Friday, August 19, 2016

Giveaway: Family Christian Stores

It's been a while since I've done a review or a giveaway--this looks like a great time to do one!

I had the opportunity to check out Family Christian Stores.  They sent me a $25 gift certificate to use on anything in the store!  (And, I have one to share with one of readers---see the information below!!)

I don't have a Family Christian Store near me, but I have had the opportunity to visit their stores.  Fun fact: my husband worked for them when we were dating 30 years ago! The Family Christian website is very easy to navigate.  At the top of the page of broad categories such as: Books, Kids, and Music--and my personal favorite---SALES!! There is a search box at the top of each page that will search the entire site or a specific category.  Once in a category, you can narrow your field even more. I could have spent all day browsing. I love books!

Family Christian has select journaling Bibles for 30% off!  If you haven't checked out the Bible Journaling craze, you can see my Pinterest board that has samples arranged by book of the Bible.  I chose the NLT Inspire Bible that has over 400 line art drawings. Some are full page, and some are partial page. These illustrations can be colored. I love the idea of Bible journaling. You can see some of my pages here.  But I can't always draw what I have in my mind.  In addition to the drawings, the Bible has 2 inch wide margins so I can add my own notes and pictures.

The cover of the Inspire Bible

A sample of a completed page

But Family Christian has so much more! A while back I shared my Active Faith running shirts. They now carry them at Family Christian!  Here's a video about how the company was started: Active Faith.

Family Christian has another great deal going on! Until August 25th, you can visit a local store or shop on-line. Buy 1--Get 1 half off on ALL books, movies, and music.  You can mix and match in any department.

Okay. So how do you get your hands on this $25 gift card?  Visit Family Christian and explore the incredible selection.  Then came back here and post a comment below.  That's it. No hoops to jump through. Just leave me a comment. Make sure I can find you.  On August 27th I'll pick a number. Watch for an e-mail!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


"If you come to work every day with a sense of dread--it may be time to move on".  These words were repeated several times during "team building" session in February.  I felt the words were directed at me. I took them as an invitation to step up my job search. If I had not done that, today I would have celebrated my 12th anniversary at my job. Instead, I've spent the past 12 weeks (or so) in a job I love--and I'm wondering why I waited so long.

I had some good years at my old job. I made some good friends, and I know that I made a difference in the lives of some of the families I served. But I stayed longer than I should have. I stayed because, even though I came to work with a sense of dread, it was easier to stay where I was familiar than to risk something new.  Tony Robbins said, "Real change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing".

Since stepping out of my comfort zone, I've discovered a whole new life and career.  Here are some of the highlights.

  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T:  Even though I'm the new kid on the block, my ideas are considered--and sometimes even implemented.
  • Structure: Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I have policies and procedures that guide my work. If I'm not sure what to do, I know where to look.
  • Supervision: There are certain steps that my supervisor does along the way. I am never out on my own making decisions. I have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.
  • Feedback: My supervisor tells me if I did it correctly. If I didn't, she tells me how to fix it.
  • Clear chain of command: I know who to ask for help.  Roles are clearly defined.
  • Smooth handoffs: Whether I'm transferring a case to other country or sending a family to the permanency unit, there is a protocol to make sure everyone knows what has been done, what needs to done, and when the handoff will take place.
  • Tools of the trade: Within an hour of starting, I was handed a work cell phone. I have access to fleet of cars. I have what I need to do my job. I have access to a dictation program to help with writing my notes.
  • Celebrations: At least once a month we've had some kind of meal together (the entire department). We even had a baby shower for someone who had been here about 6 weeks.  From the decorations to food to gifts, you would have thought they had known her for years.
  • Retirement: The state puts in $2 for every $1 I put in (regular retirement). I also have the option of deferred compensation to add even more to my retirement. (I'm starting small, but I will increase as often as I can).
  • Teamwork: My team has been incredibly helpful with my transition. One colleague texted me on Saturday (my first weekend on call) just to see if I was okay.  Members of other teams have been extremely helpful as well. Whether I need someone to bounce ideas off of or I need a resource, the entire office is willing to help.
  • Professionalism: I don't have to punch a time clock!  If I work my 40 hours, I don't have to do anything. I only have to go to the time application if I work overtime, take leave, or I'm on-call.
  • Appreciation: I am regularly told when I am doing a good job. The praise is specific and sincere.  We start all meetings (whether just our unit or the entire department) with sharing "kudos".  Supervisors and co-workers acknowledge the hard work, cooperation, and "out-of-the-box" thinking they have seen.

The moral of my story is: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If God is nudging you to do something different, take a leap of faith. I know I am glad I did!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

FFL Week 2

The theme for this week's Faithful Finish Lines is setting goals. I loved this statement from Sara.

My goal for the next 7 weeks is to improve my 5K PR (personal record). I don't have a local race around that time, so I'll do it on my own. I may find a virtual race like the (Im)Prove Your Self(i.e.) or maybe Run with Grace or This Princess Wears Running Shoes

By April 15th, I will complete a 5K (3.1 miles) in 45 minute or less. This is 1 minute and 4 seconds faster than my best time so far.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

FFL Week 1

I mentioned that I am participating in a 7 week program called Faithful Finish Lines. Between now and Tax Day (April 15th) I will be working on getting my head back on track with my healthy living goals.
A Faithful Finish Line is a short-term, specific goal that will recreate fitness and mission in your life.
This week, our first challenge was to look at what we are eating. I didn't do well--with the eating or the recording.  I've been doing a lot of emotional eating and mindless eating this week. And I've had way too much sugar. (Full disclosure: I ate two slices of chocolate pound cake as I was typing this!) I planned to record my food on My Fitness Pal, but I didn't.   I have a love/hate relationship with journaling. I know it is good overall, but I tend to get obsessive with the tools. When I first started losing weight, I spent so much time focusing on how much I was eating and how many calories I was burning.

My goals for the next 7 weeks:

  1. Decrease my 5K (3.1 mile) personal record (PR) from 46:04 to under 45 minutes.
  2. Increase water consumption
  3. Decrease Diet Coke consumption (work on eliminating it for good!)
  4. Run at least 2 times a week.
  5. Other workout at least 3 times a week.
I got off to slow start this week, but I am going to renew my focus. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Write the Songs...

Not really.  But if I did write songs, these would be the ones I would right.  You'll notice a theme. Life can be overwhelming at times. These songs give me strength and hope to keep going.

What songs encourage you on the rough days?

Worn--Tenth Avenue North
I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Breathe--Jonny Diaz

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Just Be Held--Casting Crowns

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

Thursday, March 3, 2016

10K--I ran it!

I've been planning to write about my 10, but I've been busy!! My MIL had at total knee replacement just over a week ago. My husband and my 18 year old have been sick since before she came home. My 10 year old has been sick off and on.  We know that none of them have the flu, but they are just not getting better. So I've been doing my best to take care of all of them (while working full time and trying to finish my last two classes for grad school!) 

About the Pecos Valley Stampede....
I ran the whole thing!

I estimated my time would be be about 1:50 or 1:55. My Runkeeper app clocked me at 1 hour, 40 minutes, 45 seconds.

But according to the official race results, I finished in 1:40:27!! (That's about half a minute difference!!)   Also, I thought I was the last 10K racer (there was a 2 mile, a 10K, and a Half Marathon going on), but according to the results, there were 2 behind me. 

The race was a "there-and-back" not a loop. So each set of racer turned around at a different spot. Starting about mile 2, I started encountering returning runners--some 10K and some Half marathon.  The were incredible!  At least a dozen of them waved, high fived, gave me a thumbs up, and/or said something like, "Good job!" or "You've got this!".  These were the ones who initiated the encouragement!  At least that many more responded to my gesture or words.  I truly felt supported and valued!

At the end, someone interviewed me for a story in the newspaper about running! I haven't seen the article yet, but I'll share it when I find it.

I don't mind being last--I know I'm ahead of people who didn't even start.  But I hate missing out on the awards. Not that I expect a placer medal, but I hate missing the door prizes.  The last race I ran, I missed it all.  This time, not only was I there for the medals, I got a door prize!  A pair of tickets to the Jack Ingram (who? still trying to find out about him) at the Spencer Theater.  We've heard great things about this theater, but we've never had the chance to visit.  I guess we'll check out a new (to us) artist next week.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

10K here I come!

I'm ready to head out the door for the Pecos Valley Stampede 10K (6.2 miles). I've only completed that distance twice--both races. The first was 2 years ago and all hills (13 flights of stairs according to my FitBit!!) and I ran the whole time. The second time I fell during the first mile and ended up walking most of it.
My "Flat Mama" with my favorite things:  Enell sports bra*, Brooks Running shoes with green Super Feet inserts,  Hickies laces, Road ID, Flipbelt, and Bluetooth headphones.

I'm ready to run!! 

*Disclosure: All of the above are products I've found on the journey and I bought myself. I am now a Social Ambassador for Enell, but I loved them for many years first! Enell provided me with the Biscay Green special edition bra and the tank top. If you love the color, you can preorder and shipping is free until the end of the month!