The fifth installment of the 40 miles adventures...

So October was a long time ago.  I know.  I know.  That is how I roll right now. But less rolling and more barely keeping up with anything at all.  Some people are amazing at time management.  I am not one of those people.

However... I am sort of a new kind of person that I never thought I could be again...
I am (very loosely put) a runner.  Or slow jogger.  Semantics.
October was the month when I finally was brave enough to open the Couch to 5k app that has been on my phone for months and months.  October was the month when I changed from "I'll run until that tree way down the path, okay, I actually meant this closer tree instead..." to running when the dude in my headphones told me to run.  Until he tells me to stop.

Best part?  I haven't died yet.

Does it help that I run right below my Junior High?  Where I broke a six minute mile?  No.  It does not.  I was a crazy fast thirteen year old.  I am now a crazy slow way more than thirteen year old.  The only thing thirteen about me now is the pace I am happy running a mile.

Thankfully, early in the morning, nobody fast runs on the trail.  Actually, hardly anyone is on the trail.  Just some leisure walkers and their dogs.  Who like to say hi.  I however do not like to say hi.  I do not want to move my head, smile, or waste a single bit of oxygen being friendly.  I am using every single ounce of it trying not to drop dead.  Nor do I want to move for the beagle lady who ALWAYS walks on the wrong side of the sidewalk.  Always.  This is not England.  It is America.  The beagle lady gets no hello from me.  Having to swerve around her takes precious energy that I need for that whole not dying thing.  Other side lady. OTHER SIDE.

So that is me.  The angry, unfriendly, almost dying, staring straight forward, just get this stupid thing over with, listening to not-safe-for-children music way too loud in my ear buds, why do people like it, I feel like they are total liars, because I will never ever ever like it, runner.

Recently a friend told me that power walking burns the same if not more calories than running.
Maybe it does.  Lets be honest though.... running is way more BA.
Take that power walkers.

In case you are like me and are curious how this whole deal goes down, here is typical morning in this reluctant runner-ish girl...

Alarm.  5:46.  Because 5:45 seems way more awful for this night owl.
Outfit ready on the floor next to my bed.
Coffee.  Luna honey pretzel bar.  I stab people if I don't have coffee immediately, I barf if I don't eat immediately.
Water.  I used to carry it, but that is annoying.  Then I would bring it, but stash it in the bushes.  One too many episodes of Law & Order has made me convinced that a bad guy could drug it while I wasn't watching.  Now I embrace temporary dehydration.
Start the Mapmyrun app.
Out the door.
Before daylight savings it was dark when I left.  Spooky and murdery dark.  Now that the sun is peeking out, the fearing for my life has diminished.
Fast walk for a mile listening to a sermon or this album.  I have to balance out the parental advisory playlist that is coming up.
Start C25K.  Hate every single second of it.  HATE.
Finish, cool down and walk back home, listening to Mumford.
While I am gone, Jason gets the girls up, dressed and fed.  I swoop in just in time to do all of their hair.  Then he takes them to school.  I love him.  Mornings are rough.  He makes them way less rough.
Repeat three times a week.
The other two days I have the little two in the stroller, and try to meet a friend for a normal, human being hour of the day, enjoyable, less wanting to die, walk.

Will I ever enter a real race? NO.  NEVER.  Pay money to be tortured, and deal with my crowd anxiety issues?  Nothankyouverymuch.  "Oh, but The Color Run looks so fun and raninbow-y."  NO. Yes rainbow-y.  NOT FUN.  Will I ever like this nonsense?  No.  Never.  I am okay with that.  I do feel better.  I feel a bit less old and creaky than I did when I started.  Advil is my friend.  It will always be my friend.  Will it ever be fun to wake up before the sun?  No.  Would I love to stay cozy under my covers for another hour?  Hello. That is a dumb question.

Each time the alarm goes off, this very simple phrase haunts me, and makes me get out of bed.

(So true. Unless you get murdered.
Or trip on a beagle.)

Next week I will tell you how one run with my husband made me want to quit forever.  Plus if I made it to the 50 mile goal for November.  Yep.  Dramatic.

All the shopping is done.
The tree is decorated.
Complete with wrapped gifts underneath.
The cards are in the mail.

Or the opposite of all of that.
It's not even December 1st!!!!

Instagram was STRESSING ME OUT with seemingly every single human sipping coffee in front of their finished tree ten minutes after Thanksgiving ended.

Ten minutes after Thanksgiving ended, I was curled up on the couch.  Not thinking of decorating a dang thing.

However, I did have a little Christmas-esqe adventure with Drew the other weekend.  She let me help style her holiday mini-sessions and IT IS MY FAVORITE in the world.  Everrrrrr.

Here's a glimpse of the scene:

Helping Drew is truly beyond my dream job.
If only my high school and college self knew what I really wanted to be when I grew up...
A lot less math and science.  A lot more crafts and power tools.

{Visit Drew's FB page to see a sneak peek of all of the gorgeous families that she shot.}

Raise your hand if Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday...

Mine?  The 4th of July.  Simple, swimming, sunshine, bbq, illegal fireworks...  Does it get better than those things?  I think no.

Back to Thanksgiving...
I can't complain about a house full of family, a kitchen full of food, a gigantic table, a first ever kids table (not going to lie, the kid's table outside, made the grown-up's table inside, pretty peaceful and awesome), a pilgrim and indian reciting the annual Psalm 100, or the fact that I don't have to make the turkey.  If I live my entire life never making a turkey, that will be just fine with me.  Grosssssssss.  There are just some things that I don't need to know how to do.

This year I have been working on thankfulness every day.  It hasn't been an easy journey, but a very worthwhile one.  Seeing the simple beauty in even the hardest of days, has been such a blessing.  It doesn't come naturally to me, which makes it all the more valuable to actively seek it out.

I am thankful.
For the perfect days.
For the hard days.
For every single day.
So thankful.
{Free printable available here.}

You know those events on the calendar, the events that you count down to, the kind that get you through the CRAZY that is all around you, just knowing that each day you survive, means one day closer.  One less day to countdown.

We just had one of those events.
Five concerts in five days.

Four Supertones shows.

 A no kids allowed road trip.
(Dave & Jess instagrammed driving south on the 5.  We immediately copied as we drove north. So awesomely dorky.)

(stolen from Dave's feed)
One Mumford & Sons show.

One epic weekend.  Spent with dear friends.  The generous hospitality of strangers.  Dinner with Katy.  Ministry.  The celebration of a year of hard work in the studio.  Successfully brainwashing Jason and Jessica to become Mumford fans.  Mwahahahahahaha.

I am deeply, truly, so very sad that it is over.
It was just what our hearts needed.

No words could properly describe how much fun it was.

How magical the Hollywood Bowl is.  Or how perfect the Mumford show was.
(stolen from Jason's feed)
Or how amazing our seats were.
Good food.  Hipsters.  Strange opening bands.
Twinkle lights.
What more could anyone need?

Or how much we are thankful for friends who get, love, dream, pray, encourage, and laugh with us.

So thankful.
Now if I could just find a way to make the 400 miles between our two houses disappear...

Jeannett has taken the reigns of this year's Happy Day Project, and today is my favorite task of them all.
Blessing bags.
Originally shared by my dear friend Leslie from Top of the Page, as a way to tangibly help those in need with the small necessities that we each take for granted.
If the idea of Blessing Bags is new to you, please check out the original post here, how we assembled them together at Thanksgiving, or last year's Happy Day post.
Now this is where I get all honest and weird....
I love cute printables.  I have ridiculous, crippling opinions about fonts.

I also know the last thing in the world someone with a cardboard sign on the street corner needs is a cute printable.
It's gross right?
They need to be known.  They need to be seen.  They need to be acknowledged.
The need help.  They need hope.
They do not operate in a world of rainbows and unicorns.

What does a minivan driving mom on her way to soccer/ Target/ school drop off/ playdates/ know what it is like to stand in their worn shoes?

Honestly?  Nothing. 
I know different pain, I know different brokenness.  I know that each one of us has an ache in our hearts to matter.  To be known.

A cute printable cannot fix their hurts.  A ziploc bag filled with snacks, socks, and cough drops, cannot change their situation.

What words could I even jot down that would make any difference?
I have no idea.
That doesn't mean I won't try.

Regardless of how they got to that corner, they matter to the creator of the universe.  He knows the number of hairs on their head.

What He loves, I love.
It is not my place to judge their current situation.
It is my place to see them.  To offer a small bag of comfort.
To encourage them that they matter.
Even if thousands of cars pass by them, pretending not to notice.
God notices.
How can we not?

In this season of abundance and thankfulness, take some time with your family and friends to assemble Blessing Bags.
Notice those that the world pretends not to.

Include a printable with a few handwritten heartfelt words jotted down.  Your words, your care, your notice, might be the only love that they see that day/ week/ month/ year.
It matters.

"We cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love."
-Mother Teresa

(Printable available here.)

I love my girls.
My joyful, creative, smart, silly, wild, compassionate, beautiful girls.
Sadly, I also know that the enemy, armed with the lies of this world, wants to destroy who God has created them to be.
Each day we pray against that.  
We pray that they will find their beauty and worth in their savior alone.

Each member of The O.C. Supertones has a daughter.
They all want God's best for their girls.  
For each of their hearts to follow hard after Jesus. 

This song started out as an encouragement to the students in Nathan's (trombone) youth group.
Matt (vocals) added a verse for little girls and one for mothers.
I cannot listen to it without crying.
I hope that it seeps into my girls hearts and minds, and that they would truly cherish all of their tomorrows.
They truly are far more beautiful than the world has ever known.
(At 2:35 it is Janey who says MOMMY.  Melt my heart.)
With the help of my rad friend Angi, (who used to man the merchandise table with me back in the good old days) we put together a little printable to encourage the girls and women in your life.
You can find it by clicking here.

You're beautiful.

P.S. They have shows in Phoenix, Pomona, San Clemente, and Bakersfield this weekend.  I'd love to see you there. Click here for deets.

So I know this girl named Katy.  I think she is pretty rad.
She had me at hello when I read this post.
It changed everything for me in this weird world of blogging.  Everything.  Turned it all upside down in the best possible way.
I am thankful that I can call her a friend. 
She is a gracious hostess.  Makes a mean salad.  Agrees with me that paper straws are only good for looking pretty in a jar.  Loves her husband well.  Is a phenomenal mother.  Is crazy for Justin Bieber.  Possesses no love for cats.  Is hilarious.  Has a giant heart.  Makes really, really, really, pretty things.

Here are some of the said pretty things.
Pretty Christmas cards to be exact.
One of which is going to be our Christmas card.
God bless the USPS.

Remember that big, giant, beautiful heart part?
Two of her designs are benefiting two of my favorite causes.
Did I mention they were super pretty too?
So perfect.

She even loves to make custom holiday cards.  You know, in case you are dying for a Justin Bieber card.  She can totally make that happen.  Unless it is a Justin Bieber card showcasing photos of your cat.  That is where she draws the line.

Katy has graciously offered one winner their choice of premade card designs.

She also is offering you sweet readers a supercool 10% off orders with the code
Merry Christmas to you.

To enter:
Peek around.
Visit Katy's blog.  
Stay a while.
It's a lovely place to visit.

Then come back here and leave a comment.
About anything.
Nothing complicated.
One entry per person.

Giveaway closes at midnight PST on Friday November 9th & the winner will be announced at the bottom of this post, so come back and check.

*******************************Giveaway closed*******************************

Don't be sad if you didn't win.
There is still time to use the code JOYSHOPE10 for 10% off orders.
Merry Christmas Carding.

I couldn't get the mint brownies out of my head and when I saw the fudge covered coconut Oreos, I knew that I needed them in my life, and that they were going to be this month's Pintertest.  (As if I needed a reason to make them... plus I had a rough day, and while brownies don't fix everything, they sure don't hurt.)  In case you are a weirdo who likes coconut flavor, but not coconut texture these are the treats for you.  Zero coconut flakes.  Zero texture.  All the yummy flavor.  Maybe the best Oreos in the history of Oreos.  Although the birthday cake ones were something special.  I miss those bad boys.

Coconut Oreo Brownies
(adapted from I heart naptime.)

You will need:
1 box brownie mix plus ingredients to prepare it (NOT the 9x13 family size)
1 package fudge covered coconut Oreos (I found them at Walmart)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
2 tablespoons coconut milk (or half & half, whole milk, or evaporated milk)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla

Make brownie mix according to package. Chop half the package of Oreos and stir them into the brownie batter. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake according to brownie mix directions. 
Once your brownies are done let them cool for an hour. With an electric beater, mix together 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar, coconut milk, and coconut extract until fluffy. 
Spread frosting over brownies. 
To make chocolate glaze, combine 1/4 cup butter, chocolate chips and heat in the microwave in thirty second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. After chocolate chips are melted, stir in vanilla. 
Pour over frosting and spread with a rubber spatula. Chop remainder of Oreos and scatter on top of frosting. Chill one hour before cutting.

{Did you make something that you pinned this month?
Link up your Pintertest adventures.}