Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
A variation on this troublesome saying has recently made its way under my skin. I've noticed in several of my favorite "mom" blogs and podcasts that it is common to refer to meltdowns and breakdowns and generally anything negative as "real life", or revealing the "real me". Why is it that women believe only their failures are "real", and anything positive about themselves is truly a facade??
I'll use myself as an example. As you may have judged from my recent posts, I had what might be called a stress breakdown last week. I felt like I couldn't do anything right, the house became a disaster, and I really wasn't of much use to anyone.
The week before that, I was obviously happy, pretty much stayed on top of the housecleaning, and felt like I did a good job supporting my husband and nurturing my daughter. Does my subsequent meltdown mean that everything that came before was just a show to deceive the viewing public?
I don't believe so. The "appears to have everything under control" part of me is just as real as the "I desperately need a break" part of me. If anything, the negative side was a failing of the real me, not the revealing of a truth beneath a facade.
2. It is my goal to stay away from fudge. It's not my favorite thing anyway, so I should be able to meet this goal.
3. Over the holiday, I am changing my exercise goals to walking in the snow at least once a day, preferably towing Aurelia on a sled.
4. The way I will remind myself to make good choices over the holiday is keeping my husband close by, with instruction to gently remind me.
5. My favorite ornament on my tree is... Well, I'm not putting up a tree this year. But I love the Willow Tree nativity set I have out.
6. Of the progress I have made so far, my favorite thing is just having a plan, and feeling like I have some control over my fitness future.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of the ladies participating in Fitness Friday!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Monday night I was gone for dodgeball (my one true bit of exercise this week...again). Tuesday night we had friends over until well past our usual bedtime. Wednesday night Jon was running a teen group fundraiser, and Thursday night was a church board meeting. All of this was nicely wrapped up by a huge cry fest from me when Jon asked what was stressing me out. And for a bow on top, I've got a nasty cold (yes, I know there's no other kind...but saying just "cold" doesn't convey my feelings about the buggerly little virus).
So I would have to say that my fitness this week, whether spiritual, physical, or emotional, ranks about a 4 on a 1-10 scale where 10 is "stellar!". I really feel like saying 1, but I know it could be a lot worse. It is just a cold after all. My eating habits were quite good. Social marks are probably up from usual, as we spent more time with friends. And after our long, tearful, discussion I feel a huge burden off my shoulders.
I'll talk more about what was going on with stress in a later post. Now I'm going to go cuddle up with a cup of Moroccan Mint Green tea, a blanket and my family and watch A White Christmas.
Thanks again to Brenda at The Family Revised for hosting Fitness Friday!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Some years ago, she was with the great Ella Fitzgerald before a concert at Carnegie Hall. Ella was wearing a glamorous white dress with bugle sequins and a matching pair of new shoes with 4-inch heels, as she was fond of wearing. The shoes kept slipping on the floor backstage, so Carmen offered to take the shoes out to the parking lot to scuff up the bottoms so Ella wouldn't fall. Ella's response? "Oh don't worry about that. I just hope they like me! Do you think they'll like me?"
So she headed out on stage, and got to singing and swingin'. In the middle of a song, swoosh she went down on stage, flat on her back with her dress up around her ears -- "the peekaboo of the night", as Carmen put it. And what did Ella do? She didn't miss a note and kept right on singing as she lay on the floor and flipped her dress back down.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Today is a free-for-all Fitness Friday, so I'm going to discuss two things. First, a recap of my fitness week: Monday I was all jazzed up, refilling my gym bag with workout clothes and filling my mp3 with fresh material. I arrived at the Rec Center at 9am sharp -- only to find out that due to Thanksgiving Break, the gym didn't open until 11am. *sigh*
So, no workout on Monday. But Tuesday I was able to plan ahead and walked in the gym doors as soon as they opened. I was pleased to discover that I had not, in fact, gained any weight during my hiatus from planned exercise. Now, for reshaping the weight and getting my energy levels up...To the elliptical!! I'm starting out with my old routine of 40 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes rowing. Mondays I'm going to add in playing racquetball with Jon, which is always challenging since he seems to stay a level ahead of me. So that will help with cardio.
Wednesday was full of cleaning and cooking. Foodwise, I kept things small and simple all week in preparation for the Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. I'm pretty happy with my choices at Thanksgiving -- of course, keeping my little one entertained was a good distraction from eating! I did indulge with dessert, but I did so deliberately so I don't really feel bad about it.
Okay, enough recap. On to topic #2. Listening to an episode of MommyCast from their archives, I learned about this website: Start Making Choices. I highly recommend that you check it out! The Balanced Life index is a nice tool to track how you are doing with overall "life fitness", and there are useful articles and a lot of good ideas on how to add in exercise and good eating to a busy life. Also, for those of you on facebook, you can track your friends' Balanced Life scores for encouragement (and a little fun competition?).
Thanks again to Brenda at The Family Revised for hosting Fitness Friday!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Of course, now I've learned that soft-soled shoes like Robeez are best for this age. I figure she only wears them to keep her socks on while traveling anyway, so I'm not losing too much sleep over her foot apparel.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yesterday Sheila Wray Gregoire was wondering who will take up the torch to fight for what is right. At the same time, Mrs. Anna T asked her readers if women want to be treated badly, because many seem to not want "nice" men. I agree that it is unhealthy to want or to continue a relationship with someone who has a "destructive" personality. When choosing a mate, it is important both to seek someone with a loving heart and to acknowledge that it is highly improbable that you will make someone change -- so choose carefully and choose practically. However, I believe the two problems Sheila and Anna bring up are related. On the one hand, we cry out for strong leaders, and on the other we ask for our men to be "nice." I think in many cases, the root of the often detrimental desire for men who aren't nice is born from a twisting of a deep and good longing for real men, men with backbone and untamed hearts. Men who, like the great lion Aslan, are dangerous.
"Then he isn't safe?" asked Lucy.
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."
"No," replied Merlin, "it is foolishness itself to let them go."
Merlin smiled, lifting a hand to the mountain. "Because if we prevent them now, they would never again risk the impossible with a whole and open heart."
"Is that so important?"
"For ordinary men, no." Merlin shook his head, watching the boys ride away. "But, Ector, we are not about making ordinary men."
"...This is a needless hazard." Ectorius showed his contempt for such an idea.
"...Better to have lived while alive, yes? Besides, if they achieve this they will have conquered a giant; they will be invincible!"
"If they do not?"
"Then they will learn something about the limitations of men."
"A costly lesson, it seems to me," muttered Ectorius.
"Then it will be valued all the more. Come, be of good cheer, my friend," coaxed Merlin. "If God and his angels stand ready to uphold them, can we do less?"
Another book that helped me understand this concept is Wild at Heart, by Jon Eldredge. I highly recommend that every wife (or lady who would like to become a wife) take the time to read this. Even better, read it with your husband. As my husband put it, this book helped him realize that "Christian men don't have to be Ned Flanders." (And there's my Simpsons reference for the day).
Friday, November 7, 2008
Friday: Jon's sister brings Aurelia home from grandma-care, and we have a lazy night of eating pizza and brownies and watching old movies. Ahhh...this is the life.
Saturday: Jon heads over to his parent's house first thing in the morning to help work on building a barn before Old Man Winter comes to visit. Aurelia and I pile into the car with all of our baby gear to go to a class reunion. A Childbirth class reunion, that is:
This is the first time Aurelia has been around other babies her age. Turns out she's the toy thief and class clown of the group. Do you notice her pointing at her bare feet?? "Mom!! Everyone else has adorable clothes on, including socks and shoes! Don't you love me?" In my defense, the boogie monster stole all of her clothes sometime last week, and this was the only outfit I had in the house for her.
Sunday: After church, the three of us head to the mall for some strolling and family-time. Oh, and to get some shoes...
Monday: Game time!! After Aurelia goes to sleep, I head back into town to play some dodgeball on an intramural team. (I'm the second from the left). Turns out that using an elliptical at the gym does not prepare you for ducking and weaving... But I think that we might have set a record for shortest time to lose three games in a row. How could we rickety old grad students hope to stand up to the Tri-Delta sorority girls?
Tuesday: Migraine time. 5-hour nap. Let's not dwell.
Wednesday: Experiments a bust. I might have said recently that everything that could go wrong with my Western blots had gone wrong. I would have been wrong.
Spend three hours editing a friend's novel. Forty more pages down. 460 left to go. Next time I'm charging for this.
On the bright side, I had an epiphany when it came to cooking mashed potatoes. Slow cooker!! Lots of leftovers this week.
Thursday: Another hodge-podge of a day, in and out of the lab, running errands, working on Mark's book. I tell Jon that if Mark ever asks him how he can compensate me for the work, Starbucks gift cards (for some reason I can only do editing work in a coffee shop) and Housecleaning services are at the top of the list. The highlight of the day: lunch at Wingers with Jon, and sitting drinking coffee together while working on our various projects. This I can handle.
Friday: Morning miscommunication completely overthrows planned schedule. Friends coming over tonight, house less than organized, Jon flying out at dawn tomorrow. Time to go take a shower and turn into superwoman!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
So I think I really have to let this whole idea of "fairness" go. I do what I can, he does what he can, and we'll get around to the rest when we get there. Aiming for fairness is bound to lead to frustration and resentment. If, on the other hand, I remember that we're working as a team toward the same goals, I don't have to feel so alone or overwhelmed.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The impregnable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have not to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement. The supernatural becomes natural by the miracle of God; there is a realization of what Jesus Christ has already done -- "It is finished."Just rest in your Daddy's arms and enjoy the beauty He's given us (trusting He will take care of us through the ugly).
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Without further ado, here it is: my first political post. I am extremely hesitant about bringing politics into this blog, because there are so many things that are more important to me than a person's political beliefs or affiliations, and I don't want anyone to close their ears to what I have to say just because we disagree on politics. But the election is only a week away, and I find myself compelled to write this post. I will do my utmost to keep my statements simple, civil and friendly.
I am not a huge supporter of either of the two big presidential candidates. I do, however, have great respect, admiration, and (perhaps most importantly) trust for Sarah Palin. Senator McCain's choice of Sarah as VP secured my vote, despite my many disagreements with the Senator's policies. In her personal life and as governor of Alaska, she has demonstrated good judgment, a strong spine, and tremendous respect for the sanctity of individual life. I can relate to her in a way I've never been able to relate to a politician, man or woman. So that's what I have on the positive side.
Now here is why I cannot vote for Senator Obama, and there is one reason that trumps all other considerations. I won't need to go into his economic plan, foreign policy, or social values, because they don't matter in comparison. I could agree with him on all other points and still not be able to vote for him. The reason is simple: it is clear from his actions and words that he does not value the sanctity of life. I was first troubled along these lines when he uttered the (in)famous statement that he would not want his daughters "punished" with a baby if they were to make a mistake. Yet I will not judge someone based on a single statement, which can be so easily taken out of context or may represent poor communication of an idea. So I kept listening and watching.
When I read about his statements on the floor of the Illinois senate, I was even more troubled. SB1095 stated that a baby alive after “complete expulsion or extraction from its mother” would be considered a "person, human being, child and individual." In other words, it would be not only wrong but illegal to leave such an entity in a linen closet until it finished dying. Here is what Senator Obama had to say about the bill (March 31, 2001):
"...whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a—a child, a nine-month-old—child that was delivered to term.”
In other words, a delivered 22-week term child would have the same rights as a full 40-week term child.
“I mean, it—it would essentially bar abortions,” said Obama, “because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.”
This statement unambiguously demonstrates that Senator Obama is willing to ignore the moral logic of any bill that might oppose abortion statutes. It doesn't matter to him whether or not a baby surviving an abortion deserves the rights due any person, accorded by our Constitution. What matters to him is whether or not the right to "choice" is violated by such a baby's right to life. Or, from another angle, he didn't care whether or not "this" is a child, because if it was an antiabortion statute he wouldn't vote for it.
One commentator summed this up elegantly:
For Senator Obama, whether or not a temporarily-alive-outside-the-womb little girl is a “person” entitled to constitutional rights is not determined by her humanity, her age or even her place in space relative to her mother’s uterus. It is determined by a whether a doctor has been trying to kill her.
I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who holds such a blatant disregard for human life.
Okay, that's all for politics. We'll be returning to my regular blog shortly...
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
A few weeks ago I posted about some changes I wanted to make in how I communicate (you can read that post here). I'm doing a lot better with saying what I mean, but I've found that sarcasm has deep roots and puts out a lot of "suckers". Every time I think I've eradicated it, somehow it pops up again. So the struggle continues.
In the meantime, I've discovered a new tool in my quest to make over my speech: silence. Simply holding my tongue, although definitely not easy, has proven extremely useful. Sometimes I just need to stay silent until I've sorted out my feelings -- in place of my previous non-strategy of spilling out whatever I'm thinking and then sorting it out later, usually after tears have been involved. If I stop first and put myself in the other person's shoes, or give the other person a chance to clarify what they really mean, a lot of unnecessary hurt and tension can be avoided. I've found that if I give it enough time, the other person may realize their own mistake and come to me to resolve it, without my saying anything about how they've hurt me. Even if they don't, a little bit of time and distance are a wonderful aid to gaining perspective and regaining calm. I just need to be sure that I'm not choosing to be silent as a means of punishment, or cutting myself off.
I've also been thinking a lot about gossip. I'm not really a gossiper by nature, and I've always tried to be very careful about watching my tongue in this department. But it's not always clear what the difference is between gossip and simply "catching up" or sharing news about friends. Strangely enough, a comment by Dave Ramsey (the financial adviser) helped clarify this for me. In his company, the employees are told "Postive Up, Negative Down" when it comes to communication at work. For example, if an employee doesn't like how the network functions, they are only allowed to tell someone who can actually do something about it -- otherwise it's just negative gossip. If they're talking to someone below them in the hierarchy of authority, they need to use positive comments and praises. So I'm trying to apply a similar policy to my life: before I pass on anything negative, I ask myself if the person I'm talking to can help the situation at all. If they can't, I'd better not pass it along. On the flip side, when I am with my officemates, who have strong negative tendencies, I only talk about positive things -- like our dodgeball tournament that's coming up!
I've already felt the strain of not sharing burdens of "negative" knowledge. Generally, the one exception I make to the rule is my husband. We both strongly agree that spouses should openly share everything together, being "one flesh". But there are occasions where knowledge given in confidence can't even be shared with a spouse, at least for a period of time. In this case, the only place to send the burden is "up" -- to God. Learning to leave it there...that's going to take more practice.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Don't get me wrong. I think a college education can be a valuable and wonderful thing. I do not even remotely regret the years I've spent in "higher" education. But I believe you should absolutely not go unless 1) you can do it debt-free, and 2) it can help you fulfill your passionate purpose in life in a direct and deliberate manner. I no longer believe that an "undeclared" major is acceptable, and while I must concede that I was undeclared for the first year, it was only because I couldn't choose between Physics and Biology. If you don't know what you're doing in college, get a job where you can meet people (preferably related to something you enjoy doing) and read, read, read until you find out what makes you come alive. If you can't stand reading, then get out and learn everything you can, hands-on, about something you love doing (and find a way to enjoy reading, while you're at it, but that's a post for another day).
Do you know what I did for the first year after obtaining my 3.99 GPA B.Sc. in Biology? I managed a Subway. This was a, shall we say, character-building experience, but it was hardly the dream job I had been promised if only I did well in college. The problem was, I didn't need a piece of paper that proved I could store and regurgitate a massive amount of information about immunology, ecology, evolution, microbiology, and molecular and cellular biology. I needed to know what I wanted to do with that information. A vision for your life is vastly more important than a college education, and cannot be replaced by a degree, no matter how fancy the scrollwork or heavy the paper. Some goals in life do require a college-level understanding and vocabulary, but it is a mistake to expect that simply having the degree will get you anywhere.
Tune in later this week for more college thoughts and reflections...(if my cold doesn't continue to beat me into a pulp, that is!)
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Last night Aurelia had her first candlelit dinner at the table. Now, at 10 months and 2 weeks of age, I'm not sure how much she appreciated the experience. But considering the electricity was out when we walked in the door at 6:15, we didn't have many options! Fortunately I had cooked some hearty chicken and rice soup the night before, and my husband's quick thinking made it possible for us to heat up leftovers on our campstove. I chopped up some frozen avocado slices for Aurelia, warmed them in my hands, and we were ready to dine in style! We even lit the candle sconces on the wall that I haven't done anything with in ages (except dust them).