Monday, September 10, 2012

Paleo Banana Bread

This is the best banana bread I have ever had... ever. And it's free of refined, fake food. Hurray!

Check it out:

I made a couple changes:
*I added 1/4 c. PB2 []
*I subbed coconut oil for the olive oil.

Make this and tell me it doesn't change your life.  I dare you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Present:Hope Tour- The Story Continues

Going to Catalyst Conference with the team was a great experience. It was really surreal to ride out on our bikes in front of 13,000+ people. It was the moment we had all been waiting for, we had sweat it out on that trip so that we could stand there, in front of those people and tell the story. [] It was really great to see Aaron Brown on the stage talking about his city. There was so much wrapped up in that moment it was overwhelming.

We wrapped up Catalyst and started the good-byes. It's hard to explain the emotion in leaving such an amazing experience and group of people. It's bittersweet because you're exhausted and miss your family and can't wait to see them and sleep in your own bed. But at the same time, you know you can never go back to this, it'll never be the same. You'll never be the same. They say in Venture- "Find what wrecks you and feed it." Once you've found it, you never want to go back to being un-wrecked. I honestly just feel really honored to be part of this story.
As we were flying out this morning, Aaron and Paul were on The Weather Channel. Check out their segment here.
And on Monday, Aaron and Pastor Aaron Brown will be on CNN. It's amazing to see how the story continues. Our goal was to raise $100,000 for Convoy of Hope and so far we've raised over $60,ooo.
If you'd like to contribute, you can go to

Present:Hope Tour Birmingham to the end

We went in to Birmingham one night and went to a really cool coffee shop- Urban Standard. We also went by 16th Street Baptist Church which was a hub for the civil rights movement which was really moving for this girl from the north.
We finished out our last couple days riding on a bike trail from Cedartown, GA into Atlanta. It was beautiful and super fun. We could cruise and not worry about traffic, which allowed us to talk more.
When we got to the end of the trail, we had to bike a few more miles to meet the van. When we got there, they had a great celebration waiting for us. It was a really amazing feeling to look at my team, that are now great friends, and think back to what we went through to get there. 803 miles, over 31,000 ft. of elevation gain, burning quads, sunburned lips, mental battles, traffic, tiredness and fatigue. But to know the relationships we made with people in Joplin and Tuscaloosa and each other and the stories we've gotten to share with literally millions of people now, we would all sign up to do it again right now.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Present:Hope Tour

The last few days have been quite the learning experience for me. It seems that in every challenge where people's limits are tested, stuff is squeezed out. Some of the stuff that comes out is good, like when you find out that you can do way more than you thought you could. Other stuff can be not so much fun but when dealt with can bring so much growth.
Thursday was the day when the rubber hit the road for me. I was miserable pretty much the whole day and it was one of our shortest days. I was starting to get sick, my lips were sunburned, my legs were sore and the luster of riding my bike every day was starting to wear off. There was absolutely nothing I could do to keep up with the team. It was a complete mental battle to finish the day and it seemed like I was counting very pedal stroke.

The next day we inadvertently rode 100 miles due to some missed turns. But it was my favorite day so far. I felt great and had so much fun with the team. We finished the day cruising in on some of the smoothest roads in Mississippi. It was breathtaking.
We hit another short day yesterday and cruised in to Tuscaloosa. One of my favorite things is stopping to talk to people along the way. They always stop to ask us what we're doing when they notice our matching spandex get-ups and sweet ride and almost always give donations.
Today was our first rest day today which was amazing. My legs thank everyone involved in that decision. I'm loving hanging out with the team and knowing each of their quirks and personalities. They're all so much fun. I'm already sad thinking about the tour being over in a few days but excited to know that I'll have friends all over the country that I can see whenever I pass through. We went to a church picnic today and played bocce and egg toss, which we totally dominated.
Today we toured Tuscaloosa with a local pastor. The tornado that hit here was an F4 and was on the ground for 80 miles. The same thing stuck out here as in Joplin. Yes there was loss and death, but there were so many stories of lives spared. I keep thinking the same thing, that I really thought I was bringing these folks something by being on this tour but what I'm finding is that we are the messengers of their stories and God's story of hope and redemption. Amazing.

We hit the road again tomorrow and head towards Atlanta. Keep on pedaling!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Present:Hope Tour Day 6

Today was a tough one for me. I think it's the day that reality officially set in. The whole "one foot in front of the other" applies so well to today. I was tired, my butt hurt, my legs are sore. I didn't have any idea how I was going to get through today. As we started out, I thought to myself, just put one foot in front of the other- just keep pedaling. It made me think of how the tornado victims and anyone else dealing with loss must feel every morning too. They wake up thinking, I don't know how I'm going to get through today but they put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. It doesn't happen overnight, but soon there is progress. And where there is progress there is hope.
I rode the first 22 miles with Steve today and he pushed my pace a lot. I burned a lot matches out of the book right off the bat. But it felt awesome. I started out sore and before long I was cruising. Of course, I paid for it the rest of the day but it was totally worth it.
We ended in Memphis where my in-laws picked me up for dinner. Love those guys! Now I'm back with my team and feeling exhausted but grateful for the ability to press on, put one foot in front of the other and start over tomorrow.

Present:Hope Tour Day 5

We have biked 186 miles in the last 2 days. For me, today was the day reality set in- we still have a long way to go. We all kind of take turns sharing a thought for the day. Yesterday was our 101-mile ride and I shared about being present in pain. How appropriate.
At my yoga studio, my instructor often uses the phrase- be present. I love yoga because it gives you this mini world to practice your attitude so you can get it right when you're out in the rest of the world. So you get to yoga and decide- in this next hour I'm going to be present and receive the full benefits. When you hit a posture that feels uncomfortable, you lean in to the pain slightly and then you will see growth. If you pull pack from the discomfort, you will never see growth.
This same concept is true with biking. Going up the 16% grade hill we hit yesterday was painful. But the benefits I receive from pushing through that pain is stronger legs, lungs and heart. My body is stronger, and so is my inner core of resolve. I am now standing at the top of something I looked up at from the bottom and didn't know if I could do.
Both of these physical lessons apply in the spiritual realm. The pain we experience throughout our lives is reaping for us benefits. It keeps building that inner core of resolve but mostly it produces in us the character of Christ. He became a person that was so willing to be present in pain that he was able to give his life for others. The good news about this pain that we all will or have already experienced is that we never have to go at it alone. He promises over and over to be with us always.
My mantra from this thought and from Pastor Aaron's video from St. Paul's has become "keep climbing."

We got on our bikes yesterday and rode 101 miles with 4600 ft. elevation gain. It was tough, it was painful, but we persevered. Started out the first 20 miles with my buddy Paul. Finished out the day with the fearsome five-some. So proud of my crew. It was the most difficult ride I've done but hands down the most fun.

1st pic- my 101 mile crew. Ya budddy!
2nd pic- the view from the top of the hardest hill I've ever climbed.
3rd pic- "the best part of waking up is Iced Via in my cup"

Monday, September 26, 2011

Present:Hope Tour Day 4

Yesterday was so busy, I didn't get time to blog. We were at 3 services at St. Paul's United Methodist in Joplin where our team member Aaron pastors. Right now they're meeting at a college chapel until October 9th when they move back in to their home church that was mostly destroyed in the tornado. What a great church! So loving and fun to meet all of them.
About 40 of them met us for the send-off along with Fox and CBS reporters. It was really great to be there as they sent off their pastor as the rides on their behalf.
We rode about 20 miles and then had to hop in the van so we could meet the rest of the team in Branson for a presentation. The rest of the team rode from Springfield to Branson on Highway 65. If you've driven this road before, you know this was no easy feat. They road beastly hill after beastly hill. I'm going to be honest, I felt like I dodged a bullet. That is until today. The ride to Marshall had some doozies. But it was one of the most beautiful rides I've ever been on.

Ernest Hemingway wrote "It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." I felt this in every pedal stroke today. It was beautiful country with rolling hills and some really big ones too. They stretched all of us.

I'm loving this experience with this team and growing closer every day. Tomorrow we do 101 miles.