Birthday & Christmas gifts for the forseeable future…

Recently Mike and I have been wanting to get road bikes. When we first moved to Iowa City I thought maybe I would be ambitious and ride my bike to class rather than taking the bus. So we went to Cedar Rapids and dusted off my old mountain bike from middle school and I lasted about 2 trips to campus. I decided it was too much work – I paid $20/month and rode the bus!

Throughout the winter I’ve started attending spin classes on a semi-regular basis and love it! It’s the first kind of cardio workout I have ever enjoyed! Last spring I tried running and while I could force myself to do it, I was NEVER excited for it. So when I was actually excited for spin class (and got an awesome workout for an hour!) I decided maybe cycling was for me! Mike even attended some spin classes with me and enjoyed them as well. So spin class is great, but when it’s 75 degrees and sunny I’d much rather be outside!

So we started looking for bikes. I thought about bringing out my old middle school bike again, but this time we were looking for road bikes, not mountain bikes. I want to go fast, not clamber through the forest. (It’s now for sale at Play-It-Again if you’re looking for a great green mountain bike!) We looked for used bikes on Craigslist and in many used bike stores in Iowa City. For some bikes (mountain bikes, hybrids) the size isn’t as important, but for road bikes sizing is essential. And it turns out Mike and I are quite extreme when it comes to sizing. All the bikes we found were way too small for Mike, and way too big for me.

Which means, to get a bike that fits, we had to look at new bikes. So we headed to Geoff’s Bike & Ski to check some out. At first we were just going to look around… but soon enough we were test riding some super awesome bikes! After a test ride there was no looking back. These bikes are awesome! They are so light and shift so easily and of course… we can fly!

Mike’s is a Specialized Allez Elite:

And mine is a Specialized Dolce Sport:
And we love them! We test drove some other brands but Specialized was our favorite by far! We have been riding up a storm! Last night we went for 2 separate bike rides! There are lots of trails and parks nearby that we’ve been checking out. It’s so fun to exercise is a way that is enjoyable, we can be outside, and we can be together! So these bikes are our birthday and Christmas presents for this year… and probably next year too!

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Spring Break!

This week is our spring break! Wahoo! Although we’re not full time employees at one particular school district, all 4 districts we sub at are on spring break this week, thus we are on spring break as well! We started the week out in Des Moines which was fun, but Mike was struggling with a bit of the flu so we just hung out and took it easy.

It’s always exciting when spring break aligns with what we consider one of the best sports weeks of the year. Yeah, yeah, I know everyone is excited about March Madness, and that is part of what makes this week awesome, but the best part is the combination of as many basketball games as you could ever want to watch and as many wrestling matches as you could ever want to watch! This week is also the NCAA Wrestling Championships! So, our setup is the following: a four-way split screen on the computer so we can watch 4 wrestling matches at a time, the radio going so we’re sure we don’t miss any Hawkeye wrestlers, and the tv flipping between numerous basketball games. Last year we had two tvs going with basketball games but decided (at least for today) that we would tone it down.

So, that’s what we’ll be doing for the next few days!! Only one Hawk has lost so far in the tourney and the Hawks are in the second round of the NIT! Wahoo! Go Hawks!

A day focused on baptism!

Okay so I’m a little late in writing about this… but it was such a great day that I don’t want to let it slip by unshared!

Last Sunday we hopped in the car and headed to Traer to join in the celebration of the baptism of Kristin & Sam’s daughter Aurora. It was exciting to welcome Aurora into God’s family and provide support for Sam and Kristin as they commit to teaching Aurora all about God’s grace and mercy.

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Later that afternoon we had the first meeting of our newly formed small group Bible study. We are going to start the study reading the book of Mark. On Sunday we read and discussed Mark:1:1-11 which tells the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jews who confessed their sins to prepare the path for the Messiah. Later, John the Baptist also baptizes Jesus which pleases God. What an incredible story to study on the same day as Aurora’s baptism! We talked about what this tells us about God and how we can apply this to our lives. For me, I really felt this passage was a reminder of the importance of confessing my sins. I made a goal for myself to repent every day this week. (so far so good!)

The day was also a great chance to reflect on my (our) baptism and the choice we made to repent our sins and profess our need for a savior!

All in all… a GREAT Sunday!

I’ve been reading some good books lately!

About a month ago I decided I watch too much tv so I’ve traded in the hours spent mindlessly staring at the tv for some extra time reading! I’ve really enjoyed many of the books I’ve read lately and am still reading so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts.

First of all, one of our goals for our first year of marriage was to read a faith/marriage book

Mere Christianity

Image via Wikipedia

together. Well we were having trouble choosing a book (I had almost given up on our goal) when we both became interested in reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. While it’s not a book about marriage it was an incredible book about Christianity! C.S. Lewis is a former atheist who became a Christian and was asked to talk on a radio show during the 1940s in London. So, it’s during WWII and he is on a radio show talking about what Christians believe perhaps to give the people of that time a sense of hope during the war. Because the book is basically just the transcripts of his radio talks it is easy to read and understand. Additionally, he makes it very clear that he is trying to explain and defend  the belief that is common to nearly all Christians – not one denomination or another, just Christianity itself. It was a great read that had Mike and I thinking and talking about things we had never discussed before! AND… Lewis was a atheist, so he has a very intriguing perspective on many of the misconceptions/attacks on Christianity. Christians – you should read this book! Non-Christians – you should definitely read this book!

Cover of "Apollyon: The Destroyer Is Unle...

Cover via Amazon

Last summer I started reading the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. I read the first four during the summer and then decided to take a break. Recently I picked it back up and read the 5th book, Apollyon, and am currently about a fourth of the way through the 6th book, Assassins. Basically these books tell the story of the end of the world, starting with the rapture in the first book. Basically the books are a fictional account of the book of Revelation. They are fast paced with likable characters and even though they are each about 350 pages I can ready through one in about a week.

 

Thirdly, a couple of weeks ago I was subbing at a school and Aaron Thomas, the son of Ed Thomas, was a guest speaker at an assembly at the school. Ed Thomas was a high school football coach from Parkersburg, Iowa. He was known for many things, sending 4 players from the tiny town of Parkersburg to the NFL, rebuilding Parkersburg after the EF5 tornado destroyed the town, his faith, and his untimely death at the hand of a former student. It was inspiring to listen to his son tell their story during the assembly so I knew I wanted to read the book detailing Ed Thomas’ life, The Sacred Acre. I picked it up from the library and got about 75 pages into it, and it was confiscated by Mike who has started reading it as well. The first 75 pages were great! Can’t wait to read the rest!

Lastly, I’ve joined a group of friends on Goodreads.com in reading a book focusing on a Christian marriages. There are about 10 of us reading the book The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. On Goodreads.com we have discussion posts/blogs that allow us to share our thoughts on each chapter as well as add any links to related articles. This book has a lot to say, so I’m taking it slow, but I’m enjoying the group because it allows for a more dynamic understanding of each chapter!

Phew! That’s a lot of reading! But I’m loving it! Have you read any of these books?? Or any other good ones you recommend?

Looking for a good book?

So recently at church we have been going through a series called Total Family Fitness. Each week we have looked at a different aspect of a family and how we can be a husband/wife/brother/mom/son/friend who is a blessing to other people. This is the study guide that goes with each week (you can find a copy here with all the information) and Mike and I have really enjoyed further studying different ideas about a family.

One of my favorite things about the study guide is the back page. One the back there is a list of additional resources (books!) to go along with each topic. Mike and I have started reading some of them and are really enjoying it so I thought I would share the list for anyone looking for a good read. Enjoy!

I/we have/are reading/read the following:
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (awesome! more to come about this!)
The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller