Monday, January 26, 2009

Chugging Along

The Husband has the camera so I can't post a picture, but I just wanted to report that I have lost 4 pounds since Natalie issued The Challenge.

There is one thing that has made a huge difference. Eating slowly. I now take at least twice as long to eat each meal, even if it is just a cereal bar for breakfast. I used to inhale my food. I do everything at the speed of light. I talk fast, walk fast, clean fast, drive fast, so naturally I ate fast, too! Because I'm slowing down I'm eating less and feeling more satisfied.

I've also cut out the late night snacking except for one night last week. Sometimes, I just go to bed early if I am tempted to eat!

This week, the focus is on strength training. When I stopped going to the gym a few months ago I have really neglected that kind of exercise. Not only will it rev up my metabolism, but I will feel stronger again. And, don't laugh, I'm toying with the idea of training to run a half marathon next year when I turn 40. I'd like to get my brother in on it with me and run it in honor and in memory of my Pop who used to take us running with him when we were younger. Logistics have to be worked out because I have no idea where my brother will be living then (he's in the process of getting his PHD at Michigan Tech and is applying for positions all over the country).

So, that is my update. I'm journaling, too. I write down food, water and exercise so I'm less tempted to eat while I'm preparing meals because then I have to "log it". We'll see how faithful I am with that! My goal is 10 weeks of doing this, then hopefully, the good habits will stick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm Not Sure Why

...but, I've run out of words.

I'm going through a dry spell right now. I can't put two words together to post a blog, write a PTO Newsletter or anything. When I do sit down to accomplish some writing it takes twice as long as it usually would for the words to come.

But, I will tell you that I've lost about two pounds.

I still want to blog about The Shack, but may pick that back up in a few weeks. I didn't get any comments on the last post so that doesn't make for much of a "discussion" and my thoughts certainly aren't THAT revolutionary. It was the other feedback I was interested in.

I'm still praying about launching the 2nd blog for teenage girls. Lately, I feel like when I talk to a few of them (particularly ones that I am trying to get to know) and pray for some of them I've hit a wall. They can have a really tough exterior and I get discouraged when I can't get past it. I reached out the other night at youth group and got a "I don't want to talk about it" which left me standing there feeling stupid.

It's hard when you want to give to someone who doesn't want to receive.

I do know that our words are a gift and I don't want to be careless with them. As soon as I have the time and the words to put together in a somewhat organized fashion I'll share a little more about the exciting (just kidding) details of my life and pictures of Big Mama on the Wii.

You can hardly wait to see that, right? :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something New

Because I have so much free time on my hands (ha!) I am beginning the thought process and practicalities of launching a new blog for teenage girls. This generation is being bombarded with messages about what to look like, how to act, who to follow and it is time to get off my soapbox and do something that encourages them to be who GOD created them to be.

Please pray for wisdom and other people to catch the vision and help contribute writing. I want to have a "younger" look to this blog and don't even know where to start. And, I'm tossing the name around and keep landing on "Keeping it Real". I want it to have lots of information about day to day stuff and good doses of fun and humor to keep them coming back for more. I have the vision, but I'm not sure how to make it happen.

Spiritual moms, I need you. They need you. Your prayers and feedback are appreciated!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Meeting Papa (Some More Thoughts on The Shack)

***This is an ongoing discussion regarding the book, The Shack. If you plan on reading it you may want to stop here, so we don't give anything away.***

How many of you were pretty shocked at Who opened the door of the shack to let Mac in?
I was like "no, it can't be...that's just so wrong...." This is where this book loses the people who are convinced it is heresy. You could stop there and call it kooky or you can keep reading and find out why Papa reveals Himself that way. Then, you can still call it kooky or you can sit there and chew on the concept for awhile. I decided to chew.

Here is where we start to realize that we are more deeply entrenched in American religion than we thought we were. We're taught that Papa should look like Father Time with a long white beard, Jesus should be blond and blue eyed in a bathrobe and flip flops and the Holy Spirit....well, I'm not really sure what the Holy Spirit is "supposed" to look like. He's just sort of floating out there, right?

But, God is GOD after all, and I would imagine being our Creator that He knows exactly how, when, and where to best interact with us on a personal level. This particular aspect of the book makes me wonder how God would appear to me. I have struggled being hurt in life more from women then men, so an "Aunt Jemima" version of Papa may not be how God chooses to reveal Himself to me. But, then again, what do I know?

What were your initial thoughts when Papa came to the door? And, how (if at all) did if effect how you now "picture" God?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some More "Shack" Thoughts

Hopefully, by now, some of you are actually reading The Shack!

The next item up for discussion was the note from God that Mac found in his mailbox. I have a feeling that if I were Mac the story would have ended here. I am 95% sure I would have thought it was a cruel joke. Why? Because in my previous state of mind, God does not leave notes in mailboxes. I would assume that if He is God, He can come find me or He and I can catch up during "ministry time". And, I certainly would not want to meet Him in a place that causes an indescribable sorrow in my life. C'mon, God. Let's meet in a safer place.

Which makes me ask the question (to you as well as myself)...has God left me any "invitations" to experience His true presence and I've passed up the invitation? Perhaps, because I was suspicious or wounded? What would you do with an invitation from God that goes a little something like this.....

Dear _____________,

Meet me at a painful reminder of your past.

Love, God.


Imagine what we miss out on by not meeting Him when He invites us. Now, think of the powerful encounter that occurs when we accept that invitation. We get the chance (like Mac) to REALLY know Him.

Your thoughts?

But...But....But, It Was Farm Show Weekend!!

First, the bad news.....
No surprise there since this was what I was doing on Saturday night....

I should be done digesting the Farm Show cuisine in the next day or so and be back at break even. After weighing myself I was inspired, so I did a little Super Hula Hoop:

I did try something that I think will work well. As a family, we are adopting #2's eating habits of eating s-l-o-w-l-y. We tease her, but she doesn't have an ounce of fat on her (the Wii yells at her if she loses any weight). I talked to the pediatrician today and we were working on improving #3's eating habits. She suggested we have her put her fork down between bites and give her only a small portion of food to start with (then, if she gets seconds it is really still her firsts). I was skeptical putting these tiny portions on all of our plates, but everyone felt satisfied and I actually watched how we eat. #3 and I basically INHALE our food and had to be very conscience of slowing down and, you know, actually, CHEWING our food. We had so much food leftover after dinner I was shocked!

That, and I am really trying to drink more water. It is hard for me to do this when it is cold outside. I have no problem guzzling except in winter when all I really want is a gallon of coffee and a pound or two of warm rice pudding with a dollops of whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

This is going to be harder then I thought.....

Click HERE to head on over to the Created and Called blog to join the "challenge"!

Friday, January 9, 2009

We Interrupt The Shack Discussion for Some Necessary Fluff

I have purposely been waiting to post again about The Shack because I know some of you have been trying to read it and I don't want to get ahead of you.

Plus, I felt it was important that I post the following:


1. The rodeo

2. The milk shakes (I prefer a mix of 1/2 vanilla, 1/2 chocolate)

3. The giant butter sculpture

4. Petting the cows

5. The chocolate cake contest (they cut them all after judging and you can grab a few to sample)

6. The honey ice cream on a waffle drizzled with more honey that #2 and I always share. You know you put enough honey on it when your teeth hurt.

** is anyone seeing a food theme here???***

7. Getting a picture with the alpacas

8. Watching the chicks hatch

9. The Food Court

10. The fact that I don't need to take a stroller with me anymore

The Farm Show runs the 10-17th and there is so much to see and do we usually go two days. I actually take my girls out of school for a 1/2 day during the week when it is less crowded and make them learn something while we're there (weekend trips are mainly for eating and rodeo). Then, we can accurately call it an educational trip!

If you're not afraid of animal poop and a high calorie count, check out this year's PA Farm'll be glad you did. Just be prepared to park and be shuttled over and well... it smells. So, if you're planning to go out anywhere afterward you may want to try washing the horse/goat/cow/chicken smell off of you.

If you've been to the Farm Show, what are some of your favorites?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cue the Gaelic Music - It is Time to Discuss The Shack

I don't know...I just picture Gaelic or Celtic melodies playing during parts of this book, perhaps because it was mentioned in a passage I read or perhaps that is just the type of mysterious, intense kind of music that would accompany such a book.

But, I digress.

I happened to find a cool little blog that has daily quotes from The Shack. You can find it by clicking here.

Anybody sensing sort of a random start to this "kick off"... for that, I apologize.

I've tried to actually organize my thoughts (and, that's the problem because I don't "think" in an organized manner...big shocker there) and wondered if I should go through some of the discussion in the order of the book or just summarize principles found throughout. Since some of you are actually still reading, I think I will try to start at the beginning and work my way through.

First, the controversy in general surrounding this book.

People, for the most part, either hate it (or the idea of it because many who bash it have not actually read it) or they love it. That fact alone kept me away from it for a long time. I alternated between being offended about the parts I heard about, yet strangely fascinated at the same time. Was The Shack just some book that was out to shock people for the purpose only of entertainment? Or, was it a life vest to drowning people who are searching for something other than man made ritual and religion?

The other main reason that kept me away from it was the abduction of Mack's daughter (coincidentally named Melissa or Missy).

I was not in a place of wanting to open up a door of fear in regards to my children. Because, let's face it, this book delves right into why bad things happen to people. Even Christians. So, it made me wonder why I pray protection over my family when some lunatic can still have his own sick free will to to do the unspeakable. I was reminded of the Holocaust Museum in DC. You can view the exhibits, but you can also choose to peak over the exhibits into monitors that play real footage from the Nazi concentration camps. There is a reason those monitors are not out in plain sight. Every person I ever spoke to who looked at them regrets that they did. The horrific images cannot be erased from their minds. That was my fear centering around the whole abduction and brutal murder in this book. But, it wasn't the case. Don't get me is heart wrenching, but a part of the process that draws you into the story. We all have our giants to battle. Mac's giant just happened to be my worst nightmare.

So, I'm looking for your comments on either or both:

1. The "controversy" surrounding the book.

2. How you thought the whole abduction sequence was handled and IF it was necessary to the progression of the story. Would this book still be powerful if Mac lost his job rather then his daughter and still had this encounter with God?

Here Wii Go!

Because I’m totally into public humiliation accountability, I have decided to join Natalie on her weight loss quest for all the Internet to see.

This is my Wii Fit. I am "Big Mama". Do you see my belly bulge sticking out of my purple shirt? I tried to accurately create my Mii character.

So, there are the hard, cold facts. You see my numbers all over the chart....I'm a bit of a roller coaster ride (that chart looks like the recent activity of our stock markets).

I'm shooting for a BMI of 25 and as the chart shows, I need to lose 24.5 pounds. The question that remains is: What's my plan? I doubt a few minutes of virtual hula hoop each day is going to do much.

To be continued.....

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Shack (Revisited)

After an overwhelming 3 responses as to whether you think I should post a discussion about The Shack, here I sit. I'll cut some slack for the holidays, but c'mon! And, you lurkers are more than welcome to leave a comment from time to time, you know.

I'm not feelin' the love, people.

I'm ready for some deep, spiritual truth to be revealed...I'm done posting pictures of gingerbread houses right now. But, I need a little give and take. Are you in???

Okay, I'm going to start with a few questions:

1. Did you read The Shack? Having the book in your possession, but not reading it does not count.

2. If you have read it, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being greatest) how would you rate the book?

3. And, if you have not read it, why? No interest? Never heard of it? No time? A little too "off the wall" for your taste?

Let the comments commence. No pressure.....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good Times

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow morning the kids return to school and I go back to a normal work week. And, I'm a little sad.

One of the hardest parts of sending my kids to school is the influence it has over their attitudes. It "segregates" them into their own age groups, which makes it difficult at times for them to see the point of view of someone older or younger. That was always one of my big arguments when we home schooled. They had much more patience for one another. All this to say, that #1 actually, by her own choice, wanted to play with her sisters rather than IM on the computer the other day. And, while babysitting, she played with them and painted their nails instead of just letting them watch TV all morning while I was at work.

It made my heart go pitter-pat. I'm praying that we don't take any giant steps backward from this place we are in. I'm also praying that #3 transitions well back to school....she's been so relaxed over the last few weeks. I'd hate to see her get stressed out, although, she started to get upset last night and today about having to go back. I know that I'm going to miss them a ton, so I can only imagine how she must be feeling. We're already checking the calendar for our next day off school and praying for a few snow days, too!