It’s been a week…or two.

Wow, that’s all I can say to start with.  It’s like at some point you just take a deep breath and wonder how in the world you’ve made it through some of the crazy.  One of my friends from work, Chrissy, put it great on her blog just over a week ago, there are just those days where you’re like WTF.  I’ve had several of those at work lately.  You know, it’s seriously so frustrating and so hard sometimes knowing that most every single problem that we have comes down to poor communication.  That being said, Jacks has gone so above and beyond to make sure that I’m able to unwind a bit.  Ever since I got home last night, it’s been fantastic for just getting relaxed.

We went out for some Indian food at Choolah Indian BBQ in Sterling last night.  It’s one of those fast/casual restaurants much in the style of Cava or Chipotle.  We got a ton of food really cheep, and it was quite tasty.  We sampled some tofu and veggies along with some yellow dal and chana masala.  We also tried the samosas and got whole wheat naan.  It was awesome that everything was marked so clearly as vegan.  My favorite was the chana masala.  Jackie’s favorite item was none of the above.  She was in love with the automatic hand washer.  It really was rather nice.  You just shove your hands in and it’s like you got a nice water massage.

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Afterwards we met our friends Jeremy and Kaitlin for some coffee before heading off to Escape Room Loudoun.  We’d never done an escape room before.  Talk about a great time.  This one was themed around escaping from a creepy doctor.  We worked super well as a team, nobody got edgy with anyone, we all had gifts to add.  Jeremy was very good with the spacial puzzles.  (Seriously I sat there for 5 minutes and he got it in like 30 seconds).  Kaitlin was good with the word puzzles.  Jackie killed it on getting our locks undone and noticing things out of place.  Me?  I don’t know, I just added the engineer mind, I don’t know, it was super fun.  We escaped in about 54 minutes… Oddly we could have been out about 2 minutes earlier, but apparently I’m special with the locked door.  Here’s a great picture of us all.  We really couldn’t ask for having better friends, and they’re right next door.  Bonus.

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It rained all night and a fair part of today, but it’s left the weather perfect.  70ish and a nice breeze.  I’ll take it as a respite from the typical July weather.  This morning I set out for a long run.  I didn’t know how far I was going to go, I just knew I was going to go.  I slept in without an alarm (SO Rare for me any more) and got out there at about 6:45.  I started on a trail that the girls (Jackie and Kaitlin run together) went on yesterday.  Then I crossed Evergreen Mills road and went into the newest section of Willowsford.  I found an absolutely amazing trail system back there.  It gave me a great feel for my 15K that’s coming up in a few weeks.  Because of the rain I got to run in a ton of mud, forded some creeks, saw some deer, but sadly not the bear that has been sighted here lately.  Just short of 11 miles later I ended up back home.  I was either consistent with pace or had negative splits almost the whole way.  It seriously made my day in terms of just relaxing and getting moving. I did particularly love the caked on mud at the end.

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My secret lately for enjoying my runs is the Rich Roll podcast.  If you haven’t heard of Rich before, he’s an ultra athlete that’s plant based.  His book Finding Ultra is one of the better books I’ve read in the last year.  I love that he’s open to hearing about most anything, he just looks for the movers and the shakers of the world.  Whether it’s about how we treat each other, how we can be more compassionate, or looking more at the plant based life, it’s really engaging and makes me feel like I know more after I’m done.  I’d highly suggest checking it out.

After the great morning we headed out to Maryland to hit up Roots Market and grab lunch at Great Sage Vegan Restaurant.  Check out this Jackfruit BBQ sandwich. It was amazing. I haven’t really cared for jackfruit, but this changed my mind. Finally one that wasn’t overly sweet.

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What a fantastic morning.  You want to know my favorite part of all that?  We didn’t play the radio once, Jackie and I had a lot of great conversations about life.  It’s awesome getting to spend time with your best friend.  So now I’m in a better place and feel much more relaxed than I have in awhile.  I’m curious if you want to leave a comment as to what you do to relax?

Side note of what’s been going on in the past two weeks other than work… We did hit up Green Fare organic restaurant for lunch last Friday, that was a really great meal as well.  We managed to FaceTime nearly all our family last weekend, which was nice.  It was especially great to watch Amalia running around.  I can’t wait to see that little chubber again.  Jackie had bible study on Wednesday’s per usual.  Church has been great, good messages and it’s great to serve.  We hit up Trivia at Blend Coffee Shop, where I also had my weekly Men’s group.  Tried to find some time to play some games, grab some coffee/tea and just keep living life.  I did finish Proteinaholic, which was fantastic, definitely check that out.  Oh and obviously, we’ve spent plenty of time walking Olive and making sure she has a great time.

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I think it’s about time to start thinking of some recipes to get up here again.  Or at least a product test Tuesday or something.  But for now, I’ve rambled enough.  Thanks for reading!

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Friday Free for All

It’s certainly shaping up to be a great day.  Here’s what’s happened so far as well as the plan for what’s going to happen the rest of the day.  (I guess by the time I post this it will all have happened, but I digress).  Jacks and I both started the day off with a run.  I wasn’t necessarily planning on getting out this morning, but it was still raining and I can’t pass up a run in the rain.  I don’t know what it is but I absolutely love it.  I’m also super proud of Jacks, she did 5.2 miles.  That’s awesome! Breakfast today is oatmeal with all the fixings.

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We’re just going to hang around the house for a bit, and then we’ll be off to our favorite vet’s office Caring Hands Animal hospital for Olive to get her nails trimmed… Weird fact about our dog, she just LOVES the vet.  She’s so bizarre.

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We’re going to head down to Arlington after that and sell some gear at a consignment shop, hit up a great little bakery/coffeeshop, Bakeshop, and probably get a smoothie for a snack at South Block.

Salted Oatmeal Apricot Cookie!
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Dogs want smoothies too!
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Lunch is/was a nice big salad.
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We’ve got a massage planned for the afternoon, and then, one of the most fun things we’ve had in the plans for awhile.  We’re going to make dinner with both Connor and Bethany.  We’re still trying to figure out the exact menu, but there is just something about cooking together and breaking bread together that is awesome.  It’s been a huge blessing to have the two of them around a lot lately.  It’s kind of sad that they’ll be headed off to British Columbia in a week.  But I’m really excited to hear those stories as well.

Speaking of the massage, that seems to be one of those things that often leads to comments about us having a great marriage.  I find that kind of interesting, but it really does help to put things into perspective.  I do think we have a great marriage, but it takes a lot of work.  As a man you can’t give up on dating your spouse.  It may be easier for us in not having kids, but I’m going to challenge you to look at your priorities.  Even without kids, we have to make an effort.  It requires putting things on the calendar, and it requires putting the phone down and talking.  It also takes a very clear understanding that it’s a commitment.  And for us it’s a covenant as well.  We couldn’t do it without having God in our lives.  We were trained several years back as marriage mentors, what I would tell you out of that is that we got so much more in our own marriage when we were helping others.  It required us to really look inward at ourselves.  I know there are a lot of people out there that are struggling at hurting.  I’d encourage you all that getting help and talking to people isn’t a sign of weakness.

I hope and pray for you as the readers to have a great day, and if any of you needs prayer, I’m always happy to do that.

A beautiful day to get outside!

Hey y’all.

Thanks for the wonderful response to the post the other day. Knowing that people are reading and care, certainly does make a person happy to put their thoughts out there. I’ve got a recipe coming up here one of these days, but for now, I figured we’d just keep sharing life.

We’ve got a good old four day weekend going. I needed the break and so far it’s been really nice and relaxing. The day started off with a nice fun run with Jackie and Kaitlin. I had a great time with Mike and Eddy for our church Executive Leadership Team (ELT) meeting. And then the bulk of our day was spent with our friend Connor who just got back from Peru. He was part of a team of 13 that went with Leadership Excursions/Endurance Leadership. We were very excited to get to hear all about how God was working down there. Both on the team that went as well as with the orphanage there.

We made some sandwiches featuring Herbivorous Butcher “meats”. Oh my delicious. Jackie’s favorite is the “turkey” slices, I personally like the “pastrami” the best. Whatever way you slice it, it’s all good. Connor was a fan, which is always a plus, when your omnivorous friend, digs the food.

We had planned to drive to Maryland to check out the Red Shedman Farm Brewery.  We’ve picked up some of their raspberry cider in the past and it’s super good.  We thought it would be fun to put the dog in the car and head out there to hang out and try some beverages while playing some games and catching up.  It was perfect for all of that. First off the Farm has beer, cider and wine.  We didn’t check out the wine today but we sampled everything else.  Its set in such a beautiful location, there are rolling hills and trees everywhere.  You’ve got the vines for the winery surrounding all the sides of a nice little grove with picnic tables set up.  (In retrospect, I really should have taken some pictures of the property… gotta get back in the habit.)

We tried a flight.  I personally thought the best beer was the Lunatic Fringe.  A Belgian IPA that was infused with habanero.  Jackie was a fan of the Raspberry Cider, and Connor’s favorite was the Farmers Daughter, a wheat beer.
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Here’s Connor and I just enjoying a moment there on the picnic table.  The beard is so much bigger isn’t it!
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Connor fell asleep with Olive in the car on the way back.  But he woke up in time to show us a rocking backflip off a tree.  After we got a good video we wanted to try to do a boomerang video…Well it didn’t work quite as well, but it’s super funny to watch.  🙂

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The real highlight though was hearing the stories, and challenging each other on what’s going on in our lives.  Connor asked the question as to what our greatest fear is.  I’ll tell you what, it takes a good friendship to get vulnerable and really share that.  It’s been a blessing to have him here as an intern and getting to know him.  Between him and Bethany we’re going to be really sad when this season of life is over and we have to go to remote relationships.

We’re going to end off the night by going to see Despicable Me 3.  I’m excited, Jacks is super excited.  It should be a whole lot of fun.  We’re going to sneak in some Earth Balance White Cheddar Popcorn.  😉

Encouraged to keep telling our story!

So today we we’ve had the great opportunity to have some friends over to the house and talk about our ongoing journey in life.  We’re talking about a both our faith journey and our journey with veganism.  I’ll tell you what, I think that the world is ready and ripe for change.  People want relationships, people want to feel better, and that’s a good thing.

We watched a great documentary  the other night, “What the Health” on Netflix.  That prompted us to share with everyone we know that they should all watch it.  It certainly reaffirmed our thoughts about what we’re doing being right.  It’s also had some of our friends wanting to make substantial changes in their life.  We know how hard that the change was so its pretty fun to answer questions and help along the way.

It’s also been a really fun day.  I started out with an 8 mile run, it’s crazy hot out here in Virginia these days, so it was a bit of a hard run for me.  I had to take a few walk breaks to make sure I didn’t die, and that was even at 6 am this morning.  (For the record, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and somehow running has become such an important part of my life.  I just get to get rid of so much stress from doing it.  We’ve got a lot of runs coming up and we’ve just done a few races.  One just last weekend was supporting such a great cause, A fight against Human trafficking.  Here’s a race picture for y’all.)

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Then we went off to our favorite Doughnut shop.  Glory Doughnuts in Frederick, Maryland.  Check out the dough and my BBQ Tofu Club.  What a breakfast.

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We went from there off to Root’s Market in Olney, MD.  Our favorite grocery store shopping ground.  They have so many great products that we can’t find anywhere else and they are almost always the first place to get to roll out new vegan products.

Now it’s a restful afternoon, we’re having this great conversation, yes I’m blogging while talking, but hey that’s because these friends have all encouraged me to do this again.  In the mean time, here’s a few other pics for you all to know that we’re still alive and doing well!

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Hopefully we’ll catch y’all again soon!