Jesus Plus Nothing

IMG_2613 (2)January. The close of an old year and the beginning of a new one. January is always a time for reflection, regrets and resolutions.

If I were to describe the state of my heart with one word for each month of 2014, these are the words I would choose:

January – pain; February – emptiness; March – crying; April – darkness; May – hardening; June – cold-heartedness; July – brokenness; August – softening; September – relief; October – forgiveness; November – healing; December – hope.

These past 12 months included a season of heart wrenching turmoil, a season of distant coldness, and a season of healing through tears.

God is good. God is merciful. God is Love.

After leaving a legalistic lifestyle and mindset, the freedom I feel is parallel to that of a caged bird being let out and allowed to spread her wings for the first time. To experience the breeze flit through her feathers, to enjoy the sun shining on her eye lids and beak, to soar through the air because God created her to do so. She is free.

I am now free to be myself. I am now free to be who God created me to be. I am now free to live. Free to love.

IMG_2623 (2)

God is great. God is gracious. God is Love.

In the fall I enrolled in 15 credits of math and science classes through Pima Community College. My goal is to become a teacher in the math and science department. I finished the semester at the top of my chemistry class and was asked by my teacher to tutor chemistry at my school next semester. I am humbled by the opportunities God has given me to finally develop the talents He has given me.

One of my fellow students in my math class was this handsome brother of mine.

IMG_2821 (2)And I’m looking forward to sharing another math class with him this coming semester.

My sister and I moved out in the middle of October. We have our own apartment in the middle of town and are loving it. We feel we are in the perfect location; closer to our schools and jobs. We have immensely enjoyed having our own place to host parties, movie nights and game nights for our friends.

IMG_2814 (2)

Moving out has been an amazing growing experience for both Lydia and I. Our friendship has grown closer and deeper. This season in our life is sweet and precious and we are cherishing every minute we have together. We feel incredibly blessed by God to be expanding our horizons together. Maturing and developing our talents together. And healing together.

We love having our parents and siblings over at our place for movie nights, girl talk with mom, minecraft with the brothers, and sleep overs with little sisters. And it’s also fun to go “back home” to spend the afternoon with our family.

Our new social group is made up of young people from many different churches around town. The main activity we enjoy together is country two-step dancing. We go to Denim & Diamonds twice a week to dance for hours into the evening. Lydia and I have been touched by the loving kindness we have been shown by this dancing group, now our close friends.

dancing2

Exciting news! this past fall has found Lydia and I both in relationships.

Lydia and Bob:

IMG_2801 (2)

Jake and Abbey:

IMG_2799 (2)

IMG_2793 (2)

My little sister loves him already. Yeah, I’m actually a little jealous of the attention he gives her 🙂

One year ago my family left a community of people who would judge me and think I have gone off the deep end for doing almost everything I named or pictured in this blog post: for wearing short jean shorts, for going to a non christian college, brothers with shaggy long hair, for having a boyfriend, for partying late into the night (even withOUT beer, by the way!), watching movies, playing computer games, and for dancing in a bar.

You know who you are, go ahead and judge. But know this:

I have been set free. I am free to live. Free to love. Free to love like Christ.

All those added extras do not make a person one bit more a better person, or more spiritual. Having shed the spoken and unspoken man-made rules, I am now free to enjoy Jesus and share His love with the people around me.

Jesus plus nothing.

My heart is free. No chains on me.

The song “Blessings” by Laura Story has helped me get through the darkest parts of this year. These are my favorite lines of the song:

Cause what if Your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

I am ready to watch the sunrise on 2015

IMG_2861 (2)

Posted in Arizona, family, friends, God, school | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Double Dutch Throw Down

IMG_0592xSunglasses. Serious looks. Gray shoes. Patriotic ropes. What are we??

We have no idea. Seriously, we don’t!

It was our attempt at being creative.

The Double Dutch Throw Down, never before been done, was held in the Ballroom at The Westin Long Beach.

IMG_2132xThis event had far fewer rules than regular competition and encouraged creativity.

The four judges were jumpers in their late twenties who used to jump together competitively and who all have quite a few Nationals ribbons and trophies at home. We have made friends with a couple of them and it was fun to see the four of them still loving the sport of jump rope and making the Double Dutch Throw Down exciting.

(You can kind of see the judges sitting at the table in the center of the pic)

IMG_2133x

All afternoon Lydia, Christopher and I practiced our routine. Christopher’s brother Jonathon hung out with us and my mom all day and watched us practice and the two of them gave us helpful hints and tips with our routine.

IMG_0536xIMG_0542x

Considering regular competition requires smiles and happy looks at the judges, we decided to be “creative” and give serious, straight faced glances at the judges. We inserted a few “serious looks” during the routine that ended up being a hit with the crowd later on at the ballroom.

IMG_0563xIMG_0573x

After all the seriousness, we had to smile for at least one picture… Yes, we were having a very good time!

IMG_0595x

At The Westin Ballroom, there was a sport court laid out for the competitors to jump on. The judges and music and media people sat at one side and the entire audience circled the sport court. There were five other teams competing. Everyone laughed and cheered and clapped for every group and enjoyed all the creativity and fun. The judges especially had a good time, laughing until they had tears in their eyes over the funny and crazy stuff everyone had come up with.

calx

Jonathon recorded us practicing and also when we did our routine for everyone in the ballroom. He put together this awesome video of the Jumpers in Sunglasses.

At the very end of the event someone requested the judges come out and do something for everyone else. I don’t know how long it had been since they had jumped together, but despite jeans, flip flops and bare-feet the four of them came up with something amazing for us to watch.

Introducing Shane, Lee, Kelsey and Cali:

IMG_2144x

Hanging out with Jonathon and Christopher the whole day was super fun. Including our hike around Long Beach trying to find something to eat that didn’t require an hour and a half wait. We ended up finding a grocery store and made up our own dinner with lunch meat and crackers!

IMG_0607xIMG_0609x

We’ve always had a blast with you boys, and this was no exception! Miss you!

P.S. Congratulations to Jonathon Wuehler and Abby Baird – Wedding Day: August 9, 2014!!! We are so happy for you two!

Posted in friends, jump rope | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Jumpin’ Coast 2 Coast – Part 3

USA Jump Rope Nationals 2014 – Long Beach, California – Part 3

Saturday, June 28 – Third Day of Nationals

This day started off with 3 minute speed for the girls. I made a new personal record of 796 jumps and won 7th place out of about 15 girls in my division.

Next event was Double Dutch Relay Speed. This event includes 3 people, each person jumps speed in double dutch for 40 seconds. When the audio announcer says “switch” the jumper jumps out, takes the handles of the turner right in front of the them and becomes a turner. I was the first jumper in our speed relay:

IMG_2091x

The turner then jumps into the ropes and becomes the next jumper. Nate was the second jumper for our speed relay. Notice he is facing the last person who is left to jump:

IMG_2093xWhen the second “switch” is called, the jumper becomes the turner and the turner becomes the jumper. Ben was our third and final jumper for our speed relay:

IMG_2095xNext event is called Double Dutch Pairs Speed, which includes 4 people. In this event there are two turners and two jumpers and we don’t trade places. Each jumper jumps speed in the ropes for 1 minute.

Nate and I were the turners and Jordan and Ben were the jumpers:

IMG_2101x IMG_2104xOur age division, 18+ open, is a very difficult division to jump in, and we did not place top 10 in either of the double dutch speed events.

Next up: Double Dutch Single Freestyle. Double dutch freestyles are similar to single freestyles with the same time limits and variety of skills required.

Ben, Jordan and Nate competed in this event in the 15-17 age division.

Starting pose:

IMG_2115xFinished:

IMG_2116xHere is a Video of the boys’ Double Dutch Single by Rattlesnake Ropers.

Great job Ben, Nate and Jordan! I am proud of you three, and I love your smiles at the end!

The last event of the day was Double Dutch Pairs Freestyle -a double dutch routine including 4 people.

This is our beginning:

pairsbeginningx

This is our ending: (the hands in the air was not planned, that was just because we were excited we did so well!)

pairsendx
Video of our Pairs Double Dutch by Rattlesnake Ropers.

That was the best we had ever done our 4-person routine. Considering that was the very last event of the entire weekend we were very excited, and we felt like we went out with a bang! And, later at the awards ceremony we won 9th place. May not seem like much, but we were very pleased with ourselves to finally get to place in the top 10. 🙂

IMG_2120x

Lydia took a “selfie” during the long awards ceremony:

IMG_2117x

I won 7th for 3 minute speed:

IMG_2114xDo you remember from my Regional Blog post the four jumpers we competed against with our double dutch 4-person routine? They are the group of triplet girls and one boy from the Coronado Speed Spinners. We had an awesome time hanging out with them all weekend at Nationals.

I LOVE this picture.

IMG_2119x

Left to Right: Nate, Jordan, Savannah, Ben, Summer, Abbey, Sierra, and Nate.

National Narratives are over and I hope you enjoyed this trilogy of blog posts. That weekend was an amazing first experience for all of us and we are looking forward to next year…!

I just have one more post to write about jump rope. The next day, Sunday June 29th, was Grand Nationals. The top 12 jumpers from every event, regardless of age, advances to Grand Nationals where they get to re-jump their speed timing or freestyle routine before another panel of judges. No one from Rattlesnake Ropers qualified to jump at Grand Nationals but we enjoyed watching everyone else who did.

Late Sunday night there was one last event that Lydia and I and our friend Christopher jumped in. This event was called Double Dutch Throw Down and was separate from Nationals and Grand Nationals. It was also a brand new event, first year ever jumped. It had far fewer rules than regular competition and encouraged creativity. Stay tuned for the next blog post. Here is a teaser picture:

black&whitex

Posted in friends, jump rope | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Jumpin’ Coast 2 Coast – Part 2

USA Jump Rope Nationals 2014 Long Beach, California – Part 2

Friday, June 27 – Second Day of Nationals

The morning started off with all the single freestyles. The competition floor was divided into 6 freestyle stations, so 6 jumpers were able to do their freestyle at once. With almost every one of the 600 competitors competing a single freestyle, this event took all morning.

A single freestyle includes one person (obviously!) and is a routine the jumper made up consisting of a variety of skills. The judges are observing the presentation and content of the routine. Presentation includes how well the jumper completes each skill as well as the jumper’s smile and overall performance. Content includes how advanced each skill is from beginner level to master level and also how many skills the jumper completed in the routine. Every freestyle event must be at least 60 seconds but must not exceed 75 seconds, or there are deductions. Each mistake is also a deduction.

Three of us competed our single freestyles. Click the link by our name for a video of our routine.

We started with Benjamin’s single freestyle: Video of Ben’s single by Rattlesnake Ropers.

IMG_2068x IMG_2037x

Up next, Jordan’s single freestyle: Video of Jordan’s single by Rattlesnake Ropers.

IMG_2070x IMG_2041-003x IMG_2041-001x

And we finished with my single freestyle: Video of Abbey’s Single by Rattlesnake Ropers.

IMG_2086x

Abbey's singleAbbeys single

The boys’ age division was one of the hardest groups to compete in, with over 35 boys (age 15-17). Both of mine did great and I am very proud of them!

Only 8 girls in my age division (23-29) competed their single freestyle. At the awards ceremony later that night I won the bronze medal!

IMG_2065x

The second event of the day was Pairs Freestyles. Nathaniel and I competed in the 18+ open division. All the same single freestyle rules apply for pairs freestyles, except both partners jump the same exact routine.

Video of Nate and Abbey pairs by Rattlesnake Ropers.

IMG_2087x

abbey&natex

Last event of the day was Triple Unders. Ben and I competed in this event, Ben making 66 triples and I made 60 triples. Some of you may remember from my Regional Tournament Blog Post that the two of us were the triple champs of our region, but we were far from triple champs at Nationals :-). The girl who took the gold medal made 140 triples and the boy who won the gold medal made 382 triples. We have a lot of work ahead of us for next year…

Even so, here are the video clips of our triples.

Abbey’s triples by Rattlesnake Ropers

Ben’s triples by Rattlesnake Ropers

Remember, Triple Unders is not a timed event, you jump until you miss. The judges’ counting devices automatically updated onto large screens visible to the audience. The spectator participation was huge during the triple under event, with the entire audience going wild for the one jumper who lasted much longer than everyone else in the same heat. It was an exciting and awesome ending to a long day.

Again, this is tribute to how sweet and kind the sport of jump rope is; it doesn’t matter which team the lone “triple under jumper” was from, every last person in the audience wildly cheered for him or her as they watched the score continually progress higher with each completed triple under.

This is another reason why I love jump rope so much. And I don’t plan on quitting. Ever. Again.

Through out this day and the next, three of our parents took a few shifts as volunteers to help make the entire Nationals Weekend run more smoothly.

Joe – Freestyle tabulator

IMG_2047x

Darryl – Freestyle tabulator

IMG_2054x

Susie (my mom!) – Bleacher Clerk

IMG_2053xThank you, Joe, Darryl and Mom, you were all awesome workers and good support for the Rattlesnake Ropers.

The next blog post will be on the third day of Nationals -Double Dutch Freestyles!

Posted in friends, jump rope | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Jumpin’ Coast 2 Coast – Part 1

USA Jump Rope Nationals 2014 – Long Beach, California – Part 1

shirtfrontx

Tuesday, June 24 – Travel Day

Mom, Lydia, Steven, Molly and I drove to my Aunt Mary’s house in CA. Dad, Emily and Hope stayed home and did a wonderful job milking goats twice a day, feeding the chickens, dog, cat, and the random other critters we have, plus watering Zack’s garden and our neighbor’s garden. (Zack and Jacob are working at a camp in Spokane, WA this summer.) We had been on the road only a few hours when my Dad texted us this picture of the girls at Costco. My Dad is awesome -the girls are even wearing matching shirts… though now that I think about it, the matching shirts was probably Emily’s idea! I’m sure Dad gets the credit for the ice cream!

IMG_1965x

When we arrived in Pasadena at Aunt Mary’s house, she and cousin Grace had a cake, and flowers and a “Happy Birthday” sign ready and waiting for me because it was my birthday. Going to Nationals is probably the best birthday present I’ve had. Ever.

photo (1)xWithin one hour of arriving Steven, Molly and cousin Grace washed all of the cars in their drive way, including my car. I love these pictures: “Fifty Shades of Green.”

IMG_1963x IMG_1964x

Wednesday, June 25 – Check in Day

The next day Lydia, mom and I said good bye to Steven and Molly and left them to play at Aunt Mary’s house for the weekend. We drove an hour away to The Westin Long Beach and checked into our hotel which was right across the street from the Long Beach Convention Center where Nationals was held. View from our window:

IMG_1966x

As the coach I checked in my team at the convention center and picked up the packets for my jumpers. I met them in the practice hall and we jumped together for a few hours in the evening before going back to our hotel rooms.

IMG_1967x

IMG_1969x

Thursday, June 26 – First Day of Nationals

All morning we had judges/coaches/volunteer meetings while jumpers practiced. My mom and two other parents from my team were volunteers and had a few couple hour shifts to work during the four day competition. In the meantime, mine and Lydia’s very dear friend, Christopher, came by to watch and jump with us. We hadn’t seem him in a few years and it was so great to catch up. We used to jump rope with him over 10 years ago, and we still love jumping together. 

IMG_2029x IMG_2027x IMG_2031xAll day Thursday were the Speed events -30 second Speed, 1 min Speed, speed relays and medleys, and ended with 3 minute speed for the boys (girls 3 minute speed was two days later). All four of us competed in the speed events, and together we did the speed relay and also speed medley.

IMG_2020x

IMG_1974x

IMG_1977x

IMG_1985xClick the link below for a video clip of my 30 second speed event. Counting only when my Right Foot hits the floor, my score is 72. I managed 13th place in my age division, in other words, I am no where near amazing.

Video clip: Abbey’s 30 second speed

After all 600 competitors finished the speed events, all the teams were organized in alphabetical order for the parade of teams before the awards ceremony. The Speed events were over by 5pm on Thursday, and the awards ceremony lasted another 2 hours after that.

IMG_2013xIMG_2014xIMG_2015x

This year the three boys on my team competed in the male 15-17 age division, I competed in the female 23-29 age division and together for the group events we compete in the open 18+ age division. Top 10 winners from every event and age division are awarded medals or ribbons. None of us placed top 10 for these speed events, though a few of us managed to place in the top 20.

IMG_2023x

The back of our Nationals t-shirts list all the teams that came this year. Can you find our team name?

shirtbackxThe following two days of Nationals included all the freestyle events. Stay tuned for blog post part 2.

Posted in friends, jump rope | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Summer Triathlon

Last summer I did a triathlon with my two taller brothers, and this summer I did one with my brother who is still smaller than me.

Steven did the youth distance triathlon: 250 meter swim, 4 mile bike, 1 mile run. Mom, Steven and I arrived at the U of A pool a little after 4:30am. I helped Steven set up his transition station with his bike, helmet, towel, and shoes and we talked through how he would do his transitions.

IMG_0296xIMG_0300xSteven was the first boy swimmer to start

IMG_0304x IMG_0310x IMG_0313xFinished his swim and now he is running to his bike

IMG_0316xTransition to bike

IMG_0322xI volunteered as a bike chaperon for the youth so I was able to ride next to Steven the full 4 miles. I did this last summer as well (riding next to the little boy I babysit) and I have found it to be a very good warm up before my own race begins.

IMG_0325xSteven finished his bike in about 21 minutes, and now he is beginning his run

IMG_0327xSprinting to the finish line

IMG_0329x

He crossed the Finish Line with an overall time of 40:41.

IMG_0333x

Good job, Steven!

IMG_0335xMy Dad, Lydia, Emily, Molly and Hope arrived just in time to watch Steven cross the finish line, which was about 25 minutes before my start time.

IMG_0349xIMG_0346x

I finished the 750m swim in 15:05, beating my record by 19 seconds

IMG_0354xMom’s helping me go the right direction

photo 5xTransition to bike.

pinkbag

IMG_0361x

bikeIMG_0364x

I finished the bike in 41:35, about a minute faster than when I did the bike portion of the relay last March!

runx

Finish line sprint

racing2

I finished the run in 27:11, over 2 1/2 minutes faster than my record 5k run at the end of a triathlon. My overall time was 1 hour 23 minutes 52 seconds, a full 4 minutes faster than my previous record time.

finishedx

IMG_0148x

Out of 17 girls, I won 3rd place in my age division, female 25-29, winning a Firecracker Triathlon 2014 cup

cup

Yes, triathlons are fun, but jump rope is 10 times more fun. Nationals, here I come!!

Posted in family, swim, Triathlon, walking/running | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

USA Jump Rope Regional Tournament

usajumprope

For those of you who are not aware, jump rope is a competitive sport, very much like gymnastics, synchronized swimming or figure skating. Every spring jumpers across the nation compete at their regional tournament, hoping to qualify for Nationals which is always the following June. Our region consists of every jump rope team from Arizona and California, and the tournament was held March 22nd, right here in Tucson.

Nearly 18 years ago I began jumping and competing with a team called Jumping For Joy located in Santa Clara, California. When I was 14 years old my family and I moved to Tucson and I began jumping with the Tucson Twist-Its. My sister, Lydia, and I competed with them for three years before we decided to take a break from the competitive aspect of the sport.

Still in love with jump rope, we taught a few jump rope camps and classes for friends from our church and homeschool group. During those years our most dedicated jumpers began to advance in skill level as well as interest. Long story short, I have now jumped back into the sport with two feet, this time around as the coach of my own team called the Rattlesnake Ropers.

Rattlesnake Ropers 2014

Four Rattlesnake Ropers, including myself, went to this regional tournament and competed in a variety of different events.

Here is my team, minus me: (notice our “Little Snakes” in the background)

IMG_5958ropersx

This was an amazing tournament because both my old teams were there. The Tucson Twist-its is now coached by my former jump rope partner, Lauren. Jumping For Joy, now named Sol Jumpers, is coached by Michelle, a girl I remember as one of the “big girls” on Jumping For Joy. There are still a few jumpers from each team who remembered Lydia and I and it was awesome to catch up and learn what’s been happening over the past decade (now almost two decades!).

The first events competitions always start with are called Speed events. These events are the endurance and training events.

Speed is similar to jogging in place, Right foot, Left foot, Right foot, etc. where the rope goes under each foot. One event is a 30 second timing, another is a 1 minute timing, and the endurance event is a 3 minute timing. Jumpers jump as fast as they can in the time limit while the judges are counting every right foot jump. The jumper with the most jumps wins!

IMG_5950ropersx

IMG_5964ropersx IMG_6010ropersx

There are also double dutch speed events with turners and jumpers taking turns in relay fashion.

The Freestyle events are the events that are the most entertaining to watch (and by far my favorite!). Freestyle routines must be at least 60 seconds long and must not go over 75 seconds, and have a hand full of different skill requirements including multiple unders, footwork, rope manipulation and rope releases, and gymnastic type skills.

One of my jumpers, Jordan, competed his single freestyle routine in the male 15-17 age division. There was one other competitor in this division and Jordan won first place! I am very proud of him.

jordanxjordantjx

I competed my single freestyle in the female 23-29 age division and won 2nd place out of six girls, second only to Michelle, coach of Sol Jumpers, and beating Lauren (Twist-It’s coach) by one place. Here is the link to my freestyle on YouTube http://youtu.be/qz4P35D08tY

abbeyx

Pairs freestyle routines consists of two jumpers jumping the exact same routine together. These are fun because they include partner interaction, similar to pairs figure skating. My partner, Nate, and I competed our routine in the 18+ open division against one other partner group and we won 1st place.

There are two different Double Dutch Freestyle events, the first one is called Double Dutch Single Freestyle and it consists of 3 jumpers. In this event, jumpers become turners and turners become jumpers. The three boys on my team, Ben, Nate, and Jordan competed in this event and did a great job. Here is their routine on my YouTube channel http://youtu.be/npH4QwTYHac

natejordanbenx 3personx

Double Dutch Pairs Freestyle includes 4 jumpers. The boys and I literally threw our routine together a half hour before we were up. Our only competition, a team of one boy and triplet girls from the Coronado Speed Spinners, said they hadn’t made up their routine yet either. So instead of both scratching our routines, we decided to see who could put together the better routine in such short notice. We had so much fun with this challenge and made four new friends in the process! We ended up taking 2nd place. Top 5 from every event and age division qualifies for Nationals, so we both automatically made it to Nationals anyway!

4personx subwayx

The very last event of the day is Triple Unders. A triple under means the rope successfully completes three turns around the body for every jump. This event is only for jumpers 15 years old and older and is not timed -you jump until you make your first mistake. My oldest jumper Benjamin won 1st place for the male triple under event with a score of 50 consecutive triple unders, and I won 1st for female triple unders with a score of 62. We called ourselves the triple champs!

P1040999x

This picture is of the parade of teams right before the awards ceremony:

P1040979x

Some of my “Little Snakes” watching the competitors. I have quite the hand full of younger jumpers working their way towards qualifying for the team who are excited about competing next year.

P1040980xAfter the awards ceremony:

P1040998xThe sport of jump rope is unique as it combines both training and endurance events as well as the performance type events. Yes we are competitive, but the sport is also a very kind sport -you become really good friends with the people you compete against. Teams and individual jumpers are considerate and kind to each other, encouraging and cheering each other on. In this last picture, the four of us are posing with our double dutch competition who beat us by 0.12 (twelve hundredths of a point!). We are very much looking forward to seeing these four jumpers at Nationals next week.

P1040991xIf you or anyone you know is interested in becoming involved with this wonderful sport, please contact me! I will be starting “Little Snake” practices at the end of the summer and I’ll let you know time and location. I am looking forward to growing my team as well as the sport of jump rope.

My sister and I are teaching a summer camp July 28-Aug 1 at Saguaro Canyon Church. Contact me if you want more info about this camp. This would be a great way to learn more about jump rope, to see if it’s something you’d like to pursue.

Stay tuned for pics and stories of Nationals…

Posted in Arizona, friends, homeschool, jump rope | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Tri Family

Five of the six competitorsIn March six of us competed in the Tucson Triathlon put on at the U of A. My Dad, Zack and Jake made one relay team, while Lydia, Steven and I made the other relay team. My dad took this picture of us at a quarter after 6 in the morning, after we had all of our transition stations set up and we were body marked with our relay numbers. Both our teams were entered in the family relay division where each team has a name. My dad and the boys named themselves The Avengers, and my team chose The Hobbits as our name.

My Dad was the swimmer for his team. He is next in line to start his 750 meter swim. Go Dad!

DadSteven was the swimmer for my team. He has been swimming with a year round swim team for 11 months now and absolutely loves it.

Steven

My Dad had trained for this event since mid-January. The previous six months he was recovering from open heart surgery he had last June (2013). He was the inspiration and encouragement for all of us while we trained for this triathlon.

Amazing DAD

Meanwhile, Jacob stands in the bike transition area, waiting for Dad to finish his swim. He is ready with a towel to hand to Dad once they tag each other. In my opinion, Jake looks like he is having difficulties containing his excitement.

jake

Dad finishes his swim with a time of 15:43 and runs to tag Jacob who slips him the towel as they high five each other!

Dad & Jake switchMoments later, Steven climbs out of the pool with an awesome time of 13:46

steven

He runs to tag me where I had been waiting in the transition area, ready to ride.

DSCN0151xThe Two Steven Swimmers

Two StevesJacob finishes his bike ride at exactly 45 minutes and tags Zack who begins the last portion of the race.

Two bros

I finish the bike ride with a time of 42:02 and tag Lydia who is ready for her 3 mile run.

DSCN0154x

Zack is running around the U of A mall…

zack… And so is Lydia…

DSCN0156xZack crosses the finish line with a split time of 27:47. At 6 foot 3 inches we think his gait resembles that of Captain America. Maybe he really is an Avenger!

Zack

Moments later Lydia crosses the finish line with a split time of 28:04, smiling the whole way!

DSCN0158x

The Hobbits: Total time 1:23:52

DSCN0159x

The Avengers: Total Time 1:28:31

DSCN0160x

DSCN0161xApparently this is how my mom found a few of us later that afternoon:

DSCN0162x DSCN0163x

Photographer: Mom

Thanks for reading and I hope I was able to give you a small taste of the excitement in store for those who have included a triathlon on their bucket list!

Posted in family, swim, Triathlon, walking/running | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

I know, it’s been, like, forever!

Hello my readers! Someone recently alerted me to the fact that I should update my blog, and I realized I hadn’t posted in almost a year. A lot has happened since I arrived back home from Israel last August…

First, I am in full time school. That started last October. I took a few CLEP exams and tested out of a few college credits and in the meantime switched from English, to History, and finally to Math as my main focus. If you ever want help with taking a CLEP exam, let me know. I passed seven CLEP exams in seven weeks, earning 24 credits in that time frame. I can tell you anything and everything you need to know about taking a CLEP exam.

In January I enrolled in four classes at Pima Community College, Writing 101, and 102 (both half-semester fast-paced classes), Intro to Chemistry, and Pre-Calculus. This semester further reinforced the idea that I should NOT be an English major. I don’t mind writing when I have to, but seriously, why spend so much brain energy on typing out a 1500 word paper when you could relax your mind with graphing a hyperbola, solving a matrix, or proving trigonometric identities? I do indeed enjoy math and I am finding I also really love chemistry.

I passed all my classes with the spring semester ending mid May and my summer has now begun. This past year I’ve continued working as a nanny for the same wonderful family, now completing my second year with them. I love those two boys very dearly and often refer to them as “my” boys. This summer will be filled with swim practice, swimming for fun and Monopoly and Clue with my boys.

Last fall I started my own competitive jump rope team, called the Rattlesnake Ropers. I have been in love with the sport of jump rope since I was 7 years old and I am so happy to be back in the sport full time, this time around as the coach. In March I took my team (at the time consisting of four jumpers including myself) to our Regional tournament which happened to be right here in Tucson. We qualified in many events and are now training for Nationals, which is at the end of June, in Long Beach, California. I’ll have more blog posts coming soon with pictures and details of the Regional competition.

Last March my family participated in the U of A triathlon, making two relay teams. My dad, and my two taller brothers made up one team, naming themselves the Avengers, while my sister and I and our littlest brother made the other team, with the name of The Hobbits. We had a great time training together and competing against each other. It was classic, The Hobbits beat The Avengers!

This summer my littlest brother and I are doing the full triathlon by ourselves. He is doing the youth distance and I am doing the sprint distance tri, the same one I did last summer. There will probably be a post on this event later this month.

So, that was the quick version update of the last year of my life. Keep watching for a few more posts that give more details, particularly about my jump rope adventures!

God has blessed me this past year in so many ways. Life is not always easy nor straight forward, but knowing I can rest assured that the Creator of the Universe cares for me, gives me a peace that nothing else will. I pray that God receives the glory and honor for everything I put my hand to.

Soli Deo gloria!

Posted in family, nanny, school, swim, Triathlon | 8 Comments

Israel: The End

Our trip back home started by leaving Jerusalem late evening on our 9th day, actually, it was 1 am the next morning. So, to while a way the time until 1am, Zack and I showed Joe some jump rope. We taught him a lot of tricks and different fun stuff you can do with a jump rope. Joe really liked it and was very good at it even though he had never jumped before.

100_4951xAt 1am we drove from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to catch our flight to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we were supposed to catch a flight to San Francisco, but we were delayed and completely missed that flight. We were re-routed to Paris, and then to San Francisco. It was a bit of an adventure getting home but I thought it was cool to get an extra stamp in my pass port!

We were just a little silly from excitement and lack of sleep… (Oh, and I should mention this picture was taken still on the ground in Tel Aviv. At the VERY beginning.)

IMG_1357x 100_4955x

From San Francisco, Zack and I flew to Phoenix, and that’s where Mom, Lydia and Jake met us and we drove 2 hours to get back to Tucson. Over all, it took us 38 hours to get home, and because of the time change it was all on the same day. It didn’t just feel like the longest day ever, it really was!

Here are some pictures of the breakfasts we had at our hotels. The menu always included: salad, vegetables, yogurt, lots of different cheese, pickled herring, tuna salad, eggs, huevos rancheros, chocolate marbled bread, and a few other pastries, delicious home made bread, and gourmet cold cereal (served in large white glass bowls), and toast and jam.

IMG_0698x

100_4670x 100_4671x

IMG_0405x

100_4674xIMG_0697x

For dinner at the hotels there was always another huge spread of vegetables and salad, a few different meats, egg plant side dishes and other exotic vegetable dishes, home made bread, soup, pasta dishes and dessert.

IMG_1248x IMG_1318x IMG_1069x IMG_1133x IMG_1250x

This juice, whatever it was, tasted so good. It was served at every hotel and every meal. It was orange juice with something else in it too. It made us feel good and comfortable so we named it Comfy Juice. We all got very attached to our Comfy Juice.

IMG_1352xDearest faithful readers of mine, this completes my tales of Israel. I hope these narratives have blessed you in some way, for that was my mission, to share the blessings of Israel.

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments