Friday, September 30, 2011

How do you know... don't want to do something?

I've mentioned, several times, that I have been struggling with the fact that my high school reunion is fast approaching. I don't remember much from high school. What I do remember, I wish I didn't. I already have a foretaste of the conversations that will occur. "How's name-of-old-boyfriend?" That's how I was known: That guy's girlfriend. I was also in choir and on the staff of the school's literary "magazine." But mostly I was so-and-so's girlfriend. He was popular and a big fish in a little pond. I was a hanger-on. It wasn't a healthy relationship. A few years ago, an old high school friend attempted to touch base with me. I have absolutely no memories of this person outside of a single "mental snapshot" of them smiling. Nothing else. Really. I looked at the list of those attending, and recognized only a half dozen names, and that's all it was, a recognition of the names. No memories are attached to those names. None. I remember singing in a few choir concerts, snippets, never whole concerts. I remember one of my partners in the swing choir; we had great chemistry on stage. We would joke about being lovers on stage and strangers off. It was so good... oh my gosh... my boyfriend joined the choir after that... I was so disappointed, because I lost my other partner. I've waffled and hemmed and hawed and debated with myself and others. There are those who tell me, "Don't go!!" and others who tell me, "You'll regret it if you don't. It's a great opportunity to connect with the past." Ummm... it's the past I'm trying to let go. This argument with myself has been going on for quite a while.

The other day, my t-shirt and entry info arrived for the Race for the Cure. I go with my sister every year. I'm looking forward to it. Then I realized: It's the same day as the reunion picnic! I can't go!!! Happy dance! Happy Snoopy dance!! Happy Hobbit dance! Happy dance! I think that answers my question, and ends the debate. :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week Fourteen of REAL...

The 23rd: weigh in: 238.8 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps.

The 24th: weigh in: 239.6 lb. Two SEAL pup reps. Three-mile walk. Two SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy, with 1-lb weights. I'm feeling a bit stressed, not sleeping particularly well. The weather is cooling, and though I love it, my allergies are a bit more pronounced. My voice comes and goes. My schedule has been disrupted a bit, and it's taking longer than I anticipated to settle it again.

The 25th: weigh in: 240 lb. *pfft* It could be discouraging, but I'm having trouble sleeping, and have been feeling pretty stressed, so I'm going to be nice to myself, and give myself credit for eating better and increasing my exercise. Squished (what a great word) another mosquito. Faster than the last one. Where are the miserable parasites coming from? I don't open my window. Yes, I keep water in my room for drinking, but I empty it every day, sometimes twice. Letting it go, as there's nothing more within my powers of influence. I should sleep better, as I used a bit of lavender oil. Side note: I'm back on lactose-free milk. I wonder if there will be a difference...

The 26th: weigh in: 240.2 lb. What-ev-er. Two SEAL puppy reps. One-mile walk. Alas, my back is screaming at me, this morning, even after my walk, which usually helps my back relax. If the pain doesn't subside soon, I'll take some ibuprofen. I want to see if some easy stretching will help, first. Pain medications are always a last resort. If I use them even two days in a row, I frequently end up with a rebound headache. Lucky me. :-) After a few hours, my back pain had eased, and I was able to do two more SEAL puppy reps and my physical therapy.

The 27th: weigh in 240.6 lb. Sigh.

The 28th: weigh in: 242 lb. Oh, dear. I've been stressed of late, and looking back I notice something missing. I am healthy. I don't need to hide. I am safe. Two SEAL puppy reps. One-mile walk. My back is bothering me a bit this morning. After a few hours, I felt good enough to do two more SEAL puppy reps.

The 29th: weigh in: 240.2 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Physical therapy. Hmmm... that's an interesting change in the weight, particularly since my eating is pretty much the same, every day. I mean THE SAME. What is different? I am healthy. I don't need to hide. And I'm settling into a more comfortable routine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

All gave some, some gave all...

Do you know the names of those who have given their lives in the defense of our country, today? What about yesterday, or the day before?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Too cute for words... A little boy and his very good dog. God bless good dogs and children. Short behind the scenes video, with Mark Hall of Casting crowns. Yes, Mark, like you, I'm a train wreck, and Jesus still loves me. What an awesome gift.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~ James D. Miles

Monday, September 26, 2011

Carpe diem... and NASCAR

NASCAR update first: Race Buddy broadcasted the race on Thank you! And another thank you because one of the in-car cameras was in Carl's car!! Whoohoo!! Which means I was driving with Carl for 300 laps. Squeeeeee!! The mosaic had a camera on the backstretch, so I could watch Carl drive out of turn two and watch his view and watch him coming down the back stretch, zipping into turn three. The other two in-car cameras were Dale Jr and Jimmy Johnson. They were frequently racing each other, today, so it was fun to see the point of view of both drivers! Carl Edwards came in 8th. Not bad for starting back in 23rd, and he is now 4th in the Chase. Go Carl!!!

Last weeks list of things to accomplish did well, so I'm trying it again.
~Make bread
~Trying a new author
~Visit from a friend

Done but for the last, but that one was out of my control. Life happens. A pretty good day.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #70

~Being able to sleep on my back, without severe consequences. I woke up, this morning, and gingerly shifted from my back to my side, again, without feeling like I wanted to scream. That's HUGE progress.

~Fall! The weather is cooling, and it's such a relief from the scorching that is known as summer.

~God-given supportive, encouraging friends.

~Figuring out at least some of the changes to FaceBook, without wanting to take a sledgehammer to my computer. Why punish my computer, when it didn't do anything wrong? I wrote my complaints on my FB wall instead. :-)

~Laurie Schnebly Campbell. She's been a huge help to me, and this weekend I read one of her books, Wrong Twin, Right Man, and loved it. She's a romance writer.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

When I'm feeling defeated...

Helm's Deep

Theoden's rallying speech

Aragorn's rallying speech

It's been a while since I last sat down and watched Lord of the Rings. I frequently pull out the books, if for no other reason than as a reference for the Lore contest at Fellowship of Middle-earth. I'm fighting my own battles right now, and found these inspiring.

My counselor tried to explain something I needed to work out: "There's this boss who is always criticizing the employees, telling them how bad they are, reprimanding them for every little infraction. This boss never lets up. There's always some way things could have been done better, faster, smarter. This boss even calls the employees nasty names. Why would anyone want to work for such a cruel and brutal boss? Especially when there's this other boss available. This other boss is gentle and patient. This other boss expects the employees to accept personal responsibility, but recognizes the value of each employee. This other boss encourages and acknowledges and rewards a job well done. Which boss would you rather work for?" Funnily enough, at the time I thought: I'd know how to respond under the rotten boss, but not the good boss. Then my counselor asked, "When are you going to fire the rotten boss and let the good boss take over?" I stared at him, and then blinked. Then it dawned on me that he was talking about me! I'd learned the unkind lessons so well I was still practicing them! He wanted me to learn a healthier way. Then he took it one step further: God isn't a mean boss. Jesus asks us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. That's not the guidance of a mean boss. I'm still struggling to be a good boss to myself. It isn't easy. But with Jesus as my teacher and guide, I will learn to be a good boss.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Heroes... Jimmy Thomas

My inspiration for sticking to REAL: Jimmy Thomas For those who find physique pictures and romance novel covers offensive, don't go there (don't click on the link).

My first introduction to cover models was Richard Cerqueira. He was interviewed at Risky Regencies. Part 1 Part 2 He was well spoken and gracious. His PR asked me if I was comfortable with a physique shot. I had to ask what it was. It's a fitness shot, for the purpose of showing muscle definition. (I was first introduced to body building by Lou Ferrigno: Incredible Hulk.) Once I understood, I laughed, and wrote back that I hoped I never lost my appreciation for the human form, particularly of the male variety. I know it makes some people uncomfortable. (He is wearing jeans.) Then again, there are those who find a man without his shirt totally inappropriate. I'm not one of them. The picture I received was an important pivotal point in my journey to becoming healthy. I decided I was tired of being fat. I knew that as a fitness model, he had to work hard to achieve the hero/warrior look he needed for his cover work.

For the record, I'm okay with never being a model. In high school, I took a modeling class, through a professional agency, and learned about walking correctly. What a blessing that has been. I also learned about make-up and dressing. Unfortunately, I didn't take the acting class they suggested. I think it would have helped me a lot. Live and learn.

Unfortunately, though I was sick of being overweight, I hadn't yet acknowledged the real problem with my struggle with weight loss: Fear. Fear of being seen. Fear of being noticed. Fear of being noticed as a woman. The thought still terrorizes me, up to and including a racing heart, shortened breath, sweating, and shaking. Yes, I panic if a man notices me. On the internet, I'm safe. No one can see me. No one can cross the boundaries I've set. And contrarily, fear of not being seen as a woman.

I had more attention than I wanted or needed growing up, in too many ugly ways. The easiest, less stressful one to tackle was food. When I took control of my food supply, I gained some weight. Funny how that is when you have access to food you can eat, on a regular basis. I decided I was ready to try a serious relationship, again. I was told that I would have lots of dates, once I lost the weight. I lost it, all 30 lb in 3 months. Sure, more guys talked to me, about the girls they were dating. None of them asked me out. Not one. I was patient. As months, and then years passed, I became humiliated. What was the point? I gained the weight back and more. The problem wasn't the weight. My face has been marred by years of acne. It isn't pretty. I was told, on more than one occasion, that men didn't marry girls with a face as scarred as mine is or who weigh as much as I do. They were right. Where did I go from here?

It hasn't been easy, but I had to accept that the problem was me. Now, I'm learning to accept myself as I am. It helps that I've been working hard to change what's on the inside. I'm trying to learn to be responsible. I'm trying to learn to be honorable. I'm trying to learn to be gracious. I'm trying to learn to be reliable. I'm trying to learn to be a friend. I'm trying to learn to be aware of others and what they need and what I'm able to give and what I'm not. I'm trying to learn to be honest.

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." Definitely. Since I started the new campaign to be healthy, starting from the inside out, I have been miserable, and yet I've also known more peace than ever before in my life. I've learned to set healthy boundaries in a lot of areas. I'm afraid I'm still clueless in some. I'm learning self-respect. I'm learning what I believe. I'm learning to trust God. I know that the only One who can rescue me is Jesus Christ, my Savior. I'm learning that I have to do what I'm able.

Fear is still a huge hindrance in my weight loss struggle. I'm afraid I can't do what God asks of me. I'm afraid I'll disappoint Him, and I'm afraid I'll disappoint myself. I'm afraid I'll be a burden. I'm afraid. That being said, I haven't given up trying.

Marcus Luttrell, The Lone Survivor, inspired REAL. Jimmy Thomas inspires me to keep trying.

A while ago, I met Deena Remiel. She writes The Brethren Series. She's friendly and one of those people that has the gift of drawing others into her circle. Jimmy Thomas was the model for one of her angels. In fact, he's the angel on the banner at her website. That's when I first heard about Jimmy Thomas. Deena has met him, as have several other people I know. They all say the same thing about him. And yep, I found myself drawn in.

Jimmy is outgoing and loves what he does. I want to be more like that. He takes care of himself, and I'm trying to learn to do that. Every time I see a picture of him, I am reminded that being healthy is something that you have to work at, a decision you have to make for yourself. Jimmy is straightforward and gives everything to what he does. I want to do that. So, when I see pictures of him, I smile. Then I think, "Being what I want to be isn't easy. It takes work, on every level. No one can make me feel like I'm worth the time and energy, except me." I look at his picture, and remind myself that he has fun inspiring fantasy, and he is real. I take a steadying breath, and decide: I want to do this. I can do this. I am healthy. I don't need to hide.

Then I laugh. I was thinking I might post one of his fitness pictures, but then I'd have to email and ask. I'm too afraid to even send an email. So, the fear created by abuse is still very much alive, but at least now I recognize it and can laugh about it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week Thirteen of REAL...

Reduce stress
Adequate sleep
Lower caloric intake

The 16th: weigh in: 239.2 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy, without weights. I am choosing to be healthy.

The 17th: weigh in: 238.4 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps. Two-mile walk. Trimming back bushes. Physical therapy with 1-lb weights. I don't need to hide behind my weight anymore.

The 18th: weigh in: 237.6 lb. I'm learning to be healthy. I don't need to hide behind my weight.

The 19th: weigh in: 236.8 lb. I am healthy. I don't need to hide. One-mile walk. Two SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy with 1-lb weights. Two more SEAL puppy reps.

The 20th: weigh in 238 lb. Four weeks since I messed up my shoulder. It seems to be back to normal. Whew. Two SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy without weights.

The 21st: weigh in: 238.6 lb. Two SEAL pup reps (10 boy-pushups, crunches, flutter kicks). One-mile walk, for speed. Two SEAL puppy reps (10 girl-pushups, crunches, flutter kicks). I confess that my boy-pushups aren't very deep (less than an inch), but I'm impressed I can hold the position at all. I'll work on it. Why do I not jog? The herniated disk in my back means as little bouncing as possible, please. Physical therapy, with 1-lb weights.

The 22nd: weigh in: 238.4 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Two SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy, without weights. I'm trying regular milk, again. I went to lactose-free milk when I was struggling with my food allergies. I hadn't yet figured out how truly allergic I am to bran. Now that I'm pretty much bran free, I want to see how I do with milk. Why? $3.79 per 1/2 gallon versus $1.99 per 1/2 gallon.

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing one of my inspirations for sticking with REAL. As a heads up, over at FB, I'm a harem member, and Friday is our post a favorite picture day on your wall day. So, here at my own blog, it will be Jimmy Thomas Friday. I thought about posting it, today. In fact, that was the original plan, but I changed my mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Permission and Chosen and FB...

Permission to be Human:

My sister posted the above article, at her blog, and I wanted to share it here.

I first came across Holly Gerth through DaySpring. This was posted on FaceBook, yesterday, and it warmed me. I needed the reminder.

For those who don't like the new FaceBook changes, go into Account, down to language, and where it says English US, change it to English UK. Like my sister, do NOT tell me what YOU think I'll be interested in, because I'm quite capable of making that choice for myself, and actually manage to do so every single day. Unfortunately, UK turned to the dark side, within hours. However, English (Pirate) is kind of fun.

And a cartoon that always makes me smile...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Part of being REAL...

Reduce stress
Adequate sleep
Lower caloric intake

This tied in well with some of my other REAL blogs. As I work to change my thinking, I'm noticing some significant changes, in me. I've pretty much let go of the expert advice, because I know that my weight issues are mostly in my head. My body is merely the evidence. I would eat less, exercise more and gain weight. People would always say, "It's muscle!" Actually, it wasn't. My inches weren't changing either. I had to finally accept that because I was mentally in a place of deprivation my body held onto the weight. Mentally, I was in starvation mode, regardless of my eating habits, so my body went into save the fat mode. Now, I'm trying to teach myself that I don't need to do that anymore.

R ~ I've found that routine is vital to my program. I think I've finally created one that works for me. Funnily enough, my change in my job situation is what made it possible.

E ~ Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday I walk in the morning. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I don't walk. I do 2-4 groups of my SEAL puppy reps (10 reps of girl's pushups, sit-ups, and flutter kicks) and physical therapy all six days.

A ~ Monday through Saturday, I'm up between 5-530 AM. Bedtime varies. I use sleep deprivation to stop nightmares. So, some nights I'm able to go to bed early, like 10 PM, but other nights it has to be 11 or 12 or 1 AM, so I don't wake up to nightmares. I'm trying to learn to intersperse them better, so I have more nights of closer to 8 hours of sleep, than those that are only 4 hours.

L ~ I don't eat snacks between meals. They are guaranteed sabotage for me. It doesn't matter what it is. They interrupt my other work routines, and leave me feeling like I've grazed all day. The feeling of having to constantly remind myself to eat is annoying. Monday through Saturday, I have breakfast between 6-8 AM. It's usually Carnation Instant Breakfast, sometimes with frozen blueberries and sometimes with frozen bananas and sometimes not. Lunch is usually between 11-12 noon, and dinner is between 5-7 PM. Sunday, I sleep in a bit, eat between 9-10 AM, and then I have dinner around 4 PM. I keep meals simple, usually from scratch, or pretty close to it: Grilled cheese sandwich, hamburger, spaghetti, chicken and rice or pasta or potatoes. Occasionally, I make an easy soup, Top Roman, with veggies and chicken added. I have a chocolate chip cookie after one meal and a biscotti and hot chocolate after the other, unless I had a PB&J. I also drink 48-64 oz of water, every day, without fail. I haven't had any soda pop in... a year? Two years? Maybe longer. Yes, it's been so long I don't remember, though I may have had a cup at some event or other when that was all that was available. I'll usually choose water or lemonade. I don't miss pop, though occasionally I want an old fashioned A&W. It isn't available, so it isn't a problem. I eat out less than once a month, ie, I eat out with a group of friends at the end of the month, but I don't always make it.

I am healthy. I don't need to hide.

NASCAR ~ Nationwide Race: Carl Edwards came in second. Race Buddy broadcasted the Sprint Cup race at THANK YOU!!! Delayed due to rain. Carl came in Fourth. Congrats to Tony Stewart on winning, and Dale Jr coming in third! Carl is currently third in the chase. Whoohoo!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Carpe diem... change...

In the past, I've kept track of what I'd done during the day, and reported whether or not I "seized the day." Today, I'm trying something new. I'm posting what I plan to accomplish, today. Now, one of my dearest friends will declare that PLAN is a four-letter word and an invitation to said plan being disrupted. Maybe, but I want to see how the day goes. The worst that can happen is that I don't follow through on everything, but I will follow through on some things. So, where we go:

REAL ~ At this moment, I've already done my walk and SEAL puppy reps; so far so good.
Finish reading Arlene James' A Family to Share. She is on my Must-Read list.
Projects that require some attention, today.
Sign up for Race for the Cure.
NASCAR ~ The race was rained out, yesterday, so it's running, today. Whoohoo!

Done. :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #69

This needs to be shared... I hope Alice doesn't mind. It was the perfect start to my Sabbath.

~Cooler weather! At last! We will not live in eternal summer. I knew that, but it's difficult to remember sometimes, after months and months of heat.

~I believe I've mentioned the living lawn ornaments that have taken possession of the yard (feral cats). Because it's cooling down, they are playing more. What fun!

~Much needed rain, this week.

~Amazing friends that are blessedly supportive.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Heroes... Casting Crowns...

Music has always felt like an entity in and of itself. It influences how I feel. I use it to inspire me. My horse seemed to enjoy when I sang to him. And I used to leave the radio on for my dog whenever I went anywhere. I discovered I enjoyed coming home to the radio being on. When no one is here but me, I have K-LOVE playing. When I am listening to music I feel a sense of completeness, a sense of peace.

Mark Hall is the lead of Casting Crowns, a Christian Music group. Their music inspires me, and always fills me with a sense of being a little bit closer to God. On Monday, at the 5 September screening in Atlanta, Mark posted on FB the following link to a Red Carpet interview for Courageous, coming out September 30, 2011. Wow. Here's the link to the movie, specifically to the video section:

I've been listening to Casting Crowns for a few years now. My friend Margaret, introduced me to them, first, and I've loved their music ever since. I liked Casting Crowns on FB, and have enjoyed Mark's comments and thoughts. He even hosted a Scripture study for a while. They have influenced me for good and strengthened my faith. May God continue to bless them in their calling to share their musical gift.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do you know what tomorrow is?

Neither did I, until a few days ago. It isn't on any of my calendars that supposedly mark American Holidays. I would say that it was because it isn't a bank holiday, but they have holidays for other countries marked... September 17th is Constitution Day. It's the document that starts: WE THE PEOPLE... Here's the link to Constitution Day.

I re-read the Constitution this summer. I've also read W. Cleon Skousen's The Five Thousand Year Leap and Thomas Paine's Common Sense. The first was an easy read, the second not so much. There's a bit of a language barrier, ie, 200 years of change in the American language. The Constitution is a remarkable piece of work that reveals the hearts and souls of our Founding Fathers, men who were willing to live and die for the right to be free. Men who understood that freedom wasn't free, but required great personal responsibility. Men who understood that true freedom wasn't anarchy but the rule of law. I'm grateful for the sacrifices they made, so that I might have the opportunity to live in this country.

On a lighter note: When I first became acquainted with computers -- back in the dark ages -- I can remember thinking this:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week Twelve of REAL...

The 9th: weigh in: 241 lb. I need to make a decision. Do I truly want to be healthy? Some of my food choices would suggest I do not. There is a part of me that is willing to be brutally honest that sometimes I'm choosing death by food. But that's far too simple. It's vastly more complicated. Unlike smoking or drinking, I cannot go cold turkey with eating. Dear God, I need a healthier way. I tossed some of the junk food, but not all. I know better than to deprive myself. Instead, I make deliberate choices about what I really want most. I love my chocolate chip cookies. I made those. I'm happy with only one. Really. I usually believe that, anyway. There are days. I'm liking: "Eat like you're healthy." I didn't stuff, today. One SEAL puppy rep. And baking cookies, I made an interesting discovery. I used the brown sugar I'd made myself, the brown sugar I'd thought tasted too much like molasses and not enough like the brown sugar I bought. I will never buy brown sugar again. That little extra was amazing in the cookies. It didn't make the cookies taste like molasses; it simply added a subtle layer of complexity.

The 10th: weigh in: 241.6 lb. Shoulder is considerably better. Not sleeping well, but never do this time of month. Day four or five of a migraine. Ugh. Two SEAL puppy reps. Took an easy one-mile walk with my sister. Watched the Dedication ceremony of the Flight 93 Memorial. The internet is such a blessing.

The 11th: weigh in: 241 lb. On this day, I am reminded that there are only two choices: Life or Death. Good or Evil. God or the adversary. When I don't take care of myself I am choosing death. Today, I choose Life and all that means.

The 12th: weigh in: 241 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps. One-mile walk. Physical therapy, without weights. Shoulder is doing much better. Made bread. Yummy! Did laundry. Worked on several projects. Headache is much improved, still there, but better than it was. I walk healthy, and I eat healthy. :-)

The 13th: weigh in 239.4 lb. Three weeks since I messed up my shoulder. I did my grocery shopping, and endeavored to be careful with my shoulder. One SEAL puppy rep. I am healthy. I walk like I'm healthy. I eat like I'm healthy. I sleep like I'm healthy. I exercise like I'm healthy. I am healthy. Really... I'm working on it. Killed a mosquito mid flight. Good reflexes. :-)

The 14th: weigh in: 240.2 lb. One-mile walk. Two SEAL puppy reps.

The 15th: weigh in: 239 lb. Waist circumference: 40". One SEAL puppy rep. Physical therapy, with 1-lb weights. My shoulder seems to be much better. The headache is finally gone. I could be discouraged by these numbers. I'm not. I'm becoming more aware of my desire to become healthy. I've caught myself preaching about weight loss, in the past, and hope I don't fall into that nasty trap again. I want to be healthy. The numbers are a way to keep myself in check. When I see the scale creeping up, it's a reminder (not that I don't know already) that I'm falling back into old habits. I will learn to be healthy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes, I love Forwards...

One of my friends forwarded this story to me. I remember hearing it long ago, well before emails, and I loved it then, too.


Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore . We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. "Why, he's hardly taller than my 8-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening. I've come to see if you've a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."

He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. "I guess it's my face .... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments .."

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning."

I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. "No, thank you. I have plenty." And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going...

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won't put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair." He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind."

I told him he was welcome to come again.

And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7 in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen! He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. And I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

"Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!"

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But, oh!, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!"

My friend changed my mind. "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail. It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden."

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.

"Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. "He won't mind starting in this small body."

All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7b)

Friends are very special. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear and they share a word of praise. Show your friends how much you care. Pass this on, and brighten someone's day.

Nothing will happen if you do not decide to pass it along. The only thing that will happen if you DO pass it on is that someone might smile (because of you).

Found this on FB, posted by David Barton at WallBuilders

I know this is late for my NASCAR update, but today seemed the first time it was appropriate. I love NASCAR, but I recognize that it's fun. Somehow it didn't seem to fit the previous posts. Everything has its place, and sometimes it's important to evaluate one's priorities. Laughter and fun are as necessary as courage and sorrow, each in its place. A time to every season.
NASCAR ~ The Nationwide Race was broadcast online, compliments of Track Pass Race View. I prefer watching the little numbered balls float around the track over watching the leader board. So, thank you Track Pass! Carl Edwards came in 2nd! The Sprint Cup was broadcast on ABC! YAY! Carl came in a close second and is seeded in the Chase at #5. Go Carl!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Heroes... passengers of Flight 93...

The passengers on flight 93 decided to choose their destiny.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

"Are you guys ready? Let's roll." ~ Todd Beamer

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011... 10 years later...

Never forgotten.

Almost 3,000 souls were lost : World Trade Center, First Responders, Four Commercial Flights, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.

I woke up early that day, as I always did, so I could go out and take care of my horse before picking up my work. It had already started, and I didn't know. I groomed and grained my horse, like I did every single morning, for the previous four years. I was usually out there alone. Most of the other boarders came out in the evenings or on weekends. I enjoyed having the place to myself. It was my time to talk to God. How could I not be grateful when I was enjoying my horse's company and the quiet of the early morning?

One of the other boarders came out to work one of the horses early, and asked if I'd heard about the plane flying into the World Trade Center. I thought she was joking, in very poor taste. I didn't believe her. It was absurd. Ridiculous. Impossible. Then the owner of the property came out, and told us that the Pentagon had also been hit. I looked between them, and said, "You mean it's real?"

My regular, easy-going conversation with God changed to a pleading prayer, in my heart, and didn't stop.

After I finished taking care of my horse, I slid into my car, rolled down the window, and turned on the radio. They repeated over and over that planes had been flown into the WTC. As I drove to pick up my work, other cars passing me, both ways, had their windows rolled down, too, when usually they'd be rolled up because of using A/C. Their radios were on, too. My radio was in stereo, from the outside. We were all listening to exactly the same thing. Total strangers, all listening to the same thing.

I picked up my work, at two different places. Over and over, the radio talked about the planes, but they would not release the names of which airlines. By the time I was driving home, I was screaming at the radio for the names of the airlines.

One of my friends is a pilot. The last time we'd talked was the month before, and he'd told me his route was in the northeast. I was desperate to know which airline, and felt guilty for hoping my friend was safe.

As soon as I arrived home, I turned on the television. Still no specifics of any kind. I called my friend, expecting to reach his cell phone. He answered. I felt guilty for feeling relieved and grateful he was okay. His route had changed. (It was a while before the airlines involved were revealed.) He was safe. He had been grounded, but he couldn't complain about the lovely city he was in. I'm still glad he was safe. A part of me still feels a little guilty.

I heard firsthand about the plane that crashed into the open field. While the media debated the possible cause, I didn't need confirmation; I knew the passengers had done something. I knew the passengers had made a choice, and wondered if I would have had the courage they did.

We learned months later that my cousin was supposed to be at a meeting in the WTC that day. He didn't make it because he was taking his parents to the airport. So many lives were spared that day because of being late, taking a child to school, or some other small, seemingly inconsequential event.

So many lives were lost. They were on time, doing their jobs, being where they were supposed to be. Then the responders were there, doing their jobs. Many of them had been going off duty, but recognized an emergency and the need for additional help. They were being who they are.

Fathers, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, wives, husbands, coworkers, friends.

I watched the news, every day, all day, for days. I wanted to donate blood, but discovered that the day before a new ruling had been passed, and I was no longer eligible, because I had lived in England for three months. It wasn't needed, anyway. I remember that first day thinking that the hospitals would be overwhelmed. Then they weren't. You either made it relatively unscathed, or you didn't. I didn't know any of those who died, but I had friends who mourned the loss of many friends.

Did it change me? Yes, it did.

Once the shock had worn off, I hadn't yet realized I'd changed. Then I saw Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. 9/11 had stripped away the wall I'd built around my feelings. Suddenly, I felt everything. The flood of emotions was overwhelming, confusing, like going from a world of muted grays to one of vibrant flashing colors of every tint and hue.

I changed. I connected with people through the internet, where I found a whole host of friends who shared in my new discovery. And we've been sharing the journey ever since.

I hold this day as a day of remembrance. A day to mourn lives cruelly and needlessly lost, too many families with empty places at the table, the wonder of the courage of human beings, the miracles of those who lived, and the gratitude for the thousands of people who did good simply because it was the right thing to do.

I will never forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Heroes... 1st Responders...

Tomorrow is the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I sent Thank You notes to my local fire and police departments.

This is one of the tributes.

Man in the Red Bandana

Amazing Grace Lyrics

John Newton (1725-1807)
Stanza 6 anon.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Heroes... Remembering 9/11

As the anniversary approaches, my thoughts turn more and more to those who survived and those who died. (1-1/4 hr) It was worth the time to watch, and it's only available through the weekend, online.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week Eleven of REAL...

The 2nd: weigh in: 240.8 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. I also did laundry and defrosted the fridge. Laundry isn't really a big deal, but defrosting my little fridge is usually a workout, especially when I'm on a time limit.

The 3rd: weigh in: 240.4 lb. Two-mile walk. One SEAL puppy rep.

The 4th: weigh in: 239.8 lb.

The 5th: weigh in: 238.8 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps. I woke at 5:30 a.m., as I usually do, and gave myself a choice: Go for a walk or sleep. I chose sleep. Sleep is when your body does its healing. The shoulder is better, today.

The 6th: weigh in 238 lb. Three weeks since I messed up my shoulder, and the shoulder is doing considerably better. There's still a bit of stiffness and soreness, but no need for pain meds anymore. What a blessing. One SEAL puppy rep.

The 7th: weigh in: 239.8 lb. One-mile walk. I'm liking this: Walk like I'm healthy. Today, I added: Eat like I'm healthy. Two SEAL puppy reps. One physical therapy, without weights.

The 8th: weigh in: 240.4 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Wow... waist is down another 1/2". Cool. One SEAL puppy rep. Not feeling great, but to be expected. Better in a few days. Shoulder is much better, but I've had a headache for two days now. We are supposed to have storms on Friday, so that may explain it. Right now, my "Eat like you're healthy" is not faring well. I'll dive back in, in a few days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


NASCAR ~ Carl Edwards won the Nationwide race. YAY!! Sprint Cup was rained out on Sunday, and then ran today. It was fun to see J.J. Yeley in the lead for a few laps. Whoohoo! Trackpass broadcast the radio portion of the race. Thanks PRN. It was fun to hear them chatting with Carl in a brief interview, while they waited for rain/mist to clear, again. Then they called the race all the way to the exciting finish. Carl came in 5th, today, and 3rd in the Chase. Whoohoo! Go Carl! It's also fun to see his comments on FB. LOL!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Carpe diem... actually yes...

I slept in. I needed it. I know that sleep is healing, and my shoulder is feeling a bit better, even with the difficulty of having to sleep on that side. My sister stopped to visit, and that was delightful. I started a couple of new projects and worked on a few others in progress. I think I'm pretty much caught up online, for now. I've removed another author from my Must-Read list, and am enjoying one of my Must-Read authors, Marta Perry, who recently finished a series that I've started this weekend. I'm enjoying it.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #68

~Friends with delightful points of view. Thank you!!

~God's gorgeous creations. :-)




Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Heroes... Lucy Monroe

Lucy Monroe is one of my favorite romance writers. It isn't reading for everyone, but she taught me a lot about the kind of person I want to be, when I learn to be healthy. Respect and honor are part of the make up of her leading characters. Her heroes and heroines are smart and accept personal responsibility. The conflict in her stories make sense, and aren't petty. The misunderstandings are believable and typical of those who simply haven't learned to communicate with each other, as opposed to other writers I've read where the characters are as dumb as a box of rocks and enjoy the conflict of tearing each other apart. Why anyone thinks ugly bickering is romantic, I will never know. Not that Lucy's characters don't argue; they do, but it's about things that matter, as opposed to disagreeing for the sake of confrontation. Lucy puts a lot of herself into her books, and they've touched my heart, helping me understand myself better. She keeps up a blog on her website and posts on her FB fan page, interacting with those of us who love her books. She has inspired me, in a lot of ways. God bless her.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Laughter is good...

M&M Duels as found at Stumble Upon (Use the link or keep reading.)

Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.

Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.

I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theatre of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.

Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.

When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3x5 card reading, "Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."

This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this "grant money." I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion.

There can be only one.

Brought to you by

And another fun kitty picture, because... a picture is worth 1,000 words...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week Ten of REAL...

The 26th: weigh in: 240.6 lb. One easy SEAL puppy rep. No pain killers for over 24 hours. Yay! I'm a bit sore, but it's bearable.

The 27th: weigh in: 240 lb. Two-mile walk, with my sister. One SEAL puppy rep. Shoulder is doing a little better.

The 28th: weigh in: 241.2 lb. I was stressing over the reaction to my latest hero. I still don't like confrontation, and I don't like to hurt the feelings of others, and yet, I felt cowardly for not acknowledging someone who has made such a huge difference in my life, over the last year and a half. Neither did I want him to be a "test" or a "gotcha." I wouldn't want to be him, but I admire him and appreciate that he has helped me to become the person I want to be.

The 29th: weigh in: 242.4 lb. Sigh. I'm frustrated with myself. I hate seeing the weight creep back up. One-mile walk.

The 30th: weigh in 241.4 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. It's only been two weeks since I messed up my shoulder. Sleeping on it isn't helping, but there isn't another choice. *pfft*

The 31st: weigh in: 241.4 lb. One-mile walk. One SEAL puppy rep. Sigh. Finished a half bag of Dove chocolates. Why do people who harass me about my weight give me such "gifts?" I have enough trouble sabotaging myself... Ah, I learned it somewhere....

September ~ Another month

The 1st: weigh in: 241.8 lb. Waist circumference: 40.5". Two SEAL puppy reps. I didn't feel any pain doing them, but I notice the shoulder is still sore. It really is frustrating sleeping on the side that is sore, and not having any other choice.

I started REAL ten weeks ago. I started keeping track of my weight, here, six weeks ago. I'm around the same weight. I started keeping track of my waistline five weeks ago, and I'm down a half inch. Because of my shoulder, my exercise routine is lighter. Ten weeks and what do I have to show for it? Time to be brutally honest. Not much seems to have changed. And yet, I fix my hair, every day. My work routine is better, and I'm meeting my work goals, though I'm still not bringing in enough to pay for basics. When I do start earning a paycheck again, the money will be better spent. I've discovered that I don't need to have bags of chocolate on hand, as long as I have my hot cocoa. (It's a food hoarding thing.) I like my bread, and I like making it. I'm eating more veggies. I'm learning to use what's in my food storage, rather than letting it slip past the expiration date. I go for walks three mornings a week. I do my SEAL reps six days a week. I'm learning to create Sunday as a proper day of rest, especially since I'm learning to work six days a week. Wow... I'm doing a lot I wasn't doing ten weeks ago. Upward and onward.