Thursday, January 31, 2013

Target Shooting in Monument/Woodland Park

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I used to be 100% against guns. I am from a city that uses guns ONLY for homicides and never for fun. It's just how I grew up. I never trusted guns or anyone with them.

That said, Dan has completely changed my mind about guns over the past few years, and now shooting is something I enjoy. Okay, so I only enjoy shooting a pistol... but it's improvement, right? It has just the right amount of "kick" to really let me have fun, but it doesn't hurt my arm like the shot guns do. 

This past weekend, Dan and I headed out to a new place between Monument and Woodland Park that we hadn't been to yet. It's inside the Pike National Forest, and that's usually where we shoot, but  this location was new and fun. 

with my new pink eye and ear protection! :) 

his eye and ear protection isn't quite as cool! ;)

LOVE Dan's truck! We can drive ANYWHERE in that thing! :)

new shot guns Dan acquired over winter break...

Pike National Forest is one of my favorite places to be

it was SUCH a gorgeous day!

On another note, Dan had been saving all of his Engineering Math homework from last semester at USAFA. He had it in a bag and kept telling me he was going to shoot it just because he could. I didn't believe him. He proved me wrong, though, and brought it along for ou shooting excursion. He duct taped it all together for an easy target and shot the heck out of it. Enjoy:

We had a great time enjoying a BEAUTIFUL Sunday afternoon together. Those precious hours are becoming some of my favorite from the entire week. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Skiing (and Getting Over Fears)

Yesterday, Dan and I went skiing for the third time this season. This is only my second season skiing, and the first one was a COMPLETE DISASTER. Seriously. There are no better words for it. I hated it. I was terrible at it. I complained a lot. And I never wanted to go.

This season started out well when I got professional lessons the weekend after Thanksgiving. I did well with the lessons, but I still didn't get off the bunny hill. The next time I went, I decided not to pay for more lessons, so I went out with Dan and hit a green run, which ended with me in tears, screaming profanities as I flew down the mountain, still unable to turn and stop correctly. It is a terrifying experience when you're FLYING down a mountain at full speed knowing that you don't know how to properly stop yourself.

I had mentally been preparing for a new day of skiing in a new year. It took me all week to figure out my approach, but I wanted to be strong for myself. I WANT to enjoy skiing. Dan likes it so much, and I want to be able to enjoy that WITH him. I decided to give myself some encouragement, and that included turning to the Bible, something I have been doing often. Since 2013 is my year of being FEARLESS, I decided that applied to skiing as well. If I can be fearless in my attempts at everything else, why not skiing too? I found the following verse and repeated it to myself all through that first run down the mountain on Saturday.

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

It just happened to work, and I made it down carefully but fearlessly. I said to myself "not fear, just power" over and over again. I didn't fall, but I also didn't give in to my normal routine of being TOO careful to enjoy it. I had fun, and I was excited to try it again.

Then, as we ate lunch, Aaron joined us. He is Dan's roommate from the USAFA Prep School and also one of his very best friends. He is going to be the Best Man in our wedding, and he already has the honor of tapping me on the butt with the saber at the end of the saber arch, welcoming me into the Air Force family. He is a really good friend to us both, and he offered to help me out a little since he's an excellent skier. Well, his help HELPED. He watched me ski in front of him to determine what it was exactly that was stopping me from skiing my best. It was like a personalized lesson, and I didn't even have to pay him an outrageous amount of money (but don't worry -- I did pay him in margaritas at dinner afterward).

After two more runs down the mountain with Dan and Aaron, I felt so good! I was confident in my abilities and REALLY wanted to go again. My legs were SHOT, though, so I called it a day. It was SO nice to finally be able to feel GOOD about skiing, though.

Here are some pictures from our day:

resting my feet after a successful first run

my fiancé is the best and brought me this hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps and pretty sprinkles

Dan was able to get a few action shots of me :)

Dan was able to get a few action shots of me :)

Dan was able to get a few action shots of me :)

Aaron and Dan -- Prep School roommates, best friends, and ski buddies :) 

Dan and me -- actually smiling and enjoying the day on the slopes! LOVE IT! 

All in all, it was a successful day at Copper Mountain. I am actually EXCITED to be going again this Saturday! I can't wait to practice my newfound skills. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Spiritual Comfort Zone

Everyone has a comfort zone. It's a place where you feel comfortable and secure. You never feel weird about being in it, but sometimes you wonder what it would be like the break out of it and try something new.

Well, today I did just that. With Dan being out of town for a flying competition, I was unsure about whether I wanted to go to church or not. Sure, I feel comfortable there, but I was pretty certain that at least 80% of my comfort came from having my sweet fiancé there by my side, holding my hand. Instead of being the Janelle of 2012, however, I decided to give it a try. After all, what could it hurt?

Boy, oh boy, did it feel good to break out of that comfort zone and grow some wings! As I sat down alone, I thought to myself, "What am I doing? Why am I here?" But as soon as the worship band started playing, I stood up to sing along, and it felt like I was meant to be there. (Back story: this is the first church I have ever felt comfortable in -- ever). After three songs and saying hello and good morning to some people, I sat down and waited for the sermon to begin.

Now, Dan and I have been going to this church sporadically for the last two and a half years. We have been consistent so far in 2013, not missing a Sunday (well, he missed today because he's away). I know the two pastors that alternate, and I spoke with each of them this morning as I entered. The person who walked up to the front to speak, though, was not either of them. "Oh no," I thought. "I hate change." I did recognize the man as the youth pastor at the church, and while I was skeptical about it, I opened my heart to something new. After all, this experience was all about breaking out of my comfort zone and achieving my 2013 goal of "being fearless".

When he started talking, it seemed as if he was speaking straight to me. He talked about video games and getting rid of the old to bring in the new. He then started speaking about things that get in the way of us talking to God. Since I'm new to all of this, I listened intently. He gave sleep as an example, stating that sometimes he would rather press snooze and sleep in than get up early to read the Bible. I can relate to that, as I love sleep. He picked up a large piece of glass and placed it on an easel. He then gave the offering for anyone who wanted to share what stood in the way of them spending time with God to come up and write it with a crayon made for writing on glass (which were super cool, by the way, but that's another story).

I sat there and watched people walk up to the front. Not everyone was getting up, so I thought, "Well, I can just watch. I don't need to go." But then something inside of me said, "Janelle, you are here on your own already because you can do this. Get your butt up there and write what you're feeling." I stood up, surprising myself, and walked to the front of the room. I grabbed a yellow glass crayon and wrote one word: "FEAR". I looked at other words and phrases that were printed on the glass. They said things like "technology", "Facebook", "school", "business", "work", "doubt", and one other said "fear". I felt good knowing that someone else in that room of only 25 or so people had the same answer as I did.

I went back to my seat, proud of myself for once again breaking out of my comfort zone. I was hoping to get a picture of the giant piece of glass covered with words. What happened next, though, made me jump, as I was not prepared for it. The pastor grabbed a hammer and smashed the piece of glass so hard that it broke into several small pieces all over the floor. My heart was racing because it was unexpected. Then, he explained how God was taking all of our sins and things that get in the way and breaking them up so that we can get rid of the old and start fresh with the new. Throughout the entire sermon, I felt as if it was meant for me, as I am on a spiritual journey.

The pastor also quoted a verse that has been sticking out to me all week. It is possibly my favorite verse in the entire Bible, and as soon as he said what it was, I felt a jolt of energy rush through me. It may just be a coincidence, but I like to think it was God speaking straight to my heart. The verse is Hebrews 12:1, and it says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." I may have a special place for that verse because I was a runner for so long and attempt to continue to be one still, but I also think it applies to life, in everything that we do. It stuck out to me, and it made me want to share my experience this morning, the one in which I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned a lot.

Next Sunday, one week from today, Dan and I are joining this church. It is another new experience for me, as I have never belonged to one before. I am nervous, but more-so I am excited. I know that this is something we need to do together, and it feels GOOD. 

Have a great week, everyone! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Resolution/Goal Updates

If you'd like to read about all seven of my New Year's Resolutions / Goals, you may certainly do so! It's the very first post I made on this blog, but you can access it much easier by CLICKING HERE.

I just thought I'd make a post to share how I'm doing with the goals I set for this year. Some of them are going better than others, but having them to look at all the time is helpful. I think I'm going to print them out and hang them up in my house so I have a daily reminder!

This resolution is going well! I have already finished two books this year, and I am nearly done with a third. That puts me well ahead of schedule, but I must keep in mind the craziness that March and April bring for a teacher. I probably won't get much reading done during those months, so it is okay that I am getting ahead now! The books I have finished so far are The Bible (okay, so I started that in October of 2011, but I DID finally finish the entire thing) and Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. I am now in the middle of Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret, which I borrowed from one of my students! 

This is the goal I am furthest behind on because I haven't even found any races I want to run yet. Oops. I am slacking. I also haven't been hitting the gym as much as I'd have liked to since I've had an AWFUL cold, but tomorrow begins a new week, which also means my workout regimin is back in full force! I know I want to do the five mile race through Garden of the Gods this year, as well as The Color Run (again). I also found a Glow Run 5K that would be a blast, but I'm waiting to see if someone will run that one with me (hinthintcoughcoughDanandAaron). 

This is going very well, and it is helping me to see the little things in everyday life that I have to be grateful for. There are so many things I wouldn't ordinarily notice or remember, but because of this journal I am forced to. A couple examples so far are: "seeing how happy my students are to be back after break", "making it through the day after all of my technology failed on me", "a Red Robin date night with my love", and "the ability to sleep in on a Saturday and still check everything off my to-do list". It's the little things, people. I would highly encourage everyone I know to keep a "thankful journal". 

This journal is also going well, but it's not as cool as the "thankful journal" to me. I think the REAL greatness of this journal will be in the years to come. Remember, this one gives you FIVE spots to answer each question, and you fill in the year. Since 2013 is the first year I'm participating in this, it's just answering a prompt on four lines each day. Next year and the ones after that, it will be really cool to see how my answers have changed as my life progresses and changes. It's still nice, though, and any writing is good writing, in my opinion. 

Well, you guys tell me. Is this going well? I feel like I have blogged when I have needed to, but without the goal of blogging every single day like last year, it's a lot more difficult for me to come up with posts worthy of sharing, which is why I didn't even post the last one I wrote to Facebook. I feel like no one cares what I have to say, but oh well. I write for myself, because it feels nice, and because it helps me get my thoughts out. I will try to come up with better topics to write about. I am currently working on a few crafty projects, so I will DEFINITELY share those when they are finished! 

This goal is so far so good! Dan is with me on this one, and he told me that he wanted to attend church more regularly and get more involved, so I am excited that we are on the same page! We are 100% with church so far this year, and that isa good feeling. We have talked to more people in the past two Sundays than we have in all of the other times we have gone. Today, we went to a new member orientation meeting, and we filled out some paperwork to become members of the only church I've ever felt comfortable in on January 27th. I'm pretty excited but also nervous because this is a big step for me. I'm feeling confident about the direction my faith is going in, though. We also found out our church is offering a weekly class on Wednesday evenings for engaged couples to focus on marriage. We wanted to attend something like this anyway, and the fact that the pastor running this class happens to be a retired Air Force Chaplain is just icing on the cake! I mean, it can't get any more perfect than that! 

This goal is a struggle for me, but I think I am holding up well. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone several times already this year in my personal life AND at work. I am feeling confident about the decisions I am making, and I REFUSE to let FEAR stop me from doing anything I want to accomplish! This is more of a vague goal, though, so it's tough to share my progress with it. Just trust me when I say I have been fearless. It's so great to have a supportive fiancé who is so willing to help me on this journey. 

I will leave you with this photo of my beautiful girl, Stormy:

Well, how's that for a loaded blog post?! I hope everyone had a great weekend and continues to have an amazing week! I'll post again soon...

Friday, January 11, 2013

What a Week!

What a week it has been!

Did it feel incredibly long to anyone else? I thought it would never end!

Okay, so I'm a bit melodramatic. But really... it was the first FULL week back to work in a long time. We hada three day week before winter break. Then, we had two full weeks off for winter break. We had a two day week last week when we returned. Quite frankly, I'm shocked I made it through all five days in one piece.

In other news, I am still recovering from an awful cold I got last Friday. I am feeling MOSTLY back to normal, but it's still a bit tough to breathe at times.

I know I haven't blogged much, especially compared to 2012, but honestly, you wouldn't want to read my every day posts. I don't have much to say. I wake up, go to work, work out, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. Seriously. I need something better to blog about, and I am looking for that something right now. I have a few picture posts to make because I want to show off the professional pictures Dan and I have had taken... three different sets! But that will only take up three posts, so I'm working on something better. I promise.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First Week of the Year

Well, the first week of the new year has been an adventurous one.

Last Wednesday, January 2nd, I set up my new classroom. No, I don't have a new job. My school had to move to a different location, and we had just one day to get everything set up. My wonderful fiancé came in for a couple of hours, and he helped me get things set up, such as my name letters and lots of posters. He also helped me with my massive bulletin board. I am so thankful for him.

Thursday, the kiddos came back! They seemed to be happy to be there, the feeling was mutual. I was SO ready to see my students again, and I hope they ALL decide to show up this coming week instead of just 75% of them.

When the week got to Friday, something happened. I was hit by a train. No, not literally. But it certainly felt like it at the time and for the following 24 hours. I came down SUDDENLY with an awful cold around 10:00 am that day, but I persevered through the school day. On my way home, I stopped at Walgreens and bought everything I could find to fight the cold. Then, I passed out for 14 hours, from 8:00 pm until 10:00 am. It was so nice, but I still felt pretty sickly on Saturday.

Dan had a genius idea to have Indian food for lunch that day, and it sure did clear out my sinuses! Then, we went out with Michael and Lizzie that night, and Lizzie is currently staying at my place for the week. We had a lot of fun! Today, Dan and I went to the Harlem Globetrotters game, and it was a BLAST! They are so much fun, and it was a great Christmas gift. :)

As far as my goals for the year, I am doing okay. I am almost finished with one book and about halfway through another one, so I am ahead of schedule on that front. I do not have any races lined up yet, so I guess I'm a bit behind there. Oops. I have written in my "thankful" journal and my "Q&A" journal daily, though, and they are such nice outlets before going to bed. I don't know what I would do without writing. Blogging twice a week is weird, but I guess I'll be able to maintain it. If I could make 366 posts in one year, surely I can make 104 this year. Right? My spiritual journey is already expanding as I finish reading the Bible. Dan and I went to church today for the first time in a while. It was AMAZING, and I miss it. A lot. And so does he. I'm so glad we found a place where I am so comfortable, and we are going to attend a new member meeting next Sunday after worship. We have been going sporadically for the past two and a half years, but it's time to make it official. And that leads me to my final goal of being fearless. Going to a member meeting at a church is NOT in my comfort zone. This will likely be my first big test of 2013, but I am ready to tackle it head on.

How is everyone's 2013 going?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year and a Fresh Beginning

Hello, wonderful readers!

I decided to retire my "Always Write" blog because writing every single day was just too stressful. It was a fun project while it lasted, and I plan on continuing to document important events, share photos, and post regularly on this one... just not every single day. If you'd like to access my old blog, you may simply CLICK HERE.

This blog will usually be focused on Dan and me, as this year is eventful for us. We go to the Air Force Academy's Ring Dance in May, find out Dan's future job this coming fall, and hopefully find out where we will be moving after his graduation (NEXT year!) toward the end of this year. I'm so excited that we will be able to share these moments with everyone!

Also, please don't forget to follow me on this one! Just look to the right side of your screen and find where it says: "Followers". (It is under the "About the Author" section). All you need to do is click "Join this site", and you will be a follower! If you do that, you will receive all of my regular updates. :)

To begin the brand new year, I have decided to make SEVEN resolutions. 2013 is a year of positive change, and I am so happy to be able to share and document my journey with anyone who cares to read/listen.

Positive Resolutions for 2013

Last year, my goal was to read 24 books. I smashed that goal, reading a total of 34. I want to improve on that by two this year, and I have a list already compiled! (I will undoubtedly read others as well, though). 

In 2012, I only ran three races. Two of them were 5Ks, and the other was a 4.5 mile race. I want to run a variety of distances this year, and completing my second half marathon is the major goal I want to achieve!

I found an idea on Pinterest to write down something I am thankful for each and every day. To make this possible (and simple), I purchased a small Moleskin calendar journal (in lime green, of course) to write down just one sentence each day. I'm hoping this will help me see the bright side of EVERYTHING!

In addition to my "thankful journal", I bought a Question and Answer journal that poses one prompt each day. I will fill out my answer for all 365 days. The really cool thing about this journal is that it gives you a space to write an answer for each prompt for FIVE whole years, so I will continue this to see how my answers change as I grow in life. 

This one is self explanatory. Last year, I stressed myself out blogging every day. This way, I will still have my creative outlet (writing), but I won't feel the pressure of staying up late just to complete my task. It started becoming a chore rather than something I WANTED to do. 

Starting in 2011, I began reading the Bible. Yes, the ENTIRE thing, Old Testament AND New. I have a mere 20 pages to go until that is complete, 1,462 pages later. I have learned a lot about God and how he is working in my life, but I am still not where I want to be. I am still learning and growing, and this resolution/goal will be a daily reminder to me to strive for being a better person in general and to continue learning and growing in my not-quite-there faith. 

This is my favorite resolution for this year, and it will undoubtedly be my most difficult one as well. All of my friends know that I am a worrier. I am overly cautious, and it hinders me sometimes. I want to do EVERYTHING that looks fun. I don't want ANYTHING holding me back, especially a silly fear, such as that of fish. I want this year to be the year I get over all of my irrational, silly fears and LIVE MY LIFE HOW I WANT TO.

Well, there you have it. I have a big year ahead of me, but I am going to attack it at full force. Wish me luck with this big journey of self improvement, and I'd love to hear about YOUR resolutions and goals as well!