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. 


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.


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.