Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Reflections

Happy New Year's Eve!
As I sit in the quiet on this last day of 2010, I am content. Not because everything my life is perfect (because it's not) but because life is moving in a forward trajectory. This has been my first full year of blogging and reading other people's blogs. I am thankful for all I've learned and been challenged with this year.

New Things
Exercise became a regular part of my life. After owning a treadmill for years...I actually began using it. Wow! What a novel idea!

I lost 17 lbs. this year. Don't get me wrong. I have more to lose yet 2010 was a good, solid beginning. My plan was to eat less and move more. It worked and I'm continuing with the plan in 2011.

New Experiences
I heard a local pastor share his testimony with our Bible Study group. He was born to Jewish parents, came to believe in Christ as a married adult, and became a pastor later in life. He defined himself as "A Completed Jew." A wonderful experience to hear about his life with Christ.

I attended a Saturday morning seminar at my church called "Facing the Challenges of Today's Changing Job Market." I learned so much and kudos to the speakers for sharing their knowledge. I walked in with a lot of questions and they addressed every single one of them without my having to ask. It was glorious!

Visited Bridgeway with Marie.

A September vacation that took me and Wonderful Husband to NJ, VA, then on to Calabash, NC. It was wonderful!

I made Blueberry Cobbler and Peach Cobbler for the first time. Yummy deliciousness with vanilla ice cream and they will be an annual tradition!

I watched some live feed of The Relevant '10 Conference and later read a lot of the bloggers' posts.

After 3 years, went for an eye exam and prescription update. New glasses!

A New Worship Experience.

Life Happens
2010 was the year of many events. Some good, some not so much.

Our son moved and began his career as a middle school teacher in Virginia.

I started working for the first time in 2 years and 10 months. A new job brought excitement and nervousness into my world. I started on December 1st and am very grateful for employment.

Our daughter flunked out of university.

My treadmill broke...time to purchase a new one.

God Spoke
After years of hearing other people say how they heard God speak to them...I finally figured out that although I don't hear God's voice, He speaks to me through the Bible.

"Believing God" - Study by Beth Moore (began in 2009 and finished in 2010)

Me Myself & Lies...A Thought-Closet Makeover by Jennifer Rothschild

"The Jewish Roots of Christianity" - Day of Discovery (3 Part DVD Series)

A Guide to Practical Christian Living - A Study in the Book of James by Adrian Rogers

The One Year Chronological Bible - began reading in May and following Wendy Pope's blog/vlog. A blessing!

Adult Vacation Bible School - "Draw Near to God: Practices For Your Faith Walk"

Summer Bible Study - "Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven" by Dr. David Jeremiah

Revelation: The Glorified Christ by Woodrow Kroll

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl  by Lysa Terkeurst

Some Books I've Read
A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
The Irresistible Revolution, Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff
Youniquely Woman, Becoming Who God Designed You to Be by Kay Arthur, Emilie Barnes, Donna Otto
Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli
The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Lone Star Cafe by Lisa Wingate

Words of Wisdom
"Every choice will either carry with it a blessing or a consequence," said Lysa Terkeurst.

Won prizes
An Untroubled Heart...Finding Faith That is Stronger Than All My Fears by Micca Campbell

A free pack of ten cards from DaySpring's new Hope and Encouragement line.
Another free 50 cards from DaySpring.

Entrusting the Key: From Serial Dating to Joyful Waiting by Ali Smith, and a 2011calendar with information about Ning Ning Philippines Education Fund that gives college scholarships to the street children Ali knows in Manila. (The book will be a gift given in 2011.)

Do you have a New Year's Resolution(s)?
Mine is the same one I've kept for the past three years. I am a card sender. I will continue to send cards of encouragement, sympathy, hope, etc., to people who I see in need of reminding that they are thought of and prayed for. (I love that my Bible Study buddy, Charlotte, calls it my Card Ministry.)

2010 was the year of hope for me.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 15:4

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

2011 is the year of grace for me.
So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
Ephesians 1:6 (NLT)

(A challenge verse for me)
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Colossians 4:6 (NLT)

Have a Happy and Grace-filled New Year!

Losing It - Contest Edition - Weeks 6 & 7

Since I didn't post for Week 6, this is Weeks 6 and 7 recap.

I thought I was doing pretty well with eating less and moving more until this past week. My treadmill broke (hence moving less) and I baked cookies and large meals for our adult kids (hence eating more).

I've learned that I shouldn't eat cookies between every meal. That's just bad! (See how you can learn from my mistakes?)

So my results are dismal but with one more week to this contest (and I'm going out to buy a new treadmill today) I've got to "pick up my game" (and also we've run out of cookies). Hooray!

Weeks 6/7 Results:
I gained 3.5 lbs.
Walked on tready for 4 days in Week 6, she died on Week 7. RIP tready!
Did sit-ups and used light weights for 4 days/each week.
Total loss in 7 weeks is a gain of .5 lb. YIKES!

So my plan for this final week of the contest is to reintroduce fish into my dining experience. "Hello Tilapia, nice to see you again."
More water. Yes, my continuing challenge.
And moving more whether my new treadmill arrives this week or not.

Thanks for stopping by and please proceed to the House of Hills to cheer on the Losing It ladies.

Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Grace and Peace

I believe that 2009 was the year of patience and waiting for me personally. 2010 is the year of hope for me. I am hoping to find a full-time job.
(From my post 2009 Reflections)

As my "year of hope" is drawing to a close, God has answered my prayers.

The one thing I was hoping for was a full time job and this year, I started my new job. I believe that God's perfect plan came to fruition. Full time employment, local, and not at a church. Check, check, and check.

His timing was perfect too. I began working December 1st. Our daughter called December 6th to tell me that she had flunked out of university. Instead of sitting at home and fretting about her and her future, I went to work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day and had to focus my mind on learning my new responsibilities.  My energy was stretched further by coming home, preparing dinner, cleaning the kitchen, relaxing, and going to bed, in order to get up the next day and do it all over again.

Prayer has saved my sanity this month. Asking God to guide me and our daughter. The same two words have been repeated to me over and over:

Grace and Peace.

Grace (Theology):
a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

How can I claim God's grace for myself and not extend grace toward our daughter?
The answer is that through the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am able to show our daughter grace today and every day that follows.

Peace: freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquillity; serenity.

God has granted me peace.
Peace of mind and spirit during this month of change, activities, and celebration.

Grace and peace are the greatest gifts I received this year.
This year of hope.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Romans 1:7b (NLT)

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
2 Peter 1:2 (NLT)

What has been the greatest gift or gifts you've received in 2010?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace and Joy to You (2010)

For a child is born to us
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord's strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
And he will be the source of peace.
Micah 5:4-5a (NLT)

...but the angel reassured them, "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all the people. The Savior --- yes, the Messiah, the Lord --- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

May your Christmas be filled with peace and joy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Happiness from the oven....

One of my Christmas traditions is to bake a lot of pumpkin bread.
Some loaves are for our family.
Most loaves are for gifts.

Around Thanksgiving when I take my car in for an inspection or an oil change, the owner of the service center reminds me that it's almost time for me to bake and deliver his loaf of pumpkin bread.

Wonderful Husband takes at least 8 loaves to work and it makes my heart happy to hear that some of the bread doesn't make it home (it's eaten at the person's desk), and another has a tradition of eating it with a bit of melted butter on Christmas morning.

I also give a medium loaf (or 2 mini loaves) to my friend Diane for she and her family to enjoy on their long car ride to visit family in Tennessee.

So here is my gift to you.

A wonderful recipe I've been baking for 30 years.
I know, now you think I've been baking since birth! Ha!

Pumpkin Bread
3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 c. water
2 c. pumpkin
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnuts

Mix in order given. Pour in greased/floured pans. Fill slightly over 1/2 full.
(Use a hand mixer to combine all ingredients, then hand-stir in raisins and walnuts.)

8 mini loaves - Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Medium loaves - Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
When finished baking, remove from pan immediately and let cool on a wire rack.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 5

The weather outside is frightful ... below freezing temps for I don't know how long, but it seems like forever.

I'm still not fully over my cold, yet am much better than last week since I took a Saturday of rest and napped off and on and felt more human by Sunday. Rest. It "does a body good."

Yesterday was my company luncheon at the wonderful Joseph Ambler Inn where I ordered the petite filet mignon. Yummy delicious. People around me ordered fish and I explained my Texas roots where I eat beef whenever I can. Ha!

So you're interested in my weight loss this week?

Week 5 Results:

I lost 2.5 lbs.
I walked on the treadmill 2 days this week.

Did sit-ups and used light weights for 4 days.
Total loss in 5 weeks is 3 lbs. (Total percentage of body weight will be posted on Week 8.)

Saturday night is my Wonderful Husband's family Christmas party. My plan is to snack moderately and enjoy the party. Sunday I will be marathon-baking pumpkin bread to give as gifts.

Here's a peek at our Christmas tree. Man, that angel is bright at the top!

Years ago, our daughter and I had an allergic reaction to a fresh tree. We invested in this faux tree and have put it to good use for the past 14 years. I love it and leave it up through January. It helps lighten my mood through December and January.

This week's question is: Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?

This contest has been a blessing to me. It's kept me focused on being responsible with my food choices and kept me accountable with my exercise decisions. I'm enjoying the holiday season this year. No weight gain and no guilt. Life is good.

Thanks for stopping by and please proceed to the House of Hills to cheer on the Losing It ladies.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 4

Well I finally succumbed to a cold. I'm just grateful that it's Friday and the end of my work week.

By the way, my new job is going great (except for the cold thing). I'm retaining all the new stuff and learning more new stuff every day. I guess you can "teach an old dog new tricks." Ha!

Week 4 Results:
I gained 1 lb.
I walked on the treadmill 3 days this week. I couldn't breathe with my cold so I took some days off.
Did sit-up and used light weights for 4 days.
Made it to my goal of drinking 64 oz. of

Here are some words of wisdom for you:
Don't eat Chex Mix like crazy if you don't get on the tready.
That's my gift to you this week.
You're welcome. :)

My plan for this upcoming week is: beat this cold, keep treading, doing sit-ups, using light weights, and more days of drinking 64 oz. of water.

I thought you might enjoy seeing what the house looks like all lit up on a windy night. I'm assuming the lights were shaking, not my hand on the camera but I'm not sure.

Thanks for stopping by and please proceed to the House of Hills to cheer on the Losing It ladies.

Is your house decked out with Christmas lights?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Time For Everything

Some weeks are meant to be spent in quiet contemplation.

On Monday, our daughter told me that she didn't make it past her academic probation so she'll be out of college after this semester. She's made a lot of plans about moving into a different apartment, working six days a week to save up for gas money and rent, and I'm assuming we'll hear more when she comes home for the family Christmas party on December 18th. Being a parent is hard. Yet I've come to the conclusion that everyone must take their own path through life. I'm wondering where our daughter's path will take her.

On Tuesday (my 5th day of work), my van broke down on the way there. It was towed to the shop and my kind neighbor (Diane) came and picked me up to take me to work. All that and I was only 30 minutes late, but I had called and told them what was happening. Wonderful Husband picked me up after work and took me to retrieve my repaired van. I'm thankful that my van broke down locally instead of on a road trip.

Wednesday marked the one year anniversary of Wonderful Husband's nephew's death. It was a solemn day remembering Gregory's death one year ago. He was 30 years old, had just celebrated his 4th wedding anniversary, and left behind his wife, 2 month old son, a large family, and many friends. I'm thankful for my faith in God who comforts and strengthens me during times of loss.

There are times that life can be messy.

There are times of joy in starting a new job, and there are times of once again turning my worries, problems, and sadness over to God who knows the future and has His perfect plan for each and every one of us.

Thank you Lord for being with me all the time!

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A time for everything.

I believe God is with me at all times and during everything.

I am thankful.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 3

You can go to Kathy's House of Hills blog to read the rules. Please note that you have to link up or leave comments for 6 of the 8 weeks in order to qualify for the prizes. Today is it people! If you're going to join, you must start today so you'll have 6 weeks of links or comments in order to win a prize. You know you want to! :)                                                                                                                  

This week has been wonderfully weird for me. I started working full time on Wednesday. I have been unemployed for 2 years and 10 months, so going back to work has been exhausting! And the funny thing is that I have only worked 3 days this week instead of a full five. Next week will be exhausting-er. Ha!

The job is going well and I'm thankful that I'm surrounded by nice people who are patient with my many questions. I'm looking forward to "hitting the groove" of knowing all the answers and being comfortable with all of my new responsibilities. The best part of starting a new job in December is writing down when the company Christmas luncheon is and it's at a really nice restaurant too. Yum! Oh and receiving a paycheck again is pretty cool too.

Week 3 Results:
I lost 1.5 lbs. (Total loss in 3 weeks is 1.5 lbs.) Total percentage of body weight loss will be posted on Week 8.
Got on the treadmill 5 days this week at a 2.5% incline, 3 mph, for 45 minutes.
Did sit-ups and used light weights for 5 days.
I did drink more water but not my goal of 64 oz./day...again.

My plan for this upcoming week is: keep treading, doing sit-ups and using light weights. The real challenge for me is to drink 64 oz. of water per day. I've have to drink more water.

Wonderful Husband and I are going to an open house party tomorrow so my plan is to eat in moderation. This is a tough time of year with all the sweets and party food and that's why I'm glad to be participating with the Losing It ladies.

Please join us at House of Hill's to link to your blog post, or leave a comment of your results, or to cheer everyone on.

The house is fully decorated. I'll be baking pumpkin bread soon to give as gifts (and stock-piling some in the freezer for when our kids come home to visit.) Cookies will be baked right before Christmas too. I mailed off Christmas gifts last Tuesday to Texas and Maryland and I'm sending Wonderful Husband out to finish the Christmas shopping. I have to find some new clothes for's time to "beef up" my wardrobe.

How are you doing with the holidays?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Better Vision

I went for an eye appointment a couple weeks ago and imagine my non-surprise when I was told that I needed a new prescription for my glasses.

When I was asked if I was having trouble reading or with distance....I just answered Yes and Yes.

So the exciting news (to me) is that I also ordered new frames.

Here is the before picture:

Here is the after picture:

Watch out world! I can see you now!

P.S. Getting older just keeps getting better and better.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 2

You can go to Kathy's House of Hills blog to read the rules. Please note that you have to link up or leave comments for 6 of the 8 weeks in order to qualify for the prizes. You still have time to participate for weeks 3-8 so join us!

The update on my job interview can be read here.

My plan for Thanksgiving was to eat in moderation. I succeeded! I enjoyed turkey, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and my contribution to the meal (onions in cheese sauce). I also had a piece of pumpkin pie with a dollop of Cool Whip.

There were five other side dishes that I passed up and five other dessert choices that I passed up and because of those decisions, I was full but not stuffed. I achieved my goal of moderation for Thanksgiving! I'm relieved that the Thanksgiving feast is once a year as you can see by my results listed below.

Week 2 Results:
I gained 1 lb.
Got on the treadmill 4 days this week at a 2.5% incline, 3 mph, for 45 minutes.
Did sit-ups and used light weights for 4 days.
I did drink more water but not my goal of 64 oz./day.

My plan for this upcoming week is: 5 days on the treadmill, 5 days of sit-ups and light weights, and drink 64 oz. of water per day.

There were 22 people at my sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving. We showed up with our side-dish and appetites, enjoyed the meal, football games, and visiting together. Some of Wonderful Husband's family go shopping on Black Friday. Not me. I'm staying home, hopping on "tready" and working off that 1 lb. gain. The best part is that I don't regret a single bite. Wonderful Husband's family are great cooks! 

Please join us at House of Hill's to link to your blog post, or leave a comment of your results, or to cheer everyone on.

Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast? Do you shop on Black Friday?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Job

I promised an update after my nail polish post, so here you go.

Here's the short (secular) version:
The lunch interview was last Thursday.
A follow-up visit to the office at 5:15 on Thursday evening.
The wait began: Friday, the weekend, Monday.
On Tuesday morning I ran errands, came home at 11:45 a.m. to a message on our voicemail asking me to call....
Job offered and I accepted.
I start working on December 1.

Here's the longer (God is awesome) version:
About a year ago, I asked  my former Bible Study buddy (Mary Lee) if she could keep "an ear out" for me about any job openings. She knew my background and the only two things I asked for her to keep in mind were that I wanted a short commute and full time employment.

Mary Lee has lived in the area for many years and has a lot of church and local business acquaintances and contacts. I would occasionally see her at church on Sundays, she and her husband came to a few Mission Committee meetings (while I was on the committee), and in passing on occasional Thursday mornings.

In June, Mary Lee sent me an email about a possible opening in our local Chamber of Commerce. I contacted the placement company and based on "dropping her name" as my recommendation, I sent in my resume, had a telephone interview, and took an online technical ability test. I sent an email to the interviewer saying that I had completed the test, left a message on his voicemail, and then heard nothing but cricket chirps.

At the end of October, Mary Lee emailed me about a possible job working for a couple who happen to be members of our church. She didn't name them but said she'd give them my name to contact. Two and half weeks elapsed and I was asked to a lunch interview on Thursday, November 18. The job was offered and I accepted on Tuesday, November 23.

In one week, I will be starting my new job which is full time and a short 20 minute commute from my home. I've thanked Mary Lee on the telephone and sent her a lovely Thanksgiving flower arrangement too. She has been a blessing to me during my job search.

So where has God been through all this?

Every step of the way with me during the 2 years and 10 months of my mini-retirement.

I left my last job where I worked at a church for over 5 years. I left that job thinking I would take nine months off and then get another job.

During these 2 years and 10 months:
  • I continued attending the weekly Bible Study at our church.
  • I continued my weekly phone calls with Terri where we talked our way through: The One Year Women's Friendship Devotional by Cheri Fuller & Sandra P. Aldrich, Me Myself & Lies....A Thought Closet Makeover by Jennifer Rothschild, and Lysa Terkeurst's book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.
  • Our daughter graduated from high school and left for college.
  • I had surgery and recovered well.
  • I watched the economy collapse and read about people losing their jobs, homes, etc.
  • Our daughter changed to a different college.
  • My husband's nephew had their first child, then he (our nephew) died from cancer a little over 2 months later.
  • Our son graduated from college and began looking for a job.
  • I finished my commitment to the Mission Committee at our church.
  • I was able to travel with our son out of state to keep him company before his interviews.
  • Our son was hired for his first teaching position in a middle school.
  • My faith grew amazingly gigantic because of the quiet I was surrounded with at home during the day.
  • I've grown wonderfully smaller by losing 19.5 lbs. :)
  • My husband never criticized or complained about my not getting a job on the 9 month time-table. He has shown an amazing amount of patience and love during my mini-retirement.
I believe God has His reasons for my time away from work.

I believe His plan enabled me to be fully present in all the situations listed above.

I believe I've used my time wisely and have grown closer to Him.

I read the Bible daily and have learned so much about what His truth and His love.

God is awesome!

This quiet interlude has made me a better person and now...

I'm ready to go out into the working world again.

A job is one more thing I have to be thankful for today.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 1 (For Realz)

OK. I messed up last week because the competition was just beginning. Today marks Week 1 results. Really. I promise.

You can go to Kathy's House of Hills blog to read the rules. Please note that you have to link up or leave comments for 6 of the 8 weeks in order to qualify for the prizes. So get busy!

This has been a somewhat stressful week for me. A family issue, fingernail polish issue, and I had my first job interview in a longgggg time. OK. Two out of those three things were stressful.

The job interview went well and now I'm in "wait-and-see-mode." I'll post an update (either way) when I have news.

What I've come to realize is that if I'm stressed, I eat. If I'm happy, I celebrate by eating. Does anyone see a pattern here or struggle with it yourself?

Week 1 Results:
I lost 1 lb.
Got on the treadmill 3 days this week at a 2.5% incline, 3 mph, for 45 minutes.
Did sit-ups and used light weights for 3 days.

My plan for this upcoming week is: 5 days on the treadmill, 5 days of sit-ups and light weights, and drink more water.

Next week is Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday! I'm a bit apprehensive of losing any weight BUT I am going to enjoy a moderate feast and celebrate at my sister-in-law's home with a lot of family members. Moderation in eating is my goal and hugging my kids who will be home for a visit. (I wonder if I can burn a lot of calories by hugging my kids?)

Please join us at House of Hill's to link to your blog post, or leave a comment of your results, or just to cheer everyone on. I'm looking forward to eating turkey and moderation. :)

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nail Polish

Happiness in a bottle....

I am a wacky, creature of habit.
Spring - Light-ish Pink
Summer - Fuschia
October through Thanksgiving - Orange
From Thanksgiving until Spring - Red

I am quite the conservative dresser. So I let my nail polish show my quirky personality.

I was reading online "10 Things the HR Department Won't Tell You."

I am looking for a job and wanted to make sure that nothing is considered "hiring suicide" that I didn't have a clue about, so imagine my heart breaking when I read that they suggest not "showing your eccentricities by having pink hair or black nail polish."

No, I don't have pink hair.

I looked at my orange nail polish and thought...."Doggone it. I need to change my nail polish color since I might have a job interview this week."

Now I'm ready for an interview....

... and waiting for my phone to ring.

Update: I had just hit "Publish Post" and my phone rang. Interview tomorrow at noon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 1

Woo hoo! Kathy at House of Hills is having an 8 week competition that will take us through the holidays. (Click on the link above to read all the rules.)

I am soooooo grateful for Kathy hostessing this because I really need the incentive (to possibly win a prize) and the accountability factor that will carry me through these holidays that are always celebrated by overeating eating yummy food.

I have been yo-yo-ing through the world on my bathroom scale. I've said goodbye to 160 once (on September 17th)...then hello to the 160s over and over again ever since. Darn.

My beginning weight today is 161.5 lbs.

My plan is to eat less and to move more. In addition, I want to say a firm goodbye to the 160s.

1) Get on the treadmill 5 days a week.
2) Drink 64 oz. of water per day.
3) Take-in less calories (and healthier ones at that).
4) Do sit-ups and use light weights daily.

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways."
Haggai 1:5-7

This week I will give careful thought to my ways.

Please visit Kathy at House of Hills, read the contest rules, and join us in this friendly contest as we encourage and cheer each other on while we maintain or lose through the holidays.

(Update: I should not have called this Week 1 since in the real world Week 1 will be next Friday, November 19th. Sorry for my confusion and I'm hopeful it isn't contagious!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Worship Experience

I have always said that I "was born and raised Presbyterian."

I'm comfortable attending a traditional Presbyterian worship service and so when Paula asked me go to a contemporary worship service this past Sunday, the first thought that popped into my head was to say no thank you.

The second thought that popped into my head was why not? So I said yes and went to a church that I drive past at least every six months since it's on my way to my dentist's office.

Four of us met at a church that doesn't have the word church in it's name. (That's another topic for another time for me.)

On my way in I was warmly greeted by the man at the front door with a handshake, handed a bulletin and was told, "God's blessings to you." He also complimented my on my jacket (extra points for him!)

Before entering the sanctuary, Paula said that they were having prayer inside so I'd need to be quiet. I laughed and told her that I would have been able to "read the signals," and also know how to act in public. Funny!

When we opened the door to enter..the worship band was in full swing and the next 30  minutes we spent standing and singing praise music, reading the words off the drop down media screen. No need for me to be quiet and what a difference from a pipe organ and the occasional orchestra at my usual church.

We sat and heard the announcements, saw a video presentation set to music honoring veterans and active military because Veterans' Day is this Thursday.

The pastor's sermon "Understanding Kingdom Authority" was inspiring. His Bible preaching was really good. I took notes and when he finished, he closed in prayer and the service was over.

There was a man standing inside the doorway with a purple velvet pouch and I didn't realize that was for the offering until I had walked out of the sanctuary. (Why didn't Paula tell me that? lol)

I really enjoyed this new worship experience

Have you ever experienced a different worship service?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Commitment Sunday

Yesterday was Commitment Sunday at our church. A few years ago this new tradition was instituted and I have attended that service only once. It's been going on for at least 5 years, I'm guessing.

During the service, the pastor and associate pastor stood at the front of our large church with large baskets and we walked up in an "orderly fashion" to place our pledge for the upcoming year into the basket. (Orderly fashion is defined by row-by-row people walking up the center aisle, then walking to the outside aisle to re-enter the pew. We are an orderly people. Hee hee!)

The following year when I read "Commitment Sunday" again, I felt of twinge of discomfort. It took me a while to determine why I was feeling that way and I think the easiest way to explain is:

1) It feels like a pride thing to me. "Look at me walking up to put my pledge in a basket! I'm such a good giver!"

2) I think about a first time visitor. Is this a confusing part of the service for them? Do they feel excluded with people stepping over them to get to the center aisle?

My pledge is between me and God for the benefit of His Church.

I don't attend my church on Commitment Sunday. I mail in my pledge.

Please don't misunderstand me. This is how Commitment Sunday makes me feel and for those who don't feel this way, they are the fortunate ones. And I kind of wish I were one of them. 

Last week Paula called and left a message saying that she wanted a prayer added to our Bible Study Prayer List. She also mentioned that she hadn't seen me in church the previous Sunday and hoped everything was well. I called her back and told her that we hadn't been in church because we were visiting our son in Virginia and then felt the need to give her a "heads up" that we wouldn't be there on Commitment Sunday either. (I didn't want her to worry about me again.)

Paula called on Saturday night and invited me to attend a different church on Sunday with her, Laurie, and Charlotte. It's a more contemporary service than what we have at our church. I agreed to go and that's what my next blog post will be about.... Stay tuned.

Do you have a "Commitment Sunday" tradition where you worship?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Big Picture

The One Year Chronological Bible readings for November 5 were:

The Burial of Jesus
Mark 15:42-47
Matthew 27:57-61
Luke 23:50-56
John 19:38-42

The Guard at the Tomb
Matthew 27:62-66

The Resurrection
Mark 16:1-8
Matthew 28:1-7
Luke 24:1-12
Mark 16:9-11
John 20:1-18
Matthew 28:8-10

The Report of the Guard
Matthew 28:11-15

Today's readings fascinated me with their slight differences in the details:

The man that asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body: he owned a new tomb; he found a previously unused tomb; he wrapped Jesus' body; he and another man prepared Jesus' body with perfumed ointment before wrapping his body in long sheets.

What the women saw: the stone had been rolled away from the tomb and a young man clothed in a white robe was sitting inside the tomb on the right side; a large earthquake happened and an angel rolled away the stone and sat on it; the stone was rolled away and two men suddenly appeared inside the tomb clothed in dazzling robes.

Yet with all these slight differences in the details, the big truth is there. Jesus rose from the dead and will meet with his disciples in Galilee.

Sometimes in my life, I get caught up with the slight differences in details instead of the big picture truths.

Lord, help me to not get bogged down with slight inconsistencies in my life, but rather to see the consistency of Your truths that surround me. Amen.

Do you get stuck in the details?

Losing It - Week 37

It's been an interesting week. We went to Virginia to visit our son leaving early Saturday morning and got back home midafternoon on Sunday. Three meals out....well I ate two meals because I sent away my underdone burger. Yes, I embarrass my family by actually sending food away. Sorry!

The big news is that I've increased my time on the treadmill from 2.5 hours/week to 3.75 hours/week. That works out to be 45 minutes on tready 5 days/week. Phew!

Oh yeah, and we had leftover Halloween candy. Darn trick-or-treaters! I'm guessing it was a bit too cold this year. But I've noticed what I haven't lost in pounds, I have been losing in inches.

This week I lost 1 lb.! 

Goals for this week:
Drink more water!
Measure myself so I can be specific with inches. (I wish I would have measured myself back in February so I'd have a running total. Oh well.)
Stay with the treadmill schedule of 45 minutes per day for 5 days.

I'm linking this post to Kathy's blog (House of Hills) and am hoping you'll stop by to join in and/or encourage the group! See you next week!

Update: Kathy is announcing a contest next week so now is a great time to join us!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

It seems that lately I've been surrounded by the word "forgiveness." I've seen it in my Bible readings, my Bible Study buddies have mentioned it, and my church even had a seminar on the topic. I didn't attend the seminar yet Laurie gave me copies of her notes. She said she remembered me talking about working on forgiveness in my life.

Really? I think I've turned into a person who doesn't listen to what I say because I don't remember talking about forgiveness at all.

There were two sentences (from the seminar) that "got me thinking":
Forgiveness isn't dependant on the other person.
But reconciliation is because it requires the other person to admit their fault too.

From I retrieved the following definitions:
forgive - to pardon an offense or an offender
reconcile - to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable

It took me years to comprehend that forgiveness doesn't always follow a standard method of one person apologizing and the other person saying, "I forgive you."

I've learned to forgive a person without them apologizing to me. I pray asking God to help me forgive them and ask Him to change my heart toward them. I don't ask God to change them. I ask Him to change me.

Forgiveness is freeing. It helps me to not carry the burden of the offense/offender in my heart. It lightens my load. Sometimes a relationship continues between me and the person. Sometimes it does not. Either way, I have gained valuable experience to apply toward future relationships.

Reconciliation is where I am struggling in my heart. I don't like the word confrontation. I like the more civilized-sounding word of conversation.

I haven't tried to reconcile with one person because I will be in a vulnerable position. There has been no conversation about the circumstance that led us to this place of "relationship-in-limbo."  

It's interesting that a month ago I heard a sermon that by sending Jesus, God opened Himself up to vulnerability. God knew what was going to happen and sent Jesus anyway.

There is one person I have forgiven yet I haven't tried to reconcile with and a lot of time has passed by.

Is now the time?

If all goes well, I know that we will have greater peace.

If reconciliation doesn't happen will I suffer and be able to forgive again?

I pray for wisdom in this situation focusing on James 3:17, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

I want to be a peacemaker who sows in peace.

What has reconciliation looked like in your relationships/life?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Losing It - Week 36

This week I read about Kathy hitting the treadmill in her hotel. For 45 minutes per day. She inspired me to "up my game" this week and I hit my tready for 45 minutes for 3 days. (I looked a bit purply-sweaty at the end but I think I worked off some of my Halloween "candy taste-testing" this week.)

I lost .5 lb. this week. You don't need to stop the presses...yet I am happy with the scale going down a bit.

I also went to the dentist on cavities! (I love sharing good news.)

This week's goals are:
45 minutes on tready for 5 days.
More water. 64 oz./day.
More healthy eating (hurry up trick-or-treaters....have all my candy!)

I'm linking this post to Kathy's blog (House of Hills) and am hoping you'll stop by to join in and/or encourage the group! See you next week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I've Been Thinking...

I've been thinking about what my blog represents. The only theme I see is that it's my online journal about whatever I'm experiencing in life.

A few months ago, I was talking to Terri about the Relevant 2010 conference. I wished I could attend to hear Ann Voskamp (one of the keynote speakers) and this year it was close by in Hershey, PA. But I'm glad I didn't go since I'm not a professional blogger, just an amateur and I'm comfortable with that definition. Monica (The Homespun Heart) put a link to MomTV where at certain times they have live video-stream of the speakers. Ann is scheduled for today (Saturday) at 6:00 p.m. I'll be watching! (Update at 6:52 p.m.: The internet connection at the hotel is not good tonight. They are having trouble pulling bandwith for streaming. I didn't get to see Ann's presentation.)

The wind was blowing hard yesterday morning and since I had my window cracked-open I kept putting on and taking off a sweat jacket. Today is supposed to be sunny and 66 degrees. I'm planning on laying out on the patio and getting some Vitamin D. I am kooky.

Both my kids have been sick this week. It is strange to know about their illnesses and not be around to "doctor them back to health."

Readings from The One Year Chronological Bible yesterday had me praying for God to allow me to see, understand, and serve. (I highly recommend Wendy Pope's blog. She vlogs Monday-Fridays and I visit her site after my daily reading. I love her southern accent and her Christian wisdom is awesome!)

I've been sending out encouraging cards lately. It makes my soul feel good, yet my main purpose is let others know that I care for them.

I met Sue at Starbucks on Thursday. I haven't had my latte in a couple weeks. It was a tasty experience (the latte) and wonderful to sit and chat for a couple hours.

Since we've purchased my new washer and dryer...I love doing laundry. How strange is that?

My house is easier to keep clean with two people in residence instead of four (and there is less laundry).

The Phillies won Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. So the series score is Phillies 2 Giants 3. Tonight is game 6 and I'm hoping for a Phillies win. (The Texas Rangers are the American League Champions and will be playing in the World Series.) Could it be a Texas vs. Philadelphia World Series? If so, I might not be taking any phone calls from my side of the family during the World Series!

Lastly, I've been doing some early Christmas shopping (online). For the past couple years (at least) I assigned Wonderful Husband the job, so this year I think he'll be happy with my being a more active shopping contributor. The only problem is figuring out what to get him. Any suggestions?

My brain cell is exhausted....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Losing It - Week 35

Dag nab it! This week's update is not one I wanted to "talk" about. It was a week of eating stupid and not moving enough obviously.

The scale moved up 1.5 lbs. and I need to get my head back in the game (again)!

I must say that I've already read Kathy's update and her wonderful success this past week. She has inspired me to get focused again and so I ask for your prayers this week because I need them!

I've linked up to Kathy at House of Hills this week and ask that you stop by and check out the other ladies and their progress. Thank you and see you next week!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


A couple weeks ago, ants invaded our kitchen. We had a lot of rain on consecutive days and my theory was they were trying to move to drier ground. It was a battle that waged on for about three days. I think they left when the weather (read dried up) improved.

This morning I asked Wonderful Husband why God invented ants. Without missing a beat he said, "To humble you."

Wow. Great response. How do I come back from that answer?

(I thought He invented ants so that anteaters had something to eat.)

And Wonderful Husband is correct. In the fight between me and nature, nature wins.


Have you struggled with/against nature recently?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Losing It - Week 34

This past week my usually focused and organized world was changed up a bit. Wonderful Husband and I started sanding and prepping the front porch. We worked on the porch on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday morning I went out and wiped it all down with a 1 part bleach/3 part water mixture and then (lucky for me) our daughter, Young Sweetie was home for "Fall Break." She wiped off all the sponge remnants and then assisted me with painting the exposed wood with primer. (I thanked her profusely since I knew it wasn't much of a break for her on that day.)

On Wednesday, I finished the bleach/water wipe down on the lowest part of the porch and painted it with primer. Finished it in 3.5 hours and thought I'd never be able to stand up straight again. Yet I could!

Here is a picture update so far.

We are waiting for Thursday and Friday rains to blow through and Wonderful Husband and I will (hopefully) finish painting on Saturday and Sunday.

Then our next step is to seal the floor of the porch. We're under a time constraint between weather, visiting our son in VA at the end of the month, and of course the bazillion trick-or-treaters that will coming with hopes of treats (not tricks).

Here is my Losing It! update for last week:

Eating - Not so great since I was too beat to cook I had unusual unhealthy meals including: a cheese steak hoagie, a slice of chicken-bacon-ranch-pizza.

Tready - didn't step on her for 3 of my porch work days. My body was one big ache from bending/hunching over. So 4 days of tready this week.

Did sit-ups and worked on my arms with 7 lb. weights.

Increased my water intake but didn't hit the 64 oz. per day goal. Going to try and get back into this habit this upcoming week!

Lost .5 lb. this week.

I do want to say that while working on the front porch I was continually thanking God for giving me a body that could move, bend, hunch over, and scrape along the bushes that sometimes were a little mean to me! (It  helps me to focus on blessings while doing work I don't like very much.)

I've linked this post to Kathy at House of Hills. Please stop by and see how the other ladies are doing. Join in if you have your own weight challenge. The accountability factor is great and we encourage each other toward success one week at a time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Happiness in a box....

Some are for Christmas gifts and some are "gifts" for me! I love!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Myrtle Beach, SC

The last pictures of our vacation were taken in Myrtle Beach. We left Calabash at 3:30 and arrived at Barefoot Landing at 4:00 and took our time walking around.

A lot of shops to wander by or through. Some I'd never heard of before and some were familiar back home in PA.

I loved this picture because of the blooming flowers. It was unusually warm during our vacation (15 degrees warmer than normal for the area) and I knew that it was cooler back in PA with leaves beginning to turn and fall off the trees.

So these flowers just made me happy.

I got a kick out of this shop called PURPLEologist. A shop with all things purple (apparel, jewelry, housewares, journals, and gifts). In the first picture I was trying to focus on the purple golf clubs inside the left side of the store. While that didn't work out so well, I do like the reflection of the woman captured in the right door.

We had dinner at T-Bonz Gill and Grill. The burgers were ok. The dessert was magnificient! Chocolate Mousse Cake. A three layered chocolate cake with Bavarian cream separating one layer and raspberry cream separating the other layer. I did share with Wonderful Husband but I didn't want to! lol

At 7:30 we had reservations to see "One The Show" at the Alabama Theatre. It reminded me of the type of variety shows I've seen on a cruise and when looking at the performers' bios, a lot of them had cruise ship experience listed. It was a fun evening and they did say that they begin their Christmas performances on November 2. (Just thought I'd let you know.)

That concludes the posts for our September vacation. It was wonderful to get away from reality for ten days and I must admit it was wonderful to get back home too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Losing It - Week 33

I've decided to post my Losing It! updates on a weekly basis on my blog and link to Kathy's House of Hills. I've tried to do updates every 5 weeks on this blog and post comments at Kathy's House of Hills weekly but it doesn't seem to keep me accountable enough and my results have been dismal.

A re-cap:
The first 10 weeks I lost 10 lbs. (Hooray!)
The second 10 weeks I lost 6.5 lbs. (OK!)
The third 10 weeks I lost 3 lbs. (YIKES!)

See a pattern? Losing less and less as time progresses. Please don't misunderstand, I am pleased with weighing 19.5 lbs. less. But, I need to get my head "back in the game" and blogging weekly will hopefully keep me more focused and determined.

Week 31 - I was on vacation with Wonderful Husband and didn't have a scale nearby.
Week 32 - Gained 2 lbs. Not unexpected since vacation is vacation.
Week 33 - Lost 1 lb. Alrighty then.

My lifestyle plan is to eat less (making more healthy choices) and move more.

I need to make more healthy food choices this week. Meals were fine but I was snacking on Hot Tamales (candy) and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (more candy). I need to stock up on green apples and have healthy snacks.

I walked on the treadmill at a 2.5% incline, 3 mph, 25 minutes/day for 5 days this week. I want to hit tready 6 days per week.

Keep doing sit ups and working with 7 lb. weights.

Last but not least....water! I need to drink more water. 64 oz. a day worked well for me during my first 10 weeks.

After Bible Study yesterday, I ran a few errands and decided to "treat myself" to a slice of chicken-bacon-ranch-pizza. I'd rationalized that I had been pretty good this week. (Sometimes I tell myself little white lies.) I walked in to my local pizza place and looked at the counter. I asked the server, "Do you have chicken-bacon-ranch-pizza?" The cashier (with her back to me) said, "I just sold the last slice."

"OK, thanks anyway."

I was laughing on the way to my van and thought, "Well God, I guess You didn't think I deserved a slice today." (I do believe that God wants me to be healthier too.)

I've linked this post to Kathy at House of Hills. Please stop in and see how the other ladies are doing. Join in if you have your own weight challenge. The accountability factor is great and we encourage each other toward success one week at a time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Typical Day

I had two errands to accomplish on Friday.
First, get a flu shot.
Second, buy a birthday present for our one year old great nephew, Brady.

My friend Terri gave me a great gift idea for Brady. A Melissa and Doug puzzle. Handmade, very sturdy and after checking online, I discovered they were in stock at my local Toys R Us store.

Off I went to my 10:00 a.m. flu shot appointment. I walked in to my doctors' office, checked in and went and sat down for what I was thinking would be a short wait. Ten minutes later, I was called back, got my shot and left.

I drove to Toys R Us. A smidge over 10 miles away and started thinking that I didn't know how many years it had been since I'd shopped in the store. I remember a time when I felt like I "almost lived at Toys R Us" and then our kids "outgrew the toy part of life." (That's also when the gifts got a lot more expensive too.)

I took a shopping cart and found a cute card for Brady. Then I started wandering around looking for an Apple to Apple game I wanted for our family and of course a Melissa and Doug Puzzle for Brady.

Right away I determined that Toys R Us had too much visual stimulation for me. I started thinking that the place could drive me to drink. I looked in the aisle that had board games, saw the sign that said they were in alphabetical order and then wondered in what classroom they learned what alphabetical order meant? The shelf started with "C" and next to Candyland was Monolopy. YIKES!

I gave up (for the moment) and went in search of puzzles. Not only did I find the aisle with a sign that said "Puzzles" but underneath that lovely word was "Melissa and Doug Puzzles." Hooray! I found two puzzles for Brady and was sorting through them to find the most pristine conditioned ones when a woman and a toddler came into my line of vision. I apologized for sorting through and stacking the puzzles along the shelf and she turned to me and said, "Were you just at a doctor's office?"

I'm sure my face registered my confusion....and after a pause....I said, "Yes." Then she said, "I thought I recognized your green shirt."

Note to self: If I want to go unnoticed, I shouldn't wear lime green.

Second thing to ponder: A young mom (with a toddler) has sharper mind recall than me.

Thirdly: It really is a small world when we ended up over 10 miles away and saw each other again.

Lastly: My arm hurts from my flu shot, but I accomplished buying our great nephew's gifts for his first birthday.

My purchase at Toys R Us: Puzzles for Brady, gift bag and birthday card with a big "1" on it, and Apples to Apples for my family. Thanks Terri for the great gift idea!

Happy First Birthday Brady!

Do you have a toy store experience you'd like to share?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sunset Beach, NC

I read the book The Mailbox, by Marybeth Whalen, a couple months ago. Imagine my surprise when Wonderful Husband (WH) chose Calabash for our vacation and told me that we'd be going to Sunset Beach for our shore time. Woo hoo!

I couldn't pass up the opportunity of finding the Kindred Spirit mailbox which Marybeth Whalen had written about in her book. We had gone into a couple beach shops to buy a visor for me. (Yes, once again I forgot to bring one on vacation with me. Darn!) WH asked where the Kindred Spirit mailbox was located and the cashier told us to drive to the end of the street and park in one of the two street parking places. Then go onto the beach (via public access) and walk about 45 minutes to get to it.

YIKES! I'll be getting some exercise! We decided to wait to do it. (Hey it's vacation, we can take our time in making decisions.) So three days later, we parked in one of the four parking spaces on the street. Put on suntan lotion, my $3.50 visor and off we went to the public access wooden bridge leading to the beach. We picked up our flip flops once we hit the sand and set off at a good pace staying out of the water trying to walk and keep our eyes alert for the mailbox.

We found it!

It took us 35 minutes to walk to it, and WH had predicted that we would spot foot traffic leading to the dunes helping us locate the mailbox. The day was sunny and the breeze coming off the ocean was delightful. There were a husband, wife, and daughter writing in notebooks when we arrived. WH took a picture and then we took out notebooks and pens to write our thoughts.

One thing I found interesting was a note taped inside the mailbox lid asking for the person who finds a completed notebook to mail it to a P.O. Box in Hope Mills, NC. (I guess no one removes what's written every evening like I thought and it disappointed my romantic notion a bit.)

I saw something I'd never seen before on a beach.

Sand dollars.

They were broken unfortunately, yet I can't tell you over the years how many jellyfish I've seen on beaches and I'd much rather see broken sand dollars. I collected a few and took a picture. (FYI, I left them there since my years are over of bringing stinky shells back into my home.)

During our stroll in the shallow water, it took us about 45 minutes to get back to the public access bridge. The water was cool, not cold (83 degrees), and about 20 degrees warmer than the ocean temperature at Wildwood, NJ. Loved it!

Thank you Wonderful Husband for taking me on this adventure. I know I wouldn't have found the Kindred Spirit mailbox without your presence since I'm geographically challenged. You are the best!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Calabash Golf

We traveled from Virginia and arrived at the condo in Calabash, NC in 6 hours. Carried the luggage up to the second floor and discovered that we had a great view of the 9th hole green outside our back deck. Lovely! Free entertainment!

I learned something new the next morning about the golf world. Early in the morning a greenskeeper came and was mowing and flattening the green around the hole. He then stepped off his mower/flattener and removed the flag and plastic hole cup, walked over to another part of the green he'd already flattened and with a medium-sized post hole digger, took out a plug from the new area, inserted the plastic cup (stepping on it firmly), then inserted the flag.

With the plug of dirt he still had in his post hole digger, he walked over and placed it where the cup used to be, stepped on it and got back on his mower/flattener to finish driving over it and the rest of the green.

I asked Wonderful Husband why they moved the holes and he explained that it was so that one part of the green wouldn't get worn out from the constant traffic. It made sense to me and I couldn't believe that after knowing golfers (my father and Wonderful Husband) for so many years, I never knew they moved the holes!

Too bad they don't move/remove sand traps. I saw a lot of golfers' golf balls land in them with frequency!

This ends your golf hole moving education for today. ( You're welcome ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Shore

Wonderful Husband and I took a late vacation this year. We waited until the "kids" were settled into their fall routines (son moved and teaching in VA and daughter back to university).

The car was packed "to the gills" and off we went to "the shore." New words for me since in my younger (Texan) days I would say "the beach." Not correct vocabulary for a Pennsylvanian.

We began our vacation at one of my favorite places. Wildwood, NJ. Now you might think that since I have a new camera, I would take some pictures of Wildwood. Well, you'd be wrong. We arrived around 11:00 a.m. on Friday and were leaving early Saturday morning.

How can I describe riding toward Wildwood? My personal tradition is to roll the window down when we get close in order to smell the air. It has a fish aroma overlayed with a heavy salt smell. This from a woman who doesn't like to get close to the fish counter in the grocery store at home because the smell makes me want to gag! The aroma of Wildwood makes me happy.

We had lunch with my in laws at Owen's Pub. Ate crabcake sliders and fries. No shells in the crabcakes and just delicious.

Shopped at Hooked on Books (a second hand bookstore). I looked at their website for the first time before leaving home and printed off a 10% discount coupon. (Extra points for me using a coupon!) I also discovered that they're open only five months per year (May-September) and we were just squeaking in before they closed for the season.

Took a walk on the beach. The water temperature (68 degrees) was just cold enough to make me catch my breath at the chill, but then my feet grew accustomed to it.

Had dinner at the Boathouse restaurant. Tried to eat healthy by ordering broiled flounder, instead of some sort of fried fish. Tasteless, yet I think everyone else enjoyed their meal.

Walked on the boardwalk and had to stop at Douglass Fudge for my traditional chocolate fudge with nuts. Wonderful!

And we did all of these things while I didn't have my camera on me.

Heavy sigh.

I did better on Saturday morning when we took the Cape May/Lewes Ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE. It took us only 20 minutes to get from Wildwood to the Cape May/Lewes Ferry terminal. This was my first time riding on a ferry.

The Terminal in Cape May. Our view as we were lined up waiting to be loaded onto the ferry.

It was amazing how many cars, trucks, motorcycles were loaded on to the ferry. We had booked our reservation for 9:30, arrived early and were asked if we wanted to take the earlier ferry. Sure!

Goodbye Cape May!

We passed another ferry on the way. Another fascinating sight was seeing Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico. I watched our ferry pass them and asked Wonderful Husband, "Why don't they just land on the ferry while crossing the Delaware River?" (Note to self: I'd make a very lazy butterfly.)

Hello Lewes, DE! Total ferry travel time was about 1 hour and 25 minutes. It was a delightful ride while sitting outside in the sun. Very breezy yet relaxing and I loved watching our fellow passengers. After docking, it only took 10 minutes for us to drive off the ferry and continue our way through Delaware, Maryland, and on to Virginia to visit our son for the day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lifestyle Change Part 3

Today is the third 10 week completion of my lifestyle change (weight loss).

The update for weeks 6-10 is the scale that looked like this:
Week 6 - lost 1 lb.
Week 7 - gained .5 lb.
Week 8 - lost 1 lb.
Week 9 - gained/lost 0
Week 10 - lost 1 lb.

During this 10 week period, my total weight loss is........ 3 lbs.

I began this "adventure" on February 26 with a total loss of 10 lbs. in 10 weeks.  I lost an additional 6.5 lbs. in my second 10 week period. I'm continuing my plan of eat less, move more. I am watching my portion size, and walking on the treadmill at a 2% incline, 3 mph, 25 minutes for 5-6 days per week.

I have lost the total of 19.5 lbs. in 30 weeks. That's 10.89% in 30 weeks. And now can say goodbye to the 160s! My current weight is 159.5 lbs. Booyah!

I have marked off 10 more weeks which will take me to November 26. My update posts will be on Week 5 and Week 10.

Thanks for your encouragement and support as the journey continues! I've linked this post to Kathy at House of Hills. Please stop in and see how the other ladies are doing and cheer them on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Iced Latte

Happiness in a cup....

I finally found something at Starbucks (besides hot chocolate) that I adore.

It's a Grande, Iced, Skinny, Vanilla, Latte!

And depending on where you read the calorie count on Starbuck's's either 80 or 90 calories.

Something I can live with and drink with no guilt involved.

Yum! (And you're welcome.)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

National Day of Encouragement

One of the blogs I follow is (in)courage. (In)courage has been celebrating their one year anniversary and there have been 30 Days of Giveaways! WOW!

One of the giveaways I participated/won is from Day 11. (They sent the first 400 entries a free pack of ten cards from DaySpring's new Hope and Encouragement line.) All they asked in return is for me to write a post on my blog and link it back to them, sharing my story about how I used one of the cards to encourage someone else. Because you see, today (September 12th) is the National Day of Encouragement.

Here is the card I chose:

Yeah, totally been there.
You're going to make it...
and you'll have love and prayers with you all the way.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. Philippians 1:6 NIV

I am sending the card to one of my Bible Study Buddies. She has suffered from a hip problem for years. She's had multiple surgeries, been in almost constant pain and has been told that it will be a year to recover from her latest surgery. During these past years, she has shown such gentleness of spirit and patience.  And amazing (to me) is the care and encouragement she has shown toward others during her difficult time. When I heard about her latest prognosis, I was told that she was discouraged and I thought about God's perfect timing for me to send her encouragement through this card. I'll write my prayer for her continued healing and patience during this time. For wisdom for her doctors and gentle care from her physical therapist and my hope is that she feels God's love and mine when she receives the card.

Once I have linked my post back to (in)courage, I'm entered to win $500.
$250 will go to a charity I choose and $250 for me.

Yet I'm changing their rules a bit because I'd like to give $250 to two charities.

1) I would donate $250 to Compassion International's Unsponsored Children's Fund which "can help children see hope in Compassion's program by providing care until they find a sponsor." (Over the past few days, a group of bloggers have been on a mission trip with Compassion to Guatemala. Because of unemployment I'm not able to commit to sponsor a child at this time, yet love the idea of being able to "Show the love of Christ immediately.") (Words in quotes are from Compassion International's website.)

2) I would also donate $250 to Americans for Native Americans because this is an organization close to my Bible Study Buddy's heart. Their Mission Statement says, "Americans for Native Americans is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Native Americans by providing essential goods and programs which foster self-reliance and mutual understanding." Americans for Native Americans focuses on those living in the Southwest United States. (Words in quotes are from Americans for Native Americans' website.)

I am grateful for the ten free cards from (in)courage and am looking forward to sending out nine more to those who need encouragement.

Can you imagine how the world would be with people encouraging each other?
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Good luck to the 400 bloggers/commenters for the chance to win $500!

This experience has been a blessing for me. Thank you (in)courage!

Updated on September 13: Congratulations to Amy from Thoughts on the Divine for winning the $500 from (in)courage!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Move In Day

It's been two weeks since our son started his career as a teacher. He's been living in a hotel for those two weeks while waiting to be able to move into his apartment.

Friday he picked up his keys.

On Saturday, Wonderful Husband, our daughter and I left Pennsylvania at 6:30 a.m. with two vans packed and drove to Virginia. We arrived at our son's/her brother's new home and with his help, unloaded everything up to his THIRD FLOOR apartment. His bed, dresser, desk, clothes, boxes of books and DVDs.

We went to lunch. Went shopping. Unloaded his purchases (dishes, pots and pans, cleaning supplies, you know just stuff).

We went to dinner. Went shopping. Unloaded his purchases and although he doesn't own a couch or  a chair yet...he has his priorities straight (for being a guy and all that).

His necessary purchase:

A 46" flat-screen TV and a TV stand!

As far as he's concerned, his first solo home is as good as gold!

Rock on Mr. Teacher!

Do you remember your first home?