Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The "All or Nothing" Christian

I realized something tonight...

Many people struggle with what it means to be a Christian. Both Christians and Non-Christians alike have stereotypes of "Christians." Lets look at one "Christian" you may have heard of:

The "All or Nothing" Christian

"Pam" reads her Bible 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Mondays and Fridays she attends Bible Studies. Wednesdays she teaches Youth Group. Tuesdays she helps with maintenance around the church. Thursdays she plays on her church's softball team. She spends Saturday nights preparing lessons for the class she teaches before church Sunday mornings. Pam attends the 11 o'clock church service. After church she goes out to lunch with the her church friends. Pam has been on countless mission trips and is first to sign up for ministry outreach events in her community. She keeps a stash of Tracks in her purse to give to anyone who'll stop and listen.

I was talking to Ryan tonight about the "All or Nothing" Christian and I realized why so many get burnt out or rebel from being this type of "Christian". They have lost sight of Jesus. Seems ironic, I know, but hear me out.

I believe that we were created to commune with God. We are his creation. When stop communing we  start wondering, "What's the point?" I'm guilty of this whenever I spend too much time learning about God and not enough time with God.

Look at it this way: Imagine a woman who bought groceries for two, cooked dinner every night for her husband, made him a sack lunch in the morning, washed his clothes, and purchased presents for his birthday. But one day she realized that the groceries were spoiling, the dinners left untouched, the sack lunches never taken, the clothes never worn, and the presents never opened.  She stopped everything. She swore she would never go back to living that way ever again. Did she ever have a husband? She was living as if she had. She finally realized that there was no one. The was no relationship. "Husband" was just an empty word she sacrificed so much for.  

*If you're an "All or Nothing" Christian, I would like to encourage you to first, commune with God. Make sure your activities are an outpouring of something greater: your relationship with God. Don't just hang out with Christians. Jesus didn't. God created this world, enjoy the many things it has to offer and get to know the people in it.

*If you USED to be an "All or Nothing" Christian, I would like to encourage you to start communing with God. Don't give up. Being a Christian has nothing to do with how many "activities" you can cram into your schedule or how long you read your Bible. Jesus didn't just hang out with the church folk, so neither do you! God created YOU- you're unique! He also created this world and wants you to enjoy it. Jesus did. Don't forsake Him because you feel like you can't do it all- none of us can! Just talk to Him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Playing Catch Up! :: The Real Reason I Abandoned My Blog

So the real reason I abandoned my blog is because I've been busy piecing together my genealogy!

It's so fun, but terribly time consuming.

Why did I decide to undertake such a daunting and, at times, overwhelming project?

1. I was inspired by the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?
2. Free Trial on!
3. Found out (on Ancestry) that one of my relatives already had a wealth of information about my Opa.
4. My friend Audra also expressed interest in documenting her genealogy so we decided to do it together. We've even been giving each other weekly homework assignments!
5. No one else in my family seems interested or willing to do the work.
6. I can compile all my work into the Heritage Makers Database to create a high-quality scrapbook at the click of a mouse.
7. I only have two grandparents left, one from each side of the family. Facts are easy to collect; but to capture a life on paper you need more that facts, you need memories.
8. I want to learn more of where I came from so that I may better understand myself.
9. I've become a bit nostalgic these last couple of years. (I don't know why) I just want to preserve and relive the past as much as possible.
10.  I really needed ANOTHER hobby. (Not Really)

Check out my progress:

While working on this project I got a song stuck in my head that I haven't listened to in years. Weird!

Listen to it here:

I used this phrase in my book:

I wish my eyes could trace the years
To watch the stories I now hear
But in our words they are still alive and we have not lost anything...from there to here

This is where I'm from
And we will pass it on
So take it as it comes
Cause it belongs to me

I have a LONG way to go. I'll try to update you on my progress when it looks like I've made some. ;)

Do you know much about your ancestry? Did that knowledge change you in anyway?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Playing Catch Up! :: Trip To The Lou :: The St. Louis Zoo

In July, Ryan and I flew home for a wedding. While there we visited the St. Louis Zoo with my mom, sister, brother, and our dear friends The Rupperts! The St. Louis Zoo, located just outside the city in Forest Park, is the 3rd largest Zoo in the country. It's ranked as one of the best Zoos in the country. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE?! Even most of the parking is free if you're willing to walk a bit.  

Here are the highlights:

The metal sculpture is outside the Zoo, the garden is in it. 

My brother John. Ryan with Anikin. 

Walking on a trail surrounded by waterfalls and luscious greenery. 

Anikin and Kat making their way through a tunnel. The Ruppert Family. :)

This and the Stingray exhibit were my favorites.

Anikin watching the Hyena. 

Elephants! The mama and baby were having a lot of fun in the water. 

The Stingray and Shark exhibit! Very neat! You could pet and feed them.

My mom pet the big shark! :O

Margret learning how to feed the Stingrays.

Margret posing with the penguin. Haha

Ok let me explain the weirdness. So when Ryan and I first met back in '05 we went on a scavenger hunt in Forest Park with a group of people on our Campus Crusade Internship. One of the tasks on the list was to imitate a puffin. So Ryan volunteered and I snapped the picture with my old Cannon SLR film camera. We thought it would be fun to recreate that pic again. Hehe Glad to see my photography skills have improved! :)

Ah, nature, I miss you! Hibiscus flower, crane, butterfly & bee.

Giraffs taking cover in the shade. Anikin all tuckered out.

Although we didn't ride it, I still took a picture of the train that runs through the entire Zoo. 
My brother John with his favorite "animal." Reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Same kind of snake and everything! 

So what do you think?! How does it compare to Zoos you've been to? 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playing Catch Up! :: The Half Marathon Update

Yea, it's been a while. Sorry bout that. As you can see, my blog got a makeover! Hooray!

A LOT has been going on since my last post! I'm going to try to play catch up these next couple of weeks.

First off :: I ran (and finished) my first half marathon on March 12th. 
6 Tunnels to Hoover Dam Race, Las Vegas, NV

Start of the race...I think. Since it was around St. Patrick's Day,  it was Irish themed. There was a guy playing a bagpipe and everything! Haha! 
Half-way point!
See, proof that I finished!
That's how I felt right after I crossed the finish line.

My teammates! They all did amazing!
(From Left) Sabrina, Me, Maryann, Ariana 
Making the trek back to the car. It was a beautiful place to run as you can tell!

My race time.
Recap of the Race ::

It was an incredible experience. The first half was a steady incline, followed by a steep decline, and then we turned around. I completed the first 6 miles strong, ready to take on the next 7. For the second half we ran through 6 old railway tunnels that had been carved out of the mountains. They were gigantic and a sweet relief from the sun! There were remnants of what looked like wooden supports poking through here and there.  The course was flat up until the last mile or so which had us zigzag down a hill, climb another hill that was so steep I could hardly walk it, and the turn around. Although a beautiful course, the inclines were a little much and the last 7 miles we had to run on gravel! Ugh. I had to watch my footing the whole time for fear of tripping over the occasional large rock.

I could not have done the 6 months of training, suffer through tendinitis in my Achilles tendon, got up a the crack of dawn to run before an 8 hour shift at work, or completed this race if it had not been for my Lord, Jesus, my teammates, Ryan, scripture, prayer, rockin' tunes, and a good pair of shoes. I needed EVERY support system I had to do this because it was not, at any point, easy. I was not a runner before I began this journey and I am still in awe that I actually did this!

Thank you Ryan for taking all the pictures! :)

For more pics, follow the link...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mind Your Health Mondays: Celebrate YOU!

From now on I'm going to celebrate me by scheduling routine check-ups the month of my birthday, March!  I've even scheduled one of my appointments ON my birthday. Today I had the first of 5 doctors appointments this month! Eeek! Tomorrow, the dentist. Later on this month: Obgyn, blood work for my thyroid and a follow up to get my thyroid medicine re-adjusted.

Pic from my 24th Birthday. I really want that cake right now!!

Today, after 8 weeks of waiting, I finally went to doctor for the mysterious bite and injured Achilles tendon on my right foot as well as a general check up. I was there for 3 hours! Glad the doctor was thorough and all, but wow, that's a long time to spend at the doctor.

The bite turned out to be from a spider. (Another reason I HATE spiders). They said it could take 6 months to a year for the discolored scar to go away! Gross. Thanks, spider.

My Achilles tendon is still slightly inflamed. I got samples of prescription anti-inflammatory cream to use on it for this last week of marathon training. :)

Anyways... I know my health is SO important to you and all, but the real reason I write this is to challenge you to get your check ups! It's been almost two years since I've been to ANY doctors. One year too long. Don't put it off! It's an investment worth making.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Making the Most of Your Vegetables

Per request, I'm going to show you how to use one red bell pepper and one white onion in 3 different meals.

Last night's dinner...

Meal 1: Fajitas/ Fajita Salad ~ Serves 2 (Forgot to take a picture :( Sorry!)
-1 small green pepper
-1 very large red pepper
-1/2 white onion
-1 bag Tyson beef strips
-1 can fat-free re-fried beans
-2 cups shredded Romain lettuce OR 3 small Mission Corn Tortillas
-Light sour cream
-Reduced fat shredded cheddar

1. In a large skillet, heat up beef strips. Meanwhile, start cutting up peppers and onion into strips. Reserve 1/2 the Red Pepper for later meals.
2. After beef is cooked, transfer to a plate. Add a drizzle of olive oil and veggies to same skillet and cook until onion is translucent and peppers have softened.
3. While veggies are cooking, start heating up the re-fried beans in a pot or microwave (if you're lucky to have one that isn't broken, like ours! )
4. While everything is cooking, start cleaning and shredding the lettuce.
5. By the time you're done with the lettuce the veggies should be ready. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the meat back into the the skillet and cover. This way the meat gets re-heated without drying out.

Tortilla Version:
In a small skillet, heat both sides of tortilla for about 45 sec or until you can fold it without it breaking. (You do NOT need to add oil to skillet! ) Corn tortillas are tricky. They have to be super hot otherwise they'll crack. I do not recommend the microwave. In my experience they got mushy heating them up that way.
613 Cal, 18g Fat, 1492mg Sodium, 119mg Potassium, 71g Carbs, 15g Fiber, 11g Sugar, 41g Protein
49% Vit A, 142% Vit C, 40% Calcium, 26% Iron

Salad Version:
Spread 1/2 cup re-fried beans on your plate. Add 2 cups romaine. Top with 1/2 skillet mixture, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 Tbsp sour cream, 2 Tbsp salsa.
419 Cal, 15g Fat, 1484mg Sodium, 352mg Potassium, 32 Carbs, 11g Fiber,  6g Sugar, 36g Protein
158% Vit A, 180%Vit C, 37% Calcium, 25% Iron

Note: This is a great meal for say a husband and wife. I'm trying to do no refined carbs at night, but Ryan isn't. With this meal I can opt for the low carb salad option without forcing Ryan to do the same. Both versions are healthy. :)

The next morning....

Meal 2: Omelet w/ Banana and Coffee ~ Serves 1

I ate the banana before my run this morning and made the omelet and coffee afterwards.

-2 large organic eggs
-1 Tbsp organic milk
-1 cup baby spinach
-1/3 cup chopped Baby Bella mushrooms (I just broke mine)
-2 leftover red pepper strips from the night before, broken up into pieces
-1/8 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

1. In small skillet, heat up mushrooms and peppers. Once softened, add spinach and wilt. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
2. Whisk eggs and milk in bowl. In a small non-stick skillet, spay a non stick spray and heat until hot. Add  egg mixture. Reduce heat. Once the egg mixture had solidified, flip it over. Cook other side until done.
3. Transfer to plate, sprinkle on cheese, and then fold both sides in so that the cheese can melt. Top with skillet mixture and enjoy! :)

357 Cal, 14g Fat, 271mg Sodium, 822mg Potassium, 39g Carbs, 7g Fiber, 4g Sugar, 19g Protein
115% Vit A, 77% Vit C, 22% Calcium,  15%Iron

For lunch...

Meal 3: Chicken "Fried" Rice ~ Serves 2

-1, 6 ounce Chicken breast
-1/4 Red Pepper, chopped (I used the remaining red pepper from last night's dinner)
-1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
-1/2 cup frozen peas
-1/3 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
-1 garlic clove chopped (I chopped 2, I'll use the other later in the week)
-1/2 white onion, chopped (I used the remaining onion from last night's dinner)
-2 large organic eggs
-1pkg Uncle Ben's 90 sec Brown  Rice
-2 Tbsp Soy sauce (reduced sodium)
-2 Tbsp Newman's Own Sesame Ginger Dressing

1. Chop all vegetables and set aside.
2. Cut up boneless, skinless chicken breast into cubes. Meanwhile, prepare large skillet by placing over high heat. Remove from heat to spray with non-stick cooking spray and then return to heat. Add chicken and cook about 7 min or until chicken is cooked through. Season with sea salt and pepper while they're cooking. Set cooked chicken to the side in a bowl and cover to keep warm.
3. In same skillet, spray more non-stick cooking spray and add veggies, stirring frequently. While veggies are cooking, prepare Uncle Ben's 90 sec brown rice in microwave or skillet... I had to use a skillet at the time because our microwave was broken. :( But it's fixed now! :) Add the cooked rice in with your veggies.
4. In a bowl add 2 Tbsp Newman's Dressing and 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce and set aside.
5. In another bowl whisk 2 large organic eggs and set aside.
6. By this time your veggies should be cooked. Make a clearing in the middle of your pan. Remove from heat, spray with cooking spray, and then return to heat. In the clearing, add the eggs. Scramble them as they cook. When eggs are cooked, stir them into veggie/rice mixture.
7. Re-add the chicken pieces and drizzle the reserved sauce over everything. Cook about 2 min or until sauce is absorbed.
Enjoy! :)

483 Cal, 10g Fat, 981mg Sodium, 380mg Potassium, 55g Carbs, 6g Fiber, 6g Sugar, 32g Protein
145% Vit A, 65% Vit C,  8% Calcium,  20% Iron

The book I referenced was the
 Biggest Loser Cookbook
Chicken, Sauce, and Rice

Scrambling the eggs

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Trip to the Lou: The Food!

Funny pic of my mom.
She had already cut up the Duck, darn it. 
My mom saved this bottle just for me... I wonder why? ;)

 Home Cooked Meals: My favorites!
-Duck with mashed potatoes and green beans with bread crumbs.
-Chicken Spiedini with broccoli, brown rice, and stuffed mushrooms!

"The Square Beyond Compare" 

Imo's: I ate it twice while I was home! Half of an extra large all to myself! Yum! 
I will keep trying to replicate this pizza... got the authentic cheese from my brother Dan and the sauce. Now if only I could figure out that wafer-thin crust! I'll probably have some more shipped to Las Vegas before that happens. 

Mom at The Women's Exchange
The famous Woman's Exchange Salad, half eaten. ;)
The Woman's Exchange:
I've been going here for years! My friend Cathy introduced me to this place when were kids. The organization is 128 years old!!! For more info go to  I've only ever gotten their salad. I never wanted to try anything else because it's amazing! I love visiting this tea room every time I go home.

I've been here once before, when I registered at Crate and Barrel. 

Enjoying my Mocha. 

A random coffee house in Clayton. Sometimes it's just nice to have a coffee from somewhere other than Starbucks. ;) I had a Mocha and we split a Chocolate Eclair and I had no idea how many calories were in either!

Not featured:
The Pasta House- Their salad and lasagna are to die for! 
Bread Co-I know we have Panera in Las Vegas, but it feels more authentic to eat it in STL, because it's called St. Louis Bread Company there.
Penn Station-The best subs ever. Period.

Didn't make it to Lion's Choice, Fritz's, or Culvers...maybe next time. ;)