Sunday, January 31, 2010

"My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am." ~Author Unknown

I'm sitting here procrastinating. I should be working on my homework for this week because I have a lot I need to get done.  Instead here I am in blogger world wasting time - haha!

How many of you have a dog?  My little Bailey is nothing more sophisticated than a pound mutt, but she brings us so much joy.  These past few days while I have been sick, I have often drifted off to sleep only to awake to a little doggie snuggled up against me.  Toby & Liv ask her to come lay with them, but she just stays next to me. Last night I got up to let her out & take some more medicine.  I couldn't get back to sleep so I came out in the living room to mess on the computer for a while.  Here she came, hopped up in the chair with me & snuggled down as close as she could get. She was sound asleep snuggled against me when Toby found us both in the recliner this morning.  She is the sweetest, most loving dog I've ever had. But I have to admit I didn't want her at first...

Almost 4 years ago, Livvy was involved in Brownies.  Their community service activity was to spend the day working at the local humane society.  I dropped her off at the human society & went to visit my grandma.  When I came to pick her up, here she came packing this itsy bitsy puppy (see pic @ R).  I immediately said, "Absolutely NOT!".  She said, "I know, mama, but she's SO sweet.  And look how good she is.  She even let me give her a bath without a fight." I again said "NO!".  Liv's a persuasive little booger though with reasoning abilities that would rival even the best trial lawyer.   She said, "Could I call Papa & ask him?  If he says no I'll drop it, I promise."  Now, because I knew that Toby would NEVER say yes, I said, "Fine.  Call Papa."  Keep in mind she was only about 7 yrs. old then.  She talked to him for a few minutes.  What she said I couldn't tell you.  I knew he'd say no so I wasn't worried about it.  Then she hands me the phone and says, "Here.  He wants to talk to you.  He says he don't care."  I said, "WHAT?!?!".  He told me that he didn't care if I didn't.  Maybe it'll help teach her responsibility, he said.  I couldn't believe he'd said yes (and I also learned that day that he would forever be mush in her hands!).

I asked the lady working at the humane society about the puppy.  She said the puppies' mom was a full-blooded Yorkie & that she probably wouldn't get much bigger than what she was right then.  (That was Lie #1, as we are fairly certain she has no Yorkie in her & she has grown from about 4# to over 20#).  She said the puppies were only about 5 wks old & that they had been left at the pound just a couple days before because the mama dog wouldn't care for them. She also said they were all healthy (that was Lie #2, but more about that later...).  So, I paid the lady the $30 fee & away we went with this little 5 wk old pup in tow.  A quick stop to at Walmart to pick up food, doggie bowls & a small doggie "house" & home we came.

The first week was nothing short of hell.  Miss Bailey was one pup from a large litter.  She had never been alone.  So she cried non-stop all night in her little house. Within a few days, it was obvious something wasn't right with her.  I took her to the vet & found out she was indeed sick.  It took over $300 & several trips to the vet to get her better & keep her alive. Livvy had promised to take care of her & that she would be "her dog", but now I had this sick little pup & a 7 yr. old on my hands.  I took care of the pup & worked on house-training her.  On a daily basis, I'll admit, I wanted to offer to give her a bath & drown her.  I was worn out & irritated over the whole ordeal.

Then something happened...over the next few months, she somehow became "my dog".  Toby says it's because I had to give her such one-on-one care to keep her alive in those first few weeks.  I can't really say what happened. She has chronic ear problems & allergies.  Over the nearly 4 yrs we've had her I've given up keeping track of what she's cost us in vet visits, medicines, special foods, groomings (because with the way her hair grows she has to get shaved every so often), & boarding fees when we travel.  I'm sure it would make me vomit if I actually knew being the cheapskate I am. haha!  

Still, I fell in love with her.  I couldn't help it. She is a wonderful companion. She loves us unconditionally & she lives for only one purpose - to make us happy. I look at her now & I wonder what I'd do without her.  I've already told Liv she can forget any ideas of taking her to college with her. I couldn't handle losing both my "girls" at one time. Talk about an empty nest!

This brings me to something that I've often thought about:  What if we all treated each other like dogs treat us?  When I come home, Bailey never fails to meet me at the door.  She loves on me, licks me, and goes completely nuts with joy until I've given her my attention.  If I go to the mailbox, it's as if I've been gone years when I come back through the door.  When one of is sick or sad, she instinctively knows & she gives that person her undivided love & attention.  I can remember when Liv was littler, if she was sick, Bailey would crawl up on the back of the couch & lay all day watching her. She still sleeps with me most nights, unless Liv is sick & then she stays with her all night. How does she know?  I don't know, but she does. When I'm in a bad mood & ignore her or scold her, she doesn't hate me for it, she just tries harder to please me & loves me even more when I call for her to come to me. What if we all acted that way?  What if we all lived to make the lives of those we love happier & more pleasant? What if we forgave each other the day-to-day transgressions as easily as our dogs do? What if we let those we love know we love them as enthusiastically as our dogs do us?

I didn't want her & I certainly wasn't going to love her...but something happened. She wormed her way into my heart & she made me love her.  So, okay, now she's "my dog".  I didn't pick her, but she picked me.  Maybe she knew that I needed her as much as she needed me....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"When an illness knocks you on your a**, you should stay down and relax for a while before trying to get back up." ~Candea Core-Starke

Well, blogger gals, I have to confess...I broke down today and drank soda.  Not one, but several.  I know *gasp*, but before you all feel bad that I didn't make it the full month let me explain...

I woke up yesterday morning with a horrible sore throat.  I kind of had wondered if I might be trying to take a cold or something because the past couple of days when I worked out with Amal my asthma had acted up.  This used to be a common thing, but I hadn't had any problems in a long time.  Let me back up & make clear something: I HATE TO BE SICK!  Toby says that all people hate to be sick, but I absolutely LOATHE it & I will fight it for as long as I can.  Some times I even win :)  Anyway, yesterday when I got up I thought heck with this, the house needs cleaned & I'm going to get it done. After of 3 hours of cleaning I shouldn't have been surprised to realize that I felt even worse, but I was.  I took some medicine, went to bed and just KNEW I'd wake up healed today.  Wrong again.  This morning my throat hurt even worse & I could feel the drainage in my throat (YUCK!).  We had to be in Bloomington around 9AM for Liv's Solo & Ensemble contest, so I got up & got ready.  Finally, on the way to Bloomington, I told Toby to stop at Arby's & get me a Sierra Mist.  He looked at me funny & said, "Are you serious?"  I said, "Yes, I am."  I felt like I was drowning in my own fluids (Sorry for being so gross, but you gals know how it can be).  So he did.  When I am sick like this, nothing tastes as good or helps my throat as much as Sierra Mist. 

I thought I'd just get by with that one Sierra Mist.  I even had water with lunch & supper.  But after supper tonight, I told Toby I would kill for some more Sierra Mist & so he went to the store & come home with some for me.  (I know he's best!). 

Still, I made it 30 days without the soda.  And, you know, I don't miss it.  When I'm over this crap, I plan on going back to the no soda lifestyle. For that, I consider this month's challenge a success. I've also noticed a huge difference in how short of breath I get when I walk to the mail box or up stairs.  Use to a trip to the mail box or upstairs left me super winded.  In fact, I couldn't go up stairs & talk on the phone at the same time.  Many times, I would be huffing & puffing like I'd ran a race just unloading groceries.  I don't have that problem anymore.  I've got a LONG way to go, but I'm amazed (and encouraged) by the little differences I see.

I didn't workout with Amal yesterday or today. Yesterday, I figured 3 hrs of cleaning was workout enough (& I was definitely sweating by the time I was done).  Tonight, I wanted to but just didn't feel up to it.  I know some people exercise when they are sick & say it helps them feel better.  Do any of you do that?  If so, does it help?  I asked Toby what he thought & he said he didn't think it was smart since I have problems with exercised-induced asthma to begin with.  A couple years ago I had double pneumonia & I put off going to the doc.  I ended up REALLY sick & it scared him.  I think he still worries about it.  Every time I get sick he says I'll let it go into pneumonia.  (Guess it's better that he worries than to just not care :)  Anyway, I decided it wasn't worth it. 

Of course, my stupid self was really running her mouth today.  Trash talking me about how I'll be starting all over & she knew I couldn't do it.  But I silenced her pretty quick. I feel so much better & stronger.  I feel so much more in control. I actually look forward to the "me time" my time with Amal affords me.  I feel confident that even a couple days off won't derail me now. 

I'm hoping that I feel better by Mon. so I feel like starting the strength training & getting back to Amal. In the past, a cold usually wrecks havoc on my breathing so I may have to rethink some of my goals for Feb., but I'm pretty consistently riding 20 min/day now & I'll be pleased if I just maintain that throughout Feb. 

On a completely different note, Liv went to Solo & Ensemble today with the Orleans Elem. 5th & 6th Grade Choir.  They ended up getting a 1st place gold rating!  In fact, all the performers from Orleans did!  She was so excited.  I was proud of her.  I sometimes am amazed at how grown up she is getting. She is involved in so many things at school.  She's so much more outgoing than I ever was. For that, I am really glad. 

I also finished up our taxes & got them filed today.  I can't hardly wait to get back our refund. We're waiting on it before we go new-to-me (sometimes called "used" - haha) car shopping.  I've been driving an old car that my dad gave us for several months now.  It's got nearly 183K miles on it.  I needed to find something newer before next fall when I have to drive back & forth to Jasper multiple times each week. So, we decided to wait till tax time & go see what we can find.  Right now we're leaning toward getting a 2005-2007 Taurus with as low of miles as we can afford.  I'm a total SUV kind of gal, but I need something cheaper & better on gas right now. I am totally excited to have something new-to-me to drive.  The car I have now is older & doesn't have a lot of the perks of newer cars (like power windows & locks).  I miss those things and I'll be glad to have some of those conveniences back.  I've got my eye on 2 Tauruses right now, so I hope that 1) they're still available when our money gets here & 2) we can talk them down to a reasonable price.

Enough rambling for now...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I've changed my comments so that I have to approve them before they are posted since yesterday I got spammed by some Japanese or Chinese spam that I couldn't even read...If you have trouble posting a comment let me know.  I originally opened the comments up to post without approval because no one was able to post comments when I used the stricter settings. Hope this works so that you guys can comment and the spammers can't  :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

"It is never too late to be who you might have been." ~George Eliot

AAAHHHH! The house to myself.  It's so quiet.  Toby had to leave for work early & Liv's going to be at school till 4 & then back again from 4:30-6 tonight.  I should be busy doing laundry & reading textbooks for this week's homework, but here I am blogging :)

The end of Jan. is quickly approaching so I've been giving a lot of thought to Feb.'s goals and to how well Jan.'s goals have went.  Here's a quick rundown:

Jan. Goals:

1.  No soda challenge:  So far this has been the easiest of my goals to maintain.  I have had no soda this month at all. I have had water, milk, hot choc. & coffee. I don't really miss the soda that much.  Mostly only when we're eating out (or at the theater - I REALLY missed it there).  I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel & my skin.  I've also noticed a big difference in my appetite.  I have read that aspartame, splenda & low-cal diet drinks & food can increase appetite but hadn't really noticed how much it does change mine.  Livvy, being a lover of Diet Coke, decided that she would do the no soda challenge with me only she allows herself 1 soda a day. She has stuck with it & I've noticed a big decrease in her appetite as well. So maybe that's a side benefit.

2. Exercise at least 5 min. at least 6 days/week:  I have met & exceeded this goal.  I have only missed 4 days this month and I am now up to 15-20 min. on the bike.  I've also increased the resistance level from what I originally started at as well as having went from riding at a steady 10mph to riding between 16-19mph for the duration of my exercise time.

3. No skipping meals:  Oh my, I have failed big time with this one.  As I sit here writing this it is nearly 1PM & I've yet to eat today. This one has been such a struggle for me.  I'm contemplating how to break it down into mini goals so that I can work on it next month.

Still 2 out of 3 isn't bad. For Feb. here's what I'm thinking:

Feb. Goals:

1.  Continue with no soda, BUT allow no more than 1 soda per week & only if eating out.  This soda will be the real thing (no diet) so that I can avoid the chemical "sugars".

2. Exercise at least 6 days/week no less than 20 min. each session.  By the end of Feb. be exercising at least 30 min. each session.

3. Begin strength training.  The program I've picked is a 6 day/week program that lasts for 12 min/day. Follow this program entire month. 

4. Eat breakfast EVERY day.  This is my first mini-goal toward not skipping meals. 

5. No late night snacking.  No snacks after 8PM.  This is going to be the hardest of all the goals I tackle.  I LOVE to late night snack.

and 6.  No sweets except on special occasions (like birthdays & our Feb. weekend get-a-way).  Since I've not been real strict on my eating habits, I've noticed I'm allowing myself too much leeway with the sweets. Time to get that under control.

So there's Feb.'s goals.  Half a continuation of Jan.'s life changes & half new goals to work on.  March will be bringing us toward spring & I'm hoping to have some outdoors goals for March too.  Maybe by then I'll have lost enough weight that walking won't bother my feet & I can start mixing up the exercise routine.

I want to say a special "Thank You" to all you gals who just keep on supporting me.  It means more than you guys realize.  It truly helps to put my thoughts out here & share with you.  I enjoy your tips & I am inspired by your challenges & successes.  Part of it is the benefit of accountablity, but most of it is just knowing I'm not going this journey alone.  So thank you, thank you, thank you! find me some lunch :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake." ~ Author Unknown

I haven't forgotten my blog or my fellow bloggers.  Nor have I forgotten to stay on track.  This past week my mind has been a boggled mess & I just haven't took the time to blog the boggle. haha!

Anyway, I'm still doing well with the no soda challenge. I'm also sticking to my exercise challenge.  I'm up to 15-20 min. per day doing either the programs that Amal came with or just riding 20 min. at the 4th (out of 10) level of resistance.

Amal & I are getting to be good pals.  I'm actually enjoy my time with her. I read somewhere that if you do something for 28 days it will become a habit.  I'm getting really close to day 28, so I'm hoping that means my exercising routine will be a habit now. I received my "The 12-Minute Total Body Workout" book today in the mail.  I need to pick up some dumbbells, but in the meantime the 1st week of the workout is done without dumbbells so that you can learn the moves.  So the plan is to start on this next week. 

I was disheartened this past week when I got on the scale only to find that the 5 lbs. I had lost I'd found again.  That puts me, weight-wise, right back where I started.  However, I did find several articles online that said this is typical of starting an exercise program.  The articles I read said it can take 4-6 wks for the body to adjust & let go so that the scales actually show a difference.  I'm clinging to that info with a deathly grip.  Livvy told me she'd gained 2 lbs since she started spending time with Amal too so I hope that's all it is.  Of course, my stupid self had to chime in when I saw what the scale said.  But I told her to be quiet.  I feel better, my skin looks better & I have more energy so I'm meeting those goals that I had set for myself.  I've also lost an inch off my waist. Since I'm working on waist over weight, I consider that a win too.

On a different note, I celebrated my 33rd birthday this past week. I enjoyed a nice visit with my dad & step-mom on Wed. evening, had lunch with my grandma on my actual birthday (on Thurs) & had a wonderful birthday dinner today (complete with a cake by Allison!!) with my mom & step-dad, brother & his family.  I got money from my dad & my step-mom, my mom & my step-dad, my grandma & my in-laws.  I'm thinking I'm going to take my Christmas money & birthday money and get a gas grill this spring.  I love to grill out & I've been wanting a gas grill for some time now. Mom & my step-dad also gave me Amal for my birthday.  I was planning on buying her from mom, but mom said she was mine & "Happy Birthday".  Toby got me a beautiful card & now I get to look forward to our get-a-way in late Feb. Jan. & Feb. are extremely busy months for us with a lot of stressful things to take care of (like taxes & buying a new-to-me used car), so by the time the end of Feb. rolls around I will be more than ready to get away for a night & have some us time with Toby.  What a great birthday it has been!

School is going OK.  I'm slightly bored with it & really ready to get on with nursing school.  Of course, within a few weeks of nursing school I'll probably be saying "I need a break!" haha!

Well, I'm off to finish watching Dirty Jobs (have I
ever mentioned I have a huge crush on Mike Rowe :) ... then we have a movie we could watch & some DVR'd shows from this past week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired." ~Author Unknown

I want to say "Thanks" for all the great name ideas I got.  Cris is a wonderful brainstormer & cracks me up. I liked Molly's suggestion of "Old Bessie" too.  After much thought, I decided I wanted the name to be something that reflected the bike's purpose in my life & the goals that I hope to achieve on her.  (And, yeah, I decided she had to be a her.  After all, a woman needs another woman she can depend on, right?)

So, without further ado, I have decided to name her Amal.  Amal is hebrew for labor or work and is muslim for hope, wishes, & aspirations.  A variation of Amal (written Amall, Amald, or Amalda) is german for power of an eagle or strong.  I nearly settled on Bruce which means perseverance, but then I stumbled across Amal and decided it suited her & my goals better.  So Amal she is!

Amal is getting quite the workout.  Even Toby & Liv have been on her this weekend riding her programs and getting a workout. I've ridden a 20 min. program the past couple of days.  I am amazed at how big of a difference having the right equipment can make in my motivation to go exercise.

Now that I'm putting Amal (or maybe she's putting me) through the paces, I am beginning to focus more on my eating habits.  I had decided that the exercise habit and the no soda goals would come first. Then I would work on my eating habits.  We can't really afford to buy lots of "health" food. I have to work with what I can find on sale.  I can do lots of meat & veggie meals so that is much of what I try to stick too.  But buying a lot of premade "diet" foods just isn't in the budget. 

My biggest issue is my late night snacking.  I have a goal to eat 3 meals a day & not skip meals, but unfortunately this is my biggest challenge.  I use to get up every  morning and eat a bowl of cereal before I got in the shower to get ready for work.  My whole day was off if I had to skip that bowl of cereal.  Now, though, I'm not hungry when I get up. So I think I'll wait until Toby gets up.  Then it's mid-morning and I think I'll wait til lunch.  Then I get busy and I look up and it's 2 in the afternoon and I think "well, if I eat now I won't want supper" so I just wait til supper at 4:30 and that becomes my 1st meal of the day.  Then by 6 or 7pm I'm hungry again and I tend to snack & nibble until 11pm or midnight and then go to bed. It's a HORRIBLE habit! 

I also find myself giving myself too much leeway with my "eat what you want only in smaller portions" rule.  So I'm thinking maybe I need a mini-goal of logging everything I eat for a week & seeing how many calories I'm actually consuming.  I did Weight Watchers about 7 year ago and lost a bunch of weight but being a slave to a scale & a food journal just isn't how I want to live the rest of my life.  I know I don't want to do food journaling for an extended period of time, but maybe a week would open my eyes to areas I'm sabotaging myself without even knowing it.  For now, I have 2 more weeks of the no soda & daily exercise challenge.  That should give me plenty of time to get Feb.'s goals finalized.

If any of you have some ideas for challenging monthly goals feel free to share.  I've about got Feb covered, but I am still working on Mar.  I like having monthly goals because they are short term goals that I can use to achieve my long term goal & they also help keep me focused even after the new of the new year has worn off.  After all, saying I won't drink soda for a month is much less daunting than saying I need to lose nearly a 100lbs...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Name the bike...

Today I brought home my new-to-me used exercise bike. My mom had bought it after her knee replacement surgery for therapy but can't use it now so I'm going to buy it from her.  She had me bring it home on a "try-it-before-you-buy-it" basis.  It has 8 different programs that auto change your resistance (to mimic going up hills, etc).  While you're riding these programs it tells you if you're riding too slow or too fast to keep you working at target pace. It is AWESOME!! Tonight I rode 20 min. for the 1st time ever!!! AND, I didn't even read during it.  I'm sure the newness of the gadgets will wear off & I'll go back to reading, but for tonight I was just interested in seeing how it worked & the time just flew by.

Since it looks like she's going to become a part of the family, I thought it'd be fun to give her a name.  I love Cris's elliptical's name, El but "Bikey" just doesn't seem to work.  So, come on gals (& guys if there are any reading this), help me name my new bike.

"Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life". ~Albert Einstein

I can't help it, I'm addicted to great quotes.  Maybe it's because I've always been full of words & I love it when someone can say a lot with just a few words.  Anyway, today's quote is appropriate for today. 

Early this morning we got the call that Toby's grandma had passed away.  She was 89 yrs. old.  In the past year or so she had been struck with a disease that was robbing her of her mind & some of her physical abilities.  Recently her heart began to fail as well. She was loved & will be missed. Her passing will leave a hole in many hearts.

This past few weeks have been full of tragedy & heartache for our area.  It started a couple weeks ago when a 37 yr old mother died in a house fire just outside of town leaving 2 young children & a husband behind.  Then, just this past week, a 41 yr. old father of 4 was taken from his wife & children in a horrible car accident.  That accident also claimed the lives of a young man & woman in their 20s.  That woman left a child behind too. Thankfully, a young girl Liv's age survived the accident.  And, although she has much to deal with (her brother was the young man that was killed), I'm sure that her mother is praising God that she was spared.  God must have big plans for this little girl's future.  The driver of the semi-truck involved was also spared. And, while he may not be able to see it now, I believe God has big plans for him as well. 

Have you ever thought about what YOUR purpose is here on earth?  I've always believed that we all have a purpose & that our date of death is predetermined.  I believe we are here until that purpose is served & when our time is over, it's over.  I use to wonder what my purpose was, but after Liv came along I begin to feel that SHE was my purpose. At first I found this odd.  How could another person be a person's purpose? Shouldn't our purpose be something like finding a cure for cancer or saving another person's life?  But then I got to thinking a little harder about it and it finally hit me:  I may never do anything in my life that is really noteworthy, but I gave birth to Liv and she (or one of my grandchildren or great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren or .... well you get the idea) may one day do something that saves many lives or changes our world for the better.  That gives me purpose because without me, there would be no her and without her there would be no lineage from me or her.  That makes my purpose simply to be her mother & raise her in a way that she can fulfill her purpose. And, you know what, that's an OK purpose.  I think back to some of the great people in our history books & wonder if their great-great-great-great ancestors had any idea of the part they were playing in history?

And, so that is why I picked today's quote.  We don't end with our death.  We live on in our children and in their children and in their children.  I am pieces of all those who came before me in my family and in many ways that comforts me.  I may be fairly new to this world, but I am made of blood that has been through generations of happiness & struggles.  I may not be all that strong on my own, but I am made of strong blood & that empowers me.  It makes me want to be the best I can be.  After all, I must have been the purpose of someone else's life & I want to make sure I don't squander their purpose.

Someone once said "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" and I think that must be true for each of us as well.  Individually, we are just parts but when combined over the generations look at the good we can do...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What do YOU think?

I've always heard there are 2 things you don't discuss with your friends : politics and religion.  But today, I'm going to risk it and talk a little bit about religion.  Why?  Because I've got questions and I am curious as to what other people think.

Let me preface this by saying that I was raised in church.  Baptized in a baptist church and spent most of my preteen & teen years in a Christian church.  I had an exceptional youth minister, Rodney, who I still credit with making me much of who I am today. Since then I have attended a Methodist church & a Church of Christ.  Today, and for the past few years, I have not attended church anywhere.

I am completely put off by today's churches.  I'm not into caring what the name on the door says.  I'm a tolerant person who believes that we should judge each other less and ourselves more. I am not trying to pass judgment on any other person when I say that I am sickened by the behavior of our churches today.  So many churches keep building bigger buildings, "life centers", gyms, etc while so many people in their communities (even in their own congregations) lose their homes to foreclosure, put hungry children to bed at night and struggle to get through each day. Why do churches not focus their energies into helping others instead of seeing which congregation can build the biggest building or have the fanciest sign out front? Because of this, I can't seem to bring myself to go to a church building and support this kind of behavior.

I have TONS of questions that I've discovered while studying science and history.  I question why we follow blindly without challenging some things that just don't make sense.  Please don't get me wrong, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe the Bible has a place in our lives.  I believe in prayer and that someone hears them and that praying does make a difference. 

The problem I am faced with is this:  Why do some people feel like if you don't attend church you don't have a relationship with God?  Can you only have a relationship with God in the church building?  Are we to assume that only those who stand proudly in public and say "I love God.  Look at the good deeds I've done." have a relationship with him?  Did God bless us with the ability to learn and question with the expectation that we would never ask questions or broaden our knowledge base?

I think that our relationship with God is personal.  I know some will say that the Bible says we must gather to worship.  But who defines worship?  Is worship the basic church service outline of songs, communion, sermon, & songs?  The Bible also instructs Christians to love one another, to raise their children up right, to help those in need, and to be humble.  But so many Christians are willing to skip right over those instructions and point fingers at those who don't come to a church building on Sun. 

After the horrible accident this past week that took 3 young lives, I had someone tell me that this is a good example of why we should always be ready to go.  We should always be ready because we never know what the day will hold for us.  It's one of the reasons I refuse to part ways with anyone that I'm upset or mad at until it's been resolved. I never leave a person with words that I couldn't live with if they happened to be my last ones to them. Then the same person said that this is why they constantly worry and pray for me & my family and that we will get our lives straightened out.  Really?  Not that I'm not thankful for prayers.  We can always use those.  But who said my life ISN'T "straightened out"?  Who knows my relationship with God better than me?  Is it fair to say that I have no relationship with God just because I don't go weekly to a church building?
I'm not saying going to church is wrong. I'm just saying it isn't necessary to have a relationship with God and that no one should judge another person's relationship with God based on their church attendance.

So, what do you think?  You won't offend me.  Even if I disagree with you.  I'm just interested in what other people think about having a relationship with God.  Is it suppose to be public knowledge?  Am I wrong to think that my relationship with God is both personal and quiet.  Am I wrong to choose to try harder to live a good life that makes positive impacts on others? Am I wrong to question the choices of today's churches?  Am I suppose to just "go with the flow" because that's what everyone thinks a Christian is suppose to do?  Are Christians not called to be tolerant and loving of others?  Should we not work to understand our differences in beliefs rather than assume that if we don't believe exactly the same one of us must be wrong?

"Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks." ~Henri Bergson

I started to blog this morning and didn't get very far so now I'm going to try again. I sometimes wonder if anyone even reads this besides me, but it's a good self-discipline tool so I'm going to keep on yacking in cyberspace....

I dropped my anatomy class this morning.  It kind of pains me to say that because it's like admitting defeat, but I just didn't have it in me this semester to struggle through the horribly written textbook another semester. I truly do love the study of the human body (I wouldn't be becoming an RN if I wasn't amazed & interested in the human body), but the textbook we had for my anatomy 101 & 102 might as well be written in spanish. At least then, every once in a while, I could pick out a word Miss Greathouse taught me way back when. 

I got through anatomy 101 and made an A, but this semester I just didn't think I had it in me.  One big help I had last semester (besides an AWESOME professor) was that my biology text (which was well written) covered the EXACT same stuff for the first 5 weeks.  That gave me a BIG helping hand getting going last semester.  All my classes are online right now, so study/lab partners are really not an option.  I just felt like I was teaching myself anatomy.  This semester my prof is specialized in biology (I think he's got his doctorate in it).  His area of focus has to do with stress hormones in animals. He studies mice & how they decide to risk their lives to go get food vs just starving but staying safe from predators & the stress hormones involved. As nice as he was, a part of me questioned whether or not he was really qualified to teach human anatomy.

Anyway, I decided that I was probably going to have to take anatomy over again at VUJC next fall anyway just because I don't feel like I've mastered the material well enough to go on into their 2nd year anatomy (which I have to take there regardless of whether or not I take this 102 class).  So I thought, "Why am I doing this to myself (and my poor family that has to live with me-haha).?" 

When I dropped anatomy, I signed up for an 8 wk English literature class.  Anyone read Catcher in the Rye, Bluest Eye, The House on Mango Street, or Old Man and the Sea? This class doesn't start until Mar. 15th, but it looks like I'll be reading those books.  I'm going to order them from Amazon this week & go ahead and start reading.  (Yeah, I know. They'll really have to twist my arm to get me to read a non-textbook book - LOL). I'm in a medical law & ethics class, a sociology class, and an American history class this semester too.  I'm actually looking forward to all of these classes. 

On a different note, Friday I am getting a new exercise bike!  WooHoo! (I think)  I'm borrowing it from my mom.  She wants to sell it so I'm getting it on a "try-it-before-you-buy-it" basis.  It's one without moving handle bars (yeah reading!) and is more of a recumbent style.  Maybe I'll actually be able to sit on this one with out needing a step stool. (The one I am using now is too tall for me, even with the seat all the way down.)  This one has programs you can ride that automatically adjust your resistance.  You tell it your goals & it beeps at you if you're slacking & many other little perks.  So I'm excited.  I've been riding consistently 10+ min. a night.  I've only taken 1 night off since Jan. 1 and I've done 15 min. on several occassions.  Usually I have to stop because my ankles cramp up from the way I have to hold my feet to make the pedals go, so I'm hoping this new bike will remedy that problem & I will be able to make it up to 30 min/day at least a couple times a week by the end of the month in addition to my other daily rides.

It is amazing how much better I am starting to feel. I've only lost about 4 pounds, but I've already lost an inch off my waist. I'm still committed to not being a slave to the scale, so I'm staying focused on my no-soda goal & excercising and letting the rest take care of itself.

I got a couple of DVDs from Netflix by the Vedral lady I mentioned in an earlier post but they are just SOOO lame & cheesy.  So, I went ahead and ordered a used copy of the old book of hers that I had years ago that I really liked (& know works).  It's called 12-Minute Total Body Workout. Now I just need to find me some small hand weights.

How's everyone else doing on their new year refocusing?  I noticed other night that Cris had a date with El so I know she's getting back into the swing of things.  I hope none of you are letting a bad day or two get you down.  That seems to be my biggest weakness.  I can say no to ice cream (ok, well sometimes), but give me a day when I totally screw up in the eating & exercise dept. and I'm ready to throw the towel in.  Remember, it took DAYS to get us to where we are now - and that's not a singular day, it's multiple days which became months which led to years of bad habits.  We can't change it overnight & we can't ruin our good plans with 1 or 2 bad days.  I need to remind myself of this every time I stumble.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Making financial changes in the new year...

A family member (who I also consider a friend) mentioned the other day that she & her hubby were going to work on their finances as their goal for the new year. I'm sure that they aren't the only ones that have this goal this year. In our household, we are saving for a car, planning a vacation before I begin nursing school & budgeting for me to begin driving to & from Jasper multiple days each week this fall. All while we hold our breath & hope that Toby's job holds out through this, the roughest part of the year for their business. I imagine money is on the minds of many of us.

I read the other day that Americans are saving at an all-time low rate. Maybe we could help each other beat this sad statistic.

So, today's blog is more of a poll-type blog.

What do you or are you planning to do during 2010 to be more financially stable & secure? Do you have specific goals you're working toward? Do you have ideas for saving money?

Let's share ideas & maybe we'll find new ways to become better savers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

One week down...just a lifetime to go...

Here I am at the end of week 1 of our new year. By this time I've usually given up on any life changes I wanted to make, mentally allowed my stupid self to win out & decide that fat & unhealthy is just my lot in life. But this year is different. My stupid self has remained quiet after our first little fight on Jan. 1. I'm sure she'll rear her ugly head at some point, but I think she's a little afraid of the new rational self she met.

During this week, I stuck with my no soda rule and exercised all 7 days. My goal was only for 5 min./6 days a week, but I managed to put in 12.5 min on Tues, 10 min. on Wed. & 15 min. last night! Usually by this point I'm really having to argue with stupid self about why 5 min. will make a difference, but instead, this week, I have found myself actually feeling good about the exercise. Obviously I have a LONG way to go before I can say I WANT to exercise, but I slowly feel myself joining the ranks of "exercisers". Could little ol' me actually become one of those people who LIKES to exercise? Guess we're going to find out.
Thanks to all the people who comment some ideas on yoga & strength training videos. I always liked Joyce Vedral's book "Bottoms Up". She's an older woman who has designed a way to basically lift small weights 20 min./day or less & make big changes in your muscle tone & strength. I did her program years ago & the difference you see in just a couple weeks is really amazing. Back then all she had was books, but now she has tons of videos. Sometimes she can be annoying to listen to, but her program works. So I have put 2 of her strength videos & a yoga for beginners video in my Netflix queue for next week.

I would like to get to the point that I do the bike at least 6 days/wk & the strength training at least 4-5 days. I think Vedral's program is a 6-day work/1-day of rest program, but I can't remember exactly. Her program is designed to work different muscle groups each day so that you don't overwork any muscles. I think she hits abs twice a wk. (Mine could stand 8 days/wk! haha!).

So who got snow? WE DID! Finally! I LOVE the snow. I LOVE the fresh air of spring & the colors of fall & the heat of summer too, but winter just doesn't seem like winter without snow. I love the way it looks, the chill in the air, the great excuse to not leave home & just curl up with our loved ones, the way a warm soup tastes on a cold day...

The other night we were eating supper & Toby says, "Just so you know. We're going away for your birthday this year. You pick the place. It can be for a day or a weekend." I about fell out of my chair. In all the years we've been married I can count on 1 hand the times he's said this. 1 time & you just shared that time with me. I didn't ask any questions, I just said "OK". He said, "Let me know what day(s) will work for you & where you want to go so I can get my paperwork turned in at work & take the time off I need to." WOW!

We've been together 13 yrs Mar. 1st & married 12 yrs. in May. Every year we try to do something toward the end of May as a family. We don't have enough money to do 2 vacations a year so we always take Liv with us on the 1 vacation a yr. we try to squeeze into our budget. Plus, Liv has spent the last couple years absolutely REFUSING to stay all night with anyone but us. She told Toby the other day that this year she was ready to try spending the night with her grandparents again. (Who knows what goes through that kid's head. She used to stay with grandparents & aunts/uncles ALL the time!) So this opportunity for Toby & I to have a night/weekend to ourselves is such a nice birthday gift!

I've decided that we are going to Madison,IN. A few years ago we took Liv to Clifty Falls state park. While we were there we drove on into Madison for an hour or so. Toby & I remarked at the time that we should return just the 2 of us one weekend to check out the shops & rest of the town. It was such a neat little town. So I made us a reservation just outside of Madison near Clifty Falls. Unfortunately, our schedules are booked full for nearly 2 months worth of weekends so we won't get to go until the end of Feb. but that's OK too. It just gives me something to look forward too.

Well, I'm off to the kitchen to fix something to eat & then there's still some of that never-ending laundry for me to do...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

“Goals that are not written down are just wishes.” ~ Author Unkown

I found myself in a little bit of a funk a couple days ago, but thankfully I've moved on out of that mood. I don't know why I get like that, but every once in a while I get in these moods where everything (and everyone) annoys me. I even annoy myself because I know I'm being unreasonable & yet I can't stop. UGH! But yesterday was better & today I seem to be back to normal...who knows?

My aunt Vicki sent the following to me & since a bunch of us are aiming for some important life changes this year I thought you all might get a chuckle out of it:
Twas the month after Christmas,
and all through the house,
Nothing would fit me,
not even a blouse.

The cookies I'd nibbled,
the chocolate I'd taste
At the holiday parties
had gone to my waist.

When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber),
I'd remember the marvellous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
The wine and the rum balls,
the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you, please."

As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt...
I said to myself, as I only can, "You can't spend a winter, disguised as a man!"

So, away with the last of the sour cream dip.
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won't have a cookie, not even a lick.
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie.
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.

I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore...
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
Happy New Year to all, and to all a good diet.
Well, I'm not lonesome & life is seldom boring in this house (& I'm not sure what the line about dirt means), but I still thought this was pretty funny.

I managed to ride the bike today for 12-1/2 min! I know some of you are like "big freakin' deal" but for me that is HUGE! When we brought the exercise bike home from my in-laws I hopped on there thinking I could do maybe 15 min as a starting point. I rode 2-1/2 min. & couldn't catch my breath. So I hopped off the bike with legs of jello (both feeling like & looking like) and decided I'd try again another day. When the first of the year rolled around, I set my goal at 5 min. a day mostly because it was such a short time I couldn't excuse my way out of it, but partly because I figured even 5 min. would be a challenge. Now, here I am just 5 short days into the year and I'm already over the 10 min. mark. The best part, I could've rode even longer if I'd thought to a) turn off the heater that was blowing right on me & b) change from my hoodie to a t-shirt but by 12-1/2 min. I was about to burn up so I thought "hey, mission accomplished for today" & hopped on off. Now I'm wondering if I could make it to a full 15 min. each day by the last week in Jan. Guess we'll see. I've figured out the key for me is to take a book. I get to riding & reading & I tell myself "Oh, I'll stop when I get to a good stopping place (in the book)" & any of you who love to read that finding those stopping places is sometimes hard to do, so I just keep riding on.

I'm thinking that if I stick with the bike riding I may invest in a newer bike next month. The one I have is on loan to us & I'd like to have one that doesn't have the moving handle bars because they don't fit me right & I can't read & use moving handle bars - haha!

Speaking of not using the handle bars, now that I'm getting into a routine, I'd like to add some kind of strength training &/or maybe some yoga within the next month. (Maybe as a goal for Feb). Anyone have any suggestions? (And, be kind & remember that I'm fat & WAY out of shape, so nobody needs to suggest that grueling P90x workout :)

Also, does anyone know of a website where you can track the miles you're riding on a stationary bike as though you were riding across America? Something that you log in & record your miles rode & from a set starting point it lets you map out a path with your virtual miles telling you that today you rode past the Grand Canyon or something like that. Even though I rarely get to do it I love to travel. It seems like I read about a virtual bike/walk across America one time. I thought it might be fun to do.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it." ~Author Unknown

Oh my goodness! Is it really Mon.? That day after Christmas break where we all collectively are glad to be heading back to the "normal" (whatever that is) & yet sad that we have to return to "real life". We've had such a good time spending these extra days together, sleeping till nearly noon & accomplishing nothing. But, alas, life must go on.

This morning I spent an hour calling all the places I should have called before Christmas setting up appointments, paying bills, etc. Got that all taken care of & now I'm looking around at my dusty house & thinking I really need to clean. You know, growing up I lived in a house in which you could eat off the floors. Now, it just doesn't seem that important to me. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to live like a pig, but I'm usually pretty content with a picked up house. I just don't get all bent out of shape over dust anymore. But come to think of it, I don't get bent out of shape nearly as often as I use to over anything anymore. Is that age or wisdom mellowing me?

My mother-in-law was one of these moms who vacuumed every day. She was raising 3 boys & she still had a house that was spotless. Even today, although she's mellowed some too, you can catch her cleaning a perfectly clean house. I know she is probably appalled by how this daughter-in-law keeps house - LOL! But, when I was pregnant with Liv she once told me that if she could offer me one peice of advice it was that the cleaning will keep. Enjoy my baby first & there will be plenty of time for housework later. I took that to heart (some would say too much to heart - haha) and I can honestly say that I have always enjoyed Liv first. It's funny how we get older & say, "Man, I wish I'd had more time with my baby." but we never get older and say, "Man, I wish I'd had more time to clean my house." Still, I guess an occasional dusting & vacuuming is good so I better get busy.

"Our house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy." ~Author Unknown

I'm still sticking to my 3 Jan. goals. We went to see "Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakel" yesterday. Drinking water at the movies was the biggest challenge yet. It just seems wrong to drink water at the theater. But I knew even one sip breaks the goal. It's not that one sip of a diet coke would have killed me. And frankly, the diet coke would have been WAY better for me than the candy I ate. But it was the principle. I'm trying to teach myself that I can make small changes & stick to them without dying. I knew I would feel that heavy weight of failure if I gave in & I wasn't going to let my "stupid self" have the satisfaction. Oh yeah, since that little DE-motivating speech she gave me a couple days ago, it's on like donkey kong now. LOL!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." ~Henry Ford

In keeping with my committment to blog more, here I am. Back after just a couple of the words of London (from The Suite Life of Zach & Cody): YEAH ME! haha!

Actually, things are going good. I got up yesterday morning & hopped on the scales for the first time in months. EEEEEKKKK!!! When did that happen? I go merrily along & next thing I know I weigh the most I've ever weighed in my life. My loving husband answers my despairing cry by saying, "But you know I love you no matter what". I said, "Yeah & look where that's got me!" haha I wouldn't want a husband who griped about my weight, hair, or looks in general, but having one who "loves me no matter what" seems to have made me very lazy about my appearance & health in general.

All the same, as I was standing in the bathroom asking myself why I had let this happen, I remembered my old feelings of "I can't do this". I also remembered where I wanted to place my focus this time around...on baby steps & total overall health. If I had woke up as a perfectly proportioned 120lb. woman there would be little need for me to focus on my health. But I am what I am & there is a desperate need for me to stay focused.

I'm always amazed at how quickly all the negative talk flows back into my head when I try to change anything. But this time I was ready for it. As I was working around the kitchen making breakfast yesterday morning, my internal stupid self (as I refer to the part of me that completely irrationally talks me into all my bad habits & out of my good ones) was shouting in my head: "Why are you doing this? Put some more sugar in that coffee. Do you think using half as much sugar really matters? Just a couple eggs? Why not 3 or 4? You can always start this crap tomorrow. You're never gonna make it anyway you've always been a failure & you still are..." and on & on she ranted. I could feel myself starting to drag down. Then I stopped what I was doing & took a few seconds to remind my rational self, that my stupid self is the reason I'm where I'm at. AND, today was the fresh start I was waiting for. I hopped back into my job of fixing breakfast &, fortunately, my stupid self has been giving me the silent treatment ever since.

(By now you probably think I'm some freak with 40 personalities, but trust me I'm just me with a lot of internal conflict to deal with :)

Anyway, after thinking it over for a while, I've decided to "verbalize" my goals by putting them on this blog. In doing so, I hope it reminds me to stay focused & that knowing I will have to admit my failure to more than just myself if I don't truly make these changes will keep me going in case my stupid self decides to return for another chat.

So, my goals for Jan (I plan on making small life-change goals for each month) are:

1) drink nothing but water, milk, coffee, or unsweetened tea - absolutely NO sodas (diet or reg).

2) ride the exercise bike at least 5 min at least 6 days a week.


3) no skipping meals

I know the exercise seems like a small change to make, but 5 min. on the bike & I'm feeling it. Plus, my focus this month is on starting the habit. I'll tackle the exercising-enough-to-make-a-difference part in future month. 5 minutes is long enough to get me warmed up & feeling it, but short enough I just can excuse my way out of doing it.

The soda-free thing is going better than I had expected. I've had a dull headache most of the day today (I'm guessing from the lack of caffeine), but other than that I'm doing OK. We went out to eat yesterday & I really struggled to tell the guy taking our order that I'd have water. It's kind of like smokers who smoke while they drive, well I've always "splurged" by having whatever I want to drink when we eat out. In this case, it's all about breaking the habit.

I have started cutting back on my food portion sizes & also I am making myself eat something for breakfast(even if it's just some whole wheat toast with cinnamon), lunch & dinner. No skipping meals anymore. Breaking the late-night snacking habit is on Feb.'s goal list.

Surprisingly, enjoying smaller amounts of the foods I like while not limiting myself on what these foods are (just the portion size) has left me feeling OK with the other life changes (like exercise & drinking water). I guess whether or not weight loss follows remains to be seen. No matter what, I've vowed to not be a slave of the scale any longer.

Well, tomorrow is day 3 of the new year. It seems to be rushing along like every other year has for quite some time now. I have so many things to look forward to this year. Remembering those things is helping me stay focused too. Thanks to all my blogger friends who read my blog, write their own blogs & keep me feeling connected.