Archives For My Life

Shhhhh….

February 8, 2014 — Leave a comment
"Help!"

“Help!”

Shhhh….

Today is Jonas’ birthday. I’ve never not commemorated it on my blog (since I started blogging nearly 9 years ago).

But now he’s 15 and if there’s anything he really dislikes, it’s being the center of attention. Or being the subject of a blog post.

I can’t not post about it, though. You understand.

So….happy birthday, jonas! You are loved more than you can imagine!

Never, Never, Never Give Up

January 29, 2014 — 2 Comments

GS Cards 023These ten Girl Scouts are amazing.

When they had to think of a project to “take action” after they worked through a series about friendships, bullying and self-esteem, they all agreed: they wanted to do something to help kids who might be bullied at their school. I think that’s awesome.

Their solution? Give each student in their school some uplifting words. They picked out quotes they wanted to share, we printed them on card stock and then the troop personalized each one. All eight hundred of them had the words, “From your friendly Girl Scout Troop.” (It took them twenty minutes to agree on that phrase.)

So, they picked quotes, wrote their message, attached a small magnet to each one, had a meeting with the principal and brought notes to school so they could stay after yesterday.

Here’s something: there are about 700 students in the school.

Here’s another thing: there are about 1,100 lockers in the same school.

This created some adversity we had to overcome. We divided into four groups and, of course, ran out of cards in all of the sections very quickly. We had enough cards for all of the students, but not for all of the lockers. In some cases, it was easy to tell if a locker was unoccupied. In other cases, we had no idea. Pretty soon we discovered that the seventh grade hall only uses the top lockers, so we fixed that by taking back all of the bottom locker cards. Then we tried to cover sixth and seventh grade and figured we’d make it up to the eighth graders later.

GS Cards 012But that didn’t seem right to some of the girls. We said we were going to do the whole school. Why would we quit until we figured out a way to do it?

So they figured out a way. I know I was ready to just throw up my hands and call it a day, but I learned a good lesson instead. There’s usually a way and there are usually people who are willing to help if you tell them what you need.

We are thankful for the ladies who were working in the library with a group of students this afternoon. They helped us copy some of our cards so we could finish our project. It wasn’t the same–the copied cards were white and had no magnets. They were kind of crookedly copied and crookedly cut (I’ll take credit for that), but every student in the school has a card hanging 1/4 of the way out of his or her locker this morning and that was the dream.

Feeling beaten down todayt? Here are a few of Troop 1884’s quotes!

“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” J.K. Rowling via her character Albus Dumbledore

“You’re Worth More Than Gold!”

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

“The greatest thing that you will ever accomplish has not happened yet.” unknown

“When you get into a tight place and everything seems against you, and you think you cannot hold on any longer, don’t give up then. That is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

A quote we could have included:

“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill

Beating Wheat

January 27, 2014 — 1 Comment

Jan 19-27 036It’s Monday morning, January 27. I’m on day 8 of a no-wheat diet.

To clarify, I use the word “diet” the way it’s truly intended, as in the foods one eats, rather than as a plan designed for weight-loss.

I’ve tried a week of gluten-free (essentially, no wheat) eating before and it was hard. I knew at the end of that week that there was no way this was going to become a lifestyle change. Life is too short, you know?

But then last year, I gave up sugar. I ate less sugar over the course of the entire year last year than I have most weeks of my lifetime. It was hard at first, but then it was easy. People asked me all year long: “How do you do that? I could never do that.” Truth is, I never thought I could do it either. But then I did. And I discovered that sugar-free was much better for me. I gave up sugar because I want to avoid diabetes, because I linked it to mood swings, because I felt like it was poisoning me and keeping me from losing weight.

I’m giving up wheat for basically the same reasons. Plus, it’s linked to joint pain and body aches and I’ve had plenty of those lately.

Honestly, there are a lot of studies lately about the nutritional uselessness of wheat, and studies about how it affects blood sugar, and studies about how it’s packing weight on our mid-sections and inflaming our insides. I’ve been studying that for awhile, but still felt there was no way I could stop eating bread and pasta and breaded things (remember, I already gave up cakes and cookies and pies, so that didn’t figure into my decision).

On Monday morning of last week, I woke up very early, as I did this Monday morning. I wasn’t ready to get out of the warm bed just yet, so I flipped through my Stitcher podcast list and remembered that Monday mornings mean a new “A Decided Difference” podcast. Honestly, right now, I can’t remember the exact words LouAnn said that specifically caused me to get out of bed with a resolve to kick my wheat habit, but you can listen to the excellent episode here.

I got out of bed and, aside from the mid-week headaches, I have not had any trouble avoiding wheat. The process is really similar to avoiding sugar, actually.

The first step to wheat avoidance is label reading. Well, I’ve been a label reader since middle school, when my best friend Maggie taught me how to do that. Wheat is listed as an allergen now, so it’s even easier to spot.

The second step is planning ahead. My lunch for today was packed last night and includes snack foods. It’s full of fruit and veggies and a bowl of the potato soup I made in the crock pot yesterday.

The third step was telling people that I’m doing it. I kept my mouth shut until Thursday when the headache was really bad. I realized at that point that I could forget about this insanity and go get a foot-long veggie delite at Subway and the only person who would know I quit was Jason. And seriously, if Jason ever starts judging me for the food choices I make…(have you seen that guy eat?) So I posted on Facebook. I can’t quit now–everyone knows I’m giving up wheat and if I quit, they’ll all know I couldn’t hack it in the no-wheat world.

Other things I’m doing aren’t really steps, but are important to the process for me: reading about other people giving up wheat (blogs and websites), exercise, lots of water, prayer and self-pep talks.

I’ve made it to Day 8. The only physical change I’ve noticed so far is that my legs hurt a lot less and I am able to move more “lightly.” That may only make sense to me. I’ll try again: It feels less like my feet are glued to the floor when I’m doing Zumba or walking–less resistance, I guess.

I do appreciate your support! Let me know if you’re embarking on any new endeavors so I can support you as well!

Keep Calm GS Cookies1. They sell cookies. Good cookies. My troop is selling them now. If you’re local, you should probably order some from us. If you’re not local, you should find a Girl Scout.

2. They grow into girls of courage, confidence and character.

3. They are wildly creative.

4. They aren’t afraid of hard work. Girl Scouts work to earn merit badges and awards.

5. They are community minded. Girl Scouts will do millions of hours of volunteering and community service this year.

6. In a world where it can be so easy to tear each other down, Girl Scouts are a team. They support each other and help each other achieve goals.

7. They are leaders in their troops and in their communities.

8. They leave no trace.

9. Girl Scouts do fun activities and can even get patches for their uniforms that represent these fun activities.

10. They can be found in almost every city and community and all over the world.

Interested in being a part of this great organization as a volunteer or as a parent of a girl? Visit girlscouts.org to find your local council!

Pictures and video from this year’s Polar Bear Plunge! Jason looks forward to this every year. He’s the only Durham to brave it this year.

Last night:

Me: Know what?

Jason: What?

Me: If I had a magazine, you’d be it’s Person Of The Year!

Him: (in that sarcastic voice he reserves for talking about my blog) Well, you have a blog…

 

So, I present to you, my blog’s person of the year:

jason 19

 

Amazing husband, wonderful father, adventurous backpacker, dedicated friend, fearless leader, kayaker, biker, writer, smartass extraordinaire.

Here’s a gallery of some of the year’s best moments:

 

holy 001

 

At our house this year, we’ve gathered around fires a lot.

For Mother’s Day, I was given a firepit in the backyard. In our house, we have a fireplace.

There’s nothing quite like gathering around a fire with loved ones. It’s a tradition as old as…well, fire. In the winter, we gather in our living room and enjoy the warmth of our gas fireplace. It makes winter all the more bearable in my opinion.

 

A Decided Difference

December 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve mentioned before that my friend, LouAnn Clark, has a podcast and a website called “A Decided Difference.”

One day, when LouAnn is evenlouann more famous than she already is, I’m going to be able to say: “LouAnn Clark?!? I know her! I know her! She’s my friend!” (I may have just watched “Elf.”)

She gave me a shout-out in her podcast, released yesterday, and I just wanted to say hi to her readers and provide some links for my friends. LouAnn blogs, speaks and podcasts about coping with depression and anxiety and making healthy changes from right here in Henderson, KY. She has had many excellent insights into my own life and I’m grateful for the things she’s said to me in person or via a speech at Toastmasters or her podcast that have either comforted me or caused me to change my point of view.

Her website is louannclark.com

Her latest podcast is here.

She’s also been taking pictures and blogging using the Rethink Church list like I have been.

Check out her site and give her podcast a listen!

Sunday Dec 1 081

 

I am the Christmas Tree Sale Chairperson for BSA Troop 280 in Henderson, KY. This means that I coordinate most aspects of the tree sale, from the ordering to the scheduling shifts to the wringing my hands and worrying if the trees aren’t selling fast enough.

When the trees are delivered, they are bound in twine and netting. Obviously, this is for easier shipment and loading and unloading. It also ensures that the branches are not damaged during transport and all of the loading and unloading.

It’s pretty easy to unbind a Christmas Tree. The guys take their pocket knives and rip through the netting and twine and pull it all loose. The branches unfurl and the tree experiences freedom. The Scout will shake, shake, shake the tree and the branches begin to relax. Unbound, the tree returns to it’s beautifully created state. Unbound, the customers can see the tree for how it really is. Of course, this means that the customer can also spot any flaws in the tree, but that’s the price the tree pays for being unbound and free, I suppose.

I sometimes wonder what it must be like to have to bind a Fraser Fir or a Scotch Pine in twine and netting. To take what was beautifully free and wild and wrap it up tight for shipping and consumption. Do the branches protest? Surely it must be more difficult to bind than to unbind…

We’re sometimes bound creatures as well. We are bound by expectations or by trials. Bound by sin or by our own bad choices. Bound up tight with little or no ability to move.

Until we are set free. Until our netting and twine is ripped off and we can rest in the knowledge that we are now, once again, what we were created to be.

This is a season where I’m reminded once again that I have been set free by God’s good love and grace. I can be who God created me to be, flaws and all. I no longer have to be bound by expectations or by sin.

Thanks be to God.

Rethink Advent

November 29, 2013 — 2 Comments

Rethink Advent

Back in February and March, I did the Lenten Photo Project from Rethink Church. It was incredibly meaningful and caused me to spend time each day reflecting and considering the day’s word. Some days seemed impossible at first, but inspiration came when it was needed. Some days turned out to be very fun themes, even though I hadn’t expected that to be the case. Some days, it was at the last minute that a photo op came!

Rethink Church has done this again for Advent. What you do is simply take a picture every day that brings to light the day’s word. ┬áThen you post it…somewhere! Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or website…

For all of the ways to connect with Rethink Church and all the ways to post your photos, click here.

It’s fun to see how people interpret the words so differently every day. This is something anyone can do! If you want to experience Advent in a different way this year–and would like to spend some time each day during this busy season considering the reason we celebrate–join in!

(And if you plan to participate, let me know!)