Monday, February 26, 2007

No wonder I don't feel so good...

The winter months often bring sickness to many households and families around me. Children get the sniffles; moms fight off the flu in order to keep thier homes running smoothly. But I was thinking about how sometimes I just don't feel good. Blah is the best way to describe it. Isn't that funny? Well, it's not, actually... its disturbing to me.

Let me explain. Often, when I feel "blah," I can look back and see a pattern of sin; a time of struggle over bad habits; a season of being away from the word. We all know we need nourishment and a healthy lifestyle to live up the schedules that we create for ourselves.

What a gift that God calls us to himself. He gives us the desire for him. Amazing.

A couple of weeks ago, I had been thinking about all of these things, and at church, we sang a song that helped me see...

Satisfied - Author Unknown
All my life long I have panted for a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within
Hallelujah! He has found me, the one my soul so long has craved,
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through His blood I now am saved.

Feeding on the filth around me til my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better, only still to hunger on.
Hallelujah! He has found me, the one my soul so long has craved,
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through His blood I now am saved.

Poor I was and sought for riches, something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered 'round me, only mocked my soul's sad cry.
Hallelujah! He has found me, the one my soul so long has craved,
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through His blood I now am saved.

Well of water ever springing, bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me.
Hallelujah! He has found me, the one my soul so long has craved,
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through His blood I now am saved.

Father, help me to see my cravings for satisfaction and joy as your design to draw me - let me never feast on the filth around me - its satisfaction is so quickly fleeting... Father, you are enough!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can I ever be a runner?...

in my recent days (as in, a week or so now) of going to the gym regularly, i'm back on my kick of eventually becoming a runner. honestly, i think it looks cool. i won't lie. plus, you can do it anywhere! :-) (unless you're at the mall - that's really more for walkers. you don't want store owners chasing you do you??) so, with training comes education. so, i've been researching. then i came across this. ha! i hope it encourages you to keep moving! (i'm trying to...)

Reasons Not To Run: (by Jesslyn Cummings)...
Every runner or jogger has their special excuse not to run; in fact, most people who don't run at all have their excuses too. Presented here are some of my favorite excuses why people don't run. Whether it is a runner's excuse to skip a day or a nonrunner's excuse to not start running, here are ten of them and why they don't hold water.
1) I'm too out-of-shape.
This excuse is usually used by those who aren't runners, but I've heard it from runners who got injured or sick and had to take time off of running. It's really quite sad actually because running is a great way to get into shape. If you ask me, noone is too out-of-shape to get in shape. You may have to start walking and then work up to very slow running, but you can do it. Just talk to your doctor first.
2) Running causes injuries.
Yes, running does cause injuries sometimes, but not any more than most other sports. You're a lot less likely to get hurt running (if you take it slow and easy while you're adjusting to running) than if you were a gymnast. You don't have to get hurt if you are a runner. Just go slow, listen to your body, and warm-up properly before each run.
3) It’ll ruin my knees (joints or body).
Just like "running causes injuries," this excuse only applies to people who are pushing themselves too fast or not properly letting their muscles/body become accustomed to running. Being overweight can make running harder on your knees, but, if you take your time and work up to running, your knees, body, and joints won't get hurt.
4) I don’t have enough time.
This is just an excuse, nothing more. Life is going by so fast, but nothing should be as important as your health. Take even 15 minutes a day to yourself and go for a walk or run. It's all about priorities.
5) I’ve never been good at running.
This is one of my personal favorite excuses because it used to apply to me. I wasn't good at running, but, like many other things, we get good at running by practicing it. It's that simple; if you run and take it slow, eventually you'll get better at it.
6) The Shoes Cost Too Much.
Sure, running shoes can be expensive, but it's not like you have to pay for a canoe or a bike. A good pair of shoes can make running easier and help prevent injuries, but that doesn't mean that you'll get hurt without an expensive pair of running shoes. Start out with what you have, take it easy, and save up for the good sneakers.
7) I’m tired.
This is another of my own personal excuses. After a long day at work, running can seem like a chore that you just don't have energy for. Believe me when I say, I understand. But exercise releases endorphins (making you feel happy) and it can help wake you up. When I'm tired or even starting to feel sick, I have found that going for a run is a much better cure than sitting around watching TV or trying to get anything done around my house. So, don't let this be your excuse because that's exactly what it is: an excuse.
8) Running is hard work.
Sometimes running can be hard work, but sometimes it can be pure ecstasy, like you're floating on a cloud. It's worth putting in the hard work to get the payoff. Maybe you haven't felt the payoff yet, but even so your body is receiving so much benefit. Next time you're thinking running isn't worth the effort, check out all these benefits.
9) It's too hot (or too cold).
In the summer, the heat is too much; in the winter, the cold is more than I can handle. I've heard it all (and probably said it myself one too many times). You can run through a lot of weather conditions, just be smart. In the heat, take extra water and try to run in the coolest times of day. In the cold, layer your clothing properly and try to run in the hottest times of day. In any weather, if you have access to a treadmill or indoor track, count yourself lucky and use it.
10) Your ovaries will fall out.
My personal favorite, above all others: "Your ovaries will fall out." This one just makes me laugh and you may be thinking I made this up, but I've heard it again and again. It's typically what mothers and grandmothers tell 25-35 year old women who have just started running. It's completely a myth; don't believe it. Lots of very serious competitors in running have had children and apparently their ovaries are just fine.

Ok. Again. I'm not a runner. It will take time. But this made me laugh. - especially number 10!


Monday, February 12, 2007

look at these beauties!

I'm so thankful for my friends! :-) Here are a few of them...

Casey - on the far right (and also the photographer) - her husband, Dan, took this one, actually!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

learning to be a crown

I know that sounds like a funny heading... but it sums up a little of the ladies' retreat I went on over the weekend with the girls from my Community Group at TCC. We headed off on Friday up to Spruce Pine, NC. It was really pretty - cold and a little snowy on the drive up - but pretty.

The couple we stayed with have a house nestled in the mountain that rivals any cottage or ski lodge I've ever stayed in! There is even a cool loft that you get to by ladder - with a walkway/bridge that goes above the living room to another ladder - and it goes to an observatory, of sorts. Wow! It was all just so beautiful. They were so gracious to share their home with the 10 of us who were able to go from our group. We really missed Wendy, Iris and Yuna! We realized how much we loved getting away with one another, so hopefully we'll plan more than one a year! The picture to the right is Becca M. - she went up the ladder to see the fun loft (and to talk on her cell phone in the rocking chair up there) :o)

Friday night served as a time to hang out a little and chat about our week prior. Of course it was nice to just be still a little, too, since Kristin and I had just retured from LA on Wednesday of the same week. Julie had some yummy cookies there which served as a nice treat! She was also using this down time while we were all preparing for bed to study and read - getting ready to lead us in Bible Study sessions on becoming Proverbs 31 women. I am thankful for the time that we spent in the word learning about the fear of the Lord, but I am thankful just the same for the way that God allowed me to learn so much from the women I went along with. Each of them has been giften in so many ways - and I am always happy to see how God is using them in their husband's/finance's/roommate's lives! This picture is Kristin, Joanna and Becca looking thru our treat bags. Inside was our favorite candies and a set of yarn and knitting needles, as Becca would be teaching us on Saturday how to knit! :-)

Saturday morning was so beautiful and we were able to have some time to ourselves to read and eat breakfast then be ready to start the sessions.

Julie did a great job leading us. We sang together and prayed. What a great task is ahead of me... to learn to be a wife and mother. I know that the challenge will come in time, and there is much to learn before it gets here. I am especially thankful to learn about fearing a Holy God who will equip me for these good works in my family to come. After our session, we started working together to make a quilt for Grace. She and Josh have a baby boy, Josiah, coming in early March. What a fun project to do together. We spent a little time that morning just beginning to iron and cut the fabrics so that we could start sewing the strips into patterns. Everyone had their hand in it, so it was so special! Even mommy Grace took part... what a fun story to share with your child later! We were only able to work about an hour before we needed to leave.

Julie had asked a few of the women in the area if we could spend some time with them - just getting to hear how God has used them in the lives of their families and church thru the years. Two of the women were widows (one for 1o years and one for only 6 months), so their stories were especially sweet as they shared about what it's like to miss someone after spending 30, 40, 50 years together. What a sweet time of prayer we had with these women as we sat and listened.

They also provided a super yummy lunch for us, which was so kind - as we wanted to serve them! I really loved hearing about ways they still feel they can serve when the temptation would probably be to fully "retire."

The rest of the afternoon, we worked on the quilt more and some folks rested and took walks in the beautiful woods around the home. There were lots of Christmas tree farms and even snow on the ground in places.

Mary Alice worked on making some fabulous chicken quesadillas for dinner and we finished quickly so we could get to celebrate with Kristin for her birthday!!! Those of you who know me, know that I love birthdays (mine and others!). Julie made Kristin one of her favorite cakes. I am so thankful for Kristin's life... and every day I see new ways that God is teaching her. She is very considerate of others and she loves to serve. Happy Birthday, K-dog. :-) I love you so much!

After dinner, we finished the quilt except for a few last things, so that was really fun. At that point, I think our total time spent on it was 5-6 hours. Around 8 or so, we all moved to the living room for Becca to start teaching us about knitting.

She was such a gracious and patient teacher and moved from one person to another showing them exactly what to do. It took me a minute or so to understand about the twists and turns, but I'm starting to see a pattern form. Since we've been home, I've done a few more rows, so now it's getting harder to hold in place. I have much to learn, but hopefully I can at least make it long enough to be a scarf for someone. I already have a friend in mind, which helps so much! :o) I'll be sure to post pictures about that as time goes on...

After a few minutes of working on the knitting, I decided to get up and go finish the last of the quilt. Dana was helpful and she, Holly, Hannah and Julie and I got it rolled out. What a fun trick. Here's the finished product...

I took it home, actually, to get the edge closed up by hand and check the seams. There are still some small details to take care of, which Casey will have to help me with... but I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. Grace is having a boy, so we tried to think about that along with tying in the antique toy colors they plan to use in the nursery.

Sunday we had our last session and prayed that God would help us in our journey to be women of the Word who fear God and desire to be women that our husbands are known for... their crown.

We drove back together and stopped in Hickory for lunch at Cracker Barrel, like good southern women. YUM! Thankfully, Holly noticed some trouble in the back of her car. Coming down the curvy mountain, her entire large bottle of coffee creamer spilled! EEK!

We cleaned out the back of her car and tried to get everything as cleaned up as we could... thankfully, Allison's dad came along to say hi to her and helped finish the job. Whew! We had such a mess in the parking lot!

Big shout out to the girls who went. I really enjoyed spending time with each of you and look forward to the future times that God will give us to get to know one another and how to better serve each other. Love you!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

day two's journey...

Well, our first day in LA was really full and fun... but it didn't have ANYTHING on day two!!! Tuesday was our Ellen day! :-)

Here's how it went...

First, Alicia was the responsible party that the Ellen show had listed - so we took her to the line, which we thought would already be pretty competitive, around 4:30 a.m. We were all pretty pumped about the start of this day... and knowing that our bodies really thought it was 7:30 a.m. did make it a little easier. :0) Thanks Alicia!!!

She waited in line - and I'm sure you can check her blog at some point for how that journey went.

Here's us dropping her off...

Afterward, Kristin and I drove around for a little bit waiting to see if we were going to hear from Alicia that we should go wait with her, or that she might need something, etc... we saw a couple other studios up the street and had our eyes peeled for a 24-hour Starbucks. We didn't find one, so we just went back to the hotel to figure out what to do next. To help with the time issue of when Alicia would return/we'd need to get ready to eat lunch and do some time-passing things in Burbank, Kristin and I decided that we'd just go on and get ready for the day. Afterward, we walked to the hotel next to ours to grab a quick bite to eat. Yummy veggie omlets...

Back at the hotel, we kept checking back in with Alicia, via cell, and she was doing fine... the line was growing tremendously... so we're thankful that she did end up being 5th in line! When we got the call to pick her up - we were so excited!!! So was she... to finally be out of the cold! :-)

WE WERE NUMBERS 8, 9, and 10!!! WOOO!!

Basically, what this meant was that after we get checked in at the show and wait to be formed into the line that leads you into the actual set of the show, we were going to be 8-10 in the line. So, we were sat 8th, 9th, 10th... get it? :-) They kept us all three together, thankfully.... AND, we were 2nd row! If you are familiar with the show, think of how Ellen see the audience. We were over to her far left - 2nd row up from where they usually seat guests in wheelchairs. This also meant that when she comes dancing thru the audience, she would COME RIGHT TO US!!!! I'm going to work on a little video of our appearance on the show... yes, we showed up. Several times, actually... So when I get that ready, I'll post it! (I'm sorry that some of you missed it... we were so happy to get back to Raleigh and hear from friends and family that they had seen us!!) FUN!

So, we got Alicia back to the hotel so she could warm up and get ready for the rest of the day. Next, we went to In & Out Burger, a California favorite.

It was starting to rain then, so we decided to take our chances and try to find a parking spot by the studio and wait the extra 30 minutes or so that we had instead of leaving the car at the hotel and walking (like we had originally planned to do). Thankfully, there is a hospital right across the street from NBC, so we were able to park in the lane that connects the two buildings. It's right beside Bob Hope Park. I got my x-ray glasses on (not really) and used my 21x zoom on my camera... because we saw someone in the park filming something on the bridge... see what you think. hehe. The man on the left is the one on camera. The guy on the far right is the one with the camera. I think he was just messing with something on the camera at this moment. The rest of the time we saw them, he had it up on his shoulder. Ah, the mysteries of actors and film...

Anyway, so - you can't take your camera into the show, so we ran over to the fence, took some shots, then took our cameras back to the car to wait for a little while longer.

Next was the show.

It was really super fun - probably rivals most any fun thing I've ever done! They are really well organized and always kept you informed of what was happening, etc. It helps control freaks like me fight anxiousness! The studio is a lot smaller than you'd expect, but still very exciting. We were so happy to sit where we did and had cameras near us much of the time.

The guests on the show were Barbara Walters, Serena Williams and The Gym Class Heroes (yeah, I hadn't heard of them either). It was fun and I'd really like to go again another season. (you can only go once per season). The audience also got to play "Oscar Charades" with Ellen (she was the guesser). So, she gave us all Lord of The Rings: Return of the King and a box of popcorn. We also all got the Gym Class Heroes.

Afterward we decided to go on back to the hotel and freshen up to drive down to Santa Monica to go to the pier. I would love to go back during the day and when it's warmer. It was gorgeous, and you can tell there's so much to do!!! You could almost go here for a long weekend and not have a car, even! it out.

While we were there, walking around - we figured out that all these people and their equipment meant that something was being filmed! So, we asked a guy if he could tell us what it was... He said it was a Sony picture coming out next year with Paris Hilton called Hottie and the Nottie. We stayed on the set a little and watched them film one TINY scene about 15 times. Poor guy. When you see the part in the movie when a guy runs up the stairs - looks left and right (as if he's looking for someone) and then runs right - you'll know we were there then. HA! What a cheesy plot: A girl refuses to marry her longtime boyfriend until he can find the perfect match for her ugly best friend...

We stuck around and decide to eat at Bubba Gump's - there are several across the nation, but I've never eaten there. Our waiter was an "aspiring" as we called them... sometimes music, sometimes acting. He was fun and really nice to us. He even lit a gas heater for my cold companions. :-)

I didn't write that on the table, by the way...

Next time, we'd like to get there before sunset and take a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway... that would be amazing!

We went on back to Burbank to try to get in bed early. It was around 10, I think - we were out of our room by 4:30 and headed on the journey home.

And now...

I'd like to thank Jared for getting up super early and taking us to the airport. Also, to Dan and Casey for coming to pick us up. We couldn't have done it without you three. To my family and friends who texted me and wished us good hope in meeting superstars: "You're the Best!"

Finally, to the people. You are the reason we do this... stay tuned!