Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone!
We thought we would save some trees and just send you all to the Gilliland blog to find out what we've been up to this year. So, here goes:

Kellen- after finishing up pre-school in June, he attended the summer program at Kid's Cottage part time. In September he began full time pre-K. In order to start Kindergarten he would have needed to be 5 years old by October. And he missed the cut off for transitional kindergarten by 8 days. So, off to pre-k he went. He really enjoys school, he is kind to the other students and is learning so much! Kellen learned how to swim this summer. It was a very slow process, but by the end of the summer he was swimming under water across the short length of the pool! We were so proud of him, and we are praying he will remember all he has learned next summer! Kellen REALLY loves going to church! Which is such a blessing to know that he is loved and cared for while we are serving and attending service. Each time he grows up into the next "stage" we can't help but comment that is't our favorite stage. He is such a joy, we are so blessed to be his parents! Kellen will be 5 on December 20th, and he's been counting down the days to his birthday party since May!

Mindie- started teaching full time physical education again in April at Canyon Lake Middle School. It is a challenging job, but she is blessed to have some pretty amazing co-workers to help her push through each day. This full time job has helped us really tackle the last of our school debt. Mindie embarked on a new adventure this year participating in a race called the Ragnar Relays in April. It is a long distance (200 mile) relay race. It was so much fun she competed in another one in November! She also participated in four half marathons and her first 10k! She will probably complete the Ragnar event in April again, and is all set up to run her second marathon in March for World Vision to raise funds for clean water in Africa. She will also be competing in her first dualathon (run-bike-run) on December 14th. Mindie will celebrate her 33rd birthday on December 16th.

Colin- continued his pursuit of tackling the triathlon race. He competed in several events including a Sprint and Olympic triathlon and most currently the Canyon Lake 1/2 Iron Man triathlon which is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. He will compete in the Oceanside 1/2 Ironman in March of 2014. His soccer team finished another successful year of competition finishing in 2nd place in the Sunbelt league and participating once again in CIF competition. He is still working at Lakeside High School. This is his 9th year of teaching History. This is also his 9th season of coaching soccer-which has started off strong. They won their first tournament last weekend.

Colin & Mindie celebrated their 10th anniversary this past June. It has been such a blessing to experience life together and they are looking forward to all that God has planned for the rest of their lives together!

The Gilliland's made a transition to the Woodcrest Campus of Sandals church in January. Sandals church is growing so much that we now have two campuses. We also joined a small group in October of 2012 and have made some pretty amazing friends. Colin currently serves in Frontside- the high school/middle school ministry, and Mindie joined Pipeline, the K-6th grade ministry. Mindie helps teach in the 5th & 6th grade classes. Kellen LOVES that he gets to stay at church for two services!

We will have finished teaching our 5th round of Financial Peace University at the end of December. It has been such a blessing to watch God change lives through Dave Ramsey's financial program. We will continue to serve in 2014 through this class. And I am happy to report that we will be debt FREE by March of 2014! It's hard to believe we started our own journey on the path to financial freedom back in 2010. We will have eliminated over $80,000 in 3 years. God is so good! We are looking forward to saving some money to buy a home soon- Lord willing.

Well, as we wrap up the year 2013, we pray that you have had plenty of adventures of your own! We wish you a Merry Christmas and blessings as we begin the year 2014!

Monday, July 15, 2013

May book review, and June.

I have finished reading two more books since April. The first book is called, "The Vegetable Container Gardener's Bible, and the second is called, "I Will Carry You." 

The VCGB, is a how-to book about starting a garden in just about any space, inside and outside. It gives a run down of what you will need, and how to get started. It also gives a detailed description of every plant and herb that grows in containers. It also teaches you how to make fertilizer, compost and self containing water systems. It also gives home made ideas for getting rid of pests organically. After reading this book, I decided to wait to start my gardening adventure until we move next month. I think I will start with tomatoes and maybe asparagus. My next adventure will be heading to Home Depot to search out what I will need (prices for supplies and starter plants). 

 I definitely recommend this book to anyone that want to start a garden. Thank you Liz Turley for recommending this book, and for Shelley Gilliland for getting it for me for Christmas! 

The second book I have finished is called, "I Will Carry You," by Angie Smith.
It was an Easter present from grandma, she always gifts such great books. It is the true story of Angie Smith's fourth pregnancy in which 18 weeks into it they discover that the baby will not be able to survive outside the womb, and her very really experience with carrying the baby full term. I have never cried so much reading a book. 😭I recommend it for anyone that has ever had pregnancy struggles, miscarriages or just wants to better understand what a woman deals with when experiencing these tragedies. This picture is right after delivery... 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

April Book Review

Staying on track, I just completed my fourth book for the year entitled, "Choose Joy, Because Happiness Isn't Enough." By Kay Warren. Through this four part book with eleven chapters, Kay uses scripture and life experiences to show that even when life is hard we can choose to find joy all the time.

The first part talks about how Jesus was joyful and honest with life struggles. Choosing joy doesn't mean we ignore how we feel, but when we. Find joy in Christ, we understand that He can bless us even in our mess.

The second part talks about changing the way we think about joy versus happiness and how joy in Christ makes us satisfied while happiness in the world cannot.

The third part talks about nurturing joy first in ourselves and then in others (sounds familiar).

The final section talks about joy being a choice. We chose how to respond, how to live. As a believer, Christ is always with us, but if we don't come before him and grow our relationship, we will feel distant.

Several great quotes from this book. I'll share a few:

"We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, 'why did this happen to me?' Unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way."

"Children provide the purest model for unabashed, inhibited joy you can find."

"God is the only true source of joy."

"Many of us need permission to recognize sorrow but go beyond it and still choose a life of joy."

Kay Warren is extremely vulnerable in sharing some of the struggles she has gone through during her walk with God. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is written to women, but I think men can gain insight from this book as well. I will probably read it again in the future.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Ragnar Relays

So a few of you may have heard me talk about training for the Ragnar Relays... (The link explains more). Basically it is a 200 mile race that requires 6-12 people to run from Huntington Beach to San Diego as a team. One person runs at a time and after a certain distance hands off the running to the next team mate. Regular size teams are made of 12 people that follow the runner in 2 separate vans and while not running you are replenishing liquids and food and maybe sleeping (if you are not driving). Ultra Teams are made of 6 people and they complete twice as much running as the 12 man team (because there are less people). The training, and planning for a race like this is unlike anything I've ever done. The race is somewhat expensive after the entry fee, van rental, food, required gear (head lamp, tail light, safety vest etc). Not to mention, gas, supplements and yeah, more food. Oh, and maybe some ice packs or stretching equipment for the car- and I'm probably forgetting something. Over the course of 3 months I trained running over 400 miles to prep for this race. Some times I ran 3 short runs in one day, and one day I ran 18 miles all at once.
Packing for the race is an event in and of itself... I was thankful to find a friend post a blog about how to pack and what to pack. Below is a photo.

Due to the fact that I had to run 6 times over the course of 36 hours, I was not planning on staying in the same sweaty outfit the entire time. Not so hygienic and well, ewe gross. I can deal with sweaty hair, but there is just too much that could go wrong with wearing the same underwear the entire time. ANY WAY- I set the first outfit (left bottom of photo) off to the side and then packed 5 additional outfits in plastic bags. That way, when I changed (in the van, under my towel) I just put the sweaty clothes into the bag... which saved a little bit of smell from infesting on my not worn clothes yet and prevented the van from smelling worse. Some of my runs were during the day, while others were at night... so I needed shorts and long sleeve, gloves and tank tops! Yep, and extra toilet paper... who knows if the porta pottie at exchange 34 will have any left? I also packed my water belt... I forced myself to sip water or my Hammer Nutrition- HEED to stay supplemented when I wasn't able to eat.

After packing and prepping Thursday night, I attempted to sleep. I think I got a little. At 4:45am, I woke up, got ready and we headed out the door to meet my team. Yeah, I had only met one of the 5 men I would be running with before we actually headed to the race. I met Jeff- the man who invited me on to the team- his daughter used to run XC at MVHS and his friend Dave at Lakeside at 5:50am. After loading my gear into Dave's van- and a jug of ice for any sore muscles we all would probably encounter along the way, we headed to Long Beach to pick up the 12 passenger van. The van rental was kind enough to remove the back seats so we had more room to store our stuff. I packed all my bags (clothes, food & equipment) into a corner in the van and we headed to the start line to meet the team.

We arrived at Hunting Beach State Park a little after the time we were supposed to get there, but we got checked in, got all our goodies and took some photos. Then we listened to the required safety lecture and then to the start line to send Jeff (runner #1) off. This was the running order- complete with some of the things I've learned about my new friends:

Runner #1- Jeff Freemer- the only man I knew before the race... courtesy of MVHS XC. He was battling some minor leg injuries but sucked it up and started us off. He had quite a few intense runs... lots of heat and hills. Took it like a man.

Runner #2- Todd Veloni- probably one of the funniest people I've met. Between all the guys the van was full of laughs... including his random quotes, and long terms for stuff like Advil. Every time he was on a run and we would drive part of his course, we kept thinking- oh, sorry Todd. He had some pretty intense hills on his legs too! We bonded because we both had the "five year plan," with our spouses when it came to kids. :-) Congrats to you and your wife on the pregnancy!

Runner #3- Dave Asbury- kind of random, but his wife is a Chemistry teacher at EHS- my sister in law knows who she is (EHS grad). We randomly saw each other on a long run- but had no idea who the other was! He reminds me of my husband's Uncle Kenny- even keel, kind and a heck of a runner! He's completed 3 Iron Men competitions, and he ran over 40 miles during our race weekend.

Runner #4- that was me... pretty sure I had the easiest runs- some were flat, and fast. They enjoyed my burps, and movie quotes.

Runner #5- Scott Hammond- he is a firefighter... never figured out how he was friends with the rest of the guys, but he can park a van in a complex like no one's business! He also video taped some of the race. He had a SUPER intense down hill run that destroyed his poor knees. He was a trooper- and pretty thankful for the ice packs. I also learned that he is a Ducks fan- while Jeff is a Kings fan. Hockey... sorry, I might just fall asleep.

Runner #6- Dom... I don't know his last name. He drove, navigated and slept. OK- so he hung out too, but some how he was able to sleep in the van more than anyone else! (We were a little jealous) He had a crazy run from Corona to Lakeside High School that was crazy hot, and Dom, well- he dominated. :-) Also married- I saw a picture of his cute little kids. I think Dom was the youngest- we joked that Dom and I were the same size and if I left anything in the van he might keep it!

My first run took me past Angels stadium around noon, it was 4.7 miles long. My ipod froze, my garmin was full and I got stuck at a stop light. Needless to say I was a little frustrated. I deleted all the previous runs from my Garmin while I was running (and 2 people passed me- ugh!) but then I was able to focus- and pass the two people and a few others. After that I was pretty stoked about how good I felt.

Run #2 was at about 4pm, it was 5.7 miles long. I ran in Corona- yep, it was hot. I passed down El Cerrito, Cajalco and finished on Temescal Canyon Road. Felt really good! Especially after I passed a skinny 20 something girl who couldn't handle some baby hills.

Run #3 was at 10:48pm, it was 6.7 miles long. It started at the highway 79 exit on the freeway, took me under the freeway to Red Hawk golf course, (and sprinklers that got me good, including fog and puddles). I had to wear a head light, tail light, and reflective vest over my running clothes. Once I made it through the sprinklers I hit a trail road with some intense hills, and it spit me out on Rainbow Canyon Road next to the 15 freeway. I was feeling great! I booked it. Up to this point, I had people that took off at the same time as me that went out WAY too fast, and I passed each of them when they burned out after about a mile.

Run #4 was at 3am in South Carlsbad. It was 2.2 mile long. I ran it in 15 minutes. It would have been faster had I not been stuck at stop lights! Yeah, you have to follow all the rules of stop lights, even at 3am. It was cold, and dark, but I ran a little quicker than my team anticipated and Scott was not there for the hand off when I finished. After that, they made sure to take the shortest route to each exchange to make sure they made it in time.

Run #5 run was at 8 am the next morning, it was right outside Solano Beach and 6.6 miles long. I ran up this huge hill on Ranch Santa Fe. I thought I was going stay at a 9:30 pace and not be able to recover. However, there was a girl behind me that was pounding on the pavement like she was thumper- after getting stuck at several stop lights I was finally able to get rid of her! The down hills were as long as the up so I made up quite a bit of time... at some point my max speed was 5:25 (that sort of became the joke- because it was probably just for a few seconds).

Run #6- my final run- was at 1pm, it was 4.1 miles long. It started at Clairmont High School and finished just next to the 5 freeway- very close to Sea World. It was down hill and flat so I took off! I was ready to be done. Got stuck at a few stop lights again, and almost got run over when it was my turn to go across the street, but made it safely to the next exchange.

After our final exchange we had a heck of a time finding a place to park to meet Dom at the finish line. We missed him. We all agreed that having a driver would have been really helpful. After a few photos, no beer- because I didn't have my ID- and a few souvenirs later- yeah- they gave our entire team a whole pizza. And our medal was a bottle opener (see pic).

We headed back to the van and parted ways with our families. This was the most fun I have ever had at a race! Not only did I make some new friends, but we has some good times... I had 5 big brothers for 36 hours and we laughed and were exhausted by the end of it! I will definitively do this again.  My only regret is that I didn't take more pictures! Hoping a few will show up soon on the race website.

SO- if you want to try something TOTALLY crazy, fun and different I recommend Ragnar!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Canyon Lake Middle School


It all started last summer, when Colin and I had just finished facilitating our second Financial Peace University class at Sandals Church. We still had about $55,000 worth of debt and Kellen was about ready to start preschool in the fall. We knew that if we wanted to be able to afford preschool, and keep the debt snowball rolling, I would need to work, at least part time.

In September I started substitute teaching for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District, part time, and Kellen was in preschool Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It was a little bit of a tough transition, but Kellen eventually grew to LOVE school and would ask me to go home and get him later if I came to pick him up before 3pm. The extra income paid for preschool and extra cash to pay towards our debt.

In January, we decided to try full time preschool for Kellen, and five days a week subbing for me. At first it was a little rough (seems to be the pattern, ha ha). But Kellen seems to do better with the routine being consistent. The only real downside to preschool is that he's had 4 ear infections (thanks to germs and colds from classmates) since he started. Even that seems to be routine now!

After two months of full time subbing, I was pretty much working at Lakeside every day. Most of the days went real well, the kids are great and I have been able to spend lunch with Colin each day. Kellen's school is a mile down the road and it has been working out. We now have $32,500 left in debt; (thanks to taxes and the extra income) it is encouraging to see it go down. Towards the end of February Colin (and all the teachers in the district) received an email from the district office announcing an opening for a PE teacher at Canyon Lake Middle School. For those of you that do not know, before I had Kellen I was a full time PE teacher in the district at another middle school. The job posted online and was available for application submissions for only a week. Colin and I talked about it and decided I should apply and see what happened. I submitted my application a few days later and didn't hear anything. A few weeks later we happened to pass by the assistant superintendent of personnel at a stop light and we asked him how the process was going. He said there were over 100 applicants and they were still in the process of screening applications. At that point I figured, well, maybe this isn't what God had planned. We both realized that if I didn't get a phone call we'd just continue with our current plan. March 11th I received a phone call from the district office wanting to know if i was still interested in the position and wanted to set up an interview. I have no idea how many people were interviewed, but March 14th when I interviewed, the only other applicants I saw were males. Each interview was 15 minutes long and had 6 questions. I tried to keep each answer short and simple, but Im pretty sure I rambled on one of them. I wasn't very confident leaving, I sorta suck at interviews. :-/ I seem to freeze and forget everything I was planning on saying. I found out later that I don't think I smiled at all during the interview either (yikes).

March 20th I got one last call from the district office... "So, Mindie, are you ready to come back to work?" I was a little surprised, but super excited. I completed all the paperwork yesterday, and I start April 1st. I'm nervous. I'm the newbie and I want to do a good job. I have about a week to plan and hopefully meet with the other PE teachers and make the transition pretty smooth. These kids have had two teachers, a long term sub and plenty of other people come and go this year and I hope they will give me a chance. I will need a few days to get to know them before we jump in to our current unit, basketball.

Please keep us in your prayers...

-Wisdom- to bring my best to work each day. To prepare well, love on the kids, and be an example to them. And have FUN!
-For the students- to transition well (they have now had 3 teachers this year, and probably are eager for some routine and consistency).
-Colin and I to continue to communicate well. Two full time jobs,and one little man to take care of. And one car to travel in.
-That Jesus will be reflected in my life. That my family would still be priority over work. Prayer and guidance to balance family and full time job.
-Kellen to adjust well. It won't be much different for him. He misses the cut off for kindergarten so he will go from preschool to pre-k in September at the same school. His schedule does not change.
-Additional wisdom for our finances. This second paycheck will allow us to eliminate our debt (Lord willing) within the year... Almost 2 years ahead of schedule.

Thank you for your prayers and congratulations! I feel really loved on, and appreciated.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Church baby has arrived!!!

And we have a baby GIRL!! When we arrived at the hospital, we were given a name, however, it changed after we left, however it has been confirmed, Sadie Leanne Church. About five minutes after we got there, Aunt Jenn arrived too, so away we snapped the pictures! Here are some pictures and video of the new cutie and all the family saying their first hellos.

Sadie and her new proud Auntie's!! And mommy too. :-)
Already smiling for the camera! Eyes open and everything.
Mommy... so happy because she only had to sneeze twice and she came right out! :-)
Ready for some bows and head bands!
So on a scale of 0-10, what's your pain right now, Cassie- "Ugh maybe a one or zero cause I'm smilin."
Aunt Jenn and baby Sadie
Proud dad and uncle smile for a picture. John's glad they didn't have to come in to the hospital in the middle of the night!
Happy Mommy
Nolan and Mazie arrived to say hello! Here is a short video.
Mazie giving little sister a kiss.
Mom, do I still have to share a room with her?
Big brother... of two sisters. :-) 
Holding little sister
Proud Auntie!
Uncle Colin with the little peanut.
Hi Everyone! I'm Sadie Leanne! See you all soon!