Sunday, January 24, 2010

Look Out Jillian Michaels....

....Melissa is heading back to the gym. Oh yeah!

I realized during my ten day fast how much I missed taking care of myself! I mentioned that in the beginning of the fast all I seemed to do was sleep. And, it was a peaceful time (aside from the raging headaches and dizziness). Now that it is over, I'm not ready to give up the rest! I'm not talking about tons of sleep, but that "state of being" where my mind is not racing.

I realized that I was never made to function purely on caffeine. I was not designed to draw energy (or have energy sucked out of me) from other people or my circumstances. My days are better spent talking and listening to the Holy Spirit, whose quiet voice can seldom be heard above the roar of my lifestyle. Being made uncomfortable from physical hunger and cravings was nothing compared to a life void of a relationship with Jesus Christ, the One we should truly hunger after. I don't want to live my life carelessly. Every day counts!

Along with all the amazing time spent with the Lord, I realized it was time to take better care of myself physically. I am now a huge fan of water. I limit myself to 2 cups of coffee per day (it used to be 5-6) and soda/sugar only on special occasions. I also read the labels on everything now! If sugar or corn syrup is listed in the top 5 ingredients it goes back on the shelf! This week, I'm headed out to join Planet Fitness. I have really missed the gym in the last year and a half, so I am excited to get back into it.

You may be wondering if my other commitments have decreased. No, not at all! In fact, I am coming up on a super busy week! But, rather than jam my weekend full of more commitments (sleepovers, company coming over, etc.), I will take the time to rest.

In fact, since it is Sunday afternoon I think I'll go practice "resting" right now!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Letter to My Senator

In case you all didn't hear about Senator Arlen Specter's exchange with Rep. Michelle Bachmann, you can check it out here first so my post makes more sense.

I listened to the way Sen. Specter (whom I am not a big fan of to begin with) spoke to this woman. And, yes, she interrupted him. But, his remarks to her that she should "act like a lady" and he would "treat her like a lady" were so off base it prompted me to do something about it, instead of just complaining. Hello? Sen. Specter, it isn't 1847 fact, women can vote now and guess what? They won't want to vote for you if you say stupid things like "act like a lady".

I encourage all of you to contact him, too! Unless of course you believe his remarks were right on and Rep. Bachmann should have acted more like a perfect little lady and let him say whatever he wanted to say to get her to shut up. Click here to contact him. Here is what my email said:

Dear Senator Specter,

I was appalled to hear your comments from the radio debate with Michelle Bachmann. Admittingly, I am not a registered Democrat, but I am a woman. I am not a feminist, but I am a hard working, happily married mother of three. I was offended by your arrogant remarks that you made to Rep. Bachmann. What exactly were you implying when you told her repeatedly to "act like a lady"? Was that your way of intimidating her into silence? For her to be seen and not heard? What exactly would you have told a male you were debating? To "act like a man?”

I find it awful that so many elected officials of the Democratic party now in office behave so smugly and arrogantly, as if you have the right to say whatever you want. Meanwhile, you crucify Rep. Joe Wilson for his remarks (which I also believe were out of line; however, it is completely one-sided in how these things are dealt with). Apparently, your disrespect holds no accountability. May I remind you, sir, who you work for? The people of Pennsylvania, half of which are women.

An apology is in order, Senator Specter and I would hope you would use this as a learning experience.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

They Should Call it Parent Dis-Orientation

I just sat in my seat in the auditorium staring at the screen and having a flashback.

I thought it was just going to be another one of those parent meetings that was on my calendar. I didn't give it much thought. However, upon the completion of the Power Point presentation the reality all of a sudden came crashing down.

I was at high school orientation. For MY daughter. And, as I looked at the final screen that said Class of 2014, I remember the same feelings flooding over me and I flashbacked to kindergarten orientation as if it were just a month ago.

I, too, had gone to kindergarten orientation with excitement and curiosity. During the lecture the principal went around the room and asked parents if this was their first, second, third, last child entering the Big K. I remember watching a lady try to compose herself and say it was her youngest of five kids going. I thought to myself "Thank you, God, that isn't me. I would be weeping opening if I was sending my last child to kindergarten". My turn came and when I said it was my first child, everyone nodded sympathetically and I could barely swallow the lump in my throat.

The same feeling gripped my heart last night. It dawned on me the next orientation I would be attending would be COLLEGE, PEOPLE!!!!! I sat in my seat hoping no one around me noticed my eyes filled with tears. In just a few short months I will have a high schooler. It almost felt surreal, like there was some sappy music playing in the background of my life as I hurried from the building with my head down and got into the safety of my van where I could process. Things seemed a little more normal on the drive home and I was focusing more on honors classes versus AP classes and whether she should give up an elective to take a study hall.

I arrived home, took one look at her and burst into tears.

So much for keeping myself held together like a normal human being. But then again, do moms ever qualify as "normal human beings"?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Celebrating Forty

A few weeks ago we surprised The Husband (we'll call him Jay today) with an early 40th birthday celebration. I was so glad when the day arrived because he is a sneaky one and I had to keep covering my tracks. He noticed the punch and soda in the closet and said to me with a huge grin on his face, "Hmmmm that's a lot of drinks, what are they for" wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I quickly explained that I got them on sale (which was true!). He just nodded his head like 'Yeah, right". Well, I knew he would keep checking in there, so the morning of his party #3 and I dumped everything into pitchers and then filled all the bottles back up with water and food coloring and returned them to the closet! We should be secret agents, I'm telling ya!

Needless to say, he was surprised. This is his fake surprised reenactment:

I wanted to include the table decorations for anyone interested. I had no idea what to decorate with short of all the black YOU'RE OVER THE HILL-type decorations. So, the thought came to me a few days before to decorate with things about him and make each table a theme. I put together collage prints from Costco ($1.49 each) with pictures pertaining to the theme and then on the back of the frame were "fun facts" about Jay in regard to the theme. I joked that it was sort of like a Jay museum. Allow me to walk you through....

This is the "Family Jay" table, on the back of the picture frame were letters the girls wrote to Jay that I typed up to display. Bubbles were the party favor at this table and I wanted it to have an outdoor picnic feel to it since we spend a lot of time outside as a family.

This is the "Wild & Crazy Jay" table. Guests at this table were encouraged to draw all over the table covering and it had disco ball necklaces as party favors. I took this picture before anyone got there and forgot to take another one after the table was covered with artwork! He wore those Blue's Clue's ears to an audition at YFC a few years ago and he sang the Blue's Clue's song! On the back of the pictures were questions to ask him regarding the many wild and crazy things he's done, such as why his step mom wandered why there was cat hair in the freezer and how many times he's dumped ice water on me in the shower or pushed me in a pool!!

This is the "Sporty Jay" table. His favorite sports facts were listed on the back of the picture frame and the orange table covering is for the Dolphins. I also stuck little sports stickers all over it. The party favors were sports themed blow out things.

This is the "Actor Jay" table and it contained mementos from the shows/films he has been in. The party favors here are hand clappers and it's hard to see but those are silver stars on the fabric.

This is the "Marine Jay" table complete with plastic military men for entertainment! On the back of this collage print I listed his duty stations and the medals and achievements he had received. I didn't think the table cover would be white down the middle, I thought it was all camo print so I cut it up and made his name with the leftover camo (you can kind of see it on the other side in this picture). I would hope that Antonio from Design Star would be proud of me for that last minute idea!

This is the "Need for Speed" Jay table...which was probably my favorite! I got that fabric on clearance for $1.50 and the dry erase boards were the party favors (Christmas clearance at Target, 25 cents a piece). This tied in perfectly to the group gift we all chipped in for....

He will be driving an actual stock car at Pocono Raceway in May! He gets to take 8 laps on the track and he is extremely excited!! The party was nice and some of my family members even made the trip over from an hour away. Then, Brandon made him a funny video using clips from all the other films we worked on! We also gathered around him and I recorded a variety of friends praying over was very powerful and I could just see him overflowing with encouragement. We had a wonderful night and I am so glad he has so many wonderful friends that helped make this celebration very special!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Halfway Never Felt So Good (Kinda)

I'm on Day Five of my ten-day Daniel fast. Click here if you are wondering what that is and why I'm doing it. I thought I'd share some thoughts that I've had during the process:

1. Water is my friend.

2. Yummy foods besides fruits and vegetables are allowed because they don't come from an animal. For example, nuts, oatmeal & brown rice have become a daily staple for me. I've had to read a lot of labels to make sure I'm not eating anything with sugar.

3. The only thing I have not followed strictly was a little bit of honey in my oatmeal since my blueberries that I throw in are very tart this time of year. I prayed about it and felt like I wasn't going to get all legalistic and crazy about it. I also had a tiny, teeny bit of salad dressing on two salads this week. The Husband assures me God will not love me less.

4. I finally woke up on the fourth day with no headache. And, strangely I woke up today with more of a craving for eggs then coffee. Who knew?

5. A "taco salad" with no meat and cheese is okay. Barely okay, but okay.

6. The weekend is coming up and this is where the real challenge lies. I'm getting a little sick of black beans and rice, salad and vegetable soup. My routine is what has helped when the cravings hit, but our weekends are spent running and/or with friends. Part of me is invigorated by it all and part of me is curled up in the fetal position in the corner of the room begging for a piece of garlic bread.

7. Brown sugar Pop Tarts smell so good when they come out of the toaster.

8. God has brought to light a few things that have been a little "out of whack" in our family. With that realization has come conflict, but The Husband and I are standing firm on the word of God. I figured we don't get a second chance to raise our kids to be obedient, pure, and respectful....gotta take the time to do it right. And, this post by the Gang's Momma was a great reminder that there is no "I" in TEAM.

A week from now the fast will be over, but I know we will come out of it with healthier bodies, souls and spirits!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Have So Much I Want to Post About....

...but no energy to do it. You see, I'm coming off of the holidays and then The Husband's surprise 40th birthday party and now I am two days into a corporate wide church fast. So, believe it or not...I've been sleeping. A lot. It's like I have no control over my body anymore and it isn't a depression/lazy type feeling. It's like God took out my batteries and He's recharging them or something?? And, did I mention this fast is totally wrecking me???? A headache from caffeine/sugar withdrawal that cannot be described. However, I feel like in the midst of this I am already experiencing a greater sensitivity in a spiritual way. And, it leaves me wanting MORE!

I'm actually on my first attempt of a 10-day Daniel fast. I've fasted in the past, but never this strict. Here is a brief description of where this fast comes from:

Daniel 1:8-14
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”

Basically what ended up happening is that Daniel and his buddies were glowing and healthier by the end of the 10 days. Now, please bear in mind the Bible never specifically calls Christians to a "Daniel" fast but there are numerous references to fasting (in one form or another) as being beneficial. And, many times it is joined with prayer (and, my prayers today have been "Lord, please take away my caffeine withdrawal so I stop shaking like I'm coming off of some kind of narcotic and "Lord, please give me the strength to drive past that KFC without stopping for a bucket of chicken"). If our pastor had not assured us on Sunday that we would not die from doing this, I would have checked myself into a hospital today! I guess when your body has become accustomed to 7-8 servings of caffeine each day, it might do some pretty funky things when the servings drop down to zero! However, it has not messed me up enough to knock me out of being the top Wii hula hoop champion in the house!

I plan to blog more about the fast after it is over because I am anxious to gain a new perspective and draw closer to God in the process (with minimal distractions). I know He is so faithful and He is causing this "rest" on my body because He knows what we need even better than we know what we need!

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Think Next Year I'll Just Copy and Paste....

Hey guess what!

I'm being healthy! I'm trying to lose weight. Why? Because it is January! And, you could probably go back into my archives and read basically the same post every January since I've been blogging (only I was much more serious about it in previous years).

So, I drank more water today than I probably have drank cumulatively since Christmas. I'll bore you with all the details so you can laugh sympathetically and no longer wonder "is Melissa getting fat or is she pregnant?"

No, my friends. I'm not pregnant.

So, my morning started out with a large, cold glass of ice water BEFORE the coffee. I gulped it down only because I could not stay awake a moment longer without coffee. Then, I only drank two cups of java this morning and continued to drink more water. By the way, I used to like water before today. You know, before I drank the equivalent to one of the Great Lakes.

My breakfast consisted of 2 eggs whites...yum. No, really. I like egg whites. I ate egg whites before it was cool to eat egg whites...a little habit I picked up while working in the Bahamas, which was several light years ago. Then, I had an orange and some grapes for a snack. By 11am I texted The Husband that I was hungry enough to eat a zebra. By 11:50am I was watching my Lean Cuisine pizza spin round and round in the microwave determined to wait until it was cooked all the way through before I devoured it in 3 bites.

An hour later, I texted The Husband that I was now craving a chocolate covered zebra and then the rest is a blur. Because I had to stop at Costco. Oh Costco. You with your delicious little samples just taunting me. I had a Jamaican beef patty sample, then some kind of low-fat veggie sausage flavored patty that I would have gagged and spit out last week (when I was eating large quantities of normal food). It was delicious today. I licked the toothpick when I was done....but, anyhoo.....

I managed to make it out the door before I ate a mini quiche sample, but I did get a Diet Coke before I left since I am human and all. The major victory was not purchasing the churro from the snack bar whose picture made my mouth water while in the the checkout line with my broccoli and lettuce. More proof that God is real or I would've left there with a churro in my mouth and one or two in my purse for later.

I figured since I fell off the wagon at Costco some nice salmon for dinner would be a good idea. except that my family for the most part hates fish. So being the hypocrite that I am (don't judge me) I made them all chicken patties with french fries and I ate the salmon. With broccoli. Oh yeah, and some French onion soup. I was rewarded for my semi-healthy behavior by both #1 and The Husband kissing me good night and telling me my hair smelled like fish. So, I finished the rest of the rice pudding I made for new year's eve with a cup of coffee. But, at least I didn't put whipped cream on it, okay??

Needless to say, I won't be weighing myself on my Wii Fit anytime soon. Or, writing any weight loss books. I just can't wait to do it all again tomorrow!

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Feel Like I Just Jumped Off the High Dive....

Perhaps I was caught up in the possibility of a new year and all of its potential. I just submitted my first article query to a national PTO magazine. Now, I'll wait to see if they are willing to accept it before I write the actual article. I am feeling part excitement, part embarrassment! I had the idea a few weeks ago, but I have no clue if the editor will find the idea as interesting as I think it is!

The Husband blew me away on Christmas morning with his show of support. A few weeks ago I had been telling him about how I get ideas for stories while I pray commuting to and from work, and that I try to jot the ideas down on whatever paper is handy in my van. He didn't like that idea very much....something about it being dangerous and me crashing into things! So, on Christmas morning I unwrapped a handheld voice recorder from him with five very powerful words written with Sharpie on a note attached to the box:

Because I believe in you.

I figured I'll never know if I don't at least give it a try, right? Thanks to all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement! I have reached the conclusion at the ripe age of 39 and 5/6 that life is too short not to pursue the desires of your heart. After all, God put them there!!