Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Path I Walk: Back to the Basics

The lifegroup I belong to is currently studying 3:16 by Max Lucado. This is about as basic a study as you can get: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16. Back to the basics. Seems like whenever I hit a wall in any area of my life, that's where I always go, back to the place where I started to get off course. I can relate that to so many different situations. Just a few days ago, during Thanksgiving, even with the best intentions and a well thought-out plan, I still got off track. The next morning, I got up and acted like that day never happened. I went right back on my Weight Watchers eating plan. Back to the basics. Back to the fundamentals. With the battle I'm having physically with my feet, I stretch and take calcium, and roll frozen golf balls under my feet and get back out there. I do the best I can to follow the plan. At work, the signs of the economy are everywhere but I continue to provide quality, consistency, value and customer service for my clients. Those are the building blocks upon which I have based a very successful business in more prosperous times and continue to believe are imporant today.

We had baptism for the little ones at church this Sunday. The message was about parenting and getting back to the basics of taking on our parental rights and not abdicating them to the school, church, neighbors, other family members, the state, employers, etc. but embracing these rights for ourselves. Along the way we have to give our kids Broccoli ( the unfun stuff like discipline, guidance, correction, the freedom to make mistakes and suffer the consequences) but we also get to serve them ice cream( the wonderful experiences we get to share with our kids such as their discoveries, successes, milestones in development, big life events such as graduation, marriage, having kids of their own, the first big job, honors in school). We, as parents have the privilege of introducing our children to Jesus and helping them grow in their faith. I look back at my own childhood, which could have been a lot better, however, the one thing I have always been thankful for is the Christian heritage that my parents exposed me to. I accepted Christ when I was 14 years old during the early seventies when the Jesus People were really big-it was the cool thing to do, believe it or not! Back then I was going to a coffee house ministry in town at the Foursquare Church. I got saved during a prayer meeting there and even with my wandering ways and the fact that I screw up constantly, my faith has been the one greatest truth and most solid thing in my life that has kept me coming back on course when I falter. I'm not sure what other people do who don't have this faith but I will tell you for sure that I would not have been able to weather the storms in my life without the love and presence of God. I look back at my own parenting over the years. Now my boys are 21 and 23. There are some regrets and some things I wish I had done differently. Some priorities I should have held onto more tightly. Pastor Steve really encouraged me yesterday with the message when he stressed that we are never done with this job of parenting. We still keep those parental rights even after our children are grown. We may have to approach our kids differently at adult ages than we did at 2 or 3 but Steve encouraged all of us with older kids to never give up and to keep making efforts to mentor, support, lead, guide, be instrumental in their lives. Prayer, loving communication and lots of listening are powerful tools at our disposal to reclaim our place in the lives of our kids. It's funny that this comes up right now. I have been thinking about this a lot during the past year or so. It's still not too late. Three words that Steve threw out related to this:
REMEMBER: Go back to the basics of your beliefs and remember how God has walked with you and the generations of your family before you. Take your place in that Christian heritage. Pass it on. CHOOSE: Decide for sure what side of the fence you're on and then stand firm. Aim yourself truly and then maintain your aim. A double-minded person is unstable in all their ways. The doing is easier once you have really decided on something.
COMMIT: Follow through. Keep on the path. If you take a detour, make a wrong turn, just make a course correction and keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Don't look left or right~just straight ahead!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

DeGraaf Nature Center

I had stuff that I needed to get done. But it was so sunny, even though crisp, and I know the weather forcast says everything's gonna change, off I went to take a walk and enjoy the great outdoors at a location I've been meaning to check out for years now~today was the day!

As you can see from the slideshow, I made a great choice by going out to experience the DeGraaf Nature Center, located at 600 Graafschap Road, across from Christ Memorial. I was pleasantly surprised by the extent of the services and activities offered here. The trails are open 7 days a week-dawn to dusk. The center building is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 to 5 and on Saturday from 10 to 5. There are all sorts of events that people can participate in such as a couple Christmas events in the log cabin where kids and adults can hear stories from the pioneer days, make doughnuts, and do craft projects. There are bird and owl watching events. There's even a snowflake photography session! They have some snowshoeing adventures scheduled for the winter months and even go so far as to provide the snowshoes! This place is amazing! There are a lot of exhibits and hands-on things at the center that I think even someone as young as Jayden would enjoy. I know I enjoyed it immensely myself. They have movies there on Saturdays that have nature-oriented themes. Just too much to tell you about in this post. But if you are interested in learning more about it, go to the DeGraaf Nature Center website:

Running toward 50: 5K for the couch potato

What in the world is she doing now, you say? Here I am with my new Oprah bra(brand name Enell, but it's the same one Oprah wore for her marathon so it must be the best!)~gearing up for my first big race. A a5K on January 17th in Portland, Michigan. I will be accompanied by my entourage~some running with and others just there for support(and to party afterwards!) I decided that this "more bounce to the ounce" thing has got to stop! That, and the fact that I don't want to put an eye out...or suffer a concussion... or some such horriffic running tragedy! Thank-you, Oprah!

Those of you in the inner circle know that I have been trying to train for my first 5K. Trying because a bad case of plantar fascitis has been keeping my training efforts a bit on the inconsistent side. I have been doing better ever since Sloan at Gazelle's in downtown Holland helped me get some great running shoes. I've been stretching my feet continuously and icing them at night and after my runs. Never mind that it's not a good idea to go out dancing in spikey heeled boots~but that's another story!! Because I jumped the gun and went skydiving for my 49th, certain friends think that I need to come up with something else amazing to do for my 50th birthday in May 2009. One such, so-called friend(you know who you are!) made me watch a video off the AARP website of this lady who didn't start running until she was 64 and is in her 80's now and is still doing marathons. Therefore, I have no excuse-guilt me out, why don't you? So, somehow, even though I've never been a runner and I've never quite seen myself being one, I now find myself doing just that! Trust me, it's not pretty! I'm very slow at this point. I have noticed that I feel better and I'm getting less short of breath. Therefore, I guess my body is slowly accepting the fact that I'm making it DO SOMETHING for a change. Just like with the weight-loss efforts, I'm hoping that by posting my running journey on the blog, that I will keep myself accountable. After all, you, my loyal readers can surely be counted upon to give me crap if I try to weasle out of this, right? Heel issues considered, I still want to try to get as far as possible. So, here's the plan: I am currently using the training program in the book, The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer, by David A. Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener, and Tanjala Mabon Kole. This program started out as part of a class offered at the University of Northern Iowa~a kind of cross-over experiment between the Psych and Phys Ed departments because it was designed to address both the physical and mental aspects of marathoning. According to the authors, over 170 students in the original classes attempted the marathon using this plan and only ONE did not finish due to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Pretty good odds I'd say! So, I'm willing to give it a shot, with the disclaimer that if I feel I am injuring myself at any point along the way, I reserve the right to whimp-out! After all, rank does have it's priviledges. I have actually bought into the idea that this would be a very cool thing to do to prove-if only to myself-that life REALLY does begin at 50! I am doing this in stages so here's my running schedule for the year, leading up to the big event on May 23rd in Traverse City. There's plenty of time to jump on the bandwagon and join me in running these events. The more the merrier and the more the harder for me not to stick with it!! If you are absolutely NOT going to join in with the running, please consider joining my entourage cuz' I can use all the support I can get. Plus, it will be a lot of fun going to these and there will be celebration following each and that'll be worth the trip right there! OK-so mark your calendars and save these dates:

January 17th-5 K- Portland, MI

March 22nd-8K- Bay City, MI

April 27th- Half-Marathon-Pickney, MI

May 23rd-Bayshore Marathon, Traverse City, MI

If you want more info about any of the runs, feel free to email me via my profile. I am open to your comments, questions, and suggestions-especially if you are a runner and can fill this newbie in on any important, good-to-know kinda stuff. Well, I will keep you posted every week as I journey on...If you need anything related to running, be sure to check out Gazelle's. It's the bomb:  And Sloan is very helpful! Gotcha covered, sweetie, thanks for all your help!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A day at the museum

Jayden and Granny took the day off-but not to shop! We played play-doh, had more turkey, and went into GR for the Penguin play experience at the Children's Museum. Hours fly by there with so much to see and do. This place is always a favorite~for Granny, too! She still likes to play!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank-you, thank-you very much!

Today was a relaxing day of food, family, fun and fellowship. Jayden definately stole the show around here~he had a fun time playing with Brennan, too, and spending time with Aunt Jo and her family as well. Our celebration was simple and no-fuss but we always manage to have a good time together. There are so many things to be thankful for each day. It's good to never forget to be grateful, today and every day, and never take things for granted. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Pound of Cure: The Undoers!

Tonight at weight loss church we talked about food pushers, saboteurs, and enablers.

Who are these people? They could be well-meaning grandmas who want to show their love by preparing your favorite tempting foods. That special aunt who always makes thick, fudgey brownies or chocolate chip cookies. Or it might be a spouse who wants to assure you that you are loved just like you go ahead and eat!Don't worry about how much you eat! Maybe some people in your life feel threatened by your weight loss success or perhaps they are jealous. There are people who feel shamed by others who are eating sensibly so they may try to derail your resolve to make themselves look better. I call these people frienemies-with friends like these who needs enemies? The majority of the time, people around us just don't realize we are trying to lose weight and become healthier. They feel they are being nice by bringing us a doughnut or cinnamon roll in the morning at work. In so many situations, eating is part of socializing. If you want to have a vital, active social life, it will usually involve eating and drinking together as part of the event. Holidays are excuses to overeat. Many of our fondest holiday and vacation memories revolve around certain foods. It's just not Christmas without the favorite cookies, candies, and special family tradition food items. Plan ahead for a comeback line to the usual ploys of the food pushers, enablers, critics, and saboteurs. Decide ahead of time how you will handle these issues when they come up-and they will! Ask for the kind of support you need both during and ahead of the social event. One great thing about Weight Watchers is the flexibility of the plan which allows you to save points, use your bonus points, and earn extra activity points for food so that you can have what you want. As for my stats this week, I lost 1.6 pounds bringing my total to 12.8 for five weeks. I went to a Wednesday night meeting this week because Jayden has been with us all week while Linda is in the hospital and I had to juggle a bit. I met the Wednesday night leader, Lisa, who, like Kathy, my Monday night leader, is funny, kind, helpful, supportive-they both do such a great job! I love all the neat folks I go with on Monday nights. I am so inspired by Becki, Jenny, Jan, Dave and Karen. I also met some fab people on Wednesday night. One of the gals is a blogger like me and she has lost 150 pounds!! I'm sharing her blogspot here so we can all be inspired to forge ahead by this amazing, determined gal:
Have a Happy, healthy Thanksgiving everyone! I know I will...I'm ready!

The NAME thing again...

Only with a little different twist. Have some fun with this one, it's a link to another blog that I discovered in my wanderings:

Here are my new names(as if I need another one! Took me 48 years to get the one I wanted anyway-I'm keeping it! But this is cute. You can't help but smile) :

Rock star name: Tinker Hyundai

Gangster name: Cakebatter Whitechocolatemacadamianut

Fly name: Lbak

Detective name: Pink Dog

Soap Opera Name: Mae Oregoncity

Star Wars Name: Bakla

Super Hero Name: The Blue Raspberry Stoli

Nascar Name: Andrew David

Witness protection name: Margaret Oliver

Spy name: Summer Dogwood

Cartoon name: Peach Cloggy

TV anchor/weatherperson: Lampa Lincoln

Rockstar Tour name: The Blog Heatwave Tour

Hippie Name: Banana Willow

OK-that's my weird stuff....your turn!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jayden gets a little brother

Jayden went to visit his new little brother, Arlo James, born this morning, November 25, 2008 around 9:30 am.

Jayden officially promoted to the rank of big brother after the first hug~

Jayden discusses the new addition with mom, Linda.

Jayden brings Arlo his first teddy bear and a soft, cuddly blanket.
Mom got a cute purse full of "girl stuff" like lotion, hair products, and nail polish.

Mom, Arlo, and big bro, Jayden, all doing well....CONGRATS!

Election Reflection: 52/48

After all the hub-bub of the election, I just sort of gave it a rest. No political banter for awhile. I will tell you that when I watched the election returns on November 4th, I sat in bed and cried when it was announced that Obama had won. Such a historic moment that we all had a share in. Just to see the ocean of faces gathered in Chicago, waving flags, and being more engaged in the political process than I have ever seen before! Excitement and hope! No place for apathy these days! I have been encouraged by the way our new president-elect has jumped right in with both feet running to try and get the ball rolling ASAP. Everyone else that I can recall has waited until after the inauguration and even then took an agonizingly long time to pick the administration posts.We need decisive and timely action.I think we're going to get it! I was deeply touched by John McCain's conciliatory concession speech and the wonderful sentiments of getting everyone working together now that the American people have spoken and made their will and choice know. Still, there's a bit further that we can go to bring about unity and healing. I really liked this link a friend sent to me about the 52/48. Please take the time to check it out. It will do your heart good! There's even a spot where you can make your own unique contribution to this site. I hope you will...Enjoy the love ; - )

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Library: It's not just for nerds anymore!

Jayden and his granny spent a few hours at the libe just kickin' it~looking at books, doing puzzles, admiring the aquarium and the cafe downstairs that serves homemade cookies and milk. According to Jayden, this place is great for a date!

The Path I Walk: Contentment

Last week I finished Hope for the Single Again-a 10-week divorce recovery workshop hosted by Central Wesleyan. The final lesson was on the subject of finding contentment in your new life as a single. I loved some of the quotes, scriptures and sayings that were used to illustrate the concept of contentment. For example, contentment was defined as a comfortable, satisfying inner peace. Satisfaction-being at ease in one's situation. Contentment-acceptance without anger. The elements of contentment that were identified were thankfulness, peace, acceptance, developing your relationship with God, and realizing that contentment is a choice. Socrates says of contentment, "Contentment is a natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty." Frank Koenig wrote, "We tend to forget that happiness does not come as the result of getting something we don't have but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have." In developing a relationship, you develop trust. If you have trust, you feel safe. If you feel safe, you can be content. This has taken on new meaning for me as I have worked on drawing closer to God and having a deeper relationship with Him. I have also learned, on this journey, to have a better relationship with myself. I am learning to truly love, trust, accept and fogive myself. The quality of my relationship with God and with myself has made it possible to connect in a more meaningful way with my children, grandson, friends, and everyone that crosses my path these days. In some ways I have never been so poor-in the material sense-but inwardly so full and rich. It has been a remarkable process of discovery, self-expression, and self-realization that I have been experiencing the past nine months. This has been a reminder that even though some situations are not inherently good, God does turn things around for our ultimate good. God is always conspiring in our favor. No matter what it looks like at the moment! I have learned to take joy in so many simple things in my life that I barely noticed before. I am thankful each day for my health, for the roof over my head, that I am still working, that I have family and friends who love me, that I know God and that He is crazy about me, faults, warts and all! I am grateful that I have the opportunity to go to school and that I am learning many new things in a wide variety of areas in my life. I am becoming stronger and healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am creating a new environment in my home that is uniquely me. I feel happy and content in my home as I make it my own. I have the fellowship of a wonderful church. I have a circle of love that includes my many dear pets. I have been challenging myself to accomplish some new goals. I feel alive and stimulated. It is great to be in this space. Not that I don't have my down days and moments and times when I still suffer pain from my past. But I recover quickly now and I don't stay stuck. Progress in encouraging! I have learned a valuable lesson: how to be alone and be comfortable and happy with myself. If there's something I don't like about my life or if something needs to change, I take responsibility myself and don't look to anyone else to solve my problems or make me happy. I am a separate, whole, healthy being-complete in and of myself. I belong. I am accepted. I am not saying that I would turn my back on love and partnership if it came my way~but it would be a choice made because the presence of the other person enriches my life experience and not out of any sort of neediness. This is a good place to live. This is an exciting path to walk. Life is good. Contentment.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alicia's Tyin' the knot!

So, of course, all of us at Body Perfections wanted to help her celebrate her upcoming wedding on December 20th! Here's Alicia's bachelorette party Body Perfections style:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Half Birthday 2 Me!

A rubber chicken reminded me today that it is a mere six months from now that I will reach that milestone-THE BIG 5-0! Great. Bring on the Red Hat says I! Glamour shots, here I come! Look out, mother of all parties! I'll be seeing you at the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City with entourage in tow~AARP, sign me up. Evergreen Commons, save me a space in the water arobics and salsa dance classes ; - ) Senior citizen discounts? Yo-Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. I'm not getting older, I'm getting better...and, oh yeah, more practical!!! So, does this mean I get 50 spankings? Kisses? Roses? Dollars? What??? Guess we'll just have to wait for May 21, 2009 to find out for sure. Save the date! Hey, thanks, rubber chicken, for reminding me that I have a lot to look forward to!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Pound of Cure:Dress Rehersal for Turkey Day

It has been four weeks since I returned to Weight Watchers. In that amount of time, I have dropped 11.2 pounds-two of that this week-even with my waywardness at T's 21st birthday! I have lost an inch off my arms, two inches off my waist, half and inch off my hips and an inch off my thighs. I am down one entire shirt and pant size. This week we focused on making a plan for the Thanksgiving holiday but basically the same tactics that you can use for any special occaision or social outing. First we took a look at a list of the most common Thanksgiving dishes and how much of each constitues a serving and how many points are in that serving. Next, we talked about strategies to keep our weight loss on track without sacrificing the foods we love at this time of year. We all agreed that starving ourselves until the big meal wasn't a good idea. That only sets a person up for overeating when the meal is ready. Instead, have a substantial breakfast. If BLT's(bites, licks, and tastes) are an issue, try to do the non-food related tasks such as cleaning the house, setting the table or chew gum and drink water while you're cooking. Other strategies include prioritizing which foods are the most important to you and limiting yourself to reasonable portions of those and skip the other items that don't mean that much to you. Another way to help yourself is to modify how food is prepared-use lower fat ingredients wherever possible. Use smaller plates. Eat slower. Drink water while you eat. Don't linger at the table after eating. Brush your teeth after you eat to prevent grazing. Have "islands of food" instead of "continents" of food on your plate-actually be able to see your plate rather than having it buried underneath food. You can save up your points/bonus points to use during the special holiday meal. Also, have a plan for after. No eating while clearing off the table and putting food away. If leftovers are too great of a temptation, package them up and send them home with your guests or freeze them immediately after the meal is over. Or plan a healthy meal for later...turkey sandwhiches would be a good choice. Skip the stuffing and mashed potato and gravy, and the pie on the second go-round. Drink more water before, during and after the meal. Exercise is also a natural appetite curber. Try to get in a walk or workout whenever possible to help burn the extra calories and supress apetite. That's the plan. Next week we will fine tune our game plan for the holidays by discussing the food pushers and sabotagers in our lives.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Path I Walk: The Church Has Left The Building!

Church was cancelled today. Instead, all the life groups from Victory Point went out into the community to do various acts of service and ministry. My life group went to visit patients at Zeeland Community Hospital. We took flowers and gift bags to each of the patients who accepted visitors. I have to admit that, even though I'm not a shy person, I had to talk myself into going. I wondered what on earth I'd even say to these complete strangers in the hospital. If I were in the hospital would I want someone coming into my room when I wasn't feeling good? I had a whole unsettling conversation going on with myself! But on a deeper level, I knew that it was a good thing to do-in spite of my own nervousness and self-doubts. You know what? Once I got going, I was really glad that I'd made myself go. People really were open to having someone stop to visit and show that they care. It was a cold, windy, slightly snowy day. Very dreary looking. If you were sitting in a hospital bed I imagine it would seem even more so. One lady asked us to pray with her and as I was praying a tear started to come to my eyes. I really left there feeling touched by her desire to reach out to God.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think God would really use us and our testimonies would be so much more powerful if we would jump onto opportunities like this more often. It's outside the comfort zones for most of us but I do believe that God would like to see us step outside ourselves and become more available to others. I know I am personally guilty of being overscheduled pretty much all the time. When you're that busy, you just don't take the time to think about doing little acts of kindness like this. It gives us all something to think about. How can we incorporate even little things each day that we do for the people who cross our paths, whether we know them or not? I'm going to be looking for small acts to offer on a daily basis. Some things I already do, like holding doors for people, or smiling at people, or speaking to people who look sad or lonely. I know that there is more I could do. It's just a matter of focusing, having intention, and following up those impulses with action. It isn't just the thought that counts! Put some action into your faith. It feels wonderful~

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I getsy Etsy!

OK, I'm a little slow....I finally took the time to check out Etsy, which a lot of people have been telling me about FOREVER! If you're looking for anything handmade, check this out:

Blog Buddy, Jodi Michelle of Jodi's Bodacious Blog fame, has her own Etsy store which specializes in beautiful cards, aprons, and photography. Carol Sue, News from the Northwest, is soon to open her Etsy store~My friend, Patricia, makes jewelry that I think would do great on Etsy and her friend Cleta makes the coolest Renaissance costumes, another etsyish thing...I'm sitting here trying to think what kind of stuff I could make and put on Etsy. Oh, yeah, almost forgot-I don't have the time for that!!! Maybe when I retire-is that laughing I hear?? Ummm, well, until then, I'm just going to spend some time browsing this great site and perhaps purchase some interesting and beautiful gifts from here. The first time I logged on I spent about two hours just looking. Still didn't see it all! Doesn't cost anything to look and it's so fantastic that all these individual entreprneurs, from all over the world, can have such a great forum to showcase their talents and wares and, because of Etsy, can run a very successful business from their homes. THAT IS AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Hey, this could be how to avoid the hassle of Christmas shopping the old fashioned way. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interesting facts for Veteran's Day

Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier must take a special kind of person.
Question:How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?Answer:21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
Question:How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?Answer:21 seconds alluding to the twenty-one gun salute which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
Question:Why are the guard's gloves wet?Answer:The gloves are moistened to prevent the guard losing his grip on the rifle.
Question:Does the guard carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not, why not?Answer:The guard carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.
Question:How often are the guards changed?Answer:Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
Question:What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?Answer:For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5'10" and 6' 2" tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30."
Other requirements of the Guard:A guard must commit two (2) years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as the guards come to a halt.There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis (the boxer) and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, (the most decorated soldier of WWII) of Hollywood fame.The military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Hurricane Isabel were given permission to suspend the assignment. The guards respectfully declined the offer, "No way, Sir!"Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person.The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24 hours a day 7 days a week since 1930.
I would like to say a very special "THANK-YOU" to all the Vets, past and present, and those currently serving in the military at home and on foreign soils! Your service and sacrifice is appreciated deeply! Thanks also to all the friends, family members, wives, husbands, children and grandchildren who also sacrifice and support so their loved ones can serve. Bless you all today!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Pound of Cure: Lessons from the Gridiron

I was nervous about weighing in this week because I had been away all weekend at the Creative Memories crop in Spring Lake and, while I did try to make good choices, I was exposed to more food and different foods than I normally would have subjected myself to while in the weight loss mode. Add in not exercising like normal-I did fit in one workout. And, I didn't drink my normal amount of water or I'd of spent more time in the bathroom than working on my album! I also had some alcohol~which, believe it or not, is not a usual part of my routine (although, looking at this blog, you'd think it was!). This was the "taking care of yourself" item that my WW leader asked us to do this week. I live such a full, over scheduled, frequently time-pressured life that just getting away for a couple days was an unbelievable reprieve!That is also a good lesson-special events come up, even when/especially when we are working on our weight and we need to learn to navigate these events successfully. Successfully means enjoying and not missing out while simultaneously making choices that support our weight loss objectives. Everyone brought snacks to share. I brought snacks that fit in with my WW eating plan. I opted more for fruit, vegetables, and the healthier choices at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I skipped the desserts that were offered but I allowed myself to have the 2-pt. Oreo, Nutter Butter, and Chips Ahoy bars I had brought instead. I felt completely satisfied by this. The result: I STILL LOST! Only one pound this week but that's four sticks of butter! Next week I'll have been on WW for one month and I will do my measurements as well. Since I have been exercising, it will be interesting to see how my body is reshaping itself.
Lessons from the Gridiron was the theme at weight loss church this week. We talked about getting help in the huddle(going to our meeting), having a game plan (especially for holidays, social event, and eating out), what to do when you fumble, and how to have a "winning season".
Our leaders gave us these quotes from legendary coaches to spur us on to success. Notice, there aren't any from the Detroit Lions : - (
Vince Lombardi~
The greatest accomplishment is not in never failing but in rising again after you fall.
Tom Landry~
Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.
George Allen~
Winning is the science of being prepared.
Bear Bryant~
If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride-AND NEVER QUIT-you'll be a winner.
Denis Watley~
The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or never seriously
consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going; what they plan to do along the way; and who will be sharing in the adventure with them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Path I Walk: Dig Deep

Water has a calming effect on me. I've always loved the beach. That's where my path went this week. Winter is's almost here! I know there won't be too many more opportunities to walk the pier until next Spring. So make the most of every opportunity. That's sort of my theme this week, too. Opportunities come our way from many directions. Not all opportunities are appropriate, available, or possible.Discretion and discernment comes in handy here! Some opportunities are only offered during a specific time of our lives and then they disappear forever. Some come again at a different season in our lives. A second chance experience we missed the first time around-Thank God for second chances! There are times when, in choosing, we close the door to some opportunities because not all paths are open to us at all moments in time. Accepting this fact can be difficult. There is a price to pay for choosing a course of action. Other things must be let go...I have had the experience of being rejected because of some choices or losing friendships or associations because my goals, aspirations, beliefs, and values were not acceptable to some people. It can be a lonely place to stand. There is a price. Sometimes the price exacted is in the form of available free time. To focus in one area may exclude time for another.That means I can't be in all places at all times and be all things to all people.I must choose. There are always choices. Opportunities come to those who are looking, open to possibility, and willing to take action~ah, yes, there's the kicker! Many opportunities pass through our fingers if we fail to act. I am learning on this path to listen to the voice of God in my life, which speaks to me through scripture, prayer, meditation, people in my fellowship circle, and the opportunities that are delivered at my feet. There's no pulling over to the side of the road in life either! Most of the opportunities come our way when we are busy working, raising families, going to school, having relationships, doing housework, running errands, etc. We usually don't get the luxury of dropping everything to pursue a goal or dream. That's where the digging deep comes in. People always ask me how I work two jobs, go to school full time, try to keep a house, manage to care for all my pets, have a relationship with my sons and grandson, keep in touch with my family in Oregon, attend church and life group, lead a team at church, and still find time to blog and be social with friends. Truth is, we all have a stronger core than we realize. Intention is a huge factor. I aim myself truly and then maintain my aim. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving forward. It is painful sometimes. It gets hard. I get off-course, distracted, derailed sometimes. I get discouraged. I get overwhelmed. But, I push on. Dig deep. I am firmly convinced that I CAN do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me! Digging deep is a way of life. Make the most of the life you've been given! This weekend our church is cancelling Sunday services to go out into the community to do service projects. We are going to extend God's love to others through our acts of service, kindness and love. Don't let opportunities get by you-big or small-DIG DEEP!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Croptoberfest: A Virgin No More!

Not a scrapbooking virgin, anyway! Within hours of arriving at the Spring Lake Holiday Inn, I had completed my first album page! I chose to put together an album of photos from my annual Oregon trip which was taken August 10-24, 2008.

I know this looks chaotic but this seems to be the typical way that REAL scrapbookers work~which means I are one! Whoda thunk it?? I wouldn't have believed that I had it in me to do this sort of crafting. My old self talk would have said, "You're not the creative, crafty type!" Moral of the story: Stay open. You never know what kind of great stuff you're talking or thinking yourself out of! It never hurts to try something new. Sometimes you may just surprise yourself...

We occupied the main ballroom at the hotel. Not sure how many of us there were-A BUNCH! We worked from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. The meals were catered for us and were really yummy-we'll see how I did tomorrow at Weight Watchers! The ballroom was next to the bar. So, of course, we had toddies! The room stayed open as long as anyone wanted to scrap...sometimes 2 or 3 in the morning, and then reopened at around 6 or 7 am. People are free to come and go at will. Many of us enjoyed the pool, hot tub,workout room, and computer center. We didn't even have to make our own beds! This is the kind of stuff women fantasize about!!

I got a little back massage from Suz...

Had some spirits to keep the creative juices my jammies, no less. Might as well be comfy.

Consulted with my consultant, Mycha...

Met a fellow scrapbooker who is also a fellow Oregonian! Then I really felt at home!

OK, so I had another toddy-So what! Who's counting???

One of the neatest parts of this crop was spending time with my coworkers from CWIT-Patricia, Suz, Melanie, and Beth. It was awesome getting to know these gals better and learn that we have a common interest. Next time, ladies, you will not escape my camera!I will get you onto this blog yet! In fact, all the gals were outgoing, fun, helpful and just oh,so nice! There were a lot of laughs and many interesting conversations flying around the room. We went around looking at each other's work for ideas to use in our own albums. I got in touch with my inner magical child again! It was like being a kid, let loose in a room full of colored paper, pens, stickers, and all sorts of gadgets for making shapes and different cut lines. The possibilities are endless and once you get going it just feels like play! The weekend flew by far too quickly. We'll be having another mini-crop in January and then another event like this in March~and they won't have to ask me twice!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Pound of Cure: Take Care of YOURSELF!

Week Two: Lost 1.6 pounds for a total of 8.2 in two weeks. YAY! The process was relatively painless. I did feel that I had done better than 1.6 pounds actually BUT when you're in the process of weight loss, there's a lot of shifting that is going on....and not all of it shows up on the scale! There is something to be said for being able to run further, longer, faster with less effort and sweat! I feel like I am getting stronger and more fit. That counts, too!

I am now at 69.8 pounds to goal. I have a little over 7 months to get there. Or as close as possible. I realize that this will not be a linear process. I will have my ups and downs. This week I actually felt more in control of my eating and I sure did spend a lot more time exercising. The focus this week at weight loss church was on, what else, VOTING! Yikes, it's everywhere! The kind of voting we were discussing were either yes or no votes that help us take care of ourselves. Seems as though I'm not the only one who puts everyone and everything ahead of my own wants and needs. This seems to be a fairly common dilemma for us female caretaker types. In this case we were encouraged to vote NO to that thought and vote YES to the idea that our wants and needs are just as important as those around us and should receive equal value, attention, and care. We were asked to vote NO to always saying YES. When we take on too much it creates stress, which sometimes leads to emotional overeating, it causes us to not have time to exercise or plan ahead our food for the day which can set us up for unwise "on the run" food choices. Another NO vote needs to be cast for situations or people who undermine our success. To the extent possible, our environment should be managed and/or controlled. If we know that a certain restaurant spells disaster for our eating plan, we need to not attend or ask (be assertive) that plans be switched if possible to another restaurant that supports our choices better. Ditto for people who are always trying to tempt you with large helpings or food that is overloaded with fat, sugar and calories. It's time to stand up for yourself and tell them, nicely, "no thanks"!  Vote YES to including things in your life that make you happy: a massage, a bike ride, time to read, a bubble bath, a long walk with a friend, the dog, or your ipod. Whatever it is that will add to your success instead of taking you further from the goals you have set. That's it for this meeting we are to report on what we did this week to take care of ourselves.
I'll be sure to give you all the details!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Path I Walk: Wonder

Here's a photo of my training area on Saturday. Beautiful isn't it?! I was in awe of this day. November 1st and soooo breathtaking. How many more of these will we get before Winter?
One thing I wonder about is how I managed to be doing three different God-oriented studies at once! Not a bad problem to have! And with my schedule...Anyway, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel made this statement about wonder: "As civilization advances, the sense of wonder declines." Is that really progress? Brennan Manning, in the book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, puts it this way, "We grow complacent and lead practical lives. We miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder." I can tell you first hand to find wonder just spend some time with a three year old! When I'm with Jayden, even the most common things become special again~ touching a fountain of water, looking at birds and trees and flowers, climbing a hill, running down a path, blowing bubbles, finger painting, making something with playdoh, petting a dog, eating M&M's, singing a song, looking at the sky...ALL MIRACLES to his little eyes. And when I'm with him, to mine, too! Lately, I've been worshipping at the church of nature. Communing with God in His world. My running and walking has taken me outdoors to wonder and marvel at all that has been created for the glory of God and given to us to enjoy. The weather has been crisp but sunny. The fall colors are bright and beautiful. As I push myself physically to exercise, I put myself out there with God as well. We talk. He is partnering with me to create beauty for ashes in my so-called life. Somehow, when I'm out in nature, that's when I hear the best from God. I am filled with the wonder of all that I see. It feels good to be alive. I feel good in my skin. I have gratitude for all that I've been given and how much there is to love about this existence. The air smells good. It tastes good. I appreciate my body. I am thankful for being so healthy. I am happy and content but not complacent! When you feel this alive, you want to make the most of the opportunities you've been granted in this life. Introspection leads me to believe that I AM grabbing life, living it full-out, living it BIG! I am following the path I am called to. Knowing that I am in the Will of Heaven gives me peace. And excitement! I just don't know what's around the next corner, what's in the next chapter, what tomorrow will bring. But, I trust God and I know my life and times are in His hands~no worries! Walker Percy, a Southern novelist, tells of his life prior to having a near-fatal heart attack, absorbed in "everydayness". He goes on, "It is only the reality of death that is powerful enough to quicken people out of the sluggishness of everyday life and into an active search for what life is really about." We are asked to choose between "generativity and stagnation, between continuing to have an impact, or sitting around waiting to die." Another nugget of truth from Brennan Manning: Each moment of our existence, we are either growing into more or retreating into less.
Rabbi Heschel ended a prayer this way: I do not ask to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all. That's where I'm at with my great, big, fat LIFE! Thanks for listening and sharing this path with me :-)

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