I had never in my life considered giving up something for lent. I actually have thought for most of my life (okay, until last week) that it was a silly practice that some weird religions practiced. And lets be honest – the people who always talk about ‘giving up something for lent’ rarely seem like the embodiment of Christ. It is usually some raging alcoholic (or close enough no one knows the difference) who gives up the drink for Lent then spends 40 days whining over Facebook (or twitter). Or your buddy who gives up Facebook (or twitter) but is dying to know ‘what’s happening’ from you always (so much so you want to just give them a ‘like’ sign).

However, recently I began to ask myself “self, what should lent look like?” How could this practice bring about a richer and more personal walk with God? Last night I even asked the question on my Facebook page.


I loved the answers I received. They were thoughtful and thought provoking. Still I waffled.

Do I really want to give up something for Lent?

The answer came back to me with a resounding YES! I do want to give up something for lent. But it had to mean something; I couldn’t just deprive myself of something for 40 days just to restart at the end without there being a deeper meaning. The question remained –



The answer came in something we’ve been trying to curtail for over a year – eating out. It is the expenditure we have been unable to tame – The ease, the convenience, the lack of mess. Having someone else cook and clean up is, well, just greatly enjoyable! I used to go just for the sheer joy of having someone continuously fill my sweet tea – since giving up sugar the never ending water service isn’t nearly as appealing (but I digress).

How, you say, can not eating out have meaning? 

One, as one of my friends pointed out on my Facebook, after 21 days something is a habit. The habit of eating at home – of having a plan, of prepping in advance for those overly tempting occasions – is a habit I wish to develop. Lent seems like a perfect time to stretch those habit forming muscles.

Two, there’s the money that will be saved. Eating out is expensive! Although we have been amazed at the savings of drinking water versus soft drinks or tea.

Here’s the plan.

Anytime in the next 40 days that my household struggles with wanting to eat out, we will:

  • Decide where we would have gone
  • Determine how much that would have cost
  • And donate that amount to a worth cause

As I sit here writing this, knowing that we’re broke, it seems impossible to consider donating. But to use Jenn’s new favorite quote “It’s the hard that makes it great”

What about you? Are you giving up something for Lent? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Giving up sugar is quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever attempted. Sugar is associated with so many of life’s delights. Things like birthday cake, or Reece’s peanut butter Easter eggs. Oreos and ice cream. Sweet tea and soft drinks. It’s not a diet coke and a smile, after all.


Don’t get me wrong I enjoy water. I drink a lot of it. But I love a good soft drink on occasion.

Which makes my hobby of soda making a perfect fit!

For quite some time the idea of brewing beer has appealed to me. I love the idea of creating something that is uniquely my own. However, beer making as a hobby is impracticality for me….I just don’t drink enough to make it worth the time or effort to prefect my craft. So, for several years, I’ve experimented with making sodas. There is a fine line with yeast to make sodas that have enough fermentation to fizz but not so much they are gross. With the last batch of ginger ale, I almost hit perfection. But then I began needing to limit my sugar intake and naturally carbonated sodas require sugar and yeast to create the fermentation that causes the fizz.

I invested Ina sodastream. It’s a neat contraption that carbonates water. No muss no fuss. I’ve been experimenting with various flavorings and creations. Few of which have been keepers.


However, for valentines day I received a book on soda making. Soda making using an external source of carbonation (ie making the syrup and adding carbonated water).

A few nights ago I attempted my first of the sodas…a sugar-free cream soda.

The process was easy.


And the result tasty. My only complaint is that the syrup separates from the water. The result is visual unappealing to me. Thankfully it’s not doing my consumption.


I can’t wait to try the next one.

For over a year I have been calling my adventure to walk the Disney Marathon 2014 my Epic Quest. I thought about my Epic Quest as I walked, and walked and walked for training. I thought of my epic quest as I planned, for trains, and cars, and hotels. I trained, I walked, I planned. Then I got sick. No worries, it’s three weeks until the race….it’s just the flu! Unfortunately my lungs and therefore asthma got involved. I didn’t recover as quick as I would have liked. Antibiotics, steroids, and an inhaler became my companions.

I considered calling it quits and not going to Florida. But I had trained. I had spent money. Ultimately, I knew I may not finish. 

I WANTED to do this! I was going to go until I could not go any more (or they pulled me from the course).


The experience was amazing! I was so excited that when I reached the start line I suggested a slow jog to get us started….I felt GrrreeeeaaaaT! (as Tony the tiger would say). And I did feel great, I was in my mind seeing the finish line although we were just at the start.

My legs were pumping and my head was in the game…life was good.

Somewhere around mile three my lungs had other ideas. They were unable to get air….enough air. I wanted to stop and catch my breath. If I could just stop and breathe for a minute (or two). We slowed for this picture, my way of hoping for a lung full of air, as we entered the Magic Kingdom.


But time wasn’t on my side. I had trained but I had foolishly trained to the minimum. I hadn’t trained to finish fast, I trained to finish just in time. So although I was keeping my pace, there was no wiggle room to stop and breathe. So, I pushed on. Struggling for every breath. Lamenting the forgotten inhaler (it was in my carry-on back at the hotel) with every ragged, labored breath.

Then a nice young woman on a bike pulled up next to us and said “you have 14 minutes to make it to mile five”. My response, “No problem, how far to mile five” the answer, “you just passed mile four”…..OH CRAP!

We watched as all the follow cars passed us. We pushed on. We pushed as hard as my lungs would allow. At mile five we heard “you’re done”. I’ll admit there was a large part of me that was happy to be able to stop and breathe. But mostly, I felt dejected and sad. A years worth of work. A large investment of time and money – DEFEAT!

As we climbed into the van that would return us to the start, the staff and volunteers of RunDisney were amazing. They cheered us. They congratulated us! They acted as though we were winners. However, there is no feeling quite like the feeling of defeat.

The feeling of FAILURE!

Abe Failure Quote

I am fond of the saying ONWARD and UPWARD! and this is one of those occasions. All we can do is move forward.

Plan Better.

                                Train Better.

                                                                 and Finish!

It seems as if I am resetting the clock. I’m winding back to January 2013 and looking forward to 2015 and the Disney Marathon. I have a whole new perspective.

I want to ROCK IT!

Not just finish! I want to play for time and not just a minimum! 

That’s a whole new perspective. A completely different outlook. One that needs to begin right away. So, here’s the plan….



There are 365 days in a year. My goal is to see how much I can change my life in 100 Days (hashtag #100days).  My broad goals are listed above, but the specifics are:

  1. Gym 6 days a week;
  2. Eat Healthy, Whole Foods (no processed foods);
  3. Eat at home
  4. Drink Water
  5. Lose weight (my specific goal for this #100Days is 40lbs).

I see the flaws in my last plan. I trained for a perfect set of events that would allow me to cross the finish with no time to spare. There are no perfect races. There is only being well prepared. Being well prepared for a marathon requires more than the physical training. I need to condition my whole self….food, stamina, mind.

On the Saturday before the race we attended the race expo. There were several lectures that accompanied the expo. We were particularly interested in one presented by Champion – The Science of the Sports Bra. It was interesting, and after listening to what Champion had to offer, I was anxious to visit their booth and receive expert assistance in finding the perfect sports bra. I had a professional measure me and then heard then heard words no one wants to hear “Champion doesn’t make a bra in the ‘extra support’ big enough to fit you.” I wasn’t just the big girl at the expo….I was outside the range for what they even consider might try!

If I want to complete this marathon (and I do) I can’t keep carrying extra poundage. I can’t train and overeat. If I want to be an endurance athlete, I must eat, sleep, and train like one. Next year when I attend the expo, I may not have morphed into the skinny runner girl but I won’t be the elephant in the room either :)



I invite you to consider taking 100 days to change your life. Maybe what you wish to change is the same as mine, maybe it is vastly different. Either way, join the challenge #100days.

I vloged our Disney Marathon 2014 Quest (and vacation) if you’d like to watch all the vlogs you can find them on my youtube channel (all 13 of them).


We had a delightfully leisurely morning. Playing with D’Artagnan visiting with Jenny lingering over breakfast (stuff vacations are made of). We then made our way to the Ponce Inlet lighthouse. The history is fun, the lighthouse beautiful…. if you’re this way check it out.

We then went to the Marine Science Center. The reviews called it simple, good for children, etc. We loved it!


The sea turtle hospital was just too cool. But then we spend our summer watching for sea turtles.

The $5 admission was well spent!

Posted from WordPress for Android. Please excuse any typing miscues.

Disney Marathon 2014 Gayle & Jenn’s Quest part 10 101 Dalmatian Hotel


So it’s time for post race vacation! What to do what to do? We decided to visit the Disney All Star Movie Resort and check out the 101 Dalmatian Hotel. It was super cute! We were done with Orlando and …


Disney Marathon 2014 Gayle & Jenn’s Quest part 9 – the race


There is so much  to share about today! Our day started at 3:00am. We scrambled some eggs, and headed out to Epcot. After a missed turn we arrived at our destination.  There was so much to take in…. so much …