90. Run a 5k

Running long distances has never appealed to me. I know a 5k is not a long distance for real runners, but it was for me. In high school, I ran track, and I was definitely a short-distance guy. I ran the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. The furthest race I ever ran was 400 meters, and that was plenty. Too much, really. We had to run longer distances for some workouts, but I’m confident that I never ran further than 2 miles during the first 26 years of my life.

About a year ago, Courtney started running (she describes that process here). My lack of desire to run distances continued, so I left that pursuit to her. Around the time we moved back to Oklahoma, though, something changed. For some reason, I wanted to run. I think the barefoot running craze had something to do with it, because I bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers (aka, the shoes with toes) to run in.

So I started running with Courtney last July. And gradually, we built up our time and distance. In August, we were really good. We broke 2, then 3 miles. Then in September, Courtney found a job, and it got harder to find a time to run. After 21 miles in August, I logged just under 4 in September. Then in early October, we decided we needed a concrete goal to work toward, and there was a 5k at our alma mater November 3 – the annual Race for the Stars – so we signed up.

With a race coming up, it was time to get serious about training. Except, it didn’t happen. I ran a total of 5 miles the first 25 days of October. Then, a week out, it hit me that I was not in sufficient shape for the race. So, I hit it hard. And overdid it a little bit. 9 miles in 4 days was a lot more than I was used to, and my body didn’t like it. Fortunately, I overdid it early in the week, so I had a few days to recover, and I felt fine by race day.

When Saturday, November 3rd rolled around, we got up very early and made the 75 minute drive to OCU, where our friend Nick met us. The weather was colder than it had been, but the morning was clear and nice. We warmed up, lined up, and when the gun went off, we were off! Trying to start a run in the middle of a large pack of people was a new and frustrating experience. I got stuck behind people going slower than I cared to go, and opportunities to pass them were minimal. Eventually, I passed them and was able to get into a groove. The course was mostly flat, but there were a few small hills, which thankfully  were confined to the first half of the race. In the end, all three of us finished (goal met!) and none of us had to stop running and walk (bonus!). Courtney and I even set personal bests, which might also have something to do with the fact that we’d never run that far before. The Race for the Stars was a great experience.

Since the race, we’ve continued running, alternating between consistency and inconsistency. Our goal is to run a half-marathon before the end of 2013, so the clock is ticking! If we don’t start tending toward consistency, it may be painful. Hopefully, the coming of warm weather will help. We hope.

See you at the half,



56. Introducing Harvey



Our second anniversary was July 17, and we had big plans. We were going to head to Oklahoma City, get lunch in Midtown, visit the OKC National Memorial (#86 for those of you keeping track), get dinner somewhere nice, and see a movie. Just a few hours before we left, Courtney was browsing online classifieds for dogs, and she found a Yorkshire Terrier in Sparks, OK who was too cute to ignore. We didn’t know where Sparks was, but Courtney thought it was near Shawnee, not too far from OKC. So, she sent an email to the owner and we headed East.


We had lunch at Kaiser’s Bistro, which opened as an ice cream parlor in 1918. The food was great, and, since it’s a bistro and ice cream parlor, we figured we had to get milkshakes. They were also awesome. While we were eating, Courtney got a call about the Yorkie. The owner said we could come that afternoon to see him, and Courtney asked if we could. I knew if we went, we would not leave without a dog. But I said OK, and we headed further East.


As it turns out, Sparks is about 30 minutes past Shawnee – practically to Chandler. But we made it, and we met the puppy. The breeder also had several adult teacup Yorkies, who made him look like a giant, despite him being only four months old. He was very cute, but also very energetic and skittish. He was much more interested in trying to play with the teacup Yorkies than with us, but none of them were very interested in playing. I had my doubts, but Courtney wanted him, and I was warming as well, so we bought him. We wrote a check, he got a bow in his hair (which was taken out almost immediately in the car), and we began the voyage West.

He is now 8 months old, house-trained, and chewing up everything he can get his mouth on. We named him Harvey, after my great-great-grandfather. And because it seemed like a fun name. He drives us crazy half the time, but he’s pretty fun the other half, and it’s getting difficult to imagine life without him.

Harvey’s favorite chew toy,



69. Front Porch Sittin’

For a long time I’ve wanted a rocking chair. Actually, ever since Real World New Orleans in 2000, I’ve wanted to paint a rocking chair. In one episode I either saw some of the cast painting rocking chairs or an episode just showed some awesomely painted rocking chairs.

Last year one of my professors told me of a guy in Tennessee who makes rocking chairs from trees that are native to the state. After hearing about the chairs, my mind was made up–I was finally going to get my rocking chair. Well, months went by and I still didn’t have one. There was one thing standing in my way: Brandon and I had no way of getting the rocking chairs from the guy’s warehouse to our house. Our cars were too small. I had about decided I wasn’t going to get a chair, but on my birthday Brandon surprised me with a trip to go get rocking chairs! We borrowed a friend’s truck and drove out to Woodbury, TN. Ronnie Smith, the owner/master carver of Mountain Chairs, has a huge barn full of chairs! They are beautifully carved and left unfinished so you can paint or stain them however you like. He pulled down a few chairs for us to try out and choose from. The Papa Rockers were way too big for us so we opted for 2 Regular Rockers and were on our way!

The Barn

Brandon trying out a rocker

Look at all those chairs!

Mountain Chairs Workshop

We didn’t have time to get them painted before we moved back to Oklahoma, but they were one of our first projects after the move. Brandon decided he liked the natural look of the wood so he just put a protective clear coat on his chair and it was on the front porch within a few days. I had other plans in mind for mine! I wanted to paint my chair in a way that represented me and the things I like. I could tell you about what I put on it, but I’ll just show you.

Brandon’s Chair

My Chair

It’s all in the details!

More details

Finished products!

It took me about a month to finish my chair but it finally joined Brandon’s on the front porch. We’ve also put our hummingbird feeder and wind chimes out front. It’s turned into a nice little space for us to relax.

Our little oasis

What do you do to relax at home? Do you have any projects you’ve been working on lately?

Rock on,


98. Praying through Lent

You would think that a pastor and a youth minister would have no problems praying together morning and evenings for thirty days straight, right? Wrong. For both of us, making time for prayer is often a struggle. Sometimes, our vocations even seem to be part of the problem. When you’re called on daily (sometimes, several times per day) to pray publicly, it can be easy to feel like your prayer life is in good shape. But we’ve realized that’s only an illusion. If we didn’t set aside time with God outside of our work responsibilities, we found that our spiritual lives struggled. And when we don’t spend time in prayer together, a vital part of our relationship with each other is missing.

During Lent (I know, this is really late), we decided to pray together in the mornings and evenings. We used the book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, which both of us had previously used. We found it to be very helpful. It allowed us some spontaneity and space for extemporaneous praying, but also provided us with structure, which was very helpful on those days when we just didn’t have a lot to say. And as an introvert who is rarely inclined to use two words when one will do, I seem to have those days pretty often. We also really benefited from praying prayers from scripture and the wider Christian tradition. Particularly, I really felt the Spirit move when praying the Lord’s Prayer, the Doxology, Mary’s Magnificat, Simeon’s Song, and the Gloria Patri.

One of the things that we found particularly helpful was the prayer of confession during evening prayer. Sometimes, it would be an opportunity to confess to one another the ways that we’d failed to love one another during the day. Sometimes, it’d be playful (“Sorry my wife is a annoying”), and sometimes there were opportunities for confession that weren’t taken. But overall, it provided us with an opportunity to reflect on where we fell short in our relationships with God and one another, and our marriage benefited from that.

Predictably, we fell off the wagon shortly after Lent ended. Committing to praying together for a set time period was easier than maintaining the practice indefinitely. And while there were definite benefits to our relationship, praying together didn’t make everything all of a sudden magical. But there was something very right about beginning and ending our days together by offering ourselves to our creator in prayer, and I hope that’s a practice we will engage in more faithfully in the future.

What prayer practices or spiritual disciplines have been helpful for you?

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,




26. Donate!

Number 26 on our 101 in 1001 list is to donate 101 things we no longer need. And in the process of moving from Nashville to Oklahoma we decided it would be a good idea to go through our things as we were packing and decide if we wanted to keep, donate, or throw away.

We went through our clothes, books, electronics, pictures, and a bunch of other things that we had in Nashville and ended up donating well over 101 items to Goodwill!

While I thought we were done going through things, but we only finished the things we had in Nashville. After moving into our house back in Oklahoma I learned we both had a ton of things still at our parents houses to go through.

With the recent wildfires in Oklahoma, we’ve heard the call to start going through our things again to help out. It might be a good time for you to go through your house too and see what you can donate to the families who lost everything. People aren’t just in need of clothes and home goods, their needs include things like monetary and legal support as well. For a list of places you can help or give donations, visit the KFOR News site.

It is in times of disaster that humanity can be seen at its best. Be the best.

For our neighbors,


50. Cheesy Zucchini Rice

We tried a new recipe tonight! Only 19 more to go to complete number 50 on our 101 list!

I have a ton of recipes pinned on Pintrest and tonight we tried the Cheesy Zucchini Rice from Karly at BunsInMyOven.com.

The Ingredients


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium or 2 small zucchini, grated (I used my food processor but a cheese grater would work well, too)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • splash of milk, as needed


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice, stirring often, just until it starts to turn golden.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and cover.
  4. Cook, covered, for 15 – 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the butter, grated zucchini, cheddar, and garlic powder. Stir until well incorporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir again and add salt and pepper to taste and a splash of milk if you’d like to thin out the texture a little bit.

(From BunsInMyOven.com)

Finished product!

It was pretty good! The texture weirded me out a little but over all, tasted great!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? What should we try next?

Eatin’ good,

20. Strike a pose

Back in May Brandon and I took some anniversary photos together… For year 1. We were only 8 months behind. 🙂

Our sweet friend, Luke Townsend, took the pictures for us around Vanderbilt University. We carried around 1 balloon for 1 year. Each year we will add another balloon for another year. Our second anniversary is just right around the corner, July 17th. Hard to believe it’s been 2 years already. Anywho, here are some of the photos.

Andrew, Brandon, Luke

Looking up,


89. We work out!

Back in March Brandon started doing P90X at home. After a week or so of seeing him doing something to keep his body healthy I was inspired to do the same. Our current insurance has a health program in partnership with the YMCA that makes it more affordable to work out at the Y. So, I joined the program and started working out!

I’ve never been a runner. Never. But for the past 3 years I’ve been working with a group of people who are crazy about running. Seriously, my boss is in his 50s and still running marathons. And I guess I kinda caught the bug. I’ve downloaded an app on my phone called “Ease into 5k” and it’s a walk/run program that lasts 8 weeks that gets you ready for a 5k. Which is also one of our 101 in 1001, to run a 5k.

Brandon and I were working out separately but we were working out daily for about 2 months. May was the month we moved so things go a little chaotic but we’re looking forward to getting back into our workout routines when we get all settled back in Oklahoma.

To health,


53. Taco Soup

We tried a new soup!

Once a month at the 5:30 we have soup night and back in November my coworker, Linda, made taco soup. It was delicious so I got the recipe from her and we tried our hand at it!

The Ingredients

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cans rotel
  • 2 cans kidney beans (drained)
  • 2 cans pinto beans (drained)
  • 2 cans black beans (drained)
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 2 cans water
  • 2 pks taco seasoning
  • 2 pks hidden valley ranch dressing

Brown the meat with an onion then drain the fat. In a big pot or slow cooker add all ingredients together, stir, and simmer for an hour (or longer if needed).

Chef Brandon

I’m not a huge fan of beans so we just did one can of each.

Adding all the beans and corn!

It was a great meal that made PLENTY of leftovers.

Taco Soup!

Fiesta in a bowl,


81. Local Taco

To celebrate my birthday, Brandon, Neal, Joanna, and I went to a local restaurant called The Local Taco. It’s the first of five local restaurants we’re trying at part of our 101 list.

The Local Taco is tucked away in Brentwood. They claim to be tex-mex but I don’t think any Nashville restaurant really knows how to do tex-mex. They’re never spicy enough. Anywho, we sat outside on the patio which has a really nice vibe to it. The lighting outside might have been my favorite part, they had globe string lights all around the patio. I find them enchanting. 🙂 

Food wise, we started with chips and queso. I had the cheese enchiladas, rice, and queso cauliflower. Brandon had one ‘local bbq’ taco and one korean bbq, rice, and roasted tabasco agave beets. They make their own chips and tortilla shells and those were GREAT. The rest of the meal, however, was just alright. We’re definitely glad we tried it, but not sure we’ll go back.

After dinner we went back to the house. I went back to the room to put warm clothes on cause we got a little chilly after sitting outside at dinner. And when I came back in the living room I was greeted with a red velvet cupcake with a candle on it and they sang happy birthday to me! 🙂

Joanna got the cupcakes from Ivey Cake! They were sooooooo delicious! And SO stinking pretty!

Fun fact: Ivey Cake made Carrie Underwood’s wedding cake! The cupcakes all had really fun/funny names. We had ‘Two-faced,’ ‘Cheat day,’ ‘Big dreams,’ ‘I do,’ and ‘Break up.’ Mine even had edible glitter (or at least I hope it was)! After cupcakes we played games the rest of the evening.

Overall, it was a great evening and a great way to celebrate my birthday! 🙂

Feelin’ the love,