Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Yes...I'm speaking of Step Aerobics!!! Too dramatic? I think not. Back in the day, I was a religious stepper. Since I played sports in high school, I had at least one PE course each semester (after the invention of the microwave, who needs Home Ec. anyway?) and Body Sculpting was my class of choice during my last two years. That meant Step three days a week for 45 minutes at a time. And honestly, I loved every minute of it. Of course shorty after graduation I moved to college and my main form of exercise was walking to the cold section in the back of Wal-Mart to pick up a roll of cookie dough. So, needless to say, I replaced my love of Step with a love of cookies. Again, basic human nature at work. One semester in college I registered for a 1-hour Step Aerobics class but I had to drop it because it required more written work than an upper-level psychology class. Ridiculous. Or perhaps that was just my excuse and I couldn't forsake the cookies. I've actually worked out reguarly since college but when I moved the Athens, the gym that I joined offers a bazillion different kinds of classes a week so I decided that in order to get my "full money's worth" I would take advantage of some of them. That was in August. And today, May 27th, I finally took my first Step [class]. Why did it take me so long to do something again that I once loved? Oh...there is a whole slew of reasons. First, I had the excuse of class at night. Weak considering they took up at the most 2 of my nights per week and they ended by 7:15. Secondly, this body is not what it was when it was 17. No, I'm not old, but things just start to hurt so much quicker now 12 years later. It certainly doesn't help matters that every young and tanned skinny minnie at UGA also are members of my gym. Finally, the truth is, I'm shy. Almost to the point that it's painful. I know, hard to believe if you know me, but I hate being in new situations when I'm all by my lonesome without a buddy. Nor do I like it when attention is centered on me in an environment where I don't know everyone. So I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to finally go to Step class, and since that decision, I've been psyching myself up for today. The big day. Last week, I made sure I was at the gym during the class time so I could observe while I was on the treadmill. Just to make sure I could do it. Um, I just ran a half-marathon but I was totally doubting my ability to do 30 minutes of Step aerobics? So, today I verbally committed by inviting my friend at work, Erin, to go with me. Unfortunately she had plans, but because I said that I was going to do it, that sealed the deal. I had to go. The closer it got to 5:30 the more anxious I got. What if the class was team taught by Jane Fonda and Denise Austin? What if the instructor asked for all first-timers to stand up and from somewhere in the back, a nice deacon brought me a jar of jelly as everyone had ample time to size me up? Hey I went to a new church once and it happened. Who would have thought you got jelly at a church? I suppose it could happen at a gym if it was sugar-free jelly. What if I couldn't keep up? As I'm turning into the parking lot, I'm praying to the dear Lord baby Jesus that I don't roll my ankle or tear an ACL or drop dead during basic right. Of course my anxiety level dropped as I walked in and heard someone ask the person next to her, "have you ever done this before?" The response: "No." Victory! So long story even longer...it was great. I'm definitely going back next week because it turns out that I still love Step Aerobics after an absence of over a decade (um, you know you're getting old when you can use a decade as a reference of time). But I'm most proud of the fact that I made myself step outside my comfort zone and do something uncomfortable. Did I survive? Of course. Did I remind myself that I am potentially missing out on so much because I prefer that which is comfortable and familiar? Yes. Will I remember this the next time I get "something new and different anxiety"? Yep. So...all that to ask, what is something good that you are missing out on? What's standing in your way? You? Well, it's your lucky day then because you can change that!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I'm only one individual in a world of billions so really I can only speak for myself. But it seems to me that more often than not we are torn between a fairytale and the truth. We all want the fairytale. I know that I sure would take the fairytale ending behind door number 3 if I was making a deal with Monty Hall. Why? Because even though there is always a villain in the story, ultimately good prevails and the princess lives happily ever after with her heroic prince who has stepped in to save the day. And because our culture instills this in us from childhood, we come to expect this to be our reality one day. Prime example: Enchanted. It's a fairytale that comes to life. I am not for one minute saying that we should wipe out all things Disney or shoot Cupid down with an unloving arrow. I'm afraid that Valerie would no longer be my friend if that happened. I said it myself, I love a good story with a happy ending. However I think that the problem arises when the fairytale doesn't happen here in the real world and we don't know what to do. Ugh...I'm afraid that I'm not making my point clearly so it will be lost. And I happen to think it's a really good one so I'm struggling a bit as I write. The truth is though God does not promise us our fairytale ending. We are not put on this earth to live out our days doing only the things that bring us sheer joy and happiness. If that was the case, I would spend my days eating ice cream sandwiches and watching back-to-back episodes of The Golden Girls while maintaining a size 4 physique. If we are Christians, we are God's and we are here to do His work. Now, can and does doing His work bring us happiness? Of course! Are we destined for days of solitude? Nope. God himself said that it isn't good for man to be alone. Hence, Eve. But the last time I checked, the book of Cupid is neither in the Old or New Testaments. Nor is the kind of love present in the B-I-B-L-E that Cupid is so famous for bringing. Ok, it's there too but if we all think about it, those stories when it was the star didn't turn out so happily ever after. That kind of love is centered fully around emotion; our feelings. And let's be honest here, that kind of love feels good. But it is fleeting, and I'm not so certain that it's really love. However all too often because it's the fairytale we desire, we think if we don't have that kind of "love" then we've got nuthin'. In Deuteronomy 6, we are commanded to love God with all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our might. It doesn't say, "if it feels good to you, then you should..." According to my new friend Voddie, Biblical love (which is the true kind for those of you just tuning in) is "an act of the will accompanied by emotion and it leads to action on behalf of its object." And if we are to love God this way, doesn't it make sense for us to love His children (a.k.a., each other) in the same manner? Geez...seems to me like that is going to require some work. Which I think is another reason why we much prefer the type that Cupid brings. But Biblical love is essentially a choice that we make. That's not to say that there is no emotion in it. Emotion is there if you look. It's accompanied by emotion. Big difference between being accompanied by and being led by though if you ask me. If emotion is the accompaniment instead of the leading factor, then it seems like this kind of love is going to last much much longer. But because it's a choice that we make and not something that sweeps us off our feet, some of the glamour is gone. Truthfully it doesn't lessen it or cheapen it all. In fact, I think it makes it better. In the long run, I much prefer comfort to glamour, the truth to the fairytale, and if given a choice, I kind of think that Cinderella would too. After all, she was missing a shoe and her carriage turned into a pumpkin on the way home after a long night of dancing. Talk about unreliable and fleeting.
Friday, May 23, 2008
From the looks of my desk, the caution tape is quite appropriate even without a timed test to complete. Thanks work friends for making my day easier!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Thanks Trice family for such a fun visit. I'm already looking forward to next time!
He's the cute one in the family. Ok, here is one of the things that I love about my baby brother. Even during the terrible teen years, the boy is so comfortable in his own skin. Please take note of the velcro tennis shoes he is sporting in the picture. According to him they are cool and everyone will be wearing them soon. All I know is that if he is responsible for velcro shoes being the next big thing, then he and I are going to have words. Fortunately (or unfortunately) he's "cool" enough among the high school crowd to succeed. I do love him though...velcro shoes and all!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Afghanistan. Not only is it an interesting perspective of life in old Afghanistan prior to Russia's invasion of it, it was written in 2003 so there are modern day references to the Taliban as well. I definitely learned so much about the culture and history in that country. I'm not going to lie. It's sad. Like, tears being shed as I'm turning the pages sad. But so very well written. (unlike much of this post) If you haven't read it and you're looking for a good read then run, don't walk to your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy for yourself.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
I do believe that the good Lord knew that I would need a mother with the kind of personality that mine has. She is one of the most laid-back persons I know. Sometimes I envy that about her. Why didn't I inherit that trait?!? Whether I was upset because there was a thunderstorm raging outside or I was stuck in a tree with seemingly no way to get down, Mom was always right there to calm me down and protect me when I was little. I can't imagine how difficult it is for mothers to watch their children grow up and let them go knowing that there are much bigger things in the world that they must be protected from. This is where faith is so important. Mom's faith is one to be admired. She has always taught me that God is in control and that we must trust in Him in all things.
When I was in college, some of my friends thought it was so bizarre that I talked to Mama on the phone as much as I did. Perhaps it wasn't so much the frequency that they thought bizarre but the time of day in which we had most of our conversations. I usually never called before 11:00 at night. More often than not, it was much later than that. In fact it's 11:06 pm, and I'm on the phone with her right now. The habit of talking to her on the phone started when I was very young. I stayed with my grandmother, Mumu, after mom went back to work and each day I would talk to her on the phone. As I was going through my photo albums to find these pictures this is only one of many with a phone stuck to my ear. No doubt about who was on the other end of the line if it was taken at Mumu's house. I'm so thankful that I have a Mama who has never put parameters on when it was too late to call home or made me feel like I can't bother her by calling while she is at work. She has always put her children before the important things like sleep and work and always made it clear that we are our first priority. It probably helps that she has the uncanny ability to fall back to sleep in less than 1/10 of a second too. Err...when I call during the middle of the night...not while she's at work! Rarely a day goes by when I don't talk to her. Even if it's just for a minute or two. I'm completely grown but I don't think that children ever outgrow the comfort that results from knowing that they have parents who are always there for them.
My relationship with Mom has changed throughout the years but that is to be expected considering I have grown up into adulthood. I no longer get in trouble for talking back (ok, well, maybe I do sometimes) nor do I cry when she isn't in my direct line of vision. Thank goodness I outgrew that one. However there are some things that have not changed...she is still my constant cheerleader and always a voice of reason. We have always had fun together. She's the fun one in the family so it's only natural that I have fun with her. One of my favorite memories from childhood is when dad would go hunting, she and I would have girls weekends. She let me do her hair, nails and make-up and we would have slumber parties in the living room. We've even gotten to travel to some pretty fun places together, Boston and Vegas, over the past few years. I value the relationship that I have with Mama more with each passing year. When I hear people talk about how they never see their mom or don't have a good relationship with their mom, it makes me all the more thankful for the good one I have been given. Although I was a good kid by most accounts, I know that raising me probably wasn't the easiest task in the world. As an adult I can see how during the times when my little world was falling apart (let's be honest, little girls are just mean to each other) and I was crying to her, I'm sure her heart was breaking even more than mine was. Yet she never let on because she had to be strong and tell me that it would be ok. And you know what, she was right. It was.
I believe that a mother's love for her children is the closest humans will ever get to unconditional love. Only God can love us unconditionally, but a mama's is pretty close. I think this ability that mothers have to love their children so much is also one of the things that makes their job so hard sometimes. How heartbreaking when a child disobeys or makes a poor decision. How scary when a child breaks a bone or goes off to college. But how rewarding when a baby lights up upon seeing his or her mom enter the room or when something great happens and she is the first to know. How proud moms must feel when their children show kindness and love towards others or scores the winning run in a ballgame. I pray that one day I will be given the opportunity to have and raise children of my own. It is my hope that I will be the kind of mother to them that mine is to me. She is such a good example of all that a good and loving mother should be, and I'm so thankful that she is mine! Happy Mother's Day.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Today in the car was the first time that I really paid attention to the lyrics and for whatever reason they really struck a chord with me. Well, not all of them, but some of them. Allow me to share a few:
"Take all your so called problems/better put them in quotations"
How true is that. Of course we all have problems. Every single one of us does, and unfortunately some have much much bigger ones than others do. But I wonder what would happen if we took the time to stop and think about how much worse our problems could be...or better yet, think about all the good in our life. Perhaps those problems would seem more like molehills instead of mountains. For example: "I can't believe that I have to spend so much money in rent every single month. I would be able to do so much more if I didn't have to shell out so much just to live." Definitely deserving of quotations. Instead, I should say what [I] need to say which is "I am so fortunate that I have a job where I earn enough money to live in a nice and safe apartment that I can call home." I know, I know...you think I'm being lame. But seriously, I have a job. I have a pretty nice apartment with a gate and a pool for crying out loud. I should be thanking Jesus for those things everyday.
"Living up the same old moment/knowing you'd be better off instead/if you could only... say what you need to say"
Am I the only one who replays scenes over and over again thinking "gah, if only I had said ______, then I would feel so much better or things might have turned out so differently." If I had a dollar for every time I've thought that or something similar I would be independently wealthy before age 30. Why don't we say those things? For one, the reason why I don't always is because I'm such a thinker that I need time to process something before responding. Hence the reason you'll never see me in a presidential debate. However more often than not, I don't say it because I worry (ugh, curse word) how the other person will react. I certainly don't believe in saying something simply to have the last word. That is not saying what you need to say. That's saying what you want to say. And I have found that having the last word often leads to unpleasant situations.
"You better know that in the end/it's better to say too much/than never to say what you need to say again"
Is is really better to say too much than keep something that you really feel bottled up inside? I think so. With discretion. Fortunately (or unfortunately, sometimes) for me, if there is something that I need to say then I will eventually do it. Sure, I can keep it in for a little while but then it just reaches a point where I feel like I'll explode if I don't say it. Like...I can't go to sleep at night without getting it off my chest first. And I'm not one to lose sleep. This little component of my personality has elicited a few late night phone calls and conversations over the years. But why do we so often keep it inside? Usually I do it because I'm afraid that I will make someone mad... or hurt a person's feelings... or become vulnerable by doing so. Which is ridiculous I know. For instance if I'm genuinely worried about a friend due to the decisions that he or she is making, what kind of friend am I if I don't say anything because I'm afraid it will make them upset with me? What kind of friendship is it if we can't be totally open and honest with each other? Not a very solid one. There was a point in my life a couple of years ago when I prayed for vulnerability. Warning: Think long and hard about praying for vulnerability before you do it. God certainly answered my prayer and there were times when I probably said too much, but that's really just my pride talking when I say that. I learned so much during that time. One thing being we can't take it for granted and assume that we will get another chance to say something so it's best to use the opportunity when it presents itself.
Words are powerful (contrary to the whole "sticks and stones" rhyme). They have the ability to change lives. Imagine what could happen if became conscious of how we used them on a daily basis.
Are you saying what you need to say?
Anybody got any suggestions about where I should go?
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Suz's Wedding in August 2004. Interesting fact: until this dress, nothing in my closet was baby pink...now I have more baby pink shirts hanging in my closet than I could ever need.
Mag's Wedding in October 2004. Too bad you can't see the super fab flip-flops that she made for her bridesmaids to wear at the reception.