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...