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?