The Storm Before the Calm

If you almost aspirate by sucking your own hair down your throat as you inhale deeply enough to launch into what is becoming your regular, "NO,-you-may-NOT-wear-athletic-socks-with-your-church-shoes-and-church-pants" tirade before church, you may need a moment to collect yourself when you get to church.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Baroness Sarah the Philomath of Divine Intervention
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I LOVE mine!!


Just Another Day in Room 24

  • Thing 1 walked in the door telling me she had already thrown up this morning. ("Then why are you here?" seems too logical...)
  • Tantrum from Thing 2
  • I forgot to make copies that I needed at conference time, so moved reading to after lunch -- I'll just use the overhead for this part.
  • Overhead bulb blew.
  • Thing 1 throws up.
  • Fire drill.
  • Kids think "fire drill" means "circus tumbling act" -- re-enact fire drill appropriately during centers.
  • Thing 3's mom comes into the chaos that is dismissal -- we're sharpening pencils, getting backpacks, passing out homework -- with her other two kids AND THE DOG.
  • Thing 4 goes into panic attack mode when mom is late for pick up.
  • On the way out the door I realize the act of squenching my eyes together trying to press my headache into my brain and away from my eyballs has caused my make-up to vanish. At least my looks reflect the day...


Beyond the Blue

Go watch this video. Ah. May. Zing. Reminds me that God has a plan for each of us from the start -- and why He calls us to be like children.

My deer-hunter-in-shining-camo (Stephanie, would you please illustrate a deer hunter in shining camo to kick off our greeting card line? :-) had a fabulous observation about that video:

That's the second time I've heard a child discuss heaven's colors and say, "nothing on earth compares with the colors we see in heaven". I got to thinking about that in the car on the ride home yesterday. All we know in THIS world is the light from our sun. But the light in Heaven is generated by a much more powerful force. A force that has no boundaries and cannot be warped by shadow, shapes, or darkness. Imagine a light force so powerful that it is not hindered by ANYTHING. When you realize this, you can easily assume that complex colors we haven't seen before are created due to the strength of His light. It takes on a whole new spectrum with countless varieties. I can't wait...

*sigh* Too bad I won't be married to that guy in heaven!


It's All About Perspective...

My little friend, Abbie, and her brother Kenny came over to play for a while recently. While Abbie and I worked on a puzzle, she was evidently not happy with our "Wheel of Fortune" choice on television.

Abbie wondered: "I wonder what Weba's doin'..."

S-- "Do you watch 'Reba'?"

A -- "Yeah, she's funny. Barbwa Jean stole her husband!"

S -- "Well, that doesn't sound very funny -- to steal someone else's husband."

A -- "Well..., ebryting else is funny."


Fitness Friday #4: What's the Deal About Water Anyway?

Okay, so what’s the deal about water? I confess that since this is so late in the day, you’re just going to have to trust my memory on facts and details I have heard and read about water consumption and dehydration, etc. I don’t have time to peruse the internet checking my facts, etc., or Fitness Friday would bleed into Karene’s Slovenly Saturday that she is planning and I would hate to do that!

And, poor Ashleigh, no I have no healthy cold remedies or treatments. Since all of my adult life I have either been a public school teacher or a mother of small children, I have a pretty hearty immune system (I’m sure as I type that the germs in my house and on my keyboard are conferencing about what horrendous marching funk they can way-lay me with) so it’s probably been YEARS since I’ve had a cold – the flu, yes, but not a cold. But, take care of yourself and allow yourself to rest and yes, drinking lots of water will help.

Why is that? Why is that my standard answer to anything? “Drink lots of water!!” Everyone in my family knows that if they come to me complaining of ANY ailment – headache, stomach ache, sore elbow, whatever – my first question to them will be: “How much water have you had today?” Americans live in chronic dehydration and I have even had a pediatrician tell me that almost every child he sees is in early stages of dehydration. What’s up with that? One of the things I have read “somewhere out there” is that most adults don’t even recognize their thirst anymore and mistake it for hunger. I notice that a lot – that I want to eat when, if I will stop and think, I’m really thirsty, not hungry.

So, besides the fact that God made our bodies to work better with water, why do we need it – and so much of it?

Warning – moderate talk of digestion processes ahead. It won’t be any worse than taking a kid to the pediatrician and discussing diapers, etc., but if that grosses you out, just go drink water.

1. Water helps the body get rid of waste. I know, a basic “duh” statement. Let’s think about if weight-loss is your goal. Imagine someone you know who has lost massive amounts of weight. Did they complain about how many fat cells they were sweeping up and/ or vacuuming up in a given day? Of course not! How does the body get rid of waste? All-righty then. Let’s certainly help THAT process out. Water flushes the system, keeping things that we don’t need in our body moving along.

2. Water aids in digestion. This goes along with #1, obviously. Your digestive system is dependent on water to keep it moving along. Imagine if you crammed everything that you ate in a given day down your disposal and didn’t run the water. You would have a serious plumbing problem on your hands. The same can be said for your body! If your digestive system doesn’t have the water it needs, it is forced to do its job itself by cramping up the muscles of the digestive system to move the food along. That’s grief no one needs! Drink water! For this reason, your system also needs mucho fiber, but that’s another day.

3. Cells in your body need water to repair themselves. The Lord made our body such a perfect machine that it can repair itself! Cells need to repair themselves after exercise, as well as any injury you may have. Water speeds up that process. Partly by getting rid of any waste in your system, but also by keeping the cells at an optimum level of fluid.

There are many other, debatable reasons for drinking water. I mentioned last week that some research shows that it increases your metabolism, another disputed study shows that it decreases your hunger, and some people seem to think that it gets rid of fine lines in the skin. That truly makes sense since water-filled skin cells will repair themselves better and not leave lines, but the lines I have earned on my face are way beyond fine!

(Little House on the Prairie:
Salesman to Mrs. Olson: Yep, this cream can even get rid of those crow’s feet.
Mrs. Olson (horrified): Crow’s feet??? These are laugh lines!!
Salesman: Lady, nothing was that funny!
I think about that line frequently while putting on my make-up!)

I have mentioned here that many of us are walking around dehydrated and don't even know it. Early symptoms of dehydration are dry lips and thirst. If you live in a dry climate, like I do, you may just think that dry lips are part of the lifestyle, but they don't have to be. Beyond those two symptoms, headache and stomach cramps and/ or nausea or diarrhea are all symptoms of dehydration. Yes, those are all listed as possible side-effects on any medication produced, as well as the symptoms for 19 other maladies -- but if you're drinking your water, you can rule out dehydration!

So, the basic idea is to drink your water. I have found that I recognize my thirst for it now. Yes, I drink other things – lotsa, lotsa, lotsa Diet Coke, occasionally some very weak and doctored coffee, etc. – but I try to be sure I have at least my 64 oz. water. Obviously, exercise and hotter weather will increase your need for water. Be kind to your body and drink your water!

Fitness Friday Delay

Today the author of Fitness Friday is taking a mental health day -- I have already done something for me. Now I am on my way to spend time with my family by joining the kids for lunch at their 50's day at school. Then I will go do something for someone else.

Fitness Friday should be posted this afternoon. In the meantime, you may want to be drinking LOTS of water, because I will tell you why your body needs it and by then it will be too late to get all of the water you need without staying up all night going to the bathroom!


Can I Get an 'Amen'?

"And women are tired. We are drained. But it's not from a life of shared adventures. No, the weariness of women comes from lives that are crammed with routine, with chores, with hundreds of demands. As Chekov said, "Any idiot can face a crisis. It's the day to day living that wears you out." Somehow, somewhere between our youth and yesterday, efficiency has taken the place of adventure. Most women do not feel they are playing an irreplaceable role in a great Story. Oh, no. We struggle to know if we matter at all. If we are at home, we feel ashamed we don't have a "real life" in the outside world. We are swallowed by laundry. If we have a career, we feel as though we are missing out on more important matters like marriage and children. We are swallowed by meetings."

from Captivating
by John and Stasi Eldredge

Sarah's addendum: "And, if you work part-time, you can feel both of these ways in any given 24-hour period."


Sunshine for My Soul

Oh, I truly hope you see it. I'm in my BEAUTIFUL, clean, and newly-organized computer room with my back to the interior door of the room, but I still see a reflection of the GLORIOUS sun in the computer screen. Love it, love it, love it AND my weatherbug temperature thingy-doo-dah tells me that it's 53 balmy degrees. I am just popping in here to say that I may make it through the next round of snow (which is scheduled to start tomorrow, but hopefully they are as wrong about that as they were about yesterday) and then I am taking my dog for a very long walk to bask in the golden goodness that is the SUN. I can't wait!!

Years ago I proclaimed to my family to never consider moving me any further north than Interstate-20. I don't winter well. And, after talking to many of you -- not many of us DO winter well. I know, it's all about perspective. Ginger is up there in some way-northern midwest state that makes me shiver to recall the name. I read one blog of an air force wife stationed somewhere here in the states where it was FOUR flippin' degrees one day last week. NOthankyouverymuch!! I'm sure these people scoff at our meteorologists that count how many HOURS we spend continuously under freezing (we got up to 108 hours under freezing -- yes, that isn't even 5 days) instead of days. But I don't do it well!

Someone asked me if I would be joining them for something, "Or do you need to be alone." I wanted to scream: "YES!! I NEED TO BE ALONE! I NEED MY HOUSE TO NOT BE DOMINATED BY VIDEO GAMES AND SOCK-FOOTED CHILDREN PLAYING CHASE!! I NEED THE MUDDY DOG FOOTPRINTS TO BE GONE AND STAY GONE!!! YES, I NEED TO BE ALONE!!!!" Obviously, time at my house wasn't getting me alone time, so I opted for friend-time. I don't know if I was enjoyable, but it was very nice to have 4 different walls to stare at. And I didn't even notice any muddy puppy footprint, even though I was at a 2-dog house. Maybe their dogs are potty trained. Maybe I'll try that next ice-in. NOT!

So, I'm off for a walk to soak up the sun and hopefully find some semblance of sanity. It's amazing how my ambitions rise with the viewing of the sun -- I have about 35 things I want to get accomplished today and am naively believing I will conquer every last one of them! May you find some sun where you are today!


In Spite of Everything...

"I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. "
"It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they
seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of
everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. " --Anne Frank

I think of this quote from time to time, especially the last part of the last one: "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." I generally think of it for the reason that I am thinking of it now. Someone disappointed me. My heart breaks for another heart that is breaking, and several lives that may never be the same again. I'm kicking myself for believing in human nature.

Then I think of these words.

Childish wonder and optimism -- from a child who saw and experienced unspeakable horrors.

And then I think of these words:
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you
will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

So, in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.

(Originally written 11/1/05)


Fitness Friday #3: Fire It Up!

This week I REALLY wanted to address more of the psychology of fitness, but I think I will wait on that. But I will tell you another mantra I have come up with about that. First, though, what was our mantra from last week? That’s right – ANYTHING is better than nothing!! Another mantra is: You won’t take care of what you don’t love. So many of us try to beat or shame our bodies into a condition so that we will THEN love our bodies. Truth is: you won’t take care of anything you don’t love, no matter its shape. Those that know me are saying, “Now there’s the pot calling the kettle black.” No doubt, I have trouble appreciating the physical house the Lord blessed me with – our society constantly bombards us with messages that tell us that a not-very-tall, somewhat lumpy, thirty-something with crow’s feet isn’t a valuable being, and I do have trouble not listening to that. But, at its most basic, my body can: walk across a floor, see the computer screen in front of me, hug each of my family members with both arms… and on it goes. I am a blessed woman and I have to consciously listen to everything I tell myself – being sure that I don’t use any words (thoughts) to myself that I wouldn’t use to anyone else that I love.

Okay, that was longer than I intended. Moving on.

Metabolism: love it or hate it. That mystery process we all have. I looked up definitions for you, but let me put it in Sarah-terms: metabolism is simply the energy required to keep your body working – breathing, digesting, growing hair and fingernails, etc. In fitness we generally think of it as “rate that calories are burned” and metabolism does have a direct affect on that rate (at this point I’m almost paralyzed with the knowledge that pretty much anyone who really knows anything about metabolism will easily correct my usage and definitions. keep in mind I said up-front I have a cursory knowledge of all of this.) So, many of us are only concerned with metabolism from the standpoint that we want to “speed it up” and burn off that chocolate cake before it settles in for a long winter’s nap on our hips.

Truthfully, as I understand it, the number one determiner of your own metabolism is genetics. You get what you get. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean you have to give up and go for chips and queso and be done. There are several things you can do to help out what you’ve been born with.

Many of you have heard that increasing muscle mass is a great way to boost metabolism. Of all of the things I am going to point out here, that takes the longest to establish/ develop, but it also has the most lasting effects. I don’t mean to bulk up and/ or compete at weight-lifting to increase muscle mass. One way to increase muscle mass (percentage) is to simply lose fat. But to tone and add to your own muscle mass, you will need to do some resistance exercises. Another time I will give you some specifics on what you can do. (hand weights on sale at Target this week! :-)

Eating fires up your metabolism. Yes, this one is a fine line! That is why many diets and programs encourage you to eat every 2-3 hours. Not only does it keep you from getting so hungry that you make poor food choices, but it also kicks in your metabolism.

Exercise fires up your metabolism. (I know, “Duh!”) Again, this is where ANYTHING is better than nothing. A slow 10-20 minute walk around the block will fire up your metabolism for as much as another 30 minutes after exercise. That is why a walk after dinner is a good idea: you’re double-burning!

I have read one study that said that getting enough sleep fires up your metabolism (Dad, sorry – you should have quit reading on this one. I think he last slept through the night when he was 7). The study suggested anything over 8 hours – I know, none of us are doing that. That also suggests one of the many reasons we, as a nation, are constantly getting fatter: we average about 6.5 hours sleep/ night (says the lady watching the clock tick later and later while she blogs). It makes sense though – think of how sluggish you feel when you don’t sleep well. Evidently, all of your cells feel the same way and don’t want to work at their normal speed!

Caffeine speeds up your metabolism, but this is also a fine line. For instance, one study said that people who drink 2 cups of coffee/ day burn a whole 50 calories/ day more than those who don’t. 50 calories, seriously? First, I easily put 200 calories worth of cream in my coffee, also it’s a diuretic (making you lose all of that precious water you’re guzzling). For me, the best bet for caffeine is to have a little before you exercise: that way you are doing the double-burn AND it leads to a more effective workout (different study, but true and logical).

Another study suggests that drinking 8-oz. of water kicks up your metabolism temporarily, but I have heard this one greatly disputed. But, I figure you need to be drinking the water anyway and if the study happens to be right – even better!

Again, I’ve gone way too long!! Remember:
ANYTHING is better than nothing and
You won’t take care of anything you don’t love.

Everybody have a great and fit week – or just try not to go completely insane inside the house!


Confinement Day 5, Weather Forecast to Get Worse...

Just curious -- does anyone else out there identify just a little with Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining"?

Works For Me Wednesday

Look at me, two days in a row of participating in some blog-imposed, day-of-the-week doo-dah. This is really in conjunction with my Fitness Fridays (1 and 2), but this is a good WFMW AND I always run way too long on Fridays, anyway.

So, are you getting enough water? Me, either. Especially when it's this cold, I don't really want water. Diet Coke? Always. Water? Not-so-much. So, my year-round trick to drinking my water is ... (drumroll, please) 16-oz. water bottles! I know, you want a refund on your WFMW admission fee, right? Stick with me for a moment!

Instead of thinking of the 12 gallons or whatever it is we're all supposed to drink, I try to think about it one 16-ounce water bottle at a time. I try to drink one every two hours for 12 hours, so yes, I (try to) drink 6 in a day instead of 4, which is recommended. One reason I do that is because I'm an exerciser and need to replenish from that. When it's cold like this, I just fill my water bottle and leave it sitting out -- it's easier to drink if it isn't too cold. In the summers I'll put it in the 'fridge for a while, but I still don't want it too cold. I just want to guzzle it and be done with it.

Even 2 16-oz. bottles before lunch and 2 after lunch would be PLENTY of water -- and, for most of us, way more than we are currently drinking!

I don't spend a fortune on water bottles -- I'm a refiller. I just find the handy little containers a good size to drink quickly and it's a measured amount so I know what I'm getting.

I know it's not "rocket surgery", but it works for me!

Check Shannon's blog for more WFMW ideas.

Check back Friday for another Fitness Friday! Eventually I'll get around to talking about "What's the Big Deal about Water Anyway?"


So... How Did YOU Spend Your Time Being Iced In?

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I have mentioned before that I don't really 'do' the Tackle-It Tuesday doo-dah many of you fabulous bloggers do. I work on Tuesday and if I can make it TO work, home from work, and get dinner on the table all while remaining conscious, I've tackled about all I can in a day. HOWEVER, I accomplished such a monumental organizational/ clean-out feat this weekend, that I want to participate to get oohs and ahhs from all over blogworld. But first, ahem, there is the ugly truth.

I have seen people ask bloggers to post a picture of where they work on their computer so that the blog world can get an image of the serene, happy blogger at work. Oh, have mercy, I don't think so. I knew coming into 2007 that I MUST get a handle on my office/ sewing room/ scrapbook room, but I just could barely face it. However, Friday inspiration struck. The weather was supposed to get bad and what in heaven's name would I do for 3 days at home? I just might be able to get a handle on the office.

So, humbly I give you what you could see of my office from my dining room table:

Lovely, no? Actually, that's about as good as it got, because once you enter the room, you see this:

And behind the door is where fabric goes to throw up:

So the above is what my office looked like at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon at which time I began to post signs around my dining room: "Sewing/ Crafts" or "Household Business", etc. and unload the office into piles. By 10 p.m., the dining room was ever so full of STUFF:

So What Did YOU Do, Pt. 2

So the dining room looked like this while the office was looking much better!

Saturday I began to plod away sorting through things, but by the time I got to the hard stuff (scrapbook stuff and sewing/ craft stuff) I just wanted to lay down and cry! I didn't think there was an end anywhere in sight! So, I called SuperOrganizer-- some of you may know her as Anne. (Anne -- I think we just came up with a name for your business -- your logo is Superman's 'S'! :-) Leaping piles of clutter with a single bound, she braved the icy roads to rescue me. In no time she helped me get finished up AND put back together in the office. So, about 28 hours, 3 trash bags, and 1 home improvement project that required 1 PG-13 word in front of my 11-year old later ...
NOW this is what you see from my dining room table (drumroll, please)....

Is that just SO much better? Indeed. Anne suggested a skirt for the counter to hide some of my storage. Remember the paper avalanche? No more... (yes, my scrapbook is completely posing as being worked on -- it will happen in time!)

THIS handy little idea (thank you, Anne) is SO cute and fun and works awesome to hold my cute ribbons for these!
AND not only is my office/ sewing/ scrapbook room SO much more lovely and peaceful, you can't even see that I got caught up on our checkbook register on the computer and organized all bank statements. Besides that, here are all of my greeting cards (yes, I have told my family not to let me buy anymore for about 10 years -- but I don't have sympathy and guess what I found out that I needed today!)

AND I organized some of my scrapbook supplies -- paper and supplies! *whew*!

Isn't that so awesome? Troy took a while to comment about it because the mess in the dining room was a little too distracting, but we ALL agree -- including the neighbor little boy who comes over to play computer games -- that it is SO much more peaceful! *sigh* So, I'm off to enjoy some hot chocolate (not really, can't stand that) and another round of a game that the kids got for Christmas that we LOVE! Thanks, Anne!

For Kelli

Because blogger has given me so many fits lately (cannot TELL you how tired I am getting of the phrase, "Blogger won't let me..." -- Wordpress, you're lookin' mighty fine to me about now!) I haven't been able to give you much background and/or lead-time on this happy project, but Kelli needs some help in any way you may be able to give. She needs a kidney transplant but insurance is running out. Go here to read the background info, then go here to see what you can do about it. And you can always pray -- at any time!


Iced-In Observations

  • 42* is too cold to go outside and play, but if precipitation is involved, 18* is perfect.
  • Our family has a 60-hour togetherness limit. We are at about 74 hours.
  • A Route-44 Diet Coke from Sonic (because it made me happy) and a coffee chaser (because I was cold) is a bit much caffeine for my system. I should be awake until Thursday.
  • Nachos and chocolate-chip cookies are not good fuel for a workout.
  • I am evidently not too old to sleep until 10 a.m. (while the kids enjoy some mind-numbing video games).
  • There SHOULD be more to blog about since I've been home for 3 days straight but: a) I can't get to the computer since someone is always on it and b) very little is funny or thought-provoking after 3 days of togetherness.

Coming soon -- what DID happen at my house for these 3 days!

I Have A Dream

Last year, I was teaching the book of John to our church's ladies class on Tuesdays. When I encountered John 8:31, 32 about "you will know the truth and the truth will set you free", I looked up Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech since it finishes with the famous, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Sadly, that is probably the first time I have ever read that speech and it is beautiful. It made me realize what a godly vision Dr. King had for this country. The last paragraph is right in line with Galatians 3:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

While we are still quite a mess in our country, we are certainly further along the road of healing than we were on August 28, 1963, when Dr. King made this speech: (this is only the last 1/3):

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all
men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia
the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit
down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the
state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and
oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a
dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be
judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have
a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose
governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and
nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls
and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream
that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be
made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be
made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall
see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the
South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith
we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go
to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free
one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able
to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of
thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every
mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this
must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New
Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom
ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the
snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of
California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every
hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every
village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to
speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and
Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the
words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God
Almighty, we are free at last!"


The Good Ol' Days

Remember how thankful you were if you EVER encountered a toy/device that didn't require batteries? That is how thankful I am NOW when I encounter a toy/device that doesn't require a screwdriver to GET to the batteries! It's all about perspective, folks.


Fitness Friday #2: Let's Get Moving!

Repeat after me: ANYTHING is better than nothing.

As we think of fitness, most people think “exercise”. I’m sure you also think I will give you some sweaty, miserable regime to follow without exception. Well, I have happy news: one of my MANY mantras for Fitness Friday (I think I’m up to three now) is: ANYTHING is better than nothing!

WARNING: Technical exercise jargon ahead. If this causes your eyes to roll back in your head, skip the next paragraph:

Optimum exercise time is 30 minutes, four times a week, at 70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR)*. But if 15 minutes, twice a week, at 50% of your MHR is more than what you’ve been doing, that’s AWESOME. Why? Because:

ANYTHING is better than nothing!

Another flashback: January, 1998: I have just spent 18 of the last 32 months pregnant. I have 2 children under the age of 2. Every inch of me is slack flesh. I am a 63-inch, sleep-deprived jell-o mold. A friend who, bless ‘im, evidently believed my Superwoman press, introduced me to someone who was looking for a running partner. “Okay,” I thought, “if she is just starting out, maybe I can ease back into it.” Nope. She was a marathoner, running 6-10 miles a day. Uh, right.

I was laughingly relaying this exchange to another uber-fit friend and concluded by laughing, “I’m doing good to run around the BLOCK.” My friend got ultra-serious, down in my face, and said, “Just keep running around the block. No matter how little you are doing, keep doing it.”

I really took that to heart and started squeezing in little moments of exercise when I could (since, really, I wasn’t even running around the block). I would go for a walk while Troy got dressed for work in the morning. I would walk up and down (and up and down and up and down) our long driveway (with an occasional jog up the stairs to our garage apartment) during naptime, baby monitor in hand. I did a few sit-ups, push-ups and chair dips here and there for resistance training (although lifting my 25-pound toddler and 12-pound newborn should have counted for something!)

Initially, the change didn’t come in my clothes size, my appearance, or even my resting heart rate. The change came in the way I thought of myself: I had become someone who exercised regularly. I am an exerciser, therefore I exercise.

I recorded those exercise shows off of ESPN that come on at some ridiculously early hour and did them during nap time. I started by fast-forwarding through the commercials, giving myself about a 22 minute workout. I worked up to jogging in place during the commercials for a 30 minute workout.

So, if you have DECIDED to get moving, what should you do? Since this post is already too long, I will devote another post later to all kinds of options for exercise. For now, do ANYTHING (because it’s better than nothing) that you enjoy and gets your heart rate up: Dancing (square or hip-hop), skating, walking, biking, your kids’ Wii, ANYTHING (because it’s better than nothing). Collage Video is an excellent source for workout videos. For about the cost of one month at a gym you can get 2 or 3 different videos to do in your own home in your own time. Oh – you do have to actually participate with the video. Sitting in the chair eating chips while you watch the video isn’t very effective – I’ve tried.

Again, I will go into more technical talk in another post. For now, just get moving! Why? Because (say it with me now):


*To determine MHR: 220 - (your age). Multiply MHR by .7 to find 70% of your MHR.

**Blogger is evil.

Fitness Friday Postponed

You know, I know better. I absolutely know better. But I did it. Yes, I typed my entire Fitness Friday post in Blogger, NOT in a Word document. So I did that for about the last 40 minutes and Blogger didn't feel like posting THAT one. Nor did it feel like showing it to me again. Now I must be moving on myself to my own RPM class, although my pulse rate is pretty high at the moment thanks to Blogger! Fitness Friday will be posted later today, or when Blogger feels like it.


Looking Back

I REALLY needed to read this today.

Being here would have been nice:

And, we got the car fixed -- no more dinging. We will just have to remember to be thankful without it.

Tomorrow is Fitness Friday!


The Funniest Thing on the Web Today

So Antique Mommy lost the diaper bag. Since her outings these days are somewhat limited, she KNEW it had to be at Wal-Mart. She recounts calling customer service:

"She asked me to hold on while she checked lost and found. After she dropped the
phone on the desk (which rendered me deaf only for a short time), she shuffled
some papers, knocked over some boxes, used a blower dryer, ran her desk through a wood chipper and then zipped up an angry cat into a suitcase – at least that’s what it sounded like on my end anyway."

I have laughed all day. Thanks, Antique Mommy!

Since I don't want THIS to be a loose end, go see how the saga ends!

Loose Ends

Some things I know you haven't been able to sleep over:

The appliance gods at my house:

My deer-hunter in shining camo came home just as I was dismantling the washing machine to get to the bottom of the drip. He found the problem and fixed it, saving us $85!!! Yay!! I think this was about 5 days before we paid $230 to fix some sort of air-flow issue with my car (that kept it from running unless you were revving the engine).

Appliance gods -- 0
Vehicle deities -- 1

Our time in Temple:

It was GLORIOUS to see so many friends from days gone by. I told friends: "This is JUST like heaven -- only hotter." New auditorium -- climate control issues. My FAVORITE part of the weekend, hands-down, was when someone asked if I were my friends' (Lynn and Kim) daughter. HA! I will live off of that for months to come. I have to admit, it was a good hair day!

Did I miss anything? Is there anything out there you're still wondering. We have yet to find the shoes.


Back In the Saddle

Well, almost three weeks ago, we left second grade flying high leaving for the Christmas break.

Today, we resumed second grade with not-so-high spirits.

Today included:
  • six weeping outbursts (and none of them were even me! -- but one was at my house before we ever left for school).
  • one pair of lost shoes (again, at my house -- the reason for the weeping)
  • one playground fight
  • one temper tantrum (okay, this WAS me).
  • five moved clips (discipline action).

So, I survived today. And tomorrow Mrs. Durrington will have to ditch the mouse-ears she's been wearing and resume her post as the other, hopefully more pleasant, teacher in room 24.

One of my weepers was a bleary-eyed, little brown-eyed cutie who is evidently BABIED at home. She didn't want to be there (me, either, I told her!) and the counselor brought her down sniffling and snuffling and dripping. It was RIGHT as the bell rang so I had her come sit on my lap until the announcements were over and then it was going to be time to get to work. She sat and I sat (and yelled at everyone to get to work!) It wasn't a terribly horrible way to start the day. We stood for the pledge, pledged and went to work. Sometimes you just need a little more cuddle before you can buckle down. I'm all for it.


Observation for Today

Doing laundry is much more lucrative than usual in the weeks following Christmas.

A topic? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Friends, I've got nothin'. I've got LOTS for Fitness Friday -- what a response from you folks! And, Mindy -- goin' out on a limb!! For the record, if Mindy doesn't have aspartame coursing through her veins, she has coffee in them. She and her husband are some coffee drinking nuts!

So, New Year's... just trying to get through the week at the moment. We've had health issues at our house, a sleepover, and various craziness. Today we leave for Temple for a homecoming/ reunion of sorts at the church we used to attend. I'm looking forward to seeing many dear faces from the past -- like my own little piece of heaven being reunited with others and worshipping together.

Movies -- I've seen The Holiday and took the kids to see Night at the Museum this week. Thoroughly enjoyed them both. Denise has a fairly accurate review of The Holiday here. Pretty much a chic flick. Jack Black as a love interest? Hard to believe, but he was cute. Jude Law as a love interest? Yes, indeedy. Very pretty to look at. Night at the Museum was cute and fun. Abbie is about 4 and 1/2 and was with us -- parts of it were a little scary to her, but she made it okay. Riley's favorite line, "My Dumdum need to speak." I was afraid he would try that here when I needed to talk to the kids, so he is altering it to "Mom-mom need to speak." Better.

Troy is pacing -- meaning I'm supposed to be packing instead of blogging, I think. So I will have to be back here next week sometime!


Fitness Friday #1: Have You Decided?

Here we are, the dawn of a new year while the poundage of last year still sits there. Sarah is handing out the fitness tips like crazy and, in reality, you KNOW things you can be doing to improve your fitness level. We all do. The deal is: I have knowledge, I have info, I have tips and tricks – but you have control of the one thing I don’t for changing your fitness level: your will. You have to decide that now is the time.

Before you think I’m asking you to make a blood oath about your activity level and caloric intake, please know that I’m not expecting you to change every aspect of your life in January, 2007. But I believe that successfully changing your life starts by simply setting your face in the right direction (oh my word, I have so many spiritual parallels I want to make, but later, later…) Seeing yourself as a healthy individual and making choices that reflect THAT person, not the former, tired, run-down, out-of-shape person you used to be.

Small story: Two years ago – January, 2005. We were coming off of four years in a row of unbelievable stress. My figure showed it. I was carrying around 20 extra pounds and felt awful. I decided. (those are key words, okay?) I decided that I had just spent four years dealing with everyone else’s problems and that was MY year to take care of me and get those 20 pounds off. I set my face in that direction.

Last year, January, 2006. I realize that I have lost 10 of my 20 pounds. I don’t kick myself, I don’t berate myself, I don’t eat half of a chocolate cake to comfort myself. Instead, I take a realistic look at those 10 pounds (my scale also tells me it’s actually about 15 pounds of fat because my muscle mass has changed so much) and re-evaluate what I’m doing and how it is or isn’t helping me get to where I’m going.

January, 2007: STILL carrying 5 of those pounds. I HAVE realized, though, that fitness doesn’t consume all of my time and energy. It does take a little time, but actually adds to my energy level! Exercise has become a part of my life and eating for me is a conscious decision to fuel my body – not an emotional response.

I tell you that just to illustrate that two years is a LONG time to lose 15 pounds. But, I’m still 15 pounds lighter than I was two years ago and NOT 15 pounds heavier, which, let’s face facts, folks – once you hit a certain age, if you’re not constantly battling your weight, you’re losing ground (and gaining rear!) And, obviously, fitness isn’t entirely about what the scale says. You know your fitness level. You know if it needs changing. And YOU get to choose when and how to change it. That is your assignment for the week – to choose. Which direction will you set your face? What have you decided about your fitness level?

And if you have already decided and would like a different assignment – try to drink more water than any other drink, and try to exercise at least twice before next Friday!


Fitness Friday Background

Okay, this is getting WAY longer than I ever intended -- this is so my passion! So, I am going to go ahead and post the "background info" tonight on Thursday night. I actually have a real post for tomorrow! Welcome!

Long awaited Fitness Friday is here! I’ve been looking forward to this and evidently, so have some of you! I’m glad you stopped in. I’ll just go ahead – you keep lacing up your shoes and stretching! One of my goals will be to keep my Fitness Friday installments brief, but today may be a little lengthy as I lay some groundwork and hopefully answer some questions before you have them.

Why should I listen to you?

Well, you shouldn’t. I’m not a certified anything (although “certifiably insane” is occasionally tossed around with my name), nor do I have a Ph.D. in Exercise Science. I have, however, been in and around gyms for the last 20 years. I’m interested in what I’m doing and doing it effectively (i.e., I don’t have TIME to be doing it wrong!). I’ve picked up a little knowledge from the gym. Also, I enjoy reading about fitness stuff. Some women subscribe to Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens. I do Shape, Fitness, and Weight Watchers. I will pass along things that I have learned in my reading – some of which contradicts itself – and let you know how it coincides with my own experience or not.

Why are you doing Fitness Friday?

Especially at this time of year, talk turns to fitness levels, weight, diets, and exercise. I hear people say, “I wish I could…” or “I need to…” I nod and listen in silence. I never know if that person REALLY is interested in changing their level of fitness or if they are simply verbalizing the need to change it. For anyone who is interested in boosting their fitness, I have a ridiculous amount of knowledge, tips, tricks, ideas, and speculations. This way, I can do like I did to my husband when he mentioned wanting to lose a few pounds. I simply told him, “When you are ready, I will walk you through it, give you a plan, support you in it, and problem solve through it. Just let me know when you’re ready.” I can only throw the information out there. You get to decide when and how to use it.

What can I expect from Fitness Friday?

Okay, truthfully, at this point I don’t think any of you care, but I will tell you anyway! I’ll talk about everything from exercise routines and equipment to fuel (food) for fitness. Some topics I’m thinking about thus far are:

  • How/ Where do I start?
  • I hate the gym! (or I can’t afford a gym!)
  • What’s the big deal about water?
  • Fiber is your friend (I really don’t plan to name it that, but it made laugh to write it! :-)
  • You don’t HAVE to live with the metabolism you were born with – ways to kick it up a notch!

This was really just a bunch of preliminary groundwork/ info. I look forward to meeting you back here for Fitness Friday!


Santa, We Have a Problem...

Weeks before Christmas, there was a conversation at the North Pole like this:

Mrs. Claus: Santa, that Riley Stirman ONLY wants a Gamecube, and you know how his mom worries those things suck brain cells out. And when they aren't sucking brain cells, they're sucking money to get different games. What should we do?

Santa: Well, the Stirmans are good to limit such activities. All things in moderation should be fine...

So, Mrs. Claus begrudgingly let Santa deliver the Gamecube to the Stirmans. And all was right with the world.

Until yesterday morning, when I emerged from my bedroom at 5:15 A.M. to go to an exercise class and Riley was deep into a game, looking something like this:

Let the interventions begin.

(To answer all the questions I know this will raise: Riley set his alarm for 5 so that he could play. I let him play until 6, then sent him back to bed. And Gamecube was off for the rest of the day.)


Bah! Humbug! and Good Riddance

As a matter of fact, I DID take a little bloggy break. I didn't mean to, but it sort of turned into one, didn't it? Good thing I had that precious pic of my babies up for all to enjoy for the week!

I love Christmas, I really do. And generally, even more than Christmas, I love New Year's -- the hope, excitement and promise of a clean slate and fresh start.

This year? Not so much. I don't know how or why, but Christmas stressed me out from the get-go, even though several factors should have made it easier. And New Year's, well Riley summed it up today:

"This year feels just like the last one."

"Yes," I replied, " only now it's cluttered with some other year's junk."

Have I mentioned Christmas hasn't exactly gotten put away yet?

Last week we went to Louisiana on Wednesday -- only after we confirmed that all fever and vomiting was a minimum of 24 hours in the past. My brother and his family were in from Virginia, and they had a little bug earlier in the week. We've done it -- get half-way to Louisiana, someone is burning up with fever, we trudge on, and the whole house goes down in flames with the ragin' contagion -- and dad ends up in ICU half-dead with pneumonia. Seriously, we've done it. We're not going to do it again, if at all possible. So, all seemed to be clear and off we went.

The kids had a grand time -- 5 kids ranging in age from 4 -10, hitting all of the even number ages and Riley is the only "odd" with 9. They played HARD and proved it by smelling worse than my dog the entire time we were there (who smelled great and was well taken care of at Yvonne's Puppy Bed and Breakfast!) Thursday, the last healthy nephew crashed with a fever. We all waited for the projectile vomiting, but it never happened. We have now been home from Louisiana for 27 hours and no one is sick! It's a Christmas miracle!!

Anyway, I always leave for Louisiana with books to read and exercise clothes and grand plans of reflection and productive time. What crack pipe have I been smoking? If you're keeping track, that's 6 adults and 5 kids in the vicinity (although my brother's crew graciously moved from my parent's house and stayed with friends so that we wouldn't have to share bathrooms AND beds). The Louisiana holiday is always a loud, raucous, fun time of togetherness -- but I'm sure you know me enough by now to realize that doesn't exactly "recharge my batteries." But it does bless me immensely to see my kids have such a great time with the cousins. I believe we also visited every Social Security recipient in Ouachita Parish. As the "old crowd" gets older, it gets a lot more demanding to make the Social Security scene!

So, we're home. No, I haven't made any resolutions. Maybe I'll still think on them and get back to you.

I have mentioned before that I plan to start a regular feature here: Fitness Friday! Be looking for it!
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