Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Daze

I love that I can push the workweek aside, school and all, and enjoy my weekends with friends and family. I manage and plan my time each week so that I don't have any school work on the weekends. I also try to do all my work during the day so all my evenings (aside from the ones that I have class) can be spent with Scott.

This weekend is off to a great start! Last night Scott & I had a date night. While Scott was working yesterday I went ahead and cleaned the house so we wouldn't have to do it this weekend, and I had burritos ready for dinner when he got home. We ate dinner while watching some Parks and Recreation (hilarious show that we only JUST discovered). Then we headed into town and went to the new frozen yogurt place, La Berry. It was AMAZING! I love those places! So cute and trendy and super yummy! Then we went to La Te Da and had some coffee and played Scrabble. I beat Scott by only 10 points. We were using 2 game's worth of letters so we had literally almost filled the entire board with words. It was really fun and nice little date night. :)

So far today we have slept in a little and enjoyed some breakfast while listening to Worship music. Our friends Matthew & Ryann (who just recently got engaged--CONGRATS, guys!) are coming over for lunch. We are grilling out, shooting guns, and just enjoying the fellowship on this beautiful weekend. Who knows? We may even pull out some yard games that we got for Christmas!

Tomorrow is church in the morning, grocery shopping, and then Connection Junction at church in the evening. It's a fellowship event revolving around our Connect Groups. It's a chance for those interested in joining a group to get a feel for what they're all about and what the choices are. Scott is in a Men's Group. I was in a Women's Group, but we recently dissolved. I think Scott and I will be joining a young married couples group. :)

And that's about it for now! I love weekends and spending time with my husband and good friends. :) OH--and I lost another 1.8 pounds this week! Go me!!

Hope you all enjoy your weekend daze as well!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hold it Against Me: An Embarrassing Memory

Some days I'm struck with a blast from the past memory paired with a bodily reaction as if it were happening again, right at that moment. I thought it would be interesting and fun to post those types of memories as they come up. Everyone loves sharing stories, right? :)

Yesterday Britney Spears's new song "Hold it Against Me" came on the radio as I was leaving work. If you haven't heard the song, basically the chorus ends with "If I said I want your body now, would you hold it against me?" This is not remotely new or clever. You've all probably heard a cheesy line like this before. And you get it...right? Hold it against me? Ok--good.

As I listened to those lyrics I was flung back in time:

I was in middle school, probably 7th or 8th grade. I rode the bus everyday with some really hyper, rowdy kids. Most of them lived in my neighborhood or the one directly behind us, so I usually knew them pretty well. There was one kid--his name was Kenny. Actually his name was Kenny G-something-or-other. He liked to call himself Kenny G. So, needless to say, he was a real cool kid. He was one of those awkward guys who no one really liked, mostly because he came off as SUPER annoying, but he acted like he had some real game.

Sitting on the bus one afternoon, Kenny sitting in the seat across from me, he leans over and says, "Hey Christy. If I said you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?"

Granted, I'm..what?...12 or 13? Never heard this pick-up line a day in my life. My brain hears: Christy. If I said you had a nice body, would you be mad at me? I'm thinking this is a little awkward, but he's paying me a compliment and even having the courtesy to make sure it won't offend me or make me mad by asking if I would hold it against him. I guess I'll just reply honestly.

You see where this is going.

I say, "Of course not. I would never hold it against you for saying that."

He laughs, but he clearly doesn't know where to go from there. Probably no one had ever responded that way before.

It probably took me a few hours to think back on that and figure out what he was really saying. Upon realizing he was hitting on me and I had blatantly missed the joke, I was extremely embarrassed. I was probably sitting in class or something with a pale face and panic gleaming from my eyes. I'm an idiot!!

I think I avoided him the next few days on the bus and in the neighborhood just to avoid the humiliation. You would think this isn't such a big deal, but when I thought about it yesterday I felt embarrassed all over again.

Now, if you really think about it, my answer wasn't really that embarrassing. The point of the joke is to get the girl to say "yes" because she's offended, and then you've tricked her into saying she would hold her body against you. I simply said no and that I would never hold it against him! Which was true. I'm holding onto some hope that I didn't appear completely oblivious and he just thought I was being cool in my response. I don't think so though. I'm pretty sure that I had a particular sweetness to my voice that, though I didn't actually say the words, was conveying a thank you and sense of flattery. Oh I'm embarrassed again!

It makes me wonder, how many times girls have been hit on with cheesy lines and not even realized it. I mean, if it's your first time hearing "Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?" you might actually swoon a little. Maybe not. But it's really hard to know since we all are so familiar with this lame line.

What are some of the best lines you've gotten? Ever been oblivious to a really obvious line? I can only say that I hope your luck has been better than mine, and you do not fall victim to these cheese-fest lines!

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Question

It seems that no matter who Scott and I hang out with, whether it be friends, family, or coworkers, they always ask us the question.

I can't really blame them. Scott and I have been married for nearly 2 years now, I'm a little over a year away from finishing my Master's, and Scott has a full-time, benefitted job. We're right there at that time period when the question is completely appropriate and to be expected.

So, for all of you who may be curious and itching to ask, I'm going to answer the question for you.

When are we going to have babies?

Well, I cannot truthfully answer that question for you because the only one who has control of bringing a creation into this world is God, and so far He hasn't given me any definitive answers. I can, however, tell you the plan. Which, as nice as it is, means very little since we can plan and plan and plan, but it's still not really in our control. I won't be pregnant until The Lord knits a baby together in my womb. But that isn't really the answer you're looking for, huh? Okay--I'll just tell you the plan.

The Plan:

I'm not looking to juggle being a mom with being being a student and working part-time. I do well taking care of everything right now, but I don't really need the added stress and obligations. Scott and I both flip-flop between wanting to be pregnant RIGHT NOW to wanting to put it off for a few years. I would say that Scott is probably more eager for it than I am. I know this is not the usual way, and I hope it doesn't make me seem uncaring. It's not that I don't love babies and want to be a mommy. I just want to be able to give my children the time and energy they deserve. I can't do that if I'm still trying to help myself by getting a degree. Many women are able to do this, and I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I don't want to stretch myself that thin. Knowing myself and my limits, it would be bad for me and for my children. I am, however, willing to be pregnant and a student. I know it would still be challenging, but I'm willing to give it a go. So, at the very earliest, I'm willing to start trying about 8-9 months before I graduate. Right now, this would be around October or so of this year. Whoa--crazy, right? Well, I doubt that will really happen because that's at the earliest and I'm not even completely sure that I'll be able to graduate in May. It depends on how heavily I want to take on my internships. If I do both at the same time next spring, I won't have time to work a paying job. We may not be able to financially make that work. In that case, I'll have to take one in the spring and one in the fall, additionally working part-time during both. In that case, I wouldn't be graduating until next December and won't be willing to start trying until around March of next year. Still, that's only a difference of a few months. Again, this is the earliest!! Nothing is to say that the time won't start creeping up and I'll freak out and change my mind, and of course there is no guarantee that trying will result in an immediate pregnancy. For some women it can takes months or even years, if they are even able to conceive at all. So, I say again, planning only goes so far with this thing.

In addition to the question we get asked the follow-up question:

Why are you waiting so long?

School is a big factor, as I already mentioned, but honestly I'm enjoying life with my husband right now. Kids change things, and I'm loving the lifestyle and dynamic we have going right now. I'm not in a hurry to move on to the next phase. For instance, since we've been married we've traveled to Aruba, gone on a Bahamas cruise, and we just booked a trip to Disney World for our 2-year anniversary. Traveling is much more complicated with children, and I'm not even sure we'd be able to afford things like this. So, I'm taking advantage of it right now! And yes, I know children and Disney World kind of go hand-in-hand, but you have to wait for them to be tall enough to ride the good rides, you have to deal with potty emergencies and sleepy-heads, and (if they're like I was) you have to drag them onto The Haunted Mansion only to be embarrassed by the shrill screams and sobs during the ENTIRE ride! I know it's a magical place, but...sometimes grownups need the magic all to themselves! ;)

Money is another factor. Yes, Scott currently has a full-time job, but it's not a job he's planning to keep forever. He may go back to school, change careers, and possibly be put back into the student or part-time worker role. I want to make sure he has time to figure out what he wants and work towards it before I go pushing more obligations onto him. If he decides he is willing to be a student and a dad, that's fine with me, but I want to make sure he gets the same choices I do.

Moreover, I just don't have Baby Fever right now. You might think that because so many of my friends and family are having babies that it would be difficult for me to be around them without desperately wanting one. Honestly, it's really more like birth control! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the babies and children I interact with. I work with the babies at church and love, love, LOVE it! And, of course, my beautiful, wonderful, fabulous niece Kylianne is one of my greatest joys. But I like being able to give those babies attention and shower them with love. I wonder if, after having a baby of my own, I'll be less excited about spending time with them. I'm sure I won't because the love isn't because they're simply babies but because they are unique individuals, but I still worry that I might be too busy with my own children to devote any time to others. And, to be honest, while I love being with my niece and friends' babies, I also love being able to hand them back to their parents when they get fussy! I'm not sure I'm ready to be the one that gets them back when they start crying, spit-up, or have a dirty diaper! And my general weak stomach for snot and vomit is really allowing me to cherish these moments of not being responsible for those things!

So, there you have it! I have answered both the question and the follow-up question. Have any more for me? I'd be glad to answer more or elaborate/clarify on these! :) And don't worry, as long as God allows, I DO plan to bless the world with a baby one day not too far away and, yes, I will let you hold him/her.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life, As I Know It

Ready for some Christy updates? Lots to share, my friends; lots to share!

I seem to be basing most of these blogs around my resolutions, or as I prefer to call them, goals. I mentioned before that I don't like resolutions because they're so cliche and are rarely achieved (at least by me!). But goals seem attainable! So, goals they are! Moving right along, here is how I'm progressing with my goals...

Hanging out with friends more (at least once a month)--CHECK! Scott & I went over to April & Waring Harvey's house the Sunday before MLK Day. I love hanging out with them because we have so much in common, laugh a lot, and just feel comfortable together. We can sit with them somewhere for HOURS and just talk and we're not bored or awkward. This time we hung out at their house, went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner, came back to the house for more hanging out, then went out to get frozen yogurt. I LOVE these hip new frozen yogurt places, where you select your yogurt flavor and proceed down a buffet line of toppings and mixin's. Your price is based on the final weight of your cup of yogurt. It's so tempting not to overload the cup with all the delicious toppings available because they all look so tasty. Last time I went to one of these places, I fell into that trap and ended up with a really weird combination of flavors. This time, I was wiser. I got the lower calorie option (Cranberry and Pomegranate Sorbet) and tried to only put toppings that I thought would compliment that flavor (and used them SPARINGLY). The result was DELICIOUS! :) So, friend time and trying to stick to my healthy living goals--check!

So, since I brought it up, healthy living goals...they are going really well, I think. I have been eating more fruits and vegetables both with my meals and as snacks. We cook healthier recipes for dinners, and on the occasions where we do eat out, I try to get the lower calorie options and eat less!! Part of my problem has always been gorging myself on delicious things when I go out. Those things are always bad for me. Now when I go somewhere that I know isn't going to necessarily be healthy (like a Mexican restaurant), I try to get a smaller portion meal than I usually would. And surprisingly I've found that I'm actually satisfied. I don't feel like I'm about to burst when I leave, but I don't feel hungry either. I've also been working out more often. I go to the gym a few times a week and sometimes I work out at home by dancing to music, jumping around, lifting weights, or do other at-home exercises like crunches and leg lifts. Last week I lost 1.8 pounds! Definitely in line with my goal of 10 pounds in 2 months and a great improvement from the previous week's .2 pound! I'm hoping to see an even greater loss this week. But even if it remains fairly constant, I don't need much more than a pound a week to meet my goal. :) I already feel better about myself, and I'm happy with the way I'm living. It's not just a means to lose weight, it's a lifestyle change that I'm excited about!

So far I'm managing school work really well. I've got the next few weeks of my life already planned out and I haven't fallen behind yet! I know this is only the second week of classes, but with all this textbook reading, it's easy to fall behind.

As discussed in my previous post, I am growing closer to God and spending more time with Him. I am thrilled to be getting that closeness with The Lord back, and I'm learning to recognize my sanctification process in all that I experience. I want to praise God for speaking to us in unmistakable ways. Ya know how sometimes you might think something or read something and wonder...was that God? I love that when you may be unsure, God will say it again in another way! A lot of the revelation I had this past week was discussed and explained (though with different analogies) in church yesterday! Brandon was essentially preaching the message I had been needing to hear. How amazing that God orchestrates things like that. And it's a reminder that if He can orchestrate messages, He can certainly orchestrate circumstances in my life. I'm just trying my best to give them to Him and not worry about them in the meantime.

On my non-school book reading, I am far above my goal of one book a month for this month! I'm already on my 3rd! (4th if you count the small giftbook of my grandpa's that I read in 20 minutes). I finished up The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner a week or so ago. It was a really quick read (hence, short life), but I enjoyed it. I loved the characters and knowing Bree's fate from Eclipse didn't ruin the suspense. In fact, I found myself feeling for her all the more. Stephanie Meyer has a great way of making readers care about her characters. I mean, how many mad crushes are there for Edward and/or Jacob? TONS! Because we fell in love with them along with Bella. I really admire that kind of talent. And now I am on to a new book called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It's set in China in the 1800's and chronicles the life of a young girl named Lily and her laotong (an arranged permanent friendship that last a lifetime, much like an arranged marriage but with more love and compassion afterwards) Snow Flower. I'm fascinated by the cultural history in this book! I knew about many of these customs and traditions (and many I did not know of), but I had no idea what it was really like emotionally for these women! Everything from footbinding to women's duties to arranged marriages! Even their friendships weren't of their choosing! It's very enlightening, intriguing, and even entertaining. Lisa See is a brilliant storyteller, and I'm captivated by every line! I'm about halfway through the book. I bought a new book the other night called Lipstick in Afghanistan that I plan to read next. Now I'm interested in reading about other countries, and the very title of this book caught my eye. I believe it's about a recently graduated nursing student who goes on a mission to Afghanistan after 911. I'm looking forward to it.

I realize this post is going on FOREVER, but there's so much I've been doing lately! Saturday I worked at the Southern Conference on Children from 7-4:30. Much of the time I was just sitting at the front desk in case of questions, so I spent a lot of time online. I wrote my last blog and talked to some people on facebook. I actually spoke with Charlie Phelps, who was a Mormon missionary who came to see my family when I was a senior in high school. I actually was an active Mormon for a few months during that time... But it was a great conversation because we hadn't spoken in a while. We talked about my family, his life issues, and our relationships with God. It's always so refreshing and encouraging to have these types of conversations with others. He is no longer a missionary and wasn't in the mindset to convert me, so we didn't have those kinds of strains on the conversation. It was just an honest, open conversation about our walks with God. Definitely helped me get through the day.

And lastly, Scott and I had a date night after I got off work. We went to El Som (where I had a SMALL burrito), Booksamillion, and the movies to see No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. It was about what you would expect for that type of movie. Probably too much profanity, but that was to be expected for a movie about friends with benefits. But of course it turns into a very predictable, yet still rather charming, love story. I'm not going to say it was a particularly well-done movie, but it was entertaining. I would recommend watching it on DVD, but we wanted a fun date night so we went for it. Apparently I'm in a Natalie Portman fest or something. We watched Brothers, Black Swan, and this movie all in one month!!

Well, kids, I think that's it for me! Time for me to make some tasty dinner (honey-crusted chicken, corn, edamame, and rolls), and get ready for my hubby to come home from work. Life, as I know it, is pretty darn good right now! :) I hope you can say the same!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

My malnourished soul

As I've mentioned before, lately I've been struggling to keep a passionate, devoted relationship with God. I had let doubt get to my heart and poison me. On top of my doubts, I had little desire to spend time with God. Anything "Christian" that I did, like read the Bible and pray, were done out of a feeling of obligation or guilt, not one of love, joy, and true praise. My brain knew the answers. The problem was not a lack of knowledge. I knew that I needed to spend more time with God in order to feel close to Him. I knew that The Bible tells us that God will protect us and deliver us from evil. I also knew that Jesus told us we will face great struggles during our life on Earth. None of this knowledge gave me passion. None of this knowledge grew love and joy in my heart.

Last Saturday, Scott had to work all day b/c of the textbook rush at the beginning of the semester (he works at The University Store). I decided I was going to sit down and spend time with God. I was determined to push through my indifference! Well, I guess it wasn't really indifference. I wasn't feeling passionate...but I wanted to. I got my Bible, journal, and some worship songs ready to go. I opened up in prayer, speaking to God for several minutes about my concerns and what I was feeling. After this, I decided to get a glass of water before diving into The Word. On my way to the kitchen, I caught a glance at my grandpa's book Hope and Comfort for Every Season, which is displayed on a wall shelf in the dining room. I thought, this is really what I need...hope and comfort during this season of my life. It's a small, giftbook with beautiful photos throughout. I sat down and read the whole thing in about 20 minutes. God used this book to re-teach me some things that I already knew but wasn't believing in my heart.

I was reminded that God is with me through all my hardships. I was reminded that we are not promised a perfect life, but promised protection and eventual deliverance through all the junk in life.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

Of course I already knew this. I had no problems preaching this message to other people who were experiencing hard times. I could explain the evil in the world and God's good will and purpose for us to all the doubtful people. But as soon as it got personal, as soon as it was happening to me, I no longer trusted the message. I felt the despair and doubt that all those other people were feeling, and my knowledge just wasn't sinking into my heart. Suddenly I felt entitled to a carefree life. Suddenly I felt that the promise that God answers prayers should mean that He should immediately grant my wishes and in the exact way that I felt was best. I was pretty sure I knew what was best for everyone involved, so I asked God to do it just that way and to do it soon! When the results weren't immediate (or even within a few months), I became discouraged. I no longer felt able to "defend God" to my family who were also experiencing doubts. I was angry and felt abandoned. I said things like, "We don't deserve this" or "I see no good coming from this. What is God thinking?"

What was I thinking? First, I needed a good dose of humility. God used my grandpa's words to remind me that I am NOT immune to the struggles of the world. When Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33), he meant it! I WILL have way around it. It doesn't mean God isn't good. He is good...that's why he sent Jesus to overcome the world. The end is determined, and I am saved! And because of Jesus, I can obtain the peace of God in the times of trouble that I have to face. Also, I needed to remember that I do not know better than God! He is wiser and can see things in a greater scope than I can. Didn't I just blog about good coming from bad and remembering that even though you may not see it, it is there? That was only a month or two ago. And here I was, doing just the opposite. Just because I don't see the good, doesn't mean it isn't there or that it isn't coming. I needed to remember to trust God and know that He is greater than me. And that's a good thing! I certainly would hope that the God I serve is wiser and greater than little ol' me!

So, first on God's agenda for me that day was a reality check! Bam! Take that!! Convicted by the Holy Spirit! I praise God for that conviction because I had grown blind to it and let doubt (which is straight from the enemy and my fallen flesh) run amuck in my heart.

Next I hit the Good Book (AKA The Bible) for some more revelation. Now I understood why God wasn't answering my prayers (or at least in the way I was expecting), but I still wanted to know why my heart had grown so far from The Lord. God showed me two important things about taking care of my soul.

First, I realized that my soul is malnourished. As you know, part of my goals for this year have been to live a healthier better foods, exercise, be aware of my body's needs, etc... God used this goal to reveal a similar need for my spirit. Just like my body, my spirit needs good food, exercise, and protection. What had I been feeding my soul? Not enough healthy stuff. Not enough of God's word, not enough fellowship with believers, not enough encouragment. Instead I had fed it doubt, frustration, and other worldly things. If you give your body nothing but junk food, it can't function properly and can even lead to illness and disease. My soul had become sick, infected with doubt and anger, and weak and unable to protect itself from the lies of the enemy. If I want my soul to be healthy, I need to give it the good stuff and cut out the bad. I need more time with God, and I need to seek Him everyday. I need to go to church regularly (being away for a month really took a toll). I need to give freely and happily. I need to fellowship with other believers. And not simply because "that's what Christians do." And it's not about winning God's love or salvation. But I need to do these things because they keep my heart for God healthy. I'm happier and more joyful when my soul is saturated with Godly things. I feel closer to God and more able to worship and serve Him. And it protects me from harmful lies and worldly desires. It's like an immune system. Since I'm not immune to struggles, I at least need to keep my system ready to fight off the bad feelings that can go with the struggles!

Secondly, God revealed the need to protect my soul with The Armor of God. This is found in Ephesians 6:10-18:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

I was not properly geared up to defend my soul against the enemy and his lies. If you ride a motorcycle, like my husband does, you need to wear the proper gear. We always hope and pray that he doesn't fall, drop the bike, or get in an accident. But if that were to happen, or if conditions are bad outside (wind, rain, ice, darkness...), his gear (helmet, boots, jeans, gloves, jacket) protects his body from any harm. The armor of God is the same way. It helps you get through the bad conditions, and if something more dangerous does happen, your soul is protected against the attacks of the enemy. And I was lacking in these things. I wasn't believing in my belt of truth. My righteousness was fading and not protecting my heart as a breastplate should. My feet weren't fitted with the gospel to share with others. And my faith had dwindled to the point that I wasn't shielded from the arrows of the evil one. Fortunately, my helmet of salvation stays intact because God's grace keeps it in place. So, I was not mortally wounded like Scott could be if he rides without his helmet. This is the most important piece of armor, and thankfully it was still strong. I survived the struggles, but I was severely wounded.

So, now I'm praying and spending more time with God each day. I'm recommitting myself to Him and feeding my soul all the good things that helps it thrive. I'm gearing up with repaired armor that God will make good as new. It's still a work in progress, as it always will be, but now I am no longer angry with God and I feel at peace.

I hope this has encouraged those of you who might be going through some similar things. I know I'm not the only one feeling spiritually exhausted and in a rut. The best way to get your knowledge transformed to truly believing is action! You may know what The Bible says about things, but read it again...and again...until God really places the truth on your heart. If you know you need to go to church or pray, but you don't feel like it. Do it anyway. God will meet you there and revive that desire. Feed your soul the good stuff, exercise it with worship, giving, studying, and fellowship, and protect it with the full armor of God! You'll be in my prayers.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Love for Edamame & the Joy of Flushing a Toilet

The past week has been very eventful! I feel good about what I have accomplished, I'm staying positive about 2011 (I realize it's only 14 days in, but that's no reason not to celebrate the optimism!), and I have been reminded how blessed I am in all that I have in this life.

Last weekend, Scott & I dove right into my resolutions. We took on our first house project--repainting the guest room. Before moving into our house, we picked out several paint samples and laid them out in our apartment. We held them up to furniture and even up to themselves so we could get a feel for how each room would lead to the next. My favorite color in the mix was called "Goldenrod." We chose it for the guest room. I was most looking forward to this color and I felt it would be a happy, vibrant color--not too light, not too dark. Unfortunately, the colors on those little slips of paper don't always translate well into 4 full walls of color. This ended up being my least favorite of all the colors. It was too bright, involved multiple coats and STILL needed touching up, and was just overwhelming! I denied it for months because I wanted very much to like it, to rekindle that excitement I had when I first looked at the swatch, but I finally came to terms with the fact that it just wasn't going to happen. I hated it. There--I said it. Upon admitting this to Scott, I found that he hated it, too. So, we ventured out to Lowe's and picked out a new, much more subtle, color. We ended up with something called "Barefoot Beach," which turned out like a soft silverish gray. We painted the room last Saturday, and I dare say I love it! It's simple, subtle, and doesn't assault you upon entering. It still needs some touching up, but we will save that for a later date. Also added to my wish list--curtains and maybe some new decor for the walls in that room. OH--we also bought new sheets for our bed and the guest bed and they look GREAT with the new walls! :)

On Sunday I decided I would jumprope. I remember loving it as a child, and even a teenager. When I was 14 I took Kickboxing and we would always jumprope to warm up. I was actually really good at it then, which is surprising given how uncoordinated I am. I read from a friend's blog that 10 minutes of jumprope is equal to 30 minutes of jogging. I googled it--it checked out. So, I was all geared up and ready to jump some rope! It was in the 20's outside, but I bundled up and figured I would be okay since my heart rate would be up. After only 2 minutes or so, I thought I might DIE!! My lungs were bursting..and I'm not exaggerating...much. I tried to take a break, walk around, and try again. When that didn't work, I decided to just jump around without the rope so I could go at a slower pace. I was determined to complete my 10 minutes! I probably got through about 6 minutes and I had to stop. I tried to walk around so that my heart rate wouldn't go from racing to resting, but I couldn't catch my breath. I went inside and laid down and tried desperately to breathe regularly. After about 5 minutes of gasping and weezing, I was able to get up and move around again. I was still weezy and coughing a lot the whole rest of the day. I suddenly had chest conjestion and a terrible cough. It was crazy! Scott thinks it was b/c my lungs weren't used to the cold weather--and, of course, b/c I'm horribly, embarrassingly out of shape. I'm still interested in jumping rope, but I will take it much easier in the future and probably wait until it's a tad bit warmer outside. In other workout news--I've been lifting weights while watching TV at night and yesterday I went to the RAC and worked out on the Eliptical machine for 30 minutes, did some obliques workouts, and lifted some weights for about 10 minutes. It was a great workout and I did not feel like death afterwards--this is the goal.

In addition to working out more, I've been doing a pretty good job eating healthier. We've tried lots of yummy healthy recipes, and I've actually enjoyed cooking them! I've decided I don't dislike cooking after all! I do prefer to cook when the recipe was my idea because it gives me some ownership of the meal. Before, we were only cooking things Scott thought up, so naturally it didn't feel right for me to take charge cooking them. Some of our tasty meals have included: roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and roasted bananas, chicken burritos w/ corn & blackbeans, 5 bean soup, edamame, and TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES! I will have to share this cookie recipe with you all. It calls for canellinni beans, which made me fear a similar disaster to the blackbean brownies, but with all the chocolate and the delicious egg whites and splenda whipped tasty could it fail? They were wonderful. Word to the wise (or not-so-wise if you are like me), PARCHMENT PAPER does not equal WAX PAPER! I didn't know. The wax paper caused our kitchen to get all smokey, while probably contaminating us with some kind of free radical that will later cause unsightly wrinkles and some form of uncureable cancer, and--even worse--our cookies stuck to the sheet and would not come up! We had to scrape at them and avoid the bottom layer. Still--delicious! :)

Oh, and did I mention edamame?? Yes, but it bears repeating! Have you tried it? Have you?? You MUST! So tasty! It's full of protein, fiber, and other super healthy things! More than trying to eat less or lower calories foods, I'm trying to focus on eating healthy foods. By that I mean, foods with fiber, protein, potassium...less sodium and cholesterol. Yes, calories are a consideration, but mostly I'm trying to feed my body good stuff, rather than depriving it of things. So far--so good! I weighed in this morning and have lost .2 lbs since Sunday! Okay...that's hardly worth reporting, and I probably gained it right back with breakfast, but any progress is good! And this week was tough b/c I had some unhealthy things like molten chocolate cake and Taco Bell...more on that to come! I'm planning to weigh myself every Friday morning, and hopefully start seeing some real progress.

Last Friday night was date night. :) Scott and I went to Savannah to use our Chili's gift card and see Black Swan in the theater. All around a good time. I printed out the nutritional values for the menu at Chili's and was HORRIFIED!! Even the "healthy" things were not so great. Now that I'm more aware of what I've been putting in my body, it's no wonder I've gained so much weight these past 3-4 years! But, it was date night and we had free money and it was CHILI' had to get the chocolate cake! At least we split it! I won't tell you how many calories that is...but if you care you should look it up. You should probably sit down first!

Oh, how could I forget? We were ICED IN on Monday!! Now, I know I have no right to complain when Atlanta has been snowed in all week long, but Statesboro isn't used to this kind of weather! Well, neither is Atlanta....hmm...well I'm going to complain just for the sake of complaining, K? :) The fact that it wasn't safe to leave our house on Monday wasn't all that bad. In fact, there are many days I wish I could just stay home all day with the hubby and the kitty. Sunday night when we heard work was canceled, we rejoiced! It was a great feeling! When we woke up the next morning with no power or water...not such a great feeling. When we spent all day not being able to flush our toilets or turn on our heater...not great feelings! And the power was out all the way until the next afternoon! Yep, over 24 hours without power OR water! We ended up taking a shower at the RAC Tuesday after work since neither of us had showered since Sunday (ew!). But again we rejoiced when we returned home that night to find a glowing beacon of light coming from our window! We thanked Jesus for electricity and the people who worked on it, we blessed our tacos, and we ate while watching Psych! Oh yeah, we picked up Taco Bell b/c we didn't know if we would have power to cook. See? There are good reasons for my poor decisions! ;)

In other news--this Sunday we are hanging out with the Harveys and I am super excited! So far so good on the hanging out with friends resolution! :) Unfortunately Scott has to work Saturday & Monday (even though I have Mon. off b/c of Martin Luther King Day). Looks like I'll be cleaning, shopping, and doing laundry alone this weekend. Oh, speaking of laundry, we get to buy a new washer soon b/c ours keeps leaking. The rejoicing continues! ha-ha...

Umm...what else? Oh! I finished Knowing God: Knowing Myself and am on to my next non-school related book. Looks like I'll be getting 2 in this month since school hasn't started back yet! :) I'm now reading The Short Second-Life of Bree Tanner. It's a spin-off type book from the Twlight series. Bree was mentioned briefly in Eclipse. I bought this book at Goodwill a while back and forgot about it. I thought it would be a good quick read and keep me motivated to continue reading for fun! I'm about halfway through and am enjoying it thus far.

I guess that's it! Resolutions progressing, thankfulness for electricity and flushing toilets commencing, munching on edamame regularly, and enjoying this thing we call life! :) Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Making Progress

Hi, folks! As I've mentioned to some of you already, this year I plan to blog more frequently and more generally. In the past I've tried to limit my blogging to divine inspiration. I wait until I have something to share that God has shown me, or I've used it to share my praises of the Lord. I still intend to do this as it is an excellent way to glorify God and, hopefully, minister to others who may be going through some of the same issues I am. While I like this style of blogging, I've found that I often wish I could just blog about life in general. So, I plan to blog more regularly and just share about my life in general. As a Christian, God is involved in everything I do, so He will still be a focus of this blog. But you should not expect an attempt at a profound lesson or revelation every time you visit my site.

Moving on! I have been making some progress on my resolutions. I haven't made any huge changes, but I think gradual and small alterations are the key to long-term change. Here are the things I have done so far!

1. Plans are in the works for hanging out with our friends April & Waring sometime this month. April and I used to be super close because we worked together in the Office of Admissions and later took classes together in the M.A.T graduate program. Since she got married, graduated, moved to Pooler, GA and got a job in Savannah, we haven't been able to spend as much time together. I miss her and her sarcastic attitude that she gets away with because of her cuteness! :) And luckily we discovered that our husbands get along really well, too! They have a lot of the same hobbies and get to talk about manly things like guns and SCUBA diving. And they're both Christians so we often have inspired conversations and fellowship as well. I'm so looking forward to starting off my monthly friend time with them! :)

2. We aren't visiting any more family members this month because we just saw most of them during Christmas and New Years. We did start talking about our plans for February, though. I think we've decided that, if possible, we're going to go stay with my Maw Maw (great-grandmother) in Morrow, GA for a weekend to visit and also help clean up her house. She is 86 years old and isn't able to do a lot around the house anymore. When we were there for Christmas we noticed a lot of things that needed a good cleaning, such as her attic fan vent being coated with thick mounds of dust (which Scott cleaned while we were there). I'm very excited about this plan because she is such a wonderful and giving lady and I feel I've done very little to give back to her in my life. And I know she likes her house to be clean and it's probably driving her crazy that she's unable to physically take care of these things. Plus, she won't be around too much longer and I want to spend more time with her and I want Scott to get a chance to know her better. This will be a great way to accomplish the goal of visiting family once a month and also the resolution of giving more! :)

3. I've been drinking TONS of water! I drink it constantly at work, which makes me have to pee like once an hour at least, but I feel really good about it. I already feel healthier and more lively just from that alone.

4. I've been trying to get up and walk around some at work. I sit at a desk all day, so it's helpful to stretch my legs once or twice an hour. Getting up to pee a lot has helped. I have often gone to the restrooms on the far ends of the building just to get some extra walking in.

5. We've started making recipes from our new cookbook that offers healthy alternatives for tasty meals. Last night we made nachos! We used ground turkey, non-fat black bean dip, salsa, low-fat chips, low-fat skim milk cheese, and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I want to make a plug here for Greek Yogurt. I had never had it before, but it is nice and thick and really tastes a lot like sour cream! It has tons of health benefits like being super high in protein and full of probiotics that aid in digestion and colon health. Supposedly you can eat it like regular yogurt, though it seems too bitter to me. But as a sour cream substitute it's wonderful. It's thicker than regular yogurt or low-fat sour cream and has more health benefits. I highly recommend it!

6. I haven't devoted 30 minutes a day to God yet, but I have been spending more time in prayer and Bible study each day. I've also been reading a non-school book during lunch and before bed every night. It is one of my Grandpa's books: Knowing God: Knowing Myself. It's quite good, and also helps with the God-time, too!

That's it so far. In other news--tonight Scott and I are having a date night! We are going to Savannah after work, having dinner, and seeing Black Swan in the theater. After that, if we're not too tired, we may walk around River Street. I'm super excited! We're always together, but when we take the time to plan something different it's always extra fun and feels more special.

Good luck with all your resolutions, friends! Mine are certainly a work in progress, and I hope yours are coming along, too. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I really don't like the idea of new years resolutions because they're so cliche and hardly anyone ever accomplishes them, especially me! But there is something about starting a new year, the idea of starting fresh and coming at things in a different way, that is so appealing. I took some time to think about why my resolutions always fail. There are several reasons I can come up with. 1) the goals are long-term and not paired with any short-term, attainable, and measurable goals. For instance, losing weight. I'll either make it a generic goal of simply that or I'll say something like...I want to lose 20 pounds. When I don't see results soon, I get discouraged and give up. There isn't anything to keep me motivated. But if I made smaller goals, like 4 pounds a month for example, I can start to see progress and start meeting little goals, thereby encouraging me to keep going. 2) the goals are something I feel like I should do, but not something I really want to do. Or maybe I do want to, but not as badly as I want something contrary to it. Maybe I want to lose weight, but not as badly as I want to eat chocolate. Maybe I think I should go to the gym everyday, but I don't really want to. I think there are ways of getting around this. (I know I keep talking about losing weight, but it's such a common one and something that, as cliche as it is, I do want to do.) But I think if maybe I broaden my thoughts of losing weight to more than just hours logged at the gym, I could start living a healthier lifestyle by doing other physical activities, making small changes, and eating tasty but healthy things--rather than completely cutting out things I love. And this brings me to the final reason I think my resolutions fail. 3) I make it all about restrictions and abstaining from things. What is meant to be a positive and encouraging endeavor becomes a negative and insufferable experience. So, maybe rather than only focus on things I won't do, I can focus instead of things that I will do. It seems much easier to start something new than to quit something old and familiar. Not to say I shouldn't cut some things down or make changes, but positive additions will go a long way, I think.

So, bearing all this in mind, I have come up with a few "resolutions" for 2011.

1. Eat more veggies! I feel like I hardly ever eat vegetables and there are so many choices out there that are tasty and super nutritious.
2. drink more water. Water is good for you in so many ways, it's free (we have well water), and it's refreshing!
3. search for more alternative recipes for some of our favorite dishes (ie, whole wheat pasta and breads, fat free sour cream, egg substitute, etc...)
4. find more ways to be physical throughout the day (walk around every 30 minutes at work, lift weights while watching TV, always take the stairs vs. the elevator, etc...)
5. do more physical activities for fun, like riding bikes, taking walks, dancing, etc...
6. spend more time outside. I feel like I'm always indoors! We have such a beautiful and spacious lawn and a nice pond outside our house and we never go out there! I want to spend time sitting on the front porch reading, fishing in the pond, walking around, and playing the lawn games we got for Christmas!
7. visit family more often. we tend to wait for reasons to visit people, and some people never provide concrete events or "reasons" to come see we don't see them at all, or only once a year at Christmas. I want to see everyone more, especially siblings, cousins, and grandparents. I want to make plans to do this at least once a month.
8. hang out with friends more often. Scott and I always joke that we don't have friends. It's not that, it's just that we are homebodies. We love being at home and relaxing. And we love being together so much that we rarely feel the need for other people. But relationships are important to me and I want to be close with other people. There are people in my life who I love and I want to spend more time with them. I want to plan to do this at least once a month as well.
9. Spend more time with God. I used to spend at least 30 minutes a day in prayer and Bible study...just talking with God. I can't remember that last time I did that. I still pray and read the Bible, but not in larger segments of time, and I rarely give God my undivided attention. I honestly feel like I've lost a lot of the passion in my relationship with God and I want it back so badly, and I've been struggling with this for a few months now. I hope that seeking him through devoted time each day will help me grow closer with Him.
10. Continue paying off my student loans each month, even though I don't have to since I'm still in school. It seems smart to make payments before interest kicks in again. We stopped doing it b/c of Christmas expenses, but I want to start again.
11. Find ways to give more, whether it be with money, time, possessions, etc... We tithe regularly, donate to ministries, and volunteer regularly at the church. I don't feel like we're doing poorly in this area, but I believe there is always room to do more and I don't want to become complaisant in this area.
12. Read more books! I want to read at least one non-school related book a month. That doesn't seem like a lot, but I often get bogged down with school work, and if I do any outside reading it's the Bible. That is more important than other reading, but I think I have the time if I set it aside to read for fun.
13. Do at least one project around the house a month. There are lots of things I would like to accomplish in our home, but I rarely feel like doing any of it. But projects can be fun once you get into them, and I find that I'm always so much happier when the house is clean, organized, and put together. I want to do some work outside, paint several things, fix the trim around our fireplace, etc...
14. Make all A's each semester
15. and lastly--write more. This blog is about the extent of my writing outside of emails and school papers. I want to continue to blog, but also do some free writing every now and then. I don't know exactly what my goal is in this area. Maybe 10 minutes a day? That's not much, but it's good for starting out, I think. I really want to make these goals simple, attainable and measurable. And they need to be things I'm committed to. I can go ahead and tell you that I won't do all these things, but I hope to at least make small improvements in all areas.

So, there ya have it! Lose weight, yes--but through specific changes and additions. But really more than that, I want to grow in my relationships with God, family, friends, and myself. And of course, I want to grow with Scott--but that isn't an area that I need to set goals to accomplish. We are naturally awesome at being together! ;)
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