Monday, December 22, 2008

Reading Fears

Recently I watched "In Her Shoes". There's a part in the story line when Maggie (Cameron Diaz) is asked by a patient to read some poetry. She considered herself to be a slow reader and was embarrassed to read aloud. After some convincing, she began. This brought back vivid memories from elementary school We would all take turns reading aloud to the class. The teacher would have us move to the next person after every paragraph. I distinctly remember counting the person to paragraph ratio and praying my paragraph was small. I've never really liked speaking in front of people, but especially reading. I too was a slow reader.

When Grant came along I was worried about reading books to him. I was afraid of what he might think. Granted, when we started to read to him, he was just a baby. But none the less, it was a real fear. Reading books quickly became one of his favorite things to do (expect when he was put on book restriction for chewing the pages). I realized then that he didn't care what I sounded like. He only liked hanging out with Aunt Mer! Actually, the more I read to him, the more comfortable I became reading out loud. Without his knowledge, he helped me get over that fear. I tell you what, this year has been all about conquering fears.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Does 24 Really Equal 24?

Can someone explain to me why three sets of eight hurt way more than two sets of twelve? For the past month, I've been lifting the same amount of weight and reps, but man, those last set of 8 nearly kill me. OK, yes, that's a tad over dramatic. It just hurts a lot. Why is that? Anyone have a logical explanation?

Tonight was the first time I've been able to go work in a week since being sick. Man, I missed it! I really would have loved to do more, but I didn't want to push myself right away. Allow my body to heal a bit more before I get back in the zone. I lifted for an hour... all but one of my machines. I call it "superman". I strongly dislike it. Not because it hurts - it does - but I always feel like every one's looking at me. You see, you have to lie down on this one, with your bottom sticking up in the air. It just makes me so self-conscious. I'm sure it's all in my head.

I was lamenting to myself, yes, I was talking to myself. I do that a lot. Self, I said. Yes, you're not losing weight, but you haven't gained any either! I'm in the middle of my 4Th month at the Y and I've lost at least a whole pant size. That says progress to me! Why does it always have to be about what the scale says? I guess I just want to drop big numbers like the contestants on The Biggest Loser. But, let's face it, I'm sure they work out crazy hours a day and get no treats within their diet. I bet if I fully committed I'd see drastic changes too... am I ready for that yet though?

I asked Simon (the athletic trainer on duty, also the one who's taught me how to use everything) about why I'm not losing weight like I'd like to be. Basically he said it's just hard for girls to lose weight. Thanks, Simon! Why is it so easy for us to put ON the weight, but not take it OFF? Explanations anyone?

I'm a master at sabatauze (I have no idea how to spell that!) in my life. It's best not to set the standard too high, so if I fail, I don't fall too far. Gosh, that sounds so horrible for me to say that "out loud", but in some respects, it's honestly true. It's hard to recover from disappointing myself. I don't know if that makes me weird or not. You see, I play tricks with myself. Reverse psychology in a sense. OK, you must think I'm crazy. Anyway, whatever works, right?

What it boils down to, is I'm really proud of myself. What I've accomplished thus far is great! I'm definitely more self confident. It's changing me... and I love it. Look out world, here I come!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

$40

Have you ever watched Rachel Ray's $40 a Day show on the Food Network? The premise, like the title says, she attemps to eat three separate meals (including tip) in one day on $40. Let's face it people, this can't be easy. In fact, $40 doesn't go as far as it used to. Wow, did I really just say that? How old am I? 80?

I bring up this fact because my work gave all the employee's either $40 to Wal-mart or HoneyBaked Ham. There were a few things I wanted at Wal-mart so I chose that. It wasn't until tonight, when semi-wandering through the isles, that I realized the things which I "wanted" were going to have to wait. I actually had things I "needed" instead. I suppose this is one of the those days where one realizes things such as this are all apart of growing up.

I wanted a yoga mat ($20) and three bag laundry sorter on wheels ($35).... $45. Gift card = $40. You see my problem. I decided to look at that which I needed instead: a clock for my bathroom and socks.


I find it sad and strangely satisfying to have bought these items. Is that weird?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Forced Relaxation

I don't know about you, but usually when I burn the candle at both ends, something happens to force me to relax and rest.... I get sick. You'd think I'd learn, but no. I want to be able to do it all; after all, there's no one really do get things done but me. So, with my new found time, I've put on my elf hat and I'm working on making some Christmas gifts, while watching movies. I may even get my tree up today -- better late, than never.

I was supposed to go to a Christmas party tonight, but decided it wasn't the best idea. I don't want to be spreading my germies around. Though, I did just make a double batch of Pineapple Casserole. I'll be eating on that for a while, huh? Would you like the recipe? Just let me know. It's very good and easy to make.

The Day Santa Met Grant


Sweet little buddy had been looking forward to meeting Santa all morning long, that is, until he actually saw him.... and then Grant started screaming. I was holding him and he started to climb up my arm, trying to get away. Stephanie had her camera to capture the moment, so she told me to just put Grant on Santa's lap. I hated to do it, knowing he was so scared, but I quickly did and walked away. This is the result! It's priceless! Poor Grant.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'M DONE!!

By Meredith C Quintana


My labor of love is complete! Check out Blurb (click the above picture) for a 15-page preview and if you're so inclined, purchase your own copy of my devotional book. ZERO profit will go to me. Your cost is merely what it takes to be published. It's a collection of things I've written over the past four years. It's 160 pages long, filled with 12 different chapters and around 150 pictures that I've personally taken. It is my sincere hope that people will read it and be encouraged. I'm expecting God to show up and change people's hearts and minds!! To GOD be the glory!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

iTunes Shuffle Game

Here are the rules...

1. Put Your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Tag at least 10 random friends.
6. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus.

Instead of talking *about* the songs, I'm going to showcase a lyric reflecting the question. Though, obviously some don't match at all and some match so well, I laughed out loud!


If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
Unbreakable by Fireflight

"Sometimes it’s hard to just keep going
But faith is moving without knowing
Can I trust what I can’t see
To reach my destiny
I want to take control but I know better"


How would you describe yourself?
Nobody's Listening by Linkin Park

"Told you everything loud and clear, but nobody's listening."


What do you like in a guy/girl?
All For You by Sister Hazel

"It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
Words can't say it, I can't do
Enough to prove, it's all for you"


How do you feel today?
Awakening by Daniel Bashta

"My soul is so thirsty
for the Living God"


What is your life’s purpose?
Be by Plus One

"And I'll turn your
Grey skies back to blue
'Cause there's nothing
I won't do for you "


What is your motto?
Time, Love and Tenderness by Michael Bolton

"nothing is a sad as it seems, you know"


What do your friends think of you?
Reputation by Derek Webb

" 'cause my last friend stopped calling months ago
i know i always make you wait around"


What do you think of your parents?
God of All of Me by Sandi Patty

"Giver of breath to my dying day"


What do you think about very often?
Great Big Mystery by Bethany Dillon

"Ten times a day I cry
Just to prove that I'm alive"


What is 2 + 2?
Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan

" And a smile that won't wash away
Can you look out the window
Without your shadow getting in the way?"


What do you think of your best friend?
Zak and Sara by Ben Folds Five

"She saw the future, she heard voices from inside"


What do you think of the person you like?
Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay

"I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide"



What is your life story?
Captivated by Shawn McDonald

" The sand on the shore and the waves in the sea
The air in my lungs and the way You made me
That's what draws me to You
I am, I'm captivated by You"



What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross

"And I knew for sure
I was loved "


What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Imagination by Bethany Dillon

"Because I know my own mind
I set out with righteous indignation "


What will you dance to at your wedding?
I Love You Lord by Jason Morant

"I love you Lord
and I lift my voice
to worship you,
oh my soul rejoice. "


What will they play at your funeral?
Eagle's Wings by Hillsong

"I will rise
On eagle's wings"


What is your hobby/interest?
What If You by Joshua Radin

"What if I
Felt like I belong"


What is your biggest fear?
Things I'll Never Say by Avril Lavigne

"I’m tugging at my hair
I’m pulling at my clothes
I’m trying to keep my cool
I know it shows
I’m staring at my feet
My cheeks are turning red
I’m searching for the words inside my head "



What is your biggest secret?
Something Like That by Tim McGraw

"I worked so hard for that first kiss"


What do you think of your friends?
Beyond Measure by Jeremy Camp

"I know that I've been,
Given more than beyond measure,
I come alive when,
I see beyond my fears"



What will you post this as?
The Garden by Handwritten Letters

"I'm no good at pretending I'm doing just fine"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Book's Almost Done!!!

I’ve come to realize that the things I fear the most are usually the most rewarding. Fear has prevented me from doing a lot in my life. Fear of the unknown. Fear of ‘what if’. Fear of putting myself out there and getting made fun of. The biggest of all, fear of failure. But you know what; God didn’t give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (Romans 8:14-16). I’m nothing but His humble servant. If He wants me to do this project (and I fully believe He does), then who am I to let fear stand in the way of His glory?!

A few of you have asked what my book is all about? Well, it's a compilation of things I've written over the past four years; kinda like a devotional book. It'll also feature myraids of pictures I've taken.


It all started in 2004, when I hit a growth spurt in my walk with Him. I needed a way to get what was rolling around in my head onto paper. The only way I knew how to make sense of the senseless, was to write. It allows me to wipe away the fog which usually surrounds my vision. I followed my friend Drew Morris’ example and started writing VOTDs (verses of the day). It started out small; Bible roulette for me, completely random with no real direction. Then I decided to dig a little deeper and study a whole book of the Bible, verse by verse, and that’s the day it all changed for me. The Bible came alive in a way I’d never experienced before. I, too, was transformed (Romans 12:2).


Often these VOTDs were spring-boarded from a song I heard or a concept God was trying to teach me. As I sat down to write, I'd pray that God would speak through me.... I was never disappointed! Now, four years later, I feel I must create this project or I'm going to explode! It is my hope that by reading this book, you too will grow closer to Him and be challenged to live an intentional life.


If you are interested, it's available for purchase. I will be making no profit. I merely want God to have all the honor and glory. I will be placing the order before December 9th, as that's the last day you can order and still receive it by Christmas time. I will cover the costs of shipping and handling!

Prices: Softcover = $36.95 ; Hardcover, Dust Jacket = $49.95

When they arrive, I thought it would be fun to have a "book release" party; which I'll definitely let you know about closer to time. If you're interested at all, please let me know. Thanks!

Meredith

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Happy List

My friend Amy tagged me on her blog, so I'm to write about six things which make me the happiest (in no particular order).

1. GRANT. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this kid. I began loving him while he was growing in Stephanie, but it doesn't even compare to my love for him now. I love rough-housing with him on the floor. Since he could crawl, he's used me as a jungle gym. One of his favorite things is sitting on my head. I have no idea why, but it's hilarious. I love that I'm able to teach him how to do different things and most recently words, as his vocabulary has recently grown leaps and bounds. He's just the best and I'm smitten.

2. PLAYING GAMES. I love games. I love the competition. I love the imagination it usually takes to excel at them. I love all the laughter and conversation. I love that they bring out a different side of me; not always good, but interesting none the less. I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they react to situations within the game play. My recent game that I love is Scrabble. I play it all the time -- more often than not, on my phone right before I go to sleep. I know that must sound crazy.

3. BEING CREATIVE. Wow, I love being creative.
  • PAINTING (Sips n Strokes). I love to paint. It's incredibly satisfying to begin with a white canvas and leave with a work of art. It's also incredibly stressful, but I love it. I love how it makes me feel. I love being able to display my artwork in my house. Every time I pass by I smile with appreciation and I'm so proud of myself.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY. I love taking pictures. I love capturing sunsets especially, but also flowers and nature.
  • WRITING. I love to write. Man, do I ever. I often have trouble verbally expressing that which I'm feeling, but to allow my fingers to click and clack across the keyboard allows me to breathe and relax and get the unsaid out there. It's such a gift. I hope to use it for His glory. I would love to make writing into a career, but who's really that interested in what I have to say? What I'm most happiest about... wow, that was horrible grammar....
4. STRENGTH IN THE STRUGGLE. This is the title of my book. Wow. I'm so excited for its completion. I'm so happy while I work on it; even though at this point, it's a labor of love. I was asked today when did I know I wanted to make my writings into a book.... it was more than a year ago!! It's gone through six different stages of editing and now I'm working on everything else (bibliography, index, about the author, etc). I began laying the text into the Blurb's template yesterday. It's incredibly time consuming but oh so worth it. I can't wait to see what God's going to do with it. It makes me so happy to use this passion of mine to advance His kingdom!

5. PLAYGROUNDS. I love playgrounds. I may be 31, but I love to play on playgrounds. Homewood park has a great one, as does Vestavia West Elementary. My absolute favorite thing is to swing. I've always loved to swing. It's like flying... and for mere seconds, I actually am. I used to love the merry-go-round, but I don't think they exist anymore? My friends and I (when I was little) would all hang on tight while we'd each take turns being the runner. I still remember how that feels today. Pretty soon I won't have to play 'after hours', but I can take Grant. Won't that be fun?!?

6. EXERCISE. Part of me can't believe I'm making this my 6th thing, but honestly, over the past three months, it's become one of my favorite things to do. I'm thrilled to no end that I enjoy it as much as I do. Plus, I'm starting to see results, which let's face it is awesome and encouraging and only pushing me to do more!!
  • BODY FLOW (my favorite class at the Y). I feel strong. I love being able to do all the different poses: downward dog, plank, cobra, dolphin, forward fold, etc. I wish they offered this class on another night.
  • LIFTING WEIGHT. Although it can be hard and downright painful at times, I love it. I especially love the lat pull down. It makes me happy that it's usually just Amy V. and I in sea full of guys.
  • CARDIO. I usually have to psyche myself up for Cardio, but it ultimately makes me happy that I did something I didn't want to do. Crazy, isn't it? I've found that I last longer if I listen to a sermon or some other teaching rather than listening to music.

Well, this was probably way more information than was required to fill out My Happy List. But I was happy just thinking about all my favorites. I hope you will play along too, my friends: Amanda, Allison, Melissa, and Jennifer!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Confession Is Good For the Soul

I have a confession to make....

I'm really bad at following directions, specifically those which tell me to do something and I have to follow through. Like a recipe. Oh, don't even get me started on that! I'm not sure what happens in the time that I read something and then have to act on it. I've never been very good at reading comprehension, but I realized something REALLY funny tonight. At least, it's hilarious to me.

They YMCA is having a contest right now. If you work out 19 times from Thanksgiving until January 1st and you are among the first 15 people, then you win a free T-shirt! Last night, as I'm waiting for the previous class to finish, I notice this board on the windows. I read it a couple times, just to make sure I was reading it right. I even asked Jan at the front desk. No one else had signed up yet and I was unsure about being the first.

Well, I just got through listening to Beth Moore's Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman, session 4 (more about that later) and it was all about bravery. So I marched up to that window and proudly wrote my name on the first blank, along with a "J". (It's spells out something that equals 19 characters, of course, I can't remember it right now.) I walked away feeling proud of myself.

Tonight, it was the first thing I did. I walked right in and put an "I" next to the "J" and saw that not only had no one else come in today (yeah, I'm already winning), but that the whole chart is now filled (with "J's" next to their names) and my name was first! I thought it odd that no one else had come in today, but I figured with it being almost a Holiday, people were just out buying last minute items.

I listened to the end of Session 4 while I walked for 35 minutes. Then I moved into the weight room, where I proceeded to dutifully complete all my machines; even the ones that hurt a lot! Even the ones I hate the most! Even the ones that make me breathe like I'm going into labor. Oh yes, I did them all. While I'm going through Lamaze class, doing the bicep curl, I look to the information board to see what's going on. It's then that I realize my ginormous mistake! Ohmygoodness! The contest doesn't start until AFTER Thanksgiving, the 28Th. I'm such a goober!!

Yes, I have trouble with reading comprehension, but apparently so does everyone else who blindly followed my example. Goes to show you, that just because it looks like you got things going on, doesn't always mean that's the case! What's the expression? The blind leading the blind.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -Marianne Williamson

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Life of a Writer

I had the opportunity to pretend I was a real writer this weekend. It was glorious. I took a personal day on Friday so I could work on my book. If only I really could stay at home all day, write about life and make a living doing so. A girl can dream!

Surprisingly, I got a lot accomplished. I worked some on Friday and for six solid hours yesterday, minus the unscheduled nap. As of midnight last night, I'm completely done editing and have no plans to do any more. If you find any mistakes in your book (should you decide to buy one from me), know that I did everything I could to prevent that. But a girl's gotta move on. My self-imposed deadline of Christmas is rapidly approaching!

Within the next few days, I plan to figure out the Bibliography page. I did a little research online tonight and realized it's been a really long time since I've had to do anything so formal. Since this book isn't "officially" getting published, I don't know how "proper" I have to be, but for excellence sake, I'd like it done right.

Then I can begin the process of getting everything placed into Blurb's template. That's going to be one of the more challenging aspects, but it'll all be worth while.

----------------------------------------

The thing about hanging out with a writer is that often I'll write about you. Or, at least, parts of your experiences are my experiences as well, so you never know what I might write about. That being said...

Today, I got the chance to work out with my good friend Amy V. at the Y. We're helping each other out. She's a Cardio Queen and has been encouraging me in that area. Actually her exact words, "If I'm going to lift weights, then you have to do cardio." Fair deal. Especially since I really need to add that aspect into my routine.

I was SO proud of myself today. I did a preset workout on the treadmill for 20 minutes; complete with 'hills' and various speeds. I was thinking of moving to a different machine, but perhaps my endorphins kicked in, and I decided to do another 20 minutes. This time however, I didn't choose an incline, but instead I started at a faster pace. Then, from out of nowhere I said, "Self, why don't you try to run for a minute". Instead of my usual self of making excuses and such, I immediately increased the mph and RAN for a full MINUTE! I took it back down and walked for a few minutes, then decided to run as fast as I could for another minute. I know that seems like nothing, but three months ago I was a couch potato! Now look what I've done and accomplished. I can't tell you how proud I am of myself!

Amy and I then headed to the weight room. Recently I increased my reps to three sets of 8 instead of two. Again, I know that doesn't seem like much, but trust me, I have to push myself to finish that last set. I'm SO proud of Amy. She's just getting into lifting but I can tell she's been bitten by the bug! We talked to one another the whole time, which drastically reduces the pain we feel. She even showed me how to do some of the machines that I'm not trained on, which was a nice change of pace. I believe I'm going to add those to my workout.

40 minutes of cardio? CHECK
60 minutes of lifting weights? CHECK
A really productive workout? Priceless

Saturday, November 15, 2008

When God Ran

I first heard this song in high school during chapel. It's one of those songs which immediately breaks down any walls which you might have put up. Every single time I hear it, my eyes fill with tears. I love the message. To think that God would RUN to meet me after I've wallowed in the filth of this world. How much am I like the prodigal son? I often feel like I don't deserve His love. I'm so unworthy of the Gift He gave so long ago. But thankfully, He doesn't see it that way. No matter how far I run, He's always there to love on me when I turn back to Him.

"He says, Son (Daughter), do you know I still love you?"

Today, if you're running from something, running anywhere but towards the Father, take this time now to talk to Him about it. He knows everything anyway. He's ready for you to come Home. He's ready to RUN to YOU!

Shawn McDonald

I don't know if you've noticed, but I've done a lot of changing this year. If you know anything at all about me, once I get a notion in my head, you better watch out. However, I still have this hang up about doing things alone. I just don't like it. I don't like anything about it. But tonight was the Shawn McDonald concert, which I'd been looking forward to for nearly two months. I tried and tried to get friends to go with me, but no one could. So, I could either stay home and be really mad at myself for missing something so great. Or I could suck it up and go alone.

I had plenty of opportunities and legitimate excuses to back out today, but I decided the disappointment of not going far out-weighed my fear of going alone. So, I cut my workout at the Y short, raced home and got ready, then headed to Gardendale. Though, had I known then what I know now, I would have taken my time finishing lifting weights, as Shawn didn't even come on stage until 9pm! (Two hours after the concert began!) But that's besides the point.

It started to pour down rain on the way there and I wasn't entirely sure where 'there' was, so I was getting kinda nervous. However, after a quick call to my sister, she pointed me in the right direction. I did have to park in east Buddha and walk in the rain, but no worries. I actually wasn't that late. I took my friend's advice and snuck in and sat in the back. Though, I quickly realized this wasn't the best decision. With being right by the door, I heard all the hallway noise, not to mention the hoards of teenagers completely incapable of staying quiet. When Shawn came on, I got up and went to the balcony, where I got a bird's eye view, but it was quiet, cool and comfy seats. Which is why this video is so blurry; I wasn't exactly close, but I think the sound quality is quite good?!

video

I was so proud of myself for going alone tonight. I loved hearing/seeing Shawn live and in person! I've heard bits and pieces of his testimony before, but tonight was a little more in depth. It's so amazing to hear his redemption story. Next time Shawn's in concert, I encourage you to go hear him!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grant!!

My little buddy is turning TWO tomorrow (11/13)! Can you believe it?!?! I've been looking through old pictures of him just to see how much he'd grown. (A ton!) Well, I began to notice positions from my Pilate/Yoga classes, which I've been learning over the past couple of months. I thought it would be fun to illustrate these poses, with his baby face. Hope you enjoy!! Btw, I'm still learning the names, so things might be labeled incorrectly. :)


"LUNGE"


"HIP EXTENSION"


"HAPPY BABY"




"DOWNWARD DOG"



"DOWNWARD DOG"




"COBRA"




"CHILDS POSE"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

No More Fat Pants!!!

Today was the day. I cleaned out my closet and got ride of ALL my fat clothes! Anything that:
  • I kept around 'just in case'
  • Made me feel bad about myself
  • Made me look pregnant
  • Just didn't look good

These all went into a pile. I then put them in garbage bags to donate to The Alabama Thrift Store. I have three bags stuffed full! I'm really proud of myself. This, among other things, is my resolution to NEVER be the size I was when I was at my heaviest. Now, I can only go forward!!

I cashed in some point from MyPoints and got a $50 gift card to Old Navy. I bought some pants for work, which I was pleasantly surprised that they not only fit but looked great! That means I've lost TWO INCHES off my waist, as I've dropped a whole pant size! How awesome is that?!?

Working out and getting healthy has changed my perception of not only myself but the way I shop. Quite honestly, I hate shopping. But that's only because I've always been a size which was nearly impossible to find things to fit me unless I shopped somewhere like Lane Bryant. But now, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have hope that I'll soon be able to walk in any store and find something to wear. Wow, what that must feel like!!

I went to Old Navy today. I love that they have longs which are actually long enough for my long legs. I've previously had to find my size online, as they didn't carry it in the store, but today, I walked right in, found something to try on and it FIT!! However, it was two inches too short, so I'll still have to get the long length online. But wow, to me, that was a huge victory!!

My sweet pen pal, Shelly, whom we've been pen pals since we were little kids, sent me Prevention's new guide today in the mail! It's a The Biggest Loser special edition. It's chalked full of healthy recipes, exercises and an encouraging story of the winner from last season, Ali Vincent.

For those of you who watch The Biggest Loser, you'll know what I mean when I say I constantly think, "What would Bob/Jillian think of _______?" That show has been such a huge source of encouragement in my life. Without it, I honestly think I'd still be morbidly obese, sitting on my couch, complaining how I looked, but doing nothing about it. But to see people just like me, get up and face their inner demons, it showed me that I too can do the very same thing!

So if you ever think you're the only one struggling to lose weight / get healthy, just remember there's at least one girl in your same boat. You can usually find me at the Shelby County YMCA Sunday-Thursday's. You're welcome to join me! I honestly don't mind working out alone anymore, but having friends there is always a fun change of pace. My friend, Amy Valdmanis is now lifting weights with me two days a week. How fun is that?! I found that I don't notice the pain quite so much with her there to talk with!

A coworker recently asked me why I was working out so much? I told her, "For me. I want to get healthy for me." Do you know that she didn't believe me? She thought I was doing it for some boy. Ha, yeah right! If they can't accept me for how I am now, I'm going to be very skeptical if I suddenly get attention for being a smaller size. Though, obviously I'll be more attractive in a smaller me version, but come on people, beauty is deeper than face value. I deserve better. I am an amazing girl and one day some guy might actually realize that. Hope it's before all my eggs die! (That was for you, Amy V haha.) Though, should that be the case, I've always wanted to adopt. OK, I've gotten way away from my original blog plot line.

YAY! NO MORE FAT PANTS!!!

GAP Casting Call

GAP recently had an open casting call and I entered Grant for the 18-24 month category. Here are the pictures I chose, what do you think? How fun would it be to have his mug in GAP ads? I'll let you know when it's time to vote, hopefully we can get this cutie a modeling job!




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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Does this sound like me?


So, I took the Grey's Anatomy Personality Quiz and it turns out I'm most like Cristina.

Very few people have, or can understand, the sheer determination and drive that propels you, but you're just as fiercely protective of your friends as you are of your own hopes and dreams. If they're smart, your friends already know that. They also know that you're more vulnerable than you seem and are only glad to offer a shoulder to cry on.

Which Grey's Anatomy character are you?

Fiery Sermon

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazingfire. Guessing the reason for his preachers visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The preacher made himself at home but said nothing.

In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he satback in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentaryglow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."

We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Still Believe

Scattered words and empty thoughts
Seem to pour from my heart
I've never felt so torn before
Seems I don't know where to start
But its now that I feel your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

Though the questions still fog up my mind
With promises I still seem to bear
Even when answers slowly unwind
It's my heart I see you prepare
But its now, that I feel, your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

Well the only place I can go is into your arms
Where I throw to you my feeble prayers well in brokenness
I can see that this was your will for me
Help me to know that you are near

I still believe in your faithfulness
I still believe in your truth
I still believe in your holy word
Even when I don't see, I still believe

~ Jeremy Camp

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why?!

Can I just get a few things off my chest?
  1. Why are people incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions?
  2. Why don't people pick up their dog's poop when they go in the yard?
  3. Why do people park in my parking spot? Or park in such a way it makes it nearly impossible for me to park?
  4. Why does no one ever clean up their mess in the kitchen? Replace the paper towel roll? Push in their chairs? Fill the ice trays? (at work)
  5. Why doesn't anyone ever put anything back where they found in in the first place?
  6. Why am I the only one who knows how to fix a paper jam?
  7. Why ask a questions you already know the answer to?
  8. Why ask me to figure something out when others are perfectly capable of doing it themselves?
  9. Why are people so lazy?
  10. Why do people return phone calls without... a) Knowing whom they need to speak with and b) listening to their voice mail first
  11. Why are people so rude on the phone?
  12. How come if the saying goes, "Don't shoot the messagener", the messenger usually gets "shot"?
  13. Why do people get impatient/mad at me for things that are both out of my control and usually could have been avoided if they planned better?
  14. Why don't people talk to me at work unless they want something?
  15. Why are people so negative?
  16. How come it takes me being sick or gone on vacation before people appreciate what I do?
  17. Why can't people be more encouraging?

Anyway, enough 'why's' for one day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Girl Effect



Bees Eat Pears?!

I know these look like new potatoes, but they are actually home grown pears (from my Mom's orchard). They crunch like an apple and are just as sweet. Perhaps that's why the bees like them?? If you'd like to try some yourself, let me know, I'm sure my mom would love to share with you.

Jumping Jacks in the Cold

I'm having trouble getting started today... on many levels. I've started, stopped and erased many paragraphs already. For me, it's hard to know how what to write sometimes. I want to just write about whatever, but then I think about those which might be reading. See, I kinda feel invincible on here. It's just me and the computer, that is, until I press "Publish Post". Then my thoughts are available for all the world to see. That's kinda daunting. It makes me second guess that which I say. What do you think about about that when writing on your blogs?

As a writer, I write about what I know. The people I come see. The places I go. (This sounds like the Sesame Street theme song.) People who hang out with me, run the risk of being written about. Isn't that how it is for all writers?

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Friday night I had the opportunity to hang out with my friend CP. We both weren't interested in being alone on Halloween, so she came over for pizza and a movie. While the pizza was reheating (yay new Pampered Chef stone!), we started talking about migraines. When often do we get them? Are there triggers? What we do to make them go away? She recently visited her eye Dr (Optimoligist?) and the Dr said there's now a test they can run to see if your headache might be something more than just headaches. I wasn't that concerned until CP started mentioning some of the warning signs you should be on the lookout for... I have a lot of them. Migraines are hereditary. (Thanks, Mom!) I had my first one after working a dc Talk concert a few years ago, but then nothing for years and years. Recently however, they've become more frequent.

Unlike most people I've talked with about them, I have zero warning signs and no known triggers. I always dream that I'm having one and then wake up in the middle of the night with one. I'm extremely sensitive to light, sound and movement. I'm often sick to my stomach. I rate them on a scale from 1 to 10. 10 being I'm praying for death. I've only had one of those, back in April of this year. Oh my gosh, it was the worst ever. I wanted to scream and cry, but that only made it worse. I just prayed and prayed and eventually I fell to sleep, but that one lasted at least half the day. If I only knew what caused them, I would stop doing it. Are there any migraine sufferers out there? What do you do to feel better? Suggestions are welcome.

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Yesterday morning, I went to my mom's Pampered Chef show. Poor mom had a bunch of her friends dropped out at the last minute and needed more bodies. I didn't exactly volunteer, but I came anyway since I love her. It was fun though. I even ate pizza that had: zucinni, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. If you know me, you know that was huge. I mostly ate everything. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it either. I was actually proud of myself. That's a small victory, right?

Pampered Chef is the coolest thing since Crocs. Though, Crocs weren't very popular with everyone, so maybe that's not the best example? ha My sister recently became a demonstrator and is doing a GREAT job at parties and promoting her business. If you'd like to host a party or contact her about ordering Pampered Chef, please email her at: oct234@yahoo.com

Or you can come to the party I'm having at my house on November 10th at 6:30pm. Let me know, I'd love to have you!

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Last night, my sister asked me to come help her promote her business at the Corner Festival. We had the chance to speak with a lot of people, some of them actually familiar with PC and were interested in purchasing items. So, hopefully she'll drum up some business from it! It was such a gorgeous day yesterday, I wasn't technically prepared for the cold of the evening once the sun went down! Wheweee! By the end of the night, my jacket was zipped up, with my hood on and my shoulders and arms hurt from being buried in my pocket for three hours! I was warmer moving around and after a while didn't care how stupid I must have looked. I did everything but jumping jacks. Despite the cold, I had fun hanging out with my sister for a solid block of time. We played word games, talked and just laughed.

When we got back home, Tootie and Carl were on the couch watching Little People movies. Poor Tootie is sick with bronchitis and an ear infection, but that didn't stop him from climbing all over me like he always does. He's so funny. We were working on a puzzle and suddenly he said, "Aunt Mer, lay ground." As soon as I turned over, he attacked me. I love it though, except when he head butts me, which he actually does often. He'll laugh and say, "Head butt. Head butt." He asked me to, "Read book" too, but he was more interested in the Little People movie, which was OK with me. It was an episode I hadn't seen before. What does that mean when a movie holds the attention of a 23 month old and a 31 year old??

Pray that he gets better soon. Not only for the sake of all those he comes in contact with, but because his TWO year old birthday party is this Saturday! Though, his birthday is actually on the 13th. Wow, how can he be two years old already??

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OK, guess I need to get busy with my chores for the day: mowing the lawn, raking up some leaves, doing laundry, going to the gym, vacuuming the whole house and going grocery shopping for lunch items. That's a lot to do for one day, not sure every thing's going to get done.

Happy trails!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gumby, I Am Not

I nearly didn't make it to my Yoga class last night. But I resolved nothing was going to keep from going. I'd looked forward to it all day, even not knowing what to expect. I walked in and immediately felt a sense of calm wash over me. (Working out is the best stress reliever!) The instructor told us we were going to work on Balance and hip-something er other. I stopped listening when she said balance. Oh great, one of the things I'm really bad at. (I know, you shouldn't end a sentance with "at", but oh well.) But, I suppose the best way to get better at something is to just do it. I got a lot of practice last night!

She had everyone set up their mats next to the wall. Yay! I'd have some help; wouldn't be flopping around like a fish out of water. It was very challenging, but I at least tried everything. Some things I had to do in moderation, but I was surprised what my body could accomplish once it was a little warmed up!

Ever heard of the Standing Half-Bound Lotus? She showed us what we were about to do. My jaw must have dropped like a cartoon character. But I just took it slow. I wasn't able to reach behind myself, but I was able to bend over. I never would have thought I could do that!

People of the 60's used to say, "Give peace a chance." Well, I'm now saying, "Give Yoga a chance."

I went up to the instructor after to ask how I did. The classes are relatively small and she remembered me from the first time I took her class (plus I took a spin from her as well). She said, "Really, really well. I can tell you've been working hard in Body Flow and it shows in here. Your transitions were great." Yay! To me, that was such a compliment!

Gumby, I am not, but I'm holding my own.

Keep Paddling

[Written: 10/31] Ahhh, the possibilities of blank page are endless. Sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes it keeps me away. Keeps me from writing about things going on, for fear I’ll sound stupid or that you won’t even care. I write a lot of really good blog posts… in my head, while driving. But by the time I get home and in front of the screen, I tend to stare at the blank page wondering what to say. Or worse, and honestly the norm, I get distracted by something else. I want my posts to be entertaining or encouraging, but I often feel my monotonous days wouldn’t be very interesting. Though, that’s the very thing I love to read on other’s blogs. So, what’s to stop me from doing the same? I’m going to try not to care and just write. That’s usually when the magic occurs anyway. When I mean for one thing to happen, God will step in and write something completely different. He can’t use me though if I’m not writing. Note to self: Gotta write more. My Grandpa used to say, “Keep paddling.” If he were here, I believe he might say, “Keep writing.”

It’s at the end of the day here at work and I’m going on STRIKE! Well, at least until tomorrow. It’s been a long day and I’m eager for this part of my day to be over. From here, I’m picking up my car from NTB. It was time to get my tires rotated, balanced and aligned. [Little known fact, if you buy a tire from NTB, they’ll give you FREE rotating & balancing for the life of the tire.] I try to get it done every time I get my oil changed, but it’s not always a feasible option.

My cars had a lot of work done on it this week. I noticed one my headlights were out sometime last week. (No wonder I couldn’t see very well at night.) I was fearful I might get a ticket for it and wanted to take care of it as quickly as possible. I asked my sister what I needed to do. She recommended calling Toyota to see what part I’d need or if something else was wrong. But instead, I went to Wal-mart, looked up the make/model in the book thingy and bought two bulbs for only $10. What a blessing, huh? I was expecting to have to pay $40+.

When I got my oil changed on Tuesday (Ladies day for a discount of $5!), I asked them if they’d be able to change my headlight bulb for me. They did it while everything else was going on and they didn’t charge me anything! Another blessing! After today’s work, it should drive like a brand new car!

I’m eager to relieve some stress tonight at the Y. I’m taking a Yoga class. I haven’t been back since the first time I tried it. But now, I have two months worth of Body Flow under my belt, so it should be easier. I’m finding that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was, especially when it comes to things like: Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates. Oh it still makes me sore and often kicks my rear, but I’m able to do most everything. Or at least, a modified version of what the others are doing.

I’m really proud of myself. I’m at the end of my second month working out at the Y and although I haven’t really lost any weight, my clothes are fitting differently. I bought these one pair of pants from Old Navy last year that were too small for me. But I need goals to attain in order for me to accomplish anything. I hung them in my closet and would try them on every now and then to check my progress. It wasn’t until I started working out hardcore at the Y that I was able to wear them. In fact, within the last two weeks, they’ve become too big on me! PTL!! If not for my tummy (grrrr), they’d fall right off me. What an accomplishment!

I tried to find a tape measure in Wal-mart the other day, so I could measure myself and track my progress before I get too far into this journey. But I wasn’t able to find one. Would you have any ideas where to look? I figured it’d be in the sewing section.

In September, I was attending Sunday-Thursday and taking Friday and Saturday off. This month, I’ve set more realistic goals. Now, I’m going Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday. My absolutely favorite class meets on Tuesday, Body Flow. Then I’m lifting weights (ten machines for a combined total of 11,000 lbs) on Wednesday and Sunday. Thursday is my “whatever-I-feel-like-doing-day.” There’s a class, Body Jam (think hip-hop), which is fun, but kills my knees. Maybe once I lose some weight, it won’t be so hard on me. I’m staying busy and active and there’s just so much to do at the Y, I never get bored. It’s really such a blessing.

A few years ago, my uncle used to go to the Y too. For some reason my Grandmother always called it “The Spa”. It’s become a running joke with my mom and I that I’m going to the spa. I wish. I’ve never actually been to a spa before. I’ve never had a pedicure, manicure or even a massage. I need to change that one day. Though, after a good work out, all the endorphins have flooded my body and I feel like I could conquer the world. Or at least, fold the mound of clothes I have waiting for me at home.

Well, it’s about time to clock out now. Thanks for letting me just write for a bit. I hope you are doing well.

Happy trails.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Love of the Lord Endures

Can I just say that I'm really, really tired of all the mud-slinging election stuff? I'm so ready for this whole thing to be over. I realize it's a super important day, but really, there's nothing we can do that God doesn't already know about. Yes, we can pray. Sure, I'm not saying that doesn't change things, but... wait, I'm entering into a rabbit trail which I don't want to go on. The point, I was listening to Joy William's song, "The Love of the Lord Endures". I thought, 'Wow, this is really what this is about.'


In all that I have found
Your evidence abounds
I’ve always sensed Your fingerprints
If I just look around

And yet this grand display
Will all soon pass away
So I hold on to the mighty truth
That Your love is here to stay

The love of the Lord endures
The love of the Lord endures
If there’s one thing I can be sure
It’s that the love of the Lord endures

Life has let me down
In wealth, joy can’t be found
I’ve searched for peace in all of these
But I have always found

The love of the Lord endures
The love of the Lord endures
If there’s one thing I can be sure
It’s that the love of the Lord endures

When I stumble
When I fall
When I’m walking ten feet tall
Your love is there day after day
Even at the worst extreme
Or after I have been redeemed
Your love is there
And it won’t let me go

The love of the Lord endures
The love of the Lord endures
If there’s one thing I can be sure
It’s that the love of the Lord endures

Forever, forever

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

He Loves Me!



This is a face of a little boy who was super sad his Aunt wasn't there yet.

My sister called and said, "Are you on your way?"

I love this kid.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

They Way I See It #141

"I used to feel so along in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say, "Hi." They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word." ~ Augusten Burroughs (Author of Running with Scissors)


Taken from my Starbucks cup today

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Great Is Our God

Your life is a miracle, and the creator of the universe knows you by name.

He’s big enough to breathe out stars, yet intricate enough to fashion together the trillions of cells that make up every facet of who you are. The God who spoke the universe into existence made you, too, and knows everything about you. From the smallest molecule to the situation you find yourself in right now, He’s aware of your circumstances and intimately acquainted with everything you do. And He cares about you and promises to carry you through.

That’s where we find hope in the midst of the darkest places in life. The journey is often complicated and painful, filled with confusion and chaos. Yet, the cross of Christ reveals God’s promise to preserve and restore you no matter what the circumstance. He will hold onto you and hold you together, giving strength to those who hope in His unfailing love.

HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Look - Take Two

OK, I spent an obnoxious amount of time editing the new look. What do you think of this one? I think this is my final choice. I also gave Grant's blog a makeover too. Check it out!

I Love Fall!

Looks like I'm not the only one who's excited Fall has finally arrived!!




Saturday was just gorgeous! Stephanie, Grant and I went to a Pumpkin Patch in Hayden. There was so much to see and do (if you had money), but we enjoyed just walking around and seeing everything. Grant even had a ride on a miniture pony!! The boy is in love with horses, but is usually afraid of them. He took one look at these and was mesmerized.
I picked him up and asked him what he thought.
He said, "Horse. Ride."
I said, "You want to ride a horse?"
"Yes," he said.
"Let's go ask Mommy," I said
Steph asked one of the ladies taking the money, if she could just set him on the horse to see how he'd react. He didn't react at all. So, round and round he went. I took video and pictures with her camera. I'll have to upload those another time.
Once we got home, he wanted to keep playing outside. Steph and I got camping chairs set up in the driveway, but we quickly found out how chilly it was getting. I got my coat out the car, zipped it up and put my hood on. Grant kept peeking at me from below the chair so he could see my eyes from under the hood! haha I had to warm up! So he and I played ball and went on different adventures.
He's 23 months old now and his vocabulary has taken off! And, he's started to string words together - which has been a lot of fun, actually having conversations with him!! He said his first sentance the other day, "Mommy went potty." Typical little boy, huh?
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Parking

Ordinarily in Monopoly, Free Parking warrants you quite a bit of cash. In the real world, my townhouse has two parking spaces. However, I rarely have anything but my one space. My neighbor seems to think that because it's only me living here, it gives him the right to park on my side. On more than one occasion, I've had to ask him to move his (or his guests) car.

Tonight, I had a Pampered Chef party at my house. I told people to park where ever; knowing in the back of my mind, this wasn't the right attitude to have, but for pete's sake (poor Pete), can't a girl get a break? Is it so much to ask for my two spaces? I realize this was the wrong way to seek revenge.

I'm sure most of you are in houses, but do you have any advice on the situation? I really try not to let it bother me, but that doesn't always work.



Side note: If you're interested in checking out the Pampered Chef products, check out this website: http://www.pamperedchef.biz/brandiosbourn

New look!

What do you think? Save or keep trying?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lunch Nazi

Stuff happens to me all day long and I always think, "Oh, this would be a great blog." But by the time I've gotten home, worked out, found something healthy for dinner and finally sat down, I sit in front of a blank screen and can't remember what it was I wanted to talk about. Anyone else have this trouble? In fact, I write really good posts in my head, usually while doing something mundane at work, like making copies. But alas, do I type these thoughts down? Well, no, that would make too much sense. Plus, a part of me wonders why anyone would want to read about my random stuff that occurs....

Speaking of random, I finally had my review at work. Which, I'd been dreading. Not because I didn't think I'd been doing a good job, but because in the four years I've been there, never have I received a positive review. I get berated and crazy things happen once I cross the threshold into his office. But last week, it was sprung on me. I had just had a snack of BBQ chips and that taste was in my mouth. It was a weird sensation. Anyway, it was a good review. He said, while the budgeted amount was between 0%-3%, he gave me a 4%!! So, yeah for me! I'm not sure what that translates to. Oh, and one of the coolest things he said was that he noticed all the little things I do around the office. All the nitty-gritty details that people often over-look until they aren't done. So, that made me feel really good. I know I'm an asset to the team. There's no I in team after all.

Wanna know something funny about my office? First, we are all creatures of habit. Every day around the same time, my boss yells from his office, "I'M HUNGRY!" We have to hold him off until at least noon, or the day will drag on and on. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention, we all eat lunch together, around the conference table; talking about sports, politics or whatever random conversation comes up. The food gets prayed over and for 20-30 we're normal people, eating together; though, I NEVER get a word in edge-wise. I'm OK with that anyway. I'd rather talk with people who want to talk with me. Digressing rabbit trail alert!

OK, so everyday, everyone is STARVING, but no one wants to make a decision about what we should do for lunch. If I'm lucky, I've actually made a trip to Wal-Mart and have brought my own lunch, so I don't have to deal with the "trauma" for the day. But if I haven't, then everyone just assumes that I'll take care of everything. As if it's one of my job responsibilities, which honestly, infuriates me, because let's face it. Getting lunch for the office is a ginormous hassle.

  1. Decide where to go.
  2. Gather up every one's orders - usually they talk to me like I'm their server at the restaurant
  3. Get money - which no one ever gives me enough for what they ordered
  4. Call the order in and go pick it up.
  5. Pay separately for all the orders, usually around 5-9!
  6. Make sure all the orders are right. Inevitably, some one's order isn't right.
  7. Give all the change back.

Oh, it's the biggest hassle in the entire world. OK, I realize that's being a bit dramatic. But, if all the above is going happen, then I want to make sure it's somewhere where I want to eat. And so.... this amazing thing happens. Because everyone is weak with hungry and not willing to make a decision, I hold a lot of power around lunch time. Muuuuuhahaaaaaaaaaa! (evil laugh)

Take today for instance. I had a hankering for Chick-fil-A. Not many people like Chick-fil-A, but for all the reasons above, one by one, they all cave. I get what I want and they get what they want (in that they get to stay at the office and not deal with the hassle). I told my dad about this and he was appalled that I would be pulling such a stunt, but let's face it people. A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Welcome to Heaven, Grandpa!!

My mom called me at work Wednesday morning to tell me the sad news. Grandpa had died in his sleep and was now in Heaven. I guess she thought it would be OK to tell me, as really, it's good news, but I immediately began to cry. "Are you crying?", she said. "Of course, I'm crying!" "Oh honey, it's a good thing, really." I hung up with mom and went to the hallway and just sobbed. Strangely enough, the one person I'd never thought I'd find comfort in, was there to hold me and let me cry. But I soon had to bury my feelings and get back to work.

Since then, I've been so busy rearranging my life, that I honestly haven't had time to stop and think about what this means. Except for that moment, I haven't allowed myself to feel. But now, sitting here, seeing memories of him flash through my head, my eyes fill with tears. My head knows he's hanging out with Jesus and has been made new! New eyes to see. New ears to hear! New body to move. New everything. He's probably found a garage somewhere and is working on cars again. Cars and my Grandmother were his two loves in life; besides his kids of course.

One of my memories is the day he took me out in the canoe. I'd heard about my sister's experience (where she fell out and he had to rescue her). So, I made sure to be very still. Though, I was being my chatty self and I want to say he got frustrated with me. I don't exactly remember all the details. I'm not sure why I even mention it now.

For as long as I can remember, every summer and Christmas, we'd all pile into the car and head down (DRIVE 9 hours) to the their house. But a few years ago, when his health started to fail. Not sick, but just getting old (he was 94 after all), I decided I wanted to remember him the way he used to be. (Plus, I'm allergic to their house, but that's another story.) I know this sounds crazy and COMPLETELY selfish of me, but I stopped going for visits. It made me too sad to see him like that. Surprisingly, my mom let me stay home. I'm not sure if she knew the real reason or not, but I tend to think she understood.

Anyway, back to Grandpa. He loved Jesus with all his heart, soul and mind. He raised his kids and grandchildren in the Lord. So, obviously, there's no doubt in my mind that he's in Heaven right now. I suppose that's why I'm OK. Really. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm OK. And I am. Is it wrong for me to feel that way? I mean, I know I distanced myself and pulled away, but he was still my Grandpa. But I guess, in more ways than one, him going Home in his sleep, truely is an answer to prayer.

Yesterday, when I was sad, God gave me a song. He always speaks to me through song, why would this situation be any different. He's faithful and good like that, you know? It's a song called, "What Could Be Better" by 33 Miles. Check out the lyrics below:

I've heard it said today
Is all we're given
Tomorrow may not come
So you better start living
I guess it all depends
On your point of view

Pardon me if I
Just don't listen
To everything the world
Say's I'm missing
There's nothing here and now
I'm gonna hold on to

Chorus:
I'm living in the days ahead
I'm already dancing on the streets of gold
Can't stop celebrating in my soul
I'm living in the days ahead
Nothing on earth could ever compare
Can't wait for the day when I get there
When I see Jesus face to face
Tell me what could be better
Tell me what could be better

If home is where the heart is then I'm in Heaven
It's the promise of tomorrow
That I've been given
Who is waiting there I am living for

He's everything I love
And I believe in
And I can hardly wait
Just to see Him
And hear Him say well done
I couldn't ask for more

Life is full of ups and downs
Inside outs, round and rounds
Can't blame me for dreaming about it

I'm living in the days ahead
I'm already dancing on the streets of gold
Can't stop celebrating in my soul
I'm living in the days ahead
Nothing on earth could ever compare
Can't wait for the day when I get there
When I see Jesus face to face
Tell me what could be better
Tell me what could be better


In the words of Ty Pennington, Welcome home, Glenn Gregg. Welcome home.

Britney

Britney by Bebo Norman

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I Love My Nephew

I'm simple amazed by the capacity of love I have for my nephew. Before he was even born, I loved him. The first time I saw him, I couldn't believe I could love someone so much whom I'd just met. Now, 22 months later, I love him more than I thought possible. He's my buddy. He surprises me at every turn. So smart!

He's learning to string words together, "Aunt Mer..... sit..... down..... please." Or "Book.... read... please..." I find myself having actual conversations with him. Or, at least, understand what he wants, rather than not that long ago, when he'd drag us around and point and grunt. Although, he still does that, but I say, "Please use your words so Aunt Mer can understand you." He'll usually just laugh at me. Crazy kid.

His capacity for growth and knowledge is utterly astounding. Not to mention the fact that his little person has a really funny sense of humor. This morning, we were at a bank opening in Warrior. I was keeping him busy (distracted) while my sister and brother in law were opening an account. Grant and I were walking around looking at different things, but what he loved most, was this fountain which flowed over a vertical piece of glass. (One side you could feel the water, the other was just the back side of the glass.) I, of course, knew this and wanted to see what Grant would think of the non-wet side. He tentatively pressed his hand against the glass, then smiled really big and said, "Mmmmmmmmmagic!" I have no idea where he learned that, but when things amaze him these days, he'll say, "Magic" (but always with the exaggerated M). So funny!

I had the pleasure of rocking and putting him down for a nap today. We read a few books, but I could tell he was exhausted and asked him if he wanted Aunt Mer to sing Jesus Loves Me. He said yes. I sing it with a different melody/music than the regular version and after a few verses, it always knocks him out. Today wasn't any different! You see, when he was a baby, my mom started singing "This Old Man" and he'd fall asleep within minutes. To this day, if anyone sings this, his eyes get droopy and he's out cold. Well, a year ago or more, I went on strike from This Old Man. I can't tell you how many times I sang that to him for nap time. I just couldn't sing it anymore. So, I started singing praise songs and it worked just as well.

After putting him down and turning on the baby monitor, I went outside and walked around to the front of the house and layed on the porch swing. I was so sleepy and could hardly function, so I decided to take a nap too. Today was so nice! Love fall! I woke up 40 minutes later, feeling more awake and refreshed! Though, my arm was asleep and I'd drooled, but that was bound to happen. ha

I veered away from my original intent, isn't that always the way? But I just wanted to share about my love for Grant. I'm sure you get tired of hearing about it, but as my dad would say, "Tough toe nails!" :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wild Horses

Sometimes... a song just encompasses everything. I was watching "Flicka" last night and heard this song, Wild Horses by Natasha Bedingfield. I'm starting to feel like a wild horse. I know that sounds crazy. It's invigoarting, exciting and scary all at the same time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

No Fear!

As of my birthday, I resolved to stop living in fear of the unknown. Whatever that might look like. I decided that this year (birthday to birthday) was going to be different. It's like making that conscious decision flipped a switch in me! I've actually stuck to this dare to be different movement. Although, I don't have enough time in my life to get everything accomplished which I'd like to do. But, one of my biggest hurdles has been conquered... in a manner of speaking.

I joined the YMCA a month ago and have gone just about every day. Well, actually, my schedule is Monday-Thursday and Sunday. I'm doing something different each day, so my routine is not boring. Trust me, it's anything but. The Y has so many classes and different opportunities to work out, one could never get bored!! I discovered my favorite class is called Body Flow. It's a combination of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates. Even though we're just "stretching", it's a tough class. Believe me! But, I love the challenge. When I walk in the room, I'm FREEZING, but twenty minutes into the class, I'm dripping in sweat. TMI? I feel stronger for having accomplished things in there. My friend Amy has been going with me! Yeah, Amy! I'm proud of you!!

Working out has also helped my emotional well-being. Those endorphins are lovely... but also, working out increases my self-esteem and my over-all health. I feel less crazy. If that makes any sense at all. It's drastically decreased my depression and thoughts that go along with it. Honestly, I'm often too tired to think about anything other than, OK how can I refuel by body and isn't it time for bed yet? (Which btw, I'm staying up late to finish this post!)

I've weighed myself twice. Once when I started and once about two weeks or so ago. As of then, I'd only lost a pound, but I believe I'm gaining muscle tone. (At least, that's what I'm telling myself and it makes me feel better.) Honestly, though, I think it's true. I'm lifting twice a week and do eight different stations, with weights anywhere from 30 to 125 pounds (depending on arms or legs). Six of the eight aren't that hard, but the other two, whewy, it's all I can do to get through them. But here again, those endorphins kick in. Though, it's usually after the fact. ha

I took a Body Jam class last Thursday night and nearly died. Ha not really. It's a class where they teach you four hip hop dances and keep you moving and groving and shaking and sweating! It's hard for me as I feel I have no coordination for such things. I spend a lot of time laughing at myself in the background. It's all good though. I burned 999 calories in an hour. Not bad, huh?

My book is at a lull at the moment. I chose to make exercise a priority. I'll work it back into my schedule soon. I doubt I'll make my Christmas deadline, but I can certainly try.

Well, I suppose that's enough of an update for now. In case you're curious, I LOVE my nephew and decided to make him his own blog (which I haven't had time to update with words, only images lately. Go see what you think... Grant.

Happy trails!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Out-of-touch

Just in case you wondered... I've been without Internet at home for about three weeks, hence no blog updates. I hope soon to be up and running. Then I'll try to give you a run down of what's going on Meredith's life. But it'll be hard, I'm a busy girl these days.

Happy trails!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Play Me a Tune, Mr. Piano Man

This might be boring for some, but I thought it would be interesting to see my "playlist" for the day at work. I didn't listen to my iPod the whole day, or I'd have a ton more songs. But as it is, this shows my eclectic taste in music. It was set on My Top Rated.

  1. The Covenant - Annointed
  2. Feels Like Home - Chantal
  3. Better Than Wine - Derek Webb
  4. Crimson - Nicole Nordeman
  5. Lucky - Hoobastank
  6. Hero - Chad Kroeger
  7. Miss Independant - Kelly Clarkson
  8. Bari Improve - Kaki King
  9. Rush - Ally & AJ
  10. I Saw the Light - David Crowder Band
  11. This Is Your Life - Switchfoot
  12. Wide Open Spaces - Dixie Chicks
  13. So I'll Stand - Nickel & Dime
  14. Brighter Day - Kirk Franklin
  15. Clothes - Barlow Girl
  16. Alejate - Josh Groban
  17. Consuming Fire - Third Day
  18. You're An Animal - Jose Gonzalez
  19. No One Like You - Passion Worship Band
  20. My Stupid Mouth - John Mayer
  21. Still at the Shore - Shane & Shane
  22. Bless the Lord - Jason Morant
  23. I Will Praise You - Jacob's Well
  24. All I Need - Shawn McDonald
  25. Soulfire - 12 Stones
  26. She Talks to Angels - Dashboard Confessional
  27. Never Alone - Barlow Girl
  28. Stars - Switchfoot
  29. Open Skies - David Crowder Band
  30. Numb - Linkin Park (clean version)
  31. 1985 - Bowling For Soup
  32. Good Morning Sun - Ben Folds Five
  33. Abandon - Jason Morant
  34. Walk By Faith - Jeremy Camp
  35. All For Believing - Missy Higgins
  36. Perfectly Done - Shawn McDonald
  37. Offering - Jason Morant
  38. Famous People - Brad Paisley
  39. A Song For Momma - Boyz II Men
  40. Wrestle With God - Wild Sweet Orange
  41. When She Cries - Britt Nicole
  42. Perfect Picture - Michael W. Smith
  43. All About You - Nate Sallie
  44. Last Flight Out - Plus One
  45. None But Jesus - Hillsong
  46. Little Moments - Brad Paisley
  47. Listen - Nouveaux
  48. I Don't Regret - Barlow Girl
  49. Everyday - Hillsong
  50. Around Me - Jennifer Knapp
  51. Feelin' the Same Way - Norah Jones
  52. Was It Just a Dream? - 30 Seconds to Mars
  53. Letters to the President - Hawk Nelson
  54. Politik - Coldplay
  55. The Day Before - Tammy Harper
  56. No Such Thing - John Mayer
  57. I Can Only Imagine - Mercy Me
  58. Catchafire (Whoopsi Daisy) - Toby Mac
  59. One Boy, One Girl - Collin Raye
  60. Not Enough - Caedmon's Call
  61. Above All - Michael W. Smith
  62. You Are Better - Jacob's Well

Monday, August 25, 2008

Visual DNA

This is really neat...try it! When you click on the link, a series of about 15 pictures will come up. Click on a photo in that category that appeals to you. Again 15 pictures will come up, click the one for you and move on. Just continue to keep picking. At the end it will give you a profile of yourself.... It's called a visual DNA.... Your choices dictate your profile. Click on the tabs on the right. I thought mine turned out pretty accurate.....

Recent Grant Pictures

Here are some recent pictures of my favorite nephew. Of course, the fact that he's my only nephew doesn't mean anything. :)
I asked Grant to smile and he winked at me. What a little ham!

My brother in law was washing the car. Grant couldn't believe his luck that he was able to "help" his daddy, and get soaking wet in the process! He kept saying, "Splash!"and "Wash". He had the best time!!


Grant came out to meet me when I got home from work. I asked him if I could take his picture. He first said, "No" and then smiled and said "Yes". But the stinker wouldn't smile for me.

This is from a few months ago. I asked Grant to be an elephant. Usually, he'll "trumpet" like an elephant, but this time, he decided to "be" an elephant. Aren't kids so creative??

Silly little boy! This time he did smile for me!


My sister, Stephanie

His favorite playground activity... swinging!

He likes to sit in my lap and watch the videos I've taken of him. After each one, he'll say, "More." Every now and then, I try to surprise him and take a picture. It's not often he's still anymore!