Monday, September 23, 2013

Community Service

I had a brief conversation with an old friend this morning about serving.  It was a few words we exchanged on the subject, what we are both passionate about, but I've been thinking about this conversation all morning. 

I told him I felt God calling me to serve, but really other than that, why do I do it?  What leads me to choose certain things over others and why do I want to serve full time rather than just get a job?

First and foremost, I say, "You don't ignore the call when God Himself calls on you for something."  I spent too many years punishing myself for bad choices and completely trashed my relationship with God during that time.  Four years and ten months ago, something happened to me that totally changed my life.  And my relationship with God.  He brought me my son, WA.  It was then that I knew he loved me and even though I did not feel it for a lot of years, I was worth something.  It is a horrible feeling to feel so low that you're convinced no one cares for you or loves you.  He moved something in me that changed all that.  Which brings me to the main reason I love to serve.  People deserve love, respect, and care.

Everyone is worth something.  Everyone is worth love from their family and peers.  Some are lost in depression, some are lost in addiction, or sadly both.  For some, they have do not have family or a support system to get through life.  Let's face it, life can be tough.  I want to be there for those people.  It saddens me that people can get to a point so low they do not feel love.  I want them to know, I love them.  I want them to know I support them.

I serve because even though I was unhappy for many years, I was born into a position that afforded me many opportunities in life.  I am educated, I am able bodied, and I have drive and determination that were born of my struggles.  I want to lift those people up that were born to a disadvantage.  Its my responsibility as a human, quite frankly, and I mean to make good on the talents and skills God gave me.

I serve to provide an example to my son.  Many of you know my son was named William Alexander.  His name literally translates in meaning to "For The People" (William) and "Warrior" (Alexander).  His birthmother and I chose those names, not together and not at the same time.  I don't think it was a coincidence, but divine intervention, that he was given those names.  I drag him with me to every community service project I undertake so I can instill in him the same passion I feel for my fellow man.  We have a responsibility to care for each other because its what sets us apart from animals.  When our children are born with physically deformities, do we chew them off like dogs?  When our children are born with mental incapability, do we smother them?  No.  I want my child to know it is very important to not only take care of yourself and your family, but your community.

Lastly, and the most simple reason I serve, is because it makes me genuinely happy.  And I am blessed with the ability to NOT work so I want to give back.  It doesn't always cost us money to serve, and you can spend very few minutes giving back to your community.  I promise, its the best way to lift your mood.  So...

How will you serve?



Friday, February 8, 2013

Beginners Cooking: Black Bean Burgers

Ive steadily been teaching myself to cook, still.  Tonight I had a mish-mash of things in the cupboards and refrigerator so I decided to get brave.  I didn't measure anything, so you'll have to use your own judgement when making this yourself.

Black Bean Burger Patties

1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cans black beans
Cilantro (I use the tubes, so give it a good squirt)
Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 egg
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (to keep this healthy, you can substitute wheat germ)

Use a potato masher to mash all together just like hamburger meat.  Shape into patties.  they will hold together better if you refrigerate them for about two hours before cooking.

Saute your patties in oil for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side.  I like to serve mine on toasted whole wheat burger buns.  I also like to melt a slice of gourmet cheese (Havarti, muenster, and Swiss work nice) and use a dollop of honey mustard.

You can cook these patties on the stove or the grill.  Enjoy.  This is a great vacation lunchtime meal.  Which is why I posted a picture of a Harbortown sunset from our last Hilton Head Island vacation.

Happy eating!  And running!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beginners Cooking: Tilapia and Quinoa

I started on a journey a couple weeks ago.  I have decided to teach myself to cook.  I have zero cooking skills and have been intimidated by that hot appliance called a range for some time.  So far I have made tilapia, salmon, scallops, and seared tuna steaks.  Its coming pretty easy.  I do have to concentrate and wait for the wine sips at mealtime, but oh well.  I am learning something.  Tonight I made this recipe from the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart.

I am really trying to make only healthy food, even though I'm deeply routed in the south.  My grandmother was a great cook and fried pretty much everything.  Even her girdles once she was done wearing them.  Just kidding.

This meal was great.  And even better served with Beringer Chardonnay.

Happy Eating!

...and running.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line at Historic Half Marathon, Fredericksburg, VA 2012

On Sunday May 20, 2012 I ran my first half marathon.  And I ran it with 6000 other people. 

It was sunny and the temperature was perfect.  The first eight miles went by easy-peasy and then the fatigue (aka "the beast") set in.  Afterwards, my health-nut gym friends would ask me, "How did you push through it?"  I just did.  I cannot explain it.  I was unhealthy for so long and I was finally doing things right and I just knew I could do it.  I guess I just "embraced the beast".  If you've read Born To Run by Christopher McDougall (if you haven't, go get it today), you remember Ann Trason and Scott Jurek talk about "the beast" and how you have to welcome it and embrace it, to overcome it.  Its completely true.  I just said "hi fatigue, kiss my ass".  I did.  I was going to finish this race.

This course had many many many hills and most of them we were running UP, not DOWN.  It was challenging to say the least, but I tackled each hill small, large and extra large and accomplished it.  I finished all 13.1 miles and beat my goal and that is more than I could have asked for.

I would only do two things differently.  First, I would train more.  I don't think I personally, could not have over trained for this race.  Secondly, I would have paid better attention to nutrition, mainly fueling up correctly pre- and post- race.   I was severely dehydrated when I crossed the finish line (although you can't tell by my picture*).  My lower calves were cramped up as well as my fascia, which had my toes curling under as early as mile 11.  But I busted right through it, and would totally do it again. 

Most importantly, I crossed a half marathon off my bucket list/new years resolutions.  My full marathon is next and will be in March 2013.  I am on my way, folks!

Happy Running!


* By God I was going to get a good picture out of this race from MarathonFoto so I HAD to put my game-face on every time I saw one of their photogs!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why I Love My Gays...

The answer is really very simple.  Because they are who they are.  And I don't mean because they are gay.  I love them for different reasons, because they are all very different people who happen to be gay or lesbian...

I met CA in middle school.  She was the very first friend I made after I moved to a new town.  We were inseparable.  We tried out for cheer leading together (she made it, I didn't) and never stopped being friends even though I fell in with the "geek crowd" while she was wildly popular.  To this day we support each other within prayer groups, text message conversations, and have shared a few tragedies.  She is witty, and beautiful and has every item on the list to be voted "most popular" even 15 years out of high school!

I met LHJ twenty years ago.  She is the type of person who always has a smile plastered on her face.  You won't find it surprising, she was a cheerleader.  She is always happy and positive and the best part is, her bright and sunny disposition is always so infectious.  You can not spend more than five minutes with her without feeling like you had been wrapped up tight in happiness and light.  She is twenty years older now, but still has that wonderfully optimistic attitude that makes anyone around her feel lucky to know her.

I met CCJ eight years ago through my wedding planning.  He is so creative and talented.  He is the sweetest Southern Gentleman I have ever met.  He has the manners of an old Christian Grandma and a heart bigger than our country.  He genuinely loves people and being around people.  He is extremely supportive of his close friends and family and has a sense of humor that could put Tracy Morgan to shame.  I am honored to know him because he is loving and respectful and just as dignified as Jackie O'Nassis.

I met KS at a job several years ago.  And we hit it off immediately.  We fought like siblings and were just as close some days.  He was amazing to be around.  He had a way of making you feel like the only person in the room because he listened intently and respected everything you were saying.  He was an old southern boy with impeccable morals.  And he wasn't afraid to tell his friends when they were doing something completely stupid.  He had integrity.

No, I don't love these people because they are gay/lesbian.  I love them because they are people.  I love them because they are my friends.  I love them.  And they love me and I am lucky as hell to have friends like these.  I love them because they are People.  People who hurt, laugh, smile, fail. succeed, and LOVE.  They love their partners.  They love their children.  And in America, the land of the free, they cannot legally get married in their home state.  What a shame.  I am lucky to know all of these people; but I ashamed most days because while I am sitting here sharing a glass of wine with my husband, who I can make medical decisions for, enjoy benefits with and legally co-parent a child, my friends cannot.  What a shame.

Did you know interracial marriage was illegal as late as the 1960's?  How completely stupid does that seem now??

Get with it people.

The Gay/Lesbian Loving Runner/Writer/Mommy/Wife

P.S. Tim, Rob, Bryan, Kevin, Kerri, and all my other friends, I didnt leave you out!  I just need to go to bed and thought I got my point across just fine!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bring it home...

Why can't we bring the beach home with us?  We'll start with the most important...

We'll hire a dumptruck for the sand someday...


Outer Beauty

Every single time I return home from Hilton Head Island, I have so many ideas for my yard.  I want to go straight to the local nursery and drop a boatload of money.  But we are streamlining our spending in order to retire soon, so that isn't going to happen.

However, I did buy some pretty affordable annuals for shade and sun at our local chain hardware store to pretty up the yard a bit.  My husband and I, with our little helper, set out to make a nice atmosphere on our deck, patio and yard.  We even spruced up the front porch!  And I finally planted my herb garden, which Im hoping will thrive.  It is still a little chilly here today.

We love spring and summer and usually spend most of our time outside.  We needed some color!  I do mostly container gardening since I have a black thumb.  Hope you enjoy!  Cant wait for my Asian Lillies to bloom!

Happy May!