Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Simple Red Beans and Rice

A staple in our household, my kids and husband absolutely love this meal: crockpot red beans and rice with homemade mac 'n cheese and steamed broccoli.

Mills Family Crockpot Red Beans & Rice

  • 2 cans organic dark red kidney beans  OR 1 lb. bag dried red beans; follow directions for over-night soak or quick-soak
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning with pepper (found in the Hispanic section of any grocery store
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Preferred sausage (we like smoked turkey sausage) (optional)

For canned beans: Drain the cans mostly and then put all ingredients in the crockpot on high for 3 hours, stirring about halfway through. 
For dried beans: leave the rice out to begin, and let everything else cook on low for about 4 hours. Then add the rice and 2 1/2 cups MORE water, cooking approximately 3 more hours. You do not want the rice to over-cook; so watch it closely as the time gets near.

You will have enough leftovers for an entire meal!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Marathon Training Log #4

I mentioned that we were going on our annual family beach trip, and would be there when our training regimen assigned 15 miles. We did run 15 miles while we were on vacation, but not all at once. We did a 7-miler on Thursday and two 4-milers (Friday & Saturday), all while pushing the double stroller.
As you can tell, Rush was thrilled about being strapped-in!

Ben pushed both kids the entire 7 miles, and I pushed L for both 4 milers while R rode his bicycle. The paved paths all over Hilton Head Island are so nice! We decided to save the full 15-mile run for Monday when we could get a babysitter (Ben took Monday & Tuesday off too!).

This run was miserable! We started later than we had hoped to- 10:00 am. Even though it has been milder than usual, it was still hot, especially with hardly any shade along the route. 

~8:00 am: peanut butter toast & pineapple (and of course coffee!) along with water

Took my two 10 oz bottles in my running belt, one with water and one with Gatorade. Also packed two gels: one Body Glove brand & one Vega brand (both gifts from Brittany), and a Marathon Bar for Ben & me to share. 

Started off feeling well. Got to a park just before mile 6 to refill waters and take a restroom break. We shared the bar as we started back up, and got to see a new part of town with our increase in distance. It was a nice shaded river walk: very welcomed on a hot sunny day! Around mile 8, I felt like I needed a bathroom break again, and luckily, we were passing the park again. I decided I needed the Body Glove gel; I think it was green tea and honey flavor; not a typical "gel" texture, but pleasant taste compared to most other gels I have tried. We had already been slowing WAY down since mile 8, and after my stop it was a snail's pace to the finish... But I finished!

I think that I should have eaten a little something closer to starting. It may have helped with the "crash" that I experienced around the 8th mile.

Drank a 20 oz sport drink soon after stopping, and felt great the rest of the day. No tummy troubles post-run again! Hallelujah!

Going camping this Saturday morning, and my running partner is going out-of-town too. We are trying to figure out a way to run on Friday morning. It's supposed to be a 16 miler!!!

Less than 9 weeks to Marathon Day!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marathon Training Log #3

10 miles. Seems short after 14...

We decided to meet at 7:30 Saturday morning. I slept-in until 7:00!!!! Didn't really give myself enough time to eat and use the bathroom...

About 7:10: ate a 4 oz cup of yogurt topped with Kashi honey sunshine cereal. Drank about 8 oz of coffee along with it. Sipped on water too.

Took my two 10 oz. waters in my belt and a Snickers Marathon Bar (found them at Wal-Mart in boxes).

Ben ran ahead of Chris and me since he wanted to go a little farther than us. Chris and I were both feeling yucky this run. It was just one of those off-days. But, by mile 5, we had gotten into a groove and it seemed like our aches and cobwebs had loosened up. I ate 3/4 of my marathon bar at the halfway point and had a few sips of Chris's electrolyte drink. Had to stop for a bathroom break around mile 8, and I was worried that my stomach was going into "dumping." All was fine after the stop, though, and I finished strong. It was a great run this week.

Ben and I both drank a 32 oz Gatorade when we finished. My stomach was very unsettled the rest of the day. Not sure if it was related to the run, though, because our baby girl had tummy trouble yesterday too. 

We got to eat a delicious and satisfying dinner at a wedding reception. Ben and I were both very hungry, so, of course, we over-ate. I can't say that I regret it, though. Plus, we had some great company.
My friend, Brittany, and me at the reception

15 miles scheduled for this weekend, and we are taking a family vacation.  We may have to reschedule the run for the following Monday. We'll see!

9 weeks to race day!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marathon Training Log #2

14 miles. The longest I have ever run. Our training schedule assigned 13.1, but we decided to go ahead and run farther in order to boost our confidence. We planned to start at 6:00 a.m. Ben was joining us too, so in order for our kids to not be left home alone (they're 3 & 1), we stayed at his parents' house. It turned out to be great location because we were less than 10 minutes from our meeting spot.

In my running belt I took the two 10 oz bottles, one with water and one with a Spark powder mixed in. I packed two gels (one for me and one for Ben), and a Marathon Bar. 

At 5:30 I ate 4 oz of yogurt with granola. I ate a banana on the way to our meeting spot, so it was about 5:55. I did not have any coffee(!!!), so I felt sluggish as we started. But Chris brought me the Spark, and I drank it early in the run. It has 120mg of caffeine; about equal to one 8 oz cup of coffee, plus lots of B vitamins. It perked me up quickly.

Between miles 7 & 8, we shared the Marathon Bar (I think it's made by Snickers?); it was chocolate covered peanut butter protein... I thought it was good. We refilled our waters at a park around the same time. I was feeling pretty tired around mile 10, so I tried the Hammer Gel (Huckleberry flavor, I think) that I had gotten in a swag bag at my most recent race. Ben never ate the gel that I had packed for him.

Once we finished, I "trotted" and walked for several minutes before stopping to stretch. I am so happy to report that again, I experienced no stomach problems post-run!  We averaged a 9:48 pace, and it was a beautiful morning for a run!

Running beyond our previous distance record was just the first step in our marathon training, but it is a definite confidence booster just knowing we can do it! Only 10 weeks to Marathon day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Early Bird

At the new year, I shared that I planned to start getting up before my kids every day so that I could spend time consistently studying the Bible. I reported later on that it had been going well; I have been getting up around 6:00 a.m., about 30 minutes before my kids start stirring.  Yes, they get up early, but it's because I put them to bed early.

Almost this entire time, though, I have to confess that the time "5:30" has been on my mind & heart. After a convicting lesson on worship & prayer in my Sunday morning Bible study, I finally acted on my conviction, which I believe is from the Holy Spirit. 

I am professing this here in an effort to keep myself accountable. This is not going to be easy for me, but I did it all of last week, and I loved it! Having an additional half hour to pray and read and meditate is a perfect way to start my day. Not to mention, I have been squeezing in some workouts too. If that's not a recipe for a good morning, I don't know what is! 

Speaking of meditating, Ben felt convicted that we needed to implement some kind of "system" to our weekly scripture memory. We have been doing this for over a year together, and Ben has been doing it even longer; we've never had a system for choosing passages/verses... until now. His conviction is that we need to be focusing on memorizing verses useful for evangelism, that is, sharing with a non-believer the Good News contained within the 100% truth of the Bible. ALL of the Bible is The Gospel, but Ben has done lots of research and has come up with a list of key verses for leading someone to a relationship with Christ. So far, the verses we have memorized are as follows:

Romans 1:20-23
Ezekiel 18:4
James 2:10
Matthew 5:48
Romans 3:20
Romans 3:23
Romans 3:10

Now, go on a treasure hunt and look them up for yourself! I challenge you to memorize these verses and pray for an opportunity to share them with someone who does not know about Jesus. 

Marathon Training Journal

After running 3 half marathons since December 9, 2012, I have decided to tackle training for a full marathon. It is 10 weeks before race week (7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga), and my most recent half was 6 weeks ago.  My running partner, Chris (female), had been "toying-with" a full marathon training plan already. I asked her to send me the plan and we calculated where we needed to pick up in order to be ready on October 20. Here is the plan:

We started our training at the end of week 7. We had already done both a 3 and 4-mile run during the week, but I had not run any real distance since June 22. Really--- starting with 12 miles?! And to add insult to injury, neither of us could run on Saturday, so we had to do the 12-miler on Sunday. So, for us faithful church-goers, that meant getting up extra early in order to get back home and ready for church. It's just too hot here in East Tennessee in August to run in the afternoon. 

Chris (left) & me volunteering at a 10K

So, our plan was to get started running at 5:30 a.m. (I had already been getting up at 5:30 all week in personal effort to spend more time in prayer and Bible study), meet at our usual spot, and run a familiar route. 

The thing that I want to really keep track of in this training is what I eat right-before and during a run. In all three of the halves that I have run, my body, i.e. my intestines, goes into "dumping" mode almost as soon as my feet slow to a walk. There is very little research &/or factual information out there for this problem, and I am guessing that each individual case is very different. This only happens to me after races, and rarely after a training run. I suspect that it has something to do with adrenaline??? So, I need any help I can get--- if you have any advice, please share in the comments section.
Here is my food log for my first marathon training run:
5 a.m. Coffee (black) and water
1/2 Cinnamon-raisin bagel with peanut butter
5:20 Advocare (from Chris) Spark energy drink mix 
During run:
~15 oz water & 10 oz. Gatorade
1/2 Clif bar (coconut chocolate chip)

In my running belt I had one water and one Gatorade (10 oz. each) along with a Clif bar and Clif gel (I hate gels, but they seem to work well).

I felt fantastic the whole run, despite not getting to "go" before I left my house. We didn't have any strategy for this particular run; we just wanted to finish. We stopped and walked while we shared my Clif bar around mile 8. We stopped soon after so I could (finally!) go to the bathroom. Glad there was one close-by! I never used the Clif gel shot because my energy was still good after the Spark and Clif bar (coconut chocolate chip=amazing!). I drank my whole water and a half (Chris refilled while I was in la latrina) and my gatorade. When we finished, we walked for about 5 minutes (which is new for us; we usually walk only about 30 seconds because we have babies waiting for us at home and husbands that need to leave for work), then stretched and headed home. As soon as I got back in my mini-van (yes, you read correctly!), I started drinking a Gatorade that I had planted purposely for my post-run drink. The post-run sport drink is something I do per the advice of a well-read/fitness-knowledgeable (and beautiful and amazing!!!) friend regarding my stupid "dumping." View her blog here. 

I had a few nibbles of the other half of my bagel and a couple bites of banana with lots of water when I got home. I ate several raw almonds on the way to church, and 2 mini candy bars after Sunday school/before service. No tummy problems after this long run! Wahoo! 

It's 14 miles this weekend and guess who's joining us? BEN- my husband! I am so excited that when I said that I MIGHT be interested in training for a marathon, he said he would train with me as much as possible.  Ben is a great runner and has run one marathon already. I am thrilled that we are working toward this goal together. I plan to journal all the long training runs, so I'll be updating weekly.

I'll leave you with a passage of scripture that Ben and I committed to memory a month or so ago. It reminds me that relying on my strength to do anything, no matter how big or small the task, gets me nowhere. I have asked God to use this training process and marathon to bring glory and honor to Him, not me.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-31

Friday, August 2, 2013

The American Dream--- busted up!

I have about one page left in the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker. It has been a great book for me at this phase of life. It's all about the excess in our lives: clothes, food, possessions, media, waste, spending & stress. These are the areas that Jen addresses; she chronicles how she tackled these areas in light of the Gospel.

Jen is very aware of what is going on around her; she lives in Austin where she is a pastor's wife, and they are literally reaching out to the hurting, homeless, working-poor & refugees. I loved reading the stories about their family, including their three kids, interacting with these such people (beings created in God's image, may I remind you!).  Her children are so used to the situation that they are not afraid or timid; they interact with the people like they're neighbors!

I wish that I could have that for myself and my family! Isaiah comes to mind. You know where God tells us "...encourage the oppressed..." Ya, I'm pretty sure that what I do when I see a desparate-looking person is stare when they aren't looking and then awkwardly avoid all chances for eye-contact. OK, OK... I am getting better... A few weeks ago I did talk to a young girl holding a sign by the road, and Rush (my three year old) got to ask me questions about it. (Yay, God moments with kids!) But why? Why is this our normal response to sensing hopelessness in another? Sure, if they look nice and smell nice and are crying outside the grocery store, we'll probably ask them if they are alright. But if their appearance is undesirable, we shuffle around them, bolt for our car, and assume its their own fault. Why?! I do not want to do this anymore!!!

There, I said it. 

Lord, open my eyes to the needs of others. Give me opportunities to help the hurting and forgotten; to tell these lonely creatures of Your Love. 

One of my favorite excerpts from 7:
"It appears a good way to bring relief to the oppressed is to bring real relief to the oppressed. It's almost like Jesus meant what he said. When you're desparate, usually the best news you can receive is food, water, shelter... I guess that's why "Love people" is the second command next to "Love God." And since God's reputation is hopelessly linked to His followers' behavior, I suspect He wouldn't be stuck with His current rap if we spent our time loving others and stocking their cabinets."