Nothing to Say, But Can't Shut Up - haha! That's what I thought I should call my blog! What I write here might not mean a thing to you and I'm pretty o.k. with that. However, I have an active mind and like to sort things out out loud, so to speak. I also like to have deep conversations so feel free to jump in and comment. I'm glad you showed up and took the time to read. Welcome!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Too Much Stuff

I have too much. Too many dishes. Too many COUCHES for crying out loud. Too many sets of silverware. Too many favorite things. 

You wouldn't know it today, but ordinarily I don't live in a cluttered house. I have a nicely decorated house and it's cozy, but I don't think it's cluttered. However, we're combining all of the things we've lived with for years and moved around from location to location with the things that we've had furnishing our lake house.  It's a chore I'm here to tell you. 

In both places, we've always made sure that we've had enough dishes, glassware and flatware to serve a crowd. We love to entertain. It brings us great pleasure to share our home and our time with people we love. Yesterday I was challenged to consider how often I need a lot of dishes. I answered "any given Sunday" and I mean it. It's a lake house! We want people here. Our family (a lot of it anyway) lives very near by. I could have 20 for dinner at the drop of a hat. Even so, I have too much of everything. I have to get rid of some very useful, still-in-good-condition items.

I'm going to free myself up some; having too much stuff is burdensome. I'm going to pack things away and send them to my storage unit. When Spring Break arrives, the kids can choose to take dishes, silverware and pots and pans back to school with them or they go to a thrift shop. I have enough of my very favorite things to take care of any crowd that may appear. I will be content with that. I don't need all the choices. 

And by the way - 2 of us live here. I have a dozen nice matching coffee mugs, another dozen little coffee cups that came with the dish set w/ saucers that we never ever use, at least 1/2 dozen polish pottery mugs that make me smile, 4 espresso cups and then 6 or so other largish mugs that my hubby likes because they fit his hands better. If I'm counting correctly that's 40 vessels for coffee. Annnnd, I took approximately 20 mugs out of the cabinet already. That is nothing but gluttonous. I will change that today. Lord, forgive me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ay, yay, yay - A whiney post

Oh my goodness! I am not a happy camper this a.m. I am a woman in great pain and discomfort. I'm not being melodramatic here, just telling you like it is. I hurt and it's making me sad.

Here's the deal. In Januaury, 2007 I decided to choose a healthier lifestyle. I immediately enrolled in a sailing class (I lived in Hawaii and this was an excellent way to spend Thursdays in the "winter".). Beginning this class was a key step in my whole approach to things. I have a history of signing up for/participating only in things that I know for a fact I'll be good at. You see, I'm not nearly as confident as I appear but rather quite insecure (well, at times, anyway). The other thing that was significant is that I'd been living my life as rather a spectator not an actual participant. This was a step in changing that scenario. Ladies, and I think you know who you are, you helped change my life and I love you to death for your part in my life! (Note: this was all done as a result of a great amount of prayer and soul searching. Don't ever mistake this: Jesus is my Savior - but He uses people to help.)

The second thing I did was join Bob Greene's Best Life website. Bob Greene is Oprah's coach and though I have my own issues with her and her show, I've always found Bob Greene to be extremely reasonable and healthful in his approach to weight loss. I had prayed for a sound, non-fad, long-term approach and this is where God led me. Again, I'm very grateful. As a result of this program, which is basically doing that which we all know we need to do, I began regular exercise and changed my eating patterns. I started working out at slightly greater intensity and certainly more frequency than which I was accustomed. Of course, the more I did, the more I felt like doing. I eventually ran/walked the Great Aloha Run (8.1 miles) and finished smack dab in the middle. Most of you reading this, no doubt, remember this transformation in my life. 

Since then I've maintained a pretty good regimen. It's not been perfect but it's allowed me to more or less maintain the improvements I've made. Along the way, however, I've pushed myself and as a result suffered some setbacks. First of all, I went snow skiing (first time ever) and had a great time learning to ski in the Alps. I worked hard, hard, hard every day for hours. Each night I went to bed loaded up on motrin and slept like a rock, then got up and did it again the next day. It was worth it, but by Friday, I noticed my knees were so swollen that I couldn't even see my kneecaps. So the next week and for weeks after I spent a lot of time on my back with my legs elevated. I took a lot of motrin to keep the swelling down. I couldn't bend my knees properly at all. I found that if I walked, it would be difficult in the beginning but eventually things would loosen up and I could hum right along. Then I'd come home and rest, elevate and motrinize myself all over again.  My ski trip was in February and in April I began training myself to walk a marathon. I didn't complete that goal, but in June I did walk 14 miles at once. 

Over the next year, I continued to walk and exercise at a moderate intensity due to my work schedule. I still made time for the basics but didn't have a lot of time for the big things. I also still had trouble bending my knees properly and they felt spongy all the time. (I gained an amazing amount of relief through one auricular acupuncture treatment.) Nonetheless, I found time for hikes and such and even began running. Using the Couch 2 5K training plan I worked up to 5K and found great pleasure and challenges pushing my body this way. Loved it. Once I hit 5K I began training to do a 10K. I completed this personal challenge and was able to support my friend in Sweden who was running by running my own private 10K in Germany. This was a great personal victory, coming back from injury and such. Unfortunately, I think I was running in the wrong type of shoes for my feet. I began developing painful adhesions in my thighs and had some swelling in my knees. So I put my running on hold. 

Meanwhile my husband retired from his long service in the Air Force. Between finishing up a job, a trip to the States that involved some family care and the move, my exercise decreased even more. Now I'm in my new home, and all set up. I have these incredible country roads I can walk and bike. The weather is mostly accommodating. However, I'm having all kinds of foot pain. I'm mindful of my footwear. I have custom-made orthotic sandals that I'm using and I don't walk around barefoot. I also am building up my stamina (pain-wise) by increasing my walking distance each time. My feet do fine during the walk but  each night I'm having foot pain that makes it difficult to even walk. I know I need to get some help.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to take a nice long walk. The planned hike would test me; I knew this. It was more than double what I'd been doing. BUT the weather was gorgeous! I wanted to be out in it. I wanted to push my body a bit. I wanted to feel that surge of a job well done. I wanted to overcome. We walked for 3.72 miles which really isn't that far but the hills are so numerous and steep at times that it's a good challenge. Everything was great for the first 3 miles or so but then the pain began. It was like stepping on glass at times. It felt like a fire in my heel and made my opposite thigh burn (those darn adhesions!). By nightfall, I could hardly walk at all. Getting undressed was incredibly challenging since at some point you need to put all your weight on one foot and then the other. I was in tears. This morning isn't much better. 

I know I'm whining and am being long-winded. I apologize; I really do. I'm just talking it out and telling you that I know I need some help. My DH lovingly massaged my foot and ankle (forgot to tell you I injured it a year ago and that it also swells a good bit whenever I exercise) and worked out some of my adhesions in my foot. I think, though, that a good chiropractor is in order. I think I finally have time to go.  I have to whether I feel that I have the time or not. 

The fact is I've worked too hard to lose a lot of ground. I've grown so much personally as a result of prioritizing my health and fitness. It has benefited everyone around me and is not at all a selfish endeavor.  My active lifestyle enables me to keep up with my family, participate in physically taxing missions ministries, pursue working with children (need I say more) and enjoy long hikes with my dog and my husband. I'm not willing to just sit by and go back to where I was. Healthful living gives me so much energy and joy. This morning I realized I was quite depressed over this setback, fearful even. Talking it out with you has helped me see what I've already overcome and gives me hope and motivation to get things straightened out soon so that I can keep on keeping on. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When Should "Kids" Marry?

In terms of my life so far, I'm old, the oldest I've every been. In terms of my kids' lives, I'm quite old. In terms of those 15 - 20 years older than me, I'm young. Could age really be that relative? In fact, even within my own body and experience, I have young days and old days. The more my feet hurt, the older I feel. The more energy I have, the younger I feel. Also, true with the cuter my hair is. *wink*

So, here's my question: What is the right age to marry? And how do you know when it's time (both as a parent and as a potential bride or groom)? I have to have this info because I am the parent of 23, 20 and 18 year olds. One is already engaged. Someday, I presume the other 2 will want to be. 

Here's what I know based on my own experience. When you're ready to get married, you're ready to get married. It doesn't matter what else is going on in your life. Well, that was me. Every minute apart from my true love was too much. I would, sometimes literally, run from work to meet him and I worked in downtown Atlanta and wore professional-ish clothes. I wanted to be with that man every second. And by the way, we were 21 and felt like full-grown adults, not kids who didn't know a thing in the world. However, we were probably, in reality, kids who didn't know a thing in the world. 

I will not suggest for a moment that we were wise about everything. I know for a fact that we weren't. I just know that others' opinions weren't all that important to us. (That could be one of the things that we weren't so wise about.) My husband was wise enough to make sure that his degree was complete before we got married... by a whole week. I was in my senior year and I (foolishly) stopped going to school to work. I know the wisdom of this was questioned greatly, but I don't question us getting married when we did and as far as me and my "career", I am convinced that I've been doing what God wanted me to do all along, so I don't know that the degree would've made that big a difference. On the other hand, I still regret not having the degree and at least once a year, I look at what it will take to finish. 

Back on track: The real track is the relativity of age and the appropriate time to marry. I hear people say, and frequently at that, that their child is absolutely not allowed to marry until they finish college. I hear others insist on a one year engagement. Then again, I know of "kids" who marry while in college and they are rock solid. I even know of a girl who married at 18, her husband is working on his degree while she's very happily employed as a dental hygienist. They've been married several years now and are doing great. How do you know what's right? 

I feel pretty certain that I want my kids to wait as long as possible and get as far in their growing up and education as possible. However, I believe that we're in a time where kids are putting off growing up and stretching out their irresponsible years more and more. This isn't good for society. I'm not a fan. I believe that our children need to be taking responsibility for their lives and acting like adults as soon as possible. At the same time, I want my children to have the best shot at long-lasting, God-centered marriages as possible. Are these two notions in opposition to each other?

I'm not coming with answers, but questions? How do you advise the younger ones in your lives? What did you do and how did it work out for you? 

I'm almost 50 years old. I've been married almost 28 years. I am happier in my marriage than I've ever been. I was a month shy of 22 when I married and I do not feel like I missed a thing. Getting married influenced my not finishing my degree, but truthfully I could've done that numerous times over. I just haven't. 

I want my children (are you listening, children?) to have healthy marriages, God-willing, filled with a steady income, full of love, joy and mutual respect. I hope that they're able to travel a bit as they get older and that they're diligent to build a savings account to help with the unexpected and at some point luxuries. I want them to come see me at the lake and bring their babies. And... I want them to finish college. I do. No one knows what the future holds. All of my kids have collegiate type brains. I want them to grow the brains God has given them and use them for His glory. BUT: I don't know that I would make this a requirement for marriage and how could I enforce that anyway? I pray that God will lead me and my husband as well as the kids involved at the time so that we all have peace about any proposed marriage (to whom and when) because goodness knows we all have to deal with the fallout if poor decisions are made. 

(All because I read the beautiful blog of a young woman who married while still in college. Love you ASW! )

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let the Saturdays Continue...

Yesterday morning I did what I always do. I checked Facebook so that in one fell sweep I could see what's going on in the world. (Just decided I'll have to blog on this all by itself soon!) As I scrolled along, I saw "Yay! Friday's here." "Thank goodness it's Friday!" "Weekend's here!" "So glad it's Friday!" The first thought that ran through my mind was "Thank goodness for Facebook friends who let me know what day it really is!" This is not a joke. I felt it so strongly that I very nearly made it my status.

I know I've blogged about this before, but in case you missed it (well, just scroll down if you missed it) or in case you're tempted to think I'm exaggerating, here's how my week went:

Sunday - Truth be told and please don't judge, we didn't go to church. Side note: We enjoy church and we believe it's important to go to church, however, we don't have a church home yet (see another previously written blog that you can find by scrolling down - not yet, read this one first - I mean you're here and everything! *sigh* Life in my brain!) and when we don't have a church home, it can be a little more difficult to get up and going. While that's true, the real reason we didn't go to church is that we were worn out from our week of Saturdays. We just exhausted ourselves so Sunday we rested. 

Monday - You will think I'm kidding here; I am not. I awoke on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, and realized it was a holiday. I felt supremely guilty for using fatigue as a reason for skipping church when the next day was a holiday. Then I realized the holiday meant nothing to us. We weren't granted any time off at all. It was still "Saturday" and there were more projects to do. I don't think I even remember what we did Monday other than have dinner across the lake, which was divine but not particularly taxing. Oh yeah. Monday. Monday I went shopping. Ask anyone; this will wear a body out. It wasn't just any old pleasure shopping trip either. I went shopping for a new couch. That IS exhausting. I did a bunch of errands and hit up the grocery store, too. This was the kind of shopping that involves scrutinizing light bulb packaging for voltage. You know how exciting that is. whoo.

Tuesday - Let's see... well, I'm gonna guess we got up, drank coffee, watched the news, checked facebook and email, yada yada yada... Made a list and set about completing the list. Actually, as I remember it, Tuesday was a very hopeful day. Tuesday is the day people started showing interest in my dear husband's qualifications for gainful employment thus ending the endless Saturdays. Let me stop right here and tell you that there is nothing, nothing that will make you wake up and smell the coffee, producing a mighty to-do list like realizing that your personal handyman is about to go to work.
It's like all the warning bells and buzzers started going off at once. "FINISH THE LIST NOW!" it screamed. I don't remember what exactly we did on this Saturday named Tuesday, but rest assured we were busy. 

Wednesday - Halt from the typical Saturday for me. This was really fun. I went to the Gift Mart in Atlanta. What? You don't know what that is? It is shopping mecca. It's the place where all of the wonderful things you find in shops across America are more or less birthed. I was the guest of my brother in law who was shopping for his store. I got to help shop for the store. I picked out things that I will forget about until they appear in the store that I will then have to have. You can see this is a win-win  for brother in law (as long as dear husband (DH) becomes gainfully employed). DH cleaned the bathrooms, moved 2 couches and 2 love seats to storage and organized the desk (more Saturday chores).

Thursday - My feet hurt terribly from Wednesday. I didn't want to do anything. This day was delivery day for my new couch, however. This day involved getting ready for the couch. Vacuuming and mopping the hardwood floor, adjusting the carpet, picking up some odd things around the house - random, not odd, washing sheets and clothes, going to town to buy a chair (a throne) for DH, (He's never had his very own, specially chosen chair (throne).), killing time until our appointed dinner time with family, having dinner in town with family and going to Lowe's to get all the hardware needed for the next day of projects . See? Exhausting! (We worked in Big Lots, B-i-l's bookstore, a drug store/gift shop (self-appointed competition snooping for b-i-l) and other furniture-scoping-out stuff.)

Friday - I began Friday by learning that it's Friday, thanks to all of my dear Facebook friends to whom it means something. I could not share in the enthusiasm. What I could get excited about though was that this was "Hang the Pot Rack Day". Yes! While I was at the Gift Mart, my pot rack arrived (which I could've probably bought at the Gift Mart for much less - not really. I don't think. Can't think about that.) Anyway, this pot rack, to be clear is for pots and pans, not pot, which is illegal (Thank you, Melinda, for pointing that out).
Let me interrupt this diatribe to tell you that there is a gorgeous sunrise happening on the lake at this very moment. I'd show you but I broke my camera. Wait. I'll try my computer cam. Doesn't do it justice. The sun rises on the other side of the house but illuminates the western sky with color.
Anyway, my DH hung a beautiful pot rack for me in the kitchen and then we moved the porch swings from the lower patio up to the front porch. I helped off and on and goofed-off off and on. I also put clean sheets on a bed, cleaned out a closet, cleaned off a different bed, considered cleaning out another closet, went for a walk, cooked a healthy dinner and relaxed with a t.v. car auction.

Today - Well, it's Saturday. No, the real Saturday.  We are up early (must be the full moon) and have laid out the plan. Actually, we've just changed the plan. The original plan was yard work. After all, it is Saturday. However, since DH is job hunting and civilian job-hunting doesn't involve flight suits AND there is a huge sale in town, we have changed the yard work plan to suit shopping. Somehow, I have a feeling DH has not dropped the yard work plan, so I'm gearing up for that, too. It is, after all, Saturday.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Life is Messy, God is Good

My daughter coined that phrase a good while back, I think. In other words, I heard it first from her. Lately the phrase has surfaced again and I'm found with the opportunity to consider it and what it really means. I don't know that I have anything profound or substantial to add to the discussion, but I'm going to "talk it out" here anyway and see what I end up with.

Life is full of mess. We know this. To this date, I've yet to find anyone who is immune. Now we can understand, given a Biblical worldview, why this is - I mean we have a true arch enemy who is out for our destruction. Truly, Satan is after God's destruction and is so delusional that he thinks he actual stands a chance of victory. We are the creatures he's decided to pursue, punish, hunt down like a lion. It's his very nature. God is our Redeemer and can rescue us from the very worst Satan has for us, but between now and then (the time that we are free from this war) Satan has all kinds of attacks laid out for us to try and trap us and bring us down. Frankly, he has a fair amount of success, however temporary. 

We also have mess when we try to follow God's ways when Satan is trying to lure us to his way. It's not easy to choose to follow Jesus. It involves sacrifice. Our bodies want one thing when our minds know another is better and it creates a tension with our very souls and we strive to get ourselves in line so to speak. So many times we live our lives with little concern and then find ourselves in a place we know isn't best or even good for us (out of God's will). When that happens we have to correct our course. ....

Sailing analogy: When you're sailing downwind it is smooth. You just cruise along. You don't even really feel the wind because you're traveling along with it. But what happens when you realize you're headed in the absolute wrong direction? You have to change course and that involves jibing. Truth be told, I have trouble with this. I think that my failure to successfully jibe is the thing that holds me back most as a sailor. I'm flat out afraid of it. A jibe requires some cautious maneuvering or you risk a C-jibe which is rough and can sling the boom across in an uncontrolled way risking a hard capsize and injury to you and the vessel. However, a properly executed jibe will take the craft right around and get things going back upwind. When you head close to the wind, you feel the wind; it might seem a little rougher in ways, but it nice. I love close-haul sailing. I FEEL like I'm going somewhere - earning my keep. 

I suppose I'm saying that when we're off-course, it might feel easy and nice - no worries, no hard work, but could be completely off from where God wants us. When we have to correct, it might feel hard and intimidating. (Life is messy.) But. When we get headed in the right direction again and on course - even if it takes more work and seems harder, it's worth it if it takes you to your ultimate destination. 

Here's the real deal: God is good no matter what our circumstances are. His character, His holiness, His just-ness are all the same even when life is messy, hard and seemingly unfair. His ways are always right. He is not circumstantial. He's the same God and His love for you is just as sure, just as real as ever. Remember, according to the Bible, our lives are like a vapor. Living for today will bring a short pleasure compared to eternity. Likewise, our pain and suffering are short-lived compared to the glory of what lies ahead of us in eternity. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." 

Have hope. Whatever messiness you find yourself in - it's not forever. The best stuff is found in choosing God over temporary pleasures. "Hangeth thou in there" as Kay Arthur says. And oh, by the way, life with God is fun and freeing! "Better is one day in Your courts that thousands elsewhere."

NOTE: I should mention that often life is messy because of our own desires and bad choices (see James)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How's Your Paddling Ability?

Oh, wow! Today was beautiful. Awesome. Delightful. We were blessed with blue skies and calm waters. To begin with, the temperature was quite cool  - 30 ish, but by the afternoon temps were on the rise and the sun was still a-shining. We decided to take the canoe out. (Our son borrowed it from his uncle and didn't return it, so we are enjoying it.) After carefully getting in, we embarked on a pleasant cruise around the little coves near us. We just loved it. 

I used to paddle outrigger canoes 3 days a week in Hawaii, with a group comprised of mostly women and a fantastic Hawaiian named Harold. This was a hard core workout. I always left knowing I had pushed my body, increased my strength and burned some serious calories. We saw turtles (often), a baby hammerhead shark (once) and rode some waves while I sang "Hawaii-Five-O", with submarines coming in and out of the harbor. 

Since moving from Hawaii, I've missed out on paddling. In fact, (and I might have mentioned this already) my whole fitness intensity dropped a notch or two. Can you relate? I had ups and downs of intensity but had a hard time really pushing it all the time. Having said that, you might have figured out that I've already needed motrin today after using those muscles that haven't had much challenge in the past couple of years. Oh yeah, I feel it.

This all has some spiritual application. When all we do is surface level Bible reading and don't study, our "muscles" get weak. We suffer from spiritual muscle atrophy. I'm kinda there right now- just a little weak. My passion is strong; my gratitude is deep, but I feel that I've let some atrophy of a sort set in. My work was wonderful and I'm so glad I did it, but I feel that I didn't stay DEEP in God's Word. I couldn't devote the amount of time to study that I had in the past. I couldn't participate in Women's Bible Study on a regular basis. I kept up with regular reading, but didn't have that intense study that is so beneficial. When troubles came, it was harder for me to put my mind on the scripture I needed to encourage me. With my move from Germany back to America and all the Christmas company, I still have had trouble really hunkering down in the Word. I realize that like my fitness routine, I need to intensify my Bible routine. I know that as I focus on building more of a desire for this, God will bless me and help me organize my time in a way that glorifies Him.

We all need to be careful, namely me, that we don't let the worries of this life choke off our devotion to God and the study of His Word. Just like that (!) we can realize that we've lost ground. We're in a battle and we have a real enemy out there. Let's get our paddles out and build some muscle. That's what I'm going to try to work on with this newfound free-time.

I'm thankful for this beautiful day and the reminder to keep pressing on toward the prize that lies ahead. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Every Day is Saturday

Have you ever wished for that? Well, I'm living it. Since my husband retired and we moved to the lake house, otherwise known as "the cabin" - it isn't a cabin, but we call it that anyway because the house that used to be here was actually a cabin and not a house - our life has taken a dramatic turn. You might not be surprised because you all warned me this was coming. However, the particular turn it has taken is nothing like what I expected. 

Let's backtrack a bit and let me tell you what our days used to be like. Some of it is exactly what our days were like because my dear husband (dh) is a very methodical and predictable man. Reliable. Dependable. Every day (M - F) dh's alarm would go off at 5:15 a.m. It rang for a brief sec and he was up and at 'em. He would walk to the little kitchen (we had 3 kitchens in our last house. Yes, really.) and pop open a  caffeine-free diet coke after which he set about his showering routine, which also was a predictable routine.  

Sometime after dh got up (sometimes before) and usually (though not always) by 5:50 I got up. If you're thinking that I'm not as predictable as dh, you would be correct. If you know me, you know this already. I tried very hard to get up by 5:50 so that I could get the coffee brewed and the to-go mug warmed before dh emerged in his flight suit, keys in hand, ready to depart. I'm just that kind of a girl and my dh likes that. Dh would make the finishing touches on his coffee, kiss me and depart for the day nlt 6:15. Always. Period. Unless there was serious snow, but usually even then. Like clockwork. No kidding. Just like that.

I meanwhile scanned facebook, read my email, fed the dog, fed myself, let the dog outside, drank coffee and had my Bible-time/prayer-time. Sometime after I finished all of that and finally felt like it, I got up and changed into workout gear (or jeans) setting the dog into an absolute frenzy because she knew we were hitting up the trails near our village. (I lived in Germany when all of this took place and in Germany, you really do live in villages. And they're cute. And they're quaint. I liked our cute, quaint village.) We (Shelby and I) then set out on a walk that varied from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the day, my mood, the alignment of the stars, how my feet felt, how longed I walked the day before.. I'm wishy-washy. (Thinking that maybe my life hasn't taken such a dramatic turn after all.) After the walk, I'd shower and head to work. 

Each day I worked until I ceased to be productive. Plain and simple. Each day dh worked until 5:30. Plain and simple. Then we got together at the homestead, planned out dinner, ate, watched a dvd of some sort, chatted, and went to bed at 10:00. Period. Always. Like clockwork. Unless dh was off traveling. : )

Back THEN I knew what was going on Sunday - Friday. There was a schedule - a rhythm. Saturdays were the only oddball day. Saturdays took on a whole different tone. I got up about 5:50 a.m., scanned facebook, read my email, fed the dog, fed myself, let the dog outside, drank coffee and had my Bible-time/prayer-time. THEN dh got up around 8 a.m., drank coffee, scanned his email, ate breakfast, cleaned up from my breakfast and started laundry. After all was said and done, we discussed the day, came up with a game plan, ran errands, did chores, took naps, had dinner and went to bed by 10:00. Pretty much always.

NOW - Oh my goodness! Every day is Saturday. It's great but seriously, this cannot last forever. It's hard for me to find the time to have a deep-down  Bible-time/prayer-time. I can't figure out when to hard core exercise. When am I supposed to lie around and do nothing without feeling guilty or busted? And how could we possibly have so many errands to run? I thought moving into a furnished house would make all that easier.  Turns out, cabin life and real life are different just like real life and retired life are different. (Feel free to post and tell me your experiences in this vain. )

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my husband like crazy. We really, really are best friends. I'd rather be with him than just about anything. BUT. And I mean this in the very nicest way possible, that man needs to go back to work soon. God willing he will. He needs his routine. He's not complaining a bit and I like having him around, but everyday canNOT be Saturday. It just can't. I'll tell you the truth, though - this vacation from "real life" has been pretty darn good and we've gotten a lot done. If the household goods shipment could just get here before the routine starts back up, things would be extra sweet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today's Lesson for Life

Now you know this has got to be important and deep with a title like that. Seriously deep.

Let's start with the morning - what a glorious morning it was! After ice, sleet and overall gloominess, we were greeted with blue skies and sunshine here on the lake. The water revealed a bit of a warning as there were little whitecaps on it and all the waves were headed in my direction from the other side of the lake. In other words, it was windy. Windy and cold. (Insert shivers here)

On this gloriously beautiful day, I decided to head to town. Heading to town is something I don't do lightly now that I live on the lake. Truthfully, I don't take heading to town lightly no matter where I live. I generally like to stay home. Today, however, I made the plan to head to town for hunting and gathering. In making the plan, I made a list. Several lists. A list of recipes and items needed. A list of which stores I was planning on hitting up. A list of miscellaneous other items needed the next time anyone went to town.

First stop: Tuesday Morning
This store is great. You can find all sorts of things you never knew you needed at half of what they really cost... according to the price tags. Sometimes I actually find things that I know for a fact are good deals. Other times I find things that I assume are a good deal because they're at Tuesday Morning. Then there are times that I find things that still seem ridiculously high priced even though they're at Tuesday Morning and I wonder if the whole thing is a rook. Today I picked up a comforter set that I KNOW was a good deal because I'd shopped every known place online already. I also got an ottoman for my living room that can hold the stuff that accumulates around my chair (Bible, magazines, journal, pens, old newspapers - Great. I just discovered that I'll still have a problem finding things when I need them.), some towels for my guest bathroom and some throw pillows to go with my new comforter set. It added up.

Second stop: Target (2nd stop was supposed to be to buy glasses and contacts, but I left my coupon at home. So much for my great pre-town planning.) Now Target, as most of you know, is full of everything you ever needed, other things that you don't actually need but look pretty and more stuff that falls in one of the 1st two categories. Target added bleach (lavender scented - really?), hand soap, dish detergent, a new mop because the one I had was disgusting, a clearance priced candle stick, a battery operated candle, a lamp base to fit the lamp shade I bought 3 weeks ago, 2 little plastic jars for q-tips and cotton balls (plastic because the glass ones were stupidly costly for such little things), hair spray which was ridiculously expensive but it's my hair and you know how I am about that, and some other stuff I can't remember. Needless to say, despite my budgetmindedness, it added up. (Insert sigh)

Third stop: Pet Smart - doggie needs flea/tick prevention. How do they honestly charge that price???

Fourth stop: Fresh Market - Yes I know this store is pricey. I needed specialty ingredients, though and I'm only cooking for two. Fresh Market contributed ingredients for clean eating recipes good for my health: Moroccan Braised Beef, which is cooking now and smells incredible, "Clean" Ruebens, Thai Chili and other odds and ends... It added up.

Oh my goodness! Last stop was for gas and you know what's happening there. After living in Europe, I wasn't even shocked. On my way there, someone I may or may not be married to asked me to purchase lottery tickets (for a small price). After the day I had, I did it and frankly think I deserve to win. 

So what's the life lesson? Life is expensive. You know this. I know this. Today however, I tallied up a bunch of expenses all at once. I found myself saying, "Thank you, Lord, that I have the money to spend." I mean it. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finding a New Church

One of the things I stress over each time we move is finding a new church home. "Stress" is probably too strong a word because I trust the Lord to lead us and place us, but I know that we're human and in our humanity can be drawn by the wrong things. At any rate, finding a new church home is one of those things we start working on pretty quickly and in that, we have to more or less grade the churches we visit. I have to guard myself against being judgmental and critical, instead praying to be discerning. 

When examining a new church I find myself right away reading the crowd. Are they welcoming? Are they joyful? How do they worship in music? Are they inhibited? Are they "too" exuberant (What does that mean anyway and how would I know?)? Are they showy for showiness' sake? Do they seem sincere?

Then there's the reading of the church leaders? Is the Bible taught in a responsible way? Are they trying to follow some recipe for having a big church? Are they determined not to have a big church? Are they on a track to be decidedly progressive? Are they resisting change at any cost? Are they controlling? Do they let just anything in? 

OK - maybe "stress" is exactly the word.

In addition to the above, living at the lake presents a bit of a different challenge for us. We're out from the main heart of city life. It's a 25 minute drive (give or take) to "town" and there really aren't many options for worshipping close to home. As a result, we have add in to our decision the question of whether or not we're willing to drive a good distance to go to church.

So this past Sunday, we decided to start with something close to us. We visited a very sweet church with a very welcoming atmosphere. Now, understand that this church is small enough that everyone knew we were visitors, but still, they were willing to come over and introduce themselves without being pushy or nosey. (I have a thing about nosey.) We noticed right off the bat that there was a guest speaker that day. That's fine. We prefer to hear the main preacher when we visit, but a guest speaker is good, too. 

Break: I want to tell you about the guest speaker. I really liked him. His name is listed at "Bro. Kurt Labouve". He is blind and sings as well as teaches. He's country-style. The first thing he did was sing a few gospel songs while he accompanied himself on the piano. Great piano player! He sang these really great songs, several of which he wrote, each filled with good nuggets of Biblical truth. He wasn't a performer as such. He sang from his heart. I liked that. 

Next he took the podium to speak/teach. He opened the Bible to Philippians. 

Break #2: This really excited me because that appears to be the book of January for me. Louie Giglio taught from Philippians at Passion 2011. Francis Chan taught from Philippians at Passion. I sensed the leading of the Holy Spirit to read Philippians that morning. So... cool. 

Back to the sermon: Here are the main points of the sermon.
1) Phil 4:6-7 Cultivate the presence of God.
2) Phil 4:8 Contemplate the principles of God - guard your mind.
3) Phil 4:11 Acclimate to the place God has you.
4) Phil 4:13 Demonstrate the power of God.
5) Phil 4:18-19 Activate God's provision.

Now, back to church hunting (before the 1st break):
This church is probably not where we'll be. It seems to be a bit stuck in a rut and lacking in vision (and I think that we have to keep pressing on in our faith and ministries). However, God provided a timely message for me and I am glad that I had a place to worship this past Sunday. I look forward to trying another church this next week. And just so you know, we don't mind driving a good distance to join others in worship, but we aren't going to go running after the flashiest, most known churches in a "just because" kind of way. We're going to start looking nearby and work our way toward town. It's the only way we really know to do it. In the midst of it all, we'll be praying and asking God to show us where He wants us. I know He has work for me to do and I'm a little anxious to know what it is but I don't want to rush into anything. After all, as far as we know, we'll be here for the rest of our lives. I've never been able to say that before....

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Little Taste of Life on the Lake

Even in an ice storm we can go out on the boat. Now, we don't go for an actual boat ride; that would be ridiculous. However, we can ride IN the boat to the other side of the lake. This is key because on the other side of the lake, in Alabama no less, we have family. Hospitable, loving family that love to cook. So last night and tonight, we got in the boat - jaunted across the lake (I'm pretty sure you jaunt when you have a boat and head out to dinner in it) - and had dinner with our sweet family. Tonight we got a double bonus because it's the BCS Football game starring Auburn University and a team with funny socks. At half time, we got back in the boat and jaunted back home. That's a taste of my new life on the lake. I think I like it.

Living for Good Health

In the interest of getting my blog up and going, I'm going to give you a freebie today - 2 posts! This little extra post also means I can sit under my warm blanket a little longer (we have an ice storm at the lake today).

I'm a big girl. I've been a big girl for a long time. I used to be a much bigger girl. In 2007, I decided to finally change my lifestyle and lose weight.. NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TOOK (that was the really hard part). In the first year, I lost 57 lbs. I lived in Hawaii at the time and did not work outside the home. I had an incredible opportunity to pursue fitness uninterrupted. I took advantage of this, knowing it was a blessing.

I lost most of my weight doing exactly what we know to do: exercise more, eat less. For guidance though, I hooked up with Bob Greene of The Best Life fame (www.thebestlife.com). His approach is extremely reasonable and healthy. It gave me just enough good information to help me really make some changes.

After living in Hawaii, we moved to Germany. Living in Germany also presented good fitness opportunities, but more food challenges. While there I started working outside the home and that put some time constraints on me. I ended up gaining back some weight, but am still way ahead of the game.

In addition, to losing weight, I've:
learned to love hiking
tried wind surfing
learned to sail (Thank you Wet Hens!)
paddled outrigger canoes
learned to snow ski (in the Alps, no less)
water skied more often
become an avid walker
completed the Great Aloha Run (8.1 miles)
run 5K
run 10K
improved my cholesterol
turned back prediabetes
and learned that I can do more than I thought, by chipping away at it a little at a time.

Now that I'm at the lake I walk on our country roads but am looking for new things. I've got a bicycle being shipped to me and want to learn to ride up hills. I also have a kayak down in the boathouse that I plan on using for good core and upper body workouts. When the weather gets warm (and the water!) I might get brave enough to take on the water moccasins and swim in the lake (yikes!). Lastly, for my 50th birthday I have a goal of hitting up some of the Appalachian Trail with my brother and hopefully, my sister.

As the new year kicks off, I'm focusing on making better eating choices. I'd still like to lose a big hunk of weight, but I can honestly say I do not stress over this. I made my lifestyle changes and God healed some broken places... I recognize it's a lifelong journey, not an overnight thing. I love the way I feel and eating good food makes me feel great.
Passion 2011 and related information

Starting Out, New Beginnings, Etc.

So here I am. It's January 10, 2011. I'm in a new place. . . well, o.k. not so new in some ways. I've just moved to the lake. I've vacationed here since I got married in 1983. My husband's family has had "The Cabin" since 1973. In 2003, we bought it and built the home we planned to retire to one day. (Just realized those years all end in 3's.) 

Where were we? Oh yeah, retirement. Well, my husband just retired. He gave the Air Force 26+ good years (I got to do them all with him) and since the Air Force apparently found itself colonel-heavy, decided to help us decide to retire. (I think that's a poor sentence, but I don't feel like making it right.) I like to say the Lord used the Air Force's situation to move us on to where He wants us. 

So my new beginnings are: 1) Living at the lake after dreaming about it for just about forever 2) Transitioning from life with the Air Force to life without it and 3) January - a new year. And on top of all that, I'm turning 50 this year. 

I don't have a lot to make of all of this yet, but I have a feeling there are going to be stories to share and things I feel like writing about, so I'm making myself a spot to do that. I'd be quite honored if you shared in it with me, but you won't hurt my feelings if you don't... I don't think. I can be kind of wishy-washy on things like this so don't be surprised if I get a little touchy now and then.

My Beginning to 2011
Most recently (well, not most recently, as most recently I was cleaning bathrooms)... Relatively recently, I had the opportunity to attend, volunteer at and overall experience a pretty phenomenal event. The event is called Passion 2011 and it is geared toward college students, which I decidedly am not, all for the glory and fame of Jesus Christ. This huge deal was organized by a family member, which impressed me, though it shouldn't since we're all just people, but does anyway, because it's a HUGE DEAL. It was held in Atlanta at the Philips Arena. The Philips Arena is where all the headliners go for their own huge deals, in case you don't know. It was a sold out event. In fact, it was so sold out that they had to use the Georgia World Congress Center as well. As a matter of another fact, it was so sold out that they had to add another venue (this time in Fort Worth) in April to accommodate all those desiring to attend. 

Now I don't know about you, but I'm fairly impressed by the fact that any event not involving beer could attract that many college students. What could make them what to come? The name of Jesus?? Believe it or not, yes. The chance to hear sound Biblical teaching? Yes. The opportunity to stand elbow to elbow with other college students raising their hands in praise to Jesus Christ while belting out Jesus songs? Yes. And oh, by the way, they (22,000 college students who eat ramen noodles) gave over 1 million dollars  to worthwhile missions across the globe and brought 17,000 towels and 85,000 pairs of socks for use in the Atlanta homeless missions. Not only that, they showed up in Atlanta on January 1st and stayed 3 nights. 

Doesn't it somewhat excite you to know that there even ARE 22,000 college students who would put themselves out like this? These kids gave up time with their families, days of sleeping in, and more just to be there to sit in chairs and listen to speakers all day. Pretty incredible. And I got to be there. 

I will tell you that this was physically demanding for my (almost) 50 year old body. I don't know when I've hurt so much. I also don't know when I've been more energized and happy to be standing in one place all day waving my arms getting people seated in a building. I had to pray for that energy and the ability to stand on my feet that long, but it totally energized me. 

I just want you to know this thing is going on. Jesus is active among our college kids. These "kids" are excited to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and are setting out to make 2011 it's own special year. I can't wait to see what the future holds for them. Remind me to tell you some individual stories I heard. 
Oh and next year they're going to the Georgia Dome - it seats over 77,000 people. Whoa!