Crossfit Challenge- Day 2

I’m so tired. Today was so busy and I have a huge Bio exam tomorrow. I woke up with sore back muscles from yesterdays workout, but that’s OK 🙂 My legs are a bit stiff too, I must remember to stretch and massage after these exercises, I’m really bad about that! 

Here is today’s WOD:

WOD

8 rounds of:

  • Run 400 meters
  • Rest 90 seconds

That’s it! This is a total of 2 miles, so I went to the greenway with a friend and sprinted it out, going full speed for the 1/4 mile and then resting. We also did some ab exercises on the bench after the run. And later on in the afternoon I took Marley to the park and walked a mile. That dog never tires! 

I’ve felt so tired today. I hardly slept last night and I had to be at school at 8 for chem lab. But it’s the last day, so yay! I finished all of the experiments and am hoping for an A. I really enjoy chemistry lab, I think I learn more in there than in the actual lecture. Today was a bit scary though because we were working with nitric acid (highly reactive). 

So I’m working under the hood, and my TA is standing over me saying “Be careful, easy now..slowly, slowly..easy does it”. Give a sista some room! I turn around to look at him and the cap on the separatory funnel comes loose sending nitric acid down my hand! I quickly ran to the sink to wash it off, but it started burning right before I got it under the water. 

That’s a lot of chem excitement for one day 🙂 

Eats

Breakfast: multi-grain cheerios with almond milk, OJ, hot tea

Snack: dried apricots, almonds, iced decaf Americano with soy milk

Lunch: leftover stir fry, sour apple blowpop

Snack: blueberry toast with pb

Dinner: vegan mac n’ cheese (x2) with broccoli, dark chocolate square for dessert 

I’m so tired…I’m hoping for an awesome sleep tonight!

I leave you with some awesome C.S. Lewis quotes, see you tomorrow!

Xoxo, 

Stacey

thank God

C.S. Lewis Quote

C.S. Lewis quote

"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand..." <3 ~ Psalm 139:16-17

 

our God is able

Every morning, the first thing I do is pee. Then I throw on my robe and go outside to thoroughly inspect our tomato and pepper plants. Our tomato plant, which we lovingly named “Hank” has two measly tomatoes on it. Sometimes I feel like I should stand out there and cheer it on: “You can do it! Go, Hank!”. Our pepper plant (“Dr. Pepper”) is doing quite well 🙂 We have about 5 peppers on there that should be turning red any day now. 

In other news, I put flea medicine on the pets this morning and Sophie has decided that she cannot tolerate liquid goop on her back. I’ve caught her several times trying to lick it off…silly cat. 

Last night, we finished Exodus in the Bible. Let it be known that I did not grow up in a religious household.   Before church, I never really knew anything about God or Jesus. I always had this view of God as a peaceful, kind, patient God. But in Exodus, I learned that He is actually a God that can get angry and jealous, just like you and I. 

I was surprised by that. I’m slowly learning that God has emotions just like we do, and that he understands the things we go through. It’s really fascinating to me. I loved the story of Moses and Noah. Leviticus isn’t as fun to read as the first two books, but I’m slowly making my way through it. 

I hate to think of what my life would be like today if I hadn’t finally given in and gone to church with my friend, Whitney. I was in such a bad place at the time. I tried to keep a distance from religion as I had always done, but one day I said “OK” and my life was forever changed. 

The second time I went to church (at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC) I burst out crying. It felt like God took the wall that I’d built around my heart, and crumbled it to bits in His mighty hands. And ever since then, I’m in restoration. He’s making me new from the inside out. Sometimes I still shed a little tear in church. I see all the amazing things He’s doing and how He is just moving through everyone, you can’t help but to feel overwhelmingly happy about it all. 

A few weeks ago, while in church, our band started to play “Our God is Able” by Hillsong. As we went sung it, hands went up into the air (including mine) and our voices lifted. There was a man- I don’t know if he was homeless or not, but sometimes we have people come into our church carrying all of their possessions with them..and I don’t want to assume anything about anyone, but anyway..there was this man that was a little rough looking. His clothes had holes in them, he had a long beard and just kind of looked like he’d had a rough life. 

Well, our church had already played a couple of songs and he stood motionless through them. Midway through Hillsong, when these lyrics came up:

Lifted up, defeated the grave

Raised to life, our God is able

In His name, we overcome

For the Lord, our God is able

That man smiled, lifted his hands to the air and started singing. I just love being able to witness Gods love in other people. Here’s the song if you’ve never heard it (the whole CD is great, by the way!)

 

See you next time 🙂

Come Thursday…

Hi there Smile

Guess what? It’s Saturday. It’s pretty outside. My house is semi-clean. I have no homework. Can you believe it?!! I know, I can’t either…

This semester is winding down, slowly but surely. Each day I feel my shoulders drop a little more. They are no longer touching my earlobes Open-mouthed smile I’m not going to lie- I really struggled with school this past semester. Like, more than I’ve ever struggled with anything…even my addiction to chocolate! (Just kidding. What we have is a ‘relationship’ not a ‘dependency’. Hehe)

So my schedule this past semester has looked like this, just to give you an idea of what life has been like…

  • Monday- drive hour to school-physics-drive hour home-homework-gym (if I can fit it in)-bed
  • Tuesday-drive-Calculus-get to BodyPump in 10 minutes- BodyPump-10 minutes to eat lunch- Liberal Studies class- rush across campus to find car- try to make it to work by 3-work-home-study for physics test
  • Wed-be at school by 8- Spanish-Physics (test)-go to work-home-study for calc test
  • Thurs- same as Tuesday, except we have a Calc test every week
  • Fri-work-home-try not to do homework-can’t relax because you KNOW you should be doing homework

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but by every Thursday morning, it took everything I had to get out of bed. By Thursday, I would want to shut the world out. It was always the morning where my first thought was: “I can’t do this anymore.” Often, I would come home from work and just cry. Because of the pressure and just the driving, and the constant feeling of always having to do something.

Two weeks out of a month, I will have a test every day at school. Those weeks are the. worst. My stress levels go through the roof, I have no free-time whatsoever. I become a mess.

Luckily, the studying has paid off. I’m making an A in Physics and I’m very happy about that! Calculus is another story altogether. From the get-go, I was really intent on making sure to make a good grade in Physics. Calculus sort of got put on the back burner. I didn’t realize how bad I was doing until my teacher e-mailed me to say that I was failing (Disappointed smile) and asked me if I wanted to drop the class.

Drop the class?! Are you kidding! I’m not taking this stupid class over again! I freaking HATE Calculus, and not because I don’t understand it. I understand it, it’s just so boring. Since that e-mail, I’ve improved my grade. Thank goodness. I’m not worried about making a B in there, as long as I make a C then I’m okay with it. It’s my last math class, so I’ve sort of mentally left it already Smile

It’s kind of funny, where we end up in life I mean…isn’t it? The other week, while thinking in bed, I had the sudden realization that in 2013, I will have been in college for ten years. TEN. YEARS.

I’ve literally spent my entire adult life in college. Literally. “But how can you have been in college for 10 years and not graduate?” Well, I wasted a lot of money and time when I first began community college…About 4 years worth, to be exact. It took me forever to figure out that working with animals is my calling.

Sometimes, I’m ashamed or embarrassed. I see my friends done with college and already starting their careers, and I feel like a slow poke. I get down on myself about that, but you know what? I wouldn’t change anything. Not a single dime wasted, nor a single class dropped. Those experiences taught me so much. I think God wanted to me to go through all that, because now I’m at a point in my life where I appreciate learning about new things. I have a passion for what I’m studying, and I’m also able to put myself through school without taking any loans out.

I think He has big plans for my life. Plans that I can’t even imagine.

Sometimes, specifically on those Thursdays where I’m feeling like I just can’t do it anymore, I’ll pray. I’ll ask God to please give me the endurance and mind-set I need to get through the semester. To please use me everyday to fulfill the purpose He has  for me. And sometimes, it’s like I can hear Him saying “You can do this. I wouldn’t have brought you this far if I thought you couldn’t.”

*This is a long post!* Sorry Smile I just like to write.

I try not to worry about things. Things that I know won’t matter in the end. Sometimes I worry about numbers…like: “Okay…so, I’m gonna be 28 or 29 when I finish school…that’s the ripe age to have a kid…except I don’t wanna”

No, I mean I want kids. But not after I finish school. Jason finishes around the same time and we’ll both be close to 30.

Sometimes we sit and day dream about being finished. We talk about what it’ll be like to come home and not have homework, or to have our weekends free. To not have to study for anything or plan our trips around exams…Gosh, it’ll be so nice. Graduation day is going to be one of the greatest days ever.

We both agree that after school, we want time to just be married and have our careers.

The other night Jason and I were sitting there, daydreaming together when he said “It’s nice dating a nanny. You don’t come home wanting kids everyday.” Open-mouthed smile Ha! He’s right! Thinking of having a kid seems so stressful and just more responsibility. Not something I want anytime soon.

But society puts this pressure on women to have babies, now now now. “By the time your 30 or you risk complications.” And I know that’s true, but it’s not a reason to have a child.

Personally, I’m fine with having a kid in my mid-late 30’s, but then I feel like a weird-o saying that. Because it’s not the norm.

But you know, come to think of it, my life hasn’t been “the norm”!

Not sure why I’m writing this post, it’s nice to have this time to write. And I know there is an end (of school) in sight, but I’m going to make the most of it while I’m going through it. I’ll try not to get so bogged down with the stress, I’ll keep praying, and before I know it, I’ll be done Smile

Hallelujah.     Hehe Open-mouthed smile

Weddings are Weird

Heeeeyyyyyyy Open-mouthed smile

I haven’t forgotten you, dear blog. You are always in the back of my mind, school is in the front, of course! BUT- I will have no summer classes this year, so I plan on blogging again. I’ve missed writing (to myself). Blogging is like talking to myself while driving in the car, only better. There’s some “finality” to getting my words out there, not like just saying them…the same thoughts always come back when I just say them. But when I write them, my mind has more peace Smile Cool.

Anyway, GUESS WHAT?!

I’M GETTING MARRIED! (*Throws heart-shaped confetti in the air*)Red heartRed heartRed heart

Weeeeeeeee!!!!!

I’ve been engaged for a month and five days (not that I’m counting or anything). First, I’ll tell you about the engagement, then we’ll move on to why I think weddings are totally weird. Mkay? Mkay!!

The Engagement

On Feb.18th, Jason and I woke up for our 4-year anniversary. We had planned a hike, but Jason woke up not feeling very well so I told him we could skip the hike and just hang out at home, but he insisted that we go hiking.

And so we went.

The forecast called for rain but the sun was shining and there was a beautiful blue sky for us to enjoy instead! Sun There was a brisk wind that was a bit chilly but other than that, it was such pretty weather. The trails were pretty busy. We talked on and off up while going up the mountain (with me doing more of the talking)…Jason was being kind of quiet, but I thought it was just because he felt bad so I didn’t push him for more conversation than he was giving!

About 4 miles later, we got to the top. It was such a beautiful view. There were a few hikers up there enjoying it as well. I found a spot close to the edge and sat down. I closed my eyes and had a moment to myself, a moment to take it all in…to thank God for such a lovely day when it could’ve easily been rainy…

Jason came to sit next me, he grabbed my hand. This is the moment I knew something was up. It was fifty-something degrees out and his hands were SO SWEATY Open-mouthed smile I put the thought of proposal out of my mind and blamed his sweaty hands on his sickness. But then I noticed he seemed distracted, he kept looking around at the other hikers and he just seemed real nervous…hehe Open-mouthed smile

When we were finally alone, I turned to him, kissed him and hugged him tight. I told him that I was so happy to have spent the last four years with him and that I was excited about the next four years…And he said “Me too, baby. I really love you……Will you marry me?

[Insert crying/laughing, a lot of “Oh my God”’s and “Of course I’ll marry you”’s here] He pulled a ring out of his pocket (his hands were sweaty because he had been playing with it the whole time!) and put it in my hand…I immediately put it on and started crying again…I felt overwhelming happiness (and still do) at the thought of marrying my best friend, the guy that loves me for who I am and for who I will be ten years from now, the guy that keeps me grounded and knows when to push me, the guy that has shown me what real love is supposed to be like…my Jason Red heart

I can’t imagine marrying anyone else.       

So that was an awesome day Winking smile And in the past month, I’ve begun thinking about how I wanted our wedding to be, the kinds of decorations, dress…blah blah blah.

This gives way to the second part of this post:

Why Weddings are Weird

Please take note that I did not write: “Why marriage is weird”. I wrote “weddings”. I think, especially in our materialistic society, that a lot of times people consider those two words to be one in the same.

Well, they are not.

Within the first week of planning for this wedding (that will happen next summer), I felt so overwhelmed. “I’ve gotta have flowers, a dress, decorations, catering, music, bridesmaids dresses, favors for the guest…”and on and on and on. I began pinning things on Pinterest like a mad woman.

Now, Jason and I try to live as simply as we can. So, of course, I started out with a view of having a simple wedding. I know some women that have dreamed about having a huge wedding from the age of 5 years old…that’s never been me. I’ve never daydreamed about having an extravagant wedding…I mean, of course I’ve dreamed about getting married, but I always imagined it would be something simple.

So I started thinking of DIY wedding projects to cut costs. I vowed that my wedding dress wouldn’t cost more than so-and-so dollars…things like that. But something in the back of my mind didn’t feel right about all of this, I felt like God was nudging me to really think about what the meaning of marriage is.

I began researching (me and my research! I can’t help that I’m a dork Nerd smile ) the idea of marriage and why it has turned into such a marketing scheme in America.

Think about it- It seems the norm that the bride does most of the wedding planning. Wedding companies (dress stores, jewelry stores, venues, etc.) know this, so the bride becomes the main consumer focus. You always see a woman being presented with some huge ring on jewelry store commercials, and some guy saying some cheesy thing. Or model-looking women posing in fashion-forward wedding dresses…I mean, it’s basically an advertisement focused on just the wedding. Not the actual marriage.

(My opinion) To me, weddings have become a day to play dress up and put on a big show to guests…not “show” in a bad way, like you aren’t in love or anything, but like a “show” when you decorate and spend thousands of dollars marketing your…what?….your love for each other?

After I started feeling this way, I began reading documents about what weddings used to be like. I also started reading “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tom Keller. Amazing book. And it isn’t just for married/engaged people, you can be unattached and still learn so much from it. Highly recommended.

In the olden days, according to my grandmother, weddings were…well, simple. They wore the nicest thing they had in their closet, it was usually done in a church, with close family and a few friends around, and the rings didn’t cost more than $200. There was no decorating, no $2000 dress, or photography…just family and a priest. (Think about it- what other situation would you ever drop thousands of dollars in one day? I can think of one– paying my school tuition.) And God. It was more about being joined before God back then…and I love that.

I read about a more recent family that wanted to have a simple wedding. They invited close friends and family. The woman wore a plain white dress and they signed the marriage certificate in front of their family. They also had their parents give them away to each other. I love that idea. The thought of having Jason already at the front and everyone standing like I’m the Queen of England as I walk down the aisle is embarrassing to me.

I don’t want all of that attention when there are two of us getting married. Not just a bride marrying herself!

I think the writer of this article says it nicely when she says:

"Weddings are really about two people getting married, not just the bride," Susie says. "There’s no need for the bride to be the sole focus of attention. The diamond engagement ring tradition implies that the bride is the only one who becomes engaged, which is indicated with an extravagant piece of jewelry that’s unaffordable for most people. There are also a whole bunch of issues related to diamond mining practices."
Read more: http://readperiodicals.com/201203/2609261701.html#b#ixzz1pzshypae

Lately, it feels like God has really been tugging on my heart strings. I’ve become so close to Him and have known more blessings and peace than I could’ve ever imagined. To have a wedding day that would not completely involve Him is something that makes me very sad. It’s something I don’t want.

In the book I’m reading, it says that we have gone away from the real meaning of marriage. That marriage is about leaving one’s family to become a “unit” with another person. In the Bible, leaving one’s family is a big deal. Back then, family was the strongest bond a person could have (before marriage).

It says that part of the meaning of marriage is that you are coming anew before God as one decision-making unit, and you promising the Lord that you will help shape your spouse into the kind of person that God wants him/her to be. And when doing this, you should realize that one day you will stand before the Lord together and He will rejoice in how you have glorified Him through your marriage.

The more I read this book, the more I feel ashamed for having looked at the kinds of rings I did…Don’t get me wrong, I love my ring, it is truly beautiful, but getting married isn’t about having a big ring, buying an expensive dress or making it “your day”…It’s about God.

Here is an excerpt from a couple that wanted to keep God as the focus as well:

The date of the wedding itself was a celebration of newness, Brandi says. "We didn’t want to have traditions for the sake of traditions, but we wanted to have a wedding that reflected Christ and his purpose for marriage, rather than what culture says…. We wanted to bring back the focus of bringing people together in simplicity, Christ-centred community and celebration."

"Our guests came around us and, as they were comfortable, they formed a massive circle, laid their hands on us and started praying for us," Brandi says.

Read more: http://readperiodicals.com/201203/2609261701.html#b#ixzz1pzyeBoKX

Having and feeling Jesus present at our wedding means more than anything to me. To know that His hand is over us and that we have His blessing as a couple would bring tears to my eyes.

And so I take a new direction.

We will have a ceremony and a reception, but it will not be “traditional” in the sense of what a wedding is these days. We are going to an awesome reception – dancing, eating, celebrating with family and friends…

As far as the wedding, well all I can say is that God’s presence will be felt, I will be marrying my best friend, and that IT WILL BE THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE Open-mouthed smile

Eleven Truths from 2011

1. My increase in love for all things nature and animals has caused my A.D.D to skyrocket. I now bird-watch while driving. Bird-watch. While driving. So far, I’ve spotted numerous hawks, two owls, and one blue heron. Someone help me.

2. Jason and I both agree that 2011 was our most tiresome/stressful year. We are both glad it’s over Smile

3. I completed almost all of my goals for 2011. Like running a marathon, doing well in school, blah blah blah. The one I didn’t complete or even start ? Writing the first part of my memoir. It isn’t for anyone else to see, just me. I don’t want to forget the first time I met Cocoa the drag queen (age 14). Nor do I want to forget the time my sister knocked me unconscious for tattle-telling on her. Good times, good times. These memories are precious.

4. I framed this picture of Jane Goodall and put it on my bedside table as a reminder of the kind of person I want to be.

Did you know that it took a three week boat ride for her to get to Africa for the first time? Craziness. And that she was the first (known) person to discover chimps using “tools” to get food? She also was the first known scientist to see chimps display some type of warfare in the wild…I find her completely fascinating. If you haven’t read her book  “A Reason for Hope”, go read it now please Smile

5. A few days ago, I noticed Sophie frantically chasing something around the house. After taking a closer look, I realized it was a teeny-tiny little mouse! A wittle itty bitty house mouse (excuse my baby talk), no bigger than my thumb. He was scared out of his wittle (sorry) mind.

So I scooped him up and put him in a shoebox out of Sophie’s reach. I went to check on Charlie yesterday and he was gone. So now we have a mouse in our house. Two things:

  1. I hope it’s a male.
  2. Don’t tell Jason I kept a mouse.

Thank you Open-mouthed smile

6. In 2011, I stopped watching shows that I feel desensitize me. That includes any show produced by Seth McFarlane, horror movies and even some reality TV crime shows. I think it’s working because I can hardly be in the same room with Jason while he watches ‘The Walking Dead’. Shows I am loving: New Girl, Glee, Parks & Rec, The Office, Raising Hope, and some Pawn Stars Smile

Yes, Zooey. You are adorkable.

7. In December 2011, Jason and I took food, sweaters, and blankets to three men living under a bridge. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, but so worth it. It feels good to see the blankets spread across their “beds” as I drive by there on my way to work everyday Smile I hope they’re keeping them warm.

8. There were definitely some delicious recipes made last year! And some not-so-delicious. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes I make really horrible-tasting meals. Like the ‘Tofu Florentine’ I whipped up one time that made me (and Jason) want to vomit. Oh- and like time I made ‘Polenta Casserole’ using dry polenta. Except I forgot to cook the polenta before baking it…have you ever tried to eat sand?

9. I stopped keeping my cats indoors all the time. I was going to do a big post about this, but never did. I’ve read enough books to know that unless really old and lazy, cats probably want the opportunity to explore outside. To be cats. To poop in dirt and sharpen their talons on trees instead of furniture. I’m just sayin’. Might I even go as far to say that Sophie is a bit sweeter after being let loose for a bit? Winking smile

10. In 2011 I turned 26 and immediately began worrying that my most reproductive years are passing me by. Hang in there, ovaries! Just a few more years!

11. There are some fond, fond memories of last year, including:

  • Rocking out to Three Days Grace, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, and many more at an all-day concert with Jason Smile

concert

  • Finishing up at community college and being accepted into the Biology program at UNCC
  • Going on my first rafting trip through TN for my birthday!
  • Midnight dancing sessions with Jason to Bobby Browns “It’s My Perogative”
  • Becoming vegan and celebrating my veganniversary on January 1st, 2012 Open-mouthed smile
  • Adopting a third pet and learning that yes, my heart is in fact big enough to handle yet another pet in our home. Three is my limit though Winking smile
  • Two camping trips to Sparta, NC with Jason and Trixie. I heart camping.

camping

  • Running the Mud Run with Jason, Anitra, and Heath Open-mouthed smile SO MUCH FUN!!!

DSCN4473

And that’s only the beginning…can’t wait to see what this year brings!

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Being A Grown Up Means…

…you repot your plants after you realize that the roots are taking up the entire pot. It also means that you throw said plants away when water fails to “perk them up” anymore.

…you resist the urge to yell “Stranger Danger!” when an elderly man outside of your favorite deli asks you to go in and order for him.

…you immediately put all of your Christmas money towards your tuition, school supplies, and a new pack of socks. That sweater you’ve been wanting for a long time will just have to wait.

…you keep track of the last oil change in your car, and when 3,000 miles has come and gone, you get it changed again. Seriously folks- I’m just now learning to live this way. “Cars need oil?”

…you stop finding excuses to text and drive. It’s dangerous, people! Nothing is that important! Don’t do it.

…you feed your animals and boyfriend before feeding yourself. Why is it that they are all hungry right when my butt cheeks are about to hit the sofa? Weird.

…you resist the urge to cry out when a six year old asks you to read his Lego Star Wars instruction book to him  one more time. Patience, Stacey, patience.

…you stop being afraid to ask for what you really want. In any situation.

…you take matters into your own hands.

…you learn how to use a leaf-blower, food chopper,  and a caulk gun all in one month. And then brag about it to friends and family. “Give me something to caulk!”

…at the gym, you pick the treadmill in front of CNN instead of Nickelodeon. Wait, I still don’t do that. Never mind. Smile

…you learn to stop being so modest, and accept gifts when they are offered. Because “when someone offers you something, you take it.” <—wise words from my mother. Except drugs or candy from a stranger- don’t take those things.

…you get rid of “memorabilia” that never really meant anything to begin with. Yesterday I threw away a pen I had taken home to remind me of my first time eating at Hooters. Wow, what sentimental value that pen had.

…you learn to stand up for the things you believe in, no matter how different other people may feel about what you’re fighting for.

…you learn to take in every moment that you have with family. Never mind the fact that you only see them during holidays, it is still time together.

…going home with a sore throat because you gladly screamed your head off for your home team. 

…learning to control your whiny-ness when your boyfriend sits in the middle of the tool aisle at Sears for 30 minutes comparing the differences between two meters. “I have to make an educated decision.” *Rolls eyes and joins him on the floor*

…you live with an open heart and an open mind. You are always open for opportunity and education. You grow from where you come from, become your own person, and do anything it takes to make your dreams become a reality Smile

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Community to University

Well, I did it.

I took my last exam at a community college yesterday, and it feels. so. good.

I’ve put myself through community college since 2003 (with a few semesters off in between), and I’m finally done!

Two weeks ago, I attended a registration day at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. While I love how personal and small a community college feels, I couldn’t help feeling a breath of fresh air and thrill when I walked onto UNCC’s humungous campus. Smile Like I had finally made it…Like all of the money and time I’ve spent on community college had finally paid off, and I was where I was supposed to be Smile

First of all- compared to Gaston College and their four main buildings, UNCC was like a huge maze, with a different building around every corner!

Yikes! While getting the tour, I made a mental note to come before classes start to make sure I know where I’m going.

I know this post is kind of corny, but you guys have to understand that I never thought I would make it this far. On my own. With no help. Matter of fact, right after high school, I applied to UNCC and various other universities thinking I would get right in, but they all rejected me because I was a bad student. So, community college it was.

And that’s where I spent the next ga-jilliion years of my life. (You could read the bad student post and it will catch up on my school years as of late)

Anyway, back to registration day at UNCC Open-mouthed smile

So, we get there early in the morning, like at 7:30 a.m. And I am just beaming, so happy. I don’t even care that it’s a Saturday and I’m at school. I want to be there.

We have sections that we are assigned to. My sections are “Campus Tour” and “How to Get on the Right Career Path”. The campus tour was a bit overwhelming for me. It’s just so BIG (that’s what she said). But I’ll get the hang of it.

After the tour and an academic fair, we were told that we have 30 minutes for lunch. I make my way through the crowd in the cafeteria, wondering around trying to figure out if there’s anything vegan. Hanging in front of me are posters like this (not exactly the ones posted below, but they had the same message):

and this one…

Um, have I died and gone to heaven? A school cafeteria that promotes vegetarianism!! Score! Everyone at Gaston used to pick on me for being vegan, or they wouldn’t even know what it was…This was the moment I truly began loving my new school ❤

While browsing for eats, I stumble upon a meat-free area. They have a yummy looking menu with things like “vegan tofu stir-fry” or “vegetarian wraps”, and another girl walks up to look at one as well. I ask her if she is vegetarian and she says ‘Yes’. And I probably shouldn’t have made such a big deal out of it, but I swear to you, I scream “I’M VEGAN!! OHMYGOSH!!!!”

LOL. That poor girl. She probably thought I was crazy. You have to understand that I’ve never come across another vegetarian/vegan that I didn’t already know. I asked her if she wanted to sit together, and so we did Smile I spent the next 20 minutes talking about our classes (she’s going for Biology too) and why we became vegetarian/vegan.

Then this guy joins us out of nowhere, just out of nowhere! He just sits down. I LOVE THAT! I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. I LOVE THIS PLACE! I can guarantee that I looked like a beaming idiot the entire lunch but that’s okay Open-mouthed smile

After lunch, and making two new friends, we all go back to the conference hall and prepare for registration.

I won’t go into that whole process, it was a long one. But I finally ended up with the following classes:

  • Physics 1
  • Calculus
  • Spanish II
  • Global Connections

A full schedule, weeeeee!! Another bonus: it won’t interfere with my work schedule!

After registration, we got to meet with different members of various student organizations in the college. That was really fun. There is a hiking/camping group I want to join and also a “Love Mother Earth” group too Open-mouthed smile And I’m thinking of starting an animal rights group as well!

The last activity of the day was getting my student ID made.

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Gee, I look so miserable in that picture Winking smile 

So that was my day, and it was wonderful. I seriously cannot wait to start there in two weeks!

Thanks for letting me share my excitement with you guys! And now….(dadadadadumdadadadum)

A Simple Giveaway for you, my readers Smile

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This scarf is from Banana Republic, I’ve had it for a few years now, hardly worn. I only pull it out when the winter months come. But honestly- I have so many other scarfs that this one might get worn maybe four time all winter.

It’s super soft and long. (Longer than I am!)

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See? Open-mouthed smile

I do love the scarf, but after all of this time owning it, it was only the other day when I realized what it’s made of:

  • 46% lambs wool
  • 26% rabbit hair
  • 19% rayon
  • 11% nylon
  • 4% cashmere

Yep. Those first two ingredients kind of bother me. I can’t bring myself to wear it anymore, so I figure that one of you might enjoy it.

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your best college experience, if you didn’t go to college, then just tell me about your best life experience!

I’ll pick a random winner next Wednesday morning! Good luck Smile And thank you for reading. Be sure to check out THCV on Facebook!

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Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

Today I woke up, baked blueberry muffins for my guy and I, and headed off to school to take a Chemistry test that I think I did okay on.

Then I get to work, check Facebook before starting chores, and I see this article on my Wall:

http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2011/12/horse-slaughter-in-us.html

Basically, what it says is that for the past five years, there has been a ban on funding of the USDA in horse slaughter plants. Meaning, that for the past 5 years it’s not likely that any plants will open because slaughter houses have to have USDA regulations.

And this past November, that provision was dropped from a Congress bill. Few tried to get it put back in there, but western senators are fighting it because they see big money in horse meat.

So as of right now, it’s okay to open a horse slaughter plant in North America. Horses can now be slaughtered for meat. There has been uninterrupted shipment of live horses from Canada to Mexico for their meat, and now it’s legal. No more bypassing the U.S.

First of all- What has our nation come to? Along with the other animals that are being slaughtered for food, horses are not meant for meat. They exist for their own reasons.

Why would anyone want to kill and eat such a beautiful, majestic creature?

I beg you to please take action by visiting this page:

http://www.causes.com/causes/618850-end-horse-slaughter-official-hsus

As a nation, and as compassionate beings, we cannot allow this to happen. We have to take a stand.

Sometimes I hear news like this and it just beats me down so much. It makes me feel like all of my animal rights efforts are in vain, and that there is no “fighting the law”. But I have to keep pressing onward, hoping that I’m making a difference. For humankind and the animals sake.

We have to be their voices.

My First Marathon: 26.2 in Review

Four things I did this weekend:

  1. Ate my weight in vegan pumpkin pie.
  2. Deleted all of the e-mails in my Inbox (328!) without taking a second glace to see if there was anything important in there. You should try it, it’s very liberating. Smile
  3. Started my 16th jigsaw puzzle. It’s true. I have 16 jigsaw puzzles in my house. I never do them twice, but I can’t bring myself to give them away just yet.
  4. Hiked 6 glorious, strenuous, miles with my boyfriend Smile I. heart. nature.

So there you have my weekend in a nutshell!

Anywho, I’m not here to tell you about my weekend “but you just did”, I’m here to finally to tell you about my marathon. Remember? My marathon? That race I ran almost a month ago way back when? If you’ve forgotten, then yes…I ran a marathon on November 5th! And I’m just now blogging about it, yay!

Let’s begin, shall we?

The day before my marathon I was. a. nervous. wreck. And I don’t mean nervous like biting my nails or having shaky hands. When I get nervous I tend to smile all day and say weird things, and sometimes I laugh out of nowhere at nothing. (This gets a bit awkward when I’m in Public Speaking giving a speech).

My mom, Jason and I got on the road at about 1:00 p.m. the day before. We drove my moms Prius all the way down to Savannah, GA, straight to the race expo. I was worried that if we went to the hotel, I would miss the expo and not get my packet and bib number. Better safe than sorry!

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The expo was so crowded. This was my first expo and I was kind of disappointed by it. The booths didn’t offer anything I wanted (Muscle Milk? No thank you.) so I just got my bag, swag, and got outta there!

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I must say that the expo had very beautiful scenery to go along with all of the madness Winking smile

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By the time we got out of the parking lot, we all decided it would be wise to go ahead and get some dinner while we were near the downtown area. The GPS was able to point us towards a local Mellow Mushroom where I ordered this bad mamma jamma:

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Oh. Yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout. Veggie pizza with tofu, olives, soy cheese, banana peppers, green peppers, tomato, broccoli, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and onion. Now that’s a veggie pizza Pizza. I ate three slices and saved the rest for the next day.

We finally got to our “swanky” <—as my mom called it, hotel around 10 p.m. (!). My mom and Jason were really tired, but I knew my nerves weren’t going to let me sleep. My adrenaline was pumped and I didn’t even feel sleepy yet.

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It’s a good thing I wasn’t expecting to sleep because MY MOM SNORES LIKE A WILDEBEEST. (Do wildebeest snore?? That’s not the point!) The point is, is that I wanted to shove a sock in her mouth both nights we were there. My mom has always snored, so it’s nothing new. She promptly fell asleep at 11-ish, Jason and I were still up, albeit with lights off so I could attempt to catch some shut-eye.

That never happened. When my mom started snoring, we both started laughing hysterically. At the situation and at the fact that I had to get up in 4 hours to get ready. I remember the bed shaking because we were laughing so hard, and I kept saying "This is not happening to me!”.

I was able to get about one hour of sleep before the alarm went off.

“RISE AND SHINE! We move out in 1 hour!”

[If you think I was going to wake them gently after the suffering they caused me the night before, no. way. I wanted it to be as miserable as possible, so I turn on all the lights and the TV Open-mouthed smile Hehe]

I put on my race gear and sat down to a breakfast of bagel with peanut butter and banana.

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(Mid-bite pictures are always so lovely.)

After breakfast, we got in the car and drove to the Savannah Mall, where the shuttle would pick us up and take us to the start of the race.

Well, turned out that a lot of people used this option. There were thousands of people waiting for the shuttle. Jason, my mom and I took our place in one of the many long lines.

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It was COLD out there! The wind was blowing non-stop and we were all freezing our butts off.

We must’ve waited about an hour for the line to go down. Right when we were about to get on the shuttle, a volunteer told all of the “non-runners” to get in another line and that they were going to transport them after all of the runners had been taken to the start line.

I had to separate from Jason and my mom Sad smile It happened really fast, so I didn’t get to say “Bye” or give hugs or anything. I just waved and got on the bus, hoping they would make it to the race.

Up until this point, I hadn’t felt nervous.

It wasn’t until I was on the shuttle by myself, without a familiar face around me, that I became nervous and worried. It’s like-the reality of what I was about to do set in. I remember thinking to myself: “You’re about to run a marathon.”

And I also remember that little negative voice chiming in too: “Who do you think you are? There’s no way you’ll finish this race. You haven’t trained properly. You’re injured. Maybe next year you can try again.”

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’m about to complete something awesome (fitness or non-fitness related), there is always that voice that tries to tell me I can’t do something.

Well, guess what I did. I told that voice to shut the f up and that if I wanted it’s opinion, I’d ask for it. Smile

Then I got back to thinking about the race.

The bus ride to the start line took FOREVER. The destination from the mall was only 5 minutes away, but since they had all of the downtown roads blocked off, it took about 40 minutes to get to the start line.

Once there, I learned that the race had already started (!!) and that I needed to get my patooty to Coral #6!

Except-coral #6 had already been let go. So I ended up starting with coral #16 instead. I honestly didn’t care about this part because I just wanted to start running already, no matter what coral I was in!

Before I knew it, our coral was up to the start line waiting to be hear the horn that would signify the beginning of the race. At this point I had my headphones in, the music turned low (sort of like background music in case I needed it) and my shoes tied perfectly. I was ready! Open-mouthed smile

Then the fog horn sounded and we were on our way!

looking

Miles 1-3

Were spent with my constantly bumping into the back of someone. It was super crowded. You could hardly get around anyone!

I also remember coming around a corner into a neighborhood where the residents were standing outside cheering us on. There was this one black guy with no teeth, and when he saw me, he smiled a toothless smile and said “Gimme a high-five!” High five But, instead of sticking out his hand, he only put out one pointer finger Open-mouthed smile So I high-fived that and kept going, haha.

Miles 3-6

Were glorious. It had thinned out a little and I had a chance to increase my speed. Around mile 4, I took of my jacket and threw it to the side. I saw two homeless-looking men scrambling around to pick up all of the tossed jackets on the side of the road. They put them in their grocery cart and I smiled and waved at them.

The wind was really intense. Still going strong, especially on the highways and bridges. But I was feeling great. Refreshed. Ready to take on the world.

I passed the first water station-which reminded me of a war zone. People throwing cups every which way, and one lady, whom was obviously part of a team, yelled “FRAN! DID YOU GET YOUR WATER? GET YOUR WATER AND LET’S HIT THE PAVEMENT!”. She was tall and muscular. I made a mental note not to accidentally bump into her while running.

Miles 6-9

S-U-C-K-E-D. After running over the bridge, my leg began hurting really bad. The same way it hurt after this race. I remember my right knee just wanted to give out on me. I also remember thinking that there was a spectator view coming up where I would get to see Jason and my mom.

I texted Jason and told him I was nearing the view. Once I got there, there were so many people, and I didn’t want to stop running because my leg hurt so much at this point, that I knew if I stopped, I’d start walking. After going almost to the end of the view, I saw Jason and my mom said a quick “Hi!!!” and kept on running.

After the seeing them, the pain was UNBEARABLE.

I had to stop. I had to walk.

I was on mile 9, thinking of all of the miles that lay ahead of me. I was in other runners way, so I hobbled to the side and limped for a while.

I remember choking back tears, holding my head up towards the sky and swallowing really hard so as not to cry. I remember feeling like I should quit. I remember thinking of how easy it would be to take the half-marathon exit that was coming up in about 2 miles.

I remember thinking: “I can’t cry. Not in front of these other athletes. Don’t you dare cry, Stacey!”.

Then a man ran up to me while I hobbled along and said “Don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t quit. Walk it off. You’ll be fine…just walk it off.” And then he disappeared into the crowd of runners.

Miles 9-13

I began running. Limping at first, and then moving to a slow jog. The pain sort of numbed, but was there throughout the entire race.

This is when I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run my usual pace. I texted Jason and told him how I was feeling. That I was struggling, and that my injury was back. I slowed way down and began running on the side of the pack and not in the middle. Miles 9-13 were pretty good, other than that.

We went through a pretty part of Savannah, if I’d known what the rest of the scenery would be like, I probably would’ve soaked this in a little more!

Miles 13-18

I don’t remember much about these miles. We separated from the half-marathoners at mile 11 and then we were on our own. There was more room to run without being all up in someone’s biznazz.

I think I began zoning out on these miles.

Miles 18-22

And this is when I zone back in Smile

On mile 18, my leg flared up again. I walked, but this time I didn’t choke back tears. I knew there was no turning back now. I had 8 more miles to go, and I was going to complete it injury or no injury. It was about this time that we started running on the highway.

And we didn’t get off the stupid highway until mile 25!!! We ran 7 miles on boring ol’ highway with nothing but road and trees around us.

Other than my leg hurting, miles 18-22 went by okay. I remember thinking how heavy my body was beginning to feel. Like every step I took and every muscle I moved weighed a thousand pounds or something.

Miles 22-25

Hmmm…what to say about these three miles?

After I passed the mile 22 sign, I had two thoughts:

  1. “This is the farthest I’ve ever ran.”
  2. “I wonder when I’ll see the mile 23 sign?”

It. felt. like. forever. between these sign posts! In hindsight, it didn’t take me that long to reach them. But, at the time, with every passing mile, I remember thinking two things:

  1. I can’t stop running.  Because if I do, I won’t start up again. MUST. KEEP. GOING. I could hear my phone going off in my Camelbak, it was Jason calling to check on me. I had ignored his texts because I needed full concentration in order to make myself run. I needed to stay in the zone with no distractions-otherwise, I would start focusing on how painful my injury was becoming and how much I wanted to be done already.
  2. I just want to be done already. My mind began registering how bad/heavy my legs and body were feeling. I began telling myself to make it to that tree, or make it to that column up there…

At mile 23, it felt like the sign posts were moving farther and farther apart and like I’d never see the end of that stupid interstate!

And finally, at mile 25 we were directed off of the interstate to run the last final mile Smile

Mile 25-26.2

I remember seeing the mile 25 sign and thinking “Oh my God. I’m almost finished!!!!!!!!”

I picked my hobbling pace to a sprint-hobbling pace and began looking for a familiar face in the cheering crowd on the sidelines.

We ran down a street lines with beautiful oak trees, turned a corner and I saw my mom and Jason.

I allowed myself to cry at the sight of them.

After running for 4+ hours all by myself, alone with my thoughts, I was so. HAPPY. to see them.

I waved and ran towards the finish line, forgetting about the pain in my leg, the misery of being on that interstate, and I let my heart fill with the joy of accomplishment.

I crossed that finish line in a daze. In complete amazement at myself for what I had just done. Six months of training leading up to that very moment, and it was over. I had done what I set out to do Smile I ended up finishing in 4:55. Five minutes shy of the maximum time I wanted to be out there. At first I felt kind of disappointed in myself for taking so long, but then I snapped out of it! I had just run a freakin’ marathon! Who cares how long it took?!!! Open-mouthed smile

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cheese

I grabbed a Powerade and looked for my mom and Jason in the crowd.

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It wasn’t until after I stopped running that I realized how cold it was! That wind made the weather so chilly!

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I enjoyed this trash bag-like thing they gave us. I even wore it to the mall around my hip like a skirt. Te he Open-mouthed smile

I think that’s it for now. I think there shall be a Marathon Recap: Part 2 in the near future Smile I still want to tell you guys all about the rest of Savannah visit, the aftermath of the race (specifically on my body/legs), and well…maybe about some new fitness goals I have coming up Winking smile

Thanks for hanging in there for this long post! It feels good to write it. It feels good to relive it again.

I’m so freaking proud of myself Smile

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