Saturday, April 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes: The B's of A

Cheers and prayers for the Fulwilers, especially Jen, the mom of new lil Joseph and also the matriarch of 7 Quick Takes.

7 quick takes that I Instagram'ed. I call this the B's of A (things I did in April that start with B).:

1. Bacheloretting

My first limo ride into Hollywood was classified as worth it. I think/know I liked it better than the destination. 
2. Bridesmaiding
My aunt got married to a wonderful man on the Queen Mary 4/6/13.  This was post-veil, pre-dress. We're related!
3. [Feeding the] Bears
This was the dirtiest, grossest, biggest stuffed bear ever, so naturally my husband decided to feed it ice cream. Note our friend's "Beeriodic Table" t-shirt, which all the ladies (and gentleman) didst love.

4. Beaching
Hermosa Beach was so cold and windy! I was wearing a scarf and three shirts atop my sundress. Note the random swingset in the background, which I did enjoy.
5. Blossoming
Naturally I assume that my pictures of the same blossoms millions of other people photographed in DC will be important to you. You're welcome!
But have you seen this cherry blossom photo?:
They were forreal making an amateur music vid on the banks of the Potomac during CherryBlossom season.
6. Bebe duckies
This was milliseconds before she started squawking and jumped in the water with her adorable bebe offsprings. I love that she first flashed me a view of her pretty navy blue under-feathers (technical duck terms here, people).
7. Blessing

Thanks to all those who sacrifice to make my homeland so free that I could travel coast to coast. 

PS. How's THAT for procrastination? See Grace @ CampPatton for the homeland of this week's Takes.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beauty Spot: NOT a tutorial on sock buns

Did you try anything new today? When was the last time you played with a fashion trend you were a little afraid to debut? Tell me about it!

When I went to California, I noticed that it was considered stylish to walk around with a donut on ones head -- Apparently a.k.a, "sock bun."

Which led me to Google, which led me to this tutorial video:

Apologies on behalf of Mr. Kate if that annoyed you. You can also read her blog DIY here. For those easily annoyed, I recommend the blog route.

I finally decided to give it a try this morning, but I couldn't really tell if I had done it right, so I kept taking selfies with my iPhone to make sure I didn't look like a snarling monster with footgear visible atop my cranium. I am incredibly embarrassed about selfies, but I am going to show you anyway, just for Ss & Gs (bonus points if you know the reference or meaning of that abbrev).


From above

From the side (at the office)

Front and other side
So, I wear my hair in a bun frequently, but it's just the twirl and twist and pin kind, rather than the sock kind. I have to say, I received many more compliments on this version of the hair-do. I am no expert, but I believe that the greater symmetry of the sock bun yields higher approval ratings.

Some ratings I received today:
"You look like _________ (some TV show I can't remember the name of but might've been Rodeo Drive?)."
"You look prettier than usual."
"I can tell you're channeling Spring today."
"Oh! You look nice today!" (Surprise from my husband.)

However, if you see my forehead, the illusion of symmetry is officially dissed. I was blessed with an artistically asymmetric hairline and forehead, accentuated by the so-blond-it's-invisible part of my hair that frames my face and always has, adding to the visual receding hairline look that is special to me. Chances are, if you're a brunette or have a straighter hairline, this will look even better on you! Go forth and try.

*Suggestion if you have thin hair, cause I really want to know if it works: try a sock bun with a baby- or child-sized sock! Brill, right?

I also found that there is apparent Sockbun culture. You can follow @sockbuns_swag on Instagram, and if you tag them in your photos of your personal sock bun, they might re-Insta your pic, if that's a thing you like.

NOTE: I did this with wet hair and used some hair putty and a tiny bit of spray to tame the flyaways. Due to Mr. Kate's promises, I can't wait to see what it looks like tomorrow when I take it down.

YOUR TURN! Repeat of question above:
Did you try anything new today? When was the last time you played with a fashion trend you were a little afraid to debut? Tell me about it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running Fearless -- They call us Endurance athletes

"For I am already being poured out as drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing." 2 Timothy 4: 6-8

I was going to tell you about my training progress for the Marine Corps Marathon. Somehow, it doesn't seem appropriate right now.
Thank you from my heart to all the volunteers and emergency responders and ordinary citizens who experienced the explosions at the Boston Marathon today.

People who run marathons could be professional runners, sponsored by big companies such as Nike, or they could be just like you.

They are just like me.

I have seen some amazing people running races: people with amputated limbs. Women and men with triple-digit numbers painted on their backs indicated the number of pounds they've lost in an epic struggle to be healthy. I've seen pregnant women giving their unborn babies their first trip across the finish line. People with cancer, suffering visible effects of chemo, finishing a long-distance run ahead of me.

But there is a vast number of plain and ordinary people who decided to do an extraordinary thing, and subject their bodies to intense training for months. Those are people like me, only much faster runners (after much practice), more experienced, and more dedicated to their training.

Both the groups mentioned above, not the professional runners, are the people who would have finished in the second half group of finishers. They were among those crossing the finish when the bombs went off, and certainly filled the group of those held back from the finish closely following the explosions.

I can't even fathom the number of hours, weeks, months of training represented at the finish line yesterday by all these individuals.  Personal dedication to a very personal goal.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27

The finish line is rooted deeply in your heart throughout every single moment of training, because there are many opportunities to give up, and you must keep that end goal in mind.

Yesterday the finish line and all it represents was desecrated. The people who make success possible -- the spectators cheering for their beloved athletes -- were violated where they should have been rewarded by seeing their runner cross the finish. This angers me, devastates and deeply sorrows me. It also makes me feel defiant in hope.

Marine Corps Marathon, which I will run in October, is a qualifying race for Boston Marathon. Your time has be up to standard. Boston Marathon is so popular that entries are limited in this way. I doubt my performance will be fast enough to qualify. I'll be running alongside many of next year's Boston Marathoners. I dearly hope that no one backs down in fear.

Two things I am dwelling on this morning as news reports blare around me about the search for the bomber:

1) We will never be free from tragedy in this life, often perpetrated unjustly by hateful, sick people.

2) We never know what day will be our last due to unexpected circumstances, and we should never hold back from living as fully as possible.

We are called endurance athletes. 

We don't give up when other people would. We believe deeply that the gain will be worth the pain. We hold confidently to hope that the suffering is worth it, because we're enduring for ourselves and for others (many endurance athletes are running for a cause to raise money for charity). It's a spiritual sport.

So how do we apply this deep-seated faith as endurance athletes when faced with such a horrific, cruel, hateful event as some demented bombing the very finish line that represents our goal?

It will be different for every one of us. This how I apply it:

I believe in one God, holy and righteous and just. I believe He gave us all free will, and offered us Himself in the most profound way possible: by dying for us at the hands of injustice. I believe His heart roars in anger at such events. And I believe He is a God of vengeance, who will avenge every single person hurt by what happened yesterday, and in every terrorist attack that has ever occurred. His vengeance is perfect. He will not allow any soul to escape absolute justice. Either the guilty will experience it themselves full on, or the body and soul of Jesus will absorb the punishment of the guilty.

I believe that God will heal the victims for eternity, permeate any soul that opens up to Him, and He will fully restore for ever and ever any experience of tragedy. The healing will be so full and complete that they will not regret the wounding. This is a God who loves so deeply that He never stops recreating -- He takes the evil intentions of injury and turns the experience of horror into a gift, something so complete and holy that victims will be the most blessed among us. He is so good, and so powerful.

I believe God alone gives us the ability to run these long distances, or bike, or swim. I believe it makes the heart of God smile to see us use and push the bodies He's given us. I believe He wants us to internalize spiritually the lessons we learn from our bodies in training.

Above all, I believe that a time will come when evil people lose their opportunity to act. I believe that Good will obliterate Evil, and ultimate war will be won. I don't believe this earth or this life will be purged of evildoers until that ultimate day. Yet I have hope that every moment of tragedy will be so deeply restored that the loss is unrecognizable, and that is what I look forward to. Not safety and security in this temporary life, but a life of permanence that is so whole and so healed that fear is nonexistent. And I will keep on running for THAT life, without fear of who could hurt me now.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [...] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:1, 3-4

Thursday, April 4, 2013

In Mid-Air, Vol. 2: Into the Light

10,000 feet up, headed from the land of interminable Winter we've been experiencing in the DC area to the land where it's always Summer(?): Southern California. I'm in a wedding in long beach and the bachelorette party is in Hollywood. Um, ok! I think this is fairly awesome.

Right now, though, the best part is that I'm moving forward into a longer day. I am enduring a 5+ hour-long flight, but I'm gaining 3 hours back to my life. The sun will most likely shine the entire plane flight. This is like a miracle to me after the way the cold has hung on. Best news is that even though I lose some time when I head home, the likelihood of it is that I will return after 6 days to weather that's finally taking a Springy turn.

Maybe even some cherry blossoms?!

For now:
I'll being staring with a better-than-birds-eye view at the grids landscaped below me, paying homage to a less complex view of life. I'll enjoy hearing hubby's laughter (tears?) over Life is Beautiful, and I'll soak up the soundtrack of one of my all-time faves -- our in-flight film, Life of Pi.

Waiting for me upon landing? Heaps of loving family, adventure, excitement, new experiences, the thrill of two lives becoming one, and my squeezeable little nephew, 3 months and a day and already a veteran of cross-country plane flights (following in the footsteps of his mom, aunt, & uncle!).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon Monday {1.2013}

Hello, fans! *crickets*

[Well, fine, as long as you're not camel crickets. Camel guys, hoping someone somewhere loves you. Jk. Really. You're gross.]

My husband left me tonight believing that I would write something. And I have so much to say but I'm having a hard time getting started. I think camel crickets was a great opener. Now that opener is closed.

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So, here's the thing:

Last year on March 17th, I ran my first marathon. I know that endurance events are becoming a huge "thing" for peoples of all fitness levels in the USA (we like to give our extra money to anyone willing to take it). I decided to join the crowd, but DANG it was hard, and my legs were all, like, "Nah" when it came to walking after my 26.2 miles of running were finished.

So after that I ran some 10-milers and got engaged, and some half marathons and some 10Ks, and I got married and got promoted and got super stressed out.

Safe to say, good reason or no, I haven't really run serious distance for about 3.5 months. It took a lot of waiting and webpage cursing/refreshing and then somehow $99 later, I was registered for the highly sought out, competitive race, Marine Corps Marathon 2013. [Dun dun duuunnn.]

In 2011 I was a spectator as my new-boyfriend-turned-current husband ran the marathon.

In 2012 I was a martyr completing the 10K very painfully, and then standing on the sidelines to cheer on the marathoners (I love the cute smiles of a hurting runner when they take your encouragements to heart -- endorphins FTW!).

In 2013, I'll be a Marine Corps Marathoner, and I can't wait for those Marines to roar me across the finish line. #scary. [I know so, cause my Marine Corps Hubs is currently yelling in Spanish at the FIFA.]
This is nice, but in real life they're yelling a lot more and gutturally.

My hubs dearest is a Marine [in remission? what do they call it?], so this is a very special time for us and we run with thoughts and prayers and love and tears with memories of many amazing Marines who have walked in our lives.

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So let's hear it: who's running? What training plans are you using?  What's your race goal?