Closing Out November

As we come to the end of November (how is this even possible!), I finally have a chance to catch my breath and reflect on this crazy month. It was very busy month to say the least. To recap…

  • Monthly running mileage: Over 130 miles (including a 18 and 19 mile training run). Dopey challenge (48.6 miles in 4 days) training is in full swing!
  • I went to Orlando to officiate a wedding for a former student of mine the first weekend of November. It was a lovely ceremony/reception with 2 wonderful people. IMG_2960
  • I returned Sunday from Orlando and left Tuesday morning to head out to California for 5 days. (Rachel had been at a work conference for the last week). We spent the next 5 days driving the coast of California from San Francisco to Anaheim.
  • Crazy busy work week in between California and Thanksgiving week with several night meetings and a Sunday morning meeting. (got to love working in the church world)

  • Finally, we left Tuesday to head to Crystal Beach in Tarpon Springs, Florida for 4 days with my family for Thanksgiving. My Dad rented a beach house for all my siblings and their families for a total of 17 people (8 nieces and nephews included)! I will blog more about that trip later this week.
  • And yesterday we finally got around to decorating for Christmas (our favorite holiday)!IMG_3374

All in all…it’s been a busy but amazing month! I don’t usually travel quite this much but it was a great time with family, friends and, of course, Rachel. Looking forward to a “little” less crazy December with only 1 quick (36 hour) trip to New Orleans plus two 20 mile training runs…in addition to my birthday and Christmas! Should be fun!

Christmas Tree!

I love the Christmas season! It’s my favorite time of the year. And this year will be our first Christmas in our house (we moved in last February). Today, in addition to putting up the tree, we had several other things on the schedule. We started off the morning with a 12 mile training run, then decorated the tree, went out and bought some more Christmas decorations for the house, saw The Good Dinosaur (so good…love Pixar), went grocery shopping, and have just finished making/eating dinner.

As we head into December and the holiday season, I’m so thankful for days like these when we can get several things checked off the list. Anyways…thought I would share a picture of our tree!

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What I’m Thankful For (Part 4)

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday! I’ve enjoyed blogging this week about some of the things I’m most thankful for.

For my final day, I want to talk about my family. I love my family! I feel so amazingly blessed to be a part of a family that loves, supports and encourages each other in everything they do.

I am the second of four children. My brother Warren is the oldest by  3 1/2 years. Will is the third child. He is one grade (or 17 months) younger than I am. My sister (Julie) is the baby of the family and is over 5 years younger than me.

 

My mom passed away in April of 2013. It was a very difficult time for our family obviously. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. She was and still is one of the biggest influences in my life.

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My dad is the biggest role model in my life. He is the most generous, humble and gracious man I’ve ever known.

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Most of my grandparents have since passed on. My grandmother on my mom’s side is my only living grandparent. She is amazing!

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I have 8 nieces and nephews: Trey (15) and Ansley (13) from Warren and his wife (Melissa), Jon Thomas and Tyler (11) and Andrew (7) from Will and his wife (Deanna), and Sarah (6), Caroline (4) and Emma (almost 2) from Julie and her husband (PJ). I love being an uncle!

And finally there is Rachel’s family (my second family), which includes my Father-in-Law (David) and Mother-in-Law (Lisa) along with her brother (Travis) and his wife (Erin). I am so blessed to have them in my life. We all get along beautifully.

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As I wrap up this week of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for all of my family. And feel so lucky that we all live within driving distance of each other. This allows for us to see each other at least a few times a year.

As we enter in this Christmas season, I hope we will all remember to count our blessings each and every day. Life is short so enjoy every minute of it. And make sure to surround yourself with friends and family that love, encourage and push you to be the best person you can be!

Things I’m Thankful For (Part 3)

Today’s post will be a little shorter. Rachel and I just got down to Florida for the next several days with my family for the Thanksgiving holidays.

So today I am thankful for my friends. I love the people I have met over the course of my life. I love that I still have contact with several people from my childhood/high school days. Several of my closest friends today, I met in college. From doing Student Ministry for 17 years, I have had the opportunity to meet and “hopefully” influence thousands of young men and women. And the best part of that…is so many of these former students have become great friends in my life.

I love the people I have met in my life. They are all so important to me. Below are pictures of just a few friends/people. (There are so many more I could share but didn’t want to over do it) Until my next post…Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Things I’m Thankful For (Part 2)

I love to run. There’s no question that if you told me I would say this 10 years ago, I would have laughed right in your face. But over the past several years I have turned into that person who loves to run.

So today I am thankful for running and the running community. Over the past few years, I have gone from running 3-4 miles to half marathons to (this past January) a full marathon. I never thought I would be able to say the words “Marathoner.” In fact, my first full marathon was a part of the Goofy Challenge at WDW, which is a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday for a total of 39.3 miles.

One of my favorite parts of running is that Rachel started to run with me a few years ago. I even got her up to a half marathon distance with me (I think taking her to Disney did the trick!). She even got into different kinds of running gear (Pro Compression socks, Raw Threads clothing and Brooks running shoes for instance).

And finally, I’m thankful for the amazing running community. I’ve met so many people through running different races and social media. The movement #WeRunSocial began this Spring among a bunch of runners who love to “run all the miles and then kill it on social media.” My new friend Pavement Runner (Brian) blogged about the movement here (http://pavementrunner.com/we-run-social-launches/).

Whether it’s #WeRunSocial meet ups at races or twitter chats on Sunday Nights (#RunChat) or Tuesday nights (#BibChat), I love how supportive and encouraging the running community is.

Below are just a few running blogs I love to read and social media friends I have made over the past few years. These are just a small sample of the amazing runners and blogs that are out there. Feel free to give them a follow. They are all awesome!

Brian KelleyAshley Lynn / Carlee McDot Linzie Starr / Team #runDisney

Things I’m Thankful For (Day 1)

I want to take this week to talk about a few things I’m thankful for. Today I’ll start with my amazing wife Rachel. We started dating the Fall of 2003 during her freshman year of college (and yes I was a “few” years older). I was working at a Methodist church as a Student Minister in Lawrenceville, GA, while she was attending the University of Georgia in Athens about 45 minutes away.
She graduated from UGA in December 2006 and we got married January 27, 2007.

Over the last (almost) 9 years of marriage and 12 years of dating, we have been through quite a bit together. From several moves (Lawrenceville, Auburn, Atlanta, Buford and now Brookhaven) to several jobs (me specifically) to watching movies and sports, to hanging out with friends, to the loss of my mother in 2013, to countless trips (including a few to Disney…) to running with or watching me run numerous races, it’s been an amazing journey.

Rachel has the best heart of anyone I’ve ever known. She is kind, generous, smart, loving, sweet, beautiful and most importantly my best friend. I am so thankful to be her husband. I am truly a blessed man.