Friday, December 21, 2007

The Jumping Off Point

Have you ever been cliff diving? I went while I was still in high school, you know...youth group age, when I was still bold enough to try something as wreckless as plunging 30-feet-down, feet-first, off a cliff into frigid water.

I recall scaling the slippery rocks of the cliff, clad in my bathing suit and bare feet, waiting in a small line of others my age for my chance to jump into the unknown... I got to the ledge and I had one or two people ahead of me. I watched them each in turn, give a whoop and a yell and jump out from the ledge before they fell away and disappeared with a splash into the dark, cold water.

Too soon it was my turn. People were telling me not to chicken out, "You can do it, come on!" and pressing me closer to the edge in their eagerness to take their turn. "It's easy, just don't think about it too much!"

I took advice on holding my breath, jumping out away from the cliff and on how to point my toes. I knew that if I stared down at the water too long I wouldn't want to jump. There was no turning back. So I gave a leap and a scream, held by breath and jumped out into the air....the water rushed up before me and I remembered to point my toes. The trip from the the ledge to the water was the most thrilling 3.5 seconds of my life. I still remember that day. It was a feeling that left me feeling alive.

There are different jumping off points in our lives. These points are times of inevitable change. Some changes are by choice (getting married), while others are thrust upon us by surprise (injury or illness). One minute our lives are predictable and comfortable, the next they change forever. Some of these points herald momentous occasions in our lives. For good or bad, all changes force us to grow and adapt who we are into who we will become. How we face them speaks to our character and the source of our inner strength. Who we become is up to us.

Sometimes change is gradual and there is time to think and to process what's happening, other times we are in shock, and experience a rollercoaster of emotions.

As I plunged beneath the icy water of the mountain's gully that day, I was instantly surround by numbing cold. The moment I felt myself stop my decent, I began clawing and kicking for the surface to return to the warmth of the air, and the companionship of my friends. I knew that they were there waiting for me, and that at the surface I could breath again. Kick for the surface and breathe.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Movie News of the Year

My friend Nathan said it best:

"Do not pass go.
Do not collect 200 dollars.
Go directly to this link and read the best movie news of the year.

The Hobbit Movie

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If You Would Like to Leave a Comment...

Hello,

I wanted to make you aware of a change to my site.

From now on, if you would like to leave a comment, you will need to have a registered ID to do so. This is a new step to protect myself from anonymous sniping.

You can have an ID you use on another blog site or you can register yourself as a user. This will allow me to know who is posting on my blog and protect me from spamming.

Thanks for your ongoing interaction and support!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Post and Parcel

Christmas cards...the annual report on "Here's what's happening in my life, and what's not." It's that obligatory time of year when you communicate with family and other people you may avoid talking to the rest of the year, but somehow you owe them an explanation of what's been happening in your life and in the lives of your loved ones, so you tell them all at once exactly what has taken place.

While most people are content to send a simple card with their signature and perhaps a line or two about "how nice it was to see you at Thanksgiving," other people are naturally, more descriptive.

They don't simply include a card with a nice holiday sentiment, they enclose a two page report complete with family photo spread and descriptive exploits over the last year.

"Dear Friends and Family,

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Our son Jim and and his wife Brenda recently had a baby they named Lewis. Jim is still working at the feed plant while Beth stays home and takes care of the children.

Our daughter Beth got married in Vegas to her fiance Terry. They said it was cheaper than a family affair and they'd rather spend the gift money for a down payment on a trailer so they can "take home on the road." We hope to see alot of them this coming spring, but Bob tells me not to hold my breath.

Grandpa Joe had his second hip replacement in February. The first one was only supposed to last for 15 years and he got 25 years out of the first one so he figures he'll be 99 before he'll need another, assuming his other hip holds out and he lives long enough to need another operation.

Bob and I like to stay active and have gotten adventurous in our old age. We recently climbed Mt. Everest with the help of a Sherpa named "Ed" etc. Ed isn't his real name, but it's the name Bob gave him because he couldn't remember his real name and "it was too hard to pronounce anyway." "Ed" is much more memorable for both of us and it suited the sherpa just fine.

We wish you a happy holiday season, (just in case you've converted or remarried and started celebrating Hanukah, Kwanza or Ramadan) and of course, a Merry Christmas!

Love and Kisses,
Aunt Ethel

Prayer, Praises and Perspective

After my last post (which I deleted) I had an anonymous friend leave me a message reminding me that someone always has it worse than you. I thank that person for a perspective check.

At a time in life when it's easy to dwell on what is going wrong or on our own troubles... I think it's appropriate to think about what there is to be thankful for....taking the attention off of worries and putting it where it should be at this time of year...on celebrating Christ's birth and family.

I deleted my last entry in favor of something more appropriate. Now is the time for faith and prayer. In the midst of trials and suffering we look to God for strength and reassurance, especially when we are knee-deep in despair and doubt.

We all have trials that God is seeing us through and he gave us each other to encourage one another and to lift one another up in our toughest times. I'm thankful for each of you.

Let's continue in our faith and in prayer, lifting one another up before God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pray for Nina

Dear Friends,
A young wife and mother to three little girls in her in her mid-twenties is in intensive care at Temple Hospital in Philly. She is in need of a double lung and heart transplant in the next month. Her family is praying that she lasts until donor organs become available. The family is in need of your prayers.

Please pray for God's will to be done and for peace for the family, that God would spare her life and perform a miracle this Christmas.

This woman is my friend and she also goes to our church. She is one of the children of our Pastor and her name is Nina. Her husband's name is Tim. He is a police officer. This is a health battle that has been fought for about two years now. Please keep the Johnson and Wells families in your prayers.

Thanks,
Rigel

Monday, December 10, 2007

Something to Look Forward to

We've all had that "something" to look forward to... a visit from a loved one, an event, a moment in time when we thought our heart would flutter right out of our chests with excitement and anticipation. I've been thinking.

I know how much I enjoy having something to look forward to, what if I created that "something" for someone I love? What if I got creative and came up with something for someone else to look forward to?

Some people don't really like surprises, but they like to have something to look forward to, so it doesn't have to be a surprise. My challenge for you this week is this...get creative and find a way to provide something to look forward to for somebody this week. It can be a co-worker, a grandparent or parent, a child, your child's teacher, etc. The sky is the limit!

Just a little somthin' somthun'!

Let me know how it goes, if it's fit to print.

Blessings,
Rigel

Friday, December 7, 2007

New Artist, Christopher Kinkaid




Hey Folks,
I wanted to let you know about a new artist I found on MySpace. His name is Christopher Kinkaid. Check out his Christmas Music on this dude's profile. It's really sweet! You can buy tunes directly from this guy's website. I like his version of Silent Night. He also does well with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

I hope you are well and reveling in the joy of the season. Find something to be joyful about.

Jesus Birth!!!!

Time with Family and Friends

Baking Christmas Cookies

Decorating

Christmas Tree Hunting (brings quite the pic to mind, stalking an evergreen with a rifle or shotgun)

Singing Christmas Carols

Candlelight Service at Church

Christmas Pagents

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Crafts with Kids

Laughter

Parties

The Beauty of the Season

Handel's Messiah

The Nut Cracker

The Night Before Christmas

The Anticipation of Christmas Eve

Wise Men

Angels

Shepherds

The Christmas Star
-Rigel

Monday, December 3, 2007

22 Days Until Christmas!

It's hard to believe that we're in the month of December and Christmas is just around the corner. I've already seen the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and The Polar Express on TV (both sure signs that Christmas is coming).

This past weekend we put up our tree on Saturday and I decorated it Sunday evening. During the church service Sunday morning my in-laws lit the first candle in the advent wreath. After church, I decorated the Christmas tree.

This year is a "white light year." That means we decorate the tree with white lights and silver and gold ornaments (for the most part). This is the kind of tree Jeff grew up with (white lights and all angel ornaments).

I grew up with colored lights and home made decorations. Hence, we rotate decor each Christmas. After almost 7 years of marriage (6.5 really) we had colored lights last year..and just like that, a new tradition of rotating color schemes was born!

After Christmas (2 years ago) I loaded up on half-price decor for my colored tree and we had a beautiful one last year! After last Christmas I bought my Christmas wrap and cards at a discounted price so that I am ready to go this time around. I'm all about saving moola.

I still have almost all my Christmas shopping to do, and I think I'm going to do it all online. A lot of places are offering free shipping. Yeehah! When budgeting for Christmas gifts, this is welcome news!

Jeffrey continues his search for a job. If you think of us, remember us in your prayers...that he would be listening for God's direction and that God would make it clear where he should go and what he should do.
Thank you to all!
-Rigel

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heeeeeee's Baaaaack...and He Got a Doe.

Jeff is back home and he got a doe. Clean shot, low light, beside two other hunters...the pressure was on. From a standing position, Jeff drew a bead on her and fired. She dropped right where she was standing, no running, just boom, dead. That's the way to do it ladies and gentlemen. He kindly informed me when he got home last night that he had parked my car in the parking lot and that his deer was in our garage. Oh Dear! Or should I say, Oh deer! I'm proud of you Hon!

With Love,
Your Adoring Wife Rigel

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hunting Widow

It's that time of year again...when Jeffrey heads to the mountains with his gear and his gun and sits in the woods waiting for a deer to walk by...then "BANG!" ...venison for the year. Yeehah! I'm such a hick.

There are people who cringe to think of killing a deer (I wouldn't do it personally, unless it came down to me or the deer). I'm a bleeding heart when it comes to the welfare of animals. Fortunately, I have made peace with that aspect of my personality when it comes into conflict with that of my husband's desire to thin the herd and bring home a buck, or a doe for that matter.

As we encroach upon their territory, the deer have nowhere to go. We are pushing them out of their homes and then we complain when our shrubs, flowers and trees are being eaten. The deer have run out of places to well...run. Just this season, I have been witness to the aftermath of two deer/car accidents which ended very badly for the deer. It was horrible.

It's common place now to see small herds of deer running through busy, suburban and even urban settings! Their food supply is down and many of them are starving over the winter. That's why it's so important to cull the herd so that some of them can survive, without fear of starvation.

While there will always be deer/car collisions as long as there are cars and deer and mating season, we can still do our part to make life as peaceable as possible for people and our white tailed friends with hooves.

Don't drive like a maniac especially during rut when the deer are literally chasing tail to pursue or evade other deer. Drive within the speed limit or at least more slowly in wooded areas or near fields where deer are most likely to appear by the road.

Support your local hunters if they are friends, allow them to hunt in your fields if you own some acreage. Help them to control the deer population so that fewer of our furry friends starve this winter.

And above all, learn to enjoy venison. It IS a tastey dish if prepared properly, despite contrary criticism. Lean meat is your friend, and deer are plenty lean. You would be too if you had to run around all over God's creation to forage for food, search out a warm bed for the night and in order to find a good female you spent your evenings dodging cars on Route 309. Be glad you're you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Perspective: Persecution Produces Strength

During our small group last night we were discussing a passage in the text we are studying. Our group facilitator of the evening (Herman) challenged us to think of a time when we experienced joy in the midst of suffering or persecution. None of us could really think of a time we were HAPPY about being tested and we couldn't really think of a reason to be happy WHILE being tested. Next, Herman launched into a lesson about how the persecutions and trials we suffer are acutally evidence of God's love for us and of our relationship with him.

The author of our text talked about persecution being a cause for joy in the life of Christians in two ways. First, the persecution we suffer for the sake of Christ is evidence that we belong to Jesus and are identified with Christ. For this reason we may rejoice when we are persecuted, because it is evidence that we belong to God and that we are his!

Secondly the persecution we suffer for the sake of righteousness is evidence that we are being refined by Christ. When we are persecuted for a righteous act it means we were caught in the act of being righteous, and that we are being tested and tried by the world! God cares about us enough to refine our sinful nature, removing the sinful impurities so that we can shine like gold reflecting the image of Christ! Each time we are we are tested, we have an opportunity to glorify God and to respond with love and forgiveness (an act of righteousness). This too is an opportunity for joy...it is through these trials that God demonstrates his love for us, to shape us into the likeness of his son Jesus.

So the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, recognize it as an opportunity to shine righteously for Christ. Righteousness through adversity is a beautiful thing. How will you respond when you are tried? I'm asking myself that same question this morning.

The Next Challenge

I ran the Turkey Trot in 30:24 and was 175 out of 237 participants who finished the race. My Uncle Dennis (an avid runner) is encouraging my running and he challenged me to train to run a half-marathon in Allentown. He says he's going to get me a subscription to Runner's World magazine. Wow! That would really be a great goal. That would be 4x as long as my 5K but it's doable. I just have to train for it! Woohoo!

The Dr. Drill Instructor Program has really made a difference in my fitness goals and my desire to really trim down and lose weight. For the first time, it's really looking like I could reach my goals. It's very exciting. Boot camp starts up again in January and between now and then I plan on doing a bit of running and weight training to build my endurance. I'll keep you posted in that area of my life.

Thank you to all of you who have been encouraging me in my weight loss endeavor.

Blessings!

Rigel

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Results and Future Goals

The results are in:

Turkey Trot 5K: I met my goal of jogging the entire race! I finished in around 32 minutes. I say 32 because I didn't see the clock when I finished but I was able to estimate based on the times of friends that finished around me...so I was running about a 10 minute mile, which is good for me!!!! I have to say, I'm really glad that I did this. This was my first registered race. It felt good to participate and great to finish.

Boot camp: I also finished my first 10 weeks of boot camp. I plan on signing up again in January. I have lost 10 pounds and 8 inches in 10 weeks. I started in a size 14 and in a size 12 now. I have about 30 more pounds to lose until I am down to my goal weight of 160 lbs. I may only get down to 165, but even that would be OK as long as it's muscle weight.

In order to make my boot camp experience successful for next session, I need to:

1. Watch what I eat over the holidays and get regular exercise
2. Maintain a more disciplined diet during next session
3. Make sure I push myself hard each class I attend

It's great to see progress!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Prayer Request

Every once in awhile, I'm caught "off-guard" by some sudden news that really takes the wind out of my sails and stalls me in a sea of calm. Jeffrey just found out that in a week's time, he won't have a job. So the search for a new job begins, along with the search for a new direction in his life. If you think of him, please pray that he will be listening for God's voice, that God will provide a clear path for him to take, and one that will bring him peace.

Jeff's undergrad degree is in art and he's wondering about pursuing a Masters in Fine Art with an education certification so he can teach, but he's not sure that's what he wants to do. He is trying to absorb the job loss and search for a new opportunity at the same time. At the forefront of our minds is needing to replace his income and to find a career (not just another job) that would bring fulfillment to Jeff.

God is at work!

Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Advice to a Bride to Be from Her Married Cousin (Me)

My cousin (who was an MK (missionary kid)) is getting married soon. Her older sister asked us to send her advice/scriptures etc. that she plans to compile into a book to give to her before she marries. These are things she can draw strength from when things inevitabley get tough. Here is what I wrote to her.

"There are so many things to share, it's difficult to know where to begin...so I'll begin on familiar ground.

As a missionary...

You learn new languages.
Find out what your husband's love language is and learn to speak it. Discover your own and teach it to him, so he knows how to reciprocate. It's easier to speak and hear your own language than to learn and use a new one. Learning a new language takes time. Don't get discouraged if you can't speak it fluently at first. Native speakers appreciate it when you make the repeated effort to communicate using their language.

You adapt to the native culture.
Your family backgrounds will be different and so will your views on mens and womens roles in the home. Study his "home culture" to learn his frame of reference and to begin to learn about his expectations for your marriage. Think about your own and how they will be integrated and how you will learn to compromise.

The missionary position...
It's not the only one available. Dont' be afraid to try new ones. They can be fun. Remember that what goes in, must come out eventually. Peeing after sex is normal, and good. Never try and manipulate him with sex. It can only end badly.

Try new foods.
There will be dishes you are comfortable cooking and then there are the ones your husband has grown up with and would like you to try. Be flexible to incorporate his diet choices into your meal plans, not assuming that he likes to eat everything that you like, or that you can change his diet. This will save you time when you get to the part about fighting over what you will bring home from the grocery store. Compromise! Get to know what he enjoys eating and snacking on! He'll like it when you buy the foods he likes.

Forgetting what lies behind...
When you two become one, you will leave your families and cleave to one another. Do not make the mistake of calling or running home when you have fights. Don't talk badly about your husband to your parents. You do not want to build up a one-sided view of your husband in your parents' minds when you are angry. Work things out with your husband on your own. If you need to, call a friend, but don't forget to keep things in perspective when you fight.

Keep a journal of your journey.
Keep a journal to remember the good times and the bad. If you have to write a letter home and you're having negative feelings towards your husband, write it down, but don't send it, and if you can, rip it out and burn it. Don't let your husband find it. Purge the bad thoughts. Remember the good ones. Remember that your husband loves you and has your interests at heart. Start from there and move forward. It is here you will see the evidence of God's faithfulness in your marriage.

Take pictures.
Take pictures every year of your marriage so you can remember your life together and where the journey takes you. Find something to write home aboutKeep it positive, and offer praises of your husband to your family and friends. Don't miss an opportunity to sing his praises to your family so they can share in your happiness and remember how happy a day it was when they entrusted you to him.

Give every day to God.
Give every day to God. There will be good ones and bad ones in your marriage. Marriage is tough. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. The one thing they don't tell you before you get married is how hard it is. You will be embarking in a journey that many people never finish. There may be times when if feels like the only thing holding the two of you together is a promise you made to each other on December 29, 2007. Don't forget that love is more than a feeling, it's a promise of forever love. Like God's love for us.

I love you. I'm here for you anytime. And I welcome your husband into the clan.
Much love,Your cousin"

Graduation and the Turkey Trot

This weekend is boot camp graduation and the Turkey Trot 5 K at Fisher's Park in Towamencin. You can still register online until Nov. 15th.

The race starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday the 17th and it's only a 3.1 mile race so it should be over in under 40 minutes or less. Some people are walking it. My goal is to jog the entire thing without stopping. We'll see how I do on the hilly parts.

I'm going jogging with my friend Dorothy tomorrow. We're doing 2 miles before it gets dark. Does anyone know any good places to buy cold or night running gear?

Graduation is Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. after the Turkey Trot. I can hardly believe it's been 10 weeks. I feel better and I look a little better, but I haven't lost a ton of weight. I haven't been that faithful to my diet though, so I don't know what I should be expecting.

I'm not looking forward to the winter boot camp session (cold) but I know it will be good for me, and less expensive. How much less expensive has yet to be seen...I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 9, 2007

That Freakin' Scale!

I have a scale that's...a little off. When I say "off" I mean, it's not accurate. How "off?" About 3 to 6 pounds. I had two doctors appts. yesterday and weighed in on both their scales, in addition to my morning weigh-in on my own scale at home.

7:30 a.m. Weight: 183 lbs. (underwear only)
12:15 p.m. Weight: 189 lbs. (fully clothed with shoes)
2:30 p.m. Weight: 191 lbs. (after lunch, of course, with clothes and shoes)

I think my scale is off by 3 pounds. That 183 weigh-in is with the three pounds already added to it. Is it possible to gain 6 pounds by noon?

Jeff tells me it doesn't matter if the scale is off, it only matters that I have consistently weighed myself on the same scale.

I pointed out, that's true...as long as the scale hasn't started getting worse (being further off the mark). Either way, I'm fatter than I orginally thought I was when I started my weight loss journey back in Sept. Have I lost 10 lbs.? Probably. But I'm still "back at square one" mentally because I am back to having to lose 30 lbs all over again!

Granted, I am pre-menstrual...but a six-pound diff? What the frick?

Darn that Halloween Candy

It was me vs. the Halloween Candy. I fought the candy... and the candy won. I've gained a couple pounds back. Time to start eating cleanly again.

Snickers Bars, Milk Duds, Crunch Bars and the like come in "fun size." It's fun when you're eating them, but then you're left looking at the empty wrappers and you feel like you've just committed a sin...almost like "pre-marital doodly". (See Ned Flanders) It's awful.

Don't be offended by my joke. It's but a metaphor for the depth of depravity I feel I have reached in my temptation by chocolate. Get thee behind me Halloween Candy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

OK, so I didn't go on the run...but....

Yes! I'm afraid it's true. I got home from school last night at 10:30 p.m. and my body was sore and I said, I am NOT getting up at 4:30 to run in the cold tomorrow. I'm glad that I didn't. I had a night of tossing and turning and didn't fall asleep until after midnight. I'm still sore this morning, but I got on the scale this morning and I've lost another 2 lbs.

The real test will be when I go to two doctors' appointments today and get on their scales. I have weighed myself consistently on my scale and according to MY scale, I've now lost 10 lbs. I have officially lost 10 lbs doing boot camp and being more careful about what I eat!

I'm sad that I didn't go running, but not really that sad. I'm one of those people that needs restful sleep, and I didn't get it. Plus, I hate being cold... I don't know what I'm going to do for next session of boot camp. It runs through the cold winter months, and they DO go outsides sometimes. Did I say I HATE being cold?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Platoon Run

I'm going on a Platoon Run tomorrow and I'm a bit nervous. I'm worried about getting left behind, but a fellow recruit has offered support and encouragement that I can do it and that I won't get left behind. That's good news!

I'm also anticipating with trepidation that it's going to be cold and that it might be raining when I'm running through the muck. I HATE being cold, just like I HATE being too hot. Cold makes seemingly every muscle in me contract and cringe. I just KNOW I'll get a cold too, and I double HATE being sick. Ugh.

It's also going to be a longer distance than I've run before (probably 4 miles). I'll almost certainly be walking part of that trek. Between now and then I need to find some warmer snivel gear to run in.

Peace,
Rigel

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for:

A husband that loves me
A home to tend
Family
Friends
A job
Clothing and shoes
The opportunity to go to school and
to worship freely
Salvation in Jesus Christ
A working car
Grocery stores
Medicine and the ability to go to a doctor
Insurance
Heat
Air conditioning
Email
Telephones
Appliances that make my life easier (washing machine/dryer, dishwasher etc.)
Indoor plumbing
Freedom
The ability to read and write
Good food
Health
Hikes in the woods
Taking pictures
Memories
Nature
Having all five senses
Being able to smell, taste, touch, hear and see the world around me

What are some things you are thankful for?

Monday, November 5, 2007

3 Miles and a 5 K Registration

Today I accomplished two amazing things in my weight loss battle. #1 is that I jogged three miles without stopping! I was unable to complete it in 30 minutes, but I finished the 12 laps around the track at Penndale without stopping and THAT was my goal for today.

#2. I registered online for my first 5K race. On November 17th at 10 a.m. I will be running the Turkey Trot at Fischer's Park in Towamencin. I will also be graduating from my first 10 weeks of Boot Camp in the Dr. Drill Instructor Program. I am super excited!

I'm going shopping on Black Friday with my Aunt Jenny and my Mom. I'm very excited. It's time for some new clothes baby!

Woohoo!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

"Resolved" by Jonathan Edwards

Today I give you an excerpt from a devotional called "Together for Good" by H. Norman Wright. It's a daily devotional for married couples. I think it might have been a wedding present. I pulled it off the shelf in the bathroom and took it in the tub with me this morning to read it. I'm glad I did. Here's an excerpt. It starts with a Bible verse:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

"You've probably heard of Jonathan Edwards. But have you ever read anything he wrote? Consider his words:
Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and for my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration.

Resolved, To do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general.

Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

Resolved, Never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge.

Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

Resolved, Never to do anything which, if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Resolved, To ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possbily in any respect have done better.

Resolved, Never hence-forward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's.

Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best and most prudent when I come into the future world.

Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them."

I was challenged to apply these words to my marriage, and to bootcamp. How do they apply in your life? Are you challenged by any of these resolutions? I was.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Soulja Boy is Disgusting

My teacher friend recently told me about an incident at her school. The school cheerleaders were interested in using the new Soulja Boy song "Crank That" as part of their routine. What you may not know about this song is that it has camoflaged sexually explicit lyrics and is completely inappropriate. The students are arguing for the song because they say they don't think of it in that way...

You be the judge. Here is an excerpt of my friend's email to me which was forwarded to her from another teacher:

"The senior cheerleaders would like to use the song "Crank That" by Souldja Boy for part of their routine. I told them that the song was totally inappropriate for school and that they could not use it. They said they would play the edited version which only changes the word "hoe" to "oh". I told them that wasn't enough because the entire song is inappropriate. They didn't understand why and I believe that they don't understand what the lyrics are saying so I am sending you an email with the "translation" of certain phrases from urbandictionary.com (a site that you can also learn about the shocker on). I am informing you of this because they want to fight me on it and will most likely be coming to one if not all of you. Please let me know your decision on whether or not they can use the song in their routine.

The lyrics and translation from urbandictionary.com are below.

Chorus: x2]Soulja Boy Off In This Hoe (hoe will be changed to Oh.
Pretty sure "Soulja Boy is meant to mean penis)
Watch Me Crank It (crank it - A quick form of masturbation in which one does not have ample time to properly pleasure themselves. Also can refer to repeated masturbation.)
Watch Me RollWatch Me Crank Dat Soulja Boy (watch him masturbate)
Then Super Man Dat Hoe (Superman - When you are mad at your girl for not having sex with you. So when she falls asleep you masturbate and ejaculate on her back. After that, stick the bed sheet on to her back and when she wakes up it's stuck to the ejaculate and she has a cape like Superman.)
Now Watch Me Do (Do - to engage in sexual intercourse)(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now Watch Me yua!(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now Watch Me yua!(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)
Now Watch Me yua!(Crank Dat Soulja Boy)

"Part of the students' argument was that no one either knew what the lyrics were to begin with, that they didn't understand it or that they didn't think it was sexual. While I understand that children listen to music without understanding or trying to understand the lyrics I do not feel that should be a reason to let them use such an inappropriate song."

Sound off! What do YOU think?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Down With "The Golden Compass"

You may already know about the kids movie coming out in December starring Nicole Kidman. It's called The Golden Compass, and while it will be a watered down version, it is based on a series of children's books about killing God (It is the anti-Narnia). Please follow this link and then pass it on. From what I understand, the hope is to get a lot of kids to see the movie - which won't seem too bad - and then get the parents to buy the books for their kids for Christmas. The quotes from the author sum it all up. I hope it totally bombs because we were all paying attention!

http://snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp

Monday, October 29, 2007

When it Rains it Pours

Hello My Friends!!!!

I was in a fender bender on the way home from work on Jeff's b-day a week ago today. A big, black, pick-up truck rear ended a four door sedan that rear ended me. I thought I was OK, and then one day later...neck pain. I'm still dealing with it and the insurance companies. Not fun.

This weekend, Jeff and my father-in-law worked to replace our entire breaker box in the basement. This was an unexpected repair :) When Jeff was plugging in my heating pad for my neck, the outlet blew. When Jeff went to do the repair, he shut the power off in the house, did his thang...and then when he turned the main power to the house back on...it wouldn't STAY on. He dialed up his Dad and they set to work redoing the entire box. That project took most of the weekend. PTL I didn't have too much to throw out in the fridge.

Today, I go to see the chiropracter and Wed. I have an appointment to fix up the car, but I'm still dealing with the insurance companies and trying to figure out who's paying for what, and when. I request prayer for patience and discernment.

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting Back on the Wagon

I've been very very bad lately. I had chocalate cake this weekend, and more cake and a dark chocalate truffle. I was raggin' it and caved to my chocoholic cravings, but it was homemade cake (Jeff's birthday cake, I made it...) and there were delicious left-overs. You don't throw those away, and everyone else was on diets so they wouldn't take the left overs either.

It was good "bad food" and you just don't pass that up when it's offered "few and far between." So I ate it.

Do you think that's sort of what happened in the Garden of Eden? Sin, justification and all that rot! I'd do it again. MMMMMmmmm. Yummy.

Like the character Chunk on the 80's cult classic The Goonies.... "Choc-a-late! MMMMMmmm(insert a high pitch squeal of delight), CHOC-a-LATE!"

The "F" List

Do you ever get the feeling your on the outs with somebody in your life? Without being specific...have you ever just known you are on someone's fecal list? You can just tell when you're in the same room with them, the way they avoid eye contact, or cut you off in mid-speech, or the way they dismissively blow you off? Yah...it hurts.

Whether deservedly or undeservedly you have made "The List." You may be at the bottom or the top of someone's "most undesireable people to be around" list ...so how do you get off?

#1. If an apology is in order, apologize, but only after an appropriate amount of cool off time has past. And remember, forgiveness is a process.

#2. Law low. Try hard not to step on their toes again quickly.

#3. Give the other person space. They really don't want to see your ugly mug unless absolutely necessary...at least until the initial "murder, death, kill" feelings have passed.

#4. Maintain allies. When you're on someone's list, make sure you cater favor with an ally should the need arise to jump ship and seek safe harbor elsewhere.

#5. In case of unforeseen retribution on part of the list keeper, have 911 on speed dial. Hey, you never know.

#6. Be on your best behavior (AKA "kiss up"). When you've teed somebody off, try really hard to be proactive and do everything well that you normally do in relationship to the person who has The List.

#7. Stow that cheesy, apologetic smile. When someone is disgusted with you the last thing they need coming from you is insincere, cheesy vibes.

#8. Bring your "A" game. Be extra nice to everyone around you, and maybe they might say nice things about you to the person you've managed to tick off.

#9. Be professional. Don't escalate the situation by taking offense at the other person's reaction to you. Take the high road.

#10. Don't be a hostage. When all else fails and you have apologized and the person still won't forgive you after a reasonable amount of time, it may be time to move on and cut your losses. Nobody likes to be somebody else's beeach.

Monday, October 22, 2007

31


31. That's how many years old Jeff turns today!

12. That's how many years I have been blessed to know him.

Until I die...that's how long I'm going to love him.

We met when he was 18 and when I was "16" at least that's what I told him when he asked me my age the first or second time I met him. I hadn't been asked that question in at least two years :) I was 18 at the time. The rest is history!

We've been married 6 plus years now! I can hardly believe it.

Happy Birthday Dearest! I love you so much! I look forward to many more years together.

Love,
Your Adoring Wife!

Draggin' the Bag

Ahhh! There's nothing like the smell of a cinder track and wet grass in pre-dawn air! Today I spent my early-morning hours towing a 100-pound sea bag filled with corn kernels, back and forth between the 50 yard and the goal lines of a football field. In two-man teams we alternated who got to tow and who got to trot alongside cheering encouragement to the exercising teammate. What a way to start the day!

Between last week (dubbed "Exercise Week") and this week (dubbed "WOW Week") my body is the sorest it's been during boot camp. That's a good thing. It means I'm working hard. I'll say it now and I've said it before...This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself!

My strength is coming back, I'm wearing jeans I haven't fit into in many moons and I'm eating a healthier diet and saving money by not eating out all the time. At home, I'm getting more things done around the house and my husband has even started noticing the changes in my body. That's all I'll say about that. Moving on...

So, on November 17th, we have our graduation day (still talking about bootcamp) and we'll be running or walking in a 5K race called "The Turkey Trot." I've never done a 5K before, so it should be interesting. My goals are #1 to finish (which I can do of course) and #2 to at least jog the entire thing, and do it in 32 minutes or less (does that count as #3?).

At age 30, I'm still learning new things, setting new goals and interested in improving my life, not just letting the days go by unchallenged or unexplored. It really is like waking up from a mind fog. Possibilities! An awakening!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Jesus Loves Me

I sit here at the computer and hear the chimes from the church down the street chiming "Jesus Loves Me." The weather is gorgeous (again) and I feel organized and on top of things. It's unbelievable!!!

There is always something that could still be done, but right now, I'm enjoying the moment.

That's what life is for me...moments of remembrance. Those frames of time that remain etched in the reserves of your mind that you can call upon for hope, joy or strength in times of need. They may not be the actual truth in time, but they are representations never-the-less of what happened as you remember it having happened.

I think God gives us memories so that we remember what He has done for us...the storms and valleys he has brought us through, the times of want and plenty, the many blessings He gives us as a lasting reminder of His eternal love...all these things that are testimonies to His love for you and me.

Thank you God for sending Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins. Thanks for loving me despite of my ongoing sinfulness: my sometimes unlovable, troublesome and hypocritical nature. What did you ever see in me?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Financial Whipping Post

My father and I were chatting today about household expenses...you know, the ones you can't avoid, like these:

New roof
Cars
Clogged sewer pipes
Broken Appliances
Windows
Etc.


We also discussed the inevitable free fall of the U.S. dollar and the financial implications: Doomsday for the U.S. economy...you know....cheery subjects...(that's sarcasm....). We also talked about my husband's and my inability to complete the patio reconstruction project in our back yard due to the fact that we can't afford it, and the fact that we will continue to pay interest on our home loans for years to come before our hard earned dollars touch our principal payments.

Did you know that it costs a minimum of $8,000 to replace a smallish concrete slab? It costs $10,500 to construct a TREX deck of approximately the same size. We would have to have 70% of the cost of that project down before a contractor would start working on it. Can you say "Home Equity Loan?" We just can't afford a project of that size. It's unbelievable!

So here we remain, tied to the whipping post...for the rest of our natural lives! (insert Evil Laugh here)

Unless we're Bill Gates or some other wealthy individual, we're all tied to the financial whipping post until death. With almost no hope of ever having a real job that makes real money...what's a girl to do?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Halloween!


How to Get Off the Merry-Go-Round Without Leaving the Park

In the midst of the business of life, have you ever asked yourself the question, "How do I get off this merry-go-round?" It's not that you want to totally quit the park and go home, but you do want to get out of the crazy cycle and into something that preferably allows you to keep in closer proximity with the ground, for longer periods of time.

So what do you do to put things in perspective for yourself? How do you continue to live an organized life in the midst of a fast-paced world when you have to wear multiple hats just to get by?

What do you do to find balance in YOUR life?

I usually talk to a friend to get perspective on things, or I go for a walk to clear my thoughts. Alone time is a necessity sometimes. Hey, Jesus did that. He'd go off alone to pray. Prayer. That's a really good way to center yourself, but you have to take the time to do it!

People say that you have to "take time for yourself" or "refuel your own vessel" if you're ever going to ever be any good for anybody else. I find this to be especially true for women or people that minister to others on a daily basis. You need down time to re-energize yourself.

Take a hot bath
Put on some jazzy music when you're doing dishes.
Go to a local bookstore and veg out with a latte and a good book
Go for an energizing walk in the woods with a friend
Take a nap
Sing karaoke and go out with the boys/girls
Draw or color
Spend some time petting your cat/dog
Vigorous exercise
Bake something with chocolate in it. Eat some. Share some. But mostly "eat some."
Scream into your pillow
Write in your journal (start a journal).
Write a letter to a friend. (snail mail)
Go to your local Christian bookstore and browse.
Watch a movie (veggie tales recommended).

Come on! What else?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

She was kicked out of a ladies' room

She dresses like a man, her voice sounds masculine, etc. She says "I don't want anyone to be under the misconception of me being something that I'm not." Look at her, listen to her, ask her which role she plays in her partnership with her lover, and tell me she does not want to be perceived as masculine.

Don't get me wrong... I do NOT agree with the treatment she received by the restaurant, but I do think her behavior contributed to the misunderstanding. This lawsuit is putting cultural traditions on trial. What's the next thing on the agenda? Unisex bathrooms for all so we can tactfully avoid these cases of mistaken identity in the future? How do we solve this problem?

Check it out:
She was kicked out of a ladies’ roomOct. 11: Khadijah Farmer was tossed out by a bouncer because he thought she was a man. She spoke with TODAY’s Meredith Vieira.

Williams and Sonoma...How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways:

Your textiles,
Your cookware,
Your gift ideas,
Your turkey platter,
Your food stuff,
Your christmas candy (poundage),
Your seasonal entertaining,
Your candle gourds,
blah, blah, blah....

Turkey.

Williams-sonoma.com

Expensive, yet VEEERRRRRY Nice. Don't you just enjoy fall decorating? I decorate in my mind, because I can't afford everything I'd LIKE to have. (Sigh)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I May be Crazy But....

Friends,

I ask you to pray with me as next week I add another 3 days with Dr. Drill to my exercise regiment. That's right...6 days a week, getting up at 4:30 a.m. to work out from 5:15 ish to 6:30 a.m.

Yes, I'm still in school and still working full time. May the good Lord give me strength! I'm anticipating feeling extra tired, and as a result, I will be open to irritability, mood swings etc. Pray for my husband for extra grace and love when dealing with me, and pray that I would respect him as I should.

I'll be at the Lansdale YMCA M,W,F and at the Hatfield Athletic Club T,Th, Sat. If you are in the area and interested in signing up contact Dr. Drill through his website at http://www.drdrillinstructor.com/ . This program is the best thing I have done for myself in years.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 8, 2007

One Heck of a Weekend

This weekend was interesting all right. Friday night we went out to the Iron Hill Brewrey with good friends and their one-year-old. Auntie R and Uncle J got to occupy Miss M while her mom and dad tried to quickly get some food down during Oktoberfest at the IHB. Good food!

Next we went to Michael's craft store, followed by a run on Border's Bookstore. Thanks for the 20% off coupon Nate! I love bookstores. I could spend hours in them...in fact, I do!

Saturday was girlfriend time in the morning. I hit the Saucon Valley Promenade (Mall) with my sister-in-law Ruthie. Nice mall! Made a run on Barnes and Noble and got a Marshmallow Mocha (veerrrrrrry good) at Starbucks and picked up a copy of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. We had fun chatting and sitting in the sun on a little terrace during lunch and exploring cool little shops.

That night we came back to the mall with our husbands and took in "dinner and a movie" at Red Robin and The Rave movie theatre. It's a good deal, you pay about $30 a couple for food and movie ticket vouchers which you then turn into the theatre for tickets. You have to ask your server for the "dinner and a movie" promotion when you go to that Red Robin. It's right next to the movie theatre.

"The Kingdom" was a good flick. It's "R" rating is for violence. It was a good portrayl of tensions between the Saudis, their terrorists, and the USA.

Only one "bad" thing happened this weekend. On the way to the mall that Sat. morning, we can across a yearling buck that had just been hit by a car, and it wasn't dead yet. The people that had hit it had pulled over and it looked like they were waiting for the cops to show up to dispatch the poor little thing. It just stood their with a broken leg with blood pouring out of its mouth, wide-eyed and scared.

I wondered about the sovreignty of God in that situation. What possible meaning/lesson could we all take away from that ghastly scene? Interestingly enough, on Sunday morning during Sunday School, we were taught about pre-destination and the sovreignty of God and what the reformed church says about those topics. I didn't leave with many answers, and the questions remain. Perhaps we will get an answer next week when the class at church continues.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tempted and Kicking Temptation in the Butt


There are times when I just get so frustrated in life, that I'm ready to "throw in the towel." No, not commit suicide, just have a...to quote Victoria Beckham, "MAJOR" hissy fit.


When I'm dieting and I see amazing food that I "can't" eat...


When I'm frustrated trying to get pregnant and it's not happening...


When I'm taking classes and the end doesn't seem in sight...


I just want to explode and give up, all at the same time (is that possible? And if it was, it might be messy...)!

I'm tired of dieting, tired of trying to work things out when I have relationship issues, tired of sacrificing and compromising and going the second mile... and sometimes I lose little battles. But you know what? When I give in, I'm the first one to suffer.

That's why I have to suck it up and keep on, keepin' on....#1 because it's the RIGHT thing to do and #2 it's probably best for everyone else that I do. :)

So how do I deal with stress?


  1. Go for a run or a walk (exercise boosts good feelings and gets out aggression)

  2. Watch a movie that makes me cry or gives me warm fuzzies (also promotes good feelings and cries out the bad ones)

  3. Call a friend that will listen and encourage me (not one that will gossip and add fuel to the fire, but a mentor, one that will offer perspective and pray with me)

  4. Try and take a nap (get enough rest)

  5. Step back and examine the situation (after the emotional storm subsides and I can view something logically)

  6. Check my diet and make sure I'm getting enough protein and good food to eat.

Those are the biggies.


What do you do when you are ready to burst?

Congrats to Greg and Katya!

Greg and Katya had their baby yesterday at 12:30 pm after a hard, 13 hour labor. They are affectionately calling him "Buddy" while they pick a name.

Congratulations guys!!!!! 7 lbs. 3 oz. 19 inches long.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From One Perspective to Another


I was having a chat yesterday afternoon with my friend Dorothy R. I needed some advice and a perspective check. She shared with me about her missions trip to India. She told me about how she used to complain about her feet, but when she went to India, there were people there, without feet.

Everything is relative.

I talked to my friend T about his situation. He's got 6 mouths to feed, and a salary that can't allow his wife to stay home with the kids any longer. She has to go back to work to make extra income.

And everyone has different priorities. I choose to spend $300 on bootcamp (and I plan on signing up again in January 2008, oohrah!), but I don't own a cell phone. We have internet, but no cable TV. These are our (my husband's and my) priorities and part of our perspective on life.

My husband just swapped his old truck for a smaller, more fuel-efficient car with a guy he found on Craig's List. Sure, the car has some dings in it, but it runs well and it was already inspected. (Incidentally, my car is leaking oil and my husband had to put 4 quarts of oil in it this morning. Dang.)

It's good to get a perspective check every once in awhile. What are the things God is blessing you with right now? It helps cut back on the list of things you complain about when you think of all the good things you have going for you. And don't wait for good things to happen to you, make good things happen. You're not getting any younger.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Finding Your Happy Place

Do you remember that part in that movie where the guy curls up into the fetal position and repeats over and over to himself, "Find a happy place!" Sometimes, when life gets tough, that's exactly what I tell myself...

But in all sincerity, I think that too many of us go through life not knowing what are talents, preferences and abilities are...we don't know until we've stepped in #2, or gotten in over our heads, how we could have avoided it in the first place, and been on our way sooner to finding that "happy place."

I'm an advocate for personality testing. My friend Heather was a Psych major in undergrad and now she's getting her MA in Counseling. She ran the gamut of self-testing in this one class she was taking, and let me tell you, she came out knowing a lot about herself. I told her I was going to call up her professor (an acquaintance of mine) and tell him I'd pay him to let me take those tests. It's THAT great getting to know all the stuff about yourself. Sure you could discover some of the same stuff through life experience but WITH testing you can discover those things and more, sooner!

Why waste years of your life slogging through professions that make you unhappy when you could be in a job that works with your talents and abilities? Why pay thousands of dollars in school loans for a degree you won't ever use? Get your butt to the school guidance counselor and ask for advice. Visit your college career center and take some tests. And good gracious, do the internship. You have everything to gain by taking the time to find out who you are and a glimpse at who you can be.

These self-evaluations tell you who you work better with, and with whom you are most likely to have conflicts, based on your strengths and weaknesses (a lot like your Chinese horoscope, except more accurate). They show you areas where you could stand to grow! Imagine that!

Go. Learn. Grow and get a better job! Do things right the first time, and save yourselves the time, money and energy you'll have to expend to reinvent yourself in your late 20's or 30's.

Take this free assessment to find out if your current job is a fit for you: Run with the Bulls Assessment

Other personality and career tests

Waaaz Ahhhhhhhhp?!


You know you had one of these necklaces!!!! I did, in third grade, or was it fourth...

I have a challenge for you. How long has it been since you contacted your best friend from High School or your roommate from college? How about that neighbor kid you used to play with back home or that kid from youth group that moved away to another church? If you have good memories of those people (and some people don't), you may be wondering, "What ever happened to (insert name here)?"

Loosing touch with old friends is a common occurrence. Sometimes you drift apart over time, being absorbed into new circles of friends...sometimes a friend moves away and you don't stay in touch, maybe you don't like to talk on the phone, or write or email....OK maybe you don't have a GOOD excuse but you have managed to lose touch with someone to whom you were once close.

My challenge is this...pick up the phone and call them, get their email address and shoot them an email. Find out what's happening in their lives and ENCOURAGE them with a note. You never know how God can use you to brighten someone's day. Who knows, you might just rekindle a flame of friendship! Pass it on.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Generation Gap


Jeff and I watched a documentary on WWII Sunday night. It was amazing. If any of you have ever watched a movie on this war, or read any books about it, you can begin to imagine what this war was like for our fighting men. It is no wonder that Tom Brokaw named his book "The Greatest Generation." These soldiers, sailors and support personnel were true survivors and some were heros. But war is ugly and can twist men into monsters.

"To find yourself in a situation where your life is of little value is the ultimate in lonliness," wrote one soldier in his memoirs. Marine lives, used as cannon fodder to take or hold a position wasted on the beaches, their blood running freely and mingling with the ocean waves. Feeling the terror of knowing that you are being deployed to a combat area knowing that you most likely won't make it home....saying goodbye to loved ones for one last time before going to their deaths, and knowing it was so.

While this is not the fate awaiting the majority of our fighting men and women today, for some it is still a reality they must face. There are still men and women laying down their lives for us overseas, in the name of the U.S. of A.

We are now in the midst of a new war against "insurgents" and "terrorists." Again our GI's are fighting for freedom and the interests of our country in a foreign land. Let's remember to pray for them while they are preparing to deploy and leave their families for a year or more, while they are in harm's way and when they come home when they are either injured or finishing a tour. They need our support.

Do you know anyone who is serving our country in this war? I'd like to give a shout out to Luke and Chip in Iraq and Jared in Kuwait. Stay strong boys and come home safely!

Movies I recommend on WWII:

Saving Private Ryan
Band of Brothers
Enemy at the Gates
Pearl Harbor
Flags of Our Fathers



Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can You Feel What I'm Screamin'?

Sometimes people get upset. "Upset" takes many forms. If you are man or a woman you may recognize some of them.

#1. If Looks Could Kill, You'd Be Dead (this is a venomous dirty look followed by an incredulous look as if to say "Did you just say that to me and think you could get away with it?" complete with hostile body language).

#2. The Hissy Fit (dancing up and down with jibberish coming out: aka I'm too upset to even speak english right now or make any sense. In this situation it's best to flee the room.)

#3. "I'm Fine." (from a woman) (those two dreaded words, every man hates to hear and no woman ever means) I can't help you here men. In this situation, you may want to allow some decompression time before you try and work it out with your spouse or significant other. Experience dictates that you cannot argue with or logically address a hormone surge. Women usually want an apology, followed by a reiteration of why what you did was wrong, and that you're sorry. Then she'll feel loved and will probably forgive you.

#4. "I'm Fine." (from a man) (he probably is ok, or if he's not, he will be once feels respected by you.)

In the great words of my friend Nathan, "Can you feel what I'm screamin'?"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tumbling Down Life's Path to Self-Discovery

To myself: "Is it just me or do my legs look veinier than usual? Great googly mooglie! They DO look veinier! When did THAT happen?"

Yes, it's true. Beauty DOES fade, and eventually you're left with a rose that has lost it's bloom. I made a discovery tonight. I was in the bathtub (don't worry folks this is rated "G" for general audiences) where I make the majority of my discoveries, and I looked down at the whiteness of my skin covering my legs.

Usually my attention is directed towards a new mole, or another role of fat I have grown that separates me from a direct view of my toes, something else caught my attention. As I looked at the stark whiteness of my thighs and calves, admiring the muscles I had begun to regrow during boot camp, suddenly, something new came into focus, my blue-green leg veins.

Normally my favorite color, I shrank in horror at the sight of it as it coursed freely like the Amazon River on a relief map. I guess they were always there, ...just never so prominently. Visions of unaffordable skin treatments, painful vericose vein surgeries and sweaty compression hosiery danced in my head. What would I do? Could I stem the tide that threatens to sweep the last petals of my beauty away in a veiny existance?

Has anyone else made this discovery? Have your leg veins come into prominence as you have gotten older, or am I alone? What's a girl to do? Veiny and in need of advice. I remain yours truly, Veinhilda.

Discipline

Our bootcamp homework is to define the word "discipline." We are currently pounding through "Discipline Week." First there was "P.T. Week" (physical training), then "Motivation Week" and now, the big "D."

It's rough. Let me tell yah. I'm hunched over my keyboard this morning, willing my fingers to type...because they are the only parts of my body that can move. It's not quite that bad, but, I'm tired and I worked hard today. I'm still very much out of shape. I compare myself to others in the class and I can see I still have so far to go. One step at a time right?

So "discipline"! The first word that comes to mind when I think of discipline is "correction." By that definition "self-discipline" would equal "self-correction." That's what Dr. Drill is always telling us to do, "Correct yourselves!" he'll yell. He's decided to dub me, "Squatting Schoonover!" And not for a good reason. I still have a hard time squatting down to 90 degrees and holding it for the alloted time. Practice makes perfect. I guess I'll just have to discipline myself.
Discipline: to condition oneself or someone to adopt a particular pattern of behavior. To self-disciple is to train yourself. I like what Wikipedia says: "Self-disciple refers to the training that one gives one's self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behaviour, even though one would really rather be doing something else. Thus, self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be a synonym of 'self control'. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reason to determine a best course of action that opposes one's desires."

In what areas of your life are you striving to attain discipline? For me it's study habits, physical fitness and eating habits, and a clean house and tidy yard.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Am I thin yet?


You know when you were a little kid, travelling in the car with your parents, going somewhere, (you may or may not remember where) and you were getting frustrated by the journey? You wanted to ask, "Are we there yet?"

I have made little progress so far in my weight loss journey, although I've only been at it for two weeks. I need to make a more concerted effort! My starting weight was 193 lbs. and my current weight is about 188-189lbs. At the end of this week, I decided through a general class encouragement from Dr. Drill to increase my effort, cutting back on more things in my diet (no simple sugars, no soft drinks, no fried food), increasing my exercise by a minimum of three hours a week (doing an hour of cardio on my off days except for Sunday), and generally putting more effort into this. As I thought about working smarter AND harder, I scrutinized my diet. One thing I have been using is a sugar substitute, but I'm about to drop that too from my regimen.

I'm going to cut Splenda out of my diet. I read about some really bad side effects that can happen to 70% of the women who consume it: (from a post from Dr. Drill on our team chat on his website. A link to his site appears in my blog, on the right side, under "Just for Fun")

"What About Splenda (sucralose)? This is from FIRST, “A Magazine For Women On The Go”In an article titled:“Tired All the Time?”June 26, 2006, pp 25-26.ANDA book:Splenda: Is it Safe or Not? By Janet Starr Hull, Ph.D., Pickle Press, 2005

"Sucralose can cause one to suffer from sluggishness, fatigue, make legs feel like lead weights, mood swings, severe cramps (female), intense pain, painful bowel movements, bloating, dizziness, confusion, and more. Seven (7) out of ten (10) American women consume sucralose daily.“The artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda) is made by binding three chlorineatoms to a molecule of sugar. The problem: Chlorine reacts with organic material to create chlorination by-products (CBPs) that can trigger chronic symptoms like fatigue, headaches and brain fog, as well as reproductive and immune problems.”“Sucralose is found in nearly 4,000 food, beverage and health-care products,including diet drinks, ice cream, protein bars, vitamins and toothpaste.” It is alsofound in gum, over-the-counter drugs, and salad dressings.

Consumer use of sucralose has grown annually by 10%.70% of those who consume sucralose (Splenda) will have a sensitivity to it anddevelop symptoms. If one is experiencing symptoms from consuming sucralose (Splenda), thesolution is to stop taking it and to “Flush Your System” as follows:“Supplementing daily [for 2 months] with 600 mg of the amino acid N-acetyl-lcysteine(NAC) boosts the body’s production of glutathione, according to a study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. This antioxidant(glutathione) flushed CBPs from the body.” I purchase N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) in the product Complete Glutathione From Nutri-West: 800-443-3333. If these symptoms are caused by sucralose (Splenda) sensitivity, elimination from the diet for a minimum of 2 weeks should start to improve symptoms:Unexplained Tiredness, Brain Fog, Nausea, Joint Pain, Cramps/Bloating, Diarrhea, Headaches, Dizziness, Mood Swings, and Depression."

Does it make you want to quit your sugar substitute? I know I am. For further reading on all the artificial sweetners, visit Fitness Mantra.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What is common to man....


I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

I speak for myself. I am tempted to do all kinds of things everyday. Somethings I automatically recognize and resist, others I habitually fall prey to...like the temptation to gossip. Oh my word! There is nothing so tempting as a juicy bit of news! But when do we cross the line between sharing news and trading gossip?

Wikipedia says,

"Gossip consists of casual or idle talk between friends. While officially value neutral, the term often specifically refers to talk of scandal, slander, or schadenfreude relating to known associates of the participants, and discussed in an underhand or clandestine manner. Compare backbiting.

While gossip forms one of the oldest and (still) the most common means of spreading and sharing facts and views, it also has a reputation for the introduction of errors and other variations into the information thus transmitted. The term also carries implications that the news so transmitted (usually) has a personal or trivial nature. Compare conversation."

When I am angry about something someone has done to me, or I am having a bad day, there is nothing so satisfying as channeling it into gossiping about someone that has annoyed me. This is a HUGE temptation for me. While I may not initiate a conversation like this, I enjoy becoming involved it it. I revel in evil!!!!! AND IT'S WRONG! I will admit it.

Beyond the question of why it's so fun, I should ask myself, why do I continue to do it? Is it foolish to admit I struggle with this sin on a blog? :0

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Girlfren' Time

Yes. I intentionally misspelled "girlfriend." I'm in serious need of time with my girls! They are all scattered to the four winds! I have not cultivated a gaggle of girlfriends yet that I regularly meet with and I think it's high time I did.

I'm talking about a group of girls I can laugh with, cry with, watch chick flicks with, talk with, and yes...bake with. I am in serious need of something low fat and chocolaty right now (low fat because I'm trying to lose weight, and chocolate because...well duh!) and I have no one to do that with! Any quick fix recipes to share, send'em to me. I'm desparate!

Most of my friends are busy too or travelling. This is one of the things I abhor about adulthood. You are so busy as an adult that you don't have time for fun. At least I don't.

I suppose I did this to myself, but I want time for fellowship! This is time, I haven't taken before...until now. I'm just waking up to the fact that I need to carve time out of my schedule to relax and recooperate. I've told myself before that unless I take that time, I'll never be any good to anyone including myself. What's that about taking your own advice?

The Tyranny of Necessity

There are just certain things you need in life to survive. For some people it's their cell phone, others choose a more practical approach...you know the basics...food, clothing, shelter, water...the stuff you need to exist.

I love this game...

If you were castaway on a tropical island (think LOST, without the Others) and you could only bring 10 things...what would you bring? Post your list. These are THINGS, not people. Justify your list or don't, it's up to you. Make your list before you check the comments section. It's more fun that way! No peeking!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Good Day, A Good Husband


It's been so long since I have felt I have had a "good day" of note, that I just think I have to remark about yesterday, Sunday, Sept. 16th. Yesterday I went to church where Pastor talked about the fact that when we're on the right track in the Christian life, we're going to face opposition (from Satan), so we should take heart and not be discouraged. I needed that encouragement.

I have felt discouraged of late...doing a lot of questioning and soul searching, too much working and studying and not finding time for refreshment, joy and wonder. Admittedly, I'm not finished questioning, but it was good to be encouraged not to give up fighting the good fight, living as a Christian.

After the service we did the usual chit chat with friends. My friends Katya and Greg are getting ready to have a baby in just a few short days. It is so wonderful to see how God is blessing them with this little life. (The miracle of life ladies and gentlemen!) They will be first time parents, and as I talked with Katya and she shared some of her thoughts about getting ready to be a mom, I realized, we can't possibly anticipate everything that will happen when a new change comes into our lives. We can try and plan, but until we are in the thick of it, we don't know what will happen or how we will react. It was neat to see the metaphor that God is with us always, exemplified in the uncertainty of parenthood. Someday I hope to share in that mystery.

Jeff and I said our goodbyes and then we went to Panera and had a yummy lunch (Jeff surprised me). We were on our way to Barnes and Noble where I was to meet up with a classmate/friend Christi and come up with some objectives for our geography unit project on Maps and Mapping for 2nd graders when we pulled into Airport Square Mall for lunch. (Incidentally, if anyone has any pointers for this unit, I'd appreciate it! I also have to come up with an independent social studies handycraft to do with Elementary-aged kids, I'll take suggestions :) )

Well, the lesson and objective planning took a little longer than we thought it would...Jeff was a super trooper, so patient and kind. He did some independent reading, bought a book and hung loose until we were ready to all go to dinner together. Christi's boyfriend Ben met the three of us at UNO's. Jeff and I shared our dinners with eachother. I love it when we do that. Other people's food always tastes better to me :) It's a bonus when your spouse shares with you. We had good food and fellowship and then went our separate ways.

I wrapped up some laundry etc., played with the cat and went to bed so I could get up for boot camp this morning. I told you all this so I could also share how fun it was to be with my husband yesterday and to be with friends, and have the opportunity to eat out two times in one day! Wow! That was a treat.

Usually my days are a blur...one day running into the next, in fact, the only way I ever remember what I did over the weekend is to write it down. My brain is overloaded right now. Can you tell? Anyway...a good day. When is the last time you had one? What did you do? What made it "good"? Share with us, will yah?

Friday, September 14, 2007

When Things Change




Do you embrace or resist change? When you sense the changing of the guard, the turning of the tide or the changing of the seasons do you cringe or welcome it with open arms? Do you feel anxious or excited? I say...it depends on the circumstances of the change. I am not yet strong enough to not allow myself to be emotionally swayed by circumstances. I'm better than I was when I was younger than my 30 years, but I have not "arrived" and am still a work in progress.

If I anticipate the change bringing good results, then I generally welcome it with open arms, even if the process that brings the change about is expected to be difficult. If I think shifting circumstances are the harbinger of doom, I may wail... ;)

"Change" means different things to people. Just the sound of the word itself can inspire goosebumps or ripples of delight. Something unknown is coming...something unpredictable and often times out of our control...

Think about the following lists of circumstances bringing change and how you feel when you read them:

You're about to become a parent

You can't fit into your pants anymore

Moving away from your best friend

Change of job

Death of a loved one

Divorce

Completing an addition on your first home

Being promoted at work

Starting church with a new congregation

Going back to school after several years out of the classroom


There are sudden changes, and gradual ones, which we notice and mark by subtle or sudden encounters... Like when you look at the kids in your church who are going off to college this fall and remember when you taught them in Sunday School or had them in youth group... Or when you remember the anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks and remark that you've been married for six years (married July 28, 2001) and think about how the world won't ever be the same.

Good things and bad things come with change. God uses change in our lives. This brings me to the question, how come bad things happen to good people? I just heard about a lady today that worked where I work years ago, and she's dieing of liver cancer. It's a painful death. I wonder why God allows some people to die quickly and others more slowly and painfully. I wonder what changes are being wrought in the families of countless friends and families that I will never know about.

What do I know now, that I didn't know five or ten years ago? What have you learned about your own response to change? At the risk of sounding like I'm inviting you to attend a High School class reunion...How have you changed?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Congrats to Eric


I want to "extend the right hand of fellowship" to my friend Eric the "Ridge Dog" of fitness for completing his personal trainer certification! YAY Eric!! This trophy is in your honor, but you can't take it with you. It's "symbolic."

So everyone else doesn't feel left out, I have some things to share! Eric sent me some cool links to check out. The articles these links lead to deal with the importance of sleep as it relates to weight loss.




Check them out all you people who are struggling to lose weight! I know I am.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The stuff of life


Dieting: Now that I am officially dieting, I have to be super aware of everything I eat. I have to write everything down and be all self-aware and stuff. Sheesh. :) This is another exercise in planning. If I plan out several meal/menu combinations that I enjoy and assign them point values, it will take most of the work away from the task of dieting. In the great words of Bruce Willis, "Yippee Kai Yay..."


Projects: I've started decorating my amo can. I've been spray painting and sanding and spray painting it under Jeff's supervision. He's the spray-paint-experienced, artsy person out of the two of us. I still have to add two more colors of spray paint (I'm going for the pink and gray camoflage scheme) and superglue some bedazzled butterflies, maybe stencil on some butterflies too, we'll see. I wrote my last name in black permanent marker on my canteen to personalize it. I'm sore and tired, but dealing. I still have a lesson plan to write for tomorrow night. Yowser.

Tomorrow is Marathon Wednesday. I get up around 4 a.m. and go to bed after 10:30 p.m. What was I thinking again? Oh well! Something must be done to stem the tide of fatness, in this case, it's doing bootcamp AND continuing my education. The question is, will I still have enough energy to do it ALL?

Monday, September 10, 2007

As a Christian, Is it Ever OK to Complain?


As a Christian, is it ever OK to complain? Help me out here people. I just had a bad experience at a restaurant (that will remain nameless, but whose name rhymes with "Crapplebees") and I want to complain so badly. Ordinarily I cringe to complain at restaurants or to send something back because #1 I'm afraid they'll spit in my food and then feed it to me with a smile, or #2. Once I've had a bad experience, why would I ever go back? or #3. I don't want to ruin my "Christian witness."

Here's my beef. I just started a new diet and exercise program. I don't go out to eat too often at a mid-level restaurant, and when I do spend money ($10.99) I would like the food and service to be good. I ordered a Weight-Watchers meal at a local restaurant and it came to the table with the veggies drenched in butter. I have ordered this selection before and the veggies came sans butter or with way less butter.

I mentioned this to the waitress, and asked if she could bring me veggies without butter on them intimating I wasn't expecting butter laden vegetables. She said she would check. She came back shortly thereafter without new veggies and told me that she couldn't do anything about it, no apology. I waited expectantly for her to offer a substitution or to offer to take something off my bill but there was nothing. I just paid $10.99 for tap water with lemon, a piece of fish and some rice pilaf. Dang.

It's a fact of life that if people know that you are a Christian and then you make a public display of affliction, you are misrepresenting Christ. Do I have to put up with bad service indefinitely, and turn the other cheek for all eternity, or is there a right way to deal with this situation? What would you do?

Boot Camp Kick Off

It is humbling to see just how far out of shape I have allowed myself to become. Today was the first day of boot camp. I woke up at 4 a.m. (too early) and left the house around 4:15 a.m. to get there on time (I think I'll try leaving at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday). Eager beaver that I was, I got there before EVERYONE, even Dr. Drill so I sat in my car in the dark and pretended I was on a stake out, watching a delivery truck pull into the shopping mall in front of me, a couple of early morning joggers, and the gradual increase in traffic as people started their morning commutes.

When I saw Dr. Drill pull into the parking lot, I followed him into the building. I felt like such a brown noser. Oh well. I helped bring a bag in and set stuff up. Bonus was, I didn't have to wait in line to get my blood pressure taken!

Today was an "administrative day" so we didn't work out as hard as I thought we were going to. A gradual ease-in is good for my nerves I suppose. We are using this week to take base line measurements on our size and capabilities so this morning we did crunches, squats and push ups to see how many we could do in two minute increments. All in all I did 100 crunches, 25 girly-push-ups on my knees, and 73 squats. On Wednesday, we'll be running around a track, so that should be fun :). Ooorah!

My friend Jynell is my squad leader. She has really been showing me the ropes, much to my relief and delight. She's a powerhouse, no-holds-barred, tough cookie. I hope I do her proud! She lent me her old, fingerless, work out gloves this morning because I neglected to purchase a pair. Thanks girl! I hope they bring me good juju :) (Jynell lost 30 lbs. doing weight watchers and Drill's boot camp. This is her 3rd or 4th session. She's my boot camp hero. Go girl!

I'm really enjoying all the repetitive echoing we do of our drill instructor and the counting etc. We do it as a team and I'm finding I really enjoy the enthusiasm and energy it creates. Dr. Drill talks about discipline and setting goals for ourselves and he talks about how we will be monitored. He also talks about the changes in our bodies we can expect to see in 10 weeks and the inches we will lose. It's pretty exciting. He expects us to give 110% when we're there and THAT is good to hear. I like to be encouraged and pushed that way. And I love being around disciplined people! I'm even hoping that some of my friends will want to join if they admire the results and changes in my life.

Mood: positive, expectant, good

Things I'm learning about myself: There is ALWAYS room for growth. I lack spiritual, emotional and physical discipline. I am working on these areas of my life.

I will commit to: counting points with my Weight Watchers guide book, and writing down what I put into my body (both food and drink). Successfully completing boot camp. Going to Sunday School and Bible Study (when it starts), spending time in prayer each day with God and reading from my Bible. I need to journal/blog as often as possible about my experiences so that I don't forget the journey, when I reach the destination. I will work to be cognisant of my emotions and how my behavior influences others.

People I met in boot camp: Dr. Drill, Beth, Kim (co-leaders with Drill), Jynell my squad leader, Raquel (the girl who is next to me on my left), Andy the man who helped me set up the exercise mats this morning (a duty I gladly did because I was way early today).

Current weight: 193 lbs
Height: 5'10''
Goal weight: I'm not sure what's healthy for my height and frame, but I'll say 160 lbs. with muscle.

I weighed 167 lbs when I got married. I would love to be a size 8-10. Right now I'm a 14. Diggidy Dang. Time to get disciplined. Oohrah!

One of the things Dr. Drill has us do is care for and maintain our amo box. It's a munitions box that we are supposed to personalize and bring with us to class each day. Jeff took me to WalMart this weekend to get some stuff to decorate it with and I thought I already knew what I wanted to do when I got there, and then I didn't so we went home without any decorations.

This whole boot camp experience is opening up windows in my life for me and causing me to be "introspective" as Jeff put it so eloquently. Our amo boxes are to be a "reflection of [us]". What am I all about? What is a good reflection of who I am inside? (What would Mulan say? WWMS)

As an adult, I am learning about my own lack of knowledge in spiritual things, lack of discipline in my eating habits and exercise habits, and my inability to be decisive and take charge of my own destiny. That part has changed since I started school, and began this boot camp program. I am hoping that through the discipline of this boot camp, I will become disciplined in my own life.

Just because I was up three hours earlier than I normally am, I had more time to myself, I played with my cat, and didn't feel as rushed as I typically do in the morning getting out of bed late and then throwing myself together to get to work on time. I had to prepare the night before for boot camp, check my gear, lay out my clothes etc. It felt good to do something like this for myself, for ME! Oh my word! How fabulous! Here's looking forward to what the next 10 weeks may bring!

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Poor Posture


I recently, or semi-recently wrote about comments someone made to ME about my lack of good posture. (This person even asked if I had a history of Scoliosis (spelling?). No, I just huntch. Dang.

I admit my head rests in front of my rounded shoulders and that I have TERRIBLE posture. I slouch all day at work in my office chair, and I don't work out. Hence, I have no muscles developed to help support even moderately good posture.

Like the middle aged man who sucks in his protruding beer belly when the pretty girl walks by, I straighten to impress, and only to impress. I'll admit, it does look better when I sit up straight. Posture is an asset. Everything you have on your body looks better when you can show it/them off by sitting up straight! When a person sits up straight it says positive things about him or her.

A person with excellent posture looks like they have it together. They appear self-confident, ready and in possession of self-control. Slouchers like me just look lazy and like they don't care if someone gives them a papercut and pours lemon juice on it.

Check out this article I found on posture: http://www.nashvillescene.com/Stories/Columns/2005/04/07/Making_a_stand_for_good_posture/index.shtml

It rocks!