Sunday

Good Things Out There

This is an incredible story about God relentlessly seeking His children. Check out the conversion story of the author of "Basic Instinct" (thanks for the link, Mike).

Y'all, this is the most precious idea for birthdays!! The chair backs AND pillowcases -- how simple and how special!

You know by now that my deer-hunter-in-shining-camo has a blog that tends to get just a teency bit political (ahem). And, of course, he had some political observations about this brief story, but you MUST hear the story. Another amazing story of someone doing what they could quietly and without notice...

Found ANOTHER awesome site for crafts and organization.

Showed this video in church today. It had a point, too -- but it's just funny no matter what:

Friday

Fitness Friday: Pumping Iron

Fitness Friday returns today with a little bit of preaching -- but mostly at myself. I know I need to, I know I should, but I HATE doing resistance exercises. (Muscle work: lifting weights, calisthenics, exercise bands, etc.) And, basically, if you're old enough to read this, you should be doing them, too! Women get the most press about it, because resistance exercises not only strengthen muscles but can build bone density as well. This is obviously important for any female beyond puberty, but it's important for men, as well. All of us are aging!


Muscles are use-it-or-lose-it things. One study found that 2/3 of women 75 years and older can't lift a 10 pound bag of groceries. I don't want to be that woman! Studies are also finding that muscle weakness isn't a direct function of aging -- it's a direct function of inactivity. Later in life we are no longer lifting toddlers, children, dogs, and massive amounts of groceries. So we need to be lifting some weights!

The good news about lifting weights is that it doesn't require nearly the amount of time that cardio exercise does to reap benefits. In 15 minutes you can get a full-body workout that is plenty for building muscle mass. And, no, in 15 minutes, 3 times a week, you will NOT look like Hillary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby" -- and not come anywhere close to Arnold Schwarzenegger. But every year that you celebrate a birthday on this planet you are losing muscle mass unless you are actively fighting to retain it. So, I'm SAYING 'build muscle mass' but you should be hearing 'just barely hanging on to what you have'.

Besides strengthening bones, muscle is good for boosting metabolism. And as we age, we all need that, right? Yes, we do! Because as muscle mass decreases (which it will) your metabolism slows down. Then you have a spare tire you didn't ask for, even without increasing your caloric intake!

Okay, okay, you're saying! So I need to keep up my muscles! What do I do? It is SO easy (at my house, we always quote the Nutri System commercial in our thickest southern accent: "It's so simple!"). If you have nothing and no money, you can do:

  • push ups
  • wall sits
  • crunches for abs
  • tricep dips (though you do have to have a chair for this)

All of those can be done and modified -- remember that ANYTHING is better than nothing. But if you aren't 'feelin' the burn' (as in, difficult to complete 15) then you need to move on to either more or add weights to it. Then, you can VERY inexpensively invest in some small equipment if you choose. It's easy to find and inexpensive. You can get:







  • exercise bands



  • exercise ball



  • hand weights
Most of these things should come with instructions. If not, I will post some specifics later.
Also, the following sites have some great info:
Pump some iron, stay healthy, and be fit!


Thursday

Places You Should Go Today

First, I have a recap of my weekend in San Antonio over at the Coffee Group blog. If you haven't checked that out in a few days, Denise and Tammy have also posted there. Donna posted on her own blog.

Also, I LOVE it when the blog community becomes true community. Stephanie, of NieNie Day, was in a plane crash with her husband and his flight instructor. The flight instructor has since passed away, and Stephanie and Christian have a LONG road of recovery ahead of them due to extensive burns. (THIS is a BEAUTIFUL post by Stephanie's sister).

So, Design Mom decided a fund-raising auction was in order. And, holy cow, we bloggers don't do anything half-way. If there is anything on the planet you would like, I think you can put a bid on it today! Check out the list!

And, of course, lift a prayer or thirty for all involved. If you are so inclined, click below to help with funds:



Day 4 of school -- I've already got a sick kid! So I'm home cruising blog sites today...

Wednesday

Book Review

Recently read two books. Loved one, made it through the other. First, LOVED:

From Publisher's Weekly: "Based on the real-life exploits of the author's great-grandmother, this fictionalized diary vividly details one woman's struggles with life and love in frontier Arizona at the end of the last century.(1800's --S.S.)" As I've mentioned, I LOVE to hear people's stories. Even though this was fictionalized, it was still a fascinating look at life in the late 1800's. We think of the conveniences, but she also talked about 'social hierarchy' (for lack of a better phrase): men, women, soldiers, indians, ranchers, Mexicans, etc. all had their place in society and would do well to remember their place. Very interesting, I highly recommend it.

And not-so-much loved:


In short, this author is SO a Janet Evanovich wanna-be, with less fun writing, and FAR more explicit s*xual language. Thumbs down.

Tuesday

And now... my son is my brother!!

Can it get any better than this??? As many of you saw, a few weeks ago my daughter claimed Christ as her savior and was baptized. The REALLY cool/freaky/ God-thing about it: while she was at camp at ACU, Riley was here with us. On the way home from Wednesday night church, Riley announced: "I really want to talk about getting baptized."


whispery-secret: I'm sure some super-spiritual people out there will tell you how the light shone from heaven, and their conversation regarding their children's baptism came naturally and was totally spirit-filled. Let me tell you this: few things in parenting have made me feel so completely inept, and if the Spirit was telling me what to say or how to react, this is how it sounded inside my head: (Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooossssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh). Big vacuum-o-nothin'.

I told him we could do some talking/ studying (but first I had to talk to the Lord and do some studying myself, evidently). It was less than an hour later that we got the text message from his sister that said that she HAD to be baptized. I was a little freaked out. And at peace at the same time. God was AFTER my children -- and I couldn't have been any happier.


It was yet another situation that highlighted my children's individual personalities: Ashley wanted NO. ONE. THERE!!! And Riley wanted to be at 'big church' with all of his friends, families, and plenty of total strangers as witnesses. Fine by me.


Grandparents were able to come in and witness the wonderful event. All of the same "high" that I got with sister -- all the same again! Very exciting and just so, so grateful that I have a God that will hunt down and claim my children, when I am just so ... me as a parent. If anything on the planet is evidence of God's grace, faithful children are it. Humbled and grateful and full-to-the-brim with joy am I.
Here is Troy introducing Riley to our church family.
Y'all, this precious man that prayed over us -- I can't say enough about (and not just because you read my blog, Bill). He is one of our shepherds, and he and his wife both have the most beautiful spirit. And, he's just funny -- which is always a bonus in my book.This picture makes me cry -- well, they all do, and partly because I seem to have way-layed my camera with a crowbar-type object while in San Antonio, and I do believe it is on borrowed time. I digress. This picture makes me cry because it is what church is to me: young, old, and in between, all family, all loving, all looking toward heaven, and rejoicing to welcome one more to go with us. The two young men in front are two of Riley's dear friends. In 7 years we'll see some embarassing pictures of them on Senior Sunday. Until then, I pray they may model Christ to each other, and sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron.

All in all, my "What I did during summer vacation" was to welcome my children into the family of Christ. I think I may take a few weeks off as a mother! :-)

Sunday

Catching Up!

Y'all!! I have SO much to blog about, and nary the time or energy to sit here and blog! So much still going on.

Last week was the heading-to-school marathon of haircuts, orthodontists, eye doctors, supply shopping, one last summer basketball game, a pre-season soccer meeting, equipment pick-up for school athletics, meet the teacher, and capping it off with me going to San Antonio for this.

Indeed.

Hearts were touched, God is big, and my boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places. Testify!

I'll 'splain more later. Oh, until then... GET WRITING, GIRLS! I simply RE-fuse for my first ever in my whole life blog contest to be a miserable failure. I also seem to have won something from Susan. But it requires actual work to talk about it, so it's a secret for now! Also, due to traveling, Fitness Friday was inexplicably completely forgotten overlooked. Stay tuned for more, more, more bloggity goodness this next week. I feel a rejuvenated brain coming on!

What's Your Story?


I think it's time for a contest! Don't you? It's hot, summer is screeching to an end (in schedule only, not temperature), and my house is falling down around my ears. What says contest more than that?
I have mentioned in several of my book reviews that I love to hear people's stories. I am fascinated by how people end up where they do, or what obstacles they have overcome in their life, or even just a weird tradition the family has. It makes me a captive audience, but I think it also causes me to appear to be the nosiest person on the planet.

Here's the lowdown: I want your story! Any story will do -- but it has to be yours or your family's story. I would PREFER it to be new-to-us-all, but that isn't a requirement -- it can be a previously-run-on-your-blog story. My goal is to simply get all of us in 'storytelling' mode about ourselves.

Here's how you play:

  • Post your story on your own blog.
  • Include this code at the top of your post (for the button):




  • Sign the 'Mr. Linky' below, linking to the permalink of your storytelling post, NOT the front page of your blog. (Instructions on how to do that are here).
  • Post your story anytime between today (August 14) and August 31.
  • A winner will be chosen at random -- this is not a writing-skills contest, simply a get-it-down contest! -- on Sept. 1. Prize info posted soon.
  • If you don't have a blog, you may email me your entry. If you also give your permission, I will post it on my blog (not a requirement).

(edited: currently having trouble getting the code for the button -- can only show the button. Stay tuned, get writing!)

Sharpen your pencils and get writing! Can't wait to hear your stories!

Mr. Linky:

Tuesday

Question...

First, don't forget to be writing your story!! Vann had a great post about story! No, it doesn't have to be THE story -- just a story. Yes, Roxanne, I know that story, but I would love for you to share it with the internets, though I know your brain may be a little weary these days.

Is anyone else having trouble commenting? I guess it would be tough to leave me a comment to tell me... hee, hee...

Y'all, I have SO much to tell you here! More family news, I long to share with you my trip to my hometown and show you where I grew up, and other big doin's. But we are SO BUSY soaking up the last precious days of summer, as well as squeezing in haircuts, eye doctors, orthodontists, shopping, sleepovers, and much, much more that I don't have much time to tell you much now. Oh, but I will.

But first: This post made me think of my favorite topic of parents.

What is the most insane statement you have made (or heard from your child) as a parent?

(If you aren't a parent yet, really have some fun and tell me the most insane thing you remember your parents saying -- probably screaming). My current favorite comes from a friend that, at one time, read my blog -- no idea if she still does. She told her child: "Don't lick your feet at the table." I so love that. I would have to think on mine -- there are just so darn many! Let me have them!

Sunday

Good Things Out There

My middle schooler doesn't have a locker, but if she did, these would be some great organizing tips and ideas for a locker.

What a PRECIOUS baby shower idea.

This is by someone who looks at the world very similarly to me.

Are you catching that I am LOVING this blog? (great organizational and family tips in those links!)

Thanks to Bob for pointing me to this amazing project! And way-to-go to former roomie Julie on this beautiful work!

Who says this isn't an educational blog? Play this for your kids a few times -- they'll be the star of back-to-school week!

Saturday

Observation

Sitemeter tells me it's time for another spelling lesson: I know it sounds like it's cleshay, but it's not. It is spelled: cliche. It's one of them furun werdz.

Friday

Fitness Friday: Water for the Thirsty


Hey, guess what? It's still hot!! I'm going to count my water-drinking lecture as Fitness Friday, but it's just part of life -- and should be. If you ARE drinking your water, yay! for you. If you aren't -- it's just time. Yes, initially you have to MAKE yourself drink water. And if you haven't been drinking water, you will be SO thirsty when you start drinking water. If you haven't been a water drinker, your body has learned to basically shut down its thirst mechanism. When you first start drinking water your body will be so happy to finally get some it wants more and more and more! That will slow down, in time -- but you will remain thirsty when you need water.

Why do we need water? 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 (especially ice water -- since your body has to burn calories to get the water to body temperature), 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.

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!

How much water do we REALLY need? In short, like exercise, ANYTHING is better than nothing. I have learned my body and how active I am and how thirsty I feel the next morning. I need to drink between 2 and 3 liters/ day to feel my best. There is TREMENDOUS debate about amounts: we need less than 64 oz., we need more than 64 oz., we need exactly 64 oz.

It's going to be different for everyone. I live in a dryer climate than the one I grew up in. I work out more frequently than some people (losing water through sweat). I am smaller than some people and larger than others. I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' water amount -- BUT I do think that 64 oz. is a good place to start, letting your body be your guide.

Say it with me now: ANYTHING is better than nothing!

Drink your water, stay healthy and be fit!

Tuesday

Inconvenienced

Yesterday I read this powerful post on our way back from Louisiana. I was greatly impressed/ moved by Lysa's prayer:

"Forgive me for always praying, God bless me. Give me the courage to sometimes pray, God inconvenience me... so that I might constantly be reminded to draw near to you. Interrupt me Lord. Shake things up in me Lord. Reveal what's in me that's not of you, Lord. Oh Lord, more than anything, I want more of You."

That is exactly where I was at the moment. I do ask God to do for me SO often. So, feeling led by the Spirit, I spoke to God frequently on my trip, "Yes, Lord, inconvenience me." (not wanting a blow-out going 74 mph to be the inconvenience, I did plead that he keep my family safe in my inconveniencing).

So we returned home to a broken refrigerator. Today, I learned that my make-up kit evidently evaporated with the dead animal odor, because it is 100% GONE. Best I can figure, it got propped on some part of the car and is strewn on I-20 at this point. Hey, guess what? I am INCONVENIENCED. For the record, Donna, I did NOT pray anyone else to be inconvenienced -- or hot. And, guess what else? I failed. The Lord definitely revealed in me what isn't of Him. Sadly, I think I need more opportunities to be inconvenienced and see God in it. This time, Troy, I will ask the Lord that you not be quite so involved in the 'inconveniencing'.

But that is the beauty and majesty of my Lord. Every day, every moment is a do-over. He is not of the irritating things of this world: the rotting food, the gum on my shoe, the 'face-paint' that no longer exists. Better than that, He totally gets that I will fail -- He knows those things are important/ annoying to me. And He will give me many more opportunities to seek Him in the little things, never tapping his foot at me when I take way too long to catch on. No wonder I'm crazy about Him.

Monday

Monday, Monday

Oh, my. What a day. Just checking in. I have many, many blogs pinging around my cranium, but this simple 'Ola!' will have to suffice. We have been in Louisiana visiting my family for a few days. We left this morning at 8:30 a.m. in the pouring rain. Y'all, it was GREAT to go to bed listening to it rain last night. But to wake up to it and try to drive in it? Not so much. And Troy didn't feel well. Coming home always seems to take longer than going, and it was simply an eternal trip. We left early trying to get home for Ashley's 6:30 basketball game.

We rolled into the driveway at 5:15. Perfect -- 30 minutes to start a load of laundry, unpack, and get Ashley to the gym for the game. I had given the kids a list of things to start working on when we got home. As Troy and I are unpacking the car, Riley walks through the garage: "Ew!!! There is some AWFUL smell in here!" Ashley heads into the garage, "Oh, MAN! Something must have died in here." Troy follows into the garage. He doesn't exclaim, but it is quite evident that he affirms that there is, indeed, a funk. I, being a not-too-slow learner, marched myself to the front door and rang the doorbell waiting for someone who had already gone through the green cloud-o-funk to open the door so that I could get in. Troy finally figured it out -- and it was quite obvious that the funk wasn't contained to the garage but was concentrated there -- that our outside refrigerator/freezer quit working. In August. In Texas. While we were gone. Need I say more? Oh, yes, I should say more: deer meat. whole chickens. Are you getting the imagery? More importantly, are you imagining the odor?

My precious Troy, who never could identify a dirty diaper, even on his lap, knew my olfactory would never allow me that clean up. I offered to help, but that wonderful man did battle with the 'fridge alone. I don't know all of the details, and he says he hopes he can sleep tonight for some of the horrible images in his brain. Some things are better left to bear alone.

I left Troy hosing out the 'fridge while I got Ashley to the game. He showed up not too much later, freshly showered. Ashley had a wonderful game, and I got to sit in the stands listening to the other team's parents complaining that there was no way she was in the 11/12 age group. (We love that). The game was awesome, we stopped by Subway on the way home. Where I stepped in gum. At least today is over.

Sunday

Good Things Out There

These look like a fun rainy day (or hotter than that 'lake-o-fire' we're all trying to avoid day) activity.

Love Trina's new favorite book.

Nathaniel kindly led me here. Um, yeah... It did help me cutify my blog, though...! I haven't scouted it out, but I wish this website (or you) would tell me why my 'scheduled blog posts' never post -- just go straight from 'scheduled' to a 'draft'. What up?

This is a precious bittersweet story, mixed in with a prayer request.

Are we LOVING the Olympics??? I am, like most of you, SOOOOO excited for them. Here are some awesome ideas to get everyone involved!

This video has made the rounds quite a while ago -- but it totally cracks us up at my house. Riley is an excellent impressionist, and he loves to be this little guy.

Saturday

Observation

It always makes me laugh just a little bit when people leave their cars running while they unload all the recycling from their car.

Friday

Fitness Friday: Workouts

It is hot. It is approximately the same temperature as the surface of the sun-type hot. Amazingly hot. And besides that? It's just so hot!

Now, don't you feel like jumping up and doing a workout? No, me either. I want to be floating in a pool, or lying under a fan eating an ice cream sandwich. I sweat walking to get the newspaper, I don't want to sweat any more! Reality is, though, that for our hearts, bodies, and minds (y'all don't EVEN want to be around me on day 3 without a workout!) we really must be doing a little bit of moving. Truly, though, depending on where you live, it can currently be dangerously hot outside. So what's a healthy body to do?

Let's think of some alternatives to your basic, outdoor sweat-fest walking or running that you might think of as exercise. Obviously, this won't be a comprehensive list. Please leave a comment and tell me your favorite hot-weather exercise to do.


Workout videos: your library may have a fairly large selection for you to check out for free. If you're willing to invest, Collage Video is my all-time favorite place to go for exercise videos.


Swimming: the perfect exercise for a sweltering hot day! Swimming is EXCELLENT exercise as it puts no pressure on joints. However, studies have shown that your body resists losing its 'insulation' when it is consistently in cool water, so it isn't a great exercise if weight loss is your goal. If simply moving is your goal, swimming is a fabulous whole-body workout.


My book! I've mentioned that I'm doing this book:

It is a wonderful cardio AND strength-training workout, it can ACTUALLY be done in 30 minutes, and my heart-rate monitor tells me it's a good workout. I love it. That is all (I THINK our library has it -- I know we have his other book, which is also good, but the workout isn't as fast).

Mall walking: I don't really mean strolling in the afternoon (ice cream in hand) to do some window shopping. I mean getting there in the morning (our mall opens at 7, I think, before the stores) and doing an actual power-walk. Let me be perfectly clear on this: I LOATHE mall walking with a flaming passion of a thousand white-hot suns, and our mall has some awful ODOR in one corner (memo to mall management: unless you plan to steam-clean EVERY. NIGHT. there is no reason on the planet for a mall to have carpeting). However, I have been known to mall walk in a pinch. You can also brainstorm for any other sprawling buildings you may have access to: a coliseum, a church building, a school building. Even without air-conditioning, being in the shade of indoors would be better than the heat of outside.

There are so many others: exercise equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, etc. Megan is doing kick-boxing at LA Fitness, Katie got a Wii Fit, you could try Curves, a gym, an indoor sport you enjoy. Just get moving.

Because what is my mantra? "Anything is better than nothing." HOWEVER -- if you are already moving a bit, it's time to shake things up. This next week, up your exercise, either by intensity or time, by 10% in one of your workouts. Push yourself -- you may be amazed at what you are capable of doing. Don't get in a rut, and get moving!

Until next Friday, be fit!

Wednesday

Book Review: Twelve Mighty Orphans


I mentioned this book being mentioned from the pulpit one Sunday. "More with fewer" is what it reminded us of.
From the Publisher's Weekly Review at amazon.com:
Dent, who told the story of Bear Bryant's brutal preseason training of the 1954 Aggies in The Junction Boys, turns to the incredible story of Rusty Russell and his undersized team of orphans who dominated the gridiron of Texas high school football for the better part of the 1930s. True underdogs, most boys from the Masonic Home never held a real football; they used two socks stuffed together as footballs and, when Russell first took over, used Clabber Girl baking cans during practice. But the lean, scrappy Mighty Mites—as they were later dubbed—achieved an 8-2 record their first season of play in Class B. A few years later, in 1932, they moved up to Class A, the big leagues of high school football at the time. There, the Mites would face teams that outweighed them by as much as 50 pounds per man and fielded 47 players to their 12, and the orphans would win.
I didn't copy all of the review, because it was less-than-charitable about the writing. I have decided that I LOVE to hear other people's story, and this book is full of stories about people. People facing difficult-to-impossible choices regarding their own children, administrator's doing what they can during the depression to care for the orphans entrusted to them, and children growing up what they considered to be 'normally' in conditions that would make you weep. All-in-all, I give it a thumbs up.
****************************************************
AND... regarding people's story: I have decided that I like to hear other people's story so much, we're going to have a little storytelling over here. I will outline details (that include a suh-weet give-away! or... I'm sure it WILL be when I figure it out...) next Wednesday, August 13. Until then, be thinking about a family story: one that always gets told when the family gathers 'round, or one that has/had a profound impact on the way you were raised or on your beliefs as you grew up. It can be hilarious or tragic, silly or thought-provoking. Any ol' story (Roxanne, have you ever told about Hal being Shazam? Now's the time...) will do. Put your thinking cap on, and I'll let you know how and when to tell it next week.

Tuesday

Check Me Out!

I KNOW! How cute am I? And.. with the help of some free downloads AND tutorials, I did it all by myself. Which is why, yesterday if you were looking at my blog in Internet Explorer, you noticed a tiny little teal line through my blog title and if you could get the dust mites on your screen to read it to you, it was the subtitle of my blog :
“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.
And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's
grace.” — Jerry Bridges
(and, when I looked at my blog on my iphone, it was WAY bigger than 'little bitty'). I finally asked someone that knows plenty, he gave me several hints/ tips that I was too tired to examine, then in the middle of the night I had to literally smack myself on the head because it occurred to me how easy it was to fix. I do have quite a knack for overthinking/ overcomplicating pretty much everything: blog templates included!

I do know what a new blog template is going for these days, since Jen just did such a smokin' job on Coffee Group's blog. So I saved myself a few bucks -- minus the ibuprofen for the headache I gave myself -- and voila! I am, in Stephanie's words: cutified. And I am indeed. Enjoy!

I went to the big Wal-Marts yesterday. Bless. I can totally relate:

Monday

Life 101

I still remember sliding in the yellow plastic booth at The Pickle Barrel -- a local deli --when it was across the street from the church building. We placed our order and after the waitress told us it would be right out, my dad replied, "Thank you, Karen." Considering my father knows a large portion of Ouachita Parish, I asked, "How do you know her?" "I don't," he replied, "I read her nametag, but I know the sweetest sound in any language is the sound of your own name." The smile Karen produced upon being called by name was a fairly good indicator that he was right.

What a small thing -- to notice a name tag and speak as if the person wearing it is, in fact, a person. But what a huge thing to the person. Maybe we need name tags at the gym. It occurred to me last week -- the impetus for this blog in fact -- that in the two-three years I have been attending the same early morning exercise class at my gym, the instructor has never bothered to learn my name. I'm not bitter. Really, I'm not. :-) But of the 6-8 of us that have been attending faithfully in that time, I'm fairly sure I am the only one that the instructor doesn't call by name, either in greeting or farewell. "Great work, Linda!" "Glad you were here, Mike." "See you next time, Sharon." I get bupkus.

Now, since I'm not 14, I really truly have no issues about this. However, in the winters, when my bed is really warm, and the floor is really not, it's just easier to stay in bed when I know no one will be calling my name or missing me there.

Vann recently mentioned that a waitress where he was dining mentioned, "I'm surprised you remembered my name." It's such a little thing, but so precious.

Not long ago Phil spoke of the story of the man consumed by an evil spirit that Jesus healed. (Mark 5:1-20) Phil pointed out that Jesus first asked, "What is your name?" of a man completely given over to evil. With those words, Jesus reminded us that even people completely consumed by evil still have a name, still have value. And how simple is that sentence to inquire, "What is your name?"

Look for opportunities to use the name of someone who may not expect that you know it. And, if you don't know it, be like Jesus, and simply ask, "What is your name?" Then use it.

Sunday

Good Things Out There

Without a doubt, this still gets my vote for the best thing out there EVER!! :-)

You know, I have had some crazy things happen to me at Wal-mart, and I really don't even shop there -- maybe 6 times a year. But I think Bob had an experience that takes the cake...

Are you keeping up with the Coffee Group? We're posting on the blog!

Trina has some excellent thoughts from a book she read recently. She's like me: her reading genre is in the 'juvenile' section. Trina tells me the good ones to read.

Another hilarious illustrative video from my congregation.

Saturday

Observation

Earlier this week in my bicycle class at the gym, my bicycle made a squeaking noise exactly like Stickers' exercise wheel. The correlation was not lost on me.

Friday

Fitness Friday: Are You Hungry?

"Are you hungry?"
(shrug) "Meh. I could eat..."

We have this conversation often around our house. Sure -- let me eat when it's convenient or when there's food, but when I'm hungry? What's that? I find that we even plan to avoid hunger -- eat now so that I'm not hungry later; wonder what will happen if we get hungry...?

Obviously, hunger is an empty stomach. The pain or burning you feel is your stomach being hopeful of food coming its way and dumping acid in preparation for eating. Have you ever gone to bed stuffed to the gills, almost ill, from WAY over-indulging, promising yourself to NEVER eat again only to wake up so hungry you start eyeing your bedcovers? Your stomach is a fast learner! Overeat at one meal, and the next time your stomach is empty it dumps much more acid than usual in preparation for another enormous meal. The result is an almost painful hunger feeling. Fortunately, it learns the other way, too! Start eating smaller portions and your hunger sensation is still noticeable, but not nearly as uncomfortable.

Most of us can identify hunger, but seem to take great lengths to avoid it. It's simply a signal like so many others of your body. And, if you are eating small portions, it isn't horribly painful. My biggest obstacle to feeling that hunger is mindless eating. We all know that many people with big weight struggles can be emotional eaters, but I think the vast majority of us are simply mindless eaters.

I know I can be guilty of: snacking my way through the pantry while I decide what to eat; being completely satisfied or full from dinner and eating the kids' leftovers while I clear the table; snacking while I cook dinner so that I sit down to a meal not hungry in the least; eating everything (or most of it) in front of me just because I was hungry -- but not necessarily THAT hungry (I never stopped to think about how hungry I was); eating just because it's 'time to eat'.

Studies and research come out time and again that shows that every successful dieter writes down EVERYTHING they put in their mouth. The reasoning is mainly that the dieter becomes AWARE of what s/he is consuming, and the (caloric) cost of all of it.

Fitness Friday will alternate between nutrition and exercise posts, so next week will be about exercise. For this week, I would encourage you to evaluate how well you are listening to your body's cry for food: are you physically hungry? Are you uncomfortably hungry? If so, can you eat a little less this time to become less hungry next time? Are you really enjoying what you eat? More than anything, I will try to pay attention to what I'm eating. God blesses us with some AMAZING food that we inhale too quickly to notice sometimes.

Until next Friday, be fit!
 
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