Friday, March 29, 2013

Freely Give, Freely Receive: Maundy Thursday Musings

Matthew 10:8 - Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
If you read my last daybook entry, you remember that I was pondering over attending my first Maundy Thursday service:
I am pondering... on the upcoming Maundy Thursday Celebration. This will be the first time I’ve ever celebrated Maundy Thursday (the commemoration of the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of His disciples). I am thankful to be learning more about the holy days of the liturgical calendar (I’m still really foggy about Advent, but there’s always next time). However, the only thing bothering me about the celebration is that the leadership of the church is doing the foot washing. Now, we had foot washings at my home church, so the concept isn’t new. But, I really feel uncomfortable with having the leaders of my church wash my feet. My friend, Angela, told me it was a pride issue. I don’t see how. I don’t think that I’m too good to have them was my feet. Quite the opposite; I feel that they are too good to be washing my feet. Position wise, it feels all wrong. I should be washing their feet; that is my place. I should be serving them, not them serving me. I don’t know how (or if) I’m going to do this. I don’t see how that is pride……

I was in such a quandary about this that I e-mailed the Pastor about it.  He suggested that I read the Gospel of Saint John, chapter 13 before I came to the service.  I did, but I still wasn’t convinced this was the right thing for me to do.  Then the thought came, what would I have done had I been at the Last Supper with the other disciples?  Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have let Jesus wash my feet UNLESS he commanded me to.  I felt as if He were saying, “Well I am ordering you to do this.”  So, last night I got in the car and headed toward the church. 
When I got there one of the lead ministers at the church greeted me, gave me a paper with the order of service on it, and said that if I wanted to, I could start with him washing my feet.  Everything inside me screamed NO!  But I said (only loud enough for him to hear) “sure.”
Along with running for five minutes straight for the first time, this was the most difficult five minutes of my year so far.  My hands were literally shaking as he washed my feet.  I was so embarrassed for him that I couldn’t even look at him.  Then the tears started.  I finally started getting an understanding of what this all meant.  When he finished, he actually thanked me for giving him the privilege of serving me in this way.  All I could do was hug him and tearfully say thank you. 
I moved on to the prayer station where I was to read several scriptures from the Psalms, John, and I Corinthians 11 and to pray and prepare my heart to receive Holy Communion.  I read, and cried, and prayed, and cried, and took Communion, and cried some more.  I was “all tore up” by the time I finished up and went to the parking lot.   As I was driving home, I got the answer to why this ceremony was so emotionally intense for me.

Matthew 23:11 says, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”  I’m so used to serving that it has become a point of pride for me.  From the very beginning of my walk with Christ, I was taught how important service is, but not taught so much about how important being a gracious receiver is.  Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  I’m really good at doing the first part, but lousy at receiving the second part.  Why?  It goes back to an old attitude I still haven’t conquered;  I don’t feel comfortable letting people love and help me.  I don’t feel worthy of their love and concern.  It’s like I haven’t done enough to earn it.  It’s a combination of pride, false humility, and low self-esteem.  Weird combination, I know, but the position of gracious receiver feels wrong.  It's because I’m the one on my mind instead of God or others.  My attitude is: surely God wouldn’t have me receive service.  My only place is to serve.  However, I’m not fulfilling God’s call if I never allow myself to receive.  Being one who constantly gives yet never graciously receives leaves me empty, alone, and depressed, which, in turn, prompts behaviors that lead to self-medication and relapse.  Not good.
So, I guess my next step is to continue to learn to be a gracious receiver, be honest about what I need, and not be afraid to go for what I want.  Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful lesson.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Auntie's Rules of Fitness: Part 2

More little gems from my fitness walk:

For rules 1-8 click here.
  • Beware of saboteurs. Everyone is not to be trusted with your goals and dreams. I learned this one the hard way. People who truly love you will not try to sabotage your healthy efforts. You are worth it.

  • The BMI (Body Mass Index) is a CROCK. It is not a good  measurement of health and doesn't take muscle mass or body types into account. The BMI is the modern day height/weight chart and just as inaccurate.

  • Write stuff down.    Write down goals to keep yourself focused.  Write down what you’ve done to see your progress.  Here's a sample of the workout chart I use to track my weekly progress.

  • If you think you can get truly fit without a change in eating habits or exercising, you’re crazy!  I don’t care what the commercials say about “quick weight loss without effort.”  THEY LIE!

  • Don’t do this alone.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (KJV) says, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”   We all need help and accountability.

  • Listen to your body.  No, not when it demands Snicker’s Bars and pizza.  Listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you that you’re doing too much or injuring it.  There’s a big difference between a small twinge in a muscle that says, “Hey, you’ve never worked me before.  Welcome!” and “Hey, you’re going to snap me in half if you keep doing that.  You need to stop!”  Certain cravings may also be telling you about nutritional needs for your body.

  • Pay attention to your shoes.  Whether you walk, run, or participate in any other aerobic activity, your shoes do eventually wear out.  If the bottom of your shoes looks like a bald tire, it’s time for new ones.  If something causes pain, it may be time for new shoes.  I recently had this happen to me.  One day, my run was great.  The next time, one shoe felt like I was running on a brick and it hurt.  BTW—you do distribute weight and pressure differently on each foot, so don’t be surprised when one shoe wears out faster than the other one.  Also, if budget allows, have more than one pair of athletic shoes.  Changing them out keeps them from wearing out so fast. Plus, it gives the protective cushioning inside the shoe time to recover between workouts.  It’s kind of like fluffing a mashed pillow when you make your bed (OK, if you make your bed J );  It will feel great the next night.
As I keep learning, I’ll keep posting…

What are some rules/tips you've learned in your fitness journey?


Monday, March 25, 2013

Groundhogs Don't Know Jack!: The Simple Woman's Daybook for Monday, March 25, 2013

Outside my window … (Insert Scottish flag here) ---->

I am thinking...
 about California (hey, I’ve got to beat this cold weather somehow J ).

I am thankful...
for God’s provision. 

In the kitchen...
 I had my fiesta omelet thingy for brunch earlier.  Not sure what’s for dinner yet.  I'm really trying not to think about my next meal while I'm eating the current one.

I am wearing... Jeans and a long sleeved shirt  (In MARCH!).

I am creating... Sav-A-Life is closed today, so I’m going to do some stitching for them.

I am going... hopefully nowhere today.  I’ve already been to the gym and I’ve got 12-step study tonight, but that’s about all.

I am wondering...
why I seem to be stuck in the same place.  Not health wise (thank the Lord); just in other areas of my life like finances, my career, and relationships.  This is getting so old.  I know, whah, whah.  I’ll suck it up and hush.

I am reading...
I had endeavored to read more over the Easter season, but other than the Lent devotionals, I have been so behind.  I think I’m going to have to set aside some reading time every day.  No computer, no nothing.  I love to read, and I’m not sure where my reading mojo went, but I need to get it back.

I am hoping...
that I can kiss my blood pressure meds goodbye soon.  I’m also hoping to hit the allusive “Wall of 40” in the next week or two.  Every time I’ve lost weight before, the most I could beat off was 39 pounds.  Then relapse would set in and I would start to gain instead of lose.  Forty is my wall.  If I can knock it down, then I know that with God’s help, I can lose the rest.

I am looking forward to... SPRING (I don’t CARE what the calendar says.  It ain’t spring.)

I am learning
… more and more about how good God is.

Around the house... Spring cleaning the kitchen.

I am pondering...   on the upcoming Maundy Thursday Celebration.  This will be the first time I’ve ever celebrated Maundy Thursday (the commemoration of the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of His disciples).  I am thankful to be learning more about the holy days of the liturgical calendar (I’m still really foggy about Advent, but there’s always next time).  However, the only thing bothering me about the celebration is that the leadership of the church is doing the foot washing.  Now, we had foot washings at my home church, so the concept isn’t new.   But, I really feel uncomfortable with having the leaders of my church wash my feet.  My friend, Angela, told me it was a pride issue.  I don’t see how.  I don’t think that I’m too good to have them was my feet.  Quite the opposite; I feel that they are too good to be washing my feet.  Position wise, it feels all wrong.  I should be washing their feet; that is my place.  I should be serving them, not them serving me.  I don’t know how (or if) I’m going to do this.  I don’t see how that is pride…

A favorite quote for today...  Which pounds are the hardest to lose?  The next ones.  - Me

One of my favorite things... YouTube.  For someone without cable, YouTube rocks!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Community Band practice tomorrow, CR on Friday.

A peek into my day... Here is a link to the audio of my sharing time at Celebrate Recovery this past Friday.  Enjoy.

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook ( . Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back now, ya' hear. :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Tips, Tools, and Reveiws

Product: Leslie Sansone’’s Punch Up Your Walk. DVD with weighted gloves.

Where bought/available: Bought at Wal-Mart.

Why: Wanted to try something new from the author.
I bought this video more than a year ago, but never really got into it until now.  As in my first review of one of Leslie Sansone’s products, I wanted a simple alternate workout, plus the weighted punch gloves caught my eye.  I took a cardio kickboxing class ages ago and liked it, so I thought this would be something like it.  Here’s hoping...
Rating (on a scale of 1-4 smileys):  J
The Good:
  • The walking moves in this video are similar to the Walk Away the Pounds Express video, but not identical.  The added punch moves add to the intensity.
  • The gloves themselves: these gloves are about 1 pound each, so they aren’t too light or too heavy.   She does give the warning not to fling your arms and risk injury.
  • The author’s attitude: I don’t call her “Miss Perky” for nothing.
 The Bad: 
  • The chatter: I know, I know.  In my last review I said that the chatter was annoying, but not a distraction.  Well, this time it is a total distraction.  She yacks and giggles so much through this video that she doesn’t give instructions to change moves in time.  In her other video, she yammered, but still gave verbal cues of what the next move was and when to start and stop it (for the most part).  You know, “do such-and-such move in 4-3-2-1.  Yackety, yack, yack, yack.  Giggle, giggle, giggle.”  Not so for this one.
  • The music: To quote comedian Greg Proops, “The music sounds like it was written by an appliance.”  Sorry, but y’all know I’m music sensitive.
  • It’s not four miles: She starts the stretches before the last mile is over (plus she doesn’t tell you that they are starting).
I cannot recommend this video.  It was thoroughly annoying, and clumsily done.  I do like the punch gloves, so I use them on her “stretchie band” workouts on the Walk Away the Pounds Express Video. 
If any of you have used this DVD, tell me what you think.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Auntie Needs a Do-Over: The Simple Woman's Daybook for Monday, March 18, 2013

Outside my window … Rainy but WARMER!

I am thinking...
 about California (yeah, again).

I am thankful...
for my Sunday school class.  They are a wonderful bunch of great ladies. 

In the kitchen...
 Don’t know yet. 

I am wearing...
Jeans and a T-shirt.

I am creating...
Nothing today.  Got a new project in my mind though.

I am going... nowhere now.  Made several attempts to get out, but they didn't fair to well.  I'll try again tomorrow.

I am wondering...
why people never carry gum with sugar in it anymore?  Sorry, but I can’t have artificial sweeteners, so I wonder about weird stuff.

I am reading...
the Lent devotions I found online.

I am hoping...
that I feel better soon.  I’ve felt poorly for almost a week now.  The snot’s almost gone, but the groggy, foggy, rode-hard-and-put-up-wet feeling is not.  **Sighs**

I am looking forward to...
my birthday.  I know it’s months away and it may be as bad (if not worse) than last year’s, but a girl can dream, right?

I am learning… how powerful prayer and God’s Word are.

Around the house... Need to tidy up, but no energy to do so.

I am pondering...   on the question of just how much snot can the human head hold?  Mercy!

A favorite quote for today... “Some people are so indecisive that their favorite color is plaid.”  - Author Unknown

One of my favorite things... holding babies (got to hold a new wee one at Sav-A-Life today). 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Community Band practice tomorrow, Choir practice Wednesday, sharing my testimony at CR Friday. 

A peek into my day... Today was not a great day for me, but tomorrow will be better.  We hope and pray...

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook ( . Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back now, ya' hear. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Little "Buts" Turn into Big "Butts."

Luke 14:18a – “But they all alike began to make excuses…”

“Excuses are like armpits; everybody’s got a couple and they stink.”  Mike Warnke, comedian.
One of the biggest enemies to establishing and maintaining total health is excuse making.  For more than 30 years, my excuses slowly took pieces of my life away.  Here are my three most used excuses.  Can you relate?:

“BUT I‘ll start tomorrow/Monday/before swimsuit season/New Year’s…”  I know that old adage, “Why put off ‘till tomorrow what you can keep putting off ‘till tomorrow?”  Second Corinthians 6:2 says “Now is the day of salvation.”  The word salvation (soteria) doesn’t just mean the “save me from hell” salvation.  The definition of salvation also embodies health and healing.  Now is the time to care about your health.  Why?  To be fully equipped to do and be everything God called us to be.  Waiting for a perfect time to start never comes!   Ecclesiastes 11:4 – “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”  Think about it.

“BUT it’s so hard…”  When people talk to me about turning their bad health habits around, they usually end with a sigh and say, “But it’s so hard though” and they give up before they even start.  I was trapped into that mode until this thought came to me:
Which is harder; the temporary soreness of well-worked muscles, or the daily stinging pain of the prick of lancet and a syringe of insulin?  Which is harder; sewing seeds of health so that I can be here for the kids in my family, or the pain of leaving them before they graduate high school? Which is harder; my stomach growling for ice cream when I feed it fruit and yogurt instead, or being unable to speak or walk because of a stroke or incapacitated because of a heart attack?

I think you get the idea.
“BUT it’s 'the time of woman.'”   (Alright fellers, don’t go to sleep during this part, y’all use your woman's monthly as an excuse to act a fool too.  J)  OK, I know how it is; you feel cranky and tired, you’re really hormonal, and you’d eat wallpaper paste if it tasted like chocolate.  You’ve got premenstrual syndrome, mid menstrual syndrome, AND post menstrual syndrome.  I get it, but let me give you some tips to help you through it:
  • Sleep more – go to bed earlier and take naps.  This will help. 
  • Drink more water.  Helps with the bloat.
  • Talk to a trusted friend when you feel the hormonal rush of wanting to commence to perpetrating violence upon someone.  Deal with the emotions, then you won’t want to eat them away.
  • Pray for Divine guidance.  God designed the human body.  God knows your body inside and out.  He knows what works for your body and what doesn’t.
You know, I wasn’t going to tackle this one, but ladies, we have been sold a pack of lies.  We CAN lose weight and maintain health during hormone week.  It just takes diligent effort…a LOT of effort.

So, why am I talking about this anyway?  Because I know that little things matter to my health.  I’ve had the experience of small steps leading to big positive changes in my health.  I’ve also seen little compromises lead to big disappointments on the scale.  I don’t want our little “buts” to turn into big “butts.”

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Celebrating Mardi Gras During Lent

Late last year, I started thinking about learning to run.  What do you mean “learning to run”? You just take off and run don’t you?  Well, not exactly.  You see, I’m still a bit large (but shrinking), and I wanted to be able to start running without hurting myself (or others) in the process.  My only other running attempts were in small intervals of 30-60 seconds with a LOT of walking in between.  I’d walked a couple of 5k’s but that was all.  I prayed about it and then just kind of put it on the shelf.  After all, I’d never even thought about being a runner before.  The only time I ran in my childhood was when something or someone was chasing me, or mom called me in to dinner.

The first part of January, I saw a flyer at our local community center advertising a 9-week running clinic called “Couch to 5k.”  I took a flyer home and called the instructor to check it out.  Forgive me for being a skeptic, but other times I’ve gone to “beginner” workouts, I have been sorely disappointed.  For example:  the time I went to a Zumba class and the “instructor” didn’t explain any of the moves before hand and did the whole class with her back to us.  Everyone else already knew the moves and I was totally lost.  Haven’t tried another class since.

Anyway, the certified running coach, a lady in her late 50’s who’d run several 5k, half marathon, and full marathon races, was a delight to talk to.  She sounded very patient and sweet.  Though I still wasn’t convinced, I agreed to try it anyway.  The first sessions were agony.  Every time I started or stopped the running motion, it felt like someone shot me in the back of the leg with a nail gun.  My coach just kept encouraging me to keep trying (and stretching).

As the weeks went on, I looked forward to every session and started enjoying it more and more.  Every week was a new challenge, but it was great.  Fast forward to today.  It’s the end of the running clinic and our final session is the challenge of completely running The Mardi Gras 5k in Oxford, Alabama.  Five kilometers; 3.1 miles (what’s with the extra 0.1 miles?).  Until now, I’d only been able to run two miles at a time, so this was the ultimate challenge for me.  Plus, the course had hills (WTC?!)  The goal for the day was to run the whole time and finish the race in 45 minutes or less. 

The running route took us on from the Oxford High School track to a brief tour of downtown Oxford and back to the track again.  It’s amazing that the only time I wanted to quit was at the very beginning.  Not on the hills, not when I drank water too fast and almost barfed, but at the BEGINNING!  I admit to having the mental hang up of wanting to turn tail and run from situations where I feel out of place, and this race certainly qualified.  But, I set my pace and kept going.  I had my tunes in one ear, and my running coach in the other.

I ran the entire race, finishing in 47 minutes and 36 seconds!  I know the goal was 45 minutes, but I say CLOSE ENOUGH.  A victory is a victory!  I hugged my coach and thanked her over and over again.  I was so jazzed!  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to shout.  I wanted to run around the track doing a William Wallace FREEDOM scream!  Yes, I did behave myself. 

So what’s next on the running front?  Well, I plan to keep running (I really do like it!) and I plan to work on improving my time and run more 5k races.  I’d say that today was an awesome celebration of Mardi Gras!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The (Cold) Simple Woman's Daybook for Saturday, March 2, 2013

Outside my window … It’s the second day of March and it’s freezing cold and snowing outside.  (Alba Gu Brath)

I am thinking...
 about how to get out more and experience more fun in life.

I am thankful...
for God’s rich mercy.

In the kitchen...
 I ate my new creation for dinner tonight.  I don’t know what to call it, but it’s an omelet with veggies and cheese topped with avocado and medium chunky salsa.  Yum.

I am wearing...
Sweat suit (I told you it was cold).

I am creating...
Doing some writing today.

I am going... to sleep in a bit.

I am wondering...
just how much more weight do I have to lose before my thighs stop rubbing together like sandpaper on the New Yankee Workshop.  I know TMI right?

I am reading...
the Lent devotions I found online and the new Bible study guide for Sunday school.

I am hoping... that my financial situation turns around soon.

I am looking forward to...
11:00 worship service tomorrow.  It’s going to be off the chain!

I am learning
… how to continue to set boundaries.

Around the house... nothing!  I’m cold and in bed to stay warm.

I am pondering...   on the stupid judgmental competitive attitudes we have when it comes to diet and exercise (I sense a rant on the way soonJ ).

A favorite quote for today... “My philosophy is:  God made seven days.  Do you eat every day?  The answer is yes.  If you eat every day, I believe you should exercise everyday.”  - Richard Simmons (God also told us to rest one day a week, but I get his point about being vigilant about taking care of our health.)

One of my favorite things... elliptical machines (yes, I said it J). 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  two church services tomorrow, practice, Sav-A-Life on Monday, community band on Tuesday.  Hope to get into some more fun mischief the rest of the week.

A peek into my day...

(Me likey!) 

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook ( . Thanks for stopping by. Y'all come back now, ya' hear. :)