December 30, 2010

Shifting my Focus

Last night,while reading my homework for today (chapter 3), my husband said "You've been reading on that book a while."  Of course my pride had to correct him.  I'm reading a chapter a week, just as I'm "assigned". 

(Yes, I was that annoying kid who got to grade papers while everyone else wrote their times tables a million times as punishment.  I'm also a perfectionist and a pleaser while I'm getting my major faults out there.)

I love how God works.  Without the Radical read along, I wouldn't have met Marla.  Without Marla I wouldn't have been introduced to the @stickyJesus read along hosted by Michelle.  I wouldn't have known about this book, which would be a tragedy.

This book isn't anything revolutionary.  Its not full of deep spiritual thoughts or 12 perfect steps to Jesus.  But in laying out the simple steps of living for God online, its teaching me what a poor job of living for Him in real life I'm doing.

And that has the potential to be life changing.

Yesterday, I got some great encouragement from my Sisterhood friends regarding my recent weight gain.  God spoke to me through those wonderful ladies.  Do the right things (little things) and the rest will come. 

God has lectured me about this before.  I shouldn't be superficial (which is what my weight loss quest is).  I shouldn't be so caught up in me. 

So yesterday, during my run, I made an effort to change my attitude.  Starting with prayer.  Can you believe it actually worked?  Of course you can, I'm sure you've seen it in your own life.

I started out depressed because running tights just aren't flattering when you've put on 15 pounds in 6 months and haven't bothered to buy new clothes.  Within a tenth of a mile I was praying. 

One blogger I read regularly had emailed me asking for prayer for a specific issue in her life.  Wow.  For someone to contact me with that sort of request.  I spent the next few moments bringing her request before God.

Then I moved to my friends (both IRL and online) who are currently pregnant. 

Then on to my parents who are both dealing with medical issues right now.

I took the focus off me and put it on praying for the needs of others.  And it was the best run I've had in a while.

Most of my online relationships are formed via blogs, then extend into twitter.  I hope those of you that read/follow me know that if you need me I'm just an email away.

I'm not the best prayer in the world, but I'm praying to the One who created the universe.  While I am nothing, He is everything.

Thank you for blessing me with your friendship.

December 29, 2010

The Power of One!

Its a new week (thankfully) and an (almost) new year so you know what that means...a new challenge over at the Sisterhood!  Its called the Power of One and its all about setting individual goals for myself for the following year.

Power of One Challenge
Let's just get the weight thing out of the way.  I'm at my highest weight on record today.  I don't like it one bit.  All my hard work over this past year for nothing.  I'm disgusted and need to do something about it, I just don't know what. 

Should I go back to calorie counting?  It worked well for me but, by its very nature, was restrictive.  Should I just focus on eating good quality foods?  I'm sure that would take some weight off, but it would be slow going.

Starting back at square one:

Today's weight: 137
Challenge goal: 132

Five pounds for this challenge seems reasonable right?  Right? 

Here are a few more goals for the challenge:

  • Complete a marathon Disney is only 11 days away!!
  • Cut out soda consumptionI purchased some of those water flavoring packets at the store yesterday, being careful to choose the ones with no artificial sweeteners.  My main problem is that I drink so much water during the day I get sick of it and want something different for dinner.  Hopefully this will  help.
  • Pack my lunch 3 days a week.I've already gotten pretty good at this one, so its just seeing it through.  The other two days I'm allowing myself a girls lunch with my friends/coworkers and lunch with my mom.
  • Change up my workouts post marathon.My gym is starting their version of Zumba in January - just in time for me to pick it up while giving myself a break from running.
  • Love myself.This is one I keep challenging myself for and keep falling short on. 
  • Reach a new 5K PRThis isn't for the challenge.  I'm going to try to give myself a month or two off from running after the marathon.  But come May I hope to have a new PR when I run (for the 3rd time) the course that was my first ever 5K.
  • Look hawt in Maui.I'll probably not be able to weigh in for the last of the challenge, as I'll be soaking in the sun in Hawaii.  By then I wanna be rockin my Lands End bikini with confidence again.  Where did this girl go??

December 28, 2010

Post Christmas Confessions

Its confession time at the Sisterhood.  I'll try to keep this brief.

True Confessions

Jay and I left for West Virgina Friday morning and have hardly been home since.  I'd packed sandwiches in the cooler, but since I don't keep snack food in the house I didn't have anything to accompany it. Wednesday and Thursday had been soda free days and I was proud.  I put several waters and a powerade to make sure that stayed the case.

We got on the road at 7:15 in the morning and I drove the whole way.  About 4 hours in, we stopped for gas and the series of unfortunate events began.  I opened the back door to get my purse out in order to pay for gas, and due to shifting it fell out onto the ground before I was able to catch it.

The Bad: my coach purse was covered in icky snow slush.
The Good: I own a real coach purse which must have been scotch guarded at the factory, because one of those gas station blue towels cleaned it right up.

The Bad: A family of 50 8 beat me into the gas station and got in the restroom line before me.
The Good: I new we were stopping for food just up the street so I decided to hold it.  I suppose "good bladder control" also falls into the good news category.

The Bad: Although the sign on the Tamarack door said "service animals only" someone brought their toy poodle into the ladies room.
The Good: The poodle didn't real affect me, it was just annoying.  So I suppose the good is that it didn't bark, bite, or pee on me.

The Bad: Food court prices at a the Tamarack
The Good: Being able to afford a $2.50 double cheeseburger.
This really shook me up and I'm not sure why.  When I noticed the dollar items weren't on the menu, I decided to head to one o the other food options.  Only they were expensive too  $4 for one slice of pizza or $8 for a hot sub.  I wavered back and forth.  I was really hungry, so going cheap wouldn't do anything to help that.  But I didn't want to spend $10 filling up on nutritionally void foods either.

My solution?  Stand in the middle of the walk way crying. 

Not a trickle of tears but real sobs.  Jay's never encouraged me to spend money before in my life.  Anything to get me to shut up I'm sure was his logic.  Turns out, my mom said we'd stopped there as a family.  Only they hadn't been able to afford the prices and we'd left without eating. 

A part of me will always be that poor girl who doesn't have enough money to cover the items she wants off the menu. 

The Bad: I suffered major foot-in-mouth disease over Christmas dinner
The Good: My cousin's wife is pregnant.
Because we're not close with Jay's cousins I forget things about them.  Like how a cousin and his wife have had 2 miscarriages this year.  So I wasn't thinking when I opened my big fat mouth and told Jay that my cousin announced over Christmas lunch that he and his wife were expecting.

More tears (from me) followed as the poor girl who'd had the miscarriages left the dinner table and went home due to my insensitive comments.  I'm getting teary again thinking of the hurt I unintentionally cause her.

The Bad: Only 1200 calories burned
The Good: I'm in the middle of my Disney Marathon taper and completed a 12 miler on the treadmill Saturday (while watching The Princess Bride on Jay's laptop).

The Bad: The scale is probably not going to be nice to me after the feeding frenzy I had this past weekend.
The Good: A new challenge (The Power of One) starts tomorrow!

How about you?  Were you able to take the good with the bad this Christmas?  Hope you had a great one!

December 23, 2010

Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.

I'm reposting this from last year, with only a bit of modification.  Last year I printed the blog and framed it.  Wrapping it and giving it to my parents made them both cry almost as much as the Christmas it happened.

What's the best Christmas gift you've ever given? Received?

I have to say over the years I've given a lot of boring practical gifts. As a list making family, we typically all shop from the list, making few exceptions.

I remember as a kid getting gifts from Santa - and knowing that there was no way our parents could have afforded anything that super cool (a Barbie dream house, a boom box).

I've received several really awesome practical gifts - like the TV I got my freshman year of college for my dorm room. Or the freezer that Jay's parents got us last year (along with a vacuum sealer) so I can stock pile meats when they are on sale.

I have to say, however, that the best gift ever given/received around me wasn't given by me. It wasn't even given to me.

Picture it - East Tennessee. 1950s (I think). A young peasant girl My great grandmother decides to divorce my alcoholic great grandfather. Being a woman who loves jewelry, she doesn't her diamond engagement ring go to waste.

She takes it to a jeweler and has it reset into a beautiful diamond necklace, then throws the now empty gold ring setting into a jewelry box at home.

Now I really have no clue if she ever took it out. Cried for her failed marriage. Cried when her daughter would take the grandchildren to visit him, only to have to turn around and come home because of his drunken state. Cried later, when he died of liver failure.

Or if it just sat in that box.

Until a week or so after she died - 60 years later.

Its hard to put in words how beloved my Great grandmother was. She wasn't your typical woman of her era.  She was sassy.  She loved the color red - wearing it and decorating an entire room in her home in that bold color.  Yet she was sweet and kind. At her funeral, people recalled how she would send thinking of you cards, that always seemed to reach the recipient at the just the right time.

I was blessed to know her better than all the other great grandchildren because I was a sick kid. Sick so much I almost failed 1st grade due to missed classes. Because my mom and grandmother both worked, watching me was left to my great grandmother.

She'd put an old lady rain bonnet on me and let me walk to the mail box.

She'd fix me orange jello and cottage cheese as an afternoon snack.

As much as I loved her, my mom loved her more.

When we were cleaning out her house after her passing, my mom came across the empty shell of a ring and asked to keep it.

Mamaw passed away in April, and that ring sat in my mom's jewelry box until about November of that year. When my dad snuck into my mom's things.

Fast forward to Christmas morning, my mom has opened all of her gifts save one in a shirt box. My dad is in his chair with the video camera. As per her normal routine, my mom shakes, pinches, shakes again and tries to guess what it is.

Tearing off the paper reveals your standard Christmas present box. In the box is an only uniform shirt of my dads. My mom lifts it up, then looks around in the box for something else. This can't be her gift.

When she finds nothing else in the box she checks the pockets of the shirt, she finds a ring box.

As she opens it, she looks up at my dad with tears in her eyes.

"Is this..."

He nods.

"Turn that thing off."

As soon as my dad puts down the video camera, my mom bursts into tears. My dad had taken the empty shell and made it whole again.

Isn't that what Christmas is about?  God sending His Son so that he can take that empty shell (me) - a shell full of past heartache, disappointment, and hurt - and make it whole again.
After all Jesus really is the best. Christmas. gift. ever.

December 22, 2010

Tinsel Vixen Wrapping Up

No, I'm not putting a bow on my head as a gift...its the final check in for the Holiday Hoedown!

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

I didn't finish the challenge on the note that I'd wished, but over all I'd say its a success.  I've kept from gaining (too much) weight and had the opportunity to hang out with some great gals via daily check in emails.

Here are my stats:

Exercise Minutes Logged: 414
I was hoping to get in 8+ hours of exercise, but it just didn't happen.  It is what it is and I'm excited to be starting my taper.  I'll only have to do 12 miles this weekend on the treadmill at Pawpaw's!

Starting weight: 135.6
Last week: 134.6
This week: 136.0

I'm happy with that.  I get that the number went up, really.  But I've gained some good healthy eating habits along the way.  I even learned what pigging out at the office potluck does for me emotionally.  Also, I'm betting that a few of those ounces up there are because Aunt Flow is beating on my uterus to let her in.  Cramping isn't fun.

Neither is water retention. 

Speaking of water that's a goal I did okay on...

64 or more ounces of water daily: 4/7
I only found this a challenge when I drank too much soda.

Abstain from soda: 1/7
The only day I managed not to drink at least a little soda was the day of my long run.  I suppose I was so thirsty I didn't want anything but water or Gatorade.

One problem I'm having is that water gets so boring.  I need to keep those water flavoring packets on hand for giving my taste buds a little change up, although I do want to get away from fake sweeteners.  Do they make them with sugar or am I just going to have to start keeping Kool-aid in the fridge? (I make it with half the sugar it calls for.)

Eat 4 fruits/veggies daily: 3/7
I did manage to get in 3 fruits/veggies those other 4 days, which is a big improvement for me.  I found myself reaching for a piece of fruit for snack  instead of crackers or a granola bar.

Avoid fast food: This is one of the more complicated ones.  I fulfilled the intent, if not the letter of this one.  I did eat out 4/7 days.  One of which was a dinner out after church with my family (I filled up mostly on salad bar).   Another evening I was headed to a friend's right after work and had to provide my own dinner.

The spirit of this part of the challenge was directed more toward my eating fast food for lunch instead of packing.  At the start of the Hoedown, I decided I was allowed to eat 2 lunches out: one with my mother on Friday, as is our weekly tradition and another with my work friends, just to catch up.

I ate Mexican out with the girls one day and Cracker Barrel with my mom on Friday.  Every other day I packed my lunch.  I didn't enter a fast food restaurant to get lunch for myself out of laziness, habit, or craving. 

Finally, the Shrinking Jeans ladies asked us to note something positive about ourselves daily  I managed to do this every day but one.  Here is a sampling of my thoughts:

I hosted a fun party!
At least I try.
I have boobs! (The one benefit of weight gain)
Nice abs/legs (a serious achievement - I saw my quad muscles!)
I can do anything!

And finally - I completed my longest pre-marathon run on Sunday.  20 miles.  All by myself.  No music, no chatting on the phone, no one running beside me.  My IMG tried to speak up a few times, but I think I managed to shut her up.

Disney here I come!!!

December 20, 2010

Weekend Wackiness

My family is crazy.

Its actually part of what I love about them.  We're very low maintenance when we get together.  Originally my aunt started hosting everyone the Saturday before Christmas.  We'd have typically potluck style foods then do a small white elephant gift exchange.

As her children got older, it became too difficult for my aunt to have everyone over, so I took the reins.  This weekend was Jay and my 3rd year hosting the event, and the first time at the farmhouse.  Our previous home was an open floor plan and was easy fitting everyone in between the formal dining room and the eating nook so close together (and open).

This year we had a decision to make - to eat in the formal dining room or scrunch up in the hearth room. Thankfully we decided upon the hearth room, as the dining room is still a dumping ground of remodeling supplies.

Even though we keep the menu simple and have everyone bring something, I did have moments of panic about the party.  What if I couldn't get my house clean in time?  What if everyone thought my house was dirty?  What if my house was dirty?  Notice a theme?  We are, after all, a family of neat-freak perfectionists.

My mom assured me that no one cared how clean my house was and just wanted to spend time together.  I seriously thought about cancelling, but since this is our Christmas to spend with Jay's family this would be my only time with the extended family.

I decided to keep the meal plan simple - I would make Santa Fe Soup (which mostly just involves ground beef and opening lots of cans of beans), my mom would bring hot beverages to enjoy, my aunt a red velvet cake (since its my favorite and wouldn't be around to enjoy it at Christmas) and my grandmother was in charge of all beef hot dogs and buns.  (My cousins is allergic to almost everything - chicken, turkey, beans.  Beef is about the only thing he can eat.)

Yep, we had hot dogs and soup.  Cause we're classy like that.

Another classy party favorite?  "Guess how much _____ weighs."  Jay had been chopping wood with my dad earlier in the day, so I told him to weigh at my parents house and tell no one.  Turns out he'd already compared numbers with my dad. 

Most people were off by Jay's weight by at least 10 pounds, my grandmother as much as 35.  He carries it well, especially when he can hide it with clothes.  Then my dad got up and had to show off how skinny he is and have people guess him.  I'd wrapped items from my CVS stash as door prizes.

My Papaw couldn't be left out of the fun, so of course he had to have everyone guess his weight.  Of course he's the skinniest (and tallest) of the group and wanted everyone to know it.  Then my Mamaw too her turn and Papaw pointed out who the heaviest in their relationship is (and its not him - after 50+ years of marriage you can get away with more). 

My aunt brought her Scrabble Apple game and her Scrabble dictionary.  We almost had WW3 break out a couple of weekends ago in Fall Creek Falls when she didn't bring her dictionary and we had to rely on Jay's magic box (laptop) to make rulings on questionable words.

Jay hooked up his magic box to the television and we looked at pictures from Fall Creek Falls, then Jay pulled up a rat fishing video created by a guy my dad works with.  It wasn't as funny though, without the commentary.  Dude's name is Paul but he goes by "Gomer" so I'm sure you can imagine that the commentary was colorful.

Then the moment everyone had been waiting for - our white elephant exchange.  The only rule is that the gift must be something you already own.  No money can be spend purchasing something.  This year ranged from the quirky (a state quarter map my dad was super pumped about) to the random (our old fireplace grate) to the lame (the VHS video of a fireplace & Christmas music).

I ended up with an old dish towel, $1 bill,and a ceramic bird.  I was excited about the money and the towel (it'll make a great workout sweat rag). 

We had a great time, my mom actually had to say "well we'd better get going" to spur everyone to start trickling out.  I felt like it was a great success. 

My family is weird.

But we're hilarious.

And that's why I love them so much!

December 17, 2010

Festive Friday

Hopefully today I can keep the chatter at a minimum and get to my Christmas pictures!  Last year after Christmas, Jay and I knew that we'd be purchasing our current home.  We hadn't closed on the house or moved in yet, but we knew it was going to be ours.

With that in mind, we shopped the day after Christmas to get some good deals on decorations.  The first thing I decided was that I was going to have 2 trees.  My regular one in the hearth room by the fireplace, then another in the landing at the top of the stairs.  I'd keep my antique ornaments up there just in case friends/guests with kids came to visit.  My worst nightmare is one of my antique ornaments (that use to belong to my great grandmother) would get broken by a grabby kid who thought they were toys.

Instead of a tree upstairs this year, I'm getting new bookshelves built in the landing and a claw foot tub in the bathroom.  Said claw foot tub is currently residing in my landing awaiting installation.  They will both be gorgeous and wonderful.  I'm trying to focus on that as I spend my first Christmas in the house much differently than expected.

Oh and that lighted garland I bought to string along the hand rail on the stairs?

Totally not there.  I figured it'd just get knocked down with all the up and down and carrying heavy things (like a massive wooden sink vanity) on the stairs. 

Once again it will be worth it.  I just have to keep repeating that to myself.  My only disappointment is that the tub was supposed to be ready this weekend for a post 20 mile run soak and its not going to be.  Oh well, Jay will just have to give me a good rub down instead.

There are some things we purchased that we are getting to use.  Like the stocking holders - since we finally have a mantle to put them on!

Jay gets to be the engine.

And I think it goes without saying that I get to be the caboose.

The set also came with 2 middle cars for the train.  Just in case that biological clock of mine ever decides to wake up.  For now they're stored safely under the stairs. 

Where they belong.

I've had this card holder for a while I love being able to display my cards without having them clutter up the counter.  I hate counter clutter.  With the intensity of a thousand suns.


So it makes it hard when most Christmas decorations are supposed go on a counter type surface.  It makes it more difficult finding a surface where some one's not going to lose a limb.

At the other house the nativity was stupidly placed on the bar near the sink.  A wise man may or may not have lost a nose because of the mistake.  Super Glue is a wonderful invention isn't it?

Our tree is kinda sad.  Over the years some of the lights have went out so its only lit in splotches.  Instead of using the pre-lit lights, we bought a strand of lights to cover it.  Only we didn't realize the lights were connected with a white rope instead of green.  Giant bargain hunting fail.  So we opted for some blue lights left over from a political/Christmas float Jay was on in the town parade a couple years back.

My husband is a good photographer.  He always impresses me with his shots, which is why I only take pictures for blogging purpose and he takes the pictures for everything else.

Now why couldn't that have been our Christmas card picture??  Oh yeah that's right.  Cause I hadn't decorated yet.  And even doing the picture when we did we still haven't received them yet.  I suppose I can always just write "Happy New Year" on the back.

Oh and one other decoration that I didn't buy on sale after Christmas.  Probably the most gorgeous one.  One that you can't buy anywhere.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

December 16, 2010

@stickyJesus Read Along!

I wasn't the most faithful with my blogging during Marla's Radical read along, so I'm excited to have a shot at redemption with Michelle's weekly homework of @stickyJesus.

There were plenty of statistics in "File 01: You were born for a such a time as this" aka chapter one.  But one of them caught my eye more than the rest, and that's because it hit close to home.  More accurately, its the reason for my home as I know it.

One out of every eight couples married in 2008 in the U.S. met via social networking.
Wanna take a guess as to when Jay and I got married? 

Wanna know where we met?
Myspace (back when it was still cool)

I honestly thought we were a rarity.  Sure you see the eHarmony commercials where their couples met online, but you don't actually believe it happens to real people.  Especially in a land full of "hey u r hot wanna chat?"  Marriages don't come from that.

Ah...but they do. 

While on our first anniversary vacation, Jay and I stayed at a bed and breakfast in Napa.  We all had individual tables, but each of the 5 couples chatted to everyone else while enjoying our first meal of the day.  A few of the other couples there also met online.

Not sure why I just assumed it was a fluke. 

Facebook.  Twitter.  Blogger.  Message boards.

There all filled with real people.  Those real people  have real feelings.  Real needs.

Why are we tempted to be someone other than who we truly are when interacting with others?  In the bloggy land there seems to be a lot of putting your best face forward going on.  Maybe not yours or mine, but I wonder just how real some of the more popular bloggers can be.

Then again maybe I should remove the log out of my eye before challenging the speck in someone else's. After all my blog title?  Just who I want to be.  While I'm transparent in my posts that I'm certainly not the most confident person in the world, I didn't want to name it Awkward + Uncertain = ME.

In order to reach out to those people with real needs, we must be transparent. 

While a perfectionist, I am not perfect.

I'm a sinner.

I need the grace of Jesus on a daily, hourly basis.

We're promised that in our weakness, He is made strong.

If that's the case then He's gonna really be able to work through me.  And I honestly pray that's the case.

December 15, 2010

Holiday Hoedown Week #4

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

Good morning Tinsel Vixens!  Morning everyone!  Let's get the stats out of the way.  I've decided to start including my weight again.  I'm always a little torn when I do that, but the accountability is a good thing.

Challenge Start: 135.6
Last week: 136.6
Today: 134.6

What is it with the 0.6 thing I've got going on??  Can I just tell you how encouraged I am? I several things right and a few things wrong.  Its nice to get that extra boost to show me that I really am going the right direction.

Now on to the challenge goals:

4 Fruits/Veggies (Tinsel Vixen Goal)

I made an effort to be conscious of what I was eating, but I didn't honestly track it all that well.  That's one thing I changed starting yesterday.  Working on the assumption that salsa counts, I totally made this goal. 

64 oz water (Tinsel Vixen Goal)

I've always been pretty good with this one.  Only when I get too heavy into soda (say at a fast food restaurant) does the ball get dropped on this one.  As stated above I can't really work backwards, but I know that I got in my allowance yesterday and a couple other days, and will keep a tally for the week to report back in next week.

No soda (Personal Goal)

I didn't do so hot on this one.  I might have gone a couple days without it, but more days than not I had some.  I can say that I never had more than one round.  I won't say serving because I know that's 8 oz.  I had a 20oz bottle one day and a fast food cup one day, but I didn't get a refill and I didn't go over one can/bottle a day.  That's something right?

No fast food (Personal Goal)

This is a lunch time goal for me.  Counting Wed/Tues as my week I went 3/5 on this one.  One day I got a burger and fries because I was craving it.  The other I got it because my potato soup didn't freeze well and looked like vomit.  Since I didn't have a backup plan (a can of soup - which has since been added to my food drawer at work) and I had to eat something for lunch, a burger and fries was my lunch of choice.

Otherwise I've done well at packing.  I had beef stew one day, spaghetti leftovers another, and yesterday was tacos.  This week I'm building up my freezer collection to assist in this: taco meat mixture, chili, white chicken chili are all being made and frozen for future use.  If you have any yummy freezer safe lunch ideas I'd love for you to share them!

4 X 30 minutes exercise  (Tinsel Vixen Goal)

I did well on this one, but since my training plan calls for 4 runs a week, it wasn't difficult to reach.  I did actually get in 2 weights workouts on top of my runs.  I've neglected weights for far too long.  I love lifting and it makes me feel great.  I definitely need to make this a priority.

6 hours exercise for the week (Personal Goal)

I logged 441 minutes of exercise this week which translates into over 7 hours worth for the week.  Goal definitely met!
Try something new (Sisterhood Goal)
I sorta halfway did this one.  I ran 18 miles, which is something I've never done before.  Also on the Tinsel Vixen circuit we did straight leg crunches, which is also a new one on me.  Not the adventurous activity they were looking for, but its the best I could do given my training plan/time/energy.
All in all I think this week gets a big thumbs up.  I made a concentrated effort to get back into my good habits and I noticed a chance on the scale as a result.

Looking forward to next week they've laid out the following challenges:

Amp up your exercise minutes.
Dare I try to reach 8 hours this week?  I've got my 20 miler so that'll add about 24 more minutes.  That's a lofty goal but we'll see.

Pat myself on the back at least once daily.
Okay so not literally, but commend myself for a positive action.  Or compliment myself on a positive trait.  I'll be logging these with my other tracking items.
How'd you do this week?

December 14, 2010

Christmas is here!

Or at least it will be in 11 days (hopefully I didn't give Jody heart palpitations again.)  I'll be following Melissa and ask you to press play then read the blog.  I'm not sure what's up with the cheesy video but I love Kenny & Dolly Christmas music!

I've actually already gotten 2 early Christmas gifts this year.  The first Jay was so excited about he gave me the day he purchased them.  We're currently building We've commissioned some built in bookshelves in the upstairs landing of our house.  The work isn't progressing like I had hoped, but life gets in the way sometimes.

On my Christmas list, I'd requested old books.  Didn't have to be antique - just something that would look appropriate on the shelves of our make-shift library.  I was hopeful that he could get some by the box on EBay for a good price.

Instead he decided to shop local and go to an antique store.  Some he bought for the titles - Christian books that he thought I'd find interesting.  Some he bought for decoration at a great price - $1 each. 

He didn't wrap the box, but told me I couldn't shake it.  I ran my hands along the sides (much like Shawn on Psych) pretending my powers are different than they actually are.  "Antique books!" I said before opening the lid.  Of course the clue was in a big box that I couldn't shake.  Nothing else fragile was on my list.

I have to admit though I'm a little disappointed.  No doubt this will be one of my best gifts and I've already opened it!

My mother gave me another really awesome gift early as well.  She did it though so I could enjoy it.  Once again I guess what it was before unwrapping it.

Kenny & Dolly's A Christmas to Remember CD.  I was looking for it because its one of my constant Christmas memories growing up.  My mom had the record (still might actually) and I remember her putting the record on and us enjoying the tunes.

Of course living in this area, any Dolly CD isn't hard to come by.  She and my dad picked it up on Sunday after church and wanted me to have it so that I could enjoy it leading up to the holiday.

None of that was actually supposed to be the point of this post though.  I was going to show you my Christmas decorations that I finally got up this weekend.  I'm already a little long winded though, so I suppose that'll save for another day.

I know I've said it before - but I'm incredible blessed.  With a wonderful family that wants to make me happy, with simple wishes easy to fulfill.  With the means to purchase gifts for our family.

I want to leave you with my favorite non-traditional Christmas song. You'll forgive the interpretive dance at the end of the video. 

What's the best gift you've ever received?  Not talking monetarily, but something that thrilled your soul when you received it.

December 13, 2010

Tis the Season of Giving

Normally, the Challenges issued to us by Christie O. and the rest of the Sisterhood team via the Monthly Project focus on improving ourselves somehow.  Whether it be loving ourselves more, finding our inner motivation, or sharing great healthy recipes.

This month, however, our monthly challenge is taking the focus off us and on to someone else.

The Monday Project

Let's face it, if you're concerned about your weight? That means you have plenty of food to eat.
Worried about being active enough?  You must not have a strenuous manual labor job.

I don't know about you, but I'm thankful for both of those.

From the Sisterhood:

For this project, all we ask is that you spread the Holiday Spirit, by donating something or doing something, anything, for another person and blogging about it and letting your fellow bloggers know about which charities or projects need help or how they can help in their own communities.

Jay and I have been very blessed.  Blessed with a good mind for money, blessed with hands that aren't afraid of hard work, blessed with good circumstances. 
Oh and there is always that pooping gold thing...
My goal for this month, and the Monthly Project, is to donate to a different cause each week.  I'll be honest, the first week in December was a short week and I'm not sure if I donated at all that week.  I probably threw a buck in the can as I passed a Salvation Army bell ringer so we'll just count that.
(I always feel so sorry for the ringers out there in the cold and people just walking past them.  Even though Jay likes me to write checks for most of my donations for tax purposes, I don't feel right walking by without dropping something in their bucket.)
Last week we donated to the local Teen Christmas.  It breaks my heart knowing that there are high school aged kids out there without a warm coat.  Teen years are hard enough without that extra burden.  So many people focus on buying toys for smaller kids that I chose to make my donation here.  Sure its not as much fun to buy the cute little kid clothes or toys, but this isn't about what's fun - its about meeting a need.
Another need, the most important actually, is the need to hear the Good News of Jesus.  The Lottie Moon Christmas offering goes to support International Missionaries as they spread the joy of the Christmas season. 
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
I was honored yesterday morning at church to be able to contribute to this fund.  If we all lived our lives the way Ms. Moon did, we could truly change the world.
I haven't decided where to give for the 4th and 5th weeks of the month, but I have no doubt something will come my direction.  I hope to share it with you when it does.
How are you helping others this Christmas season?

December 10, 2010

Festive Friday

Only 15 days until Christmas!!!!  Are you ready?  Haven't even started yet?

I'm starting to get stressed out.  For some reason I thought it was a good idea to do the following:

  1. Training for a marathon - including 18 & 20 mile runs.
  2. Remodel my bathroom - using my formal dining room for storage.
  3. Take a long weekend to visit a State Park with my family.
  4. Host a Christmas party.
Now that I type it out, it doesn't look like all that much, but add to those things daily chores and I'm one exhausted girl.  Even the thought of pulling out my Christmas decorations makes me tired.

We've got them out and partially put up now.  The tree is up and half decorated.  I'm out of ornament hangers, and somehow we lose them every year.  That reminds me, I need to steal paper clips from work buy hooks before going home.

Not sure how I'm going to fit cleaning and decorating into my weekend, especially given that I have 2 Christmas parties and a baby shower to attend as well as an 18 mile run to complete.  With the snow forecast for Sunday - it looks like I'm going to have to fit the run in with the shower and one of the parties in on Saturday.

I thought I'd share with you some pictures from last year since I don't have any this year yet!

This year we actually have a fire place to hang our stockings from - I'll have to wait until Jay builds a nice fire and get a picture of them for you!!

This is a source of stress for me.  We've been using our formal dining room (which is much larger than this one was) as a storage space for our bathroom remodel.  Its a big room and largely goes unused.  I'm just concerned that they won't be done with the remodel in time for me to have my family over next Saturday!

Actually I told a lie - I do have a picture from this year to share with you - the picture taken for our Christmas cards.

We hope your Christmas is blessed (and stress free) this holiday season!
Merry Christmas!!

Love, Brooke & Jay

Now its your time to brag (or make me feel better about my own slowness):

Have you decorated yet?
Finished your shopping?
Wrapped your gifts?

December 08, 2010

Holiday Hoedown Check in Week 3

Holiday Hoedown Challenge

Good morning ladies and gents!! (Are there any gents that read my blog?  Besides one handsome mutant of course.) Its check-in time over at the Sisterhood.


I'm done right?


So I gained weight.  Again.  This is getting really old.  Although I have no doubt what caused  it.  The biscuits and gravy 2 mornings in a row at Fall Creek Falls State Park.  The absence of a long run do to my weekend with the family.  The chimichanga, cheese sauce, refried beans, and coke Monday night went no where but my thighs and rear.

What is new?  Yesterday I actively did something to change my behavior.

We'll skip over the brownie and the diet dr.k with dinner m'kay?  I had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, a granola bar for morning snack, a bowl of chili (w/cheese and sour cream) for lunch, and a plate of stir fry for dinner. 

Notice what's absent there?  Fast food.  Crap that my body doesn't need.  Okay technically it didn't need the brownie but it was a small portion and I was hungry and wanted something sweet. 

Yesterday is how I imagined my eating moderately would be.  Mostly nutritious food with a few yummies add in.

Let's go for day 2 of that behavior - what'd ya say?

December 07, 2010

A few things...

I've got some Shrinking Jeans housekeeping to do.

First off its True Confessions Tuesday:

My confession:
I'm totally off the weight loss wagon and don't see any sign of getting back up on.  I'm not all that motivated.  I eat like crap then run my butt off.  Its amazing I haven't gained even more weight.

Vote, Vote, Vote

I'm one of 5 holiday vloggers up for an awesome prize pack.  Check it out and be sure to vote.  Its even okay if you don't vote for me.  I'm in good company - I love those ladies!

Holiday Hoedown

The Shrinking Jeans Ladies have asked us to talk about 3 ways I'm going to do to stay on track this month. This is a little hard because eating poorly wouldn't exactly be "getting off track" for me.

  1. Keep up with marathon training

    This is my only salvation right now. 
  2. Focus on others.
    I hope to outline it in another blog, but fast food has been a major weakness of mine lately.  I'm going out practically every day for lunch.  As a result, I'm literally eating up all of my personal spending money.  I have $125 budgeted every month to spend on whatever I want.  And apparently what I want are bigger thighs.

    I want to start picking a charity of the month to donate part of that spending money to.  Maybe with this face starring at me, I can keep myself under control.

    BB's clean water project
  3. Really look within myself.
    Superficial BS isn't going to cut it any more.  Why is it that I want to be smaller?  What am I hoping to accomplish?  Until I figure those things out, I can't get jump started again.  I've shared the quote before that discipline is remembering what you want and right now I haven't the foggiest.

That's a pretty simple look at things, but its where I am.  Next up - finding my motivation to decorate for Christmas whilst workmen make my house filthy.

December 02, 2010

Name them one by one...

I have these moments often.  Times where I get so caught up in me that I don't see the world around me.  Times where I look past all the sickness, pain, and heartache this world has to offer. 

I whine about gaining a few pounds...forgetting about those in my own county who don't know where their next meal will come from.  Children on free lunches that sneak their orange juice into their back pack so they'll have something for dinner.

I complain that my husband doesn't do X, Y, or Z to suit me...forgetting that I'm complaining to a friend who's just been through a long and painful divorce.

...or the bloggy friend who lives daily with the cancer that inhabits her husband's body.

I worry about finances...only to have the thank you letters to the charities I support reference my "sacrificial" gift.  Both letters made me cry.  Those gifts didn't cost me anything, yet meant so much to the organizations they were sent to. 

I stress about house work...not considering those who would love any form of shelter, even if it meant a stray hash brown crumb or two on the floor.

I get irritated at the chill of a house with the heat set on 60 degrees...when I know there are so many ways it could be worse.  As a matter of fact its not a financial necessity that its set that low, just a choice we make to save money.

I am blessed far beyond what I know.

And for that, I am thankful.

December 01, 2010

Wednesday Already??

I'm cranky.

Probably because of poor eating choices I've made the past few days months.  Sorry Tinsel Vixens! 

To keep the crankiness out of this post, I'll keep the words short and sweet.  I was able to log almost 6 hours of exercise this past week - half of which was spent in Jay's Pawpaw's basement on a treadmill.

For my long  run, Jay had initially said he was going to go with me.  He hasn't ran in over a month and thought somehow he could tackle 17 miles.  Oh to have that sort of self confidence!

As you can see, it took a little effort to get him up and going.

And after only 2 miles, he decided that he'd had enough.  I told him to get rested up and then check on me in 30-45 minutes.  By then I thought he would have recovered enough to save me from the dreadmill boredom and we could get a few more miles in outside.

Instead, when he came to check on me, he said he was just then recovered from those two miles.  He offered to bring me water.  I had already gotten the "low battery" warning on my IPod, and I feared what might happen if I did have music to entertain me.

I knew due to lack of Internet service, Jay wasn't using his computer.  So I asked him to set it up for me and see if Pawpaw had any DVDs at his house - other than Silent Night (a war movie set near where he was captured as a POW during WW2). 

The only other option was a movie belonging to Jay's mother "Thomas Kincade's A Christmas Cottage" based on Kincade's early years - a story about how he found his inspiration.  Because of the noise of the HVAC unit as well as the treadmill, I couldn't hear the dialog.  Jay put the captions on for me and I was on my way.

My non-scale victory of the week?  A 17 mile run (15 of which was on the treadmill).  Only 9.2 more to go!