people do at a Galentine party?

First, I try and do a little hostess gift for everyone who comes. This year I gave everyone a heart necklace, a pink rose and a little Valentine with I John 4:9 written on it. I always try and give a Bible verse to each person who comes because that is the best Valentine you can get. I also do a little drawing for a door prize because it's just fun!

This year I set up a little photo booth. I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased wrapping paper, heart glasses and some heart headbands. It was a lot of fun!

Each person brought some food to share (which I sadly forgot to take a picture of) and a gift for a white elephant exchange. We just visited, ate and swapped gifts. I highly recommend hosting one if you have never done that before.

Becky, my sister-in-law, brought our dog in a pink scarf and I just thought that was so fun!

Below are some more pictures from our Galentine party.

I intentionally planned this while Dave was at work. He came home 10 minutes after the last person left and I captured this lovely photo of him. =)

Have you ever been to a girl Valentine party?

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