Monday, August 31, 2009

The Wayward Blogger Returns

Okay, so here is the deal.  NaBloPomo is doing a blog every day for the month of September and the theme (which is not a requirement) is "Beautiful".  I'm signing up so I can get back into more regular blogging again.  I have totally enjoyed the break tho!

I've been busy working out, Facebooking, Tweeting and enjoying the back to school time of year.  The weather has already started to get cooler here, which bums me out a little.  I actually had to wear a jacket this morning and it isn't even September yet!  In fact I think I need a jacket now!

My stress has been a little bit better, though my oldest son continues to play up and my mother is a compact stress machine who I never know where I stand with so I have elected to stop worrying about it.  She has been really hard work the last year and I guess when someone takes your deepest insecurities that you confided in them and then hurls them back at you in a way to make you hurt, well, let's just say it's not something you get over.  I now forever guard my heart around her and measure almost everything I say and I'm sure to her it translates into "we aren't close anymore" and maybe we aren't.  But we do have a relationship and I do love her, but for now it has to be on my terms and my terms consist of not giving her ammunition about my life to use against me when she gets pissed.  Never again.  So that is the new reality and though I may not always like it, it just is what it is.

In more exciting news, The Brit and I are going to take the motorcycle course at the college within the next few months.  It's something we both want to do and you only live once, so I for one want to do everything I can.  I think it was Danny Kaye who said that life is a canvas and we should throw all the paint on it we can.  A rule to live by.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So I have been screwing up.  Despite the fact that I did exercise five days last week with the kids going back to school, my eating this week has been awful.  Stress makes me crazy.  A long time ago, when stress hit, I would manage it with a smoking vice.  Sadly, with the stress of the last several days, I have tried to go back to eating my stress.  The grim reality of that was apparent on the scale this morning, as I had gained two pounds.

No, maybe two pounds is not that big a deal, but with a goal of a size 14, to me, it is huge...and even worse, inexcusable.  I know firsthand the consequences of stress eating.  It results in pounds and I am not willing to revisit that particular place.  I spent enough time there and it was not a happy place, especially when being compared to where I am now.  I'm so much happier here and that magnet on my fridge is true: Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

So I am putting myself back in check or into a timeout or whatever I need to call it.  I've got exercise back on track, I think my stress is pretty under control finally, so now I go back to basics of Food 101.  I know what is good and what is bad.  I also know that the stress monster will again rear it's ugly head eventually and I need to come with a healthy way to combat it. My vices have never been healthy, so I need to explore this one.  How do you, my quiet readers, combat stress when it hits?  What helps you to cope?  What keeps you from the chocolate?

My kids are now on the same morning schedule now that Aaron has started high school, which results in a lot of bickering in the mornings.  The last three years they never saw each other in the mornings as JJ was not even awake when Aaron left.  Now though, they are both mine in the morning and they argue for the entire forty minutes they are in the kitchen together.  This morning it started again with JJ antagonizing Aaron who was trying to do his breakfast dishes, which resulted in lots of yelling.  Completely annoyed, I informed them that if this didn't stop in the mornings, they could come downstairs in shifts so they were never together in the kitchen.

This annoyed JJ so much that he grabbed his backpack and yelled "I'm leaving!!  And I'm not coming back!"

As he slammed out the screen door, I hollered after him, "Don't forget to tell the new people you move in with that you're a brat!"

Ya'll can go ahead and sign me up for that Mother of the Year thing whenever you're ready.

Monday, August 24, 2009


So last week had its share of issues that overflowed into the weekend and then some dribbled over into today.  Weekends tend to stress me out anyway if we don't have any plans.  We have two boys who if they don't have something to occupy their time, they become huge stressors. They bicker, argue and generally get into things they aren't supposed to, which trickles down to The Brit, who gets annoyed and then I, who doesn't handle stress well anyway, starts to get on edge.

And that was this weekend.  And this morning we got up to the same problem we had started dealing with Thursday night which was water backup in the basement.  Thankfully, it is now resolved and hopefully permenantly this time, but the last few days have left me devoid of much energy.

My mother also flared up in the midst of all this crap.  See, two weeks ago, The Brit installed an air conditioner for her in the spare room.  Well, her window was too large for the unit, so he did a quick fix with a plyboard and some duct tape (as that fixes all or so they say).  He checked with our favorite hardware store, who did not have the right size plexi-glass he needed, but would try to get in the right size.  Then last week, The Brit had a kidney stone Tuesday/Wednesday, we had water in the basement Thursday/Friday and our anniversary was Friday. 

So Saturday, my mother leaves her token blistering message of "I don't know if you plan on fixing this air conditioner or not but I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know."

Gotta love her.  No, she had no idea of what was going on in our world, as being 43, I don't call her with every little update as I am an adult.  But doesn't common sense dictate that AC does not always take presidence over everything?  Guess not.

In other news, I have fallen in love with Jodi Picoult.  I have read "My Sister's Keeper" and now am completely engrossed in "The Pact" which I just discovered is a Lifetime movie, which I am recording this weekend but not watching until the book is finished.  Especially as Hollywood likes to change the ending to books.  Let's just say that those of you who saw "My Sister's Keeper" but never read don't have the real ending...and that kind of crap really makes me angry.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who's That Girl?

Probably everyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight has a moment like I did this morning; one of those moments where the brain has just not yet caught up with the rest of me. 

Due to a water problem at the house and The Brit waiting for the plummer, I elected to take advantage of my inability to shower at home.  So, I went to the Y and finally tried a Spin class, knowing I could shower there after class.  Well, lemme tell ya, that was a workout!  Part of the workout is sitting on the bike and pedaling and that is alternated with standing up and pedaling, all the while fluctuating the tension between one and ten.  The bikes are up against the windows and right across from us on the opposite wall are large mirrors. 

At one point, I saw someone dressed like me.  A t-shirt that was literally soaked from chest to back, who was standing up on this bike, pedaling at a level 10 and keeping up with the class.  It took a moment of staring to realize this girl, the one who was dripping wet and totally loving her Spin class, was me.  There was just that moment of not recognizing the physical person I have become, and I don't just mean how I look physically.  I also mean, me being PHYSICAL.  There are just still moments of "Who is this person?"  and I would have thought they would have worn off by now, but I suppose when you spend your entire life 100 plus pounds overweight, why on earth would I think a new understanding could take place as soon as a 16 months later?

My other amusing moment today was my ability to shower at the YMCA without a second thought about walking around the locker room wrapped in a towel in front of other people.  16 months ago, I would have been far too self conscious to do that. 

You know what?  I hope the novelty of these kinds of things never wears off for me.  I never want to be blas�bout how far I've come, even though I am not yet at the finish line.

Happy weekend, gang!  Stay safe, live your dreams and treasure every moment!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Christmas at my house

For me, the first day of school is a huge celebration.  It's not so much that they are going back to school, but more that I get my routine back, and my quiet time.  If I could get these two things and have them be out of school, I would not be so excited about them going back.  But my kids and routine do not go hand in hand for summer.  They are still not old enough to get that sometimes there are things adults want to do, like go to the gym, so they make it hard for me to get there, but being not quite trustworthy to be at home alone for long periods of time.

But I digress.  SCHOOL!  Aaron has already started soccer and seems to be liking it.  I think it will be important for him to be a part of a team and will hopefully help him to develop some better social skills.  JJ was excited to go back today and was excited when he got home.  Aaron is still at school as he had practice afterward.

For me, Operation 14 is underway.  Michael, my GBC, was back from vacation so I was back at kickboxing last night and loving it.  Today I hit the YMCA for 30 minutes on the elliptical and tomorrow I plan on working some weights but I need to do some research.  The classes out there that teach you that kind of stuff cost extra sadly, which bugs me.  I know I need to change some things up to hit my goal by Christmas, but knowing what changes need to be made is harder to know.  I think the running will help considerably though once Tod and I start that. 

It felt so good to get back there last night and today.  It still amazes me that exercise, something I once dreaded and hated now invigorates me.  Sure, there are days I would much rather park my ass in front of the computer or television and not bother.  I still have those urges, all the time!  But the fact remains that working out makes me feel so much better.  It fuels my soul, gives me more energy and just makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.  I don't enjoy the process.  Not.  At.  All.  But the aftermath of every workout is all good. 

Our wedding anniversary is Friday and the plan is to get Ron White tickets to celebrate a little later once the show happens.  He is rank and makes me laugh like nobody's business and I am hoping to get really good seats.  Very exciting. 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I Cannot Wait.... get back to the gym!  I feel disgusting after having sporadic workouts all summer!  But getting back into the swing of it is going to be difficult.  And I have not yet completely decided on my plan of attack yet.  I need to go from my current size 18, past the 16 to land very happily on size 14....and I would love to do this by Christmas.  I think it is totally doable, especially with the kids back in school in THREE DAYS! 

Honestly, they have been pretty good this summer.  It's just that they get bored and even more than that, it is my inability to get to the gym regularly as I don't have enough trust yet to leave them both home alone for more than the few hours I work each day.  The only other complaint is that they are messy...and that I have no time to myself.  I'm just one of those people.  I know people who cannot stand to be alone, ever...but I am not one of them.  Of course, with the kids in school nine months of the year, I get used to having some of that alone time and then suddenly in June...there is no more.  And that is an adjustment for me.  So really, when I think about it, in June, not only is my down time snatched away, but so are regular workouts so no wonder I get testy!   Yeah, I did manage to take the kids biking a few times, but all they did was complain about being tired, hot, thirsty etc (yes, they brought drinks with them but my kids are very anti-water and they suck down soda and then wonder why they are still thirsty, but as their mother, I don't know anything). 

So summer is finally drawing to a close and I feel a great sense of relief.  The kids had an enjoyable summer with lots of travel and new experiences, but now the normal routine will kick back into place and with that routine comes comforts.  The comfort of a steady plan and certain constants.  Though I enjoy being impulsive, there is something to be said about routine too.

So what do you all think about this not blogging every day?  Do you miss it?  Don't care?  Just curious.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Closer to the Countdown

The last weekend before the start of school!  All together now: WHEEEEE! 

The workout celebration begins Tuesday night with Michael's return to kickboxing....YAY!  I've missed my class!  Then last night, I had some wine...I had about three glasses I think, and I'm very confused about alcohol's effect on an RNY patient.  I used to think that in order to maintain any wine buzz I had to keep drinking as my body no longer absorbed alcohol.  But last night, I swear, I only remember having three glasses and man-o-wow, I was a wee bit shnockered!  Let's just say for the first time ever, I got on the trampoline with all the kids last night and though I could not manage to stand on it, I laid on it while they jumped and I laughed my tail off.  Good times!

Anyway, I digress.  I think I talked to MyTod about coaching me in running this fall and I'm pretty sure he agreed, so I think that is rather exciting.  I think.  Just want to see that size 14, peeps!  So we'll see how that goes.  We're going to start out on a soft track, possibly at South High, in the evenings.  I'll have to pick up an inexpensive pair of running shoes (Nothing costly till I find out if I'm going to stick with it) and some kind of shorts that are light enough but will also help me not chaffe.  How fun is this? 

Anyway, that's all I have.  Very excited for school.  Very excited for kickboxing and the gym.  My only concern is that someone took my husband this morning.  He took Aaron for his first soccer practice and has not been seen or heard from since.  He is either on the field or has been abducted by aliens.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sad Today

I am taking this blogging freedom rather seriously! 

I had two messages this morning from two good theater friends that the mother of another good friend died yesterday from cancer.  In light of the demon we call cancer, her death was in its own way sudden.  She was apparently diagnosed with a stage 4 (not sure what kind of cancer) earlier this year but had been responding well to chemo.  She was not feeling well Monday (?) night and they took her to the hospital where they found an infection of some sort all through her body that ultimately took her life. 

With the death of my mother-in-law still rather fresh, it grieves my heart to see someone else lose a mother to cancer all too soon.  This disease knows no prejudice from sex, age, religion, etc and it is something I pray daily we one day soon find a cure for.  It breaks hearts and leaves families in great loss and feeling helpless while they watch their loved ones struggle with it.  It invokes anger and frustration.  I hate it.

Cancer took my uncle and my father.  I watched a friend struggle with it and win.  I had a sudden loss with my mother-in-law from it.  I'm weary of it touching my life and the lives of those I love. 

But I know that God wins the bigger battle.  He is so much bigger than cancer and where cancer can take our flesh it cannot destroy our souls.  It can break our hearts but not our spirits. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Chains are Gone!

So it was not until I was on my way to work this morning that I realized it.

I completely forgot to blog yesterday.  For the first time since January of 2008, I did not blog.


I felt both weirded/freaked out and surprisingly free.  All the times I had waffled about continuing to blog every day and the decision was made by a simple lapse of memory.  We had this fabulous weekend of boating on Saturday (and see the bear!) and then a swim party on Sunday, and I was way tired last night.  We got home around 7:30 and I chatted online to Deyse till about 10:30 and then got ready for bed.

Never gave blogging a thought despite the fact that I was on the computer!

Wow, freaking wow!

So my oldest son is dating.  Officially.  And he is dating one of my youth girl's younger sister.  They've known each other for probably close to three years, but when they were together all week last week, both helping with VBS, something started to click.  Now, I'm not seeing marriage, but maybe that first love  (I'm not saying they couldn't marry, but with one being 13 and the other 14, waaaaay too soon to speculate!).  They went to the movies tonight and things seem to have gone well.  I told him if he was not a perfect gentleman, I'd kill him, figuratively speaking of course. 

In other news, The Brit got me a new phone and I am in love with it.  I just need Rachel (another of my girls) to name it.  My last phone, she named Tess and she named my ipod Fernando.  Rach names all her small electronics and nothing is more amusing than hearing on a mission trip, "Has anyone seen Tammy?  I can't find her anywhere!" 

Tammy is Rachel's hair straighter.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Late and Quick

26 minutes to spare before I would have missed a day of blogging!

We went to the lake today and took photos which I am too tired to post.  Best part though?  This morning we were talking about the nature at the lake I mentioned that I had never before, other than in a zoo, seen a bear.  Well, tonight after boating, we were taking the boat to the storage place and lo and behold, what crossed the road in front of us?  You got it!  A bear!  He was huge!  It was like God heard me and said "Here ya go, honey.  Here's your bear."

Totally cool and amazing!

More tomorrow!

Friday, August 7, 2009


I'm in kind of an ugly place today.  I'm impatient for school to begin (I have never been a patient person and I thought by giving me my children, God was trying to teach it to me, but so far it hasn't worked much.  I'm a little afraid of what He might do next to teach me patience...) for several reasons...

1. I miss my five workouts a week
2. I'm really tired of picking up after them.
3. I'm really tired of when I'm not picking up after them, I'm walking around behind them making sure they are picking up after themselves.
4. I miss a few hours of quiet time five days a week.  In the summer, quiet "me" times are hard to come by and I thrive on those moments.
5. I'm so over listening to them bicker.

I love them dearly, but summer wears on me.  I love the heat, but dislike the insanity.  I try to take them out and do things with them like biking and one or both of them is constantly complaining ("My butt hurts" "My brakes need fixed" "I need a wider seat" "I need to stretch" and I could go on for another several lines).  It can be exhausting and it makes me wonder why I ever wanted to take them out in the first place.  I know it is all typical parent/child stuff, but by the end of summer, I am ready to claw my way to the first day of school.

So can I tell you how excited I am that next week is their final full week of summer break? 

And can I tell you how thrilled I am that tonight is the last night of VBS?

And can I tell you how excited I am that tomorrow we are going out on the boat to Deep Creek with the youth group? 

So though impatient, things are starting to look up.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thank you

I wanted to say thanks to all those who commented or sent me messages about how to help promote church growth.  I have ordered the book and have taken notes on what all of you have told me.  I want to be able to go to the council meeting with suggestions for a course of action.  I just don't think we can stay completely in our comfort zone and grow.  We need to step outside of the box on some level.

VBS went more night.  Several new kids we have never seen before and they are all adorable.  Tomorrow night is pizza and water games night and then all is finished for another year. 

I know this is short but I am really tired.  I've been at the church this week more than home and by the end of the week, it is hitting me.  I'm looking forward to lovely day Saturday out on the boat with the youth!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

12.6 Miles down the Canal on Bike

My rear end is killing me but it felt fabulous to get some exercise!

Anyway, for those of you who are not familar with the towpath, here's a little of what you might see:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Grow

All right, blogland, I need some help.�

Many of you know, I am from a small Lutheran church.� We're a friendly, but mostly older congregation.� We only have about 6 families with younger children.� The parents of the majority of our youth kids attend other churches.� Our youth group has about 8 teens, and in the way of children younger than that, we have maybe ten.� Very small and I fear we are in a rut.

My thoughts are that we need to do different things in order to reach the unchurched.� I'm just not certain of what these things are.� We currently offer one small group on Lutheranism, youth group, VBS, senior choir, praise band and Sunday school for all ages.� Our members are faithful, but the same people are the ones who volunteer for everything over and over again, thus often causing burnout.

I want to shake things up.� I want to be a church where things are happening.� I've been praying about but now I need ideas for ministry on a small scale.� I'm already thinking drama ministry, but what else can we do out of the ordinary?� Then there is regular ordinary and special occasions like Christmas, Easter, All Saints Sunday, etc.� We do a blessing of the animals once a year on the front lawn which always piques people's interest, so stuff like that.

What has worked in your church?� What do you do that you think is totally cool and spreads the Gospel and helps churches to grow.� Give me everything you've got.� This is a total brainstorming session.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Thus it Begins Again

Tonight starts hell week, aka VBS.� I really try to look at all things involving church as a calling, but VBS is the exception because I hate doing it.� I lack the creativity to do sets and to visualize how things should run.� It is just not something I enjoy.

I totally would like to change many things at our church.� I would to start another drama ministry as we have seen those come and go several times.� I really would like to shake up the place a little and make it interesting and it so is not right now.� I want church to be a place I come out of charged up every week.� We are not going to be a big church and that is fine by me.� I would prefer a smaller group of people who do not have beliefs so conservative that it is frightening, then a large group who consider themselves morally righteous as that just kind of makes me feel queasy.

I would just like to see us evolve a little bit and get away from the same ole same ole every single week.� It's just always too much the same as the week before.� Now I got good and charged up this weekend and I wish it could last the whole year until the conference next summer but it won't.� I just don't know how one person can pull it off and I'm not sure if others will come forward with ideas or support the ones I have.� I'm praying on it and seeking guidance; I don't want to miss a moment God has in store for me.

But for now, onward to hell week.�

Sunday, August 2, 2009

As Promised

Okay, a strange photo op....

Shell and I after Friday night's conference went back to the hotel room and split a bottle of wine.  In the midst of that, Shell needed a cigarette and it was a bit of a problem because the hotel was non-smoking, we were on the seventh floor and we were both in our pajamas. She wanted me to come down with her but I refused to put on a bra, so I threw on a Women of Faith fleece top over my very obviously pajama bottoms.  Shell did throw her bra back on beneath an over sized Betty Boop night shirt and pj pants.  Now, the first night we got there we realized our hotel was right across the street from a very busy nightclub where people actually stood in line to get inside, so of course, they were lined up there Friday night as well.

So we are standing out in the front of the hotel in our jammies and me in a fleece jacket in ninety degree weather and this cute guy in his mid-twenties comes across the street and asks to take our picture.  We have had a bottle of wine, so we laugh and agree and then he hugs us both and goes back across the street. 

Wonder what the caption for that picture would say?

Mandisa!  Amazing!  Did not think I would enjoy her music, though I did think she had amazing talent on American Idol, but I more than enjoyed her...I loved her!  She told the story about Simon Cowell and her idol experience, filling in some small not known to me details.  Mandisa had wanted to audition for AI for years but her fear of Simon ridiculing her for her weight held her back.  She admits to being a food addict due to child molestation and being raped as a teen, but she has recently lost about 80 pounds and is still working on it.  Finally, she talked herself into auditioning despite her fear of Simon and after her audition, Simon praised her; told her she had a beautiful face and voice and she was all he'd hoped she'd be when she walked in the room.  Not one comment about her weight and she was over the moon.

Fast forward to the premier of the show that season and Mandisa had organized a party of her friends as the season premier just happened to be her city.  So there she was amongst all her friends when Simon praised her...and does anyone remember what he said AFTER she left the room?

"We're going to need a bigger stage."

Mandisa heard that behind her back comment for the first time, along with her friends...and millions of viewers.

Now do you remember what happened next?  The next time Mandisa came face to face with Simon, she bravely and honestly told him that she knew what he'd said about her and as Jesus had forgiven her sins, that she, in turn, forgave Simon for what he'd said.  Simon stated he was humbled and that he felt about two inches high but for Mandisa the best part was that they aired the entire confrontation, including the name of Jesus on National television.

Itching, nose picking and stretching.

Now this is probably mean, especially considering it was from two girls who had just come from a Christian women's conference, but I am a sinner and thankfully forgiven and I'm sorry but it was really funny.  We were riding the metro home and we have about 12-ish stops between our starting and ending point.  About halfway through, this girl got on the metro in a not very nice blue shirt and a pair of plaid shorts.  She carried a backpack, wore hiking books and her hair was braided down her back.  She immediately pulled out a book that I could not see the title of and began to read
(I always love knowing what people are reading).  My first impression was that maybe she had been hiking in DC or something.  But after a few stops, Shell called my attention to the fact that this girl would read for a few seconds and then scratch something....her hair, her nose, her leg, her arm, her face, something.  Not scratch it hard, but more like it was a minor irritation.  BUT IT WAS Continuous.  Shell and I were so amused we started counting the number of times she was scratching.  Somewhere near the number of 50, her finger shot up her nose to dig around and we almost killed ourselves giggling.  Somewhere in the midst of this a young couple sitting across from Miss Itchy, caught onto what was going on and they were amused.  Suddenly Miss Itch got up and it seemed she was going to move back a row as it had just become empty.  Well, she sort of stretched out on the floor as the train is moving, with her hands on the seat, her legs stretched out and her rear end up in the air, pretty much in the face of cute couple guy.  There were now four of us on the train trying to contain laughter.  Sometimes Miss Itch would do a combination lightly scratch chin, nose, run hand through hair to itch back of head and of course, this counted as three itches in our tally.  When we got off the train, in a matter of 5 stops, she had itched 105 times.  Yeah, okay, she may have had a real problem like a nervous tick, but it certainly caused our train ride to fly by and besides, God gave me my sense of humor!

The rest of the conference was great and Shell and I are all signed up for next year.  It is so spiritually uplifting and honestly, I so rarely get that kind of uplift from church.  These speakers know how to grab you, make you laugh, make you cry and know how to make the gospel alive for us TODAY.  They tell personal stories that demonstrates what God is doing in their lives, through both the good and the bad and it is all just so good.  I wish most pastors would meet with these gals for tips on sermons and delivery.  They know how to keep it relevant and it is amazing. 

I just always feel so reminded when I leave there of how loved I am, of how the God of the universe loves me right where I am all the time.  I felt so filled from the weekend that today when we took the boat out for Aaron's birthday with most of the youth kids, as I sat there in the front of the boat, looking at the green trees, the blue sky, the cliffs along the side and the reflection it all made in the water, I leaned my head back and just said "Thank you, God."

He is so amazing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tomorrow Night I Shall....

...Tell you about a strange photo op
...Relay an amazing Mandisa from American Idol story
...tell you about itching, nose picking and stretching
...and give you any other random conference thoughts.

Tonight though, I am really tired and to tell the stories would require me to keep my eyes open way longer than I think is possible.

So for tonight just know that the God of the universe loves you and will never, ever let you down.  You are blessed.  We all are.