Friday, February 27, 2009

Fitness Friday: Summer Plans

Back in the saddle again! So to speak.

I'm happy to say that I just finished up an ambitious project that has been taking up every spare moment of time for quite a while. I hope to be making an exciting announcement in that department in the near future, but for now I'm going to keep you in suspense!

What I can say is that I am greatly relieved, and I have every hope that the resulting reduction in stress and addition of time will help me on my road to fitness. I had to pare my schedule back to the bare minimum, which was actually an interesting exercise in prioritization. But it left me no time to keep up with my blog, as I'm sure you've noticed! What you don't know is that my house has received pretty much the same amount of attention. Eek.

This week Brenda asked us to talk about our plans to prepare for the summer. This is a great topic for me, as we're going to be heading to the white sands of Florida for a rare family get-together! My top "family" goal this year was to introduce Aurelia to her southern relatives, so we're really excited about this trip.

I'm not so excited about my post-baby body in a swimsuit. Actually, I'm shocked to realize that I haven't actually been in a swimsuit for over two years!! I used to be a waterdog, so I'm not sure how that happened.

Tomorrow that is going to change, for better or worse, haha. We're chaperoning a teen ski retreat. (And you're asking, how does a swimsuit come into this picture?!?).

Well, while the teens are up on the mountain tomorrow breaking their various appendages, Aurelia and I will be in the giant indoor waterpark. I won't tell you how long it took me to even find my swimsuit. And, no, I haven't tried it on yet.

Anyway, all of this reminded me that I should be thinking about setting some specific goals for physical fitness, using the Florida trip as a motivator. So I'll be doing that sometime this weekend, and (thank goodness), I can start working out again regularly on Monday. Between being sick and the big Project, I haven't been to the Rec Center in nearly a month. No wonder I haven't been feeling well, right?

Then comes the issue of clothes. A vacation is always a good excuse for a wardrobe update, in my book. Unfortunately, squeezing pennies out of our budget to pay for airplane tickets doesn't leave much room for the adult clothing category. So I'm going to be very selective, and pick a few high-quality, versatile pieces to "feminize" my summer wardrobe.

I'm starting with, which I learned about in Real Simple (I think...). The website has ongoing sales of designer clothes, which are still more pricey than my usual Ross fare, but the selections are very pretty and in my opinion generally more feminine and better fitted than off the rack items. Not that there aren't a few of those designer horrors that were clearly designed for an alien race. If you want to sign up, let me know and I'll "sponsor" you, which will give us each a $10 credit!

Okay, time to go spend some more mint Oreos to persuade the teens to behave. Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2009

If I had a spare $388

...this is what would be in my closet. I have no idea when or where I would wear it, but I just adore this dress. It is absolute perfection. I feel like a queen just thinking about wearing it.

I felt the need to share that with the world.

Now, I guess I should say something more profound, and possibly even interesting.

Brenda over at The Family Revised has been writing a series of posts on women's fashion. I encourage you to go check out what she's written so far on the history of fashion and thoughts on how to be feminine today.

There's one issue, however, that Brenda hasn't discussed yet that my "dream dress" brings up. Once you're past proms and weddings, when do you get to wear beautiful feminine attire again? Maybe this is just a problem for those of us who live in small towns, but even when we make a trip up to the nearest city my husband and I have a hard time finding a place where we can dress up and not look entirely out of place.

A few years ago we had our anniversary dinner at a well-reviewed "romantic" Italian restaurant (I think it was the year after we had our anniversary dinner at Taco Bell...haha). I'm pretty sure I was the only person in a dress, and flannels and jeans predominated. Keep in mind that our anniversary is near the holidays, when people do seem to dress up more, so I was really surprised.

I sometimes find myself a tad jealous of my friends from India and Bangladesh, who wear gorgeous material on a daily basis. Then I'm shocked back to reality when I'm out throwing hay to my horse or gathering wood for our stove. I also think that a pair of nice jeans and a fitted t-shirt can be quite feminine as well as practical, so I'm not really complaining about daywear. I just find it frustrating that our cultural trends have become so utterly casual.

What do you think, ladies? Do you also wish you could show off your full beauty more frequently? Or does the thought of wearing satins and silks make you want to run for cover?

By the way, the dress is available here and I'm a size 8. In case my fairy godmother is reading.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fitness Friday: A new day

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done...
--C.S. Lewis

I love this quote. It's both a reminder and a promise to me. Yes, I have to start over every day - begin yet again to be a good mom, wife, daughter, friend, woman after God's own heart. I can't rely merely on what has gone before, or assume it will be any easier today.

But beginning again as if "nothing had yet been done" also means I can forgive myself...MUST forgive myself...for yesterday's mistakes and failures. I have a terrible habit of mentally beating myself up over events and choices long past my present ability to influence. What a waste of time, I know, but it's a trait I have to deal with.

So this post is just a reminder to myself, and anyone else with similar struggles, to greet each day with new hope and fresh resolve. I can't change what I did yesterday, but I can choose to let it go and make better choices today. Thank God that He gave us the gift of "days", right? A chance to begin again after resting our bodies and minds while the present becomes the past and the future waits with open arms.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fitness Friday: Superwoman syndrome

I have to say I'm at a bit of a loss with this week's assignment: Try something new. Honestly, I think I need to try something less. Does that count as "new"?

Keep in mind that I have had two weeks where it has been difficult to get anything done, and I'm still struggling with being I'm not my usual optimistic self. My husband is also out of town for research and I'm feeling the crunch of three big deadlines coming up in the not-to-distant future: I have to finish the first two parts of my research by the end of April, I'm almost single-handedly organizing the Biotechnology Spring Symposium and the book I've been editing for a friend has to go through a critique group and be delivered to the publishing house by March 1.

In my brilliant over-eagerness I also started an online critique group, signed up to review an advanced copy of a new book and committed to baking two pies for the upcoming missions dinner at church. Did I mention I have a house to run and a daughter who I want to play with? Forget trying to take care of myself or *gasp* taking time to rest.

I think I'm suffering from "super woman" syndrome.

So, while I haven't had the chance to try it this week (since I've mostly been stuck at home in bed, or at work when I should have been in bed), I think the something new I'm going to try again is saying "no".

Have a great Friday, and a joy-filled weekend.

For His glory

I sat talking with a single mom yesterday. The meeting was arranged in order for her to interview me for the graduate school recruiting department, but talk of my daughter led naturally to talk of her daughter. Her story shares themes with the lives of many single parents - complicated choices and even more complicated consequences.

She shared that her fiance lives across the country. Philosophy degrees lead to restricted job opportunities, so he went where the door opened and now sees her only once a month. Naively, I pointed out that she should be finishing up her own degree soon and could join him before long. It turns out that although she has full custody, her daughter's biological father lives nearby and Idaho laws will not allow her to move with her daughter except under very strictly defined circumstances.

Jon and I talked about this for a while, because we can see both sides here. If I were the father, I would definitely want to be close to my daughter. But it seems to me that the mother is paying an unfair price for choosing to give life to her beautiful child. A price worth paying, but still unfair. I guess we all pay for our mistakes, even when we make the best choice for dealing with the consequences.

Maybe the right thing to do would be for the biological father, assuming the fiance is a good and decent man, to rescind his legal right and allow his daughter to move away. I don't really know, and that's not actually the point I want to discuss.

What I'd really like to talk about is what I told this young lady after she shared part of her story with me: "I will pray for you."

Why do we say this? I sometimes find it hard to say, because I don't want to sound like an insincere prat. Part of me imagines them sarcastically thinking, "Great, that'll be a huge help for me." Especially when I talk to someone who could really use financial help or time. It could seem like the easy way out, instead of giving them tangible aid.

But as I was thinking about this, I realized that it is extremely important to tell people we will pray for them, what we will pray for them and Who we will be praying to. What if God is waiting for us to share this, so that He can act and show the person His glory?

Sure, we could just offer a sympathetic smile or hug and then pray sincerely for the person without telling them so. But when God answers the prayer, will they know it was Him? And isn't it more important to know God loves you and acts for you than it is to have your prayer answered, whatever that prayer may be?

Think about it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Need some more midnight oil

Much to my chagrin, when I had been hoping to increase my blog posting, I've instead been cut off almost completely from the blogosphere these past couple of weeks. So I sit here asking myself, "how did that happen?"

The answer isn't pretty: it involved two colds, an ear infection, some looooong car drives, and a disaster of a short, a distinct lack of energy and time.

But there were some highlights as well: Dad's birthday (including a great night playing Cranium), coffee and a chat with my dear friend Molly who I rarely see, a baby girl who discovered singing (sort of), and an unexpected completion of a project.

So I'll be thankful that my daughter is getting better, I'm going to feel better, and my mom is coming up to help while Jon is off doing research in Florida. And I'll forgive myself, because sometimes, you just have to let things go.

But if you have any midnight oil to spare, feel free to send it my way! And/or slap me if I mention one more project I'm thinking of taking on.