Thursday

Going Viral!

As I have shown time and time and time again, we have some creative geniuses (geni?) at the church where I worship.I thought I had posted this one here, but I evidently have not. And, since it has 'gone viral' (that's evidently a good thing on youtube -- who knew?), you have probably received it in your inbox at some point in time.

Well, the super-cool thing is that the story behind it is 'going viral', as well! Woo-hoo! Some big-wig NBC guys were out here this week, and this is the result of THAT:



Preacher Phil did marvel a bit that they call our 1,800 member church 'small'. Me, too. It's not small to me! I think that it is very cool how God is using these guys, all of them.

And, if you didn't know, Rob -- the guy using the stethoscope, but not interviewed here -- is husband to my friend Tammy from Coffee Group. He's our drama dude at church -- you can see why! I love what Stephen (our communications/ video guy) said about Jesus using parables, and this is just a parable on video.

Monday

Monday

First: BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR !!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was 80* Friday. Currently 34*. No wonder we never get used to the cold here!

Had a girls' night out at Journey's Inn Bed and Breakfast. What a wonderful place. If you need a place to stay while in Abilene, or just would like a romantic 'staycation' with your hubs, that would be a great place to go! Check them out! We watched movies and played Apples to Apples which was definitely fun, but I think made all the more fun by my exhausted state of delirium. That comes a LOT earlier in the evening than it used to...

Susan -- co-owner of Journey's Inn -- has such a delightful way of looking at life. And it is SO different than the way I look at life. She mentioned recently what 'color' a day had been. Must be the artist in her...! I love that she is going to keep a record of the colors of days for a while. Beautiful!

Ashley also had a basketball tourney this weekend. I shall state this under a spiritual guise so it doesn't sound TOTALLY like bragging on my kid, but God has given that girl a gift! Oh, what joy to watch her play, delighting in using her gift! Made me wonder how God must feel when we take delight in using the gifts He has blessed us with. It also convicted me about being more purposeful about USING my gifts, instead of letting the control of the calendar rob me of that ability. Falcons played HARD for 3 games (Ashley missed the middle game -- taking the SAT) and came in 2nd in the tourney. The last game was a tough one to lose (I guess they all are...) Never fear! More basketball is on the way! Game Thursday, then ANOTHER tourney Friday and Saturday. Yay! More using of the gift! :-) And, Riley will be using his gift on Friday, as well. Austin's Spelling Bee is coming up! Spelling is definitely a gift of Riley's, and I'm excited to see him in the Bee! Very exciting weekend!

Our church is trying to transition into having 'groups' ministry: small groups to insure the care and inclusion of all members. We are a large church, and the elders are trying to see to it that no one falls through the cracks. Groups are also meant to be a family-focused time -- no 'youth group' during groups time. This has some people all in a tizzy, which kind of makes me crazy. We have a new youth minister, Ricky Pruitt. I love what he said to a group of us in class yesterday, "Your kids will look like you, not me, spiritually." Absolutely. And eeek, to boot. Just makes me wonder: of those folks that are all in a tizzy about missing that 1 hour of youth group time for their kids, how much are they worried about the other 167 hours in a week? As for me and my family -- well, yes, we shall serve the Lord, but also? We don't need one more hoop to jump through and place to show up for the kids to be entertained. I absolutely agree that having a small group of church family is imperative to spiritual survival these days. Maybe I'll write a book about that someday...

May you all have a yellow day with shades of pink and blue dabbled in!

Thursday

Survey

What to do?

I have a headache. It's not CRIPPLING, but it's not pleasant, either. (If you are experiencing a pleasant headache, you may have bigger problems than your headache). I haven't exercised yet and would like to, as soon as I can shake this headache. I need to do some writing, but thinking for the right word kind of hurts, too.

Short of lying inert waiting for medicine to work (which takes way longer than doing something ELSE while waiting for the medicine to work) what should one do while waiting for a headache to go away?

What would you do?

Wednesday

Keep the Sunny Side Up


Someone that our family spent a great deal of time around when we lived in Central TX had a sad habit of following any good news with: "Well, just my luck... {insert most negative possible outcome here} would happen..." And if the negative ever did, in fact, happen to this person, we had to hear, "Oh, that's just the way it always goes for me..."
I confess to have a VERY limited tolerance of such Eeyore-esque-type thinking. Troy said something along those lines a few days ago and, just bless him, I kind of crawled all over him for it! We've got too much to be thankful for to grinch!
Updated:
Okay, this is simply hilarious. I started this post a few days ago when Troy made that comment and I was reminded of how little tolerance I have for such thinking. But I didn't finish the post, I just scheduled it for later, which NEVER actually posts, it just becomes a draft, and I would complete it later.
So this morning I woke up to a scheduled post that posted. For the first time EVER! An incomplete post. About not grinching, not looking for life to take a sour turn or hand you a raw deal.
Even funnier than my incomplete post actually posting when it was scheduled to, my side-by-side refrigerator is freezing everything from the 3rd shelf, down -- both sides -- and doing nothing to the top 2 shelves. (problem already diagnosed, thank you). And my new exercise program seems to be doing nothing but exhausting me. And of course everyone is still suffering from financial Christmas hangover a bit. All envelopes are empty and it's live-out-of-the-pantry time at my house! There is MUCH I am tempted to grinch about. There is MUCH that I would like to say, "Well, that is JUST my luck..." (actually, I really can't even bring myself to say it, I hate that phrase that much, but I'm thinking stuff along those lines!)
But I have to think WHY I hate that phrase. I hate that phrase because I am a chosen people, remember. I am royalty, dadgumit! I have a name to wear and a King to live up to. I am called to live a life "worthy of my calling", and griping about the grit of life is NOT living a life worthy of my calling.
I really did start this to talk about getting what you look for: expect negative, you get negative. Antique Mommy wrote about planning for joy. Sometimes you have to look a little harder, but the joy is way more fun to find! Where's the challenge in finding the negative when your baby carrots are frozen solid and your frozen peas are liquified? It's just too easy. Planning for joy. Today? A challenge. But I'm on it...!

Monday

In Lieu of Blogging

So I sit here to get some real deep thought conveyed, and the whole house goes into chaos. I'm waiting for the paramedics or the police or SOMETHING to knock on the door after all the brouhaha that has ensued in the 4 minutes since I sat at the computer. So my deep thought is buried under a little bit of simmering irritation.

While I go knit a scarf or organize my spices to calm down, here's a treat. I have this on my running list, but it's obviously not a great beat. I listen to it to cool down. Love it.

Sunday

Good Things Out There

  • Well, I have to start with Carrie for being a Good Thing Out There, because I have FINALLY been able to make the button the way I wanted for this, thanks to her amazing tutorial! Carrie, you're totally a good thing! Thanks!
  • Antique Mommy has great perspective on all the stuff we just got for our kids for Christmas.
  • And thanks to Vann for pointing out this video. This hurts my heart (okay, maybe warms my heart) on so many levels. Precious, precious:

If you would like to add your 'Good Thing' button to your blog, copy the code into an 'HTML' box on your sidebar:

Friday

Concert Friday...!

Besides needing to hear the amazing lyrics of this song, I needed the weight-lifting inspiration to see Nicole Mullens' arms. I don't think I knew what she looked like -- what a physically beautiful woman of God with an amazing talent. Be blessed (looks like this was taken with someone's camera at a concert -- and I can't believe all those people are still SITTING down at the end of it. On your feet and PRAISE, people!)

Thursday

A Chosen People

I posted what my family is having for dinner tonight here. You will want to try it. I promise.

I've gotten many nice comments about yesterday's post about marriage, many of them being about me being so transparent about the struggles I personally have, as well as the struggle my marriage has survived. I have told many, many people through the years: I have begged the Lord to not let that time in my life be for nothing -- let me use it for His glory! And He has been faithful to allow that!

This morning I was doing my reading -- I'm in the middle of November in my One Year plan! A little slow I am -- in 1 Peter 2. The first verse is really tough for me -- it basically mentions ALL the things those of us who are 'basically good' really struggle with:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Um... yeah. If I allow God to look really closely at my heart -- most of those things are a constant battle for me. I'm really hung up on 'malice', honestly. Oh, and sure, it can be tied into the whole marriage thing... all of these things can.

Dictionary.com defines malice: the desire to do harm to others

I would never desire to harm someone, would I? Maybe I just need to correct their thinking just a little bit. Maybe I need them to re-think the way they parent, or spend, or attend church, or dress, or live in any way. The WAY I approach someone about any of those points can be harmful, and God has convicted me of my flippant, criticizing tone -- frequently with those people I love the most.

I can't even go on with hypocrisy, "Oh, NO! Here she comes again... (sickly sweet tone and smile) Hey!! Great to see ya!" Ummm-hummm....

Envy?... but have you BEEN to my gym and seen what those women look like? Honestly. And what those dual-income families can do and buy? Please.

Yes, the Lord has convicted me good today! And my reading today wrapped up with the best part:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Live a life worthy of my calling. Put away all that malice and envy, hypocrisy and slander so that I may declare the praises of him who called me out of it!

Wednesday

Fireproof or on Fire?

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

I haven't seen the movie "Fireproof". In part, because when it was in my little town, life was too nutty to try to fireproof anything. I really drug my feet about going, also. I have mentioned a time or twelve that Troy and I have survived a rough patch in our marriage (kind of like Katrina has been a 'rough patch' for New Orleans) and things are, this minute, better than I ever thought they would be in the middle of that (and please don't hear me say 'perfect' and please DO hear me giving God every bit of the glory for any marriage left -- without Him, we were DONE). However, there is still a little hurt and healing that God needs to take care of, and I don't know that I'm ready to go see someone else struggle through the same thing (obviously, I'm not even positive what the premise of the movie is other than 'fireproofing a marriage' -- but I'm guessing it starts with a marriage in a not-great place).

Tucker saw it recently with his wife out there on the frozen tundra where he farms when it isn't frozen tundra. In writing his thoughts on the movie, and the scripture, he talked about the scripture in Ephesians 5 is, like the movie (evidently the movie very closely acts out Ephesians 5:22-33) mostly directed to men. The scripture says again and again, "Husbands love your wives,... husbands love your wives..." However, notice (above) how v. 33 ends talking to the women. We aren't told to love our husbands. Chances are, we already do, always have, always will, no matter what he is or does. We are told to respect our husbands.

This is one of those things that I know, but don't always put into practice. Just recently -- within the last month, I think -- I had to apologize to Troy when we got home from somewhere. I made some comment -- probably trying to be funny -- that could have been demeaning to him. Truthfully, I do not remember AT ALL what it was, I just remember apologizing, and thankfully, Troy has a horrible memory so even if I asked him, he wouldn't remember either. HOWEVER -- whoever I was talking to may remember it. And they may have an impression about how I feel about my husband that is inaccurate. What if it was someone who wasn't a Christian and that was my witness? Praying God's grace over that...!

One of the comments on Tucker's blog made me realize that I have been given MANY opportunities to hear and learn this information, and I STILL have trouble actually doing it. I went to a Christian school 1st-12th grades, and 12th grade Bible class was ENTIRELY about marriage. I had both Faulkner and Brecheen for Bible at ACU, who spent YEARS giving marriage seminars, and Troy and I have been to two of those seminars as well. KNOWLEDGE isn't what makes the difference in respecting your husband (nor about any other aspect of Christianity, I guess). It's day to day living it.

The comment on Tucker's blog made me realize that's kind of a foreign concept/ idea for some women. Even though it sounds like a great idea, they may not be sure how to 'put legs on it'. In short, it means it is your job to honor your husband by the way you talk TO him, the way you talk ABOUT him, the way you respond to his decisions, the way you care about the things he cares about. Again -- I can SAY it easier than I can DO it. But God can do a LOT when I let Him.

When Troy and I were in marriage counseling, much of our discussion was around my role as "Troy's biggest cheerleader" -- not only just to him, but to other people. We all get so beat up by the world around us -- your spouse should be the last person who "puts you in your place"!! Home shouldn't be where you go to become wounded further, or a place to hide from -- home should be the safest place there is.

I have mentioned before -- maybe not here -- that Coffee Group has an unwritten rule: we do NOT husband bash. So many women's groups turn into a place to air all of their complaints about their spouse. That can turn into a VERY ugly mob-frenzy! The best part about my Coffee Group is that if any of us do need to vent about something not going well, we can vent -- but the group generally 'sides' with the husband. Because they all love him, too, and don't want anyone to talk poorly about him.

This has just been on my mind since reading that comment on Tucker's blog. Since hearing Gary Thomas at his 'Sacred Marriage' workshop (which I wrote about and can't currently find) -- I have been haunted by this thought: "As Christians, our marriages SHOULD be one of our biggest evangelism tools. They should look completely different from the world's. But they don't..." Ouch, huh? (or, in current vernacular, "I know, right?" -- whatev...)

So I must leave here and go be with my husband. And I will commit to you and him to renew my commitment to him and the Lord to respect my husband.

Which brings me to another post for another day -- AWESOME book I'm reading now...!

Tuesday

A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart

Anyone else see the irony in me STRESSING out over the cash hemorrhage (that started around Christmas) while I was leaving the grocery store -- and coming home and needing to spend 5 minutes rearranging stuff in my freezer so that I could shut the freezer door?

If I were God, I would thump a child as ungrateful as me.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16

Monday

So I'm Thinkin'...

Always dangerous to be thinkin', I know. But, yeah, I've got a few New Year's resolutions, mostly going okay so far. But more than anything as the new year rolls around (do you capitalize New Year, or only when referring to it as a holiday? so confused...) I, like many of us, take stock of me, goals, yada, yada. And, no doubt, some years I have the same resolution for several years in a row.

So, a little bit fed up with that, I of course want to simply stop and declare, "Well, that's just the way I am; I won't ever accomplish 'x'" or "I just don't have it in me to do 'y'". And, no doubt, God definitely designed me a certain way and there are certain things that are (literally) beyond my reach -- the top shelf of anywhere being one of them! I probably won't start in the WNBA anytime soon (my daughter's current dream), probably won't win the Tour de France in the next 10 years (or ever), and don't expect a Dara Torres-esque dive into the 2012 olympics from me.

But to have realistic goals and expectations of myself that I have simply fallen short of in the past, does that mean it's over forever and a done deal? More than anything, if my goals and expectations are in line with God's will for my life, am I doubting His ability to carry them through in me?

One faithful blog reader (don't know if it's okay to 'out' you here) wrote on her blog (facebook? somewhere...) that she wants to claim to be fearless this year. Fearless in Him. I love that, and think we are all called to be just that. And I think that is where many of us trip up in our goals. We get to the edge, see the unknown, see the hard work, see the patience required... and turn around to what we've always known.

I long to trust HIM beyond my abilities. I pray to relinquish the phrase "But I can't..." I just want to live each day big and loud, to His glory, and fearlessly. Wonder if I would have given an atheist a Bible...?

Sunday

An Atheist on Evangelism

Saw this yesterday on another blog. I have been completely haunted by it. This is Penn, of Penn and Teller, a professed atheist (confirmed atheist? devout atheist? don't know what you call it). He makes a point about evangelism that is the best, most succint reason/ explanation for evangelism I have EVER heard. If you don't have time for the back-story (which is patently un-fascinating) you can skip to 3 minutes in to hear it. The other thing that really struck me is how many times he had to qualify this ONE Christian that he met as 'sane' -- probably said it 5 times. Which leads me to believe that the only other people who have approached this atheist to evangelize, witness, what-have-you, could possibly fall into the 'insane' category.

Saturday

Book Review: Twilight



Last spring I saw all this stuff (okay, Flair if you must know) about being in love with a vampire, how awesome Edward is, blah-dee-blah. Whaa...t? So, I found my good friend Google, figured out some book named "Twilight" was all the rage with the young women, left it at that. Little did I know that within a few short months my daughter would be clamoring to read it, the movie would come out, and all my friends would know about Edward and Bella, as well.

I am usually one to run the other way when I see a bandwagon, and ANYTHING that someone tells me I HAVE!! TO!! READ!!! BECAUSE IT IS SO!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!! I generally stay away from, or at least approach with great trepidation (think "The Shack").

So, I could have lived the rest of my life without reading Twilight, but felt that as much as my daughter has enjoyed it (all 4 books -- is it 4? -- and went to the movie with the middle school 'book club' that discussed it) I felt I should be a bit in the know.

If you have lived under a rock for the past 4 months, let me tell you the basic premise: Bella (human) falls in love with Edward (vampire). The end. Well, obviously, there are problems because Bella needs to eat and sleep, unlike Edward, and Edward needs to eat -- Bella's blood. But he refrains, evidently making him the s*xiest main character ever, according to most females I've heard from.

As far as the moral implications -- I actually kind of like it. There is a GREAT discussion in there about refraining from what your natural urges are if they urge you to do something that is wrong. The s*x aspect is non-existent -- a few stolen kisses here and there, as it should be for a 17 year old (Edward is, of course, about 112 or something, but appears to be 17).

I didn't think the vampire aspect was scary. Creepy, yes, but not scary. I think any middle school kid would be fine with it. I let Ashley read it before I had read it because someone I trust allowed her 9 year old daughter to read it. Now that I've read it, I'm not sure I would allow a 9 year old to read it.

I've read it. Check. I may or may not hunt down the 2nd one to read, too, simply because I'm curious about what happens, but you won't catch me buying a Twilight t-shirt/ notebook/ pencil case/ tattoo any time soon. It isn't a book that I would want to demand back the time I spent reading it, but I'm not as big of a fan as others appear to be. Not a bad way to spend a few hours reading.

P.S. I don't think any males would care for it at all. A little too much teenage angst and drama, and Bella is just ... whiny? demanding? unrelenting? teenager-y? I don't know, but I can't think of any males who would enjoy her behavior.

Thursday

Elephant Mystery Solved ... Kind of...

So today I was tagged in a pic on facebook. I clicked over and Kyle (my Aflac representative!) had posted this:

(Notice the elephant is on the truck, not a trailer... hmmm....)

Anyway, if Kyle is being serious (always a gamble) he said he had talked to the guy, company name Flashback, and he makes them. That is all Kyle said. So.... I guess Mr. Flashback either doesn't have room to store it now that he made it, or he is spending all of his advertising budget on gasoline to drive around town. Now, Kyle said he makes "them". Do you honestly think there is a big market for almost-life-size elephants here in Abilene? What does Mrs. Flashback say about this? Still more mystery.

Y'all, I have to tell you -- My little Nike-mini gal that I posted on my blog is CRACKING me up. Sometimes she's doing the 'walking man'. Sometimes she's running hurdles. What cracks me up the most is when she says "I could run this with my eyes closed" because we all KNOW that I can barely run with my eyes open!

Tonight was basketball. The gym felt nice and cozy warm when I walked in from outside, but after sitting there for about 10 minutes, it was too warm to hardly stay awake! Add to that, the very young little referee positioned himself precisely where I could see NOTHING that happened in the southeast fourth of the court, which was probably only about 33% of the game! At one point, there was a tremendous crash (from that corner), the entire crowd that COULD see gave a collective, "Oooooooh..." So, I realized, "Well, someone fell REALLY hard." The gym is still completely silent at this point. I'm craning and stretching and looking around ref's rear to realize, "Oh, hey, that was my baby girl that just crashed into the gym floor." By the time I realized that she was on her feet and taking off, but I still don't know what happened. It's probably best. I do know that she landed on elbows and knees, instead of her head like the lady in front of me told me. That's gonna leave a mark.

And, tomorrow is Friday. A fairly calm weekend in store for us -- our only one this month. Anyone doing anything fun? I think I'm going elephant hunting.

Wednesday

Snoozed and Lost

This morning, I read a really great scripture that I wanted to share with you. But it's carpool week. And today is Ashley's birthday (which means I am the mother of a teenager!!!) so of course I had to take her a lunch to school. Oh, and buy a card because I always forget that her birthday comes RIGHT after everyone goes back to school. And I volunteer at Riley's school on Wednesday afternoons. Then there was a haircut, birthday dinner, church, more birthday celebration, and here I am. I have no idea what the scripture was, but I'm sure it would have rocked your socks off.

Anne signed up for this. As always, I'm 3 days late and several dollars short, but I think I shall participate. I think you should, too.

As mentioned, I am the mother of a teenager. I wasn't prepared for how old that makes me feel! And as Chondra Pierce says, "That means that now, I'm an idiot." I'm totally used to that.

And, since you aren't on facebook, I have to tell you the great elephant mystery of Abilene. Yesterday, driving through the middle of town, I saw the strangest thing. So this was my facebook status:
"Sarah is very sad I didn't have the camera phone ready when the truck carrying the ginormous elephant statue on a trailer drove by."

Very funny. Then, this morning, another facebook friend said:
"I saw the ginormous elephant statue this morning on the way to work and I didn't have my camera with me either! Yes, it was on a trailer being pulled behind a white truck! Where is the elephant going??"

Weird... there is an elephant statue cruising the streets of Abilene. Surely it has a destination...

THEN, this afternoon, Amy posted:
"OK, I'm totally 100% not making this up.... just driving home from HEB and cruising over the overpass at 83/84 was the truck carrying the elephant statue on a trailer!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!!????"

What the heck, indeed? I mean, this statue is truly a little bit larger than any baby elephants I have seen. It's a little big to be selling door-to-door, you know?

So my status tonight is:
"Sarah needs the next person in Abilene to spot the elephant statue on the trailer to stop the driver and ask him why he is cruising town with it?"

And Val said that he saw an elephant statue yesterday, too -- but not on a trailer, it was in a truck. (Cue eery music) Are there two? Are the elephants stampeding via motorized vehicles? (and one at a time because they're low on gas money?)

In short, what is the DEAL with the elephants, people???

Since we may NEVER know, make up your best story about why a man is pulling a trailer with an almost-life-size elephant statue on it around Abilene, evidently for DAYS??? What do you think could possibly be the reason?

Tuesday

Ortho and Haircuts and Carpool, Oh My!

I know it's your world, too, but every afternoon/ evening from 3-7 is just a life- marathon, isn't it? I was incredibly lazy over the holidays so getting back to a routine has actually been a nice change. But it's just so much routine! This week is typically nutty, with just all sorts of mundane appointments that never seem to be in the 'finished' column!



As I mentioned yesterday, I'm just slowly crawling back into walk/ jogging. I shouldn't have quit going to the bicycle class so soon -- my brain is suffering lack of exercise endorphins! I know that makes no sense to you, but if I don't get back on track soon, my family will probably request that I move out for a while. I'm also getting paid back for the people I have tortured while walking with me. I'm not tall, but when I walk for exercise, I walk FAST. It's what I do, how I find my endorphins! Well, flipping up your feet much faster than you are used to really works the front of your calf muscle (yes, it's the still the calf muscle, even in the front). So anytime I get a new walking buddy, they usually make it about 5 minutes into the walk until I hear, "Man, my shins are burning... let me stretch... wow... that is really on fire.." I sigh and roll my eyes and keep torturing these people. Well, my feet are flipping for about 5 minutes before my shins are aflame these days. Take great delight, walking partners!

Thank you to everyone who responded -- via facebook, email, AND comments on this blog for song suggestions! I plan to (eventually) try every last one of them. Maybe a reward to myself for getting back to running where I want to be would be an iTunes gift card to stock up! You can never give me too many! Keep sending them!

This morning, I woke up early to read my Bible before the day ran away with me. Walking down the hall in the dark I could hear Stickers' wheel squeaking. When I let Duchess out, I could hear Stickers "crunch, crunch, crunch"-ing on her food. I turned around to see Stickers' very ample bottom still on her exercise wheel while her top half leaned toward her food bowl. We have Americanized Stickers -- she is snacking while she exercises. Yeeshk. So funny.

Between my lack of exercise endorphins and some minor technology derailments of late, I have been a little grinchy. I think it's a mark of an abundantly blessed life when you allow the little things to bug you. And they have. But God is faithful and continued to bless me and this morning, after viewing my waddly little rodent, God gave me these words. Familiar words that, thankfully, increase their power to me with repitition:

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

May you soar on wings like eagles. May you run and carpool and care for and not grow weary. May you walk -- just one step in front of the other -- and not be faint. His blessings on you today.

Monday

Survey Time!

Would love your help!

After my injury, I am shuffling back into running. I would like to load my ipod with some awesome 'tunes to run by'. I would LOVE to hear what song(s) make you want to get moving or keep moving! Many places -- fitness.com, nikeplus.com, etc. all publish playlists that are popular. But when I go to iTunes, many of them are marked [EXPLICIT]. Most of my current running list is praise and worship, some is just fun, but none is [EXPLICIT]!! I try to be careful about what I cram into my feeble little brain...!

So, please, suggestions? What do you listen to? What do you like? Tell me your favorites!

Sunday

Observations

In a foggy corner of my mind, I recall reading a book of fables as a child. I'm sure it was old even then. One of the fables told of a poor fisherman (one of the ways you know it's old) going to the 'wise man' in his village to inquire about what to do about his discontent wife: she was very dissatisfied with their tiny, tiny little home and was demanding he buy her a larger house. The wise man told him to keep a donkey in the house, and return in a week to see him. (you also know it's old because the wife didn't pack up and call the lawyer at this point). The next week, the wise man told the man to keep the donkey in the house and add two goats. This continued for a few more weeks until the house was a menagerie of farm animals. The final time, the wise man told the poor old man to take all of the animals out of the house. At this point, the wife was delighted with the vast spaciousness of her 'new' (animal free) house.

I think of that fable every year as we haul the Christmas decorations out of the house. *whew* I love my nice new, clutter-free house. (From December 1-25, they are called "decorations". Starting December 26, it is "clutter", from my vantage point).

Nothing kills any family harmony that may have built up over the holidays like the whole family "working together" to put Christmas away. Not a silent night, holy night.

Saturday

Not Resolutions, Exactly

Vann pointed me to this article/ blog post about summing up your goals for the New Year in 3 words. When I first heard the concept, I immediately came up with 3 words, but as I read the article, my words evolved to be more inclusive.

Here is what I settled on for 2009:

Seek. Do. Purpose.

Seek -- the Lord with all my heart; what's best for my family; health; order (always seeking order...)

Do -- as in, 'Just Do It'; stop planning, procrastinating, rationalizing, but DO!

Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else. Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Purpose -- do on purpose; have intention and purpose; Intentionality, my favorite word

I would love to hear yours. Do you have 3 words for the year?

Friday

Fitness Friday: Wii Fit Review


So, I mentioned that we got a Wii and Wii Fit for Christmas. And we are LOVING it! The kids are actually using the Wii Fit more than the other games. I think because you can actually compete against the rest of your family in balance, strength, yoga, and aerobics. It's VERY fun -- and we can see whose strengths lie where. Mine is in yoga because I have good balance, but oddly enough, I do horribly on the balance games. Mainly because all of the balance games require you not only to have balance, but to respond and have reasonable reflexes, which I do not.


Okay, so you're wondering if you should sink the bucks into the Wii and/or the Wii Fit to aid you in your own workouts. Should you? Good question. Like everything else, it depends. Overall, though, I would give it a resounding YES! You need a Wii Fit!


The Wii Fit first gives you an 'age test': by measuring your center of balance (while standing on two feet), your BMI (based on height and weight), and then will give you 2 other balance tests (can vary). My age has ranged from 48-21! I have realized that the age has less to do with BMI (sadly, since it's been the holidays, mine continues to increase) and more with balance. Again, I'm pretty good at balance, but with my ankle still recovering, I've had a little trouble with it. But it's just an arbitrary age that is going to fluctuate depending on the day.


Then you can do 'training'. The training has 4 components:

yoga

strength training

balance games

aerobics


You get about 5 activities in each component to begin. The more you play/ exercise, the more activities you unlock and open. Balance games and aerobics are fun enough to keep my kids working on them. Yoga and strength training look suspiciously like exercise, so they are avoided by the younger crowd around here.


The balance games are FUN -- everyone in the family enjoys them. Troy and I are having a slalom skiing competition. I got pretty good beginner's luck and cannot top my own score now! Bummer! That is also where you see the kid trying to head the soccer ball on the commercial. I am HORRIBLE at that. They kick soccer balls at you that you are supposed to hit back, which I can almost do with about 50% accuracy, but THEN they start kicking shoes and huge panda heads (which look like soccer balls!) and if you get hit with those, you lose points. I'm just so bad at it.


The aerobic component is what, to me, is the most lacking. It is fun, and it will get you moving and keep you warm, but it isn't enough for an actual aerobic workout. But it is SOMETHING, and remember? "Anything is better than nothing."


I think the Wii Fit will be a great addition to my fitness routine. I don't see it REPLACING anything I'm already doing -- it just isn't enough. But it will be a great supplement to what I'm doing, and a great way to stay up on my yoga and strength on days when the gym may not have a class that I can get to.


Besides an unimpressive aerobic component, the biggest drawback to the Wii Fit is not being great for beginning exercisers. The strength training and yoga give detailed instructions, but they leave out tiny tricks that I know from doing such for years that could help someone be successful. I just don't know if a brand new beginner would be able to be successful enough and make appropriate modifications as necessary to continue to exercise. I do think there is enough that a beginning exerciser COULD do to get active and have fun, though.


I think the Wii Fit is a wonderful tool to measure PARTS of your fitness, and a wonderful addition to an exercise program. I also think it would be a fun way for someone who hates exercise to get started, but I don't think it should be the entirity of your fitness plan for more than a few weeks.


If you would like a little more info, this is a little more detailed.


Have fun and be fit!


Thursday

Happy New Year!

Or, as Joshilyn called it, "Happy O CRAP I JUST WROTE 2008 ON MY CHECK Day"!

Well, again, life has changed my plans for me, and the blogging took a little hiatus (but if you would sign up to facebook or Twitter, you could have been RIGHT THERE with me through all the drama!) Thankfully, the drama wasn't huge or life-altering, but it was plan-changing, for sure.

Left to go to Louisiana on Saturday the 27th. Fairly uneventful, but Troy's stomach was a little unsettled. Truthfully, if both of us have gone 24 hours with a happy stomach in the last 5 years, I don't remember it, so neither of us thought much of it. Sunday we went to worship with the family, then lunch. Troy, even trying to not over-indulge, and stay away from sweets, still didn't feel well.

The cousins had a grand time playing together and took on a soccer game, headed up by my brother Kevin. My kids and I went to see my grandmother early Sunday evening and heard many more stories about her youth. The older I get, the more I love to hear those stories. My grandmother's hearing is all but totally gone, so conversations are very difficult, but her mind is AMAZING and she loves to tell the stories of 'those days'. I love to hear them, and the kids tolerated them. Riley, ever curious (told me in the car today: "Did you know that 1 in 2,000 babies are born with teeth and that the preying mantis is the only insect that can turn its head?" That is my life with him 24/7) returned to my parent's house and started major researching our family tree. "Who was Mamaw's mom? Did she have sisters? Who else am I related to?" Thank heaven for the internet! I've already done much of that research stuff at myheritage.com. Very interesting!

Monday we were lazy. I did a little workout, the kids did some more soccer and football and such. I think it was late Sunday night I got an email from my Abilene Families editor that if I had something to turn in, she could still take it (it was about 10 days post-deadline, so I figured I would just be left out this month). I went and did some writing at the local public library. All this while, Troy was still feeling not-too-great, leaning toward actually sick. He stuck to a baked potato for dinner Monday night, but continued feeling worse and worse. I did a little packing up -- we were supposed to come back to Abilene Tuesday morning, after all.

Tuesday morning we got up... to keep a long story from getting eternal, Troy said there was NO WAY he could travel 8 hours in the pain he was in. His stomach had graduated from "rolling" to just constant, excruciating pain. We ended up going to a minor emergency clinic where they were VERY nice to us and very kind and thorough, but didn't have the equipment to be sure what was wrong with Troy. They gave him a shot to manage the pain, then sent us to the ER. Oy. The ER.

They actually got us back in a room in less than an hour, so I thought they may have been okay. Listen up, folks, I am bordering on being an expert in emergent medical care. Those of you that think we have it bad in Abilene? Try getting sick in N. Louisiana. Yeeshk. I (guess) they know what they are doing, but here in Abilene -- I am a person caring for a sick person that I am with. The sick person I am with is treated with kindness and care, and I am respected and taken care of, as well. This time? I didn't exist unless I tripped someone going down the hall to say, "Excuse me, what exactly am I waiting FOR???" Troy wasn't a person to treat, he was a pain scale and a respiration rate to 'fix'. No one would acknowledge either of us upon entering the room, only tend to the numbers. I do take that back -- the dr. was okay, and one elderly guy, no idea what his 'ranking' was in the pecking order around there. He did Troy's EKG. I don't think Troy or I have ever had an EKG, and it was all I could do to not take a picture with my phone to post on the World Wide Web. I told my parents that it looked like they were trying to jump-start Troy. But the shots Troy had gotten were taking effect and he was barely conscious (that's why they were concerned with his respiration rate-- dropped a little low for a while) but that one guy told Troy everything he was doing and ended it with a 'Mistuh Troy' in a southern drawl. I doubt Troy remembers him at all, but of the 8-10 people we saw that day, he's basically the only one who acted as if either of us was a people.

Troy got sent home with the drugs starting to wear off, a Rx for some anti-cramping elixir, and a diagnosis of 'acute viral gastroenteritis and dehydration'. They gave him a bag of fluids in the ER, and told him to push the fluids that night, no solid foods, yada, yada. So instead of traveling back to Abilene we made it as far as the ER and back to my parent's house and my precious parents continued to sleep not in their own bed so Troy could be close to a bathroom if needed. We stayed one extra day for Troy to get caught up on fluids and calories. We came home today, 2 days late, but with Troy much better than 2 days ago. So very thankful.

Oddly enough (or not) I wrote the following on Monday for my looming deadline for the Valentine's Day issue of Abilene Families:

"Love is not a polished, glimmery state. Love is messy, inconvenient, and frustrating. Love is giving up the last ounce of energy, sleep, time, or chocolate for the well-being of another. Love isn’t found in romantic restaurants or destinations, but in hospital waiting rooms, the lobby of funeral homes, and kneeling in prayer next to race-car or princess beds in the middle of the night. Love is less about flowers and cartoon hearts, and everything about the value of another soul on this planet. I guess that’s a little harder to put on the side of a coffee mug."

I counted it my honor and privilege to be the caregiver of my hubs that day, and I am SO thankful we got sent home without surgery or major issues looming -- which were tossed out as possibilities. I'm thankful to be back at my house safely. I'm thankful for the family care we all received when we weren't at home.

So, plans got changed, all is well, and Troy and I are watching our Netflix 'Dreamgirls' to kick off 2009. And perhaps tomorrow I will think of where I would like to be by 2010. For right now, I am precisely where I want to be!

Happy New Year!
 
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