Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Winter blanket of white

Today it hit almost 40 degrees~heat wave! Last time it warmed up and rained, our snow melted at a frightening rate. And...I was sad that I hadn't gotten any pictures of the snow piles to remember our BIG winter this year. So, before it gets away from me again, here's my house and yard covered in its wintery blanket of white. It's supposed to be freezing rain tonight. The wind is kicking up fierce all of a sudden this afternoon!Blowing snow across our road. I'm supposed to ski tomorrow after church...we'll see.Hope it doesn't interfere with Super Bowl-God forbid! Winter is obviously not done quite yet!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Body Perfections celebrates 25 years!

It's pretty amazing when 3 ladies, who are close friends, go into business together and 25 years later, they are still in business together and they are still close friends!Not only that~the great majority of the employees have been at Body Perfections for a very long time-Kim and Diane, for example, have more than 20 years under their belts!I, personally, am in my 13th year. Not only that~the great majority of our clients have been with us for years and years! This tells me that something very good and very right is happening at Body Perfections! That's a tribute to the three business-savy women, Pam Kalkman, Paula Phillips, and Judy Nuismer! You amazing ladies have accomplished such a monumental thing by running this business the way you have for a QUARTER OF A CENTURY!! Hats off to you, Pam, Paula, and Judy. May there be many more milestones ahead for all of you and for Body Perfections! Thank-you for the opportunity that you have given to all of us-employees and clients alike!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad turned 91 today! Happy Birthday, Dad~I am grateful for the time that we have had with you so far! I am thankful for the many acts of kindness that you have shown me over the years, the love and care, the provision, the talks and advice, and especially the daily prayers that I know you say for me, my children and my grandson, my future, and the meeting of my needs. I know that you and mom do this for all of your kids, grandkids, etc. Even at your ages, you are still really contributing a valuable prayer ministry for everyone in your life. This is still a very powerful force. It's one that I FEEL each day. It's one that I will miss someday...but today, I am thankful that you are still here to talk to and to celebrate the many years that you have lived among us. HAPPY 91st BIRTHDAY, DAD!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Path I Walk:Salvation

I love this stand of trees. I drive through it every time I go to pick up Jayden. It's beautiful in every season and I always feel like I'm driving through a tunnel of sorts because of the way the tops of the trees lean in and form a canopy. I feel like God is giving me a hug. Bonus~this stand of trees is right before the entrance to Pigeon Creek, my new place to obsess about because of my newfound love of skiing! This week VPM continued to cover the Core Beliefs of the church. This week being the subject of salvation. I know that I have shared my testimony before about how I became a Christian when I was 14 by accepting Christ at a coffeehouse in Oregon City that was sponsored by the Foursquare Church. This was a hip hangout at the time since the "Jesus People" were in vogue those days! It was an experience that has carried me through the ups and downs of my life since and I have to say that for the most part, my fundamental beliefs have not changed but I have become less dogmatic over the years. I see more shades of gray vs the black and white extremes. I have always felt that my faith was an anchor. I view my relationship with God as a constant and a stabilizing factor. That too has evolved into a much closer partnership over the years. I have learned that God is faithful and He walks with us through whatever life brings. I have learned that I can fully rely on Him. Sooo...having said that, you'd think that I would really be digging this all-church teaching study. I am struggling! Partly because I just finished The Shack and that book left me reeling-STILL! I am processing things that come up almost daily. It shook up my world around the subjects of grief, loss, and forgiveness. Salvation though, I realize, isn't just that one act of accepting Christ as saviour. It isn't just about "fire insurance"=avoiding hell or making it to heaven. Salvation is a gift. Salvation is a realization of what has been done for us. It's about unconditional love. It's about sharing that unconditional love with others. I've been a Christian for so long that I think my resistence to going over these scriptures again has been that I think I know. When you think you know, then you don't remain open and let any more in or create a space for anything new to occur. So, I have pushed myself to go ahead with the study and read all those old familiar verses. And I'm asking God to show me something NEW about my salvation. If you are interested in hearing the message from Sunday, go to the Victory Point Ministries link on the sidebar of this blog and go to the MP3 files. You can listen to the entire thing right here on your computer. If anyone has thoughts about this subject, I welcome your input! Blessings!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

See Me Ski!

As you can see, we tore up the trails at Pigeon Creek today~one of the best workouts I've had! I didn't do anything too ridiculous and I didn't fall so it was definitely a successful foray. I will for sure be doing that again. Probably not tomorrow as I am anticipating some muscles being in a state of protest! But soon. Before our snow disappears for the season. Once again, I feel sad that I have lived here going on 13 years and have never experienced this before. Pigeon Creek is such a great place and we are lucky to have places like this to go so close to home. I will make better use of these resources during the rest of the Winter this year and in the Winters to come. I have really gained an appreciation of how beautiful Michigan is in ALL the different seasons!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday: Snowshoe Me!

Getting to be quite the winter sportsters, we are! Might as well. Look at all the white stuff we have laying around here! Afterwards, we lunched at Froggy's in downtown Holland~all-beef Chicago style hot dogs and homemade sea salt and malt vinegar fries~Yumo! Off to the library for freshly baked cookies and some Skittles for dessert, then upstairs for books, puzzles and a little computer time. Jayden was exhausted and fell asleep on the way to his house. Granny, on the other hand, was just getting going...out to a movie, that is. Revolutionary Road to be specific. Trust me, there's a good reason this movie has received so much attention , cleaned up at the Golden Globes and is in line for more awards at this year's Oscars. Go see it! What's a movie without dinner? So, of course, that followed. Good thing I'm going skiing tomorrow after church! I need to work all this socializing off before weigh in on Wednesday...this week I don't think my issue will be a plateau! Still, this day was fun, full of memories, and made me smile. Happy Saturday, all!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finally Finished Friday

TGIF. Not sure why~my weekends are usually at least as nutty as the rest of the week...but, it's a change of routine, especially when I do not have to work on Saturday. Such is the case this weekend. The finally finished doesn't just apply to my work week. I have also finally finished The Shack. My theory about why it has taken me so long to finish this book is because it really shook me down to my foundations. There have been two books this year that have had monumental impact: The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. The Ragamuffin Gospel helped me to get it after all these years that God loves all of us unconditionally and loves me in particular~in spite of or because of my flaws and faults, failings, frailties, and the strengths and noble strivings of a human being. The Shack was disturbing and unsettling. I was only able to read portions of it at a time and then just be with it. I had to take time to process the messages and to digest it all on a deeper level. There were so many truths that came forth out of this book that it is difficult to even know where to begin. The overall message I got out of reading this book was how finite our human minds and human understanding really is. The scriptures tell us that our ways are not God's ways and God's ways are not our ways. His thoughts are so far above ours that we cannot even begin to comprehend. This is one reason that things beyond our scope of understanding happen throughout the world on a moment by moment basis and we cannot fathom the why and wherefore that is part of the bigger picture seen only by the Eternal Father. So many things  have entered into the world and our sphere through the doorway of our own individual desire to have our own way~our freedom of choice. God gives us this because there can be no true relationship without the freedom to choose. This is a two-edged sword. Through freedom of choice, the free will, the human bent to have independence, Adam and Eve chose to have their own way. Even in an ideal setting, such as the Garden of Eden, where living conditions were ideal, Adam and Eve chose to eat of the forbidden tree, and they lost paradise and the untainted relationship they had with God. Even in a perfect world, we could not, as humans, avoid disobeying the rules. Disobedience in this case equals sin and through that doorway evil of all types was allowed to enter the world and into the human experience. Mankind invited it. God had it set up that man could be protected and provided for and have life pretty easy and serene. Adam and Eve could have had everything including perfect fellowship with the Creator.  I think most of us have learned the bitter truth, chosing our own way, only to find out that the cost far outweighed the momentary benefit. Especially since we compromise our closeness to God. This story was also a graphic illustration of how actions impact others both positively and negatively. What we do matters. Even if we think we've gotten away with something, God is not mocked. He sees. We do reap what we sow, good or bad. It comes back to us in a much larger dose than whatever we put out there. Sometimes our reaping takes the same form as what we sowed and sometimes God chooses another avenue~the one that gets our attention most deeply. Sometimes it is years before our reckoning comes to us and sometimes it is swift and immediate. Forgiveness is a powerful medicine. Judgement is a powerful poison. God is always with us. ALWAYS. Whether we are aware and connected in relationship with Him or not. The Holy Spirit is always at work. Jesus is interceeding for us and serving as the lens that God sees us through. He sees us as perfect because of Jesus. This book left me realizing how much God is always conspiring in our favor. No matter what things look like on the surface, there are powerful unseen forces constantly at work in our world and in our lives. God comes to us in whatever form He needs to in order to reach us. It's pretty amazing to think of this complex orchestration God has come up with for our benefit. God is very, very patient with His creation. All of that in order to have fellowship with all of us. Pretty amazing. My mind is still swimming from the height, bredth, and depth of it all! If you haven't read The Shack, you are missing an incredible experience!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thick-of-it Thursday

Thursdays are another intense and long day! By this time of the week , I'm in the thick-of-it and I'm just plain thickofit! I am always juggling my time in between massages to get the rest of my reading done in time for class. Right now, with only this semester left, the workload has gotten more ambitious. Probably in an effort to flush out the ones who aren't really serious about it...We're doing a lot of roleplays where we are the pretend therapist working with a pretend client. Then all your classmates get to critique how well you did. This is a big favorite with the entire class-hehe! But, hey, "Do you wanna be a shrink or not???" So on we plod.
Now for the Thursday schedule rundown. This week we had Jayden over night on Wednesday night. I had been up all night working at the shelter the night before having my usual 12 hour work day. Tyler and I get up early to take Jayden out to the Windmill Restaurant in downtown Holland before school whenever we have him overnight during the week. Jayden loves that! He likes looking around downtown early in the morning and seeing all the stuff in the store windows. The same group of local old fogeys is always there and they are beginning to recognize Jayden when we come in. You can tell they get a kick out of him. He does put on quite a show some mornings! Jayden loves to get chocolate milk and he is crazy about their homemade bread with jam or jelly. He usually skips the eggs but does like hashbrowns and is really into sausage, ham, and bacon. When we get done eating, we head to school. He likes to show us where his backpack and coat go and who his friends are. Then it's goodbye and I hurry home to get ready for work. I work until 3pm and then change into my school clothes and go to Grand Rapids for class. I'm in school from 6-10 pm. Lately the weather has been a nightmare and last week I was really scared driving home in a near whiteout. It's usually at least 10:30 pm before I see home again.That is, if the force is with me. I am always extra tired on Friday because of this grueling routine. I keep reminding myself that I will only have to do this for another year at the most! Wow, what will I do then with all my spare time??? A normal workweek would seem like vacation! What does all this mean? Hmmm:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Pound of Cure: Work-out, Weigh-in Wednesday

Here I am, kicking my own ass at Family Fitness. Wednesday has been the day of reckoning lately. I am in lucky week #13. I did lose a pound this week

I programmed the eliptical machine for a workout called "walk in the park"-this would be a slight misrepresentation I would say. Whoever named it that was being a sarcastic SOB. Maybe they were thinking of Jurassic Park!

This is my preferred method of torturing myself. If my foot is good I run and if it's not I walk and then ride the bike. That's my interpretation of "resting" it.

I hate how sitting like this emphasizes the fat roll~however, it is getting smaller!
Now to the meeting... We discussed emotional eating and how to avoid it. We tried to define what "real" hunger feels like: the grumbling stomach, the hunger pangs, possibly the shakes or a headache or feeling no energy. When we think we're hungry we need to ask ourselves if it is real and legitimate-such as it's been awhile since we've eaten and we have the real indicators or is something else going on? Am I bored? Sad? Lonely? Mad? Happy? Tired? Thirsty? If it isn't real hunger, what else could I do instead of eat? The strategies we came up with were exercise, read, distract ourselves with a hobby, tv program, brush our teeth, chew gum, take a bubble bath, paint our toe or fingernails, blog or journal. The point is to eat only when you're physically hungry, stop when you are reasonably satisfied but not overstuffed, and to recognize when it's not real hunger and substitute another behavior instead of eating. This is a process and we get better at it as we go along. We also discussed the plateau/set point issue. Everyone agrees that the way to get past it is to change up the eating/exercise pattern. So, that will be my assignment this week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Turning point Tuesday

I loved today! Right now, business is slow at the shop so I'm not rejoicing that my 11:30 cancelled BUT the silver lining was that I got to watch all of the inauguration events all the way up until President Obama started his speech~then I listened to as much of that as I could while I was driving into work. So, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Obamas leave Blair House this morning to go to church. I loved the dress Michelle was wearing. She is every bit the classic beauty that Jackie Kennedy was and is very reminiscent of Jackie's simple, elegant style. The magnitude of the crowds was mind boggling. I have never seen such as sight! Excitement and electricity flowed in every area where people gathered. The cheers rose up from the crowds and I know that must have been a touching and heartening sight for Barack Obama as he rode along in the motorcade. The emotions were running high, too. I saw people crying. Personally, I went through a few Kleenex myself! I have a good feeling about our new president. Everyone seems to be feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. This is not only history in the making but a real shift towards unity and action I feel. It was heartwarming to see how kind and welcoming President and Mrs. Bush were and Barack's acknowledgement of George Bush in his inaugural speech was a nice touch. Then watching the Obama girls was delightful. They are such adorable girls. It will be fun watching them navigate the White House in the coming years. Everything was so beautiful and perfect. Barack and Michelle Obama make a dazzling first couple. I had the same sense of fascination watching them that I get when I watch the pageantry of the Royal Family. In a sense, they are the American equivalent. There is something really captivating about the pomp and circumstance, the ceremony, the traditions, the history, the legacy. Makes a person proud to be an American! While I was working out, CNN was showing the various galas that the Obamas were attending. Again, I loved the first lady's gown. Gorgeous. It was sweet seeing the first couple dancing together. This is a day we'll not forget any time soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Manday Monday

Mondays are always a little off in my book. You get your schedule sideways because you don't have to follow the usual pattern of the workweek. I have heard that it's better for you if you still go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time but I hardly know anyone who actually does that. I know I don't...which is why, come Monday, I'm extra tired and prone to be somewhat out of sorts. Then add in the fact that I'm way overscheduled. I work from 9-3 or sometimes 4:15pm. Then, every other week I either have a staff meeting or a training to go to from 4-5pm. Then I try to hit the gym and go to Weight Watchers and/or fit in the rest of my workout and dinner before I go to life group at 7pm. I make it back home about 8:30ish or 9pm. I'm really dragging tail by then! Today was no exception~except...with the exception of more men clients today than women. That is unusual. Normally I have about 30% men clients to 70% women. Today, 3 out of my 5 clients were guys. Don't get me wrong, I like and value my guy clients but it just isn't normal for my day to stack up this way. Not complaining, just observing. I have to say, without breaking confidentiality, that all three of the guys today brought something special to my day today. I had a great conversation with one of the guys about The Shack and the way God works though our life circumstances-especially the unpleasant ones-to make us better people in the long-run if we allow God to do His work. Guy #2 is in a non-traditional profession for a guy and I was so impressed with his kind, compassionate, respectful demeanor. I think that sometimes we all get caught up in sterotypes and forget that both men and women can be caretakers and be nurturers. This was a good lesson for me today. My last guy client of the day was sent by his wife and daughter-both clients of mine. He was just a happy-go-lucky, super nice man. Maybe God wanted to send me a visual reminder to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, regardless of gender or any other qualifying attributes. Perhaps it is part of my healing process to realize that there are good guys in the world. They do exist. All around me. Whether I'm aware of it or not. Not all men are selfish and untrustworthy. We, as women, are not designed to be at odds with the men folk in our world. We're supposed to be complimentary. The yin and yang. Good lesson for a Monday, don't you think?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Funday: Creative Memories & The Symphony

Today was one of the most pleasant days I've had in awhile. True, the weather was horrid~snow, snow and more snow! Add to that periods of blowing snow. Does the phrase "whiteout" conjure up any stark images?? Tell you what, when I first woke up this morning I thought for sure I'd be getting a call saying that our little cropping party in Spring Lake was being postponed to a more sane day. Not the case! These scrapbookers are a hearty lot! Patricia is a real trooper. She offered to drive and then comforted me by saying that she has driven to Traverse City in worse weather than this!Ha! So, go you, Patricia! I was happy as a clam in her nice warm van with my own personal chauffeur. When you go with Patricia, you go first class, my friends! 

So we get there a little after 10 am. The snacks are already out on the table and coffee's a brewin'-these scrapbook chicks really know how to live. Suz-whom I dearly love-always has a riot of a time whether she gets ANY scrapbooking done or not! She's just glad to be out and about with everyone. The life of the party, she is! Today she had these cherry cordials that she was liberally passing out to all of us. They were delicious AND so full of booze that we decided two should be the limit! Then we started listening to the soundtrack from The Big Chill. All retro oldie goldie stuff. Everyone's singing along and busting out with a few moves. So fun...followed up by Elvis the pelvis and Harry Connick, Jr. Dreamy and McSteamy!

Beth, bless her, made the most delicious pot of chili for our lunch! I found out that she also has cat and dog hair on everything she owns. We are both just wild for our pets and the children in our lives and love to scrapbook, eat and talk a lot! Yup-lots in common.

Patricia kept laughing and coming up with little stories about the pictures she was sorting for her album. That's one of the best things about scapbooking. You relive those happy moments again while you are immortalizing them on the page. Right now, Jayden loves to look at pictures. He loves to go on my blog and look at all the posts that have pictures of him and remember all about the times we've had. It makes me happy to know that these albums will be keepsakes for my family one day and they will be cherished reminders of me and our family and all the memories and traditions we have together.

Not a very good picture of our workspace but it was a cute old schoolhouse that has been revamped. I had never been in Spring Lake proper before. The downtown is cute and quaint. In the snow, it was like a Christmas card. Picture perfect. A scene from Currier & Ives. Us sitting there all cozy with the snow swirling outside the window. Big, fluffy flakes that were so perfect, they looked fake! Just when we were all getting into the swing of things, Patricia and I had to leave for the symphony in Grand Rapids. So, pack it all up again and off we go...

It has been years since I've been to the symphony. I loved to go when I lived in Portland. I took my boys to the kids' concert series there when they were little-The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, OR. Loved it. Then, we moved to Paducah, KY and I remember going a few times. The concert hall there was incredibly cold and drafty as I recall and had seats that were so uncomfortable you almost couldn't sit through a performance! DeVos place in Grand Rapids is very nice, however, and I had no idea what a treat I was in for! This performance was part of the Fox Motors Pops series, guest conducted by Victor Vanacore, themed Hot!Hot!Hot! Night at the Copa. I am now obsessed with Victor Vanacore. He's high energy, talented, happy, fun, and just a spectacular pianist and performer. Such personality! Mr. Vanacore knows how to connect on a deeper level with an audience. You can tell that he loves his work. He has a good time doing what he does.  I can honestly say that I've never had a better or more lively time at the symphony! Victor Vanacore has worked with Ray Charles, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, the Jackson Five, and many more big names. Google him sometime and you will be impressed with all that he has done! The guy's a genius. The program included music by Carlos Santana, Gloria Estefan, Chick Corea, and many other greats which Mr. Vanacore has tweaked and arranged brilliantly. I was just enthralled! Believe me, I will be watching and listening for his work from now on! Mr. Vanacore does have a CD out called American Standard Time. Check it out! To top it all off, two extremely gifted dancers, Andrzej and Jennifer Przybyl, husband and wife, National Champions from Detroit, mesmerized all of us throughout the concert with their Latin dance moves. Oh, they were hot, hot, hot!!! If you love watching Dancing With the Stars, you would have gone completely crazy for these two! It was eyecandy of the highest caliber! The combination of glorious sound and the magnificent dancing were nearly orgasmic...hehe! I'll never tell...All of that rapture built up a powerful appetite. So, Patricia and I capped off the day with a scrumptious meal at Red Lobster. Haven't been there in ages. Not sure how many points that added up to be-yikes! Made it back to the Little House on the Frozen Tundra. Surrounded by my dogs and cats and warmed by a rip-roaring fire, I think I'll call it a night! Hopefully tonight I can finally finish reading The Shack. News at 11.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Running Toward 50: The Agony of de Feet

I got a pedicure Tuesday while I was waiting for the call that never came~no massage appointments Tuesday, sad to say! I was supposed to run my first 5K today but it is so blasted cold and snowy and icy and wintery...Besides, I'm still doing battle with plantar fascitis in my left foot. It is maddening and I am reluctantly becoming the foremost expert on the subject, much to my own dismay! I am still in my Brooks. I am stretching. I am icing. I am taking the occaisional Aleve. I am taking extra calcium, vitamin D, and drinking extra Mona Vie. I put on flip flops if I have to get up in the night to go potty and I never go barefoot anymore-ever! My personal(hehe!) trainer(hehe!) Matt says I could go get a cortisone shot in my foot as a last resort. My two nurse advisors, Rach and her sister Esther, said absolutely not and NO surgery!! The weird thing is that during the two weeks before Christmas when I had finals and a research paper and shopping and wrapping and cooking, etc. I could not get to the gym with any regularity and my foot hurt 10X worse-go figure! I have actually noticed an improvement the last two weeks and have had several workouts where I've been able to run for half an hour continuously without stopping and not any worse for the wear and tear on my foot the next day. So, here's my plan. The days when my foot is too painful, I'll do the eliptical and the bike. Otherwise, I'm going to continue training as close to schedule as possible. I'll bump my timeline forward a few months and do my 5K sometime in the spring when there's no snow or ice to worry about, I'll do the 10K possibly at the River Bank or sometime thereabouts, and hope to get in the 16 weeks of training I need for the marathon in September or so...still a goal for 2009, my 50th year, just a little later than anticipated. Disappointing to be sure but on the bright side, I can add plantar fascitis counseling to my repetoir! I have to say that, no matter what, I feel like a million bucks, my body is starting to firm up and get healthier all the time and I feel very empowered to be able to do even what I am able to do at this level. I am also learning to be more patient and to listen to my body. All good!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Pound of Cure: Check your gauges

This week was scattered. Obviously not a good week for the blog...I did finally make it to weight loss church on Wednesday morning. I am resigned to going to Weight Watchers whenever~as long as I don't miss a week and going to Family Fitness whenever~as long as I don't miss more than 1 day. Good rules and I have been consistently sticking with them so hooray for me. Before I get into the crux of the meeting, I want to share something from a conversation I had with my gal pal, Becki. Beck has been a lifetime member since last summer when she lost 40 or 50 pounds(not exactly sure but she is an absolute knock-out and just tiny!). Anyway, I was talking to her about my plateau/set point issue and she shared with me that during her weight loss phase (not to be confused with maintenance!) she had 8 weeks where she would gain a pound, then lose a pound, go up two, then down two, on and on...until finally she started dropping again. Same scenario: sticking to the plan and exercising like a fiend! WOW! I'm so glad I talked to her about this because this week-week 12 for me-I lost the 1.6 pounds I had gained last week. So, the total for my first three months is 17.2 pounds lost. I was grousing about it to Beck but now I've decided to celebrate because she renewed my hopes! She went through this too and it didn't stop her from hitting her goal and making lifetime. She assures me that I will also make it! It sure pays to have friends like Becki!!!! Ok, now down to business. We discussed keeping an eye on our  "gauges" so we don't run out of gas on our weight loss trip. That means practicing "flexible restraint". Plan ahead, eat more filling foods, work foods that you love into the program as often as possible, exercise more to earn more food points when you need them and don't be afraid to use the 35 extra weekly bonus points. Yay! Next week I will pick up a new 3-month journal for tracking and continue the process...I am also going to try out the online e-tools I hear so many members brag about. We'll see if that is helpful for me. Meanwhile, this is me, sticking to my guns!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Path I Walk: A Lazy Jay Day

We are covered once again under a blanket of white. I woke today, not feeling my best, sore throat, congestion, feeling bone tired. I decided that my more immediate need was to sleep so that my immune system could support me during the course of my always busy week. I slept in, did some cleaning and chores, then settled in to finish The Shack. That would be my spiritual muse today. VPM is starting a new church wide study on the core beliefs of the church. Life Group meets tomorrow night. I know Diane always gets a CD for whoever didn't make it to church. So, I just accept that today I will stay home and see what God wants to tell me through reading this book...I will share this later on in the week when I finish the last of the book. I am pondering a lot of deep things here. In the afternoon, Jayden showed up and of course I rallied enough to do some fun stuff with him. Tyler and I took Jay to the Children's Museum once again. That's the one place we can go and always count on having a great time playing for several hours. We capped off the day by having a very nice dinner at Logan's. Jayden gets the biggest kick out of throwing the peanut shells on the floor! When we got home, we played a rousing round of Cootie~which Tyler won~and then playdoh, the all-time favorite! Bathtime and then the popcorn ritual before bed. Not exactly a formal church experience but I felt very blessed by the rest I was able to get, the fellowship and time spent with my family, and being able to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me today through the lessons presented in The Shack. There are many different ways to worship, to commune and connect with God, which doesn't always have to take place within the walls of the church. Sometimes God's magnificence can be seen and experienced through the wide-eyed wonder of a child! The simplicity of love and expression and trust and innocence. Time spent enjoying the delights of a quiet, lazy day. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

CWIT Sisters

The CWIT staff Christmas party was held tonight at Raleigh Woods. We had a social time with delicious appetizers and a scrumptious dinner of Marsala chicken, Sirloin Roast, veggies, rolls, salad, coffee and assorted desserts. A very fun night of food and socializing. Our original party was cancelled because of bad weather a few weeks ago. We've all decided that we liked having the party post-holidays after all the hub-hub has died down. Just easier to relax and enjoy without feeling pressured for time.The whole evening was BOMBDIGGITY!

Friday, January 9, 2009


For the fifth time in 6 years, Body Perfections has been voted Best of West Michigan by the readers of the Holland Sentinel. Since I am the only full-time therapist, am now in my 13th year ( a Baker's dozen!), and I do about 85-90% of the massages at Body Perfections, my bosses have told me that I should take this award personally! So, I, in turn want to thank all of you who voted for Body Perfections and for me personally to receive this honor. I also want to say a thank-you to the therapists who work with me. At this point in my career there is no way I could cover the entire book by myself, not to mention taking time off for weekend classes and the occaisional vacation and/or Saturday off. Cathy has been with me over 10 years and has been a great partner and helper, friend, and a great therapist in her own right.

I have also appreciated the efforts of Melissa over the past couple years while she has been attending Hope College. The support has been very needed and I do thank her for being part of the team.

To all my loyal clients, many of you have been with me for most of those 13 years, I just want to say that working with you has been a pleasure and a privilege. I have shared many life events with you and you with me. The relationship has gone way beyond just providing a service or just being a job, a way of earning a living. I have loved my life and my career at Body Perfections and there were many times in the last decade plus that being at Body Perfections with all of you has been an anchor for me. No matter what was going on in my life~raising kids, marriage, divorce, graduation, the birth of my grandson, you have walked beside me. I hope that you have felt my presence in your lives as well. As I begin to wind down my years as a massage therapist and prepare to transition into another profession, it is very affirming to have received this honor so many times over the years. Thank-you so much for your unflagging support! I am very motivated to continue growing, learning, and becoming a better therapist and a better person in general. It has been such a privilege to serve in this way and I am looking forward to spending the next year or two yet serving as your massage therapist and friend. Be sure to look for the publication of the awards soon in the Holland Sentinel. Blessings to all and thanks again for helping me be successful in a career I love!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wrestling with mortality

The past week has been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster ride. Many of you are aware that my parents are older-soon to be 91, in fact. I was the baby in my family and my parents had me late in life. I was the ooops! Many of you also know that my dad's health has been poor for quite some time. Like anyone his age, he has his bad days and his good days. Lately, though, it has been more of a struggle and we have had some big scares. This past week was especially tentative.

I know that I have been blessed to have my parents so long. I am especially thankful that both my parents are Christians and I can relax about their final destination because I know it will be in the presence of God.

I know that it is such a blessing that my dad is not in pain and suffering from some horrible disease such as cancer. Most of the time, he is oriented and knows everyone, knows where he is, etc.

I know that my dad has made his peace with God and everybody else. He is calm and assured. He is ready to go whenever God calls his name.

No matter how hard I try, I am still wrestling with accepting the inevitable loss of my parents. I know it's coming. I know that God loves all of us, knows what He's doing, is merciful and gracious and will not take us a minute before our appointed time. Still...I think it's because death seems so permanent from this side. We don't like to be separated from people we love. Also, your parents are sort of like the guiding constellations. Through every event of my life so far, my parents have been there. The thought of them not being feels awful to me! I can't imagine my life without them. I feel like part of me will be lost because they are part of my identity. I think I will feel like an orphan. I know this is selfish and I need to get ahold of myself and get it together before it happens but this is REALLY BIG! When the time comes, I hope my Dad goes quietly and peacefully in his sleep. I hope he can just slip away to God. I hear and see his weariness and his readiness to depart. I know that death is part of life and it is normal and natural. This week my dad seems to be doing better. I'm breathing a sigh of relief for now...and asking God to help me accept the mortality that we all must face. Part of me, the selfish part, hopes that he makes it to his 91st birthday at the end of this month. I hope I get another face-to-face visit in with him this spring. Every day is a gift. Every moment is precious. All the while I know that it is not in my domain to choose~I must accept.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Pound of Cure: K. I. S. S.

We all know what that acronymn stands for. Usually. But at weight loss church last night we found out another application. We say: Keep It Simple and Sustainable! I can appreciate that...I'm having a really hard time right now on my journey. This is the 10-pound span of weight that I struggle with EVERY time~my body just fights to keep me here. I'll go up, then go down. Usually what ends up happening is that I eventually get discouraged, quit, and go back to my old lifestyle and eating habits. Well, not this time! If I'm still stuck next week, I'm going to ask for help in my meeting. I'm pretty sure that someone else out there has done battle with what I'm calling a "set point". Meantime, I'm continuing to follow the eating plan, drink my water, take my vitamin, and exercise daily. Incase you can't tell, I went up this week. By 1.6 pounds. However, last time that happened I just hung in there and was down 5.2 pounds the next week. So, I'm going to ignore the numbers for now and shift my focus from a particular goal to just really focusing in on following the plan to the letter. I'm going to tighten up on my tracking and journaling this week. Even though I feel as if the weight gain this week was water, I'm going to try to be very careful and consciencious this week just to be sure I'm doing everything I can on my end to be successful. In the meeting we discussed exactly that: the seven steps for success.

  1. Look up the points values of foods before you eat them.
  2. Choose filling foods first.
  3. Follow the GOOD HEALTH GUIDELINES. If you're should join!!
  4. Use your weekly points allowance.
  5. Keep track of everything you eat or drink!
  6. Pay attention to portion sizes.
  7. Take note of your body's hunger signals.

See why I love Weight Watchers so much? There's always something great to be had by going there! Onward...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just notice

I wasn't super thrilled when I got up Sunday morning and found that everything was encased in ice from the freezing rain that hit us overnight. I've decided that freezing rain is my least favorite form of precipitation. The driveway was an ice skating rink. Just the kind of place a clumsy person like me should stay away from! But I was determined to make it to church, so I chipped the ice away from my car and forged on...While I was de-icing, it struck me how beautiful everything a way. Shiny and shimmery. Like crystal. When I got home from church,  it was warm and cozy in the great room when I came through the door. A nice fire was going in the woodstove and I had made a batch of vegetable beef soup in the crock pot before I left. It smelled delicious. It was delicious. It warmed me down to my toes. After lunch I drove through downtown Holland on my way to the library. Many of the Christmas decorations were still up and some of the shops were just opening for the afternoon. A peaceful, meandering collection of folks lined the streets, walking and talking and laughing. Some were holding hands. A few were walking their dogs or pushing strollers. All bundled up but enjoying the day and the few streaks of sunshine that peeked through every now and then. The library was full of studious, nerdy looking people and families picking out books. I had some things to print out.It was interesting, familiar and comfortable there. I've been spending a lot of time at the library for research during my classes. This is beginning to feel like my home away from home. I like being there. It feels and smells smart there.  All those books and magazines, videos, and cd's.  Ditto the gym, which is where I went next. There is an atmosphere that has a life of its own. My little group of contemporaries that always seem to be there working out together was assembled and going full speed. We love to watch HGTV while we sweat...we hate it when someone gets the remote and makes us watch QVC or reruns of Rosanne for two hours! At home, I had a really nice conversation with my parents and then friends came over to spend the evening. I have been noticing lately how often I am smiling about things. I have picked up on so many things that make me happy, bring me joy. It can be really little things like the warmth of a fire on a cold day, or the feeling of belonging that you get driving through your town and going to familiar places. It can be just noticing how lovely even an ice-covered driveway is. I have taken about half the Christmas decorations down and put them away. I put the cranberry and popcorn strands off the tree onto another tree in the yard so the birds could eat them. It made me feel good that I was feeding the birds. Is this weird? Does everyone think and feel things like this? Or am I finally just getting it? Or am I losing it? It seems like a good thing. People say they have noticed me being a lot happier these days than they have ever seen me before. There are so many great things to notice if we will. And it doesn't even cost money! Can't beat that! You know what? If it makes me happy and it makes me smile, who cares if it sounds kooky? It's ok to be a little off...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Path I Walk: A Bridge

I'm a little behind this year already! Takes talent~it's only day 4! Normally, I spend New Years Day reflecting on the year past and plotting my course for the coming year. I decided to just spend New Years Day kickin' it with Tyl and Jayden and a good thing it was, too! My time was better spent enjoying the company of my family. I haven't made resolutions anyway for at least the past few years. I am having more revelations than resolutions! I have realized over the years that my list of goals remain fairly constant. The things that are still relevant and valid for the person I am today get carried on to the next year. Goals that were a passing fancy tend to drop off. Don't take this to mean that every year I write the exact same list because I never do any of it...I do. But, some goals I have come to see as lifelong processes. Other items just take a long time to work into all the other stuff we call life: working, caring for a home, running errands, having a family, paying bills, etc. Some examples are things like spiritual growth, education, health habits, exercise, writing, travel, time for hobbies and interests. Clearly, I am making progress along a continuing path. I am working on the consistency of my prayer and devotional life. I have been exercising regularly. I am going to Weight Watchers. I am continuing to do school. This year I am one year closer to my Masters degree. No need to resolve anything. It is a realization that these behaviors need to continue and to be fine-tuned and improved upon as possible. Standards need not be set ridiculously high since I have learned that slow and steady wins the race. I have learned to pace myself. I will get there eventually if the pursuit is a worthy one and part of that which abides and not that which comes and goes.So, I am making the transition between 2008 and 2009 much like walking across this bridge. It has been a natural progression.A continuation of the same journey.
Today at church we talked about putting the past year into three words. My three words were: Loss~Acceptance~Progress. That pretty much sums up the main phases of the year 2008. Not a bad year. I got my feet under me. I got going. Now I feel that I have good momentum to carry me ahead in 2009. Corporately as a church we discussed three words: Simple~Focused~Relational. We discussed these words in the context of our mission as a church community which is to love God and love people. Pastor Steve just talked about letting go and simplifying in order to prioritize how we spend our time, attention, and resources. To keep focus and to not allow ourselves to lose sight of the two key goals of loving God and loving others. This should be the point of just about all we do. In the area of being relational, this means not only within our own VP community but in our own families, to our neighbors, coworkers, community and whomever God brings across our paths in the process of life. Pretty clear, concise directive for 2009 I would say! Easier said than done. I am going to challenge myself this year to keep that mission in the forefront of my life: LOVE GOD & LOVE PEOPLE!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Recap 2008

Of course, you knew it was could I let an opportunity like this pass? Here's a couple YouTubes to put the year past into perspective for us:

Thursday, January 1, 2009


New Years Eve took me and my collection of friends to several different locations! First stop, Nykerk's to see Rach and her clan and to visit my blog buddy Carol of News from the Northwest. I made two new blog buddies while I was there. Watch for their blogs to turn up shortly on my list...

Second stop took us to the FOP to share some time, a few kibbles and toddies, some laughs and music with our friends there.

Last stop before home took us downtown to the Caragh~where we met up with the livliest group yet...and very good dancers!

Hope everyone had a fun and save New Years Eve and got a good start to 2009!

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