Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When My Friends Are Hurting

Generally speaking, I'm not terribly quick to anger. I mean, I have a temper, sure. And I work on being more patient and such. And I am known to get frustrated with things. All feelings that pretty much just come and go. But to really get me angry... it doesn't happen all that often. But lately, there has been a new trend crossing my path. And I'm angry. Friends often have bad things happen in their lives- it happens to all of us. Life is about the ups and downs. A death in the family, the loss of a child, a tragic injury from a car accident, the loss of a home to a fire, losing a job, and so on. And I certainly hurt for my friends when they are hurting. But the anger thing... see, that one happens a lot more rarely. I get angry when another person goes out of their way to cause hurt to one of my friends. I get frustrated because it isn't my battle to fight. As much as I would like to simply issue a challenge for the mean person to meet me in the parking lot at 3:00 so I can kick their ass... well, it just isn't my place. And that is a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I have at least 3 friends who are hurting right now because of the actions or words of others. A blog friend from whom I gain much strength and inspiration, an internet friend who became a real life friend who offers so much support, understanding and humor, and a real life friend who is always there for me and can lift me out of a troubled spot anytime. Important people who don't deserve the hurt being heaped on them lately. If it was just bad crap happening, I would be far more understanding. Crap happens. All the time. To good people and bad people. Crap has no limits when it comes to age or sex or faith or anything else. Bad stuff simply happens and we have to deal with it. But when bad stuff happens at the very purposeful choosing of another person... another person who has, themselves, experienced their own rounds of crappiness in life, who knows what it feels like to hurt or be picked on or be betrayed... but who seems to forget that their actions, their words, their choices have ramifications that they have some sort of overall responsibility for... It just sucks. And I get angry. The anger becomes frustration at my lack of being able to do something or fix something. And then I pray. And then I focus on what I can do. I can be here to listen. I can offer advice or soothing words or simply a shoulder to cry on. I can be the rock that my friend needs at that moment. I can take some of that hurt, perhaps, and absorb it. Either way, I hope that those friends of mine who have been deeply hurt by the actions of people they respected, people they loved, people they thought they knew... I hope they know that I won't hurt them that way, that I am here to support them and love them through the hurts, and that I can get angry with them and also help to soothe that anger. Because that's what friends are really for. A friend can't be defined by the hurt they cause. A friend is defined by the love and blessings they bring into our lives. I have many friends who bring much love and many blessings into my life. I hope that I am able to give that love back to them tenfold in these times when someone else is being a shithead. And for those people who DO hurt my friends... feel free to let me know and I will make arrangements to meet you in the parking lot after work... just stand right in the middle so I don't miss you when I drive in.

I'm adding this to Shell's weekly carnival- Pour Your Heart Out. Photobucket

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Thought I Loved You...

Last summer, I wrote about falling in love with a Verizon phone- the EnV Touch. And I still have deep feelings for that phone. It's a good phone. It takes good pictures, it is reliable for texting and SMS messaging, it can access the internet if I want it to, it has a full keyboard, the Bluetooth in my van works with it really well... it's a good phone. But... I've been having a little side affair. It started out innocently enough. I was testing a phone for Verizon- the Palm Pre Plus. In all honesty, I wasn't too excited about it because I'm kind of scared of "smart" phones. It's intimidating to think that a phone can do more than I know it can do. I was hesitant to really use it at first. And now the time is coming that I have to send it back. And I don't wanna. Or maybe I'm ok with sending this phone back but only because I'm realizing that my true love is elsewhere. I got to play with the Motorola Droid when it was first released. And I was mighty impressed with it but was concerned about data charges and such. Once I started to really play with this Pre Plus, I'm realizing that I don't really use the device to sit and scour the internet or anything. I use data but I can't imagine I would go over any data limits each month. Things I like: - I like the feel of the phone. - I like that the screen isn't going to come on from random touch interactions in my pocket or purse. - I like the slide out keyboard. - I like the crisp image quality of the screen. - Battery life seemed to be pretty good. I didn't have to charge the phone every night so the apps and pics and using the different functions aren't just complete battery drains. Things I love and will miss and dream about and mourn when the phone is gone: - My phone being connected to Google. I have my gmail at my fingertips. I have my Google Calendar at my fingertips- that's the part I really, really love. I can pop on and check our schedule anytime. Makes it so easy to schedule doctor appointments or to book in time for school things or work things or weekend things. I don't have to rely on being near a computer to access one of the greatest tools that our family uses to stay organized. It's in my Palm! - I can take a picture and immediately send it by text, by e-mail, or load it directly to Facebook. I also love that when I take a pic, the phone automatically saves the picture- I've lost some great pics on my EnV because I accidentally hit the wrong option after taking a pic and I end up erasing the pic or the video I just got. - Apps. I have found some fun apps, some pointless apps, and some very useful apps. Pointless- Party Sign. You type in a message and it scrolls it across your screen in big letters. Fun but pointless. Useful- AccuWeather. I love grabbing the forecast at any given moment. Fun- Dumb Waiter. It's so you can best calculate the tip on your bill but it's based on the performance and quality of the experience and food and not just a straight percentage. Another really useful one is SmartRunner. It's affiliated with the SmartRunner website. I carry my phone when I do my run or my running workout and it tracks my speed and distance. Which means it's an awesome tool for determining my pace when not on the treadmill! What I would improve: - Speed. I'm a bit spoiled because the Droid had speed down to a science. That thing is fast when loading apps, pulling up apps, bringing up e-mail and so on. In all honesty... Even though I just got my EnV Touch last summer, I am due for a new phone at some point soon (got my little notification letter in the mail). My Chocolate 3 went to my brother (we share a plan). Maybe I could look at the cost considerations between the Droid and the Palm Pre Plus and get me a new phone and pass the EnV Touch on to him... And that is often the deciding factor. Cost. I'm on the Family Share plan because Ted and I share the plan. It works out best in the long run- and I have oodles of minutes because of the plan requirements to be on a shared plan and he is a very conscientious plan sharer. If I were to go with a Palm Pre Plus or with the Motorola Droid, I would be increasing my bill because of the data plan requirement. But... it's awfully tempting to have my calendar at my fingertips, my social networking more accessible, my online life in my pocket. The Droid is faster and has a 5 megapixel camera and has more Google functionality. *drool* The Droid costs $200. *heart attack* The Palm Pre Plus has a 3 megapixel camera and I've been happy with the images. It's a little slower but not hugely slower. The Pre Plus costs $150. Better than the Droid but... for $50 more dollars... more speed, better camera.... I'd most likely still go with The Droid. I really do love this Palm Pre Plus. It's been a great little phone. But it's making me long for The Droid... like it's an introductory drug that's making me see what I was missing before. I'd honestly be pretty darn happy with either phone and there are a lot of things that are a toss up (I like the feel of the Palm Pre Plus in my hand better than the feel of the Droid, for example). Photobucket

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Motivation

The one thing I like best about having that Facebook Fan Page is that it gives me a chance to interact with my readers more. I sometimes write notes and share pictures that don't make it to a blog post. Or I'll share a random thought and it might generate some discussion. Yesterday afternoon, I shared this picture:

And I explained the picture... 2 years ago, Christy and I joined our gym. We jumped in with lots of energy and motivation. Our trainers (the gym is owned by a trainer- Brad- and a personal trainer- Bridget- is employed there) started a lunch hour boot camp and we started to see body changes. I was very excited to see things firming up. I wasn't changing my eating, just adding in 3-4 days a week at the gym, 2 of which were this intense session of calisthenics. I bought some jeans from Old Navy online. A size 16 "flirty" style and a size 14 "curvy" boot cut style. I figured I should be able to wear the 16 right away and then shrink into the 14. I couldn't get them on- either pair. It was very frustrating. I folded them up and tucked them away. Yesterday- I pulled them out again. And tried them both on. And the size 14 jeans actually fit better than the size 16! I wore them for the afternoon and really liked them! There is a friend I've made recently- through Fit City, in fact- that was another drip in my pool of inspiration to start the Couch to 5K running program. Her name is Emily and we keep finding things we have in common and we both want to meet up someday. Emily left this comment on the photo: Oh, and post topic request (or point me in the right direction since I'm a newer reader!)- you have referenced your new eating habits- food for fuel, but I'm curious how you got your head around how to shift what you're buying/cooking/planning for your food. Where did you start- how has it evolved- where do you look for food inspiration? I'm looking to clean up my food habits- and *I* am looking for that inspiration- I knew you were the place for me to start! Motivation is hard to pinpoint, I think. Because if it was easy, none of us would struggle to be motivated to eat better and exercise more, right? The thing that motivated me to get back to the gym- after months of slacking off- was the episode of Desperate Housewives with the fantasy sequences of what life would have been like "if." It was the Fat Susan episode. It was a lightbulb moment for me. It happened to coincide with a time that my blog friend Amy was starting the BetterU Challenge (you can find the links to her blog in my Fat Susan post). Those 2 things combined lit a small fire.

In February, I started my new gig as a mom blogger for Fit City. This was another boost. I had this new focus and awareness of opportunities for healthy living, moving more, eating better. I attended a Fit City Twitter chat with a trainer from the YMCA who was talking about keeping motivation through the winter months. The thing that stuck with me that time was the idea of breaking down daily activity into 15 minute increments. Finding 15 minutes 4 times a day to get up a move- I can get on my Wii, I can do calisthenics in front of the TV, I can march in place at my desk during a conference call. A couple of weeks later, there was a chat about nutrition. Yet again, something stuck with me- not something I never knew before, but something that hadn't stuck in the right place. You get out what you put in. If you consume junk, your body's performance will be junk. If you put in healthy foods, your body will perform better.

Around this same time, I had been having conversations with Bridget (trainer at the gym) about what to eat and when before a workout. My energy was sliding, my stamina would fade by the end of the 30 minutes of our boot camp sessions. I'd burn out and my body would start to fail. There were days that my body wasn't working right because I wasn't feeding it properly before the workout. Bridget made some recommendations and one worked- a mini whole wheat bagel with a little peanut butter.

Because that tip worked, I suddenly began to take notice of how my body felt and performed based on what I would eat. At the end of February, I blogged about making a change in what I chose to eat for lunch. And soon, I wrote about this new desire to be a Healthier Me.

Pretty soon, my focus was really sharply focused on what I consume. I would have something in front of me that would normally tempt me... but I wouldn't want it because that would mess up my planned intake of fruits, veggies, healthy dairy, lean protein. I didn't want to fill up on Cheetos, I wanted to fuel up on strawberries with plain yogurt. Something about the way food was impacting my body had clicked in the course of events leading up to March 1.

In the past month, I've become completely aware of what I eat and why I eat it. I'm not eating clean 100% of the time. This past weekend, I totally made some stress eating choices in the midst of my "single parenting" weekend. But I made them knowingly and was fully prepared to make up for it in the gym today.

Emily, I don't know if I answered your question really well. I guess the things that motivated me... my goal to become a runner, paying attention to what is in food (reading labels), focusing on fuel and not feed, and a building up of a desire to become healthier and stronger... those are the things that eventually became my motivation.

And fitting into those size 14 jeans is certainly giving me a push in the right direction! Photobucket

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pretending To Be A Single Mom

Jeff went out of town this weekend. A well deserved getaway with a few friends to a "haunt show" in St Louis in preparation for the upcoming True Dungeon at GenCon this summer. He left Friday evening and returns today. No big deal. Most of the time. Friday evening, we were invited to a special event at The Children's Museum. Christy came along to help and play. We didn't get home until almost 9:30 and both kids stayed awake the entire drive home. Christy brought over a bottle of wine and we watched a little TV. Zach got up at 11. He never does that. And he would not go back to sleep. Christy went home soon after and he still refused to go to bed. He cried for Daddy. He wanted Daddy and Mommy just wouldn't cut it. I finally had to put him to bed, shut his door, and walk away. He called for me a few times and soon just found his thumb and went to sleep. And woke up at 4. And at 5:30. And was up for the day, with his sister, at 6:30. So we started Saturday off already tired and run down. Baths first thing. Off to an event at Teagan's school. Then to the grocery store. Then home and the kids played on the deck. Until Zach fell into the thing of bubbles and soaked his pants. Inside, stripped down. On the potty, fighting me taking his clothes off. He falls in the toilet. Into the tub and rinsed off. Into a clean shirt and udnerwear and into bed for a nap. Every time each child is unhappy with what is going on, they want Daddy. I know that part of it is just a wanting the other parent in the hopes of getting a different answer. I also think part of it is that not having Daddy here makes the world different and something is missing for them. Teagan had a 45 minute meltdown after dinner over socks. Tried to get the kids out for a walk but Zach was too tired to walk further than the corner and I wasn't going to try and dig out the stroller. Bedtime wasn't easy but wasn't awful, either. Phone calls to Daddy helped. Both children have fallen asleep and I can sit and relax a bit. Recent posts have been about "how I do it all." I couldn't do even half of it without my husband and his support. Tomorrow, I am giving up singing at church because I can't be up front singing and leave both kids unattended in the seats. I can't leave Zach in the nursery for 4 hours. So I'll go and help with the first service processional for Palm Sunday. I'll do the Children's Choir. And I'll help with processional for second service. And then we will head home. I can't do it all and I know my limits and I know when I have to change something. It's no secret; it's just something that is emphasized for me when Jeff is away for a weekend. I need my partner. We got married and opted to start a family because we are both in it together. It's one of the most amazing things about my marriage. We work hard at it and I so appreciate that we found each other, chose each other, and choose each other over and over again. Honey- I missed you. The kids missed you. We are all so glad you are home. Now, excuse me for a few hours while I go take a long nap. Photobucket

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Goal Reached

On April 17, I will be walking and running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. As you know, I've been training to become a runner. Initially, my goal was to run it. At least most of it. I'd be 8 weeks into my training and should be able to run a good amount of it. But I'm not doing the Race so that I can run. I'm doing it to show solidarity with other women, to promote awareness of women's health issues, to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to remember those who have lost their battle, and to celebrate those who are fighitng and who have fought and won their own breast cancer battles. I have to admit- I don't have a lot of cancer close to me. From what I know of my genes, my family medical history is relatively breast cancer free. I've had friends who knew someone affected by breast cancer. I've worked with people who have had breast cancer. But breast cancer hasn't really impacted my life directly. Until this past summer. I'm part of a local online community for moms. I've been part of it since the beginning and, soon after joining, became part of the staff as a Discussion Leader. Some members come and go. Some members stay around. Some are moms that I really respect and admire. Some have very similar viewpoints and experiences to my own and some are vastly different. One of those moms who was almost always on the opposite side of an argument from me was Michele. We weren't friends but we knew each other. And I'd heard through other mom friends that she truly did live her Christian values- she would give you the shirt off her back. In April or May, she shared with us that she had cancer. The same day that she shared her diagnosis of breast cancer, Jeff and I had an impromptu date. We went bowling and then played putt-putt. I should have known that my life was about to change dramatically... that God was about to step in and push me beyond my comfort levels. There was a woman and boy in front of us. We started chatting and it turned out that this was Michele's sister and son. At the end of June, Michele's fight crashed. She was hospitalized. She was in a coma. Friends of the family kept us, on the message board, up to date. No one knew what to do. We had seen moms lose a husband, even lose a child. But we hadn't lost one of us. We started organizing to bring meals to her family at the hospital. I work near the hospital and offered to meet moms in the church's chapel so we could pray together. My second day doing that, the 3 of us decided to go upstairs to see Michele and her family. That was the decision that changed my life. We met her husband, her parents, her sister, their pastor. There was a lot of crying and hugging. Michele was not awake or alert. The connection had been made. It was clear that our purpose was to lift up this family as they faced and went through the most impossible situation they'd faced- the loss of this mommy. The moms came together again for the funeral. None of us were there to intrude- we all made ourselves available to take care of each other and, most importantly, Michele's family. We brought food and ran to the store to buy more food. We made sack lunches to send on the 2 hour drive to the cemetary. Everything was done with love and compassion. It was amazing to see what these moms could do when they came together. I've stayed connected to Michele's sister and husband. Our moms came together to bring Christmas to the family. For several months after her death, our moms continued to give money to a fund we had set up. There were auctions and fundraisers organized by the moms. Things eventually quieted- but we are all ready to jump to action if Tim says the word. Fast forward to now. The online community has participated in the Indianapolis Race for the Cure every year for at least 5 years now. I've never done it. Remember the top of the post? Breast cancer hadn't impacted me so it really just wasn't on my radar. But this year... now it's different. Now I know a dad who is struggling to parent 4 children- including children with special needs. Now I know a sister who doesn't have her best friend to call every day. Now I know a mother who had to bury her child. So this year, I will walk with Tim and with our moms. Some of our moms are survivors. Some have been affected by cancer stealing away a parent or sibling. Some are there simply because they are passionate about the cause. Some of us will walk and some will run and some will walk and run. All of us are trying to raise money. Yesterday, with a donation showing her support of my choosing to walk, Michele's sister made a donation that pushed me past my fundraising goal. A large donation was made by my friend Lori on behalf of her and her husband's company, True Adventure. They are the people that Jeff works with on that dungeon thing he does at that gaming convention in Indianapolis each summer. I have a check from my father in law that I will deposit and give on his behalf. Even though I have surpassed the fundraising goal, I want to do better. I want to do more. For Michele and for others like her. So if you can, would you please consider donating even a small amount? $5, $25, $10. Any and every amount helps. Click on the button at the top of this post or in my sidebar to go to my Race for the Cure page and make a donation. E-mail me and I will hook you up with my Paypal information or you can even mail me a check like my friend Julie- who I lost touch with after junior high- did. Thank you. Photobucket

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back to Fragmentin' on Friday and Feelin' Good!

Mommy's Idea

I missed last week... but I'm catching up this week!! It's Friday Fragments time!! And let's go ahead and Feel Good while we're at it!! Fragment:

It can be really tough eating in a restaurant with an active 2 year old. Zach wants to climb under the table, run around, talk to people, look through windows- everything but eat or color. We ate at Red Robin the other night and they had him hooked. Nickelodeon cartoons. No sound- just the animation. And he stayed mostly quiet and calm. Mostly.
And what does it take to keep grown ups entertained? We had lunch with Jeff's parents on Sunday after church... they were very enthralled with the kid's activities placemat...
Fragment:
To finish up my Numbers post from yesterday...
Cholesterol 140
Triglycerides 95
LDL 77
HDL 44
You can read up on cholesterol and see that most of my numbers are really good! I need to work on my HDL- the good cholesterol. Gotta get that number up!
Feel Good:
My kids being silly together always makes me feel good! It might look like they are experimenting with motherhood... but they're not. Know what they are doing?

Hiding their balls. For realz, yo.

Feel Good Fragment:

I got an award!! I love blog awards... my friend Mary at Clean Shavings has honored me with the Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you!! Go visit her- she's is sometimes fun, sometimes passionate, very open and honest about her life, sometimes serious, sometimes frivolous.

I apparently need to tell you 7 things about myself and then pass this on to 7 other bloggers.

1. I was born in California.

2. I've discovered Poland Spring sparkling water with fruity flavor essence. My favorite is Raspberry Lime- especially if I add a wedge of real lime!

3. I often have bonus posts and pics and such on my Facebook fan page. At first, I wasn't sure I would use my fan page, but I like having a place where I can write Notes about eating, exercise, frustrations and get pretty immediate feedback. So if you aren't a fan yet, I'd love it if you'd join us!

4. Jeff has me watching Battlestar Galactica now. I'm hooked- thanks to those who recommended it (I think it was C. Beth and Mimbles)!

5. I've been asked to do something for my church that I've never done before. I haven't made my final decision to do it- but am really leaning towards it. Actually, by the time this posts, the decision will be made!

6. One of my favorite books growing up was The Album of Horses. I had a hard cover copy of it and lost track of it years ago. I named every horse in it and made up stories about them. I used to pretend that our apartment stairwell was a stable. I miss that book.

7. They have turned the air up FULL BLAST at work. It's now loud in my office and cold- even with my space heater going full blast- which adds to the loudness. I've put in a request to have my vent closed. I'm not usually one to be cold- but I'm icy!

And 7 blogs to pass this along to would be...

C Beth Blog

The Girl Next Door Grows Up

Mellodee Musings

Away We Go

As Cape Cod Turns

Whacked Daddy Mocha Dad

Final Fragment
I'd love some ideas. I've been feeling stuck about what to do for my next Facebook inspiration picture. I've done "You are beautiful." "You deserve joy!" ""You are loved" "You inspire" and "You are stronger" I want to do another but am feeling stuck... so what are short phrases you most want to hear that lift you? Photobucket

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Numbers

3/24- My first physical in a decade. And in medicine, the numbers matter. Weight: 240 on Mar 1 227 on Mar 24 Blood pressure: 112/78 Later today, I'll add my blood work numbers to my Healthier Me page. $675 The hospital bills have come in from Zach's urological issues in Jan and Feb. We go in for his follow up today- I fully expect that he will pass with flying colors. 15% I got a raise at work. Kind of. When my company was acquired, we all had to be "mapped" into 3M's job descriptions and pay grades. I ended up in the group who were underpaid. 3M developed a plan to give small increases over the course of 3 years to bring us up to the very bottom of our pay scales. Yes, there are many, many, many problems with that. Anyway, back in January, I got a 3% increase for that project. In March, I got a similar increase for my merit increase. And yesterday, I found out that, in April, I'm being bumped up to the bottom of my pay scale- 3M found a way to put those funds into the salaries of those impacted. It's quite a big jump for me- an overall 15% increase! $25 That's the amount of money I've been able to raise for The Race for the Cure so far. I have a $50 donation to make from my father-in-law, too. I'm really hoping to be able to raise more money and at least meet my minimum goal of $150. I'm halfway there! Personally, the most important number to me is 11312. That's my bib number for the Race for the Cure. Never dreamed I would ever have a bib for a 5K of any kind! Photobucket

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thoughts on Death. Or, Really, the Afterlife.

I have a good online friend named Lynn. We've known each other for more than 7 years now. We met on an Atkins Diet online community. She has offered me a lot of support and friendship over the years- especially when Teagan was an infant and I struggled with nursing. She's a vibrant, loving, compassionate, fun woman and I'm honored to know her. Last week, she left a comment on my Facebook page. I have an idea for a blog when you run out of material. Something that may turn into more than one post....but something I'd LOVE to hear your opinion on and read about from you. I would like you to share what you think death means in terms of where we go from there. And what your concept/vision/idea is of heaven and our afterlife. I'm searching deep these days...you might have my answer or my inspiration :) The first thing that comes to mind when I start to ponder my thoughts on the subject is that I don't fear death. I'm not seeking it out or anything. And death is certainly equated with sadness in most situations. But I think of death as part of life and as a homecoming. I believe that funerals, burial, and cremation are human creations for the sake of human comfort and closure. I believe that when I die, I will go to heaven. I believe that in heaven, I will be like a force of energy that can touch all of the loved ones who have passed before me. I believe that as that energy, I will realize the impact that I had on people in my lifetime. I believe that God's eternal kingdom is more infinite and undefined than what our human limits can comprehend. I believe that in death, I will understand the Truth. I believe that we will meet those who have hurt us. I believe in God's forgiveness of my sins and also of theirs. I believe that in our most pure forms, the hurts that were done as humans will be gone as they can't exist in heaven.

I believe that heaven has no definition of pain, of suffering, of hurt, of angst, of depression. I believe that the purpose of heaven is to focus the powerful, positive energy that grows with the adding of each soul. To focus it back to the life forms that God has created. I believe that as that energy grows, it eventually will spill over and that is when heaven and earth will become one. I believe that the positive energy forces in heaven help to deliver God's enduring love to humanity in the form of compassion, peace, joy, and so on. I think that the force of the energy of these pure souls guides even those who don't believe in God and can open hearts to His love. This is different from angels. I firmly believe that angels are very real. I believe that angels have a very specific purpose- part of God's workforce, if you will.

Those are my starting thoughts. Here's what I'm going to do today... I'm going to continue to edit this post. If anyone has questions, leave a comment. I don't have all the answers. I don't have all the questions. When it comes to solidly defining questions related to my faith, I pray before I start writing and then I just let it go. I almost feel like I'm channeling that energy, to a degree. I don't think it through or censor myself or go back and edit. I just pray and write.

I hope I did it justice, Lynn...

PART TWO:

Flartus, I've thought a lot about heaven vs hell. And I do believe in hell. But I've not found a desire to focus on who does or doesn't go to hell. I believe that God is compassionate and forgiving. I believe that those who truly repent, even at the last opportunity, are absolved of their sin. I believe that I'm going to heaven. And I believe that if I try to figure out who is going to hell or what kind of people will end up in hell, that I'm essentially judging others and I really strive to not be that kind of person. The devil doesn't really hit my radar much. I don't live my life in fear or distrust or concern about his trickery. I know my faith is strong and I live it and grow in it every day.

I also find it interesting when I hear other people having similar beliefs about what heaven will be like. I didn't grow up being taught this idea. I grew up thinking that heaven was an awesome place that was like earth, basically. Mansions and streets lined with gold and all that.

And I also believe that lots of people have lots of different ideas about what heaven is and what they need it to be. And that's ok, too.

PART THREE:

I was in the car, listening to The Diane Rehm show on NPR. The guest was Lisa Miller- talking about heaven and the history of the beliefs about heaven and what about hell and all that jazz.

Check it out here- you can even opt to listen to broadcast. Photobucket

I'm adding this to Shell's weekly carnival- Pour Your Heart Out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FitCity: Am I A Runner?


Today, I posted over at Fit City. It's about my adventures in becoming a runner- a label I certainly never dreamed I'd have!!

So please come and visit me over at Fit City Indy and leave me some comment love- I've turned off comments here because I really really really really really want you to leave a comment over there!

*****


If you had asked me that question 4 weeks ago, I would have split my side laughing.  When I attend my lunch hour boot camp at my gym and we are sent to log time or mileage on the treadmill and encouraged to run, my legs lock up, my ankles freeze, my feet cramp- and that’s before the treadmill is even in sight! 

But something changed.  I’m doing something I never dreamed I would do in my lifetime.  This has never been a serious goal.  

I have signed up for the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure in Indianapolis on April 17.  My very first ever 5K.  Because of personal connections to people involved, I won’t be competitively running it.  I will walk with friends for a bit and then jog part of it.  This 5K is less about the healthiness of the runners.  This 5K is about the cause.  It’s about supporting those who have survived breast cancer, are fighting breast cancer, supporting family members who have lost a loved one to breast cancer.  On that note, please do your monthly breast exams

I have signed up for the Fishers Freedom Festival 5K on June 26.  It is a run/walk and I assume there will be people who do walk the 5K.  I really believe that I will be able to fully run 3 miles by that time and hope to finish with at least some of the other runners. 

I am currently in Week 4 of the Couch to 5K interval training program that is designed to get non-runners slowly building distance and time until the 5K goal is reached.  The longest time that I’ve been able to run so far is 5 minutes on the treadmill.  That is a huge change from struggling through 30 seconds, in pain, gasping for air, stitch in my side.  

I’ve learned a lot about running in the past month.  

I’ve learned about my step.  I went to The Running Company and got fitted for running shoes.  I was put on a treadmill and they did a quick video analysis of my step.  That helped determine the best type of shoe for me- I need Support because I tend to push off with my instep after turning my foot outward when my foot lands.  I also purchased microfiber pants, shirt, bra, and socks.  

See? Don’t I look like a runner? 
I’ve learned about chaffing.  Even with all my “right” clothing, there are still sensitive areas that can rub to the point of bleeding when running.  Petroleum jelly is a runner’s best friend.  

I’ve learned that there is a big difference between running indoors and running outdoors.  I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to do my treadmill work on a 1% incline to mimic outdoor conditions.  I’m still learning how to adapt my breathing when I’m outdoors.  I’m also still learning how to control my pace when I’m outdoors. 

I’ve learned that when my time becomes limited and I miss my regular workouts, my body aches to move.  I need to get out and do my running workout.  I need to sweat and stretch and even hurt a little bit. 

I’ve learned about fueling my body and how what I choose to eat can impact my running performance the next day, the next hour. 

I’ve learned that my family is proud of me and that my kids are looking to me as a role model for making healthy choices.  

My dad has expressed interest in coming to the finish line for one of my first races; it feels good that he is proud of me. 

Am I a runner?  I don’t run a mile.  I don’t run more than 3 or 5 minutes on the treadmill.  I don’t run a 3 minute stretch outdoors.  I don’t run without pain.  

Am I a runner?  I run more now than I ever dreamed I would.  When I do my workout outside, other runners give me a little wave.  It’s like they recognize me as part of their club- even though I don’t feel like a full fledged member.  

What will it take for me to say that I Am A Runner? 

I want to be able to head out for a warm up walk and then run a mile.  

I want to run, even at my slow pace, a 5K. 

I want to be able to have a goal to shave time off my mile. 

But for now, as I place one foot in front of the other; as I work on my posture, my gait, my hands, my head; as I learn more about indoor vs outdoor running and breathing and pacing; as I slowly gain strength and stamina, I think I can say that I am becoming a runner.

Photobucket

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Big Secret

If you've been reading along, you've read about my schedule, activities, philosophies, and some of the practicalities that make life happen. I bet Jessica never expected such a long answer! It isn't a perfect life- no one has such a thing. We are perfect in our imperfections. Keep that in mind as I share this Big Secret, ok? I asked the other day if anyone had a guesses as to what my Big Secret was... I got some VERY creative answers on my Facebook Fan Page! Caffeine, Insanity (can't disagree with either). I'm a robot and there is actually 10 of me (I wish!). I'm a time traveler (can't stop thinking of Dr Who now). There were 2 things that are true- just not Big Secrets. Linda said that I know it can't ALL be done so I prioritize and do my best. I agree- that goes under Philosophy and my understanding that I'm not perfect. Kari suggested that I "ask for help." I do know my limits and I do know when to say No and when to reach out. But none of those were exactly right... scbride came closest... my guess...you have a cleaning lady clean your house every two weeks? if not, that is my big secret, but it's not really a secret. i tell all working moms this tip. I don't have a cleaning lady or service. The main reason that I don't have a cleaning service is that I don't want to pay money out for it. We all have different priorities in regards to money and how we spend and what is important to spend on. Other people want to spend money a cleaning service? Fine by me! It just isn't in my own budget. But there is more to the story. I don't want a cleaning service coming into my house because... I'd be too embarassed. Because my Big Secret is... I don't clean my house. I don't mean it NEVER gets cleaned up. But I don't spend any time during the week mopping or vacuuming unless necessary. I don't spend Saturday scrubbing bathrooms and straightening up bedrooms. I don't do dishes every day. I don't dust or polish. I don't strip and change sheets every week. Our house is cluttery. Our bedroom is chaoticly messy. The kids' bedrooms are manageably messy. My basement is a lost cause. My garage is a lost cause. (Those are Jeff's areas, though). My house isn't filthy. We take out trash, we do laundry and wear clean clothes. We do dishes regularly (just not every single day) but usually have a dirty dish or pan in the sink when we go to bed. My ottoman is covered with clutter. The toys in the living room aren't organized or straightened up or in any sort of order. I don't make my kids clean up every mess they make- because I don't clean up every mess I make. Strangers or recently made friends couldn't just stop by without me being embarassed, in all honesty. Yes, I would like to live in a neat and tidy home. But I'm not willing to make it a priority at this time in our lives. I'm not willing to put in the time every week to maintain it. I do get things done in spurts from time to time. Just never all at once and always as a big project instead of a maintenance thing. So that's the Big Secret. My dirty, cluttered house. Eventually, toys will clear out. Eventually, the house will be more visitor friendly. But with a 5 year old, a 2 year old, a husband, a dog, and me... and working full time, and heading up a children's choir, and getting healthier, and training to run a 5K, and singing on Music Team, and spending time with my kids, and spending time with my husband, and spending time with my friends, and finding a few minutes to read a few pages of a book and sitting down to blog or connect with others online... Something has to give. And when it comes to priorities, house cleaning just isn't on the list. So it is something I can leave unattended to and it's ok. Yes, there are times it is overwhelming and too much- and that is when things get cleaned and time & energy are spent on getting things back under control. Yes, there are times that I would be embarassed to have someone pop over for a surprise visit. But you know what else? My kids aren't afraid to make messes. My kids get plenty of my time and attention. I can focus on getting healthy and strong. I get to spend quality time with my husband every day. And for the friends who know me and love me for all my faults- my home is a place you can show up in any state, any condition, with any needs... and you will be welcomed with open arms and offered food and drink and a place to stay if you need it. Just move the piles of clean clothes onto the rocking chair so you can get on the bed. Photobucket

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Celebrations

I am now convinced that children get to enjoy the fun and frivolity of birthdays and that parents are attempting to remember the agony of the labor they endured those many years ago… because I am tired and sore and exhausted and in pain… just like I felt 5 years ago!

But my girl really did have a wonderful day.

We had lunch at Chick-Fil-A in the mall and then headed over to Build-A-Bear. I have to thank the friends who recommended BAB for our party. It was fantastic! Our hostess was Latoya and she was so good with the kids! There was another party starting up when I was leaving and I observed that we definitely got the better hostess. She was smiling and energetic and in control and really connected with the kids and the parents.

Once all of our friends had gathered, she lined them up and talked to them about choosing their stuffed animal friend. Each child picked out what they wanted to make- puppies and bears and pinks and browns and blues. The kids were then asked to pick out 2 little stuffed hearts and each parent took a heart- they went through a little routine to help the heart help the animal in various ways and then 1 heart from each child and all the parents went into Teagan’s bear. The other heart went into the child’s own stuffed friend.

They then marched through the store to the stuffing machine and took turns getting their friend stuffed- soft and fluffy, medium, or firm. Latoya had them play a little hot potato type game while she would stuff the animals.

Off for an air bath and brushing.

Then up front to pick out ribbons and bows and then gather for a group photo. Finally, Latoya had the kids line up on the BAB circle at the front of the store and handed out plastic cards. On one side was a picture of a lit candle, on the other was a picture of a blown out candle. We all sang Happy Birthday to Teagan and then she went around to each card and blew it out. It was great!

Latoya boxed up the animal friends- everyone left with an animal friend in a house box and some special candy treats.

I had already paid a $75 deposit. The remainder of my bill was less than $50! Not a bad deal for 10 kids at a birthday party!

We were home by 1:45 and got both kids down for naps. Out the door again close to 4- we ended up getting our food from Super Target and it was fantastic!! I have to ive Jeff full credit for the suggestion. Fantastic food, fantastic selection.

Got to the party and unloaded everything, set up the bounce house and basketball hoop, tables and chairs and food. Friends and family showed up and helped out and then the fun began! We had a great time- I just wish it had been possible to spend more quiet, quality time together with each person. But then I guess that would be more MY birthday than my 5 year old's birthday!

Jeff made Teagan's cupcakes- we took them "naked" to the party and set up a cupcake bar- ice your own, add your own sprinkles. So fun!

Lots of eating and talking and bouncing and ball throwing. Then w shut down the bounce house, pulled out the cupcake bar, opened presents, sang Happy Birthday (and sang to both Teagan and her friend, Kelly, who was celebrating her birthday today- she turned 3!). Then the clean up started and then home- exhausted.

One of the best things about the party was that we asked our guests to bring some non-perishable food items to donate to the community's food pantry. It just opened this past September. Teagan really liked that we filled up the donation basket!

What I loved most- and what I love seeing in the pictures- are the people who were there are people who love us. Jeff's parents, Jeff's sister and her kids, my brothers (and my brother's girlfriend), my dad, friends from church- including our "favorite" pastor, friends from everyday life, friends from Jeff's growing up. To look around the room and see the faces of the people who have been part of Teagan's growing up... it was very special to me. I am so blessed to have these people in my life, in my daughter's life.

The birthday weekend has come to a close- at least the hard work part. More busy weekends are ahead. But I know I have friends and family who love me and my kids who are there when I need them. And that's what the celebration of a day of birth is really all about. Photobucket

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girls Night Out!

I love an impromptu, unplanned night out with friends. I enjoyed my afternoon off yesterday. I checked out Costco- skipped it. Called my husband and he, brilliant man that he is, suggested I check out Super Target. Ding Ding Ding!! I head to Target, he meets me there and we had a winner! We pick up the food on our way to the party- wings, meat and cheese snacker tray, fruit tray, berries and brie tray, chicken caesar salad. And Jeff made cupcakes! I went and read to Teagan's class - I took an old book that was mine when I was little (Mr. Shaw's Shipshape Shoeshop) and a new book I just found (My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete- twins and the brother has autism- amazing book). It was great fun and the kids did fantastic and asked great questions and even enjoyed my favorite part of Mr. Shaw's Shipshape Shoeshop (the pictures of the big ship, on case you were wondering). Teagan and I came home- she went out to play on the deck and Zach and I went for a walk. Christy came over to drop off some things I had left at work in the fridge. We both realized we had no evening plans. We had been talking about a night out with our friend Anne soon- maybe Sunday. We called Anne- she was free right now! We head up to a little place near home... a little strip mall with a newer sushi place we've been wanting to try. Christy and I got there earlier than planned. And decided to use the opportunity to visit the Chateau Thomas Winery located 3 doors down. For $5 or $7, you can have a 5 wine tasting. The higher price lets you select wines from the "reserve" list. I got to taste a cabernet ice wine - it costs $50 a bottle- that was insanely good, as was the vintage port and the malbec. Our friend joined us and we headed next door to have sushi at Wild Ginger. All 3 of us love sushi and are always excited to try new flavors. Wild Ginger did not disappoint our tastebuds or our desire for a fun experience!

The food was amazing. The table next to us (mom, dad, 2 teenage boys) was ordering insane amounts of sushi and lots of the specialty rolls- including one called The Flaming Dragon. Yep- sushi on fire!

Wild Ginger also had a gorgeous paper crane chandelier / sculpture in the middle of the restaurant. I love this shot I got of it- from underneath, looking up into it.

After we ate- appetizers, sushi, and even shared a dessert- we went to visit what used to be our gathering spot. An Irish pub called Fionn MacCool's. Awesome patio, live music on weekends. Great food and beverage. They closed very unexpectedly and suddenly. We hadn't been by to pay our respects so thought it was appropriate to stop by. All the furniture is still there- inside and out. The tables are still set with ketchup and salt and pepper and menu stands. It's just so sad... see how sad it is?

Walking back, Christy and Anne smelled gas. I smelled something chemically. Anne and Christy became very concerned. They had an employee from Chateau Thomas Winery come out and he smelled it, too. Very distinct, very much located in front of one store.

Christy called 911.

They sent 3 firetrucks and the Fire Chief.

It just isn't a night out if it doesn't end with sirens and lights!

Photobucket

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Dance!

Shell over at Things I Can't Say has started up a new fun weekly competition using the Nintendo Wii game Just Dance. I can't say that I'm particularly skilled at this. But it is a good video to use in the future as a comparison. I can do this again in a month and will hopefully see a lot of changes in my body. So here's a pic of my highest score and a video of me dancing. I think I am officially supposed to video the entire routine and then show the screen but we were having techinical difficulties. So this is the best you get. I'm going to go ahead and post this Thursday evening... and then will think about including it in Shell's Just Dance compeition tomorrow!

video

Photobucket

Life of Lizdom: Practicality

Here it is- part 4 of the 5 part series on "how I do it all!" Ha! I've discussed our weekly schedule, our list of activities, my philosophies. Today, I'm going to share some of the practical things we do that help it all get done. Routine When I say routine, I don't mean that we have a checklist of activities to get us to a certain point. I don't mean that the clock dictates our lives. I know that works for some families. I'm also not at the end of the spectrum. While we did raise our babies in a "baby led" way, I don't believe that it would work for our family to continuously follow the demands of our kids. My kids don't get to set their own bedtime or choose to eat breakfast or 2 a.m. What I mean by routine is that we do set our schedules so that we are home in the evenings. For the most part, we don't make evening plans or commitments that will keep our kids out and about well past midnight. We will have special occassion evenings. Teagan, being older, does stay up later once a week to join me at Music Team. But we've turned down invitations for various gatherings and such because it would keep our kids up too late. If they don't get at least 10 hours of sleep each night, the next day will be a cranky one! We also do the best we can to maintain daycare's schedule at home. Naptime is naptime. We eat our meals around the same time each day. For our family, having that consistency is really important. Partnership This is a big one. I don't do any of this alone. My number one partner is Jeff. He does laundry. We take turns doing dishes. He handles a lot of the transportation to and from school and daycare. He is committed to this family. He is here and present with us and he takes his role in our family very seriously. He disciplines the kids. He does bath times and bedtimes and breakfast times and so on. He takes Teagan on dates- out for ice cream or to the comic book shop. He takes Zach out for an afternoon- to visit Pop Pop or go to Fry's (electronics store). He works full time and overtime. He has his own interests and hobbies and friends. He's perfectly content to sit at home and hang out with me every night. I like his friends and his friends like me. It doesn't mean that everything is perfect all the time. It doesn't mean that I couldn't do this job on my own if I had to. But it does mean that I have a partner. I have someone I can lean on, talk to, count on, depend on, and trust. The Mom Binder This is a new addition to my life and I'm loving it. I picked up a lsnazzy laptop bag on clearance at Target and can now carry my Mom Binder, my church music binder, and my purse stuff at once. My binder keeps my paperwork and notes close by and organized. I can keep track of bills and invoices and blog ideas and activities and sign ups and party invitations and so on. Uhhh... Huh. I don't know what to call this. My lack of fashion sense or desire to have one. I like basic pieces that I can wear week after week for a long time. I'm not one to shop often or even regularly. Sometimes, I wish I had a more feminine wardrobe and style. But then I get back to realizing how much easier life is when I can throw my clothes together with the kids' clothes and Jeff's clothes... everything can be washed in cold and thrown into the dryer. Nothing is dry cleaned or ironed. Simple, basic, wash and go. Same for my hair. Wash and go. Make up- I don't wear any. I don't have beauty routines. From what I observe in others, I think I save a lot of time because I'm not taking 20 minutes to get dressed and 15 minutes to do my hair and 15 minutes to put on make up. I'm saving time because I'm not dropping clothes off at the dry cleaner or picking things up or ironing. *** None of this is stuff I'm advocating as must-do for any other family or mom or woman. This is what works for us, for our family. Coming soon... The Big Secret (feel free to give a guess!!)! Photobucket

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

WHOO HOO!

We got done well ahead of schedule and I was able to leave work at 4:30. Got home- Jeff was already picking up kids and taking Teagan to Miss Lisa's for a haircut. I rushed inside, got my running clothes on and got outside into the gorgeous 62 degree, sunny evening!! I struggled- outside running is still a learning curve. But I got a workout in today and am so excited about it! The best part... I had foot cramping during my workout (that's not the best part- hold on). Got home at the end of my 30 mins and sat down to recover. Took my shoes off, rubbed my crampy foot. Put my shoes back on and decided to keep walking up and down the street until the family got home. The loosened shoe made a WORLD of difference. I walked to the corner, turned around and ran back to the house. I walked to the next corner- and Jeff and the kids pulled up behind me as I got there. Jeff turned the SUV around and drove next to me while I ran. I ran faster and stronger than I have in any of my workouts! I had my kids cheering me on, I had my husband rooting for me. I would speed up and Jeff would speed up- it felt awesome to push myself to go faster than the car's pace. If it hadn't been for the neighbor's van parked by our driveway, I would have run all the way home! Oh- and Teagan did an AWESOME job counting down the driveways for me. Kept me going. "Just 3 more driveways Mommy! Only 2 driveways to go, Mommy!" So the day I knew was going to be tough ended up being fantastic! The meetings at work felt more productive and educational. Food choices were still awesome (even shocked myself at not wanting afternoon junky snacks provided). Yahoo!! Photobucket

Halfway Through

This week is hard. These meetings are kicking my butt. Monday morning, I worked hard to get as much of my job done for the week as possible. Monday afternoon, we gathered in the main conference room for the start of our 3 1/2 day meeting. Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday we learned about global taxes. Yes, my life really is this exciting. Tuesday afternoon, we started presenting on our assigned product lines (called portfolios). We were running behind. We didn't take an actual lunch break. There are no scheduled breaks- just quick little 5 minute breaks. I barely have time to grab the next part of my healthy snack/meal plan. I've been going in my office and running furiously in place for 3 minutes. If I get up to use the restroom, I run in place before washing my hands. I managed to take about 10 minutes outside at lunch (I was second in line to get food so I used everyone else's food gathering time to pace the parking lot). I did do a little "Just Dance" at home Tuesday evening. If I'd had the energy, I would have gone for a brisk walk with a little light jog. But I'm exhausted. It's like starting a new job and going into intensive training. You don't speak the language. You don't know the products. You don't know the locations or key terms. You are delved into an entirely new mode and method for everything. My brain is exhausted. Conversations literally sound like this- I say literally because I actually started jotting down the acronyms being thrown around: What about the MFS? The MOMS for MFS has the P&L and GOSM is going to take the 3PL and confirm it with SO-COM. Also, don't forget to take the NPD team into the hopper. And we need to discuss where the ARTS are located globally. ARGH! I listed about 25 different acronyms. No wonder my head is swimming!! So I'm really missing exercise. I'm not getting regular breaks so that I can go and make phone calls or walk or anything. My eating is going well. I've been taking my own food. For breakfast, I had plain greek yogurt with some honey and cut up strawberries. For a snack, I had a mini bagel with peanut butter. Lunch was brought in- I snagged half of a chicken caesar wrap (chicken, caesar dressing, lettuce, tomato on some kind of green tortilla). I skipped the chips and soda and cookies- had water and the cantaloupe I brought in. In the afternoon, I had cottage cheese, a couple brussels sprouts, a handful of nuts (almonds and macadamia). But I can tell the stress is wearing on me- I want to stuff my face on the couch right now. I'm not hungry so I'm going for ice water instead. I'm stressed over missing my run today. This should be day 3 of week 3. Our meeting starts at 7:30 a.m. We aren't scheduled to end until 6 p.m. We have run over our stop time every day- and remember, no scheduled breaks and we worked through lunch today. It sucks, it's stressful, I'm ready for it to be over. I'm incredibly blessed to have my husband. He's the glue this week. He is running the errands, at my beck and call via text, helping my evenings be calm. He's been very understanding and supportive and helpful. Love that man! A sampling of his helpfulness on Teagan's birthday: He drove her to school. He came across town and picked up the edible fruit bouquet I'd ordered for her. He drove across town and delivered it to her at school. He went up to that mall and got cupcakes from The Cupcake Camper. He picked her up a little early from school and took her to the grocery store to buy ingredients for her favorite dinner- chicken nachos. And when my meeting ran over, he started making dinner with her and Zach and it was coming out of the oven when I walked in the door. He picked out books for her birthday present and didn't complain when I came home even later on Monday because I wanted to hit Old Navy to get T a new birthday dress. He's handling it all- taking on a lot of my balancing act. Think of me today and tomorrow... I'm halfway through this really hard week! Photobucket

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On This Day, 5 Years Ago

March 16, 2005 My Jeopardy baby was born. We joked during my labor that she had better hurry up- we didn't want to miss Jeopardy. It had become our evening wind down for the last few months of our pregnancy and we were looking forward to 7:30 that evening so we could watch. She was born at 7:29. Did what she was asked but in a way that guaranteed she got her way and we didn't get ours... and that we would be ok with it. And life has pretty well followed that pattern ever since. She's pushed and tested those limits and I should have seen it coming!
Day One...
First Birthday
Second Birthday
Third Birthday... and this one came with a baby brother!

Fourth Birthday

And now she's 5 years old. Starting to read. Laughing at farts, fake burping in hysterical laughter. Writing and coloring and drawing. Imaginary play with ponies and little people in her dollhouse. Her favorite dinner is chicken nachos. She will do just about anything for the promise of dessert. She can be stubborn and obstinate. She can be full of joy and curiousity. She's smart- sometimes too smart. She pushes and pulls and has a very firm hold on our hearts. She is the first to call me Mommy... the first to call me Mean Mommy... the first to call him Daddy.

Happy 5th Birthday, Teagan!

Photobucket

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life of Lizdom: Philosophy

I've shared the day to day schedule and the list of activities that I'm involved in. I didn't want to leave the question completely unanswered... How do I do it all? I've got 3 parts left to the series. Today, the philosophies that drive me. Later, the practicalities that make it all work. And, finally, the Big Secret. *** 1. Perspective. I am not perfect. Hard to believe, I know. But I fully accept that I cannot do everything, I will make mistakes, I will run out of time, I will have to compromise. No one is perfect and my imperfections make me who I am. I do not try to be perfect, I do not try to believe I am perfect, I do not even believe that perfection is attainable! I do the best I can with what I have. I make the best choices I can with what I know. You did the best you could. When you knew better, you did better. ~Maya Angelou 2. Focus. I am a total multi tasker. I am often jumping from one task to the next. But whatever I am doing, I focus on it. If I'm writing an e-mail, I focus on that e-mail. I don't write that e-mail while thinking about the conference call coming up or the list of things I need to get done for Teagan's birthday party or the upcoming launch of the children's choir or.... I'd never actually complete anything if I let my mind run things. My focus may be brief, but I stay in tune with what is in front of me right now. Every life lies within the present. The past is spent and done. The future is uncertain. ~Marcus Aurelius 3. Faith. When I'm overwhelmed, when doubt creeps in, when I'm uncertain... I pray. When I accomplish something, when I succeed, when I manage to make things happen... I pray. I give thanks, I ask for help, I seek guidance. My faith lifts me up, guides me, comforts me, strengthens me. When I'm stressed, I can sing praise songs and find calm. My faith is my foundation. Frequently remind yourself that God is with you, that He will never fail you, that you can count upon him. Say these words, "God is with me, helping me." ~ Norman Vincent Peale 4. Humor. Mistakes are funny. Stress is funny. Really and truly... I can find humor in most situations. And when the situation isn't funny, my sense of humor still gets me through. There is nothing as stress relieving as a good laugh. What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul. ~ Yiddish Proverb

5. Love. Last but not least, love drives me. It ties in with my faith. I believe that God is love. I believe that my purpose is to love the way that God loves me. I believe that when I act from a base of love, life is just better. I love myself, my family, my friends, my life. 1 Corinthians 13 1 If I speak in the languages of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Photobucket