Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Morning's Thoughts

Something I'm chewing on today...

I have a hunch that we tend to confuse the “vocation” of one’ life with the “occupations” of one’s life. Vocation has to do with responding, as best we know how — some days pretty well and some days pretty poorly — to the prodding, urging, nudging, whispers which emerge from the Voice in the shrubs that burn in one's life. “Occupations” are how one lives out the whispers of a Voice, the nudging of a shadow. --Unknown

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the Second Weigh of Christmas

Um, wow. Christmas is a week away. Wow.

I'm actually not going to post my weight this week. Not because I'm ashamed of it (though it's the highest number I've seen in well over a year), but because I can't dwell on it. Suffice it to say that I've gained 25 lbs since May. Yeah.

And frankly, I sorta don't care. I mean, I CARE, but 2009 has been a really difficult year. Lost two jobs, lost a baby, have dealt with some amazingly hard stuff in my heart, went on my first mission trip, etc. My injuries have made exercising so much practically impossible, and as such I've packed on some weight. I'm just in a really uncertain place in most areas of my life. God is moving, of this much I am sure, and so I just trust that all things will work together for good.

In any case, how have YOU been doing? What are you most looking forward to with regard to Christmas? Can't wait to hear!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Just Don't Feel Like Blogging

So I know I've let a few friends down on the whole weight loss blog thing, sorry to you all. I'll actually post it tomorrow, for real. I can say that because I'm actually going to do most of it when I finish this post. :)

My heart hurts because I miss Russia. I haven't been able to put my finger on it, but I think I finally realized something. My heart felt at home there. The only other place I've had that feeling was in Chicago, ten years ago. I want to be in Russia because it feels like home. How crazy is that?!

I didn't know that 10 days in another country would result in my life looking different on this side of the globe. I didn't know that I'd have this heavy ache when I came back. I didn't know that I'd need to rely on the Lord so desperately (although this is a good thing). I just didn't know.

I'm better than I was in the sense that I've started to reintegrate. I'm going to the gym sometimes, cooking for my family again, and getting more involved in church. I know that I'm changed in a way that's forever, and I'm glad for it. It's just painful.

Christmas is 8 days away, and I've got to get ready. I don't even have our tree up! Perhaps tomorrow night when we're home as a family I'll be able to get moving on it. I'm working on a pretty large project that has to be completed by 5 pm on Christmas Eve, so that's taking a good deal of my time. I've at least purchased a few gifts, and hope they get here prior to 12/24 so I don't have to stay up all night wrapping stuff.

I think that's all. Sorry for the whining. Weight loss blog tomorrow!

Friday, December 4, 2009

So, Sigh.

Y'all, my heart just hurts. There's this "divergence" happening at my church. And here's the hard part: the people leaving are the people most precious to us. The people who welcomed us into their home as non-believers. Who walked with us, counseled us, loved our children . The people who have poured into us, shaped and changed our faith, helped us grow in Christ.

And we're not going with them.

Yeah, I know. I don't understand it either. The Lord has spoken clearly to both the Music Man and myself that we are to stay where we are. This is so painful. I will, of course, choose obedience, and am just begging God to change my heart and help me walk this out joyfully.

But the real reason for my post is this: I feel like I was obedient is telling our small group leaders that we aren't free to go with them right now, but there's still this part of me is trying to manipulate God. I thought, "Well, if we're obedient in this, maybe He'll give it back. Maybe we'll get to leave after all". Lord, forgive me for that! Forgive me for coming to you in my flesh yet again. Purify the desires of my heart, help me lay down what I want in my flesh for Your highest purpose for my life. Sigh. Amen.

Walking it out each day isn't always fun, and it's almost never easy. But I DO want obedience, whatever the cost. Here's to our new adventure in church life!

Wait, What?

Did I do the math wrong when we first started? I'm looking at the calendar and realizing that we only have 4 weeks until Christmas day. Is it because I was out of the country and ElleBee couldn't update? Augh. Anyhow, my brain is all muddled and I can't focus, so we'll just say that we have today plus three more weighs.

So, how'd we do? I'm shocked to say that after the immense amounts of meat and fat I ate in Russia, I lost quite a bit of weight. I was up to 154.8 before I left, and today I was 148.2. Still that's only 1.8 lbs down from my original goal, but at least I have a number to report!

I think it's clear that I'm not even going to get close to my 20 lb. goal, but I'm ok with that. After all, life gets busy, things happen, and I'm just glad that I'm not gaining during the holiday season!

So post your triumphs and struggles, and your weight so we can get the leader board reorganized!

heather: lost 1.8, 9% of my goal achieved.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm Home!

I will probably spend more time posting about the trip, but I wanted to let you all know that I got home Tuesday night. The trip was amazing. God did some incredible things. Some quick highlights:

*I got to lead two women to Christ! I'd never had the privilege before, and it was so amazing!!
*Some of the Russians didn't believe that I was American, they said I "look Russian". *Smile*
*I did someone's makeup on the trip, and when she looked in the mirror she said, "I never knew I was so beautiful". I mean come ON. Sob!!
*I got to witness the healing of a church. I know it sounds dramatic, but I really believe that God allowed me to pray for healing in a relationship, and it's opened the floodgate in this church.
*I understood SO MUCH Russian! There's no reason for that, apart from the spirit of God, as I only studied seriously for 4 months, at most an hour a day.

Things I don't miss about Russia:
*The bathrooms. Enough said.
*The hospital, as it just broke my heart.
*The Perm airport!
*The fact that it gets dark at 4:30 in winter.

Things I miss about Russia:
*Beef and prunes. That's one delicious dish.
*The sharing of everything in their lack.
*The genuine desire to communicate, even with our limited common ground in language.
*The beautiful people I met.

I'll work on getting pictures up later, but for now I'm still a bit tired. Hopefully by Monday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dis With The Kids Redux Part 2

MK was up first (and it was open from 9-midnight) so I figured we'd be able to do just about everything and not be running like crazy people. We got there about half an hour before rope drop and we were able to see the opening show. The best part for me was seeing the Mayor open the park (which I've never seen before) instead of the lady that normally does it.

Like smart people we hit Fantasyland first and we were able to get onto everything in pretty short order...even Dumbo (which always that crazy line.)

We were able to get the FP on Cindy's horse and we got a good shot of the Russian scene in "It's a Small World".

We discovered that a kid can't ride alone unless they are 7 and meet this mysterious height marker that I've never seen before (and this is 6th time I've been to WDW since last'd think I would have noticed.) Well, we found a lovely attractions manager who rode BTMR with the FP and another who rode the Barnstormer with each kid individually....he even got the FP up front!!!

The TTA has been fixed along with Space Mountain and we were able to brave the EXTREMELY long line for the Blue Line to ride the "chill out ride" as the kid's call it. They've fixed the effects when you go through Space Mountain so you can see much better. Actually, the first time we went through Space Mountain the ride was down and the lights were off so we got a clear view of what the ride actually looks like. Very cool stuff.

We got to see the Princesses in the tent in Toontown Fair with almost no wait at all (the wait for the Fairies was 100 minutes!!! AAHHHHH!) They didn't have the Belle that loved on the CCM the last time we were there, but that's ok because the kids still loved it.

Cosmic Ray's for lunch is so smart because you get the best value in the park for your CounterService credits on the dining plan. I had the half-rotisserie chicken and it was INCREDIBLE. Beans and potatoes to go with it! YUM!!! The kids had chicken and a chicken salad...I mean, how do you beat that!?

A ride on Buzz Lightyear later (no new high score, but the kids had fun so who cares...I got 988,000 the last time were there) and then over to the Carousel of Progress. The FP kept asking when we could go ride it so she was SO excited to go on it. We actually went back to it right before we left the park and the littls fell asleep but my FP watched the whole thing. I don't think it's her favorite ride, but I know she loves it (and she says she loves the song and sang it the whole trip after we rode it the first time.)

Pink and green Dole Whips marked the holiday season....I mean, how can you resist green pineapple flavored ice cream in yellow pineapple juice? Right?

We were on our way to ride the WDW Railroad (which I've never done and neither have the kids) but we ran into Woody and Jesse so we waited for them first...then headed out to the railroad.

On the train a guy was on his blackberry checking the Auburn/Alabama game with the stroller folded in his lap, his kid sitting next to him and his wife rolling her eyes. I thought it only fair to defend him (a little) and I said "Ma'am, we don't know why we care, but we do." She smiled and then rolled her eyes at him again as he updated all the guys on the train about the score. After I told him I write a sports column and it would be nice to know the score he got all excited and then proceeded to read out all the plays verbatim until the game was over (and his family got off the train at Main Street.)

We headed back into Adventureland to catch the Jungle Cruise (the CCM's favorite ride) and then headed past the Swiss Family Treehouse. So, this is where it gets hairy. We're walking up this thing and there is no lighting and it's dark. You figure that the park would close something if it was too dark to be on it and that treehouse from hell is WAY too dark to go on after dusk. Well, I tripped while holding the JB, my Dad's camera hit the ground, the baby hit the ground too (but she wasn't hurt...Thank GOD!) and the camera was broken. I have a rug burn on my knee that I got through my jeans, two scrapes on my right hand (one that's bad enough that a student asked me yesterday..."What did you do to your hand?") and this funny abrasion on my side that hurt me the rest of the trip everytime I picked up the JB and held her on my hip. Yeah, not fun. Fortunately, there's a claims department at WDW and I think they're going to deal with all of this.

The managers that helped us were really nice. They called ahead to the Diamond Horseshoe because we were going to be late for our dinner reservation and one of them entertained the kids while I dealt with all the mess.

So, then off to dinner with a sore knee...

Diamond Horseshoe is a gorgeous room...they've got this piano roll in the back that played Christmas music and this lovely balcony level that was decorated in only garland because the restaurant is red and white to begin with.

A slow night filled with some more Buzz Lightyear rides (and no high scores, but lots of fun for the kids) some pictures in the space ranger jail after the ride and another ride on the Carousel of Progress and we were off.

All in all it was a great say because we weren't running around like mad people and we just did stuff. We rode Buzz like 5 times, the TTA twice, did EVERYTHING in Fantasyland without a problem, hit the Barnstormer, saw the Princesses, saw the Carousel of Progress twice, saw some fireworks, saw SpectroMagic twice (both times on the way to the front of the park) and we got to see some characters. Not bad for Dad with the 3 babies.

Oh, and we rode the Monorail both ways and they still don't allow people up front (you can't blame them, but you have to ask.)

Crash in the bed and watch the kiddos pass out before you've even pulled the blankets up and DHS tomorrow!

That's day one for you...

The Dis With The Kids Redux Part 1

Music Man here one more time to review the crazy trip to the dis with our 3 myself. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I wasn't at all afraid to take them all to WDW by sounded like a fun idea after I warmed up to it. (Didn't want to run all the way down there and not take Heather.) Anyways, now we've been back for about 30 hours and I think I can process and put up some fun pics from the trip. Here goes nothing:

We had turkey day at my Parent's house with mostly food that I cooked the day before (yay for planning ahead!) and then we took off for the Dis about 2 because the kids were getting antsy about their "surprise" and they were driving us nuts being couped up inside my Parent's house. So, we took off.

Of course, Thanksgiving Day there is NO traffic!

The kids passed out...

Then they woke up two hours later and spent half an hour trying to figure out what their "surprise" was. Finally, the FP says..."Is our surprise Disney World?"

"Why yes, yes it is!"

We went to check in at All Star Music and they didn't have any of the room requests we needed so they sent us over to All Star Sports and gave us a newly renovated room. Not bad for just wanting a 1st floor room!

Then we snuggled up and went to sleep. The kids were busted and they just fell out. I look over there and they're snoring.

Next, MK and a broken camera...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sixth Weigh Recap, Seventh Weigh and Living Without Internet

Ohmygranny, girls! I've been "offline" for OVER A WEEK! Other than not being able to update here, I have to wonder if God wasn't giving me a clue that I should spend a little more time "unplugged"!

Long story short, we went to my folks house for Thanksgiving and the Diva Husband installed new bamboo floors in the living room hall and office.

The office. Where the computers live.

When I told Heather that I'd be happy to do the updates, I completely forgot that my folks would be offline.


And yes, our lovely little activity got spammed. Ah well, that's what the delete button is for! :)

Ah, so here's the recap from the Sixth Weigh. We had some great results!

Kimberly & Jill--Stayed the same
Jennifer--Lost 1.4 lbs, at 10% of goal
Beth--Lost 2.2 lbs, at 11% of goal
ElleBee--Lost 2 lbs, up to 17.5.% of goal

And the winner (or loser, as the case may be!) for the second week running...
Wendy--Lost 1 lb, up to 25% of goal

Great job, ladies! If you weighed on "Black Friday", be sure to comment and I'll get a recap post up tomorrow! :)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Music Man Guest Blogs an Impromptu Trip to WDW


Music Man here filling in for my wife while she's in Russia. She suggested (then twisted my arm, then I realized how much fun it would be) that I take the kids to Disney World while she's gone. Well, tomorrow we're going over to Grandma and Grandpa's for Thanksgiving lunch (much of which I cooked) and then take off for Florida. Of course, the kids have no idea, but it wouldn't be any fun if they did. We'll take off tomorrow and get there as fast as we can, get checked in and hit MK Friday. The park's open 9-midnight so I don't think we'll have a problem getting everything in (and that includes Dole Whips and a 999,999 on Buzz.)

I'm not sure where I'll start or how I'll chronicle our "Quantum Boogaloo" at the Dis but I'll go ahead and start with the basics.

We're hitting MK on Friday, DHS on Saturday and Epcot on Sunday before we come home. We're staying at All-Star Music and I think the kids will be so geeked (besides, Music is my favorite All-Star Resort.)

Almost time for bed, but you get the gist now. More chronicles to come as we make our way down to Orlando and then through the World.

Peace out.

Friday, November 20, 2009

On The Sixth Weigh of Christmas

Well, today is the day! Six weeks from today is Christmas, who can believe THAT?! It's made a bit more difficult by the fact that it's in the mid 60s-low 70s here in the Atlanta area these days. :)

So how did you do last week? Thursday is Thanksgiving. Do you have a strategy? I myself will be in Russia, so I'll miss out on the green beans, stuffing, mashers, cheese tray (!!!) and of course my beloved cranberry salad. I'm not sure what we'll be eating, but I'm relatively confident it will contain both mayonnaise (blech) and cabbage (yum). Obviously I won't be able to weigh in next week, so ElleBee will take care of that and the recap for me while I'm gone.

Let us know what your Thanksgiving plan is, as well as how you did! Remember, to calculate your percentage to your goal, you'll divide the number of pounds you've lost to date in the challenge bythe number of pounds you set as your goal.

Mine will look like this:
This week: lost 1
To date: lost 1
Percent to goal: 5%

That will make it easy for ElleBee to make the leader board! Happy Thanksgiving, and I can't wait to see how you did when I get back Dec 2!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge Leader Board

Well girls, I haven't heard from everyone, but it's time to post this week's leader board. We had three people lose this week, and they are:

Jill, at 5.5% of her final goal.
ElleBee, at 7.5% of her final goal.
And Wendy, at a whopping TWENTY PERCENT of her final goal!

Way to go girls. Do you have any tips to share, things that worked well for you? We'd all love to hear about it!

Please remember to post on Friday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

On The Seventh Weigh of Christmas

Ok ladies, today is the first weigh in! How did you do this week? Did you have any special challenges?

For myself, I honestly do not know what happened. I kept my calories under control and didn't skip any workouts, but GAINED 1.8 lbs. I would imagine that part of it is the stress of leaving for Russia in 7 days, but I don't believe that would account for almost two pounds. There's one other remote possibility, but I won't be able to confirm or deny that until I get back from Russia. :)

My struggle this week was not having a well-stocked pantry. I'm almost out of rice, lentils, and most beans. I try to keep several easy meals on hand; eggs, turkey sausage, pasta and sauce, and boxed organic soup. We had all of those this week, but when the pantry is slim, I feel deprived. This is more a mental thing than physical, since I know cognitively that we have more than enough. It feeds into some childhood stuff for me, a sense of lack, that I battle today.

Anyhow, so there you have it. Since I gained, I'm -9% to my goal. Yick. I'll post next Friday for the weigh-in, and guest blogger ElleBee will post the recaps for my while I'm gone!

ETA: Please be sure to post your percentage to your goal so I can do a ranking!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nine More Days

I'm leaving the country for the first time in nine days. Nine. We're into single digits. Wow. Friday night we had this special thing at church, and afterward I was talking to my friend Susan. I was lamenting that the theme of the retreat we're doing is sanctification, and that I felt like I didn't have a working definition. I mean, I know what sanctification IS, but the process, the definition, the whole thing is a little muddy to me. Then yesterday I woke up for my quiet time, and God just started pouring this poem out. I know it's not well written, but honestly, I don't feel like I wrote it. Here goes:


A perfect gem, a finished work
My Father cuts himself
From rough-hewn rock, carved and smoothed
Brings forth from nothing, wealth

His keen eye and steady hand I trust
To hold in tender vice
Lopping off the needless filth
I've gathered in this life

The first cuts ache, for they are large
Hints of beauty poking through
From dirty rock to precious gem
Joys of change, bold and new

Still I'm dull and ask my Jeweler
Rough places yet to smooth
Darkness held so dear I give,
There's nothing He can't use.

Throwing back His head, He laughs with joy
At my aching, pleading need
To be more like Him and less like me
Ever faithful, He gives heed.

He sets to work, sharp chisel gleams
Keen focus in His eyes
"More you want", He gently says
His sweet presence is my prize

The pain intense, relentless work
It seems too much to bear
But my Master labors patiently
And finding value, lingers there

I survey His work when He steps back
And astonished, hang my head
"Such work, such pain, for what?", I ask
"One new facet?", sick with dread

Despairing of the days to come
As refining never ends,
He comes and gently lifts my head
My downcast soul to mend

"That facet I did not make for you,
That facet is for them
So they see hints and glints of Me,
My precious, spotless gem."

"My work is slow, of focused pace
To build your fragile trust
You withstand great pressure tenderly
Never cracked and left to dust"

"I will work what you allow
Nothing less and nothing more
My work is your great offering
It's what your heart beats for"

"Submit time and again to this
Unabated is the change
I ask of you, my darling one
Familiar, yet still strange "

"The reward is great, for one day soon
You'll catch a glimpse and start
The gem I've polished, raised from the dead
Is your priceless ruby heart."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Finally, A Beauty Review!

I haven't done a beauty post in quite a while, and I wanted to review two products that I picked up at Sephora last week. The first I'll do today, and it's the Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Her. This is a really cool concept. There are 12 sample fragrance vials with an atomizer in the box, and the cost is $50. You try the samples, pick your favorite, and take the enclosed certificate back to the store to redeem for your favorite of the bunch. It was such fun to pull out the booklet, read about each one, and just try things out. Of course, this is made more interesting when your husband used to sell fragrance and has an opinion that is usually pretty different than your own. :)

First up, Aquolina Pink sugar. This is completely delightful. You can smell the caramel and marshmallow, and it just felt so homey and comforting. The price point is completely agreeable, too. Overall, it was my second favorite of the group!

Next, Donna Karen's Cashmere Mist. OK, I can't stand this fragrance or anything about it. The bottle looks like a drugstore thing to me. It smells too heavy and floral for my taste, and I rank it tenth of 12.

On to Juicy Couture's Viva La Juicy. Aside from the fact that all I can picture from this brand is 20-year-olds carrying LV Speedy bags with their Ugg(ly) boots and words on their butts, this actually smells pretty nice. It's a relatively generic fragrance, but ok. Fell squarely in the middle of my list.

Prada Infusion D'Iris is a scent I don't understand. The Music Man loves it and, for the life of me, I just can't figure out the attraction. Maybe he just likes florals more than I do, because it smells like old ladies and moth balls to me. Could just be how it reacts to my chemistry. Shrug. It ranks eleventh for me.

Next up, - Emilio Pucci Vivara Variazioni Acqua 330. Now, I like Pucci, and this smells just like their clothes. Breezy, fresh, cool. Also like their clothes, this fragrance is completely unlike me. Although I liked it, it definitely has a water/soapy smell to it which gives me a headache. If you like those sorts of fragrances, it's pretty amazing! Tenth over here, but only due to personal preferences.

Kenzo Flower By Kenzo is a head scratcher for me. Like why is there a poppy on the bottle when there isn't a poppy note in it? Hmm. I also don't get the attraction here. It has a powdery quality that I don't love (but then again, I also hated Baby Soft back in the day). I'll pass.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue is beautiful, sells amazingly well, and will probably be around forever. I like it quite a bit, but it smells better just out of the bottle than it does lingering on me. Plus, I like a classic and all but always prefer something a little less well known for myself. Just my preference, but this is fourth for me.

Harajuku Lovers G is so stinking cute. Who could resist that bottle? This fragrance makes me happy. On myself, I smell mostly the coconut, but that's a smell I really enjoy. Given that it's fall/winter, I didn't want to go with that one this time around. Number three on my list.

Michael Kors Very Hollywood leaves me speechless. Hate gardenia. Hate it. Dead last, 'nuff said.

Versace Bright Crystal is beautiful. I know, I know, it's hard to read that this is a blend of Donnatella's favorite scents and think that it's going to be beautiful, but it really is. It came in fourth place for me only because Pink Sugar is so completely wearable and Harajuku Lovers G is so refreshing and tropical, but this is a solid, beautiful fragrance. It definitely feels rich, and I liked wearing it.

But y'all, I have found my Chanel No. 5 in this set. It's called Stella McCartney Stella Nude, and I am in. love. with. it. It's hard to explain, and when you look at the notes, it looks strange. Moroccan Rose, Grapefruit, White Peony, Pink Pepper, Precious Vanilla, Grey Amber, and Musk? Yeah, weird. And yet somehow it works. I read all these reviews of it, and they all say that it's crazy similar to Stella. Well, I tried Stella, and I can't stand it. Stella Nude is a Sephora exclusive, and it's just the juice right now, no ancillary products. It's a really new fragrance, so they may come out with them in time. There's a holiday gift set that includes a candle, but I think that's a weird combination (though the fragrance is soft and sensual, so ok maybe). In fact, the first time I put it on I said to the Music Man, "It smells like ME to me, but it might be a little too sexy". I've decided that it isn't. :)

So jazzed that I got that set and got to try all of the fragrances, and of course even more excited that I found a perfect fit for myself. If you have a gift to buy for the holidays or want to try some new scents for yourself, I highly recommend this set. They also have a second set with best sellers, and a deluxe sample set. Love Sephora!

Stay tunes for a review of the Tarte Treasure Chest, $52 with a value of almost $700!

Friday, November 6, 2009

First Day of the Challenge!

OK everyone, game on! This morning please post whatever you're comfortable with, either your starting weight and goal, or just your goal.

Current weight: 150.0 lbs.
Goal weight: 130.0 lbs.

My biggest challenges in this: I'll be in Russia from Nov 20-Dec 1 and have little to no control over what we'll eat. Yikes! There's no exercise there either, so that'll be 20% of the contest that I'll have to play completely by ear. Not fun! But, this is something I want, so I'm going to work for it.

My ultimate goal: To get comfortable in my body again. I was maintaining 133 lbs. without a huge amount of work, but after the miscarriage, I haven't been able to get the rest of the weight off. I'd like to lose the weight before I get pregnant again, as I REALLY never want to see 200 lbs. on a scale again!

What about you? Let us know your goal!

"Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable."
- Theodore N. Vail

Thursday, November 5, 2009

On The Eighth Weigh of Christmas...

...My true self gave to me...

Tomorrow I'm starting a little competition, a weight loss competition. I've needed a push to get my extra weight off, and thought as I was watching The Biggest Loser that something like that might work. There are about ten of us who are working at it, and I'm jazzed to see how it comes out!

Christmas is 8 weeks from tomorrow. The average American is said to gain 10 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Who wants to be part of THAT statistic?! Not I!

*I don't expect everyone to count calories, but if you DO, please eat at least 1200 calories per day. Anything less is simply not healthy or maintainable.
*Please set yourself a weight loss goal, with a maximum goal of 20 lbs for the 8 weeks.
*Ten hours exercise per week tops.
*No insanity. This should go without saying, but NO severe calorie restriction, NO purging, NO laxatives, NO overexercising. NO "last chance workouts".
*Weigh in every Friday morning and post your loss as a comment. You may post your current and previous weight or the percentage you lost, whichever you prefer! For myself, I'll post starting weight, current weight, pounds lost, and percent total lost because I'm a number cruncher like that. :)
*Person with the greatest percentage toward her goal wins at the end of the 8 weeks.

Calculators to help you find out how much to eat, etc:
How much to eat:
(Fat Loss is 1 lb. per week, Extreme Fat Loss is 2 lbs)

Healthy weight chart:

Calories burned during common activities (if you don't have a heart rate monitor):

Who can't wait to see how amazing they look and feel come Christmas morning?! It'll be a great gift for yourself! :)

If you're playing along, please introduce yourself in the comments section so we can get to know you. Tell us a little about you and why you decided to take up this challenge. I'd also like to know your personal goal (up to 20 lbs) for the contest.

Personally, I decided to do this to kick my tail a bit. I'm working out 5 days a week, but have gotten complacent. Last year at this time I entered my final push and got around my goal weight at 133. I'm back up to 150, and I just feel less strong and compact than I was. I'm back to a size 10 after a while as a 6, and I miss being a 6. My goal is 20 lbs, which will get me to 130 lbs by Christmas morning!

I'm working on a prize, so stay tuned for that. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

So Sorry!

OK y'all, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back here. Things have been really busy getting ready for my trip to Russia (in SIXTEEN DAYS), getting my workouts in, and doing the whole wife/mother thing of late.

In the lsat few weeks, I've had some sweet ministry, shared my testimony with my team, and gathered the stuff I think I'll need for the trip. Last night I got really excited for the first time because everything has come together. Finances are in. Tickets are purchased. Visas arrived.

I'm going to Russia! In two weeks! Finally, I'm ready for an adventure. God's been working on this heart of mine, teaching me things experientially. It's that 18" drop, as they say. It's starting to manifest in my heart, this love of Jesus. For me. For all my crap. For freedom from shame, condemnation, mirey muck.

God's just so tender. That's what I can't get over, that tenderness. I'm hoping that I'll learn what it's like to have a Father like that, that He'll teach me time and again when I've forgotten that He's not who I thought He was. I need to be retrained, you know. Need to know that the image of father I grew up with is not true of my Heavenly Father.

Leaving you with a wonderful song today. It makes me cry. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm 30!

Monday was my birthday, the big one. Three-oh. I've been anticipating it for about six months, and it wasn't the least painful thing that's ever happened to me. It wasn't horrible, but still. I awoke to a freaking monsoon. I love the rain, but I'm totally over it at this point. I needed to run some errands for my trip to Russia in the morning, so I went out to Target and Old Navy where the rain soaked the bottom NINE INCHES of my jeans. Seriously.

Made it home in time to change clothes and take the kids over to Music in-law's so MM and I could go out to lunch. Had a lovely Thai meal, then we walked around the Square for a bit. The Special-Birthday-Cupcake place was closed, so I had no cake that day. :( When we were done, I had more errands to run, so we did them together. Not exactly fun or exciting, but hey, some things got crossed off my list.

I was feeling icky and restless that evening, so I decided to go to dance class. Yes, I went to the gym on my birthday. I felt like dance was a gift that God gave me last year through my friend Prisoner of Hope, and I wanted to express that back to Him. It was lovely.

In the last two days, I've received some sweet affirmations from people precious to me, lovely things that provided a little levity to the weight I've been feeling of late. Thank you. And you and you.

So even though the day wasn't exactly special or thrilling, as ElleBee said, "at least I know it's not that different than 29"! Yes indeed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quick P90X Update

I don't think that I've mentioned that I stopped doing p90X, but I did. I took a hard look at my goals and realized that what I want right now in my life and fitness routine is to be in the weight room more. I decided to go to M, T, Th, F in the weight room with cardio M night, Reformer T night, Pilates mat and cardio W night, and cardio S morning. I'm considered adding yoga on Sunday afternoon because I feel like I've lost some of my flexibility with all the weight training.

As for why I stopped P90X, I just didn't feel it was intense enough. I think it's a good program on the whole, but it wasn't getting me where I wanted to be. There are also more exercises that are dangerous than I'd like, at least for me. I don't have any HUGE weaknesses, but my hip flexors are iffy, and it's easy for me to strain the shoulder excessively. In the last two weeks of designing my own program, I'm seeing some results in my body that even a couple of the guys in the gym have mentioned. For now, that's what I'll do. I'll let you know how it comes out!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Girls In The Weight Room

I have something to say and, judging by the gender split in the weight room at my gym, it's not going to be popular.

I changed my strength schedule to M, T, Th, F instead of M, W, F because I wanted to do two 2-day splits. Tuesday, I was super excited to see when I got there that there were FIVE other women in there with me. And then I kept looking. Three of them were on ab benches/Roman chairs. One was doing hip adductors, and one girl was doing my kind of stuff, bicep curls and their ilk. That last girl worked hard and was in there for most of my workout. I get a little competitive, and she lifts around what I do (except I deadlift more and she does more on shoulder flys).

I was totally jazzed that I had someone to push me and was hoping that she'd be at the gym when I got there this morning. She was. My heart sunk.

She's a personal trainer. So apparently, at a big gym in an affluent neighborhood, I'm the only girl who is in the weight room regularly doing more than three machines. That's just not ok! The weight room isn't just for the musclehead guys. And there are is much more to do than just abs and thighs. Dumbbells? They're amazing.

I'm just saying give it a shot. The meatheads really want to help, and some of the things they've suggested I do have resulted in big changes in my body over the last few weeks. I'll post pictures soon. Get in there and sweat!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Today I went to the movies. I don't often go, but it's something that I've loved since I was single and working retail--taking in a movie by myself. I went to see Fame, as I remember vividly watching the show at my grandma's house when I was little.

As a bit of back story, a few weeks ago I went to the prophetic time at a church called DayStar. I got some amazing prophecy, but the thing that really stuck with me was the man relating that my spiritual gift is seeing "the beauty realm of God". I confess that I really enjoyed hearing that word, and it settled deep into my spirit, but I didn't really know what it meant.

Last Friday, I went to DayStar again with my friend Kathryn. She was talking about the ways that the enemy bastardizes the gifts God places within us, exploits them and seeks to use them to destroy our lives. In the last couple of days, that's become more clear to me. Before I was a Christian, I listened to gangster rap. Loud, angry, anti-authority music. The first thing I remember God changing in me in the weeks that I was walking toward Jesus was Him telling me that I couldn't listen to that any longer. Friends of mine listened to people like Nichole Nordeman and Casting Crowns, so I started listening to them, too. I didn't really know why, and my husband was perplexed, but I just knew that's what I was supposed to do.

Back to the beauty realm of God. So in the last few days, I've been realizing that I find God most through music and dance. I like quiet time, I enjoy being in the Word and journaling and praying and all, but I meet Him face to face through worship. The beauty realm. Music. Dancing.

Part of the word I was given said that what I bring is enough. This is a big thing for me, since I'm not (in my estimation) particularly talented at any given thing. I'm an ok musician, an ok writer, a poor singer, an ok dancer, a poor artist. Doesn't really seem like Da Vinci or anything, you know?

However, I think that that's not the most important thing, the outcome of my efforts. The import is in the meeting God in the effort. Wow. Isn't that amazing?! The fact that one could DO something because one LOVES it, not to strive or perfect or claw at something. I've never done that, not in anything. I've never really RESTED.

Lately God's been whispering Zephaniah 3:17 over me, mostly the line, "He will quiet you with His love". Quiet. Simplicity.

So what does any of that have to do with the movie "Fame"?! Well, in the movie, Charles S. Dutton's character is talking to Malik, an angry kid with a crappy past. He's trying to get to his HEART, to chisel away at the hardness and protection. He says, "The parts of yourself that you're ashamed of, the parts you want to keep a secret, they are who you are. That is your POWER".

Indeed. May I use it to the glory of God.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Row, Row, Row Your Boat...

...gently down the STREET! My friend Wendy posted that to her Facebook account yesterday, and it was totally accurate! In the Atl metro area, we've gotten 12-20" of rain in the last several days. There are four ways to get to our house, and three of them are washed out or flooded. The fourth way took us 3.5 hours yesterday. Listen to the harrowing tale...

Yesterday morning, the kids really wanted to get out and go to the gym. Against my intuition and better judgment, I said yes. We get to the gym without incident, and I did my first routine on the lifting plan that I designed for myself (more on that later). We were done about 11:45 and headed home. Since they closed the Bally close to my house, the one we travel to is about 25 minutes from home, which isn't terrible in a city this big. We spent about 45 minutes getting close, and saw that cars were floating in our intersection. Turned around and tried to take highway 92. Got turned away, as the road was literally washed away from flood waters. Tried a third way around, and the water was too muddy to see through, so we didn't chance it. Three kids in the car, there was no way I was going to risk getting stranded in the driving rain.

After I pulled over, called the Music Man, and cried for a bit from the stress, we decided to just go back the way we came, since there wasn't really any flooding in that part of town. We made it safely to a nice mall where the kids got to play on the soft indoor playground. Of course I didn't have a stroller with me, augh.

MM came to meet us there after school, and we all had a spot of lunch. Around 3:30, we decided to try the only way home that MIGHT still be available to us. At 6:10, it looked like we might be close, only to find that 2 miles from our house, there was major flooding on the road that intersects ours. Plan, um, let's see, we've already exhausted plans A-M or so, so let's say Plan N. I pulled up to the intersection and asked the officer if the last thing I could think of was still available. He said yes. Cautiously optimistic, we set out. As it turns out, we were able to make it those last 5 miles in under an hour, and I was home a bit after 7.

All told, we spent almost 6 hours in the car. My children had no naps, mall food for lunch, and got to play on their playground for an hour and a half. They thought it was a great day! Mom and dad on the other hand almost had a couple of breakdowns. Yet here it is 8:20 am and everyone is still asleep! Needless to say, since school is canceled today and we have nowhere we MUST go, we plan to stay HOME!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

P90X--Day 31

Yesterday was back and biceps, and it was intense. Good things: I do assisted pull-ups with the machine at the gym. You set it at a weight that's challenging for you, but it's in the negative (because it assists you, so if you set it at 100 lbs and you weight 140, you're lifting 40 lbs). The first week, I set it at 80 lbs, so I was lifting 60ish. Two weeks ago, I set it at 70. This week, I set it at 60. It's easier when I'm doing close grip or chin ups, but REALLY challenging when I'm doing wide grip (because you can't use any biceps in that position). Today my biceps are screaming, but my back feels fine. Bad things: even with weight gloves, I've ripped the crap out of my hands. Blisters, bleeding, etc. And my tendons are KILLING me. Good thing: Guy at the gym was so impressed that I do lawnmowers with 35 lb. weights. :)

Also yesterday I went to 1/2 of my Pilates mat class (long story, got there late because of some serious traffic) and then stayed for Zumba to get some cardio in. I might've overdone it a bit, but I ate quite a bit yesterday, probably about 1800 kcal.

Weight has stabilized. I haven't lost any more, but I haven't gained it back, either. I was concerned about my metabolism slowing b/c I've been eating so little, so yesterday I really worked hard at getting the calories in. I'm still not back to normal, but I can fight for my health, the progress I've made, and what God really wants for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

P90X--Day 29

OK, so here's a quick update to bring you up to speed. Last week, week 4, was recovery week on Phase 1. Last week, everything hit the fan. We had three deaths in the family in 48 hours. Everything with my Russia trip exploded. I could not eat. I would get to the end of the day and realize, "Hmm, I've had 400 calories and it's 9 pm." Not good. I could not sleep. I did not exercise even one time. Now, y'all know me. Does not eating, not sleeping, and not exercising sound like me? Those are three of my VERY FAVORITE things!! I lost 6 lbs. In a week.

Thankfully, though I still have no appetite, I'm past the nauseated thing. I'm forcing myself to eat at least 1000 calories per day, and I'm back to the gym. I did a quick run/walk on Sunday morning. Yesterday I got back to P90X.

So chest/shoulders/triceps. Sigh. I had high hopes for this workout, but I don't feel like it's all that safe. The Y-presses create such strain on the shoulder girdle. I was doing it and one of the guys in the weight room, Duke (who is my grandfather's age) came over and told me to never do that again because it WILL cause injury no matter how perfectly you do it). The pourers caused something to pop in there. Bottom line, I feel like I have better options than some of those exercises because I have access to a gym. Chest presses, shoulder dips, and upright rows are safer and more effective, IMO. I'll probably keep the exercises I think are safe and sub out the ones that are painful. Still excited about back and biceps tomorrow!

Oh, and I am SORE! YAY!!

Tonight is Pilates Reformer. I'm switching some things around to make the schedule work for me, mostly subbing out Thursday yoga for Tuesday Pilates and doing cardio on Thursday instead. Will keep M-W-F weights as is. Man, I love being in that weight room. The guys look out for you and want to help you get where you want to be. The trainers look at you every. single. time. they walk through (not in a gross way, in a "wow, there's a girl in here" way). Duke even mentioned yesterday that he's seeing me make some progress. Yay!

I'll take pics soon, but I don't think it's fair since I dropped the weight due to stress. I don't see much progress, but I'm trying to remember that most people on the message boards say they don't see much physically until weeks 6-8. Also, I'm seeing DEFINITE strength gains, most especially in upper body. I'm hopeful that at the end of this 13 weeks, I'll be able to do pullups completely unassisted. Working hard!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Ok, so I still don't know if I'm going to Russia or staying home (or if the whole trip is going to happen). We have a meeting tomorrow and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it. However, God is teaching me some things in the waiting. He's teaching me Who I can always rely on. He's showing me some areas of my emotions that are not healed. This situation has completely exploded, and my stuff, Ransomed Grace's stuff, and the other woman's stuff (we'll call her Freedom) are all touching each other. Actually, I shouldn't say touching. That sounds gentle. Our stuff is all rubbing and scraping and bruising and crashing into each other. It hurts, and it's icky, and I think we all feel pretty defiled at this point.

I'll be interested to see what comes out of the meeting, since it's one of those things that could be a real turning point for the team. I'm hoping that it's redemptive and that I'll be able to express my heart about everything that's going on. I want RG (and the rest of us, but mostly her) to feel at peace with whatever decision is made.

Last night I went to the prophetic time at a local church I enjoy. I got some prophecy that said something I'd never heard about myself before this week. Wednesday night I was told that I have the ability to change the energy in a room, both for good and for bad. Last night, that was confirmed by a stranger, so I'm trying to see what it means to really walk that out. In the meantime, I need to really check myself and my attitude!

This morning in my quiet time, I feel like God brought me to my life verse, which is Micah 6:8,
"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."

He told me that in this situation I have NOT acted justly. I have NOT loved mercy. I have NOT walked humbly with Him. It brought me to my knees, this not fulfilling the verse that God gave me to live my life by.

I'll update after tomorrow, praying there will be calm resolution, resolution that leaves all seven of us with peace and certainty that this is God's will!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are You A Disney Mom?

Have you been to WDW at least once in the last 12 months? Do you know more about Disney than anyone you know? Why not apply to be on the 2010 Disney Mom's Panel? You've got 10 days or until they have 20,000 apps in, whichever comes first. Go now!

Out of 20,000, they'll choose around a dozen(you know, the whole "many will enter, few will win" thing). Could that be YOU?!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Pretty Sure This Isn't What Paul Meant

about "working out your salvation with fear and trembling".

For the last several days, things with my trip to Russia have intensified. As in, I may be asked not to go. It's far too much to get into right now, but I'm recognizing what this is doing to me. My hands tremble thinking about it. My appetite is nil. I'm sleeping 4-5 hours a night at most, and waking in the middle of the night to boot. I know that this is spiritual warfare, but I'm in a situation where people on every side, people who I thought loved and cared for me, are acting like I'm a pariah. And you know, maybe I am and I just can't see it.

I wanted to go to Russia because I felt like God was calling me to it. I still feel that way, even with all of this insanity. I can say that a year ago, I would've just run away. Just recognizing that feels like a big step for me, feels like I'm putting on my "big girl panties" and standing firm.

I dunno, y'all. Right now I'm just waiting for the team leader to decide, I guess. She's so upset about the whole situation that she says now SHE doesn't even know if she's supposed to lead the team. Yeah, it's that serious. So if you're the praying kind, please pray for wisdom for Ransomed Grace (who is leading the team), for clarity for she and I. For a spirit of reconciliation to permeate and be palpable.

I'll keep you updated.

Monday, September 7, 2009

To Russia, With Love

OK everyone, I believe I'm actually going. I've been praying for about three months, and feel pretty certain, based on some changes to the team that my relative certainly means I'm supposed to go. I'm going to need prayer and $2000 by November 15, so God's got a B-I-G task to accomplish! Here's my letter, if you're interested in prayer and/or financial support.

Dear Friends,

Imagine a place where atheism was the formal statement of faith of the government for most of the 20th century, where the population is dying faster than they're giving birth. Imagine a country where life expectancy for men has decreased by six years, and where alcohol is said to play a role in the deaths of nearly a third of the population. Imagine living in a place where your faith is determined largely by your ethnicity instead of the state of your heart, and where less than 1% of the population is comprised of evangelical Christians. Imagine going to a city that was right in the heart of the Russian Gulag and trying to bring light into darkness.

I've only once missed Thanksgiving with my family, and this year I will forgo my single annual pilgrimage home to go where I believe the Lord is sending me. To Russia. In the middle of winter. November 20-December 1, I will be traveling to Perm with a team from the Atlanta Vineyard Church. The purposes of the trip are:
1. To encourage the believers in a dark, lost part of the world and pour out spiritual refreshment from the Lord.
2. To allow God to work in our own lives as we watch Him transform hearts and lives through testimony and rhema word.
3. To pray "on sight with insight", setting foot on Russian soil and letting the Holy Spirit inform us of how to pray for this nation.
4. To develop and foster relationships with local believers, to make the world smaller geographically but explode it relationally.

I am excited about going on this my first mission trip. I consider it no coincidence that I started learning Russian in April and decided to apply for a passport in June, and then was asked to pray about this trip later that same month. I am writing to ask for both prayer and financial partnership.

While I'm comfortable asking for prayer support, asking for financial support is a bit more difficult. As you can imagine, a trip like this requires support from a number of people. I need to raise $2,000 by November 15, with $1200 due by October 1. If you'd like to be a part of this mission financially, checks may be made payable to the Atlanta Vineyard Church and mailed or given to me. A receipt for tax purposes will follow. I covet your prayers as well, knowing that this trip will not accomplish its God-intended end without covering. If you'd like to commit to praying for me as I prepare for the trip, please let me know. I so value your friendship and support.

Passionately Pursuing the Kingdom,


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Birthday CCM!!

Y'all, my son is three. THREE!!

Monster, you are a true joy. You make me smile with all of your cuteness, with your amazing vocabulary, your sweet kindnesses to your sisters. You potty trained yourself in about 3 weeks (!!) because you wanted to and knew you were ready. Son, you are the most fantastic little person. I cannot wait to see who you become in this next year. We love you, we cherish you, we can't wait to get to know you more.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

P90X Update

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm still "X"ing it every day. I haven't been posting because the first three weeks are exactly the same, so it didn't make much sense to me to bore you with my diet and details. Monday starts week 4, and I'll probably post how the "recovery week" workouts make me feel, as well as the changes in week 5. As I've mentioned before, I think I'm going to do P90X Doubles, just with my own favorite classes instead of just plain Cardio X each day. I'm thinking I'll probably just dance three days, as I burn more kcal in my dance classes at the gym than I do on plyo or Kenpo.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ginger-Sesame Noodles for Dinner

I recently found The Vegan(ish) Experiment again, which somehow I lost track of a few months ago. She has some amazing recipes that I plan to make in the next week (black bean and millet burgers? Chickpea piccata patties? I'm SO there), but last night I wanted to start with a slight modification of her ginger-sesame noodle salad. This was so delicious that the children all had at least seconds. Music Man made the pasta while I napped and didn't salt the water, so I needed to salt the final dish a bit for my liking. I also added a little Thai chili sauce at the end because I like that sweet heat thing. :)


1-2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into a few big pieces
4 t. tamari (or 5-6 t. soy sauce)
4 T. apple cider vinegar
4 T. sesame oil
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 box whole wheat spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
2 bell pepper julienned into ~1/4-inch strips
2 carrots (I grated mine because they're too hard for the baby to chew)
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic
2 c. cauliflower steamed (recipe called for broccoli, but I was out)
2 c. fresh or frozen peas
2 T. sesame seeds, toasted*

Heather's Variation:
1. Mince the ginger using a food processor or high-speed blender, scraping the sides as necessary
2. Add the next five ingredients and blend until fully emulsified.
3. Saute' veggies in a bit of olive oil, add garlic for the last few minutes. This is a LOT of veggies that filled my smallish wok.
4. Pour sauce over veggies and let simmer a few minutes.
5. Pour veggies with sauce into your pasta pot and serve. Give your family seconds and even THIRDS so there's barely enough for your Music Man to take for lunch the next day. :)

Original Directions

1. Mince the ginger using a food processor, scraping the sides as necessary
2. Add the next five ingredients and blend until fully emulsified.
3. Combine all of the other ingredients in a large container, add dressing, seal, and shake until well-tossed.
4. Chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

*I put the sesame seeds into a dry pan and shook it over a high burner until they started to brown and become fragrant.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

P90X--Day 8 and Weigh In

Start: 148.8
Week 1: 146.4

OK, I have a confession to make. I can't do pull-ups. It's a total bummer. I'm going to get there, but today I decided to use the assisted pull-up machine set to 80 lbs so I was only lifting 65 lbs (your weight-what you set it at=weight lifted). 80 lbs was pretty easy, so next time I'll try 70 (that's Friday).

Tomorrow is plyo in the morning, and I'm going to a low-impact dance class tomorrow night for kicks. Miss it so much!

eggs and mustard (225)
peach (100)

protein bar (200)

chicken breast (140)
string cheese (80)
banana (90)

afternoon snack:
almonds (110)
string cheese (80)
ice pop (15)

mac and cheese (280)
green salad with chicken (150)
peach (70)

Evening snack:
Protein bar (200)
green smoothie (150)
tortilla chips (50)
banana (100)
cheese and 3 crackers (100)
almonds (60)

p 25%
f 31%
c 44%


water: 19

Monday, August 24, 2009

P90X--Day 7

Day 7, woohoo! Today is X Stretch, and it's a really wonderful DVD. Tomorrow I'll weigh in for the week, and I'm not excited. I was losing REALLY fast by mid-week, but I upped my carbs because lower carb was way hard for me. Sigh. Tony Horton says that P90X isn't necessarily a weight loss program, and I understand why I'm not losing as much, but it bums me out. I was hoping for less workouts and more food and still a reasonable loss. :) Dare to dream!

As it stands, I still plan to get back to a size 6 by mid-November. I'm hoping that when I can add in doubles M-W-F in month 2 that I'll finally start to shed some pounds. Even if I don't drop weight, I'm not going to quit. I can feel how this weight lifting routine is going to get me nice and strong, and I'm looking forward to that.

On to week 2!

cheerios, dry (100)
eggs w/ mustard (225)
pear (115)

pizza (500)

Afternoon snack:
banana (70)
string cheese (80)
peach (90)

turkey sausage, peppers, and onions (300)

protein bar (180)
peach (100)
banana (100)
cheerios, dry (100)

p 18%
f 28%
c 56%


water: 17

*Went over my weekly calories by 250, which is totally fine with me. I didn't decide to start calorie cycling until Wednesday, so I think I did pretty well. I was just crazy hungry today!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

P90X--Day 6

So we're almost done with this week of posts about P90X, aren't you glad? :)

Way overate yesterday and have to calculate cals to see what I'm "allowed"to have today and tomorrow to make the week come out even on my calorie cycle. Don't know what calorie cycling is? Well, it's adjusting your cals daily to a moderate degree so your body can't wind your metabolism down to expect 1800 calories a day. For me, this translates to:

S 1800
M 1800
T 1400
W 2200
T 1800
F 1600
S 2000

Only Tuesdays are hard, especially because that's the day I do plyometrics and have Pilates Reformer, but I'll adjust to it soon enough. I can't wait to see where my body is in 84 more days!

Today is Kenpo, and I've been dreading it because I have iffy knees and bad hip flexors. It was actually m-u-c-h easier than I anticipated. I burned about 425 calories, which isn't much given that yesterday, doing legs and back resistance training, I burned 450.

cereal and milk (150)
banana (70)

Morning snack:
protein bar (190)

vegan stir fry and brown rice (350)
almonds (40)

naan with roasted red pepper dip (350)
ice pop (15)

cereal and milk (225)


Water: 15

P90X--Day 5

OK, so we're 5 days in and I'm feeling pretty good. I like this program because it's easy and streamlined, and I don't FEEL like I'm working all that hard but I'm burning lots of calories. I'll be interested to see what the scale says on Sunday, but until then, I'm just working.

Legs and back today was killer. I didn't feel terrible during the workout, but when I was carrying the Joyful Babe up the steps to the car after the gym, I darn near dropped her! I barely trusted myself to drive; can't wait to see what I feel like tomorrow. Soreness and kickboxing should be interesting! I just can't wait to get to Sunday, when I get to do an hour of just STRETCHING. Woohoo!!

banana (80)
eggs (220)

P90X snack:
pear (100)
protein bar (230)
banana (70)

Afternoon snack:
ice pops (oh yes, THOSE water-sugar-purple ice pops from Madison Park) (30)
almonds (70)

vegan stir-fry with brown rice (300)

Evening snack:
green smoothie (250)
chocolate square (40)
manchego cheese (80)
almonds (100)

p 19%
f 26%
c 55%


water: 16

Thursday, August 20, 2009

P90X--Day 4

It's 8:15 am, and I have finished my 90 minute yoga workout for the day. That mess was HARD! I'm usually really good at yoga, but not having done it regularly for two months plus the muscle confusion going on because of the program made it pretty difficult today. Love!

banana (75)
protein bar (200)
Life cereal (30)

Morning snack:
almonds (150)

eggs w/ egg protein and spinach (375)
banana (75)

Afternoon snack:
dried apricots (100)
baking bites (300) --no idea, could be less, but we'll go with that.

ww pasta and sauce (350)

Dessert for Ginger's birthday (200)

banana (100)


water: 11

P90X--Day 3

Had Reformer last night, and it was then that I could really feel the P90X work. It doesn't feel awful when I do it, and I'm not like going-to-die sore, but I can definitely feel that I've been doing something different.

Arms and shoulders today was killer. I totally loved it, but I know I'm going to feel it tomorrow. I went to Pilates mat tonight, and my arms were shaking just in cat/camel! Tomorrow for P90X is yoga, and I can't wait to see how hard it is!

banana (90)
eggs w/ spinach (225)

Morning snack:
Protein bar (200)

Bites during baking: 100
LOOOOTS of almonds: 250

quiche (200)
bread (125)
banana (100)
tortilla chips (150)

protein bar (210)

Whoops, also had a smoothie, and forgot the apple tart.
smoothie (150)
tart (350)


Water: 10

No idea about my values, but I'd say probably 25p/35f/40c. No real idea, but I tried! I can tell I'm eating too much animal protein b/c the whites of my eyes are turning yellow. That's so freaking disgusting. Gah. Hopefully this month goes quickly, else I'm not going to make it on high protein!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

P90X--Day 2

10 almonds (65)

Plyo X. This wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I'm not a high jumper, so it was probably a little less intense for me than for some others, but I still managed to burn 500 (actually 508) calories in that 57 minutes. That's totally respectable, especially given that I was at home and didn't have the space I needed to REALLY Get into some of those leaps. I'll try to reconfigure for next time, but it felt pretty good. Am wondering if P90X is intense enough for me. Perhaps I'm cardiovascularly strong enough that I don't need anything more intense? I am hoping that this focus on just 2 body parts for weights each session will help me see lots more definition, and I'm excited to try it at the gym with much heavier weights and less reps.

banana (85)
eggs with spinach and 1 T egg protein (which makes them tough and gross) (230)

Morning snack:
protein bar (180)

chicken breast w/ 1 T. sour cream (160)
plum (75)
banana (120)

Afternoon snack:
2 bananas (200)

3 eggs with spinach and mustard (300)

Evening snack:
green smoothie w/ 1 T protein powder (175)
coconut M&Ms (100)
cereal and milk (225)
almonds (75)

p 117 24%
f 58 26%
c 252 50%


water: 15

Other workout:
Pilates Reformer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

P90X--Day 1

Day 1 workout was much easier than I expected. The abs were verging on easy, and the hour of push-ups and pull-ups wasn't easy. My arms were shaking and I didn't feel great, but I wasn't ready to puke or anything. Looking forward to tomorrow, which I'm sure is going to kill me!

So the diet. Sigh. Phase I is supposed to be 50p/30c/20f. This is hard for me as one who doesn't eat much meat. I'm just going to give it my best and hope to get 30-40% protein. If I'm being honest, my body responds well to higher protein, I just don't like it much. I FEEL better on 70% carbs, 20% protein, and 10% fat, but right now I'm looking lumpy and want to look more cut again. So here we go! I'm going to make my own protein bars out of organic brown rice protein b/c I refuse to buy the junk bars on the market. Will let you know how they come out!

3 eggs w/ spinach and mustard (cooked in 1 t. butter) (250)
peach (60)

tuna salad w/ mustard and sour cream (120)
almonds (135)

P90X snack:
peanut butter (200)
10 grapes (35)
5 dried apricots (90)

grapes (50)
chicken breast (100)
1/2 kids' cheeseburger(250)

Evening snack:
green smoothie (278)
dry cheerios

protein: 546 34%
fat: 621 38%
carbs: 452 28%

1794 cals

water: 15 c.

Monday, August 17, 2009


OK, so here we are, day 1 of P90X. I'm probably a little crazy to post these before pictures, especially since I gained all that weight with the pregnancy/miscarriage, but it is what it is (or as my husband has appropriated, "everything is everything").

No more dilly-dallying, here are the stats:

Weight: 148.8 lbs
Body fat: 24.1%
Chest: 35.5"
Waist: 33"
Hips: 43"
Thigh: 22"
Bicep: 11.75"

As the book says, "This is not just a before picture. It's a GOODBYE picture"!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's Time To Get Extreme!

Yep, you guessed it. I'm starting P90X tomorrow. I have high hopes that it'll help me get the rest of the miscarriage weight off and get to a physical place I'm happy with. Plus, I'm supposed to leave for Russia in about 98 days and want to finish it before hand. Finally, a girl I went to high school with is going to start it with me so that I have some support. With P90X, there are three program options. First, classic, which is a mere 7 hours a week. There's lean, which is supposed to help you burn fat, but you don't get as strong, and finally doubles, which adds 3-4 hours of cardio a week on top of your regular P90X workout for the day.

I think I'm going to do doubles, but you don't add anything until week 5. I'm already used to 14-16 hours a week at the gym, so, while I know this will be more intense, I think I can handle it. I'll document here my stats and yes, probably even include the before/during/after pictures. Scary!

Stay tuned, tomorrow is an HOUR of chest and back. Ay!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maiden Voyage

Y'all, my passport's in the mail. It's supposed to be here by Monday, and I'm totally excited. For about two months, I've been praying about a mission trip to Russia. When Ransomed Grace first mentioned it to me, there was just no way I could see to go.

I kept getting these nagging things that felt like confirmations, but I hadn't gotten a clear word from the Lord. Some counsel I got from both RG and my spiritual mama said that, to go to a place as dark as Russia, I would need to KNOW that I knew I was supposed to go. Well, so I spent some time fasting and praying on my face, and I felt like He said that I'm supposed to take the trip.

November 20-30, I believe I'll be in Perm, Russia. It means raising $2,000 in support. It means 15 hours of flying each way. It means not seeing my kids for 10 days. It means missing Thanksgiving with my family. It means that the Music Man will have to take days off of school; Music-in-laws will miss work and care for the kids a bit, too. And if I dwell on those things, I'm completely sad.

However, when I think about being asked to be part of a retreat on sanctification, about bringing light to my sisters in a spiritually bleak place, I am overjoyed. Then I laugh at the Lord's foresight in having me start learning Russian a few months ago, and applying for a passport before RG ever told me about the possibility of the trip. You gotta appreciate God's sense of humor.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

So, It's Been A While...

Yeah, I know. That miscarriage threw me for a loop. Actually, I'm still in that loop. But the beautiful thing about walking through this with the Lord and people who love Him is that you're totally on a boomerang path.

You come back because there's nowhere else to go. You come back because there's no one else who loves you like He does. You come back because there's no other balm for your heart. And, once you mature and see through His lens, you come back because you love Him too, and you want to please Him more than you want to hold on to your bitterness.

I don't know yet what I was supposed to learn from those 5 weeks of trials (starting with finding that we were expecting, then losing my job, then losing my gym, then losing the Music Man's second job, then losing the baby). I know that it broke my heart enough to move me toward God and away from some unforgiveness. Why else? I may never know.

In other news, I may be going to Russia over Thanksgiving for 10 days. I have to decide by Sunday. Pretty well everything is in place, except that I need to raise $2000 in support. I've never raised support of any kind, so we'll see how this goes. I'm not 100% sure that God wants me to go, but He hasn't thrown up any roadblocks yet. He hasn't answered my supplications in that respect for two months now, so I'm going with the theory that not getting a "no" means "go ahead--for now". I'm good either way, really. I want to go, but ten days without my family, especially over the holidays, seems really hard.

You're pretty well up to speed. I'll try to be more consistent!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

School Supplies!

Well, summer was nice while it lasted. It seems funny to say that when the high today in the metro area is 92 degrees, but the Music Man went back to school yesterday, and his students start next week.

I'll post an update on our summer soon, but (obviously) things in my personal life have been just a tad rocky since the miscarriage. I'm mostly OK, thanks for all the prayers.

Anyhow, so when I was a kid,I loved shopping for new school supplies. Even rounding thirty, I still love to buy new pens and markers and notebooks. What can I say? That love dies hard.

But you know what the BEST school supply giveaway is? Mary over at Owlhaven is giving away a LAPTOP! Seriously!! Go see her and enter (or don't, if you want me to win). :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I gave birth on Wednesday. For some unknown reason, my body pushed out my gestating babe, only 8 weeks developed. It happened in the usual way, I suppose. I started to bleed a bit, dealt with some severe cramping, and she was gone within hours. My grape-sized fetus held life-sized potential to her mama. I never got to see that little one, never got to hold her. I didn't get to give her a proper burial. Instead, she was washed away with all of the other waste I care not to think about.

And I wonder things, like did she hurt as she died? Did the angels rejoice to get my girl back after such a short time away? Did she get to hear the words upon her return that I've always wanted to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

I miss her acutely. I mourn the loss of who she would have been, who I'll never know that she was. I just miss her.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

When One Door Closes, Another Opens

So my gym is closing. As of Tuesday. I found out Monday night, so I got a week's notice, but you can imagine that along with everything else going on, I took the news hard.

Just a gym, you say? Well, perhaps. But the work I did at that gym changed me. I worked harder than I knew I was capable of. I did things I thought I was too scared to do. I pushed in ways I wasn't sure I could. I left gallons of sweat on that floor, steeled my will. I became closer to who I want to be in a year of consistent work. I showed myself that I was capable of disciplined steps toward my goal.

I made new friends, friends who have become so precious to me. I got out of my comfort zone in relationships, allowed people to teach me about vulnerability and trust. It's been an amazing year, and I know that, as I walk out after my Pilates class next week, I will cry. I will cry because I'll miss the sweat and the work. I will cry because I will miss those people who I have suffered and overcome with. I will cry in gratitude to the One who gave me that place, that growth, that strength.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Good News, Bad News

Don't you love how things do that? One day, you are ecstatic over some wonderful thing that happens, then something stinky happens, and you almost allow it to threaten all your joy.

Well, first the bad news. I lost my job. I've done data collecting and entry since the Firecracker Princess was born. Tuesday, I got a Fed Ex letter that said they were eliminating the position company-wide as of July 31. The good part of that is that the Music Man has marching band starting at the end of July, so we should be ok for several months.

But the good news? We're expecting again! Yep, baby #4 is on his/her way, expected to make the debut late February/early March. We thought we'd actually get to celebrate the Joyful Babe's second birthday before we had another, but it looks like we'll miss it by a week or so. Oh well, we're excited about more babies to love and more to celebrate in our lives.

So while things are a little stressful, it is well. It is well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm Here!

I realize that it's been a few weeks since I've updated. In that time, I spent 30ish hours on a scrapbook for Ransomed Grace from her friends, went to Disney World, and made a pretty big discovery in my personal life. I'll share more about each of those soon.

For now, I'm trying to finish my assignment for RG tomorrow, and it's killer. She had me write a story in the style of Joseph (as in Genesis 36-50) where I'm Joe and my mom is his brothers. We're at page 15, and I'm almost finished. I feel like God told me yesterday that He wouldn't give me the end until tonight, so I'm waiting!

He's finally softening my heart, and guess what? I've cried TWICE in the last week. Woohoo!! This is a good thing!

That's about it for now, back to my homework. I'll write soon!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Song of My Heart

I've always been a somewhat meloncholy person. I experience deep joy, to be sure, but I've always had a natural bent toward depression. Or so I thought.
Last night we didn't have small group, so I went to IHOP. I had an incredibly wrenching time there on Saturday afternoon with my friend Kate, and I wanted to hear more of what the Lord wanted to say to me. I hung out for about an hour and a half (which is not terribly long, given that it takes me anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get there, one way) and felt like it was time to go. Gathered my stuff, went out to the car, and turned on the radio as usual. Felt impressed to turn it off. Uhm, OK. I try to speak, and literally heard God say, "Just be quiet. No music, no Russian, no talking. Just listen for once".

Yikes. So I listen. It's a l-o-n-g drive home, but especially so when it's silent. However, I felt like the Lord was telling me about my tendency toward depression, and how it wasn't designed to be part of me.

Even though I only listen to Christian music, I tend toward the more contemplative, meloncholy. The be-bop songs like, "Free To Be Me"? "Oh Happy Day"? Notsomuch.

God's been talking to be quite a bit about how who I am is not who I think I am, and this meloncholy streak is part of it. Other people who know me well, who know my heart, see me as enthusiastic. I know, I know, it's totally weird. However, in this process I have to believe that they know more about me than I do, especially since we're all hearing the same great big God.

One song that's really been blowing me away lately is "Oh How He Loves Us", the Kim Walker song I referenced last time. The song is great, but hearing her speak is amazing. Just wait til she gets going, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about here!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rest and Crowns

I met with Ransomed Grace last night at our church instead of at her house because she's facilitating a class there that would conflict just a bit time wise with our normal meeting time. I was surprised at just how comfortable I was there, in the lobby on sofas, instead of the comfy cocoon of her home. Must be that I just feel safe with her. The work is hard, but it's good. It's really good.

This morning I decided to skip the gym. I know, I can't believe it either. However, my hip flexors are killing me again, and I really can't take myself totally out of the game here. Had we gone, I wouldn't have seen the sweet thing I'm about to relate to you.

The Joyful Babe got ahold of the Firecracker Princess' Sleeping Beauty tiara. She knew what it was, knew where it went, and tried to get it on her little head. She couldn't seem to do it, though. She played with it a few minutes, turned it over and over in her chubby little hands. I could see how beautiful it would look on her, how frustrated she was in her attempts to crown herself. She chewed on it a few minutes, then eventually abandoned to chew on some crayons instead.

How often do I do this? Give up my crown as a princess because I can't affix it myself, because I'm too busy, afraid, tired, or lazy to ask my Daddy to do it for me? How often do I abandon my pursuit as the King's own child to follow something easier? I felt a little tug at my heart watching JB, for I knew how gorgeous my daughter would look in her crown. I knew that, were she to let me put it on her little head, that she would be a vision of lovliness, called into her destiny. Instead she chose to chew on wax, and it doesn't satisfy.

Lord, today I want what You have for me. I want to walk into the destiny You've set before me, leaving absolutely nothing of my inheritance on the table. I want to be Your daughter first, before anything else. I want to identify with the royalty that is Christ, be clothed in His garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. In Jesus' name. Amen!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Most Meandering Post I've Probably Ever Written

Have you heard of a worship leader named Misty Edwards? I was initially VERY cautious about listening to her music because of her friendship with Todd Bentley, who gives me extreme pause (to put it mildly). However, yesterday my friend Kate and I went to IHOP and something amazing happened.

Ransomed Grace asked me to read a ten-page teaching on the jealous heart of God, and I decided to spend my time at IHOP working on it. It prompted me to ask the Lord where I struggled in each area he brought up. I wrote in my notes that the teaching said, "This one characteristic of jealousy alone (that He is jealous over us when we put something else in first place) should show us just how special we are to God". Immediately, within literally 5 seconds, the worship leader changed to a song called "How He Loves Us", a Kim Walker song, which opens with, "He is JEALOUS for me". OK, so God had my attention.

Later, I was working on the question of, "Lord, why did You make me"? As I began to meditate on that, she started to sing, "The one thing I know, I was made for Your love" (the teaching says we are made to be in relationship with Him).

Now I'm REALLY paying attention.

After IHOP and lunch, Kate and I went to get her hair cut and colored. It took almost FOUR HOURS. Seriously. Anyhow, so she gave me her iPhone for me to make friends with (LOVE), and had me listen to some Misty Edwards.

It's called Dove's Eyes, whose lyrics in whole are these:

I don't want to talk about You like You're not in the room
I want to look right at You I want to sing right to You

I believe that You are listening
I believe that You move at the sound of my voice

Give me dove's eyes
Give me undistracted devotion for only You.

Have you ever thought about that before? How we talk about Him like He's not in the room, like He's not EVERYWHERE? I know how I hate being talked about like I'm not in the room, how much worse must that be for the Lord? Sigh.

Right now He's doing some stuff in me, and I feel like I want to rip off my skin. Not literally, of course, as I'm not a self-injurer. So I was asking Him what that feeling means, and he said that my old skin doesn't FIT anymore, and that I feel like I have to get out of it. Then I realized just how much all of this is going to hurt, more than I've prepared myself for. I've been begging Him to give me back the full weight of my emotions since my affect has been somewhat hollow, but in that moment, I asked Him to close my heart off just a little, so I could keep on, you know, breathing. It helped me see just how double-minded I can be, even when I haven't realized it.

Off for a quick neighborhood run before a shower and church. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Just Another Brick in the Wall

Do you have a wall? I have lots of them, and they seem to be boxing me in these days. You know, a brick wall. The thing that if you're running hard and fast enough toward will make you bounce when you hit the ground.

I know some of the ways God works. One of those ways is that your walls all come together at the corners. They grow so tall you can't scale them, so thick you can't shatter them, so dense that no one can hear you cry for help. Well, almost no one. There comes a time when the Lord needs you to turn to Him so deeply that He'll let your own stuff hurt you so you'll look up, press in, move on. I am in this place.

I have built some amazing walls, if I do say so myself. Each brick is crafted with care, inscribed with its particular hurt or wrong. I mortared them myself too, with amazing precision. They're solid, those bricks of mine. But now I'm in a place where they're ready to come down. I hear people calling to me to fellowship with them, and I can't get out. I hear the sounds of the life I'm called to have faint in the distance, and I want to run there. Except I can't because of these darn walls.

The only way out of this mess is to let God break down the walls, break down my heart, melt the hard places. It's not fun. It's not glamorous, it's not even really all that fascinating to anyone who isn't in it with me (though it seems that RG has endless amounts of self to invest into this process, which I find bewildering as really, I'm just not that interesting). But it's good. It's sweet to feel God's pleasure as I walk through it. It's sweet to have friends affirm small changes as they see them. It's sweet to know that my relationship with the Lord is growing deeper roots.

"For who despises the day of small things?" Zechariah 4:10

And a friend's favorite verse,
"Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you." Zechariah 9:12

I am, you are, we are forever and always PRISONERS OF HOPE!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Oh crap

That's pretty much all I can say about my life right now. I'm hanging on.

I've been dealing with some sports injuries and, upon receiving some counsel from fitness professionals, decided to cut my workouts by 50%. It about killed me. Not only did it about kill be, but I've gained SIX POUNDS in THREE WEEKS. My clothes don't fit. I look radically different. I've lost strength and endurance.

Clearly this is not going to work for me. I will lose two hours of workouts this week for more important reasons (Music Man has a concert and am visiting a grieving friend), but otherwise there are no excuses. I'm approaching my 1-year anniversary of beginning my weight loss journey on June 2, and I was hoping to be at my final goal by then. That's not going to happen, especially as that's the day we return from WDW, but I'd like to be able to say I achieved SOMETHING in this 12 months.

Next, I'm not pregnant. We aren't trying, and for the first 24 hours that I thought I might be, I freaked out. Then God RADICALLY changed my heart. I was so sure I was pregnant because of that 180 degree turnaround that the MM and I picked out names. Seriously. And now I'm not. Part of me is glad, part of me is heartbroken. All of my has learned that thinking I have any control over the whole process is just foolish and requires repentance. It would've been hard either way.

Finally, Ransomed Grace has me doing work that feels impossible. Truly impossible. She's had me write statements on what I believe about myself (good and bad), as well as things I'm afraid of, things I doubt. We discussed them, and then worked together on a few truth statements to stand against them. The ones we did together were hard enough, but to do them on my own seems ludicrous. Needless to say, I'm putting a call in to her later today, but I just don't like where I am right now. Not in the least.

All that to say, I'm being quiet. I'm trying to process and trying to cry and just dealing with things as they come. Crap, this feels hard.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Does 30 Mean Old?


I turn 30in about 24 weeks, and have felt lately that I am too old to learn anything overly complicated anymore. Silly me. So far in my 29th year I have ALMOST finished my fitness certification, gotten a new tattoo, and decided to take up a third language. I minored in Spanish in college. I actually tested into graduate (500) level courses as an 18 year old, so I have a gift for at least THAT language (though I'm terribly rusty now). :)

So what lanugage did I choose? Well. It's interesting to want to learn something new and not have a real need to choose a particular one. When I thought about possibilities, I considered Portuguese because there are so many Brazilian people in my church. Decided that was too close to Spanish.

Wasn't really interested in anything else, and then I thought about Ransomed Grace and how she just spent a decade in Russia. I realized that there were all these little pockets of that nation all over my heart, starting almost 20 years ago when I wrote a ten-page paper for Spectrum on Rasputin. My therapist in high school adopted her son from Russia and had taken some basic Russian; I remember her writing the characters for "telephone" on her yellow legal pad. When I managed ready-to-wear at Dillard's, many of my employees and one of my colleagues were Russian. Of course now I have Ransomed Grace in my life, and I haven't asked her outright, but I don't think she'd mind terribly to be my conversation partner when I get to that point.

Honestly, she'll probably get a laugh out of my attempts. So for now,
до свидания!