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.

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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!