We finished!

That’s right, 13.1 miles x 2 people = Marathon for Pat completed and covered in prayer.

Just approaching the finish line!

Just approaching the finish line!

 

Thank you to all those who supported us and prayed throughout our training.

Friday we visited some very loving, giving friends who took care of us on our trip to Greensboro. It was precious time to sit on a couch after good pizza and watch an old man on TV making a commercial for a local restaurant, as we alternated thoughts about sleep and 13.1 miles in the morning.

It’s interesting how two people can have different reactions to the same stimulus, and how thousands of people prepare the day of a marathon/half-marathon. I did not exactly know what I was getting into, as this was my first time running this long and my first time running this long in a race. I was more of the excitement and motivation, while Stephen was the one to keep us going strong and steady. We took a bus to the start line at 7:50am, in 32ish degree weather. The race started 8:45am. Fifty-five minutes left us time to go to the bathroom twice, find safety pins, shed the extra layers, meet some awesome runners, and warm up. I went with short-sleeve, long-sleeve, and bigger long-sleeve, with adidas soccer pants, socks from last Christmas, and Stephen’s wool socks as mittens. A few things we learned as newbs: bring some kind of ear-warming garment, wool socks are GREAT mittens, bring your own safety pins.

We lined up for the race in the back half after deciding it’s better to not get the fast ones upset having to go around, and it’s really fun to slowly pass people. Like any long race, mentally I pretend the first eighth of the run is a built-in warm-up. We had no shame in stopping at a porta-potty within the first 3 miles. By mile 7, we were half way done and had started the second half as if it was a new race. By mile ten, we were getting tired, but I was feeling accomplished- a sprinter running double digits! The last mile was the longest and the hardest. My chip fell off with 0.25 mi to go, so we picked it back up and pulled through to the end.

Stephen was amazing. I have never seen someone run as consistently as he did. He was a champ.

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Our gracious friend took some pictures of us at the end. We crossed the finish line, but it was one of those times when you think, “Could this really, actually be the end?” After 13.1 miles, I went another 10 feet after the finish line, to make sure it was finished. We celebrated with a fajita, bagel, granola bar, banana, water, and a stomach ache.

The completion of this race is a testimony of God’s greatness and hopefully an encouragement in Patrick’s healing and recovery. My God is a God of compassion, power, and unending love. I am joyfully His.

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Chipping Away

Last night’s workout:

Treadmill at the gym 9-9:30 (they close early on Tuesdays!)

9:30-10:15 run around campus

Confirmation: 91% of the time, I’d rather run outside than on a turning belt.

I must have been missing some Halloween parties because there were zombies and footie-PJ’s and bunny-people walking the streets. Maybe I will be Pocahontas this year.

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2 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes from NOW, we’ll start the half-marathon on one of those little stars.

It’s as though each time we run to train for this race is chipping away some of the struggle of race day. Imagine if you went out there and ran 13.1 miles with no training. It would hurt.  Muscle spasms, can’t breath. Cramps of an 8 on scale of 0 to 10 on both sides. The hills would be murder. But slowly (hopefully not too slowly!), we have been training our bodies to be ready. Each hour of preparation chips off a point of pain for the cramp; each time we stay up a little later after a full day to run lets us breath a little easier when the 13.1 comes. It’s been a Chipping Away year. These big hurdles ahead (longest race of my life, passing boards in about a year) are the hardest, best things. We are praying for Patrick’s recovery, his big hurdles, with full confidence that we’ll all finish strong.

And here is the map of the greensboro marathon! Pray hard!

Less than a week to go!

Less than 1 week until the race! Can you believe it?!

The past week (past while) has been exciting, but surprisingly hard physically as we look toward the race this Saturday. Stephen and I can hardly wait to see friends in North Carolina and finish that 13.1 miles each. Honestly, it’s still a bit scary, but we will push through and finish with no doubt that we gave our best. Praise the Lord my knees and ankles have help up happily.

And boy, does running give God room to teach you things. Come face to face with your weakness, laziness, deepest thoughts, and fatigue. It has been a beautiful place of prayer with many reminders of how great and how full of grace our loving God is. Continue to join us in prayer for Patrick!

I’ve had to pull out the quarter zips and long sleeves recently. Fall came too fast. So what do you do? Embrace it…

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Go to the Tea Room with people you love…

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Get excited about sugar CUBES…

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See the Vespers sing their hearts out!

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Study in your PJ’s…

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Warm or cold outside, the Lord is still righteous, loving, and in control. I am joyfully His!

Fried eggs

Fried eggs. That was my brain last weekend. If you know about proteins, you understand that when the heat of the stove denatures them, there’s not re-naturing.

For my brain, that was not a good sign. I had gotten information on my patient, written history, meds care plan, gone to clinical, and was in the middle of writing a patho. Don’t get me wrong, this happens every week, but I’d never been this fried. A few things I’ve come to know more fully:

1. HUMANS NEED SLEEP. Come on people, it’s proven. The bulletin boards in the bathrooms for employees at the hospital always have stats, jokes, charting reminders. I saw one recently that said something to the affect of, “Take care of yourself so you can care for your patients.” It went on to say that 70% of nurses are overweight, 5-10% smoke, only 30-40% exercise daily, 92% arrive to work already tired. The question they always ask in nursing school, “What kind of nurse would you want to have taking care of your mom or grandma?” I’ve decided to do what I have to do- homework, eat, enjoy friends- then sleep so I can take care of your mom, dad, grandpa in my right mind! It’s doable.

2. EMOTIONS ARE FLEETING. My brains were eggs, my heart was fragile. Woke up singing, dressed with a smile, said my first word to someone and for some reason I was overwhelmingly upset. What do you do? I’m not trying to be a baby, in fact I’m trying not to. Well, self-assess. The first lecture in every nursing class is STRESS. Heart rate and BP up, GI activity down, awareness and alertness heightened, blood shunted to the core, cortisol, epinephrine and norepi. The bigger picture: what stresses one person may not stress another and that stress affects all bodily functions. As nurses we care for patient under stress by giving them back control, from letting a patient brush his own teeth to listening to his concerns and preferences. I am reminded that stress if very real, but that emotions are also fleeting and must be placed in our hearts under the sovereignty of God. Somehow it surprises me every time that God replaces stress and mood swings with peace and order. That is why I am joyfully His. Galatians 5 says the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Self-control. Not fruit of my efforts, fruit of the spirit working in me, by grace through faith for His glory.

Patho of the stress response

Patho of the stress response

3. PEOPLE NEED SOME CONSTANT ANCHOR, SOME PURPOSE FOR OUR SANITY. What gets you out of bed in the mornings? Dad told me about what Gramma Essie told him, “If it weren’t for Jesus, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.” Wow. Talk about an anchor for your soul, a purpose for your day. Because when this life is stripped to the core, what is there to wake up for? The creator of the universe painting the morning sky, the one who has been faithfully provided for us since the beginning, calling his people to live in the light and share the truth. That’s really living, really waking up. He is my anchor, my purpose, my joy and I need Him to remind me of these things when my brains are fried and I’m as fragile as that shell on the outside.

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”

A few weeks in

Training:

Early morning gym! Get the day started right.

Since I get bored of more than an hour on a bike or treadmill or elliptical, I go on a pre-run run around campus. Once I’m past that first wall of wanting to stop or really feeling much of anything, I go inside to the gym and read while biking or dance while running. Getting up in milage and endurance. I feel a little like a distance runner, and I like it!

I’ve found the abs work best on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which leaves Tuesdays and Thursdays for legs and arms.

I do still love running in the park, but preferably in the daytime. I like that is also more legal, now that I think about it.

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My birthday!

Nothing is better than people you love coming together to celebrate. Which is exactly what we did!

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And I couldn’t ask for a better man than Stephen

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Now that was the day before. On my actual birthday, Stephen and I went to Jerry’s Bagels (THE BEST bagel shop in this state) before work, got a call from a close friend the exact minute I was born, got a car wash, went to the hospital for information to write a paper all night, found time for a bible study with some awesome people, stopped at Wal-mart for whipped cream, and had a blessed day. The best part was Mom singing happy birthday to me every couple hours.

 

Nursing:

3 med/surg clinicals, 3 mother/baby clinicals, 1 childbirthing education class, first med/surg test:  all completed. We’re getting there!

Like I said, small bites of the big cookie. Tastes sweet, still quite cumbersome a task, but a big big big blessing.

Where it all happens (except I actually study more in the living room). The desk is when I really need inspiration.

Where it all happens (except I actually study more in the living room). The desk is when I really need inspiration.

 

Through all the craziness, God continues to confirm that he is good and he LOVES unconditionally.

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live… Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living… How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116 (go read ittt)

I’m going to be a nurse, and other confirmations

First, some thoughts during training:

Who ever uses an entire coupon book?

One reason men like grills is because you leave it outside in the elements, making it more rugged?

Why does my celery last in the fridge for over a month, showing no signs of age (America needs more fresh food)?

What did Adam originally name all the animals, since we have them translated today?

 

Today’s run: 45 minutes (unknown milage) up and around the annex. 60 lunges, 40 squats, 30 pushups, 80 calf raises, 15 bicep and tricep curls. It was HOT!

 

With school started, being back to work, clinicals and check offs, I have found a few things to be true.

1. When life gets hard, you can either complain, or lean on God and do it well.

There is a separate confidence knowing that the God that you serve created the world and died to save the world. He can move mountains, yet he cares that you stubbed your toe. I’ve seen in just a few weeks of my junior year of nursing, that I will have to choose to believe every day in what I have come to know- that God has called me to nursing, he is in control, I can do it, and he will get me through a smarter, stronger, and more Christ-like woman ready to serve my patients and coworkers. I am going to be a nurse. Get excited in this life, people. God is able!

2. Mr. Harvey, med surg professor, says we should take it a day to a week at a time. He says, “Small bites out of the elephant.” I prefer to think of it as small bites out of a cookie the size of Demoss. Eating that much is way overwhelming, but hey, cookies are good! A day at a time, a patho at a time, a test at a time. Just keep working and we will finish.

3. It’s best to do the things at hand to the best of your ability. I could not sleep for days thinking of how I could possibly work an 8-hour clinical, drive three hours, run 26.2 miles in the morning, then complete a patho! Prayerfully, I realized that these few things require a focused and committed heart at this time in my life: Jesus, nursing, running, work, and close relationships. Stephen (love of my life) has decided to partner with you and me to support Pat by running as well. We will either both run a half marathon, or we will complete a marathon relay with a total of 4 people. This will allow us to finish with the same heart, same support, and more prayers for Pat, while whole-heartedly attending to all other challenges and responsibilities at hand.

 

Praise the Lord! Psalm 73.

The Move

I am moved in and ready to start junior year of nursing!

Marathon for Pat is getting closer- only 10 weeks away! The move-in week back to school did not leave much time to work out. After a few days off, I got back to it…

Aug 15:  4 mile run to and through the park (found out there are three entrances to the same park), abs

Aug 16:  5-6 mile run to and through the park (found where each entrance leads), lunges, calf raises, push ups, squats

Aug 17:  8 mile bike to and through the park (bike seat was WAY too low, so this was a challenge and probably not so good on the knees)

I am usually not one to go to the same place more than once in a long while, I like to change it up and explore. Something peculiar has happened, and I attribute it to Stephen. He leans more toward traditions and having “his diner” or “his place.” When you love someone you learn a lot from them, and I have been learning to appreciate familiar places. I am excited about the park being so close to home. I want to know all the trails, see it change through the seasons, have it be one of my places. I am in the observation stage for now.

 

The move was absolutely blessed. My family is so so supportive, giving, helpful, and patient. They have been showing me what it means to have a giving kind of love. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” When you see a “therefore”, always look before, to what it’s referring to! Chapter 4 talks about living as children of the light, 4:22 “put off your old self, which is corrupted by its deceitful desires…and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” and later 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as in Christ god forgave you.” So we live a life of love because we are forgiven by God in Christ.

Giving has a lot to do with expectations. In my case, I  tend to expect others to give. Can you relate? When we stop expecting others to act the way we want them to, and start expecting God to make his presence known to us every minute of everyday, we begin to understand God’s giving love- and we are able to enjoy it! It takes the burden off of others, and frees us to see God work in mighty ways.

Boxing things up as summer comes to a close

Boxing things up as summer comes to a close

Mom helping organizing clothes for dontation- big job

Mom helping organizing clothes for dontation- big job

The bookshelf up and shoes hanging!

The bookshelf up and shoes hanging!

 

It is definitely easier to eat healthy buying and making my own food. So far, I’ve had yogurt, blueberries, grapes, and oatmeal for breakfast. Pot roast is an easy way to make a lot of good food. Staples in my diet are going to be: chicken, tuna, tortillas!, yogurt, eggs, frozen/steamed spinach, baby carrots, almonds, oatmeal. Cook a big meal once a week and fill in the gaps- that’s the plan!

Street lights and lessons learned

Something about street lights at night are a catalyst to connecting thoughts. You know the rows of streetlights on the highway at night that line the median? They almost look like two strings of pearls in the distance, or a pathway to dance along. They stretch so far you can’t see the end, but you know they keep on going past the farthest your eyes can see (until you reach the towns out in the sticks, yes I know). They seem so fluid, so connected, from far away. In that same moment, look to the left and see the individual lights that make up the chain. They slowly unzip as they get closer. It must be like this journey of a life on earth. We see lives ahead of us, but to pass those individual light posts, to see the detail of trials and lessons as they come into clarity, is what makes the ride. I’ve hardly ever, before tonight, looked to my left and seen anything but the string of pearls. Looking closer up has taught me something.

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The nearest light posts:

1. THANKFULNESS. What a wonder that we have such control over how we react to just about everything. It’s a choice to be thankful, or to not. The absence of thankfulness may be temporary excitement instead, or maybe apathy and disregard. However we deal with life, it’s empty (and a lot harder) without acknowledging that each breath, each time the car won’t start, each rejection, each victory, is an opportunity to thank our Lord. It all comes back to the grace of God. We do not deserve the blessings he gives, we don’t even deserve the hardships that he uses to discipline or teach us. We don’t deserve interaction with a great God, or even life. But he gives it abundantly (John 10:10). Thankfulness is a choice every day to appreciate God’s grace in our lives, not just a response to a gift we like. It’s alright to get ridiculous with thankfulness; recognize His grace and rejoice!

In the psalms, as in Psalm 100, 106, and 138 (read ‘em), the author writes, “Give thanks the Lord!” A directive to us, but also an invitation to join him in calling on the Lord with a thankful and contrite heart. Though he may be chased by his enemies, he thanks God for his love that endures forever. David thanks God for victory over enemies, for justice, that God listens, for his goodness, for his righteous deeds, for keeping his covenant, for preserving his life, for delivering him, for making us his own, for his faithfulness, and mostly for his “steadfast love that endures forever.” David’s progress through psalms and prayers usually begin with asking God to listen as he presents his thoughts, fears, and requests. Soon, the focus shifts from David’s worries to God’s glory and praise as He works in David’s life, both spiritually and as he provides physically. Prayer seems to always bring me to a renewed awe of God and a peace that he really is who he says he is (the good, holy King of Kings who’s in control), my burdens eclipsed by the burden he took on to save us. What do you thank God for?

In the New Testament epistles, Paul thanks God for the church in almost every letter. He thanks the churches for their generosity in the collection for Christians in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 9) and those who risked their lives for his sake (Romans 16). He reminds us that thanksgiving brings us to pray for people and prayer reminds us to be thankful (Eph 1:16). He instructs the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Did you hear that? Go read it!

As Jesus performs signs and miracles to show his power and to show compassion on his people, we see in Luke 17:11-19 that ten lepers were healed by Jesus words, “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (his response to their plea, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”). Only one of the ten turned back and praised God, giving thanks at Jesus’ feet. Jesus asks where the other nine are, why only the Samaritan foreigner is praising God. Jesus says his faith has made him well. Do you believe that God’s work in our lives inspires and requires thanks and praise? Does it take faith to give thanks to God?

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Why Sleeves? Just need a pocket for Chapstick.

Road trip from CO to CT in four days! Here it is.

Friday, July 19, Dad, Megan, and I flew to Denver to retrieve the Black Knight and to visit some much-loved family.

The Black Knight

The Black Knight, Toyota Corolla

 

Day 1 run: The family came at around mile 3 of my 6 mile run around the neighborhoods of Colorado with a cold bottle of water. I could get used to that. Switching directions on a circle run a little over half way helps mentally.

New bright shirt to rep CT and so cars don't hit me. Gotta be smart!

New bright shirt to rep CT and so cars don’t hit me. Gotta be smart!

 

25 in and outs, 25 bicycles, 25 backward bicycles, 25 big scissor switches, 25 v-up roll ups, 40 mason twists, 10 jelly belly’s (tuck, pike, straddle), two 1 minute planks, five 15 second bridges, Attempted the swan, 8 sets of 10 push ups mixed in, tried to learn the Chain Saw (dance).

Attempting the swan. Feet are supposed to touch head.

Attempting the swan. Feet are supposed to touch head…

 

I came to a few pressing questions:

1. WHY DID THEY EVERY PUT SLEEVES ON RUNNING SHIRTS?

2. How do you stay hydrated when you’re running tens of miles by yourself?

3. Where do I put my chapstick?

 

My answers to date, comment if you have other solutions:

1. Who knows, but I’m wearing tank tops and the like from now on. Until winter obviously.

2. Drive the run ahead of time, leave water a water bottle or two to drink along the way (I have yet to actually do).

3.  Chapstick necklace (got one from my cousin in CO!), chapgrip clip onto my shirt/pants (still experimenting), sow on chapstick pockets?

Attempt #1 on the chapstick pocket, and very excited.

Attempt #1 on the chapstick pocket, made possible by Dad’s old T-shirt and a sewing machine. I’m satisfied.

 

Another thing, I had a baad tummy ache (not stomach ache, it’s more in your intestines than stomach) the whole time. I’ve found that with cramps or constant tummy aches, it helps to switch up my gate. Some skips and stretches.

I love how animal life on runs changes depending  on where you are. Colorado had more bunnies than I had ever seen. Also sadder roadkill.

Another great thing about running: you can enjoy dessert more! Oreo mint blizzard at DQ has been my go-to lately.

 

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The trip was this: Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut. Approximately 10 hours of driving a day, switching drivers every 2 hours, and seeing some sites along the journey.

Points of interest: Mount Rushmore, Mall of America, guitar center, Museum in Clarion, PA.

Cheapest gas: $3.39

Hotel parking lot workouts: 50 Jumping jacks, 2 min run, 12 pushups, 2 min run, 40 squats, 2 min run, 25 JJ, 1 min run, 12 pushups, 1 min run, 20 squats, 40 seconds planks into 40 mason twists.

 

Mount Rushmore in pouring rain, and HAIL! Worth it.

Mount Rushmore in pouring rain, and HAIL! Worth it.

Mall of America!

Mall of America!

Guess what....  They're Crocs!

Guess what….
They’re Crocs!

Museum in Clarion. I like that town a lot.

Museum in Clarion. I like that town a lot.

 

Back at home, Megan and I biked to the library (7.7 miles) after some pool swimming, lunges, squats, pushups, and planks. Biking is a good workout when ya try hard. I realize more and more just how hilly my town is. Biking switches up the pace and muscles you use!

 

More to come!

This summer so far

Where to begin!

It has been a summer full of family and new adventures. We’ve celebrated Megan’s poem being published, traveled, made things, broken things. It’s been the sweetest.

First, our daytrip to NYC. Steve and I were newbs to Broadway, but we got around the city pretty well. Actually, I converted from dumb to smart phone the night before to make it easier. I do still believe in maps. Mama Mia was great, again, made me want to dance. I was surprised to know all the songs, since Megan loves the movie version. Who knew they were almost exactly the same! (Obviously not me). We went to the Stardust Cafe afterwards. All the talented people trying to get on Broadway, or in between shows, are the servers and take turns singing songs. That might have been my favorite part.

Library for the nerds that love to read (all three of us)

Library for the nerds that love to read (all three of us)

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Next, SCUBA! Don’t know where the idea came from, but it has been such a blast! Started the week after I got back from school with the knowledge tests, pool contained water practice, and finally onto Mashapaug (aka Bigelow). What is at the bottom you wonder? Muck, rocks, muscles, wood, and a picnic table. The fish were quite friendly and ate right out of our hands. I have to say, it took a while to get the buoyancy, breathing, and depth down, but after a few trips, I feel like a real diver!

Open Water Certification day!

Open Water Certification day!

Best instructor ever! He was so patient, and a real pro!

Best instructor ever! He was so patient, and a real pro!

 

Then school started. Microbiology over the summer. Fun right?! It hasn’t been so bad. If you need to know which disinfectants are most effective or the kinds of tests they run on bacterium, I’m your girl.

Nana has been a doll taking care of me and just chatting as we work on various projects. She helped me apply to jobs, make this apron, and organize my many, many chargers. She is such a blessing! You know that song by the Vespers, Eyes Wide Open? Nana’s a heart. Except she’s still kickin’ as sweet and active as ever.

The final product. Made from all the materials Nana already had!

The final product. Made from all the materials Nana already had!

 

The Dad-Audrey project is this: store all my many books on one bookcase that can be transported 12 hours in a car and will fit in my bedroom. The plans are looking good. We bought one cheap, pretty close to our design at a tagsale (I think it’s brand new), and plan to adjust shelf heights. I love a good tagsale. More handy-woman skills to be acquired this summer.

Bookcase for building, Dad and Audrey project to complete before I go back to school

Bookcase for building, Dad and Audrey project to complete before I go back to school

 

And Leslie. They’re going to take her goods and crush her to a cube. I’ve come to terms.

Leslie the 22 year old Acclaim off the the junkyard

Leslie the 22 year old Acclaim off the the junkyard

 

Forth of July trip to Mass! We missed Kaitlin. We saw the Lone Ranger. Anyone else? Did you like it?

Sound like "family," doesn't it?

Sound like “family,” doesn’t it?

 

The crowning moment of this summer (maybe)… making homemade pickles! The mix was a present from Stephen for Christmas. Creative boy, I know, I thought so too. Finally they are in the pickling stages and ready to eat in a few weeks! All you need is jars, water, vinegar, pickle mix, and pickling cukes. See the full recipe here: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=270

Been waiting for this day for SO long

Been waiting for this day for SO long

Next adventure: Colorado!