The Physical

Before I go any further, I need to share with you the book of which I speak…Margin by Richard Swenson, MD

. I’m waiting for a couple other books on the topic by him as well…check out for his other titles if you are interested.

This week, I decide the thing I could most easily control and that would probably make the largest impact would be to focus on the physical energy. The extra sleep and rest last weekend made such a difference to me. I knew I was working at a deficit but I didn’t know how much of one!

The focus on the book on physical energy isn’t rocket science. But the author urges you to take personal responsibility for your health and to start making real changes in your habits. This is an area in which I have always struggled…partially do to my physical limitations and partially, really, due to laziness, I suppose. But it’s also the area I felt most ready to take responsibility for and to take action towards changing.

So, this week, I worked on:

Changing my diet. Eating smaller meals throughout the day. More healthy meals, infused with fruit and vegetables (gasp!). Cutting down on sugars and drinking more water.

Exercising. Although I didn’t have time for much this week, I did go for a walk one night and took a Tai Chi class. Both were really hard for me physically but I know that if I keep trying, things will get easier.

Sleep. I’m trying to get into a better routine of going to bed at a reasonable time (which, in reality, I’ve been working on for a few months, not just this week) but also getting up earlier so that I am not feeling stressed and rushed immediately after getting out of bed.

Not every day was a good day. I didn’t achieve my new goals all week. I ate well all day one day but felt overwhelmed by stress at work and went out for a milkshake. But, shockingly, the world didn’t end. And I just tried again.

I think that’s a big part of it. It’s so easy to catastrophize things and feel like you can’t succeed just because you aren’t perfect. Well, no one can be perfect – that’s for sure! And I think sometimes you just have to keep on keeping on. I’m really beginning to believe that that is how real change happens – not the idea of willpower but instead as an exercise of faith & diligence.

More to come…

Stirred, Not Shaken

Apparently, I caused quite a stir with my post about change being in the offing. Besides my inherent busyness this week, I think I was also somewhat afraid to post and tell you all about the things I want/am trying to change because once I write them down, (a) you may find them quite boring and not worth the excitement & hype or (b) you might hold me to them…and what if I fail? But, then, sometimes there is success in just the trying.

Last weekend was excellent. I felt well-rested, content and at ease with myself and my surroundings. I felt encouraged and ready to institute some changes that could positively effect my life. Usually, my ideas come in a flurry and I feel like I have to do and change everything at one time. This time, for whatever reason, was different. I felt, that although I have many things I want to change, that I needed to approach this differently – in steps, maybe even babysteps. And not beat myself up when what I want to change does not miraculous change and stay changed immediately.

I stayed up Sunday night and read a book about this elusive “margin” that a friend had loaned me. I thought it would be difficult to read but I actually got through it pretty quickly. I thought I understood margin and my lack of it – that it was time without anything booked or double or triple booked into it. But really, the author describes it as “the amount allowed beyond that which is needed”. He also says that margin is the opposite of overload and breaks it down into three areas in addition to time: emotional energy, physical energy, and finances.

Honestly, all these things are out of kilter for me in one way or another. I’m sure that’s true for many of us but I truly believe that some people are more prone to lack of margin than others for various reasons – one of which may be personality, another of not being able to say “no”, yet another perhaps of finding that busyness does not allow for solitude that makes you ask yourself deeply personal questions and consider things in such a way that might make you upset or depressed…it’s easier to be busy and just not think.

My weekend made me really think about these things and this pervasive discontent I have felt for some time now. I don’t think I can pinpoint it’s origin or any such thing and if you asked me flat out, I don’t think I could tell exactly what I was discontent about. But I think it has something to do with the lack of margin…and so, my thoughts turn to change. To make things different, possibly to make things better. That would certainly be my hope!

And so I decided that this was the week…it was definitely time.

Baited Breath

I know that y’all have been waiting to hear about the changes I mentioned…but you’ll have to wait a little longer!  I have been absolutely swamped at work this week and have had significant commitments each evening…but I promise a real update sometime this weekend!

And so it begins

The big change, the big turnaround, the never looking back!

I’m not going to post all the details of my plan just yet. Some are already in the works while others are going to take some time. But change is the in offing.

Something’s Gotta Give

…and I ain’t referring to the movie. (Didn’t like that movie, either. Not one bit.)

I took the day off yesterday to get some freelance work done in anticipation of going to visit friends overnight tonight. I slept in a little bit, got up and fed the starving felines and went back to bed until…gasp…11 AM. And proceeded to get so much done yesterday, it was astounding – and I don’t only mean freelance work. I was like a powerhouse. I did laundry, I packed up books to give away, I moved things and organized things and just generally took care of things that had been languishing and driving my organized little mind insane every time I looked at them. My friend called and said that they had been down with the stomach flu all week and I quickly decided to pass on our visit. So today, much a repeat of yesterday…including the getting back in bed & sleeping until 11 thing. More freelance work, more cleaning & organizing. Amazing.

I know it all sounds simple and probably quite silly to some of you that I am so happy about all this but frankly, I can’t remember the last time I felt well enough to do so much and not end up crashed out on the couch at midday. I really think my body is craving the extra sleep wildly. It’s quite crazy, since I have been getting to bed by 10 or 11 each night and truthly don’t extract my butt from the bed until nearly 7:30…and really that should be enough sleep for any normal soul. But apparently not for me. I feel like I am always working at a deficit in terms of sleep and so many other things.

A while back, some of the ladies and I were doing a discipleship study and came upon a section that talked of “margin” and the need to have it in your life. We are constantly on the go, running here, there & everywhere for this and that and who knows what, and all the while leaving nothing – no time, I suppose – up for grabs. It’s bad. That’s all I can say, having no margin is bad.

This weekend, I found a little bit of margin and little bit of my self. I realized that I have to start making some changes in my life right away. Some may be easy, while many will take more work on my part. I need to work on my life, my health, my spirit. ‘Cuz something’s gotta give…

I Scream, You Scream

…we all scream for ice cream.
For some reason, I have lost my appetite for just about everything except ice cream.  It happens sometimes…maybe not enough dairy in my diet?  Low in calcium?  Who knows.  I was absolutely starving this morning but the only thing that I am really interested in is ice cream.  (Don’t worry, I refrained from having it for breakfast…but I do have some in the freezer at work for later!)
Tonight I am going to see one of my youth in Romeo & Juliet.  Next week, her sister is in Pride & Prejudice. I am getting all kinds of culture this month!!!  : )
More later…

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed.
I am a day late but there was much going on yesterday.  So a belated happy Easter!
David & I taught Adventure Theater yesterday.  We had three stations set up – the Garden of Gethesamene (where we talked about prayer), the tomb of Jesus (where we talked about Jesus’s death for our sin) and a breakfast table (where all things are new in the morning, just a Jesus was resurrected and we can all have new life through him).  I was really excited about all the stations and I think we did a good job of organizing things and moving the kids through.  I hope they took something away with them.  Many of them had apparently been dipping into the Easter candy before church(who can blame them, really??!!?) and were pretty rammy.  But so it goes.
I had a terrible headache by the end of church and went home for lunch and to try to take a nap (to no avail) before heading over for Easter dinner at Kym’s.  I had a really nice time and even learned that, perhaps, I might like ham.  Her’s definitely was delicious.  I love spending time with Kym and her family – they are great.  And they always make me feel like I am a part of their family, which is just wonderful. 
Afterwards, I went over to David & Michelle’s (another family of mine!) for dessert and to meet Nanci & Fred’s newest addition, Bristol.  Bristol is a 7 week old yellow lab and I absolutely fell in love with him.  He is such a cutie and has such an expressive little face!  What a doll!  I had dessert again with them and finally extracted my butt from their house and went home.  I was completely exhausted but couldn’t sleep last night again.  This is getting very frustrating!
Today, I came into work early because I had an appt with a rheumatologist about my fibro.  I hadn’t seen him since 2000 because I was trying to manage my symptoms on my own.  Sometimes, I do better than others. Lately, it seems to be getting worse and coming on more and more frequently and it’s really upsetting. So I went over there this morning to be poked and prodded and given a script to have blood drawn (yuck).  He believes I do still have fibro, which of course I knew before I went in there, but he will not prescribe anything.  He wants me to buy a book (which Amazon tells me I DID buy when he recommended it the first time six years ago…but where in the world is it?) and start exercising.  I asked him how I was supposed to do that when my body hurts all over and I am exhausted to the point of tears.  He said to start by walking two minutes a day.  For pete’s sake, it takes me two minutes to walk from my car to my office building each day.  I see his point, I know he’s right…it’s just HARD.
And so, that is where I am at the moment.  Maybe I should track my progress here and make myself more accountable…

Good Friday

I just got home from Good Friday service. It was excellent. Our church doesn’t have a building and hence, we don’t have Good Friday service. But this year and last, some friends and I have attend a service at another nearby church. I have to admit, albeit selfishly, that it is especially nice for me because I don’t have any work to do or anything to be concerned about. I can just sit and enjoy the service. What a concept! And something sometimes all too unfamiliar.

Anyway, I took the afternoon off today. I had lunch with my peeps from my old job (good to see y’all – missed you, Tomas!), went shoe shopping and then treated myself to a manicure & a pedicure…sandal season, you know. But again I digress from my point…

While I was in the salon the owner’s wife came in with her son, probably around 10 or 11. She said in English that he had asked her why they called it Good Friday when it was the day Jesus died on the cross. A flurry of questions and what I supposed were answers flew from the people working in the salon. Unfortunately, they spoke to him in another language, so I’m not sure what answer they gave. I would have been very interested to know. This was a question I asked as a kid, to a mom who wasn’t a believer. I don’t even remember what her answer was, truthfully. (The other reason for that was her father died suddenly, very young, on a Good Friday – so in the family, Good Friday always had a pall to it anyway).

I understand clearly the question. If you have seen The Passion of the Christ, you can even more understand it. And in the book of Isaiah, it is even worse, saying that Christ was beaten until he was unrecognizeable. He was tortured, scorned and mocked, and then hung on a cross to die a most terrible death. If you have ever heard anyone describe the physiologic effects of being hung on a cross – it is stunning. I believe it is one of the most horrid ways to die. And yet, we call that day Good Friday?

Yes. It was a day that had be prophesied for years and years. If you study the Bible (not just read it cover to cover like a book – you’ll never get through Leviticus if you try it that way, trust me), you cannot help but be amazed about how all that was written came true through Jesus Christ. Even this – the horror of his death. Through his torture, his horrible death on the cross, he was made a sacrifice for us and for our sin. The pastor tonight made an analogy – it was like our sin was written down and God took some “Red Out” and covered up the words/sins and it turned white as snow over them. That doesn’t sound as powerful as I write it and it’s probably a little bit off but I hope that you are getting the point. Jesus’s blood can wash away our sin. How amazing is that?

So in the horror, in the darkness, in all the distress he felt and those who loved him on earth felt…there was truly good.

Kitty OCD?

Today was one of those days where you think you are being productive but really, things keep going wrong just when you think you’re almost finished and you practically have to start all over. But I am going to put that all aside now and tell you about my little lovebug.

This is Norman.

Norman has obsessive compulsive disorder.

I am certain of it.

He scratches at closet doors incessantly until I open them.

He cries for hours at the basement door, each and every night. If I let him down there, he comes back up quickly. If I close the door, he cries again.

If you bring cardboard into the house, he has to scratch at it incessantly until you hide it away. I bought something tonight that came in a cardboard box and made the mistake of not taking it out to the trash immediately. He scratched at it for probably a half hour (furiously scratching – I’m sure the neighbor could hear him, that’s what a ruckus he was making!) I finally hid it in the closet until I can take it out for trash.

If he is hungry, and you choose to ignore him because (A) it is three o’clock in the morning or (B) you’ve already fed him, he will howl and run and pounce on you with all the force his ten little pounds can muster.

Oh, I knew he had issues from the moment I brought his cute furry butt home. Being my third kitty, I totally disregarded all the “guidelines” about how to introduce them, etc. He stuck close to me and literally growled at Ramona & Nellie any time either would try to come near. To this day, he rules the roost – even though they are both larger than him (and Ramona could take him in a second!)

But I love him. He is my sweet baby boy. I mean, who couldn’t love that funny face?

There’s No Place Like Home, There’s No Place Like Home

I had to travel for work this weekend and I forgot to pack the darn ruby slippers. And boy, did I need them. I was attending a workshop outside of DC. I love DC and decided to drive down instead of taking the train and got on the road late yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and the drive really wasn’t bad…until I got to the neighborhood where my hotel/motel/whatever was. As soon as I got close, I knew it was a terrible neighborhood. I was literally praying that mapquest was wrong and that it wasn’t there. But nope, it was indeed. I got all my stuff out of the car and went to check in. The first “automatic” door opened for me, the second…not so much. I had to literally force it open…in hindsight, there was probably a reason for that…

I checked in and got my keys and asked how to get to my room. The guy at the desk told me to go outside and up the stairs, around to the back of the building. I hadn’t realized that this wasn’t the kind of “lodging” where you could access your room from INSIDE the building…no, it certainly wasn’t. I went up to the room, lugging all my stuff, and got inside. Problems with the lights and scariness aside, it was ok inside. Until I realized that the door looked like it had been kicked in at some point. It closed at the top but there was about a 1/2 opening at the bottom. This completely freaked me out for a million reasons but it was getting dark and I wanted to see where my meeting was and get something to eat.

I had had a whole plan to come down, check out the location, go find a nice restaurant and eat dinner and read my book club book. No such luck. I drove through the horrible neighborhoods (calling Michelle so I’d have a “witness” if I got carjacked – SERIOUSLY, it was that bad) and couldn’t find the building for my meeting. It was getting dark and I didn’t want to be hanging around anywhere alone in the dark so I headed back towards the hotel. There was nowhere nice to eat so I ended up getting Taco Bell and eating it in the room.

I was still freaked out about the room and the door situation. Even though it had a deadbolt and a chain, plus the regular lock, I was in no way at ease. I won’t go into all the details but suffice it to say I rigged up something (not quite MacGyver style but pretty creative, I’d say) in front of the door to at least give me some peace. I did the same with the door to the adjoining room, even though it appeared kind of locked on my side. And slept with all the lights on…I guess if you can call what I did sleeping. I probably got about three hours, if that.

Now, thankfully I am home and ready to sleep in my own bed! YAY! Hip hip hooray!!!

Note to self: when an organization RECOMMENDS hotels, take the recommendations – don’t choose a hotel simply because it is “nearby” and cheap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!