In 2014’s last episode of Around the Table, we discuss our half marathon, Christmas cards + gifts, the most memorable gifts we’ve received and a 2014 review. To listen, visit our website, iTunes, or your favorite podcast app!

Show notes:

We finished our first half marathon, and discussed it in detail. It was oddly emotional. You may want to skip the first 20 minutes or so if you’re not interested. And if you still can’t get enough, I wrote a blog post about it last week.

Our last Christmas segment:

  • We talk where we’re at with Christmas gifts and cards. I’m sending a few of these postcards from the company I work for, Naptime Diaries.
  • Enjoy the last few weeks of holiday music and check out our Spotify playlist if you haven’t yet!
  • The most memorable gifts we’ve received.
  • Is your love language receiving gifts? What’s the most memorable gift YOU’VE ever received?

2014 in review – we ask and answer these questions:

  • What was the best purchase you made in 2014?
  • What was your favorite book you read in 2014?
  • In Creating Your Life Plan, Donald Miller encourages you to look at events in your life that changed you or your course in a way that you could never go back, like walking through a door. What “doorway moments” did you have in 2014?
  • What are you most proud of from 2014?
  • What’s your favorite song from 2014?
  • What’s the biggest change that’s taken place in you in 2014?
  • What advice would YOU give at this point in life?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks so much for listening. We’re grateful for you! 

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My first half marathon unfolded nothing like I’d anticipated. Having run cross country and track in high school, I didn’t feel any pressure for this race. My running partner, Maggie, and I had trained for months, two twelve mile runs behind us by the time we reached that starting line.

I didn’t expect it to be hard, and I brazenly trimmed minutes off our goal during the first mile. “2:15? I think we might be able to do it in two hours. 2:05, maybe.”

At mile six, I began to struggle, and then I began to panic. It had been months since I’d felt this much pain and fatigue so early.

We’d been praying for different people at each mile, which was exhilarating and emotional. When we passed mile eight or nine, Maggie prompted me to pray in my head, at least. I told her, “I’m praying for a second wind,” but as I said it, I knew I didn’t believe it.

Why would God care about this race? What help could He give when I’d gone in so confident in my own strength, leaning on my training, athleticism and mental toughness?

I mentally unraveled so quickly, which scared me – I thought I was tougher than this.

I thought about child birth, and a slew of other physically and emotionally demanding experiences still in my future. There’s no way.

I began to fade behind her, half hoping she’d speed up and leave me behind. The shame  of disappointing her or holding her back felt too heavy to bear.

That’s when she asked me what hurt, and my face crumpled. The tears rose from my chest to my eyes and I coughed out an apology. She forced me to make eye contact and said what translated to me as, “I”m here for you.” 

Her mission was to push me enough so that I felt I’d given everything I could, not to finish in a certain time. My competitive, athletic friend sacrificed the race she could have had for me.

Accepting help and grace from someone at a moment when I really needed it? Humbling and overwhelming. It highlighted and stripped away some pockets of pride I hadn’t noticed.

Somehow we made it to the twelve mile marker, which was obnoxiously placed after a turn so you had no idea how close you were until you passed it.

The last mile had always been the toughest during our training, so I didn’t speed up. I just settled in for more of the same: one foot in front of the other, but I might actually finish this thing.

Then my foot caught the slightest bump in the pavement, sending me sprawling. Right knee, left knee, hands, and nose hit one after another, like dominos.

Maggie heard what I can only imagine as the “splat!” sound from cartoons and was by my side immediately. I crouched, trying to stand while the pain radiated from my kneecaps.

The initial shock wore off, and we walked, then jogged, then kept running. Thanks to the adrenaline, I ran the rest of that mile faster.

When we could see the finish line, Maggie pointed to the clock, ticking towards our goal time but miraculously under it. We crossed the line, and I threw my arms around her.

I’d expected to feel proud, excited, and exhausted, but I felt a much more nuanced, different range of emotions. I’d experienced again what it is to be helpless, weak and in need.

I cringed at the crowds of people passing out water along the race and cheering at the end. I felt so exposed, so humbled, so vulnerable, and all I could think when we passed those strangers was how deeply I wanted them to stop looking at me.

I realize that this may sound dramatic, that I willingly signed up for this race. I didn’t fight in combat with Maggie or experience an accident.

But it was a point of weakness, exhaustion, vulnerability and humility that profoundly reminded me how naive, how arrogant, it is to believe that I’m doing any of this in my own strength.

I’ve been a Christian for a long time so I’m comfortable with the idea of needing forgiveness and a savior but to keep needing those things every day continually shocks and offends me.

I’m hoping the next race will be better, and fears swirl in my gut every time I think about it. But I couldn’t be more grateful for the reminder of my neediness, weakness and helplessness. He picks me up from the pavement every time, even when I’ve forgotten I need it and stopped believing He cares.

After the race with Maggie - a little dazed, a lot humbled.

After the race with Maggie – a little dazed, a lot humbled.

Verdicchio Christmas

Our first married Christmas in 2008

These are the show notes for this week’s episode of Around the Table, the podcast that is the perfect balance of intention and indulgence, which I host with Maggie. You can listen on our website, in iTunes, or with your favorite podcast app.

In this week’s episode, we share our favorite Christmas memories and discuss what we’ve been reading, watching, listening to, and following recently. We also chat about relationships (of the romantic kind) during the holidays and Maggie shares tips on what to eat in preparation for a race.

We begin with our Christmas segment where we share some of our favorite Christmas traditions:

  • Maggie’s family travels over the holidays. Exploring the Christmas markets in Paris, Prague, and Dresden, Germany was a favorite trip.
  • My family opens one gift on Christmas Eve (it’s usually pajamas,) and my mom makes homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

We also share a favorite Christmas memory:

  • Two years ago, Maggie spent Christmas away from her family in Israel. It turned out to be a very special day and her favorite moment involved fitting 12 people into a VERY small room.
  • My dad still proudly displays the maimed glass reindeer that stars in Jacey’s favorite holiday memory.

What are some of your favorite memories and traditions?

In case you missed it last week, we made a Spotify playlist of some of our favorite Christmas music for you! It’s three hours long, and we have excellent taste, so you’re welcome:

This week, we’re beginning a new segment called Read, Watch, Listen, Follow where we discuss the things we’ve been (you guessed it) reading, watching, listening to, and following recently.

What we’re reading:

  • The Skimm: the daily email newsletter that fills you in on all the important goings-on politically, socially, and culturally.
  • Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller

What we’re watching:

  • Blacklist
  • This video of Steve Carell on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

What we’re listening to:

Who we’re folloing:

Summary of our discussion on the pros and cons of romantic relationships during the holidays:
While it’s hard to navigate the combining of families and traditions at Christmas, it is nice to have a hand to hold while ice skating and braving holiday parties.

What are your thoughts on romance during the holidays?

We just ran a half-marathon. Here are a few nutrition tips in preparation for race day:

  • Combine (proper) carb loading with exercise taper.
    • Begin 3 days before event
    • Don’t over-eat fatty, sugary foods
    • Hydrate appropriately
  • Don’t try out any new foods on race day. Practice what you will eat during your event on training days.
  • A good rule for breakfast: for each hour before the start of your race, eat 100 calories. So, if your event begins at 8am and you are eating breakfast at 5am, your meal should be about 300 calories.

That’s all for this week. We’re so grateful for the time you spend with us each week. If you’re enjoying the show, please rate and review us on iTunes! We hear it matters.

K, byeeee!

I love reading by the fireplace at my parents’ house around Christmas, and even set a reading goal this month. Between long travel days and time off work, I usually pick of my normal reading pace in the last couple weeks of the year. It’s kind of like a reverse summer for me.

Today I’m sharing what I’ve been reading, and some of what I plan to read on my upcoming trip.



Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work by Tim Keller – I’ve placed too much of my identity in my work, made it about me and not about service, and felt discouraged about work through most of my 20’s. This book applies biblical wisdom to work, calling, and career in an honest, deeply helpful way. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

big little lies

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – Entertaining and a page turner, but with some very serious themes. It’s a long one, but reads quickly.


Us: A Novel by David Nicholls – This is an unconventional love story, told from the perspective of a middle aged husband whose wife has just revealed she thinks she might want to leave him. I’m listening to the audio version, and so far it’s very endearing.

small victories

I haven’t started it yet, but just picked up Anne Lamott’s new book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, from the library. Lamott’s writing is beautiful, heart breaking and true.

What are you reading? 

Linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy today. Check out her site for great book recommendations!

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introvert's guide to enjoying holiday parties

The most basic distinction between introverts and extroverts is from where they draw energy. Introverts draw energy from being alone; being with people drains their energy.

Introverts enjoy spending time with people, but it wears them out rather than energizes them.

Until I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking last year, my tendency was to go, go, go, pretending I was an extrovert until I burned out.

Now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need alone time to recharge, I pay closer attention to my energy levels. Even extroverts might overdo it during this season’s ample social opportunities, so we should all monitor our energy.

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