Friday, August 29, 2008

Workin' On My Fitness

For most of the summer, I have not been going to the gym. Over the past 8 years I have been a 5am gym rat. Wherever I have lived, I always make sure a gym is close by so I can keep up with my exercise routine. For a month or two here and there along the way I have taken a break from sweating my guts out everyday but I always start craving it and get back to it.

This summer I hit a wall. My motivation took a deep dive and there was no bribe or deal that I was able to make with myself to get my lazy ass moving. I haven’t missed the creepy Italian guy who wears the same black sweat pants and white t-shirt everyday. He talks loudly to the other 50 year old men while they strut around the gym like they are 25. He drinks his coffee in-between sets and stares at me. Sometimes he tries to talk to me and lets me know that he’s a nutritionist and work out guru. PLEASE!

I have turned a corner.

For the past few weeks I have been gettin’ my sweat on almost everyday. I've changed it up and started going after work. I don't see creepy Italian guy in the evenings. It feels good to get back to pumping iron and rockin’ the elliptical but I’m still struggling. I have to force myself into it most days and remind myself that when I’m done I will be…“ harder, better, faster, stronger”. When I drag myself against how I feel and discipline my laziness, I don’t regret it. Today was one of those days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Harder To Believe Than Not To

I was recently reminded of the lyrics to this song written by Steve Taylor. A great song indeed!

Nothing is colder than the winds of change
Where the chill numbs the dreamer till a shadow remains
Among the ruins lies your tortured soul
Was it lost there
Or did your will surrender control?
Shivering with doubts that were left unattended

So you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
Don't you know by now why the chosen are few?
It's harder to believe than not to
Harder to believe than not to
It was a confidence that got you by

When you know you believed it, but you didn't know why
No one imagines it will come to this
But it gets so hard when people don't want to listen
Shivering with doubts that you left unattended

So you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
Don't you know by now why the chosen are few?
It's harder to believe than not to
Some stay paralyzed until they succumb

Others do what they feel, but their senses are numb
Some get trampled by the pious throng
Still they limp along
Are you sturdy enough to move to the front?

Is it nods of approval or the truth that you want?
And if they call it a crutch, then you walk with pride
Your accusers have always been afraid to go outside
They shiver with doubts that were left unattended

Then they toss away the cloak that they should have mended
You know by now why the chosen are few
It's harder to believe than not to
I believe

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Heart NY!

It’s quite possibly the cheapest T-Shirt ever. 6 for $10 was the going rate on Canal St. yesterday. I didn’t try but you could probably get them to take even less. I don’t think anything sold by vendors on Canal St. has a fixed price. Chinatown is one neighborhood in New York City where goods are negotiable much like any street market found in Bangkok, Thailand. Rolex watches, Gucci and Coach hand bags as well as Tiffany’s jewelry all for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a store makes Chinatown one reason why I heart NY. (This kid knows what's up!)

Yesterday, Angie and Kari (my 2 sisters), Sean (my brother in law), Travis (my brother) and I took a little trip into the city for a fun-filled day trip. Walking to the subway, we turned the corner at Broadway and 43rd St. and were stopped by a bottleneck of people with cameras in hand. The sidewalk was blocked. Thinking we were going to see P. Diddy or Regis Philbin, I readied myself to become part of the paparazzi. Using my elbowing and scooting skills, I inched forward to see the main attraction. Only in New York City does a cop atop a horse become a celebrity. This is another reason why I heart NY. (This couple's trip to NYC is now complete.)

The 1 train was nearly empty yesterday afternoon when we took it uptown from Canal St. However, a homeless black man rode with us. He had a child’s car seat strapped to his back filled with a bundle of clothing and he was talking to himself. Somewhere between 34th St. and 42nd St. he launched into a puppet show with his hands. He used quotation gestures to make one hand talk to the other while bobbing his head from side to side. When the train stopped at 42nd St. and the doors opened, he didn’t get off but he took a poker chip out of his pocket and threw it onto the tracks. He did get off at 50th St. with us and we watched him walk up the street a few blocks. He eventually threw the car seat on the sidewalk and kept on his way. New York City is home to all types of people with all types of stories and because of that, I heart NY. (I didn't get a picture of the puppet master but this is Travis, Angie and Kari on the 1 train. Trav, sorry about the pole in your face. Kar, love the black market Coach bag!)

After we went to see Cirque Dreams (in the picture below), the Broadway show that is a knock off of Cirque du Soleil, we went to Carmine’s for dinner. Carmine’s is a famous restaurant where they serve family style Italian food. Usually reservations are required unless you are willing to wait an hour or two to get in. I’ve been into the city countless times and always wanted to go to Carmine's but never wanted to endure the wait. Last night, as all the Broadway matinees were getting out, we walked into Carmine's just to see how long the wait would be. There was no wait! We were seated immediately! In New York City, there is always something to do that you haven’t done before and always the possibility for the impossible to happen.

After traveling to 45 of the 50 United States and 6 other countries, it’s still my favorite city.
For all these reasons and so many more...

I Heart NY!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I don’t pursue. It’s not in my nature, it’s not in my personality but sometimes people need to be pursued.

I’m not good at it. I’ve been disappointed in many of my attempts at it so generally I don’t pursue anything or anyone. I will make a move in the direction of someone or something that I desire but if I get shutdown at all, rarely will I ever embark in a full on pursuit. I often struggle to know if what I desire is really what is good for me so I allow obstacles to be signs that maybe I shouldn’t be pursuing it anyway.


I get a sense that I need to stay a little longer or dig a little deeper or try a little harder.
There are times I can pinpoint when I have had an unexplainable strength that I normally don’t have. It’s that knowing deep in me that I must not give up but rather keep asking, keep standing, keep loving, and just keep on no matter what.

As a woman, I would much rather be pursued than be the pursuer when it comes to relationships. Be it a man or a woman, I don’t like tracking people down. I don’t like getting in anyone’s business. I cringe at the thought of being overbearing to anyone. However, sometimes a friend has no strength to reach out, yet is in desperate need to know love and that someone cares. This is when I need to get off my self-centered ass, risk rejection and chase that friend down.

This is what I’m learning to do. Its not always fun. I take one step forward then I shy away because the result wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. Then I inch into another step toward my friend. It takes vulnerability and being open to getting hurt. Pursuing people is something new to me but it’s what is being asked of me in this time and I am up for the challenge.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


You're addicted to thrills?
What an empty life!
The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.
Prov. 21:17

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dropping Insecurities of Old

Talking with a friend this week, we began to discuss how insecurities are manifested in older generations such as our parents. As we compared our experiences and our perceptions of our parents’ insecurities, I had to stop and consider the ways in which these same things have been inadvertently passed on to me.

There are things that we inherit, not because we have discovered them to be true or untrue for ourselves but because that is all we have known or how we’ve been taught. These are not things that were directly taught to us but rather ways of thinking that were instilled in us indirectly by example. These things are not always easy to spot. Most pocket sized insecurities, we are unaware of.

Maybe it’s the way I respond to someone who doesn’t return my phone call. Maybe it’s the conclusion I assume when someone doesn’t invite me to his or her home. Maybe it’s the way I lose trust in someone who hasn’t appreciated my kindness. Maybe it’s the way I place expectations on people or situations that are unrealistic and then I lose faith when I’m let down. Maybe it’s the way I self-protect so I’m not disappointed.

If I’m not intentional about dissecting the things in my life that I have picked up and carried with me, then I run the risk of maintaining a cycle of generational insecurities. I have plenty of my own junk. I cannot be all of who I am if I am packing baggage from a previous generation.

As I got off the phone with my friend, I realized that questioning the root of my insecurities is something that is necessary in my life. If I don’t develop a way of thinking that questions my own ingrained thought patterns, it will limit growth in my life.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Breakfast of Fencing Champions

I wanted to be Mary Lou Retton.

As a youngster, I was a gymnast and when Mary Lou made history in the 1984 Games by being the first American woman to win a gold medal in gymnastics, I was sure that I too could make Olympic history.

“Mom, how old do you have to be to get into the Olympics?”
“15, I think”, she replied.
“Ok, so I will be in the 1992 Olympics then.”

I made my mom buy Wheaties because Mary Lou’s picture was on the box. I hated Wheaties. They weren’t sweet like Frosted Flakes but I choked them down because if I wanted to be like Mary Lou Retton, I had to eat my Wheaties. I was secretly happy when they took her off the box because I didn’t have to eat them anymore. I made my mom buy enough boxes of the bland cereal so I could mail in the required number of UPC labels to get an autographed 8x10 poster of my Olympic hero.

I’ve always been a fan of the Olympic Games. This year, my excitement for Beijing was slow to get started. Abi, my youngest sister, is the Olympic Wikipedia. She started spittin’ out stories and stats of
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh which propelled my interest in Beach Volleyball. Of course, who hasn’t heard about Michael Phelps and his magical accomplishments? A little too good to be true, the pessimist in me made the Debbie Downer comment that I hope we don’t find out in a couple of months that he was on performance enhancing drugs… wah,wah,wah.

By now, I have watched a little bit of many different events. Track and Field, Rowing, Badminton, Marathon, Diving, Cycling, Equine Jumping, among other normal Olympic Summer Games.

One event that I had never seen before was Fencing. The United States won the Silver medal in Men’s Fencing Team Sabre. I’m not the Wikipedia on Olympic events so I don’t have all the facts but from what I saw, it’s high tech medieval style sword fighting. The competitors wear armor looking outfits that have electronic sensors in them that register the “hits”. I don’t understand the scoring system and I didn’t do the research to figure it out but I think I’ve found a new goal for my life.

London, save me a spot. Wheaties, will you put a “Fencer” on the box? Forget gymnastics, I want to be on the United States Fencing Team in 2012.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A New Hair Color

The big event of this weekend was changing my hair color. I usually go to the solon once every 6 months to get it done but $100 is too much for me to spend right now. So, instead I went to Target. For $8.44, L'Oreal assisted my sister in the big event. I've never used the hair color off the shelf so I was a tad nervous. It's darker than I thought it would be and quite a shock from the light brown and blonde highlights I've been sportin' for a few years now. I'm trusting that I will get used to it and won't even notice in a few weeks. This was my weekend. Watching Michael Phelps and coloring my hair. Back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Parallels Revealed

Much of my existence is spent in a state of contemplation, or at least a variation of it. I’m always investigating the hidden meaning behind things that happen and I find myself keeping watch for what is overlooked. Most of the time, this helps me connect the dots of otherwise random nonsense but this ingrained little mechanism in me becomes a burden some days.

Because I believe that much of what happens in the observable world is a parallel to the supernatural world, I find that everyday there are lessons that I miss due to simply being oblivious. There are clues in the course of routine and mundane everyday life that beckon us to a greater understanding of the mysteries of God if only we will tune into them.

The burden comes when a one of those gentle mysteries is realized and I “get it” but I don’t know how to make something happen or worse yet, CANNOT make something happen.

“We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it.” Prov. 16:9

Friday, August 15, 2008

Do I Deserve This?

What is it that any of us really deserve?

Someone I consider a friend has not been friendly lately. I’ve been trying to figure out how best to handle the situation and in my contemplation I keep coming up with ways of giving this person the benefit of the doubt. Bailing on our friendship is the message being sent by this person loud and clear. The words spoken to me in the past appear to hold no meaning now. I feel lied to and deceived on many levels. I believe in this person and have known parts of this person to be good, kind and caring. However, when push has come to shove and things are not so comfortable, this person has hit the road in a sprint. Dropped off the radar and checked out. Certainly there are many factors and it is never so black and white but the way this person has slithered away like a sneaky ferret leaves my feelings hurt. I don’t know how you can be friends with someone and then, without any conversation about what is going on, just disappear without a phone call, text message or email.

In my estimation, this person doesn’t deserve my time, doesn’t deserve my love, and doesn’t deserve my patience. The only thing this person deserves is to be written off.

Then, grace, mercy and compassion tap me on the shoulder and whisper in my ear.

I don’t deserve the love that God has given me. I don’t deserve the forgiveness and the faithfulness that is granted to me every day. Still, I am loved regardless of my selfishness. I am forgiven no matter what mistakes I make. I am given a life of endless opportunities and beautiful people even when I take them for granted. It is kindness that leads me to repentance.

If I am given these things that I don’t deserve, who am I to withhold these same things from someone who has wronged me? Anger and resentment hold me captive but extending kindness sets me free. Repaying the hurtful with clemency and dishonesty with charity turns the tables. It brings a dead end to ill feelings and instead promotes peace. Hate breeds hate but love multiplies loving kindness.

The question is no longer ‘do I deserve this?’

The question is ‘how will I respond to what I’ve been given?’

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tomato Teaching for Today

A tomato plant wilts alone.

When a tomato plant starts to grow it doesn’t look like it needs support but as tomatoes begin to form and get larger, they begin to weigh down the vine. As this happens, a stake is needed. The stake, hammered deep into the soil is tied to the vine so it doesn’t break under the weight of the maturing tomatoes.

The stake has an important role and one it does well. Another plant could not fill that role, only a stake will do. If another vegetable plant (I know tomatoes are technically fruit but I still think of them as veggies) like say, a squash, tried to hold up the tomato vine, it wouldn’t work. The strong, rigid and firmly planted stake is the best one for the job.

This daydream dialogue came to me during a staff meeting at work today. The VP of my department was trying ever so vaguely to answer a question asked of her. One of my co-workers wanted to know what the role of the department is now that the corporation is in the midst of downsizing and restructuring.

The tomato train of thought led me to ask myself, ‘What is my role?’ Not only at work but also in life overall. I knew the answer at the moment the question bounced in.

I’m not the keynote speaker or the head of state. I’m not the CEO or the mascot. I’m not the logo or the slogan. I’m behind the scenes. I’m the 2 by 4 behind the sheet rock. I am the stake tied to the tomato plant.

When I am aware of my role and begin to understand it then another piece of my identity is discovered and freedom to be who I am takes another step forward. Knowing where to fit is guided by knowing my role. I don’t have to dart from here to there like a pinball seeking a divot to fall into. I can be at peace and confident knowing that I will become more of who I am if I stick to the role that I was made for.

So, in my occupation, in my friendships, family and other relationships, I thrive when I am standing alongside others in a supportive role. And when I remember my own role, I can be of assistance to others in theirs. The bottom line is that every role is necessary.

We can’t do it alone.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Saratoga, NY

This weekend, while my parents and sister were here, we took a little trip to Saratoga, New York. It rained most of the time but the horse races went on anyway.

I put some money on a horse named "Spanky". I liked his name and it was fun to scream "C'mon Spanky" as he ran down the stretch. He won and I was super stoked about it... until I only made $2.60 on the $2.00 I bet.

The next day, in the pouring rain, we went to the Museum of Horse Racing. There was no place to park. The orange cones couldn't keep us out even in the rain. We parked there anyway. That's my sister moving the cones so we can get into that parking lot.

A good time was had by all.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

No Naked Feet

I took all the pictures off my camera today and found a few that have been on there for over a month now.

Over the July 4th weekend, I went with 3 of my good friends for a weekend at Misquamacut beach in Rhode Island. It was a lovely time. Just an hour drive from my house, it was nice to feel like we were on vacation even though we weren't very far away.

Krista sang "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey using a shark as her microphone. We drank from a fish bowl. We got mardi gras beads, we danced, we ate and drank and we celebrated Independence Day.

Even though the pics are a little late, here's a glimpse of July 4th.

Friday, August 8, 2008

08.08.08 - Jump in the Tumbler

When I was a kid, I had a rock tumbler. As an 8 or 9 year old, I was fascinated by it. I think rock polishing must have been a hobby of the 80’s because it doesn’t get much publicity these days.

Here’s the thing about polishing rocks; it takes forever! We’re talkin’ 4 to 6 weeks of running the tumbler everyday, all day. There are 4 steps to the process. The rocks go in with some water and some sand-like grit. The coarsest grit goes in first, then the rocks are washed and replaced with water and finer grit, then another wash and even finer grit, then finally the polishing compound. The amount of time it takes to polish a rock is not the same for all. It depends on how hard the rock is and the desired degree of smoothness in each of the steps.

I remember taking a family vacation to Colorado (before we moved there) and looking for a rock that I thought might be a geode. Geodes were my favorite because they look like your boring, everyday, run of the mill rock but if you bust them open there are sparkling crystals inside.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about maturity. I feel immature in some areas of my life. I feel like sometimes my responses and ways of thinking are childish and narrow-minded. These things have bothered me in the past few weeks.

I want to be the best person I can be. I want to grow and learn and become all that is within me. I want to tap into the hidden places, the fearful places, and the places that are waiting to be fully awakened in me. I want to explore and experience life with greater depth.

When I try to think it through, it becomes a task far too large to wrap my head around. It seems impossible. Undoing years of learned survival techniques is like swimming against the current of a roaring river.

I want to be a better communicator. I want to learn how to reach out to people in ways that cause them to know that I care. I want to expand the way I see the world around me and people who are different than me. I want to experience truth in ways that I haven’t before.

How does that happen? How does one expose potential and move it from what could be to what is?

Maybe it’s like polishing rocks. It’s a process that takes time. The amount of time may depend on how “hard” I am and how refined I choose to become. How long it takes for me will be different than it is for you. It involves repetitive steps with a variety of circumstances; some harder than others. In between steps, there may be a break; a time to wash the dust off from the previous situation and reflect on how far I’ve come in the process.Abrasive grit is necessary to slough off layers of the ordinary to reveal something extraordinary.

Let the tumbling begin...

Monday, August 4, 2008

What to do...

When you don't know what to do?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Face Stuffing Festivities

My parents and youngest sister have come to visit. All I have done since they came is eat. Tonight my brain and emotions are unable to function. They are saturated with bad cholesterol, carbohydrates, artificial flavors and all types of pound extending fats. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Sound of Your Score

As long as I can remember, music has always been a part of my life.

My father, a drummer, introduced all his offspring to the wonder of music very early in our existence.

As a teenager, music became my escape, my friend, my lover, and my strength. I lived for any live rock’n’roll concert I could go to. I would look forward to each one for weeks or months and once it was over, I would go into post-concert depression for at least 3 days. I loved the adrenaline and the hype but I also loved how the music would connect with my soul.

The beauty of music is that it is a companion as we walk through life. A song that soothes or a song that empowers or a song that speaks truth at the very moment that we need it, is able to transcend all other voices that scream at us.

One of my favorite things about the dynamic of music in my life is that it has the ability to transport emotion.

When someone sings, “…it’s the freakin’ weekend baby, I’m about to have me some fun…”, I think of being with my little sister, driving with the windows down, listing to R. Kelly’s “Remix to Ignition”.

The song, “Just Like a Pill” by Pink, takes me back to a time when that song gave me the support I needed while getting out of a relationship.

When I hear, “Ridin’ Dirty” by Chamillionaire, I smile because it makes me think of a little boy about 8 years old who said he thinks that song is about riding bikes through mud puddles.

The song, “Willow Tree” by Plumb, reminds me of when I was 20 and had just moved back to Colorado from Texas. I was working at a residential treatment center for teenaged girls. It was Autumn and the leaves were changing.

When I hear the song, “I Want Never Gets”, by Mike Roe, I feel like I’m living in the summer of 1994, when I was 17. That summer was a landmark for me. It was the best summer of all my teen years.

When “Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse comes on the radio, I see myself driving from Iowa to Connecticut in May of 2001, alone in the pouring rain. It seemed to express the crossroad in my life right then and the discovery of the next step in my life.

All these melodies and many others, serve as passageways for me. Music has a way of finding me where I am and returning me to places that have long past. The soundtrack to my life continues to be written. What does your score sound like??