Racing Rabbits

run

There are some definite differences between running at home and running at school.

At school, I run on sidewalks, and I must be constantly aware of the people around me. Some people greet me; other people zoom around me. I occasionally pause at stop-lights, and I usually walk the last 1/2 mile because the road turns steeply uphill. I constantly change my trail to pass different sites–1 mile takes me past the gazebo, two miles leads me through God’s Acre, and three miles directs me to the playground. The only animals are leashed dogs and the rare in-flight bird.

The lonely, rural gravel road at home is a welcome change. In the solitude, my own thoughts distract me. The occasional car seeks my protection, slowing down and pulling into the other lane. Runs are leisurely here, and, while I still face NC hills, none are as menacing as the one at school. I only have two running options: one mile or two miles. Either way, I see much of the same things–fields, hay, houses, and gardens. The animals are the best part of running at home. Delicate deer, strolling skunks, haughty horses, scampering squirrels, carefree cows, and bellowing birds accompany me as I romp across the gravel.

The best part of running at home, however, is the rabbits. Almost daily, a rabbit will dart across the road into the bushes. I always have to smile at the memory of the tortoise and the hare.

Being a runner, many people like to use running analogies with me. “It’s a marathon,” they say, “not a sprint.” I am to be the tortoise, slowly pushing through life, determined to not take a break, to not get discouraged, to not give up until the finish line. Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14, “
Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”

On I press, not looking back, not sprinting ahead.  I continually work towards the prize.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Top Ten Tuesday: All Around the World

island

It’s huge–the planet, that is.  While it has been vastly surveyed, it is unexplored territory awaiting my personal discovery.  The earth contains hundreds of unheard languages, thousands of un-visited sites, millions of unseen faces, and billions of un-reached souls.  I would love nothing more than to pack all of my belongings in storage, hop on an airplane, and skip about the globe with a camera around my neck.  My unattainable dream is to see every inch of terra-firma, but these are the top ten places on my list.

Top Ten International Places I want to Visit

1. Okinowa, Japan
2. London, England
3. La Boca (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
4. Easter Island
5. The Pyramids at Giza (Egypt)
6. Machu Picchu (Peru)
7.The Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
8. Sydney, Australia
9. The Great Wall of China
10. Napier, New Zealand

 

Where have you always wanted to go?

Lemony Snicket Oatmeal

Lemonysnicket

    “Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”  

                                                                                                                                                  ― Lemony Snicket

What do you get when you cross snickerdoodle cookies, lemon, oatmeal, and children’s books?  An amazing morning!

Lemony Snicket Oatmeal (Lemon-Snickerdoodle Cookie Batter Oatmeal)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a sealable container
  • Mix it up
  • Refrigerate over night
  • Eat! (It really is that easy!)

Top Ten Tuesday: Organize for School

organize

One month from today, I will be heading back to college. Between classes, work, church, and extracurricular activities, college is rushed, hectic, and taxing. However, I have found some organizational tricks to help me live stress-free (or at least stress-reduced). These ten tricks will help organize your time, habits, and dorm room to keep college enjoyable.

Ten Organizational Tricks for School

1. Use a calendar.

I neatly schedule every class, assignment, and activity in a small daily planner.  In order to keep events straight, I color code each class (pink pen for history, orange pen for English, etc.) I also write down my work schedule at the top of each day.  I admit, it may be excessive, but I go as far as to write down what I am going to wear so that I don’t have to make decisions in the morning (I am really indecisive!).

2. Get everything ready the night before.

Before I go to bed, I pull out my handy calendar and prepare for the next day.  I separate out the clothes that I plan to wear the next morning, and I lay out all the jewelry and accessories to match. If I have any pressing matters to deal with in the morning, I leave a note on top of my shoes so that I won’t forget.

3. Start projects early.

You will hear this one a lot, but it is extremely useful.  Starting the project as early as possible ensures that you won’t be running around searching for supplies at the last minute.  Simply brainstorming ideas the first week of class is a great way to start organizing a project.

4. Space out studying.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and you have to find a way to get everything done.  I suggest keeping an “order of importance” list to prioritize your studying.  In between activities, pull out your notes.  Even two minutes can help you prepare for an upcoming exam.

5. Enjoy mealtime.

Do not be so worried about the next thing on your list that you rush through your meal.  Schedule at least 30 minutes (I usually schedule an hour) per meal into your day so that you can enjoy a break.

6. Utilize hidden space.

When it comes to the dorm room, it is important to think outside the box.  Consider every possible way to store something.  Hang coats on the closet door, keep your hamper under your bed.  Hang purses on the wall as artwork rather than shoving them in your closet.  There is plenty of room in a dorm if you get creative.

7. Don’t carry excess.

Only carry the books and supplies you need for a single day.  I usually carry one pencil, two pens, and a highlighter in addition to my Bible, laptop, planner, and books.

8. Write it down.

I keep a pen and piece of paper with me at all times.  If anything pops in my head to be done, I write it down.

9. Buy a smaller backpack.

This will require you to clean out your bag more regularly.  In turn, you will not carry unnecessary junk, and you will save your back.

10.  Close your closet.

When the closet is left open, it seemingly floods your room.  Keeping the doors shut hides the clutter.

 

What do you do to stay organized at school?

BBQ Carrot Fries

carrots

Although I am from a town that claims to be the BBQ capital of the world, I am not a huge fan of pulled pork barbecue sandwiches.  However, I found myself in the mood for some extra-flavorful veggies today, and these BBQ “fries” hit the spot.  The tangy BBQ flavor mixed nicely with the sweet carrots to create a simple mid-afternoon snack.

The recipe below is for a single serving, but it could easily be multiplied to be served as a side-dish.  Also, most people would probably prefer a stronger BBQ flavor; feel free to add more BBQ sauce!

BBQ Carrot Fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/4 tsp. BBQ Sauce (or more)
  • 1/8 tsp. chives
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Slice carrots into 3-inch by 1/4-inch fries.
  • In a plastic bag, combine all ingredients. Shake well so that the carrots are well coated.
  • Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and arrange carrots in a single layer on the pan.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
  • Eat and enjoy!

 

What is your hometown known for?

2 Miles in My Flip-Flops

2miles

It’s a hot, lazy Saturday in rural North Carolina.  Slipping into a worn pair of flip-flops and grabbing my camera, I head out to enjoy the blazing sunshine.  It is a solitary stroll, but I am not alone.  While women rock on front porches, fathers play catch with their sons.  Teenage boys, still high with World Cup fever, dribble worn balls.  Power tools buzz as men work in their out buildings.  Insects hover in clouds around my head.

Two miles pass.  By the end, my feet are rubbed raw under rubber straps and my memory card has dozens of extra pictures.  I love these lazy days of summer.

 

treeface

 

produce

 

grapes

 

horse

Apple Cookie Bars

applecookiebar

Oh. My. Word.

What just went in my mouth?

Is food in Heaven going to taste that good?

Those were the first three things that I thought when I took a bite of these scrumptious apple cookie bars. You have to try them. Like right now. Quit reading and get baking!

Apple Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  •  1 apple
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 2/3 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2/3 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Dice apple into the tiniest pieces imaginable. If you think they are small enough, cut them in half again.
  • Grind almonds in a food processor until the it just begins to make a flour-like texture. You don’t want huge chunks, but you want the pieces to be distinct.
  • Combine apples, almonds, oil, and cinnamon.
  • Whisk the egg.
  • Add egg and coconut to apple mixture.
  • Spread mixture onto greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes (depending on how well-done you like your cookies).
  • Eat!

You can cut these into granola bars, cookies, or crumble topping for yogurt or ice cream.