February 28, 2011

Movie Time Monday

One of my all time favorite movies is Frequency. I even had a crush on James Caviezel back in the day that he was just "Jim" and before he played Jesus. 

This song is so spot on with the movie, it still gives me chills when I hear it.

What's your favorite movie?

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.

February 25, 2011

Fancy Dress Friday

I was sick the week following Valentine's so I didn't post my pictures from the dinner and dance.  Hope yall don't mind me posting them a bit late.  (Forgive the duplication, those of you who have seen them on facebook already.)

As if you couldn't tell by looking at them, the handsome couple on the right is my parents.  Okay maybe "handsome" isn't the right word for the Possum (my father's mustache) but we're a good lookin' crew right?  My mom found both of our dresses the week before at JC Penny for under $5. 


Here is my goofy friend Kristi giving someone the what for, and Maria smiling for the camera.  My parents went on and on about how funny Kristi was that night.  Thing is, she's always that funny.  That's why we keep her around.

Callie is one of the reasons the dance exists.  The other reason is her little brother Cale.  They both have Cystic Fibrosis.  The Valentine's Dinner and Dance (along with other fund raisers hosted by Cure Finders) raises money to fun research for a cure.

The event was a success!  As with most every year, all the tables sold out.  In fact, they had to make room for some extras.  Sounds like a great problem to have if you ask me!

What would a charity event be without a silent auction?  Typically Jay buys me a Valentine's gift at the auction to try and cover for his procrastination.  This year, since we'd decided we weren't purchasing gifts, he set his sights on a gift for my Dad's 60th birthday.  I came down to the wire, but we ended up getting it!

As you can see it was a great night.  Service usually doesn't look this pretty.

February 24, 2011

Daddy Issues

You might be married to a younger version of your father if...

  1. The lady at the gas station near your house exclaims "I know who you are!" by just your last name and your request for 2 cans of long cut natural Red Seal tobacco. (Apparently my dear husband is the one that requested they keep that specific kind in stock.)
  2. Your husband insists on listening to David Allen Coe (living room window open, stereo at full volume) while working outside in the yard. Ever hear "Would you lay with me in a field of stone?" Only my father and my husband could enjoy listening to that macabre song and find it poetic.
  3. He's 31and already balding...
  4. And it seems to be falling from his head and making his chest hair thicker. Don't know about you ladies but I < 3 chest hair. I am, however, bracing myself for the day it starts sticking to his back. *Shudder*
  5. Because of said balding he wears a cap everywhere but church. Even out for a run. In the 70 degree weather.
  6. He spoils me rotten - although unlike my father, he's not ashamed to admit it.
  7. He does sporadic exercise, but isn't consistent. My father sprints on the football field every Friday night come August, but doesn't bother to exercise beyond that. Jay exercises when he's bored and needs to reaffirm how much more awesome than me he is. :P
  8. He wants a pickup truck for his next vehicle - even if it has to be a 4 door version so that he can use it to show property to clients.
  9. They love chatting with one another about random sports events or the latest UT Vols news (be it a new recruit or an arrest.)
  10. He loves me - despite the millions of reasons he shouldn't.
So there you have it - proof that I've become a cliche and married a man just like my father.


I will say, however that I desperately hope it doesn't take such extreme measures for Jay to quit dip as it did my dad. Daddy had to watch his own father die a slow and painful death from lung cancer - not to mention the trips together for my Papaw to receive radiation treatment.


Are you married to your father? A spitting image of your husband's mother? Tell me all about it!

February 23, 2011

I run...

It started out as a whim. A friend of mine and I had started counting calories earlier in the year, we took spin classes and weight classes together. Then out of the blue she called and said “I think we should train for a 5K, I’ve just found this program online.”

It was, of course, the Couch to 5K program. We signed up for our first race, but part of the way through the training she was sidelined and couldn’t compete with me. I remembered being nervous and excited – my only goal was to run the entire 5K, no walking in between. I had run 3 miles in training, but always on a track. The course was hilly, but I managed to meet my goal.

After my first race – I was hooked. It was probably the rush of setting a goal then pushing myself to meet it. I finished 11th out of 16 in my age group, but I’d never felt more like a winner in my life.

Why do I run?

I run for me.

I run for weight loss/maintenance.

I run for health.

I run for the high.

I run for the sense of accomplishment.

I run for my niece and nephew.

My niece, who’s 6, has already said she wants to run races like her Aunt Boo.

My nephew was unofficially diagnosed with asthma at 16 months old. Instead of getting upset about it, my sister told my mom “If Brooke can have it, and go on to run a half marathon, its not gonna hold him back.”

That makes me incredibly proud. So I guess it all comes back to…

I run for me.

What about you?

February 22, 2011

The Theme Song of the Day is...

Hurrah for guest blogs while I'm on vacation!  Take it away Amy...

Howdy from Texas! My name is Amy, & I’m a 30-something SAHM. I've been married for almost 15 years, & I have two super great kids & a crazy dog. I love Jesus, scrapbooking, chocolate, coffee, &  music. I have a little blog where each post has a "theme song". I'm so excited to be posting a song on Brooke's blog today!! Without further ado...

"Marvelous Light" (by Charlie Hall)


“Music is what feelings sound like.” ~ Author Unknown

I have always been a fan of music. It never ceases to amaze me how a song can instantly take me back to a particular time in my life...

When I hear Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler", it's like I'm transported back to our guest room when I was a little bitty girl. My brother & I are playing in there, & we have figured out how to push the right buttons on my dad's eight-track player & listen to “The Gambler” over & over again. That & Tom T Hall’s “Sneaky Snake”...

Every once in awhile I'll hear "Handy Man" (by James Taylor), & suddenly I'm in the cab of my dad's pick-up truck. My mom has moved out, and Dad has to take us on his paper route very early each morning. This was back when paper carriers had to roll the newspapers themselves, so he would roll as he drove & toss them over to our side of the cab. We would fall asleep with the "blanket" of newspapers on top of us & would awaken as the sun rose and the newspaper blanket grew smaller. We heard this song almost every morning...

I won’t go through each year of my life, but there are a few more songs that bring back some memories...

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" (Bobby McFerrin)...I'm in middle school holding my baby brother (& recording the song off the radio onto a cassette tape on my boombox! Gotta love those old school mixtapes!)...

"Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" (Milli Vanilli)...I'm moving to a small town 2 hours away from where I grew up & wishing there was actually a boy that would miss me...

"More To This Life" (Steven Curtis Chapman)...I’m in high school and learning more about Jesus & what really is most important in life...

"Place in This World" (Michael W. Smith)...I’m graduating from high school, not sure where I belong & feeling very inadequate...

I could go on, but I think you see where I'm going with this! I’m sure at least some of you can relate, right?! Music evokes memories. You associate a song with the emotions you were feeling at the time. Or maybe a song reminds you of a season of your life because it was a top hit back then (or at least one of your favorites). Either way, all you have to hear are the first few notes, and it's like you're in that moment again. And I think we all know a song or two that we feel like was written for us.

When Brooke asked me to post my life song, I thought it would be easy! But as much as my blog focuses on theme songs, I didn't actually have one for my life. There have been songs that I've referred to as my “theme song” before, but they’re generally about hurtful things from the past {which tend to be "downers"!} A theme song that evokes feelings of sadness is so not me, because that's not what my life is about! I've been through a few difficult situations, but who hasn't?!

Through it all, God has continuously worked good from my bad. He has used my past to allow me to speak hope & healing into the lives of others who are experiencing something similar to what I have gone through. Mine is a story of redemption, hope & the freedom that Christ gives so generously! The song that I feel best represents my life is “Marvelous Light” by Charlie Hall.

Sin has lost it's power

Death has lost it's sting

From the grave You've risen


Into marvelous light I'm running

Out of darkness, out of shame

By the cross, You are the truth

You are the life, You are the way

That just makes me want to “lift my hands & spin around”, as he says in the song! Have you ever felt that kind of freedom? I hope so!

So, what about you? Do you ever hear songs that take you back to a particular moment/season of your life? Does your life have a theme song? Leave a comment, or better yet: blog about it! & let me know if you do ~ I’d love to read your story!

Thanks so much Amy!  If you would head over to her blog and check out her dailies.  She's awesome!  Her family has, and is, facing some difficult trials.  Through it all she manages to keep a great up beat attitude. 

February 21, 2011

Ask the Reader

Today is my first official day of vacation (although a big chunk of it will be devoted to traveling) so I thought I'd put you guys in the driver's seat.

1. Are family vacations annual event for you?

2. Who goes with you on family trips? Just the people in your household, or your extended family?

3. What was your favorite vacation?

Since I'm asking you guys to work a little, I guess I can do the same.

1. In my mind annual - Jay's not use to that, so it's taken a little effort.  He swears the rest of the real estate industry thinks he's insane, but he makes a good living so I'm not going to worry about it.  Plus, as stressful as his job can be, he really needs a break.  Even if that break includes daily checking email and voicemail.

2. Typically we do an extended weekend with my parents, sister, BIL, niece and nephew. Then also a full week just the two of us.

3. My parents were great about taking us on vacation and making it special. Hawaii is the most exotic place we've been together (Not sure Ireland counts since we were visiting the BIL's family.) I loved the trips to the beach and my sister and I got to go with our grandparents and our parents stayed at home. It made me feel so grown up!

February 16, 2011

Check-in Wednesday

No, this isn't a weigh-in post, although having not eaten solid foods in 2+ days I can promise you I have lost weight this week, just not in the ideal fashion.

I've had the stomach flu or something very similar since Monday and its been less than pleasent.  Being on the computer or reading a magazine for too long makes me quesy, and nothing is on TV.  I've been stuck just listening to the radio with my eyes closed for hours at a time.  Thankfully I've snuck some naps in here and there to break up the monotony a bit.

I'm starting to get anxious because I need to get back to work.  We leave for Maui on Monday and I need to get caught up before I leave and get behind again.  (Makes perfect sense in my head.)

If you're still planning on doing a guest post for me while I'm gone, can you try to have it to me by Friday?  I'm not picky about subject.  Otherwise I'll just post randomness while I'm away. 

Hope all is well with you!  Forgive me for my lack of blog hopping recently. 

February 14, 2011

True Love.

(Adopted from my twitter stream - follow me for more pearls of wisdom www.twitter.com/smartstrongsexy )

True love is...

  • not having to apologize for farting at the dinner table.
  • complimenting my 2nd least favorite body part and proclaiming it "the best ever" but not mentioning my least favorite so i know you're not lying.
  • being the behind spoon Valentine's morning even though you know I've had diarrhea all morning.
  • researching tropical vacations to take me on, even though you/we lose $$$ from business you have to give to someone else while we're away.
  • trying your best to board up & mouse proof our house that's 100+ years old because you know it freaks me out.
  • driving to the store to get me a Sprite to settle my tummy.
  • getting more excited than me about planning my dad's 60th birthday party.
  • building me a new closet because I threw a temper tantrum that would rival one from my 6 year old niece.
  • buying me boxes of books because you know how much I love them.
Safe to say, my man loves me.

How are you going to practically show your love this Valentine's day?

February 11, 2011

Fun Times Friday

Things have been a bit heavy around here lately, so I thought I'd lighten it up with some pictures from a hike Jay and I took over Martin Luther King Jr. day.

As you can see the trail was snowy/icy, but we didn't let that stop us!  I hadn't been able to hike for several months thanks to all my marathon training, so it was nice to be back enjoying the National Park.

It was really a gorgeous day for it, and because of the weather we pretty much had the whole trail to ourselves.  Coming back we met some people, but on the way out and while we were at the falls we had the place to ourselves. 

My bladder was very thankful that the trail wasn't crowded.  With all the snow and ice, I didn't want to go too far off the trail to do my business.  Since it was just me and my darling love, I didn't have to try to hide.

With the exception of this one, all of the photos were taken by Jay.  He didn't want me getting that close to the falls, since its rated one of the deadliest in the country.  Mostly because people try to climb in the rocks to the left of the falls.  Or else while swimming they get too close to the falls and drown.

I very much have the "if you can do it so I can" attitude about things.  Especially since he's the one with special health considerations. 

I have no special narration for this photo, but I think I look skinny so I'm sharing it.

That's a wrap yo!

PS - We did the hike in just under 2 hours.  Not sure how anyone could take 4 hours to hike it on a clear day.  We had to go slower than we would have liked because of all the snow.

February 10, 2011

Family Tree

Picture it - the Mountains of east Tennessee, 1980. 19551936. 1918.  A baby girl is born - shortly there after, her mother dies.  Her father, not knowing how to care for a child, gives his daughter to relatives to raise. 

Some years later, she meets a handsome young man and they marry.  They are blessed with two daughters, but World War II breaks up their family and sends him to Africa.  While serving there, he catches malaria and is shipped back to the States, but not home.  She travels across the country to Washington state to see her love.

Hard to understand I'm sure, but the events of my family tree all those years ago, helped shape me into the woman I am today.  I'm the great granddaughter of an alcoholic and an abandoned orphan. 

When put in that light, I seem really normal don't I?

Let me just get out there that I'm not judging or blaming anyone.  It is, however, helpful for me to be able to dig back and see why my family is the way it is.  (The other side really isn't all that more "normal" either.)  My great-grandmother never had an example how to be a parent.

As a result my grandmother's example was set through trial and error.  Somewhere along the way we began to learn that messing up wasn't an option.  Perfection was demanded.  And because we couldn't be perfect, we were bad. wrong. worthless.  garbage.

What does that have to do with @stickyJesus - file 9: humility?

We thought humility meant putting ourselves down even more.  We didn't understand that "Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.C.S. Lewis" as Michelle points out on today's read along post.

Because we didn't understand that, as we tried to build our self esteem, we did that wrong too.

How do you undo 4 generations worth of faulty thinking?  One baby step at a time.  The number of followers that you see over there >>> has nothing to do with my worth as a person, or even my ability as a writer.  I know I've lost followers here and there, but I can't allow myself to be hurt by it.  Its (probably) not a personal reflection of me.

As I've said every week and will most likely continue saying until the end of the read along, these aren't just principles that can be applied to the Land of Shiny Things (aka the Internet).  Its also something I desperately need to work on in my marriage and my interaction with those around me.

Most of you know that my husband and I are currently remodeling our house.  I've been very unhappy with the slow progression of the work.  Now that its mostly done, I'm unhappy with the result.  All this time (and money) spent for that

My husband is getting frustrated with me because he thinks that I'm impossible to please.  What he doesn't understand, is that perfectionism is a tough battle to fight.  I talked a little about it yesterday, but this whole train of thought was prompted by reading this blog. Which I found because I went to Stuff Christians Like for a laugh.  Because I was frustrated and upset because the remodel job isn't going as I'd like.

Isn't God good?  Even when we aren't asking Him for guidance He's still there pushing us in the direction we need to go.

My first thoughts and frustrations about the house not turning out the way I wanted?  I'll never have anything nice.  Throw all the money in the world at it, and I'll still just be that poor little girl who can't afford what she wants.  I don't deserve anything nice.

So while my hubby thought I was upset at the french fry colored piece of wood in the land of black walnut, it really went much deeper than that.

Then this morning, God led me down another path.  Same topic, different application.  The radio station I listen too was promoting the Hawk Nelson CD Crazy Love and were asking of instances where their listeners demonstrated love that didn't make sense in their lives.  The girl who called in told a story of heart ache, and how she was still working to bless the person who hurt her.

Logging online afterward, God hit me with this blog.  Part of our crazy messed up family tree is taking offense to things that no offense was meant by.  I try to make a game out of it now, to show myself how ridiculous it is.  One example of such behavior is getting served a diet coke (I had ordered regular) and assuming it was because the server thought I was fat and subconsciously wanted to help me out.

If I get that offended by a mistake, think about how hurt I get when someone intentionally harms me.  I have trouble letting go, forgiving.  "Remember that you are dead to these things."  Christ has given me a new life, washed clean of sin.  How can I stay clean if I keep picking up and clutching tightly the sins others have committed against me?

So that person I thought liked me but was really just faking it for their own motives?  Humility is not agreeing with them - that they were right to say bad things about me.  Humility is not fighting back with all my might. 

Humility is knowing they were wrong yet continuing to minister to them with the love of Jesus.  They don't deserve to be treated with that kind of mercy and grace, but then again neither did I.  I'm sure glad God didn't let that stop Him.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.

February 09, 2011

Fighting perfectionism

For those of you visiting from the Sisterhood, I'll warn you right now this won't be your typical Weigh-in Wednesday post.  There have been a lot of things clanging around in my head this week, especially this morning.

To understand what's going on up there, I need to introduce you to myself.

See the one with the scraggly beard and the knife?  See where Jesus has to clean up the mess and reattach that dude's ear from where one of His crazy followers cut it off?  Yeah that's me.  (The chop-er not the chop-ee)

In my head I know the way things should go.  I have everything in neat orderly columns and expect them to stay there.  When things don't go the way I think they ought, I lash out.  Maybe violently, throwing something across the room or hitting something (never someone I promise!).  Sometimes its just with words, saying hurtful nasty things that no one deserves to hear.

Then after that initial surge of adrenaline, I run.  I try to distance myself, pretend it doesn't exist.  Pretend my Savior isn't getting beaten before my eyes.

After that comes the sorrow.  The total and utter humiliation for what I've just done.  I'm exhausted - for nothing.  Things are the exact same as they would have been had I not ever flown off the handle.

Peter (Jesus ministry Peter, not the post-ascension Peter) is so me, that when I first watch Passion of the Christ I sobbed uncontrollably.  Not at the beatings, at the nail being driven in, or the bloody mess that the sin of the world turned Jesus into. 

I cried like a baby that moment (in the video up top) where Peter denies Jesus 3 times.  After the 3rd time, Jesus looks at Peter - and Peter doesn't know what to do with himself.  He's overcome with grief.  (Minute 3:09-3:24 of the video)

And so was I.

What does this have to do with weight loss?  Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.

Here are the facts.  I'm a hard core perfectionist.  Following the rules helped me to lose 15 pounds.  Obsession with the rules became my god.  Realization of that caused me to abandon everything I know about healthy living.

Leaving me sitting here currently wearing those 15 pounds I lost at the beginning of this cycle.

I want to honor God with my thoughts and actions.  I want to lose at least 10 of those pounds again.  I want to respect the body that He's given me.  I want to get back into my skinny jeans.  I doubt He wants all those things for me, but I'm just trying to be brutally honest here.

Where does that leave me? 

I really do think tracking my calories is important.  I've proven that not tracking only leads me down the fast food/junk food path. 

I also think that I need to stop being obsessed with the 0.4 or whatever I gain/lose from one week to the next. 

Please hold me accountable.  When you see me start going off my own direction - call me out on it.  "Peter is that what you should be doing?"  When you see me start focusing too much on my looks - throw up a road block for me.  Help me remember, even chubby, what wonderful things my body has done.

So I guess that's it.  No scale for me.  (Hold me!!)  Smart food choices.  Easy right?

I'm terrified.

February 08, 2011


Why are these thing so scary?
If when we die, our lives are the exact same as when we were born, something has gone horribly wrong.  As we live life day by day, we mature.  As we develop new relationships, new responsibilities we evolve.  Adapt.
These are all a requirement of a successful life.  Why do we fight against change?  Get offended when someone offers a word of correction?
In Your Secret Name, Mr. Oberbrunner suggests "Left to our own devices, we usually choose the path of least resistance and prefer stagnation over transformation.

That is so hard for me to handle.  That's not the case with me when it comes to running.  I'm constantly trying to grown and improve.  Once I "mastered" (please know I use that term loosely) the 5K distance, I kept pressing myself to increase distance.  And when I'd completed the 13.1 half marathon distance, I decided to work a on speed.

That's how it should be in other aspects of my life as well, but instead I find myself clinging to sameness.  How many times have we offered up the excuse "That's the way I was when you married me!" as if that somehow validates our flaws.

Sure, I had an independent streak when I got married - because up until that point I WAS independent. 

I also had slacked in my Bible study around the time I got married (we'll come back to the why later), does that make it okay to continue neglecting God's word?  Of course not!

"I'm not a morning person."  Was another excuse I used to remain stagnant.  I just couldn't possibly get up early to have my daily devotional time.  Remember when you got up at 5:30 every morning to lift weights?  Poop.  I guess that proves it can be done with the right motivation. 

What better motivation do I need than to give God my first fruits of the day?  (Okay maybe not first.  I do shower, dress, and put on make up first.  After all I do need a little time to wake up so I can understand what I read.) 

Another thing that has helped is a notebook to accompany my readings.  Courtney at Women Living Well suggested it in her Putting Your House in Order post.  I now read each chapter, then stop to reflect on what God is saying or application for my life.  It very much keeps me from just blazing through the readings just to mark something else off my "to do" list.

Sometimes that growth means putting aside Given Names.  Selfish. Superficial. Judgmental. Hypocritical.
None of those things make me into the woman of God I'm called to be.  Its past time to confess them, and hand them over to the Lord.   He's got far better things in store for me.

I'm linking up (as is my standard Tuesday routine) with Marla's read along.  Head on over there to check out what others had to say about chapters 12 and 13.
Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.

February 07, 2011

Weekend Update

Brought to you by the letter "F".  For forgiveness, football, and fantastic food.

  • My mom went shopping this weekend, bought several shirts for $1.97 that were cute, but too small.  Guess who gets to keep them now?
  • Went to a friend's house on Friday and got to hang out with a couple girlfriends I hadn't seen in a while.  Good times.
  • Remodel dude said he will be finished and out of my house by Friday! I'm not holding my breath but somewhere deep, down in my heart I'm getting excited.
  • Cleaned house on Saturday.  Since I played too much on the Internet, I wasn't able to kick back and read a book when done.  I regret that and plan to do better next Saturday I'm staying home.
  • The computer blackout on Sunday was an epic fail, so I need to work on that for next Sunday.  Yet more time I could have been reading that library book that I need to get back to my mother.
  • 3 days with no exercise again, so I guess I'm just going to call it quits on the 100 days/100 miles challenge.  My heart really wasn't in it,and I'm enjoying the days I get a break from exercising.
  • The testimonial at church went well.  Although I lied while up there, but only due to my very poor math skills.  Told the congregation my church is 11 years  old, when in fact, it is only 9 years old.  Not sure how I came up with that, but my dad caught it later in the retelling.
  • The shirt I'm wearing fits well from the navel up, but is too small in the hip/glutes area so I had to tuck it in.  I feel like I look like a dork.
  • Is anyone still reading this?
  • 10 points to whoever catches this
  • I'm having fun just making new points.
  • But I'm running out of things to say.
So that's my weekend in review.  Also, since I'll be gone for 2 weeks vacation, I'm looking for guest bloggers to keep the place lively.  I can also field questions from the audience to answer/schedule for while I'm gone.  Remember that time I asked you if you showed your husband your really long/fat poops?  Yeah well now its time to do the same for me.  (PS - I never believed you when you said you didn't.)

February 05, 2011

Hey Yall - Listen At This!

Found this on Mel's blog - follow along below.  Or better yet play along!!

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

•What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?

•What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?

•What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?

•What do you call gym shoes?

•What do you say to address a group of people?

•What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?

•What do you call your grandparents?

•What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?

•What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?

•What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

February 04, 2011

Financial Peace University

This is my speech for Sunday.  Didn't want to make it too lengthy to bore people, but I also wanted to get plenty of information in.  Please feel free to critique!  I've got an English degree, so I'm use to something "average" being reworked into something "good".  I promise not to be offended if you have a suggestion!  Better that than me embarrass myself in front of the church!!

Instead of one of the professionally crafted videos advertising Financial Peace University, this Sunday you get me.  Sorry about that guys.

I just wanted to let you know what attending FPU classes, along with learning the principles Dave Ramsey teaches, have done in my life.  The class isn't magic.  Dave isn't uber intelligent money guru.  These are simple, common sense ways of handling money, that we, as a country, have lost sight of.

I attended FPU fresh out of college - complete with student loans and a brand new $400 a month car payment in hand.  Every time Dave said "sell the car!" on the FPU videos I new he was talking about me.

If you can keep a secret - I didn't sell it. 

I did, however, took a hard look at my money situation.  Keeping the car meant making sacrifices - including living with my parents for a few years while I cleaned up the mess of "normalcy" I had gotten myself into.

Eleven years later I stand before you blessed.  Monetarily, yes in some ways.  But I'm not talking about a lottery ticket falling from the sky.  I'm blessed to be the proud own of a paid for 11 year old car.   I've been student loan free for almost a decade. 

When my husband and I married, I started to get a better idea of what Financial Peace was all about.  He's a self employed salesman, he doesn't have an hourly rate or even an annual salary.  Straight commission can be a scary place to be. 

While he's never attended FPU, we've discussed Dave's seven baby steps and have adapted them to our lives.  Thanks to baby step 3 (an emergency fund of 3-6 months worth of expenses) we don't have to stress about whether or not he has a commission check coming in.

I listen to Dave's radio show whenever possible, and he says that one of the biggest issues couples fight about is money.  Instead, money discussions bring us together.  Monthly we sit down to review our past month's spend and look ahead to the next month.  These principles have also given us cause to review our long term goals.  And as they say "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."

Instead, we chose to aim to buy or build a reasonable priced house in the farm house style.  Last year, we were able to find just a house.  I will admit that being married to your realtor does help things, but we found our dream home - in a price range that would be considered modest in this area.

I hope you'll consider Financial Peace University and how it could benefit your family.  Thank you. 

February 03, 2011

Fatigue and Wellness

For those of you who were around for my anemia issue, you'll remember that my very first directive was rest.  Rest, rest, and more rest.  Don't do anything that makes you tired.  I even got a free pass from doing dishes from my hematologist (but since I'm mostly sure my doc was kidding, I didn't cash it in.)

Giving your body a break is a necessary part of working out.  Soreness is a result (as best I understand it) of us making little tears in our muscles, those tears are necessary to build strength but so is the rest that allows them to rebuild - stronger than ever before.

Our bodies don't just require rest from workouts though, taking a break from your occupation to recoup is necessary too.  Whether your job is full of mental stress (My Darling Love aka the Mutant) or is physically taxing (like my dad), we need to take a break.

After all, the ten commandments weren't just a result of a demanding God who requires us to follow His orders because He says so.  He loves us and His directives are to keep us from harm.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. Genesis 20:8-11 (RSV)

So too we need to take a break from the constant pinging we receive from the Land of Shiny things.  This week for our @stickyJesus read along, we're discussing file 08 - Warning: Danger Zones
While several portions of the chapter really jumped out at me, the one most convicting was "go digitally dark".  Now before you get scared that I'm going to pull the plug on my blog (yall would cry wouldn't you?  no?  well...um...cough...um...I'm sure someone would miss me.) that's not what this section is talking about.

The book's authors Tami Heim and Toni Birdsong are just suggestion that, like our sabbath day of rest from work and chores, we also take a day of rest from logging on.  Take a little extra time to nurture our "real life" relationships, but mostly just devote the day to worshiping our Lord and listen for His voice.

I've decided to take them up on their challenge.  Starting this week, no logging on Sundays.  If I do a workout (which I'm kicking back and forth the idea in my head of making Sunday a day of rest from that too), I'll just log it on Monday morning.

Okay now that I type it out, I'm remembering the Shrinking Jeans Olympics.  If I participate in the 10K I have to have my time submitted by midnight Sunday night.  Is it cheating to ask Jay to log it for me? Or maybe that needs to go too. 

Please don't misunderstand this for legalism.  That's something I struggle with.  I'd be the world's best Pharisee, I really would, but that's not God wants for me (or you for that matter).  I just want to open myself up to hear from Him.  I want to build up my spiritual armour.

In case you missed it, this life is hard.  There are those "danger zones" on every corner - be it cyber or otherwise.

I've been very convicted by a couple books here lately.  One I mentioned on Tuesday -
From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife.  The other is my "February" project - The Love Dare

Day one the Dare says "The first part of this dare is fairly simple...For the next day resolve to...say nothing negative to your spouse at all." (pg 4)  Do you know how hard that is for me?  I'm young and in love with my husband and yet I can't go one day without something negative to him?  I actually had to start this challenge yesterday, instead of on the 1st as I'd originally planned because I had already messed up by the time I read the challenge.

Likewise Marla's Blushing Bride challenges wives who make jokes at the expense of their husbands.  *Gulp*

If you've followed me on twitter at all, I'm sure you've seen me post something not-so-lovely about my husband.  Would my cyber friends know what a good marriage we have just by what I've posted?  I think that's one of the "danger zones" of outlets like Twitter.  Its easy to tweet 140 characters of griping about my husband, but how often do I boast about what a great provider he is?

I've said it every week of this read along and it applies this week as well - these principles aren't just limited to cyber interaction.  I need to be in constant prayer taking every thought captive.

My prayer is that you do the same and we can encourage one another along the way.

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February 02, 2011

Update: I'm a Planner

Thanks for all your comments on my check-in post.

For all you mommy-types out there, I promise I'll get blood work done if this keeps up.  I'm pretty sure its just my body's super awesome-never-get-sick version of a cold or something.  Give me a week and we'll chat again m'kay?

One thing I love so much about always training, is that I have a plan.  I crave structure and order.  I have a nervous breakdown using profanity am not happy without it.

So you see while I'm enjoying the freedom that not having a plan is giving me, I'm also sorta lost.  Same with eating.  I love the freedom of not tracking, but then I sorta feel like I'm floating around without an anchor.

I think I need a plan.  A quasi-tracking system.  Put anything into an excel spreadsheet and its fun for me.  I'm going to create a checklist and put it in a folder or something, but I need ideas!

My goals for the month so far included:

  • Read at least 1 chapter of the Bible daily and reflect on its practical application in my journal.
  • Do at least one thing to actively show my love to my darling love hubby.
  • Read at least 1 chapter in a book (either fiction or non-fiction, ebooks included).
  • Beginning today as day 1, go day by day through the Love Dare.
But, as you can see, those goals are light on fitness & healthy living habits.  Help a girl out!  What else would you suggest?

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.

Power of One Check-in Time!

Let's go ahead and get the numbers thing out of the way.

Challenge start: 137

Last week: 136
This week: 137.6

Power of One Challenge
On the exercise front, I went almost an entire week without exercising.  The morning of my mom's surgery (last Monday) I did the Shred (level).  Then Tuesday I went to stay with her after work, and Wednesday I took her to the doctor and we hung out all day.  Blah,blah, blah, blah, blah.  One thing after another happened until it was the next Monday and I'd gone 6 days without a single workout.
Thankfully it was a gorgeous day and I got outside for a walk.  Then I did the same yesterday.  And today I have a lunch date with a friend for spin class. 
I promised myself that after the marathon I would give myself 2 months to just exercise, not train.  I'm trying to make the most of it.  Sure walking isn't the most challenging exercise I've ever done, but I enjoy it.  Especially on a warm, sunny day. 
That freedom also gives me the opportunity to participate in this years Olympic games.  I've already signed up for quite a few of the challenges.  I hope to medal in at least one activity in the next week an a half, but I don't really have high hopes for myself over all.

If you haven't already, don't forget to check out all the different challenges you can participate in for the Sisterhood Olympics!  I'm trying to put together a team for the 4 mile relay.  I'm looking for 3 other people to join me, then each of us will take 1 mile.  Let me know in the comments if you're interested.

Okay that's all the standard stuff.  Most of which was typed up yesterday.

So now let's get to the heart of it.


I knew I hadn't lossed this week.  I knew that I'd probably gain.  I was okay with that.  Looking back, I can't point to one thing I wish I hadn't eaten.  One indulgence that I would have put back.

Maybe a bit more movement would have helped, but I'm really not disappointed in myself for that either.

I was fine with all of it until this morning.  When I got dressed knowing that I was going to get on the scale.  Knowing that I wasn't going to like what it had to say.

The logical answer is don't weigh.  I know that.  But I also know that the last time I chose that route, I gained 10 pounds.  I can't gain 10 pounds from this point - I'm already at my highest recorded weight.

Then again I'm tired.  Have been tired all week.  I don't know if I'm trying to fight a bug off or something, but I fell asleep at 8:30 last night.  I just couldn't keep my head up any more.

With his wife asleep early and having total control of the TV what does my husband choose to watch?  A CNBC special about some investment fraud scandal.

We're a wild and crazy bunch I'll tell ya!

Back to the point of all this.  (There is a point right?)  When my alarm went off 10 hours later I was still exhausted and had to drag myself out of be.  I'm tired.  So maybe my moodiness re: my weight is just a byproduct of feeling physically drained.

Before you say it - no I'm not pregnant.  I promise. 

I'm going to try to not read too much into it.  Not binge because I'm depressed.  Not run to manic exercise to try and burn extra calories.  I'm gonna try to let it ride, but its not gonna be easy.

Hopefully you had a more productive week than I did.  I'll be visiting to see how you did shortly!

February 01, 2011

Character vs Comfort

We're plugging along on the Your Secret Name read along.  In Chapters 10 and 11 author Kary Oberbrunner continues with the parallel stories of Jacob, and Mr. Oberbrunner's own personal testimony. 

Marla has been giving us some great prompts for further discussion.  This week she writes:
On page 111, Kary writes, “With Jacob’s situation in mind, we might wonder why God allows his children to remain in painful places.” He says that one answer would be that “times of testing instill character development.” What are some other reasons God might allow his children to remain in painful places? And do you have a personal example?
I'm not sure where the idea got started that God's main purpose is to make His followers comfortable got started.  Crack open your Bible and show me one place where it says that.

Jesus certainly didn't live a plush, cushy life.  He was born into a working class family and in the last days of His life here on Earth He was abandoned by most of His close friends, to die a horrible death.

Maybe its a lesson I need to better learn, because its a topic that's come up in a lot of books I've been reading lately.  Whether it be giving up material possessions (Radical by David Platt) or giving up my pride (From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife by Marla Taviano) or even stepping out of my comfort zone (Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall &Denver Moore ) the call of Christianity is to put off self and serve.

Having said all that, I will reiterate my point from last week - its easy for me to stay.  I'm not the one struggling from week to week wondering how I'm going to cover the bills.  (When my parents were in this situation they made a careful effort to keep my sister and I in the dark.)  I've never been abused or homeless. 

Sure I've had heart ache.  There was that time I rebelled against God and dated someone I knew I shouldn't.  While I can't be certain that ache outbreak wasn't a smite from God, it certainly cleared up once said bad boy dumped me.

I've lost beloved grandparents, who'd lived long full lives and died of illnesses brought on by old age.

My one experience with true pain - that moment where God has to hold you because you don't have the strength to stand - ended in a beautiful miracle of God.  My sister, at the age of 27, suffered congestive heart failure after the birth of her first child. 

She spent several days in Cardiac ICU and had to have pounds of fluid drained from around her heart.  While her husband and my parents stayed spent as much time as the hospital as they could, I stayed at home with her 6 day old baby.  I'd never baby sat, or even really been around small children.

My best friend was knocking on death's door and I was alone, with no one to comfort me but this creature that kept spitting up and pooping. 

And the Maker of the Universe.

I have no clue why we got a miracle.  Why God chose to resort my sister's health leaving behind no ill effects.  But I know without a doubt God used those days to change me.  He opened my eyes to my ability to serve despite experience or even willingness. 

I can only pray that the next time one of those devastatingly painful moments come - I'll better know how to rely on Him for strength and wisdom.

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon from Smart + Strong = Sexy, any purchase you make supports this site.