Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week

What I am reading this week:

The Triumphal Entry, Jerusalem, Sunday (Palm Sunday)
Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus curses the fig tree, Monday
Matthew 21:18-19

Jesus clears the temple, Monday
Matthew 21:12-13

The authority of Jesus questioned, Tuesday
Matthew 21:23-27

Jesus teaches in the temple, Tuesday
Matthew 21:28-23:39

Jesus anointed, Bethany, Tuesday
Matthew 26:6-13

The plot against Jesus, Wednesday
Matthew 26:14-16

The Last Supper, Thursday (Maundy Thursday)
Matthew 26:17-29

Gethsemane, Thursday
Matthew 26:36-46

Jesus' arrest and trial, Thursday night and Friday
Matthew 26:47-27:26

Jesus' crucifixion and death, Golgotha, Friday (Good Friday)
Matthew 27:27-56

The burial of Jesus, Joseph's Tomb, Friday
Matthew 27:57-66

The Resurrection, Sunday (Easter)
Matthew 28:1-10

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Easter blessings to you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Birthday Memory

My "baby sister" turned 40 years old this week. I think it's so cool that she is 40!

Our mom told me that my sis gets super emotional every year. Our dad's birthday was six days after hers. She cries about missing our dad (who died in 1992) yet my mom wonders if it also stems from her being upset about getting another year older.

The only time I was upset about my birthday was when my Wonderful Husband didn't buy me anything for my 25th birthday (many years ago). We had gone to visit his parents in Pennsylvania (we lived in Maryland). I went to lunch with his mom and two sisters. One of his sisters asked what he had given me for my birthday. I said, "Nothing."

I was expecting him to go out while I was gone to get me something (a card, maybe a gift, maybe a cake). Because four years into our marriage, I believed that he could read my mind.

On the way home from lunch, we passed quite a few yard sales and his sister started teasing me that maybe he would hit a yard sale for my gift.

Awkward! For me. Because I was already upset and didn't have much of a sense of humor at that point. (I know it's hard to believe because I pride myself on my GREAT sense of humor)!

I also felt I had hit a major milestone (25 years...a quarter of a century). I laugh now (many years later) since this was early in our marriage, pre-parenthood, not much life experience, etc. But when we arrived back to his parent's house after lunch, I was expecting something.

Nope. Nothing.

Finally my bitchy attitude made an impression on him and we had a "tiff" in the privacy of the guest bedroom. He told me I was too materialistic and ended up stomping out for a card and flowers. Happy Birthday To Me. I was angry and hurt yet I know we both learned from that experience.

And the lessons learned have been carried forward through the next 23 years of marriage. (For you math-y readers, we've been married 27 years and counting as of today).

We've both learned how to communicate better and more effectively. Gone are the days of my pouting, him asking what's wrong, me being huffy and saying, "Nothing." Now I wouldn't act so junior high school-ish. I should have pulled him aside and told him that I would like a card and for him to recognize that my birthday isn't only important to me but to show me that my birthday is important to him too. Hey if I hadn't been born, how could he appreciate the years of marital bliss? lol

We've learned that we can't read each other's minds. Ok. This is probably a lesson that I needed to learn more than him. He will freely admit that he's never been able to read my mind! It's not fair of me to assume he knows what I'm thinking, feeling, or what is important to me if I don't tell him.

We've learned to apologize when we hurt one another's feelings. Not a back-handed type of apology...like, "I'm sorry but..." then going on about how I'm right and he's wrong. But an apology that says, "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings." Period. No excuse tacked on to the end. No justifying my side. Just a sincere sentence with a hug included.

We've learned how to forgive each other. I personally don't believe in the saying, "Forgive and forget."  Anytime my feelings have been major league hurt by anyone, I can forgive yet don't forget. The difference is that I remember and learn from the situation. I don't remember in order to throw it back at him/them during the next disagreement or the next. It is in the past. It is forgiven.

For those wondering... my Wonderful Husband has never let my birthday pass without a card again.

Hallmark should be thanking me because I am kind of old!

Do you have some thoughts to share about relationships/marriage?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Losing It (Week Five)



I have joined Mary at Giving Up On Perfect in the "Losing It" weight loss challenge.

My plan is basically to eat less and move more.

1) Get on the treadmill 6 days a week.
2) Drink 64 oz. of water per day.
3) Take-in less calories (and healthier ones at that).
4) Lose 20 pounds at the end of 10 weeks.
5) Updated goal (Weeks 5-10) addition of sit-ups and light weights.

Here is the update for Week 5:

1) I was on the treadmill 6 days this week for 20 minutes, 1% 1.5% incline, at 3 mph.

2) 64 oz. of water per day. Check.

3) I'm still watching what I eat and this week had tilapia one night for dinner (along with wild rice and zucchini). I really, really, really don't like fish. Scratch that. If it was deep fried in beer batter, I would LOVE fish. But since I don't know how to deep fry anything and it would defeat the purpose of eating healthy, the fish was baked.
Now here's a secret about my "relationship" with fish. Because I have to force myself to eat it, I know that the next day I will be one pound lighter when I step on the scale. I think it's not only because it healthy and good for me but because I use a lot of "mental calories" thinking about how much I don't like fish and the pound is my reward for all my mental effort. Does anyone else have a food that guarantees them a weight loss result?

4) Lost 1 lb. this week. (Total loss in 5 weeks is 6.5 lbs.) Total percentage of body weight loss will be posted on Week 10.

5) I did use the exercise ball for sit-ups. OK. I used it once. Last night. Because I knew I was going to have to "come clean" today. Goal for this upcoming week is to not wait until Thursday night. Same story with using light weights. See how inspired I am when Friday is right around the corner? lol

This week was interesting. The weekend began with beautiful 70 degree, sunny weather. All was good. Then Monday came with pouring rain, all day gray, and cool, damp temperatures. I must confess that I am effected (or is affected?) by the weather. I know that weather is all around me, every day, and I should not let it influence my mental state, but it does, and I do. It's Friday and the rain and gray are back in PA....heavy sigh....

I step on the scale every morning because I know that I need the number to keep me focused and accountable for the decisions (food and exercise) I will be making throughout the day. It works for me yet I am not defined by a number, only my decisions and actions are for that day.

At the end of Week Five, I am introspective. I'm examining my mind, keeping positive thoughts flowing, and looking around at how situations/people have influence on my food and exercise choices.

If you care to join us, go to http://www.givinguponperfect.com/Today is the last day to link up (for the first time) for this contest since you need to have 6 weeks of participation in order to qualify to win the great prizes. Or just stop by to cheer on the other participants. The encouragement I receive has been appreciated and wonderful! Thank you and see you next week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Isn't it Ironic?"

Do you remember this song from 1996 sung by Alanis Morissette? I laughed when I heard its release years ago with some of the lyrics including:

"A traffic jam when you're already late,
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break,
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife,
It's meeting the man of my dreams,
And then meeting his beautiful wife,
And isn't it ironic...don't you think,
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think..."

Now my life seems to have taken an ironic turn, and although I still like the song, I'm not laughing about it too much today.

During a Mission Committee meeting I volunteered to get information about any liability issues that our church might have before a group sets out for a Southwest Mission Trip.

The next day (we'll say it was Tuesday, March 9) I called the church's Business Administrator at 3:45 p.m. and asked the question. He told me that it was too late for him to call that day and he would be in the next day but gone on Thursday and Friday.

Cue thinking music.... Me: Really? 3:45 is too late to call a place of business? I thought most insurance companies would be open at least until 5:00.

So....I didn't hear from him on Wednesday and of course I knew he was out of the office on Thursday and Friday.

One week later (we'll say Tuesday, March 16) I sent an email "reminding" him of my question and asking for the answer.

Cue thinking music....Me: This is sooooooo typical. I've had this experience with him before. Heavy sigh.

Cue crickets chirping.........

One week later (we'll say Tuesday, March 23) I pick up the phone and call him. Imagine my most polite-est voice. I start the conversation with the reminder that I asked this question two weeks ago and did he have an answer for me?

His reply is that same question came up at the Session meeting last night. Then he goes silent.

I asked, "Do you want to call me back with the answer?" I have no clue what he's doing.

"No," he says, "I'm making a note."

Silence.

Then, "I probably won't get to this today because I've got a lot of work about the new construction."

Are you ready for this??? Wait for it.....

Then he says, "I'm working in chronological order and my day is pretty full."

Blood pressure is rising....is there music for that I wonder?

But God stopped me from saying, "SO YOU'RE WORKING OVER TWO WEEKS BEHIND?????"
Thank you God for stopping me. Our God is an awesome God! (<-- Hey that's another song that's great! lol ;)

He finished his "note to self" and I asked if he wanted my phone number or if he wanted to look it up. He asked, "Have you moved from...read off my phone number?" And I replied, "No, not moving."

We said goodbye.

Here is where the irony comes in to play.

He has a job
and
I can't find one.

"Isn't it ironic? Don't you think......"

Note to readers: I claim no liability for the sarcasm dripping off your monitor and onto your keyboard today. May your day be irony-free.

Update: One week later, on March 30, sent an email subject line said, "Still waiting." This is week 3. He emailed back to say that he has a call in to a broker with this question (and others) and he is waiting too.

Update 2: One week later, on April 6, called pastor and gave timeline. This is week 4. The Business Administrator is out of the office until Thursday, yet I should have information by next Mission meeting on April 12.

Update 3: Heard from Business Administrator on Friday, April 9. He was going to assign work to me. Oh, I don't think so. He had questions to ask and I gave him the names to contact. He had excuses for not having an answer yet...and do I need to say it...no apology for his delay.

Final Update: Stopped by the BA's office this morning (April 15) and said it had been 5 weeks and 2 days since I asked my question. He told me that it was taking so long because of "your sketchy information." I reacted poorly...."MY sketchy information?" He said yes and one week was Holy Week and the next week he was out of the office almost the entire week.
I did the math for him, "So 2 minus 5 equals 3 weeks." I'd had it. Told him to call when he had the answer and stalked out.

Happy Ending: I received an email (still April 15) with the answer at 5:15 p.m. I wrote back thank you and I would include the information in the April Mission Committee Minutes.

Final Thought: I will not ask him a question ever again. I would rather live in ignorance than deal with his incompetence. Lesson learned.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Listening to The Holy Spirit

I have been thinking about Sue lately. I knew that she was struggling with something and I kept putting off contacting her. I thought multiple times of sending her a card. I had coffee with our associate pastor and asked him to check-in on her.

I was expecting to see her at a March meeting but she wasn't present. I asked if she called to say she wasn't coming. No. I discreetly asked our associate pastor if he had contacted her. No.

I told both people that I would call her and left the meeting thinking, "I should not push my responsibility on to someone else."

Sometimes I'm such a dope.

I sent an email asking her to coffee on Saturday and she said yes! I brought a devotional book for her to borrow, a bookmark listing The Fruit of the Spirit, and a metal cross with the word "Hope" engraved on the back. I handed her the book to thumb through while I was ordering my hot chocolate. (No, I don't drink coffee. Some might call it a character flaw yet how can coffee compare to hot chocolate with whipped cream?)

We had a wonderful visit yet it was painful to hear her question where God was during this stressful season of her life. At one point during our conversation, Sue said that she felt there was no hope, which reminded me of the cross I brought for her. I dug it out of my bag and pressed it into her hand. First the beautiful scroll-worked side up, then turned it over to show her the engraved word "Hope" on the other side. There was a small card that came with the cross which said, "Hope will sustain us with whatever comes our way."

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them -- the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:3-6

I believe The Holy Spirit is hard at work within me. I am listening Lord. Please guide me to do Your will and help me to be a good and hope-filled friend for Sue. Our hope in You will sustain us. Amen.

Have you had any experience listening to The Holy Spirit? What have you heard?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Losing It (Week Four)


I have joined Mary at Giving Up On Perfect in the "Losing It" weight loss challenge.

My plan is basically to eat less and move more.

1) Get on the treadmill 6 days a week.
2) Drink 64 oz. of water per day.
3) Take-in less calories (and healthier ones at that).
4) Lose 20 pounds at the end of 10 weeks.
An updated goal for Weeks 5-10:
Addition of sit-ups on an exercise ball, and light weights (not on the exercise ball)!

Here is the update for Week 4:

1) I have continued on the treadmill 6 days this week for 20 minutes, 3 mph at a 1% incline.

Did you know that scientists have determined it takes 21 days for people to form a new habit?
I noticed after my Week Three post that it was more natural for me to get on the treadmill. I believe I have changed my behavior (from sedentary to active) and it is now a normal scheduled part of my day. Yippee!

2) My water intake is 64 oz. per day. I now call water..."nature's liquid refreshment," instead of "are you kidding me?"!

3) I snacked more this past week and have come to the conclusion that snacking isn't bad (as long as I stick to healthier snack choices learned during my South Beach Diet days.) So this week I'm re-introducing myself to apples with peanut butter, celery with Laughing Cow Cheese, and turkey roll ups with cilantro mayo. (I just re-read that last sentence and let me assure you, these are separate snacks...not eaten at one sitting!)

4) Lost 1.5 lbs. this week. (Total loss in 4 weeks is 5.5 lbs.) Total percentage of body weight loss will be posted on Week 10.

At the end of Week Four, I am grateful.
Grateful for this body that God has given me and grateful that it remembers how to move. 

If you care to join us, go to http://www.givinguponperfect.com/ or just stop by to cheer on the other participants. See you next week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Goodbye Teen Years

There is not a teenager in our home today. There is not a teenager in our family today. Our daughter is 20 years old today!

Happy Birthday Young Sweetie! We love ya!



She is our second child. Giving birth to her was much easier (read, quicker) than the first time giving birth. I guess my body knew what it was doing the second time around.

She was born five days after my due date. (Letting me know that my life was not my own but was now on her schedule!) It was St. Patrick's Day and I think of her as our special Irish gift since my great grandfather immigrated from Ireland with his five brothers many years ago.

Years ago, the preschool children were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were the usual answers of: policeman, firefighter, teacher, etc. Our daughter's answer was, "I want to be a butterfly and fly next to my mommy's van."

I think her answer is different now. lol

I've always been fascinated with our daughter. She uses both sides of her brain. Her left side using logic and carrying her to amazing academic heights through her public school years. Her right side taking her creatively through art classes, cheerleading, ballet, and then on to color guard in her high school marching band. Watching her gracefully perform made her momma's heart proud.

She's in university now and just finished her spring break at home with us last week. Today she's back in her apartment anticipating a phone call from us singing happy birthday to her.

I thank God for our daughter.
I pray for her daily asking God to protect her, guide her, and grant her wisdom while she finishes this semester.

God
Danced
the
day you
were born

You are loved.
You are beautiful.
You are Gift of God,
His own possession.
You are Gift to
all mankind,
His Gift of love
to them.
You are His.

by Richard Kramer

Another chapter has come to a close in our lives. We say goodbye to the teen years. Bring on the 20sssssssss!

Have you opened a new chapter in your life?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Young Sweetie

My daughter has a nickname and I thought I'd explain how it became an addition to our family vocabulary.

Wonderful Husband would enter the house after a hard day of work and say, "Hi Sweetie! How was your day?" It became a bit confusing to him when both daughter and I would respond to his question at the same time. So one day he said to our daughter, "I was talking to your mom. I'm going to start calling you Young Sweetie so it won't be confusing."

Without missing a beat our daughter said, "Oh, so I'll be Young Sweetie and you'll call Mom Old Sweetie."

Now you have to understand that Wonderful Husband knows that isn't a great idea (after all we've been married for 27 years...so far) and started back-pedaling saying, "No, I'd never call your mom Old Sweetie. I'll call her Young Sweetie and I'll call you Younger Sweetie."

Too late. Every time Wonderful Husband calls her Young Sweetie, she'll pipe up with, "Aren't you going to ask Old Sweetie how her day was?" He'll say..."I've never called her Old Sweetie." Young Sweetie will come back with, "Oh yes you're the one who started calling me Young Sweetie," and with a twinkle in her eye she'll continue with, "and that's why you started calling Mom Old Sweetie."

Poor Wonderful Husband...he can't win this one! Ha!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Losing It (Week Three)




I have joined Mary at Giving Up On Perfect in the "Losing It" weight loss challenge.

My plan is basically to eat less and move more.

I have updated my goals for the upcoming weeks:
1) Get on the treadmill 5 6 days a week.
2) Drink 48 64 oz. of water per day.
3) Take-in less calories (and healthier ones at that).
4) Lose 20 pounds at the end of 10 weeks.

Here is the update for Week 3:

1) I have continued on the treadmill 5 days this week for 20 minutes, 3 mph at a 1% incline. I've noticed a shift in my "body mass" which is good and I'm going to add one more day (Saturday) to "treading." I also bought a new pair of tennis shoes (actually they're running shoes) but I'm not planning on running (foot issues). They are lighter than my old shoes and I kind of feel like I'm walking on air now. Happy sigh...

2) I'm going to increase my water intake from 48 oz. to 64 oz. per day.

3) OK. I had dinner out this week to celebrate our daughter's birthday. A wonderful Japanese restaurant where I ate miso soup, beef terriyaki, broccoli, and white rice. I thought about skipping the white rice but I didn't and when the kind waitress brought my husband and me a dessert saki...bottoms up!  (Notice I'm increasing my exercise and water intake...but not the food. Hee hee!) I did abstain from eating a slice of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting last night since I was anticipating today's weigh-in, yet will admit that a piece of cake is "calling my name" after lunch today. Yummmmmmm.

4) Lost .5 lb. this week. (Total loss in 3 weeks is 4 lbs.) Total percentage of body weight loss will be posted on Week 10.

I am telling myself that it took longer than three weeks to get my body into this sorry shape, so it's not going to get all "lean and toned" without thoughtful food decisions and daily exercise. Slow and steady can win this race. This is a lifestyle improvement plan for me. Not a temporary quick-fix. A permanent commitment to being responsible for the body that God has given me. I'm not aiming for swimsuit catalog perfection (darn those catalogs!) I want to adopt these healthy habits and move beyond fixating complaining focusing so much of my mental time and mental energy on the shape that my body's in. Besides, I just noticed that the first day of Spring is coming (March 20) and it's time to retire my winter red nail polish and break out my flashy pink nail polish! lol

By the way, Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday (March 14). A reminder for those who "spring ahead" one hour. (This concludes your free Public Service Announcement!)

At the end of Week Three, I am determined.

If you care to join us, go to http://www.givinguponperfect.com/ or just stop by to cheer on the other participants. See you next week!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Top of the World

I am sooooooo excited this morning because I finally won something from the land of blog-ville!

Not only was I one of the four chosen (the give-away was the same for all)....but I won a free book!

Woo hoo!

I've left comments on various blogs probably 15 times and never won. :(

But today my luck changed and I sent off an email with my real life name and address and will be watching the mailbox like crazy over the next several days.

So today I feel like I'm on top of the world and can't wait to read "An Untroubled Heart" by Micca Campbell! :) Thank you Micca for the give-away!

Have you won anything lately?

Update: I received the book in the mail on April 5! Hooray!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Christian Freedom

When we get home from church, my son and I have started watching Andy Stanley's TV sermons. I'd seen yesterday's sermon before so I was in and out of the room. When it was over, my son said that it seems like he could do all the sinning he wants and as long as he asks God for forgiveness, he could move on and keep on sinning.

An interesting observation to say the least.

I told him that I believe that as Christians, knowledgeable in what most of the Scripture says, we have a responsibility to try and not sin.  Ask God for forgiveness when we do. And then try to do better.

He listened to what I said and yet I could tell I hadn't really "sold" him with my answer.

A few minutes later, he walked back into the study and said, "When I went back into the family room there was a Bible verse on the screen. Galatians 5:13." We looked it up. "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

Then we read what my NIV Study Bible notes said about the verse. "True Christian liberty is not license to sin but freedom to serve God and one another."

I told my son that he had a God moment.
He had a question and God answered.
My son agreed.

Thank you God for answering our questions!

Have you received an answer from God?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Losing It (Week Two)


I have joined Mary at Giving Up On Perfect in the "Losing It" weight loss challenge.

My plan is basically to eat less and move more.

1) Get on the treadmill 5 days a week.
2) Drink 48 oz. of water per day.
3) Take-in less calories (and healthier ones at that).
4) Lose 20 pounds at the end of 10 weeks.

Here is the update for Week 2:

1) This week I increased my time on the treadmill from 15 to 20 minutes, 5 days, 1% incline at 3 mph. On Wednesday I was "dreading treading," yet made myself climb on and 4 1/2 minutes in was "in the groove." I learned that if I just start moving...the positive feelings will follow shortly thereafter.

2) Drank over 48 oz. of water per day. Water isn't so bad after all. (Yet Diet Coke is still my favorite liquid refreshment.)

3) I did go out to eat lunch on Saturday at Chili's with my wonderful husband.  I ate 1/2 of my bacon cheeseburger and fries and brought home my leftovers for lunch on Sunday. On Wednesday, I visited another blog where people were saying that they go online and look up menu items to see how many calories are listed so they can make a smart choice on what to order. I went online and Chili's bacon burger (not with cheese like I had ordered) was listed at 1080 calories. YIKES! That was just the burger no fries included. Now I'm wondering if I'll drive myself nuts looking up menus online or if I should stick with my "ignorance is bliss" thinking. I did enjoy the burger and fries...

4) Lost 2 lbs. this week. (Total loss in 2 weeks is 3.5 lbs.) Hooray!

At the end of Week Two, I am hopeful.

If you care to join us, go to http://www.givinguponperfect.com/ or just stop by to cheer on the other participants. See you next week!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Sense of Humor

On Sunday, I was reading the want ads and came across one employment possibility. I composed a cover letter and "dusted off" my resume in preparation of emailing them on Monday.

Then the goof-ball in me kicked in. I've been noticing my hair gray roots and need for a trim challenges and needed to get them covered/cut before I'd feel ready to face an interview situation. So my plan was forming for Monday. Go to the miracle worker hairdresser before sending off the email.

Then I noticed that the ad in the newspaper was a bit different than the online ad. Basic skills required were the same in each, yet the online ad specified one unique addition. A sense of humor. What?

How do I work that into my cover letter?
"As specified in your online ad, I have a sense of humor."
"A good sense of humor."
"A great sense of humor."
I wasn't falling in love with any of these choices. So I took the easy way out and in my cover letter wrote that I was replying to their newspaper ad. (There was no sense of humor mentioned there.) Phewwww.

I went to the hairdresser on Monday. Came home and emailed my cover letter and resume. Knew I'd get an Auto Reply saying that my resume was received. Then came the surprise....the name of the company appeared for the first time in this process....and it was the same company/job I had interviewed for six months ago! (You know the one where they decided to "go with someone else.")

I started laughing.
After all, I have a sense of humor!
And my hair looks great too!

I'll update later if I get a call to interview because really....shouldn't they have a sense of humor?

Do you have a humorous job search story?

Update: I received an email from the owner of the company saying that the advertised job was filled but there is an opening for a receptionist position if I'm interested in applying. It would pay $9,000 less. I'm guessing that they promoted the receptionist to the advertised position and wish her well. I won't be applying for the open position...my sense of humor is just too exhausted!