Monday, March 31, 2008

Tri Season 2008 Is Here

It's that time of year again - when athletes around the world are oiling up their bike chains, putting on body glide and testing out their goggles. Yes - it's tri season 2008.

And I kicked it off yesterday with a mini tri and several friends and a roommate. I haven't been training very much, but I have decided that I want to try an Olympic distance (1500m swim or .93 miles, 24.8 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run) the end of this year. There's one in Annapolis September 7 and seeing as how that's my mom's birthday I think that would be a great way to celebrate her birthday. Of course that kind of distance requires that I start some serious training and that I buy some new equipment - like a road bike. Thus far the triathlons I have done have been on my mountain bike with road slicks put on which has helped, but still I don't get very far very fast.

The race yesterday was a lot of fun even if it was pretty small (250yd swim, 4 mile bike, 1.4 mile run). I hadn't done much training for the event but it was a great way to get me motivated to start training more seriously for the rest of the season. There were 8 girls who went out for the race yesterday. My roommate Anne, friends Christy and Jill, and a couple other girls I don't know really well and some I met for the first time. Everyone did really great and we all went out to Cracker Barrel afterward and ate a big ole breakfast. Then I went home and crashed for a couple hours in the afternoon and am still tired today.

Here's to a great season. If you want to think about trying a tri - I totally encourage you to do it. Find something really small in your area and give it a try. You may find yourself addicted and on your way to a super cool healthy lifestyle.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Birthday

Last Saturday was my 32nd birthday and I had such a fun day. It started with a regular monthly brunch with a couple of friends. It just happened to land on my birthday this year which was great.

Then I picked up my friend Greg from the metro and we met a group of other friends and roommates at the National Arboretum. I've never been and have wanted to go. The weather started off a bit cloudy, but the sun came out and it was gorgeous. Christy, Anne and Katie came up with a scavenger hunt for us so we broke into two teams and drove around the grounds looking for crazy things like a crocus, a cherry blossom tree, a reptile and a black squirrel. It was a lot of fun. Then we walked around the bonsai trees and I found one that was started the year I was born! How fun is that.

Then we headed to H street to grab a bite to eat and something to drink. We ended up in this great Caribbean restaurant. Rum punch, plantains, oxtail, rice and was so yummy and the staff were awesome.

Then back to the house for a super chill time of presents, pizza, cake, talking and watching the Bee Movie. My friend Josh came over and hung out with us girls. Such a great and relaxing day.

I can't wait to get back to the Arboretum - it was so beautiful.

Thanks to Christy and Anne for the planning and thanks to all my friends for enjoying the day with me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

He Said Bonjour, She Started Crying

So for all of my bluff and bravada about lots of things, one thing that I am scared of is speaking a foreign language. I know its crazy. But I get really nervous about sounding and looking like an idiot that I don't want to open my mouth. I freeze and I can't think of anything to say or do.

Now there have been times in my life when I have had no problem. Mainly when I'm traveling and have no choice. Then I don't care. But thinking about meeting up with a group of French speakers here in DC and trying to talk with them freaks me out a bit.

And yet if I want to get into the Foreign Service, I should have and need to get my act together and start to parle francaise (speak French).

The impetus behind this new surege of attention to French happened last night. I met up with a friend of mine - actually we have only met once before on February 5, 2007. C and I were the only two people to pass the Foreign Service Orals together last year at our location and so we have this crazy little connection. He received the call from the State Department and has been in DC the past month for the orientation training.

We met up last night and he was really pushing for me to get moving with my language training and to try and get hired as soon as possible. This is the only thing that can improve my score and possibly get me hired before October. If not, then I have to take the test again in July (which I'm going to do anyway) and try for next year to get "the call".

But that doesn't change the fact that I'm nervous and a bit scared of speaking French. Even though I know it is something I have to do, its a bit nervewracking. But hey, I've got to chase the lion and face my fears.

Thanks C for your encouragement, your belief in me and your willingness to challenge me to get out there and cahse the french speaking lions. Here's to the Foreign Service and cheers to you for blazing the trail!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Facing Fears

My church has small groups on a semester system. They run for 12 weeks three times a year and provide a start and stop point for people to jump in and out which is helpful with the large college age population that attends the church.

This spring semester I have been leading a small group using curriculum written by my pastor, Mark Batterson. It's called "Chase the Lion" and is based on his book "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day". We have covered topics related to Taking Risks and Seizing Opportunities. This week we covered Facing Fears and I like to incorporate a practical application to the lesson that we are studying.

This week, I challenged the small group to step out and face their fear of talking about religion and faith with people. I provided each person with a questionnaire and we headed out to Union Station (train station and major tourist destination in Washington, DC near the Capitol building). Each person had to talk to two people and ask them the following questions:

What is your faith/religious background (if you have one)?
What words come to mind when you think about Jesus?
What comes to mind when you think about Christians?
How often do you attend church?
What is the reason you go / don't go?
What would it take for a church to reach you / others?
In your opinion, what do you think it takes for a person to go to Heaven when they die?

It was such a great experience for all of us as we found a way to approach a topic that can be scary in a non-threatening way. Most of us found that we wanted to continue the conversations and ask more probing questions. It was a great introduction to evangelism and a great way to see that we can initiate a conversation about faith in a simple and easy way.

Here's to more conversations!

Lent Is Almost Over and Easter Is Around the Corner

This year for Lent, I gave up sleep.

And no I haven't pulled a 40 day all nighter or anything. Rather, I have been getting up a bit earlier each morning and calling a friend of mine who also needs to get up in the morning. We share about our previous day and then we pray for each other for that day. It hasn't always been easy. In fact some days it's been downright tough or didn't happen at all (like the weekends), but for the most part, we've been pretty good about it.

What I have really enjoyed the most about it is the fact that this was a friend that I have known for several years, but wasn't really close with or didn't know her that well. I took a chance and asked if she wanted to do something like this and she said yes and so we decided to try this experiment for Lent. I have really gotten to know her better over this time which has been really great.

We haven't talked about continuing this on past Easter, but I have enjoyed it so much that I would like to keep doing it. We'll see.

I encourage you to try this as well. Perhaps there is someone that you want to get to know better but you can't really take the time to always meet with them for lunch or spend time with them face to face. You can just call each other in the morning or at a set time and encourage one another. Maybe you want someone to keep you accountable to working out, or reading your Bible, or getting up early, or going to bed early. THis is a great way to start an accountability partnership with someone and it doesn't take up much time at all (although I will say that we do tend to talk for a bit before we get to praying :)

Weight Watchers Update

I'm still doing this thing :)

Here's this weeks results:

Starting Weight: 153.8
Current Weight: 146.4
Total Loss To Date: 7.4

My goal is to lose a total of 10 pounds by the time I leave for Brazil in two weeks. I think I can easily lose 2.6 pounds between now and then.

I haven't been paying so much attention to this lately, but I have realized that I lost about 5 pounds and have managed to keep it off for a while, and now I'm going to work on the next five pounds and keep that off for a bit and let my metabolism and my body adjust to the new numbers and then I'm going to tackle my last 8 pounds. My goal weight is 135 so I'm just about 10 pounds away from that.

Why that number? Well I like the sound of it. I figure I'll be about a size 6-8 which is a great size. I don't think that it is too skinny of a weight. It also works really well for my height and my BMI (body mass index score). It's kind of in the middle for height and weight and BMI and since I'm a middle of the road kind of girl it's my perfect weight!

I Love The Stage!

Last year the church put on a production of Godspell which was awesome. I auditioned for it which was really nervewracking because I'm a little scared of auditions due to an incident in jr. high and this audition included singing which I like but am also a little scared to do in front of people.

I got a part and had an absolute blast singing and dancing my way through the Gospel.

This year the church is putting on a production of Steel Magnolias. So I auditioned and got a role! I'm going to be Shelby (played by Julia Roberts in the movie). I'm excited about the cast of all women and know that it is going to be another stellar show.

I'll keep you posted on how rehearsals go and everything.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Technology Goes Global In A Personal Way

I'm at work in Washington, DC listening live to BBC Radio 6 Music based in the UK and a band from Jacksonville, FL (where I used to live) came on. Talk about a global time bending weird thing. Anway, I'm kind of an anti technophile (not necessarily a technophobe) and this experience kind of makes me like technology and kind of doesn't. Anyway, that's all for now.

Click Here to listen to BBC Radio 6 Music.