Thursday, February 28, 2013

3 Day Walk - Five Weeks In!

3-Day Walker

As of today, I've been signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for 5 weeks! 

I've planned my training schedule.
I've got a couple of great gals to walk with me.
I've raised $645 towards my $2300 goal.
And, I've started working out 6 days a week! 


My "official" training schedule begins March 11th - at that point, I'll start keeping track on my sidebar, what I've done - time cross-training and miles walked each week.  Kind of fun!

I even discovered that the first Saturday in June, my training has me walking 12 miles...  The St. Paul Farmer's Market is 12.1 miles from my house...  So, I'll be getting up early that morning and WALKING to the Farmers Market!  Ha ha ha.  That sounds crazy to me!

Maybe I'll walk to work one day, too...  Funny.

I'm looking forward to warmer weather - can't wait to start walking places!

If you'd like to join me on this journey - I'd love your company!  (Or if you'd like to donate to my walk, I'd love that too!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  It's Thursday (my Friday!).
2.  A good night's sleep.
3.  My PJ pants are getting so big, I get tangled in them, and the pant legs trip me.
4.  A planned trip to see Cheryl this spring!  (Yes, THAT Cheryl!)
5.  Support from friends.
6.  Being excited for a dear friend!
7.  Almost done with "Downton Abby"!  One more episode to go...
8.  Goodnight kisses.
9.  Tomorrow's the first day of March!!!  (Spring is coming...)
10.  The musician, Forrest Sun.

QotD:  When was the last time you were sick?
Really, really sick?  New Year's Day - the stomach flu.  But, the last couple weeks, I have a cold that just lurks behind the scenes...  Then all of a sudden I have a day with a sore throat and unreasonably tired, headaches and achy...  And then it goes back into hiding...  Not cool.  I want to feel 100% again!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gaining Confidence

Today's chapter in Secrets of Simplicity, by Mary Carlomango, is about discovering your Self - and the path in front of you...  It's about recognizing who you are in order to take the leaps of faith that will take you closer to your dreams.

The first exercise was something I found interesting...  Before taking a big leap - you need to build your self-confidence and strength.  So, it asks you to take a few minutes and make a list of all the "great things you do every day."  Celebrate yourself.  Pat yourself on the back for a many things you know how to do.

Ok...  My goal is to come up with ten... 

1.  Read.
2.  Learn.
3.  Blog.
4.  Follow directions.
5.  Make art.
6.  Draw.
7.  Clean.
8.  Organize.
9.  Laugh at myself.
10.  Be hospitable.
11.  Make people feel valued.
12.  Adapt.
13.  Listen.
14.  Study.
15.  Write.
16.  Play.
17.  Drive.
18.  Encourage.
19.  Cook.
20.  Decorate.
21.  Use my iphone.
22.  Exercise.
23.  Plan.
24.  Dream.
25.  Pay bills.
26.  Budget.
27.  Travel well.
28.  Surprise my hubby.
29.  Use the copier.
30.  Talk with teens.
31.  Donate money.
32.  Volunteer.
33.  Inspire.
34.  Speak publicly.
35.  Lead groups.
36.  Grow African Violets.
37.  Stick to a diet.
38.  Be thankful.
39.  Love.
40.  Move forward.

Well, then.  There's 40, and I bet I could keep going!  (It's kind of fun, once you get started...)

Feeling like you can't do anything right?  Try this - you'll feel loads better!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  This list - kind of fun!
2.  No headache today.
3.  Reading a good book.
4.  Leaps of faith.
5.  Getting lots done!
6.  Opportunties for the hubby.
7.  A note from my World Vision kid, Mete - and a drawing of a palm tree!  So cute.

8.  Veggie omelets - an easy, healthy dinner!
9.  Fun conversations over dinner tonight, at church.
10.  Caribou Coffee's "Cinnabon Rooibos" hot tea...

QotD:  Are you the original or the remix?  Why?
Huh?  I guess I'm a remix...  My original was terribly shy and not very confident...  But over the years I've become more willing to try new things, take bigger risks, and take care of myself before others.  I still get nervous, but I'm willing to take those leaps of faith - and that's much different than who I was at one point in my life.  Really, shouldn't we all be "remixes" as we go through life?  I'd hate to think I hadn't changed, evolved, or improved after all my life experiences...!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Check In

(This was posted on Momastery's Blog this morning.  I love it!)
Today's weather, news, and events: 
Pretty nice day - high of 35 degrees and mostly sunny...  (Although, right now it's very gray outside.)  In the news, our government is head for "sequestration" if they don't make a budget deal by Friday.  It's crazy how many things will be cut and how many people will be hurt if this happens.  I can't imagine that would help our economy in any way, shape, or form!  (Prayers for our politicians as they figure this out!) 
And events?  The Oscars were last weekend...  Not very exciting, but I was happy to see music added back into the show!  Oh!  And our youth group is headed to the ski hill all day Saturday.  Should be a fun day (and for those of you who know me well - I have a great book to read for the day!).

Today I feel:  A little discombobulated...

I am grateful for:  My Lenten resolution to give up TV in the mornings.  Making progress.  Spring is coming.  Volunteers who go above and beyond.  Warm blankets.  Drinking out of mason jars.  Inspiring stories of generosity. 

Spiritually I:  Am trusting God to lead me...

People in my thoughts today:  The people I was friends with in elementary school!  Several of them are on my Facebook now, and occasionally I get a fun note from them about memories of our childhood...  I haven't seen them since 5th grade, but their notes give me a huge smile!  (One note this week was a reminder of the orange juliouses my parents used to make us!)  And today is one of their birthdays!  Happy Birthday, Phil!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  Sometimes, you just have those weeks (or months) where you're not quite feeling like you're in "the zone" anymore...  Nothing seems to be going the way you would like...  I'm in one of those places now.  But over the last week and a half, I've gotten several notes from people thanking me for sharing words with them - that made a difference.   Glimmers of light and magic in my ordinary days.  Much needed - and much appreciated!

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  This is a story I had no part in, but absolutely loved! 
AHA Student With CP Lives Basketball Dreams « CBS Minnesota

For a better tomorrow:  Keep on keepin' on!  Lots of things to juggle these days...  My goal is to "just keep swimmin'!"

QotD:  Name one item you can't throw out.
A McDonald's happy-meal stuffed ducky.  When Hubby and I were dating, it was long-distance and we'd only see each other on the weekends.  One weekend I came down with a wicked migraine - the first one he experienced with me - and he felt so bad that he hid this funny little duck in my car so that I'd find him later and would laugh.  We started hiding it for each other every weekend, back and forth.  Now, I come across it every once and awhile - it's old and dirty...  But it still makes me smile.  I'll probably never get rid of it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Now is Now

I finished Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, today!

And it ended on a lovely note:

"One of the persistent follies of human nature is to imagine true happiness is just out of reach.  The 'arrival fallacy' describes our tendency to believe that once we arrive at a particular destination, then we'll be happy.  People generally expect that the future will be slightly happier than the past; in one study, when asked where they thought they'd be in ten years, 95 percent of people expected their lives would be better in the future than in the past, and people already satisfied with their lives believed they'd be even more satisfied.

"...this is it.  Now is now, and if I waited to be happier, waited to have fun, waited to do the things that I know I ought to do, I might never get the chance."

Now is now.

How often do we put everything on hold - until we have enough money, enough time, enough energy, enough support, enough, enough, enough?! 

Life doesn't work that way...  And I'm learning that there are some goals I may never acheive - but half the fun is the process of working towards them and dreaming about the "someday."  If I never quite get there?  At least I had the dream... and I can't say I wasn't trying!

But when we don't even begin the process...  that's when it feels sad.  The "dream" loses its splendor when we don't even try.  It becomes mocking and hopeless.

So yes, I have some dreams - and I have a process in place to get there!  And it may take forever for it to happen - but now is now.  And I'm not waiting any longer!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  It's my little sister's birthday!  Happy birthday, Em!

2.  A sleepy morning with puppy cuddles.
3.  Not being tempted by the Hubby's popcorn last night.
4.  Don Miller's Facebook post today:  "Great characters make decisions and move. Life is 10% choosing and 90% movement."  Perfect!
5.  Jennifer Knapp's song, "Undo Me."
6.  A great elliptical workout!
7.  A gorgeous sunset!  (This picture doesn't even begin to do it justice...)
The sunset tonight was Amazing!
8.  A friend sticking up for me.
9.  Tonight's episode of "Castle."
10.  Falling asleep to a good book tonight!

QotD:  What's the last dream you remember?
We bought the house in South Minneapolis that we loved a few years ago...  And I had a business that I did out of the bright, cheery den in the front of the house.  It was perfect.  Good dream!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


"I have learned from experience that happiness is an acquired skill.  There is always something to complain about, even in the best of times.  And there is always something to celebrate, even in the worst of times.  Happiness is not an objective reality so much as a subjective decision.  Chronic complainers miss the boat...

"...I have learned that happiness is not determined by circumstances.  Happiness is not what happens when everything goes the way you think it should go; happiness is what happens when you decide to be happy...

"...Gratitude is essential to happiness.  Developing a grateful the essence of a happy existence.  Happiness is a muscle we must use, or it will wither away."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace
Quotes from my reading this afternoon...  Perfect.
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Coloring with my youth group kids.
2.  Positive feedback from last week's sermon.
3.  Unexpected cards.
4.  A wonderful partner in ministry this morning.  Thank you, Cindi!
5.  "Thank yous" from those who see all the work I do.
6.  Updating my LinkedIn account - for the first time in years, apparently!
7.  Bailey got a bath - and smells much better!
8.  Lunch out with some of Mike's family.
9.  Watching the Oscars.
10.  Ideas, ideas, ideas!
QotD:  Today you've got too much...
Time sitting on my butt!  Sunday's are always lazy days come afternoon...  But today felt lazier than most!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Week 6

I'm a day late for my "Week 6" post about my weight loss journey...  Sorry about that!  Between having a few inches of snow yesterday morning, and me not feeling the greatest - I skipped my weigh-in appointment.

But no worries!  I went in today!

I was a little nervous.  This week wasn't so good...  I stayed on plan, but have felt like I was coming down with a cold.  No energy.  Not hungry, so forgetting to eat at regular intervals.  And lots of evening meetings, which really screws up my one healthy "real" meal of the day. 

So, I didn't really think it was going to be a good weigh-in.
And I didn't lose any last week...
So, I kind of set myself up to be disappointed.  (Why do we do this to ourselves?!  Why do we always assume the worst?  Geesh.)

I wasn't disappointed.

In fact, I was pretty pleased!

Another 3.5lbs GONE!  (Making a total of 14!)


I re-evaluated the things that got in the way last week - mostly, my meals weren't simple enough.  So, I bought mostly bars and shakes from Medifast this week (easy, peasy - I can eat these anytime, anywhere).  And, I'm planning more evening meals that make enough for leftovers - which I'll keep for my later nights, so I don't have to cook a whole meal when I get home at 8pm.

I think those two things will get me back on track.

Phew.  I love the feeling of relief - knowing I didn't screw it up after all!  Ha!

Oh!  And...  Today, I was getting ready to go out with the hubby and decided on a whim to try on some of my old jeans... 

Good news?  They fit!  Well! 

Bad news?  I didn't realize how worn and threadbare they were in certain places...  In the trash they went...  Ugh. 

I did find one pair of smaller jeans that were actually a little baggy!  They'll do for now - but they make me laugh.  A Goodwill shopping trip may be happening sooner than I thought!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Waking up, laughing at our crazy dog.
2.  Having coffee with the hubby.
3.  Finally saying some of my thoughts out loud - and having them supported 100%.
4.  More Godly "nudges."
5.  The relief of succeeding when you thought you wouldn't.
6.  -3.5!
7.  A 2.5 mile walk with the hubby and the dog.  Very nice!
8.  Another 2 episodes of "Downton Abby" watched...  Heart-breaking!
9.  The band, "Alabama Shakes."
10.  Receiving Valentines from Elly and Sam!
Photo: We got our Valentines today from two of our favorite buddies!  Thanks Elly and Sam!

QotD:  What' the most embarrassing purchase on a recent credit card statement?
Ha!  We cut up our credit cards a year ago!  So, I don't have any embarrassing purchases recently!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Storyline - Conflict

Photo: Perfect way to spend my morning...
"Living great stories means entering into a world of risk and fear.  If you're conflict avoidant, this is going to be tough, but press on.  Keep pushing your story a little further outside your comfort zone...

"A ship at harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.  Look at yourself in the mirror and tell me you weren't designed for an adventure.  I know it's scary, but think about your passions and your desires and your longings.  Weren't you made to just go a little farther than your fear suggests?  Living a good story isn't safe, but it's meaningful.  Face your fear.  Conquer it.  And if it conquers you, show it how it didn't end you.  Get up and live another great story...

"...Showing up every day is a revolutionary act.  Let's show up to life.  Let's prove how beautiful it can really be.  Let's face the conflict, redeem it, conquer it, and allow it to mold our character.  Let's participate in what God is doing in the world."
--Don Miller, Storyline 2.0
I'm in self-discovery mode these days.  Needing change in my life - looking for ways to make my life more meaningful, and let's face it - exciting.  I've hit some road blocks...  And just need some new challenges.
So I've made New Year's resolutions - and so far, so good.
I'm also restarting my journey through Don Miller's "Storyline" project.  Discovering what I want my life to be about and how to get there.
I'm making good progress -
*  Re-discovering my gifts and talents, passions and desires
*  Clarifying what I'd like to do in the world
*  Coming up with things that will "incite" my adventure
*  And this week - recognizing the conflicts that will come into play as I begin this process
Every dream has conflict - fear of failure, lack of funds, lack of time, wondering what others will think, etc, etc.  This can be a reason not to move forward - or a challenge to face!  For me, facing challenges is something that I'm enjoying more as I get older and have more confidence in myself.  Facing challenges is what makes me depend on my faith and loved ones in bigger, bolder ways.  Facing my challenges - even when I fail - reminds me that life goes on, and there is always another path.
So here's to conflict!  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be facing some, soon!
My action step today?  Make a list of my current resolutions and "inciting incidents" to begin regularly checking them off...  Make sure I complete what I need to do on a weekly basis - meaning putting them in my schedule and making them a priority!
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  Beautiful snow falling this morning!
2.  A day off.  Truly, completely, OFF.
3.  Storyline.
4.  Big dreams.
5.  Feeling like I'm making progress.
6.  Creativity is flowing.
7.  Getting stuff done!
8.  I love my new vacuum...
9.  A quiet night at home.
10.  Those moments when you keep coming across articles, songs, readings, people, etc that are all pointing where you want to go...
QotD:  What is your prevailing emotion of the day?

Thursday, February 21, 2013


It's just been one of those weeks.  Blah blah blah.  Everything seems to be running a little slower.  With complications.  I'm tired.  Feeling a little burnt out.  People are being dumb.  Not interested in much.  Trying to juggle too many things at once.  My evening meals have been late - and not great.  It's cold.  Bitterly cold.

Like I said, just one of those weeks.

No worries, though.  I bounce back quickly!  We all have these moments - I'll be fine.  (Can you hear Eeyore?  I heard his voice, even as I typed!)  See?  I just gave myself a giggle...  I'll be on the rebound in no time!

Anyway, how about that Question of the Day?

What is the current buzzword?
Ahh, see?  I'm not even good at noticing these things.  Even the QotD is out to get me...  Here's a buzzword question - what the heck is "Harlem Shake"?  And why are there so many videos being posted saying that's what they are?  It's usually just one person standing in the middle of a room, with music on, kind of bouncing in place...  Is this a thing?  I feel so old...  (I did see a video today, taken at one of my youth group kid's school - a whole class in the library, doing the Harlem Shake.  That was kind of fun - even if I have no idea what it is about!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  This list.
2.  A quiet weekend.
3.  A nice email.
4.  Making a plan.
5.  Rescheduling a meeting.
6.  Lots of ideas at a meeting this morning!
7.  The show, "Zero Hour."
8.  Looking forward to cuddling up with a book most of the day tomorrow.
9.  Another donation to my 3 Day Walk!
10.  Google:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


"A modern Native American story tells of a rich father who took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing him how poor people can be.  They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family.  When they got back from their trip the father asked his son, 'How was the trip?'
'Very good, Dad!' the boy answered. 
'Did you see how poor people can be?' the father asked. 
'Yeah!' said the boy. 
'And what did you learn?' 
'I saw that we have one dog at home, and they have four,' the boy replied. 'We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden; they have a creek that has no end.  We have imported lamps in the garden; they have the stars.  Our patio reaches to the front yard; they have a whole horizon.'  When the little boy was finished, his father was speechless. 
His son added, 'Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!'"
--from Secrets of Simplicity, by Mary Carlomangno
My chapter today was about money...  How we approach our money and if we dream for magical things to happen - or if we get down and dirty, using practical methods to achieve a little magic in our life.
Last year at this time, Hubby and I were in the middle of Financial Peace University (a program developed by Dave Ramsey).  We went into it skeptically...  Not looking forward to talking about our money situation for 13 weeks.  We weren't really sure how it would help - or if we could handle talking about money with each other for weeks on end!
But, wow, am I glad we decided to take the class!  For the first time in our nine years of marriage, we are on a budget.  A real budget - one that we, mostly, stick to!  And we talk about it - without fighting!  Whoa.
We've made some tough decisions, but we're following the "Baby Steps" and have paid off about $30,000 in one year!  Pretty amazing, right?!  We've cut up our credit cards, have an emergency fund, only have payments left on one of our cars and our mortgage - and have still been able to have a little fun.
We're currently planning for our future - how to pay down our home quicker, so that we can move to the neighborhood we want to live in; and then saving quickly for the far-off future.
Sounds boring, I know - but it's exciting to us!  For the first time, we don't worry and stress about money like we used to.  We know we can manage.  And that peace-of-mind comes with its own brand of magic!
If you're looking to get your financial life straightened out, made simpler, and looking more hope-filled - look for a Financial Peace University class near you!  It's worth it!
Things I am thankful for today:
1.  A good mission team meeting last night - moving forward!
2.  REALLY good news for a friend!
3.  A new vacuum!  (I'm a dork - this makes me very happy...)
4.  Stumbling across an article that could prove exciting.
5.  Making our way through this season of "Downton Abby" (and so far, no one has ruined it for us).
6.  New guests at our Lenten Service - "misfits" to our congregation, but I loved having them there!
7.  Candlelight and time for reflection.
8.  Watching new friendships being formed.
9.  Eagles returning to our area!
10.  Coming home...
QotD:  What word do you most overuse?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Check In

Today's weather, news, and events:  COLD and windy!  Wind chill of -25...  Gross.
In the news?  A meteor hit Russia last Friday!  It was 55 feet wide and weighed 10,000 tons!  1,000 people were injured and 4,000 buildings had their windows blown out due to the sonic boom.  Crazy! 
Events?  Today is my niece, Finley's 5th birthday!  Woohoo!

Today I feel:  So tired...  I never sleep well when the wind is howling!  Let's just hope I can keep a headache away!  (But I also feel great!  I stepped on the scale this morning, and the number has gone down again!)

I am grateful for:  Nieces and nephews.  A warm home.  A reliable car.  A cozy office.  Motivation.  Will power.  My elliptical machine.  Waking up without the alarm.  Music.  Hot tea.  The kid who visited me at church today - I overheard him say, "if you just add one more line, you turn a negative into a positive!"  Awesome.

Spiritually I:  am astounded at the gift of grace - and how it affects people's lives.  Amazing.

People in my thoughts today:  Birthday girls, Finley and Diane.  Sue and her continued health concerns.  Cheryl... wanting to visit her! 

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  An email sent to me at the exact time I needed it, by a woman from church.  One of those moments when I felt useless, ineffective, and hopeless.  An email that said I was anything but.  Talk about cheering me up!

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, caring, sharing, and forgiveness):  Hugs with a new member at our church on Sunday...  Listening to her share how her life has changed - and God has called her back to Him - after a horrendous health concern.  So glad to have her with us!

For a better tomorrow:  Must get a LOT done at church, today!

QotD:  Who is the craziest person in your life?
A friend-of-a-friend that we met last summer.  He shows up at every event, dressed for the occasion (tweed vest and hat with tie for the British Arrows awards; full Twins baseball gear for a Twins game; Hawaiian shirt and shorts for the Polar Plunge, etc, etc) - and he does everything 100%.  Including a 3lb burger challenge with chili fries!  Ewww...  He doesn't risk missing out on any experience!

Monday, February 18, 2013


Today's reading in Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, was about "neighborhood."  Rediscovering the place where you live: noticing the people, the places, the smells, the needs, etc.  Asking the question, "what about my neighborhood makes it seem like home?  And how do I connect with it?"

Kind of a fun read after having lunch with my dad today - near the neighborhood I hope to live in eventually!
Photo: Lunch with Dad?  Of course!

My hubby and I have talked a lot about "neighborhood" over the years - and we both have the desire to live in a city neighborhood.  Small houses with lots of character.  Cozy spaces that exude warmth and love.  Porches and front steps where people actually sit and talk.  Sidewalks lined with old trees -perfect for evening strolls.  Yards meant for a BBQ.  Coffee shops nearby to meet-up with friends.  Bus lines available for easy transportation into the city.  Bike trails around lakes.  Amphitheatres with nightly music and plays - all within walking distance.  That's our dream.

But, right now, we live in a townhouse in the suburbs.  It's nice - don't get me wrong.  We have gorgeous walking trails, perfect swimming pools, easy distance to any number of stores, restaurants, and groceries.  But.  No sense of community.  No BBQs on our street.  No hanging out with the neighbors and enjoying the evening breeze... 

Someday.  We'll get there.  For now, we'll continue to go for walks, swim at the pool, and greet everyone we see with a smile and a hope.  We'll enjoy our trips into the city - discovering new bars, coffee shops, restaurants, music venues, parks, etc - and daydream about the day we become a part of that community!


Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Sleeping in a little.
2.  Lunch with Dad!
3.  Wise Acre Eatery.  Yum.
4.  Max Lucado's "Cure for the Common Life."
5.  Hubby's day off for President's Day!
6.  Catching up on reading.
7.  A fabulous herbal tea (that smells like root beer!):  Evening in Missoula.
8.  Another good workout - and they're getting easier... and more enjoyable!
9.  Staying warm and cozy inside while the wind picks up outside!
10.  Projects.

QotD:  What's the most expensive thing you're wearing right now?
My engagement ring.  Clothes-wise?  My Smartwool sweater.  Love it!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Have Faith. Hold On.

"The mystic's first recourse when we are stressed is to take a step back and view the situation from a cosmic perspective.  How do we do this, when circumstances affect us in such significant ways?  There is a kind of spiritual muscle we develop, which gives us the strength to visualize any situation surrounded by light and embraced in the arms of God.  Our mystical power lies in knowing that any situation can be seen through different eyes, and that our choice to see a situation differently is an invitation for miracles to enter.  God will do His part when we do ours.  The work of resurrection is a continuous process, at work in all dimensions of time and space.  When there is lack, God's abundance is on the way.  Hold on.  Have faith.  It's coming."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

I spent a portion of my life assuming my failings were other peoples' faults.  When I would get hurt, it must have been because of the other person.  When I didn't succeed, it could only have been the other factors involved.  When friendships have whithered away, I made up excuses why the other person was no longer available.

All of that was so much easier that taking a look at myself.  My part in the equations.  My errors.  My misunderstandings.  My lack of faith.

But life changes us.  Life makes us decide - do I go through life always feeling hurt, insecure, sad, angry, frustrated, or put upon?  Or do I decide to look at things from different angles?  To take responsibility for my own parts in the events of my life?

My faith has changed the way I live life.  It's made me see things - and people - from a different perspective.  And I believe, in the long-run, it's made me the happier person that I am today.

I know I'm not perfect.  I say the wrong things.  Do the wrong things.  Shy away from conflict.  And yes, I like to think I'm right much of the time.  **Wink**

But, as Marianne Williamson says: when life gets us down, those of us with faith in God look at the situation from a faith-filled perspective.  Humble.  Truth-seeking.  With forgiveness - both for ourselves and others.  With love.  With grace. 

Things can change.  But we've got to start somewhere - and for me?  It almost always starts with myself.  When I feel that moment when life seems to be lacking...  I know it's time to look within.  What can I do?  What can I pray?

And I know...  When I begin that process...  Abundance is on the way.  Hold on.  Have faith.

That I can do.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Our Pastor is out of town, so I was leading worship and preaching.  Everything went smoothly - Allelulia!
2.  Mentors that try their best for my confirmands.
3.  Lessons in grace.
4.  John 8:1-11.  Great passage to preach on today!
5.  Another $100 donated to my Susan G Komen 3 Day Walk!  (I now have $595 toward my $2300 goal!)
6.  "Once Upon a Time."
7.  Emails that make me smile...  Thanks, Jean!
8.  Moments of clarity.
9.  A little time to read...  For fun!
10.  Day dreaming...

QotD:  If you could change something about today, what would it be?
My effectiveness in working with our confirmands...  Sometimes, it feels like a pointless rollercoaster!  (I know in my heart it is not, and I do love the kids, just somedays are worse than others.) 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentines: Part Two

Mike gave me his Valentine surprise today...  We went snow-shoeing!
Photo: Mike's Valentine Surprise for me...  Snow-shoeing!
I've wanted to try it for a long time - and he knew it.  So, we went to a nearby park, rented the snowshoes, and enjoyed some time exploring and enjoying the sunshine!
Photo: Bailey came along for the fun...
And guess what?!  I liked it!  I actually have a winter activity that I...  LIKED!  Woohoo!
Photo: Bailey was happy to have a break...  Lol.
Thanks for a great afternoon, Honey!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Finishing my sermon before 11pm.
2.  Enjoying a relaxing morning at home.
3.  Coffee.
4.  A clean car!
5.  Not feeling awkward on snow shoes (and not tripping!).
6.  Dressing too warm(?) today.  It was nice out!
7.  Watching more "Downton Abby" - we'll catch up eventually!
8.  Clothes fitting loosely...
9.  Exercising 6 days a week.  Whoa.
10.  Lovin' life.

QotD:  What was the last performance or concert you went to?
A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin at the Fine Line.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Week 5

Well, it finally happened...  I had a week with no weight loss.  Bummer.
But, I maintained.

And, it was probably due to starting to exercise everyday - 6 out of the last 7!  Woohoo! 
(I've decided not to worry about planned workouts on Sundays.  Fun exercise?  Sure!)

So, I don't feel bad.  I'm still averaging 2.5 lbs a week.

No problem!

This week I had two meals out that weren't planned ahead...  Those can pose problems for me.  I recognize that and will do better.  I'm not too worried.

We tried a couple more healthy dinners this week:
Citrus grilled pork chops with broccoli.
A veggie omelet.
Salmon with a red pepper puree.

Life is good!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Third morning in a row with no TV in the morning.  Feels good!
2.  Staying on track.
3.  Tax refund arrived!
4.  Walking with Tracie and Hope.  Nice way to spend part of the morning!
5.  Studying John 8:1-11 this week...  Grace.
6.  Hugs.
7.  Starbuck's new coconut, ginger, lemongrass green tea.
8.  Finally watched "Bridesmaids!"
9.  Talking with Amanda today.
10.  Birthday present shopping!

QotD:  Write down the cure for a broken heart.
The support and love of family and friends...  Patience...  And chocolate. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Shhhh...  It's Valentines Day, and it's supposed to be the Hubby's turn to surprise me... 
But I thought I'd surprise him, too - just to have a little fun!
(We start with some balloons...)
(Which are quite fun to haul in a Fiat!)
(Add some love notes and pictures...)
A close up of the photos and notes...  :)

(The final product.)

(I'm feeling a little mischievous!)

Our bedroom is filled with balloons - attached to each is a note with things I love about him and/or a picture of a favorite memory from this past year.

Memorable moments.
Little surprises.

All part of my resolutions for this year! 

(His first glimpse...)
(I think he liked it!)

How did you celebrate the day?  I'd love to hear your stories!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Working from home.
2.  A new friend walking the 3Day!  Woohoo!
3.  Valentines Day - just a fun, romantic day...
4.  My hubby.
5.  Balloons.
6.  Funny cards.
7.  My gift from him...  Arm and hand warmers!  Woohoo!
8.  Good things happening to friends...
9.  Our vacuum caught fire today..  Time for a new one!
10.  Kisses.

QotD:  Did you kiss someone today?
Of course!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Keys to Happiness

I've been very interested in the Blue Zones studies reports over the years.  I read the book, Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From the People Who Have Lived the Longest, by Dan Buettner a few years ago - and found it fascinating!  It talked about the factors that have helped certain groups of people around the world live well into their 90s or even 100s.

The latest book is Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way, also by Dan Buettner.  I haven't read this one yet - but I hope to soon!  I follow the website and Facebook posts - always interesting information.

This week, on Facebook, they posted 10 factors that seem to make people the happiest around the globe.  (Just to be clear, in this discussion "happiness" isn't the shallow, feel-good, momentary giddiness that we sometimes think of when we hear "happy."  It is the deeper, long-term, joy and gratitude that comes with a life well lived.  A sustaining view of the world.) 

I loved this list (and I think I'm working towards most of them already!), so I thought I'd share:

1.  Nestle in the right neighborhood.  A place with sidewalks and places to meet people, with parks and green space.  (Someday, we'll live in the city...  But where we live now is halfway to this goal.)

2.  Stop shopping: Start saving.  Financial security is a must! 
(Financial Peace University, anyone?)

3.  Make the most of your morning.  Eat breakfast and get some exercise first thing (it'll keep you energized for up to 12 hours!).  (I'm halfway there - eat breakfast, but exercise later.)

4.  Trim your TV time.  The happiest people spend less than an hour watching TV everyday - and instead spend time with family and friends, or partaking in hobbies.  (This, I could work on!)

5.  Get a daily dose of friends.  The happiest people spend 6 hours a day with friends and family.  And being around happier people is contagious - as well as being around not-so-happy people.  So find some happy friends!  (I'm blessed to have a lot of cool people in my daily life.)

6.  Find your soul mate.  Committed relationships lead to happiness.  (Done.)

7.  Meet, pray, love.  People who belong to a faith community and attend more than once a week tend to be happier (and live 7 years longer than those who don't!).  (Yep.  Doing good here!)

8.  Create a sunny sanctuary.  Create a space in your home with natural light - that is cheery and inviting - and spend time with family and friends, or enjoying a favorite hobby, in that space!  (I love my home.  We're good.)

9.  Gain peace with a pooch.  Yes, get a dog!  (Done.)

10.  Ignite passion for compassion.  Givers (of time, money, gifts, and talents) tend to be happier people.  (I believe this is very, very true!)

So...  Out of this list, I should be limiting my TV watching and exercising in the morning.  This is funny, on the morning of Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) to realize in past years - when I gave up TV in the mornings in order to use that time to exercise - I was right on track!

Guess I'll be trying that resolution again!  Click.  TV is off!  Off to the elliptical...!

Do any of these Blue Zones factors challenge you in your day to day life?
Are you giving up anything for Lent?  Or trying something new?
I'd love to hear!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Watching an eagle soar yesterday morning.
2.  My sister's pink heart rice krispie bars.
3.  10 hours of sleep last night!
4.  Emergen-C.
5.  Ash Wednesday.
6.  Being given the opportunity to bless people with the ashes.  (One of those moments when I love my job!)
7.  A break in the afternoon for an early dinner with the hubby!
8.  Max Lucado.
9.  Watching the dog play in the snow.
10.  Another good workout!

QotD:  What's your favorite question to ask people?
What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gratitude Journal

Today's weather, news, events:  The sun is shining!  The Pope is resigning.  And Valentine's Day is approaching!  (It's Mike's turn to plan this year...  Should be fun!)

Today I feel:  A little tired and overwhelmed.  So much to do this week - in addition to birthdays, Valentines, and fun.  I'm preaching on Sunday - and it's not an easy scripture I'm working with!  Buggers!

I am grateful for:  Sunshine.  A good night's sleep.  Birthday lunches.  Greeting cards.  Real mail. 

Spiritually I:  am well and looking forward to Ash Wednesday and this Lenten season.

People in my thoughts today:  Penny, Diane, Kerry, Emily, Finley, and Dawn - The birthday girls!

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  Last Sunday, I had a fun and enlightening conversation with a man at church - someone who has attended for a long time, in a wheelchair, brought by an attendant...  I always welcome him and hold his hand when I talk to him - but he's never really talked back, and so I assumed maybe he wasn't able to communicate well.  Big surprise to me, this Sunday we had a full, humorous, conversation!  He knew my name, knew I was married, knew my husband's name... and he was funny, mischievious, and playful!  I loved it.  Definately a magical moment.

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Prayers, notes, and hugs.

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  Still working on waking up earlier and taking time to meditate and pray first thing in the morning... 

QotD:  What is your biggest obstacle right now?
Myself.  Laziness.  Fear of failure.

Monday, February 11, 2013


So far, due to my readings in Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, I've tried:

*  Creating "shrines" around the house to things that inspire me and bring us happiness. (Done!)
*  Going "shelf by shelf" to clear clutter from shelves, drawer, closets, etc.  (Still working on it - but I've made great progress!)
*  "Giving gold stars" to my husband - noticing and thanking him for things he does well.
*  Making the positive argument for my husband and others - assuming they always have good intentions.
*  Learning something new that would benefit my relationship with my husband.  (I'm including my weight-loss and training for the 3 Day Walk here!)
*  Getting up half an hour earlier.  (Still working on making this consistent.)  And go to bed earlier.
*  Exercising.  (Doing!)
*  Eatting healthier.  (Doing!)
*  Creating a dream board.
*  Surrounding myself with good scents.  Candles.
*  Listening to classical music at work.  (Doing - and I love it!)
*  Writing and mailing notes to uplift people's days.  (Working on it...)

Today, my reading was about relationships.  The first thing she called attention to was a need for a gratitude ritual in your life...  Smile.  I've got that one down in a couple of ways! 
1)Here on my blog, I write down things I am thankful for everyday (and they often include my relationships!). 
2)We have our "gratitude jar" on the kitchen counter - when things happen that we want to remember, we write them down and put the note in the jar.  And on New Year's Day we open them and celebrate the last year!

I like these rituals - a lot.  Even on my bad days, I'm reminded how blessed my life really is!

Things I'd like to work on:
1)  Being a better daughter and sister.  I take my relationships with family members for granted and often forget to call, send notes, or visit.  I need to work on being intentional about these things.
2)  Plan little surprises for those in my life!  This goes back ot Bob Goff's "make memorable moments."  Bring joy to others in fun, simple ways.

The people in my life are what make it so great - and I'm so thankful for them, every day!  Time to show them!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A surprising conversation from Sunday, that keeps making me smile...
2.  A haircut!
3.  The smell of Aveda products...
4.  Head and neck massages.  Heaven.
5.  Birthdays coming up!
6.  Working on a Valentine surprise for my hubby.
7.  A yummy dinner - Citrus Grilled Pork Chops and Brocolli.
8.  Another good day on the elliptical!
9.  Cuddly naps
10.  Lovin' life.

QotD:  How did you get to work today?
Ha ha ha.  I work from home on Mondays...  So, I rolled out of bed and made my way to the couch.  It was a rough commute!

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Today, my reading in Everyday Grace by Marianne Williamson is about "work."  That thing we all do everyday to bring home a paycheck and pay the bills...  How do we find meaning in what we do?  And how do we live out our faith in the midst of it?

Here's my favorite part from this week's chapter:

"Ministry is not just for ministers: In the new spirituality, a minister is anyone who chooses to use our resources to tend to the wounded heart of the world.  Anything we do can be a ministry, from menial labor to the highest professional endeavor.  It is our ministry if it is an activity we use to spread peace and forgiveness and love.

"We transform our work into a scared experience by transforming our sense of purpose - from that of serving our own needs as we define them to that of serving the work of God.  This shift in purpose - from a focus on ourselves to a focus on God's love - activates a chain of miracles.  For anytime we walk into a situation with a higher sense of why we are there, we are bringing down the light."

It's funny to think about some of my past jobs, and realizing that I always had a sense that I was there for more than the job itself. 

Working in a pet food store, I was the salesperson who took time with customers that no one else wanted to serve...  (I remember one woman who had a very unfortunate deformity on her face.  The manager of the store always told me to hurry up her sale and get her out of there, because she made people uncomfortable.  But, that's exactly why I took my time with her...  She had at least one place where she was known, and knew I would welcome seeing her each week.)

As a waitress, I knew most of my regular customers' names and what they ordered and greeted them enthusiastically every time they came in!  I knew when they were ill, when they lost their jobs, when family came to visit...  I was able to smile, serve, and offer friendly conversation each time they walked through the door.  When they were having bad weeks, they knew they could come in for a little cheering up! 

At the same restuarant, I had the opportunity to share my life with the other employees, too.  A teenager that worked there once asked me what I did for a job before I worked there.  I told him I had been a youth director at a church for three years.  He smiled and said, "that makes sense.  I knew you were one of those people!"  When I asked what that meant, he said there was something different about me...  That I was nice to everyone and that I never seemed to worry about things...  It made total sense to him that I believed in God - because why else would I be that way?  (At the time I laughed it off.  But over the next few months, he would come in and ask me questions about my faith and life and we would have great conversations - with the other staff members jumping in.  It sparked a very cool relationship between me and my co-workers.)

I've had other seemingly "meaningless" jobs - and most of those have stories, too.  Now, I work at a church and get to be part of other people's lives in big and small ways - always ready with a smile, a hug, a prayer...  I'm blessed to be able to share God's love through my work everyday.

But sometimes...  I miss the "miracles" that happen when an incident incites the sharing of my faith.  I miss the unexpected encounters that open a conversation assuring someone that they are seen, valued, and loved. 

I've liked most of the jobs I've had in my lifetime so far - and I think it's because I always stayed true to my faith, joy, and love of life - and enjoyed sharing that with those who may not always experience it.  It's very true...  Every job has a calling higher than the paycheck - we just have to decide to recognize and live in to it!

How do you get to make a difference in the workplace?

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A hubby willing and able to drive me around in bad, snowy, icy weather!
Messy driving home from church...  Be safe, everyone!
2.  Looking out the window at church and seeing that hubby brushing off other people's cars.  He's so sweet!
3.  Teens that make me laugh.
4.  New members at church!
5.  Beautiful snow.
Snowy day!  So pretty...
6.  Our dog getting crazy and jumping around in the snow.  (And even bringing her favorite toy out for a romp!)
Even Bailey's bobo came out to play!
7.  Some kind words said to me today, from an "elder" that is friends with our pastor...  Reminding me that my work does not go unnoticed, and that in fact, is sometimes inspiring to other pastors who hear my ideas. 
8.  Kid President.  I can't get enough of that little guy!
9.  The Grammys are on tonight!
10.  Blankets, Pj pants, and books - Oh my!

QotD:  If this day was an animal, what animal would it be?

I would say it's a cuddly-polar-bear kind of day!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Love Does

So, I've been meaning to pick up this book since it came out...  And I finally got it!  Love Does is a collection of musings and stories from the life of Bob Goff.  If you've read any of Don Miller's recent books, you probably recognize the name.  This man lives a life of whimsy, generosity, and faith - in an engaging and delightful way!  Anytime his name comes up, I'm excited to hear the story behind it.  (Dad - you would love him!  He's a lawyer that has one of his "offices" at Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyworld.  Pirates and all!)

I met him briefly at Don Miller's Storyline Conference a couple of years ago.  "Met him" is overstating it...  I shook his hand.  I was too nervous for anything beyond that!  But he's the kind of guy you wish you could sit down and have a beer with.  It would be a great night, for sure!

Anyway, so I finally started reading his book - and I love it!  Love it.  The premise is that love is not just thoughts or feelings...  But that love takes action.  Love does.  Sounds simple - but he gives examples that make you want to do better.  His love of celebrating life and making memories - for others, as well as himself - is contagious. 

Here's a few of my favorite pieces of wisdom, so far:

  "As I sit on the island, it becomes clear that we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the 'do' part of faith.  That's because love is never stationary.  In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it.  Simply put: love does."

  "...I learned that faith isn't about knowing all the right stuff or obeying a list of rules.  It's something more, something more costly because it involves being present and making a sacrifice.  Perhaps that's why Jesus is sometimes called Immanuel - 'God with us.'  I think that's what God had in mind, for Jesus to be present, to just be with us.  It's also what He has in mind for us when it comes to other people."

"...Jesus lets us be real with our life and our faith...  What Jesus said we could do is leave typical behind.  We could leave all of the comparisons and all of the trappings and all of the pretending of religion.  Jesus told the people he was with that it's not enough to just look like you love God.  He said we'd know the extent of our love for God by how well we loved people."

"...Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving.  It's about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light.  That's what I want my life to be all about - full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.  I want to be engaged to life and with life."

Last one -

"...God finds us in our failures and our successes, and He says that while we used to think one way about things, now He wants us to think another way about those same things.  And for me, I've realized that I used to be afraid of failing at the things that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."

If you want some laugh-out-loud good stories AND some wonderful inspiration...  Read this book. 
And if you ever have the chance to shake Bob's hand...  I highly recommend it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Bob Goff.
2.  Starbucks gift cards.
3.  Going out for tea with Barb and Michelle.  Very fun!
4.  Friends sharing stories and inspiration.
5.  People who return their shopping carts to the cart corral.
6.  A great workout.
7.  The movie "Billy Elliot."
8.  Cheese.
Hubby goes out...  And the wife eats good!
9.  The movie "Despicable Me."
10.  Planning something fun...!

QotD:  What time did you wake up today?
It's Saturday!  8am.  (I could have slept longer if it weren't for the crazy pup...)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Week 4

I just got back from my weigh-in: down another 3.5 lbs this week! 
Making a total of 10.5 lbs lost!  Woohoo!

They also did my "in-body" analysis (which they do once a month). 
Of that 10.5 lbs, 8.1 of that is pure body fat.  Nice!

And they did my measurements - chest, waist, hips, arm, thigh...  Today?  9 inches gone!

I'd say things are going pretty well!  Great way to start the weekend!

This week's goals:
1)  20-30 minutes of walking or the elliptical, 5 days a week.
2)  Continue planning dinners ahead of time - at home and out with friends.
3)  Keep trying new "lean and green" recipes.  (I've got a handful of good ones, so far!)

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  -3.5lbs.
2.  My weightloss visuals.  (Sometimes, it's so gradual, you don't see it happening.  These little things help me see my progress easily!)

(On the left, each stone represents how many pounds I still have to lose.  On the right, is how many I have lost.  Each week, I move them from the left jar to the right!)

(Every month, when I do my measurements at the clinic, they give me a piece of ribbon representing how many inches I have lost, total!  Clever.)
3.  Loose jeans.
4.  The lasagna recipe we made this week.  Yum!
5.  Loving the book, Love Does by Bob Goff!
6.  Surprising Mike when he got home from work.
7.  Grilled steak and peppers.  Yum.
8.  Finally opened a bottle of wine we've been saving.  Delish!  (Thanks, Beth and Heather!)
9.  Affirmations.
10.  A fire in the fireplace.

QotD:  Are you in love?
Duh.  :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

3 Day Walk - Two Weeks In!

Things are getting good!

I sent out my first fundraising email to 60 people!
Donations are up to $475 thanks to some very generous friends and family!
We have a team of five...  and I'm meeting a potential new friend this Saturday for coffee.
I've started getting on the elliptical and continued going for walks.
I got my "getting started" packet in the mail and am excited about possible fundraising ideas!

Can I say, as I look at the 3Day merchandise (walking clothes and shoes), that I'm looking forward to buying some when I'm down a couple of sizes?!  The timing will be just right!  (I'm a dork...)

This week, I'm focusing on:
*  continuing to walk everyday
*  get some simple fundraising set up (like the change jar and flyers at work)
*  looking for a few more team members

If you've walked the 3Day before - I'm open to any and all tips for preparation!

It's fun to have such a big goal to work towards!

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Getting up with the alarm.
2.  Coconut Chai black tea.
3.  The song "Hallelujah."
4.  This video:

5.  Patience.
7.  Flexible schedules.
8.  Getting stuff done!
9.  Going with Mike to get his Brewing equipment!  So exciting!
The adventure begins...  Mike got his brewing equipment today!
10.  A good night on the elliptical!

QotD:  What are three things you have to buy?
Food - I'm not much of a farmer...  Clothes - I can't sew worth anything.  Gas for my car.  ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Today, as I'm reading my Secrets of Simplicity book, the focus is on breathing...  Take 10 full, deep breaths first thing in the morning (which ties in very well with my goal to meditate and pray first thing in the morning!).

So I tried it.  I sat quietly with all media turned off, closed my eyes, and just breathed.  Deeply.  Fully.  Feeling peaceful and alive.

Good way to start the day!  Give it a try!

After breathing, and focusing your day...  The book asked these two questions:
1)  What do you wish you had more time for?
2)  What is standing in your way of being more focused?

Good questions...

I wish I had more time for creativity...  For creating things for my home and to give away...  I have so many fun ideas, but not the space or time to bring them to life.  (I don't like the idea of starting things, then not having a place to leave them until I can get back to them...  When I clean up and put everything away, I forget about it.  One of the reasons I can't wait to build a project desk!  All my supplies organized and near by, and ongoing projects to play with in the evenings?  Sounds perfect!)

I wish I had more time for reading...  Which I do have time for.  I'm just so tired by the end of the day, I can't keep my eyes open!  So I guess I could say, "sleepiness" is standing in my way; and laziness.  Sometimes it's easier to just turn on the tv!

I think, as lots of thoughts are spinning through my mind right now, that the main thing standing in the way of all of my wishes is energy.  I'm just so tired by the time I get home from work!  I can rally for events, but if we're home...  I'm on the couch in my pjs after dinner and in bed around 10pm (this is very new to me!).

Maybe finding ways to boost my energy would be a good way to start doing more of what I love!  Interesting...

Try the breathing exercise - feels great!  And what are your wishes and the things that stand in the way?  What can you do about them?

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Breath.
2.  No headache!
3.  Leftovers.
4.  Noticing.
5.  Coffee dates with friends.
6.  Getting to go home for dinner!
7.  An early birthday present.
8.  Time to read.
9.  Dry skin shaving cream!
10.  Going to bed early.

QotD:  Are you seeking contentment or excitement?
I think I was just asked this question recently...  Or it was worded - Are you seeking adventure or security?  LOL.  Both!  I love my life and am content and secure when I am home and all is well with the world.  BUT, I crave adventure and excitement!  That's why I love to travel so much...  To see new things, meet new people, taste new foods...  And really?  I'm pretty content when traveling and trying new things.  This year, I'm hoping to find more opportunities closer to home to experience excitement and adventure!  We have some ideas...  But still working on a list! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday's Check In

Today's weather:  Fresh snow, gray skies, but warm!  26 degrees at 8:30am!  In the news?  Nothing much - still talking about the power outage at the SuperBowl, gun control, and why Ben Affleck didn't get nominated for a directorial Oscar.  I am looking forward to watching the Grammys, this weekend, though...

Today I feel:  A little under the weather.  Migraine headache, tired, and blah. 

I am grateful for:  Excedrin.  Quiet.  Cool water.  Funny subject lines on spam email.  Taxes are done!  Nice refunds.  Wireless printers.  Possibilities.  Birthdays.  Ideas.

Spiritually I:  Am amazed at how God still works miracles!  In the midst of many sad things in people's lives, there are still healings, births, and joy all around!

People in my thoughts today:  Baby Oliver and his mom; Sara; Sue and Denny.

Magical moments (comfort, peace, and love):  All this past week, at some point in the evening, looking outside the window of our warm cozy house, or of a bar we were at with friends, or from my office window - looking out at soft snow falling, big flakes, and glittery light...  It's been so pretty!

Donations of the heart (acts of kindness, sharing, caring, and forgiveness):  Donated food to the food shelf; finally forgave someone in my heart; hugs and checking in with friends in tough places...

For a better tomorrow (goals, ideas, etc):  No headache.  Create a "dream board," a Pandora classical music station, buy some more candles for work and home.  Simple tasks for this week!

QotD:  What are you obsessively listening to?
Hmmm...  Brandi Carlile's song "Raise Hell" - Love it!  And the "Head and the Heart" album.  So good.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Physical

My chapter today, in Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin, focused on the physical aspects of happiness...  What physical things can we do to increase happiness in our day to day lives?

The focuses she decided on for her life didn't really apply so much to me...  So I thought I'd give it a little thought.  What things could I work on that would be physically improving my happiness?

1)  Exercise.  Of course.  I plan to go for a walk this afternoon!
2)  Eating healthier.  Yep.  Working on that.
3)  A dream board.  I'm inspired by the things I see on a daily basis.  I've wanted a giant bulletin board to put quotes, pictures, ideas, places, etc, on for awhile...  Maybe it's time to make it!
4)  Candles.  I love the good feelings that are associated with nice scents.  Maybe it's time for some new candles?
5)  I've gotten back in the habit of working in silence...  I miss music.  But I can't have songs playing because I get distracted by the words!  I'll make a Pandora station of classical music for work - I bet I'll love it!
6)  Writing notes - and mailing them.  I've been surprised lately at how much I enjoy getting notes in the mail...  I could pass it on to others, too!

Just some ideas...  What could you do - physically - to bring more happiness to your life?

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  A relaxing day.
2.  Pat, the mechanic.  He makes me smile.
3.  And he washed my car!
4.  And put my tabs on my plates for me!
5.  Sunshine.
6.  A cooolllddddd walk!  Brrr...
7.  A hot shower afterwards!
8.  Our weekly "Bachelor" date.
9.  Aveeno moisturizer.
10.  More snow on the way!

QotD:  Outside the weather is...
Sunny.  16 degrees.  Good enough for a walk!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Be the Change

"Surrounded by terrible news, we are tempted to feel powerless before the strength of darkness.  And yet, we are NOT powerless...  Through God, we have the power to use our spiritual resources to banish all darkness - to transform our world from a state of limitation and fear to a state of abundance and love."

"...Bless those who do harm as well as those who do good, for any judgment blocks the light and keeps miracles at bay.  Becoming emotionally reactive when we are confronted with darkness only serves to keep the darkness alive.  Reacting to fear with fear merely feeds the fear. 
Instead, let us claim for ourselves the power of love..."

"...When love and forgiveness replace blame and retribution, we will have begun construction on a new and better world..."

"...Often, we are guided to do something to make the world a better place.  Often, we are inspired to pray without ceasing.  Almost always, we are moved to do both."
--Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace
I've been really enjoying reading a little bit of this book every Sunday afternoon...  It's a lovely piece of inspiration for the week...  Inspiration to keep striving to do better!
This reading reminded me of our mission trip to an Indian reservation last year.  We had a great week - lots of new experiences, wonderful people, and bonding within our group.  But the very last day, when we returned from our workday, several of us realized we had things missing.  Someone had come into our house and stolen cameras, phones, ipods, etc.
I was crushed.  With all the good that happened that week, the last thing I wanted was for this to be the lasting memory our kids would take home; the story they would tell.  Our nation's reservations are struggling in all kinds of ways - and this reservation is no different.  But the ministry that we worked with has made such a HUGE difference in this place - respect and friendship between the cultures...  I didn't want to ruin that story with one person deciding to steal from us.
So that night, at our devotional time, we processed what happened as a group.  The kids were the first to say that this was one small piece of the trip - and that it did not define the Lakota people.  They recognized the sadness that someone felt desperate enough to steal from people who came to be friends and help out.  And together, we prayed for the person that stole from us...
When we returned home and the kids told their stories - there was no mention of this incident.  Instead, us adults told the story in a compassionate and grace-filled way.  And our congregation stepped up and helped our kids to replaced their stolen goods.  Amazing.
This could have been an incident of darkness that tainted a good trip, ruined a relationship with people that we've come to love, scared kids from going on mission trips again...  Darkness could have won here.  But our faith - and the love that God calls us to live out, won.  Light overshadowed the dark - in big ways!
And yes, we're going back this summer.  Looking forward to visiting new friends!
 Things I am thankful for today:
1.  A fun Sunday school class with the kids.
2.  The hubby speaking in church - and doing a fantastic job!
3.  The love my congregation members share with me.
4.  Sweet hugs from elderly people.
5.  Seeing Sue - who is cancer-FREE!  Woohoo!
6.  Watching the Superbowl with our friend, Alex.
7.  Salmon grilled on the cedar-plank.  Delish!
8.  This video - my favorite!

9.  In honor of the football game, this video, too: 
10.  Sharing our FPU (Financial Peace University) experience at church.
QotD:  On a scale of 1-10, how sad are you?  Why?
Not sad today...  Life is good!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Two of My Favorites

QotD:  Who do you live with?

My hubby...  My best friend.  He supports me, makes me laugh, and kisses me good-bye every morning.  He cleans the bathrooms and takes out the garbage.  He fixes things and helps me create a sense of peace in our home.  He asks me about my day and lets me have the window seat on every airplane ride.  He plans surprises and gives the best hugs!  I'm a pretty lucky girl.

And I live with this funny little poodle, Bailey.  She's my cuddle-buddy, my alarm clock, and my partner in teasing the hubby.  She makes me laugh with her squeaky ball, her bone, and her tricks.  She enjoys long walks and nights cozied up by the fire.  She's full of kisses and loves a good nap in a blanket.  And yes, she loves her grandparents! 

These two make our house my home...  It's just not the same without either one!

Who do you live with?

Things I am thankful for today:

1.  Sleeping in - late!
2.  A quiet day.
3.  Talking about the budget - and realizing we're doing good!
4.  Finally buying a new printer!  Woohoo!
5.  A trip to Mall of America - and despite the crowds, in and out in less than an hour!
6.  People watching.
7.  A night out celebrating a friend's birthday!
8.  More fresh snow.
9.  The hubby driving in the fresh snow - again.
10.  Feeling content.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Week 3

Down another pound today!  Total of 7 lbs lost - woohoo!

This week, I focused on getting more activity in each day - walking at Mall of America, getting on the elliptical, getting up from my desk and walking around once an hour, walking to get the mail (a block away) - little things, but it all adds up!

I also found that when I got more activity in, I went to sleep much earlier than is my regular routine!  I usually don't fall asleep until 1am...  Even when I'm tired.  This week?  I've been in bed by 10:30pm at the latest every night!  And it's been great!

As for my goals - easily getting in my 64oz of water everyday, journaling my food has become habit, and social gatherings are getting easier and easier.  I'm becoming a pro at eating my "lean and green" dinner before going out, sneaking my snacks in my pocket, and drinking water.  I even brought a shrimp salad to an event at church where pizza was being served...  And people asked why they didn't get shrimp salad!  (I did feel a little bad when I was crunching through the crispy lettuce after the speaker began her presentation...!)

So far so good!  This week, I'd like to still focus on working in more activity (small steps, due mostly to the program I'm on).  In fact, I'll be jumping on the elliptical in a few minutes!

Things I'm thankful for today:

1.  Another pound lost.
2.  Cheerful counselors at the clinic.
3.  A nice chunk of change sent to payoff a debt.
4.  Game night at a friend's house!  So fun!
5.  Friends you can just relax with...  A treasure.
6.  Seeing another friend giggle like a schoolgirl.  Made me smile.
7.  Fresh snow!
8.  Hubby did the driving in the fresh snow!
9.  A warm home to come home to.
10.  A bed to sink into!

QotD:  What is your resolution for tomorrow?
Talk about our budget with the hubby...  Just to go over January!  (Should be easy!)
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